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Books -- what are we reading lately?

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I mentioned a while ago that I was reading the Saxon Tales. I'm just finishing book 8, The Empty Throne, tonight. It's been a long and exciting journey, from the childhood of Uhtred of Bebbanburg to his being an old man of over 50 years.

This series covers the formation of the nation called "Englaland" (later known as England) from the four kingdoms of Wessex, Mercia, Anglia, and Northumbria.

Read this story and tell me, who are the real English.

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The original theory was that the Celts were the true natives of Brython, and had been driven West to Wales and Cornwall by the mass migration/invasion of the various Germanic, Scandinavian and French tribes. However modern theory is that the native population were merely assimilated into, and were ruled over by the invading groups. Alledgedly the DNA of the Celts in Cornwall and Wales is purer though. I believe that the nation of Engla Land was first formed, and named, by the boss of Wessex, and combined all the Anglo-Saxon and Danish kingdoms towards the end of the 1st century.

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The original theory was that the Celts were the true natives of Brython, and had been driven West to Wales and Cornwall by the mass migration/invasion of the various Germanic, Scandinavian and French tribes. However modern theory is that the native population were merely assimilated into, and were ruled over by the invading groups. Alledgedly the DNA of the Celts in Cornwall and Wales is purer though. I believe that the nation of Engla Land was first formed, and named, by the boss of Wessex, and combined all the Anglo-Saxon and Danish kingdoms towards the end of the 1st century.

The Saxon Tales covers the era of Alfred the Great, Edward, his son, and Aethelstan, his grandson. England as we know it was first unified under Aethalstan in 927 in the 10th century.

 

As to who the "real" English are, well, it's a mess. England is a nation of migrations and subsequent conquest by Romans, Angles, Jutes, Saxons, Vikings (Danes and "Norsemen"), French-speaking Norsemen.

 

I believe Wales still has the purest native population, but that is just an impression.

 

Seems everybody wants to be English again, and a new invasion has begun.

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Yes my mistake, messing up my metrification of centuries! Your belief viz-a-viz the Welsh and also the Cornish is well founded and backed up with DNA trials, but due to the fact that the invaders and migrants couldn't bother their arses going that far West (some may say understandably :P ), rather than natives fleeing there :gone

However it was the Anglo-Saxons that named it Engla Land, and united the various kingdoms so I suppose you could say they were the original English as such. Britons however were there first, but were assimilated.

The interesting part from my point of view is that the Romans basically "upped sticks and buggered off en masse" which left the way open for the Germanic tribes to "swarm" (to quote a Tory twat :lol: ) in, relatively unopposed. Hmm meandering off topic bit, so....

I have now finished The Master Mariner 2, and it was a bit of a disappointment; Really just one chapter/story of the continuing eternal life of Matthew Lawe; With all the other chapters just the author's notes, around which he would obviously expanded into the book, had he not died. Many other such cases have been resolved with a relative, or another author taking up the mantle and completing the book, or in the case of Fleming, continuing the series; Still it is obviously what the family wanted and Monsarrat himself may have wished it so. However that one story does at least compliment the excellent volume 1.

As for the "Missus" and Ulysses; She is continuing to "wind me up" with it , and the "stupid" Hello Kitty bookmark is very slowly traversing the pages :rolleyes: along with comments of "velly good book" ! I have also noticed that there is always some glossy mag or ipad in the vicinity whenever she is "reading" it !?!

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Under a Graveyard Sky by John Ringo. This is the first of a four book series. Ringo is one of my favorite science fiction authors, but his last series, which I would describe as engineering fiction, didn't do a lot for me.

 

I had known about Under a Graveyard Sky for some time but had seen it described as involving the zombie apocalypse, a genre I won't read. Recently, I discovered it did not involve the undead but victims of a virus which left them incurably and violently insane and capable of spreading the virus to others by biting them.

 

Ringo discloses early on that the virus is human engineered. I'm 30 pages into the second book in the series, To Sail a Darkling Sea, and he has offered no clue as to who engineered the virus. He has one of the characters, in what I tend to think would be Ringo's own voice, express disdain for conspiracy theorists so I'll be interested to see if he provides an answer as to the origin of the virus.

