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  #1  
Old 04-02-2004, 02:28 PM
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What are you reading?


What book are you reading right now? Describe it in brief -- do you recommend it?
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  #2  
Old 04-02-2004, 02:36 PM
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I just finished off Devil in the White City, and now I'm working on Issac's Storm, both by Erik Larson.

Devil is simultaneously about the main architect behind the construction of Chicago's World's Fair in 1893 (I think '93, I'm not one for dates) and H. H. Holmes the mass murderer who preyed on travelers coming to the event. It's a great read, and almost unbelievable that it's true.

Issac's Storm is about the hurricane that devastated Galveston in 1900. It's named after the weather forecaster who apparently vastly underestimated the power of the storm coming toward the island. I'm only a few chapters in, but it's a good read so far.
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Old 04-02-2004, 02:39 PM
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Currently reading...


Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates by Tom Robbins

It's hilarious.
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Old 04-02-2004, 02:40 PM
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Oh, and I forgot to mention, I highly recommend both books.

And while I'm at it - here's an excerpt from a description of Issac's Storm:

Quote:
In Galveston, reassured by Cline's belief that no hurricane could seriously damage the city, there was celebration. Children played in the rising water. Hundreds of people gathered at the beach to marvel at the fantastically tall waves and gorgeous pink sky – until the surf began ripping the city's beloved beachfront apart. Within the next few hours Galveston would endure a hurricane that to this day remains the nation's deadliest natural disaster. In Galveston alone at least 6,000 people – possibly as many as 10,000 – would lose their lives, a number far greater than the combined death toll of the Johnstown Flood and 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.
Also, has anyone read Richard Clarke's book yet? Is it worth buying? Do libraries get that kind of book in regularly?
  #5  
Old 04-02-2004, 02:47 PM
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I read more mundane material. I have Rainbow 6 by Tom Clancy next to my bed and I'm reading Pyramids by Terry Practchett for my lunch reading.
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Old 04-02-2004, 03:02 PM
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An Underworld at War: Spivs, Deserters, Racketeers and Civilians in the Second World War, Donald Thomas (John Murray, 8.99, 7.19 on Amazon's U.K. website.)

I am close to halfway through this excellent book, which is all about criminality in Britain during World War II. Widespread popular distaste for and flouting of rationing rules, methods for avoiding conscription, food racketeering, crime in air-raid shelters, looting and dishonest contractors are among the topics covered so far. Lots of excellent details, such as police and criminals drinking in the same bars and the time one legendary cop, Detective Chief Inspector Ted Greeno (love that name), had his car stolen while he was in a South London pub talking to an informer. "His criminal acquaintances apologized but blamed him for having changed from a high-powered Wolseley or Railton to an Austin without giving them notice," Thomas notes.

All in all, a thoroughly good read and one I definitely recommend. The author also has published The Victorian Underworld, which I may buy now.
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Old 04-02-2004, 03:14 PM
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Just finished Strangers: Homosexual Love in the 19th Century, which I'd recommend if you're interested in gay and/or Victorian social history.

Just started Inside the Victorian Home, which again, is very good if you like that sort of thing.
  #8  
Old 04-02-2004, 03:16 PM
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Just started The Confusion: Part 2 of the Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson. Historical novel set in 17th Century Europe.
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  #9  
Old 04-02-2004, 03:26 PM
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I'm reading First Blood by David Morell, the novel that the first Rambo movie was based on. I'm really enjoying it, since Rambo isn't the hero of the book. Both he and the sheriff are pricks who are goading each other.

I'm not done with it yet, but I would recommend it based on what I've read so far (about halfway through).
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Old 04-02-2004, 03:31 PM
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I just finished Life of Pi by Yann Martel, and The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom.

The story of Life of Pi is beautiful and strange, and like nothing I've ever read. I got it from the library, but I will be going out to buy a copy to add to my collection.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven is a spiritual book that made me think a bit about why I'm here. Very uplifting. But once was enough.

