Books Thread

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beantownbubba
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Re: Books Thread

Post by beantownbubba »

chuckrh wrote:
Fri Sep 30, 2022 6:52 pm
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It's not like I was unaware going in, but damn a thousand is a lot of pages, lol. The way I see it, I could have read 3 pretty good to excellent books for the same investment of time as it took to read this one good but flawed book. I"m glad I read it because I really enjoy the series but there was no way it needed to be that long.

I was intrigued by the several mentions of transgender "politics." It seemed to me that Galbraith was attempting to either justify her position or settle scores but i'm not familiar enough with the "scandal" to know which and was not motivated to figure it out. Her use of social media communications was pretty clever and inventive, probably the best I've seen, but man oh man was it hard to read (up to 3 vertical columns on a page).

Worth reading if you're a fan of the series or of Rowling and probably worth reading if you're a fan of good mystery writing but just be aware you'll be making a significant commitment lol.
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chuckrh
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Re: Books Thread

Post by chuckrh »

beantownbubba wrote:
Tue Dec 06, 2022 2:46 pm
chuckrh wrote:
Fri Sep 30, 2022 6:52 pm
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It's not like I was unaware going in, but damn a thousand is a lot of pages, lol. The way I see it, I could have read 3 pretty good to excellent books for the same investment of time as it took to read this one good but flawed book. I"m glad I read it because I really enjoy the series but there was no way it needed to be that long.

I was intrigued by the several mentions of transgender "politics." It seemed to me that Galbraith was attempting to either justify her position or settle scores but i'm not familiar enough with the "scandal" to know which and was not motivated to figure it out. Her use of social media communications was pretty clever and inventive, probably the best I've seen, but man oh man was it hard to read (up to 3 vertical columns on a page).

Worth reading if you're a fan of the series or of Rowling and probably worth reading if you're a fan of good mystery writing but just be aware you'll be making a significant commitment lol.
Ya, it was a slog. Least of the series, IMHO. The vertical columns thing drove me crazy (crazier).

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Re: Books Thread

Post by chuckrh »

Pretty good Grisham although the ending felt rushed. That's often an issue with him. The story was good though.
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Re: Books Thread

Post by jr29 »

Steve Gorman book about the Black Crowes. I love a smutty rock tell all.

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Re: Books Thread

Post by John A Arkansawyer »

I was looking for a used copy of Ehrenreich's Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy (also highly recommended) when this book got in my face:

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It is one hell of a memoir of her [spoiler alert!] inconclusive search for The Other. Give it a read.
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Re: Books Thread

Post by John A Arkansawyer »

I've also done some music-related reading lately:

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Re: Books Thread

Post by beantownbubba »

What the heck, John A??!! Did you actually read books by black authors in months other than February? How subversive!
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Re: Books Thread

Post by John A Arkansawyer »

beantownbubba wrote:
Fri Feb 03, 2023 5:46 am
What the heck, John A??!! Did you actually read books by black authors in months other than February? How subversive!
I'm a rebel. ;-) The question of whether our choir should be performing spirituals came up, so I took the opportunity to revisit Cone and learn Thurman.
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beantownbubba
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Re: Books Thread

Post by beantownbubba »

John A Arkansawyer wrote:
Fri Feb 03, 2023 8:28 am
beantownbubba wrote:
Fri Feb 03, 2023 5:46 am
What the heck, John A??!! Did you actually read books by black authors in months other than February? How subversive!
I'm a rebel. ;-) The question of whether our choir should be performing spirituals came up, so I took the opportunity to revisit Cone and learn Thurman.
When I was in Paris about 10 days ago, there were still posters up advertising a tour by a "real, authentic" Black American gospel choir, including a performance at a church on Christmas Day. If the number of posters and the number of advertised appearances were any indication, there was a lot of interest,
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Re: Books Thread

Post by John A Arkansawyer »

beantownbubba wrote:
Fri Feb 03, 2023 9:24 am
John A Arkansawyer wrote:
Fri Feb 03, 2023 8:28 am

