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Book Thread For Bibliophiles (learning is fun! :3)

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A brief (and admittedly not very thorough) search of these forums yielded no book threads, which I felt was a pity seeing as I'm a shameless bookaholic. What book/s are you currently reading or plan to read sooner rather than later? Any favourites you'd like to share? Although I've placed emphasis on books, really any kind of reading material is welcome on this topic. Fiction and non-fiction, poetry and crit-lit, comics and graphic novels, magazines and other periodicals, even blogs and online archives - any source of stories and/or articles you can think of is welcome here.

 

I'm currently reading Hal Foster's Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency, a rather well-written and rigorous attempt at summarizing certain trends and tendencies in a post-movement, post-"school", disparate and multimedia art world, something that often seems impossible to define in the glare of contemporary novelty. This probably isn't of that much interest to most of you here, so I'll avoid banging on about it too much. So far I've read the first two chapters, entitled the "Abject" and "Archival", respectively. The second chapter in particular was the more convincing argument for a genre of modern art that involves historical inquiry and multiple mediums. This book should prove extremely helpful to future art critics and historians attempting to define at least some of our eras output.

 

Bad%20New%20Days_zpsebjfcaoy.jpg

 

"For Freud the paranoiac projects his meanings onto the world precisely because it appears ominously drained of all significance (systematic philosophers, he implied, are closet paranoiacs). Might archival art emerge out of a similar sense of failure in cultural memory, of a default in productive traditions? For why else connect things if they did not appear disconnected in the first place?" - Hal Foster, Bad New Days (Chapter 2: Archival)

 

"If there was a subject of history for the culture of abjection, it was not the worker, the woman, or the person of color, but the corpse. This was a politics of difference pushed beyond indifference, a politics of alterity pushed towards nihility. ("Everything goes dead," says the teddy bear in the aforementioned Kelley piece*. "Like us," replies the bunny)" - Hal Foster, Bad New Days (Chapter 1: Abject) [* refers to a Mike Kelley artwork entitled Dialogue 1# (Theory, Garbage, Stuffed Animals, Christ)]

 

Hopefully I haven't scared away everyone with my weird taste in reading material and habit of picking the least fathomable quotes from any given source :P Let me know what (if anything) you've been reading.

When close friends speak ill of close friends

they pass their abuse from ear to ear

in dying whispers -

even now, when prayers are no longer prayed.

What sounds like violent coughing

turns out to be laughter.

Shuntarō Tanikawa

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NICE! It's great to see a thread about books here. Don't worry, there are probably many bookaholics in hiding in this thread so it's nice to share interests in books here :)

 

I'm currently reading The Beatles Complete Recording Sessions. It's an attempt on documenting details of The Beatles' recording sessions during its lifetime. I find it interesting reading up on how they recorded their songs and the story behind its inception.

Welp, now what?

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I haven't picked up a book in far, far too long, and I feel really bad about it. However, I am half way through "Led Zeppelin: When Giants Walked The Earth" by Mick Wall. I also have "Freakonomics" by Levitt and Dubner lined up for reading too - I read the follow-up "SuperFreakonomics" and loved it.

 

Also currently on my shelf (unread) are "The Man Who Couldn't Stop" by David Adam and "Punk" by Collgrave & Sullivan, along with "V For Vendetta" by Alan Moore. Ones I have already read through are "Nineteen Eighty-Four" and "1001 Ridiculous Ways To Die" by David Southwell.

 

Additionally, "Happy Returns: Impressions of Steven Wilson's Hand. Cannot. Erase. Live". Photos of an experience I'll never forget!

I USED TO DREAM ABOUT NUCLEAR WAR

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^ I also have far too many books than I know what to do with Binky :3 I get around to reading everything eventually, but in the meantime all of these new publications and second-hand items aren't going to purchase themselves.

 

Here are three recent acquisitions which are formatted for easily nit-picked chunks of habitual reading. London's Whitechapel Gallery have an extremely informative series of books called Documents of Contemporary Art of which I own a large number, sitting in a multicoloured pile on the desk next to my bed. Each one is edited by a guest art writer, critic, artist, etc and they contain textual material loosely themed around a given concept in art terminology, an artistic practice or a cultural lexicon - i.e. "Colour", "Documentary", "The Gothic", "Ruins", "The Market", "The Cinematic", "Abstraction", etc.

Recently two new ones came out entitled The Magazine (edited by Gwen Allen) and Queer (edited by David J. Getsy). The former book focuses on how artists and writers have utilized both mainstream and D.I.Y. art press to promulgate their ideas, and even how the magazine format has been appropriated as a medium for art in of itself. The latter book collates together various writings from LGBT artists and theorists, as well as the modes and manifestos of so called "queer art" that tend to function as an incited and/or implied criticism of political and social structures.

 

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"Columns of type sink into the whiteness of paper. Arctic zones surround isolated clumps of meaning. The edges of any paragraph is menaced by the margins of another ice age. Snow white spaces cut glaciers into layers of words. Here maps have no direction because they are scattered from cover to cover. Maps within maps are seen where no maps are supposed to be."- Robert Smithson, Hidden Trails in Art (1969)

 

"We don't touch money. In fact, what we host has never made any money. Instead, the site is filled with the detritus and ephemera of great artists - the music of Jean Dubuffet, the poetry of Dan Graham, Julian Schnabel's country music, the punk rock of Martin Kippenberger, the diaries of John Lennon, the rants of Karen Finley, the pop songs by Joseph Beuys - all of which was put out in tiny editions and vanished quickly.

However the web provides the perfect place to restage these works. With video, sound and text remaining more faithful to the original experience than, say, painting or sculpture, Ubu proposes a different sort of revisionist art history, one based on the peripheries of artistic production rather than on the perceived, or market based centre.[...]" - Kenneth Goldsmith, UbuWeb at Fifteen Years (2011)

 

"This is the irony: there are more Black male filmmakers and rap artists than ever, yet their works display a persistently narrow, even monolithic, construction of Black male identity.

'You have to understand something', explained Professor Griff of the controversial and highly popular rap group Public Enemy, in an interview. 'In knowing and understanding black history, African history, there's not a word in any African language which describes homosexual, y'understand what I'm saying? You would like to make them part of the community, but that's something brand new to black people' (Melody Maker, 31 March, 1990). Thus Black Macho appropriates African history - or rather, a deeply reductive, mythologized view of African history - to rationalize homophobia." - Marlon T. Riggs, Black Macho Revisited: Reflections of a Snap! Queen (1991)

 

"I was surrounded by people who were suffocating under the burden of normal life. I knew I'd rather be wrong than safe." - Holly Hughes, Breaking the Fourth Wall (1996)

When close friends speak ill of close friends

they pass their abuse from ear to ear

in dying whispers -

even now, when prayers are no longer prayed.

What sounds like violent coughing

turns out to be laughter.

Shuntarō Tanikawa

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I have a small collection of books that has something to do with bands. My collection is split between the physical copies and ebooks. Here are my collection of such books:

Physical copies:

The Making of Pink Floyd: The Wall - Gerald Scarfe

The Police 1978-1983 - Lynn Goldsmith

Broken Music - Sting

 

Ebooks:

Who I Am - Pete Townshend (with audiobook)

Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd - Nick Mason (with abridged audiobook)

I Am Ozzy - Ozzy Osbourne

Iron Man - Tony Iommi

Queen Unseen - Peter "Ratty" Hince

The Living Years - Mike Rutherford

Life - Keith Richards

Heaven and Hell: My Life With the Eagles - Don Felder

Clapton - Eric Clapton

The Real Frank Zappa Book - Frank Zappa

Led Zeppelin: The Tight But Loose Files

That's all the my music books from my collection. I'm looking forward to more like Phil Collins' autobiography, which should be out this year I think.

 

Aside from music books, my book tastes is usually limited to literary classics and humour. For literary classics, my all-time favorite would be The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. I used to have this tradition of reading The Count of Monte Cristo once every year. In four years, I managed to read four different versions of that book, three of which with varying degree of accuracy compared to the 4th source, which was the unabridged copy.

For humour, I have a Steve Allen Joke Files book that I picked up for a bargain. While some of the jokes seemed dated, some gave me a good laugh. Another book I got is the Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks. While this is a humour book, I like to think this book WILL come in handy to some extent, there are tips that seem useful in a real life situation. There's also another book in a style quiet similar to Zombie Survival, but with the theme being Mafias. I can't remember the full name and author (I borrowed it from a friend in high school), the one word I remember from the title is "Fuggedaboutit". I tried borrowing it from my friend, only to find that he lost it after i returned it to him. I hope I can read that again.

Welp, now what?

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I'm kinda of an oddball when it comes to reading books. Out of all the books I've read the only ones I can say I've legitimately enjoyed reading were manuals and textbooks. If a book isn't teaching me something, I lose interest fast and my enjoyment plummets. Writing essays on each chapter helps as I'm doing something alongside reading. But I'd still say I enjoyed reading manuals and textbooks more.

I'm not saying I started the fire. But I most certain poured gasoline on it.

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I'm kinda of an oddball when it comes to reading books. Out of all the books I've read the only ones I can say I've legitimately enjoyed reading were manuals and textbooks. If a book isn't teaching me something, I lose interest fast and my enjoyment plummets. Writing essays on each chapter helps as I'm doing something alongside reading. But I'd still say I enjoyed reading manuals and textbooks more.

I'm afraid I'm not a very practically minded person, a lot of that kind of technical information would more than likely go in through my eyes and immediately take flight out of my ears :P I read because I'm drawn to viewpoints and perceptions that I may never have come up with myself. I also just have an aesthetic attraction to language, a particular arrangement of words, a descriptive text or a quote will haunt my thoughts for days after reading it.

When close friends speak ill of close friends

they pass their abuse from ear to ear

in dying whispers -

even now, when prayers are no longer prayed.

What sounds like violent coughing

turns out to be laughter.

Shuntarō Tanikawa

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Books are like movies that play right in my head - only much better than any movie.

 

I suppose one needs enough imagination and real life references to fully enjoy reading, but when you get there - it's the best entertainment there is.

 

I don't count music as entertainment btw, so there is no competition there :D

 

And then, of course, factual and documentary and history works... about things that might be of interest to me. Mmmm... books :D

 

Regards

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Books are like movies that play right in my head - only much better than any movie.

 

I suppose one needs enough imagination and real life references to fully enjoy reading, but when you get there - it's the best entertainment there is.

+1

 

And then, of course, factual and documentary and history works... about things that might be of interest to me. Mmmm... books :D

Give "Kon Tiki" a read... Comes across as fiction in the way it's written, but is an actual documentation of historical events. (including the discovery of a new species of fish when they were just trying to survive a raft ride from South America to south-east Asia in the 1950's) Just read anything by Thor Heyerdahl for that matter.

 

Also Clive Cussler has a rather decent list of non-fiction. Nautical related, but very good. (I recommend his books in general anyways)

 

My favorite Science Fiction titles have to by Ben Bova. (just feels like the right combination of science, and future)

 

[EDIT] Removed the -1 because clarification of the comment made it go away.

Edited by Guest (see edit history)

bi ti ʤi ˈbulzaɪ

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Give "Kon Tiki" a read...

Oh, I read it! :D Yes, absolutely - it reads like a fictional adventure but it was all 100% real!

 

Oh, and I've been to the Fram museum in Oslo and they have bits and pieces of his various expeditions there - was so fascinating to actually see those very things I read about in the book...

 

My favorite Science Fiction titles have to by Ben Bova. (just feels like the right combination of science, and future)

 

Bova is one of my favourite too. Also Clarke, Baxter and Bear and Vinge. And Verne and Wells :D As far as sci-fi is concerned... and I also often read some lighter things - "military" sci-fi? Most is pretty crass but there are some very nice authors there... James Corey (actually a pseudonym for two people writing together), David Drake, Taylor Anderson, Evan Currie, Joshua Dalzelle...

 

And non-sci-fi? Geez, there are so many... Patrick O'Brian - just the first that springs to mind :D

 

Regards

 

P.S. Oh, just to explain - music is not entertainment for me, it's art and it works on an entire different level with me. Just like it is totally different - to go watch a movie or to go to an art gallery. The former is netertainment, the latter is food for the soul :-)

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Any of you have literary guilty pleasures? Some people would argue that my love for H.P. Lovecraft is already the guiltiest possible habit, but I'd say the one branch of literature is the phenomena of "Lovecraft pastiche". A fairer term is "mythos fiction" which several authors are renowned for, having broadly steeped their work in Lovecraft's conceptual universe and made it entirely their own.

I talking more specifically about the kind of short story that so apes Lovecraft's writing style and less-than-inspired variations of his themes that it effectively becomes an unwitting parody of his output. Many literary critics use this as ammunition to bemoan his contributions to the horror genre, and even some of his devoted fans object to these kinds of stories. I have to confess my cardinal sin of secretly loving Lovecraft pastiche, which is only made worse because I'm just about smart enough to know that I ought not to. In-fact I believe I've come up with a rock steady formula to writing your own deliberately derivative Lovecraft fiction.

 

  • Make sure the names of your elder gods and monsters are as unpronounceable as possible, more so than Lovecraft's ever were. Mythos lore nerds will wile away the decades arguing about it.
  • Your protagonist has to have had a modestly upper class American midwest background, had more than adequate academic schooling, his own obscure interests in the occult and aesthetic sensibilities, as well as be imbued with a feeling of not quite belonging with modern life. He also has to be the whitest cracker you've ever imagined.
  • Mention Abdul Alhazred at least fifty times in each paragraph.
  • Make sure you make up your own eldritch tome with a suitably archaic sounding name written in yea oldhe aenglische. Thye mooure eunrheadebbel aund hystoryk loucking thye bheattre.
  • Make sure you're hero has an irredeemably evil ancestor who performed vile rites and cavorted with swarthy foreigners. This guy has to be even whiter than the protagonist - if that's at all possible.
  • Remember, asians and black people ARE EVIL! WooooHOOOOhoooooo!
  • [^ See above] Alternatively, if your publisher isn't cool with your story containing casual bigotry and vile racial stereotypes, PRETEND LOVECRAFT WASN'T A RACIST!
  • WooooHOOOOhooooooWOOOOHooooo!
  • Most important of all. Remember to remove ALL of the underrated mystery and stately dread inducing pace of Lovecraft's best work that you may of accidentally imbued your own story with. Ham it up!

 

P.S. Oh, just to explain - music is not entertainment for me, it's art and it works on an entire different level with me. Just like it is totally different - to go watch a movie or to go to an art gallery. The former is netertainment, the latter is food for the soul :-)

I think I understand what you are getting at. Music, compared to other mediums, seems like something that is easily acquired. With an open mind there is now more music for a person's perusal than ever before. It can function both as a way of cutting off from the rigours of everyday life and as a headspace to project your imaginary forays, it's good for a distraction and a fixation in equal measure.

I'd say my most overriding passion is art. Typically I refer to contemporary strains but I find the whole spectrum of human creativity interesting, painting, sculpture, installation, performance, conceptual, etc. I just find that I'm most content when I'm looking at, getting involved in/with, reading about or talking about art.

When close friends speak ill of close friends

they pass their abuse from ear to ear

in dying whispers -

even now, when prayers are no longer prayed.

What sounds like violent coughing

turns out to be laughter.

Shuntarō Tanikawa

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Any of you have literary guilty pleasures?

Well a guilty pleasure would imply I have some standards for myself to begin with. In regards books that I know are awful I did once read the entire Dark Elf Trilogy by R.A Salvatore . For those who're familiar with Mr. Salvatore's works I can say they're at least entertaining if nothing else. :P

I'm not saying I started the fire. But I most certain poured gasoline on it.

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Any of you have literary guilty pleasures?

Well a guilty pleasure would imply I have some standards for myself to begin with. In regards books that I know are awful I did once read the entire Dark Elf Trilogy by R.A Salvatore . For those who're familiar with Mr. Salvatore's works I can say they're at least entertaining if nothing else. :P

Self-imposed standards are fine if they are tempered with self-effacement, I try to live by that mantra anyway.

When close friends speak ill of close friends

they pass their abuse from ear to ear

in dying whispers -

even now, when prayers are no longer prayed.

What sounds like violent coughing

turns out to be laughter.

Shuntarō Tanikawa

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I don't have any books that I would ever consider a 'guilty pleasure', as I am unashamed of any books I read.

 

I will mention the books I wish I hadn't read though... All except for the first of the Battlefield Earth series. (the second and last one were half-OK, but the rest were all just weird sex, rape, and drugs)

bi ti ʤi ˈbulzaɪ

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This week, I've been reading a hefty amount of writings related to the Cynics.

 

cynics_zpsjcrqelns.jpg

 

I'm often impressed with the directness and succinctness of language a great many early philosopher utilized, assuming contemporary translators can be counted upon to interpret their words accordingly. We might have understandably negative connotations to the word cynicism but in the case of capital C "Cynics" of Ancient Greece proffered a lifestyle without hierarchical pretense, embraced hardship and promoted surprisingly modern ideals in regards to equality. It's an initially bizarre mixture of misanthropy and irreverence tempered by more humane sentiment and self-effacement than the former qualities usually inspire. I think of all historical figures they ought to be the ones we aspire to be most like.

It's remarkable to consider that their legacy hasn't had more of an overt effect on the way we structure of society and our personal lives, given the openness and clarity of what they espoused. They may of took their principles of simple living and moral interrogation to loincloth wearing, barrel habiting, aristocrat harassing, public masturbating extremes - but I feel if most strived to live a single iota of their principled standards we'd all be slightly better off and less neurotic. And even if their beliefs don't inspire you, their crazy anecdotal hijinks, barmy individual biographies and acidic one liners surely can't fail to amuse.

 

"Law is good, but philosophy is better. Law uses force against wrong action, philosophy uses persuasion to show us why an action is wrong. It is superior to the same degree that acting willingly is preferable to acting under compulsion. Which is why I study philosophy and stay out of government. Knowing how people are taught good behaviour is a finer thing than knowing how to keep them from breaking the law." - Crates of Thebes (attrib.)

 

"Listen to your enemies, they are the first to point out your faults." - Antisthenes

 

"But astronomers he thought the most ridiculous, because they overlook fish lying at their feet on the seashore but claim to find them in the sky." - Diogenes Laertius, on Bion

 

EDIT:

read-a-book-today.gif

When close friends speak ill of close friends

they pass their abuse from ear to ear

in dying whispers -

even now, when prayers are no longer prayed.

What sounds like violent coughing

turns out to be laughter.

Shuntarō Tanikawa

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Yesterday I started reading Finnegan's Wake by James Joyce, which is often (for good reason) described as being "unreadable". You can clearly see even the publisher had difficulty coming up with a description of the book! It is fascinating to read though, some parts are even understandable.

It is definitely not as painful to read as that terrible German translation of J.K. Toole's A Conspiracy of Dunces that I attempted to read. As a linguistics student who has finished just one semester, I honestly believe I could do better.

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Yesterday I started reading Finnegan's Wake by James Joyce, which is often (for good reason) described as being "unreadable". You can clearly see even the publisher had difficulty coming up with a description of the book! It is fascinating to read though, some parts are even understandable.

It is definitely not as painful to read as that terrible German translation of J.K. Toole's A Conspiracy of Dunces that I attempted to read. As a linguistics student who has finished just one semester, I honestly believe I could do better.

Despite the sheer unremitting lunacy of that book, it has moments that a lover of strange linguistic arrangements like myself can't help but find irresistible.

 

"Sniffer of carrion, premature grave digger, seeker of the nest of evil in the bosom of a good word...

You, who sleep at our vigil and fast for our feast, you with your dislocated reason..."

When close friends speak ill of close friends

they pass their abuse from ear to ear

in dying whispers -

even now, when prayers are no longer prayed.

What sounds like violent coughing

turns out to be laughter.

Shuntarō Tanikawa

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Yesterday I visited a marvellous Dan Flavin exhibition at the IKON Gallery in Birmingham, entitled It is what it is and it ain’t nothing else. Whilst I was there I picked this book whose title it is what it is [sic] (edited by Paula Feldman and Karsten Schubert) draws from the same statement of the artist in question, that in understanding his minimalist artwork was to experience the materiality and properties of his signature neon tubes in of themselves. It contains a huge body of written material relating to Flavin's work by various writers from 1964 right through to 2001, and refreshingly open to praise and criticism of the late artist. It traces how his reputation and his reception shifted over the decades of artistic discourse and interpretation.

 

it%20is%20what%20it%20is_zpsva0c04po.jpg

 

"When he shifted from junk to newly purchased and functioning objects, he did as other artists were doing, moved from an expressionistic urbanism to a more highly structured style. But though Flavin's style changed, two constants remained. He moved from found objects to new objects, but preserved his interest in ready-mades. Also, he preserved his custom of dedication - to friends, to artists, to victims; a persistent memorial intention suffuses his work, in contradistinction to the new age/new media slogans of some light artists." - Lawrence Alloway, Art, 1970

 

"In retrospect, it seems almost unbelievable that an oeuvre of such visual richness and diversity is based on so few parts, yet Dan Flavin's entire work consists of a total of forty components. [...] From 1963 until today some 500 works have been realized. [...] From a distance, the stripes of green, pink, green and blue create something new, for which I am lacking a word. It reminds me of painting, of course, but it is so very far away from that." - Marianne Stockebrand, Pink, Yellow, Blue, Green and Other Colors in the Work of Dan Flavin, 1996

 

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Dan Flavin, Untitled (in honour of Harold Joachim)

When close friends speak ill of close friends

they pass their abuse from ear to ear

in dying whispers -

even now, when prayers are no longer prayed.

What sounds like violent coughing

turns out to be laughter.

Shuntarō Tanikawa

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Hunters%20In%20The%20Snow_zpsiff5zyiu.jpg

 

Recently began reading a very intriguing and unorthodox novel, titled Hunters In The Snow, the debut work of a lady named Daisy Hildyard. The tone and presentation of the book has far more in common with the kind of broadly encompassing, academic yet domestic factual history texts - think of Keith Thomas or Peter Ackroyd. It takes place contemporaneously, with an unnamed female protagonist organizing her late grandfather's notes (he was a writer) when she finds an unfinished manuscript describing an eccentric history of England. Despite the brief forays into this young womans memories and her developing thoughts on the materials and historical events she is reading, this nebulous plot remains quietly in the background, at the forefront of the book and wherein the real substance lies is in the weirdly scholarly and literary non-fictive style. It presents authoritarian and convincing treatises of social histories, past events and political machinations, all alongside the tension that comes with reading "factual" material in a fictional source - Hildyard even emphatically endorses this at the beginning of the novel; "Although this novel uses some conventions of non-fictional writing, it is fiction." I find myself drawn into the sincerity of the author's erudition like any good historical text, simultaneously convinced of the progressively unlikely interpretations of key events and individuals, all the while knowing it is fiction - I think a cleverly deliberate comment on the problems inherent of writing about the past.

 

"Other people, he said - by 'other people' he usually meant people who weren't professional historians - don't let things be what they are, they turn histories into parables."- Daisy Hildyard

When close friends speak ill of close friends

they pass their abuse from ear to ear

in dying whispers -

even now, when prayers are no longer prayed.

What sounds like violent coughing

turns out to be laughter.

Shuntarō Tanikawa

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51b%2B7H%2BajAL._SX382_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

The Globalization of World Politics by John Baylis and Steve Smith. Will be needing this book a lot considering my major. It's a useful for anyone considering studying international politics. But seriously, this book is large enough to kill a man.

Actually Yngwie of Haus Malmsteen, feefty eenches of pure Svwedish beef.

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