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    Originally posted by Murdrum View Post
    I had the idea of the theme because I struggled -as Hitch will agree to an extent- with Superintelligence by Bostrom.
    How did you find The Beginning of Infinity? - finding it an awfully difficult slog to get through even though I get that its important. Just very complex.
    "We're not f*cking Burundi" - Big Phil

    Comment


      +1 on Sean's tip for the Slough House books by Mick Herron. It's the characters rather than the plots that make them so enjoyable which tbf would describe most of the non-serious fiction I read. Jackson Lamb is a drunken, cynical, abusive, compulsively farting, washed-up spymaster who generally ends up as the hero. Who then tells everyone to fuck off, scratches his balls ostentatiously and opens another bottle of whiskey.

      Others in this category would be Leif Persson and his inimitable Swedish detective, Backstrom. Andrea Camilleri and his epicurean Sicilian police inspector Montalbano. Donna Leon and her Venetian Commissario Brunetti. Ian Rankin and his gloriously prickly alcoholic Inspector Rebus.

      I love the last two in particular for the wonderful depictions of two of my favourite cities; Venice and Edinburgh.

      And of course the utterly unique crime thrillers of Kinky Friedman, private detective, amateur philosopher, coke aficionado and lead singer of The Texas Jewboys (with such hits as Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and your Buns in my Bed, or indeed They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore. A true Texas original. Who lives in New York, of course.
      "We are not Europeans. Those people on the continent are freaks."

      Comment


        Originally posted by Hitchhiker's Guide To... View Post
        How did you find The Beginning of Infinity? - finding it an awfully difficult slog to get through even though I get that its important. Just very complex.
        I agree, it's quite tough, it probably echoes what I was saying regarding a theme. I suspect if you started with Carlo Rovelli or Jim Al Khalili it might be more enjoyable.
        I'm reading Hawking's latest at the minute, very digestible stuff in that genre.

        TBH, I found Superintelligence and a couple of Dan Dennetts harder going, I had to put down one or two of Dennetts, afraid to pick them back up.

        I think the parts of Deutsch I grasped are unbelievable, some of concepts like infinity hotel and the multiverse are just mind blowing stuff.

        Comment


          Originally posted by Raoul Duke III View Post
          Moving onto from LBJ (but eagerly awaiting Vol V), it's always nice to read about places you have never been and realistically never will be.

          So picked up the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig, John Gimlette's tour through Paraguay. Gimlette is a fluent, learned writer and I've read previous books on Sri Lanka, the NE South American Coast, the trail of the US Amrmy through France in 1945 and other such diverse topics.

          And let's face it, who knows anything about Paraguay? The only book I've ever read about it before was Graham Greene's The Honorary Consul.
          And the title is awesome.
          I got the impression that Paraguay is such an insane place, with such a depressing history, that Gimlette decided to write the book in a tone of detached amusement. Which worked pretty well but occasionally I did have an urge to demand 'tell us what you really think'.

          Still, I learned a lot. Mostly of the bizarre. The most important woman in Paraguayan history was an Irish teenage prostitute. Josef Mengele lived out his post-Auschwitz life there. It has known only two years of democracy. It fought the (by percentage of population killed) most destructive war in human history - The War of The Triple Alliance. Piranha soup is a big thing. It seems to be where the flotsam of the human race end up. It's main industry is smuggling.

          I never want to go there but I'm glad I read the book, even if it is patently not Gimlette's best. 4/5.
          "We are not Europeans. Those people on the continent are freaks."

          Comment


            Just speed-read In A House of Lies, Ian Rankin's latest DI Rebus offering and was a bit sorry I bothered. Rebus is now retired, given up the fags and is almost off the booze. Despite this, he's still hanging around his old job like a bad smell and manages to get himself involved in the latest murder mystery case to strike Edinburgh. I found the plotting thin, the characters stale and not even much in the way of Edinburgh social history to enlighten and entertain.

            Rankin is phoning it in at this stage. Rebus needs to be killed off but I doubt he can abandon his cash cow.

            2/5

            Next up is You Gotta Have Wa, frequently mentioned on lists of the best sports book ever. And, let's face it, we could all do with some Wa.
            "We are not Europeans. Those people on the continent are freaks."

            Comment


              Great to have new blood in the thread, thanks for popping in RD3.

              Comment


                That Wa book actually sounds totally up my street.

                Comment


                  Originally posted by Keane View Post
                  That Wa book actually sounds totally up my street.
                  I think you mentioned somewhere before that you work relatively close to home. If so, where do you listen to audiobooks, if not the car?
                  I have 5 outstanding tokens which have built up in recent months and I have no idea when I might use them now.

                  I played a poker tournament last week and listened to one but outside of that, I can't quite think of an opportunity to listen to one.
                  I've obviously tried sitting there and listening to one in the evening but it feels like I should be doing something else too.

