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  #1  
Old 06-30-2009, 08:36 AM
Khadaji is offline
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Whatcha Readin' (July 09) Edition


To those of you celebrating a holiday this weekend, have a safe and happy holiday.

I have started Warbreaker which so far promises to be quite good. Sanderson's world is original and the magic is AFAIK unique to him.

I have also started Bridge Of Birds which also has strong promise.

Due to some work constraints, my reading has really slowed, so I have no idea when I'll finish either of these.

I have started Happy For No Reason. So far there is little or nothing new in it, but I will continue to read it for a while.



June's Thread
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Old 06-30-2009, 09:09 AM
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I started The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet last night and just couldn't put it down, I'll probably finish it tonight. This is Reif Larsen's first book and is surely the start of a fantastic career.
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Old 06-30-2009, 10:55 AM
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I gave up on The Gone-Away World, and am presently reading fluffy Living Dead in Dallas, while trying to decide between next reading Alastair Reynolds' Chasm City or Iain M. Banks' Consider Phlebas.
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Old 06-30-2009, 10:56 AM
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1959; The Year that Changed Everything, up to now I am not so impressed.
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Old 06-30-2009, 11:01 AM
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Just started The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro.

I'm liking it so far, but I'm almost a quarter of the way through the book and nothing seems to have actually happened yet. As others have said, it all seems to be build up for a future book.
  #6  
Old 06-30-2009, 11:32 AM
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To those of you celebrating a holiday this weekend, have a safe and happy holiday.
How'd you know it's to be a long holiday weekend over here, with Asanha Bucha Day and the beginning of Buddhist Lent both next week?

But anyway, I'm about 3/5 through An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser. It is LONG, but I am enjoying it immensely. Published in 1925, it's fiction but based on a real-life 1906 murder in upstate New York. If I did not know beforehand this was a murder story, it would have come as a complete surprise, as there's no inkling at all that there might even be a murder until after page 500. That is not a criticism. Dreiser goes into detailed background of the circumstances that eventually make a pleasant, mild-mannered youth from humble origins resort to murder. In real life, the perp was caught and then executed in 1908. Dunno how this ends yet, but it's not looking too good for the protagonist right now, and the word "tragedy" is in the title, so I think I can guess.

This is a very well-crafted story.
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Old 06-30-2009, 12:04 PM
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How'd you know it's to be a long holiday weekend over here, with Asanha Bucha Day and the beginning of Buddhist Lent both next week?
Saturday (this weekend) is the 4th of July, the American Independence Day.
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Old 06-30-2009, 12:17 PM
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Saturday (this weekend) is the 4th of July, the American Independence Day.
Sam was joking with me. He knew.
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Old 06-30-2009, 12:30 PM
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Sam was joking with me. He knew.
I see. I'll just be standing over in the corner enjoying the nice whooshing sound.
  #10  
Old 06-30-2009, 12:35 PM
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Hee hee hee.

There is always a Fourth of July party in Bangkok, but the one I attended years and years ago was a crappy affair. Mediocre hot dogs and inferior Budweiser beer. I never bothered to attend another one. Much better is Ploenchit Fair, sponsored by the Brits every November. A British fair.
  #11  
Old 06-30-2009, 01:52 PM
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I gave up on The Gone-Away World,
That's too bad, the end really brings it all together.
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Old 06-30-2009, 02:43 PM
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That's too bad, the end really brings it all together.
Hmmm, that is persuasive...
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Old 06-30-2009, 03:06 PM
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I have also started Bridge Of Birds which also has strong promise.
Get out! I started that this morning. Race you!
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Old 06-30-2009, 03:53 PM
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Get out! I started that this morning. Race you!
Normally I would accept that challenge, but as stated, due to work restraints I have no idea when I'll finish.
  #15  
Old 06-30-2009, 04:25 PM
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I'm finishing Steven Jay Gould's Wonderful Life.

