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DZedNConfused
03-31-2015, 10:46 AM
Spring is here! Has it stopped snowing East Coat US people? Did it ever start out here in the US West? Those of you going into winter, I hope it isn't as odd for you as it was for us.

I started The King's Bishop By Candace Robb yesterday. So far, I've nothing to complain about...








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 2013, and we decided to rename these monthly threads in his honour.


March Thread: In like a lion, out like a lamb! (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=750356)

Siam Sam
03-31-2015, 10:50 AM
A fourth of the way through Salem's Lot, by Stephen King.

FasterThanMeerkats
03-31-2015, 10:53 AM
Just finished re-reading Starship Troopers.

Imaginary Muffins
03-31-2015, 01:06 PM
Just finished The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell. Fantastic! It is jam packed with Christian history and takes place in the Vatican country. As an atheist, I'm kinda surprised I enjoyed it so much, but I was glued to the pages right up to and including the very last one! Highly recommended.

Catamount
03-31-2015, 04:12 PM
I started, then gave up on Flowers in the Attic. I had no trouble with the trashy aspects, I had no trouble with the melodrama, I could even deal with the crap writing, but I just could not get past "Good golly-lolly!"

Misnomer
04-01-2015, 09:37 AM
Last night I finally finished 11/22/63 (http://www.amazon.com/11-22-63-Stephen-King/dp/1451627297/)! Woooo! :D I really enjoyed the story, but holy crap was that a long book.

I'm sticking with Stephen King: I have Revival (http://www.amazon.com/Revival-Novel-Stephen-King/dp/1476770387/) ready to start tonight. It'll feel like a short story in comparison. ;)

Grrlbrarian
04-01-2015, 10:05 AM
I finished The Whispering Skull (http://www.amazon.com/Lockwood-Co-Book-Whispering-Skull/dp/142316492X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427900242&sr=8-1&keywords=whispering+skull) by Jonathan Stroud over the weekend. Such a fun read. I love all aspects of it: the mysterious aspects of The Problem that have made the dead restless; the pushme-pullyou between the three main protagonists, Lockwood, Lucy, and George; the thrilling encounters with ghosts. It's pure enjoyable whimsy.

On the other hand, I'm still soldiering through Gravity's Rainbow (http://www.amazon.com/Gravitys-Rainbow-Penguin-Classics-Deluxe/dp/0143039946/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427900361&sr=8-1&keywords=gravity%27s+rainbow). I am simply determined to finish it. I can't imagine that it will end any other way than in medias res, but this month I absolutely shall find out.

On audio, I just finished Bonobo Handshake: A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congo (http://www.amazon.com/BnbHndshk-Bonobo-Handshake-Adventure-Hardcover/dp/B004HWQXO4/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1427900429&sr=8-3&keywords=bonobo+handshake). I found the human protagonists mildly interesting but was riveted by any & all bonobo anecdotes in the book; luckily there were many. I think I'll try to find some of the research papers generated by the couple in the book and read them, and if I can cadge any money, I'll give Friends of Bonobos (http://www.lolayabonobo.org/) a contribution. Bonobos are definitely worth saving on their own merits, irrespective of any research they can provide.

I'm about to start Rainbow's End (http://www.amazon.com/Rainbows-End-Vernor-Vinge/dp/0812536363/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1427900611&sr=1-1&keywords=rainbows+end+vernor+vinge) by Vernor Vinge for my treadmill book. I just couldn't resist it when I spotted it at the used bookstore last weekend.

And may I just say: St. Louis has several nice bookstores for both new and used items, to my husband's visible wrath and dismay! ;)

peedin
04-01-2015, 10:38 AM
Started The Alphabet House by Adler-Olsen last night. Put it back in the "return to library" pile after 2 pages. Read Wild by Cheryl Strayed last weekend and couldn't put it down. So much of the book is her feelings and emotions so I can't see how that would translate to a movie. Reading Bill Bryson's The Lost Continent and as usual he makes me laugh out loud. Finished Shackleton : By Endurance We Conquer because polar exploration is still fascinating. Have started dressage lesson again so a few dressage books on my bedside reading pile.

yanceylebeef
04-01-2015, 11:21 AM
Still re-reading my way through Pterry's universe. Carpe Jugular is up now. I'm also finishing up The Mechanical (http://www.amazon.com/Mechanical-Alchemy-Wars-Ian-Tregillis-ebook/dp/B00IRIR85M/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1427905059&sr=1-1&keywords=the+mechanical) by Ian Tregillis, and I just started AfterParty (http://www.amazon.com/Afterparty-Daryl-Gregory-ebook/dp/B00HTJ03VG/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1427905144&sr=1-1&keywords=afterparty+-+daryl+gregory) by Daryl Gregory. Also So You've Been Publicly Shamed (http://www.amazon.com/So-Youve-Been-Publicly-Shamed-ebook/dp/B00L9B7IRC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1427905243&sr=1-1&keywords=so+you%27ve+been+publicly+shamed) by Jon Ronson just dropped into my kindle a couple of days ago. Really looking forward to that.

DZedNConfused
04-01-2015, 01:57 PM
Also So You've Been Publicly Shamed (http://www.amazon.com/So-Youve-Been-Publicly-Shamed-ebook/dp/B00L9B7IRC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1427905243&sr=1-1&keywords=so+you%27ve+been+publicly+shamed) by Jon Ronson just dropped into my kindle a couple of days ago. Really looking forward to that.

Ohhh I ned to read that... having been on the recieving end of internet wrath more than once.

Meurglys
04-02-2015, 07:11 AM
Currently enjoying Clash of Eagles by Alan Smale. It's an alternate history in which Rome never fell, and in 1208 is seeking to expand the empire to the new world. It's assumed to be a barbarous place but when they eventually reach the Mississippi they come up against the Cahokian mound builder civilisation and perspectives change...
I'm about a third of the way through and enjoying it a lot, even if the Roman forces seem to be based on the 'classic' Legion without 1000 years of development. The pre-Columbian America of the 13th C is nicely depicted though.
There's a note at the end about the historical tipping point which may explain the lack of Roman development but I'm saving that, and other appendices, for after I've read the story.

Politzania
04-02-2015, 01:02 PM
My March Amazon Prime Lending Library (http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1000739811) choice was Expo 58 (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17163660-expo-58) by Jonathan Coe. I'd seen it in a Kindle Daily Deal and the description piqued my interest.

Thomas Foley, a minor civil servant in the Central Office of Information is tapped to represent his country at Expo 58 - the World's Fair to be held in Brussels in 1958. Specifically, he is to keep an eye on The Brittania, the focal point of the UK Pavilion at the fair. He is uncertain at first about the assignment, as it will take him away from his wife and young daughter for six months, but soon discovers a sense of freedom inspired by the modern, optimistic environment of the Expo.

But all is not well - it is the height of the Cold War, and the Belgians have put the United States pavilion smack dab next to that of the U.S.S.R -- with representatives from both countries treating the Brittania as semi-neutral territory. Thomas finds himself bumping into two rather odd men who appear to be emissaries of the British Secret Service.. and then there's the lovely Anneke - one of the Expo hostesses who seems to have taken quite an interest in Thomas...

