• Back at the office or school? Still working from home? Need to vent, or just connect with other planner and built environment types? Come join us!

    Cyburbia is a friendly big tent, where we share our experiences and thoughts about urban planning practice, planning adjacent topics, and whatever else comes to mind. No ads, no spam, no social distancing or masks required.

Book club 📖 What are we reading right now? (Planning related or not)

Messages
1,580
Points
21
Eugh, I had to permanently put that Jared Diamond rag down. It was nearly unreadable. And the man has some dubious ideas.
 

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
Messages
4,837
Points
26
JNL said:
I just finished Angels and Demons... hey it was sitting on my shelf and I needed something to read :p Felt like I was reading a recycled version of the Da Vinci Code... different story, same style... wouldn't read any more of his.
Actually it's backwards... Angels and Demons was first, then came the Da Vinci Code, the latter was made a best seller thanks to the help of the Catholic Church by reverse psychologically promoting it.. "Don't read it" is a pretty nice way to make people go crazy for it... and then they re-issued all of the previous books of Dan Brown. And of course you see that the Da Vinci code is quite a rip off of his previous book, Angels and Demons.

Just in case if you haven't read Deception Point... The first word of the title pretty much describes it... :p

Dan Brown's books are entertaining movie-ish books (narrated as a movie)... but they are hardly good books. It's like those blockbuster movies... you see them because you just want to waste time, not because of the intelectual questions it may raise or philosophical questionings of life or whatever the usual european movies do. (You know... those terribly dense movies that leave you with a headache..;))
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
10,139
Points
45
Feeding the inner Star Wars geek....

Just Finished Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, which picks up during the events of Revenge of the Sith and explains in part how Darth Vader became who he was. Good quick read (took a couple of days).
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
Just finished "I Married Wyatt Earp," by Josephine "Josey" Earp. Interesting female slant (though admittedly biased) on Wyatt Earp and the Clanton-Earp feud, and Wyatt's later years. The legendary gunfight and its aftermath has been an interest of mine since I was a boy.

Now reading "Skinny Dip" by Carl Hiaasen. Very funny novel that was on the NY Times Best Seller List.

And, of course, I read a number of children's books to my son every week, but those probably don't count.
 

zman

Cyburbian
Messages
9,244
Points
33
otterpop said:
Now reading "Skinny Dip" by Carl Hiaasen. Very funny novel that was on the NY Times Best Seller List.

Good book. My mom lent me a couple books that he had written of which I had enjoyed immensely. I recently checked out three of his books from the library.

Right now I am almost finsihed with "Stormy Weather"
 
Last edited:

jaws

BANNED
Messages
1,504
Points
21
BKM said:
Picked up again to actually read this time The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson. Interesting, but his conservative/libertarian politics are a little annoying.
The Diamond Age is pure genius. Stephenson's best book by far. It makes the transition from the near chaos of the world in Snow Crash to a new order based on cultural association.

I know it may be an alien concept to most people, but you have to give this book a chance.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
Who reads something, anything, just for fun? Anyone, anyone?

Sheesh.

I read 4-5 novels a week but why bother mentioning the titles. Normally, mainline ficition in mysteries, southern fiction, etc. Nothing heavy. Nothing ponderous. And nothing impressive. But fun.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,461
Points
29
jaws said:
The Diamond Age is pure genius. Stephenson's best book by far. It makes the transition from the near chaos of the world in Snow Crash to a new order based on cultural association.

I know it may be an alien concept to most people, but you have to give this book a chance.

Yeah. I've found the first few chapters fascinating. I've read up to the point where the one thug gets "taken" by the Ashanti.

Could this world be an interesting extrapolation of the "multicultural" movement taken to its logical extreme? With ideas floated like "Shariah Law" in Canada, that was certainly a trend that could be used to build his world view. Of course, right now there has been a visible pulling back from this trend, but still...a fascinating view of in some cases self-selected culture based nationalities.

That's it. I gotta finish the book.
 

jaws

BANNED
Messages
1,504
Points
21
If anything his thesis is the opposite of multi-culturalism. The people in this world make concious cultural choices, they select the culture they wish to associate with based on its superiority.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,461
Points
29
jaws said:
If anything his thesis is the opposite of multi-culturalism. The people in this world make concious cultural choices, they select the culture they wish to associate with based on its superiority.

Ah. Interesting argument. Wouldn't most people still choose the culture they grow up in? But< I guess it doesn;t have to be like that. You can sorta see his world in the multiple cultures that comingle in modern world metropoli, of course. So again, he's extrapolating "now" to an interesting degree.

