2018's What fiction or nonfiction book are you reading?

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#1
I restarted Ulysses on Jan 1. already got through it. plan on reading it , yet again starting Sunday. with my wife.

it was that good.
I was told it is better listened too than read, since it is written stream of consiousness and filled with hundreds of word plays puns and other audio gags that you might miss reading it.

I found one of the librevox recordings to be best. they encouraged no editing errors, read in bars, with instruments, just have fun. there's wide range of variety and the last chapter is 6 female voices (this chapter is in the mind of the primary female character that interacts with main character.) all going at once, with a voice plucked out and turned way up and the rest turned down, switching every time the thought train changes direction. and a male voice that speaks the male quotations. the effect is that of a fantastically edited interpretation of the stream of consciousness.


forewarning, this was on lawsuit in 1921 for being pornographic in uk. and in us for being immoral, written by deviant trying to bring down moral society. I bet this was mostly that last chapter. but be warned.

reading it I was really surprised something containing all the (reasonable) grievances this woman has over men in her life all to controlling and invasive nature to her. (including priests asking too much unecessary details on sexploits during confessionals or doctors making every excuse to molest patients "for their health" ) was able to be published, but it wasn't properly for decades so nevermind.

10/10
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#2
I'm reading Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff. I'm reading it outloud too, because my husband and I decided to read it together. I'm going a bit hoarse already lol, but I'm hanging on.
It's amazingly hilarious. It's like I'm reading a comedy book instead of non fiction. I'm 30% in after one day, and what I will say is what a circus. The fact that Michael Wolff was able to write this book because of the fact that no one was in charge at the White House to manage his presence, or outright 'evict' him from it, is hysterical. He was basically a fly on the wall because they kind of forgot about him. The level of incompetence in organizational and administrative aspect of executive branch of US government is unreal.

I should note that I had no knowledge and no intention to read this book before Trump caused such kerfuffle about it. And then I had to :D
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#3
In many ways, the Wolff book will actually help Trump. The real benefit to Trump comes in how he is now completely inoculated from nearly any personal charge which would be incendiary enough to get the attention of a dangerously desensitized public. Now, after he has already been called by those close to him a semi-literate, unqualified moron, who is quickly losing his mental faculties, what can possibly be said to move the needle? The extreme popularity of the “Gorilla Channel” spoof of Wolff’s book proves this point quite conclusively.

This phenomenon is already having an impact on even the anti-Trump elements of the news media. Watching CNN try their hardest last night to work up a lather about the latest revelation that Trump supposedly tried to stop Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Russia investigation was like seeing married men pretending to be excited about their long-time wife’s new dress.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#4
I am planning on reading the book too @Alucard. Got it on my Kobo e-reader and it will probably be the next one I'll read. I'll treat it as purely fiction though, as Wolff is a terrible author and by his own admission in the preface the book is mostly made up.

@Bierschneeman: there's no accounting for taste I suppose. I read Ulysses in 2012 and thought it was one of the worst books I'd ever read. I re-read it in 2014, because I couldn't really understand why I didn't like this classic, thinking perhaps it was due to some sort of mood I might have been in when I first read it. No luck though: I still hated it. Perhaps I should one day try the audio book...
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#5
I'll treat it as purely fiction though, as Wolff is a terrible author and by his own admission in the preface the book is mostly made up.
I think that's not what he says at all. Made up is quite a leap from his actual words:

''Shortly after January 20, I took up something like a semipermanent seat on a couch in the West Wing. Since then I have conducted more than two hundred interviews.

Many of the accounts of what has happened in the Trump White House are in conflict with one another; many, in Trumpian fashion, are baldly untrue. Those conflicts, and that looseness with the truth, if not with reality itself, are an elemental thread of the book. Sometimes I have let the players offer their versions, in turn allowing the reader to judge them. In other instances I have, through a consistency in accounts and through sources I have come to trust, settled on a version of events I believe to be true.''

Some of the accounts are his interpretation of events, but some are fairly consistent with facts backed up by multiple people during these 200 interviews.

He continues:

''Some of my sources spoke to me on so-called deep background, a convention of contemporary political books that allows for a disembodied description of events provided by an unnamed witness to them. I have also relied on off-the-record interviews, allowing a source to provide a direct quote with the understanding that it was not for attribution. Other sources spoke to me with the understanding that the material in the interviews would not become public until the book came out. Finally, some sources spoke forthrightly on the record.
At the same time, it is worth noting some of the journalistic conundrums that I faced when dealing with the Trump administration, many of them the result of the White House’s absence of official procedures and the lack of experience of its principals. These challenges have included dealing with off-the-record or deep-background material that was later casually put on the record; sources who provided accounts in confidence and subsequently shared them widely, as though liberated by their first utterances; a frequent inattention to setting any parameters on the use of a conversation; a source’s views being so well known and widely shared that it would be risible not to credit them; and the almost samizdat sharing, or gobsmacked retelling, of otherwise private and deep-background conversations. And everywhere in this story is the president’s own constant, tireless, and uncontrolled voice, public and private, shared by others on a daily basis, sometimes virtually as he utters it.''