 

Ringo really, really likes guns and writes rather good action, but also has, in a good way, a sick sense of humor.

 

His broader theme is how people would react if the world went 97%+ to hell.

Edited by nkped

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I mentioned a while ago that I was reading the Saxon Tales. I'm just finishing book 8, The Empty Throne, tonight. It's been a long and exciting journey, from the childhood of Uhtred of Bebbanburg to his being an old man of over 50 years.

This series covers the formation of the nation called "Englaland" (later known as England) from the four kingdoms of Wessex, Mercia, Anglia, and Northumbria.

Read this story and tell me, who are the real English.

Whilst in the UK at the moment I have noticed them advertising an historical drama series called "The Last Kingdom" which is a TV adaptation of Cornwell's Saxon Tales. The series starts on BBC2 on 22nd October, and started 10th October on BBC America. Don't know if you have access to either of those channels via your "minix thingummyjig", or whether you are interested in "novel depictions for the lazy of mind"! :lol: I am, and hopefully my normal access to BBC Iplayer is not compromised in UAE when I get back.

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Whilst in the UK at the moment I have noticed them advertising an historical drama series called "The Last Kingdom" which is a TV adaptation of Cornwell's Saxon Tales.

Torrents for the first two episodes are available now. I watched the first episode last night.

There are a number of differences from the books already that are somewhat bothersome. I don't think they had the budget of Game of Thrones to work with, so the costumes and expensive buildings involved in the battle scenes are changed. Rather than having an army of Saxon warriors in mail, they're all wearing cloth..no protection at all.

The first battle scene between the Danes and the Saxons is woefully badly done. Apparently the production didn't have time to show the Saxon actors how to make a shield wall, which is key to every battle in the books.

Oh well, I do hope they don't do the whole series on the cheap.

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Getting geared up for the new Bond movie, I re-visited 'From Russia with Love', I'd last read it 48 years ago.

 

I'd forgotten how different in small ways the film is to the book. 'Specktor' encoding machine not 'Lecktor' ........Bond's assassination sanctioned by official Russian 'Smersh' not super criminal outfit 'Spectre'

 

The biggest surprise is that I'd forgotten that Fleming kills Bond off......It was his intention to end the series with this book. Rosa Klebb actually gets Bond with those poison tipped blades in her shoes.

 

It's thanks to JFK saying it was his number one thriller that led to a surge in sales that we still have Bond with us.

 

My personal theory is that JFK was at least partially sending out a coded message to Marilyn Monroe......You'll remember in the film and the book a man pops out of her open mouth!

 

Fleming writes well. His original books hold up and are easy reads.

 

 

 

PS. Did you know the lesbian 'Rosa Klebb' name is a pun on a contemporary Russian women's rights slogan.......'Bread and Roses'?

 

Fleming had fun with his character's names.........Glad to see it continues in the film out next month 'Spectre'.......one of the Bond girls is called Madeline Swann, a Proustian reference........It's likely Bond will learn a lot he didn't know about his life from her..........Phuck knows what Pussy Galore was supposed to mean......Anyway roll on the 6th November.

Edited by atlas2

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I have been struggling with The Story of Philosophy - (A history of western thought) for a couple of weeks ... I find it interesting but I have to re read parts before I continue.

 

There is one book I have tried to read several times - On the beach by Nevil Chute - but just can't get beyond them poisoning their own children. The film needs to be remade. The original doesn't do it justice..

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I have been struggling with The Story of Philosophy - (A history of western thought) for a couple of weeks ... I find it interesting but I have to re read parts before I continue.

 

There is one book I have tried to read several times - On the beach by Nevil Chute - but just can't get beyond them poisoning their own children. The film needs to be remade. The original doesn't do it justice..

Didn't read the book when the movie came out, but was shaken by the movie...thought it was great at the time. This was right in the hot times of the cold war when we were having nuclear attack drills in school and people were building bomb shelters.

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Torrents for the first two episodes are available now. I watched the first episode last night.

There are a number of differences from the books already that are somewhat bothersome. I don't think they had the budget of Game of Thrones to work with, so the costumes and expensive buildings involved in the battle scenes are changed. Rather than having an army of Saxon warriors in mail, they're all wearing cloth..no protection at all.

