Books Read in 2009

Everything else!

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silverjon
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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by silverjon » Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:06 pm

Only likely to document the most interesting titles, as I tend to fixate on a subject and would just end up boring others to death if I listed everything. I am a voracious reader.

John Canemaker – Winsor McCay: his life and art (illustrated biography of animation pioneer and comic artist, best known for “Little Nemo”; am working through a bit of obsession with dreams at the moment)

Susan Winemaker – Concertina: an erotic memoir of extravagant tastes and extreme desires (memoir by a chef turned dominatrix; I got a really good recipe for lentil stew out of it)

J.K. Rowling – The Tales of Beedle the Bard (was OK; I dig folklore)

Alan Moore – The Killing Joke (deluxe re-release; swear it’s even better than I remembered; the new colours’re rilly nice)

Ben Templesmith – Wormwood Gentleman Corpse: Birds, Bees, Blood & Beer (volume 1 of a series; I quite like Templesmith’s splattery art style, use of light’n’shadow, very suited to his work on 30 Days of Night, even though the writing is kinda cruddy on much of that series; this he writes *and* does the pictures; also, it has tentacles; is no for the squeamish tho)

John Lydon – Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs (nevermind the bollocks, here’s the truth about the origins of punk… Johnny’s Rotten’s side of it, anyway; so much laughable accident)

Sam Kashner – When I Was Cool (coming of age tale with the Beats as senior citizens; Allan Ginsburg’s dirty laundry and so much more; this is in-progress, waiting to get it back from the library again)

Total books read in 2009: 15
Total books read in 2008 (etc.): a lot
Last edited by silverjon on Sat Jan 24, 2009 4:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
wot?

To be fair, adolescent power fantasy tripe is way easier to write than absurd existential horror, and every community has got to start somewhere... right?

Unless one loses a precious thing, he will never know its true value. A little light finally scratches the darkness; it lets the exhausted one face his shattered dream and realize his path cannot be walked. Can man live happily without embracing his wounded heart?

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Jeff V » Sat Jan 24, 2009 11:39 am

silverjon wrote:Only likely to document the most interesting titles, as I tend to fixate on a subject and would just end up boring others to death if I listed everything. I am a voracious reader.
I wouldn't worry about boring anyone in this thread. You never know what might be on someone's plate, or what latent interests there might be. I skim over reviews that truly are of no interest, but there have been some I wouldn't have picked up otherwise, and others I dropped from the queue because of negative reviews.

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by silverjon » Sat Jan 24, 2009 4:50 pm

I understand your perspective, and if I absolutely hate something, I won't hesitate to say so. On the other hand, if I plough my way through 25 different books on attention deficit disorder because I'm doing research, I am unlikely to have the patience to get into writing about them here.
wot?

To be fair, adolescent power fantasy tripe is way easier to write than absurd existential horror, and every community has got to start somewhere... right?

Unless one loses a precious thing, he will never know its true value. A little light finally scratches the darkness; it lets the exhausted one face his shattered dream and realize his path cannot be walked. Can man live happily without embracing his wounded heart?

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Scuzz » Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:39 pm

Billy Bathgate by E.L. Doctorow.......4 of 5 stars



I enjoyed the book enough to look into seeing the movie version. It turns out that the critics hated the movie version, even with Dustin Hoffman, Bruce Willis and Nicole Kidman. If fact the only reason to see the movie was the Nicole Kidman apparently spends alot of time naked.
Too bad, I had hoped the movie was worth a watch, but I need a little (not much) more reason than that.

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Jeff V » Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:04 pm

Sword Song - The Battle for London by Bernard Cornwell :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

In the fourth installment of the Saxon Tales series, Alfred the Great captures London via the fictional hero of the series. Drama ensues when the displaced Northmen win a battle against the Lord of Mercia, capturing Alfred's daughter in the process. In the Norse camp. however, is a traitor with a history of breaking oaths. The final battle eliminates the Northmen threat, returns the daughter to her father, and still leaves the traitorous nemesis on the loose to be a protagonist in future novels.

The story itself is probably worth 6 tentacles to most, but the subject matter bias and the fact I'm sucked into the series is worth an extra two.

