Books Thread - Page 8
Old 08-17-2010, 12:55 PM   #141 (permalink)
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Yeah, it does sound interesting, and I think that's located in the same section as the last book I purchased from Chapters. I recently picked up a copy of How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer. As the title indicates, it breaks down the decision making processes. In order to do so, it touches on some of those "hardwired" obstacles we face (amongst other relevant variables). Lehrer uses some interesting examples to illustrate his points, including a few from the world of sports. I don't accept all of the examples he uses, though. Some of them seem poorly chosen.
I had started reading another one about co-dependance, and I had to stop reading it because of the examples she used. I'm not part of any organized religion, and her examples all brought God into the scenario. Turned me off. What Happy People Know is better. His examples involve his past patients, and they're pretty relatable for the most part.
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Old 08-17-2010, 12:58 PM   #142 (permalink)
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why not a fan of fiction acgm? i ask because i wonder if it is for some of the same reasons i abondoned fiction in my 20's. basically i had too much other stuff to read in uni and always felt guity for not doing my prescribed reading. i stopped reading novels, and then after grad school was just so out of the habit that i had trouble getting interested again. it wasn't until several years later that i got back into novels by re-reading some of the stuff i loved earlier. just curious...
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Old 08-17-2010, 01:07 PM   #143 (permalink)
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I had started reading another one about co-dependance, and I had to stop reading it because of the examples she used. I'm not part of any organized religion, and her examples all brought God into the scenario. Turned me off. What Happy People Know is better. His examples involve his past patients, and they're pretty relatable for the most part.
Yeah, in my opinion, the strongest parts of Lehrer's book are when he introduces a case study of a patient suffering from a particular ailment or damage to their brain. By explaining how we are affected by what is lost or damaged, you get a glimpse at how important certain parts of the brain are in everyday decisions. His other examples, like sports and game shows, involve a significant degree of speculation.
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Old 08-17-2010, 02:09 PM   #144 (permalink)
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just finished re-reading one of my favourites from Dostoevsky called The Brothers Karamazov
next up is another by Dostoevsky called The Idiot
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Old 08-17-2010, 02:16 PM   #145 (permalink)
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when i graduated high school my dad reprinted the grand inquisitor section of the brothers karamazov for me to read. it's awesome.

The Grand Inquisitor by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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Old 08-17-2010, 02:42 PM   #146 (permalink)
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I read Ella Kazoo Will Not Brush Her Hair, Goodnight Moon, Hop on Pop and Kisses For Daddy all at least once a day. I highly recommend all of them...
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Old 08-17-2010, 02:55 PM   #147 (permalink)
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The Brothers Karamazov is one of the best novels ever written, in my opinion. An absolute must read.

Right now I'm reading Colin McGinn's Sport. As a philosopher, he writes about the philosophical questions relevant to the sporting world. What I have read thus far has largely been a focus on two questions:

1) What epistemic role does sport play? Do we "know" things from athletic activity in the same way that we "know" things from intellectual experience? He relates the importance of direct experience in acquiring this sort of knowledge: you can watch all the instructional tennis videos in the world, but you'll still look a bit foolish the first time you toss for your serve.

2) What is sport done proper? Is virtue an important part of sports? McGinn writes a little bit about how those who are strenuously against steroids should investigate their reasons, as they may not be quite as rational as you might think they are (McGinn thinks the case for prohibiting steroids is about as strong as the case for prohibiting, say, cannabis, by which he means that the prohibition seems to cause more harm than good). McGinn also writes, quite wonderfully, about the importance of sport for the sake of bettering one's self. McGinn talks about those who only enjoy competition when they know they've got a good shot at winning; McGinn argues that these people need to do some serious soul-searching, as a victory over an opponent you expected to beat is hardly a victory at all. On the contrary, there are victories that you should feel embarrassed about, and losses that you should be proud about. He argues, in a similar vein, that cheating and arrogance (which includes things like post-goal celebrations...not sure I totally agree with him here) are the antithesis of virtue in sports.

