What book are you reading right now?
Aug 4, 2016 at 8:46 PM Post #4,366 of 5,353

 
Aug 5, 2016 at 8:41 PM Post #4,368 of 5,353
I've been a Head-Fi reader for a number of years, but have never contributed. Partly due to time constraint, investment in other places, family, and lack of knowledge, I'm nonetheless excited to start putting my two cents in. Hence, I'm making my first post in an Off-Topic Thread.

Let me say that I'm grateful for this community, and appreciate all that it has offered. Whether or not my post count ever reaches triple digits, I want the community to know it's always a pleasure to listen and learn.

As for this thread...

I grew up in a family that didn't really value reading as a form of learning or leisure. My parent's crime wasn't idiocy, but rather, ignorance. There were probably fewer than 30 books in my home until my high school years. Too bad. At any rate, fast forward 10 years later and you've got a guy that's making up for lost time, having realized the wonders of the written word. I don't mean to sound like a feral child, haha, but it wasn't until my mid-20's that I discovered reading outside of newspapers, magazines, science articles, and the internet.

You'll find me almost strictly in the Nonfiction (or similar) section, though I've enjoyed the occasional pure fiction read. Recently, I've gone through:

Countdown to Zero Day by Kim Zetter
-Sick read about a few major computer viruses that were unearthed in the previous decade. After reading this book, it dawned on me that few things are impossible in the world of software, the heartbeat of any sufficiently-complex piece of electronics. Have any of you Head-Fiers had the unfortunate brush with computer ransomeware? Ransomware is proof that we are leaving the honeymoon phase of digital technology, and now the growing pains begin.

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
-Fascinating and absolutely enlightening perspective on palliative care, not nearly as lame as I made it sound. Unless you have experienced the difficulty of a loved one -young or old- in palliative care (I have no such experience), then you do not understand why this area of health/living/dying/medicine/economy has an immense effect on all our lives.

The Glass Cage by Nicholas Carr
-Awesome and .... careful? .... discussion of technology in society. Carr works hard to provide research, hear multiple aspects of arguments, and provide pros and cons for the impending future of technological advancement. And he does it all without injecting FEAR! and PANIC! and shock value. Wonderful book.

American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales
-Informative, yet repetitive and disjunct book on social media's affect on girls in America. Written by an unabashed and annoying hyper-feminist, I ignored her narrow-minded misandry and focused on her findings gathered from research and tons of interviews from young women. As the father to a young son and daughter, I wanted to know what aspects of young life have changed since I was young, and I believe I got a glimpse.

My current read is The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
-Yeah, this book is real. An intimate look into the before, during, and after of soldiers in Vietnam. Not painted to be a pretty picture; I haven't found many books to take an enthusiastic stance on that war.

There's my lengthy [first] post on the site. Thanks for reading, I guess?

Dave
 
Aug 5, 2016 at 8:52 PM Post #4,369 of 5,353
The Things They Carried is a monumental work as regards to the Vietnam experience. O'Brien hit the high water mark with that in style as well as content, even the title carries a multitude of meanings.
 
Aug 5, 2016 at 9:06 PM Post #4,370 of 5,353
  The Things They Carried is a monumental work as regards to the Vietnam experience. O'Brien hit the high water mark with that in style as well as content, even the title carries a multitude of meanings.

 
 
it's ok , but doesn't hold a candle next to this tour-de-force
 
Michael Herr - Dispatches
 
get it , and thank me later 
wink.gif
 
 
Aug 6, 2016 at 11:13 AM Post #4,371 of 5,353
Thanks for the suggestion, proedros. I'll be happy to take a look at Herr's book once this one is finished. However, I should also recommend two other books on Vietnam.

What It Is Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes (<--sp?); similar in tone and content to O'Brien's work, with emphasis on "becoming the soldier". This was the book that really impressed upon me the worst part of the war for these soldiers, having to come home -after giving so much and seeing so much taken from them- and bare an overwhelming hatred from the American public for having participated in a war that did not line up with ideological frameshifts of the period. Whereas my current guesstimate of O'Brien's book is on the "hardness" of men, Marlantes' book is on the "softness" of men. If that makes sense.

The second recommendation is a far more epic recollection from Mark Garrison, called Guts 'N Gunships. Ignoring the cheaply-lending title, this book is adequete at reminding you (with awe-inspiring narrative) that you are a wuss and a coward, and that Vietnam helicopter pilots were/are the single most brave humans in existence. Like.... Yeah. Just. Yeah. Read this one. Not a sad book (though it's surely sad at times).

Thank you, again, for the recommendation.

David
 
Aug 6, 2016 at 11:20 AM Post #4,372 of 5,353
Thanks for the suggestion, proedros. I'll be happy to take a look at Herr's book once this one is finished. However, I should also recommend two other books on Vietnam.

What It Is Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes (<--sp?); similar in tone and content to O'Brien's work, with emphasis on "becoming the soldier". This was the book that really impressed upon me the worst part of the war for these soldiers, having to come home -after giving so much and seeing so much taken from them- and bare an overwhelming hatred from the American public for having participated in a war that did not line up with ideological frameshifts of the period. Whereas my current guesstimate of O'Brien's book is on the "hardness" of men, Marlantes' book is on the "softness" of men. If that makes sense.