And still rolling through, as I do every five years or so, Fundamentals of Aerodynamics by John Anderson. I love this book. It makes me want to teach ground school for pilots. I'd draw an inclined line on the white board and say, "Now here we have a SIMPLE wing. How come it fly?"
  #16  
Old 06-30-2009, 07:19 PM
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I have also started Bridge Of Birds which also has strong promise.
LOVED this book. I wish "The Story of the Stone" was more readily available so I could continue with the series.
  #17  
Old 06-30-2009, 07:48 PM
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Finished:

Skeletons in her Cupboard (Festschrift for Juliet Clutton-Brock) ~ bunch of essays on archaeozoology.
A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin ~ This was...ok. I didn't see the point of the modern narrative bits when the flashback itself was enough. I also had another war book on the go and I think I was 'warred out' for the time being.
The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington by Jennet Conant ~ I didn't think that a book with this subject could be dull but it was a slog.
The Prestige by Christopher Priest ~ Loved it
Eat Thy Neighbour: A History of Cannibalism by Daniel Diehl ~ Fun trash if you're needing that sort of thing.
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer ~ more angst, this time with werewolves. Decent enough young adult fare.
The Corsair by Tim Severin ~ Young Irish boy is captured by slavers and gets to tour fun places like Algiers, Marseilles, and the Barbary Coast. While the story was so-so, the research is very thorough.
The Arsenic Milkshake by Sylvia Barrett ~ Forensics in Canada. An old favourite.
The City & The City by China Mieville ~ I bought this book on a whim since I had a shot at getting an autographed copy. It took me about half of the book to wrap my head around the concept of two cities existing on top of one another yet you are only allowed to acknowledge the one you're in. Clever concept however it took me so long to understand what the heck was going on that I missed out enjoying the actual story.
The First Man in Rome by Colleen Mccullough ~ I'm pretty sure that I got this on a recommendation from this site so thanks whoever you were! I really enjoyed it, even though the Roman government (and names) were too confusing for me. I can't wait to continue with the series.
The Medici Giraffe by Marina Belozerskaya ~ Some examples of gifts of exotic animals (and native peoples) to rulers throughout history. Alexander's elephants, Julius Caesar's giraffe, Josephine Bonaparte's black swans, etc. The Roman chapter closely paralleled the events in the book above, a nice little bonus.
Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler ~ Must...read...more...Chandler

Presently reading:

Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People by Tim Reiterman ~ So far so good
We Bought a Zoo: The Amazing True Story of a Young Family, a Broken Down Zoo, and the 200 Wild Animals That Change Their Lives Forever by Benjamin Mee ~ very enjoyable. Keep those tissues handy.
The Moonlight War: the Story of Clandestine Operations in South-East Asia 1944-5 by Terence O'Brien ~ another recommendation from this site

My husband just got transferred to Alaska for the summer so I thought I'd get more reading done. Instead I'm just moping around the house. Hopefully I'll snap out of it soon.
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Old 06-30-2009, 07:59 PM
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Presently reading:

Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People by Tim Reiterman ~ So far so good
Oh, please keep us posted. I'd love to find a good book about Jim Jones and his crazy encampment and disaster.
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Old 07-01-2009, 01:51 PM
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American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White: The Birth of the "It" Girl and the Crime of the Century by Paula Uruburu. This was good. The author was a little over the top in terms of style ... I had this mental picture of the author shouting every other line in a froth of excitement, but the (true) story is indeed intriguing. Evelyn' husband murdered Stanford White, her former ... I don't even know what to call him, he took advantage of her and sort of forced himself on her as her sugar daddy, but there also seems to have been some genuine affection between the two as evidenced in her autobiography.

ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley. YA novel about a dead high school girl who is still trying all sorts of schemes to become popular. Not a bad premise, but it was poorly written and not very entertaining.
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Old 07-01-2009, 03:45 PM
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I'm reading the second Kedrigern, The Questing of Kedrigern by John Morressy, fantasy, suitable for kids and very funny. Something that intrigues me about Kedrigern is that occasionally he reaches into the future and brings things back. He doesn't know what these things are, and from the description, neither do I. In Questing, he "takes a sudden detour into a dangerous future land called L.A." Keddie has a bit of Crocodile Dundee in him -- should be fun.

I also started Middlemarch at the urging of a friend. I spent a good five minutes parsing the first sentence of the prelude. I'm hoping the rest of it isn't so dense. I don't have a clue what it's about. Usually I read this kind of stuff after seeing the film. Somehow I've missed out on this one.

Last edited by AuntiePam; 07-01-2009 at 03:45 PM.
  #21  
Old 07-01-2009, 04:13 PM
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AuntiePam, I read your review and thought: Yeah, I'll have a go. Went to amazon and found that I could buy the first book used for 105 US. I guess this one isn't for me...
  #22  
Old 07-01-2009, 04:58 PM
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Khadaji, if you're talking about A Voice for Princess, Amazon shows 27 copies starting at a penny. I don't know if it's the first book or not, but it seems a good starting point.

