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If you really want to hurt your parents, and you don't have the nerve to be a homosexual, the least you can do is go into the arts. But do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites, standing for absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college.

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Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?

Started by Thurnez Isa, December 03, 2006, 04:11:35 PM

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Juana

The Mushroom at the End of the World: on the Possibility of life in Capitalism Ruins by Anna Lowenhaput Tsing. Pretty good, though i find some of her conclusions a wee sketchy so far (idk if resource management can be called restoration, for example) but it's been really interesting.
"I dispose of obsolete meat machines.  Not because I hate them (I do) and not because they deserve it (they do), but because they are in the way and those older ones don't meet emissions codes.  They emit too much.  You don't like them and I don't like them, so spare me the hysteria."

Al Qədic

#2971
Well now that the quarter's over and I have time to read these books and not just vomit out an essay about them;

Julia Angwin's Dragnet Nation is really interesting. She starts off a bit too tech-cynical for my tastes (the woman was worried about the dangers of Google Glass), but this quickly melts in favor of the bigger picture; technology is powerful, and sketchy as hell. Companies regularly do shady shit. Laws are lax and almost counterintuitive. Big Brother is shockingly bad at creating an oppressive police state, if the Stasi are any indication, yet people are still scared shitless by their spooky bumbling cops. Well-meaning anonymization services and tech startups can be infested by pedophiles and drugs (see: some cryptocurrencies and markets via Tor), and when the good ones flop, the people just wanting a little extra privacy are left in the cold. I think it really speaks volumes to how bad the modern tech situation is when the best rule of thumb for effectiveness of these services is the mud puddle test; "If I were to use this service on my phone, go for a walk, slip in a mud puddle, and lose my memory, would I be able to access my information again? If no, then I'm realistically safe but theoretically fucked. If yes, then I'm realistically and theoretically fucked." Admittedly, I didn't finish the book, but I look forward to maybe doing so once I'm back home.

Another book I haven't had the time to actually read is Jill Lepore's The Secret History of Wonder Woman. Bill Marston, her creator, had an interesting life from what I've read so far. As a kid, he was a bit of a wanker (grew up jaded in a castle with an extensive family history, and wanted to kill himself as a college freshman because he couldn't play sports anymore and hated his required classes), but he grew into an early 1900s academic, writing scenarios for them newfangled "movies", inventing the lie detector test and struggling to get it accepted into court, and getting dropped smack into the middle of the burgeoning women's rights movement by association with his lovers. Speaking of lovers (this is where my reading of the book ends thus far but) he had a kinky poly dynamic going on, and because this is the 30s and onward, even kinky people don't know shit about kink, so his ideas about it and women are bittersweet at best, but that and his other life experiences (including his actual multiple lovers) are a lot of what shaped Wonder Woman early on; the bondage, the lie detector, the lasso, the affinity for Greek feminine icons in her swear words. The vial of hydrocyanic acid he almost offed himself with became Doctor Posion, and the psychologist whose lab he conducted experiments in became Doctor Psycho. Holliday College is a portmanteau of names of a couple of the first women's colleges. Super neat book so far, it even has panels from handfuls of comics in it.
There is no reason to,
Be ashamed of poetry. It,
Is natural. But you should,
Still do it in private,
And wash your hands afterward.

chaotic neutral observer

Just read "Stranger in a Strange Land", by Heinlein.  I generally like Heinlein, but this book was kinda... well... dumb.

Space Jesus was a twit, and "grok" was actively annoying.  95% of the time it could have been replaced by "know" or "understand" without any loss in meaning.

I think the only reason this had any degree of popularity was because it was published in the '60s.
Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando.

Doktor Howl

Quote from: chaotic neutral observer on October 09, 2019, 12:37:32 AM
Just read "Stranger in a Strange Land", by Heinlein.  I generally like Heinlein, but this book was kinda... well... dumb.

Space Jesus was a twit, and "grok" was actively annoying.  95% of the time it could have been replaced by "know" or "understand" without any loss in meaning.

I think the only reason this had any degree of popularity was because it was published in the '60s.

All Heinlein sucked.

Farnham's Freehold was an atrocity, both as a racist screed and as a novel in general.

But yes, "grok" brings instant ridicule from me.
Molon Lube

chaotic neutral observer

Quote from: Doktor Howl on October 09, 2019, 04:14:04 AM
All Heinlein sucked.
Eh.  Admittedly, some of the things I like are of doubtful objective quality, and it's not like I'm going to jump to Heinlein's defense after "Stranger".
I recently picked up a stack of his books cheap at a thrift store, and I've read through a few of them.  This was easily the worst so far, although "The Puppet Masters" wasn't much, either.

Quote
Farnham's Freehold was an atrocity, both as a racist screed and as a novel in general.
That one wasn't in the stack.  If it's worse yet than "Stranger", then that's just as well.

Quote
But yes, "grok" brings instant ridicule from me.
Quite.  Now, let's never mention it again, except perhaps as a cautionary example.
Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando.

Al Qədic

I'm procrastinating my way through The Canterbury Tales and will likely do the same with Sir Gawain And the Green Knight to come. At least Beowulf was neat to reread, and I have Paradise Lost to look forward to.