I'm off to the library to trade these in for new material!
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  #11  
Old 04-02-2004, 03:35 PM
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I just finished Odd Thomas by Koontz. Pretty good if you are into the genre.
Ohh ya, guy sees dead people. Saves the day.

I just started Mystic River by Lehane. Loved the movie, figured the book would be even better. So far they are pretty even. Very well written. You can tell that Eastwood really understood the darkness and despair in the subtext.
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  #12  
Old 04-02-2004, 03:35 PM
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I am currently half way through Zamyatin's anti-utopia We

It is the book that inspired 1984 and Clockwork Orange. It is very much on par with the above works. In it the twist is that science has replaced all other aspects of life and art,religion and peer bonding are all predetermined through math and formulas. Freedom is despised in society as people were persuaded that the only freedom there is is freedom to do wrong so they embraced "The Glorious Unfreedom" of an almost 100% predetermined life.

The main character does things like fall in love, dream in his sleep and question the system while his very nature keeps telling him that 100% loyalty is the only way to go. I am very curious to how this book will end and would recommend it to any fans of anti-utopean fiction.
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  #13  
Old 04-02-2004, 03:46 PM
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Just finished Christian Zen by William Johnston. It's a lovely synthesis of Christian mysticism and Zen of various flavors.

Before that, American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Very, umm "different". I'm going out this weekend to buy more by him.
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  #14  
Old 04-02-2004, 03:55 PM
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I'm about a quarter of the way through Shinjuu by Laura Joh Rowland. It's a murder mystery story set in 17th-century Tokyo. So far (a little over 100 pages in) it's... okay. It reads like a combination of heavily-researched paper for history class and a first novel. She knows her material, and it's an interesting idea (Columbo meets Yojimbo), and the story flows well enough, but it's just shy of being completely enjoyable. Most of the characters are pretty two-dimensional, and there's a really cheesy sex scene straight out of a Harlequin romance. But it's interesting enough so far, and I'm not going to give up yet.

Recommended for fans of Tokugawa-era Japanese history, or if you're a mystery fan who's looking for a new take on it.

After this, I'm going to get back to Pratchett. I just finished The Last Continent as my fifth Discworld book in a row, and I needed to take a break.
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Old 04-02-2004, 03:59 PM
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I've finally gotten around to starting the final volume of Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series. Which is really a six-book novelization of the life of Caesar. Would I recommend it? Only to those with an interest in ancient Rome and a long attention span. If you meet these qualifications, you'll be in heaven. Caveat lector: take notes...you'll need them.
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  #16  
Old 04-02-2004, 04:05 PM
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Right now, I'm knee deep in Super System by Doyle Brunson, as I'm trying to get my playing up to tournament level. When I need a break, I'm interspersing it with The DaVinci code (which I highly reccommend), and The Infinity Concerto by Greg Bear, which I'd forgotten about til I saw it mentioned in a thread here. Really good book, hadn't read it in ages.
  #17  
Old 04-02-2004, 04:10 PM
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Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. Quite good, relaxing and uplifting. I have about fifteen or twenty pages left.

Also I'm reading A Farewell To Arms by Hemingway for school. I've read it before but I'm thoroughly enjoying it the second time...it's one of my favorite books ever.

Last weekend I finally read The Catcher in the Rye. While it was good, I can't see why people rave about it so much. It's kind of hard to like Holden when he's so prejudiced and whiny.

On a side note, I have three books that are due back to the library in a week: Paradise Lost, Death of A Salesman, and the Aeneid. I'll probably only have time to read one...so which should it be?

Not to hijack or anything.
  #18  
Old 04-02-2004, 04:11 PM
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Recently finished "Angels and Demons" by Dan Brown. As good as DaVinci Code.
Also recently finished "The Italian" by Anne Radcliffe. Not bad for a romance novel written over 200 years ago.

Currently reading "Expiration Date" by Tim Powers, the greatest novelist of our time. Yes, I like it. I like it alot.

