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Author Topic: Books Read in 2009  (Read 18354 times)
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lildrgn
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« Reply #160 on: August 03, 2009, 03:52:59 PM »

I finished The Last Detective by Robert Crais. It's about a private eye in Los Angeles and apparently part of a series. I'm going to try to track some down at the library today.

Side note: what's with all the authors having their characters refer to other characters by their last names? One thing about this book is that EVERYONE calls everyone by last name. It's kind of annoying. One of my pet peeves.
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jztemple2
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« Reply #161 on: August 05, 2009, 01:14:18 PM »

Latest books I've completed so far this year (and date completed):

"The Last Valley" by Martin Windrow 8/5/09 - A history of the First Indochina War, 1946-1954, with a focus on the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. A very, very good book, with lots of maps and extensive notes. The only downer might be that between all the French, Vietnamese and other foreign person and place names it sometimes becomes hard to keep track of things.

"Building The Suez Canal" by S. C. Burchell 7/29/09 - A history of the building of the canal. Doesn't go into any great detail at all, but does have a nice style to the writing. Plenty of excellent illustrations and period photographs.

"Roberts Ridge" by Malcolm MacPherson 7/28/09 - A very detailed retelling of the seventeen hour ordeals of shot down Navy SEAL and US Army Ranger teams during Operation "Anaconda" in Afghanistan. Very much in the style of "Black Hawk Down". Excellent book, very recommended.

“ENIAC” by Scott McCartney 7/26/09 - A history of the first electronic computer and the people involved. The first half concerns the conception, design and building of the first machine. The second half is about the two main inventors and their struggle to maintain their credit for their concept, and then how they went into business trying to sell them. Only the first half is really interesting, the rest dissolves down to discussions of lawsuits and people arguing over who did what.

"Dustoff: The Memoir of an Army Aviator" by Michael J. Novosel 7/24/09 - Exceptional first person tale of a man (wiki link) who entered the Army Air Force in 1940, rose up the ranks as a bomber pilot (but flew pretty much everything), retired, then re-entered the military early in the Vietnam War. Unwilling to return to the Air Force as a desk-bound colonel, he joined the Army as a warrant officer and ended up flying dustoff missions (combat medical evacuations) during two tours. And even after that there was a lot of interesting things he did. A story so amazing that no Hollywood writer would even consider it, yet it's all true. Very highly recommended.

"What Hath God Wrought" by Daniel Walker Howe 7/23/09 - Part of the Oxford History of the United States, covering 1815 to 1848. Very well done, considering not only the time covered but also the wide variety of subjects. Enough detail in each subject area to be interesting without bogging down in too much analysis or anecdotes.

"Death Ground" by Daniel P. Bolger 7/20/09 - A series of chapters covering various infantry-types in the modern US military, highlighting them by describing actions in which they were involved. For instance, parachutists in Panama in 1989, Rangers in Mogadishu in 1994, etc. Each chapter ends with a discussion of the unit structure and composition, which since publication in 2003 is probably out of date, but the stories are interesting.

"The Bullet Catchers" by Tony Geraghty 7/10/09 - Geraghty, a journalist, has written about the British SAS, mercenaries in ancient and modern times, and the British fight against the IRA in Northern Ireland. In this book he relates the history of bodyguards and other security types, from early in Queen Victoria's reign till 1989, the year of publication of the book. Very opinionated and somewhat reactive in his views, never the less a good deal of the book is entertaining and a lot is eye-opening regarding assassins, targets and the poor blokes in-between.

Link to my complete 2009 list below.
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« Reply #162 on: August 10, 2009, 04:07:33 PM »

Guests of the Ayatollah by Mark Bowden...

This book is a blow by blow account of the Iranian Hostage Crises of 1979-1980. It is an excellent book by the same guy who wrote Black Howk Down.

This book explains what the hostages went thru and what both sides were thinking. It covers the aborted rescue attempt.

