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Old 11-30-2009, 11:02 AM
Khadaji is offline
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Whatcha Readin' Dec 09 Edition


OK, the important stuff first: Tomorrow I turn 48 (send cards!)

I am reading Jim Butcher's First Lord's Fury and really enjoying it.

Link to last month's thread.
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:18 AM
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Happy birthday! You are truly one of my favorite posters and I appreciate you starting this thread each month. I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow.
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:36 AM
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The Rescue Artist by Edward Dolnick, about the 1994 theft of Munch's painting "The Scream"

Goat Song by Frank Yerby, a novel about Ancient Greece

Destroyer of Worlds by Larry Niven and some other dude, latest in a series about Puppeters and humans -- this time with the Pak, for those of you who have read Niven's "Protector"
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Old 11-30-2009, 12:21 PM
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Just zipped through two comics:

Star Trek: Countdown by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman is a pretty good prequel to the most recent Star Trek movie. It shows how Spock and Nero first met and why the Romulan was out for revenge, laying the groundwork for the movie very well. Look for nice cameos by
SPOILER:
Picard, now the Federation's ambassador to Vulcan; Data, captain of the Enterprise-E; LaForge, a retired engineer; and Worf, a general in the Klingon military.


The Forever War by Joe Haldeman and Marvano (no first name), an underwhelming 1988 comic adaptation of Haldeman's military-sf classic. Just not all that good - using barely-altered Space Shuttles as the Earth forces' assault craft was a particularly bad artistic choice, IMHO.

Now reading The Suicide Run, a collection of William Styron's Marine Corps-themed short stories. Kinda meh so far.
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Old 11-30-2009, 01:02 PM
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I'm reading Wellington: The Years of the Sword, an old biography by Elizabeth Longford. It isn't a great read so far (I'm just past the siege of Seringapatem) but I'm amusing myself by imagining Richard Sharpe in the background.

For our season of holiday travel my husband and I have started the audio book of The Mauritius Command, book 4 of the Aubrey-Maturin series. I've read them twice through already, and the audio version (read by Patrick Tull) adds an interesting dimension. It's nice to hear the nautical terminology and the occasional bits of "talking foreign" pronounced correctly. Although I think the humor doesn't come across quite as well as it does in print.
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Old 11-30-2009, 01:05 PM
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I'm still working on Atlas Shrugged, as I have been for about six months. I'm a slow reader. My lips get tired.

Oh, and happy birthday, youngster!.......TRM
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Old 11-30-2009, 01:50 PM
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Just finished Where the wild things are by Dave Eggers. Have now started on Naked Lunch and then will face Infinite Jest
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Old 11-30-2009, 02:25 PM
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I have Ian M. Banks Transition loaded in the Kindle, along with North of the DMZ, Essays about life in North Korea. and the Already Dead series by Charlie Huston is there, thanks to Eleanor of Aquitaine's recommendation.

I'm still working through the collected works of H.P. Lovecraft, but it's turning into more or an assignment than reading for pleasure. A little Lovecraft goes a long way.

Also just ordered The Financial Lives of Poets by Jess Walters. Not sure how it'll be, but his Citizen Vince and The Zero were amazing books.

I''ve heard a rumour that Nick Harkaway's follow-up to The Gone Away World is soon to be released, which has me more than a little excited! No confirmation on that though.
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Old 11-30-2009, 03:21 PM
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I am almost finished with The Piano Tuner, by Daniel Mason. I recently finished Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen, and, and, and, I recently finished War and Peace, hooray!
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Old 11-30-2009, 03:40 PM
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I'd never read Don Quixote, and we saw a great small-theatre production of "Man of La Mancha" so I'm actually reading D Q.
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Old 11-30-2009, 04:14 PM
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I just finished Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People, solely based on recommendations in previous threads. It was a fantastic read -- thanks to everyone who thought to mention it here.

