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What are you reading?
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Philo Offline yiff yap

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5th September 2014 04:28 PM
Post: #451
Currently reading:

Homosexual Desire by Guy Hocquenghem
The City and the Pillar by Gore Vidal
Leaves of Grass (1891 aka "deathbed" edition) by Walt Whitman
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Paracelsus Offline Properly Horse

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26th November 2014 05:04 PM
Post: #452
Been reading some Haruki Murakami lately. His books create an excellent atmosphere of everyday surreality. Like, he describes really surreal and fantastical things happening, but manages to do so in a way that makes it sound like he's describing something perfectly ordinary.

"Kafka on the Shore" in particular is a masterpiece.
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Philo Offline yiff yap

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4th January 2015 10:02 PM
Post: #453
Books:

The Bankers' New Clothes: What's Wrong with Banking and What to Do About It by Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig
Scientific Realism: Selected Essays of Mario Bunge by Mario Bunge, ed. Martin Mahner
Realism and Truth by Michael Devitt
Ethics, Persuasion, and Truth by J.J.C. Smart
How Asia Works by Joe Studwell

Research articles:

"The Mismeasure of Machine: Synthetic biology and the trouble with engineering metaphors" by Maarten Boudry and Massimo Pigliucci
"Nonsense and Illusions of Thought" by Herman Cappelen
"Dewey and the Subject Matter of Science" by Peter Godfrey-Smith
"Freedom in the Market" by Philip Pettit
"Truth by Convetion" by W.V.O. Quine

To-read (books):

Philosophy Without Intuitions by Herman Cappelen
Coming to Our Senses: A Naturalistic Program for Semantic Localism by Michael Devitt
Environmental Debt by Amy Larkin
The Metaphysics Within Physics by Tim Maudlin
Just Freedom by Philip Pettit
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Jarvellis Offline Great Grey Wolf

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28th January 2015 01:05 AM
Post: #454
Been reading a lot more lately. Recently read:
  • Brass Man and Polity Agent by Neal Asher
  • The History and Origins of Druidism by Lewis Spence
  • Small Gods and Mort by Terry Pratchett
  • Tsotsi by Athol Fugard (though I heavily disliked it)
  • Kaz The Minotaur by Richard A. Knaak
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (thoroughly enjoyed this and I don't tend to do thriller novels)
  • A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
  • Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
  • Various Lovecraft stories (currently reading)
  • Celtic Myths by Jake Jackson (currently reading)

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Paracelsus Offline Properly Horse

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14th March 2015 09:09 PM
Post: #455
As I started reading Murakami's "Norwegian Wood" a couple of days ago, I was unsure whether I'd like it, because I knew it had none of the surrealistic or supernatural elements his other works have.

Just finished reading the book, and my worries were in vain. An excellent story about isolation and alienation. Competes with "Kafka" on my list of favorite Murakami novels.
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Annoyance Offline Resident Cosplayer

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15th March 2015 12:30 AM
Post: #456
(14th March 2015 09:09 PM)Paracelsus Wrote:  As I started reading Murakami's "Norwegian Wood" a couple of days ago, I was unsure whether I'd like it, because I knew it had none of the surrealistic or supernatural elements his other works have.

Just finished reading the book, and my worries were in vain. An excellent story about isolation and alienation. Competes with "Kafka" on my list of favorite Murakami novels.
Glad you like it! I'm still a bit more than halfway.
It's an excellent representation of mental illness for its time.
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Paracelsus Offline Properly Horse

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15th March 2015 12:34 AM
Post: #457
(15th March 2015 12:30 AM)Annoyance Wrote:  Glad you like it! I'm still a bit more than halfway.
It's an excellent representation of mental illness for its time.

That, too.

Really refreshing to read a novel that doesn't really focus on mental illnesses per se, yet still doesn't fall victim to the usual clichés.
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Roth Offline Baeven

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3rd July 2015 11:25 PM
Post: #458
Starting on Lord of the Flies now.

