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Old 05-18-2017, 12:43 AM   #16301
TheHip41
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

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Read 52 Pickup by Elmore Leonard for about the fourth time. The opposite in description from James Lee Burke. Both writers good and worth reading.


I remember watching this movie when I was like 12. So much boobs.
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:34 AM   #16302
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

Reading in Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald considered it his masterpiece and was disappointed by its reception. It has a bit too much authorial intrusion for my taste, but that was more common and acceptable in Fitzgerald's day. It tells a story more complex and nuanced than Gatsby and is at least Gatsby's equal.
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Old 05-21-2017, 06:25 PM   #16303
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

I'm halfway thru Richard Russo's Everybody's Fool. I have mixed feelings about this. At times I feel Russo is trying to stretch thin gruel to make it more than it is, trying to make a middle brow novel come off as literary. It's trying so hard to be funny with all the characters little quirky anecdotes that it starts seeming sweaty and desperate. The characters are mostly pathetic horrible people verging on caricature, so it's also a little depressing.

I liked his Empire Falls and Straight Man books, but I'm not really feeling this one.

edit: most of the people aren't really that horrible, to be fair. Just blue collar folks that life has kicked around.
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Old 05-22-2017, 06:17 AM   #16304
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

Tess of the D'Urbervilles is the first Thomas Hardy I've read. Victorian love story between a milk maid with a noble name and an atheist from a religious family. The novel's got a couple twists I didn't much like, but it is a good story and well-written.

The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison. Fun, fast-paced sci-fi heist story follows con man Slippery Jim DiGriz who is recruited into a special corps of rehabilitated con men. The plot isn't particularly slick, but the book still has an engaging, down-n-dirty style that I like.

And I also read Frederik Pohl's classic sci-fi book Gateway. Frame story told from the analyst's chair about a space miner who is dredging up traumatic experiences. So you've got your standard Freud / Oedipal references, but wrapped around a cool story about an abandoned FTL civilization whose ships humans use to discover new worlds. The book is clearly a setup for future books, but as far as series intros go, it's a good one.
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Old 05-22-2017, 12:10 PM   #16305
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

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I'm halfway thru Richard Russo's Everybody's Fool. I have mixed feelings about this. At times I feel Russo is trying to stretch thin gruel to make it more than it is, trying to make a middle brow novel come off as literary. It's trying so hard to be funny with all the characters little quirky anecdotes that it starts seeming sweaty and desperate. The characters are mostly pathetic horrible people verging on caricature, so it's also a little depressing.

I liked his Empire Falls and Straight Man books, but I'm not really feeling this one.

edit: most of the people aren't really that horrible, to be fair. Just blue collar folks that life has kicked around.
Did you read Nobody's Fool first?
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Old 05-23-2017, 02:56 AM   #16306
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

I pity the fool*.


*Well, someone had to say it so it might as well be me.
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Old 05-23-2017, 05:55 PM   #16307
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

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Did you read Nobody's Fool first?
I did not, I did see the Paul Newman movie way back when though. Paul Newman GOAT, although that was not one of his better ones.

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Old 05-23-2017, 08:00 PM   #16308
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

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I did not, I did see the Paul Newman movie way back when though. Paul Newman GOAT, although that was not one of his better ones.
I barely remember it, to be fair. From the looks of the imdb reviews, it looks like it's actually pretty good, maybe I'll rewatch it.
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Old 05-24-2017, 10:26 PM   #16309
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

joy of x

the precipice
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Old 05-25-2017, 11:57 AM   #16310
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

Reading short stories in Sixty Stories by Donald Barthelme. Barthelme is not my cup of tea, but I give him credit for trying to do something new and different (which is very difficult), and not just trying to write a better standard short story.
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:30 PM   #16311
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

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Tell us if you find any good parts [in the Bible].
Is this a joke, I take it you haven't read it?

