What are you reading?

All things outside of Burning Man.

Re: What are you reading?

Postby Box Burner » Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:32 pm

Dilbert - 14 Years of Loyal Service in a Fabric-Covered Box

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Dance in the heart of chaos. . . . .

ὁ δὲ ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --- Σωκράτης

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby ^Rhino! » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:23 pm

Currently reading:

Holding the Line - 3rd Tennessee Infantry 1861-1864 by Flavel C. Barber, Robert H. Ferrell, ed. - This is one of the best unit histories I've ever read on either side of the Mason-Dixon line. Barber's diary and memoir of service follows the 3rd Tennesse Infantry Regiment with a history that Major Bqrber began while he was whiling away the hours as a prisoner at Johnson's Island, a prisoner-of-war after the surrender of Fort Donelson to US Grant. Barber is candid, unsentimental, and accurately details the life of a Confederate soldier as we follow him from Johnsn's Island after his parole to Chickasaw Bayou and the siege of Vicksburg. Photos of Barber's original maps are included for the reader.
Barber died at the Battle of Resaca, GA in May 1864, where his account ends.

Among others.
Rue Morgue - '08, '09
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:59 pm

Box Burner wrote:Dilbert - 14 Years of Loyal Service in a Fabric-Covered Box

Image

Hm. My cubicle is a scratching post...
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby TomServo » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:30 pm

10th chapter of "Johnny Got His Gun"

Lying on your back without anything to do and anywhere to go was kinda of like being on a high hill far away from noise and people. It was like being on a camping trip all by yourself. You had plenty of time to think. You had time to figure things out. Things you'd never thought of before. Things like for example going to war. You were so completely alone on your hill that noise and people didn't enter in your figuring of things at all. Your figured only for yourself without considering a single little thing outside yourself. It seemed that you thought clearer and that your answers made more sense. And even if they didn't make sense it didn't matter because you weren't ever going to be able to do anything about them anyhow.


He thought here you are Joe Bonham lying like a side of beef all the rest of your life and for what? Someone tapped you on the shoulder and said come along son we're going to war. So you went. But why? In any other deal even like buying a car or running on errand you had the right to say what's in it for me? Otherwise you'd be buying bad cars for too much money or running errands for fools and starving to death. It was a kind of duty you owed yourself that when anybody said come on son do this or do that you should stand up and say look mister why should I do this for who am I doing it and what am I going to get out of it in the end? But when a guy comes along and says here come with me and risk your life and maybe die or be crippled why then you've got no rights. You haven't even the right to say yes or no or I'll think it over. There are plenty of laws to protect guys' money even in war time but there's nothing on the books that says a man's life's his own.


Of course a lot of guys were ashamed. Somebody said let's go out and fight for liberty and so they went and got killed without ever once thinking about liberty. And what kind of liberty were they fighting for anyway? How much liberty and whose idea of liberty? Were they fighting for the liberty of eating free ice cream cones all their lives or for the liberty of robbing anybody they pleased whenever they wanted to or what? You tell a man he can't rob and you take away some of his liberty. You've got to. What the hell does liberty mean anyhow? It's just a word like house or table or any other word. Only is a special kind of word. A guy says house and he can point to a house to prove it. But a guy says come on let's fight for liberty and he can't show you liberty. He can't prove the thing that he's talking about so how in the hell can he be telling you to fight for it?


No sir anybody who went out and got into the front line trenches to fight for liberty was a goddam fool and the guy who got him there was a liar. Next time anybody came gabbling to him about liberty-what did he mean next time? There wasn't going to be any next time for him. But the hell with that. If there could be a next time and somebody said let's fight for liberty he would say mister my life is important. I'm not a fool and when I swap my life for liberty I've got to know in advance what liberty is and whose idea of liberty we're talking about and just how much of that liberty we're going to have. And what's more mister are you as much interested in this liberty as you want me to be? And maybe too much liberty will be as bad as too little liberty and I think you're a goddam fourflusher talking through your hat and I've already decided that I like the liberty I've got right here the liberty to walk and see and hear and talk and eat and sleep with my girl. I think I like that liberty better than fighting for a lot of things we won't get and ending up without any liberty at all. Ending up dead and rotting before my life is even begun good or ending up like a side of beef. Thank you mister. You fight for liberty. Me I don't care for some.