The Book of General Ignorance by John Mitchinson :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

Fact-finding websites such as Snopes help us sort out heresay, folk lore, and plain fiction from the truth. The Book of General Ignorance weaves a path through myths, some well-known, others not, sometimes with tenuous segues. It's a short, but fun and interesting. A longer book would have earned more tentacles.


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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by silverjon » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:21 pm

silverjon wrote:Total books read in 2009: 25
Total books read in 2008 (etc.): a lot
Includes 4 volumes of Scott Pilgrim comics series (funny, but decidedly aimed at 20-somethings) and The Ruins by Scott Smith (a fairly standard attrition story, and not especially compelling).
wot?

To be fair, adolescent power fantasy tripe is way easier to write than absurd existential horror, and every community has got to start somewhere... right?

Unless one loses a precious thing, he will never know its true value. A little light finally scratches the darkness; it lets the exhausted one face his shattered dream and realize his path cannot be walked. Can man live happily without embracing his wounded heart?

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by silverjon » Wed Feb 04, 2009 4:31 am

Oh what, something I actually feel like talking about a little?

I finished with Open: love, sex, and life in an open marriage by Jenny Block today, and in spite of some grating copyediting issues in a few chapters, it was a good and compelling read. Block makes a strong case for taking a long hard look at the societal ideal of monogamous marriage, asking... if it's so perfect, why so much infidelity? I'm coming from the perspective of not needing any convincing, but she writes for an audience that has perhaps never questioned the accepted and expected system. Who better to define what a strong marriage should be than the people actually involved in it? Why are non-monogamous relationships a threat to the entire structure of monogamy in the eyes of so many people? (And the unvoiced question: Why, if the system of monogamy is so fragile that it will crumble if some individuals want to live outside it... why is it then worth preserving at all costs?)

Block weaves her research in with a narrative about her own relationship experiences, and her gradual realization that the ideal was never going to work for her and her husband, and the exploration and discovery they go through to find something that does work. I've already read a number of the books she uses as major sources, because the subject is so very near and dear to my heart, but I'd say this is a great place to start if you're just slightly curious and want to get your feet wet, not jump into the deep end.

Also read volume 4 of Adam Warren's Empowered series. I love these books, for the genre-twisting humour and the great storyline.
silverjon wrote:Total books read in 2009: 28
Total books read in 2008 (etc.): a lot
wot?

To be fair, adolescent power fantasy tripe is way easier to write than absurd existential horror, and every community has got to start somewhere... right?

Unless one loses a precious thing, he will never know its true value. A little light finally scratches the darkness; it lets the exhausted one face his shattered dream and realize his path cannot be walked. Can man live happily without embracing his wounded heart?

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Jeff V » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:11 am

From a Buick 8 by Stephen King :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

Another story about a possessed car...haven't I seen this before? But it wasn't really Christine all over again. A '54 Buick Roadmaster is seemingly abandon at a gas station -- and upon further inspection, the car couldn't possibly have driven there in the first place. Towed to a shed behind a state police station, three decades of "mischief" ensues as the car is really an intermittent gateway to another world.

King does his usual superb job fleshing out the characters. He stresses the fact that it wasn't a 30-year horror show; that for the most part life went on as usual, and much of the book describes mundane activities to illustrate this point. The reader is anxious to get to the next supernatural event, and King even echoes this in the book as principle characters are telling the story to a young 18-yr old whose father was recently killed. The kid constantly wanted to know more about the Buick while the characters were adamant in putting things in context.

In the 30 years covered by the story, many have come and gone from the police station -- many witnesses to the "thing in the shed." It is inconceivable that the "secret" could have been maintained all that time. Furthermore, it's hard to understand why an otherwise fairly enlightened group but with limited resources would be content to perform their own minor experiments and dissections when this would represent a seminal event in human history. The car was clearly a danger, and the characters all knew it. There was never anything to be gained from retaining it. I was left wondering why they didn't save themselves the headache and heartache and turn it over to the government for further examination.