I give the book 4 7/8 out of 5. The missing 1/8 is because I would have liked some pictures. There are a few in the book which just leads you to wanting more and since this was a made for TV event there are lots of pictures out there.
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« Reply #163 on: August 10, 2009, 06:06:58 PM »

Just finished Alive in Necropolis by Doug Dorst. Onto Collision by Jeff Abbott
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« Reply #164 on: August 11, 2009, 10:27:38 PM »

My (incomplete) list of books read so far in 2009:

Last Call by Tim Powers - This book hit every weak spot for me - Tarot, Poker, Fisher King, Vegas. Powers is maybe the most interesting modern fantasy author writing today and Last Call is a fantastic read. It's only flaw is really a backhanded compliment - while well paced, it has a lot of mythology and information coming at you and it can be very easy to get caught up in story, read past some of the mythology and then get lost a little later on because you weren't paying enough attention. Almost occasionally too deep and complex for my tastes. 4.5 out 5 stars.

Old Man's War by John Scalzi - I really, really enjoyed this one. Military space opera where the Earth is quarantined away from the rest of the galaxy by the Colonial Defense Force with the excuse that the universe is too dangerous - they then recruit elderly people from the earth who get remade into younger bodies - really good reads - I blew through this and the sequels (Ghost Brigades and The Last Colony) as fast as I could get hold of them. 5 out of 5 stars.

Android's Dream by John Scalzi - I'll let the Booklist description speak for the book:

An interstellar scandal explodes when a human diplomat assassinates an alien diplomat by farting at him, albeit using a scent-emitting communicator. To forestall interspecies war, the government enlists former war hero and current uberhacker Harry Creek. His mission: to placate the aliens by finding a unique form of sheep used in the aliens' upcoming coronation ritual. The sheep, in this case, turns out to be unassuming pet-store owner Robin Baker, whose genes improbably incorporate ovine DNA. Before Baker can be secured and summarily dispatched, however, Creek must contend with a succession of meddlesome adversaries ranging from a cult of sheep worshippers to alien thugs itching for interstellar war.

This book was hilarious and I'm now firmly ready to read anything Scalzi produces (as soon as I can get it from the library). 5 out of 5 stars.

Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling - The world changes when suddenly all technology from gunpowder onward mysteriously stops working. This book was decent - it had the feel of any of the post-apocalyptic novels I've read, except with a bit more Wiccan slant - one of the main characters is Wiccan and it is clear the author has an indepth knowledge of the religion. It occasionally felt like Wiccan recruitment. 3 of 5 stars.

The Mark by Jason Pinter - A young journalist gets caught up in a very very bad situation and is forced to run for his life. This book would make a good movie - it was paced well and the characters were interesting. It surprised me to find out that this was the first in a series of novels about the character - this book was very self contained. 4 of 5 stars.

Superpowers: A Novel by David J. Schwartz - 5 young adults suddenly gain superpowers and form a super team but being real life, run into problems. I was kind of disappointed in this - I was expecting more out of it. I don't know if it took itself too seriously or that it was just treading ground that has been done before and revisited recently, but I was not excited by this. 2 of 5 stars.

Infected by Scott Sigler - Science Fiction/Horror thriller where a strange disease is turning people into homicidal killers. Another one that read like a movie where I could almost visualize how the scenes would play out. Yet he manages to weave in a twisted black humor into a lot of it that somehow doesn't throw off the mood but increases it. This doesn't jump into literature, mind you - but it's a very good example of its genre. 4 of 5 stars.

The Fantasy Writer's Assistant: And Other Stories by Jeffrey Ford - Really good set of fanatstical short stories crossing from pure fantasy to fairy tale to modern day fantastical realism to WTF? If you're a writer, I think it is worth reading for the story the collection is named after - it was nominated for a Nebula and really speaks to the writer in us. I'd give it 5 stars if it wasn't for a couple stories that I read and then said "What the hell did I just read?" 4.5 of 5 stars.