The bible is an incredible read - in parts sexy, hilarious, dark, heartwarming, filled with death and destruction, totally classic redemption of a main character, and some incredibly boring parts you can quickly skim. Plus the original dystopian ending with dragons and whatnot.

Anyone who can read Song of Solomon without getting a little turned on is a robot.

Anyone who can read Job without laughing [or crying] hysterically is dead.

It's top 5 GOAT hilarious chapter, maybe even #1.
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:31 PM   #16312
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

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I'll give another thumbs up to Martin Cruz Smith's Gorky Park. A couple times I found myself wondering whether I'd missed clues or the narrative had run astray (common occurrence for me in mysteries, especially on audio when it's tough to go back and skim a section). The stolid Russian atmosphere, detailed descriptions, and of course Arkady Renko's character make it more than worthwhile.
Funny I just re-read it for the nth time if I hadn't said. Stil so so good. Renko one of the best detectives ever.
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Old 05-30-2017, 10:28 PM   #16313
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

This Waylon Jennings' autobiography is the best celebrity bio I've ever read, it's ****ing amazing. What a life. Partial credit to the ghostwriter Lenny Kaye too.
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Old 05-31-2017, 04:56 AM   #16314
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

More epic space opera, as I finished off the second part of the story which began with Pandora's Star, Judas Unchained. Peter Hamilton seems to hit all his beats, but I came out feeling flat. The plot is so huge and there are so many storylines and characters, with so many of these lacking differentiation from one another, that my little brain couldn't follow. The books are put together nicely, but the story crumbles under its own weight.
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Old 05-31-2017, 08:07 AM   #16315
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

I'm sure there's a few Mark Bowden fans in here (Black Hawk Down, Killing Pablo, etc). His new book, Hue 1968, comes out on June 6, just a FYI. I'll be reading it.
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Old 05-31-2017, 12:39 PM   #16316
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

Just about finished with:

Neptunes Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal
by James Hornfischer

Hornfisher is the nuts when it comes to writing about the Naval history of the Pacific theater of WWII. This is one of my favorite historical subjects and his writing of it is awesome. Being a former surface warfare officer may give me a bit of bias though since I am enamored with Naval history and the ships that fought in WWII. A year or two ago I wrote here about another of Hornfischers books The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors which I still consider the greatest battle history I have ever read. Neptunes Inferno is a close second.

There were several naval battles just off of Guadalcanal in a very short period of time. At that early portion of the war the U.S. Navy was in much disarray and short of both supplies and ships. But they had to stave off the "Tokyo Express" which was continually resupplying the Japanese troops at night when aircraft were ineffective. The only way to stop it was by sea and at night. The U.S. Navy had very little experience or expertise at night time naval battles.

The stories of the ships involved and the men on them and the hellish battles that ensued I found totally riveting. Even as an ex-Navy man I had no idea ships could withstand so much punishment and stay in the fight. I always assumed one or two hits and we were dead.

Every battle was tooth and nail. Every battle could have gone either way. Many mistakes were made on both sides. But I guess I don't have to worry about spoiling the fact that the US carried the day. If it hadn't and it was damn close, things would have been much different.

I have read a good deal about the ground troops at Guadalcanal and they went through hell but the Navy had it just as bad if not worse. In these battles3 sailors died for every ground troop killed at Guadalcanal.

Hornfischers other books are definitely going into my must read list. If you like Naval history or Pacific theater WWII history or books about heroic battles I highly recommend both Neptunes Inferno and The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors.
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Old 05-31-2017, 03:14 PM   #16317
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

I recently finished Thrawn, a very recent Star Wars novel about Thrawn's unlikely rise through the navy ranks in the Empire. As we all know, the Empire was xenophobic, so having an alien become a grand admiral in under 10 years was quite an achievement.