Next up is "Ringworld" I think. People keep recommending it, so I'll give it a shot.
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Old 04-02-2004, 04:15 PM
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I'm reading David Rakoff's Fraud. It's a collection of essays that range from the author's experiences of playing Freud in a Barney's Christmas window display one year to those of attending a New Age retreat with none other than Steven Seagal as a featured speaker to those of traveling to Iceland to report on the enchanted Hidden People.

Next, I'll be reading Sedaris's Naked.
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  #20  
Old 04-02-2004, 04:35 PM
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Right now I'm reading Double Fold, which is a nonfiction book on the abandonment of books by libraries for microfilm, while destroying hundreds of thousands of original books in the gruesome process.

I previously read Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. It is a murder mystery in a 17th century abbey, but has an extremely deep intellectual level, with the pursuit of knowledge portrayed -- how far one would go for knowledge. So far it's the most defining book of my college career.

/S
  #21  
Old 04-02-2004, 04:38 PM
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I just finished Imajica by Clive Barker. It's a very cool messiah story with lots of magic and fantasy. And it's pretty damn weird, too. I'd suggest it, if only as a manual on the craft of writing. It's a very well-written book and he uses language really well.

Today, I'm going to pick up The Swords of Night and Day by David Gemmell, my favorite writer. It's got Skilgannon, one of my favorite characters, and Druss, the best character ever. If it's anything less than fantastic, I'm going to be a very cranky fanboy.
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  #22  
Old 04-02-2004, 04:51 PM
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We keep a pile of community books at work (mostly older ones), so I often pick books out of there that I'd been meaning to read when I got around to them.

In that vein, I'm finally reading Pet Sematary. I'd seen the movie years ago, and while "the book is so much better" is something you expect to hear, I've been told that the book is much different, and the two stories are very dissimilar. Well, by page 280 out of 400, I'm not seeing that yet. Just about every path the movie took is in the book, and not much more. I really hope it picks up, 'cause I'm pretty disappointed so far.
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Old 04-02-2004, 05:02 PM
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American Tabloid by James Ellroy.

It's a fictional story centered around the Kennedy presidency and assassination. As with most Ellroy novels (e.g., L.A. Confidential), his fictional characters interact with real historical characters. The story follows fictional CIA and FBI agents as they infiltrate the Mafia and the Kennedy campaign/administration, plot the Bay of Pigs, and get involved with the assassination. Real historical characters that play major roles: the Kennedys (JFK and RFK), Jimmy Hoffa, J. Edgar Hoover, Howard Hughes, Jack Ruby and, I assume, Lee Harvey Oswald (I'm not that far into the story yet).

My only quibble is that Ellroy chose to use Dallas PD officer J.D. Tippett as a minor character and portrays him as a corrupt cop involved in underground porn with Jack Ruby. By all accounts, the real Tippett was an honest and upstanding cop who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when he was murdered by Oswald. In using him this way, I feel that Ellroy has sullied the memory of a fine and decent man. Other than that, I'm enjoying the book.
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Old 04-02-2004, 06:26 PM
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Sourcery - Terry Pratchett
Just a fun read. Early Discworld.

Recently finished Mort (Terry Pratchett) and Tourist Season, by Carl Hiaasen. Hiaasen writes some seriously oddball characters -- also quite fun.
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Old 04-02-2004, 06:33 PM
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Recently finished The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett. I'm also re-re-re-reading Fellowship of the Ring.
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  #26  
Old 04-02-2004, 06:33 PM
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Well, I just finished a rereading of Tim Dorsey's Orange Crush and Terry Pratchett's Nightwatch. Both are excellent. I am currently knee-deep into Tony Horowitz's Blue Latitudes. Also excellent.
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Old 04-02-2004, 06:39 PM
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Just finished a biography of Woody Allen (updated) by Eric Lax. It's, of course, about Woody but it's told through the eyes of someone who holds him in high regard. It's a good book if you like woody Allen.