The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie - Really interesting fantasy novels where every character is flawed - when the most sympathetic, interesting character is a crippled, lame sadistic torturer, you know you're not getting your standard sort of characters. A series where while I was reading them, I didn't feel like I was stunned by them, yet after finishing them realize that I really enjoyed them. 4.5 of 5 stars.

Black Ice, Black Echo, City of Bones - by Michael Connolly - Beach trip had me reading all sorts of mystery fiction. I enjoy these for the main character, even if the stories are somewhat formulaic. I'm not going to rush to get his latest stuff, but they're an enjoyable read if I'm given one. 3.5 of 5 stars.

Half a dozen James Patterson novels - They've all kind of blended together. I didn't realize Patterson wrote stuff other than Alex Cross - half the stuff I read were one off novels. It wouldn't surprise me if they were all lesser known writers put under the Patterson name to sell. These books really are the perfect example of literary fluff. 2.5 of 5 stars.

The Photographer's Eye - Michael Freeman - Fantastic book on composition in photography - a subject that seems to be ignored for the most part in mainstream photography books in favor of more technical information. This book has a fantastic set of example images and goes in depth about shapes, color, frame, lines, gestalt, and just about anything you can think of that would help you compose a better photograph. If you're at all interested in taking photographs, this book is worth reading. 5 of 5 stars.


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« Reply #165 on: August 12, 2009, 02:00:26 AM »

Quote from: Malificent on August 11, 2009, 10:27:38 PM

Black Ice, Black Echo, City of Bones - by Michael Connolly - Beach trip had me reading all sorts of mystery fiction. I enjoy these for the main character, even if the stories are somewhat formulaic. I'm not going to rush to get his latest stuff, but they're an enjoyable read if I'm given one. 3.5 of 5 stars.

FWIW, those are some of Connolly's weaker novels IMO.  The middle Bosch novels  (Last Coyote, Trunk Music, Angels Flight) and The Poet (not a Bosch novel) are my favorites.
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Malificent
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« Reply #166 on: August 15, 2009, 03:01:45 PM »

Just finished a couple more:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson - This is a fantastic modern day "locked room" mystery set in Sweden. The characters are complex and compelling, the plots are interesting without being overwhelming, and the look into Swedish culture and politics is neat. Its really too bad the author died right after handing in the completed manuscripts for his only three books. I need to get the sequel "The Girl Who Plays with Fire" as soon as I can. 5 stars out of 5.

The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston - Set around crime scene cleaning, I thought this was generally well done, but I honestly didn't like the way he handled dialogue - I occasionally got lost. Not a bad book, really, but not my style. 3 of 5 stars.

Roadside Crosses by Jeffrey Deaver - This was one my mom rented from the library and I read while I'm visiting. This book would be nothing special generally - standard crime fare. However, this one was made about 50 times worse to read because the main plotline revolves around a blogger and an MMO player. It is pretty clear that Deaver just did enough research to be dangerous and it becomes a very painful read very quickly when he starts making up terminology and mangling existing terminology, plus generally using hideous stereotypes. Stay far, far away from this. I'm not even sure why I finished this other than the fact that I'm a glutton for punishment. 1 star out of 5.
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« Reply #167 on: August 15, 2009, 03:31:26 PM »

Quote from: Malificent on August 15, 2009, 03:01:45 PM

Just finished a couple more:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson - This is a fantastic modern day "locked room" mystery set in Sweden. The characters are complex and compelling, the plots are interesting without being overwhelming, and the look into Swedish culture and politics is neat. Its really too bad the author died right after handing in the completed manuscripts for his only three books. I need to get the sequel "The Girl Who Plays with Fire" as soon as I can. 5 stars out of 5.

