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Books Read 2018

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by hitbyambulance » Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:26 am

No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters - Ursula K. Le Guin

this is merely a selection of the author's blog posts from the past seven years. tho i say 'merely', if only more people's blogs incorporated the insight and skill and effort to writing them as she does, the world wide web would be a more interesting place. she has a way of describing what she observes in a way that not only delivers the setting and atmosphere firmly and resolutely to one's inner eye, but does so in ways that are not cliche ... i suppose this could be called 'poetry'. i would strongly recommend this collection just to experience several of the essays included. the entries are all on the short side, and the book could be finished in a couple of hours, though i would strongly suggest taking one's time with the pace. RIP, Ms. Le Guin.

i should note the posts about her cat are not complete without the photos that originally accompanied them on the online blog. (like this one of Pard and the Time Machine)

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Archinerd » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:04 pm

I am Legend - Richard Matheson. It was mostly enjoying it up until the final act, which seemed underdeveloped and rushed. It also spent too much trying to explain the vampires which I did not find convincing or even all that interesting. I guess it was 'Just okay', but I've read worse "classics".

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Scuzz » Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:01 pm

Cibola Burn by James S. A. Corey.. Book 4 of the Expanse Series


About the time I think I am done with this series I just get dragged back in. About a quarter into this book I was at that stage, thinking that it didn't make a lot of sense and that I was getting tired of Miller and Holden. But something eventually clicked for me and I ended up enjoying this book and wondering what comes next.

The authors don't do great characters, and the dialogue isn't always the best, and the plots can be predictable at times but they get enough right that they satiate my sci-fi sweet tooth.

Most of this book takes place on a planet, but there is enough going on in space to handle the space junky as well. There is politics and crazy militants. I am pretty much burned out on the characters on Earth and those politics however, although I assume that is where the next book will go.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:02 pm

Indestructible: One Man's Rescue Mission That Changed the Course of WWII by John Bruning (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Paul "P.I." "Pappy" Gunn already had a distinguished career when war started in the Pacific. A retired navy pilot, he was among the founders of fledgling Philippine Air, providing commuter service among the islands. His family loved living in Manila, and life was a feel-good story. Until the Japanese came.

On Xmas Eve, 1941, P.I. as he was known to family and friends (the "Pappy" moniker would come later) last saw his family as was self-impressed back into the service, this time with the army air command. Using his commute plane, he managed to evade Japanese patrols...more or less. Eventually, all of his small commuter fleet was too damaged by Japanese fighters to be of use. He withdrew along with MacArthur to Australia, where he took stock on new B-25 bombers that were arriving. These planes, he observed, were completely inadequate for the war they needed to fight. Gunn would start making field modifications -- mods that army engineers said couldn't be done, and along with proving a change of tactics were also needed, slowing turned the air war into America's favor. Gone were the level bombing runs at 10000 feet against ships; in it's place, bombers came in just above the waves, under flak, and used skip-bomb tactics to send bombs crashing into ships while a massive array of.50 cal guns in the nose of the plane obliterated gun emplacements and soft targets on deck.

Meanwhile, his family was subjected to the horrors of a Japanese internment camp on Manila. Their struggle is told in concert with Pappy's tale. The narrative has Pappy driven by the desire to reunite with his family above all else; everything he accomplished was with an eye of getting MacArthur a step closer to retaking the Philippines.

My only complaint with this book was that the author gave equal weight to his families struggles -- a part of the story that could have been more succinct. After it was established that Pappy was driven to return to his family, this didn't need to be revisited over and over again. Bruning is a also guilty of a touch of hero worship. Gunn was certainly one of the heroes that by force of his own will, changed the course of the war for the better. It's a story worth reading.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:21 pm

Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies, and Three Battles by Bernard Cornwell (K) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

In the forward, Cornwell (one of my favorite authors of historical fiction) poses the question, "why another book on Waterloo?" It is, after all, one of the most studied and written about battles. Given that he poses that question, we would expect he has something meaningful to add to the volume of literature on the subject. Does he?

