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Sai
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#26
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My impression of Stephenson is that he really, really likes nerd stuff and then has to write a book about it and by the way here's a plot and stuff to go with it. Anyways, the nerd stuff that Seveneves is about is orbital mechanics. It has a very optimistic view of the end of how people can organize when facing the end of the world and then, y'know, space stuff.

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12-02-2015, 09:59 AM
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Akumu
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#27
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I was talking on IRC about books I have read and enjoyed so I thought maybe I should post some of that here:

Passage by Connie Willis is about medical researchers studying the neurological process of death, by artificially inducing near-death experiences. For some reason, the main character experiences near-death as being on the Titanic as it sinks. A meditation on death and the integrity of the self, if you are anything like me you will probably be crying the entire second half of the book.

Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle, yes that John Darnielle, the one from The Mountain Goats, follows a man on permanent medical disability who runs a play-by-post adventure game. It is distinctly John Darnielle, so if you like his music you will probably like this book. It deals heavily with constructed worlds and escapism, depression and finding a way to construct meaning or at least to continue on. I should probably read this again because I don't think I fully absorbed it the first time.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki is a multilayered narrative, narrated by author Ruth who finds Japanese teenage girl Nao's diary washed up on the shore of a British Columbian island. Largely a story of Nao's isolation and alienation from Japan and her discovery of a Japanese identity through interaction with her grandmother, a Buddhist nun. Nao seeks to discover her family history and Ruth seeks to discover the ultimate fate of Nao.
04-07-2016, 11:00 PM
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Coldblooded
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#28
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I don't read nearly as much as I used to, but I did read Wolf in White Van a few months back and I can vouch for Akumu that it's definitely worth picking up.

One thing I was really impressed by was John Darnielle's writing style. The protagonist frequently misremembers the events in the story, or just zooms in on super minor details in his memory that couldn't have possibly ever mattered to anybody else. I realize that that doesn't sound super great out of context, but it really sells the idea that we're listening to the winding, internal monologue of somebody trying to piece together the memories of something that happened to them decades ago. I really felt like I was inside the head of the protagonist for awhile, and it just made some of the darker parts of the story that much more heartbreaking than if they had been written in a more traditional writing style.

Anyways, Wolf in White Van is a very good book and The Mountain Goats are a very good band, thanks for listening.
04-08-2016, 12:19 AM
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btp
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#29
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In nonfiction news: Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman is an excellent read if you don't mind some psychology gibberish now and again. It does a great job of revealing just how fundamentally bad we are at intuitively thinking about statistics, and also reveals how subtle changes in your environment can affect how you behave, or even treat other people.

Also, fun fact: When remembering an experience, people tend to rate the experience as an average of the best (or worst) point and how it ends! I wonder if that has any impact on what books make our reading lists?
04-08-2016, 12:30 AM
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AgentBlue
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#30
that escalated quickly

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I would definitely recommend Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear. Both excellent fantasy books, of which the third book in the trilogy is frustratingly and martinesquely slow in appearing.

While upon first read I felt it was a little bit of a self-indulgent Mary Sue fest (Kvothe, the protagonist, is a multi-talented musician, artificer and mage), but upon rereading it (his magic system is pretty damn good) I found that Rothfuss is actually mocking Mary Sues: Kvothe has flaws, serious ones that make his character much more believable (it's much more apparent in the Wise Man's Fear). His temper and his arrogance do end up costing him and setting him back.

Pros:
- Decent characters
- Great magic system
- Stuff that takes lots of rereads before you go 'oh you magnificent bastard, i understand foreshadowing now'

Cons:
- Very thick books, not portable
- Third book isn't out yet
- Bit hard to digest the first time round
04-08-2016, 01:52 AM
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Mamylon
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
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I'm gonna put in a vote in favor of Stephenson, based on the five books I've read (Reamde, Seveneves, and the Baroque trilogy). The only one that had an egregiously bad ending was Reamde (everything ends in a super overblown shootout and then there's an epilogue where everyone is married). The second part of Seveneves isn't as good as the first, and System of the World is probably the least rad of the Baroque books, but neither is disappointing enough to undercut what came before.

The Baroque Cycle is his big historical fiction thing, set in early Enlightenment times, and it's one of the most purely entertaining genre prose things I've ever read.

Name of the Wind is up there too--I tend to roll my eyes at "system of magic" stuff, but this is good fantasy even if that's not your thing--with the caveat that it's very romance focused. It sometimes piss off Rothfuss fans when I describe it as a harem anime, but it totally is. Roughly three-quarters of the notable characters other than the main guy are hot, somewhat-older-than-him women (when I met Rothfuss I asked him how he went about striking a balance with depicting the sex lives of teenagers, and I swear to God he said "all those characters are eighteen") with at least a hint or a shadow of romantic/erotic attraction to him. Most of them are well-written characters, but they're shaped in some way by that framework.

Ender's Game is pretty good, but Orson Scott Card's writing seems a little flat to me now. When it comes to big-name 20th century sci-fi dudes, give me Dick or Herbert.

I'm currently rereading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which is still dope, and then I might take a shot at Cryptonomicon, while I have Stephenson on the brain.
04-29-2017, 03:42 PM
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Mirdini
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#32
You're Alright

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Cryptonomicon is a good ride for sure, though if you haven't read Snow Crash why haven't you read Snow Crash go read it (and then read The Diamond Age which is A Trip).

They're also both shorter reads than Cryptonomicon which while very interesting is the longest Neil Stephenson novel by a wide margin (Anathem (which drags on a bit more than Cryptonomicon, to be fair) is only 333,000 words, System of the World 387,000, Cryptonomicon clocks in at 412,000 apparently).

Diamond Age even won a Hugo apparently, but I'd definitely recommend reading Snow Crash first if only so you can recognize a neat callback to the earlier novel.
(This post was last modified: 04-30-2017, 05:08 AM by Mirdini.)
04-30-2017, 05:03 AM
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Sai
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#33
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Seconding Snow Crash as required reading that predicts the Internet and is full of great Stephenson quotables.

Since I haven't posted here since reading it, my recommended series is the Malazan Book of the Fallen - an epic fantasy series with an interesting magic system and smart characters applying it to military problems. Its weaknesses are that it has a lot of semi-random philosophical thinking thrown in, occasionally from the wrong characters' perspectives for it and that in the later parts it's just sprawled far enough to have just an inordinately large cast of ancient undead and/or demigods that all need screen time. Overall, though, it's pretty great.

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04-30-2017, 07:09 AM
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Mamylon
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#34

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I already own a copy of Cryptonomicon, so I'll probably get to that first.
04-30-2017, 05:38 PM
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Our Lady of Lampreys
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#35
Rebeliot

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I recently finished what is apparently the last Octavia Butler novel (I didn't even know she was dead). It's called Fledgling and it's an attempt to make vampires science-fictional, with an interesting vampire society which has always lived in symbiosis with humanity - but the symbiosis can be anything between parasitism and mutualism, and it's not always clear which it is. I really liked the book for the first three quarters or so, but I felt that it kinda ran out of steam for the last section. It just didn't keep me gripped and I felt like some of the conflicts almost got brushed under the rug. I was glued to the book for the first three quarters, though.
07-20-2017, 07:09 PM
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Schazer
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#36
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I'm back on my book bullshit again, thanks being-back-in-walking-distance-of-a-library

Since the last time I frequented Either of the Book Threads I read The Lathe of Heaven on Seedy's recommendation and it was The Beans. Someone let me know if Le Guin's Earthsea series would be my cup of tea because that's all the library seems to have available?

