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Book thread: what are you reading?


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3 hours ago, John Drake said:

I bought a Kindle Paperwhite to take on my hols this year, thinking I'd be a bit stuck for things to do in the lengthy gaps inbetween stations on the Trans-Siberian Express, and not wanting to cart a bagful of heavy books with me on the journey.

As it turned out, there's lots to do on the train inbetween stations that doesn't involve much quiet reading time, so I only managed to get through one whole book, which was How Not To Be A Boy by Robert Webb (David Mitchell's comedy partner). 

I'd seen him plugging it on TV before I set off, and it sounded like an interesting alternative take on the traditional celebrity autobiography, and it was. He spends a lot of time explaining what an absolutely unforgiveable a-hole he has been in his life and trying to come to terms with it. It's funny too, which helps.

The thing about the Kindle though, is I've carried on using it since I got home, which I didn't expect to. I read more now that I ever did before and I find it easy to dip into various books at the same time, rather than finish one, start another, and I'll spend 15 minutes or so reading at lunchtime whereas I wouldn't have bothered to bring an actual book because it's a faff propping them open while you're using your hands to eat with. Sales of the 'i' newspaper will be down by one daily copy though.

I'm now into books about trains and Russia, or preferably both!

I raced through 'Trans-Siberian Adventures: Life on and off the rails from the Uk to Asia' by Matthew Woodward because it was basically a description of the journey I'd just done myself, although he did it in winter and without venturing much beyond the stations, which seems a wasted opportunity to me. Why go all that way and see so little? Still, it's an accurate and amusing account of what life on the train is like, and even the list of stations and stopping times made me feel nostalgic and wanting to do it again.

I'm in the middle of 'A Siberian Winter's Tale: Cycling to the Edge of Insanity and the Edge of the World' by Helen Lloyd, and the title just about sums it up. It's about a crazy English woman cycling through Siberia in the winter, just for the fun of it. It's an eye-opening and entertaining read so far, but I definitely won't be following in her cycle tracks at any point in future.

I've also just started 'Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar' by Simon Sebag Montefiore. I'm not usually one to attempt these kind of heavy biographies, but my interest was piqued partly by the trip to Russia but also after watching the film 'The Death of Stalin' and wanting to find out what really went on during that period of history. It may take me as long as Uncle Joe's reign of terror to get through it though.

The Stalin book is excellent

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18 hours ago, John Drake said:

As it turned out, there's lots to do on the train inbetween stations that doesn't involve much quiet reading time, so I only managed to get through one whole book, which was How Not To Be A Boy by Robert Webb (David Mitchell's comedy partner). 

I'd seen him plugging it on TV before I set off, and it sounded like an interesting alternative take on the traditional celebrity autobiography, and it was. He spends a lot of time explaining what an absolutely unforgiveable a-hole he has been in his life and trying to come to terms with it. It's funny too, which helps.

I read this on holiday as well and thought it was great. Moving, honest, and he never made excuses. Not your typical autobiog, and it was much better for it. He's obviously a very talented writer and I thought it was a very thought provoking look at modern masculinity. 

I'm another in the "Thought I'd hate Kindles, but I love them" camp. Had one for years now and certainly read so much more because of it, but I still like a paper book on occasion and they both have a place. In fact, case in point, I enjoyed Robert Webb's book so much, I bought a hard copy to give someone as a gift. 

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16 hours ago, Futtocks said:

Both Paul Theroux (The Great Railway Bazaar) and Eric Newby (The Big Red Train Ride) have written good books about the Trans-Siberian Express.

Thanks for the recommendations!

I just bought the Theroux book on Kindle, will look forward to getting stuck into that soon. The Newby book isn't on Kindle, seems to be long out of print too but I managed to order a second hand copy in paperback.

.

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17 minutes ago, John Drake said:

Thanks for the recommendations!

I just bought the Theroux book on Kindle, will look forward to getting stuck into that soon. The Newby book isn't on Kindle, seems to be long out of print too but I managed to order a second hand copy in paperback.

Newby's a more light-hearted writer than Theroux, so it makes an interesting contrast of experiences.

Odd that it's not on Kindle, as several of his other books are.

"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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44 minutes ago, Amber Avenger said:

I read this on holiday as well and thought it was great. Moving, honest, and he never made excuses. Not your typical autobiog, and it was much better for it. He's obviously a very talented writer and I thought it was a very thought provoking look at modern masculinity. 

I'm another in the "Thought I'd hate Kindles, but I love them" camp. Had one for years now and certainly read so much more because of it, but I still like a paper book on occasion and they both have a place. In fact, case in point, I enjoyed Robert Webb's book so much, I bought a hard copy to give someone as a gift. 

I love Peep show but the YouTube advert for his book put me off for life. If I hear him go on about Rick Astley one more time I'll go stir crazy.

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In my late teens I loved Stephen King books and went through a significant number of them. As has happened since with other authors, I read one bad book and it put me off reading any more.

I never got round to reading what many see as his best The Stand. The size put me off but I also like to save the best one so I know I have something to look forward to.

I recently decided to take the plunge and got it on Audible about 15 years after my last Stephen King. I actually knew nothing about the story prior to getting it. It is epic in every sense of the word at a whopping 48 hours. 

I'm about 32 hours in and really enjoying it. I like books that make me wonder about what I'd do in that situation and I can't help but drive around imaginging how I'd cope if virtually everyone but me was gone.

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1 hour ago, Maximus Decimus said:

In my late teens I loved Stephen King books and went through a significant number of them. As has happened since with other authors, I read one bad book and it put me off reading any more.

I never got round to reading what many see as his best The Stand. The size put me off but I also like to save the best one so I know I have something to look forward to.