In terms of shit I actually want to read? ...I have the Et Cetera and Metaclysmia Discordias and the Chao Te Ching collecting virtual dust among the 33 tabs open on this browser, if that counts for anything.
There is no reason to,
Be ashamed of poetry. It,
Is natural. But you should,
Still do it in private,
And wash your hands afterward.

Fujikoma

As far as Heinlein is concerned I really liked "The Dosadi Experiment". "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" I found a good read as well. While at least "Moon" had some political undertones, if you ditch that and take it for just a story then it's entertaining, though I'd take some William Gibson or Neal Stephenson any day over that.

chaotic neutral observer

"The Dosadi Experiment" was Herbert, not Heinlein. I didn't care for it; most of its ideas were recycled from Dune, but not nearly as well executed.
Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando.

Doktor Howl

Quote from: chaotic neutral observer on October 12, 2019, 07:59:25 PM
"The Dosadi Experiment" was Herbert, not Heinlein. I didn't care for it; most of its ideas were recycled from Dune, but not nearly as well executed.

Frank Herbert should be chucked out the airlock.  He wasn't a science fiction writer, he was more of an Ann Rice with space worms thing.

Molon Lube

Al Qədic

Welp, just went to Barnes&Noble since the weekly meeting of the gay agenda fell through.


I grabbed...
Some book about symbols and shit in different cultures.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (now with a fancy new cover)
The Complete Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy
House of Leaves (because even though I yoinked a PDF a few months back, its just more satisfying to hold the lump of dead trees in my own two hands, you know?)
A cute pocket version of The Satanic Bible (because even though LaVey is old and dead and some of his ideas were shit and his immediate followers got up their own asses, modern Satanists are interesting at least and lovely assets in the endeavour to befuddle the conservative masses at best. Also their statues are cool.)
There is no reason to,
Be ashamed of poetry. It,
Is natural. But you should,
Still do it in private,
And wash your hands afterward.

LMNO

Quote from: Al Qədic on October 15, 2019, 05:18:14 AM
Welp, just went to Barnes&Noble since the weekly meeting of the gay agenda fell through.


I grabbed...
Some book about symbols and shit in different cultures.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (now with a fancy new cover)
The Complete Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy
House of Leaves (because even though I yoinked a PDF a few months back, its just more satisfying to hold the lump of dead trees in my own two hands, you know?)
A cute pocket version of The Satanic Bible (because even though LaVey is old and dead and some of his ideas were shit and his immediate followers got up their own asses, modern Satanists are interesting at least and lovely assets in the endeavour to befuddle the conservative masses at best. Also their statues are cool.)

I don't even see HOW that could work in PDF form.  Some of the layout tricks practically demand dead-tree format.

I'm partway through about a dozen books, at various points. I'm finishing Chaos and Beyond, and then will take another run-thru of the Illuminatus! Trilogy (this time, probably starting with Leviathan, since it's seemed like an anticlimax the three times I've read it already).
"Which one of you is man enough to fill in for Ma?" — from "The Sons of Katie Elder"

Bu🤠ns

#2982
just about done with The New Jim Crow. I knew it was bad* but damn it's even worse than it seems... Not sure what to read next but i'm leaning toward The Monkeywrench Gang at the mention by monad from the irc chat. Also considering Alice from Dok's mention earlier in this thread.

Also i've always wondered how most of you can read so often so quickly...like wtf ... you HAVE that kind of time?



ETA: *Not the book the system

altered

I can't speak for everyone else (I tried and they shot me for my crimes) but I at least can read a decent sized book in 3 days using only part of my lunch breaks

I re-read the whole of Laird Barron's output, the Annihilation/Authority/cant ever remember the other one trilogy, Stephen Graham Jones' Demon Theory, and Simon Strantzas' Burnt Black Suns collection over the course of my time since beginning work (so since August) without using any off days and actually only reading maybe a third of the days I've worked

I assume PDers are just all crazy fast readers like me, we read the giant text walls here constantly, we have practice
"I am that worst of all type of criminal...I cannot bring myself to do what you tell me, because you told me."

There's over 100 of us in this meat-suit. You'd think it runs like a ship, but it's more like a hundred and ten angry ghosts having an old-school QuakeWorld tournament, three people desperately trying to make sure the gamers don't go hungry or soil themselves, and the Facilities manager weeping in the corner as the garbage piles high.

Bu🤠ns

Quote from: nullified on November 04, 2019, 07:12:07 AM
I can't speak for everyone else (I tried and they shot me for my crimes) but I at least can read a decent sized book in 3 days using only part of my lunch breaks

I re-read the whole of Laird Barron's output, the Annihilation/Authority/cant ever remember the other one trilogy, Stephen Graham Jones' Demon Theory, and Simon Strantzas' Burnt Black Suns collection over the course of my time since beginning work (so since August) without using any off days and actually only reading maybe a third of the days I've worked

I assume PDers are just all crazy fast readers like me, we read the giant text walls here constantly, we have practice

Good point about the practice. And while I *can* read quickly enough to get the basic idea (short of skimming), I just don't find I retain the info as well as I do if I were to take my time. I found the spritz-type apps good for articles (specifically reedy for also bypassing paywalls) but when there's something as spread out as a book or even an indepth article, there's just no way I'll get all of the content. Even spritz style I find i have to take a break to collect my thoughts.