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Book thread: what are you reading?


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Eastern Horizons - Hitchhiking the Silk Road by Levison Wood. I have always enjoyed his TV series and had read Walking the Himalalyas before. This is equally good even though he states that it is not well written as it is based on his diaries of a trip taken when he was 22. In fact it fairly bounces along in an easy readable style covering his  journey principally across Russia, Georgia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. I guess the Afghan sections are the most memorable as he made the trip not that long after the western intervention in that country. The tale covers both good and bad in places he visits (although in the epilogue he points out the changes, generally to the better, in places about which he is negative since 2004) and a degree of growing up that he had to do. Worth a read if you enjoy travel books

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Susanna Clarke - Piranesi. A strange fantasy, set in an other-worldly, Borges-influenced labyrinth.
Flann O’Brien - The Third Policeman. An absurd and surreal Irish tale, revolving around murder, bicycles and immortality.

"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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I am not in possession of a copy right now, but if anyone is feeling low, read The Unbearable Lightness of Being, a very dark start leads to an enlightened ending.

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Just read John Higgs KLF book ,Chaos, magic and the band that burned a million pounds,absolutely fascinating stuff, brilliantly written full of myth,synchronicity, conspiracy and the power of the number 23. Well worth a read.

As I like to chop and change my reads I am now revisiting an old hero and starting Sharpe's Assassin, let's hope it lives up to the rest of the series 

 

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Greg Jenner - Dead Famous: the Horrible Histories guy with an examination of celebrity, from the Roman Empire to the present day. Light-hearted, but full of information.

John Irving - Avenue of Mysteries: a recent Irving - not the absolute best of his that I've read, but I'm only half way through and still liking it. No bears yet.

"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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33 minutes ago, Route66 said:

Just read John Higgs KLF book ,Chaos, magic and the band that burned a million pounds,absolutely fascinating stuff, brilliantly written full of myth,synchronicity, conspiracy and the power of the number 23. Well worth a read.

As I like to chop and change my reads I am now revisiting an old hero and starting Sharpe's Assassin, let's hope it lives up to the rest of the series 

 

I'm currently searching charity shops for the Sharpe books, planning on starting them after finishing the Aubrey-Maturin series. What I have noticed in charity shops round here is you see loads of Bernard Cornwell novels but hardly any Sharpe ones, I guess they're popular and get snapped up quick, or people don't want to chuck them out. A few months back I remember one charity shop near me had the entire collection in and I didn't buy them cos I wasn't considering reading them at that point. Funny how these things happen isn't it? 

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30 minutes ago, The Hallucinating Goose said:

I'm currently searching charity shops for the Sharpe books, planning on starting them after finishing the Aubrey-Maturin series. What I have noticed in charity shops round here is you see loads of Bernard Cornwell novels but hardly any Sharpe ones, I guess they're popular and get snapped up quick, or people don't want to chuck them out. A few months back I remember one charity shop near me had the entire collection in and I didn't buy them cos I wasn't considering reading them at that point. Funny how these things happen isn't it? 

Too right, the world playing tricks on you,I got most of my old Sharpe books about 8 year ago when the works were knocking them out for 3 for 5 ,unfortunately it led me to read them in a haphazard order and there is still a couple I've missed completely, which begs the question will you read in date written or in time order

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9 minutes ago, Route66 said:

Too right, the world playing tricks on you,I got most of my old Sharpe books about 8 year ago when the works were knocking them out for 3 for 5 ,unfortunately it led me to read them in a haphazard order and there is still a couple I've missed completely, which begs the question will you read in date written or in time order

I'm gonna make sure I get them all before I start, or at least the first 5 or so and read them in time order. I think they are all pretty much standalone stories aren't they but if I can read them in the historical chronology then why not, will just add to the experience I feel! I've still got 10 Aubrey-Maturins to go so it will still be months before I start Sharpe probably, cos I aren't a fast reader. 

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8 minutes ago, Scubby said:

One for the purists

Falling off a Cliff - Eileen Dover

Same publisher as Bathing Cats by Claude Balls?

