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Offline Snupes

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #300 on: January 23, 2017, 12:56:23 AM »
Been reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I'm only about halfway through, but it's fantastic. A slow burn, for sure, but it feels more like a living, breathing world than the vast majority of books I've read.
I love Neil Gaiman. I haven't read this one yet, but it was next on my list.
Shamefully, I've yet to finish. I've basically only been reading it on breaks at work, and I just took a week off work lol. Now time to try to finish it...


Cormac McCarthy - The Road
Write up a lil review if you don't mind, or at least let me know what you think. People keep telling me to read this.
Quote from: garygreen date=1480782226
i also took an online quiz that said i was a giraffe.  and i guess you're dumb enough to believe that i must be because the internet said so.

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Offline Jura-Glenlivet

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #301 on: January 23, 2017, 02:01:42 PM »

Bleak! Dystopian! Loved it.
Just to be clear, you are all terrific, but everything you say is exactly what a moron would say.

No one infers a god from the simple, from the known, from what is understood, but from the complex, the unknown, and the incomprehensible. Our ignorance is God; what we know is science. Robert Green Ingersoll

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Offline rooster

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #302 on: January 23, 2017, 02:51:42 PM »
I remember really liking The Road.

Short, grim, haunting, dystopian - all good things. Not overly complicated, it doesn't go into too many details about what happened, just the perspective of a dad dealing with the aftermath. I think I cried a couple times at least.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2017, 02:53:23 PM by rooster »

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Offline Crudblud

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #303 on: January 23, 2017, 05:45:12 PM »
Cormac McCarthy - The Road
Write up a lil review if you don't mind, or at least let me know what you think. People keep telling me to read this.

I think it's a really beautiful book. I won't say any more than that, I think it is well worth discovering for yourself.

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Offline Crudblud

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #304 on: January 23, 2017, 10:42:11 PM »
Philip Roth - The Human Stain

Elusive Rabbit

Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #305 on: January 25, 2017, 01:49:53 PM »
Re-read Cormac McCarthy's The Road recently. I agree with the sentiments posted here about this book.

I also will say that it is one of the most strangely heart-warming books ever, past the pounding and wrenching surface. Through the chaotic terror, abject hopelessness, and senseless violence of the ruined world, the man's and the boy's world stays intact-- one of love between a father and son.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2017, 10:54:28 PM by Elusive Rabbit »

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Offline Jura-Glenlivet

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #306 on: January 25, 2017, 10:26:32 PM »

Well I just read a damn good novel.

China Mieville's -Perdido Street Station.

If you like your cities a mashed up steampunk version of Gormenghast, a baroque Sin city with aliens, low sorcery and valve driven robots? Visit China's New Crobuzon. If you like your stories and hero's clear cut and tied up nicely at the end, don't. 
Just to be clear, you are all terrific, but everything you say is exactly what a moron would say.

No one infers a god from the simple, from the known, from what is understood, but from the complex, the unknown, and the incomprehensible. Our ignorance is God; what we know is science. Robert Green Ingersoll

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Offline Jura-Glenlivet

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #307 on: February 04, 2017, 08:13:31 PM »

Another grand book!

Marlon James – A brief history of seven killings

a Booker prize winner, not necessarily a good thing (too much Ian McEwan), but it's really good.
Based mainly in Jamaica on the politically motivated gangs and the attempted assassination of Bob Marley, through to the New York crack wars, told through a multitude of characters; Gangsters, journalists, CIA even a Ghost, cracking read.

A warning, the Jamaican slang will get into your head, so when I saw wan of the sistren working for the shitstem, selling cheese in Waitrose, I and I go over and me say, quiet like “Babylon fallin” well she spit her drink all apon me face an start to choke, but she got it..am sure she got it. Rastafari.
Just to be clear, you are all terrific, but everything you say is exactly what a moron would say.

