Here it is... the book thread!

Started by scatcat, November 30, 2007, 03:55:17

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SueC

I'd like to strongly recommend JP Delaney's Believe Me, having just completed it.  It's not only a whodunnit and therefore a nice mental jigsaw - JP Delaney has a great deal of psychological insight into the way people behave, and the motivations behind it (and shares that with other top-notch writers of crime fiction).  This particular book explores art, and people's response to it, and the responsibility if any of an artist for the unhinged ways people may respond to it.  It also looks at essentially the "observer effect" of having an audience, and asks how that affects people's behaviour, and what's acting and what's reality.

I've read a fair few of this genre in the last ten years or so, and therefore wasn't surprised by any of the plot twists in it - because I've become very good at avoiding being led, keeping an open mind, and asking myself at the end of every chapter, "What's an alternative scenario, to the one that obviously suggests itself?  What are the assumptions being made?  What are the other possibilities here?"  So I only had one mild surprise in this one, and that's when Claire said, "Constantinople!"  Excellent novel, and like any good literature, makes you think hard, including about what you personally believe, and why.
SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

I've been reading most of T.C. Boyle's "Outside looking in" and it's been quite a trip...

QuoteOutside Looking In tells a fictional story about psychology graduate students at Harvard University who attempt to explore the nature of human consciousness by taking psychedelic drugs. Boyle says he was intrigued by recent news stories about LSD coming back into medical use. "So I went back to discover where it's all coming from," he says.

Gunther Weil was a 23-year-old doctoral student in clinical psychology when he entered Harvard in 1960. Leary was his faculty adviser, and Weil says that Boyle got a lot of things right in his novel.

"I think he did an incredibly great job describing the zeitgeist of the time -- the nature of the trips," Weil says. "The protagonist is a graduate student who seems to be an amalgam of a number of us."

Over four years Weil says he attended between 40 and 50 research sessions -- ingesting the hallucinogens psilocybin and LSD with a handful of colleagues.

"We definitely felt that we were on the leading edge of research in consciousness," he recalls. "We definitely felt like pioneers. We definitely were enthralled and captured by the mysteries that we were beginning to approach."
https://www.npr.org/2019/05/12/721555304/did-this-novel-about-lsd-trials-get-it-right-we-ask-someone-who-was-there?t=1609170888695
It's never enough...

SueC

Yeah, I'm still about two thirds through Oliver Sacks' Hallucinations, which is on a similar topic but with the added contextualising of various usual and unusual brain conditions, like Bonnet syndrome (vivid visual hallucinations that happen in some blind people).  Really interesting topic.  I've also heard a podcast or two by various academics investigating psychedelic drugs in the context of depression, trauma etc; also one about these Bachelor of Divinity students who were given psychedelic drugs versus placebos (blind, i.e. nobody knew what they were getting) during some religious ritual, and the ones who'd been given psychedelics reported having deeply religious experiences, which even 20 years after the study they nominated as one of the most life-affecting experiences they'd ever had.  We have psychedelic mushrooms growing around the bushland here but my brain is already plenty trippy without enhancing agents so I'm still sticking to Portobello mushrooms for my pizzas, etc.  :angel

I finished Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything (as a result of which I ended up listening to Disintegration a lot) and am now re-reading No Logo - and the cucumber growing section of The Permaculture Home Garden by Linda Woodrow, which is kind of my bible this past decade.  We're inland and I couldn't get cucumber seedlings to germinate properly, even in the greenhouse, until last week because it's still too cold at night... now it's time to plant them out and make up for lost time!  :)
SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

Quote from: SueC on December 29, 2020, 02:11:29I've also heard a podcast or two by various academics investigating psychedelic drugs in the context of depression, trauma etc; also one about these Bachelor of Divinity students who were given psychedelic drugs versus placebos (blind, i.e. nobody knew what they were getting) during some religious ritual, and the ones who'd been given psychedelics reported having deeply religious experiences...

They do the same in TC Boyle's book! (So I guess Dr. Leary & co. really did something like it.)
It's never enough...

SueC

Next on my list - as soon as Brett is finished with it, he got it for Christmas - is Entangled Life - psychedelics are just one tiny aspect of fungi (antibiotics another, but fungi collectively produce a huge array of chemicals that affect other life forms on purpose or accidentally) and the broad view always beats the narrow!  One of my favourite things about fungi is their underground symbioses with plant roots, known as mycorrhizae.  You might like this one too, @Ulrich!

And I will say that Garry Disher's Peace, which I was underwhelmed by at page 12 stage, got much better by page 24.  I still don't think his prose is up to that of A-class crime writers like Val McDermid or Stieg Larsson, but by this stage of the book he is creating a pretty realistic picture of rural South Australia, and the sense of decay in many small Australian rural places, not to mention the fishiness of some of the people there (racism, general bigotry, lack of genuine concern for others, endemic substance abuse, and the underbelly of crime).  He's now holding my interest, chiefly by making me laugh at his mockery of paperwork, the dread of paperwork, the machinations of the town gossip and small-pond politics etc.
SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

Quote from: SueC on December 30, 2020, 00:31:16And I will say that Garry Disher's Peace, which I was underwhelmed by at page 12 stage, got much better by page 24.  ... by this stage of the book he is creating a pretty realistic picture of rural South Australia, and the sense of decay in many small Australian rural places, ...(racism, general bigotry, lack of genuine concern for others, endemic substance abuse, and the underbelly of crime.)

Good to hear this. I got the same impression from the one I'd read a few weeks ago (see earlier in this topic); soon(ish) I will start reading his "Hope Hill Drive"* (German translation). :cool

(Edit: * it might indeed be possible that this is the German translation of "Peace" - no idea why they had to change the title.)
https://garrydisher.com/
It's never enough...

dsanchez

One of my goals of 2021 is to read 1 book/week. Got this to start:

- Hemingway, Ernest "The Old Man and the Sea"
- Kadavy, David "Mind Management, Not Time Management: Productivity When Creativity Matters (Getting Art Done, Band 2):
- Nicholas A. Christakis: "Apollo's Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live"
- Knapp, Jake,Zeratsky, John: "Make Time: How to focus on what matters every day"
- Snowden, Edward: "Permanent Record"
- Borges, Jorge Luis: "Fictions"
- Duhigg, Charles: "The Power of Habit"

Will start with - Duhigg, Charles: "The Power of Habit", as I want to make reading an habit (just as coming to curefans.com ;)
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