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February 24, 2013

Sunday Morning Book Thread 02-24-2013: Flying Squid Edition [OregonMuse]

flying squid - 2.jpg
Flying Squid You Guys!

Good morning morons and moronettes to the creepy, weirdly unnatural yet humorous Sunday Morning Book Thread.

So I've heard that some of you read this thread on hand-held devices with really crappy browsers, and I say "really crappy" because apparently, when I do the photo caption using a small font, the really crappy browser somehow doesn't pick up the small font html closing tag, which results in all subsequent text being displayed in teeny tiny print, which renders the whole thing unreadable. If anyone knows of a workaround for this that will enable me to use the small font, please let me know. I use the html tag 'small' to display reduced-size font. In the meantime, I'll just not use the tiny font.

What I'm Reading

'Ette commenter Kathy from Kansas mentioned The Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy in the comments of last week's book thread. It's one of those books I've heard about for years, but have never gotten around to reading. So I splurged and plunked down $18.99 for the NOOK edition, which burned off the rest of my B&N gift card and then some. It's the story of the life of a medieval Norwegian woman from her 7th year until her death. Commenter notsothoreau says "it's a story about children that do what they want, making bad choices and marrying the wrong person." Yeah, it sounds like a "chick book", and it probably is, but I'm enjoying it, so there. The author, Sigrid Undset (1882-1949), won the Nobel Prize for Literature, partly for this and also for another work, The Master of Hestviken, a four-volume series published after the Lavransdatter books. And before you all start rolling your eyes, remember that this was in the 1920s, back when the Nobel prize was an honest achievement, before O'Sullivan's First Law had a chance to take effect, and thus before the Nobel selection process was hijacked and corrupted by lefty a*holes.

I also purchased Old Town by the Chinese writer Lin Zhe as a $1.99 daily Kindle deal. It's about "an ordinary family caught up in the maelstrom that was China's most recent century. [The] narrative ranges across the entire length of China, to California and back again, to the battlefields of the Anti-Japanese War of Resistance and the brutal 'struggle' sessions of the Cultural Revolution."

I think the reason I want to read this book is because I think I'm looking for the Chinese version of Alexandr Solzhenitsyn. Perhaps such a person doesn't exist, but I think the horrors inflicted by Mao were way worse than anything the Soviets ever did (although not from lack of trying), and I would very much like to believe that there's a writer out there who can speak for the dead millions in China, and bear witness to the crimes committed against them.

Recommendations From Morons

Joseph Whitehall emailed me to recommend the classic work "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" by Edward Gibbons Gibbon, which you can get for free for the Kindle. Whitehall then dishes up this tidbit: "Ben Franklin used to prick the author, who opposed the American Revolution". I did not know this. This might be fun to look into further. I'm so used to hearing the American side of the Revolution, but not so familiar with the counter-arguments advanced by our British opponents. I know that Samuel Johnson, a staunch monarchist, wrote a sharply-worded essay entitled "Taxation No Tyranny", attacking the legitimacy of the American Revolution, but I've only skimmed through it, not read it thoroughly.


So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, rumors, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at

So what have you all been reading this week? Hopefully something good. because life is too short to read lousy books.

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posted by Open Blogger at 10:53 AM

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