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Paracelsus Offline
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Post: #976
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
By the Sword, Richard Cohen

[Image: bythesword.jpg]

Absolutely remarkable nonfiction history of duelling in all its forms, including up to the modern age of fencing. You'd be surprised who duelled, in history, who actually had skin in the game of honour. Strongly recommended.

Two notable trivia I learned from this book:

(1) Bob Anderson, the guy who choreographed the Star Wars films, was not just some stuntman. He was a British Olympian fencer and had been choreographing films since 1953. The man was an astonishing artist.

(2) I was wrong and feel ashamed of ever having pejoratively saying that someone 'died in harness' as though they were some horse who dropped dead while toiling its way ahead of a plough in a field.

"Harness" was the old, historical name for armour. The phrase 'suit of armor' did not exist until the 16-1700s. To say a man died in harness was to say that he died in his armour, that he died like a faithful soldier on the battlefield and not in his bed. That's what the origin of the phrase "died in harness" actually is.

Remissas, discite, vivet.
God save us from people who mean well. -storm
(This post was last modified: 12-08-2018 08:54 AM by Paracelsus.)
12-08-2018 08:53 AM
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Post: #977
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
(12-08-2018 08:53 AM)Paracelsus Wrote:  "Harness" was the old, historical name for armour. The phrase 'suit of armor' did not exist until the 16-1700s. To say a man died in harness was to say that he died in his armour, that he died like a faithful soldier on the battlefield and not in his bed. That's what the origin of the phrase "died in harness" actually is.

In the States we use a similar term from the old west cowboy days: "He died with his boots on."

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12-09-2018 07:42 AM
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Post: #978
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Paracelsus that book sounds awesome. More historical nonfiction recs please Biggrin

Just finished Max Hastings' massive WW2 book Inferno. Very readable and detailed, even though Hastings gets a bad rep among historians (not sure why).
12-09-2018 07:51 AM
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Post: #979
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Birdsong-Sebast...0099387913

https://www.amazon.com/Birdsong-Novel-Lo...0679776818

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birdsong_(novel)

A couple of thoughts:

-Stephen Wraysford is not an everyman character and can be difficult to like. Personally I only found myself warming to him at the end of the novel where his daughter Francoise recalls his life after the war;

-The passage dealing with the end of the war for Wraysford seems a little far-fetched; a man who has been seriously injured manages to survive trapped underground for several days with no water, food or medical supplies and nearly succeeds in escaping by himself. It doesn't detract from the story though.

Overall, Birdsong is one of the best novels I have ever read. My favourite war book remains Quartered Safe out Here by George MacDonald Fraser, purely because it is a true historical account of the author's time in Burma during World War II. However, this is the best work of fiction about war I have read for some time.

PS Quartered Safe out Here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quartered_Safe_Out_Here

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Quartered-Safe-...0007105932

https://www.amazon.com/Quartered-Safe-Ou...1629142034

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12-13-2018 05:34 PM
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Post: #980
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Down and Out in Paris and London - George Orwell

I loved half of this book. The first part, when George Orwell is broke, living in Paris, and working in various restaurants was an absolute joy to read. I've spent a lot of time working in the hospitality industry so I could really relate to a lot of it.

Then in the second half of the book, he moves back to London and starts living in workhouses & hanging out with homeless people. This is where he started to loose me. I guess I just couldn't relate to these chapters like I could the earlier ones. Also, I've always found cockney dialogue a bit though to follow.

All up I still think this is a good book. It's not quite on par with 1984 or Animal Farm, but it's not far off either.
(This post was last modified: 12-20-2018 03:23 AM by Bizet.)
12-20-2018 03:22 AM
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Post: #981
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Just finished The Apology, Crito, and The Republic by Plato. Oldies but goodies.

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12-20-2018 01:58 PM
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Post: #982
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Finished The Bonehunters by Steven Eriksson

We all fall short until the entire world is redeemed
12-20-2018 02:05 PM
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Paracelsus Offline
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Post: #983
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Discourses and Selected Writings, Epictetus

[Image: 4143812.jpg]

Read this.

