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Thread: What are you reading?

  1. #4171
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    Yesterday, I got The Hat Box--a two-volume set including Finishing the Hat and Look I Made a Hat, by Stephen Sondheim. All his lyrics plus assorted notes.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  2. #4172
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    Born in the GDR Living in the Shadow of the Wall - by Hester Vaizey

    This relates the experiences of 8 former East German citizens revealing their life before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall. They were all fairly "young" when it happened. The people interviewed range from opponents of the East German State who had been Stasi prisoners to others who were perfectly happy with their old lives and were shocked when everything changed for them.

    From talking to our German friends ,who were all from the west, the re-unification has certainly caused problems. The common thread in the stories of people in these book is that life in East Germany was generally better than it was portrayed in Western Media, many of them miss the "fellowship" they used to feel, all of them, even the ones who were strong opponents of the regime, were upset by the way rich "westerners" bought up lots of housing and industry and then put up rents or shut down factories and deprived them of their livelihood. Even today the unemployment rrate in the old "East" is about 3% higher than in the old "West".

    They felt like they were treated as some sort of "country bumpkins" and talked down to. Another common theme was that they couldn't quite understand how western society operated. To them, even though they were German, it was like moving to a completely foreign country that just happened to speak the same language.

  3. #4173
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    Rereading Mid-Life Confidential for the first time in many years. It's a book about the band the Rock Bottom Remainders and a tour they took in the early '90s. There are chapters by most of the band members and the band photographer--meaning Stephen King, Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver, Matt Groening, Al Kooper, Roy Blount Jr., Dave Marsh, etc., and Tabitha King.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  4. #4174
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    Iím about to start Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway and I can tell itís going to be heavy reading; the book weighs more than 1500 grams! Iíll have stronger biceps by the time Iím done.

  5. #4175
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    Just finished Torsvik and Cocks's Earth History And Palaeogeography, a textbook about the movement of continents. I'm amazed at how much detail we can now reconstruct of the location of continents, terranes and island arcs over geological time.

    Now moved on to Brotherstone and Lawrence's Scarred For Life: Volume 1. It's a self-published work about the alleged strangeness of television, film and books in the 1970s. The authors are Gen-Xers who have wholeheartedly bought into the "Haunted Generation" narrative that's currently popular among early Gen-Xers in the UK. They write well and are often very funny, and they've dug up some fascinating history and obscure TV. They do seem to be obsessed with the idea that they spent much of their childhoods being terrified by not-particularly terrifying things, but it may well just be an extreme stance adopted for the sake of the book. Good fun, and it has added considerably to my back-log of "things to own on DVD".

    Grant Hutchison

  6. #4176
    Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Stephen Brusatte of Edinburgh university, some of his journeys are to the Isle of Skye.
    From the wilderness into the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.
    https://davidsuniverse.wordpress.com/

  7. #4177
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    The Wimsey Family: A Fragmentary History Compiled from Correspondence With Dorothy L. Sayers, by C. W. Scott-Giles, Fitzalan Pursuivant of Arms Extraordinary. It pieces together all the details Dorothy L. Sayers came up with for her fictional detective's family, including a few details made up by the author to explain a contradiction or two.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  8. #4178
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    At my aunt's house for the holidays and once more going through their much-loved copy of the 1980 National Geographic Picture Atlas of Our Universe. The paintings are really spectacular.
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
    Every mission makes our dreams reality
    And our destiny begins with you and me
    Through all space and time, the achievement of mankind
    As we sail the sea of discovery, on heroesí wings we fly!

  9. #4179
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    I’m about to start Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway and I can tell it’s going to be heavy reading; the book weighs more than 1500 grams! I’ll have stronger biceps by the time I’m done.
    I wish I could find my copy of that!
    Are you aware of author Tony Tully's website?
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  10. #4180
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I wish I could find my copy of that!
    Are you aware of author Tony Tully's website?
    I am now! Thank you for that.