He doesn't spend a lot of time talking about what, precisely, sport is. That was one of the main reasons I picked up the book initially. He is probably right in saying that defining sport is about as easy as defining art or science, by which I, of course, mean that it is not very easy at all. Any time we think we've come up with a good criteria, it is not hard to produce some test cases that, on intuition alone, seem to seriously challenge that criteria. Still, I was hoping for a bit more time spent on this particular question, as all demarcation problems I find very intriguing. It is also of a practical relevance: a decision by a district court in the US ruled that cheerleading was not a sport, thus denying the cheerleaders ability to purchase insurance coverage at events.


Anyways, the book is written in a largely autobiographical style. McGinn has tried a wide range of sport, and writes in a style that conveys the basic philosophical questions, while leaving the discussion accessible to the layperson. Though I've not yet finished the book (it is rather small but I'm otherwise occupied with more serious reading), I can say that the 3/4 of it that I've covered has been very enjoyable. Allow me to go a bit utopian for a moment: the next time you reach for a beer, reach for this book; you might find that you view sports in a totally different light, or it might simply enhance your existing perspective.

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Old 08-17-2010, 03:10 PM   #148 (permalink)
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why not a fan of fiction acgm? i ask because i wonder if it is for some of the same reasons i abondoned fiction in my 20's. basically i had too much other stuff to read in uni and always felt guity for not doing my prescribed reading. i stopped reading novels, and then after grad school was just so out of the habit that i had trouble getting interested again. it wasn't until several years later that i got back into novels by re-reading some of the stuff i loved earlier. just curious...
There's never been a period in my life when I read a lot of fiction. To be clear, I acknowledge the value in reading some fiction, but I have other preferences.

To be honest, I didn't read much as a child, even though my mom was/is an avid reader. I attended French immersion at an early age, and I think that got me off to a bad start (long story). To make matters worse, I was obsessed with sports. I played 4-5 sports a year until grade 10 when I cut back to just 2...haha My mom tried hard to get me to learn musical instruments, different languages, and read certain books, but I just reacted by saying "lame" and ignored her.

I eventually started reading a lot as a means to learn, not for the sake of entertainment/enjoyment. The learning is the payoff. And yes, I do acknowledge that great literature can serve a didactic purpose, but I have a laundry list of other concrete things I want to learn about before I pick up any particular novels.

In a nutshell, I'm just not a well rounded person.
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Old 08-17-2010, 04:15 PM   #149 (permalink)
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i'd say you're a pretty well rounded person, you just don't like novels. fair enough.
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:13 PM   #150 (permalink)
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anyone a fan of Walter Moers?? He takes fantasy to a new level, I absolutely love this guys work.
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Old 08-17-2010, 11:33 PM   #151 (permalink)
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The Kite Runner was awesome, much better than the movie.

Outliers Great read... point out some astonishing stuff

Freakonomics One of the best books I have ever read.

The Great Gatsby Written in the 1920's, awful ending, but decent overall.
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Old 09-25-2010, 01:01 PM   #152 (permalink)
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reading a lot of sandra boynton these days... blue hat, green hat and barnyard dance in particular... good stuff.
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Old 10-24-2010, 05:39 PM   #153 (permalink)
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Read "God knows his name: The True story of John Doe No.24" by Dave Bakke.

Good book, I became emotional at the end.

There's also a song about him.


Lyrics:
Quote:
I was standing on the sidewalk in 1945
In Jacksonville, Illinois
When asked what my name was there came no reply
They said I was a deaf and sightless half-wit boy
But Louis was my name, though I could not say it
I was born and raised in New Orleans
My spirit was wild, so I let the river take it
On a barge and a prayer upstream

Well they searched for a mother and they searched for a father
And they searched till they searched no more
The doctors put to rest their scientific tests
And they named me "John Doe No. 24"
And they all shook their heads in pity
For a world so silent and dark
Well there's no doubt that life's a mystery
But so too is the human heart

And it was my heart's own perfume when the crepe jasmine bloomed
On Rue Morgue Avenue
Though I couldn't hear the bells of the streetcars coming
By toeing the track I knew
And if I were an old man returning
With my satchel and porkpie hat
I'd hit every jazz joint on Bourbon
And I'd hit everyone on Basin after that

