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What Are You Reading

Discussion in 'The Reading Room' started by Lancealot, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. Very cool info. Another angle on the elevated spending on clothes of the white collar woman - and something I felt when I first started working on Wall Street - is that dressing "appropriately" is part of how you are perceived by your employer and clients and can effect your career opportunities. Since many of these jobs blend social and work - a client outing, a customer dinner, going to some professional sporting event with your work "team," etc. - you needed (and your spouse needed) an appropriate wardrobe not necessarily becomes you wanted to "keep up with the Jones," but because you didn't want to hurt your career chances by not dressing consistent with others.

    That's what drove me. I knew next to nothing about suits, ties, dress shoes etc., when I started working in finance, but quickly realized I needed to learn to be taken more seriously. In my mind, it wasn't so much that dressing appropriately was going to get me ahead, but not dressing appropriately was definitely going to hurt my chances. I've never hidden my modest background at work / with clients / with potential employers (I also don't lead with it as a badge of honor as that, IMHO, can be obnoxious), but dressing (especially when I started in the '80s) consistent with Wall Street's norms signaled you were part of the community, understood its culture and rules which, consciously and subconsciously, led others to be more comfortable with you and see you as another "professional."

    We can discuss if this is fair or not, but that is a different discussion from if it is. And since it is, for me, the decision was easy - dress like others as I saw nothing wrong with that and wanted to build a long-lasting career.

    Away from that, it's funny how things like hemline height seemed so important to so many - I assume that is part of what is implied by the "do not make much of an attempt to keep up with seasonal trends beyond altering their existing clothes to keep up with The Mode -" whereas, today, while there are things that are in or out of fashion, it seems that the, what was, "great importance" of skirt lengths being in or out of fashion is all but dead.
     
  2. Just finished this fun, light read. I loved all the Golden Era / WWII touchpoint and the whimsical nature of the story that put this anthropomorphized and pensive fox terrier in the center of so many historical moment. My only quibble is many scenes feel "surfacey" as if the author wanted to check a box - included Rita Hayworth, check - versus doing the harder work of seamlessly integrating so many high-profile people or events into the story. Still, it's a quick and enjoyable read for FL fans.
     
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  3. HanauMan

    HanauMan One of the Regulars

    I'm reading an old book I bought in a thrift store, San Francisco - A Pageant by Charles Caldwell Dobie and brilliantly illustrated by E.H. Suydam. It was apparently first published in 1933 and I have the illustrated 1939 edition. The first half is mostly historical and the second half is an evocative view of pre - war San Francisco and evokes that heady atmosphere of the city we're all so familiar with from the old B&W Film Noir movies of the period. From the first Spanish colonists to the two 'brand new' Bay bridges, the book provides a fascinating read of this beautiful city.
     
  4. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Glad you enjoyed it!
     
  5. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

    The Master & Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov

    Bulgakov's Faustian paean to Goethe includes Mephistopheles and a lackey retinue complete with a nude witch; among others cast are Jesus Christ
    and a conscience stricken Pontius Pilate. Penned during the prewar Stalinist era, TM&M can be seen as a critique of the Soviet state
    and a somber commentary on humanity.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
  6. And Mick Jagger read it and was inspired by it right before he wrote the Rolling Stone's classic "Sympathy for the Devil," which is how I stumbled upon TM&M.
     
  7. safetyfast

    safetyfast One of the Regulars

    212
    “Where Eagles Dare” by Alastair MacLean, which was made into the great movie of the same name.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  8. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

    A list of Russian Lit that I keep going back to. A quirky fantastic read!
     
  9. It's amazing how you can see the book in the lyrics to "Sympathy for the Devil."

    And, agreed, the book is both quirky and fantastic.
     
  10. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    Wyrd Sisters, one of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels. Hilarious tone and style, more like Bored of the Rings than it is like Lord -- and yet the adventures of the three witches, Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Margrat the young witch, make a kind of dramatic sense. The story is filled with nods to and takeoffs on things like Macbeth. On page 1, amid a midnight storm, we hear an old woman screech, "When shall we three meet again?" There's a pause, and then in a normal voice one of the others says, "Well, I can do next Tuesday."

    Considering some of the humor in the Harry Potter tales, I wonder if J.K. Rowling read any of these back in the Eighties or early Nineties . . .?

    Since it's All Hallows tonight, perhaps I'll dig up some of the shivery old stories Alfred Hitchcock used to serve in his (ghost-edited) anthologies in the late '40s to the early '60s. "Crickets," by Richard Matheson, or "The Cocoon," by John B. L. Goodwin (probably two of the scariest stories I know); "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad," by M. R. James, and his "Casting the Runes"; "Lukundoo," by Edward Lucas White; and more. A lot of these I read when I was 11 and 12, and it made me ready for Stephen King's appearance about 10 years later.

    (Warped personality, you say? How's that?)
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2017
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  11. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

    Equibase Breeders' Cup profiles; handicap analysis after the Series tonite, and, if I can properly focus with coffee tomorrow at dawn on the train.:confused:
     
  12. I recently started reading Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susan. I'm not very far yet (November of '45), but I'm absolutely hooked.
     
