What book are you reading right now?

quote:
Originally posted by GFFJ:

Dear Mark,

This is a link to the original thread! Long since locked through being inactive for too long!

ATB from George


I didn't think it was that far back, George!

I can't believe it dropped of the radar. All the more reason for the revival!
There was another that I started of the same name which came after that one dropped away [which I could not find], which also ran for long while, but the subject needs feeding the occasional post from the starter. Your job, now - once a month - to post something interesting on it, dear Mark!

ATB from George

PS: Gordon started it! It was a long time ago!
quote:
Originally posted by winkyincanada:
Yes, a ripping yarn. Try also Moneyball and Liar's Poker.


I am going to. The Big Short is his only book I read so far. I heard that Lewis did some interesting writing about football and baseball (which I am not interested in). Who knows? some day he may decide to write about crude oil trading...
quote:
Originally posted by Haim Ronen:
quote:
Originally posted by winkyincanada:
Yes, a ripping yarn. Try also Moneyball and Liar's Poker.


I am going to. The Big Short is his only book I read so far. I heard that Lewis did some interesting writing about football and baseball (which I am not interested in). Who knows? some day he may decide to write about crude oil trading...


Moneyball isn't really about baseball, and Blind Side isn't really about football; although he uses those sports as a backdrop.

And yes, Lewis' take on commodities trading would be potentially interesting.


This is part 3 in the series. It and part two (God Emperor of Didcot) were pretty enjoyable in a 'Carry On Up Uranus' kinda way. The first book wasn't all that IMO, clearly finding his feet and abit patchy but the last two are funny, easy reading stuff. You need the first one though just to get everyone introduced.

If you don't like childish, bodily function gags, you won't like this. However, if you like a good knob joke...

Did make me laugh.
On my recent holiday Charles Dickens: David Copperfield. Magnificent.

I'm steadily working my way through all his books these last couple of years. My youthful impression of Dickens was dreadful Sunday teatime BBC2 adaptations with lots of ugly people and funny names but I find his books rich, funny, warm and full of soical compassion. A friend told me that everyone should read Dickens-could not agree more. Start with Great Expectations if you want a place to begin.

Bruce
nicnaim
I read this a little while ago on a recommendation from my father. It is fascinating. I was astonished how tribal/fuedal areas he passed through were and how desolate they were. And that maybe, is part of the reason that they remain so fuedal. There is so little there to eke out any living nevermind society on, it seems to have resulted in such a rigid and authoritarian social structure.

a very worthwhile read.
atb
james
quote:
Originally posted by Bruce Woodhouse:
On my recent holiday Charles Dickens: David Copperfield. Magnificent.

I'm steadily working my way through all his books these last couple of years. My youthful impression of Dickens was dreadful Sunday teatime BBC2 adaptations with lots of ugly people and funny names but I find his books rich, funny, warm and full of soical compassion. A friend told me that everyone should read Dickens-could not agree more. Start with Great Expectations if you want a place to begin.

Bruce

Hi Bruce.

I always meant to read Dickens, like you last time was at school.

Your post has forced my hand at last, I'll get one to start at random on Saturday.

Cheers, Paul.


A very interesting book on a subject I had only limited knowledge of.

I had no idea how much in the way of Allied resources Vichy took up on so many fronts. Gotta say, The French do not come out of it very well and it does not endear The Nation to the reader at all. However, I'm left with the impression that 'we' learned an awful lot about modern warfare in our engagements with them, particularly over decision making, which helped enormously in later battles with the stronger axis forces.
"Winston's War, Churchill 1940-1945" by Max Hastings

Aside from the fact that Max Hastings is a wonderful writer and historian you'd think there wasn't much new to cover here. You'd be wrong. Yes, the ground has been covered before, but the insights here make it a hard book to put down.
quote:
Originally posted by Clay Bingham:
"Winston's War, Churchill 1940-1945" by Max Hastings

Aside from the fact that Max Hastings is a wonderful writer and historian you'd think there wasn't much new to cover here. You'd be wrong. Yes, the ground has been covered before, but the insights here make it a hard book to put down.


