What are you reading right now? -

Troon Draugur

Stilgar of Troon. Facial Fremen-isation surgery
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CD.jpg

Been re-reading this series this last week or so, once this one's done, probably start Discworld over again or maybe the Dark Tower series
 

Chan Fan

You're the man now, dog!
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I'm reading (and have nearly finished) Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman. I am really enjoying it. I watched the first four (I think? either three or four) seasons of the show and mostly enjoyed it. What I like about the book is that it talks about her life in prison but doesn't have to make up a bunch of extra stuff to make it 'more interesting' like the show did. A very close friend of mine spent time in prison and their time was spent much closer to the book than the show. I like to hear people's stories and experiences but when they feel the need to make stuff up it takes away the magic for me. But the book is good and I would recommend it
 

Jasonfan89

Ki ki ki ma ma ma
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Micheal Chricthon's disclosure. I gotta say the novel was very ahead of its time and while there was a movie adaptation made in 94 I have a feeling it will thankfully never be remade or rebooted. Why? Well not only is it a lesser known book by him not as popular as Jurassic Park or westworld. But it's about a man accused of sexual harassment by a vindictive boss who's his ex, looking to take him down thru abuse of her power and his defense attorney is a woman who made her career as a sexual harassment lawyer for women.

In this and age of the me-too time's up era I doubt anyone in Hollywoke would dare make a sexual harassment drama where the man is innocent and it's the woman who's abusing power.
 

FitBitch

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I posted earlier in this thread about 1Q84, if you end up reading it skip the last part its literally just filler. The whole book felt like filler, there was no point. Nothing ever gets done.
Murakami does an amazing job at capturing emotions, but his plots meander and his characters are copypastes of each other. Sometimes, like with the older sister in After Dark, it's the definition of being vague just to be vague. Some books are much better than others, I recommend Colorless and Men Without Women.
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That being said, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle is one of my favorite books I've ever read.
 

Mr. ShadowCreek

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Recently fishished "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara. A historical fiction novel about the Battles of Gettysburg as seen from both sides. It mostly focused on Robert E Lee and James Longstreet for the Confederates and Joshua Chamberlain and John Buford for the Union. Learned a few new details from it and got me interested in looking some of the people in it up. If you like reading about the Civil War you're probably like this.
 

Jasonfan89

Ki ki ki ma ma ma
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In between discourseim also reading Hannibal. You may love or hate the 2001 movie but the book is way better. Given the copyright date is only a few years before the movie came out. I guess the problem is the movie was rushed into production in order to cash in the books popularity while they still could. And stretch the popularity of silence of the lambs out for just a little longer too.
 

Tiddles

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A Clive Cussler novel. The title and plot are of little importance - they're all quite similar - but it's something to do with a jungle and a race against time. As usual there's very little space devoted to character development, as most of the word count is taken up with gory detailed descriptions of antique cars engines!
 
One novel, two nonfiction books, presented in that order.

My first exposure to Lonesome Dove was the TV miniseries long ago, and that's going to necessarily cloud my view of the book. In this case, it really improved my view of the book, since I went in with a great deal of goodwill, and the ability to easily picture scenes, and also the appreciation of how the book expands on things (or rather, the stuff that was in the book that the miniseries didn't adapt). What is lost is some element of surprise, especially of tragedy.

Lonesome Dove is a masterpiece of Western - as in the genre - fiction. It's essentially about a cattle drive from the Texan border to Montana, but it ends up having several major strands/points of view (it's third person omniscient, written in a more detached style where it can easily float to any character in a scene's thoughts) and is ultimately a giant romance novel. The premise is that two retired Texas Rangers running a livery by the Mexican border decide to start the first ranch in Montana. Meanwhile, an Arkansas sheriff pursues one of their comrades and that sheriff ends up on his own Book of Job-style journey of torment when his wife leaves and he sets off after her instead. Mixed in to that is overlapping romantic interests and character drama, and people constantly getting killed off.

