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For those who are new ... we discuss books.  I list what I'm reading, and people comment with what they're reading.  Sometimes, on Sundays, I post a special edition on a particular genre or topic.

If you like to trade books, try bookmooch

I've written some book reviews on Yahoo Voices:
Book reviews on Yahoo

Readers and Book lovers schedule
Readers & Book Lovers Series Schedule

DAY TIME (EST/EDT) Series Name Editor(s)
SUN 6:00 PM Young Reader's Pavilion The Book Bear
Sun 9:30 PM SciFi/Fantasy Book Club quarkstomper
Bi-Monthly Sun Midnight Reading Ramblings don mikulecky
MON 8:00 PM Monday Murder Mystery Susan from 29
Mon 11:00 PM My Favorite Books/Authors edrie, MichiganChet
TUES 5:00 PM Indigo Kalliope: Poems from the Left bigjacbigjacbigjac
alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM LGBT Literature Texdude50, Dave in Northridge
alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM All Things Bookstore Dave in Northridge
Tue 8:00 PM Contemporary Fiction Views bookgirl
WED 7:30 AM WAYR? plf515
Wed 8:00 PM Bookflurries Bookchat cfk
THU 8:00 PM Write On! SensibleShoes
Thu (first each month) 11:00 AM Monthly Bookpost AdmiralNaismith
Thu (third each month - on hiatus) 11:00 PM Audiobooks Club SoCaliana
FRI 8:00 AM Books That Changed My Life Diana in NoVa
Fri 6:00 PM Books Go Boom! Brecht
SAT (fourth each month) 11:00 AM Windy City Bookworm Chitown Kev
Sat 4:00 PM Daily Kos Political Book Club Freshly Squeezed Cynic
Sat 9:00 PM Books So Bad They're Good Ellid

Just finished
Dead Souls by Ian Rankin. The latest in the John Rebus series of Scottish noir crime novels. I like this series and this is one of the best in it. But it's dark dark dark. Child abusers, serial murderers etc.  Full review soon on Yahoo Voices. full review

Far from the Tree: Parents, children and the search for identity by Andrew Solomon.
The title comes from the phrase "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree". This book is about apples (children) who did fall far from the tree (parents). This book got amazing reviews and it grabbed me from the opening:

"There is no such thing as reproduction. When two people decide to have a baby, they engage in an act of production, and the widespread use of the word reproduction for this activity, with its implication that two people are but braiding themselves together, is at best a euphemism to comfort prospective parents before they get in over their heads"
I don't agree with all that Solomon says, but this is a book to make you think about deep questions of humanity. Full review soon on Yahoo Voices.

Rayburn: A Biography by D. B. Hardeman. A very admiring look at Sam Rayburn, former speaker of the House.  Hardeman has an odd but readable style, mostly in that he overuses this structure "the" (adjective) (state adjective) form (e.g. "the crusty Texan", "the wily Missourian") to an extent that's almost comical. Rayburn

Ghostman  by Roger Hobbs.  The protagonist of this excellent first novel is  a "ghost man". He is part of a criminal enterprise of high level thieves (they steal large amounts at each crime) and his specialty is the ability to become other people - adapt their mannerisms, their voice, their signature and so on. In his spare time he translates books from Latin and Greek into various modern languages.  Fascinating.  Full review soon on Yahoo Voices.

Now reading
Cooler Smarter: Practical tips for low carbon living  by the scientists at Union of Concerned Scientists, a great group. These folk make sense, concentrating on the changes you can make that have the biggest impact with the least effort.

Thinking, fast and slow  by Daniel Kahneman.  Kahneman, most famous for his work with the late Amos Tversky, is one of the leading psychologists of the times. Here, he posits that our brains have two systems: A fast one and a slow one. Neither is better, but they are good at different things. This is a brilliant book: Full of insight and very well written, as well.

What hath God wrought? by Daniel Walker Howe. Subtitled "The transformation of America 1815-1848. I am reading this with the History group at GoodReads.  This is very well written, and does a good job especially with coverage of the treatment of Blacks and Native Americans.

The hard SF renaissance  ed. by David G. Hartwell.  A large anthology of "hard" SF from the 90's and 00's. I think Hartwell takes SF a bit too seriously, but the stories are good.

On politics: A history of political thought from Herodotus to the present by Alan Ryan. What the subtitle says - a history of political thought.  

He, she and it by Marge Percy. Near future dystopian SF set on Earth.

