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Thread: The Return of just what exactly are you reading right now?

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Ungoliant- yeah, I thought if I learned Latin I'd get to be Pope. Shouldn't be a problem, right? And I really like that Popemobile. Wink Smilie
I was learning Latin during 4 years in my high school (as an optional...) and I'm not
a pope yet!... But well perhaps your name will help?
I still did not read "Master and Margarita" in Russian. Anyway, I don't know whether
I could really appreciate the lecture because I can read Russian, but only at a slow rate.
That will probably kill all the pleasure...
There exist several versions of that book, more or less abridged. I am even not sure that
I read an unabridged version!!!
Anyway, I think that the whole impact of that book cannot come home if the text is not
supplemented by detailed footnotes. Above all, nobody should be deceived by a light
humorous tone of large parts of the book!
To give an example, Bulgakov describes a great house in Moscow in which there were
some flats whose occupants "kept to disappear in a mysterious fashion ". The whole
question is exposed in a light-hearted way, like in Tolkien's description of Hobbiton.
But it's a very dark allusion: all these people disappeared because they were arrested and
then sent to goulags or even killed. And that happened to them because their neighbours
wanted to get hold of their flats...
I'm not really a specialist on Russian/Slavonic fantasy litterature, although I love Bulgakov
and I like a Polish fantasy writer Sapkowski. Had anyone heard about him already?
Well, you can be our resident pope Jehanne, howzat? Popess? I've always liked him, such a dear old man.

Ooh Don Quixote, cool book. I'm about to read it again, just found a fat shiny new copy at the bookstore for $1.50! They have a really good bargain section of classics - probably no one wants to buy them, that's really sad. Imagine getting Anna Karenina for less than a buck! Kewl! I think I'm going to get the entireclassis section before I leave, so that I have something nice to read on rainy days. Smile Smilie

M&M - I'm still determined to read it in Russian. Almost gave up, but I finally managed translating Gogol's Calash yesterday. I'm just astounded by beauty of the language...I thought the story was powerful when I read it in English. But in Russian - wow. I love certain words that is typically Russian - 'praigralsia' for instance (to lose all of one's money at gambling). It's very direct, simple (yet complicated), solid and 'earthy' wonder they have so many great postAuthorIDs from there. I like to imagine it to be a bit like Dwarfish (dwarvish?).

Eryan- you had Latin in high school? Lucky. My school only offered French and Spanish, and almost everyone took Spanish because French was "too hard". I took both so I wouldn't have to take calculus (blech).

And the pope thing- I never made the connection on the name! The apocryphal lady pope was a Joan too, wasn't she? Neat! I wonder what would be a bigger barrier for me- the woman thing or the Jewish thing? Oh well, better find a new goal.

Ungoliant- I covet your bookstore. I need a new copy of Vanity Fair (my old one died a horrible death- long story) and I can't find a good, clean, cheap copy. Very frustrating.
Russian dwarvish? Sometimes... But some pieces of Russian poetry are of Elvish beauty,
and totally impossible to be translated...
You do like the present Pope, Ungoliant? How nice! He is much loved... but also much
hated. Sad that. I personnally love him, too. He is very conservative in many respects,
but he is such a sincere seeker of peace, harmony and understanding among all people.
I was deeply touched by his words that we should always try to love absolutely equally
all human beings, be they our friends or enemies. Not an easy thing to do! Unpractical?
Well I must confess that sometimes when I am VERY annoyed with people because of
all sorts of ordinary everyday petty problems & conflicts... I remember these words and
this helps me to remain calm & smiling...
In my eyes he is a Tolkienish hero, a "White Pilgrim". Now he is very old and ill,
but when he was younger he was much more like Gandalf, very "normal", quick-witted
and full of humour. Even now he is making excellent jokes from time to time!

Well to leave him alone... I also found last week a store with classic books which are not
so cheap as yours Ungoliant, but still 2.5$ a copy is not that much...
Jehanne - yeah they had about three copies of Vanity Fair, about $1.50 each. Although I think that other people are beginning to notice the section as someone had bought the entire Austen section.

