VisibleGhost-Eleven At A Time
Únase a LibraryThing para publicar.
Este tema está marcado actualmente como "inactivo"—el último mensaje es de hace más de 90 días. Puedes reactivarlo escribiendo una respuesta.
1. Super Mega-Popular- Something with 10,000 or more copies on LT.
2. Obscure As Hell- Less than ten copies on LT.
3. Books That Don't Have To Be Read In One Go- Collection, essays, anthology, short stories, phone books.
4. Scientists With Problems- Everybody has problems but I have no desire to read about problems in the acting classes.
5. The Inevitable Book That I Didn't Know Existed When I Started This Challenge That Leaps With Great Vigor To The Top Of The TBR Pile And Demands Immediate Attention- Sorry, got a little carried away with 17th Century title imitation.
6. Humans Are Obsolete- Transhumanist tracts.
7. Land Of Enchantment- New Mexico
8. We Are Doomed- Pessimistic speculation.
9. We Shall Become As Gods- Optimistic speculation.
10. The Strangest Phenomenon In The Universe- Human nature/behavior.
11. Geography Is Destiny- Geopolitics
I could use the the old Trek stardate calendar. I think Year 0 is 2323. So, my challenge could start on 1 Jan. in the year negative 312. Or something like that. Eleven in -312? Not very rhyme-y.
(Bruce's evil twin :-))
Evil twin of Bruce, I have near unlimited choices for obscure books. With the mega-popular category, I have a choice of 150 titles. Might be a couple more by next year. I am looking forward to reading in the obscure category though.
blythe025, yep, I'm excited to find out what my category five book will be. So far, it hasn't made an appearance.
That being said, I'm often surprised at how few copies some books have on LT - even in the genres many here seem to share a passion for, like sci-fi orcrime.
Wolf Song: A Love Story, Paulle Clark
I checked by author name and title and didn't find any copies that needed combining. It looks like a singleton on LT.
The author grew up in northern British Columbia. She made a career in the movie and television business. One of her final jobs was director/producer of the OWL/TV series that aired on PBS and CBC. It seems she burned out and tired of the lifestyle. There are vague hints of this but little detail. She retired to Taos, NM in 1987. She didn't have children, had a couple of cats, and wanted a dog for company. She ended up with hybrid wolves. Four of them. A mother and three of her pups.
This slim little book sets down some of her experiences with her wolf pack. They were a handful as wolves have lots of energy when they are young and keep that energy well into their lives. They did howl, usually at dawn and dusk, but none of them barked. Wolves have a long deep howl unlike the shorter yip-yip-yip howl of coyotes. When they get old they don't howl anymore. They're also not very good indoors, too much weight and vigor, so they spent their time outdoors in all kinds of weather. The mother survived all of her pups and lived to be sixteen. There are black and white photographs of the wolf family. It seems like Clark recovered and thrived in Taos with her wolves.
The writing is serviceable to the telling of the story. In some instances it's too vague and conversations crop up out of the blue in a strange manner. Still, it was enjoyable reading of her life with the wolves. There is a bit of the artistic spirituality flavor that is prevalent in Taos and probably was an attractor in her choice for retiring there.
Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition: Science Slightly over the Edge, Ed Regis
How does a Great Mambo Chicken come about anyway? Well, some scientists were sitting around wandering what was so great about living in one-G conditions all the time. They made a big centrifuge, put some straw, chicken feed, and some chickens in there and spun them up to two-and-a-half Gs for months. The chickens did their chicken thing: they cackled, scratched around, laid eggs, and had grand chicken-ly times. Twenty-three generations went through this. They came out buff and muscled. Great Mambo Chickens. They had lost their excess fat, their hearts were pumping more blood, their extensor muscles were big, and their wingbeating exercises and treadmill tests showed a three-fold increase in strength. They strutted and stomped on the treadmills showing off their bad-self chickenness.