Just started
A Most Dangerous Book  by Christopher Krebs. How a short book by the Roman Tacitus had a dangerous life, culminating in its use by the Nazis to support their ideas of lebensraum and "Ein volk, Ein reich, ein fuhrer".

The Ringworld Engineers by Larry Niven. The sequel to Ringworld in which Louis Wu, Chmee and the Hindmost return to Ringworld, which has become unstable.

Measurement by Paul Lockhart. About mathematics and, especially, how it should be taught and learned. Lockhart is wonderful; his first book A Mathematician's Lament was, in my view, the best books on teaching math ever written.

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Comment Preferences

  •  "Portrait of a Silver Lady"by Benson, MacGregor (12+ / 0-)

    This is an extensive coverage of the Western Pacific Railroad and the CAlifornia Zephyr passenger train tht ran from 1949 to 1971, when Amtrak took over most passneger services.
    (the CA Zephyr used stainless steel for the outside of theur cars, this the name: "Silver Lady")
    ted Benson and Bruce Macgregor are well known rail historians, each of them have many titles of their own seperately. They cover the history of both the WP and the train itself,  the land and the peiple involved. It has great text, written by Macgregor ( A history professor) but whats really great is Benson's pictures---he's a well known railroad prhotographer, one of the best
    I have always been interested in trains, ever since I was a kid watching steam engines. I got to be an adult too late for riding most of the name trains (which died in 1971) but I got into riding the "side door"Pullman when I was young as kind of a dangerous sport. As such I rode the whole Western Pacific from Ogden to Oakland, the same ground the "Silver Lady" covered"
    I collect railroad books

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 04:51:39 AM PST

  •  Peter (11+ / 0-)

    John Rebus is back in a new novel by Rankin, Standing in Another Man's Grave.  By the way, I enjoy your Yahoo reviews:  short and to the point.  Standing is vintage Rebus, but felt the ending was weak and that there was an incredulous turn of events that spoiled my keeping company with Rebus.  Yes, he is still drinking, but handling it better.

    Just started John Banville's new  fiction, Ancient History, and if the blurb reviews are anything to go by, it looks like it might be another Booker quality title.

    Just waitin' around for the new Amy Winehouse album

    by jarbyus on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 04:54:23 AM PST

  •  Daniel Alarcon, Lost City Radio (10+ / 0-)

    Heard him on NPR a couple of weeks ago, talking about his latest project, Radio Ambulante, and found a used copy of his novel at in hardcover for a few dollars ($3?).

    Highly recommended. Wiki tells about the book (no spoiler here):

    After a ten-year insurrection set in a nameless South American country in which the totalitarian government defeated a rebel group, the government has eliminated all indigenous languages and renamed all places as numbers; radio is the only remaining convenience. The protagonist, Norma, is the voice of a popular radio show that attempts to reconnect war refugees with their families. Yet Norma too has lost during the war: her husband disappeared on a trip to a jungle village called 1797. One day a boy arrives from 1797 along with a list of missing for Norma to read over the radio, jarring Norma to recall the details of her life with her husband and his possible fate.

    Though the novel is set in South America it does not contain a single word of Spanish. It has been remarked for the ability to describe the people's sense of displacement[1]

  •  Reading and listening... (12+ / 0-)

    Just started Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.  Only 40 pages into so I really can't say anything about it.  I know the basic premise of the book and that it can jump into a different storyline right in the middle of another.  Hopefully I won't find this too frustrating.

    More than a third of the way through the audiobook version of The Digital Plague by Jeff Somers.  This is the 2nd in a Scifi series.  The protagonist of the series is named Avery Cates.  He's definitely an anti-hero.  He describes himself as "not a nice man".  Given that he's a hit man that would be correct.  The setting of Earth in this future is certainly not out of the realm of possibility.  The rich have everything and the poor have to fight over scraps to survive.  And the world is unified under one, corrupt government where the cops do whatever the hell they want.  There's several other books in the series which I'm looking forward to getting into in the future.

  •  Ursula K. Le Guin, Unlocking the Air (10+ / 0-)

    Unlocking the Air is a collection of Le Guin's short stories from the 80s and 90s.

    Really creative stuff. The title story is a gem.

    Most models are wrong, but some are useful.

    by etbnc on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:16:09 AM PST

  •  The Magus (9+ / 0-)

    Childhood's End
    The Savage Detectives
    The Book Thief

    I know, weird.