In his world, each culture has the "right" even within nation states or geographical regions, to maintain its own cultural traditions with very little State interference and no attempt to meld a unified culture based on geographical regions. That's another type of multiculturalism (see my "Shariah Law" comment).


Whatever you call it, its an interesting concept. Would it not perhaps devolve into a set of armed camps sniping at each other? Or, perhaps I need to just read the book :)
 

jaws

BANNED
Messages
1,504
Points
21
But modern multiculturalism is built on the assumption that no culture is superior to another. Therefore we cannot be offended by sharia law because it is part of an equally valid culture.

The cultural identities in Diamond Age are a lot stronger, but the aim isn't to suppress dissent, but to make it clear that your culture is the superior one. The creation of the Primer is part of this competition. The Lord who orders the Primer wants his grand-daughter to understand why being a Victorian is the best choice by exposing her to an education separate from the rigid formal Victorian schooling, one that promotes creativity, initiative and independent thought. It's a lot like today's Quakers, they let their kids go nuts with modern life hoping they'll come back convinced that Quaker life is preferable.
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,895
Points
27
otterpop said:
Now reading "Skinny Dip" by Carl Hiaasen. Very funny novel that was on the NY Times Best Seller List.

I love Carl Hiaasen's books! Sick Puppy was great. I listened to the audiobook version back when I had a long commute time, then borrowed the book in print from the library so I could read it unabridged. I'm definitely a fan of this kind of satire.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,461
Points
29
jaws said:
It's a lot like today's Quakers, they let their kids go nuts with modern life hoping they'll come back convinced that Quaker life is preferable.

I thought that was the Amish?
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
Mud Princess said:
I love Carl Hiaasen's books! Sick Puppy was great. I listened to the audiobook version back when I had a long commute time, then borrowed the book in print from the library so I could read it unabridged. I'm definitely a fan of this kind of satire.
Try Tim Dorsey, too. Just as strange, and also set in FL.
 

natski

Cyburbian
Messages
2,579
Points
22
Just came back from a lazy holiday on the beach!

Managed to read Zadie Smith's "On Beauty"

Highly recommended!
 

chukky

Cyburbian
Messages
363
Points
12
^ Did you read Zadie Smith's 'White Teeth' ?

Hilarious, side-splitting, rolling-on-the-floor first chapter, followed by fifty-four years, four-hundred and thirty pages, numerous generations, nineteen chapters and countless epic sagas worth of race relations in north London.

Put me off our Ms. Smith somewhat.

But I still think that opening chapter is comedy gold.

So is it worth trying another?
 

natski

Cyburbian
Messages
2,579
Points
22
chukky said:
^ Did you read Zadie Smith's 'White Teeth' ?

Hilarious, side-splitting, rolling-on-the-floor first chapter, followed by fifty-four years, four-hundred and thirty pages, numerous generations, nineteen chapters and countless epic sagas worth of race relations in north London.

Put me off our Ms. Smith somewhat.

But I still think that opening chapter is comedy gold.

So is it worth trying another?

Hmm well this one is definitely not a comedy- more an exploration of relationships between characters, plenty of America/London race relations and a cheating husband.

So i dont know if you will like it- i enjoy the relationships between characters, but the whole race/politics thing gets a bit annoying after a while.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
15,531
Points
60
Rubble: Unearthing the History of Demolition by Jeff Byles

It's pretty good, but the author is a little heavy on the literary devices - metaphors, similes, etc.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,937
Points
39
On a binge right now:

Just finished:

Sittang: The Last Battle , Louis Allen. (A good account of the final battles in Burma at the end of WWII)

Auchinleck :The Lonely Soldier. Biography of Field-Marshal Claude Auchinleck

Ongoing:

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich , Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Up next:

The Making of the Atomic Bomb

Granta No. 92
 

PlannerByDay

Cyburbian
Messages
1,825
Points
24
Just started reading

"Last Child in the Woods" by Richard Louv

A great book. This topic and issues (childrens disconnectedness from the natural environment) is something I find just amazing, frustrating, and sad.
 

ssc

Cyburbian
Messages
209
Points
9
PlannerByDay said:
Just started reading

"Last Child in the Woods" by Richard Louv

A great book. This topic and issues (childrens disconnectedness from the natural environment) is something I find just amazing, frustrating, and sad.

