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Earwegoagain



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PostSubject: The book thread.   Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:42 pm

Jus finished the journals of Lewis and Clark about their two year journey from east to west of America, hard work but fascinating all the same.
Have just picked The Wasp Factory by Ian Banks to re read. Brilliant author and sick puppy to boot.
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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:58 am

I've just starting reading 'The Sympathizer' by Viet Than Nguyen. It's about a Vietnamese fellow who worked alongside the Americans in the war (only the Vietnam war unforch, not "The" WOR to save THE CLUB THAT WUDNT DYE), who was a double agent and also reporting to the Vietcong - and tbh who didn't really have a side, and sympathised with both points of view and individuals everywhere. I'm only abait 10 pages in, mind.


Two books I cannot recommend enough are Sapiens and Homo Deus by Yuvel Noah Harari. Humanity from start to end, basically.
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Earwegoagain



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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:04 pm

Glad I'm not the only one that can read here. Thanks for the tips.
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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:48 pm

Earwegoagain wrote:
Jus finished the journals of Lewis and Clark about their two year journey from east to west of America, hard work but fascinating all the same.
Have just picked The Wasp Factory by Ian Banks to re read. Brilliant author and sick puppy to boot.

The Wasp Factory is fecked up, most of his books are pretty decent although some of the later ones can be missed! Also writes SF under the name of Iain M Banks.

I'm currently reading Sticky Fingers about the life and times of Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenne, which isnt bad. Haven't read any good fiction for some time, other than Green Jims plans for the park and pavillions!
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Earwegoagain



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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:11 pm

It was the Wasp Factory that introduced me to his work I still think its his best one, compelling but frightening. Re reading Song of Stone now, not all that, from memory Complicity and Crow Road are better. The M stuff is alright but I don't get on with Sci Fi generally. I met the Man himself at Stirling Uni where he studied and he was guest at a graduation ai went to, really nice quiet and unassuming guy, you'd never know he was so dark.
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harvetheslayer

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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:59 pm

One of the best books I have read ever.

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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:02 am

In addition a book you will read in one sitting....period

"Damage done" by Warren Fellows true story of his incarceration on drug convictions
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Sir Francis Drake

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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:44 am

harvetheslayer wrote:
In addition a book you will read in one sitting....period

"Damage done" by Warren Fellows true story of his incarceration on drug convictions

If you fancy some druggie auto-biography then Snowblind by Zachary Swan is a good read. He used to smuggle cocaine into the US. Very ingenious he was too.

For slightly more unsettling and bleak accounts there's Go Ask Alice about a girl who went off the rails due to LSD or H (later filmed as Christiane F) which is similar but with heroin the drug this time. I don't recall the authors. Sobering stuff.

For rather lighter, laugh out loud funny in places, reading if a bit of science fantasy is your thing then Michael Moorcock's Dancers At The End Of Time trilogy is great. It's drenched in bizarre decadence and romantic innocence in equal measure.

More Moorcock I'd recommend is Gloriana (or the unfulfll'd queen). Just as much decadence and almost no innocence at all but it is much less science fantasyish, far more conventional and quite perverted in places.

In fact it edges towards historical fiction and if that is your bag then there's none better than George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman series which is a constant, scurrilous delight - there can be no better way to brush up on your Victorian history.

If you just want brain-out page turners than the Lee Child Jack Reacher series is fantastic with 62 Hours being a great place to start.

If you like a bit of cop action then Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch books will do the job nicely and if LA's sleaze appeals then there's always Raymond Chandler who really was very good and you get to read the books with a Bogart vojce-over in your head too.

Finally the Far East novels by James Clavell are all very good. We're into page turner/blockbuster territory again but they are very well researched. Noble House is totally epic in both size and scope. It's very James Bondy and set in 'swinging '60s Hong Kong. It's very long but don't let that put you off.
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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:52 am

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Recap from a few years back. Indeed if you like all the Narcos -type Colombian Cartel stuff, then Snowblind is the precursor to everything that Escobar did. study
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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:26 am

Here's a page turner you won't regret. Available at Amazon for Christmas

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Enid Blyton's books are beloved the world over and The Famous Five have been the perennial favourite of her fans. Now, in this new series of Enid Blyton for Grown-Ups, can George, Dick, Anne, Julian and Timmy survive the ultimate test of their friendship: Brexit? It is the night of the referendum and the Five have retired to Kirrin Island to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, fed up with the rancour of public debate. George is firmly a 'remainer,' whilst Julian, who is in the 'Brexit' camp, is tolerated on the grounds that Anne cannot bear to go camping without him. (Timmy, largely apolitical but not keen on cats or rabbits, joins them too.) The night is tempestuous in more ways than one. George has managed to rig up a satellite link with the mainland so they can keep abreast of the news, and they sit huddled around the fire, amidst some tension, as George's initial hope that the 'remainers' will triumph proves premature...Meanwhile, a violent storm whips up. The damage is apparent as the new day dawns and George declares a new meaning for Brexit: Kirrin Island is exiting Britain...that is, until the red tape becomes too much of a challenge and their happy life together is under threat.
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Earwegoagain