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Selene Offline I Am Not What I Am

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7th July 2015 11:09 AM
Post: #459
Currently wrapping up The Brothers Karamazov (on the Epilogue now). Overall, I found Crime and Punishment to be superior to this, even if that's seemingly opposite of the view that most hold. mlp-tshrug

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Kadae Offline Wandering Tea Salespony

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7th July 2015 11:45 AM
Post: #460
I'm currently two thirds of the way through The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero and I have to say, this is easily one of the funniest books I've ever read! I can't remember the last time I cried this much due to uncontrollable laughter.

If you've ever seen The Room, I'd wholly recommend it.
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Philo Offline yiff yap

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7th July 2015 03:34 PM
Post: #461
Been reading a bunch of research articles. Current books:

For Work
Clark, James. Models for Ecological Data.
Foster, Mercedes S. and Bills, Gerald F. Biodiversity of Fungi.

For Fun
Harman, Gilbert and Kulkarni, Sanjeev. Reliable Reasoning
Jackendoff, Ray. A User's Guide to Thought and Meaning
White, Edmund. Caracole

Some good papers I read recently

Ellis et al. "Character displacement and the evolution of niche complementarity in a model biofilm community"
Gigerenzer, Gerd and Gaissmaier, Wolfgang. "Heuristic Decision Making."
Sun, Ron. "Theoretical status of computational cognitive modeling."
(This post was last modified: 7th July 2015 03:41 PM by Philo.)
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Roth Offline Baeven

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7th July 2015 07:10 PM
Post: #462
(3rd July 2015 11:25 PM)Chaos Wrote:  Starting on Lord of the Flies now.

I finished this Saturday. Now I'm reading The Catcher in the Rye.

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Paracelsus Offline Properly Horse

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7th July 2015 09:47 PM
Post: #463
Been reading some Camus lately. "L'Etranger" is pretty magnificent, though "La Peste" doesn't seem to bad so far either.
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Shade Offline

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10th August 2015 08:54 PM
Post: #464
I'm (regrettably slowly due to other hobbies) making my way through four different fantasy series.

Discworld: Currently at book #5. I am in love with Pratchett's writing style, which I might have mentioned before, but it will never not be relevant.

Wheel of Time: A friend got me into this. Beforehand, I'd written it off as generic, but after reading three books, the characters and the world has really grown on me.

A Song of Ice and Fire: I had to keep up with this in some way, after all. Sa-v I think I just finished book six or something, but the nearby bookstore and library has this really weird thing with dividing each book into several smaller books, so I'm honestly not quite sure how far I am.

The Bartimaeus Trilogy: I read the first one waaay back when and I really liked it. I have now gotten the rest and I'm somewhere early on in the second book.

I also recently finished what books there are in The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss. They're amazing, I'd recommend them to anyone.
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Paracelsus Offline Properly Horse

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10th August 2015 10:00 PM
Post: #465
Been gettin' into "The Dresden Files" lately.

I don't want to say anything hasty since I'm only just finishing up the fourth book, but this might be among by top three most favorite fantasy series.
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Sith_Dreamer Offline I made room for the cupcakes!

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11th August 2015 08:14 AM
Post: #466
I just finished "The Scarlet Gospels" by Clive Barker, aka his farewell to the Pinhead character from the Hellbound Heart/ Hellraiser films. It wasn't bad, but it was much more anticlimactic than I thought it would be. Still, it had an extremely epic battle I was not expecting, and that alone made the climax of the book awesome.
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Kadae Offline Wandering Tea Salespony

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11th August 2015 08:32 AM
Post: #467
(7th July 2015 11:45 AM)Kadae Wrote:  I'm currently two thirds of the way through The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero and I have to say, this is easily one of the funniest books I've ever read! I can't remember the last time I cried this much due to uncontrollable laughter.

Finished this a little while ago. My overall thoughts on it remain unchanged.

I'm going to start re-reading Douglas Adam's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy very soon, so that'll be a bunch of fun! After that, I might read Lolita again.

mlp-tbob
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Nina Offline The Bork Monarch

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11th September 2015 12:24 PM
Post: #468
I got The Silmarillion for my birthday so I'm reading it again. I'm really enjoying it.

