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Book thread: what are you reading?


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On 11/06/2023 at 18:33, Route66 said:

Just back from a week in Spain where I read the Pillars of the earth, as you say superb piece of historical fiction, also read William mcilvannys great work Docherty, l love the fact that there are loads of Scottish working class novels something that the north of England seems to lack,to be honest that book could have been based in any mining town accross the country, an absolute classic 

Yeah agree, lots of great novels by and about Scottish working class life and experience. I picked up a copy of the Grass Arena by David Healy. Written in the 60s and about the authors working class life in North London and descent into alcoholism. Hard hitting stuff. I only came across it after reading a review about how the book had been supressed as publishers didn't like the author, he didn't 'play the game'. The review finished off by saying working class writers are only ever awarded conditional access to the industry

I would love a novel or set of novels that focused on the Northern (or Kentish) mining experience in the same way Lewis Jones did for the Welsh miners

Edited by OnStrike
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The Wrestling by Simon Garfield (1995, updated 2012). An oral history of British professional wrestling. There are a lot of interviews with a lot of gnarled old barstewards, not all of which get along well, even after all these years. All the anecdotes you could want from the surviving faces, heels and managers of a scene that was already on the way out when Michael Grade made his infamous decision to cut it entirely from the ITV schedules.

The one unifying theme is that everyone, and I mean everyone was terrified of Les Kellett. Beloved by the fans as the funny little old guy, he was in fact a violent and deeply weird sadist (on and off-duty) that nobody wanted to share a ring or a dressing room with.

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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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And that's the Railway Detective series finished!

I found them very entertaining, and very easy reads despite them not being the best quality and some of the plots being rather thin but that didn't matter if you just want something enjoyable to explore. I would have liked a bit more historic detail but again, it didn't really matter when I was just looking for something pleasing to waste away a few hours. I'll definitely read any future ones that get written! 

Next I'm gonna read books 2 and 3 in Ken Follett's Century trilogy, having read the first in the middle of the Railway Detective series. 

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I'd forgotten my pre-order for this but 42, the posthumous collection of Douglas Adams' writings, has just turned up on my Kindle.

"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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James Blish - Black Easter (or Faust Aleph-Null)
In a world where Black and White magic exist and are as much a part of life and the economy as regular business, an arms dealer hires a Black magician to carry out two killings via the medium of demon-sendings, in the interests of protecting certain investments and copyrights.
But he has a third contract in mind… and it’s a biggie.

"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 25/07/2023 at 20:41, lucky 7 said:

Today I have just finished reading The Thursday murder club, by Richard Osman. An excellent read

I bought the first 3 books this week, only a fiver apiece. I don't read enough, I don't read fiction and I used to get annoyed at celebrities who write and likely queue jump at the publisher. But I decided to give it a go due to many positive reviews.

I also bought a few nonfiction books a few weeks ago including Ultra Processed People, Breath, Atomic Habits, Food for Life, and Just One Thing. Yet to start all but Breath.

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I've got the new Ken Follett novel, The Armour of Light, and I am so excited to get into it! It is the fifth novel in his Kingsbridge series which started with the masterpiece that is, The Pillars of the Earth. This series is without a doubt my favourite ever and I am absolutely buzzing to get into this latest chapter. Kingsbridge during the Napoleonic age. My favourite novel series set in my favourite historical period! Can't wait! Just gotta finish another great novel by Follett first, Winter of the World. 

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On 23/09/2023 at 19:31, hindle xiii said:

I bought the first 3 books this week, only a fiver apiece. I don't read enough, I don't read fiction and I used to get annoyed at celebrities who write and likely queue jump at the publisher. But I decided to give it a go due to many positive reviews.

I also bought a few nonfiction books a few weeks ago including Ultra Processed People, Breath, Atomic Habits, Food for Life, and Just One Thing. Yet to start all but Breath.

I have also just finished The Thursday Murder Club book 1. I enjoyed it very much. Although I am now picking it apart in my head which is irritating me. Anyway, on to book 2; The Man Who Died Twice.

