What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

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heartwood
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by heartwood » Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:33 pm

I just finished J. K. Rowling's "A Casual Vacancy." I enjoyed it. I seem to recall it got mixed reviews when published. I've read a few of her Harry Potter books, but not all. I've read and generally enjoyed her detective series written as Robert Galbraith.

It's billed as "a big novel about a small town." Many interwoven characters, teens and adults; small town politics, sex, and more.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by VictoriaF » Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:51 am

heartwood wrote:I just finished J. K. Rowling's "A Casual Vacancy." I enjoyed it. I seem to recall it got mixed reviews when published. I've read a few of her Harry Potter books, but not all. I've read and generally enjoyed her detective series written as Robert Galbraith.

It's billed as "a big novel about a small town." Many interwoven characters, teens and adults; small town politics, sex, and more.


I listened to it as an audiobook and liked it very much. I have not read any of Harry Potter books, and my judgement was unblemished by the hype or my own expectations.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by BenBritt » Wed Feb 10, 2016 3:23 pm

Destiny and Power by Jon Meacham.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon » Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:26 pm

Osceola and the Great Seminole War, by Thom Hatch.

This is a good biography of Osceola and a compelling history of the Second Seminole War.

Osceola (Billy Powell) led the Seminole in their fight to avoid removal from Florida to the West, and to avoid return to slavery of escaped slaves living among them. Over five years they routinely defeated the U.S. Army and state militias using good reconnaissance and hit and run tactics, and also in a few prolonged battles. Several U.S. commanding generals resigned in frustration or were fired for inability to defeat them.

Finally U.S. general Jesup developed at new strategy. Rather than try to defeat the Seminole in battle, he lured Seminole leaders to peace conferences promising concessions, and when the Seminole leaders appeared to talk under a flag of truce he simply captured and imprisoned them.

Trickery and deceit won, Osceola and others were imprisoned, and the Seminole resistance died for lack of good leadership.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Casper » Fri Feb 12, 2016 5:07 pm

At Home: A Short History of Private Life, by Bill Bryson. Just finished A Walk in the Woods and The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid as well, also by Bryson. Can't believe it took me so long to "discover" Bryson. Now I have to work my way through his entire back catalog...

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by jebmke » Fri Feb 12, 2016 5:22 pm

heartwood wrote:If you haven't seen the Tom Cruise movie "Jack Reacher", it's worth a view to see how Tom compares to your image of Jack. A second movie is scheduled for release later this year.

I haven't been able to pick up a "Jack Reacher" book since they cast Tom Cruise as Reacher. He is the farthest thing from a Reacher image that I can imagine. That casting ruined it for me and I didn't even see the movie.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon » Sun Feb 14, 2016 3:54 pm

Following Breeze, by Ed Robinson.

A middle-aged former corporate executive turned embezzler and marijuana dealer is a now a boat bum living aboard near Fort Meyers. "Although the tactic of getting drunk had never solved my problems in the past, I was willing to keep trying."

This time he is off to the Dominican Republic to retrieve $700k of his from a former girlfriend. But he is sidelined by a hurricane, and has to take refuge in Cuba.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Feb 14, 2016 4:45 pm

ruralavalon wrote:Following Breeze, by Ed Robinson.

A middle-aged former corporate executive turned embezzler and marijuana dealer is a now a boat bum living aboard near Fort Meyers. "Although the tactic of getting drunk had never solved my problems in the past, I was willing to keep trying."

This time he is off to the Dominican Republic to retrieve $700k of his from a former girlfriend. But he is sidelined by a hurricane, and has to take refuge in Cuba.


http://www.amazon.com/Brief-History-Sev ... 159448600X

This won the Booker Prize (A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James). The first Jamaican novel to do so. It's a history of a murder attempt on Bob Marley, set in the formation of the Yardies in 1960s & 70s Jamaica. My spouse who read it said it took a while to get into the language but then she found it epic and unputdownable (she reads a lot, mind).

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Feb 14, 2016 4:49 pm

ruralavalon wrote:Following Breeze, by Ed Robinson.

