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review 2018-11-11 05:49
The Pleasures of the Damned - Charles Bukowski,John Martin

A comprehensive overview of Bukowski's career as a poet. Features his best known work. This thick volume is really the only book of his you need. Plenty of drunken musings. The kind of insights one can only really have after a long, meaningless life. Our untapped cruelty to one another, the redeeming qualities of love, everything in between. It's all here.

I wish I loved something the way he loved classical music.

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review 2018-10-28 11:28
The emergence of presidential campaigning
The Coming of Democracy: Presidential Campaigning in the Age of Jackson - Mark R. Cheathem

The presidential election of 1840 in America was a notable one for a number of reasons. Not the least of these was its result, as it was the first election in which the nominee of the Whig Party, William Henry Harrison, triumphed by defeating his Democratic opponent, incumbent president Martin Van Buren. Though this was the product of a variety of factors, foremost among them was the Whig's perfection of electioneering techniques that had emerged over the previous sixteen years, the employment of which served in many ways as a model for presidential campaigns down to the present day. In this book Mark Cheathem describes the evolution of presidential campaigning during the antebellum era, showing how these techniques emerged and how they framed the contests for the growing number of Americans voting in national elections.

 

As Cheathem explains, the development of presidential campaigning was a relatively recent phenomenon. With George Washington as a consensus choice, the nascent political parties did not even confront the problem of electing candidates until the third election in 1796. Even then, elections took place in a very different context, with the electoral college delegates chosen by their state's legislatures rather than in a popular vote. This changed in the 1820s as popular democracy was expanded, a development intertwined with the emergence of the "second party system" in the aftermath of the presidential election of 1824.

 

With the new parties now needing to appeal to this growing pool of voters they began to develop a range of electioneering devices. Here Cheathem details the emergence of a variety of tools in print, music, and visual culture that sought to promote a chosen candidate and undermine their opponent. As the dominant mass media of their time newspapers were at the forefront of this, often serving as the most direct means for candidates to reach out to their supporters across long distances. But the songs and displays at rallies also emerged as important implements for campaigns to rally voters to support their man. Cheathem also details the growing role women played in this process, as the contemporary views about their role as moral guardians proved a valuable asset in political campaigns.

 

Cheathem describes this in a brisk narrative that demonstrates a command of both the campaign material of the era and the secondary source literature on his subject. By weaving into this a succinct narrative of the presidential politics of the time, he provide a useful background to the issues touched upon in the campaign materials he describes. All of this is presented in a fluid text that provides its readers with a clear presentation of the era and makes a convincing argument about the development of presidential campaigning in the era. The result is a book that everybody interested in American politics should read, both for the understanding it provides in the development of modern electioneering, both for better and for worse.

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text 2018-10-22 15:56
Reading progress update: I've read 17 out of 640 pages.
Werewolves and Shape Shifters: Encounters with the Beasts Within - George R.R. Martin,H.P. Lovecraft,Neil Gaiman,Tessa Gratton,Bentley Little,Zak Jarvis,Violet Glaze,Peter Giglio,Mercedes M. Yardley,Dieter Meyer,Scott Bradley,Brad C. Hodson,Nicole Cushing,Alice Henderson,Alethea Kontis,Steve Duffy,Maxwell Hart,Richard Ch

 

I completed "The Company of Wolves" which was just as creepy and bizarre as the movie based off this story.

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text 2018-10-06 19:55
Detection Club Bingo: My Progress So Far
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books - Martin Edwards
The Golden Age of Murder - Martin Edwards
The Hollow Man - John Dickson Carr
Poison In The Pen - Patricia Wentworth
File on Fenton & Farr - Q. Patrick
Mystery in the Channel (British Library Crime Classics) - Freeman Wills Crofts
The Wychford Poisoning Case - Anthony Berkeley
Penhallow - Georgette Heyer
Murder Underground - Mavis Doriel Hay
Murder at the Vicarage - Agatha Christie

 

First five bingos (bottom row, second column from right, center column, diagonal top left to bottom right, and 4 corners + central square) -- plus two more in the making (top row and diagonal top right to bottom left).  Not that it greatly matters, but still. :D  Progress!

