Whatcha reading?

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Dr. Medulla
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Re: Whatcha reading?

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Low Down Low wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 7:56am
Dr. Medulla wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 7:39am
Low Down Low wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 6:53am
Dr. Medulla wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 6:35am
Low Down Low wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 4:36am
The Posnanski book is entertaining alright. He has a narrative style that is quite gripping, not very stylistic, but sweeps you along. I didn't know that much about Houdini so would have appreciated an orthodox biography, but I guess there are sufficient of those already so was a good trick to take the angle he did. Helps that his obvious enthusiasm for the subject shines through on every page.
Ah, glad that you found it entertaining. I've loved his baseball books (and columns), but have had the Houdini book in the queue forever because, eh, I'm just not that intrigued by the story of Houdini. But it's good to know that you found the tale compelling enough, so I'll certainly see it thru.
I probably wouldn't have touched it if I wasn't curious to learn more about houdini tbh, so that definitely helped. I subscribed to Sports Illustrated for several years, when Posnanski was on staff, and always enjoyed his columns and pieces. They were like an antidote to the staleness and cynicism of the likes of Rick Reilly.
If you've never read Pos' The Soul of Baseball, where he travels with Negro League great Buck O'Neil, you absolutely must. O'Neil possessed such a pure optimism and faith in humanity that it'll melt the coldest, most cynical heart, and Pos was an ideal writer to capture it. If that's the only thing he ever wrote, it'd be enough to hang his hat on.
Ah yes, I'm aware of it but not read. I'm not even a baseball fan to be honest about it, I read for the story and the writing which is why I can still list Boys of Summer as among my favourite sports books. And even though I tend to read very few sports books these days, I will assuredly get around to the O'Neil one at some stage.
Soul of Baseball is something that can be appreciated by a non-baseball fan. Baseball serves as context, not subject matter. It's more about a guy who had known a truckload of bigotry and heartbreak, but also had seen some great achievements, and he determined to focus on the latter, with a constant faith that human beings are, at their core, good and kind creatures.
That is what the elves call the justice of the unicorn. - Richard Nixon to Nikita Khrushchev, Kitchen Debate, Moscow, 1959

Low Down Low
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Low Down Low »

Dr. Medulla wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 9:03am
Low Down Low wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 7:56am
Dr. Medulla wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 7:39am
Low Down Low wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 6:53am
Dr. Medulla wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 6:35am


Ah, glad that you found it entertaining. I've loved his baseball books (and columns), but have had the Houdini book in the queue forever because, eh, I'm just not that intrigued by the story of Houdini. But it's good to know that you found the tale compelling enough, so I'll certainly see it thru.
I probably wouldn't have touched it if I wasn't curious to learn more about houdini tbh, so that definitely helped. I subscribed to Sports Illustrated for several years, when Posnanski was on staff, and always enjoyed his columns and pieces. They were like an antidote to the staleness and cynicism of the likes of Rick Reilly.
If you've never read Pos' The Soul of Baseball, where he travels with Negro League great Buck O'Neil, you absolutely must. O'Neil possessed such a pure optimism and faith in humanity that it'll melt the coldest, most cynical heart, and Pos was an ideal writer to capture it. If that's the only thing he ever wrote, it'd be enough to hang his hat on.
Ah yes, I'm aware of it but not read. I'm not even a baseball fan to be honest about it, I read for the story and the writing which is why I can still list Boys of Summer as among my favourite sports books. And even though I tend to read very few sports books these days, I will assuredly get around to the O'Neil one at some stage.
Soul of Baseball is something that can be appreciated by a non-baseball fan. Baseball serves as context, not subject matter. It's more about a guy who had known a truckload of bigotry and heartbreak, but also had seen some great achievements, and he determined to focus on the latter, with a constant faith that human beings are, at their core, good and kind creatures.
Oh sure, totally. I remember the first Pos story I ever read, about Tony Pena and his rise from poverty in South America to the major league and it mattered nought I hadn't the faintest idea about the sport. He's a master at the humanity and emotion of it.

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Re: Whatcha reading?

