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Books (Read 1585 times)


Cats Are People Too

    I am reading a dark, yet still fun book called Blindness by Jose Samarago.  Its kind of got this post-apocalyptic feel where these characters are apparently randomly suddenly struck with a white blindness.  The government decides it is in the public's best interest to contain what is believed to be a plague by imprisoning these poor people in an empty, run down mental hospital where anarchy breaks out. 

      I really liked the Franzen Freedom novel. Readable, chilling, funny, insightful all at once. I think it kinda nails the zeitgeist in a way that the zeitgeist can understand if that makes any sense.


      I'm back!

        I got hooked on Heinlein when I was 12 

         

        Me too, or somewhere around there, maybe earlier. But in my case it was because my parents read a lot of Heinlein. Starman Jones was my first scifi novel, and I plowed through a lot of Heinlein after that. But I still have not read a lot of his later stuff. I was always very proud as a kid that my initials were also RAH. In fact when I met Rudy Rucker (another favorite SF author, very different) a few years ago, and had him autograph a book -- which happened to have my library stamp with my initials in it -- he said something like, hey, why do you have Heinlein's initials in your book? BTW I don't agree that the Starship Troopers movie was horrible -- I thought it was a romp. But it did have little in common with the novel. 

         

        This year there's been some SF. Mostly older stuff, lots of Fritz Leiber, whose style I really like. One new novel that's pretty impressive, at least if you're a physics geek, is Egan's The Clockwork Rocket. Very fun. Egan is probably my favorite author currently writing SF. Now I'm reading Vinge's long-awaited sequel to A Fire Upon the Deep, called Children of the Sky. A Fire Upon the Deep is a truly amazing work, deservedly winning the Hugo in 1993. Yes, it took him that long to write a sequel. (There was a prequel in the late 90s.) "Children of the Sky", I am sorry to say, really does not compare at all.

         

        Other than that it's mostly been pop math/physics -- The Shape of Inner Space by Yau, another go at Penrose's The Road to Reality (made it about halfway through this time), Euler's Gem by Richeson, The Hidden Reality and (finally) The Elegant Universe, by Brain Greene, and a couple others I forget at the moment. All of which pushed me to work on sharpening up my math & physics with real textbooks, aiming at really understanding string theory (probably with Polchinski's books, when I am ready). Now plowing through Lee's Topological Manifolds. After that will come Lee's Smooth Manifolds, then probably some quick refreshers on quantum mechanics & general relativity, before diving into quantum field theory, which I have not really studied before in any detail. *Then*, finally, I might be ready for Polchinski.

          I have just read all 5 of the Songs of Ice and Fire  in quick succession - quite enjoyable. I've just bought the new Murakami but have yet to start it - hopefully will read it over the weekend.

           

          I am also reading AIMA as I'm doing Stanford's free online course on that subject in my spare time (I sort of know this stuff anyway, but my knowledge is rather dated and things move on...)

            Nader, I am an English teacher (no big surprise there, with all the reading, I suppose!).  I have seniors only these days--five sections of college prep, one of regular, and one of honors.  It's not a bad gig--but the grading occasionally interferes with my running schedule. Smile

            "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
            Emil Zatopek


            ultramarathon/triathlete

              Not sure if this was mentioned, but Game of Thrones is good.

               

              My wife downloaded it to her kindle, and I've been enjoying it quite a bit (both the book and the e-reading experience). 

              HTFU?  Why not!

              Coach: Empire Tri Club 

              Speed Coach: Brooklyn Tri Club

                I read War and Peace this summer- bit of a slow read but good story.

                Also, a good friend of mine got me the Lord of the Rings series, those were amazing.  

                Don't have as much time for reading in the winter, but I'm slowly getting through 'Miles on Miles' (referring to Miles Davis).  Basically a collection of interviews with him.  Great read so far, very rich in information for those who like that sort of thing. 

                'No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch'

                 

                "Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'"  - Peter Maher

                 

                "Running long and hard is an ideal antidepressant, since it's hard to run and feel sorry for yourself at the same time. Also, there are those hours of clearheadedness that follow a long run."  -Monte Davis


                sincerely silly

                  I have just read all 5 of the Songs of Ice and Fire  in quick succession - quite enjoyable. I've just bought the new Murakami but have yet to start it - hopefully will read it over the weekend.

                   

                   

                  Ditto! Song of Ice and Fire, great for those who like fantasy novels but think they've outgrown them...you haven't. :-)

                  Also love Murakami and Kazuo Ishiguro.  Ishiguro is more of a British author who happens to be Japanese, so no, they're not similar. :-)

                   

                  Another book I enjoyed recently this year was non-fiction.  Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  The story was too incredible though--it read like a fiction book.  It was nice that if there were details the author could not have compiled without that character living through the experience, you knew they didn't die. :-)

                  shin splints are my nemesis

                    Nader, I am an English teacher (no big surprise there, with all the reading, I suppose!).  I have seniors only these days--five sections of college prep, one of regular, and one of honors.  It's not a bad gig--but the grading occasionally interferes with my running schedule. Smile

                    Ha, yeah, that was my guess. 

