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Old 01-31-2014, 10:24 AM
Le Ministre de l'au-delà is offline
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Khadaji's Whatcha Readin' - February 2014


Welcome, everyone! My New Year's resolution to make more time for reading hasn't worked out as well as would have liked, and yet, the time I have made and the books I have read so far in 2014 have been very rewarding, indeed. My time gets easier by the middle of the month - no, I shouldn't even say that! I'm beginning to believe in jinxes...

I have two books still on the go - Stephen Booth's Blind to the Bones, which is the fourth novel in the Ben Cooper/Diane Fry series. It's an odd mix of police procedural and soap opera, set in a corner of the UK that you just don't hear much about. And yet, for all those elements that interest me tremendously, it never seems to elevate itself much beyond a rainy weekend at the cottage sort of book. I've got more of his books that I'll probably read, but it's sort of like the M*A*S*H re-run of literature - it fills the time, and two months later, you can't quite remember if you read that one or not...

Much more engaging is Frederic Morton's 'A Nervous Splendour', which is a fascinating look at ten very specific months in the history of Vienna and the Austro-Hungarian empire. (Late 1888 to 1889 - we're spending a lot of time discussing the Crown Prince Rudolf, setting up the idea of what was lost in January, 1889 when Rudolph killed his mistress and then himself.) Morton is also stressing the incestuous interconnectedness of Vienna at that time, showing how Freud, Wolf, Bruckner, Mahler, Klimt, Schnitzler, et al. were on the cusp of their greatness, and running around the same social and intellectual circles. A fantastic bit of social history!

And you - whatcha readin'?


A link to last month's thread.




For those of you unfamiliar with him, Khadaji was a long time doper with a kind heart and an encouraging word for everyone. One of his passions was books, and he started this long chain of book discussion threads many years ago. When he died in January of 2013, it was decided that the best way to honour his memory was to continue these threads, and name them after him. May his corner of heaven have a well stocked library, a comfy chair and lots of light.
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:29 AM
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This week, I started A Feast for Crows, by George RR Martin, the fourth book in his series A Song of Ice and Fire. I'm about a fifth of the way through it.
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Old 01-31-2014, 11:29 AM
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I am currently reading Prodigy by Marie Lu. This is the second book of the Legend Trilogy. I will be reading the third book, Champion, after that. I read 13 books in January and am hoping to continue reading 10+ books a month. Next up on the list is the Razoblade Trilogy by Ann Aguirre, the Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver, and the Midnighter's Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld.
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Old 01-31-2014, 12:07 PM
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Just finished The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum. Great fast paced look at fledgeling forensic science in prohibition era America.

Currently reading the third Expanse novel, and waiting for Jeff Vandermeer's Annihilation to drop into my kindle next week.
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Old 01-31-2014, 12:22 PM
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Finished reading Nancy Marie Brown's Song of the Vikings, her bio of Snorri Sturleson and how he influenced all our ideas of Viking myth, and writing more of Icelandic literature than I'd realized one person had.

On to Michael Brooks' Free Radicals: The Secret Anarchy of Science, which put more previously unknown facts about scientists in the first 40 pages than I'd encountered in any other 40 pages. Looks to be a good read. I hadn't realized, for instance, that Michael Faraday belonged to an odd Christian sect called the Sandemanians -- of whom I'd never heard.


On audio, I finished Clive Cussler's Zero Hour, which proved to be as ludicrous as ever. I have another of his audiobooks on tap, but I need a break, so I'm listening to Maureen Dowd's Bushworld.
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Old 01-31-2014, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Le Ministre de l'au-delà View Post
For those of you unfamiliar with him, Khadaji was a long time doper with a kind heart and an encouraging word for everyone. One of his passions was books, and he started this long chain of book discussion threads many years ago. When he died in January of 2013, it was decided that the best way to honour his memory was to continue these threads, and name them after him. May his corner of heaven have a well stocked library, a comfy chair and lots of light.
That would be nice.

