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Thread: What Are You Reading Now?

  1. #2671

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post
    Recently finished Just Mercy by Brian Stevenson. #1 NYT bestseller published in 2015. My daughter, son-in-law, and wife all read it and insisted that I read it. I have to say that this book impacted me more than any book I can remember in recent years. The author is an attorney that has made a career advocating for the poor and oppressed in our judicial system. The main story in the book is his effort to free a man on death row who was wrongly convicted. Absolutely gripping story. Ironically, it occurs in the hometown of Harper Lee. Atticus Finch has nothing on this guy. Discusses a number of other cases. Eventually he argues a series of cases before the Supreme Court.

    After reading this book:

    1. I am against the death penalty. Too many wrongly convicted people on death row, disproportionately discriminates against black and poor people. Life in prison is an adequate penalty.

    2. I am against kids being tried as adults. I have always hated this practice, now I hate it more after learning that we have often thrown 13-14 year old kids in adult prisons, sometimes with life or death sentences. That is barbaric.

    3. I believe mandatory minimum sentencing is one of the greatest mistakes we have made as a country.

    4. No judge should ever be elected. That leads to a system skewed for long sentences, more death sentences, etc to satisfy our collective lust for revenge.

    God bless Brian Stevenson and his organization.
    I have not read this book, but it is one that I will definitely read.

    I agree completely with all of these points.
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  2. #2672
    lollygagger hostile's Avatar
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    Malcolm Gladwell’s newest, Talking to Strangers. He looks at the reasons why our communication with others fail, often with disastrous outcomes using well-known and obscure historical examples. Not sure I agree with everything but in general it left me wanting to be better; I interact with people who are in the midst of chaos with uncertainty about how they will be affected. Maybe some improvements from my side could be beneficial?

    Catch and Kill, Ronan Farrow’s first-person account of investigating the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. I thought the writing was excellent in dealing with an under-recognized and under-reported issue in the entertainment industry. The lengths people have gone to in trying to intimidate, suppress, and discredit is shocking.
    "You interns are like swallows. You shit all over my patients for six weeks and then fly off."

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  3. #2673
    Corporate lackey for Jesus Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hostile View Post
    Malcolm Gladwell’s newest, Talking to Strangers. He looks at the reasons why our communication with others fail, often with disastrous outcomes using well-known and obscure historical examples. Not sure I agree with everything but in general it left me wanting to be better; I interact with people who are in the midst of chaos with uncertainty about how they will be affected. Maybe some improvements from my side could be beneficial?

    Catch and Kill, Ronan Farrow’s first-person account of investigating the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. I thought the writing was excellent in dealing with an under-recognized and under-reported issue in the entertainment industry. The lengths people have gone to in trying to intimidate, suppress, and discredit is shocking.
    Very interested in both of those books.
    "There is no creature more arrogant than a self-righteous libertarian on the web, am I right? Those folks are just intolerable."
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  4. #2674
    Operation Hot Mother Parrot Head's Avatar
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    I, too, joined the club and finished Just Mercy over the weekend. A couple of years ago, Bryan Stevenson spoke internally at our company following some incendiary local events and here shared some of the same anecdotes and really opened my eyes. Definitely a powerful book and it's inspiring to see people find a cause and make a real difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Northwestcoug View Post
    Force Alabama out of the US. Maybe throw Mississippi and Louisiana out for good measure also. Seriously, how messed up is their judiciary?

    !
    In case anyone needed another reason to not rot for Bama. I thought the same throughout the book and was left slack-jawed when SCOTUS didn't act on some of the cases. I would, however, like to visit EJI's Legacy Museum. Mrs. PH and i were talking vacation plans for next year and she asked where I'd like to go. I said Alabama and she laughed. Then said, "Wait, are you serious?" She appreciated the further explanation but would still prefer a trip over the pond.
    I have nothing else to say at this time.

  5. #2675

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    Quote Originally Posted by Parrot Head View Post
    I, too, joined the club and finished Just Mercy over the weekend. A couple of years ago, Bryan Stevenson spoke internally at our company following some incendiary local events and here shared some of the same anecdotes and really opened my eyes. Definitely a powerful book and it's inspiring to see people find a cause and make a real difference.



    In case anyone needed another reason to not rot for Bama. I thought the same throughout the book and was left slack-jawed when SCOTUS didn't act on some of the cases. I would, however, like to visit EJI's Legacy Museum. Mrs. PH and i were talking vacation plans for next year and she asked where I'd like to go. I said Alabama and she laughed. Then said, "Wait, are you serious?" She appreciated the further explanation but would still prefer a trip over the pond.
    I just looked up the museum. I'd love to go see that. I have a lab supervisor at work who's from Alabama and is nearing retirement. I might have to call in a solid when he returns to the South.

