What book are you reading at the moment?

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bindeweede
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What book are you reading at the moment?

Post by bindeweede » Sun Nov 08, 2015 12:57 pm

This is a feature of some other forums I visit, so why not have it here?

I am reading "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" atm on my Kindle, and loving it. It is written with such affection and humour - a total delight to read. :thumb:

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Re: What book are you reading at the moment?

Post by Silentecho » Sun Nov 08, 2015 12:57 pm

I don't remember much about Tom Sawyer except that I enjoyed it. I think it was a class read in school.
I'm waiting for the new Jonathan Kellerman at the end of the month.
Meanwhile reading Short Story Masterpieces.

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Re: What book are you reading at the moment?

Post by panama » Sun Nov 08, 2015 12:58 pm

I got a Kindle for my birthday the other week so I'm filling it with all those classics I haven't got round to yet - or at least those that are on Amazon's "free" list.

Kipling's Puck Of Pook Hill being re-read at the moment with Rewards And Fairies in reserve. War & Peace or Cranford after that me-thinks.

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Re: What book are you reading at the moment?

Post by DrS » Sun Nov 08, 2015 12:58 pm

I love my kindle! At the moment, I'm reading Philippa Gregory's Red Queen, sequel to the White Queen. It's all a bit flowery, but the history's reasonably solid enough (apparently not the case for her Boleyn novels). But they don't come close to Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall, which was superb, and which I read before the White Queen. Sequel out in May apparently.

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Re: What book are you reading at the moment?

Post by bindeweede » Sun Nov 08, 2015 12:59 pm

I haven't finshed "Tom Sawyer" yet, though still enjoying it, but I have started a very new book by Dr Margaret McCartney - "The Patient Paradox". I've only read the first 3 chapters, but I'm finding it a very interesting read. I'll just quote a little from the back cover.

"Welcome to the world of sexed-up medicine, where patients have been turned into customers, and clinics and waiting rooms are jammed with healthy people, lured in to have their blood pressure taken, and cholesterol, smear test, bowel or breast screening done." Of course, that was not necessarily written by the Doc, although it does seem to me to be a reasonable summary of what I have read so far.

One little phrase struck me - p55. "When you replace the doctor-patient relationship with a doctor-customer relationship, there is almost no point in having a doctor in the equation."

Well, I don't know. But it does look like health provision in the UK is going to become more of a profit-driven activity.

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Re: What book are you reading at the moment?

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Sun Nov 08, 2015 12:59 pm

A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe.

I'm about halfway through,
Yes, that one.

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Re: What book are you reading at the moment?

Post by smudge » Sun Nov 08, 2015 1:01 pm

Currently reading Stephen Donaldson, A Dark and Hungry God Arises, part 3 of the Gap series.
Also Here on Earth by Tim Flannery.

Recently finished; From Democrats to Kings, the Downfall of Athens to the Epic Rise of Alexander the Great by Michael Scott (riveting history) and the First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie (refreshing, fast paced nasty fantasy). Both were just great!

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Re: What book are you reading at the moment?

Post by smudge » Sun Nov 08, 2015 1:01 pm

Finished Here On Earth by Flannery.
Disappointing. He starts off by misrepresenting Dawkin' Selfish Gene. There are good bits in it, mostly when he sticks to facts, environmental or zoological! Unfortunately, though I'd agree that we ought to look after the planet, the life on it, and we must deal with Global Warming, his wishful thinking is nothing more than that. Wanting something to be true does not make it so.

Why oh why are so many people involved in the Green Movement contaminated by woo? I find this so depressing.
:cry:


Starting;
The Closing of The Western Mind, The Rise of Faith and The Fall of Reason by Charles Freeman. It's about Constantine's adoption of Christianity, it's consequences, and the early Christians.

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Re: What book are you reading at the moment?

Post by Ketchup » Sun Nov 08, 2015 1:02 pm

My current 'can't-put-down' read is Jesus 888 by Geoff Roberts.
Jesus 888 proves the point that faith and scholarship do not make good bedfellows. It is a controversial analysis of the history of early Christianity and as such, demonstrates the huge amount of information, often totally unknown by most people, which gives a completely different slant on the Bible story as most of us know it. The significance of the historical but largely unknown Gnostic Gospels and the reasons behind St. Paul’s lack of knowledge of an earthly Jesus figure, make very uncomfortable reading for defenders of the traditional story behind Jesus the man.

To say the content of the book is controversial would be an understatement. When we read about the early Christians who denied the Virgin Birth and the bodily resurrection of Christ and even denied the very existence of Jesus as flesh and blood, then you can imagine how the whole foundation of Christianity will be rocked as more people become aware of it. The subjects covered in this book are from real history; they are not inventions of fantasy. The conclusions are drawn from the textual evidence discussed and information taken from outside the pages of the New Testament.

The Jesus of first century Palestine who was perceived by St. Paul in a vision on the road to Damascus was a very different Jesus to the wonder worker created by the writers of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This book shows conclusively, that without a profound knowledge of ancient Egypt, Greece and Persia and the history of the mystical Jewish sect of the Essenes, it is impossible to understand the true origins of the mysteries surrounding the fledgling faith.

Jesus 888 by Geoff Roberts will dispel the myths of Christianity and will appeal to fans of religious history and readers who enjoyed the uncovering of some long-held myths in The Da Vinci Code.
and when I've finished with that, waiting in line (purchased at the same time) is:

Debating Psychic Experience: Human Potential or Human Illusion?

Robert McLuhan, author of Randi's Prize, says of this book:

"Excellent survey of a fascinating subject", March 28, 2011
I found this to be a stimulating read. It's an excellent collection of essays by leading thinkers and writers on both sides of the controversy over psychic research.

