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Old 09-30-2008, 02:40 PM
Khadaji is offline
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Whatcha reading Oct. (08) edition


Here is the October edition of Whatcha Reading? As always here is a link to last month.

I've slowed in my reading, I'm not sure why. I am about 1/3 of the way into In the Woods by Tana French. It is slow starting, but I think I'm going to enjoy it. We'll see.

I am nearly done - after many months - with Slayer (Paperback)
by Karen Koehler
a painfully slow urban fantasy. Why I haven't put it down, I can't tell you. A few months back I went through my shelfs and picked out books that I had purchased but didn't read. I figured I would read them now or get rid of them. This one I should have just gotten rid of, but now I'm nearly done. I don't recommend it. I'm not even sure why I picked it up, because the cover doesn't even look good. Maybe it was a gift.

Last edited by Khadaji; 09-30-2008 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 09-30-2008, 02:43 PM
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I flagged this so a mod could correct the title.

I'm a little more than halfway through Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth, which, apparently I'm the last person on the planet to read. Really enjoying it, though looking forward to finishing it and picking up something that requires less than a month to read. (I've been busy with freelance work recently so have been somewhat limited in my reading time, but yikes, I'm averaging only 200pp./wk.).

Last edited by twickster; 09-30-2008 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 09-30-2008, 02:59 PM
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Reading Halloween: An American Holiday, an American History by Lesley Pratt Bannatyne, about the origins of the observance. Celtic influence, Puritan repression, colonial variations, etc. A little dry, but informative.

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Old 09-30-2008, 03:25 PM
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Short stories by Richard Yates, and they're freakin' awesome, since they're set in MY era -- the 50's. Yates writes like a dream. He's a wonderful observer of human nature and he doesn't get fancy with similes and stuff. Just plain simple good writing.

The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson -- #6 (?) in the Malazan series, epic fantasy, will be 22 books when it's all finished, if we count the companion books written by Ian Esslemont (which I might not read).

Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom -- the second Matthew Shardlake book -- historical mystery set in the 1530's.
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Old 09-30-2008, 03:39 PM
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I'm a little more than halfway through Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth, which, apparently I'm the last person on the planet to read.
I thought I was the last person. Read that a few months ago and really enjoyed, now I'm waiting for World Without End to come out in paperback or find a cheap copy.

Currently reading Humors of Blood and Skin by John Hawkes, which is a selection of his writings so I'm just skimming it.

Also reading The Sun Over Breda by Arturo Perez-Reverte. Always good stuff from him.

Just picked up King Leopold's Ghost since I saw it recommended in last month's 'Whatcha readin' thread.
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Old 09-30-2008, 03:42 PM
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I flagged this so a mod could correct the title.
<SNIP>
I thought that I had corrected the title. Thanks for the help.
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Old 09-30-2008, 03:58 PM
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Short stories by Richard Yates, and they're freakin' awesome, since they're set in MY era -- the 50's. Yates writes like a dream. He's a wonderful observer of human nature and he doesn't get fancy with similes and stuff. Just plain simple good writing.
Pseudotriton ruber ruber has written about Yates, and teaches him regularly.
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Old 09-30-2008, 04:02 PM
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Pseudotriton ruber ruber has written about Yates, and teaches him regularly.
Really? Cool! Maybe that's where I heard about Yates. The book's been on the shelf for years, and watching Mad Men was the impetus to finally read it.
  #9  
Old 09-30-2008, 04:10 PM
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Inkheart. It's written for kids (which I did not know), but it's ok. After that I have Ghost Walk by Brian Keene
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Old 09-30-2008, 04:11 PM
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I'm reading Fire from Heaven, the first book in Mary Renault's trilogy about Alexander the Great. So far it's pretty good, if a little melodramatic for my taste.
  #11  
Old 09-30-2008, 05:01 PM
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Inkheart. It's written for kids (which I did not know), but it's ok. <SNIP>
I didn't love it and didn't read the follow up. I may be wrong, but I think there is a movie in the works.

Last edited by Khadaji; 09-30-2008 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 09-30-2008, 05:01 PM
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I finally picked up Cloud Atlas. It's pretty good so far. Threw me for a loop when the first section ended in the middle of a sentence. I had to flip forward to the back to read the end of the sentence before I could go to the next part.
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Old 09-30-2008, 05:38 PM
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I thought I was the last person. Read that a few months ago and really enjoyed, now I'm waiting for World Without End to come out in paperback or find a cheap copy.
Nope, I'm the last person. It's in my bookstack, but hasnt yet risen to the top.

