Books Are A Load of Crap. That having been said…

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Tireless commenter Joe sends in a suggestion:

"Why don't you post a thread asking everyone to say what they're reading right now?

"Lotta smarties among the regulars, it could give everyone some good leads."

My problem with giving out your reading list is that there always seems to be something vain in the gesture. I never believe the person is actually reading the books on the list, but that he or she thought it up in order to look smart or cool or well-rounded or interesting. But maybe it could be an entertaining exercise. For the zero or fewer people who care, my toilet tank is currently sagging under the combined weight of:

How the Dismal Science Got Its Name by David Levy. As the author is a pretty unfocused writer who never met a point he couldn't bury five fathoms deep, I can't really recommend this one, but the central ideaβ€”that much early anti-capitalism was driven by a pro-slavery fondness for hierarchy, and that many elements of it still exist todayβ€”is fascinating.

The Anti Federalists: Critics of the Constitution, 1781-1788 by Jackson Turner Main. Also not the most exciting book I've ever encountered, and I'm disappointed that New Jersey didn't produce any notable anti-constitutionalists.

Mr. S : My Life with Frank Sinatra by George Jacobs. Highly recommended not only for its closeup view of the Swan of Hoboken but for tidbits about other luminaries: Jacobs, one of those normal guys who's so straight that homos are constantly trying to pick him up, lets on that Noel Coward once gave him the tickling-the-palm secret handshake those people use as a signal to each other.

After putting it aside for a long time, I'm sporadically reading The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. It seems interesting, but it's part of a trilogy, so I'm screwed: Some guy lent it to me with high recommendations, so I either tell him I didn't like it and risk offending him or tell him I liked it and risk having him lend me the other two.

And I just finished:

Government's End: Why Washington Stopped Working by Jonathan Rauch. Highly recommended, a public-choice analysis of why it will always be impossible to cut the size of government in any meaningful way. Buy it for someone you love.

Burn, witch, burn! by Abraham Merritt. Highly recommended, especially if you can get the 1942 Avon Murder mystery monthly edition. (If you hate murder mysteries as much as I do, fear not: It's about a doctor and mafioso battling evil dolls.)

As a habitual non-finisher of books, I make no guarantees about the relevance or reliability of my list. Your turn:

NEXT: Don't Be A Dope About Dope (Cops in Favor of Legalization Edition)

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  1. Currently smack dab in the middle of:

    The Federalist Papers
    Anarchy, State, and Utopia by Nozick (thanks reason!)
    The Skeptical Environmentalist
    The Supreme Court by Rehnquist (From the bargain bin at borders, 7.99)
    The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

    Recently finished:

    Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (read everything this man has ever written now!)

    Eyeballing: A theory of justice by Rawls

    I am always in the middle of a few books, and unfortunately i buy books alot faster than i could ever read them…

    Im trying to hold off for a bit so i can catch up, but im not having great success on that front

  2. Still reading:
    The Birth of the Modern by Paul Johnson (and I’m almost to pg 900, so here’s to finishing that mammoth!)
    All the Trouble in the World by PJ O’Rourke (blame him for getting me into all this libertarian mess)

    Going to read:
    Maus by Art Spigelman which I will borrow from a friend

    Partial read but will probably read the whole damn thing:
    Modern Times by Paul Johnson (he actually uses Rothbard as his analysis for the Depression!)

    Reading for my cardiovascular class so I won’t fail:
    Rapid Interpretation of EKG’s by Dale Dubin

    Terminal outcome but might try reading again:
    Globilization and its Discontents by Joseph Stiglitz (may as well read what other people say about laissez-fare)

  3. this week ive been mostly reading:
    Tom Sharps wilt in nowhere
    The future of Freedom by Fareed Zakaria
    Dahl’s On Democracy
    Ive just finsihed
    In Defense of Globalisation : Jagdish Bhagwati
    Fukuyama : State Building
    the 4 non fiction books im reading as there part of my Politics Philosphy and Economics Degree Reading list. Id recomend the bhagwati.

  4. “Expanded Universe” by Robert A. Heinlein.

    Plus assorted law school text books.

  5. Thanks for axing, joe.
    “Frankland,” by James Whorton, Jr.
    It takes place near my ancestral stomping grounds in Tennessee. It made me feel better about being a hillbilly. It’s short and it’s funny too.

  6. I’m reading a biography of George Marshall titled “General of the Army.”

  7. The night before last I finished John Crowley’s “Little, Big” (highly recommended is not the term– a truly amazing work of literature).

    Jerome McGann “The Textual Condition” (English Grad what can I say?). Not too great– given that McGann is a leading neo-marxist proponent of editorial theory.

    Started last night on Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s “Laocoon” so I can’t say much about it yet– though I love Lessing.

    Charles Harshorne “Creative Synthesis” and “Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes.” Recommended, but the guy was an old lefty so his prose is peppered with vaguely offensive (and totally irrelevant) asides about whatever political situation he felt like writing on. Interestingly, though, his critique of classical theism’s concept of God is quite similar to the Libertarian (particularly Hayekian) critique of a planned society.

    John Searle’s “Speech Acts.” Searle’s always worth reading, but I’m not very far at all in that text. (that’s a vanity mention, though I AM reading it).

    Finally, A.R. Ammons “Collected Poems.” Best american poet since Wallace Stevens, in my opinion. Personal favorite by Ammons: “The City Limits.”

    Oh yeah, and some essay in Composition and Rhetorical Theory for a class.

  8. “Why don’t you post a thread asking everyone to say what they’re reading right now?

    Right now, I’m reading Hit & Run.

  9. Gaius should be proud of me. I’m currently slogging my way through the audio version of From Dawn To Decadence by Jacques Barzun on a recommendation of his. I’m only up to the enlightenment and I’ve already heard the term “scientism” about a half dozen times.

    I also keep a copy of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations in my car so I can have something to read while waiting in lines. It has an easily digestable “self-help book” kinda feel to it.

  10. Just finished The Good Samaritan Strikes Again by Patrick McManus. Very funny stuff.

  11. I’m about half way through with “Make Love…the Bruce Campbell way”

  12. Anne Applebaum’s Gulag: A History. Just finished Hunter S. Thompson’s Kingdom of Fear, a book that I cannot recommend in good conscience.

  13. “The Algebraist” by Ian M. Banks sci-fi finished it about 2 months ago. It is not Banks best sci-fi…i recommend “the Use of Weapons”

    “Consciousness Explained” by Daniel C. Dennet I have been reading (or better yet no reading) this book for about a 2 years. One interesting note is that the author choose the the “Laffer curve” to critisize over-simplification. Another intersting note is that now I know the name of the Laffer curve…i couldn’t remember it from Ben Stines class in the movie “Faris Bullers day off”

    “The Private Journal of William Raynolds” which I have been not reading for only about 6 months…now I know what a “shoal” is.

  14. Just finished:

    Patriots, A.J. Langguth

    In Progress:

    A New Age Now Begins, Page Smith
    Secrets & Lies, Bruce Schneier
    John Adams, David McCullough

    I’m in my American Revolution phase, except for the Secrets and Lies (my geek phase).

  15. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. I’m a big fan also. This is one of his best.

    Before that, The Historian Elizabeth Kostova, a novel about Vlad Tepes aka Dracula who appears to be alive today. Well, undead, anyway. Too much travelogue and amazing coincidences.

    Before that, Mr Norrell and Jonathan Strange by Susanna Clarke. Highly recommended.

  16. Michael Dyson’s “Is Bill Cosby Right?”

  17. Nice Larkin reference.

    I only read one book at a time. Unfotunately I don’t have the time to read like I used to.

    Currently reading To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth by Jeff Cooper. It’s a collection of essays about shooting, hunting, mindset, philosophy, and war written by a guy who’s definately been there, done that. Cooper is considered to be the father of “The Modern Technique” of pistol craft, and has a lot of interesting things to say about the proper role of firearms and their employment. While he can be a bit pompous, and I don’t agree with everything he’s written, it makes for a good read nonetheless.

  18. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Gibbon. I’m reading a one-volume edition, which is still about a thousand pages of closely-set type, and it’s slow going. Damned interesting, though.

    David Copperfield by Dickens. I could never get into Dickens, thought I’d try again. Mostly I just keep waiting for someone to thwack the little fool David with a cluebat, though.

    Black Wings Has My Angel by Elliott Chaze. Goram brilliant little piece of hardboiled crime fiction.

  19. I’m reading Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” for the first time. It’s a great book so far.

  20. Just finished Freakonomics (me and the rest of the planet), caught up on some Hellboy comics lent by a friend, and rereading Burning Chrome William Gibson’s short story collection. I had forgotten just how depressing some of those stories were.

  21. Just finished reading Rubicon, which covers the period 100 BC-14 AD, describing the fall of the Roman Republic. Written in a lighthearted tone. Pretty readable.

    About to attack The Eighth Day of Creation. A comprehensive history of the events leading to the discovery and elucidation of the structure of DNA.

  22. I just started reading George C. Marshall: Education of a General, 1880-1939. I just finished Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.

  23. Just read “Children of the Arbat,” by Anatoli Rybakov (translated). Apparently, the story continues, so I’m going to find the other two books in the trilogy. It’s a story about a group of friends who grew up in the Arbat (in Moscow), and where they go from there, set in Stalin’s Soviet Union. Stalin and other historical figures are also characters in the book – historical fiction, I guess.

    I highly recomend it, it is so choice…

  24. I just finished “Willful Creatures,” a collection of short stories by Aimee Bender. It’s a quick read, and I strongly recommend it. Also just finished “McSweeney’s Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories,” which I also enjoyed although not as much.

    Now I’m starting “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” at the recommendation of a couple friends, and I’m reading a couple work-related books, “Foundations of Mathematical Genetics” and “Gene Genealogies, Variation and Evolution: A Primer in Coalescent Theory.”

    Also recently read a couple books by Edward Abbey, “Desert Solitaire” and “One Life at a Time, Please.” He’s worth reading too, but I can only take him in smallish doses. He’s a misanthropic asshole, which I can certainly relate to; but he’s also an anti-social dickhead, which I just can’t abide.

  25. “Life and Death: Unapologetic Writings On The Continuing War Against Women,” by Andrea Dworkin.

    Ok, just kidding. “The Constitution of Liberty” by Hayek, actually.

  26. Two Trains Running by Andrew Vachss and assorted law school textbooks. Just finished Market Forces by Richard Morgan.

  27. The best thing I’ve read this year, hands down, was the Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson. It’s a trilogy – three enormous volumes – but well worth the time. At least, if you have any interest in historical fiction, good narrative, the development of capitalism, and/or science.

    I’ve also been enjoying the Spenser mystery series by Robert B. Parker. Fluff, but fun, libertarian-friendly fluff.

    The Coffee Trader by David Liss was a treat. It is a mystery and historical fiction, set in 17th century Amsterdam, and discusses early capitalism in fascinating depth.

    On the nonfiction side, Longitude by Dava Sobel is a winner. (I hear Sobel has a new one out, but I haven’t touched it yet.)

    And, because I’m a girl, The Opposite of Fate by Amy Tan is quite good. Tan writes well about her personal experiences and her craft.

    Most of the other reading I’m doing is for school, and uninteresting to the H&R crowd. But Last Waltz in Vienna by George Clare is among the most moving and engaging memoirs I’ve ever read. Clare, who is Jewish, details his upbringing in Vienna, and his escape from Hitler’s forces. Not a new topic, but Clare is incredibly clever about it.

  28. Just finished Chuck Klosterman’s “Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs” and “Marriage, A History” by Stephanie Coontz; have been sort of skimming Jeff Rosen’s “The Naked Crowd,” Robert O’Harrow’s “No Place Left to Hide,” David Brin’s “Transparent Society,” and “Safe” by a batch of Wired reporters for an article I’m working on–not sure I’d say I’d really “read” any of them, but probably enough of each to fake it at this point. On my own time, reading Joseph Raz’s “The Practice of Value,” a posthumous collection of essays by Bernard Williams called “In the Beginning Was the Deed,” and Jeffrey Isaacs’ “Arendt, Camus, and Modern Rebellion.” Also been finding myself rereading some of the Sherlock Holmes short stories over breakfast or lunch.

  29. Mike – I think The Fountainhead is Rand’s most enjoyable book.

    I just finished Atlas Shrugged, for the first and last time. Good god that took a long time to read. That thing oversteps the bounds of recreational reading.

    Currently reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, or am I just making that up to impress you? Hey, it’s a well deserved vacation after Atlas Shrugged.

    I expect that I’ll be re-reading Great Expectations soon, but a (similarly unqualified) friend is bugging me to read Origin of Species and Descent of Man, and discuss amongst ourselves. Then Half Blood Prince.

