What are you reading continued

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Papal Bull


Originally posted by Tommy_Paine:
[b]And during this I also read volume one a very entertaining graphic novel called "Ranma 1/2" by Rumiko Takahashi.[/b]

Oh, Ranma1/2. That is a pretty entertaining manga. Actually, on the manga front I just re-read "Akira" over the past few months. It is one of those absolutely epic reads that most people should attempt in their lives.

I also received the graphic novel/comic book/whatever else you can call them "The Plot" by Will Eisner from a friend on my birthday and read that. I think I've gone through it a dozen times. Amazing. I'm trying to read all of Eisner's sequential stuff before branching out into his writings.


Papal Bull, I found it quite well written. It put many things that I had been thinking into perspective. He takes on some leftist icons like Chomsky and Galloway. Some critics have accussed him of being obsessed with Galloway. And many of his critics are vociferous.One aspect of the criticism I find interesting (because it strikes home) is that he gets accussed of having jumped to the right because he critiques aspects of the left that bother him.


Well, it depends what aspects of the left bother him, no? Or whether he plays up minor aspects or plays down significant ones?

There seems to be a trend, partly but perhaps not entirely prompted by 9/11 and the Iraq war, of people who think they've discovered an amazing revelation that other people on the "left" have yet to discover, or can't accept the reality of.

That revelation, discussed on Babble at length with regard to Christopher Hitchens and Michael Ignatieff among others, is that the Islamofascists really want to destroy all that people on the left hold dear, and that we should unite behind George W. Bush and company to crush them. Heck, while we're at it, how can we really say the Iraq war was a bad thing? Who knows how it'll play out in the long term? And besides, in the short term it got rid of an evil dictator.

Tony Blair is perhaps the highest-profile proponent of this view. Another Canadian proponent is BC author Terry Glavin, who is sporadically intelligent when writing about more local topics like First Nations land struggles, but insufferably disingenuous when you get him talking about anything international in scope. I have trouble thinking of any Americans who fit the bill, but then the "left" in the U.S. has until recently been rather docile as it is.

Ignatieff, Hitchens, Glavin, and Blair share a sort of condescending smugness, alternating with a somewhat paranoid defensiveness, that comes with their belief that they have to deliver this news over and over again to their benighted brethen, but that of course entrenched and powerful forces will try to attack them in an effort to cover up their own hypocrisy.

(Then there's also the further subset of folks who will attack any criticism of Israel's policies as "anti-Semitic." However, so many pixels have been spilled here on that topic that I'll just mention it in passing.)

Cohen's book is getting glowing reviews from the likes of Hitchens and Glavin (who's written several gleeful posts on his [url=http://transmontanus.blogspot.com/]blog[/url] about the strong negative response to the book -- how that response reveals the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of so many leftists, yadda yadda ya).

There's a couple of decent critiques of Cohen's book [url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2002456,00.html]here[/url] and [url=http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/andrew_murray/2007/02/nothing_left_o....

(Edited to add: There was also a bit of discussion about Cohen's book [url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic&f=39&t=000130]h....)

[ 01 April 2007: Message edited by: obscurantist ]


I don't believe I have posted about this and I have lost the link. But its a book of poetry from Guantanamo inmates that is slated for release in August, the details are below.

'Inside the wire'
The pressures of confinement in Guantбnamo Bay have led many in the
controversial detention camp to turn to poetry. But, as Richard Lea
learns, the American authorities are very reluctant to let the world see them
Monday February 26 2007
The Guardian

Poetry's capacity to rattle governments is not, it appears, confined to
totalitarian regimes. A collection of poems by detainees at the US
military base in Guantбnamo Bay is to be published later this year, but
only in the face of strong opposition by suspicious American censors.

Twenty-one poems written "inside the wire" in Arabic, Pashto and
English have been gathered together despite formidable obstacles by Marc
Falkoff, a law professor at Northern Illinois University who represents 17
of the detainees at the camp. The collection, entitled Poems from
Guantбnamo: The Detainees Speak, will be published in August by the
University of Iowa Press with an afterword written by Ariel Dorfman


I have interupted my reading of "Naked Ape to Superspecies" to lose myself in a work of fiction called "Wolf of the Plains" by Conn Iggulden.

