• 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)

estromberg

Cyburbian
Messages
353
Points
14
Boomerang by Michael Lewis

Boomerang details how the financial crisis has affected other countries like Iceland. Michael Lewis is great, I've read and highly recommend his previous books, "The Big Short" and "Liar's Poker". He also wrote Moneyball, but I haven't read it, not a baseball fan.
 

zach2187

Cyburbian
Messages
26
Points
2
Omnivores Dilemma - good read if you are interested in your food and your health and the environment

Shop Class as Soul Craft - good read if you are wondering why a career in the knowledge sector is less fulfilling than you anticipated, yet you enjoy gardening and outdoors activities
 

ofos

Vintage Cyburbian
Messages
8,278
Points
28
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.

Has anybody read "The Nature Principles" by the same author? Heard him interviewed on NPR today and thought I might pick up a copy.
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,895
Points
27
I am thoroughly enjoying The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn. Subtitled Love, Laughter and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School, the book recounts the author's experiences as she fulfills her lifelong dream to train at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.

I love memoirs. And you don't have to be a famous celebrity to craft a good memoir... actually, I find it more interesting to read about the not-so-famous. :D

I didn't realize Richard Louv had a new book out - I'll have to put that one on my list. Thanks, ofos.
 

stroskey

Cyburbian
Messages
1,212
Points
17
Finished Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business last night

Started Hollowing Out the Middle: The Rural Brain Drain and What It Means for America

Next in Line The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
As part of my on-going effort to introduce my son to books I've really enjoyed, I am reading Rendezvous with Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke. This is a really awesome book. It is about the investagation of a space ship so massive that it has its own gravity and weather system. Earthmen, as well as Martians and Hermians (settlers of Mars and Mercury) have a short span of time to investigate before the space ship moves close to the Sun and the astronauts must abandon the mission.
 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
Messages
11,634
Points
52
I borrowed the first book of The Hunger Games from one of my teen-aged nephews on Christmas and started reading it last night. I have been unable to put it down ever since. Knowing it would be virtually silent at work today I may have brought it in with me to glance down and get through a few chapters every now and then. At this rate though, I'll be stopping at the library for book #2 on my way home.
 

fringe

Cyburbian
Messages
635
Points
18
Santa covered me up this year, as I am famously slow.

Have begun Nathaniel Philbrick's "Why Read Moby-Dick?", 2011.

As a fellow Melville-phile I am enjoying this one immediately.

Author claims to have read it at least a dozen times. I came to Moby-Dick only in 2009 after re-reading Billy Budd, Foretopman and assorted stories.

Moby took me a long time but I did really like it.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
After several months on the back burner, I've finally started Charles Mann's"1493: Discovering the New World Columbus Created". Twenty pages and my head is swimming with historical facts.

Today I finished Lev Grossman's "The Magician Kings". It was wonderful. But if you couldn't deal with "Lord of the Rings" or "Harry Potter", don't bother.

BTW, Otterpop, saw your post about "Rendezvous with Rama". I've got a copy around here somewhere, with many of Clarke's other books. I'll have to dig that up.
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,832
Points
25
After several months on the back burner, I've finally started Charles Mann's"1493: Discovering the New World Columbus Created". Twenty pages and my head is swimming with historical facts. . .

I've been nerdily wanting to get that after reading it's predecessor, "1491."

Currently on "The Wilding" by Benjamin Percy about a family's camping trip gone wrong in central Oregon. Should be especially interesting to Western US planners since it also deals with land development issues.
 

kms

Cyburbian
Messages
6,969
Points
48
Seraph on the Suwanee by Zora Neale Hurston. My daughter read it for her Southern Literature class.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
1493, the post-Columbus opus, has to be read in small steps. Even a few pages is overwhelming. Makes me feel stupid about our history. Anyway, as I slowly slog thru that, my diversion is Stephen King's 11/22/63 which I just can't put down. I'm up to page 370 today and maybe halfway through. More post-Columbus tomorrow.
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,895
Points
27
I am reading The Man in the Rockefeller Suit, about the "serial imposter" who last called himself Clark Rockefeller. Fascinating.
 

ofos

Vintage Cyburbian
Messages
8,278
Points
28
Now I'm jumping back into the classics. Just picked up a paperback copy of Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper.

Finished just before Christmas. Thought I was going to die from terminal boredom or choking on hopeless romanticism. I'll pass on his other "classics".

Has anybody read "The Nature Principles" by the same author? Heard him interviewed on NPR today and thought I might pick up a copy.