The human condition or the human predicament is not admired by many humans. Everybody wants to condemn it or improve it. Acceptance of it as is is considered feeble at best. Why is that? Religions emphasize the spiritual and denigrate the physical and the sordid thoughts that emanate from mushy brain tissue. Some come up with a formula that goes something like- have a salvation event, wear a hair shirt, fleece the poor, pray for the end-times to hurry up and get here, and then eternal paradise happens. The techno-nerds eliminate the faith part and decide they will create their own paradise by manipulating matter in all kinds of ways. Downloadable brains and personalities, back-up copies, exchangeable bodies of all kinds, cryogenic time-outs, and even more out-there ideas. The difference between the religionists and the techno-heaveners is one of faith and one of degrees of action. If the faith is expended in a nonactive delusion then not much happens in the present world. There are results if the faithful try to strong-arm their beliefs on others. Death comes and whatever happens on the other side of death happens. The other camp decides to manipulate the physical world in a effort to create their own visions of paradise in physical manifestations. The electronic self has to have a substrate to reside in.
Philosophy is hard enough to contemplate with humanity in the picture. Add transhumanism to mix and it's like trying to completely understand infinity. Vertigo ensues. Regis is a philosopher and the underlying theme of this book is hubris. Not a horror of hubris but an incredulous amazement of hubristic transhuman thinking in some circles. He uses italics extensively to bring across this incredulity. It's not a complicated read and many parts are entertaining. He is a philosopher with a sense of humor. The book was published twenty-one years ago. That makes for an interesting timeline about what has happened since. The robotics progress has been exponential since then.
I have a fondness for crazy people. Not psychopaths but crazy people that think really big crazy thoughts. This book is full of such characters. Some of them are actually dead now which probably messed up their goal of not dying. I'm not sure I want them to succeed with some of their grandiose plans for reshaping humanity and the universe but technology has a pattern of marching on bit by bit. Is it really a good idea to dismantle Jupiter? Or squeeze the sun to get some energy? It wasn't that long ago that many thought human flight was so hubristic that the gods would swoop down and knock humanity's wings off.
Great review and sounds right up my alley....
clfisha, I didn't even work the missing frozen head into my review. And the body parts found in a rental house.
RidgewayGirl, thanks, writing up thoughts on a book never quite matches up with the thoughts running through my head. Sometimes what ends up being typed is different than I thought it would be. This sounds strange, but sometimes I surprise myself when writing them up. I think I know how I want to say something but the saying of it (typing) changes during the process.
psutto, if you've ever read any of Atwood's science-run-amok stories, these are the guys she's warning of.
@ Ignoring the terrible problem I have of missing out stuff in a review I think the act of reviewing can change my opinion of the book. Of course it can underline how I much I disliked it, but sometimes you re-evalute why you like the book. You start out saying it was ok or brilliant and talk yourself out of it ;)
East of Eden, John Stienbeck
I'm at a loss as how to review this so I'm going to try sentence fragments.
Silky smooth like mellow aged scotch with a bite. Honed, sharper than a knife's edge characterization. Archetypes. Lots of archetypes. Samuel and Lee especially as the wise ones dispensing wisdom, nosing into, and prodding others to be aware of choices. Mythology. Legend. Mixed in with some autobiography. Families as archetypes. Good vs. evil. Flawed humanity sinking into the depths and flawed humanity rising above the morass. Coming of age and dying of old age. Birth. Life. Death. Foundations. Belief. Duty. National roots. American. Epochal. Canonical.
5 stars- first of the year.
GbM, I saved it for a few years. I was hoping it would pay off. It did.
psutto, while East of Eden is set in time, I tend to think its more timeless than Grapes.
christina_reads, I was expecting a lot and got it. Hey! I'm starting to repeat myself.
andreablythe, I didn't read it when I was young so I'll never be able to do the young vs. mature comparison. Actually, I'll have to reread when I do mature.
pammab, you should have seen the review I started. I was going to have to fine myself for adjective overuse.
It's Twitterfied now.
I saw a different Hemingway book in my library the other day and I nasty flashbacks to the Old Man and the Sea and thought horrible things I could do to the poor book. I may need therapy ;)
Modern Ruins: Portraits of Place in the Mid-Atlantic Region, Photographs by Shaun O'Boyle, with an introduction by Geoff Manaugh
Ruins are fascinating places. Time marches ever onward and ruins come to pass when structures of all kinds outlive their intended purpose. They fall into disrepair, slowly crumble into their elemental material, and decay with differing stages of humble pride. They are reminders of times and events no longer with us. Observing or wandering through ruins leaves the observer trying to fill in the blanks of what used to go on in the now defunct areas. It's an active sort of curious meditation.