I feel like this is the book that my love for anything with overly detailed lore stems from
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Jarvellis Offline Great Grey Wolf

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10th October 2015 05:08 PM
Post: #469
Been doing a lot of reading lately, especially while on holiday:
  • Reaper Man and Soul Music by Terry Pratchett
  • Line War by Neal Asher (finally finished this series of his, great ending to it)
  • Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses and Traditions of Ancient Egypt by Geraldine Pinch
  • The Book of the Dead translated by Sir E.A. Wallis Budge
  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Damiano, Damiano's Lute, and Raphael by R.A. Macavoy
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by R.L. Stevenson
  • The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (awfully written book, film adaptation is probably better)
  • Fear of De Sade by Bernardo Carvalho
  • Bête by Adam Roberts
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelly
  • Valhalla by Ari Bach
  • Horns by Joe Hill (Currently reading)

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Paracelsus Offline Properly Horse

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10th October 2015 05:11 PM
Post: #470
(10th October 2015 05:08 PM)Jarvellis Wrote:  [*]Horns by Joe Hill (Currently reading)

I really like that book, and Hill's works in general.

His way of making supernatural horror stories that are more about the protagonists' struggling with themselves and growing as people than the ghouls and ghastlies appeals to me.
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Xinder Offline CORRECTION COUNTER: 120

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10th October 2015 09:04 PM
Post: #471
I actually finished Brave New World finally. I have to say, I very much enjoyed that book.

I won't say anything about it really because i think there are already hundreds of high school book reports on it.

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Paracelsus Offline Properly Horse

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10th October 2015 09:08 PM
Post: #472
(10th October 2015 09:04 PM)Xinder Wrote:  I actually finished Brave New World finally. I have to say, I very much enjoyed that book.

I won't say anything about it really because i think there are already hundreds of high school book reports on it.

Even so, the one thing I want to ask you is: did you see the society portrayed in the book as more of a dystopia, or as more of a utopia?
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Xinder Offline CORRECTION COUNTER: 120

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10th October 2015 09:15 PM
Post: #473
(10th October 2015 09:08 PM)Paracelsus Wrote:  Even so, the one thing I want to ask you is: did you see the society portrayed in the book as more of a dystopia, or as more of a utopia?

i think that really depends on your point of view, and the book did a good job showing that. there's no suffering and everything is as efficient as possible, but it's also a world completely lacking in passion.

so personally, i'd say it's a dystopia. but one of the more acceptable ones i guess?

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Paracelsus Offline Properly Horse

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10th October 2015 09:21 PM
Post: #474
(10th October 2015 09:15 PM)Xinder Wrote:  i think that really depends on your point of view, and the book did a good job showing that. there's no suffering and everything is as efficient as possible, but it's also a world completely lacking in passion.

so personally, i'd say it's a dystopia. but one of the more acceptable ones i guess?

I am still a bit unsure how to think of it. On one hand, it sort of lacks in personal freedoms, which I value greatly. But on the other hand, those personal freedoms are just tools with which to find your personal happiness, so if everyone in the society is happy (in a way), freedoms are a bit irrelevant.
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Xinder Offline CORRECTION COUNTER: 120

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10th October 2015 09:22 PM
Post: #475
i don't know how one can be truly happy without passion, though. you need to care about something or someone. i feel like there's more to happiness than not being unhappy. their society is built around preventing anyone from feeling strongly about anything or anyone, which just feels sad to me.

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Paracelsus Offline Properly Horse

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10th October 2015 09:31 PM
Post: #476
(10th October 2015 09:22 PM)Xinder Wrote:  i don't know how one can be truly happy without passion, though. you need to care about something or someone. i feel like there's more to happiness than not being unhappy. their society is built around preventing anyone from feeling strongly about anything or anyone, which just feels sad to me.

Feeling strongly about things makes you despair or feel enraged or such too, though. Also, it makes people hate one another.

While in ordinary conditions I wholeheartedly accept these as the unfortunate but minor side effects of a free society, in a situation where a miracle drug would make everyone feel a content, it makes me uncertain.
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Xinder Offline CORRECTION COUNTER: 120

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10th October 2015 09:37 PM
Post: #477
(10th October 2015 09:31 PM)Paracelsus Wrote:  Feeling strongly about things makes you despair or feel enraged or such too, though. Also, it makes people hate one another.