I am almost finished with The Other Hollywood: The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry by Legs McNeil and Jennifer Osbourne, and am planning to start Roberto Bolano's 2666 after that. I'm a bit nervous because I couldn't get through The Savage Detectives, but the plot of 2666 sounds a little more up my alley.
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Old 11-30-2009, 04:26 PM
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Just started The Gunslinger. I'm hoping to read all 7 volumes of The Dark Tower back to back to back to back to back.........
  #13  
Old 11-30-2009, 04:31 PM
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I'd never read Don Quixote, and we saw a great small-theatre production of "Man of La Mancha" so I'm actually reading D Q.
Good luck! I made it about half way through before giving up. Parts of it are very, very funny. But it gets mighty repetitive after awhile......TRM
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Old 11-30-2009, 04:32 PM
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Theodore Rex. So far I've learned that American troops waterboarded people in the Philippines, and that was against policy, and they were court-martialed.
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Old 11-30-2009, 04:42 PM
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I wasn't getting into The Businessman and therefore wasn't getting anywhere, so decided to ditch it. I have decided to tackle The Count of Monte Cristo in its place. I'll let you know how I liked it in a year or so. Also still reading Mrs. Lincoln: A Life and listening to The Girl With No Shadow on audiobook. Mrs. Lincoln is kind of a disappointment. It's mostly about Abraham, with a few, "Mary must have felt ..." moments thrown in.
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Old 11-30-2009, 06:13 PM
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Just started The Gunslinger. I'm hoping to read all 7 volumes of The Dark Tower back to back to back to back to back.........
Good luck. They get progressively weaker and slower.
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Old 11-30-2009, 06:14 PM
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I'm reading Top Dog by Jerry Jay Carroll. Usually all my reading is done at bedtime, but I'm enjoying this one so much I brought it downstairs.

It's about a Wall Street trader who is magically transformed into a large dog, and wandering in a land where there's a war going on between good and evil forces. It's funny and dark and I'm really enjoying it.
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Old 11-30-2009, 07:11 PM
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I have Ian M. Banks Transition loaded in the Kindle
Banks was my discovery of the year. hadn't read any one his books until earlier this year and am making my way through them. me like a lot. he actually recognizes that humor is a normal part of human interaction.

finished Against a Dark Background recently and am waiting on an inter-library transfer of Use of Weapons
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Old 11-30-2009, 10:24 PM
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It's still November and there are 18 posts...


The Proud Tower again, recommended in this months, er, last months thread. Thanks, whoever you are.

Disaster on the Mississippi about the riverboat Sultana exploding near Memphis with the death of more people than the Titanic, mostly exchanged Union Civil War prisoners.

Poul Anderson's Conan novel, Conan the Rebel.

Matt Helm, The Terrorizers. A novel about Terrorists in the 1970s and Matt Helm killing them.
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:58 PM
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Theodore Rex. So far I've learned that American troops waterboarded people in the Philippines, and that was against policy, and they were court-martialed.
There's obviously much more to it than that; I love that book. Edmund Morris really gets Theodore Roosevelt: his love of nature, his joy in life, his patriotism, his "muscular Christianity," his love of his wife and family, his relishing of the Presidency, his playfulness, his intellectual curiosity, etc. Morris's first book in the anticipated trilogy, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, is also well worth a read.
  #21  
Old 12-01-2009, 03:57 AM
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I'm reading A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore and Being Dead by Vivian Velde.

As for recently finished books, I have a new nomination for "You're kidding, right? They paid them to write this?": House by Ted Dekker & Frank Peretti. Wow, was that awful.
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Old 12-01-2009, 04:24 AM
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Malcolm Gladwell's What the Dog Saw because of a Dope thread about how some reviewer had ripped Gladwell to bits. Looks like good fun so far.
  #23  
Old 12-01-2009, 05:12 AM
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Just finished rereading the entire Preacher comic series. I can not believe I was reading that in class in 7th grade. Still would like to see this as an episodic HBO or Showtime show.

My old crazy French friend at work Yvette gave me a book that I will start reading tonight but I can't remember the name. It is a modern retelling of the Rasputin story in Washington DC. The author is a dead white guy who wrote 20-30 books starting in his late 50s. Any clue, anyone?

I am also currently reading Killing the Buddah: A Heretic's Bible because I just found out my friend Debra has a chapter about her in it.
  #24  
Old 12-01-2009, 05:27 AM
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OK, the important stuff first: Tomorrow I turn 48 (send cards!)

I am reading Jim Butcher's First Lord's Fury and really enjoying it.

Link to last month's thread.
I too am enjoying the writing of Jim Butcher, I'm working my way through the Dresden Files, so far I'm on book five, Death Masks.