I could never really get into Marcus Aurelius' Meditations. This book - the Discourses at least, which are summed up and distilled in the Enchiridon, which is also in this volume - is a wonderful read, accessible in a beautifully grounded way.

I can see why the early Christian Church often melded Stoicism onto Christianity; the two complement each other almost perfectly. Epictetus, a former slave later freed and latest a Roman philosopher, refutes both moral relativism and the idiocy of Epicureanism, it provides balms to any poor bastard in our current age of foolishness; even current Rational-Emotional Behaviour Therapy is heavily drawn from it. This is the most relatable of the classics that I've ever read, and it's still tremendously applicable. No wonder people like Jane Zuckerberg fear the return of Stoic philosophy to Western thought or Western mindset, it's a pretty damn good treatment if not a cure for many of our current psychological afflictions, and in particular a damn good shot in the arm against narcissism - because it relentlessly tells you that people have their own lives, but that an objective standard exists and it is wise to seek it out and align one's life to it.

Magnificent work. Read this.

Remissas, discite, vivet.
God save us from people who mean well. -storm
(This post was last modified: 12-28-2018 11:12 AM by Paracelsus.)
12-28-2018 11:12 AM
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Post: #984
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
[Image: 41AUFkaN0%2BL._SY346_.jpg]

Everything Kafka wrote is almost 100% allegory. And it can take some work to decipher what the allegory is telling you. Or maybe I'm just dense. But IMO, it was worth it. You don't have to read everything he's written. His two most famous stories, In the Penal Colony and Metamorphosis are his most famous for good reason. They are also the two that I remember best, so theyr'e the ones that I will recommend. Overall his writing is very detached, that is, I felt very detached while reading, as if I was watching ants in a colony. Metamorphosis is a tad bit more heavy-handed in its theme. It's about exactly what the title says. The main character is Gregor. But the people around him are the focus. In the Penal Colony is easily one of his more layered stories. The theme of that story is that brutality is an inescapable component of society, and that social morality is not static, but tidal.

[Image: 41V1P79D9eL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg]
Quote:Men have been conditioned by women, not unlike the way Pavlov conditioned his dogs, into becoming their slaves.

Written by an early feminist. A tremendously accurate description of sexual roles in Western society. She caught a lot of heat for this one when it was published.
12-28-2018 12:10 PM
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Heuristics Offline
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Post: #985
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
[Image: 9780061730412_custom-4f7e94dc381afafc214...s6-c30.jpg]

Brand's first autobiography covers everything from his sex addiction, being a crack and heroin addict, to moving up through show-biz. Unusually for an entertainer, Brand possesses remarkable self-awareness not to mention intelligence and a strong independent streak. The length that he goes to get poon make this an entertaining read, yet it is much more than a book about drunken sexual conquests, it is a book about conquering the baser instincts and becoming a stronger person because of it. The guy is a good writer--don't know if he had a ghostwriter-- possesses some incredible charisma that should be studied (in fact he's probably up there with Steve Jobs, Johnny Carson, or someone of that caliber), and has some good insights even though I don't agree with him politically.
(This post was last modified: 12-28-2018 12:33 PM by Heuristics.)
12-28-2018 12:31 PM
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Post: #986
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
[Image: 51f1FIdR66L.jpg]

Good book. Explains a lot about race-baiting in the US media.
12-28-2018 03:33 PM
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Post: #987
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Caesar (Let the Dice Fly!), Colleen McCullough

[Image: 9ea55e15a182d360a7a9c193c9516eb4.jpg]

Historical fiction, but it's really well done. First female author I've met who manages not to make men sound like pussies when they're talking. Caesar is a legitimate fucking badass. Best general who ever lived. And here's one they don't often tell you: brother was blonde and blue-eyed.

"Let the Dice Fly" is the correct translation of what Caesar said before he crossed the Rubicon to rebel against the Roman government. The common mistranslation is "The Die Are Cast", Alea Jacta Est, which is much more doom-laden and fatalistic - things that Caesar was not. Recommend this one, which is part of a series, but you can jump right in here and shit makes sense.

And after that:

American Sniper, Chris Kyle

[Image: th?id=OIP._5xENSF_Cg9YzcAaLXdgpAHaLK&...mp;pid=1.7]

Superb.