Well, not really. Perhaps some of the accounts and anecdotes quoted are from sources not previously used by other authors, but there are no really profound insights. It's not a bad book on the subject -- indeed, it's a fine choice for someone with a casual interest in the battle, since Cornwell does bring his story-telling chops where others might be drier, more technical accounts. Napoleon's failure to compensate for the egregious tactical failures of Ney and Grouchy ultimately decided his fate -- his grand-strategy was spot-on and even with mistake after mistake being committed, the French had a chance to prevail at the end.

Cornwell does not engage in speculation of what might have been -- and that's a shame since I'd be interested in hearing such thoughts from him. As Waterloo books go, this one is fine, just a little too indistinguishable from the rest.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Bad Demographic » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:15 pm

msteelers wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:05 am
I've now downloaded Flowertown by S. G. Redling, another free book from Amazon Prime. I need to also go through my library's audiobook collection and start putting books on hold.
I look forward to your thoughts on Flowertown. I thought it was quite good.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by msteelers » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:36 am

Bad Demographic wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:15 pm
msteelers wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:05 am
I've now downloaded Flowertown by S. G. Redling, another free book from Amazon Prime. I need to also go through my library's audiobook collection and start putting books on hold.
I look forward to your thoughts on Flowertown. I thought it was quite good.
Good to know! It's been knocked down on my reading list because a couple of books I put on reserve through the library have become available. But I'm hoping to be able to get to it soon.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by ImLawBoy » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:54 pm

Finished Fool Moon, the second Dresden Files book by Jim Butcher. Harry Dresden sure can take a lot of abuse for a mortal wizard. He needs some healing spells or something. These books aren't deep (yet, anyway), but they're fast paced and fun. We're hinting now at hidden backstory, so I'll keep reading to see how it goes.

Next, though, I'm starting Bone Music by Christopher Rice. He's the son of supernatural romanticist (and occasional eroticist) Anne Rice. I haven't read anything by him before (I don't think), and I don't really know what to expect, but it was a free Kindle First book, so I'll give it a shot. I liked Anne Rice's early works (the first four Vampire books, she had an interesting witch series for a book or two), but she's lost me in her later works.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by msteelers » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:14 pm

I really liked the Dresden Files. I read several of them before trailing off. The books are mostly light and fun, and have a fun mythology.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by ImLawBoy » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:21 pm

I'll bitch about a few Chicago things from the Dresden books here.

First, there's no "Midtown Chicago", like there is in Manhattan.

Second, nobody calls the Kennedy Expressway the JFK. They call it the Kennedy.

Third, the Gold Coast does not have sprawling, wooded estates.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Isgrimnur » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:34 pm

ImLawBoy wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:21 pm
First, there's no "Midtown Chicago", like there is in Manhattan.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by ImLawBoy » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:40 pm

Those are places that use the term Midtown, but there is no Midtown in the way the book uses it. Calling where he has his office "Midtown Chicago" is something that would result from a superficial understanding of Chicago neighborhood nomenclature that might result from finding a map with those terms on it.

[edit]Notice how you see all the neighborhood names there, like Bucktown and Lincoln Park, but you don't see a neighborhood called Midtown.[/edit]
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Isgrimnur » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:43 pm

I know. I just like pointing out outliers.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by hitbyambulance » Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:38 am

The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet - Neil deGrasse Tyson

I learned a few things and there were some 'sensible chuckle' bits, but this was on the whole pretty fluffy and inconsequential if you have any memories at all of grade school astronomy. I did find it amusing there had never been a solid definition of what a 'planet' actually is. In any case, Pluto was a sorry excuse for a 'planet' anyways.


The Sugar Frosted Nutsack - Mark Leyner

Having really enjoyed the beginning part of _My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist_ some decades ago, I was intrigued to find out Mark Leyner had returned to book writing. This seems to be the same - strong beginning, then struggles to stay relevant. The technique was to mirror the evolution of myths through the ages, but the repetition watered down some of the jokes to nothing. Still, I laughed out loud at several parts, which is rare for any book to have that effect on me.


ABANDONED: Ancillary Justice - Ann Leckie

This is a book club assignment. The writing felt like a poor Ursula Le Guin imitation that aspires to be something different and doing the whole 'make the reader figure out what's really going on', but cuts itself off at the knees by falling back on trope reuse and overexplanation, with a healthy dollop of unconvincing characterization.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Scuzz » Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:46 pm

Fire Ice by Clive Cussler with Paul Kemprecos

This is a Kurt Austin book in Cussler's NUMA series. Austin saves the world from a crazed Russian industrialist who thinks he is descended from the Romanov Dynasty.