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by JonathanStrange » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:57 am

Jeff V: I, too, enjoyed B Cornwell's Saxon series. I listened to 'em to all on audio and I'd recommend them highly to anyone who enjoys historical action novels: great characters, vivid battles, fast-moving plots. I felt as if I were listening to Uhtred himself tell the tales of his youth. One of Cornwell's better efforts - and he's almost always good. I liked these books so much that I actually bought 'em after checking them out from the library - I hardly buy books available from a library, but I knew I'd reread these.
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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Jeff V » Thu Feb 05, 2009 12:30 pm

A friend of mine told me yesterday he got Cornwell's new book, Agincourt, in audio form from his library. Amazon has been trying to push it for weeks, I've been resisting. I'm waiting on his report, though. I have vast reserves of unread books to keep me occupied until I get a new job.

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Isgrimnur » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:32 am

Completed:

Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land

This book was rather substantial at 556 pages, but definitely worth the read. It was written in 1986 and won a Pulitzer the following year. It goes into depth about the state of relations between the Jews and Arabs populating Israel and also covers some of the aspects of the surrounding countries. It goes in depth of the psychology of the people through direct interviews, surveys conducted repeatedly over the course of years to find trends, and the historic aspect of the country as it stood at that time.

One of the interesting things about it is the exploration of the dichotomy of the power of the Israeli state contrasted with the remaining insecurity and paranoia of the Jews that is a remnant of the WWII and historical persecution. Also, it explored the contradictory society that attempts to integrate the Israeli Arabs into the state while still discriminating against them and preventing them a full integration of civil rights.

It also explores some of the issues between Sephardi Jews and Ashkenazi Jews, between the Jews who lived there before the creation of the state and those who came in the mass immigrations later.

All in all, I would recommend that anyone who wants to know more about the Israeli society should read this book. An updated version was put out in 2001 by the author, but the edition that I have is older, so I can not speak to the added/updated content.

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Jeff V » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:57 pm

American Lion by Jon Meacham :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

Andrew Jackson is one of my favorite figures in American History. Unfortunately, this book doesn't really explain why.

American Lion concentrates on Jackson's presidency. Maybe it really was that unremarkable, but Meacham spends too much time doting on the largely uninteresting affairs of his associates and not enough discussing foreign policy or the forced removal of Native Americans beyond the Mississippi. Of the issues that are discussed at length was South Carolina's first attempt at seccession, and the destruction of the Second Bank of the US.

Jackson was very much a populist...Meacham tells us time and again that he was an ally of the people against the mechanations of the powerful elite. This laid the foundations of the Democratic Party. I didn't think he did a good job explaining how and why that mattered...how the common man benefitted from the Bank destruction, or what they were thinking in the North when Calhoun and his cronies were trying to make a case for destroying the Union.

Meacham seemed intent on building sympathy for Jackson, beginning with the death of his beloved wife and the health problems and untimely deaths suffered by Jackson's inner circle and himself. I think Jackson would have mocked that charactarization. He was a consummate hard-ass, who expected history to judge him favorably even if he was in a daily struggle. Kind of like this book.

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by CSL » Fri Feb 13, 2009 2:19 am

I actually didn't quite make it past the first two chapters on his actual presidency when I realized it wasn't the kind of biography I had thought it would be. Sure I know it would detail mostly just his presidency, but I remember thinking to myself after that started that I hadn't remembered Meacham talking about the death of his wife besides a one sentence note and was floored that he never got more into the idea of its implications on the man.

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by BooTx » Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:48 pm

Currently Reading:

The Philip K. Dick Reader - Philip K. Dick
The Stand - Stephen King
The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass - Stephen King

Finished:

Ubik - Philip K. Dick
Salem's Lot - Stephen King
Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Scuzz » Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:36 pm

An Army at Dawn by Rick Atkinson

A historical narrative of the american experience in Africa during WW2. This book is part 1 of a 3 part history of america in Europe during WW2. I enjoyed the book enough to have already bought the second part.
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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Bad Demographic » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:14 pm

