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help me to read and be more smarterer

y2jake215y2jake215 certified Flat Birther theoristthe Last Good Boy onlineRegistered User regular
I recently moved to a new city and don't have cable or fast enough internet to do much streaming so I'm finding myself with a lot of free time. I've been putting off reading books for a long time due to laziness and video game/internet/tv overstimulus so I figure now is as good a time as any to get to it. It's especially important since I want to be more interesting to potential friends/dates that I meet, since my friend circle here is so small.

So, what books will make me smarter and more interesting person? I'm open to anything - Ta-Nehisi Coates on race relations, Slavoj Zizek and philosophy, books on fascinating and important historical events or times, even fiction that makes you think. I'm all ears.

The only thing I'm not particularly interested in at the moment is genre fiction or any plot driven stories for the purpose of entertainment, any "action movies" of books.

any thoughts?

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maybe i'm streaming terrible dj right now if i am its here

Posts

  • HandgimpHandgimp R+L=J Family PhotoRegistered User regular
    On China by Henry Kissinger.

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    DisruptedCapitalist
  • Bliss 101Bliss 101 Registered User regular
    In the category of fiction that makes you think, I nominate The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

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    EncHandgimpEchoKeroan
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    Snow Falling on Cedars is another good book about the human condition. It's also a mystery sort-of.

    The March of Folly is a great book on history also.

  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    The Theodore Roosevelt Trilogy by Edmund Morris. Will give you an endless series of true anecdotes about the most interesting U.S. President.

    A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn.

    1984 by George Orwell. One of the classics.

    Switch Friend Code: SW-6732-9515-9697
    caligynefobDisruptedCapitalist
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    I'd also recommend non-fiction on major trends/factors. I found Water by Steven Solomon fascinating for how it describes how control/use of water helped shape history. Also, histories of your area are always fun, as things like Imperial San Francisco peel back the covers of city roots and drivers, as many cities power structures aren't immediately apparent.

    Julius
  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    Russian literature! Has good cultural cachet (people will think you are smart), good stories (fun to read!), thought-provoking (might actually make you smarter or more thoughtful). Selected recommendations

    Some starting places:
    Dostoevsky: Crime and Punishment ( <3<3<3 ); Notes from Underground (novella/fast read, very ideological/thought-provoking, so much delightful spite)
    ---worth knowing, btw, that Dostoevsky did not, at the time of writing these ones, remotely share the points of view of his protagonists and was a really conservative dude...gives interesting perspective. If you like these, there are many more Dostoevsky books waiting.

    Bulgakov: Master and Margarita--if you are into close reading and thinking about themes and symbols and parallels this will absolutely make you think, especially if you get an edition with footnotes explaining references. It's genre fiction, although it's the sort of genre book that is so very literary that it escapes the genre designation, usually.

    Nabokov (debatably Russian literature, especially since I'm recommending one of his American books): Pale Fire. Nabokov is a writer who gleefully sends you to the dictionary. Pale Fire is full of puzzles and symbols and clever verse and again isn't so much ideologically thought-provoking as it is a book demanding close and thoughtful reading.

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
    815165
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    May want to look into book clubs in your new city, it would be a good way to read and meet people simultaneously. Or start one with the people you've already gotten to know a bit, if they are into that sort of thing.

    HandgimpJuliusPure DinKeroan
  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    y2jake215 wrote: »
    Slavoj Zizek and philosophy,

    I wouldn't. Žižek is difficult to understand at the best of times, and arguably most of what he writes is bollocks (or actually brilliant, who knows).


    In general I recommend philosophy books that deal with a subject and theories about it, rather than the works about theories by known philosophers themselves. As in, it's smarter to read a book about Kant than a book by Kant. Or like Philosophy for Dummies or Histories of x philosophy, or Ethics of [X]. This is less of an issue with analytical philosophy (as opposed to continental philosophy), because analytical philosophy emphasizes argumentative clarity. But even then it's good to know what the stakes are, and why a philosopher is doing what he does.

    Once you have a good basis of knowledge you can expand on it by delving into more.


    Also I second local history books, and stuff like Bill Bryson. Often fun to read, and it makes you learn about stuff you see every day.

  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam

    If you want some interesting anecdotes this book has them. It's a biography of John Brinkley whose biggest claim to fame was sewing goat testicles in to people as a cure for pretty much anything. For a con man he had a relatively large influence on America in a lot of areas.

    The Ender
  • caligynefobcaligynefob DKRegistered User regular
    Down and Out in Paris and London by Orwell. Gives a very interesting perspective on homelessness and being poor.

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    ShimshaiCelestialBadger
  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Candy IslandRegistered User regular
    credeiki wrote: »
    Russian literature! Has good cultural cachet (people will think you are smart), good stories (fun to read!), thought-provoking (might actually make you smarter or more thoughtful). Selected recommendations

    Some starting places:
    Dostoevsky: Crime and Punishment ( <3<3<3 ); Notes from Underground (novella/fast read, very ideological/thought-provoking, so much delightful spite)
    ---worth knowing, btw, that Dostoevsky did not, at the time of writing these ones, remotely share the points of view of his protagonists and was a really conservative dude...gives interesting perspective. If you like these, there are many more Dostoevsky books waiting.

