We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Wednesday, August 31. 2011
That tropical storm up here dumped the river into my pool, filled it with mud, plants, and frogs, and knocked down a fence. I think VT got the worst of it all.
What books are you reading right now?
No cheating. Don't tell us that you are reading Kant.
I am reading the new Mark Twain autobiography, but you cannot really read it. You just dip into it. He was a charming fellow.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
On Power : The Natural History of its Growth by Bertrand de Jouvenel. A masterpiece and a must for every libertarian or antistatist.
Le Ton beau de Marot by Douglas Hofstadter. i was never a big believer in "light" summer reading
The Secret Knowledge: On The Dismantling of American Culture by David Mamet. The man has seen the light, to the dismay of liberals.
Re-reading Churchill's six volume memoirs for what is probably the fourth time.
The Crimean War: A History by Orlando Figes
Takeaway things I did not know:
1. The Charge of the Light Brigade was not a failure. Losses were exaggerated. Also the fact that many of the cavalry reached their objective and terrorized the Russians by their crazy charge is forgotten.
2. A Russian doctor innovated triage during the war.
3. The French outfought the British , i.e., they were better organized, contributed more troops and won more victories.
I'll bite: how can an autobiography of Mark Twain be new when he died in 1910?
Just finished reading Flyboys by James Bradley. (I'd been intending to read it for months, and finally did.)
Excellent and informative book on World War II in (mostly) the Pacific. Highly recommended.
Peace Is Every Step by Tich Nhat Hanh
Re-reading The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Outnumbered - Incredible Stories of History's Most Surprising Battlefield Upsets by Cormac O'Brien
Live of the Popes by Richard McBrien
Almost stole the new Twain autobiography from my estranged brother-in-law, but it appeared too heavy to lift.
Robert A. Heinlein's Space Cadet
Queen Noor's Leap of Faith
Carrie Vaughn's Kitty's Big Trouble
Naomi Novik's Ivory Throne
Fiction - just finished Jim Butcher's "Ghost Story" from his Dresden Files series and am starting a couple of Simon Green "Nightside" series books that I haven't gotten to.
Non-fiction - "Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen" by Christopher McDougall. I've been wanting to read this book since it came out, in fact bought it when it was first published - just ever got around to reading it. Pretty good - it is a page turner, but discipline is needed when reading because there is so much happening its hard to keep up.
Next up: "I've Never Met an Idiot on the River: Reflections on Family, Fishing, and Photography" by Henry Winkler. Yes - THAT Henry Winkler - The Fonz.....eeeeyyyyyyy. This one was recommended to me by one of the local hunting/fishing guides I've become friendly with. I've kind of skimmed it - it looks like a real winner.
After that? Got me. Probably the next Discworld book as Terry Pratchett has nasty form of Alzheimer's and this will likely be his last Discworld novel.
And let's not forget "The Devil's In The Cows" by Sippican Cottage. Freakin' guy can write - it's very very good. Buy so he'll be encouraged to write and publish more.
My trip starts tomorrow. I plan on reading Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson and Bourbon for Breakfast by Jeffrey Tucker.
I'm just starting Gretchen Morgenstern's Reckless Endangerment[/1] and finished a C.J. Box thriller last night, and I've already forgotten the title. Reckless Endangerment isn't exactly bedtime reading, and the ones that are don't stay with me long.
Well, actually, right now I'm reading The Wealth of Nations
But a few weeks ago I finished William Rosen's The Most Powerful Idea in the World. Hint, while it is a story of steam, industry and invention, none of those are the most powerful idea.
I read that in the spring and loved it. I keep thinking about Rosen's thesis (I won't give it away either) when I read the book about Marconi's struggles.
The House of Morgan-Ron Chernow ( just finished), excellent when covering JP, sort of petered out after the start of WWII
Just finished Ghost Story by Butcher and now rereading the King of Attolia by my sister before reading Conspiracy of Kings. I enjoyed Cryptonomicon and there is bound to be a copy around the house somewhere. To hold in the mind the idea that perhaps tons of gold somewhere known would be economically unfeasible. I dare to say, not anymore.
What did you think of "Ghost Story"? I'm curious to see if I'm sitting all alone outside the box. :>)
It is good. Well worth reading. I don't care about stand alone books but you can't read this one without reading at least some of the rest that came first.
Just finishing Pournelle's One step further out, getting ready to read Steele's Coyote Destiny, Heinlein's "Tunnel in the Sky", and re-read Weber's "Ashes of Victory"
Gosh, how I love my Kindle...
At the moment, I am enjoying Thunderstruck by Erik Larson (who also wrote the incredible Devil in the White City). It is a fascinating story of Marconi's wireless and a murder mystery.
