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We've got topics on music and video, but not on reading.

So... what are folks reading.

List your item, a brief bit on it, and put it into a category such as 'history', 'political science', 'technical manual', 'fiction; poetry', 'fiction: fantasy', etc...

Not that anyone ever follows thread suggested rules here - but lets keep 'news', 'blog', 'daily article', and other 'hyper current shorts' out of this thread, they should have their own thread - but they are likely to also lead their topic into being quickly locked... And yes, I  am one of those most well known for liking to post 'current events' and political topics. I'd like to see a thread for that kind of literature, as a second topic, just not sure if it would survive.

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Here are my initial entries. I'm giving several of them in order to try and get some topic push going, and because my subject matters are probably not the norm for most.

It's been about  decade since I read fiction. I just have too many other things and non-fiction is of much more interest to me. That noted, I am hoping this thread will introduce me to some fiction worth looking at... I suspect 99% of you won't find my current titles in your area of interest, but I needed something to get things rolling...

 

 

A Brief History of Mexico, 4th ed.

-Lynn V. Foster

History

This book is a great look at the history of Mexico from ancient times to the modern era. The pre-Cortez period is just two chapters, but it's not really the focal point of the book - it does however work well to set the stage for why Cortez had so many allies, unlike Pizarro's invasion of my family's homeland among the Inca / Mountain Amazon. Given that almost half of the USA was once Mexico, I strongly feel all Americans should study Mexican history. A huge portion of our population traces roots through there, and American culture is really primarily a hybrid between England, West Africa, and 'New Spain'. It's to our discredit that we lack awareness of how these things shape us.

I've been greatly enjoying this book. It's very neutral in tone up through where I am thus far - which for history is how I like things.

 

97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know

- Edited by Richard Monson-Haefel

Technical Advice

I've been in software for several decades now. And for the past decade I've been what's known as a Technical Architect and sometimes been a Solution Architect. Basically planning and leading software projects from a higher level end. This is a book full of handy tips for people in or moving into that role. I'm not through with it, still on the fence about how good the advice is. Some of it is generic stuff and some will be specific and useful.

 

Stamped From The Beginning

-Ibram X. Kendi

Social Science / History

This very well known book is a critical analysis of 'how did we get into this mess' when it comes to the topic of racism. At it's core it goes through history and looks at the steps that were taken to manufacture modern racism, which it asserts is an artificial construct unlike more traditional ethnic conflict. Racism, as the book asserts, was something manufactured by an industry that had an appalling product to sell, and needed to convince people to keep buying that product; namely the slave trade. Faced with the problem of enslaved and free people living side by side, history has always shown that over time the populations eventually merge and equalize. That would destroy the slaver's industry. If poor farmers and indentured people in the colonies started to see the Africans as fellow human beings suffering under the yoke of landed gentry, which in fact early rebellions showed they did... the industry would collapse as their families began to merge. So they needed to create a method by which the two groups could be kept forever apart, and a whole new beast was created... something unlike history conflicts, that could self perpetuate itself into perpetuity.

This book examines how that was done, and what it has cost us. I have yet to finish it - but it does move forward in time to the modern era so I imagine it will eventually get to what it's costing us today... and examine why we continue to find ourselves unable to end it.

 

Addendum:

The last fiction I really read was:

'Wicked', Gregory Maguire

Fiction; fantasy

- I've not seen the musical based on this. I read this book, and I think the first two sequels - judging by the fact that part 4, Out of Oz, was on my bookshelf and the spine seemed 'uncracked'. If you've never read Wicked, you should. It retells the 'Oz' story from a different point of view. Wicked itself has the 'wicked witch' as the tragic protagonist and paints Dorothy as a bumbling destructive idiot easily manipulated by a conniving witch Glenda... If I recall right, Dorothy is really only in the book for a few short cameos and of course, the tragic moment where she kills Elphaba, the 'witch of the west'.

It's worth noting that the original author of the Oz stories, Frank Baum, was a genocidal monster. A chief advocate of the 'Wounded Knee' massacre in the months leading up to it, he was a newspaper editorial writer who wrote about the need to kill off every last Native American left at the end of the Indian Wars... he was, in effect, a monster...

So I had great joy in seeing someone distort his fictional work to flip the narrative and show those he painted as evil as being the true but doomed heroes of the tale. It somewhat mirrors his actual life as a figure so much on the 'wrong side of history'.

And Wicked is done well. You will never see the Oz characters the same way again after reading it.

I read this about 10-12 year ago... so not exactly a current read for me.

 

Edited by Pussycat Catnap
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The Evening and the Morning, a new book in the "Kingsbridge" series by Ken Follett.

In most cases, I recommend reading series in internal chronological order, but in this case I think you should read the first one written, "The Pillars of the Earth".  The Evening and the Morning is a prequel, set about 200 years before Pillars.

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1 hour ago, Lindal Kidd said:

The Evening and the Morning, a new book in the "Kingsbridge" series by Ken Follett.

In most cases, I recommend reading series in internal chronological order, but in this case I think you should read the first one written, "The Pillars of the Earth".  The Evening and the Morning is a prequel, set about 200 years before Pillars.

I loved the first 2 in the series but haven't gotten around to the 3rd yet.  So maybe the new one should come next?

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https://www.panmacmillan.com/authors/vic-james/gilded-cage/9781509821457

 

Britain's magically skilled aristocracy compels all commoners to serve them for ten years – and now it's the Hadleys' turn. Abi Hadley is assigned to England's most ruthless noble family. The secrets she uncovers could win her freedom – or break her heart. Her brother Luke is enslaved in a brutal factory town, where new friends' ideals might cost him everything.

Then while the elite vie for power, a young aristocrat plots to remake the world with his dark gifts. As Britain moves from anger to defiance, all three must take sides. And the consequences of their choices will change everything, forever.

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Edited by Tarina Sewell
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Three-body Problem by Liu Cixin, cause apparently Netflix is making a show out of it (I have very, very, very low expectations of it, cause some parts of the book are too abstract to "act out" in a movie, and seeing as a western media is making it it'll probably just end up a complete mess like Mulan). I read about 1/3 of the first book but then stopped cause it's a very, very heavy read, but pushed myself to start again. It's definitely an awesome book, but due to the overwhelming amount of exposition it almost feels like reading a textbook. Basically a Dan Brown book except 10x more complex.

Edited by MelodicRain
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