I'm a rebel. ;-) The question of whether our choir should be performing spirituals came up, so I took the opportunity to revisit Cone and learn Thurman.
When I was in Paris about 10 days ago, there were still posters up advertising a tour by a "real, authentic" Black American gospel choir, including a performance at a church on Christmas Day. If the number of posters and the number of advertised appearances were any indication, there was a lot of interest,
I'm sure there was. But it's a little different when an all-white choir is singing to a nearly all-white audience. Those particular songs came out of the harrowing experience of slavery--the sorrow songs, DuBois (my next author to read) called them. They deserve extra care in performance.

Oddly enough, I feel differently about the songs that have been cycled through the popularization process of the gospel blues. They've become seculars rather than spirituals at that point, for me. The song in question for us is Trimmed and Burning. Here's what I thought:

We had an interesting discussion at practice about "Trimmed and Burning" last Wednesday. I'd been thinking about the song, which is a great favorite of mine. So I decided to organize what I knew and thought I knew about it. Turns out I know a narrow lot.

What I think I know: This song can be traced back to an older song, "Don' Git Weary", which was in the repertoire of the Fisk singers as early as 1874. I still haven't found that recording on line. Its first appearance I can find as "Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning" is Blind Willie Johnson's version in 1928: . It's sung as a duet with Johnson's wife, Billie Harris.

It next turns up (for me and my limited research abilities) in the late fifties, but I assume the song was being played in the meantime. The most known version is (probably) Rev. Gary Davis' version from 1956: . Mississippi Fred McDowell recorded it in 1959, but it's Davis' version which is the base from which most later blues versions grow, most likely because Davis was also a teacher with a who's-who list of students.

Other things were happening as well. The song "Children, Don't Get Weary" also kept being performed. Here's an awesome version from Bessie Griffin and the Gospel Pearls in 1959: . It's notable that when Jesus is crucified in this song, he is "hung upon a tree". Those of us who know James Cone's "The Cross and the Lynching Tree" aren't surprised by that detail.

"Children, Don't Get Weary" next turns up in the movie Up Tight, set against the backdrop of Martin King's murder. Judy Clay is backed here by Booker T & the MG's. I gather this song has been sampled and used in something more current. Again, a man dies "upon a tree", but it's not clear to me who the man is--Jesus, King, or a character in the movie:

About this time the band Hot Tuna was becoming popular. Their version of "Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning" is the one I imprinted on, specifically this version: . It's very much Rev. Davis' version arranged for a band and, much as I love unadorned folk blues and country blues, it remains my personal favorite. That's not a critical judgement on anything but perhaps my own tastes.

The version that's currently best known is, I think, the Trucks-Tedeschi version, simply because they are touring continually and playing it. It goes back to the Blind Willie Johnson version: .

And finally, what has a good chance of becoming my new favorite version, because it's completely new! It makes me want to pick my bass back up. I don't know who Ange Smith and Don Mayberry are, but they just kill me: . Dig how much they squeeze into less than three minutes! I'm on the lookout for this record now. So I've learned at least one thing.

I think "Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning" is, or has become, a separate song from "Children, Don't Get Weary". "Children" is more a spiritual than anything else.

"Trimmed and Burning" has a double identity. It's a gospel blues in one arrangement and it's a spiritual in another. "Trimmed and Burning" has, in various versions, the "work" being done and the "world" being done. Both seem authentic to me, and there are other versions. There's one place where we might think about what we really need this song to say. There may be others. The song bears a certain amount of variation without losing its heart.

Some of this I knew, or kind of knew, and some of it is totally new to me—just like this song being a spiritual is new to me just this year! I wish I knew more about the history of this song's choral arrangements. I'm lost outside the world of popular music.
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Clams
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Re: Books Thread

Post by Clams »

A friend bought me the Jann Wenner autobiography. Just started it.
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Re: Books Thread

Post by Sterling Bigmouth »

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Received a copy of this as a gift, and have been reading over the last few weeks. Finally finished it yesterday. I don’t have much to add apart from what’s already been discussed, but I thought it was very well written and worth the time.

