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Source: (consider it) Thread: Readme: the book thread.
Sipech
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# 16870

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Always going through a few. About half way through Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker which has gone a bit turgid, after a very bright opening.

Also going through Ruth Picardie's Before I Say Goodbye which is both smirk-inducing and tear-jerking in equal measures.

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I try to be self-deprecating; I'm just not very good at it.
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Brenda Clough
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I am now reading a book titled Madame Bovary's Ovaries, which for the title alone is irresistible.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Eigon
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# 4917

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I've just finished Galileo's Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson, which tells the story of Galileo's life from the time he gets interested in telescopes with a bit of added time travel. Galileo gets to visit the moons of Jupiter far in his future, which is nice. It also incorporates a lot of original documents (edited to read smoothly within the story), so I learned a lot about Galileo's life, and his relationship with his daughter the nun Sister Celeste Marie (and his other daughter who never spoke to him again after he put her in the convent).
When I saw Kim Stanley Robinson - I was lucky enough to go to his Kaffeeklatch at WorldCon last year - he said this was the first book he'd really enjoyed writing again after a long period of hard slogging. It may have something to do with the fact that he now writes under a canopy in his garden, with birds flitting round him - but you can tell from the writing that he was having fun.

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Laugh hard. Run fast. Be kind.

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Penny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Penny S:
I think I would agree with you on that. The characters which reappear on the Cherwell seem to have improved in Oxford.

I am now part way through "The Female Detective" by Andrew Forrester, which is interesting in that it was written in 18something or other, and what it says about its time, but is not gripping. The first story shows the woman just being nosy.

Also "The Antidote to Venom" by Freeman Wills Croft, which is an early version of the Columbo principal of letting us know who the criminal is early on and then showing how they are discovered. I don't like stories about people I don't like doing stuff I don't approve of. There is possibly one reasonable character, apart from the policemen. Apparently FWC's religion influences the end, with repentance being involved.

My reading rate has dropped badly with the two of them.

"The Female Detective", and "Antidote to Venom" are now on their way to Oxfam. My opinion of the latter has changed, as the writer doesn't give everything about the murder away before the detective gets to work, so it gets more engrossing towards the end - when it turns for the last couple of pages into a "Christian" novel. Quotes because overt writing about turning round of lives doesn't quite work, in my opinion, and makes it a little like books I generally try to avoid.
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Penny S
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Just finished "All Roads Lead to Murder" by Albert A Bell Jnr, in which the younger Pliny and his mate Tacitus solve a murder in Smyrna, with the aid of a peripatetic doctor by the name of Luke. Pliny doesn't know whether to be more worried by the priestesses of Hecate, or the group he hears talking of body and blood being eaten.
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Snags
Utterly socially unrealistic
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I've just joined a new* "book group" or "reading group" in the hope that it will expose me to a books I'd otherwise be blissfully ignorant of.

Our first team effort is Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes. It's German, but we're reading the translation, and explores what happens when Hitler suddenly finds himself alive in present-day Germany.

I found it quite interesting; a bit of a disconnect between Hitler's internal voice and what I'm conditioned to expect, but good nonetheless. Some very sharp observations on people divided by their preconceptions, and on how new/social media
can inadvertently promote all manner of things.

I would love to know how much of the humour/word play is directly translated, and how much has been transliterated or even substituted for something that makes sense in English for an English audience, but an enjoyable and thought-provoking satire.


*As in, it's a new group, not new to me - we're most of us newbies to the whole reading group thing.

(Code edit)

[ 15. May 2015, 18:30: Message edited by: Firenze ]

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Scots lass
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quote:
Originally posted by Huia:
...Now of course the wait for the next one. I hate that. I am purposefully leaving CJ Sansom's last book
Lammentation unread so I can look forward to it. I plan to start on my birthday as a present to myself - not long to go now.

Huia

I stormed through that over Christmas, including a point when I had to tell my dad to stop talking to me as I needed to finish it before going back down south. Fortunately I come from a family where this kind of thing is understood. It's a good read - enjoy your holiday!

I've been reading Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, which is about angels and chimera (monsters). Not religious angels and monsters, otherwise I'd be avoiding it like the plague. The first book I really enjoyed, but I'm ploughing through the third with a bit less enthusiasm. I think it has that thing you often get with YA trilogies where it's been really successful, in that it's got a story with lots of reasonable loose ends to tie up, but it needs a harsher editor. It's going on a bit, and I just want to know how it ends without all the extra bits!

