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Books Read 2018

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by ImLawBoy » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:17 pm

I got John Adams as part of a four-pack of McCullough books that someone posted about in the bargain forum. It also had 1776, Truman, and In the Course of Human Events (the last I think is actually an adaptation of a talk or something). For $2.99, it was a steal.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Scuzz » Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:11 pm

Truman is a good read. And for $2.99 that sure beats the $4-$5 I spent at the used book store for the ones I have.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:16 pm

Kingdom of Ash and Soot by C.S. Johnson (K) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

Kingdom of Ash and Soot takes place in Prague during the 19th century. It follows the life of Eleanora, whose father just died and grandmother from the House of Wellington comes home from England to preside over her entrance into the court and society. And maybe disrupt a murderous conspiracy while she's at it. The son of the king has the hots for her, while her attention is grabbed by what appears to be a well-connected street urchin encountered during a visit to Prague.

I suppose this story want to be a period romance first and foremost. The whole idea of ladies of the court being involved in a murder investigation (and not presumably as law enforcement) is a little far-fetched, more so that amateurs are able to overcome a deeper conspiracy.

Aside from the trappings of monarchy, the period or local flavor in the story is very slight. I had a motivating interest to read this book as some of my ancestors came from there around the time this book is set; but I didn't get a sense of place or time. The love story is rather predictable. That this is "Book 1" suggests a series might be forthcoming, but the characters were not interesting enough nor was there any loose ends I care to see wrapped up.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by El Guapo » Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:58 am

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds, by Michael Lewis.

This is a Michael Lewis book about two Israeli psychologists, Amos Tversky and Danny Kahneman, who did pretty groundbreaking work exploring the various ways that human psychology is inherently irrational (all the little mental heuristics that people apply in day-to-day life, in ways that is often biased towards producing the wrong result). It's focused on how people are bad inherent statisticians, and also explored the impact of these systematic mental errors on economics (which has tended to be based on the assumptions that humans will by and large pursue their self-interests in a rational way). Their work has had impacts on a huge variety of fields (including economics, obviously), and changed the way a lot of people think about how humans calculate and plan.

I really enjoyed this book and strongly recommend it. Of course, Michael Lewis is one of my favorite authors - him and Mark Bowden are probably the main two authors for which I will usually pick up their books regardless of what they are about.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Kasey Chang » Wed Oct 24, 2018 3:24 am

Finished The Fires of Babylon: Eagle Troop and the Battle of 73 Easting by Mike Guardia

Eveyrbody knows about Desert Storm and the battle of 73 Easting, where 2nd Armored Calvalry Regiment (ACR) acting as the spear of VII Corps advance, ran into the Tawakalna Division of the Elite Republican guards, and in half an hour, destroyed 400+ vehicles, captured 1300+ prisoners, without losing a single vehicle.

This book is specifically about Eagle Troop, or "Troop E", one of the four troops involved in the battle. The story started long before Desert Shield and Desert Storm, about how the commanders started as lowly lieutenants and came to revitalize the armored warfare which were totally neglected due to Vietnam, all the way through the battle, and into the post-war period, where the ACR was deactivated then reconstituted as a light ACR (with mostly HUMVEEs) Lots of interviews, facts matched up, lots of funny anecdotes, and so on. If you want an overview of the battle, try Wikipedia or Tom Clancy's "Armored Cav" has a chapter on this. But this is more intimate, about the personal feelings and recollections, from diaries and interviews of soldiers who were there.

And it doesn't hurt that the book is $1.99 right now.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Kasey Chang » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:53 pm

Finished Zero Echo Shadow Prime by Peter Samet

In the year 2045, 18 year old Charlie Nobunaga has just created the world's first sentient AI with genuine emotions, incorporated into "shadow", the personal valet/AI that the rich can own. But Charlie, like her mother and her sister who are dead, was just diagnosed with a very aggresive cancer that has no treatment. And it was then a tech consortium CEO offered her devil's bargain: have her brain scanned and uploaded into an android body. And it was a success... Until betrayal sets in: the tech company created additional copies. This is the story of PRIME, the "android" copy, ZERO, the dying human, SHADOW, an AI assistant with its memories erased, and ECHO, a four-armed killer in a world inhabited by almost a million Echoes, each with different capabilities. Separated, fighting to survive, they nonetheless set out to find each other, and wanted to see justice done... so they can be whole again...

