Whatcha reading?

For the discussion of Movies, Television, Comics, and other existential distractions.

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Moderator » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:29 pm

Good column, Mark. I've never read any of Roth so don't really have a response, but from a purely objective standpoint I like some of the observations regarding characterization and the so-called human condition. Been a little reflective in that regard lately.

Which is an interesting segue. In the last three days we've received three books from family and friends. My father has penned his memoir, As I Remember, and published it for family and friends of the family. Some fascinating revelations. More on that at a later date.

Our friend Susan K Perry just had her first novel published. Kylie's Heel. Her husband had a simultaneous publication of his first book of poems. Questions About God.

Each of these pieces are completely different treatises of their own experiences along the lines of the Human Condition.

Synchronicity.
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Chuck Messer
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Chuck Messer » Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:22 am

I'm reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Many of the medical advances we enjoy today (if we can afford them) were made possible by her. She died of cervical cancer in 1951. A culture grown from cancer cells taken from her without her knowlege and consent has been growing ever since. The cells are know as HeLa, and they have been grown and used in medical laboratories around the world. The estimated weight of all the cells that have been grown is about fifty million metric tons.

Her family still lives in abject poverty and can't afford many of the treatments the HeLa cells have made possible. All because they are black.

By the way, it wasn't until the mid sixties that doctors had to have informed consent from the patients in order to conduct experiments on them, such as injecting them with HeLa cells to see if they got cancer.

Son of a bitch.

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:06 am


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FrankChurch
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby FrankChurch » Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:40 am

This guy who worked at Fox for eight years has a book out where he blows the lid off just how awful the network is. He worked on the O'Reilly tv show and was a closet liberal. If he had been found out he would have been fired, which is what happened.

His first gig was as a PA and he was paid a mere 12 bucks an hour. No benefits. Yes, the right wing are cheap bastards.

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Moderator » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:00 pm

Who is the author, and what's the book?

Oh, and Frank, this will amuse you. Many years ago, when he was still in the publishing business, my father published this book:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/702255.Tower_of_Secrets

Only now, with Dad's memoirs, have I learned that he viewed it as a very expensive mistake even at the time. (He called me right after the author had appeared on Larry King in a very embarrassing "disguise". Complete with fake nose and sunglasses. Dad was "not amused".)

I read the book, which was interesting -- not the best I'd ever read and ultimately a complete sales failure, costing the company a mountain of cash. (They paid more for the rights than they'd paid for either Hunt for Red October or Flight of the Intruder, for example.)
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby FrankChurch » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:58 am

Yea, I bet they had egg on their faces, since the publisher is a charity. I do hope the author know longer punishes society with his books.

I have a feeling your Dad is a good writer. Military guys have a good sense of drama. Smile.

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Moderator » Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:33 pm

FrankChurch wrote:Yea, I bet they had egg on their faces, since the publisher is a charity. I do hope the author know longer punishes society with his books.

I have a feeling your Dad is a good writer. Military guys have a good sense of drama. Smile.


*Quick correction: The Naval Institute is a non-profit, not a charity. More accurately it's a "professional organization" for Naval personnel.*

And yes, as far as I know, Sheymov has vanished into the fabric of America.

Thank you for the thought. As a matter of fact Dad is a good writer, and was fundamental to my own small skills in this regard because we were raised with a real respect for the written word. Most of his works have been fairly dry analytical books (The Military and American Society; Social Mobility and Voting Behavior) and a bunch of professional articles in a variety of magazines.

He wrote an entry for the Encyclopedia Americana. One article of note was an editorial response in the LA Times correcting some errors made by James Michener in an article written for the LA Times. (http://articles.latimes.com/1995-07-11/local/me-22582_1_world-war-ii) (Dad got a very nice note from Herman Wouk as a follow up to this piece.)

He deliberately wrote short fictions in the Naval Shiphandlers Guide to illustrate the points and scenarios, which was a significant departure for him.
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Moderator » Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:34 pm

Susan Perry, the author of Kylie's Heel which I mentioned above, also writes a column for Psychology Today. Some years ago she interviewed a series of other writers for her book Writing in Flow, including David Gerrold and Octavia Butler -- obviously before she passed.

In this week's column she hits on those same themes about writing and flow that made the book a success.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/creating-in-flow/200902/writers-do-it-often-heres-how
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby FrankChurch » Sat Jun 29, 2013 10:40 am


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Ezra Lb.
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Ezra Lb. » Fri Jul 12, 2013 2:46 pm

What, nobody has read anything during the month of July?

THE GREAT AGNOSTIC: Robert INGERSOLL and American Freethought
by Susan Jacoby

Jacoby has written an excellent intellectual biography of a man who was one of the most well known public intellectuals of the Nineteenth century but who has been almost totally forgotten. The remarkable thing is that between the 1870s and the 1890s Ingersoll could fill halls and theaters across the country speaking about his atheism (he personally made no distinction between atheism and agnosticism) and criticizing the Church. And although he was unelectable because of his beliefs (or lack) he was adviser to Presidents and was an active and powerful member of the Republican Party (obviously not the same party as today). Jacoby continues the work she began in her earlier book FREETHOUGHT: A history of American Secularism by focusing on a figure who could trace his intellectual lineage back to Jefferson and Thomas Paine. She points out that Secularist Freethought is as American as apple pie and baseball and comic books (enshrined in the First Amendment) and by rehabilitating this great American she provides moral and intellectual strength for the fight which still continues against Fundamentalist know-nothings and religious obscurantism.

Some Ingersoll quotes-

My creed is that: Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.

I will not attack your doctrines nor your creeds if they accord liberty to me. If they hold thought to be dangerous - if they aver that doubt is a crime, then I attack them one and all, because they enslave the minds of men.

They knew that to put God in the constitution was to put man out. They knew that the recognition of a Deity would be seized upon by fanatics and zealots as a pretext for destroying the liberty of thought. They knew the terrible history of the church too well to place in her keeping or in the keeping of her God the sacred rights of man. They intended that all should have the right to worship or not to worship that our laws should make no distinction on account of creed. They intended to found and frame a government for man and for man alone. They wished to preserve the individuality of all to prevent the few from governing the many and the many from persecuting and destroying the few.

Progress is born of doubt and inquiry. The Church never doubts, never inquires. To doubt is heresy, to inquire is to admit that you do not know—the Church does neither.

It has always seemed absurd to suppose that a god would choose for his companions, during all eternity, the dear souls whose highest and only ambition is to obey.

As more people become more intelligent they care less for preachers and more for teachers.

Churches are becoming political organizations... It probably will not be long until the churches will divide as sharply upon political, as upon theological questions; and when that day comes, if there are not liberals enough to hold the balance of power, this Government will be destroyed. The liberty of man is not safe in the hands of any church. Wherever the Bible and sword are in partnership, man is a slave. (Written in 1879!)
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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FrankChurch
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby FrankChurch » Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:11 am

I led you to both Jacoby and Ingersoll.

They are much more thoughtful than Dawkins and his mean spirited attacks against the religious.

--------------

I read the death of ivan ilyich. That fucked my head up. Wow. Those Russians could write.

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Ezra Lb. » Sun Jul 14, 2013 3:43 pm

I led you to both Jacoby and Ingersoll.

Sorry Frank but I'd been reading both a long time before you happened to mention them.

Why is it "mean spirited" to tell the truth? :D
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby FrankChurch » Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:32 am

What is truth? Whatever I say. hahahaha

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Lori Koonce
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Lori Koonce » Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:28 pm

I'm reading Pulling a Train EZ, just thought I should finish it before giving a review.


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