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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.

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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 11:30 AM Political Book Club Susan from 29
Mon 8:00 PM Monday Murder Mystery Susan from 29, michelewln
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 2:00 PM e-books Susan from 29
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 9:00 PM Books So Bad They're Good Ellid

Just finished
(started and finished) Fletch by Gregory McDonald.  I. M. Fletcher, investigative reporter, is posing as a drug addict to investigate the illicit drug trade on a beach. Then a man makes him an offer: Kill me and I'll pay you a bunch of money. Fast and funny.

Sleeping Dogs by Thomas Perry. The sequel to The Butcher's Boy.  The butcher's boy (a former hit man for the mafia) has retired to England and been living a quiet life for 10 years. But now he is recognized and comes out of retirement very fast.

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.

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.

Visions of Infinity by Ian Stewart. A nontechnical look at 11 famous problems of math. So far, it's a little too nontechnical for my taste.

Woodrow Wilson by John Cooper, Jr. A fairly admiring look at Wilson.

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 book on teaching math ever written.

A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln and the 1848 US invasion of Mexico by Amy Greenberg. What the subtitle says, but very interesting. For instance, the 1848 war was the first US war to have a substantial group of anti-War Americans.
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Comment Preferences

  •  And Hell Followed With Her (13+ / 0-)

    David Neiwert's stunning, terrifying book about Shawna Forde and the murder of Junior Flores and his daughter Brisenia.  Highly, highly recommended.

    I also just finished Those Angry Days by Lynne Olson, an excellent look at the debate between isolationists and interventionists in the years leading up to World War II.

  •  Iceland, still Iceland (12+ / 0-)

    Listening: The Flatey Enigma is a whodunnit kinda thing, centered on an island off the west of Iceland, between Snaefellsness peninsula and the Westfjords. At the end of each chapter, there's some commentary/annotation about the Icelandic sagas, very helpful in understanding what those are about. (Crowd sourcing!!)

    Reading: Frozen Assets by Quentin Bates (a Brit who married Icelandic, lived there for a decade), the first of his Officer Gunnhildur procedurals. This one's punctuated by online posts from "Skandalblogger" and various characters' reactions to same, and is set as the financial crisis was exploding (or is that collapsing) in Iceland. The idioms are all British, making it doubly culturally alien.

    Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

    by Land of Enchantment on Wed May 01, 2013 at 05:11:04 AM PDT

  •  Reading and listening... (11+ / 0-)

    Finally finished Lawrence Wright's Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.  Excellent book.  Scary.  Quickly going through some short audiobooks that I had piled up on my mp3 player.  Nothing worth mentioning really.

    225 pages into Wool by Hugh Howey.  I think I've discovered the origin of the title (nothing to do with sheep).  This is a scifi/post-apocalyptic about humans having to reside in a 150 story underground silo because the earth's atmosphere is now deadly.  It was pretty good up until about page 200, and then it got REALLY good.  This is definitely one to check out if you like this kind of thing (and maybe even if it's not your standard reading fare!)

  •  Red Azalea by Anchee Min (10+ / 0-)

    Min was a child during the Cultural Revolution in China.  This is her memoir,and follows her life from the late '60s until she left China in 1984.  Only a hundred pages in, but she has already had a hand in condemning her teacher and getting her best friend at a farm driven crazy.  It is written wonderfully well, and seems novelistic.  But it's not a novel; this stuff actually happened.  

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Wed May 01, 2013 at 05:31:49 AM PDT

  •  Amanda Knox - Waiting to be Heard. (7+ / 0-)

    Very interesting - more so because I saw her interview w/Diane Sawyer last night.  Just about 50 pages in though.

    Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

    by dov12348 on Wed May 01, 2013 at 05:57:46 AM PDT

  •  April's completed list: (8+ / 0-)

    Once Burned by Jeanine Frost
    Twice Tempted by Jeanine Frost
    Awakened by Brenda K. Davies
    Reign of Blood by Alexia Purdy
    Destined for an Early Grave by Jeanine Frost
    This Side of the Grave by Jeanine Frost
    One Grave at a Time by Jeanine Frost
    Death's Mistress by Karen Chance
    Daggerspell by Katherine Kerr
    Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
    The Cat who Dropped a Bombshell by Lilian Jackson Braun
    Dragon's Blood by Robin Hobb

    I'm currently working on
    A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
    Book Three in the Game of Thrones.

