What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

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

Post by bertilak »

In Search of the Dark Ages (2021) by Michael Wood.

This is an update of the 1981 version, first published in the US in 1987, a version I have had since about that time. (It is stated to be a "first printing.") A lot of research and archeology has occurred in the 40 years since its original publication and that is covered by this extensive update.

If you are interested in British history of the fifth century, and the centuries before and after, this is the book for you! For example, if you know about the excavation at Sutton Hoo (and its relation to Beowulf and associated myths and actual historical events -- the two blend together) you may be interested to learn that the Sutton Hoo excavation was of mound 18 in 1939 and not all Sutton Hoo mounds have, as yet, been excavated.

My new copy is an exclusive early release by England's Folio Society but a general release (2022) can be pre-ordered on Amazon.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by roamingzebra »

heartwood wrote: Mon Nov 15, 2021 9:28 am I'm reading it as well. I've always enjoyed Connelly and read most of it yesterday. I get what you mean by IRl events affecting police departments, but I find it adds to the verisimilitude.
Connelly used to be a newspaper reporter so I figure if anyone would include current events, it would be him.
Interesting that both Connelly and Grisham have switched to female protagonists in recent years. Harry's still there, but Renee carries most of the story.
Female protagonists seem to be a growing trend. Of the major bestseller authors, Baldacci is the one who needs to up his game. He has female protagonists but they are pretty bad, and when the women are second-fiddle, their role is usually along the lines of "Well Amos, what do YOU think?"

I've noticed that female protagonists also seem to be a huge thing on British TV. I haven't watched much American TV so I don't know if the trend is carrying through there.

I'll add, on a different topic, that I started the latest Jack Reacher book ("Better Off Dead") but put it down after a few pages. I love me my Jack Reacher fight scenes, but to start the book out that way without knowing WHY there is a fight and drawing the fight out and hinting at dark things about Reacher's fate... well, this is not what I wanted to read. The authors were listed as both Lee and Andrew Child. I have a strong suspicion it was mostly the latter. I thought the earlier book by the two of them was okay, but Andrew Child, if he is the architect of this latest book, needs to learn a thing or two from the master (his older brother).
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Dave55 »

heartwood wrote: Mon Nov 15, 2021 9:28 am
roamingzebra wrote: Mon Nov 15, 2021 3:36 am "The Dark Hours" by Michael Connelly -- the latest in the Renee Ballard series.

Ballard was working two interesting cases (rape and mrder). And since her methods didn't endear her to the brass, and some of her colleagues were unreliable, she enlisted the help of now-retired Harry Bosch.

Connelly does bring in some IRL events affecting police departments, which may annoy some, but I found it acceptable, though a little jarring at first.
I'm reading it as well. I've always enjoyed Connelly and read most of it yesterday. I get what you mean by IRl events affecting police departments, but I find it adds to the verisimilitude. He mentions them as life today without doing a deep dive into them. He also includes covid as a IRL topic. That's something other authors such as Louise Penny have chosen to bypass.

I read John Grisham's The Judge's List just before the Connelly book. It's better than most of Grisham's works in recent year's, i.e., it's a crime novel, not really a courtroom drama or a polemic on the justice system.

Interesting that both Connelly and Grisham have switched to female protagonists in recent years. Harry's still there, but Renee carries most of the story.
I am on the Connolly train too. Last night I started the "The Dark Hours" by Michael Connolly. As usual Connolly does not disappoint.

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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Ramjet »

I am about to start the L.A. Quartet by James Ellroy which consist of The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ScoobyDoo »

Red Rising by Pierce Brown - https://www.amazon.com/Red-Rising-Pierc ... 034553980X

Just finished listening to it this weekend. Took me a few tries to get into it but then I really liked it. I’m just wondering if the Irish accented reader and dramatic reading of the material is the reason I liked it. Some of the laughs and more emotional moments I had could purely be due to the audio and not the actual words written. It’s almost as though I would not have read the right tone into the story had it not been for the dramatic reading. I don’t think I like the audio interludes and dramatic readings…It’s like I am given less room to fill in the gaps of a book which is why I like reading???

