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  #601  
Old 02 January 2015, 06:01 PM
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Well, you said that you were reading book 14, not that you hadn't read book 14 before.

All I'm going to say is that I thought Skin Game was the best Dresden Files novel since... honestly it might be the best to date.
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  #602  
Old 10 January 2015, 08:03 AM
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Re-reading The Hobbit (which I first read 30 years ago) after watching the movies, to find out how it was possible to make an 8-hour trilogy based on a rather short novel.

In parallel, I read "7 victimes pour un oiseau" (7 Fatalities for a Bird), a very interesting French compilation of XVI-XVIIIth Century Chinese crime stories which show that, among many things, China also invented the mystery novel.
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  #603  
Old 10 January 2015, 05:30 PM
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I haven't started it yet but I got the new Hercule Poirot book, The Monogram Murders, for Christmas. I admit I am hesitating. I want to like it but I'm heading into it thinking it was a bit cheeky (even if done with permission of the estate) to write it in the first place!
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  #604  
Old 13 January 2015, 04:53 AM
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Servants of the Storm by Delilah S. Dawson. A young adult novel about battling demons (literally - and metaphorically, I guess) in Savannah, GA. It's not the kind of book I would normally read, but one of the fun things about working in a bookstore is discovering books I wouldn't pick up otherwise.

Anyway, this one is well written and fun, if a little, you know, young adult-y. (Plenty of teen romance to go with the demon fightin'!) I'm enjoying it.
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  #605  
Old 23 January 2015, 04:58 PM
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I just picked up Killing Patton, by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard.

I am pretty sure I will be able to get through it - the material is inherently fascinating - but I can tell 20 pages in that it's going to be a slog: it's terribly written, like a (talented) high school sophomore's English paper.

And it wasn't until I started reading that I realized that O'Reilly is that O'Reilly - the Faux News O'Reilly. I am hoping that his place of employment and on-air personality doesn't extend to tampering with the history he's writing about. I don't want to have to consider this to be "historical fantasy"...!
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  #606  
Old 23 January 2015, 05:24 PM
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I haven't read the book, but from what I've heard, yes, it's every bit as wingnutty as his stuff on TV. Among other things, it's supposed to really ramble about (he apparently has an entire chapter devoted to Anne Frank), and he also pushes the idea that there was a conspiracy to assassinate Patton over his opposition to nuking Japan. Or something.
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  #607  
Old 23 January 2015, 06:18 PM
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This morning on the bus I finished "Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension" by Matt Parker.

It is a recreational mathematics book that is written by a mathematics professor who is also a stand up comedian. It is light, enlightening, carries a whole load of information and a treat to read.

I highly recommend it.
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  #608  
Old 23 January 2015, 06:31 PM
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A mathematics professor who is also a stand up comedian? That sounds fascinating. I may have to check that out.

I finished "Servants of the Storm" (loved it) and have moved on to "Blood Done Sign My Name" by Timothy B. Tyson, a white man who grew up in a small North Carolina town during the civil rights movement. It's part memoir, part US history - basically, he's trying to make sense of his own life, and the racism he both witnessed and sometimes participated in, by looking at it in the larger historical context.

It's well written and often heartbreaking. As someone who's too young to remember the era discussed in this book, I'm also finding it really eye-opening in a lot of ways.
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  #609  
Old 23 January 2015, 06:35 PM
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Oops. I forgot to add in the link.

http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/...=Home&ikwidx=0

I can't recommend it enough for people that like reading something new and different.
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  #610  
Old 23 January 2015, 07:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
I haven't read the book, but from what I've heard, yes, it's every bit as wingnutty as his stuff on TV. Among other things, it's supposed to really ramble about (he apparently has an entire chapter devoted to Anne Frank), and he also pushes the idea that there was a conspiracy to assassinate Patton over his opposition to nuking Japan. Or something.
I've heard of conspiracy theories about Patton's death since I was a kid, so that doesn't surprise me - in fact, that's what the book is explicitly about. I was just hoping (upon the O'Reilly realization) thatit won't become too weird. We'll see.. if I can get through the writing. It started improving in Chapter 3, but it's still written well below adult level.

Oh. My. God.

Don't tell me it's written to his normal audience? Is this why it took 3 months to get the book? Would a check of all the previous borrowers show them as registered Republicans?