Good Omens was fun I guess but did not live up to the (considerable) hype accrued from my half-decade of internet community-ing

I've also got Vonnegut's Timequake and Mother Night to chew through at some point. Possibly this weekend while I'm down south visiting family and having next to no internet?

I've also been grabbing whatever non-fiction catches my eye, including:

Radical Gardening: Politics, Idealism and Rebellion in the Garden was an academic stroll through the politicization of land use and green spaces through history. Did you know the organic movement's origins were tied up in nationalist political movements including Nazi Germany? Cuz I didn't!

Next on my nonfiction to-read list is The Optimistic Environmentalist. I saw it at the Good Bookstore in town but couldn't justify 35 bucks on a book so got the library to order it in.
10-20-2017, 01:42 AM
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ICan'tGiveCredit
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#37
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schaz, earthsea is... not for everybody. and by everybody i mean anybody.

I've read pretty much all of Michael J. Ward's cyoa books except Eye of Winter's Fury, which i plan to get for myself for Christmas. They feature heavy usage of dice. Some would say they belong in the Interactive Fiction thread!

they were a lot of fun, i read them three times each.

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(This post was last modified: 10-20-2017, 03:50 PM by ICan'tGiveCredit.)
10-20-2017, 03:41 PM
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Akumu
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#38
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what are you talking about earthsea is great leguin is great
10-20-2017, 06:11 PM
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ICan'tGiveCredit
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#39
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i read bones of the earth. did not like it at all. *shrug*

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(This post was last modified: 10-20-2017, 10:13 PM by ICan'tGiveCredit.)
10-20-2017, 10:13 PM
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Mamylon
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#40

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Goodreads suggests that sometime around the last time I posted in this thread, the average book I read got like 1 star worse. Coincidence?

I'm currently reading the third volume of My Struggle and the Southern Reach trilogy, both of which are probably gonna land as three-star books. Forthcoming attempts to find something I really like will probably include at least a few of:

Elena Ferrante - Those Who Leave And Those Who Stay
Jesmyn Ward - Sing, Unburied, Sing
Philip Pullman - The Book of Dust
Gillian Flynn - Dark Places
George Saunders - Lincoln in the Bardo
Madeleine l'Engle - A Wrinkle In Time

All books I'm likely to really love. And Schazer is always here to remind me that I should read more Vonnegut. And Leguin. Lathe of Heaven is awesome.
10-24-2017, 03:48 PM
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a52
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#41
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(04-29-2017, 03:42 PM)Mamylon Wrote: It sometimes piss off Rothfuss fans when I describe it as a harem anime, but it totally is. Roughly three-quarters of the notable characters other than the main guy are hot, somewhat-older-than-him women (when I met Rothfuss I asked him how he went about striking a balance with depicting the sex lives of teenagers, and I swear to God he said "all those characters are eighteen") with at least a hint or a shadow of romantic/erotic attraction to him. Most of them are well-written characters, but they're shaped in some way by that framework.

I've been thinking about this since you posted it and I think I figured out why it bothers me. It's not that it doesn't have some of those elements, but it is very reductionist to describe it like that. There's so much more to the message of the series that gets lost if you say it's just a "harem anime", and while romance plays a big part in the story, it's not the main point. I think rather the multiple affairs he has is more of a homage to ancient myths and legends, just like the word choice, plot, and magic systems are.
10-25-2017, 12:19 AM
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Mamylon
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
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(10-25-2017, 12:19 AM)a52 Wrote: I've been thinking about this since you posted it and I think I figured out why it bothers me. It's not that it doesn't have some of those elements, but it is very reductionist to describe it like that. There's so much more to the message of the series that gets lost if you say it's just a "harem anime", and while romance plays a big part in the story, it's not the main point. I think rather the multiple affairs he has is more of a homage to ancient myths and legends, just like the word choice, plot, and magic systems are.

I like that Name of the Wind is horny--I just think that it's something people should know about before going into the book. I don't think "an homage to ancient myths and legends" is any less reductionist. All fantasy novels are that.

I've noticed that Name of the Wind is a book that people take away different "main points" from. I have friends who like the book just as much as I do, but who spend all their energy, like, theorizing about minor lore elements. I don't care much about that. I just want to know what girls Kvothe is going to kiss!
10-25-2017, 01:30 PM
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Schazer
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#43
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Mother Night postmortem: hwoof
10-26-2017, 02:56 AM
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Plaid
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#44
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I'm currently reading The Less You Know The Sounder You Sleep and i'm not sure how i feel about it. It was written by a journalist who previously wrote a biography of the twins its about except... Its written in the first person with one of the twins narrating? Except written after their deaths. Its to better illustrate how their lives were and how one twin was apparently a sociopath who abused the 'narrating' twin but it comes off as kind of insincere? Especially because i'm still in their childhood and its an adult writing kind of poorly from a child's perspective.

I'm super interested in their lives though so i will persevere

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10-26-2017, 03:36 AM
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Our Lady of Lampreys
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#45
Rebeliot

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I finished In a Dark, Dark Wood, by Ruth Ware, the other day. The back cover compares it to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, so I picked it up for a psychological thriller fix. I was somewhat underwhelmed. It kept me hooked enough, which was good, but I didn't actually believe in any of the characters, and something seemed forced or off about the writing.

In ecology books, I'm currently reading The Mushroom at the End of the World by Anna Tsing. It's pretty philosophically heady at some points, which could be a turn-off for some people; the subtitle is "On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins." I love it though! The title mushroom is the Matsutake, and she follows its supply chain from the Pacific Northwest to Japan, taking a lot of interest in Indochinese refugees who become matsutake foragers. The next section of the book is more about ecology and the mushroom itself.

I've got an Ursula K. Le Guin book that I really like, called Malafrena. It's about a fictional European country in the 1820's or 30's. The main character is a young radical who is passionate about revolution, nationalism, representative government, all those things that Romantics dedicated their lives to with a lack of irony that's unthinkable today. I imagine Le Guin had a lot of fun writing it. It's taking me a while to read cause of how slow it goes - it seems only fit for savoring.

