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drneutron's (Jim's) Reading to Avoid Work - Part 5

This is a continuation of the topic drneutron's (Jim's) Reading to Avoid Work - Part 4.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Edited: Mar 17, 10:20am Top

This thread's topper? Beer and astronomy, of course!

Edited: Mar 17, 10:31am Top

And the stats:

Total Books: 23

Author Gender
Male: 19 (76%)
Female: 6 (24%)

Author Status
Living: 24 (96%)
Dead: 1 (4)

Publication Medium
Hardback: 4 (17%)
Trade: 8 (35%)
Mass Market: 1 (4%)
eBook: 10 (43%)

Fiction: 14 (61%)
Nonfiction: 9 (39%)

Library: 16 (70%)
Mine: 7 (30%)

ARC: 3
Re-Read: 1
Series: 5
Group Read: 1

Edited: Mar 17, 10:46am Top

22. Coolidge by Amity Shlaes

Wanted to like this one - since the US Presidents challenge, I've discovered the joys of biographies of our political leaders. Unfortunately, I had a couple of issues with this one that spoiled it for me. First, Shlaes writes uncritically about Coolidge and how his Presidency fed into the conditions that brought about the Great Depression. Second, the book was tedious, which may be fitting for a book about Silent Cal. Either way, didn't work for me.

23. Magic in Islam by Michael Muhammad Knight

So, ever been to the library and come across something so unusual that you just had to try it out? That's what happened here. First there was a blurb about Knight on the back: "Islam's gonzo experimentalist!" What? Then there was the previous book, Tripping with Allah: Islam, Drugs, and Writing that I really need to find. Then the subject - magic and its relation to Islam across history - used as an intro to Islam and as a way to deconstruct and invert the orthodox/fringe split in modern Islam.

So how was it? Pretty much as promised, though I don't think this will "challenge common assumptions about organized religion" or "flip popular notions of a religion's center and margins", mainly because I can't see that this book will be widely read. But it did make me think about looking at historical religions through modern eyes, and it did make me think about how we interpret practices as compared to tradition and scripture.

Plus it was fun. Knight's a lecturer and grad student at UNC Chapel Hill's Divinity School, and it's clear he's got a talent for relating his ideas to people. He's out to shake some trees and make some people uncomfortable, and that's interesting to see.

Mar 17, 10:46am Top

Ok, open for business! Let the madness begin!

Mar 17, 11:03am Top

First up with madness is me, Jim.

Happy new thread, buddy.

Mar 17, 11:03am Top

Happy new thread, Jim!

Mar 17, 11:09am Top

Happy new one, Jim!

Mar 17, 11:10am Top

Happy new thread to you!

Mar 17, 11:52am Top

Happy new one and happy Friday, Jim.

Mar 17, 11:57am Top

Love your topper and the stats. Happy new one, Jim.

Mar 17, 12:00pm Top

Happy new thread and happy Friday, Jim!

Mar 17, 12:58pm Top

>6 PaulCranswick: Congrats on being first!

Thanks for the good wishes, everyone! Welcome all!

Mar 17, 12:58pm Top

Happy new thread, Jim!

Mar 17, 1:37pm Top


Mar 17, 1:47pm Top

Happy New Thread, Jim!

Intriguing comments about Magic in Islam. Tempting.

Mar 17, 2:18pm Top

Thanks! If it's any help, it's a short read. I read the whole thing on a plane from the West Coast.

Mar 17, 2:49pm Top

That does help, thanks. It's harder to take a chance on a whopper, isn't it.

Mar 17, 3:01pm Top

In keeping with your theme, and in honor of one of the best drinking days around: Happy St. Paddy's Day!!

Mar 17, 3:24pm Top

Happy New Thread, Jim! Happy St Pat's Day and have a great weekend!

Mar 17, 4:39pm Top

Happy new thread Jim.

Mar 17, 4:45pm Top

Happy new thread, Jim, I don't drink beer, but you can make my husband happy with most of the trappists at your topper. We even named one of our Chow Chows dogs after one of them: Chimay.

Mar 17, 5:00pm Top

Happy New Thread, Jim! Hurrah to both astronomy and zymology; you'll make scientists of us all at this rate.

Mar 17, 5:45pm Top

Happy new thread, and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Mar 17, 6:27pm Top

>18 jnwelch: Yup! Although you and Mark convinced me to give Infinite Jest a go. :)

>19 Berly: Awesome! Bell's is a favorite!

>20 Carmenere:, >21 johnsimpson: Thanks! And welcome!