    Haven't made a lot of progress in the book - Christmas, family, travel and other distractions (new model rocket ship ) have kept me away. But I'm enjoying the book so far especially with its very interesting Japanese perspective. Example: Operation AL into the Aleutians was not a diversion or a strategy to draw out the American carriers, it was an independent (albeit flawed) plan intended to extend the Japanese defensive perimeter.

    As much as I enjoy a good physical book I wasn't kidding about the size; this thing is massive and I do a lot of reading in bed so it's hard to jockey the book into position. I might just cave in and buy the E-book version.

  11. #4181
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    Randall Munroe's Thing Explainer. I've had a little trouble figuring out which complicated words the simple ones are referring to.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  12. #4182
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    Milkman by Anna Burns. 2018 Man Booker Prize winner for Fiction. Really good, but I don't know what the deal is with the super-long paragraphs!
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

  13. #4183
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    Just finished Scott Carmichael's Moon Men Return: USS Hornet And The Recovery Of The Apollo 11 Astronauts. A great book, full of marvellous stories - the photographer who dropped a lightmeter on President Nixon; how the Swim One helicopter almost flew into the CM as it descended on its parachutes; how the Secret Service closed and padlocked the portholes in the radar room, so that the equipment overheated and cut out a few hours before Apollo reentered; and the guy who painted the deck where Marine One was due to land, and then realized the paint would still be wet when Nixon stepped aboard.

    Basically, a book for anyone with an interest in Apollo and the US Navy, especially if they enjoyed Big Don's stories.

    Grant Hutchison

  14. #4184
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    Now I'm reading Dreyer's English, by Benjamin Dryer, a copy editor at Random House. It's a style guide, an insight into the work of copy editors, and a sampler of whatever other vaguely usage-related issues are exercising Dreyer. It's also very funny.
    I'm slightly unnerved by the number of examples of "common errors" he gives that I've never seen, heard about or contemplated before. I have a fear that they will jump into my head along with his examples of good usage.
    He's oddly messianic about Oxford commas, but otherwise fun and informative.

    Grant Hutchison

  15. #4185
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Now I'm reading Dreyer's English, by Benjamin Dryer, a copy editor at Random House. It's a style guide, an insight into the work of copy editors, and a sampler of whatever other vaguely usage-related issues are exercising Dreyer. It's also very funny.
    I'm slightly unnerved by the number of examples of "common errors" he gives that I've never seen, heard about or contemplated before. I have a fear that they will jump into my head along with his examples of good usage.
    He's oddly messianic about Oxford commas, but otherwise fun and informative.

    Grant Hutchison
    Oxford commas, always.
    Do good work. óVirgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  16. #4186
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Oxford commas, always.
    Yeah, people say that.
    Dreyer is keen to avoid all sorts of other unnecessary clutter on the page, but for some reason gives a free pass to the deployment of Oxford commas even when they are absolutely non-contributory. The defence seems to be "it's a good habit to get into" (begs the question), "even though the sense is clear to you without the comma, other people might be confused" (only if they're easily confused by simple lists), and "it's not offensive to the eye" (depends on how easily offended your eye is).

    Grant Hutchison

  17. #4187
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    I'm tempted to send it to a friend of mine whose stance is, "If you need an Oxford comma, recast your sentence."
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  18. #4188
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    I'm tempted to send it to a friend of mine whose stance is, "If you need an Oxford comma, recast your sentence."
    There is that, and it often works. But of course sometimes you just end up with an ugly sentence, or the recasting makes it difficult to understand in a different way.
    I guess I just don't understand why people keep drawing up the Oxford comma battle lines, opposing "always" (which is Dreyer's stated position) to "never".