While in ordinary conditions I wholeheartedly accept these as the unfortunate but minor side effects of a free society, in a situation where a miracle drug would make everyone feel a content, it makes me uncertain.

Despair, rage and hatred are all part of the human condition though. Forcibly removing them makes people less than human, in my opinion. Miracle drugs to make you content also just bother me on an intrinsic level. Even without side effects, it feels like having your emotions neutered.

From my perspective, the value of being yourself, flaws and all, is more important to maintaining humanity than making sure nobody is unhappy. Happiness that you "earn" (as opposed to tricking your brain) is more powerful than mere contentedness.

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Jarvellis Offline Great Grey Wolf

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18th December 2015 08:58 PM
Post: #478
(10th October 2015 05:08 PM)Jarvellis Wrote:  The Woman in Black[/i] by Susan Hill (awfully written book, film adaptation is probably better)

Saw the film and I was right, I'd suggest anyone interested in the book just watches the film, it has a much more solid plot and there are actual dangers rather than just "spooky things happen".

Quote:Horns [/i]by Joe Hill (Currently reading)

Also finished reading this, really enjoyed it. It also has a good film adaptation.
I thought that this time maybe I should give a brief synopsis and opinion on the book I've read rather than just listing them:

The Satanic Bible and The Satanic Rituals by Anton Szandor LaVey
The books that contain the philosophies of LaVeyian Satanism and some of the workings of The Church of Satan. I found it to raise a lot of interesting and though provoking questions, especially on the modernisation of religions, even if I didn't necessarily agree with them all.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A dystopian novel set in future Britain during a time of high levels of criminal activity amongst youths. The story follows one of these criminals, Alex, who narrates his life and his forceful rehabilitation. A very interesting satire put across through the world-building of the dystopia it's set in, however I found that due to the narrator speaking in heavy slang throughout the entire novel made it rather hard to read.

The Darkening by Stephen M. Irwin
A horror novel about a man named Nick who returns from England to his home country of Australia after the sudden death of his wife. This recent tragedy also brings fresh to mind how 30 years ago his childhood friend was murdered in the woods near his home. Shortly after his return, another child is murdered in the woods that bares very similar details to the death of his friend. A very chilling novel that can really paint a good picture. There were quite a few times it really got to me, as Nick has a couple phobias in common with me.

Tea with the Black Dragon by R.A. MacAvoy
A modern day (for the time of writing) fantasy novel about a woman named Martha searching for her missing daughter, Elizabeth, a computer programmer. Before going to investigate, she meets a man named Mayland in the hotel she's staying in, who claims to have lived previously as a Chinese dragon for over 2000 years, and is skilled in languages. He decides to put this skill to use in understanding computer programming in order to assist her. A very charming novel with equally charming characters, most of my favourite parts was when the two protagonists just got a chance to talk with each other.

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
A horror novel about an ageing rock star named Judas Coyne, who spends his retirement as a collector of the macabre, such as occult artefacts, genuine bones, and even a real snuff film. He is directed to an online auction of a dead man's suit who the seller claims is tied to a ghost, which he immediately buys, not realising the ghost is in fact real and very hostile. This author might be becoming a favourite of mine. A very well written plot that has more layers than the synopsis suggests with some really interesting and complex characters that make me care for them all the more.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness & Siobhan Dowd
A children's fantasy novel about a 13 year old boy called Conor who has started to suffer nightmares of a monster ever since his mother was diagnosed with cancer. The novel begins when Conor begins to experience the nightmare again, but this time a different monster comes to visit him. This monster wants to tell him three stories, and in return asks that Conor tells him one back, which he only refers to as "the truth". I didn't actually realise this was designed as a children's novel until after I had read it, I think it's still a good read for older audiences. It seems to get across very well how it can be frustrating to deal with things such as terminal illnesses in the family at a young age.

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer
The fictional memoirs of a young man who has developed a mental illness (the specific one is only hinted at at first) after witnessing the death of his older brother as a child. A very interesting character that seems to accurately portray how one can manage with certain mental illnesses. It's heartfelt without romanticising it or skipping over the parts that show him as rather cynical at times.

Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
The fourth Death novel in the Discworld series, the story follows Death as he takes over the Hogfather's (Discworld's Santa) job after he disappears. Probably my favourite so far of the Death novels, I found the plot to be really clever and it introduced a lot of very funny characters.

Aliens: The Labyrinth by S.D. Perry
A horror sci-fi novel in the Alien series which follows Dr. Crespi, a military scientist, who desires to work for Dr. Church, a fellow scientist who has made remarkable discoveries after insanely dangerous experimentations on Xenomorph subjects. I was unsure at first how much I was going to enjoy this because I had no idea of the common opinion of the quality of the Alien novels, but I found it to be one of the most unpredictable books I've read, kept me guessing until the very end.

The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
A series of dystopian action novels about the lower class citizens of the country of Panem being forced to submit a selection of their children to large scale gladiatorial events. All I really have to say is that they are definitely deserving of their reputation. I'm glad I finally got around to reading them.

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
A transgressive and satirical novel narrated by the protagonist Patrick Bateman, a Wall Street businessman and psychopathic serial killer, following his day-to-day life in his mid twenties. A highly interesting read if you're interested in viewing how his mental health effects his thinking, or in the satire on yuppie culture, but it is a rather dense novel that might bore people who are not. If the general concept interests you still, I'd recommend the film which is a classic in it's own rights too.

My Sweet Satan by Peter Cawdron
A horror sci-fi novel about a future manned NASA mission to investigate a moon that orbits Saturn in a very unusual way, and one that caused the destruction of a passing by probe. The story follows an astronaut named Jasmine who suffers severe amnesia after her emerging from deep-sleep. Her and the other 5 astronauts are informed upon awakening that their mission is cancelled after NASA managed to recover a signal that was transmitted from the moon to the probe before it was destroyed. The only part that can be made out is a serpentine voice that says "Here's to my sweet Satan. I... I want to live and die for you, my glorious Satan". I really liked the concept of this novel because it reminded me of nightmares I've actually had so it was pretty chilling for me, and it had a couple of very well written characters that made me feel instantly attached to them.

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Annoyance Offline Resident Cosplayer

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24th December 2015 11:35 AM
Post: #479
I recently finished 1Q84 and I'm so proud of myself. That book was sometimes a challenge to get through but it was so enjoyable and rewarding. Tamaru is my fave babe.
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Nina Offline The Bork Monarch

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25th February 2016 11:44 AM
Post: #480
I'm finally in the process of reading Lord of the Flies. I'm enjoying it so far.

I'd love to read more books in general but I'm not sure where to start with finding ones that interest me. Fortunately I've missed out on a ton of classics so I can just make my way up from there.
(This post was last modified: 25th February 2016 11:51 AM by Nina.)
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Jarvellis Offline Great Grey Wolf

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25th February 2016 02:13 PM
Post: #481
(25th February 2016 11:44 AM)Nina Wrote:  I'm finally in the process of reading Lord of the Flies. I'm enjoying it so far.

I'd love to read more books in general but I'm not sure where to start with finding ones that interest me. Fortunately I've missed out on a ton of classics so I can just make my way up from there.

If you use an e-reader a good way to find a lot of old classics is to just go onto Amazon's Kindle Store and type in 'Public Domain' for a lot of the free stuff.

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Philo Offline yiff yap

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25th February 2016 03:28 PM
Post: #482
For School

William Wordsworth - The Prelude

Gigantic philosophical/autobiographical poem by Wordsworth, one of the great works of English Romanticism.

Percy Bysshe Shelley - Shelley's Poetry and Prose: Norton Critical Edition

Big scholarly compendium of Shelley's writings, which also includes academic articles on Shelley. For my research project for a literature class.

James Bieri - Percy Bysshe Shelley

The definitive scholarly biography of Shelley.

Steven Strogatz - Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos

Exactly what it says on the tin. Textbook on chaos, complex systems, nonlinear dynamical systems.

V.I. Arnold - Ordinary Differential Equations

We're using this for a "second look" at basic differential equations to complement our more advanced dynamical systems material. Soviet classic. This is an amazing book.