Really good fantasy fiction. Bob the skull is my favourite of the supporting cast.
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Old 12-01-2009, 07:11 AM
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Happy birthday! You are truly one of my favorite posters and I appreciate you starting this thread each month. I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow.
What a nice thing to read this morning. Thank you for that gift on my birthday. And thanks for the other birthday greetings as well!
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Old 12-01-2009, 09:44 AM
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For Jane Austen fans: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=542103
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Old 12-01-2009, 10:09 AM
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Last night I bailed on What the Dog Saw, and started on Peter and the Sword of Mercy, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. It’s the fourth in their series of Peter Pan prequels. Ahhh, now I’m having fun!
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Old 12-01-2009, 10:26 AM
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Lanark by Alasdair Gray; about 50 pages to go. Enjoying it very much so far but am a bit worried about the direction the end is going; I’ll hold off forming my verdict until I’ve finished it.
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Old 12-01-2009, 09:26 PM
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The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons. It is unputdownable.
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Old 12-02-2009, 07:47 PM
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OK, the important stuff first: Tomorrow I turn 48 (send cards!)
Happy Birthday, young 'un!


Quote:
Originally Posted by C K Dexter Haven View Post
I'd never read Don Quixote, and we saw a great small-theatre production of "Man of La Mancha" so I'm actually reading D Q.
I enjoyed that myself. It didn't feel like I had to "plod" through it, but then I read it at home at night during a cold Albuquerque winter while the wind was howling outside, so it was a nice, cozy setting, reading it in my toasty apartment with a big mug of hot chocolate.

Myself, I'm about halfway through Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage and enjoying it immensely. As usual, I should have been finished with it by now, but it seems harder and harder to squeeze in much reading time.

The hero's sojourns in Heidelberg and Paris: I see that expat communities have changed very little in the past 100 years; I recognize many of these characters. And I caught the couple of brief, unnamed Paul Gaugin cameo appearances, described by the character Clutton as someone he's met recently in Brittany, and it's up to the reader to know who he's talking about; he was, of course, the indirect subject of Maugham's later novel The Moon and Sixpence.

Where I am now, the hero, Philip Carey, has recently become enamored with the slatternly waitress Mildred Rogers, and this mirrors so very exactly the way farangs (Westerners) over here fall head over heels in love with bargirls. A truly uncanny resemblance. Maugham did, of course, spend some time in Bangkok, but that was long before the days of bargirls. One wing of our world-famous Oriental Hotel, on the bank of the Chao Phraya River that runs through Bangkok, is named for him. And legend has it that Maugham showed up at the Oriental from Burma with a huge dose of malaria and was so sick that the German manager of the hotel insisted he be removed, because he did not want anyone dying in his hotel.
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Old 12-02-2009, 11:43 PM
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Theodore Rex. So far I've learned that American troops waterboarded people in the Philippines, and that was against policy, and they were court-martialed.
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
There's obviously much more to it than that; I love that book. Edmund Morris really gets Theodore Roosevelt: his love of nature, his joy in life, his patriotism, his "muscular Christianity," his love of his wife and family, his relishing of the Presidency, his playfulness, his intellectual curiosity, etc. Morris's first book in the anticipated trilogy, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, is also well worth a read.
I am working my way through The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and it is great reading. I will surely pick up Theodore Rex soon after.

Of course I find Theodore Roosevelt to be one of the most compelling figures in American History and our greatest President.
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Old 12-03-2009, 01:24 AM
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Yellow Back Radio Broke Down by Ishmael Reed

He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope

Astral Dynamics: A New Approach to Out-of-Body Experience by Robert Bruce
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Old 12-03-2009, 01:28 AM
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Ah, Mildred Rogers. If you can imagine it, Bette Davis portrayed her in the 1934 film version. The film obviously didn't begin to do the book justice, but Ms Davis sure put a spin on the way I saw Mildred.