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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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Managed to read 113 books in 2021. I think the best ones I read (in no particular order) were:

Game Changers (Joao Medeiros) - About the development of performance analysis and sports science over time and its application in improving Team GB

Big Data Baseball - Analytics informing coaching/tactics to turn around the Pittsburgh Pirates fortunes

Intangibles - Team chemistry both from a scientific and informal viewpoint

Never Split The Difference - Negotiation skills (though more generally useful), written by a former FBI hostage negotiator

Just Mercy - Injustices in the American legal system, written by a lawyer who cleared someone who had been wrongfully sentenced to death 

War - The social and psychological elements of combat and the reasons that people risk their lives for each other, written by a journalist in one of the most violent regions in Afghanistan 

The Doomsday Machine - Written by a former nuclear war planner, looks at how close we often came to annihilation during the Cold War and what needs to change 

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I have just finished Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse series (Shadow and the bone etc)

I am not that into fantasy but these are excellent stories and characters, but the Shadow and the Bone series does contain some rather pathetic teenage romance writing, and it is testament to the strength of the story that you can read through that.

the six of crows however is a fantastic heist story.

 

 

non-fiction Soccermatics by David Sumptor us and interesting read even if like me you don’t have that much interest football.

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On 06/01/2022 at 18:22, Route66 said:

Just read John Higgs KLF book ,Chaos, magic and the band that burned a million pounds,absolutely fascinating stuff, brilliantly written full of myth,synchronicity, conspiracy and the power of the number 23. Well worth a read.

As I like to chop and change my reads I am now revisiting an old hero and starting Sharpe's Assassin, let's hope it lives up to the rest of the series 

 

Currently re-reading the Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert anton Wilson which originally propounded the 23 enigma as well as the “law of fives” weird wacky and completely unhinged but brilliantly readable imo 

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

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2 hours ago, Phil said:

Currently re-reading the Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert anton Wilson which originally propounded the 23 enigma as well as the “law of fives” weird wacky and completely unhinged but brilliantly readable imo 

It's been a while since I read that or his Schrodinger's Cat trilogy. Good, mind-expanding fun!

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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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On 01/01/2022 at 18:05, Futtocks said:

Susanna Clarke - Piranesi. A strange fantasy, set in an other-worldly, Borges-influenced labyrinth.

One of the most memorable pieces of fiction I've read in years. Nothing like her previous one, and it's the kind of book that a lot of people will hate I think.

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I’m just about to start The Ripper Reports - how Jack the Ripper was reported in the Victorian Press . I’ve just finished Chaos by AD Swanston which although a Tudor mystery isnt a patch on CJ Sansom or SJ Parris 

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I have finished The Far Side of the World. 10 down, 10 to go. The Reverse of the Medal next. 

The Far Side was a significant one to reach as I said earlier in the thread cos it was the film adaptation of this that made me want to read the series. What has really struck me is how I have basically completely erased the film adaptation from my mind through reading the series and replacing the images the film gave me with a completely different universe. I've always been very reserved in the past about watching adaptations before reading the source material cos I always feel it will influence your own interpretation of the stories too much but the books are so powerful and so absorbing in this case that they have just completely disappeared any memory of the film which is such a compliment to Patrick O'Brien I feel. 

So as I say, 10 down, 10 to go and so far not one has been a disappointment. All fantastic. 

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2 hours ago, JonM said:

One of the most memorable pieces of fiction I've read in years. Nothing like her previous one, and it's the kind of book that a lot of people will hate I think.

I heard it discussed on a Radio 4 book discussion show, and it sounded to far up my street, I bought it before the programme was over.

I also bought her previous book, just to see what it's like, but haven't read it yet.

"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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20 minutes ago, Futtocks said:

I also bought her previous book, just to see what it's like, but haven't read it yet.

The story of how it was written is interesting in itself. Very, very unusual to get a £1 million advance (and a huge print run and translation into 15+ languages before publication) for a debut novel that she'd written in her spare time over the course of more than a decade.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/01/2022 at 16:34, The Hallucinating Goose said:

I have finished The Far Side of the World. 10 down, 10 to go. The Reverse of the Medal next. 

The Far Side was a significant one to reach as I said earlier in the thread cos it was the film adaptation of this that made me want to read the series. What has really struck me is how I have basically completely erased the film adaptation from my mind through reading the series and replacing the images the film gave me with a completely different universe. I've always been very reserved in the past about watching adaptations before reading the source material cos I always feel it will influence your own interpretation of the stories too much but the books are so powerful and so absorbing in this case that they have just completely disappeared any memory of the film which is such a compliment to Patrick O'Brien I feel. 