Clay,

I heard last month Max Hastings in Chicago give a very good talk about his newest Churchill book. I read five of his books this year: Warriors, The Korean War, The Battle for the Falklands, Armageddon and Bomber Command.

Haim
Haim

I would have enjoyed hearing that interview. CSPAN used to do such interviews on a program called Booknotes which was superb. Emphasis was on authors of history and politics. You've got me on numbers of books. I've read Armageddon, Retribution, and now working on Churchill. Don't miss Retribution. Its portrayal of the end of the Pacific war is haunting and disturbing. Agree with the decision or not, you will understand in stark terms the logic behind the use of those two atom bombs.
Thanks for the recommendation, Clay. I will try to get Retribution down the road. I read too many Hastings in a row and I need a break from history books. I try to alternate between fictions and non-fictions.I am enjoying a lot now the short stories collection of T. C. Boyle.

By the way, Hastings talk was taped at the Pritzker Military Library. Perhaps you can obtain a DVD from them:

http://www.pritzkermilitarylib...bout/board-tracy.jsp
Continuing my habit of reading children's books ...

"The Ratastrophe Catastrophe" by David Lee Stone.

Bought it on recommendation from an ex-colleague who said "if you like Terry Pratchett you'll love this". BORING. Half-way through it and now speedreading just to see how it ends. Tries very hard to be funny, but the humour is puerile and very obvious. Won't be buying any more of his books.
quote:
Originally posted by Clay Bingham:
Haim

Thanks for the link. Interesting site. The last three fiction books have been "The Double Comfort Safari Club", Wolf Hall, and The Man from Beijing, all enjoyable.

Clay


Clay,

My friend who came with me to hear Hastings and is reading his Churchill book now says that the introduction in the book is almost identical to his speech so perhaps you shouldn't bother with the DVD.

If you enjoy Hastings you should read Rick Atkinson whom I heard at the same library:

http://www.liberationtrilogy.com/

He won the Pulitzer Prize for Army At Dawn.
The Weeping Goldsmith :discoveries in the secret land of Myanmar


John Kress, he is curator at Smithsonian Botanist and specializes in wild gingers,tho also heliconias and bananas . I heard him talk and bought the book. great pictures of Burma and had 5 trips. All about the environment, politics of gov't forestry, collecting, and the people. A travelog I could never do and the country is now closed off. A short talk with him was great fun during the signing.

quote:
Originally posted by nicnaim:
Having originally seen and really enjoyed the film of the first installment of the Millenium Trilogy, I thought that I would read the books books. I found that I could not put them down, and read all three in a week.

Regards

Nic






Just bought the first one today. It was on a shelf whilst I was waiting to pay for two cd's.

Looking forward to it, hope it's as good as the hype.
quote:
Originally posted by nicnaim:
Having originally seen and really enjoyed the film of the first installment of the Millenium Trilogy, I thought that I would read the books books. I found that I could not put them down, and read all three in a week.

Regards

Nic





Unputdownable now there is a word if it is a word you don't hear everyday!
quote:
Originally posted by ROTF:
Charles Hughes, The Winning Formula: The Football Association Soccer Skills and Tactics (1990)

What a great book - surely a must-read for all potential England managers.


It's a route one should take if one has serious aspirations towards football management.
quote:
Originally posted by ianmacd:
quote:
Originally posted by munch:
Got to the end of this today with my 5 year old son.

Such a good book.


Such a pile of shite (to use one of your favourite adjectives.)

Ian
My 5 year old son loves it.
We did the whole lord of the rings first.
My 28 year old son loves them as does my 25 year old daughter.
Do you read to your children at bed time?
quote:
Originally posted by nicnaim:
Having originally seen and really enjoyed the film of the first installment of the Millenium Trilogy, I thought that I would read the books books. I found that I could not put them down, and read all three in a week.

