Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
April 20, 2019, 03:59:45 pm
News: Please delete your old personal messages.

  Atlas Forum
  General Politics
  Political Debate
  Book Reviews and Discussion (Moderator: Beet)
  What Book Are You Currently Reading?
« previous next »
Pages: 1 ... 43 44 45 46 47 [48] 49 50 51 52 53 ... 68 Print
Author Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading?  (Read 334542 times)
Foucaulf
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1,048


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1175 on: January 07, 2015, 12:58:02 am »

Before I came back to school, I finally looked through Jacobs's The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Good book, too literary/long-winded, and in IRC I made the following points:

1) It turns out Robert Lucas, famous economist, took her idea of growth through diversity and formalized it, and the way she keeps referring to this idea of "people have their own preferences" is the most econ thing of all.

2) I thought it was amusing how she throws out discrimination against Blacks in mortgages and housing casually, and in fifty years' time that's lost, rediscovered and lights up the internet. This is news to the people on my private college, awed at long-form essays by Ta-Nehisi Coates et al., many of which, of course, grew up in homogeneous suburbs.

3) The "unslumming procedure" described by Jacobs, focused on strategic placement of services to increase diversity in depopulated poor neighbourhoods, has rarely been seen in real life. Instead, we have gentrification. Gentrification is all about entry of certain types of people, and it's too bad if urban planning bet too much of its agenda on classifying those types.


On the side I flipped through an introductory guide to Saul Kripke's philosophy, which is a trip! The organizing principles of what I read were the formalization of modal logic through possible worlds, and the existence of rigid designators across them. The results are strikingly beautiful, and I wish I had time to read on his theory of reference.
Logged
Gustaf
Moderators
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 29,264


Political Matrix
E: 0.39, S: -0.70

P P

Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1176 on: January 07, 2015, 05:21:42 am »

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. After that I'll be working through a big stack of books that I accumulated as birthday presents recently.

What did you think? I'm a big Rushdie fan but that wasn't one of my favourites.

Loved it. It was my first of his books though, so I imagine that a lot of what I liked so much about it - the prose, the imaginativeness of the magic realism and how that integrated with the politics of the region - are general Rushdie, so maybe it would have been more disappointing had I come to it after reading his other works. What didn't you like about it?

Oh, don't get me wrong, I don't dislike it. But I didn't find the characters as emotionally engaging as in some of his other books. And the political theme was also a little more abstract to me, not as focused as I might have liked. Both Shame and Satanic Verses are in many ways similar but I enjoyed them more. And if you want to feel like a child and cry Haroun and the Sea of Stories is hard to beat!
Logged
Gustaf
Moderators
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 29,264


Political Matrix
E: 0.39, S: -0.70

P P

Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1177 on: January 07, 2015, 05:24:39 am »

Speaking of Japanese literature currently reading Botchan by Umeji Soseki.

Nastume Soseki. Umeji Sasaki is the translator. (Botchan's an absolute delight. If you like it maybe also try Wagahai wa neko de aru.)

Excuse me for my gross error. I do hope to read some more East Asian literature over the next few months.

This is the cat guy right?

I think that since last update from me here I've only read:

Invisible Cities by Calvino. Which was good but not as compelling as previous books I read by him. Maybe my disinterest in architecture made this more inaccessible.

Breakfast for Champions by Vonnegut. He is always a delight to read even if this was not as strong as other works by him I read.

The End of the Affair by Greene. This turned into one of my favourite books by him. Heartbreaking and had me in tears for long periods of time. Beuatifully written as well in my opinion.
Logged
Insula Dei
belgiansocialist
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 4,335
Belgium


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1178 on: January 07, 2015, 09:09:07 am »

Just finished reading all the way through Gadamer's Wahrheit und Methode and Georges Poulet's L'Espace Proustien (lacking the time needed to tackle Etudes sur le Temps Humain but have been reading on and off in Metamorphoses du Cercle for the last few weeks). I'm also gearing up to perhaps have a go at Derrida's L'écriture et la différence, although I might just have to wrestle myself through Sperber & Wilson's Relevance first.

