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Author Topic: So What Are You Reading Right Now  (Read 8180 times)

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Coolkorat

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Re: So What Are You Reading Right Now
« Reply #140 on: May 22, 2017, 04:07:05 PM »

Part way through Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez. I like the narrative, and there are some amusing lines in it, but it is a heavyweight! Slow progress so far.... The friend who lent me this has also lent me Leaf Storm by Márquez, and Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón which they highly recommended.

Also on my list is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari; people rave about this book.
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Anton

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Re: So What Are You Reading Right Now
« Reply #141 on: May 23, 2017, 12:56:41 AM »

Part way through Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez. I like the narrative, and there are some amusing lines in it, but it is a heavyweight! Slow progress so far.... The friend who lent me this has also lent me Leaf Storm by Márquez

I have both these novels in Korat. I started by "Leaf storm" because it was Márquez' first and also Márquez' own favourite novel. Great disappointment: I painfully reached the end, not my cup of tea at all. After that, I relegated "Love in the time..." under the pile and I'm not surprised by your judgement (heavyweight).


Also on my list is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari; people rave about this book.

Never read anything by him but I like his position on animal welfare.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 10:37:08 AM by Anton »
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If thar’s one thing I hates worse than a nigger or a woman, it’s a Yankee. I’d hearn tell they couldn’t never mind their own bizness. I hates folks who can’t mind their own bizness (Archie in "Gone with the wind", ch. 42)

Anton

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Re: So What Are You Reading Right Now
« Reply #142 on: May 28, 2017, 10:31:28 AM »

I finished "The dinner" by Dutch writer Herman Koch, international bestseller first published in 2009, third most translated Dutch novel, already staged on the boards and adapted for the silver screen thrice in a 4-year span. I think the success is deserved, the novel is well structured and it offers much food for thought on some crucial issues in our modern society. It starts out a little slow but climax builds up little by little with several unexpected developments and a rather unforeseen ending.

Robert or other Ducth members, if you are reading could you answer this please? Towards the end (chapter 3 in "Dessert" part) the narrator, a mentally unbalanced person, makes this statement on the subject of Dutch premiers in general:

That sense of vicarious shame was a constant. Our being ashamed of our prime ministers was the only feeling that created a seamless connection between one Dutch administration and the next.

Is that true or just subjective raving about?
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If thar’s one thing I hates worse than a nigger or a woman, it’s a Yankee. I’d hearn tell they couldn’t never mind their own bizness. I hates folks who can’t mind their own bizness (Archie in "Gone with the wind", ch. 42)

Roger

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Re: So What Are You Reading Right Now
« Reply #143 on: May 29, 2017, 02:18:03 PM »

Reading a lot right now - it's raining every day !

Just finished, 'The House in South Rd', an autobiography of a 'working class' woman born in Bristol 1917. Interesting for me because we had family friends in that exact area when I was young. The male attitudes depicted would be thought rather 'unreconstructed' these days.

How hard were those lives of such people until Atlee's Labour Government of 1945.
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Anton

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Re: So What Are You Reading Right Now
« Reply #144 on: November 05, 2017, 08:03:39 AM »

Finished "Angela's ashes" by Frank McCourt. Published in 1996, Pulitzer Price winner in 1997, Alan Parker filmed it in 1999.

After a first chapter set in New York during Great Depression, the author tells about his growing up in very catholic Limerick, Ireland, in most squalid conditions of poverty, from the mid-1930s to the mid-1940s. The writing style is that of a schoolchild composition, easily accessible to any reader. Filled with black humour, it deals with most serious aspects of life in a disarming, moving way. There are plenty of reviews online if you want to know more. I liked it and would recommend it to anybody.

PS: Forum member Wasp once indicated this book as being among his very favourite ones, see here.
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If thar’s one thing I hates worse than a nigger or a woman, it’s a Yankee. I’d hearn tell they couldn’t never mind their own bizness. I hates folks who can’t mind their own bizness (Archie in "Gone with the wind", ch. 42)

Robert

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Re: So What Are You Reading Right Now
« Reply #145 on: November 05, 2017, 10:05:22 AM »

I finished "The dinner" by Dutch writer Herman Koch, international bestseller first published in 2009, third most translated Dutch novel, already staged on the boards and adapted for the silver screen thrice in a 4-year span. I think the success is deserved, the novel is well structured and it offers much food for thought on some crucial issues in our modern society. It starts out a little slow but climax builds up little by little with several unexpected developments and a rather unforeseen ending.

Robert or other Ducth members, if you are reading could you answer this please? Towards the end (chapter 3 in "Dessert" part) the narrator, a mentally unbalanced person, makes this statement on the subject of Dutch premiers in general:

That sense of vicarious shame was a constant. Our being ashamed of our prime ministers was the only feeling that created a seamless connection between one Dutch administration and the next.

Is that true or just subjective raving about?