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Penny S
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Have moved on the the third of Bell's Pliny books, which, excused by the existence of a purveyor of cheese as a character, includes, for no other reason, the line "Blessed are the cheesemakers". Naughty.

Whereas the edition of Thunderbirds in which John is shut out of the space station could hardly have avoided "I cannot do that, John", could it, despite the target audience having absolutely no idea of the reference?

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Trudy Scrumptious

BBE Shieldmaiden
# 5647

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
I am now reading a book titled Madame Bovary's Ovaries, which for the title alone is irresistible.

Once you've got that title, I don't think even matters what you put in between the covers.

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Books and things.

I lied. There are no things. Just books.

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Penny S
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I have now read Lindsey Davis' short book "The Spook who Spoke Again", and I don't know a) why she wrote it, and b) why it was published. Fun, possibly. A reader needs to know the other stories of the Falco clan.

It is written in the voice of Falco's adopted son Postumus, who seems to be a very difficult child with an odd perception of the world. I suspect that the book could have had the sub-title "The Curious Case of the Ferret in the Circus". I remain unsure of the solution of the ferret situation and need to reread to see if Postumus recorded something which he did not interpret correctly.

It also plays merrily with the plot of a certain Shakespeare play, and the history of its original performance, imposing it on the plot type of a Roman comedy - think of "A Funny Thing Happened" - while the relationships of the central young man and his mother and his uncle really do seem more fitted for the tragic stage. At one point a double act is going to be sent to escort the young man to Britannia, where no-one will notice that he is mad. They do not end up dead, however.

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Penny S
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I have now found out that she did it because her publisher made her do it.
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Chorister

Completely Frocked
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Have just taken 'The Rosie Effect' to the Oxfam Recycling. Probably best read after reading 'The Rosie Project' by the same author (Graeme Simsion) as it continues the story of Don and Rosie after they get married. This is no normal marriage, but a meeting of two extraordinarily eccentric people who fate has brought together. Edge of your seat stuff, especially when you discover that they are going to have a baby...

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

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Caissa
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Our oldest son, who has Aspergers, loved both of those books. He is currently reading Jodi Picoult's, House Rules.
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Penny S
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It would be interesting to know his opinion of the Spook book - a number of comments on various sites have referred to Aspergers in interpreting Postumus' character, and some of them had family experience. Lindsey Davis, in an interview online with her editor, suggests a member of the Addams family, though.
None of the pupils I had in my class who were identified as having Aspergers were much like him, in speech, writing or behaviour.

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Brenda Clough
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Has he read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime ?

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Paul.
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Just finished Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. I enjoyed it but the many diversions and leisurely pace got a bit tedious toward the end - it is a long book.
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Sir Kevin
Ship's Gaffer
# 3492

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I agree. I cannot remember if I actually finished it or not. It's been years and it's probably on a shelf in my den.

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If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Writing is currently my hobby, not yet my profession.

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Sir Kevin
Ship's Gaffer
# 3492

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quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
Have just taken 'The Rosie Effect' to the Oxfam Recycling. Probably best read after reading 'The Rosie Project' by the same author (Graeme Simsion) as it continues the story of Don and Rosie after they get married. This is no normal marriage, but a meeting of two extraordinarily eccentric people who fate has brought together. Edge of your seat stuff, especially when you discover that they are going to have a baby...

I read the first book, but I did not know about the sequel. Must check with the library.

Currently re-reading Murakami's Norwegian Wood. It's one of the first books I read by him. I saw the film too, but I barely remember either: it's been a long time!

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If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Writing is currently my hobby, not yet my profession.

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Paul.
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Just finished City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett. A sort of fantasy murder mystery cum political thriller with you know, dead gods and magic and monsters and stuff.

It's good. It works as a page-turner, it has a compelling central character and it has some interesting things to say about religion.

Whether I'll pick up the sequel in a couple of months depends on what I'm reading at the time but I'll be tempted.

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Piglet
Islander
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I'm currently chugging through The Lady Queen by Nancy Goldstone. It's a factual account of the life of Joanna I, Queen of Naples, Sicily and Jerusalem in the mid-14th century, and while it's mostly a good read (and even quite unputdownable in places), the print is rather small (which I find a bit tiring), and there's sometimes rather more detail than may be necessary.