This is the first Jonathan Coe novel I've read, and I may have to track down more of his work. In some ways, this novel is a bit of a sendup of 1950's spy novels; but at the same time, it's an interesting character study of a mid-century, middle-class, middle man like Thomas. The plot runs along well, with both humourous and tense moments. The world building is nicely done - I had no idea that the Expo '58 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expo_58) actually existed & if/when I ever get to Europe, I'd love to see what remains of the site.

Dung Beetle
04-02-2015, 01:14 PM
I'm currently reading The Sin-Eater (http://www.amazon.com/Sin-Eater-Sarah-Rayne/dp/0727881620/ref=sr_1_10_twi_2_har?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1427997930&sr=1-10&keywords=the+sin-eater), by Sarah Rayne. A spooky old house, a ghost, and an eeeevil chess set, yay! But then I got to a flashback which is supposed to be this Really Awful Thing that happened, and it's so ludicrous it's nearly funny. Uh-oh.

Elendil's Heir
04-02-2015, 10:55 PM
...Thomas Foley, a minor civil servant ...is to keep an eye on The Brittania, the focal point of the UK Pavilion at the fair....
Do you mean the now-former Royal Yacht Britannia? Or something else?

I'm more than halfway through John Scalzi's The Human Division, the most recent of his Old Man's War series of hard (but witty) military sf books. It was originally serialized and is actually a collection of interrelated short stories, some of which are frankly better than others, but overall I'm really enjoying it.

When I finish it, I expect to return to Edmund Morris's magisterial but quite readable Colonel Roosevelt, about T.R.'s post-White House years.

OffByOne
04-03-2015, 11:13 AM
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson.

I'm only about 15% through, but already, I'm not very fond of the protagonist.

Siam Sam
04-06-2015, 08:41 PM
Finished Salem's Lot, by Stephen King. Very good. I did guess the identities of the unnamed man and boy in the Prologue early on.

Next up: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson.

Joey P
04-06-2015, 11:46 PM
I just finished Choke by Chuck Palahniuk. The book wasn't bad but very obviously by the same person who wrote Fight Club. Same writing style, similar concepts even some of the same subject matters. In fact, I've heard that a lot of his books are pretty similar.
While I'm thinking about Fight Club, if I didn't know the movie as well as I did I think the book would have been completely lost on me. Oh, and the movie Choke was horrible.

Right now I just started Bad Monkey and about 80 pages in it's pretty good.

As for my next book, I'm hemming and hawing about picking up The Princess Bride. I've been sitting on Dark Places and Doctor Sleep for a few months now as well.

Misnomer
04-07-2015, 08:48 AM
As for my next book, I'm hemming and hawing about picking up The Princess Bride.I've been thinking about reading that for a while, too. I've seen the movie countless times. If you decide to go for it, please report back. :)

Joey P
04-07-2015, 08:58 AM
I've been thinking about reading that for a while, too. I've seen the movie countless times. If you decide to go for it, please report back. :)

Somewhere else I mentioned that I've seen the movie a million times so maybe I'd read the book, OTOH, I've seen the movie a million times, so why read the book.

I have no idea how different the movie and the book are.

The wind of my soul
04-07-2015, 11:16 AM
Recently finished Something Wicked this Way Comes (http://www.amazon.com/Something-Wicked-This-Way-Comes/dp/0380729407/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428423122&sr=8-1&keywords=something+wicked+this+way+comes) by Ray Bradbury. God I love that writer. He's so philosophical and poetic, and he writes the most amazing metaphors. I want to be like him.

In the middle of The Death of Money (http://www.amazon.com/Death-Money-Collapse-International-Monetary/dp/1591846706/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428423172&sr=8-1&keywords=the+death+of+money) by James Rickards. It's nonfiction, and I'm taking a bit longer with this book than I normally do because it's not really a relaxing read. But it's so educational, and I feel like I'm learning so much about how the world economy works and how different countries depend on one another.

And finally, I just started When She Woke (http://www.amazon.com/When-She-Woke-Hillary-Jordan/dp/1616201932/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428423248&sr=8-1&keywords=when+she+woke) by Hillary Jordan this weekend. I think I've read half the book in the last two days alone. It is so compulsively readable! It's a re-imagining of The Scarlet Letter, and Jordan is just so good with words. The main character is so likeable, and the imagery so real, and the issues so profound. I definitely recommend it so far, but I've read in reviews that the last 80 or so pages are pretty bad, so we'll see how I feel in a few days.

DZedNConfused
04-07-2015, 06:06 PM
I finished The King's Bishop by Candace Robb, such an IMPROVEMENT over the previous book, it's like it was written by a whole different person. Robb twines the real life events of courtly intrigue and politics in the last ten years of Edward III's reign with a mystery of murder and conspiracy. Sadly not much has changed in 700 years, it's still all about whose penis was in who and when. The book is well written and moves along nicely, the characters are realistic for their time period and the setting is believably presented.

Jumped into The Overlook by Michael Connelly. Apparently it is one of his weakest books, I cn see why but so far I'm still enjoying it.

Elendil's Heir
04-07-2015, 08:31 PM
My book club (at the behest of a conservative Christian member) selected The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn for our next meeting. I got it from the library as a six-disc audiobook, and gave up after the first disc. Badly-written, laughably "mysterious" tale which argues that 9-11 was God's punishment for our sinful, secular ways. Ugh.

Still enjoying Morris's Colonel Roosevelt, though.

movingfinger
04-08-2015, 01:35 AM
Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. is the story of Huguette Clark, the daughter of W. A. Clark, a certified Robber Baron, whose exploits were right up there with those the likes of Rockefeller, Carnegie, Gould and the other rascals of the Gilded Age.

Huguette lived to be almost 105 and died in 2010 leaving an estate of $300,000,000. An eccentric, publicity-shy woman--that is by no means too strong a characterization--she owned mansions in New York City, Connecticut and Santa Barbara, but chose to live her last twenty years in excellent health in a hospital. A fascinating look at immense wealth and its effects on those in contact with it. Highly recommended.

Dung Beetle
04-09-2015, 10:01 AM
Just finished Infandous (http://www.amazon.com/Infandous-Fiction-Elana-K-Arnold/dp/1467738492/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1428591211&sr=1-1&keywords=infandous), a YA novel by Elana K. Arnold. I couldn't identify much with the main character (and her obsession with her mother was downright creepy), but overall it was a page-turner and I was surprised at the secret revealed near the end. Decent.

Malthus
04-09-2015, 10:23 AM
Reading - and greatly enjoying - A Forest of Kings: http://www.amazon.ca/Forest-Of-Kings-Linda-Schele/dp/0688112048

It's a book that is, in part, a narrative history of selected ancient Mayan kingdoms - based solidly on the recently-deciphered hieroglyphic inscriptions and their associated monuments, and other achaeological evidence.

