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Author Topic: Book Thread  (Read 37949 times)

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lprkn

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Book Thread
« on: April 26, 2010, 06:00:20 am »

Because I didn't feel like resurrecting a thread last seen in 2007.

In my opinion, half the pleasure of reading is talking about what you've read.

So: I just finished The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier's Education, and I like it. A lot.

The author was a second-in-his-class West Point grad who was a Rhodes Scholar (went to Oxford for graduate school). He went through Ranger training and deployed to Afghanistan, and eventually taught history at the Naval Academy. He worked for the Obama-Biden Transition Project as an adviser to Obama on Middle Eastern policy and now apparently now works for USAID.

The memoir is really a valuable picture of what goes into shaping a smart and tough military leader. Craig brings a lot to the table from the start, but he takes the best the Army has to offer and uses it to become a better person. He's a gifted writer with exceptional talent and drive, but he never toots his own horn unnecessarily and doesn't pull any punches in describing his failures.

The experiences he relates should be genuinely interesting to people from both military and civilian backgrounds. For a civilian, the book will go a long way toward bridging the gap in understanding between themselves and the mentality of the principled, thinking soldier. In my own case it offered quite a bit beyond that. One of the best lessons of the book is the suppression of selfishness and self-interest in the service of one's subordinates.

After a failed training mission at Ranger school, an instructor hisses to the exhausted soldiers, "Fuck self-pity. This isn't about you." This thread is present throughout the book; the thought that one's subordinates will rightfully demand everything you have is a sobering one.

Anyway, I'd like to hear about any noteworthy stuff you guys have been reading lately. I just really liked this book and wanted to share.
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Carlos del Vaca

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2010, 01:35:51 pm »

I just finished "Downtown Owl."  Mr. Klosterman has been discussed here before, and I know he annoys the shit out of some people.  I like him, though, and this one was no exception.  A work of fiction, but it's still Klosterman. 

Other recent reads:  "Soon I Will Be Invincible" (enjoyable, even if it's treading oft-treaded ground) and "Geek Love" (one of the best books I've read in quite a while, but not for the squeamish).

I have started on Rohinton Mistry's "A Fine Balance."  Now there's a dude who can turn a phrase.
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wombat

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2010, 01:50:58 pm »

I was visiting my nephew this weekend and read Captain Under##### and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopy#####.  I was so inspired, I think this may totally change the direction of my writing career.
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Carlos del Vaca

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2010, 01:54:07 pm »

I was visiting my nephew this weekend and read Captain Under##### and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopy#####.  I was so inspired, I think this may totally change the direction of my writing career.

So what's your new name?
http://www.scholastic.com/captainunder#####/namechanger.htm

Regards,
Buttercup Burgerbuns
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wombat

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2010, 02:11:18 pm »

Booger Liverlips. Yours is better, can I borrow it if I decide to write under a pseudonym?

Also: Sorry, lprkn. This is why we can't have nice things, I know.
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greenkoolayd

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2010, 07:18:44 pm »

i just read the first 2 of a 5 part graphic novel version of The Stand.  it made me want to go back and read the actual novel again and im 1/3 of the way through.
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jay-ell

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2010, 08:59:13 pm »

I was visiting my nephew this weekend and read Captain Under##### and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopy#####.  I was so inspired, I think this may totally change the direction of my writing career.

My nephew loves these. I haven't read one yet but I'm sure my time will come.

Speaking of so-called children's lit, has anybody read the Percy Jackson books? I'm intrigued by the concept but heard the movie is awful. My friend's daughter has the first three I could borrow if anyone can recommend them.

Also, I'm halfway through the Lord Peter Wimsey books, as you may be able to tell by my signature line. I took a temporary break from the novels to read a Sayers short story collection, but my BFF informs me that I need to read Busman's Honeymoon before I can read the last short story, "Talboys."

I also read The Union Club Mysteries recently. I love Isaac Asimov, but...wow, dude. Some of those were just hackneyed and lame. I've read Encyclopedia Brown books that were better orchestrated than "Twelve Years Old," FFS.
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jaydub

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2010, 09:38:57 pm »

My kid is burning through the Diary of a Wimpy Kid oeuvre, and I'm enjoying them way too much.  Otherwise I'm dipping into an SF anthology, and cautiously eyeing Rainbow's End by Vernor Vinge.  Don't know if I'm up for tipping the world on its head at the moment.
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Mr Trout

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2010, 02:54:18 am »

I was in the mood for some sci-fi so I re-read the Hyperion cantos. Drags a little bit in the third book, but Rachel's story always gets me a bit choked up, and the payoff at the end is so good.

As far as actual "literature" goes I read One Hundred Years of Solitude a few months ago. Goddamn. Shot up into my top 10 favorites of all time, easily.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2010, 04:46:10 am by Mr Trout »
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AugustWest

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2010, 03:21:38 am »

I just finished re-reading Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle a couple week ago.  I haven't started anything major since.  I kinda need something.
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Mr Trout

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2010, 04:45:19 am »

I've had Quicksilver on my nightstand for probably 6 months now but I just can't get into it. I blame the small type and the sad fact that I just don't really like historical fiction. I get excited by the far-future stuff like Diamond Age.
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Choop

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2010, 05:16:11 am »

trout, i'm crazy for far-future stuff, but really try to stick it out through quicksilver. the second and third volumes are really fantastic books, it's a great series. i think i've read it four times now.
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jay-ell

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2010, 01:56:49 pm »

As far as actual "literature" goes I read One Hundred Years of Solitude a few months ago. Goddamn. Shot up into my top 10 favorites of all time, easily.

Dang, man. That is a book that will leave you lying on the floor, all bruised and bleeding, with a mild concussion and all your money gone, trying to figure out what it slipped into your drink.

I'm not sure whether I ca say I enjoyed it or not, but it sure does mess with your head, which is usually a plus in my book.
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AugustWest

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2010, 02:29:39 pm »

Yeah, the first third of Quicksilver where he's just focused on Daniel Waterhouse and Newton is a little dry.  It gets a lot more exciting/swashbuckly when Jack Shaftoe gets introduced.
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CortJstr

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2010, 05:10:04 pm »

Other recent reads:  "Soon I Will Be Invincible" (enjoyable, even if it's treading oft-treaded ground)

I just finished this about a week ago. I was really worried early on that it would boil down to "Batman did it"

The Confusion was my favorite of the Baroque Cycle books. I would not recommend reading the mass-market paperback version as it totally screws up the chronology from what I understand.
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