What's on your reading/listening list?

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November 3rd, 2017 at 2:08:32 PM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 345
Posts: 12536
I'm now on a podcast about the Trojan War. The author really lays on the background. The infamous "Judgment of Paris" comes in chapter 4 (I'm on chapter 3).

Personally, I find it less believable that a confederation of Greek cities would remain united in purpose for ten years of war to save the honor of the king of Sparta, than the various appearances by the gods through the story. I mean, the latter is infinitesimally unlikely, like 1/10^10^10^10000000000000000000 or so. The former is flat-out impossible.
Donald Trump is a fucking liar
November 11th, 2017 at 11:44:07 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 345
Posts: 12536
I've still a few chapters to go on the Trojan War.

I knew the gist of it and, in spite of never having read the Iliad, some of the details as well. Having come to know the larger details by now, some things re rather clear:

1) Handwavium is really old. the old Greeks used it well, but it remains handwavium. So there is an explanation as to why powerful Greek kings would rally to avenge Menelaus's honor, and why the war could last ten years, and why it went from prolonged siege to active war, etc., and you only need a regular construction crane to suspend your disbelief.

2) The Greeks were either assholes or douchebags; except for Odysseus who was an enabler of assholes and douchebags.

3) the Trojans were probably assholes or douchebags as well, but the story doesn't dwell too much on them. Paris certainly was, and a coward to boot. Hector comes off rather well, with only some douchebag tendencies.

4) Achilles was an inhuman monster. Thetis should have drowned him at birth (of course, Thetis has issues of her own).

5) The worst human character,a s depicted, is Agamemnon.

6) The Olympian deities approach the Bible god in cruelty and capriciousness.

7) the ancient world was a sucky, sucky, sucky place to live.
Donald Trump is a fucking liar
November 16th, 2017 at 8:04:49 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 345
Posts: 12536
Closing thoughts on the Trojan War:

Off screen voice: Agamemnon! After sacrificing your daughter to Artemis, engaging in childish feuds that cost the lives of thousands of soldiers, seeing Achilles and Ajax perish ignominiously, and having spent the last ten years on the Plains of Troy, you've finally won and found out the magnificent Trojan Treasury you've dangled as a carrot in front of your 100,000 men is nowhere to be found! What are you going to do now?

Agamemnon: We found and liberated Helen!

Odysseus: No one really gave a damn about that, you know.

Agamemnon: Menelaus did!

Off screen voice: No one who matters. Agamemnon! What are you going to do now?

Agamemnon: What do you think? head home, and hope as many men as possible die on the voyage so there will be that many fewer troublemakers to sack and pillage Mycene!

Off screen voice: Would you say getting Helen back to Sparta was worth it?

Agamemnon: Oh, fuck off!

Odysseus: Have a good trip, pal. I'll hang around here a few days.
Donald Trump is a fucking liar
November 21st, 2017 at 8:50:11 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 345
Posts: 12536
I'm reading Jared Diamond's "Collapse," the sequel, of sorts, to "Guns, Germs and Steel."

I'd no idea Montana has so many environmental and social problems.
Donald Trump is a fucking liar
June 26th, 2018 at 10:49:03 AM permalink
ams288
Member since: Apr 21, 2016
Threads: 15
Posts: 3413
Currently reading The Shining.

It's amazing to me how much Stephen King's writing has changed over the years. His newer books are much easier* reads. Shorter chapters. More dialogue. Is it because humanity in general has gotten dumber over the past few decades?

*Not that The Shining is a difficult read. It just seems to focus more on character and is much more descriptive than his newer books.
In order to insult me, I must first value your opinion
June 26th, 2018 at 11:50:55 AM permalink
terapined
Member since: Aug 6, 2014
Threads: 44
Posts: 4261
Just finished Fare Thee Well: The Final Chapter of the Grateful Dead's Long, Strange Trip
Its about the Grateful dead after Jerry Garcia passed away
Unfortunately the band and their wives can be pretty cruel to each other the last 20 years. Fortunately they were able to put aside there differences for the 50'th anniversary shows in Chicago in 2015 I attended. Most shocking revelation from the book. Final show of the 1999 tour, Phil Lesh wanted more money and demanded that Bruce Hornsby be demoted from band partner to hired musician

Currently reading the Obsidian Chamber by Preston and Child
Another FBI agent Pendergast novel
Sometimes we live no particular way but our own - Grateful Dead "Eyes of the World"
August 19th, 2018 at 12:15:53 PM permalink
JimRockford
Member since: Sep 18, 2015
Threads: 2
Posts: 445
I had not heard of John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley In Search of America until EB mentioned it in another thread. Thank you Evenbob, it was a pleasure to read. In 1960 Steinbeck set out in a pickup with a camper top to drive throughout the USA and explore the depth and character of rural America accompanied by his French poodle, Charley. JS has been criticized for making up some of the characters and dialogue. There is no doubt that the book is partially fiction, but I'll take my fiction from Steinbeck over anyone else. It's a fascinating snapshot of America, 1960. Factual or not it's Steinbeck's voice and his insight and I enjoyed taking the journey with him.
Where is Joseph Mifsud?
August 19th, 2018 at 8:15:29 PM permalink
Fleastiff
Member since: Oct 27, 2012
Threads: 54
Posts: 6545
Quote: Nareed
Read the book. Or listen to it. The title should have been "Crops, Animals, Guns, Germs and Steel." Really, the "germs" part is a direct consequence of the "animals" part, and that's related to the "crops" part.

Well, there are many myths about that. What's often overlooked is that Cortez augmented his small force with thousands of native subjects of the Aztecs who resented Aztec rule


Guns? It was the Chinese who invented gunpowder but it was the invention of corned gunpowder that made it practical.
Steel? Damascus steel was always the best but while an impressive city it never grew to extreme power.

Cortez employed conquered tribes quite craftily but the Aztecs also allowed his army to approach rather than being attacked on narrow trails.
August 19th, 2018 at 8:20:03 PM permalink
Fleastiff
Member since: Oct 27, 2012
Threads: 54
Posts: 6545
Quote: Nareed
Closing thoughts on the Trojan War:

.
Troy no longer controls the commerce in Arabian horses.
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