Author Topic: What are you reading?  (Read 188996 times)

CADmonkey

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #30 on: August 17, 2014, 07:41:40 PM »
"Our kahki is dirty and stained, and our packs are heavy; but our rifles are clean and well-oiled as we plod along the road to our 'spell in.'  Our faces are red, as the rain drips down from our bonnets and runs down our cheeks or drops from our noses.  We don't look like a bunch of 'bleedin' 'eroes,' but we are not at all downhearted."

- Private J.P. Baston, 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 1916

Finished At the Sharp End today, and I'll be moving on to the second volume in a while, but I'll tackle some other books first.

I think that the next will be Logan's Run, I came across a  copy in a used book store (1976 with art from the movie posters on the cover) and since the Podcast at Ground Zero guys are going to be discussing it soon, I thought I'd give it a read.

I've also added Tim Cook's The Madman and the Butcher: the Sensational Wars of Sam Hughes and General Arthur Currie to my to-read list.  I enjoyed Cook's writing in At the Sharp End and the glimpses of Hughes' horrible behaviour therein, so it's now sitting on my bookshelf.
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CADmonkey

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #31 on: August 23, 2014, 08:24:02 PM »
So I finished Logan's Run mid-week.  It was quite pacy and had some interesting elements about 60's fears of overpopulation and youth revolt, but there wasn't much story there in the end.  It's mostly Logan running from exotic location to exotic location, getting caught in deathtraps and escaping at the last moment, and a rather cheezy reveal at the end "surprise! I was Ballard all along!".

Now I'm taking a little break from from my regular diet of science fiction, war and crime to read some Truman Capote: Breakfast at Tiffany's: A Short Novel and Three Stories.
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CADmonkey

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #32 on: August 25, 2014, 10:08:07 AM »
And now back to crime.  I've started reading Robert Kolker’s Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery.  I mentioned reading a review of this book earlier in the thread, and here it is:

Quote
How crime apathy can empower a serial killer

This is a good and brave book and one that, if you’re anything like me, will make you hate yourself just a little bit.

I’m a news reporter. From time to time, I report on crime. It can’t be avoided.

Every day, my e-mail inbox piles up with press releases from police departments across the country.

The majority concern missing-persons cases. Toronto alone can send up to 10 missing-persons reports a day.

For the most part, I ignore them. And so does everyone else. Usually, the missing turn up within 48 hours. Often the press releases refer to “high-risk behaviour,” meaning they’re probably a drug addict or a prostitute or both, so, wink-wink, this isn’t out of the ordinary. Just folks on the margins of society who haven’t checked in lately.

Robert Kolker’s Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery is the story of how that apathy can empower a serial killer.

On Dec. 10, 2010, a Suffolk County Police officer searching for a missing prostitute named Shannan Gilbert discovered a set of human remains along Ocean Parkway, a scenic highway stretching the length of Jones Beach Island located off Long Island’s southern shore. Two days later, police found three more skeletons in the same area, but there was no Shannan Gilbert among them. They hadn’t even been looking for the four women they found that week. No one had, aside from a few family members whom everyone ignored.

Despite clear evidence of a serial killer, or killers, using the area as a dumpsite for dead women, Suffolk County Police seemed reluctant to continue the search for Ms. Gilbert, the one woman they knew for sure had disappeared in the area. She was a prostitute.

Prostitutes lead transient, high-risk lives. She could be anywhere, dead or alive. Let’s all just move along.

When, on Dec. 6, 2011, they sent one last phalanx of searchers into a briny marsh armed with dogs, metal detectors and weed whackers, a TV crewman waiting on the proceedings crudely summed up the attitude of many involved: “I can’t believe they’re doing all this for a whore.”

Gilbert’s body turned up a few days later. The truth did not. The case remains open. Utter indifference on the part of multiple law enforcement agencies doomed it from the start. Missing persons reports were dismissed. Leads were not followed.

This may sound a little familiar. If you live in Vancouver or Prince George or Edmonton or Winnipeg or any of a hundred other North American cities where cases of missing and murdered woman have been ignored, you know there is a chronic problem not just with protecting marginalized women from harm, but with seriously investigating once harm strikes.

The rise of websites like Craigslist and Backpage.com have mitigated some dangers of the job while amplifying others, argues Kolker, a New York magazine contributing editor.

The Internet is replacing middlemen in many facets of the sex trade, freeing prostitutes from the abuse and enslavement inherent in those relationships.

At the same time, the brutal old way of doing business offered some shred of a safety net. Word of missing women or violent customers travelled across of a network of sex-trade workers, just like office gossip spreads across any other workplace.

A prostitute’s handlers could put the boots to aggressive clients, send out search parties for missing girls.

Now, “escorts can work from a hotel with a laptop, or in a car on a smartphone. Alone,” Kolker writes. “A missing girl is missing only to the people who notice.”

Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews, Kolker retraces the lives of the five women whose bodies were found on Long Island – their personalities, their loves, their silly habits, their addictions. His ability to animate their lives is bedrock of this book, more a work of victim analysis than police procedural.

It is a noble approach, and one that can easily bring out the worst in readers. For me, the five women began to blend, their individuality lost in tale after tale of neglected upbringing, abuse, shattered dreams, addiction and ignorance.

Sad, tragic lives; sad, tragic deaths. Such a cavalcade of sorrow tests our compassion. I began ignoring details, scanning over pages, demonstrating the same sort of dismissiveness as the bungling investigators.

