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Re: Books you're reading

On the comic strip theme, might want to check out "Pogo" by Walt Kelly.  I enjoyed the strip when I was growing up, and the fact I lived about 40 miles away from the Okefenokee Swamp setting (southeast GA and into FL) made it even better.  Years later I bought a paperback collection of some of the strips, and I was simply amazed at the political and social commentary that Kelly seamlessly worked into the strip. 

Even if you've never heard to the strip, you might be familiar with one of the cartoon panels, which evolved into a classic.  Pogo the opossum and his friend Albert the alligator are looking at the trash polluting their swamp home, and Pogo says "We have met the enemy, and he is us".

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Re: Books you're reading

[some folks these days would be horrified at the Chinese servant -- 'Must save Amelican fliends again, make all Hotsy-Dandy']

Funny vahog83! And agree 100%.

Your post brings to mind the Charlie Chan character who disappeared some forty years ago because he 'plesented'  an embarrasing stereotype.

The irony is that CC was invented to improve inter-racial relations, to offset the Yellow Peril bugbear, to fight the stereotypical 'evil Chinaman', the conniving Asian, the Fu Manchu character. 

Political correctness has its seasons. 

 

 

AKA recoveringdprof and rubirosa.
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Re: Books you're reading


@rubirosa wrote:

Your post brings to mind the Charlie Chan character who disappeared some forty years ago because he 'plesented'  an embarrasing stereotype.

The irony is that CC was invented to improve inter-racial relations, to offset the Yellow Peril bugbear, to fight the stereotypical 'evil Chinaman', the conniving Asian, the Fu Manchu character. 

While the Charlie Chan character may have been "invented to improved inter-racial relations" and fight stereotypes, he was himself a "stereotype" played, ironically, by seven different caucasians actors wearing "yellow face."

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Re: Books you're reading

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari has fairly lengthy ‘Look inside’ excerpts on Amazon, interesting read -

https://www.amazon.com/Sapiens-Humankind-Yuval-Noah-Harari/dp/0062316117/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3MS745JEZCW...

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Re: Books you're reading

 

“The Education of Henry Adams: An Autobiography” 

Nobody ever called him "Hank." Even as a child, Henry Adams was dour, caustic and jaded, no fun at all, --  and adult life still found him inherently pessimistic, still world-weary, still Miniver Cheevyish. 

But there was much to like about him, his sardonic wit, for example.  He described the melancholy Lincoln at his inaugural ball thusly -- ‘a long, awkward figure, a plain, ploughed face; a mind absent in part, and in part worried by white kid gloves’.

There are three or four skippable chapters which bring the reading time down to a couple of sittings. You might well begin with his arrival at the Court of St. James.

Also, to be clear, the word ‘education’ here refers not to Adams’s private schooling but to the broader development of his mind, his entire weltanschauung in which are re-examined his childhood, his college years, his world travels, and other important parts of his life.

I believe the book deserved its Pulitzer; whether it’s ‘the greatest nonfiction work of the 20th Century’ (Modern Library), I leave to you.

P.S. I believe most people today are more interested in Clover, his wife. Her Saint-Gaudens memorial at Rock Creek Park is haunting. You can Google-image it.

AKA recoveringdprof and rubirosa.
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@mlott1 wrote:

On the comic strip theme, might want to check out "Pogo" by Walt Kelly.  I enjoyed the strip when I was growing up, and the fact I lived about 40 miles away from the Okefenokee Swamp setting (southeast GA and into FL) made it even better.  Years later I bought a paperback collection of some of the strips, and I was simply amazed at the political and social commentary that Kelly seamlessly worked into the strip. 

Even if you've never heard to the strip, you might be familiar with one of the cartoon panels, which evolved into a classic.  Pogo the opossum and his friend Albert the alligator are looking at the trash polluting their swamp home, and Pogo says "We have met the enemy, and he is us".


