Patterico's Pontifications


What I Have Been Reading Lately

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:48 am

Here are some books I recently finished. I recommend each one and hope to review each separately. All links are Amazon affiliate links.

Some other books I am still in the middle of:

On the list when I finish these (or maybe before! I’m often in the middle of several books at a time):

Any book recommendations from anyone who still reads books are welcome, and thoughts about any of these books from anyone who has read them would be especially welcome.

53 Responses to “What I Have Been Reading Lately”

  1. Recently finished:

    The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin

    The Pastoral Clinic: Addiction and Dispossession Along the Rio Grande, by Angela Garcia

    Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, by Hannah Arendt

    The Hidden Wound, by Wendell Berry

    The American Scholar, by Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Currently reading:

    The Souls of Black Folk, by W.E.B. DuBois

    The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. DuBois and the Birth of Modern Sociology, by Aldon D. Morris

    Up Next:

    Properties of Violence: Law and Land Grant Struggles in Northern New Mexico, by David Correia

    The Human Condition, by Hannah Arendt

    Leviticus (9a211b)

  2. I would recommend Thw Hidden Wound to anyone, as well as Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner (still my favorite novel).

    Leviticus (9a211b)

  3. this summer i’m reading the spanish tragedy it’s not a quick read cause of i have the attention span of a crack baby

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  4. Cheery I thought my Bernie gunther was a little depressing? Quantum physics I don’t quite get.

    narciso (d1f714)

  5. The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin

    I once listed that as one of the few books that truly changed the way I see the world.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  6. As linked in the previous post’s comments, I recommend for you, Patterico: The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It … Every Time, by Maria Konnikova (2016), which I am very sure will tickle your political receptors regarding famous con men (although it really doesn’t focus on political cons; but the same strategies cross all social boundaries, because there are con men in every human activity). It might also have some general implications for your day job (although maybe not so much in your present assignment, if you’re still doing post-conviction stuff) — it certainly did mine, since a substantial part of my trial practice has always been in fraud cases.

    Likewise recently linked by me in comments here: Amity Shlaes’ Coolidge (2013), which will take you almost no time to read, but will very much tickle your fiscal conservative receptors.

    I’d read at least a dozen books in which U.S. Grant was a main, or the only, subject, but nevertheless Ron Chernow’s Grant (2017) filled in a lot of gaps in my understanding of him, especially as a two-term POTUS.

    Still scanning my Kindle, to be continued ….

    Beldar (fa637a)

  7. In fiction, Neal Stephenson’s latest, Seveneves: A Novel, is a wonderfully thought-provoking hard sf tale.

    And Paris in the Present Tense (2017), by Mark Helprin, is also a good read.

    Your musician’s receptors (which is not the same thing, actually, as your ears) might also be engaged by The Cellist of Sarajevo, by Steven Galloway (2008), which isn’t a recent release but which I just came upon unexpectedly this spring.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  8. I’m reading “What is Real?” too. Very gossipy, verging on bitchy. Fun, though. Although I haven’t finished, I’m not convinced that the problems the author sees with the Copenhagen Interpretation are as serious as he thinks they are. His objections seem more aesthetic than anything. QM is weird and counterintuitive, so what? (Disclaimer: been about 25 years since I took a QM class.)

    In my recent reading, I found “How to Think”, by Alan Jacobs, surprisingly good.

    Paul A Sand (07babc)

  9. Try reading tailspin by stephen brill if you want to know what is really going on.

    wendell (a82a2c)

  10. Cryptonomicon is a favorite some of his latter work like the time travel and magic series, haven’t lived up to promise

    narciso (d1f714)

  11. Ah helprin, I found memoir from a ant farm case,
    engaging, winter tale I couldn’t get my head around.

    narciso (d1f714)

  12. 50 years later, isn’t there some perspective a
    Baldwin imitator like coates has ignored.

    narciso (d1f714)

  13. I think banality doesn’t quite describe the fruits of the wannsee conference, winiks 1944, as mentioned beforeis like a horror movie you already know the ending to.

    narciso (d1f714)

  14. Marvel’s Civil War 1

    The Death of Captain America (Volumes 1-3)

    Captain America Reborn

    Deadpool Classic Collection, Volumes 1-5

    I can’t recommend the Infinity War Omnibus. I found it tedious and incoherent.

    nk (dbc370)

  15. Turning to sports…

    England wins.
    Russia loses.
    Pompeo chokes.

