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Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by JazzGal, May 27, 2010.
@gandalfe - loved "Redshirts". A fun read for sure.
I'm so glad, it's such a fun book!
LOL, I just read through some older posts and saw that you had it on the list of books you'd read last year.
Now I am reading (about 1/3 of the way through)
THE STRANGER IN THE WOODS: THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF THE LAST TRUE HERMIT
by Michael Finkel
it's pretty fascinating!
Have any of you read the book, “The New Jim Crow?” What an incredible read. This along with “Black Like Me” by John Howard Griffin and Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy” are life changers when it comes to my views on race.
@JazzGal could you tell us more about the things you saw, liked, and disagreed with on this book?
“The man without a face” is one of the best books on Putin. Really incredible and interesting read. Yet scary and haunting. He rose from humble beginnings through the KGB, lucked out in local city politics, and became essentially a modern-day tsar. However, Russia’s population is heterogeneous and isn’t easy to rule. Which is why he uses deception and murder to rule (like the tsars and soviet leaders who came later).
The Disaster Artist on audiobook might be the best/most hilarious audiobook out there. The reader (the real life Mark) imitates Tommy Wisseau perfectly.
The issue that I didn't understand the most was how the War on Drugs of the 1980s had created this huge number of incarcerated people in our country. Our choosing to imprison drug addicts instead of spending the money on treatment has helped create the huge drug problem in the U.S. It isn't the only reason as we have an insatiable appetite for drugs for many reasons, and we obviously didn't take it seriously enough and allowed pharmaceutical companies to make their profits off the unsuspecting pain victims.
I knew that the U.S. has more people in jail or prison or under supervision than other countries, but I hadn't realized to what extent.
I also did not realize exactly why black men specifically are incarcerated in such high numbers, as well as the abuses to the Fourth Amendment that we have allowed law enforcement to commit.
A quote or two that I liked:
“African Americans are not significantly more likely to use or sell prohibited drugs than whites, but they are made criminals at drastically higher rates for precisely the same conduct.”
“The genius of the current caste system, and what most distinguishes it from its predecessors, is that it appears voluntary. People choose to commit crimes, and that's why they are locked up or locked out, we are told. This feature makes the politics of responsibility particularly tempting, as it appears the system can be avoided with good behavior. But herein lies the trap. All people make mistakes. All of us are sinners. All of us are criminals. All of us violate the law at some point in our lives. In fact, if the worst thing you have ever done is speed ten miles over the speed limit on the freeway, you have put yourself and others at more risk of harm than someone smoking marijuana in the privacy of his or her living room. Yet there are people in the United States serving life sentences for first-time drug offenses, something virtually unheard of anywhere else in the world.”
“In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. So we don’t. Rather than rely on race, we use our criminal justice system to label people of color “criminals” and then engage in all the practices we supposedly left behind. Today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination—employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service—are suddenly legal. As a criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow. We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.”
As far as what I didn't agree with, there is very little. However, I live in lily-white Utah and we see a relatively small amount of blacks in our system, so I cannot tell if the claims by the author are actually true as far as what I see in my job. But it rings true. I have yet to be able to get one of the law enforcement officers to read this book and tell me what they think. I imagine they would take it as a direct criticism of how they do their jobs and they likely don't want to hear about it. It's tough enough being a law enforcement officer these days.
In one of life's odd coincidences, just moments after making my last post, I saw a black man in handcuffs walk by my office surrounded by officers as he is being hauled off to jail.
I don't get why Americans can't buy and sell drugs like the rest of the world without murdering people in enormous numbers.
I read The Great Gatsby decades ago. Didn't like it much.
Just read it again. Even watched the movies (Robert Redford and Leonardo DiCaprio versions). Still don't like it much. Apparently I'm never going to get it. I'm done trying.
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Just finished the new Cory Doctorow, Walkaway. Really good, especially if you like Doctorow. Lots of exposition, lots of society building, lots of extrapolation of existing technology.
Now reading Ken Liu. I first learned of him as the translator of Liu Cixin's phenomenal book, The Three Body Problem. Now I find that Ken has his own books, and his writing is just impeccable. Right now I'm reading The Paper Menagerie & Other Stories, then I'll read his novels.
here's a suggestion that's better than Gatsby (though I enjoyed that book) - also somewhat mysterious, but gripping and quirky: STRANGERS ON A TRAIN by Patricia Highsmith (it's sort of Gatsby-esque in a way)
and on the matter of the history of race relations in the U.S., I highly recommend THE WARMTH OF OTHER SUNS by Isabelle Wilkerson.
(I've probably already mentioned both of these books somewhere in this thread )
Yeah, I love Strangers on a Train. Much better than Gatsby.
Ah, we have a similar taste in books.
Ever read House of Suns? It's marvelous.
I have not, but I just barely read the Hyperion Chronicles a couple years ago, so I'm a bit behind.
A good friend of mine runs the SF review site http://bookwormblues.net if you've heard of that.
Are you talking about Hyperion by Simmons? I love the first two books.
My favorite series gotta be Bank's Culture. There's nothing quite like those books.
One of my favorites (there are many) is Vernor Vinge's Deepness in the Sky and Fire Upon the Deep.
And, I meant Hyperion Cantos. And, yeah, the first 2 are much better than the second 2.
I wrote one of the reviews on Amazon's front page about the series third book (Children of the Sky). It's the negative one.
But ya, I love the first two books.
The 3rd one was a blatant cash grab.
I’m reading Eye Of The Moonrat right now. I think that’s the book that one of us jazzfanzers wrote.