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First Quarter 2020 Reading

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17 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

I think you have confused A Room of One’s Own and A Room with a View. The latter is E.M. Forster, the former Virginia Woolf. Inread Room with a View recently too, and enjoyed it, although its not Forster’s best by any means - more a statement on how i rate his other work than a criticism of the text though

Yeah, that's it. I was actually aware of the Forster book, but for some reason it never clicked until now that their titles were actually different. This explains why a previous conversation with my Dad was so confusing though...

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4 hours ago, Leap said:

Yeah, that's it. I was actually aware of the Forster book, but for some reason it never clicked until now that their titles were actually different. This explains why a previous conversation with my Dad was so confusing though...

I’m confused, which one have you read? :P 

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8 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

I’m confused, which one have you read? :P 

read?

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John Le Carré's latest (2019); not a Smiley or Smiley people or Cold War or WWII.  It's all BREXIT Trump Russia etc. and the entire utter clusterfuck that is politics + intelligence -- and it is savage.  Like the author, the narrator views himself as a European, and the deliberate back turn on Europe and democracy in favor of a very few people in Russia, Saudi, US, etc. plundering all of it for power and obscene wealth, has him spitting angry -- and he despises them all.  With very good reasons.

Still, it is Le Carré, who has lost nothing of his writing power, and it is enthralling and page turning.

 

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9 hours ago, IlyaP said:

Listened to?

?

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4 hours ago, Leap said:

?

I was following the jokiness down the hole.

"Which book?"

"That one."

"He read it?"

"...listened to it?"

 

Just being silly for silly's sake! 

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I listened to S.C. Gwynne's Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War. Impossible to discuss the final year exclusively. excellent narrative and packed with detail. Backgrounds on key figures, campaigns, politics and society. I found the information on Clara Barton and battlefield hospitals and medicine extremely interesting. Also found Sheridan's campaign in the Shenandoah Valley and struggles with Mosby, about whom I knew relatively little.

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I finished Iain Banks' The Crow Road. I thought it was a good book, it does take quite a while for it to become clear where the plot is heading but even the early stages which feel more like a series of vignettes of things that happened to various members of the McHoan family is entertaining. Prentice is an entertaining narrator, it can be frustrating as he makes a sequence of incredibly poor decisions but he does at least develop as a character as the story moves along. I also liked the flashbacks to the previous generation, particularly those following Prentice's father in his younger days, I think some of the best writing in the book comes from Kenneth McHoan's storytelling to the children. While the book's main theme is death and how people cope with it, it didn't feel like a particularly gloomy book, there is plenty of humour in here (even if some of it is a bit morbid), and while the ending may be bittersweet it at least has some hopeful elements.

Now I've moved on to Ian McDonald's novella The Menace From Farside, a spin-off from his Luna series.

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10 hours ago, Astromech said:

I listened to S.C. Gwynne's Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War. Impossible to discuss the final year exclusively. excellent narrative and packed with detail. Backgrounds on key figures, campaigns, politics and society. I found the information on Clara Barton and battlefield hospitals and medicine extremely interesting. Also found Sheridan's campaign in the Shenandoah Valley and struggles with Mosby, about whom I knew relatively little.

This sounds to be something I want to read.

 

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2 hours ago, Zorral said:

This sounds to be something I want to read.

 

Yes, you do want to read it.

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2 minutes ago, Astromech said:

Yes, you do want to read it.

Ordered it!

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On 2/4/2020 at 5:56 AM, ljkeane said:

I finished The New Achilles by Christian Cameron. It's pretty good and the Roman conquest of the Greek world is an interesting period for a historical novel to cover but he's chosen a slightly odd focus for the book. I think I might have read a few too many of Cameron's books in fairly quick succession as they can start to feel a little similar in tone after a while...