Sure the plot is crazy, and sure the characters get into and out of crazy circumstances, but it is a quick and easy read and like most of the Cussler books very entertaining.

#3 in 2018

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by msteelers » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:11 am

A lot of the holds I had in place through the library came through at once. I'm struggling to make it through all of them before they are due again.

Finished:

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry Neil DeGrasse Tyson :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
For a book aimed at people in a hurry, it spends a lot of time on the first few milliseconds after the big bang. Tyson is a pop culture icon known for taking these extremely complicated scientific ideas and explaining them in a way that makes idiots like myself understand them. Or at least think we understand them. He does that a little bit in this book, but I struggled to understand a lot of it. I listened to the audiobook version, and I think that's the only reason I made it through. I don't think I could have finished it had I actually been reading this.

Norse Mythology Neil Gaiman :binky: :binky: :binky:
Part of the low rating is because I didn't understand what the book actually was. I thought that this was going to be a dramatic, updated telling of the Norse myths. Instead it felt like I was reading the textbook from my college "Classic Mythologies" class, a dry retelling of the classic stories. I managed to finish, but I thought about stopping a few times. The only thing that kept me going was the fact that I have never read about Ragnarok before, and I wanted to finally get the full story.

Drunken Fireworks Stephen King :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
I believe this is a short story that has only been released via audiobook. The narration is all done from the point of view from the main character, and the voice used by the actor was incredibly annoying. Once I got past that, I settled in and enjoyed the story. It's short, less than two hours long. It's not a memorable short story, but there are worse ways to kill a few hours.

Hamilton Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
My wife and I both really like listening to Hamilton. We haven't been lucky enough to see the play yet, but we listen to the album all the time. This book dives into how the play was made. I spent the entire time flipping back and forth between the book and the album. Read about how they wrote a song, listen to the song, read about how they wrote the next song, flip over and listen to the song...


Reading Now:

Lincoln: Team of Rivals Doris Kearns Goodwin
I've been wanting to read this for a long time now, so I'm excited to actually get to dive into it.


On Deck:

Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off The Most Audacious Rescue In History Antonio J. Mendez, Matt Baglio
This came on hold at the same time Team of Rivals did. Hopefully I can finish Team of Rivals in time for me to also get this book done before I have to turn it back in.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Archinerd » Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:56 pm

A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea - Masaji Ishikawa. I think I got this one from Amazon Prime's free book of the month deal. One of the most depressing things I've ever read. Even if only half of it is true, which sadly I don't think is the case. Recommended.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by hitbyambulance » Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:58 pm

Pattern Recognition - William Gibson

not having read Wm. G since the Sprawl trilogy decades ago, i had completely and utterly forgotten how good his writing can be (or maybe it's gotten better?) - with usually believable characterization, to boot. really enjoyable. i dunno about that ending tho. i'm going to continue on with this trilogy after i've made more progress in Joyce's Ulysses (which i will finish this year, by g-d).

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:14 pm

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:03 pm

In the Name of the Family by Sarah Dunant (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

A storyfied version of the last few years of the height of Borgia power, Dunant does a credible job telling the story of Rodrigo (aka Pope Alex 6), his executor of nasty affairs, Ceserae, and the beautiful if deadly daughter, Lucrezia. I like Dunant's style much better than, say, Phillipa Gregory, another author known for period fiction. This is a good story about high corruption, yet with family being everything.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:16 pm

The Moores Are Missing by James Patterson :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

The Moores are Missing is a collection of 3 novellas: the title piece, The Housewife, and Absolute Zero.

The Moores are Missing is a rather implausible tale of a writer discovering his neighbors (and friends) are suddenly missing. The perfect family, this is seeming uncharacteristic of the Moores and the police aren't too interested in what has become of them. The writer and a young lady who works at a computer store go to Saskatchewan in search of them...and find them rather easily.