Thanks for keeping these threads up, Ministre. They're my favorites.
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Old 01-31-2014, 12:30 PM
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I'm about halfway through The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, The Playboy Prince by Jane Ridley http://www.amazon.com/The-Heir-Appar.../dp/1400062551

It's quite good, and an amazing peek into the sexual escapades and intrigues in Victorian Era England, as well as his relationship with his mother the Queen, his wife and his (amazingly broad) extended royal family.
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Old 01-31-2014, 12:32 PM
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Finished up Inferno/All Hell Let Loose last night. I don't have a lot to add to what I've already said, except perhaps that I never realized how hopeless the war was for the Axis from a fairly early point. If Germany had been run by a halfway sane government and surrendered before the Soviets had went too far into Eastern Europe, what a different world it might've been post-war. Too, I had to wonder about what would've happened if we'd not developed the atomic bomb and had to invade the Japanese "mainland." I knew the Soviets were redeploying the Red Army to the east; I hadn't realized they actually engaged in a decent battle or two before we ended the war. I suspect we might've had a set of Soviet satellite states in Asia as well (though we wound up with several communist regimes in the area anyway.) Finally, I don't think I'll ever again doubt Truman's decision to drop the bomb. Descriptions of the battles in the Pacific made the calculus clear to me.

I still have my eye on Tuchman's Guns of August, but I think I'm going to take enough time off of the heavy non-fiction to have a little fluff. Since I never finished reading Steven Brust's Brokedown Palace when I started it ages ago (I lost my copy halfway through), I'll give it a go.

Also, since we may have some other Dragaera fans here, I have to share My Little Jhereg. Assassination is Magic!
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Old 01-31-2014, 12:33 PM
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I'm feeling kinda guilty for liking The Long Ships by Frans Bengtsson, and for rooting for Red Orm and Toke and the guys. Vikings were not the kind of people you'd want to see coming to your village and I have to keep remembering that. The history isn't exactly sanitized, but the details of what happens are certainly omitted.

But what a fun read!
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Old 01-31-2014, 01:07 PM
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I'm feeling kinda guilty for liking The Long Ships by Frans Bengtsson, and for rooting for Red Orm and Toke and the guys. Vikings were not the kind of people you'd want to see coming to your village and I have to keep remembering that. The history isn't exactly sanitized, but the details of what happens are certainly omitted.

But what a fun read!
Did you ever read Guy Gavriel Kay's The Last Light of the Sun? I had a similar problem with it. One of the protagonists was a Viking youth at the time of Alfred the Great, and Kay managed to write it with a wonderful sympathy. However much the English, Welsh and Vikings were in conflict with each other, no one side was 'the evil villains' or 'the only good guys'.
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Old 01-31-2014, 02:09 PM
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I haven't read that, thanks for the rec. I like Kay's stuff.

What you say about writing with sympathy is probably how I should view this. It's the rape that's a problem. It happens off the page and Bengtsson avoids description and detail, so that helps some.
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Old 01-31-2014, 05:43 PM
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Three quarters of the way through Victims by Jonathon Kellerman. So far not too overly twisty, it's not high culture but I'm enjoying it.

I have Black Ice by Michael Connelly lined up to read next.
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by LawMonkey View Post
Finished up Inferno/All Hell Let Loose last night. I don't have a lot to add to what I've already said, except perhaps that I never realized how hopeless the war was for the Axis from a fairly early point. If Germany had been run by a halfway sane government and surrendered before the Soviets had went too far into Eastern Europe, what a different world it might've been post-war. Too, I had to wonder about what would've happened if we'd not developed the atomic bomb and had to invade the Japanese "mainland." I knew the Soviets were redeploying the Red Army to the east; I hadn't realized they actually engaged in a decent battle or two before we ended the war. I suspect we might've had a set of Soviet satellite states in Asia as well (though we wound up with several communist regimes in the area anyway.) Finally, I don't think I'll ever again doubt Truman's decision to drop the bomb. Descriptions of the battles in the Pacific made the calculus clear to me.
I still can't help but wonder how the war might have been altered if Hitler had deferred to his many talented military minds. They probably still would have lost being squeezed on two fronts as they were, but him not being the ultimate decision maker on military matters may have extended the war quite a bit as they might have adopted very different tactics and lines of defense.
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:21 PM
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I'm re-reading Harry Turtledove's Settling Accounts: Return Engagement. The eighth book of the Southern Victory series, where the Confederacy won the Civil War, they fought the US in a second Mexican War, they allied with the UK and France to fight the US in World War I (which the US won), the US allies with Germany and they're currently fighting the Confederacy in World War II. Three books left in this series. Yes, eleven books. But I like them.
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Old 02-01-2014, 02:08 AM
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I bought Jonathan Lethem's As She Climbed Across the Table a little while ago, so that's probably what I'll start with. I'll probably get started on V.S. Ramachandran's Phantoms in the Brain at the same time.
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Old 02-01-2014, 05:01 AM
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I've just finished A Darkling Sea by James L. Cambais, which I really enjoyed.
It's sf, set on a distant frozen water planet, or, actually, in the dark oceans under the several kilometre thick ice. Humans have set up a scientific base on the deep sea floor under the ice to study the apparently intelligent life there but, due to a treaty with the Sholen, another space-going race, they mustn't interfere. But of course it goes wrong and the alien Sholen send a team to investigate possible treaty infractions...
All three races are well developed, with sympathetic (or otherwise) characters as the situation spins out of control. The Ilmatarans, especially, have a fascinating culture.

