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  #821  
Old 10 August 2017, 05:55 PM
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Feeling my need for comfort reading yet again (gee I wonder why? thanks, Obama) anyway I've rediscovered an old favourite, Charlotte MacLeod. She wrote cozy mysteries both as Charlotte MacLeod and Alisa Craig. Luckily she was pretty prolific so once I've read through the Sarah Kelling series I'm going to start in on the Professor Shandy's then on to the Grub and Stakers and Inspector Madoc Rhys books. Should keep me going for while .
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  #822  
Old 10 August 2017, 08:18 PM
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I finally finished Leviathan Wakes the first book of The Expanse by James S.A. Corey. I kept getting distracted and then having to wait for the ebook. I watched the first season over again somewhere in the middle too. This has to be one of the best adaptations I've ever seen. Both the book and the show are fantastic. One of Miller's chapter's describes how the rotation of Ceres works but the show just pauses on a diagram for a second. There is a reason for Alex's accent.

Last edited by Aud 1; 10 August 2017 at 08:41 PM.
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  #823  
Old 01 September 2017, 09:55 PM
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I didn't finish much that was new in August.

I read A Partisan's Daughter by Louis de Bernières, which is about a guy in an unhappy marriage who falls in love with a woman from Yugoslavia - it's set in the late 70s / early 80s before the country broke up. It's narrated alternately by him and by the woman, who is the partisan's daughter in the title. Both of them are unreliable narrators, to different degrees - especially the woman; it's hard to know how much of her story is "real", and there are a few inconsistencies such as her age, and whether or not she's working as a prostitute, to decipher. The man is more reliable but you still get the impression he's dishonest about some of his motives and feelings - and habits. So, interesting overall, and quite sad in the end.

I also read a book about whisky, Still Life With Bottle: Whisky according to Ralph Steadman, which is as much about Steadman's illustrations as it is about the text. My mum gave me a copy from her charity books a few years ago, and it's been on the shelf for a while. The text is in short essays and has a varying degree of coherence, but it's interesting. I didn't learn much that I didn't already know, but there are a few good facts and tidbits, and the illustrations are great.

And I've nearly finished Anathem by Neal Stephenson. I got this in New York last year, because I enjoyed Reamde and hadn't seen many of Stephenson's other books in the UK. This is amazing - I think I have a new favourite living author. He reminds me of Iain (M) Banks in the scope of the worlds and societies he thinks up, but he's a lot more detailed and precise about it, he's more concerned with the science, and in this case, it has a lot of actual proper philosophy in it, although presented in a fictional context. There are plenty of genuine surprises and twists, and as well as the philosophical discussions, some pretty good action set-pieces and explosions as well. I'm going to get a copy for my brother for his birthday, as I think he'd like it too.

And happily, it seems that Stephenson is becoming more widely available in the UK, since I found several others of his when I went to spend my birthday book token yesterday. I picked up a copy of Seveneves among other things I bought. (Not violating my rules as I'm allowed to spend book tokens and gift money!)
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  #824  
Old 02 September 2017, 02:26 PM
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I'm usually more of a fiction reader, but I'm almost done with American Eclipse by David Baron and I'm really enjoying it. It tells the story of a total eclipse that crossed the US in 1878, with lots of background information about the Gilded Age and the state of American science programs at that time. It's also introduced me to a new personal hero: Maria Mitchell, an astronomer and a passionate advocate for women in the sciences. I'd never heard of her before, but she was apparently pretty badass.
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  #825  
Old 12 September 2017, 04:41 PM
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I'm almost done with a biography of Martin Luther. The author not only writes about Luther, but also the political/intellectual climate in Germany at the time.
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  #826  
Old 12 September 2017, 06:53 PM
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Who's the author? I just saw a brief Rick Steves video on Luther, and it was a pretty good even-handed take. It didn't shy away from Luther's problematic stances, particularly his bigotry and especially his anti-semitism. It, too, addressed the reformation in the context of the larger sociopolitical climate of the times.
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  #827  
Old 14 September 2017, 05:11 PM
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Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet by Lyndal Roper.
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  #828  
Old 14 September 2017, 06:41 PM
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Thanks! Have to check that out.

