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  1. #1581
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus squirrel's Avatar
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    Blink: The Power of the Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell, a very popular psychology book.

    Learning this book from a Coursera course "Social Psychology" by Prof. Scott Plous while introducing concept of "social judgement in blink of an eye", that we make our judgement on a person within a very short interval -- really short, how short? ONE SECOND to predict which senator candidate will win an election. Our brains seem to process and make decision with a speed much more remarkable than we perceive ours to. Our brains may not be able to output all the reasoning of a judgement to our consciousness, but they definitely are capable to output a judgement by analyzing the input information in light speed. To compare this situation with a digital computer, maybe a computer with a high end CPU and many system ram is powerful enough to compute a task, "to make judgement in blink of an eye", but you still need to buy a highend GPU to be installed to visualize that computation result.

    I just begin to read this book. It begins with a story about an art museum in California received an offer by a mysterious art dealer, a "kouros" (a sculpture of a nude male youth from ancient Greece). The museum performed a 14 months of period of some very scientific study on the statue to determine that it in deed was a true Greek antique (some fancy lab work, like analyzing the materials on its surface), so the museum paid for it. Yet soon after it started to display this new collection, some experts of Greek art (not scientists, just some artists), with just a look a the work, some of them started to question the validity of the statue being a true antique. The museum was forced to pay for another more thorough examination (yes, more thorough than the already very thorough original scientific examination with had lasted for 14 months), only to finally determined that that indeed was a forgery. So how those artists are capable to determine the answers of a large team of lab scientists who had spent 14 months of careful laboratory work to find and failed to?

  2. #1582
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    Quote Originally Posted by glimpse fade yelp View Post
    Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon.

    Without doubt the most difficult read I've ever come across.
    How is it? I wanted to read it for quite some time but the lenght puts me off a bit.
    GW2: Eknurr (Lvl 80 Engi), Elaina Mischievous (Lvl 80 Ranger), Neeaha (Lvl 80 Mesmer), Bald Carl (Lvl 80 Guardian)

  3. #1583
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus coldvvvave's Avatar
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    Guys, I need help. About to try reading Wild Cards by GRR Martin and some other people, it caught my eye for some reason but first I'm not sure if its good, second to make it more difficult there is just so many novels and three compilation editions.

    Worth it? Opinions?
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  4. #1584
    Quote Originally Posted by Doodier View Post
    How is it? I wanted to read it for quite some time but the lenght puts me off a bit.
    Hi Doodier . . . I'm a literature student and it's the most challenging read I've come across. There are lots of wiki sites out there dedicated to it, and you need to use them to get any sense of what's going on. Sometimes you hit a patch of brilliant writing that makes it seem worthwhile, but to get the best from it is a massive undertaking!
    "Oh, evolution. It wasn't meant for everyone."

  5. #1585
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldvvvave View Post
    Guys, I need help. About to try reading Wild Cards by GRR Martin and some other people, it caught my eye for some reason but first I'm not sure if its good, second to make it more difficult there is just so many novels and three compilation editions.

    Worth it? Opinions?
    Hmm

    Probably not. Speaking as someone who struggled through most of the series and the revival by Tor books (which actually is some of the better stuff in the series, just has some silly gender-swapping/kinkyness that Melissa M Snodgrass can't seem to keep out of her work). Those later books really benefit from not having Dr Tachyon, psychic fop from outer space, littering things up with his debauchery and inanity.

    Some great characters and great powers; the Turtle, Popinjay, even Mark Meadows when he finally gets round to being the Radical, Golden Boy... most of the Jokers are great too and the whole concept of Jokertown. But it's let down by many of the writers throwing their own logic out the window to cater to their pet tastes, and not enough editorial oversight to keep them all in line. When the body jumpers come into play and the sex stuff amps up, it's almost irrevocably stained.