The book has plenty of action, in the sense of shootouts with Indians and Mexicans and the like, and it's well done, but mostly it's about the journey and the thoughts that go on character's heads and the way their past lives come back to affect them in the present day. The start of the book is some of the most impressive writing I've ever seen in terms of setting a scene, describing a place and the characters and the actions around them in incredible detail without being boring. Lord of the Rings could have taken lessons from Lonesome Dove in that regard. But it does get more sparing as things speed up. Unfortunately, it starts to get tiring near the end. I think that was in large part the Larry McMurty's intention; he batters you down just like he batters down the character, and does it through the same means, giving you their thoughts and grief. I did start to tire of the romance aspect near the end; seems like everybody's falling in love with somebody, usually the same person, and it got a little too much for my disbelief. But that's about the only gripe I have about the whole thing.

The novel is about as close to reading real life as I think I'll ever get. It and the series both are real works of art.

There's a lot I want to say about it but it'd spoil it for anybody who hasn't read and would like to. It's a massive book; I made some four or so attempts to start it, petering out a few chapters in, before I finally devoted myself to it and finished it over several months. What I'd might recommend is for you to watch the miniseries. When I watched it, I didn't like it at first. It was awful long, slow-going, and the character of Gus McCrae grated on me. (I grew to love him, and when I read the book I saw that there were aspects of his character which come across much better in print than they do in screen.) But as the series kept going I got to feeling more invested in it than most anything else I've seen. I think that if you watch the miniseries (with some willingness to put up with it being so long and slow to start) and you like it, you'd like to read the book, and watching the miniseries kind of prepares you for the sheer expanse of pages.

I had been exposed, first, to economist Bryan Caplan by a professor, in the context of some dumbass anarcho-capitalist free trade debate. Combined with Caplan being a Never Trumper "bleeding heart Libertarian" Jewboy, I had bad feelings going in. I fell in love with the author by the end.

Caplan's book is basically a giant adventure in using statistics to prove common sense. In this case, the common sense is that education in its current state is a waste of time and money. I really should emphasize that Caplan's arguments are largely common sense, and it cheapens his theory somewhat. However, he is a remarkably self-aware intellectual, and addresses that, pointing out that he's writing as much for academics/intellectuals/administrators as he is the laymen, and they reject anything not based in theory and statistics. I can't really address Caplan's numbers and I honestly didn't pay much attention to them. I'm of a mind that numbers never matter as long as you can imagine them possibly being real; unless you're in the profession and you are specifically studying the subject, better to judge work by the credibility of the man advocating it.

Now, to get back to the main point, Caplan mostly contrasts two extreme theories of education, with the goal of explaining several seeming paradoxes. Caplan's main concern is that education seems to build very few practical skills, and yet it pays extremely well in the market. The other paradox is that if education doesn't actually raise skills meaningfully, why does it pay well? And, he builds his argument around human capital purism and signalling.

Human capital purism is the view, essentially, that if education raises income, it must be, taken like gospel, that education raised productivity (we usually assume in economics that increasing productivity increases income, and that income will only increase because of productivity).

Signalling is the idea that education does not build skill, but instead signals skill. It demonstrates your competitiveness (based on various personality traits that both the market and academia favor) and thus people with more signalling get better results in the market.

Any honest person would acknowledge that there is some mixture of the two; that some payoffs to education must be actual skills and some payoffs must be signalling. Caplan does his quantitative analysis and gives his estimate for what the likely breakdown is. He believes that it's about 80/20: 80% of your returns to education is signalling, 20% actual productivity increases.

The problem is that signalling is a social dead-end. It raises your income, so as an individual, it is sensible to signal. But, signalling by necessity disadvantages everybody except for you. It's a "positional good," a thing where your benefit comes from how much you have relative to others. This is the same idea as degree inflation: if everybody has a Bachelors now, then businesses will start requiring people to have a Masters.