It'll almost certainly be one of my sf books of the year.

Not sure what's next; I can't find my copy of The Rabbit Back Literary Society by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen (paused 1/2 way through) about a strange death in a little Finnish town so I may try the new Joe Haldeman thriller, Work Done for Hire.
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Old 02-02-2014, 08:20 AM
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Read No.6 volume 3 yesterday, though I'm not certain manga counts here.

Finished Victims, liked it a lot, Kellerman has returned to this roots and left the see-how-smart-I-am twisty plots behind.

Should start Black Ice today or tomorrow... might just read manga today
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Old 02-02-2014, 01:04 PM
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It took a while, but I finally finished Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man.

I'm now on to Cop Hater by Ed McBain.
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Old 02-02-2014, 06:44 PM
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Finished Free Radicals. Also read Bad News: The Best of Esquire's Dubious Achievement Awards, which covers them up through 1984. I'm sorry they stopped that feature.


Right now I've got Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson's Hoka! on tap. I've always wanted to read the Hoka stories, and this collection gives me four of them, with illustrations (some by Phil Foglio from 12983!). The book says "Soon to be a Major Motion Picture!" on the back, but that clearly never happened.

I'm also reading Archimedes Nesselrode by Justine Graykin. I heard her read part of it at Arisia 2014 two weeks back, and had to read the rest. She autographed my copy.

http://www.amazon.com/Archimedes-Nes.../dp/1771151307

At the same session, I read part of my forthcoming novella The Flight of the Hand Pfall. I also read my Dr. Seuss' Beowulf (as appeared on this Board just before Christmas.) On her blog, Graykin wrote:

Quote:
The Most Brilliantly Funny Reading award goes, hands down, to [CalMeacham], with his Grinch version of Beowulf, which had everyone in the room laughing fit to wet themselves.

I have substituted by Board name for my real-life name in the above..

http://justinegraykin.wordpress.com/ Entry for 1/22/2014

Last edited by CalMeacham; 02-02-2014 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 02-04-2014, 09:46 PM
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I just finished Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules, ed. by David Sedaris, as an audiobook. The title has nothing to do with the stories, and none of them are by Sedaris himself; they're his favorite stories by other authors. Most of them did nothing for me, but "Cosmopolitan" by Akhil Sharma was oddly affecting - it's about a retired telecom engineer whose wife has left him to return to India. His daughter has drifted away and, lonely and with time on his hands, he begins an affair with a neighboring woman. It's a quiet, well-written tale, and is read by the author.

I'm almost done with Listening In, ed. by Ted Witmer, a collection of JFK's White House tapes, and am still working my way through Asimov's commentaries on Shakespeare.
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Old 02-05-2014, 02:55 PM
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I'm about a quarter of the way into The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling). I don't read a lot of mysteries, but I needed a change of pace and it was recommended to me. So far, the characters and the set up seem a bit cliched, but I'm still eager to learn what happens next.

