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Old 05-01-2014, 10:58 AM
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Khadaji's What'cha reading -- May 2014


May 1 -- the anniversary of my first kiss -- 1954, age nine, George brought a May basket to my door, knocked and ran away slowly. I caught him and my reward was a kiss on the cheek, or maybe it was his reward -- I can't remember who kissed who. Ma

What's everyone reading? I'm browsing a collection of essays collected by Christopher Morley.


Link to April's thread





Khadaji was one of the earlier members of the SDMB, and he was well known as a kindly person who always had something encouraging to say, particularly in the self-improvement threads. He was also a voracious, omnivorous reader; and he started these monthly book threads. Sadly, he passed away in January of 2013, and it was decided that we should rename these monthly threads in his honour.

Last edited by AuntiePam; 05-01-2014 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 05-01-2014, 12:30 PM
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I just started on A Hat Full of Sky this morning. I didn’t get far, but I could already write the review, knowing it will be pretty darn good.
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Old 05-01-2014, 12:43 PM
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On Sunday I'll continue my Derby Day tradition and re-read Hunter S. Thompson's "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved."
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Old 05-01-2014, 01:27 PM
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I'm currently about a third of the way into Charles Rosenberg's Long Knives, which I only have because it was a free Kindle First a few months ago. So far I'm enjoying it: Rosenberg's writing is ok (though not great), and the two mysteries are interesting enough that I keep reading. The shifting viewpoints are a bit jarring, but not too hard to keep up with. I'll have to see what I think of the ending before I know if I'd be willing to pay for anything by the same author.
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Old 05-01-2014, 02:37 PM
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I just started on A Hat Full of Sky this morning. I didn’t get far, but I could already write the review, knowing it will be pretty darn good.
It's very good.


I started Blood Work by Michael Connelly last week but really didn't get far until yesterday stuck in the dentist waiting room while my spawn was under the drill. (serves him right for calling me a nag ) I think I'm likng Terry even more than Harry.
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Old 05-01-2014, 03:43 PM
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Now almost halfway through David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, often recommended in these threads, and I'm really digging it. It's an epic multi-plot novel about love, hate, good, evil, civilization and the ties that bind us all together (or don't).

Also rereading one of my favorite Joe Haldeman novels, Tool of the Trade, aloud with my teenage son. Just as good as ever. It's about a deeply troubled Soviet sleeper agent at MIT in the 1980s who develops a practical method of mind control, and decides to use it for his own (maybe nefarious) purposes.

Haven't started Far from the Tree yet, by Andrew Solomon, but it's on my bedside table. It's about why children thrive, fail or muddle through, and grow up into the adults they do.
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Old 05-01-2014, 04:11 PM
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I'm 2/3 of the way through Phnom Penh Noir, a book of short stories edited by the Canadian writer Christopher G. Moore, who also contributed one of the stories. Pretty much all of them have some link to the Khmer Rouge days. It's pretty good but not quite as good, I'd say, as Bangkok Noir, which I read last month.

Last edited by Siam Sam; 05-01-2014 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 05-01-2014, 04:14 PM
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Nearly finished with Christopher Moore's The Serpent of Venice, my current fiction read. It's been wonderfully twisted Shakespeare with a hefty helping of weird. I've enjoyed it!

Also still reading all my nonfics from last month. My current audiobook is The Railway Detective by Edward Marston. I get that Inspector Colbeck is supposed to be great guy, but he does say shockingly rude and direct things to people for someone who's supposed to be a gentleman. He's a bit egotistical too.
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Old 05-01-2014, 05:23 PM
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Nearly finished with Christopher Moore's The Serpent of Venice, my current fiction read. It's been wonderfully twisted Shakespeare with a hefty helping of weird. I've enjoyed it!

I've kind of held back on this one, since I really disliked Sacre Bleu. Is the language as rank as Fool?
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Old 05-01-2014, 06:20 PM
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May 2014,
I am starting the Harry Potter books. I'm about 80 or so pages into the first one. It's good stuff, I should not have waited, but better late than never. ( It's my stepdaughter's book- she was thrilled that I wanted to read it! )
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Old 05-01-2014, 06:25 PM
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May 2014,
I am starting the Harry Potter books. I'm about 80 or so pages into the first one. It's good stuff, I should not have waited, but better late than never. ( It's my stepdaughter's book- she was thrilled that I wanted to read it! )
Welcome to the Fandom! Prepare to never think the same way again about train stations, chimneys and rubber duckies
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Old 05-01-2014, 06:56 PM
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As soon as I read about the...

