Thread: What are you reading?

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Strength & Honor
you've discovered d-pad's irreverent library, these halls are home to dusty tomes scoured and scraped from days of future past ...

simply put: post anything concerning the medium for recording information in the form of books or codices

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I'll likely finish this tonight:

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Ring by Koji Suzuki

which is a hell of a lot better than I thought it would be and VERY different from the movie.

After that I'll start:

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because I'm a sucker for old Tom Clancy and the upcoming movie reminded me I've never read this one.

or I'll start this, which has been getting a lot of good reviews:

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without remorse sounds good, haven't had a decent clancy experience in many years (rip splinter cell)

kinda like the idea of an agency asset whose career is inextricably tied to failed missions
 
Volume 119 of "Perry Rhodan"

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Yes, that's the 119th book in the same franchise, longest running scifi-novel ever. Still love it, it just keeps continuing, we're now in the year 4000-something. Subtitle of volume 119 is "Der Terraner" aka "The Terranean".
 
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I've read quite a few Steinbeck novels (East of Eden, Grapes of Wrath, Winter Of Our Discontent) and have previously read Of Mice And Men and The Pearl, so I decided to get this collection of his short novels. Just finished Tortilla Flat last night and onto The Red Pony next. Will probably re-read OMAM and The Pearl too; it's been a few years and I loved both of them.
 
I've just started digging into 'The Mirror & the Light'. The final part of Hilary Mantel's Trilogy about the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell who started off life as the Son of a London Blacksmith but who rose up to become the right hand man of Henry VIII. The first two books (Wolf Hall and Bring up The Bodies) are excellent reads and so far this one also doesn't disappoint either.

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I'm currently going through a bit of an awakening in regards to the classics/great books.

Working my way through this right now and am feeling like I robbed myself for not having read it in my youth:

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Also reading this for non-fiction, again feeling like I really should have read it while back in school (I think we only maybe looked at excerpts):

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Going to be a long journey, but I'm pretty determined to work my way through a good portion of the Great Books, especially the ancient stuff.
 
Re: Everlasting Man is a solid read, from multiple angles (the best kind of book). Nearly finished. Good theological questions. Good, far-sighted questions about the origin of mankind that continue to be asked to this day. And the things he was wrong about are just as good to read, to see how off the mark certain prevailing ideas of his time were. I also enjoy reading his post-WW1, 1920s insights about the prevailing "race realism" of the time, though in his writing he also (inadvertantly) falls into what might be considered race realism of a different sort.

Feels like a window into a different time and a different mindset but serves double-duty as a reflection of aspects of our modern times, the sort of book that will present arguments you strongly agree with and strongly disagree with, something that makes you think and tug back and forth on the root of an idea. Nearly 100 years old and contains many relevant critiques on contemporary topics like journalism and scientific inquiry. In terms of style and tone, he has a complex, gently-sarcastic, flowing style that most reminds me of a John Ruskin paper (someone Chesterton admired greatly).

@Tesseract In 2-3wks I might write up a long review/examination of the book if that's cool w you. Would that be in the spirit of the thread or is this meant to be more touch and go? Asking 'cause you know how I can fill up a page and I don't wanna hog space. Though the book is theological, the writeup wouldn't be meant as a rebuttal/endorsement but more of an evaluation/review for others to consider.

Quick edit:

Here's the book for those who want a public domain copy.

 
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Whatever you do, don't start reading The Dark Tower series by Stephen King.

It starts off fun and interesting enough, but becomes such an intolerable slog. I'm on the last book and still don't know if I can finish. I've been forcing myself through multiple overly long books.


I loved the first few books but when:

King put himself in the books

I put the series down in disgust.
 
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I loved the first few books but when:

King put himself in the books

I put the series down in disgust.
YES, I was going to mention that specifically but didn't feel like using spoiler tags. I could tell he was leading up to that, but kept thinking he wouldn't do something so stupid. Then he fully did it.

The series has had some awkward dialog and issues leading up to that point, but at least it was imaginative. I also didn't appreciate getting a book-length introduction story to Pere Callahan inside of a book. King kept doing that. Pulling you away from the main story to tell you a different long story that should have been edited way down.
 
