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Tags favorite books , recommended books

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Old 19th May 2005, 09:47 PM   #321
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Just finished reading "Never Let Me Go" - Kazuo Ishiguro.

Odd story. It's a bit hard to say too much without spoiling, but I quite enjoyed it. As usual with Ishiguro, it's very understated. Even though he writes in English about English people in English settings, I find his stories very Japanese thematically.

I've read "Remains of the Day" and "When We Were Orphans" and enjoyed them both. Haven't read "The Unconsoled" yet and I keep hearing not-good things about it so I'm not sure.

Now reading "The Island at the Centre of the World". I'm a sucker for that sort of pop-history.

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Old 21st May 2005, 07:51 PM   #322
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Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the Bitter Partnership That Transformed America by Les Standiford.

Gotta love those early industrialists!
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Old 21st May 2005, 08:35 PM   #323
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Everytime I read that somebody wants to learn Greek I have mixed feelings of admiration and horror because Greek is REALLY difficult, no kidding. BUT one of my closest friends who publishes The Classics has developed a methods for people to learn ancient greek. I will have to ask his if it's available in English.

I would LOVE to try his method if it's available anywhere (amazon?). Let me explain, perhaps, why I want to read the original.

I've read the Illiad in Alexander Pope's translation (an 1821 edition... with copper engravings because photography wasn't invented yet...which the library actually let me borrow. Go figure...) and it was wonderful. But it really isn't the ILLIAD--it was Pope's Illiad, which is something else. Then I started to read one of the modern, academic translations--praised by everybody as amazingly accurate--and I trust that it is. But the accuracy destroys the "feel" of the work completely, making it dry-as-dust reading. If I could read the original, I could have the wonderful poetry without losing any meaning.

I read Thucidedes in the prototype. It's the definition of perfection.

Even in English translation, I have to say that his book about the Peneponesian wars hit me right between the eyes.

It's more difficult to read the Tragedies because it's the metre involved but reading Thucidedes or Plato ( Plato is more difficult because he uses a lot of antonyms)in the prototype is a pleasure.

I imagine that the relation is a bit like the relation between the OT original in the King James translation. It is an EXCELLENT translation, from the literary point of view, but still, "The Lord is my shepard, I shall not want"--very beautiful English--does not do justice to Adon'ai Ro'i Lo Echsar...

P.S.

Speaking of the King James translation and that period (and earlier) in England: I had an interesting conversation with one of those wise@$$es in the English department who tried to convince me that Shakespeare's "dead" blank verse--unrhyming iambic pentameter--does not say anything "relevant" since it's "unnatural" to everyday speech.

I shrugged and said, "I'll have the special and a glass of milk."

She staggered back for a minute, and said, victorious, "But if you want to express deep philosophical points, who cares about this sort of thing?"

So I replied, "The world is everything that is the case."

She isn't speaking to me anymore.
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Old 23rd May 2005, 05:40 AM   #324
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The Character of Physical Law by Feynman
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Old 24th May 2005, 06:21 PM   #325
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Currently reading The Demon Haunted World - Carl Sagan
Recently finished The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien for the second time.
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Old 24th May 2005, 09:32 PM   #326
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Just finished Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. Good stuff. Working on something by Michael Chabon next.
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Old 24th May 2005, 09:38 PM   #327
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We are All Fine Here by Mary Guterson ... okay, cute funny in an "I am a screwed up and totally screwed woman" kind of way.
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Old 25th May 2005, 03:24 PM   #328
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Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States.
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Old 1st June 2005, 12:39 PM   #329
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Anon, South Vietnam on the Road to Victory, 1965.

I'm a long-time fan of blatant propaganda so when I saw this one on the lists of an online 2nd hand book store I had to order it. And it was almost just as I expected. The main difference was that I expected it to be a propaganda book where the South Vietnam government explains why they are going to win but it was actually written from the Vietcong viewpoint.

It is mostly a photo book with only small pieces of text in addition of the photo captions. The captions are generally of the form "Place X. Some date. YY planes shot down, and ZZZ US aggressors killed." Just out of curiosity I googled for a couple of place names for the American account, and as you might well have suppposed, those give a rather diffirent picture.

But I have to admit that the anonymous editors of the book have managed to find a couple of very powerful pictures, like one where an American soldier laughs at a Vietnamese corpse. (The caption doesn't hint where and when the photo was taken).

The final part of the book is a series of demonstration photos taken all over the world. The very last one is taken somewhere in Finland (the texts of the signs can be seen clearly). But the caption places it in Switzerland ...
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Old 1st June 2005, 01:52 PM   #330
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Just finished The Orientalist by Reiss. Very intersting book and a good read. Now The Tale of Genji -- an ancient Japanese novel by a lady of the 11th Century imperial court. So far, very good.
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Old 1st June 2005, 08:31 PM   #331
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I just finished The Family Tree by Carole Cadwalladr:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg.../-/0525948422/ ...

