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Books -- what are we reading lately?

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Hi,

 

Bret Easton Ellis was a big hype writer during the yuppy years. I read Less than Zero, which surprised me as it was bloody good. He also wrote American Psycho.

 

I've read those both too and they're brilliant. Ellis is a very talented writer and American Psycho has to be one of the most violently graphic novels ever written. Absolutely horrific in places. I've got Glamorama in my collection but I'm yet to read it. I have just finished I am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe which was also very good. It wasn't as good as his first two novels but it was still a great read. I'm currently reading On the Road by Jack Kerouac yet again, that's several times now but I never tire of this masterpiece which is one of my favourite novels ever.

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My brother gave me a Ian Rankin Rebus book at Christmas,have now started to download the e-books,not sure if I should strike him off my Christmas card list.

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I'm currently working my way through the "Malazan Book of the Fallen" series by Stephen Erikson. It' actually 10 HUGE books, on my Kindle (which doesn't give page numbers) a "normal" book is about 5,000 "locations" (128 characters to a location). This monster (a compendium) is almost 190,000 locations, or about the same size as 38 normal books, heavy reading with a lot of characters too.

 

I normally get through a couple of books a week, started this late November and am only on book 5! Should finish in March/April - and now I find that there are 7 more books set in the same universe. I really enjoy getting my head well into a fully-realised book series, but this is getting silly!

 

It's not going to beat me though. :bigsmile:

Well, finally finished this on Monday. Over 5 months on one book series. NEVER EVER BEFORE have I spent anything like as long on one series.

 

Worth it though, it was a good, satisfying, read. But I am glad it's finished.

 

Reading some frivolous urban fantasy now to cleanse my palate.

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Hi,

 

Tom Wolff has died, RIP. He wrote some good stuff.

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Hi,

 

Tom Wolff has died, RIP. He wrote some good stuff.

 

I forgot all about this thread. Tom Wolfe was a brilliant writer and The Bonfire of the Vanities and A Man In Full are two of my favourite books. I'd just finished reading another novel of his - I Am Charlotte Simmons when I last posted in this thread.

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I forgot all about this thread. Tom Wolfe was a brilliant writer and The Bonfire of the Vanities and A Man In Full are two of my favourite books. I'd just finished reading another novel of his - I Am Charlotte Simmons when I last posted in this thread.

 

Reminds me that with the exception of one book I got for Christmas last year, since 2016, I have read nothing but non fiction, history, politics, current events...time for a good escape. What is best that is new out there in the fiction realm?

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Recently....12 'Rules for life' which is great.....Jordan Peterson is my new 'Christopher Hitchens' Different subject matter but that same clarity. A wonderful defence of masculinity and fodder for confronting groupthink and feminism.

 

Oh and the new Bond, that's set before Casino Royal......and the two latest Stephen Leather 'Spider' books.

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Reminds me that with the exception of one book I got for Christmas last year, since 2016, I have read nothing but non fiction, history, politics, current events...time for a good escape. What is best that is new out there in the fiction realm?

A Legacy of Spies by le Carre is good. The main character is in our age range. If you like/can tolerate John Grisham, The Rooster Bar has an interesting premise.

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A Legacy of Spies by le Carre is good. The main character is in our age range. If you like/can tolerate John Grisham, The Rooster Bar has an interesting premise.

 

I think I am going for the former. Thanks for both recommendations!

 

:chogdee

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Recently....12 'Rules for life' which is great.....Jordan Peterson is my new 'Christopher Hitchens' Different subject matter but that same clarity.

 

Hi,

 

Yeah, a guy who knows his subject.

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What is best that is new out there in the fiction realm?

 

I'm not really the man to ask. The only contemporary fiction I read is by Irvine Welsh and Will Self. Both are brilliant writers but they're not everyone's cup of tea. Nearly all Irvine Welsh novels are written in a raw Edinburgh dialect which can be hard going to begin with. When you read a Will Self novel you need a dictionary close to hand because he has the largest vocabulary of any writer I've ever come across.

 

 

 

Hi,

 

Read Bill Hicks book. He was a shrewd operator.

 

A real character and sometimes very funny. I may check that out one day.