    Bulgakov: Master and Margarita--if you are into close reading and thinking about themes and symbols and parallels this will absolutely make you think, especially if you get an edition with footnotes explaining references. It's genre fiction, although it's the sort of genre book that is so very literary that it escapes the genre designation, usually.

    Nabokov (debatably Russian literature, especially since I'm recommending one of his American books): Pale Fire. Nabokov is a writer who gleefully sends you to the dictionary. Pale Fire is full of puzzles and symbols and clever verse and again isn't so much ideologically thought-provoking as it is a book demanding close and thoughtful reading.

    Alexander Solzhenitzyn should probably be read as well.

    There is an excellent Translation of In the First Circle that just came out not to long ago.

    I don't have courage but I have something else.
  • caligynefobcaligynefob DKRegistered User regular
    edited October 2015
    The Trial by Kafka is another great novel that was way ahead of it's time in regards to bureaucracy and the power of the state over the individual.

    Edit: Dammit this thread makes me miss reading something that isn't legal textbooks.

    caligynefob on
    PS4 - Mrfuzzyhat
    joshgotro
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    I recommend "Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi. It is the autobiography of the author growing up in Iran in the '80s. It is absolutely fascinating because Iran has a certain image in the West (and we certainly see some of this in the book, such as the narrator continually pushing the boundaries of Islamic female dress) but what really comes across is how not different people in Islamic fundamentalist countries are to us. It is a graphic novel, but realistic aside from some fantasy sequences. You will never see Iran the same way again after reading it.

    TofystedethRoyceSraphimKeroan
  • seasleepyseasleepy Registered User regular
    If you like Ta-Nehisi Coates, I super recommend going back to his blog and "following" along with a couple of his book club posts from several years ago and/or reading some of his evolving thoughts on the US Civil War. And this is one situation where you definitely should click to read the comments, they are fantastic and an education in themselves.

    (In any case, What Hath God Wrought, Battle Cry of Freedom, and Reconstruction are all Pulitzer Prize winners about US history and worth reading even if you don't feel like digging through old blog posts. What Hath God Wrought in particular covers a time period that I had always gotten the impression of being relatively uninteresting, but man my teachers did a bad job apparently, and there are some parallels between then and today.)

    Steam | Nintendo: seasleepy | PSN: seasleepy1
    DisruptedCapitalist
  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Candy IslandRegistered User regular
    I highly recommend Dan Ariely's books "Predictably Irrational" and "The Honest Truth about Dishonesty". He writes about behavioral economics and psychology, based off of scientific testing.

    They will change the way you think about people's behavior, and help you understand others and yourself. Plus they are very interesting and great to talk about with others.

    http://www.amazon.com/Predictably-Irrational-Revised-Expanded-Edition/dp/0061353248

    http://www.amazon.com/Honest-Truth-About-Dishonesty-Everyone---Especially/dp/B00E29BJUK/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1445363308&sr=1-2&keywords=the+honest+truth+about+dishonesty

    I don't have courage but I have something else.
  • PinfeldorfPinfeldorf Realtor Santa ClaritaRegistered User regular
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    @y2jake215 given your new home, I really strongly commend James Ellroy to your attention. He's one of LA's unofficial poet-laureates and a major figure in American letters of the last three decades. L.A. Confidential, The Black Dahlia, White Jazz, and American Tabloid are probably the best of his fiction work, while the historical-autobiographical My Dark Places regards both the murder of his mother while he was a child as well as the real-life Dahlia killings, which he feels a sort of personal/karmic connection to.

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    caligynefob
  • AtaxrxesAtaxrxes Cursed EarthRegistered User regular
  • ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    LETS GET SOME SCIENCE UP IN THIS BITCH, JAKE

    Here's Arch's recommended reading list for fun and profit (but mostly knowledge)

    READ THE FOLLOWING

    The Tangled Bank by Carl Zimmer- good introduction to evolutionary biology, but a bit textbook-y
    Parasite Rex, Planet of Viruses- both also by Zimmer. These are short and sweet, and are mostly just fun books to learn about weird things in the world.

    Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin -or- Endless forms Most Beautiful by Sean Carroll. Both fill similar niches in learning about how body forms have evolved over time, and how we use similar gene networks to build vastly different forms

    Edible by Daniella Martin. I don't like the weird bits where she shits all over vegetarianism, but the rest of the book is solid.
    The Infested Mind by John Lockwood. This book is written by an entomologist who actually has entomophobia, and it explores the evolutionary history and psychology of insect fear. One of my favorite books- I've read it about five times now.

    Animal Weapons - by Doug Emlen. This book describes how the different weapons different animals possess have originated and evolved, and compares it to parallels in human weaponry. Bonus is that I'm in the acknowledgements of this book, because Doug is on my dissertation committee.

    For fiction I recommend the book trilogy Parasite by Mira Grant, or The Passage trilogy by Justin Cronin.

    ANYWAY YEA MAN GET SMART AND DUNK ON PEOPLES

  • OnTheLastCastleOnTheLastCastle let's keep it haimish for the peripatetic Registered User regular
    I'm going to read Pedagogy of the Oppressed to get smarterer.

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