What are you reading?
  • Last year I finished 40 books, and this year I'm attempting to complete 60. Starting off the year by reading "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman.
  • Finished

    -Batman "I am Gotham" by Tom King is the first arc in Tom King's ongoing run. Everyone I know that's an avid Batman fan/expert has been hailing this run as the best Batman has been since Grant Morrison. For those who do not know, Grant Morrison had what is considered by many to be the greatest run in Batman's history, and simply one of the best run's in all of Superhero comics. Morrison utilized the history and medium to full affect, and Tom King appears to be following suit. "I am Gotham" is one of the single best Batman stories I've ever read. It's deceptively simple; evoking decades of history in every panel, and delving into the mind of Batman through the eyes of everyone who interacts with him. King knows this character, and he understands the medium. This is the kind of story that can only be told in panels.

    -Thinking Fast and Slow was an astounding text that I recommend to anyone who wants to dissuade themselves from the active self-deception we all partake. He's incredibly erudite, but never at the expense of the reader; instead it's for the readers benefit. He has an extensive knowledge of a myriad of subjects, all pertaining to our minds and our perception. Perception is not reality, and now I'm wondering what is.

    What I'm reading

    -Fermat's Enigma is a novel about uncovering one of the most complex theorems in all of mathematics. So far it's going detailing the history of mathematics and its greatest champions. Like TFAS, it's a deceptively simple text in which the author is able to relay an incredibly dense and complex topic to the layperson. At the rate I'm going I should have it finished within the next couple of days. 
  • Finished 

    -Fermat's Enigma was an incredibly engaging read that has given me an even greater appreciation of mathematics. It's beautifully absolute; something either works or it doesn't. Reading on Wile's venture into the great unknown gave me a great deal of respect for mathematicians. The layman see's people fiddling with numbers, in reality they're searching for the truth. 

    -Lucifer The Awakening was a wonderful novel by Neil Cross, creator of the BBC series. Seasons 1-3 are some of my favorite pieces of television ever, and this book is a superb lead in to that. It really delves into Luther's psyche, showing a man completely consumed with love becoming the thing he hates. The book also has moments of vivid imagery that cause your stomach to shrivel and eyes to well; it get devastating. My only gripe is that Neil is a screenwriter and it's very apparent while reading the book. He writes the novel like a season of the show, and different mediums need to have different styles; they're different things. I know he wants to write more, and I hope in doing so he adjusts his style to compliment the medium he's working in, rather than the one he knows. 

    What I'm reading

    -Stranger in a Strange Land. Finished part one. Valentine's innocence is an oddly compelling, yet fiercely relatable quality. 
  • What a coincidence, my autobiography will be titled:

    Strange in a Stranger Land

    It is mind boggling Heinlein wrote that and it's antipode, Starship Troopers, practically back to back.

    If we are doing classic SF, Lord of Light is a lesser known bomb diggity.
  • I have "Lord of Light" on my to read list. 
  • I love this thread.
  • A Population of One, by Constance Beresford-Howe. It's melancholy.

    The Four Books and Five Classic of Confucianism. The political philosophy in them is interesting and actually convincingly laid out, if still anachronistic. The more personal guidance side of things is less convincing. 
  • Finished

    -Stranger in a Strange Land was absolutely wonderful. Jubal completely steals the show. A text as lauded as this one leaves little for me to say that hasn't been said before. My only gripe is Jill's comment about rape; sorely antiquated; something no one should ever conceive.

    What I'm reading

    -The Assassination Complex by Jeremy Scahill is exactly the kind of book every anti-Government person such as myself loves to read. What I love about this is Jeremy is someone who would be labeled as "Liberal" but isn't compelled by part affiliation. This man applies his ethics and judges each administration as it pertains to that; all else is irrelevant. Deontically unimpaired journalist are my favorite, even if I don't agree with them on everything. 
  • Finished

    -The Assassination Complex is a text that, if I had the means, I would distribute to every home in America. Most people have some basic idea of what the drone program is, but few (if any) know how it operates. The journalist who put this together spent as much of their time questioning the legality and ethics of the program as they did explaining how it works and who commands it. 