Maybe you were looking at the first volume of the Kedrigern Chronicles. That one was pricey. I'm gonna look for it when I go to Seattle in August. There's a pretty good used book store up on Greenwood Avenue.
  #23  
Old 07-01-2009, 05:02 PM
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Khadaji, if you're talking about A Voice for Princess, Amazon shows 27 copies starting at a penny. I don't know if it's the first book or not, but it seems a good starting point.

Maybe you were looking at the first volume of the Kedrigern Chronicles. That one was pricey. I'm gonna look for it when I go to Seattle in August. There's a pretty good used book store up on Greenwood Avenue.
Yep I was looking at The Kedrigern Chronicles Volume 1: The Domesticated Wizard (The Kedrigern Chronicles, Volume 1) (Hardcover) which I assumed would be the first.
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Old 07-01-2009, 05:20 PM
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I found that one in paperback for $24.75 but I didn't buy it because I'd already bought two of the novels included in the Chronicles by the time I saw the Chronicles. It includes three Kedrigern novels and several short stories.

While looking for more Morressy novels, I found this very nice obituary written by John Clute. He sounds like a cool guy.

I'm loving the artwork on the Kedrigern paperbacks. It's by Dean Morrissy. Here is one of his covers.
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Old 07-01-2009, 06:47 PM
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Re: Goneaway World

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That's too bad, the end really brings it all together.
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Originally Posted by wonderlust View Post
Hmmm, that is persuasive...
I wasn't wowed. If you're not enjoying the ride, there's no particular need to keep going.

Me, over the last couple weeks:

Darwinia, about a world in which some something-or-other happened in 1912 that led to a parallel universe version of Europe suddenly appearing, with no trace of the old one. Entertaining, but not a must-read.

The first book in Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy, which I loved to pieces. Just put in a hold for the second volume (oddly enough, they have the first and third volumes, but not the second, at my local branch). I'm a huge Merlin fan, definitely my favorite element of the Arthurian legend, and this is a great version. Volume one (The Crystal Cave) takes us through the birth of Arthur -- hope the next two are as good.

Rapture Ready!, which made a nice follow-up to last month's book about the Brown kid who went to Liberty University for a semester.

Finally read The Namesake by Jumpha Lahiri (novel about the son of Indian immigrants who named him Gogol), which I liked -- not sure how it stacks up with other books of that genre, but as a standalone I liked it.

Went to the library today and picked up a Jayne Anne Krentz I've never read -- romance novelist who I enjoy, this is one of her woo-woo "psychic phenomena is real" ones (there's a whole bunch of these, with a foundation serving those who have these various talents, etc.). Can't defend it as worth reading, but I'm looking forward to it.
  #26  
Old 07-01-2009, 07:40 PM
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Just started The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro.

I'm liking it so far, but I'm almost a quarter of the way through the book and nothing seems to have actually happened yet. As others have said, it all seems to be build up for a future book.
Yes, it's a build up, but I found it very interesting nonetheless. It looks to me like del Toro and Hogan are really setting up a slam-bang series, and the only disappointing thing would be if they failed to deliver in the next (and the next). And the waiting! (Which is the hardest part, after all!)
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I'm reading the second Kedrigern, The Questing of Kedrigern by John Morressy, fantasy, suitable for kids and very funny.
Sonofa . . . ! I never knew they'd compiled the Kedrigern stories; they were always my favorites when they popped up every once in a while in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. I'm going to have to keep an eye out for a reprint.

I'm continuing with A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore, and have a few choices lined up next: Jack Campbell's Dauntless, Cory Doctorow's Overclocked collection, and an omnibus of classic SF from Harry Harrison containing The Repairman, The Misplaced Battleship, The K-Factor, Planet of the Damned, and Toy Shop. I also have I Hate People just because I thought the title was near-perfect for a workplace self-help book, and Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything is available when I'm not in the mood for frivolity.
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Old 07-01-2009, 07:52 PM
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Geez....trying to delete a duplicate

Last edited by PastAllReason; 07-01-2009 at 07:56 PM.
  #28  
Old 07-01-2009, 07:55 PM
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I'm about one hundred pages from the end of Andrew Chaikin's A Man on the Moon, the history of the Apollo missions that was used as the basis for the series From the Earth to the Moon. Though Chaikin interviewed an astonishing array of people involved in the Apollo missions, it is essentially told from the perspective of the astronauts. It is turning into a great companion read to Gene Kranz's Failure is not an Option which I read last month. I've been on a bit of kick having recently watched the series, From the Earth to the Moon, on DVD, and coming up this month to the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11, which I don't personally remember.