I recently read John Scalzi's Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades. They were both enjoyable reads, but I find his vision of the way humans interact with other species more than a little depressing. I really prefer for my sci fi to be optimistic. I'm still going to read the next in the series.
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Old 02-05-2014, 03:22 PM
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Finished Free Radicals. Also read Bad News: The Best of Esquire's Dubious Achievement Awards, which covers them up through 1984. I'm sorry they stopped that feature.


Right now I've got Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson's Hoka! on tap. I've always wanted to read the Hoka stories, and this collection gives me four of them, with illustrations (some by Phil Foglio from 12983!). The book says "Soon to be a Major Motion Picture!" on the back, but that clearly never happened.

I'm also reading Archimedes Nesselrode by Justine Graykin. I heard her read part of it at Arisia 2014 two weeks back, and had to read the rest. She autographed my copy.

http://www.amazon.com/Archimedes-Nes.../dp/1771151307

At the same session, I read part of my forthcoming novella The Flight of the Hand Pfall. I also read my Dr. Seuss' Beowulf (as appeared on this Board just before Christmas.) On her blog, Graykin wrote:




I have substituted by Board name for my real-life name in the above..

http://justinegraykin.wordpress.com/ Entry for 1/22/2014
Heh, that's awesome. I loved the Seuss Beowulf, it deserves a wide readership.
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Old 02-05-2014, 05:21 PM
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The current house book is New Amsterdam, by Elizabeth Bear. Only about 40 pages left, after which I'll start on its sequel, The White City.

The current car book is Twenty Blue Devils, the ninth Gideon Oliver mystery by Aaron Elkins. Next, I think, will be an ARC of The Martian, by Andy Weir.
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Old 02-06-2014, 08:37 AM
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I'm nearly finished with Rebecca Goldstein's book Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel. I have understood very little of it, and almost nothing about his actual proofs. I can grasp the importance of the liar's paradox, but that's it. The author lost me at the explanation of Gödel numbering.

The introduction is nice - she talks about the creation of the Institute for Advanced study in Princeton, and the unlikely friendship between Gödel and Einstein. Then she launches into a discussion of the Vienna Circle in the early 1920's and the philosophies that Gödel's work most disturbed: logical positivism and formalism. Then onto an explanation of the Godel's proofs, which I skimmed over. Now she seems to be relating anecdotes about the man (the author met him once in a rare congenial mood at a party at Princeton) who was eccentric even for a genius. There's a sad ending coming up: Gödel became so paranoid and delusional that he would only eat food that his wife prepared, and when she fell sick he starved himself to death.

I can't really tell if the book any good or not, because it's over my head, but it's not what I was expecting. It's part of the Norton "Great Discoveries" series, and the other two books in that series I've read (on Marie Curie and Ignac Semmelweis) were more accessible than this one.


On a lighter note, I just read Michael Chabon's short novel The Final Solution, which has an aged, fading Sherlock Holmes roused by the mystery behind a mute 9-yr-old German Jewish refugee boy with a pet African gray parrot which recites strings of numbers in German, and which goes missing after a murder. The book is too slight to be completely satisfying, but Chabon's writing is marvelous. I particularly enjoyed the chapter written from the parrot's point of view.
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Old 02-06-2014, 08:50 AM
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Just started reading Guns, Germs and Steel, by Jared Diamond. It's a weighty tome; if the prologue is any indication, I'll still be reading this in the March edition of this thread.
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Old 02-06-2014, 09:19 AM
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I finished Archimedes Neselrode, which I really liked. Next up is a copy of The Year's Best Science Fiction 11 (1949). I'd missed this series when it was new, but was reminded of it when I picked up NESFA's attempt to revive it at the New England Book Fair last year.
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Old 02-06-2014, 10:13 AM
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I'm towards the end of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. It's an informative look at African-American life in the early 20th century.

Last edited by Roundabout; 02-06-2014 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 02-07-2014, 07:22 AM
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I think I've forgiven Stephen King for Under The Dome and the last volume of the Dark Tower series. I recently finished Joyland, and just started Doctor Sleep (the sequel to The Shining.)
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Old 02-07-2014, 09:59 AM
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I am about halfway through Farewell: The Greatest Spy Story of the Twentieth Century by Kostin and Raynaud, a fascinating look at one of the greatest, if largely unknown, western intelligence successes of the century - and it largely just fell in our lap. An easy read; they don't get bogged down in unnecessary details, but give as accurate a picture as possible of the spy and his environment. It puts the Reagan years, and the US's relationship with France, in a new light (at least for me).