I'm on the side of "Earthsea is great." Le Guin writes fantasy and sci-fi where the world and characters are everything and it never seems like events were shoehorned to fit some preconceived plot. I don't think I've ever read anything by her that I actively disliked. My personal favorite is the short story "A Fisherman of the Inland Sea." It's the title story of its collection, which is kind of a grab bag of random stuff until you reach the last three stories.
10-30-2017, 05:54 AM
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Wheat
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#46

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Bookslist of most of the audiobooks I’ve read/listened to in the last 4 years. Key: [nf] non fiction || [f] fiction || [nv] novella || [ss] short story || [t2s]: text to speech (the audiobook is I recorded a text to speech program reading it) || @@ or ## before a title means a super favorite for fiction or nonfiction, @ or # before a title means I very much liked it. Just bc it doesn’t have those doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. Asterisks around the summary means that’s quoted from the web bc I got lazy



Goes in this order:
A. non-libravox books—books from CD or other non-public file
B. libravox books. Libravox books. These you can just look up and freely download from online anytime you want
A is organized like this:
1. non fiction—favs 2. Fiction—favs. 3. Nonfiction—recommended/liked 4. All other non-fiction. (pretty decent tier and then average tier) 5. Fiction—recommended/liked 6. All other fiction (pretty decent tier and then average tier)
B. 1. Libravox nonfiction 2. Libravox fiction


A1. Nonfiction: favs

Spoiler :


##The Worst Hard Times-Timothy Egan [NF]—a historical account of the Dust Bowl, of its causes but mostly of people who stayed behind in the difficult times when there were dust storms that shorted out electrical devices and grasshopper plagues that devoured everything. It gets really surreal at times, like when one town who were really mad at overpopulating jackrabbits eating things started hosting events where everyone would fence in rabbits and club them to death en masse

##Death of a King – tavis smiley [nf]—Tells the history of the final year of Martin Luther King Jr’s life with sections of prose narrative. MLK has been mythologized and we take for granted the fact that by the time of their death, they were disliked by a majority of Americans for various reasons, ranging from “came out against the Vietnam war” (which a majority of Americans were for) to “was seen as an irrelevant relic” by the burgeoning black power movement. They were also being harassed by the fbi and getting criticism for branching out into economic and anti-military activism. Probably vital reading for understanding the reformist half of the civil rights movement, and putting into perspective how it was seen in its day (and you can then make easy parallels to how current reformist efforts are seen today).


##Open Veins of Latin America [NF] [t2s]—historical telling of colonialism in latin America on its people from contact by Columbus to the 1970s, told in a prose narrative form.



##Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention-Manning Marable [NF]—really good account of the life of Malcolm X, the garveyite-wing of the pre-civil-rights movement, and what led to the black power movement. Probably vital reading for understanding the militant half of the civil rights movement.

##Tao te ching-Laozi translated by Stephen Mitchell [NF]—it’s short but it’s pretty calming to listen to. A philosophy of ‘just kinda don’t do drama, here’s how.’ It’s a good translation I think



#I Am Malala [NF]—life story of a young girl who was a female education advocate in Pakistan, born to a teacher who was also a female education advocate. Details the deterioration of the situation in Pakistan as the Taliban gains more political influence and the country’s history which led to it. Then they are shot and get surgery done and now they’re in Britain. I think they’re a brain genius because even being young as they are they write far better than most people who write. They also bring a real emotional depth to the writing too


##The Shock Doctrine [NF] [t2s]—a dense account documenting the underpinnings of neoliberalism and “disaster capitalism”, which is the modern tendency of people in power to take advantage of the chaos natural or artificial disasters present to ram through unpopular economic policies that dismantle public assets/programs. Described are its origins in chile’s military dictatorship, and then its in response to the end of the cold war, the mishandled rebuilding of Iraq in the war, the establishment of charter schools post-katrina and more.





A2. Fiction: favs

Spoiler :
@@Catch-22 [F]—best book. It’s a comedy centered around a shitty pilot at the end of WWII coming to the existential realization that there’s no need for them to risk their life anymore for their insane and egotistical commanding officers by doing missions in a war that is pretty much already won. A large cast of wonderful characters who are all terribly flawed human beings going slowly insane in a nonsensical system. The story is told out of chronological order and skips between characters freely. One of the characters is named Major Major Major Major and they are sad.



@@Blood Meridian [f] – cormac mccarthy—*The majority of the story follows a teenager referred to only as "the kid," with the bulk of the text devoted to his experiences with the Glanton gang, a historical group of scalp hunters who massacred Native Americans and others in the United States–Mexico borderlands from 1849 to 1850 for bounty, pleasure, and eventually out of nihilistic habit. The role of antagonist is gradually filled by Judge Holden, a physically massive, highly-educated, exceptionally multi-talented member of the gang, depicted as completely bald from head to toe.* The Judge is one of the best and formidable characters in all of books. Extremely violent which is usually not my thing but it’s done really effectively in a way that almost gives you existential horror since this sort of thing actually happened.


@@One Hundred Years of Solitude [F] [t2s]—latin american magical realism tale of seven generations of the Buendía family who found an isolated city which has strange things happen to it. Eventually the outside world intrudes in on it and one of the patriarchs leads a many-years guerilla war against the officials who forced them to partake in a rigged election there. The long-living matriarch of the Buendías warns all generations to not commit incest as if they do the child will be born with the tail of a pig. Another Buendía is the sole survivor of the Banana Massacre of 1928, a real life event where representatives of a US fruit company killed dozens of striking workers via chain gun, and is told that the event never happened.


@The Road – Cormac McCarthy [F]—pretty short post apocalyptic novel that takes place after a mysterious incident. A father and son head for the coast as (nuclear?) winter sets in, idealistically hoping they will find something there they can live off. Really well written


@Old Man and the Sea-Ernest Hemmingway [F]—in this short novel, an old man does epic fishing battle with a huge ass marlin. More things happen.






A3. Nonfiction—recommended/liked

Spoiler :



#King Leopold's Ghost-Adam Hochschild [NF] an account of the atrocities thanks to the ceremonial king of Belgium declaring Africa as up for grabs and carving out a portion for themselves as the “congo free state” to make money off ivory and rubber trade. Millions died in a period of history that’s not really taught in schools. It got real bad, at one point, leopold’s secret police were using chopped-off human hands as currency. Also, the first modern humanitarian movement that happened in reaction to this stuff being exposed.

#Civil War of 1812-Alan Taylor [NF] – A very thorough and well-told account of why the war of 1812 happened, how the US was still divided by party as sympathetic to the crown vs loyal to the republic, the goals of the US in starting the war (invading Canada to try to take Canada, which was not canada yet), how the us thought it would be seen sympathetically by Canadian locals, how the invading forces completely fucked up at this and turned all the locals against them, how this led to the formation of a national Canadian identity, how the us lost nearly every battle except for one at the end, how the british fucked up at the negotiating table despite all of the above because they were checked out of the whole thing emotionally, and how this allowed for the us to finally expand westward safely as native Americans were no longer guaranteed british protection.


#People's History of the United States- Howard Zinn [NF] popular leftist American history book that goes into subjects that are traditionally left out of normal high school texts, tries to cover things from POVs of native Americans, African Americans, women, unionists, anti-war activists, socialists etc


#The Things They Carried-Tim O'Brien [nF]—memoir of someone who fought in the Vietnam war, meditating on the non-necessity of violence, how those who do not avoid it end up getting all fucked up in the head, and how avoiding it is a form of heroism/courage more than answering the call to comply. Told in form of many short stories



#1491-Charles Mann [NF]—account of what things were like in various parts of the Americas prior to contact from Europeans and how indigenous American cultures were, how previously-thought estimates of population are much lower than how many people there really were, a scientific look into how smallpox + other diseases could have wiped out 95% of people in a hemisphere, and how previous cultural conceptions of a “noble savage” that resists developing nature is based on some researcher looking at an example of a native culture that had experienced a post-apocalyptic scenario (losing 95% of population will cause a civilizational collapse) and assuming that as business-as-usual.