                  Comment


                    Originally posted by Murdrum View Post
                    I think you mentioned somewhere before that you work relatively close to home. If so, where do you listen to audiobooks, if not the car?
                    I have 5 outstanding tokens which have built up in recent months and I have no idea when I might use them now.

                    I played a poker tournament last week and listened to one but outside of that, I can't quite think of an opportunity to listen to one.
                    I've obviously tried sitting there and listening to one in the evening but it feels like I should be doing something else too.
                    In work obvs
                    No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity, but I know none, therefore am no beast.

                    Comment


                      Finished Tony 10 in about 2 days. Its a great read written really well by Declan Lynch about the postmaster in Gorey who gambled 10M through PP.

                      Comment


                        Originally posted by Murdrum View Post
                        I think you mentioned somewhere before that you work relatively close to home. If so, where do you listen to audiobooks, if not the car?
                        I have 5 outstanding tokens which have built up in recent months and I have no idea when I might use them now.

                        I played a poker tournament last week and listened to one but outside of that, I can't quite think of an opportunity to listen to one.
                        I've obviously tried sitting there and listening to one in the evening but it feels like I should be doing something else too.
                        I listen to them at ~2x speed for a start, which helps. I stick in the headphones when I get out of the shower in the morning so probably 15 minutes getting ready, 20 minute spin to work, five minute stroll to the desk. I often go for a 30 minute walk in the afternoon, then you'd have 25 minutes from desk to home again. I'd stick them in again when I'm getting ready for bed, say another 15 minutes.

                        That's the bones of two hours there with 2X speed I'm listening to four hours out of the playtime.

                        This evening I was cooking for about two hours with the earphones in for most of it also.

                        Comment


                          Originally posted by Raoul Duke III View Post
                          Next up is You Gotta Have Wa, frequently mentioned on lists of the best sports book ever. And, let's face it, we could all do with some Wa.
                          Well, that was a very enjoyable read. The author had lived in Japan for many years and is as well-immersed as any gaijin (foreigner) can be in Japanese culture. It's ostensibly a book about besoboru (baseball) except it's not really, it's actually about the vast ocean of cultural difference that separates Japan from the US as expressed through the prism of the many US ballplayers that have made the trek over in search of fat contracts in the Japanese leagues. Most of them have struggled, despite the weaker overall standard of play, with the vastly different culture within baseball itself and also within the very rigid monoculture that is Japan. Whiting ranges far and wide in his writing covering Japanese corporate life, education, the role of women and, most of all, the extreme deference and subservience that is the overriding feature of all Japanese organisations, including baseball franchises.

                          I won't say too much more about it except that this is very far from being your average sports book, it is extremely well written and, even if you know fuck-all about baseball (like me), you can still be both entertained and educated about Japan. The book was written in the late 1980s but any contemporary writing about Japan would indicate that this cultural divide still exists.
                          And, go Nippon Ham Fighters! (actual name of a team )

                          4/5

                          Now it's time to get kinky. Kinky Friedman's The Love Song of J Edgar Hoover will be whisked through in no time for a typical dose of madness, mayhem, cracking wise, political incorrectness, lashings of whiskey and cigars and maybe the solving of a case along the way. This one involves a sultry blonde, a missing husband, a man who sees little green men, two Ratsos and the eponymous FBI director. Not to mention the usual lesbians upstairs and fractious encounters with New York taxi drivers.
                          If nothing else, you have to love a man who, when running for the Governership of Texas (yes, really) was asked "what will your first action be if elected Governer?"

                          "I'll ask for a recount."
                          Last edited by Raoul Duke III; 10-01-20, 09:18.
                          "We are not Europeans. Those people on the continent are freaks."

                          Comment


                            Originally posted by Raoul Duke III View Post
                            Now it's time to get kinky.
                            Kinky Friedman's The Love Song of J Edgar Hoover will be whisked through in no time for a typical dose of madness, mayhem, cracking wise, political incorrectness, lashings of whiskey and cigars and maybe the solving of a case along the way. This one involves a sultry blonde, a missing husband, a man who sees little green men, two Ratsos and the eponymous FBI director. Not to mention the usual lesbians upstairs and fractious encounters with New York taxi drivers.
                            If nothing else, you have to love a man who, when running for the Governership of Texas (yes, really) was asked "what will your first action be if elected Governer?"

                            "I'll ask for a recount."
                            That was the usual raucous riot. 5/5.
                            Those books have aged well, unless you're one of the Perpetually Outraged. Even at that, The Kinkster takes aim at everyone.

                            Now reading Voyageurs by Robert Twigger, a secondhand copy of which I snared in Chapters last week. Love the premise and I previously enjoyed his Angry White Pyjamas.
                            "We are not Europeans. Those people on the continent are freaks."

