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So what are you reading?

What books, zines or other pulp are you reading? What aren't you reading? What should everyone else read?

Re: So what are you reading?

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:58 am

I just finished Don Winslow's novel, The Powerof the Dog. Written in 2005 after six years of research, it cover the DEA Mexican drug wars from 1975 through 1999. A roman à clef, the tale reads true. Besides the DEA and the Mexican cartels, included are the CIA weapons for drugs program to support anti-communist efforts in Latin America, the roles of the Catholic Church (including Opus Dei) and even the American mob.

Much longer and much more detailed that the three other Winslow novels I have read (all dealing with the failed war on drugs). Nearly all the characters are deeply flawed, but there is a degree of redemption at the end. I highly recommend this book.
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Re: So what are you reading?

Postby pjbogart » Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:19 pm

True to form I'm wasting my time on yet another entertaining yarn from Stephen King, "Doctor Sleep". I think Mr. King is using a ghost writer these days, perhaps guiding them through the plot but leaving the typing to a USA Today journalist. Somehow I sat down and read 150 pages straight without even looking at the clock. Either the book is that good, or essentially I'm reading a pornographic version of Harry Potter.

Danny Torrence (yeah, THAT Danny Torrence) is a drifter, prone to alcohol and drug abuse, perhaps an indication that King is revisiting the mindset that brought us "The Shining". Apparently there are some bad "shiners" too. It's not really a sequel, just a revisit to see what Danny is up to. I hate to say too much because I'm only 150 pages in and I'm not sure what amounts to a spoiler. So far it's a good yarn, though.

I predict that this will be Stephen King's 150th novel that doesn't earn him a Pulitzer.
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Re: So what are you reading?

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Aug 04, 2014 6:31 pm

In the past couple months I've read a couple rock and roll tell-all tales, both from the source. First was Shell Shocked: My Life with the Turtles, Flo and Eddie, and Frank Zappa, etc by Howard Kaylan. Sex, drugs and rock and roll. Just finished Every Night's a Saturday Night: The Rock 'n' Roll Life of Legendary Sax Man Bobby Keys were Keys recounts his adventures from the Crickets in his hometown of Lubbock to his friendship and debauchery with Keith Richards. He still tours with the Stones.

Both great reads if you're into those types of things.
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Re: So what are you reading?

Postby uwstudent » Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:18 pm

Das Kapital by Karl Marx
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Re: So what are you reading?

Postby Gentle Man » Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:49 pm

Guerrilas in the Mist
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Re: So what are you reading?

Postby Detritus » Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:38 pm

uwstudent wrote:Das Kapital by Karl Marx

Auf Deutsche, I presume. Otherwise it's just meaningless.
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Re: So what are you reading?

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:42 pm

Detritus wrote:
uwstudent wrote:Das Kapital by Karl Marx

Auf Deutsche, I presume. Otherwise it's just meaningless.

And it's three volumes long (don't know how to say that in German).
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Re: So what are you reading?

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:06 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:Just finished Every Night's a Saturday Night: The Rock 'n' Roll Life of Legendary Sax Man Bobby Keys
Glad to hear this is a good read. I saw a copy at Half Price in their clearance section last week but literally had no cash on me. When I went back the next day with money in my pocket, it was already gone.

I've been reading the Keith Richards auto-bio as well as a moderately good book about touring with Alice Cooper in 1973 by Bob Greene, so I guess I'm officially on a rock book kick.
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Re: So what are you reading?

Postby Detritus » Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:32 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:
Detritus wrote:
uwstudent wrote:Das Kapital by Karl Marx

Auf Deutsche, I presume. Otherwise it's just meaningless.

And it's three volumes long (don't know how to say that in German).

"Es hat drei Bände" is the normal German. And, actually, the first volume of Kapital is quite readable, as German intellectual products go, especially when accompanied with a good lager.
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Re: So what are you reading?

Postby Gentle Man » Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:43 am

Detritus wrote:
uwstudent wrote:Das Kapital by Karl Marx

Auf Deutsche, I presume. Otherwise it's just meaningless.


Or as some might argue, meaningless in any language. But as an aside, I was privileged to have had Patrick Riley, now retired from the UW Department of Political Science, as a professor for several political philosophy courses back in the 70's. Riley was one of the most impressive scholars and intellects I've ever known. I remember during one class someone raised a point from Marx. Riley confessed that he was no expert on Marx and claimed not to know much about his philosophy. He then went from memory to provide a precise citation (book and chapter, perhaps even the page) where to look in the works of Marx. Then from memory he recited the passage in German, and provided a translation into English.