Hell's fire guys had always been fighting for liberty. America fought a war for liberty in 1776. lots of guys died. And in the end does America have any more liberty than Canada or Australia who didn't fight at all? Maybe so I'm not arguing I'm just asking. Can you look at a guy and say he's an American who fought for his liberty and anybody can see he's a very different guy from a Canadian who didn't? No by god you can't and that's that. So maybe a lot of guys with wives and kids died in 1776 when they didn't need to die at all. They're dead now anyway. Sure but that doesn't do any good. A guy can think of being dead a hundred years from now and he doesn't mind it. but to think of being dead tomorrow morning and to be dead forever to be nothing but dust and stink in the earth is that liberty?


They were always fighting for something the bastards and if anyone dared say the hell with fighting it's all the same each war is like the other and nobody gets good out of it why they hollered coward. If they weren't fighting for liberty they were fighting for independence or democracy or freedom or decency or honor or their native land or something else that didn't mean anything. The war was to make the world safe for democracy for the little countries for everybody. If the war was over now then the world must be safe for democracy. Was it? And what kind of democracy? And how much? And whose?


Then there was this freedom the little guys were always getting killed for. Was it freedom from another country? Freedom from work or disease or death? Freedom from your mother-in-law? Please mister give us a bill of sale on the freedom before we go out and get killed. Give us a bill of sale drawn up plainly so we know in advance what we're getting killed for and give us also a first mortgage on something as security so we can be sure after we've won your war that we've got the same kind of freedom we bargained for.


And take decency. Everybody said America was fighting a war for the triumph of decency. But whose idea of decency? And decency for who? Speak up and tell us what decency is. Tell us how much better a decent dead man feels than an indecent live one. Make a comparison there in facts like houses and tables. Make it in words we can understand. And don't talk about honor. The honor of a Chinese or an Englishman or an African negro or an American or a Mexican? Please all you guys who want to fight to preserve our honor let us know what the hell honor is. Maybe the world doesn't like it. maybe the South Sea Islanders like their honor better.


For Christ sake give us things to fight for we can see and feel and pin down and understand. No more highfalutin words that mean nothing like native land. Motherland fatherland homeland native land. It's all the same. What the hell good to you is your native land after you're dead? Whose native land is it after you're dead? If you get killed fighting for your native land you've bought a pig in a poke. You've paid for something you'll never collect.


And when they couldn't hook the little guys into fighting for liberty or freedom or democracy or independence or decency or honor they tried the women. Look at the dirty Huns they would say look at them how they rape the beautiful French and Belgian girls. So the little guy got bewildered and he signed up and in a little while a shell hit him and his life splattered out of him in red meat pulp and he was dead. Dead for another word and all the fierce old bats of the D.A.R. get out and hurrah themselves hoarse over his grave because he died for womanhood.


Now it might be that a guy would risk getting killed if his women were being raped. But if he did why he was only striking a bargain. He was simply saying that according to the way he felt at the time the safety of his women was worth more than his own life. But there wasn't anything heroic about it. It was a straight deal his life for something he valued more. It was more or less like any other deal a man might make. But when you change your women to all the women in the world why you begin to defend women in bulk. And by that time you're fighting for a word again.


When armies begin to move and flags wave and slogans pop up watch out little guy because it's somebody else's chestnuts in the fire not yours. It's words you're fighting for and you're not making an honest deal your life for something better. You're being noble and after you're killed the thing you traded your life for won't do you any good and chances are it won't do anybody else any good either.


