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What are you reading at the moment?

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On 28/09/2018 at 16:16, Cosmic_Guru said:

 

Horowitz is a very clever writer(and most of the time avoids an excess of cleverness).  You should read The word is murder if you enjoy this one.

 

I finished this over lunch and really enjoyed it. The main character, Hawthorn, is great and the contemporary Sherlock Holmes setup works well. I thought the meta-ness of it was a little unnecessary* – the story itself was strong enough to carry the book. It did lead to some nice scenes though – there’s one involving Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson that’s a lot of fun. I’ll read more in this series for sure.

Thanks for the suggestion.

 

* The book is written from the POV of a writer called Anthony Horowitz – the same Anthony Horowitz who wrote the Alex Rider books and Foyles War etc. But in this he’s a character in his own book. It’s like something Grant Morrison would attempt.  

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18 minutes ago, Silent Runner said:

 

I finished this over lunch and really enjoyed it. The main character, Hawthorn, is great and the contemporary Sherlock Holmes setup works well. I thought the meta-ness of it was a little unnecessary* – the story itself was strong enough to carry the book. It did lead to some nice scenes though – there’s one involving Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson that’s a lot of fun. I’ll read more in this series for sure.

Thanks for the suggestion.

 

* The book is written from the POV of a writer called Anthony Horowitz – the same Anthony Horowitz who wrote the Alex Rider books and Foyles War etc. But in this he’s a character in his own book. It’s like something Grant Morrison would attempt.  

 

Yes, it's a balancing act between being clever and being too clever (see also Adam Roberts and Neal Stephenson) but this was OK. That (surely imaginary) "wrong book" scene with Spielberg and Jackson was :lol:  Looking forward to reading more in this particular series.

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I think there are some Dumas fans on here, who might be interested in The Black Count, which is the story of his father (confusingly the first of three Alexandre Dumas in the family) - he was an incredible man, and the inspiration for much of The Count of Monte Cristo. I've really enjoyed it - some great stories, and interesting insight into the politics of the time.

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On 01/10/2018 at 08:30, supernova said:

Am about to think of starting Game of Thrones but it seems to be super long!!

 

It really does zip by though. Especially for the first three books, and when you're reading it every chance you can get.

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Absolutely. The first three ASOIAF books are incredible. I didn't even hate books 4 & 5, and I think a lot of the flack book 4 got is that it didn't resolve a cliffhanger that people had been waiting five years for, and it was ultimately eleven years (the gap between the publications of books 3 & 5) before that got resolved. If you are coming to the books now then those gaps are irrelevant.

 

They will make you dislike the last couple of seasons of the show though. 

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Spooky co-incidence time!  I'm reading an excellent book 

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rome-Eternal-City-Ferdinand-Addis/dp/1781851883/ref=sr_1_17?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1538991134&sr=1-17

 

which is a history of Rome from foundation to la dolce vita in discreet chapters for the general reader. Each chapter is stand alone and covers such topics as the experience of gladiators, the great Fire of Nero's time,  the painting of the Sistine Chapel ceiling & many others, all written in a vivid and engaging way.

 

Anyway, at several points I got distinct HoT vibe which is hardly surprising given that GRRM took so much of his medieval history training into the Ice and Fire books (never to be completed?) - the crown of gold, a Borgia named Jofré, the followers of Savonarola....

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51HBTDMEjoL.jpg

 

Erm... wow! :lol:

 

Before I start, I know this series is tongue-in-cheek trashy escapism - but frankly, that doesn't excuse the utter mess than is Primal Waters.

 

I enjoyed the first two, they were pitched about right in terms of silliness contrasted with the action, but right from the word go, this is just bizarre and not enjoyable.  The biggest mistake the author makes (in my opinion) is with the characters.  Because without exception, every single person in this novel is unlikeable.  I find the whole 'it's 20 years later and EVERYONE is worse off than they were in book 2' thing a bit annoying, but that's exactly what happens here.  New characters are introduced - and none have any redeeming qualities whatsoever.  There isn't even a comedy Bond villain type role as there was in book 2.  Lesser characters appear and they're poorly written and - again - wholly detestable.  And you have a pretty good idea who is going to get eaten as soon as they appear.

 

This might not be so bad if the plot makes up for it.  But it doesn't - it falls completely flat and the scenarios the main characters find themselves in are completely unrealistic.  And in the case of our main hero, Jonas Taylor - just plain stupid.

 

There are a few more novels in this series but I'm now pondering whether to go back to them.  Primal Waters might just be one Meg novel too many - and that's being kind because to be perfectly honest it's a steaming pile of shite, littered with awful people doing annoying things in bizarre situations.

 

I think it's time I returned to the Star Wars novels I've got left on my Kindle.

 

Avoid.

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Over the weekend I read The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood. A decent enough mystery about a missing child.

 

This has an interesting set-up. 15 years ago a group of adults are drinking and partying, the morning after they discover one of their children has gone missing and all signs point to a kidnapping. The book then switches back and forth between today and 15 years ago to slowly reveal what happened that night. 

 

This was all right. I guessed what happened to the child pretty early on and the well sign-posted 'twist' wasn't up to much. The characters are all dislikeable and it was hard to care about any of them. I think I got it cheap on kindle a while back and it's probably worth a quid.

 

An OK piece of domestic noir but I don't think I'll read more from this writer. 
 