No one infers a god from the simple, from the known, from what is understood, but from the complex, the unknown, and the incomprehensible. Our ignorance is God; what we know is science. Robert Green Ingersoll

Elusive Rabbit

Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #308 on: February 07, 2017, 02:01:33 AM »
Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children.

Offline Dionysios

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #309 on: February 11, 2017, 06:22:06 AM »
'Inside the Myth: Orwell
- Views From the Left'

I bought this last summer and just now getting time to read it a bit. A compilation of essays published back in 1984 by various writers all criticising different aspects of George Orwell.

It's agreeable, but too much for me to read straight through. I'll read one topic at a time & come back to it. Good thing the book is organised the way it is.

I discovered it in an essay by the Anglo-Indian writer Joti Brar about Orwell's involvement with British government surveillance of British citizens including Orwell's authorship of an infamous list of names of activists and left writers to be spied upon.

https://stalinsociety.net/2016/07/12/george-orwell/

And I was totally ignorant of that aspect of Orwell. It's striking to similar information I earlier discovered about Bertrand Russell, another well known "left" anti-communist.

Offline Dionysios

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #310 on: March 16, 2017, 08:57:24 PM »
'Black Bolshevik,
Autobiography of an Afro-American Communist'

By Harry Haywood (1978)

http://ouleft.org/wp-content/uploads/Harry-Haywood-Black-Bolshevik.pdf

This book is good for many reasons, but the perspective it has makes it trump all other books covering American society in the early twentieth century.

Its view of the Harlem Renaissance and black American society generally including solid knowledgeable criticisms of the Garvey movement and of the NAACP & Urban League and the role their leaders have played in making black Americans conformist.

It's also the best history of the Communist Party USA including deep insight into its degeneration in the 1950's through personal experience. 

The author is quite aware of racial issues & admirably consistently places them lower than class differences as he believed race is manipulated to divide the exploited class against itself which serves to maintain its weakness. 

The author was radical and well read believing the overthrow of American government and its financial owners and the division of its land through redistribution to finish what post civil war reconstruction failed to accomplish is the ultimate answer to america's problems.

EDIT:
The author advocates revolution, not reform because he believes the American system is evil root and branch. Most of its defenders have been conditioned by schools and other propaganda methods to fight against their own class interests much like those poor common people who chose to serve or collaborate with fascism in Nazi Germany or the Confederate South. Harry Haywood's ideas are much more well thought out and sophisticated than the neo-communist movement of the 60's and 70's.

I have read that this author became a mentor of Malcolm X when he was trying to find his was after leaving the Nation of Islam.

It's worth mentioning that Haywood had a negative view of Roosevelt and the New Deal as being the saviours of capitalism and the American system. This is a striking difference of old left communists from American Democrats who are the old party of slavery that transformed its image into the saviour of capitalism in the 1930's. This book shows the ugly side of the New Deal and the heritage of the Democrat party in the 1930's South. One gets a sharp understanding from the author's life as a communist organiser in the U.S. (both North and South), and this is complemented by events in the Soviet Union where the author attended the Lenin School from 1925 to 1929.

For my purpose's, this book's communist perspective is somewhat like Russia Today in that it helps place the rhetoric of American Democrats such as the anti-Russian stances of Bill Maher and Anderson Cooper in a critical perspective without having to rely on the media of American Republicans which merely offer a different variety of fascism.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2017, 12:12:51 AM by Dionysios »

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Offline Ghost Spaghetti

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #311 on: March 20, 2017, 02:19:05 PM »
Currently reading Millenium People by J.G.Ballard. As one of his last books, it definitely feels more mature than the likes of High Rise or [/I]Concrete Island[/I]. it continues the same Ballardian theme of the middle classes seething with boredom and longing for a chance to release their animal passions, but here the radicalised middle-class actually seem to have some legitimate grievances to air, the descent into violence feels natural, even expected, in a way that it didn't in earlier works. I'm enjoying it so far.

