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What Books Are You Reading?

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What Books Are You Reading?

Old 11-16-2021, 10:29 AM
  #21  
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About half-way through Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr.


Set in Constantinople in the fifteenth century, in a small town in present-day Idaho, and on an interstellar ship decades from now, Anthony Doerr’s gorgeous third novel is a triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring story about children on the cusp of adulthood in worlds in peril, who find resilience, hope—and a book. In Cloud Cuckoo Land, Doerr has created a magnificent tapestry of times and places that reflects our vast interconnectedness—with other species, with each other, with those who lived before us, and with those who will be here after we’re gone.

Thirteen-year-old Anna, an orphan, lives inside the formidable walls of Constantinople in a house of women who make their living embroidering the robes of priests. Restless, insatiably curious, Anna learns to read, and in this ancient city, famous for its libraries, she finds a book, the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky. This she reads to her ailing sister as the walls of the only place she has known are bombarded in the great siege of Constantinople. Outside the walls is Omeir, a village boy, miles from home, conscripted with his beloved oxen into the invading army. His path and Anna’s will cross.

Five hundred years later, in a library in Idaho, octogenarian Zeno, who learned Greek as a prisoner of war, rehearses five children in a play adaptation of Aethon’s story, preserved against all odds through centuries. Tucked among the library shelves is a bomb, planted by a troubled, idealistic teenager, Seymour. This is another siege. And in a not-so-distant future, on the interstellar ship Argos, Konstance is alone in a vault, copying on scraps of sacking the story of Aethon, told to her by her father. She has never set foot on our planet.

Like Marie-Laure and Werner in All the Light We Cannot See, Anna, Omeir, Seymour, Zeno, and Konstance are dreamers and outsiders who find resourcefulness and hope in the midst of gravest danger. Their lives are gloriously intertwined. Doerr’s dazzling imagination transports us to worlds so dramatic and immersive that we forget, for a time, our own. Dedicated to “the librarians then, now, and in the years to come,” Cloud Cuckoo Land is a beautiful and redemptive novel about stewardship—of the book, of the Earth, of the human heart.
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Old 11-17-2021, 07:49 AM
  #22  
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Just finished a reread of For Cause and Comrades" Why men Fought in the Civil War by James McPherson for a class discussion. The subtitle says it all: what motivated men to enlist and keep fighting in the war.
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Old 12-07-2021, 07:49 PM
  #23  
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Just finished Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland.

A great book on the history of The IRA and The Troubles in Northern Ireland centralized around the disappearance and murder of a single mother of 10. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of The Troubles or just a good true crime book.
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Old 12-10-2021, 01:59 AM
  #24  
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good article looking for jobs in karachi
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Old 12-12-2021, 10:12 PM
  #25  
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Decided I wanted to read a classic so chose East of Eden by John Steinbeck. About 100 pages in and still introducing characters but it doesn't seem drawn out at all. It seems like every word was carefully chosen. I can see why it is a classic.
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Old 12-30-2021, 09:50 AM
  #26  
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I am reading a biography of Danton, a major figure of the French Revolution. I have undertaken a multi-phase reading project focused on the French Revolution. Phase 1 was reading four histories of the French Revolution, starting with a 100 page history, followed by a 250 page history, followed by a 450 page history, followed by a 900 page history.

Phase 2 is reading books on the intellectual foundations of the French Revolution. I started phase 2 by reading three books by Jean Jacques Rousseau. Other books by de Tocqueville, Volney, Burke fall into phase 2 as well as a few others. Phase 3 is reading biographies focused on key figures like Danton, Robespierre, Babeuf, maybe others. Phase 4 is reading novels by great literary authors having plots placed during the French Revolution, such as "A Tale of Two Cities" by Dickens. I skipped to reading the Danton biography before completing other phase 2 books. I may stick with reading phase 3 THEN return to read the other phase 2 books.

Why have I undertaken this reading program? Because I have been baffled and alarmed at our political trends in the US and all of western civilization since about 2005. The French Revolution has been VERY influential on many revolutionary movements, and it may be influential now on the revolution slowly being borne in the US and the west more generally. Even if the French Revolution is not directly influencing current revolution, it could be argued that these sort of events naturally follow in the same pathways. I started my reading program with this motivation, and at this point in my progress I am more confident than when I started that my intuition on the relevance of the French Revolution to today's events is correct.

I will say that serious Marxists do study the French Revolution. Marx himself wrote about the first French Revolution (1789 to about 1795 or 1800, depending on how you choose to delimit history) and a later Parisian revolution. If you assume the current revolution is being shrewdly and methodically fomented by serious Marxists -- not a preposterous view -- then it is not unlikely the French Revolution is indeed steering the revolution we are living through. Speaking for myself, I am not convinced the events of the ongoing revolution ARE being methodically steered. It appears random, possibly powered somewhat by odd "emergence" phenomenon of human behavior. But the hidden hand of committed Marxists is not an implausible explanation.

Last edited by Alsatian; 12-30-2021 at 10:05 AM.
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Old 12-30-2021, 10:38 AM
  #27  
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Well, they do say that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Or in these US communists case, try to repeat it poorly. Seriously, whoever is really in charge of that movement is not the brightest bulb in the box.

For reading, I just finished Kilmeade's book The President and the Freedom Fighter. It was an interesting read and introduced a few things I didn't know. Currently, I'm reading Cyrus Ansary's book George Washinton--Dealmaker in Chief. This book is very interesting and provides a lot of background information that I didn't know about Washington, the revolution, colonial America, France, Spain and England, etc. And I'm only halfway through it. I definitely recommend reading this book.
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Old 01-01-2022, 04:52 AM
  #28  
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Just as a comment on Alsatian and Calhunter's remarks above, I've long observed similarities between today's political and social dynamics and the 1850s in America.

And to keep on track, I've just begun reading a history of the Tulsa race riots
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Old 01-11-2022, 07:02 AM
  #29  
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I finished East of Eden and all I can say is wow! The book definitely mirrors the biblical story of Cain and Abel but there is a whole lot more to it than that. The idea of free will and that you have the choice between good and evil. The sins of your father (or mother in this case) do not have to define who you are or who you can become

All in all a great book and worthy of its classic status.

Now to find something lighter and not quite so deep to read next.
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Old 01-13-2022, 06:46 PM
  #30  
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Talking God by Tony Hillerman. A good murder mystery novel set among the modern Navajo on their reservation,
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