Later on Riley was invited to give a presentation by the Department of Philosophy. There was a book that was popular at the time called "In Defense of Anarchism." The author, Robert Paul Wolff, claimed that anarchism could be based on and was a inevitable consequence of Kantian Ethics. Riley's presentation absolutely devastated and refuted Wolff's thesis.
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Re: So what are you reading?

Postby Detritus » Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:52 am

Gentle Man wrote:Or as some might argue, meaningless in any language.

Well, there are idiots in every crowd.
Later on Riley was invited to give a presentation by the Department of Philosophy. There was a book that was popular at the time called "In Defense of Anarchism." The author, Robert Paul Wolff, claimed that anarchism could be based on and was a inevitable consequence of Kantian Ethics. Riley's presentation absolutely devastated and refuted Wolff's thesis.

Lenin characterized anarchism as a fundamentally conservative political philosophy, since it assumes that the state is the only real problem. For Marx, of course, the state is simply one of the tools of the dominant class--not exactly superstructure, but definitely not the place to begin change.

This wasn't Riley's primary argument, since he was more interested in Wolff's effort to assume the mantle of Kant, making individual autonomy a categorical imperative. If you are interested, Riley published a version of his critique, which you can find here.

Both critiques point to the failure of Libertarian anarcho-capitalism, I believe.
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Re: So what are you reading?

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue Dec 02, 2014 2:04 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
Henry Vilas wrote:Just finished Every Night's a Saturday Night: The Rock 'n' Roll Life of Legendary Sax Man Bobby Keys
Glad to hear this is a good read. I saw a copy at Half Price in their clearance section last week but literally had no cash on me. When I went back the next day with money in my pocket, it was already gone.

I've been reading the Keith Richards auto-bio as well as a moderately good book about touring with Alice Cooper in 1973 by Bob Greene, so I guess I'm officially on a rock book kick.

Just heard that Bobby Keys passed away at age 70.
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Re: So what are you reading?

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue Dec 02, 2014 2:11 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
Henry Vilas wrote:Just finished Every Night's a Saturday Night: The Rock 'n' Roll Life of Legendary Sax Man Bobby Keys
Glad to hear this is a good read. I saw a copy at Half Price in their clearance section last week but literally had no cash on me. When I went back the next day with money in my pocket, it was already gone.

I've been reading the Keith Richards auto-bio as well as a moderately good book about touring with Alice Cooper in 1973 by Bob Greene, so I guess I'm officially on a rock book kick.

Just heard that Bobby Keys passed away at age 70.

R.I.P., Mr. Keys.

I did finally score a copy of this and it was a quick and entertaining read. It's always fun listening to rock stars complain about how poor they were while touring the world First Class to the adoration of millions. At least Bobby seemed to understand that the fact he never had any cash money was because of his own choices.

Unrelated note: Currently reading Poking A Dead Frog: Conversations with Today’s Top Comedy Writers. Very entertaining.
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Re: So what are you reading?

Postby dave esmond » Tue Dec 02, 2014 2:30 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:....as well as a moderately good book about touring with Alice Cooper in 1973 by Bob Greene, so I guess I'm officially on a rock book kick.


Ha!

Glad that's making the rounds.
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Re: So what are you reading?

Postby kurt_w » Sun Dec 07, 2014 10:53 am

"Indefensible" by Lee Goodman and "Unmanned" by Dan Fesperman. Both are pretty good but not brilliant. Goodman's book (a crime story) is probably the better of the two. The main character is a US prosecutor faced with first one and then a bunch of dead bodies and an apparent leak somewhere in his staff. It's a common trope but Goodman makes the guy interesting -- particularly by making him prone to irrational behavior, in a way that is very realistic and very human, but also exasperating to the reader.

Fesperman's novel is about drone warfare and the use of drones in domestic surveillance. Probably the best parts involve the main character dealing with the trauma of making deadly mistakes in his job. The rest of the plot -- a conspiracy, of course -- is a bit uneven. The suspense and impending danger keep the story moving, but it falls apart a bit in the end. Presumably it's easier to keep this kind of suspense/thriller building in the first half than to satisfactorily wrap it up in the end.

I also finally got around to reading "Lexicon" by Max Barry. It too was very good, but some people had recommended it to me over-enthusiastically, and I think I had unrealistic expectations. The scrambled chronology was OK but even taking that into account there were parts of it that were a mess, and the last quarter of the novel could have been tighter and better-edited. But this is quibbling; overall I liked it.
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