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

  1. #1351
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I started Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Graham-Smith over the weekend. I wanted something a bit lighter and more fun before I dive into all the Saramago that I've got waiting for me on my bookshelf.

    So far, so good.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  2. #1352
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Electric Barracuda by Tim Dorsey.

  3. #1353
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    The State of Jones. The Small Southern County that Seceded from the Confederacy. I normally don't do war books, but this one is fascinating. It shows the Confederacy in an entirely different light. Evidently they didn't take well to those who didn't support the cause.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  4. #1354
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Halfway through 'Wine & War' by Donald Kladstrup. The story of how the French managed to hide/salvage thousands of cases of precious wines during WW2 occupation. Interesting stories, but the thing that strikes me the most while reading this book is how differently the French regard wine. I guess they (at least used to) view it almost as a national treasure or primary component of their cultural heritage. Based on the sacrifices made one can conclude at any rate they value it a great deal more than we Americans do.

  5. #1355
    Cyburbian HomerJ's avatar
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    How to Avoid Huge Ships.

    Okay, obviously I'm not reading this book, but look at the reviews people have written about this book on amazon, they're great!

    http://www.amazon.com/Avoid-Huge-Shi...DateDescending

  6. #1356
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    The State of Jones. The Small Southern County that Seceded from the Confederacy. I normally don't do war books, but this one is fascinating. It shows the Confederacy in an entirely different light. Evidently they didn't take well to those who didn't support the cause.
    I have a friend from a county in Alabama that never voted to secede, and counted itself part of the Union for the duration of the war.

    They called it "The Free State of Winston."

  7. #1357
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    I am reading The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair. Why? I had some medical testing done, and I needed a book to read. Of all my unread books, The Jungle was the one that fit in the pocket of my cargo pants.

    That said, it is compelling and well-written and a pretty good read.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  8. #1358
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by fringe View post
    I have a friend from a county in Alabama that never voted to secede, and counted itself part of the Union for the duration of the war.

    They called it "The Free State of Winston."
    The reperesentative from Jones County was supposed to vote against secession, but caved and didn't. It ended up being a pretty good book. We like to think the South was uniform in support of the Confederacy. It wasn't. I knew that western Viginia-now West Virginia-and eastern KY, TN were pretty pro union. I didn't realize that there were other parts of the South that was opposed to Seccession.

    The alarming part of the book is what happened after the War, especially when Grant lost the political will to carry out Reconstruction. The book points out that conditions ended up being worse than before the War.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  9. #1359
    Yes, some parts of the South (mostly poor, mountainous areas) sided with the Union. Winston County in Alabama (my home state) was one of them. But from what I understand, these counties and communities in the South that chose to remain in the Union didn't do so because they loved black people or anything like that - they just didn't want to support the wealthy white plantation owners, seeing as how they were poor people themselves. So it's not like these were bastions of liberalism or progressive thought or anything like that.

    Ironically enough, a lot of these places are the very worst in my opinion when it comes to racism and bigotry, if for no other reason than the fact that this is where the smallest numbers of blacks are likely to live. As a person of color, I prefer to stay far away from the hilly and mountainous sections of North Alabama, eastern Tennessee, and eastern Kentucky. I've been to these places, and they're downright scary. "The Free State of Winston" is only 0.038% African-American, according to the 2000 Census. There are more Latinos in Winston County than blacks (1.5% Hispanics of any race). Certainly that's not in line with most people's perception of the Deep South, but that is typical of rural, mountainous North Alabama.

    Just thought I'd point that out.

  10. #1360
    Speaking of ethnic issues and little known facts about different places - I'm reading a book called "Okinawan Diaspora" by Ronald Yakasone. It's about the scattering of Okinawan people around the world, mostly before World War II. In particular I found interesting the stories of Okinawan and Japanese Latin Americans, people who emigrated to Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, and Mexico during the early 20th century. I think Peru got the lion's share of these immigrants.

    I thought I knew WWII history pretty well, but I learned something new - the U.S. government rounded up Japanese and Okinawan-Peruvians from Peru and shipped them to detainment camps in the U.S. They did this so they could possibly exchange the Japanese nationals (and their children) who were living in Peru for American hostages in Japanese territories. The book never mentioned anyone actually being exchanged in such a scenario however, so presumably these people just remained in detainment until the end of the war.

    The detainment campus the Japanese/Okinawan Peruvians stayed in (located in Texas) were much nicer than the internment camps the Japanese-Americans were thrown in, by the way. People mostly just lived their lives and had their daily needs taken care of, since a hostage is no good if s/he's unhappy or unhealthy. That's not to say that what the U.S. did was right, just thought it was worth pointing out.

