What are you reading?

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nicole
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by nicole » 21 Feb 2017, 12:33

D.A. Ridgely wrote:
Jennifer wrote:
D.A. Ridgely wrote:I'm very fond of the Brit TV show Foyle's War, but in one episode black marketing is the motive behind the requisite murder and it's hard not to cheer at least a bit for the black marketeer.
Depends on where the black marketeer got his goods -- if it was something like "Guy in the country raises his own chickens and sells black-market eggs" I'd be on his side, but if he were one of those black marketeers who went down to the docks and stole from American food shipments, fuck 'im.
If it was food for the troops or staples for a starving nation, sure. But as I recall, the guy was buying upscale food, e.g., an entire turkey, to serve in a private club restaurant. Maybe in Russia, but ration coupons for caviar in the UK even during war strikes me as preposterous.
It was a special Christmas turkey, which they were then going to let rot in evidence. (There was a whole subplot about cops stealing the evidence-food, which obviously should be thrown away.)
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D.A. Ridgely
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 21 Feb 2017, 14:31

nicole wrote:
D.A. Ridgely wrote:
Jennifer wrote:
D.A. Ridgely wrote:I'm very fond of the Brit TV show Foyle's War, but in one episode black marketing is the motive behind the requisite murder and it's hard not to cheer at least a bit for the black marketeer.
Depends on where the black marketeer got his goods -- if it was something like "Guy in the country raises his own chickens and sells black-market eggs" I'd be on his side, but if he were one of those black marketeers who went down to the docks and stole from American food shipments, fuck 'im.
If it was food for the troops or staples for a starving nation, sure. But as I recall, the guy was buying upscale food, e.g., an entire turkey, to serve in a private club restaurant. Maybe in Russia, but ration coupons for caviar in the UK even during war strikes me as preposterous.
It was a special Christmas turkey, which they were then going to let rot in evidence. (There was a whole subplot about cops stealing the evidence-food, which obviously should be thrown away.)
Yes, that's right. (Although, are you sure you meant "obviously should be," because I'd have gone with shouldn't be or "should be" to imply I was referring to stupid policy/regulations.)

I think there was at least one other episode with a black market significant subplot, but I can't remember it.

Also, does anyone else think there's something weird about a British couple naming their daughter "Honeysuckle"?

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nicole
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by nicole » 21 Feb 2017, 15:10

D.A. Ridgely wrote:
nicole wrote:
D.A. Ridgely wrote:
Jennifer wrote:
D.A. Ridgely wrote:I'm very fond of the Brit TV show Foyle's War, but in one episode black marketing is the motive behind the requisite murder and it's hard not to cheer at least a bit for the black marketeer.
Depends on where the black marketeer got his goods -- if it was something like "Guy in the country raises his own chickens and sells black-market eggs" I'd be on his side, but if he were one of those black marketeers who went down to the docks and stole from American food shipments, fuck 'im.
If it was food for the troops or staples for a starving nation, sure. But as I recall, the guy was buying upscale food, e.g., an entire turkey, to serve in a private club restaurant. Maybe in Russia, but ration coupons for caviar in the UK even during war strikes me as preposterous.
It was a special Christmas turkey, which they were then going to let rot in evidence. (There was a whole subplot about cops stealing the evidence-food, which obviously should be thrown away.)
Yes, that's right. (Although, are you sure you meant "obviously should be," because I'd have gone with shouldn't be or "should be" to imply I was referring to stupid policy/regulations.)

I think there was at least one other episode with a black market significant subplot, but I can't remember it.

Also, does anyone else think there's something weird about a British couple naming their daughter "Honeysuckle"?
Yeah, I was being sarcastic. But really a huge percentage of the cases are related to various wartime regs. The first episode is about draft dodging. There's also one about stealing petrol.
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Jennifer
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Jennifer » 21 Feb 2017, 16:12

Eh, if it was an entire turkey intended to be served at a private club, I can kinda see the British government's point (again, in the specific context of the country fighting a no-joke war for existence against Hitler). I'm assuming "private club" meant "club for rich people?" Morale was understandably shitty enough (despite the "jolly stiff upper lip" face the BBC presented to the country and the rest of the world), and would be worse if it came out that the wealthy could in a single meal gorge on more meat than a typical English citizen got in a whole week. (Though of course, the cops feasting on the evidence themselves is typical hypocritical cop-corruption which in an ideal world should've been prosecuted. And letting that food rot was purely asinine waste.)