I myself find this sort of thing totally awesome - disovering a whole new (and highly alien in some ways) history out of monuments that have for centuries been wholly mysterious. Given that I have just come back from visiting some of these sites I find it really, really informative and wish I had read it before!

Thing is, it is now some 25 years old. I started a thread asking of anyone had recommendations for later stuff on the same topic - without a single reply (sighs).

DZedNConfused
04-09-2015, 12:09 PM
I finished The Overlook by Michael Connelly last night. Overall it was a light easy read. Not long enough for Rachel's issues to get annoying (sorry guys, I still don't like her)but long enough for a decent story.

I started Requiem for an Assassin by Barry Eisler. I love a good action book that sucker punches you right from the start!

Elendil's Heir
04-09-2015, 02:45 PM
Reading - and greatly enjoying - A Forest of Kings: http://www.amazon.ca/Forest-Of-Kings-Linda-Schele/dp/0688112048

...I started a thread asking of anyone had recommendations for later stuff on the same topic - without a single reply (sighs).
You might also like this. Not great, but not bad: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lost_City_of_Z_(book)

Siam Sam
04-09-2015, 09:07 PM
Reading - and greatly enjoying - A Forest of Kings: http://www.amazon.ca/Forest-Of-Kings-Linda-Schele/dp/0688112048

It's a book that is, in part, a narrative history of selected ancient Mayan kingdoms - based solidly on the recently-deciphered hieroglyphic inscriptions and their associated monuments, and other achaeological evidence.

I myself find this sort of thing totally awesome - disovering a whole new (and highly alien in some ways) history out of monuments that have for centuries been wholly mysterious. Given that I have just come back from visiting some of these sites I find it really, really informative and wish I had read it before!

Thing is, it is now some 25 years old. I started a thread asking of anyone had recommendations for later stuff on the same topic - without a single reply (sighs).

I guess I missed that thread. But you might check out 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, by Charles C. Mann. He goes into the Mayas to some extent.

BetsQ
04-10-2015, 10:43 AM
I had some international travel recently (including entirely too much time sitting on planes that weren't actually going anywhere), so I read a lot over the past couple of weeks. Most of the books I read were things I picked up from the used bookstore for a dollar or two, so I wouldn't mind leaving them behind as I finished them. In the order I read them:

The Distant Hours (http://www.amazon.com/Distant-Hours-Kate-Morton/dp/1439152799/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428679713&sr=8-1&keywords=distant+hours), by Kate Morton. The protagonist has a stiff relationship with her mother and so tries to find out more about her mother's history to try to understand her. The other half of the story is the family that the mother lived with for a while as a child after being evacuated from London during WWII. Pleasantly melodramatic.

Remarkable Creatures (http://www.amazon.com/Remarkable-Creatures-Novel-Tracy-Chevalier/dp/0452296722/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428679746&sr=8-1&keywords=remarkable+creatures), by Tracy Chevalier. This is a novelization of the lives of two real women - Elizabeth Philpot and Mary Anning - who were English fossil hunters in the early 1800s. The story felt a little constrained by their real life biographies, but it was a really interesting look at class, gender, religion, and science in that context.

State of Wonder (http://www.amazon.com/State-Wonder-Novel-Ann-Patchett/dp/0062349546/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1428679773&sr=8-3&keywords=ann+patchett), by Ann Patchett. I loved this book. Marina is a pharmacologist who is sent by her employer to a remote area of the Amazon for two reasons: to find out what happened to a colleague who has been reported dead, and to check on the status of a fertility drug that is supposedly being developed by the team there. That lab is headed up by one of Marina's former professors, a woman she respects but finds very intimidating. It was beautifully written with such nice characterizations.

A Desirable Residence (http://www.amazon.com/Desirable-Residence-Novel-Love-Estate/dp/0312562780/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428680086&sr=8-1&keywords=a+desirable+residence), by Madeleine Wickham. This book follows a handful of people in what must be an exurb of London. There's entrepreneurship, adultery, overbearing parents, a little business fraud, and other drama. It was fine for a 7 hour flight, but I'll probably forget I ever read it.

Star Island (http://www.amazon.com/Star-Island-Carl-Hiaasen/dp/0446556130/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428680622&sr=8-1&keywords=star+island), by Carl Hiaasen. I bought this at an airport bookshop when it was clear that books I'd brought along weren't going to be sufficient for yet another delayed flight. It was par for the course for Hiaasen's books. Wacky characters, absurd plot, makes me never, ever want to go to Florida, but was fairly entertaining.

The Martian (http://www.amazon.com/Martian-Andy-Weir/dp/0553418025/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428680471&sr=8-1&keywords=The+martian), by Andy Weir. I treated myself to this amazing book when I got home. Such a nailbiter. Human spaceflight is terrifying and awesome and we should do more of it.

I'm not sure what's up next!

Elendil's Heir
04-10-2015, 11:21 AM
The Martian sounds good - a bit like a planetbound Gravity...?

Malthus
04-10-2015, 12:07 PM
Thanks folks - I've read The Lost City of Z (interesting stuff), I haven't yet read 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus - which also looks good.

Right now, I'm reading The Ancient Maya (6th ed.), which is pretty clearly intended as an undergraduate text book for a 2nd or 3rd year anthro course - which has its advantages and disadvantages. Advantage is that it is reasonably up to date (2006) and comprehensive; disadvantage is that it is written in such an inclusive and didactic style as to be very dull - a complete contrast with A Forest of Kings, which is quite targeted and has a very strong and distinctive authorial 'voice' (even though it was a collaboration).

In short, in The Ancient Maya the author is clearly lecturing a bunch of undergraduates, while in A Forest of Kings the authors are relating their own interests - the latter is gonna make for a more fun read.

BetsQ
04-10-2015, 12:40 PM
The Martian sounds good - a bit like a planetbound Gravity...?

Actually, it is somewhat similar, but I think the science in The Martian is better. Not that I'm really an expert. Also, it will star Matt Damon (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3659388/fullcredits?ref_=tt_ov_st_sm) rather than Sandra Bullock.

Thing Fish
04-10-2015, 02:45 PM
Missed March, so to catch you all up:

Spent much of March working on The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway. Seemed like I was getting a bit old to never have read a guy who is generally considered one of the 20th Century's greats. What I thought I knew about Hemingway going in was that he wrote in short declarative sentences and that his heroes were generally macho, alcoholic jerks like himself. Turns out that, although he is amazingly skilled at building a suspenseful mood with a succession of short, simple sentences, he is also capable of turning out beautifully baroque run-on sentences. And although his protagonists generally fall into the "macho, alcoholic jerk" category, he doesn't really glorify them (I guess I shouldn't be too surprised -- in the end it turned out he didn't much like himself, either). My favorite was Big Two-Hearted River (parts one and two). Absolutely nothing happens except that a guy goes fishing, but you feel as though you are right there with him. But after about 250 pages, I had had enough and abandoned the project.

I chased that with Stephen King's From a Buick 8. Not one of his best, but once I started it, I didn't do anything else until I finished unless I had to.