The downside to my bookstore is that they hardly have anything new...except for the best sellers, which I tend to avoid. Still have to wait for friends to come over before I get really nice new books. Am waiting anxiously for a mate to come over & bring 'The Science of Discworld' next month.

Eryan, although I'm not a Catholic, I've always considered the current Pope as one of my heroes. I admire his sincerity, courage and especially his great kindness, and will always have a soft spot for him. Would like to read more about the sense of humour that you were talking about, definitely. Is that in his biography?

As for poetry...well I have to shamefully confess that I hate it. Just have no patience for it...or maybe I just don't get the concept. So I try to avoid it whenever possible.

I am really glad to hear that you like the present Pope so much. Many people hate him,
hate him really... and it always malkes me sad. For me too he is a great hero and I'm glad
that I live in the same time as he...
About his sense of humour, I cannot tell you whether you could find something in his
biography (anyway, I think that there are many biographies). But I will simply tell
the one I remember. No... I can't!!!! I need an English expression I aboslutely cannot
recall now... this will be for tomorrow... OK? Smile Smilie
Am starting 'The Riddle and the Knight' (In Search of Sir John Mandeville, the World's Greatest Traveler) by Giles Milton, 1996.

It is basically a travelogue following in Mandeville's footprints, looking for any clues that he had actually visited where he had purported. Sir John is reported to have traveled through the middle East, Asia, and the Far East some fifty years after Marco Polo. He returned 34 years after he left St. Albans and his tales (some of them tall) were published in his book, 'The Travels of Sir John Mandeville'. He is even purported to have circumnavigated the globe; 'twere it true the old poem about "In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed ..." would need changing to, "In thirteen hundred and twenty-two, Mandeville sailed the ocean blue."

My book also sports reproduced woodcarving illustrations from Anton Sorg's second edition of 'The Travels of Sir John Mandeville', 1481.
Personally, I rather like the old gentleman; and some of my best friends are Roman Catholic. However, I think the R.C. church's celibacy policy has come back to bite them: They can't get enough new people joining the priesthood to make up for the death rate; they are currently undergoing massive embarrassment (criminal and civil court cases) caused by worldwide revelations of clergy messing about with young boys and the bishops knowingly covered it up; they refuse to let their clergy marry, yet will accept pre-married Anglican priests who return to Rome. Had they let their priests marry, most of these problems would never happened. I won't even mention their refusal to incorporate females into the priesthood.

Their birth control policy will soon lead to more third world parishioners dying of aids than are being born into the church. I respect their policy on abortion, but wonder if the hierarchy would be so adamant, were it their 13 year old daughters becoming pregnant?

I doubt these policies will ever change, because there, they have the original 'good old boys' network. Smile Smilie

Oh, and topics in the Taverns aren't sacrosanct; tangents are allowed.
It's off topic, but I promised to Ungoliant to tell some jokes of our present Pope, and here is one I liked a lot.
First of all he is a Pole and you must know that the Polish word for the Pope is "papiez". A very similar word, "lupiez", means "dandruff" (these nasty small flakes of skin peeling out in hair).
When the Pope comes to visit Poland, crowds of people in the street keep to greet him shouting incessantly in Polish "Long live the Pope". And at one occasion he shouted back - with SUCH a twinkle in his eye - "Long live the dandruff". I really loved that!!!
Nice one Eryan, thanks. He sounds really sweet. There are no biographies on the Pope at my bookstore, although there's plenty of biographies of music stars, actors and sportsmen. Will have to wait till I go to London or someplace else with a better bookstore. Sad Smilie

Yes, come to England, give us all plenty of warning, and come for a beer or two with me and Taz Smile Smilie
Anyone with same reading habits as me - ie several books at the same time
Currently with Le Guin's DISPOSSED (thansk Squirrel)
Michael's Herr's DISPATCHES,
Mary Shelley VALPERGA
Naomi Klein's NO NAME

Pope is a tocuhy issue - he is one of the most important "political" popes in the history of Vatican but that don't cut sh..t with me. I don't want to sound provocative, I'm not a beleiver of any kind, but if Bush was looking for an axe of evil, he should start looking at the Vatican just to see how much do gooders and integrity can do so much wrong to so many people.