There is a movie out now for the above book, in case you didnt know. 98 percent of all that watched it loved (I didnt, hated it in fact), but it may be for you, if you like the book :-)
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Malificent
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« Reply #168 on: August 15, 2009, 07:46:15 PM »

Quote from: Razgon on August 15, 2009, 03:31:26 PM

Quote from: Malificent on August 15, 2009, 03:01:45 PM

Just finished a couple more:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson - This is a fantastic modern day "locked room" mystery set in Sweden. The characters are complex and compelling, the plots are interesting without being overwhelming, and the look into Swedish culture and politics is neat. Its really too bad the author died right after handing in the completed manuscripts for his only three books. I need to get the sequel "The Girl Who Plays with Fire" as soon as I can. 5 stars out of 5.

There is a movie out now for the above book, in case you didnt know. 98 percent of all that watched it loved (I didnt, hated it in fact), but it may be for you, if you like the book :-)

No, I didn't know that - I added it to the saved DVD portion of my queue on Netflix - I'd love to give it a shot.
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lildrgn
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« Reply #169 on: August 17, 2009, 05:19:25 PM »

Finished Alive in Necropolis by Doug Dorst and Collision by Jeff Abbott. Onto The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer by Philip Carlo.
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« Reply #170 on: August 17, 2009, 08:17:45 PM »

Latest I've read since my last update a few posts up. Links are to LibraryThing entries for the books:

"What If? Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been" edited by Robert Cowley - Gave up on this after a few of it's essays. A mixed bag of styles and content. The hoped for intriguing possibilities are overwhelmed by a lot of repetitive preambles, examinations and ruminations. Not recommended.

"The Fields of Bamboo" by SLA Marshall - Although Marshall's veracity as a military historian has been called into question, he does know how to tell an interesting story. This book covers three related operations in Vietnam. The story telling is down at the grunt level. He does criticize some of the command decisions, but doesn't wield an axe about it. The narrative is detailed about what was happening down at the level of the individuals, but he does tie back to the overall management of the operations as well. He has an eye for the ground as well (he surveyed the battle sites only days after) and thankfully stays away from a lot of contrived conversations.

“Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America” by Eric Jay Dolin - A very good book, covering from the very start in the early seventeenth century when beached whales were the attraction, through the golden age in the mid-1800s and up through the early twentieth century. Anecdotes, analysis and good narrative.

"Terry Jones' Medieval Lives" by Terry Jones & Alan Ereira - This book was released to accompany the BBC series, although the book is more than just the transcript of the series. Nothing too heavy, just some interesting tidbits and some revisionist looks at medieval times in England. Not many laughs either, but that really doesn't detract from the book.

"The Making of an African Legend: The Biafra Story" by Frederick Forsyth - This book was written during the Nigerian Civil War in the later 1960s, although Forsyth (who is very sympathetic to the Biafran cause) makes no bones about how it was really a case of the Biafrans being forced to attempt to be independent and then be invaded by the other tribes that composed Nigeria. The book is mostly composed of discussions of the political and other events that led up to the war, and the shameful behavior of Britain and other nations in their failure to prevent the resulting genocide. The book is rather hard to read as Forsyth is not trying to entertain, but to inform. Not recommended unless you need to get more information on this conflict.

"San Francisco's Cable Cars" by Joyce Jansen - A rather lightweight book that really more about the birth and growth of San Francisco than about the cable cars. Still, there's a goodly amount of info and lots of photos. Recommended if you have an interest in the subject.
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« Reply #171 on: August 19, 2009, 05:21:42 PM »

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« Reply #172 on: August 21, 2009, 03:59:52 PM »

"Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand

I read this about 15 years ago. This second time I had it on mp3.


Alt Text: Hey, what are the odds -- five Ayn Rand fans on the same train! Must be going to a convention.

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« Reply #173 on: August 26, 2009, 11:52:35 PM »

Whew! Finally finished Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA. Wow. Talk about one epic fail after another. I will say this - when the CIA actually scored a victory it was monumentally badass. Unfortunately, according to this book the true history of it is one of failure. It amazes me how every country in the history of the world has had an intelligence service worth a damn, yet the most powerful and wealthiest one ever does not. It's well written and very fascinating since it uses a lot of material just declassified in the last five years which shed a brand new light on the 50s and 60s. Fascinating stuff.
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« Reply #174 on: August 28, 2009, 10:06:23 PM »

Jingo......by Terry Pratchett

More fun from discworld involving Cmdr. Vimes, Captain Carrot and party.
I enjoyed the book but after reading four in this series now I think the newness is wearing off. This had it's moments but it is not nearly as good as books 1-2.