    Evening read: ‘Operation Paperclip – The Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists To America’ by Annie Jacobsen.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  16. One character missing from the last film was Sharon carter, odds are she was turned to ash. Deadpool does up
    appeal to my cynical side.

    narciso (d1f714)

  17. Oh, yeah. Cable and Deadpool, Volumes 1-7, too. They’re a blast and there’s a lot of crossover with other Marvel’s characters and storylines.

    nk (dbc370)

  18. I am not a plump young man who goes to Comic Cons. Just for the record.

    nk (dbc370)

  19. Cable was supposed to be a hero from the far future right?

    narciso (d1f714)

  20. Loved Infidel.
    Sowell is a tough read for me. Guess I’m not an economic philosopher.

    When do you guys have the time to read??

    Okay, I’m getting off the internet and finish that book.

    Patricia (3363ec)

  21. Cable was supposed to be a hero from the far future right?

    Birth-wise, he is the son of the X-Man Cyclops (Scott Summers). Time-wise, he is from the future, past and present. The Eternal Hero pitted against his eternal opponent Apocalypse.

    nk (dbc370)

  22. Speaking of mixing genres, Coates comic entree is not an improvement.

    Narciso (adc024)

  23. Burleighs sacred spaces,shows why the answer to sam harris is no, specially in europe.

    Narciso (adc024)

  24. Burleigh for instance takes a middle ground between exonerating pius out right and noting his tolerance for regimes like Hungary and crostia.

    Narciso (adc024)

  25. I’m reading “What is Real?” too. Very gossipy, verging on bitchy. Fun, though.

    I’ve gained a layman’s understanding of quantum physics from other reading, although an imperfect one to be sure. I think without that other reading I might have gotten lost in this book.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  26. Paul A. Sand,

    Thanks for the recommendation of Jacobs’s book. Have you read Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind? I see in the reviews for Jacobs’s book: “Jacobs uses the analogy of the elephant, our instinct and intuition, and the rider, our logic, and he wants us, the rider, to tame the elephant.” Either Haidt stole that from Jacobs or the other way around, because it’s used in Haidt’s book — a metaphor I remember well.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  27. Patterico, if you want to read an engaging view of my area, try Ed Yong’s “I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life,” as well as Carl Zimmer’s “She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity.”

    Simon Jester (a4a9de)

  28. I also mentioned that bio of Josephus by Frederick Raphael some time back.

    Narciso (3535e2)

  29. Now organized religion, has it’s good aspects, but it has receded farther away from the word, which is how it finds itself adrift.

    Narciso (3535e2)

  30. Lenin: The Man, The Dictator, and The Master of Terror, by Victor Sebesteyn

    Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault, by Stephen R. C. Hicks

    The Rational Bible, by Dennis Prager

    All for Nothing, Walter Kempowski

    Stu707 (84d2c6)

  31. I’ve been trying to find that One, having been impressed by his 1989, at the end of the road, not so much with 1946.

    Narciso (3535e2)

  32. The Road to Unfreedom, by Timothy Snyder, which is good but flawed through trying to fit everything in a pseudophilosphical framework.

    The True Flag, by Steven Kinzer

    A Savage War: A Military History of the Civil War, W. Murray and W. W. Hsieh

    Gettysburg The Last Invasion A. Guelzo

    The Secret Barrister Stories of the Law and How It is Broken–an English book, anonymous first hand account of how England has screwed up its criminal law courts. It should be noted there are several things in there that illustrate the differences between us and the Brits, because we can say, wouldn’t happen here, mate. Also good for Beldar, nk, and all other lawyers here.

