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comment by veen

I started reading fiction again! But first, the non-fiction I read since the last thread:

Orientalism: rarely do you see someone successfully smackdown a field of "science" like this. While it feels like it is written for snobs with frequent and unabashed French and Latin paragraphs, it is a comprehensive account of the roots of academic and institutionalised racism. I think this is the kind of book that I need to reread a few years down the line.

Fire and Fury: read it for the hype. It's what I expected: a soap opera style story of the current White House. If the Russia investigation is Stupid Watergate, this reads like Stupid West Wing.

Who Owns the Future: how do we use technology to stop the middle class from eroding? An interesting question that, if I remember correctly, Jaron Lanier doesn't really answer but spends a lot of pages twisting and turning around. With slightly more modern eyes I'm tempted to shout 'blockchain!' at the problems he outlines, but I don't think it'll be enough, really.

12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson. No, I did not read this because of the lobster thing, mostly because I didn't even know that was a thing until today. I did find that a weird and unconvincing part, but that doesn't really matter in the context of the book itself. It reads, and should be read, entirely as a long Sunday sermon buy a pastor who goes on unscientific tangents every now and then. Meaning, science and I disagree with most of what he says, but there are pieces of advice in there that are just what some people need at some moment in their life, which is what redeems it. I would not recommend the book, but might send some passages to people some day.

I've been meaning to read more fiction ('more' as in 'more than zero') for a long time. Recently, a few discussions on here and a handful of scifi-related movies and videos led me to pick scifi as my focus and pester kleinbl00 with dumb questions. I'm on my fifth book now and I don't regret reading any of them yet.

Earth Abides by George R. Stewart. The audiobook had an introduction by another author (whose name I forget right now), but she remarked that Earth Abides is the kind of book that is so memorable that it is hard to even forget about it. Having read it two months ago, I quite agree. It starts off fantastic as rd mentions and is a great book that foreshadows the plot of every disaster movie you can think of. My only beef with it is that I found the characterization to be a bit flat, but the fact that I will probably recommend this book that is almost three times as old as I am is a testament to how well it has held up. It was probably groundbreaking at the time, especially its ideas about what we now call sustainability. I honestly wonder if the book has had an influence on, say, the Club of Rome.

Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold. Interesting premise, but too much dialogue for too many uninteresting characters.

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. A good book that is about war on the surface, but is much more about society and one's place in it. I wonder to what degree Haldeman has put himself into the main character, especially regarding the protagonist's disillusionment and stubbornness to change. Decent book, although I wouldn't plaster it with superlatives.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Primary & Secondary Phase (BBC Radio Series). I absolutely loved reading the Guide when I was 14. It was the funniest book I've ever read back then, so when I heard that the original hearplay was on Audible I didn't hesitate. I personally loved listening to it, and I still think it's hilarious. Adams' absurdism is just my kind of humour, I think.

Currently, I'm about two thirds into William Gibson's The Difference Engine, aka steampunk's Citizen Kane. It did not start off strong in my opinion; it isn't really clear what the plot exactly is first few chapters, but after the second protagonist was introduced and the point of view changed, the plot started to gather momentum and I've been liking it since. (Except, maybe, for the sex scenes. No 1850's Shade of Grey for me, thanks.) Gibson's writing style is really great; I love how he manages to paint such vivid pictures.




btcprox  ·  263 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Ooh boy, I've had to read a little bit of Orientalism a while back for a brief university module that I took up, an introduction into a few of Japan's cultural archetypes. I might go for a full read some time in the future.

Even now you could point out traces of cultural influence from the Orientalism paradigm, still persisting in Western media.