This is all in the author's note.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#6
I think that's not what he says at all. Made up is quite a leap from his actual words:

''Shortly after January 20, I took up something like a semipermanent seat on a couch in the West Wing. Since then I have conducted more than two hundred interviews.

Many of the accounts of what has happened in the Trump White House are in conflict with one another; many, in Trumpian fashion, are baldly untrue. Those conflicts, and that looseness with the truth, if not with reality itself, are an elemental thread of the book. Sometimes I have let the players offer their versions, in turn allowing the reader to judge them. In other instances I have, through a consistency in accounts and through sources I have come to trust, settled on a version of events I believe to be true.

Some of the accounts are his interpretation of events, but some are fairly consistent with facts backed up by multiple people during these 200 interviews.

He continues:

''Some of my sources spoke to me on so-called deep background, a convention of contemporary political books that allows for a disembodied description of events provided by an unnamed witness to them. I have also relied on off-the-record interviews, allowing a source to provide a direct quote with the understanding that it was not for attribution. Other sources spoke to me with the understanding that the material in the interviews would not become public until the book came out. Finally, some sources spoke forthrightly on the record.
At the same time, it is worth noting some of the journalistic conundrums that I faced when dealing with the Trump administration, many of them the result of the White House’s absence of official procedures and the lack of experience of its principals. These challenges have included dealing with off-the-record or deep-background material that was later casually put on the record; sources who provided accounts in confidence and subsequently shared them widely, as though liberated by their first utterances; a frequent inattention to setting any parameters on the use of a conversation; a source’s views being so well known and widely shared that it would be risible not to credit them; and the almost samizdat sharing, or gobsmacked retelling, of otherwise private and deep-background conversations. And everywhere in this story is the president’s own constant, tireless, and uncontrolled voice, public and private, shared by others on a daily basis, sometimes virtually as he utters it.''


This is all in the author's note.
"Made up" might be a bit strong, but these are some major red flags to me:

the author himself: which is my personal opinion of course.

Many of the accounts of what has happened in the Trump White House are in conflict with one another; many, in Trumpian fashion, are baldly untrue.
In other instances I have, through a consistency in accounts and through sources I have come to trust, settled on a version of events I believe to be true.'
his interpretation of events
Fairly consistent
Now, I may be a cynic through experience, as during my line of work I've often come into contact with journalists or writers that are biased and have preconceptions about persons or the Company they represent -often even before they begin their story- but the above bullets really stand out to me. Well, at least the guy is honest about it I suppose.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#7
Yeah he's quite transparent. Also his account starts from the campaign in the Trump Tower, not from presidency. So he's been around these people for a long time.
I'm still amazed by the fact that nobody had shooed him off. But the amount of disorganisation and everyone ploting for their own interests is the reason. There was no united front in the beginning of presidency. Banon, Kushner ans RNC people were all busy angling for their own interests, conflicting with each and ending up at each others throats. Meanwhile Trump is just being Trump. It's hilarious. The whole thing is like an incompetent version of GOT plotting.

Back to the point, there are several characterisations of Trump that are not his, but come repeatedly from multiple people. Most damning to Trump are people he considered friends or looked up to, and they basically see him as a stupid man. People like Murdoch, Ailes, Banon etc.

There are actual quotes from these people and I would hardly call that made up. There are 200 interviews conducted. Regardles what you think of the author ( I never heard of him before), calling the entire book made up and fiction is not really realistic assesment of it.
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#8
@Bierschneeman: there's no accounting for taste I suppose. I read Ulysses in 2012 and thought it was one of the worst books I'd ever read. I re-read it in 2014, because I couldn't really understand why I didn't like this classic, thinking perhaps it was due to some sort of mood I might have been in when I first read it. No luck though: I still hated it. Perhaps I should one day try the audio book...
the audiobook is miles ahead, (except first chapter. ) there's a lot of tongue twisters and auditory word plays that would be missed by reading it. and I have heard it's pretty much unreadable in text.

another thought. are you reading it in english. the bulk of enjoyment is word play and puns, that wouldn'translate well to Dutch. also needing a pretty fluent english vernacular.

there are some bad parts (chapter 17 is long dull, and dry, composed of non funny lists, math, and analysis of various events in a boring manner)

he also keeps returning to talks of Shakespeare and tout as the greatest english author. we know better in modern times , that what we read as shakespeare is unrecognizable to William.