So many thoughts on this one, but the main one is that if you want a picture of American resolve at its strongest, combined with inability to see the strings that everyone is dangled on, read this book.

Remissas, discite, vivet.
God save us from people who mean well. -storm
01-22-2019 06:17 AM
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Post: #988
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
The Razor's Edge by William Somerset Maugham. I normally don't read fiction. My girlfriend bought me this for my birthday. Its a short 400 pages but I finished it in 1 week. I couldn't put it down. Maugham is the best writer I've read in a very long time. The way it's structured and how he manages to tell the story is masterful. It's opened my eyes to the power of good novel. I will definitely by looking for more fiction instead of exclusively non-fiction.
01-22-2019 06:36 AM
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Post: #989
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Lying by Sam Hariss,

Short read (1-2 hours)

Definitely recommended.

We all fall short until the entire world is redeemed
01-22-2019 12:20 PM
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Paracelsus Offline
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Post: #990
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
The Legend of Deathwalker, David Gemmell

[Image: th?id=OIP.IA3vKxAzbO5H7QLT-_FToQAAAA&...mp;pid=1.7]

Prequels as a rule suck. Even Star Wars couldn't get around this. When I first read this book maybe 10 years back I skipped through it believing that.

Read it properly this time. It's good; not as good as Legend, which was Gemmell's first and greatest book, but there's a lot of nuggets in this to chew over. If you haven't read Legend, do it. If you have, this one isn't too bad at all.

Remissas, discite, vivet.
God save us from people who mean well. -storm
(This post was last modified: 01-30-2019 07:54 AM by Paracelsus.)
01-30-2019 07:49 AM
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Post: #991
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
Fall of Hyperion, Dan Simmons

[Image: fallofhyperion.jpg]

Hard to follow an act like Hyperion, and this one unfortunately doesn't. The problem is that Simmons likes John Keats too much. And revisits the same places over and over again.

Remissas, discite, vivet.
God save us from people who mean well. -storm
02-04-2019 09:22 PM
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Post: #992
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
^ Hyperion became one of my favourite fictions, even topping Dune. I think it was you or another forum member who recommended it.

I read through Hyperion & Fall twice before moving on to Endymion. I liked them that much.

That said, I can't really recommend the sequel, Endymion, as I found it just so-so without many (any?) interesting ideas. If you approach it as a fun adventure novel for kids, then it's alright.

Haven't started Rise of Endymion yet. If I do, I'll go into it without expectations.

Hyperion Cantos and The Fall of Hyperion were really great though.



02-04-2019 09:59 PM
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Post: #993
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
https://www.amazon.com/Man-Eaters-Kumaon...ref=plSrch

Man Eaters of Kumaon by Jim Corbett
I found it very entertaining. It was an interesting account of several tiger hunts by the author and provided some insight into daily life in British India.
02-05-2019 02:12 PM
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Jozi Offline
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Post: #994
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
"The Appearance of Power" by Tanner Guzy.

[Image: 5126wvW%2Bs3L.jpg]

Finished it in about 90 minutes. Amateurish writing but that's not the important thing.

Basically the big idea/premise is that you should dress strategically, not tactically.
And that there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to men's clothing.

So, it's about figuring out your "identity" and what you want to show to the world,
and then dressing that way.

There's a bit more to it than that but that's the gist of it.
It also slightly talks about what patterns to wear for your specific body type.

I'd give it a 5/10. Didn't really learn much new, although it got me an idea or two to ponder on.
If you are completely new to the world of fashion or on how to dress, I think it could be pretty useful.
(This post was last modified: 02-05-2019 05:29 PM by Jozi.)
02-05-2019 05:29 PM
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Post: #995
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
How to Resist, Matthew Bolton

[Image: th?id=OIP.qIfS594cOkz45l4I1H2YOQAAAA&...mp;pid=1.7]

Because you have to know what the enemy is thinking and how the enemy is fighting.

That said, it has a good amount of get-off-your-ass material for community organising. And it restates one of Alinsky's rules: most of the time, all the small protest shit is designed to do is prompt an overreaction, which then makes lefties look like the victims. The Right has not figured out how to do this properly yet without making itself look really fucking stupid along the way. The Right needs to figure out how to do this, and how to do it better.