1493-Charles Mann [NF]—account of post-new-world contact and how the interactions caused the emergence of global economy that changed the rest of the world. Also how things like runaway slave cities happened, what early mexico city was like, how the silver trade affected politics of then-world-leading China, etc.. Also things like where the potato came from and how it led to a global population boom. Suffers a bit at the end from “end-of-history” syndrome where they expect that any resistance to globalization will come from far-leftists (instead of what ended up happening mid-2010s with nationalists). Might as well read it if you liked 1491


#Hiroshima-John Hersey [NF]—an account of 4 or 5 specific survivors’ stories in the immediate aftermath of the explosion of the Hiroshima bomb, and then later how their lives turned out. Pretty harrowing stuff, turns out atomic bombs cause a lot of suffering

#Bailout-Neil Barofsky [NF]—good but infuriating insider account by the Troubled Asset Relief Program inspector general of how the post 2008 financial meltdown’s bailout was handled, how various treasury department folks tried to steer it toward banks and shut out any accountability, and how this predictably led to popular backlash as banks foreclosed on normal folks.



#Missoula – jon krakauer [nf]—* explores how rape is handled by colleges and the criminal justice system. The book follows several case studies of women raped in Missoula, Montana, many of them linked in some way to the University of Montana. Krakauer attempts to illuminate why many victims do not want to report their rapes to the police, and he criticizes the justice system for giving the benefit of the doubt to assailants but not to victims.* it’s pretty heavy


Stiff- Mary Roach [nf]— *In the book, Roach gives firsthand accounts of cadavers, a history of the use of cadavers, and an exploration of the surrounding ethical/moral issues witness. The book covers 12 topics:
Practicing cosmetic surgery on cadaver heads
Body snatching and the early years of human dissection
The nature of decomposition
Cadavers for use as crash test dummies
Using cadavers to analyze a crash site
Army tests on cadavers
Crucifixion experiments
Beating heart cadavers, the soul, and being buried alive
Decapitation and human head transplant
Cannibalism in the name of medicine
New alternatives to burial and cremation
The author's views on her own remains*



#Into the Wild –John Krakauer [NF]—true account describing a college age kid who was disenchanted with the modern world; after traveling the deserts of the US southwest, they made a mission to survive in the Alaskan wilderness for a season to live off the land. Also describes likely how they died based on the evidence found at where they stayed.


Teacher Man (frank mccourt)[NF]—third memoir from the guy who wrote angela’s ashes, about experiences as a teacher. good enough


# Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence-Doris Pilkington [NF]- first-person account of 3 aboriginal Australian girls who got taken from their home as part of australia’s program to steal mixed-race children from their homes to put in boarding schools. The book is mostly documenting how they walked 1000 miles to get back home through mostly wilderness.

Islam: A Short History-Karen Armstrong [NF]—it’s a sort-of-short history of islam. Covers the basics good enough

#The Imperial Cruise-James Bradley [NF]—the history of the turn-of-the-century US’s excursions into the pacific and carribean, including the Philippines, cuba, Hawaii, and how teddy roosevelt’s diplomacy with korea and japan, and their advice to japan (like recommending they have an Asian Monroe Doctrine), set the stage for japan to start building an empire that led to their involvement in WWII.


#Long Walk to Freedom-Nelson Mandela [NF]—long personal account of Nelson Mandela’s life, especially concentrating on their founding of the African National Congress and subsequent trial + imprisonment in apartheid south Africa and eventual release. Also describes the condition of apartheid. Provides a pretty good “blueprint for resistance” as Mandela calls it.

#This Changes Everything [NF]—large climate change related book; explores the funding and intellectual underpinning behind the climate change denial movement, how free-trade agreements led to an explosion in emissions, how liberal green groups fail to enact any effective action on climate change due to their pro-business opportunism, how decentralized green energy sources could lead to more empowered communities, and listing of various grassroots protests that have stopped carbon-intensive energy extraction



#The Colony [NF]— *Hawaii's isolation from foreign illness slowly disintegrated through the nineteenth century as trading ships arrived bearing the yellow flag of disease. When leprosy cases appeared, panicked local officials designated the island of Molokai, some fifty miles from Honolulu, a "leprosarium," because it was naturally inaccessible, presenting a sea cliff "so sheer that wild goats tumbled from its face." The first twelve lepers were rowed to its rocky shores in January of 1866. Drawing on eight thousand pages of documents, Tayman reconstructs a fascinating history of the settlement, which officially lasted until 1969. Shortages of food, water, and shelter sent some lepers into caves pocketed inside an extinct volcano. Tayman's multilayered account sketches in scientific details, such as the fact that later medical studies proved that most of the exiles weren't even contagious.*

#Fields of Blood: History of Religious Violence [NF]—not really so much about religious violence as it is a comparative religious text that goes through the history of how different religions formed in relation to each other and in relation to the nation-states/empires they formed in. Also the history of how our current conceptualization of “religion”, of something private that can be separated from other forms of civic philosophy, formed.

#Demon Under the Microscope [NF][/background][/b]—how people died constantly prior to the invention of antibiotics, and the history of how antibiotics were formed, in a race between French and german researchers. The narrative is told in a compelling way


#The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum [NF]—looking into research on austism spectrum disorders, also categorizes three main categories of autistic specialized perception types: visual thinkers who perceive things photographically, musical/mathematical thinkers who perceive strongly through pattern recognition and verbal logic thinkers, who relate via language recall in detail.



#Haiti: After the Earthquake [NF]—examination of how the 2010 earthquake in Haiti was largely a man-made disaster since the public sphere is practically non-existent following a couple centuries of fuckery by other countries. Also accounts of the horrors immediately after the earthquake and how the world reacted. It will make you sad because anything dealing with haiti’s history is sadness


All Fishermen are Liars [nf]—a fisherwoman frames a collection of tales of professional fishers experiencing various dangerous or comedic situations off the atlantic coast through the framing device of bar stories in a Portland, maine bar.

Into Thin Air - jon krakauer [nf]– jon krakauer is a journalist who is asked by a magazine to do an article on climbing mount everest and the increasing commercialization of it by professional guide groups who you can pay several thousand dollars to help you get to the top with the aid of sherpas. During the 1996 climbing season (as climbing attempts happen in brief windows in the year where climbing is possible) when krakauer makes their attempt, the combination of an (allegedly) unexpected storm and the competitive nature of guide companies possibly pushing too much to get their clients to the top leads to 8 deaths.

Everest [nf]—another account of the 1996 everest climbing disaster, this time from the POV of the IMAX film crew that abandoned their summit attempt to help out with rescue missions.



Blood Diamonds-Greg Campbell [NF]—account exposing “conflict diamonds” in sierra leone and wars that went on in the 90s for control of diamond mines. Also exposing how the diamond trade got started in the first place, how it became a symbol of romance, and how its scarcity is artificially controlled as debeers has warehouses full of the stuff. Kind of naïve on thinking that control of diamond mines going away from warlords would lead to better things for sierra leone (that hasn’t panned out)


Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman-Mark Deakins [NF]—historical account of the life of Catherine the Great, Russian ruler who wasn’t actually Russian bc that’s how royals worked



In Cold Blood-Truman Capote [NF]—true crime account of some guys on death row who murdered a family in a robbery attempt. I think it’s like one of the first “true crime” stories?