I stumbled across a couple of Pogo books from the late 40s when we closed up my aunt's house. They were fun. I had to do a bit of research sometimes. I wasn't real familiar with humor based on Estes Kefauver.

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@latoriawilliams 

I'm a big fan of Kurt Vonnegut. Have read and reread many of his novels. I read Cat's Cradle and remember the ease of reading it was the short chapters. I mean, I could be having lunch and start reading and finish a few chapters, so it was difficult to put down. Sirens of Titan and Slaughterhouse Five are two others that I remember as excellent. 

They were (for me), easier to read than the two you mentioned. 

Also Welcome to the Monkey House. It's a collection of short stories by Vonnegut and their satire and cutting edge perspectives are really great. 

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Re: Books you're reading

You might also wants to read "The British are Coming" by Rick Atkinson.  Excellent book and full of facts.  About the first two years of the war.

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Not a review but a book alert, because this one just sounds so interesting.  I'm on the wait list with some other Delaware public library fans.  "The Need" by Helen Phillips.  Reviewed in the 10-16 Aug 2019 Economist magazine,   Among other attributes they call it "creepy fiction".  This is the first paragraph of the review: "Most paloeobotanists plug away with little fanfare.  But Molly's years at a particular quarry have yielded some eye-opening finds.  Besides countless fossils that defy known records, she has stumbled on a small toy soldier with a tail, a Coca-Cola bottle with cockeyed font and, most thrilling of all, a Bible in which God is female".  

I'm really looking forward to this one.  After reading the review, I pulled up the book on Amazon to see if she had written anything else, and she has several other books to her credit, and the couple that I clicked on looked interesting as heck also.  

Another book that I was hoping that my library system would carry is "Bagehot: The Life and Times of the Greatest Victorian" by James Grant (yes, the James Grant of Interest Rate Observer).  Alas, the publication date of late July has come and gone, and at least to this date, the book has not magically appeared on any of the Delaware library bookshelves.  In the aforementioned Economist magazine, they write an extensive article about the book, and it got a glowing review.  As many of you probably know, he was the editor of The Economist (1861 to his death in 1877),  

I will weigh back in when I get and read "The Need".  I just have a really, really good feeling about this book.  Perhaps someone on this forum has already read it?  As for the Bagehot book, I will have to wait until early next year and then request it through the interlibrary loan program.  I'm really not surprised that it's not available through my library system.  They can only carry so many books, and while this has an appeal to a certain element, it's not likely to be a best seller like the latest John Grisham or Stephen King thriller (love both of those authors, by the way).  I mainly bring up the Bagehot book because of the obvious financial angle, and I'm thinking that some on here might be interested and maybe are not aware of it.

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Re: Books you're reading

 

Thank you mlott1. I'll probably get the Bagehot book but would like to hear a little more about it first.  The Kindle edition is $14.87 and the 7 or 8 Amazon reviews are five star.

"Every economist and financial writer should lay down his pen until he has read this book," says a reviewer (one B. Rockefeller??)

Perhaps you or someone can let us know if it's general reader friendly.

One other thought -- The "greatest" Victorian puts him up against some pretty heavy hitters  -- Darwin, Dickins, Tennyson, Emily Dickinson, Wordsworth, the Brownings, to name a few.  That's pretty good company :^)

AKA recoveringdprof and rubirosa.
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Re The Monkey Wrench Gang and Hayduke Lives: It has been about 40 years since I read them, and I still remember how hard he worked to set up the following pun. “Rudolph The Red knows rain, dear.”  Please tell me I’m not mis-remembering.  Those books inspired me to move west, take up hiking, and engage in a little eco-guerilla warfare in the Great Northwest.  

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Jon, I remember the pun but I don't remember where it originated --

https://me.me/i/unknown-punster-2018-one-night-a-viking-named-ru-dolph-27630b2fa109486ba1f03176070e2...