I have also "read" two awesome and highly recommended graphic novels recently:

Rebel Woman, by Peter Bagge, best known for Hate comics, is a fascinating, informative, and often hilarious biography of Margaret Sanger, the founder of the organization now known as Planned Parenthood.

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant, by Roz Chast, best known for her New Yorker cartoons, is her account of dealing with the decline and eventual death of her parents, who both lived into their 90s. It is occasionally hilarious, frequently moving, and always extremely depressing. I am proud to have it on my bookshelf, but if you balk at spending $30 on a hardcover that will take at most two hours to read, you might want to use your library card on this one.

Currently I am into Strivers Row, the last volume in Kevin Baker's trilogy of historical novels set in New York City, which I have gushed all over in previous months of this thread. This one takes place in Harlem during WW2, and departs from the others in having a major real-life historical figure as its protagonist (though the others had plenty of real people in minor roles). Its hero is Malcolm Little, who twenty years later would become notorious as Malcolm X, and I am already thinking I need to re-read his Autobiography to compare it to this account.

After this I plan to embark on a re-read of the last three books of the Dark Tower series.

Thing Fish
04-10-2015, 02:47 PM
Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. is the story of Huguette Clark, the daughter of W. A. Clark, a certified Robber Baron, whose exploits were right up there with those the likes of Rockefeller, Carnegie, Gould and the other rascals of the Gilded Age.

Huguette lived to be almost 105 and died in 2010 leaving an estate of $300,000,000. An eccentric, publicity-shy woman--that is by no means too strong a characterization--she owned mansions in New York City, Connecticut and Santa Barbara, but chose to live her last twenty years in excellent health in a hospital. A fascinating look at immense wealth and its effects on those in contact with it. Highly recommended.

Seconded, especially the part about "eccentric and publicity-shy" not being too strong a characterization!

Elendil's Heir
04-10-2015, 03:38 PM
Actually, it is somewhat similar, but I think the science in The Martian is better. Not that I'm really an expert. Also, it will star Matt Damon (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3659388/fullcredits?ref_=tt_ov_st_sm) rather than Sandra Bullock.
Ooo, that's good news! Thanks.

...Spent much of March working on The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway. Seemed like I was getting a bit old to never have read a guy who is generally considered one of the 20th Century's greats....
Anyone who reads Hemingway should grab Joe Haldeman's clever, mind-bending The Hemingway Hoax. Highly recommended.

hogarth
04-10-2015, 06:40 PM
I read part of The Lock and Key Library: Classic Mystery and Detective Stories: Old Time English (http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1831), but I gave up in frustration. Some of it was pretty good (I liked Dickens's story "No. 1 Branch Line: The Signal Man" and Thackeray's essay "On Being Found Out"). But I downloaded it for "Melmoth the Wanderer" and I didn't realise it was only an excerpt. And they had the balls to suggest that the original story was boring and meandering and their condensed version was an improvement! Likewise, they had half of the Dickens story "The Haunted House", which was kind of pointless.

After that, I read "The War in the Air" by H.G. Wells. I've read Michael Moorcock's "Warlord of the Air" and "The Land Leviathan" a few times, so it was fun to see what some of the source material is like. And it was interesting to see which predictions (circa 1907) turned out to be true and which didn't. For instance, predicting the U.S. and U.K. fighting a world war against Germany and Japan and the importance of aircraft carriers instead of battleships was pretty good. Building monorails and dirigibles? Not so much.

delphica
04-10-2015, 09:27 PM
I read Black Ice: The Val James Story by Valmore James and John Gallagher. Val James was the first black American to play hockey in the NHL. It's very much of a sports memoir -- I'd only recommend it to someone who already was very up on 1970s junior hockey. If you are a hockey fan (I am), it's really interesting to see who he crosses paths with, but if you're not, it's probably a lot of meaningless information about hockey rosters. And wow, I forgot how different fighting was back then. Somewhat contrary to my expectations going in, while it is a very moving account of the racism he personally experienced (it's really tragic), there's not a lot of connection to larger issues of race and society.

I'm in the middle-ish of Twin Peaks in the Rearview Mirror: Appraisals and Reappraisals of the Show That Was Supposed to Change TV, a collection of academic essays on Twin Peaks (similar in concept to Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks, another collection of scholarly essays on the show, which is excellent). I had started it when I was really excited about the upcoming Twin Peaks, although given recent news, I'm less excited. The collection is a little uneven, it might be possible that we've exhausted how much there is to say about the show. There's just not as much there there, you know? But if you are a big Twin Peaks fan, it's mildly fun and nostalgic.

I just started The Luminous Heart of Jonah S. by Gina Nahai, a novel about an Iranian-Jewish family in the US.

Enterprise
04-11-2015, 05:13 AM
I finished a couple a things that had been lying around for too long:

David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks. I rather liked it, but it's not his best, I don't think. The supernatural bits were rather compelling, and the characters quite well drawn; and he spared me the awful in-character writing that made me give up on the Thousand Autumns. But it's not his choice probably, but the dustjacket really gave away much of the plot, too much, even. If the dust jacket tells me the main character will be followed to the 2030s, I'm just not going to be on the edge of the sofa when she's in danger in 2020, am I?

I also finished David Ramirez's utterly excellent The Forever Watch. The last vestiges of humanity are travelling through space after a cataclysmic convulsion on Earth. Two crewmembers find out out that there are hidden things going on and investigate, going on a journey that completely shifts their perception of things. Very good, very moving. Two thumbs up at least.

And I gave up on John Mosier's Verdun. I quite liked Mosier's first World War I study, despite its flaws, but here, Mosier's just trying to hard to retain the mantle of fearless iconoclast. There were interesting bits and pieces in this book, but it was badly edited (some passages appeared three times), badly thought out, and hardly very illuminating at all.

Siam Sam
04-14-2015, 02:16 AM
Finished The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson. Very good. A Swedish explosives expert flees the Old Folks' Home on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Chaos ensues. It turns out he was at or strongly influential in many of the top incidents of the 20th century. Sort of a Swedish Forrest Gump. I know it had to happen in the book for purposes of furthering along the plot, but I hope Jonasson doesn't really think Harry Truman was in charge of overseeing the Manhattan Project in World War II. (In real life, Truman didn't know about the development of the atomic bomb until they told him after he became president upon FDR's death.) I hear it's been made into a well-received Swedish film too.

Next up is Bangkok Bob and the Missing Mormon, by local English writer Stephen Leather. I've only read one other of his books, the one he's best known for here in Thailand: Private Dancer, about the stormy relationship between a young Brit and a Bangkok bargirl. Very true to life.

The wind of my soul
04-14-2015, 02:14 PM
I'm about 1/3 of the way into American Dreams: The United States Since 1945 (http://www.amazon.com/American-Dreams-United-States-Since/dp/0143119559/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1429038272&sr=8-5&keywords=american+dreams) by H.W. Brands, and struggling to figure out exactly what I think of the book. In fact, I think I actually discovered it here ... let me find the recommendation.

Little Nemo recommended it in August 2012 (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=15396703&postcount=7) ... clearly book recommendations sit on the shelf for a while with me.