    What I'm Reading

    -Irrational Exuberance by Robert Shiller. Recently re-watched "The Big Short" and felt the need to read about finance and the collapse that happened nearly a decade ago. I don't own the novel by Michael Lewis, so I'm instead going to start Irrational as its been sitting on my shelf for the better part of the year. 
  • @Latham, The Big Short was a great book but the private debt / loan bubble and derivatives disaster that crippled the financial sector back then has been well documented in many good books. If you want to read another book by the same author about a topic not as well covered I recommend "Flash Boys", which goes into the world of high frequency traders.

    Also, if you're on the libertarian path you no doubt have read some Austrian economics along the lines of Mises, Rothbard, or Hayek. If you haven't you really should, but then after that I highly recommend a book called "Debunking Economics" by Steve Keen. It is probably one of if not the most eye-opening economics texts I've read. He basically takes everything you think you know about economics and shows it for the unfounded voodoo that it is. Incidentally Steve Keen is one of the few economists who called Lehmann and the housing crash in the US, and he currently resides in England where he's pushing for a total overhaul of economic thought and teaching. It's a damn shame Australia lost him but this country is so far down the leftist regressive rabbit hole the flames of our own housing and private debt bubble disaster are licking at our feet. As you well know, that's no time for rational thinking!

    Anyway, what have I been reading? Not much really. I read some stuff about programming in C and a few linguistics texts about languages and language learning methodology. Nothing particularly earth-shattering or mind-blowing or something I'd recommend to anyone.

    edit: Has anyone got any recommendations for books on chaos theory? I've read bits and pieces here and there (mainly in its applications to economic theory) but I'm looking for something with a broader range.
  • Finished

    -Irrational Exuberance was a wonderful text on some incredibly important issues regarding stocks, wealth, consumption, and prediction. While reading I kept thinking of "Thinking Fast and Slow" and "Fermat's Enigma" as it's becoming more and more apparent that economics isn't the science it thinks it is. I often listen to economists who attempt to portray their study as an exact science; something predictable and that can be controlled. Due to a myriad of variables from behavior to media to education; there's simply too much to account for and it's why we have such disparate views within the economics discourse. In "Fermat's Enigma" I was able to see how pure and absolute mathematics really is. It's completely uncompromising and doesn't allow for variables that can distort a proof. Economics wants to be this: it's not.

    What I'm Reading

    -The Magic of Math by Arthur Benjamin is, so far, a lovely book that reveals the simplicity of seemingly complex math. It also, like "Fermat's Enigma", reminds the reader just how absolute mathematics is. Every rule applies to all number; unless an exception is explicitly named with reasons why. So far I've read his take on basic arithmetic and algebra. He actively dissects the numbers to show simpler ways to add, subtract, multiply, and divide. I'm noticing little patterns as I'm reading which unveils greater truths to basic concepts I thought I had mastered. It's the kind of book that I'd read to my kid if I had one. 


  • I had a long ass wait in my schedule this week so I spent the time reading The Old Man & The Sea, and The Picture of Dorian Gray. Both are short and great reads.

    I also read The Open Society and it's Enemies, by Karl Popper. Great read about the dangers ideas the likes of Plato's and Marx's can present.
  • What I've Read

    -Lucifer Book 1 and 2 are part of a 5 book [collected] series from Vertigo in which Mike Carey takes Lucifer from the Sandman series and weaves his own tale. Lucifer (the character) isn't the devil you that you've come to know from the Bible or Milton; he's far more compelling, all the while being incredibly simple. He's fixated on his own agency, and wishes nothing more than to escape the chains of his creator. All he has ever felt is trapped, and the end game (so far) is freedom; the absence of his father and a life all his own.

    What I'm Reading

    -I'm halfway through "The Magic of Math." Arthur Benjamin continues to show tricks and breakdown every step to elucidate the language and logic of math to his readers. I often have to take pause and either reread a passage to ensure I've retained each step or actually pull out pencil and paper to work out the math myself. It's deceptively light and simple, but takes a lot of work and mental energy to get through. 