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Low Down Low wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 9:18am
Oh sure, totally. I remember the first Pos story I ever read, about Tony Pena and his rise from poverty in South America to the major league and it mattered nought I hadn't the faintest idea about the sport. He's a master at the humanity and emotion of it.
That's the neat thing about his work. He can be an advanced stat nerd as much as anyone else, but he also knows that sports is mostly about a human connection, about fantasy and identification. That he can walk on both sides of that line, abstraction and humanity, is what makes him pretty much the best in the business.
That is what the elves call the justice of the unicorn. - Richard Nixon to Nikita Khrushchev, Kitchen Debate, Moscow, 1959

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Low Down Low »

Dr. Medulla wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 9:21am
Low Down Low wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 9:18am
Oh sure, totally. I remember the first Pos story I ever read, about Tony Pena and his rise from poverty in South America to the major league and it mattered nought I hadn't the faintest idea about the sport. He's a master at the humanity and emotion of it.
That's the neat thing about his work. He can be an advanced stat nerd as much as anyone else, but he also knows that sports is mostly about a human connection, about fantasy and identification. That he can walk on both sides of that line, abstraction and humanity, is what makes him pretty much the best in the business.
Yes, and the other thing i think is that he has retained all the enthusiasm and vitality for sport he had as a kid and can still imbue his writing with that freshness and sense of wonder. Which is a rare gift to have, because I think that is a difficult thing to pull off. I know I couldn't anyway. Too old and cynical about life now!

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Re: Whatcha reading?

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Low Down Low wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 9:45am
Dr. Medulla wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 9:21am
Low Down Low wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 9:18am
Oh sure, totally. I remember the first Pos story I ever read, about Tony Pena and his rise from poverty in South America to the major league and it mattered nought I hadn't the faintest idea about the sport. He's a master at the humanity and emotion of it.
That's the neat thing about his work. He can be an advanced stat nerd as much as anyone else, but he also knows that sports is mostly about a human connection, about fantasy and identification. That he can walk on both sides of that line, abstraction and humanity, is what makes him pretty much the best in the business.
Yes, and the other thing i think is that he has retained all the enthusiasm and vitality for sport he had as a kid and can still imbue his writing with that freshness and sense of wonder. Which is a rare gift to have, because I think that is a difficult thing to pull off. I know I couldn't anyway. Too old and cynical about life now!
I agree about being old and cynical (tho I'm always trying to be less of the latter).

While rowing and doing some household chores, I listened to more of the book, and it reminds somewhat of Janet Malcolm's book The Silent Woman, which is sort of about Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, but more a meditation of writing biography. Her metaphor of the biographer as being like a burglar, rooting thru and stealing a person's life, has stuck with me, to remind myself that historical work demands being respectful as you unearth people's lives.
That is what the elves call the justice of the unicorn. - Richard Nixon to Nikita Khrushchev, Kitchen Debate, Moscow, 1959

Low Down Low
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Low Down Low »

Dr. Medulla wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 12:11pm
Low Down Low wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 9:45am
Dr. Medulla wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 9:21am
Low Down Low wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 9:18am
Oh sure, totally. I remember the first Pos story I ever read, about Tony Pena and his rise from poverty in South America to the major league and it mattered nought I hadn't the faintest idea about the sport. He's a master at the humanity and emotion of it.
That's the neat thing about his work. He can be an advanced stat nerd as much as anyone else, but he also knows that sports is mostly about a human connection, about fantasy and identification. That he can walk on both sides of that line, abstraction and humanity, is what makes him pretty much the best in the business.
Yes, and the other thing i think is that he has retained all the enthusiasm and vitality for sport he had as a kid and can still imbue his writing with that freshness and sense of wonder. Which is a rare gift to have, because I think that is a difficult thing to pull off. I know I couldn't anyway. Too old and cynical about life now!
I agree about being old and cynical (tho I'm always trying to be less of the latter).

While rowing and doing some household chores, I listened to more of the book, and it reminds somewhat of Janet Malcolm's book The Silent Woman, which is sort of about Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, but more a meditation of writing biography. Her metaphor of the biographer as being like a burglar, rooting thru and stealing a person's life, has stuck with me, to remind myself that historical work demands being respectful as you unearth people's lives.
I haven't read that, but the houdini book isn't conventional biography. I guess the challenge for the author was writing another houdini book and what else to say, what new to add? So he comes up with the ruse of casting his gaze through the prism of the houdini industry and it worked for me pretty much, though if I'd been a seasoned houdini observer, I'm not sure I'd feel those characters were fully deserving of book treatment, more a long read magazine feature perhaps. Almost everything in the book was new to me so I didn't have that issue.