  6. #2676
    Faith crisis consultant SeattleUte's Avatar
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    Oh my god. (While moving in and out of Evans's trilogy on Nazi Germany and Moby Dick), I've fallen upon the most amazing novel, Vernon Subutex 1. I'm so grateful it's the opening of a trilogy. It's like being very young again and not being able to put down the book. Here is the WSJ's review.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/fiction...es-11572619245

    Reading this hugely entertaining and funny French novel, it's reaffirming how much I dislike just about all contemporary American novels with their didacticism, resentments, and stupid first-world preoccupations. Like fantasies about trees.
    When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him.

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  7. #2677
    Corporate lackey for Jesus Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Just finishing Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky. 21 hours on audible. I started this many years ago (in print) but got bogged down. It is a bit of a slog, but not too bad.

    Now debating if I want to knock over another classic Russian novel.
    "There is no creature more arrogant than a self-righteous libertarian on the web, am I right? Those folks are just intolerable."
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  8. #2678
    Faith crisis consultant SeattleUte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post
    Just finishing Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky. 21 hours on audible. I started this many years ago (in print) but got bogged down. It is a bit of a slog, but not too bad.

    Now debating if I want to knock over another classic Russian novel.
    I would. But I just finished Master and Margarita, and I was disappointed. The imagery was very well done, and there is thematic material throughout against totalitarianism, which is a good thing, but not much else. Like the Book of Revelations, all fantastic imagery and thematic material, and no character development or plot. There are some interesting historical set pieces about Jesus and Pontius Pilate, but not really original, and not enough of this to make it a great novel in my opinion. I wonder if this novel would be considered a classic were it not for the context of its publication and the author's dissidence in the Soviet Union. Probably not.

    The blurbs and dust jacket are misleading. The novel is not much about The Master and Margarita.

    The Brothers Karamazov is great. And very funny. War and Peace is my favorite among the Russian novels.
    When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him.

    --Jonathan Swift

  9. #2679

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post
    Just finishing Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky. 21 hours on audible. I started this many years ago (in print) but got bogged down. It is a bit of a slog, but not too bad.

    Now debating if I want to knock over another classic Russian novel.
    If you haven't read Anna Karenina you probably should
    Dyslexics are teople poo...

  10. #2680
    Corporate lackey for Jesus Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeattleUte View Post
    I would. But I just finished Master and Margarita, and I was disappointed. The imagery was very well done, and there is thematic material throughout against totalitarianism, which is a good thing, but not much else. Like the Book of Revelations, all fantastic imagery and thematic material, and no character development or plot. There are some interesting historical set pieces about Jesus and Pontius Pilate, but not really original, and not enough of this to make it a great novel in my opinion. I wonder if this novel would be considered a classic were it not for the context of its publication and the author's dissidence in the Soviet Union. Probably not.

    The blurbs and dust jacket are misleading. The novel is not much about The Master and Margarita.

    The Brothers Karamazov is great. And very funny. War and Peace is my favorite among the Russian novels.
    Thanks.

    What about Anna Karenina?
    "There is no creature more arrogant than a self-righteous libertarian on the web, am I right? Those folks are just intolerable."
    "It's no secret that the great American pastime is no longer baseball. Now it's sanctimony." -- Guy Periwinkle, The Nix.
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  11. #2681
    Faith crisis consultant SeattleUte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post
    Thanks.

    What about Anna Karenina?
    Anna Karenina is a great novel and deserving classic. Everyone should read it. But it's not my favorite Russian novel or Tolstoy novel or classic adultery novel (Madame Bovary is). My critiques of Anna Karenina are on this site in some detail in my exchanges with a poster who has had the hubris to name himself after the insufferable AK character Levin. I think that Anna and her brother Oblonsky are the most interesting and sympathetic characters, but I don't think Tolstoy would agree, nor would most Christians. Anna and Oblonsky are sinners and Tolstoy makes them pay dearly for it. Levin, who scholars speculate was Tolstoy's self-portrait, is supposed to be saintly. But I think he's kind of clueless. For example, he's landed gentry who employs serfs, and pats himself on the back for joining them in the fields for a few hours one day. He's also very judgmental of Anna and Oblonsky, who are the ones in the book I'd actually like to hang out with.
    When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him.