Samuel Karlin and H.M. Taylor - A First Course in Stochastic Processes

Again, exactly what it sounds like. I actually did a decent amount of stochastic processes last semester in my independent study, but this is for class.

Larry Wasserman - All of Statistics

We're using this as our statistics reference/refresher in mathematical modeling, and believe it or not it manages to almost live up to its title. Very comprehensive yet concise. Leans towards classical/frequentist methods so I'd be interested in getting a more Bayesian perspective, but this is one of the best classical statistics texts I've read, along with Cox and Donnelly's Principles of Applied Statistics.

John Hennessy and David Patterson - Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach

The industry standard computer architecture book as far as I can tell. Presumes familiarity with the basics like constructing ALUs from logic gates and the like. We covered that stuff rather quickly at the beginning of the semester for those who hadn't seen it or needed a refresher but didn't use a book.

Cormen et al. - Algorithms

Using this for my theory of computation independent study. Classic reference.

Christopher Moore and Mertens - The Nature of Computation

The main attraction for my theory of computation independent study. Really unusual book, with integration of many topics and an informal style that actually reads as easily as a popular book, but is a proper textbook. It's amazing.

Sanjeev Arora and Boaz Barak - Computational Complexity: A Modern Approach

Supplementary textbook for my theory of computation independent study.

Personal

Saunders Mac Lane - Mathematics: Form and Function

A legendary book that provides a synoptic view of mathematics, with an eye to its nature and foundations, from the category-theory and abstract-algebra oriented perspective that is increasingly dominant, rather than the classic ZFC set-theoretic view of the early 20th century. One of the best mathematics books I've ever read. Warning, despite the title this is not a popular book, requires solid mathematical background.

A.D. Aleksandrov, A.N. Kolmogorov, and M.A. Lavrentev eds. - Mathematics: Its Content, Methods, and Meaning.

A truly incredible Soviet classic. It's a collection of review/overview articles on various parts of mathematics, each authored by one of the great Soviet mathematicians on the subject and edited by some of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century, including Kolmogorov, one of my scientific heroes. Includes some of the clearest, most elegant expositions of certain subjects I've seen, like Gelfand on functional analysis. Not really suitable as a textbook since there's not much in the way of exercises and the chapters vary in comprehensiveness, but good for getting a general feel for a topic.

Trevor Hastie, Robert Tibshirani, and Jerome Friedman - The Elements of Statistical Learning

Slowly working my way through the industry-standard book on statistical learning theory, a big part of the statistical/mathematical underpinning of machine learning. I've fallen in love with machine learning, AI, computational statistics/inference and the like. It truly lies at the intersection of the things I'm interested in.

Gilbert Harman and Sanjeev Kulkarni - Reliable Reasoning

A short, sweet, and fascinating book on the intersection of philosophy and machine learning. It's a first pass at treating the theoretical aspects of machine learning as a rigorous approach to the notion of reliability in philosophy, which is part and parcel of an approach to epistemology known as reliabilism, the tl;dr version of which is that claims are justified if generated by a "reliable" process. Statistical learning, computational learning etc. can help, along with fields like cognitive science, make rigorous the notion of "reliable."

John Carey - What Good are the Arts?

Nice as a change of pace from all the technical stuff, this is one of the best works of art criticism/theory I've ever read. It completely tears apart the notion that artistic "quality" is anything other than personal preference as well as the idea that art "makes us better people." For Carey, art is of purely personal value, but therefore of enormous value, just not for the reasons touted by many tut-tutters.

He also has an intriguing argument, although I don't ultimately agree, that literature is the best art (not in the sense of aesthetic quality, but in terms of being a socially etc. valuable activity) because it is the most capable of persuasion and reasoning, rather than merely emotional influence, and synthesizes the aesthetic and the rational better than any other art.

Ken MacLeod - The Cassini Division

Philosophical anarcho-communist hard sci fi. Want an incredibly written and yet somehow super easily-readable novel about founding socialism on material self-interest, the nature of technological progress, AI, etc.? This is your book.