I’m tempted to go back and read the book now…to see if I really did enjoy the storytelling.🤔
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by CuriousReader »

I thought the best thing about Educated was just that question--what is true? I got a little obsessed with it and watched interviews, read Facebook pages of family members, went to the location via Google Earth. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that she mentions right in the book that her brothers have sometimes very different ideas and memories of the same events. She seems to believe everything she wrote yet acknowledges that her brothers' various memories may also be versions of the truth. Example: for parts of the book she was quite young. Her memories of how big or how dangerous the machinery the family worked on and around would be very different than an older brother's memory. Maybe even her memory of how badly she or someone else was injured might be colored by her age and point of view. Family members had varying opinions about her book, some supporting her version and some totally denying most of it.
I think this gave the book more depth than The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls although that was fascinating too.
Last edited by CuriousReader on Mon Nov 15, 2021 10:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon »

Ramjet wrote: Mon Nov 15, 2021 2:00 pm I am about to start the L.A. Quartet by James Ellroy which consist of The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz
Thanks for the book ideas, I was not aware of The Big Nowhere, and White Jazz.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Finridge »

CuriousReader wrote: Mon Nov 15, 2021 7:16 pm I thought the best thing about Educated was just that question--what is true? I got a little obsessed with it and watched interviews, read Facebook pages of family members, went to the location via Google Earth. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that she mentions right in the book that her brothers have sometimes very different ideas and memories of the same events. She seems to believe everything she wrote yet acknowledges that her brothers' various memories may also be versions of the truth. Example: for parts of the book she was quite young. Her memories of how big or how dangerous the machinery the family worked on and around would be very different than an older brother's memory. Maybe even her memory of how badly she or someone else was injured might be colored by her age and point of view. Family members had varying opinions about her book, some supporting her version and some totally denying most of it.
I think this gave the book more depth than The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls although that was fascinating too.
I did the same. My, um, "research" increased my confidence that she was not wildly off base.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Ramjet »

ruralavalon wrote: Mon Nov 15, 2021 8:04 pm
Ramjet wrote: Mon Nov 15, 2021 2:00 pm I am about to start the L.A. Quartet by James Ellroy which consist of The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz
Thanks for the book ideas, I was not aware of The Big Nowhere, and White Jazz.
Sure thing. My favorite one from James Ellroy is American Tabloid
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by joelly »

The Killing Kind by Jane Casey
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by nisiprius »

Miss Pickerell Goes to Mars, Ellen MacGregor, 1951. Children's book. When I first read it, I was too young to pick up on her sense of humor. In my opinion it's really astonishingly good. It picks up on something that was often missed in 1951--how beautiful the Earth is when seen from space. I think it deserves to be considered a "science-fiction classic" although I may be seeing it through nostalgic glasses.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by AnnetteLouisan »

I recommend The Financier, a novel by Theodore Dreiser.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by quantAndHold »

tc101 wrote: Mon Nov 15, 2021 10:37 am I'm almost finished with "Educated" by Tara Westover. So far I have
enjoyed it, but at about 75% through the book I started to doubt
that it was all true. I read some reviews on Amazon, and it seems a
lot of people have that same skepticism.

OTOH it has been recommended by Obama, Bill Gates and Ophra. It was
review favorably in the NY Times and New Yorker.

If you have read this book, what are your thoughts. Is there a lot
of fabrication in it, or is it mostly true?
I don't think any of us know. It's definitely in that "kid grows up in a horrendous family, writes a book about it, and everyone else in the family claims to remember it differently" genre. Another example in that genre, Pat Conroy's dad, to the day he died, claimed that he was a great father, and "The Great Santini" was all a pack of lies. At least Conroy had enough sense to (lightly) fictionalize it.

