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Thread: Books You've Read in 2020

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    Default Re: Books You've Read in 2020

    Quote Originally Posted by zambenini View Post
    Have you read Laurus by Eugene Vodalozkin? Buncha peeps I hang with raved about it. It's been on my list of Eastern writers.
    I have not! I guess my on topic contribution to this thread will be that I will now plan to read Laurus.
    "I guess you're some weird relic of an obsolete age." - davids

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    Default Re: Books You've Read in 2020

    I am sort of a bedtime junk reader. There is a guy CJ Box that has a series of Joe Pickett novels out. Joe is sort of an unorthodox Game Warden in Wyoming. Lots of crime/murders per capita in these books for a state with more cows/sheep than peeps. They are an easy good read for a bedtime story. Caveat..some of the crimes ain't too pretty. But old Joe sort of plugs along and gets the bad guys with some interesting help along the way.
     

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    Default Re: Books You've Read in 2020

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Strongin View Post
    I have not! I guess my on topic contribution to this thread will be that I will now plan to read Laurus.
    Nice, well, if you like it, you're welcome, if not, not my fault because i haven't read it. It's reputed to be a Russian "Name of the Rose" so maybe witty and the product of genius, but of the secondary literature, if you will.
     

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    Default Re: Books You've Read in 2020

    I'm working on my MA in American History, reading books is a part-time profession for me. Currently I'm reading Black Society in Spanish Florida by Jane Landers.
    Weight Doper

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    Default Re: Books You've Read in 2020

    Quote Originally Posted by fortyfour View Post
    A previous tale of survival is Nathaniel Philbrick's "In the Heart of the Sea".
    In a similar vein, I'm currently enjoying/being horrified by Klondike.

    I just finished Red Notice. A terrifying true story. I now want to learn more about the privatization of state assets after the fall of the Soviet Union and the oligarchs it created. What an interesting time.

    Finally, though I read it in late 2019, I'll post up Range. I don't think I've ever read a book that resonated so strongly with me. It inspired me to make some changes at work...things are looking good so far.
     

  6. #46
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    Default Re: Books You've Read in 2020

    Quote Originally Posted by zambenini View Post
    Report back. I have never connected with the Russians but want to try again. I loved something about Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov but am maddeningly 75 pages from the end and haven't been able to pick it back up for years now. Am an American lit guy mostly but I love how others love Fyodor, Leo, etc.... And I want to love them too.

    I think I was taking it too seriously, too, and missed how darkly comic it is. Anyway, earnestness is nice sometimes but if it makes you miss the joke, then, well, yeah.
    My two favorite books are War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Tolstoy FTW.

    I love Puskin too. Dostoevsky doesn't do as much for me.
    GO!

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    Default Re: Books You've Read in 2020

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Strongin View Post
    When I get some time I can pull together a list for you. Don't let my career in tech fool you, my formal training is in Russian Literature. A good way to build up to the large works from the Golden Age is with povest (novellas) that are shorter and help develop an appreciation for the depths of the big works. Dostoevesky's Notes from Underground is a great warmup to Crime and Punishment. Some of the short stories and novellas from Pushkin, Gogol and Turgenev are also great and not typically on the Russian sampler reading list.
    You are such a weird relic of an obsolete age!
    GO!

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    Default Re: Books You've Read in 2020

    Quote Originally Posted by davids View Post
    My two favorite books are War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Tolstoy FTW.

    I love Puskin too. Dostoevsky doesn't do as much for me.
    He's not for everyone. I liked War and Peace enough, but didn't love it. But I love Anna Karenina. Also, if you really want to nerd out, the poetry throughout the ages in Russia is wonderful.
    "I guess you're some weird relic of an obsolete age." - davids

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    Default Re: Books You've Read in 2020

    Soviet authors,

    Isaac Babel, Odessa Stories, Red Cavalry
    Vassily Grossman, "Life and Fate", the Great Patriotic War equivalent of War & Peace
    Victor Serge "Memoirs of a Revolutionary",

    Polish author in Soviet times, Józef Czapski, "The Inhuman Land", memoir
    Inhuman Land – New York Review Books
     

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    Default Re: Books You've Read in 2020

    Quote Originally Posted by davids View Post
    My two favorite books are War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Tolstoy FTW.

