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Old 05-31-2009, 06:25 AM
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Whatcha Readin' (June 09) Edition


OK, I missed doing this on time last month, so here it is early Sunday morning and I'm making sure I don't miss again.

I am reading Aurian, but have just started it so I don't have much to tell.

May's Thread
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Old 05-31-2009, 07:37 AM
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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
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Old 05-31-2009, 10:17 AM
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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
While I'm waiting for those zombies, I'm reading Cemetery Dance, the new zombie book by Preston and Child. It's formulaic and goofy, but damned if I wasn't up until 3 in the morning reading the dumb thing. Just can't get enough of that dead dead decomposing noxious zombie love.


God, I hate zombies.
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Old 05-31-2009, 10:46 AM
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I've recently read a lot of Robert E. Howard that I had sitting around and had never read for one reason or other:

The Three-Bladed Doom

The Lost Valley of Iskander

The Gods of Bal-Sagoth

The Sowers of Thunder

The Second Book of Robert E. Howward


Two of those feature an adventurer named El Borak. I wonder if Obama has heard of him?

I also finished reading Jules Verne's Adrift in the Pacific (AKA Two Years' Holiday). Both titles are completely inappropriate for a book about a group of mostly British schoolboys who find themselves cast up on a desserted island. "Lord of the Flies" does not ensue, of course


I also quickly read through Embracing Your Big Fat Ass, which I got for Pepper Mill several months ago. I am still alive, which shows that she is tolerant, or broad-minded.
http://www.amazon.com/Embracing-Your...3784288&sr=8-1

One of the authors, Laura Banks, played Khan's novigator in Star Trek II, it says. I didn't notice her ass.

I also quickly read The Radioactive Boy Scout. I'm going to have to write that author. I was familiar with the story, but upon reading the book, I find the author snarkier about the Boy Scouts and The Golden Book mof Chemical Experiments than they deserve. Both are worthwhile institutions, and they're not the reason that kid ended up radioactive.

I'm not sure what to read next. I've got a big stack of books, including The Pope's Elephant, that look interesting.
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Old 05-31-2009, 02:19 PM
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So, seeing as how today is the last day of May and I started reading it yesterday, I posted the contents of the quote box in that thread. I'm pretty sure I can't finish the 400+ pages today so I'll post it here as well.

Quote:
So I just finished reading Hamlet and I now picked up For Whom the Bell Tolls, which has sat in my room since I was in high school! Weird book, I loved Hemingway back then but was never able to get through the first chapter of this book. I'm already passed that point now though.
So once I finish with that, I'm left with two unread books, Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and a F. Scott Fitzgerald book, Flappers and Philosophers. What I really wanted to do was reread Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions but I can't figure out what I did with that damn book. After that, I might actually be able to get a shiny new book to read
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Old 05-31-2009, 02:26 PM
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The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and the entirety of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories and poetry. Also just picked up Stephen King's The Stand, which I probably won't get to for a while.
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Old 05-31-2009, 02:37 PM
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I've been completely suckered in by Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series. I knew they were noirish modern fantasy, but nobody told me how funny they were.
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Old 05-31-2009, 02:58 PM
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I've been completely suckered in by Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series. I knew they were noirish modern fantasy, but nobody told me how funny they were.
They're really funny.
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Old 05-31-2009, 03:22 PM
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Oh -- I forgot. I am reading the recently published version of Edgar Rice Burroughs' The Moon Maid. I'd read the book (and started its sequel, The Moon Men, but got bored) over 30 years ago. But this is a new, revamped version, containing both volumes. Apparently the book versions of Burroughs' books left out a lot from the magazine publication, and this seeks to be a complete, definitive version. The copy is autographed by the illustrator.

I've also recently read Arthur Conan Doyle's The Poison Belt (the sequel to The Lost World) from the same series of classic old SF.
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Old 05-31-2009, 04:47 PM
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I've just finished listening to The Road by Cormac McCarthy, narrated by Tom Stechschulte.

McCarthy's minimalistic prose translates well into audio and Stechschulte managed to communicate its intensity perfectly without overdoing it.