It's been a while since I have read some entertaining fiction. If one likes good story telling and historical fiction, this is a good book for you.

It's about the life and times of Temijun, aka Gengis Khan, of no fixed address.


Just finished Root Bound by Grant Buday. Fiction, about an older man growing and dealing pot in BC. Decent read.

I also just blasted through Conan The Valorous, which I picked up from the discard pile at a library. Surprisingly, a fun read.

I'll be adding the Gengis book to my list, T-P. I'm a sucker for well written historical fiction. I seem to be alone in loving Collen McCullogh's Roman series. The First Man In Rome and The Grass Crown are incredible books.

[ 07 April 2007: Message edited by: Farmpunk ]


I quite enjoyed those books also. In fact, the HBO "Rome" series, while very good, regretfully chose not to start with Gaius Marius and Cornelius Sulla. I think the generation before Julius Ceasar had more drama.

You should try some of Bernard Cornwell's books if you like historical fiction and just plain good old fashioned story telling. It isn't literature, but it's a lot of fun.

And of course, there's always Macdonald Fraser's "Flashman" series.

Ripping yarns.


I think McCullogh states at one point that she enjoyed writing The First Man In Rome and The Grass Crown more than the Ceasar centric books because she had more leeway to form the characters of the time, especially Sulla and Marius. The time of Ceaser is more documented so she was less able to play with the story.

I've honestly not met anyone who's read those books, T-P. And I can't seem to get any of my reading friends to read them. They're a little intimidating.


Today I'll be reading a ton of course material for my two courses so I can do two essays in the next two days!


This week I'm off to purchase Chris Hedges "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America."

I heard him on the radio and am eager to read his latest release.

Papal Bull

since I'm a loser I found all three books in the Mars trilogoy in a library discard pile. I've read through Red Mars in about a week. It is pretty okay, not the best written...but fun.


"The Unsettling Of America", Wendell Berry.

A bit heavy for my tastes, but highly recommended for those who don't think that agriculture and rural life is important, or has resonance for our modern urban world.

Papal Bull

I was perusing around the UoT bookstore because it is a sale. I found a really cool bok called "The Women's Liberation Movement in Russia from 1860-1930". I also went to the Toronto Women's Bookstore with a friend (she had never been) and found Medieval Women: A Social History of Women in England 450-1500 by Henrietta Leyser, which looks interesting.


Halfway through Michael Connelly's [i]The Lincoln Lawyer[/i], a mystery / thriller written from the perspective of a not particularly scrupulous but not entirely unprincipled L.A. criminal defence attorney. Maybe a bit like recasting Philip Marlowe as a lawyer in the present day.

The novel slows down to go off on tangents as the narrator rambles on about his various clients, the workings of the misnamed justice system, and other things peripheral to the central plot, but the tangents don't seem too out of place.

Now I'm curious to read one of Connelly's books from his series about police detective Hieronymous (Harry) Bosch.


I've just picked up Timothy Taylor's [b]Stanley Park[/b] and look forward to the well-publicized food descriptions, courtesy of "Canada Reads."


I'm just getting into chapter two of [url=http://contemporarylit.about.com/od/fiction/fr/kindness.htm]A Complicated Kindness[/url] by Miriam Toews.


Just finished a Tommy-Paine recommendation: Wolf Of The Plains. A good, fast, fun read.

I'll be curious to hear what you think of Stanley Park, M Gregus. I think I'll get my library to order me in a copy of this year's Canada Reads winner, Lulabies For Little Criminals. Stanley Park sounded good, too.



Originally posted by Farmpunk:
[b]I'll be curious to hear what you think of Stanley Park, M Gregus. I think I'll get my library to order me in a copy of this year's Canada Reads winner, Lulabies For Little Criminals. Stanley Park sounded good, too.[/b]

It came down to a choice between the same titles for me. I ordered both from the library and as luck would have it, Stanley Park came first. Well, that, and a much longer waiting list for Lullabies For Little Criminals. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img] Will report back on Stanley Park.