  30. Mike,
    I envy you.

    I am deeply ashamed to confess I’m currently reading the fourth Harry Potter novel. It’s the last in the box set I bought, so it will be the last I read. I kept hoping they would get better. The Potter books are every bit as awful as the literary reviews say they are. I bought them on the say-so of two different friends, both are parents. I think having children drains 20 IQ points.

    Books I’ve reread more than five times:
    Dune, by Frank Herbert. The best work of fiction ever written in the English language.

    2010, by Arthur C Clarke. I like Clarke because he puts real science in his sci-fi. He does best when he doesn’t extrapolate too far. 2010 is a personal favorite. The harder to come by, A Fall of Moondust was a much shorter treat I stumbled upon later.

    Libertarian themed book that may have snuck under your radar:
    The Government vs. Erotica, by Philip D. Harvey. Excellent first hand account of how Adam&Eve took on the wrath of Ed Meese and the US Dept. of Justice. Interlaced with the authors own musings on the nature of free speech and such like. Frighteningly relevant to current events.

  31. I’ve been working my way through the Nero Wolfe mysteries.

  32. I just read “The FairTax Book” by Neil Boortz and Congressmean John Lind.

    Great book, I am excited about the idea, I hope it catches on.

    I was given “The Death of Outrage” by Bill Bennett, but I don’t know if I will be able to read it.

  33. Just finished: Moneyball (which I learned about from Reason Hit and Run) and His Excellency, George Washington by Joseph Ellis.
    Both highly recommended.

    Currently working on: Michael Shermer’s The Science Of Good And Evil.

    Thinking about: the new Andrew Jackson bio.

  34. Warren,

    The 5th HP book is no better than the 4th. Particularly if what bothers you about the stories is the hero’s insistence on ignoring obvious solutions to simple problems. It’s also somewhat amusing to go see J.K. Rowling’s explanations of plot holes – many of which read to me like very transparent after the fact rationalizations.

  35. Currently reading The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson. Joe should enjoy it; half of the people in the book are architects, engineers and city planners. The other primary parties are serial killers. Insert joke here.

    Just finished From Alien to The Matrix : Reading Science Fiction Film by Roz Kaveney, a decent survey of some sci-fi tropes and themes. Worth reading for the pieces on Strange Days and Galaxy Quest, and the lengthy piece on the entire Alien cycle.

    Also, getting back into Pratchett sporadically, starting with Reaper Man, and reading the large coffee-table book about Monty Python.

  36. “…and reading the large coffee-table book about Monty Python.”

    Ha! I bet that’s good stuff.

  37. I’m reading “Report to Greco” by Nikos Kazantzakis. Probably better known for writing The Last Temptation of Christ which was turned into a movie in the 80s. If you like reading fiction with lots of metaphors, this guy is the king.

  38. Anna Karenina
    Conciousness Explained
    As She Crawled Accross the Table
    House of Leaves
    Confusion
    The World Doesn’t End

  39. ?I just finished Atlas Shrugged, for the first and last time. Good god that took a long time to read. That thing oversteps the bounds of recreational reading.?
    Comment by: Warren at October 16, 2005 04:17 PM
    Warren,

    I was a bit skeptical when starting to read ?The Fountainhead? because of the length (736 pages, longest book I ever attempted to read).

    For some reason I feel that I have some kind of moral obligation to finish a book, even if I hate reading it.

  40. I’ve been reading Plautus and Terence for a class. …does that count?

  41. lurker post!

    from a college freshman:

    just finished Snow Falling on Cedars
    re-reading Atlas Shrugged (love, love, love that book despite how long it is)
    Crichton’s Great Train Robbery
    1984
    and…Jane Eyre

    not that I’ll finish any of those anytime soon, or anything…

  42. Let’s see:

    By Terry Pratchett: “Thud!”

    Friedman’s “Free to Choose”, sitting partially read these many months.

    “Biodiesel” by Greg Pahl. We’re going to need this stuff very soon.

    And far too many blogs.

  43. I highly recommend The Singularity is Near (Kurzweil), Radical Evolution (don’t remember), The Fabric of the Cosmos (Greene), The Case for Democracy (Sharansky), Ripples of Battle, Soul of Battle, and A War Like No Other (Hanson).

  44. After reading the online news and blogs, I like a little light reading such as Eldest by the 19yr old “whiz” kid Christopher Paolini.

    I’m waiting for a good fiction political suspense novel, but I think there is a little too much competition from real life at the moment.

  45. Oh, and I should recommend Western Way of War (Hanson) and Drug Crazy (Gray).

  46. Also Future of Freedom by Fareed Zakaria and The Wealth and Poverty of Nations (DeSoto?) if you’re interested in how freedom, prosperity and democracy are related and how they evolve (or in some cases, devolve).

  47. “I highly recommend…The Fabric of the Cosmos (Greene)”
    Comment by: TallDave at October 16, 2005 04:54 PM

    Brian Greene also has a great book out called “The Elegant Universe.” There is another physics book “Hyperspace” by Michio Kaku that I highly recommend.

  48. I’m working my way through volume three of Casanova’s autobiography. Great libertine, great libertarian. And a lot of fun to read.

  49. I forgot about The Devil in the White City – great read! Also Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs. It easily wins the “delightfully snarky” award for the year.

    I haven’t attempted Thud yet, because I found the last Discworld novel, Going Postal a huge disappointment. And it hurts to say that, because Terry Pratchett can be downright brilliant. I will give Thud a read eventually, but I won’t buy it in hardcover…

  50. 1. Who Were the Ancient Israelites and Where Did They Come From?

    2. Inkheart (young adult novel from Cornelia Funke, who wrote The Thief Lord)

    3. Death Masks (volume 5 in the Harry Dresden, Professional Wizard Private Investigator series)

  51. Just Finished:
    Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki

    Currently:
    Reminisces of a Stock Operator – Edwin Lefevre

    On Deck:
    The Municipal Doomsday Machine – Ralph deToledano
    Selected Essays on Political Economy – Frederic Bastiat
    The Fountainhead (2nd read)
    Atlas Shrugged (2nd read)
    CFA level 2 texts (oh joy!)

  52. I only read one book at a time. I’m about to finish Arthur C. Clarke’s “Childhood’s End”.

  53. Currently Reading: Resistance, Rebellion, and Death by Albert Camus

    I should be done with it but instead have only read like 4 of the essays. Stuck with The Flesh, not exactly keeping my interest up.

  54. On tap:

    Feldman, Politics, Society, and the Klan in Alabama, 1915-1949

    Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars…

    Tuck, Philosophy and Government 1572-1651

    Barstow, Witchcraze: A New Theory of European Witch Hunts

    I am currently reading:

    Walpole, The Castle of Otranto

    Pat Willard, Saffron

    Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire

    Pufendorf, On the Duty of Man and Citizen…

    I continue to plow my way through the seven-volume history of France edited by Pierre Nora (it comes in a three-volume English language set if you perfer) as I get each voume.

    I’ve read in the past thirty days:

    Shorto, Island at the Center of the World

    Jones, Paris: Biography of a City

    Blackmore, The Meme machine

    Maines, The Technology of Orgasm

    Perakh, Unintelligent Design

  55. Current fiction Chris Buckley’s “Florence of Arabia”

    Current non-fic Jacob Sullum’s “Saying Yes”

    Before you think I’m looking for brownie pts on the non-fic, it should be noted that this is borrowed from the publicly funded Baltimore public library.

    So, in other words, the tax dollars that are forcibly taken from Baltimore living Jesse Walker, are enabling me to steal Sullum’s intellectual property.

  56. I have a hard time getting time to read, with newspapers and magazines constantly piling up. But I recently read “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail.” I also read Laughlin’s “A Different Kind of Universe: Reinventing Physics From The Bottom Down.”

    I’m 10% of the way into the Koran. After that I’ll probably read the New Testament again. I also want to read “Brave New World”, and re-read Sadi Carnot’s “Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire” (the book where he outlined the Second Law of Thermodynamics). I highly recommend Carnot’s book, it doesn’t require more than one semester of college physics to understand (even the physics for non-scientists class will do).

    Oh, and I still need to read the new Harry Potter novel.

  57. Most recent book finished was “The Foundation Trilogy”.

    Currently sporadically reading Stphen King’s “On Writing”.

    Current toilet reading: The last two issues of reason. That’s not a commentary, btw.

  58. Just finished the Baroque Cycle by Stephenson, now reading Island in the Sea of Time by Sterling.

    Also reading Edward Tufte’s design books for work, they’re really cool!

  59. Finished:

    (John Wain) Samuel Johnson, a biography

    In the middle of:

    (Pavel Sudoplatov, Anatoli Sudoplatov, Jerrold L. Schecter, Leona P. Schecter) Special Tasks: The Memoirs of an Unwanted Witness — A Soviet Spymaster

    Gearing up for:

    Freakonomics

  60. thoreau,

    Oh, and I still need to read the new Harry Potter novel.

    Why? πŸ™‚

  61. Larry Edelstein,

    What you are in the middle has been a good resource for my novel.

  62. Don Quijote de La Mancha. Great book.

  63. Saying Yes by Mr. Sullum.

  64. Just finished:

    – Dear Mr. Lincoln – Letters to the President

    Currently reading:
    – What If’s? of American History
    – Time Before History – The Arhaeology of North Carolina

    woohoo!

  65. My first two are “re-reads”:
    Grammatical Man, by Jeremy Campbell
    A book that truly changed my life back in 1982, and set me on a path of life-long computer geekdom. Found a copy in an old bookstore recently and fell in love all over again.
    The True Believer, by Eric Hoffer
    Upon looking at the Millions More Farce and the Toldeo riots, I wish Mr. Hoffer had put this book in pill form for me to shove down the throats of my fellow African-Americans. Apparently, Keith Boykin needs to read this, as well …
    Law’s Order: What Economics Has to Do With Law, by David D. Friedman
    Most shipments of this book were lost in the Bermuda Triangle, which explains why all the attorneys I work with think the way they do.
    Everyday Numbers, by Patrick McSharry and Debbie Robinson
    A book I use to teach inner city kids that I’m tutoring that math is not complicated and can be fun. Maybe next month I’ll take them on trip to Capitol Hill and introduce them to the concept of “imaginary numbers” ….

  66. I’m 10% of the way into the Koran.

    I think the Qu’ran is the toughest thing I’ve ever worked at reading. …I understand it’s beautiful in Arabic, maybe it was the translation.

    …perhaps the translator was so concerned with accuracy that he put other concerns aside. …Reading the translation I had, it felt like someone had translated an incoherent screed into the language of Beowulf or something and then again into contemporary English.

  67. I’m in a reading funk. I’m finding that want nonfiction to just be shorter and to the point. The Reason team has done a good job of that recently with Sullum’s “Saying Yes” and Bailey’s “Liberation Biology” – both of which I finished in the last few months.

    What seems to happen most of the time these days is I find a thesis that sounds interesting, I put it on my list of Things to Read, I read critical analysis on the internet from diverse sources, then I’ve lost motivation to wade through the whole thing myself.

    I couldn’t help but smirk when I realized this had happened with Surowiecki’s “The Wisdom of Crowds”. By relying on his thesis, I never had to pay for his book.

  68. Wand and Quadrant, Christopher Logue… odd.

    Also, finishing up The Memoirs of Vidocq (Master of Crime), about maybe the first detective, inspiration for Sherlock and Lecoq, and Jean Valjean, among others.

    Aside, Ian Hamet is my new favorite person on this site (he’s right about Black Wings, tell ya that).

  69. Chindi by Jack McDevitt
    Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar by Simon S. Montefiore
    Useful Idiots by Mona Charen

  70. That said, I’ve recently read Gaiman’s “American Gods” and Dubner/Levitt’s “Freakonomics”.

  71. I’m 10% of the way into the Koran

    Which translation are you reading?

    Having read the Quran several times cover to cover as part of my circular journey back to atheism, I don’t envy you.

    For most Americans, I would recommend the Maulana Muhammad Ali translation. The most popular translations in America (because of the influence of the Sunnis and Saudi Arabia) has been the Yusuf Ali and Picthall translations.

    Ali was a Ahmadiyya Pakastani journalist, so his translation reflects that sort of straight-forward writing, as opposed to other translators who try to keep it in that “Classical Arabic” poetic style. This is akin to trying to read Wycliff’s Middle English translation of the Bible. Somewhat understandable, but sloooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwww trudging ….

    Oh well, it was good for a few laughs and helped to impress some Iraqis when I could rattle off certain surahs word for word in their language …

  72. I don’t have it in front of me right now, but it’s a very recent one. It got a good review in the Economist a couple years ago.

  73. I’m in a reading funk.

    Reminds of how I got into trouble in junior high because a certain English teacher misunderstood me when I stated that I got some information for a report from “Funk and Wagnalls”.