The second recommendation is a far more epic recollection from Mark Garrison, called Guts 'N Gunships. Ignoring the cheaply-lending title, this book is adequete at reminding you (with awe-inspiring narrative) that you are a wuss and a coward, and that Vietnam helicopter pilots were/are the single most brave humans in existence. Like.... Yeah. Just. Yeah. Read this one. Not a sad book (though it's surely sad at times).

Thank you, again, for the recommendation.

David

 
you are welcome , i am sure you will enjoy dispatches very much

this is considered one of the best books about vietnam and i found it much more dense and gripping than 'things they carried' (which was ok , but only that)
 
to get a perspective , one stanley kubrick was so impressed with dispatches that he asked him to help him in the writing of 'full metal jacket' (he is credited as co-writer)

he also wrote most of the internal monologue by martin sheen at another huge vietnam masterpiece , Apokalypse Now
 
so yeah , guy is good if you want a good read on the vietnam thing  
tongue.gif
 
 
Aug 6, 2016 at 11:40 AM Post #4,373 of 5,353
   
 
it's ok , but doesn't hold a candle next to this tour-de-force
 
Michael Herr - Dispatches
 
get it , and thank me later 
wink.gif
 


I read Dispatches ages ago when I had a friend smuggle it in as it was banned in North America.  Different takes on the whole concept. Herr is very much a reporter writing about the experience while O'Brien was a squaddie whether willing or not. The ambiguous almost surreal environment O'Brien conjures up is more to my taste.
 
There are a trillion books on the Vietnam war now so it is easy to get oversaturated . We Were Soldiers Once, and Young. Is a decent read if for no more reason than the author outlines the very different wars that were going on within Vietnam at the time. 
 
Gustaf Hasfords "Short Timers" is worth a look. The actual book Full Metal Jacket was made from. It fleshes out the film considerably.
 
Aug 6, 2016 at 11:45 AM Post #4,374 of 5,353
 
I read Dispatches ages ago when I had a friend smuggle it in as it was banned in North America.  Different takes on the whole concept. Herr is very much a reporter writing about the experience while O'Brien was a squaddie whether willing or not. The ambiguous almost surreal environment O'Brien conjures up is more to my taste.
 
There are a trillion books on the Vietnam war now so it is easy to get oversaturated . We Were Soldiers Once, and Young. Is a decent read if for no more reason than the author outlines the very different wars that were going on within Vietnam at the time. 
 
Gustaf Hasfords "Short Timers" is worth a look. The actual book Full Metal Jacket was made from. It fleshes out the film considerably.

 
you know your vietnam **** 
tongue.gif

 
Aug 6, 2016 at 12:04 PM Post #4,375 of 5,353
With respect, I have to say that two of my least favourite films in memory are AN and FMJ. If anything, I would describe them as disingenuous, in that there is great intent on romanticizing torment and hopelessness. That is my personal opinion, of course. I don't have a problem with fiction, per se, or embellishments (haha ask my wife about my ability to "colour" any story or anecdote), but clearly I've got a predilection for not dwelling on the darkness of the heart. Man is disgusting, at times. I know that I am, at times. And many war veterans attest to their own disgust of themselves and humanity, at times. In reverence to that, I don't have room in my life for a writer/director/author showing me their rendition on the ultimate depravity of man.

Haha, it may not surprise you to hear my reaffirmation that nonfiction is my jam. I much prefer to read first-hand accounts, or historical fiction. My above comments, btw, were not intended to incite rage!

Going a slightly different direction for a moment, my all time favourite war film is Saving Private Ryan. That film does engage in flash and flare, yes. But the overwhelming theme of this film is, IMHO, about being a man. It's about doing things that will get you killed in the name of something greater than yourself, and definitely greater than your country's biddings. I feel that is a call ignored by the last couple generations, and I doubt it would hurt humanity to revisit those kinds of convictions.

Anyways. My internet ranting. I will check out those other book recommendations, Hutnicks.

Regards,

David
 
Aug 6, 2016 at 5:07 PM Post #4,377 of 5,353
  If you want a really good war book, try Quartered safe out here by George MacDonald Fraser.


You should mention that it is a Second World War book about the Burma theatre. And yes it is excellent and then some.
 
On the Vietnam theme and two books I don't generally reccomend outside the shooting comunity but will do so here. Charles Henderson's Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Kills and it's follow up made from the material the original publisher cut from it Silent Warrior. Together they paint a portrait of Carlos Hathcock, a true legend in the shooting community. Hathcock served in Vietnam as part of Colonel Lands reborn Scout Sniper program. By all accounts an unassuming man, his dedication to the mission and marksmanship skills are unmatched. Neither book has any of the testosterone fuel that American Sniper and all of its Me Me Me, I saved the world all by myself brethren are oozing with. It is a portrait of a man using his skillset because he can and because it averts loss of life on his side. The second volume covers a lot of ground that was omitted in Marine Sniper as the publisher did not want the Vietnamese viewpoint told. The efforts to stop Hathcock by placing a bounty on his head and eventually creating counter sniper teams to hunt him are detailed from interviews Henderson did with the Vietnamese officers tasked with stopping Hancock.
 
 This is a fascinating story from both a personal perspective and the perspective of how a Scout Sniper team can dramatically affect the complexion of an area of combat. Once again it is another segment of the incredibly complex theatre that was Vietnam. While not the best written of books, they will leave you with another viewpoint on the conflict from the combatants pov.
 

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