Agree with Golly - he sincere, courageous etc etc - doesn't stop hjim from doin the wrong thring. Most of the morons and people who screw up this world are really "sincere" about what they do. Golly and Eryan I wonder how kind you'd think the current Pope if you've got aids, living with a wife beater and not allowed to get a divorce... real kind man, real kind.
I still think that if we put everything on the scales he is a great Pope.
About people having AIDS... he was one of the first official persons who dared to kiss people
having AIDS.
About not being able to divorce with a wife beater... it is however possible to obtain the so called
separation. However, I agree that it is not realistic to expect of people that they would be
content to get separated only, without the right to marry another person.
There are many other touchy questions; many people actually hate him. I know it well.
Yet I feel that I personally became a better person (more tolerant, more patient,
more ready to seek non-aggressive solutions to any conflict, more ready to dialogue with
people instead of trying to bully them) among others thanks to his example of good will,
humility and courage.
Our conflicts can be resolved by hewing Orc necks and making head counts like
Gimli and Legolas... Yet I admire much more the way in which Galadriel appeased the anger of
Gimli... by a dialogue and respect which led to peace and great love...
Well I don't think that the Church's policies should detract any from the Pope's admirable personal qualities. I'm sure we're all able to differentiate between them? Like I adore Maggie Thatcher but I hate her political beliefs...or admire JFK's vision but hate his womanising? The Pope seems like a harmless old chap....true, you're kind of b*ggered if you're a pregnant, Aids riddled, battered 14 year old girl, but you can't blame him for policies that's been set hundreds of years ago, can you?

I don't agree with some of the Catholic church's policies, but in a sense, I disagree with the reformists. You don't simply change a religion just because it doesn't fit your currently lifestyle. Either you take it or you don't....and if you still wish to belong to a religion but have certain complaints about some policy or rule or whatever...ignore it! At the end of the day, it's between you and God, isn't it? As long as you observe the basic tenets of a religion (10 commandments should be simple enough, and universally applicable) then the rest ought to be between you and God.
Has anybody read "The Hunter" by Julia Leigh? I am supposed to do an assignment on it, and could use all the input I can get. Big Smile Smilie
Sorry, no help here.
Sorry Alyssa - don't know that postAuthorID or book.

Golly I just finshed reading the "Just a hypothetical question about favorite days and your post on "carpe dienm" living the present etc and I totally 200 per cent agree with you.

But this post I'm afraid can't agree.

At some stage I don't think you can keep separating the person from the role they play. The Pope has reponsability over the people wh belive in him as "Gods representative on Earth" (Note bene - I'm an aethiest with a profound interest in religi=ous history and politics Chrsitain or otherwise so nothing "peronal" about this)

What Carol Wojestla (The Pope) says, does, writes profoundly influences and determines millions of peoples lives. When you are a leader it goes with the territory. These are not postAuthorIDs writing in a social void - they create laws, doctrines and influence their followers; You cannot separate the cute old bald guy who likes to travel and meet interesting people from the old cronny living as a senile despot in the Vatican. So what if he stands up for what he believes in - thats not he question he imposes his bleiefs on others in his Church.

Also you simplify matters about the Church. The Church is a organism which constantly evolves (and reclines) over the centuries. And it belongs to the present - not too history or to some old books. It has too change and does evolve; otherwise we'd still think the earth was flat and Earth is the centre of the Universe. This particular Pope however belives that it shouldn't change and so does everything to make sure it doesn't. That is what I don't agree with.

I recall Taylor Heckford (a fine legal mind who was a lawyer at Nuremberg) mentioning that all the court were impressed by the culture and personal qualities of Goring and Speer! But that has nothing to do with history and justice.

Margaret Thatcher - well what can I say sure great individual qualities ??- never give in, never negotiate, never change your mind, always believe you are the strongest and to hell with the rest. She single handedly crucified the ENglish economy, created widesperead poverty, destroyed the rail, education and health indiustries, added 12 years to the northern Ireland conflict with the murdera and mayhem that resulted because she considered all the Irish as terrorists and GREAT Britian would never say die! . And then when we all thingk shes gone and retired she comes back to publically support General Pinochet and uses her influence to make sure he doesn' t go on trial becasue he was a friend of Britain and of humanity.