A middle-aged former corporate executive turned embezzler and marijuana dealer is a now a boat bum living aboard near Fort Meyers. "Although the tactic of getting drunk had never solved my problems in the past, I was willing to keep trying."

This time he is off to the Dominican Republic to retrieve $700k of his from a former girlfriend. But he is sidelined by a hurricane, and has to take refuge in Cuba.


Newton Thornburgh wrote several novels of America at the end of the Vietnam Era. The hero of "Cutter and Bone" aka Cutter's Way is an ex ad executive, slumming in California (Cutter is his friend, a Vietnam vet).

http://www.amazon.com/Newton-Thornburg/e/B001HOIHB2

"To Die in California" became a truly fantastic movie (at least the plots have more than superficial similarity: old man goes back to California to find out how their son/ daughter died -- Steven Soderburgh turned it into "The Limey" using Terence Stamp (a British "tough guy" actor from the 1960s*) as the father, and Peter Fonda as the sleazy recording executive and Barry Newman as his hard man-- the film passed the "watch it twice and get new insights from each viewing" test, which very few films do, in my experience).

* the film very cleverly incorporates clips from Stamp's films in the 1960s as if they were real life.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Feb 14, 2016 4:54 pm

Wildebeest wrote:Finished "The pyramid" by Henning Mankiel, The first Wallander Cases. This is the prequel.

Actually I like the foreword best. I read it after I read the book and was frustrated by the inconsistencies.

May be I should have waited with The Pyramid till I finished the series.


Mankell has just published a book of essays written as he was dying. The excerpts in the Guardian were pretty moving-- and may be available online.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/henning-mankell

Mankell and Wallander made possible the "Scandinavian Noir" boom that we are undergoing--- the Millennium Trilogy, The Bridge, The Killing. Borgen. Etc.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Feb 14, 2016 4:54 pm

ruralavalon wrote:Night Vision, by Randy Wayne White.

A Doc Ford adventure novel, involving the kidnapping of a young Guatemalan girl. This is a great story.

Florida's Civil War Battles, by Stephen Webb.

I was not aware that there was significant Union sentiment in Florida during the Civil War, or that significant numbers of Floridians served in the Union Army and Navy, or that black units served in Florida, or that most of coastal Florida was in Union hands throughout much of the Civil War. The book recounts battles near Pensacola, Tampa, Jacksonville, Gainsville and St Marks.


Fascinating. Thank you.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Feb 14, 2016 5:01 pm

steve roy wrote:I should try another Reacher. A friend gave me a dog-eared paperback of a different Reacher adventure wherein the big guy spends endless amounts of time (i.e. pages) sitting in a vehicle with a pack of killers, going cross country. I plowed along, but petered out about 200 pages in.

I should try the thing again, but I find the prose pedestrian. I gotta admit, Raymond Chandler, all these years later, ruins a lot of thriller-mystery writers for me because Ray's prose gets up and walks, and many other writers' simply don't. (I do have a fondness for Robert Parker/"Spenser" and John D. MacDonald/"Travis McGee" however. And some of the Ross MacDonald books are quite nice.)


I never found another Chandler-- maybe there isn't another Chandler*. I must try Dashiell Hammett again. Joe Gores had a good tilt at revisiting Hammett but unfortunately legal problems with the estate delayed it so long that he died before he could write much.

Ross MacDonald (another Canadian ;-)) did indeed write some good stuff, and in the dark tone Lew Archer is the thematic successor to Sam Spade, a sense that had Spade lived longer, he would have told tales of California in the 60s like MacDonald.

I couldn't get into the character of Travis McGee.

* I believe it is still an unresolved question whether Chandler recorded a dialect of the time, low life LA, or invented one. He was a master of words and enters the literary canon for that reason alone**. One of so many talented authors carried off by alcoholism. His prose also reads well. Margaret Atwood wrote about his principled position during the McCarthy years, at the end of his life-- she was just beginning to write as he was dying.

** plus some of the tangled motivations in books like "The lady in the Lake" and "Farewell my Lovely" although from memory that one may be the one with the mcguffin in the ending.