No. No, I assume too much. The madness ends here.
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  #611  
Old 25 January 2015, 09:26 PM
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I don't think you're assuming too much at all. My in-laws had his "Killing Jesus" at their house, and I couldn't make it past the first two pages.
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  #612  
Old 30 January 2015, 11:24 AM
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I had to stop reading Killing Patton, It's like trying to read a textbook: no matter how interesting the core material is, it's so dry and written on such a basic level that I cannot maintain interest. Chapter 6 is as far as I've finished (a book that size I can usually finish in a few hours; I've had it for just over a week). It's going back to the library tomorrow. And I'm actually quite PO'd about this, too: I really wanted to read the thing, and I waited over two months to get it.

I hate you, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard. You have sucked the life out of what could have been a damned good book.
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  #613  
Old 30 January 2015, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UEL View Post
This morning on the bus I finished "Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension" by Matt Parker.

It is a recreational mathematics book that is written by a mathematics professor who is also a stand up comedian. It is light, enlightening, carries a whole load of information and a treat to read.

I highly recommend it.
*shudder* The M word makes me break out in hives!

I'm reading The White Princess by Phillippa Gregory, about the daughter of Edward IV, wife of Henry VII and mother of Henry VIII. I can't help it, I love those fictionalized historical accounts. She is such a good storyteller. Even though I already know what's going to happen, she sucks me right in.
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  #614  
Old 30 January 2015, 10:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TripleAAA View Post
*shudder* The M word makes me break out in hives!
"Morning"? Tell me about it - I hate them too...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
I'm reading a book called They F*** You Up (asterisks in the original title) by Oliver James... It was recommended by a woman I went on a date with
I just looked at the start of the thread and realised that the woman I went on a date with (and mentioned in the post above) was one of the women I'd been talking to about W Somerset Maugham at the party in my first post in the thread - three years beforehand. The date followed from the conversation, so clearly that alone hadn't been enough to put her off.

In January I read (or am reading):

Lists Of Note compiled by Simon Usher. This is a coffee-table book of lists and I wouldn't usually include it as something I've "read" except that it's surprisingly weighty - it's often got the original source material in it and there's a lot of interesting things. It might be something to dip into, but it takes a long time to read all of it.

My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk (trans. Erdağ M Göknar). A murder mystery set in late 16th century Istanbul and relating to imagery in Islamic art. It reminded me of The Name Of The Rose. I got the murderer wrong... so must have misunderstood the significance of some of the themes!

The Torment of Others by Val McDermid. She tends to write about serial killers - this time it was a bit disturbing to read about murdering prostitutes for entertainment, since as I mentioned in another thread somebody I know has just been on trial for doing exactly that. (He was sentenced to a minimum of 26 years, and had apparently "fantasised about being a serial killer" - he reported himself after the first killing, so didn't get that far, but this is as near as I ever want to get to knowing an actual serial killer, and it's less fun to read about under these circumstances). Another reason I didn't enjoy the book is that the more I read of hers, the more it seems like her books are set in the World of Stupidity where the plot only works because the main characters behave in the most idiotic way possible. Perhaps I'm just being picky, though. I got the culprits wrong in this one too, but that's because I fell for the obvious red herring - she cunningly stuck an even more obvious red herring in to make you think you were being clever by not falling for that one. With slightly more genre savviness I could probably have got the real culprit.

At the moment I'm reading a travel book called Take Me With You by Brad Newsham. This is another that I wouldn't have bought for myself and that has been on my shelf for years - in this case my mum gave me a second-hand copy as a random stocking filler.

The author is American and seems to enjoy the same sort of casual trips that I do, but his theme is that he decided he'd randomly invite one person he met on his travels back to the USA for a month. (He likes to visit poor countries where most people couldn't afford to make that sort of trip. The book was published in 2000 and the trip concerned seems to have been in the mid 1990s). So he goes off on a three-month trip through the Philippines, India and various African countries.

I've got as far as India, and I don't know how all his plans play out, but I have a problem with his premise - one reason I'd been putting off reading it. It's very patronising and parochial and "US exceptionalist". He's well-meaning but comes across as even more naďve than me, and his idea that whoever he invites back to the USA will a) be able to drop everything to make the trip, and b) think of it as the fantastic opportunity of a lifetime could be read as a bit offensive in some ways. He does say that even his friends pointed out problems with the idea. I don't know how it ends yet, though. And he needed a theme for his travels in order to write it up as a book, because they're unexceptional so far. You can't get away with just "going places" in travel writing these days, unless you're a very funny writer like Bill Bryson. Otherwise you need a bit more going on.

I also just started reading The Sleepwalkers: How Europe went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark - should really have read it last year. I've not got past the introduction yet so perhaps should have saved mentioning it.
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  #615  
Old 05 February 2015, 07:28 PM
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I decided to read Random Harvest by James Hilton, and found it much better than I expected compared to the film version -- which I also love, but with reservations. In fact, if you can, read the book before you see the film. I got the Kindle version to read on the bus, but think I will buy a hardbound copy for my library, as I'm sure I'll want to reread.
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  #616  
Old 06 February 2015, 02:49 PM
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Just finished reading The Harry Potter Series. I thought the series was great and love the ending.