Offline Dionysios

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #312 on: April 10, 2017, 08:01:21 AM »
'The Ottoman Mosaic:
Preservation of Minority Groups and Religious Tolerance /
Exploring Models For Peace By Re-Exploring the Past'

Edited By Kemal Karpat

I don't know why I didn't pick up on this veteran and prolific Turkish historian a long time ago. He's written about Turkey from a left leaning perspective since the 1950's.

I spent a year in Greek monasteries a decade ago, and the racism against Turks so disgusted me that it played a definite part in my rejecting the Greek Orthodox religion in favor of the more traditional Russian Old Believers. I'm not Muslim, but my respect for the Turks (and for the Greek left) escalated to something akin to what Muhammahad Ali had for the Vietnamese.

This book is an informed refutation of the racist martyr complex propaganda of the Greek right (which I reckon is analogous to the Israeli right). Those hypocrites criticise the Ottomans who have a beautiful history of tolerance while they persecute Islamic immigrants in their own country. I reckon my experience seeking the truth among such close minded morons motivated me to seek the other side's perspective, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

I simultaneously bought the author's historical study of the Ottoman Empire. Reading a section about how the Ottomans intermarried with Byzantines and pursued policies to the advantage of traditional Orthodox Church against Latin intrusions. I found this writer to be a kindred spirit.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2017, 08:03:18 AM by Dionysios »

Offline Dionysios

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #313 on: April 11, 2017, 03:25:10 AM »
'How Greek Science Passed to the Arabs'
By De Lacy O'Leary (1949)

Written by an Anglican and reprinted by a Muslim publisher, I bought this years ago and was reviewing it to see whether I would keep it because a newer book chronicling the Baghdad school that translated Greek science classics into Arabic seems much more worthy of the title than O'Leary's book which is actually more of a religious history.

The verdict is I think I'm going to hang on to it as the author is clearly knowledgeable even if I'm uncertain I would concur with all of his judgments or sympathies.

Until I have a more thoroughly informed authoritative source, I frankly reckon the passage that convinced me to keep this book is O'Leary's assertion that Syria and Egypt had practically mostly Christian populations with Arab rulers until the time of the Crusades.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2017, 03:36:06 AM by Dionysios »

Offline Dionysios

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #314 on: May 18, 2017, 11:12:17 PM »
'My Song'
By Harry Belafonte

His autobiography published in 2011. This book is one of the best and discriminating histories of America from roughly 1960 to today.

He doesn't shrink from criticising leftists who have degenerated into conformists (like Farrakhan supporting Trump) or blacks like Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice as house negroes who serve the master. When criticised for saying such things, he stands his ground. Of course, he's far more critical of people like George Bush, but his outspoken criticism of Bush is precise and informative giving details of reversals of things won during the civil rights movement of which he was at the centre.

It includes all the music history, but he says he was an activist before he became a musician & the activism is what's at the heart of his life.

He has a pessimistic assessment of American society today compared with the 1960's saying the spirit of most leftist leaders then is absent now. On this note he criticises Obama as not having a heart for the poor and disadvantaged whether they be black or white. He does not believe being black makes someone immune from criticism, very unlike many white liberals and black racists.

Belafonte says his primary influence (of many) was Paul Robeson whom I also find to be profound as well as profoundly neglected these days. Robeson was a good friend of the black communist writer Harry Haywood & Belafonte's autobiography in many ways comes close to a successor of that heritage. Perhaps Belafonte is not quite a communist, but he's definitely one of the best of the sixties generation. I remember MLK's right hand man Ralph Abernathy came out with an autobiography in the nineties, but Abernathy's politics went downhill in the seventies until he supported Reagan for president in 1980. He publicly repented of that before he died, but the point is the verve and edge of Belafonte's life and autobiography did not end with the sixties. He has stayed the course. He's 90 now and still going.

Many people predictably become more conservative as the age. That's conformists for ya.  I want to be dynamic like Belafonte as I get older.