There are four types of ruins featured in O'Boyle's stark photography in this volume. Institutions, a prison and asylums, steel industry ruins, coal operation leftovers, and an arsenal on a small island in the Hudson River. There is an essay for each section from different writers. Most of the photographs appear in black and white.
My favorites are the steel plants. They feature huge, hulking remains of strange looking equipment and buildings with architecture that could only be purpose driven. It catches the eye then puzzles the eye. The scale is large and everything has a slight menacing tint. It seems there should be all kinds of deafening noises emanating from such fierce machinery but only dead, cold silence comes through the photographs. There is little doubt these are modern ruins indeed.
The arsenal on Pollepel Island (seven acres) is an interesting ruin. It was built by a Scottish American to house his military surplus business and a part-time home for his family. It's barely more than a hundred years-old but looks like it has been in decay for centuries.
O'Boyle photographs aren't just a mix of abandoned buildings with no theme. He puts together the photos in the four themes of the book mentioned earlier. It makes one think about how fast the modern becomes ruins and the traces it leaves in the present.
This link goes to photos featuring the arsenal:
Bcteagirl, DeltaQueen50, and clfisha- I was hoping some of O'Boyle's photography was posted online to link to. Glad that it was.
tess_i_am48- it's been a long time since I have read any Hemingway. I don't remember hating or loving it. I'm not even sure if I can remember what of his I have read or haven't read.
The Many Worlds of Hugh Everett III: Multiple Universes, Mutual Assured Destruction, and the Meltdown of a Nuclear Family, Peter Byrne
My brain nearly melted reading this. The Many Worlds idea has been used in fiction for a long time, usually in science fiction. The concept is easy enough to portray- the universe splits and in the split-offs results diverge from the universe the characters originally occupied. A trope oft used. The physics and philosophy describing how such splitting could be possible is anything but easy to comprehend. It gets messy real fast. Attempts at clarification introduce even more messiness. Then head pains ensue.
Everett wrote his dissertation on branching universes in 1957. It was bold and audacious. Most physicists that saw it said- Good Grief! We have to deal with this crazy paper? No thanks! And it was mostly ignored for ten to fifteen years. But it wouldn't go away and kept picking up new adherents over time. More- Good Grief! We still have to deal with this? Nobody was able to kill it dead. The cosmologists found useful things there and it has been in play ever since with many additions and refinements.
Everett never published another paper on quantum mechanics. He avoided the fray for the rest of his life with only an exception or two. He went into operations research for the defense sector. There he was a Cold Warrior working with the equations of first strikes, second strikes, and the possible deaths of hundreds of millions of people. Grim stuff indeed. Everett loved it though. He treated life as a game and his life as a part of his beloved game theory. He was a hawk in the Cold War environs but a hedonist in his personal life. He and his wife became swingers. Later he started a travel business with his girlfriend. The Everetts never separated or divorced. Everett drank his lunch, was a chain smoker, and ate like there was no such thing as cholesterol.
His son and daughter were allowed free reign. There was no discipline. Because Everett's focus and immersion in his thoughts and his career there was also little attention paid to the children either. They were almost strangers. His daughter was alcoholic as was Hugh. She also had substance abuse problems and was suicidal. Hugh only made it to the age of fifty-two. He succombed to a heart attack. Liz, the daughter, didn't even live that long. She was thirty-nine when she overdosed. Hugh's wife died not long after from lung cancer. It was probably contracted from her husband's chain smoking.
This left Mark, the son, alone in the world at a fairly young age. He had escaped the family home by going to California and pursuing a music career. He formed The Eels, and did solo stuff also. Ten years after being left alone he started trying to make a bit of sense of his family. There was a BBC documentary focusing on his father, Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives. He also wrote a memoir that was an Early Reviewer book on LibraryThing. It's called Things the Grandchildren Should Know.
This biography was a thorough examination of Everett's life and his professional accomplishments. He was far from a saint, probably not a devil; more of a smart average-Joe trying to muddle through life by avoiding parts of reality with the desensitizing effects of physical pleasure.
