Author Topic: What are you READING right now?  (Read 202765 times)

jengod

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Re: What are you READING right now?
« Reply #1100 on: January 27, 2018, 02:17:47 PM »
Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook by Alice Waters
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CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What are you READING right now?
« Reply #1101 on: January 27, 2018, 04:01:01 PM »
Reading "Searching for Sitala Mata: Eradicating smallpox in India" by Dr Connie Davis.

An American doctor goes to India and works with WHO during the end stages of India eradicating smallpox. Very well written.
I have only read the first 3 chapters, but I think it will be great.

Posting now instead of when I complete since it is free for the Kindle on Amazon right now

 https://www.amazon.com/Searching-Sitala-Mata-Eradicating-Smallpox-ebook/dp/B077SHY2GP/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1517001364&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=sitala+mata&psc=1

Finally finished it last night. Highly recommend. Here is my review.

A newly minted doctor who is dropped into rural India (state of West Bengal bordering Bangladesh and the state of Rajasthan), has clearly depicted the people of India. As a person who has one foot in India and one in the US, having migrated to the US about 30 years ago, her descriptions India in 1975 is quite similar to what I remember as a high schooler in Bombay and our families travels thru north India. The war against smallpox was intense. My earliest memory in elementary school in the mid-1960's was being lined up in school and given vaccinations every year (or so it felt to me at that time). There was no requirement for parental permission slips!

One mistake in the book. When Dr Davis is quickly moved from the districts bordering Bangladesh on the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, the prime minister of Bangladesh, she/American consulate attributes it to a possibility of war between India and Bangladesh. This is not correct. I believe that the reason she was moved was due to fear that Bangladeshis might lash out at US citizens due to the support that the US gave Pakistan during the Bangladeshi war of Independence in 1971.

One of the smaller chapters (Chapter 38 I believe) had the 11 lessons Dr Davis learned fighting smallpox. These lessons are not necessarily limited to medicine but are a great guide for any young person who is starting on their life.


turketron

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Re: What are you READING right now?
« Reply #1102 on: January 27, 2018, 06:46:29 PM »
Cryptonomicon was my first Stephenson book and I really feel like I need to re-read it, but I know it'll be an undertaking so I haven't gotten around to it yet. I *loved* the premise of both The Diamond Age and Anathema, but for those two stories he seems to suffer from Stephen-King-itis where he writes great premises but the endings fall flat. I thought Seveneves was great, and I quite liked Reamde as well. I've been meaning to give The Baroque Cycle a read too- has anyone read the whole trilogy?

BiochemicalDJ

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Re: What are you READING right now?
« Reply #1103 on: January 29, 2018, 01:09:23 PM »
Cryptonomicon was my first Stephenson book and I really feel like I need to re-read it, but I know it'll be an undertaking so I haven't gotten around to it yet. I *loved* the premise of both The Diamond Age and Anathema, but for those two stories he seems to suffer from Stephen-King-itis where he writes great premises but the endings fall flat. I thought Seveneves was great, and I quite liked Reamde as well. I've been meaning to give The Baroque Cycle a read too- has anyone read the whole trilogy?

Haven't read the baroque, but chiming in to mention if you've read Diamond Age, don't forget to check out Snow Crash- It's sort of a prequel (sort of.) Same universe, some characters recur- And I agree. Amazing rollercoaster books and then the endings just seem like the book goes *bink* and it's done. Always a bit of a surprise/letdown.

Still read them though, even though I had to get the audiobook for Anathem in order to get through it. Dense.
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chaskavitch

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Re: What are you READING right now?
« Reply #1104 on: January 29, 2018, 02:44:48 PM »
DH and I just started listening to The Windup Girl. 

I've read it before, and I really enjoyed it.  It's an interesting future dystopia world.  The overall story is nice and sciency, which I enjoy as a microbiologist with a genetics background, and it's also a little conspiracy theorist with a huge focus on the possible future political consequences of GMO agriculture. 

turketron

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Re: What are you READING right now?
« Reply #1105 on: January 29, 2018, 04:28:13 PM »
It's been awhile since I read it, but I recall liking the premise and world-building of The Windup Girl more than the actual story itself. Been meaning to read more of his books but haven't had a chance to do so yet!

BuffaloStache

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Re: What are you READING right now?
« Reply #1106 on: January 31, 2018, 08:40:07 AM »
DH and I just started listening to The Windup Girl. 

I really enjoyed that book as well.

I've started reading Vagabonding: an uncommon guide to the art of long-term world travel. I'm not planning on leaving tomorrow, but I would like to take some slow, long trips when I reach FI.
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Malaysia41

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Re: What are you READING right now?
« Reply #1107 on: January 31, 2018, 09:53:23 AM »
I just finished Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death. 

He published it in 1985. 

Woah. Going all the way back before the telegraph, he dissects how different communication technologies dictate content by virtue of the medium. His focus is on TV. the tl'dr is that people of Lincoln's time, for enjoyment, sat around and listened to intricate 5 hour debates on a single subject. Context, sensible progression of arguments, depth.  Now, we get bits of information just because they're news - devoid of context, sense and depth.

These ways of learning and integrating information make us stupid. And the phenomenon seems amplified in the age of smartphones. We're addicted to the fleeting distractions on our newsfeeds.  We have strong opinions about matters that we learn about through 3 minute news segments.

Sigh. It's all very heavy.