I really enjoyed reading Bill Bryson's In a Sunburned Country. I've read two other Bryson books, one which I really liked and one which I thought was so so. It's mostly a style thing. In "A Walk In The Woods", I felt he depended too much on hyperbole. Hyperbole wasn't very noticeable (to me, at least) in "A Brief History of Nearly Everything", and although present in In a Sunburned Country, it didn't seem so overwhelming. Part of the difference may be that he has been to Australia several times so he has a lot to talk about. "A Walk in the Woods" was about hiking the Appalachian Trail, something he did once over several months. Less to talk about, and probably less love as well. You can really tell from In a Sunburned Country that he loves Australia and also finds it fascinating (the flora, the fauna and the people). If I weren't already interested in going to Australia (that doesn't necessarily mean I'm going, I'd just very much like to), after reading this book I definitely would be.
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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Isgrimnur » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:49 pm

Silent Knights: Blowing the Whistle on Military Accidents and Their Cover-Ups

This book hit a number of my major interests. This book is focused on military safety, the contributing causes of many accidents, and the steps needed to ensure proper accountability and actions to make our soldiers, sailors, and airmen safer.

As the son of an Air Force retiree who has been in aircraft maintenance for his entire adult life, the book grabbed me as soon as I saw it. I read it cover to cover the day I bought it. I certainly wouldn't say that it would be the case for everyone. It detailed a large amount of the structure of accidents, the investigations that follow, and who controls them. Unlike airline crashes where the NTSB has purview to investigate and is an independent organization from the FAA, the military is tasked with investigating themselves in any mishap investigation. They convene two boards, one which will remain internal only and the other for public release. Both of these boards are usually created by the commander of whatever unit suffered the mishap and are staffed by non-professional investigators. Since the people involved may wind up on the wrong end later, there's an interest in keeping the convening authority happy. As such, there is usually not any sort of blame that is laid on any senior ranking failures or people that are connected. One of the recurring themes in the book is that it often falls to "blame the dead guy" as a filing of pilot error without examining in any great detail what caused said error. There may be extenuating circumstances such as upgrades not performed, training not scheduled, and yes, even on occasion, maintenance issues.

There is a recurring element of a particular training type of Crew Resource Management, of which the author is a trainer. He does cite studies that show a marked reduction in accidents and cites in several examples where the training had been approved but not implemented as a contributing factor. That element does come across as heavy handed, but all in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the book as an insight into the inner working of the military. Personally, I would love to get my father to read it and share his opinions, but as he's not a heavy reader, I may have to resort only to bringing it up in conversation.

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:08 am

A Sniper's Journey: The Truth About the Man Behind the Rifle

I read this one over the course of a week. At 221 pages before the index, it’s certainly not a weighty read. The book is 75% about his military career and 25% about the PTSD that he suffers from it, the results, and the beginning of his journey to cope with it. The timeline covers his enlistment in the Army in 1968 and covers through the Desert Shield/Desert Storm, but most of it is his Viet Nam career. This book does not glorify the actions he took. He is not a wanna-be Rambo at all. It presents the training that he took and the missions that he was given in a very no-nonsense manner and covers who he was and how he felt about them. He was not a dedicated sniper for the course of the war, spending the majority of his time either in the infantry or in vehicle recovery. All in all, I enjoyed the read and seeing the realities of war through a clear lens of this man’s experience.

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Jeff V » Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:32 pm

The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

This year is the 200th anniversary of Chuckie D's b-day. All of the major science mags have done special commemorative articles already, which put me in mood to re-read this and On the Origin of Species for the first time since college (in other words, when they first were on the best-seller list being pimped by the author himself). More of a travelog than anything, Voyage of the Beagle is a meandering account of Darwin's 5 year journey as a "natural philosopher" aboard a survey ship whose primary mission was map-making. One moment, Darwin is trying to determine if a rat is indigenous or a recent import, the next, he's talking about the geology of a region, next, he's talking about interaction with aboriginal peoples. Sometimes fascinating, sometimes dull, it probably does a job conveying the adventure and lack thereof that such a long trip would entail.

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Jeff V » Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:42 pm

The Butlerian Jihad by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

The first of earliest prequel trilogy in the Dune series, The Butlerian Jihad takes place millennia prior to the events in Dune. The book explains legendary historical events that still resonate all those years later. While on one hand, it provides more substance to the actions and philosophy of characters to come, there is a huge plausibility factor when one considers the roots of everything trace back to a common nexus of coincidental events. Not only are the machines overthrown, but the shadowy precursors of the Tlielax are selling mysteriously-grown body parts (not to mention also being involved in slave trade), a group of "sorceresses" hone telepathic and truthsaying skills, and an aboriginal, outcast Zensunni on Arrakis becomes the first to ride a worm. Atreides and Harkonnen ancestors play prominent roles, and the inventor Holtzmann, whose inventions set the fundamentals of space travel and warfare, is busily developing the shield which forever bears his name.