Storms of My Grandchildren, James Hansen
It's over by the year 2525. By that year there will be nothing living on Earth larger than a bacteria. The oceans are now mist in the atmosphere. Aliens that left their far away worlds many years ago to visit Earth because they detected life here will arrive to find a mostly lifeless planet. They will leave in disgust- muttering, stupid earthlings. They ruined a perfectly good third rock from the sun. As far as doomsday scenarios go this one is as bleak as they come. No post apocalyptic survivors struggling against the odds. Everything's is toast, albeit soggy toast.
Storms is mainly a science book describing the science behind global warming. It can get detailed but Hansen is thorough. His career has been spent in developing and advancing the science. He is optimistic that changes can be made in time to prevent a lifeless Earth. He does believe that if every last hydrocarbon is burned for energy, including tar sands and shale oil, then the Earth will rebel and wipe us out. We might hold off the nuclear demons but fall to the greenhouse gas demons. 500 years at the most before this doomsday.
Four stars for the writing and science.
Five stars for the We Are Doomed theme. It doesn't get more doom-y than this.
Why the West Rules--For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future, Ian Morris
If human history is looked at from a far distance for the past 50,000 years, do any patterns emerge? Morris thinks so and this book is his hypothesis on what patterns emerge. Any history book that covers this length of time is not a detailed dive into history. Some empires are covered in a paragraph or two. It's a dizzying, fast trip through human history. The East and the West have gone back and forth on the progress front for thousands of years now. The industrial revolution catapulted the west into the recent lead with England leading the way. He uses social development indexes to score the East and West through the years. There is lots of two steps forward and one step back.
So what drives progress? Here's the Morris theorem: " Change is caused by lazy, greedy, frightened people looking for easier, more profitable, and safer ways to do things. And they rarely know what they're doing."
I especially like the lazy people part. I've long thought that without lazy people we would all still be riding donkeys around. Lazy people will spend inordinate amounts of time figuring out how to avoid onerous tasks. The result of this is astounding. A hunter-gatherer used around 4,000 kilocalories per day. Someone living in the West today uses roughly 230,000 kilocalories per day. Energy capture is what makes modern lifestyles possible and creates most of the environmental challenges that face humanity.
The only constant is change and civilizations never step into the same river twice, anymore than humans do. Morris' social development indexes show (speculation) that the East overtakes the West around 2100. However, there's a good possibility it will not play out that way. The reasons are Nightfall and the Singularity. Ray Kurzweil's prediction for the arrival of the Singularity is 2045. That is also the year that Sagan and Shklovskii predict Nightfall. An advanced civilization will destroy itself within one hundred years of developing nuclear weapons. In his view the competition between West and East gives way to a competition between Singularity (or a Singularity type world) and Nightfall (either nuclear events or climate collapse). Futurists have mentioned the Singularity for years and it is interesting to see the historians beginning to mention it. If a Singularity-like event happens it probably is the end of humanity as we know it. If a Nightfall event(s) happens that too could be the end of humanity as we know it, maybe even the complete end of humans. Morris claims that the next forty years are the most important in human history. They very well could be that.
The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century, Dickson Despommier
What happens when we put the last arable acre of land into cultivation? Is that it? Do we then hope for another green revolution to continue feeding the world's billions? No problems. We just start skyscraper farming. We don't even need dirt-dammit. We''ll employ hydroponics (bathing the plant roots in a nutrient bath) or aeroponics (spray-misting the plant roots with nutrient spray). Hydroponics uses 70% less water than traditional agriculture and aeroponics uses 70% less water than hydroponics.
The food production is just the start. These vertical farms will recycle grey water and black water, generate power from the incineration of plant waste (think plasma arc gasification) which will reduce waste to its constituent molecules, and harvest water from dehumidification. Every urban center gets one or several thus cutting way down on food miles. Is a swarm of locusts heading for your farm? Just close the damn windows until they disappear. Try doing that with your old-fashioned level land farm. The vertical farm can be partitioned off into isolated zones if pathogens invade certain crops. If the crop is ruined it can be destroyed and the next one started tomorrow. No need to wait for spring planting. Are we on the road to food utopia yet? Almost, fish, chickens, and other meats could be 'grown' in these also. Probably not cows though.
