Books and things with words in them!

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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by sorenlorensen on Mon Mar 02, 2015 1:25 pm

Finished Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronivitch, latest in his series of books about PC Peter Grant of the Met Police's magic unit.  I love the series and Grant is a great character but this was the weakest of the books, I think because he was removed from his usual London beat and some of the threads from the previous book weren't focussed on but only mentioned in passing.  In that way, it seemed like a filler rather than the next in the sequence.

I also finished The Watcher in the Shadows by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.  I bought it because I liked the cover (which, obviously, one should not judge a book by Wink) and because the title sounded Lovecraftian.  A very easy read - I found out from the author's note at the end that it is a book for young adults (!) - but diverting enough.  It  tells the tale of a Parisian family that moves to Normandy and how they are affected by a mysterious (slightly sinister) toymaker.  And general spookiness - it is essentially a ghost story.

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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by dste01 on Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:24 pm

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

If you are not familiar with it it's about a near dystopian future where people pretty much live in a virtual reality world called OASIS. The creator of it dies and leaves an easter egg for people to find which will grant them ownership and money.

It's very cliched and in parts badly written but my god the pop culture refrences, especially for games, is fantastic. On that basis alone I would recommend reading it.
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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by dste01 on Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:38 pm

The autobiography of Alex Ferguson which was crap.

Not particulary a fan of the guy but he was massively successful and I thought that it would be an interesting read. Completely uninspiring, badly structued, doesn't go into any depth about anything and pretty much just goes off on tangents.

Don't bother with it would be my advice.
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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by dste01 on Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:27 pm

Started reading Extreme Rambling: Walking Israel's Separation Barrier. For Fun. by Mark Thomas.

I used to enjoy his programme so hoping the same for the book.
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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by sorenlorensen on Sat Mar 14, 2015 9:24 am

Finished Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandela this morning. Superb, best book I've read in years. It's set in America after/during/before (lots of flashbacks) a flu pandemic kills 99% of the population and it's how various people's  stories interweave with each pre and post. The main focus of the story is a touring theatre/music company and those in the company. It's a bit 'Last of Us' without clickers, or The Road, but not as grindingly depressing (not a criticism, I really liked the Road).

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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by dste01 on Sun Mar 15, 2015 7:50 pm

Finished the Mark Thomas book, was an interesting read.
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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by dste01 on Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:20 pm

Guardians of the Galaxy issues 1-12 from 2008.

It's the run that 'inspired' the recent film and is rather enjoyable. I own the first seven issues so it was nice to re-read them and then read issues 8-12 that I hadn't read before.
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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by dste01 on Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:48 pm

Started the autobiography of Steven Tyler, right away you can tell it's his autobiography. Laughing
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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by Wolvieware on Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:55 pm

I read that, and really enjoyed his unique style. Unfortunately, I think it goes downhill in the second half, as like many drug addicted rock and roll stars, it just starts going on and on about drugs, rehab and relapse, and gets a little boring. The inter-band feuds are interesting though.

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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by Wolvieware on Thu Mar 26, 2015 7:50 pm

I've just finished Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness by J Randy Taraborelli. It's a huge chunky book on the king of pop, and certainly starts off fascinating. It details his hard growing up under the ruthlessness of his father forcing him to perform. However, without that drive, he never would have reached the stratospheric heights he did. The best part of the book showed him assembling his team for his first solo efforts that lead to Thriller and Bad. It really showed how he was such a fantastic talent, his commitment and musical genius. It has exhaustive interviews, including from the man himself, and how much of MJs early celebrity stories were really just tabloid baiting, and worked to his advantage.

The book is split in two halves though - up to the Jordie Chandler abuse case, and then it was reissued ten years later with updated information. This second half of the book was less impressive. It barely touched upon the music (although to be fair, MJ didn't release much, or much good stuff) and focussed more and more on his wackyness. At some point, this clearly spun out of control. After reading this, I feel very sorry for him. He surrounded himself with yes men, and made poor choices. His constant "love" for children, despite the sexual abuse allegations, is something you would just not talk about or invite to your Neverland theme park due to the risk. I do personally think he was innocent. I think he was a target, and his peculiar life makes it harder to distinguish fact from fiction. But he never learnt from his mistakes, and as he got older, it's like he regressed, becoming more aloof and childlike, literally refusing to take responsibility. He would use his money to get his way. But this portion of the book was also poorly written and used a lot of writers opinion, rather than resourced articles and facts.

It's a shame the book ends a few years before his death, as it feels like it's not complete. I had to resort to looking up online to finish off the story to his death. 

Overall, I feel his talent should not be overshadowed by his indulgent lifestyle, and that if he had done things differently, or had different people in his entourage, he would have been a fairly normal person. As it is, I think there are many things we will never really know about him, especially as he was purposefully contradictory to the media. It also seems people he employed or were friends and family make up lies and half truths about him. The picture will never be clear, but his music will always remain. And watching some older videos of him online will remind you of his stunning stage act. 

This book, unfortunately, has a fascinating first half, let down by a poor ending, not too disimilar to its subjects life....

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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by MarkySharky on Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:30 pm

Finished Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child the other day. It's the 13th book in the 'Jack Reacher' series and was unfortunately the worst so far. It's starts off well and is very tense but slowly loses it's way and becomes very repetitive and dull sadly.

I've started reading the next one which 61 Hours. This is the last one I had read before I had a break from the books and have now caught up again. This was a pretty good one from memory.
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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by Wolvieware on Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:14 pm

Finished a couple of books today. 