Remissas, discite, vivet.
God save us from people who mean well. -storm
02-07-2019 10:30 AM
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Post: #996
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
(01-30-2019 07:49 AM)Paracelsus Wrote:  The Legend of Deathwalker, David Gemmell

[Image: th?id=OIP.IA3vKxAzbO5H7QLT-_FToQAAAA&...mp;pid=1.7]

Prequels as a rule suck. Even Star Wars couldn't get around this. When I first read this book maybe 10 years back I skipped through it believing that.

Read it properly this time. It's good; not as good as Legend, which was Gemmell's first and greatest book, but there's a lot of nuggets in this to chew over. If you haven't read Legend, do it. If you have, this one isn't too bad at all.

What kind of book are we talking about here? What kind of story? It looks intriguing.

There are three ways to do things: The Right Way, the Wrong Way, and the Army Way

"The Queen is most anxious to enlist every one who can speak or write to join in checking this mad, wicked folly of "Woman's Rights", with all its attendant horrors, on which her poor feeble sex is bent, forgetting every sense of womanly feeling and propriety." --- Queen Victoria
02-07-2019 04:25 PM
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RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
(01-22-2019 06:17 AM)Paracelsus Wrote:  American Sniper, Chris Kyle

[Image: th?id=OIP._5xENSF_Cg9YzcAaLXdgpAHaLK&...mp;pid=1.7]

Superb.

So many thoughts on this one, but the main one is that if you want a picture of American resolve at its strongest, combined with inability to see the strings that everyone is dangled on, read this book.

So, are you saying that Chris was naive? I've always struggled with this question: does worldliness have a negative impact on one's ability to forge resolve?

There are three ways to do things: The Right Way, the Wrong Way, and the Army Way

"The Queen is most anxious to enlist every one who can speak or write to join in checking this mad, wicked folly of "Woman's Rights", with all its attendant horrors, on which her poor feeble sex is bent, forgetting every sense of womanly feeling and propriety." --- Queen Victoria
02-07-2019 04:29 PM
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Post: #998
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
(02-07-2019 04:29 PM)Subtext Wrote:  
(01-22-2019 06:17 AM)Paracelsus Wrote:  American Sniper, Chris Kyle

[Image: th?id=OIP._5xENSF_Cg9YzcAaLXdgpAHaLK&...mp;pid=1.7]

Superb.

So many thoughts on this one, but the main one is that if you want a picture of American resolve at its strongest, combined with inability to see the strings that everyone is dangled on, read this book.

So, are you saying that Chris was naive? I've always struggled with this question: does worldliness have a negative impact on one's ability to forge resolve?

Yes indeed, American sniper is superb.

A superb pamphlet. Four hundred pages of pure propaganda. Chris wasn't naive; he was a professional killer and a liar who destroyed many lives, yet he's this kind of iconic figure. "A symbol of American propaganda at its strongest" Fixed it for you.


Watch this video if you want to get the other side of the story;





(This post was last modified: 02-07-2019 07:09 PM by Nater.)
02-07-2019 07:08 PM
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Post: #999
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
(02-07-2019 04:25 PM)Subtext Wrote:  
(01-30-2019 07:49 AM)Paracelsus Wrote:  The Legend of Deathwalker, David Gemmell

[Image: th?id=OIP.IA3vKxAzbO5H7QLT-_FToQAAAA&...mp;pid=1.7]

Prequels as a rule suck. Even Star Wars couldn't get around this. When I first read this book maybe 10 years back I skipped through it believing that.

Read it properly this time. It's good; not as good as Legend, which was Gemmell's first and greatest book, but there's a lot of nuggets in this to chew over. If you haven't read Legend, do it. If you have, this one isn't too bad at all.

What kind of book are we talking about here? What kind of story? It looks intriguing.

Fantasy. If you like the style of fantasy that isn't heavy on details, avoids strong wimminz, and is pretty masculine, you might well like it. This book itself is basically a small bunch of tribesmen (plus the protagonist) defending a shrine against 2000 men, but I think it works best if you read the book Legend first, which is seriously good.