After that I'm going to finish Francis Pryor's Britain B.C. a pre-Roman history of Britain and Ireland by archaelogist Pryor that I'm about half-way through before moving on to the latest Janet Evanovich book.
  #29  
Old 07-01-2009, 08:07 PM
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Just completed a re-read of the Neal Gaiman novel American Gods.

It just reaffirmed why Gaiman is one my favorite authors; it's a very strong and effective fantasy.
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Old 07-01-2009, 08:41 PM
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Sonofa . . . ! I never knew they'd compiled the Kedrigern stories; they were always my favorites when they popped up every once in a while in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. I'm going to have to keep an eye out for a reprint.
I've been looking. Apparently two volumes of Chronicles were published and a third was in the works, and possibly a fourth, from Meisha Merlin. MM went out of business (I bet a lot of George R. R. Martin fans are really pissed about that!) and then Morressy died, in 2006. As far as I can tell, everything is out of print. I don't know if that's because his estate isn't settled or because no publishers are interested or if MM has some rights to the stories or what the deal is.

It makes me wonder how many more authors are out there who I've never heard of whose stuff is awesomely awesome. Maybe it's best not to know, what with books not being free and all that.
  #31  
Old 07-02-2009, 04:47 AM
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I'm just past the half-way point of The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe. What an incredibly well-written, edge-of-your-seat kinda book that totally captures NYC culture in the 80s.
  #32  
Old 07-02-2009, 10:15 PM
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The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler ~ Must...read...more...Chandler
If you liked Chandler, also try Dashiell Hammett.
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Old 07-03-2009, 09:44 AM
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Vanilla Ride, the new Hap and Leonard novel by Joe Lansdale arrived Tuesday. I finished it last night. Liked it a lot, but I'm not sure where Joe's going with Hap. Someplace interesting, I suppose.
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Old 07-03-2009, 09:49 AM
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Vanilla Ride, the new Hap and Leonard novel by Joe Lansdale arrived Tuesday. I finished it last night. Liked it a lot, but I'm not sure where Joe's going with Hap. Someplace interesting, I suppose.
I can't wait until I get my copy ... !
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Old 07-03-2009, 10:58 AM
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Just finished The Temporal Void by Peter F. Hamilton and am currently reading The Bridge by Iain Banks. This will then befollowed by The Crow Road also by Iain Banks......
  #36  
Old 07-03-2009, 03:55 PM
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I'm only about 30 pages into Silent In The Grave, by Deanna Raybourn and I already love it.
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Old 07-03-2009, 04:01 PM
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More Lansdale -- Lost Echoes, which I dumped a couple years ago because the bad guys were just too vile. But so far, Joe's showing some regard for my queasiness, so I'll keep reading.
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Old 07-03-2009, 04:35 PM
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I'm only about 30 pages into Silent In The Grave, by Deanna Raybourn and I already love it.
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Old 07-03-2009, 04:53 PM
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I'm only about 30 pages into Silent In The Grave, by Deanna Raybourn and I already love it.
I have put it in my queue.
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Old 07-03-2009, 11:19 PM
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Oh, please keep us posted. I'd love to find a good book about Jim Jones and his crazy encampment and disaster.
So far it's a great book & I'm about half-way through now. VERY thorough. Tim Reiterman definitely did his research.


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If you liked Chandler, also try Dashiell Hammett.
I have. "The Thin Man" is kicking around here somewhere. (Which is also one of my all-time favourite movies.)
  #41  
Old 07-04-2009, 05:15 AM
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Vanilla Ride, the new Hap and Leonard novel by Joe Lansdale arrived Tuesday. I finished it last night. Liked it a lot, but I'm not sure where Joe's going with Hap. Someplace interesting, I suppose.
I hadn't seen this. I'll be looking for it.

Lately I've been doing more re-reading than anything, mostly later Heinlein novels (last read twenty years ago) as a friend just discovered them. I finally noticed that Heinlein was about three years older than my grandfather. Kinda threw me for a loop. "Papa could have been thinking about the world like that?"

Just started "The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove" by Christopher Moore. I thought I'd read everything, but this one seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle.