Now I'm Reading "A Game of Thrones" almost done with it. Great book. I've been told books two and three in the series are even better. Was thinking of reading "The Maze Runner series before moving on to book two of Songs of fire and Ice but I think I'll finish this series before moving on to Maze Runner. I should get "A Game of Thrones" finished today. Only about three hours to go on the audio book.
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  #617  
Old 06 February 2015, 06:04 PM
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I think I'll finish this series .
Good luck. He's still writing it; there's no publication date yet for the next one, and the number of books it's expected to total is apparently a repeatedly increasing number.
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  #618  
Old 07 March 2015, 07:31 PM
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I'm currently reading The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters trilogy by G. W. Dahlquist - The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, The Dark Volume and The Chemickal Marriage. I've just started the third. I'd read the first one before, but long enough ago that I had to re-read it to remember the details before reading the rest.

It's steampunk, about three misfitted characters who come together to foil a conspiracy to take over the government of an island nation off the north coast of Europe using a sort of indigo glass that can store or affect people's thoughts. It's unusual in that it seems to be structured like a computer game (rather than, say, a film). The three characters always end up split up and working on their own with different skills and abilities, and only hearing what the others are up to in the background. There's a lot of running down corridors, and you get the impression the author has worked out the plans of the buildings very carefully and wants to make sure you know it. The characters make odd decisions that only make sense in terms of advancing the plot, such as going openly to an enemy headquarters and introducing themselves, just after having escaped from the same group of people who were trying to kill them. Also, when one character finds out a new piece of information independently of the others, the other two always seem to manage to deduce that same information based on nothing much more than a guess, just so that it's advancing the plot for all of them. Also, people can sneak past guards or onto boats and trains (the next "checkpoint") in situations that would be impossible in reality, just because there are the sort of guards or watchers who all decide to stare fixedly in the other direction at the critical moment.

These things made no sense until I realised it was essentially "cut scene stupidity" combined with other gaming conventions. After all the corridor running and killing mooks, there's usually a bigger fight, and then the characters will all stop and chat for a bit and let each other get away so that the bigger boss-fight can happen in another few levels' time. After that I found it easier to ignore and get on with the story, although it's still a bit annoying at times. It's sort of unusual - it's subtle but definitely there, I think. Most action novels seem to want to be films, but these definitely want to be a computer game. Probably a stealth game with brawling and some shooting.

There's a quote on the third one from a reviewer suggesting HBO could adapt them when they run out of Game of Thrones. I'm not sure I agree - they're long alright, but they seem very claustrophobic compared to A Song of Ice and Fire. A lot of the length is repetition (as each of the three characters comes independently on the same scenes) and un-necessary detail. I'm not sure I'd recommend them to everybody, but they're entertaining enough.

The Sleepwalkers is going to take a while to get through, I think - since I was reading other things, I am only 1.5 chapters in, and it's a long book... (They're long chapters too, though).
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  #619  
Old 07 March 2015, 07:38 PM
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... I've also been meaning to mention a book called Remembered For A While about / by Nick Drake ("by" in the sense that it includes a lot of his letters and lyrics) and his friends and family. I've not read a lot since I bought it but it's in the form of short essays so it's interesting to dip into while listening to his music.

My parents also gave me a copy of The Birds of Sussex by the Sussex Ornithological Society, because I was coveting their copy. It's fantastic - detailed records of every bird seen in Sussex ever, with great photos, and maps of breeding areas and areas where they've been seen, numbers and so on for the last ten years or so. Seems to be sold out and out-of-print now, so bad luck anybody else who might have wanted a copy.
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  #620  
Old 07 March 2015, 08:17 PM
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It's steampunk, about three misfitted characters who come together to foil a conspiracy to take over the government of an island nation off the north coast of Europe using a sort of indigo glass that can store or affect people's thoughts. It's unusual in that it seems to be structured like a computer game (rather than, say, a film). The three characters always end up split up and working on their own with different skills and abilities, and only hearing what the others are up to in the background.
Reminds me of David Drake's Lord of the Isles/Crown of the Isles fantasy series. Nine books; you really only had to read three: the first, any middle one, and the last. Each book after number one was the same in structure: some sort of event occurs; the heroes split up (or are split up), they solve their individual quests, and rejoin at the end of the book in a serendipitous manner. They were OK books, but it got tedious revisiting the plot structure.
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