Moving on to 'Who Owns the Future' by Jaron Lanier.  You know, for more horrifying insights into what technology is doing to us.
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BuffaloStache

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Re: What are you READING right now?
« Reply #1108 on: January 31, 2018, 03:35:26 PM »
^I know I'm derailing the discussion a bit, but I find that concept very interesting. Did the author provide any potential possibilities to remedy this? E.g. are there any podcasts or more modern types of media that are similar in depth?
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grantmeaname

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Re: What are you READING right now?
« Reply #1109 on: January 31, 2018, 04:58:36 PM »
My history textbook said there weren’t any good podcasts back in 1985...

grantmeaname

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Re: What are you READING right now?
« Reply #1110 on: January 31, 2018, 04:58:04 PM »
My history textbook said there weren’t any good podcasts back in 1985...

grantmeaname

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Re: What are you READING right now?
« Reply #1111 on: January 31, 2018, 05:00:24 PM »
My history textbook said there weren’t any good podcasts back in 1985...

Malaysia41

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Re: What are you READING right now?
« Reply #1112 on: February 01, 2018, 06:18:03 AM »
^I know I'm derailing the discussion a bit, but I find that concept very interesting. Did the author provide any potential possibilities to remedy this? E.g. are there any podcasts or more modern types of media that are similar in depth?

On whether a remedy is possible:

Quote from: Neil-Postman
In the first place, not everyone believes a cure is needed, and in the second, there probably isn't any.  But as a true-blue American who has imbibed the unshakable belief that where there is a problem, there must be a solution, I shall conclude with the following suggestions.

His suggestions for remedy:

Quote from: Neil-Postman
"only through a deep and unfailing awareness of the structure and effects of information, through a demystification of media, is there any hope of our gaining some measure of control over television, or the computer, or any other medium. How is such media consciousness to be achieved? There are only two answers that come to mind, one of which is nonsense ... the other is desperate:

1. "nonsense answer": Create TV programs whose intent would be ... to demonstrate how television ought to be viewed, to show how television recreates and degrades our conception of news, political debate, religious thought, etc.
2. "desperate answer": Education in our schools -to teach media consciousness . Rather than teachers attempting to use tv or the internet to help with or control education, teachers need to use education to help students control the media around them.

a couple other suggestions:
  - ban political commercials (as tobacco and alcohol commercials were banned) - but he doesn't believe this idea would be taken seriously.
  - have a national conversation about information, mediums of communication, and how modes of communication give new meanings to concepts such as 'piety' or 'patriotism' or 'privacy'. - but he doesn't think this will happen either.

To sum up - his suggestions are sparse and not at all hopeful.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 06:40:06 AM by Malaysia41 »
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davisgang90

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Re: What are you READING right now?
« Reply #1113 on: February 02, 2018, 06:28:17 AM »
Just finished The Cloud, by Ray Hammond.

Interesting sci-fi book about a giant gas cloud heading for our solar system in response to a radio signal from a nearby star.  There's some pretty cool Artificial Intelligence issues explored as well.

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CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What are you READING right now?
« Reply #1114 on: February 05, 2018, 08:40:21 AM »
Just found the series Extinct, created by Orson Scott Card from a post on Quora where he occasionally writes (https://www.quora.com/How-long-until-the-second-book-of-the-second-trilogy-of-the-Formic-Wars-is-released-I-love-your-books-so-much-and-have-been-reading-them-since-I-was-in-the-5th-grade). It is created by Orson Scott Card and by Aaron Johnston and OSC is writing the novels.

This is not a book, but a serial with about 10 episodes. https://www.byutv.org/extinct

From the blurb on the page
Four hundred years after extinction, the human race gets a second chance at life on Earth-but why? Featuring the collaboration of science-fiction legend Orson Scott Card, BYUtv's Extinct explores a riveting new world characterized by extraterrestrial species, advanced technologies, and humankind's enduring search for purpose.

Since we were talking about sci-fi books, I thought I would point out this for fans of Orson Scott Card.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2018, 08:49:14 AM by CowboyAndIndian »

grantmeaname

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Re: What are you READING right now?
« Reply #1115 on: February 05, 2018, 04:15:09 PM »
I've just finished the first set of the Lost Fleet books and now I'm on to the second. I'm normally not one for military science fiction but the writing is really good and it's nice to have a series to pull you along from book to book when you're busy. I love how I can visualize the battles in my head. Unfortunately the author is midway into a fourth series in the universe and I'll have to stop myself at the end of the third series until it's done for my own good.

I'm also reading At the Existentialist Cafe a bit more slowly. It's interesting because I spent a good chunk of last year reading a book called Postwar which emphasized Sartre's problematic political views, and this book paints him much more gently. Either way, Camus is a certified 100% badass.

Malaysia41

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Re: What are you READING right now?
« Reply #1116 on: February 06, 2018, 12:03:38 AM »
I've just finished the first set of the Lost Fleet books and now I'm on to the second. I'm normally not one for military science fiction but the writing is really good and it's nice to have a series to pull you along from book to book when you're busy. I love how I can visualize the battles in my head. Unfortunately the author is midway into a fourth series in the universe and I'll have to stop myself at the end of the third series until it's done for my own good.

Have you read any Jeff Shara? You're describing his writing too, at least from my perspective.
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Re: What are you READING right now?
« Reply #1117 on: February 06, 2018, 12:07:05 AM »
Have you read any Jeff Shara? You're describing his writing too, at least from my perspective.

Yeah! I read his and his dad’s main Civil War series in the fall and his Mexican-American War book last month. I’m trying to decide whether to go back in for the Western Campaign books or another war.

davisgang90

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Re: What are you READING right now?
« Reply #1118 on: February 06, 2018, 07:17:33 AM »
Continuing my Robert D. Kaplan kick with: Mediterranean Winter: The Pleasures of History and Landscape in Tunisia, Sicily, Dalmatia, and the Peloponnese
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Re: What are you READING right now?
« Reply #1119 on: February 06, 2018, 11:33:02 AM »
'Darling Beast' by Elizabeth Hoyt. Love me some romances. <3