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Dr. Medulla »

Low Down Low wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 12:44pm
Dr. Medulla wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 12:11pm
Low Down Low wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 9:45am
Dr. Medulla wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 9:21am
Low Down Low wrote:
05 Nov 2021, 9:18am
Oh sure, totally. I remember the first Pos story I ever read, about Tony Pena and his rise from poverty in South America to the major league and it mattered nought I hadn't the faintest idea about the sport. He's a master at the humanity and emotion of it.
That's the neat thing about his work. He can be an advanced stat nerd as much as anyone else, but he also knows that sports is mostly about a human connection, about fantasy and identification. That he can walk on both sides of that line, abstraction and humanity, is what makes him pretty much the best in the business.
Yes, and the other thing i think is that he has retained all the enthusiasm and vitality for sport he had as a kid and can still imbue his writing with that freshness and sense of wonder. Which is a rare gift to have, because I think that is a difficult thing to pull off. I know I couldn't anyway. Too old and cynical about life now!
I agree about being old and cynical (tho I'm always trying to be less of the latter).

While rowing and doing some household chores, I listened to more of the book, and it reminds somewhat of Janet Malcolm's book The Silent Woman, which is sort of about Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, but more a meditation of writing biography. Her metaphor of the biographer as being like a burglar, rooting thru and stealing a person's life, has stuck with me, to remind myself that historical work demands being respectful as you unearth people's lives.
I haven't read that, but the houdini book isn't conventional biography. I guess the challenge for the author was writing another houdini book and what else to say, what new to add? So he comes up with the ruse of casting his gaze through the prism of the houdini industry and it worked for me pretty much, though if I'd been a seasoned houdini observer, I'm not sure I'd feel those characters were fully deserving of book treatment, more a long read magazine feature perhaps. Almost everything in the book was new to me so I didn't have that issue.
Posnanski's approach is appealing to me because, I mentioned earlier, I don't have any real interest in Houdini or his life. Magicians/illusionists are a shrug for me. I can admire the talent, but the people don't real fascinate me. The cultural history and sociology around it is much different. And a book that consciously goes into the mechanics of biography and popular myth, yeah, that's right up my alley.
That is what the elves call the justice of the unicorn. - Richard Nixon to Nikita Khrushchev, Kitchen Debate, Moscow, 1959

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Re: Whatcha reading?

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Finished up Posnanski this morning. It's entertaining enough, but at the end I don't feel I've had any kind of revelation or reason to care about Houdini or his influence. Which is partly on me but partly on Posnanski, who I never got the impression was writing for more than those already intrigued by his subject.

Moving on to more popular history:
Image
I'm really not a fan of labour history because more often than not it's cold studies of organizing and strikes. Late 19th century labour stuff is a rare example of where I prefer popular histories that give some action and urgency. Maybe it's not as demanding or incisive, but it's enough for me.
That is what the elves call the justice of the unicorn. - Richard Nixon to Nikita Khrushchev, Kitchen Debate, Moscow, 1959

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by tepista »

Image
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We beach the beachheads other armies cannot beach
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Dr. Medulla
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Re: Whatcha reading?

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tepista wrote:
14 Nov 2021, 1:06pm
Image
Image
That is what the elves call the justice of the unicorn. - Richard Nixon to Nikita Khrushchev, Kitchen Debate, Moscow, 1959

Kory
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Re: Whatcha reading?

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Dr. Medulla wrote:
14 Nov 2021, 1:40pm
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You clod!
WWK: I feel confident we haven't heard the last from Dr. Harvey Camel.

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Re: Whatcha reading?

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Kory wrote:
15 Nov 2021, 5:58pm
Dr. Medulla wrote:
14 Nov 2021, 1:40pm
Image
You clod!
Have an all ighty ollar—you've earned it.
That is what the elves call the justice of the unicorn. - Richard Nixon to Nikita Khrushchev, Kitchen Debate, Moscow, 1959

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Flex »

Wow, they really socked it to that Spiro Agnew guy.
In the words of Jean-Paul Sartre: "Au revoir, gopher."

Pex Lives!

Dr. Medulla
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Re: Whatcha reading?

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Flex wrote:
15 Nov 2021, 6:50pm
Wow, they really socked it to that Spiro Agnew guy.
I think he worked there.
That is what the elves call the justice of the unicorn. - Richard Nixon to Nikita Khrushchev, Kitchen Debate, Moscow, 1959

Dr. Medulla
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Re: Whatcha reading?

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Audio:
Image
Y'know, given that the subject matter is an ongoing nightmare and a failed putsch, it feels like popcorn farce. The incompetence and mouth-breathing ignorance of characters makes it pathetically amusing in ways that, really, should scare the fuck out of people. Or maybe I've given up. Anyway, it's what I imagine the last days of Flex's reign of terror was like.

Tub:
Image
I think I've had this thing for, like, twenty years, picked up at a garage sale for a buck. Never had the desire to read gossipy kind of stuff about the band, but figured I may as well.
That is what the elves call the justice of the unicorn. - Richard Nixon to Nikita Khrushchev, Kitchen Debate, Moscow, 1959

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