SPOILER:
relentless letters with the minutely accurate addresses


...I thought I was going to like the book(s).
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Old 05-01-2014, 07:10 PM
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May 2014,
I am starting the Harry Potter books. I'm about 80 or so pages into the first one. It's good stuff, I should not have waited, but better late than never. ( It's my stepdaughter's book- she was thrilled that I wanted to read it! )
One of my users was enamored of them. I took her PC to the Gateway brickstore for repair, and she constantly inquired about it. I told her the proprietor said that a strange person would come beat the outside wall with a stick, intoning, "Giveus Computerus Backus!", and I assured the proprietor that it was not she.
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Old 05-02-2014, 07:20 PM
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On Sunday I'll continue my Derby Day tradition and re-read Hunter S. Thompson's "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved."
Thanks for the reminder about that one! God, that's good stuff!

http://english138.web.unc.edu/files/...d-Depraved.pdf
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Old 05-02-2014, 07:35 PM
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I finished Blood Work by Michael Connelly (just in time for Goodreads to crash) and I have to say it's my favorite so far. Terry is so much less in-your-faace than Harry and so more enjoyable to read.

I started Origin in Death by J D Robb, I've heard good things about the series buuuut so far I'm underwhelmed.
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Old 05-03-2014, 01:13 PM
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Stumbled upon the Archived Items feature in my Kindle. I have no idea how those books got there, but what the hey.

Started Free Air by Sinclair Lewis. It's a road trip story, young woman in the early 1900's takes off with her father, driving across the country, from Minneapolis to Seattle. It's almost a driving/highway history lesson. She's pleased when she finds gravel roads rather than muddy tracks. She stops for water almost as often as she stops for gas, which is 27 cents a gallon.

"Free air" refers to a sign on a gas station, as well as the sense of freedom she feels as a woman who knows how to drive, with the gumption to take such a trip.

Still perusing the Morley collection but am skipping a few. I will never, ever appreciate Joseph Conrad.
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Old 05-03-2014, 02:03 PM
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I'm currently rereading Diana Gabaldon's An Echo in the Bone. Her next Outlander novel is coming out next month YAY!!! and I wanted to refresh my memory of the story to date.
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Old 05-03-2014, 03:04 PM
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She stops for water almost as often as she stops for gas, which is 27 cents a gallon.
Water of gas is 0.27 per gallon? Dad was annoyed in the 1960's when gasoline went up to 0.29 per gallon

What have you against Conrad? Aside from being wordy and as racist as any Englishman of his time.
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Old 05-03-2014, 03:14 PM
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Stumbled upon the Archived Items feature in my Kindle. I have no idea how those books got there, but what the hey.

Started Free Air by Sinclair Lewis. It's a road trip story, young woman in the early 1900's takes off with her father, driving across the country, from Minneapolis to Seattle. It's almost a driving/highway history lesson. She's pleased when she finds gravel roads rather than muddy tracks. She stops for water almost as often as she stops for gas, which is 27 cents a gallon.

"Free air" refers to a sign on a gas station, as well as the sense of freedom she feels as a woman who knows how to drive, with the gumption to take such a trip.
I should check it out, I love road trips. And I DO still hear people asking how my husband can let me drive so far by myself.
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Old 05-03-2014, 04:17 PM
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Water or gas is 0.27 per gallon? Dad was annoyed in the 1960's when gasoline went up to 0.29 per gallon
Gas. That surprised me too, because I remember 27 cent gas in 1963. Hard to believe the price hadn't changed in 50 years.

Quote:
What have you against Conrad? Aside from being wordy and as racist as any Englishman of his time.
Wordy. Pedestrian. Lacking energy, or enthusiasm. I can't read enough pages to pick up on any racism. Maybe the problem is that I try him when I've run out of everything else, it's late, I'm tired, etc.