Actually, no vertical farms exist yet. This is still a paper idea. Hydroponics works but will stacked hydroponic farms work? Some of these ideas sound plausible but I'm sure unforeseen problems will come up, as will unintended consequences. There's also the question of where the capital will come from. Farming is subsidized almost everywhere in the world and those practices are entrenched and hard to change. Farming isn't exactly the most profitable endeavor worldwide. There are some intriguing ideas in this book and I'm sure some efforts will be made in the development of such farms. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. The Middle East could be where some of the first ones are tried.
The skeptic in me was generating all kinds of calamity scenarios for vertical farms. Such as- a reporter on the scene of a collapsed vertical farm describing the huge mess created by the disaster. 'It was horrific. Blood and smashed tomato juice running unchecked into the streets.' But, I'm not a total skeptic- I think some form of vertical farming could produce more benefits than liabilities.
ETA a link for some of the concept vertical farms:
I would love someone to at least try vertical farming but the cost..
Books That Don't Have To Be Read In One Go- Collection, essays, anthology, short stories, phone books.
I don't remember typing phone books in there but post # 1 says I did. Anyway, I have made a dent in Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society- a 350th anniversary publication. Halfway read I'd say.
The Strangest Phenomenon In The Universe- Human nature/behavior
I'm really bogged down in The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit which was my choice for the category. It's my second try for this book.
Land Of Enchantment- New Mexico
I'm still dithering between, Bless Me, Ultima (a reread), The Milagro Beanfield War, or an obscure one, Cidermaster of Rio Oscuro. I might do the eeny, meeny, miny, mo thing.
The Inevitable Book That I Didn't Know Existed When I Started This Challenge That Leaps With Great Vigor To The Top Of The TBR Pile And Demands Immediate Attention
Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials- err... philosophy, horror, theory, SF, and oil as a living being- or something like that. It's been ordered and hopefully I'm gonna like it. It was too wacky/weird to pass up.
If/when I complete those four I'll do eleven more (different) categories.
Land Of Enchantment- New Mexico
Bless Me, Ultima, Rudolfo Anaya
I'm never sure how a reread is going to set with me. Sometimes they're better the second time round. Sometimes they're not. In this case, not. I probably first read this twenty-five years ago. It was an enjoyable reread but I wasn't entranced. I think I remember entrancement from back then. Then again, maybe not. Memory is a weird thing, at least mine is.
The tale of Antonio coming of age with his curandera in a poor, hardscrabble, rural New Mexico is a shot of space and time even most Americans aren't aware off. Curanderas are women who heal (curanderos, male), dabble in spells, and collect plant lore. As such, many consider them brujas (witches). This tale wanders into the magical realism realm in some instances but doesn't wallow in it. Family, Catholicism, and doubt are the other major themes.
I wasn't in the mood for any of my other 11/11 books I was working on, so I read The Egyptian by Mika Waltari. It was a great rip-roaring romp through ancient Egypt with all the intrigue, bloodshed, deceit, and power struggles one could wish for. One of the vernacular sayings in the book was, 'your words are as the buzzing of flies in my ears', to a person who was droning on in an irritable way. It made me wonder if such a phrase was really used back then. Sounds plausible.
I picked up a graphic adaptation of Richard Stark's Parker series. It's been many moons since I read a Parker book. The University of Chicago reprinted the Parker series in nice trade paperbacks. The graphic ones are done by another publisher- the one I checked out is The Outfit.
Ring of Swords is one of those books with aliens where the aliens are created not to shown their alien-ness but to shine a light on humanity. In this case it's gender and sexual politics. It's light on action; instead it takes place mostly in a diplomatic negotiation setting between the aliens and the sexes. I really thought I might get bored with it but I got more involved with the plotting and machinations than expected. I kept turning the pages and pretty soon it was over. A surprise book I found in a sorta hidden bookpile I haven't touched for awhile. I don't even know where it came from. I don't remember acquiring it. Maybe my books are breeding.
I haven't abandoned it but it's only progressing a page or two at a time. I am glad that it exists and someone took the effort to create it. Sometimes, there is a passage that will hit me between the eyes. Other passages make my eyeballs twirl in their sockets. I have read all the blurbs and some of the reviews and I've come to the conclusion that nobody has read the same book. It's close to being infinitely hermeneutical.