  6. #1586
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    Quote Originally Posted by glimpse fade yelp View Post
    Hi Doodier . . . I'm a literature student and it's the most challenging read I've come across. There are lots of wiki sites out there dedicated to it, and you need to use them to get any sense of what's going on. Sometimes you hit a patch of brilliant writing that makes it seem worthwhile, but to get the best from it is a massive undertaking!
    I loathe Gravity's Rainbow. Read it on my own literature course. Hated Crying of Lot 49 too.

  7. #1587
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tritagonist's Avatar
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    It's been a while since Veronica Wedgwood wrote her definitive The Thirty Years War (in 1938, aged 28!), and it's held up astoundingly well. Whatever else is true, Peter Wilson should be commended for attempting to tackle this highly complex conflict. I've just started, and I'm curious to see it unfold.
    "He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to
    the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free". ~
    Luke 4:18

  8. #1588
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    ... The Mistborn Trilogy is actually REALLY dark and ...
    Thanks for mentioning this trilogy as I ordered it based on your recommendation. I'm only a few chapters in, but the start has been strong to put it mildly.

  9. #1589
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    Quote Originally Posted by glimpse fade yelp View Post
    Hi Doodier . . . I'm a literature student and it's the most challenging read I've come across. There are lots of wiki sites out there dedicated to it, and you need to use them to get any sense of what's going on. Sometimes you hit a patch of brilliant writing that makes it seem worthwhile, but to get the best from it is a massive undertaking!
    Thanks for the info. Might be a good idea to get it in my native language, then. Too bad I can't find it in e-format as thousand-page-long-books are what Kindle is best for. Combined with X-ray it might be a lot easier to get the most of it.
    GW2: Eknurr (Lvl 80 Engi), Elaina Mischievous (Lvl 80 Ranger), Neeaha (Lvl 80 Mesmer), Bald Carl (Lvl 80 Guardian)

  10. #1590
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Reading Chris Holm's "The Big Reap". I loved the first two Collector books, and so far really like this one. I definitely like the angle of Sam questioning his humanity (and the flashbacks to his first Collection are fun for multiple reasons). That being said, it kind of feels like Holm is trying too much at once, and he never really takes the time to develop a strong supporting character or a setting like he did in the first two books (with Kate and Gio). Sam is a really interesting character, but he is at his best when he can talk to someone.

    So far, I still really like it, but I am not sure if it is his strongest work. That being said, I am only at roughly 60% so there is still a lot of time.

    Quote Originally Posted by iruj View Post
    Thanks for mentioning this trilogy as I ordered it based on your recommendation. I'm only a few chapters in, but the start has been strong to put it mildly.
    Mistborn drags a little bit in the middle of the second book, but it is, in general, a very strong series.
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  11. #1591
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    Finally catching up on Joe Abercrombies first law trilogy. Brilliant so far! Into the second book. It's not cheery fantasy but you have to be realistic - a book mainly following a crippled torturer and a man called The Bloody Nine in a world of all too believable corruption murder and decay shouldn't really be cheery. It's damn good stuff though, glad I decided to indulge my genre favourites rather than set my sights on more difficult, "classic" reads. Which are all well and good but don't lend themselves to reading on the loo or on the tube.

  12. #1592
    Network Hub deadly.by.design's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    Mistborn drags a little bit in the middle of the second book, but it is, in general, a very strong series.
    I enjoyed it. Sanderson's Elantris is pretty good for a first book, too. He always tries to have unconventional 'magic' systems, and I enjoy that.

  13. #1593
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theblazeuk View Post
    Finally catching up on Joe Abercrombies first law trilogy. Brilliant so far! Into the second book. It's not cheery fantasy but you have to be realistic - a book mainly following a crippled torturer and a man called The Bloody Nine in a world of all too believable corruption murder and decay shouldn't really be cheery. It's damn good stuff though, glad I decided to indulge my genre favourites rather than set my sights on more difficult, "classic" reads. Which are all well and good but don't lend themselves to reading on the loo or on the tube.

