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

Whose Yur Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
12,193
Points
48
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.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
30,677
Points
74
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.
 

fringe

Cyburbian
Messages
635
Points
18
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."
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
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.
 

Whose Yur Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
12,193
Points
48
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.
 

Jazzman

Cyburbian
Messages
705
Points
17
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.
 

Jazzman

Cyburbian
Messages
705
Points
17
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.
 

Jp05

Cyburbian
Messages
46
Points
2
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.
 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
Messages
11,552
Points
52
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.
 

ofos

Vintage Cyburbian
Messages
8,278
Points
28
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.
 

kms

Cyburbian
Messages
6,942
Points
47
Driven West Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears to the Civil War by A. J. Langguth.
 

Joe Iliff

Reformed City Planner
Messages
1,435
Points
29
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.
 

Salmissra

Cyburbian
Messages
6,377
Points
37
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.
 

ebo

Cyburbian
Messages
25
Points
2
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 :)
 

sidewalkbob

Member
Messages
1
Points
0
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.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,300
Points
45
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.)
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
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.
 

ofos

Vintage Cyburbian
Messages
8,278
Points
28
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

Somehow never got around to reading this in high school or college.
 

dandy_warhol

Cyburbian
Messages
10,331
Points
53
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.
 

wahday

Cyburbian
Messages
3,959
Points
23
"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.
 

emuowens

Member
Messages
1
Points
0
Some for class, some for fun

Fun:
Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins
Me of Little Faith by Lewis Black
Downsize This! by Michael Moore

Class:
Evidence and Procedures for Boundary Location
Boundary Control and Legal Principles
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,945
Points
39
England's Last War Against France: Fighting Vichy 1940-1942 by Colin Smith. Excellent read on a little-known part of World War II.
 

fringe

Cyburbian
Messages
635
Points
18
CG Jung's lectures on Kundalini Yoga.

Part of the Bollingen Series, so it is authentic, about a seminar given in Zurich in fall of '32, by Jung and an "Indianologist". Half the book is Introduction, and a tenth is Appendix. So scholarly the footnotes are footnoted to the appendix. Reads like a documentary on the production of a rock festival. Very good in its way.
 

RPfresh

Cyburbian
Messages
197
Points
7
Got a few books lined up, if any of you are down to read/discuss them it'd be sick to get a little community going.

Favela: Four Decades of Living on the Edge in Rio de Janeiro by Janice Perlman

Arabic-Islamic Cities: Building and Planning Principles by Besim S. Hakim

The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed by Michael Meyer

Anyone interested PM me. Look for upcoming review/discussion on the boards.
 

jestes

Cyburbian
Messages
230
Points
9
Planning related, not much since I just finished studying for the CEP exam...I'll pick something up planning related in the next couple of weeks. Non-planning related, Dean Koontz. I just finished book four of the Frankenstein series and am currently reading The Face while I am waiting on an opportunity to pick up book five of the Frankenstein series. It was due out on Tuesday but haven't had a chance to get it yet.
 

whittx

Member
Messages
61
Points
4
I have a pile of stuff on my shelf

but the books I've been focusing on for the last week or so are Edward Glaeser's Triumph of the City and Alexandra Robbins' The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth.
 

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
26,984
Points
71
Work related -FEMA (IS 703) Independent Study - Resource Mangement in incident command

Fun - James Hornfischer's Neptune Inferno - The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal.

There might a relationship thread there somewhere.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I had my doubts but that's because I'm not much of a reader of non-fiction, but it was fascinating. A mixture of science, medical ethics, the story of a poor African-American family in Baltimore over many decades, and the young writer who became obsessed with learning Henrietta's story. Henrietta died in 1951 and tissue from her tumor biopsy became the first ever cell line grown successfully in a lab but her family didn't know for decades that it was a huge commercial business.
 

ofos

Vintage Cyburbian
Messages
8,278
Points
28
Oliver Wiswell by Kenneth Roberts. It's a historical novel about a Loyalist during the Revolutionary War so it treats that time period from a different perspective. I had relatives on both sides of that war.

