Whatcha reading?

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Dr. Medulla
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Whatcha reading?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 12 Dec 2008, 12:14pm

We didn't revive this thread when the board rose from the dead like Jebus—maybe for good reason—so here goes …

Currently …
Paper: Don DeLillo, Libra
Audio: Ron McLarty, Art in America

Recently …
Paper: Jason Starr, Lights Out; Charles Ardai, Fifty-To-One; Rick Perlstein, Nixonland
Audio: Ron McLarty, The Memory of Running; Stephen King, Just After Sunset; Mark Oliver Everett, Things The Grandchildren Should Know
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rcs
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by rcs » 12 Dec 2008, 12:24pm

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by JennyB » 12 Dec 2008, 12:33pm

I am reading The Last Secret of the Temple by Paul Sussman. It's a thriller that takes places in Egypt and Israel and is doing a good job examining the participants on both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict (basically, everyone is an asshole). It's not great literature, but it's fun.
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Dr. Medulla
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 12 Dec 2008, 12:38pm

JennyB wrote:I am reading The Last Secret of the Temple by Paul Sussman. It's a thriller that takes places in Egypt and Israel and is doing a good job examining the participants on both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict (basically, everyone is an asshole). It's not great literature, but it's fun.
If you're not being entertained in some manner, the author's failed. The notion that all reading, fiction and non-, must be edifying is ugly Oprahish neo-Victorian hectoring.
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by BostonBeaneater » 12 Dec 2008, 12:48pm

I was reading a lot of Bukowski which, like the TV show Mad Men, has prompted me to drink and smoke more. I need to take a break from all that until my insides healed so I am reading a book called the Devil's Teeth which is about the Farallon Islands outside of SF's Golden Gate and the great white sharks that live around them. Good book.
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by eumaas » 12 Dec 2008, 12:49pm

Generation of Swine by HST (not bad, but the electoral stuff is boring)
Human Action by Ludwig von Mises (a tome! but written simply, not sure if I'll finish it though)

Recently finished:
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 by HST (mixed reaction to this one--there is good writing and good episodes but some of the electoral stuff is too dry for me)
Republican Party Reptile by P. J. O'Rourke (holy shit! this is now one of my top 10 favorite books, funny as all hell)
Eat the Rich by P. J. O'Rourke (not nearly as good--this is O'Rourke in his "OK, I'm gonna explain some shit with jokes" mode)

Kinda thin on the ground as far as in my hands stuff. Online, though, I've been reading a shitload of stuff--maybe equivalent to a hundred or two hundred pages a day. I've been researching property rights theories/systems mostly. Also rereading some Kevin Carson stuff. I've been digging through Locke, Benjamin Tucker, others. Did some brushing up on Bakunin and Kropotkin. Really admire Voltairine de Cleyre--if I had a daughter, I'd name her Voltairine.


Boring shit only Wolt and I and maybe Flex would be interested in:
One conclusion is that property rights are pretty much a matter of custom--the worst conflict would be an anarcho-communist worker in an anarcho-capitalist firm deciding to seize hold of the means of production. Thing is, it'd be more worth his/her time to just move to a commune of like-minded individuals. Peace in such a condition has fewer disincentives than violent expropriation of the means of production. Plus, with no state-sponsored barriers to entry, it'd be a hell of a lot easier to start a firm--and a commune is essentially just another firm when viewed from the outside. I've always assumed this (freedom of association is probably the most important aspect of liberty, and it tends to open up many possibilities), but I sat down and tried to think through (in logical steps) various conflicts arising and how they could be resolved, and it pretty much washes. I've also sketched out possible mutualist community property rights contracts and how that might look when complications are added in and conflicts arise, etc. Basically looking to conflict resolution. It's just a thought experiment for sure, but anarchism isn't a necessary condition for usufructory property rights (of which the Ingalls-Tucker system is a subset), so such an arrangement could prevail under a state. Even with a state in place, I figure usufructory rights would go a long way towards ending/evading privilege, which is my main problem with Lockean rights--they breed privilege through the possibility of absentee ownership and its very sticky, perpetual view of property ownership. While a usufructory system would cap privilege, it wouldn't necessarily cap wealth-creation and growth. I haven't sat down and worked it out yet but my gut instinct is that freer conditions and limitations on privilege are more apt to increase prosperity for all since there are greater incentives to cooperate and pool together resources (as firms) while maintaining (price) competitiveness.
Last edited by eumaas on 12 Dec 2008, 1:03pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by eumaas » 12 Dec 2008, 12:53pm

BostonBeaneater wrote:I was reading a lot of Bukowski which, like the TV show Mad Men, has prompted me to drink and smoke more.
Yeah, all my boring property rights research aside, I've been drinking too much and smoking too--the latter is kinda hard not to do when most of your friends are smokers. Got into cigars and love em.