3 of 5
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« Reply #175 on: September 03, 2009, 05:24:29 PM »

Finished The Ice Man by Philip Carlo and am now reading The Pesthouse by Jim Crace.
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« Reply #176 on: September 07, 2009, 04:06:32 AM »

Latest update to my books read in 2009, with date completed listed.

"Other Powers: The Age of Suffrage, Spiritualism, and the Scandalous Victoria Woodhull" by Barbara Goldsmith 9/4/09 - I read about a hundred pages of this but finally gave up. It was moderately interesting in parts but mostly a dull read. Not recommended unless you are really interested in the subject.

"War In The Streets: The Story of Urban Combat from Calais to Khafji" by Colonel Michael Dewar 9/3/09 - The first half of the book was an overview of urban combat, too brief to be really interesting or illuminating. The rest was pretty good, discussions of techniques and hardware and policies. Recommended if you have an interest in this area.

"Seize The Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time" by David Prerau 9/1/09 - A nice general history of the DST. Actually there's a lot more to it than you might expect. Well written and recommended as a easy to read and entertaining history.

"Combat Swimmer: Memoirs of a Navy SEAL" by Robert A. Gormley 8/31/09 - Gormley joined up in the early sixties and his experiences range from Vietnam to Grenada. A pretty good read, although towards the end he does philosophize a bit and some people might find it less than interesting.

"How Steam Locomotives Really Work'' by P. W. B. Semmens and A. J. Goldfinch 8/28/09 - Truth in advertising! Over the course of several hundred pages the authors do tell you in great detail how steam locomotives work, from the reasons behind the designs of the firebox to the different ways to brake a train. Surprisingly readable, but recommended more for steam enthusiasts.

"Submarine Design and Development" by Norman Friedman 8/27/09 - This book is from 1984, so it doesn't have the latest info on subs of course. The book does trace the development of subs from the beginning and does so in much technical detail. Chapters cover esoteric subjects such buoyancy and noise reduction. Not a casual read by any means, but it does provide the reader with an excellent introduction (and more) to submarines.

"The Gold Ring" by Kennth D. Ackerman 8/23/09 - The author of "Dark Horse" explores the background and history of the attempt by Jim Fisk and Jay Gould to corner the gold market in 1869, precipitating a major financial crash and many scandals in the remainder of the Grant administration. It's a easy, entertaining read and the equal to "Dark Horse".

"Israeli Special Forces" (The Power Series) by Samuel M. Katz 8/18/09 - A standard entry in the Power Series. Katz does a credible job of detailing these forces, although he's a bit over the top in his praise.

"Benetton - Formula 1 Racing Team" - Alan Henry 8/18/09 - A disappointing history of the Benetton team, too much of an overview of the early history, and then too many interviews and non-pertinent details.
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« Reply #177 on: September 08, 2009, 11:27:44 PM »

Finished the Pesthouse. Now reading A Few Seconds of Panic.
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« Reply #178 on: September 10, 2009, 08:27:09 PM »

Wow, I finally finished a book. It's been a long time, and I'm trying to do some more reading (or audiobook listening).

I read The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold - It wasn't at all what I was expecting. I thought it would be more of a swords and sorcery affair, but it turned out to be a lighter "Song of Ice and Fire". It took a while to get going, and even then it never really hit full speed, but I enjoyed it enough. The sequel won the Hugo award, so I will be reading that next.

