Book recommendation Summary:

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Re: Book recommendation Summary:

Postby feign on Sat Sep 25, 2010 11:08 am

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I've got the first of the void trilogy on the to be read pile, just had been waiting for the last one to arrive in paperback before I picked up the others.

Re: Book recommendation Summary:

Postby larchy on Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:00 pm

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Paperwhaaa???


KINDLE!

Re: Book recommendation Summary:

Postby Defrag on Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:56 pm

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Disgusting Bliss (Biography of Chris Morris)

3/5 -- worth a read if you're a Morris miner, but I found it to be overly fawning. It's basically all of his (also very talented) mates talking in hushed tones about Chris Morris. There's not very much to be gleaned about the man himself, though I did enjoy reading the accounts of folk who'd brought him in under their management and then realised that he's on nobody's side ("Grade is a cunt") and the dilemma of contributing to programmes like the paedogeddon special.

Re: Book recommendation Summary:

Postby Kaitain on Thu Sep 30, 2010 2:54 pm

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Breaking Night by Liz Murray. Autobiographical account of the daughter of two junkies, how she grew up in the New York ghetto, ended up homeless at 16 and then somehow went to school and eventually made it to Harvard. It's a great book - I had tears in my eyes towards the end, I was really touched by the kindness of people. She's an exceptional human being - http://www.manifestliving.com is what she has devoted herself to since graduating.

Re: Book recommendation Summary:

Postby Defrag on Sat Oct 02, 2010 3:01 am

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Bad Science

Really good book about... well.. bad science. Topics include how science reporting is trivialised, misrepresented, distorted and sensationalised in the media. Plain ol' science just isn't worth writing about, so journalists selective misreport and exaggerate to crowbar in some eye-catching headlines (or just print research claims without verifying the methods or quality of the research).

The best chapter is the systematic decimation of the media's involvement in the MMR scare; it's extremely scary to read just how flimsy the evidence was versus the media reaction. 12 unethical case studies on children with (mostly) autism conducted by a doctor who was already receiving large sums of money to 'fight' against the vaccines he was objectively researching. It was basically a loose collection of anecdotal evidence that proved nothing, yet it was treated as damning. MMR is used in 90 countries and considered safe (and it was proved as safe as can be by a huge study in Denmark), yet the UK was the only one with this scare cause by one unethical arsehole and a lot of newspapers.

The sad thing is, the tactics of the lobbyist groups and arsehole editors work very well. I know a few people who fervently believe that MMR causes autism solely because of one bad piece of research. All it takes is one bold headline and several hundred newspapers and TV programmes endlessly parroting and extrapolating 'til kingdom come. There's even a section on some random 'scientist' who makes outlandish claims about his research, gets all of the papers to repeat his unverifiable claims and then... never publishes any papers for peer review. Yet the papers present people like this as "eminent authorities" and constantly mine them for sound-bites and new stories. It's appalling.

Other high notes include the scientific assassination of "Dr." Gillian "poo raker" McKeith and her ilk -- pseudo-scientific cranks who dress up their products with a thin veneer of scientific respectability -- and the 'trials' involving omega 3 oils that proved fuck all, yet were lauded in the media non-stop for years.

Warning: This book will boil your piss, but it's a great read and very interesting to see just what the reality of these situations are. What you read in the papers often bears no resemblance to the research.

Re: Book recommendation Summary:

Postby -FC- on Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:00 pm

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The Big Short - Michael Lewis

Anybody who has glanced at the business section of their local Waterstones will have seen the deluge of opportunist books retrospectively (loving that 20:20 hindsight) casting an acerbic eye over the credit crunch and the villains responsible for it.

Michael Lewis instead comes at this from a different perspective; three groups of people who independently came to the conclusion that the sub-prime mortgage bond market was built on sand and actively shorted it via credit default swaps. If you enjoyed Liars Poker then you'll probably enjoy this as well. It doesn't really have the same larger than life John Gutfreud type characters but Lewis is still brilliant at scene setting, plus the story arc is something we know all too well at this point. The slow motion car crash that takes place as the market comes to understand the implications of its own irrational behavior evokes a certain grim satisfaction.

The high note is the Las Vegas sub-prime bond traders conference where some of the 'bears' in this tale came to realise how utterly bat shit crazy most of the traders really were.

Re: Book recommendation Summary:

Postby Defrag on Tue Oct 05, 2010 10:49 pm

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Stewart Lee: How I Escaped my Certain Fate. If you're a fan of Lee or are interested in how a comedian constructs a routine, why he chose certain angles/threads/phrasings etc. then this book is absolutely excellent. I think my favourite bit was when he talks about knowingly using repetition to the point of collapse and the fact that his 5 minute repetitive bit on rappers in Comedy Vehicle (the rappers, you've seen them ... on top of the pops) resulted in 300,000 people switching channels.

If you think he's a cunt, you probably won't like the book, funnily enough.