I always struggle not to hear Humphrey Bogart's voice when Spade speaks, although I have never seen any of the other adaptations (Robert Mitchum, Elliot Gould?).

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Jeff Albertson » Sun Feb 14, 2016 5:50 pm

Wildebeest wrote:Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell. "Sweden's greatest living mystery writer" LA Times

First Kurt Wallander novel set in 1990. Remarkably current. I enjoyed it and plan to read the next nine.


The final season of Kenneth Branagh's Wallander airs May 8-22, 2016 on PBS.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/programs/wallander/

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Sun Feb 14, 2016 7:11 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:Finishing the first of the highly-regarded "Ancillary" SF series by Anne Leckie, Ancillary Justice. Far-future space opera background. The central character is the sole remaining ancillary (One Esk 19) of the troop ship "Justice of Toren". Ancillaries are people that were converted to controlled servants of a ship's central mind. One Esk 19 has an ambitious revenge plot that includes attempting to destroy as much of the ruler of the empire as possible. The leader itself uses ancillaries, and at some point became divided into at least two opposing factions. One of those was responsible for the destruction of JoT.

A bit talky in the beginning, but there was a lot of background information to get through. The action has picked up and I will go right to Ancillary Sword immediately.


Just finished Ancillary Sword, the second book. Former Ancillary Breq pursues her own agenda in the "cold" civil war going on in the empire. Along the way, she attempts to expose corruption and bring justice to the downtrodden when possible. She also draws other "broken" people to her. All while trying to figure out what, if anything, the alien Presger have to do with events.

More of a setup book for the third, climactic one. That's why I like closed-end series to finish before I start them, as I don't like waiting around for the finish! On to Ancillary Mercy (the titles are based on the three main war ships of the empire).

Earl
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Wildebeest » Mon Feb 15, 2016 6:54 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
steve roy wrote:I should try another Reacher. A friend gave me a dog-eared paperback of a different Reacher adventure wherein the big guy spends endless amounts of time (i.e. pages) sitting in a vehicle with a pack of killers, going cross country. I plowed along, but petered out about 200 pages in.

I should try the thing again, but I find the prose pedestrian. I gotta admit, Raymond Chandler, all these years later, ruins a lot of thriller-mystery writers for me because Ray's prose gets up and walks, and many other writers' simply don't. (I do have a fondness for Robert Parker/"Spenser" and John D. MacDonald/"Travis McGee" however. And some of the Ross MacDonald books are quite nice.)


I never found another Chandler-- maybe there isn't another Chandler*. I must try Dashiell Hammett again. Joe Gores had a good tilt at revisiting Hammett but unfortunately legal problems with the estate delayed it so long that he died before he could write much.

Ross MacDonald (another Canadian ;-)) did indeed write some good stuff, and in the dark tone Lew Archer is the thematic successor to Sam Spade, a sense that had Spade lived longer, he would have told tales of California in the 60s like MacDonald.

I couldn't get into the character of Travis McGee.

* I believe it is still an unresolved question whether Chandler recorded a dialect of the time, low life LA, or invented one. He was a master of words and enters the literary canon for that reason alone**. One of so many talented authors carried off by alcoholism. His prose also reads well. Margaret Atwood wrote about his principled position during the McCarthy years, at the end of his life-- she was just beginning to write as he was dying.

** plus some of the tangled motivations in books like "The lady in the Lake" and "Farewell my Lovely" although from memory that one may be the one with the mcguffin in the ending.

I always struggle not to hear Humphrey Bogart's voice when Spade speaks, although I have never seen any of the other adaptations (Robert Mitchum, Elliot Gould?).


Please let me know when you find another Chandler. I do like Dashiel Hammett. I read too many Ross McDonalds ( some were quite good)

I would reread Raymond Chandler over and over again and this is how I thought all Americans spoke and when I met my wife ( American) she would be have no idea what why I would speak in 1940's lingo/dialect. She read some of his books and was like: "that is where you got it from".
The Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by blackomen » Tue Feb 16, 2016 5:23 pm

The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by gkaplan » Tue Feb 16, 2016 9:18 pm

I just finished Career of Evil by J. K. Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith.