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I loved the first few books but when:

King put himself in the books

I put the series down in disgust.
That actually makes me more interested in the books, lol.

Question:
Does he put him in the story by existing in that world, or is the idea that he as the author is pulled into the world of that story?

Thanks
 
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Finished the book. Really good insight into Supreme court corruption especially when you focus on cunts like Sergio Moro and others. Glenn and his husband did a good-job contrasting Bolsonaro and how he got elected to U.S politics.

The messages were telling though and mind blowing. Definitely a good read for anyone interested in corruption outside the U.S
 
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That actually makes me more interested in the books, lol.

Question:
Does he put him in the story by existing in that world, or is the idea that he as the author is pulled into the world of that story?

Thanks
The main characters of the book meet and speak with him...

He's essentially their "creator" because they discover that books written in other worlds seem to be about real people in their worlds. King "creates" the characters in this series and exists in the most real world. When the main characters end up in that realm, they meet up with him at his house and it is so fucking bad.
 
The main characters of the book meet and speak with him...

He's essentially their "creator" because they discover that books written in other worlds seem to be about real people in their worlds. King "creates" the characters in this series and exists in the most real world. When the main characters end up in that realm, they meet up with him at his house and it is so fucking bad.
That actually sounds interesting :D Like what happened in Re:Creators. Hm, maybe I'll give it a read. ;>
 
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Re: Everlasting Man is a solid read, from multiple angles (the best kind of book). Nearly finished. Good theological questions. Good, far-sighted questions about the origin of mankind that continue to be asked to this day. And the things he was wrong about are just as good to read, to see how off the mark certain prevailing ideas of his time were. I also enjoy reading his post-WW1, 1920s insights about the prevailing "race realism" of the time, though in his writing he also (inadvertantly) falls into what might be considered race realism of a different sort.

Feels like a window into a different time and a different mindset but serves double-duty as a reflection of aspects of our modern times, the sort of book that will present arguments you strongly agree with and strongly disagree with, something that makes you think and tug back and forth on the root of an idea. Nearly 100 years old and contains many relevant critiques on contemporary topics like journalism and scientific inquiry. In terms of style and tone, he has a complex, gently-sarcastic, flowing style that most reminds me of a John Ruskin paper (someone Chesterton admired greatly).

@Tesseract In 2-3wks I might write up a long review/examination of the book if that's cool w you. Would that be in the spirit of the thread or is this meant to be more touch and go? Asking 'cause you know how I can fill up a page and I don't wanna hog space. Though the book is theological, the writeup wouldn't be meant as a rebuttal/endorsement but more of an evaluation/review for others to consider.

Quick edit:

Here's the book for those who want a public domain copy.

longer formats are more than welcome and you shouldn't concern yourself with taking up space or anything like that
 
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This right here. I've read Pressfield's War of Art twice over, and was enamored by it both times. When I saw a work of fiction of his, I had to pick it up and see if homeboy could put his money where his mouth is.

I'm excited to see how he tackles fiction. I've read a couple stinkers from other authors recently... so I'm hoping this one clicks with me and is enjoyable overall

If not, I'm sticking to comic books and classic lit 😩
 
Re: The Everlasting Man by GK Chesterton

I'm reviewing with the purpose of presenting a fair summary and valuation to the reader without taking a strong defense or rebuttal of the book's topic. Context is given generously. Reviews without opinion are boring, of course, so I hope when I am giving my opinion it is done clearly.

Chesterton was a journalist, author, poet, critic, and theologian, and he wrote The Everlasting Man in 1926, within the enthusiastic secular atmosphere of race-realism, theories on prehistoric man, and growing assumptions about the source of religion in the heart of man. It was only a few years following The Great War, but a full decade before the second one. Both church and secular worlds were frenzied with questions (and answers) about why the earth descended into such a war, and these inquiries led to paradigm-shattering declarations and theories about man's nature. Logical Positivism was in its short-but-stunning ascent as Wittgenstein published Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus in 1922. CG Jung was building upon the works of Freud in appreciable ways, turning the theory into repeatable, observable clinical psychology that we know today. Hitler's second volume of Mein Kampf was published the same year as The Everlasting Man.