Re: Book recommendation Summary:

Postby ~Dear Old Granny~ on Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:47 pm

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Re: Book recommendation Summary:

Postby Defrag on Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:03 pm

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I want a quillow.

Re: Book recommendation Summary:

Postby larchy on Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:20 am

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Re: Book recommendation Summary:

Postby Defrag on Sat Oct 09, 2010 11:29 pm

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Quantum Theory Can't Hurt You

My review:
Quantum Theory Can Bore You

This is about the third book I've tried to read that tried to explain Quantum Theory. The other two books weren't dedicated to it, so I saw this one and thought "aha, perhaps it can explain better". It probably does explain certain things quite well, but I just found it really borrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring. It's so abstract as to be meaningless, and there are no crayon pictures or anyfink, guv. Got about half way through and gave up. Probably down to my attention span more than anything else...

On to reading First Light now; it's sad, terrifying and inspiring in equal measures. The bit about his first night flight ... crikey.

Re: Book recommendation Summary:

Postby Quinnbeast on Sun Oct 10, 2010 2:55 am

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Warning: This book will boil your piss...


Sold. Off to Amazon I go.

I was reading an article in New Scientist that gave me a similar heated-knob sensation. A lot of it revolved around the staunch opposition to (the likes of) climate change, and in particular, the powerful US think-tanks that generate the "evidence" to back-up your average climate-change-denying "scientist". A little bit of digging will often show that the vast majority of scientific bodies that lean heavily towards denial of any real climate issues are ultimately funded by - yep, you guessed it - US energy companies! Yaaaaaaaay!

Unbiased, then.

Re: Book recommendation Summary:

Postby Defrag on Sun Oct 10, 2010 10:13 pm

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If they throw enough shit, some of it always manages to stick :/

Re: Book recommendation Summary:

Postby ParaSitius on Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:27 pm

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I 'acquired' the 20 audio books to Terry Brooks Shannara series, starting with The Word & The Void trilogy all the way up to The High Druid of Shannara trilogy.

Listening to them while I'm working and am currently on book 6, The Genesis of Shannara - The Gypsy Morph. They can be slow going at times but so far I'm enjoying them.

Re: Book recommendation Summary:

Postby stoz on Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:04 pm

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fuck's sake can't anyone recommend any decent books? i've got a vague knowledge about books but haven't got a fucking clue what you lot are on about at times.

Re: Book recommendation Summary:

Postby halo on Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:19 pm

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I'm just finishing reading The Dark Tower series by Stephen King (based on the Robert Browning poem 'Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came'.) There are definitely points in the series where it gets laborious and heavy going but persistance is rewarded because it's a great series and really well written.

The first book kind of throws you straight in at what seems like the latter stages of a life-long quest (as in the poem) with the opening line "The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." which is, as opening lines go, amongst the best for me. He then proceeds to explain very little, very slowly over the course of the whole series (which is damn well long.) But, as with the poem, the journey is the point of the story in the way that it paints the nature and the evolution of the characters as they progress through various paradoxes and versions of reality to the Dark Tower.

The conclusion (the poem doesn't even have one) is optional, with a warning prior to it advising against reading on. The story probably works better if you don't read on at that point but it's difficult to accept the lack of a nice ending to things.

I'd say it's not for everyone, particularly in the 2nd and 3rd books it takes some sticking with at times, but I really like the series and enjoyed it a lot.

Now looking for some sort of sci-fi or fantasy affair to be getting on with. I need something lighter this time around.

Re: Book recommendation Summary:

Postby Pers on Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:22 am

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Sniper One - Dan Mills.

One of the best books I've read. Fantastic account of a sniper's tour of duty in Iraq.

Re: Book recommendation Summary:

Postby Billybob on Sat Dec 04, 2010 9:18 am

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a couple of cricket books ive always wanted to read, and finally got on my birthday, both by JH Fingleton: Cricket Crisis and Brightly Fades the Don.

CC is about the Bodyline tour of 1932-33 and is one of the best cricket books ive ever read. Fingleton was one of the australian openers and a full time journalist, one of the things that really impresses you is just how good a player Bradman was, and this from a teammate who really didnt like him much.

Brightly Fades the Don is about Bradmans last Ashes tour of England in 1948, where they didnt lose a single match. ive not read this yet, but am expecting good things :)
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Re: Book recommendation Summary:

Postby Cannon_Fodda on Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:31 pm

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Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear

If you've seen Pandorum, you'll be thinking for the first 3rd ffs this is just a rip off, but by about halfway it stands up for itself.

I guess it's going to be difficult for any generation ship story that goes horribly wrong not to be compared to Pandorum now, even though there are a ton of books that cover the topic, but none were as popular so obviously won't be compared to it.

Just before this I read one of the Iain M Banks culture books, one from the middle someone recommended, so I'll be onto that series next.
Fuck the revolution.

Re: Book recommendation Summary:

Postby Defrag on Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:59 am

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Young Stalin -- Brilliant. Charts his youth, his rise through the party, the many exiles and so on. Working my way through the other Stalin books by the same guy, but they're not quite of the same quality as this one.

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