If you enjoy the FX show The Americans I think you will enjoy this book.
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Old 02-07-2014, 07:33 PM
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Finished The Black Ice by Michael Connelly. It is the 2nd Harry Bosch book and I enjoyed it a lot even though I worked out the plot twist about 20 pages ahead of Harry... I do like the way Connelly is parceling out bits of Harry's Backstory.

I'll start The Confessor by Daniel Silva in the next couple of days. So far I am 1 for 1 on the series.
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Old 02-08-2014, 10:02 AM
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Well, I haven't finished this novel - Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge, and I may never. I was reading it with my wife, whom I just lost, and finishing it just sounds like torture right now.

Nevertheless, I want to trumpet as much as I can the greatness of this book. Truly a forgotten classic. At times I thought I was reading Dickens. I don't know why this book isn't huge. I'm not sure I want to tell you much about the book - it was wonderful for me not knowing anything about it except a recommendation that it was good, and letting it sell me on itself.

It's a period piece - set in the 1830's (written in the 1940's) in the British Empire, and it's the story of a few lives that intertwine. Sounds staid, but isn't.

If you make the effort to seek it out, I think you'll be glad you did.
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Old 02-08-2014, 01:21 PM
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Thanks for the tip! Always good to hear of a book which stirs someone's passion.
  #33  
Old 02-08-2014, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by bup View Post
Well, I haven't finished this novel - Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge, and I may never. I was reading it with my wife, whom I just lost, and finishing it just sounds like torture right now.

Nevertheless, I want to trumpet as much as I can the greatness of this book. Truly a forgotten classic. At times I thought I was reading Dickens. I don't know why this book isn't huge. I'm not sure I want to tell you much about the book - it was wonderful for me not knowing anything about it except a recommendation that it was good, and letting it sell me on itself.

It's a period piece - set in the 1830's (written in the 1940's) in the British Empire, and it's the story of a few lives that intertwine. Sounds staid, but isn't.

If you make the effort to seek it out, I think you'll be glad you did.
And here's the great Bill Evans tune of the same name.
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Old 02-08-2014, 01:45 PM
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Well, I haven't finished this novel - Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge, and I may never. I was reading it with my wife, whom I just lost, and finishing it just sounds like torture right now.
Bup!
  #35  
Old 02-08-2014, 04:26 PM
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I just finished The Abominable, by Dan Simmons and I loved it! I hesitate to recommend it, though. You have to not mind the occasional hundred page information dump on the evolution of the ice axe, the 12 point crampon and the mechanics of oxygen delivery. Then you have to be down with the step by step upward struggle with all the obligatory maladies, equipment failures, weather woes, hidden crevasses, and impossible rock climbing technicalities. Oh, ...and there's a slightly creaky (okay, really silly) development
SPOILER:
as if Hitler wasn't bad enough just killing millions of people, Dan Simmons had to go and...
that you'll just have to go with.

I couldn't put it down, dammit, and I'm sorry it's over.
  #36  
Old 02-08-2014, 04:28 PM
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Aw, bup, I missed your post. I'm so sorry.
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Old 02-08-2014, 06:12 PM
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I finished Voltaire's "Candide" a few days ago. I never realised how short it was (novella-length).
  #38  
Old 02-10-2014, 08:18 AM
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bup, my thoughts are with you. I hope you have caring people to be with right now, I’m so sorry.
  #39  
Old 02-10-2014, 09:03 AM
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First of all, {{{bup}}}.

Second of all, I've officially decided I do not like, nay, cannot stand Christopher Moore. My Older Sister gave me a copy of The Stupidest Angel last year and I've put off reading it until I finally decided to give it a chance. I got five pages into it before I decided it was not funny in any way. I can see why she thought I'd like it because I love Douglas Adams and dry wacky British humour, but this is not the same. The only way I can describe it is this is what Hollywood thinks dry British humour is like without any of the wit. It's now sitting in the used bookstore bag so someone who likes that sort of thing can get it.

