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Culture Forum

  1. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    09 Sep '13 14:55
    Alright, it's time for another thread on books. Yes, books. Let's take a look at what people have been reading this year and see what interesting titles they've selected. Thanks to goodreads.com I have a nice list of books I've read this year. And here they are:

    1. The Elite Consensus: When Corporations Wield The Constitution
    -George Draffan
    2. Hutterite Beginnings: Communitarian Experiments during the Reformation
    -Werner O. Packull
    3. Life's Pleasures: The Ashcan Artists' Brush With Leisure, 1895-1925
    -James Tottis
    4. Pandora's Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization
    -Spencer T. Wells
    5. The Articles of Confederation: An Interpretation of the Social-Constitutional History of the American Revolution, 1774-1781
    -Merrill Jensen
    6. Thomas Müntzer: A Tragedy of Errors
    -Eric W. Gritsch
    7. The Ultimate Guide to Permaculture
    -Nicole Faires
    8. What Technology Wants
    -Kevin Kelly
    9. Too Smart for Our Own Good: The Ecological Predicament of Humankind
    -Craig Dilworth
    10. The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories
    -Ernest Hemingway
    11. Green Mars (Mars Trilogy, #2)
    -Kim Stanley Robinson
    12. Painting Life: The Art of Pieter Bruegel, the Elder
    -Robert L. Bonn
    13. The Bird: The Life and Legacy of Mark Fidrych
    -Doug Wilson
    14. The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945
    -Rick Atkinson
    15. Gilbert and George: Obsessions and Compulsions
    -Robin Dutt
    16. Post-Scarcity Anarchism
    -Murray Bookchin
    17. Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda
    -Noam Chomsky
    18. The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality
    -Richard Heinberg
    19. What Matters?: Economics for a Renewed Commonwealth
    -Wendell Berry

    So what sort of stuff have you read?
  2. 09 Sep '13 16:50
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Alright, it's time for another thread on books. Yes, books. Let's take a look at what people have been reading this year and see what interesting titles they've selected. Thanks to goodreads.com I have a nice list of books I've read this year. And here they are:

    1. The Elite Consensus: When Corporations Wield The Constitution
    -George Draffan
    2. Hutter ...[text shortened]... or a Renewed Commonwealth
    -Wendell Berry

    So what sort of stuff have you read?
    Little Women
    -Louisa May Alcott
    Shrapnel
    -William Wharton
    Flying Visits
    -Clive James
    two collections of P.G. Wodehouse short stories
    The Martian Chronicles
    - Ray Bradbury
    selections from Britain's 100 Favourite Poems and the Oxford Anthology of English Poetry
    The Xenophobe's Guide to the English
    The Grass is Singing
    -Doris Lessing
    Gulliver's Travels
    -Jonathan Swift
    Heart of Darkness
    -Joseph Conrad
    Unreliable Memoirs
    -Clive James

    Various others abandoned or unfinished.
  3. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    09 Sep '13 17:11
    Originally posted by NoEarthlyReason
    Little Women
    -Louisa May Alcott
    Shrapnel
    -William Wharton
    Flying Visits
    -Clive James
    two collections of P.G. Wodehouse short stories
    The Martian Chronicles
    - Ray Bradbury
    selections from Britain's 100 Favourite Poems and the Oxford Anthology of English Poetry
    The Xenophobe's Guide to the English
    The Grass is Singing
    -Doris Lessing
    Gulliv ...[text shortened]...
    -Joseph Conrad
    Unreliable Memoirs
    -Clive James

    Various others abandoned or unfinished.
    How did you like Gulliver's Travels? I've never gotten around to reading that one yet.
  4. 09 Sep '13 19:19
    Originally posted by rwingett
    How did you like Gulliver's Travels? I've never gotten around to reading that one yet.
    I found it quite hard going. It was interesting for its status than for the story itself. I couldn't imagine myself as a contemporary reader, partly because I don't know much at all about the author's time period. It's hard not to judge it by today's standards – by which it seemed extremely stuffy and stodgy. It felt as if there were about a hundred commas in each sentence, which broke up the narrator's voice into very unnatural sounding English. I found it hard to like Swift, too, although he wrote some quite funny passages here and there. He is painfully scatological much of the time, and seems to have a high opinion of himself. I suppose I just about liked it overall because I gave it 3 stars, but I'm in no hurry to reread it.
  5. Standard member Bosse de Nage
    Zellulärer Automat
    10 Sep '13 07:52
    Originally posted by rwingett
    How did you like Gulliver's Travels? I've never gotten around to reading that one yet.
    Scabrous, uncompromising satire of the Voice of Reason. Like Sade without the boring orgies. Crack of the wit in every sentence.

