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Thread: What are we reading right now? (Planning related or not)

  1. #1226
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    bp,

    I haven't read Ms Klein's books but I do like the columns by her that I have read.

    The New Yorker interviewed her a few weeks ago as well.

    I think she makes a lot of sense. She and the likes of Ralph Nader and Chris Hedges are fairly close to the scary edges of the truth of things.

    Re otterpop's "gem" of a quote, I just saw one such in Moby Dick.

    "Topheavy was the ship as a dinnerless student with all Aristotle in his head."
    Last edited by fringe; 22 Sep 2009 at 9:14 AM. Reason: syntax

  2. #1227
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    I am reading What We Talk About When We Talk About Love , abook of short stories by Raymond Carver. Good stuff.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  3. #1228
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    otterpop,

    I went thru a Ray Carver phase and pretty much read all of it.

    Similar to his style is a guy named Thom Jones, who is a pugilist turned writer. One collection called, "Sonny Liston Was a Friend of Mine."

  4. #1229
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Finished: Don't Know Much About History and Don't Know Much About Geography by Kenneth Davis. Both highly recommended by this reader.

    In the middle of The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. An intense novel.

  5. #1230
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    I am reading The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler. I enjoyed Farewell, My Lovely, so I thought I would give this one a try.

    As a rule, I am not a mystery/crime fiction reader. But the narrative is fun and the similes are great.

    Before that I read Resolution, by Robert Parker. It was a disappointment.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  6. #1231
    I'm reading The New Urbanism: Toward an Architecture of Community by Peter Katz... So far it is alright, but it seems to me a lot of these designs are just slightly better burbs.
    Urban Milwaukee "Championing Urban Life In The Cream City"
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  7. #1232
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    'I just finished "The Lost Symbol" by Dan Brown. Not nearly as good as The Di Vinci Code"... it fact it was rather mediocre. It starts great but the ending seemed rushed and not well thought out. I have always found the Mason's and the conspiracy theory behind them facinating and was looking forward to Dan Brown's interpretation...I was disappointed. That being said it is a fast and entertaining read but very predictable.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  8. #1233
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    Kuntsler interview

    I know that James Kuntsler can be a topic to himself, but the Sun magazine, published in Chapel Hill and now in its 36th year of life without ever having sold an advertisement, has an interview with Mr. K that was done in April 09, and is good.

    He comes off as not quite so alarmist but no less strident about his opinions.

  9. #1234
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    currently reading Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne. it's fantastic.

  10. #1235
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    Started Shakespeare's Landlord, by Charlaine Harris. It pulled me in quickly, and I'm going to try to finish it tonight. It's the first in a series, so I'll probably request the others from the library, as well. Also finished up a couple of novels by Catherine Coulter - the more I read of her modern FBI series, the more they all seem the same.

    I also checked out The Wordy Shipmate by Sarah Vowell. I've read a couple others of hers - I really liked Assasination Vacation - and I hope this one is as good or better.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  11. #1236
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    I finally finished The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia, by Orlando Figes, last night. It's over 600 pages long, and took me several weeks to get through - minus a short break to read Richard Russo's That Old Cape Magic, which I had requested from the library.

    The Whisperers probably could have been pared down a bit; nevertheless, it was a fascinating read about what life was like for Soviet citizens during the Stalin era. I never realized how many millions of Russians were arrested for often minor (or sometimes non-existent) crimes, declared "enemies of the people," and carted off to labor camps for years. Many of them were shot, although this was generally not revealed until the 1980s (!) or later. The impact on families was enormous, as being the wife or child of an "enemy of the people" subjected innocent family members to everything from discrimination to years in the Gulag.

    I learned a lot about Soviet society... and during the course of reading the book, I found out some interesting parallels involving members of my family who died long before I was born.

  12. #1237
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    I am reading God is Not Great, by Christopher Hitchens, and The Time Travelers' Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. The former is rather heavy-handed and I might not finish it.

    The latter I am enjoying - the story is told in first person by both the time traveler and the wife, so the perspectives of two people on the same experiences is very interesting.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  13. #1238
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    Finished: Don't Know Much About History and Don't Know Much About Geography by Kenneth Davis. Both highly recommended by this reader.

    In the middle of The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. An intense novel.
    I put the Don't Know Much About History book on my request list from the library. I just checked out Wishingful Drinking by Carrie Fisher. I'll post what I think about it later.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  14. #1239
    Cyburbian Plus dandy_warhol's avatar
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    I'm enjoying reading The World That Made New Orleans by Ned Sublette. It charts the development of New Orleans from pre-colonial times through the Louisiana Purchase. I was aware but never knew how much New Orleans was affected by Cuba and Saint-Domingue (Haiti). The book also examines the lives of African slaves (at times disturbing) and their contribution to the culture and the music of New Orleans.