Greg Bear - The Forge of God

One of the most eerie and haunting sci-fi books I've read. I can't say much without ruining it but basically it's a tragedy that involves eerie and increasingly terrifying hints of what is to come, with masterful gradual buildup.
(This post was last modified: 25th February 2016 03:34 PM by Philo.)
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Nina Offline The Bork Monarch

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25th February 2016 04:34 PM
Post: #483
(25th February 2016 02:13 PM)Jarvellis Wrote:  If you use an e-reader a good way to find a lot of old classics is to just go onto Amazon's Kindle Store and type in 'Public Domain' for a lot of the free stuff.

Nah I'll probably have to rely on just a regular library
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Xinder Offline CORRECTION COUNTER: 120

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25th February 2016 05:15 PM
Post: #484
His Dark Materials: The Amber Spyglass - Philip Pullman

honestly i read the first book in middle school and the second book midway through high school so my memory of the series is hazy at best, but the end of the trilogy is standing fine mostly on its own. i definitely wouldn't recommend people to start here, but i am enjoying it despite my hazy memory of the setting and earlier plot.

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Steb Offline Hope

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28th February 2016 04:51 PM
Post: #485
I've been reading American Psycho on and off ever since I realised the copy I got for christmas wasn't completely ruined when my room flooded, and we've also been doing Suddenly Last Summer by Tennessee Williams in English. Been enjoying both of them.

Get a drink
Have a good time now
Welcome to paradise!
(This post was last modified: 28th February 2016 04:54 PM by Steb.)
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Jarvellis Offline Great Grey Wolf

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16th March 2016 03:03 AM
Post: #486
The Black Obelisk by Erich Maria Remarque
A historical novel set in Germany during the early 1920's hyperinflation crisis following the first world war. It follows a young veteran who works as a tombstone designer, and a collection of other characters including a young woman in an asylum for dissociative identity disorder and schizophrenia whom he falls in love with. I wouldn't call this book a story in the traditional sense, in this novel Erich tells a setting rather than a story, and it's a fantastic insight into the time period by showing how these characters react to it and their philosophies on war, the rise of Nazism, business in the inflation etc.

Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
A Gothic mystery novel about a boarding school student in Barcelona who befriends a local girl and her German father. The story follows the two kids as they try to understand why a black-veiled woman leaves a rose weekly in a hidden cemetery, and the connections to the person buried there. It's kinda hard to really give a good overview of the story without spoilers but it's a really nice modern take on the gothic style of old akin to Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Robert Louis Stevenson etc. It has a lot of depth to it that nicely goes beyond the main plot.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire by Steig Larsson
The first two of a series of crime novels following an investigative journalist for a Swedish political magazine, and a brilliant hacker working as an investigator for a security group. I won't go too far into the stories themselves because they are very complicated, but I will say these deserve the amazing reputation they have. Larsson's work on characters is especially phenomenal in my opinion, and is particularly great at writing women. I'm also glad that with the titular character, a lot of tropes involving a rather standoutish and gothic woman that I really hate (such as them 'maturing' by learning to conform to society's standards) are avoided. Do not be put off by the start of the first novel though, the second chapter is really really boring, but it does contain information that's needed. Get through that, and the rest is gold.

Killing the Dead by Marcus Sedgwich
A short horror story about a haunting at a girl's boarding school on the anniversary of a student's death. I don't have anything good to say about this one, it's absolutely boring, completely predictable, and does nothing new with this kind of story. It doesn't even finish properly, it just abruptly stops. Waste of time.

Critical Failures I-IV by Robert Bevan
A series of comedy fantasy novels about a group of douchey nerds that get trapped in a D&D game for realisies. Not an original idea, but still fairly funny, though occasionally gets a bit too juvenile for my tastes.

The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy by Tim Burton
A small collection of Gothic poetry. If you like Tim Burton you'll probably like this (like I do). It's funny, creepy, and nicely illustrated.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
A 'historical' novel about a woman telling her life story from the time she was sold into slavery to an okiya in the late 1920's with the intent of training her to become a geisha. First of all, this book has one rather major flaw. It's stated in the book that it is historically and culturally accurate, but many people who have really been geisha say otherwise, and some parts definitely are wrong. However, if you take the story just at face-value, it's a really interesting novel that makes you very attached to the protagonist, with an intense display of other characters. Just don't let the author fool you into thinking you're learning history as you read.

