What I’m Reading

There was a suggestion for a “What I’m Reading” section.  I’ll start it as a topic, and we can decide if it’s interesting enough to maintain as a permanent feature.

So, I just finished Bruce Catton’s Grant Takes Command, the sequel to his Grant Moves South which I read last week.  I’m now considering whether to reread O’Brian’s Master and Commander next; still haven’t quite made up my mind.




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12 thoughts on “What I’m Reading”

  1. If I read too much Aubrey and Maturin I start having conversations with them in my head, which I think is probably too much of a good thing. So I try to space out rereadings over time….

    Apart from the entertainment value (somehow this seems too lightweight a descriptor for the experience), there is some analytical interest in rereading the first few books to see how some of those early volumes are merely great instead of whatever superlative level O’Brian got to later in the series.

  2. If you’re on a Grant kick I can highly recommend Grant by Jean Edward Smith, and If you haven’t yet read Grant’s own Personal Memoirs, you’re missing out. As for me, I’m finishing up Joan Walsh’s What’s Wrong With White People for a graduate class, and about to crack David Gerrold’s A Rage For Revenge for fun.

  3. At any given time, I’ve generally got 3-4 different books on the go. My fiction selection at the moment is Sean Russell’s The Intitate Brother, a fascinating & extremely well written alternate history/fantasy paralleling medieval Japan. I’m also having some fun with a couple of graphic series – Freakangels by Warren Ellis & Paul Duffield & the deeply twisted, consistantly hilarious The Goon by Eric Powell. My most recent forays into non-fiction seem to all be books about books. I didn’t plan it this way, but I’m thoroughly enjoying them & see no reason to mess with a good thing. I’m currently reading Harold Bloom’s How To Read & Why. A trifle elitist but good fun nonetheless. I’ve also just finished Into The Looking Glass Wood, Alberto Manguel’s charming follow-up to A History Of Reading. In it I came across the following statement that I suspect will speak to other frequenters of The Dream Cafe as it did to me:

    “For me words on the page give the world coherence…Words tell us what we, as a society, believe the world to be…I believe that there is an ethic of reading, a responsibility in how we read, a commitment that is both political and private in the act of turning the pages. And I believe that sometimes, beyond the author’s intentions and beyond the reader’s hopes, a book can make us better and wiser.”

    If one is going to suscribe to a belief system, this one is a pretty good place to start…

  4. Killer Angels! Great book. It is a shame that Jeff didn’t quite inherit his dad’s gift for storytelling.

    How do you feel about post-singularity sci fi? John C. Wright’s Phoenix trilogy and his new Count to a Trillion are both quite fun. The writing can be a little clunky at times, but it is real gonzo, out there, speculative sci fi, pushing the boundaries of physics and cognitive science.

  5. The Omnivore’s Dilemma Michael Pollan 2006

    Vivid. The core of it: Corn produces the most calories-acre, so government policy subsidizes industrial farmers to maximize corn production, even beyond demand. Then they look for what to do with the cheap corn. Disgusting cattle feedlots. Corn for pork and chicken. Gasohol. HFCS. Etc. Most of what Americans eat comes from corn. Soybeans provide protein, corn and soybeans both provide oil.

    Organic farming. Federal guidelines for what’s organic. Industrial organic food is just like other industrial food except no antibiotics, pesticides, or inorganic fertilizers. Organic chicken factories are just like normal chicken factories except managers worry more about epidemics. “Free range” chickens have a little door to an area of grass outside, that the chickens could walk through. They don’t. The door is locked the first 5 weeks but opened the last 2 weeks.

    There are people who care enough to search out local farmers who let them see more “natural” practices. The food is considerably more expensive. The customers are not on average rich, they are people who are willing to sacrifice to get what they most want.

  6. Finished *The Killer Angels.* Now reading “The Theoretical and Historical Origins of the Pseudo-Left” by David North

  7. Just finished The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and am about to start Theodore Rex. Also reading Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers. A nice mystery with a main character who has PTSD…er Shell Shock.

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