Anyways, my thoughts on it are this:

(1) I was very relieved to find a book on this subject, since I feel like I stand to learn a lot about recent American history. Most of my education in school stopped with World War II, and since I was born in the 1980s (and wasn't much interested in politics as a young one), there was a bit of a gap in my knowledge.

(2) The book was written so much like a textbook that initially I was kind of turned off to the book. I figured I'd need to find a book that was more pleasurable, and alternate between pleasure reading and this book.

(3) And then, for whatever reason, I just kept reading this book and didn't pick out a book for pleasure reading. I'm sure I'll pick one out soon, but I certainly wasn't expecting to be sucked in to the point of reading over a hundred pages without needing to take a break for some lighter reading. Thing is, I still think it reads too much like a textbook, but it still keeps me entertained and educated.

So I guess overall, I mildly recommend it.

Also bought Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data (http://www.amazon.com/Naked-Statistics-Stripping-Dread-Data/dp/039334777X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429038732&sr=8-1&keywords=naked+statistics) by Charles Wheelan, because I had an amazing statistics teacher in high school who inspired me to actually like statistics. I haven't started the book yet, so I can't tell yet whether I'd recommend it, but I'm excited to get back to the subject.

DZedNConfused
04-14-2015, 05:17 PM
90% of all statistics on the net are bogus- Abraham Lincoln ;)


Anyway, I finished Reqieum for an Assasin by Barry Eisler this morning. This is one of those books that, if I had nuts to grab, would have grabbed them and hung on to the last page. The action was steady and the fights bloody.

Elendil's Heir
04-14-2015, 06:06 PM
90% of all statistics on the net are bogus- Abraham Lincoln ;) ....
Or this: http://up2.it/katym609/stuff/Abraham-lincoln-internet-quote11.png

I've started The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, who won the Pulitzer for it, but am underwhelmed so far. Man hides out in a Dutch hotel room. Boy goes through a museum with his mom. Yawn. Not sure I'll get through it.

Catamount
04-14-2015, 08:03 PM
Or this: http://up2.it/katym609/stuff/Abraham-lincoln-internet-quote11.png

I've started The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, who won the Pulitzer for it, but am underwhelmed so far. Man hides out in a Dutch hotel room. Boy goes through a museum with his mom. Yawn. Not sure I'll get through it.

Speaking of Pulitzer Prize winners, I spent all day Sunday reading The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. At first I was just going to read it for a little while but I slowly got sucked into it, especially with all the little teaser hints that kept coming out about Agnis's past. The only complaint I have is that Wavey, the main love interest, was kind of a nonentity.

Eleanor of Aquitaine
04-14-2015, 09:35 PM
While we're speaking of Pulitzer Prize winners, I just finished Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout. The prose is mesmerizing and I liked it very much, although it's hauntingly sad. Itís a collection of short stories - mere vignettes, some of them - set in a small town in Maine and linked together by the title character. The best stories are from Oliveís point of view, but in several she has only a cameo.

There's an HBO mini-series starring Frances McDormand, which I haven't seen yet. Although McDormand doesn't match Olive's physical description, I kept picturing her as I read the book, and I bet she is fantastic in the role.


I read Barbara Hambly's newest Benjamin January mystery, Crimson Angel. These are fun, with great characters, but the plots are increasingly far-fetched. This one has January traveling to Haiti, of all places, which in 1836 is not the least bit welcoming even for "a free man of color".


I'm in the middle of Lamentation, C.J. Sansom's newest Tudor mystery featuring the lawyer Matthew Shardlake. It concerns the fictional theft of the real book Lamentations of a Sinner, written by Catherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII. It was published after the king's death, but it was heretical at the time she wrote it, when Henry's religious views were waffling. The novel opens with the execution of Anne Askew for heresy.

While I enjoy these books, they are improbably star-studded, which makes them seem too much like a history lesson at times.

DZedNConfused
04-16-2015, 06:26 PM
Okay....

Finished Ceremony in Death J.D. Robb. It's telling that the thing that sticks with me is: who the hell programs a droid dog to be a yapper?! Who the hell wants a droid dog anyway...

Overall a very bland book, easy to read but not especially engrossing or stimulating. Even the efinal conflict had no real sense of dread, it happened so close to the end you knew it would "come out okay." The characters were two dimensional at best and none of them, other than Peabody, terribly interesting. There really was no question who the killer(s) were even with the red herring tossed into the ring in the last thirty pages.

Siam Sam
04-16-2015, 09:38 PM
Finished Bangkok Bob and the Missing Mormon, by local English writer Stephen Leather. Very good, very enjoyable, especially if you know Bangkok but even if you don't. Long-time Bangkok resident and former New Orleans police cop Bob Turtledove, now a full-time antiques dealer and part-time private eye, is asked by a Mormon couple from Utah to find their son, a young man who disappeared in Thailand during his gap year. Some of the characters from Leather's classic Private Dancer appear.

However, Leather could use a good editor, what with the grammatical errors and misspellings. This edition was published in Singapore, and that country's publishing industry is usually more on the ball than Thailand's. But it was originally published in Thailand, so maybe the Singaporean publisher just copied over all the errors, dunno. And Leather made a couple of glaring factual errors about Bangkok -- a hotel existing where it could not possibly exist and a few years off regarding when they tore down the old Siam Intercontinental Hotel to build Siam Paragon shopping mall. It's hard to believe someone who knows Thailand so well could make mistakes like those, but they didn't seem made just to further the plot and he got everything else right. Dunno what's up with that. But again, it was a good read, and errors or no I think I'll be reading some more Leather.

Meanwile, it's back to John Grisham with The Chamber.

DZedNConfused
04-16-2015, 09:54 PM
I'm deathly afraid of how he portrayed us Utahns. There are some whackos here but that's how it is everywere...

Siam Sam
04-16-2015, 10:07 PM
He was pretty soft on Utah people and Mormons actually. No weird caricatures.

DZedNConfused
04-17-2015, 11:54 AM
He was pretty soft on Utah people and Mormons actually. No weird caricatures.

Nice to hear, I'm not Mormon myself but still you dislike when your neighbors are portrayed as weirdos. (I'm the family weirdo actually)

Joey P
04-18-2015, 08:28 PM
So I just hit the midway point of Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen and I'm really liking it. I mentioned upthread that I was thinking about The Princess Bride next, but I think I might read another Hiaasen instead. He seems to get a lot of love on this board so I figured I would ask here for a suggestion since the reviews are sort of hit and miss on the rest of the internet. So, do I just pick a random book or should I just start from the beginning with Tourist Season? Since, from what I've read about his books, he carries a lot of his characters from one book to another so starting from the beginning seems like it would make the most sense.

Siam Sam
04-18-2015, 08:46 PM
So I just hit the midway point of Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen and I'm really liking it. I mentioned upthread that I was thinking about The Princess Bride next, but I think I might read another Hiaasen instead. He seems to get a lot of love on this board so I figured I would ask here for a suggestion since the reviews are sort of hit and miss on the rest of the internet. So, do I just pick a random book or should I just start from the beginning with Tourist Season? Since, from what I've read about his books, he carries a lot of his characters from one book to another so starting from the beginning seems like it would make the most sense.