One heck of a book, 7.5/8 really. And it's FREE right now. Get it before the price goes back up.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by ImLawBoy » Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:40 pm

Finished Dawn by Octavia E. Butler. As I noted, I'm trying to expand my horizons a bit, and this sci fi novel by an African American woman hits the trifecta. A woman is awakened aboard an alien ship some 250 years after humans virtually annihilated themselves in a nuclear war. The aliens want Lilith to lead a group of humans to resettle the planet, but they of course want (and will take) something in return. This is the first novel of a trilogy. Butler is keeping me on my toes about the aliens. How benevolent are they? Are they as monolithic and same-minded as they seem at first glance? While I'm not huge on the overall sci fi setting, it is keeping me entertained. I'm not too sure about the alien sex, though . . . .

Next up is Lovecraft Country: A Novel by Matt Ruff. Back to reading horror by white males after dipping my toe in diversity. ;) I've heard a lot of good things about it, and it was hard to pass up the $2.99 special price on Amazon last week. I'll probably go back to book two of the sci fi trilogy after this.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Isgrimnur » Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:46 pm

Lilith as the first mother of a new race of humanity? That's a bit of transparent meaningful naming.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Scuzz » Mon Oct 29, 2018 7:47 pm

1491 by Charles Mann
Let me start by saying I read a lot of history but not very much involving this period or this style of book. I went into this not sure whether I would like it or not or whether I would be able to stay with it. However I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it. Mann has written what I believe to be a well balanced book that features informative history about the natives of the America’s before the arrival of Europeans after Columbus. The stories of the Inkas (his spelling), the Aztecs and the Indians of North America are very interesting and told in a way almost anyone should enjoy.
The terrible results of the Euro invasion are also told, leading to a discussion of just how many natives there may have been.
So much is in this book that was never told in schools back in the day, a real example of historical revision the way it should be done. I would recommend this book to everyone.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by xenocide » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:29 pm

Been a long time since I updated. I've been keeping up in audio but my physical reading slows down in the summer and I am just now starting to up that reading time again.

I'll just hit some highs and lows.

I've only read 3 physical since my last update but two of them are biggies. I re-read Book 1 & 2 of the Stormlight series by Brandon Sanderson. Also read the Edgedancer Novela in the series. I am now just starting Book 3 for the first time.

This is Sanderson's big epic, planned for 10 books I believe so if you are a non reader of unfinished series this may not be for you. Sanderson does write crazy fast but 7 more plus other books in between still is going to be a long time. That said the series is great. When finished should be up there with the best epic fantasy series. I'm a big Sanderson fan. I've read all his books and have liked (or more) them all and the first two Stormlight are 2 of his best.

If interested all 3 of the Stormlight kindle versions are on sale now at amazon for $2.99 a piece. I bought Oathbringer even though I have the hardcover just so I can read the kindle version when out and about. Can't go wrong for that price.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by xenocide » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:20 pm

Morning Star: Red Rising Book 3 by Pierce Brown - Good conclusion to the series. I know there is a 4th book but this one in my mind ends the main story started in book 1. Some things went as I expected but there were some nice twists in there as well. Book 1 is still my favorite but 2 and 3 were good also.

Murderbot Diaries 2-4 by Martha Wells - Read the first one early this year and it's one of my favorites so far (**edited to add: I originally said I had read #1 last year, guess I was wrong it was just a while ago but still 2018**). Awesome series. Book 2 is good but prob the one I would rank as the lowest. 3 & 4 are great and a wonderful end to the series. Good world, good mysteries, good plot, and murderbot is a great character. Only downside is economic. You are paying full price for each piece which are each only about 3.5 hours long. It was worth it for me as I loved the series, but that is a steep price point.

