What are you reading?


What are you currently reading?  

41 members have voted

  1. 1.

    • Rand's Fiction (Atlas, Fountainhead, etc.)
      2
    • Rand's Nonfiction (Capitalism, ITOE, etc.)
      2
    • Something about Rand or Objectivism
      4
    • Nathaniel Branden
      1
    • Unrelated Fiction
      11
    • Unrelated Nonfiction
      21
    • Not reading anything
      0


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Rich-

Give me a little more about what you are saying regarding looking at Eliot in the context of the Romantics. If you are saying that The Wastelands, and other poems were almost deliberately anti-romatic, then I agree. He was heavily influenced by Laforgue and the French symbolists, and in the specific case of The Wastelands, yeilded almost all poetic license to that wack-job fascist, Ezra Pound.

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Jody, I'm truly delighted by your reaction to my book. Thank you for posting them. And you named the aspect that was most central for me: the "show, don't tell" aspect. When I was beginning to plan the book, I realized immediately how dramatic was the life of Ayn Rand, and I thought: "It's like a novel." This thought inspired me enormously, since I have always loved the novel form. I decided then and there that I would write the book as if it were a novel -- that is, show the beginning, the middle, the denoument, the epilogue, etc, and as best I could, show what her life was rather than tell or explain it.

It's a great pleasure to be visible, Jody.

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Barbara,

I can't formulate it so eloquently as Jody does (and I won't try), but I want also to say that I found your book wonderful. I've reread it many times. Lately I've seen many hysterical attacks by unsavoury types on you and your book that are completely unwarranted. Oh well, I don't have to tell you what these are worth. I just want to say: [looking for a thumbs up emoticon, but I can't find it, so you'll have to imagine it... Perhaps you'll accept a violin solo as a homage? :-({|= ]

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  • 1 month later...

I just sent in a 'review' of this novel, and found it apparently disappeared into cyberspace.

This is a test to see what 'button' I neglected to 'click' accurately

F&*#@#$((%&&(&)#()@^#)

THIS one came through with no prob. This took 20 secs to type. The other took 1-1/2 hrs!

F&*#@#&(&$@(&(#&($()p@!!!!!!!

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I just finished re-reading "the Romantic Manifesto"... afterwards I feel really stupid for just about any complaint I've ever made about her aesthetic theory. I can't blame her for her poor immitators.

Just started re-reading comics and sequential art by Will Eisner.

I might have to finish my last "research" book for "Naked Souls," Green River Running Red by Ann Rule. This to my knowledge is the second book she worked on where she had personally met the subject. Her first major book "the stranger beside me" about Ted Bundy covers the friendship she built with the man while they worked (of all place) at a suicide hotline together. It also covers how the relationship deteroriated as she came closer to discovering his guilt. Her interaction with Green River was more limited (he was a fan who attended book signings and met her at the supermarket a few times).

One thing I always love about her style is she always works very hard to humanize the victims. Many authors tend to simply treat the victims as fodder and delve too deeply into, what are basically just men with self-esteem issues. Rule strikes a good balance and never lets you forget that each victim was a living breathing person who has a family, friends, and lovers who miss them dearly who didn't deserve to die.

Also on our gracious host's reccomendation I've picked up "20 master plots and how to build them" and I've found it a highly interesting read. and I'm looking forward to some futher discussion on it.

---Landon

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Well, what happened to me before...happened AGAIN!

Is there any point to having the 'PREVIEW' button?

I spend mucho time thinking and typing, hit the damn 'PREVIEW' button, and all of it just disappears!!!!!

Jezus #@*#&@(*(*(#%%&%^%%!@!

The 'PREVIEW' button should be skipped (as I'm going to do now) and one should ONLY click on 'SUBMIT', correct?

JEEXY)(&^%*$#&$(^(_(+*)+*_))(*_&^&%($#*&*)

J-D

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John,

I do apologize. Our little software package has some limitations. Once in a while that will happen to me, then I use the browser's back button and it all comes back. Then I have to hit "Preview" once again before it will accept "Submit."

Hopefully, after some time, we will hire a geek and do this thing mighty righteously. Until then, please bear with us.

As a suggestion, maybe when you see a post growing, it would be a good idea to copy it to a Word file and save it in a folder called "garbage" or something. Then just copy and paste when you are done. If there is some posting problem, you will not lose your work.

The only inconvenient aspect of doing it that way is that you have to redo all the formatting like italics and bold after you paste.

(Sigh... How I long for a perfect world...)

Michael

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As a suggestion, maybe when you see a post growing, it would be a good idea to copy it to a Word file and save it in a folder called "garbage" or something. Then just copy and paste when you are done. If there is some posting problem, you will not lose your work.

