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Old 18th February 2016, 08:12 AM   #313535  /  #1
MSG
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Book Club 2016 - Warning: Science Content

So I broke the habit of a lifetime, and made a new year resolution - to read a book a month for the rest of this year. Consequently I'm a bit tardy in starting this thread today, but I've just taken book #2 out of the library - Ann Gibbons' The First Human, written in 2006 and at least in the introduction, centering on the story of Michel Brunet, the discoverer of "Toumai", Sahelanthropus tchadensis. As the consumer of probably 100 or so pop-science books on anthropology, paleoanthropology and paleontology in the last 25 years, I can and will read it with interest and practiced skepticism.

But more of that anon. Since we now in mid-February, it's incumbent on me to report back on January's tome, for which my Christmas money was expended to the benefit of the British economy - it was bought on line from an English bookseller. To choose it, I Googled best biological science books, and from here, I found this:

The Walking Whales
From Land to Water in Eight Million Years

J. G. M. "Hans" Thewissen

I really enjoyed it. The author is Dutch by birth but is a Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at Northeast Ohio Medical University, and the discoverer of Ambulocetis, the "Walking Whale", and indeed many of the most important early whale species in Pakistan and India. The book therefore traces whales' evolution from small terrestrial ungulates to oceanic leviathans over a period spanning 50 to 30 million years ago.

Some of the science is pretty challenging for an enthusiastic amateur, with a fair bit on the fine detail that distinguishes the ears and teeth of cetaceans from other mammals. But it's interspersed with more than enough boys own adventure (you try collecting in the wilds of Pakistan in the 1990s), fascinating evolutionary detail (e.g. tracking the stages of swimming from otter-like to sealion-like to seal-like to whale-like tail flukes), and just the pure joy of scientific discovery, to keep a self-confessed ZOOLOGY NERD's interest.

So: what's on your reading list this year?
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Old 18th February 2016, 12:41 PM   #313550  /  #2
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Old 18th February 2016, 01:25 PM   #313551  /  #3
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I'm about 150 pages in to War and Peace. It's my 7th book of the year. Im reading the paperback Anthony Briggs translation which comes with a character list - an invaluable inclusion as it's pretty difficult to keep track of who's who especially when some of the characters are referred to by more than one name.
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Old 18th February 2016, 03:29 PM   #313562  /  #4
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Fountainhead, Anthem
God no. And No. If you are going to read Rand's drivel, you should start with "The Virtue of Selfishness".

And then follow it up with all 10 of L. Ron Hubbard's Mission:Earth.

Or better Yet, read the old Ian Flemming.

I have already read everything on Earth. Except Borealis's novella, and I am waiting for it to be long enough to really enjoy.
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Old 18th February 2016, 03:43 PM   #313564  /  #5
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but i liked atlas shrugged
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Old 18th February 2016, 03:51 PM   #313565  /  #6
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Old 18th February 2016, 03:58 PM   #313567  /  #7
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but i liked atlas shrugged
you do realize in that book, you are just one of the guys on the train right?
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Old 18th February 2016, 04:06 PM   #313568  /  #8
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I'm just trying to read something/anything.

Realizing the "necessary" character build-ups and backgrounds typical of novels are part and parcel to story-immersive writing - None of that mental agility lies within me anymore. (Never could get through 10 pages of Agatha Christie books due to the deluge of microscopic details.)
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Old 18th February 2016, 04:47 PM   #313569  /  #9
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I have 'Inside the Third Reich' on the go at the moment. Written by Albert Speer who was initially Hitler's architect and latterly Armaments Minister. He was trialed at Nuremberg following Admiral Dnitz's surrender of the Reich in May of 1945 and escaped a death sentence, much to the astonishment of many. His dedication and organisational skills as Armaments Minister was probably a major factor in the prolonging of the Nazi war effort but he was spared since he went against Hitler in the final desperate scorched earth policy and demands that the German people died to a man, woman and child in fanatical defence of National Socialism and its immortal figurehead.

He was sentenced to twenty years in Berlin's Spandau prison where, unlike almost all of the top Nazis, he accepted the justice of his punishment and did a lot of honest soul searching while writing an in-depth account of his experiences as one of the Fhrer's innermost circle.

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Old 18th February 2016, 05:10 PM   #313573  /  #10
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Old 18th February 2016, 05:11 PM   #313574  /  #11
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Also Better Than Sex, only Thompson book I have that I haven't read yet
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Old 18th February 2016, 05:28 PM   #313575  /  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlsson View Post
Fountainhead, Anthem
God no. And No. If you are going to read Rand's drivel, you should start with "The Virtue of Selfishness".

And then follow it up with all 10 of L. Ron Hubbard's Mission:Earth.

Or better Yet, read the old Ian Flemming.

I have already read everything on Earth. Except Borealis's novella, and I am waiting for it to be long enough to really enjoy.
Pretty sure that will ramp up quickly once Mr. b goes away for work again.
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Old 18th February 2016, 08:14 PM   #313585  /  #13
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I'm just trying to read something/anything.

Realizing the "necessary" character build-ups and backgrounds typical of novels are part and parcel to story-immersive writing - None of that mental agility lies within me anymore. (Never could get through 10 pages of Agatha Christie books due to the deluge of microscopic details.)
Have you read any Pratchett?
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Old 18th February 2016, 10:07 PM   #313589  /  #14
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Quote:
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but i liked atlas shrugged
you do realize in that book, you are just one of the guys on the train right?

i have no idea what you are trying to say
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Old 18th February 2016, 10:09 PM   #313590  /  #15
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maybe ill try som e neil gaiman aswell

but lol really, ill rather wait for the movie
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Old 19th February 2016, 12:39 AM   #313608  /  #16
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but i liked atlas shrugged
in fairness you're not the sharpest knife in the drawer
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Old 19th February 2016, 12:41 AM   #313609  /  #17
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I'm just trying to read something/anything.

Realizing the "necessary" character build-ups and backgrounds typical of novels are part and parcel to story-immersive writing - None of that mental agility lies within me anymore. (Never could get through 10 pages of Agatha Christie books due to the deluge of microscopic details.)
if you clasp your hands, is your right thumb on top?
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Old 19th February 2016, 01:58 AM   #313625  /  #18
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Quote:
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Quote:
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but i liked atlas shrugged
you do realize in that book, you are just one of the guys on the train right?

i have no idea what you are trying to say
sigh. So what did you LIKE about Atlas Shrugged?
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Old 19th February 2016, 02:12 AM   #313626  /  #19
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Old 19th February 2016, 02:17 AM   #313629  /  #20
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Saw that one coming from 1,000 kilometers away.
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Old 19th February 2016, 02:17 AM   #313630  /  #21
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Rearden > Taggart though just so we're all clear.
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Old 19th February 2016, 03:21 AM   #313638  /  #22
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yes, if by taggart you mean her brother
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Old 19th February 2016, 03:22 AM   #313639  /  #23
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeluvia View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlsson View Post
but i liked atlas shrugged
you do realize in that book, you are just one of the guys on the train right?

i have no idea what you are trying to say
sigh. So what did you LIKE about Atlas Shrugged?
wait so is this some class hatred bullshit
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Old 19th February 2016, 03:24 AM   #313640  /  #24
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yes, if by taggart you mean her brother
No, I mean the protagonist.
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Old 19th February 2016, 03:29 AM   #313645  /  #25
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sounds gay bro
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