In this atmosphere of intellectual and spiritual advancements, Chesterton regularly debated the likes of Bertrand Russel, George Bernard Shaw, and HG Wells, so if you're a fan of any of those like I am, it's fascinating to read one of their critics. He was influenced by John Ruskin and writes in a similar style, and Chesterton went on to influence other authors such as CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. Chesterton was a devout Catholic and writes from that perspective.

The Everlasting Man is a christian critique of the 1920s' secular notions of human history, of how mankind's nature "evolved" from baser elements, and alongside the critique Chesterton offers hints and predictions as to where these hypothesis and theories might lead, predictions that the modern reader can evaluate for themselves 100 years later. Chesterton writes in an eager, wordy, authoritative tone -- which seems appropriate for a professional journalist -- and often repeats the same point three different ways to make sure his meaning is understood. He draws the reader through meandering sentences, patiently using salt of the earth examples and connecting them to philosophical concepts.

HG Wells released The Outline of History a few years before and is good supplementary reading if you are not personally familiar with the arguments at the time. Chesterton pits his arguments against several theories from that book. Other supplemental reading includes A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell to get a summary of his ideas, a competent collection of George Bernard Shaw Plays/Essays, and Unto This Last And Other Writings by John Ruskin, who was a touchstone for all of the aforementioned thinkers including Chesterton. Further reading could include history of the Punic wars, the religious practices of Phoenicians, greeks, and romans, Homer's Iliad, and one of the christian gospels -- I recommend Luke -- if you are unfamiliar with the claims of christianity. These add further context and information for readers who don't already understand the source materials.

All that said, if you attended public Western education in the last 80 years, it's likely you've already learned the details and theories that Chesterton raises his fist against.


Throughout the book, Chesterton draws the reader back to the cave as a thematic center. The early pages are spent with some poetic, imaginative "what if" questions about the prehistoric cave paintings discovered recently (in GK's day). From the cave-man's cave, he shifts attention to Plato's cave and the early history of mankind, then outlining Egyptian and Babylonian accomplishments, then walking us through the hellenistic era and the significance of Rome and Carthage.

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What if, instead of the cave man who clubs his women and drags her to the cave for sex, this person is an artist? What if this prehistoric individual is not a brute like we portray him, but an imaginative naturalist sketching some pictures for the fun of it? Does the "lack of religious symbols" imply a lack of religion, or perhaps -- by that same omission -- it represents a deep respect for spiritual forces in the refusal to picture them? What does that imply about the cave-man? What does that imply about ourselves, if human nature is very much the same today as it was 20,000 years ago?

This is how Chesterton leads the reader forward, asking if our assumptions about these ancient ancestors are fair and realistic. He is charitable towards all these cultures and asks the reader to be charitable too, to think of these peoples as humanly and humanely as possible. Chesterton insists this sympathetic, intimate, mundane approach to history is essential to understanding our shared history. He frequently derides -- with that gentle british sarcasm -- the tendency to categorize and summarize history by its treaties, official proclamations, and religious symbols. Appealing to the reader's logic, he asks for sympathy and curiosity toward our fragments of historical facts. Instead of seeing a phallus in every obelisk and church-spire, he asks the reader to use common sense, to think of these historical peoples as... people.

One of the books most famous passages emphasizes this impression:

I do not believe that the past is most truly pictured as a thing in which humanity merely fades away into nature, or civilization merely fades away into barbarism, or religion fades away into mythology, or our own religion fades away into the religions of the world. In short I do not believe that the best way to produce an outline of history is to rub out the lines.

This "humane" outlook on history is the book's hook, because once the reader assents to Chesterton's innocent suggestions, it is hard not to also agree to his bold conclusions. He paints human history as a drama between mankind and its fallen nature, as an upward struggle to return to a proper relationship with the gods. Mythology and ritualistic worship are explained as poetic fumblings for higher meaning instead of "primitive", and he wonders if critics of mythology are as critical towards children's rhymes and toward moralistic folk-tales.