Maybe that's a bad way to think. There are lots of idealists around who will say have we got so low that nothing is more precious than life? Surely there are ideals worth fighting for even dying for. If not then we are worse than the beasts of the field and have sunk into barbarity. Then you say that's all right let's be barbarous just so long as we don't have war. You keep your ideals just as long as they don't cost me my life. And they say but surely life isn't as important as principle. Then you say oh no? Maybe not yours but mine is. What the hell is principle? Name it and you can have it.


You can always hear the people who are willing to sacrifice somebody else's life. They're plenty loud and they talk all the time. You can find them in churches and newspapers and legislatures and congress. That's their business. They sound wonderful. Death before dishonor. This ground sanctified by blood. These men who died so gloriously. They shall not have died in vain. Our noble dead.


Hmmmm.


But what do the dead say?


Did anybody ever come back from the dead any single on of the millions who got killed did any one of them ever come back and say by god I'm glad I'm dead because death is always better than dishonor? Did they say I'm glad I died to make the world safe for democracy? Did they say I like death better than losing liberty? Did any of them ever say it's good to think I got my guts blown out for the honor of my country? Did any of them ever say look at me I'm dead but I died for decency and that's better than being alive? Did any of them ever say here I am I've been rotting for two years in a foreign grave but it's wonderful to die for your native land? Did any of them say hurray I died for womanhood and I'm happy see how I sing even though my mouth is choked with worms?


Nobody but the dead know whether all these things people talk about are worth dying for or not. And the dead can't talk. So the words about noble deaths and sacred blood and honor and such are all put into dead lips by grave robbers and fakes who have no right to speak for the dead. If a man says death before dishonor he is either a fool or a liar because he doesn't know what death is. He isn't able to judge. He only knows about living. He doesn't know anything about dying. If he is a fool and believes in death before dishonor let him go ahead and die. But all the little guys who are too busy to fight should be left alone. And all the guys who say death before dishonor is pure bull the important thing is life before death they should be left alone too. Because the guys who say life isn't worth living without some principle so important you're willing to die for it seems they are all nuts. And the guys who say you'll see there'll come a time you cant escape you're going to have to fight and die because it'll mean your very life why they are also nuts. They are talking like fools. They are saying that two and two make nothing. They are saying that a man will have to die in order to protect his life. If you agree to fight you agree to die. Now if you die to protect your life you aren't alive anyhow so how is there any sense in a thing like that? A man doesn't say I will starve myself to keep from starving. He doesn't say I will spend all my money in order to save my money. He doesn't say I will burn my house down in order to keep it from burning. Why then should he be willing to die for the privilege of living? There ought to be at least as much common sense about living and dying as there is about going to the grocery store and buying a loaf of bread.


All the guys who died all the five million or seven million or ten million who went out and died to make the world safe for democracy to make the world safe for words without meaning how did they feel about it just before they died? How did they feel as they watched their blood pump out into the mud? How did they feel when the gas hit their lungs and began eating them all away? How did they feel as they lay crazed in hospitals and looked death straight in the face and saw him come and take them? If the thing they were fighting for was important enough to die for then it was also important enough for them to be thinking about it in the last minutes of their lives. That stood to reason. Life is awfully important so if you've given it away you'd ought to think with all your mind in the last moments of your life about the thing you traded it for. So did all those kids die thinking of democracy and freedom and liberty and honor and the safety of the home and the stars and stripes forever?


You're goddam right they didn't.


They died crying in their minds like little babies. They forgot the thing they were fighting for the things they were dying for. They thought about things a man can understand. They die yearning for the face of a friend. They died whimpering for the voice of a mother a father a wife a child. They died with their hearts sick for one more look at the place where they were born please god just one more look. They died moaning and sighing for life. They know what was important. They know that life was everything and they died with screams and sobs. They died with only one thought in their minds and that was I want to live I want to live, I want to live.
He ought to know.


He was the nearest thing to a dead man on earth.