  13. "Not To Be Broadcast: The Truth About The Radio," a consumer-movement deconstruction of broadcasting written in 1937 by Ruth Brindze.

    This is a brisk and breezy bit of muckraking designed to give late-thirties radio listeners a good look at why network radio was the way it was -- oversold, one-sided, and not a little stupid. Brindze talks quite a bit about the Boys and their machinations, including a few tidbits that I'd missed in spite of over forty years researching radio: for example, in 1936 General Mills drew a cease-and-desist from the FCC for telling kids listening to the "Jack Armstrong" program that money raised thru the sale of Wheaties would be used to pay for life-saving surgery for one of the characters in the story. Good old wholesome kiddie entertainment!

    But the Boys take second place in Brindze's revelations to the exploration of the complex ties between broadcasting and Wall Street. She documents, for example, that not only were the boards of both NBC and CBS both controlled by Wall Street -- with NBC especially in the service of the Rockefeller, Morgan and Mellon interests -- but despite the illusion that NBC and CBS "competed" with each other, the interrelation of these controlling intersts was such that both networks were in fact acting in collusion much of the time, particularly in the control of program content and the suppression of anti-Wall Street points of view. The so-called "independent" network Mutual was no better, with Brindze documenting how its control by the McCormick newspaper interests led it to an outright pro-Fascist programming policy.

    Brindze also rakes the FCC over the coals, pointing out that the agency seemed more concerned with influencing program content -- something it was specifically forbidden to do -- than with preventing such abuses and manipulation of the ownership structure of radio as previously outlined. In the end, Brindze, who points out that the "American System of Radio" is the only one in the world so utterly dominated by commercial interests, argues that radio doesn't need to be taken over by a hypothetical Fascist invader. Her conclusion is that it was already fully controlled by the same interests that backed the rise of Fascism in Germany and Italy.
     
  14. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

    Visited Bookie's over the weekend, looking for Casanova's Memoirs when I chanced upon Sebastian de Grazia's biography
    of Niccolo Machiavelli, Machiavelli in Hell, a rather elegant account of the Florentine's life and his intellectual cast
    centered on The Prince and its infamous philosophical take writ ice cold.
    I also found the baseball shelf newly stocked with cottage industry produce grown out of the sweet sixteen World Series run.
    Inside baseball rehash hash; all at out of the park prices.:rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
  15. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck. Set in Germany during the end of World War 2 and focuses on three women whose husbands were involved in the assassination plot against Hitler.
     
  16. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer One of the Regulars

    282
    Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.
    On the side, Thanksgiving, a deftly written history of the holiday.
     
    AmateisGal likes this.
  17. I enjoyed it, but it is one of the few books that wasn't noticeably better than its subsequent film.
     
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  18. From the impressive "Library of American Comics Essentials" series, "Harry J. Tuthill's 'The Bungle Family.'"

    This is the first major collection in decades of one of my all-time favorite comic strips of the Era -- a corrosive, dark-shaded vision of lower middle-class urban life revolving around George and Josephine Bungle, a mendacious petty white-collar man and his social-climbing wife. Tuthill was a man way ahead of his time in the way he constructed his stories -- you might call him the Eugene O'Neill of the funny papers -- and his characters have a depth to their scrabbling miserableness that transcends the comic-strip format. If "Gasoline Alley" was a sunny vision of 1920s America where everything turned out for the best, "The Bungle Family" was its polar opposite, depicting the Coolidge-Hoover era as a cold-blooded existential hellscape from which there was no possible exit. The cover blurb from Art Spiegelman says it all: "One of the darkest visions of American life this side of Nathanael West."

    This volume collects Tuthill's entire run of daily strips for 1930, with the Bungles trying to ingratiate themselves with a wealthy realtive before their other, equally ruthless relations can beat them to it, and avoiding a procession of grifting con-men while trying to marry off their teenage daughter to a man of imagined social advantage. Tuthill's art style is rough and delightfully grimy, and his balloons are densely packed with well-observed, Sturges-like dialogue. This is a type of comic strip that might seem a bit intimidating for the modern reader, but it's well worth the window it offers into the lives of people you'd hate to see coming up your walkway.
     
  19. ⇧ based on your last two posts here, may I suggest some lighter and more-positive reading next time. Too much darkness can be self fulfilling. I find that after a downer read - even a very good one - I need to "bounce back" with something positive or I begin to spiral down into a life-is-horrible / people-are-horrible mindset.

    That said, I had never heard of (or probably have but forgot) "The Bungle Family" but am intrigued.
     
  20. What's even more fascinating about the Bungles is that in the mid-thirties, Tuthill took the strip down some genuinely surreal avenues -- mixing George and Josie up with space aliens, time travelers, and visitors from alternate cosmic dimensions, without particularly altering their personalities to accomodate these weird new plotilines. Imagine Ralph and Alice Kramden showing up in a really intense episode of the Twilight Zone, and you'll get the effect.
     

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