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 What'cha reading just now ?

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Firebird

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PostSubject: What'cha reading just now ?   Wed 22 Jul 2009, 10:45 am

What are all of you fine book-worms burrowing your diligent faces through at the moment ?

Yesterday, I read this -



This is a beautiful, easy to read big hardback book, with plenty of gorgeous pictures of geisha and the geisha world, following the rise of one young modern geisha apprentice up through the ranks. The focus is very much on big, beautiful pictures, although the accompanying text feels quite adequate to explain the book and each situation.

Amazon link -
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Geishas-Journey-Life-Kyoto-Apprentice/dp/4770030673




The day before yesterday, I read this -


I found this to be a very profoundly touching story, which inspired me to make this topic -
http://vegansrock.getgoo.net/societal-critique-social-psychology-f14/sold-will-child-slaves-ever-be-free-t77.htm
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Firebird

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PostSubject: Re: What'cha reading just now ?   Fri 07 Aug 2009, 9:42 am

I've recently finished reading this book, "Beige", for some light entertainment -



Written for young adults, it's written in an informal and accessible style, with easy to read bite-sized chapters.

Amazon - Beige



So now, I'm onto reading this book - "Quirkology" -



Amazon - Quirkology

It's a book about the quirky side of behavioural psychology, and it's been great fun to read so far.
Smile Just my kind of book !
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emphryio



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PostSubject: Re: What'cha reading just now ?   Wed 12 Aug 2009, 8:17 am

I'm reading:
The Fabric of Reality by David Deutsch. He's a physicist and it's so far a scientific book for laymen. Talking about a theory of everything and ultimately attempts to defend/prove some kind of 'multiverse'. Haven't gotten that far though..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Deutsch

A couple books by RD Laing, who was a big part of the anti-psychiatry movement:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-psychiatry

Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason by Michael Foucault. A hoity-toity pretentious philospher guy but not a totally useless book so far... the parts that are comprehensible anyway.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Foucault

Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland which compiles all the types of irrational thinking. Talks about Milgram's obediance/shock social psychology experiment, the bystander effect, Soloman Asch's conformity line experiment, etc. Also slightly humourous. A pretty good book. Similar to Opening Skinner's Box by Lauren Slater but with a much higher ratio of ideas/words.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuart_Sutherland

Latro in the Mist by Gene Wolfe which is a sci-fi fantasy book about a solider in Ancient Greece who wakes up every day having forgotten the previous day. So every night he writes an extensive account of his day. Which reminds me somewhat of today's blogs. (At least what they could be but finding an honest blog is very difficult.) In exchange for having no memory he is now able to talk to the ancient gods.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Wolfe

Just finished Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy. This was relatively typical fantasy with dragons and that sort of thing. Hobb is a great storyteller. One of the best writers I've read in the last decade.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_hobb

That's all I can recall off the top of my head that I'm currently reading but I'm sure there's others... Smile

Did also just get that one book you mentioned Firebird. Let me see... Mortal Engines.

Sutherland and Hobb impress me the most of this bunch so far.
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Firebird

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PostSubject: Re: What'cha reading just now ?   Mon 28 Sep 2009, 10:09 am

I recently bought, and read, one of Mary Brady's books - "Under the Stairs".
I gather that it's meant for young adults, or older children... with particularly strong, and/or violent themes.



I found it very hard-hitting, with Mary managing to fit a large quantity into the small number of pages.
The text is nice and large (no squinting to peer at tiny type), although publication has been sparse if not non-existent for some time, with Amazon seemingly permanently out of their stocks of the book.... which could be a downside, if rarity means that the book becomes too costly to purchase eventually.

(^-^) There's one positive review for the book there on Amazon, so far, which I think gives a good little write-up :

Quote :
Although this book appears in the Children's Books section, there's no reason why adults won't completely captivated by it - I know I was. Once I'd started reading, I couldn't put it down, laughing and crying all the way through to the end.
The story touches on child and animal abuse, which could be hard for children - and adults - to digest. However, it just as clearly shows the alternatives; a happy, vegan (!) family who lovingly take care of the victims of abuse, while having time for fun and games while they're at it. At the same time it moves like a rollercoaster; fast and moving the story keeps you in its grip up to the very last words. And if that is not enough, facts about animal abuse are cleverly woven into it all. Whether you are a child who likes animals or an adults who likes children, or animals or both, you will be moved by this book. If this doesn't move you, nothing will!!
~ Billy22~

In conclusion, I think that Mary is a very skilled writer, who crafts her stories well and develops interesting characters with realistic and convincing personalities. I feel that "Under the Stairs" has very hard-hitting themes, which many children would probably find quite alarming.
I found the ending very unsettling, and imagine that it must have caused a huge amount of controversy across the vegan interweb in its time.