He was a dead man with a mind that could still think. He knew all the answers the dead knew and couldn't think about. He could speak for the dead because he was one of them. He was the first of all soldiers who had died since the beginning of time who still had a brain left to think with. Nobody could dispute with him. Nobody could prove him wrong. Because nobody knew but he.


He could tell all these high-talking murdering sonsofbitches who screamed for blood just how wrong they were. He could tell them mister there's nothing worth dying for I know because I'm dead. There's no word worth your life. I would rather work in a coal mine deep under the earth and never see sunlight and eat crusts and water and work twenty hours a day. I would rather do that then be dead. I would trade democracy for life. I would trade independence and honor and freedom and decency for life. I will give you all these things and you give me the power to walk and see and hear and breathe the air and taste my food. You take the words. Give me back my life. I'm not asking for a happy life now. I'm not asking for a decent life or an honorable life or a free life. I'm beyond that. I'm dead so I'm simply asking for life. To live. To feel. To be something that moves over the ground and isn't dead. I know what death is and all you people who talk about dying for words don't even know what life is.


There's nothing noble about dying. Not even if you die for honor. Not even if you die the greatest hero the world ever saw. Not even if you're so great your name will never be forgotten and who's that great? The most important thing is your life little guys. You're worth nothing dead except for speeches. Don't let them kid you any more. Pay no attention when they tap you on the shoulder and say come along we've got to fight for liberty or whatever their word is there's always a word.
Just say mister I'm sorry I got no time to die I'm too busy and then turn and run like hell. If they say coward why don't pay any attention because it's your job to live not to die. If they talk about dying for principles that are bigger than life you say mister you're a liar. Nothing is bigger than life. There's nothing noble in death. What's noble about lying in the ground and rotting? What's noble about never seeing sunshine again? What's noble about having your legs and arms blown off? What's noble about being an idiot? What's noble about being dead? Because when you're dead mister it's all over. It's the end. You're less then a dog less than a rat less than a bee or an ant less than a white maggot crawling around on a dungheap. You're dead mister and you died for nothing.


You're dead mister.


Dead.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Sic Pup » Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:22 am

I did a ton of work this morning so I can reserve the afternoon to finish Cooked I breezed through fire, water and air and have just earth (fermentation) left. The clock is ticking because it's due back today and being a new book with holds is not renewable. I'll be damned if I'm going to pay 5 cents a day if I don't have to (beat that, Sav).

I went to the library though to see how long they'll hold the Ginger Baker auto (until the 9th) before they throw it back in the pool for circulation (without swimmies, no less). So if I get distracted and want to splurge for the 20 cents it's an option.

The real find for me was, on a hunch, I searched for one of my favorite contemporary authors and came up with this so I immediately put it on hold (1 of 1...yeehaw!). His last outing was "The Visible Man" a decent enough novel with an ending that made me wish for a sequel that will never come.

The gravity chair beckons..... btw, I'm on the hunt for a chaise lounge on my yard sale excursions, as much as I love my gravity chair (still smells of playa) it's impossible to lay face down on and I'm beginning to resemble a black and white cookie.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby theCryptofishist » Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:39 pm

Finished "Washed Away: There's a Totally Pointless Subtitle Which Has No Bearing on Actual Contents". It was pretty interesting, but not great. Too bad, this is apparently a forgotten corner of history that's actually pretty fascinating. Rich stuff, some of it over the top amazing--such as people walking out of the flood zone on telephone/power lines. I wonder if some pictures are on line, because, amazing.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby ^Rhino! » Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:39 am

Just finished "A Simple Act of Gratitude - How Learning to Say 'Thank You' Changed My Life" by John Kralik.

I couldn't put it down. I'm going to buy a huge supply of thank-you notes to start the same process,

Kralik heard a voice in the mountains:

"Until you learn to be grateful for the things you have, you will not receive the things you want."

Time to learn that lesson all over again for me.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Sic Pup » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:02 am

I'll have to put that on my list, thanks.