    Grant Hutchison

  19. #4189
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    ...He's oddly messianic about Oxford commas...
    As well he should be. Why invite the potential for ambiguity?
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

  20. #4190
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar View Post
    As well he should be. Why invite the potential for ambiguity?
    Yeah, ambiguity is bad. But the Oxford comma seems to be the only measure to avoid ambiguity that some people claim should be used even when there's no danger of ambiguity. It's a puzzle, particularly at a time when we're seeing a general (and largely welcome) retreat from the old habits of cluttering up the page with unnecessary punctuation.
    My main problem with Dreyer's stance is that he's gone to the trouble of producing a UK edition of his book (because of the differences between American and British English), but still goes hard-line on the Oxford comma in his advice to UK writers. The problem with that is these writers will, most of the time, find their Oxford commas being stripped out by UK copy-editors. It's not a problem if you get a good copy-editor, who will carefully preserve those that are necessary to preserve the sense of the sentence - but from personal experience I can testify that there are many more bad copy-editors than good ones, and the bad ones just blindly apply the house style and be-damned with ambiguity. So if you want to bomb-proof your text in these parts, the Oxford comma is not the way to do it. And a simple reordering of the list you originally typed fixes the problem without recourse to the Oxford comma, most of the time. The tired old example of, "I'd like to thank my parents, Sinťad O'Connor and God," is easily fixed by reversing the running order, for instance.

    Grant Hutchison

  21. #4191
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    AP Style in the US insists that the Oxford comma is never appropriate, but there are multiple writing styles in the US.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  22. #4192
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    AP Style in the US insists that the Oxford comma is never appropriate, but there are multiple writing styles in the US.
    Likewise in the UK: there's a certain amount of irony in the fact that, if you write a document on behalf of the University of Oxford, they'll ask you to remove Oxford commas unless they're preventing ambiguity. In contrast, if you're writing for Oxford University Press, they'll put in Oxford commas if you've omitted them - but they're very clear that this is a stylistic choice on the part of OUP (like their use of -ize instead of -ise), whereas Dreyer pushes the Oxford comma in every case as being non-negotiable.

    Grant Hutchison

  23. #4193
    About 233 pages into Pale Blue Dot by Sagan, the write on this one will probably be massive.
    From the wilderness into the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.
    https://davidsuniverse.wordpress.com/

  24. #4194
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    Re-reading Pratchett's Johnny Maxwell series. Those are really quite good!
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  25. #4195
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Re-reading Pratchett's Johnny Maxwell series. Those are really quite good!
    I liked those. And I'm one of the four people in the world who find the Discworld novels more irritating than entertaining.

    Grant Hutchison

  26. #4196
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Likewise in the UK: there's a certain amount of irony in the fact that, if you write a document on behalf of the University of Oxford, they'll ask you to remove Oxford commas unless they're preventing ambiguity. In contrast, if you're writing for Oxford University Press, they'll put in Oxford commas if you've omitted them - but they're very clear that this is a stylistic choice on the part of OUP (like their use of -ize instead of -ise), whereas Dreyer pushes the Oxford comma in every case as being non-negotiable.

    Grant Hutchison
    Says the tough mug to the dons, "Youse guys say 'comma' one more time, I'm gonna tear you a semi-colon!"

  27. #4197
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I liked those. And I'm one of the four people in the world who find the Discworld novels more irritating than entertaining.

    Grant Hutchison
    One thing I noticed a day or two ago is that I've got a US edition, because Mrs. Tachyon pushes a "shopping cart" instead of a "trolley" and there are kids playing "soccer" instead of "football". May have been a mention of "fries" instead of "chips", as well. Certainly there have been several references to "chips packets" instead of "crisps".
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  28. #4198
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    One thing I noticed a day or two ago is that I've got a US edition, because Mrs. Tachyon pushes a "shopping cart" instead of a "trolley" and there are kids playing "soccer" instead of "football". May have been a mention of "fries" instead of "chips", as well. Certainly there have been several references to "chips packets" instead of "crisps".
    Now that's just strange - kind of undermines the Britishness of the setting.

    Grant Hutchison

  29. #4199
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    At least time is being compared to trousers, rather than pants!
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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