What books have you been reading lately?

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What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Jon O'Neill » Thu Oct 01, 2015 9:21 am

I always enjoy reading books but unlike TV shows, video games and films I have no idea where to go for reading inspiration. Inspire me.

On holiday just now I read Ian McEwan's latest one, The Children Act. It was decent. I read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini because I loved The Kite Runner, and it was very good, although I don't think any book, film or TV show has devastated me as much.

I also read Richard Brittain's entire literary output which was enjoyable.

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Zarte Siempre » Thu Oct 01, 2015 9:29 am

Jon O'Neill wrote:I also read Richard Brittain's entire literary output which was enjoyable.
Does that include the transcript of his defence?

Anyway, I'm a massive Linwood Barclay fan and think everyone should read his books if they like suspensey-detectivey-thrillery type stuff.
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Giles » Thu Oct 01, 2015 9:46 am

I'm actually currently reading A Thousand Splendid Suns, and recently got through Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro and Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, both of which really make you think about life and the decisions you take. what if? by Randall Munroe (see: http://www.xkcd.com) is like a scientific Ask Graeme.

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Jon Corby » Thu Oct 01, 2015 10:31 am

Have you read Gev's book Jono?

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Jon O'Neill » Thu Oct 01, 2015 10:36 am

Jon Corby wrote:Have you read Gev's book Jono?
Read the first chapter about 8 times. Still don't get it.

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Jennifer Steadman » Thu Oct 01, 2015 10:38 am

Zarte Siempre wrote:
Jon O'Neill wrote:I also read Richard Brittain's entire literary output which was enjoyable.
Does that include the transcript of his defence?
Image

Reading Perfume: The Story of a Murderer at the moment. Really like how grim it is, but perhaps not the best thing to read before bed. Prior to that, re-read Bridget Jones' Diary (not as good as I remember it; the film is much better), and read for the first time: Up Pohnpei (really good - about Mark Watson's brother coaching one of the Micronesian islands at football), The Alchemist (easy to read and a nice yarn, but very wishy washy) and the Highway Code (boring as all fuck, but pretty handy for passing a driving theory test). Outcasts! The Lands That FIFA Forgot is up next.

Anyone else prefer non-fiction to fiction?
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Zarte Siempre » Thu Oct 01, 2015 10:40 am

Love it! :D
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Phil Reynolds » Thu Oct 01, 2015 11:34 am

I'm currently nearing the end of Edge of Eternity, the final book in Ken Follett's "Century Trilogy". It's the fifth of his books I've read, after the earlier ones in the trilogy and the two Pillars of the Earth books. I enjoy the epic scale of his books and want to keep turning the pages, but at the same time I find their appeal slightly puzzling as I never feel emotionally engaged or care about the characters that much, which I normally think of as a prerequisite of good fiction.

Jono, the first two Khaled Hosseini books left me devastated too. I found the third one (And The Mountains Echoed) oddly disappointing as it didn't have the same effect.

Two very different books I read on holiday last year and really enjoyed: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, a family saga with a gobsmacking twist half way through; and Jonathan Harvey's The Girl Who Just Appeared. Harvey will always have a special place in my heart for his 1993 stage play Beautiful Thing; his writing won't be everybody's cup of tea, as some of his humour is a bit lacking in subtlety, but this one starts off in familiar territory before a stunning change of pace (and narrator) half way through takes the story in a completely unexpected direction. It's far and away his best novel yet.

Agree about Linwood Barclay, though some of his are better than others. The last one I read, Trust Your Eyes, was excellent and made clever use of Google Streetview in a way that other thriller writers are probably gnashing their teeth about, wishing they'd thought of it first.

Last but least, I recently enjoyed Guy Martin's autobiography.

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Ian Volante » Thu Oct 01, 2015 11:54 am

I was on holiday for a week recently, and read The Long Mars, Metamorphosis, The Lord of the Rings, and Jane Eyre. I enjoyed them all in different ways, although Bronte is somewhat long-winded, and the Pratchett influence on the 'Long' series appears to be dwindling, as one might expect.
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Oct 01, 2015 11:54 am

Jon O'Neill wrote:I also read Richard Brittain's entire literary output which was enjoyable.
Well you'd better have fucking read my book then.