Last Call-Daniel Okrent [NF]—acct of what led to the prohibition of alcohol, how it was enacted/carried out, its cultural effects, and how it was repealed.

The Slaves' War-Andre Ward [NF]—first-hand accounts of the US Civil War from the viewpoints of former slaves in various parts of the country.


Pandora's Lunchbox-Melanie Warner [NF]—the history behind the development of food science and how various preserved goods became ubiquitous in our culture’s diet. Includes things like how breakfast cereals were invented and how processed cheese was almost called an “embalmed cheese product.”





A4. Nonficiton—all other

Spoiler :

Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army [nf]— *The book details the rise of Blackwater USA, a private military company, and the growth of security contracting in the Iraq War and the War on Terrorism. He describes how Blackwater (at the time of writing) serves in Iraq and Afghanistan like, in his judgement, a Praetorian Guard, protecting top authority figures and enjoying immunity from the usual constraints and regulations on traditional armies.* Also details how Blackwater's leadership was motivated by the fundamentalist right-wing ideology of its founder, Erik Prince.


Jarhead-Anthony Swofford [NF]—account of a marine in the first Iraq gulf war. Thematically takes from The Things They Carried, but updated with a 90s edge. There’s one really good passage in it that I’ll quote later I guess. My audiobook had a scratch on it and I missed a few chapters

Nixon and Mao-Margaret MacMillan [NF]—the history of the meeting between Nixon and mao and the steps that had to be taken to repairing relations between china and the US. Also the week Nixon spent there.


Wikileaks-David Leigh+Luke Harding [NF]—how the Wikileaks leaking of classified Iraq war-related records and diplomatic cables took place with its publication in the guardian, how/why Chelsea manning (though they are named as bradley here since this was before chelsea came out) leaked it, how Julian assange is a weirdo and a creep and how some matrix shit motivated them to do things, and how the leaks affected some things. (This was also before all the good people left wikileaks for assange being a jackass and before wikileaks became a partisan shithole)

John Kenneth Gabriel-The Great Crash of 1929 [NF]—things that led to the stock market crash of 1929 and things that happened after it.



Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain [NF]—there’s a yearly multi-day conference that the dalai lama and Buddhist monks attend along with neuroscientists looking into breakthroughs of how the mind works. This book deals with discussions at one of them where the topic was neuroplasticity, or how neuron regeneration can lead to long term behavioral and mental health changes. Discussed are various scientific studies on things like OCD and moderate depression where meditation as a treatment showed significant improvement of treatment over non-treatment (which is especially helpful w/ depression as antidepressants typically only work for severe depression, not moderate depression). The book doesn’t actually have any instructions for neuroplasticity or meditation techniques, it’s just the science behind it so you’ll have to seek out your own. Thought it was pretty interesting


Thaistory pt 1-Andrew Marshall [NF] [t2s]—history of Thailand, from the establishment of the monarchy in the mid 20th century to early 2010s. It’s unauthorized of course and was originally in blog form bc Thailand has laws against defaming the monarchy or debasing their strange nationalist version of Buddhism


Seven Dirty Words [NF]—biography of George carlin, the comedian who once swore.

Orientalism [NF] [t2s]—dissection of the historical treatment from “the west” (Europe and the US) toward the orient/the middle east/”the near east”, and the common threads of stereotypes toward ‘orientals’ throughout the ages.


Age of Empathy [NF]—research into ways animals show empathy, compassion and unselfish behavior.


Stranger than Fiction (palahniuk) [NF]—some non-fiction pieces by the guy who wrote fight club *The book is divided into three sections: "People Together", articles about people who find unique ways of achieving togetherness; "Portraits", interviews and short essays mostly about famous people; and "Personal", autobiographical pieces.*

Descartes's Bones [NF]— discussion of the history of enlightenment philosophy's development, framed around different people seeking descartes's remains as a relic.


Marley and Me [nf]—man has a large dog

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas [NF]—a journalist covering a race event in the Nevada desert does a bunch of drugs and wanders around in general debauchery. Where the term “gonzo journalism” came from

What Happened [NF]
[b][background=#cc0]##The Worst Hard Times-Timothy Egan [NF]
—a historical account of the Dust Bowl, of its causes but mostly of people who stayed behind in the difficult times when there were dust storms that shorted out electrical devices and grasshopper plagues that devoured everything. It gets really surreal at times, like when one town who were really mad at overpopulating jackrabbits eating things started hosting events where everyone would fence in rabbits and club them to death en masse
—by one of George w. bush’s press secretaries, trying to explain how everything went wrong in Iraq


A Moveable Feast - Ernest Hemingway [nf]—* a memoir about hemmingway’s years as a struggling young expatriate journalist and writer in Paris in the 1920s. The book describes the author's apprenticeship as a young writer while he was married to his first wife.* Also dishes up dirt on other writers/artists in the expat community in paris, like f scott fitzgerald.



A5. Ficiton—recommended/liked

Spoiler :



@The Martian - Andy Weir [f]—An american astronaut is mistaken for dead on Mars in 2035, and is left behind after their crew has to make an emergency departure. Without any form of communication, they narrate in diary gradually figuring out how to survive on the planet using the landing site resources they have long enough to meet up with the next mission scheduled to land on mars.


@True Grit [f]—a scrappy 14 year old Arkansas girl named mattie goes into the western Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) to avenge their father’s death at the hand of an outlaw drifter who then fled into the frontier. They are accompanied by a rowdy drunk named rooster cogburn who is a US marshall, and a texas ranger who is tracking the outlaw for another crime (killing a texas senator in an argument about a dog). The two men attempt to ditch mattie but they stick along. Meanwhile, the outlaw has joined an outlaw gang.


@White Dog Fell From the Sky [f]—* White Dog Fell from the Sky is set in Botswana in the late 1970s and follows three characters as their lives interact with one another. Isaac Muthethe is from South Africa, still under apartheid. He had a promising future as a medical student until he was forced to flee to Botswana after watching the South African Defence Force kill someone. Once in Botswana, Isaac works as a gardener for Alice Mendelssohn, an American postgrad student who has left her studies behind in order to accompany her husband. The two strike up a friendship of sorts and when Isaac goes missing, Alice decides that she must find him.* there is also a dog that follows the main character and they are a good dog.


@Rosemarys baby [f]—a newlywed couple moves into a house that supposedly has a history of witchcraft and murder. There are eccentric occultist neighbors next door who insert themselves into the couple’s life. The husband, an actor, starts getting better jobs after a rival goes suddenly blind. Then the wife, rosemary, gets pregnant and as the story progresses rosemary gets more and more suspicious of the neighbors and starts fearing that the baby will be sacrificed in a ritual.


