Books Part V, featuring Benny Profane and the Whole Sick Crew

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Rock n' Roll Doggie Band-aid
Jun 19, 2005
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The Better Angels Of Our Nature, by Steven Pinker is kind of a beast I'm powering through right now. Basically a 700 page tome about the phenomenon of violence over time; it summarizes the argument pretty well in the first 100+ pages and then spends the rest of the time carpetbombing any objections you may have to the idea that present day society is the least violent in human history.

I'm on kind of a non-fiction kick, so in that vein the next book I'm looking to pick up is The Wages of Destruction, which is looking at Nazi Germany through an economic perspective. One of its points apparently is that Germany invading the Soviet Union was absolutely necessary since Western Europe didn't have the resources for Hitler to be able to crack open the British Isles.

Reading: Still sexy since 2009.
Death Note - Tsugumi Ohba/Takeshi Obata

It's short, no longer running, and both the art and story were way cooler than most of the other free first chapter previews I perused on the viz media manga app. And the whole shorter, no longer ongoing appeals to me since I hate not reading things in order in their entirety, but the kind of time/money sink that Naruto would require would be ridiculous.

Paul S Kemp - Riptide

Probably my least favorite Paul S Kemp novel (and once I finish this, I'll have read all of them) in any setting. Kinda feels like I'm slogging through it, even though it's not even 300 pages and I'm about 2/3 of the way through. His force combat descriptions in his other Star Wars novels felt kind of weak to me, lacking in vocabulary variety when compared to his sword and sorcery combat descriptions. This one is considerably duller than its predecessor and much, much more than the last one. And I care nothing for the clones which are a huge part of the book.
I'm still reading Atlas Shrugged, the longest book ever written. It's actually getting interesting. The characters are all a bunch of miserable, immoral sad sacks (except when they're having sex, a lot), but I think they're all reaching a breaking point and stuff is gonna happen! I hope!

Basically, it seems to be about what happens when big government gets out of control and tries to force business and industry to be "fair." Hmm.
I just finished Kwame Anthony Appiah's Cosmopolitanism. It's incredible in terms of Appiah's general arguments and appeals to a shared - but differing - humanity, but I felt like he became, for large portions of the book, essentially an apologist for capitalist-imperialist logic in a really indirect and occasionally evasive way. I'll definitely be borrowing some of his ideas for my own writing, but I ended up disappointed - and profoundly - from time to time.
Finished A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. It was pretty awesome. You should read it.

Reading Mind's Eye by Oliver Sacks
A book thread! Great!

I'm currently reading Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster by Svetlana Alexievich. I just ordered Ready Player One too. I'm hoping I can get started with that one by the end of this week.
Finished Mind's Eye. I felt it got more interesting as the book went on. I was especially interested in the chapters on Blindness. So much so that I ordered a book he speaks about (Touching the Rock by John Hull). Anyway, it was fascinating. You should read it. (too many footnotes though! Baaaaaah)

Not sure if I'll read The Stuff of Thought by Steven Pinker next or Life: An Unauthorized Biography by Richard Fortey... I'm thinking the latter to break up the cognitive science a little bit.... Has anyone read either of those?
One of my friends is reading this, he's liking it.

Oh, good to hear. I hadn't read anything by him before. I started on the Fortey book, but I'm looking forward to that one.

Also, it was on my list and when I was randomly in Indigo, I found the hardcover in the bargain bin for $5 :hyper:
Cool video. Thanks for posting.

He's Canadian. Are you okay with that?

I also really like reading Ben Goldacre's stuff and he's got crazy hair too. There must be a correlation between intelligence and crazy hair


I just ordered Ready Player One too. I'm hoping I can get started with that one by the end of this week.

I read this. It was fun. It was like watching a harmless comedy or something....nice diversion, etc.

I'm currently reading Istanbul Passage by Joseph Kanon. This is another espionage novel, more Le Carre than Ludlum, but clearly not Le Carre. My first time reading Kanon.

Before that I read the rather long Great North Road by Peter F Hamilton. I actually am a sucker for lengthy books (OMG Shogun :drool:), I love the immersion they can provide. This book was also the first time I had read this author, and, as soap opera sci-fi goes, it was pretty good.

I think I already mentioned in the last thread how disappointed I was with Telegraph Avenue so there's that.
I read this. It was fun. It was like watching a harmless comedy or something....nice diversion, etc.

Yeah, it's exactly what I need after reading the Chernobyl book. I still haven't finished it. I have to put it down every 30 or so pages because it is quite gruesome and depressing. I'll be done with it later today and I'm hoping to get started on Ready Player One tonight. :up:
Joe Abercrombie -The Blade Itself

The characters are interesting. The world-building seems pretty standard yet solid. I'll probably have to read the rest of the trilogy once I'm done with this book.
Just finished rerereading Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle. I'm teaching it this week for the second time, and my students will watch Dr. Strangelove next week. They pair so well. Now I just need to figure out how to address the 25% of the class that thinks Bokononism is a real religion and Vonnegut a real follower.

I think I need to add this to the queue. Chernobyl fascinates me
Me as well, which is why I picked it up. Some of the accounts are less than three sentences, but that's really all you need. The atmosphere back then must have been absolutely surreal. One of the worst passages was an account from a man that was rounded up to shoot the pets of the people that left Pripyat. It's the little things you don't think about. The things discussed here makes you think they are speaking of another planet's history. Anyway, I am nearly done with it today, so I'm looking forward to my lighthearted fluff. :wink:
That Chernobyl book has been on my list for a while as well. I also just read Visit Sunny Chernobyl: And Other Adventures In the World's Most Polluted Places, which was really good. The Chernobyl section was fascinating.
I've got one chapter left of the lighthearted fluff. I read for most of the day yesterday. I'll probably finish it during my lunch break.

Now I'm debating digging my heels into reading The Girl Who Played with Fire or something else from my unread collection. :hmm:
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