I still love the Vish Puri mysteries. I got the latest one, The Case of the Love Commandos, from the library and I'm about three chapters in. Already Mummy-ji is taking over an investigation for Vish.

Since I'm done with Dickens, the next Weighty Tome in the alluvial plain of Mt. ToBeRead is the Thomas North translation of Plutarch's Lives. It's a 70-year-old copy with a lovely old book smell. It's also absolutely hilarious in places.
  #40  
Old 02-10-2014, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by koeeoaddi View Post
I just finished The Abominable, by Dan Simmons and I loved it! I hesitate to recommend it, though. You have to not mind the occasional hundred page information dump on the evolution of the ice axe, the 12 point crampon and the mechanics of oxygen delivery. Then you have to be down with the step by step upward struggle with all the obligatory maladies, equipment failures, weather woes, hidden crevasses, and impossible rock climbing technicalities. Oh, ...and there's a slightly creaky (okay, really silly) development
SPOILER:
as if Hitler wasn't bad enough just killing millions of people, Dan Simmons had to go and...
that you'll just have to go with.

I couldn't put it down, dammit, and I'm sorry it's over.
I read it when it came out and was enjoyed it/them, more or less, until the final sections when the 'Abominable' surfaced.
After that the dates just didn't hang together for the plot to work for me. I said this at the time elsewhere:

Book ruining
SPOILER:
A huge amount of detail about almost everything the plot touches on, which is mainly Alpine and Himalayan climbing in the late 19th and early 20th Century. Actually, the bulk of the book is climbing detail, especially once the action moves to Mount Everest. His fictitious events are described with every bit as much detail as the real historical action, which becomes a bit wearing after a while and the ending, instead of a neat wrap-up is staggered over several incidents spanning decades as loose ends are coped with.
The Abominable was truly abominable but it's eventual use seemed too late for maximum effect; 4 months earlier might have been better, or some other event years before maybe. And the 'happy ending' postcard was completely unnecessary, imo.

Also, his using his Secret Service position in Greece to hear apparently common (military) gossip which has never surfaced since, and using the same contacts later to find stuff out, contrasted oddly with his using these very channels but coming up blank about other things which should have been no harder to find trace of... All somewhat unsatisfactory.
A decent map/profile view of Everest would have helped, too!

If you read this, it'll ruin the book:


To be blunt, with the photographs Churchill could have destroyed Hitler's reputation anytime from the mid-1920s onward but chose to allow him to gain power and conquer much of Europe before using them. I know he wasn't in power for much of the time but he still had the contacts to use them successfully.
Yes, preventing the invasion of Britain was a good time to use them, but, except for linking in the Hess flight to Scotland*, surely the German decision not to crush the British army at Dunkirk in May 1940 was at least as good a hook for the end of the novel. An entire army of almost 350,000 men (British, French & Belgian) could have been destroyed or captured and there would have been no 'Dunkirk spirit'. Even Churchill himself called it a 'miracle of deliverance'.

*Actually, Operation Sea Lion was postponed indefinitely in September 1940 and abandoned in January 1941 and Hess's flight, which he implies was the means of communication, wasn't until May 1941 so the end just doesn't make sense to me.
http://www.da.mod.uk/colleges/jscsc/...archives/opera...
It would have worked much better for me if he had ditched the putative Hess connection and moved the blackmail up to the time of Dunkirk.

'blackmail' timeline:
late 1937 - Duke of Windsor visits Germany and tells Hitler about the photos
May/June 1940 - Dunkirk (apparently not part of any deal)
Sept 1940 - Operation Sea Lion delayed
January 1941 - Operation Sea Lion shelved
May 1941 - Hess flies to Scotland to negotiate destruction of photos

So, nothing happens for over three years after Hitler is approached, and the threat is withdrawn months before the negotiations are complete (or maybe even fully started!)
Doesn't really hang together to me.

But you've read it more recently; maybe I've misinterpreted something along the way...

Apart from that, the thriller by Joe Haldeman, Work Done for Hire wasn't very good, with a rather rushed ending, and The Rabbit Back Literary Society by Pasi Ilmar Jaaskelainen also fell apart a bit at the end. It was a ghost story of sorts, but with too much left unresolved. Maybe I'm getting harder to please!