Most of the story lines were left open in preparation of the two books to follow (The Machine Crusade and the Battle of Corrin). There seemed to be too many story lines, and a few characters that don't seem to have a lasting legacy take up space for reasons yet unknown.

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by theohall » Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:16 am

Scuzz wrote:Billy Bathgate by E.L. Doctorow.......4 of 5 stars



I enjoyed the book enough to look into seeing the movie version. It turns out that the critics hated the movie version, even with Dustin Hoffman, Bruce Willis and Nicole Kidman. If fact the only reason to see the movie was the Nicole Kidman apparently spends alot of time naked.
Too bad, I had hoped the movie was worth a watch, but I need a little (not much) more reason than that.
She doesn't spend a whole lot of time naked. The important part is "full frontal."

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Jeff V » Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:15 pm

The Life of Charlemagne by Einhard :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

Einhard was part of Charlemagne's retinue, and wrote this brief account of the great king's career as an obligation to history. No earth shattering revelations, modern histories have far richer continent, but also have the benefit of historical perspective. I will say this is a lot more readable than Asser's sycophantic description of the life of Alfred the Great.


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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Isgrimnur » Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:23 pm

An Illustrated History of World War II: Crisis and Courage: Humanity on the Brink

A good coffee table book on the subject, but not really lacking in any really interesting information than I already knew. The pictures are wonderful and definitely not the same tired pictures that get re-used everywhere else. If the idea of the book appeals to you, then I would recommend it, but I certainly wouldn't push anyone off the fence about it.

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Bad Demographic » Sat Feb 28, 2009 11:50 pm

Finished Echo Burning by Lee Child.
I'm coming to like Lee Child's writing more and more. He has some nice attention to detail when he describes things and I don't feel like I'm running into filler. His main character, Jack Reacher, is a player character - what can I say? Definitely not an npc. I'm not saying I think he started out as a character in a game. If you play rpgs you should know what I mean.

The Jack Reacher novels are good action books (I suppose the genre is called suspense). The characters are interesting and the apparently disparate subplots always come together. Of course, usually it's pretty obvious that they will, but sometimes, as in Echo Burning, it's harder to figure out how the pieces will fit together.
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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Jeff V » Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:45 pm

God Is Not Great -- How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

Loved this book. Hitchens is my kind of Atheist, swayed not by dogma (or in blind opposition to it) but who seeks to understands religion then reject it on it's own absurdity. He opens with a discussion about why there are, and will never be, any modern "prophets" along the lines of those so seemingly common-place in the Middle Ages and earlier. He discusses how religion grew to be a tool to control the masses, much to the benefit of the few on top. He talks how dangerous some ancient barbaric rituals can be in modern society (a knowingly diseased mohel in NYC infected numerous babies, with two of them dying, but since it was under the auspices of religion, he was not charged with a crime). He also covers some of the same ground Carl Sagan did in Demon Haunted World by associating medieval demonic possession claims with modern UFO abductee nutjobs. And, of course, he discusses the negative effects on national leadership throughout the world and it's influence on war. All of the major religions try to impose social order with variations of "thou shalt not kill," but the also ALL have an exception making it okay to kill people of different faiths. Again, this ties back to control...you want to keep the rabble domesticated until such a time as you wish to wield them as a weapon against your enemies (the "you" being the head of church and/or state). The section where he debases "Intelligent Design" is amusing, but then again, attacking that nonsense (and all creationism) is shooting fish in a barrel. It never ceases to entertain, though.

Hitchens traveled around the world, participated in many religious rituals, and investigated many claims. He doesn't talk smack without backing it up, often using religious texts themselves as ammunition. I look forward to reading more of his work...not since Carl Sagan died have I read such a reasoned, common-sense narrative on this topic.