First up Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I've actually been reading this on and off since June last year. It's such a heavy, dense book that I had to take it in stages. While critically acclaimed as a classic I can't agree. The main story is epic and very good. If the book was condensed to 400 pages with this main story it would be a classic. But actually the book is 1300 pages long and so full of incidental detail that you end up reading unnecessary waffle. It may set the scene, or be wonderfully and excruciatingly detailed, but 70 pages on the history of Waterloo is unnecessary. As is 40 pages on French sewers. And 50 pages detailing the street layout of Paris. So it took a lot of effort and frequent breaks to get through this. I'm glad I managed to do it though and as I say the main story is a classic. 

I also finished the much slimmer Mort by Terry Pratchett. A fitting book to read following his passing, as Death takes a day off from his day job and chaos ensues. I was surprised that despite being a fantastic concept and such a small book there's a massive narrative slump in the middle. I also don't remember there being so many flat jokes. But the book stands up for it's brilliant characters, Pratchett logic and genius hook. There are many better Discworld novels but this one really sets the standard being one of the first and it was a fitting tribute to remind myself of one of my favourite authors.

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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by sorenlorensen on Sat Apr 04, 2015 9:32 pm

I'm 30 pages from the end of my re-read of Mort and will finish tomorrow, most likely. I have to say I agree with you, Wolvie. It doesn't have the satire of later novels, being more of a straight comic fantasy built on an interesting idea of Death taking an apprentice . There are flashes of themes from the later books though - it's an interesting book to read in terms of seeing Pratchett's development as an author.

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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by dste01 on Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:29 am

Finally finished the Steven Tyler autobiography.

Was alright. A bit rambly a lot of the time and nothing really covered in depth.
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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by Wolvieware on Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:44 am

Finished Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm by Greg Keyes over a cup of tea this morning Smile it's a short novel that is full of grammar errors which makes me think it was a bit rushed for release but nevertheless it was pretty good. A very quick read with a fast pace and fills in the gap between the two movies, detailing some backstory to Koba and just generally being an interesting story filling in the timeline.

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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by dste01 on Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:07 pm

Read an Incedible Hercules (Marvel) graphic novel earlier today.

Had read the first half when I was buying comics so was nice to finally finish off the arc.
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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by aaroncupboard on Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:11 am

MarkySharky wrote:Finished Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child the other day. It's the 13th book in the 'Jack Reacher' series and was unfortunately the worst so far. It's starts off well and is very tense but slowly loses it's way and becomes very repetitive and dull sadly.

I've started reading the next one which 61 Hours. This is the last one I had read before I had a break from the books and have now caught up again. This was a pretty good one from memory.

61 Hours is the last Reacher book I read recently.  I completely agree that the series as a whole (I have been reading them in order...) has seen a marked decrease in quality.  The stories have become dull and predictable and seriously lacking the tension and excitement of the earlier books.  

I'm going to have a large break before returning to the series I think. 

I am currently reading NOS4R2 which, despite starting really well, has slowly become a bit of a slog.  I'm not sure I am entirely invested/interested in the whole Christmasland aspect.  The main antagonist is very creepy, but the obsession with Christmas is just a little bit annoying.  Otherwise, it has been a fantastic, fairytale like story.

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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by dste01 on Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:11 pm

Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben.

It's the first in his Myron Bolitar series and is doing the job so far. I've read one of them already so know what to expect and have read most of Coben's other books so know the formula of missing person/returns/plot twist etc.
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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by aaroncupboard on Sun Apr 19, 2015 7:49 pm

So finally managed to finish NOS4R2 this weekend and really enjoyed it.  Despite the drag in the second third, it picks up for a great finale that actually managed to restore the creepiness factor.  Overall, it was a thrilling, clever and twisted modern fairy tale in many ways and certainly the author's most ambitious work to date.  

It also had an amazing reference to his first book which I greatly appreciated.

Onto Half the World now by Joe Abercrombie.  It has been brilliant so far.

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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by Wolvieware on Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:42 pm

Just finished Revival by Stephen King. I've always wanted to like King but through either poor choice by myself I've always been underwhelmed by his titles I've chosen to read or he is just over praised. Fortunately this book is one of the best of his I've read. It's as easy to read as he ever he is and well plotted. It draws you in with a flashback style prose and almost feels like a biography - detailing the main characters life from child to elderly. Because of this it has a fantastic nostalgic feel to the book, and the themes of death and old age and memories are weighty and realistic. So if didn't really need the fantastical elements but as this is King they are there - the afterlife, crazy scientist experiments and bible bashing religion which was a bit heavy handed. But overall King is rightly considered one of the best.

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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by cal_el on Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:53 am

Grabbed the Tarkin Star Wars book yesturday which is the first in the new line of "official canon" novels for Star Wars. Looking forward to reading it.

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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by Wolvieware on Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:17 pm

Let us know what you think of it - I'd be interested in reading that too.

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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by cal_el on Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:42 pm

Wolvieware wrote:Let us know what you think of it - I'd be interested in reading that too.
I don't have a good track record with finishing the books I read Rolling Eyes but I'll let you know what I think as I go!

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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by sorenlorensen on Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:42 pm

Finished Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis.  A a private eye's trip through America's psychosexual underbelly in order to find the lost 'other' Constitution written by the USA's Founding Fathers.

I only picked it up as I knew of Ellis through his comic work.  An uneven read, though pretty fast moving.  Some of it could probably be found offensive to some.  As the PI traces the document, he encounters increasingly deranged folk.  No spoilers but 'Godzilla bukkake' is probably the least weird thing going on...

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Re: Books and things with words in them!

Post by Wolvieware on Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:17 pm

cal_el wrote:
Wolvieware wrote:Let us know what you think of it - I'd be interested in reading that too.
I don't have a good track record with finishing the books I read Rolling Eyes but I'll let you know what I think as I go!

Is that because they don't have pictures... Razz

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