    And they wonder why I hate the NEA/AFT ….

  74. Mike,
    Your comment at 4:45 quotes another poster and attributes it to me. Also, it reads as though you are trudging through Fountainhead. But what I think you are saying (or at least hope) is that you are surprised to be enjoying Fountainhead despite the fact that you ‘hated’ Atlas Shrugged.

    For the record, I advise everyone to read The Fountainhead, and suggest forgoing Atlas Shrugged. I think the former is brilliant, as well as a gripping and entertaining ‘page turner’. The latter on the other hand, is turgid. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was half as long, and assumed a little intelligence from the reader. She keeps dropping anvils throughout the whole thing. And in case you still somehow managed to miss the point, it’s reiterated another zillion times on the last 25 page. [Clang! Clang! Clang!]

  75. Kurzweil: The Singularity is Near
    Reynolds: Revelation Space
    Gaiman: Anansi Boys (audiobook during commute)

  76. I don’t have it in front of me right now, but it’s a very recent one. It got a good review in the Economist a couple years ago.

    And to show you what an egghead I am, it’s considered bad form to render it in English as “Koran” with a “K”. The snooty Arab emigre types prefer “Qur’an” with a “Q”.

    An imam at an Islamic bookstore in Chicago gave me a very, long, stupid, boring speech on the correctness of “Q”. Unfortunately, Capt. Picard was nowhere to be found ….

  77. I’m currently reading “Secret Soldier,” the autobiography of Muki Betser, and “The Top 10 of Everything 2004.”

    I’ve recently finished “Ayn Rand and ‘Song of Russia,'” “Wrestling at the Chase” by Larry Matysik, “Jihad in Brooklyn” by Samuel Katz and “Secret Warriors” by Steven Emerson. I started “The Long Walk” but put it down when I realized it was fiction. I may give it another chance.

  78. Heh, my reading list draws heavily from the 99c used paperbacks available at my local Barnes & Noble. While the postmodern aversion to reading might be bad for society, it is good for cheap book aficionados.

    Currently working on:

    The End of Time by Julian Barbour. Just started it, but the gist of it is that time may not exist.

    The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene. One of the few books I bought new, having liked The Elegant Universe.

    The Lovecraft Circle by various authors. Several Lovecraftesque short stories.

    Just finished:

    The Great War: Breakthroughs by Harry Turtledove. A novel set during WW1 in an alternate world where the South won the Civil War, and the two American nations wound up on opposite sides in the Great War.

    Stranger in a Strange Land, which of course needs no introduction. πŸ˜‰

  79. crimethink,

    …postmodern aversion to reading…

    The aversion isn’t post-modern, its common throughout human history.

  80. crimethink,

    …postmodern aversion to reading…

    The aversion isn’t post-modern, its common throughout human history.

  81. Mike,
    Your comment at 4:45 quotes another poster and attributes it to me. Also, it reads as though you are trudging through Fountainhead. But what I think you are saying (or at least hope) is that you are surprised to be enjoying Fountainhead despite the fact that you ‘hated’ Atlas Shrugged.

    Comment by: Warren at October 16, 2005 06:50 PM
    Tim Higgins,
    Sorry about the quote.

    Warren,

    Sorry about the quote. You are right, I love reading “The Fountainhead.” I should’ve been more clear.

  82. The fifth Harry Potter book, despite being the least enjoyable of the bunch, has a distinctly libertarian bent to it. The Dolores Umbridge character is a great nasty nanny-state stereotype for the kiddies. I read it with my daughter and it gave me a few opportunities to discuss the concept of liberty with her. Other than that, yeah, the series is getting pretty stale. J.K. (who is a hero of mine, really) needs to wrap it up with a bang. The last book I read with my daughter is Eldest. A decent fantasy book written by an author who is a wonderful example of what can happen when kids are homeschooled.

    Oh, and Children of the Arbat is a fave of mine. Although, once you have read it, you will be forever mixing it up with Crime and Punishment. Well, I did anyway.

  83. I mean “clearer.”

  84. Ulysses…I had to see for myself what all the fuss is about. The language barrier is pretty daunting but the style is certainly unlike most other novels I’ve ever read. He’s touches some “scandalous” topics very early on…I’m looking forward to seeing how the novel evolves.

  85. Thoreau,
    You have just inspired me. I am going to go to the bookstore, and get the Koran (translated by Ali).

    I doubt I’ll be able to learn it or even read the whole thing. (I really can’t even read through long posts on this site). I tried to read the bible once and couldn’t complete two entire pages. It made no sense to me.

    I will continue to write ‘Koran’. Because that is how it sounds to me. I can write it in Arabic so I don’t feel uneducated about it.

    And depending where you are in the Arab world sometimes it is even pronounced more like “Guran”

  86. Books that I have read at least a couple of pages of in the last 6 months:
    Critique of Pure Reason, Immanuel Kant
    On War, Carl von Clausewitz
    The complete works of William Shakespeare
    American Gods, Neil Gaiman
    On the road, Jack Kerouac

    Pretty much anything by John Ringo and David Weber. I keep rereading their books. I don’t know why.

    Oh and Citizen of the Galaxy, Robert Heinlein

    There are others. This is just a sample.

  87. kwais,

    You’ll have a more dim view of Islam once you read it. Sort of the same reaction one has in reading the Old and New Testaments.

    As to how one spells the term “Qu’ran,” well, it doesn’t matter (see T.E. Lawrence on English naming conventions for Arabic words don’t matter).

    I tried to read the bible once and couldn’t complete two entire pages.

    Because the Bible is in general rather boring and a poor piece of literature. Some portions of the text are better than others obviously, but as far as ancient texts go I’d rather read The Epic of Gilgamesh or ancient Egyptian medical texts.

  88. zero,

    Both Critique… and On War are daunting tasks on first attempts. You are to be praised! The first time I read On War I spent four solid weeks working on it.

  89. kwais-

    The translation I got is by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem. This translation is spelled Qur’an. Copyright 2004. The translation is more modern, none of the “King James” stuff (thee, thou, Behold!, etc.), parenthetical clarifications of whether “you” is God addressing Mohammed or God addressing everybody. Nice introduction too.

  90. Fuck. I think I just got snagged by the dumb-ass berseker senseless H&R post-filter because I included more than one URL in my post, even though I didn’t href anything.

    Because history shows that such posts usually disappear forever, and I practically wrote a novel myself and want to ensure that I didn’t waste my time, I’m going to repost minus the full URLs.

    Oh boy. Like many of you, I read a couple of books concurrently. And apparently like Tim Cavanaugh, lately I do most of my reading while in the Tiled Chamber of Contemplations.

    Unfortunately, my current list will probably make me look like a big dook, as there is nothing particularly intellectual, witty or offbeat on it.

    The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. Robert Heinlein called this “possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read” and it’s pretty good old-school 1970s militaristic hard SF. Actually, I’ve read it so many times in the past that I practically have it memorized. But I’m rereading it in order to immerse myself in naval terminology for an SF project I have rolling around in the back of my head.

    King David’s Spaceship by Jerry Pournelle. Sort of a prequel to the above, and I’m rereading it for the same reasons.

    Fireships by David Drake. (Actually just finished.) And ditto.

    The National Geographic Book of Prehistoric Mammals. It has loads of purty pictures. Mauricio Anton is currently one of my favorite paleo-illustrators.

    The Scientific American Book of Dinosaurs edited by Gregory S. Paul. (The same guy who authored the “study” that inspired our “Less God, Less Crime?” thread a while back.) Paleontologist Paul is actually a leading light in his own field, and a damn fine paleo-illustrator as well. This book is probably the only one that qualifies as an intellectual exercise, because it contains scientific discourse on dino biomechanics, the maniraptoran origins of birds, the possibly fur-covered Permian therapsids of snowy Gondwanaland, and shit like that. Also: It has purty pictures.

    Lately, I’m also reading a lot of printouts from http://www.nelsonsnavy.co.uk and the ubergeeky http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/index.html

    And I daily lurk at the Dinosaur Mailing List (dml.cmnh.org), where the hottest news is the mad ravings of Alan Feduccia, the maverick paleo-ornithologist.

    Oh — and the latest print edition of Reason also has an honored place between my bath mat and my toilet paper holder.

  91. I am currently reading:

    Adams vs. Jefferson, The Tumultuous Election of 1800, by James Ferling.

    Also picking away at John Edwards’ Four Trials and

    Gerry Spence’s How to Argue and Win Every Time.

  92. I’ve spent about a year on and off on On War. It’s about as hard to read as On the Road was. That one took me 6 months. I had a hard time caring about the characters. The Iliad, The Odyssey and even Nietzsche were easier to read.

    On the other hand I can read a 500+ page science fiction novel in just a couple of days.

  93. Oh, I should say that my impression of the first 60 pages is that it’s actually remarkably moderate and low-key in tone. Yes, there are many illiberal things in there, even illiberal after context, but the presentation is all about moderation. “Only kill infidels if….Give your daughter a smaller inheritance, but still leave her at least this much….”

    I offer that not as any type of apologetic for the Qur’an, or a defense of illiberal notions, or anything else. But I came in expecting a more dogmatic, fire-breathing, or zealous tone. Instead the tone is usually one of moderation. Or at least that’s what I get from this translator.

    Now, horrifyingly illiberal ideas can be presented in moderate tones, so I hope that nobody thinks I’m defending anything illiberal. But I am mostly reading to get a view of the mindset and the basic ideas, not the details, and so this rather measured presentation threw me off.

    Now, undoubtedly those who want to can accuse me of buying into propaganda or whatever, but that’s not my point. I can distinguish between the idea and the presentation, and I was simply surprised by the presentation. If anything, a low-key presentation can make bad ideas even more dangerous.

    And, having tried to placate what I suspect is a large anti-Qur’an sentiment on this forum, I should also add that some portions of the Qur’an are, at least by religious standards, fairly reasonable and mundane. Also, it’s interesting that the Qur’an praises Jesus as a messenger of God.

    All in all, it’s been an educational read thus far.

  94. Recently finished: Orhan Pamuk’s “Snow”

    Currently reading: Orhan Pamuk’s “Istanbul” and Daniel Solove’s “The Digital Person”

    Up next: A collection of short stories by Kafka

  95. thoreau,

    But I am mostly reading to get a view of the mindset and the basic ideas…,/i>

    You’d be better off to reading something else then.

    Also, it’s interesting that the Qur’an praises Jesus as a messenger of God.

    He’s considered a prophet. Hardly a groundbreaking discovery.

  96. Thoreau

    “I also want to read “Brave New World””

    one thing that struck me about this book is how it is always portraid as a distopian nightmare…which i just don’t get…the world it dicribes is much less tyranical then say the world of “1984”…..in fact i came away from the book feeling that it discribed a sort of utopia..which i don’t think was the authors intent.

  97. He’s considered a prophet. Hardly a groundbreaking discovery.

    Reading something is never a ground-breaking discovery. That’s what original research is for.

    Reading is simply informative.

  98. Thoreau,

    I also want to read “Brave New World”…

    You didn’t read it in highschool?

    joshua corning,

    You must like Steve Sailer.

  99. We gonna have a chess club too?

  100. Douglas Fletcher,

    I played too much chess as a high school student.

  101. You didn’t read it in highschool?

    Nope. I was only there for 3 years.

  102. thoreau,

    I thought most folks were only in highschool for three years? πŸ™‚

  103. My stream of piss goes way farther than yours.

  104. thoreau,

    That’s good to know. Hopefully your are still hitting the inside of the toilet. πŸ™‚

  105. Unless Gary’s personality and conversational tone have changed dramatically since high school, I bet he found his head inside a toilet a lot during those years.

  106. I’m lazing my way through Programming Language Design Concepts by David Watt, right now. Side reading has been mostly comics and magazines.

    Comics included the new Astro City collection Local Heroes (Busiek, et al), which was no less excellent than expected, the Sin City collection That Yellow Bastard (Miller) , which was very good and an interesting parallel with The Hard Goodbye, and the first three Courtney Crumrin volumes (Naifeh), which are great fun in a Tim Burton (or more accurately Charles Addams) vein.

    Magazines included the last two issues of Make that I picked up together, Linux Journal, Play, Games, and Spin, though I think that last magazine has turned a sad little corner. When every writer of that magazine used to sniff at Rolling Stone as a matter of course, it’s a bit pathetic to start trying to be RS.

    In the hopper to read, I’ve got the new Harp issue, Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynn Truss, Freakonomics, and The Pragmatic Programmer by Hunt and Thomas.