I hope you enjoy the novel. He's got to be one of my favorite authors. I'm actually disappointed I didn't read the Moon and Sixpence before Of Human Bondage solely to have caught the Clutton reference....
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Old 12-03-2009, 06:24 AM
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I'm approaching the end of The Devil's Alphabet by Daryl Gregory. Fifteen years ago a small mid-West town was hit by a devastating series of illnesses...
Good, if a little bit icky when it comes to the 'charlie' mutants' symptoms and their alleviation!
It feels a lot like a James Blaylock novel, but not so whimsical...
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Old 12-03-2009, 06:48 AM
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Just started reading Tolstoy's War and Peace, as part of my long going quest of becoming a pretentious twat. It's started off quite well, though.
  #36  
Old 12-03-2009, 07:41 AM
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Just finished The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss which has a lot of interesting ideas. Many of them not practical for my line of work and the rest of which I do not have the energy to try at this time - but I am glad I read it and will keep it on my shelf.
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:06 AM
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Finished Nine Gates, the book I mentioned last month. The scope of the original mission has widened and the stakes are much higher at the end of this volume, but it's building in a plausible way and I like the characters. Looking forward to the next installment.

I borrowed Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld and tore through it in two days. It's a rousing adventure set in an alternate history/steampunk WWI, with two young protagonists. Because so much of the plot depended on fantastic technology, the illustrations by Keith Thompson were much appreciated. I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to predict that girls will like this story as much as boys (it's marketed as YA). Supposedly there's a sequel in the works.

I have no books checked out from the library at the moment - what a strange feeling that is! Of course there's a pile of used paperbacks to read, I just have to decide what's first.
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:16 AM
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I tried over the last couple of weeks to read Leon Uris' Mitla Pass, but I've been bored to sleep within 50 pages. This is the first of his books that failed to catch my interest.

It'll be a flip of a coin that decides if I start Stephen King's Insomnia or Cell.

Have I mentioned how much I love used book sales?
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:30 AM
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...Of course I find Theodore Roosevelt to be one of the most compelling figures in American History and our greatest President.
Well, he was no Washington, but he was pretty damned good.
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Old 12-03-2009, 10:11 AM
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I'm reading Dog Eat Dog by Jerry Jay Carroll, the sequel to Top Dog.

Bogey has made it back to this world after joining in a Good v. Evil fight in an alternate world where he encountered various monsters, an angel, an evil wizard, and Satan (who appeared to him as Elvis Presley). It's a nice mix of fantasy and reality and adventure and social commentary, with some philosophizing about God and why he doesn't pay more attention to the worlds he created. I'm starting to wish Carroll had written more than three books.
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Old 12-03-2009, 02:30 PM
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470 pages into The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson. It's book 6 of The Malazan Book of the Fallen. Looking back on last month's thread, I only read around 270 pages this past month.

~750 pages left in this book! I might have more time to read over the Thanksgiving holiday.
I finished November 898 pages deep into this behemoth. That means I read 428 pages last month, which is really a lot for me these days. I am really enjoying this series. Contrary to the Wheel of Time at roughly the same stage in that series, I have the sense that Erikson knows where the series is going and I don't feel like he's wasted hundreds of pages at a time where very little happens. Lots happens in this book, all the time! In fact, the battle that I assumed would end this book occurs midway through it. I'm highly anticipating the impending confrontation(s) that I'm assuming will conclude this book.

Erikson's energy for this series, its scope and breadth, and the amount of action he's been packing into it is truly impressive. I hope to finish this book (~300 pages or so left) over my Christmas vacation and begin on book 7, Reaper's Gale.
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Old 12-03-2009, 09:36 PM
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I hope you enjoy the novel. He's got to be one of my favorite authors. I'm actually disappointed I didn't read the Moon and Sixpence before Of Human Bondage solely to have caught the Clutton reference....
Fortunately, I'm familiar with Gaugin's life. When Clutton started speaking of meeting a middle-aged stockbroker who chucked it all, wife and children included, to be an artist, it was pretty clear who that was.
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Old 12-04-2009, 01:44 AM
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Started The Brothers Karamazov about a month ago, taking it in at a leisurely pace. I discovered last night that an essay on Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway would be on my English Lit final exam, so I've been gobbling it down. Wonderful work, it's a shame I have to read it so quickly.
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Old 12-04-2009, 03:25 AM
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Banks was my discovery of the year. hadn't read any one his books until earlier this year and am making my way through them. me like a lot. he actually recognizes that humor is a normal part of human interaction.

finished Against a Dark Background recently and am waiting on an inter-library transfer of Use of Weapons
You might want to give his non-SF books a try as well.......The Bridge is an interesting book. My favourite though is The Wasp Factory (be warned though it is a tad unsettling)
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:53 AM
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You might want to give his non-SF books a try as well.......The Bridge is an interesting book. My favourite though is The Wasp Factory (be warned though it is a tad unsettling)
I actually prefer his non-SF books. The Wasp Factory and Complicity are my favorites.