I don't think I've read every Hiaasen, but I have read quite a few and seem to recall only a couple of books that were sequels to another. They are all enjoyable but all seem to blend into each other. I couldn't put a specific plot off the top of my head to most of the titles.

Joey P
04-18-2015, 08:52 PM
I don't think I've read every Hiaasen, but I have read quite a few and seem to recall only a couple of books that were sequels to another. They are all enjoyable but all seem to blend into each other. I couldn't put a specific plot off the top of my head to most of the titles.

I don't think they're squeals or even that they're written to be read in order, just that they all take place in the same area and have some recurring characters. I'm just wondering if they're all equally (more or less) good and I can just start at the beginning or if there are (again, more or less) agreed upon good ones and not so good ones that so I can, for now, start with the good ones.

Elendil's Heir
04-18-2015, 09:23 PM
...I've started The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, who won the Pulitzer for it, but am underwhelmed so far. Man hides out in a Dutch hotel room. Boy goes through a museum with his mom. Yawn. Not sure I'll get through it.
I listened to 3 out of 26 discs and gave up. Never grabbed me. Hard to see how she got the Pulitzer for it.

Still enjoying Edmund Morris's Colonel Roosevelt. World War I has just broken out and T.R. is seething at Woodrow Wilson's neutrality policy, even as Belgium is being brutalized by the German army. When the German military attache from the embassy in Washington, D.C. comes to call on Roosevelt on Long Island, the attache notes the fond regard Kaiser Wilhelm has for the former President, and the very congenial visit the Kaiser had with him a few years before.

Roosevelt says calmly, "Yes, I remember that well. I also remember the very warm welcome I had from King Albert of Belgium."

Siam Sam
04-18-2015, 09:23 PM
I don't think they're squeals or even that they're written to be read in order, just that they all take place in the same area and have some recurring characters. I'm just wondering if they're all equally (more or less) good and I can just start at the beginning or if there are (again, more or less) agreed upon good ones and not so good ones that so I can, for now, start with the good ones.

I have not read a bad Hiaasen. They really are all enjoyable. Even Strip Tease, whose film version was panned mercilessly (I never saw it). But I don't recall any recurring characters in most of them. They seem largely stand-alone.

Joey P
04-18-2015, 09:30 PM
I've started The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, who won the Pulitzer for it, but am underwhelmed so far. Man hides out in a Dutch hotel room. Boy goes through a museum with his mom. Yawn. Not sure I'll get through it.
I don't know anything about Goldfinch, the only reason I'm even aware of it is because I saw the gigantic book at B&N. I'm curious as to how popular it is just due to it's length. I've read a few reviews that said it could have been a few hundred pages shorter. I wonder if it would have been as popular if it was 500 pages (and looked like a normal book instead of, what 7 or 800.

Grrlbrarian
04-20-2015, 03:23 PM
I finally finished Gravity's Rainbow (http://www.amazon.com/Gravitys-Rainbow-Penguin-Classics-Deluxe/dp/0143039946/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429560414&sr=8-1&keywords=Gravity%27s+Rainbow) toward the end of last week. What a relief it was. Afterward, I read some reviews on Goodreads that indicated the chief pleasure of the book lies in re-reading. That must be experienced by doughtier souls than I am; I don't plan to look back on that book!

Since then, I've finished a couple of others too: The Shadow Cabinet (http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Cabinet-Shades-London/dp/0399256628/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429560555&sr=8-1&keywords=shadow+cabinet) by Maureen Johnson and Moondial (http://www.amazon.com/Moondial-Cresswell-Bookworms-Library-Fantasy/dp/0194791238/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1429560582&sr=8-2&keywords=moondial) by Helen Cresswell. The Shadow Cabinet is the third in the Shades of London series. I like the 'supernatural police' conceit that Johnson uses, though I don't think her characters are as interesting or funny as Ben Aaronovitch's are in his Rivers of London series (that also uses supernatural police). Johnson's writing for a YA audience, and it shows, I think detrimentally. Her main character is supposed to be a folksy teen from Louisiana doing a fish-out-of-water thing in London, and in this book, it seems artificial. The whole thing's a little clunky but still readable.

I enjoyed Moondial more. It was written for children and first published around 1988, I think. It concerns a young English girl whose mom leaves her with a family friend for the summer; the mom promptly has a traffic accident and ends up in a coma. Meanwhile, the girl, who has always had the ability to sense and see the supernatural, finds herself able to communicate with two ghosts from a century or more beforehand. Thanks to the moondial, the young girl can walk in their world, albeit as a ghost herself; through this means, she'll be able to help these restless spirits and her mother as well. The ending felt very, very rushed, but most of the plot was well drawn, and the spirits were interesting.

I've got 2 books going at the moment: A Natural History of Dragons (http://www.amazon.com/Natural-History-Dragons-Memoir-Trent/dp/0765375079/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429561280&sr=8-1&keywords=natural+history+of+dragons) by Marie Brennan and Rainbow's End (http://www.amazon.com/Rainbows-End-Vernor-Vinge/dp/0812536363/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429561219&sr=8-1&keywords=rainbow%27s+end) by Vernor Vinge. I nicked the Dragons recommendation out of jsgoddess' 'Recommend me some fantasy' thread, and I'm glad I did. I'm a sucker for that Lady Isabella Bird Victorian explorer sort of tone, and the fantasy elements, with their particular take on dragons, are absorbing as well. Vinge has given me plenty to consider with his future-reality scenarios. I love Robert Gu; he's such a colossal ass so far but still somehow sympathetic.

DZedNConfused
04-22-2015, 11:46 AM
Finished The Brass Verdict by Michael COnnelly not 5 minutes ago :D

I think each book is getting better and better and I find that I like Mickey Haller quite a lot, but my only complaint is the climatic confrontation scene felt hurried and was far too short, only about a page and a half long, to really raise the reader's blood pressure and portray a convincing sense of doom. Most of the revelations of the second to last chapter, I had already worked out (or knew from reading earlier Bosch books), but they were well scripted nevertheless.

Malthus
04-23-2015, 09:01 AM
I'm continuing with the Mayan theme by reading an annotated translation of the Popol Vuh - the Quiche Maya creation myth. Just started the introduction.

Mayan mythology is wacky even by world mythology standards. ;)

It's as if Christianty revolved around a sacred volleyball court where, between games, they beheaded people. :D

A woman being raped by a rotting skull spitting on her also features prominently. Eeeww.

DZedNConfused
04-23-2015, 12:06 PM
I started Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva, this is the 8th book about master spy and assasin Gabriel Allon. It looks like Silva is turning away from the Arab-Israeli conflict in this book and branching out into the remains of the Soviet state and it's machinations.

CalMeacham
04-23-2015, 12:32 PM
I'm continuing with the Mayan theme by reading an annotated translation of the Popol Vuh - the Quiche Maya creation myth. Just started the introduction.

