• Cyburbia is a friendly big tent, where we share our experiences and thoughts about urban planning practice, the built environment, planning adjacent topics, and anything else that comes to mind. No ads, no spam, and it's free. It's easy to join!

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

Salmissra

Cyburbian
Messages
6,370
Points
37
Just finished Small Favor, the latest J. Butcher novel. I love the Dresden files!

Picked up a couple at the library over the weekend. One Wilbur Smith novel, River God, and the Oxford collection of Fantasy short stories.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
Saving South Beach by M. Barron Stofik. Covers preservationists' efforts, political climate, etc from the early '70's to about 2004. Also has a lot of historical info about the early development of the area. It's very interesting. Not enough photos, though.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,300
Points
45
I'm going to start The Downhill Lie by Carl Hiassen this afternoon. :h:
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,887
Points
26
Your reading it now? Thats one of my favorite books. I have read it many times, first time in high school. I think most people either love it or hate it. I loved it, haven't read it in years, need to pick it back up!

Whenever I hear comments like this I always wonder why in my high school we didn't seem to read any memorable literature. I don't remember a single book I read in high school as a class assignment. I do remember "To Kill a Mockingbird" in 7th grade and "The Scarlet Letter", "Romeo & Juliet" & "Macbeth" in 8th grade.. I think.:-c
 

RPfresh

Cyburbian
Messages
197
Points
7
I'm sure a lot of people have read this, but Jonathon Kozol, Shame of the Nation, about inner-city schools. Powerful stuff.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,300
Points
45
....Sheila Weller's "Girls Like Us". A biography of Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, and Carole King.....
I started it last weekend. How come I never met women like that growing up?
Actually, probably a good thing I didn't as I'd be more messed up than I currently am. :r:
 

TexanOkie

Cyburbian
Messages
2,902
Points
20
I just started Edmund Bacon's Design of Cities. I hear it's good, and after having read the first chapter, it seems like it's an engaging read. Anyone else read it/have an opinion on it?
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
I am reading "No Name on the Bullet" - a biography of Audie Murphy, America's most decorated soldier in World War II and later star of B-westerns. It is utterly amazing how this short and scrawny Texas teenager morphed into the greatest soldier of the Greatest Generation. And how he survived the war, given his conspicious bravery time and time again. The action that won him the Congressional Medal of Honor is so utterly fantastic that you wouldn't believe it, if you didn't know it was true. At one point during the fight, he is calling in artillery support and is asked how close the Germans are. Murphy says, "Just hold the phone. I'll let you talk to one of the bastards."

Murphy is the only actor I know who starred in a movie To Hell and Back about his own true-life action exploits. Of course, the movie cleaned up his language. :p
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,262
Points
30
I picked up a copy of "The Federalist Papers" by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison.
 

wv06

Cyburbian
Messages
104
Points
6
I'm reading a 3-book fantasy series I got for my son. He read two of them in a week; that's gotta be a record. It's the Olympians by Rick Riordan; I guess they'd be Young Adult books. The premise is that the Greek gods are still around and operating in today's world. As civilization has moved west, so have they, so that now Mount Olympus is over the Empire State Building, and the the entrance to Hades is in L.A. It's a Harry Potterish thing, a boy discovers he's a demigod and goes on adventures. I'm enjoying it.

Bought the first one to read to my little brother while he stays with me the next two weeks while the parents are in Europe
We started it Wednesday and are only 150 pages through, we will finish this weekend and if time permits move on to the second

Thanks for the advice we like the book alot so far.. Do you know if the series is over after 3 books or will it continue (I noticed the third is still in Hardback)
 

Tenobkers

Member
Messages
10
Points
1
Just finished: Free For All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library by Don Borchert. It was so good the rest of my coworkers are reading it now -- probably because we always talk about writing a book about the crazy things that happen at work.

Starting to read: American Nerd: The Story of My People by Benjamin Nugent. I feel so dorky but I can't help it. ;-)
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,895
Points
27
I brought a copy of The World Without Us with me on vacation last week, and I'm nearly done. It's definitely thought-provoking... one of the most intriguing books I've read in some time.
 