  107. I can’t believe David Levy’s book made Tim’s list! I started reading it a few years ago based on the review in Reason, and have been reading it on and off since then. I must be the only person in UCBerkeley who has ever touched it. It’s dense as hell, but the ideas are so fascinating that I want to make a movie out of it!

  108. J.,

    Heh. Not that I recall. Of course, I’m a pretty congenial guy.

  109. Eric the .5b,

    Eats, Shoots & Leaves was pretty good.

  110. one thing that struck me about this book is how it is always portraid as a distopian nightmare…which i just don’t get…the world it dicribes is much less tyranical then say the world of “1984”

    It is a utopia, in some basic ways. You don’t get the impression that it’s at all frightening or unpleasant for most people to live in that society.

    In other ways, it’s a society that’s deliberately trying to destroy meaning in the name of self-maintenance (IIRC the passage involving the suppression of the essay on moral philosophy). In yet others, it’s a society that merrily deprives fetuses of oxygen in order to produce brain-damaged “sub-morons” who are only fit for simple tasks like operating elevators. And then there’s the brain-washing…

  111. Eric the .5b,

    Well, they also eliminated all art, real historical analysis, etc.

  112. why don’t they just use a machine to operate the elevators. I hate the self checkout thing in supermarkets, but I think I would prefer them to some retard working the counter.

  113. Currently reading “Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith: just finished the chapter where he proves that banks cannot operate in the manner that they have operated for well over a century (I had to tell that to somebody).

  114. I just finished Atlas Shrugged, for the first and last time. Good god that took a long time to read. That thing oversteps the bounds of recreational reading.

    I liked it, but it also took me longer to read than any other novel I’ve tried to tackle. Partly because I took an 18-month break when I was exactly halfway through.

    That would have made a great cover blurb, wouldn’t it? “I couldn’t put it down (for any longer than a year and a half)!”

  115. The Singularity is Near

    Food of the Gods

    Galactic Alignment

  116. Rereading Camille Paglia’s “Sexual Personae” in haphazard fashion. Need to start “Anansi Boys” soon.

  117. I just finished reading True Believers by Joe Queenan and Fun, Cheap, and Easy: My Life in Ohio Politics, 1949-1964 by Frances McGovern.

  118. currently reading:

    Underworld, D.Delillo
    Strange Pilgrims, G.Marquez
    The Tenor of Our Times, E.Hoffer
    Asking Questions, S.Sudman

    read over the summer:

    The Battle for God, Karen Armstrong
    AHWOSG, D.Eggers
    Bunch of pulp-fiction detective stuff
    Einsteins Dreams, ?
    The True Believer, Eric Hoffer
    The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil, G.Saunders
    4 by Pelevin, V.Pelevin
    Master and Margarita, M.Bulgakov
    War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, c.Hedges
    The Illustrated Man, R.Bradbury
    The Adventure of English, M.Bragg

    Planning to read:

    rest of Hoffer’s stuff
    finally finish Gibbon’s decline and fall (my comment to someone who asked me how it reads: ‘a lot like Lord of the Rings, sans wizards, not quite so tightly plotted’)
    Freakonomics
    SPSS for Dummies
    Low Life, Luc Sante

    Recomendations for Reason folk:

    Eric Hoffer’s stuff. Unfreakingbelievable I never heard of this guy. Steamrolling genius. Longshoreman meets Montaigne.

    The Master & Margarita. Best novel ive read in many years.

    George Saunders: CivilWarLand in Bad Decline. You wont piss yourself laughing; you wont cry – no: you’ll weep urine. The man is the best thing to happen to short stories since chekov. I am donating my organs to him, exclusively.

    JG

  119. Death in the Afternoon, Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies (concluding my reading of all of the Horatio Hornblower books), Robotics Demystified, and History of Philosophy (Copleston). I’ve also just re-read The Ancient Engineers (fun book) and am eying my copy of Anthony Everitt’s Cicero for another read. As soon as I get a chance, I’m going to get back to reading Montaigne’s Essays.

  120. Principia Mathematica. Trying to exorcise the demons of “you should not have to guess to factor polynomials” that I’ve carried, like a monkey on my back, ever since I was 14.

    Warped Passages (Lisa Randall). A decent popularization of what sort of dimensions we live in. Weird and hard but good.

    Something by Thackeray. I adore Thackeray but I forget the exact title of what I’m reading right now because I’m reading it off a Treo 90 and don’t want to scroll back.

  121. I read “Johnny Got His Gun” by Dalton Trumbo last year. Once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down. Has anybody seen the movie? Is the movie any good?

  122. Eric, I keep hearing about Eats, Shoots & Leaves and even perused it at a local bookstore. Heard an interview with the author as well.

    I’d be interested to hear what you think of it.

  123. Currently reading:

    Webster-Hayne Debate on the Nature of the Union
    Bowling Alone – Robert Putnam
    Road to Serfdom – Hayek
    What the Anti-Federalists Were For – Storing
    Partially reading Tocqueville’s Democracy in America

  124. And, because I’m a girl, The Opposite of Fate by Amy Tan is quite good. Tan writes well about her personal experiences and her craft.

    Comment by: stacy at October 16, 2005 04:04 PM

    Mot just because you’re a girl. I found the connections between her personal life and her novels very interesting, in particular The Bonesetter’s Daughter, and her account of the mystery illness which had her thinking she was going mad (she had hallucinations, among other things).

  125. Currently reading:
    Analytic Narratives- Basically an attempt by 5 economists and political scientists to bridge the rational-choice and historical institutionalist approaches in the social sciences. I’ve looked at it before, but I’m reading it again in anticipation of Avner Greif’s forthcoming book.

    Capitalists Against Markets- Looks at the role employers layed in welfare state development in Sweden and the US. It’s really interesting, particularly since a good deal of literature on the subject focused exclusively on labor and leftist parties.

    I’ve also been looking at Scanlon’s What We Owe Each to Other and Douglass North’s new book.

  126. Is the movie any good?

    Hell yes mike!

    For those of you who haven’t read “Johnny Got His Gun” or seen the movie, think–I dunno–The Sixth Sense meets Slaughterhouse V.

  127. Hmmm…I’m always bad at having a pretentious reading list. I find many “must-read” intellectual books interesting in an abstract way but frightfully dull.

    Ha! I kid! I’m a cool nerd, really! I really loved “No Exit”, like, fer sure!

    About to re-read (See how cool it is that I read it before but love it enough to read it again? That makes me extra cool.) Cry, the Beloved Country.

    I just finished Vernor Vinge’s The Peace War and Marooned in Realtime. I will probably reread something by Clifford Simak before long, because I can only go about 4 months before needing to read something by him again.

    I had started Under a Sickle Moon, but I got bored. Ditto Eastern Approaches, and the English version of Solaris, though I liked Memoirs Found in a Bathtub.

    Next up, Reading Lolita in Tehran and In a Sunburned Country.

    Of course, most of the time I’ll actually be reading old Analog magazine stories.

    My bathroom reading is all The Economist, Scientific American, and Skeptical Inquirer. Reason I read as soon as it comes, and I’m not just saying that to be a kiss-up.

    To those who can read book-length things on the toilet:

    Fiber. It’s not just for breakfast anymore.

  128. See how cool it is that I read it before but love it enough to read it again? That makes me extra cool.

    I always thought of the “re-read” bit as a ploy lit majors invented so they could talk about a book they’d recently read without suggesting that they hadn’t already read it.

    …They might say, “I was just re-reading “A Mill on the Floss” from a whatever perspective…”

    To those who can read book-length things on the toilet:

    I’m not a doctor, but I understand that’s a great way to get hemorrhoids.

  129. Tom Crick,

    Well, some things are worth re-reading, and other things are not.

  130. Speedwell-

    Principia? Wow.

    Wait, are you talking about Newton’s Principia, or that 20th century mathematician and philosopher what’s-his-name?

    Newton’s Principia is something I’ve started, but the thing is such a tour de force that I’ve never been able to read much of it. It’s so beautiful and elegant and perfect, and yet so difficult to read.

    That other guy’s Principia, eh, I don’t know so much about it.

  131. Well, some things are worth re-reading, and other things are not.

    I know. I’ve actually re-read a few things myself.

    …but you know what I’m talkin’ about with the lit majors, right?

  132. Tom Crick,

    Well, the graduate students I knew who were in English departments did re-read what they said they re-read; but that was because it was important to dissertation I guess. What I mean is that if you writing your dissertation on Chaucer or Faulkner or Mann, you better love their stuff. Before then I never had much exposure to literature majors. As an undergraduate I roomed with and studied almost exclusively with engineering, physics and pharmacy students because liberal arts majors like myself didn’t work hard enough for my tastes. I distinctly remember being in the 24 hour study area of the library and being the lone liberal arts major (history and political philosophy) in a sea of science and engineering students.

    thoreau,

    Leibniz mopped the deck with Newton. πŸ™‚

  133. …in a sea of science and engineering students at 3:00 AM in the morning.

  134. I read “Johnny Got His Gun” by Dalton Trumbo last year. Once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down. Has anybody seen the movie? Is the movie any good?

    Stick to the book; the film is long and talky with flashes of brilliance. Donald Sutherland as a stoner Jesus is a classic example of “unintentionally hilarious.” The Metallica video condensation has all the good stuff.

  135. To those who can read book-length things on the toilet: Fiber. It’s not just for breakfast anymore.

    Since you bring it up: For some lucky folks, it’s not duration but frequency. As I said here once before, if I were a superhero, I’d be Peristalsis Man. My colon is to digestion what Barbara Cartland is to literature. (I know who she is because as a youth I used to shelve books at the library.)

  136. Maybe most of you ought to just skip over that comment I just posted.

  137. There are two kinds of people in this world: those who love that bastard Newton and those who love the brilliant and persecuted Leibniz. The former should be summarily shot. πŸ™‚

  138. Hakluyt,
    …in a sea of science and engineering students at 3:00 AM in the morning.

    Yeah, no kidding. I was a BioSci major at LSU-BR and I remember talking to physics majors who studied for weeks on end, only to get a 40%! And that was a C! And they were happy! Telling that to a Pre-Med person always made you cringe because you are always expected to make A’s every time, I am still amazed at how hardcore physics and engineering majors are.
    And LSU compared to other universities still lags behind, I would hate to see what you and you’re study partners went through…
    BTW, what were you studying at 3am in the morining? Just had to read Hobbes, Livy, and Thucydides just that one last time? πŸ˜‰

  139. Frank A.,

    I was always looking for deeper meaning in texts like Aristotle’s Politics or Hobbes’ Leviathan. I have this weathered old copy of the latter (I’ve since bought a new one that I just read) that has more ink from my marginalia than is in the print. πŸ™‚ I was fairly intoxicated with learning back then.

  140. Late to the Party, but here are my current reads

    The Grass Crown- Colleen McCollough
    Lila- Robert Pirsig

  141. The topic has incited me to make my first Hit & Run comment. Here it goes:

    I am almost done with Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand-which I found out about from Cathy Young’s review in Reason.

    ZMD

  142. why don’t they just use a machine to operate the elevators. I hate the self checkout thing in supermarkets, but I think I would prefer them to some retard working the counter.

    This was written a bit pre-ubiquitous-modern-automation.

    just finished Vernor Vinge’s The Peace War and Marooned in Realtime.

    If you haven’t already, try to hunt down the Real Names collection. The title story is very good, but it also includes “The Ungoverned”, a story involving the protagonist of Marooned in his own time-period. (And, hey, anarcho-capitalism.)

  143. And I’ll try to aside my opinion on Eats, Shoots and Leaves in a future thread.

  144. not too vain:
    six days of the condor
    don kagan’s the peloponnesian war
    and i just finished angels and demons by dan fucking brown

  145. bill,

    Don’t forget to read the fantabuluous, conspirational sequal, The Da Vinci Code, with 2x the bullshit!
    Now coming to theatres near you, with America’s favorite douche-bag, Tom Hanks!

