What are you currently reading? (part 2)

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby Car » 2016-10-01, 20:05

I finished "Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty" by Daron Acemoğlu and James A. Robinson which is a pretty good book. It contains lots of interesting information, but unfortunately is extremely repetitive and most of it feels rather tedious.

I also read "Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime" by Val McDermid which was an interesting overview over the many different areas of forensics. Since I learnt quite a lot about it before, it didn't really contain new information, but it was a nice summary and the examples were interesting. Fun fact: I kept thinking "Now I'd like to read some of her crime fiction" - turns out my mother has lots of her books.
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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby linguoboy » 2016-10-03, 21:14

My plan was to finish both The heart is a lonely hunter and The Maias this weekend, but with one thing and another, I only got to the end of the former. Although I never got all that into it, it packed a wallop near the end. (I probably would've liked it more had I read it about 20 years earlier.)

Still this hasn't stopped me from starting two new books, Andreas Eschbach's debut novel Die Haarteppichknüpfer and Princess Bari, Sora Kim-Russell's English translation of 바리데기 by 황석영(romanised "Hwang Sok-yong" though the correct form should be "Hwang Seok-yeong"). Gotta hand it to Eschbach for roping me in with his first chapter, but I'm more surprised at what a pleasure Hwang's work is to read. When I first started exploring Korean literature, quality translations were thin on the ground and I've struggled through some pretty workmanlike prose looking for signs of the genius underneath. But I was struck with the beauty of Kim-Russell's translation from the first page; in the course of one evening I read a quarter of the book.
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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-10-08, 16:43

Still reading the same books, just read Chapter 12 of Randidangazhi after trying to learn two more quatrains (#29-30) of Mayura Sandesham and translating one more paragraph of my grandfather's memoirs. At least now, each of the paragraphs for the next ten pages looks reasonably sized. Maybe some weeks I'll even translate more than one paragraph at a time - maybe even today, if I get any time to (which I probably won't). Quatrains 29 and 30 of Mayura Sandesham don't seem too hard, either.

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby linguoboy » 2016-10-18, 17:16

Haarteppichknüpfer started to get annoying toward the end as Eschbach kept putting off the big reveal in dumber and dumber ways. It's hard to ignore some of the first-novel problems. I hope he's gotten better at writing characters (women especially) since then. Princess Bari also ended up disappointing me by falling prey to the didacticism which plagues Korean literature (and which Han Kang's novel was so refreshingly free from). Least it was a quick read with some lovely colourtext.

I also finally delivered the killing blow to Os Maias. Not the conclusion I expected at all, but it feels right all the same. I see that Jull Costa also has a translation of O crime do Padre Amaro so I picked it up, but I feel like a change of pace so I probably won't get around to reading it for a bit.

Today I began La peste by Camus, who I've never actually read before. My life is filled with existential dread these days, so why shouldn't my reading reflect that? To that end, I'm also in the middle of Single version by Scott Barsotti, a local Chicago playwright. A friend who's seen several of his plays lent it to me. It's soaking in zeitgeist, as it seems to be set in a near-future following a Trump presidential victory in a Chicago where all our current problems--gun violence, crumbling infrastructure, job loss, police misconduct, cockroaches--are that much worse. The fact that I know all the locations he's using (some better than I'd like) just enhances the effect.

Oh, and I guess I can add that I've been reading aloud some mystery short stories by English author Christopher Fowler because my husband has been too worn out lately to read them himself. On the plus side, there's a wealth of London colour and trivia in them, but overall I find them somewhat gimmicky, not to mention sexist and racist. (Just about every single non-White English character has turned out to be a murderer or an accessory to murder.) I mean, I get that they're supposed to be a throwback to the "Golden Age" of English mystery writing, but there are some things we shouldn't be throwing back to.

At least they're a couple cuts above the terrible Sarah Brown mystery I was reading to him that was really more of a Harlequin romance with some mystery trappings. But not at all in the same league as the de Giovanni mysteries we were doing last week.
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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-10-23, 5:49

How does your husband like those stories, if you don't mind me asking?

I read Chapter 13 of Randidangazhi to my dad today, too. :) I've been reviewing those 30 lines of Mayura Sandesam, too. I seem to have memorized the first 20 lines pretty well by now. I wonder how long it'll take me to remember the other 10 without stumbling in the middle.

As usual, I translated another paragraph of my grandfather's diary. I'm kind of surprised I haven't mentioned this yet, but at this point in the story, he's in a Burmese jail, specifically Lanmadaw Jail. This is the worst part of his story.

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby Koko » 2016-10-26, 6:03

I am so glad I picked up The Tyranny of Rights by Brewster Kneen from the library. It is one of the first (possibly the very second or third) non-fiction book I've ever read, and it is soo good. It's a critique of the language of rights, and it has so many left-libertarian hints and my god!! He even criticizes the glorification of soldiers who die at war! Yes, this is my kinda book and I'm so excited to start reading Imperialist Canada by Todd Gordon after. God I love hating the country I was born in and hearing other, much more knowledged, Canadians make the same criticisms as I do.

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-10-29, 18:23

I just read Chapter 14 of Randidangazhi to my dad. From what I understood, it was about Christian landowners withholding information from slaves to keep them subjugated and sexually harassing female slaves. I also translated a paragraph of my grandfather's diary about the awful conditions he was kept prisoner under. Yay. :?

Before doing either of these things, though, I read a short story in an issue of the Malayalee literary (weekly) magazine Mathrubhoomi whose title translates to "Per Capita Sex." I don't really get what the point of that story was. Maybe it was trying to make some point about Marxism, like some of the articles in the same issue, in which case it should be no surprise that it escaped me because none of these articles make much sense to my dad or me, either.

