As this election approaches, you may find it comforting to read or re-read Gore Vidal’s novel “1876”, ISBN 9870375708725. Well. Comforting or at least distracting.
“Arcadia” by Iain Pears, ISBN 987110946824 . The Inklings meet Daniel O’Malley—in Shakespeare’s back yard. How I wish I could travel back in time To two days ago, so I would have the pleasure of reading this yet to come!
Have you read Elena Ferrente’s “Neapolitan Quartet”? Many people did, or saw the series mebbe 2 yrs ago. No one knows who the author is, not even If she’s a she! in case you haven’t been following the literary gossip. I just read her latest”The Lying Life of Adults” ISBN 9781609455710. If you’re interested at all in Italian culture, or the Italian mind, or “the terrible old Italy that no one can erase”, as her translator phrased it— I recommend this book. (And please PM me if you read the Quartet—I have many questions,)
“Death’s End”, by Cixin Liu (2010 — English translation 2016)
This is the third volume in Liu Cixin’s trilogy, “Remembrance of Earth’s Past”. In spirit, this seems much closer to the first volume (“The Three Body Problem”) – a well-told complex fast-paced plot, with many twists & turns.
The invasion fleet from the unstable planet Trisolaris is on its 400 year journey to the Solar System, but by the beginning of the 23rd Century Earth had discovered what was effectively a form of Mutual Assured Destruction, leading to a limited cooperation stand-off with…[Read more]
On the 75th anniversary of Nagasaki I recommend Paul Fussell’s “Thank God for the Atom Bomb and Other Essays” ISBN 9789345361356. (Or you can search the title and just read the eponymous essay online. )
God save the United States.
Oh THANK YOU for putting that up, drl. “I knew a woman none could please/Because she dreamed when but a child/Of men and women made like these..” When I first read this , I was a “child” intellectually; my formal education well over, but my lifelong task to become historically educated and more widely literate just beginning. Rereading this reminded me why I think the way I do. Specifically about Nagasaki, Fussel writes , there are two sides—which is why it is a tragedy and not simply a disaster. Cher mâitre!
I greatly appreciated the reference to Paul Fussell’s article. I’m thinking of writing a post about it and how it relates to the NeverTrumpers.
In the meantime, you might enjoy this brief YouTube video about Fussel.
It changes one’s thoughts when you had a relative live though the carnage of Nagasaki. It becomes less academic and more real. War is a brutal thing.
“The Dark Forest”, by Cixin Liu (2008 – English translation 2015)
This is the second volume of Liu’s trilogy, “Remembrance of Earth’s Past”. It moves the story forward, but seems to lack some of the punch of the first volume. It is an interesting question as to whether that is mainly the ‘second volume sag’ which seems to affect some other trilogies, or whether it is in part a reflection of having a different translator from the first volume. There is a sense that this translation is closer to the style of the Chinese original.
The people of present-day Ea…[Read more]
“Apocalypse Never: why environmental alarmism hurts us all”,Shellenberger, ISBN 9780063001695. I just finished this which i think is one of the books Seawriter recommended. Technological advances are the savior, not the destroyer, of the planet, especially nuclear power…and when we get to fusion, we shall have nothing left to wish for! Nuke power is totally clean and, if malfunctions sometimes kill people,well, so do hydroelectric dams and mining operations. Very informative climate mythbuster!
(I’m working on another he recommended, “The Napoleonic Wars”., but I really wi…[Read more]
“The Three-Body Problem”, by Cixin Liu (2006 – English translation 2014)
ISBN 978 0-7653-8203-0
This Sci-Fi novel is the first volume of a trilogy by Cixin Liu (or Liu Cixin, to use the Chinese name order). A review of this book alone might be as meaningless as a review of only the first volume of Tolkein’s “Lord of the Rings”. However, it is worth passing along that this volume is well-written and thought-provoking, and deserves every award it has been given. It is a definite “must read” for anyone with an interest in Science Fiction.