Caplan builds his numbers, trying to account for the actual effect of education (like isolating the effect of education on income from the effects of things which correlate with education, like intelligence) and counting up all the different ways education benefits people and hurts people, and benefits and hurts society. The conclusion he comes to is that the only education that's really of any use is literacy, numeracy, and vocational training. He (coming from an Ancap/Libertarian perspective) says that he would like to torch the whole system of public education completely, but his compromise position is to torch everything except for grade school, rework the curriculum of grade school drastically, and subsidize vocational school/legalize child labor, all of which is very based and red-pilled.

Mostly Caplan just says a lot of stuff that anybody who's not r'etarded has figured out for themselves already, though he makes an important point in that our society demonizes anybody who's open to the idea of child labor (as if a teenager being paid to be an electrician's apprentice or doctor's apprentice is in any way worse than forcing him to learn that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell) and demonizes anybody who attacks the education system head-on. What he adds to it is the numbers and the rigorous thinking to show just how massive of a loss it is to incarcerate children for some 16 years of their life teaching them nonsense.

This biography mostly disappointed and bored me. I really should have gotten a book on the war itself, but those were difficult to come by on my university's free online library, so I settled for an autobiography of the dictator. It's poorly written and does little to inculcate interest in the subject matter.

The War of the Triple Alliance, or "Paraguayan War," was the largest interstate war in Latin American history. I was first introduced to it through a mod of the same name for Age of Empires III, and it gave me an interest ever since, but not such an interest that I actually bothered to read a book on the subject or investigate it deeply for the decade + since that time. I finally decided to try to deepen my understanding.

Now, the reason why the WotTA was interesting to me is because of the total war and industrialization aspects of it and the way it gloriously lead to the near-extermination of a people. The gist of it is that Paraguay jumped Argentina and Brazil in what was basically a vanity project, attempting to intervene in a proxy war down in Uruguay (where the Paraguayan dictatorship perceived its interests were threatened) and resolve border disputes. I had the impression, somehow, that Paraguay was like a nascent Prussia-in-America, having begun a Meiji Japanese-style crash course in industrialization and the creation of a powerful army that was delivering beatdowns to the Triple Alliance (Argentina/Uruguay/Brazil). As I'll address, the book makes it out very differently. The Paraguayans, who were insanely outnumbered to a near Winter War-era-Finland degree, lost and as their land was invaded they resorted to guerrilla warfare and mobilization of the entire population. Most every country has a breaking point. Paraguay didn't. As a consequence, a massive number of people were killed - you see wide ranges of numbers, but some estimates put it as high as 90% of the males and half of the total population - to the point where it took over a century for Paraguay to recover and the Catholic Church legalized polygamy SPECIFICALLY for Paraguay to allow them to repopulate.

The War Nerd ran a good article that characterized the land well, although it does mythologize the country a bit. Basically, the Paraguayans were much more influenced by Jesuit reductions than other Spanish colonies, and they were so remote that the Guarani culture of the indios not only survived by triumphed, to where the post-Independence state was dominated by Guaranis. Their first dictator, Jose Rodriguez Gaspar de Francia, was an idealist in the vein of a Maximilien Robespierre, who was known for keeping a Spartan court where he actually refunded part of his salary and for passing MANDATORY MISCEGENATION. By the time of the War, the Paraguayan public, still majority-Guarani speaking (even at the level of the dictatorship) had turned into quite the xenophobic bunch, reliant on a trade in yerba mate tea but brimming with hatred of everybody around them, and fanatical in their devotion.