                            Comment


                              Originally posted by Raoul Duke III View Post
                              That was the usual raucous riot. 5/5.
                              Those books have aged well, unless you're one of the Perpetually Outraged. Even at that, The Kinkster takes aim at everyone..
                              I had heard of him, a lot living in Texas, but never read anything, had an hour to kill today so went to the bookstore across the road from the house and found this, read first 15 chapters or so. When I buy my february batch of books there'll be a few of his there.

                              Comment


                                Originally posted by Western_Sean View Post
                                Slough House is a series of spy novels, slightly in the gritty Le Carre mould, with the addition of a Blackstrom-esk anti hero in Jackson Lamb. This is mental candyfloss I read them all in a couple of weeks and enjoyed them greatly.
                                Originally posted by Raoul Duke III View Post
                                +1 on Sean's tip for the Slough House books by Mick Herron. It's the characters rather than the plots that make them so enjoyable...


                                Just finished the first of these as well as being thumping good read I was very impressed with his prescience considering this was written in 2009

                                He introduces a very thinly disguised Boris as a junior cabinet member :
                                Fluffy-haired and youthful at forty-eight, and with a vocabulary peppered with archaic expostulations – Balderdash! Tommy-rot!! Oh my giddy aunt!!! – Peter Judd had long established himself as the unthreatening face of the old-school right, popular enough with the Great British Public, which rent-a-quote-media-whore-cum-quiz-show-panel-favourite, and to get away with minor peccadilloes like dicking his kids’ nanny, robbing the taxman blind, and giving his party leader conniptions with off-script flourishes. (‘Damn fine city,’ he’d remarked on a trip to Paris. ‘Probably worth defending next time.’) Not everyone who’d worked with him thought him a total buffoon, and some who’d witnessed him lose his temper suspected him of political savvy, but by and large PJ seemed happy with the image he’d either fostered or been born with: a loose cannon with a floppy haircut and a bicycle.

                                Then when a wingnut disgraced former newspaper columnist , think of a cross between Rod Liddle and Peter Hitchens proposes Brexit to him saying

                                '...The decent people in this country are sick to death of being held hostage by mad liberals in Brussels, and the sooner we take control over our own future, our own borders …’


                                He then adds
                                It’ll happen, and within the lifetime of your government. We both know that. Not this Parliament, but probably the next. By which time we both know where you expect to be living, and it won’t be Islington, will it?
                                Turning millions into thousands

                                Comment


                                  Originally posted by Raoul Duke III View Post
                                  Now reading Voyageurs by Robert Twigger, a secondhand copy of which I snared in Chapters last week. Love the premise and I previously enjoyed his Angry White Pyjamas.
                                  Put this one down with a sense of relief. The author definitely bit off more than he could chew here - it took him three years to complete his odyssey across Canada and the overriding emotion that screams off the pages is frustration, angst and irritation. Mainly with his fellow canoeists, all of whom were volunteers and giving freely of their time on the quest. I really didn't enjoy that aspect of the book at all - maybe Twigger is just becoming a grumpy middle-aged man like the rest of us.

                                  Away from the stress of maintaining inter-personal relationships while pushing your body beyond its limits, the book is reasonable. The premise is that they are following in the canoe-steps of the first explorer to cross the american continent - not the much more fabled Lewis and Clark but some fur trapper called Mackenzie who traversed Canada by birchbank canoe, with the aid of a motley crew of Indians. Twigger and his rotating cast of fellow voyagers set out to recreate that perilous journey, using the same materials to construct their craft. The main things to take away are what you would expect - emptiness, danger, meditations on returning to basics, bears, beavers and the bit I found most interesting; the state of the Indians they met across the day and the relative degeneration of their culture by osmosis into our Western value system.

                                  All in all, a worthy rather than an enjoyable read. 3.5/5. I would go with Angry White Pyjamas first if you haven't read him before.

                                  Need a bit of trash to balance the diet. Going, on a pure whim, to try Florida Roadkill.
                                  "We are not Europeans. Those people on the continent are freaks."

                                  Comment


                                    Did anyone ever join the FS site? The mental models book just arrived. I see there's a new one due in March.

                                    Comment


                                      Originally posted by Denny Crane View Post
                                      Did anyone ever join the FS site? The mental models book just arrived. I see there's a new one due in March.
                                      I didn't join I just follow the newsletter. How much is membership? I recall him being against subscription which I don't buy as a successful business model no matter what he claims.

                                      I have a few credits on audible so I'll definitely get the next one.

