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    Michael K.
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    Post by Michael K. Sat Feb 29, 2020 2:19 am

    Nick wrote:The Stand is the first Stephen King book I’ve ever read and it might be one of the greatest books I’ve ever read.

    So fun! I thought - like kinda all King books - that it sorta crumbled under the weight of expectation and potential at the end, but still loads of fun. Been thinking about this book lately on account of how mediocre I found HBO's The Outsider to be. Has anyone made a good screen adaptation of The Stand?
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    Post by Nick Sat Feb 29, 2020 9:01 am

    From what I read online a mini series was created based on The Stand a long time ago but doesn’t get very good reviews. But a new adaptation is supposed to be in the works.

    I have a couple books that were gifts from Xmas that I still need to read but am considering another King novel right away. Maybe either The Shining or diving into The Dark Tower series.
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    Post by Duff... Sat Feb 29, 2020 5:15 pm

    My cousin got really into The Stand miniseries a million years ago. He kept trying to turn me on to it but eh. They also used to run commericals for the book during daytime television all the time, so in my head it's closely related to Dianetics.
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    Post by BGwaves Sat Feb 29, 2020 6:38 pm

    The first gunslinger book is pretty good. It’s a short and quick read. Some really great sequences, very hallucinatory.
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    Post by Duff... Tue Mar 03, 2020 1:33 pm

    Duff... wrote:Liz Phair's Horror Stories

    This was fine (though I'm very glad to be reading fiction from someone who writes books for a living again). Barely touched the Exile years, but there was an interesting story about her S/T record. There's been a bit of a not so much reevaluation but an apology tour going on over the internet regarding the critical bashing Liz Phair took when it came out, and definitely there was a lot of sexism in the initial response, not to mention that "Extraordinary" and "Why Can't I" are pretty great pop songs. But this story is about the marketing push behind that album, how she got severe laryngitis on some crucial days where she was supposed to be pushing her new songs on TV and radio, and how despite literally not being able to sing, the performances went just fine and no one really noticed a problem, and Phair comes to the conclusion that the entire thing was an industry construction, that she was just a cog in the wheel, that anyone could have been out there. Which is frustrating to hear, because that was the main thrust of the criticism of Liz Phair's star turn in the first place. "Why is someone like Liz Phair letting The Matrix write songs for her?" was the critical sticking point at the time, and there's no reflection on that point in the book.

    Anyway I'm gonna end this post now.
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    Post by WP64 Mon Jun 22, 2020 11:42 pm

    Since quarantine started I have been doing a lot of reading. It's been great. Unfortunately I haven't made any time for fiction but I really want to read his work.

    Could anyone recommend any good twentieth-century Chicago history books? I am working on an article right now about contemporary Chicago politics and I am looking for as much background reading as possible. I am mostly interested in the politics of housing and development, the Democratic machine, and the Alderman wars triggered by Harold Washington. I am looking around for a copy of Fire on the Prairie, but it is really hard to find. Any other suggestions would be great. Thanks!
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    Post by Ned Braden Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:34 pm

    TLDR warning. But this book (Koestler's Darkness at Noon) kills:

    N. S. Rubashov’s meditations on "the swing" and theory of relative political maturity

    Koestler wrote:  “… VLADIMIR BOGROV has fallen out of the swing. A hundred and fifty years ago, the day of the storming of the Bastille, the European swing, after long inaction, again started to move. It had pushed off from tyranny with gusto; with an apparently uncheckable impetus, it had swung up towards the blue sky of freedom. For a hundred years it had risen higher and higher into the spheres of liberalism and democracy. But, see, gradually the pace slowed down, the swing neared the summit and turning-point of its course; then, after a second of immobility, it started the movement backwards, with ever-increasing speed. With the same impetus as on the way up, the swing carried its passengers back from freedom to tyranny again. He who had gazed upwards instead of clinging on, became dizzy and fell out.

     “Whoever wishes to avoid becoming dizzy must try to find out the swing’s law of motion. We seem to be faced with a pendulum movement in history, swinging from absolutism to democracy, from democracy back to absolute dictatorship.

     “The amount of individual freedom which a people may conquer and keep, depends on the degree of its political maturity. The aforementioned pendulum motion seems to indicate that the political maturing of the masses does not follow a continuous rising curve, as does the growing up of an individual, but that it is governed by more complicated laws.

     “The maturity of the masses lies in the capacity to recognize their own interests. This, however, presupposes a certain understanding of the process of production and distribution of goods. A people’s capacity to govern itself democratically is thus proportionate to the degree of its understanding of the structure and functioning of the whole social body.

