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  #1  
Old 09-30-2010, 07:16 AM
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Whatcha Readin' Oct 2010 Edition


Happy Halloween. Pumpkins and ghosts and all that.

I'm reading Demon Blood by Meljean Brook, an amazingly dull urban fantasy with a mixed up mythology that so far I am having trouble tracking. Filled with demons, vampires, angels, guardians and Nephilim, it is (so far) hard for me to track who does what and why. It seems to be an excuse for bad romance writing. I'm about to give up on it.

Last month's thread.
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:20 AM
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About 80% through The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, the third of Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy. Enjoying it just as much as the first two.
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:26 AM
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I'm in the middle of Ape House, but once that's out of the way I plan to get all ghoully with Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, Edith Wharton's Ghost Stories, and Stephen King's The Stand.
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:30 AM
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Errors of Atheism by J. Angelo Corlett
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:27 AM
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After going through the index, I'm skimming some topics that interest me (the British monarchy, Bill Clinton, defense and foreign policy) in Tony Blair's new autobio, A Journey. It's pretty good - I may end up reading the whole book. Also finished Mark Millar's graphic novel Kick-Ass, which isn't nearly as good as the movie.
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:39 AM
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I just finished Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood by George MacDonald, and am now reading a Dick Francis mystery, Rat Race.
  #7  
Old 09-30-2010, 12:57 PM
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Just finished Joe Hill's Heart-Shaped Box, which I liked. Not perfect by any means, but it was good and had a few moments that were very good. Reminded me very much of his dad's early books.

Moving on to The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami.
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Old 09-30-2010, 01:06 PM
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Economics In One Lesson
by Henry Hazlitt

*LINK* to Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Economics-One-.../dp/0517548232
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Old 09-30-2010, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
After going through the index, I'm skimming some topics that interest me (the British monarchy, Bill Clinton, defense and foreign policy) in Tony Blair's new autobio, A Journey. It's pretty good - I may end up reading the whole book. Also finished Mark Millar's graphic novel Kick-Ass, which isn't nearly as good as the movie.
I may have to watch the movie, then. I read Kick-Ass last week, I think, and really enjoyed it, and thought it was really clever.
SPOILER:

First, it seems like we're watching someone make the fatal mistake of assuming the laws of cartoon physics can be translated into the real world, without even referencing any particular comic, because afterall, there's not really any comic hero who doesn't have either a) super-powers or b) loads of money. But, surprisingly, after a brief set back, it turns out that it works after all. Works so well, in fact, that it allows "regular" people who just try to be superheros take out the entire criminal conglomerate. So, in a sense, it's a comic that presents to reflect about the irreality of comics worlds, while completely validating them.


But YMMV may vary, I guess
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Old 09-30-2010, 02:43 PM
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Those are valid points, Enterprise. The comics and the movie were made at the same time and there was some cross-pollination there, I've read. There are certainly differences between the two, as well, and I think the movie is better. Hope you like it, too!
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Old 09-30-2010, 03:22 PM
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I'm finishing up The Healing Of America: A Global Quest For Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care by TR Reid. I like it- a pretty good overview of how other countries provide health care for their citizens, and what we could learn from them. Will probably start Larsson's ...Hornet's Nest next.
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Old 09-30-2010, 03:33 PM
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T.R. Reid hosted a PBS special a few years ago that compared Japan's and Great Britain's healthcare systems to the U.S.'s, and it was very good. Hadn't known he wrote a book about it, too.
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Old 09-30-2010, 06:28 PM
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Still reading The Lies of Locke Lamora. and enjoying it.
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Old 10-01-2010, 11:57 PM
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Just finished The Help by Katherine Stockett, and about to start Pratchett's I Shall Wear Midnight. I enjoyed The Help - I know some here have found it a little too pat, but I got very involved in the story.
  #15  
Old 10-03-2010, 06:46 PM
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Just starting DON'T VOTE, It Just Encourages the Bastards by P. J O'Rourke. It's a sequel to his Parliament of Whores-A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government from 1991.
  #16  
Old 10-03-2010, 07:56 PM
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Just started rereading William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade. I read it originally in the 80s but came across it for a few bucks online and got it. I am enjoying it just as much as first time around.