The Housewife involves a former chief of detectives that becomes a stay-at-home mom while her formerly subordinate husband continues working. I read a very similar story a month ago...a formulaic murder mystery with some misdirection at the end.

Absolute Zero was my favorite of the three. A king pin in a pseudo-ephedrine business takes out some loose ends and tries to pin everything on an Aussie who happens to be a special ops vet. After easily escaping custody, he goes hunting for the murderous drug lord.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:33 pm

Spilled Blood by Brian Freeman (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

Screw you, Garrison Keillor. We know Minnesota is a murderous place. We know because Brian Freeman tells us so.

Spilled Blood is a one-off, not among either of his on-going series. Joe Barrett, the reader of this and other Freeman books however is absolutely fantastic with his Minnesota accent. It adds a measure of authenticity that many similar books lack.

The story itself involves a blood feud between two towns, a Romeo-and-Juliet tragic love affair, teenage love triangles (or quadrangles actually). An evil company and employed muscle round out the colorful cast of characters. Well, there is also the father of the girl initially accused of murder. A lawyer by trade, Chris knows he must get to the bottom of the pretty daughter of the owner of an evil GMO company before his daughter hangs for it.

The misdirection is good, the actual murderous characters (there are multiple) aren't anyone you'd think are involved. I'm not quite sure why he chose to use to use a contract lawyer as the primary character and not put this on his marquis series, Jonathon Stride's shoulders, but it works just fine.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by msteelers » Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:10 am

Lincoln: Team of Rivals Doris Kearns Goodwin :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Fantastic! I was hooked from the opening pages, which detail how Lincoln secured the nomination at the Republican convention. I wish I had the skills and connections to turn this into a TV show. I can easily see this being a blend of Game of Thrones and House of Cards. There's plenty of interesting characters, political intrigue, and Civil War battles to draw in the masses.

Speaking of adaptations, the film Lincoln was barely based on this book. I had to look it up after reading just to confirm that the movie was actually based on the book. Supposedly Goodwin told Spielberg that she was planning to write the book, and he immediately bought the rights. She would send him each chapter after it was finished, but at the end of the day the movie focuses on a portion of Lincoln's life that is covered in just a few pages towards the back of the book. There was almost no mention in the book of Lincoln getting the 13th amendment through Congress.


Reading Now:

Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off The Most Audacious Rescue In History Antonio J. Mendez, Matt Baglio

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Archinerd » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:34 am

Tales of Dunk and Egg - George RR Martin.

Comprised of the three novellas; The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword and The Mystery Knight. When I began this I was under the impression it was a complete trilogy, stupid me. Apparently there are anywhere between 3 to 6 more of these planned. Of the three, The Hedge Knight is the best. The Sworn Sword suffers from two dimensional characters and a deus ex machina ending. The Mystery Knight bites off more than it can chew with the political stuff. I think it would be interesting but it's a really short space to work with so many new characters and events that I only have a passing familiarity with at best. So, a bit uneven but it was fun to visit Westeros again with some (new to me) material.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Rumpy » Tue Feb 27, 2018 1:54 am

By Gaslight by Steven Price. 1885, London. William Pinkerton is chasing an elusive criminal, and he's become a bit obsessed with it. The obsession goes back to his own father, Allen Pinkerton who'd been obsessed with finding him ever since he had deserted his posting in the civil war. This book was so good. Dripping with atmosphere. It's part historical fiction, part mystery, and I feel I've learned a lot about the Pinkertons along the way. This is very much a character book. I was annoyed at first as this doesn't have any quotation marks when characters speak, but after awhile I got used to it due to the writing quality. It's some good storytelling.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:42 pm

Shadow Life by Jason Mather (K) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

Hans awoke in a hospital, with the last thing he remembers is becoming dead. Hans is not a zombie, he's the beneficiary of some awesome future tech that somehow survives a nuclear holocaust. Hans doesn't know why he was saved, though. Or why people are still trying to kill him in the hospital many months later.