Amazon Link -
Amazon - Under the Stairs
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emphryio



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PostSubject: Re: What'cha reading just now ?   Mon 28 Sep 2009, 11:51 am

That's the Mary who used to be so much a part of things in the early going at the veganfitness discussion board/community but was then treated like an unperson (and smeared behind her back) by the owners and when she finally took offense they quickly (and probably quite happily while wondering what took so long) banned her. That positive review is almost certainly by another certain member there who like so many eventually left in disgust as the owners slowly drove away the people who believed in treating one another with respect and compassion. Mary's husband died shortly afterwards and she disappeared abruptly from online. I hope she's doing OK. Her email addresses no longer work.

Anyway people doing what they do aside, thank you for mentioning this and the link. It's not available in the US and I had never tried searching amazon.uk. I found a used copy that with shipping is still only 21 dollars.

A book I have read is No Mate For the Magpie which was written by Mary's mom.
http://www.amazon.com/No-Mate-Magpie-Frances-Molloy/dp/0892551054/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254160034&sr=1-1
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Firebird

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PostSubject: Re: What'cha reading just now ?   Sat 03 Oct 2009, 9:23 am

Hey, yesterday I randomly found this article -

'Hostile' doctors and teachers discriminate against vegetarian children, say parents

Source : The Independent
Published on the 2nd of March, 2003

I was looking to see how any half-normal veg*n parents would respond / react if their child were treated in a hostile manner by doctors and/or teachers, due to being vegetarian or vegan.... and this is what I found.

Excerpt :

Quote :
'He's only six, but he handles it well'

Seamus Brough couldn't understand why he was told off by his teacher on a school trip to Asda.

The six-year-old vegan from Wolverhampton was walking past the deli counter when he pointed to a chicken roasting on a spit and explained to his classmates that it was a dead animal.

"Some of the kids started crying and Seamus was
told off by the teacher for upsetting them," explained his mother, Mary Brady.
"He couldn't understand why he had got into trouble just for telling the truth."

Later on the trip, says Ms Brady, Seamus was told "not to be rude" after asking if the doughnut he had been offered was suitable for vegans.

"A lot of people misunderstand veganism, often those in professional positions who should know better," says Ms Brady, 31. "Seamus is only six but he handles it well. If somebody asks him why he doesn't have eggs, he tells them he doesn't want to eat something that has come out of a chicken's bottom."

According to Ms Brady, bringing up Seamus on a vegan diet caused problems from the start.

"When Seamus was 18 months old, a health visitor came round," says Ms Brady. "She kept commenting on how intelligent and well developed he was, until I mentioned that he was vegan. After that, her
attitude changed completely.
She started saying that he looked clumsy in his movements, and that his mental functioning could
be impaired in later life by his diet. "I was so frustrated that a health visitor could be that ignorant."

... and that's where the essay ends Exclamation

Shocked Ugh ! That's really not what they needed, huh ?
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Firebird

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PostSubject: Chucking it all   Sat 03 Oct 2009, 9:59 am



Chucking it all : How Downshifting to a Windswept Scottish Island Did Absolutely Nothing to Improve my Quality of Life

^ Comes complete with publicity review.


I've just finished reading this ridiculous, and thoroughly entertaining book.
Originally, when Max Scratchmann tried to get it published, then it attracted the attention of the shirt-filling local MP. This particular suit-stuffer-with-power promptly wrote to the publishers, and scared them off printing the book - from fear of upsetting the island natives !

So, with renewed vigour it's now been published by Maverick Press - and thus has found it's way into the humour centres of countless off-islanders (and on-islanders with good humour) irreversibly, and with engagingly companionable banter throughout. It's certainly no airy-fairy travel guide, but I rather enjoyed the rough 'n' ready dialogue, and welcomed the easily digestible writing style.
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PostSubject: Re: What'cha reading just now ?   Sat 03 Oct 2009, 2:17 pm

I've kind of strayed off into avoiding telling people I'm vegan. Not outright hiding the fact, but I don't bring it up unless it somehow comes up and I'm asked.

With doctors... can't recall ever being asked. I think I would be very... wary of even telling a doctor that I'm vegan.

Which makes me a horrible vegan activist. Not am I not always properly super happy, but there's this. I'm supposed to make sure everyone knows I'm vegan. I should let the doctor know it first thing when he walks through that door, to show how healthy veganism is! And then just pray the doctor doesn't find out I have cancer or some awful disease. As that would make veganism look bad, if I had cancer you know.