Gedunker

Moderating
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
12,000
Points
51
Just picked up Eight Lives Down by Chris Hunter. The true story of a British bomb disposal officer's four month tour of duty in southern Iraq, defusing bombs by terrorists that don't play by the Geneva Convention. Fascinating.
 

julkins08

Cyburbian
Messages
38
Points
2
planning fiction

Has anyone read "Bordering on Madness: An American Land Use Tale" by Andrew F. Popper or "Murder & the Comprehensive Plan" by Shel Damsky? Those are on my want-to-read list. I just finished "Life Expectancy" - Dean Koontz and I'm working on "The Hayloft- A 1950s Mystery" - Alan Cook.
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,887
Points
26
Just wrapped up "World Made by Hand" by Kunstler. It was a decent to slightly better than decent read. I did have some unanswered questions towards the end which kinda put me off.

Now to start "The Long Emergency" by Kunstler.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
Bought the first one to read to my little brother while he stays with me the next two weeks while the parents are in Europe
We started it Wednesday and are only 150 pages through, we will finish this weekend and if time permits move on to the second

Thanks for the advice we like the book alot so far.. Do you know if the series is over after 3 books or will it continue (I noticed the third is still in Hardback)

The fourth book came out in early May and between us, we finished it in less than 48 hours. "Gimme, I paid for it!" "Gimme, I'm the kid here!"
 

wv06

Cyburbian
Messages
104
Points
6
The fourth book came out in early May and between us, we finished it in less than 48 hours. "Gimme, I paid for it!" "Gimme, I'm the kid here!"

We went through the first three in a little over a week. Started the 4th one last night. So far I like book 2 the best..
Very entertaining books, makes me want to read up on my Greek mythology
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
Today, I read the AARP magazine that came in the mail yesterday.:-c:-D

I also just finished Lee Childs' new Jack Reacher novel.
 
Messages
4
Points
0
Gaiman's novels & Holocaust lit

Wow! What a huge lot of good recommendations! Here are a few of mine.

I recently read all of Neil Gaimon's novels and really enjoyed them. American Gods and Neverwhere both really delve into the mythology of place, and Stardust was just great. (I have a 14 year old and like to keep up with at least the best of young adult books.)

I just noticed now that my book pile has three Holocaust novels in a row. The Book Thief was very, very good. The Sixth Lamentation was too intricate, given my difficulty in distinguishing the characters from each other, but he had some interesting points about good springing from evil. I have high hopes for A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell, as her first novel, The Sparrow, was one of my all-time favorites.

I've also been reading Augustine of Hippo off and on, and am fascinated by his descriptions of and allusions to life in urban Rome. At one point his lifestyle sounded like something from Friends or Sienfeld. It made me think that urban humans have a lot in common, regardless of what millenium they're from. I think history conspired to make him out to be much more uptight than he really was.
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,895
Points
27
I'm reading the latest J.P. Beaumont novel from author J.A. Jance, Justice Denied. My late uncle, an avid reader and former bookstore owner, introduced me to Jance's work years ago, and I was hooked.
 

jmac

Cyburbian
Messages
234
Points
9
After many recommendations, I finally am reading Michael Pollan's newest book, In Defense of Food. I have really enjoyed the first section, which describes links between the rise of many diseases (diabetes, obesity, etc.) and the adoption of our "Western" diet based on nutritional science. I look forward to reading his other books at some point.
 

dandy_warhol

Cyburbian
Messages
10,304
Points
53
finally getting around to reading the Harry Potter series. i avoided it for years just because of the popularity. but i've been looking for some summer reading and this seems to fit the bill. started HP and the Sorcerer's Stone on Tuesday.
 

amyk

Cyburbian
Messages
129
Points
6
I just picked up Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns yesterday. I loved The Kite Runner, so I'm sure I'll enjoy this one just as much!
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,887
Points
26
Although rather pessimistic, The Long Emergency by Kunstler was a thought provoking read. His book, now about 3 years old, is scarily accurate in terms of predicting our current oil spikes, housing depreciation, and credit crunch.