Haven't gotten to this one yet but am about to finish "Last Child in the Woods". I'm resolved to make sure that my grandson gets the same kind of exposure to nature that I and my son got. He sure won't get it from school or on his computer.
 

dandy_warhol

Cyburbian
Messages
10,386
Points
53
Just began "A Dance with Dragons". I read the last installment so long ago that I can't remember where things stand and who some characters even are. I look forward to reading the book but it is so long that I'm already sad about all the other books I won't be reading while I work my way through this one.
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
For the last four years I have chosen one author whose books I would read at least two of in the course of a year. Past authors have been: Larry McMurtry, Dashiell Hammett, Douglas Adams and Max Brand.

I am trying to decide who will be the recipient of the 2012 The Writer Otterpop Read This Year Award. This year proves to be a challenge. So I am turning to the Throbbing Brain of Cyburbia to give me some suggestions.

2011 was a tough year in the Otterpop den. Two operations and the resulting punishing hospital bills, a pet that had to be put down, a stressful work year, and higher expenses with only a modest COLA are just a few of the problems that has morale pretty low.

So I am looked for a writer who will lift my spirits and make me smile, even better, make me laugh out loud. Let me say up front, Mark Twain is out, only because I am a Twainophile and will probably read him anyway. I am looking for someone new.

Who would you suggest? What books of his or hers would you suggest?


BTW - right now I am reading The Cider House Rules, by John Irving. Yeah, I know, if you are looking for laughs and fun, you immediately think "let's read John Irving." ;) :-c
 

ofos

Vintage Cyburbian
Messages
8,278
Points
28
So I am looked for a writer who will lift my spirits and make me smile, even better, make me laugh out loud. Let me say up front, Mark Twain is out, only because I am a Twainophile and will probably read him anyway. I am looking for someone new.

Who would you suggest? What books of his or hers would you suggest?

You might try something by Jimmy Buffett. Don't know that you'd want to read two in any one year though. Another thought might be to go back and read of one Lewis Grizzard's books.
 

dandy_warhol

Cyburbian
Messages
10,386
Points
53
Who would you suggest? What books of his or hers would you suggest?

David Sedaris. I normally don't laugh out loud while reading but "Me Talk Pretty One Day" had me laughing out loud on the Long Island Rail Road. "Santaland Diaries" or "Naked" are the other two I'd recommend. Given your recent pet loss you may want to skip over the "Youth in Asia" essay in MTPOD.
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
Ah, both are very good suggestions.

You might try something by Jimmy Buffett. Don't know that you'd want to read two in any one year though. Another thought might be to go back and read of one Lewis Grizzard's books.

I do have a copies of A Salty Piece of Land and A Pirate Looks at Fifty on my bookshelf

David Sedaris. I normally don't laugh out loud while reading but "Me Talk Pretty One Day" had me laughing out loud on the Long Island Rail Road. "Santaland Diaries" or "Naked" are the other two I'd recommend. Given your recent pet loss you may want to skip over the "Youth in Asia" essay in MTPOD.

I've loved this guy's stuff from back when he used to write for Esquire. I've read Me Talk Pretty One Day and it was great
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
Tim Dorsey's first 2 books in the Serge series. Although it helps if you're a Floridian when reading them. Ditto, Carl Hiaasen. Both hysterically funny. Or Janet Evanovich's first 2 Stephanie Plum novels.

Ofos's suggestion re Lewis Grizzard is good, too; he was always a hoot.

Or what I always wish someone would get for me, the complete Calvin & Hobbes.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,300
Points
45
Pawnee: The Greatest Town In America by Leslie Knope. ;)

Actually, it's funny. Not laughing your ass off funny, but funny.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
30,812
Points
74
Reading The Northwoods Reader series. Cully Gage (aka Dr. Charles Van Riper) writes about his boyhood growing up in rural UP around the turn of the 20th century.
 

hilldweller

Cyburbian
Messages
3,863
Points
23
Reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. Been looking to scratch it off my list for a while.
 

Whose Yur Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
12,234
Points
49
On my KIndle, "The Rope", the latest Anna Pigeon novel by Nevada Barr.

JNA, got your copy?

Let me know how it is. My dad's got it on order and we are goning to swap books when he finishes it. I've been disappointed with Nevada's last two Anna Pigeon books and the character seems to have run it's course.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
Let me know how it is. My dad's got it on order and we are goning to swap books when he finishes it. I've been disappointed with Nevada's last two Anna Pigeon books and the character seems to have run it's course.