    In any case, after the war, the U.S. tried to deport all of the detainees on the grounds that they were illegal aliens (yeah, seriously). Most of the Japanese/Okinawan Peruvians went back to war-torn Japan and Okinawa, since they weren't allowed in the U.S. and Peru denied them re-entry (Peruvians harbored a lot of anti-Japanese animosity at the time, as did the U.S). A few of the detainees fought the federal government in court, however, and won. So they settled down in the States, many of them living in Los Angeles. I thought it was interesting reading some of the personal testimony of the Japanese/Okinawan-Peruvians - they all said that upon relocating to L.A., they were shunned by the local Japanese-American community but welcomed with open arms by the Latino community, mostly because they were fluent in Spanish, but spoke little English or Japanese. Great read, and a very little known piece of American history.

  11. #1361
    Cyburbian
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    I'm currently reading Aquariums of Pyongyang. It's an account of the North Korean gulag/concentration camps that apparently still exist today. I become fascinated the world has a country like North Korea in the 21st century after reading 'Nothing to Envy' by Barbara Demick in 2010. You wouldn't believe how restricted life is there and how the Kim dynasty has achieved a cult-like status. Nothing to Envy is rich in journalistic detail and was one of the best non-fiction works I've ever read.

  12. #1362
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Ev14 View post
    I'm currently reading Aquariums of Pyongyang. It's an account of the North Korean gulag/concentration camps that apparently still exist today. I become fascinated the world has a country like North Korea in the 21st century after reading 'Nothing to Envy' by Barbara Demick in 2010. You wouldn't believe how restricted life is there and how the Kim dynasty has achieved a cult-like status. Nothing to Envy is rich in journalistic detail and was one of the best non-fiction works I've ever read.
    I've heard a lot of good things about Nothing to Envy, I may have to check that one out.

    Earlier this week I started reading Seeing by José Saramago on my lunch breaks. It's a fictional account of a fictional election in a fictional land in which there is record turnout but the vast majority of the votes cast are left blank and the reactions by the parties and the government.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  13. #1363
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Took a break from my McMurtry reading to revisit the Frank Herbert Dune series. Just finished Dune Messiah and started into Children of Dune. Looking forward, I think I'll re-read Michener's Caravan. Even thought it's a novel and takes place in 1946 Afghanistan, his historical accuracy and insights always give fresh perspective to the current situation.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  14. #1364
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Just bought a copy of Punching Out: One Year in a Closing Auto Plant by Paul; Clemens. Ironically, from a local bookstore that may also soon be closing its doors.

    Quote Originally posted by HomerJ9139 View post
    How to Avoid Huge Ships.
    Identifying Wood.

    "Yup, it's wood."
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  15. #1365
    Cyburbian
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    Driven West Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears to the Civil War by A. J. Langguth.

  16. #1366
    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
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    I just finished the audio versions of Better Than Good by Zig Ziglar and A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Donald Miller.

    Now working on Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. Looking forward to The Final Summit by Andy Andrews, coming out April 12th.
    JOE ILIFF
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  17. #1367
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    The Lion of Cairo by Scott Oden

    Fast paced historical fiction, with a bit of mystical/pagan witchcraft thrown in. Liked it a lot, but it's not for everyone.
    "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

  18. #1368
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Identifying Wood.

    "Yup, it's wood."

    "Hoadley has produced an indispensable 253 page guide for any serious wood afficianado. No longer should one have to puzzle over whether a dubious material is composed of metal, stone, or plastic. From now on, smart consumers will be 'Identifying Wood'". - Books In Review

  19. #1369
    Cyburbian
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    The Elegance of the Hedgehog

    The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery... a good read given to me by a friend... improving my vocabulary at the same time

  20. #1370
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    Books

    Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. It's his older work, but the stories about life in the restaurant industry are still surprising, and often valuable for a foodie.

  21. #1371
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Reader's Digest Northern American Wine Routes by Dan Berger and Tony Aspler. Lots of pictures. I like it. Good pool-side reading. (I think my face is burned.)

  22. #1372
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    The Girl, The Gold Watch and Everything, by John McDonald. A story about a hapless fellow who inherits from his uncle a gold watch that can stop time. Subject of a TV movie in the 1980s of the same title.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  23. #1373
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

    Somehow never got around to reading this in high school or college.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  24. #1374
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    The French Quarter: An Informal History of the New Orleans Underworld by Herbert Asbury.

    Very informative book about crime in NOLA throughout history. There were some interesting characters.

  25. #1375
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    "The Humanure Handbook - A Guide to Composting Human Manure" by Joseph Jenkins. I checked this book out of the library to help me design a bathroom solution at our mountain property. But way more than a how-to book, this thing is a serious manifesto. I love it. The guy has been composting he and his family's "waste" for 31 years now without a single incident of illness or disease, using the resulting humus to fertilize his garden. The system uses about one gallon of water every two weeks to rinse the receptacles. It doesn't smell, returns vital nutrients back into the virtuous cycle of land, plants, food and human "waste" (he makes a point that this stuff really isn't "waste" but a valuable resource. Old electronics, industrial effluent, etc. - that's waste) Imagine the water savings! Anyway, the author makes some excellent points about crapping in what is essentially water purified for drinking and how we can use natural processes (micro-organisms involved int he composting process) to destroy harmful pathogens and not trap all the valuable nutrients up in landfills. Just fascinating.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

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