So as I say, 10 down, 10 to go and so far not one has been a disappointment. All fantastic. 

Nice one.

Just wrapping up the Ionian Mission. 8 down, 12 to go. It's absolutely belting stuff.

I bought this too:

 

51zeQ9joglL.jpg

Edited by marklaspalmas
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3 hours ago, marklaspalmas said:

Nice one.

Just wrapping up the Ionian Mission. 8 down, 12 to go. It's absolutely belting stuff.

I bought this too:

 

51zeQ9joglL.jpg

Great to hear, keep it up mate! I'll have finished The Reverse of the Medal in the next couple of days. 

I've seen about the unfinished one but I'm not gonna read it myself. I want to finish the series with some sort of conclusion, at least as much of a conclusion as you get from these considering they literally follow on from one another. If I read just half of one I'll be tearing my hair out for the rest of my life needing to know what was gonna happen!

Was in a local charity shop yesterday and saw a book called something like 'The Seafaring Lexicon of Patrick O'Brian' which is basically a 400 page reference book/dictionary that explains all the nautical phrases and terminology throughout the series. I didn't get it, not understanding the odd term here and there really hasn't bothered me at all. 

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47 minutes ago, The Hallucinating Goose said:

Great to hear, keep it up mate! I'll have finished The Reverse of the Medal in the next couple of days. 

I've seen about the unfinished one but I'm not gonna read it myself. I want to finish the series with some sort of conclusion, at least as much of a conclusion as you get from these considering they literally follow on from one another. If I read just half of one I'll be tearing my hair out for the rest of my life needing to know what was gonna happen!

Was in a local charity shop yesterday and saw a book called something like 'The Seafaring Lexicon of Patrick O'Brian' which is basically a 400 page reference book/dictionary that explains all the nautical phrases and terminology throughout the series. I didn't get it, not understanding the odd term here and there really hasn't bothered me at all. 

This one? I'd thought about this too, but as you say, it's hardly the point of the books to understand all the technical terms. In some ways, it's better for the reader to be like Maturin: involved, but allowing the jargon to wash over him without fully understanding.

The unfinished voyage includes some text and loads of photocopied pages of O'Brian's hand-written notes. Odd little thing it is.

41DmAXTHXaL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

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3 hours ago, marklaspalmas said:

This one? I'd thought about this too, but as you say, it's hardly the point of the books to understand all the technical terms. In some ways, it's better for the reader to be like Maturin: involved, but allowing the jargon to wash over him without fully understanding.

The unfinished voyage includes some text and loads of photocopied pages of O'Brian's hand-written notes. Odd little thing it is.

41DmAXTHXaL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Yeah that looks like the one. Your Maturin analogy is a good one cos I suppose as the reader you're like Maturin, an outsider looking into this world and you're not gonna understand it all, you just really enjoy being taken along for the ride.

For example when it says a certain sail is being hoisted or a certain rank of sailer is doing something to another piece of the ship I don't feel the need to know exactly what each thing means, I just imagine a sail going up on one of the masts and a sailer hauling on a rope or something and that's satisfies my imagination. 

I saw another comparison which I liked where someone said think of it as if you're watching Star Trek or one of those shows. There is loads of random terms and phrases used by the crews of spaceships in those things which you obviously aren't going to understand because it's made up sci-fi jargon but it doesn't detract from your viewing experience just like not knowing exactly which sail the mizzen or studding is doesn't detract from my fantastic reading experience. 

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On 22/01/2022 at 15:20, marklaspalmas said:

Nice one.

Just wrapping up the Ionian Mission. 8 down, 12 to go. It's absolutely belting stuff.

Right so finished The Reverse of the Medal, ended on a right cliffhanger but luckily I'll be straight on with The Letter of Marque tomorrow. 

As I was digging the latter out of the pile I noticed I actually have two copies of The Thirteen Gun Salute, one from about 25 years ago and a newer edition, both very good condition and unread. Can't for the life of me think how ive ended up with two copies.

All I can think is when I bought a job lot of about a dozen I found in Oxfam Books in York they were all older editions and it must have been in with them and somehow I must have not ticked it off my list when I was searching for the rest. Either that or I saw a newer edition later on and decided I wanted that version but I can't think I would have done that when I'd bought a really good condition one already. Very curious. 🤔

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