I'm also re-reading Borges' El Aleph; my annotations from the time at the university (.. back in that previous millennium) are more than half the fun. And "El inmortal" still gets to me.

Last edited by wintertime; 05-31-2009 at 04:47 PM.
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Old 05-31-2009, 08:46 PM
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I've still not read David Mitchell, primarily because I have no idea whether to start with Ghostwritten or Cloud Atlas. Which would you suggest?
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Old 05-31-2009, 08:51 PM
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The Deed of Paksenarrion, by Elizabeth Moon. Recommended by a friend of mine. Fantasy, though (at least through the first 200 of 1000 or so pages) it reads more like medieval military fiction.
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Old 05-31-2009, 11:00 PM
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It's June here already, and I'm close to finishing News of a Kidnapping, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It's very good, sort of a novelized version of the real-life kidnapping in Colombia in 1990 of 10 journalists, mostly relatives of politicians and mostly women, by Pablo Escobar.
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Old 05-31-2009, 11:05 PM
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I've still not read David Mitchell, primarily because I have no idea whether to start with Ghostwritten or Cloud Atlas. Which would you suggest?
I haven't read Ghostwritten but I loved Cloud Atlas and Black Swan Green. (Off to check out Ghostwritten).
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:42 AM
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Just finished Paul of Dune which was ok-ish.........have now started on Imprimatur by Monaldi and Sorti......in queue behind it are Cloud Atlas, The Temporal Void and Mystery man
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Old 06-01-2009, 06:41 AM
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I just finished The Sunrise Lands by S.M. Stirling. Now I have to find the other books in the series. I didn't realize it was the start of a second series related to (or following after) a pre-existing series when I bought it, but it was a good read so now I have to hunt.

I'm re-reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. A friend finally is getting around to reading it, and I want it more firmly in my head for when we discuss it.

I just started The Cosmic Landscape by Leonard Susskind and I've been going thru The Art of War by Sun Tzu because I got a new hardbound copy and it's been at least a decade since I read it.

Because of a thread here, I'm tracking down a copy of Motel of the Mysteries by David Macaulay.

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Old 06-01-2009, 07:35 AM
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I've still not read David Mitchell, primarily because I have no idea whether to start with Ghostwritten or Cloud Atlas. Which would you suggest?
They're sort of similar, although Cloud Atlas has a more complex (and, I feel, rewarding) structure. Both are amazing, but if I could only read one? Probably Cloud Atlas.
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Old 06-01-2009, 08:27 AM
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...Because of a thread here, I'm tracking down a copy of Motel of the Mysteries by David Macaulay.
That's a great spoof of archeology and American pop culture; highly recommended. I also like his Unbuilding (about the hypothetical deconstruction of the Empire State Building), City (about the design and building of a Roman city) and Castle (about an English castle). He's a good writer and an even better artist.

I'm now reading James R. Gaines's Evening in the Palace of Reason, about the sole meeting of J.S. Bach and Frederick the Great, and am about halfway through. It's a pretty good short bio of both, showing how they represented the old (Bach, a stalwart of old Lutheranism) and the new (Frederick, the very model of an enlightened despot and a poster boy of the Enlightenment) of the 18th C.

I bogged down a bit in Charles Stross's Saturn's Children, a smartass sf novel about how a robotic society would unfold after humanity died out, but hope to return to it soon.
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Old 06-01-2009, 08:37 AM
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I just finished Thorne Smith's final book, Glorious Pool, this morning. I really like some of his books but this one really wasn't very good. A lot of his trademark themes were there; the cocktails, the madcap antics, the continual misinterpretations, the physical transformation, but it was all really just one long drunken scene with no particular plot. And then it stopped. Suddenly.

At the same time I also got hold of his first book, Biltmore Oswald: The Diary of a Hapless Recruit, written just after ww1; it's in the form of a diary and the page or two I've read so far seems so much better! As if Bertie Wooster had enlisted as a naval cadet!
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Old 06-01-2009, 08:48 AM
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I finished Triangle, which I didn't have high hopes for. I actually ended up being very impressed by the elegance of the writing. Very grand and heart-wrenching.