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Oct 01, 2015 1:44 pm

I'm reading this at the moment. It's a bit dry though.

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Matt Morrison » Thu Oct 01, 2015 3:11 pm

My default go-to recommendation that I think most people I like will also link is Stone Junction by Jim Dodge. Considering how much I enjoyed it it feels weird to say I've only read it once but I can't recall ever reading a book more than once, there are too many out there.

Having just finished my first Murakami, I'm now reading a profileography of Chris Morris called Disgusting Bliss which I'm enjoying very much because Chris Morris is awesome.

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Mark James » Thu Oct 01, 2015 6:31 pm

Jennifer Steadman wrote: Anyone else prefer non-fiction to fiction?
I much prefer it. Can't remember the last time I bothered with fiction.

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Phil Reynolds » Thu Oct 01, 2015 6:32 pm

Matt Morrison wrote:I can't recall ever reading a book more than once
I've read all of Armistead Maupin's books multiple times - the earlier Tales of the City ones probably four or five times each. They're like much-loved holiday destinations that you can't resist going back to again and again.

I've read the aforementioned The Girl Who Just Appeared twice, and will probably do so again in a few years. But Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency has the distinction of being the only book I've ever read where I reached the last page and immediately turned back to page 1 and started again.

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by JimBentley » Thu Oct 01, 2015 7:05 pm

Mark James wrote:
Jennifer Steadman wrote: Anyone else prefer non-fiction to fiction?
I much prefer it. Can't remember the last time I bothered with fiction.
Me too, though I was a voracious reader of all sorts of fiction when I was younger (off topic I know, but I do think that reading when you're growing up makes sure that you can spell accurately in later life). I've enjoyed some of David Mitchell's (the novelist, not the comedian) stuff recently but otherwise I'm a biography and factual guy these days. Tracey Thorn's "Bedsit Disco Queen" was brilliant and I'm currently on "Jacked", which is the unauthorised story of Grand Theft Auto, DMA Designs, Rockstar Games, Jack Thompson and all that stuff. It's good.
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by JackHurst » Mon Oct 05, 2015 9:47 pm

I've been reading C4C posts that Gevin can't see.

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Jun 02, 2016 5:46 pm

We've had recently active threads on films and TV programmes, so I thought I might bump this. I try to read an eclectic mix of books, and when picking a fiction book, I often use this as a guide. The last three books I've read are Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, and Mort by Terry Pratchett.

Superintelligence is quite an interesting book about what could happen when computers become more intelligent than us. It's a bit dry though, and despite his apparent thoroughness, I don't think he really covers all the ground.

I'd never read any of Dickens before, and picked a Tale of Two Cities because my Mum recommended it. While I quite enjoyed it, it certainly took me a while to get through. I don't know if he does this in other books, but at random points in the book, he starts writing in a more "poetic" way, which basically just means more difficult to follow. I read the Wikipedia article on the book afterwards to pick up a few details that I'd missed. It was also fairly obvious from quite a way before the end how it was basically going to end.

I'd never read any Terry Pratchett before either, so I thought I'd give it a go, and Mort has often been called his best book. I have to say though that I was a bit disappointed. I mean, it's OK, but his writing isn't really that witty (like, not as witty as he's trying to be), and the story, while OK, certainly isn't particularly good. And from about 2/3 of the way in, it kind of loses its coherence somewhat.

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Marc Meakin » Thu Jun 02, 2016 7:45 pm

Biographies mostly
John Lydon, Morrissey and Chris Evans.
I enjoyed Both,Danny Bakers autobiography volumes.
The last fiction I read was The Martian

Worst book I ever read was Cloud Atlas my favourite was either Catch 22 or Life of Pi
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Jennifer Steadman » Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:31 pm

N/A. Can't remember the last time I read a book that wasn't a textbook. Find them inefficient, hugely time-consuming for little reward, and rarely a fraction as interesting as a copy of the Economist or whatever.
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Matt Bayfield » Thu Jun 02, 2016 10:01 pm

I've read three books this year. In what might be the narrowest niche of literary tastes, all three are autobiographies of female American guitarists:

Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl: A Memoir by Carrie Brownstein (published 05-Nov-15)
Living Like A Runaway: A Memoir by Lita Ford (07-Apr-16)
The Rise, The Fall, And The Rise by Brix Smith Start (05-May-16)

I enjoyed them all.