                                      Comment


                                        Originally posted by Raoul Duke III View Post
                                        Need a bit of trash to balance the diet. Going, on a pure whim, to try Florida Roadkill.
                                        Confirmed trash! Some enjoyable Florida vignettes but overall trying way too hard to sustain an unsustainable vibe. 2/5

                                        Next up is some Italian detective fiction; step forward Aurelio Zen
                                        "We are not Europeans. Those people on the continent are freaks."

                                        Comment


                                          Having all sang the praises of Prisoners of Geography, I thought I came across Tim Marshall's latest offering but it turned out he has simply republished a number of his books including Shadowplay: Behind the Lines and Under Fire: The Inside Story of Europe's Last War http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45697084-shadowplay which was originally released in 2002.

                                          I don't like hanging my hat on reviews on goodreads but they do come in handy for this type of thing. I am surprised in one way that Milkman which I'm currently reading is not rated particularly highly on Goodreads in light of the praise/awards it's received but in another it feels justified as its quite the slog in parts. I know Keane and maybe SP read it, some of the writing is fantastic but it's somewhat bizarre at times.

                                          Comment


                                            Originally posted by Murdrum View Post
                                            Having all sang the praises of Prisoners of Geography, I thought I came across Tim Marshall's latest offering but it turned out he has simply republished a number of his books including Shadowplay: Behind the Lines and Under Fire: The Inside Story of Europe's Last War http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45697084-shadowplay which was originally released in 2002.

                                            I don't like hanging my hat on reviews on goodreads but they do come in handy for this type of thing. I am surprised in one way that Milkman which I'm currently reading is not rated particularly highly on Goodreads in light of the praise/awards it's received but in another it feels justified as its quite the slog in parts. I know Keane and maybe SP read it, some of the writing is fantastic but it's somewhat bizarre at times.
                                            This is the classic tome on that part of the world.

                                            Foreshadows everything. Well worth a lash.
                                            "We are not Europeans. Those people on the continent are freaks."

                                            Comment


                                              Originally posted by Raoul Duke III View Post
                                              This is the classic tome on that part of the world.

                                              Foreshadows everything. Well worth a lash.
                                              You had me at the Hitchens foreword

                                              Comment


                                                Originally posted by Western_Sean View Post
                                                To be frank I've mostly been annoyed by my reading list this year - we the exception of the 10/12 titles I re-read which were as pleasant as meeting old friends and some recommendations received from here which were universally good.

                                                Reading Borgia's Ficciones was a long-held ambition. It's beautifully done and elegantly clever. I'm sure some to the allusions and references escaped me but that didn't detract from the experience.

                                                I had a surprisingly emotional reaction to A Man called Ove. I enjoyed it a great deal thanks for recommending it Hitch.

                                                Why we sleep had a huge impact on my year and will continue to have a significant impact on my life I think - thank you, Denny Crane.

                                                I am pilgrim was easily the winning page-turner - hat tip to Shrap for that I think.

                                                Small Giants is a great book about what makes companies great. And I think about what types of companies great owners should strive to create. Would that it was more widely read.

                                                Patrick Leigh Fermor is a fascinating character. A time of gifts is a fascinating chronicle of a most extra-ordinary time and journey. This takes a bit of getting in to but ultimately I found it rewarding.

                                                Kevin Barry's Night boat to tangier is beautifully written as you'd expect. He has such a gift for capturing an authentic voice and idiom it's a pleasure to read.

                                                I'm usually a big fan of John Connolly's Charlie Parker series, however this year's offering was a little weak I think, still good but not to the standard of the earlier ones.

                                                Among the others
                                                Chris Stewart - Driving over lemons is witty and entertaining in places. The two of Geoff Hill's(In Clancys Boots & The road to Gobblers Knob) I read were entertaining enough. Reading 2 of these close together was less than ideal though - I find his style of humour grows stale.

                                                Slough House is a series of spy novels, slightly in the gritty Le Carre mould, with the addition of a Blackstrom-esk anti hero in Jackson Lamb. This is mental candyfloss I read them all in a couple of weeks and enjoyed them greatly. The candy floss comment might also be applied to Iain Pears Jonathon Argyll Series but the plots are noticeably worse.

                                                I changed how I work during the year in order to have more free time, I've enjoyed that a lot but I rather expected to have an increased desire to read and it turned out if anything I had less, at least until the winter set in.

                                                I feel the standard of my reading list was at least in part to blame. I'm more of a fiction than non-fiction reader and seldom find myself in the humour for heavy literary works. I'm thinking of creating a more structured reading list for next year something like
                                                • a handful of acknowledged classics ( I haven't read In search of lost time for example)
                                                • some non-fiction from the to-read list
                                                • some modern fiction sourced perhaps from one of the recently posted lists.


                                                Have any of you tried that? Or alternatively, what approaches do people have to generating a reading list?
                                                Loved Small Giants. Not sure why exactly - maybe the way the author really cared about this being a thing.