The Eye of Argon by Jim Theis
A fantasy novella that's considered to be one of the worst fantasy stories ever written. If you like train-wreck fanfiction and the like, you'll probably find a lot of humour in this. It can be painfully funny how bad it is.

A Closed Book by Gilbert Adair
An almost-entirely dialogue based novel about a now-blind author who hires a man to help him write his autobiography. The story is fairly good, but where this shines is in the writing style. It's really well done in a way to simulate the blindness of the protagonist in order to make it sometimes deliberately confusion as to what's going on. You have to rely on the information given in the same way a sightless person would. A neat unique experience.

A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan
A the first book in a series of fictional fantasy autobiographies about a woman who became a natural historian on dragon kind during a time where women were shunned away from the sciences. I absolutely adored this book, partially because dragons, but I find the main character to be a fascinating person, and the story has a lot to offer, from the fictional biology, the social issues, politics etc. A really good read and I'm excited for the rest.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
A historical novel that follows a group of German soldiers during the trench warfare in WWI. Like The Black Obelisk, it's more about telling the setting than a story, and he does it just as well in this novel. A very moving and interesting book.

Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally
A.k.a Schindler's List, is an account of the life of Oskar Schindler, and his role as a German industrialist during WWII who used his position and companionship among the Nazi party to save over 1200 Jews. This book gives a fantastic account of the tale, and really gave a great idea of how the Jewish population was treated during Nazi occupation.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
A satirical black comedy about an air-force squadron based near Italy during WWII. The story follows these soldiers as they deal with sanity clashing with insanity. While the book was hard for me personally to follow, as the narrator seems just as crazy so the writing can get confusing, it was a really enjoyable book, and probably the story that's made me feel the most frustration from empathy.

Lord Loss and Demon Thief by Darren Shan
A series of horror fantasy novels. Lord Loss is about a boy who's immediate family are murdered by demons, and is taken in by his demon-hunting uncle. This honestly isn't a very good book at all. The writing style is really bad with an overuse of short sentences (in fact it reminded me of the writing style of My Immortal at first), the protagonist is the most boring character in the entire book and is cringeworthy, and it's really predictable which isn't helped by the book cover being a spoiler! There are lots of scenes I have problems with that I can't really explain why without spoiling, but one thing I can't abide is that in this universe some people can just 'do' magic without practice. Like be ready for demon killing immediately. That feels kinda like a constant deus ex machina to me.
Demon Thief is a lot better, but not better enough for me personally to consider the rest of the series. The main character is not as boring, but still a bit iffy, and it genuinely has a pretty good ending. So if the general idea of the series interests you, I'd skip certain books.

Izevel, Queen of Darkness by Kate Chamberlayne
A gothic novel about a disturbed Baalite princess who is given away to the King of Israel, and tries to manipulate him into turning his country away from Judaism to Baalism. While the story didn't quite turn out to be what I was expecting, I was thinking it'd be a more neutral tragedy story about Religions clashing due to stubbornness, but it had a bit of a bias towards the Christian side of things, but it doesn't really get too preachy apart from one bit. That being said, it was still an good story, and the titular character was well done and her methods of manipulation were pretty interesting.

Changeling by Steve Feasey
A horror fantasy novel about an orphaned boy taken in by demon hunters after he starts to show signs of lycanthropy. This book is basically what Lord Loss by Darren Shan should've been. It's pretty well written, the protagonist is a much more interesting teenager rather than a stereotype, and while not a wholey original story the collection of colourful characters really make the book. Just don't read the blurb for it, not only is it generic as hell but it's wrong. Whoever the publisher hired to write that bit should probably be fired.

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Paracelsus Offline Properly Horse

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18th May 2016 09:09 PM
Post: #487
Been reading "The Portable Dorothy Parker". Not sure, but I think it has everything she's written in it.

Very delightful poems and short stories, filled with snark, failing romances, social commentary or any combination of three.
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