    I have Chernow’s Grant in my pile to read. And also a bio of John Marshall titled Without Precedent.

    Final suggestion
    Winston Groom’s books on the Civil War. He is the guy who created Forrest Gump, but he also wrote some solid history books.

    kishnevi (546427)

  33. I was impressed with bloodlands, but some of his subsequent work has been disappointing

    Narciso (052f51)

  34. The social history of the machine gun is a fun read.

    wendell (d06fda)

  35. we were at this new-ish little place i been wanting to try and i was watching this fellow put the finishing touches on a cocktail with an eye-dropper and out of nowhere i thought of this series of books from when i was a wee small baby pikachu

    notice that one hardcover’s going for $900

    you can read more about these ones here

    i thought this placed these works aptly

    Scott Corbett’s Trick series falls within the minor classics of the era in children’s literature that saw Eleanor Cameron’s Mushroom Planet series (must we be millionaires in order to read the rest of the books in the series?), Madeleine L’Engle’s Time series, beginning with the classic A Wrinkle in Time, as well as Kerby Maxwell’s confederate-in-spirit, Danny Dunn, in a series of novels by Jay Williams and Raymond Abrashkin, producer of that wonderful independent film and fairy tale, The Little Fugitive.

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  36. Hi Patterico — Yes, I did read Haidt’s book. (It was one of the few I gave a “You should read this” recommendation, one step above “You should read this if you’re interested in…”)

    I’m pretty sure Jacobs credits Haidt properly for the elephant metaphor.

    As long as I’m here: I was also impressed by One Nation Divided by Peter H. Schuck, a Yale lawprof. Subtitled “Clear Thinking about Five Hard Issues That Divide Us”, not exactly modest is he? But I was (nevertheless) impressed. His discussion of legal matters was fine at my level, might be too rudimentary for yours.

    Paul A Sand (07babc)

  37. I’m pretty sure Jacobs credits Haidt properly for the elephant metaphor

    OK, good. The Amazon reviewer made it sound like he offered it as his own, but this makes more sense.

    How is the Jacobs book different from the Haidt book? If I have read Haidt, why should I now read Jacobs? Just asking since you have read both and I have read only the one. I assume Jacobs offers something different but I am curious what it is.

    Patterico (f985d9)

  38. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn

    Hailed as one of the hundred most influential books written in the last half of the twentieth century, it is a fascinating explanation of the process of discovery and an examination of the nature of paradigm shifts. Kuhn’s intricate argument and detailed analysis offers insight into a wide range of fields beyond scientific research, because his thesis explores how ideas take shape and come to be accepted. I find the subject fascinating, because I believe that we are in the midst of a profound paradigm shift as important as the Copernican revolution 400 years ago.

    GawainsGhost (b25cd1)

  39. Anyone find a digital copy of the Gulag Archipelago available for a reasonable price? Kindle removed their copy.

    English translation please as I don’t have the time to learn Russian.

    NJRob (b00189)

  40. Cryptonomicon is a favorite some of his latter work like the time travel and magic series, haven’t lived up to promise

    narciso (d1f714) — 7/7/2018 @ 1:42 pm

    Seveneves: A Novel, is a wonderfully thought-provoking hard sf tale.

    Cryptonomicon was interesting, but not his best. Seveneves was politically correct nonsense. At least the plan and build up to leaving was decent.

    Stevenson’s best book is still Snow Crash. It’s been copied often, but never improved upon.