    I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the history and culture of New Orleans.
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  15. #1240
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    I've never been to New Orleans, but that does sound interesting. I love reading about the history of places.

    I just started Outcasts United: A Refugee Team, An American Town. It's about a youth soccer team in a small town in Georgia that was designated a refugee settlement center in the 1990s.

  16. #1241
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Here is a potentially interesting book -

    “Legacy: The Preservation of Wilderness in New York City Parks”
    by Joel Meyerowitz

    Book Review: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/15/ny...ef=todayspaper
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  17. #1242
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    Reading a gift copy of an out-of-print book called "The Stone Creek Wreck", 1898, about a malicious train sabotage/derailment in an area called Bonds Swamp south of Macon,GA in 1896. A local ne'er do well and some conspirators removed a section of rail on a trestle to derail a passenger train carrying the plotter's own wife.

    Motive, to sue the railroad for damage after the predicted loss of wife.

    Result, three innocents died and wife survived, plotters to the gallows.

    Great read for a vignette of semi-rural life of the times.

  18. #1243
    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
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    I just started reading "Retrifitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs". So far so good. It is an interesting read and provides many examples of how different areas of the county used urban design to assist in altering our thinking on how the built environment of 1st ring suburbs can change.
    Satellite City Enabler

  19. #1244
    I'm almost finished with Building Suburbia... Good history of suburban development.
    Urban Milwaukee "Championing Urban Life In The Cream City"
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  20. #1245
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Yesterday was one of those days when I found too many books I wanted to borrow from the library...

    Reading now: Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took On New York's Master Builder and Transformed the American City, by Anthony Flint.

  21. #1246
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    I just finished The End of Oil by Paul Roberts. I found it fascinating, but energy issues have been a subject of growing interest for me in the last few years. It gets into the history of oil exploration and oil geopolitics, how oil companies have influenced policies to favor their business and suppress alternative energy sources and climate change science. It came out in 2004, so some of what he predicted is already history, such as if oil prices were to rise to x, it would tip the US into recession. The parts that get into detail about alternative fuels and energy sources were also quite informative. I really had no idea that electricity from solar was so much more per kWh. Its not as dark and snarky as The Long Emergency and is more jounalistic in tone, rather than speculative of future conditions. The reader is given a large amount of data to support the theses. I've been inspired to read more on the subject and irritate anyone who will listen to me talk about the problem!
    Adrift in a sea of beige

  22. #1247
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    Jon Ronson's "Men Who Stare At Goats" - Having seen the film, I thought I'd read the book.

  23. #1248
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Just finished a couple.....

    Eclipse by Richard North Patterson. I have long been a fan of "this" Patterson, because of his oft-Ohio storylines, his rugged lead characters, and the political stories he tells.

    Patterson invents a west African oil-produciving country that is dominated by a ruthless dictator. Economic and living conditions for all but the elite remain horrible as the oil money is funneled those in power. The lead character's involvement, years ago, with a woman who marries a rebel, takes the reader to a country where a pocket of cash and a gun will buy all the influence you need.

    The novel was based on a real-life rebel in a real country that continues to go through political corruption quite similar to the storyline.....Nigeria.

    This book can scare the hexx out of you.....the political influence of big oil (backed by governments that need that oil to keep their economy clicking) is daunting. A good read.

    Journey by James Michener. This Bear has read most of Michener's books (and there are many!). This short novel was interesting, somewhat informative, and an OK read.

    The novel highlights the journey of a group of English men (and an Irish man) as they work their way through the Arctic so they can reach the Klondike (gold fields). Usual Michener fare, detailed descriptions of the who, why, and how of a trip through the incredibly hostile wilderness. The attack of the arctic mosquitos will scare the hexx out of you.

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  24. #1249
    Cyburbian
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    I'm reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel - won a Booker Prize this year. I haven't finished, but I can't put it down. Highly recommend it. It's extremely well-written and actually very acessible (doesn't require a dictionary for every other word). Unusually well-written for a book containing this scope of research.

    The book is written from the perspective of Cromwell, who is advisor/attorney to King Henry the VIII. Very good reading for planners - who often serve as staff to public officials. It's about the ins and outs of advising the Cardinal, then Anne Boelyn and then the King -- his legal arguments, his politics, his personal life. I've never read a book about Henry VIII that portrayed Cromwell in a positive light and this is such a sympathetic account. Truly fascinating.

  25. #1250
    Cyburbian
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    I'm reading Pittsburgh A New Portrait. The author describes many interesting buildings in Pittsburgh, and describes how the neighborhoods came to be. Great book, and plan on reading it again.

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