I guess if one's sick they should probably hide their veganism. If healthy, proudly proclaim it. I say this tongue in cheek of course. Just stating a truth that people usually avoid admitting.

Anyway, that last book looks really good. Are you sure it's not written by you, Firebird? Smile

How To Write the Perfect Novel, which the link goes to, also looks good.

I just finished ...crap I don't remember what it's called. A 400 page book and I don't even remember the name... Oh, The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay. Didn't understand what the title had to do with the book, so didn't remember the title. Fantasy fiction book about Vikings. It was a good book. But it took a very long time before the heroes appeared. Also their trials and tribulations weren't sufficiently difficult for my taste. Also didn't hold back stuff, didn't hold back a sense of justice that would keep the reader turning the pages waiting for literary consonance. Not as good as Robin Hobb. Actually hovered on putting it aside many times. But finally the heroes performing heroic actions becomes clear near the end.

Not enough clear bad guys either.

I almost make it sound like it was a less simplistic work as opposed to what is usually dismissed as escapist fantasy. But I can't really say it was less simplistic because actually all the characters seemed very much like caricatures to me. Just mostly not polarized to extreme good and bad, but all mostly a mix of dunderheaded vikingness. (Get drunk, raid, etc.)
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Firebird

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PostSubject: Re: What'cha reading just now ?   Sun 04 Oct 2009, 6:27 am

Quote :
Fantasy fiction book about Vikings. It was a good book. But it took a very long time before the heroes appeared. Also their trials and tribulations weren't sufficiently difficult for my taste. Also didn't hold back stuff, didn't hold back a sense of justice that would keep the reader turning the pages [...] I almost make it sound like it was a less simplistic work as opposed to what is usually dismissed as escapist fantasy. But I can't really say it was less simplistic because actually all the characters seemed very much like caricatures to me. Just mostly not polarized to extreme good and bad, but all mostly a mix of dunderheaded vikingness. (Get drunk, raid, etc.)

I haven't read that book, but your description reminded me of a book which I've read, a few years ago ago.
It was called "Broken Sword", and was written by Poul Anderson.



Promo synopsis -
Quote :
The sword Tyrfing has been broken to prevent it striking at the roots of Yggdrasil, the great tree that binds earth, heaven and hell together . . . but now the mighty sword is needed again to save the elves, who are heavily involved in their war against the trolls, and only Scafloc, a human child kidnapped and raised by the elves, can hope to persuade the mighty ice-giant, Bolverk, to make the sword Thor broke whole again. But things are never easy, and along the way Scafloc must also confront his shadow self, Valgard the changeling, who took his place in the world of men. A superb dark fantasy of the highest, and most Norse, order The Broken Sword is a fantasy masterpiece.

It's not a bad yarn really, but it had really far too much hewing and smiting for my liking.... the women are either trampy or treated badly, and the heroes all behave pretty appallingly a lot of the time... all that vikingly hewing and smiting again, pillaging, ravaging women, etc.... not the best... the story was pretty engaging, though.

My dad recommended it to me, as he thinks it's one of the best books EVER.... but I'm ... ah Wink not quite so enamoured with it. As a dark fantasy story though, it was interesting to read.
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PostSubject: Successful Web Sites in a Week   Sun 04 Oct 2009, 6:39 am



I've just finished reading this spiffy little book, which I managed to pick up very cheaply.
It was only 20p in one of the local library's book sales, which is great !
Smile
With an RRP of £7 for just 75 pages worth of book, it would be very costly to buy at full price.
I would probably never have considered getting it normally.

Quote :
Amazon Product Description -
This manual outlines all the factors which contribute to a successful Web page. These include: defining aims and objectives; assembling site content; choosing a supplier or doing it yourself; and considering short- and long-term Internet strategies.

Amazon : "Successful Web Sites in a Week"

Wink The book isn't going to give people wads of information to cover a massive range of different web-design points, and it certainly won't teach people web-design skills in the first place.

What it does do, and rather well I think, is to provide some structured ideas and plans for business as a web designer, some logical schemas for working, along with nuggets of specifically selected useful information.
It has surprisingly comprehensive coverage of the different factors which go into the production of a web-site, from both the web-design and company perspectives.
To add icing to the cake, the whole thing comes peppered with nice little pictures, to keep the whole thing easy to read and very easy to digest.

Smile I'm reading this as a gentle top-up for my recent "Design & The Web" OU course, and think that this is a decent little book. It's a little outdated in places, but it's easy to spot where, and the book still holds a lot of relevance into modern times.
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Firebird

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PostSubject: Re: What'cha reading just now ?   Sun 04 Oct 2009, 7:29 am

Quote :
I guess if one's sick they should probably hide their veganism. If healthy, proudly proclaim it. I say this tongue in cheek of course. Just stating a truth that people usually avoid admitting.