Im still going to buy it when I see it though :-)
@66 ahem you know are banned from buying books until you have dented that tbr pile.. ;-)
besides I've only got a year or so worth of reading material on the TBR bookshelf...
Outeffingstanding- my highest rating
All the King's Men, Robert Penn Warren
East of Eden, John Steinbeck
The Song of the Dodo, Davis Quammen
The Raj Quartet, Paul Scott
Special Exits, Joyce Farmer
Good Solid Reads
Swan Song, Robert McCammon
The Egyptian, Mika Walteri
Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition, Ed Regis
Ring of Swords, Eleanor Arnason
Why the West Rules- For Now, Ian Morris
Storms of My Grandchildren, James Hansen
Richard Stark's Parker Vol. 2: The Outfit, Darwyn Cooke
The Revolutions Trilogy, John Banville
Modern Ruins, Shaun O'Boyle
The View From Lazy Point, Carl Safina
The Many Worlds of Hugh Everett III, Peter Byrne
Wolf Song: A Love Story, Paulle Clark
The Vertical Farm, Dickson Despommier
Exit Wounds, Rutu Modan
Bless Me, Ultima, Rudolfo Anaya
I've been lax in writing thoughts up on some books this year for some reason. I don't like writing reviews but I do like to have those musings for the future when I want to look back and see what I thought when the details start to fade. Which doesn't take all that long these days.
On to Q2 to see what I get up to readingwise.
I've been to Victorian Novel Reproduction Rehab three or four times now. I thought I was cured. Alas, I picked up Fingersmith and read the whole thing. Ooops. Those Victorians need to hurry up and invent DNA so the swapped/cheated/oppressed/switched at birth/taken advantage of heirs don't have to suffer through so many twists and turns. Actually, I was expecting one more big twist in this book. I had it all worked up in my mind and then it didn't happen. These reproductions do keep me turning the pages but I'm usually not quite satisfied when they're finished. Back to another session of VNRR.
Then on to a Le Carré- The Constant Gardner. Not his best but a bit different from espionage. Absolutely unbelievable female murder victim. She was a superwoman that had accomplished and succeeded at nearly everything in life. She was 25 when she bit the dust! Oh, and so so beautiful too. The Persistent Gappers of Frip was a cute little weird fable. A doorstopper was next in line- The Swarm. This might have been the first eco-thriller/techno thriller I've ever read. Maybe it's the only eco/techno thriller out there. Not sure. I don't read too many thrillers. The over-the-topness formula is alright once in a while and this fit that category.
And finally, a project following a British stand-up comedian's tour of what the future might hold. He lined up some great interviewees and kept the humor (in this case I guess it'd be humour) in check. An Optimist's Tour of the Future by Mark Stevenson. Some of the stuff he found out about that turned him into an optimist was interesting. To sum up- no outstanding books finished in April. To be sure, I didn't loathe any of them but I didn't love any of them either. Maybe I am too old and cynical to enjoy my reading anymore. Naw, something will come along and knock my socks off again.
I am not sure I could stay away from the internet for very long :)
The House of God has been on my TBR list for a long time. Supposedly a Catch-22 for teaching hospitals. I was sorta underwhelmed. Catch-22 is timeless while House of God is not. It's stuck in the Watergate era. It had some good insights and wicked humor but it was a product of its time. One Day the Ice Will Reveal All Its Dead was a quirky historical novel about Alfred Wegener- the continental drift guy. For a debut novel, I was impressed. Clare Dudman has a strange but good writing style. Sometimes it's really terse but flighty. I can see why it wasn't a blockbuster but it deserves a few more readers.
An adventure mode then overcame me and I read (more like devoured) The Long Ships and Shogun. Scandinavia in 1000 and Japan in 1600 respectively. Many adventures and dangers along the way in an adventure reading marathon. Now I'm yearning to go a-viking and samurai-ing.
Then I read a book that had twenty mini-profiles of scientists that was written in the early 1980s called A Passion to Know. I found it on my shelves and have no idea where it came from. My books are breeding again, I reckon. I Googled the subjects and many of them are now dead. It was a fast read that showed some of the areas of research during that time.
VG, now also known as the infrequent poster.