Now onto: The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby.
 

luckless pedestrian

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,606
Points
56
I just picked up Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns yesterday. I loved The Kite Runner, so I'm sure I'll enjoy this one just as much!

my book club read this and I was equally riveted as I was to The Kite Runner - enjoy :)
 

Monamogolo

Cyburbian
Messages
188
Points
7
The Time Traveller's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger

I am being fascinated by the implications of time travel as seen by two people, one who travels and the other who doesn't. Their paths intersect often through time, but not (surprise) chronologically. The traveller even visits himself at an earlier age while he (the younger) is visiting the non-traveller. Imagine the young women meeting two age-versions of the same man at the same time...
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
I am reading Dashiell Hammett, a biography of the writer who invented Sam Spade and Nick and Nora Charles, as well as the Continental Op. He was one of the pioneers of the hard-boiled detective story.

He was a Pinkerton detective. His experiences as a strike buster in Butte, MT, led him to write his first novel - Red Harvest. He had a short and prolific writer, then never really wrote again. He was also the paramour of author and playwright Lillian Hellman.

I am now up to the 1950's, when he was jailed for not cooperating with the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. Hammett was a Communist and refused to cooperate with Ray Cohn and Sen. McCarthy.
 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
Messages
11,523
Points
52
Over my honeymoon I had time to read a few books while laying by the pool and waiting in airports: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris and Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. Both were great quick reads... perfect when you don't have the time to sit down to a book with 30+ page chapters (incidently, the movie Fight Club seemed to keep it pretty true to the book but now I want to go back and watch it again just to make sure).

Last night I finished reading How to be Good by Nick Hornby (author of About a Boy and High Fidelity) and have to say it was pretty good. It was the first Hornby book I have read but he really gets you into the characters (both the ones you like and the ones you hate).

Now I am waiting for my copy of David Sedaris's When You Are Engulfed in Flames to arrive....
 

RPfresh

Cyburbian
Messages
197
Points
7
Just finished Speed Tribes by Karl Taro Greenfeld, a fast book about Tokyo underculture. I'm reading a short book on the Brazilian Worker's Party then it's on to Gangs in America, an essay collection about...gangs in America.
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,895
Points
27
Back to the non-fiction again, with Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage, by Heather Rogers. Despite the title, it's not one of those "let's see what we can find in the old landfill" books; rather, its focus is on how we've ended up with so much trash and why we handle waste the way we do. I highly recommend it.

From the cover:

Excavating the history of rubbish handling from the 1800s - an era of garbage-grazing urban hogs and dump dwelling rag pickers - to the present, with its high-tech mega-fills operated by multi-billion-dollar garbage corporations, Rogers investigates the roots of today's waste-addicted culture. Gone Tomorrow also explores the politics of recycling, which is popular but has serious limitations and is only a first step toward more fundamental solutions such as reuse and reduction of packaging... [The] book traces the connections between modern industrial production, consumer culture, and our throwaway lifestyle.

It's really quite fascinating, and interesting to read about the influence of various industry groups. Remember that commercial in the '70s with the stereotypical Native American in his canoe, exploring all the litter around him, ending with a close-up of his face and a single tear as the voiceover concludes, "People start pollution. People can stop it"? It was produced by an non-profit organization that served as a front for the packaging industry!
 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
Messages
11,523
Points
52
This past Thursday I had to fly down to Norfolk, VA for a few days and thought that would be a good time to begin a new book so I read Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk. Great book - but not for the faint of heart!

Now I am trying to finish up the graphic novel Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. This is not the kind of stuff I normally read but I am about halfway through it and it's pretty interesting.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
I am being fascinated by the implications of time travel as seen by two people, one who travels and the other who doesn't. Their paths intersect often through time, but not (surprise) chronologically. The traveller even visits himself at an earlier age while he (the younger) is visiting the non-traveller. Imagine the young women meeting two age-versions of the same man at the same time...

I read this a couple years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Not everyone's cup of tea, I guess, since none of my friends picked it up.

Now I am pretty much reading non-descript southern chick lit; funny, lite, summer reading.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
I have said this before, to no effect, so I feel I need to reiterate.

