What Books Are You Reading?

I got back to reading Bellow’s Herzog, which I had started last year.

I’ve only met few people who’ve heard of Bellow, in spite of the fact that he’s won numerous prizes, Nobel included. I’ve loved him for a decade, love his style mixing streetwise and cultured perspectives along with the depiction of Jewish American life. His heroes (mostly representations of Bellow himself) are never great, they never succeed but almost never fail either.

For the classic American novel I’d suggest The Adventures of Augie March.

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I don’t do a lot of fiction these days. But we have public library for such things. :wink:

Will check it out.

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If the size of the book puts you off, you can also try Bellow’s last novel, Ravelstein, which is much shorter and that I thoroughly enjoyed too.


Frank Herbert, and no, I’m just comparing the 4th book in the Dune series to something Murakami would have written. Sorry, but there’s no replacement for Murakami himself.

I’ve kinda given up on him, Hardboiled, wind up, Norwegian, wild sheep and colorless is all that I’ve read. All brilliant, colorless being my favorite.

Like p.k.Dick, there was a time in my life when I was obsessed with his stuff, now I’d have a hard time getting through 10 pages.

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Also Seize the Day

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Ah man now that book I found a bit too depressing. Just found out they made a movie of it with Robbin Williams though, gotta check it out.


Interesting read about the value placed on work, what kind of work and how value shifts during the maturation of an economy.

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Have you read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? For me it was years ago, but the topic and cover art look similar…

Hated it. Absolutely loathed it. Far too much navel gazing.

This one is much better.

I assumed I just didn’t get, read it around 20 years old. Glad to hear this one is better!

The Last Question by Isaac Asimov

Great science fiction short story can read in one hour and it’s the author’s favorite. Or free audiobook on YouTube.

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Yeah, that was pretty bad.

The Model Millionaire by Oscar Wilde, great short story about 20 minute read…

here’s the audiobook

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Finally finished the third Dune book. It has been a bit of a slog, but enjoyable at times. I continue to see the influence these books had on sci-fi classics like Star Wars, Blade Runner, and the Matrix (and Avatar, which I wouldn’t consider a classic). It was good enough that I would keep going if I had the next one.

Haven’t found the fourth one in a used bookstore, though, so it looks like a little Terry Pratchett for now and I’ve been saving Godel Escher Bach for hotel quarantine…

The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Intense insight into humanity, love, death, one of my favorite books of all time,

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Not my favorite Goethe, but notable in that it inspired across Europe a fad of wearing yellow coats and drowning yourself in rivers.

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Yeah I hear it inspired quite a few fads good and bad.

And his lifestyle was as popular as his books.

Napoleon claimed he read it seven times.

A book with a Taiwan aspect.

“With the help of a Taiwanese intelligence agent, he races to prevent a catastrophic conflict from consuming a whole region of the world…

American Traitor by Brad Taylor

I’m back into this.

I liked the Walter Mischel marshmallow experiment. Too bad illiterate people misread his results.

Despite some follow-up studies that failed to replicate the results, the lesson our society has drawn from the marshmallow test is that children who are able to delay their own gratification are destined to be more successful as adults than those that can’t.

There was just one problem with that conclusion, as Mischel himself explained to Alix Spiegel, in an episode of the podcast Invisibilia called “The Personality Myth.” He told her: “That iconic story is upside-down wrong — that your future is in a marshmallow — because it isn’t.”

So why does this myth seem to persist?

Well, it seems one crucial detail was left out of conversation. Some kids were given strategies to help them resist the tempting treat, such as closing their eyes, while others were not. And, it was the kids who were best at deploying these strategies who had greater success in later life.

“People can use their wonderful brains to think differently about situations, to reframe them, to reconstrue them, to even reconstrue themselves,” Mischel said.

Nearly fifty years after the publication of his early iconic work, Mischel was still on the forefront of correcting the entrenched orthodoxy of static personalities, as well as the psych myth that his famous study had become. In 2014, he wrote The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control.

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I am skeptical of anyone who exalts China.

Q: What worries you?
The damage to the environment through unrestrained building has been massive. And like all industrial societies, there’s a huge amount of corruption. But I think [Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s] adherence to the Paris climate accords is genuine, and they’re sincere in their desire to work toward a more environmentally friendly future.

And the Beeb will be allowed back in to shoot another round of Chinagood next year.