He could be criticised as a serial cheater, but none of us is perfect. At least he admits his guilt and did not try to hide it.

Belafonte (about the time his book was published) receiving the NAACP's highest award. His talk brought to mind Michelle Alexander's book 'The New Jim Crow' about the increase in prison populations since the sixties which was just about the time the old Jim Crow laws went away.

I'm for gun rights, but anyone who is for gun rights and yet opposes the black lives matter movement acts like a thoughtless pawn. The whole purpose of gun rights should be to defend against terrorists such as the American police. The homeless and the weak are the ones who should be armed. Most police and security positions should be abolished along with most prisons. They're only guarding property that should be distributed to the needy anyway.

« Last Edit: May 19, 2017, 12:00:45 AM by Dionysios »

Offline Dionysios

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #315 on: May 19, 2017, 01:48:57 AM »
'Backdoor to Eugenics'
By Troy Duster

I understand this book to be an indictment of modern genetics and its associated technologies.

 I just ordered the second updated edition and have not read it yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

Offline Dionysios

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #316 on: May 23, 2017, 03:57:03 AM »
Selected Writings of Mikhail Suslov

Mikhail Suslov led the attack against the Khruhschevites and thus helped end de-Stalinisation in early 1960's Soviet Union. Although not completely free of criticism against Stalin himself, he was perhaps the principle Soviet intellectual of the Brezhnev era. A Top Secret CIA assessment of Suslov from 1978 asserted that although others existed who held his opinions, none had the widespread respect which Suslov had. Su slob had participated on Stalin's side in all the struggles of the 1930's and even fought in a Bolshevik army unit during the Russian revolution.

The report concluded that when Suslov finally dies, he will leave a void that will be difficult to fill. He did die in 1982 not so long after Brezhnev had passed away. Looking back, this CIA report was quite correct about Suslov's death leaving a void. The void was eventually filled by Gorbachev, a man with opposite objectives who instituted essentially anti-communist policies like glasnost and perestroika that smashed the Soviet Union.

1978 CIA Assessment of Mikhail Suslov (pdf)
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000500564.pdf

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Offline Snupes

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #317 on: June 07, 2017, 12:04:43 AM »
Neil Gaiman - American Gods

Wow hey look who took SIX MONTHS to read this book. I got like 68% of the way through then I stopped, didn't touch it for four-five months, and now finally finished the rest in one day. It's a heavy, thick book (not literally, I have it on a Kindle Voyage), incredibly dense, and took work to get through, but I'm really glad I did. It was absolutely fantastic. Gaiman is a magician with words and images.
Quote from: garygreen date=1480782226
i also took an online quiz that said i was a giraffe.  and i guess you're dumb enough to believe that i must be because the internet said so.

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Offline honk

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #318 on: June 07, 2017, 03:15:51 AM »
My one issue with it was how passive the protagonist was for most of the book. Not that it didn't make sense in the story, but it got a little dull after a while to be following a main character who does little more than what he's told to do by someone else. The fact that he finally started making some decisions for himself and taking some big steps in the final act helped finish it off on a strong note, though. My other nitpick is the way he talked was a little...inconsistent. I feel like there may have an unused draft where he was an English professor instead of a working class ex-con.
ur retartet but u donut even no it and i walnut tell u y

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Offline Snupes

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Re: FES Book Club
« Reply #319 on: June 07, 2017, 11:31:28 PM »
I would've been bothered by his passiveness were it not addressed, but it fit nicely into the story and gave him a really nice arc, so I'm completely okay with it. If the story were solely about him, I'd agree, but everything going on around him was interesting enough that I wasn't bothered, since it fit. And I thought it was mentioned in the books that he's a pretty smart dude, and that he's read hundreds of books in prison?
Quote from: garygreen date=1480782226
i also took an online quiz that said i was a giraffe.  and i guess you're dumb enough to believe that i must be because the internet said so.