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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 05-15-06, 10:52 AM   #1
genericbikedude
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Another book thread

So I just got done with my masters coursework (woot!). I will finally have time to read for pleasure again. From you fine people, I'd like recommendation on good reads. As a way of starting out, some of my favorite books include:

The Ages of Gaia, James Lovelock. Sort of Sciency, its theoretical ecology and good for people who like the planet and dont mind the occasional paragraph about chemical reactions.

Shogun. Great somewhat-trashy historical fiction. Oodles of sepuku.

Anything by Chinua Achebe, and other West African writers.

Salman Rushdie, or other authors who write in quaint South Asian English.

Ecotopia. (I forget the author). Ecoporn, with nifty fascist undertones.

What do you like and why?
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Old 05-15-06, 11:02 AM   #2
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anything by carl hiassen. the main character is always an environmentalist of sorts, and the villains are real ******bags. i love me a good bad guy.
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Old 05-15-06, 11:03 AM   #3
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I'm reading two books at the moment:

Asphalt Nation: How the automobile took over America and how we can take it back by Jane Holtz Kay. I'm just at the beginning but it seems good so far. Title pretty much explains what it's about.

Edison & the Electric Chair: A Story of Light and Death by Mark Essig. I'm loving this book but I'm not sure how many people it would appeal to. I'm anti-death penalty and I'm studying electrical engineering. So I find it interesting in both regards (I haven't gotten to the electric chair part yet, but I know that Edison was anti-death penalty, but he built the electric chair, running off AC, to show how dangerous AC electricity was, to try to scare people away from Westinghouse. He even tried to get people to use the term "Westinghoused" to mean electrocuted).
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Old 05-15-06, 11:03 AM   #4
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Porn.
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Bloodstains, speed kills, fast bikes, cheap thrills, French girls, fine wine...
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Old 05-15-06, 11:04 AM   #5
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right now im rereading House of Leaves. Amazon says it well: This postmodern, typographically chaotic novel is a monstrous book, both in page numbers and ambition. It is the literary equivalent of "The Ring." As we learn in the introduction, Johnny Truant, a tattoo parlor employee, has come into possession of a trunk full of bizarre scraps of paper once owned by an old blind man, Zampano, now dead. The papers comprise an exploration of a cult film called "The Navidson Record" and its sub-films, documentaries about an ever-expanding house that's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside and which consumes the lives of anyone who enters its dark hallways or watches the tapes. Johnny becomes himself obsessed with Zampano's papers and, in turn, with the Navidson house. He is haunted by the beast he smells and the descending madness he had no inclination to stop. The book itself is the melding of Zampano's papers, Johnny's footnote digressions into his own life and its troubles, and the debate among academics as they struggle to make sense of a film that probably never existed. The result is a dark, wild, often hilarious, sometimes excruciatingly boring foray into the meaning of home, family, love, and self.

The structure of the novel is innovative, with Johnny Truant's story unfolding in footnotes and in the appendices, while Zampano describes the film and the academics bicker over its meaning in the body. The most riveting narrative thread in this novel is of Navidson's and others' descents into the smooth walled, dark cavern of the mysterious hallway. The consequences on Navidson's marriage and on those he loves are devastating, and the reader is swept into both the horror and the need for hope. Johnny's story is less compelling, especially as the house fades into the background and his story takes over. The academic over-analysis is tons of fun - as long as you have the patience to get over the dryness to find the kernel it has been working toward. For example, early in the book, Danielewski (in the writings of Zampano) provides a lengthy academic discussion of the myth of Echo and its scientific and literary significance, only to derail it with a Johnny Truant footnote telling the reader that "Frankly I'd of rec'd a quick skip past the whole echo ramble were it not for those six lines . . ."

Even more bizarre than the telling of Truant's tale in footnotes is the typographical methods used to visually evoke the house in the Navidson Record. The words become their own labyrinth, with "hallways" of text enclosed in blue boxes; they sometimes inhabit corners only, or skip up and down the pages, one or two words at a time. When the characters don't know which way is up, the reader is twisting and turning the physical book to read upside down and sideways. You have to see the book to fully appreciate the visual hijinks Danielewski uses. It can take a long time to read certain sections, only to find that you can flip through several pages with just a glance at each.

Despite the suspenseful plot, HOUSE OF LEAVES is anything but a quick read. Its satisfaction is derived more from its individual parts than as a whole since it ends, to paraphrase T. S. Eliot, not with a bang but a whimper. I recommend this for patient readers and for those who delight in experimental turns in fiction.

Personally, I found it pretty fast and read it in under a week. Pretty cool.
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Old 05-15-06, 11:11 AM   #6
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yeah, house of leaves kicked my ass. i enjoyed it though.
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Old 05-15-06, 11:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genericbikedude
Anything by Chinua Achebe, and other West African writers.
yes. have you read much tutuola yet?

russian lit, of any vintage, is also great. my favorite authors are nikolai gogol, mikhail bulgakov, vladimir voinovich, and victor pelevin.


get the collected works of jorge luis borges. even if you have already read it. even if you already own it, get one to give to a friend.
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Old 05-15-06, 11:40 AM   #8
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i have a book of borges short stories in my room I've been meaning to get to.
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Old 05-15-06, 11:41 AM   #9
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The Collected Poetry and Prose of Wallace Stevens

"Sometimes the truth depends on a walk around the lake... ." from Notes on A Supreme Fiction
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Old 05-15-06, 12:28 PM   #10
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I've been working through Stories by TC Boyle which is a collection of his short stories. I second Borges and Wallace Stevens. Its been a long time since I read "Sunday Morning". I finished A Book of Memories by Peter Nadas about a month ago and it has haunted me since. Excellent book. Also, has anyone heard of this Harry Potter series?
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Old 05-15-06, 12:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gorn
Edison & the Electric Chair: A Story of Light and Death by Mark Essig. I'm loving this book but I'm not sure how many people it would appeal to. I'm anti-death penalty and I'm studying electrical engineering. So I find it interesting in both regards (I haven't gotten to the electric chair part yet, but I know that Edison was anti-death penalty, but he built the electric chair, running off AC, to show how dangerous AC electricity was, to try to scare people away from Westinghouse. He even tried to get people to use the term "Westinghoused" to mean electrocuted).
If you like that book, read a biography about Nikola Tesla. The dude put Edison to shame by actually inventing the stuff he takes credit for, and fundamentally changing the electrical backbone of the world. No overstatement in that previous sentence. Real American hero stuff.
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Old 05-15-06, 12:42 PM   #12
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i was so stoked when these came out of the atm in belgrade
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Old 05-15-06, 01:26 PM   #13
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Authors...

Ed Abbey
Thomas Pynchon
Wallace Stegner
Neal Stephenson
Tristan Egolf - Lord of the Barnyard I highly recommend this one.
Russel Banks
I second Carl Hiassen and TC Boyle.
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Old 05-15-06, 01:30 PM   #14
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the culture of make believe by derrick jensen. only about 80 pages in so far, but it's a pretty interesting read. it's basically about how hate shapes the world.

edit: i read Lord of the Barnyard a while ago, and while I don't remember all the details, I remember it being a pretty entertaining read. also, check out Youth in Revolt by C.D. Payne
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