I doubt that it's one that I'll go back to, but it's interesting for its angles on a monarch I'd never heard of and her dealings with the popes and other rulers of Europe at the time.

[ 08. June 2015, 14:17: Message edited by: Piglet ]

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I may not be on an island any more, but I'm still an islander.
alto n a soprano who can read music

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Ariel
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# 58

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On a whim I sent off for "A Country Child" by Alison Uttley, which I haven't read since I was a child myself. The book works much better for an adult than a child: the descriptive passages of life in a deeply rural setting, a kind of fictionalized autobiography, are rich and beautiful and tell the story of an imaginative, sensitive child growing up on an old farm.

The whole thing comes across as set in a time period much older than 1930s Britain, and is a joy to re-read. If you liked reading Flora Thompson's "Lark Rise to Candleford" you will probably enjoy this one. (I mean "reading", the TV series bore little resemblance to the book.)

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georgiaboy
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Still unpacking from a recent move, I happened upon 'Five Novels of Ronald Firbank,' which I didn't even know that I possessed!

I'm just finishing the first in the volume 'Valmouth.' I can only describe the prose as 'swimming in a lake of absinthe-flavoured cotton candy,' -- it is that treacherous and habit-forming.

Fortunately all the novels are brief, otherwise I'd be lost for days. I can't wait to dive into 'Concerning the Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli.'

I can't decide if this is high art, high camp, or high porn. It seems to be at least some of all three!

Stay tuned!

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You can't retire from a calling.

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georgiaboy
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Still unpacking from a recent move, I happened upon 'Five Novels of Ronald Firbank,' which I didn't even know that I possessed!

I'm just finishing the first in the volume 'Valmouth.' I can only describe the prose as 'swimming in a lake of absinthe-flavoured cotton candy,' -- it is that treacherous and habit-forming.

Fortunately all the novels are brief, otherwise I'd be lost for days. I can't wait to dive into 'Concerning the Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli.'

I can't decide if this is high art, high camp, or high porn. It seems to be at least some of all three!

Stay tuned!

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You can't retire from a calling.

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Eigon
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# 4917

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I've finally got round to reading Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie - I read enough to vote for her in the Hugos last year, and was delighted when she won (and the Nebula).
So I now find myself with a craving for tea, and a vague feeling that I should be wearing gloves.
I like Breq/Justice of Toren, and the whole idea of her controlling vast numbers of ancillaries who are only slightly more than re-animated corpses when she was a warship - which is creepy, from a human point of view, but not from the point of view of the AI, now reduced to just one of those ancillary bodies.
I even liked Seivarden, the recovering drug addict who had once been one of her officers - and of course, Lieutenant Awn, her favourite officer in the flashback sequences of the book.
And of course, they're all "she". To show how the Radch language doesn't mark gender, Ann Leckie switched round the usual way of doing it, to give the reader something to think about (Seivarden, at least, is definitely male).

So now I'm looking forward to the sequel.

And for something completely different, the next book that came off my "to be read" pile was Comrade Don Camillo, where he goes to the Soviet Union with Peppone, the Communist mayor.

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Laugh hard. Run fast. Be kind.

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venbede
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# 16669

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quote:
Originally posted by georgiaboy:
Still unpacking from a recent move, I happened upon 'Five Novels of Ronald Firbank,' which I didn't even know that I possessed!
Fortunately all the novels are brief, otherwise I'd be lost for days. I can't wait to dive into 'Concerning the Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli.'

There is a wonderful musical of Valmouth by Sandy Wilson, the composer of The Boy Friend. A highlight is Cardinal Pirelli's tango, The Cathedral of Clemanza.

(Search "Valmouth" on youtube for complete recording.)

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Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

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Welease Woderwick

Sister Incubus Nightmare
# 10424

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Last night I finished my umpteenth reread of The Lord of the Rings - still good - and then today I picked up Nevil Shute's On the Beach. I love his very spare writing especially when dealing with such a tough topic. I am enjoying it, I think.

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Tree Bee

Ship's tiller girl
# 4033

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quote:
Originally posted by Welease Woderwick:
Last night I finished my umpteenth reread of The Lord of the Rings - still good - and then today I picked up Nevil Shute's On the Beach. I love his very spare writing especially when dealing with such a tough topic. I am enjoying it, I think.