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Old 05-03-2014, 04:37 PM
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I've kind of held back on this one, since I really disliked Sacre Bleu. Is the language as rank as Fool?
It seems a lot of Moore fans hated Sacre Bleu. I found it utterly hysterical.
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Old 05-03-2014, 05:10 PM
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It seems a lot of Moore fans hated Sacre Bleu. I found it utterly hysterical.
The interplay between Lucien and Toulouse-Latrec was some of the best I've ever read. I adored that naughty little man.

But the rest of the book was one over extended unfunny penis joke, in my not-even-remotely-humble opinion. More Toulouse-Latrec, LESS Colorman, in fact no Colorman and I'm good.
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Old 05-03-2014, 05:17 PM
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"Blowing a kiss" to AuntiePam and thank you for shouldering the mantle. Volunteerism is blood work.

Finishing That Day the Rabbi Left Town by Harry Kemelman. Simplistic but balm to a weary soul.
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Old 05-03-2014, 05:46 PM
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I'm currently rereading Diana Gabaldon's An Echo in the Bone. Her next Outlander novel is coming out next month YAY!!! and I wanted to refresh my memory of the story to date.
I am so looking forward to this! I re-read all of the books last year, so I'm ready for it.


The Golem and the Jinni was really good. The writing was lovely.

I've started C.J. Cherryh's Foreigner. It started out great, and has gotten a little dull, but I hope it picks up because there are lots of these, and I need more science fiction to read. I have gotten out of the mood for hard sci-fi - what I really want these days is space opera, but I want it well written, something like the Vorkosigan books.
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Old 05-03-2014, 06:18 PM
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My last couple of reads have been somewhat heavy and somber so I am reading Andrew Gross's No Way Back, which had me hooked in the first chapter.

I've got several other "light" books on order - Wolf by Mo Hayder (a British dark horror writer I adore) and a couple of Jo Nesbos.
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Old 05-03-2014, 09:30 PM
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The interplay between Lucien and Toulouse-Latrec was some of the best I've ever read. I adored that naughty little man.

But the rest of the book was one over extended unfunny penis joke, in my not-even-remotely-humble opinion. More Toulouse-Latrec, LESS Colorman, in fact no Colorman and I'm good.
*snicker*

I finished Ellery Queen's The Greek Coffin Mystery. I think my problem with the Queen books is that the ones I started with were the much later ones from the 1960s and 70s when they really did just suck. The earlier ones from the 1930s are so much better. I was thrilled because I thought I figured out the killer in this one, but it turned out to be a red herring. Well played, Mr. Queen, well played.
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:10 PM
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I started with were the much later ones from the 1960s and 70s when they really did just suck. The earlier ones from the 1930s are so much better.
Nero Wolfe novels have the same problem.
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Old 05-03-2014, 11:17 PM
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Conrad and Cherryh both underwhelmed me when I tried their books. Cherryh, in particular, I expected to like, but was sorely disappointed. The writing of both is IMHO very dry and plodding.
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Old 05-05-2014, 08:28 AM
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I'm trying to get through Terry Pratchett's latest but I keep running out of steam. It's not that it's badly written so much as that the Discworld has settled down to this alternate history of the industrial revolution and it's just not as fun anymore. Where are the wizards? The witches? The magic? Heck, I'd settle for some dramatic tension.

Inconsistency is my biggest problem with the book. We already know that the Discworld produces magic items galore, including flying broomsticks and has magic that can teleport people across the world. But the climax of Raising Steam has the protagonists racing across the topography of the Discworld in a steam locomotive with the fate of nations in their hands. So in the context of the rules that Pratchett laid down in the past, the characters don't seem to be playing by them.

It's also just not that funny compared to previous books. We've heard most of these jokes told before.

So, meh. I'll finish it, but it's not going to be re-read like the earlier books in the series.
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Old 05-05-2014, 08:43 AM
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I finished The Martian by Andy Weir, which was fairly good but could probably have worked as well as a novella.
Having read that, and the four Kim Stanley Robinson Mars books recently, I'm now dipping into The Rim of the Unknown, a collection by Frank Belknap Long, a friend of H. P. Lovecraft, although most of this collection dates from the 1950s. Still with the Mars theme, the first story I read was Mr. Caxton Draws a Martian Bird, which I was quite impressed with despite it's now impossible setting...