(02-07-2019 04:29 PM)Subtext Wrote:  
(01-22-2019 06:17 AM)Paracelsus Wrote:  American Sniper, Chris Kyle

[Image: th?id=OIP._5xENSF_Cg9YzcAaLXdgpAHaLK&...mp;pid=1.7]

Superb.

So many thoughts on this one, but the main one is that if you want a picture of American resolve at its strongest, combined with inability to see the strings that everyone is dangled on, read this book.

So, are you saying that Chris was naive? I've always struggled with this question: does worldliness have a negative impact on one's ability to forge resolve?

sigh

There are two sides to the Chris Kyle story.

On one side there is the military story. Whether Kyle started to talk a lot of shit after he came out of Iraq, nobody seriously seems to have any basis to question his record as a sniper. Kyle is credited with 160 confirmed kills, confirmed meaning that he had a witness who verified the shot and the kill. In the book he doesn't cite a specific number, but the Navy doesn't dispute it, and that would make him the deadliest sniper in the US armed forces as at the current date, the second being Carlos Hathcock from the Marines with 93 sniper kills during the Vietnam War. The man qualified first for one of the most mentally tough units (the SEALS) and then qualified for one of the tougher units (sniper school) out of that.

He comes across as straight and blunt about what he was doing over there and very black and white. He matter-of-fact speaks of the WMD elements he saw, and given the guy was in the sort of unit sent in to disable or secure that sort of shit ahead of regular troops, I see no reason to dispute his account, Saddam fans notwithstanding. On top of that there are his associations -- most notably with Marcus Luttrell, a.k.a. the titular lone survivor out of the film and book Lone Survivor.

Kyle comes across as what a US citizen is capable of if he's given sufficient motivation. Hard as fuck, ruthless if need be. He is a perfect example of the kind of man who is needed and indispensable so a nation can have soft by comparison, privileged men like ourselves can wring our hands about democracy and fairness and the rule of law. Quintus Curtius I think once observed the difference between a nation's praetorians and its borderers, and Kyle falls firmly in the second category.

But:

Put it this way, one of the de rigeur pictures in the centre of the book is of Kyle receiving an award from a Jewish advocacy organisation for his service to the US. Cringeworthy and it sums up the seesawing feelings I had for this book.

More generally, if you've read about the outright incompetence of the US Armed Forces generally, and the showboating idiocy on display from the SEALS in particular from guys like John T. Reed, you tend to be less impressed by the superhero image these services seek to create. And Kyle at least bears that out in that he identifies, as a lot of people from John T Reed to Dan Simmons have, that it's mainly the Rules of Engagement that are at fault, i.e. the insane rule that says as soon as a camelfucker puts his AK-47 down and walks away, you're not allowed to shoot him.

To take the example of Marcus Luttrell again, the main reason he wound up a "hero" was because of flat-out operational incompetence twice over: first, when their cover was blown, the rules of engagement said they couldn't shoot the kids who discovered them. Said kids immediately ran off and told their goatfucking friends that said SEALS were there. Secondly, when the team was surrounded, the intended method of extraction was to send a helicopter in ... in territory where every second goatfucker has a RPG. And which got another 10-20 men killed.

SEALS are not built for that sort of extraction and are not supermen. They are lightly armed and if detected have to scream for evacuation from heavier armed infantry or armor units (as indeed happened to Chris Kyle in Iraq on one occasion).

It was the same sort of operational fuckup due to a superman image that got the Rangers and Delta Force into shit in the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993, a.k.a. Black Hawk Down. The US cannot fight its wars with small commando teams alone, and it can't fight its wars with one arm tied behind its back.

Remissas, discite, vivet.
God save us from people who mean well. -storm
02-08-2019 08:07 AM
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Post: #1000
RE: Whenever you finish a book, post it here
I'm as finished as I'm going to be with "Antifragile".

I liked it, and got about 90% of the way through it. About 4-5 pages at a time. Found myself thinking about various ideas from the book in different everyday contexts. I'm probably missing out on some good material in the last 10% that I will probably never read. But his bloviating and meandering finally wore me down.

Jeebus does that man need an editor with a machete.
02-09-2019 02:53 AM
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