                                                Slough House books are a great read. Nearly finished the first and ordered the rest to have them on backup ready to go.
                                                "We're not f*cking Burundi" - Big Phil

                                                Comment


                                                  Anyone recommend a good audio book for rookie A2 French.

                                                  Comment


                                                    Wouldn't mind topping up the kindle in tray with a few hyper-modern hyper-futuristic perspectives on things. The future of robots, space travel, medecine, transport, cities, wearable tech, IoT.

                                                    Anyone any decent recommendations ideally from last year or two, so the predictions haven't had a chance to be proven wrong yet?

                                                    Would also love some decent perspectives on where Africa might go and develop. A preference for the optimistic. Also a novel or two set in Indonesia as I'm going there in August. Find it a bit odd to know so little about the world's fourth largest country, even despite spending three years sharing a house with an Indonesian pal during the undergrad.

                                                    That's the request list for now!
                                                    "We're not f*cking Burundi" - Big Phil

                                                    Comment


                                                      Originally posted by Hitchhiker's Guide To... View Post
                                                      Would also love some decent perspectives on where Africa might go and develop. A preference for the optimistic. Also a novel or two set in Indonesia as I'm going there in August. Find it a bit odd to know so little about the world's fourth largest country, even despite spending three years sharing a house with an Indonesian pal during the undergrad.
                                                      I think the only two books I have ever read about Indonesia are Indonesia Etc and Lost in Shangri-La.
                                                      The former almost certainly more suited to your interests.

                                                      You could also try this for the craic although I doubt you're going anywhere near Borneo. Great mix of adventurism, humour and scholarship.
                                                      "We are not Europeans. Those people on the continent are freaks."

                                                      Comment


                                                        I'm not sure on books regarding optimism but Martin Meredith seems to be the foremost writer on the history of Africa's economics/wealth/leaders.
                                                        https://www.bookdepository.com/Fortu...0791838&sr=1-2

                                                        Another which I've purchased but yet to get around to is The Looting Machine by Tom Borgis which is apparently very good:
                                                        https://www.bookdepository.com/Looti...0732375&sr=1-1

                                                        Comment


                                                          Originally posted by Murdrum View Post
                                                          I'm not sure on books regarding optimism but Martin Meredith seems to be the foremost writer on the history of Africa's economics/wealth/leaders.
                                                          https://www.bookdepository.com/Fortu...0791838&sr=1-2

                                                          Another which I've purchased but yet to get around to is The Looting Machine by Tom Borgis which is apparently very good:
                                                          https://www.bookdepository.com/Looti...0732375&sr=1-1
                                                          I've read The State of Africa, although that might even be dated now for Hitch purposes.
                                                          "We are not Europeans. Those people on the continent are freaks."

                                                          Comment


                                                            Thank you both!
                                                            "We're not f*cking Burundi" - Big Phil

                                                            Comment


                                                              Reading Edward Snowdon's Permanent Record at the moment. It is, surprisingly, excellent. Just a really good personal story.
                                                              "We're not f*cking Burundi" - Big Phil

                                                              Comment


                                                                Rob Doyles This is the Ritual is absolutely brilliant. Literary genius.

                                                                Comment


                                                                  Originally posted by Raoul Duke III View Post
                                                                  Next up is some Italian detective fiction; step forward Aurelio Zen
                                                                  That was enjoyable, quite a layered, maybe even textured, tale which explores the opacity and duality of Italian life at several levels. Zen himself is quite a doleful character who finds his essential honesty at odds with everyone around him, not least his colleagues and the object of his affections, Tania. Lots of nice Roman and Sardinian detail that paints out the picture.

                                                                  4/5

                                                                  'What next', he asked? I'll try out Sean's Ove recommendation. Better be good.
                                                                  "We are not Europeans. Those people on the continent are freaks."

                                                                  Comment


                                                                    A book you might like Hitch is Dark Star Safari, written by Paul Theroux (probably the greatest living travel writer).

                                                                    A wander from one end of the continent to the other (mostly down the less challenging although still uncomfortable Eastern side) observed through his usual merciless gaze.
                                                                    "We are not Europeans. Those people on the continent are freaks."

                                                                    Comment


                                                                      Originally posted by Raoul Duke III View Post
                                                                      A book you might like Hitch is Dark Star Safari, written by Paul Theroux (probably the greatest living travel writer).

                                                                      A wander from one end of the continent to the other (mostly down the less challenging although still uncomfortable Eastern side) observed through his usual merciless gaze.
                                                                      Ah thats a decent idea. Read quite a few of his after some mention of yours ages ago.
                                                                      "We're not f*cking Burundi" - Big Phil

                                                                      Comment


                                                                        Gladwell's Talking to Strangers worth a listen vs a read.
                                                                        I've only started it so no comment on the book itself thus far but it's quite cool that when referencing he uses the actual person/news report opposed to reading it himself. It's a nice touch and I'd like to see others employ the same where possible.