And it has a great pulpy cover, showing a giant insect carrying off two barbarian-looking humans, which is a fairly accurate representation of the final story in the collection, The Last Men!

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Old 05-05-2014, 09:44 AM
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Matt Taibbi's the Divide about the disparity of our justice system between the rich and the poor. A good if angering read so far. I would also strongly strongly recommend his earlier book Griftopia. It is rage inducing (especially about Wall Street in general and Goldman Sachs in particular)and can't be accused of bias since it throws stones at the current Administration too as much as anyone else.

On the other side of the coin, my enjoyment of the Amazing Spider-man 2 inspired me to pick up The Superior Spider-Man Book 1 trade paperback. I had heard good things about it and my understanding is that series has a definitive conclusion so I decided to give it a shot. Book one was good so I bought two more. The premise is that apparently in the mainstream Spider-Man comic, Doctor Octopus took over Peter Parker's body. Rather than use it to do evil, he is trying to be a hero but in his own way. It is interesting.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:43 PM
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I've kind of held back on this one, since I really disliked Sacre Bleu. Is the language as rank as Fool?
Yes, most definitely the language is vulgar. The situations are too, come to that, but they were very, ah, explicit in Fool as well.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:49 PM
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I'm trying to get through Terry Pratchett's latest but I keep running out of steam. It's not that it's badly written so much as that the Discworld has settled down to this alternate history of the industrial revolution and it's just not as fun anymore. Where are the wizards? The witches? The magic? Heck, I'd settle for some dramatic tension.

Inconsistency is my biggest problem with the book. We already know that the Discworld produces magic items galore, including flying broomsticks and has magic that can teleport people across the world. But the climax of Raising Steam has the protagonists racing across the topography of the Discworld in a steam locomotive with the fate of nations in their hands. So in the context of the rules that Pratchett laid down in the past, the characters don't seem to be playing by them.

It's also just not that funny compared to previous books. We've heard most of these jokes told before.

So, meh. I'll finish it, but it's not going to be re-read like the earlier books in the series.
I felt exactly the same way, Finagle. Broke my heart too because I came prepared to like it and didn't. Your criticisms were spot-on.
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Old 05-05-2014, 03:56 PM
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Yes, most definitely the language is vulgar. The situations are too, come to that, but they were very, ah, explicit in Fool as well.
Yes. Moore has definitely been letting his inner twelve year old run free these days.
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Old 05-05-2014, 04:22 PM
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I am reading Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong by Juliet Macur. All I can think is a) Lance is a shit and b) so fucking what? -- everyone else in the sport is also a shit as well. Declare the damned thing a non-sport, tell everyone to just go enjoy themselves on a bike and move on.
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Old 05-05-2014, 06:29 PM
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I just finished two very enjoyable books: The Tenth Gift, by Jane Johnson, and The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat, by Edward Kelsey Moore.

In The Tenth Gift, a modern day woman, Julia, receives a very, very old book as a gift. She discovers that the book contains the handwritten diary of Catherine, an young woman who lived 350 years earlier. We follow their stories as Julia tries simultaneously to untangle the problems in her own life while becoming swept up in Catherine's. It doesn't go as anyone expects.

In The Supremes, we meet three women, life-long friends, who live in a small town in Indiana. The characters are very well drawn, complex, funny, human and utterly unpredictable. Great supporting characters, too. I felt like I was parting from three of my best friends when the book ended.
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:10 PM
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I'm almost through Serpent of Venice, which I am enjoying every bit as much as Fool, or Lamb. I enjoyed Sacre Blue as well, if nothing else for the lesson on the history of pigments. I always learn something from Moore's books, even if it is a new and interesting insult. My present favourite is " You Mendacious Fuckwit!"
I'm also ripping through Micheal Lewis' Flash Boys, which is giving me conniptions as to whether or not I should just pull my RSPs and hide my money in a mattress.
Also: Douglas Coupland's Player One which I just started; Living Off On Our Own by Ted Carns, which is my bedtime read (or was until I got my hands on Serpent) about living off grid and making it work. I'm not sold on the religious slant, but he has some great take aways and his stance on living with Nature instaed of against it is giving me ideas to percolate for later when we get an acreage.
I'm also trying to get through The Theoretical Minimum by Leonard Susskind and George Hrabovsky, but I am having to reference a lot of my Uni math books and it's a tough slog.
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:17 PM
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Finally heard of, and therefore, read Travel Light by Naomi Mitchison. It was delightful. I recommend it to anyone age 12 and over.