For fun, I've just finished J.G. Farrell's Troubles (which was meh) and am currently some 150 pages deep into Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet, which is really quite purple and weirdly enjoyable at the same time.
Logged
Filuwaúrdjan
Realpolitik
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 62,337
United Kingdom


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1179 on: January 07, 2015, 02:04:56 pm »

Volume one (of three; the others are not just published) of Stephen Kotkin's biography of Stalin. Very, very good. Also reading Hertha Müller's brilliant The Land of Green Plums, which is extremely (intentionally) distressing so is only really something to read when you're in the right sort of mood...
Logged
checkers
Not Great Bob
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 270
Australia


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1180 on: January 08, 2015, 04:07:08 am »

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. After that I'll be working through a big stack of books that I accumulated as birthday presents recently.

What did you think? I'm a big Rushdie fan but that wasn't one of my favourites.

Loved it. It was my first of his books though, so I imagine that a lot of what I liked so much about it - the prose, the imaginativeness of the magic realism and how that integrated with the politics of the region - are general Rushdie, so maybe it would have been more disappointing had I come to it after reading his other works. What didn't you like about it?

Oh, don't get me wrong, I don't dislike it. But I didn't find the characters as emotionally engaging as in some of his other books. And the political theme was also a little more abstract to me, not as focused as I might have liked. Both Shame and Satanic Verses are in many ways similar but I enjoyed them more. And if you want to feel like a child and cry Haroun and the Sea of Stories is hard to beat!

With more hindsight, I see where you're coming from. I really engaged with the characters in Saleem's family, but I found the Midnight's Children - particularly Shiva (and to a lesser extent Parvati-the-Witch, though I guess she doesn't play as significant a role in the story) to be a bit underdeveloped. I felt for all the build up about Shiva as Saleem's double/antithesis, his character wasn't as vivid as some of the more peripheral characters so I found that a bit of a let down. It also meant that the political symbolism didn't quite come together as much as I expected it to. I still thought it was great, though.

I did like a lot of Rushdie's characterisation though, so if it's better in Shame and the Satanic Verses I'm really eager to read them! Haroun and the Sea of Stories looks really sweet. I haven't read a kid's book in so long, so I feel like it'd be a nice change.
Logged
checkers
Not Great Bob
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 270
Australia


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1181 on: January 08, 2015, 04:11:52 am »
« Edited: January 08, 2015, 04:16:01 am by beatrice »

Anyway, I'm reading The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark. Very witty, very sharp prose and very recognisable too - I had a few Jean Brodieish teachers (though they weren't actually fascists, thank God).
Logged
Hugo Award nominee
Nathan
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 20,518


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1182 on: January 08, 2015, 11:04:32 am »

Speaking of Japanese literature currently reading Botchan by Umeji Soseki.

Nastume Soseki. Umeji Sasaki is the translator. (Botchan's an absolute delight. If you like it maybe also try Wagahai wa neko de aru.)

Excuse me for my gross error. I do hope to read some more East Asian literature over the next few months.

This is the cat guy right?

Yeah. Wagahai wa neko de aru is I Am a Cat. I'm aware that it's pretentious of me to have used the Japanese title, but it's hilarious in a way that translation doesn't capture (Japanese has a variety of levels of formality for both pronouns and copulas, and the connotation of the word choice here is something like My Most Serene Highness Has the Distinct Privilege and Honor of Being a Cat; that is, exactly how you'd expect a cat to say that).
Logged
TNF
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 13,483


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1183 on: January 08, 2015, 10:23:04 pm »

Img


literally one thousand pages

rip tnf

Logged
National Progressive
General Mung Beans
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 7,152
Korea, Republic of


Political Matrix
E: -6.58, S: -1.91

Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1184 on: January 10, 2015, 02:02:55 am »

Img


literally one thousand pages

rip tnf



Still a better sociopolitical work than Atlas Shrugged.
Logged
Gustaf
Moderators
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 29,264


Political Matrix
E: 0.39, S: -0.70

P P

Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1185 on: January 10, 2015, 09:44:36 am »

Speaking of Japanese literature currently reading Botchan by Umeji Soseki.