Sea of Glory by Nathaniel Philbrick :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

Nominally about the US Exploring Expedition, a 4-year venture to discover Antarctica, chart islands in the Pacific, and explore the Oregon coast and Columbia River, Sea of Glory instead is more of a biography of the Expedition commander Charles Wilkes. The expedition was many years in the making, and Wilkes, a young, up-and-coming cartographer with an interest in science, maneuvered his way through the political landscape to get selected to lead this voyage, despite his rank of Lieutenant. The nominal rank of captain had been promised, but was not forthcoming, and Wilkes had to take care to select his subordinates from a pool of those who could not claim seniority or otherwise challenge his authority. Therefore, not only did the expedition not include some of the best and most experienced talent available, but the stress of managing six ships without the authority drove him to become a tyrant of epic proportions. Officers were stripped of command, replaced by those more compliant. Floggings in excess of the legal limit were executed in the name of discipline. Wilkes had the audacity to not only assume the rank of Captain without proper elevation, but also flew a Commodore's flag, indicating he was captain of a naval squadron.

In the course of the journey, ships were lost, crewmen killed or deserted, but the objective was met. Wilkes' maps of some of the Pacific atolls remained in service all the way through WW2, more than 100 years later. The sheer volume of artifacts acquired made it the most scientifically productive expedition in history to that point, enough, in fact, to form the basis of a collection that was to become the Smithsonian Institution. All of that, though was overshadowed by Wilkes' asshattery, and the expedition never did get the acclaim and notoriety that it more properly deserved.

When it was over, Wilkes had to meet challenges by former officers in a court martial, and had to defend some of his discoveries (all discoveries were "his". to hell with the crewmen who actually made them) from international inquiry. Amazingly, Wilkes came out largely unscathed, and was granted copyrights to all published reports stemming from the expedition. It wasn't until years later, finally promoted first to captain then rear-admiral, that this "loose cannon" finally became too much of a liability when, during the ACW, instead of taking out the commerce raiders that he was ordered to eliminate, he instead found it more personally lucrative to prey upon vessels of other sovereign nations. Wilkes was recalled, suspended, and never went to sea again.

Philbrick's style was snappy with a nice flow. The book probably would have been better characterized as a biography; I would have liked to hear more about some of the discoveries and what the scientists made of them. The story told was a good one, however, and I'm interested to know more. In many ways, it's the kind of story I wish Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle had been.

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Scuzz » Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:18 pm

Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett

Third in the Watch Series.

Another enjoyable book by Pratchett. Almost more detective story than you are prepared for but he maintains the usual humour and interesting characters.

This book is a 3 /12 out of 5

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by iloveplywood » Thu Mar 05, 2009 7:10 pm

Okay, In honor of my new Kindle I thought I'd join this thread. I apologize in advance for my formatting. I'm simply terrible at it. My rating system is currently an ambiguous five star system (after numerous complaints were lodged against my innovative one star system of last year).

Books Completed

1. Battle for Justice: How the Bork Nomination Shook America (not available for the Kindle, ironically). 3.0 stars.
2. Thief of Time (Pratchett). 3.5 stars.
3. American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham. 3 stars.
4. Wizard's First Rule (The Sword of Truth) by Terry Goodkind. 2.5 stars.
5. Assassins Apprentice by Robin Hobb. 4 stars.
6. Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb. 4 stars.

Currently Reading:

1. Assassin's Quest by Robin Hobb
Last edited by iloveplywood on Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by tgb » Thu Mar 05, 2009 7:45 pm

Late to the party but I finally got to World War Z, which I really enjoyed.

Right now I'm reading Little Man:Meyer Lansky & the Gangster Life, biography of the man who was the model for Godfather 2's Hyman Roth.
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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Bad Demographic » Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:09 pm

Finished: a bunch of Lee Child books (Jack Reacher novels) and an Alexander McCall Smith book (Precious Ramotswe novel).