How do these people sleep at night!

JFK I have a few gripes too but so what if he womanized - it didn't get involved in his politics and the political decisions he made. He didn't make womanizing a state policy!

I was certain that the discussion WILL come back to the Pope once more...
I doubt very much that I will be able to influence your point of view... but I'll have a honest try.
To start with, I'll repeat what I already said in another thread: I am not a fundamentalist Roman Catholic, nor even a declared believer in God. I am an agnostic: for me an only honest answer to the question of existence of God is "I don't know". So please do not think I'm trying to "convert" you!
The Pope (by the way, his name is Karol Wojtyla, and NOT Carol Wojestla) certainly asks people to do difficult things. But do not forget that he believes that our life here on this Earth is just a brief period of several tens of years during which we should prepare for an eternity of after-life, in which we will reach the state of ultimate bliss and joy of being united with God.
If someone also believes in that vision of human destiny... why, he/she should quite readily accept various traditional taboos (such as extra-marital sex or impossibility to divorce)... because all this does not really matter!... It's simply a question of patience and endurance, in order to gain a heavenly recompense which will satisfy us fully and forever.
He certainly is demanding. But Gandalf also asked Frodo to sacrifice all in order to save the world. They are both demanding because they think that in the long term it is good for us!
The real problem starts when these traditional taboos of the Roman Catholicism are imposed on people which do not believe in after-life and who want above all to be happy already during their earthly life. And of course, there is a question: why should they be forced to sacrifice their happiness when there is no proof that it will be rewarded "afterwards"? After all, it's highly probable that this brief life is the only life we will ever have!
I certainly think that no church should influence legislation of the overall society (composed of both believers and non-believers) and that these questions should be regulated with as much common sense as possible. Yet I still think that (if we put everything on the scales) the present Pope IS a hero of our times.
(1) He is constantly stressing the need of negotiations and forgiveness and dialogue as opposed to violence and hate and war. And if you doubt whether such policy works in the real world, look at the peaceful transformation of the Central-Eastern Europe from 1989 on! It's one of the marvels of the modern history!
(2) He confessed the past crimes of the Catholic Church and asked forgiveness for them.
(3) He lays stress on the importance of both faith and science as two sources of knowledege and understanding of our destiny.
Also you simplify matters about the Church. The Church is a organism which constantly evolves (and reclines) over the centuries. And it belongs to the present - not too history or to some old books. It has too change and does evolve; otherwise we'd still think the earth was flat and Earth is the centre of the Universe. This particular Pope however belives that it shouldn't change and so does everything to make sure it doesn't. That is what I don't agree with.

And I do not agree with what you said. As I told just above, the Pope reformed a lot of important things. He DID not reform many things which could make life easier for many people. But does "easier" mean always "better"? If you have in your charge a screaming mentally retarded brat or an old grandmother suffering from Altzheimer's disease... the easiest way would be to konock them on the head and get rid of the problem and go to dance on a beach under full moon!
Life is NOT easy and it should NOT be too easy!!! Some taboos are necessary - for the good of all.l
I recall Taylor Heckford (a fine legal mind who was a lawyer at Nuremberg) mentioning that all the court were impressed by the culture and personal qualities of Goring and Speer! But that has nothing to do with history and justice.
I really don't think that the parallel between Karol Wojtyla and Nazi criminals is valid. The Pope asks people to respect traditional taboos - but he is NOT responsable for cold calculated homicide!
*In very good mood so not arguing today*
I'm re-reading Eric by Pterry Big Smile Smilie
'Eric' is near the top of my "to read" pile; however, I think I will read 'Gods and Omens' by TP and Neil Gaiman next after I finish the fourth book in the Prydain Chronicles, called 'Tarran Wanderer' by Lloyd Alexander.
OK - bad doggie Huan
Remember must not talk politics and religion and keep BS to a tolerable minimum ! I remember making that resolution before. No way Eryan i'm not taking the bait

Plastioc anf Grondy don't know "Eric" any hints. Plastic finishing "Dispossessed" by Le Guin and enjoying it.A ny other good suggestions?
Yeah, one of my favourite books ever. "The Anubis Gates" By Tim Powers. Mixes loads of my favourite things, egyptology, time travel, romantic poets and the mean streets of 19th century London.
At this current moment, I'm re-reading The Three Musketeers. I like that bok a lot. I just finished reading The Diary of Anne Frank.
ooh, I loved the Diary of Anne Frank...made me cry, though.