 

The Squares / Chapters:

1. A New Era Dawns: Ernest Bramah - The Tales of Max Carrados;

Emmuska Orczy - The Old Man in the Corner

2. The Birth of the Golden Age: A.A. Milne - The Red House Mystery
3. The Great Detectives:
Margery Allingham - The Crime at Black Dudley, Mystery Mile, Look to the Lady, Police at the Funeral, Sweet Danger, Death of a Ghost, Flowers for the Judge, The Case of the Late Pig, Dancers in Mourning, The Fashion in Shrouds, Traitor's Purse, and The Tiger in the Smoke;

Anthony Berkeley - The Poisoned Chocolates Case

Patricia Wentworth - Miss Silver Intervenes, Latter End, The Watersplash, and The Traveller Returns;

Agatha Christie - Murder at the Vicarage (reread)

4. 'Play Up! Play Up! and Play the Game!': Freeman Wills Crofts - The Hog's Back Mystery;

Dennis Wheatley and J.G. Links - Murder off Miami

5. Miraculous Murders: Anthony Wynne - Murder of a Lady;

John Dickson Carr - The Hollow Man

6. Serpents in Eden: Agatha Christie - The Moving Finger (reread);

John Bude - The Lake District Murder;

Patricia Wentworth - Poison in the Pen

7. Murder at the Manor: Mavis Doriel Hay - The Santa Klaus Murder;

Ethel Lina White - The Spiral Staircase (aka Some Must Watch);

Georgette Heyer - Penhallow

8. Capital Crimes: Mavis Doriel Hay - Murder Underground

9. Resorting to Murder
10. Making Fun of Murder:
Edmund Crispin - The Moving Toyshop;

Alan Melville - Quick Curtain

11. Education, Education, Education: Mavis Doriel Hay - Death on the Cherwell
12. Playing Politics
13. Scientific Enquiries:
Christopher St. John Sprigg - Death of an Airman;

Freeman Wills Crofts - Mystery in the Channel

14. The Long Arm of the Law: Henry Wade - Lonely Magdalen
15. The Justice Game
16. Multiplying Murders
17. The Psychology of Crime
18. Inverted Mysteries:
Anne Meredith - Portrait of a Murderer

19. The Ironists: Anthony Rolls - Family Matters;

Anthony Berkeley - The Wychford Poisoning Case

20. Fiction from Fact: Josephine Tey - The Franchise Affair

21. Singletons
22. Across the Atlantic: Patricia Highsmith - The Talented Mr. Ripley (reread);

Q. Patrick (Richard Wilson Webb and Hugh Wheeler) - File on Fenton and Farr;

Mary Roberts Rinehart - Locked Doors

23. Cosmopolitan Crimes: Georges Simenon - Pietr le Letton (Pietr the Latvian)
24. The Way Ahead

 

Free Square / Eric the Skull: Martin Edwards - The Golden Age of Murder

 

The book that started it all:

Martin Edwards - The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books

 

The Detection Club Reading Lists:
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: The "100 Books" Presented
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 1-5

The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 6 & 7
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 8-10
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 11-15
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 16-20
The story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 21-24

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review 2018-09-30 17:31
My Cat Ilsa Went to Heaven: "Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe" by Martin Rees
Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe - Martin J. Rees


(original review, 2000)

If there was an infinite number of universes wouldn't there be a universe in which a mad scientist had discovered how to destroy all the universes and pressed the button, so there would be nothing at all? But then there would also be a good scientist who devised a plan to stop the mad scientist from pressing the button in the first place! What if they are one & the same, who wins? But as with Madeira Island's Nationalism, the bad scientist would only have to succeed once.

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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