Luckily, Kolker is not so callous. His tireless reporting has done for the Long Island case what Stevie Cameron did for the Robert Pickton murders: created a full, agonizing account of a horrible murder case involving neglected women that tells us bad things about ourselves.

It also offers an implied argument for the regulation of prostitution, so that government could mandate the humanity that society seems so incapable of.

Until something changes, laws and mores will force them to continue seeking out the technological margins, out of our sight, out of our minds – exactly what the killers count on.

Patrick White is a reporter for The Globe and Mail.
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Thorn

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #33 on: August 27, 2014, 08:19:58 PM »
I'm re-reading Jonathan Mayberry's YA title Rot and Ruin.  I read the book a year or so ago for a student book club at my old school.  Now that I'm teaching in an alternative school I thought this might be a good book to get reluctant readers to tackle.  So far so good.  After we finish this book I'm going to try to work in Tim O'Brain's The Things They Carried.

CADmonkey

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #34 on: September 07, 2014, 10:04:27 PM »
I finished Lost Girls last weekend and I've been catching up on my backlog of architectural magazines since.

Lost Girls was a very good book, well researched and well written.  And unlike many true crime books, it didn't obsess over forensic details or fixate on the serial killer or killers.  Instead Kolker paints a detailed and heartbreaking portrait of the victims and their families, which places this book well above the norm in the true crime genre.

In my magazines, I'm going through the August/September issue of Mark right now.  This issue has a perspective section on China, with interviews with four contemporary Chinese Architects, rather interesting.
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trinite

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #35 on: September 08, 2014, 12:28:59 PM »
Having finished April 1865 and Burke Davis's Sherman's March, I've decided to dive into the Big Kahuna: Shelby Foote's The Civil War: A Narrative. I'm on page 47 of volume 1, and I've already learned fascinating new stuff about Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln. It's great. And the War hasn't even started yet.
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PirateLawyer

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #36 on: September 08, 2014, 08:52:16 PM »
Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway.  A great romp with some serious ideas behind its slick facade, and if you can't use it as a gaming resource you're not trying hard enough.

Teuthic

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #37 on: September 08, 2014, 10:39:46 PM »
Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway.  A great romp with some serious ideas behind its slick facade, and if you can't use it as a gaming resource you're not trying hard enough.

Nick Harkaway's pretty great! I love that the book is one long tract about the philosophy of identity. I just picked up Acceptance by Jeff Vandermeer: I'm curious to see what'll happen with Area X.

CADmonkey

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #38 on: September 27, 2014, 06:54:04 PM »
Just finished Charlotte Gray's The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Country a bit of historical true-crime: the story of an English housemaid  killing her employer after he allegedly tried to "ruin her", and her subsequent trial.  In addition to the true-crime story itself, it's an interesting look into gender, class & racial politics in the Canada of a century ago.

And in my recent trip to Montreal, I visited the CCA and picked up:



So I've added Bodoni's Manuale Tipografico and Detail publications Facade Construction Manual, best of DETAIL Glass & Innovative Design + Construction to my to-read list.
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clockworkjoe

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #39 on: September 27, 2014, 10:32:37 PM »
I just finished Night Voices, Night Journeys which I bought back in 2005 but never finished because the first story was pretty bad http://www.kurodahan.com/mt/e/catalog/j0010cate.html

However, pretty much every story after it is better and there are a few gems in it. Only for the hardcore mythos completionists though

Started into Unruly Places, which a listener recommended. Seems pretty good so far.

CADmonkey

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #40 on: October 26, 2014, 04:19:47 PM »
I started listening to the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast a while ago, and I decided to re-read Lovecraft's The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath before listening to their review.  Man, that was a slog.  I had forgotten how longwinded, verbose and rambling that story is.  But at least now I know why: Lovecraft wrote the story, decided that he didn't like it, put it away and never touched it again.  Dream-Quest is a first draft, no re-writes, no editing, nothing but that first draft.

Now I'm reading Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life, an examination of the roles that European diseases, climate, and Canadian political policy had in the deaths and subjugation of thousands of Aboriginal peoples in the Canadian West.  It's been called "Required Reading for All Canadians" and somewhat ironically, the author is coming to town to receive the Sir John A. Macdonald Prize from the Governor General.  Sir John A. Macdonald being the Prime Minister who enacted those policies which saw so many Aboriginal people die from disease and starvation.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2014, 05:57:52 PM by CADmonkey »
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PirateLawyer

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #41 on: October 30, 2014, 05:34:56 PM »
William Gibson has a new novel out. Do I need to draw a diagram?  ;)

Kamen

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #42 on: November 11, 2014, 11:56:27 AM »
I actually got a signed copy of Mr. Gibson's new book, The Peripheral, but have not read it yet mainly due to my reading Dracula as a refresher for the Dracula Dossier, which I'm super excited for.

Thorn

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #43 on: November 11, 2014, 05:41:27 PM »
Glad to see I'm not the only one.  Last time I taught Dracula I printed out a map of Europe and we plotted the story's location with thumb tacks.

Telivan

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #44 on: November 22, 2014, 12:07:49 AM »
Hey everybody, first post here on the forums.

I've been getting back into reading sci-fi after my reading lull of the last two years. Recently finished Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination and have started reading The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson(thanks to Tom for the recommendation). I also have Gateway by Frederik Pohl lined up to read afterwards.