Just started The Green Bay Tree...haven't got far enough to decide if I like it or not, though
I just re-visited my adolecence with "The Next Generation" of Dragonlance fame. Was rather nice. A bit like visiting old school friends and finding them all married with children.

Tanis, my once heart throb (*blushes) is now a greying middle aged man with a troublsome teenage son!

Even Raistlin has a daughter - wow you just have to read that story to believe it! Almost pornographic for Dragonlance, my teenaged self would have been shocked!

Poor dead Sturm (silly name, still makes me chuckle) has a son by evil Kitiara! Now there's a troubled kid! on it goes.

An okay read for Dragonlance fanatics only. 6/10.
I just reread "Puck of the Pook's Hill"... after many many years...
Huan - I do not think that you are a "bad doggie" - only that you see some things from a different perspective than I!
Anyway, I'm happy that you did not take the bait beacuse I do not really hope we could influence each others views in this matter... let us enjoy to discuss many other passionating topics!
And what is a BS?
Eryan: a BS is a Bachelor of Science Degree; however the term Huan was referring to follows:
BS = The digestive tract excretion from the male bovine herbivore. The term is usually heard when one person has utterly failed to pull the wool over the eyes of a second person, that second person making the comment, having not bought into the first person's nonsense. Synonyms are: Horse Pucky!, Bull Roar! and Horse S**t!
Now, aren't you ashamed you asked. :P I am, for having answered. Big Smile Smilie
Okay... I'm now reading the biography of Gangis Kahn. I have a fascination with Mongolian history: it being one of the rare "oral" histories in a writen history era, where accounts of the Mongols are largely recorded by other cultures. I also have a fascination with Mongolian language. Beautiful to look at and quite interesting to hear!
A hundred years ago when we got our first TV set, I saw a B&W movie about Temujen, (Temuchin) or Genghis (Ghengis, Chingiz, Ch’ng-sze) Khan that was really good, quite unlike the piece of Hollywood crap that starred John Wayne. The old movie paralleled the biographies that I later read, and showed a more realistic nomadic lifestyle, you could see the dirt and almost smell the horses. Thinking back it was probably subtitled and may not have even had sound.

I'm currently reading 'The Green Jade Hand' another of Harry Stephen Keeler's mysteries containing intertwining plots, characters, and coincidences.
Joe Haldeman-Worlds enough and Time.
Did any of you read the Celestine Prophecy written by James Redfield?
Nope, but it's good to see I'm not the only one here who's suddenly become Junior, and apears to have only posted 7 times, despite the huge amount of material by my own fair hand about this place. I only registered here today as well, or so I'm told... Wink Smilie
I finally start Terry P's 'Eric' tonight.
Speaking of Terry P (and Neil Gaiman, I suppose), I'm about halfway through Good Omens for the ten billionth time. That book is addictive, I swear.

Celestine Prophecies... I tried, got about halfway through, realized many people die young and my time might be similarly brief... and ditched it to read Good Omens again. Sorry I can't be much help there.
I have 'Good Omens' as my "going to the doctors office" book, for reading while sitting around in waiting rooms. Just started it last week. Demon Crowley has just been given his task, in a basket.

Have you read Gaiman's 'American Gods'? It is great, sort of sad rather than comedy. I also enjoyed his "Neverwhere' and of course his 'Sandman' graphics series which I believe is composed of ten titles plus a couple smaller volumes.

Terry P's 'Small Gods' is in my to read pile. The Skwrl (may he live forever with a non-ending supply of the libation of his choice) introduced me to Terry Pratchett last summer, so I am laughing my way through them only for the first time.