    "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

    by Steven D on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:16:35 AM PST

  •  Mr. Jefferson's Moose by (9+ / 0-)

    Lee Alan Dugatkin - finished last week. Good read about Thomas Jefferson's science battle against the popular degeneracy theory.

    Currently 2/3 way through Jared Diamond's The World Until Yesterday which is very good and lives up to the standards of his previous Guns, Germs, & Steel and Collapse.

    I don't know what consciousness is or how it works, but I like it.

    by SocioSam on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:34:51 AM PST

  •  Finished "The Missionary Position" (9+ / 0-)

    by Christopher Hitchens, in which he takes on Mother Teresa.

    Reading:  Zero, the Biography of a Dangerous Idea by Charles Seife.  You don't need to be good at math to enjoy the book, but then you may have to be good at math to be interested.

    One thing amused me about the early chapters:  We think of the Greeks as a scientific bunch, unlike, say, the Catholic church.  But the Greeks resisted the number zero for philosophical reasons.  Nobody is immune from that sort of error.

  •  Just finished (7+ / 0-)

    The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt, which made me turn to The House of Medici:Its Rise and Fall by Christopher Hibbert.

    Paranoia strikes deep. Into your life it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid. You step out of line, the man come and take you away. - S. Stills

    by ask on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:38:11 AM PST

  •  I've hardly participated in WAYR for months (10+ / 0-)

    as it publishes at 4:30AM California time, and my local library (where I compute) doesn't open till 10AM.

    But everything's different now. I'm sitting at home, in front of my new iMac, with a cup of coffee. Luxury. I've been reading:

    How Music Works, David Byrne. Full of knowledge, ideas, and fresh insights about music and sound. Just fascinating.

    The Creators, Daniel Boorstin.

    Michelangelo, George Bull. He does a great job collecting the information of Michelangelo's life and work. I've read many more artful biographies: he tells the story, but doesn't add shape to it. Michelangelo practically leaps off the page anyway, because he was a stupendous man and artist.

    Dreamsongs, Vol. 1, George R. R. Martin. What a storyteller. And these are short stories and novellas, so you won't have to wait years for them to end.

    Re-read Neuromancer, William Gibson. One of my five favorite SF books, as is The Man in the High Castle. Gibson's just on fire. He's written several books I've enjoyed since his first. But none more SF than this, with its glittering surfaces and sharp edges.

    Mmm, coffee.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:54:14 AM PST

  •  Pyhrric Possibilities (8+ / 0-)

    I'm reading a book called Fatal Victories by William Weir, about historical battles which had unfortunate consequences for the victors. A few of them, such as the Fall of Constantinople from the Fourth Crusade and the Battle of Bunker Hill are familiar to me; others I know little about or hadn't heard of at all. It's an interesting read.

    "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

    by quarkstomper on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:54:26 AM PST

  •  A Storm of Spears by Christopher Matthew. (10+ / 0-)

    This is the first truly detailed physical analysis of how the Greek hoplite phalanx worked, written by a history professor and ancient military history re-enactor.  

    Fascinating stuff, as I always wondered how those famous battles (i.e. Thermopylae) were fought.   A bit repetitive at times.  Suffice it to say, if Professor Matthews owns a spear, it probably has six points, all the same.  

    That being said, this is a good book for military history buffs, like me, who have wives who tell you "why would you possibly ever need to know that?"   I just hope that sauroter is a word in the NYT crossword puzzzle one day, when she asks me for the word for the knob or spike at the non-business end of a Greek hoplite's spear.  

    Many hands make light work, but light hearts make heavy work the lightest of all.

    by SpamNunn on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:59:20 AM PST

  •  The Racketeer by Grisham (8+ / 0-)

    The Last Week by Borg and Crossan
    The Way to Love by Anthony De Mello

    Which one I pick up at which time is totally dependent on my mood, but I am pretty engrossed in the Grisham book and may have to abandon the others until I finish it.

  •  Well..I'm reviewing (7+ / 0-)

    bell hooks Writing Beyond Race

    I have a bunch of staff in my backpack, including Anathem, Motherless Brooklyn, some Ralph Waldo Emerson, but nothing that I've sustained.

