What books are you reading?

I'm looking for a good thick novel with great dialogue and passion. Something to take me away for awhile. That's what happened when I read The Wind Up Bird Chronicle. It set a new standard of engagement.


Skinny Legs and all

I love Tom Robbins. and Tim Robbins. But they're not related. At least I don't think they are.

Jitterbug ...

... one of my All-Time Favorites. Not looked at beets the same since reading that book.

I am reading a wonderful book

called My Cousin, The Saint. The author. Justin Catanaso, is an Italian-American journalist from NJ who discovers that his great grandfather's cousin (or great great grandfather's cousin) is an actual saint. It's extremely well-written, and I identify with a lot of the NJ Italianisms. I am really enjoying this book. I recommend this to anyone who is likes a good story about Italians (no mafia, sorry), The Catholic Church (no Opus Dei, sorry), and family (lots and lots of that!) It's really a great book.

Obama Nation

Great book so far.


Obama Nation isn't a book. It's an assault by a lying mercenary.


The NC Family Policy Council doesn't speak for my family

Who is the Liar?

So far what I've read, Corsi spends his time pointing out where Obama has told lies.

Like the lie that Obama told that JFK organized the airlift that got his father to America? Then truth is that Tom Mboya in Kenya organized the airlift in 1959 that brought 81 Kenyans to the US, including Obama's father. JFK did not become President until Jan 20, 1961.

Then there is the lie about the circumstances surrounding his birth.

Quoting Barack: "...there was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama, because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama, Jr. was born...."

Trouble is, the march across the bridge happened in 1965. Obama was born Aug 4, 1961.

Taken individually,these lies are probably similar to the fictions people invent about their lives to make them feel better about themselves. From what I have read so far...Obama's life is nothing but lie built upon lie, and he lies about his Kenyan family, trying to make them out to be poor...when they were one of the wealthiest families in Kenya with connections to the Kings (his grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama was a respected tribal elder in the Luo tribe who traveled the world with the British colonial government, and was a player in setting up an Independent Kenya.

His description of Barack Sr as a goatherd is misleading at best. Looking after the goats was one of his chores after school every afternoon because Onyango insisted that all of his sons would go to school like the British children did and make something of themselves.

This book would not have been necessary if the Legacy Media took its job of vetting candidates seriously, instead of acting as cheerleaders.

In my opinion, it will play as large a role in defeating Obama as "Unfit for Command" did Kerry. There was a whole pallet of the books at the Walmart in Sylva where I purchased my copy...and people were buying them in droves like a Tickle Me Elmo.

The protests against the book may actually more than double the sales of the book.

It will probably take me a couple of weeks or so to slog through it because I am verifying and collecting quotes for a quotable Obama widget I am building that will deliver random quotes.

I suggest that if you wish to refute the book in an intelligent manner, buy the book, read it, and check the sources listed. The notes go from page 305 to 339. There are undoubtedly errors in the first edition that will need to be corrected in the second.

This is the first time since 1996 that I am not enthusiastic about any of the candidates running for the White House.

Speaking of fiction

Well, James did say he liked fiction, so I guess you've at least met the category with this recommendation.

Even right-wingers say that Corsi is a nut and that his book is execrable. I think I could get the flavor of the thing by reading the numerous reviews that point out the lies, misstatements, and -- more charitably -- "mistakes" that Corsi has packed into the pages.

No wonder you're so confused all the time, T-Pig.

Edgerton is a great NC author.

His Walking Across Egypt is one of my all-time favorite books.

In my other life when I managed chain bookstores, then an independent bookstore and then a college bookstore, one of the best benefits was getting galley proofs of books that the publishers would send out before the books hit the market. They were intended to make you want to purchase more for your store. Edgerton's always did. And always made me want to talk up the books. He's a great author. I wonder what his politics are like? He'd be an interesting person to interview here.

I got your back, loftT

I do believe you're thinking of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. I heard him on NPR with Diane Rehm also, and have been meaning to pick up the book. Books require calm sections of free time, both of which are currently foreign to me these days.

Let me know how it is!

He went to school in Asheville, also.

Good review:

Wroblewski, whose background is in the software industry, earned an Master of Fine Arts degree from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, N.C., where he was taught by writers including Margot Livesey, Richard Russo and Joan Silber. The earliest reviews of his work have been incredible, notably a blurb by Stephen King that stated his intention to reread Wroblewski's novel, even though King wrote, "I don't reread many books, because life is too short."

Right now I'm reading the

Right now I'm reading the Jim Webb book, A Time to Fight. It's a good one, my kind of Democrat! For Fiction one of my favorites is the late Tim McLaurin. The Acorn Plan, Woodrow's Trumpet, Cured By Fire are all great. For really light, fun reading the Deborah Knott who done it series by Margeret Moren is really good. Knott is a District Court judge and daughter of the retired biggest bootlegger in NC in a fictional county that is based on Johnston Co. Somebody always gets killed and she solves it.