In my edition of The Wasp Factory, the publisher put a bunch of negative reviews on the back where the glowing tributes usually go (mostly along the lines of "this is sensationalist tripe that will only appeal to pseudo-intellectual perverts")
  #46  
Old 12-04-2009, 09:00 AM
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Right now, Edding's The Diamond Throne; Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander, and a neat little gem called The Great Dirigibles: Their Triumphs and Disasters that I found in the local used book store. (The story I'm researching's going to be a doozy.)

Also a pdf copy of Xxenophile, and several fanfics of varying quality. There, ya happy?
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Old 12-04-2009, 09:16 AM
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Of course I find Theodore Roosevelt to be one of the most compelling figures in American History and our greatest President.
Then you will love Theodore Rex. He was certainly a great president, and Morris is giving a great picture of him, but I wish it were a mite less gushy. He ascribes internal feelings to Roosevelt, and to others, that are impossible to actually know. Each time, Roosevelt is saintly and the other person is yielding to some human flaw.

Still, it's a nice read and is moving along quite well for such an imposing tome.
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Old 12-04-2009, 09:36 AM
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Down to about the last 160 pages of The Brothers Karamazov. I didn't expect to like it as much as I do.
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Old 12-04-2009, 10:34 AM
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Recently, I finished:

Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffenger. I thought The Time Traveler’s Wife was lovely and was really excited to read this... but I didn’t find it enjoyable at all.

The Whiskey Rebels, by David Liss. I’m a big fan of Liss’s historical fiction. His work tends to follow a formula -- A down-and-out gentleman takes on a vast and complicated conspiracy in order to win the heart and safety of an unobtainable woman – but his choice of time periods and characters are always great. This time, the story takes place in early post-Revolution America and centers around Alexander Hamilton and the new Bank of the United States. Liss does his research and can translate history into a living narrative. Big recommend.

The Sea Wolf, by Jack London. Usually, I think of London as “that wolf guy,” so this book was a surprise to me. It has one of the most enjoyable characters I’ve read in a long while – Wolf Larson – and the most insipid – Maude Brewster. This character single-handedly ruined the last third of the book. Interesting, but uneven.

Map of Bones, by James Rollins. My sibling likes the Sigma Force novels and finally badgered me into reading one of them. Actually, this was quite a bit of fun. It drew obvious comparisons to Dan Brown, but a group of soldier-scientists are way awesomer than a pontificating Harvard professor.

Currently, I’m reading:

Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins. The sequel to The Hunger Games and a book I’ve been waiting months to read.
  #50  
Old 12-04-2009, 01:52 PM
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The Sea Wolf, by Jack London. Usually, I think of London as “that wolf guy,” so this book was a surprise to me. It has one of the most enjoyable characters I’ve read in a long while – Wolf Larson – and the most insipid – Maude Brewster. This character single-handedly ruined the last third of the book. Interesting, but uneven.
Wait, so you're reading a book by "that wolf guy"with 'wolf' in the title, and with a character called 'Wolf,' and you're... suprised?

I read Her Fearful Symmetry too, and wasn't hugely impressed. As an identical twin, I find most books that try and explore twin relationships don't do it very well, IMHO. Another thing I noticed was, similiar to Time Traveler's Wife, great swathes of unneccessary exposition. This one was too much detail about the cemetary, in the last, it was the process of Clair's art/papermaking. I feel like the author has done a lot of research into her esoteric subjects, and wants to make sure her readers know it! An author whom I think has the opposite characteristic is Carol Shields - very often her charaters have amazing and unique occupations, like mermaid folklorist, mazemaker, and late night DJ; but their careers don't define them, and the reader isn't beaten over the head with the minutae about them. Does that make sense?

I recently finished... a bunch of books I disliked so much that I have forgotten their titles My library habits have been narrowly defined of late: I browse the New Books section, in forlorn hope of finding new works by favourite authors, then give up and get rubbish with pretty covers.

Oh! Except the new Jane Hamilton! I loved her others, Book of Ruth andMap of the World, although they were both madly depressing and SAD - so her new one, billed as a comedy, Laura Rider's Masterpiece was great fun, though too too short. Great characterization, as always; and I do like to read what writers write about writers
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