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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:12 pm

beesrus wrote:
Here's a page turner you won't regret. Available at Amazon for Christmas

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Enid Blyton's books are beloved the world over and The Famous Five have been the perennial favourite of her fans. Now, in this new series of Enid Blyton for Grown-Ups, can George, Dick, Anne, Julian and Timmy survive the ultimate test of their friendship: Brexit? It is the night of the referendum and the Five have retired to Kirrin Island to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, fed up with the rancour of public debate. George is firmly a 'remainer,' whilst Julian, who is in the 'Brexit' camp, is tolerated on the grounds that Anne cannot bear to go camping without him. (Timmy, largely apolitical but not keen on cats or rabbits, joins them too.) The night is tempestuous in more ways than one. George has managed to rig up a satellite link with the mainland so they can keep abreast of the news, and they sit huddled around the fire, amidst some tension, as George's initial hope that the 'remainers' will triumph proves premature...Meanwhile, a violent storm whips up. The damage is apparent as the new day dawns and George declares a new meaning for Brexit: Kirrin Island is exiting Britain...that is, until the red tape becomes too much of a challenge and their happy life together is under threat.

If you don't want to buy the book I believe it's being serialised by the Gaurdian. Thumbs
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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:37 pm

Bought a copy in Totnes ( of course ) for a good friend of mine.
I always read my presents before I give them. Not quite as good as the Faraway Tree with dear old Moonface, but still a ripping yarn, and Enid showed a lot of foresight in so accurately describing the future. I don't want to spoil the ending so I won't tell you if they all get home in time for tea.
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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:53 pm

Oh good - we're talking about books again!

My reading year has mostly been in three phases. First, soon after the US general election, I felt the need to go back and re-read some of the great dystopian fiction. Did 1984 again, and Brave New World again, then read Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury) and We (Yevgeny Zamyatin) for the first time. Had to stop there for the sake of my mental health - far too many parallels with the real world.

Then I got stuck into the old noir type detective fiction and read a lot of Raymod Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, which gave me a good excuse to re-watch some cracking films.

Then things got a bit heavy at work and I needed some comfort reading, so I've just finished rereading all the Michael Connelly books including the one that only came out a few weeks ago. I do hope he's not planning to kill off Harry Bosch any time soon.

Now, since things are still quite heavy at work, I'm working my way through Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder books, some of which I haven't read before. Apart from the detective stuff, these are the best portrayal of alcoholism and recovery I've ever seen.

Nothing else has stuck in my mind much (most weeks I get through at least two novels), except one: His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet is definitely in my top ten of all time.
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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:18 pm

Peggy,

I'm a couple behind you but if you like Bosch then give Reacher a go.

Reacher is a drifter who was once in the US Army police force. He's 6' 5" and built like a brick outhouse.

Basically he's a kind of Clint Eastwood spag western dude but in modern America who happens to be a deductive genius after a Holmesian fashion, a Schwarzennegger physically and expert in every sort of weaponry and unarmed combat you can imagine. He doesn't go looking for trouble but it finds him at every turn.

They'll never win any prizes for being great literature, being absolute hokum basically, but you just can't turn the pages fast enough.

On no account confuse the man in the books with the man in the films. Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher is a bit like casting Charles Hawtrey as Mr Universe. So if you know the films put them out of your mind. If you don't then forget that I mentioned them.
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Sir Francis Drake

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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:22 pm

Talking of Connelly and books and films The Lincoln Lawyer is very good in both formats. Same author as Bosch but Mickey Haller this time.

You need to read all the Connelly books really because the characters he writes about all spill into one books about another. Haller will be a lawyer in a case Bosch is pursuing and so on. All very cleverly done.
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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:22 pm

My re-read of the Connelly books included virtually all of them, including the Haller ones, because of the way they interweave. I only skipped one standalone and one other which doesn't have strong links to the rest, because they would have interrupted the flow. Actually, I even noticed a couple of continuity issues (how sad!). Connelly's got a particular knack for creating characters you care about even if they're not particularly likeable (I really don't think I'd like Haller, for instance). He's just started a new one, too, a woman detective in LA with an interesting lifestyle, and I'm looking forward to reading more about her.

