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Old 12-08-2008, 08:20 AM   #1
Dr. Drib
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What Non-Fiction ebook are you reading right now, and why?

I don't read much non-fiction, much preferring to read literature and noir fiction, in addition to trashy/fun pulp stories.

However, I'm currently reading a non-fiction title I purchased from Fictionwise: Green River, Running Red, by Ann Rule.

The story is about the deranged serial killer Gary Ridgeway, said to be the most prolific serial killer in American history. Rule's story mostly chronicles the lives of the prostitutes he murdered, as she gives them a voice and a remembrance. One criticism of the book that some have noted is that there is not enough attention given to the "personality" of Ridgeway, although she does go into areas of his childhood.

I'm about 1/3 of the way through the book and it is fascinating reading. I'm not a person who normally reads true crime fiction, but because of my fascination with the darker side of the human psyche (as evidenced in my love of horror fiction, for example), I think I'll read more of Rice's work and other writers who write in this genre.

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Old 12-08-2008, 09:28 AM   #2
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At the moment I am successfully avoiding reading my next novel (Proust - even I am amazed at how long I have managed to put off starting it) by buying today the latest available issues of the magazines, New Scientist (a special edition on getting "off the grid") and Philosophy Now (whose main focus this time is Simone de Beauvoir). Does that qualify as "non-fiction", even if they don't qualify as ebooks? Neither of them are "browse" material for me, in that I read them cover to cover, so...?

Why am I reading them? Well, aside from the possibly subconscious desire to procrastinate on Proust, coupled with the contradictory notion that starting in on something lighter might ease me back into steady reading again (and therefore kill the procrastination), there is also the desire:
  • with New Scientist to gain a reasonable review of the latest science news, as opposed to the sensationalist and usually only barely or not-at-all accurate "THEY CAN GROW HUMAN EARS ON RATS!"-style of reporting generally received from most major "news" sources, and
  • with Philosophy Now to experience rather often that disconcerting notion whereby someone rather accepted to be quite brilliant, if not genius, says something - about knowledge or the human condition or consciousness - in perfect and perfectly succinct English, and yet my brain reacts with "Wait...What?", and continues to do so over several successive readings, thus reminding me of the rather massive and perplexing dark blotch of absent knowledge and even absenter "wisdom" inside my head that I play a small penlight over by pretending that data is an adequate substitute.

That is, I'm still just that irritating little three-year-old kid pulling on mum's dress and asking with a steady whine, "Yeah, but WHY?".

Cheers,
Marc (I guess I could read Cultural Amnesia again, this time on the Iliad since I bought it again in ebook form?)
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:31 AM   #3
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The Ten-cent Plague, The Forgotten Man and Hot, Flat and Crowded.

Yes, reading 3 at once. Now that I have that option, it seems that reading one until info saturation is reached and then switching to another works very nicely. (Ah, how I miss the laser-like focusing that was available in those misspent days of youth.)

Just finished up Dewey: Library Cat (but then I imagine everyone's read that), FM:Rise and Fall of Rock Radio and Catastrophe.

I would actually read MORE non-fic but the selection is smaller and the prices...brrrr!
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:33 AM   #4
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I'm currently reading The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester (bought from BooksOnBoard). It's the fascinating tale of Professor James Murray, a man who rose from a poor Scottish family to become the head of the team producing the first OED, and his friendship with Dr W.C. Minor, a major contributor to the dictionary, who, it turned out, was an American Doctor, Civil War veteran, and convicted murderer, who sent in his entries from the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum. Very well written and researched, oozing with period atmosphere, and altogether a Good Read.
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:36 AM   #5
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The Bubble that Broke the World by Garet Garret

Free from here:
http://www.mises.org/books/bubbleworld.pdf

It is about the Great Depression. It is happening again, that is why I am reading it.
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:51 AM   #6
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I've been slowing reading through the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi the past few months. I've read most of his major writings more than once but I'm trying now to better understand how he became to be the person he was. At the moment, I'm struggling with when and how he first fully embraced personal, self-less suffering, which is a main element of satyagraha, as an effective means of righting wrongs. I've also been trying to communicate with Gandhian scholars about this but, as yet, none have been very enlightening.
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Old 12-08-2008, 10:18 AM   #7
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I have to admit, I haven't been hitting much non-fiction in ebook form, working on, For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto by Murray Rothbard, though. I get most of my non-fiction titles for free or up to about $2 at the fleamarkets... Which is interesting in that I bought my reader primarily for reading non-fiction titles... I seem to have gotten slightly off-track.

