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jsorense 08-07-2016 03:42:12

I am still reading books but just too lazy to report. :zzz:

The Mad Monk 08-07-2016 03:58:18

Me too.

The Mad Monk 08-07-2016 04:01:23


Originally Posted by The Mad Monk (Post 1068742)
I read some of Finnegan's Wake in a bookstore.


Then I put it in the Occult section afterward because it was obviously an incantation to summon a demon or some shit like that.


Originally Posted by zmama (Post 1070243)
I've graduated to Finnegans Wake. It was extremely hard going until instead of just reading, I pronounce the words in my head. Many puns and other funnies that way.


jsorense 17-07-2016 03:18:17

Benedict Arnold's Navy by James L. Nelson (2006). A history covering the early years on the northern front during the Revolutionary War. It is still shocking how close it was to folding Canada into the grasping arms of the United Colonies. Pretty close, eh Jock?
Anyway, the book is a long long exposition on how tough those frontier soldiers were. If you ever read Undaunted Courage by Steve Ambrose (1996) then you have some idea.

jsorense 17-07-2016 03:20:38

I will write more if you beg.:smoke:

The Mad Monk 17-07-2016 04:00:14

...and now, a few selected words from Pascal's Pensees (mid 1600s):


36 Anyone who does not see the vanity of the world is very vain himself. So who does not see it, apart from young people whose lives are all noise, diversions, and thoughts for the future?
But take away their diversion and they will be bored to extinction. Then they feel their nullity without recognizing it, for nothing could be more wretched than to be intolerably depressed as soon as one is reduced to introspection with no means of diversion.


70 If our condition were truly happy we should not need to divert ourselves from thinking about it.


77 Pride. Curiosity is only vanity. We usually only want to know something so that we can talk about it; in other words, we would never travel by sea if it meant never talking about it, and for the sheer pleasure of seeing things we could never hope to describe to others.

79 How tiresome it is to give up pursuits to which we have become attached. A man with a happy home life need only see a woman who attracts him, or spend five or six pleasant days gambling, and he will be very sorry to go back to what he was doing before. It happens every day.

jsorense 19-07-2016 10:54:52

New York Times, the Science Section comes on Tuesdays.

The Mad Monk 21-07-2016 20:00:15

About two-thirds of the way through "Day Four" of The Decameron, by Boccaccio.

jsorense 23-07-2016 12:12:43

"A classic of early Italian prose." Sounds interesting in a nerdy way.
I think I'll stick with The Economist for today.

The Mad Monk 23-07-2016 13:08:23

Its actually pretty raunchy, by early Italian Renaissance standards; I found the tale of the gardener and the nuns quite memorable. ;)

The Mad Monk 26-07-2016 09:34:41

Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, The Miller's Tale and The Reeve's Tale.

Chaucer was directly inspired by Boccaccio, whom Chaucer translated into English early in his career. The Canterbury Tales was a very deliberate homage to The Decameron.

The Mad Monk 28-07-2016 16:54:27

Another tidbit from Blaise Pascal's Pensees:


81 ...Equality in possessions is no doubt right, but, since men could not make might obey right, they have made right obey might. As they could not fortify justice they justified force, so that right and might live together and peace reigns, the sovereign good.

paiktis 30-07-2016 07:00:24

"new finnish grammar" (in greek)

paiktis 30-07-2016 07:57:53


Originally Posted by The Mad Monk (Post 1071351)
About two-thirds of the way through "Day Four" of The Decameron, by Boccaccio.

jezas christ we used to read this when we were 14 years old

The Mad Monk 30-07-2016 08:32:01 the original Greek? ;)

The Mad Monk 30-07-2016 08:34:09

I was reading The Lord of the Rings, The Great Gatsby, Huckleberry Finn and The Lord of the Flies.

paiktis 30-07-2016 09:24:53

well bocacios was sort of a nerd's soft porn read

we also read herman hesse, erich fromm that sort of thing
and spiderman

zmama 31-07-2016 13:09:56

Finished with Joyce for awhile. Moved on to Kafka, really enjoying it. I bought a collection of his writings and was pleasantly surprised by a forward written by Updike.

The Mad Monk 04-08-2016 09:33:12


Originally Posted by paiktis (Post 1071505)
and spiderman

The classics are important for one's education.

The Mad Monk 04-08-2016 09:36:26

Started reading the introduction to Diderot's D'Alembert's Dream, but got distracted and read the introduction to Journey to the West instead. Now on chapter 1 of the same. It's called one of the "Four Great Novels" of Chinese literature, and it's Huge.

paiktis 06-08-2016 10:38:28


Originally Posted by The Mad Monk (Post 1071581)
The classics are important for one's education.

