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ivan

faggoty book read'n

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got a proto-new-year-resolution to get crack'n on - a yearly list of books read - often i find myself reading in a burgundy-induced state of blissful bafflement and realize just how little of this word gobbly-gook is going to stick to the brain matter - mighta as well get this shit set down in ones n' zeroes to at least let me remember what it was i've lost :)

 

here's what i can recollect for two-ought-one-four and a stream o'consciousness of what i recall as kewl - promise i'll make it more proper this coming year:

 

- taken at the flood - read largely while aroudn wolf rock working on good, good times w/ my boy ben - at night by campfire, suckign down camels and guzzling good old burgundy, waiting to gird meself for mossy battle the next day - a fascinating history of the roman conquest of greece a generation or two before the roman civil war would bring the republic to naught - favorite memory, the shakespearen epiquote: "there is a tide that runs through the affairs of men that, taken at the flood, leads on to greatness"

 

- dylan: the biography - library up my asshole for not finishing this one on time - read in part by campfire outside prineville whilst laying seige to stein's w/ pleasant pat - obeyed the Golden Rule of Biographies - you will thoroughly dislike this dissident bastard by book's end :)

 

- the true american: murder and mercy in texas - a summer book and done in a couple days i recall - think a road-trip to stuart was mixed in there, raged ruin for poor nastia - a story of a muslim immigrant shot in the face and nearly killed by a pissed off texan just days after 9/11, how the killer was a victim himself and the victim a man made whole by confronting and forgiving his would-be killer - texans too strapped for time to call it by the whole title, simply they titter "we done sentenced him to the death"

 

- cicero: the life and times of rome's greatest politician - not quite yet brought this one to a conclusion, but will by years end no doubt - a steadfast companion on long walks by the lake afterschool, sometimes by umbrella, others by 3/4 gloves - poor boy, never knowing which horse to back - cato killed by his own hands, ripping out his own stitches when the bastards dare try to sew him back together - cicero, his neck extended from his litter, 60 years after his birth and sadly stopped in desperate flight: "soldier, there is nothing right about what you're doing, but do try to at least kill me right"

 

- birdmen: the wright brothers, glenn curtiss and the battle to control the skies - also read in part roudn wolf rock - a swimming hole w/ benny-boy, let down by a skinny fixed line - one of the Great Fathers of Early Flight, his neck-broken, dying after a disastrous glider flight: "sacrifices will have to be made" - the wright brothers like so many other inventors, awful tee-totaling bastards best heaped on pyres and burned in batches - curtiss quite the kewler cat :)

 

- the first tycoon: the epic life of cornelius vanderbilt - wow, this one took awhile, my yosemite-guardian - we'd wrap up a ruinous day w/a short drive out of the park, thrown down on a tarp in the torrid dust, pat to cook up curiosu meats most nights n' me to smoke n' drink n' read n' generally take in life like a lord - a damned bible about a bigger bastard i did not quite grasp until taking it on - never knew he was responsible for the bottling up of the c.s.s. merimack after the battle of hampton rhodes, nor that he, as a patriot, started a school in the post-war south to mend the fences - he died in a most disgraceful way, poisoned by the filth bubbling out of his broken bowels :(

 

the guns of august and what price glory - commerorated the centeniall of the great war by re-reading some classics - barbara tuchman, if only i could bring you back and bang you proper, you sure deserved it :) this time around the theme tinging the ends of my reading sessions was painting basic brown on the trim n' every bit of wood i could find in me house - "what price" so insane - "they shall not pass!" poor petain :(

 

doctor sleep - maybe the only big bit of fiction i took on in 2014 - my first stephen king novel in 2 decades i think, though he was far and away my favorite author in my teen years - the sequel to "the shining" and doomed to be not as good, but still enjoyed it - little danny as a grown-up depressed drunk, sometimes the mirror can be pressed too close to the face? :) it was a spring book for me - fresh flowers and buds on the trees - i read it while pacing the well worn trail around lake lacamas and through the environs of the crusty upper-class folks who've home-steaded above it in their million-dollar lots - kewlest moment: i've always figured one day i'm going to trip and eat shit while walking and reading, like i can't keep one eye on the groudn well enough to avoid awkward fate, yet one day i made 5$ when i noticed, whilst ambuling along, a bill half protruding from a gutter - and no voice to wheeze: "we alllllll float down here" :)