I love both of those. Nevil Shute's writing is so immediate; you feel you are there. Note to self: time to read Lord of the Rings again.

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"Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple."
— Woody Guthrie
http://saysaysay54.wordpress.com

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Penny S
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I'm reading through all Lindsey Davis' "Falco" books, which is helpful in picking up long story threads which weren't so apparent when reading as they were published.
But I'm getting quite fed up with errors. Not the one I just found a note from my Dad about. Going south over the Tamesis from Londinium and turning to the west to get to Rutupiae, aka Richborough in East Kent. (I don't know the excuse for that - I think the author lives in Greenwich, which figures in the book.)
No, it's the errors which show that editing was carried out by spell-checker, umpteen homophones, and an intrusive apostrophe. In one case, Brother was transmogrified to Border. (I assume from a typo as Borther). I keep wanting to get out my *green pen and write Sp in the margin. The latest was a Celtic warrior with a torque round his neck. Others only required the average human eye, not an educated one, to be put right.

*Red is too upsetting and aggressive.

[ 12. June 2015, 12:09: Message edited by: Penny S ]

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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You should complain to the publisher, whose duty it is to edit and copyedit. They are relying upon computers, but to have a real live literate human being read the final work is vital. The big houses have been throwing these essential support personnel under the bus for some years now, and it's starting to show. I have a nice little file of things that passed through spellcheck and automatic formatting, that is sad to see.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Jack the Lass

Ship's airhead
# 3415

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I've currently got a few books on the go, but am most pleased that I'm making progress with "War & Peace". My plan is to read it in a year, which works out in my edition at around 34 pages per week. I had got a bit behind, but am catching up so should be on course still to finish by the end of the year. It's taken a long time to get into, but I'm glad I've persevered, I'm now (on page 700-and-something) starting to appreciate Tolstoy's writing and rich descriptions. I do though think he could have done with a more ruthless editor (5 or 6 chapters to describe one hunt? Really?), and I'm still not that mad on any of the characters, although bumbling Pierre is starting to grow on me a bit.

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venbede
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# 16669

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War and Peace.

I can get through some hard stuff - yep, I've read Ulysses.

But the Second Epilogue to W&P is dire.

I liked the hunt scene. The battle scenes go on a bit for my taste.

--------------------
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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I disliked that, after all this stuff about the Battle of Borodino, we never got to see the Battle of Borodino. All we got was people talking about it.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by Penny S:
But I'm getting quite fed up with errors.

Where no electronic copy of older books exist, a paper copy is deboned and fed through OCR software. They are then auto-spellchecked, formatted for ereaders and sold, all without a human eye ever passing over the text.

The publishers will be delighted for some free proof-reading though.

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Forward the New Republic

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Penny S
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These books are as first published, as I bought them as soon as they appeared on the market. It would be interesting to see if later editions have the same problems.
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georgiaboy
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# 11294

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Just sat up most of last night re-reading Barbara Tuchman's 'The March of Folly.'

In a single word -- Fantastic!

She examines 4 major military screw-ups, detailing the 'pride, vainglory and hypocrisy' which led the the ultimate defeats. While she never uses theological language, the theology is definitely there.
The events she analyses are:
  • The Trojan Horse episode of the Trojan War
  • The Renaissance Popes and the Protestant Reformation (Secession she calls it)
  • The British royal and parliamentary mis-handling of the American Revolution, and
  • the Viet Nam War
I learned a lot, and I'm going back to read it again!

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You can't retire from a calling.

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cosmic dance
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# 14025

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I am reading the works of George Eliot. I can't understand why it has taken me so long or how I missed out on this when I was younger. But she is probably more comprehensible to me now than she would have been when I was young.
May her name be revered wherever the glorious English novel is read.

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"No method, no teacher, no guru..." Van Morrison.

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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what did you begin with? I have yet to pick up MIDDLEMARCH. [LIST]

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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cosmic dance
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# 14025

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I began with Middlemarch, after hearing an interview on the radio with someone who had written about George Eliot's life and said that she re-read Middlemarch every year and always got something new out of it. I progressed to Daniel Deronda and from thence to The Mill on the Floss.

Just figuring out where I'll go next.

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Boadicea Trott
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# 9621

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Just finished The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks.
An interesting autobiography by someone who hated and flunked school in favour of familial farm work. He then ended up doing A levels at evening class, going to Oxford and going straight back into farming in the Lake District.