On my commute I am listening to Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind.
  #17  
Old 10-04-2010, 09:21 AM
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Finished Last Words of the Executed by Robert K. Elder. It wasn’t as interesting as I had hoped. Nearly everyone claimed to be on their way to see Jesus, some said they were guilty, some said they were innocent, many thought the death penalty should be abolished. Also, the book gave the quote from the condemned and then a description of their crimes. I would have preferred it the other way round.

Currently reading Class: A guide through the American status system, by Paul Fussell. I’ve just about decided that I’m a high proletariat, although I own books and don’t have any clothes with writing on them. Yay, I’m the cream of the crap!
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:00 PM
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Finished The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest and thus all of Stieg Larsson's Millenium detective trilogy. I can highly recommend all three of the books. Reports are Larsson had plans for 10 novels and had 3/4 of the next installment written on his computer when he died. I have to say the world lost a really great writer.

A couple of minor points I found annoying. One is his ridiculous "Thai" name in the second book that he obviously made up; I suppose he thought it sounded Asian. And in the third book is a throwaway reference to "Thailand's pedophile industry," for which he obviously relied on what "everyone just knows" and did not bother to check out the present reality, odd behavior for an investigative reporter. I don't think he knew much about Thailand. But these are only two sentences in countless thousands and can be forgiven in this case.

Not being a boxing fan, I was astounded to learn recently that Paolo Roberto, a major character in the second book, is a real person! A real Swedish boxer despite his decidedly un-Swedish name (he is of partial Italian heritage, I learn from his Wikipedia entry here). I caught on that he was real when I read he played himself in the Swedish film version. "What's this?" I thought. "How can a fictional character play himself?" So I looked him up and learned who he was. In the story, he's one of the good guys, naturally.

Next up is The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown. The wife read it first and has questions, but of course I would not let her ask me anything until I'd read it. Now she's just started Larsson's Millenium trilogy herself.

Last edited by Siam Sam; 10-05-2010 at 11:02 PM.
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Old 10-06-2010, 06:17 AM
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Finished Odd Is On Our Side. I am a fan of Dean Koontz' Odd Thomas series (although the first is the best) and so I bought this without looking too closely.

This one is prequel and a graphic novel. I'm not really a fan of the genre and I'm disappointed that this is the second time I've bought a book by an author I read without knowing it was a graphic novel.

It was quick and light, low on plot and high on pictures. I didn't hate it, but certainly wouldn't recommend it unless you really like both Odd Thomas and graphic novels.
  #20  
Old 10-06-2010, 07:21 AM
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The Blessings of the Animals by Katrina Kittle, about a veterinarian whose rescue animals help get her though her divorce.
  #21  
Old 10-06-2010, 09:13 AM
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True North: A Journey into Unexplored Wilderness, by Elliott Merrick. This is a memoir that was written in the 1930s by a man who walked away from his job as an ad man in New Jersey and moved to Labrador to live in the wild. In my opinion, the writing in this book is on a par with Thoreau, Emerson and John Muir. Merrick had an acute sense of the beauty of nature and a deep appreciation for the simple life. His writing style is lyrical and evocative.

I highly recommend this for anyone who would like to gain some peace of mind in a chaotic world.
  #22  
Old 10-06-2010, 11:24 AM
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I just finished 'The Spy's Wife' by Reginald Hill. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

I've two books on the go right now - 'Unleashed' by Sina Queyras, which is a compilation of her blogs on poetry, art, LitCrit and miscellany. It is very interesting and thought provoking, and it's very odd to be reading somebody's blogs in print form.

I'm also reading through 'Eunoia' by Christian Bök. This is the collection of poems from last year where each of the five chapters uses only one vowel. It's a remarkable acheivement - the constraint is as challenging for the reader as it was for the poet. It is sometimes difficult to get past the staggering technique and simply appreciate the poet's choice of words as one would in any other piece of poetry. There is so much to appreciate in the pure 'crossword puzzle' craftsmanship, though. Certainly worth the reading.

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Old 10-06-2010, 12:46 PM
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Blood Red Roses by Margaret Lawrence. Her writing takes turns between being appealing and annoying. This is the second in a mystery series set in post-revolutionary Maine.

The Outcast Dove by Sharan Newman. I loved the early books in this series and get frustrated with the later books. I can't explain why. Mystery series set in medieval France.