But now, for no particular reason, I've decided to finally read Red Mars (and hopefully the other two as well) by Kim Stanley Robinson. I've been meaning to read it for years - since 1992, I guess, when I got it! I'm now about as far in as I got on my previous attempt and still going strong!
  #41  
Old 02-10-2014, 09:47 AM
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I finished War for the Oaks, which had a stronger romance slant than I usually care for. On the other hand, if I’d known it might bag me a phouka, I’d have worked a lot harder at my music lessons.

Now on to The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey. I can’t stand magical realism (oh an old man with enormous wings, ho hum, pass the beans). I was afraid this was going to be like that, however it isn’t turning me off so far. Liking it.
  #42  
Old 02-10-2014, 08:34 PM
Siam Sam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bup View Post
Well, I haven't finished this novel - Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge, and I may never. I was reading it with my wife, whom I just lost, and finishing it just sounds like torture right now.
Geez, just caught that myself. What happened?
  #43  
Old 02-10-2014, 08:58 PM
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bup, my condolences. I'd overlooked that part of your post, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meurglys View Post
...the thriller by Joe Haldeman, Work Done for Hire wasn't very good, with a rather rushed ending....
That's too bad. The reviews on Amazon agree with you. I like Haldeman very much, but sometimes he really does botch his endings.

I finished Listening In, ed. by Ted Widmer, a collection of mostly-interesting tapes from the Kennedy White House, and am now listening an audiobook of Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris, a dark, semicomic, third-person-plural account of the decline and fall of a fictional Chicago ad agency in the Great Recession. So far it's OK but not wonderful.
  #44  
Old 02-10-2014, 09:09 PM
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Herodotus The Histories
So much better than I would have thought. Interesting and funny at times.
  #45  
Old 02-11-2014, 12:09 AM
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As to The Abominable, please spoil it for me:
SPOILER:
What is in the photos of or about Hitler?
  #46  
Old 02-11-2014, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bup View Post
Well, I haven't finished this novel - Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge, and I may never. I was reading it with my wife, whom I just lost, and finishing it just sounds like torture right now.
I'm very sorry to hear, that would make it hard to finish.
  #47  
Old 02-11-2014, 01:04 PM
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I started The Confessor by Daniel Silva yesterday.

My question is: are ALL X number books of this series about a mysterious Jew hating Illuminati clone out to protect itself from thieving Jews (who really just want their stuff back)? If so, I think I will quit after this one....
  #48  
Old 02-11-2014, 02:36 PM
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Finished Annihilation. Great, quick read. The first in a trilogy from Jeff VanderMeer. The story of a research team sent to an area where an unspecified incident has taken place. The Area has been isolated for 3 decades, and weird shit keeps happening there. Can't really summarize it more without spoilers. Suffice it to say it was a page turner that I finished in a day. If you like your Science Fiction with a dash of The Weird, This may be your new favorite book.

Up next The Martian by Andy Weir.
  #49  
Old 02-11-2014, 05:06 PM
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Second of all, I've officially decided I do not like, nay, cannot stand Christopher Moore. My Older Sister gave me a copy of The Stupidest Angel last year and I've put off reading it until I finally decided to give it a chance. I got five pages into it before I decided it was not funny in any way. I can see why she thought I'd like it because I love Douglas Adams and dry wacky British humour, but this is not the same. The only way I can describe it is this is what Hollywood thinks dry British humour is like without any of the wit. It's now sitting in the used bookstore bag so someone who likes that sort of thing can get it.
That was probably the worst Moore book to start with. All of the characters appeared in a previous book, so if you don't have that background it's really hard to get into them.

I would suggest you try "Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove" or "Lamb" or "Practical Demon-Keeping" out before just getting the hate on.
  #50  
Old 02-11-2014, 07:30 PM
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That was probably the worst Moore book to start with. All of the characters appeared in a previous book, so if you don't have that background it's really hard to get into them.

I would suggest you try "Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove" or "Lamb" or "Practical Demon-Keeping" out before just getting the hate on.
I've read Practical Demon-Keeping. That's why I was so reluctant to pick up Stupidest Angel. To say I was unimpressed is being polite.
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