Based on this recommendation, I picked up the local library's new copy of The New Achilles by Christian Cameron.  This was my first exposure to this author, and I enjoyed the story quite a bit.  I am a sucker for Hellenistic historical fiction, and I particularly liked the viewpoint of the protagonist, Alexanor, as a citizen of Rhodes.

The story of Philopoemen is not one most readers, including me, will be familiar with prior to beginning the book, but the historical character and his influence in Macedon, Crete and Achaean Greece is very interesting, and Cameron makes him worth knowing.  The challenges that face Alexanor are also interesting and intriguing, and I would have enjoyed learning even more about him and them.  Did his experimentation with dissection together with Leon lead anywhere new?  Did he and his family remain in Lentas?  What was the fate of the Romans sold east into slavery after the Battle of Cannae?  Did the Rhodians stamp out or support pirates?  How much time was left in the Wars of the Diadochi until the full weight of Rome came to bear on Crete?  How long did the integrity of the Achaean League last?  etc. etc.

Not quite Mary Renault, but still an enjoyable read.  Thank you for the recommendation.

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18 hours ago, Wilbur said:

How much time was left in the Wars of the Diadochi until the full weight of Rome came to bear on Crete? 

This book is based on a period a fair while after the Wars of the Diadochi finished. His Tyrant series is sort based around that period although it's fairly peripheral to the story. It's probably his weakest series for me.

If you liked Cameron's historical stuff he also writes some pretty decent fantasy as Miles Cameron.

Recently I've read Django Wexler's City of Stone and Silence. It's ok, I like Wexler's books and it's entertaining enough but it's very much a middle book in the series and it feels like it's mostly about setting up the next book. At the moment I've just started reading Mary Robinette Kowal's The Fated Sky.

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I finished Ian McDonald's The Menace From Farside. It's a much more straightforward story than the Luna novels in the same setting, it's got more of a YA adventure feel to it rather than the political manoeuvring of the Luna books. It was a fun read, particularly once the characters embarked on their expedition on the lunar surface and things start to go not entirely to plan. It was also interesting to see Lunar society a few decades before the novels when some of the key aspects of the setting are still being developed.

I've started Ben Aaronvitch's False Value, the latest book in his Rivers of London series (I went to a book signing a couple of days ago when Aaronvitch admitted that the series had the working title Magic Cops up until very near to the release date when his friend suggested Rivers of London). The main focus this time is a tech company who are presumably up to no good. I hadn't previously considered that there could be such a thing as too much Douglas Adams influence, but aspect of the company is a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference (the security department are the Vogon Enforcement Arm, for example). I like the way the cover art has a more cyberpunk feel to it while still fitting in to the traditional map design of the covers in the series (also, the cover glows in the dark).

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6 hours ago, williamjm said:

I've started Ben Aaronvitch's False Value, the latest book in his Rivers of London series (I went to a book signing a couple of days ago when Aaronvitch admitted that the series had the working title Magic Cops up until very near to the release date when his friend suggested Rivers of London). The main focus this time is a tech company who are presumably up to no good. I hadn't previously considered that there could be such a thing as too much Douglas Adams influence, but aspect of the company is a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference (the security department are the Vogon Enforcement Arm, for example). I like the way the cover art has a more cyberpunk feel to it while still fitting in to the traditional map design of the covers in the series (also, the cover glows in the dark).

Wooo!  Didn't know this was out, should now arrive by the time I'm done with A Little Hatred... Still haven't read The October Man yet, so I'll probably do that first.

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13 hours ago, RedEyedGhost said:

Wooo!  Didn't know this was out, should now arrive by the time I'm done with A Little Hatred... Still haven't read The October Man yet, so I'll probably do that first.

I suspect there won't be much plot cross-over between The October Man and the new book (although I could be wrong) so I'm not sure the order of reading would matter too much, although it's definitely worth reading anyway.

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I'm currently reading World War 1 by General S.L.A. Marshall. It's a one volume history of the war to end all wars, the author uses his experience as a soldier to write a clear and informative history of the war.

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