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Corrente Reads Books!

a little night musing's picture

We read books: let's review them here! Leave your reviews in the comments.

Note: you need not write a long review. Just a few words telling us why you are mentioning the book can be useful. And feel free to stretch the definition of "book" if you like.

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Kick Baucus to the curb's picture
Submitted by Kick Baucus to ... on

The unruly birth of democracy and the struggle to create America by Gary B. Nash. Viking, 2005.

Short cut - Cover blurbs:

"No one who reads this compelling book will ever again call the American Revolution a conservative affair orchestrated by great white men..."

"If you have had your fill of history of the American Revolution dominated by a small group of 'founding fathers,' here is a book that peoples the stage with a vast new cast. You will never think about the Revolution in the same way..."

True, it completely changed my understanding and amazed me at how relevant it is to today.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

"princes of ireland" : historical fiction fail. yet another publishing house hack who fails to understand that character development is key to fiction writing. sorry to say this, i really wanted to like it.

"jumper" : much, much better than and nothing like the movie. forget the movie! this is a classic YA tale about growing up, coming out, etc. easy and quick read, and as the jacket says "the ultimate revenge fantasy." fun.

"the year's best science fiction" 2008. just picked it up, love it. "an eligible boy" is the short story about the future of india, re: gender specific abortions. funny. i can't wait to finish the rest. Garderner is the Man.

mojave_wolf's picture
Submitted by mojave_wolf on

I can't remember when was the last time I posted, so apologies if anything overlaps. (and hoping it's okay if we do write a lot?)

Just finished Justina Robson's "Quantum Gravity" series, a delightful four book blend of urban fantasy and science fiction centered around a cyborg named Lila (individual titles: Keeping It Real, Selling Out, Going Under, and Chasing the Dragon). One of the books had a review that called it "what Tolkien might have written if he'd dropped acid and discovered tantric sex". Don't think this is entirely on the mark (people reading these expecting lots of sex will be very disappointed, though there is lots of sensuality in a multitude of senses). I would call them more "What would happen if Phillip K Dick wrote an urban fantasy series while watching Terminator 2 and The Sarah Connor Chronicles whilst reading a book on elvish rock bands along w/a tome on demonology, if it was rewritten by Yeats or Anne Sexton or Elizabeth Bishop or W.S. Merwin ". I didn't love the final ending as much as I woulda liked, but by that point the books had built up such a reservoir of goodwill I was still mostly happy with it. This really should have gotten a bigger promotional push in the US, as it covers vaguely similar ground with a lot of stuff that has sold very, very well except this is vastly better written than most of it.

Also finished a couple of weeks ago by same author, Robson's book Mappa Mundi is incredible, a beautifully written, almost poetic techno thriller and my favorite science fiction book I've read in a long time, on a level right below Neuromancer, and at least on a par with anything else I can think of. How did this not become a best seller???? I mean, the ideas and philosophy and intellectually stimulating stuff are there, but if you don't want to you wouldn't have to stretch your brain any more than you would reading Crichton or Clancy (yes, I read them both at one point in. the far far past), and her characterization and writing style are a million times better. Should appeal to fans of Greg Bear, Vernor Vinge, Peter Watts and William Gibson, among others.

Also just finished Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas, by Elaine Pagels and Dzogchen: The Self-Perfected State, by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu.

Beyond Belief is interesting for its description of the early days of Christianity and how certain things were picked for ultimate inclusion in the canon and and why other things were left out, but if you have already covered that territory you might it a little disappointing, and if you were expecting to actually read the Gospel of Thomas, you'll be *really* disappointed, as it is not included--best bet for that is probably The Complete Gospels, which also has tons of background info on everything in it, even if I frequently don't care for their translation (I'm not a language scholar *at all*, but I know if something jars my head when I read it, and that often does; still my favorite source of scholarship on this, tho). I think there's a new book out that is supposed to be a more poetic translation of the traditional new testament which also includes The Gospel of Thomas and a couple of other things traditionally left out, but I can't recall the name right now.

Dzogchen is also valuable for its explanation of history and the differences in different Buddhist traditions and how Buddhism and Bon flowed together in Tibet. While not a meditation or practicing "how-to", it does contain enough to go on if you already have a grounding in the subject, and maybe even if you don't. Highly recommended if you're interested in studying some form of Buddhism and aren't sure which one, or if you just want a good comparative study written by a legendary practitioner of one.

Currently working my way through the Tao Te Ching.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i'm much more fascinated by the histories of religion and spirituality than i am by the actual practice of it.

and yes, long reviews are excellent.

Submitted by jawbone on

3-2, OT for Gold.

It's a nice thing for a nation which cares enough about its people to provide universal health care.

Oh, so nice for them. And the it was a well played game, last minute tie by USA. No one should be ashamed.

Maybe if we had universal health care....

(Sydney Crosby soooooo really cute...hit winning shot. Audience and players really singing out the national anthem.

Oh, Canada -- will you take us libs in? Please? We'll learn both versions. Please?

The Canadian National Anthem:

O Canada (w/ MP3)


O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Ô Canada!
Terre de nos aïeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!
Car ton bras sait porter l'épée,
Il sait porter la croix!
Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brillants exploits.
Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.)

sisterkenney's picture
Submitted by sisterkenney on

As a hockey fan, and having raised 2 daughters who learned the Canadian National anthem at the same time they learned ours, I never realized the Quebecois version was so different..always assumed it was a transliteration. Learn something new here every day :-)

Submitted by jawbone on

I studied French in HS and first year of university and my vocabulary is qutie limited. It seems more militant, no?

Where did you raise your children? Pretty neat to teach them our neighbors' anthems. Did you do our southern neighbor's as well?

Submitted by jawbone on

plus history of the anthem. French written first and initially performed in 1880, followed by several different English versions. There are Inuktitut lyrics as well.

Since 1867, "God Save the Queen" and "The Maple Leaf Forever" had been competing as unofficial national anthems in English Canada. "O Canada" joined that fray when a group of school children sang it for the tour of Canada by the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall in 1901.

There were different versions, and the Wiki article is quite interesting. How little I've known about our northern neighbors, whose health care systme I so admire...and envy!

Translation of French Lyrics

O Canada!
Land of our ancestors,
Thy brow is wreathed with a glorious
garland of flowers.
As in thy arm ready to wield the sword,
So also is it ready to carry the cross.
Thy history is an epic
Of the most brilliant exploits.
Thy valour steeped in faith
Will protect our homes and our rights
Will protect our homes and our rights.

sisterkenney's picture
Submitted by sisterkenney on

from Canada (and actually, all you Journey fans "south Detroit" is really Windsor, CA, and fans here sing along with that phrase at games with much gusto and appreciation of the error). Didn't really "teach" them the anthem, they learned it from constant exposure to the game. (I also made them take French, since I loved the language, and up here we are exposed to it more-our appliances have instructions in French and English, generally). My vocabulary has declined, especially without frequent use, but the language of the French version is quite old-fashioned, too (I see you have found the power of the Google-just read it, great stories there). As far as our southern neighbors, no hockey anthems there :-), but I love Mexico, and my children and grandchildren love it, too. (The grandbabies are studying Spanish). My parents were European, and each had command of 2 classical languages, and countless modern others. They frequently bemoaned the lack of cultural education/exposure/sensitivity they saw in the US.