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What Are You All Reading?

 
pollinator
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To whomever suggested the book about Kiva and microlending... they might want to also check out this critique of Grameen, et al.. and check out the related idea of 'ROSCA' at Wiki.
https://rwer.wordpress.com/?s=grameen

Also, I really, really liked 'Shantaram'... an older 'novel' based on the hard-to-believe life of the Australian author and his autobiographical adventures in India, et al. When Mumbai was attacked a few years ago, I felt it personally!

And I'm now reading 'American Nations' which goes a looooooonnng way toward explaining our cracked up country and the crazies that rise up. Boy, am I glad to be living on the left coast. It is great to have history so readable and eye-opening. You might check out the first Commenter on the book at Amazon.

(Oh, and Dave, what a blast from the past! I was captivated by 'I Capture the Castle' 40 years ago! I hope you find it a great read, and justify my early teen enthusiasm ;)

 
pollinator
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nancy sutton wrote:To whomever suggested the book about Kiva and microlending... they might want to also check out this critique of Grameen, et al.. and check out the related idea of 'ROSCA' at Wiki.
https://rwer.wordpress.com/?s=grameen



Thanks, I'll have a look.
 
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I'm a few hundred pages into my winter books....'the Wise Man's Fear' (second book in the Kingkiller Chronicles) by Patrick Rothfuss and 'Infinite Jest' by David Foster Wallace...both 1000 pagers and both excellent reads so far.....
 
pollinator
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Making my second pass through "The Art of the Commonplace" by Wendell Berry.

Boy, the essay on what agrarianism is was powerful. I must not have been paying as close attention the first time I read it. It's an essay everyone here should read, if not the whole collected essays in The Art of the Commonplace.
 
Vera Stewart
pollinator
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So, what have you been reading recently?

Some of the books I've enjoyed reading since the new year are:

Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend
Pigs in Heaven - Barbara Kingsolver (I enjoyed this one more then The Bean Trees even though it's about the same people. Strange.)
On Paper - The Everything of it's Two-Thousand-Year History by Nicholas Basbanes. I found this one to be a bit American-centric later on in the book, with all it's references to historic American documents (like no other current state has important stuff on paper) but it did get me wondering about making paper, another project to stick in the back of my mind.
And I read The Mammoth Hunters - the third in the Jean Auel series. I'm glad I gave the series another chance, as I found this third book much more enjoyable then the second.
 
master pollinator
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Just finished "Adam Bede" by George Eliot, which gives an interesting look into the life of a successful farm in the early 19th century, and now starting "The Mill on the Floss" by the same author.

Intermixed with reading here and there in "Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands Volume 2" by Brad Lancaster and "Backyard Market Gardening" by Andy Lee.
 
nancy sutton
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Books I've enjoyed most in the last year, to the point that I actually bought copies after listening to the library audio's:) were 'The Third Plate' by Dan Barber, and Michael Pollan's 'Cooking'.

My very favorite book is 'A Paradise Built in Hell'.... for hope in these dire times ;)

And David Graeber's 'Debt: The First 5,000 Years'... a long slog, so I read the beginning and the end... well worth it ;) Another excellent, and easy ;), book on $$ is 'The Future of Money' by Bernard Lietaer.
 
steward
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Judith Browning wrote:I'm a few hundred pages into my winter books....'the Wise Man's Fear' (second book in the Kingkiller Chronicles) by Patrick Rothfuss and 'Infinite Jest' by David Foster Wallace...both 1000 pagers and both excellent reads so far.....  


Yaasss! Discussing board games here these books came up, including The Slow Regard of Silent Things. Wow. I (or we, actually, because Paul loved them, too) highly recommend them!

I'm a big audio books listener (I use Audible - if you use that link for a free 30-day trial I get a free book credit or something) and I was listening to The Name of the Wind

and Paul overheard parts and was sucked in. So we finished the first time together, where he only heard part. Then we listened to it over again, both of us hearing the full book. There were aspects to it that I understood or realized the second time through that I missed in the first listening! Such an epic tale.

Then we moved on to:
The Wise Man's Fear
The Slow Regard of Silent Things

Oh, so excellent!! And of course, we are waiting for the third book (day) as are all the Rothfuss fans.

nancy sutton wrote:Books I've enjoyed most in the last year, to the point that I actually bought copies after listening to the library audio's:) were 'The Third Plate' by Dan Barber, and Michael Pollan's 'Cooking'.  

My very favorite book is 'A Paradise Built in Hell'.... for hope in these dire times

And David Graeber's 'Debt: The First 5,000 Years'... a long slog, so I read the beginning and the end... well worth it  Another excellent, and easy , book on $$ is 'The Future of Money' by Bernard Lietaer.


Nancy, I second you on The Third Plate - which is just poetry for my soul! I recently started to listen to it a second time when cooking with J and Kara in the kitchen here at base camp. Plus, I have friends who have visited the Bread Lab near Mount Vernon, Washington (WA State), which Dan Barber profiles in this book, and have heard so many good things about that place and the work they are doing!

I'll have another look nto yours and other suggestions in this thread!

I'm currently bingeing on the Outlander series (Outlander, Book 1) which is read with such artistry in the accents that it has me saying "Och, aye!" in a Scottish brogue rather more often than necessary. Just loads of page-turning fun, and some homesteading/off-grid and herbalism examples (though I don't know how accurate or not) of life in the 1700's.

 
pollinator
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The whole Dresden Files series is a good one, and the audiobooks, all except 13, are narrated by James Marsters, who does an incredible job. If you want really good urban fantasy, this is your series. The series is a little slow until the third book, but otherwise fantastic.

-CK
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Chris Kott wrote:The whole Dresden Files series is a good one, and the audiobooks, all except 13, are narrated by James Marsters, who does an incredible job. If you want really good urban fantasy, this is your series. The series is a little slow until the third book, but otherwise fantastic.

-CK



Ah, Paul and I are often looking for audio books that we both like and this series sounds like it could be that for us! Thanks for the recommendation!
 
pollinator
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And yet

Christopher Hitchens essays. I've just begun this one, but I've never seen anything from Christopher that I didn't like.

He was quite clear before he died that there would be no deathbed conversion and that he didn't believe that such a thing had happened with Oscar Wilde or any others who have been reported as such. And yet, I just read today, that some buffoon has written a book making the claim that Hitchens was not certain of his theological stance.
 
master steward
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I'm currently reading the Humanure Handbook by Joseph Jenkins, and I really like the detail he goes into and the blend of pragmatism and philosophy that he takes with his discussions
 
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Has anybody read any Gene Stratton-Porter books? I love the way she adds/describes nature throughout the story, it's amazing!

I have so many garden plans from her book The Harvester. I strongly recommend...
 
Chris Kott
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Just finishing the third book in the Island in the Sea of Time series by S.M. Stirling.

Near the end of the 20th century, the island of Nantucket and a World War I era Coast Guard sailing ship are thrown back into the bronze age, and have to use the largely useless remains of their previous world and all their accumulated knowledge, first merely to survive, and then to rebuild some semblance of modern civilisation.

The books are Island in the Sea of Time, Against the Tide of Years, and On the Oceans of Eternity.

Special thanks go out to a man whose name I forget, living somewhere in maritime Canada, who gave me the first book of this series when my choir was billeted out in his community, and I had run out of books to read. I always felt bad about not mailing the book back, but I suspect he didn't really expect me to.

Give books, never lend them. At least to me. I 'm terrible.

-CK
 
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Killing the SS by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard...a hard to put down book
 
pollinator
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I am revisiting some old favorites.  Virginia's mention of Gene Straton Porter makes me want to add Freckles and also A Girl of the Limberlost to the re-read pile.

The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis is a timetravel to Medieval era and the time of the plague. Not exactly light reading.  For my more entertaining reading, I have the Dragon and the George by Gordon Dickson about a man turned into a dragon.  For the days with very limited time, I have a Jeffrey Archer short story collection A Twist in the Tale. Just to have something garden related, I have Gene Logsdon's The Contrary Farmer.
 
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"The List" by Chet Dettlinger. Author was an Atlanta cop that worked on the Atlanta "Child Murders" during the late 70's and early 80's. What a cluster f of an investigation that was. The police department was in shambles at that time, and while I am not saying Wayne Williams is "innocent" he almost certainly didn't deserve life in prison for killing 30 "children" that ranged from 9 to 27 years old.

A perfect example of gov corruption, if you want to stop a series of highly publicized "child murders" just stop classifying similar murders as fitting the pattern after you have convicted an easy scapegoat.

(FYI the Atlanta/Fulton PD is much better today).
 
pollinator
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I'm about to re-read the Kim Stanley Robinson "Science in the Capital" series. I don't know why, it's just comfort food to me. It's set in the near future, just as abrupt, catastrophic changes of climate change erupt. So again, not sure why it's comforting to me. Perhaps because many of the folks in it respond rationally and with purpose. Anyway, they're Forty Signs of Rain, Fifty Degrees Below, and Sixty Days and Counting.
 
Dave Burton
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Oh golly! I have a huge list of books to re-read, because I have a list of books I call my "holy books", because their words resonated so strongly with me.

My to re-read list so far is:
-Permaculture: A Designer's Manual by Bill Mollison
(Yes, I have in fact read every word of the big black book, and it is well-worth doing over again; it took me an summer and then some more to do that)
-Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway
-the Permacultrue City by Toby Hemenway
-The Primal Blueprint by Mark SIsson
-The Primal Connection by Mark Sisson
-Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
-The More Than Complete Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
-The Moneyless Manifesto by Mark Boyle
-Humans of New York Stories by Brandon Stanton
-In Our Defense by Ellen Alderman and Caroline Kennedy
-Pretty Little Mistakes by Heather McElhatton
-Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin
-Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
-Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
-Winkie by Clifford Chase
-Contradictionary by Crimeth Inc.
-Recipes for Disaster by Crimeth Inc.
-Just Enough: Lessons in Living Green From traditional Japan by Azby Brown
-Frisco Pigeon Mambo by C.D. Payne
-One Thousand and One Arabian Nights by Geraldine McGaughrean
-All i Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum
-It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It by Robert Fulghum
-Uh-Oh: Some Observations From the Other Side of the Refrigerator Door by Robert Fulghum
-The Revolution Will Not be Microwaved by Sandor Ellix Katz
-Desert or Paradise by Sepp Holzer
-Elegant Simplicity by Satish Kumar
-Permaculture Design Companion by Jasmine Dale
 
master steward & author
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I've just this week discovered Terry Pratchett.  I don't know how I never discovered him before - it seems like the kind of thing I would have loved as a teen.  But meh, I need something fun and diverting to read right now.

My first book by him is Going Postal.  I need to queue up some more from the library as this will be done quickly.  I really like this discworld world.
 
Dave Burton
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Just finished reading the Humanure Handbook, and it was an all around wonderful book. I have recently checked out Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon from my library with InterLibraryLoans, and I am hoping to get the date for loaning the book out extended through Winter Break, so that I will have time to read the entire book and try out some of the recipes.
 
Erica Colmenares
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Chris Kott wrote:
Near the end of the 20th century, the island of Nantucket and a World War I era Coast Guard sailing ship are thrown back into the bronze age, and have to use the largely useless remains of their previous world and all their accumulated knowledge, first merely to survive, and then to rebuild some semblance of modern civilisation.

The books are Island in the Sea of Time, Against the Tide of Years, and On the Oceans of Eternity.

-CK



Thanks for this recommendation. I downloaded the audio file of the first one yesterday from the library, and am really enjoying it.
 
Tina Hillel
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If you like a dose of creepy with your world coming to ruin books, you may want to read Ezekiel Boone's trilogy: The Hatching, Skitter and Zero Day.  Spiders take over the world. I may never sleep again. I am too old not to know better than to read this stuff!

Heading back to Alchemy of Herbs by Rosalee de la Foret. Maybe I can find someting nice and calming...
 
Dave Burton
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I am currently reading Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz.
 
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My wife found this book at the NYPL (New York Public Library): The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel. I read it too and it is amazing about a  guy who lived in the woods in central Maine for 27 years with no contact but once with other people.He never lit a fire and finally...well I don't want to spoil it for you! It is an absolutely true and thought provoking story.I highly recommend the read!
 
Dave Burton
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Because I'm at college now and classes are ramping up, I am now reading three books:
-The Omnivore's Dilemma (anthropology)
-Longitude (foresty)
-Wild Fermentation (for fun)
 
pollinator
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Dave Burton wrote:Right now, I am currently reading The Clan of The Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel which is part of the Earth's Children Series. It is a series of speculative historical fiction novels based in prehistoric times. The first one in the series is The Clan of The Cave Bear, and it was written in 1980. I was surprised when my mom told me that she read the book some time ago, but I guess I shouldn't be that surprised because she was a biochemistry major- as I plan to be, too- and just being family, there are going to some shared interests. I really enjoy novels that teach, have good research, and are interesting without sounding like a lecture. This novel seems to have all those qualities, so I'll be have fun reading it! I am already! I'm on page 40, and it's really good.



This was one of my favorite series as a kid, which is in retrospect is maybe kind of weird/problematic/disturbing considering the content (particularly how Durc came about), but I guess parents usually aren't that fussed about "adult content" for books, especially back in the 90s when I was raised. Kinda sadly, I just checked out her bibliography to see if there was any new books from her and she hasn't written anything new for about 10 years. I think I already read the Painted Caves. Enjoy it while you can, it's good stuff!

Currently I don't read a lot of fiction; outside of work I spend a ton of time reading nonfiction gardening books and dreaming that my plot will someday look like that, which is a sort of fiction but not the type people usually write reviews about. In general, I would recommend anything by Ursula K Le Guin, although my favorites by her are The Word For World Is Forest and The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.
 
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I read very slowly sounding out the words in my mind so it takes me a long time to finish a book. Presently I'm reading "12 Rules for Living, an Antitode to Chaos", by Jordan Peterson. It's rich with meaning, so I read a little and then think about each idea while I'm doing other things.

I enjoyed reading the very strange "Bearth" trilogy, an engaging story about the Earth separating into two different worlds. Even stranger is that it has made me aware that this is occuring in real life.

There is an unlikely connection between "12 Rules" and "Bearth" in that people interact with others on the basis of shared values... and the two worlds are like water and oil, all swirled around together yet without ever combining.
 
Dave Burton
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I'm getting close to finishing Chapter 1 of The Omnivore's Dilemma. I'm very much a biased reader, heavily infected with permaculture in my brain, and it is terribly hard for me to get through the section on corn without being angry and more than slightly disturbed. I just find it heeby-jeeby inducing when the author talks about people seeing nature as a form of slavery, freeing themselves from nature, and how corn is being used to create synthetic foods, produce lots of waste, and even create indigestible food so that people just eat and eat and eat, without ever feeling satisfied. This just seems so disturbing to me.
 
gardener
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I listen to Paul's podcasts while I work in the garden(especially enjoy the ones whereJocylyn joins in ) and audiobooks while I knit in the evenings. I am currently working my way through the Patrick O'Brian naval books - so thrilling. I have read them before but I just love them so much. Just finished listening to War and Peace. Enjoyed it but a little heavy going.
Also got The Lean Farm lined up for when my husband and I can sit down together and listen to it together. Him whittling wood, me knitting birthday pressies for daughters and granddaughters. Ah, the good life!
 
Dave Burton
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I recently finished reading Wild Fermentation a few days ago, and I started reading Early Retirement Extreme by Jacob Lund Fisker. So far, the book is spelling out very well some ideas and thoughts I have gotten from learning about permaculture, like there's more to life than a 9-5 job and that generalized knowledge makes one more adaptable than specialized knowledge.
 
pollinator
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I'm taking a renewable energy class at a local community college.  I want to figure out if renewable energies (especially solar / wind) will work on my homestead.  I'm making my way through "Renewable Energy: Power for a Sustainable Future."  650 pg textbook -serious wading going on.  It's reawakening buried physics & chemistry knowledge/learning from high school and so much I didn't know so it's tough.  But super interesting too.  I keep making tentative plans and then discarding to replace with new ones.  No idea where i will end up, but in this case that's part of the fun.  :)
 
Chris Kott
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Currently listening to The Dresden Files audiobook series, written by Jim Butcher and read by James Marsters. Again.

I just hit the twelfth book of fifteen, not counting novellas. Really can't wait for the next book to come out, so I'm binging Dresden again.

It's really good detective urban fantasy. Think Sherlock Merlin. Merlock Holmes? Anyways...

Oh, and as to bingeable audiobooks, my first favourite series was The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. War and Peace, but fantasy.

Whatever you do, I suggest against Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid series. The telepathic wolfhound almost saves it for me, but it feels like the author read The Dresden Files, then tried to rewrite it, only rushing the pacing, changing the variables, and doing away with any kind of gravitas. But to each their own, I suppose...

-CK
 
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I'm almost finished with Wendell Berry's The Gift of Good Land. It's a book of published cultural and agricultural essays he wrote mostly in the 1970's and are very much applicable and still resonate forty years later. Some of his writings include how industrial agriculture affects rural communities, far beyond just the decline in small farms and also how a simple garden empowers people with more than just food from their backyard.

Wendell Berry is a farmer and also an author, or is he an author who also farms; I haven't quite figured that one out but he writes with a certain uncommon and profound wisdom. He writes in this book and other books the decline of rural communities and agriculture from first hand experience and also exposure from travels both domestic and abroad, and also what people can do to restore and support small farms and communities. He is one of my favorite authors as I enjoy his writing style and also his values of farming and community are aligned with that of my own.
 
Erica Colmenares
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I looked to see if someone here recommended Dry, by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman, but I must have heard about it somewhere else. Don't read it at night, if you're bothered by believable end-of-civilization scenarios. If anyone here knows of a permies thread about whether you share or hoard in a crisis, I'd love to read through it. I'm a sharer by nature, and still think that would be my response.

I finished the Nantucket Series by S.M. Stirling. Really good read, thanks Chris Kott. I enjoyed the part about how folks interacted with government and society more than the battle and war strategy parts, but overall it was entertaining and thought-provoking. I also am starting Stirling's Emberverse. The first one, Dies the Fire, was good.
 
pollinator
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I recently binged on a whole bunch of Alastair Reynolds novels and short stories. He's a former astrophysicist who writes hard science fiction.

His Revelation Space series is super fun. It deals with the Fermi paradox and one take on why it exists. There are a bunch of novellas and short stories set in the same universe.

One of the novels not set in that universe I really enjoyed was Terminal World. It's set in a future where most humans live on this huge spike made of some mystery substance. There are different zones on the spike where only certain energy states can function, so there are zones of high technology and other places they rely on steam engines.

His writing has been described as space opera so descriptions won't really do the books justice.
 
pollinator
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Location: Coastal British Columbia
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homeschooling duck trees urban food preservation homestead
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I'm re-reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable Miracle, which has some nice simple recipes in it + good local food discussions.

My newest favorite fiction book I just finished is The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. Beautiful prose, gorgeous imagery, just a delicious book.

And if you read LONG books, I simply adore Circe by Madeline Miller, which I just finished (and also The Song of Achilles by the same author). Her characters will stay with me forever and I read an enormous amount of fiction!

Thanks for sharing your favorite books, I'm excited to try out The Stranger in the Woods!
 
The permaculture playing cards make great stocking stuffers: http://richsoil.com/cards
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