It was sweet, funny and fairly sad. It's about a family with secrets, and their effects.

I have just started In the Company of Cheerful Ladies, and No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency novel... which are always good fun:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg.../-/0375422714/
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Old 2nd June 2005, 07:59 AM   #332
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The Structure of the Terror: The example of Javogues and the Loire, by Colin Lucas (1973)

Fascinating analysis of the social, economic, political, and physical geography of the period of anarchical Terror under Javogues in Lyon and the surrounding region.
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Old 22nd July 2005, 04:26 AM   #333
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"The Algebraist" by Ian M. Banks. Superb sc-fi with added humour. Well worth a read.
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Old 22nd July 2005, 05:33 AM   #334
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Just started The Fortress of Solitude, by Johnathan Lethem. Looks like it'll be a good one.
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Old 22nd July 2005, 05:47 AM   #335
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With Lawrence In Arabia, my original ~1920's edition by Lowell Thomas. A bit watermarked, battered and torn when I got, but the pages and photo plates are still in perfect condition.

Reading it again for the shear and blatant propaganda effort, plus Lowell's remarkable effort at brown-nosing and living vicariously.
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Old 22nd July 2005, 05:57 AM   #336
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Well, I was rummaging around at the back of our local bookstore and found this book called Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.......

Anyway, done that (not bad IMHO) and last night finished " A History of God" by Karen Armstrong. A good introduction to the development of the concept of god in the monotheistic faiths and a fairly easy read to boot. (No pictures though )
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Old 22nd July 2005, 09:49 AM   #337
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I recently read Hoot by Carl Hiaasen which was delightful.

After slogging through a couple of dreadfully written academically proper histories of the Buffalo Soldiers, I am now actually enjoying a memoir by a woman who died in 1932. She was the very young daughter of a white officer of the Tenth Cavalry, one of the units of Buffalo Soldiers in the West after the Civil war:
Child of the Fighting Tenth: On the Frontier With the Buffalo Soldiers .
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Old 22nd July 2005, 10:41 AM   #338
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No book at the moment, but the last one I read was, surprise surprise, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
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Old 24th July 2005, 11:14 PM   #339
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It's normal for me to be reading multiple books at once, because it is almost always non-fiction. Unfortunately, I rarely have time to squeeze in fiction reading.

I am reading 3 books now, off and on:
- The Shellcoder's Handbook
- Exploiting Software: How to Break Code
- The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
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Old 25th July 2005, 04:05 AM   #340
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I have just finished reading " The mysterious Flame of Queen Loana", the last book of Umberto Eco.

It's quite a book and far away from Eco's typical mania to demonstrate his knowledge about ...everything. I believe that people in their 50ies who have been in contact with the european pop culture of the 40ies and 50ies will enjoy this book very much. The book is written with sensitivity and this old european sense of humor which I find adorable maybe because I am familiar with it.

Since last month I re-read in English " Justine" the first out of four books of the "Alexandrian Quartet" of Durrel. I was very much captivated by the language. English can be an amazing language sometimes.

I also read for the first time in my life a book of John Le Carre. The style seems more like a case of rather professed elegance but it's very amusing.

I wonder if I must read " The Da Vinci code"...
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Old 25th July 2005, 04:48 AM   #341
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cleopatra

Since last month I re-read in English " Justine" the first out of four books of the "Alexandrian Quartet" of Durrel. I was very much captivated by the language. English can be an amazing language sometimes.
I noticed that his series has been re-released in my country by Penguin Press. Once it was easier to find books by his brother, Gerald Durrell (who had some very amusing early reminiscences of Lawrence), with titles such as the 'My Family and Other Animals' autobiography series. Lawrence Durrell's 'Spirit of Place' was parodied (in title alone) by Gerald Durrell with 'Fillets of Plaice'.

Quote:
Originally posted by Cleopatra
I also read for the first time in my life a book of John Le Carre. The style seems more like a case of rather professed elegance but it's very amusing.
From what I read of your posts... I wonder what you would make of 'The Little Drummer Girl'.......

Quote:
Originally posted by Cleopatra
I wonder if I must read " The Da Vinci code"...
I was probably more fond of The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason or The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Although the hype for both was just as bad. Hype irritates me. But it shouldn't deter finding out for oneself.

