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Old 10-06-2007, 09:03 PM   #126
Blarg
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

Yeah I know what you mean. That's the cool and frustrating thing about the world at the same time. So much is interesting out there, but there are only so many hours in the day/in a life.
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Old 10-07-2007, 02:22 AM   #127
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

A friend suggested I read The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis, and I'm very glad he did. After reading a book that isn't poker related, and not a textbook, for the first time in months, I realized I had forgotten how beneficial variety in what one reads really is. I'm now compelled to greatly expand my library. Donations please
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Old 10-07-2007, 08:55 PM   #128
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

"god is Not Great" by Christopher Hitchens.

One little tidbit that I find interesting in the chapter on Islam:

We have all heard of how suicide bombers on a jihad are supposed to get 32 virgins in heaven from allah as their reward. Well, Chritopher Hitchens points out in his book, as do other scholars, that in a more accurate translation of the Koran from the original Syriac language it was written in, that these suicide bombers are actually promised "Sweet white raisins and plums" in heaven as their reward from Allah for their suicide jihad. I don't think too many guys would blow themselves up for some raisins and plums...
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Old 10-07-2007, 09:07 PM   #129
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

so, they're organic?
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Old 10-09-2007, 10:31 AM   #130
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

Quote:
so, they're organic?
I don't know about their 'organic' qualities, but since the Koran was passed down a few years before Monsanto, Dow Chemical, and others started making pesticides I would presume that the raisins that the muslim suicide bombers received for their carnage would indeed be 'organic."

But as Hitchens points out, most religions were started by people who couldn't even read and then hundreds of years later these myths and legends were continually passed down and eventually written down. So the authors of these religions wouldn't know what organic means.

If we are fortunate in the years to come most people will feel it is just as foolish to worship jesus or mohammed as most people feel today about worshipping Zeus or Thor or some other manmade myth. Zeus, Thor, Jesus, Mohammod - there all the same really.
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Old 10-09-2007, 12:40 PM   #131
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

Just getting around to posting a follow up about the Chris Genoa novel, Foop that I finished a couple weeks ago.

I generally enjoyed Foop. The narrative style was amusing in a Vonnegut-rip-off kind of way. Set in the not-too-distant future, the premise - a poor schlub doing his 9-5 at a time travel agency is sent back to 2001 to prevent nasty things from happening to his boss - is fun even though it's out there.

It pokes fun at new age religion, entrepreneurial zeal, and the blank-stare detachment of big city living. The protagonist is, for lack of a better term, a mess psychologically. He longs for corporeal contact rather than emotional connections. He is fully isolated from others. Regardless of his own efforts, he cannot connect with others, get along with others, or even interpret the speech/language of others.

There are numerous typos and font-size changes within the text that I think are there to level the reader (misspelled character names, verb tense changes, phonetic spellings, and alternating paragraphs of larger typeset). Either that or Genoa has a poor copy editor.

I was disappointed by the ending, which I thought was preachy in a slap-you-in-the-face way. It the same old story of humanity's preoccupation with material pursuits or pop religion or big business that leads to its basic wickedness when viewed from a distance. The funny twist is that the protagonist is so detached from his fellow human beings that he, too, is engaged in trying to prevent humans from evolving from apes.

It borrows/pays homage to themes in Sirens of Titan, Cat's Cradle, and even stylistically to Breakfast of Champions (e.g. it has illustrations and an unreliable narrator).

Bottom line is it was a good debut novel for Genoa, a quick and amusing read, but the ending seemed rushed/revised and didn't really fit with the playfulness of the rest of the book. This would be good for a plane trip, and would be good company for Tony Vigorito's Just a Couple of Days
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Old 10-09-2007, 01:25 PM   #132
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

I've got a huge stack of books to be reading but right now I'm working on Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq
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Old 10-14-2007, 06:45 PM   #133
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

I am reading Peter Alson's Take Me to The River.