Started Goldfinger by Ian Fleming. I have all the James Bond novels on my shelf and I read a new one every month or two.
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:40 AM
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I learned about Handling Sin, by Michael Malone, here on a favorites thread, and it was widely praised. Although I still haven't read it, I just saw that twenty years later, he's written another, similar novel, The Four Corners of the Sky, just out in May. Just a FYI for his readership here.
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:41 AM
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I just finished "Revolutionary Road." Now I'm reading "Love is Eternal," Irving Stone's historical fiction about Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln. I really like it, but I can tell it's going to take me a while to read. I'm also plodding through "Nicholas Nickleby." I tend to struggle with Dickens (with the exception of "A Christmas Carol") and sometimes wonder why I keep trying!
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:00 AM
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Twickster, those Deanna Raybourns sound great, I put them on my list for summer reading.

As predicted, I am still hacking my way through Austerity Britain, which continues to be both enjoyable and dense.

Because it is too large of a volume for me to take to work, I read The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness on the subway. Gosh, this was good. YA, vaguely science fiction -- set on a colonized planet where the settlers encountered some kind of virus that made telepathy possible, only in the worst way you can imagine, where you can't stop broadcasting your thoughts, and can't escape listening to the thoughts of others. Also, animals can talk. It is the first book of a series that doesn't exactly stand alone, so I will definitely pick up the second one which I think was just recently published.
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Old 06-01-2009, 11:20 AM
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...As predicted, I am still hacking my way through Austerity Britain, which continues to be both enjoyable and dense....
Learn any more interesting stuff about Clement Atlee?
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Old 06-01-2009, 02:54 PM
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After school finally finished, I got to finish To Kingdom Come, and The Limehouse Text, both part of the Sherlockian series by Will Thomas. The latter was much better than the former. Now to locate The Hellfire Conspiracy....
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Old 06-01-2009, 02:55 PM
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I've been completely suckered in by Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series. I knew they were noirish modern fantasy, but nobody told me how funny they were.
Oh yes, they’re hilarious. I still have some in my TBR pile, but I had to take a break from the series to catch up on other stuff which is going overdue at the library.

Right now I’m into The Crimson Petal and The White, by Michel Faber, and loving it. It has kind of a trashy feel, like Forever Amber or something, but the writing is really great. Sometimes, I stop and go back over a perfect sentence or two.
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Old 06-02-2009, 06:23 AM
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I also quickly read through Embracing Your Big Fat Ass, which I got for Pepper Mill several months ago. I am still alive, which shows that she is tolerant, or broad-minded.
http://www.amazon.com/Embracing-Your...3784288&sr=8-1

.


Maybe she is methodically planning your next vacation. Your next solo vacation.
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Old 06-02-2009, 06:44 AM
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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith.

I'm finding it a struggle. I was really looking forward to it but I found that the joke wore thin pretty early on. Now its getting to the point where I get frustrated when he deviates from P&P to include the zombies.

I havent picked it up in a while but I must make more of an effort to get it finished.
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Old 06-02-2009, 06:54 AM
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Learn any more interesting stuff about Clement Atlee?
The focus of the book is more about the everyday person in England, so the author starts with a particular policy, say the nationalization of the mines, and then goes through a lot of primary source material about what Joe Average Miner had to say about the mines, and then what kind of house he lived in, and what his family could expect to pay for groceries, and what he did in his leisure time, things like that. It's especially awesome for American readers who have read a lot of British novels from this period. I know we pick up on a lot of things just from context, but there have been a lot of times in this book where I've said to myself "Ahh, so that's what that is!" about little details like household products, cars, or food from that time period.
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Old 06-02-2009, 07:25 AM
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just got my latest delivery:

Iron Angel - Alan Campbell
(re-reading Scar Night before I start though)
Fantasy - City hanging from chains over the pit to Hell type idea. Really looking forward to it.

Foundation - Asimov
Finishing up Empire in Black and Gold by someone Tchaikovsky
Another fantasy where the different peoples take on an Insect aspect. Not bad but going stale after the initial "oo" factor wears off.