Along a similar vein, and I know it's cliched, a life-changer for me was "How Starbucks Saved My Life". In a nutshell, high-powered owner of an ad agency faces health problems loses his business and ultimately finds himself with the help of his co-workers, a true life lesson in humility.

It helped me find myself when I was lost after ending, by any outsiders account, a successful career that I deemed ultimately soul-stealing and unsatisfying. I also found meaning it what I had been doing in how it impacted those who worked with me and reconciled that it wasn't all just a chase for comp and "success".

Today I do what many might consider menial (kitchen worker) but it's extremely satisfying to me and I've discovered much about myself, new passions, new talents and a new awareness of how sometimes the seemingly ordinary is, in fact, extraordinary. It's been a short journey, time wise, but a long road by any other measure in personal growth.

I'm working on living the premise that life has little meaning, at least for me, without service and self-sacrifice as a strong component.

The ego, is a very difficult thing to challenge and it's a struggle but just being aware of it makes me a better person, I hope anyway.

of course it could just be that damned ego again
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby MacGlenver » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:04 am

Just started up The Foundation series by Asimov. Will be the second time i've read it. Unbelievably good series.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby gyre » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:09 am

Know yourself.
The most simplistic platitude, perhaps the hardest thing to ever actually do.

Good fortune, Sic Pup.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby ^Rhino! » Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:55 am

I'll echo that.

Good fortune, sic pup.

and gyre - 'Know thyself' is indeed a simplistic platitude, but it's important enough that it appears on one of the pillars of the Temple to the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi. The other statement that appears there - 'nothing in excess'.

It's no wonder that pilgrims went to the Temple there seeking wisdom. In finding that wisdom they learned to look within themselves.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby gyre » Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:48 pm

I was really captivated until the 'excess' lunacy.


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Re: What are you reading?

Postby miz wired » Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:07 am

Just on the last chapter of The way of the peaceful warrior by Dan Millman

Definately gave me a lot to think about and changes to make

On a different note finished Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

All i can say is watch out to my other half gave me some very wicked ideas if you bug me too much lol
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby lucky420 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:10 am

Loved Gone Girl. I also enjoyed the authors other books.

I'm just finishing up And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. He wrote Kite Runner.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby miz wired » Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:33 am

will check out the other books....amazon here i come

thanks

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Sic Pup » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:22 pm

Woohoo! Library finally processed it. Now I have to find the time to read it. If the past is any indication once I crack a Klosterman I read it right through.

Image


Chuck Klosterman has walked into the darkness. As a boy, he related to the cultural figures who represented goodness—but as an adult, he found himself unconsciously aligning with their enemies. This was not because he necessarily liked what they were doing; it was because they were doing it on purpose (and they were doing it better). They wanted to be evil. And what, exactly, was that supposed to mean? When we classify someone as a bad person, what are we really saying (and why are we so obsessed with saying it)? How does the culture of deliberate malevolence operate?

In I Wear the Black Hat, Klosterman questions the modern understanding of villainy. What was so Machiavellian about Machiavelli? Why don’t we see Bernhard Goetz the same way we see Batman? Who is more worthy of our vitriol—Bill Clinton or Don Henley? What was O. J. Simpson’s second-worst decision? And why is Klosterman still haunted by some kid he knew for one week in 1985?

Masterfully blending cultural analysis with self-interrogation and imaginative hypotheticals, I Wear the Black Hat delivers perceptive observations on the complexity of the antihero (seemingly the only kind of hero America still creates). I Wear the Black Hat is a rare example of serious criticism that’s instantly accessible and really, really funny. Klosterman continues to be the only writer doing whatever it is he’s doing.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby gyre » Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:51 pm

Interesting questions.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby ^Rhino! » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:07 pm

Just finished Storm over Carolina by R. Thomas Campbell.

