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Guest Vern Edwards

What are you reading?

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The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, Seattle author, and since I just moved to Seattle and started commuting via bus I have a great opportunity to read again. I'd almost forgotten how since having kids. Great read!

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I just started reading "Blood Meridian", which was recommended on some government contracting blog. :mellow:

What happened to the author's typewriter? Did the quotation mark keys break off?

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Guest Vern Edwards

Blood Meridian is one of my favorite books. It's Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece. The description of the Comanche attack is one of the most fabulous pieces of English prose ever written. Stick with it. It's odd, but you'll get used to that. It's a grim story, however, based on true events. Wait 'til you get to the tree of dead babies. The ending is terrifying and mysterious. Get ready for The Judge.

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An iBook sample of The Great Deluge by Douglas Brinkley about Hurricane Katrina. Think I will purchase the full version.

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett on my Kindle, but haven't really dug into yet -- I don't feel invested - need to sit down and read more.

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I just finished "Surface Detail" by Iain M. Banks. Wow.

For those who don't know, Iain Banks is a Scottish author who writes fiction. In 2008 he was named one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945 and his works (e.g., The Wasp Factory) have won him several awards. He also writes science fiction under "Iain M. Banks" and, again, he is considered a master of that genre.

I wouldn't say "Surface Detail" would be for everbody, particularly if you are not into SF or haven't read a Banks novel before. But it's the kind of book that has stuck with me after I've finished, as I try to tease out meaning and detail from his complex and ambitious story. It's one of the few SF books I would say is of literary quality, worth studying and analyzing and maybe writing a college-level paper or two about. (Since my college days are long behind me, that's not likely to happen....)

If I've intrigued you but you want to start somewhere else, Google Iain Banks or visit Amazon and check out "Player of Games" or "Use of Weapons" as a good starting point into his series of Culture SF novels. I highly recommend his work.

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Help:

FYI -- I just bought The Player of Games at your recommendation.

Vern

Vern, thanks for the vote of confidence. I trust you won't be disappointed.

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Post War: A History of Europe Since 1945 by Tony Judt.

and recently finished. The Great Hunger: Ireland 1845-1849 by Cecil Woodham-Smith.

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Hot To Cook Husbands - Worthington & Avilla. Great Read for the about to wed.

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"Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" - by Susanna Clarke. Victorian era fiction about magic. Though I am listening to it in the car. And I think I am glad that I am listening; I am not so sure I would have stuck with this by reading it. Slowly but surely it is catching my interest. Did the same with "The Historian". Really am enjoying having a book to listen to on the drive home. I am actually reading "The Merlot Murders" by Ellen Crosby.

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The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead by Max Brooks. Skip this one at your peril.

ANNIHILATION: How to Deal with people who must have the last word - M.C. Yekcih. This is a must read for WIFCON participants.

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Guest Vern Edwards

The Nature of Explanation, by Peter Achinstein.

Table of Contents:

1. Introduction

2. Explaining

3. What Is An Explanation?

4. The Evaluation of Explanations

5. Can There Be A Model of Scientific Explanation?

6. The Causal Relation

7. Causal Explanation

8. Functional Explanation

9. The Limits of Explanation

10. Evidence and Explanation

11. Evidence: Additional Topics

Think justification for other than full and open competition. Think debriefing. Think prenegotiation objectives. Think price negotiation memorandum. Think source selection memorandum. Think COs final decision. Think determination to do or not do this or that.

Worthwhile professional reading for anyone who wants to think deeply about an important topic.

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Just finished "Lau's Laws on Hitting: The Art of Hitting .400 for the Next Generation"

An EXCELLENT book for anyone who has kids in little league or above, or who still try to play the great game of baseball themselves (although my knees aren't up to catching like they used to be). I'm also feeling my age because I read the original book by Charlie Lau (The Art of Hitting .300) back when I was a little leaguer, and now I read this book by his son and have had both my boys read it as well.

Just staring "Horse Soldier" by Doug Stanton. I read his book "In Harm's Way," which was excellent, and I'm told this book is as well.

Mike

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Guest Vern Edwards
"The Nature of Explanation"??? I think I'll wait for the movie to come out.

Try Forms of Explanation, by Alan G. Garfinkel. It's shorter.

But if it's entertainment you want, try Who Goes There?, an old (1938) science fiction novella by John W. Campbell. Scientists are trapped in an Antarctic research station with a very unpleasant visitor. Very suspenseful and unnerving.

The story was the inspiration for the movies "The Thing From Another World" (1951), and "The Thing" (1982). It also inspired "Alien". A remake (prequel) entitled, "The Thing," is due for release later this year. (The heroine is supposedly modeled on the Ripley character in "Alien.") Of the two earlier "Thing" movies, the first is a lot of fun, with some great lines ("What if it can read minds?" "If it can, it's gonna be real mad when it gets to me.") ("Warn the world! Watch the skies! Keep watching the skies!") ("You can't destroy it! Think what it means to the world!" "I'm not working for the world, I'm working for the Air Force.") and some fun thrills. The second is closer to the original story and occasionally very scary, violent, and gory, but has no real laughs and has an over-the-top ending that ruins it for me. In short, it's a typical John Carpenter film.

The novella is available for Kindle, iPad, Nook, etc. You can also get it in pdf at http://www.whogoesthere.info/download.php and at a number of other websites. I have long suspected that the original story might have been a metaphor for communist infiltration, but I haven't been able to confirm that.

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