Armada by Ernest Cline - I liked this book. I think it gets a bit of a bad wrap because it's not "Ready Player One" part 2. I finished it about the same time as Jayman and agree with his review.

Artemis by Andy Weir - I liked this book as well. A fun sci-fi heist novel set in the the future on the Moon from the author of "The Martian" but totally unrelated in story and plot. I feel this book is similar in many ways to Armada. Second book from a breakout success author, not as loved as the first book, not what people are expecting, but a good book in it's own right. Don't go in expecting "The Martian 2" because this is not that, like it on its own.

The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay - Excellent! A secondary world fantasy with an Arabian flair. It might not end up as my "favorite" novel of the year (and it may) but it will without a doubt be the "best" novel I read this year; assuming that distinction makes sense. This book has some features that normally don't appeal to my pulp loving/plot whoreish self; the writing and prose are very well done and the plot is obviously well done but not a major driver of the story, both of which are things that are not normally my cup of tea. It's epic, and beautiful, and exciting when it needs to be, and sad when it needs to be. It has one of the best/most heart wrenching death scenes I've ever read. And my god the characters are even better. My third and favorite Guy Gavriel Kay novel.

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin - A classic, but not for me. I didn't love this book. World: Ehh, Story: kind of boring, Main Character: not interesting, Magic system: not interesting. Written in the 60s, so maybe had I read it then it would have been a different story, but coming as a new reader in 2018; not for me.

The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel - I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, I had vague recollections of the movie from years ago. I really liked this a lot. Loved the setting and the characters. Looking forward to reading more books in the collection (which I admit I didn't even know more books existed until I bought this one).

The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu - Secondary world fantasy modeled off China. Not one of my favorites this year. The amazon reviews are a little mixed but I had heard a lot of good things about this book in some other places. To quote from amazon blurb "Two men rebel together against tyranny—and then become rivals—in this first sweeping book of an epic fantasy series from Ken Liu, recipient of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards. Hailed as one of the best books of 2015 by NPR." I was expecting more. I ended up upping the audible play speed quite a bit for the last 1/3 of this one to get trough it.

The Land Books 1-7 by Aleron Kong - Stick with me here this could get a little long. A LitRPG Saga. Main character gets transported to a real world version of a fantasy role playing game. Not just a fantasy world ie "Game of Thrones" or similar. I'm talking an RPG, where the characters are aware of this with levels and experience and stat sheets, etc. For example the main character can access his village interface and see what buildings he has and what he needs to do in order to get his village to level 2. I didn't even know what a LitRPG was until I got an email from audible suggesting some. Apparently it's a new genre and in the email "Ready Player One" was listed as a soft example of the genre. I liked "Ready Player One" so I thought I'd give "The Land" a try. I'm hooked now man, I had a ton of fun with this series, burned through all 7 really fast and can't wait for more. It's like book crack, I just need more. Let me be clear though, it's not perfect and I could see how some people could dislike it. The writing is not Guy Gavriel Kay; it could use better editing (if you disliked all the braid tugging and skirt straightening in the Wheel of Time you'll hate how characters "eyes widened in surprise" every time something happens or other phrases that get way overused). The main character acts like a major frat boy. Some parts get a bit loot heavy (book 5 I'm looking at you). But forget all that because this is pure pulp, adventure, fun, awesomeness. Great mixture of using RPG tropes in the right way and also going in different directions. Great story, fun villains, good power curve, well developed world, good characters. Really good foreshadowing and building a base for more story. I can list a bunch of things that I am really looking forward to seeing how they turn out. Makes me want to read more. Makes me want to game more. If anyone has suggestions for other good LitRPGs I'd love to hear them. I have looked into some other series but it can be hard to tell by the descriptions. They often seem kind of hokey, but so did The Land when I first read about it and I know how that turned out :twisted:
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jolor » Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:05 pm

xenocide wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:20 pm
Was also very excited about the Murderbot diaries but was turned off by the high price point for a novella. Good news is I'm hearing that might be a compendium treatment where they're all bundled.

