what are you reading?

@Canada Jim recently posted a cartoon in @Nickie 's great "Today's Chuckle" thread. It hilariously linked apes to a certain ex-US-president's book, "The Art Of The Deal".

Because I'd found a few business-oriented authors enjoyable, twice in the past decade I gave my best effort to finishing Trump's [in]famous book. My hope of gaining helpful pointers remained unsatisfied because the entire book revolves around multi-million-dollar apartment building and hotel deals, how he and his 'organization' borrowed the money to leverage each of them and how tough the various bankers were [which of course remained true until evidence of a decade of "liar loans" surfaced in late 2008].

There were none of the grass-roots takeaways such as those doled out decades ago by envelope magnate Harvey Mackay in "How To Swim With The Sharks Without Getting Eaten Alive": "Buy cheap cars and expensive houses", nor a single syllable achieving anything close to the entertainment value in virtually every page of Tom Wolfe's fictional, "A Man In Full". As much as I wish it weren't true, it's possible to gain far more useful life and business skills by reading SunTzu's "The Art of War".

If nonfiction scandal and scandalous behavior interests you, I recommend a 2000 nonfiction book that may be out of print: Whirlwind: The Butcher Banking Scandal by former Knoxville (Tennessee, USA) Sentinel reporter Sandra Lea. I would never have learned of Ms. Lea's book if not for a recommendation by my late and long-retired high school history teacher whose East Tennessee family lost its life savings as a result of the 1970's banking scams of C.H. Butcher, Jr and his politically- connected brother Jake.
It should be retitled, "The Art Of The Steal".
 
Just finished The Pigman by Paul Zindel.

2 sophomores befriended a lonely old man. (that's all I will say...)
The last part made me weep actually.
I think it is how Zindel portrayed the loneliness in not just the old man, but every character in this book,
that touched me.

Maybe I will add that there are also the Pigman's dead wife, the sophomores' dysfunctional families, lots of pigs and some monkeys that Mr. Zindel brilliantly and vividly used to create a beautiful story about love and friendship, about loneliness, and how to live.

Zindel was a great writer.

I highly recommend it.
 
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I'm half way through Seek You: A journey through American Loneliness by Kristen Radtke.

Well researched and nicely presented, but a bit depressing to read. Both a memoir and a reporting on how our society and our psychology are on a collision course. Well see how the second half goes but I'm not seeing an uplifting ending coming up over the horizon... It's a graphic novel so it's quick read in any case.
 
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I laughed at your post, @kkimura, because I find myself sleeping on some books that I TRY to read. Keep us updated about it!

Today I am sharing what I am reading in a different way. I'm sharing the song in the book I'm reading, which I have put to song.

The book is A Boy and A Bear in A Boat (2012) by Dave Shelton.

In this children book, the Bear, who is the captain of the boat, has a ritual of timing his tea with a song, which he sings as he plays his ukulele. Although it is what happens in this story, I tried to look online for the song in case someone, or Shelton himself, might have recorded it. I could not find anything. So I put the words of the bear's song to music, and use it to time my tea's brewing time. (the words of the song is in the YT video description.) I have also shared this on Seasons 612 of the Ukulele.

The song is here.

I am 104 pages in of 294. So far this is what I can say about this book:
A boy got onboard a boat whose captain is a bear.
We dunno where the boy is going, but it seems like they are just going nowhere.
Boy gets a bit doubtful of the bear, but Bear seems pretty confident he knows what he is doing, when he uses a map that does not look like a map.

Anyway, I wanna add that the bear has comics, a ukulele, and some interesting sandwiches onboard.
I am enjoying the book. It is lovely so far.
Shelton also illustrated the book.
:---D
 
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Just finished Extreme Measures by Jessica Zitter, M.D., on end-of-life medical care and how you can avoid the mistake of "doing everything possible" when there is really no point to it.
 
Alien: Bug Hunt. It’s a collection of stories about the Colonial Marines from the Alien universe, of which I’m a huge fan of. Shockingly, the spawn’s fiancée gave me this.
 