>22 FAMeulstee: I'd seen you talking about Chimay, but didn't know where the name came from.

>23 ronincats: That's my goal!

>24 mstrust: Thanks, and Happt St Patrick's to you!

Mar 17, 7:12pm Top

>25 drneutron: You may be a natural for Infinite Jest, Jim. It's a walk on the mind's wild side, and may have been written in outer space.

Mar 17, 9:52pm Top

Happy weekend, Jim!

Mar 17, 10:10pm Top

Happy New Thread, Jim! You know I love that topper. Perfect.

Mar 17, 11:15pm Top

Happy new thread!

Mar 18, 10:24am Top

Happy Saturday, Jim. The book is in the mail. Just sayin'...

Mar 18, 12:27pm Top

>27 alcottacre: Thanks! I hope yours is good too!

>28 msf59: Going shopping later this week to see how many of the Belgians I can find.

>29 banjo123: Thanks!

>30 msf59: Sounds good!

Mar 18, 12:59pm Top

Having a lazy Saturday afternoon and watching the old Adam West/Burt Ward Batman movie - yeah, I'm going cheesy this afternoon.

"Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb!"

I'm with you, brother... :)

Mar 19, 10:00am Top

that does sound like a lazy March Saturday......what beer accompanied the bomb?

Mar 19, 1:20pm Top

Hi, Jim! Just stopping by (and delurking) to say Happy New Thread and that, though I'm not a beer connoisseur like some, I'm enjoying the astronomical beer theme! Glad you're having a good weekend!

Mar 19, 1:48pm Top

>33 tangledthread: Weeelllllll, I did have a Flying Dog Irish Ale while I was taking it easy... :)

>34 Storeetllr: I hope you've had a good weekend too!

Mar 19, 2:01pm Top

I've visited Orval. Nice and green place. A camping next to a café, connected by a wobbly footbridge over a small ditch. Orval tastes fine, but is a heady drink. We did manage without accidents, but it was a close call one time.

Edited: Mar 19, 2:04pm Top

I don't agree that global warming or climate change are 'fashionable catastophes' but are more the biggest threat to mankind, but the fact is pretty interesting.

Mar 19, 2:26pm Top

>36 EllaTim: Nice! I hope to visit Belgium someday - retirement can't come fast enough, some days...

>37 lunacat: *snerk* That's one relaxed kangaroo!

Mar 19, 3:22pm Top

Happy Sunday, Jim!

Mar 19, 3:36pm Top

>39 alcottacre: And to you!

Mar 19, 3:39pm Top

>40 drneutron: Thanks, Jim!

Mar 19, 5:23pm Top

Happy new thread, Jim!

Mar 19, 7:53pm Top

>38 drneutron: I don't see you as a retiree Jim. Happy Sunday.

Mar 20, 8:25am Top

>42 scaifea: Thanks, Amber!

>43 PaulCranswick: Oh, yeah, I've got some things I want to do... (1) Learn some Old English/Anglo-Saxon, (2) Get involved with a local literacy project to help people become functional readers, including non-English native speakers, (3) Bike and kayak more, (4) Get involved in a local non-profit that builds water purification systems for areas of the world without clean water, ...

Mar 20, 8:27am Top

>44 drneutron: They all sound like absolutely awesome retirement plans. Seems like you'd miss the space life as well though?

Mar 20, 8:29am Top

>45 lunacat: To some extent, but I think by the time I retire I'd like a change. This year's my 30th anniversary here at the Lab, and I'm likely to retire at 40 or more years. So I think that's enough for one space lifetime! :)

Mar 20, 8:36am Top

>44 drneutron: Interesting plans, Jim. And worth while. But before you know it, you'll be as busy as can be, and won't have time to go visit Belgium;))

Mar 20, 8:59am Top

>47 EllaTim: Travel plans are in there, don't worry!

Mar 20, 12:49pm Top

Retirement is wonderful, when you have plans like that!

Mar 20, 5:42pm Top

Love your retirement plans

Mar 20, 9:09pm Top

>49 Storeetllr:, >50 SuziQoregon: Now just to get there... :)

Mar 20, 11:39pm Top

Ooh nice! Seems we're neck in neck at 23! I'm so glad I finally stopped by, Magic in Islam sounds fascinating. I've been thinking a bit about it, since stricter religious laws make magic and islam a taboo mix, versus the 'lax' approach of most american christian churches. Don't know when I'll ever get to it, but I think it would be useful! Thanks for reading and making notes. :)

Mar 21, 4:52am Top

>1 drneutron: Beer and astronomy, or as I call it now: B'stronomy.