    "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 May 01, 2013 at 07:38:09 AM PDT

  •  The Great Gatsby (8+ / 0-)

    My book group is discussing this and thank God it will take place before the film opens.  This coincidence of timing was entirely unplanned.    

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Wed May 01, 2013 at 07:42:10 AM PDT

  •  Currently I am reading: (6+ / 0-)

    Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward ... indulging in my vampie romance :) I adore this series, a lot.  

    Also, I am starting The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, a book that I've wanted to read for a while and finally got my hands on a copy from the library.

    Nothing says your sorry like a dead bunny.

    by Caedy on Wed May 01, 2013 at 07:44:52 AM PDT

  •  Phascinating Physics (7+ / 0-)

    The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality by Richard Panek.  

    The birth of a new physics -- cosmology -- and the discovery that supernovae can tell us the age, rate of expansion, and ultimate fate of the Universe. That galaxies and galaxy clusters hold the secrets of the existence of dark matter and energy that make up 96% of what exists.  We light reflecting creatures and all that we can see are mere pollution compared to all that is.

    And listening to Alison Weir's captivating bio of Katherine Swinford, the enigmatic mistress, then third wife of John of Gaunt.

    Finished highly readable chronicle of Rob Cole, medieval physician who risks his life to journey to Persia and be trained by the great Avicenna in Isfahan.  The Physician, by Noah Gordon.

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

    by Limelite on Wed May 01, 2013 at 07:52:32 AM PDT

  •  Finished He She and It, by Marge Piercy (6+ / 0-)

    I complained at some length about this book two weeks ago, and while it never got any subtler or more sophisticated, I have to say that it kept me turning the pages.  The most interesting and best written element was the story of Rabbi Loew's Golem, which is interpolated every three or four chapters and echoes the action and themes of the SF story set in a dystopian near future.  The other interesting aspect, if you want to call it that, are the characteristics with which Piercy invests Yod, the cyborg, in terms of how he relates sexually and otherwise to human protagonist Shira.  I guess we know what Piercy's ideal romantic wish fulfillment would behave like. :-)

    Sticking with the theme of the golem for the moment, I have just started The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker.  Only a few pages in, but it starts off well.

  •  Just finished: (6+ / 0-)

       The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.  Warning:  Spoiler Alert

    Here is my Amazon customer review:

    I have never been so mad, upset, and betrayed by a novel as The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. The novel had so much promise. The author is truly a gifted writer, delving deep into the souls of the characters, including the dogs; the setting; the time; even the exciting and mysterious plot line-- all of literary excellence. Some of the dog training descriptions and back story letters of correspondence (between John Sawtelle and Alvin Brooks) were a bit tedious and could have been edited. But the ending was so unbelievable, so frustrating, and so tragic, that the beautiful elements were almost completely forgotten or at least overshadowed. To invest in so much psychological energy only to end so miserably left me wishing I had never read this book, despite the beauty of the prose and most of the story up until the end. What was the point? Even in tragedy, there has to be some justice, some tiny seed of hope. I felt completely betrayed by the ending of this novel, and being a serious dog lover, I would not recommend it to anyone who has ever loved a dog.

    Protect children-- not guns.

    by rlharry on Wed May 01, 2013 at 08:32:15 AM PDT

  •  Two of the best books I've read in a long time: (5+ / 0-)

    White Dog Fell from the Sky, by Eleanor Morse (who happens to be an island neighbor), about Isaac, a South African doctor and anti-apartheid activist who flees to Botswana; Alice, the white American who hires him as a gardener; and White Dog, the stray who is a lovely presence throughout the book - these and other characters are achingly real. A beautiful, searing book, like The Kite Runner, a good story about things that matter.

    A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki, which also brings together an unlikely collection of characters, through a diary and letters in a Hello Kitty lunchbox, washed up on an island in British Columbia. Ruth, the author's fictional self, a Japanese American novelist with a case of writer's block, finds the diary and is drawn into the world of Japanese American teenager Nao, raised in the U.S. but now trying to find a way to fit in in the hostile world of Japanese middle school. Zen Buddhism, environmental concerns, animals - wild and domesticated, the tsunami, and World War II kamikaze pilots are just some of the themes woven together in this powerful and affecting book.

    "Diversity is, in action, the sometimes painful awareness that other people, other races, other voices, other habits of mind have as much integrity of being, as much claim on the world as you do." William Chase

    by Maine Islander on Wed May 01, 2013 at 08:39:55 AM PDT

  •  Mostly meh reading around here. (5+ / 0-)

    Two different books for book clubs this month, The Islanders by Christopher Priest and The Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham. Both, sadly, have far more exciting titles than executions.