Chesterton rejects the idea that our religion is merely "evolved", that religion is the "inevitable" melding of smaller things into bigger things, of smaller folk religions into bigger ones. And most of all, he rejects "comparative religion", the idea that all religions are essentially the same and should be judged on the same plane.

Syncretism (that is, the process of combining and melding different religions into bigger religious systems) in the ancient world was ever creeping forward, Chesterton argues, and was slowly crumbling inward. The habit of combining deities and spawning more offspring was having a deleterious effect on the "purity" of religion. When conquered, a populace was allowed to keep their household gods as long as they put the conquerer's god at the top of the pantheon. Jupiter became Jupiter-Ammon. Hermes and Thoth became Hermes Trismegistus. Zeus became Jupiter, and the children multiplied greatly to allow for more cults, more conquered nations, more deviant behaviors (like the cult of Ganymede). The "progressive, all-inclusive" approach to religion was destroying religion's unifying effect, and nation-states were inevitably sliding into totalitarianism in order to maintain social order.

Starkly contrasted against the whimsical folk-tale spirits of the shepherd-poets and tribesman, the "gods of the city" were cruel gods, gods of slave-organization and grain-quotas, of massive temple constructions and mass-sacrifices. These are the pagan gods of Sunday school, of self-mutilation and demonic worship. These gods of the city always demanded sacrifice (even child sacrifice) in order to reinforce The City's dominance as a social force. This was a different kind of religion compared to the "gods of the hearth", the simple and crude gods of the shepherd, the farmer, the family, the peoples of the mountain. These family gods expected sacrifice in the form of obedience and humility toward Nature. Chesterton points out how this ancient divide between "gods of the city" and "gods of the hearth" continue to this day, the conflict caused by asserting the divinity of the family versus the authority of The State.

Phoenicia was one of the driving forces of post-bronze-age syncretism in the Mediterranean, spreading ideas and religion to everyone. This was not a new fledgling empire but an ancient people who followed the ancient deity Baal. By the time of the Roman republic, however, the phoenicians weren't interested in the progressive pantheon of the ancient world. They wanted to dominate in all respects through trade, religion, and military occupation. It was a society of aristocrats, of ritual-sacrificers, of merchants, of people who had a destructive, exploitive view of humanity. This was juxtaposed against the roman, who believed in the sanctity of the family and of land ownership. The arrival of Hannibal (lit. "by the grace of Baal") across the alps was not just another battle or another migration of another people group (Chesterton lays the sarcasm thick in this section, echoing the earlier sentiments that history is just a clash of dates, treaties, and trade routes).

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The approaching army was more than just an army. It represented the all-consuming Carthaginian religion and culture, too, sweeping everyone up into Baal's kindgom, and this is why the romans would repeat Carthago delenda est (Carthage must be destroyed). It was not a grudge or a point of nationalism. Romans saw the kingdom of Baal as an existential threat to Mediterranean life. This determination eventually led to the destruction of Carthage, breaking a millennia of Phoenician influence in the Mediterranean forever. It was a paradigm shift. It was the dawn of a new chapter of human history. Yet, very quickly, the romans fell under the weight of syncretism, eventually giving up their freedoms to crown the god-emperor to keep it all together, to salvage their grand empire. Ideologically, the world was willing to accept a god-man because man's own gods were dead. Syncretism had diluted them all into cartoon characters and therefore the gods had no practical meaning. Sacrifices to Baal had been averted only to pave the way to sacrifices to The State in the form of military bloodlust and coliseum games.

Christ arrives onto this stage of human history, cradled by one of the world's last monotheistic, anti-syncretic religions, judaism. This province was just south of Rome's old enemies, the Phoenicians of Tyre and Sidon. In this cradle, Christ offers a different religion, a difference of kind and not of degree, a fulfillment of old world practices and an establishment of a Personal God. In a world where all the gods were dead, except the emperor-god, this cult claimed that god arrived on earth, that god had died, but god had also risen from the dead. And this god did not arrive in pomp, but in the ancient cave, surrounded by animals. The god-infant was not announced by the "gods of the city" but by the shepherds and the "gods of nature", that is to say, by celestial signs and portents. This god-infant was not treated like royalty but like a vagabond, fleeing to Egypt at an early age, and as an adult this god-man preached the universal value of all men to their Father in heaven. The poor and the rich alike were welcome into the kingdom.