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Matt Morrison » Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:00 am

wtf jen. terrible english student!

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Matt Morrison » Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:01 am

Been smashing through the works of China Mieville recently. I don't like science fiction generally but his stuff is insanely good, and I guess is more like "science fiction in a non-fiction world" if that makes sense.

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:53 am

Jon O'Neill wrote:
Jon Corby wrote:Have you read Gev's book Jono?
Read the first chapter about 8 times. Still don't get it.
What's not to get?

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Johnny Canuck » Fri Jun 03, 2016 3:09 pm

Has anyone read Ernest Cline's books, Ready Player One and Armada? They've seemed to have become fixtures in 2010s geek culture and I enjoyed them while they lasted (plus Wil Wheaton narrated the audiobooks and he is an awesome dude), but I don't think I'd care to read them again.
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Jennifer Steadman » Fri Jun 03, 2016 4:22 pm

Matt Morrison wrote:wtf jen. terrible english student!
Au contraire - judging by my grades, a much better English student than virtually all of the overwrought booksniffers on my degree ;)
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Matt Morrison » Fri Jun 03, 2016 7:06 pm

Trust me, that grade won't mean shit :)

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Jennifer Steadman » Fri Jun 03, 2016 10:00 pm

Matt Morrison wrote:Trust me, that grade won't mean shit :)
I know :( Employers and job agencies are all about the Countdown these days.
"There's leaders, and there's followers, but I'd rather be a dick than a swallower" - Aristotle

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Conor » Fri Jun 03, 2016 10:19 pm

Jennifer Steadman wrote:
Matt Morrison wrote:Trust me, that grade won't mean shit :)
I know :( Employers and job agencies are all about the Countdown these days.
Tru dat. But learning words is needed to be good at Countdown, and books are great for learning words. I mean, technically one could learn words like arbitrary strings of letters with an application, but that would never catch on.

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Conor » Sat Jun 04, 2016 10:11 am

On my last holiday I read Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. Liquid reading. Recently finished Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters by J.D. Salinger. Tenderly affecting. Currently reading A Decent Ride by Irvine Welsh. A fun read, and it uses the word 'shag' a lot.

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Thomas Carey » Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:39 am

Johnny Canuck wrote:Has anyone read Ernest Cline's books, Ready Player One and Armada? They've seemed to have become fixtures in 2010s geek culture and I enjoyed them while they lasted (plus Wil Wheaton narrated the audiobooks and he is an awesome dude), but I don't think I'd care to read them again.
Bit late to the party here but RPO is my joint favourite book and I've read it about 6 times. I have Armada but never actually read it, will do over summer
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Thomas Carey » Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:47 pm

Thomas Carey wrote:
Johnny Canuck wrote:Has anyone read Ernest Cline's books, Ready Player One and Armada? They've seemed to have become fixtures in 2010s geek culture and I enjoyed them while they lasted (plus Wil Wheaton narrated the audiobooks and he is an awesome dude), but I don't think I'd care to read them again.
Bit late to the party here but RPO is my joint favourite book and I've read it about 6 times. I have Armada but never actually read it, will do over summer
Update: just finished Armada. Didn't think much of it at first, but got good quickly, definitely enjoyed it. Not a patch on RPO though.

Got a decent-sized list of stuff I want to read over summer, probably won't get through it all but might post some short 'reviews' here.
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Jon O'Neill » Sat Sep 10, 2016 8:37 am

Just finished American Psycho. A light-hearted romp through the life of a young white-collar worker.