 

 

 

Recently....12 'Rules for life' which is great.....Jordan Peterson is my new 'Christopher Hitchens' Different subject matter but that same clarity. A wonderful defence of masculinity and fodder for confronting groupthink and feminism.

 

I'll add that to my list. I'm a big fan of Christopher Hitchens and "God Is Not Great" should be compulsory reading in all secondary schools in my opinion.

 

The books I've read since the last one I posted about are:

 

On The Road by Jack Kerouac

 

This is the second time I've read this classic and defining novel of the beat generation and counterculture movement of the fifties. This largely autobiographical novel is in five parts, with three of them concentrating on road trips across the entire width of America. It's the ultimate road trip novel and it's absolute genius. If you haven't read this highly influential book then you need to soon.

 

The Dharma Bums by Jack Keroauc

 

This is also the second time I've read this book and I actually like it more than On The Road. It's my favourite Kerouac novel. This book is also autobiographical. The book is mainly about a camping trip that Kerouac goes on with two intellectual friends where they go hiking and climb a mountain. During the trip they discuss the Buddhist philosophy at great length and the contrast between a simplistic outdoor way of life and their city life which is characterised by jazz clubs, poetry readings and drug fueled, drunken parties. Kerouac examines the Buddhist context within his experiences and those that he meets. In the latter part of the model Kerouac goes hitchhiking and camping on his own before working as a fire lookout on Desolation Peak, an isolated mountain in Washington State where he writes about the loneliness of his experience, religion and philosophy. This is explored further in the novel Desolation Angels. This book is absolute genius and I highly recommend it, it's one of my favourite books.

 

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

 

This won the 40th Man Booker Prize in 2008. The novel provides a darkly humorous perspective of India’s class struggle in a globalized world as told through a retrospective narration from Balram Halwai, a village boy. In detailing Balram's journey first to Delhi, where he works as a chauffeur to a rich landlord, and then to Bangalore, the place to which he flees after killing his master and stealing his money, the novel examines issues of religion, caste, loyalty, corruption and poverty in India. It's a good read.

 

The Stand by Stephen King

 

This is a great novel. By far and away the best Stephen King book I've read and one that would make my top fifty of all time. It's set in a post-apocalyptic world where a deadly strain of influenza that has been modified for biologic warfare is accidentally released, creating a pandemic that consequently kills the majority of the world's population. This is followed by a complete breakdown of society. The story is set in America, where most of the remaining people are united into two groups, one good and one evil. The novel culminates in a showdown between the two. It's brilliant.

 

How The Word Works by Noam Chomsky

 

This is also very good. In this book Chomsky lays bare the realities of contemporary geopolitics. It explores US foreign policy and it's devastating effect on places around the world, how media is controlled and used to brainwash people, food and third world "economic miracles", the US, the CIA, religious fundamentalism, global inequality, equality, freedom, the myth of third world debt and manufacturing dissent. I am a huge fan of Chomsky and his work. In my opinion he is the most influential intellectual in the world today. Reading these sort of books however does increase my aversion for American politics, British imperialism and the political model that we have in the western world. I doubt many of the Americans that post on this site would read Chomsky though considering his opinions and that the average American is so patriotic.

Edited by Siam Sam

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Siam Sam's reading lists are so erudite......and varied. I was inspired last trip to Uk to stock up on Classics......Mostly British.

There's a bookshop in Penn that's fantastic. Floor to ceiling.........and piles on the floor. It takes half-a-day to have a decent rummage. Universities send maths students there to figure out a formula for guesstimating the stock.

 

I brought back lots of Dickens, tons of PG Woodhouse......A bit of Kipling.....A few of Shakespeare plays...Some Orwell.....Dahl that I hadn't gotten around too. Even some poetry.......(I liked Larkin once).........And a bunch of other, 'good for me reads........'

 

Not read any of them......... It's a bit like being told to eat my vegetables when all I've got eyes for is the sausage on the plate.

 

I know I'll enjoy it if I make a serious effort.......But if I couldn't get into Woodhouse then I figure there's no hope.

 

Stephen Leather it is then...even though he churns 'sausages' out faster than I can devour them...