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman's severed leg. Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible – and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality. With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. As more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them. Career of Evil is the third in the highly acclaimed series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. A clever mystery with unexpected twists around every corner, it is also a gripping story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives.

I really liked this book, as I have the previous two in the series, although it was a tad long. I guess Ngaio Marsh has spoiled me. In 250 pages, she can tell a good story, develop two-dimensional characters, and create interesting plots. On the other hand, the books of Elizabeth George seem to take on epic proportions in terms of length. Really! How much do we need to know about Sergeant Havers' annoying and chatty neighbors or Inspector Lynley's posh and boring friends?

Getting back to Career of Evil, the ending leaves things up in the air, and I am very eager to see where this series is going.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by cholan » Tue Feb 16, 2016 9:39 pm

The Invention of Nature. Alexander von Humboldt's New World by Andrea Wulf.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon » Tue Feb 16, 2016 9:43 pm

cholan wrote:The Invention of Nature. Alexander von Humboldt's New World by Andrea Wulf.

I have thought about getting this book to read, but haven't done so yet. Do you have any recommendation?
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by cholan » Tue Feb 16, 2016 10:12 pm

“Alexander von Humboldt may have been the preeminent scientist of his era, second in fame only to Napoleon, but outside his native Germany his reputation has faded. Wulf does much to revive our appreciation of this ecological visionary through her lively, impressively researched account of his travels and exploits, reminding us of the lasting influence of his primary insight: that the Earth is a single, interconnected organism, one that can be catastrophically damaged by our own destructive actions.” —The New York Times Book Review, Top 10 Books of the Year

If you have interest in biology and adventure, you will like this.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Wildebeest » Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:40 am

"The Confidence Game Why we fall for it every time" by Maria Konnikova. Non fiction.

From the book jacket: " In the remarkable book, Maria Konnikova shows that human beings are hard wired to believe- often to our peril. And a deft mix of stories and studies, she explores what that means for how we think, and, ultimately, who we are. Deeply researched and elegantly written" Daniel Pink.

I would have liked it if she had made the stories of the grifters and marks into better tales and the material had the promise to make it into a pageturner. I thought that it was disappointing that Kahneman's :"Thinking, fast and slow" did not appear to page 200 and then it was about the hot hand fallacy ( which is the worst example from the book especially because she did not mention that hot hand fallacy is no fallacy anymore ) https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q ... 3917,d.cGc.

Overall I enjoyed the book and would give it a 9 out of 10.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by nisiprius » Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:00 pm

Some more Jack Reacher novels. Finished Nothing to Lose (about the two towns named "Hope" and "Despair.") Then the first, Killing Floor. Then read one of the newest, Personal. About 1/3 into the second, Die Trying, which is the second, and I have The Enemy, a library print edition. After that I'll probably give it a rest for a while.

I finally caught him in something close to an outright factual error, though. In Personal, one character is using an SSRI anti-depressant drug, sertraline (Zoloft), and in this book it works like aspirin does for a headache: it gives prompt temporary relief of anxiety for a few hours and then the effect passes away. Either Lee Child didn't bother to check it out, or knows better but decided to fib in order to make a plot point work. It's a little like all of those innumerable comic strip situations with "the poison" and "the antidote." So if he's wrong about that, then perhaps his handy tips like what to do when a bad guy standing ten feet away has a shotgun pointed at you aren't really actionable information, either.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by gatorking » Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:24 pm

I just finished "How Adam Smith can change your life: an unexpected guide to human nature and happiness" by Russ Roberts
Highly recommend it. This is not a book about "The Wealth of Nations" but about a lesser known work - "The Theory of Moral Sentiments". Recently I have been reading books that can be broadly classified under "How should I live my life?" This book helps a lot in providing clarity.

My notes from the book can be viewed here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dbV ... sp=sharing
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by MP173 » Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:26 pm

I have really enjoyed the first two Robert Galbraith novels and look forward to the third. The "Travis McGee" novels by John McDonald were absolutely a joy to read back in the 80s.