Earlier in the Summer I read Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's by John Elder Robison. I read this by request of a relative with a child with Asperger's, and it was quite interesting. Somewhat because it was educational, but moreso because the author just had a crazy life.
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« Reply #179 on: September 10, 2009, 09:23:55 PM »

Guess I haven't posted in here in a while.  I've been truckin' through the Repairman Jack series.  Finished The Tomb a while back and have since ripped through Legacies, Conspiracies, All the Rage, and just finished Hosts a few days ago.  Currently speeding through The Haunted Air.  There just something about F. Paul Wilson's writing style, the character of Repairman Jack, and the general flow of each story.  I get sucked in on the first page of each book and can't put them down until I'm done.  Great, fun, entertaining reading that is easy to speed through while I have so much else on my mind.
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« Reply #180 on: September 21, 2009, 06:21:36 PM »

Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana Jr....

Other than the sailing terms which really don't interest me, except for the amount of work required for a ship under sail, this is a very interesting book. It tells the true story of Dana's trip aboard a merchant ship in 1838 from Boston, around the Straight of Magellan to the California coast where he visits Santa Barbara, San Francisco, MOnterey, San Pedro, San Diego and other spots.

He describes the missions and life as it existed in those days. Living in California and having visited many of the sites described, I did enjoy this book.

**** out of 5
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« Reply #181 on: September 23, 2009, 01:18:04 AM »

Latest books read:

"Triangle: The Fire That Changed America" by David Von Drehle 9/22/09 - The Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in 1911 killed 146, mostly women, in a horrible and very highly public fire. Yet the book is far more than this, it tells the story of the Eastern European immigrants who found themselves forced to work for little pay in difficult conditions. It also relates the tale of New York politics as it dealt with the influx of foreigners who were first regarded as outsiders but soon became a crucial part of the Tammany Hall voter base. It also follows the post-fire investigations, the trial of the owners, and the eventual flood of legislation that eventually changed the world of American labor.

"Tan Phu: Special Forces Team A-23 in Combat" by Leigh Wade 9/20/09 - Yet another Vietnam memoir, somewhat unique in that it's focused on Wade's first tour in Vietnam in 1963, well before the major involvement of US troops. As a personal memoir it's rather run of the mill, but as a combat history it's rather interesting.

"Rum: A Social and Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776" by Ian Williams 9/16/09 - Williams provides an interesting take on the genre highlighted by books like "Salt" from Mark Kulansky. We learn not only the history of the origin of rum and it's place in world trade and the development of the Caribbean colonies, but how rum played a major role in the American Independence movement. Interesting, provocative and wonderful story telling.

"The Battle For Saigon: Tet 1968" by Keith William Nolan 9/15/09 - Nolan has written a number of histories of battles in Vietnam and this is one of the best. Nolan relates the battles at the level of individuals, full of action, but ties the individual fights together into an interesting narrative.

"Out in the Midday Sun" by Kate Caffrey 9/14/09 - A superb history of the fall of Singapore. A truly outstanding book. The first half deals with the events leading up to the fall of Singapore. The second half covers what happened to the surrendered Allied troops, their work on the railway through Siam to Burma, and their eventual release at the end of the war. Instead of being a depressing story of the prisoner's lives, a good deal of it was about how they adapted, survived and even thrived in some truly horrendous conditions. One fascinating chapter deals with language; how prisoners and captors adapted to each other's language and customs. Another discusses how the prisoners kept active by reading, playing music, learning, and many surprising activities.

"Cutthroats: The Adventures of a Sherman Tank Driver In The Pacific" by Robert C. Dick 9/10/09 - Written a half century after the events, this narrative covers Dick's service from before Pearl Harbor to his discharge in San Francisco, including the only actions he actually saw in Leyte and Okinawa. Fairly standard stuff, but he's a good writer and tells an interesting story. One thing that always annoys me a bit is how a half-century after events he manages to recreate pages after pages of detailed conversations, but that's pretty standard in most non-fiction nowadays.

"Delta: The History of an Airline" by W. David Lewis and Wesley Phillips Newton 9/10/09 - A rather standard (and admittedly dull) airline history.