    -Lucifer Book 3 starts off by ending a thread placed in the very first issue. I won't say more than that; it was perfect.
  • Completed
    -The Vertigo series "Lucifer" was an every bit as good, if not better than, its predecessor "The Sandman." I deontic characters and Lucifer [ironically] encapsulates everything you'd expect from one. He's a man of true conviction, holding true to his code; never telling a lie, and always making good on his word. Does he manipulate? Absolutely. Is it because he's duplicitous or malicious? Never. Lucifer does omit information, but those who work alongside him are always free to pry. They often do, and he almost always declines, and yet they continue to work with rather than against him, making their fall their own cause.

    That last statement really spells out the entire purpose of this story: agency. The narrative subverts your expectations of Lucifer with his predilection for the truth, but it stems from something grander. In this tale Lucifer feels manipulated and views his existence and all of creation as a lie, so he spends the remainder of his existence searching for and telling the truth.

    This impacts characters throughout the story because those who are honest and have integrity are the one's who find fortune. Those who are duplicitous and beguile are the ones who suffer most; God's and mortals alike. The relationship between agency and honesty is fascinating and works theologically as absolutes are a virtue, and nothing is more absolute than freedom and truth. 

    -I'm shelving "The Magic of Math" for a short time as it's starting to get into mathematics that I don't have any training in and I want to explore this while I'm actively studying. I'm almost finished, and thankfully the book is structured so that you can pick it up and read any chapter independent of all other chapters(the authors intent). 

    What I'm Reading
    -Don't know yet, but once I figure it out I'll update. 
  • What I'm Reading
    -Baudolino by Umberto Eco. I'm nine chapters in and I'm still uncertain as to what this is about. Like "In The Name of The Rose" and "Foucault's Pendulum" I assume the meaning will become clear. It seems to be a story about stories; lies and fiction, and how life is a fiction.

    It's Eco, so by default I love it. 
  • Finished my first book ever The Animal Farm, and enjoyed it quite a lot.

    Now I've been reading To Kill A Mockingbird for a while now, on and off.
  • Since I've gone back to school I haven't had time to update this thread. Still managed to read quite a bit.

    What I've read

    -Baudolino was a terrific read, even if it was the weakest of Eco's tales. I remembered my reading of Lucifer as I approached this end of this tale as truth and lies were themes of that series. Baudolino is effectively a series of stories within a stories; compounding lies that generate a new truth. Everyone's view of the world is combative and deluded, making enemies among friends, and allies among would be enemies. It's a story that holds your attention purely through deception; admitting that everything you know is a lie. Then again: all storytellers are liars because they invoke worlds and events that don't exist.

    -Batman Arkham Asylum a Serious House on Serious Earth is one of Morrison's most well regarded graphic novels and one of the few that I hadn't read. We're given a parallel tale of Amadeus Arkham and Batman as the caped crusader is essentially trapped in the madhouse with the inmates taking full control. The story showcases Arkham's descent into madness as he loses everyone he has ever (perceivably) loved, while also taken into question Batman's own sanity as he tries to survive in the Asylum. It's fascinating to see that both Batman and Arkham seem to have very similar goals that stem from very similar tragedies. Both lost their parents and both work directly with the criminally insane. Arkham becomes the thing he intended to fix/save, Batman is still fighting it. 

    -Black Hole by Charles Burns is an indie comics darling. Very simply: it's a failed coming of age story. I'm not saying that the story fails to execute its themes or story, but rather that the character never actually mature; they simply try to escape. The teenagers in this story desperately want the [ostensible] freedom that comes with adulthood, but they do not want to deal with the ramifications of their actions. In many ways it's the antipode of Local by Brian Wood. All of that said, it manages to capture the loss and confusion of young adulthood, mostly through its art. It's a wonderfully crafted book that everyone should read at least once.