The years kept passing as they passed me around
From one state ward to another
Like I was an orphan shoe from the lost and found
Always missing the other
And they gave me a harp last Christmas
And all the nurses took a dance
But lately I've been growing listless
I've been dreaming again of the past

I'm wandering down to the banks of the great Big Muddy
Where the shotgun houses stand
I am seven years old and I feel my dad
Reach out for my hand
While I drew breath no one missed me
So they won't on the day that I cease
Put a sprig of crepe jasmine with me
To remind me of New Orleans

I was standing on the sidewalk in 1945
In Jacksonville, Illinois

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Old 06-22-2011, 10:16 AM   #154 (permalink)
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back on the subway in the mornings and i cancelled my economist subscription, so i'm hammering through books right now. read a couple of good novels recently -

let the great world spin - colum mccann - it's a book about new york city centred around the guy who walked a tightrope between the world trade centre towers in 1974. it's really not about the tightrope walker, but it uses that moment to connect several stories together and paint a portrait of the city at that time. really well written. there are 11 different protagonists, and they appear as more minor characters in the stories of each other. each one is so thoroughly different that they create tensions within the book as you want to hope for the protagonist but end up seeing him/her as an antagonist in a later or earlier chapter. it was a 'heather pick', so i was hesitant at first. i enjoyed it a lot. deep characters.

cocksure - mordecai richler - this is one of the strangest books i've read in a long time. a satire on 1960's 'pop' culture and all of its associations, the main character is a canadian-born gentile at a publishing house in britain who finds deep trouble in the entertainment industry for not being jewish, and for not being an anti-establishment revolutionary. it's not so much a heavy-hitting satire as it is a mockery. he also takes aim at sexual mores, at capitalism, and at most things reverant and irreverant. it's filthy, too.

next up is vonnegut's cat's cradle. i've read many of his books, but skipped this one for some reason.
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Old 06-22-2011, 01:50 PM   #155 (permalink)
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I remember Cat's Cradle being a Vonnegut book I couldn't get into. I was probably too young, and should give it another go.
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Old 06-22-2011, 02:01 PM   #156 (permalink)
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i laughed out loud 3 times in the first 15 pages. the guy was a genius, in his own crazy way.
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:34 PM   #157 (permalink)
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Right now I'm reading "The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam" by Chris Ewan. So far it's been pretty good.

I just finished "Bicycle Diaries" by David Byrne and was kind of disappointed by it.

By far my favorite book this year was "Matterhorn" by Karl Marlantes. A great book about fighting in the Vietnam war.

"Stiff" by Mary Roach was also fun and memorable book.
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Old 07-03-2011, 02:23 AM   #158 (permalink)
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Just read The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons. It's an entertaining book. Simmons offers lots of fascinating information and insights. Great read. I highly recommend that others check it out if they get the chance. I found a copy at the local library. I'm looking forward to the day he publishes a follow up edition, because I want to see how the events of the past couple of years alter an updated version of his pyramid.
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Old 07-03-2011, 07:01 PM   #159 (permalink)
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Just read The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons. It's an entertaining book. Simmons offers lots of fascinating information and insights. Great read. I highly recommend that others check it out if they get the chance. I found a copy at the local library. I'm looking forward to the day he publishes a follow up edition, because I want to see how the events of the past couple of years alter an updated version of his pyramid.
Great book and I wanted to mention his writeup of this years finals. I know its been posted, but here it is again if you missed it: NBA Finals poker with the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat: An 8 always beats a 3 - Grantland
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Old 07-03-2011, 09:13 PM   #160 (permalink)
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Great book and I wanted to mention his writeup of this years finals. I know its been posted, but here it is again if you missed it: NBA Finals poker with the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat: An 8 always beats a 3 - Grantland
Yeah, I read that article when it was originally posted, but thanks for taking the time to post it again. I glanced over the ending again for shits and giggles. I love the comparison of Dirk to Liam Neeson in Taken ...haha

I've gone back and re-watched a number of highlight packages; it's so impressive how many 4th quarter shots Dirk made during the playoff run. Many of the shots were made during close games or when Dallas was trailing.
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