I finished The Boy and A Bear in A Boat the other day. It is a lovely children book. I think most children will like it.

Started reading Going To The Fair - Selected Poems For Children by Charles Causley today.
Enjoying it a lot.
I used to read lots of poetry many years ago. Then one day I gave away almost all my poetry books, to make space. I regret doing that actually.
I find good poetry can be revisited and enjoyed over and over again.

It is delightful, this book by Causley. Never read any of his books before. I like his style.
I love the rhymes and the pace. Delightful. I also enjoy the Cornish references and quality in these poems. I feel as if I am somewhere in time when I was a child, in Cornwall. And I have never been to Cornwall at all.
 
i am also reading another book called Alive, Alive Oh! -And Other Things That Matter by Diana Athill.

Athill wrote this memoir while approaching her 100th year.
I was interested to read what someone who had lived this long would write about, thinking maybe i could learn something from her.
In her intro, she said one of the things that "floated" into her memories as she was waiting to fall asleep was the men she had ever went to bed with. And that made me like her already.

Just finished the first chapter where she lovingly described in detail a garden in her childhood.

There is clarity and humour in her words.
I am enjoying it so far.
 
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I just wrapped up the YA Skinjacker Trilogy with the completion of Everfound. I enjoyed my time spent in this fantasy fiction world which I found to be original and interesting. The major overlying themes were pretty universal ones, good vs. bad, right vs. wrong. My now adult daughter was culling these books from her collection and I was glad that I pulled them out of the donation box and giving them a read before re-releasing them into the used book world. Next in line is Gwendy's Button Box by Richard Chizmar and Stephen King.
 
Just started "Girl on a Train". I don't know if I'll finish it. Keep putting it down to nap.
Gave up on “Girl on a Train”. Breezing through Patterson’s “Run For Your Life” now. It’s like a literary sit down chain restaurant. A pleasant meal if you’re not expecting a Michelin Star experience.
 
I recently finished two books, Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar and Replay by Ken Grimwood.

Gwendy's Button Box is a novella so it was a quick 2-day read and I enjoyed it but now that I start thinking about it it has me wondering if it has legs. It's the first book in a trilogy and perhaps my questions will be answered in the other two books but it would be disappointing if they weren't. Is the button box just a MacGuffin I need to accept or will it be explained? What is its purpose and what gives it it's power? Why was Gwendy chosen to receive it and what would the consequences be if she had made different choices? Who (or what) is Richard Farris? Why does he have the box and why is he giving it away when it is foreknowledge that he will only take it back at an undefined future time? I think I'm a bit wary because I don't think this started out with the intention of being a continuing story or a trilogy. I'll probably continue on with the other two books but I'm not going to make it any kind of priority.

Replay is a book which will inspire self-examination and life evaluation and it's an interesting story to boot which makes it a worth-while read. It's 1988 when our main character has a fatal heart attack at age 43 and wakes up to find himself at age 18 again in his college dorm in 1963 with all of the knowledge and memories of his prior life. After living a second life he has another heart attack and the cycle starts again. The story really stirs the imagination. What if you had a life do-over? What would you change? What would you want to stay the same? How would you feel repeatedly losing everything and starting over and over again? Recommended.
 
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I'm teaching a short story block next and rereading a few of my favorite shorts...

Before the Law by Franz Kafka has haunted me for decades... so troubling to my mind I can't forget it.

To Build a Fire by Jack London is equally troubling and haunting...

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce is also a bit disturbing... I'm noticing a theme developing!

SO The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County breaks the spell and is among Mark Twain's comic masterpieces.

The Last Leaf by O. Henry is a dark bit with a glimmer of hope hiding within.

The Lady or the Tiger? by Frank Stockton is also a dystopian masterpiece that calls on you to provide the conclusion!

And Ray Bradbury's All in a Summer Day contains one of the most cruel acts in all of literature... horrifying in it's malice...

Sunrise on the Veld by Dorris Lessing is equally haunting in it's own way.