Currently reading - Crunch Time: How to live a more ethical and meaningful life without giving up your worldly goods, joining a commune or losing your sense of humour,by Mike Hanley and Adrian Monck.
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Old 25th July 2005, 12:42 PM   #342
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Dictators & Disciples: From Caesar to Stalin, by Gustav Bychowski
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Old 25th July 2005, 01:08 PM   #343
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Quote:
Originally posted by Auden
I noticed that his series has been re-released in my country by Penguin Press.
Yeah I got my " Justine" in a Penguin Press edition.I two old copies in my Library but I cannot take those with me and read them in traffic.

Quote:
Once it was easier to find books by his brother, Gerald Durrell (who had some very amusing early reminiscences of Lawrence), with titles such as the 'My Family and Other Animals' autobiography series. Lawrence Durrell's 'Spirit of Place' was parodied (in title alone) by Gerald Durrell with 'Fillets of Plaice'.
I have no idea of anything you said. Very interesting! I must do some reading. Now the next question. Which camp do you belong to? Durrell or Hemingway? Are you a decadent Mediterannean or a decadent American type?

Quote:
From what I read of your posts... I wonder what you would make of 'The Little Drummer Girl'.......

I have seen the film. There is a scene where the Israeli agent( the role was performed by a Greek actor!) shows his body to Dean Keaton and he describes it as "the Map of Middle East". Many Israelis in real life are like that but mostly of the older generations. Although I don't like tattoos I love the scars from the battle field. This is what I remember from the film
Quote:
I was probably more fond of The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason or The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Although the hype for both was just as bad. Hype irritates me. But it shouldn't deter finding out for oneself.
I have heard a wise man saying that he avoids reading books that they are not 10 years old at least.

Quote:
Currently reading - Crunch Time: How to live a more ethical and meaningful life without giving up your worldly goods, joining a commune or losing your sense of humour,by Mike Hanley and Adrian Monck.
If I ever published the notes I took while I was quitting smoking by using Mercutio's behavioral methods the summary on the cover would sound pretty much the same.
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Old 25th July 2005, 04:52 PM   #344
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Nightmares Of Prominent Men (I think that's the correct title) by Bertrand Russell. Brilliant!
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Old 25th July 2005, 05:31 PM   #345
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Quote:
Originally posted by The Whether Man
I'm halfway through Carl Sagan's Broca's Brain and have just started Francis Wheen's How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered the World. I seem to be getting away from my usual detective thriller fare for something a little more serious.
I'm reading the Wheen book as well. One of those funny/scary books about how newage has infiltrated the government and so forth.
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Old 26th July 2005, 08:47 AM   #346
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An Army at Dawn - The War in North Africa, 1942-1943. The North African campaign is historically overshadowed by the European and Pacific theatres. This book chronicles the coming of age of the U.S. Army in WWII.

ETA written by Rick Atkinson.
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Old 29th July 2005, 02:46 PM   #347
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DisneyWar by James B. Stewart

A VERY informative book about Michael Eisner's rise & fall at the House of the Mouse. Or, as the cover blurb says:

'Once upon a time, one man ruled America's greatest entertainment company. This is the untold story of his triumphs and failures, and the revolt that cost him his kingdom...'


Go down a bit, to see one of Eisner's bigger missteps:
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He had, by way of Harvey & Bob Weinstein (of Miramax, that Disney had bought out), the VERY hard-to-get rights to something that the brothers thought was right up Disney's alley. Eisner told them to forget it, that no one wanted to see 'that kind of stuff at the movies anymore'; that Disney 'didn't make those kind of movies anymore anyway'. So, after much pleading and begging--Eisner wouldn't change his mind one bit--they finally found someone to buy the rights (keeping a percentage intact, so that Disney got about 5% of the gross, with the brothers getting 25% of that "without limitations", which Eisner thought wouldn't be all that much), then told their hand-picked director Peter Jackson to take Lord of the Rings over to New Line Cinema.
Oops.
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Old 29th July 2005, 04:58 PM   #348
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I am reading James Randi's Flim-Flam.
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So just to reiterate, American is now less progressive than South Africa."
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Old 5th August 2005, 06:20 PM   #349
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Mine are all from the Pop-Smart department--

recently finished:
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (about late 19th century serial killer "H. H. Holmes" and the 1893 Chicago World's Fair)

now reading:
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (probably best known for Snow Crash)
Krakatoa by Simon Winchester (about the "biggest volcanic eruption in history")
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Old 5th August 2005, 07:41 PM   #350
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Quote:
Originally posted by chipmunk stew
[BCryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (probably best known for Snow Crash) [/b]
Have your tried Bethke's Headcrash?