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The past month or so, continuing to work through my digital pile of shame on my kindle.

 

Bird Box - it was pretty good - more interesting than enthralling for me personally. It was a nice change to feel, rather than see the horror through the narrator.

 

Neuromancer - Honestly, I think I need to read this one again. I got completely lost once things really got going. I'll owe this to reading over some particular tiring weeks during an early morning commute. It deserves more care and attention that I was able to give it - it's really dense with interesting ideas and a lot of the tech and world can only really be understood via context in the setting. Despite not fully getting it, I still enjoyed the parts where I was really locked in.

 

Them: Adventures with Extremists - I really disliked The Men Who Stare At Goats when it first came out, but I do like Jon Ronson, particularly in podcast form. This was weirdly fun as he hangs around with various extremists who believe in some form of global conspiracy. Some people in there I wasn't expecting (Ian Paisley) and others who have been knocking around for a surprisingly long time (Alex Jones). I think he does a good job of giving everyone a chance and allowing them to expose themselves in a Louis Theroux-like style.

 

Frank - also by Jon Ronson. More of a long article really - it's a nice read about his time playing keyboards for Frank Sidebottom, some other marginal musical acts, the ideas behind the film and the death of Chris Sievey. I mostly remember Frank Sidebottom from TV as a kid, had no idea he was this Andy Kaufman type who became the character so some of these details were interesting.

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On 07/10/2018 at 04:53, Danster said:

 

It really does zip by though. Especially for the first three books, and when you're reading it every chance you can get.

 

I bought the first book today! I hope it's good. I've watched the series (only the first season) but i really liked it a lot. 

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On 09/10/2018 at 22:26, Miner Willy said:

Currently reading String Theory, David Foster Wallace's series of essays on tennis. It's really great - provided you like tennis, I guess. 

 

Did you read Infinite Jest? How did you get on with it?

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The Lost Keys of Freemasonry by Manly P Hall

It's an excellent explanation of the symbolism found in the initiation to the esoteric cult of Freemasonry, written by the closest thing to a Masonic prophet.

There is no such thing as an Illuminati, it was created by the Vatican to blame its activities on, and it continues to this day. Think of all those conspiracy theorists pushing this bollocks.

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On 14/10/2018 at 06:28, Timmo said:

 

Did you read Infinite Jest? How did you get on with it?

 

No; bought it years ago but never started. You got it on Audible, didn't you? How's it going? I'm thinking I'll finally start it soon. 

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34092494._UY630_SR1200,630_.jpg

 

What a brilliant, powerful book this is.

 

I have an interest in WW2 history, particularly that of the POWs who were forced to work on the Thai-Burma railway by the Japanese, following their successful invasion of Singapore.  I've read a lot of accounts from survivors - the best being The Railwayman by Eric Lomax (which inspired the film starring Colin Firth) and the absolutely amazing Forgotten Highlander by Alastair Urquhart (this is just an astonishing book which I very highly recommend).

 

Conjuror on the Kwai is up there with these 2.  It's a fascinating story of courage, resilience and - it has to be said - incredible luck.  Quite how the author managed to get out of WW2 in one piece is a mystery!  It's a very humble account and a very honest one.  Reading how some men endured where others didn't have the strength to carry on has always fascinated me.

 

I have promised myself that I will visit the memorials at Hellfire Pass and Kanchanaburi in Thailand at some point in the next couple of years to pay my respects to those who didn't make it back home, because every time I read memoirs such as these, I realise how lucky I am.

 

If you've any interest in WW2, or just enjoy a good, solid biography, you must read this - in parts it is astonishing, in others utterly heartbreaking.  And no matter how many I read, I can never understand why this particular aspect of the war isn't one that many people know too much about.

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On 15/10/2018 at 11:33, Miner Willy said:

 

No; bought it years ago but never started. You got it on Audible, didn't you? How's it going? I'm thinking I'll finally start it soon. 

 

I finished it a couple of months ago.

 

I find it almost impossible to talk about, it's so complex and the narrative really wonders. I'd be fascinated to find out what you make of it.

 

I bought the book so I could read the endnotes and every time I look at it I think of it fondly, even if I found it frustrating at the time. I'll definitely read it again someday.

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@Boothjan if you’re interested in that era then try Daughters if the Dragon that I mentioned on the previous page. It’s about the women who were just as much prisoners of war as their male counterparts. It’s regularly 99p in Kindle deals.

 

Anyway, last night I finished The Stand by Stephen King. I first read it a few years ago, but I think that must have been the original edited version, because I don’t remember it being sprinkled with references to Madonna, Van Halen, TMNT etc. that King added when he published the unabridged version to bring it up to date (to 1990). But slightly clunky pop culture references aside, it’s obvious why this is widely regarded as King’s best work. It certainly didn’t feel like a 1300-page monster as I was reading it.

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6 hours ago, Boothjan said:

I have promised myself that I will visit the memorials at Hellfire Pass and Kanchanaburi in Thailand at some point in the next couple of years to pay my respects to those who didn't make it back home, because every time I read memoirs such as these, I realise how lucky I am.

 

I’ve been here - it’s a beautiful spot (now) and the memorial is wonderful while of course being very respectful and melancholy. 

 

Thanks for this post - it prompted me to look at some photos I haven’t viewed in years. I will check out those recommendations. 

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