And I've always loved Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut, and it is a delight for it's humanity. All of his short stories are wonders... what an amazing imagination! (But I won't be reading this one to my 14 year-olds... they will have to discover this one for themselves later)
 
Trying out “The Grand Design” by Hawking and Mlodinow. It’s a clear and interesting read but like all works of this genre, it requires the reader to pay attention.
 
Now reading 'Vanity Fair' by William Makepeace Thackeray. Classic English lit from the mid 19th century.
Finally finished reading 'Vanity Fair' which turned out to be 800 pages of stuffy British manners and polite insults; the longest literary slog I've made since reading Les Miserables. But I quite enjoyed the story, because it was filled with deft wit and humorous observations on human nature, as though written by an English Mark Twain.

Hey, Steedy isn't afraid of no big thick book. Whether it's a hundred pages or a thousand, you read 'em one page at a time.

Next on my list is 'Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001)' by Don Felder. That should be entertaining!
 
I recently finished two books, Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar and Replay by Ken Grimwood.

Gwendy's Button Box is a novella so it was a quick 2-day read and I enjoyed it but now that I start thinking about it it has me wondering if it has legs. It's the first book in a trilogy and perhaps my questions will be answered in the other two books but it would be disappointing if they weren't. Is the button box just a MacGuffin I need to accept or will it be explained? What is its purpose and what gives it it's power? Why was Gwendy chosen to receive it and what would the consequences be if she had made different choices? Who (or what) is Richard Farris? Why does he have the box and why is he giving it away when it is foreknowledge that he will only take it back at an undefined future time? I think I'm a bit wary because I don't think this started out with the intention of being a continuing story or a trilogy. I'll probably continue on with the other two books but I'm not going to make it any kind of priority.

Replay is a book which will inspire self-examination and life evaluation and it's an interesting story to boot which makes it a worth-while read. It's 1988 when our main character has a fatal heart attack at age 43 and wakes up to find himself at age 18 again in his college dorm in 1963 with all of the knowledge and memories of his prior life. After living a second life he has another heart attack and the cycle starts again. The story really stirs the imagination. What if you had a life do-over? What would you change? What would you want to stay the same? How would you feel repeatedly losing everything and starting over and over again? Recommended.
You definitely made Replay sound interesting. My library has it, so I'll give it a try.
 
I’m in the middle of Holly, Stephen King’s most recent book. I’m really enjoying it, reading SK is like putting on an old pair of slippers. I find his books very comforting.

Next on my dangerously teetering “to read” pile is Spook Street, the 5th(?) novel in Mick Herron’s hugely entertaining Jackson Lamb series. I’m all about comfort reading at the moment.
 
I recently came across this passage from a "playlet" by Thornton Wilder:

Without your wound where would your power be?
It is your very remorse that makes your low voice tremble into the hearts of men.
The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children on earth
as can one human being broken on the wheels of living.
In Love’s service only the wounded soldiers can serve.

This short work, in its entirety, can be found here:
The Angel That Troubled The Waters

This made me pick up a copy of the play, The Skin of Our Teeth, which has been sitting on my To Read pile for quite a while. I read the play, but found I didn't like it that much. His primary goal in writing the play was to explore the indomitability of the human spirit in the face of tragedy, disaster, famine, and war. Lofty goals, but the quirky way he presents his play, with its stock characters and strange narrative, seem to distract from, rather than to support his literary aim. The characters 'break the fourth wall' many times throughout the play, and this I found distracting. The cartoonish way some of the characters are portrayed made me less eager to scratch below the surface for hidden metaphors.

After reading the play, I watched a production of the play done in San Diego in 1983 and presented on television as part of The American Playhouse series on PBS (Thanks, YouTube!) This was a little better, since the actors were very good and the dialogue had much more life to it than on the printed page. Still, it was a bit of a 'meh' from me, despite having won a Pulitzer Prize in 1943 for drama.

Now I am reading the afterword where I hope to find more meat for chewing. But there is also some controversy: Joseph Campbell (The Power of Myth, Hero With a Thousand Faces, etc.) saw the play as plagiarising James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake." Damn! Will I finally have to read that thing, too?
 
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