The first battle scene between the Danes and the Saxons is woefully badly done. Apparently the production didn't have time to show the Saxon actors how to make a shield wall, which is key to every battle in the books.

Oh well, I do hope they don't do the whole series on the cheap.

Apparently it was/is being shot on location in Hungary. Make of that what you will ! :lol:

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Just finished Audrey Hepburn's Neck, by Alan Brown today at the Central Festival Starbux.

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The French Foreign Legion by Douglas Boyd

 

quite an informative history of the early days of the FFL and goes into a fair bit of detail about the Dien Bien Phu incident (which by pure coincidence Firth has done a pictorial TR about, so helps my research even more!).

 

Well researched, accurate and can be quite heavy going at times when trying to correlate dates and events, but all in all enjoyable.

Edited by Butch

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Under Enemy Colours by Sean Thomas Russell....

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Quartered Safe Out Here.......

 

GM Frasier (author of the Flashman series) Only just started it and brilliant.

 

Autobiographical and set in Burma............Where from being considered jungle supermen the Japanese suffered the worst military defeat in it's history.

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Strangers on a Bridge by James B. Donovan. This is the Donovan played by Tom Hanks in the rather ponderous Spielberg produced Bridge of Spies, and is about about defending the Soviet spy Rudolph Abel and the later exchange of Abel for the U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers. Not too far in, but it appears they got Abel's character right. Donovan, on the other hand, is a whole lot more interesting than he is played by Hanks in the movie. The movie barely mentions that Donovan was a prosecutor at Nurenberg. It turns out he was also legal counsel with the Office of Strategic Service. Spielberg also "adjusts" some other things, possibly for 21st century political reasons.

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There was a post from the author, Jake Needham, on Facebook informing folks that Amazon had a free kindle download for a book called "Harry's Rules" by Michael R. Davidson.

Having just finished the Arthurian 3 book series by Bernard Cornwell, I thought I'd try for some lighter contemporary reading, so I downloaded the book to my kindle and started right away.

Wow! This author really does know how to tell a tale. He worked with the CIA for many years, and the story covers events in the aftermath of the breakup of the Soviet Union, the transition of KGB members to oligarchs and their association with the Russian mafia. It seems fairly clear that this is also a template for Putin's rise to power, and it is continued in 3 more books (also available from Amazon at very low prices).

For excitement and international intrigue, highly recommended http://www.amazon.com/Michael-R-Davidson/e/B008ZHJDQ2

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I never knew this thread existed so I'm happy to know that there is a place where bibliophiles can share information. Seeing as I'm a bit behind everyone else I'm going to post all of the books that I've read so far this year - I have kept a record since 2012, my aim is to read a thousand books from then onward before I die. I can't remember how many I have read before 2012 but considering I've been a voracious reader at many points in my life I'm sure it could easily be a few hundred already. Anyway, here's the list:

 

Visions of Cody - Jack Kerouac

The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs - Irvine Welsh

Studies on Hysteria - Sigmund Freud

The Bourne Identity - Robert Ludlum

The Old Curiosity Shop - Charles Dickens

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists - Robert Tressell

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Philip K. Dick

Metamorphosis and other stories - Franz Kafka

The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby - Tom Wolfe

The Koran

The Man in the High Castle - Philip K. Dick

The People of the Abyss - Jack London

Less Than Zero - Bret Easton Ellis

Thus Spoke Zarathustra - Friedrich Nietzsche

The Age of Reason - John-Paul Sartre

God Is Not Great - Christopher Hitchens

Dorian - Will Self

Homage to Catalonia - George Orwell

Skagboys - Irvine Welsh

The Interpretation of Dreams - Sigmund Freud

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest - Stieg Larsson

The Buddha of Suburbia - Hanif Kureishi

Life of Pi - Yann Martell

A Kestrel for a Knave - Barry Hines

 

 

I'm currently reading Meditations on First Philosophy by Rene Descartes. If anyone wants a rating or a review of any in that list let me know, there are some ten out of tens in there and a few nines too.

Edited by Siam Sam

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Bloody hell!!!

That's some impressive reading.

 

I feel so frivolous and shallow now

Edited by atlas2

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