I say this as someone who has never seen that show, and is commenting only on what's been said about it here.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Jennifer » 22 Feb 2017, 15:30

Man, these dessert recipes using saccharin in lieu of sugar sound spectacularly unappetizing. Of course, I say this as someone who's still mildly traumatized by the memory of the time my seven- or eight-year-old self decided to try some straight Sweet-n-Low because I knew it was "much sweeter than sugar," and I figured that since I loved the sweetness of straight sugar (to the point where I'd usually cadge a few sugar packets on the relatively rare occasions I was in a restaurant with such packets on the table), surely something even sweeter would thus be even tastier, right? Thus did Young Jennifer grab a packet of Sweet-n-Low, and smuggle it home, and ... ugh. Yuck. Bleccch. [Shudder]
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pistoffnick
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by pistoffnick » 27 Feb 2017, 11:41

Recently Finished:
Meat Eater: Adventures from the Life of an American Hunter by Steven Rinella
American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon by Steven Rinella *
Don't Sleep, There are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle by Daniel L. Everett **
The Complete Guide to Hunting, Butchering, and Cooking Wild Game: Volume 1: Big Game by Steven Rinella
Looking for Alaska by John Greene

On Deck:
The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine by Steven Rinella
The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost

* Did you know that North America's current buffalo population can be traced back to one bull from the Bronx zoo?

** Instead of saying "goodnight", the Pirahã people say "Don't sleep, there are snakes." Daniel Everett was sent as a missionary to learn the Pirahã language so he could translate the Bible for them. The Pirahã end up converting him to an atheist.
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Andrew
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Andrew » 20 Mar 2017, 23:19

I finished Against the Day by Pynchon. Overall, I thought it was excellent and perhaps his most accessible megabook.

I know JasonL is on record as abandoning it for perceived commie utopianism, but that's not what I got from it. I got the usual Pynchon pro-individual, anti-system vibe from it, which to me seemed more pro-anarchist than commie. Also, one of the many styles he aped was Upton Sinclair (along with boys' adventure novels, westerns, fin de siecle, etc.) and I think that might've made it seem very anti-capitalism in places. Perhaps that Pynchon's true view, but it struck me more as the style he was imitating.
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dead_elvis
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by dead_elvis » 30 Mar 2017, 12:28

Just finished Ella Minnow Pea, a lovely little free speech allegory. On a fictitious small island nation, as letters fall off of a statue they are banned from use by The Council, with harsh punishment for violations in a political climate something like Iran. The banned letters also disappear from the book, as it's written all from the POV of letters being written on the island. It's a quick easy read, fun to watch them try to communicate around the restrictions. The politics are pretty obvious, but on the right side. I think it goes along nicely with 1984, Animal Farm, Little Brother, etc. Warning against creeping totalitarianism from a slightly different than usual point of view.
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JD
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by JD » 30 Mar 2017, 12:51

dead_elvis wrote:Just finished Ella Minnow Pea, a lovely little free speech allegory. On a fictitious small island nation, as letters fall off of a statue they are banned from use by The Council, with harsh punishment for violations in a political climate something like Iran.
That sounds reminiscent of James Thurber's The Wonderful O, in which pirates take over the island of Ooroo; angered by not finding any treasure and the natives' unhelpfulness, they punish the people by decreeing that the letter O is forbidden in speech or writing, causing a great deal of difficulty for the people, particular ones named Otto, or those dealing in boats or coats, or anyone who believes in hope, love, valor, or freedom. And, as is always the way, the pirates bend the rules to suit their own purposes; they exempt a poodle on the grounds that its French name doesn't have an O, and ban grapefruit on the grounds that pamplemousse does have an O, and they never liked grapefruit anyway.
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Ellie
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Ellie » 30 Mar 2017, 13:43

The Wonderful O is really good.
I should have listened to Warren. He was right again as usual.

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JasonL
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by JasonL » 30 Mar 2017, 14:40

Allegory is really hard to do in such a way you aren't tired of it and all "i get it, i GET IT" by the 2nd chapter. Gulliver is remarkable.

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Warren
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Warren » 31 Mar 2017, 02:08

JasonL wrote:Allegory is really hard to do in such a way you aren't tired of it and all "i get it, i GET IT" by the 2nd chapter. Gulliver is remarkable.
Swift?
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by JasonL » 31 Mar 2017, 09:00

yes.

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thoreau
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by thoreau » 03 Apr 2017, 17:07

After reading this excerpt I've ordered The Perils of Privilege.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Sandy » 03 Apr 2017, 17:26

thoreau wrote:After reading this excerpt I've ordered The Perils of Privilege.
Oh god, that poor creature!