Every now and then I like to read some YA or kiddie lit as light and fluffy pre-bedtime fare, when I know I'm too tired to stay awake for something heavier. I found two of our own Brad from Georgia's John Bellairs books at a used bookstore at the end of the summer and recently picked them up; I finished The Specter from the Magician's Museum and just started The Bell, the Book, and the Spellbinder. I am once again impressed at how well Brad nailed Bellairs' distinctive style. If anything, I think that Brad manages to inject a slightly more visceral creepiness into his narratives than Bellairs did - I still think that the Cthulu mythos elements in one of Brad's books - The Beast Under the Wizard's Bridge, maybe? - are some of the most unsettling, eerie things I've seen in a book for young readers. The description of the big bad in The Specter... is deliciously creepy (and decidedly not for arachnophobes). Anyway, terrific and fun reads for anyone so inclined (or for anyone with kids of a certain age).
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  #829  
Old 21 September 2017, 06:26 PM
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Just signed out a book called Praise the Lard! In addition to some mouth watering recipes, it looks like it contains a lot of history about BBQ.

Hmmmm...new book smell!
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  #830  
Old 23 September 2017, 09:30 PM
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I recently finished Ann Leckie's Ancillary Mercy and Brandon Sanderson's The Rithmatist. Ancillary Mercy finishes up Leckie's Imperial Radch trilogy and I thought it decently wrapped up Breq's story although the overarching conflict is still unresolved. Really, it was hard to see how just Breq and Co. could affect the Radch Lord controversy all by themselves, so I'm happy Leckie kept the plot localized to this one planetary system. She has a new book coming out next week set in the same universe, so maybe there will be some updates on the current Radchaai politico-military chaos. I loved the Presger translators in the last 2 books. They function as terrifying comic relief and have had their biology greatly modified to the point that a koi can be swallowed by one of them and still remain alive in her stomach days later.

The Rithmatist is on the short side for a Sanderson book, and I wanted something a bit lighter and ATM I didn't feel like starting up a new series just yet. The ending was a bit cliffhangery, but overall it was a good stopping point for the book. It's not like anyone's lives were left in dire peril with fate TBD in book 2. The origin of the chalkings is nagging me and I hope it gets addressed at some point. Bonus points if Sanderson comes up with an in-fiction semi-plausible magicky explanation for where all the human bits go when they're eaten by chalkings that only have 2 dimensions and questionable GI tracts.

I'm about halfway through Grady Hendrix's Horrorstör. It's a semi-comedic haunted house book set in an IKEA knock-off furniture superstore. The book is laid out as if it were a furniture catalog, complete with ridiculously named flatpack furniture such as Frånjk tables, Liripip wardrobes, and Wanweird kitchens. I just got to the Bodavest chapter where the haunting has fully kicked into gear and and there's been a tonal shift from comedy to creepy, disturbing horror. Bodavest is the type of chair that would be used in the rest cure popular during the late 1800s. The chapter headings apparently are now going to include furniture that would only be found in a 19th century Orsk catalog that was primarily marketed to prisons and sanitariums.
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  #831  
Old 23 September 2017, 11:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnStorm View Post
Hmmmm...new book smell!
Whatever happened to new book smell? Do you still have it where you are?

I used to love sniffing the pages of a new book when I was a child. The first thing I did when I got a new paperback was open it up, stick my nose in and take a big breath. This would have been the late 70s, and I assume that I was effectively glue-sniffing, as was fashionable at the time. It smelled great, though.

Nowadays the glue that the binders use (in the UK) is nowhere near as sniffable. I do miss it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cure the Blues View Post
I'm about halfway through Grady Hendrix's Horrorstör.
I saw that a year or two ago and very nearly bought it... based on your description, I'm wishing I had, as I suspect it might become difficult to get hold of.
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