Have you read The Geography of Childhood? Also excellent, and sad. It is one of the reasons we are building a house in the country...
 

Hceux

Cyburbian
Messages
1,028
Points
22
Despite have so many things on a go for school, I'm currently slowly reading What's that pig outdoors?: A Memoir of Deafness by Henry Kisor.

Just in case you're curious, the title, What's that pig outdoors?, is what Henry heard, but what he really should have heard is: "What's that noise outside?".
 

Jen

Cyburbian
Messages
1,702
Points
26
dished I tell you

I am completely dished for the Patrick o'brian series, Master and Commander. I have read two of his books, the first M&C and Far Side of the WOrld. I have seen the Peter Weir Flick three times and have listened to the soundtrack umpteenn times. Now I have to go and get the next book after Far side and then of course HMS Surprise, and on and on.

Also reading Good Debt, Bad Debt. Like Hanson's suggestion to invest in real estate by offering 50% of a property's asking price! that is ballsy!
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,961
Points
31
Just finished reading - the worthing saga - how can author write an interesting cohesive story and in the same collection write utter crap? Card did this in the Ender's Game series as well, some books were great and others completely sucked. Makes it hard to want to buy too many more of his books as you don't know which author showed up.

Starting to read Jim Munroe's Flyboy Action Figure comes with gasmask. The title caught my eye.

Right now I am reading a book a week, almost all new. Need to ge a new book case soon.
 

kjel

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
12,634
Points
44
Brave New World from Aldous Huxley....

Hard to believe that is was written in 1932!
 

illinoisplanner

Cyburbian
Messages
5,334
Points
25
Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal by David Konow

This book is a bible for anyone who likes the hard rock music giants of the 70s and 80s (Aerosmith, Van Halen, GN'R, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Ozzy, Motley Crue, etc.). Filled with so many fascinating stories, tidbits, stories of formation and dissolution, and all the behind-the-scenes stuff you ever wanted to know.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
30,148
Points
74
Jen said:
I am completely dished for the Patrick o'brian series, Master and Commander. I have read two of his books, the first M&C and Far Side of the WOrld. I have seen the Peter Weir Flick three times and have listened to the soundtrack umpteenn times. Now I have to go and get the next book after Far side and then of course HMS Surprise, and on and on.
I am a complete Patrick O'brian junkie. It's probably the only historical fiction I've ever read, but O'brian truly had an anachronistic soul. Did you ever find yourself thinking in 19th century english after a few hours reading those books?

You should read the next book in the series 'Post Captain' to discover the depth to which O'brian immerses the reader. I highly recommend the entire series. I'm currently reading "Reverse of the Medal"

Yes, I own the DVD and the soundtrack. My personal favorite is the Boccherini number (the one that ends the film)
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
I am reading "Wyatt Earp - The Life Behind the Legend". I've been a Wyatt Earp buff since I was a kid. The point in his life after his brother Virgil is wounded and brother Morgan is killed and Wyatt goes on a manhunt after the men he holds reposnsible is a fascinating, true-to-life story that rivals works of fiction. Then, his blood-lust satisfied, he becomes a pretty normal person with a case of wanderlust.
 

CosmicMojo

Member
Messages
543
Points
16
zmanPLAN said:
I agree, I just want to read something to keep me inspired to keep biking... usually if I read something that has to do with what I am doing/interested in, then I will keep at it.
I recommend "Catfish and Mandala : A Two-Wheeled Voyage through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam," by Andrew X. Pham
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,895
Points
27
PlannerByDay said:
Just started reading

"Last Child in the Woods" by Richard Louv

Ooh, glad you mentioned this book. It's one I've been meaning to read, but I lost my "books to read" list! :r:

I'm currently reading "Breaking Trail" by Arlene Blum. She was the leader of what I believe was the first successful women's expedition to the summit of Annapurna in the 1970s. This book is her autobiography, and deals with her becoming a scientist and a mountain climber when there weren't many women in either field.
 

CosmicMojo

Member
Messages
543
Points
16
zmanPLAN said:
Anyone else reading more than one book?
Generally I do 2: one upstairs and one downstairs.
There's nothing worse that being on one floor and your book is on the other, so I just keep one on each floor so I'm always covered and don't have to carry them up and down the stairs.
 

Mtn Woman

Cyburbian
Messages
148
Points
6
CosmicMojo said:
Generally I do 2: one upstairs and one downstairs.
There's nothing worse that being on one floor and your book is on the other, so I just keep one on each floor so I'm always covered and don't have to carry them up and down the stairs.