AKA recoveringdprof and rubirosa.
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[ SHANTARAM is probably the most awful thing I have ever read]. Pudman 

I pretty much agree with you Pudman, and had a belly laugh that you see the book as being  even worse than Ayn Rand's offerings.   But you may agree that SHANTARAM does have its moments IF YOU ARE A FORGIVING READER. There’s romance and adventure, a tough anti-hero given to gun-running, bank robbing, passport laundering, and drug smuggling. There’s a dead-on portrait of a rat-infested slum in Bombay, the toughest town in the world, and an even better portrait of India – her people, rhythms, smells, and feels. There’s a lovable character whose smile will stay with you a long time.

BUT --- On the other hand, it’s a thousand-page monster badly in need of a merciless slash-and-burn editor. A five-hundred page cut would do wonders for the book. Rip out the philosophic ramblings. Slash the overwrought purple prose. Gut the cheesiness. Slay the nonsensical aphorisms. And for god’s sake have Linbaba, the protagonist, man the eff up. He’s a tough guy throughout, but weak with women, a total woos.

If you can forgive the above and lay all blame for it where it rightly belongs -- on Margot Rosenbloom, his St. Martin’s editor, you can truly enjoy the book. The author did his part; he delivered a great story. Just skip over the passages Rosenbloom should have cut.

AKA recoveringdprof and rubirosa.
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Just finished "On the Clock: What Low-Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane" by Emily Guendelsberger (2019).  Wouldn't surprise me if this book isn't eventually considered a classic, along the lines of "Nickel and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich.  It's that good.  I'm 64 years old, grew up in a poor, rural area of Georgia, and I've done my share of hard work.  I've done plenty of farm work, and worked in textile mills for about five years after high school, before enlisting in the Air Force.  Yet, compared to the jobs she did, and that millions toil away in every day, I had it easy.  

The book is essentially in three segments, one for each of the jobs she did for a few months.  It starts with her working in an Amazon warehouse in southern Indiana, mainly as an order picker.  Next job is with a call center run by Convergys (if I recall correctly, the second biggest call center company in the world) as a customer service rep on the phones (Hickory NC), and she finishes with a stint behind the counter at a McDonalds in downtown San Francisco.  

All of the jobs are horrifying, each in their own way, and I'm not even going to attempt to start listing details.  The author does a fantastic job with the book, it sucked me in from the start, and I was actually grabbing the book every chance I had.  She has a wicked sense of humor, and her many wry observations are always spot-on.  

I've read a lot of books about poverty in America and the proliferation of low-wage jobs, but this is the most powerful book I've read in this genre since "Nickel and Dimed".  I cannot recommend it highly enough.  Read it! (please).

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Rubirosa, you are more forgiving than me per Shantaram.. Take out the rambling, disjointed "philosophical" musings, endless Conradian descriptions of faces and personas, and unbelievable plot twists (incursion into Afghan? Really?) and you'd have a 5 page article for a local self-published journal of fiction. I spent a couple of months backpacking around India (albeit up north) during Shantaram time (1985) and never found anything remotely approximating the dreamscape Mr.Aussie Escapee portrays. But to each their own. My beloved auntie LOVES the book. Go figger.

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@rubirosaJust finished "Nine Days" by Minerva Koenig.  Many thanks for the recommendation, that was simply a superb book!  Enjoyed it from beginning to end.  

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Thank you. Glad you liked it. 

AKA recoveringdprof and rubirosa.
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@rubirosaYou are probably already aware of this, but Koenig wrote a second book with the same lead character, "South of Nowhere", published in 2016.  I just requested it from the library, and should get it in a few days, no one has a hold on it.

As for the book "Bagehot",  good thing I checked again, turns out the Delaware library system does have a copy at one of the branches, so I put in a request for it.  

I'll post my thoughts on both books as soon as I read them.

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mlott1  Good, I'll wait for your opinion of Bagehot

Also, finished South of Nowhere last night. 

Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Marfa TX is mentioned in the book. Great place to visit!

AKA recoveringdprof and rubirosa.
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