"Talk" by Michael Smercomish was an interesting fictional look at the right wing Tea Party talk radio industry. Smercomish has his own syndicated show on Sirius POTUS channel, which I listen to and regularly call into, so I was interested in his look at his industry. I find Smercomish to be very good political observer and a rarity these day...in the middle.

Currently "Purity" by Jonathan Franzen has my attention. It is a huge novel, pushing 600 pages, but well worth the effort. The book moves from character to character, from different points of time in their lives, but addresses a number of issues in today's world. I have one more chapter (well over 100 pages) but this has been a great book....so far.

Ed

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by market timer » Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:56 am

Suttree, by Cormac McCarthy. This is my first Cormac McCarthy novel.

From the Amazon blurb: "By the author of Blood Meridian and All the Pretty Horses, Suttree is the story of Cornelius Suttree, who has forsaken a life of privilege with his prominent family to live in a dilapidated houseboat on the Tennessee River near Knoxville. Remaining on the margins of the outcast community there--a brilliantly imagined collection of eccentrics, criminals, and squatters--he rises above the physical and human squalor with detachment, humor, and dignity."

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:08 am

Wildebeest wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:
steve roy wrote:I should try another Reacher. A friend gave me a dog-eared paperback of a different Reacher adventure wherein the big guy spends endless amounts of time (i.e. pages) sitting in a vehicle with a pack of killers, going cross country. I plowed along, but petered out about 200 pages in.

I should try the thing again, but I find the prose pedestrian. I gotta admit, Raymond Chandler, all these years later, ruins a lot of thriller-mystery writers for me because Ray's prose gets up and walks, and many other writers' simply don't. (I do have a fondness for Robert Parker/"Spenser" and John D. MacDonald/"Travis McGee" however. And some of the Ross MacDonald books are quite nice.)


I never found another Chandler-- maybe there isn't another Chandler*. I must try Dashiell Hammett again. Joe Gores had a good tilt at revisiting Hammett but unfortunately legal problems with the estate delayed it so long that he died before he could write much.

Ross MacDonald (another Canadian ;-)) did indeed write some good stuff, and in the dark tone Lew Archer is the thematic successor to Sam Spade, a sense that had Spade lived longer, he would have told tales of California in the 60s like MacDonald.

I couldn't get into the character of Travis McGee.

* I believe it is still an unresolved question whether Chandler recorded a dialect of the time, low life LA, or invented one. He was a master of words and enters the literary canon for that reason alone**. One of so many talented authors carried off by alcoholism. His prose also reads well. Margaret Atwood wrote about his principled position during the McCarthy years, at the end of his life-- she was just beginning to write as he was dying.

** plus some of the tangled motivations in books like "The lady in the Lake" and "Farewell my Lovely" although from memory that one may be the one with the mcguffin in the ending.

I always struggle not to hear Humphrey Bogart's voice when Spade speaks, although I have never seen any of the other adaptations (Robert Mitchum, Elliot Gould?).


Please let me know when you find another Chandler. I do like Dashiel Hammett. I read too many Ross McDonalds ( some were quite good)

I would reread Raymond Chandler over and over again and this is how I thought all Americans spoke and when I met my wife ( American) she would be have no idea what why I would speak in 1940's lingo/dialect. She read some of his books and was like: "that is where you got it from".


A master of words, but not those words, was George V Higgins in books like "The Friends of Eddie Coyle". That Boston dialect. Higgins was a criminal lawyer, and he wrote the dialect of the people he knew. The early Higgins better than the later.

Your tales remind me of "the historic documents" in "Galaxy Quest"-- the aliens confuse transmissions of TV serials from Earth for real history. A lovingingly affectionate send-off of Star Trek which any true fan of ST really had to love. Tim Burton playing James T Kirk, and most especially Alan Rickman playing the alien science officer.