Guy Gavriel Kay is incredible. I've read his most current books and am working through the earlier ones. Currently reading Tigana. He's a really good follow on twitter :)

Thanks for the reviews.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Rumpy » Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:24 pm

xenocide wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:20 pm
A fun sci-fi heist novel set in the the future of the universe from "The Martian" but totally unrelated in story and plot
Are you sure about that? While reading it, there were no references or any indication that it was, other than it also being on a planet. I don't remember Weir mentioning it being set in the same universe.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Scuzz » Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:41 pm

Isn't The Martian basically set in this universe?

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by xenocide » Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:04 pm

Rumpy wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:24 pm
xenocide wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:20 pm
A fun sci-fi heist novel set in the the future of the universe from "The Martian" but totally unrelated in story and plot
Are you sure about that? While reading it, there were no references or any indication that it was, other than it also being on a planet. I don't remember Weir mentioning it being set in the same universe.
I think you may be correct. Not sure where I got that from. As Scuzz said The Martian is just set in our world anyway in the near future so it does not really matter.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Rumpy » Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:26 pm

Yeah, that's true. I mean, it certainly could be, much like Ben Bova's Grand Tour series which has a book or multiple books set on planets in our solar system sharing a history. As far as I know, he hasn't given any indication that he wants to do that, but it's still too early to tell as he's still a relatively recent author. For Bova, having a shared history only came later when he decided to build on it some more.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Kasey Chang » Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:10 am

Finished Standing the Final Watch by William Alan Webb

Lt. General Angriff will break orders to rescue his men, but when his adult daughter was killed on duty in the battlefield, and then a terrorist incident on US homeland killed his wife and daughter, there wasn't much he left to live for... Until the senior officer he most hated revealed a giant secret... He's trying to delay the inevitable collapse of the US so the military can prepare for the doomsday option: a brigade put on suspended animation to be awakened when needed, and Angriff is its new commander. When he woke up fifty years later, US is but a distant memory, a few ragtag survivors try to bleed the predatory warlords who raid the US from the southern caliphate, and internally assassins tried to seize his command for their own purposes. But the last brigade will always do its duty... against all enemies foreign or domestic.

Interesting setup, as the author managed to keep the momentum in the first book while leaving plenty of things to do for the next two books, as well as possibly continuations for further trilogies. And the "brigade" here is actually redesignated the 7th Cavalry Regiment... With plenty of support units. I may buy the next few books just to see what they're like.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:56 pm

True Consequences by Robert Barnes III (K) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

A very violent tale of a rising drug dealer in the 'hood and the devastation brought down on those closest to him as he is embroiled in battles for territory with criminals more accomplished than himself. He knows he wants to quit and get out of that life...but after being robbed by a rival, needs that one last score to setup himself and his sweetheart for the mundane life. But, it seems. the world is against him. Including that sweetheart.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:31 pm

Soldiers and Secrets by E. Jon Gant (K) :binky:

Who to blame for this mess? The author? The editor? Both? Beware, spoilers abound below.

Soldiers and Secrets is set sometime in the future when interstellar travel is possible. Captain Damascus, a lesbian (because that is apparently important) has a run-in with a drunk in a bar and winds up busted two ranks and shipped off to another unit where she falls for two more lesbians subordinate to her for a happy threesome. Her CO simply advises to tone it down in public, no one thinks it odd for an officer to be involved with subordinates in such away. Meanwhile, they guys in the unit must all be suffering from terminal blue balls as they repeatedly hit on (and are spurned by) the lesbian trio. This is supposed to be the future, mind you...maybe it's the long term result of Trump and his cohorts pretending sexual harassment isn't a thing? Unwanted advances continue to crop up in the most unlikely situations - such as during a firefight with an alien adversary with demonstrably superior weapons and tactics.