                                                                        I had 5 credits to use so Snowden's based on Hitch's recommendation made it too.

                                                                        After these and the others I bought I'm parking audible for the foreseeable future.

                                                                        Comment


                                                                          One I picked up today that I didn't want his biggest fan to miss out on, Dalrymple's latest offering who Obama called one of the best books of the year

                                                                          https://www.bookdepository.com/Anarc..._sims_cat_bs_1

                                                                          Comment


                                                                            Started this today as part of the effort to have more diverse morning reading. It's very very good from the very start.

                                                                            "We're not f*cking Burundi" - Big Phil

                                                                            Comment


                                                                              I gave up on that Ove book...something profoundly irritating about it. Clearly just me as most people love it.

                                                                              Working stupid hours but Aurelio Zen becoming the detective fiction of choice.
                                                                              "We are not Europeans. Those people on the continent are freaks."

                                                                              Comment


                                                                                Originally posted by Raoul Duke III View Post
                                                                                I gave up on that Ove book...something profoundly irritating about it. Clearly just me as most people love it.
                                                                                I had a similar reaction to it although I finished it ok.

                                                                                Anyone recommend me a book worth reading about Martin Cahill?

                                                                                Comment


                                                                                  Delved into Dennys treasure trove of 'to read' books on Goodreads and got Extreme Economies. It's about economies on the edge through disaster or trend. Excellently written and class topic.

                                                                                  "We're not f*cking Burundi" - Big Phil

                                                                                  Comment


                                                                                    Originally posted by Murdrum View Post
                                                                                    One I picked up today that I didn't want his biggest fan to miss out on, Dalrymple's latest offering who Obama called one of the best books of the year

                                                                                    https://www.bookdepository.com/Anarc..._sims_cat_bs_1
                                                                                    This is available for £3 on Audible today for members.

                                                                                    https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/The-Ana..._lProduct_1_11

                                                                                    Comment


                                                                                      Took my daughter to the library for the first time in a few months (probably the greatest public service ever in the history of mankind) and came out with three very promising books:

                                                                                      The Imposter by Javier Cercas. Cercas is an incredible writer and very accessible in translation. His masterpiece for me is Soldiers of Salamis but I have also read and loved The Anatomy of a Moment and The Speed of Light. Beautiful prose, wonderful stories grounded in historical reality that shine a light on Spain and the human stories behind some very famous headlines.

                                                                                      Independence Day by Richard Ford. Been meaning to read Ford for decades and now is the time! Meant to be one of the great American novelists of the 20th century.

                                                                                      Connemara by Tim Robinson. Given that Mrs DIII is from Galway and that this book has garnered very high praise indeed, I have put it on the list.

                                                                                      Await developments.
                                                                                      "We are not Europeans. Those people on the continent are freaks."

                                                                                      Comment


                                                                                        I finished up my january batch and ordered the next one. I read a lot of very good books but this was by far the easiest to read. It details the 2016 ryder cup and reads through incredibly quickly.

                                                                                        https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/sh...he-first-major

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                                                                                          I’m working through The Night Manager. Enjoying it so far

                                                                                          Comment


                                                                                            Originally posted by Keane View Post
                                                                                            This is available for £3 on Audible today for members.

                                                                                            https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/The-Ana..._lProduct_1_11
                                                                                            I missed this Keane, thanks though, I was only thinking the other day you must spend a bomb on Audible.

                                                                                            I can see you've been reading a few Zen/Buddhist inspired books. I read a couple last year, Siddharta by Hermann Hesse is very good, On having No Head by Douglas Harding is too, Mindfulness in Plain English (can't recall author) and someone who I've bought some of but haven't read yet is Joseph Goldstein.

                                                                                            I know I've mentioned his stuff a few times before but Sam Harris has a reading list on the topic, he's got a meditation app too and has spent a lot of time in practice so possibly some there of interest.

                                                                                            https://samharris.org/recommended/?t...and-meditation

                                                                                            On a separate note I've finished Adam Grant's Give & Take, it was a little bit of slow burner but not bad in the end.
                                                                                            It falls into that business philosophy type field with the likes of Tim Ferriss. It turned out better than I originally thought, 4/5 probably too generous and 3/5 too harsh.

                                                                                            I'm almost finished "SleepWalkers" by Christopher Clark which I just can't recommend more, it's a fantastic read, the depth of detail and nuance on the relationships between states pre WW1 is unbelievable.
                                                                                            The bellicosity of some-almost all- characters involved and how war was such a defining factor of the age is unbelievable. You can certainly imagine Nietzsche being an influencing factor on them.