     “Now, every technical improvement creates a new complication to the economic apparatus, causes the appearance of new factors and combinations, which the masses cannot penetrate for a time. Every jump of technical progress leaves the relative intellectual development of the masses a step behind, and thus causes a fall in the political-maturity thermometer. It takes sometimes tens of years, sometimes generations, for a people’s level of understanding gradually to adapt itself to the changed state of affairs, until it has recovered the same capacity for self-government as it had already possessed at a lower stage of civilization. Hence the political maturity of the masses cannot be measured by an absolute figure, but only relatively, i.e. in proportion to the stage of civilization at that moment.

     “When the level of mass-consciousness catches up with the objective state of affairs, there follows inevitably the conquest of democracy, either peaceably or by force. Until the next jump of technical civilization—the discovery of the mechanical loom, for example—again sets back the masses in a state of relative immaturity, and renders possible or even necessary the establishment of some form of absolute leadership.

     “This process might be compared to the lifting of a ship through a lock with several chambers. When it first enters a lock chamber, the ship is on a low level relative to the capacity of the chamber; it is slowly lifted up until the water-level reaches its highest point. But this grandeur is illusory, the next lock chamber is higher still, the leveling process has to start again. The walls of the lock chambers represent the objective state of control of natural forces, of the technical civilization; the water-level in the lock chamber represents the political maturity of the masses. It would be meaningless to measure the latter as an absolute height above sea-level; what counts is the relative height of the level in the lock chamber.

     “The discovery of the steam engine started a period of rapid objective progress, and, consequently, of equally rapid subjective political retrogression. The industrial era is still young in history, the discrepancy is still great between its extremely complicated economic structure and the masses’ understanding of it. Thus it is comprehensible that the relative political maturity of the nations in the first half of the twentieth century is less than it was 200 B.C. or at the end of the feudal epoch.

     “The mistake in socialist theory was to believe that the level of mass-consciousness rose constantly and steadily. Hence its helplessness before the latest swing of the pendulum, the ideological self-mutilation of the peoples. We believed that the adaptation of the masses’ conception of the world to changed circumstances was a simple process, which one co
    uld measure in years; whereas, according to all historical experience, it would have been more suitable to measure it by centuries. The peoples of Europe are still far from having mentally digested the consequences of the steam engine. The capitalist system will collapse before the masses have understood it.

     “As to the Fatherland of the Revolution, the masses there are governed by the same laws of thought as anywhere else. They have reached the next higher lock chamber, but they are still on the lowest level of the new basin. The new economic system which has taken the place of the old is even more incomprehensible to them. The laborious and painful rise must start anew. It will probably be several generations before the people manage to understand the new state of affairs, which they themselves created by the Revolution.

     “Until then, however, a democratic form of government is impossible, and the amount of individual freedom which may be accorded is even less than in other countries. Until then, our leaders are obligated to govern as though in empty space. Measured by classical liberal standards, this is not a pleasant spectacle. Yet all the horror, hypocrisy and degradation which leap to the eye are merely the visible and inevitable expression of the law described above. Woe to the fool and the aesthete who only ask how and not why. But woe also unto the opposition in a period of relative immaturity of the masses, such as this.

    “In periods of maturity it is the duty and the function of the opposition to appeal to the masses. In periods of mental immaturity, only demagogues invoke the ‘higher judgment of the people’. In such situations the opposition has two alternatives: to seize the power by a coup d’état, without being able to count on the support of the masses or in mute despair to throw themselves out of the swing—‘to die in silence’.

     “There is a third choice which is no less consistent, and which in our country has been developed into a system: the denial and suppression of one’s own conviction when there is no prospect of materializing it. As the only moral criterion which we recognize is that of social utility, the public disavowal of one’s conviction in order to remain in the Party’s ranks is obviously more honorable than the quixotism of carrying on a hopeless struggle.

     “Questions of personal pride; prejudices such as exist elsewhere against certain forms of self-abasement; personal feelings of tiredness, disgust and shame—are to be cut off root and branch….”

    “The undersigned, N. S. Rubashov, former member of the Central Committee of the Party, former Commissar of the People, former Commander of the 2nd Division of the Revolutionary Army, bearer of the Revolutionary Order for Fearlessness before the Enemy of the People, has decided, in consideration of the reasons exposed above, utterly to renounce his oppositional attitude and to denounce publicly his errors.”

    https://www.bookscool.com/en/Darkness-at-Noon-892964/1
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    Post by Nick Sun Aug 09, 2020 7:06 pm

    I finished The Dark Tower series this weekend. I started this the first week of quarantine when Amazon had the set for 50% off.

    Like anything that would cover 7 novels and thousands of pages it had ups and downs. The first few books are outstanding and the last book does a good job wrapping everything up. Though I did feel the last 200 pages were something of a depressing slog. Today was the first time in months I haven’t read it and I kind of missed Roland, Susannah, Jake & Eddie.