And from Star Trek IV: the voyage home, when they visit 20th century San Francisco

Spock: Admiral, may I ask you a question?
James T. Kirk: Spock, don't call me Admiral. You used to call me Jim. Don't you remember "Jim"? What's your question?
Spock: Your use of language has altered since our arrival. It is currently laced with, shall I say, more colorful metaphors-- "Double dumb-ass on you" and so forth.
Kirk: You mean the profanity?
Spock: Yes.
Kirk: That's simply the way they talk here. Nobody pays any attention to you unless you swear every other word. You'll find it in all the literature of the period.
Spock: For example?
Kirk: [thinks] Oh, the complete works of Jacqueline Susann, the novels of Harold Robbins....
Spock: Ah... The giants.
Last edited by Valuethinker on Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:10 am

market timer wrote:Suttree, by Cormac McCarthy. This is my first Cormac McCarthy novel.

From the Amazon blurb: "By the author of Blood Meridian and All the Pretty Horses, Suttree is the story of Cornelius Suttree, who has forsaken a life of privilege with his prominent family to live in a dilapidated houseboat on the Tennessee River near Knoxville. Remaining on the margins of the outcast community there--a brilliantly imagined collection of eccentrics, criminals, and squatters--he rises above the physical and human squalor with detachment, humor, and dignity."


The Border Trilogy and the fine movie "No Country for Old Men" that came out of it.

And "The Road" is the post apocalypse novel of all post apocalypse novels. All the more so for the fact the nature of the apocalypse is never defined.

The 50s brought us "Alas Babylon" for an "optimistic" view of the nuclear aftermath. And "On the Beach" for a negative one (again, a good movie). And "A Canticle for Leibowitz" a very moving one-- the last scene almost unbearably touching, cannot read it without a tear coming to my eye.

The 2000s brought us The Road and "The Book of Dave" (Will Self) plus the Margaret Attwood pieces. Profoundly dark.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:14 am

gatorking wrote:I just finished "How Adam Smith can change your life: an unexpected guide to human nature and happiness" by Russ Roberts
Highly recommend it. This is not a book about "The Wealth of Nations" but about a lesser known work - "The Theory of Moral Sentiments". Recently I have been reading books that can be broadly classified under "How should I live my life?" This book helps a lot in providing clarity.

My notes from the book can be viewed here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dbV ... sp=sharing



Smith is often misunderstood, or selectively understood, rather, and this book is by all accounts an excellent view of the wider man-- the moral philosopher.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by rakornacki1 » Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:38 am

'The Promise of Francis', a history of Pope Francis's first 2 years in office and how he is trying to change the Catholic Church worldwide.

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Blues
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Blues » Tue Feb 23, 2016 8:55 am

Currently reading "These Thousand Hills" by A.B. Guthrie Jr. having just revisited three others in his masterful series from the 50's, "The Big Sky", "The Way West" and "Fair Land, Fair Land". ("The Way West" won the Pulitzer in 1951.)

They rarely write 'em like this anymore...honesty, thoughtfulness and politically incorrect language (without intended malice).
“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” - Sun Tzu | "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon » Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:51 am

Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell.

The book details the science about intuition, snap judgements and first impressions., including when it's best to rely on them and when not. (The necessary items for a quality rapid decision are extensive personal experience and training [e.g. checklists, decision trees, established criteria] or both, plus very limited time available for decision.) The book is very informative, well written, plain and concise. I recommend this book.
Last edited by ruralavalon on Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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HikerNC
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by HikerNC » Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:16 am

"A Time to Kill," by John Grisham.

I'm enjoying it.

Bungo
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Bungo » Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:43 pm

Recently finished:

Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith. Good detective story set in Moscow during the Cold War (1980 or so). Substantially better written than average for the genre, and the plot starts off well: three dead bodies are found as the snow melts at the end of winter. Who were they, who killed them, and why? Even answering the first question takes some ingenuity because the bodies have been stripped of identifying features. The story is very good for the first half, but it becomes a bit far-fetched/silly toward the end. The protagonist Arkady Renko is a well-written character who I look forward to revisiting in the next book in the series (of eight so far), Polar Star.

Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell. Another detective story, this one set in southern Sweden. Two rural farmers are brutally murdered in their farmhouse, and we follow the police (and particularly the chief investigator, Kurt Wallander) through the nuts and bolts of their investigation. This one is slow-moving and full of false trails and wrong turns, and the resolution isn't very satisfying (no way to deduce "whodunnit" any sooner than the police find out, and many questions remain unanswered), but maybe that makes it all the more realistic. Decently written/translated. I'll read the next in the series, The Dogs of Riga. and I will check out the TV series on Netflix.