I recently decided to take the plunge and got it on Audible about 15 years after my last Stephen King. I actually knew nothing about the story prior to getting it. It is epic in every sense of the word at a whopping 48 hours. 

I'm about 32 hours in and really enjoying it. I like books that make me wonder about what I'd do in that situation and I can't help but drive around imaginging how I'd cope if virtually everyone but me was gone.

The Stand is a good book, too overtly moralising for my liking and too black/white in its moralising as well in areas but it's just a cracking read from end-to-end.  King's writing mastery is in pacing and structure, he drags you along bit by bit at a good pace but catering for both fast and slow readers while also not letting multiple threads of a plot get too out of hand.

"When in deadly danger, when beset by doubt; run in little circles, wave your arms and shout"

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1 hour ago, John Drake said:

Thanks for the recommendations!

I just bought the Theroux book on Kindle, will look forward to getting stuck into that soon. The Newby book isn't on Kindle, seems to be long out of print too but I managed to order a second hand copy in paperback.

The old Patagonian express is a great read; witty and informative. It's the great railway bazaar, but on the continent of America. The diversity of experience is exhilarating. After a read these two books I made the mistake of reading one of his novels: bad move.

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1 hour ago, Tongs ya bas said:

The old Patagonian express is a great read; witty and informative. It's the great railway bazaar, but on the continent of America. The diversity of experience is exhilarating. After a read these two books I made the mistake of reading one of his novels: bad move.

I'd second that; his factual writing is great, but I really don't enjoy his fiction. The Old Patagonian Express sees him take the train from his hometown of Boston, all the way to the bottom of South America.

In The Kingdom by the Sea, he travels round the coast of Britain by public transport or on foot. This was written in the Eighties, and is an interesting snapshot of the country at that time.

Sunrise with Seamonsters is an anthology of non-fiction on various subjects, not just travel.

"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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Just now, Futtocks said:

I'd second that; his factual writing is great, but I really don't enjoy his fiction. The Old Patagonian Express sees him take the train from his hometown of Boston, all the way to the bottom of South America.

In The Kingdom by the Sea, he travels round the coast of Britain by public transport or on foot. This was written in the Eighties, and is an interesting snapshot of the country at that time.

Sunrise with Seamonsters is an anthology of non-fiction on various subjects, not just travel.

The kingdom by the sea sounds like something I might do now that I have a bus pass

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Just reading some Carl Hiaasen (Finished Bad Monkey, started Razor Girl)  -  maybe a bit lowbrow for some of our resident boffins on here, but very funny.  Very reminiscent of Joseph Wambaugh - I had to check to confirm one is not a pseudonym !

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I got the Gordon Brown autobiography on audiobook and started it today. The preface and introduction took one hour twenty three minutes.  This might be a tough book if that’s the level of concise writing throughout.

"When in deadly danger, when beset by doubt; run in little circles, wave your arms and shout"

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  • 3 weeks later...

Amazon just contacted me with an offer on Kindle books. One of the titles was The Hope that kills. After the World Cup Final, that was a low blow!

"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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  • 1 month later...

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"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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  • 2 weeks later...

Confessions of an Irish rebel by Brendan Behan

what an interesting life he led, he would have been a great fellow to sit and have a few beers with.

"Freedom without socialism is privilege and injustice, socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality" - Mikhail Bakunin

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First look at this thread - I'll have a look at the Old Patagonia Express as going there next month, and the Theroux book

I'm just finishing There Is No Map in Hell by Steve Birkinshaw. What these fell runners put themselves through is insane. I wish I had a small amount of their resolve

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The best way to tell that an Audible "2 for 1" sale is coming is to pay attention to how many emails they're throwing at you trying to tempt you to use any spare credits.  The more emails you get, the closer the sale is.

"When in deadly danger, when beset by doubt; run in little circles, wave your arms and shout"

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Read "The road to Nab End" by historian William Woodruff, on a long plane journey this week. It's an account of his childhood growing up in 1920s Blackburn and the poverty experienced in East Lancs during the collapse of the cotton industry, which was a bestseller about 10 years ago. He went on to a place at Oxford and a Fulbright scholarship at Harvard after leaving school at 14, so it's a pretty thought provoking book.

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First look at this thread and it's given me plenty of ideas of potential reeds,just finished Stephen Frys Mythos,Greek stories you knew but forgotten took me less than a week and absolutely loved it.Reading Orwells Down and out in Paris and London (2 for £5 section of HMV)and also got books by Bernard Cornwall,William Mcilvanney and James Kelman lined up for next couple of weeks.

Can anyone remember the old Sven Hassel paperbacks, found some while clearing out an ex work colleagues locker a few years ago,all the rage back in the day

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We recently started a book club at work. I'm currently reading our first selection - A Handmaid's Tale. I didn't watch it when it was on TV so I had no preconceived ideas about (I didn't even know what it was about!). I'm not sure what to think about it yet (I'm about a third of the way through), other than it is very different from the sci-fi book I usually read!

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5 minutes ago, Dunedan said:

We recently started a book club at work. I'm currently reading our first selection - A Handmaid's Tale. I didn't watch it when it was on TV so I had no preconceived ideas about (I didn't even know what it was about!). I'm not sure what to think about it yet (I'm about a third of the way through), other than it is very different from the sci-fi book I usually read!

My girlfriend sat down to watch the tv show with me, and she similarly had no idea what it was about, except she'd seen the title and the outfits and thought it was some Downton Abbey style Victorian drama. To say she was shocked was an understatement. Luckily she did enjoy it for what it was...eventually!

SQL Honours

Play off mini league winner - 2002. Bronze Medalist - 2003. Big Split Group Winner - 2006. Minor Stupidship - 2005, 2006. Cup Silver Medalist - 2008, 2009

CHAMPION - 2005, 2009, 2010

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