 

If by sea : the forging of the American Navy-- from the American Revolution to the War of 1812 - a fitting book for fall, forlorn in most parts - a fine refresher on the history of the american revolution in general w/ a focus on the sea of course - main thesis that the congress didn't know what the fuck to do w/ a navy or why even it should have one and it showed badly - funds would best have been spent on riverine gun-boats instead of the blue-water boats that almost all ended up in british hands by war's end - the most effective ocean warriors of the american navy at the time were privateers actually, who were therefore extra-eager to get the us into a fight w/ somedbody during the napoleonic era just to make the nut - jefferson got all the praise for the first use of a reconstituted navy after the revolution, though ironically he had opposed the construction of frigates throughout washington and adams time in office, and didn't build anything during his 8 years either

 

the ascent of money - didn't think economics could make for interesting reading but go figure - underscores why those boys are the first put against the wall when the revolution comes :) - a long, long history of boom n' bust, scandal and slippery bullshit - a house of cards our little world is built upon

 

on the wealth of nations - the last book gave me a hankering to take on adam smith hisself, but luckily i was saved by the pj o'rourke book, which contained the wonderful line: "i read "the wealth of nations" so you don't have to" - funny man

 

under the banner of heaven - yeah, i wasn't in danger of joining hte mormons already, but this'un sure made the case more closed

 

also 2 textbooks, one on astronomy, t'other on environmental geology

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would love to see what you book-reading types have to add - can't help but plenty-often feel it's a dying past-time - fiction is fir-fucking-fools but feel free to share it regardless :)

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If you're not excluding books that weren't published in 2014, I'll offer a book I read this past year that I think you'd like Ivan.

 

Poilu: The World War I notebooks of Corporal Louis Barthas, Barrelmaker. Memoirs of a pacifist socialist Frenchman in the trenches.

 

Recounting bloody battles and endless exhaustion, the deaths of comrades, the infuriating incompetence and tyranny of his own officers, Barthas also describes spontaneous acts of camaraderie between French poilus and their German foes in trenches just a few paces apart. An eloquent witness and keen observer, Barthas takes his readers directly into the heart of the Great War.

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naw, don't mean books published in the year, just books you read that year - gotta include some intangibles - where you were when reading, what was going on, what you can recall from it weeks afterwards :)

 

your "poilu" reminds me to go back and add to my original list - done re-read "what price glory" and "the guns of august" early in the year to celebrate the centenial of the great war :)

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The Guns of August is a classic. :tup: I'm about halfway through this one right now:

 

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Also reading my first Steven King novel on the shitter. The Stand. At 1400 pages, it's gonna take a lot of pushin.

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Ok, missed it. Books already read during the year?

 

The Disappearing Spoon: and Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World From The Periodic Table of the Elements, by Sam Kean

Really cool stuff for the science-trivia guy. A good book for Jeopardy people. Enjoyed it.

 

John Muir and The Ice That Started A Fire: How a Visionary and the Glaciers of Alaska Changed America, by Kim Heacox.

Nothing new to report on John Muir. The last couple chapters are way too preachy, the author lives an obviously sheltered life in GBNP.

 

Wilderness and the American Mind by Roderick Frazier Nash (for the third time) Recommend this book to anyone who climbs, hikes, cares about history of wilderness and policy.

 

Mondo Enduro: Around the World Adventure on Two Wheels 40 Countries in 405 Days, Ed. Austin Vince

Four guys get drunk in a bar and conceive of an around the world ride on Suzuki DRZ-350s. And then did it with a few more friends. Amazing. Diaries and notes.

 

Common Sense, Rights of Man, and Other Essential Readings of Thomas Paine Need I say more?

 

Dune, Frank Herbert (fourth time, I think) MAybe the best fiction ever. Frank Herbert was from the City of Destiny.