    -Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm by Murray Bookchin intends to distinguish lifestyle anarchism (which is his interpretation of individual anarchism) and social anarchism. His polemic intends to state that there can be no individual anarchism because there is no individual. The society comes first and mothers the individual, making the individual a reflection or offspring of the society. This is axiomatically marxist, and therefore incredibly problematic from an Anarchist perspective. The State is society, as is Religion, as is Violence. There is a relation between society and the individual, but it must be one of at least equilibrium if the society cannot de-tether itself from the individual. Bookchin doesn't understand this and instead conflates the violence of individuals who tarnish Anarchism through none Anarchist means, but not realizing that violence is a reflection of the society that bore the individual. Regardless of its misunderstandings, it is still an important text to understand the schism that has impacted Anarchism since its inception.

    -Fahrenheit 451 is a book I haven't read since high school but have been itching to read for about a month now. Like Orwell it realizes all of my fears and more. The theme of anti-intellectualism is quite prescient, and thank goodness Bradbury is not alive to see just how right he would be. It's a tale of conformity with dependency tropes straight from a Philip K Dick novel. It's petrifying like so few other books can even attempt to be. 

    -Punk Rock Jesus be Sean Murphy is a book with excessive peaks and valleys. Beautiful art, but the man seems incapable of letting the reader think for themselves. He literally explains the themes and ideas for the reader regularly throughout the book, and it's a massive disservice to the ideas and craftsmanship. As an aside: can we please stop pointing out that Gravity is a theory; the anti-science community is going to start thinking that Gravity isn't real either! I digress. Disregarding Murphy's inability to convey theme without exposition, the mere concept of combing Truman Show, Jesus, and Punk Rock is fucking awesome. I highly recommend every read this, especially since Murphy's hand holding ensures that it won't go over anyone's head.

    -The Wealth of Nations books 1-3 are complete and I'm currently working on books 4 and 5. I won't go into too much detail now, but will say the following: Capitalism as theory has never been put into practice. 
  • 451 is a great book. I read it again myself a few months back.

    Anarchists are pretty much all full of shit, regardless of whether they come with a communist or capitalist sauce on their ramblings. They fantasize over an impossible utopia. Rules but no rulers. Yep, sure. The individual is the individual, society is society, you can't take the micro and extrapolate the macro; this is the same mistake 99% of modern economists make. Emergent behaviour is real, it must not be ignored. It's like looking at a single drop of water and trying to guess the week's weather from it.

    Capitalism as a theory has indeed never been put into practice, and the same can be said of Socialism. I doubt either system as they exist in theory ever could. They are also utopian and unrealistic theories, as both make unrealistic assumptions about reality. There are as many different types of Capitalism as there are Socialism, yet people on both sides lump their opponents into one massive pigeonhole for convenience. An argument I often hear against Socialism is that no matter what variant is tried it will always become authoritarian and bankrupt, but given every capitalist country in the world today is a slave to their central banks and financial sectors, I wonder how many libertarians would accept the statement that all Capitalism inevitably leads to crony capitalism? If not, explain the above problem. If yes, are they content with choosing the lesser of two evils (ie, drown in debt rather than starve in bread lines), or do they want to join the effort to try find an alternative? Most libertarians I know rabidly cling to Austrian theorists (Rothbard, Hayek, Mises) like the lefties do to Das Kapital. So far when I voice these concerns all I'm met with is the argument that "real free market capitalism hasn't been tried yet", and am met with stony silence when I point out they sound like lefties defending socialism.

    Back on topic, I've been reading grammar books, programming books, and the occasional economics book.

  • In the Devil's Snare is a good book about the Salem witchcraft crisis. A lot of history books turn me off because the historians try to construct a narrative rather than just presenting information and letting me draw conclusions, but this one does a good job of keeping it dry while presenting some inferences to think about. Regarding what happened, it's fucking nuts and definitely a truth is stranger than fiction situation. Even though I sort expected it going in, I was honestly surprised at how familiar it felt with the social dynamics. People's personalities fucking shine through just based on transcripts and letters. I also now know what some gnarly dialogue from "The Witch" movie is referencing.

    Going to read Blood Meridian.

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