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24 minutes ago, hindle xiii said:

I have also just finished The Thursday Murder Club book 1. I enjoyed it very much. Although I am now picking it apart in my head which is irritating me. Anyway, on to book 2; The Man Who Died Twice.

It’s an enjoyable romp that actually made me look forward somewhat to communal elderly living if it were to happen to me in the future!

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On 30/09/2023 at 23:21, The Hallucinating Goose said:

I've got the new Ken Follett novel, The Armour of Light, and I am so excited to get into it! It is the fifth novel in his Kingsbridge series which started with the masterpiece that is, The Pillars of the Earth. This series is without a doubt my favourite ever and I am absolutely buzzing to get into this latest chapter. Kingsbridge during the Napoleonic age. My favourite novel series set in my favourite historical period! Can't wait! Just gotta finish another great novel by Follett first, Winter of the World. 

If you love Follet's Pillars of the Earth, I'd recommend trying Zoe Oldenburg's The Earth is Not Enough. She wrote it in the 60s I think, set in crusade era France and for my money, the best historical fiction book written about that era. Stumbled across it on a library years ago. The characters have stuck with me ever since and I've re-read it numerous times

 

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15 minutes ago, OnStrike said:

If you love Follet's Pillars of the Earth, I'd recommend trying Zoe Oldenburg's The Earth is Not Enough. She wrote it in the 60s I think, set in crusade era France and for my money, the best historical fiction book written about that era. Stumbled across it on a library years ago. The characters have stuck with me ever since and I've re-read it numerous times

 

I've just looked it up. Sounds really good, definitely my sort of thing, I'll keep my eye out for a copy! Thanks for the recommendation! 

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J.B.Priestley - English Journey. After reading Stuart Maconie's The Full English, which is pretty much based on JBP's book, I had to give it a go. A chapter and a half in, and it's some excellent writing.

"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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8 hours ago, OnStrike said:

If you love Follet's Pillars of the Earth, I'd recommend trying Zoe Oldenburg's The Earth is Not Enough. She wrote it in the 60s I think, set in crusade era France and for my money, the best historical fiction book written about that era. Stumbled across it on a library years ago. The characters have stuck with me ever since and I've re-read it numerous times

 

She was a historian specialising in that period. I have got a couple of her non fiction books including one about the crusade against the Cathars

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11 hours ago, Gerrumonside ref said:

It’s an enjoyable romp that actually made me look forward somewhat to communal elderly living if it were to happen to me in the future!

I inhaled the second book since the post of mine you quoted. The text was larger so quite possibly not as long as book 1.

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On 08/10/2023 at 23:14, Jeff Stein said:

She was a historian specialising in that period. I have got a couple of her non fiction books including one about the crusade against the Cathars

Yeah after The World is Not Enough I read her book on the Crusades and the one you mention on the Cathars. The crusade against the Cathars was absolutely brutal

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On 08/10/2023 at 14:14, OnStrike said:

If you love Follet's Pillars of the Earth, I'd recommend trying Zoe Oldenburg's The Earth is Not Enough. She wrote it in the 60s I think, set in crusade era France and for my money, the best historical fiction book written about that era. Stumbled across it on a library years ago. The characters have stuck with me ever since and I've re-read it numerous times

 

I've been down the local library and reserved this, should be able to pick it up next week and will probably take me a couple of weeks to read so I can give you a detailed report in about 3 weeks! 😊

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6 minutes ago, The Hallucinating Goose said:

I've been down the local library and reserved this, should be able to pick it up next week and will probably take me a couple of weeks to read so I can give you a detailed report in about 3 weeks! 😊

Great stuff, hope you like it...keep me posted!

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Going back a bit further in the historical fiction genre, I would definitely recommend Mary Renault's two-part novelisation of Theseus's life, The King must die and The Bull from the Sea. She chose an interestingly flawed character and I think that works better than her (also very good) Alexander the Great trilogy.

"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 13/10/2023 at 15:47, The Hallucinating Goose said:

I've been down the local library and reserved this, should be able to pick it up next week and will probably take me a couple of weeks to read so I can give you a detailed report in about 3 weeks! 😊

I hope it wasn't Batley library.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/oct/13/batley-library-book-takers-urged-to-return-and-help-save-building

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