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Old 08-01-2012, 11:49 AM   #1401
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Browsing the local used book store I found a copy of "The Sotweed Factor" by John Barth. I remember reading it in the late 60s or early 70s and finding it very entertaining so I am reading it again. It's even better than I remembered.
Barth is great. I remember reading "The Floating Opera" for a class in college and loving it. The title refers to a riverboat/showboat and there's a great sequence where he uses it as a metaphor for people floating in and out of your life.
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Old 08-01-2012, 12:12 PM   #1402
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As an occasional binge reader, the last couple of weeks were mostly spent on Lee Child's Reacher murder mysteries, one per day. There is lots of action and no message, just like television programs. Child was employed in that industry. I did enjoy spending so much time indoors in the recliner during the hottest weeks of the year.

Read N. N. Taleb's Fooled by Randomness. Had to put it aside often because I struggled to separate the message from the autobiography. I'm rereading it. A decade old financial book is fun since we now know the future of that period.
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Old 08-01-2012, 02:14 PM   #1403
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Columbine by Dave Cullen and Counterfeit Dreams by Jefferson Hawkins. I thought it would be interesting to read Columbine after the events in Aurora, CO and Jefferson Hawkins escaped Scientology after 35 years. I love to read about my neighbors! I'm not sure which was more heartbreaking.
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:08 PM   #1404
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As an occasional binge reader, the last couple of weeks were mostly spent on Lee Child's Reacher murder mysteries, one per day. There is lots of action and no message, just like television programs. Child was employed in that industry. I did enjoy spending so much time indoors in the recliner during the hottest weeks of the year.

Read N. N. Taleb's Fooled by Randomness. Had to put it aside often because I struggled to separate the message from the autobiography. I'm rereading it. A decade old financial book is fun since we now know the future of that period.
I only read the first Jack Reacher and I think you summarized it very well. I just had no particular desire to read any more after that first one.
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:51 PM   #1405
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:57 PM   #1406
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I read "Cleaving " byJulie Powell of Julie & Julia fame . Luckily it was from the library because it was truly awful maybe worse than awful horrid .A boring book about her learning to butcher as her marriage is falling apart .If I wrote this book I would go into hiding .
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:13 PM   #1407
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I read Gillian Flynn's "Sharp Objects " . Her other books were so intriguing I had to read this one. It was good. The characters were extremely weird but it was predicable . Her other two books had me guessing until the final chapter where as I was able to guess the killer early on but it still was a good read .
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Old 08-09-2012, 07:19 PM   #1408
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Memoirs of a Superfluous Man, by Alfred J. Nock. It was a kindle freebie several months ago. I believe he lived through the late 1800s and perhaps up to WW2. He was born in America, but spent much of his life in Europe. He seems to have had adequate money to pretty much spend his time on his intellectual and other pursuits.

I really enjoyed it, and would recommend it to anyone with a contrary bent.

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Old 08-11-2012, 12:13 PM   #1409
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Similar message was discussed in recent book "Abundance" I.e. violent crime is on a long decline, but our brains are geared to seek out threats and this leads us to over represent bad news. (helped by media's "if it bleeds, it leads" approach.
I finally finished "Abundance". Wow. Best read of the decade. Maybe this century.

I can appreciate the idea of applying tech to squeeze more efficiency out of existing resources. But what really made an impression is our psychological tendency to extrapolate a trend toward infinity while simultaneously being unable to detect an exponential growth curve.

It's getting so that I don't trust any of my senses or heuristics...

Book review: “Abundance” | Military Retirement & Financial Independence
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:21 PM   #1410
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I really enjoyed it as well, Nords. Pretty amazing. I only knew vaguely who Diamandas was until I saw a review of it on the Freakonomics blog.

I'm reading Dan Ariely's latest book about his research into dishonesty and it ties in very well with my interests in behavioral economics. another good one!
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Old 08-11-2012, 02:46 PM   #1411
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One thing that is in short supply are copies of Abundance at our library. I'm 20 on the wait list.
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Old 08-13-2012, 04:09 PM   #1412
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I've had good intentions and no follow-through to read more fiction. Last month I heard an NPR interview with an American mystery author who lives in Venice and was intrigued enough to see if the library had any of her books
A Tale Of Two Cities: Author Donna Leon's Venice : NPR

Picked up Blood from a Stone a few weeks back (it took longer than I expected to finish it with the Olympics being a major distraction). It's one of her more recent books (the library didn't have any of the older ones) but it was not difficult to jump in as she did a good job (re-)introducing Commissario Brunetti and the other characters.

