Amph What book are you reading right now?

Discussion in 'Community' started by droideka27, Aug 31, 2005.

  1. RC-1991 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2009
    star 4
    Yep, "Living and Dying in Medieval Europe". It's a phenomenal class, but this particular book isn't exactly engaging.
  2. SWpants Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2004
    star 4
    Going to start Between the Plums by Janet Evanovich today. It has three Stephanie Plum stories in it
  3. LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Games Mod

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2002
    star 8
    I used to read her books, and I have a few in the 'to read' pile. I kinda went off the character for awhile.

    Got two books going - The Lewis Man by Peter May (mystery) and The Histories by Herodotus (classic/non fiction). The latter is a 'curiousity' read and is pretty interesting.
  4. morrison85 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 13, 2005
    star 5
    crying strengthens the lungs and 99 other parental misconceptions.
  5. Winged_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 4
    Just finished The Man In The High Castle by Philip K Dick. Much more than it initially appeared to be. I don't quite know how I felt at the end- not good, not bad, but changed somehow. I'm going through a very enjoyable spell right now where every book I read immediately finds a place in my personal pantheon of favourites (I have a feeling that's going to happen with my current book, too- Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson).
    Frank T. likes this.
  6. A Chorus of Disapproval New Films Riot Deterrent

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2003
    star 7
    I am navigating through 2 barely relatable books at the moment:

    THE SICARII IN JOSEPHUS'S JUDEAN WAR: RHETORICAL ANALYSIS AND HISTORICAL OBSERVATIONS by Mark andrew Brighton

    and the utterly unrelated in any possible way other than being bound and printed in ink on paper...

    NO TRAVELER RETURNS: THE LOST YEARS OF BELA LUGOSI by Gary D Rhodes
  7. Kiki-Gonn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 26, 2001
    star 6
    I am definitely reading that then. I love me some Punic Wars and became interested in Carthage (and Phoenicea) as a result.
    Oddly enough I was at Lake Trasimene just last week (LOL).

    So I finished Game Change on my trip and finally started A Song of Fire and Ice (aka Game of Thrones). It's the first Fantasy book I've read in a long time and am really enjoying it.
  8. RC-1991 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2009
    star 4
    Excellent. I'm slightly jealous of you, actually; you are experiencing your first ASOIAF read-through. I'm doing my best to live vicariously through one of my roommates, who just finished AGOT for the first time.

    And I'm definitely jealous about the Lake Trasimene visit.
  9. A Chorus of Disapproval New Films Riot Deterrent

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2003
    star 7
    "I'm with you, too"! - Luke

    Anything Carthaginian is my preference, but I do tend to read up on all related/conflicting cultures from that period. Hence, the blessedly tedious book I listed above.
  10. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    Cadillac Desert (1993) - Marc Reisner

    [IMG]

    In the West, of course, where water is concerned, logic and reason have never figured very prominently in the scheme of things. As long as we maintain a civilization in a semidesert with a desert heart, the yearning to civilize more of it will always be there.

    The simple need for water is incontrovertible. We will, quite simply, die without enough of it. And while it may seem in this modern era that water isn’t an issue any more, at least not to those of us in the United States, Reisner shatters that myth. The idea of simply turning on the tap and finding water there is one we’ve grown up with; however, that water itself is still a scant resource and the fact that we’ve invented more efficient ways of transporting it doesn’t change the fact that it isn’t a resource that is simply not renewing as fast as we’re using it.

    On the face of it, one wonders if a book about the political and social history of water in the United States might be a little dry, pun very much intended. If you tried to read Hundley’s The Great Thirst, you’ll be afraid to pick this book up. But put Hundley out of your mind; Reisner has a gift for prose that sings. The book is filled with prose that ascends to the beauty of poetry and I can honestly say that I laughed out loud at least five times to a chapter. Reisner has an eye for the absurd and there’s certainly enough of it going on in this book to feed the humor mill. Besides that, Reisner has a wicked voice of sarcasm and he applies it to the federal government and its actions with a satirical bent that is sure to set even the most humorless into a couple of laughing jags.

    There are still people who say they hate history or hate non-fiction books; this is one of the books to point them towards if you want to see them change their tune in a hurry. It’s a story, a story that stretches over centuries, but a story nonetheless and with characters as vibrant as any that could have been dreamed up by a fiction writer. John Muir, William Mulholland and his occasionally corrupt efforts to build Los Angeles, two brothers in a small town in Owens Valley who steadfastly resist the efforts of Los Angeles to take their water, perhaps most stunning of all the hilariously irascible and pungently anti-heroic Floyd Dominy, head of the Bureau of Reclamation. Even Reisner, for all his attempts to keep things moving, can’t help but bog down and devote an entire forty page chapter to Dominy, giving not just the details of his career with the Reclamation but often entirely unrelated anecdotes about his foul mouth, sexual proclivities and all around hilarious philosophy of life. How can one not be fascinated by someone who, when asked about his tenure with the Bureau, flatly stated, “I was the Messiah?”

    If this sounds like an epic novel, it very well could be. The section dealing with the growth of Los Angeles is begging for the miniseries treatment; there are lifelong friendships shattered and then reformed on the deathbed, there are standoffs with militia, there is sabotage of pipelines, there is industrial espionage of the most blatant kind and it all ends with a trumped up charge and jail time that’s politically motivated. If you’re not on the edge of your seat through this section, maybe real life isn’t for you. This stuff is infinitely more suspenseful than most novels and the amusing thing is that we know how it comes out, at least, if you’re one of the few who’s actually heard of Los Angeles and happen to be aware that it’s a booming metropolis. I’ll admit to even shedding a tear at that deathbed reunion scene. This isn’t to say that Reisner is sappy or even pandering. It’s just that his readable prose flows into the eye like a voice flowing into the ear and the story comes across.

