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Current Reads Thread

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This isn't a current reads post but over the summer we listen to Dick Estell's "Radio Reader" on the AM public radio station. One of the books Estell read/narrated was the story of the 1936 University of Washington crew team "The Boys in the Boat" which recounts how they won Olympic Gold at Munich.

 

 

I'm not a big fan of sports biographies but this was an exception. Plus Bow Down to Washington.

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I am reading War Before Civilization: Jean-Jacques Rousseau was an Idiot and you Should Ignore Everything he Said.  This book is a comprehensive documentation of man's inhumanity to man in even the most innocent of material circumstances, and as such it is hilarious.

 

 

The best-known peaceful agriculturalists are the Semai of Malaysia, who strictly tabooed any form of violence (although their homicide rate was numerically significant).  Their reaction to any use of force involved "passivity or flight."  Interestingly they were recruited as counterinsurgency troops by the British during the Communist insurgency in Malaya in the 1950's.  The Semai recruits were profoundly shocked to discover that as soldiers they were expected to kill other men.  But after the guerrillas killed some of their kinsmen, the became very enthusiastic warriors.  One Semai veteran recalled, "We killed, killed, killed.  The Malays would stop and go through people's pockets and take their watches and money.  We did not think of watches or money.  We thought only of killing.  Wah, truly we were drunk on blood."

 

 

I admire the ability of the British Empire, even in its twilight last, to bring out the best in everyone.

 

 

Culinary cannibalism was often attributed to West African tribes.  But as with similar accusations elsewhere in the world, most cases proved to be exaggerations of ritual cannibalism of misinterpretations of  customs that had nothing to do with cannibalism, such as preserving enemy skulls as war trophies of sharpening the front teeth for aesthetic purposes.  Still, some tribes in the Eastern Congo seem to have consumed the bodies of those killed in battle.  Indeed, some Belgian colonial officers resigned themselves to tolerating the practice, even going so far as to claim it was useful and hygienic.  None of the usual reasons for skepticism about these Congolese accounts are present, since they were only recorded in confidential diaries or in letters to discreet intimates (because the cannibal tribes were military allies of the Belgians).

 

I can see it on buzzfeed now.  "Cannibalism: the newest health secret they don't want you to know!"

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More of the above:

 

 

[A]n early missionary in New Zealand heard a Maori warrior taunting the preserved head of an enemy chief in the following fashion:

   You wanted to run away, didn't you? but my meri [war club] overtook you: and after you were cooked, you made food for my mouth.  And where is your father? he is cooked:- and where is your brother? he is eaten:- and where is your wife? there she sits, a wife for me:- and where are your children? there they are, with loads on their backs, carrying food, as my slaves.

 

This is hilarious.

 

 

The Ancerma of western Colombia reportedly lighted their gold mines with lamps fueled by human fat and sold captives to their neighbors for use as food.

 

I've read so many ethnographic accounts of cannibalism now that they positively bore me, but using rendered human fat for lamps is fucking metal.

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I have just picked up Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made.  It is, to the best of my knowledge, still the definitive book on the subject and I'm quite impressed so far and highly recommend it.  Trigger warnings:  Marxism.  Every page is noticeably marinated and exudes the tangy flavor of Marxism.  Oh, and slavery too I guess.

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I'm reading Tom Clancy's Ryan universe in chronological order. Currently reading (read: slogging through) Executive Orders.

I think 'The Bear and the Dragon' and 'Without Remorse' are my two favorites.

 

Edit: Random thought. If you haven't read Patrick Rothfuss, you should.  He is fucking brilliant.  The Name of the Wind/The Wise Man's Fear are just fucking magnificent pieces of fiction that everymotherfucker on this board deserves the joy of reading.  Even Tied.

 

Then y'all can be grumpy along with me while we wait for book 3.

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I think 'The Bear and the Dragon' and 'Without Remorse' are my two favorites.

Without Remorse is a good read indeed. It took some getting used to though, coming from a few John le Carré and Frederick Forsyth books though.

 

My biggest complaint about the books so far is that they're getting bigger and bigger. It just takes too long to get through, imo. And then there's the thing of my ebook copies being screwed up a bit (due to not being all that legal). There are no different paragraphs, so transitions between PoVs are kinda messy.

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I think 'The Bear and the Dragon' and 'Without Remorse' are my two favorites.

Edit: Random thought. If you haven't read Patrick Rothfuss, you should. He is fucking brilliant. The Name of the Wind/The Wise Man's Fear are just fucking magnificent pieces of fiction that everymotherfucker on this board deserves the joy of reading. Even Tied.

Then y'all can be grumpy along with me while we wait for book 3.

I dont read fantasy books

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I think 'The Bear and the Dragon' and 'Without Remorse' are my two favorites.

Yes, The Bear and the Dragon is amazing. Too bad the next book takes place like a few years later, which saddens me a bit because I think the ending could be expanded a bit. The current ending is quite open, but there's no follow up on it (at least not yet).

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I am absolutely devouring Wilson's Repairman Jack series. My girlfriend is reading it, too, and she likes to joke that I need to keep my eyes open for the time machine that will allow me to travel back to the 1980s to become F. Paul Wilson so I can write the series.

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A little while ago, I finished reading the Repairman Jack/Adversary Cycle of novels. So here I'm going to talk about reading order for anyone who wants to read these books. I have ordered the books below according to their maximum impact (I hope):
 

The Tomb
Legacies
Conspiracies
All the Rage
Hosts
The Haunted Air
Gateways
 
Crisscross
Infernal
Harbingers
 
Reborn, May 1990
 
Bloodline
By the Sword
Ground Zero
 
The Touch
Reprisal
 
Fatal Error
Dark at the End
Nightworld
 
Some of you may have noticed that this order is missing one book, The Keep. That's because The Keep was originally intended to be a standalone book, and later led to a series, so it gives a lot of backstory right up front. Where you read it will determine how important a book it is. If you want to dive right into the deep end, you can read The Keep first. I would recommend, however, reading The Keep no earlier than right after Gateways, if you want to keep the early part of the series more detective/noir-focused and leave the Lovecrafty-stuff for later. If you want The Keep to reveal as little as possible, read it after Ground Zero, but be sure to read The Keep before you read Reborn. I've situated Reborn where I think it's most natural, which is right before Bloodline, as those two books are related. If you decide to keep it that way, then I think the best place to read The Keep is right after Gateways. However, The Keep is also the first book that was published in the series, so it also makes sense to read it first. I didn't, though, and I liked starting the series off with Jack in The Tomb, so I've recommended putting The Keep a little later.

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Preston Jacobs on George R. R. Martin and science fiction vs. fantasy. A minimal spoiler video, you should be 100% good to go if you've read through A Clash of Kings, but even if you haven't read anything you're not getting much in the way of spoilers. The only thing he spoils, really, are his own theories, so if you're looking to go that deep down the rabbit hole, this might be a spoiler or it might be your carrot:



 

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Checked Inviting Disaster out from the library at work. After reading partway through it, I have two things to say; fuck oil rigs, and fuck oxygen.

 

Seriously, though, the book is pretty good; it talks a lot about the safety errors and what causes them, and shows how a bunch of them keep cropping up (for instance, it draws a link between R101 and Challenger). The only problem I have is that it goes a bit light on some instances, some of the examples it references could have whole chapters (or more) written on them.

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Finished "A Canticle for Leibowitz" and "The Postman" a while ago. Still not sure which post apo to go next. I am thinking of "The Road", and "Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman", but I am still looking for a .pdf of the latter. After that, I think I'll try "Dies The Fire", I heard it's OK. Not sure.

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