  146. I suppose this will give Joe (or anyone else) a somewhat better idea of what each of us is like. I must say that most of you read very high brow stuff compared to me. I seldom read novels anymore, but lately I’ve been picking up an old first edition copy of Elephant Walk from time to time, mainly because I liked the movie when I was a kid. I’ve been reading a number of basic books about computers and Windows 98 recently, though in a few weeks I’m gonna have a computer that runs XP. Guess I’ll need a book for that as well.
    Over the last couple of years I have read ten or twelve books on the subject of microscopy, mostly light microscopy. Earlier this year I read Louis L’Amour’s Memoirs and Sacket’s Land (the second book in the series.) L’Amour was quite a guy…quit school and left home at fifteen because he didn’t think he was learning enough; tramped and odd-jobbed his way all over the country and eventually around the world, constantly reading anything he could get his hands on….a total auto-didact.
    Prior to that I read Jean Paul Getty’s autobiography, another interesting person. On the table beside my easy chair I keep a good dictionary handy that I actually do use, as well as an old two-volume desktop encyclopedia. I have a one volume collection of Mark Twain’s works that I read in from time to time as an excuse to eat a bag or bowl of hot,buttered popcorn. I guess since I was eight years old , he’s my all time favorite author. I recently picked up a collection of O. Henry short stories that serve well when I feel like reading only half an hour or so.
    Ayn Rand’s works have probably been the most influencial in my adult life and thinking. I have read nearly everything she ever wrote. I’ve read Atlas Shrugged five times since I was nineteen and her other novels multiple times. I too, prefer The Fountainhead; as a story it is much more believable and not quite so pedantic. Somehow I don’t think Atlas Shrugged was meant to be “recreational reading.”
    When I was in my early twenties I several times attempted to force myself to slog through Kant’s Critique Of Pure Reason. Even if one were only twenty and knew for a certainty that he would live to be one hundred, life would still be too damned short to spend it trying to understand that mass of gobblety-goop! Spend the time chasing tail or something; probably less harmful to your mind and easily more enlightening and useful.
    Oh! And lest I forget, I recently dug my old copy of von Mises’ Human Action out of storage. Time to give that another whirl.

  147. Hakluyt:

    ..that bastard Newton …the brilliant and persecuted Leibniz.

    Yeah, I know Newton was an SOB. But I gotta admire his development of the calculus more than Leibniz’s cuz Newton did it to solve physics problems. Leibniz’s approach was mathematical. Newton’s seems like a more resourceful endeavor.

    Some recent and current volumes for me are:

    “Liberation Biology” Ron Bailey- Damn good!

    “Saying Yes” Jacob Sullum-Damn Good!

    Both Ron and Jacob’s volumes are really interesting and provide debating ammunition.

    “Freakonomics” Levitt and Dubner

    “The Politicization of Society” Ken Templeton ed
    Ok, not really a recent read but I just wanted to plug these wonderful essays. Quality libertarian scholarship!

    “Seeing Red” Halton Arp- An attack on mainstream cosmology by one of the premier observational astronomers.

    “Ancestor’s tale” Richard Dawkins

    “Terror Enigma: 9/11 And the Israeli Connection” Justin Raimondo

    Raimondo loves capitalism as much as he hates our government’s hyper-interventionist tendencies. He is a scholar of libertarian thought and a damn good investigative journalist!

    “On Intelligence” Jeff Hawkins

    “Quantum A guide for the Perplexed” Jim Al-Khalili-Less perplexed now.

    “Mind” John Searle- Wow! Searle is my fave comtemp. philosopher.

    “The Rise of the Greeks” Michael Grant

    “Please Kill Me” Leggs McNeil. It’s the
    History of Punk Rock. Thanks to Phil for turning me on to this volume.

    I have some more but I wanna crash. Maybe tomorrow.

  148. I forgot to say: Good idea joe!

    Oh yeah, also:

    “A Different Universe” Robert Laughlin He won a Nobel in physics. Saw him speak. That’s all for now. I really gotta crash!

  149. Let’s see. In no particular order:

    The Demon-Haunted World: By Carl Sagan.

    Sock, by Penn Jittette.

    The Fountains Of Paradise, by Arthur C. Clarke.

    Flim Flam: By James Randi

    …and since I’m a hopeless gamer…

    Serenity: The Role Playing Game.

  150. I have been reading “Lies my teacher told me.”

  151. Rick Barton,

    Well, Leibniz had a far more varied career than Newton – he wrote legal treatises, was heavily involved philosophy, etc. after all. He was a true polymath. Probably one of the most brilliant people ever born. Because of thise I find Newton-centric commentary rather annoying.

  152. What I’m actually reading:

    Victor Klemperer / I Will Bear Witness: Diary of the Nazi Years (’33-’41)

    Flannery O’Connor / Stories

    Camus / The Plague n’ The Stranger

    Just kidding myself:

    Federalist Papers

    Democracy in America

  153. Blood from a Stone by Donna Leon. Mystery set in Venice, where we were on vacation a few months ago. Very good read, as are all of her books (all set in Venice/Italy).

    I always enjoy reading a book set in a far off place I’ve visited (assuming the book itself is well written).

    I read Eats, Shoots and Leaves last year. Most enjoyable “grammar” book since The Elements of Style which I hand out, to universal groans, to my kids, nieces and nephews when they graduate high school (OK OK, we also give money). When my daughter found her roommate consulting Strunk and White during freshman year, she couldn’t stop talking and laughing about it.

  154. Aaron,

    The first volume is easier to consume than the second volume of Democracy… (it was also the more popular of the two when they were published).

  155. For the record, I advise everyone to read The Fountainhead, and suggest forgoing Atlas Shrugged. I think the former is brilliant, as well as a gripping and entertaining ‘page turner’. The latter on the other hand, is turgid.

    For the record, I advise everyone the opposite of what Warren says. That said, I enjoy being bashed over the head with a point, which may explain my preference for Atlas Shrugged over The Fountainhead.

    It wouldn’t be so bad if it was half as long, and assumed a little intelligence from the reader. She keeps dropping anvils throughout the whole thing. And in case you still somehow managed to miss the point, it’s reiterated another zillion times on the last 25 page. [Clang! Clang! Clang!]

    Exxxxxxxactly! To paraphrase another of our great Philosophers…Hit me, Ayn-y, one more time!

  156. Currently reading Stephen Ambrose’s To America, which is so-so, as an appetizer to Band of Brothers.

    Very recently received a copy of Democracy in America, which is on my aspirational shelf. Maybe after BoB.

    This is fun — we should do it every couple of months.

  157. I don’t know much about Leibniz, and for all I know he may very well be a better mathematician than Newton was. Newton was a damn good physicist, one of the few people to achieve distinction in both theory and experiment.

    Admiration of Newton and Leibniz need not be a zero sum game.

  158. thoreau,

    Sure it is. Newton was a religious fanatic and a thief! πŸ™‚

  159. I can’t help but think that this thread has entirely lived up to Cavanaugh’s expectations …

  160. thoreau,

    More seriously, if it had been widely known that Newton was an Arian he wouldn’t have been a member of Parliament or received any of his sinecures.

  161. thoreau,

    The other Principia Mathematica was written by Bertrand Russell and A.N. Whitehead. Although it is an important work in the history of symbolic logic and philosophy of mathematics, I can’t imagine anyone actually reading the damned thing today, given that it is generally believed Godel’s work discredited Russell’s logicist agenda.

    Ironically, Russell once related a nightmare in which he found himself in a huge library in 2100. A library assistant was going around the shelves carrying an enormous bucket, taking down book after book, glancing at them, putting them back on the shelves or tossing them into the bucket. He came to three thick volumes Russell recognized as the last surviving copy of Principia Mathematica. He took down one of the volumes, turned over a few pages, seemed puzzled for a moment by the curious symbolism, closed the volume, balanced it in his hands, and hesitated…

    Of course, given digital technology, that won’t happen. Whether anyone other than a very few historians of mathematics will read it in 2100 is much more problematic. Indeed, I am highly suspicious of any claims to having read it these days.

  162. D.A. Ridgely,

    Godel, Escher, Bach is one my favorite reads.

  163. Some people are awfully good at finding reasons to disdain the most talented, creative, productive, and well-rounded physicists in all of history.

  164. thoreau,

    Maybe you can pick on some historians or philosophers I like to even the score? πŸ™‚

  165. I have noticed that physicists get unhinged when you mention that Newton was an alchemist or his attempts to prove the age of the Earth based on the bible. πŸ™‚ Of course, modern science starts in things like alchemy, so that shouldn’t be surprising.

  166. I’m well aware of Newton’s crazy pursuits. I simply don’t care. I admire the Principia and Opticks.

    Can we at least agree that Sadi Carnot was a visionary genius?

  167. Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan. (Wheel of Time) Best fantasy series ever.

  168. For the record, I advise everyone the opposite of what Warren says. That said, I enjoy being bashed over the head with a point, which may explain my preference for Atlas Shrugged over The Fountainhead

    Aye, Francisco’s rants never get old, although I don’t think I’ll be able to burn through it all in 14 days again. I’m sure there’s enough I missed to make 2nd read just as worthwhile.

  169. thoreau,

    Hmm, I know a lot about Newton. I wonder why? πŸ™‚

    My favorite physicist is Gauss.

  170. It’s good to see that so many of you have time to read book after book. I haen’t been able to do that much since I got married and expecially since I became a father.

    I think we’ll go to see the Wallace and Gromit movie tomorrow.

  171. A First Course in String Theory by Zwiebach

    Not really reading it so much as studying it.

    To Hakluyt and thoreau,

    Newton’s “crazy pursuits” make him such an interesting character. Did you know that it was his idea to put the ridges on the edge of coins? British pounds were always being clipped at the edges.

    Also, there has never been a historian in all of history that was worthy to lick the boots of any of the great scientists, much less physicists. Without historians, the world would go on. Without scientists and engineers, we’d be screwed. And I say this as someone who has read and enjoyed many books on history. Most recently, History of the Goths by Wolfram (which I hope to read in the original German one day).

  172. My 6 1/2 years old daughter, OTOH, is reading everything we have on Calvin and Hobbes.

  173. The Real Bill,

    Yes, one of his sinecures was at the Royal Mint; he took the job more seriously than was expected of him.

    Also, there has never been a historian in all of history that was worthy to lick the boots of any of the great scientists, much less physicists.

    That probably depends on what you consider important.

    Without historians, the world would go on.

    Would a world devoid of historical analysis be a place you’d want to live in? What would the world “go on” to?

  174. It’s great sport to deride the likes of Newton (of whom there are damned few likes) given the benefit of an inheritance of several centuries critical reflection and scientific progress. It is especially good at bolstering undergraduates’ all-important self-esteem, but it’s basically a mug’s game.

    Thus, for example, I certainly didn’t mean to mock the brilliance of Russell and Whitehead’s work. Something can, of course, be both brilliant and wrong. My son is currently taking a course in the history of ancient philosophy and thoroughly enjoying finding ways to criticize Plato and Aristotle. What he has not yet grasped, rather like those who delight in taking pot shots at Newton, is how monumentally superior their theories were to the prevailing competition of their milieu and the world that had passed before them.

    As for historians’ place in the academic pecking order, it seems to me a great tragedy that we didn’t have more and better historians (and especially archivists) from ancient Greece on. Reason without memory is of little use.

  175. The Real Bill,

    Indeed, I suppose at a practical level there is a heck of a lot of science and engineering we could without as well, if all you are interested in is the sort of mere survival you seem to be hinting at. From that perspective, about 99% of human knowledge, effort, etc. is superfluous, etc. But why the fuck would I want to live in a society with art, literature, areas of science that have little practical importance, etc.?

  176. It has recently come out that Nobel Prize-winning physicist Bob Schriefer has problems with depression and dangerous driving, and consequently his driving license was suspended in FL. A year ago he killed a guy while driving WAY over the speed limit in CA.

    I guess the Bardeen-Cooper-Schriefer theory of superconductivity is nothing special after all.

  177. D.A. Ridgely,

    Who is deriding Newton? If people can’t stand poking fun at Newton’s expense then they’ve turned Newton into something other than a human being.

    …is how monumentally superior their theories were to the prevailing competition of their milieu and the world that had passed before them.

    I’d say you are wrong there. Indeed, dismissing the pre-Socratics or alternatively Aristotle’s contemporaries is quite bizarre. For example, it was the pre-Socratics (not Socrates, Plato or Aristotle) which set up all – and I mean all – the questions which Western philosophy has been in a discussion over ever since. That they also created the methodology we still use today to ask and answer these questions is equally important.

  178. thoreau,

    Oh you poor thing. Maybe you are the one with autism, because apparently you don’t understand what an emoticon is. πŸ™‚

  179. The Faith of a Heretic-Walter Kauffman
    and The Colorado Kid-Stephen King

  180. D.A. Ridgley,

    The ancient world had great archivists and even what one might call publishing firms (I once saw a lecture on this topic that was fascinating). The problem is this: Christians and Muslims were offended by much of these works and burned or otherwise destroyed them.

  181. I’ve already ventured way too deep into the gray area between discussing and arguing.

  182. Hakluyt,

    Fair enough response. And I am well aware of the influence of the Ionian cosmologists, sophists, etc. and especially Socrates, who is a personal hero of mine. (Though what Socrates actually thought and taught and what was Plato’s sock-puppetry remains an interesting historical question.)

    And of course they were all mere human beings. Still, I find the tendency to focus on the failings and foibles of such intellectual giants always disquieting, occasionally disingenuous and, these days, all too often a familiar gambit in the advocacy of the sort of postmodern ‘relativism’ that would be beneath my contempt were it not so insidiously popular among certain intellectuals. If none of that applies to you, I do apologize.