    Finally, the book devolves into an utter screed against the federal government and the war between the Corp of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation. It’s a simple fact that people cling to life. If people are like this, so are government agencies. And so, despite the fact that every conceivable dam had been built, the Bureau and the Corps had to justify their existence by continuing to build them in places that didn’t need them, in places where the building of a dam actually made water transportation more difficult, not less, and occasionally in places where the terrain would not support a dam. This leads, in Reisner’s eyes, directly to the horrific Teton dam collapse in 1976. Reisner, writing about this collapse, ascends to levels of righteous indignation that pushes his prose to the level of apocalyptic. It’s like reading the book of Revelations in modern vernacular as he follows the sweep of water across Idaho, literally wiping towns off the map. For instance, Sugar City didn’t show up on the next map publication.

    Reisner’s predictions look a bit off in the wake of twenty years of progress. He claims that the underground aquifers are being depleted at a tremendous rate (they are) and that the US will have to eventually abandon the desert states, having no pure water from underground and not enough facilities to either pump water in from the green states or desalinate ocean water. In a new afterword for a republication, he claims that disaster has been staved off this long because of changes in policy; whether that’s true or whether he simply overstated his case back in 86, it’s up to the reader to decide. Most probably, it is a combination of the two.

    But the book isn’t fascinating for what it predicts but for what it shows us about human nature and the desire to improve, about government bureaucracy and the will to survive, about history and the authority to break the law. It’s a book of history that becomes a book of deep social and psychological insight. It’s a staggering work, one of the great American non-fiction works of the twentieth century. It deserves to be rediscovered.

    5 out of 5 stars.
  11. Kiki-Gonn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 26, 2001
    star 6
    Wow, we are hardcore nerds up in this %#^}*

    I know this isn't the picture thread but it was just last week and this conversation is too crazy a coincidence so I've got to share...

    Northern shore...
    [IMG]
    Italy still gives Hannibal his props...
    [IMG]
  12. A Chorus of Disapproval New Films Riot Deterrent

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2003
    star 7
    That is lovely. Hannibal memorial boatways are a must. A Caligula Center for Family Guidance would also be a touch of class.
    Kiki-Gonn likes this.
  13. SWpants Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2004
    star 4
    About to start "The Casual Vacancy."
    Handmaiden_Yane likes this.
  14. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Bummer :(

    Am in the middle of Sharon Shinn's Troubled Waters, a favorite of mine.
  15. Handmaiden Yané Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 15, 2002
    star 6
    Just started Zadie Smith's NW yesterday.
  16. LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Games Mod

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2002
    star 8
    About to start Return to Lankhmar, which is the third book collecting Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar stories. I read a few of these in various SF magazines back in the 70s but never got into them. However, I had the first book in the reading pile for ages and finally read it. So I hunted down the other books on Amazon UK and US (there are 4, published by White Wolf Publishing). If you are into sword/sorcery fantasy and haven't read these, I recommend them. They are lots of fun!
  17. AmazingB Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2001
    star 7
    In the middle of So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish in my Hitchhiker's read-through.

    Amazing.
    NYCitygurl likes this.
  18. DantheJedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 2009
    star 5
    In the next 24-48 hours I hope to be reading Stephen Colbert's new book, which I bought off Amazon with a couple other books.
  19. MistrX Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 20, 2006
    star 4
    Finished A Storm of Swords last week (BTW, whoa. I am really looking forward to seasons 3 and 4 of GoT) and have moved on to A Feast for Crows.
    RC-1991 likes this.
  20. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2002
    star 6
    Started rereading Ursula K. LeGuin's "The Left Hand of Darkness." I read it every two years or so, but I need to get to the used book store and get the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series going now that I am watching "Game of Thrones."
  21. Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2004
    star 6
    Started The Casual Vacancy earlier today. I'm not sure how I feel about this book yet. On the one hand, its very well written, as I would expect for JK Rowling's eighth novel, but on the other hand, parts of this book have been a bit awkward, as its diction is very similar to that of Harry Potter, except that she's writing about jealous house wives and masturbating teenagers. It could just be my imagination, but somehow a couple of passages have given me the impression that there are wizards living in Pagford.
    Last edited by Chancellor_Ewok, Oct 5, 2012
  22. DantheJedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 2009
    star 5
    I'm reading Stephen Colbert new book, America Again: Re-becoming The Greatness We Never Weren't.
    NYCitygurl likes this.
  23. SWpants Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2004
    star 4
    [face_laugh] Which parts? If they're spoilerish, you can PM me. I didn't get that feeling at all!
  24. King_of_Red_Lions Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 28, 2003
    star 3
    The Woman Who Died A Lot by Jasper Fforde.

    The seventh book in the Thursday Next series.


    The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde.

    The first of three (so far) in a series for children.


    Dodger by Terry Pratchett.
  25. JoinTheSchwarz Comms Admin & Community Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Nov 21, 2002
    star 8
    Just finished re-reading Supergods, and now I'm kind of hungry for some historical non-fiction. Several of the books mentioned in this thread sound really exciting.