one bit I like is the knowing the answer to " three Irishman drink three alcoholic drinks in a pub what are they ?" is the same today as then. (cider, guinness, whiskey)
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#9
There are actual quotes from these people and I would hardly call that made up. There are 200 interviews conducted. Regardles what you think of the author ( I never heard of him before), calling the entire book made up and fiction is not really realistic assesment of it.
I'd argue it is a realistic assessment.

journalism and documentary filmmaking is at it's heart and core is based on delivering the truth. if you take slivers of facts and true quotations out of context a splice in fiction, it's no longer a true account. '30 days of night' is based on a true story of a town that mysteriously burned down completely during the period of night with no survivors. the fact that its based on facts, with actual quotes in the comic/movie doesn't make it any less fiction.

to put this in more relevant reference. Michael Moore. his movies are made up of strings of interviews, in rapid fire sucession real quotes by real people, over 90% of which have sued him for taking the quotes under false pretenses or out of context. (example: there's a guy describing phantom limb pain after losing limbs in a tire changing accident in the usa. in the movie he is described as a vet injured by an IED in Iraq whose health care is a burden on himself with no help from VA benefits. he is quoted after calling the 'documentary ' a lie because he was well taken care of by the VA and never even saw combat.) a Michael Moore documentary I can say is pure fiction because it uses the facts and interviews to say untruthful things.

Obama had a similar book written about him from an insider, equally fiction despite actual quotes/ interviews.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#10
I really don't agree Beersnowman, but I don't really want to get into pages and pages of discussion of why is that. I just don't have the patience for it online. Few paragraphs is all I'm willing to give lol

I am surprised you both passed a judgment on something you haven't read yet though.
I will only say that a lot of the so called 'revelations' about Trump have been let into public knowledge, half a year or a year before this book came out. This book only confirms certain snippets of who he is and his personality. Yet everybody is making a big deal out of it, like this is the first time these things have been said about him, when in fact he's been plagued like no other american president with leaks from the White House and his own camp of what he is, and what he does.
So I'm kind of wondering where is all the shock and surprise coming from...but anyway, guess that doesn't matter.
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#11
@Alucard
I take my nonfiction very seriously.

and don't enjoy fiction about real people still living.

this has nothing to do with politics, the author, or people in the book. you said your self the book fails in accuracy, and the author is at least as unreliable as the protagonist of catcher and the rye. therefore containing fictional elements makes it fiction.

containing real people still living , as a fiction I am uninterested.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#12
I really don't agree Beersnowman, but I don't really want to get into pages and pages of discussion of why is that. I just don't have the patience for it online. Few paragraphs is all I'm willing to give lol

I am surprised you both passed a judgment on something you haven't read yet though.
I will only say that a lot of the so called 'revelations' about Trump have been let into public knowledge, half a year or a year before this book came out. This book only confirms certain snippets of who he is and his personality. Yet everybody is making a big deal out of it, like this is the first time these things have been said about him, when in fact he's been plagued like no other american president with leaks from the White House and his own camp of what he is, and what he does.
So I'm kind of wondering where is all the shock and surprise coming from...but anyway, guess that doesn't matter.
Point taken in regard to my not having read it yet. I'll reserve final judgement until after I have (almost done with my Malazan read).
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
#13
1. I’m about 2/3 through Lamb by Christopher Moore. It is the Gospel according to Biff, Christ’s best childhood pal. It is LOL funny and guaranteed non-offensive to anyone. The author received no complaints.This is pretty much the consensus for Moore’s best book. I liked his Shakespeare books even more because I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe. All this month the book is on sale for $1.99. In addition to the books mentioned I read two othersby him. One was dumb, IMO and the other was “good”. Just personal tastes but you cannot go wrong with Lamb. Funny and endearing.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000OVLK2W

2. Probably wasting my breath on this also. But book one Still Life is $1.99 TODAY ONLY. This is the mystery series I keep talking about. Violence isn’t graphic and minimal swearing (usually comical). A small town with a very funny and kooky supporting cast. Best read in order. I’ve read books 3-10 so far. After book 13 I’ll go back and read the first two. Won more Agatha Christie awards than any other author I believe. IMO she is better than Agatha, but if Christie is up your alley, you’ll love Louise Penny!

https://www.amazon.com/Still-Life-Inspector-Gamache-Mystery-ebook/dp/B001OLRMZA
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#14
just finished the beautiful and damned~ F Scott Fitzgerald.

a good book probably the lesser of his finished works. it's almost as easier to determine a Fitzgerald plot than a stephen King(almost)

descent into alcoholism (check)
troubled marriage (check)
joined military during ww1 (check)
jazz age bootlegging (check)
failed or failing author (check)

5/10

after the book finished I stepped into my next book....i stepped in it. I'll sat more later
 