I am loving it and will give it a favorable Amazon review when I through. That's my new thrill, ordering books over the Internet and reviewing them. I am starting with people I know some.

My own novel, Texas Poker Wisdom, will come out in a couple of months. The early reviews are fantastic.
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Old 10-14-2007, 08:58 PM   #134
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

I am about halfway through Freedom Writers now. I saw the movie a while ago. I went to a showing that was almost entirely teachers and it was funny to hear them laughing at certain things that I had no idea what was funny. Teachers are weird.

(Yeah, I'm going to be one in a couple years).
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Old 10-14-2007, 09:34 PM   #135
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

Quote:
My own novel, Texas Poker Wisdom, will come out in a couple of months. The early reviews are fantastic.
Is it a fictional tale of a poker player?

A side question: when people say "novel" does that imply fiction?
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Old 10-14-2007, 09:55 PM   #136
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

Quote:

A side question: when people say "novel" does that imply fiction?
It should.

I am reading Marisha Pessl's Special Topics in Calamity Physics at the moment, and I am loving it. Can't recommend it highly enough. (I'll come back to this thread, KilgoreTrout-style, with more of a review and a synopsis once I've finished.)
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Old 10-14-2007, 11:08 PM   #137
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

Quote:

Has anyone else read "The Mist" and have some comments?
Bit of trivia -- this is being made into a movie. Andre Braugher is in it. Set to be released in Nov I believe.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0884328/

edit: sigh. another bit of trivia, I apparently have reading comprehension problems. AJ mentioned the movie above. Read the post but it somehow didn't make it inside my brain. I found out about the movie while looking for some Homicide LOS info on imdb.
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Old 10-15-2007, 04:20 AM   #138
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

Quote:
I am about halfway through Freedom Writers now. I saw the movie a while ago. I went to a showing that was almost entirely teachers and it was funny to hear them laughing at certain things that I had no idea what was funny. Teachers are weird.

(Yeah, I'm going to be one in a couple years).
One of the more fun and infuriating things is figuring out what others know that you don't.
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Old 10-15-2007, 06:53 PM   #139
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

The books I am reading tonight are:
"I am America (And so Can You)" by Stephen Colbert, just bought it today and have read the intro. It doesn't read as funny as the cover, hopefully it will get funnier.

"The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America" by Bill Bryson. I am about halfway through this book, I find the author very funny. I am enjoying it a lot. Also helps me decide which towns to skip and which ones to add when I plan my roadtrip across America.
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:18 PM   #140
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

"Water Music" by TC Boyle. This guy really knows how to take numerous loose ends and weave them into a beautiful story. Those of you who aren't familiar should pick up some of his stuff. "World's End" is really good too.
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:46 PM   #141
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

I've started I Am America and So Can You," too. Colbert is extremely arch, and that can be great, but sometimes it feels a little bit strained and I find he misses the funny frequently enough. This strikes me as great bathroom reading, where you get just enough to amuse you, then finish your business and move on to something else. Best in small doses. I expect this one will take me a long time to actually finish.
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:47 PM   #142
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

Also, I've just finished The Military Institutions of the Romans, by Vegetius. More bathroom reading, though it is readable straight through. Now I'm starting My Reveries on the Art of War, by Maurice de
Saxe.
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Old 10-18-2007, 11:14 PM   #143
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

Okay, follow up now that I've finished Special Topics in Calamity Physics. This won't really be a review because I loved the book so much that it's hard to be critical.

This book had a fair amount of buzz last year, but here's a synopsis for those who haven't heard about it: Blue van Meer, a hyper-literate teenager, and her father travel around the country, moving every few months as Dad likes to get a temporary teaching gig at one university, then quickly move to the next one. (Mom is long since dead, car accident.) They spend a ton of time memorizing poetry and dialogue and philosophy, watching old movies, and being really academic in general (and the dad also spends time picking up women in every new city).