Marvel comics were the equivalent of scratching your butt when it itched.
Sometimes it itched

The Mad Monk 07-08-2016 12:01:56

Scratching you but when it itches is important for one's education.

The Mad Monk 07-08-2016 12:02:37

Well, onto D'Alembert's Dream!

jsorense 01-09-2016 12:30:35

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (1992)
This is a Hugo and Nebula Awards winner. For some reason I have completely over looked this author in the past. Her series of time travel books should have grabbed my interest a long time ago. It was with a giddy anticipation of finding overlooked classics that I openned this book.
The book chronicals parallel stories of a time traveler who trips back to 14th Century England and the crisis that engulfs her base in Oxford. There are two potentially interesting aspects to this book: the depiction of a near future England and an unvarnished description of the Middle Ages. For me this effort was a total disappointment. 4/10
Go ahead and reread Timeline by Michael Crichton (1999).

jsorense 13-11-2016 17:24:42

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson (1995)
This is a satisfying construct of a book within a novel. Much of the action takes place in the near future perhaps 100 years after Readme and Snowcrash. It is a post nation-state world where nanotechnology is maturing. The main character is a girl who is given a "magic " book that prepares her for an unlikely future.
I must say that this book reinforces my admiration for the author.

zmama 30-12-2016 19:49:58

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, founding fathers fun

paiktis 08-01-2017 18:32:43

"Troika, the road to destruction."
An assortment of clusterfecks

paiktis 20-01-2017 18:10:04

camus' the fall

it has a profound impact on me

camus always manages to have a profound impact on me at maybe critical junctures of my life

I also read a philosophical book

it was fun

i bought it at a english bookstore in brussels

there was an american there and he started saying some shit like oh no dollars? dollars is thebest and some shit like that

I thought, get the hillbilly out of here for fucks sake

also the clerk was blazingly gay and very chirpy which was very funny and uplifting
he was also iranian

I also sw a girl that was watching me and when I watched she smiled.

I thought let's have sex with a booklover but then I thought of the SO and bought the book and a gift for the SO and I left

I then entered an asian/arab store to buy cigs

there was a drunken french man there scoulding the asian clerk for "not treating his customers right"

I walked right up to him and talked very politely to the clerk cutting the frenchie off

he left

he was very drunk

jsorense 23-03-2017 09:12:04

Shadow & Claw: The First Half of The Book of the New Sun; The Shadow of the Torturer (1980) and The Claw of the Conciliator (1981) by Gene Wolfe
Wow, where to begin? These sci-fi/fantasy books are nothing if not ambiguous. The story takes place in a far future Earth that has been totally transformed through the rise and fall of past civilizations, the introduction of advanced, now magical, technologies, as well as aliens and alien life forms. The book chronicles the the trials and tribulations of a novice torture/executioner.
I have a lot of problems with these books and the universe that Wolfe creates. I don't like the settings, I find them too fantastic, nor do I like the characters, they are all fatally flawed. I know these works are supposed to be some of the best sci-fi ever written but I just don't get it. Each chapter reads like a stand-alone short story. There is lots of repetition. The society and ecology are incomplete and unbelievable. I had to force myself to finish this volume. I have no desire to ever revisit the vast, strange and unpleasant world Wolfe has created. :(

The Mad Monk 23-03-2017 18:33:34

After watching the anime Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo, I decided to read the Alexander Dumas' novel; 400 of 1200 pages in, and I find it very interesting.

jsorense 23-03-2017 22:28:21

Nice adventure read.

The Mad Monk 12-06-2017 10:52:16

Oh yeah, I finished it. Late April or early May. I think.

jsorense 15-06-2017 13:22:47

The Three-Body Problem , Cixin Lou (2006)
I am somewhat conflicted by this book. One one hand I appreciate the POV of the author, coming from the PRC. It is a unique voice in science fiction. However, the actual science fiction part of the novel is disappointing, i.e. the evolutionary development of the aliens. Totally unbelievable if imaginative. But too much for this old anthropologist to suspend belief.
I give it a 5/10 for originality.

The Mad Monk 15-06-2017 14:40:35

Now on The Subjection of Women by John Stuart Mill; the book also contains On Liberty by the same author, which I read last year, and the year before; very compelling stuff.

The Mad Monk 15-06-2017 14:45:07

My father lent me his copy of BIG AGENDA -- President Trump's Plan to Save America, by David Horowitz.

It's...hard to read.

It's not that the language is difficult, no, that's not it at all.