  •  Citizens of London (8+ / 0-)

    A very lively account of the war years in London, with a focus on Edward R. Murrow, U.S. Ambassador John Winant, and Averell Harriman, plus Churchill, Sarah Churchill, and Pamela Churchill. It concludes with a quote from Eric Sevareid's broadcast when he was leaving London in 1940: “In years to come, men will speak of this war and say, ‘I was a soldier’ or ‘I was a sailor’ or ‘I was a pilot.’ Others will say with equal pride, ‘I was a citizen of London.’" Link The book contains much new material drawn from diaries and letters written at the time.

    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

    by ybruti on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 06:42:17 AM PST

  •  Just finished: (12+ / 0-)

    There are No Children Here-The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America by Alex Kotlowitz:

    File this under "books that changed my life". Probably the most amazing piece of journalism I've ever read. The author spent 3 years following the lives, and writing the biography, of 2 boys in an inner city housing project in Chicago (begins in 1987)  Lafeyette is 11, Pharoah is 9 at the start of the book. So it's non-fiction, but without the dryness that sometimes makes non-fiction hard to read. It's amazing how he is able to transport the reader into this world that most are lucky enough to never inhabit-you know that the projects are probably not a great place to grow up, but you truly have no idea what these children experience daily-everything from having stray bullets come flying into their homes, hearing gunfire at all hours, seeing people murdered, having their friends just the squalor and the complete lack of upkeep of the homes-everything is broken, the stove, the doors, the heating and ventilation (so the heat blasts to 80 degrees during the winter, but there is no AC of course during the summer so it's always oppressively hot) and towards the end, you find out that the storage facilities are full of brand new stoves and appliances meant to be used to replace the broken things, but never were because of how incompetent and flat out corrupt the housing authority was at the time.

    The two boys are the focus of the book, and both steal and break your heart. Pharoah especially, the younger boy, is just so sweet and naive, and tries so hard. He's the best student in his class, he wins the spelling bee...he's just one of those kids who you are pulling for so much, and he's constantly being broken-his best friend is murdered, he's arrested for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but it ends on a positive note with him winning a scholarship to a camp at the University of Chicago. Unfortunately, there was no ultimate happy ending, because follow up reporting has tracked both boys (and many people who appear in the book) and he is actually in prison now, for a pretty long stint :( Lafayette is a more serious child, older and a bit more streetwise from the beginning. He's faced with stressors every day that most adults would crumble under, and towards the end he gets arrested, like Pharoah for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but then once he's facing the likelyhood of being sent to juvi he starts to become increasingly drawn into criminal activity and eventually joins a gang towards the end. He shows the impossibilities of staying a child and being innocent in this environment.

    The title of the book speaks to this, it is from the boy's mother LaJoe:

    "But you know, there are no children here. They've seen too much to be children"

    This book moved me so much that I decided about halfway through I decided that once I'm done with my BSN I want to move to Chicago and work in community/public health there (if that sounds extreme-I'm living with my parents at the moment so relocation was always in the cards, it's just a matter of where)

    These are the boys:
     photo 70756_100001934495169_1602127_n_zpsf1f84621.jpg
    Pharoah Rivers

     photo shames02_zps00b974c7.jpg
    Lafayette Rivers

    About to start: Slavery by Another Name by Douglas Blackmon. Looks like a heavy read, but it's won a pulitzer and was enthusiastically recommended as a way to provide more historical context for There Are No Children Here.

    You must work-we must all work-to make a world that is worthy of its children -Pablo Casals Please support TREE Climbers for victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation.

    by SwedishJewfish on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 06:42:38 AM PST

  •  Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews (6+ / 0-)

    Wonderful urban fantasy set in a future where the magic has returned.   It's also a paranormal romance between an obstreperous swordswoman and a control freak werelion.

  •  Closed the Book on Madame Bovary (8+ / 0-)

    Am half way through with Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton.  I like it better than Bovary.  Wharton is so intelligent, so assured, so imbued with human understanding, at least of the people who lived in the slice of turn-of-the-last-century NYC, Europe, and both the domestic and business scenes.

    Dipping into another difficult read: What It Is Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes. His memoir of service in Vietnam and his ruminations on the lack of psychological and spiritual preparedness for its horrors that young soldiers are given beforehand, and the absence of effective de-warriorization upon their return.  I tried to read his novel about the Vietnam War, Matterhorn but found it too repetitive, toneless, and quotidian.  Some of the same reasons I didn't like From Here to Eternity.  Good storytelling requires a kind of purposefulness that neither of these novels achieved for me.

