Author Topic: The Book Club - 2017  (Read 1886 times)

Offline Captain Pyjama Shark

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Re: The Book Club - 2017
« Reply #15 on: 02-02-2017, 16:02:44 »
Last year I had to go back to school, so I didn't have the to read. So I read something like 13 books.

But I hope that in 2017 I will be able to read at least 20 or 30 book.

So my first book in 2017 was The day the revolution began: https://www.amazon.com/Day-Revolution-Began-Reconsidering-Crucifixion/dp/0062334387/?tag=thegospcoal-20

It's a book of historical theology, what I mean by that is that explain how the first christian saw Jesus and what they belief about revolution.

Now I am re-reading Battlecry of freedom by James McPherson. I had read it, like 6 years ago in french and now I'm reading it in English.

After that I will go with Comment on écrit l'histoire by Paul Veyne. It's a book about historical epistemology. After that I don't really know, maybe the arthurian Legend (the original one) or maybe something else. I will see.

Battle Cry of Freedom is something I've always been meaning to read. James McPherson is a great historian.

Offline Captain Pyjama Shark

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Re: The Book Club - 2017
« Reply #16 on: 20-02-2017, 19:02:26 »
Shameless doublepost:

What is everyone reading for February?

I am halfway through Vasily Grossman's novel Life and Fate. Grossman, as you probably know, was a Soviet war correspondent during WW2. He published his memoirs but secretly wrote this novel centered on the Battle of Stalingrad. It has a Tolstoyan scope, with a giant cast of characters from soldiers to housewives to scientists, and is sharply critical of totalitarianism. For obvious reasons it never got published in the USSR, and Grossman actually died thinking his manuscript was destroyed. It's a shame he never got the acclaim he deserved for it. Not finished yet, but I wouldn't hesitate to say it is the greatest fiction book about WW2.

On the side, I'm reading Algernon Blackwood's short horror stories. Very Lovecraftian!

Offline MajorMajor

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Re: The Book Club - 2017
« Reply #17 on: 24-02-2017, 19:02:56 »
I started reading a couple of days ago Ficciones, by Jorge Luis Borges. It's a compilation of short stories written during the early 50's. I had never read any South American literature and I guessed that Borges would be as good of an introduction as it gets.

So far I've only read the three first stories, and I have to admit that I'd never think that reading fictional reviews of fictional books could be so engrossing. The third story (in my edition, it's the one about Don Quijote) was way too dense for a morning read, but otherwise I'm liking it quite a bit.


Offline Captain Pyjama Shark

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Re: The Book Club - 2017
« Reply #18 on: 25-02-2017, 15:02:08 »
I started reading a couple of days ago Ficciones, by Jorge Luis Borges. It's a compilation of short stories written during the early 50's. I had never read any South American literature and I guessed that Borges would be as good of an introduction as it gets.

So far I've only read the three first stories, and I have to admit that I'd never think that reading fictional reviews of fictional books could be so engrossing. The third story (in my edition, it's the one about Don Quijote) was way too dense for a morning read, but otherwise I'm liking it quite a bit.

I need to read Borges. Do you think he's a good place to begin for an introduction into South American magical realism? I used to think that I wouldn't like the genre, but I love the books of Haruki Murakami, which seem to fit the category.

Offline Alakazou

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Re: The Book Club - 2017
« Reply #19 on: 27-02-2017, 22:02:52 »
I'm reading Comment on écrit l'histoire by Paul Veyne. It is about what is history and how historian make it.

Offline MajorMajor

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Re: The Book Club - 2017
« Reply #20 on: 11-03-2017, 16:03:46 »
I need to read Borges. Do you think he's a good place to begin for an introduction into South American magical realism? I used to think that I wouldn't like the genre, but I love the books of Haruki Murakami, which seem to fit the category.

To be honest the only kind of literature I'm qualified to comment on on that level is [Peninsular] Spanish and Catalan literature, since those were the ones I studied at high school. Ficciones, which I finished yesterday, was the first South American book I've read since, IIRC, Relato de un naufrago (8 or 9 years ago).

