Read any good books lately?

Discuss literature (e.g. books, newspapers), educational studies (getting help or opinions on homework or an essay), and philosophy.

Re: Read any good books lately?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:51 am

Re-Read the first 7 books of Bernard Cornwell's Saxon chronicle in 5 days and then took slightly more time to read the new realise 'The Empty Throne' . My favourite in the series for quite a while.

The first chapter is written by Uhtred the Younger preparing us for a time when the main character dies off perhaps?

I can't wait for Athelstan to be king, such an awesome character!
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Re: Read any good books lately?

Unread postby FoxWithWings » Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:18 am

Ah, working my way through Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Again.

I'm nearly to the part where Lv Meng crosses the river in a white robe. I don't want to read it... Too painful.
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Re: Read any good books lately?

Unread postby Ayame » Mon Dec 15, 2014 8:15 am

I'm re-reading The Lord of the Rings.
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Re: Read any good books lately?

Unread postby FoxWithWings » Wed Dec 17, 2014 6:40 pm

Ah, my favorite book written by my favorite author. I'm actually watching Return of the King right now. I'll probably start rereading the books within the next couple of days.
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Re: Read any good books lately?

Unread postby Ayame » Thu Dec 25, 2014 9:22 pm

I'm going to watch the movies again when I get home. And maybe re-read the Hobbit.
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Re: Read any good books lately?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:17 pm

The Participatory Economy: an Evolutionary Hypothesis and Strategy for Development by Jaroslav Vaněk
A highly interesting read which highlights a nearly (but not quite!) forgotten strand within the international Left - that of economic democracy and worker-management of firms. Vaněk stands in the same tradition as other economic democrats like Karl Polanyi, as well as with the pre-Marxian British socialists Morris and Cole. He highlights some of the great advantages his theory of labour management has over both standard capitalism (in both its laissez-faire and Keynesian-welfarist flavours) and the centralised state-managed planned economics of the Soviet bloc. His writing struck me in many places as highly idealistic, but he writes with wit, conviction and a thorough knowledgeability of his own field which it is hard to gainsay.

War, Progress and the End of History, Including a Short Story of the Anti-Christ: Three Conversations by Vladimir Solovyov
In spite of the sesquipedalian title, this is actually a very quick, very gripping and indeed very thrilling page-turner - I know, it seems like a contradiction in terms for a book of political philosophy. But the deliberately Platonic structure, using a debate between five characters as a launch point to talk about the nature of evil, the ethics of war, the fate of European civilisation and the meaning of human progress is incredibly brilliant. Solovyov clearly has a strong anti-pacifist viewpoint, but he isn't a jingo or a militarist either. And he has a very keen (and to my mind, profound) suspicion that evil is actually subtle - evil in its worst form is seductive, slippery and makes sneaky mutilations to what is recognisably good. A must-read for anyone who is concerned with morality in the political realm.

Currently working on:

From the Soil: the Foundations of Chinese Society by Fei Xiaotong
Probably would have been better with the subtitle 'Everything You Wondered About China but Were Afraid to Ask', or similar. Very similar to de Tocqueville when talking about American culture. His writing is very concise, and the book was written over fifty years ago, but his intuitive understanding of what makes Chinese society the way it is often seems practically fathomless. Why Chinese people are sometimes willing to tolerate corruption, why Chinese men and women in relationships are loath show their emotions to each other in public (and why Chinese men are so emotional with each other!), why 'rule of law' is still considered something of a dirty word in some corners of Chinese society, the ins and outs of gift culture, the structure of the Chinese extended family, why 'civil society' in China is so different, why the people who run street stalls and small restaurants and gift shops almost always tend to be from 'out of town'... I could go on. I'm not even halfway through the book yet! This guy is awesome. He writes in a very measured, often very neutral tone, yet his sympathies with China's rural people are often not very well-disguised.
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Re: Read any good books lately?

Unread postby Ayame » Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:11 pm

Finally got The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick from the library. :D
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Re: Read any good books lately?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:17 pm

Prompted by the new TV series I decided to invest in Wolf Hall. The story is fascinating but I don't really like Mantel's writing style, I'm going to finish the book, I'll certainly watch the series and I'm undecided about buying the second one when I'm finished.
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Re: Read any good books lately?

Unread postby Liu Yuante » Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:33 am

Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov. Although my forays into literary sci-fi, horror and fantasy tend to concentrate more on the earlier practitioners of the genres, I decided it was important to make my way through the work of one of the acknowledged greats. So, I've been reading Asimov's Foundation series and also many of his robot stories. Good stuff, although it annoys me the way he will split a novel into two halves. You become emotionally invested in one set of characters and then suddenly they're gone and it's like the story starts over. That's only a small complaint, though.

Lost Illusions by Honore de Balzac. Many years ago my Dad got me a complete hardback set of all of Balzac's works, that had been published in 1900, from an antiques shop. I've not made my way through that many of the volumes and decided I needed to get cracking on it. I've started and stopped on this one a few times, but picked up steam once I hit the middle section of the novel. Translation is a bit old-fashioned, owing to the time when it was done, but still very enjoyable.

Stars and Their Spectra by James B. Kaler. I've always wanted to know more about stellar development and evolution, but could never find a good book on the subject. This is another Christmas gift from my Dad, who recommended it to me, and I like it a lot. It is not popular science, written in a conversational tone for a mass audience. It presumes some genuine scientific literacy and/or a willingness to become literate in these areas. The early chapters also served as a nice refresher course on the behavior of electrons within atomic structure (key to understanding stellar spectra and how they are identified/classified).
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Re: Read any good books lately?

Unread postby Ayame » Thu Feb 12, 2015 4:24 pm

Currently reading Clariel by Garth Nix.
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