I'm a moderate Democrat.

I love the Judge Knott books.

Easy to read, and lots of NC geography in the mix.

If you like those you should pick up the Casey Jones series by Katy Munger. (no relation to the libertarian candidate for governor, Dr. Michael Munger)

Acorn Plan

I loved that one two. Tim was a friend and inspiration.


The NC Family Policy Council doesn't speak for my family

We are fortunate...

...to live in a world in which Cormac McCarthy is still producing new work.

I just finished "The Crossing" (from 1994) last week. The usual superlatives apply.

As far as Murakami goes, you've started at the top. I've read all of his stuff and "Wind-up Bird" is his best. Stop while you're ahead! (Though "A Wild Sheep Chase" is really fun too.)

I have to plug Richard Ford's "Frank Bascomb" books as well. They are "The Sportswriter" (1987), "Independance Day" (winner of the 1996 Pulitzer Prize) and last year's "The Lay of the Land", which is both huge and contains some of the saddest, funniest dialogue ever.

After Rabbit Angstrom, Frank Bascombe is my favorite character in American fiction, but for some reason, I can't find anyone to talk with about Richard Ford. His relative obscurity mystifies me...

OK, you've given me one I don't know,

and I had the hubris to think I knew them all. I am going to check out Richard Ford. Do they need to be read in order, do you think? I'm going to order them based on your recommendation. (Don't you love being able to get cheap used books via half.com, ebay, etc?)

I have a love/hate relationship with Updike's "Rabbit". I will go back and read those books again.

I think my favorite character in American fiction is Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon. What started out as a simple murder mystery series has become, to me, a wonderful journey of a woman's self-awareness. The books are not one-night throw-aways like so many serial mysteries are. (Remember that many of literature's great writers started out writing serials a la Dickens.)

And speaking of Dickens - my favorite book of all time is a Tale of Two Cities. No, Wait, it might be Les Miserables (en Francais in college), no wait - maybe The Sun also Rises. . . :sigh: I can't pick.

I love books that show me that history was written by the winners. Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley is one of those.

And here I will end my bookish ramblings.

I think my favorite

I think my favorite character in American fiction is Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon. What started out as a simple murder mystery series has become, to me, a wonderful journey of a woman's self-awareness. The books are not one-night throw-aways like so many serial mysteries are.

I read one of hers about ten years ago and I enjoyed it. It was set at Carlsbad Caverns.

Speaking of one-night throw-aways, that is what James Patterson's books have become. I'd prefer it if he just came out with one bok a year and did a better job writing it. It seems as if he comes out with one every other month. I don't bother with the ones he co-writes, just the Cross books. I'v read each of the last few of them in just one sitting.

Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta books have held up pretty well, but have definitely changed over the years.

For a "different" kind of murder book, I love anything by Carl Hiaasen

mostly nonfiction

Just finished *Big Trouble,* by J. Anthony Lukas. Brilliant work -- highly recommended. Lukas explores multiple themes pertaining to American social and political history at the turn of the century in the midwest while dissecting the 1906 trial of three men in connection with the 1905 assassination of an ex-governor of Idaho. The tensions surrounding the crime and the trial itself arose from disputes between miners and mine owners in Colorado and Idaho. It is without question one of the best books I've read in years. I hated finishing it.

Also just finished the also brilliant *Dwelling Place,* a study of the lives of slave owners and slaves in the low country of Georgia from the early to mid-19th century by Erskine Clark. I delayed finishing this one, too.

I'm now reading the recently published biography of Susie Marshall Sharp (first woman on the NC Supreme Court) by Anna Hayes, and the latest work by Tony Horwitz called *A Voyage Long and Strange* about early episodes in American history.

Next is Karl E. Campbell's biography of Sam Ervin, Barry Unsworth's *Sacred Hunger* (again about slavery, but this time a work of fiction), and Joe Bageant's *Deer Hunting with Jesus.*

The only thing that comes close to the joy of my dog's company is the company of a good book.

Great stuff

A fellow nonfiction junkie. I love it.

I'm not the history buff that you are, which chagrins me because I like history, but my eclecticism will bow to no discipline.

