What are you reading?

Pulling my posts from the old topic over here.


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Post by wirelessgrinder on Apr 21, 2019 at 11:21am

I made a commitment to start reading a lot last year after doing it off and on previously. I did a book reading challenge with goodreads and ended up reading 45 of the 50 i had targeted so not bad. Shooting for 40 this year.

I figured i would list them all below with quick notes as I’ve been wanting to put a lot of them in the 2p2 thread and this seems like the perfect time to do it.
I’ll keep adding as well as i read new ones.

This is in chronological order so you can see kind of how I became interested in one thing or another during the year.

A few that i saw in my history from late 2017

Sex at Dawn by Christopher Harris - Basically suggests that humans were mostly non-monogamous in hunter/gatherer times through research into still existing tribes, historical research, and talks about primates such as bonobos which are thought to be our closest relative. Really liked this and he has a podcast as well called Tangentially Speaking that i listen to regularly.

Hyena - Written by Judge Angelini, also know as Rude Jude, from reading seems he’s a shock jockey? similar to Howard Stern but in Detroit. He also has one called hummingbird. I liked both alot, both are basically short stories from his childhood and adult life related to growing up poor in detroit, heavy drug user as an adult. He doesnt come off as a great guy but definitely can sympathize with him.

How Soon is Now by Daniel Pinchbeck - Basically a call to action for climate change, i liked it alot and really makes you want to do something about it and believe a big change is possible.

2018:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo - The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing - Great book if you are looking to get rid of some stuff or feel like you have too much in your house. I just wish i could get my wife to go along with less stuff.

The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel - random one I came across about a guy that basically left society and lived in the woods of maine alone for 27 years. He stole food and other things to survive so not exactly honorable but it’s an interesting and quick read.

1491 by Charles Mann - Shows through research that native Americans in North and South America were more advanced and had larger civilizations than originally thought. Very detailed and long read if you are interested in the topic.

Lying by Sam Harris - Makes the case that you should never lie. Goes through a lot of common situations where people claim you probably should lie to protect other people etc. Not a fan of Sam Harris anymore but this book had a positive impact on me.

Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville - short story by Melville, hard to explain but basically guy refuses to do anything by saying " I would prefer not to"

Fantasyland, how america went haywire: a 500 year history by Kurt Andersen - really enjoyed this, 500 year history basically going over every ridiculous belief that americans have held over the years. Really makes you just sit back and say wow this is a joke that people go along with these things

Waking Up: A guide to spirituality without religion by Sam Harris - mostly focused on meditation as a replacement for religion, i enjoyed it, good if you are interested in meditation but if you really are you interested in meditation there are probably other books that are better.

The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships by Neil Strauss - I read this when i was going through a tough time in my marriage and a lot of what he felt really hit home with me. He basically determines that he has a problem with cheating and decides non-monogamy is the way to go. Book basically goes through all these different things he tried in that area.

Tomorrowland: Our Staggering Journey from Science Fiction to Science Fact by Steven Kotler - a bunch of short stories about new techonology, it was an interesting quick read if that interests you

10% Happier by Dan Harris - fairly well known book about meditation but its more so a story about the author who is a well known TV personality and how he arrived at using meditation to cope with stress etc.

The Marriage of the Sun and the Moon: Dispatches from the Frontiers of Consciousness by Andrew Weil - collection of topics about drugs or other mind altering substances by a hippy type. Interesting if you want to know more about mushrooms and things like that.

Everything That Remains: A Memoir by the Minimalists by Joshua Fields Millbur n - just a narrative basically of how they went from their corporate jobs to the minimalist lifestyle, i thought it was interesting and quick read but its not that heavy on the minimalism lifestyle, more on the memoir part.

Give People Money: How a Universal Basic Income Would End Poverty, Revolutionize Work, and Remake the World by Annie Lowrey - Author is Ezra Kleins wife. It’s a good high level overview of UBI. Nothing super fantastic about it.

Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects by Russell Bertrand - more atheism type stuff, highly reccommended by other people if i recall but i found it tedious and very scholarly i guess which made it hard to read.

Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck - read this because Christopher Ryan had talked about it a few times but it didn’t really click with me although the idea of a cross country road trip sounds great.

Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac Mccarthy - I read The Road a long time ago and enjoyed it and heard great praise of this book. I also loved western novels, louis lamour etc when i was younger. However his writing style turned me off at first and i quit it early on. I came back to it and it was better but i still didn’t see the magic of it.

God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens - pretty standard new atheism, enjoyed it.

Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx - gotta say this was very hard to read and didn’t glean much from it

Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris - quick little read where he shoots holes in christianity in a down to earth kinda way

Hummingbird by Jude Angelini- see Hyena above but basically drug/sex stories, very personal and depressing.

Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety: Good read on the history of nuclear weapons and evolution of the safety procedures around them and some close calls.

The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason - more standard new atheism

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Taleb, Nassim Nicholas - I didnt actually finish this one which is really rare for me but the guy acts like hes the smartest person in the world and the book was just hard to read.

The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care - good quick rundown on universal healthcare in other countries - makes you sad for the joke of a system we have here.

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide - history of white rage coming up through slavery and beyond in to jim crow etc

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America - very well researched and long book about the history of racism from pre colonial times and on.

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy - great collection of essays/articles from a great writer during the obama presidency.

One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy - quick easy read on history of voter supression up to present day, most people here will be familar with most of this.

Letter from the Birmingham Jail - not really a book but i had never read the whole thing before that i could recall, important to note the case he makes in here for class/economic freedom?

The New Jim Crow - Mass incarceration overview focused on african americans

More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory - name says it all, good resource if this is something you are considering

Fear: Trump in the White House - no explanation needed, enjoyed it.

American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics - I love Dan Savages podcast and this is more of the same but gives his thoughts on abundance of issues.

A Colony in a Nation by Chris Hayes - more on the struggles of african americans in our society

Bag of Bones by Stephen King - Stephen is the only fiction author I read often and i had quit this book one time before but came back and read all the way through from the beginning and enjoyed it. It does kinda go off the rails towards the end but what Steven King book doesn’t?

So You Want to Talk About Race - self explantory?

Between the World and Me - great read about Ta nehisi coates growing up, can’t recommend enough.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City - mega depressing read about the struggle of poor people trying to stay housed and dirtbag landlords.

The Dead Zone by Stephen King - I remembered the show with anthony michael hall that i used to watch when i was much younger and decided to read this especially with some parallels to Trump. Easy quick read and the ending is actually decent.

Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America by Matt Taibbi - good read on the circumstances around the recesssion and bailout, depressing.

Diary by Chuck Palahniuk - author of fight club and the back of the book was intriguing but i can’t really recommend it, it was a chore to read.

Small Stakes No-Limit Hold’em - by Ed Miller

The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History - was fascinated by Crazy Horse growing up so I enjoyed this history of him by a Lakota autor.

STOP! 10 Things Good Poker Players Don’t Do by Ed miller - was free on kindle unlimited

Master Micro Stakes Poker: Learn to Master 6-Max No Limit Hold’em Micro Stakes Cash Games - by Alton Hardin - was free on kindle unlimited

The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins - standard new atheism

What’s the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America - enlightenging view of how Kansas went from blue union/socialist heavy to red. Basically culture war shit that cons the rubes into voting against their best interest for outcomes on abortion and such that they won’t ever achieve.

Slutever: Dispatches from a Sexually Autonomous Woman in a Post-Shame World - self explanatory?

The Grinder’s Manual: A Complete Course in Online No Limit Holdem 6-Max Cash Games - great book, about to re-read it probably and play some more online

Calypso - David Sedaris - never read any of his stuff before, didn’t find it to be that funny but it was enjoyable enough to finish.

The Fire Next Time - by James Baldwin - hard to describe, just read it

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption - by Bryan Stevenson - somewhat of an autobiography I guess by a lawyer that works in Montgomery Alabama where I was born working to get people off deathrow and overturn wrongful convictions on deathrow. Made me donate to his cause, seems like a great person and this book will make you very sad again for how much some of these people have been screwed over by the state and discrimination.

Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture - stories about rape, not easy to read but needs to be read.

Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland - most people on here will be familiar but data based conclusions on how resistance to obamacare, lax gun laws, and cuts to schools/social care have a direct result of whites dying and lower life expectancy. How lax gun laws end up in more suicides etc, also depressing.

When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America - most people here will be familiar probably but goes over african americans getting fucked by getting left out of the new deal, GI bill, redlining etc etc.

The Power - scifi where women mutate to have a power to shock and kill by their touch and what it does to society, enjoyed it

Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence - didn’t enjoy this one much and found it hard to read, meh

No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes - depressing, focuses alot on how USA let the locals turn us against the different groups by ratting them out as “taliban” to where we would go busting their doors down and hauling them off to be tortured.

Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In by Bernie Sanders - self explanatory

Elevation by Stephen King - easy read and not his normal kind of novel, i enjoyed it.

White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism - love Kevin Kruse and this book goes over the history of Atlanta fighting hard against desegregration while at the same time they were billing themselves as a progressive city. also towards the end shows how modern conservatism like focusing on freedom of association and other “freedoms”, not wanting to pay taxes to support local services really just stemmed from not wanting to help african americans or live near them, again very depressing.

You Have the Right to Remain Innocent - really quick read just to beat it into you head that you should get a lawyer ASAP when dealing with cops and keep your mouth shut otherwise.

One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America - more Kevin Kruse and the history of how corporate america co-opted christanity in order to beat down on labor unions and the new deal by claiming that christianity = free market principles. Goes through the history of the national prayer breakfast and one nation under god becoming the national motto and under god being added to the pledge of allegiance.

That catches me up,

Currently reading these:

The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood
1Q84 by Murakami
Revival by Stephen King
The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood by Ta-nehisi Coates

Just finished Anarchism: From Theory to Practice by Daniel Guerin

It was good.

I haven’t been reading much lately. I’ve been doing some other projects and decided reading mostly had to go. On your current list, I feel like I should read The Handmaids Tale because people talk about it a lot, but I am afraid it will be pretty bad. (as in boring and badly written)

That’s a scorching take about the most acclaimed book by one of the most acclaimed authors of the past 40 years. Good shot at a Nobel this year

“It was good” may not have done it justice, but I was a little peeved that he kept calling Kropotkin naive, kept apologizing for the good parts of Proudhon and was too much about Bakunin.

Oh, you were talking about the other thing. Like I said, I haven’t read it. Did you like it?

If you mean handmaids tale, I love the show although haven’t watched the latest season yet. So it’s easier to follow along, also she’s releasing a follow up novel in a couple weeks so that’s mainly why I wanted to read it.

I’m enjoying How to do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell. Why Buddhism is True spoke to me, it helped me get into meditation, which has had a huge positive impact on my personal wellbeing.

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Shortlisted for the Booker even though it hasn’t been released yet

Holy shit Stephen King just published his 61st novel.

Finished handmaidens tale. Was curious about how it matched up with the series and it matches fairly close but is way shorter chronologically and there isn’t much there really in way of a story to be honest. Supposedly the new novel is based fifteen years later and will really flesh out the Gilead world and history hopefully.

Finished testaments the handmaids sequel. It was good and I blew through it but nothing much different from the original.

Just finished Misery by Stephen King.

I skimmed a lot of the meta book in book content especially where he starts leaving out the n’s.

There’s one particular scene that is super fucked up and left me kinda squirming randomly for a few days when I’d think about here and there.

Recommended reading - quite easy to rip through and although the content is dark I found myself connecting with both Paul and Annie.

Alma Katsu’s The Hunger is a smashing great read if you want some spooky Halloween shit.

I picked up misery and knocked it out in a week or so, enjoyed it. Didn’t like the book within the book parts and def skimmed those as well

Thoroughly enjoyed Misery the movie when it came out as well.

I just spent a night re-reading Mark Waid’s Irredeemable and Incorruptible. I’m curious if anyone here reads stuff like that.

My wife watches a bunch of shows on ID, and its astounding just how many guilty people will talk to the police for hours without a lawyer, and how many innocent people who are being looked at as a suspect will as well. I told her, if anything were to ever happen to you, I would look so fucking guilty because I wouldn’t say a single word outside of “lawyer” if the cops came to talk to me.

Hint: Most cops want the W, and they don’t give a damn if they get it against the actual perp or an innocent. There is a show about false confessions on Netflix, and one of the cases is so jaw dropping crazy in the fact that twenty years later, after a new confession and DNA evidence have proven that the original confessor is completely innocent, the original cop who forced the false confession STILL believes the original confessor is guilty. Its mind blowing. Ill try to see if I can find the exact episode and post the title here.

It helps that its one of the best cast movies of the 20th century.

Any books detailing the history of Israel Palestine that isn’t Israeli propaganda?

Just finished “Against the Grain” by James C. Scott. Very good. About the origins of states and grain agriculture.

Shortest Way Home by Pete Buttigieg (ldo)
Lead From the Outside by Stacey Abrams

Also currently re-reading His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman, which is actually quite relevant for the crazy times we’re in.

Someone recommended an author to me that I’ll get into when I can: Guy Gavriel Kay. I’ve heard of him but never really read any of his stuff, but it sounds interesting.