Devices and Desires - K.J.Parker - another fantasy about revenge essentially.

The Kite Runner - part way through - jolly good, but I tend to need a little escapism in my free time now
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Old 06-02-2009, 07:55 AM
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I'm reading American Wife. I'm about 2/3 way through and really enjoying it, but I'm a little apprehensive about reviews saying it falls apart in the last third. Can't say enough about how good the first part is, though.
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:14 AM
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I'm reading American Wife. I'm about 2/3 way through and really enjoying it, but I'm a little apprehensive about reviews saying it falls apart in the last third. Can't say enough about how good the first part is, though.
Fret not -- I liked it all the way through.
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:56 AM
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The focus of the book is more about the everyday person in England... little details like household products, cars, or food from that time period.
I remember a review for the comedy Chicken Run, saying it was actually one of the best portrayals of the little details of British life immediately after WW2 of any recent movie.
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Old 06-02-2009, 09:39 AM
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Vein of Iron by Ellen Glasgow. It's about a family living in Virginia. The story starts in 1900. Little Ada is waiting for her father to come back from town. She has given him $1.50 she earned so that he can buy her a wax doll with real hair. Ada explains that the family doesn't have much money. Her philosopher father has lost his congregations (he doesn't believe in the Virgin Birth) and the parlor in the family home is now a school room. He's allowed to teach "profane" stuff.

I can't believe how excited I was to see whether Ada got the doll she wanted, and how disappointed I was for her when daddy came home with a doll with china hair!

I really like Ellen Glasgow. This is only my second book from her. She reminds me a bit of Harriette Arnow.
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Old 06-02-2009, 10:00 AM
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I happened to catch Guillermo del Toro on a talk show last night, and was completely surprised to learn he's co-authored a horror novel - The Strain, written with Chuck Hogan. According to del Toro, it's a return to the more traditional horrific vampire story (as opposed to the romantic meme currently popular). I was sufficiently intrigued to order it up for my Kindle even though it's apparently the first of a planned trilogy (I ordinarily eschew series) and have been reading apace in bouts of insomnia since 3 a.m. when it was delivered.
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Old 06-02-2009, 01:54 PM
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I'm about to finish Tobacco: A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization. Next up is either The Killer Book of Serial Killers or French Napoleonic Infantry Tactics 1792-1815.
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Old 06-02-2009, 09:31 PM
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It's June here already, and I'm close to finishing News of a Kidnapping, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It's very good, sort of a novelized version of the real-life kidnapping in Colombia in 1990 of 10 journalists, mostly relatives of politicians and mostly women, by Pablo Escobar.
Finished News of a Kidnapping. It's a good read, and I learned something about a place and time I'd only glimpsed briefly in short newspaper stories.

Next up: The Mission Song, by John le Carre. I'm giving him another chance. While I've not read all of his recent stuff -- for example, I did not read The Constant Gardener, only saw the film -- I've found his earlier Cold War writings much better. I've been somewhat disappointed in varying degrees with everything of his I've read after The Night Manager, what I found to be his last really good one.

Last edited by Siam Sam; 06-02-2009 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 06-02-2009, 10:43 PM
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That's a great spoof of archeology and American pop culture; highly recommended. I also like his Unbuilding (about the hypothetical deconstruction of the Empire State Building), City (about the design and building of a Roman city) and Castle (about an English castle). He's a good writer and an even better artist.

I'm now reading James R. Gaines's Evening in the Palace of Reason, about the sole meeting of J.S. Bach and Frederick the Great, and am about halfway through. It's a pretty good short bio of both, showing how they represented the old (Bach, a stalwart of old Lutheranism) and the new (Frederick, the very model of an enlightened despot and a poster boy of the Enlightenment) of the 18th C.

I bogged down a bit in Charles Stross's Saturn's Children, a smartass sf novel about how a robotic society would unfold after humanity died out, but hope to return to it soon.
I didn't care much for Saturn's Children. OK premise, but it got muddy and unfocused in the middle, I thought.