I just started 1421 The Year China Discovered the World by Gavin Menzies. I bought it around Christmas but am just getting around to starting it now. I'll let you guess when it takes place but I'm not really far enough to be able to give you an accurate rundown.
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  #28  
Old 04-02-2004, 07:08 PM
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The straight dope.

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  #29  
Old 04-02-2004, 07:28 PM
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Ghanima, isn't Tim Powers awesome? I was ready to have his babies after I read Expiration Date. (There may be some exaggeration in the last sentence, but not much.) He weaves the real world and elements of fantasy/the occult/whatever you want to call it so thoroughly that you almost expect to see ghosts lingering around ashtrays and spare change.

For class, I'm currently reading In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez (I think that's her name). I'm almost tempted to like it more than The Passion by Jeanette Winterson, which we read earlier. It's about Trujillo's regime in the Dominican Republic. I'm also reading a TON of Cinderella stories for a paper I'm writing, which is interesting but odd, what with taking notes on fairy tales.

I'm also re-reading book one of The Belgariad, which I'm liking so far. I'm not yet through the first section, but I can't imagine why anyone would have it on their "Books I'm not ashamed to like" list. It seems like a perfectly enjoyable fantasy book. What do people have against it?

History of Ideas on Woman, edited by Rosemary Agonito. It's a compilation of essays through Western history on women and their position in society. It starts with Genesis and ends with the UN's Declaration of Woman's Rights. I just read the excerpt from Nietzsche's Also Sprach Zarathustra and I feel like dancing on his grave, the big *grumblegrumble*. "Let woman be a plaything" -- blah!

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Retelling of the Arthur story from the women's perspective. Lancelot is waaay different. Kind of a prick, really.
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  #30  
Old 04-02-2004, 07:41 PM
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I'm just about to finish Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk.

The book I read before that was Choke by Chuck Palahniuk.

Mr. Palahniuk is the author of Fight Club. Both the above books are very ... Palahniukian. It would be very difficult to fully explain them. They are chock full of satire and cynicism and odd, self-destructive characters and plots.

Choke features a sexaholic who pays for his insane mother's care by pretending to choke in upscale restaurants and allowing himself to be saved by patrons who then send him money because they feel sorry for him. His day-job is as a blacksmith in a Colonial Village type place. His best friend collects rocks to keep himself from obsessive masturbation.

Survivor features the last known survivor of an Amish like religious sect who all killed themselves, who starts off as a house cleaner and allows himself to be guided by unscrupulous advisors to become a buffed, steroid ridden, religious media whore. The whole book is presented as dictation into the black box of a jumbo jet, which the protagonist has hi-jacked and is in the process of flying into the ground.



I highly recommend everything written by Chuck Palahniuk.
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Old 04-02-2004, 08:01 PM
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Oryx and Crake. Atwoods post apocolyptic novel. Disturbing. Disgusting. Beautiful. But definately can't give it a blanket recommendation....its the sort of book that you have to know the person you are recommending it to.

Passion of Artemesia. Susan Vreelands historical novel about the female Renassance panter Artemesia. Good in a sort of "pulp Literature" sort of way - not stunning, not original, not extraordinarily well written, but good.

(Just finished rereading Sense and Sensibility - which I will recommend without reservations)
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Old 04-02-2004, 08:12 PM
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Currnetly re-reading Bertrand Russell's A History of Westrn Philosophy (honestly). Grabbed it out of my bookcase on a whim and was surprised at how much more I am enjoying it now that it is not required reading.

Also checking out the Planetary series from Warren Ellis.
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Old 04-02-2004, 08:32 PM
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I just started Golden Fool by Robin Hobb. I'm only on page 5, so it's too soon to honestly recommend it, but the rest of her Farseer/Fool books thus far were good (although emotionally wrenching at times).
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Old 04-02-2004, 08:46 PM
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I just finished re-reading Raymond Chandler's The High Window, a hard-boiled-detective novel the way it should be done. (Read everything by him!)