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by JimBentley » Sat Sep 10, 2016 4:24 pm

Jon O'Neill wrote:Just finished American Psycho. A light-hearted romp through the life of a young white-collar worker.
I remember reading that at university and really enjoyed it; very much my sort of thing. It made especially funny use of the protagonist's taste in music (all 80s AOR, which of course at the time I absolutely hated) if I remember. Never got round to seeing the film but it always struck me that a film wouldn't work, as it would have to be toned down too much (although on the other hand, having the actual songs accompanying the madness could be really effective).

Has he done much (that's any good) since? He sort of fell off my radar.
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Jon O'Neill » Mon Sep 12, 2016 12:09 pm

JimBentley wrote:
Jon O'Neill wrote:Just finished American Psycho. A light-hearted romp through the life of a young white-collar worker.
I remember reading that at university and really enjoyed it; very much my sort of thing. It made especially funny use of the protagonist's taste in music (all 80s AOR, which of course at the time I absolutely hated) if I remember. Never got round to seeing the film but it always struck me that a film wouldn't work, as it would have to be toned down too much (although on the other hand, having the actual songs accompanying the madness could be really effective).

Has he done much (that's any good) since? He sort of fell off my radar.
I haven't read anything else by him. I might do. I'm reading The Talented Mr. Ripley now - a different experience as I've seen the film this time so basically know the plot. But it's still enjoyable to be reading Fiction again after almost a year off.

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by JimBentley » Mon Sep 12, 2016 3:20 pm

Jon O'Neill wrote:But it's still enjoyable to be reading Fiction again after almost a year off.
I blame the internet. Before the internet I used to read two, maybe three books a week. Now it's more like one every couple of weeks or so.

There's just TOO MUCH STUFF! I can't handle it all anymore! Although I doubt I'll lose any sleep over it. *








* because I'm a chronic insomniac
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:55 pm

JimBentley wrote:
Jon O'Neill wrote:But it's still enjoyable to be reading Fiction again after almost a year off.
I blame the internet. Before the internet I used to read two, maybe three books a week. Now it's more like one every couple of weeks or so.
I think I should put people who can read really quickly in the people you shouldn't trust thread. Two or three a week?! I wish I could do that!

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by JimBentley » Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:09 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
JimBentley wrote:
Jon O'Neill wrote:But it's still enjoyable to be reading Fiction again after almost a year off.
I blame the internet. Before the internet I used to read two, maybe three books a week. Now it's more like one every couple of weeks or so.
I think I should put people who can read really quickly in the people you shouldn't trust thread. Two or three a week?! I wish I could do that!
Nah, you jsut must be slow. You should've seen me in primary school, it was more like two books a day (although, to be fair, several of those were probably Noggin the Nog or something).

But seriously, when I was a big reader it wasn't unusual at all to read a standard length novel in a single reading.
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Whatcha been reading

Post by Marc Meakin » Thu Jan 07, 2021 10:50 am

Apologies if there is a dedicated book topic I have missed/couldn't be bothered to check.
What books have you read or are currebtly reading that you reccommend.

I have just finished Alan Davies second autobiographical tome called Just Ignore Him.
Its so honest and raw at times but also so well written.
Peppered with dark humour given the subject matter.
Highly recommended.

Im about to start Inside No 9 the Scripts season 1 to 3.
It may prove a different abd difficult read as the book has been printed back to front.
I assume by accident unless I'm missing something here
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Jon O'Neill » Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:43 am

Merged.

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Marc Meakin » Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:34 pm

Jon O'Neill wrote:
Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:43 am
Merged.
Cheers
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Jan 07, 2021 3:06 pm

Jon O'Neill wrote:
Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:43 am
Merged.
Looks interesting. Do you recommend it?