Mayan mythology is wacky even by world mythology standards. ;)

It's as if Christianty revolved around a sacred volleyball court where, between games, they beheaded people. :D

.

I read the Popol Vuh a few months ago. If you don't want to bother with the whole thing in print, there's a comic book adaptation -- a sort of Classics illustrated version:

https://images.search.yahoo.com/images/view;_ylt=AwrB8pCyKzlVtWcA03SJzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTIyMG5vYmprBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDaW1nBG9pZANiZGFlY2VhMTY1Njdl MjZhYzBjMTJmMzMwZjE0NzMwNgRncG9zAzUEaXQDYmluZw--?.origin=&back=https%3A%2F%2Fimages.search.yahoo.com%2Fsearch%2Fimages%3Fp%3DMayan%2BTwins%2BComic%2BBook%26fr %3Dyfp-t-252%26tab%3Dorganic%26ri%3D5&w=231&h=340&imgurl=www.perma-bound.com%2Fws%2Fimage%2Fcover%2F34370%2Fm%3Fref%3Dvd&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.perma-bound.com%2FViewDetail%2F34370-hero-twins-against-the-lords-of-death-a-mayan-myth&size=30.0KB&name=Science%2FMath+Social+Studies+Language+Arts+Character+Ed+Biographies+...&p=Mayan+Twins+Comic+Book&oid=bdaecea16567e26ac0c12f330f147306&fr2=&fr=yfp-t-252&tt=Science%2FMath+Social+Studies+Language+Arts+Character+Ed+Biographies+...&b=0&ni=288&no=5&ts=&tab=organic&sigr=12un24jcv&sigb=134fs0mf1&sigi=11hbbqisb&sigt=126g661nf&sign=126g661nf&.crumb=iFnxBO8CwGG&fr=yfp-t-252

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-hero-twins-dan-jolley/1008857254?ean=9781580138925


The Mayan myth does seen odd, but there are parallel myths of Divine Twins who have to undergo severe Trials in the Americas, especially in the American Southwest. The others don't revolve around a mystical ball game in the Underworld, though. Have a look at the Dine Bahane of the Dine (Navaho):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Din%C3%A9_Bahane%CA%BC

Malthus
04-23-2015, 12:39 PM
I read the Popol Vuh a few months ago. If you don't want to bother with the whole thing in print, there's a comic book adaptation -- a sort of Classics illustrated version:

https://images.search.yahoo.com/images/view;_ylt=AwrB8pCyKzlVtWcA03SJzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTIyMG5vYmprBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDaW1nBG9pZANiZGFlY2VhMTY1Njdl MjZhYzBjMTJmMzMwZjE0NzMwNgRncG9zAzUEaXQDYmluZw--?.origin=&back=https%3A%2F%2Fimages.search.yahoo.com%2Fsearch%2Fimages%3Fp%3DMayan%2BTwins%2BComic%2BBook%26fr %3Dyfp-t-252%26tab%3Dorganic%26ri%3D5&w=231&h=340&imgurl=www.perma-bound.com%2Fws%2Fimage%2Fcover%2F34370%2Fm%3Fref%3Dvd&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.perma-bound.com%2FViewDetail%2F34370-hero-twins-against-the-lords-of-death-a-mayan-myth&size=30.0KB&name=Science%2FMath+Social+Studies+Language+Arts+Character+Ed+Biographies+...&p=Mayan+Twins+Comic+Book&oid=bdaecea16567e26ac0c12f330f147306&fr2=&fr=yfp-t-252&tt=Science%2FMath+Social+Studies+Language+Arts+Character+Ed+Biographies+...&b=0&ni=288&no=5&ts=&tab=organic&sigr=12un24jcv&sigb=134fs0mf1&sigi=11hbbqisb&sigt=126g661nf&sign=126g661nf&.crumb=iFnxBO8CwGG&fr=yfp-t-252

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-hero-twins-dan-jolley/1008857254?ean=9781580138925


The Mayan myth does seen odd, but there are parallel myths of Divine Twins who have to undergo severe Trials in the Americas, especially in the American Southwest. The others don't revolve around a mystical ball game in the Underworld, though. Have a look at the Dine Bahane of the Dine (Navaho):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Din%C3%A9_Bahane%CA%BC

Cool stuff! I may well get that comic book - even if I read the thing in print, my 9 year old son, who went with me to see the ruins of Palenque, may well find it interesting. :)

I'm just reading about the nasty end of the people made of sticks, whose own tools rise up against them. A warning for us all! ;)

susan
04-23-2015, 03:05 PM
Yeah, I dug the Papol Vuh.

BetsQ
04-24-2015, 01:16 PM
I recently read the first few chapters of Case Histories, by Kate Atkinson. I'll go back to it, I think, but since I turned 42 yesterday, I've taken a break to re-read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It's been a long time since I've read it, and I still find myself snickering aloud on the metro. I love it when a book is as delicious as I remember.

CalMeacham
04-24-2015, 01:23 PM
I'm about 1/3 of the way through Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, which I hadn't read before. It's a surprisingly fast read, considering the density of the material.

I finished In the Spirit of Crazy Horse and Orange is the new Black on audio -- library collections of audiodiscs are nothing if not eclectic. I'm listening to more of The Fellowship of the Ring right now, then will move onto Barbara Tuchman's the Guns of August. Pepper Mil gave me a belated Christmas present* of a couple of Twilight Zone audios, too.



*translation: She hid them so well that she just found them recently while cleaning.

hogarth
04-24-2015, 07:08 PM
I'm about 1/3 of the way through Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, which I hadn't read before. It's a surprisingly fast read, considering the density of the material.
I thought it lost momentum, but it was still a pretty good read.

I just finished reading Daniel Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year. I downloaded it more or less at random, but coincidentally it happens to be the 350th anniversary of the London plague so it was a timely choice. It was interesting, but I thought it was a bit repetitive (he'll talk about a subject for a while then say "...as I'll talk about in more detail later").

DZedNConfused
04-24-2015, 07:30 PM
I thought it lost momentum, but it was still a pretty good read.

I just finished reading Daniel Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year. I downloaded it more or less at random, but coincidentally it happens to be the 350th anniversary of the London plague so it was a timely choice. It was interesting, but I thought it was a bit repetitive (he'll talk about a subject for a while then say "...as I'll talk about in more detail later").

I have that sitting in my "To Be Read" pile, I'm thinking of squeezing it in this autumn.

Elendil's Heir
04-24-2015, 08:09 PM
In addition to Colonel Roosevelt, I've been reading here and there in The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Vol. Two, ed. by Gordon Van Gelder. Some good stuff in it, including Robert Heinlein's classic time-travel paradox short story, "--All You Zombies--," which I got interested in again recently after seeing the movie based on it, Predestination.

