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Author Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading?  (Read 73588 times)
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Miamiu1027
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« Reply #1100 on: August 24, 2014, 05:39:37 pm »
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Spider in a Tree: A Novel of the First Great Awakening by Susan Stinson. I don't know quite what I expected when I heard that there was a historical novel about Jonathan Edwards's household by a writer previously known primarily for lesbian-themed fiction, but I know that I was not expecting this to be as incredibly good as it is so far.

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« Reply #1101 on: August 30, 2014, 12:18:17 pm »
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Just started A People's History of the United States
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« Reply #1102 on: August 30, 2014, 05:08:28 pm »
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« Reply #1103 on: August 30, 2014, 09:04:38 pm »
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Warlords: Borden, Mackenzie King and Canada's World Wars by Tim Cook.
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7.35, 3.65

« Les plus nobles principes du monde ne valent que par l’action.  » - Charles de Gaulle



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« Reply #1104 on: September 04, 2014, 09:50:21 pm »
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Read an excerpt for Comparative Politics and it was absolutely fantastic. I wonder what Simfan thinks of it.
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« Reply #1105 on: September 07, 2014, 04:25:10 pm »
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I'm taking my obscurity to the next level: I'm flipping through a Chinese book called On Modern Chinese Thought by Li Zehou. The author is a prominent Chinese philosopher, who still ended up being arrested several times in Mainland China for his moments of political critique. By "modern" he means China from the late Qing period to the Republic of China period, or nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries.

At its heart it is a collection of essays, focused on that period's major thinkers and critiquing their thought. It's less a work of history as it is a reevaluation of thought, with the end goal of understanding where China must go after a century of social upheaval. But I'm only getting started.
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anvi
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« Reply #1106 on: September 10, 2014, 03:06:46 pm »
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Among modern Chinese philosophers, Li Zhehou is certainly one of the most fascinating.  Interesting stuff on aesthetics, fairly provocative arguments about political theory.  Enjoy the read.
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« Reply #1107 on: September 10, 2014, 05:19:53 pm »
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Warlords: Borden, Mackenzie King and Canada's World Wars by Tim Cook.

I'm considering getting it for my Dad for his birthday. Is it any good?
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« Reply #1108 on: September 10, 2014, 05:25:45 pm »
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Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics by Ross Douthat.

It's a pretty neat read. Very little theology though.
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« Reply #1109 on: September 11, 2014, 08:46:07 am »
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Judging Dev by Diarmaid Ferriter.
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angus
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« Reply #1110 on: September 11, 2014, 09:09:09 am »
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Inspired by jdb I borrowed "Twelve Years a Slave" by Solomon Northup from the MTPL last night.  It's a 2007 edition published by Barnes & Noble (216 pages).  I've only read the timeline of Northup's life, the B&N Intro, and the editor's original 1855 preface so far, but I'll read more of it over the weekend when I have time.  It is interesting that by 1855 the American English spelling had evolved, more or less, into its modern form.  For example, the editor's spelling of words like advice and labor are not like those of Thomas Jefferson and his contemporaries.  Also, the dedication page, presumably written by Northup, is to Harriet Beecher Stowe and suggests that his narrative will provide "another key to Uncle Tom's Cabin."  I suppose that Northup must have observed that the intensity of the abolitionist movement had increased greatly between the time he was kidnapped in 1841 and the time he was released in 1853. 
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« Reply #1111 on: September 11, 2014, 03:49:16 pm »
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The September 2014 issue of The Ricardian Bulletin showed up today on my doorstep, so there's some reading for this evening. Smiley

I have Edward IV and the Wars of the Roses by David Santiuste to get to in a while. It's about the king as a military leader and his sterling record in battle, which outshines other better known kings.
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« Reply #1112 on: September 13, 2014, 12:39:49 pm »
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Louis St. Laurent, Canadian by Dale Thomson. Excellent, breezy read.
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« Les plus nobles principes du monde ne valent que par l’action.  » - Charles de Gaulle



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« Reply #1113 on: September 13, 2014, 02:39:41 pm »
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Bought two books the other day and am reading them both. One is The Name of the Rose (Umberto Eco), the other is The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words 1000 BCE-1492 CE (Simon Schama). Having already eyed up the former, I noticed that the latter was now out in paperback. I'd been carefully avoiding buying the (rather expensive) hardback of it for a while. These things happen. I'm also occasionally skimming through a lovely edition of Pushkin short stories and poems and recently read the Very Short Introduction to Writing and Script for the sheer hell of it.
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« Reply #1114 on: September 13, 2014, 03:15:57 pm »
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I've just completed Vanished Kingdoms by Norman Davies - a very interesting work, if overly detailed at times (my eyes - not to mention concentration - glaze over at long contextless discussions of kings, battles and genealogies... Too much information, unfortunately that is too common in Medieval history, if admittedly in part by necessity) and rather uneven work. Some of the chapters - those on the Kingdom of Strathclyde, Aragon (when he doesn't spend endless time on discussing monarchial successions), Savoy, Montenegro - are excellent while others just serve to overdo his personal obsessions: the neglect of Eastern Europe by historians and the role of royal families. Two chapters - those on Saxe Coburg-Gotha and, strangely, Ireland - basically only to exist for trolling purposes on the House of Windsor's origins and the imminent (in his view) breakup of the UK. On chapters on Poland-Lithuania, Prussia and Burgundy he goes too far into political detail and this work would have served better with much more cultural history and less political stuff. However, He's particularly good at relating these vanished kingdoms to their present day surroundings and reflecting on the roles of memory and forgetting these old states exist in modern states and the role historians have played in distorting the record in the name of presentist and nationalist biases. Recommended.