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  12. #2682
    Bald not naked Pelado's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post
    Just finishing Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky. 21 hours on audible. I started this many years ago (in print) but got bogged down. It is a bit of a slog, but not too bad.

    Now debating if I want to knock over another classic Russian novel.
    I read that for fun during my college days. Found it very interesting, didn't get bogged down at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by SeattleUte View Post
    I would. But I just finished Master and Margarita, and I was disappointed. The imagery was very well done, and there is thematic material throughout against totalitarianism, which is a good thing, but not much else. Like the Book of Revelations, all fantastic imagery and thematic material, and no character development or plot. There are some interesting historical set pieces about Jesus and Pontius Pilate, but not really original, and not enough of this to make it a great novel in my opinion. I wonder if this novel would be considered a classic were it not for the context of its publication and the author's dissidence in the Soviet Union. Probably not.

    The blurbs and dust jacket are misleading. The novel is not much about The Master and Margarita.

    The Brothers Karamazov is great. And very funny. War and Peace is my favorite among the Russian novels.
    I returned Brothers Karamazov to the library not having finished it again. Got too bogged down. I'll have to try again later - maybe with a different translation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flystripper View Post
    If you haven't read Anna Karenina you probably should
    I watched the movie a few months ago.
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  13. #2683
    Corporate lackey for Jesus Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pelado View Post
    I read that for fun during my college days. Found it very interesting, didn't get bogged down at all.
    I thought the story was interesting and it kept me engaged. There were places where I thought the author was more verbose than necessary.
    "There is no creature more arrogant than a self-righteous libertarian on the web, am I right? Those folks are just intolerable."
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    "Juilliardk N I ibuprofen Hyu I U unhurt u" - creekster

  14. #2684
    Faith crisis consultant SeattleUte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pelado View Post
    I read that for fun during my college days. Found it very interesting, didn't get bogged down at all.



    I returned Brothers Karamazov to the library not having finished it again. Got too bogged down. I'll have to try again later - maybe with a different translation.



    I watched the movie a few months ago.
    I subscribe to the new Criterion Collection streaming service. I learned that the Soviet Union made a many hours-long War and Peace that many critics and scholars believe is the greatest film ever made. It was made as a Cold War tit for tat. There was a 2-3 hour long War and Peace made in America that won Academy Awards. The Soviet Union got its back up, and deployed an unlimited budget and cast of thousands to make a better War and Peace. The USSR took a huge risk, and succeeded. I haven't been able to finish it yet. It is amazingly faithful to the novel and well acted. The battle scenes spare nothing. They requisitioned museums and genuine old palaces and mansions on estates to make it.

    This USSR War and Peace hasn't been available for decades until this year.
    Last edited by SeattleUte; 11-14-2019 at 01:08 PM.
    When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him.

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    Local Character clackamascoug's Avatar
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    I just downloaded Lonesome Dove a 31 hour book (580 mb) in ten seconds. I can't believe the speeds we get nowadays.

    When poet puts pen to paper imagination breathes life, finding hearth and home.
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  16. #2686
    Corporate lackey for Jesus Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clackamascoug View Post
    I just downloaded Lonesome Dove a 31 hour book (580 mb) in ten seconds. I can't believe the speeds we get nowadays.
    That is a fantastic audio book. You will love it.
    "There is no creature more arrogant than a self-righteous libertarian on the web, am I right? Those folks are just intolerable."
    "It's no secret that the great American pastime is no longer baseball. Now it's sanctimony." -- Guy Periwinkle, The Nix.
    "Juilliardk N I ibuprofen Hyu I U unhurt u" - creekster

  17. #2687

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pelado View Post
    I read that for fun during my college days. Found it very interesting, didn't get bogged down at all.



    I returned Brothers Karamazov to the library not having finished it again. Got too bogged down. I'll have to try again later - maybe with a different translation.



    I watched the movie a few months ago.
    Crime and Punishment was punishment for me. I read about a third of it a few years ago. I remember really enjoying some of the writing. But it got too tedious too fast.

    How did it end?

  18. #2688
    Huge Member BigPiney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northwestcoug View Post
    Crime and Punishment was punishment for me. I read about a third of it a few years ago. I remember really enjoying some of the writing. But it got too tedious too fast.

    How did it end?
    Well, you read about the crime part right?

  19. #2689
    Bald not naked Pelado's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northwestcoug View Post
    Crime and Punishment was punishment for me. I read about a third of it a few years ago. I remember really enjoying some of the writing. But it got too tedious too fast.