Edited by atlas2

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I don't even know where Penn is!

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I don't even know where Penn is!

 

 

You've heard of 'Pennsylvania' US of A........Named after William Penn......Means 'Penn Heaven' ?

 

Well the 'Cottage Bookshop Penn'........Is Book Heaven

 

Near 'Knotty Green'....You must know Knotty Green?

 

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penn,_Buckinghamshire

 

http://forreadingaddicts.co.uk/bookshop-reviews/the-cottage-bookshop-penn-bucks

 

 

Just found out it's closed after 60 years........Bloody shame.........Bloody Kindles.

 

http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/16086398.Much_loved_bookshop_forced_to_close_its_doors_after_60_years/

Edited by atlas2

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You've heard of 'Pennsylvania' US of A........Named after William Penn......Means 'Penn Heaven' ?

 

Well the 'Cottage Bookshop Penn'........Is Book Heaven

 

Near 'Knotty Green'....You must know Knotty Green?

 

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penn,_Buckinghamshire

 

http://forreadingaddicts.co.uk/bookshop-reviews/the-cottage-bookshop-penn-bucks

 

 

Just found out it's closed after 60 years........Bloody shame.........Bloody Kindles.

 

http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/16086398.Much_loved_bookshop_forced_to_close_its_doors_after_60_years/

I'm afraid I'm a bit guilty, haven't set foot in a bookshop or library since I bought my first Kindle (Sony actually) over 10 years ago. I love the feel of a book, but Kindles are just so convenient.

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Siam Sam's reading lists are so erudite......and varied. I was inspired last trip to Uk to stock up on Classics......Mostly British.

There's a bookshop in Penn that's fantastic. Floor to ceiling.........and piles on the floor. It takes half-a-day to have a decent rummage. Universities send maths students there to figure out a formula for guesstimating the stock.

 

I brought back lots of Dickens, tons of PG Woodhouse......A bit of Kipling.....A few of Shakespeare plays...Some Orwell.....Dahl that I hadn't gotten around too. Even some poetry.......(I liked Larkin once).........And a bunch of other, 'good for me reads........'

 

Not read any of them......... It's a bit like being told to eat my vegetables when all I've got eyes for is the sausage on the plate.

 

I know I'll enjoy it if I make a serious effort.......But if I couldn't get into Woodhouse then I figure there's no hope.

 

Stephen Leather it is then...even though he churns 'sausages' out faster than I can devour them...

 

Thanks. I often add books to my reading list not because I think I would be interested in them but because I feel as if they are books that I should read just so that I can comment from experience in an intellectual conversation. I've read many classics on that premise. There are so many popular contemporary authors that I won't read because I consider them to be too pulpy. A bit of a book snob but that's me. I've also been reading long enough to know that it's harder to predict whether you'll like a book than you think it would be - I've read many that I'd thought I'd like but didn't, and similarly, enjoyed many that I didn't think I would. That's why I have no problem with reading classics because many of them have turned out to be enjoyable when I didn't think they would be. I like poetry too - Byron, W.H.Auden, Rimbaud and Bukowski are very good. I like to think I'm quite intellectual but I'm probably more of a pseudo intellectual. :D I'm not a huge fan of Shakespeare either and have only read about five of his plays. If you met me you'd probably think I was stupid because even though I can speak eloquently and have a large vocabulary I rarely speak like that as it doesn't suit my overall character and most of my mates take the piss if I speak like that. Whenever I do get the chance I can surprise those that don't know me well and hold my own in an intellectual conversation. A shame we never met when I was living in Pattaya as I think we have much in common. Oh yeah - I'm currently reading "We" by Yevgeny Zamyatin. It's a novel about a dystopian future where the world is controlled by a totalitarian state. It was the book that greatly influenced Orwell's magnum opus 1984.

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Hi,

 

I was big into poetry when at school. This is one I missed as a teen. Great poem and I must read more of his work. Radical stuff.