Regards

Nic




I'm currently rushing through the first, with the other two waiting in the wings.

Great reading so far!
As Mrs Lutyens who never reads couldn't put the first one down until the end, I have read just finished the first one and am waiting for her to complete the second so I can start that. (We have two copies of the third, so no problem there!). It was a really good read and Mrs Lutyens tells me No:2 is even better! I am astonished at the bizzareness of the baddies in these books but real life follows on very quickly...........think Austria/basements etc. I did give up reading patricia cornwall who seemed to just concentrate on the gore. Fortunately Larsson doesn't.
As to the translation, translation is always a difficult issue but yes some of it was a little 'loose'....'goalbird'? That said a friend who works in publishing says that it is quite often the case that a 'mistake' is placed in a book so that they can track fake copies from around the world.....so who knows 'goalbird' may be one of those.
Anyway, can't wait to start number 2.
atb
james
That set is next on my reading list - on the recommendation of my daughters.

Currently just finishing "City Of Glass", 3rd volume of "The Mortal Instruments" by Cassandra Clare. I was given the first by daughter #2 and my first thought was "more teenage vampire type stuff". Actually it turned out to be excellent and I rapidly ordered vols 2 and 3. Highly recommended. Much better than the Stephanie Meyer stuff IMO.

Also - try Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series. Not too deep and great fun.
In the middle of 'The Rose Labyrinth' by Tatiana Hardie. Very good read if you like modern hidden religious sects on a mad rush to bring on the end of the world. You know - Dan Brown kind of thing.

Recently finished Jim Butcher's 'Turn Coat'. I love this series. Great if you're into modern day wizards keeping things under wraps while all hell is literally trying to break loose. Very readable.


I'm halfway through the third Harry Potter book, The Prisoner of Azkaban, fast on the heels of reading its predecessors, The Sorcerer's Stone and The Chamber of Secrets.

My daughter is almost 11, and is already on the seventh and last installment, The Deathly Hallows. She has been lobbying me to read them, so I plunged in recently and I can't put them down ... some of the best pure fiction I've ever read, and definitely not just for children. Absolutely brilliant writing.

Whether you have young kids or not, if you haven't read these, I give my highest recommendation.



quote:
Originally posted by tonym:
quote:
Originally posted by nicnaim:
Having originally seen and really enjoyed the film of the first installment of the Millenium Trilogy, I thought that I would read the books books. I found that I could not put them down, and read all three in a week.

Regards

Nic




I'm currently rushing through the first, with the other two waiting in the wings.

Great reading so far!



Three in a week?!?! Blimey. Im on the third, hopefully ill finish it within a month from starting the first and thought that was good going!

Must be a bit slow.

They are completely gripping. Not seen the film yet, but I have heard good things.
quote:
Originally posted by Voltaire:
Haim - this is the second book you have posted that I am interested in...Amazon here I come.

Smile


Given to me by a friend and enjoying it a lot, to be followed by Barbara Tuchman's The Proud Tower - A portrait of the World before the War 1890-1914.

What was the other book you were interested in?
If you like short stories The Red Cavalry by Isaac Babel is a must.

Regards,
Haim
quote:
Originally posted by Blueknowz:
I have the seen the film of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,Bought the other two books,which I unable to get near for SWBO is reading the second book,so I'm rereading this great book.


That is such a great book, I like pretty much all Gaiman but American Gods and Neverwhere are my favourites.

Currently reading SuperFreakonomics by Levitt and Dubner.
Prompted by a recent visit to the Abbey of St. Wandrille, Normandy, I'm re-reading:



If you don't know Patrick Leigh Fermor (the superb Powell-Pressberger film 'Ill Met by Moonlight' is about his exploits in wartime Crete), here is some blurb:

    While still a teenager, Patrick Leigh Fermor made his way across Europe, as recounted in his classic memoirs, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water. During World War II, he fought with local partisans against the Nazi occupiers of Crete. But in A Time to Keep Silence, Leigh Fermor writes about a more inward journey, describing his several sojourns in some of Europe’s oldest and most venerable monasteries. He stays at the Abbey of St. Wandrille, a great repository of art and learning; at Solesmes, famous for its revival of Gregorian chant; and at the deeply ascetic Trappist monastery of La Grande Trappe, where monks take a vow of silence. Finally, he visits the rock monasteries of Cappadocia, hewn from the stony spires of a moonlike landscape, where he seeks some trace of the life of the earliest Christian anchorites.