    I love Puskin too. Dostoevsky doesn't do as much for me.
    Finally i find someone who has the same reaction to Dostoievsky. And i love Fathers and sons.
    I came here for the socks.

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    Default Re: Books You've Read in 2020

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott G. View Post
    Soviet authors,

    Isaac Babel, Odessa Stories, Red Cavalry
    Vassily Grossman, "Life and Fate", the Great Patriotic War equivalent of War & Peace
    Victor Serge "Memoirs of a Revolutionary",

    Polish author in Soviet times, Józef Czapski, "The Inhuman Land", memoir
    Inhuman Land – New York Review Books
    Good ones!
     

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    Default Re: Books You've Read in 2020

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott G. View Post
    Soviet authors,

    Isaac Babel, Odessa Stories, Red Cavalry
    Vassily Grossman, "Life and Fate", the Great Patriotic War equivalent of War & Peace
    Victor Serge "Memoirs of a Revolutionary",

    Polish author in Soviet times, Józef Czapski, "The Inhuman Land", memoir
    Inhuman Land – New York Review Books
    I would add the biography of Trotsky by Isaac Deutscher and everything by Tchecov.
    I came here for the socks.

  13. #53
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    Default Re: Books You've Read in 2020

    Quote Originally Posted by Moke View Post
    I am sort of a bedtime junk reader. There is a guy CJ Box that has a series of Joe Pickett novels out. Joe is sort of an unorthodox Game Warden in Wyoming. Lots of crime/murders per capita in these books for a state with more cows/sheep than peeps. They are an easy good read for a bedtime story. Caveat..some of the crimes ain't too pretty. But old Joe sort of plugs along and gets the bad guys with some interesting help along the way.

    Box is good. Well written, fast paced page turners. My favorites of the genre include John Sandford, Michael Connelly, Daniel Silva (for a little international spin), Louise Penny, Ruth Ware, Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Natsuo Kirino.

    Not "junk" at all!
     

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    Default Re: Books You've Read in 2020

    Just devoured "A Pale View of Hills" by Kazuo Ishiguro. Recommended.
    steve cortez

    FNG

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    Default Re: Books You've Read in 2020

    Quote Originally Posted by AngryScientist View Post
    my rant had nothing to do with lawsuits. i was responding to the poster who said the book was "incredibly dangerous", and lamenting that we now think everything dangerous requires a warning.
    First of all, I did not state it needs a warning. The dangerous part of the book is romanticizing the ill-fated trip.
     

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    Default Re: Books You've Read in 2020

    I've picked up The Bastard Brigade by Sam Kean today at the library. I read The Winter Fortress by Neal Bascomb and was absolutely enthralled by it. The Winter Fortress is a story about a Norwegian fleet of saboteurs that prevent the Nazis from gaining an atomic bomb by sabotaging their heavy water facility deep in Norway. The Bastard Brigade also tells a story about spies sabotaging Nazi efforts to attain an atomic bomb. I haven't been this excited about a book in quite a while.
     

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    Default Re: Books You've Read in 2020

    Quote Originally Posted by JJohnson View Post
    I've picked up The Bastard Brigade by Sam Kean today at the library. I read The Winter Fortress by Neal Bascomb and was absolutely enthralled by it. The Winter Fortress is a story about a Norwegian fleet of saboteurs that prevent the Nazis from gaining an atomic bomb by sabotaging their heavy water facility deep in Norway. The Bastard Brigade also tells a story about spies sabotaging Nazi efforts to attain an atomic bomb. I haven't been this excited about a book in quite a while.
    Nice. Adding this to my list. The Winter Fortress was incredible.
     

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    Default Re: Books You've Read in 2020

    Quote Originally Posted by davids View Post
    My two favorite books are War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Tolstoy FTW.

    I love Puskin too. Dostoevsky doesn't do as much for me.
    Not even Brothers Karamazov? That one still comes up for me, 40 years later.

    Seems like I'm on a middle eastern binge:

    Black Flags Joby Warrick, recommended
    Ghost Wars Steve Cole
    A Problem From Hell Samantha Power, current read
    Eichmann in Jerusalem Hannah Arendt--interesting. Eichmann was not what I thought, Arendt is a very interesting character herself. I learned some things here.
     