I'm currently reading a summer leftover by James Paterson (Judge and Jury, I think it's called), a kids' book called Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and a reading teachers' book by Fountas and Pinnell called Teaching for Comprehending and Fluency--a real page-turner that one is!
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Old 09-30-2008, 05:44 PM
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Rudyard Kipling: Kim
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Old 09-30-2008, 06:52 PM
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Softspoken, a creepy little contemporary Southern Gothic with a dullard of a ghost (so far). Most of the other characters are fun, though and it's an engaging little book despite the fact that the writing is occasionally awkward and the Southern dialect seems to come and go as mysteriously as the ghost.
  #16  
Old 09-30-2008, 07:06 PM
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I've just started The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip. And by just started I mean not even ten pages into it yet so I haven't formed a real opinion on the book or the plot.

Next us is either Allen Steele's Chronospace (which I'm not looking forward to) or Terry Pratchett's Nation (which I am) depending on who wins the race to get in my mailbox.
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Old 09-30-2008, 07:21 PM
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I've just started The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip. And by just started I mean not even ten pages into it yet so I haven't formed a real opinion on the book or the plot.
<SNIP>
I'll be interested in your feedback. It is one of my favorite books. But at the time I read it, the theme was near and dear to my heart. I haven't read it in years, I'll have to see if I can find it on my shelves.
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Old 09-30-2008, 07:31 PM
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I'm reading both Vertigo by W. G. Sebald and The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon. I'm really enjoying Vertigo but I feel like it needs to be read in small pieces, hence the second book. I'm not really sold on The Yiddish Policeman's Union yet, but I'm only on the 5th or 6th chapter.
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Old 09-30-2008, 08:30 PM
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Softspoken, a creepy little contemporary Southern Gothic with a dullard of a ghost (so far). Most of the other characters are fun, though and it's an engaging little book despite the fact that the writing is occasionally awkward and the Southern dialect seems to come and go as mysteriously as the ghost.
I'm interested in what you think when you're finished with this one.

Green Eyes is my favorite Lucius Shepard novel. It's a zombie romance, sorta. I'm pretty sure it's out of print, but it's worth looking for.
  #20  
Old 09-30-2008, 09:00 PM
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The Audacity of Hope by Barak Obama. Interesting and thought-provoking.

Just finished Firmin by Sam Savage. Was not impressed (but I didn't hate it either). It was a selection for my book club, so if anyone has read it and has discussion questions/thoughts about it, I'd love to hear them.
  #21  
Old 09-30-2008, 10:33 PM
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Chiming in so as to be subscribed to the thread. Still on Imperium, by Robert Harris. A fictional (?) account of the life of the Roman orator Cicero, as told by one of his slaves. Enjoying it immensely but thought I would have finished it by now. Apparently, my shoulder problems have not reduced my activity that much, so I've not had the extra reading time I anticipated.

Last edited by Siam Sam; 09-30-2008 at 10:34 PM.
  #22  
Old 09-30-2008, 10:43 PM
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On page 674 of Nixonland by Rick Perlstein. Only 74 more pages to go and it has been a fascinating read. Particularly during this lovely election cycle. I have noticed some very interesting parallels to events in the book, especially in the section dealing with the election of 1954.

No idea what I will go to next.
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Old 10-01-2008, 06:21 AM
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I'm not really sold on The Yiddish Policeman's Union yet, but I'm only on the 5th or 6th chapter.
I loved that book, but I remember it took me a while to get into it.

I recently finished Hit and Run, Lawrence Block's most recent book about Keller, a hit man who is also an avid stamp collector.

Also The Towers of Trebizond, by Rose Macauley which seems to have been a huge hit when it came out in the 1950s, about English tourists in Turkey. It was dated, but in that good way where it is interesting to see that particular era.

And The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan, a YA book about a boy with superhuman abilities -- I enjoyed this a lot, it was adventuresome and funny, but still a little bit of a Harry Potter knock-off but whatever. I guess.

Currently reading African American Men in College, which is non-fiction for work, and Living Dangerously, a biography of Merian C. Cooper, the guy who made King Kong.
  #24  
Old 10-01-2008, 06:41 AM
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I picked up The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross, because I've read some of his short stories and was curious about his longer fiction. I'm only 20 pages in so far, but it's awesome! Mathematics + Lovecraftian occultism + geeks + great language, what's not to like?