Death at the Bar by Ngaio Marsh. Mystery series from the Golden Age. Marsh isn't as appealing to me as either Sayers or Christie.
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Old 10-06-2010, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
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A couple of minor points I found annoying (snip!)
Hee, I had a similar reaction to some of Dragon Tattoo - silly logistical things that just didn't ring true in the somewhat incidental Australian setting. Like: there's no "sheep ranches" in northern Australia, it's too wet for sheep and they get foot rot. Also, we don't use the term "ranch," they are called cattle "stations." I think one Lisbeth's hacker buddies also used a phone number's area code to hone in geographically to where it was likely to be - but the 08 area code is shared by Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory - a pretty large area, to say the least

Oh, I just finished China Mieville's Kraken at the urging of my husband. That man has a pretty intense imagination. I didn't see the twist coming, but was quite underwhelmed by it, maybe because I have a background in zoology and museums.

What next? My book club has been a little lax in choosing our next month's title, I will have to email them to chase up.

Last edited by araminty; 10-06-2010 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 10-06-2010, 02:22 PM
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Still jumping around in Tony Blair's A Journey, his autobiography. Very interesting. He's remarkably candid about his own political klutziness early in his career; admits to serious self-doubt before becoming the Labour Party leader, and falling prey to borderline alcoholism by the time he left office; generously appraises Gordon Brown's virtues but scathingly lists his faults; praises George W. Bush's moral clarity and support for democracy while acknowledging that they disagreed on most environmental and social issues. Anyone interested in British politics should take a look.
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Old 10-06-2010, 02:28 PM
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I liked Kraken and the concept of the angels.

Right now I'm taking a short break from Mike Carey's Felix books and working through Robert J Sawyer's Quintaglio series. Because I just finished John Ringo's Posleen books (barring the Cally books) and Charles Stross's Laundry series.

I need to read slower, I swear.
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Old 10-06-2010, 05:05 PM
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Just finished Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan. It's about a 19-year-old girl who goes missing, and the effect on her family. Some Amazon reviewers complained about the mundanities -- they wanted to know more about what happened to the girl -- but that's not what the book was about. Don't read it expecting a standard whodunnit, but for insight on how a family gets through it.

Tried to read A Dark Matter by Peter Straub, but the characters were annoying and he was using too many adjectives. Why did I think Straub's style was spare? It ain't, probably never was. So I went to Amazon and read enough one-star reviews to confirm my decision to dump it. Maybe I'll re-read Ghost Story.
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Old 10-06-2010, 10:56 PM
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Hee, I had a similar reaction to some of Dragon Tattoo - silly logistical things that just didn't ring true in the somewhat incidental Australian setting. Like: there's no "sheep ranches" in northern Australia, it's too wet for sheep and they get foot rot. Also, we don't use the term "ranch," they are called cattle "stations." I think one Lisbeth's hacker buddies also used a phone number's area code to hone in geographically to where it was likely to be - but the 08 area code is shared by Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory - a pretty large area, to say the least
Actually, the book mentions that the guy driving Blomkvist out in the pickup tells him about the setup out there to pass the time while driving and does finally mention they're called "stations" and not "ranches." But I was wondering about the authenticity of the Australian setting.

Another thing I found amusing about Paolo Roberto is the way Larsson always, and I mean always, uses his full name. It's never just Paolo or Roberto, but always Paolo Roberto, just like that one guy is always calling Bill Murray "Bill Murray" in the movie "Coffee and Cigarettes" (2003). Seems to do that with Miriam Wu, also. Sure he does it sometimes with Blomkvist and others, but for those two he did it nonstop.

Last edited by Siam Sam; 10-06-2010 at 10:58 PM.
  #29  
Old 10-06-2010, 11:27 PM
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Just finished [I]Tried to read A Dark Matter by Peter Straub, but the characters were annoying and he was using too many adjectives. Why did I think Straub's style was spare? It ain't, probably never was. So I went to Amazon and read enough one-star reviews to confirm my decision to dump it. Maybe I'll re-read Ghost Story.
I thought it was his worst book, AuntiePam, really dreadful. In fact, when I found out
SPOILER:
what actually happened in that field, it's was so lame, so utterly ridiculous, unscary and poorly imagined, I snorted my coffee laughing. There really aren't enough

I'm reading Where is the Mango Princess?, by Cathy Crimmins, about her husband's brain injury after he was run over by a speedboat. It's an absolute page turner, so immediate and accurate that the part I'm reading now is almost excruciating. Anyone who has recently spent time in an ICU awaiting news about a loved one will recognize the experience right down to the description of "Dr. Asshole" and the rack of informational pamphlets by the waiting room phone.
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Old 10-06-2010, 11:55 PM
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Wigs on the Green, by Nancy Mitford.
  #31  
Old 10-07-2010, 01:45 AM
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I finished Just After Sunset by Steven King last week, and I'm disappointed. Like most of his books since that car accident a decade ago, it just wasn't very good. The only one published since then I really liked was Blaze, and he wrote the initial draft decades ago.