Life, the unive...

I'm reading both Pandemonium by Andrew Nikiforuk and The End of Food by Thomas F. Pawlick.

When one depresses me I turn to the other until it depresses me. Strangely I haven't been very hungry lately!


Read 'Pastured Poultry Profits', Joel Salatin, and you'll likely feel better. The key to good ag writing is simplicity of message: farmers can grow good food, people need and want good food. Anything that gets in the way is a fuckup.

I'll look into those books, Life.


Belle du Seigneur, by Albert Cohen:

reading it in French, but narrative remarkably similar in English, I am assured [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]

From Publishers Weekly
[i]A vast, astonishing satire of modern life, Cohen's continuously digressive comic novel, set in Geneva in the 1930s, skewers, above all else, the emptiness of middle-class existence, its worship of power and money. Its antihero is Solal, Under-Secretary of the League of Nations, who risks his reputation over an obsessive love affair with the rebellious, bored wife of a pompous League official. Like Cohen himself, Solal is a Mediterranean Jew, an outsider. He mocks his own deep religious faith and expresses skepticism about the League's idealistic internationalism?which he nevertheless makes his personal mission. Tracing Solal's path, Cohen swings from slang to grandiloquence and pure stream-of-consciousness, mixing low farce, high comedy, rapturous erotica and acid satire on the rise of fascism. His gleefully observed gallery of fools exposes a catalogue of human failings?pretense, envy, snobbery, machismo, conformity?all typified by the man Solal cuckolds, Adrien Deume, a hypocritical, bigoted bureaucrat whose narrow-mindedness contrasts with the League's grand ambitions.[/i]

[ 26 April 2007: Message edited by: Geneva ]

Sven Sven's picture

[b][i]"god is not Great"[/b][/i], by Christopher Hitchens. It is a wonderful examination of the destructive role religion plays in our world.



Originally posted by Sven:
[b][b][i]"god is not Great"[/b][/i], by Christopher Hitchens. It is a wonderful examination of the destructive role religion plays in our world.[/b]

I'm not sure how the words "wonderful" and "Christopher Hitchens" can fit in the same paragraph (whoops, there, I've done it too!). But maybe if he is not actually saying a single word about politics, you might be right. I'll try not to condemn his book sight unseen! That would be an "ad authorem" argument.


I dunno how you are reading Hitchens; here is the note in Amazon:
[i]Availability: Not yet published: you may still order this title. We will dispatch it to you when we receive it from the publisher. [/i]

ooops, sorry, that is amazon.co.uk;
book is fully available May 1st on stores in USA

[ 26 April 2007: Message edited by: Geneva ]

Sven Sven's picture


Originally posted by unionist:

I'm not sure how the words "wonderful" and "Christopher Hitchens" can fit in the same paragraph (whoops, there, I've done it too!). But maybe if he is not actually saying a single word about politics, you might be right. I'll try not to condemn his book sight unseen! That would be an "ad authorem" argument.[/b]

Yeah, I know a lot of progressives are unhappy with Hitchens’ stance on the “war on terror” but he remains a very provocative and shrewd observer on a wide range of other issues.

Sven Sven's picture


Originally posted by Geneva:
[b]I dunno how you are reading Hitchens; here is the note in Amazon:
[i]Availability: Not yet published: you may still order this title. We will dispatch it to you when we receive it from the publisher. [/i][/b]

I preordered the book on January 22 through Amazon (the expected shipping date at that time was early June), but I just received my copy last weekend (along with "End of Faith" by Sam Harris).

ETA: I can take photos of it to prove it!! [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img] [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

[ 26 April 2007: Message edited by: Sven ]


I liked 'Missionary Position'.

Maysie Maysie's picture

I prefer "Women on Top".



Originally posted by bigcitygal:
[b]I prefer "Women on Top".[/b]

[img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img] [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img] [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]


Who doesn't? Likely not Hitchens, or Ma Theresa.

remind remind's picture


Originally posted by mary123:
[b]This week I'm off to purchase Chris Hedges "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America."