Currently reading The Warden by Anthony Trollope, the first of his six Barsetshire books. I'm about midway through. Very nice so far, not quite up to the standards of The Way We Live Now, but beautifully written as always. This one is short: at less than 300 pages one might consider it an introductory novella to be read before getting to the real "meat" of the series. I have the next book, Barchester Towers, next in line.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Infidel447 » Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:57 pm

'Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Autobiographical of her life growing up in Somalia/Kenya undergoing FGM and escaping eventually to the Netherlands and finally to the USA after quite an adventurous life. Whatever your personal political beliefs regarding her viewpoints, the story of her childhood is harrowing and illuminating. Particularly her observations as a child that most women went uncovered, but by the time she left, almost every woman was covered. Somehow in the last 40 years there has been a huge cultural shift in that part of the world that everyone missed as it happened.

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snowshoes
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by snowshoes » Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:47 pm

The Fearful Rise of Markets, by Mohamed a El-Erian & J Authers.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by MP173 » Wed Feb 24, 2016 7:34 am

Finished "Purity" last night and consider it one of the finest novels I have read. This book provided me with that sadness when one reads the final page and comes to the realization that it is over. Well written, a bit long, and it does ramble but Franzen covers a lot of time and history (post Berlin Wall to current).

Ed

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Van » Wed Feb 24, 2016 7:59 am

LETTER TO A CHRISTIAN NATION by Sam Harris.

Even if you are not a freethinker now, you might be after reading this marvelous little book.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Bungo » Wed Feb 24, 2016 11:49 am

MP173 wrote:Finished "Purity" last night and consider it one of the finest novels I have read. This book provided me with that sadness when one reads the final page and comes to the realization that it is over. Well written, a bit long, and it does ramble but Franzen covers a lot of time and history (post Berlin Wall to current).

I'm really looking forward to reading this one. It's near the top of my to-be-read pile. The Corrections is one of my favorite novels, and Freedom was pretty great as well.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by FandangoDave5010 » Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:29 pm

I am reading all 11 of Jo Nesbo's Norway detective series on Inspector Harry Hole. Books run 500-600 pages so there are lots of details to prevent winter cabin fever here in the Nevada desert for a retiree. Grisly and bloody, lots of slicing and dicing and corrupt cops to boot. Best of all: usually free and available now at your public library's ebook web site. I have just finished Nesbo's latest book "The Police." The ending is "WOW" !

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by gkaplan » Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:58 pm

Yesterday, I finished The Yid by Paul Goldberg.

Goldberg's first novel imagines Soviet history as a violent farce that averts a tragedy for Russia's Jews. The titular "Yid" is Solomon Levinson, a deadly, buffoonish member of a disbanded Yiddish theater company who likens himself to the puppet Petrushka, a "sad, angry clown battling the forces of history." In the novel's opening, Levinson verbally duels with, and then brutally dispatches, three soldiers sent to capture him as part of a pogrom in 1953. Stalin has given orders to "forever rid the Motherland" of its Jewish population. Levinson decides that the only hope for him and Soviet Jews is to stage a play of his own that deposes the genocidal tyrant. The slightly unhinged director, for whom the lines between stage and reality are blurred, assembles a cast to aid him in his improvised plot. Among the cast is an accomplished doctor, an orphaned young woman, and an African-American Communist disillusioned at finding the same racism in Soviet Russia as he did in Jim Crow America.

(Summary synthesized from several librarian periodicals.)

This is either dark comedy or theater of the absurd. Probably both. The reviewers of Booklist and Library Journal each gave this book a well-deserved star review.
Gordon

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HomerJ
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by HomerJ » Fri Feb 26, 2016 1:10 am

I'm reading all of Herman Wouk's books...

Very strange that it took me this long...

"The Caine Mutiny" is one of my all time favorite books... I've read it at least 5 times since I was 14.

But I never read any of Herman Wouk's other books. I don't know why.