I'm about to start one I stumbled across in the library, Tea from an Empty Cup by Pat Cadigan, billed as a cyberpunk mystery. The cover blurb quotes Andrew Leonard in Salon Magazine as saying it "fits the classic noir mystery template set down by the likes of Raymond Chandler more comfortably then anything William Gibson has ever written." Gibson likes it too.
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Old 04-02-2004, 09:09 PM
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Underworld by Don DeLillo. About 560 pages in...it's been having a hard time holding my attention, but I'm too far invested in it to quit. Plus, I'm mildly curious to see how a few of the threads wrap up.
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Old 04-02-2004, 09:36 PM
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Just finished Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds. It's a very imaginative space opera in a hard sci-fi future (no faster-than-light travel, human-like aliens, etc.). Basically, it tells the story about an extincted intelligent race on a planet that has since been colonized by humans. One archaelogist feels that learning of their demise will be crucial to humanity's survival on the planet. So while he seeks to unravel the mystery, another woman is cruising toward his planet in a vast intersteller vessel called a lighthugger, which is run by a cyborged crew and travels nearly the speed of lightshe's been recruited to kill the archaelogist because someone feels he is uncovering an ancient evil.

I won't spoil anymore, but it's good. Unfortunately, while Reynolds' imagination shines, his writing is sometimes dry and lacking in suspense. Still, a good read. It's an excellent story, and just a little unnerving. After reading this you'll want to pick up the sequel, Redemption Ark, which hopefully ties up some of the loose ends.
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Old 04-03-2004, 12:57 AM
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Dorothy Sayers' Christian letters to a post-Christian world. A collection of many years' worth of essays. Very interesting and fun to read.

My bedside reading is currently an old book I've had around for awhile, Stories from the lives of noble women. Uplifting historical reading for young Protestant girls--each biographical sketch illustrates a womanly virtue such as Perserverance, Hospitality, Matronly Excellence, and Mental Energy and Self-reliance. I'm on Lady Jane Grey now (Womanly Virtues in Exalted Station).

And Storybook travels, a new book detailing trips you can take based on your favorite book. See Hannibal, Missouri with Tom Sawyer, Italy with Pinocchio, London with Paddington, etc. Great if you like books and want to travel with your kids.
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Old 04-03-2004, 09:00 AM
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Just finished Sunset and Sawdust , the new one by Joe Lansdale. It's a mystery set in Texas in the 30's, and it has a gorgeous redhead, a cyclone, moonshine, a good dog, oil (ohl), psycho killers, sex, hobos, and a plague of grasshoppers.

Am halfway into The Straw Men by Michael Marshall, who also writes as Michael Marshall Smith. This is also a mystery, with psychos, but without the cyclone, grasshoppers and moonshine. So far.

I'd recommend both books. I've read tons of Lansdale but this is my first Marshall.
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Old 04-03-2004, 09:32 AM
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Streets of Gold by Evan Hunter. I noticed it in a thrift store the day after I posted about Evan Hunter in another Thread. It's an excellent novel about a blind New York City jazz pianist from the 1930's through the 1970's. I've tripled my knowledge of jazz.

I also bought two huge books by C.S. Lewis the same day--one volume of all the Narnia books, and one of his sci-fi trilogy. I read them both years ago, and want to see how a re-read goes.
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Old 04-03-2004, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Murcielago
Currnetly re-reading Bertrand Russell's A History of Westrn Philosophy (honestly). Grabbed it out of my bookcase on a whim and was surprised at how much more I am enjoying it now that it is not required reading.

