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Tags favorite books , recommended books

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Old 8th September 2014, 04:00 PM   #4721
Brainster
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I've been breezing through the Parker novels by Richard Stark (aka Donald Westlake). They're like potato chips--once you start, it's very hard to stop. Got introduced to them by Darwyn Cooke's excellent graphic novel adaptations.
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Old 8th September 2014, 06:06 PM   #4722
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Paper:

Just finished:

Kearney's March, a misleading title indeed, although the subtitle: The epic creation of the American West, 1846-1847, is more accurate. The author, Winston Groom, is according to the dust jacket, "the author of fifteen previous books." I had never heard of him. He chronicles not only Kearney's march, but Fremont's travels and subsequent history, Doniphan's march toward Chihuahua, Santa Anna's various treacheries, President Polk's problems with Fremont's father-in-law, etc. And also the Donner tragedy.

One minor gripe with his book: His bibliograpy is extensive, but he quotes people without attribution. This is actually a strange complaint for me, because I don't like flipping to endnotes constantly when they're only page references, but I want the references when I want 'em.

Another aside: One of the books in the bibliography is Robert Leckie's Sea to Shining Sea. Leckie was mentioned earlier in this thread.

Waiting:

The Secret Life of Pronouns by James Pennybaker, Chair of the Department of Psychology at U Texas Austin.

A More Perfect Heaven (Dava Sobel), about Copernicus. Sobel is a fine writer.

The Man who Found the Missing Link: Eugene Dubois and his lifelong quest to prove Darwin right, by Pat(tricia) Shipman.

A science-fiction book by Spider Robinson

Several mysteries.


On my new tablet, for reading in waiting rooms, etc.:

Two Little Savages by (Ernest Thompson Seton.

Mansfield Park and Emma, both by Jane Austen. The latter is a most amusing book.

The Jungle Bookby Rudyard Kipling, which I somehow missed reading when I was a kid.
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Old 13th September 2014, 12:51 AM   #4723
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Originally Posted by xterra View Post
On my new tablet, for reading in waiting rooms, etc.:
Oh! I hadn't thought of that! Excellent idea, xterra!
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Old 13th September 2014, 08:46 PM   #4724
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Originally Posted by xterra View Post



Mansfield Park and Emma, both by Jane Austen. The latter is a most amusing book.
I can't resist telling anybody, interested or not, that Jane Austen's "Emma" is my absolute, all-time favourite novel. It not only has the perfect ending but is also so psychologically acute, lucid, elegant, ironic, witty and beautifully organised that I enjoy it more with every reading. Famously described as "the Parthenon of fiction."

I've been re-reading some Reginald Hill mysteries to wind down at night. The one I'm enjoying most is in the series featuring the short, bald, black, hapless PI from Luton, Joe Sixsmith - "The Roar of the Butterflies". Some clever metaphors. (BTW, "Emma" was Hill's favourite novel too).

For still more relaxing entertainment I've been chuckling my way through a very nice Librivox reading of an early P. G. Wodehouse, The Adventures of Sally:
https://librivox.org/the-adventures-...p-g-wodehouse/

I'm about to return to the library, mostly unread, Jordan Ellenberg's "How not to be Wrong: the hidden maths of everyday life". It's 460 odd pages and a project for another time. Perhaps.
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Old 22nd September 2014, 10:24 AM   #4725
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Just finished Perdido Street Station.

Quick summary: steampunk 1984.

Less quick summary, pros: it's inventive, well-written, engaging and fun. The story of the book is compelling, the characters are well-rounded, empathic, and at times convincingly strange, while the steampunk bits are properly quirky. But the book is much more about the worldbuilding of the dystopic city-state in which the plot takes place, than the plot itself, and takes great pains to place and describe each neighborhood of the city the characters find themselves in.

Cons: While said worldbuilding is excellent, the novel loses a point for the floridly pessimistic descriptions of absolutely everything. Recall Terry Pratchett's lovingly insulting depictions of Ankh-Morpork. Now remove the tongue from cheek, and place it between the teeth of the author in concentration as he strains to summon up every possible piece of purple prose for cancer, death and defecation for use in describing his fair city. Neighborhoods never grow, they tumesce cancerously against their confines. Houses never age, they decay and deteriorate into hovels propped up with found detritus. Rivers are never polluted, they lap at their banks with rubbish and slick organic effluvience. All of that was honestly fine for a while, but about halfway through the book it began to get very tiresome and simply did not let up.

Otherwise, fantastic piece of fantasy.
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Old 22nd September 2014, 07:04 PM   #4726
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Perdido Street Station never struck me as steampunk at all. On the other hand, I can't recall whether I finished it, read half, or just a few pages. heh. I'm pretty sure that I simply lost track of it, ended up boxing it up for moving, and never dug it back out. If it truly is steampunk, then I'd better get back to it.

I'm currently rereading The System of the World by Neal Stephenson. This time, in epub format. It's the third volume, and conclusion of The Baroque Cycle, which is a fairly complex story of the age of enlightenment. A work of fiction, which has the ring of fact resounding through its pages. Neal Stephenson is well-known for the great deal of research for, and handwriting with fountain pen of, his generally immense novels. While it can be difficult to tell which things about the historic characters are fact, and which are fiction, it all comes together and makes sense.

Also, I'm rereading Bridge of Birds, by Barry Hughart...again, now in epub format. This, because I stumbled across one of my copies (this is the front-cover-removed one), and decided it would be exactly the thing to help relieve the stress of up-coming retirement.

I've now been retired for a whole week, and haven't spent a single minute reading either book. This must change.

At least I'm not tearing up my paper copies now. Heheh....
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Old 25th September 2014, 07:42 AM   #4727
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Originally Posted by Eudaemonic Plague View Post
Perdido Street Station never struck me as steampunk at all. On the other hand, I can't recall whether I finished it, read half, or just a few pages. heh. I'm pretty sure that I simply lost track of it, ended up boxing it up for moving, and never dug it back out. If it truly is steampunk, then I'd better get back to it.
It's so steampunk it craps ornamental brass gears. Despite having a setting that's stuck around for at least few centuries, everyone uses flintlock weapons, everything mechanical is steam powered with coal boilers, ridiculously advanced computers are referred to as "analytical engines" and programmed with punched cards. Not only that, it even gets the -punk suffix right, with a set of rebellious protagonists taking care of business because The Man is only interested in bringing them to justice.
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Old 25th September 2014, 06:21 PM   #4728
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
It's so steampunk it craps ornamental brass gears. Despite having a setting that's stuck around for at least few centuries, everyone uses flintlock weapons, everything mechanical is steam powered with coal boilers, ridiculously advanced computers are referred to as "analytical engines" and programmed with punched cards. Not only that, it even gets the -punk suffix right, with a set of rebellious protagonists taking care of business because The Man is only interested in bringing them to justice.
Heh, I guess I'd better find my copy and actually read it this time!
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Old 26th September 2014, 09:18 AM   #4729
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Sophie Hannah's The Monogram Murders, the new Hercule Poirot novel.
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