    His contemporary Laurence Sterne's well worth reading. Tristram Shandy. It's unputdownable because it never ends ...
  6. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    10 Sep '13 11:21
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Scabrous, uncompromising satire of the Voice of Reason. Like Sade without the boring orgies. Crack of the wit in every sentence.

    His contemporary Laurence Sterne's well worth reading. Tristram Shandy. It's unputdownable because it never ends ...
    That's the general impression I've gotten. I'll have to put it on my short list.
  7. 11 Sep '13 00:31
    Currently reading Aesop's Fables and As We Know It by Marek Kohn. And 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in French. Difficult as I am not a French speaker, but at least some of the words are the same in English so I have a fighting chance.
  8. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    11 Sep '13 01:29
    Originally posted by NoEarthlyReason
    Currently reading Aesop's Fables and As We Know It by Marek Kohn. And 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in French. Difficult as I am not a French speaker, but at least some of the words are the same in English so I have a fighting chance.
    I checked out a German language edition of Kafka's stories earlier this year in an attempt to strengthen my German. It didn't work out so well.
  9. 11 Sep '13 01:37 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by rwingett
    I checked out a German language edition of Kafka's stories earlier this year in an attempt to strengthen my German. It didn't work out so well.
    Well, from what I remember, Kafka is hard to follow in English, but rewarding if you can. I have Le Petit Prince as a fallback.
  10. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    11 Sep '13 14:50
    Anyone else? Are the rest of you a bunch of illiterate hillbillies?
  11. 11 Sep '13 15:42
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Anyone else? Are the rest of you a bunch of illiterate hillbillies?
    I'm currently reading The Luzhin Defence by Nabokov after reading some of his short stories, and so will pose the question whether anyone has any chess orientated literature they would recommend. I prefer Nabokov's short stories to the Luzhin Defence but I would recommend Chess, a short story by Stefan Zweig which is superb.

    I recently read Penguins Stopped Play by Harry Thompson which was very good, and funny, and bought a collection of Ernest Hemmingway's short stories but haven't got round to reading any yet.

    I've read all Kafka's works and am a big fan, and my favourite author is Knut Hamsun (just in case anyone wants to know).
  12. 30 Sep '13 14:51
    Steinbeck's Cannery Row
  13. 30 Sep '13 15:35
    Originally posted by NoEarthlyReason
    I found it quite hard going. It was interesting for its status than for the story itself. I couldn't imagine myself as a contemporary reader, partly because I don't know much at all about the author's time period. It's hard not to judge it by today's standards – by which it seemed extremely stuffy and stodgy. It felt as if there were about a hundred ...[text shortened]... ppose I just about liked it overall because I gave it 3 stars, but I'm in no hurry to reread it.
    Personally I found Gulliver's Travels one of the most accessible and engaging of eighteenth-century novels. Swift's fantasy is still suggestive and satirically acute. The prose style is somewhat alien to modern conventions, but one just needs to accept that.

    I've never managed to read Tristram Shandy, but enjoyed the much shorter Sentimental Journey. Of other eighteenth-century novelists, Defoe is a mixed bag; Robinson Crusoe is ponderous and plodding, but the two novels about villainous women, Moll Flanders and Roxana, are impressive in psychological perception and sophisticated in narration. Richardson is slightly hard-going, at least to judge by Pamela (I've not tried Clarissa), although the first half of Pamela, with the heroine held captive by her master, is quite eerie and perverse in theme, like a kind of early horror film.

    Fielding is a delight. Tom Jones and Joseph Andrews are both superb, robust comic works, still funny and charming after more than 250 years.
  14. Standard member KellyJay
    Walk your Faith
    01 Oct '13 05:40
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Alright, it's time for another thread on books. Yes, books. Let's take a look at what people have been reading this year and see what interesting titles they've selected. Thanks to goodreads.com I have a nice list of books I've read this year. And here they are:

    1. The Elite Consensus: When Corporations Wield The Constitution
    -George Draffan
    2. Hutter ...[text shortened]... omics for a Renewed Commonwealth
    -Wendell Berry

    So what sort of stuff have you read?
    Have you read, "Watership down"?
    Kelly
  15. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    28 Oct '13 14:51
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    Have you read, "Watership down"?
    Kelly
    No, I haven't. I probably should one of these days, though.