                                                                                            I'm not well versed enough on WW1 to know where gaps may exist or bias may be playing a part but it seems well balanced to me. It's certainly one to pick up if any way interested in the era.
                                                                                            My only recommendation would be to have read a more general overview of the main players pre WW1 beforehand because I needed to learn about them going through.

                                                                                            One of Christopher Clark's other works "Iron Kingdom" about Prussia is one of the next on the list, he's certainly one to check out.

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                                                                                              Originally posted by Murdrum View Post
                                                                                              I missed this Keane, thanks though, I was only thinking the other day you must spend a bomb on Audible.
                                                                                              I do the regular membership which is between €9 & €10 a month for a credit. Honestly it's a bit steep, but word to the wise - you can get a refund of your credit on any book for any reason as long as you are a paying member. So it's essentially become a library for ~10 a month. You can also get refunded on the £3 purchases if you wish.

                                                                                              They say they'll limit this if you are taking the piss and they may do but I haven't run up against it yet (haven't taken the piss either tbf).

                                                                                              Originally posted by Murdrum View Post
                                                                                              I can see you've been reading a few Zen/Buddhist inspired books. I read a couple last year, Siddharta by Hermann Hesse is very good, On having No Head by Douglas Harding is too, Mindfulness in Plain English (can't recall author) and someone who I've bought some of but haven't read yet is Joseph Goldstein.

                                                                                              I know I've mentioned his stuff a few times before but Sam Harris has a reading list on the topic, he's got a meditation app too and has spent a lot of time in practice so possibly some there of interest.

                                                                                              https://samharris.org/recommended/?t...and-meditation
                                                                                              Zen is something I dip in and out of regularly. I find it extremely interesting. I've read a bunch of the Alan Watts books, also Siddhartha (which is magic) and several other bits and pieces.

                                                                                              I had to order this book Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics from some place in India where they printed it out and bound it by hand by the looks of things. I've flicked through and it looks really interesting but finally sat down to start it last night. The other books I added on Goodreads are just ones mentioned in the preface of that.

                                                                                              Thanks for that reading list, it looks like something I could get quite stuck into. I must actually get around to giving his podcast a go.

                                                                                              I'm currently listening to a history of England that is as self-congratulatory and one-eyed as I ought to have expected but am still unable to avoid becoming infuriated at to the point that I was thinking this morning about going on a media diet once it's finished. Media diet being my term for avoiding stuff that puts me in bad form, I always find detouring into Zen stuff a great tonic.

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                                                                                                Originally posted by Keane View Post
                                                                                                I do the regular membership which is between €9 & €10 a month for a credit. Honestly it's a bit steep, but word to the wise - you can get a refund of your credit on any book for any reason as long as you are a paying member. So it's essentially become a library for ~10 a month. You can also get refunded on the £3 purchases if you wish.

                                                                                                They say they'll limit this if you are taking the piss and they may do but I haven't run up against it yet (haven't taken the piss either tbf).



                                                                                                Zen is something I dip in and out of regularly. I find it extremely interesting. I've read a bunch of the Alan Watts books, also Siddhartha (which is magic) and several other bits and pieces.

                                                                                                I had to order this book Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics from some place in India where they printed it out and bound it by hand by the looks of things. I've flicked through and it looks really interesting but finally sat down to start it last night. The other books I added on Goodreads are just ones mentioned in the preface of that.

                                                                                                Thanks for that reading list, it looks like something I could get quite stuck into. I must actually get around to giving his podcast a go.

                                                                                                I'm currently listening to a history of England that is as self-congratulatory and one-eyed as I ought to have expected but am still unable to avoid becoming infuriated at to the point that I was thinking this morning about going on a media diet once it's finished. Media diet being my term for avoiding stuff that puts me in bad form, I always find detouring into Zen stuff a great tonic.
                                                                                                I've taken a few steps to and fro in the past to embrace various sides of Zen/Meditation/Buddhism.
                                                                                                One thing that always comes from it is less of a desire both to consume media and be incensed by it. I'll be attempting to follow you in avoiding aspects of it.

                                                                                                Like Hitch with Feedly, there really is a skill in curating what you consume. Possibly just best to accept that it's not something that can be really solved but something that is iterative.
                                                                                                I'll take a look on your Goodreads about those books, we should try get Hotspur to throw up his recommendations at some point.

                                                                                                Also interested in that History of England. I'm currently trying something along the lines of the themes I mentioned before; going chronologically at the minute through the two wars, so SleepWalkers which is effectively Pre WW1 to WW1(can't recall the book for that) to https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35959801-crucible which is 1917-24, then I have a some Pre WW2 and during WW2.
                                                                                                I'll add them as time passes.

                                                                                                Books like these are bigger commitments though, Sleepwalkers being approx 800 pages and that Iron Kingdom is 1,400 so just taking longer to get through as I'm making an effort to pick in-depth works.