Psi-researchers like Dean Radin and Rupert Sheldrake (the latter not, however, represented here) have no doubts that psi is a genuine phenomenon, while veteran sceptics like James Alcock and Ray Hyman have no doubts whatever that it isn't, and tend to think this should be obvious to any serious person. So despite their arguably robust research and penetrating arguments the parapsychologists often find themselves on the defensive.

Previous books of this kind have been rather gentlemanly affairs, with both sides showing a deference that belies the rather brutal nature of the intellectual conflict, and parapsychologists especially pulling their punches. Not here. This book crackles with tension, which makes it not just a bracing read, but gives a good sense of the depth and nature of the disagreements.

A general overview by editors Stanley Krippner and Harris L. Friedman is followed by a 'brief history of science and psychic phenomena' by Radin, then by Alcock and Hyman stating their positions. Alcock kicks off with a quotation from Alice about ' six impossible things before breakfast', underlining his conviction that psychic phenomena can't happen so they probably don't. Criticisms of lack of repeatability and methodological weaknesses seem to Alcock to be 'very reasonable', and if parapsychologists were truly interested in pursuing the truth then they should at least acknowledge this. 'It reflects a triumph of hope over experience', he says, 'that so many have continued to devote themselves to parapsychological research over such long periods of time despite both the absence of theoretical or empirical progress and the continuing rejection by mainstream science'.

Hyman reprises the position he established during the 1980s, with claims of methodological flaws, unreliable meta-analyses, inconsistencies in data, etc. In this section there are also contributions by Chris French, who espouses a moderate brand of scepticism, and by Skeptic editor Michael Shermer, with a typically trivial account of how he bamboozled unsuspecting punters by pretending to be psychic for a day.

The last essay in this section, titled 'persistent denial: a century of denying the evidence' is by Chris Carter, a writer who in recent books has taken the argument to the sceptics. Carter underlines the logical weakness of many of their arguments and exposes the ideological element in the controversy. He characterizes debunking sceptics - justifiably, in my opinion - as 'heirs of the Enlightenment, guardians of rationality who must at all costs discredit any dangerous backsliding into superstition', essentially acting as defenders of the materialist faith. He offers detailed criticisms both of Alcock and Hyman, tackling their arguments head on, and also makes a fierce attack on the debunking activities of British psychologist Richard Wiseman, particularly with regard to the now notorious affair over Jaytee 'the psychic dog', first investigated by Rupert Sheldrake.

In the second section the contributors all offer rebuttals, and this is where the sparks fly. Parapsychologists are used to criticism, and fending off attacks is part of their job description. Sceptics strangely are not, and often seem often hurt and bewildered by criticism. Carter's essay clearly struck a nerve with Alcock and Hyman, who heatedly complained they had been misunderstood and misrepresented. Readers will make what they will of the claims on both sides, but if nothing else, it's instructive to see how much more comfortable sceptics are at dishing out criticism than answering it.

A third section contains an essay by Richard Wiseman which offers some quite cogent criticisms of parapsychology as a discipline - together with some throwaway, and grossly misleading, claims about the alleged failure of early psychic research - for all of which, alas, the necessary comeback is lacking from this volume. From the other end of the spectrum there is an interesting and provocative essay by Stephan A. Schwartz, who sees psi-sceptics as bedfellows of creationists and climate-change sceptics, as related 'denier-movements'. The volume ends with short pro and anti postscripts by sci-fi writer Damien Broderick and psychologist and memory expert Elizabeth Loftus.

In summary, this is an excellent resource by some of the leading players in the field, and which gives a good snapshot of where the controversy now stands. A must for anyone who is serious about getting to grips with this fascinating subject.
~ Today is the Tomorrow you worried about Yesterday ~

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Re: What book are you reading at the moment?

Post by smudge » Sun Nov 08, 2015 1:03 pm

Just finished Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky.
What a super book!
I'm a mite uncomfortable with the authors 'faith based' leaning which becomes apparent near the end. But still, a great, thoughtful and insightful novel. Loved it.

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Re: What book are you reading at the moment?

Post by Tinkerbell » Sun Nov 08, 2015 1:04 pm

Halfway through 'Stonemouth' by Iain Banks. Very similar to his other books but a bloody good read...

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Re: What book are you reading at the moment?

Post by Zep » Sun Nov 08, 2015 1:04 pm

"And Another Thing" - Jeremy Clarkson. Unabashed rightist, pooh-pooher of anything environmental and a total lad. But a good read nonetheless.

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Re: What book are you reading at the moment?

Post by Croydon13013 » Sun Nov 08, 2015 1:05 pm

Tinkerbell wrote:Halfway through 'Stonemouth' by Iain Banks. Very similar to his other books but a bloody good read...
I wouldn't have said that there was a type of Banksie novel such that a new one could be considered "similar to his other books". Some common themes (female main character, scottish family group, etc) but none of them are in all of his books other than the main-character-is-rich-but-Banks-has-hangups-about-being-rich-so-they-have-to-suffer meme which is in just about all of them one way or another.
thIS sIGnaTure iS an

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Re: What book are you reading at the moment?

Post by chaggle » Sun Nov 08, 2015 1:06 pm

I've just finished 'Leaving the Land of Woo' for the second time as Bob Lloyd was at our Andalucia Skeptics meeting recently. I recommend it - jolly good stuff.
Don't blame me - I voted remain :con

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Re: What book are you reading at the moment?

Post by Croydon13013 » Sun Nov 08, 2015 1:06 pm

Zep wrote:"And Another Thing" - Jeremy Clarkson. Unabashed rightist, pooh-pooher of anything environmental and a total lad. But a good read nonetheless.
He is also a close friend and neighbour of Cameron, Brooks and all those other corrupt liars who live in the pocket of Murdoch. He is a columnist in the Sun; they give their friends jobs.
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