The author's obsession with sexual tension in this book causes him to lose focus on the plot. Or I should say plots, as they seem to change. Here is where it seems like totally random editing occurred. Damascus and her girlfriends are assigned to a recovery mission at an alien planet. There is one survivor, who happens to be the only character with a superpower (he can create stasis with his mind). Everyone else was killed by precision shots by drones. Where the drones come from nobody knows, but there is a mysterious ship nearby with no apparent entrances. One of Damascus' squeezes gets shot and Mr. Amazing Stasis Guy freezes her at the moment her heart is pierced, about a half-instant before death. So with a few stim packs to keep him awake and focused, Mr. Amazing and the squeeze await the departure and return of the rest of the squad, along with a bevy of surgeons to repair the damage before the stasis is released. Are you rolling your eyes yet?

During the mission (of which Damascus regains her captaincy on an interim basis) a crewman is killed by another attack of the drones. As a result, Damascus must face a tribunal. In this case, it was a meeting with a top military guy. Who then tries to kill her. Who really isn't a guy at all, but an alien. Damascus kills him, and is arrested for killing a superior officer. She is released when it is found there are no laws against killing alien impostors and her captaincy is confirmed. She is assigned a new company, her mission to return to the planet and recover the strange alien ship. Instead, at a ceremony commemorating her reinstatement of rank, Damascus and her old squad are attacked by an unknown assailant. In the process of an investigation where just about everyone dies (including her former CO and both squeezes), Damascus finds out the attacker is a woman who believes she is the daughter of the alien creature Damascus killed earlier. Damascus prevails, and at the end, after visiting her former captain's grave, she meets his cute daughter. Who is...wait for it....also a lesbian.

If you're paying attention, you'll notice that (1) the strange alien ship was never retrieved and (2) the revelation that an alien achieved high status in the military seemed to elicit a collective shrug. It's almost like entire chapters were lost.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Scuzz » Mon Nov 19, 2018 6:03 pm

I have read the following over the last few weeks…

A Tan and Sandy Silence by John D. McDonald I found this a little slow and perhaps to date my least liked Travis McGee novel. He goes thru a mid-life crises in the book that just seems unnecessary in a book of this genre. In the end he discovers it wasn’t him, but people die and he gets even. Maybe 2 stars out of 5.

Medusa by Clive Cussler A Kurt Austin NUMA adventure. I think I like the Austin books better than the Dirk Pitt ones. These are light Bondish type adventures where some evil greedy bastard wants something and it is up to Austin and Zavala to save the day. I would give this a 3 out of 5.

Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb This is the final book in the Farseer Trilogy. A little wordy but a very good book to finish the series. FitzChivalry journeys to save his King and on the way has adventure after adventure. The author does a great job, even if she sometimes just “talks” to much. But the characters are good and the story is wrapped up in a satisfying way. 3.5 out of 5
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by El Guapo » Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:21 pm

Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation, by Yossi Klein Halevi.

This book was amazing - one of my favorites in a long time. It tells the story of an Israeli Defense Force paratrooper brigade, the main one that participated in the Battle for Jerusalem during the Six Day War between Israel and Jordan/Syria/Egypt. Starts in the early 60s, tells the Six Day War story, and then follows the individual paratroopers up through the 2000s, telling what each of them went through, and basically winds up telling the story of modern Israel (at least from 1960 or so on) in the process. Reminded me of a Michael Lewis book, in that it tells a big story through the individual stories of a few interesting individuals. Also winds up covering all sorts of different aspects of Israeli society, as some of the paratroopers go on to become leaders in the Israeli Settler movement, others become active in left-wing Peace Now type groups, others become active in the kibbutzes, another plays a big part in Israeli privatization efforts, and so on. And Yossi Klein Halevi is a tremendous writer - I'd read a bunch of his articles (especially in the Atlantic), but hadn't read any of his books before.