    Islanders is too disjointed for me. I hate non-linear storytelling, I'm finding out. My husband insists it eventually makes sense. I can't wait for eventually.

    Tiger in the Smoke isn't getting to the action quickly enough. Pages and pages and pages, and all we've learned is there are a lot of characters with similar names doing confusing things.

    I got out a Five Hundred Kingdoms book by Mercedes Lackey, Sleeping Beauty, but it's not half as good as the others in her series and I'm regretting the time I spent reading it.

    Anyone read Michael Moss' new book? I keep forgetting to look for it every time I go to the library. The main critique I've heard is that there's no suggestion for action on the problems he exposes in our food addiction system.

  •  Napoleon III and his Carnival Empire (5+ / 0-)

    By John Bierman.  I've been a Tudor/Stuart reader for years and have recently been reading more French history and historical fiction.  

    Just finished "Pearl of China" by Anchee Min.  OK, but it doesn't come up the the standard of her "Madam Orchid".

    and before that "A Curious Man" a bio on Ripley of Believe it or Not by Neal Thompson. Fascinating life.

    and before that Murakami's autobiographical narrative "What I talk about when I talk about running" - as quirky as his novels.

  •  hi (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    plf515, RiveroftheWest, Brecht, LSophia

    I have finished reading:

    All Mortal Flesh by Julia Spencer-Fleming
    I Shall Not Want by Spencer-Fleming
    One Was a Soldier by Spencer-Fleming
    Below Zero by C. J. Box
    Nowhere to Run by Box

    I am reading:

    The Cyberskunk Files #2:  The Hyperlink by Joel Naftali (sequel to The Rendering) (pg. 95 of 296)

    Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb (pg. 42 of 425)

    Challenge books:

    A History of London by Stephen Inwood (pg. 419 of 937)

    The Hornet’s Nest by Jimmy Carter: A Novel of the Revolutionary War (pg. 196 of 465)

    Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams by Lyle Leverich (pg. 129 of 593)

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

    by cfk on Wed May 01, 2013 at 01:29:11 PM PDT

  •  I'm reading a very old (1959) Priestly Lecture... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, plf515, Brecht, LSophia the great chemical engineer Thomas Kilgore Sherwood, inspired to do so by a PNAS paper I've been thinking and writing about on the subject of carbon capture from the air.

    It's a great chance to get some insight into the science of mass transfer and its history.

    I am also continuing my research readings in connection with some materials known as MAX phases that is simply fascinating, since it's somewhat new to me.

    My history reading this week is Steven Woodworth's Nothing But Victory:  The Army of the Tennessee 1861-1865.

    There's sundry other stuff but that's the major activity.

  •  Currently... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    plf515, RiveroftheWest, Brecht, LSophia

    The Pale King by David Foster Wallace

    Men of Mathematics by E.T. Bell

    and other assorted things in small, easily digestible doses (e.g. Axel's Castle by Edmund Wilson)

  •  well, it's May Day, and I'm a Dem, so naturally (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    plf515, RiveroftheWest, Brecht, LSophia

    I'm re-reading "Das Kapital" and the Q'uran.

    Isn't EVERYONE?


  •  I always enjoy seeing what everyone is reading (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    especially those who write a whole paragraph review of their books.

    For myself, I'm embarrassed. Ever since I got the internet in my living room, and began a weekly diary, I've run aground. I research on the internet, and I poke through books about books. But I've only read two whole books in as many months, because bookgirl warned they were coming up in diaries of hers.

    I'll be back next week, with a title or two in hand.

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

    by Brecht on Wed May 01, 2013 at 07:50:38 PM PDT

  •  Just finished (in last few weeks) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Dirt Work, by Christine Byl - nice book about being a trail worker.  Aspires to be "Wild," by Cheryl Strayed, but doesn't quite pull it off.

    The Map of Lost Memories, by Kim Fay - intriguing story about 1920s China and Cambodia, but not the thriller the jacket implies

    A Cold and Lonely Place, by Sara J. Henry - WOW.  Very intense mystery.  I am sad I have to wait another two years for her next book.

    Necessity's Child (a Liaden novel), by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.  Excellent part of the Liaden saga - I like this hero a lot better than some of her other ones.

    Y, by Marjorie Celona.  Searing, painful story of the impact of abandonment.  Set in Victoria, BC, which is neat, as it's one of my favorite vacation spots.

    About to start:
    North of Hope, by Shannon Polson

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