 

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/percy-bysshe-shelley

 

 

A Song: “Men of England”
Men of England, wherefore plough
For the lords who lay ye low?
Wherefore weave with toil and care
The rich robes your tyrants wear?
Wherefore feed and clothe and save
From the cradle to the grave
Those ungrateful drones who would
Drain your sweat—nay, drink your blood?
Wherefore, Bees of England, forge
Many a weapon, chain, and scourge,
That these stingless drones may spoil
The forced produce of your toil?
Have ye leisure, comfort, calm,
Shelter, food, love’s gentle balm?
Or what is it ye buy so dear
With your pain and with your fear?
The seed ye sow, another reaps;
The wealth ye find, another keeps;
The robes ye weave, another wears;
The arms ye forge, another bears.
Sow seed—but let no tyrant reap:
Find wealth—let no imposter heap:
Weave robes—let not the idle wear:
Forge arms—in your defence to bear.
Shrink to your cellars, holes, and cells—
In hall ye deck another dwells.
Why shake the chains ye wrought? Ye see
The steel ye tempered glance on ye.
With plough and spade and hoe and loom
Trace your grave and build your tomb
And weave your winding-sheet—till fair
England be your Sepulchre.
Edited by wacmedia

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What a massive disappointment "We" by Yevgeny Zamyatin was. An uninteresting, stale plot and such convoluted sentence structure meant it wasn't enjoyable to read at all. However, as a big fan of George Orwell you could really appreciate how this book influenced 1984 and where many of his ideas came from. I'm reading "A Wild Sheep Chase" by Haruki Murakami, a very popular and talented Japanese author whose work I have been meaning to sample for a few years. So far it's good.

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From an engineering and factual standpoint, I picked up a little gem from a bookshop in Cavite, it's "Panther and its variants" (the book, not the shop) by a German guy called Walter Spielberger (an oddly Jewish sounding name) and is regarded as a definitive resource on the Panther Tanks. I picked it up for £8 , normal retail (if you can find one) is about £50.

 

Either way, the level of expertise the German Engineers had in developing these tanks is quite frankly incredible. They were extremely advanced (perhaps too fragile for WW2 battlefield hardships in varying theatres) and it was sheer numbers of allied tanks which was often the only way to overwhelm them, because 1v1 the balance was always tilted in favour of the German tank. What is most interesting though is the research and development, minor improvements and the very tight tolerances to which they were made (which in itself is a failing, heavy industrial gear of the time was best left with wide tolerances to make up for poor lubrication, poor steel quality and less accurate engineering machinery).

 

When compared to British Tanks of the time, it's not dissimilar to draw a relatively modern day car analaogy, it's like comparing a British Leyland car to a Porsche...

 

anyway, I'm back on the easy reading stuff now and will take a chance of Siam Sams suggestion of The Stand by Stephen King, only because it's 50p in the local charity shop!.

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From an engineering and factual standpoint, I picked up a little gem from a bookshop in Cavite, it's "Panther and its variants" (the book, not the shop) by a German guy called Walter Spielberger (an oddly Jewish sounding name) and is regarded as a definitive resource on the Panther Tanks. I picked it up for £8 , normal retail (if you can find one) is about £50.

 

Either way, the level of expertise the German Engineers had in developing these tanks is quite frankly incredible. They were extremely advanced (perhaps too fragile for WW2 battlefield hardships in varying theatres) and it was sheer numbers of allied tanks which was often the only way to overwhelm them, because 1v1 the balance was always tilted in favour of the German tank. What is most interesting though is the research and development, minor improvements and the very tight tolerances to which they were made (which in itself is a failing, heavy industrial gear of the time was best left with wide tolerances to make up for poor lubrication, poor steel quality and less accurate engineering machinery).

 

When compared to British Tanks of the time, it's not dissimilar to draw a relatively modern day car analaogy, it's like comparing a British Leyland car to a Porsche...

 

anyway, I'm back on the easy reading stuff now and will take a chance of Siam Sams suggestion of The Stand by Stephen King, only because it's 50p in the local charity shop!.

 

http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2/nazi_germany/ww2_german_panzers.php

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Thanks for the link MLC, I have an interest in Tanks in general, more so the German ones from an engineering standpoint because they weren't over engineered like some may think, they were in fact over complicated for what they needed to do, however, the technology developed back then paved the way for modern day Tanks and armoured vehicles.

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