Also reading Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami, and am a little disappointed. I loved Kafka on the Shore, and was expecting to be eaten alive by the story in much the same way. It hasn't happened yet. I'm still waiting to be swept off my feet.
  #25  
Old 10-01-2008, 06:53 AM
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Just finished A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore and am starting Without Mercy by Toni L.P. Kelner -- it's the start of a new mystery series by her. I bought my copy from her a couple of weeks ago at the First Salem Literary Fest, and had her autograph it.
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Old 10-01-2008, 07:07 AM
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Finished You Want Fries With That? : a white-collar burnout experiences life at minimum wage by Prioleau Alexander. Pointless but funny. I paper-clipped the chapter about him working as an emergency room tech and gave it to my daughter to read.

Just starting on A Spot of Bother, a novel by Mark Haddon, who wrote The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. It's okay.* I had to re-read the dust jacket synopsis at one point so I'd remember who was who, since it's pretty light on characterization.

*That's how I felt about Curious Incident too. I doubt I'll continue reading this author.
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Old 10-01-2008, 07:16 AM
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Just cracked God Isn't Great by Christopher Hitchens.
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Old 10-01-2008, 08:09 AM
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I'm reading both Vertigo by W. G. Sebald and The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon. I'm really enjoying Vertigo but I feel like it needs to be read in small pieces, hence the second book. I'm not really sold on The Yiddish Policeman's Union yet, but I'm only on the 5th or 6th chapter.
I also had trouble getting into the first 100 pages, but enjoyed it immensely by the end.

I'm reading Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and finding it pleasantly goofy.

Picking up Jim Butcher's Small Favor from the library today. I've been enjoying the series and am sad I'll have to wait till 2009 for the next one.
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Old 10-01-2008, 08:40 AM
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Just finished Heartfelt, by Aidan Smith; a pretty funny, if predictable, memoir about a lifelong fan of Edinburgh's Hibernian FC switching his allegiance for a year to Hibernian's local archrival team, Heart of Midlothian FC.

And I just started Collapse by Jared Diamond. Only a few chapters in, but so far it seems a bit drier than Guns, Germs, and Steel, which I liked a lot.
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Old 10-01-2008, 06:02 PM
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Just finished The Sorcerer: Metamorphosis by Jack Whyte. I've lost steam on this series but it was ok.

Reading "Sam Patch: Ballad of a Jumping Man" by William Getz. So far, so good!

Also reading: Dove of the East by Mark Helprin. I'm not a huge fan of short stories so it's a 'meh'.
  #31  
Old 10-02-2008, 09:21 AM
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I'll be interested in your feedback. It is one of my favorite books. But at the time I read it, the theme was near and dear to my heart. I haven't read it in years, I'll have to see if I can find it on my shelves.
To be honest I wasn't expecting much and I wound up enjoying The Forgotten Beasts of Eld quite a bit. I'm not a fan of that form of fantasy but McKillip's book worked for me because of the depth of the characters. I appreciated that McKillip clearly recognized the hypocrisy and self-destruction in the positions of most of her characters (especially the protagonist) and built the story off that. A lesser writer would start from a very similar position and make it about the animals or tearing down the evil king but McKillip chose the more interesting story to tell.

Oh, and Chronospace showed up first for me so I'm hitting that next.

Last edited by Just Some Guy; 10-02-2008 at 09:23 AM.
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:50 AM
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Finished Imperium, by Robert Harris. Excellent. An account of Cicero's life as written by his former slave, Tiro. The main focus was on Cicero's quest for the consulship in the Roman Republic. And I see nothing ever changes in politics. In an Author's Note at the end, Harris informs the reader that most of the events in the book did happen, and none could be demonstrated not to have happened. Interestingly, he mentions that Plutarch and Asconius both attested to the real-life Tiro actually writing a life of Cicero, but the real one "vanished in the genral collapse of the Roman Empire."

Next up: The 13th Warrior, by Michael Crichton. Its original title was apparently Eaters of the Dead, but it looks like it got changed when they made it into a film in 1999 starring Antonio Banderas and Omar Sharif. The full title is The 13th Warrior: The Manuscript of Ibn Fadlan, Relating His Experiences with the Northmen in AD 922.

