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  #321  
Old 18 January 2013, 01:14 PM
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Default Alert for Travis McGee fans

Amazon has at last brought out John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series for Kindle, with a foreword by Lee Child. They're fairly pricey for e-books, but if you like the series and would like to collect e-versions, this is your first chance.
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  #322  
Old 18 January 2013, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by musicgeek View Post
On the nonfiction side, I'm almost done with David Byrne's How Music Works. I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in music, and particularly if you have any interest in the world of music business.
Seconded. I am a little more than halfway through, and I am really enjoying it. I have no interest in the world of music, but I still think it's fascinating. Byrne is eloquent and intelligent, and I love the backstories he tells.
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  #323  
Old 22 January 2013, 09:44 AM
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Clockwork Angels by Kevin J. Anderson, the companion novel to the recent Rush album of the same name. It is utterly bog-standard, in that way that only a franchise/tie-in novel by Kevin J. Anderson can be. The only reason it's even worth my mentioning it here is because the entire book is peppered with subtle and unsubtle nods to older Rush lyrics. I'm still torn as to whether this is a little entertaining or so self-indulgently "look how clever I am!" that I want to slap Kevin J. Anderson. I'm leaning towards the latter, but I do have to confess that I sort of want to reread the book after I finish and count/list them all. It's a library copy, and it might be fun to tuck a list in the endpaper with a note encouraging the next reader(s) to add any that I missed. Which is probably a lot, as I'm not a huge Rush fan; I only own seven albums.

-Tabby
the princess with claws
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  #324  
Old 22 January 2013, 10:01 AM
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I just finished Brian Fagan's Cro Magnon and I have just started Charles Mann's 1493.
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  #325  
Old 22 January 2013, 03:39 PM
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I've finished Dodger by Terry Pratchett. In an author's afterword, he notes that he is writing "historical fantasy," not a historical novel; the difference is that he tweaks history. I thought the year was about 1833, based on Dickens's employment as a Parliamentary reporter who was only then dreaming of writing his own fiction; however, Queen Victoria features in it, and elements are drawn from as late as about 1860, with actual chronology just ignored--Robert Peel, for example, is Home Secretary, though historically he held that position before Victoria ascended the throne.

So...but anyway, I still object to the constant use of "okay."

I think part of it is that Sir Terry no longer writes with a computer; he dictates instead, and I suspect that in speaking he uses the ubiquitous "okay" without stopping to think about it.
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  #326  
Old 22 January 2013, 04:09 PM
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My daughter is an avid reader and reads well beyond her grade level, but still enjoys being read to (particularly if Daddy does the funny voices for the Wee Free Men of the Tiffany Aching series!) Consequently, I get to read a lot of YA fiction. Right now we're working on The Mysterious Benedict Society which seems to be somewhere between the Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket books in tone and subject matter.
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  #327  
Old 22 January 2013, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad from Georgia View Post
I've finished Dodger by Terry Pratchett. In an author's afterword, he notes that he is writing "historical fantasy," not a historical novel; the difference is that he tweaks history. I thought the year was about 1833, based on Dickens's employment as a Parliamentary reporter who was only then dreaming of writing his own fiction; however, Queen Victoria features in it, and elements are drawn from as late as about 1860, with actual chronology just ignored--Robert Peel, for example, is Home Secretary, though historically he held that position before Victoria ascended the throne.

So...but anyway, I still object to the constant use of "okay."

I think part of it is that Sir Terry no longer writes with a computer; he dictates instead, and I suspect that in speaking he uses the ubiquitous "okay" without stopping to think about it.
I have not seen that one in the bookstore yet!
Must get!

As for myself, I just finished "A Memory of Light" By Brandon Sanderson based on the unfinished works of Robert Jordan.

I felt it was meh.
The best I can say is that it concludes the series.
He's tied up the looses ends, wrapped the prophecy in a nice little bow but I feel he's done injustice to certain characters, putting them in strange positions with little explanation why they suddenly acted this way or found themselves in that position.
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  #328  
Old 23 January 2013, 01:16 AM
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Brad,
I just searched my Kindle edition of Dodger, 0 counts of 'okay' and 12 for 'OK'.
For the record, I hadn't noticed them at all when reading.
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  #329  
Old 23 January 2013, 02:27 AM
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I'm just sensitive to it, I guess. Wonder if the US hardcover changed the spelling? Honor and color are spelled as in the States. I can't find evidence for OK in British English before about 1890, and then it's most often used to deplore American barbarisms.
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  #330  
Old 23 January 2013, 06:28 AM
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Brad, is it the four-letter spelling that irks you or its use in that historical setting? (FWIW, I definitely prefer the four-letter version! But recently I write it either way.)
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  #331  
Old 25 January 2013, 03:41 PM
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"The Manual of Detection" (Jedediah Berry) is another book well worth reading.