But I just finished his better known classics, "The Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance" (about World War II), and loved them both. I'm now starting "The Hope" (about the formation of Israel after World War II)., and am looking forward to reading the rest of his books.

Funny enough, I saw an article about Herman Wouk just the other day in Time magazine. He's still alive at 100.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by gkaplan » Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:42 am

He has an autobiography out, or due out, titled Sailor and Fiddler.
Gordon

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by arizonaslim » Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:51 am

John Bacon's latest book, Endzone. It's about the recent history of University of Michigan athletics. (I'm an alum.)

Although the writing is good, the book has quite a few typos. I'm seeing more and more of that in books.

I'm also a bit baffled by the over-the-top devotion that many of the book's protagonists have for the University of Michigan. I mean, come on. It's a university. An institution. It is NOT going to love you back. No institution ever will.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by gkaplan » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:39 pm

I just finished reading Sweetgirl by Travis Mulhauser, which I decided to read after seeing a nice OPB review on its website.

Braving a northern Michigan blizzard to search for her missing meth-addicted mother, Percy James stops by the cabin of two drug addicts and flees with their endangered baby. This triggers a dangerous race from the elements and a band of desperate criminals.

This is a great book, and with a great story, indelible characters, and atmosphere galore, the screenplay for a movie could almost write itself.

I highly recommend this debut novel.
Gordon

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by avenger » Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:38 am

Casper wrote:At Home: A Short History of Private Life, by Bill Bryson. Just finished A Walk in the Woods and The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid as well, also by Bryson. Can't believe it took me so long to "discover" Bryson. Now I have to work my way through his entire back catalog...


He's great. I'm currently rereading A Short History of Nearly Everything.
cheers ... -Mark | "Our life is frittered away with detail. Simplify. Simplify." -Henry David Thoreau | [3 fund portfolio: VTI, VXUS, SV fund (yield 3.01%)]

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by bondsr4me » Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:59 am

I am actually reading 2 books...I like to switch back and forth so I don't bet bored.

I am reading (again) Stan & Hildy Richelson's "Bonds The Unbeaten Path To Secure Investment Growth" and Charlie Munger The Complete Investor by Tren Griffin.

Then BONDS book is my "Go To" book for bonds...I have the previous version also...you can't go wrong with either.
IMHO, it is rock solid investing for me.

I am enjoying Charlie Munger for his "tongue in cheek" wit regarding Wall Street and the investment gurus.

Both books are good reading IMO.

Don

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Wildebeest » Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:03 pm

avenger wrote:
Casper wrote:At Home: A Short History of Private Life, by Bill Bryson. Just finished A Walk in the Woods and The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid as well, also by Bryson. Can't believe it took me so long to "discover" Bryson. Now I have to work my way through his entire back catalog...


He's great. I'm currently rereading A Short History of Nearly Everything.[/quote

A Walk in the Woods was so much funnier than the movie. I love " A Short history of Nearly Everything. For me it gets better on reading it again.
The Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:35 pm

Lincoln of Kentucky, by Lowell H. Harrison.

The book deals with the influence of Kentucky on Lincoln. Lincoln was born in Kentucky, but lived there only until age 8. In Indiana many neighbors were also from Kentucky. In Illinois his friends, law partners and wife were from Kentucky. The book gives a very thorough description of his changing attitude toward slavery and emancipation, and his efforts at keeping Kentucky in the Union during the Civil War.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

aasantha
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by aasantha » Mon Feb 29, 2016 4:25 am

linenfort wrote:The Fear Index
by
Robert Harris


Loved this one

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by cholan » Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:56 pm

I have just finished reading BIll Bryson's Road to Little Dribbling. This is a kind of follow up to his Notes From a Small Island, a book he wrote years ago about Britain. As a former resident of that great island with very fond memories, I like both the books.

"...Bryson’s capacity for wonder at the beauty of his adopted homeland seems to have only grown with time.... Britain is still his home four decades later, a period in which he went from lowly scribe at small-town British papers to best-selling travel writer. But he retains an outsider’s appreciation for a country that first struck him as 'wholly strange ... and yet somehow marvelous.”
—Griff Witte, Washington Post
...leaving not a rack behind.

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