Thanks for reinforcing my desire to read Macaulay. I have his other books on my list, just not my Read Now list.

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I happened to catch Guillermo del Toro on a talk show last night, and was completely surprised to learn he's co-authored a horror novel - The Strain, written with Chuck Hogan. According to del Toro, it's a return to the more traditional horrific vampire story (as opposed to the romantic meme currently popular). I was sufficiently intrigued to order it up for my Kindle even though it's apparently the first of a planned trilogy (I ordinarily eschew series) and have been reading apace in bouts of insomnia since 3 a.m. when it was delivered.
LOL I just picked this up today, mostly because of del Toro. The man is a gifted storyteller when the medium is film. I figured I'd risk $14 and see how well he does without being able to actually provide the visuals.

Hypno-Toad, how is that tobacco book, and who wrote it?

ETA: I also have The Sky People by S. M. Stirling, Island In The Sea Of Time by Stirling, and The Immortality Option by James P. Hogan (after a quick trip to the library). The Hogan book is a sequel to a novel of his called Code Of The Lifemaker, a witty and intriguing look at a world discovered by humans which is populated by self-aware, self-replicating (although imperfectly self-replicating) robots. I know I read TIO when it came out, but I don't remember it at all. I own COTL and have read it many times, so this should be an interesting read.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 06-02-2009 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:45 AM
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Listening to The Cay, by Theodore Taylor, read by Michael Boatman. It’s a children’s book which I am listening to because my son’s teacher read it to the class. It’s good enough to pass the time, but not impressive. The message is basically “racism is bad, mmmkay” although I think the old black man is a Jamaican stereotype, for true, mon.

It’s about a black man and a white boy who survive a shipwreck and are stranded on an island. It’s fortunate that I had already decided to ditch this at the end of the week because my library website posted spoilers! Grrrrrr!
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Old 06-04-2009, 12:35 PM
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Hypno-Toad, how is that tobacco book, and who wrote it?

I enjoyed it very much. Here it is.
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Old 06-06-2009, 03:26 PM
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My work has tweaked our internet so I don't get time to read the boards anymore BUT I get more time to read.

Read:

Adventures of a Mountain Man: The Narrative of Zenas Leonard
The Golden Torc by Julian May
The Nonborn King by Julian May
The Adversary by Julian May ~ these three were the last of a four-part series that I got bored with pretty quickly. Sure wish I had it in me to give up on books...
Dry Guillotine By Rene Belbenoit ~ Not as exciting as Papillon (as it claims) but still a great find & a great read.
Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil by Deborah Rodriguez ~ The book was great. The documentary infuriated me.
The Lady and the Panda: The True Adventures of the First American Explorer to Bring Back China's Most Exotic Animal by Vicki Croke
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer ~ Better than what I was expecting, which isn't saying much. Still, I'm going to go on with the series.
Red Scarf by Kate Furnivall
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Thunderstruck by Erik Larson ~ I liked this one more than "Devil in the White City".
1984 by George Orwell

Reading:

The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington by Jennet Conant ~ It's a bit dry.
A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin ~ not really getting into this one either. I think I need some fluff reads for a bit.
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Old 06-07-2009, 07:01 AM
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I've just passed my finals, so I have time to get some reading done, and lots of stuff do read:

I just got (and am about half-way through) Nick Harkaway's The Gone-Away World. I got it on recommendation from here, then was told by my bookseller that it's an absolutely fabulous book, and I am totally in agreement. Great book.

During the same visit to the book store I bought a cheap copy of pseudonymous Seth Hunter's The Time of Terror, promising to be the first in a three-part series on a French Revolutionary Wars naval hero in the Bolitho vein. It's fair enough, I suppose, so far, but the comparison to the compartively poor Bolitho (compared to Hornblower and Aubrey) will stand, I think.

Random other books cracked open:
J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring. Was given the three-volume hardcover 50th Anniversary edition for my birthday in March, and have been reading for ten or twenty minutes before bedtime, my sixth or so read through the Lord of the Rings.

Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. That book's a slog. I can see it's a well-needed alternative perspective, but really you can only go so far without losing your audience in exonarating everybody but greedy evil white capitalists. I've some fair knowledge of American history, and I find it offensive to complain about English treatment of the Indians in Massachusetts without once mentioning how those Indians came to establish themselves there in the first place, namely by driving off and killing those who were there before them.

Alex Ross's The Rest is Noise. I'm almost through with this, and it was most enlightening. His website, too, is great.
  #43  
Old 06-07-2009, 07:32 AM
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I just finished The EFT Manual (EFT: Emotional Freedom Techniques). Some of you may know that I am subject to chronic low-grade depression and so I am often on the look-out for ways to improve.

Most of you can stop now with this review: I really need to learn to start screening my books better.

OK, if you are still reading, here is the rest of the review:
EFT is a technique involving affirmations and finger-tapping "energy points" that is supposed to give you freedom from nearly any problem. Phobias, depression, back-aches, PTSD, the list goes on.
There are four steps.
  1. Rub a special place on your chest (the "sore spot") while repeating an afirmation.
  2. Tap several energy spots while repeating a reminder word
  3. (I forget step 3)
  4. Repeat step 2
This combination will balance your energy and make your problems go away.

So I was disappointed. But what the heck, I'm game, this costs nothing (anymore, I mean I already bought the book) and so I will give it a try. I've tried weird stuff in my lifetime. My doc wants me to lose at least 20 more lbs so each night I'll try this with that in mind.

Of course, I have also started jogging and have cut some junk food out of my daily diet, so we won't have definitive results, even if I lose.
  #44  
Old 06-07-2009, 08:50 PM
Frostillicus is offline
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Location: Chicago
Posts: 3,625
I'm reading Mutiny by John Boyne, a great piece of historical fiction about the mutiny on The Bounty, told from the perspective of the captain's (fictional) cabin boy. The villian in this rendition is definitely NOT Captain Bligh.
  #45  
Old 06-07-2009, 09:21 PM
Amp is offline
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I'm currently reading a book called The Seems. I picked it up at the Five Dollar Store. I read the synopsis on the flap and figured it was only a buck so I can't go wrong so I didn't bother flipping through the book. I get it home and it turns out to be kids book, a Harry Potter knock off. I thought it was adult fiction. I don't feel too bad though, the same thing happened to the reviewer who posted this Amazon review.

Like I said, it is a Harry Potter knock off about a kid who gets recruited into a secret society that keeps reality intact. He is a "Fixer", one who is called in when the shit hits the fan. It's OK, mediocre at best. Worth a buck at least. I'll throw it my kid's way when I'm done with it.
  #46  
Old 06-07-2009, 10:30 PM
delphica is offline
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Location: The Empire State
Posts: 6,672
How was the panda book?

I also thought The Irregulars was surprisingly not that interesting, given the subject matter.
  #47  
Old 06-08-2009, 01:23 AM
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Voyager is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 46,376
I don't read many (read any) Star Trek books, but I just finished How Much for Just the Planet which was described as the weirdest ever. Might be. Characters sing to the tune of some familiar songs (the theme from Rawhide for one, as well as Gilbert and Sullivan) and it ends with a pie fight. Some good spots, but I wouldn't push it on anyone.

Now starting The Congo Cables in my quest to figure out what was going on when I lived there, at 10.
  #48  
Old 06-08-2009, 01:47 AM
tr0psn4j is offline
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Location: N. Hollywood, California
Posts: 3,996
I'm on day 8 of From Whom The Bell Tolls. Still have over half the book left. I can't read more than a chapter at a time, for whatever reason.
  #49  
Old 06-08-2009, 07:19 AM
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Dung Beetle is offline
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Location: Florida
Posts: 16,614
Today I begin the audiobook version of The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters.
  #50  
Old 06-08-2009, 07:38 AM
Hypno-Toad is offline
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Location: By the Caloosahatchee
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Finished The Killer Book of Serial Killers and am now on Washington: The Making of the American Capital. I'm from there so I hope to have some familiarity with the subject.
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