 

 

 

 

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Also reading my first Steven King novel on the shitter. The Stand. At 1400 pages, it's gonna take a lot of pushin.

"the stand" and "it" were my high-school anthems - i reread each so many times that i recall reading the former in a single day once - "the stand" was made into a pretty decent tv-seires, unlike "it" - the ending's a bit of a let down, but the first 200 pages are as gripping as they get (at least for a goddamn 16 year old :) )

 

read "guns" years ago and reread it recently for the centeniall n' i found meself in the crapper w/ nothing else - over the past years i've also read tuchman's "proud tower" and "the march of folly" which were maybe even better

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"the shining" is i believe king's best, though oddly it's very differetn from the movie, which is genius in it's own right

 

shit! reminds me of a book to add to my list for the year - read king's brand-new sequel to "the shining" - not too bad - jesus, it'd been 2 decades since i'd read anything by him

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Common Sense, Rights of Man, and Other Essential Readings of Thomas Paine Need I say more?

what are your thoughts on paine being kicked to the curb by american society and nearly dispatched to the dustbin of history when he came out as an atheist?

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naw, don't mean books published in the year, just books you read that year - gotta include some intangibles - where you were when reading, what was going on, what you can recall from it weeks afterwards :)

 

Can't offer anything memorable about where I read the book but it's a fascinating insight into French culture. Incredible what the troops in the trenches had to physically endure. Amazing amount of courage shown by the author and others in standing up to the tyranny of their superiors. Also quite hilarious in the irony of a pacifist on the frontlines.

 

A good counterpoint to excellent but impersonal works such as The Guns of August and A World Undone.

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I'd also suggest:

 

Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West

Very broad in scope. Kit Carson was a badass, but unfortunately was responsible for conquest of the Navajos, who are an extremely fascinating culture. They grew peaches and share essentially the same language as the Athabascan Indians in Canada. Plus lots about New Mexico history and Mexican American War.

 

Three Day Road

More WWI. Fiction. Two Canadian Cree Indians from the bush go to war and become decorated snipers. One is killed the other comes back missing a leg and a morphine addict. Bleak.

 

Boys in the Boat

Lots of acclaim recently but deserves it. A great underdog story and insight into what Seattle and the PNW was like in the 30's.

 

 

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the content of books are impossibly caught up in my mind w/ waht was occuring when i read them

 

france almost caved before the bosche - the year after verdun there was a huge mutiny that was put down w/ violence still unknown but supposedly many secret files are to be opened up in the next few years

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Common Sense, Rights of Man, and Other Essential Readings of Thomas Paine Need I say more?

what are your thoughts on paine being kicked to the curb by american society and nearly dispatched to the dustbin of history when he came out as an atheist?

 

I don't recall ever reading that Paine was an atheist. He had some choice words for organized religion--particularly Christianity--but I think he was a self-described deist and stated a firm belief in one God.

 

Sad that almost no one showed up for his funeral. He made enemies not only among believers, but among former friends and allies. He deserves a select/top spot in history, IMO.

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deism was little more than a fig leaf over atheism to begin with, but paine left that plenty far behind - "the age of reason" was principally anti-christian, yes, but his point was that all religion was bullshit, certainly any sort of organized religion

 

"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any Church that I know of. My own mind is my own Church."

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The Worst Hard Times A telling of the cause and effect of a decades long suffer-fest in the dust bowl of middle America.

 

Unbroken Another suffer-fest, caused by, and at the hands of the Japanese, endured by Olympian Louis Lamperini

 

Mother Tongue Bryson's book about the curiosity and complexity of the english language.

 

and I am currently working on A Splintered History of Wood. I'm on the chapter dedicated to half a dozen master woodworkers who happen to be blind.

 

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The Worst Hard Times A telling of the cause and effect of a decades long suffer-fest in the dust bowl of middle America.