"Dusty Warriors" by Richard Holmes 9/8/09 - Noted military author Holmes serves as historian and journalist as he relates the experience of the Princess of Wale's Royal Regiment tour in Iraq for six month of 2006. Related through interviews, narration and his personal experiences in-country (he is a colonel of the regiment), Holmes does a splendid job of telling what it was like for the soldiers before, during and after their tour. The British experience in Iraq is surprisingly different than what you might read in American memoirs.
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« Reply #182 on: September 25, 2009, 03:04:07 AM »

Figure now is a good a time as any to jump in on this one.  Many of these were re-reads from years ago, but I'll count them anyways.  smile

It - Stephen King - B- (would have been a B+ if not for the ridiculous ending)
Salem's Lot - Stephen King - B (not nearly as scary as I remembered)
The Long Walk - Stephen King - A-
Rage - Stephen King - A
The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss - B+ (first 3/4 were fantastic, but the ending dragged a bit.  Still, an impressive debut)
Animal Farm - George Orwell - A (can't believe I never read this one before)

I know I'm forgetting some...will have to update more later.
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PeteRock
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« Reply #183 on: September 25, 2009, 05:00:47 PM »

Finished The Haunted Air by F. Paul Wilson while traveling to Philly and almost finished with Gateways.  Loving the Repairman Jack universe and it seems to keep getting better with each book.
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« Reply #184 on: October 02, 2009, 07:30:06 PM »

I'm 50% through Storm of Swords.  Reading it on the Kindle which is great, but one thing I don't like is that they don't really give you page numbers.  So I looked it up on Amazon to see how long it is, and the paperback version is over 1200 pages eek  Figured I should post since now I've basically read one fairly large novel's worth.
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Isgrimnur
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« Reply #185 on: October 02, 2009, 08:21:06 PM »

Page numbers are kind of arbitrary when you can change the text size.
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« Reply #186 on: October 02, 2009, 09:08:29 PM »

Quote from: Isgrimnur on October 02, 2009, 08:21:06 PM

Page numbers are kind of arbitrary when you can change the text size.

Yep, that's their justification too.  The location readout is completely non-sensical to me though.  The percentage works fine.  Page numbers would just feel right smile
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« Reply #187 on: October 02, 2009, 10:39:47 PM »

Yes, it has taken me quite some time to get used to going without page numbers.  Percentage just isn't the same. 

What really bugs me, though, is when publishers don't annotate the chapters on the progress bar.  One of my few issues with the Kindle is that it isn't easy to page ahead real quick to see how close you are to finishing a chapter (always good when trying to find a natural stopping point for the night).  A well annotated progress bar goes a long way toward rectifying that but I've found quite a few titles that didn't bother to do it. 
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« Reply #188 on: October 04, 2009, 09:44:33 PM »

Quote from: jztemple2 on September 23, 2009, 01:18:04 AM

"The Battle For Saigon: Tet 1968" by Keith William Nolan 9/15/09 - Nolan has written a number of histories of battles in Vietnam and this is one of the best. Nolan relates the battles at the level of individuals, full of action, but ties the individual fights together into an interesting narrative.

I usually only lurk this thread for good book suggestion and rarely comment, but I've been considering this book for a while. I really enjoyed this authors Sappers In The Wire and The Magnificent Bastards and also the book he coauthored with Dwight Birdwell; A Hundred Miles of Bad Road. I've read many a book on Vietnam going back to the mid 70's and Sappers in the Wire, along with Ed Rasimu's When Thunder Rolled, are the best I've ever read on military history of post WW II Vietnam. Sappers in the Wire is outstanding and absolutely shocking IMO.
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jztemple2
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« Reply #189 on: October 04, 2009, 11:30:51 PM »

Quote from: kronovan on October 04, 2009, 09:44:33 PM

Quote from: jztemple2 on September 23, 2009, 01:18:04 AM

"The Battle For Saigon: Tet 1968" by Keith William Nolan 9/15/09 - Nolan has written a number of histories of battles in Vietnam and this is one of the best. Nolan relates the battles at the level of individuals, full of action, but ties the individual fights together into an interesting narrative.