After that, "Monster" by A. Lee Martinez. It'll be the sixth I've read by him and I cannot recommend his work enough. Every book is a new experience. Light, smart, funny and each book a complete departure from the ones before. Werewolves and witches and ogres. An automated noir detective. A Sorcerer's slave. Interesting stuff, and funny. The first is "Gil's All-Fright Diner", but they can be read in any order.
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Old 07-04-2009, 09:57 AM
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The Audacity of Hope as my book book. By some guy with a funny name.

Adam Bede as my commuting audio book.
  #43  
Old 07-04-2009, 10:05 AM
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Adam Bede as my commuting audio book.
Oddly enough, I read this (in the old-fashioned manner) a month or so ago -- I do like a nice fat Victorian novel.
  #44  
Old 07-04-2009, 10:11 AM
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Just started "The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove" by Christopher Moore. I thought I'd read everything, but this one seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle.
I just finished this one. It was really good.
I've only read 5 or 6 of Moore's books, and definitely need to read all of them.
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Old 07-04-2009, 11:58 AM
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I hadn't seen this. I'll be looking for it.

Lately I've been doing more re-reading than anything, mostly later Heinlein novels (last read twenty years ago) as a friend just discovered them. I finally noticed that Heinlein was about three years older than my grandfather. Kinda threw me for a loop. "Papa could have been thinking about the world like that?"

Just started "The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove" by Christopher Moore. I thought I'd read everything, but this one seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle.

After that, "Monster" by A. Lee Martinez. It'll be the sixth I've read by him and I cannot recommend his work enough. Every book is a new experience. Light, smart, funny and each book a complete departure from the ones before. Werewolves and witches and ogres. An automated noir detective. A Sorcerer's slave. Interesting stuff, and funny. The first is "Gil's All-Fright Diner", but they can be read in any order.
Lust Lizard was my first read by Moore, and I loved it! I've been eyeing Martinez recently, and now I'll have to try him!
  #46  
Old 07-04-2009, 09:26 PM
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Habits of Empire: A History of American Expansion by Walter Nugent. Somewhat one-sided but Nugent goes into nice detail.
  #47  
Old 07-04-2009, 11:16 PM
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...The first book in Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy, which I loved to pieces. Just put in a hold for the second volume (oddly enough, they have the first and third volumes, but not the second, at my local branch). I'm a huge Merlin fan, definitely my favorite element of the Arthurian legend, and this is a great version. Volume one (The Crystal Cave) takes us through the birth of Arthur -- hope the next two are as good....
If you like Arthuriana generally, permit me to recommend Thomas Berger's Arthur Rex, a witty, funny, engaging, somewhat tongue-in-cheek but basically respectful retelling of the tales of Camelot. I discovered it in high school and re-read it every decade or so. Berger's probably best known for Little Big Man, but Arthur Rex is very, very good, too. Highly recommended.
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Old 07-04-2009, 11:23 PM
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Also forgot to add... I just finished, for my book club, Henry James's 1903 novella "The Beast in the Jungle," which I found very disappointing. The plot:

SPOILER:
A nebbishy guy in early-1900s London thinks he has some great destiny ahead of him, and confides this to a quiet, beautiful woman who is not quite of his social strata but who obviously loves him. They grow old and she eventually dies of some vague illness, with him never having realized her true feelings or asked her to marry him. Finally he realizes that his destiny was to have been her loving husband, but he let the opportunity slip through his fingers. D'oh!
  #49  
Old 07-05-2009, 08:10 AM
twickster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
If you like Arthuriana generally, permit me to recommend Thomas Berger's Arthur Rex, a witty, funny, engaging, somewhat tongue-in-cheek but basically respectful retelling of the tales of Camelot. I discovered it in high school and re-read it every decade or so. Berger's probably best known for Little Big Man, but Arthur Rex is very, very good, too. Highly recommended.
It's on my Amazon wish list, marked "sdmb" -- you may well have been the person to recommend it whenever that was. (It's deep on said wish list ) I think it's currently out of print, though it was at least a year ago that I checked.

Thanks for the tip -- I'll definitely get around to it, though I'll probably wait a while. (Does anyone space out things they love that there are a finite number of? I'm that way with Dickens novels, though my sister and I were talking about Bleak House the other night, and I think I'll Kindle that. I like having certain things in reserve for the future, rather than greedily blasting through a particular author's works or all really good novels on a particular theme at once.)
  #50  
Old 07-05-2009, 08:21 AM
Cicero is offline
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I found my 1929 copy of All Quiet On The Western Front and have started reading that again.
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