What books are you reading or have finished lately


#81

I read this article: https://medium.com/lapsed-historian/the-long-way-round-the-plane-that-accidentally-circumnavigated-the-world-c04ca734c6bb

Which led me to this book:


Which I’ll be getting into shortly, it might not be boaty but seems like a helluva sea story nonetheless.


#82

I’m just finishing my slog through The Perfectionists by Simon Winchester. Is he always like this? These sentences are shockingly baroque to the point where they interfere with the meaning and sometimes the grammar. Halfway though I see that he’s been trained as a petroleum geologist: that explains why I had to brush up on Steno’s laws just to get any meaning out these pages. I enjoyed the anecdotes about the Hubble telescope’s struggles, but the rest of it is… I’ll be glad to give it back to the library. Here’s an example of the way he builds a sentence. There’s one or more example like this on every of 355 pages.

The technology that now binds the two companies together (footnote about an investment decision) is performed on such an infinitesimally minute scale, and to tolerances that would have seemed unimaginably absurd and well-nigh unachievable only decades ago, that it is taking precision into the world of the barely believable-- except that it is a world that manifestly must be believed, a world from which, one can argue, modern humankind benefits mightily and for whose existence it is all the better, an assertation with which both Intel and ASML would readily agree.

Does this guy hate his readers or does he just have a dysfunctional relationship with his editor?


#83

I re-read two… The Left Handed Monkey Wrench by Richard McKenna and Papillon.


#84

Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton.

Best pirate story I’ve ever come across.


#85

Had an opportunity to look something up in Adam Hochschild’s “King Leopold’s Ghost” and ended up rereading the whole thing. Fascinating story of how a no-name shipping clerk took down the King of Belgium.

Cheers,

Earl


#86

For an adventure on land I’d mention a great read I finished awhile back.

“Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West” by Stephen E. Ambrose

One of the most amazing stories in American history.

Early in 1803 President Thomas Jefferson purchased the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon Bonaparte, an area just under 1,000,000 square miles in size. The Revolutionary War had ended and the Continental Government was strapped for funds, but the $15 million dollar price tag for the land and what it could do in building the nation
was too enticing.

Soon after the purchase was made, Meriwether Lewis and William Rogers Clark were commissioned to take an exploration expedition into this region and inventory what all was there. A survey of Native people, animals & birds, natural resources and cartographers would produce maps for Jefferson . On their return Jefferson was eager to debrief them and examine the samples that they brought back. It exceeded his wildest dreams.

It’s a complete story of what we know as The Lewis & Clark Expedition.

I think anyone with an adventurous spirit could find this a fascinating read.

As a side note, 14 years later Governor Dewitt Clinton of New York
was able to start the building of the Erie Canal, which was followed by Ohio’s Erie Canal that had Portsmouth, Ohio as it’s southern terminus. When all was running a European traveler could arrive in New York City and in 30 days time arrive in New Orleans having traveled across the land on water in canal boats and River Steamers…
By 1832 travelers could arrive at Cairo, Illinois at the confluence of the Ohio River and the Mississippi River with the lands of the Louisiana Purchase laying before them.


#87

I read those back in my teens. Absolutely captivating, King might be the only author I know who manages relatable surrealism.


#88

I just finished Shark Drunk by Morten A. Strøksnes. It is whimsical and slightly mysterious, but ends up saying a lot about our fundamental relationship to the sea. Highly recommended.