I’ve also been reading a lot of Steinbeck lately. For some reason In Dubious Battle stood out as a particularly affecting novel, and more relevant than ever.
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Re: Books Thread

Post by John A Arkansawyer »

Clams wrote:
Sat Feb 04, 2023 11:47 am
A friend bought me the Jann Wenner autobiography. Just started it.
I'm told the authorized biography, which Wenner hated, is much more accurate and--in the dirty parts--just as entertaining.
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chuckrh
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Re: Books Thread

Post by chuckrh »

Book 2 of a fantasy series, a new path for James Rollins. Both books are quite good (I'm half done with this one).
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Re: Books Thread

Post by jr29 »

New Leon Russell biography, "Leon Russell: The Master of Space and Time's Journey Through Rock and Roll" by Bill Janovitz.
Maybe my favorite rock bio ever.

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Re: Books Thread

Post by beantownbubba »

jr29 wrote:
Fri Mar 31, 2023 4:46 pm
New Leon Russell biography, "Leon Russell: The Master of Space and Time's Journey Through Rock and Roll" by Bill Janovitz.
Maybe my favorite rock bio ever.
I just may have to check that out.

In anticipation of Martin Cruz Smith's next Renko novel coming out in a few weeks, I figured I'd catch up w/ the last one, which I missed originally. The Siberian Dilemma was disappointing despite some excellent scenes but it was more or less redeemed by the fact that the job of one of the characters is as a "factotum." Great word.

Desert Star by Michael Connelly is good and an enjoyable read but does not reach the heights of his best work.

By contrast, Louise Penny's latest, A World of Curiosities is one of the best entries in her long running Gamache series despite making some serious demands on one's ability to suspend disbelief. A real delight, the kind of book that makes you just a little bit sad when it's over.
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Re: Books Thread

Post by brettac1 »

jr29 wrote:
Fri Mar 31, 2023 4:46 pm
New Leon Russell biography, "Leon Russell: The Master of Space and Time's Journey Through Rock and Roll" by Bill Janovitz.
Maybe my favorite rock bio ever.
This sounds awesome!
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chuckrh
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Re: Books Thread

Post by chuckrh »

good stuff
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Re: Books Thread

Post by beantownbubba »

Looking forward to reading this one. My library doesn't even have a waiting list for it yet, much less actual copies. I'm not sure what that's about. In retrospect, seeing Letty grow up over the years has been a real pleasure of Sandford's writing.
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Re: Books Thread

Post by chuckrh »

beantownbubba wrote:
Fri Apr 21, 2023 9:33 am
Looking forward to reading this one. My library doesn't even have a waiting list for it yet, much less actual copies. I'm not sure what that's about. In retrospect, seeing Letty grow up over the years has been a real pleasure of Sandford's writing.
In case you missed it there's another Letty book "The Investigator" that was quite good. "Dark Angel" was a good read.

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Re: Books Thread

Post by beantownbubba »

chuckrh wrote:
Sat Apr 22, 2023 6:23 am
beantownbubba wrote:
Fri Apr 21, 2023 9:33 am
Looking forward to reading this one. My library doesn't even have a waiting list for it yet, much less actual copies. I'm not sure what that's about. In retrospect, seeing Letty grow up over the years has been a real pleasure of Sandford's writing.
In case you missed it there's another Letty book "The Investigator" that was quite good. "Dark Angel" was a good read.
Yes, I read The Investigator. I enjoyed it while still thinking Sandford's approach to the character is a work in progress, yet one more reason to look forward to Dark Angel.
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Re: Books Thread

Post by beantownbubba »

So it turns out that the Library of Congress is publishing its own series of mysteries, focusing on "forgotten classics" which I interpret to mean books on which the copyright has expired. There are 3 books out so far of which I've read one, A Gentle Murder by Dorothy Salisbury Davis. This one was good enough that I am chagrined I'd not previously heard of either the author or the book and I will seek out at least one more in the series.
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Re: Books Thread