For fans of the Thrawn trilogy, this is worth a read. Otherwise, the book is not good enough to warrant going through it. The main character is awesome, but there are so many constraints from the Star Wars universe, that it's hard to really tell an epic story. The battle scenes and display of Thrawn's genius is pretty good and fun to read.
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Old 05-31-2017, 10:18 PM   #16318
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

probably 5/6ths the way through "Everybody Lies" a book by a data scientist who had access to google search data along with a bunch of other "big" datasets. very good. book is chock full with novel and interesting facts about humanity. many counterintuitive. weaves them together in a persuasive manner. broad but not deep, makes the case for how to use these huge data sets to understand humanity. more rigorous research needs to be done on the absurd number of fields he touches on. ive learned more about humans from this book than any other i've read this year.

so whats his 2p2 sn? fits the demo perfectly

also 3/4ths into "nothing is real and anything is possible" a fascinating novel on modern day Russia. very enlightening. terrifying. trump is using the same tactics.

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Old 06-01-2017, 12:51 AM   #16319
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

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Originally Posted by mrbaseball View Post
Just about finished with:

Neptunes Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal
by James Hornfischer
I don't know if it is still widely availible, but I like WWII naval history too and I found Japanese Destroyer Captain excellent.

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/03450252..._WX5lzb9A7HTR6
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Old 06-01-2017, 10:57 AM   #16320
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

Finished the short story collection Fire in the Hole (originally published as When the Women Come Out to Dance) by Elmore Leonard. An excellent collection of short stories. One obvious quality was that the older stories were the least developed in terms of prose and structure.

Leonard's characters are often caricatures of social stereotypes. He used the reader's response to those stereotypes to allow him to engage the reader by omitting descriptive details and qualities that he knew the reader would imagine (and thereby make the story the reader's story). Reading Leonard is like reading literary pulp fiction. His stories are easy and pleasurable and make a reader feel good. The structural construction of them is exemplary.
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Old 06-01-2017, 12:53 PM   #16321
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

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Is this a joke, I take it you haven't read it?

The bible is an incredible read - in parts sexy, hilarious, dark, heartwarming, filled with death and destruction, totally classic redemption of a main character, and some incredibly boring parts you can quickly skim. Plus the original dystopian ending with dragons and whatnot.

Anyone who can read Song of Solomon without getting a little turned on is a robot.

Anyone who can read Job without laughing [or crying] hysterically is dead.

It's top 5 GOAT hilarious chapter, maybe even #1.
Can I get another confirmation that the King James translation of the Book of Job is intentionally written to be laugh-out-loud funny?
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Old 06-02-2017, 01:34 AM   #16322
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

The Life of the Bee - Maurice Maeterlinck

The Power of Silence Against the Dictatorship of Noise - Robert Cardinal Sarah

The True Believer - Eric Hoffer (reread)
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Old 06-02-2017, 01:43 AM   #16323
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

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The Life of the Bee - Maurice Maeterlinck

The Power of Silence Against the Dictatorship of Noise - Robert Cardinal Sarah

The True Believer - Eric Hoffer (reread)
I've been rereading Hoffer since last January.
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Old 06-02-2017, 01:54 AM   #16324
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

Phat Mack

The autodidactic Hoffer was quite the icon in the 1960's. Eric Severeid held two, one-hour interviews with him on CBS during prime time. I cannot recall any other author being accorded such exposure on national television. Can you imagine any present day author being allocated even ten minutes on any one of the three major networks?

President Eisenhower mentioned "The True Believer" during a press conference. He also gave copies of it to his closest friends and advisors.

Can you imagine any President since Kennedy capable of grasping "The True Believer?" Certainly not Whacky Bush Doodle, Snoop Dogg Barry Obama nor Mr. Flying Trump Monkey!

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Old 06-02-2017, 06:35 AM   #16325
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Re: Books: What are you reading tonight?

I read the short story Sandkings by George R.R. Martin. It won the Hugo and the Nebula in 1980 (or 79). It's fantastic. I highly recommend it.
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