It was an excellent read about the Confederate Navy in the waters of eastern North Carolina during the Civil War. It added immensely to my knowledge of civil war ironclads.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby danibel » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:17 pm

Finished the Fifty shades trilogy recently, and yes I am admitting that I read it! LOL

Currently reading Chelsea Handler's My Horizontal Life and various tech doc books on responsive design and HTML5/CSS3.

I found this great website called overdrive that lets me use my Santa Cruz County Library card and down load ebooks for up to three weeks on my kindle app FOR FREE. It covers a lot of northern California libraries, so check it out! Literally!
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Savannah » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:24 pm

Sic Pup wrote:Woohoo! Library finally processed it. Now I have to find the time to read it. If the past is any indication once I crack a Klosterman I read it right through.

Image

Chuck Klosterman has walked into the darkness. As a boy, he related to the cultural figures who represented goodness—but as an adult, he found himself unconsciously aligning with their enemies. This was not because he necessarily liked what they were doing; it was because they were doing it on purpose (and they were doing it better). They wanted to be evil. And what, exactly, was that supposed to mean? When we classify someone as a bad person, what are we really saying (and why are we so obsessed with saying it)? How does the culture of deliberate malevolence operate?

In I Wear the Black Hat, Klosterman questions the modern understanding of villainy. What was so Machiavellian about Machiavelli? Why don’t we see Bernhard Goetz the same way we see Batman? Who is more worthy of our vitriol—Bill Clinton or Don Henley? What was O. J. Simpson’s second-worst decision? And why is Klosterman still haunted by some kid he knew for one week in 1985?


Oh, I love Chuck Klosterman! :D And what an interesting topic.

*races to the library's online hold feature*

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:25 pm

I've more or less given up reading until the burn...
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby knowmad » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:52 pm

So, you wanna Vagina?
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Oh yeah, this year I was totally twerping out at the fence. ~Lonesombri
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Savannah » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:57 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:I've more or less given up reading until the burn...


The only reason I have time right now is because I'm a bus commuter.

Well--I alternate between reading, and making Burn-y lists on my phone.
*** 2013 Survival Guide ***

"I must've lost it when I was twerking at the trash fence." -- BBadger

"Snark away, ePlaya, you magnificent bastards." -- McStrangle
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby msj2u » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:15 pm

One biography on Clark Gable and the other on Katherine Hepburn

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:30 pm

Savannah wrote:
theCryptofishist wrote:I've more or less given up reading until the burn...


The only reason I have time right now is because I'm a bus commuter.

Well--I alternate between reading, and making Burn-y lists on my phone.

Yeah, I'm on inter city rail. I also sort of ran out of reading material, and am not looking too hard because it will get disruptive.

So, I lied...
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby lucky420 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:44 pm

The
Orphan Masters Son by Adam Johnson

I don't think I will ever want to visit N. Korea

Ever
Oh my god, it's HUGE!
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Savannah » Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:20 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:
Savannah wrote:
theCryptofishist wrote:I've more or less given up reading until the burn...


The only reason I have time right now is because I'm a bus commuter.

Well--I alternate between reading, and making Burn-y lists on my phone.

Yeah, I'm on inter city rail. I also sort of ran out of reading material, and am not looking too hard because it will get disruptive.

So, I lied...


Hee. :D
*** 2013 Survival Guide ***

"I must've lost it when I was twerking at the trash fence." -- BBadger

"Snark away, ePlaya, you magnificent bastards." -- McStrangle
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby BurnerBunny » Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:15 pm

I'm reading a book about random people throughout the ages that are born immortal. it's quite interesting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boat_ ... lion_Years
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby DrewDubious » Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:33 am

Iron John

By Robert Bly
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby ^Rhino! » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:06 am

As the Crow Flies by Craig Johnson.

Longmire's daughter, Cady, gets married; a new Tribal Police Chief , Lolo Long, takes charge on the Rez, and Walt Longmire and Henry Standing Bear solve a murder.


Good read. It's no wonder Tony Hillerman thinks that Craig Johnson produces "novel of the year' caliber work.
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