  183. thoreau,

    Dude, your primary problem is that you took an obviously sarcastic off the cuff remark (that was followed by an emoticon) seriously. Do you honestly think that I want all (or any) admirers of Newton summarily shot?

    Again, answer this question: why do I know so much about Newton? The answer is quite obvious – I think he’s an important historical figure. I mean, duh! You really need to get that plug out of your ass.

  184. DA Ridgeley:

    I think that one of the most overlooked aspects of Russell’s Principia is that Godel’s work on incompleteness was a non starter without it. Russell did some of the most exhaustive analysis in the history of published thinking so that Godel could prove that even that was not enough to attain completeness in a closed system.

    Russel’s work was also critical to Wittgenstein’s.

    I like Mr. Russell quite a bit. He is one of the best writers of any of the philosophy heavyweights, and he had the advantage of not being so obsessed as to not seem like a real person.

  185. I spend more time reading to my son than reading for myself. Recently we tackled The Iliad, The Odyssey, Robinson Crusoe, and currently One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (Solzhenitsyn – very recommended if you didn’t read it in college).

    On my own, The Decline of American Liberalism (Arthur Ekirch, very good) and I’ve been circling and growling at a recently purchased copy of Tocqueville’s Democracy in America but haven’t worked up the energy to attack.

  186. D.A. Ridgely,

    Well, I am quite enthusiastic about Heidegger, nevertheless I have to admit that he was a Nazi. Which makes me reconsider much of what he wrote in Being… since reaching such a conclusion makes ones ideas a whole suspect. I believe Aristotle can be similarly criticized for his advocacy of slavery, since its readily apparent that his concept of a “natural slave” is heavily colored by cultural prejudices, and this in turn should make you question the rest of his ideas to see if they are similarly colored.

    I think if you compare Plato’s attacks on the ideas of Gorgias in the Gorgias you’ll find that Plato doesn’t actually defeat him and he (Plato) perpetrates a lot of hand waving throughout the work in an effort to hide this fact.

    …I find the tendency to focus on the failings and foibles of such intellectual giants always disquieting…

    I think its been a necessary corrective. Of course I also enjoy Montaigne discussing his bathroom habits as well. πŸ™‚

  187. Removal of Nitrogen and Phosphorus from Wastewater.

    Hey, Hakluyt, engineering classes aren’t that hard! Sheesh, studying at 3:00 AM?

    Winter read, Barzun’s From Dawn to Decadence.

    Now that I am an accomplished birder, I am moving on to another hobby and am reading three nature study books about Dragon and Damselflies.

    If I ever see another economics book, I wiil scream.

  188. thoreau,

    I’ll write this: get that buttplug out of your ass. πŸ™‚

  189. saw-whet,

    Whether they are hard or not isn’t the point. The point is that those students were more diligent than my fellow liberal arts students were. That should be obvious enough from my statement.

  190. I wonder if Gunnels has had a lot of facial reconstructive surgery?

  191. I’m reading a book about lists.
    It’s really boring.

  192. Phil,

    None so far.

  193. How would you know what surgeries Gunnells has had?

  194. Mr. Ligon,

    Like thoreau, I have little interest in arguing these points. I, too, admire Russell. He was a first class intellect, a brilliant (if too prolific) writer, a man with sufficient intellectual modesty to continue to change his mind any number of times over the course of his professional career and a worthy recipient of the Nobel Prize. His “On Denoting” remains one of the seminal articles in the history of 20th century Anglo-American analytic philosophy and, as you note, he was (via Frege) critical to the development of Wittgenstein’s earlier and later philosophy.

  195. Phil,

    Well, the answer to that should be obvious. πŸ™‚

  196. Hakluyt,

    You mean Gary is your upstairs roomate?

  197. Hak:

    Hear, hear on Aristotle’s natural slave. I found myself thinking that the key arguments of Ethics have to be called into question as self refuting on those grounds.

    But, hey, at least we got binary logic and that has to count for something.

  198. Off the top of my head so some info is missing:

    Jury Nullification (can’t remember author)
    Chaos (James Gleick)
    The Perennial Philosophy (aldous huxley)
    Hate Annual #5 (Peter Bagge)
    The Complete Peanuts Volume 3 (charles schulz)
    something by william dean howells
    something about attachment theory
    Stories Of Chicago (George Ade)
    Music Direct 2005 Catalog summer supplement
    The previous issue of Paste

    next on my stack is:

    a sinclair lewis anthology
    something by joseph conrad
    a william james anthology
    I’m always several issues behind The Atlantic
    and now their fiction issue is in the stack, too

  199. and currently One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (Solzhenitsyn – very recommended if you didn’t read it in college).

    Agreed, I rarely re-read anything, but I’ve got 3x on it and planning on a 4th. Never came up in college though…what class for you? Hatchet was the only other book I’ve read more than twice.

  200. Jason Ligon,

    Well, he (Aristotle) was certainly “the man” as far as logicians were concerned prior to Frege.

  201. TheDumbFish,

    No. πŸ™‚

  202. I’m currently reading:

    The Game, by Neil Strauss: A fascinating and eminently readable look into the world of pick-up artists. Never before have I envied and pitied people in such great measures.

    Sinister Forces, by Peter Levenda: Is America founded on deep, ancient, evil magic? God, I hope so. This one is an utter, utter hoot. A fact-explosion to be taken with fistfuls upon fistfuls of salt, but even if it’s 10% true, we’re all doomed.

    A Short History of Decay, by Emile Cioran: Good bedtime reading, if you don’t think you’re going to wake up.

  203. To the Fountainhead/Atlas Shrugged debate:

    I’ll out myself as a former Randoid and suggest that “We the Living” is actually her most enjoyable and worthwhile read. It has most of the ideas of the later stuff with little of the over-the-head-bashing, as well as some actual attempts at writing literature as opposed to a screed.

    It has, depending on how you read it and how you define tragedy, a tragic ending, which Rand later expressly disavowed.

    But after having just read Testimony, the memoirs of Shostakovich (I forgot to put that one, it came between the Vinge books), I think it probably captures the feeling of living in post-Revolutionary Russia quite well.

    It also has a commie who’s a sympathetic character. Now *there’s* something you don’t see everyday in a Rand novel.

    All that being said, if I had it to do over again, I might read that book, one of her philosophical essay collections, and Barbara Branden’s book, and then get on with my life.

    Eric the .5b, thanks for the recommendation. I really love the SF short story form anyway. You may have already read it, but if you want some other libertarian agitprop–though not nearly the same quality of writing–L. Neil Smith’s stuff is pretty fun. He does paint an attractive picture with his alternate America in The American Zone and its precursor, whose title momentarily escapes me. Vinge, though, is good on all levels.


  204. The People’s Act of Love
    by James Meeks is one of my favorite reads this year. Chekovian absurdity set among Siberian prisons, Czech mercenaries, betrayal, and cannibalism. Wonderously engaging.

  205. I’m currently reading Blink by Malcom Gladwell, Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk and I just finished Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubner. I also have a slew of mags I read on the back of the toilet. Wired, Fast Company, Business 2.0, Business Week and Spin(All of these were bought by frequent flier miles I will never use). I usually take a while to read non-fiction books, but fiction book go down fast.

  206. Stitcherbeast – Along that line try Babylon Mystery Religion.

  207. Hit and Run posters are pretty open-minded, so I’ll throw this one out, possibly the most influential book I’ve read in my life:

    How to Make Love All Night and Drive a Woman Wild – Barbara Keesling

    Obviously this one is for the guys, and it deals with techniques whereby men can achieve multiple orgasms without ejaculation, enabling them to, well, you guessed it, make love all night and drive a woman wild.

    I’m telling ya it works!

  208. Related threads that might work well on a libertarian forum:

    1) What are you smoking? (And do you know somebody who’s cool that can hook me up?)

    2) What are you shooting? (Gun and ammo type?)

    Other ideas?

  209. Credit where credit is due: Joe’s suggestion of this thread was an excellent idea; so far it has been one of the more interesting I have read at H&R.

    My first encounter with Rand was For The New Intellectual and then The Virtue of Selfishness, but the first nonfiction of hers that I read was Anthem. I found it to be very moving at the time and from the standpoint of fictional literature I still think it was very good.
    I think I would have to agree with much of what Sandy said about We The Living. I personally did not enjoy that book very much (I found it depressing after having read her other novels), but it IS a different sort work compared to her other books. It reads as though it were written by a young woman in love with the idea of being in love.

  210. Douglas Fletcher:

    We gonna have a chess club too?

    Chess is second most amount of fun that you can have without laughing.

  211. Okay, Barton: Pawn to King 4.

  212. What are you smoking?

    I’m partial to Macanudo Hampton Courts and (when I can afford one) an occasional Cohiba.

    Oh… you mean pot. I’ve never touched the stuff myself. That’s what comes from living with uber-conservative parents and having to pass those damn tests in order to get a deccent job. Therefore, I have never had a chance to indulge, and wouldn’t even know where to get the stuff. I would like to give it a try someday, provided that I could get away with it.

    What are you shooting?

    Man… I haven’t had the time to go to the range since March! I got a Tarus Tracker .357 that I’ve only got to shoot once sice I got it last holiday season. That and I need to practice with my Springfield Armory XP-40.

  213. jw——– Rick

    1. P-k4 — P-Q4

    or if you want to use algebraic, it’s:

    jw — — Rick

    1. e4 — d5

  214. what are you shooting?

    Heroin mostly.

  215. jw: 2. Knt-Kb3

  216. “My Pet Goat”

  217. What’s with so many people reading so many books at once? I get one book, read as far through it as it merits, then get another. I suspect many of you are lying, as Tim suggests.

  218. I’m not posting my list here, but I will say that reading multiple books at once is no big deal. If I’m reading a book for the first time I’ll usually read it straight through with no interruptions, but if I’m re-reading something it’s not uncommon for me to read part of it, then put it down and turn to a second book which reminds me of something in the first book, and so forth. Or, read several chapters of something heavy and intellectual and then read a few chapters of something light and funny to decompress.

  219. Jennifer,

    Who suggested that it was a “big deal?”

  220. I think it probably captures the feeling of living in post-Revolutionary Russia quite well.

    But of course there is some controversy over how much of Shostakovich’s acual life it captures πŸ˜‰

  221. Wow, I missed what looks like a super long and really good thread…thanks for suggesting the current reading lists question, joe. I look forward to reading about what everyone else is reading and possibly getting some ideas of what to read next. I’m not going to bother posting my reading list here because I probably don’t currently read anything intellectual enough to enter a pissing match, so I’ll bow out politely.

    But I will add that you really all should read Bruce Campbell’s autobiographies. Help support his chin of righteousness and his lantern-like jaw!

  222. What’s with so many people reading so many books at once?

    No idea, though I distinguish between “thing I’m reading at home” and “thing [usually a magazine] I have in my bag to read at the cafe”. And comic book trade paperbacks (or, for the pretentious, “sequential arts” collections) are usually fast reads, after all…

  223. not reading anything not associated with skuul.

    smacky: is he also clad in the codpiece of rightesousness?

  224. What’s with so many people reading so many books at once?

    For me, it’s probably because I have the attention span of a gnat, at least these days. So I switch around.

    Also:

    Shakespeare: A complete dick.

    Einstein: A poser.

    Aristotle and Plato: Utter morons.

    I just thought I’d through those out there.

  225. Very recently:

    “Sanctuary” by William Faulkner
    “I Am Charlotte Simmons” by Tom Wolfe (loved it but the ending left a lot of unanswered questions)
    which lead me to:
    “A Man In Full” by Tom Wolfe (good but grueling length)

    Next up:
    Snake Hips: Belly Dancing and How I Found True Love” by Anne Thomas Soffee

    And a recommendation for Jennifer:
    “Highways and Dancehalls” by Diana Atkinson

  226. THROW! Geez.

    Stevo Darkly: Can’t type today.

  227. Jennifer,
    That sounded more like a gym workout routine than a reading list.

  228. I realize now I lied on my list, by omitting works I read to my kid. So my list should have inluded The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (you may have heard of that one), Go, Train, Go! (a companion book to Stop, Train, Stop!) based on The Railway Series by The Reverend W. Awdry, and The Tale of Two Bad Mice by Beatrix Potter (a nighmare vision of uncontrollable crime and savagery, along with a meditation on historical guilt and redemption). Those ones I read over and over and over again.

  229. Wow, came late to this party.

    Anyway, having bought a handful of used books last weekend (www.booksale.org, worth the drive from Philadelphia) I just finished a Niven-Pournelle collaboration about an LA County Arcology in the near-future of 1982: Oath of Fealty. The wireless computer network is just off, and “Lazer Tag” was called “The Man from UNCLE Role-playing Game”. But the story was good. Better than The Mote in God’s Eye, but a lesser work than Lucifer’s Hammer.