I liked it. It goes back to Anna's first park job shortly after her first husband died, so it's partly an explanation of why she stayed with the park service. As with any similar long series (I'm also thinking about Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt), you look back over the series and think, nobody could possibly get into that many crazy situations and survive them all!
 

Whose Yur Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
12,234
Points
49
I liked it. It goes back to Anna's first park job shortly after her first husband died, so it's partly an explanation of why she stayed with the park service. As with any similar long series (I'm also thinking about Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt), you look back over the series and think, nobody could possibly get into that many crazy situations and survive them all!

Yeah, the series jumped the shark during Winter Study. When she fell into the that freezing water, was under the ice and managed to survive with a case of hypothermia, which she recoved enough from to save the day.:r: You are right about Dirk Pitt. Good thing that the newer books have allowed him to age.
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,895
Points
27
I've been reading a lot lately. I just finished Susan Orlean's book Rin Tin Tin, which was excellent. I knew very little about Rinty except the name, but I had seen good reviews of the book and it sounded interesting. Before that, I read a wonderful novel called A Dog's Purpose, by W. Bruce Cameron.

It wasn't my intention to read books about dogs - it was completely coincidental that I found these two books at the library on the same day. I'm looking forward to reading the newest Nevada Barr book as soon as it's available.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
I've been reading a lot lately. I just finished Susan Orlean's book Rin Tin Tin, which was excellent. I knew very little about Rinty except the name, but I had seen good reviews of the book and it sounded interesting.

Good to hear, I've been thinking about getting that one for RJ and me.

UPS delivered the new Tim Dorsey, "Pineapple Grenade", this evening. First 10 pages, at least 3 laugh out loud moments. I have to pace it so I don't read it all in a day or two.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
Good to hear, I've been thinking about getting that one for RJ and me.

UPS delivered the new Tim Dorsey, "Pineapple Grenade", this evening. First 10 pages, at least 3 laugh out loud moments. I have to pace it so I don't read it all in a day or two.

Well,as usual, I couldn't put it down, and finished it yesterday. Tim Dorsey is certifiable; wish he would show up in the panhandle for a book signing. He keeps promising (I'm not a stalker, I just ASK...)
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
30,812
Points
74
"Onward We Charge: the Heroic story of Darby's Rangers in WW2". I'm about half way through it. A fluid read so far, not at all dry. Fans of military history should love it.
 

Bear Up North

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
9,323
Points
31
"Giant" by Edna Ferber. It reads like poetry. BTW, the 1950s movie was good, too. The flick included Rock Hudson, James Dean, and Elizabeth Taylor. The novel won a Pulitzer. Thinking that reading all the Pulitzer winners might be a good challenge. :)

Bear
 

ofos

Vintage Cyburbian
Messages
8,278
Points
28
"Giant" by Edna Ferber. It reads like poetry. BTW, the 1950s movie was good, too. The flick included Rock Hudson, James Dean, and Elizabeth Taylor. The novel won a Pulitzer. Thinking that reading all the Pulitzer winners might be a good challenge. :)

Bear

Never read "Giant" but watched the movie recently. Bored out of my mind! Just overly dramatic for my taste. I don't know if I can bring myself to try to read the book. I'm finishing Michener's "The Source" and have picked up two Mark Twain classics for my next read(s). "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court", which I've read before and "Life on the Mississippi" which I haven't read.
 

fringe

Cyburbian
Messages
635
Points
18
Denis Johnson's "Train Dreams". A "novella", at 128 pages. Johnson is known for spare prose and very colorful imagery. He did not let me down with this one.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
Just finished "The Red Pyramid" and "The Throne of Fire" by Rick Riordan. Yeah, they're YA books, but the kid and I read his Percy Jackson series and enjoyed it. These were good, too. I've already ordered the 3rd book which will be out in a few months.
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
Never read "Giant" but watched the movie recently. Bored out of my mind! Just overly dramatic for my taste. I don't know if I can bring myself to try to read the book. I'm finishing Michener's "The Source" and have picked up two Mark Twain classics for my next read(s). "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court", which I've read before and "Life on the Mississippi" which I haven't read.

I hope you enjoy "Life on the Mississippi." It is my favorite Twain book. I did not care so much for "The Connecticut Yankee . . ." Now "Puddin'head Wilson." That one I love.

Also "Roughing It." For laugh-out-loud funny, the short story "Buck Fanshaw's Funeral."
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
I just finished The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (baseball and Melville mixed together!)

Now I'm starting The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (Derrida and punk rock!)