I'm not really a fan of secretive narrative where the reader is as much in the dark as the protagonist, but all other characters seem to have the benefit of a clue. The story was okay, and it involves a self-aware computer and, naturally, the requisite KILL ALL HUMANS prime directive that they seemingly can't be without. But this story has a little bit of a twist, the robots are anthropomorphized and the ending is somewhat anticlimactic. The characters are well developed and Mather uses the minimum number of which to tell the story. My biggest complaint is the later plot is driven by possession of a small orb that, while technical in origin, exhibits magical-like abilities and comes off as an unnecessary crutch. A sequel would either have to involve some resurrections or go a different direction altogether...I might be interested to see what happens next with these characters.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:03 pm

The Golden House by Salman Rushdie (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

This book takes some patience, but as a whole, it does pay off. Nero Golden (not his real name) and his also Roman-themed sons (Apuleus, Petronius, and Dionysus) start a new life in New York in the late 2000's. The narrator weaves in and out of this story as both an observer and as chronicler deeply involved with the events he is relating as his character is developing this very story into a screen play. The plot, such as it is, unveils itself slowly, it's more like a tapestry that gradually comes into focus. The book is full of allusion - and very little of it subtle (care to guess who The Joker is who vanquished the determined Batwoman in an upside down election?) The story is a tragedy in the ancient sense as the monikers of the characters tend to foreshadow their lives. The book was also filled with references, both pop and historical, that I seemed to get. Rushdie is of my generation so maybe that should be of no surprise, but he seems to have been browsing my library too. In the end, movie influences seem to win out, and the final scenes would do any Korean director proud.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jaddison » Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:48 pm

https://smile.amazon.com/Most-Dangerous ... of+britain

The Most Dangerous Enemy: A History of the Battle of Britain by Stephen Bungay

Detailed history continues to turn common myths on their head. A very highly detailed, day by day, account of the BoB up through the Fall of 1940 when the threat of invasion was ended for good. The author uses reams of data to show that the myth of the underdog British holding off the German war machine was not true. Germany was not ready for the BoB, came in with far less force than needed and did not have an effective strategy to accomplish the task.
Bungay starts out by describing the political climate in Britain just before defeat in France including describing Dunkirk not as a miracle but as a result of Hitler thinking England would side with him against the Russians and that he did not want their army destroyed- that and wonderful organization byt the Royal Navy are what made the operation a success.

Bottom line is this is a fantastic read if you love details about the aircraft, strategy, tactics and pilots.

His conclusion is that the myths of the BoB actually hurt Great Britain after the war because the people believed them- that they were special in their ability to withstand bombing, that they had performed a miracle by winning the BoB and that hanging onto the myths hurt in adapting to post WW2 world.

This book made me realize all I ever knew were the myths- reality is much more interesting.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Archinerd » Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:17 pm

Beacon 23 - Hugh Howey
Howey's got a thing for isolating people in metal tubes. This book follows the story of a "space lighthouse keeper" whose job is to maintain Beacon 23 to keep ships travelling at light speed on course. The story is a bit uneven and expands in some odd directions along with some tonal shifts. It also somewhat unexpectedly picks up on some themes from classic military sci-fi novels Starship Troopers & The Forever War. It's short though and has just enough going for it that I edge it closer to the "liked it" end of the scale despite its flaws.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Isgrimnur » Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:07 pm

How Chance and Stupidity Have Changed History: The Hinge Factor by Erik Durschmied

A study of historic battles, the scope is narrower than the title suggests, but the description covers that fairly well. An enjoyable read for military history buffs, but not a lot of depth to the studies.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I don't know if I was suffering from Potter fatigue, or the switch in venue made a difference, but I thought it was probably one of the weakest in the series. It's still a good ride overall, and I'll probably be undertaking a film tour, as I never got past 5 on the first time through.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:24 pm

Patton at the Battle of the Bulge by Leo Barron :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

As if George Patton has nor cemented his place in history prior to the Battle of the Bulge, this book makes a nominal effort to increase his cred. The majority of the book, however, focussed on leeser commanders (some even German). and offers little new insight on the greatest general in American history. Most interesting in this book were details of operations ordered by then-colonel Creighton Abrams, one of the finest armor tacticians in the American army (who the Abrams tank would be named after).