I heard him on the radio and am eager to read his latest release.[/b]

Was just going through the thread to see if anyone else had yet picked up this book. I am midway through it, though have had it for 2 weeks. And not because it is a poor read--it isn't--it should be a must read, but because it illuminates, all too clearly, the truths of UR Fascism rising in our society.

So, when reading, I end up, going off on a mental tangent, ferreting out all the examples that indicate this drift towards fascist ideology in Canada. It is amazing, how some seem to be so unconcerned about it. Or at least they are not realizing what they are buying into. Then I end up formulating verbal actions of what to say/do when people, and there are more everyday, exhibit the first blush of fascism. By the time I get back to the book, it is time to put it down and work/sleep.

However, for me, even when the book is put down, it is hard to keeps one's mind from thinking about what he says and the implications. And at first I thought, "we have time to stop the nonsense growing in Canada."

Then was watching The Daily Show last evening and watched Jon's segment on Regent University and how 150 graduates work in the Bush administration. And my mind went to Harper's stacking the judicial committees with the Evangelical crowd, that Hedges reveals so much about, and I have to change my thoughts to; "we MIGHT have time to change this in Canada."


I've been tempted to purchase the Hitchen's biography of Thomas Jefferson, but I was kinda holding out for an author on the subject who is more academic and less controversial.

Am I wrong in that? Am I selling Hitchen's research abilities short?


Hitchens seems to be dishonest, re the Iraq war. I can't imagine he (and martin amis too) really believe the 'threat assessment' promoted by foxnews etc, when the west's military budget dwarfs even China's. What's wrong with simply tightening up international law? Btw, i recall reading that hitchens and amis, when kids, got to visit Robert Graves in Ibiza(?)...and here these little bastards are singing bush the neocon's praises! What a fricking waste, eh?
here's a Graves poem (from memory)...
The Miller's Man
The imperturbable miller's man
whose help the boy implored, drowning,
drifting slowly past the mill,
was a stout swimmer,
yet would not come between
the River god,
and his assured victim...

Soon, he, too, swimming in the sun,
is caught with cramp,
And as the boy's ghost
jeers from the reeds and rushes;
he drowns valiantly in silence,
this being no one's business
but his own...

Let us not reckon the miller's man
with Judas or with Jesus,
but with the cattle,
who endure all weathers,
or with the millwheel,
foolishly creaking,
incurious of the grains in the bin...


Just got finished re-reading some books from Madeleine L'Engle's "Wrinkle" series: A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, Many Waters, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and An Acceptable time.

I've always loved these books. L'Engle's books are somewhat religious, but she's something of an apostate, too, at least from a fundamentalist outlook. She very much mixes the scientific with the mystic and it's very interesting.

P.S. [url=http://www.madeleinelengle.com/books/otherDog.htm]This is hilarious![/url] Those of us who are parents know about the ton of children's books out there about mom and dad bringing home a new baby and the older sibling coping. Well, this book is about a DOG coping with a new baby in the house, written from the dog's perspective! Hee hee!

[ 05 May 2007: Message edited by: Michelle ]


Does this count?

I tried to print off an article from the [url=http://http://www.cdfai.org/fellows/brianflemming.htm]Canadian Defense & Foreign Affairs Institute[/url] and ended up with 18 page of rather small print.

There are many commentators that I do not agree with, some I do, and some that seem to me to introduce new ideas using verifiable sources and good judgements.

The Brian Flemming in the link above has a particularly good concept. He questions the [b]'Metrics of victory in Afghanisan'[/b]. All in all, if we [i]win, lose of get rained out[/i] [b]how will we know.[/b]

There is also a good article on the Artic. If we build new ice breakers, who is to get them - the navy or the Coast Guard. It has been better than half a century since the navy had ice breaking capability, but they seem to be the instrument to assert our authority in the north. The author points out that we are in a worse condition than Russia, as global warming will be delayed for georgraphic reasons in our section above the Arctic Circle.