I picked up The Marriage Plot at the library the other day and it's slow going; and I normally read really fast. I don't know if I like it yet. If I'll finish or just stop, and I'm only on page 77. I guess all the literary crap makes me think of the pretentious English majors back in the day.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
I picked up The Marriage Plot at the library the other day and it's slow going; and I normally read really fast. I don't know if I like it yet. If I'll finish or just stop, and I'm only on page 77. I guess all the literary crap makes me think of the pretentious English majors back in the day.

There was still too much pretentious literary crap but I did finish the book. Talk about depressing.
 

fringe

Cyburbian
Messages
635
Points
18
William Trevor's "Love and Summer", 2009. Novel set in 1940's Ireland. Prose is spare, lyric. I recommend it highly.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
I finally got around to reading Chad Harbach's "The Art of Fielding". So far, so good. It's partly about baseball, but also about many other things, so I don't know I'll recommend it to baseball fan RJ.
 

fringe

Cyburbian
Messages
635
Points
18
Just finished Andrew Krivak's "The Sojourn", 2011, under 200 pages, about "the forgotten front" of WWI, Italy/Austria.

Told from Austrian side. Think "Farewell to Arms" from other side. First novel, National Book Award nominee. Good writer.
 

Coragus

Cyburbian
Messages
1,295
Points
24
"Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters" by Donald Prothero. I keep it on my desk and read some at lunch-ish time most days.
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
I am reading Philosopher at Large: An Intellectual Autobiography, Mortimer J. Adler's first autobiography. His claim to fame, though his accomplishments were many and varied, was his ability to explain philosophy in ways everyone could understand.

If you haven't read his book Six Great Ideas: Truth-Goodness-Beauty-Liberty-Equality-Justice , maybe you should. Great stuff.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
"The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady" by Elizabeth Stuckey-French. An odd book, about an old woman plotting revenge against a dementia-plagued research doc who subjected her to radioactive experiments in the '50's which she feels resulted in the cancer death of her daughter. It's a novel. Takes place in Tallahassee, in my home state.
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,832
Points
25
Triumph of the City - Edward Glaeser. It may be preaching to the choir for most planners, but its a good book that dispells several myths about cities and urban living.

Exit Ghost - Phillip Roth. Older man moves back to NYC and falls in love with younger woman. I found it to be a very annoying novel that seemed pre-occupied with dropping literary credentials.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
30,812
Points
74
"The Templars: The History and the Myth: From Solomon's Temple to the Freemasons" by Michael Haag
If you happen to be a medieval history buff, by all means check it out. Otherwise, Janet Evanovich probably makes for a better read on the beach.

Just picked up "The Introspective Engineer". This promises to be a far more enlightening, thought-provoking, and entertaining read than 'Templars'
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,843
Points
40
"The Geographer's Library" by Jon Fasman. So far, it's like a slow-paced Da Vinci Code. The title hooked me in. But I'm liking it.
 

Random Traffic Guy

Cyburbian
Messages
644
Points
18
Just finished Hoover Dam: An American Adventure by Joseph Stevens. An engineering history of the project, very similar in style to the classic The Great Bridge by David McCullough. It was worth reading, interesting and apparently comprehensive as a general history, but I just felt there wasn't a lot of meat to it. Nothing wrong, but didn't leave much of an impression. 2 out of 5 on my tough nonfiction scale.

Finished audiobooks of Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy. I don't know what McCarthy has against Mexico, but damn. All of these were slightly more conventional than Blood Meridian, so less of the pretentious BS that would be stupid if it was from anybody but McCarthy. But they didn't have the huge highs of that novel (which gets a rare 5/5 on my tough fiction scale).
All the Pretty Horses gets 3.5 out of 5, very good. Avoid the movie, it's a sad comparison.
The Crossing gets 3 out of 5, good and some amazing moments rivaling Blood Meridian, but too long.
Cities of the Plain gets 3.5 out of 5, a very good melding of the characters that you come to care about. Initally the ensemble cast kind of turned me off compared to his usual solitary protagonists, but it grew on me. I really like seeing stories with people who are very competent, and enjoy working together without drama or BS. This is one reason why I like the movie 300 despite its over the top nature elsewhere.

Highly recommended pulp spy/adventure book: Dead Six by Larry Correia and Mike Kupari. Engrossing military adventure told from viewpoints on either side of some espionage/terrorist schemes.
Larry Correia is emerging an an excellent new novelist on the sci-fi/fantasy side. His Monster Hunter series are great pulp fantasy stories (what if monsters were real, and bouties put on them to keep them supressed and out of public view), and Hard Magic is an excellent alt-history where magic is real and plays a role in world history starting about 1900. All of these rate about a 4/5 from me.
 
Top