By and large, this book is mostly a log of where various divisions and regiments were and when. This type of account was tiresome when Field Marshal Erwin Montgomery did it, it is no less compelling in this book. If you're not at all famililar with the Battle of the Bulge, this isn't the worst introduction, but better are to be found.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:46 pm

Big Red Tequila by Rick Riordan :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

I've spemt a lot of time in Texas, including San Antonio where thos book takes place. I'm glad I never encountered the kind of people that were characters in this book. While the plot of the book attempts to be sohpisticated, the chacters moist certanly are notl And that makes the whole thing rather inplausible. The only reason I rate the book as high as I do is the terrific job reading the audio book, and Riordan does a good job with character development.

A few less F-bombs would have gione a long way towards liking this more. I've always viewed excessive vulgarity to be a weakness in any writer.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:50 pm

A Mentor and Her Muse by Susan Sage (K) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

The protagonist of this book, Maggie, is a very creepy individual. A 50-something teacher, she becomes obsessed with a teenaged student. The author takes the obsession just short of crinimal, but the journey is uncomofrtable at best. The plot is weak, mostly it involves Maggie's obession, Tae, going on a road trip to meet whatr she considered to be an uncle but is actually her father. The characters are very well developed -- just uncomfortable to behold. In the end, nothing is really resolved, so there is no satisfying ending to this tale.
Last edited by Jeff V on Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by ImLawBoy » Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:48 am

Finished Bone Music, by Christopher Rice (son of Anne Rice). This was a free Kindle First book, and it was worth at least what I paid for it. The setup is interesting. A baby girl and her mother are kidnapped by husband and wife serial killers. They kill the mother, but raise the daughter. She doesn't know what they are doing, but they do have her take the possessions of their victims to burn in the incinerator, which eventually earns her the nickname "The Burning Girl". When she's 6 or 7, the FBI raids the farm she's living on, and she's rescued and goes on to live with her father, who basically uses her to write a book about it, which then spawns a series of wildly inaccurate movies. The story picks up after she's successfully sued her father for a share of the profits, changed her identity, and is living as a recluse in a remote Arizona town. Without getting into spoiler territory, she's put in a position where she can gain incredible power pharmaceutically that she can use to go after serial killers. (That last sentence sounds a bit odd, doesn't it?)

The book was OK. It was a bit over the top, and I'm mostly bored with the genius serial killer trope. There was also a really frustrating plot hole early in the book that bothered me. The writing was solid, though, and the characters have potential. This is the first book in a promised series of "Burning Girl" books, but I'm not sure yet whether I'll pick up any others when they are released. It probably depends on how well this book ages in my memory.

For now, back to the Dresden Files for my next book.
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Scuzz » Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:51 pm

Jeff V wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:24 pm
Patton at the Battle of the Bulge by Leo Barron :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

As if George Patton has nor cemented his place in history prior to the Battle of the Bulge, this book makes a nominal effort to increase his cred. The majority of the book, however, focussed on leeser commanders (some even German). and offers little new insight on the greatest general in American history. Most interesting in this book were details of operations ordered by then-colonel Creighton Abrams, one of the finest armor tacticians in the American army (who the Abrams tank would be named after).

By and large, this book is mostly a log of where various divisions and regiments were and when. This type of account was tiresome when Field Marshal Erwin Montgomery did it, it is no less compelling in this book. If you're not at all famililar with the Battle of the Bulge, this isn't the worst introduction, but better are to be found.
Abrams was in charge in Vietnam after Westmoreland if I remember right.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by stessier » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:18 pm

The Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin

(The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, The Stone Sky)
WINNER OF THE HUGO AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL 2016


This is the way the world ends...for the last time.

A season of endings has begun.

It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun.

It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter.

It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.

This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.
I liked this Hugo Award winner a lot more than the last one I read. The author does well to create interesting characters that have to figure out the mysteries of the world. When it was over, I wish she would have spent more time letting the characters live in the world and explaining normal life before the grand quest kicked off. Still, the series was a very entertaining read and I would recommend it.
I require a reminder as to why raining arcane destruction is not an appropriate response to all of life's indignities. - Vaarsuvius
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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jeff V » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:24 pm

Scuzz wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:51 pm
Jeff V wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:24 pm
Patton at the Battle of the Bulge by Leo Barron :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

As if George Patton has nor cemented his place in history prior to the Battle of the Bulge, this book makes a nominal effort to increase his cred. The majority of the book, however, focussed on leeser commanders (some even German). and offers little new insight on the greatest general in American history. Most interesting in this book were details of operations ordered by then-colonel Creighton Abrams, one of the finest armor tacticians in the American army (who the Abrams tank would be named after).