Nastume Soseki. Umeji Sasaki is the translator. (Botchan's an absolute delight. If you like it maybe also try Wagahai wa neko de aru.)

Excuse me for my gross error. I do hope to read some more East Asian literature over the next few months.

This is the cat guy right?

Yeah. Wagahai wa neko de aru is I Am a Cat. I'm aware that it's pretentious of me to have used the Japanese title, but it's hilarious in a way that translation doesn't capture (Japanese has a variety of levels of formality for both pronouns and copulas, and the connotation of the word choice here is something like My Most Serene Highness Has the Distinct Privilege and Honor of Being a Cat; that is, exactly how you'd expect a cat to say that).

Haha that is hilarious and fits the tone of the book nicely. I guess there are still traces of that in the English translation, because it does sound a little pompous. It's probably my favourite Japanese novel, not that I've read a lot or anything. Tongue

Logged
Keyboard Jacobinism
Kalwejt
Moderators
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 52,464


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1186 on: January 10, 2015, 04:21:15 pm »

George S. Patton, War as I Knew It


I'm usually rather sceptical when it comes to memories of military commanders, but Patton's diary is a damn good read
Logged
Keyboard Jacobinism
Kalwejt
Moderators
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 52,464


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1187 on: January 10, 2015, 04:21:59 pm »

Img


literally one thousand pages

rip tnf



Have you read Trotsky's memories? I've recently finished it. Trosky was quite good with a pen.
Logged
traininthedistance
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 4,566


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1188 on: January 10, 2015, 04:22:17 pm »

Before I came back to school, I finally looked through Jacobs's The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Good book, too literary/long-winded, and in IRC I made the following points:

1) It turns out Robert Lucas, famous economist, took her idea of growth through diversity and formalized it, and the way she keeps referring to this idea of "people have their own preferences" is the most econ thing of all.

2) I thought it was amusing how she throws out discrimination against Blacks in mortgages and housing casually, and in fifty years' time that's lost, rediscovered and lights up the internet. This is news to the people on my private college, awed at long-form essays by Ta-Nehisi Coates et al., many of which, of course, grew up in homogeneous suburbs.

3) The "unslumming procedure" described by Jacobs, focused on strategic placement of services to increase diversity in depopulated poor neighbourhoods, has rarely been seen in real life. Instead, we have gentrification. Gentrification is all about entry of certain types of people, and it's too bad if urban planning bet too much of its agenda on classifying those types.


On the side I flipped through an introductory guide to Saul Kripke's philosophy, which is a trip! The organizing principles of what I read were the formalization of modal logic through possible worlds, and the existence of rigid designators across them. The results are strikingly beautiful, and I wish I had time to read on his theory of reference.

It's been too long since I've read this one, so my memory is rusty and perhaps it's time to re-read it.

I feel like the "literary/long-winded" charge is a little odd; it felt eminently readable to me and I know that it wasn't immediately accepted by academics/the Establishment as it were because it was thought to be too conversational, not dry enough, basically.  (Well, also because Jacobs was basically an autodidact rather than ensconced in the halls of academia/power.)

The scandal that was redlining was never really forgotten; there's been more widespread publicity recently but it (and its aftereffects) have been well-known among urbanists for decades.

I also suspect the distinction you're drawing between "unslumming" and "gentrification" is kinda spurious. I'm reminded of her discussion of that issue in Dark Age Ahead, her deeply pessimistic final book, where she basically throws up her hands and says that one will just inevitably lead to the other and burn itself out.  

Or something like that- again, this might be a good impetus to revisit those books, it's been several years.
Logged
TheDeadFlagBlues
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 4,786
Mexico


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1189 on: January 10, 2015, 05:20:35 pm »

Img


Img


Pre-history is pretty fascinating.
Logged
TNF
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 13,483


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1190 on: January 11, 2015, 12:09:10 am »

Img


literally one thousand pages

rip tnf



Have you read Trotsky's memories? I've recently finished it. Trosky was quite good with a pen.