I must stop reading Jack Reacher novels for a while instead of slamming through all the existing ones then having to wait for each next novel. But that's pretty hard. I really enjoy the Jack Reacher novels. Reacher (in case you don't know) is an ex Army MP Major who, having chosen to quit the Army when it downsized, now roams the United States, seldom staying more than a few days in any given place. He travels light: the clothes he's wearing, a toothbrush and some cash; and runs into trouble wherever he goes. Well, not always trouble. In Without Fail he's asked to see if he can assassinate the VP-elect as an outside audit of Secret Service security. But in the other books, trouble seems to find him, and he always ends up foiling whoever the bad guys are. You'd think that police and gov't agencies would have passed word around to not bother to arrest Reacher, whatever it was he didn't do it. Of course, maybe word has gotten around and they've also figured out that if they arrest him he'll stick around just long enough to solve the crime for them (or fix the problem).
As a kind of "OO shorthand", I'd say that if you like 24, you should give the Jack Reacher novels a try. And by the way, One Shot was really good.

Re Alexander McCall Smith's "Precious Ramotswe" novels. These are light, short and easy to read. They're sort of my "always a happy ending" books. Hardly deep, low on action, but generally pleasant.
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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by lildrgn » Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:41 am

Bad Demographic wrote:Finished: a bunch of Lee Child books (Jack Reacher novels) and an Alexander McCall Smith book (Precious Ramotswe novel).

I must stop reading Jack Reacher novels for a while instead of slamming through all the existing ones then having to wait for each next novel. But that's pretty hard. I really enjoy the Jack Reacher novels. Reacher (in case you don't know) is an ex Army MP Major who, having chosen to quit the Army when it downsized, now roams the United States, seldom staying more than a few days in any given place. He travels light: the clothes he's wearing, a toothbrush and some cash; and runs into trouble wherever he goes. Well, not always trouble. In Without Fail he's asked to see if he can assassinate the VP-elect as an outside audit of Secret Service security. But in the other books, trouble seems to find him, and he always ends up foiling whoever the bad guys are. You'd think that police and gov't agencies would have passed word around to not bother to arrest Reacher, whatever it was he didn't do it. Of course, maybe word has gotten around and they've also figured out that if they arrest him he'll stick around just long enough to solve the crime for them (or fix the problem).
As a kind of "OO shorthand", I'd say that if you like 24, you should give the Jack Reacher novels a try. And by the way, One Shot was really good.

Re Alexander McCall Smith's "Precious Ramotswe" novels. These are light, short and easy to read. They're sort of my "always a happy ending" books. Hardly deep, low on action, but generally pleasant.
I've read some Jack Reacher and boy were they tough to get into. I couldn't stand the short sentence structures Child used. Then I got used to it. And it wasn't too bad. Though it could be jarring.

And who the hell "jinks" a car left? Annoying. ;)
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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Isgrimnur » Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:10 am

lildrgn wrote:And who the hell "jinks" a car left? Annoying. ;)
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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Scuzz » Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:55 am

The Scarlett Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy


A BN Classic, I like to buy and read these because their cheap and because with many of them I have seen a movie version or two. As for this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it. A little wordy perhaps and definitly written from a womens perpective but I would give it 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Perhaps the only weakness of the book is the ending, which seemed a little contrived but what do you expect from such a book. The build-up to that end is worth the read.

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Bad Demographic » Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:22 pm

lildrgn wrote:
Bad Demographic wrote:stuff
I've read some Jack Reacher and boy were they tough to get into. I couldn't stand the short sentence structures Child used. Then I got used to it. And it wasn't too bad. Though it could be jarring.

And who the hell "jinks" a car left? Annoying. ;)
Lee Child is English. Sometimes he slips and uses the English term (like "mobile" instead of "cell phone"). The only thing I find annoying is "that's for sure" (and variations thereon).
"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Voltaire
He who haha's last, haha's best. ~ Nelson Muntz
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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by silverjon » Sat Mar 21, 2009 1:49 pm

Overall un-elaborated subject matter: ADD and organization, Feng Shui and other traditions in gardening, lots of poetry and comics, some un-compelling fiction.

Neil Gaiman's Graveyard Book was everything I'd hoped it would be. I've also been reading Frank Beddor's retelling of Alice in Wonderland (The Looking Glass Wars, Seeing Redd), and I enjoy it but am not sure how it would go over with anyone who's not interesting in twisting the classics.

