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fannyprice's 2012 reading

Club Read 2012

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Dec 31, 2011, 2:14pm Top

Hi clubbers, I'm fannyprice. I've been a more or less active member of ClubRead since its inception. 2011 was a pretty odd year for me in terms of reading and participation, mostly because of work-related demands. I read and write about the middle east for a living, which is a fascinating job and one that I am so privileged to have during this time of change in what has previously been a rather politically stagnant region, at least on the surface. Unfortunately, the events of the past year haven't left me with much free time for reading or active brain cells for reading stuff that's worthy of chatting about with my fellow clubbers.

I have a multitude of interests, and everything I read sparks in me a desire to read more about other areas. I think I've previously said I'm somewhat of a dilettante, seeking the new and unfamiliar. I love history, nearly any place and period, but I have been especially gripped by world war one and surrounding time periods for a year or two now.

I can't promise that I'll be able to be much more active in 2012, but I love lurking and catching up on what everyone is reading when I have the time.

Dec 31, 2011, 2:15pm Top

Placeholder. Don't know what I'm going to use this for yet.

Edited: Jan 1, 2012, 12:25pm Top

Started my first new book of the year: The Iron Kingdom:The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947. Quite good so far, though I'm having a bit of trouble keeping track of all the minor European royals.

Jan 3, 2012, 7:40am Top

#3 I asked for and received this book as a birthday present a few years ago, but have been too intimidated by its size to get started on it. I hope you're still enjoying it.

Jan 3, 2012, 9:06am Top

I'm glad you're here, even if irregularly.

Jan 3, 2012, 9:49pm Top

>4 Rebeki:, yeah, I'm reading it on the kindle app, and even though I've been reading at a fairly good pace, I am still only like 18% complete! I can imagine the physical book is a monster!

>5 RidgewayGirl:, thanks!

Jan 4, 2012, 2:11am Top

Hi fanyprice - looking forward to watching your reading again! I read quite a lot of Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman on my Kindle which made light work of it! Have you read L and F - I think you would relish it.

Edited: Jan 4, 2012, 7:44pm Top

>7 juliette07:, no but I do mean to! It would be a nice follow-on from Bloodlands: Europe Betweeen Hitler and Stalin, because I think Grossman was mentioned a few times in there.

Jan 4, 2012, 7:49pm Top

Hi fannyprice – I share your enthusiasm for history. Most of what I read is more or less in that vein. Looking forward to following your thread this year.

Jan 4, 2012, 9:45pm Top

Taking a small break and reading a Rand Corporation study of 89 insurgencies called "How Insurgencies End." Free download available here: http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG965.html

Jan 5, 2012, 3:57pm Top

Nice to see you here, Fanny.

Jan 8, 2012, 10:48am Top

So, after realizing just how many books I have purchased in the last year alone that I have not even begun to read, I have resolved to devote the time between now and the end of March to reducing the number of unread paper books that I have. Additionally, I am resolved to not purchase any new books between now and then, regardless of what may be published during this period. I'm going to begin by trying to finish the half-read books in my currently reading collection, many of which are early reviewers books on which I am delinquent.

Jan 8, 2012, 10:49am Top

Oh that all sounds terrific!

I resolved not to purchase any new books in January. Figured I could do it for one month. Made it to last night.

Good luck.

Jan 8, 2012, 12:32pm Top

I resolved not to purchase any new books in January. Figured I could do it for one month. Made it to last night.

Ha ha ha ha. I haven't bought a book yet this year. However, last year's internet orders are still arriving. Do I count them as 2011 or 2012? Silly question. 2011 of course.

Jan 8, 2012, 2:46pm Top

Do magazines count? I wasn't going to buy anything for the foreseeable future either, but I found some old issues of a journal which I bought the other day without a second thought. Hmph! So much for good intentions!

Jan 8, 2012, 8:31pm Top

I haven't bought a book yet this year. However, last year's internet orders are still arriving. Do I count them as 2011 or 2012? Silly question. 2011 of course.