I feel a little sorry for the dog, too.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by lunchstealer » 03 Apr 2017, 22:30

Girls creator Lena Dunham, noted for being the first-ever entertainment professional who grew up wealthy in New York.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

I will never ever describe her any other way.
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Jennifer
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Jennifer » 30 Apr 2017, 18:20

Just finished reading A World of Difference by Harry Turtledove. The premise is that the fourth planet is not tiny, dry Mars but Minerva, an Earth-sized planet big enough to have kept its atmosphere and liquid water. (Although liquid water is still fairly rare except in summertime, because Minerva is of course much colder than Earth, with polar ice caps stretching halfway down to the equator.) Minerva has intelligent life but it's only reached Neolithic levels of technology. People on Earth know Minerva has intelligent life because the 1970s Viking lander was destroyed by a Minervan (but not before the lander sent back photos of its attacker), so by 1989 there were two manned missions being sent to Minerva -- one by the US, and one by the USSR. However, the two human spaceships land just as two groups of Minervans are about to go to war, and coincidentally the two countries' spaceships just happen to land in different alien territories, with the US astronauts touching down among those aliens we'd consider "the good guys," while the USSR astronauts land amidst "the aggressors" in the war.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Eric the .5b » 01 May 2017, 01:25

Jennifer wrote:Just finished reading A World of Difference by Harry Turtledove.
I vaguely remember that one from when it came out. Hard-liners still in charge of the USSR, the Minervans being radially symmetric, and Minervan reproduction involving females dying in the process of giving birth—which one American doctor learns about and decides not on her watch.

I don't remember much else.
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Jennifer
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Jennifer » 01 May 2017, 04:27

Eric the .5b wrote:
Jennifer wrote:Just finished reading A World of Difference by Harry Turtledove.
I vaguely remember that one from when it came out. Hard-liners still in charge of the USSR, the Minervans being radially symmetric, and Minervan reproduction involving females dying in the process of giving birth—which one American doctor learns about and decides not on her watch.

I don't remember much else.
Heh, there's ... not a lot else to remember. There were a couple interesting bits about the alien linguistics -- since their eyes give them a 360-degree field of vision, they have no concept for front vs. back or behind, and also the aliens all had essentially a feudal system, but the aggressor-aliens whom the Russians landed by had also started some rudimentary trade capitalism, which kind of bothered the Russians until the political-office guy explained how, according to Marxist-Leninist principles, capitalism has to replace feudalism before Communism can come about, so really, we Russians are aligned with the most progressive forces on the planet, and no surprise the Americans would ally with the reactionary forces as usual.
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Jennifer
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Jennifer » 01 May 2017, 05:50

One interesting thought did occur to me -- bear in mind I read this book while also re-watching old Star Trek and TNG episodes, and neither the Russians nor the Americans in the book had anything remotely like a Prime Directive -- even if Minerva has as much metal and minerals as Earth, and even though the Minervans are clearly as intelligent as humans despite having far more primitive technological development -- it might not be possible for such creatures to ever make it into the Metal Age without assistance from humans. There was one brief scene where an American scientist mentioned how every plant and animal growing on Minerva would be poisonous for humans to eat, because the planet's life has an essentially different biochemistry: they live in a cold environment, and think any temperature above the freezing point of water is too hot, so rather than generating heat as warm-blooded animals do on Earth (or staying where it's warm, as the cold-blooded creatures do), Minervan life forms all contain various types of natural antifreeze. They do not use fire to generate light (luckily, they have some life form called "glitterers," similar to fireflies except they flash all the time, not merely when sending mating signals); when humans built a campfire to keep warm at night, the Minervans couldn't even get close to it, because the heat was too intense for them. The only Minervans who use fire (in small amounts) are the specialized "watersmiths," who use it to melt ice so they can pour water into molds and let it re-freeze into useful tools.

If Minervans are biologically incapable of standing close enough to even a small campfire to feel any of the heat it generates, there's no way they could ever have fire sufficient to melt metal out of ores, not unless the humans give them a technological boost such as heat-suits or something of that nature.
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Andrew
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Andrew » 14 May 2017, 21:34

Thoughts on Lolita:

1. I didn't realize it would be so hilarious.
2. The writing and wordplay is mindbending. Especially given English was his second or third language.
3. American Psycho is an extremely inferior copy.
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Warren
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Warren » 14 May 2017, 23:58

Andrew wrote:The writing and wordplay is mindbending. Especially given English was his second or third language.
So you're saying Nabokov was an accomplished cunning linguist?
Andrew wrote: American Psycho is an extremely inferior copy.
Isn't that like saying Batman is an inferior copy of Atlas Shrugged? I mean in what sense is it even similar, much less a "copy"?
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lunchstealer
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by lunchstealer » 15 May 2017, 03:15

Andrew wrote:Thoughts on Lolita:

1. I didn't realize it would be so hilarious.
2. The writing and wordplay is mindbending. Especially given English was his second or third language.
3. American Psycho is an extremely inferior copy.
Did he write in English? I assumed it was translated.
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dbcooper
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by dbcooper » 15 May 2017, 03:22

Pretty sure he wrote it in English.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by dbcooper » 15 May 2017, 07:45

God damn it, why do science fiction writers (Ken MacLeod in this case) insist on describing fashion?
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