    More than a history or travel journal, however, this beautiful short book is a meditation on the meaning of silence and solitude for modern life. Leigh Fermor writes, “In the seclusion of a cell—an existence whose quietness is only varied by the silent meals, the solemnity of ritual, and long solitary walks in the woods—the troubled waters of the mind grow still and clear, and much that is hidden away and all that clouds it floats to the surface and can be skimmed away; and after a time one reaches a state of peace that is unthought of in the ordinary world.”
Regret that I've finally given up on 'David Copperfield' 2/3 of the way in (so about 450 pages in). I had to put it down for a while because of circumstances, and sadly I just haven't been able to get into it again. And I love Dickins. Frown
Slightly off topic on this discussion - Lately I've found myself reading e-books more and more, especially during traveling because sometimes I do not want to carry with me a 500 plus page hardbound book to read on a plane. But the most frustrating issue with e-books is most of the books I want are not available in the e-book form despite the fact that there are thousands of titles in the Kindle Store and iBookStore. It looks to me that the ebook conversion priority is to focus on cheap and cheerful novels first because this is the area where the big guys like Amazon and Apple make the most profit!


quote:
Celebrating the full range of Bukowski's extraordinary sensibility and his uncompromising linguistic brilliance, these poems cover a lifetime of experience, from his renegade early work to never-before collected poems penned during the final days before his death. Selected by John Martin, Bukowski's long-time editor and the publisher of the legendary Black Sparrow Press, The Pleasures of the Damned is an astonishing poetic treasure trove, essential reading for both long-time fans and those just discovering this unique and important American voice.

REALLY RECOMMENDED
Just finished this, Mark Radcliffe 'Thank You for the Days: A Boys' Own Adventures in Radio and Beyond'. A lovely light read.


I gave up on Bill Bruford's Autobiography, his relentless misery, and disapproval of anyone who does not play jazz just got boring.


Also reading this, not the greatest plot, but great reference for modelling the West Ham water tower.
quote:
Originally posted by JamieL_v2:

REALLY RECOMMENDED
Just finished this, Mark Radcliffe 'Thank You for the Days: A Boys' Own Adventures in Radio and Beyond'. A lovely light read.


Thanks for the recommendation. I had seen it in Waterstones but I wasn't too impressed on 'Northern Sky' when I read it so I was bit reluctant to take the plunge on another Radcliffe novel. I may give it a whirl.

Gordon
quote:
Originally posted by Voltaire:
quote:
Originally posted by JamieL_v2:

REALLY RECOMMENDED
Just finished this, Mark Radcliffe 'Thank You for the Days: A Boys' Own Adventures in Radio and Beyond'. A lovely light read.


Thanks for the recommendation. I had seen it in Waterstones but I wasn't too impressed on 'Northern Sky' when I read it so I was bit reluctant to take the plunge on another Radcliffe novel. I may give it a whirl.

Gordon


Fear not, it's less a novel more of an autobiographical meander through various music-related episodes. I really enjoyed it though haven't tried any of his others to compare against.
quote:
Originally posted by BigH47:
Funny Stephen loved yours, he thought he was intelligent enough to try it. Razz

I bet he sells more than 9 copies a week though. Winker


He is intelligent enough to read it. He's just not bright enough to understand it. Jordan's biography probably sells more than Hawkins does. So what does that prove? You always come along wagging your tail when intelligence or the lack of it is being discussed. I have noted this often. Befuddley will be here soon. Its all so predictable.
I've read a few 'popular cosmology' books in my time and I have to say I am more or less agree with Sniper re Hawking's latest. There is a difference between being popular (and accessible) and populist. I thought it was a bit of a mash-up.