    How did it end?
    If I remember correctly, Siberia.
    "I think it was King Benjamin who said 'you sorry ass shitbags who have no skills that the market values also have an obligation to have the attitude that if one day you do in fact win the PowerBall Lottery that you will then impart of your substance to those without.'"
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  20. #2690

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigPiney View Post
    Well, you read about the crime part right?
    murder, something something....

  21. #2691
    Huge Member BigPiney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northwestcoug View Post
    murder, something something....
    That was about as far as I got too.

  22. #2692
    Local Character clackamascoug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post
    That is a fantastic audio book. You will love it.
    Watching the mini series first (about 3 times), was a great way to establish the characters in my mind, now listening several years later (a decade?) it's really fun to fill in the gaps of information with the written set up. Listened for three hours today - and the time flew by.

    When poet puts pen to paper imagination breathes life, finding hearth and home.
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  23. #2693
    UofU/BYU mixed marriage Scott R Nelson's Avatar
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    Last week something I was reading on the internet pointed me at Ben Orlin, his website, and his most recent book Change Is the Only Constant. But he had an earlier book Math with Bad Drawings, which I ordered from the library and am reading now.

    I'm quite enjoying the book. He has a way of explaining things like probability and insurance risks in a way I had never thought of before. I quite like his bad drawings too. Oh, and chapter 1 explained ultimate tic-tac-toe which might actually be a fun game. I'll try it with my grandchildren at Thanksgiving.

    I have to read a non-fiction book for every two or three murder mystery/thriller/assassin/police books that I read. I don't get through all of them, but Math with Bad Drawings is enjoyable and I'll probably have to get his second book once I'm done with this one. I'll probably have to dig through his web site too.

  24. #2694
    Board Bookworm happyone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happyone View Post
    ...I'm currently reading a look at how the Israeli victory in the 6 Day War in 1967 changed both Israeli and Palestinian politics.

    His main theme seems to be that Israel can't give back the conquered territories and be militarily secure (the mountains of Judea and Sumeria are key to the defense of the coastal plain) while at the same time they can't have peace if they continue to rule there. In exploring this conundrum, he also looks at how the aftermath has changed the definitions of both the left and the right in Israeli politics

    Catch 67
    I finished this one and the author's premise is that Israel is in Catch 22 situation with respect to the West Bank. For security and religious reason they can't give it up - Israel is militarily indefensible to a major attack out of the west bank and current definition of Zionism is that Modern Israel should encompass all of Biblical Israel. On the other had she can't stay - for moral and international relations reasons. In explaining his theory, he looks at the both the evolution of Israel's left and right and why neither Israel nor the Palestinians seem willing to compromise and find a solution. He comes to the conclusion that a permanent peace is not in the cards. With this conclusion he uses the analogy of taking a fatal decease and turning it into chronic condition i.e Quit trying for a peace treaty (fatal condition) and get a cease fire - kind of like Korea (Chronic condition) and go from there. Well researched and thought provoking. I gave it four stars on GR.

    A couple of other I've recently completed

    It's not often I read of an event in English history that in spite of all my reading in English History that is new to me. Charles Spencer (Lady Di's brother) found one and has written an excellent account of that event, Charles II first attempt to regain his father's throne - To Catch a King' In 1651, Charles II made a bid to regain his father's throne. It didn't work and his army was crushed by Cromwell's forces at the Battle of Worchester. In the aftermath, Charles became the most wanted man in England. Cromwell's force were well prepared for the chase that happened in the aftermath - they rounded all most everyone who was anyone in the aftermath - with the exception of Charles and his immediate companions. For 6 weeks he was on the run and eventually escaped through the port of London. One incident particularly caught my attention. At one point Charles and his companions hid in an oak tree as Roundhead Cavalry rode beneath them. This tree became know as the "Royal Oak". Several Ships in the Royal Navy had be named after that tree, including a ship that was at Trafalger and a battle ship that was sunk by a U-Boat in the opening days of WW II at Scapa Flow. I now know where the name originates The portrait Spencer paints of Charles is very complementary. He is portrayed as competent commander (in spite of Worchester), willing to follow advice and willing to do what it takes to escape. He disguised him self as a peasant, including cutting off his hair, shaving his mustache, wearing common clothing, and even dyeing his skin with Walnut to mimic the complexion of a person who has spent most of their life outside. He was even able to mimic that accent of the common men. The one thing they couldn't hide was his height. He was 6'2" in an era were the common man was only 5'6"

    In many ways this reads as an adventure novel and if someone proposed this as novel, editors would look at them as if they were crazy. I rated this 4 stars on GR.