    Professionally, I’m reading Managing Software Requirements: a Use-Case Approach.

  230. Mk–

    Yeah, it keeps me in shape. Besides, I read at an extremely fast pace (which was cool when I was in school and plowing through stuff I had to read, but it truly sucks nowadays when almost all of my reading is for pleasure, and I look forward to a book for WEEKS and then finish it in a few hours), so even when I read books from start-to-finish (as opposed to multiple books) I can read two or three (average-sized) novels in a single Saturday, or one Stephen-King-sized book. This drives my boyfriend crazy.

  231. Currently reading “Iron Council” by China Mieville. Very dark and strange sci-fi. I highly recommend this and his previous two books “Perdido Street Station” and “The Scar.”

    Just finished “Peace Kills” by PJ O’Rourke and Freakonomics (which was interesting but very poorly written).

    I’m mostly a music guy, and that about concludes my reading total for the year… πŸ™‚

  232. I read almost every post in this thread. That should count for something.

  233. This drives my boyfriend crazy.

    Funny that. I’d figure your finishing things too quickly would make your boyfriend feel great.

    Sorry Jeff.

    Oh, while I’m here. I’m going to re-recommend Umberto Eco’s Baudolino. Easily the most enjoyable book of his IMHO.

    And Tim this book was a hit with my daughter when she was little. It’s clever.

  234. Reading:
    Stephen King’s “Night Shift”
    Manchester’s “The Arms of Krupp”

  235. Tim–

    If you can find a copy of Natalie Babbitt’s The Devil’s Storybook (which I think is still in print) get a copy of it for your kid. Wonderful, wonderful book. You wouldn’t even mind (too much) reading it over and over. Nice kiddie introduction to satire and irony. (And I first discovered it in the library of my deep Southern elementary school, so it’s not what the title would have you believe.)

  236. (And I first discovered it in the library of my deep Southern elementary school, so it’s not what the title would have you believe.)

    You mean…..SATAN?!

  237. What’s with so many people reading so many books at once? I get one book, read as far through it as it merits, then get another. I suspect many of you are lying, as Tim suggests.

    I don’t doubt there’s plenty of book inflation going on any time you ask the what-are-you-reading question, but I wasn’t padding my book-reading resume–frankly, I’ve got a serious problem with reading just one book at a time. I usually have some sort of fiction going on (often two or three books, often SF re-reads), but I tend to read more nonfiction these days. Unlike a lot of people here, seemingly, I’d just as soon read science, philosophy, and history books. Politics and economics don’t do that much for me. With a few exceptions, of course (hey, I AM a libertarian).

  238. Wild Lover —

    Thanks, I already know how to drive a woman wild.

    When you take off your socks and underwear, just walk away and leave them on the floor, in the serene confidence that they’ll make it into the laundry somehow.

    (And I’m not even married.)

  239. thoreau —

    Obviously you are getting too worked up about some sarcastic comments made about Newton.

    You should try harder to be the happy-go-lucky, easygoing, go-along-to-get-along sort that Hakluyt is.

    PS:

    Thomas Jefferson: Big pussy.

    Martin Luther King: Commie fink.

    Thomas Edison: Rudderless putterer.

    Hammurabi the Lawgiver: Annoying beyond belief.

  240. Oh, and

    Bruce Campbell: Chin’s kinda asymmetrical, don’t you think?

  241. Stevo, I’ll tolerate your dissing Shakespeare, but do not impugn the appearance of Bruce Campbell.

    Just don’t.

  242. Stevo-

    You forgot to mention that Poincare was just an arrogant guy who knew a few arithmetic tricks, and Sadi Carnot was a one trick pony who knew a bit about engines but not much else. Marie Curie? Eh, kind of a dim broad. Lavoisier? How fricking stupid to you have to be to go around burning up diamonds?

    And Claude Shannon? Least informed guy ever.

  243. Stevo,

    When I want to drive a woman wild, I take her glow-in-the-dark vibrator and fling it around the room while saying in a deep tone. “The starship Enterherprise: it’s bold mission – to go where many men have gone before”.

    And that’s why I am no longer married, in a nutshell.

  244. Thoreau–

    Marie Curie was a Pole married to a Frenchman. I suggest you learn the proper use of ethnic slurs before you–oh, you know the drill.

  245. Jennifer-

    I didn’t make any ethnic slurs against her. I just said she was a dim broad. Even for a chick you’re pretty dull.

  246. Jennifer-

    Although I was obviously joking around, nonetheless I totally owe you an apology and some free drinks at the November meeting, of course.

    I’m sorry.

  247. Jennifer:

    Did you happen to see any of The Man with The Burning Brain that was on SciFi recently? Fair warning, it might be a bit of a visual shock.

  248. You should be sorry, Thoreau. How can anyone possibly be expected to recognize sarcasm if it’s not clearly marked by a :-), huh?

  249. Jason–No, now that the season of Galactica is over I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to cut back on my TV watching.

  250. “When you take off your socks and underwear, just walk away and leave them on the floor, in the serene confidence that they’ll make it into the laundry somehow.

    (And I’m not even married.)”

    And it’s clear to any married man that you aren’t. Otherwise your first sentence would have read:

    “Perform any action in her presence.”

  251. BTW, I think British and German scientists totally rock. French ones? eh.

  252. Jennifer:

    It’s horrible. I only caught seconds of it as I flipped channels one night, and my retinas are permanently scarred. I don’t seem to watch much these days either. I mostly wait until good shows come out of dvd, then watch them on my own time. For some reason, I flip channels watching nothing a few nights a week though. Pavlov, I guess.

  253. Jason–

    What’s so bad about it?

  254. Did you happen to see any of The Man with The Burning Brain that was on SciFi recently? Fair warning, it might be a bit of a visual shock.

    Jason Ligon,

    It’s “Man with The Screaming Brain”, FYI. (Of course, I must be the fool correcting someone about a B-grade, made-for-TV movie on the Sci-Fi channel on a thread about books.)

  255. Re: Man With The Screaming Brain

    It’s horrible. I only caught seconds of it as I flipped channels one night, and my retinas are permanently scarred.

    How do you think I feel?I saw the premiere of it in the theater. Because of this, I am permanently, cripplingly demented.

    Even Bruce Campbell was hinting that it sucked during the question and answer session before the screening.

  256. (Note to self: Threadjack about beefy, b-grade, movie star hunk successful! Mission accomplished…)

  257. Mission accomplished…

    Does this mean a bunch of Campbell-hatin’ insurgents are going to keep fighting you for another two years and counting?

  258. Working on “Guns, Germs and Steel” by Jared Diamond.

    Recently finished “The Cold Six Thousand” by James Ellroy. Love his stuff. Know one knows what evil lurks in the heart of men like he does. This is the second book in his “Underworld USA” trilogy he started with “American Tabloid.” He strings together Cuba, Kennedy, Viet Nam, Howard Hughes, Hoover, the Mob, Sonny Liston, the Klan, MLK and RFK in a way that kicks ass on a monumental level. If it didn’t all go down like he wrote it should have. As Ellroy once put it the major theme is “Bad white men, doing bad things in the name of authority.” I can?t wait for the third book, which will supposedly end right before the Watergate break in.

    I also always have a PJ O’Rouke book handy. ‘Parliament of Whores” sits next to me as I type. 14 years old and still frighteningly and hilariously relevant.

  259. Jennifer:

    Stevo, I’ll tolerate your dissing Shakespeare, but do not impugn the appearance of Bruce Campbell.

    After dissing Shakespeare, Einstein, MLK, Aristotle, Jefferson, etc., I just knew it would be the Bruce Campbell remark that would actually stir someone to rise in defense. (I rather suspected it would come from smacky, though.)

    thoreau, I have to confess that, except for Mme. Curie, most of your examples have gone over my head. I shall have to visit Wikipedia later.

    Oh, a few more:

    Milton Friedman: Money-grubber.

    Stephen Hawking: Swaggering bullyboy.

    Buckminster Fuller: Preening catamite.

  260. Jesus!

    I mean:

    No on Knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men like…

    and

    O’Rourke

    Me can read but me no can type or spell. Me sorry

  261. Here’s a question about books:

    If I read only one book by Nozick, what should I read?

    If I read only one book by Hayek, what should I read?

  262. thoreau,

    *yawn*

    You do miss the inside of the toilet a lot it seems.

    Jennifer,

    I really wouldn’t talk. After all, your reading comprehension skills are so low that you can’t differentiate what I and Phil were claiming the other day. I stated that he was being figurative, and he stated that he was being literal. For some rather boneheaded reason, you reversed our claims. Then again, you did get a degree in English.

  263. Know one knows what evil lurks in the heart of men like he does.

    The Shadow does.

  264. By the way, I know nothing about the personal life of Buckminster Fuller; I’ve just always been itching to call someone “a preening catamite.”

  265. thoreau, I have to confess that, except for Mme. Curie, most of your examples have gone over my head. I shall have to visit Wikipedia later.

    Stevo-

    Poincare is considered one of the last great “generalists” of mathematics, one of those guys who could contribute to a wide range of fields. Sort of like Einstein, who in one year invented relativity, provided a crucial piece of the quantum theory of radiation and electrons, and elucidated the mechanism of diffusion.

    Carnot was an engineer who figured out the Second Law of Thermodynamics by studying engines. His book “Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire” is about to be re-released (in translation) in an inexpensive paperback, and it’s on my Amazon wishlist. It’s actually a very easy read, and I highly recommend it to everybody here. You don’t need very much physics background to understand it.

    Lavoisier was a chemist who did a great many things. His most dramatic demonstration was proving that diamonds are made of carbon, by using an enormous lens to focus the sun’s rays on a diamond and burning it.

    And Claude Shannon (born and raised in the US, despite his name) was the father of Information Theory. Hence I called him the “least informed guy ever.”

  266. Hey, I also have a question about books.

    If I only read one novel by Harper Lee, which one should I read?

  267. thoreau,

    Nozick – A lot of folks would say Anarchy, State and Utopia, but I perfer Philosophical Explanations. Of course I guess it also depends on your purpose for reading Nozick.

  268. thoreau —

    Explaining a joke may not make it funnier, but it did make me smarter. Thank you.

  269. Oh, Carnot’s book also includes some speculations on the future of science and technology and the social implications. It’s been a while since I read it, so I don’t recall what he said. The main impression that I took away from the book was awe for how much he elucidated from simple assumptions. The Second Law is truly a remarkable achievement of human intellect.

    Here’s a link to the forthcoming re-release of Carnot’s book.

  270. Stevo,

    I figured you figured that I would get all upset about your libel on Bruce Campbell. I was trying to contain my outrage so that I might be less predictable, but now that I know for sure that I really am that predictable, here goes: “you sir, are an ass.” Does that convey an appropriate level of outrage about your slur on Mr. Bubba Ho Tep?

    Jennifer,

    I can tell that you are a loyal Bruce Campbell admirer, since you boldly and graciously jumped to his defense. That’s why I feel confident that I can give you a visual reason why Man With The Screaming Brain was terrible — I’m sure that you, as I, will be able to forgive Mr. Campbell for this sci-fi abomination.

    Here is one reason why Man with the Screaming Brain was godawful.

  271. Stevo Darkly,

    He invented the “geodesic dome,” wrote a short history of the world that Sting approves of and was big into building a “recycle society” – that is a society where everything used was turned back into some useful product. That’s about all I know about the guy.

  272. (I hope you weren’t sipping a beverage when you clicked the link.)

  273. By the way, I have another question about books.

    I’m a busy man. If I only have time to read one sentence by Umberto Eco, which should it be? Thank you.

  274. smacky,

    Bubba Ho Tep was stupid.

  275. Stevo Darkly,

    One sentence? Hmm, I always liked the opening paragraphs to The Island of the Day Before.

  276. smacky — In that linked photo, he looks kinda like John Cleese.

    Hak — I knew he invented the geodesic dome. I think he also had something to do with something called “buckeyballs,” which sounds painful.

  277. Can you guys tell that I’m a big admirer of Carnot? Seriously, read that book if you have any interest in reading a scientific work that founded a new discipline. Most original scientific articles are rather dry and difficult for laymen. (Newton’s Principia is certainly formidable to work through.) Carnot’s book is different. Of all the great scientific works out there, it may very well be the one that’s most accessible to non-scientists.

  278. Bubba Ho Tep was stupid.

    Ok, that’s it Hakluyt. I tolerated you personally attacking innocent libertarian strangers on this website, threadjacking Hit and Run threads to the point of chaos, and generally being rude and belligerent in general. But this is where I draw the line. Somebody hold me back! Hold me back!