To answer your question, I do think that Ficciones is worth the read, and many of the stories contained in it, although not all of them, seem to fit the magical realism genre. I guess it may be what you seek.

On an unrelated note, since I have to write a report for university about opium alkaloids, I have started to read Julia Lovell's The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams and the Making of Modern China. Hopefully I'll be able to include a paragraph or two in my report about opium in the Qing dinasty, although it's a bit off-topic.

Offline Captain Pyjama Shark

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Re: The Book Club - 2017
« Reply #21 on: 21-03-2017, 18:03:53 »
I'm reading Comment on écrit l'histoire by Paul Veyne. It is about what is history and how historian make it.
I'd be interested in what he has to say. He is very Foucauldian, isn't he?

My reading for this month:

On the fiction front, I have finally completed Mary Renault's Alexander Trilogy, reading Fire from Heaven, the first one, years after I read the other two. I love these books and I think Renault is the best historical fiction writer in the last 50 years, particularly for her ability to avoid any sort of presentism while still portraying such complex, human characters. My one complaint is that she idolizes Alexander a bit much, he is the epitome of a Mary Sue, although that's sort of the point. His romance with Hephaistion is moving, but not as much as the romance in her best ancient book, The Last of the Wine. 4/5 Highly recommended reading Fire from Heaven if you have any interest in ancient history at all.

I also read G.K. Chesterton's epic poem The Ballad of the White Horse, about Alfred the Great's defeat of the Danes. Quick read and a galloping metre, pretty enjoyable poem.

On the non-fiction front, I read Wayne Lee's Barbarians and Brothers: Anglo-American Warfare 1500-1865. Lee explains how armies develop restraints on warfare by analyzing four case studies: the English in Ireland in the late 1500s, the First English Civil War, southeastern Amerindian warfare in the 1700s, and an anti-Indian campaign by the Continental Army during the American Revolution.

Lee shows how armies could have different ways of fighting versus rebellious subjects, "brotherly" enemies, or people they perceived to be barbarians, which modified the cruelty shown. American Continental soldiers, for instance, treated Indians mercilessly, were harsh with Loyalists, and very chivalrous against Redcoats. All these examples weaved into each other, too, for instance experience in Ireland informed how English soldiers treated Native Americans.


Offline hOMEr_jAy

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Re: The Book Club - 2017
« Reply #22 on: 21-03-2017, 21:03:49 »
Currently reading Dune for the first time. I started yesterday and it´s quite intriguing, I have to say. Before that I read Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery. The book is about mostly about city planing, but also about how urban design can influence peoples lifes and especially their happiness. It´s a manifesto against urban sprawl, traditional zoning and modern-day (North American) city planing. The book reads really well, offering an interesting mix of anecdotes, psychological statistics and historical information about the developments that lead to sprawling Suburbia.
And so he spoke, and so he spoke, that lord of Castamere,
But now the rains weep o'er his hall, with no one there to hear.
Yes now the rains weep o'er his hall,
and not a soul to hear.

Offline Alakazou

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Re: The Book Club - 2017
« Reply #23 on: 25-03-2017, 04:03:41 »

I'd be interested in what he has to say. He is very Foucauldian, isn't he?

Yeah and like we say in french Il est lourd (it's boring). I'm happy with having read that book, but is rant against sociology and his understanding of science are not good. But everything else about history is common sens in that discipline so I agreed with him without problem.

Offline RonidLanis

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Re: The Book Club - 2017
« Reply #24 on: 05-05-2017, 21:05:00 »
I just finished reading The Things They Carried by winner of Pulitzer Tim O'Brien. The author was fighting in Vietnam War and wrote few books about it. This one seems at some points to be his memoir, but is not. It tells different stories and leads through very poststructuralist narrative of shame and remorse. I can really recommend it.

As for fantasy, finished the last of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children series and was seriously let down. First book was actually quite book, second mediocre, but the third was really a letdown and turned out to be your “standard teenager novel.”