I bought a 12-month subscription to the NYRB Book Club on Dec 31, and I'll receive one NYRB Classic every month. Clearly these count as 2011 books, since I didn't spend any money on them in 2012. :-)

Jan 8, 2012, 10:44pm Top

#16 - Clearly. You ordered them in 2011, and it's not your fault they didn't arrive before the end of the year.

Jan 9, 2012, 6:44am Top

I haven't bought any books so far this year but when I took my old books to the secondhand shop, I did pick up several more as swaps. That doesn't count either, right?

All these lovely book clubs - NYRB, Archipelago, Indiespensible (which I just found out about)... I am actually quite glad to live out of temptation's reach!

Jan 19, 2012, 7:51pm Top

So, it took all of ten days for me to break that resolution not to buy anything! Sigh.....

Increasingly bored with my history of Prussia, though I think things might be picking up again, since we've passed the revolutions of 1848 (the focus of my first college course, incidentally!) and are nearing unification.

Also reading Cinder, a reimagining of Cinderella in which the protagonist is a cyborg living in a dystopian future. I love fairy tales and funky takes of them, so this is right up my alley.

Jan 28, 2012, 12:40pm Top

Finally finished The Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia. Clark examines the history of "Prussian-ness," in which he sees two fundamentally contradictory impulses-one liberalizing, rationalist, and humane, the other conservative, reactionary, and authoritarian. The most interesting bits to me were near the end, where he discusses the relationship between Prussia and the nazis in effort to explore the idea that there was something fundamentally "Prussian" about nazi militarism and mores and that Prussia in the post ww2 era needed to be erased to prevent Germany from "going bad" ever again.

Jan 28, 2012, 7:09pm Top

The Iron Kingdom sounds like a sobering book. Am making a mental note.

Jan 28, 2012, 8:56pm Top

It was a completely new subject for me, poquette, which is always good. Most of the book is s much more straightforward history, it's (fortunately) not all about nazis!

Jan 28, 2012, 9:14pm Top

Thinning the "currently reading" pile on my day off, I have also completed Hew Strachan's The First World War, which is somewhat of a companion piece to the documentary series of the same name. It was interesting to read the book after watching the series, because the book preserves much of the thematic-vice chronological-approach of the series. While I thought that approach worked really well for tv, it made for slightly scattered reading and I was glad that I had already read a couple more straightforward histories of the war because the book, by necessity, jumped around in time and place quite a bit.

Highlights for me: Strachan's discussion of the development, refinement, and integration of new tactics and technologies of warfare (one of the reasons I find ww1 so fascinating in the first place), and his discussion in the final pages of the book about how the meaning and memories of the war changed over time-many participants in the war did not initially view it as the exercise in futility that they would later come to see it as. This latter point led Strachan, both in the book and in the documentary, to place a premium on using soldiers' contemporaneous reflections, rather than their later memories, when trying to capture the lived experience.

I want to finish Paris, 1919, about the Paris peace conference, but then I think I really need to read paul fussell's book about how the war was remembered and represented.

Jan 28, 2012, 10:21pm Top

I have had Paris 1919 sitting around here since it first came out. I should add it to my list. The Paul Fussell book is excellent, The Great War and Modern Memory.

Feb 7, 2012, 11:02am Top

I enjoyed Paris 1919 when I read it some years ago, more I think for the information and the portraits of world leaders than for the writing style. The Iron Kingdom sounds fascinating, and I've recently seen another intriguing looking book, about contemporary Prussia in the bookstore, Forgotten Land: Journeys among the Ghosts of East Prussia. I'm inclined to wait for a paperback.

Mar 15, 2012, 8:34pm Top

What happened to fannyprice, are you out of the country again?

Mar 19, 2012, 7:44pm Top

Only mentally. Work is getting the better of me.

Apr 15, 2012, 8:02pm Top

Is reading way too much mediocre sci-fi right now.

Apr 17, 2012, 3:31pm Top

Well, there are those of us who would enjoy a good list of mediocre SF.

May 7, 2012, 7:32pm Top

FP - about time I made your thread, hopefully not too late. When you wander back, if you're up for questions, I'm wondering about the nature of your reading and writing about the Middle East. Sounds quite interesting.

Group: Club Read 2012

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