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Marc Meakin » Thu Jan 07, 2021 3:21 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Thu Jan 07, 2021 3:06 pm
Jon O'Neill wrote:
Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:43 am
Merged.
Looks interesting. Do you recommend it?
I was so tempted to do this, but as it was my fuck up in the first place I didnt think I had the right to 😊
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Matt Rutherford » Thu Jan 07, 2021 5:15 pm

Timothy Keller's various apologetics-would recommend for any fellow Christian/anyone who wants to argue against a Christian. Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson is good if you want to start realizing just how annoying someone else might find you irritating. On Alan Ryan's On Politics makes for a decent read if relaxing with some light philosophy is your thing
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Callum Todd » Thu Jan 07, 2021 6:12 pm

Since the beginning of October I've read:

Stuff and Consciousness by Toby Pereira
Why Can't We All Just Get Along? by Iain Dale
How Not to Die by Dr Michael Greger
Animal Farm by George Orwell
1984 by George Orwell

Now on Time Lord Victorious: The Knight, The Fool and the Dead by Steve Cole. Up next are Time Lord Victorious: All Flesh is Grass by Una McCormack and The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins.
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Marc Meakin » Thu Jan 07, 2021 7:26 pm

Callum Todd wrote:
Thu Jan 07, 2021 6:12 pm
Since the beginning of October I've read:

Stuff and Consciousness by Toby Pereira
Why Can't We All Just Get Along? by Iain Dale
How Not to Die by Dr Michael Greger
Animal Farm by George Orwell
1984 by George Orwell

Now on Time Lord Victorious: The Knight, The Fool and the Dead by Steve Cole. Up next are Time Lord Victorious: All Flesh is Grass by Una McCormack and The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins.
1984 must almost feel like non-fiction in the current climate
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Jan 07, 2021 8:53 pm

Callum Todd wrote:
Thu Jan 07, 2021 6:12 pm
Since the beginning of October I've read:

Stuff and Consciousness by Toby Pereira
How did you find this book? I'd be interested in discussing it with you.

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Callum Todd » Fri Jan 08, 2021 5:55 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Thu Jan 07, 2021 8:53 pm
Callum Todd wrote:
Thu Jan 07, 2021 6:12 pm
Since the beginning of October I've read:

Stuff and Consciousness by Toby Pereira
How did you find this book? I'd be interested in discussing it with you.
Shite mate.

Nah, it was very good! I had to very alert to take it in. As a layman it was instructive and not beyond me but I had to be switched on to do the heavy thinking, learn about the subject matter on the job and follow all the arguments. Funnily enough I read a couple of chapters, including the Free Will one, while waiting for my car to get serviced, and recalled that the previous year I was sat in the exact same spot also waiting for a service reading Freedom Evolves by Dan Dennett and it was a very similar experience. What I wish I had done though is continued to read other books in the same field straight after finishing this Toby chap's book to continue to line of thought, but I already had about 10 books queued up. Maybe when I get back on to that topic I'll have to put a reread of Stuff and Consciousness at the top of the list.
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Dan Byrom » Fri Jan 08, 2021 4:39 pm

Recently read The Flat Share by Beth O'Leary.

Would seriously recommend. Something I would never have considered reading as I haven't read anything like it before (it's a rom com!), which I suspect a lot of people here might relate to, but someone I knew had mentioned it and it was £1 on Kindle so I gave it a go.

Couldn't put it down! It was brilliant!

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Jan 08, 2021 8:27 pm

Callum Todd wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 5:55 am
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Thu Jan 07, 2021 8:53 pm
Callum Todd wrote:
Thu Jan 07, 2021 6:12 pm
Since the beginning of October I've read:

Stuff and Consciousness by Toby Pereira
How did you find this book? I'd be interested in discussing it with you.
Shite mate.

Nah, it was very good! I had to very alert to take it in. As a layman it was instructive and not beyond me but I had to be switched on to do the heavy thinking, learn about the subject matter on the job and follow all the arguments. Funnily enough I read a couple of chapters, including the Free Will one, while waiting for my car to get serviced, and recalled that the previous year I was sat in the exact same spot also waiting for a service reading Freedom Evolves by Dan Dennett and it was a very similar experience. What I wish I had done though is continued to read other books in the same field straight after finishing this Toby chap's book to continue to line of thought, but I already had about 10 books queued up. Maybe when I get back on to that topic I'll have to put a reread of Stuff and Consciousness at the top of the list.
What did you make of Freedom Evolved? I think we have it in our house but I haven't read it. It's very long, and to be honest I think free will is too lightweight a philosophical subject to deserve that many pages devoted to it in a book written in the 21st century. I have read some of Dennett's stuff about free will in other material though. I don't think there's any fundamental mystery there, and the disagreement seems to be largely about precisely how you define the term.