Thanks for mentioning this book. I have been perusing this thread looking for stuff to read and bought this one, based on the sample I got. Just finished it yesterday, and will read it again to get that which confused me the first time. lol
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  #332  
Old 25 January 2013, 10:42 PM
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I just read The Fixer. The only thing I knew about Malamud was that he had also written The Natural. There was much less baseball in this book.
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  #333  
Old 25 January 2013, 11:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Brad, is it the four-letter spelling that irks you or its use in that historical setting? (FWIW, I definitely prefer the four-letter version! But recently I write it either way.)
I usually use "okay" in my own writing, but I'm perfectly okay with O.K. What bothers me is the anachronism of having Brits using it casually in the early part of the 19th century.
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  #334  
Old 01 February 2013, 12:00 AM
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My January books:

Thebes at War - Naguib Mahfouz. The third book in his Ancient Egypt trilogy. They were good, but not as historical as they might be. If Wikipedia is to be trusted, not even the family relationships are correct. (I already mentioned that in the first book, the king that Mahfouz has as a prophesied, divinely appointed successor to the wicked Khufu / Cheops, from a different family altogether, was simply his son and heir according to Wikipedia. In this book, Ahmose is the grandson of Kamose who returns from exile in Nubia to take revenge for Kamose's death in the first battle against the forces of Aphophis, the Hyskos, as Aphophis's army attacked and conquered Thebes. In "history according to Wikipedia", Ahmose was Kamose's younger brother who ruled jointly during what seems to have been Kamose's largely successful war against the Hyskos). That annoys me more than it should, given that the books themselves were good. A little bit too much license. Maybe the history isn't as clear-cut as Wikipedia makes it out to be.

Stonemouth by Iain Banks. This was better than his last non-science-fiction book, The Steep Approach to Garbadale. That one seemed almost like a "greatest hits" album in that almost everything in it was a repeat of something from one of his other books. This one still used very much the same themes as his others, but he put together a more entertaining and absorbing story from them. Some parts were rather anticlimactic - the revelations didn't really go anywhere; it's not so much that they were loose ends, or even uninteresting, just that once revealed, nothing much came of them - but I'd say it's in the top half of his non-science-fiction. Not as good as The Crow Road or Espedair Street or Complicity, partly just because those books are earlier uses of some of the themes from this one, but it's a good read.

Hard Times by Charles Dickens (re-read). I hadn't read this for a long time - I think it was the Dickens that I had last read longest ago. (Meaning that I had either read or re-read all his others more recently). It's not as depressing as I remembered. I had mentally conflated it with a sequence involving a dead baby which I think is from Bleak House, and forgotten most of the actual plot. It's more didactic than some but better than I remembered. He gets too sentimental on deathbed scenes as usual. It's more evident in this one since the dying character has something important to say and is supposedly only holding on until they can say it, but they still ramble for two pages about suffering and solidarity and death before getting to the point, and then only hint obliquely at it. Luckily everybody listening manages to work out what the point was, and exactly what the dying character would have said if not for the inherent decency that prevented them.

I've mostly been reading Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe by Norman Davies, but I had to have breaks because one Vanished Kingdom starts to seem rather like another if you read them all at once. It's very interesting. I'm currently on the chapter "Borussia", which is the original name for the area of the Prussian tribes. I had never known the relationship between Prussia, "Teutons", Germany, and Brandenburg / Berlin before. I knew that modern Germany came from "Prussian" and "Teutonic" ideals (and I knew where Prussia was - most of the historical area is not in modern Germany) but not how it all fitted together. The original Prussian tribes were pagans who were conquered by the Knights of the Teutonic Order in the 13th Century, who then became "Prussians". (In the same way that the Normans became "English" perhaps). The politics of how the Brandenburgs and Berlin, which isn't (or wasn't) even in Prussia, became Prussian, and how that eventually led to modern Germany, is far too complicated to explain here, but I do now have a general idea of it all. I should probably have known some of this before, but didn't.

