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Thread: What are you reading?

  1. #4261
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    Ah. I reviewed Matthiessen's End Of The Earth: Voyage To Antarctica for a travel magazine, years ago--the only book of his I've read. All I remember about my review is that I used the word "overwrought" to describe his writing style. I had some great illustrative examples, as I recall, but we weren't allowed to print quotations because I'd been given an early pre-publication copy.

    Grant Hutchison

  2. #4262
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    His prose is a shade purple, but I’d already read Under the Mountain Wall and Blue Meridian, so I’m kind of used to it.
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
    Every mission makes our dreams reality
    And our destiny begins with you and me
    Through all space and time, the achievement of mankind
    As we sail the sea of discovery, on heroes’ wings we fly!

  3. #4263
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    My name is Roger, and I am addicted to the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series published in the early 1970s.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballan...Fantasy_series

    I'm not a fan of all of these books, but a significant number do appeal to me and I am rereading some. The fantasies of William Morris, William Hope Hodgson, and particularly Clark Ashton Smith are favorites. I have begun to read Xiccarph again.

    Anyone else familiar with this series and its wonderful contents?
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  4. #4264
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    I was aware of the series, but don't think I ever bought one of the books. Of their canon, I've enjoyed Lovecraft, Klarkash-Ton, Poul Anderson, Pratt & de Camp, Rider Haggard, Peake, Tolkien; find Dunsany unreadable; wrote a dissertation, of sorts, on Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros; and have dipped into some of the others but come away with no lasting impression.

    Grant Hutchison

  5. #4265
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    The Worm Ouroboros was one of my favorites, particularly the scene with battling the manticore.

    One problem is that I am driven to collect some of the series (not the entire thing) because I once owned some of the books but lost them in intervening years. I just found Hyperborea and got it for about $20, will be looking for volume 1 of The Night Land and The Sundering Flood in BAF editions.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  6. #4266
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    I've been reading an unauthorized biography of Milton Hershey, and it's fascinating stuff. His father sounds like a real piece of work, too.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  7. #4267
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    I am just about to finish "Staring at God - Britain in the Great War" by Simon Heffer.

    It is not a military history of WW1 but focused on the 'Home Front' especially the political machinations during the war years. It did take me a little time to fully grasp the personalities involved. I knew something about the main players including David Lloyd George & Herbert Asquith - the two wartime Prime Ministers, General Haig. Winston Churchill etc but a lot of them were unfamiliar. It rounds out at a little over 900 pages so I can't precis it in a few lines. However a few highlights include :-

    The absolute mess successive governments made of the situation in Ireland. If they had deliberately tried to make it impossible for a peaceful transition from direct rule they couldn't have made a better job than they did purely by incompetence and a complete lack of sensible policies.

    I knew Lloyd George was perhaps a 'bit shady' but his corruption and backstabbing abilities amazed me. He could certainly work hard but his backroom activities were not very savoury.

    The activities of the newspaper Barons during WW1 make Rupert Murdoch look like a non-interventionist shy figure who eschews political activity or interference.

    Censorship and political suppression was far stronger and more wide ranging than I realised and seems far more overbearing than even that during WW2.

    The wartime work conducted by women decisively swung the political establishment into accepting that they had to be enfranchised.

    By 1918 the UK had virtually exhausted its ability to maintain such a large army in the field and was suffering severe shortages and strike action.

    Altogether a very interesting read which i have found better to dip in to for an hour or so at a time rather than to try to run through it in two or three goes.
    Last edited by ozduck; 2020-Jun-28 at 09:03 AM.

  8. #4268
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    I admit I only dipped and now I must have another go. It was, I think generally acknowledged, a stupid war, stupidly fought in many ways. apart from killing a generation of young men, it ruined Britain, ended the aristocracy and empowered women, many of whom could never marry for lack of men. And of course the way Germany was treated, led to WW2. My grandfather survived it, map making in the desert, but Malaria took many of his fellows. He was a lithographer, on stones, came back to find photolithography had taken over. My other grandfather served in various ships, several of them sunk under him, but he survived too. Coal powered battleships! Now we can visit the Somme in peace but the immaculate cemeteries are sobering, and moving too as they still play the last post,
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  9. #4269
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    I admit I only dipped and now I must have another go. It was, I think generally acknowledged, a stupid war, stupidly fought in many ways. apart from killing a generation of young men, it ruined Britain, ended the aristocracy and empowered women, many of whom could never marry for lack of men. And of course the way Germany was treated, led to WW2. My grandfather survived it, map making in the desert, but Malaria took many of his fellows. He was a lithographer, on stones, came back to find photolithography had taken over. My other grandfather served in various ships, several of them sunk under him, but he survived too. Coal powered battleships! Now we can visit the Somme in peace but the immaculate cemeteries are sobering, and moving too as they still play the last post,
    The book does make strong points about the problems you mentioned including the lack of marriage partners after the war.