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                                                                                                  Originally posted by Murdrum View Post
                                                                                                  One I picked up today that I didn't want his biggest fan to miss out on, Dalrymple's latest offeringref=pd_detail_2_sims_cat_bs_1[/url]
                                                                                                  Not sure if this is referring to me or not! He's a different (and real) Dalrymple vs my guy who uses it as a pseudonym.

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                                                                                                    Originally posted by Denny Crane View Post
                                                                                                    Not sure if this is referring to me or not! He's a different (and real) Dalrymple vs my guy who uses it as a pseudonym.
                                                                                                    I knew it was a pseudonym but I didn't even register the first name, I saw the image alongside Dalrymple and thought it was him doing his thing on the East India Company.

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                                                                                                      Originally posted by Murdrum View Post
                                                                                                      I knew it was a pseudonym but I didn't even register the first name, I saw the image alongside Dalrymple and thought it was him doing his thing on the East India Company.
                                                                                                      This (real) Dalrymple is a very good writer, specialising in India.

                                                                                                      Presumably Denny was talking about this fella.
                                                                                                      "We are not Europeans. Those people on the continent are freaks."

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                                                                                                        Originally posted by Raoul Duke III View Post
                                                                                                        This (real) Dalrymple is a very good writer, specialising in India.

                                                                                                        Presumably Denny was talking about this fella.
                                                                                                        Yeah he had us all on him a while ago before you joined the party.

                                                                                                        He's a great writer, all very satirical stuff, I just wasnt gone on the style.

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                                                                                                          Originally posted by Mellor View Post
                                                                                                          I’m working through The Night Manager. Enjoying it so far
                                                                                                          That's the one with the fantastic TV series with Hugh Lawrie?
                                                                                                          "We're not f*cking Burundi" - Big Phil

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                                                                                                            Going to have to take out a mortgage to cover the cost of my newfound obsession with graphic novels. They're about €12 each and you'd be lucky to get two days out of one. Kid has developed a similar obsession so we're just screwed budget wise.

                                                                                                            Really enjoyed the first Rat Queens and Sex Criminals is ridic smart.



                                                                                                            "We're not f*cking Burundi" - Big Phil

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                                                                                                              Did anyone sign up for the premium FS in the end?

                                                                                                              I don't read most of the newsletters, so the time element is what puts me off more than the sign-up fee. Not sure I'd put the time in.

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                                                                                                                Originally posted by Hitchhiker's Guide To... View Post
                                                                                                                That's the one with the fantastic TV series with Hugh Lawrie?
                                                                                                                Yeah that was good alright.

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                                                                                                                  Originally posted by Denny Crane View Post
                                                                                                                  Did anyone sign up for the premium FS in the end?

                                                                                                                  I don't read most of the newsletters, so the time element is what puts me off more than the sign-up fee. Not sure I'd put the time in.
                                                                                                                  No I didn't anyway, you have summed it up for me too. I wouldn't put the time in to justify it.

                                                                                                                  I have cut my subs to NY Times, Skeptic & ForeignAffairs, too much decent free content such as Nature plus even the Economist you get a few free articles a month.

                                                                                                                  The Farnam St pricing model is incredibly odd, no monthly payment but you can choose between $149 or $249 per year.
                                                                                                                  The content is exactly the same, it's just a personal decision to pay more.

                                                                                                                  https://fs.blog/membership/

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                                                                                                                    Nope. Time decision in the end. Plus not really knowing what they talk about on there.
                                                                                                                    "We're not f*cking Burundi" - Big Phil

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                                                                                                                      Originally posted by Hitchhiker's Guide To... View Post
                                                                                                                      Going to have to take out a mortgage to cover the cost of my newfound obsession with graphic novels. They're about €12 each and you'd be lucky to get two days out of one. Kid has developed a similar obsession so we're just screwed budget wise.

                                                                                                                      Really enjoyed the first Rat Queens and Sex Criminals is ridic smart.



                                                                                                                      are you reading French ones yet?

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                                                                                                                        Originally posted by Hitchhiker's Guide To... View Post
                                                                                                                        That's the one with the fantastic TV series with Hugh Lawrie?
                                                                                                                        Yeah. Hugh Laurie, Tom Hiddleston, Olivia Colman.

                                                                                                                        Your probably familiar with a few of Le Carrie’s other spy novels. Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy. The Spy who came in from the Cold. Haven’t read those myself. But I read his The Perfect Spy in the states back in 2007, and after seeing the show I stuck The Night Manager on my list.

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                                                                                                                          Originally posted by shrapnel View Post
                                                                                                                          are you reading French ones yet?
                                                                                                                          Nah unfortunately. My daughter is though.
                                                                                                                          "We're not f*cking Burundi" - Big Phil

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