I have not, but I have to concur. As far as Marxist writers go, Trotsky was probably the most readable, which probably stems from his stint (IIRC) as a journalist. After that, I'd say the next most readable is Engels, followed by Lenin, and Marx at the absolute bottom, lol. Stalin is accessible, but vapid and has literally no grasp of theory, so I won't dignify him with a ranking. (Although that might be my Trotskyite prejudices shining through Wink)
Logged
© tweed
Miamiu1027
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 36,641
United States


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1191 on: January 11, 2015, 12:57:35 am »

I have not, but I have to concur. As far as Marxist writers go, Trotsky was probably the most readable, which probably stems from his stint (IIRC) as a journalist. After that, I'd say the next most readable is Engels, followed by Lenin, and Marx at the absolute bottom, lol. Stalin is accessible, but vapid and has literally no grasp of theory, so I won't dignify him with a ranking. (Although that might be my Trotskyite prejudices shining through Wink)

Trotsky was more than 'readable', he was a brilliant writer and brilliant man.  he was more of a complete human being than Lenin or Stalin.  Karl Kautsky is another interesting figure who wrote on diverse subjects.  he was open to ideological and personal evolution and died as something of a Tolstoyan pacifist.
Logged
Keyboard Jacobinism
Kalwejt
Moderators
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 52,464


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1192 on: January 12, 2015, 10:52:55 am »

Just started David M. Kennedy's Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945.
Logged
Murica!
whyshouldigiveyoumyname?
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 2,317
Angola


Political Matrix
E: -6.13, S: -10.00

Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1193 on: January 12, 2015, 11:52:08 am »

I have not, but I have to concur. As far as Marxist writers go, Trotsky was probably the most readable, which probably stems from his stint (IIRC) as a journalist. After that, I'd say the next most readable is Engels, followed by Lenin, and Marx at the absolute bottom, lol. Stalin is accessible, but vapid and has literally no grasp of theory, so I won't dignify him with a ranking. (Although that might be my Trotskyite prejudices shining through Wink)

Trotsky was more than 'readable', he was a brilliant writer and brilliant man.  he was more of a complete human being than Lenin or Stalin.  Karl Kautsky is another interesting figure who wrote on diverse subjects.  he was open to ideological and personal evolution and died as something of a Tolstoyan pacifist.
Stalin was human?!
Logged
Incipimus iterum
1236
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 2,102
United States


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1194 on: January 12, 2015, 02:20:22 pm »

Justinian: The Last Roman Emperor by G. P. Baker
Logged
Keyboard Jacobinism
Kalwejt
Moderators
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 52,464


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1195 on: January 16, 2015, 07:19:59 pm »

Alistair Horne, A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954–1962
Logged
Mopolis
MOPolitico
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 2,002
United States


Political Matrix
E: 0.45, S: -0.26

P P

Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1196 on: January 20, 2015, 12:11:24 pm »

Img


Just finished reading Part One. All the stories were great (except The Approach to Al-Mu'tasim, which didn't seem quite up to the same level as the others), but I think that I liked The Lottery in Babylon the best.
Logged
RogueBeaver
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 19,524
Canada


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1197 on: January 21, 2015, 08:43:21 pm »

The Big Red Machine: How the Liberal Party Dominates Canadian Politics by Stephen Clarkson.
Logged
Filuwaúrdjan
Realpolitik
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 62,337
United Kingdom


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1198 on: January 22, 2015, 02:12:51 pm »

Citizens, a milestone in the history of trolling (and also in the historiography of the French Revolution).
Logged
Insula Dei
belgiansocialist
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 4,335
Belgium


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1199 on: January 22, 2015, 03:46:44 pm »

Just finished Genette's Figures III and I.A. Richards' Practical Criticism, moved on to De Man's Allegories of Reading and re-reading some Flannery O'Connor on the side. Irene Nemirovsky's Suite Française lies waiting next to my bed.
Logged
Pages: 1 ... 43 44 45 46 47 [48] 49 50 51 52 53 ... 68 Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  


Login with username, password and session length
Logout

Terms of Service - DMCA Agent and Policy - Privacy Policy and Cookies

Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines