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> What are you reading now?
Dara
post Apr 29, 2003, 09:19 AM
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Maybe we could discuss what books we are in the middle of reading now, or recently finished reading. Are you reading it for fun? For an assignment at school? Is it the worst book ever, or so good you cannot put it down? I would be interested in knowing what books are being read by everyone!

I will start:

I just finished Abarat, by Clive Barker. It is a novel, the first in a series of 6. The bok is unique because he has many paintings that illustrate the scenes in the book. He is very talentd artist, and the paintings add to the story! The only thing is that when it ends, it dosent really end, because it it part of a volume of books, SOOO, I am hoping he releases the second part real soon! God book if you are into fantasy and horror! Real good to read!

Now I started to read Coldheart Canyon by Clive Barker. So far it is good. I am only in a hundred pages, I have to finish my thesis beofre I read any more!

SOOOOOOOOO, what are YOU reading?

Love,
Dara
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post Apr 29, 2003, 07:57 PM
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Hello my sweet little sister Dara, this is your big brother +Steve... I'm so proud of you that you have this forum here about books and movies; I adore both, and couldn't live without them.  I am reading a book right now which is pure magic to me... I know it might not sound very exciting, but it is so beautifully written that every page is an utter delight... it is called "Lives of the Poets," by Michael Schmidt.  It is about poets in English from way back in the middle ages to the present day, and I think what makes it so magical is the sheer brilliance of the author, and how he knows the work of all these poets, how he is able to share his insights and enthusiasms for their work with the reader... in this case, me.  I am learning so much from this book!  I am really, truly getting to be a better poet because I am reading it.  I recommend it highly to all my friends and fellow poets.  It was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1999.  All my love to all, and happy reading and watching!  
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Hi-top
post Apr 30, 2003, 03:21 PM
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I'm reading a book called "The Raven and More Poems" by Edgar Allen Poe
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angelroze
post Apr 30, 2003, 03:50 PM
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well im reading a book called oh wow.. i forget.. lol jeeez im so blonde let me think... girls in love.. lol thas it its about these girls who like the sam guy and stuff.. its kidna boring i dont like that kidna book tho soo.. i like scary, murder thgins.. haahahah lol (that was my evil laugh) lol well lov eyou all Roze
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ID
post May 01, 2003, 05:00 AM
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Hi everybody,

I'm currently parallel reading as per usual. My current novel is Iris Murdoch's 'An Accidental Man', an excellent story centred around two brothers and their coterie of friends and hangers-on. There are many themes touched on, as is normal in any Murdoch novel, but redemption, shadows cast by childhood trauma and contingency are three major subjects that spring to mind. Murdoch is one of my favourite writers and I wholeheartedly recommend her to anyone who enjoys an intellectual and very human story.

The non-fiction I'm reading is David Bohm's 'Wholeness and the Implicate Order'. The first chapter alone renders the book worth reading; it's an inspiring analysis of how fragmentation in thinking and in modern living, especially in the West, is causing a general malaise throughout society. The second chapter looks at the role of language and experiments with a verbally derived language format to replace the current subject/object format. Chapter three is a consideration of knowledge as process, essentially neo-Whiteheadian. After that, it does get a bit technical as he re-examines quantum theory and offers a fresh viewpoint. I haven't finished yet, but already I rate it as one of the most important books I've ever read!

But really, it's not just highbrow stuff I read - check out the Books pages of my own website http://mysite.freeserve.com/padleywood/index.html
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Shawn
post May 03, 2003, 06:09 AM
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I've been reading Stephen Wolfram's "A New Kind of Science" (NKS), which is about the size of a telephone book, but has some interesting ideas, I think.  I recently finished "Beyond the Post-Modern Mind" by Huston Smith.  Fascinating book for the most part.   Advocates the introduction of mysticism and notions of the subconscious into everyone's personal philosophy/worldview/mindset in an effort to get beyond the post-modern mind (characterized by nihilism and relativism).  At least once a week I pick up Schopenhauer's "World as Will and Idea" and read a few sections from that.  I've read it, in its entirety, before.  Schopenhauer, the philosopher of disillusionment.  Nietzsche had high respect for him, though he was critical of him because he didn't know how to deify the Will.

A few weeks ago, I finished the Concise Yoga Vasistha.  I read a lot of combinatorics mathematics stuff too, more or less on a daily basis.
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Dan
post May 03, 2003, 06:12 PM
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hey Shawn

any thoughts on Wolfram?

I didn't read, seemed like too much work.  My take on the buzz is that Wolfram loves cellular automata and decides that reinterpreting physics in this perspective is a 'new kind of science'.  From my limited vantage, I think I noticed an interesting morphism between his ideas and ideas of mine that were stewing, namely that physical structure is best described as a set of 'cells' whose interactions define the dynamics of the total space and that the progression of states shows 'Chaotic' organization.  

of course, my 'cells' are not his 'cells', but once we agree on cells we are probably the same (except his idea doesn't satisfy ontological questions)

anyway, my opinion is that Wolfram is a little whacked in thinking he has come up with a 'new kind of science', but his work creating Mathematica is something to be proud of

8)
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Shawn
post May 04, 2003, 03:50 AM
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hello Dan,

Wolfram is definitely a very interesting, eccentric fellow (who, btw, looks just like George from 'Seinfeld'!).   I first encountered him during my undergrad days when I was using Mathematica for solving physics problems, and I learned that he was the creator of Mathematica, made a lot of money commercializing it, and had a strong interest in cellular automata (CA).   He seemed like a precocious, interesting fellow back then, but I hadn't expected his huge work "A New Kind of Science" (NKS).  This work is literally bigger than a phonebook, and I can easily understand why the sheer size of it might be a turn-off.  Personally, I've wondered why he made the book so big, and I've reached the conclusion that he was attempting a 'monumental' work, on a par with Newton's Principia, and that nothing less than a super huge book would have been sufficient to satisfy his ego (reminds me of what they say about guys who drive around really sporty cars, but nevermind!).   I think he was after the 'WOW' effect, so that people would be impressed by the sheer size of his work, and perhaps even be more inclined to regard him in a favorable light.  I mean, we have to ask ourselves, would the book have generated so much fanfare if it had been of moderate size?  No, I don't think so.  Nothing less than the size of a telephone book would suffice!  

Anyway, you see what happens now?!  We get stuck talking about the large size of the book at the expense of talking about its actual content!      It's as if Wolfram was hoping his audience would equate 'quantity' with 'quality', or at least confuse the one with the other.  

But seriously, I'm just joking about Wolfram, and please let me make clear that I have great respect for the man.   I think it's somewhat humorous that he places himself on the same level with Newton, which is indicative more than anything of his megalomaniacism, but history has shown us that this is the nature of many geniuses.    That is, that geniuses are inclined towards megolomania.  Of course, the converse isn't true; i.e., if megalomaniac, then genius.   So, we can't really draw any conclusions about Wolfram based solely on his megalomania or the size of his book, but rather must look closely at the content.  

Content-wise, the book is interesting, and you're right that it's all about cellular automata (CA).  While CA are interesting, I have a hard time accepting what appears to be his central thesis, that CA constitute a New Kind of Science!  Of course, I'm not being entirely fair here.  His central thesis is more along the lines of the following:  Mathematical formulas (as underscored by Newton) are powerful for describing Nature, but Algorithmic formulas (as apparently underscored by Wolfram) are even more powerful and constitute a New Kind of Science.    Hmmmmm!

Anyway, the primary interest of the book for me is not so much for it's central themes, but much more so for it's 'tangential' matters.   For example, I'm fascinated by the combinatorial approach he utilizes for exhausting all possible combinations of rule sets and the like, and also gain much inspiration examining the ways he visualizes his results and data, which often include this combinatorial approach.  I'm a big fan of combinatorial mathematics, and to the extent that a "New Kind of Science" introduces me to novel notions in this area, and in particular, to the degree that it stimulates novel thinking on my part, thus do I regard the book as highly valuable and well worth the read.  Even if one is not inclined to read thru the entire thing, one can employ nonlinear techniques for reading (jumping back and forth in the reading) or simply resort to scanning the text and graphics for anything that catches ones interest and stimulates ones imagination.

So, in conclusion, the primary theses and results that Wolfram sought to convey in his monumental work, "A New Kind of Science", I consider to be of secondary importance when compared to the novel ways he employs for visualizing his results, the combinatorial methods he employs, and the ability of his unconventional mode of thinking for stimulating novel ways of thinking (and novel associations) in ourselves, which I consider, by far, to be of primary importance.

take care,
Shawn
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Dan
post May 04, 2003, 09:39 AM
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I think that if you are told you are the mostest smartest person ever by bigwigs when you are a young sprout, you tend to seek the ultimate validation to the point of self-obsessed absurdity.  Such is the case of Wolfram, child genius, I guess.  


I think, though, that a person who sees computation as superior to analysis is not a reflective individual.  And science is all about reflection, until it hits the holy grail that is.  (wolfram must think he has hit the holy grail)

I can see how you would get something from this tome, though, as it is also an exposition of combinatorial computation techniques that are valuable tools for mining patterns from data.    


8)
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Lostcause
post May 08, 2003, 04:13 AM
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I have been reading a series of books recently called The Wheel of Time series which is a fantasy book set in one of the best fantasy worlds of all time.

The charecters are well formed and quite believable I realy have enjoyed reading this series and i would recomend it to anyone.  
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Dara
post May 08, 2003, 09:52 AM
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Who is the author of the fantasy series? SOnuns real good to me!

Love,
Dara
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ID
post May 24, 2003, 01:20 AM
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I'm now filling in some lacunae in my reading, with Jack Kerouac's classic 'On The Road' and soon to start Douglas R. Hofstadter's 'Godel, Escher, Bach - An Eternal Golden Braid' - really looking forward to that one, I've been promising myself the book for years now.
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EyeKandi
post Jun 15, 2003, 03:14 AM
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I reading Dangerous angles....
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seanf
post Jul 03, 2003, 06:01 AM
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The author of the 'Wheel of Time' series is Robert Jordan.

I'm reading a translation of 'The Glass Bead Game,' by Herman Hesse, and i recently finished 'The Bridge' by Iain Banks. Iain Banks (or Iain M. Banks for his science fiction) is a brilliant Scottish author who I highly recommend, both for his science fiction and his 'normal' (translation: indefinable - it isn't normal at all) fiction. The scope of his imagination and creativity is absolutely breathtaking.
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leash
post Jul 07, 2003, 11:42 AM
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i am also reading robert jordans "wheel of time" series. currently im on the thrid book, dragon reborn. its pretty good.. youve got to love that perrin. : )

i just finished "the iron dragons daughter" by michael swanwick. its a fantasy novel all twisted up. not really sure how to explain it.. how many books have elves that snort coke? but seriously, this book is pretty interesting. i recomend it if youre looking for something thats not the usual fantasy reading.
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BuddhaRat
post Jul 08, 2003, 07:06 AM
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I used to be a pretty big fantasy nut (read all the WoT books so far... really starting to get annoyed with the author), and my favorite book (ok, series) is the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson.  Currently I'm reading the Book of the Long Sun by Gene Wolfe.
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seanf
post Jul 14, 2003, 07:38 AM
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The chronicles of Thomas Covenant are good, although I think i would understand them a lot better now, as I was younger when I read them. Robert Jordan is beginning to annoy me - he has dragged it out for the money.
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post Aug 21, 2003, 06:35 AM
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Bluecathexis.net is the internet showroom for the works of Christophe Brunski, an American writer who has also adopted both French and Swedish and additional modes of literary creation: the umbrella concept is dubbed compound expression, or direct composition of individual works in multiple languages (current bibliography includes Monnet Saal and The Sea-Glass Chronicles in English, L’Aube sous les yeux d’hier in French, and Boken av Blida Skada in Swedish).  The innovative site features extensive excerpts from each work as well as contact and ordering information. A gallery of Brunski’s own stunning photographs is strung throughout the site as an additional visual treat. Check it out: www.bluecathexis.net
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honeybadger
post Oct 12, 2003, 01:41 PM
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I'm reading Phantoms In The Brain for uni. I've only got a few pages to go to finish it but it got boring so it's an effort just to get past those last few pages. Or it could just be because as soon as I finish it, I have to write a critical review on it tongue.gif.
Most of the book has been really interesting and it has a lot of strange and eerie stories about how brain damage in different parts of the brain effects people. It's amazing how there's people who fail to acknowledge the left side of the world, people who feel like they still have an arm even though it's been amputated...
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bluebear
post Oct 13, 2003, 03:51 AM
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hi!

I'm reading phantoms in the brain too, by ramachandran and,umm, blakeslee. It's kind of a captivating book about our zombie selves, using our blindspot to decapitate ppl, phantom limbs, and hemineglect. Remember the man who mistook his leg for a penis? Igot a good laugh out of that! The book also develops the idea that our self and self image are phantoms or illusions created by the brain, in the same way that phantom limbs are. Cool book. Ishould be done with it this week.
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T_Tom_Terrible
post Oct 13, 2003, 01:02 PM
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"Fierce Invalid's Home From Hot Climates" By Tom Robbins

I'm approximately at this point in the novel:

It took every Asian breathing technique he'd ever learned, and one or two he improvised for the occasion, to rescue his brain from the Tabasco-filled birdbath into whose crimson waters it had suddenly fallen. When the searing and flopping finally abated, he felt a measure of relief at the way things were turning out. Almost concurrently, he felt a disappointment so profound he thought he might weep. It was similar to the mixture of relief and dissappointment a moth must feel at the extinguishing of a candle.
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Silke Lance
post Jan 28, 2004, 02:46 AM
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Right now.....
Diary of Frida Kahlo
(by Carlos Fuentes )
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Dara
post Jan 30, 2004, 02:44 AM
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I have read a few books since posting this, but right now I am in the middle of The Face by Dean Koontz...pretty good!

Love,
Dara
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post Feb 03, 2004, 04:51 PM
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I'm reading Power vs. Force by David R. Hawkins. It is very interesting. Has anyone else read it?? Have you tried his testing technique??
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post Feb 07, 2004, 06:09 AM
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I am reading Island by Aldous Huxley.
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chemicalsolutio
post Apr 18, 2004, 12:29 PM
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Reading The Catcher in the Rye.
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Silke Lance
post May 26, 2004, 08:10 AM
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Right now...
Reading: The Namesake : A Novel,By Jhumpa Lahiri
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Pantheist
post May 29, 2004, 04:52 AM
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I am reading Foucaults Pendulum by Umberto Eco, he is an amazing writer.
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Pantheist
post May 29, 2004, 04:54 AM
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Honeybadger.........

What do you study at UNI? I am studying Psychology and I am also reading a few books that describe people's experiences with losing limbs and brain damage.
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angrybuddhist
post Jun 06, 2004, 01:48 AM
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Currently rereading "The Compleat Enchanter", by L. Sprague deCamp & Fletcher Pratt.
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