    NJRob (b00189)

  41. Reading or recently read:

    Kingdom Of Speech – Tom Wolfe

    Times Of Feast, Times Of Famine – A History Of Climate Since The Year 1000 – Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie

    Life Ascending – Nick Lane

    Oxygen – Nick Lane

    Marcus Agrippa, Right Hand Man Of Caesar Augustus – Lindsay Powell

    Otto Preminger, The Man Who Would Be King – Foster Hirsch

    Jerusalem – The Biography – Simon Sebag Montefiore

    Eyes Wide Open – Frederic Raphael

    Bring Up The Bodies – Hilary Mantel

    The Marques Of Queensbry – Wilde’s Nemesis – Linda Stratman

    Cities Of Salt – Abdelrahman Munif

    Thomas Cromwell – Tracy Borman

    Washington Square – Henry James

    Sea Of Thunder – Evan Thomas

    harkin (fabd28)

  42. I’m with Patricia. How do you find the time to read so much? But I know we make time for things that are important. That’s why most of my time is spent at PubMed.

    DRJ (15874d)

  43. I only read the last of munif, thunder is not as good as Neptune spear by hornfischer.
    Much of it was compiled from the journal’s of the father of someone I know

    Id read cyberpunk before so snowcrash wasn’t as interesting. But cryptinomicon was

    Narciso (7293bc)

  44. Got a lot of reading done so far during the World Cup. The action worth viewing is very limited.

    harkin (fabd28)

  45. Online, it’s also fun to check out the words, videos and games Merriam Webster’s website. It also lists the most searched words for the past 24 hours.

    DRJ (15874d)

  46. “But cryptinomicon was”

    I liked some of it and really appreciated the premise but I was underwhelmed.

    harkin (fabd28)

  47. So I see this movie on YouTube that seemed interesting: Chinese Fantasy Action Movies – Best Marital Arts Action Movie Subtitles HD

    So I watch it all the way through, 1hr50min. Marital arts my foot. Just a bunch of people fighting with swords, spears and fists.

    nk (dbc370)

  48. I’m with Patricia. How do you find the time to read so much? But I know we make time for things that are important. That’s why most of my time is spent at PubMed.

    DRJ (15874d) — 7/8/2018 @ 9:21 am

    Don’t watch much tv. Read before bed. Still want to write someday.

    NJRob (b00189)

  49. •Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America, by Jill Leovy

    I have this book (I ordered it secondhand so I could return it to the library) but haven’t read it really.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  50. I mostly read out of print books.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  51. Hi Patterico —

    Sorry for the delayed response. Adapted from my blog report:

    Jacobs starts by noting that a lot of books about thinking have a trait in common: “they’re really depressing to read.” (True, but I would add: if you’re in a certain frame of mind, they can be pretty funny too.) But Jacobs’ point is that they concentrate on all the many, many, many ways our thoughts can lead us astray, by falling into one or more of they myriad traps: all sorts of biases, fallacies, illusions, and innumeracies. Jacobs observes: “What a chronicle of ineptitude, arrogance, sheer dumbassery.”

    Jacobs doesn’t shy away describing such pitfalls, but he has a number of good ideas about how to avoid them. Essentially: “We can, and should, do better, and here’s how.”

    It would be weird if some of Jacobs’ examples didn’t come from the world of politics. He handles them artfully and (to my mind, even though I am a sensitive snowflake about such things) inoffensively. I came away with no particular idea about what Jacobs’ political positions are. As it should be, I suppose.

    I was pleasantly surprised that a lot of the authors Jacobs quotes and draws upon are some of the ones I’ve learned from too: Haidt, Daniel Kahneman, David Foster Wallace, … But also some I probably should go back and study: C. S. Lewis, Eric Hoffer, …

    Some brave soul has tweeted (spoiler alert) Jacobs’ “Thinking Person’s Checklist” from the Afterword, might give you a better idea of his angle.

    Paul A Sand (07babc)

  52. Re: •Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America, by Jill Leovy

    You can buy it now, if you are willing to take an ex-library book, and they keep better, for $4.09 hardcover, including shipping:

    Page 45 has, as it’s first complete sentence:

    The written and oral tests used to promote police officers to detective emphasize general procedures and departmental policy, not the singular abilities that distinguish good homicide investigators.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  53. I read her and td allman’s take on Miami, the latter is where I heard of matix and platt, the sunset drive fbi shooters,

    based on that I imagine that she was equally wrong about the rest of the country,

    narciso (d1f714)

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