    Almost finished with The Good Muslim by Tahmima Anam.  A Shakespearean tragedy of a novel set in Bangladesh in which the Fates have all the power and human volition is a useless game.

    Am getting ready to start Temple of a Thousand Faces by John Shors which is all about the disappeared Khmer civilization in the time of its collapse after the construction of the Angkor Wat.

    In our read aloud, LimeSpouse and I are sailing off the coast of Brazil in an undermanned ship, dragging through the seas with a mightily fouled bottom with Jack Aubrey and Dr. Maturin en route to rescue Captain Bligh in Desolation Island.

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 09:03:04 AM PST

  •  I have finished reading: (6+ / 0-)

    "Brother/Sister Plays," a trilogy by Tarell Alvin McCraney. Then I saw a wonderful production of the middle play.

    I am finally tucking into Rushdie's "Midnight's Children."  

    Awaiting the return of Follett's "Winter of the World" on CD from the library   Better listening in the car than PBS pledge drive.

  •  I've been a busy reader lately. (4+ / 0-)

    Immortalis Carpe Notem by Katie Salidas
    Edgewood by Karen McQuestion
    Container Gardening: How to grow food, flowers and fun at home by Will Cook
    Fishing in Brains for an Eye with Teeth by William Markley O'Neal

    One vampire book, one fantasy, one non-fiction, and a horror anthology. The last one was good but they were really dark and creepy. It's rare a book will give me nightmares any longer, but that one did. So I started rereading Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs, which is in the Alpha and Omega series.

    I just took Dragon City by Robin Hobbs out of the library. It's the third book in the Rain Wilds series, which connects to the Assassin's Apprentice, Mad Ship, and Fool series. Each series can stand alone, but they intermingle characters and world. This is the only one I haven't read yet. I've owned all but the Rain Wilds series personally.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:32:16 AM PST

  •  GhostMan but Roger Hobbs (4+ / 0-)

    which was mentioned here and is starting off very well and while the violent opening is difficult, it does set up an interesting situation.  

    Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry
    Helaine Olen (Author)  was a quick and easy read about the personal finance industry and some of the "stars" that are in the industry, like Suzi Orman and Jim Cramer.  Really doesn't cover new ground but reinforces what you come to know about personal brokers and others in the trade.  Her most interesting point is how the erosion of wages and benefits really hurt the ability of people, not just those in the market but those trying to save for retirement.  

    The library here is opening a new branch and the main branch is doing an outstanding job of getting new books out there for readers.  I have a copy of Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon and A Red Herring without Mustard by Alan Bradley, both in large print. Thats a sigh you hear from me now.  

    Also snagged a DVD set of the HBO series "Girls" and now I see what all the talk is about.  I love my library and the workers there.  They do a great job.

    I would place my faith and hope in the mercy of Christ, not in the judgment of Christians,” Wendell Berry.

    by Larin on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:34:06 AM PST

  •  hi (4+ / 0-)

    I have finished reading:

    Open Season by C J Box (Joe Pickett)

    Remembering the Music, Forgetting the Words: Travels with Mom in the Land of Dementia by Kate Whouley

    Dance of the Seagull by Andrea Camilleri

    Son of Heaven by David Wingrove

    Swan for the Money by Donna Andrews

    Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight of Terra by Poul Anderson (part 6 of the Technic Civilization Saga)  

    I am reading:

    Flandry’s Legacy by Poul Anderson (#7 of The Technic Civilization Saga)  (pg. 12 of 567)

    Stork Raving Mad by Donna Andrews (pg. 144 of 304)

    The Chains of the Sea by Joe Green ( the DKos author john keats) (pg.76 of 749)   Joe was kind enough to send me the book as a gift.

    Challenge books:

    A History of London by Stephen Inwood (pg. 169 of 937)

    Middletown, America: One Town’s Passage from Trauma to Hope (9-11) by Gail Sheehy (Pg. 186 of 392)

    Sherman’s March by Burke Davis (pg. 160 of 302)

    Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 02:18:54 PM PST

  •  not much, slowing down in my old age? (4+ / 0-)

    finished guilty pleasure: Kildar #5, Tiger by the Tail. Not nearly as much guilt-quotient, or I'm getting jaded. maybe it's the co-author. the military-adventure part was pretty good.

    sorta' working on short story collection, Urban Fantasy Anthology, ed. by Peter Beagle, Joe Lansdale.

    "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

    by chimene on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 02:37:23 PM PST

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