-MJ

Last edited by mjh215; 12-08-2008 at 12:31 PM. Reason: Added link to download
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Old 12-08-2008, 12:04 PM   #8
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The Defining Moment by Jonathon Alter.

Because it's there.
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Old 12-08-2008, 12:19 PM   #9
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I just finished Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman and am now reading The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell. Next up will be The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression by Amity Shlaes
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Old 12-08-2008, 01:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montsnmags View Post
(Proust - even I am amazed at how long I have managed to put off starting it)
Oy! I read one Proust book. I didn't know what to pick up and I can't recall what I wound up reading. I was really floored by the complexity and it was something I needed to read slow. By the middle, I just wanted to finish it to say that I had read it. (Although, I've not really told anyone I read it, so I don't think I mean 'braggin' rights.')

I should do it again, but I definitely need a gentler introduction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackVoid View Post
The Bubble that Broke the World by Garet Garret

Free from here:
http://www.mises.org/books/bubbleworld.pdf

It is about the Great Depression. It is happening again, that is why I am reading it.
Ooooh! Downloading now.

I am reading David Burns' Feeling Good. It's helping me. A lot..
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Old 12-08-2008, 03:44 PM   #11
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I used to be quiet a heavy reader of non Fiction in the past but over the last 2-3 years have fallen behind in my book reading as I started reading more and more online.

A couple of months ago, after a bit of an embarrassing discussion with a Mentor with whom I used to love discussing what new books He and I had read and what I should read next (He's a reading machine, and reads very widely and deeply on so many subjects that at times my head hurts ) I decided to purposely start reading more Non Fiction books, and made a vow to read a Non Fiction book for every Fiction book I read.

Any way he mentioned a book that he though I should read, and tell him what I thought . The book was

The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age is Stupefying Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future by Mark Bauerlein

Whose Conclusions I quiet disagreed with, but could not put exactly into words. Reading the next book, helped as it addressed many of the points raised in the previous book.

Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter by Steven Johnson


I've also always enjoyed finding out odd titbits about history and general knowledge (Blame it on a Big Brother with an encyclopaedic memory and a love for oddball quiz's) so I picked up a few more books which I really enjoyed.

Don't Know Much About History by Kenneth C. Davis is quiet interesting, and while I would not take everything as gospel, it is quiet good at getting the facts behind the myth.


The Book of General Ignorance: Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong by John Mitchinson is also quiet interesting, and is structured that you can dip in and out. Quiet a good read.

Then I decided to pick up a book whoes name I had heard a lot about, and so got On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee. While I've not read this book cover to cover, it is really handy for just dipping in to find why you cook something in some ways, and how to do something to get a specific result.


I'm currently going through a number of Non fiction books, picking up one or the other depending upon what my mood is and how much I'm able to concentrate. So in no Particular order,

13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time by Michael Brooks Which While a good read, is not a great candidate for reading cover to cover in one go, not unless you want a headache . I'm slowly going through it one chapter at a time, digesting it, then moving onto the next.

The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman Going through it slowly to prolong the enjoyable experience.

The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century by Thomas L. Friedman Is an interesting book, with a good take on globalisation. I'm about halfway through, as I read it when I have some time to ponder.

Next on my List (and already on my reader) is

The Machine That Changed the World: The Story of Lean Production--Toyota's Secret Weapon in the Global Car Wars That is Revolutionizing World Industry by James P. Womack

Star Trek: I'm Working on That: A Trek from Science Fiction to Science Fact by William Shatner & Chip Walter

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

The Physics of Superheroes by James Kakalios

Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade
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Old 12-08-2008, 04:09 PM   #12
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I'm working my way thru the Discworld books. It's been a rough year, and I need some humor. These books keep me chuckling.
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Old 12-08-2008, 04:45 PM   #13
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I'm working my way thru the Discworld books. It's been a rough year, and I need some humor. These books keep me chuckling.
If you live in a universe where the Discworld books are non-fiction, no wonder it's been rough!
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Old 12-08-2008, 05:20 PM   #14
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If you live in a universe where the Discworld books are non-fiction, no wonder it's been rough!
Oops! I only see part of everything and missed the "non"!

For non-fiction, it's "How to Make Wired Jewelry." It's a scanned in PDF of a booklet I bought at a gem show oever he weekend.
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Old 12-08-2008, 05:30 PM   #15
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I'm reading "A Confederate Girl's Diary" by Sarah Morgan Dawson. Posted here. Because I have done Revoluionary War re-enactment (I know - different time period from this book) and through it learned to like history, as long as it's NOT from a history book.
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