 

great book, nice n' short too - read that right around the time my daughter nearly died of complications of hte swine-flu, sorta set my shit in its proper perspective - i never knew the dust bowl was so lethal to babies - the account of starved horses eating fenceposts protruding from dust mounds was memorable as well :)

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that "unbroken" story just got released as a movie - heard an interview w/ that jolie character - dude's story sounded pretty stout, he shoulda been a climber? :)

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Just an update for all you hippies--e.g. just FYI, I'm not trying to sound like dickhead--MLA, APA, and Chicago/Turabian have all abandoned underlining for book titles. Italics for titles; quotes for essays & chapters. :)

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The Worst Hard Times A telling of the cause and effect of a decades long suffer-fest in the dust bowl of middle America.

 

great book, nice n' short too - read that right around the time my daughter nearly died of complications of hte swine-flu, sorta set my shit in its proper perspective - i never knew the dust bowl was so lethal to babies - the account of starved horses eating fenceposts protruding from dust mounds was memorable as well :)

 

Egan is nothing if not thorough. One might argue tedious, at times. The Big Burn is good too. Lots of good stuff about Teddy Roosevelt and Pinchot. Like on a jaunt near the Potomac, stripping naked and swimming across just for fun.

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that "unbroken" story just got released as a movie - heard an interview w/ that jolie character - dude's story sounded pretty stout, he shoulda been a climber? :)

 

Well, he was an Olympic miler!

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The Worst Hard Times A telling of the cause and effect of a decades long suffer-fest in the dust bowl of middle America.

 

great book, nice n' short too - read that right around the time my daughter nearly died of complications of hte swine-flu, sorta set my shit in its proper perspective - i never knew the dust bowl was so lethal to babies - the account of starved horses eating fenceposts protruding from dust mounds was memorable as well :)

 

I grew up just uphill (foothills of the Temblor Range) from the southern San Joaquin valley of CA. As a kid I endured two, maybe three serious dust storms. Friends and family of mine experienced valley fever, which is pretty obnoxious and tenacious. I seem to have developed a tendency toward bronchitis resulting from a cold that my doc says may be attributed to growing up where I did.

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Just an update for all you hippies--e.g. just FYI, I'm not trying to sound like dickhead--MLA, APA, and Chicago/Turabian have all abandoned underlining for book titles. Italics for titles; quotes for essays & chapters. :)

 

You're being a dickhead. :grin:

(I do it to make this lame forum text more readable.)

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Of Scientists and Salamanders. Victor Twitty, 1966. This is an odd book of the arc of a scientist’s career studying salamanders, first in some very odd embryonic and systems development studies (besides graphing different blastosphere parts together they advanced to swamping limbs of embryos of different species) to his field studies on Taricha in California. Who knew that this little newt would climb ridges and travel several miles to get to its breeding stream. Very old skool but entertaining.

 

Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? Michael Sandel, 2014. A philosophical look at a number of political issues – Affirmative action, same-sex marriage, physician-assisted suicide, abortion, the moral of markets, etc. Very well written and engaging.

 

The Battle for God, Karen Armstrong, 2001. A dense, but enlightening look at the reasons why fundamentalism is having resurgence in world religions in opposition to reason and technology. Armstrong is an amazing researcher with a varied background (former nun, rabbinical scholar, Muslim teacher). Tough read though – it’s pretty dense and I kept having to go back and re-read sections and decipher my page notes.

 

The Disappearing Spoon – mentioned above, good read for anyone in the sciences or just curious.

 

The Snow Leopard, 1973, Peter Matthiessen. – Given Matthiessen’s passing I picked this one back up. Dang, this guy is a great writer of nonfiction and fiction. Simple, sparse, and clean writing about his trip to the (then very remote) mountains of Nepal with biologist George Schaller. Mathiessen covers a lot of ground – the recent death of his wife, the Sherpas he travels with, and Buddhist understanding of reality, suffering, and beauty.

 

Break, Blow, Burn; Camille Paglia 2006. I pick this one up occasionally and go through a couple chapters. Paglia analyzes 43 of what she considers the “World’s Best Poems” with a keen eye that opens up the context, setting, and (to me) what the heck are they talking about. Very well written.

 

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Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas by Elaine Pagels.

 

Believer or not, a good read...

 

d

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