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Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#15
ok, don't ask me why but ive been hitting the Philosophy books pretty hard this week ive read a few already but never side by side like this.
The Republic ~ Plato
Nicomachaen Ethics~ Aristotle
Analects ~ Confucious
Art of War ~ Sun Tzu
Tao Te Ching ~ Lao Zhu
The Prince ~Machiavelli
Common Sense ~ Thomas Paine
Wages and Prices ~ Karl Marx
Communist Manefesto ~Friederich Engels and Marx
Beyond Good and Evil ~ Friederich Neitzche

Any student of Literature should read plato, as his analogies are repeated throughout fiction, especially in scifi and fantasy

In General I'd Say there can be wisdom gleaned from each book but there are some disturbing things too, I'd also point out that in general most of these are anachronistic at best and outdated as they are designed for the specific times they were written . the most relevant today were the oldest (greek and Chinese)

ill put the rest of my opinions on the anachronisms and the HORRIBLE things in some of these in a spoiler because philosophy is deeply entwined with political thought and cannot be extricated, and I'm not trying to start any political debates, just giving a brief review of the books.
I'm just stating these things as in the books, not defending or condemning them specifically (except I condemn the eugenics, anti christianism, anti-semitism and racism contained in several of these books)

In Plato's Republic, theres a huge section where they are describing a utopian city, this utopia includes praise of Eugenics where the unwanteds and deformed are kept locked away from public eye and prevented from entering society AND breeding, the worker class begets worker class, soldier class begets soldier class, and the leaders not only deserve higher amount of luxuries but can only come from those bred to BE a leader.

also Plato describes a tyranny as pretty close to how Marx describes a paradise. and states that a Democracy paves the way to a Tyranny.

Aristotle Literally put me to sleep more than a few times

Sun Tzu includes a lot on a very ancient knowledge of science to an extent higher than the others. but barely effects the work

Paine is very clearly the basis of American politics today. he comes in writing on the philosophy of pre revolution and very much so was needed if United States was to continue as a country. but it also sets up the US's number one export, military. using the military as a mercenary group not just for money but to help the scales in trade negotiations (we help you militarily you keep your prices down for us) very revealing especially if you see that very few conflicts do we enter in without being invited.

Machiavelli is very insightful, but largely intended for the Feudal era. and holds less value today.

Marx, this is very much so relevant for industrializing countries, and inhibiting once a country has industrialized, or skipped over the abuses set up by "Bourgoise" It is stated that there must be a ruling class that enjoys greater luxuries than the new prolitariate and calls that a burden. He suggests that a democracy would allow communism to takeover and suggests that to be the best way to set up communist states.

Also Marx, is extremely racist apparently, and believes that the state religion of every nation should be Atheism, to the extent of converting and/or removing religious people. he specifically targets jews often. (he did write a book called "the Jewish Question")

Marx added a apologetic addition in a later reprint where he regrets using the word Revolution, because he was ashamed that his work had caused violent insurrections.

Nietzche is extremely anti Christian, and spends most of his time trying to say as many bad things as he can about Christianity. surprisingly he is pro atheism, pro atheist state religion, but indifferent about non Christian relgions. the other exception is he is mildly anti semitic but simultaneously extremely anti anti-Semitism to the extent of recommending exile for all anti-Semite. he is often nihilistic and spends the whole book trying to disprove every philosopher he's read before him.

Nietzche has an scary Nazi vibe (yes I know that his sister rewrote his works to promote fascism....but that's the stuff written much later, so this is just him here.)I can see this being a very popular philosopher in 1930s germany

I think theres too many people who thump a single authors books like a dogma without even familiarizing themselves with other realms of thought, and the ones that get thumped the most are largely no longer relevant in this postmodern era

a philosophy professor happened to be in the brewery while I was reading, he suggested I read the following, as much more enlightening than what I was reading. I'm not sure how far ill take this philosophy kick, we'll see.
Ethics~Benedict de Spinoza
Nausea ~Jean Paul Sartre
Naming and Necessity ~ Saul Kripke
The Concept of Law ~ HLA Hart
Discourses ~ Epictetus
Critique of Pure reason ~ Immanuel Kant
Either/Or Soren Kierkegaard
A Treatise of Human Nature ~ David Hume
On Liberty ~John Stuart Mill
The Second Sex ~ Simone de Beauvoir
Discourse on the Method ~ Rene Descarte
Natural Law and Natural Rights ~ John Finnis
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#17
Aristotle is very boring. I read his 'Politics' and indeed, it was sleep inducing. I love myself some Plato though!

@Bierschneeman: have you ever read On the Origin of Species and the Descent of Man by Darwin? Although not philosphy as such, I found it to be enormously insightful and it had a direct impact on philosophy that came after. Unlike most of the treatises you listed above though, this puppy is huge, standing at hundreds of pages.