I find it hard to believe that every Cyb who reads a book reads only the Oprah Book Club, NYT Non-Fictions Best-Sellers List, Russian or other foreign authors,or whatever APA is endorsing. Cybs seem to need to make a point that they are reading SERIOUS stuff. From being a former bookstore owner.... to being a planner with a bunch of planner friends who read trash.... come on.

Am I the only Cyb who reads Danielle Steele? No. Tim Dorsey? No. Janet Evanovich? No. I just see a real lack of acknowlegment that people read regular fiction anymore. Is it a brand of shame?
 

Journeymouse

Cyburbian
Messages
440
Points
13
Well, I mostly read science fiction and fantasy, with the occasional venture into "chick-lit". Not to mention that I'm so all over the place with reading that I forget to tell other people what books I've got when I've got them! And, being an idiot, I almost instantly forget titles. I hope no-one does that to me...

Regular short story reads include:
Interzone (bimonthly magazine)
Murky Depths (quarterly magazine - very dark)
PostScripts (quarterly volume)
Strange Horizons (weekly ezine)
The Hub (weekly ezine)

And for those who are interested (this is the plug bit), I have been published in:
The Ranfurly Review, Issue 1 (The Girl From Yesterday)
NeonBeam, Issue 4 (The Ally-Ally-Oh)
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
15,905
Points
60
Reading World War Z by Max Brooks (author of The Zombie Survival Guide)

It's pretty cool, esp. if you like science fiction. It's setup as an oral history of the decade long Zombie War. A series of interviews with participants from around the world recording their individual experiences during the War.
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,887
Points
26
I have said this before, to no effect, so I feel I need to reiterate.

I find it hard to believe that every Cyb who reads a book reads only the Oprah Book Club, NYT Non-Fictions Best-Sellers List, Russian or other foreign authors,or whatever APA is endorsing. Cybs seem to need to make a point that they are reading SERIOUS stuff. From being a former bookstore owner.... to being a planner with a bunch of planner friends who read trash.... come on.

Am I the only Cyb who reads Danielle Steele? No. Tim Dorsey? No. Janet Evanovich? No. I just see a real lack of acknowlegment that people read regular fiction anymore. Is it a brand of shame?

A lot of fiction doesn't interest me. I've tried. Some science fiction is good. Right now, I'm just on an information binge so non-fiction is where I'm at.
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,262
Points
30
I just picked up a timely read... "Just How Stupid Are We? - Facing the truth about the American voter." by Rick Shenkman.
 

luckless pedestrian

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,606
Points
56
LOL ZG - I love Maeve Binchy! does that count? and Barbara, what's her name - she writes great coastal stories...

I am amazed too at how many people in here read planning-related books in their free time - I need a break from what I do for sure ;)
 

dandy_warhol

Cyburbian
Messages
10,304
Points
53
I am amazed too at how many people in here read planning-related books in their free time - I need a break from what I do for sure ;)

heh. during the interview for my previous position i was asked, "what's the last book you read?" my response was "Since I'm still in school I've been mostly reading planning related works. I'm looking forward to being done with school so I can read something other than planning-related." ;-):)

i'm still working on the HP series. i'm up to HP & the Goblet of Fire.
 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
Messages
11,523
Points
52
I am currently reading Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk. This is the third consequtive Palahniuk novel I have read in the last month and I have found his formula for how to tell a story:

Step 1 - open with a horrible person in a horrible situation
Step 2 - jump back to when said horrible person was just a niave shell of their future self
Step 3 - describe the transition



Next in line on my desk to be read: Choke, also by Palahniuk; When You Are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris; The Road - Cormac McCarthy; American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,262
Points
30
Finished - Just How Stupid Are We? by Shenkman
Starting - The Twilight of American Culture by Berman
On the Shelf - Fierce and Gentle Warriors by Sholokhov
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,895
Points
27
Just finished Off the Deep End by W. Hodding Carter. Subtitle: "The probably insane idea that I could swim my way through a midlife crisis - and qualify for the Olympics." Hilarious and fun... I read it in a day and a half. I'm a big fan of the author.
 
Top