@For Whom the Bell Tolls-Ernest Hemmingway [F]—anarchists rebelling in a fascist-held portion of franco’s spain attempt to carry out a mission to blow up a bridge. Meditation on the nature of violence and its necessity in hard times. First few chapters are pretty slow but it gets very good, one of those books where if you aren’t interested after the first several chapters don’t keep reading


@Grapes of Wrath-John Steinbeck [F]—novel that alternates every other chapter between following an Oklahoma family who has to leave their farm during the dust bowl to seek work out west and the stories of other random people in the dust bowl exodus. I hated reading this in high school but loved reading it two years ago. If you don’t like it about 4 or 5 chapters in just don’t read it


@Tropic of Capricorn [F]—extremely good Dadaist semi-memoir novel in places while also extremely problematic in other places. I quoted most of the good quotes in another thread so no one has to read it. It’s about the author’s experiences in new York city up to the point where they left the US for paris.




The Pearl-John Steinbeck [F] [nv]—Poor fishers in mexico find a large pearl and the promise of wealth it holds makes them paranoid and drives them against each other.


@The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [F]—with the help of an orphaned punk hacker girl, some Swedish investigative journalist gets hired as a private detective for an industrialist and ends up possibly uncovering a serial killer or secret fundamentalist/neo-nazi society of killers in this book with heavy anti-sexual-violence themes.

The Girl Who Played With Fire [F]—it turns out the hacker girl had some things happen to them in the past which is why they are so peculiar and have so many trust issues with authority. The magazine that the journalist heads up was about to publish a thing when another thing happens which leads to more things happening. Ends on a cliffhanger bc that’s what happens with trilogies

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest [F]—a book to wrap up the things that happened in the second book. the members of the conspiracy that was threatened to be exposed in the previous book are made of mostly aging cold-war era men who are bad at doing things now




A6. Fiction—all other

Spoiler :
decent tier

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn [f]— *The story focuses on an impoverished but aspirational, second-generation Irish-American, adolescent girl and her family in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York City, during the first two decades of the 20th century.* good enough I guess. A common thread is people saying “hey it’s a free country” when other people complain



The Hunger Games [f]—it’s the hunger games. Good concept and the story captures the attention but everything happening to the protagonist can seem forced at times.

Catching Fire [f]—It’s the second hunger game.

Mockingjay [f]—It’s the third hunger game.



The Golden Man (Phillip K Dick) [F] [ss]—short sci-fi story about a mutant man who can see into the future by five minutes and the attempt to hunt them down.






Flowers for Algernon [f]—*Algernon is a laboratory mouse who has undergone surgery to increase his intelligence by artificial means. The story is told by a series of progress reports written by Charlie Gordon, the first human test subject for the surgery, and it touches upon many different ethical and moral themes such as the treatment of the mentally disabled. Charlie's IQ reaches 185. However, as his intelligence, education, and understanding of the world increase, his relationships with people deteriorate. *



Slumdog Millionaire-Vikas Swarup [F]—a poor young Indian adult gets on a game show and wins thanks to having niche knowledge from all the things they’ve done to get by.


World War Z [f]—a 2006 apocalyptic horror novel by Max Brooks. The novel is a collection of individual accounts narrated by an agent of the United Nations Postwar Commission, following the devastating global conflict against the zombie plague. Other passages record a decade-long desperate struggle, as experienced by people of various nationalities. The personal accounts also describe the resulting social, political, religious, and environmental changes.


No Country for Old Men – cormac mccarthy [f]—a drug deal goes bad in southwest texas near the border, and some random antelope hunter finds a satchel with two million dollars in it. The sponsors of the drug deal end up hiring an expert tracker/hitman who is “the ultimate badass” who makes everything bad for everyone else.


Call of the Wild-Jack London [F]—a st. Bernard gets stolen and sold as a sled dog and slowly loses all traces of domestication as they become more and more wolflike.

White Fang-Jack London [F]—a wolf grows up in the wild but then gets adopted and slowly loses its wildness as it becomes more and more doglike.


Roots- Alex Haley [F]—long book about an extended family’s history from getting stolen from Africa and put on a plantation. Mostly deals with three generations, and one of them is heavy into a cockfighting drama.



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Tropic of Cancer [F]—Dadaist semi-memoir about living in paris and how it’s a good but also extremely bullshit city. Not as good as the sequel imo but still good in places. It got banned in the us for obscenity since there’s a lot of fucking and swears and was the subject of a us supreme court case that resulted in leniency of obscenity laws


The Cruicible-Arthur Miller [F] – short play about witch trials but it’s actually about mccarthyism

The Gilded Age –mark twain [f]—pretty boring

Baudolino – umberto eco [f]— *Born a simple peasant in northern Italy, Baudolino has two major gifts-a talent for learning languages and a skill in telling lies, Baudolino meets Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who adopts Baudolino and sends him to the university in Paris, where he makes a number of adventurous friends. Spurred on by myths and their own reveries, this merry band sets out in search of Prester John, a legendary priest-king said to rule over a vast kingdom in the East-a phantasmagorical land of strange creatures with eyes on their shoulders and mouths on their stomachs, of eunuchs, unicorns, and lovely maidens.*


Bleeding Edge [F]—by the guy who did gravity’s rainbow. *a detective story, with its major themes being the September 11 attacks in New York City and the transformation of the world by the Internet.* also highly referential and taps into the conspiracy-heavy mindset of the 2000s

Fight Club [f]—*Inspired by his doctor's exasperated remark that insomnia is not suffering, the protagonist finds relief by impersonating a seriously ill person in several support groups. Then he meets a mysterious man named Tyler Durden and establishes an underground fighting club as radical psychotherapy.* 2edgy4skool



A Farewell to Arms-Ernest Hemmingway [F]—some guy in wwi gets injured and they run off to get married in Switzerland I think, wasn’t too big on this one


Love in the Time of Cholera [F]—by the guy who did One Hundred Years of Solitude, less magical realism though. two young lovers are separated by the girl’s father, and then the girl mostly forgets about the boy while the boy pines for the girl into old age. The title is a pun because cholera sounds like the Spanish word for passion so lovesickness is a physical illness

Run, Rabbit [F]—some washed up former high school basketball star leaves wife to stay with another woman

On the Road [F]—ploddingly written rockabilly 50s americana bullshit that spawned a generation of insufferable beatniks


Gravity's Rainbow-Thomas Pynchon [F]—ahhhh

Twelve Tribes of Hattie [F]—In jim crowe times, Hattie is a matriarch who has to handle everything themselves, the husband whose name I forget is a weak man, and there are twelve children who deal with things.



The Curious Case of Benjamin Button-F Scott Fitzgerald [F]—short story; interesting idea of a person who ages backwards but it’s not executed very well imo.


The Glass Menagerie-Tennessee Williams [F]—play where a boy’s sister has a menagerie of glass figures and I think someone is trying to date someone else otherwise I don’t remember much of it



The Good Earth-Pearl S. Buck [F]—a Chinese peasant gets married to a hard working wife, buys land, has a few failsons, becomes well-off, forgets the hard work of their wife and becomes a bastardman. Meanwhile history things are happening.