It's the aneurysms I get with every other sentence.

jsorense 15-06-2017 15:00:10

Keep taking those baby aspirins.

jsorense 15-07-2017 16:31:15

Gettysburg , Stephen W. Sears (2004). Yes, another in a series of military histories from jsorense. This one is quite good, if you are interested in the American Civil War (aka War of Nothern Aggression). This book is detailed, down to the individual tactics of regiments. It is , therefore for an audience that is already familiar with the battle. If you just interested in an overview then you may be overwhelmed by the details in this volume. Do you really want to know the succession of 'chains of command' for the different army units? Probably not.
If you are interested in this book then I highly recommend Sear's book on the Battle of Antietam, Landscape Turned Red. I give both of these books a healthy 8/10.

The Mad Monk 16-07-2017 14:32:00


Originally Posted by jsorense (Post 1075727)
Keep taking those baby aspirins.

I ain't no baby. Look at these hands!!!

jsorense 16-07-2017 20:21:43


paiktis 02-11-2017 16:42:31

I think varoufakis just sucks to the anglosaxon world.

paiktis 02-11-2017 16:46:09

the issue with greece was that it got frecked by an amazing colleration of both europe AND greece.

then it said: we're going to blow the whole thing apart (but didn't have the balls to play that bluff to the end

varoufakis is from australia or has taught in cambridge?

whatever he's a limeyassworshipper. and it shows.

some of his ideas do hold water but all in all he was just a minor play in a close to be tragedy that was averted.

I used to look at other countries and say

aw look how "organized" belgium is or what big streets paris has or that colonial flair of barcelona (I never was jealous of the US, noone that I know is)

but then it hit me.

I got a very stable job I got a house of my own I got free health care for life. I HAVE socialism.
Whatehell am I complaining for? because bloomberg said I should be?


jsorense 09-11-2017 17:50:06

The Fleet At Flood Tide by James D. Hornfischer (2016)
This is a military history of the conclusion of the war in the Pacific during WWII. It discusses the strategy and the rationale for the bombing campaign over Japan that concluded with the dropping of two atomic bombs which ended the war.
I expected to really like this book based upon my experience with two of the author’s previous books: Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors and Neptune’s Inferno. However I found it less focused than these other works. Perhaps he tried to put too much, too many, topics in one volume. It ended up being a long slog to finish. I highly recommend the other two books, this on, not so much.

paiktis 11-11-2017 15:38:46

The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism from Nietzsche to Postmodernism

I started to read this because the subject seemed very interesting.

but i got bumped (dissilussioned?) early on unrfortunately when the author said that marxist theory about what drives fascist emergence has been discredited.
Actually it is being verified by the hour so what da fook he's talking about, I don't know

At least I didn't pay for the book so ok.

jsorense 21-12-2017 06:37:25

Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam by Mark Bowden (2017)
Well I really like this author’s earlier work, Black Hawk Down (BHD). This one not as much. It is just as rich in combat imagery and emotion but, I think, it lacked some of the raw immediacy. This probably has to do with the relative timing of the two battles and the writing of the books. Still, I highly recommend it for anyone interested in the American experience in Vietnam War. It would make a great companion piece with the PBS special on the War. Sort of illustrates all of the idealism and folly of the whole tragic period.

The Mad Monk 21-12-2017 14:40:30

Just finished a book on the lives and poetry of Li Po and Tu Fu, two Chinese poets that lived in the mid 700s. An interesting and surprisingly quick read.

The Mad Monk 07-01-2018 16:57:32

Closing in on finishing The Epic of Gilgamesh -- or rather, a book encompassing several versions uncovered by archaeologists.

jsorense 07-03-2018 04:07:14

Just finished a trilogy of short books of the military sci-fi sub-genre. They are, in sequence, War Dogs (2014), Killing Titan (2015), and Take Back the Sky (2016) by Greg Bear. It’s about “Skyrines” kicking alien butt around the solar system. While the first volume has some good action sequences the subsequent books seem to lag and go on and on. They appear to me to be a collection of ideas about evolution and alieness rather than fully worked stories in an epic adventure. Why write a trilogy if it isn’t going to be an epic? Anyway, the only reasons to read the whole series is that Bear has gone out of his way to portray the actual thoughts and feelings of real combat veterans. Don’t look for glory or heroism spread to thickly among the characters.

jsorense 17-09-2018 01:08:46

I have read the 4 books of Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle trilogy: Quicksilver , Confusion, The System of the World and Cryptonomicon. That’s about 4,000 pages of historio-fantasy. If you like Stephenson you’ll like these. The series introduces two unforgettable characters: Jack ‘Half-Cock’ Shaftoe and Enoch Root. These volumes encompass stories illustrating the development of the current Western socio-political-economic system over the last 500 years. It is quite a ride. It taught me a lot while having a good time.

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