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Book thread: what are you reading?


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15 minutes ago, Oxford said:

I'm reading Cris by Laurent Gaude  &  Le Grand Meaulnes  by Alain Fournier

Cris is about WW1 and has all the elements of AQOTWF and more. Amazing read!

Thanks for that I'm going to look these up .......

To Die in spring is set in the final months of world war two. Two young farm hands, barely out of school are persuaded to join the waffen as. It moves between then and the 1980s and tells us how experience can effect not just ourselves but those who come after us. I can strongly relate to this.

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6 hours ago, JDINTHEHIZZOUSE said:

I haven't had much time to read any books as of late due to work,I have however,sated my thirst on various longform journalism articles. Sites like epicmagazine.com and longform.org give you access to well written true life articles from various sources like the Atlantic,rolling stone etc. these sites are great for short reads, my personal favourites being"pippino,the gentleman thief" and "Argo"

Using these regularly now and had some real insights into Trump and tangentially Brexit through articles from the New Yorker - Thanks once again.

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For the Nth time The Magus by John Fowles, which strangely enough has several themes which also appear in Le Grand Meaulnes.

 

"Freedom without socialism is privilege and injustice, socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality" - Mikhail Bakunin

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After reading a few other books (mainly revisiting some John O'Grady titles), I have returned to Paul Theroux's anthology Sunrise with Seamonsters. Still excellent writing.

Edited by Futtocks

"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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12 hours ago, Phil said:

For the Nth time The Magus by John Fowles, which strangely enough has several themes which also appear in Le Grand Meaulnes.

 

I loved the Magus but what do those two have in common?

And It's amazing how often you can return to a book like it's an old friend - one that's always in when you call round, obviously.

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Saintslass said:

I have just finished reading The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.  It is one of the most moving books I have ever read and I would really recommend it - for adults and children.

Agreed. An incredible book.

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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Glue by Irving Welsh, follows a gang of friends from childhood into their adult years. 

The characters aren't all sympathetic, a couple of them are downright horrible but at the end it's strangely life affirming 

"Freedom without socialism is privilege and injustice, socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality" - Mikhail Bakunin

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On 05/09/2017 at 8:34 PM, Saintslass said:

I have just finished reading The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.  It is one of the most moving books I have ever read and I would really recommend it - for adults and children.

Not read the book but the film was very good 

"Freedom without socialism is privilege and injustice, socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality" - Mikhail Bakunin

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1 hour ago, Flagedgetouch said:

Currently reading The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell. 

Not great literature IMO but does have some very good expositions of how a socialist society could actually work.

"Freedom without socialism is privilege and injustice, socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality" - Mikhail Bakunin

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My mum has just sent me a copy of No is not enough by Naomi Klein, so that's probably next on the reading list.

"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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1 hour ago, Johnoco said:

How do you mean not great literature mate? I think it's very well written and makes the points well.

Like I said it's just my opinion but to me the narrative doesn't flow too well and the characters are a bit one dimensional, but yeah it's makes the points well 

"Freedom without socialism is privilege and injustice, socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality" - Mikhail Bakunin

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46 minutes ago, Phil said:

Like I said it's just my opinion but to me the narrative doesn't flow too well and the characters are a bit one dimensional, but yeah it's makes the points well 

Fair enough but I felt the. Characters were well presented and not just random workers. A good bit about their home life and what makes them as they are. ie Owen and his wife's struggles and his efforts to enlighten his workmates. Crass and his crawling to the management. In fact, I might read it again!

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On 23/08/2017 at 9:30 AM, Tongs ya bas said:

To Die in spring is set in the final months of world war two. Two young farm hands, barely out of school are persuaded to join the waffen as. It moves between then and the 1980s and tells us how experience can effect not just ourselves but those who come after us. I can strongly r...elate to this.

 

Edited by Billypop
Deleted - irrelevant.
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6 hours ago, Phil said:

Not great literature IMO but does have some very good expositions of how a socialist society could actually work.

I'm only around 80 pages in so it's too soon to make a diagnosis just yet. It's very descriptive - not unusual in novels of the period - but I don't mind that too much. So in that sense I guess it is pretty conventional when compared to say; Flaubert or Dostoevsky or Joyce (a more direct comparison) but once you are past the contents page it's pretty obvious it's more than just a novel. And despite being written over a hundred years ago it is extremely relatable; I worked on a factory for 12 years; I recognise those people! Reading the obscurer (sun) knowing little of politics but always having an inane opinion - usually one sponsored by murdoch! I've literally had those conversations and then given up in disgust so it's pretty cleverly written from that perspective although the levels of satire are deliberately overplayed I feel. 