Strongly recommend.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:38 pm

Dark Sea Rising by Barry Broad (K) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

OK, I have to admit this story got a couple of bonus tentacles because the sentient species in this first-contact story are deep-sea octopuses!

This action-packed story has it all: first contact with another sentient species, skirmish with said species, government cover-up because, well, oil is involved and that rules all. What it doesn't have is more pages: a relationship between two of the main human characters went from "nice to meet you" to "let's make lots of babies" in no time at all. Protagonists came and went too quickly and suffered from underdevelopment. The back story for the aliens was very well done and hopefully forms the basis for additional stories. The aliens themselves could have used a little more character development as well -- we got to know two of them well enough, but it's hard to say how representative they are of the species.

That aside, the story is compelling -- the chain of events and actions of peripheral characters who don't have a complete picture of what's going on are spot-on plausible. There were probably a few more dots that could be connected in a longer story (a World War 3 scenario would be nearly inevitable given the state of affairs at the end of the story); hopefully the abrupt ending is an indication of more to come.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by ImLawBoy » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:50 pm

Finished Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. Great read. It largely follows a group of African Americans in 1950s Chicago and their reluctant intersections with the supernatural, which take the form of a very Lovecraftian organization known as the Sons of Adam. Mixed in among the horrors of the beyond and the brutal depiction of racism, there is a lot of fun and humor. I can see this making a very fun series when it hits HBO.

Up next is Happy Doomsday by David Sosnowski. I got this one as an Amazon freebie. It's apparently a funny take on the apocalypse, but we'll see. In just the first few pages it's used the R word and insinuated a connection between vaccines and autism. If there's much more of that, I may just bail early.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by El Guapo » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:17 pm

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet,, by Ta-Nehisi Coats and Brian Stelfreeze.

This story is spread out over vols., 1 - 3, covering Black Panther issues #1 - #12 (2016).

I hadn't read any Black Panther stories before, and have only read a handful of graphic novels, but I picked this up awhile ago in one of the comics sales primarily because Ta-Nehisi Coats wrote it (and because of the movie). It's a pretty strong story - centers around T'Challa fighting against two rebellions, one a "People's Rebellion" in the south of Wakanda, and one by rogue Dora Miljahe (sp? The Amazon warriors from the movie). It's a mix of political intrigue in terms of finding out who is supporting the rebellions and their motivations (and figuring out how to fight them without further inflaming popular opinion), and Black Panther just coming in and kicking lots of people in the head. Also T'Challa works to rescue his sister Shuri, who is stuck in a state between life and death due to events preceding these issues.

Very strong story - gets into T'Challa's uncertainty about wanting to be king at all, as well as how the Wakandan monarchy fits in with modern political traditions and "Wakandan Exceptionalism" (which is discussed in this series, and which has obvious parallels to American political debates). I would recommend it.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by hitbyambulance » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:44 pm

ImLawBoy wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:50 pm
the R word
...

Republican?

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by ImLawBoy » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:45 pm

hitbyambulance wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:44 pm
ImLawBoy wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:50 pm
the R word
...

Republican?
Retard.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Scuzz » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:49 pm

In The Frame by Dick Francis

This is a typical Dick Francis murder mystery. All his stories have different characters, no one detective. They are all English and involve horse racing and wine in some important way. This story revolves around a painter who travels to visit a friend and his wife and upon arriving finds the wife murdered during a robbery and the distraught husband the prime suspect. A little light on logic, aren't all these type detective novels, but Francis is a good story teller.

Nemesis Games by James S. A. Corey

The fifth book in the Expanse series. It took a good 100-150 pages before I could get into this book. It starts almost like a refresher in the characters, a little too much so in my opinion. But given time the plot comes around and the story picks up steam. Not the best book in the series, but probably necessary if the story is going to evolve into something different. And I am not sure what that is at this point, but the story left a lot out there.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:05 pm

ImLawBoy wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:45 pm
hitbyambulance wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:44 pm
ImLawBoy wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:50 pm
the R word
...