The only inconvenient aspect of doing it that way is that you have to redo all the formatting like italics and bold after you paste.

Not at all, all the formatting is also saved, I just tested it to be sure. And I think this "little software package" is excellent, it looks good and I find this site easier to use than RoR (where I have to type all the formatting codes myself), let alone the incomprehensible and chaotic Solo interface. It's easier to insert pictures and links than on other sites. So please spare me some bloatware with 10 zillion features which I wouldn't use anyway.

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(98-I will not click on 'Preview', 99-I will not click on 'Preview', 100-I will not click on 'Preview')

Thanx Mike.

I had done what you said...both times...but, kept getting the 'Log In' box and 'back/fwd' did nothing to bring back the attempted post. :-&

I do find the listed 'options' re format, etc good; no complaints there. But then, my taste runs to as many options/bells-whistles anyway in things for me to make varied choices for me; to each their own taste for all to discover their own preferred choices, I say.

I do plan on trying this review again when I get the time, since I think this IS a recent, worthwhile and little noticed book. :D

101-I will not click on 'Preview', 102.... [-o<

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  • 3 weeks later...

~~ Ok; for what it's worth...here it is (the 3rd ****in' time!)

~~ (Hey: I have to consider it a worthwhile book to attempt this again after 2 cyber-space losses! I needed this time-lapse to get the energy to do again.)

~~ Strictly speaking, it's not really *my* type of book. I'd've never picked it off the shelf, really. It was a present from one who became aware that I've been more-or-less interested in Ancient History, History Channel-wise and movie-wise (Spartacus, Troy, Gladiator, etc). So, no: the title's not a metaphor. We're talking 'historical novel'. However, even if you have no interest in A-H, if you like a good (and pithy) novel, this is more than a 'kill-time' story. I really thanked the giver. I'd've missed a GREAT book.

~~ Yes, it's background is ancient Sparta, centering (literally!) around the famous Battle at Thermopylae; the battle's over just before the center of the book! It's actual story, however, is about 2 brothers...and the love of one of them.

~~ For those not familiar with Sparta-of-Then, Sparta was a military (think Klingon) oriented community which allowed itself to be hired out to varied other Graecian communities for one 'war' or another, though this is NOT why it existed as military, nor did it need to be mercenary. Originally it was a smaller, earlier local 'city-state' adjacent to Helots. They had a turf war and foreverafter Sparta ruled the Helots who were thence no more than a 'class' used as servants, shephards, farmers, etc. Helots were 'slave's in a feudal sense; there was no trading of them. They lived and died with/by their specific Spartan masters. Both living as such made 'Sparta' self-sufficient. Its military-orientedness had most to do with keeping the 'Spartans' prepared for any uprising by the Helots, hence, Sparta, whatever its forays in foreign battles, was always leery of leaving too little of it's warriors behind at home. It seems there was rarely any actual threat of revolt, but always an awareness of it. Historically, it seems that Thermopylae triggered a big change for Sparta in it's society and politics (2 kings: 1 for peace, 1 for 'war'). It was on the threshold for such anyway with its lack of methods for replacing Spartans lost in battles. This is clearly reflected in the novel.

~~ And THAT's just the background!

~~ The story's about 2 brothers, both Spartans, but 1, the older, was born with an obviously lame foot. Not a 'worthwhile' Spartan (ALL of whom are raised to be WARRIORS), hence, left, as a bona-fide infant, on a stormy mountainside for 'the gods' to take care of. The later other one raised as expected (and, talk about 'tough-love raising'!)

~~ The remorsedly-by-the-father abandoned one is discovered on the same (dare I say 'dark and stormy'?) night by a local aged Helot farmer, taken in, and raised by he and his daughter. This Helot has some secrets from Helot history about King Aristodemus, that he teaches, while raising, young Talos (the Wolf)...including fighting skills Helots once had, but, as in Oriental history, were no longer allowed to practice.

~~ Talos, in growing, meets a nearby Helot farmer's, uh, daughter, Antinea, and...well, there's the Romeo and Juliet angle for ya. Indeed, his 1st real meeting of her is when some soldier boys attempt to rape her (boys will be boys, ya know) when they find her as they're on their soldierly way to some official gathering. It's therefore also when he meets his unbeknownst Spartan brother, Brithos, neither recognizing each other nor even knowing they each have a sibling.