For Blue's senior year of high school, they move near a private school and plan to stay in one place for a whole year for the first time. She gets caught up in a group of quirky kids (standard for any high school story, I guess) who spend a lot of time with one of the teachers, Hannah Schneider. Hannah is charismatic, mysterious, etc., and then she turns up dead, and then the crazy [censored] starts happening. I don't want to call the book a murder mystery, but it wouldn't be that far off if I did.

The story is not terribly original (ton of parallels to Veronica Mars), but it's expertly done in a Blue's first-person narration. The book is organized as a "Core Curriculum," with each chapter relating to a literary work - and the book ends with a Final Exam for the reader (not cheesy at all, and in fact the ending is one of the story's biggest strengths.)

The biggest draw for me was the style of the narration, which allowed for some great sly jokes. What happens is that everything is cited, referenced, like a term paper, but most of the citations are either boldly made-up or hilariously obtuse and abstract. I'd be reading along, trying to keep up with these characters who are smarter than I am, and then out of nowhere I'm hit with a Jason Takes Manhattan joke. The book is just fun to read, and as I said, I recommend it to anyone (it'd help if you are young and a nerd, though).
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Old 10-19-2007, 12:20 AM   #144
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

Quote:
Quote:
I am about halfway through Freedom Writers now. I saw the movie a while ago. I went to a showing that was almost entirely teachers and it was funny to hear them laughing at certain things that I had no idea what was funny. Teachers are weird.

(Yeah, I'm going to be one in a couple years).
One of the more fun and infuriating things is figuring out what others know that you don't.
I'm getting the hang of this sort of thing more and more from my education classes. I am really loving immersing myself in the education of education. I just really hope that I don't have some huge crash and quit feeling when I get out there in the real world.
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Old 10-19-2007, 12:22 AM   #145
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

Quote:

The story is not terribly original (ton of parallels to Veronica Mars), but it's expertly done in a Blue's first-person narration.
I'm adding this book. I loved that show so much that I'm willing to give it a whirl on that alone.

Though, the rest of your synopsis has me intrigued anyway.
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Old 10-19-2007, 12:26 AM   #146
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

Quote:
sigh. another bit of trivia, I apparently have reading comprehension problems.
No worries, I wasn't going to call you out on it or anything. I definitely am looking forward to the movie. I'm hoping it will be the horror movie that I've been waiting for for a long time now. A real solid horror movie.

Though, I just saw 28 Days Later for the first time a couple nights ago, and that was pretty impressive I thought. A nice blend of 'scary' and 'constant fear.' I always did prefer Silent Hill (the game) atmosphere to some Wolf Creek style of horror movie.

Here's to hoping that Darabont captures The Mist's subversive fear elements.
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Old 10-19-2007, 12:50 AM   #147
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

I've been playing poker for a year or so, and I really want to improve my game so :

Currently :
Super/System 2

Up next :
All 3 HOH
Barry G Ace on River
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Old 10-19-2007, 05:14 AM   #148
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

You guys read way better books than I do.

That said, I'm super excited!!!! Up until George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series, one book ruled the top of my list. Pillars of The Earth by Ken Follet amazed me, because at the time, as an agnostic 19 yr old, the last thing I wanted to read was a book about the building of a church, but it was so well done, I couldn't ignore it. Since then, I've read it over 10 times, about once every two years. Recently, my ex, who I would like to think I brought into the wonderful world of reading (other than boring text, and self help books) brought to my attention that Follet has recently written a sequel. Holy McMuther [censored] am I excited, I can hardly wait. This will delay my addictive waiting for Martin to finally get back to work.

If you haven't read Pillars of The Earth, please do. I'm aware that Follet has written some dogs, this isn't any of them, this was a great book that changed my vision of the world, give it a shot! If the sequel sucks, I'll give you a heads up!
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Old 10-19-2007, 11:30 AM   #149
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

behind the shades

PNLH
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Old 10-19-2007, 11:42 AM   #150
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

"The Nine," by Jeffrey Toobin.
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