I reckon Brian Greene does the job far better with 'The Elegant Universe' and 'The Fabric of The Cosmos' for anyone who wants to read more.


Anyway I just read the following on holiday:





How is that for diversity! The 'Silence of Muhammed' is a rather interesting take on the origins of Islam for the curious.
Bruce
I remember watching a tv documentary about genius. A presenter went up to your average Brit on the street and asked 'who was the greatest genius of the 20th century'? A great many people (most as I recall)answered 'Einstein'. When asked why Einstein many just shrugged and giggled. The more educated answered 'relativity' some of these (a very small minority) even knew E=MC2 but none of them could explain what relativity was and none could say why it was important. The simple fact is that people were giving the answer they thought the presenter wanted without having any idea why Einstein was the greatest genius of the 20th century. People give the answer they think will make them look the cleverest regardless of whether they could give a single reason to justify their answer. This was quite clear. Try it out for yourselves and ask your friends, family and work mates.

And so it is these days with Hawking and to a lesser extent Dawkins. And so it is that any form of criticism of these two and a few others I could mention is just considered to be wrong even though most of those who would side with them could not actually mount a clear and cogent argument in their defense. Both are just mere human beings not Gods and both make mistakes. They are not infallible. There are some here who treat them as infallible whilst reserving the utmost venom for the very idea when it is applied to the Pope.

Gods of science?

Bruce,

I'm with you re. Brian Greene
quote:
Originally posted by Chillkram:
quote:
Originally posted by Roy T:
The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins.

PS I fancy his wife Lalla Ward aka Sarah Jane Winker


No, she was Romana. Sarah Jane was/is played by Elisabeth Sladen.


So sorry for the mess, looks like a bad case of premature posting to me Roll Eyes


Just finished this. Absolutely first class. Clearly getting on a bit now but this is the first of his I've read. Started a little slowly but it was just good old character building then all of a sudden you're halfway through, at sometime having dived into this maelstrom of events and it never stops being interesting. Excellent stuff.


Very funny book I read 20 years ago, gave it to a friend who hated the first 2 chapters and gave it away. I bought a new paperback to keep and read again. It's such a great absurd book with wild characters based in New Orleans.

He loaned me King's Tommyknockers and I couldn't get past 2 chapters but I gave it back to him.


quote:
'I read Quilt with admiration - it's a work of remarkable imaginative energy.' FRANK KERMODE

'A book of mythological power. Quilt is unforgettable, like all those great pieces of fiction that are fed by our immemorial root system, the human dream of metamorphosis.' HELENE CIXOUS


'Facing the disarray and disorientation around his father's death, a man contends with the strange and haunting power of the house his parents once lived in.
He sets about the mundane yet exhausting process of sorting through the remnants of his fathers life clearing away years of accumulated objects, unearthing forgotten memories and the haunted realms of everyday life. At the same time, he embarks on an eccentric side-project. And as he grows increasingly obsessed with this new project, his grip on reality seems to slip.
Nicholas Royle challenges and experiments with literary form to forge a new mode of storytelling that is both playful and inquisitive. Tender, absorbing and at times shockingly funny, this extraordinary novel is both mystery and love story. It confronts the mad hand of grief and embraces the endless possibilities of language.'
Half way thru Confederacy of Dunces. He is an arrogant chump who creates chaos and seems to walk away. Most certainly a book that offends every group and class equally but with wonderful details and surprise twists. Sad the author died soon after, suicide ya'know.
Samuel Beckett, by Deirdre Bair. Re-reading it. Very good and does a much better job of integrating the childhood into the life than most biographies. I've read more Beckett than I had when I last read it, which makes it more rewarding.