I am eagerly looking forward to the 6th book in the Saxon Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell. It is called Death of Kings. It is a gore-laced historical fiction account of the Saxon-Viking conflicts in the 9th Century.
Larry Niven "Destroyer of Worlds"
Eugene Sledge "With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa"
John Ringo "The Hot Gate: Troy Rising III" and "Eye of the Storm"
Michael Z. Williamson "Do Unto Others"
George R.R. Martin "A Feast for Crows"
"The Forgotten Legion" by Ben Kane is on deck.
Have you read John Scalzi's "Old Man's War" series yet? Its first rate - think Heinlein "Starship Troopers" meets Haldeman's "Forever War" and had a child. You might want to check out his very first novel, "Agent to The Stars" - its a quick read and fairly funny.
I can't handle Ringo - I think he's like RR Martin - he has a couple of hundred monkeys in a locked room where with keyboards based on the sheer number of words he puts into any book. Either that or he has a computer program and pumps the formula plots out like popcorn.
I liked Old Man's War. The series got too touchy feely for me as it went on.
I like Ringo because he has military experience and does his homework. In his "Looking Glass" series he and Travis Taylor go deep on the hard physics.
I got turned off by the Posleen war series - that just got ridiculous. I'm willing to suspend some belief in particular with military scifi, but that went beyond the beyond and became just a series of battles that made no sense.
Three books: The Aeneid by Virgil; Democracy the God that failed by Hans-Herman Hoppe; With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa by EB Sledge. Semper Fi
Michael Oren's "Six Days of War" about the 1967 dustup, T.H. Breen's "American Insurgents American Patriots," and John Ringo's "A Hymn Before battle" for fun (if no more work-books jump to the top of the pile and no academic journals arrive in the next week or so).
"A Hymn Before Battle" is about as good as military SF gets blood, guts, and dark humor. I love Ringo even his near misses are fun.
To unwind at the end of the work day, I'm reading the latest John Grisham. When a Mississippi author has something new out, it immediately goes to the top of my reading list.
Just happen to be re-reading P.O.W. by Doug Collins.
Collins was in the British Army and was bagged outside of Dunkirk.
He escaped numerous times from Axis prisons and eventually made it back to England.
It is a great adventure story, especially if reading about the P.O.W. experience interests you.
David McCullough's "The Greater Journey, Americans in Paris"
Charle McCarry's "Shelby's Heart" and "Christopher's Ghosts". (Fantastic espionage and trade craft)
And just finished Erik Larson's "In The Garden of Beasts"
Our Ambassador and his family in Hitlers Berlin.
In the Garden of Beasts was good. But I expected more...I don't know...more substance from Larson. All the historical background that I love was there, but the story didn't seem to hook me the way that Devil in the White City or Thunderstruck did. That said, I am hoping that he will publish something new soon.
1. Republicanism by Maurizio Viroli (1999) -
The noble purpose of Mr. Viroli's brief text is to revitalize the idea of classical republicanism, in particular to "strengthen the civic consciousness of my country's [Italy's] political leaders and citizens." But the sad reality is that it's hard to imagine much of anyone outside the American Right taking him seriously.
Good review here: http://www.brothersjudd.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/reviews.detail/book_id/1385/Republicanis.htm
2. The Wonga Coup by Adam Roberts (2006)
Remember the film Wild Geese (1978) or The Dogs of War (1980) based on the Forsythe novel? This is the real life reenactment which occurred in 2004 in Equatorial Guinea.
NYT review here: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/11/arts/11iht-idbriefs12A.2451477.html
1. When Prophecy Fails, by Festinger, Riecken, and Schachter (1956) reprint (2011)
I am rereading this social and psychological study of what happens to adherents when deeply held adventist prophecy fails. With the Progressive world view collapsing it seemed necessary to go back to this classic text and review how and why disconfirmation of a deeply held belief counter intuitively results in a firming and deepening of the disconfirmed belief. Examples include the disconfirmation of global warming theory, Keynesian economic theory, and nearly every deeply held belief of the progressive left.
2. Reckless Endangerment by Morgenson and Rosner (2011)
What triggered the financial collapse in the housing market anyway? They make a simple case that the Tea Party will likely latch on to as Gospel.
Good review by my favorite liberal (Walter Russell Mead) here: http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/06/07/fanniegate-gamechanger-for-the-gop/
Will be reading soon:
1. The Revolt of the Masses by Jose Ortega y Gasset (1932)
Good review here: http://www.brothersjudd.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/reviews.detail/book_id/967/Revolt%20of%20th.htm
2. Reckless Endangerment by Robert Tanenbaum (1998)
I thought I was ordering the Morgenson and Rosner book but misordered. So, it is now on my reading list! I hope it is good. It looks like a multicrime murder mystery so it really just needs to be coherent and I will likely enjoy it.