Light in August-William Faulkner [F]—southern gothic novel about southern gothic things that I don’t remember


Brave New World-Aldous Huxley [F]—sci-fi novel that’s kind of split in half with having one protagonist at first, but their story is abandoned halfway through. I kind of hate this book


Joyce Carol Oates-Mudwoman [F]—the first female president of princeton has strange sensations of being trapped in mud that have to do with their feelings of inadequate womanliness stemming from childhood abuse by a religious zealot mother. They have to deal with university politics and loneliness. kind of over-long and muddled, doesn’t really go anywhere


Blade Runner [F]—sci fi that has a better movie made of it, watch the movie instead. The book starts good but gets bad like two thirds through it because the author probably ran out of uppers

Martian Time Slip (Phillip K Dick) [F]—pulp scifi novel about… I don’t remember most of it and the plot summary is incredibly confusing to me. There’s something about how living on mars alters your perception of time, and how the UN wants to build an apartment complex there to house mental patients since mental disorders are caused by perceiving time differently. There are also native martians who are comparable to African bushmen, who have a sacred rock which is also a time travel device. why





B. 1. Libravox nonfiction

Spoiler :

p. dece tier

#The Worst Journey in the World [memoir of antarctic expedition to south pole] [NF]—account of what went wrong in the English expedition to the south pole, which was a race with a Norwegian expedition there to be first humans at the north pole. Goes through the preparations, expeditions to set up checkpoint camps, the party splitting up, and then Bad Things.




#Capital Vol I.-Karl Marx+Frederick Engels [NF] thorough explanation of the mechanics of how capitalism works, how it historically formed esp. with a concentration on the English industrial revolution up until the early 1860s, how it led to harsh enough conditions that leading businessmen themselves asked for labor laws to be passed, and the mechanical limits of the system that cause it to go through cycles/crises. also shade thrown on economists of the day here and there. despite being 150 years old it’s a very enlightening for the systems used today, if you can get through it all because it’s very dry and dense.


12 Years a Slave [nf]— an 1853 memoir and slave narrative by American Solomon Northup as told to and edited by David Wilson. Northup, a black man who was born free in New York state, details his being tricked to go to Washington, D.C., where he was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Deep South. He was in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana before he was able to secretly get information to friends and family in New York, who in turn secured his release with the aid of the state. Northup's account provides extensive details on the slave markets in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans, and describes at length cotton and sugar cultivation and slave treatment on major plantations in Louisiana.
The South Pole (Amundsen) [NF]—The Norwegian expedition to the north pole. In contrast with the English one, they present their journey as rather walk-in-the-park and well planned, as their expedition was a success. Shows some aged views on how people saw ‘being civilized’ in the early 1900s.



Origin of Species-Charles Darwin [NF]—the first book on theories of evolution. A fair portion of it is about pigeons


Narrative of Frederick Douglass [NF]—*the text describes the events of his life and is considered to be one of the most influential pieces of literature to fuel the abolitionist movement of the early 19th century in the United States. encompasses eleven chapters that recount Douglass's life as a slave and his ambition to become a free man.*


Art of War-Sun Tzu [NF]—short thing on how to do war


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How Other Half Lives [NF]—written very much like early-1900s newspapers, which bothered me too much to be able to enjoy it. Unnecessary to read if you read another of the books on this list set in this time period; you’ll get the gist of it better.

Guide to Modern Cookery [NF]—a mostly-recipe book doesn’t work very well as an audiobook but at least I learned how to make a roux.




Life on the Mississippi - Mark Twain [nf]— a memoir by Mark Twain of his days as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River before the American Civil War, and also a travel book, recounting his trip along the Mississippi River from St. Louis to New Orleans many years after the War.

Wage Labor and Capital [NF]—short marx thing directed toward wage workers explaining their relationship to their bosses and the way they are exploited

Soul of Man (oscar wilde) [NF]—oscar wilde says things about the soul of man.


Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf – john muir [NF]—a naturalist takes a walk from Kentucky to florida and documents the nature along the way. And also some outdated race ideas

The Profits of Religion – upton sinclair [NF]—pre wwi look into the forms organized religion takes in taking advantage of people, as part of a series of muckraking books of US institutions


Book of Lieh Tzu [NF]—one of the main taoist works besides tao te ching, though not a very good translation




Bird Stories from Burroughs-John Burroughs [NF]—some guy writes about birds they’ve encountered recently.

Buddhist Writings [NF]—some Buddhist writings


Communist Manifesto-Karl Marx+Frederick Engels [NF]—it’s short but it’s not very relevant anymore. The few good lines that come from you’ve probably already heard anyway so you can pass


Anti-imperialist writings - Mark Twain [nf]—pretty outdated and covered better by other books here



B 2. Libravox fiction

Spoiler :

p. dece tier

@The Metamorphosis-Franz Kafka [F, ss] short story about growing up, also you’re a bug, but actually it’s symbolic for puberty bc you feel like a bug when you are becoming a teen


@Mary Shelly-Frankenstein [F]—or, the modern Prometheus. Frankenstein is the scientist’s name, the monster is actually a pretty cool guy who just wants to be friends but gets rejected by everyone even though they did everything right and ate berries and shit. So they decide to ruin frankenstein’s life

Notes from the Underground-Fyodor Dostoyevsky [F] – tale of a completely-online shutin guy (tho it’s a century before the internet was a thing) trying to interact with people socially and hit on a prostitute. They fail miserably to the readers amusement


@Looking Backward:2000-1887-Edward Bellamy [F]—sci-fi utopian socialist book envisioning what life could be like if things were good instead of industrial-revolution-era-shitty. It’s written like a romantic novel, while outlining some of the cool aspects of the new society that improve on old ways (like it anticipated debit cards and logistics centers). After it was written it caused a big cultural stir as people formed “bellamy clubs” to talk about its ideas.



The Gambler-Fyodor Dostoyovsky [F] –gambling is addictive. Some money-hungry Russians tolerate a rad old lady bc they expect their inheritance and try to keep them away from a casino and fail to do so



Ward No. 6 [f] [ss]—* The story is set in a provincial mental asylum and explores the philosophical conflict between Ivan Gromov, a patient, and Andrey Ragin, the director of the asylum. Gromov denounces the injustice he sees everywhere, while Dr. Ragin insists on ignoring injustice and other evils; partially as a result of this way of thinking, he neglects to remedy the shoddy conditions of the mental ward.*



Heart of Darkness-Joseph Conrad [F, nv] novella – based on the depravity that happened in the Congo Free State, a man with a shipping company hears reports that one of their agents (Kurtz) is sick or has had something odd happen to them and is sent into the congo to see what’s up. Kurtz has set up a little fiefdom based on brutality with a garden of skulls on poles etc and declared themselves sovereign from laws of god and man.



The Jungle-Upton Sinclair [F] – early 1900s account of a fictional immigrant family and how everything goes wrong for them. Has some non-fiction elements like how meat packing plants are really unhygienic (triggered food safety regulations irl). Mostly compelling but has a few bad chapters with trying to vilify african american workers vs european immigrants



A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court – mark twain [F] –* a Yankee engineer from Connecticut is accidentally transported back in time to the court of King Arthur, where he fools the inhabitants of that time into thinking that he is a magician, and soon uses his knowledge of modern technology to become a "magician" in earnest, stunning the English of the Early Middle Ages with such feats as demolitions, fireworks, and the shoring up of a holy well. He attempts to modernize the past, but in the end he is unable to prevent the death of Arthur and an interdict against him by the Catholic Church of the time, which grows fearful of his power.*


A Madman's Diary-Lu Xun [F, ss] – satirical short story about a man who discovers that all the ancient texts they have been raised on have secret words written on them that say to eat people.