Last edited by Siam Sam; 10-02-2008 at 11:51 AM.
  #33  
Old 10-02-2008, 12:15 PM
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[B]Siam Sam[/ B] wrote:

Quote:
Next up: The 13th Warrior, by Michael Crichton. Its original title was apparently Eaters of the Dead, but it looks like it got changed when they made it into a film in 1999 starring Antonio Banderas and Omar Sharif. The full title is The 13th Warrior: The Manuscript of Ibn Fadlan, Relating His Experiences with the Northmen in AD 922.
Yeah, you can see why they changed the title -- who wants to see a movie called "Eaters of the Dead". It sounds like a zombie flick.

The book was pretty good, and I liked it more than most Crichton. It's essentially a retelling of "Beowulf", although with lots of odd twists. You could make an interesting movie night out of the three recent versions of Beowulf and The 13th Warrior.
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Old 10-02-2008, 12:34 PM
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The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson -- #6 (?) in the Malazan series, epic fantasy, will be 22 books when it's all finished, if we count the companion books written by Ian Esslemont (which I might not read).
I am waiting with no patience for my autographed copy of "Toll the Hounds" to appear on my doorstep. I love this series.

22??? Holy crap...
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:29 PM
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I'm interested in what you think when you're finished with this one.

Green Eyes is my favorite Lucius Shepard novel. It's a zombie romance, sorta. I'm pretty sure it's out of print, but it's worth looking for.
AuntiePam, I really liked Softpoken it a lot -- thanks for recommending it! I was gliding along thinking I was reading a slightly creepy book about marital angst and then... oh dear God! How long d'you suppose the nightmares will last?

Last edited by koeeoaddi; 10-02-2008 at 11:29 PM.
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Old 10-03-2008, 07:46 AM
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Tell Me Where It Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing, and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon by Dr. Nick Trout.

Last edited by Sigmagirl; 10-03-2008 at 07:46 AM.
  #37  
Old 10-04-2008, 07:08 AM
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I've Finished In the Woods by Tana French. I thoroughly disappointed "police procedural." The narrator is a whiny unpleasant pathetic lump. Although we are given reason for him being a mess, it doesn't make it any more enjoyable. I will box the rest of my comments as they contain a spoiler:
SPOILER:
Of the two mysteries that had to be solved, one was solved, but not resolved satisfactorily. Yes, this happens in real life and maybe makes the book more real, but was a let down. The other was never solved and left hanging and empty, completing the let down of the book.



I finally put down Slayer by Karen Koehler Some books are called page-turners because they are so exciting you can't wait to get to the next page. This one was a page flipper, I was so bored I would flip pages looking for something interesting. I finally decided it just wasn't worth the effort, I have too many books in the queue.
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Old 10-04-2008, 10:01 AM
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AuntiePam, I really liked Softpoken it a lot -- thanks for recommending it! I was gliding along thinking I was reading a slightly creepy book about marital angst and then... oh dear God! How long d'you suppose the nightmares will last?
So glad you liked it. I was nauseated at the end, and not because of blood and gore. I felt gutshot.

Was this your first Shepard? He's usually easier to handle.
  #39  
Old 10-07-2008, 07:26 AM
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Just starting on A Spot of Bother, a novel by Mark Haddon, who wrote The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. It's okay.* I had to re-read the dust jacket synopsis at one point so I'd remember who was who, since it's pretty light on characterization.

*That's how I felt about Curious Incident too. I doubt I'll continue reading this author.
Done. Well, that was pointless.

I don't think I'll have time to start anything else right away because I'm going on a trip starting Sunday. With an eye towards packing light, I plan to bring Tim Powers' Earthquake Weather and T.H. White's The Once and Future King.
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Old 10-07-2008, 07:30 AM
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The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - and Why

Very interesting look at different reactions to disasters.
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Old 10-07-2008, 07:52 AM
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Also reading Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami, and am a little disappointed. I loved Kafka on the Shore, and was expecting to be eaten alive by the story in much the same way. It hasn't happened yet. I'm still waiting to be swept off my feet.
Don't give up, Wal - lordy I LOVE that book. Murakami is a top-3 author for me - he has 3 books similar in feel: A Wild Sheep Chase, Hard Boiled and Kafka - although they were written years apart with other books in between. They, IMHO are best read in that order given his progression as a writer, but that is hard to control if you stumble across a book and like it. Give it time - and if you can, read his collection of short stories, The Elephant Vanishes. Much Murakami goodness.