Republican?
Retard.
Are we playing the alliterative synonyms game?

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by ImLawBoy » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:08 pm

Jeff V wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:05 pm
ImLawBoy wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:45 pm
hitbyambulance wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:44 pm
ImLawBoy wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:50 pm
the R word
...

Republican?
Retard.
Are we playing the alliterative synonyms game?
Not funny. (It's well known I have a very poor sense of humor on this subject.)
We had subs. It was crazy

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:26 pm

ImLawBoy wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:08 pm
Not funny. (It's well known I have a very poor sense of humor on this subject.)
My point is we have another, socially acceptable term to describe derogatory context of the "R" word. But I understand if you also have a poor sense of humor regarding Republicans, since they are more tragic than anything these days.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jaymann » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:54 pm

Just finished
The Outsider
audio book by Stephen King. Not a huge King fan, as I sometimes find his characterizations and dialog to be a bit cliché, but occasionally he can spin a good yarn as he did in 11/22/63. The premise is decent: A man is accused of a heinous crime, based on multiple eyewitnesses and the presence of fingerprints and DNA evidence at the scene of the crime, BUT the man has an airtight alibi, also substantiated by multiple eyewitnesses and forensic evidence. He had me hooked until he had to delve into the supernatural, which I was hoping he wouldn't do.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:55 am

Jaymann wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:54 pm
Just finished [url=https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/ ... 1501180989]
He had me hooked until he had to delve into the supernatural, which I was hoping he wouldn't do.
It was book 3 of a trilogy. The supernatural aspect was already well-established.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jaymann » Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:08 am

Jeff V wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:55 am
Jaymann wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:54 pm
Just finished [url=https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/ ... 1501180989]
He had me hooked until he had to delve into the supernatural, which I was hoping he wouldn't do.
It was book 3 of a trilogy. The supernatural aspect was already well-established.
Thank goodness I didn't slog through the first two for this payoff.
Jaymann
]==(:::::::::::::>

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:31 am

I thought it was pretty well done. The series was about trying to logically explain something supernatural before accepting no such explanation is possible. Often supernatural devices are used as a crutch to get out of a painted corner, but that didn't feel like the case in this series.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by ImLawBoy » Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:50 am

If I'm not mistaken, The Outsider was really more trilogy adjunct. The official Bill Hodges trilogy includes Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, and End of Watch. The Outsider brought in some characters (or at least one character) from the trilogy, but it's a stand-alone book. (I had no issues reading it and I haven't read the trilogy yet.)

And I have very little sympathy for someone who is suprised that a Stephen King book takes a supernatural turn. ;) After all, you could have just read my brief summary of it a couple of pages back.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Archinerd » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:32 pm

Finally finished, Great Boer War by Byron Farwell. It details the wars fought between the British Empire and the South African Boer republics (Transvaal & The Orange Free State) at the dawn of the 20th Century.

It's a longish book, sometimes dry, sometimes repetitive and the author seems to have an obvious pro-Boer bias at times. It was rough go at the start for me too, I knew next to nothing about the topic and my South African geographic knowledge is poor at best. A good map and maybe a quick overview of the timeline at the start would have given me the context I needed. Lots of names too, some familiar (Winston Churchill, Rudyard Kipling) and many new to me (English & Boer war heroes mostly).

I'm glad I stuck with it though, it goes into great detail not only on the military aspects but also touches on political and social impacts as well. Also, did a good job of conveying the pointlessness and tragedy of war. My favorite part was the battle by battle account - not for the "action" but because each played out as it's own short story. The sieges in particular are very bizarre.

An interesting read, if not always enjoyable. Kind of makes me want to play Europa Universalis IV.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:38 pm

ImLawBoy wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:50 am
If I'm not mistaken, The Outsider was really more trilogy adjunct. The official Bill Hodges trilogy includes Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, and End of Watch. The Outsider brought in some characters (or at least one character) from the trilogy, but it's a stand-alone book. (I had no issues reading it and I haven't read the trilogy yet.)