Siam Sam
04-25-2015, 10:35 AM
Finished The Chamber, by John Grisham. The chamber referred to in the title is the gas chamber at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. Sam Cayhall participated in a KKK bombing campaign that ended up killing two little Jewish boys in 1967. Now it's 1990, and Cayhall is just weeks away from being executed for his crimes. The big Chicago law firm that has been handling his case for years pro bono sends a rookie associate to be in charge of the legal maneuverings. A rookie assigned to last-minute death-penalty duty? Well, it seems he has a secret connection to Cayhall. Very good, held my interest, but Grisham made an odd mistake. He seems to be under the impression that Texas used the gas chamber even as late as the 1980s, making a passing reference to that. I know it's been awhile since I lived in Texas, but I'm pretty sure Texas never used the gas chamber. It was the electric chair until they switched to lethal injection. But no matter, still a good story.

Next up is one more Grisham: The Partner.

delphica
04-25-2015, 03:54 PM
Recently completed:

Two YA novels, The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, which was pretty awesome. Modern day small town that just happens to shove up against a faerie court, two teenage siblings intersect with the various magical goings-on. Romantic in a satisfying way. Also, The Boy in the Black Suit, by Jason Reynolds, which was a terrific, realistic novel about mourning and adapting.

The Luminous Heart of Jonah S., by Gina Nahai. This was very interesting, a multi-generational family story about Iranian Jews, set in both pre-revolution Tehran and current day LA. It was a little rambling and sprawling, in a good way if you like that sort of thing.

Academy Street, by Mary Costello. A very short book that examines the life of a woman who emigrates from Ireland to the US -- one of those where most of the events are fairly commonplace, so like an average life examined in a literary way. It was fine.

Elendil's Heir
04-25-2015, 08:42 PM
Finished The Chamber, by John Grisham. The chamber referred to in the title is the gas chamber at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.... Very good, held my interest....
I like most Grisham, and am very interested in the death penalty, but the book bored me and I put it down after the obligatory 50 pages. To each their own.

astorian
04-26-2015, 09:20 PM
Now 40% of the way through King Solomon's Mines, by H. Rider Haggard.

I read the Classics Comics version when I was 7 or 8, but hardly remember any of it.

koeeoaddi
04-26-2015, 11:28 PM
After hearing a lot of "I started it numerous times..." from people I know, I finally got up the courage to crack open Wolf Hall. It sure isn't anything like the difficult book I expected. I'm still pretty much at the beginning of a very long novel, but so far I'm struck by how gorgeously written and immediately gripping it is.

susan
04-27-2015, 12:30 PM
Reading Cheryl Strayed's Wild, which is better than I thought it would be.

Misnomer
04-28-2015, 12:07 PM
Last night I finished Revival (http://www.amazon.com/Revival-Novel-Stephen-King/dp/1476770395/). I really do enjoy Stephen King.

It was right on the heels of 11/22/63, though, so I want something different -- and lighter -- next: I think I've narrowed it down to either Finn Fancy Necromancy (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LZBDGBI/) (mentioned by some Doper in one of these threads) or Bad Monkey (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AP2VR8W/) (most recently mentioned by JoeyP). Or maybe some nonfiction, like Joss Whedon's biography (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LRHYYEI/) or As You Wish (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IWTWOI2/). I'll decide at bedtime. :)

Eleanor of Aquitaine
04-28-2015, 01:20 PM
After hearing a lot of "I started it numerous times..." from people I know, I finally got up the courage to crack open Wolf Hall. It sure isn't anything like the difficult book I expected. I'm still pretty much at the beginning of a very long novel, but so far I'm struck by how gorgeously written and immediately gripping it is.I really loved the prose style of Wolf Hall. The second book is good, but somehow not quite as mesmerizing.

I've since read two more of Mantel's novels. I liked Eight Months on Ghazzah Street, which is based on her experiences living in Saudi Arabia in the 1980's, but I was disappointed with The Giant, O'Brien, which sounded great - it's about the 8-ft-tall Irishman who exhibited himself in London in 1782, and whose skeleton was stolen by John Hunter, the famous surgeon (and infamous body snatcher). The writing was nice, but I didn't like the storytelling style or the lack of substance.


I just read and enjoyed C.J. Cherryh's newest Foreigner novel, Tracker. (The titles often seem to have little to do with the plot of the books; I didn't notice anybody tracking anything in this one.) I've caught up with this series now so I have to wait a year between books, and it's worse because Cherryh's very slow plotting stretches a single story into three books. I'm thoroughly absorbed by this series, though.

Elendil's Heir
04-28-2015, 01:45 PM
You Wolf Hall fans knew about the TV show, right?: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf_Hall_(TV_series)

Malthus
04-28-2015, 01:55 PM
You Wolf Hall fans knew about the TV show, right?: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf_Hall_(TV_series)

I'm watching that, with great enjoyment; haven't read the book yet. Though I do plan to.

Someone said to me that the book appears to appeal to a female more than to a male audience - to which I replied 'yes, because of the well-established stereotype that women just love reading about the doings of Tudor bureaucrats like Cromwell' :D .

BrassyPhrase
04-28-2015, 02:47 PM
I mostly just get books at Goodwill and stuff. (I am cheap---I mean FRUGAL.) But I had a plane trip recently and part of it was going to be by myself and part with someone I'd met once and I'd spend a day with people I'd never met! (It all turned out ok.)

So I splurged on myself and got the only fiction PTerry had written that I hadn't read--Hat Full of Sky. I'd missed that one.

Damnit, Pterry! Even though the book isn't sad, I of course, teared up reading the ending. Luckily the plane was descending and I had to yawn which makes me tear up anyway. (It's better than the old 'it's dusty in here'!)

I'm sitting here (with a horrible cold--YAY air travel!) and I am trying to decide what to read next. I'm trying to clean out my house, so I've sworn I wont buy a new book (to me) until I get more books out.

I rummaged around and found a book called The Rackets, by Thomas Kelly. I'll try that.

DZedNConfused
04-28-2015, 05:27 PM
I finished Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva and while it's not his worse, it's far from the best. I'm closer to two and a half than three stars because while the book is highly readable, it is still a mess on several levels.

Firstly the narrative: Silva has always straddled the line between showing and telling but in this book he spends far too much time telling us what happened instead of showing the events.

Secondly: The book is marred by long stretches of nothing and while the art forgery was interesting, the intimate musings of the villa servants definitely were not.

The climax of the book was slow in coming and though it got tense, the suspense was never really ratcheted up to breath quickening, heart pounding levels. And the conclusion was so shckingly deus ex machina that it was almost funny.

DZedNConfused
04-28-2015, 05:35 PM
New thread is live!

Where do you like to read? (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=755598)

Elendil's Heir
04-28-2015, 08:06 PM
Why start the new thread so early? May is almost three days away!

DZedNConfused
04-28-2015, 08:20 PM
Because the last time I waited until the first someone else started panickd and started the thread on their own.

Chefguy
04-29-2015, 12:08 PM
Just finished In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, by Hampton Sides. If you like historical exploration and survival stories, this one is a doozy. Extremely well researched and written, with fascinating characters that are like something out of Robert Louis Stevenson or Herman Melville.

DZedNConfused
04-29-2015, 08:03 PM
I started Black Heart, Ivory Bones a short story anthology edited by Terri Windling & Ellen Datlow. Basically we have a retelling of classic fairy tales. So far pretty good...

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