Sorry Anton, just noticed your question. Have not read this book so to comment on one sentence strikes me as nonsense. Problem in The Netherlands are the large numbers of parties participating in the elections so always parties have to make a coalition.

To stay on topic, I am reading Act of Treason by Vince Flynn. Have read the 6 previous books but only halfway of Mitch Rapp series.
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Roger

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Re: So What Are You Reading Right Now
« Reply #146 on: December 06, 2017, 08:21:06 AM »

An enjoyable read - 'Harry' - autobiography of Mr H Redknapp.

Highly entertaining. Lots of insights into the likeable rascal and this football world over 40 years or so. Some explanations of his fall out with Billy Bonds and a recount of a momentous non-signing - picking up Carl Richards from Enfield for £10,000 as Bournemouth's Manager who 'Arry describes as 'absolutely useless' on closer examination - (although he did well later). During the signing at Enfield, a team-mate of Richards said to 'Arry, ''sign me instead, I've got 26 goals this season and e's only got 12'. 'Arry declined but promised to keep an eye on him and the chance came soon. Against Palace in a friendly, the newly signed IAN WRIGHT scored 3 against B'mth.
Ouch !

And - 'George Osborne. The Austerity Chancellor' by Janan Ganesh. 344 pages of detailed insight into the progress of Osborne (and Cameron). Very hard work. Interesting in places. Anyone who thinks modern politics is easy should have a plough through. Mindboggling stuff.

I'm happy to post either of these on to anyone interested FOC. Just PM an address.  8)
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caller

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Re: So What Are You Reading Right Now
« Reply #147 on: December 06, 2017, 06:13:58 PM »

Adults in the Room - my Battles with Europe's Deep Establishment by Yanis Varoufakis.

Ex Greek finance minister takes on the unelected Eurozone and loses. Scary.

Okay, it's his perspective, but economically, he really can't be challenged. He was never a politician and was informally advising the soon to be radical left Government of Alexis Tsipras, who asked him to take on the job as finance minster. So he left his comfort zone of political economics, at the time he was lecturing in America, and went to do battle with primarily the Germans on behalf of Greece. He was naïve, far too trusting, demonised by leaks (the same scum tactics employed by the same scum German with Brexit), which even saw his Greek allies turn against him and in the end he bailed out.

Read back to back with Gavin Hewitt's 'The Lost Continent' and a picture of the 'Deep' and largely unelected European 'establishment', emerges, with even the Junckers of this World proving to be mere pawns in someone else's game.

Just as with Gavin Hewitt's book, it's actually very readable and you feel for him with some of the things he was betrayed over.

Just one example, his Greek assistant was left behind from one meeting somewhere in Europe to draft some changes to a largely agreed document. It was sent on to Varoufakis and when his assistant returned to Greece, they made further amendments, this was to meet a very short deadline. So thus amended, Varoufakis forwarded the amended document back to Europe. It was then leaked that he was just agreeing whatever had been proposed by Europe and the real author was a technocrat, when Varoufakis checked the word document he had worked on, he found the author was indeed the technocrat and challenged his assistant over this and he admitted it was composed on the technocrats PC. He never told Varoufakis and everyone was told that the Greek Finance minister was just agreeing whatever Europe put to him, as a way of undermining him to the Greeks and everyone else.

I'm about halfway through and it's a really gripping read even though we know the outcome.
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Anton

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Re: So What Are You Reading Right Now
« Reply #148 on: December 07, 2017, 12:16:57 AM »

I finished recently Roger Peyrefitte's "Diplomatic diversions" (Les ambassades, 1951), a novel set in Athens between 1937 and 1938. It's the story of a young French diplomat, scion of old noble family, at his first mission abroad, where he must deal with all ambiguities and hypocrisies of embassy life in general, and with the drama of European diplomacy slowly shifting from the hands of long established, highly educated aristocracy, to those of uneducated social climbers propelled up by the republican system. These new comers resemble more like low civil servants always placing their own personal interest ahead of everything. They are unable to deal with an ever more complex world slowly tumbling back into uncivilized state. Looming on the background, the political and military European scene inexorably plunging towards WWII. The French protagonist and his best friend, a young German diplomat, are affected in similar ways by these bad omens, and suffer of the fact that they are being forcibly pushed into enemy fronts, without any possible way out. At the end of the novel, while contemplating some ancient Greek ruins, they give in to black thoughts: "Back then, barbarians had their own lands to stay. Now, barbarians are all over the place". It's not a gloomy novel though: plenty of funny anecdotes are described, inherent to this or that French statesman or high diplomat of the past, to this or that fishy business involving a foreign embassy in Athens, to this or that caricature of an official reception or of an international congress, to this or that aspect of everyday life in Athens. I found the novel to be instructive and entertaining at the same time, I really enjoyed it.