Books I've read since moving here:

  • Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy, Noam Chomsky and Gilbert Achcar; an informed and humanistic look at the roles of the U.S., Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq in geopolitics
  • The Red Lamp of Incest, Robin Fox; a expansive, multidisciplinary attempt to reconstruct the early phases of human social evolution
  • VAX/VMS Primer, Michael Wright; one of my strange interests is computer hardware and operating systems of days gone by (while VAX/VMS is still around in the form of OpenVMS, its development is about as vigorous as COBOL's)
  • Greenspan's Bubbles: The Age of Ignorance at the Federal Reserve, William A. Fleckenstein with Frederick Sheehan; a scathing polemic against Greenspan timed to coincide with the former Fed chairman's self-congratulatory memoir, this book challenges Greenspan's knowledge and judgment, and avers mendacity in his public statements based on the five-year-escrowed minutes of Federal Reserve Board meetings
  • Roadshow: Landscape with Drums—A Concert Tour by Motorcyle, Neil Peart; another of the Rush drummer's travelogues, and the one that addresses the primary concern of his fans the most directly...but I still like his Masked Rider best

Two books are currently in progress:

  • The End of Laissez-Faire, Robert Kuttner
  • Unix Shells by Example (3rd edition), Ellie Quigley

Kuttner's book is taking me a while to finish, but that's not because it's bad. The first three chapters, a history of U.S. economic policy from the end of World War II to the end of the Cold War, I would recommend to anyone who isn't already familiar with the subject. It's terribly enlightening.

Sorry I don't have anything on point to recommend, James. The last works of fiction I read were some Conan the Cimmerian short stories by Robert E. Howard, not exactly the sort of fare you're looking for. The most sophisticated fiction I've read is probably John Irving.

Or Nabokov. Holy crap, am I jealous of that man's style.

recently transplanted from Indianapolis, IN to Durham, NC

I wouldn't recommend drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me. -- Hunter S. Thompson

Garner, NC

I wouldn't recommend drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me. -- Hunter S. Thompson

OpenVMS and Cobol

> while VAX/VMS is still around in the form of OpenVMS

Actually, it's still actively development for the Alpha and Intel Itanium processors. Version 8.4 is about to enter field test.

The VAX ended at version 7.3 a few years back, which is amazing for a processor that was last made 13 years ago.

> vigorous as COBOL's

I suspect that you might get some comments from the people developing COBOL. It's actually quite active...

Sticking up for underdogs

Thanks for sticking up for the underdogs, OpenVMS and COBOL.

I actually own both Alpha and IA-64 hardware; a DEC Personal Workstation 500a, and an HP rx2600, respectively. But they both run GNU, of course. :)

I find VMS interesting from a design standpoint; the biggest strike I can see against it is the application stack, right down to the command interpreter, DCL. Back when I used it, it felt grotty and ugly, and reading this primer didn't motivate me to revise that opinion much. But I can see why Microsoft wanted Dave Cutler as an architect for their first real operating system (NT).

DEC seems like it was a great company for a while there. I'm sorry I'm too young to have even had an opportunity to work in that environment.

The less I say about COBOL the better, except to point out that I didn't actually say it was stagnant. I merely implied it. :)

Don't mind me, I'm a Unix bigot. I do admit to an interest in Vita Nuova's Inferno, though (formerly Plan 9 from Bell Labs).

Thanks for geeking up the thread with me. :)

recently transplanted from Indianapolis, IN to Durham, NC

I wouldn't recommend drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me. -- Hunter S. Thompson

Garner, NC

I wouldn't recommend drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me. -- Hunter S. Thompson

I find people are mostly one or the other

I'm sure there are plenty of balanced people, but most I know lean one direction or the other. Somewhere along the way I decided that non-fiction books were too much like work. I prefer my reality in smaller chunks, which may explain why I love magazines.


The NC Family Policy Council doesn't speak for my family

Nothing new

Re-reading some old SF favorites by Lois McMaster Bujold.

In my "to read when I have time to concentrate" stack is The Dao of Taijiquan by Jou Tsung-hwa.

I'm still in the middle

of my (most recent) sci-fi phase, so I'm not sure how much help I can be. But Vernor Vinge's Rainbow's End is one of the best books I've read in some time.

Basically, a man in his sixties is cured of his long-suffered dementia, but he has no memories of the previous dozen or so years. Before he got sick he hated computers and telephones and such, but in this new world he's awakened in everybody's linked with the Internet (and with each other) via a contact lens that responds to thought requests.

So when people are sitting around having a political debate, theyr're Googling as they go. ;)

More fun with Religious Icons

I, Lucifer, by Glen Duncan, is one my son recommended to me. It's hysterical - Lucifer is granted one month in the body of a man, and he makes the most of it. Guaranteed laughter if you're not too uptight about the "oooh scary satan" part. (He's not scary satan in this.)

Been reading

Mindful Politics, Melvin McLeod (ed.), a collection of essays on political life and involvement by Buddhist writers. About halfway through, but good so far. I especially liked the essay about the day a fight broke out in a Buddhist shrine room during a non-violence retreat.

Mindful Politics

Let me know about this one, jlgolden, because I bought it a few months ago, have it on the shelf but haven't gotten to it. I was drawn to it by the idea -- since a lot of Buddhists assert that the practice of buddhism is incompatible with political involvement -- and by the blurbs on the back (I'm a sucker for a good blurb on the back).