And I have very little sympathy for someone who is suprised that a Stephen King book takes a supernatural turn. ;) After all, you could have just read my brief summary of it a couple of pages back.
You are right. I keep forgetting about Finder's Keepers because Hodges is more of a secondary character. But all of the books are in a similar vein - unlike his stories set in Castle Rock where it appears everyone takes supernatural shit for granted, in these stories characters have to overcome their natural tendency to disbelieve even when the evidence keeps pointing towards weirdness.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jaymann » Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:54 pm

ImLawBoy wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:50 am
If I'm not mistaken, The Outsider was really more trilogy adjunct. The official Bill Hodges trilogy includes Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, and End of Watch. The Outsider brought in some characters (or at least one character) from the trilogy, but it's a stand-alone book. (I had no issues reading it and I haven't read the trilogy yet.)

And I have very little sympathy for someone who is suprised that a Stephen King book takes a supernatural turn. ;) After all, you could have just read my brief summary of it a couple of pages back.
Not surprised or looking for sympathy, just hoped he wouldn't go there, in the interest of seeing what earthly explanation he could come up with.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Archinerd » Thu Dec 13, 2018 3:31 pm

The Million by Karl Schroeder.
It's short (some of you fast readers could easily finish in one sitting), but don't waste your time.

The premise is the best part. In a future society, Earth's population is capped at 1 million people. Each family lives a life of extreme wealth and privilege on their nation sized estates. Resources are plentiful so any whim or need can be satisfied nearly instantly (robots manufacture/construct nearly anything and most people basically spend all their time in leisure, larping and having parties).

**SPOILERS**
I was expecting the book to be a commentary on environmentalism, income inequality, genetics or even some sort of court intrigue where everyone is nobility and there are no such thing as peasants. It touches on some of that, but mostly its kind of a budget Harry Potter clone, and very implausible story of an outsider infiltrating a government institution (The Auditors) by using an assumed identity.There are only 1 million people to keep track of the in a word where you can fly to the darkside of the moon for an afternoon to play wargames with your personal robot army. How the hell doesn't anybody notice?! The Auditors are tasked with enforcing the 1 Million population cap. Our Hero (Gavin) joins up to rescue his brother (Bernie) who has been wrongly accused of a crime. This in turn seems to uncover some great conspiracy, but just as it's getting started the book ends after a quick, confusing and sloppily written court room drama.

The characters are really no better. We never really find out much about any of them beyond their name. Even then, some of them are completely forgettable. What's the name of the main characters 3 school friends? Ross, Hermander-something... and, was there even a third? I dunno. And, I just finished reading the book yesterday and I can't even remember the bad guy's name.

The whole thing seems like the first few chapters (or rough draft) of some larger book, but honestly I'm not interested in the rest of the story. The world is interesting at first glance but the whole thing just seems empty.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Thu Dec 13, 2018 4:30 pm

Z.O.S. by Kay Merkel Boruff (K) :binky:

Unless you are a meticulous diarist, recalling events 50 years after the fact with anything approaching a cohesive narrative is problematic. It seems the author really wishes to honor the memory of her husband, Merk, killed as a civilian pilot working for the government during the Vietnam War. Instead of a story building up Merk's character as a thrill-seeker confident in the immortality of youth before tragically being cut short, we instead get anecdotes that skip around the time line, sometimes confusing the reader as whether a particular memory was before or after his death.

The author mentions a few times that since her husband was not active military during the war, his name was not etched upon the Vietnam War Memorial. Probably Merk's memory would have been better served in a larger discussion of the war's forgotten casualties. At the end of the book, I pondered what kind of story could have been created from what I just read. I'm not entirely sure that between Kay and Merk there's enough there that would make for a compelling read given the material presented in this book.

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