Took that one back today and got another.

Now I'd like to find an author doing contemporary (post Berlin Wall) crime fiction set in Germany - since we lived there for several years I think the geographic and cultural references would be even more interesting than Leon's setting in Venice (which I only visited once). Any suggestions?
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Old 08-13-2012, 04:45 PM   #1413
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Now I'd like to find an author doing contemporary (post Berlin Wall) crime fiction set in Germany
Don't know of any post Berlin Wall books offhand, but I think you'd enjoy Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series......great reads!
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Old 08-13-2012, 06:06 PM   #1414
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I've had good intentions and no follow-through to read more fiction. Last month I heard an NPR interview with an American mystery author who lives in Venice and was intrigued enough to see if the library had any of her books
A Tale Of Two Cities: Author Donna Leon's Venice : NPR
...
Thanks for mentioning this interview. I've read a few of the first Leon novels and intend to continue moving forward in time with the Brunetti series. One can see the sequence of them here: Donna Leon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia . When she started on the series in 1992, Italy was on the Lira. It will be interesting to see how her views of Venice and Italy change as she progresses.

Sorry I don't have any German crime novels to recommend.
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So Much for That....
Old 08-17-2012, 12:03 PM   #1415
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So Much for That....

Just finished reading a fictional book called So Much for That by Lionel Shriver.

So Much for That: A Novel: Lionel Shriver: 9780061458583: Amazon.com: Books

It centers around a man's "retirement plan", and evolves into what happens when life gets in the way. If anyone has read it, or want to read it, and then discuss, I'd love to. It was brutally honest in many places, making me feel a little better about some of the ideas that run through my head.

If you're a reader, I highly recommend it.

A little more from The New York Times

Quote:
Shep Knacker has long saved for "The Afterlife": an idyllic retreat to the Third World where his nest egg can last forever. Traffic jams on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway will be replaced with "talking, thinking, seeing, and being"—and enough sleep. When he sells his home repair business for a cool million dollars, his dream finally seems within reach. Yet Glynis, his wife of twenty-six years, has concocted endless excuses why it's never the right time to go. Weary of working as a peon for the jerk who bought his company, Shep announces he's leaving for a Tanzanian island, with or without her.

Just returned from a doctor's appointment, Glynis has some news of her own: Shep can't go anywhere because she desperately needs his health insurance. But their policy only partially covers the staggering bills for her treatments, and Shep's nest egg for The Afterlife soon cracks under the strain.
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Old 08-18-2012, 10:15 PM   #1416
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Just finished reading, "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman. Basically describes how people think and applies it to behavioral economics. A topic members of this forum would be interested in. Very readable.
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:44 PM   #1417
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Author-Vince Flynn's All his books will keep you on the edge of your seat. I read 12 of them all great reads. You can't put them down.
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Old 08-21-2012, 04:38 PM   #1418
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Finally finished Dick Couch's "Sua Sponte" (the U.S. Army Ranger motto for "On their own accord"). He's already written about SEAL training and Army Special Forces training.

Here's three interesting insights from the Ranger instructors:
They expect the Ranger students to practice "peer mediation" as part of forming a team. The instructors can tell which candidates grew up playing organized youth sports (with adult referees, umpires, & coaches) and which kids grew up playing pickup games on vacant lots (having to solve their own problems among themselves). It makes the difference between seeking some authority figure to solve your problems for you, versus taking charge and solving your problems among yourselves.

The Rangers make their candidates pass a swimming test. The instructors say that they can tell who grew up playing in the swimming pool and who grew up dancing around the fire hydrant (presumably because their city neighborhood didn't have a municipal pool).

The difference between amateurs and professionals:
"Amateurs practice until they can get it right.
Professionals practice until they can't get it wrong."
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Old 08-22-2012, 03:19 PM   #1419
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I finally finished "Abundance". Wow. Best read of the decade. Maybe this century.

I can appreciate the idea of applying tech to squeeze more efficiency out of existing resources. But what really made an impression is our psychological tendency to extrapolate a trend toward infinity while simultaneously being unable to detect an exponential growth curve.

It's getting so that I don't trust any of my senses or heuristics...

Book review: “Abundance” | Military Retirement & Financial Independence
High praise. I read your book report. It seems like it might be like Bernstein's "Birth of Plenty". Is it?
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Old 08-22-2012, 03:38 PM   #1420
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David Brin's Existence is recommended for science fiction fans or anyone who likes to speculate about the big questions about our future. It is set about 50 years in the future. Very wide ranging ideas about the dangers and possibilities before us.
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