I usually only lurk this thread for good book suggestion and rarely comment, but I've been considering this book for a while.

Well worth getting, IMO. I have all of Nolan's books and this one is as good as any of the others.
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« Reply #190 on: October 04, 2009, 11:57:45 PM »

Finished A Few Seconds of Panic, tried Subterranean but couldn't finish it (humans and subhumans use thoughts to communicate because they don't understand each other's spoken language? For real??), started Soul Patch by Coleman and just finished that. Will be starting The Secret Speech by Smith tonight.
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« Reply #191 on: October 06, 2009, 05:49:19 PM »

Finished F. Paul Wilson's Gateways, now working through Crisscross
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« Reply #192 on: October 09, 2009, 01:55:05 PM »

I just finished Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane.  I thought it was fantastic.  If anyone has any recommendations similar to Shutter Island, let me know.

Eco
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« Reply #193 on: October 09, 2009, 06:08:33 PM »

Just finished The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith. Excellent wonderful book. Bleak, depressing, action-filled, hopeful and engaging, all at the same time. Now onto The Given Day by Dennis Lehane.
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« Reply #194 on: October 10, 2009, 12:45:31 AM »

Quote from: lildrgn on October 09, 2009, 06:08:33 PM

Just finished The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith. Excellent wonderful book. Bleak, depressing, action-filled, hopeful and engaging, all at the same time. Now onto The Given Day by Dennis Lehane.

Have you read Shutter Island?  Just curious, I'm considering reading The Given Day next as well.  I really did enjoy Shutter Island.
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« Reply #195 on: October 10, 2009, 03:17:38 AM »

I did read it and enjoyed it quite a bit. The two Smith books take place during the mid-50s in Russia. Same time frame, totally different setting. I'd also recommend City of Thieves by Benioff for another war type story.

Spoiler for Hiden:
No twists, like in Lehane's book,

 but still highly recommended.
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« Reply #196 on: October 13, 2009, 03:42:07 PM »

Anyone here reading Lev Grossman's The Magicians?  I'm not a fantasy fan, haven't read any Harry Potter (or even Tolkein), and I never liked the CS Lewis books, but this one take some of the conventions I didn't like in those books and throws a "real world" sense of dirt on them.  I
m about halfway through and am enjoying it quite a bit.

Check it out:  The Magicians
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #197 on: October 13, 2009, 03:45:33 PM »

Yes, I thought The Magicians was great.  I tend to think of it as "fantasy for those who don't like fantasy" (even though that isn't quite true because plenty of fantasy fans like me enjoy it).  I thought Grossman's overall theme of "be careful what you wish for" was well executed and I liked how Grossman portrayed young wizards as basically the equivalent well off young people whose families have a lot of money. 

I'm looking forward to the sequel. 
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Geezer
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« Reply #198 on: October 13, 2009, 04:07:01 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on October 13, 2009, 03:45:33 PM

Yes, I thought The Magicians was great.  I tend to think of it as "fantasy for those who don't like fantasy" (even though that isn't quite true because plenty of fantasy fans like me enjoy it).  I thought Grossman's overall theme of "be careful what you wish for" was well executed and I liked how Grossman portrayed young wizards as basically the equivalent well off young people whose families have a lot of money. 

I'm looking forward to the sequel. 

I haven't finished it yet - is there a sequel definitely planned/in draft, or is it just obvious from how it ends that there will be one?
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« Reply #199 on: October 13, 2009, 04:22:44 PM »

I read an interview with Grossman which said he would be writing a follow-up.  I believe Grossman said that the sequel will probably jump ahead several years. 

The book stands well on it's own and does a pretty good job at wrapping everything up (a couple of things a bit too neatly IMO). 
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