Peyrefitte chose to set the story in Athens, rather than in another capital, for a reason. At that time, Athens was still the city of so-called "Greek love" (pederasty). Peyrefitte was, among other things, a defender of gay rights. Previously, he had already published his best known novel "Special friendships" or "Secret friendships" (Les amitiés particulières, 1943), a largely autobiographical drama where he describes a homosexual relation between schoolmates. In "Diplomatic diversions" we meet the same protagonist again, and plenty of references to different kinds of gay love, for which Athens represents the ideal setting. For the records, that first novel has also been adapted for the screen in 1964 as "This special friendship", directed by Jean Delannoy.

The reason I wanted to write about this "Diplomatic diversions" novel, though, is because, in the first part of it, chapter 4, I bumped into an interesting page that I quickly translate from French here, as I was unable to find the English version online anywhere. The author is describing the categories of people found in Athen's society at that time. Please remember the novel was written in 1951:

   Not in Royalist and Venizelist circles, but outside of them, George was discovering several families that were not interested in politics, the families of "Euergetes", that is of public benefactors. These families became rich abroad and, with money made abroad, they equipped Greece with ships, stadiums, museums, roads, fountains, in short they took up the old tradition again, hence they deserve the nickname given to a Ptolemy in ancient times. Long ago, in ancient Hellas, it was the kings of Egypt, of Syria and of Pergamum who squandered their treasures for Greece; later, under the Romans, public benefactors of Greece were the kings of Cappadocia, the Ceasars, Herodes Atticus; today, Greece found another way to exploit the vein of international capital: loans they take out abroad. Didn't its representative Politis publish a work about "State loans"? (*) The phenomenon of a people that, for having been admired by the world during two or three centuries, is living since then at the expenses of other peoples, is unique in history.


(*) Nikolaos Politis, Les Emprunts d'Etat en Droit International, Paris, 1894
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If thar’s one thing I hates worse than a nigger or a woman, it’s a Yankee. I’d hearn tell they couldn’t never mind their own bizness. I hates folks who can’t mind their own bizness (Archie in "Gone with the wind", ch. 42)

Roger

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Re: So What Are You Reading Right Now
« Reply #149 on: December 07, 2017, 08:22:53 AM »

Caller thanks for those insights into the EU from those 2 books. I don't think I'd better read them myself because it might turn me into a Brexiteer !!

Anton - thanks for the review of that. Interesting but I won't be reading that myself as it's in French.
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caller

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Re: So What Are You Reading Right Now
« Reply #150 on: December 07, 2017, 09:32:35 AM »

Interesting paragraph!

today, Greece found another way to exploit the vein of international capital: loans they take out abroad. Didn't its representative Politis publish a work about "State loans"? (*) The phenomenon of a people that, for having been admired by the world during two or three centuries, is living since then at the expenses of other peoples, is unique in history.


Of course, this is really only an issue under the Euro and applies equally to Ireland, Portugal, Italy, Spain as well as Greece. Before each Country was allowed to join the Euro, none of which incidentally, they qualified for under the rules, which Germany failed as well (budget surplus, with which they still fragrantly disregard the rules now - how does that old saying go - 'one rule for the rich........') But as Van Rompuy said (words to the effect of), 'if they didn't create the Eurozone now, it would never be created'. In other words an admittance that they knew it was completely flawed from day one. I'm trying to recall who took responsibility for that?

Anyway, yes, Greece hasn't really changed, even now, it had a political elite - as do Italy - and of course, their Oligarchs - or tax untouchables, because surely Greece's biggest problem is not collecting taxes? But the Greek way of managing their affairs served them perfectly well under the Drachma, where they could re-align their currency as required. But they can't do that under the euro, and the 3% interest rates on offer from the outset which worked fine for the Northern states, sadly swayed their southern brethren into a spending frenzy which came to a head with the financial crisis that started in America and spread to Europe and the rest is history.
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Roger

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Re: So What Are You Reading Right Now
« Reply #151 on: May 03, 2018, 03:49:00 PM »

I've had plenty of time to read during the last few days, battling with 'Thai tummy' - now finished reading 'Travelling to Infinity' by Jane Hawking.

As Jane Hawking wrote the book, you'd of course, expect her to come out of it well  ;)

That said, her story is one of many decades of devotion to her Husband and Family and selfless loving care in the most unimaginably difficult circumstances. Jane is an exceptionally tenacious character and in her own right, an extremely intelligent and academic person. Quite a Lady indeed.

I watched 'The Theory of Everything' but on film it wasn't possible to deal with the gruelling and multi faceted task of keeping Stephen Hawking alive and functioning. From this Guardian article, Jane Hawking comments on the film :-

''The only thing is that they’ve had to minimise the strains and struggles, because in our real life the difficulties of dealing with Stephen’s disease were much greater than they appear in the film''.

You can say that again !

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/may/16/jane-hawking-there-were-four-of-us-in-marriage-stephen-hawking-theory-of-everything

Its worth clicking this link - there's a picture of the Hawkings and their kids playing in the garden. Delightful. I enjoyed it.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2018, 05:10:59 PM by Roger »
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