C.S. Lewis's 'Screwtape Letters' are also a good read.
Oh, I miss Sandman. Even though the last issue was a wonderful piece of work and a great stopping point, I just wasn't ready to stop reading, darn it.

I really want to read American Gods (love the idea, love the various myth figures he uses, curious to see how he pulls it off) but I keep getting distracted from getting it. Moulin Rouge CDs and books on Old West gamblers are shinier objects at the mo', and I'm easily distracted. It's in the top 5 of the wish list though.

Oddly enough, I think I'm in the minority of people here in that I've thus far avoided Discworld. Didn't set out to do it or anything, and I like Terry P very much in the contexts I've run across his work (and my mom loves his books starring those witches, whatever their names are). I've just never gotten around to them, I guess. Probably should, huh?
Yes, you very much should. Funniest things I've ever read. I'm afraid I have to admit I'm reading Harry potter again at the moment, in anticipation of the 5th book which surely can't be far away now?
The earliest date I've read for HP5 is July 2002, and that's a totally unconfirmed rumor from a bookselling friend (who heard it a conference, so who can tell). So I guess I have time to read some Discworld- for some reason, people keep giving me the ones starring Death. Wonder why that is...

In Good Omens news, we've just seen Crowley's apartment... and met his poor terrorized houseplants. Man, I love this book. Crowley is my hero (despite the... um... demon thing. ignore that).
RE: 'Good Omens' I suddenly find I have read it previously; however, I don't remember much about the page to page details--must have read it in an all-night sitting--so I will continue the reading and the enjoying.
Having finished Terry Pratchett's Eric, I started Michael Jecks' The Tournament of Blood last night. It is set in 1322 and so far I have learned that the participants of medieval tournaments are far from chivalrous in their jousts and m’l’es. And the price of a warhorse then is comparable to a modern tank now (probably without its electronic gear though).
I once heard that still in 80-ties the price of a modern war airplane was equal to the costs of building a city for 10.000 (or perhaps even 100 000) persons with schools, libraries, shops. a hospital etc. etc.
After all this talk of good Omens, I've had to go back and read it again. Started it last night, and due to my policy of reading only one thing at a time, I'm annoyed now. This is because my neighbour, who is moving out this weekend and clearing out all his crap has just given me a humongous pile of Marvel Star Wars comics, which I'd rather be reading. :sad
I've just finished Jeanette Winterson's The Passion. Lovely book. Now I'm reading some Garfield comics. :P
reading Dante - the Divine Comedy now...just finished the Inferno and am working my way through Purgatory...pretty good actually, though there's a ton of references to stuff that I don't understand, but that's ok because my copy is footnoted quite nicely...Cool Smilie

Garfield's awesome, but you can't beat Charlie Brown, Tommy Wink Smilie
Larry Nivens Ringworld yet again! So far as comics go, Tintin has got to be the best.......
Smile Smilie
On the Trail of Fu Manchu from Volume 3 of The Fu Manchu Omnibus by Sax Rohmer (1934). Pure pulp fiction.
"C# For Dummies" - Sad? Yes very Sleeping Smilie
Having just finished Michael Jecks' The Tournament of Blood which I thought was the best of his eleven book historical mystery series staring Sir Baldwin Furnshill, Keeper of the King's Peace, and his friend, Baliff Simon Puttock, I have now started Terry Pratchett's Moving Pictures.
Update on Harry Potter 5-

"It looks like the publication of the fifth book in the HARRY POTTER series is once again in limbo. The book will arrive at some point, but it’s missed its original shipping date by almost a year, and now it seems it will miss another.

According to Bloomsbury, the series’ British publishing house, HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX will not be shipping in July as originally planned. It seems postAuthorID J.K. Rowling is still at work on Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts.

So when will the book finally arrive? When Rowling is good and ready, that's when.

’She's still writing it,’ said a Bloomsbury spokeswoman. ’Until she delivers the manuscript, we won't announce a publication date. We're hoping it will be this autumn. It probably will be later in the fall.’"

[Edited on 10/12/2002 by Grondmaster]
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