I also finished Broken by Kelley Armstrong this week. Besides the fact that I really dig her heroines, I also love how she weaves historical characters into some of the stories. Haunted had the ghost of Lizzie Borden as an informer inside a hell dimension, and Broken had Jack the Ripper as a person stuck in a time portal until someone got blood on the In Hell letter and turned him loose in modern day, along with a couple of zombies.

Next up: the first two books in the Mediator series by Meg Cabot (I read the first one years ago and forgot about since the library didn't have the others then) for a bit of seasonally themed entertainment; Turncoat by Jim Butcher though I'm getting sad that there's only one more book after this so far; and Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs.
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Old 10-07-2010, 05:44 AM
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I am re-reading the Kenzie/Gennaro series by Dennis Lehane in anticipation of the November release of the sixth book, "Moonlight Mile". I finished "Darkness, Take My Hand" last night and am ready to start "Sacred" tonight.
  #33  
Old 10-07-2010, 10:54 AM
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I thought it was his worst book, AuntiePam, really dreadful. In fact, when I found out
SPOILER:
what actually happened in that field, it's was so lame, so utterly ridiculous, unscary and poorly imagined, I snorted my coffee laughing. There really aren't enough
I've already taken the book back to the library. Care to share what happened? Was it a combine run amok?

Today I picked up two more by George Pelecanos and Lost in the Forest by Sue Miller.
  #34  
Old 10-07-2010, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by AuntiePam View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by koeeoaddi View Post
I thought it was his worst book, AuntiePam, really dreadful. In fact, when I found out
SPOILER:
what actually happened in that field, it's was so lame, so utterly ridiculous, unscary and poorly imagined, I snorted my coffee laughing. There really aren't enough
I've already taken the book back to the library. Care to share what happened? Was it a combine run amok?
Now that would have been a satisfying conclusion! I've tried to block the whole thing, but IIRC, our intrepid young hippies all
SPOILER:
join hands in a circle with their smarmy guru, light candles, chant Kumbaya and conjure up a Hell dimension populated by the cast of Clash of the Titans and the icon from a discarded Underwood Deviled Ham can.

More or less.
  #35  
Old 10-07-2010, 01:01 PM
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More or less.
Ew. Not good. Sounds like the same letdown as the end of Floating Dragon. The buildup was excellent, but the reveal was lame.

I really liked lost boy lost girl and In the Night Room, but I might just give up on Straub.
  #36  
Old 10-07-2010, 05:41 PM
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"Patti LuPone: A Memoir" by, duh, Patti LuPone. Kind of interesting, though unsatisfying because a lot of it is technical and she doesn't go into much depth or share any juicy stories, which I do appreciate in a Hollywood autobiography (and the Broadway actors are mostly unknown to me). Her chapters on Evita are rather... trying. SO much went SO wrong, a lesser woman would have given up.
  #37  
Old 10-07-2010, 05:45 PM
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Just got Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld, the sequel to the super awesome Leviathan. Yay, steampunk.
  #38  
Old 10-07-2010, 05:57 PM
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Completed:

Dragon Strike: Book Four of the Age of Fire by E. E. Knight
Dragon Rule: Book Five of The Age of Fire by E. E. Knight
The Magicians' Guild (The Black Magician Trilogy, Book 1) by Trudi Canavan
Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan ~ ugh. This was a hand-me-down from a friend. I see why!
A Stainless Steel Rat Is Born by Harry Harrison ~ apparently this wasn't the first of the series. Oops! They're all out of print right now so I won't be exploring the series any further for now.
Stormlord Rising by Glenda Larke ~ I really liked this fantasy. The third isn't in print yet so I will have to be patient.
There Will Be Dragons by John Ringo ~ decent start but pulled one of those 'end of the world as we know it' twists where the Renn folk are the only ones who can take the changes. Excuse me? Most Renn/SCA people would starve to death arguing about who has to do what and what sort of recognition they'd get if they did it...
Let Me In by John Aivide Lindqvist ~ decided to give it a shot and wish I hadn't. Should have known better. I just couldn't handle the cat thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
True North: A Journey into Unexplored Wilderness, by Elliott Merrick. This is a memoir that was written in the 1930s by a man who walked away from his job as an ad man in New Jersey and moved to Labrador to live in the wild. In my opinion, the writing in this book is on a par with Thoreau, Emerson and John Muir. Merrick had an acute sense of the beauty of nature and a deep appreciation for the simple life. His writing style is lyrical and evocative.