The book begins with a history of Paraguay in general, which is pretty good. It starts to get more boring when you get to Solano Lopez, the Paraguayan dictator, because there is little to say about him and the writer runs his points into the ground. His main argument is that Lopez was a narcissist and coward who had such an obsession with the concept of "honor" (in the specific context of Spanish culture) that it ultimately drove all his actions and lead him on a course of absolute control and aggression which ended in the utter destruction of his people. If we take the author at his word - and his word matches what online sources I've read have said - Lopez was a truly disgusting human being. He wasn't so much cruel in the sadistic way some dictators are, but he was still ruthless in punishing any sort of dissent, his standard of which was extremely low. He was competent at everything but tactics/strategy, and was an excellent organizer and propagandist, but his narcissism and paranoia combined to make him unable to share power with anybody, so he promoted only mediocre men and imposed his awful military "genius" on the army. Lopez was like Mega-Hitler. He was even so cowardly that he would stay as far away from the battlefield as possible, fleeing it the moment the shooting started. He always had his state-controlled newspapers, which were ALL Paraguayan newspapers, run articles praising his heroic acts (fabrications). I came to despise him, over the course of the book, more than any other man except for Saddam Hussein.

Probably most interesting is Lopez's mistress, an Irish woman, supposedly of the gentry class but suspected to have been a conniving prostitute, who used her position as de facto first lady to plunder the country and impose her tastes on the elite.

At the end, the author addresses the changes in public memory of Lopez in Paraguay. Apparently these motherfuckers still worship him even after 150 years and him getting the country destroyed. Its amazing that the Paraguayans held out until he died - even those who hated him were still loyal, for the most part - and while he was hated for a short time after the war, it was even during living memory that he was rehabilitated by Right-wing elements. I find this particularly interesting for its implications for other historical events. One can easily imagine the Showa Japanese doing the same thing in WW2, had the Emperor refused to surrender.

The problem is that the book is just badly written. The author tends to make sweeping statements about character without backing them up with examples. He repeats himself constantly. Often I found sections that just seemed like they had been spliced into the wrong place. It doesn't read well.

Whether the author just chose not to go into it or it was not this way to begin with, I didn't see much of the industrialization or militarization (beyond a shitty grand army of conscripts, later children, thrown together). I should have read a book on the military history of the war, not a biography, but I didn't like it as a biography either. I don't recommend it, and I'm going to look into some of the author's sources to try to get a better picture of what the war was actually like.

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This book by Thomas Sowell is an old, but good one. It also made me thankful that I never received a degree in Political Science. Doesn’t it get tiring talking about politics and stuff all day?
Thomas Sowell was the main factor in me going into economics as a career. I never read that one, but I read Economics Facts and Fallacies, Basic Economics, and Black Rednecks and White Liberals. I somewhat disagree with the last one - I think his comparisons of crackers and Blacks make sense, but that he overstates them - but his concept of middleman minorities is something I've thought of ever since.

Funny that for as much bile as I spew about Blacks, it was a Black man set me on my path. But he's of a different stripe.
 
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Safir

ノークレーム・ノーリターン
True & Honest Fan
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THE CASE AGAINST EDUCATION
I had been exposed, first, to economist Bryan Caplan by a professor, in the context of some dumbass anarcho-capitalist free trade debate. Combined with Caplan being a Never Trumper "bleeding heart Libertarian" Jewboy, I had bad feelings going in. I fell in love with the author by the end.
Oh look, another "fuck you, I got mine" faggot who dreams of a world run by a tiny group of people with superpowers, of which he is a member.

1. The most important payoff from education is that it tries to elevate people from an ape to a person. Anyone who doesn't value the intellectual heritage of humanity after being exposed to it should be shot like the animal it is.

2. The other important payoff is it creates a baseline of sanity. It's being constantly attacked (e.g. by troons), but it exists. How are you going to prosecute people who sincerely believe they need to feed the sun human hearts to make it rise tomorrow when the basics of astronomy are no longer taught in schools? It's like the midcentury post-apocalyptic stories in which a tiny group of scientists tries to stave off the savage hordes.

3. We already have two examples of a sub-society which do not value education: they're joggers and NY gibs yids. Anyone who honestly admires either is exceptional.

We need more education, not less. Every one of these fuckers who put xir phone in a microwave is a catastrophe, a retard given a tool xe is unqualified to wield.
 