    King develops these characters so well over the course of the series. I do think after The Stand and now TDT I am going to find something a bit lighter to read!
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    Post by Ned Braden Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:44 pm

    ^ Stephen King is fucking awesome, and I've been meaning to get more into him for a while now. It's one of those  - E-40, The Fall, Merzbow - problems of prolificacy...   like, so many to choose from, where do I even start? Carrie and Pet Semetery are like the only ones I've read and they were both fantastic. If you have suggestions for where to pivot to next, I'd be all ears.

    Anyway, I actually came here to post this. Lindy West is a fucking national treasure. Reading Shrill right now. Only a handful of chapters in, and so far, it is utterly phenomenal. It is brilliant and well written, and it focuses on extremely timely and important matters. I know this thing was a buzz when it came out and I didn't know it existed, but that buzz was well earned imo. Oh, also, there are passages like this, wherein West posts word-for-word, a rejected press release she wrote for the band Spoon:


    Lindy West wrote:Some years ago in the past (no one knows how many for sure), a baby was born: his mother's pride, hearty and fat, with eyes like pearls and fists like very small fingered hams. That baby was named David Coverdale of Whitesnake. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world and many, many years later, an even better and newer baby came out. They called that one Britt Daniel of Spoon. The two would never meet.

    The son of an itinerant barber-surgeon (his motto: 'Oops!') and his raven-haired bride who may or may not have been Cher (she definitely wasn’t, say 'historians'), Daniel spent his formative years traversing America’s heartland, on leech duty in the back of the amputation/perm wagon. Despite mounting pressure to join the family business – 'the Daniel child's bonesaw work truly is a poem!' swooned Itinerant Barber-Surgeon's Evening Standard Digest – Daniel heard the siren song of song-singing and fled the narrow confines of his itchy-necked, blood-spattered world.

    Little is known of Daniel's whereabouts and associations in these dark interim years (when consulted for comment, David Coverdale of Whitesnake said, 'Get away from me, please’), but he emerged in 1994, saw his shadow, and formed the band Spoon, stronger and taller and more full of handsome indie rock and roll than ever before. After the great big success of 2001's Girls Can Tell, 2002's Kill the Moonlight, 2005's Gimme Fiction, and 2007's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Daniel – along with Jim Eno (inventor of the bee beard), Eric Harvey (feral child success story), and Rob Pope (white male) – birthed Transference: in Daniel's words, Spoon's 'orangest' and 'most for stoners' album yet.

    Asked about her son's new record, Daniel's mother, who is definitely 'not' Cher, quipped: Too metal!' Reached for comment on whether or not Daniel's non-Cher mother is really qualified to judge the metalness of things, David Coverdale of Whitesnake said, 'Seriously, how did you get this number?'
    I am so, so sorry, the band Spoon.
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    Post by Ned Braden Sat Aug 22, 2020 11:42 am

    Seriously, read this book.
    Book Thread - Page 20 20989310
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    Post by Nick Fri Nov 20, 2020 9:50 am

    I have not enjoyed Bolano’s The Savage Detectives. Kind of a boring slog.
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    Post by WP64 Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:41 pm

    Oh god. I absolutely loved and devoured that book. I think it is because I was the perfect age when I read it though... It probably would not have as much of an impact on me anymore. I liked 2666 a lot as well. I've always heard his best work is the short story By Night in Chile.
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    Post by C-poots Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:40 am

    I still have 2666 sitting untouched on my bookshelf. I'm reading Blood Meridian right now and the first time I tried I hated it, this time around I'm finding it fine. It feels a lot like a dark western Hemingway in its language. I like overly verbose post modernist drivel so I'm not sure I'm gonna love this but who knows.

    Has anyone tried Antkind yet?
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    Post by Gene Bootcut Fri Dec 25, 2020 5:14 pm

    Matt Zoller Seitz & Alan Sepinwall - The Sopranos Sessions

    Bought this for someone as a Christmas present but they have a long queue so I'm reading it first. At the start of lockdown it seemed the only silver lining was that I'd have so much time to read, but instead my attention span has whittled down to nothing and I haven't managed to make it more than 30 pages into anything for months. However, I did manage to watch every episode of The Sopranos and I now consider it to be one of the greatest artistic achievements of the 21st century, so maybe this could be a good way of getting back into the habit. We'll see

    This excerpt is what sold me on it and it does a much better job of capturing what the book is supposed to be than I could https://www.vulture.com/article/the-sopranos-ending-explained.html
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    Post by WP64 Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:09 pm

    Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic in late February, my life has been totally uprooted and basically postponed. The only positive about any of this is that it has given me time to read, which I have taken advantage of. So here is a list of the books that I've read in 2020:

    1. Lucio Magri - The Tailor of Ulm
    2. Eric Hobsbawm - The Age of Extremes
    3. David Harvey - Neoliberalism: A Brief Introduction
    4. Timothy Mitchell - Carbon Democracy
    5. Thomas Piketty - Capital in the Twenty-First Century
    6. Tony Judt - Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945
    7. Ira Katznelson - Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time
    8. Perry Anderson - Considerations on Western Marxism
    9. Nancy Fraser - The Old Is Dying and the New Cannot be Born
    10. Perry Anderson - In the Traces of Historical Materialism
    11. Andrew J. Diamond - Chicago On The Make: Power and Inequality in a Modern City
    12. Gary Rivlin - Fire on the Prairie: Harold Washington, Chicago Politics, and the Roots fo the Obama Presidency
    13. Partha Chatterjee - I Am The People: Reflections on Popular Sovereignty Today
    14. Michael Axworthy - Revolutionary Iran: A History of the Islamic Republic
    15. Samuel Stein - Capital City: Gentrification and the Real Estate State
    16. Grace Blakeley - The Corona Crash: How the Pandemic Will Change Capitalism
    17. George Orwell - Homage to Catalonia
    18. David Harvey - Paris: Capital of Modernity
    19. Wolfgang Streeck - Critical Encounters: Democracy, Capitalism, Ideas
    20. Isaac Deutscher - The Prophet Armed: Trotsky, 1879-1921

    And some other books that I read significant sections of (at least one third):
    1. William Cronon - Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West
    2. Kaveh Ehsani - The Social History of Labor in the Iranian Oil Industry
    3. Adam Tooze - Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World
    4. Dominic A. Pacyga - Chicago: A Biography
    5. Dick Simpson - Rogues, Rebels, and Rubber Stamps: The Politics of the Chicago City Council from 1863 to the Present
    6. Martin Meyerson & Edward C. Banfield - Politics, Planning, and the Public Interest
    7. Laleh Khalili - Sinews of Wars and Trade: Shipping and Capitalism in the Arabian Peninsula
    8. Chantal Mouffe - For a Left Populism
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    Post by Nick Thu Feb 11, 2021 7:58 pm

    I’m only 20 pages into Brian Eno’s diary A Year of Swollen Appendices and he’s thus far shit on Pulp Fiction, criticized Bowie’s organizational skills and is apparently a thousand times hornier than I somehow imagined Eno would be.
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    Post by Gene Bootcut Fri Feb 12, 2021 1:36 am

    Does he talk about the time his lung collapsed because he had sex with too many women in one day?
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    Post by jesus jones Fri Feb 12, 2021 12:20 pm

    Book Thread - Page 20 S-l640
    just started this today
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    Post by undo Mon Feb 15, 2021 6:13 pm

    If you're itching for some hot new YA/middle grade fantasy or know a reader who is, my fiancé has a new book out tomorrow.

    https://amzn.to/2NtPJhY
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    Post by Nick Mon Feb 15, 2021 8:39 pm

    undo wrote:If you're itching for some hot new YA/middle grade fantasy or know a reader who is, my fiancé has a new book out tomorrow.

    https://amzn.to/2NtPJhY

    Wow that is terrific! Congratulations!
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    Post by Duff... Sat Feb 27, 2021 6:35 pm

    undo wrote:If you're itching for some hot new YA/middle grade fantasy or know a reader who is, my fiancé has a new book out tomorrow.

    https://amzn.to/2NtPJhY

    Good for her, awesome. Also, I've not heard her referred to before that way so "congratulations", and also "I'm sorry" if this has come up before and I didn't notice.
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    Post by BGwaves Sun Feb 28, 2021 10:43 am

    Congratulations to her! That’s fantastic!
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    Post by undo Sun Feb 28, 2021 12:55 pm

    Duff... wrote:Also, I've not heard her referred to before that way so "congratulations", and also "I'm sorry" if this has come up before and I didn't notice.

    Yeah that happened in October but I never mentioned it here before now.
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    Post by WP64 Sun Feb 28, 2021 11:16 pm

    Congrats! Is the wedding black tie and when should we expect our invitations?
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    Post by Gene Bootcut Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:43 am

    Thinking of reading Eric Hobsbawm's Long 19th Century series - The Age of Revolution: Europe 1789 - 1848, The Age of Capital: 1848 - 1875, The Age of Empire: 1875 - 1914 and also The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914 - 1991. Probably quite daunting but I've been meaning to read him for years and my interest was further piqued by the excellent LRB documentary that came out yesterday https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVQ4dfC34TI

    do we have anyone who's read any of them and wants to tell me how brilliant they are?

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