I'm now reading The Omnivore's Dilemma. I recommend it to adults who understand that they are what they eat.
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:38 PM
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What have you against Conrad? Aside from being wordy and as racist as any Englishman of his time.
Oddly enough, Conrad wasn't exactly a stereotypical Englishman ... he was a Polish author (originally, a Polish sailor) writing in English, who settled in England and eventually obtained English citizenship. English was his third language - he was fluent in Polish and French from childhood, and only learned English as an adult!

As for his alleged "racism", that comes mostly from Chinua Achebe's essay, and it is I think totally unfair ... it is like calling Jonathan Swift a cannibal because of "A Modest Proposal".

Last edited by Malthus; 05-06-2014 at 04:41 PM.
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Old 05-07-2014, 08:03 AM
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Read half of Christopher Barzak’s One For Sorrow this morning, and am now ditching it. I see reviews comparing it to Catcher in the Rye. I think they’re trying to say that the main character is annoying and his motivations make no sense.
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Old 05-07-2014, 11:13 AM
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Damn. Posted this in the April thread by mistake:

Finished Phnom Penh Noir, a collection of crime short stories and even rap songs set in or near the Cambodian capital and edited by the Canadian writer Christopher G. Moore. Good, but it somehow falls just a tad short of Bangkok Noir, also edited by Moore and which I'd read immediately prior to this volume.

This week I'll start The Litigators, by John Grisham.
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:21 AM
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Currently reading Promise Not to Tell by Jennifer McMahon. This author has apparently written several similar books (murdered or missing girl, small town life, ghostly rumors) and if they are as interesting and well-written as this seems to be, I wouldn’t mind going on to read them all.
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Old 05-08-2014, 10:21 AM
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I just finished Piers Anthony's The Apprentice Adept series (7 books). Pretty decent books if you are a fan of his style of writing. Not sure what series I want to start next. Thinking I may start Cassnadra Clare's The Mortal Instruments series. I recently watched the Movie of book 1 in the series and enjoyed it. If not that I will either start on Tad William's Otherland Series, William Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy or Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider Series. I enjoyed Horowitz's Power of 5 series so this may get moved up to the top of the list.
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Old 05-09-2014, 03:41 AM
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What Are You Currently Reading?


I'm reading Southern Storm by Noah Trudeau, about Sherman's march to the sea. Interesting topic, but the guy is a better historian than he is a writer.

How about you?
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Old 05-09-2014, 04:15 AM
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Just finished Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay - couldn't put it down.

Now I'm reading Thunder of Time by James F. David and I'm having trouble forcing myself to pick it up.
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Old 05-09-2014, 04:30 AM
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Hit Parade by Lawrence Block. Third novel (although they seem to be more in the form of short stories) about a hit man. Despite the topic, it's quite a light read.
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Old 05-09-2014, 05:42 AM
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You know we have a monthly thread on this very topic right? Search for Khadaji and it should turn right up.
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Old 05-09-2014, 05:46 AM
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Sorry. Didn't see Doc's post before posting this. I'll go elsewhere.
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In this way Mr. K will challenge the world!

Last edited by MrKnowItAll; 05-09-2014 at 05:50 AM.
  #49  
Old 05-09-2014, 05:49 AM
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I've just started the latest Pulitzer winner The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Pretty engrossing so far.
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In this way Mr. K will challenge the world!
  #50  
Old 05-09-2014, 06:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jabiru View Post
Now I'm reading Thunder of Time by James F. David and I'm having trouble forcing myself to pick it up.
I read that when it came out and didn't like it nearly as much as the first one, Footprints of Thunder. A third in the series, Dinosaur Thunder, came out in December 2012 and it was quite readable although the plot is getting pretty silly! I like dinosaurs and time travel, so I'll probably keep reading if he writes a fourth.

Currently reading Afterparty by Daryl Gregory. Very good but reminding me a lot of Zod Wallop by William Browning Spencer, which I reread fairly recently.
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