    Yes, the Somme Cemeteries certainly had a strong effect on me. In 2011 My wife and I and my Daughter and her Partner stayed in a small village in Picardy - Courcelles-au-Bois. This was so we could visit the grave of my 19 year old Great-Uncle near Loungeval. My daughters partner visited the grave of his 20 or so year old Great Great Uncle. They were buried within about 10 km of each other. We were the first of any of our families to visit them. As you said, superbly maintained but so sad.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #4270
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozduck View Post
    The book does make strong points about the problems you mentioned including the lack of marriage partners after the war.

    Yes, the Somme Cemeteries certainly had a strong effect on me. In 2011 My wife and I and my Daughter and her Partner stayed in a small village in Picardy - Courcelles-au-Bois. This was so we could visit the grave of my 19 year old Great-Uncle near Loungeval. My daughters partner visited the grave of his 20 or so year old Great Great Uncle. They were buried within about 10 km of each other. We were the first of any of our families to visit them. As you said, superbly maintained but so sad.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I am an oldie reader now and in their review of books they cover and Endell Street by Wendy Moore.
    It sounds good with good reviews. About to pioneering women surgeons in WW1 , Breaking taboo is in both medicine and women’s liberation. One reviewer says this is the best book I’ve read about the First World War since Vera Brittain.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  11. #4271
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    I am an oldie reader now and in their review of books they cover and Endell Street by Wendy Moore.
    It sounds good with good reviews. About to pioneering women surgeons in WW1 , Breaking taboo is in both medicine and women’s liberation. One reviewer says this is the best book I’ve read about the First World War since Vera Brittain.
    Thanks for that, it does sound interesting.

  12. #4272
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    Simon and I have been reading a couple of sections of D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths at night. It was one of my favourites at his age, and he's really enjoying it. Enough to go out of his way every night to ask for more and to complain that we don't read enough.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  13. #4273
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    Simon and I have been reading a couple of sections of D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths at night. It was one of my favourites at his age, and he's really enjoying it. Enough to go out of his way every night to ask for more and to complain that we don't read enough.
    One of my childhood favorites as well, and still the best youth (if not the best overall) introduction to Greek Mythology in my opinion.
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
    Every mission makes our dreams reality
    And our destiny begins with you and me
    Through all space and time, the achievement of mankind
    As we sail the sea of discovery, on heroes’ wings we fly!

  14. #4274
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    Don't Be Evil is what I'm currently reading.

  15. #4275
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    I am an oldie reader now and in their review of books they cover and Endell Street by Wendy Moore.
    It sounds good with good reviews. About to pioneering women surgeons in WW1 , Breaking taboo is in both medicine and women’s liberation. One reviewer says this is the best book I’ve read about the First World War since Vera Brittain.
    I was just down at my local library and a saw a book that looked interesting and had just decided to borrow it when I realised that it was in fact Endell Street as recommended by you! It does indeed look like it will be a good read. Part of my initial reason to take it out was that I thought my wife, an ex-nurse, would also be interested.

    Rest assured a Book Report will be posted.

  16. #4276
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    Currently, I'm reading through Kevin Hand's "Alien Oceans" and I've got Kathryn Sullivan's "Handprints on Hubble" up next.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

  17. #4277
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini View Post
    Currently, I'm reading through Kevin Hand's "Alien Oceans" and I've got Kathryn Sullivan's "Handprints on Hubble" up next.
    I wanted to get "Alien Oceans" but was concerned the science might have already been outmoded by recent papers and discoveries. Your impressions of the book?
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  18. #4278
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    My current "top six" books to read...

    So You Want to Talk about Race, by Ijeoma Oluo
    Wow, No Thank You, by Samantha Irby
    We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, by Samantha Irby
    The Heroes of the Greeks, by C. Kerenyi
    Hyperborea, by Clark Ashton Snith
    but mainly
    A Brief History of Time (revised edition), by Stephen Hawking. I understand about 5% of this book and have some idea of what 50% of it is about. I am comparing it to Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker and have found some interesting similarities.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  19. #4279
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    So You Want to Talk about Race, by Ijeoma Oluo
    Wow, No Thank You, by Samantha Irby
    Highly amusing - intentionally?
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  20. #4280
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    Highly amusing - intentionally?
    Oops, didn't even see that. Irby is a comedy writer, though. Oluo's book is superb, actually helpful.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  21. #4281
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    I wanted to get "Alien Oceans" but was concerned the science might have already been outmoded by recent papers and discoveries. Your impressions of the book?
    From my layman's point of view, I've been enjoying it so far.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

  22. #4282
    Reading a paper about tidal heating from the moon and there are references to George Darwin (Chucks son) and Sagan.
    From the wilderness into the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.
    https://davidsuniverse.wordpress.com/

  23. #4283
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    A friend bought me The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration, by Isabel Wilkerson, and it's fascinating. And horrifying, of course. It's the story of the black migration out of the South starting in about 1910.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

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