I take this to the extreme. One in the upstairs bath, one in the downstairs bath, one on my nightstand, one on the coffee table in the living room and a front seat of the car book & a back seat of the car book. Extreme I know but with bad arthritis, I can't always get up to get a book. This is easier & much more entertaining!!:-D
 

kjel

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
12,634
Points
44
Mtn Woman said:
I take this to the extreme. One in the upstairs bath, one in the downstairs bath, one on my nightstand, one on the coffee table in the living room and a front seat of the car book & a back seat of the car book. Extreme I know but with bad arthritis, I can't always get up to get a book. This is easier & much more entertaining!!:-D

I am the same way!
 

Jen

Cyburbian
Messages
1,702
Points
26
Maister said:
Did you ever find yourself thinking in 19th century english after a few hours reading those books?

Upon my word Sir, I wish you joy. Mr. Maister beat to quarters if you please! :-D

My favorite tracks off the CD include the ending number as well as tracks 7,8,and 9 and the big drum and fife sound of "the Battle" (These have been on loan from the library,but I must buy buy buy them). And I even watched the movie with the English subtitles on so i wouldnt miss any dialogue!
 

CosmicMojo

Member
Messages
543
Points
16
Listening to a book on tape or CD is totally valid, but I can't call it reading.
I have a freind who'll say she READ something only to find out she listened to it.
If I did listen to books on tape, I'd make sure to distinguish between that and reading when I talk about books.
It's a totally different experience.
 

CDC

Member
Messages
20
Points
2
Budgie said:
My favorite authors:

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
George Eliot (Sarah Ann Evans)
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Isaac Asimov
John Steinbeck
James Howard Kunstler
Molly Ivins

Nice to see Molly Ivins on there - I've just finished re-reading Nothin' But Good Times Ahead for the umpteenth time and I love it (and her other books) a little more each time.
_______________________
"I think the question now is not whether you went to Vietnam or whether you didn't, whether you fought in the war or fought against the war. I think the only question is whether we can find a president smart enough never to make a mistake like that again." (Molly Ivins)
 

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
26,673
Points
70
The Last Ridge by McKay Jenkins

About the 10th Mountain Division in Italy during WW II.
 

Gedunker

Moderating
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,852
Points
47
I recently started Carl Sandburg's six volume {abridged} Abraham Lincoln.

Sandburg's own skill and love of the language provides a fascinating look at Lincoln's usage of our mother tongue. He did some great research on Lincoln's career as a surveyor and enlightens the reader about many of his lesser-known law cases. I am just now coming to the election of 1860.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
30,148
Points
74
Gedunker said:
I recently started Carl Sandburg's six volume {abridged} Abraham Lincoln.

Sandburg's own skill and love of the language provides a fascinating look at Lincoln's usage of our mother tongue. He did some great research on Lincoln's career as a surveyor and enlightens the reader about many of his lesser-known law cases. I am just now coming to the election of 1860.
I purchased the four 'war years' original unabridged hard bound volumes - cost me a tidy sum. I simply couldn't afford the 'prarie years' volumes. I may break down and buy them for my collection this spring if the local used book store still has them.

What I liked best about Sandburg's portrait is how he was able to convey the fact that Lincoln very consciously cultivated this folksy persona, but was in fact, no less than a political genius. Sandberg never comes out and says that, but he gets that message across quite effectively.

His style of biography is something you don't find in current writers. Historical character assasination appears to be the current rage.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,877
Points
57
CosmicMojo said:
Listening to a book on tape or CD is totally valid, but I can't call it reading.
I have a freind who'll say she READ something only to find out she listened to it.
If I did listen to books on tape, I'd make sure to distinguish between that and reading when I talk about books.
It's a totally different experience.

I agree.

I will often go get a book on cd from the library for when I am traveling or something. If I enjoy it being read to me, I will get the book from the library and read it my self. I have found that every time I have done this, I lean many new things from reading the book and not just listening to it.
 

CosmicMojo

Member
Messages
543
Points
16
michaelskis said:
I will often go get a book on cd from the library for when I am traveling or something. If I enjoy it being read to me, I will get the book from the library and read it my self. I have found that every time I have done this, I lean many new things from reading the book and not just listening to it.

I've never tried a book on tape/CD--I think I might be more easily distracted than if I were reading the book?
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,961
Points
31
Just started "A year in the Merde". As reccomedned by tranplanner. We went and saw a reading by the author.
 
Top