Also working my way through a six volume set,The Library of Pioneering and Woodcraft by Ernest Thompson Seton, the founder of Boy Scouting in the United States. One of the volumes, Two Little Savages, has been a household staple for three generations in my family.
 

wahday

Cyburbian
Messages
3,959
Points
23
The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. All about the environmental disaster that was the Dust Bowl in panhandle TX, OK, parts of Kansas and NM. Man, how depressing! But also fascinating and Egan is a good writer. Sort of a journalist turned prose writer. All the characters and stories are true, but he tells it more like a narrative.

Consider: 80 million acres of sod (which had developed over about 20,000 years) turned for wheat production in about 5 years. Then the drought hit and it all blew away. And it was the Depression. People had nowhere to go and many were living in dugouts and dying of dust pneumonia. In some areas, not a single thing grew for up to 7 years - no blade of grass or leaf on a tree. One family subsisted for 2 years on pickled tumbleweed and yucca root. Later, the county sherrif started collecting dead livestock (many of which simply choked to death on dirt) and sold the useable meat. Most folks pickled that, too, as it was the only way to preserve it.

If you think we have it hard now, this book will show you just how much deprivation people can take. A good read for natural resource planners.

I thought about this book when I heard about Phoenix's dust storm yesterday...
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
RJ and I just read "Lost in Shangri-La" by Mitchell Zuckoff, true story about the rescue of survivors of a military plane crash from a remote valley in New Guinea in WWII. Very interesting story, and one we'd never heard of before.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,300
Points
45
Heading out to the pool to read Take Me Out to the Ballpark - An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhall. I like books with lots of pictures.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
"The Big Roads: the Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways" by Earl Swift. Written for the layperson, but also very interesting for planners. I learned a lot. It makes you wonder how the first motorists in the US ever managed to get anywhere.
 

ThePinkPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
365
Points
12
I'm currently on the second book in the Outlander series, Dragonfly in Amber. The first was primarily a love story (though well-written with thorough character development), but the second is proving to be very interesting historical fiction (Scotland 1745).
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
I'm reading The Glass Key, by Dashiell Hammett, This is the last of his novels I had not read. Supposedly his favorite.

Also been reading The Fabulous Riverboat to my son. We should finish it tonight.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
"Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time" by Mark Adams.

NYC writer who had never does anything particularly adventurous decides to follow in the footsteps of Hiram Bingham's expedition that "discovered" Machu Picchu. Highly entertaining. Interweaves Adams's trip with Bingham's life and a bit of Inca history.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,300
Points
45
"The Big Roads: the Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways" by Earl Swift. Written for the layperson, but also very interesting for planners. I learned a lot. It makes you wonder how the first motorists in the US ever managed to get anywhere.

I started this over last weekend. A good read. Highly recommended.
 

Salmissra

Cyburbian
Messages
6,377
Points
37
"Ghost Story" by Jim Butcher. It's the latest in the Dresden Files. I'm about 1/2 way through, and it's great so far! I can't bring it to work - I did on Monday and got caught up and read for 2 hours! :-$

I also have Edward Glaeser's "Triumph of the City" lined up for a more work-related read. And it looks like "The Big Roads" gets two thumbs up, so I'll see if the library has it.
 

Salmissra

Cyburbian
Messages
6,377
Points
37
RJ and I just read "Lost in Shangri-La" by Mitchell Zuckoff, true story about the rescue of survivors of a military plane crash from a remote valley in New Guinea in WWII. Very interesting story, and one we'd never heard of before.

This author was on the Daily Show a while back. The book sounds fascinating.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,300
Points
45
"The Big Roads: the Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways" by Earl Swift. Written for the layperson, but also very interesting for planners. I learned a lot. It makes you wonder how the first motorists in the US ever managed to get anywhere.

Between t-storms, taking pictures of the misters and posting the pics, I started this one. Ya'll should read this one.
 
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