    (I can’t believe you think Bubba Ho Tep is stupid! You must be putting me on. Ossie Davis as a black JFK?! “They dyed me this color!”). Comic gold.

  279. “Bubba Ho Tep was stupid.”

    Exactly. Stupid in the best way imaginable.

  280. Stevo,

    That would be (Baudolino to Frederick Barbarossa):
    “I said to him when you learn to read then you learn everything you didn’t know before. But when you write you write only what you know already so patently I’m better off not knowing how to write.”

  281. smacky,

    Well, there are worse movies out there certainly. πŸ™‚

  282. Stevo Darkly,

    They are named after Fuller: http://www.imbris.net/~jfromm/bucky/bucky.htm

  283. “Hmm, I always liked the opening paragraphs to The Island of the Day Before. ”

    Too bad the rest of it sucked. I normally expect Eco to go … somewhere great. Even if I have to endure undeciphered cryptic wierdness for 300 pages, I expect there to be a big payoff “Foucault’s Pendulum” style by page 315.

    The Island of the Day Before made me look, but didn’t show me anything noteworthy. I’ve been eyeing Baudolino suspiciously since I bought it as a result.

  284. Jason ligon,

    Well, I don’t think it sucked, but its certainly not his best work.

  285. I’m going to build a Carnot Engine to hurl a copy of Newton’s Principia at the next person that slanders Bubba Ho-Tep.

  286. “”buckeyballs” buckminster fullerines – C60 – its a configuration of carbon in roughly the shape of a soccerball.

  287. I had to endure a semester of ridicule by a physics prof when I referred to Carnot as “You know, the efficiency guy” in class. Most of my physics memories are similarly painful …

  288. Jason Ligon,

    Even if I have to endure undeciphered cryptic wierdness for 300 pages…

    What else do you expect from writing which is obsessed with hypertextuality? πŸ™‚

  289. BTW, smacky: You are so predictable. I knew that by posting a comment about a lack of comment being posted in response by you, that I would thereby elicit a comment posted by you about why you didn’t post a comment in response.

    πŸ™‚

  290. dead elvis,

    *cackle*

  291. One last question about books.

    If I only have time to read one punctuation mark by Edward Gibbon (right now I am busy beyond belief), which one should it be?

    Thank you.

  292. Stevo Darkly,

    *guffaw*

  293. I’m late to this party, but I’m currently re-reading the following (when I can):

    Freedom, Vol. I by Orlando Patterson

    Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

    Selected Essays on Political Economy by Frederic Bastiat

    Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain

    The Door into Summer by R.A.H.

    At the moment, I can’t afford any new books, damn it all. But someone recently lent me Absolute Friends by John Le Carre. Is it any good?

  294. We’re approach 300 posts, BTW. This might be a good chance to go for 500. πŸ™‚

  295. If I only have time to read one punctuation mark by Edward Gibbon (right now I am busy beyond belief), which one should it be?

    Stevo Darkly,

    Definately exclamation point. Exclamation point!

    So, it’s gone from *chuckle* to *cackle*….hmm, I predict one day it will evolve to *chortle*, Hakluyt — or should I say, The Jabberwocky.

  296. smacky,

    Get off my mirth dude.

    *smirk*

  297. Sounds like somebody forgot to take their medication today….

    …there, I said it. The 300th post.

  298. smacky,

    Congratulations. You’ve won nothing!

  299. Freedom, Vol. I by Orlando Patterson

    I asked Hak about that book once–I really liked that book. I read it over ten years ago. …It traces the idea of freedom from the beginning of Western culture–defines freedom against the idea of slavery and the idea of slavery as social death. …I found his arguments compelling and his writing style entirely accessible.

    I’ve waited for the sequel for the ten years since, and, from Amazon, it looks like it just came out at the end of last month under the title, “Freedom: Freedom in the Modern World”.

    …Okay, my weekend’s shot.

  300. Tom Crick,

    Patterson is certainly one of the greatest minds of the post-WWII era.

  301. Really? Patterson finally produced the sequel? Hmm, I guess I know what my first book purchase this fall will be. If it’s half as good as Vol. I, I’ll be a happy man.

  302. Wait, I’m still unclear about how Thoreau feels about Carnot.

    If you read only one dot by Joyce… (inside Ulysses joke)

  303. Tom Crick,

    I still recommend Slavery and Social Death.

  304. Smacky–

    Oooh, yeah, that was pretty awful. But doesn’t that make Our Bruce a “serious” actor now? From what I’ve seen, anytime a good-looking person makes himself ugly for a movie role that catapults him to “serious” actor status.

    Therefore, Stevo, I second Smacky’s pronouncement: you, sir, are an ass!

  305. Damn it, you show up a couple hours late and this is what happens…DON’T ANY OF YOU STINKING HIPPIES HAVE JOBS?! Ahem.

    Currently reading:
    * Rabbit Redux, by John Updike
    * Photo Finish: The digital photographer’s guide to printing, showing, and selling images, by Jon Canfield and Tim Grey

    Recently read:
    * The Nirvana Blues, by John Nichols (fun, clever, bouncily paced, but loses steam near the end and then just goes to pieces)
    * Freakonomics (good but very uneven)
    * Libertarianism, by David Boaz (re-reading – it’s good to refamiliarize yourself with your historical and philosophical grounding)
    * Chameleon, by William Diehl (complete crap, do not bother, I found this in the trash)
    * Rock This!, by Chris Rock (a book by a comedian that’s actually funny, for once)
    * The Book of Jeremiah, by God (NIV translation, which I generally regard as junk, but oh well)
    * To Kill A Mockingbird (somehow got through high school without reading it, and decided I needed to)
    * The Scar, by China Mieville (Mieville is always good, even if he’s a commie – at least it keeps him sceptical about power)
    plus a bunch of other random stuff. I haven’t been reading as much non-fiction lately since a household rearrangement forced me to move my reading chair to a less-favorable spot; I should do something about that.

    Ayn Rand: I forced myself through Atlas Shrugged. It really says something about the force of her ideas that they can survive being conveyed via books like that. My mother has a copy of The Fountainhead around; maybe I’ll give it a shot. Anthem is a fun, much quicker read. Everybody knows that Rand was just ripping off Evgeny Zamyatin, though, right?

  306. ooh, yeah, that was pretty awful. But doesn’t that make Our Bruce a “serious” actor now?

    There’s another Evil Dead about to come out! …What’s that, like Evil Dead VII? …he’s about six feet from doin’ Troma flicks from what I can tell.

    No, he is not a “serious” actor now–and he’s not your Bruce either! He’s a semi-underground man hero–not some pretty-boy pin up! …Sheeesh!

  307. Jennifer,

    I don’t know if Bruce’s role in “The Man With The Screaming Brain” qualifies him for any serious actor status, unless we’re talking seriously bad.
    His role as a geriatric Elvis in Bubba Ho-Tep, however, very well qualifies him as a serious actor, I think, if you’re going on your attractive-to-ugly hypothesis.

    Sorry about that scary link, by the way. Here’s something to soothe your eyes.

  308. He’s a semi-underground man hero–not some pretty-boy pin up! …Sheeesh!

    He is what I say he is, Tom.

    Smacky, the address in the link has a worse server than even Reason’s. I have no idea if you extended a peace offering or linked to something even worse, so either “thank you very much, Smacky” or “fuck off and die, Smacky,” depending on which.

  309. Tom Crick,

    Don’t get your panties in a bunch — it’s ok to look up to a pretty-boy pinup; there’s nothing unmanly about it. As fans, we can all share him. Bruce, that is…

    *sigh*
    *bats eyelashes*

    Oh, you’re welcome, Jennifer. You’re welcome. I think you’ll be rather happy when the link’s server is working again…

  310. *sigh*

    Stop that! Stop that immediately! He’s not some sigh inspiring pretty boy! …Cut that out!

    That photo’s definitely from Army of Darkness. …I don’t know if they’ll ever quite re-captured some of that magic from Evil Dead II, not that AOD’s bad–it’s just different. …here’s hopin’ they keep tryin’!

  311. Bruce Campbell, Geek God, oh you are such a pretty pin-up boy!

    Sigh

  312. Bruce Campbell, Geek God, oh you are such a pretty pin-up boy!

    Now I’m getting sick! …and he’s not a Geek God either!

  313. I think this thread illustrates the need for a special libertarian convention: Libertarianism and Bruce Campbell: Pretty Boy Pinup or Semi-Underground Man-Hero?

    Convention Location: the shack in rural Tennessee where Evil Dead was filmed.

  314. Oh, he is, Tom. He is.

    I’m having a perfect hair day today. . . if only Brucie-baby were here to see it. . . .sigh

    But if it makes things a little more palatable for you, Tom, I could probably be persuaded to share Brucie-baby* with Smacky, if that were the only option. .

    *Army of Darkness Model.

  315. You can have my fantasy Bruce Campbell when you pry him from my cold, dead crotch, Jennifer.

    Was that too graphic? πŸ™‚

    TCB,

    smacky.

  316. But if it makes things a little more palatable for you, Tom, I could probably be persuaded to share Brucie-baby* with Smacky, if that were the only option.

    Actually, that makes me feel better. …I thought you were emasculating him! …but, yes, that’s definitely more…*gulp*…palatable.

  317. …I thought you were emasculating him!

    What the hell use would I have for him then?

    Smacky: meow, bitch. If you’re gonna be like that then I won’t share him at all.

    (and the guys all gather ’round in case our clothes get torn in the ensuing fight. . . .)

  318. I read mostly science fiction. Currently in the middle of “1634: The Galileo Affair”, the third in a series of novels about a present-day West Virginia town that goes through some kind of time warp and lands in the middle of 17th-century Europe.

  319. Stevo, I have answers for you:

    • To Kill a Seagull (sequel to the better known To Kill a Catcher in the Rye)
    • Stephen Hawking is a swaggering bullygangbanger (see MC Hawking’s Crib if you are experiencing doubt)
    • Umlaut
  320. Tom Crick,

    Yes, Greek Gods generally aren’t fat tubs of lard.

  321. Looks like Jennifer and smacky are about to tussle over Mr. Megagnathous!

    (and the guys all gather ’round in case our clothes get torn in the ensuing fight. . . .)

    YESSS!!!!

    Wait, girls! We don’t want you to get hurt. Each of you, slip into this special protective clothing. Yes, lacy, filmy silk has been scientifically proven to reduce your chances of bruises or abrasians.

  322. Nice one, Pro Libertate.

    Oh, I almost forgot.

    smacky sez: “you sir, are an ass.”

    Jennifer sez: “Therefore, Stevo, I second Smacky’s pronouncement: you, sir, are an ass!”

    Charles Dickens sez: “The law is an ass.”

    Therefore:

    I AM THE LAW!!!

  323. Jennifer, is Jeff aware of your Bruce Campbell crush?

    Any other opinions on the best Nozick and Hayek reads?

  324. Thoreau–

    By now? Probably.

  325. thoreau PhD,

    Anarchy State and Utopia deserves its rep and the Philosophy Book of the Year award that it received the year it came out. I also very much enjoyed the interesting essays in Nozick’s Socratic Puzzles which explore a number of diverse philisophical questions. BTW, The Libertarian Idea by Jan Narveson is considered by some to be an even more solid philisophical defense of libertarianism than Anarchy State and Utopia!

    For political theory from Hayek, I really like Law, Legislation and Liberty, Volume 2 : The Mirage of Social Justice Very strong!

  326. jw,

    2…PxP

    (to continue, just email me)

  327. I’m reading The Hunt For Red October. On tape, no less.

    I’m so much cooler than you.

  328. Rick-

    First, you don’t have to mention my degree when you address me. Although, if you want to, hey, flattery is always nice! πŸ™‚

    Hmm, if I adopt the same practice I could address some people as “So-and-so BS”. I like it!

    Second, thanks for the info. I’ve put Anarchy, State, and Utopia on my Amazon list. I hadn’t heard of the Hayek volume that you mentioned, so I’ll check out some Amazon reviews.

  329. Right now? I’m reading Enhanced Anerobic Digestion By Fenton Treatment. That title cracks me up.

  330. Hail to the king baby.

  331. thoreau,

    It seemed like appending your name with your degree would be a cool thing to do after you got it- Like a journal attribution πŸ™‚ And, educational achievement is among the things that I really admire. I was gonna call you Dr. thoreau but then folks would be asking you for medical advice. BTW, My son’s getting his MA in Poli Sci next semester. Also BTW, I’m a firm believer in the idea that persons should be addressed however they want to be addressed.

  332. I know this thread has disappeared off the page, but congratulations on your son’s MA! The only person at my defense happier than me was my mother.

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