I just finished Backstage Passes and Back-Stabbing Bastards by Al Kooper. He played the organ part on Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone - with a legendary story behind that how, not playing the organ, he talked his way into the session. He was EVERYWHERE back then - he played when Dylan went electric at Newport; he produced Lynyrd Skynyrd, played with Hendrix and was given a guitar by him, started the band Blood, Sweat and Tears and was working with George Harrison the day Lennon got shot. He shares all this with a "jeez, there I was" self-deprecating kind of humor and he touches on a lot of the more colorful aspects of 60's and 70's life, including drugs and sex...and you get an overview of the history of pop music from the 50's through today from one person's perspective - entirely worth the read.

I also just finished Born Standing Up by Steve Martin. It isn't an autobiography, because it doesn't cover everything. The central theme is how he came to be a stand up comedian, how he came up with his unique style and perfected it and why he ended up walking away. It is similar in intent to Dylan's Chronicles Volume 1 which is essentially about how Dylan found his voice - but Martin's book is shorter, references a lot of his famous material and is written in a much more clear, linear style. Superfast and very, very insightful - Martin clearly dug deep into himself to create his comedy but was fully aware the entire time, so can articulate the experience. He touches on his relationship with his father as the central pain that fueled his desire to succeed and provides real insight as to how that played out - and somewhat resolved. Again, entirely worth reading...

Last edited by WordMan; 10-07-2008 at 07:54 AM.
  #42  
Old 10-07-2008, 08:00 AM
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Just started Not in the Flesh by Ruth Rendell.
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Old 10-07-2008, 03:28 PM
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So glad you liked it. I was nauseated at the end, and not because of blood and gore. I felt gutshot.

Was this your first Shepard? He's usually easier to handle.
It's my first Shepard novel, AuntiePam and 'gutshot' is a perfect way to put it.

Speaking of gutshot, now I'm reading Going After Cacciato, by Tim O'Brien. Excellent. Maybe even better than The Things They Carried.

Last edited by koeeoaddi; 10-07-2008 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 10-07-2008, 03:30 PM
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Speaking of gutshot, now I'm reading Going After Cacciato, by Tim O'Brien. Excellent. Maybe even better than <i>The Things They Carried</i>.
oooo - good stuff. If that freezes your blood, try reading In the Lake of the Woods by O'Brien. Amazing.
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Old 10-07-2008, 04:22 PM
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Just finished Bad Land: An American Romance by Jonathan Raban, nonfiction dealing with the early 19th-century experiment in farming the high plains of Montana. Good enough to make me overlook the annoying way he handles dialogue.

Just abandoned half-way through Only a Few Bones: A True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy & Its Aftermath by John Philip Colletta. Author tries too hard to bring story to life, ends up distracting reader with overly modified prose.
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Old 10-07-2008, 08:55 PM
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I finished Lolita the other day. Out of the three Nabokov novels I've started, this is the only one I've finished. I'm not sure what to think of that.
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Old 10-07-2008, 08:59 PM
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I'm 83 pages into Darkly Dreaming Dexter.
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Old 10-07-2008, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
The book was pretty good, and I liked it more than most Crichton. It's essentially a retelling of "Beowulf", although with lots of odd twists. You could make an interesting movie night out of the three recent versions of Beowulf and The 13th Warrior.
I finished Michael Crichton's The 13th Warrior, previously known as Eaters of the Dead. Very good, and you're right, it's a retelling of Beowulf. In particular, Crichton tried to tell the actual events that may have led eventually to the Beowulf legend, as viewed by an outsider, Ibn Fadlan, a real-life Arab who in the 10th century AD really did travel to Scandinavia and write about the Vikings he encountered.

Today, I begin reading John Burdett's Bangkok Haunts, the third in a truly excellent series featuring Bangkok policeman Sonchai Jitpleecheep, who is the product of an affair between a Vietnam War-era US soldier and a Thai prostitute. John Burdett and his creation, Sonchai Jitpleecheep, are firmly up there with Tony Hillerman and HIS creation, Navajo policeman Joe Leaphorn.

Last edited by Siam Sam; 10-07-2008 at 11:32 PM.
  #49  
Old 10-08-2008, 12:39 AM
Idle Thoughts is offline
 
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Jonathan Kellerman's The Web and Harlan Coben's The Woods.
  #50  
Old 10-08-2008, 12:48 AM
Cunctator is offline
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A Daughter's Love, by John Guy, which details the relationship between Saint Thomas More and his eldest daughter Margaret.
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