This claim sets history on a different course. It was not merely a doctrinal claim, but a historical claim. It was not a new method of practicing the old religion, but a new mode of spirituality that was not experienced before. The "curtain was torn" and humankind awoke to the concept of a Personal God and Personal Accountability. Like the contrast between Carthage's "god of the city" and the roman pantheon, Christ was an everyman's deity in contrast to the all-powerful State god and State-approved pantheon imposed by the roman empire. Christianity was not merely a novel religion with a curious history. It was a refutation of Rome's new emperor worship, a practice that would lead to its corruption and downfall, and this is why christianity was persecuted when all other religions were welcomed under the spirit of syncretism. From the cave arrived a new light.

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Chesterton's contrast between christianity and the religious atmosphere of the roman empire lends a deeper understanding of how christianity transformed the ancient world so quickly, even if one does not agree to the claims of christianity itself. The course we have taken as a civilization is therefore unique to Christianity and owes itself to christianity, and in its conclusion Chesterton rejects the Marxist "gears of history", the notion that the specific course of human history was merely inevitable, and the specific religions and cultures along the way were incidental to the outcome we enjoy today.

A reader will likely get many things out of The Everlasting Man. It is the best kind of book in that it presents many ideas and provokes many thoughts and questions. I didn't come away with a radically different outlook on history, but I did come away with a deeper sympathy and appreciation for the events of our past. Chesterton pleads with the reader in the early chapters to do exactly that, to think of history sympathetically instead of systematically, so I suppose the book won me over in that way. While reading through the book, I saw many parallels between these arguments from 100 years ago and the same arguments I see today.
 
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And started this:

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Really incredible retelling of the Norse Mythology, but beware it'll make you hungry for more.


I really couldn't get into this book, too many characters introduced too fast without any real development. I might be mangling this with another Scifi book I had read close to that one.

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Both of these are amazing scifi reads.


I just finished reading.

Book 2 of Zones of Thought.

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Before I had read Book 1

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If you want good Sci Fi you should read A Deepness in the Sky, it's "hard scifi" so not too many epic battles, more of people coping with weird circumstances. You miss nothing by skipping to Book 2 of that series.

Right now I'm reading.

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It's ok, it's simple ghost story.

I'd LOVE to read more books like LOST(the ABC show) but I'm having a very hard time finding them, I've looked at lists of books that are supposedly that but it comes up dry. I've read almost all of Kurt Vonneguts stuff and love it.
 
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Doing this on my phone so excuse image and brevity. Really interesting read - a woman I despised growing up, the milk snatcher, but probably our last great leader in hindsight. Incredibly insightful stuff throughout the book, if you’re into politics you absolutely need to read it.
 
Milestones - Sayyid Qutb (1964)

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Milestones is essentially Qutb giving his take on how one should live as a proper Muslim (was written while in an Egyptian prison for activism against the government). From how one reads/learns the Quran, how to remove secular governance in favor of Sharia, how to deal with Jahiliyyah (non-Muslims or false Muslims) in both peace and war, and so on. This book is supposedly the text that radicalized many Muslims in the second half of the 20th century.

Its an interesting read. Lots of solid Quranic interpretations, though his take on Takfir is what pretty much legitimized indiscriminate acts of terror. Cuz his belief was that you had to have his exact belief or you were not a true Muslim and therefore can be killed if need be to bring Islam to all men so they may be "free". So any government institution is against God's will as God has designated Sharia as the law. So a simple act of voting in an election would be grounds for death.

Qutb does sell the "true Freedom" and self empowerment of Islam pretty well and can see how his talk of an Islamic Vanguard inspired many readers to take up arms.

Its a short but slow read, as Qutb repeats him self often. Overall worth ones time.