Sci-Fi – I have rediscovered Polish writer, Stanislaw Lem through English translation of his Solaris (don't watch the movies, or at least not the one with Clooney!!). If you have not read it, but like sci-fi do it. If you do not like sci-fi still do it, as the otherworldly setting is just it – setting, the story itself, the dilemma and the philosophy could to a huge extent happen on Earth as well. Really - read it! If you like short stories I can also recommend The Star Diaries, which at points seems at first to be ridiculous, but in fact deals with the problems of death, religion, law, human nature etc. all presented in usually fairly short stories.

Just started Hirohito's War, should finish by the end of this year (over 1000 pages, in fairly small print, good for self defence  :P ).

Offline Flippy Warbear

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Re: The Book Club - 2017
« Reply #25 on: 15-06-2017, 00:06:18 »
Finished for the third time one of my favorites of all time; Tigers In The Mud this time around in Finnish because I intend to give this version of the book as a birthday present for my father. Wanted to read it before that and I finished it only few minutes ago. The Finnish translation holds just fine but I didnt learn anything that I wouldnt have already known from the english version that I've read twice before.

Still, a classic that every FH2'er should read at some point. Whenever I read it, I think back to the movie Fury and wish that someone would come out with some big budget Band of Brothers-like series about Otto Carius and his comrades.

Offline Butcher

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Re: The Book Club - 2017
« Reply #26 on: 18-06-2017, 21:06:23 »
Still, a classic that every FH2'er should read at some point. Whenever I read it, I think back to the movie Fury and wish that someone would come out with some big budget Band of Brothers-like series about Otto Carius and his comrades.
Speaking about it: What happened to the "Masters of the Air" series on which Spielberg and Hanks worked on? Haven't heard about that one in quite a while.
He got banned for our sins. He was not the member FH forums deserved, he was the member we needed.

Offline Captain Pyjama Shark

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Re: The Book Club - 2017
« Reply #27 on: 13-11-2017, 16:11:39 »
I read a fantastic book this week that is recommended for any FH fan.

The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II, by Svetlana Alexievich.


Despite the title, this is only a history of Soviet women at war. Alexievich spent decades interviewing female veterans of the Great Patriotic War about their experiences. It is an oral history, so each chapter deals with a theme, and then lets the veterans speak for themselves. There is a chapter about joining the army after Operation Barbarossa, a chapter about women who fought on the frontline, a chapter about women who served in logistical units behind the rear, etc.

It is a fantastic book and one I really enjoyed; I breezed through it in a day despite being 320 pages. It was also a very melancholy read - although many of these women spoke about camaraderie at the front, universallye they report being treated poorly after returning from the war. The idea that women didn't "belong in war" meant they were essentially forgotten, viewed as unmarriable, etc. A shocking number live in poverty by themselves because no one wanted to marry a woman who had fought during the war.

This is a great read for anyone interested in WW2 history. If you have read lots of memoirs and veteran accounts, I would encourage you to check out these women's to see a different side of the story. Yet one thing that the book made clear to me was that gendered distinctions about whether women can be soldiers or not are rubbish. Clearly all these women were.

4/5

Offline Alakazou

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Re: The Book Club - 2017
« Reply #28 on: 14-04-2018, 19:04:40 »
So, I have a question.

I'm looking for a synthesis of the pacific/asia front during WW1, so who could help me?

Thank you in advance

Offline Captain Pyjama Shark

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Re: The Book Club - 2017
« Reply #29 on: 11-05-2018, 16:05:04 »
So, I have a question.

I'm looking for a synthesis of the pacific/asia front during WW1, so who could help me?

Thank you in advance

This is a dramatically understudied part of the Great War, I think. There is a book called The Neglected War: the German South Pacific and the Influence of World War I by a German historian named Hermann Joseph Hiery, but it is more interested in the colonial policies of Germany and Australia/New Zealand.

You might have better look looking into a history of the Japanese military during World War One.