    And who gave you that idea, I wonder? ;)

  14. #1594
    Lesser Hivemind Node Wheelz's Avatar
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    I recently got a gift voucher for a book store and was hoping some kind soul could suggest a book or two. To be honest, I've read very few books, and the only ones I've read for my own enjoyment have been the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the galaxy series, and Catch-22.

    I'm thinking of grabbing Neil Gaiman's "An Ocean at the End of the Lane" as I've heard it's good, and a reasonably easy read, but I'd like to grab something else as well. Preferably a book with something to say about the world, or one that will challenge my beliefs in some way.

    I'd appreciate any suggestions from you learned people.

  15. #1595
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    Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut, if you liked Catch-22.

    But you should pick up Ocean at the End of the Lane, it's a cracking read and it's rather beautiful in its simplicity. Be done in a few hours though

  16. #1596
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fumarole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
    Preferably a book with something to say about the world, or one that will challenge my beliefs in some way.
    A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krauss definitely has something to say about, well, everything.
    The Medallion of the Imperial Psychopath, a Napoleon: Total War AAR
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  17. #1597
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    Bought and read The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson today.

    I could barely tell that it was set in the same world as Elantris, but that was OK. He used it as an excuse to set up another of his magic systems though, and I think besides Allomancy, this is definitely my favourite. I just really like Allomancy, probably because I read mistborn first. Beyond that? Good story, but very short - it is a novella though, and as it is, it's a short story, hints at more, but is perfectly formed in itself. I don't like it as much as Alloy of Law or Final Empire (my two favourite of his books) but it is really, really good in and of itself. It came with Legion, which doesn't interest me, but I'd recommend snagging it if you see it for a price personally amenable to you.

  18. #1598
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    1434: The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed To Italy and Ignited the Renaissance
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  19. #1599
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Faldrath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serenegoose View Post
    Bought and read The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson today.

    I could barely tell that it was set in the same world as Elantris, but that was OK. He used it as an excuse to set up another of his magic systems though, and I think besides Allomancy, this is definitely my favourite. I just really like Allomancy, probably because I read mistborn first. Beyond that? Good story, but very short - it is a novella though, and as it is, it's a short story, hints at more, but is perfectly formed in itself. I don't like it as much as Alloy of Law or Final Empire (my two favourite of his books) but it is really, really good in and of itself. It came with Legion, which doesn't interest me, but I'd recommend snagging it if you see it for a price personally amenable to you.
    Funny, I've just finished the Mistborn trilogy yesterday. I had never read Sanderson, but a friend raved about him. I enjoyed it (Well of Ascension was kinda sucky, but the first and third books were good), some interesting twists, and Allomancy is fun, although I don't think he's a very good *writer*. And I'd also guess he has some kind of background in business - the way Kelsier is depicted, it seems he comes straight from business books on leadership (I had to read a lot of those for my previous job. How I suffered).

    Still, I'll probably read Alloy of Law soon, but I decided to try out Discworld for the first time, and The Colour of Magic is lots of fun. Which is dangerous, because those are a lot of books.

    On the non-fiction front, I had to interrupt Alan Ryan's amazing "On Politics" to work on Franz Boas' "Primitive Art", which is very very good, if a little too descriptive in places. Kinda sad how he was certain, in the 1920s, that social Darwinism was refuted, dead and buried. He'd be very depressed to see the state of discussion in the social sciences today.

  20. #1600
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    Discworld, eh? I just bought the 3 Tiffany Aching books that I didn't have from her sequence a few days ago, so I have them to plough through. They're sitting beside me presently, just waiting for me to get off the damned internet and attend to them. My recommendation with discworld is - there's a LOT of books and not all of them will click with you. Approach it like a buffet. Read what you like and skip the books where it looks like he's going back over ground that already left you cold. I'd recommend any books with the Watch, any books with Rincewind, or the three witches, and though I've only read one of the Tiffany Aching series (I shall wear midnight) it was by far my favourite of his books that I'd read at all.

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