                    "If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus

                      I second/third Unbroken and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I could read East of Eden and Grapes of Wrath over and over again. Just finished Cutting for Stone which I thought was a fairly good read.

                      ~Sara
                      It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great. ~ Jimmy Dugan

                         You might want to pick up The Art of Fielding

                         

                        The great thing about books, I think, sometimes they are a little bit like longer runs – it’s possible to enjoy parts of them, to find moments of clarity or awareness or whatever, and be frustrated with other parts. With movies, or paintings, or songs, it’s usually fairly extreme – I liked it, or I didn’t like it. Books have more room to maneuver, more opportunity for greatness (and disappointment).

                         

                        Anyway, Art of Fielding – I am glad I read it. It had been a while since I’ve read fiction that wasn’t spy/covert ops or crime/mystery driven. The baseball descriptions were brilliant writing. The games, the practices, the workouts, the recoveries, the locker rooms, the road trips, from inside the players’ heads to the fans perspective, to the scouts, coaches…the field interactions, the dugout dynamics, the way you get dressed, the rituals. Those parts were incredible, if a little romanticized. But, that’s about a third of the book’s content. The rest is relationship stuff, and filled with unbelievable characters doing unbelievable things, living un-relatable lives that mostly revolve around killing themselves with drugs, booze and sex all in a highly romanticized way that’s frankly kind of icky and sounds like the kind of stuff that a small liberal arts forever academic highly privileged Holden meets Captain Jack meets art house snob kind of guy would think was normal – in fact it’s hard to imagine the same person wrote both or could imagine both parts of this story. These dual tracks (baseball and un-baseball) …it sort of reminded me a little of For Love of the Game (that Costner movie) where I kept thinking, “this would be a great movie if they cut out all that relationship stuff”.

                         

                        Also, maybe it was meant as tribute, but struck me as thievery, when one of the non-baseball character’s inner dialogues is an almost verbatim Roger Angell quote. Funny how of all the things that disturbed me most. I guess it could have been an inside joke to idiots like me who would recognize it.

                         

                        I also just read Steinbeck’s Winter of Our Discontent. Now THAT was good.

                        Come all you no-hopers, you jokers and rogues
                        We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes

                          The great thing about books, I think, sometimes they are a little bit like longer runs – it’s possible to enjoy parts of them, to find moments of clarity or awareness or whatever, and be frustrated with other parts. With movies, or paintings, or songs, it’s usually fairly extreme – I liked it, or I didn’t like it. Books have more room to maneuver, more opportunity for greatness (and disappointment).

                           

                          Anyway, Art of Fielding – I am glad I read it. It had been a while since I’ve read fiction that wasn’t spy/covert ops or crime/mystery driven. The baseball descriptions were brilliant writing. The games, the practices, the workouts, the recoveries, the locker rooms, the road trips, from inside the players’ heads to the fans perspective, to the scouts, coaches…the field interactions, the dugout dynamics, the way you get dressed, the rituals. Those parts were incredible, if a little romanticized. But, that’s about a third of the book’s content. The rest is relationship stuff, and filled with unbelievable characters doing unbelievable things, living un-relatable lives that mostly revolve around killing themselves with drugs, booze and sex all in a highly romanticized way that’s frankly kind of icky and sounds like the kind of stuff that a small liberal arts forever academic highly privileged Holden meets Captain Jack meets art house snob kind of guy would think was normal – in fact it’s hard to imagine the same person wrote both or could imagine both parts of this story. These dual tracks (baseball and un-baseball) …it sort of reminded me a little of For Love of the Game (that Costner movie) where I kept thinking, “this would be a great movie if they cut out all that relationship stuff”.

                           

                          Also, maybe it was meant as tribute, but struck me as thievery, when one of the non-baseball character’s inner dialogues is an almost verbatim Roger Angell quote. Funny how of all the things that disturbed me most. I guess it could have been an inside joke to idiots like me who would recognize it.

                           

                          I also just read Steinbeck’s Winter of Our Discontent. Now THAT was good.

                          Sounds like it is worth reading. If the writing's brilliant -- it seems from your review that you're a discerning reader -- I will give the author a free pass on the other stuff. 

                           

                          A quotation from The Sound and the Fury reminded me of the runner's life. She's hit that intersection in a race between what her workouts have predicted and what she really thinks she can do, if she can just hold it together:

                           

                          He could see he opposed forces of his destiny and his will drawing swiftly together now, toward a junction that would be irrevocable; he became cunning. I cant make a blunder, he told himself. There would be just one right thing, without alternatives: he must do that.

                          "If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus

                            As a 6th grade teacher, I try to stay up to date with what the kids are reading these days.  My favorite series by far was the Hunger Games.  The first two were excellent, but The Mockingjay I didn't enjoy as much.  

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