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    Default Re: Books You've Read in 2020

    Quote Originally Posted by bking View Post
    Eichmann in Jerusalem Hannah Arendt--interesting. Eichmann was not what I thought, Arendt is a very interesting character herself. I learned some things here.
    The banality of Mitch McConnell ...

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    Default Re: Books You've Read in 2020

    Quote Originally Posted by zambenini View Post
    I want @caleb to be in this thread too. Where you at?
    Ha, I'm not at all sure I have anything to add in the category of fiction. I can't abide the fragmented style - heavily nonlinear plots, multiple and unsignaled narrator changes, novels that don't aspire to a narrative arch - that wins awards now. It seems to work for others, but not for me.

    Here's some recent nonfiction work I've been reading lately and found useful:

    Ryan Avent's "The Wealth of Humans." The key insight I see him offering is that wealth in the 21st century is located in and created through institutional processes and knowledges, with serious consequences for the distribution of opportunity, income, and wealth.

    Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz's "An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States." In the vein of Zinn, but with the colonial experience front and center.

    Michael Hardt's edited volume of Jefferson's correspondence with Verso. If you're curious what it's like to see half of the "Empire" duo read Jefferson's letters to Abigail Adams through a Leninist lens, the introduction might be for you.

    Some of the best stuff I read by choice is shorter format now, though.

    Lewis Latham's introductory essays at the beginning of each Quarterly are always insightful. I find his editing style a bit crazy-making, but the contemporary pieces at the end of each volume are often good.

    Orwell's short stories from before the Second World War are tidal. Reading the period from "Shooting an Elephant" in the mid-20s through "Marrakech" in the late 30s shows his development from a disgruntled schoolboy fleeing to the colonies having an anti-colonial gut instinct, into an anarchist veteran of the Spanish Civil War with a theory of decolonization.

    Benjamin Nugent's story "God" in the Paris Review is hilarious. My inner 13 year old has never died, and truth is I'd miss him if he did.

    Sometimes, though, the experience of reading is what I remember. Here are two examples.

    One. Last week I was reading P. Carl's book excerpt in the Times, "Becoming a Man," when I was stopped by the line, "We are all contradictions. We are all doubling as ourselves." At first, I thought I stopped because it was such a Dostoevskian line, one that could have come straight out of "The Double," a story he later called the most significant thing he'd ever written. But then I realized it was the voice of the whole article I recognized. Did I know P. Carl in a different body from way back in PhD school? Or was it just the residuals of C.C.'s voice who advised so many of the students in Carl's program? I'm still not sure. But where Carl wrote an account of his life that was all about change, I found myself surprised by continuity: perhaps we were just within one degree of separation, perhaps we were acquainted in another phase of life.

    Two. About ten days ago, a question popped up on Nextdoor about whether anyone remembered the Corral Bar on Franklin from way back in the day. Chris from Howe responded:

    During our university education in the 80s, my friend Jake and I lived near each other in Uptown, and we commuted to the U along Franklin daily, he on the bus, I on a bike. We got used to meeting a lot of characters on the avenue.

    One morning we found ourselves walking home from a party in that high-rise in the heart of Dinkytown. It was 1988, a still Sunday in July, not long past sunup--about the only time you might expect to have the whole street to yourself. The silence seemed to float all the souls, upstairs and down, who behind window screens up and down the avenue were just entering their first hours of rest.

    I wanna say they were on the corner in front of the Corral--for sure it faced the sun--a couple of blocks ahead, taking half-hearted swings at each other, feinting and weaving. We taking our time drank it in while ambling up along their side of the street, thinking, What's this now?

    No blows were landed as we approached, but they kept at it silently until our shadows reached them. As we passed, they were grinning and a little winded. The taller of the two, a native dude with a really long reach, shot us a glance and announced, "I'm Jinx Spinks...", then his sparring partner, an African American guy, shorter and with a little more bulk, said "...and I'm Iron Mike".

    "Lookin' fresh, fellas," said I as we strolled past. Jake was an American history major. He muttered, "It's better than the real event. They've been at it for the likes of three rounds now." (The Spinks-Tyson fight, in June, had gone only 91 seconds--just ten punches in total--before Spinks went down.) Then Jake stepped into the alley and sold a Buick, as we used to say, and we got on with our westward procession.
    Sometimes great stories turn up in the most unexpected places.
     

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