Quote:
Krakatoa by Simon Winchester (about the "biggest volcanic eruption in history")
Great book. Read this then went to Volcano National Park on Hawaii. Very interesting to see some of the stuff he talks about for real.
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Old 7th August 2005, 07:10 AM   #351
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Margaret Cho's autobiography, 'I'm The One'.
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Old 7th August 2005, 07:44 AM   #352
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Quote:
Originally posted by GrnMtSkeptic
Have your tried Bethke's Headcrash?
I hadn't heard of it. It looks like it's gotten mixed reviews, but worth checking out. Thanks for the tip.

Quote:
Originally posted by GrnMtSkeptic
eta--re: Krakatoa

Great book. Read this then went to Volcano National Park on Hawaii. Very interesting to see some of the stuff he talks about for real.
I've barely cracked the cover on this one, but it's already good.
One thing bothered me so far, though. He says on p. 15 (of the 2004 Perennial paperback edition) referring to control of the Eastern seas: "The Portuguese from the warm and lazy south were slowly driven out and replaced by doughty Europeans from the cold and more ruthless north."

That this is a gross misconception about the effects of latitude on civilization ought to be evident to an author who has done as much research as Simon Winchester obviously has done. Are his other conclusions & assumptions similarly suspect?
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Old 7th August 2005, 04:14 PM   #353
athon
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Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and Things That Never Happen by M. John Harrison.

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Old 8th August 2005, 01:00 PM   #354
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I am finishing Mark Mozower's Salonica, City of Ghosts : Christians, Muslims and Jews, 1430-1950. It's an exciting book, Skeptic you must read it by all means!

I am also reading a Greek novel. The story takes place in a vinyard on the mountains where a young man creates the wine that carries the tastes, sounds,smels, touches of the things he loves in his life. It reminds me of " The Perfume" by Patrick Suskind in that. Nice story, not a masterpiece but a good reading for the beach.
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Old 10th August 2005, 06:00 PM   #355
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Reading

UNCLE TUNGSTEN: MEMORIES OF A CHEMICAL BOYHOOD
by Oliver Sacks, neurologist and author of AWAKENINGS and THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT. It is a memoir. He's that rare thing, a scientist who can write lyrically and well.

UNCLE TUNGSTEN is wonderful. I recommend it.
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Old 10th August 2005, 07:12 PM   #356
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I'm currently reading Kafka's Amerika. You get a laugh at his grossly inaccurate descriptions of famous American monuments—he describes the Statue of Liberty as having a sword—but hey, you're really interested in the characters and how the inner facets of their psyches slowly and naturally unfurl when seen through the prismatic narratives the great master weaves.
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Old 11th August 2005, 12:49 PM   #357
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Just finished The Coffee Trader by David Liss. It's about Portuguese Jews in Amsterdam in the 17th century and the nascent coffee trade on European commodities markets. A ripping good tale from a somewhat pedestrian word stylist.

Started Linked by Alert-László Barabási this morning. I'll report back.
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Old 11th August 2005, 01:36 PM   #358
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The Catcher in the Rye

Boy, I'm right in the middle of the and it makes me kind of depressed. It really does. I don't like it much. I really don't.



Salinger-esque posting aside, I'm going to start (or find) a related thread because I simply do not understand why this book is so "important". I won't be checking back here until I'm done with it, to avoid spoilers.
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Old 11th August 2005, 01:45 PM   #359
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M. John Harrison's "Running Down"

Athon, et al,

I love M. John Harrison's THINGS THAT NEVER HAPPEN. I especially love "Running Down." I've read that story twenty times or more. I originally found it in an anthology of weird fiction edited by Thomas Disch. It had a different beginning back then, though. It started off telegraphing the earth-shaking ending.
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Old 11th August 2005, 03:46 PM   #360
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I am finishing Mark Mozower's Salonica, City of Ghosts : Christians, Muslims and Jews, 1430-1950. It's an exciting book, Skeptic you must read it by all means!

Heard about it. It's on my list.

As for my Greek, well--I am only starting, but I am absolutely AMAZED at how much Hebrew--and I don't mean contemporary Hebrew, I mean "good", Talmudic Hebrew--is really Greek. OK, so I knew or guessed that (for instance) Te'atron (theatre) or Itz'tadyon (stadium) are Greek, but doron (present)?! Me'chora (homeland, which at least seems to come from chora--country)?!?!

Cleo will understand me, but to the non-Hebrew speaking crowd, the first two words "feel" Greek, while the latter two "feel" like "pure" OT Hebrew, and I am very surprised that they aren't. Apparently there is a lot more Greek in Hebrew than I suspected.

I am also reading a Greek novel. The story takes place in a vinyard on the mountains

A mountain vinyard in Greece?! NO WAY!
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