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Thread: Great Non-Fiction

  1. #31
    Hi Everybody! drnick's Avatar
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    This thread's been quiet a for a while now, but I'll give this a go.

    I'm kind of a hard core non-fiction reader. I've been working my way, I have to admit slooowly, through "The Death and Life of Great American Cities", by Jane Jacobs (who recently died).

    Jane Jacobs should be the patron saint of bloggers--she didn't have any formal training in the field of urban design, but put the so-called experts of urban planning to shame by just studying how cities work in real life, instead of according to theory.

    On the lighter side I read books about trains and streetcars, because I'm a nut for anything that runs on tracks.

  2. #32
    FORTfruity applesauce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drnick;2137172;
    I've been working my way, I have to admit slooowly, through "The Death and Life of Great American Cities", by Jane Jacobs (who recently died).
    drnick, I've heard amazing things about that book and have been wanting to read it for several years. I hope to get to it someday...

    I read mostly non-fiction with some fiction thrown in there. I haven't read much of anything over the past 18 months due to super busy life, children and most of my books stuck in storage. Now that we have unpacked our ridiculously large collection, I am hell-bent on actually reading lots of books that have been waiting for me. Here is what I hope to read before Christmas:

    Currently reading "My One Night Stand with Cancer" by Tania Katan, 2 time breast cancer survivor.

    "Decoding Egyptian Hieroglyphs" by Bridget McDermott-my son is really into all of this and when I ran across this book it looked fascinating.

    "Calendar" by David Ewing Duncan - Humanity's struggle to determine a true and accurate year. I began reading this book ages ago, then packed it up last summer and it has been in storage ever since. I look forward to reading it through.

    "Positively Fifth Street" - James McManus - About a writer sent by Harper's to cover the World Series of Poker, He actually ends up playing and getting involved in a lot more than he anticipated. Again, I started reading this last year and...

    "The Art of Scandal" The Life and Times of Isabella Stewart Gardner by Douglass Shand Tucci - I've heard some interesting things about her.

  3. #33
    Hi Everybody! drnick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by applesauce;2137204;
    drnick, I've heard amazing things about that book and have been wanting to read it for several years. I hope to get to it someday...
    Reading "Life & Death of ... Cities" has been a real eye opener. When I look around at places that are nice to be and ones that aren't in my area, it really seems to jive with a lot of her points. For example, neighborhoods, streets and parks seem to really thrive when there are reasons for lots of people to be there, and to keep it busy at different times of the day.

    I see this both in the relatively boring suburbs where I live now, and in my home town of San Francisco (and considering how much 'tude those of us from "The City" have about great it is saying that a book got me to think about how it could be better is high praise indeed!).

    Quote Originally Posted by applesauce;2137204;
    "Decoding Egyptian Hieroglyphs" by Bridget McDermott-my son is really into all of this and when I ran across this book it looked fascinating.
    This sounds fun (the "dr" in "drnick" is for PhD in Linguistics). Years ago I read a book called "Reading the Past" which started with Hieroglyphics and showed how modern alphabets evolved.

    Ok, two more books I've enjoyed:

    "Metamagical Themas" by Douglas R. Hofstadter. This is ostensibly about math and science, but is really about pretty much about life the universe and everything, maybe about the human mind in particular. It's worth a read, if for nothing else, then for this Haiku:

    Twice five syllables
    Plus seven can't say much but
    That's Haiku for you.
    and, "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman" by Richard Feynman. An autobiography of a famous physicist, and really, really, funny!

  4. #34
    Aint I a lil devil? SuperBrat's Avatar
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    I still say my favorite book I have read this past year was Marley and Me: Love and Life with the World's Worst Dog. Owning a dog that is very much like Marley, I LOVED this book. I cried through the last two chapters. The author is writing a children's adaption of it, and Disney bought the film rights to it.
    Pink Elephants on Parade!

  5. #35
    Wild thang Rattus's Avatar
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    It's not likely that anyone will know this book, but I thought I'd ask for a little assistance anyway. I read a book about 15 years ago, which is why I can't remember the title, that was lent to me by a long-departed co-worker. It was the autobiography, written in the '30s, of an Inuit woman who lived, if I recall correctly, on Baffin Island. She married a man from Chicago, and after spending their first few years living on Baffin Island, they moved to Chicago where she had to adjust to a completely alien way of life. It was fascinating and I would love to read it again, if only I could remember what it was called. Is there the slightest chance that anyone else has encountered this book and can remember the name?

    Other favourite non-fiction are Shot Through the Heart by Mikal Gilmore, a book called Rats by I can't remember who (really interesting study of rat society in New York, along with some fascinating historical data), and a couple of books that I have that, surprisingly, I can't recall the names of, about disease. One is about how disease has affected the course of human civilization, and the other about how human civilization has affected the course of disease.
    All I wanted was a 45, a stinking 45 - the record or the gun. I'd even settle for the damn malt liquor. - Al Bundy.

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