I don't know that it's all true, but I'm pretty sure wherever the truth lies, there was probably some exceedingly poor parenting skills involved.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by ruralavalon »

North of Nowhere, by Steve Hamilton.

A poker night among friends turns into a robbery, and leads to mayhem and then confrontation with deadly violent smugglers in a showdown afloat on Lake Superior.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by nisiprius »

Miss Pickerell and the Geiger Counter. Of course.

It is wonderful.
Miss Pickerell shaded her eyes and looked where the man was pointing—out across the wide brown surface of the river.

"I don't see anything," she said, "except that low white building on the edge of the river that looks like a scientific laboratory, and has a helicopter coming down beside it."
And the brilliant way she sneaks in crumbs of didacticism.
Exactly," said Professor Perkins. "And that's why we used the fly spray on only one side. We wanted to see how many flies would light if no fly spray had been used at all. That way we could see how effective the fly spray was. If only half as many flies lighted on the side that had been sprayed, we could say the fly spray was 50 per cent effective. On the other hand, if no flies lighted on that side, the fly spray would, of course, be 100 per cent effective.

"I must remember to tell Homer and Harry about that," Miss Pickerell said. "I mean about always having something to compare your experiment with. You ought to tell other scientists about it, too, Professor. Such a good idea."

The professor said modestly that it wasn't his idea. "All scientists try to get something to compare their experiments with, if they possibly can," he said. "It's what's called a control."
Such a good idea!
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by roamingzebra »

nisiprius wrote: Wed Nov 17, 2021 10:54 am Miss Pickerell and the Geiger Counter.

It is wonderful.
Miss Pickerell shaded her eyes and looked where the man was pointing—out across the wide brown surface of the river.

"I don't see anything," she said, "except that low white building on the edge of the river that looks like a scientific laboratory, and has a helicopter coming down beside it."
Interesting. My mother used to listen to Mrs. Pollifax audiobooks by Dorothy Gilman (read by Barbara Rosenblatt) -- a favorite among her friends and hard to get from the library because it was so popular. Miss Pickerell, in her way of talking, sounds almost exactly like Mrs. Pollifax. Though Pollifax is more about observations of diffierent cultures and is concerned with spying vs science. Most of those audiobooks were, and still are, on YouTube. (As I was the one who loaded them on her player, and ended up sneaking a listen (hey, quality control), I can say that they take place in such places as Albania, "Red China", Mexico, Sub-Saharan Africa, and so on.)

The main plot is a sixty-ish woman who is bored of life and decides to be what she's always wanted to be -- a spy! She goes to Langley, Virginia and in a comedy of errors ends up working for the CIA. Since no one would believe an elderly woman with outlandish hats would be a spy, she's able to go places and do things others could not.

Anyway, the speech patterns just reminded me of that series...
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Dantes »

Billy Summers by Stephen King. I bought this to give as a gift, read the first paragraph and was hooked. Zola is a nightmare version of Dickens.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by bertilak »

nisiprius wrote: Wed Nov 17, 2021 10:54 am Miss Pickerell and the Geiger Counter. Of course.
Just read it. Thanks for the link.

It brought back memories, not specific memories but memories of how things "felt" back in the 1950s. How sweet an innocent things were for us back then. Optimism was certainly the prevailing feeling.

I can see that this would be an excellent introduction to science for grade schoolers of the time.

Now on to Miss Pickerell Goes to Mars!
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Kuota Rider »

Green Lights by Matthew McConaughey: Very candidly open and honest, surprisingly very funny.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by FandangoDave5010 »

Where The Crawdads Sing. Just got around to reading "Crawdads" in two sittings and loved it! I can see that North Carolinians would hate it but then it is fiction...at its best. Won't tell you how it ends, however.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by scguy613 »

I just finished Billy Summers by Stephen King and it was enjoyable. I have maybe 15 books in my home office to read and will get to them now that I have retired. I like anything by James Lee Burke, Grisham, Stephen Hunter, Thomas Perry, Baldacci, Lee Child, John Lescroart, Michael Connelly. Not sure about the Reacher books by Lee Child’s brother yet. I have them, but haven’t read them yet.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

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The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. This is my lunchtime read and Í'm about 3/4 finished. The subject matter is dark (German invasion of France during WW2) but the book is easy to read/follow. Some pieces of dialog are kind of cringeworthy but overall entertaining. I guess I prefer stories like Star Wars: Rogue One where the heroine(s) didn't have to fall in love with a guy (although you could argue both had daddy issues).