Post by beantownbubba »

The Red Queen by Juan Gomez-Jurado. Excellent and apparently the first in a trilogy. Needless to say I look forward to the next two (already published in Spain, not sure yet of the US status). Bonus: Excellent translation. Which raises the question how can one know if a translation is any good unless one is fluent in the other language and reads the book in both languages? I'm not sure; I think it has to do with the flow and the use of colloquialisms that are probably not exact translations but sound right and what feels like the appropriate use of the right synonyms especially when it comes to curses, body parts and the like. In any case, it reads very smoothly and engagingly in English.

BTW, the premise will make a lot more sense to Spaniards or Europeans who are familiar with the Spanish/European law enforcement bureaucracy but it doesn't take anything away from the story and i suspect most Americans (including me) can get it even if we don't get all the subtleties.
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chuckrh
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Re: Books Thread

Post by chuckrh »

Part 2 of Don Winslow's trilogy about the mob in Rhode Island. Great stuff & a fine writer. Can't wait for the finale!

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Re: Books Thread

Post by beantownbubba »

chuckrh wrote:
Sat Apr 29, 2023 7:09 am
Part 2 of Don Winslow's trilogy about the mob in Rhode Island. Great stuff & a fine writer. Can't wait for the finale!
Yeah, looking forward to this one (and the finale). As always, it's a long line at our library.
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Re: Books Thread

Post by beantownbubba »

chuckrh wrote:
Sat Apr 29, 2023 7:09 am
Part 2 of Don Winslow's trilogy about the mob in Rhode Island. Great stuff & a fine writer. Can't wait for the finale!
Agreed. Great stuff and a terrific read. Except for the last scene which i thought was disappointing. But still, really really enjoyed this one (no surprise) and look forward to the next. I even read the excerpt from the next book which i virtually never do because i didn't want the book to end.
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Re: Books Thread

Post by brettac1 »

I posted a podcast ep he was on in the "what are you listening to" thread but here's an article jimmyjack wrote about the new Steely Dan book:

https://www.talkhouse.com/on-exploring- ... teely-dan/

Also, you can get the book 40% off at the UT Press website (as well as Where the Devil Don't Stay):

https://utpress.utexas.edu/978147732499 ... criminals/
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Re: Books Thread

Post by Beaverdam »

I am rereading On The Road by Jack Kerouac. I received the book in the mid-90’s as a high school student and read in late high school/early college. I think that it’s so intriguing to read now through an adult lens…I guess the same could be said of many books!

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Re: Books Thread

Post by beantownbubba »

Jordan Harper apparently wrote one mystery before Everybody Knows but I had never heard of him or it when I picked this one up And boy was I surprised. Excellent. LA noir for the 21st century. Wonderful writing. I'd have to reach pretty deep to find anything to criticize about this so I won't. Highly recommended.

If you like financial thrillers, check out Wealth Management by Edward Zuckerman. He knows his milieu, whether that's financial markets or Geneva, and he spins a nice yarn. Characters are a little bit stock but for a first novel more than acceptable. Very good, just not in Harper's class at least not yet.
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Re: Books Thread

Post by Tequila Cowboy »

After fifteen years, I finally got around to FDR by Jean Edward Smith. Considered by many to be the definitive biography, I've known of it but never had the time. Lately, I've been into audiobooks when I walk and in the house when Beth is working (her office is in the middle of the house), so I dove in. Generally, I'm pretty well versed in FDR, having read six or seven books about him directly, his Presidency, and, in the case of No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin, the partnership between him and Eleanor. Even with that background, I learned something from this book.

Smith’s real accomplishment here is in the period between 1904-1932, a time that's usually dealt with quickly in other works. To me, FDR’s real talent was in his empathy, and learning how he got to become that man is fascinating. He also adds elements of his Presidency that haven't been dissected in great detail. The court-packing debacle of 1937 us one of these. Even if you think you know this man and the surrounding history, you’ll get something out this excellent biography.

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