My son (like me) is a big Patrick O'Brien Aubrey/Maturin fan. Can anyone recommend good, readable histories that cover naval life and naval battles of the time?


"On Saturday, 9 September, 1922, the victorious Turkish cavalry rode into Smyrna, the richest and most cosmopolitan city in the Ottoman Empire." "In the aftermath of the First World War, Greece invaded Turkey with the aim of restoring a Christian empire in Asia Minor with Smyrna at its heart. The Great Powers, including Britain, supported Greece's war on Turkey. But by 1922, the Greeks had been vanquished. Many feared that the newly-victorious Turkish army would now unleash a terrible fury on Smyrna's infidel inhabitants: conquering Islamic armies were traditionally granted three days of pillage following the capture of a resisting city." What happened over the next two weeks must rank as one of the most compelling human dramas of the twentieth century. Almost two million people were victims of a disaster of truly epic proportions."
I have been looking forward to this...



quote:
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio lived the darkest and most dangerous life of any of the great painters. The worlds of Milan, Rome and Naples through which Caravaggio moved and which Andrew Graham-Dixon describes brilliantly in this book, are those of cardinals and whores, prayer and violence. On the streets surrounding the churches and palaces, brawls and swordfights were regular occurrences. In one such fight Caravaggio killed Ranuccio Tomassoni, a pimp, and fled to Naples and then Malta, home to the Knights of St John, where he escaped from prison following his conviction for another vicious assault. Shortly afterwards he died while returning to Rome to seek a papal pardon for his crimes. He was thirty-eight years old. In the course of this desperate life Caravaggio created the most dramatic paintings of his age, using ordinary men and women – often prostitutes and the very poor – to model for his depictions of classic religious scenes. Andrew Graham-Dixon’s exceptionally illuminating readings of Caravaggio’spictures, which are the heart of the book, show very clearly how he created their drama, immediacy and humanity, and how completely he departed from the conventions of his time.


Just started this:




Earlier this year my 11 year old daughter "assigned" me homework: to read all seven Harry Potter books. They are fabulous. As soon as I finish one I start the next. Having just started the seventh, last book I'm already lamenting the end of the series. These books are incredibly well-written, and the richness and depth of the world Rowling has created is monumental ... the development over the course of the series is mind-boggling. Very moving.

These books are definitely not just for kids, especially the later in the series one reads ... the complexity of ideas, layers of emotion, humor, thrilling excitement, and heart rending sadness, is stupendous. These books are some of the very best I've ever read.



Prime Obsession. Bernhard Reimann and the greatest unsolved problem in mathematics by John Derbyshire.

I have always viewed maths as being a branch of witchcraft but I am hoping that this book will correct a few misunderstandings and point me in the right direction.

Steve T


Highly recomended.

Some writers are wonderful storytellers but write dreadfully; others are bad storytellers but write beautifully; in this book Carey manages to write a truly astounding story with an explosion of language and style and passion that beggars belief!

quote:
`Carey is a wily and supremely confident storyteller on a grand scale ... Within the covers is a complex discussion of the philosophy of democracy, and yet Parrot and Olivier is most strikingly beautiful at its most elemental.' --Russell Celyn Jones, The Times


quote:
`[An] exhilarating tour de force ... Fizzing with the fictional panache that has twice won him the Booker prize.' --Peter Kemp, Sunday Times


I would even go so far as to add my highest praise possible...he writes like Voltaire!
quote:
Originally posted by Mike-B:

Santa sent this over from the colonies

Oh dear Eric, don't give up the day job.

There's a truly horrible bit in this towards the end where he talks about his current wife (forget the name) as being quite an ordinary American girl and 'the best I can expect at this time in my life' or something. I bet that made her feel good!

FWIW I'm re-reading Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin. That's how to write a book.
quote:
Originally posted by Haim Ronen:
quote:
Originally posted by Huwge:


Huw,

Here is another excellent fiction work about the Vietnam war written by Tim O'Brian who served there:



Thanks Haim, have already read this one and some of his other stuff.

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