Last edited by Richard W; 01 February 2013 at 12:05 AM.
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  #335  
Old 04 February 2013, 06:49 PM
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I've been working my way through the magnificence that is the Barney Thomson Series by Douglas Lindsey.
They are difficult books to describe, in The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson, the lad Barney is being hunted by the police for the murder of his fellow barbers, in The Barber Surgeon's Hairshirt he is hiding out in a monastery where the brothers are dropping like badly butchered flies.... then the series gets weird....
I suppose they could probably come under the general umbrella of 'Tartan Noire', only comic... and sometimes supernatural, a bit. Also gory, but not in the style that revels in the gore to an obscene degree. Gore happens, we move on.
It is tempting to say that you have to be Scottish to truly appreciate them, but I was introduced to them by someone from Bristol, so I would be wrong.
Try them, The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson seems to be free on Kindle right now, in the UK, it's 99 cents in the US.
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  #336  
Old 04 February 2013, 06:58 PM
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I read the first book of the Jig the Goblin trilogy by Jim Hines.

Sadly, the DPL doesn't have any of the others.

Guess I'm gonna have to buy them! Woe is me ;-)
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  #337  
Old 06 February 2013, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad from Georgia View Post
Amazon has at last brought out John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series for Kindle, with a foreword by Lee Child. They're fairly pricey for e-books, but if you like the series and would like to collect e-versions, this is your first chance.
I think that's a sign that I finally need to sit down and have a month of nothing but classic mystery novels and I think And Then There Were None, the Big Sleep, and the Deep Blue Good-Bye are probably the 3 to start with.
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  #338  
Old 10 February 2013, 01:39 PM
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Finishing The Virgin's Lover my final Phillippa Gregory novel-pretty good but I like earlier Tudor books a little bit better.

Martin Chuzzlewit-Another great Dickens classic!

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman-One of my favorite magic realism novels. The Owens sisters are terrific protagonists and I love how the fantasy is sprinkled with reality.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck-A sweet story that gets unbearably tragic towards the end. Lennie and George are cool characters.

Psychic Powers: Mysteries of the Unknown-An interesting Time-Life book exploring the abilities of the mind. Interesting stories in an interesting field.
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  #339  
Old 16 February 2013, 03:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auburn Red View Post
Finishing The Virgin's Lover my final Phillippa Gregory novel-pretty good but I like earlier Tudor books a little bit better.

Martin Chuzzlewit-Another great Dickens classic!

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman-One of my favorite magic realism novels. The Owens sisters are terrific protagonists and I love how the fantasy is sprinkled with reality.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck-A sweet story that gets unbearably tragic towards the end. Lennie and George are cool characters.

Psychic Powers: Mysteries of the Unknown-An interesting Time-Life book exploring the abilities of the mind. Interesting stories in an interesting field.
'Lamb' by Christopher Moore. The subtitle is 'The Gospel According to Biff, Christs Childhood Pal'. I've read it before but the Lenten season made me want to reread it.
Also reading 'Calling Me Home' by Julie Kibler. Apparently inspired by a family story it's about a white girl who falls in love with a black boy during the 30s. So far, so good.
At work I'm reading 'Gilead' by Marilynn Robinson (I think. Pulitzer Prize winner). It's a bit slow in the middle but the theology (given that its fiction) is interesting & uplifting IMO.
Finally, I'm listening to Stephen Kings 'The Wind Through the Keyhole'. It's a Dark Tower book but not a continuation of the story. He describes it as 'Dark Tower 4.5'. I'm liking it so far.


ETA: I don't know how I managed to quote the above post. It's too complicated to delete it on my phone so I'm afraid you're stuck with it.
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  #340  
Old 24 February 2013, 02:22 PM
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I seem only to be reading children's books at the moment: once I've done the bedtime story I tend to do work rather than reading for myself!

The Children of Green Knowe by Lucy M Boston. A friend lent it to me, and I read it to the kids as their bedtime story once we had finished The Hobbit. It went down very well, despite being rather supernatural and creepy. The illustrations really are rather scary IMO, so I'm glad they didn't see those!

Holes by Louis Sachar, which I was considering reading to them as well, but it would probably be more suitable for them to read themselves when they're a bit older. That said, I really enjoyed it, especially the closing of all the plot loops.

I'm now reading them Stig of the Dump by Clive King. Sam initially said he thought it was a bit boring because :they aren't going on an adventure", (by which I think he mans a sort of quest, as in the Hobbit), but by chapter 2 he was hooked.
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