I've been reading something similar to a passion to know on and off over the last couple of weeks called eaten by a giant clam which is quick biographies of the adventuring naturalists but I find I can't read it all at once - did you find that with a passion to know as well?
clfisha & Wolfy, The Long Ships is good when you're craving some action.
GBM, I was wondering if The Long Ships is ever assigned for school reading in Sweden.
1. Radioactive, Lauren Redniss- Odd, quirky, digressive, obviously a labor of love. I liked.
2. The Post-American World, Fareed Zakaria- Geopolitical fix.
3. The Feast of the Goat, Mario Vargas Llosa- I think I paid more attention to the craft of this novel than the story. Well done.
4. The Lunar Men, Jenny Uglow- English players in the early industrial revolution. Informative but kinda dry.
5, 6, & 7. The Civil War: A Narrative, Shelby Foote- Been sitting on the shelves for a decade or so. This year was the 150th year the US Civil War Began- used that as a starting motivator. Once started I became engrossed and lived there for a bit. Something like 3,100 pages. Tinges of Southern bias but excellent overall.
8. A Dance With Dragons, GRRM- I'm of the opinion that dear old hedonist GRRM lost control of the series after book three. Still, I'll keep reading the old goat's series because he is a storytelling powerhouse.
9. The Next Decade, George Friedman- Geopolitics and futurism fix.
10. A Planet of Viruses, Carl Zimmer- Short essays on the weird world of viruses. Interesting, but has a deadline for pay feel. I am interested in his Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obessed though. There can't be that many books about science tattoos- can there?
RidgewayGirl, speaking of humongous books, this was my next read:
Category- Chunkster Craze
A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth- My copy had around 1,450 pages. This was a book I became aware of on LT. Another one that sat on the shelves for a long time. It borrows a lot from the big Victorian chunksters (characterization, many characters, tying them all together in many ways) but is thoroughly Indian; covering the period right after Independence. I found it entertaining but it's definitely not going on the reread list.
Don't ya just love the creative energy I expended on the name of that category.
1. Dark Fire, C.J. Sansom- Hunchback in the Reformation number two.
2. Freedom From Fear, David M. Kennedy- Fine, fine US history. Sixteen years- monumental changes on a scale seldom, if ever, seen.
3. Aztec, Gary Jennings- Fourth book in my around the world in adventurous/historical fiction. Joins The Egyptian, The Long Ships, and Shogun. Aztec wins the sexual proclivity award for the books I've read this year. It is a deeply researched book full of intriguing details of those long gone times.
4. The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell, Reread- I remembered the big themes but had forgotten many of the small details. Didn't suffer from reading again.
5. The Emperor of all Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee- Gets three Is- Interesting, Informative, and Intriguing.
6. Arctic Dreams, Barry Lopez- I can't think of any areas Lopez missed in his Arctic book. Has some descriptive passages that are very well done.
7. The World As I Found It, Bruce Duffy- One of the oddest pairing ups in history- Ludwig Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell. This is probably the third fictional account I've read about them. An ambitious debut that I think comes off.
8. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, Jacqueline Kelly- Sweet little YA book. I think that was my second YA book for this year.
9. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier- Looking at my library or following my reading threads, one would not imagine I would be a candidate for reading, much less liking such fare. However, this was my third or fourth read of Rebecca. I still don't know why I'm so fond of it.
10. Sentences: The Life of M.F. Grimm, Percy Carey- Graphic non-fiction of the Hip-hop wars. Only thought it so-so.
11. The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara- Magical book. Shaara spent most of his life writing pulp fiction and it bleeds through in this serious effort depicting the Gettysburg battle. Its blend of styles really worked for me. Some sentences had a pulp noir feel and others were concise literary gems.
That takes me to book 59 for the year. I'm on book 66 right now- one or two more posts like this should take me to the end of the reading year.
psutto- I never read the sequel to Sparrow. I have doubts that I'll ever get to it.
RidgewayGirl- I read somewhere that Jennings lived in Mexico for twelve years doing research on the Aztecs. Not library research- field research.
RidgewayGirl, campaign harder. It is a fun toy, besides, it'll give your children something new to fight over.
I am glad that you liked Arctic Dreams. I have this book buried in mount TBR right now :)
RidgewayGirl, another point for your Fire campaign. The screen brightness can be turned way down to accommodate (not disturb) snoozing SOs.