~~ Akin to Ben-Hur, Talos finds himself at Fate's fingertips as the story develops, being accepted into 'Spartan' society, and approaching a way to bring peace (of sorts) between the Helots and the Spartans. He works (now with a 'Spartan' name of Kleidemos) with his later-identified brother alongside King Leonidas (of the famous '300 Spartans') against the Persian onslaught led by Xerxes. There is a historic 'side-legend' about the 300; there were 2 survivors. Here, guess who? The fascinating plot-part is: why THEM? Anyhoo, regarded as cowards, they do a 'Dynamic Duo' phase against Xerxes occupiers (for reasons you HAVE to read the book to understand, hence accept the very idea of), and later, Talos works with the present King Pausanias to ally with the new Persian ruler Artabazus as a way to preserve the best of Sparta from its own internal problems of stagnation. --- Betrayal here? Or...?

~~ Then, there's Antinea...I'll just say this: Unlike R&J, they don't both die...but they do meet again.

~~ Actually, with this story-synopsis, I really haven't touched 1/2 of what the book really encompasses. Mucho labyrinthine intrigues, agendas, not even identified much less understood 'till later, of several 'rulers'...and 'slaves'...abound; then there's the Oracles' prophecies and riddles that seem to be part and parcel of once-heard-ergo-self-fulfilling. Where 'volition'-vs-'influence' relates to decision-making makes definitely for a thought-provoking puzzle in understanding the author's intentions here.

~~ Oh, yes: the author. Dr. Valerio Massimo Manfredi "...is an Italian historian, journalist, and archaeologist. He is the Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Bocconi, and a familiar face on European television. He has published nine novels, including the bestselling Alexander trilogy." --- I'd guess he knows whereof he...novelizes.

~~ Addendum: IF you get this, it has an 'Authors Note' in the back of the book. It should have been a 'Forward'. Read it 1st!

(Please, O Bounteous-Mammaried Ishtar, let this get through this time [i will not click 'Preview']) [-o<

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John,

This reply was so cute from the thread I deleted that I decided to preserve it here.

You're one funny dude when you get rolling...

(More on your post about the book later - it sounds like a winner.)

Michael

Hot Diggity...

...Daw-w-w-gg!

~~ It worked! :P  

~~ Thanx Mike. Hey, you're getting pretty good at the 'ins-and-outs' of this stuff. =D>  

~~ Yeah, go ahead and delete this whole thread. It's redundant now, no? No point uselessly taking up server space. %?  

~~ Hope you get around to the book...when ya got time. :roll: I obviously was impressed, and I'm not a real 'history-buff', especially re novels.

~~ (No...I did NOT dare  :evil: click 'Preview'. I now have a visual-'block' of that button...wherever it is. :evil:  :evil: )

LLAP

J:D

P.S: Keep on truckin' re your controversied perspectives...if ya know what I mean; just try to not get waylayed by emoted disagreers into losing focus on your original points.  :|

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I recently completed reading 'They Made America" by Harold Evans, a history of great innovaters in American History. He isn't an Objectivist, in fact he seems to like FDR, but every page almost cries out "look at what these guys and gals had to fight against". Besides the people you are familiar with, there are dozens of people who you've never heard of whose story is fascinating, like an Ayn Rand novel. My favorite was Firestone; i always thought he mixed rubber and sulphur more or less by accident and stumbled upon the idea of usuable rubber products, but he was truly driven.

This book I believe was a PBS series, which I missed.

P.S. Farnsworth (television) looks just like my imagined image of John Galt!

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  • 3 weeks later...

My reading is limited to mainly at night, but I guess it would be correct to say it was all at the same time although the most time is spent concentrating on OPAR, I find that it's best if I don't try to overload myself on the ideas presented in it and so I switch back and forth among the other books when I felt I have read enough for one night in OPAR.

Probably kind of strange, but then you have to consider the source. :D

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Currently...The Collected Poems of John Ciardi, The Genius of Science by Abraham Pais, and The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

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P.S. I heartily concur with your comments on Rand's opinions on music, and I will simply add this philosophical footnote: arrrrrgh!   :?

Thank you for that, sir. Though I dearly love the woman's philosophy and sense of life, I've always been dismayed at her personal judgements of esthetics. She condemned Asian music due to its being based on a scale of notes different from the West's, and at the same time valued tap dancing as an art form. Well, among other works, Yo Yo Mah's "Japanese Melodies" continues to be one of my all-time favourites. I'm also a big fan of Vivaldi and Mahler, and see no contradiction in enjoying all of them with one mind.

As for Rand's artistic tastes, I attribute it to, "There's only so much you can do in a lifetime." She chose to concentrate her efforts on other things, to our lasting benefit. You take the good with the not so good.

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Concurrently:

ITOE -- On chapter 4 or 5. I'm having a hell of time with this one because it deals directly with my field concerning cognition and consciousness. I don't mind too much that she doesn't cite specific sources as that is not required for a non peer-reviewed book, but I feel the same way about this book the same way I'd feel about reading a pop science book called "Biology in 10 Chapters". At the same time, I want to scream out "evidence please!" once in a while.

The Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning, ed. Holyoak & Morrison. Read next to ITOE it adds some background information. Rand did get the sense perception and conceptualization right (so far) in that one needs perception to make concepts. However, in the adult, perception and conceptualization are blended and occur concurrently; concept blending occurs, as well as concepts can be mapped in networks, as well as concept-forming can be unconscious or conscious.

Also, differences in languages do add differences in thought process-- which includes concept-formation. The act of concept-formation is universal, but the *way* of doing so might not be.

Introductory Readings in Philosophy of Science, ed. by Klemke, Hollinger, Rudge, Kline. Exactly what it is--- a bunch of philosophers who discuss philosophical implications of science. Sometimes aggravating, sometimes not.

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! and The Pleasure of Finding Things Out. This is for when I want to relax and laugh and rediscover the devil in me.

Bully for Brontosaurus and I Have Landed by Stephen Jay Gould. He's one of my role models, like Feynman. This guy has so much insight and wisdom, and he is one of the most self-aware and knowledgeable people in recent history in terms of history of biology, Latin, and evolutionary biology. I think this guy knows every single word that he types and he plants them with purpose. He also loves to play with language.

Consciousness and Language, by John Searle. This guy rocks for me because he is a philosopher that is very respectful of reality, which means to be respectful of the evidence from neuroscience and what it means for Philosophy of Mind studies.

The Origins of Order: Self-organization and Selection in Evolution by Stuart Kauffman. Just started this one, and this textbook deals with how biological forms exhibit order, how that order is formed, and how evolution plays a role.

The Scientific American Book of the Brain. Contains articles from SciAm about research done on the brain.

The Mind's I by Dennett and Hofstadter. A playful look into the mind that makes me become more self-aware of my own mental processes.

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  • 2 months later...

A few books I've read I can recommend, and be warned, most of them are historical:

STALIN by Edvard Radzinsky. A more damning indictment of the man who cast such a shadow over the young Ayn Rand, I can hardly imagine. From time to time, I stopped and kept thinking of Atlas. But the book deserves mention for its own merits.

One of Radzinksy's key points is, contrary to what we were taught in school, Hitler was not necessarily crazy to invade Russia while trying to conquer England. No, I'm not defending Hitler: I'm only saying that Stalin was making the moves to invade Germany, which meant Hitler in this case had no choice.

(How might the history of the world be different had that been known during World War II?)

GULAG by Anne Appelbaum. Again of specific interest to readers of Atlas. Appelbaum begins by questioning why it is that most Americans detest Hitler's crimes, but don't have the same contempt for Stalin's crimes?

More will be added when I get some more sleep.

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This is in reference to Jordan's post. I do have read Gulag and thought it was very good. In the same spirit you might want to look at Red Star over Hollywood and Robert Mayhew's book about Ayn Rand's HUAC testimony. The influence of Communism in the US is almost completely unknown to people today and these books help expose it.

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  • 1 month later...
This is in reference to Jordan's post. I do have read Gulag and thought it was very good. In the same spirit you might want to look at Red Star over Hollywood and Robert Mayhew's book about Ayn Rand's HUAC testimony. The influence of Communism in the US is almost completely unknown to people today and these books help expose it.

I've read about 3 scientists in the pre-WWII era, and I'm now interested in why people would want to pick up communism. Well, the pattern is this: people did it as a reaction against the Nazis. In response to the totalitarian regime of one individual dictating life or death over all, one reaction was to support equality among the people. Originally, for most people, it is a naive move-- because most people don't think through ideas on their own and tend to follow. I call these people pseudo-communists, those who were dazzled by its positives and naive about its dangers because they weren't thinking of communism per se, but its seeming opposite: Nazism, fascism, etc. and just trying not to "be like that". That is, until people started to know how dangerous communism can be later on via a dangerous application of it when they saw USSR, Vietnam, and China. Thinking of history in terms of action-reaction really lays bare how extremists are so similar, & how people can act when they're uninformed, naive, innocent, thoughtless, yet extreme in their reactions. Hence, reactionaries.

I don't think ideas are dangerous until they are applied dangerously-- either via psychopathy, naivete, ignorance, or irresponsibility. An idea doesn't apply itself-- it needs people to apply it. One can dangerously apply an idea in an ignorant manner and cause distress and destruction. One can also apply an idea with full knowledge of intentions, like Hitler. An idea may not have much power if it's ignored, but if you don't know about it, how can you be sure you're not applying it accidentally? Also, to know the ins and outs of an idea, and to consciously not apply it because you can see the dangers, causes it to have no power.

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