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I am currently reading for the second time The Coldest Winter by David Hamberstam about how America was sucked into the Korean War; how the American Army had been dismantled after 1945 and was in no fit state to act as the worlds Policeman; and a detailed i sight into the protaganists.

It is illuminating how the American Army, especially McArthur denigrated the fighting ability of the North Korean army ..... so nothing much has changed over the last 60 years or so!

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21 minutes ago, Adelaide Tiger said:

I am currently reading for the second time The Coldest Winter by David Hamberstam about how America was sucked into the Korean War; how the American Army had been dismantled after 1945 and was in no fit state to act as the worlds Policeman; and a detailed i sight into the protaganists.

It is illuminating how the American Army, especially McArthur denigrated the fighting ability of the North Korean army ..... so nothing much has changed over the last 60 years or so!

Also, if they had stayed out of the Chinese civil war instead of backing the Kuomintang and Chang Kai Shek and had allowed china to take a seat in the UN Security Council they may never have been forced to fight the PLA as well. China would in all likelihood have stayed out of the war (it was a risk that Mao took extremely reluctantly and only when he thought every other possibility had been exhausted) and the landings at Inchon and subsequent northern thrust by the US marines would have forced the North Koreans to retreat to the Yalu only without Chinese support; almost certainly leading to their surrender or annihilation by Allied forces. Thus avoiding another two years of war (including numerous documented atrocities on both sides) 

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Just finished "Game of Thrones" George RR Martin - yes, I've watched the HBO TV series and started  the books - so now I'm onto "A Clash of Kings"

I'm also reading "Born to Run" by Bruce Springteen - hes an excellent writer and the book is probably the best rock autobiog I've read.

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On 9/9/2017 at 0:11 PM, Flagedgetouch said:

Also, if they had stayed out of the Chinese civil war instead of backing the Kuomintang and Chang Kai Shek and had allowed china to take a seat in the UN Security Council they may never have been forced to fight the PLA as well. China would in all likelihood have stayed out of the war (it was a risk that Mao took extremely reluctantly and only when he thought every other possibility had been exhausted) and the landings at Inchon and subsequent northern thrust by the US marines would have forced the North Koreans to retreat to the Yalu only without Chinese support; almost certainly leading to their surrender or annihilation by Allied forces. Thus avoiding another two years of war (including numerous documented atrocities on both sides) 

Interesting to compare present day Vietnam (where the Americans lost) with North Korea (no-score draw.) The main streets of Ho Chi Minh City are lined with shops selling multi-national brands, american chain stores etc while the young, well educated urban population rushes off to work for businesses that mostly export to the western world. 

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9 hours ago, JonM said:

Interesting to compare present day Vietnam (where the Americans lost) with North Korea (no-score draw.) The main streets of Ho Chi Minh City are lined with shops selling multi-national brands, american chain stores etc while the young, well educated urban population rushes off to work for businesses that mostly export to the western world. 

Indeed, it is also experiencing a massive upsurge in its tourist industry. Korea was a mess made by Truman and compounded by McCarthy. It's also interesting to look at Japan and see the often brutal repression of the trade union movement there by US backed governments in the 60s and 70s (seriously there are some YouTube videos of strikes in Japan in the 70's that make orgreave look like a vicars tea party) And also in the Philippines - where a civil war with communist Guerillas rages to this day. Vietnam can still call itself a socialist republic though, despite the westernisation whereas NK despite being called communist by the media is a hereditary autocracy that removed all mention of socialism from its constitution in the late 60's. 

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Currently reading Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers by Robert Sapolsky, and Happy by Derren Brown. Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers is a really interesting book written by a professor of biology and neurology, and is all about how stress is an evolutionary response to threats to our survival and the physiological effects of this, and then the implications for the chronic stress we face in modern society. Some really interesting concepts in this book discussed such as the intergenerational transmission of low birth weight, although I haven't yet got to the book where any practical recommendations are made.

Happy by Derren Brown is pretty good. He generally explores some changing concepts of happiness, first looking at the Stoics and Epicureans and also some more modern theories. There seems to be a lot of applicable stuff and it also gives you a reasonable background in philosophy, although some of the chapters are a bit challenging.

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