Have you read other books specifically about consciousness?

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Callum Todd » Sat Jan 09, 2021 10:47 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 8:27 pm
What did you make of Freedom Evolved? I think we have it in our house but I haven't read it. It's very long, and to be honest I think free will is too lightweight a philosophical subject to deserve that many pages devoted to it in a book written in the 21st century. I have read some of Dennett's stuff about free will in other material though. I don't think there's any fundamental mystery there, and the disagreement seems to be largely about precisely how you define the term.

Have you read other books specifically about consciousness?
It was good, although not an 'easy' read. Like that Toby guy's book, it was accessible to a layman like me but it's still pretty heavy stuff and comprehending it lies somewhere at the outer reach of my cerebral ability.

I picked it up after reading 'Free Will' by Sam Harris then hearing a podcast where Harris and Dennett argued about free will. The podcast I pretty much completely failed to follow as they were both pushing each other intellectually and I'm just not intelligent enough to understand. I was quite convinced by Sam's book but knew I was very uneducated on the subject so thought I should read a counterpoint so that I wasn't just forming my opinion based on the first material I stumbled across. (So in answer to your question: no, I haven't really read any other books specifically about consciousness).

It wasn't what I was expecting in that regard though. Based on the title I was expecting an argument for your traditional 'free will' belief but lots of stuff about evolution and of course no God stuff (owing to the author's reputation on that topic). Actually it was mostly very much an argument for determinism, but with some semantic argument that there is still free will contained within a deterministic universe. I struggled to grasp that nuance but the argument seemed well made. There also wasn't really much evolution stuff in it, which was disappointing as I love that shit.

One thing that was quite striking (and very different to Toby's approach) was that he was very forthright and self-righteous with his arguments. He seemed to think that the science, or logic, is done and backs him up. I could see from that why he and Sam Harris were so passionate in their debate, even though the nuances they were disagreeing over appeared to by very small.

I'm interested by youyr observation of this being 'too lightweight' a topic for a book. Could you recommend any other books on consciousness that would be accessible for me? Anything significantly harder to parse than Toby's book, or presumably any other Dennett you've read, would probably be beyond me.
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Mark James » Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:15 pm

I decided not to read the book about free will. Or did I?

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:44 pm

Callum Todd wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 10:47 am
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 8:27 pm
What did you make of Freedom Evolved? I think we have it in our house but I haven't read it. It's very long, and to be honest I think free will is too lightweight a philosophical subject to deserve that many pages devoted to it in a book written in the 21st century. I have read some of Dennett's stuff about free will in other material though. I don't think there's any fundamental mystery there, and the disagreement seems to be largely about precisely how you define the term.

Have you read other books specifically about consciousness?
It was good, although not an 'easy' read. Like that Toby guy's book, it was accessible to a layman like me but it's still pretty heavy stuff and comprehending it lies somewhere at the outer reach of my cerebral ability.

I picked it up after reading 'Free Will' by Sam Harris then hearing a podcast where Harris and Dennett argued about free will. The podcast I pretty much completely failed to follow as they were both pushing each other intellectually and I'm just not intelligent enough to understand. I was quite convinced by Sam's book but knew I was very uneducated on the subject so thought I should read a counterpoint so that I wasn't just forming my opinion based on the first material I stumbled across. (So in answer to your question: no, I haven't really read any other books specifically about consciousness).

It wasn't what I was expecting in that regard though. Based on the title I was expecting an argument for your traditional 'free will' belief but lots of stuff about evolution and of course no God stuff (owing to the author's reputation on that topic). Actually it was mostly very much an argument for determinism, but with some semantic argument that there is still free will contained within a deterministic universe. I struggled to grasp that nuance but the argument seemed well made. There also wasn't really much evolution stuff in it, which was disappointing as I love that shit.