Reamde, Neal Stephenson- Really wordy thriller instead of really wordy SF or really wordy historical fiction.
Black Hawk Down, Mark Bowden- Urban warfare with muddled policy leads to a mess.
Champlain's Dream, David Hackett Fischer- Of Canada's founding I knew next to nothing. Very thorough, detailed book with many stones turned over.
The Quest, Daniel Yeargin- Follow-up to The Prize. Not as good as The Prize, but it does update the energy big picture quite well.
The Tears of Autumn, Charles McCarry- I am growing fond of this series. A lot of espionage tips into the thriller realm and most of it sucks. This is nitty-gritty espionage grounded in operational details. If you like Graham Greene, Alan Furst, John Le Carre, and Mailer's Harlot's Ghost you might like these.
>95 RidgewayGirl: I have been campaigning for a Kindle Fire for some time. You know, I misunderstood that. I first read that you were trying to get people to burn their Kindles at the stakes...
TNPBB was a deep underground cult classic (well, maybe not so classic) from 20 to 25 years ago. I had forgotten about it.
(Bruce's evil twin :-))
Merry Belated Xmas and a a Happy New YEar
pammab- you might want to upgrade your friends a class or two. ;)
clfisha, may you have a great reading year in 2012.
So you KNOW what I did. . .
Yep, I ordered Its Only the Sister and Rule Britannia by her sister. Some of Angela's books are listed for outrageous prices, really, does anyone buy a book when it is $380.03? And why the $.03?
(Bruce's evil twin :-))
The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, Herman Wouk- I finally got around to reading the World War II Saga. Some of the gender and ethnic stereotyping might jar the sensitive modern reader but Wouk probably captures the mores of the times around WWII.
Into That Silent Sea, Francis French- The Mercury and Vostock Programs. Another in the Outward Odyssey series.
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle- My test book for reading on the backlit screen of the Fire. After adjusting this and that I found some settings that made it painless for me.
Memoirs of Hadrian, Marguerite Yourcenar- a book I admired but did not like. It took me around eight months to read it. No matter my mood- I could not get this book to flow. It remained one sentence after another after another.
With, Donald Harington- I'm not sure I can write anything without a spoiler affect. The subject matter of child abduction will probably drive many away. Postmodernism with an Ozark hillbilly dialect will mute some of these edges. The ensuing Jungle Book coming of age in the forest is delightful. This is part of the StayMore series. It works great as a stand-alone. It was the first of the series I had read.
That finishes off 2011 for me. Seventy books read. I did get to quite a few chunksters this year.
OK, putting the final nail in the 11 in 11. Best of.
East of Eden, John Steinbeck- What happens when a master novelist writes an autobiographical novel.
All the King's Men, Robert Penn Warren, restored edition- What happens when a renowned poet writes an all-American political novel with a romance embedded therein.
The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara- What happens when a life-long pulp writer writes a serious novel.
The Song of the Dodo, Davis Quammen- Nature writing- the formation and explanation of island biogeography. Entertaining and informative writing style.
Freedom From Fear, David M. Kennedy- From the Depths of the Great Depression to Empire. In seventeen years.
Best series fiction
The Raj Quartet, Paul Scott
Best series non-fiction
The Civil War: A Narrative, Shelby Foote
Best graphic work and best of the year
Special Exits, Joyce Farmer- I thought I wrote a review of this upthread but all I can find is a touchstone and mention of the book.
Farmer spent a large chunk of her life as an underground feminist cartoonist. She co-started Tits & Clits Comix. Helped put out Abortion Eve, and contributed to the all-woman comic, Wimmen's Comix. Most of this work was produced in the seventies and early eighties. It did not pay well and she mostly gave it up and became a bail bondsman. I ran across an issue or two of her work but wasn't a huge fan. Likely too young when I saw it.
Instead of completely giving up her cartooning, she started sketching her care and involvement in her father's and stepmother's last years. The balance between contributing and taking over are wonderfully shown here. She sent the panels to R. Crumb and he encouraged her to keep drawing them until the end. They eventually were published as Special Exits. It went on to win the National Cartoonists Society's Graphic Novel Award for 2011.
*A good 2012 reading year to all who stopped by here in 2011.*