Positron

Bovid-19. Codename: White Yak
True & Honest Fan
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I posted earlier in this thread about 1Q84, if you end up reading it skip the last part its literally just filler. The whole book felt like filler, there was no point. Nothing ever gets done.
Murakami does an amazing job at capturing emotions, but his plots meander and his characters are copypastes of each other. Sometimes, like with the older sister in After Dark, it's the definition of being vague just to be vague. Some books are much better than others, I recommend Colorless and Men Without Women.
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The "Free Space" should be "Library".
 
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I__quit

Conscious thought with a sprinkle of lye and rain.
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The Killer Department: Detective Viktor Burakov's Eight-Year Hunt for the Most Savage Serial Killer in Russian History by Robert Cullen .
 
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Oh look, another "fuck you, I got mine" faggot who dreams of a world run by a tiny group of people with superpowers, of which he is a member.
What are you talking about? Me or Caplan? How does your elitist dystopia come out of a book about slashing education spending?

1. The most important payoff from education is that it tries to elevate people from an ape to a person. Anyone who doesn't value the intellectual heritage of humanity after being exposed to it should be shot like the animal it is.
Cool, it's called the library, and you can go to it for free. (We also have a sort of magic library that you can take with you called the Internet.)

If you actually read the book, he does provide a fair bit of evidence, from educational research, that the vast majority of the school-going public retains almost nothing and it makes almost no impact on their tastes. Wonderful investment in the intellectual heritage of humanity, that is, to create massive buildings full of full-time workers to take away years of productive work hours from other people to force them to study things they don't care about that they forget about before the semester is even over.

2. The other important payoff is it creates a baseline of sanity. It's being constantly attacked (e.g. by troons), but it exists. How are you going to prosecute people who sincerely believe they need to feed the sun human hearts to make it rise tomorrow when the basics of astronomy are no longer taught in schools? It's like the midcentury post-apocalyptic stories in which a tiny group of scientists tries to stave off the savage hordes.
Because without teaching the heliocentric model it would just be completely forgotten by everybody? And then revert back to savagery for... reasons?

Does literally all of your knowledge come from public school? If it does, you must be one dumb motherfucker...

3. We already have two examples of a sub-society which do not value education: they're joggers and NY gibs yids. Anyone who honestly admires either is exceptional.
Blacks don't value hard work either. That likely has way more impact on the quality of their lives than lack of a degree does.

What do you mean by gibs yids? Jews in general? Because Jews are the most educated people on the planet. Their rate of high school dropouts is almost nonexistent and their rate of college graduation is astounding. Are you talking about Hasidics or something? As far as I'm aware they're highly educated too, albeit with way more emphasis on useless theology. Oh, I should clarify, useless JEWISH theology, not useless secular American theology.

We need more education, not less. Every one of these fuckers who put xir phone in a microwave is a catastrophe, a retard given a tool xe is unqualified to wield.
Can't say as I see the connection between reading Shakespeare and having basic technical skills. Also, prove it. I don't expect you to personally prove we need more education, I'd just like to see you cite some source and explain its argument without falling back on frothing rage. Caplan could be completely wrong, but he actually works off some numbers, instead of just following everybody else like a sheep.

Caplan actually has a good time ripping into people like you, who just buy the whole idea whole line and sinker and then get into a quasi-religious fervor whenever anybody challenges the educational system.

In summary, shoot yourself.[/QUOTE][/QUOTE]
 
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Lilly Philly Burnelli

“Hello Jew! Now turn on the ovens!” Linger longer!
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I’ve been reading Michael Gira’s short story collection, The Consumer. Readily available in PDF form if you look for it enough online because the book is out of print.

If you like really sick and depraved descriptions and situations then this collection is perfect for you.
 

bothiggedyhog

Thank fucking god its all coming to the light.
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just got done with White Oleander and keeping in tune with teen angst stories gonna move onto The Virgin Suicides
I’ve been reading Michael Gira’s short story collection, The Consumer. Readily available in PDF form if you look for it enough online because the book is out of print.

If you like really sick and depraved descriptions and situations then this collection is perfect for you.
yes please and thank you
 
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