My bedtime read is Inferno by Dan Brown. I so much love the richness of the descriptions and historical facts about the objects and places, it's like getting a docent lead tour of Florence, Italy in a fiction book! For this reason I may check out other books from the author. However I have to say I dislike the characters, very one-dimensional with some cheesy lines and way too amazing to believe. It feels like a book written specifically to make a movie, but I'm enjoying it regardless.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Nicolas »

1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows, a Memoir — by Ai Weiwei, translated by Allan H. Barr

This is a new book, just released. The author is the famous Chinese dissident artist who designed the bird’s nest stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympics hosted by China. I’m about halfway through and so far it’s been mostly about his family growing up, the Japanese invasion, the communist revolution, the disastrous Great Leap Forward which starved millions, and the Cultural Revolution under which both the author and his parents greatly suffered. Any educated person was suspect. Psychiatrists were sent to farms to shovel manure. His father was one of the most famous poets of his generation and had known both Mao and Chou En Lai, but had been denounced as a “rightist”. He cleaned latrines for five years. I had not known these facts previously. I’m finding the book pretty interesting.
Last edited by Nicolas on Thu Nov 25, 2021 8:23 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

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Blood in the Sky, by Steve Hamilton.

Four rich drunken Americans from Detroit, and their guide from Michigan's Upper Peninsula, disappear on a hunting trip in Ontario. As the guides brother's search for them unfolds we learn why they disappeared.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Pugs1351 »

I just finished It’s Better To Be Feared about the Patriots and Tom Brady, bill belichick and Robert Kraft. I enjoyed it.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

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The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley’s Pursuit of Power by Max Chafkin.

Only just began, and I already knew some things about Thiel that I didn’t care for, but I’m surprised at how I like him even less than Zuckerberg.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

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TomatoTomahto wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 2:54 pm The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley’s Pursuit of Power by Max Chafkin.

Only just began, and I already knew some things about Thiel that I didn’t care for, but I’m surprised at how I like him even less than Zuckerberg.
Thiel is not a sympathetic character and Palantir is one of those companies that most people have no idea exists. They may have more info on us than FB,Google and Amazon combined.

I highly recommend McNamee's "Zucked" if you haven't read it.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by TomatoTomahto »

jebmke wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 3:25 pm
TomatoTomahto wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 2:54 pm The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley’s Pursuit of Power by Max Chafkin.

Only just began, and I already knew some things about Thiel that I didn’t care for, but I’m surprised at how I like him even less than Zuckerberg.
Thiel is not a sympathetic character and Palantir is one of those companies that most people have no idea exists. They may have more info on us than FB,Google and Amazon combined.

I highly recommend McNamee's "Zucked" if you haven't read it.
Between Mind****: Cambridge Analytica . . . (which curiously BH censored me previously on naming but Amazon allows), various Shoshana Zuboff writings, etc., I knew about Palantir and Thiel, but it wasn’t clear to me how personally despicable he is.

Does Zucked go much beyond An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle For Domination?
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

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TomatoTomahto wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 3:44 pm Between Mind****: Cambridge Analytica . . . (which curiously BH censored me previously on naming but Amazon allows), various Shoshana Zuboff writings, etc., I knew about Palantir and Thiel, but it wasn’t clear to me how personally despicable he is.

