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Thread: What book are you currently reading?

  1. #141
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    I have The Mythic Dream and Ministry of the Future on my reading list. Buffalo For The Broken Heart sounds like something to add.

    I'm currently working on Haters: Harassment, Abuse, and Violence Online and Coyote America, which I've avoided because I just know I'll end up with an effin' HUGE bibliography of coyote-related material to dig into. I just finished a graphic novel, the updated version of Batman: Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. The layout and graphics are so lovely that I spent more time on the visuals than the story. The writing is by Grant Morrison, so it didn't disappoint. This is my favourite Joker so far: a man so far gone that he has no "core personality", as the text describes him. I do wish they'd done a bit more with the idea that some people's "only crime is madness" or something to that effect, since it reminded me of my thoughts on people with mental illnesses who end up incarcerated (and who probably shouldn't be; if anything, they'll become worse to others and to themselves). Edit: and the fact that psychiatric wards tend to be punitive toward the criminally insane and not really conducive to healing, at least in North America.

    I'm also reading a book on scientific writing. It sounds like a part-time job I'd enjoy, but would I want to make a living that way? Probably not. Too many moving pieces.
    Last edited by Coyote Jones; December 13th, 2020 at 09:57 PM.

  2. #142

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kisota View Post
    Finished Buffalo for the Broken Heart a while back, then got through The Great Gatsby and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

    Currently working on:
    Fahrenheit 451
    Animorphs series (book 9 I think?)
    The Witcher series - Blood of Elves
    A Confederacy of Dunces

    Fahrenheit 451 is one of my favorite classics.


    Heh, myself. I've been reading up on SQL injection attack methodology and techniques. ( White hat stuff, so no worries )

  3. #143

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    Always got a few things I'm steadily reading through.

    The main book I've been reading is Neville Chamberlain: A Biography. Uninspiring title, but you'd think a British prime minister and one of the most pivotal figures in 20th century history would have had more than 4 than biographies written in the last 80 years. One was written within months of his death in 1940, another in the early 1960's before Britain had its World War 2 files declassified, and in the early 1980''s which was part of a planned series but never got beyond volume 1 ending in 1929, and then, finally, the present book published by Routledge in 2016. It's not inaccurate to say that it's the first real biography of the man that's ever been done. It's a fascinating book, but too often becomes bogged down in the minutiae of Tory politics of the 1920's and 30's. Still, this is useful as reference material for the serious historical researcher. The author is a bit too invested in apologizing for Chamberlain for my tastes, but this is a small flaw: it's easy enough for any informed reader to come to their own view.

    Interwar and World War 2 history is very fascinating. The traditional narrative is something like this: Hitler knew exactly what he was doing and outlined a grand blueprint of his plans in Mein Kampf. The reality is that things developed along hugely contingent lines. It's surprising just how differently the war could have unfolded. Franco, the fascist dictator of Spain, committed to joining the Axis at Hendaye in exchange for certain modest territorial concessions(the return of Rousillon, a tiny border strip along the eastern border of France and Spain annexed by France in the 16th or 17th century) and Morocco, a French colonial posession. Hitler judged it imprudent to alienate the Vichy regime that ruled the unoccupied parts of defeated France in the hopes that it could eventually be enticed to join the Axis as a full partner. The Allies nearly blundered their way into a war with the Soviet Union in April 1940 with a planned movement of troops and materiel to Finland through Norway, which was at war with the Soviet Union. It could well have driven the Soviet Union into a formal alliance with Germany, and was only pre-empted by the fact of Hitler's sudden and surprisingly successful invasion of Norway. Popular history takes it for granted that a lot of things were the result of improvisation and unexpected coincidences, catastrophes, and successes.

    Then, just as now, the future seemed utterly uncertain.. I think it is important to study history not because the past is a guide to the present or the future, but because understanding the essentially contingent nature of the past and how things developed the way they did may give us more insight into how things are going. There is an irreducible aspect of human consciousness that makes pure determinism impossible, and beyond that, there are always so many factors that go into things that they can never be known in their entirety aside from in retrospect. I remember in the spring of 2016 sitting in a diner listening to my grandfather blather on about the glories of Donald Trump. This was before he was the Republican nominee. I could only roll my eyes. The possibility that he could become the nominee, much less president, was so absurd as to not be worth taking seriously, but in retrospect it's not so surprising.

    Also reading Mobilize!: Why Canada was unprepared for the Second World War, Plato's Theaetetus, and Read My Desire: Lacan against the Historicist. I try to keep a pretty high ratio of non-fiction to fiction, but the next time I try a novel it will be Balcony in the Forest by Julien Gracq. I know nothing about it, but the person who recommended it has always been right in predicting my tastes.
    "The first volume of the present publication has the aim of uncloaking these sheep, who take themselves and are taken for wolves; of showing how their bleating merely imitates in a philosophic form the conceptions of the German middle class; how the boasting of these philosophic commentators only mirrors the wretchedness of the real condition.." -Marx, The German Ideology

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