This is by[url=http://www.cdfai.org/fellows/robhuebert.htm]Rob Huebert[/url] [i]The Battle for the Control of Canadian Arctic Waters: Icebreakers or Patrol Vessels?[/i]

[ 05 May 2007: Message edited by: Croghan27 ]


A friend lent me Cormac McCarthy's "The Road". Not sure I'm going to be able to finish it. Anyone out there read this book?


I am reading a book that I bought about five years ago and never got around to reading. It's because it was one of a bunch of books I picked up at a charity used book sale, and most of them have sat on my shelf, waiting for me to get around to reading them. Mostly the books were Canadiana that I figured I'd never find so cheap again.

Anyhow, this book is called, "They Shouldn't Make You Promise That," by Lois Simmie. It's a fantastic book so far - I'm almost half-way through it. It's really funny, but also rage-inducing. A housewife's reaction to her life which is a mix of boredom and resentment because her husband is a total chauvanist ass. I'm going between being filled with rage and laughing my ass off at the hilarious, snarky way the main character is describing her life and her interchanges with her husband and kids. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

Here's the blurb on the back cover:


"What more do you want?"

As far as Eleanor's mother was concerned, Eleanor should ahve been content with what she had - a handsome, hardworking husband, three fine children, a lovely home.

As far as Eleanor's husband was concerned, what she needed was a psychiatrist.

As far as Eleanor's psychiatrist was concerned, she had to put romance back into her marriage.

But as far as Eleanor was concerned, there had to be more, and taking a lover was just the first step.

I'm looking forward to getting to the "taking a lover" part! I'm so pissed off at her husband right now!

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I'm reading a thick bio of Leonard Cohen published in 1993. Can't remember the title, and the book is upstairs.

Flash Walken

Currently reading '[url=http://www.akpress.org/2006/items/durrutiinthespanishrevolution]Durruti in the Spanish Revolution[/url]' and '[url=http://www.akpress.org/2006/items/horizontalism]Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina[/url]'.

[ 13 May 2007: Message edited by: Flash Walken ]


I just finished up A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews, and now I’ve just opened Sidney Poitier’s “A Measure of a Man,” and NO, not because it was Oprah’s pick last month! [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]


Okay, so that book I mentioned a few posts ago? I finished it the same day (it's a short book) and it was very good. An especially good read if you're a woman in the midst of separation or divorce issues. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img] I should've read it years ago!


Right now I am reading 6 Rainer Drive by Debbie Macomber. It's from the Cedar Cove series I am a sucker drama/relationship fiction.


Read Ghost Plane.
Just do it.
At least leaf through it.
That will disturb you enough.

Gir Draxon

Just started Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy.


The Noonday Demon

by Andrew Soloman

An Atlas of Depression.

Soloman has depression, and is not a DR. Very easy to read and understand. I have Bi-Polar, and it helps me to understand, and my mother, who has only recently accepted my disorder, is finally using this book to learn about the joy of all sorts of depression.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[i]JPod[/i] by Douglas Coupland.

The book is about a group of computer programmers who work at a Burnaby based game design company, and have been assigned to a group of cublicles known as JPod, based on having last names that begin with the letter J. The main character is Ethan Jarlewski. The other members of JPod are Bree, Mark, John Doe, and Kaitlin. Ethan gets wrapped up in a whole bunch of craziness over the course of the novel. It's hillariously funny. The story is of the variety one might expect of programs on the Showcase network. That's all I'm going to say about it, least I give away too much for those who want to read it.

[ 06 June 2007: Message edited by: Left Turn ]


babble. All my books are packed!

Gir Draxon

I'm also into Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student right now.

(Yeah, my reading this summer is dictated by a syllabus)


Currently reading Daviud Sedaris' Hilarious Book [i]Barrel Fever[/i]. He is funny and full of social satire (and sarcasm).

Also reading at the same time [i]The Bush Agenda[/i]

Thanks Rundler for the graphic novel links above. They look amazing. I love graphic novels. I have the page bookmarked and will get a few of them next week. I've alreay re-read my Hate series three times.


Just finished, 'The Devil's Feather' by Minette Walters.
Excellent. Very well written.


Topic locked