Does Zucked go much beyond An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle For Domination?
Have not read these. Is Zuboff’s “Surveillance Capitalism …” a worthy read?
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by TomatoTomahto »

jebmke wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:05 pm
TomatoTomahto wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 3:44 pm Between Mind****: Cambridge Analytica . . . (which curiously BH censored me previously on naming but Amazon allows), various Shoshana Zuboff writings, etc., I knew about Palantir and Thiel, but it wasn’t clear to me how personally despicable he is.

Does Zucked go much beyond An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle For Domination?
Have not read these. Is Zuboff’s “Surveillance Capitalism …” a worthy read?
I found Zunoff’s book dense, but someone with more intellectual energy might not. Somehow I appreciate her more in smaller doses; iirc a New Yorker book review for example.

Mind**** was difficult to put down, maintaining suspense even though we all know how it ends; it got me to delete my Facebook account and wish I’d never had one.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by jebmke »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:15 pm
Mind**** was difficult to put down, maintaining suspense even though we all know how it ends; it got me to delete my Facebook account and wish I’d never had one.
Then Zucked probably won’t add much.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

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TomatoTomahto wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:15 pm Mind**** was difficult to put down, maintaining suspense even though we all know how it ends; it got me to delete my Facebook account and wish I’d never had one.
I've never had one...what did I win?

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

Post by quantAndHold »

Harlem Shuffle, by Colson Whitehead.

A businessman trying to balance family, his furniture store, and his business fencing jewelry, in 1960’s Harlem. It’s a heist story, but not. I don’t think it was as good as, say The Nickel Boys, but it was still an entertaining read.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by TomatoTomahto »

Blues wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:26 pm
TomatoTomahto wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:15 pm Mind**** was difficult to put down, maintaining suspense even though we all know how it ends; it got me to delete my Facebook account and wish I’d never had one.
I've never had one...what did I win?

:beer
Not that it’s worth much, but you have won my eternal respect. Tbh, your film/TV recommendations did that already.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Blues »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:34 pm
Blues wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:26 pm
TomatoTomahto wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:15 pm Mind**** was difficult to put down, maintaining suspense even though we all know how it ends; it got me to delete my Facebook account and wish I’d never had one.
I've never had one...what did I win?

:beer
Not that it’s worth much, but you have won my eternal respect. Tbh, your film/TV recommendations did that already.
You're much too kind my friend. And a little too easy. (Be thankful I don't share my book selections often. I'm just too lazy to write them up though I read daily.)

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

Post by bertilak »

Blues wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:26 pm I've never had one...what did I win?
I deleted mine several years ago but just got 2 friend request notices in my email!
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by jebmke »

bertilak wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:58 pm
Blues wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:26 pm I've never had one...what did I win?
I deleted mine several years ago but just got 2 friend request notices in my email!
Nothing on the internet really ever goes away.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by heartwood »

I just finished the second Thursday Murder Club book by Richard Osman, titled The Man who Died Twice. A decent story and some chuckles.

Next for me is Dolphin Junction by Mick Herron. Short stories by the author of the Slough House novels.
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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Post by Mr. Rumples »

Follow-up: The Last King of America by Andrew Roberts. It is a disappointment in some regards. When he gets some basic history wrong - what of the details with which I am not familiar? For example, more than once, he touts John Adams's Rule of Thirds: - that 1/3 of the Americans were Loyalists. Had he read the letter, (John Adams to Senator Lloyd 28 January 1815) he would know Adams was referring to the American view of the French Revolution, not the American.

The author goes on ad nauseam, every few pages to explain the British constitution after the (Glorious) Revolution of 1688. The book concludes with a long ramble on the same topic.

In short, its a long book (676 pages; with footnotes &c 758) and a bit of a disappointment in some regards; in other regards it is insightful.
“To be a Virginian either by Birth, Marriage, Adoption, or even on one’s Mother’s side, is an Introduction to any State in the Union, a Passport to any Country, and a Benediction from Above.”—Anonymous
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