    I also read John Suchet's new bio of the composer of "The Nutcracker Suite" - Pytor Tchaikovsky(PT): Tchaikovsky: The Man Revealed. Suchet has written several good bio of various classic music composers - including Beethoven and Mozart. He doesn't go into the composers music as such, he does provide a fascinating look at the man behind that music. In the case of Tchaikosky, Suchet takes a look at two main themes in the composer's life - his extreme sensitivity to criticism and his coming to grips with his homosexuality.

    In looking at his sensitivity to criticism, cites many examples of how that criticism caused major depression and ruptured friendships. Suchet supposed that PT was never quite secure as a composer.

    Suchet draws much of his information on PT from his brother's biography of him. Much of that bio is still redacted by Russian authorities. The Soviets did every thing in there power to white wash that aspect of the composers life and even today Russian authorities don't want to talk about it. Because this reluctance, Suchet does a lot of fill in the blanks type of supposition about PT's lifestyle. PT's brother himself was gay and was very close to the composer. One conclusion I came to about PT and his lifestyle - if he was alive today, he would probably be in jail. His lovers tended to be both very young (14-16) and his students.

    In writing about PT's compositons, Suchet discusses just how much PT want to write Opera. While he composed several, none have really lasted. In discussing this aspect of composing, Suchet opines on just how difficult it is to write both for the Opera House and the concert stage. Even the greatest composers usually could do one or the other. Suchet opines that there has been only on man to really combine both - Mozart.

    Lavishly illustrated, as with most of his books, this is a definate 4+ star read for me.
    Last edited by happyone; 11-27-2019 at 08:41 PM.

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  25. #2695
    Corporate lackey for Jesus Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hostile View Post
    Catch and Kill, Ronan Farrow’s first-person account of investigating the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. I thought the writing was excellent in dealing with an under-recognized and under-reported issue in the entertainment industry. The lengths people have gone to in trying to intimidate, suppress, and discredit is shocking.
    Just finished this book an my wife is reading it now. Outstanding. The most shocking thing about the entire story is the system that was in place to suppress and control the story for so many years. We are seeing the same kinds of things now with Epstein.
    "There is no creature more arrogant than a self-righteous libertarian on the web, am I right? Those folks are just intolerable."
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    "Juilliardk N I ibuprofen Hyu I U unhurt u" - creekster

  26. #2696
    Senior Member Eddie's Avatar
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    My daughter is on the "book committee" for Davis School District. They just got done reading/reviewing Just Mercy for use in the district, as there is a teacher who wants to assign it to students. We had a pretty good discussion about it. Gotta admit - like others here are saying, it started by getting me pretty upset at the system and people who wrongly prosecute/convict people in the face of obvious evidence that they could not have been guilty, and ended with me deciding that as the system can't be fixed immediately, the death penalty should be done away with.

  27. #2697
    Huge Member BigPiney's Avatar
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    I just finished the latest Stephen King book, The Institute. I thought it was really good. One of the best of his recent books, imo.

    Also only 2 more to go in the Wheel of Time...

  28. #2698
    Senior Member SteelBlue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeattleUte View Post
    I wonder if this novel would be considered a classic were it not for the context of its publication and the author's dissidence in the Soviet Union. Probably not.

    The blurbs and dust jacket are misleading. The novel is not much about The Master and Margarita.
    I credit this novel as the spark for a deep dive into the Russian greats this year, though I was plagued throughout the reading of M&M by the feeling that I was an outsider and some of its deeper meanings weren't mine to possess. I will admit, to your point, that it is the novel's imagery that has been the most memorable. I have read 40 or so novels since, and I'd have a tough time discussing specific plot points without a review of my notes, but the opening scene at Patriarch Ponds, and Woland's Ball (and many other scenes) will stick with me for a long time.

  29. #2699
    Huge Member BigPiney's Avatar
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    I finished The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead. It was good and not complete crap like the overrated Underground Railroad.

  30. #2700
    Local Character clackamascoug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clackamascoug View Post
    Watching the mini series first (about 3 times), was a great way to establish the characters in my mind, now listening several years later (a decade?) it's really fun to fill in the gaps of information with the written set up. Listened for three hours today - and the time flew by.
    I'm at chapter 80 in Lonesome Dove - Clara is just introduced to the story line, and Elmira just had her baby boy and left. Never having read or listened to reading the book before - there's so much more detail than in the mini-series. I'm enjoying the heck out of it.

    When poet puts pen to paper imagination breathes life, finding hearth and home.
    -Mid Summer's Night Dream


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