Lucy Knisely's French Milk is one of my favorite things I've read this year. Maybe it's just that I love travel journals by comics artists (Guy Delisle, Craig Thompson's Carnet de Voyage), but this one is also about family and food and art and growing up... very relatable.

Last night, I finished Hummingbird Dance by Garry Ryan, the third in his series of Detective Lane mysteries. I have enjoyed the series, but the plot in this particular book was very easy for me to figure out. It was still a good story, and I like seeing the evolution of the bigger Lane-world. I mention Ryan's work because he's created an excellent cast of characters, and because I am a fan of mysteries with a quirkier backdrop. Ryan's books are published by NeWest Press, here in Alberta, and the stories are set in Calgary. (I also really love Susan Hill's Simon Serrailler series, set in the English countryside, with incredible characters and amazing writing. Highly recommend her to fans of the genre, even though I haven't read one of her books this year.)
silverjon wrote:Total books read in 2009: 71 (approximate)
Total books read in 2008 (etc.): a lot
wot?

To be fair, adolescent power fantasy tripe is way easier to write than absurd existential horror, and every community has got to start somewhere... right?

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by lildrgn » Sat Mar 21, 2009 4:13 pm

Bad Demographic wrote:
lildrgn wrote:
Bad Demographic wrote:stuff
I've read some Jack Reacher and boy were they tough to get into. I couldn't stand the short sentence structures Child used. Then I got used to it. And it wasn't too bad. Though it could be jarring.

And who the hell "jinks" a car left? Annoying. ;)
Lee Child is English. Sometimes he slips and uses the English term (like "mobile" instead of "cell phone"). The only thing I find annoying is "that's for sure" (and variations thereon).

Oh yeah. One other thing that drives me crazy about the Reacher books. Everyone nods. Let's start a drinking game. Every time someone in a Reacher book nods, take a drink. You'll be drunk by the end of Chapter 1.
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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Quaro » Sat Mar 21, 2009 5:15 pm

iloveplywood wrote: 2. Wizard's First Rule (The Sword of Truth) by Terry Goodkind

Conversely, a book I would not have purchased if I had bothered to download a sample first, but for some reason I purchased this at 2:30 in the morning while half-asleep. The beginning was simply painful for me, but I have persevered and am 30% finished and am interested enough to get to the end. 800 pages??
It only gets worse -- if you already don't like the book I'd stop right where you are.

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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Bad Demographic » Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:56 pm

Scuzz wrote:Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett

Third in the Watch Series.

Another enjoyable book by Pratchett. Almost more detective story than you are prepared for but he maintains the usual humour and interesting characters.

This book is a 3 /12 out of 5
Of Terry Pratchett's books, I like the ones about the Watch the best, particularly those that "star" Sam Vimes. Have you read "Night Watch" yet? I thought it was one of the best Pratchett books I've read.
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Re: Books Read in 2009

Post by Zarathud » Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:36 am

Started late (March 23), so this isn't going to be a complete list.

Read:
Honor Harrington Series by David Weber
- On Basilisk Station
- The Honor of the Queen
- The Short Victorious War
- Field of Dishonor
- Flag in Exile
- Honor Among Enemies
- In Enemy Hands
- Echoes of Honor
- Ashes of Victory
- War of Honor
- At All Costs
Warhammer Universe
- Gotrek & Felix, First Omnibus
Paul of Dune by Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
Winterbirth, by Brian Ruckley
Evil Genius, by Catherine Jinks
No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (Book 1), by Alexander McCall Smith
Guards of Haven, by Simon R. Green
Night Angel Trilogy, by Brent Weeks
- The Way of Shadows
- Shadow's Edge
- Beyond the Shadows
The Edge of the World, by Kevin J. Anderson
Fool by Christopher Moore
Soldier's Son Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
- Shaman's Crossing
- Forest Mage
- Renegade's Magic

In Process:
Black Company series, by Glen Cook
- She is the Darkness
Bloodheir, by Brian Ruckley
Warhammer Universe
- Gotrex & Felix, Second Omnibus
Hopscotch by Kevin J. Anderson
Cosmos Incorporated, by Maurice Dantec

Last edit: 10/1/09 (Soldier's Son Trilogy)
Last edited by Zarathud on Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:57 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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