I haven't read anything new from Mayura Sandesham, just kept reciting the same 30 quatrains again and again, hoping they'll stick in my memory better. I might be ready to move on to quatrain #31 now, though.

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby Yasna » 2016-11-06, 2:44

I finished reading The Edge of the World, which had lots of interesting tidbits, but the author lacked rigor in making his points, relying too much on anecdotes and not giving much thought to counterarguments. The book would probably be of interest to some unilangers as it devotes significant space to regions of Unilang interest like the Celtic lands and Scandinavia. There's also a part about Ogham and its significance.

I'm currently reading 人工知能は人間を超えるか: ディープラーニングの先にあるもの by Yutaka Matsuo. It deals with developments in artificial intelligence, in particular deep learning, and in what ways they are likely to change society.
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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-11-20, 6:22

Finally read Chapter 15 of Randidangazhi to my dad today and translated one more paragraph of my grandfather's diary. Now I just need to translate one more paragraph, and I'll finally be done with Chapter Six (Volume 1 in the original)! I wonder how I'll go about editing the translation before attempting to publish it, though. :?

I've started getting back into reading Mayura Sandesham, too. I can't say I've really gotten anywhere, but I haven't forgotten much yet despite having neglected it for three weeks in a row. Quatrains #31-32 are kind of fun, though, or at least quatrain #32 is. It's apparently about a bunch of people in boats trying to get past each other.

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby TheStrayCat » 2016-11-27, 15:20

"People of the Lie" by M. Scott Peck and "The Signal and the Noise" by Nate Silver.
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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby linguoboy » 2016-11-27, 16:44

TheStrayCat wrote:"The Signal and the Noise" by Nate Silver.

OBON FTW!
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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby TheStrayCat » 2016-11-27, 19:07

linguoboy wrote:
TheStrayCat wrote:"The Signal and the Noise" by Nate Silver.

OBON FTW!

It was one of the reasons for me to get the book sooner, but it wasn't the only one. For instance, I don't even know what OBON was in 2014 or 2015.
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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby Yasna » 2016-11-30, 18:52

I finished reading 人工知能は人間を超えるか, which was an excellent introduction to AI and deep learning. I also read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. It was interesting to read a story told from the perspective of tribal West Africans, especially the latter part in which Europeans and Christianity start to encroach on their lives.

I'm currently reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.
Ein Buch muß die Axt sein für das gefrorene Meer in uns. - Kafka

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby Johanna » 2016-12-03, 11:48

Berättelsen om blodet by Anders Björkelid. (I don't think it's been translated into any other language.)

It's Fantasy as usual, a tetralogy not consisting of brick-sized novels for once :P , and I'm about halfway through book two. It's very nice to read something that's originally in Swedish, not just because the language flows a lot better and becomes more playful than in the translations I used to read, but also because I've never come across an Anglo writer who's been able to use things from our folklore in such a natural and understated manner.

I really like it thus far, and I hope that the rest is as good :-)
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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-12-17, 22:43

TheStrayCat wrote:For instance, I don't even know what OBON was in 2014 or 2015.

I had no idea what y'all were talking about at first and thought of the Japanese New Year festival. :silly:

Once again, I've taken forever to read one more chapter of Randidangazhi. Chapter 16 is, as usual for this novel, not devoid of drama, but at least it does include a very brief bit of comic relief. I think it also does a better job than I possibly could of explaining why there was no chance of a slave escaping. I think maybe I'll try to translate that part in the Discrimination thread (although I think it basically corroborates what I already said there).

I haven't gotten any further along in Mayura Sandesham yet; I'm still on quatrains 31-32. However, I have managed to memorize the first 30 quatrains without too much trouble by now, even though I hadn't touched this poem in nearly a month. I think I'm getting close to memorizing those two quatrains, too. Yay! :)

I now have a bit over 17 pages left to translate of my grandfather's diary. It's moving along slowly. I created a new chapter and wrote an introduction for it (I've been writing introductions for each chapter. There's a lot of useful and relevant background information my cousins, for one, wouldn't automatically be familiar with).

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby linguoboy » 2016-12-17, 23:47

vijayjohn wrote:
TheStrayCat wrote:For instance, I don't even know what OBON was in 2014 or 2015.

I had no idea what y'all were talking about at first and thought of the Japanese New Year festival.

Obon has nothing to do with New Year's. It's celebrated in July or August depending on the region.

I still haven't finished La peste but I started another Halldór Laxness novel anyway. It's one of his last works, Kristnihald undir Jökli, in Magnus Magnusson's English translation (Under the glacier).
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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-12-18, 0:04

linguoboy wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:
TheStrayCat wrote:For instance, I don't even know what OBON was in 2014 or 2015.

I had no idea what y'all were talking about at first and thought of the Japanese New Year festival.

Obon has nothing to do with New Year's. It's celebrated in July or August depending on the region.

Oh pfft, sorry, I must have gotten it mixed up with some calendar tradition where the year starts around that time. :? (Maybe the Malayalam calendar :lol:).

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby Yasna » 2016-12-23, 7:49

I finished Meditations, which is basically what you get when a Roman emperor with a philosophical bent writes a self-help book. Now I'm reading Samskara (ಸಂಸ್ಕಾರ) by U. R. Ananthamurthy.
Ein Buch muß die Axt sein für das gefrorene Meer in uns. - Kafka

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-12-23, 8:23

Yasna wrote:Now I'm reading Samskara (ಸಂಸ್ಕಾರ) by U. R. Ananthamurthy.

Huh, that sounds surprisingly similar to what I've been reading in Malayalam lately! The author of the novel I've been reading wasn't a political activist as far as I'm aware, though.

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Re: What are you currently reading? (part 2)

Postby TheStrayCat » 2016-12-30, 15:50

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
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