I highly recommend this for anyone who would like to gain some peace of mind in a chaotic world.
Added to my list. Life isn't so good right now and some peace of mind would be nice.
  #39  
Old 10-08-2010, 08:53 AM
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AuntiePam, how was the latest David Mitchell book? I have it, but haven't picked it up yet. I'm a little nervous about it, not sure why,

In the meantime, I just finished book two of The Strain trilogy. Not bad, but not great.

I've also picked up Sandman Slim on recomendation of someone here, just started it, and although I don't generally like the "Urban Fantasy" genre, this looks to be pretty good.

Of course, this is all just place filler until the 28th, when the new Culture Novel comes out.
  #40  
Old 10-08-2010, 09:07 AM
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AuntiePam, how was the latest David Mitchell book? I have it, but haven't picked it up yet. I'm a little nervous about it, not sure why,
It's no Cloud Atlas but I liked it a lot. It's a straight-up historical, so if you like historicals, you'll like it.
  #41  
Old 10-08-2010, 09:33 AM
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Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour by David Bianculli.
  #42  
Old 10-08-2010, 04:42 PM
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Travels with Charley, John Steinbeck. Ramblin' around America circa 1960. It holds up quite well -- nice little character descriptions, good insights that still apply today, plus a few observations that remind you of what has changed since then.
  #43  
Old 10-11-2010, 09:55 AM
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I finished the audiobook version of The Help, which I enjoyed quite a bit. I think it goes beyond the "chick lit" brush it's been painted with. Admittedly, it's also not the "change my life forever OMG OMG!" book that I've heard the Oprah crowd claim it to be, but it is engaging and moving.

I just started Harlan Ellison's Strange Wine. It's my first foray into Ellison.
  #44  
Old 10-11-2010, 12:45 PM
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I’m reading In This House of Brede, by Rumer Godden. It was recommended in a recent thread about “comfort reading”, and it does have that soothing feeling to it.
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Old 10-11-2010, 01:14 PM
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Still enjoying Scott Turow's Ultimate Punishment. He has a calm, thoughtful, straightforward style that goes well with an emotional topic like the death penalty.
  #46  
Old 10-11-2010, 02:28 PM
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I really enjoyed Christopher Brookmyre's Boiling a Frog - it's my favorite of his books yet. I've ordered the next two books featuring the same protagonist, and then I'll probably start reading his others.

While on vacation I read and enjoyed another Elizabeth George mystery (Deception on His Mind), and I also read an old favorite book from my childhood, Mrs. Mike. It made me cry on the beach, where I had no kleenex.

During our long drive we listened to most of The Fortune of War, by Patrick O'Brian, on audiobook. We'll probably get through The Surgeon's Mate during our Thanksgiving and Christmas driving. I have succeeded in sucking my husband into this series.

I just finished The Hippopotamus Pool, another Amelia Peabody mystery. It begins with their celebration of the new year of 1900. I'm enjoying Ramses (Amelia's precocious son) as he grows up.
  #47  
Old 10-11-2010, 02:59 PM
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Just started World War Z.
  #48  
Old 10-11-2010, 06:25 PM
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Finished Joseph O'Connor's Star of the Sea, which had been recommended by jjimm. A bunch of people on a ship in 1849, fleeing the Potato Famine. It's marketed as a mystery, which it totally isn't, although someone is murdered at the end.

Liked it a lot -- gave it to a friend for his birthday on Saturday (since I'm positive he's already acquired every other book I've ever recommended to him, I decided against English Passengers or Cloud Atlas, the books to which jjimm had compared it).
  #49  
Old 10-11-2010, 06:40 PM
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"Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese. Fantastic. It's like an all-you-can-eat international buffet. Would make a fabulous movie.
  #50  
Old 10-11-2010, 06:44 PM
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Just finished "True North" and started "The Last Stand", by Nathaniel Philbrick (another Little Bighorn book).
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