Shocked O-M-G, you ... didn't... just.... tell The Truth about veganism, did you !?

It really is confounding, though.... peoples' normal everyday general aversion to basic honest truths about life.


Quote :
Anyway, that last book looks really good. Are you sure it's not written by you, Firebird? Smile

Very Happy heh, no....
But it could have been, I guess !?

I've met the author at some parties thrown by two of the people mentioned in the book (they're pretty easy to recognise, if you know them), and apparently impressed him by being able to dance Orkney traditional dances with considerable skill (Traditionally, many orcadian adults just sort of shambolically make their way gropingly through the dances, so i gather Razz)
... Max led a rather good Strip The Willow, which is always enjoyable when people have a bit of co-ordination about them.


Quote :
How To Write the Perfect Novel, which the link goes to, also looks good.

Smile Sure thing, there's also an "Illustration 101" book out by Max.
(Both of the books are advertised in the back if the 'Chucking it All' book, which is a good publicity idea as I'd not heard of either of them before.)

I've ordered both of the books off the internet, so hopefully they will arrive soon !
(^-^)
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PostSubject: Re: What'cha reading just now ?   Sun 04 Oct 2009, 5:15 pm

Just quickly I read a viking fantasy book by Poul Anderson many years ago. I assume it was the one you're referring to. Yes, it was similar. I think Gavriel's might have been a little better. The setting is maybe a little richer but otherwise, very similar. The characters are almost identical. I would maybe like a little more depth in them.
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PostSubject: Re: What'cha reading just now ?   Thu 15 Oct 2009, 7:02 pm

Tell me what you think of How To Write The Perfect Novel, etc. Smile

I read Under The Stairs today. It's very dark yet still kind of uplifting. I liked it.
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PostSubject: Re: What'cha reading just now ?   Fri 30 Oct 2009, 11:43 am

I've just finished reading "My Life in Orange".



Amazon Link : My Life in Orange

This is a child's perspective biography which details a boy's life within the Sanyassin (aka. Rajneesh Movement) religious movement. It's well-written, but difficult to read as it's so sad... and because many of the Sannyasins sound so dangerous and mentally disturbed.


So, while the book was very good, and I'm very glad that I've read it, it's been overall quite a weighty read.
So, to brighten my mood a bit, I've gone on to read some more light-hearted books.

Yestersay, I read "Teach your Granny to text"



Amazon Link : Teach your granny to text


And today, I'm reading "Change the world for a fiver" -



Amazon Link : Chance the world for a fiver


Both books are produced in a beautiful collage format, with lots of nice big pictures all through the books.




Smile I've also just started reading Chancery Stone's bizarre "How to write the perfect novel" book.
It's entertaining, and often downright silly. It's quite amusing so far, with Chancery highlighting the main problems with writing for mainstream audiences by (so far) writing awful (but entertaining) demonstrative fiction for various genres.
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PostSubject: Re: What'cha reading just now ?   Fri 30 Oct 2009, 12:08 pm

Teach your granny how to text to make the world a better place
Written by By Lucy Cockcroft, published on the 20th of September 2008


A group of children have produced a book of tips on how to improve the world, which include teaching grandparents to text, making someone smile and taking dad for a walk.


Source : The Telegraph -
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/3021406/Teach-your-granny-how-to-text-to-make-the-world-a-better-place.html

Teach Your Granny to Text & Other Ways to Change the World, written by children for children, is being sent by the Government to every state school in England.

The book was compiled by We Are What We Do, a social change group, after thousands of young people sent in suggestions in response to a competition.

They were asked to come up with a simple action that, if done by a million people, would change the world.

Competition winner Erica Ritchie said that people should teach their grannies how to text, and her idea forms the centrepiece of the campaign.

The book’s foreword says: “Our job is to bring people together and demonstrate how, using simple, everyday actions, we can create a global movement of doing and changing; doing small actions and changing big problems.”

It tells children: “You have a super power. It’s not as whizzy as X-ray vision or flying. In fact as super powers go it’s pretty ordinary. But if you use it you can change things. Big things like global warming, bullying, animal rights and why people don’t smile any more.”

The book has a strong environmental message, advising that people should wear a jumper to tackle global warming. It also says: “Don’t sing in the shower. The average shower lasts seven minutes and uses 35 litres of water. Actually two minutes is all it takes.

"If everyone in your class took two-minute showers for a year, with the water saved you could fill an entire swimming pool."

Other tips include: give lots of compliments, don’t charge your phone overnight, read with a pal, look more closely at things and find out about your food.
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