Actually my drinking is pretty controlled now, compared to my genuine Bukowski period (the drinking and women thing--not healthy, had to stop) a few months ago.
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 12 Dec 2008, 1:22pm

eumaas wrote:Recently finished:
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 by HST (mixed reaction to this one--there is good writing and good episodes but some of the electoral stuff is too dry for me)
Possibly my favourite HST book—focused and deranged, really getting the heart of the ugliness of American politics. It's the id of Teddy White's Making of the President … books. Las Vegas seems to have a certain effortlessness to it, just lettin' it fly, but Campaign Trail makes gonzo look like hard work.
Republican Party Reptile by P. J. O'Rourke (holy shit! this is now one of my top 10 favorite books, funny as all hell)
Years since I've read this, but I loved it. I still carry with me his observation that the difference between liberals and conservatives is that the latter say you shouldn't laugh at Helen Keller jokes whereas the former say you can't. Changes in attitudes and agendas in the past couple decades have altered that somewhat, the point is still appreciated.
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Alyssa » 12 Dec 2008, 1:53pm

I haven't had time to read anything for fun since school started. Lately I've been reading stuff about historic archaeology for a paper I recently wrote. The book 'In Small Things Forgotten' is really interesting, if you're interested in early American archaeology. I've also been reading parts of the Rig Veda for my mythology class, and stuff about medical anthropology. That's probably the most interesting reading material I've had lately. I'm taking a pile of books home with me to read over the holiday, when I'm finally free of school-related books. My holiday starts tomorrow at 2:30, and I am counting down the hours...

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by eumaas » 12 Dec 2008, 2:00pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:Years since I've read this, but I loved it. I still carry with me his observation that the difference between liberals and conservatives is that the latter say you shouldn't laugh at Helen Keller jokes whereas the former say you can't. Changes in attitudes and agendas in the past couple decades have altered that somewhat, the point is still appreciated.
Yeah, the conservatives have been taken over by the religious types so they're equally humorless but with a different set of pet causes. But shit, O'Rourke is on fire in that book. Now he's mellowed out (understandable!) and is a little more traditionally conservative, but shit, that book is a stone cold classic. And his piece on the Philippines provides some (bleeding) heart. I think I like Republican Party Reptile more than his other books (which are still good!) simply because it's a miscellany that captures a sort of reckless attitude that doesn't really exist anymore.


EDITED BECAUSE I USED AN OPPOSING WORD!! woops
Last edited by eumaas on 12 Dec 2008, 2:03pm, edited 1 time in total.
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by dpwolf » 12 Dec 2008, 2:02pm

One of my upcoming holiday reads:

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 12 Dec 2008, 2:03pm

Alyssa wrote: The book 'In Small Things Forgotten' is really interesting, if you're interested in early American archaeology.
I had to read that for a grad class, tho I can't remember if it was for history or American Studies. Can't recall a single thing about it, either.
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 12 Dec 2008, 2:04pm

dpwolf wrote:One of my upcoming holiday reads:

Image
Oh yeah, very good stuff. I'm not really a fan of non-superhero comics, but Y is pretty dang good.
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Wolter » 12 Dec 2008, 2:09pm

Currently reading:

Generations by Strauss and Howe, as recommended and provided by some Canadian via Indiana.

Also in various states of completion (I have a lot of half-finished books at any one time):

"The Tale of Núr al-Dín Alí and His Son Badr al-Dín Hasan" from Burton's Arabian Nights.
The Book of Ezekiel, by...well, let's just say Ezekiel.
Farewell, My Lovely, by Raymond Chandler (no idea why I haven't finished this...it's not a tough read...I just keep getting sidetracked by other books.
Millenials Rising by Strauss and Howe. Per the Canadian, Generations is a much better book. So far, I agree with him muchly.

Recently finished:
Let the Right One In, by (something something) Lindqvist. I saw the movie with Flex when he was in town. It's phenomenal. The book is quite good, but too on the head. Lindqvist did write the screenplay, so I'm guessing he realized what should have been cut.
Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by Daniel Dennett. I love me some Dennett, and this is a fine philosophical and scientific examination of the natural origins of the religious mindset. Or to be more specific, a fine argument FOR the application of scientific reasoning to the question of the origins of the religious mindset, with some very interesting early hypotheses and a call for others to expand upon them/refute them and find alternate hypotheses.

And, of course, tons of random comics.
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Alyssa » 12 Dec 2008, 4:17pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:
Alyssa wrote: The book 'In Small Things Forgotten' is really interesting, if you're interested in early American archaeology.
I had to read that for a grad class, tho I can't remember if it was for history or American Studies. Can't recall a single thing about it, either.
It's interesting in its approach, however the processual theory used to analyze the data is really outdated. A lot has happened in archaeological theory since Binford!

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