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Ariel
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# 58

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I heard an interview with him on the radio when his book came out - a fascinating story. I meant to look out for the book but then forgot about it, so thanks for that.
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Curiosity killed ...

Ship's Mug
# 11770

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I heard that interview too - isn't he working alongside the shepherding? Something with the UN and sustainable tourism? That consultation business is using the degree from Oxford. He's got a Twitter account that has nearly 67,000 followers. Also Buzzfeed article

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Welease Woderwick

Sister Incubus Nightmare
# 10424

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I have finished On the Beach having taken it slowly, or as slowly as I can, so I can/could savour it. It is bleak! I'm not ashamed to say that I had a little weep at the end.

What I love about his writing is that he writes about ordinary folk in extraordinary situations - and he does it so well!

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Sir Kevin
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# 3492

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quote:
Originally posted by venbede:
War and Peace.

I can get through some hard stuff - yep, I've read Ulysses.


Maybe I should re-read it. Today is Bloom'sday. Maybe we'll just go out to hear some Irish music tonight.

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Writing is currently my hobby, not yet my profession.

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Badger Lady
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# 13453

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
what did you begin with? I have yet to pick up MIDDLEMARCH. [LIST]

I began with Middlemarch but I listened to it as an (30 hour!) audiobook read by Juliet Stevenson. If you listen to audiobooks I highly recommend this version. Towards the end of the book I was taking longer routes so that I could listen to more and find out what happened.

I've now read Silas Marner and have Mill of the Floss downloaded to listen to soon.

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Eigon
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# 4917

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John Brunner is pretty bleak, as well - I've just finished Total Eclipse, and it's like the last scene of Hamlet! Piecing together how the alien society worked from the archaeological remains was fascinating, though.

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cosmic dance
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# 14025

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Hi Badger Lady, nice to meet another George Eliot fan. I haven't read Silas Marner yet although my husband assures me he was required to read it at school and liked it because it was "nice and short".

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"No method, no teacher, no guru..." Van Morrison.

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Paul.
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# 37

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Just finished Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.

I'd never read it, saw it in the library and thought, "hey it's quite short".

It may be short but it's written in a kind of poetic language that's hard to read easily - for me at least. I had to keep going back through paragraphs to check whether something had actually happened. I get that he was probably trying to create a particular mood by use of language but it tripped me up a lot.

Overall I'm glad I read it, but it was a bit of a slog.

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Jane R
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# 331

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Penny S:
quote:
The latest was a Celtic warrior with a torque round his neck.
Ooh, that sounds painful... could he turn his head through 180 degrees like an owl?

I read Middlemarch for the first time last year, when I got the job of indexing an academic book about George Eliot's work. I felt quite smug about not needing to read the footnotes to understand (most of) what she was talking about.

But the thing that really stood out to me, that would probably have gone right over my head when I was a teenager, was how well suited Dorothea and the Doctor would have been, if Society had allowed them to get married. She would have supported him in his work; she was probably rich enough to fund his research. He was related to the nobility, so he could have held his own with her friends and relations. Sixty years later, nobody would have raised an eyebrow if a rich young aristocrat had married a doctor; they were too busy being scandalised about Lady Mary Wimsey marrying a policeman...

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Zappa
Ship's Wake
# 8433

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Of late I have been galloping through Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's three novels. Simply wow. And ouch, come to think about it.

Also reading The Luminaries, a massive tome, with a distinct feeling that, 5/8ths of the way through (500 pages in, in other words), I am slightly underwhelmed.

When I finish that I'll read The Anchoress, which just arrived and which looks good.

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and mayhap this too: http://broken-moments.blogspot.co.nz/

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Ariel
Shipmate
# 58

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quote:
Originally posted by Paul.:
Just finished Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.

I'd never read it, saw it in the library and thought, "hey it's quite short".

It may be short but it's written in a kind of poetic language that's hard to read easily - for me at least. I had to keep going back through paragraphs to check whether something had actually happened. I get that he was probably trying to create a particular mood by use of language but it tripped me up a lot.

Overall I'm glad I read it, but it was a bit of a slog.

Strangely enough I'm just about to send off for this. I had a copy when I was at college and thought I'd like to re-read it. From what I remember of it, it's an odd sort of book but I liked it at the time. Just not enough to keep indefinitely.

[ 15. June 2015, 10:57: Message edited by: Ariel ]

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