Make no mistake – Mr. Liu writes genuin…[Read more]
“Lincoln County and its Wars”, by Nora True Henn (2017)
Nora True Henn spent about half a century in Lincoln County, New Mexico and assiduously collected all the information she could find about the Lincoln County War of 1878, now collected in this posthumously published volume.
In a world where statues of Abraham Lincoln himself are not safe from the terminally woke, why should anyone care about a grubby little affair from a century and a half ago? To quote Ms. Henn: “New Mexico’s Lincoln County War was a power play gone berserk”. It has happened before, and i…[Read more]
I want to recommend two poetry collections, both of which I read straight through, like I would a novel, laughing and crying. Kipling’s “Poems and Ballads”( 1899) ISBN 9781429794053, and Masters’ “Spoon River Anthology”(1915) ISBN 9781985324350.
About Kipling no more need be said. I think everyone in this group knows he was a great poet.
As for Masters: I never liked “free verse”; by the time I started reading it, it had become a sloppy self-indulgent morass where you could pass off a note you mighta left on the refrigerator as a poem. IMHO just putting linebreaks into a prosy pa…[Read more]
“Banished Children of Eve”, by Peter Quinn 1994, 9780670850761.
About New York in the time of the Civil War. And abouT our Great poet and composer, Stephen Foster. I thought of it again now because it seems like an instructive and poignant backdrop to the present.
Title: The Double Helix
Author: James D. Watson
Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, and James Watson won the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology in 1962 for the discovery of the molecular structure of DNA.
In this book James Watson tells the story of the discovery of DNA from his point of view and how a couple of less knowledgable scientists beat the acclaimed experts to the prize. It is a short easy to read story that conveys how some science is done. Building on previous work, trial and error, dead ends, collaboration, competition, organizational…[Read more]
Coppley, Jackson. The Ocean Raiders. Chevy Chase, MD: Contour Press, 2020. ISBN 979-8-6443-4371-3.
Nicholas Foxe is back! After the rip-roaring adventure and world-changing revelations of The Code Hunters, the wealthy adventurer with degrees in archaeology and cryptography arrives in Venice to visit an ambitious project by billionaire Nevin Dowd to save the city from inundation by the sea, but mostly to visit Christine Blake, who he hadn’t seen for years since an affair in Paris and who is now handling public relations for Dowd’s project. What he anticipates to be a pleasant…[Read more]
“In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette”
Author: Hampton Sides
This is an absolutely compelling book, thanks largely to the excellent writing by Mr. Sides — definitely his best book.
It tells the forgotten tale of an ill-starred effort in the late 1870s to explore the Arctic Ocean and the North Pole. It is strange to realize how little was known about big areas of the globe only 150 years ago. There was a theory that once explorers got through the ice at the Arctic Circle, they would find an open ocean and possibly…[Read more]
Has everybody read “Hillbilly Elegy” (ISBN 978-0-6-2300546) ? If not, this time when we all are mandated to feel guilty about “white privilege” would be a good time to make its acquaintance.
PS: IF you prefer novels, read Chute’s “The Beans of Egypt, Maine” ISBN 9780156001885
Dark Mirror by Barton Gellman
The book is a good follow up to “Permanent Record” by “Edward Snowden”. It gives a pulsating account of what was going on in the newsroom and at top echelons of Washington Post in run up to the story. You get an idea of the pressure of time, consultations with lawyers, the precautions taken prior to release. You also get Gellman’s interviews with top NSA officers after the event, their views at that time and their views after Trump has taken over. Summary of hours of interviews of the author with…[Read more]
The Year of the French, by Thomas Flanagan
Published by Henry Holt, 1979
This novel is built around the true events of one of those forgotten chapters of history. In 1798 while Napoleon and Admiral Nelson were squaring off in Egypt, the French landed a small force in Ireland, having been (over-)promised that the Irish would rally to their flag and rise up to throw off hated English rule.
The French forces had some initial success against the occupying English army, in part by using their poorly-armed Irish allies as cannon fodder. But the ultimate outcome was…[Read more]
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