Also checking out the Planetary series from Warren Ellis.
I've been reading that on and off for about a year, good read. I also recomend The Dream of Reason by Anthony Gottlieb: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/039332365X/qid=1081009117/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/002-3051293-8235234?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

I am currently reading the first book in the new Penguin History of the U.S, American Colonies by Alan Taylor:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0142002100/qid=1081009226/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/002-3051293-8235234?v=glance&s=books
  #41  
Old 04-03-2004, 10:35 AM
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Just finished my first ever comic book. Well, actually a collection-type book of Daredevil comics. Interesting, but I would never attempt at this point to tell anyone if this is a good example of the genre. Still too much a beginner.

Also just finished Black Rubber Dress by Lauren Henderson. I just love Henderson, and her sleuth-heroine Sam Jones. For mystery lovers who aren't too uptight.

Reading Cornelia Funke's The Thief Lord, a children's book that would probably appeal to most Harry Potter fans.
  #42  
Old 04-03-2004, 02:16 PM
LVBoPeep is offline
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Hi..

I just got done reading The Queen's Fool by Phillipa Gregory. Kinda historical fluff but entertaining.

At work, I'm re-reading Irvine Welsh's Marabou Stork Nightmare , which is probably my favorite book by this author (who also wrote Trainspotting. )
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  #43  
Old 04-03-2004, 02:33 PM
Lobsang is offline
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I am reading this sentence as I write it. Before that I was reading the title of this thread.

The current book I am reading is actually two books (I am flicking backwards and forwards at my whim). Cloud Atlas. And George Orwell: Essays
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  #44  
Old 04-03-2004, 03:02 PM
dal_timgar is offline
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paranoia


Someone just loaned me:

BEHOLD A PALE HORSE by William Cooper

It goes in the same category as:

RULE BY SECRECY by Jim Marrs

but I can't say I recommend it YET.

Dal Timgar


Quote:
Originally Posted by HumptysHamhole
What book are you reading right now? Describe it in brief -- do you recommend it?
  #45  
Old 04-04-2004, 10:53 AM
AngelicGemma is offline
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I've just started the 4th Harry Potter book. (I've only recently become a fan.) Seems good so far.
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  #46  
Old 04-04-2004, 11:18 AM
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Reel Shame:Bad Movies and the Hollywood Stars Who Made Them. Very enjoyable read on soon to be or on the decline stars and some of the bad movies they were in.
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  #47  
Old 04-04-2004, 03:00 PM
Scribe is offline
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*Very* Guilty pleasure


I'm reading Mick Foley's first book, Mankind: Have a Nice Day.

[I almost never watch wrestling on TV, but I did like it as a kid.]

Why? I needed some light reading (I prefer light non-fiction) as work has been very busy. My mom read the book and said that Foley is good at bringing out the human interest side of wrestling. She's right...it's mostly the story of a guy's life who does wrestling for a living instead of a wrestler writing a book, if you understand what I am getting at.

(I'm also reading a book on prayer before bedtime.)
  #48  
Old 04-04-2004, 03:19 PM
Globe-trotter is offline
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Here's what I'm currently reading at the moment.

Prague by Arthur Philips, a story about American expats in Budapest in the early 90s, after the fall of communism. Seriously underwhelmed thus far. I have to read it since it's for a book club. I can't wait to find out what the big deal is with this book.

I, Claudius by Robert Graves. Much more fun! I want to see the series now.

Soul Music by Terry Pratchett. Not bad.
  #49  
Old 04-04-2004, 03:21 PM
Ephemera is offline
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Cruel Miracles by Orson Scott Card.

It's a collection of sci-fi short stories with religion as its theme. I'm undecided on whether I like it or not yet due to my own sometimes rabid atheism but would suggest it to others that might like the juxtaposition of its theme and genre.
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  #50  
Old 04-04-2004, 03:26 PM
enigmatic is offline
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I am reading a wide variety of things at the moment, including Revelation space and the first of Robin Hobbs Fool series. However the book I have with me right at this moment is Inversions by Iain banks, it's a little to early to tell which way the plot's going to jump but it shows every sign of being just as good as the rest of his books.

I've just finished reading Supreme "the story of the year" by Alan Moore, a very neat dissection of comic book evolution.
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