My Mum was a bit of a fan of the Jack Reacher books, but I really didn't like the one I tried. Can't remember what it was called, but she did say it probably wasn't the right place to start. Might give them a go some time, but for now I've got the Lawrence Block and then all of John D MacDonald (inherited from the aforementioned Mum, who read them so many times some are close to collapse).
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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:30 pm

61 (or was it 62?) Hours. Try that one. It was the first Reacher I read and loved it. Then I read loads one after the other and haven't a clue which ones I've read and which ones I haven't.

They all stand alone, pretty much, though. So start anywhere.

Back to Moorcock the Jerry Cornelius books are pretty wild. There's 4 of them. Jerry is a swinging '60s sort of secret agent/scientist/rock star. There's all sorts goes on and some it makes sense.

Jerry Cornelius was one of the incarnations of The Eternal Champion (there's literally dozens of books about him in one guise or another). The stories all are concerned with the balance between Law and Chaos with the Eternal Champion's role being to restore balance: sometimes he's a goodie; sometimes a baddie; sometimes a she; sometimes (s)he wins; sometimes (s)he does not. The Eternal Champion books are very cross genre. Some of them are typical sword and sorcery and others set in a more recognisable setting. The Jerry Cornell ones, there's only a couple, are very funny and he's a secret agent in the early '70s. The Elric ones are probably the most famous and are all swords and dragons. I particularly liked the Capt Oswald Bastable ones which were set in a modern (ish) Europe which had never seen the invention of the internal combustion or jet engines (something of a pet theme for Moorcock) and so people travel by electric cars and air ships. There was also a couple about Karl Glogauer... The second of which profoundly shocked me back along. I don't think I was ready for it in any way, shape or form!

Unlike the Flashman books, which I have read and re-read many times, I've not revisited them, except for Gloriana, in years though so they may not have held up well!
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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:36 pm

Erm. A bit of a game changer nomination for you all: The Kingkiller Chronicles.
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Sir Francis Drake

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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:43 pm

Fill us in then.
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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:44 am

I forgot abait it, but I was struggling to get the brother an Xmas present and then it all came back to me - and now I'm immensely jealous that he gets to read them for the first time and I've already done them.

It's a fantasy - which usually I'd sniff about and ignore, but do persevere - about a fella called Kvothe who is a little ginger kid whose parents are killed, and the tale of him becoming the most powerful fella in the world, in spite of him basically consistently feckin everything up fer himself.

There's two, the second is better than the first, with a third awaiting completion (it's been drafted an re-drafted since 2007 much to the annoyance of the author's fans).

Dabble away, tank me later

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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:16 am

I do struggle with both Crime/detective novels and anything that has anything to do with magic and elves (apart from Tolkein OBVS). I've read some great whodunnits over the years but I found now you are just reading the same story with different locations and characters given a shakeup.
I'm much happier reading real life adventure I've just finished Shackleton for about the fifth time, Knox Johnson is good as is Bernard Motissier (Long Way) about his Golden Globe (as is Knox Jon on same subject). I've read loads of books about the pioneers of America and Africa and find them all fascinating.
Currently re reading Snowblind on Czarks reccomendation, great book. If you like that check out Cocaine Conspiracy by Michael Levine a top DEA agent who ended up getting out of the business because of government corruption. What I love about reading these things like Chapo is that if it were fiction you'd be struggling to believe it, too far fetched almost.
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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:34 am

Try Flashman!

No elves or whodunnits. Just a romp through the Victorian world with loads of action, not a little sex and hundreds of laughs of all drenched in as much historical detail as even the keenest of nerds could wish for and it is all gloriously un-PC. Uncomfortably so at times.

Flashy was the bully from Tom Brown's Schooldays who got expelled from Rugby for literally roasting Tom Brown. He's a bully, coward, bigot, rapist and incorrigible bounder who is resolutely out for himself and does all he can to avoid any danger and subsequently hurtles head first into just about every major Victorian millitary action there was. Rorke's Drift, Little Big Horn, Charge Of The Light Brigade, Slavery, US Civil War, Indian Mutiny, First Sikh War, Boxer Rebellion and a few others too. There's Flashy in a huge funk charging head first into all of them and getting promoted at every stage of the way for valour. He's like an anti-Hornblower.

Best of all the books are really funny.
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Earwegoagain



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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:03 pm

I read Flashman when a teenager, you're right it is a great series, will dig it out again, I'm off to India for 3 months in the new year so I could read the Indian bits in situ for added interest.
I did enjoy Hornblower as well another good read although a bit vomit inducing at times.
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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:59 pm

Two years Before The Mast,

Richard Henry Dana Jr.

I have read it a few times, a dispassionate account of life on a sailing ship on the US coast.

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PostSubject: Re: The book thread.   Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:39 pm

Stig of the Dump
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The book thread.
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