By and large, this book is mostly a log of where various divisions and regiments were and when. This type of account was tiresome when Field Marshal Erwin Montgomery did it, it is no less compelling in this book. If you're not at all famililar with the Battle of the Bulge, this isn't the worst introduction, but better are to be found.
Abrams was in charge in Vietnam after Westmoreland if I remember right.
Yep, and our main battle tank (M1A2) is named for him.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Jaddison » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:20 pm

Jeff V wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:24 pm
Patton at the Battle of the Bulge by Leo Barron :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

As if George Patton has nor cemented his place in history prior to the Battle of the Bulge, this book makes a nominal effort to increase his cred. The majority of the book, however, focussed on leeser commanders (some even German). and offers little new insight on the greatest general in American history. Most interesting in this book were details of operations ordered by then-colonel Creighton Abrams, one of the finest armor tacticians in the American army (who the Abrams tank would be named after).

By and large, this book is mostly a log of where various divisions and regiments were and when. This type of account was tiresome when Field Marshal Erwin Montgomery did it, it is no less compelling in this book. If you're not at all famililar with the Battle of the Bulge, this isn't the worst introduction, but better are to be found.
Don't think Patton is the greatest American general, not even close. It's clear we needed heroes for PR purposes and the press gave them to the public. Patton was pretty flawed- suggest reading An Army at Dawn to get a a more detailed look at Patton in North Africa. He was also morally flawed- the affair with his niece by marriage was an ongoing thing. Patton's wife was on her way to divorce him when the accident happened. Eisenhower, George Marshall, US Grant and probably Winfield Scott would be in the pantheon as would George Washington. If general means flag officer you can throw in Thomas McDonaugh from 1812, Nimitz, Ernest J. King...reluctantly MacArthur and the man who personally saved us from disaster in Korea Oliver P. smith....al these men are on par with if not better than Patton. Other than MacArthur none sought personal glory and press like Patton did.

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by Moliere » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:31 pm

Jaddison wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:20 pm
Don't think Patton is the greatest American general, not even close. It's clear we needed heroes for PR purposes and the press gave them to the public. Patton was pretty flawed- suggest reading An Army at Dawn to get a a more detailed look at Patton in North Africa. He was also morally flawed- the affair with his niece by marriage was an ongoing thing. Patton's wife was on her way to divorce him when the accident happened. Eisenhower, George Marshall, US Grant and probably Winfield Scott would be in the pantheon as would George Washington. If general means flag officer you can throw in Thomas McDonaugh from 1812, Nimitz, Ernest J. King...reluctantly MacArthur and the man who personally saved us from disaster in Korea Oliver P. smith....al these men are on par with if not better than Patton. Other than MacArthur none sought personal glory and press like Patton did.
Ike wasn't really a field commander as much as a politician and strategic director of the War. He was great at dealing with the personalities of all the competing Ally generals and politicians.

Washington was great because he understood that winning meant not facing the British and risking his entire army. As long as he could keep moving around and allow the Continentals to claim they had an army then they won the morale and PR battle against the British, giving time for the French to enter the war. And what made Washington greater was that twice he walked away from ultimate power.

If we're talking about field commanders then what about the Confederate generals like Lee? Grant won because he didn't care about losses. He knew it was a numbers game and the North had the numbers, finances, and infrastructure to grind the South down.
"The world is suffering more today from the good people who want to mind other men's business than it is from the bad people who are willing to let everybody look after their own individual affairs." - Clarence Darrow

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Re: Books Read 2018

Post by mori » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:39 pm

The Last Panther by Wolfgang Faust

Faust was a tank commander in the German 9th Army, along with thousands of civilian refugees, trying to break out of a Soviet encirclement and escape west in order to surrender to the Americans in the final days of WWII. Written shortly after the war ended but was not discovered and published until after the author's death. Being recorded immediately after the war there is no sugar coating or any attempt to hide the horrors that he experienced. I had to take several breaks away from this book because it would get a bit much.

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