Nightfall-Isaac Asimov [F, ss] –sci fi story about a civilization that has multiple suns and like never sees total darkness except for one night, this night, and it’s predicted it will lead to some serious world ending shit for Reasons.


Quest of the Silver Fleece [F]—an African american girl in the jim crowe south attempts to make enough money from cotton they planted in cleared-out swampland to provide the opportunity to break out of the cycles of exploitation endemic to there and become independent. Their childhood friend attempts to go to Washington DC to achieve the same aims.

The Picture of Dorian Grey [F]—a man gets a portrait painted of themselves and is struck by it so much that they sell their soul so that they will always look the way they do in that portrait. They find that instead of aging or experiencing the effects of vices, the portrait experiences those effects so they lock the portrait up in a cellar.


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The Duel – anton Chekhov [f] [nv]—a scientist challenges a slovenly lover to a duel because they think society would be better off with them dead.


The Prince and the Pauper (Twain) [F]—mark twain writes often about cases of mistaken identity, like “what if this one guy and the other guy switched places”

The Steppe- anton Chekhov [f] [nv]— *In a narrative that drifts with the thought processes of the characters, Chekhov evokes a chaise journey across the steppe through the eyes of a young boy sent to live away from home, and his companions, a priest and a merchant.*





Moby Dick-Herman Melville [F] – it’s symbolic for like the darkness of mankind’s ambitions or something. the narrator is a whale otaku who spends a chapter talking about whale penises. Longer than it needs to be

Les Miserables, Vols I-V- Victor Hugo [F] the first volume is good, second is decent, with three through five by the end I was rooting for when characters died. It’s about an ex con named jean who faces hardship for their past even though they reinvent themselves as an upstanding businessman. They run around trying not to get caught by a detective. Then they adopt an orphan who falls in love with some boy who becomes part of a liberal rebellion against monarchy. Everyone in the rebellion dies except for the boy and the orphan girl, then jean gives them money the end


Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man-James Joyce [F] – james joyce writes much and there are a few good sections in here among many tedious parts. It’s the character in their longer work Ulysses as a kid, but unlike Ulysses you don’t have to know 1 million classic literatures being referenced to understand anything that’s happening


Thus Spake Zarathustra-Frederick Nitszche [F] – some guy disappears up their own asshole in nitszche’s exploration of “the superman”

Ulysses-James Joyce [F] –it’s too long and very dependent on being knowledgeable of many classic texts. It’s the book that some guy said homestuck was the new one of. Imagine how someone without knowledge of internet culture in 50 years would feel reading homestuck; you will p. feel the same way reading this book unless you are the chosen one


The Idiot pt 1+2-Fyodor Dostoyevsky [F] –if jesus were born today (in mid 19th century Russia) they would be treated rudely because mid 19th century Russia is rude


Winesburg, Ohio [F]—I entirely forgot the contents of this book other than the main character leaves winesburg ohio at the end on a train




Adventures of Tom Sawyer-Mark Twain [F]—boy who is mischievous does mischievous things in Missouri and finds gold in a cave.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn-Mark Twain [F]—tom sawyer’s friend runs away from home to avoid their drunk dad with an escaped slave and they go to an adventure down the Mississippi encountering all kinds of characters


The Steel Flea [F]— Amazed by a tiny, mechanical steel flea made by the British, the tsar challenges his own craftsmen to create something even more wonderful, and they succeed. Styled like a folk tale, very tongue-in-cheek, sort of like a fish story


The Brothers Karamazov –dostoyevsky [F]—I’m mostly going to copy paste summaries from wiki now so if it’s from wiki it’ll be in asterisks. *The Brothers Karamazov is a passionate philosophical novel set in 19th-century Russia, that enters deeply into the ethical debates of God, free will, and morality. It is a spiritual drama of moral struggles concerning faith, doubt, judgment, and reason, set against a modernizing Russia, with a plot which revolves around the subject of patricide.*



20,000 Leagues Under the Sea [f]—sci fi about some sov-cit who lives under water and does eclectic submarine exploration because they don’t like some navy dudes; the grudge subplot falters

Tales of the Jazz Age [F]—some short stories by f scott fitzgerald, I can’t remember if there were even any good ones

The Time Machine [F]—sci-fi where a guy goes into future and sees that earth is inhabited by two species, one of soft baby men and the other of large subterranean anger apes. This is where the term time machine came from


His Dog-Albert Payson Terhune [F]—short story about a dog or something

Gulliver's Travels-Jonathan Swift [F]—guy goes to various fantasy places like a place where everyone is tiny and a place where everyone is large. Probably satire of british affairs at the time

Uncle Tom's Cabin [F]—abolitionist book where a slave tom makes a sacrifice for their family’s freedom


This Side of Paradise-F Scott Fitzgerald [F]—rich people problems. Written inconsistently (like there’s one part that’s written like a play?)



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(This post was last modified: 11-28-2017, 04:06 AM by Wheat.)
11-24-2017, 08:20 AM
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a52
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#47
Comander obviou's

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Catch-22 Best Book 100%
11-24-2017, 08:30 AM
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Myeth
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#48
HELL YEAH!

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The big lil' Q.a.t.a.r.
YOYOYOOO

I REALLY RECOMMEND "The girl who could fly" TO Y'ALL! I READ IT WHEN I WAS 9, AND LIKE AMOST EVERY YEAR I REREAD IT! 5th time im reading it and honestly its so fuckin worth it.

Spoiler :
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Me army of waddlers

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You can check me out here as well!
11-24-2017, 07:07 PM
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GenetiXientist
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#49
Against the Fall of Night

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I've been on a transcendent/transhuman sci-fi kick recently: I can happily recommend Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men (if you get past a bit of weird racialism in the first few chapters) and Star Maker, as well as Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep. I'm currently in the middle of the sequel/prequel to the last of those, and it's also real good.

Also gonna recommend Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light and Arthur Clarke's The City and the Stars, though Zelazny's myth/sci fi/fantasy mix isn't for everyone and Clarke's writing is a lot more about ideas than good characters.

Oh, should also mention that I've been devouring Borges too. If you can get your hands on Ficciones or El Aleph, I highly, highly recommend doing so. He's by far the most mindbendingly weird writer I've ever encountered, and that's meant in the best possible manner.
(This post was last modified: 11-24-2017, 08:13 PM by GenetiXientist.)
11-24-2017, 07:37 PM
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Schazer
 RE: Eagle Time Reading List
#50
Patron Saint of Normcore

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The Optimistic Environmentalist was gooooood stuff, a good palette cleanser if you're already well aware of how fucked the planet is and want some promising news done right.

A big victory that happened before most of our time was what happened with chlorofluorocarbons - low-toxic, non-flammable substances that were used everywhere from the 60's onward. refrigerants, fire-extinguishers, the production of styrofoam, essentially every consumer product that came in a spray can all used CFCs.

Then some smart folks figured out that when CFCs break down they release chlorine radicals, which split ozone molecules (O3) into oxygen (O2) and caused thinning of the ozone layer, which is bad because we need that to not get cancer+mutations. By the late 80's, loads of countries signed onto the Montreal Protocol and now the ozone layer is recovering!
11-24-2017, 09:37 PM
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