One thing that was quite striking (and very different to Toby's approach) was that he was very forthright and self-righteous with his arguments. He seemed to think that the science, or logic, is done and backs him up. I could see from that why he and Sam Harris were so passionate in their debate, even though the nuances they were disagreeing over appeared to by very small.

I'm interested by youyr observation of this being 'too lightweight' a topic for a book. Could you recommend any other books on consciousness that would be accessible for me? Anything significantly harder to parse than Toby's book, or presumably any other Dennett you've read, would probably be beyond me.
See the bits I bolded for why I said what I said. If you ask scientists how our behaviour is caused, I don't think it's that controverisal. It's completely answerable by science even if we don't have a full understanding right now. So is there free will? Well, we basically know how our behaviour is caused (by our brain with no extra magic needed), so whether or not there is free will is just about exactly how you define it. And that's why you get these semantic arguments. And yes, Dennett is very condescending. By the way, I have read Sam Harris's book. I seem to remember largely agreeing with it, without thinking it was anything groundbreaking. I've also read this which is four different philosophers giving their views and discussing each other's. It just came across as lightweight with weak arguments all round.

Consciousness is different, however. It's conceptually much harder to see how the physical brain can give rise to subjective experience at all. I think that Toby guy mentioned in his book about other reading material, but anyway Introducing Consciousness, which is part of an "Introducing" series, is good, as is Conversations on Consciousness, which is a bunch of interviews with lots of people on the subject and it gives a wide range of views. The Mind's I is a collection of essays and stories by various people put together with commentary by Douglas Hofstadter our the main man Daniel Dennett. There is also Consciousness Explained by Dennett himself as well as The Conscious Mind by David Chalmers - I see these two as the biggest names in the field over the last few decades and they have very opposing views. And for anyone else reading this post, obviously Stuff and Consciousness by Toby Pereira is an amazing read. I've also recently finished reading The Feeling of Life Itself by Christof Koch, which is about the Integrated Information Theory of consciousness which seems to be flavour of the month right now.

By the way, what you said about not being intelligent enough to understand what they were saying in the podcast - I doubt it was that. It was probably jargonistic terms that made it more opaque, and also their well-rehearsed stuff that might take a while to think about but for them is easy because they've gone over it loads before.

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:48 pm

Marc Meakin wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:15 pm
I decided not to read the book about free will. Or did I?
I was just about to reply to this, but I noticed that's the forum's (conscious?) AI autocorrected the user. Scary stuff.

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Marc Meakin » Sun Jan 10, 2021 12:02 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:48 pm
Marc Meakin wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:15 pm
I decided not to read the book about free will. Or did I?
I was just about to reply to this, but I noticed that's the forum's (conscious?) AI autocorrected the user. Scary stuff.
Fake news????.
I did once go to the library to ask where the books are on self help
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Marc Meakin » Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:19 pm

Cant be bothered to put this on a separate thread but are any of you a fan of audiobooks.
I've noticed just lately I have turned more to audiobooks as i get older, especially fiction.
Recent audiobooks I have enjoyed are Life of Pi and Haunted by Chuck Pahunek ( I kbow its incorrectly spelt but the guy who wrote Fight Club) .
I enjoyed haunted as the author did the narration.


My only qualm with audiobooks is that sometimes i do fall asleep listening to them rather much like I did as a child when my sister read me stories at bedtime
Last edited by Marc Meakin on Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Jon O'Neill » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:44 pm

Marc Meakin wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:19 pm
Haunted by Chuck Pahunek ( I kbow its incorrectky spelt but the guy who wrote Fight Club) .
I enjoyed haunted as the author did the narration.
Chuck Palahniuk... I read this a little while ago at Eddy Byrne's suggestion. It certainly stays with you.

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Re: What books have you been reading lately?

Post by Marc Meakin » Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:16 pm

Jon O'Neill wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:44 pm
Marc Meakin wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:19 pm
Haunted by Chuck Pahunek ( I kbow its incorrectky spelt but the guy who wrote Fight Club) .
I enjoyed haunted as the author did the narration.
Chuck Palahniuk... I read this a little while ago at Eddy Byrne's suggestion. It certainly stays with you.
Guts being the stand out tale
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