>4 drneutron: ever been to the library and come across something so unusual that you just had to try it out?
That is why I can't plan my reading too seriously, gotta leave room for the randoms out there! This one seems to qualify, and what a bonus that it got you thinking.

>44 drneutron: and the dot dot dot at the end there is also very promising!! Looks like you are busy til.....2057 then?

Mar 21, 6:48am Top

I love the sound of your retirement plans! Lovely, just like you, friend.

Mar 21, 8:27am Top

>52 knotbox: Knight punts on trying to define magic, which I think is the right approach because it's too relativistic an approach - at some times in history, you can't tell the difference between magic and religious ritual. Instead he talks about technologies and how they are sometimes sanctioned and sometimes not. And talks a lot about how we can't think about a subject like this in terms of "Islam" in that there's no one Islam. You have to allow for different practices and interpretations in different times and places. Really thought-provoking stuff.

>53 Ireadthereforeiam: *snerk* Gotta pass that on to my scientist friends...

>53 Ireadthereforeiam: I'm planning to work 10 -12 more years, but I'm also hoping I can make some room for "pre-retirement" after Solar Probe launches next year. What I'd really like to do next at work is a high altitude balloon flight so I can go to Antarctica for a few weeks. :)

>54 scaifea: Thanks! I'm pretty sure I can find useful stuff to do that's a mix of serious and fun. :)

Mar 21, 11:57am Top

>55 drneutron: That makes it sound even better! Thanks.

Mar 21, 2:06pm Top

>55 drneutron:

What I'd really like to do next at work is a high altitude balloon flight so I can go to Antarctica for a few weeks. :)

I have a bunch of friends who have done that (well, that or work on a telescope on the ground at the Pole, but same idea), and they all had a wonderful time at least the first few times.

Mar 21, 4:34pm Top

>57 lorax: We have a group here that flies telescopes on the long duration balloons there every year. Back in the 2003-2005 timeframe, I built a neutron spectrometer and flew it on some balloons out of Fort Sumpter in New Mexico to simulate astronaut exposure to cosmic rays and secondary neutrons in thick structures like the Space Station. Got my PhD out of that work - hence, drneutron. :) I'm hoping that I can translate that experience into their balloon work!

Yesterday, 4:09am Top

Happy New Thread, Jim! And a hearty "Amen!" to the retirement sentiments; I thought about it a lot and verbally expressed my desire to call it quits on numerous occasions at work this winter. I would also like to volunteer in an adult literacy program (I donate to ProLiteracy, but my work and travel schedule aren't conducive to actively volunteering at the present time). I would ideally like to retire at 65, although 70 may be more realistic, and I am still seriously thinking about moving to Spain when the time comes, as it would be much cheaper to live there than in the US.

Yesterday, 11:00am Top

I don't mind cold but Antarctica cold is a bit much for me!

Yesterday, 12:06pm Top

>59 kidzdoc: Spain sounds like an excellent choice! We've got the additional complication of a son who may someday provide grandkids, so no thoughts about where we'll retire just yet.

>60 Morphidae: :) I so far haven't been able to convince mrsdrneutron to move to Alaska, but I haven't given up yet...

Yesterday, 12:12pm Top

Amazing how grandkids affect where one lives :) Were it not for our two I would seriously be looking at an international move.

A research stay in Antarctica would be amazing (imho) but then, I'm not a scientist and I don't' think they have much call for city planners there.

Yesterday, 1:29pm Top

Yes, the hope of a grandchild someday (has to be soon; my daughter's turning 34 this year) is also keeping me from moving to Costa Rica, Spain, Panama, even Canada - somewhere that isn't the U.S.

I volunteered at the L.A. City Library as a literacy tutor a few year's before I retired. It was very rewarding, and I am still friends with a woman I worked with.

Yesterday, 1:44pm Top

>62 RebaRelishesReading:, >63 Storeetllr: Well, it's tough for us to predict since the son's dating a fellow grad student from Beijing. So theoretically, we might have grandkids in China someday. :)

Yesterday, 6:30pm Top

Hi Jim! Your retirement plans sound ambitious and fun.

I love retirement, having been at it a year and 2 months now. The nicest part, besides not setting the alarm clock, is that I'm a member of the board of our local Friends of the Library and in July will take over as Treasurer. We do some fantastic things for our public library and I'm proud to be part of it.

Yesterday, 9:20pm Top

That sounds really fun! The literacy program I'm interested in is run by our public library system.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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