I'm about to start Mary Tregear's Chinese Art followed with China: A new Cultural History by Cho-Yun Hsu and What Have God Wrought by Daniel Walker Howe. I have an extensive - and rather sinocentric - reading list for the next two months or so. Any recommendations for books on China? Tibet and Central Asia would also do.
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Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'
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« Reply #1115 on: September 19, 2014, 09:25:03 am »
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Gully, are you looking for books on Chinese history or contemporary China?  

I'm working my way through Bill Bryson's A Brief History of Nearly Everything.  It's ten years old in terms of science, but still a nicely-written book.
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« Reply #1116 on: September 19, 2014, 10:44:20 am »
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Gully, are you looking for books on Chinese history or contemporary China?  


Both.
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Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'
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« Reply #1117 on: September 19, 2014, 10:36:42 pm »
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I'm starting 1776 by David McCullough tomorrow, looks pretty good.
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« Reply #1118 on: September 20, 2014, 09:41:05 am »
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Well, Gully, for starters, broad overviews of classical China are available from Patricia Buckley Ebrey, either in her Cambridge Illustrated History of China, her China: A Social, Cultural and Political History or her Chinese Civilization: A Sourcebook. John Kaey has also recently written a broad-ranging history of China which is pretty accessible. 

There are really nice historical treatments of individual dynasties in Chinese history as part of a Harvard University Press series.
http://www.hup.harvard.edu/collection.php?cpk=1338   

For modern Chinese history, a standard work is Jonathan Spence's Search for Modern China, though it will only take you up to the early '90's. 

For more specific topics and areas, I'd have to know what you were most interested in.  I'm more conversant with Chinese philosophical history given my own research, but am familiar with more general historical and cultural areas in several fields.  Recommendations here would just depend on your specific interests.
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« Reply #1119 on: September 21, 2014, 04:52:36 pm »
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Fall quarter is approaching and I'm taking a full graduate course load in economics, in pursuit of a beefed up grad school application. To each class I can assign a relevant textbook:

Mas-Colell, Whinston and Green's Microeconomic Theory. The "bible" of graduate micro, a thousand-page reference on most micro ideas of interest. Probably continues to be used because no one has written anything as comprehensive in the 20 years since its publication. Not totally rigorous, but has quite a bit of notational quirks and complementary graphs. A lot of people say reading it requires a lot of mathematical preparation, but I'd like to think it's just badly written, peppered with the language of mathematical exposition.

Stokey, Lucas and Prescott's Recursive Methods in Economic Dynamics. A math reference for the microfounded macro models which have become the norm. It will certainly be useful, but my lack of training in optimization makes it hard reading. Probably a worse offender in abusing jargon than MWG above.

Manski's Identification for Prediction and Decision. The author is the class instructor, a very prestigious econometrician and possible future Nobel Laureate. Apparently the class follows the book very closely and is not intensive at all, so maybe I'll enjoy reading this... Roughly, the book is about how useful statistical analysis of data are in providing conclusions and confidence for policy effectiveness.
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« Reply #1120 on: September 22, 2014, 08:04:44 pm »
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Cannery Row by Steinbeck. A cute little read, though not the best of his works that I've read.
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« Reply #1121 on: September 26, 2014, 12:10:04 am »
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When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals, as part of an effort to better understand interspecies moral dilemmas and accordingly adjust my proposals for animal rights.
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« Reply #1122 on: October 02, 2014, 01:42:27 pm »
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I am rereading Tess of the d'Urbervilles. It was one of the few assigned texts that I did read in high school. It didn't make much sense then, and all I could recall of it before rereading it is that it somehow involved lots of cows.

Reading it this time around is trying my patience to its very core. It's so exasperating that I look forward to the milking and grass-watching scenes, if only because takes narrative focus away from paragraph-after-damned-paragraph of the inexpressible virginal goodness of Tess and her beloved milksop "Angel Clare."

"Oh, I shan't, I musn't!, I'm too fallen for his love!"

Gag.

After having read it, I'm glad I was put off by the narrator's, and Tess's, repeated assertions on how good Angel Clare is.

Now reading Balzac's Lost Illusions. Now, this is an outstanding novel. Balzac even manages to make the history of papermaking exciting.
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« Reply #1123 on: October 02, 2014, 02:27:56 pm »
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Finally finished Marx's Ecology by J.B. Foster, which was a really good read, although it was a bit hard to get into at first. Rebuts a lot of the common mischaracterizations and accusations leveled at Marxist thought so far as ecology and the environment are concerned, and connects the dots between ancient and early modern thinkers (and Marx) to build a coherent, materialist view of ecological development and the interaction between human beings and their environment.

What I'm working on now:


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« Reply #1124 on: October 19, 2014, 01:41:27 pm »
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I just finished this:
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