I just got "Reckless Endangerment" in the mail and am looking forward to starting it.
I read Reckless Endangerment last month. Chris Dodd and Barney Frank do not come across as heroes of the Republic.
Currently reading: My Grandfather's Son by Clarence Thomas and The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin.
"The Storm of War" by Andrew Roberts
Reread "Atlas Shrugged."
Collection of SF short stories titled "The Best Military Science Fiction of the 20th Century."
Anything by Philip K. Dick especially those short stories that were adapted for screen such as "The Adjustment Team." Eleven films beginning with 1982's Blade Runner were adapted from PKD short stories written in the '50s.
"The Social Animal" by David Brooks
"Dog Painting - A history of the dog in art" by William Secord
"Clothe Your Family in Denim and Corduroy" by David Sedaris
"Don't Get Too Comfortable" by David Rakoff
Just read the latest Brad Thor thriller "Deep Black" In it he has a character who is a Roman a clef type for George Soros. He is in league with Muslims, Russians and Chinese to bring down America. Gets his in the end.
"Shadows and Wind" by Robert Templar, a look at modern Viet Nam. One amusing little anecdote in the book. In Hanoi they like to eat dog meat, when Warren Christopher went for talks aimed at restoring relations, he brought a bomb sniffing dog. The government didn't know how to list the dog for customs' sake so they listed it as an "imported food product"
Reading Mary Chesnut's Civil War ed. C Vann Woodward, pub Yale U Press.. I am matching my reading by date 1861->2011, and will spend 5 years completing the whole volume - day by day. . .
1930s/40s detective fiction by Elizabeth Daly (American) and Edmund Crispin (British).
I am reading a Tolkien book, The Silmarillion, in the cool afternoon showers of the Rocky Mountains.
I liked the Hobbit and the LOTR series, so I picked up the Silmarillion and tried to enjoy it. It was just so disjointed (and I know that he never really finished it, so I don't blame him) compared to his other work that I didn't like it much. Some of his concepts were interesting. I thought about the parallels between the early Old Testement and some of his stories and wondered how those Norse myths came to be.
We ain't proud in Texas. If you want to send some of those showers down here, we won't insist that they are cool.
"The Forgotton Man" by Amity Shlaes and "The Future and its Enemies" by Postrel. Some catchup reading. Loaded them up on my Nook.
Unrepentantly enjoying "Under the Dome" Stephen King's latest.
GURPS Infinite WorldsKenneth Hite, Steve Jackson, and John M. Ford.
The multi-verse as an RPG setting and the complicated politics thereof.
Next up: GURPS BanestormPhil Masters and Johnathan Woodward
Stray probability storms.
Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell. I'm not currently reading it, but I may again soon. It was the most moving book I think I've ever read. I cried through it. I sent several copies to friends who had the same reaction. I highly recommend it.
Road to Serfdom and Atlas Shrugged (yeah, I know. I'm way behind) are next.
Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War, and Twain autobiography (in bits and pieces). Beginning to think you can't believe anything on which Twain opined. He was a non-religious man, some say, yet one of his writings concerned his great fear at night that God's patience would run out.
Right now I'm about a third of the way through The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. Over the weekend during the power outage from hurricane Irene I started re-reading One Second After by William Fortschen.
Stalingrad by Antony Beevor - Yes, Hitler was indeed an idiot.
Quantum Man by Lawrence M. Krauss - Not my first dip into Feynman. What an interesting man was he.
Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child - Entertaining... er, what exactly. An ex-Army MP who finds himself in lots of interesting situations.
Currently, Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer - About Pat Tillman. Krakauer an extremely lucid writer, though this time, 80 pages in, he so far appears to be letting his politics influence his writing.
Love Lee Child, Jack Reacher is the man, the personification of the lone hero riding the back roads, fighting evil. Great escapism.
Currently Reading: Earthclan by David Brin
Just finished: Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
"A Country of Vast Designs: James Polk, The Mexican War, and the Conquest of the American Continent" by Robert W. Merry
"The Cookbook Collector" by Allegra Goodman
"After the Reich: The brutal history of the allied occupation" by Giles MacDonogh
I really liked the Merry book. I teach survey History and Government classes but I hadn't ever dug that deeply into the politics of that era. I always joke with my students that Polk was my favorite president because he wasn't afraid to the mullet 140 years the rest of us did.
Gray Steel and Black Oil: fast tankers and the development of underway replenishment, by Thomas Wildenberg
Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles By Ray Daniels
I am half way through Sir Martin Gilbert's 8 volume biography of Winston Churchill. I thought it was going to be pretty dry going but it has turned out to be very, very entertaining - not to mention well written.
"The Forgotten Victor" by John Baynes
"American Assassin" by Vince Flynn