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Old 01-06-2011, 13:01   #141
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Just finished Clancy's The Cardinal of the Kremlin - very good. Refreshing to read Clancy before his books went completely OTT.

A Thousand Suns: Alex Scarrow - half way though - pretty good so far, but nothing special. I love reading anything to do with Nazi Germany though.
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Old 01-06-2011, 19:47   #142
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Have been reading a great deal over the past six weeks. Currently coming to the end of Eric Browns "Extraordinary voyage of Jules Verne" in which Jules Verne is kidnapped from France and taken into the distant past and far future with a lot of references to many of the authors novels. Also recently finished John Gribbens the Alice Encounter in which a race of "dark matter" aliens exploring gravity anomalies threaten the existence of colonists on Mars and the Earth, some interesting science, but perhaps a bit too much in the hard SF camp for my tastes. Finally started working my way through Mr Briggs hat, an interesting true life story of England's first railway murder. Fascinating insights into early Victorian history which is surprisingly lightly written.
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Old 02-06-2011, 22:24   #143
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I finished The Windup Girl, which is described as a biopunk science fiction novel, and written by Paolo Bacigalupi.

I'm a bit at a loss on whether to recommend this one.

Spoiler lite setting summary:
It takes place in a dystopian future in Thailand. Fossil fuels are practically a thing of the past, the waters have risen and bio plagues have ravaged the world. Geneticists create and fight "generips" trying to ensure their survival, but also dominance in that new world. Thailand, in particular, has fared better than most. But between their own political infighting and the attention of foreign companies which eye their most precious treasure, it's not clear how long that will go on...
End of setting summary

That's the basic setting. It took me nearly a fifth of the book (over a hundred pages) to really engage with the setting, the numerous actors and, essentially, a brand new vocabulary to fit that world. So I found it hard going at first. It took me another hundred pages or so to get to know the characters and really start caring.

But once I had met all the principal characters and got used to the setting, it was a very entertaining read. I have more gripes towards the end, but they would be spoilery.

If you are not afraid of feeling at sea in a new setting and enjoy seeing humans plot and counterplot in the midst of big events, I think you'll enjoy this one.

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Old 04-06-2011, 20:44   #144
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Finished The Fall of Hyperion, much better than the first, Hyperion, and it wraps up nicely enough.

Don't think I'll bother with the third and fourth.

Moved onto Wide Eyed and Legless after seeing it mentioned in the cycling thread. Story of a novice team entering the tour de france and not really knowing what they were doing. Very easy read and enjoying it.
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Old 08-06-2011, 18:25   #145
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Hermann Ungar's The Class arrived in the mail this morning. It's a Kafka-style take on the world of teaching from the late 1920s:

"Josef Blau is a high school teacher who comes from a poor background, poorer than that of most of his pupils. The insecurity this causes him leads to an obsession with order and discipline. He senses his pupils watching him, waiting for the slightest weakness; the least infringement, he feels, will lead to the complete collapse of this tightly ordered world. The other focus of his obsession is his attractive wife. Despite all the evidence and her assurances, he cannot believe she will be faithful to him. He forces her to shave her hair and wear clothes that are no more than shapeless sacks, yet still cannot conquer his fears. Catastrophe is looming and, once the first breach is made, inevitable. 'We are all schoolchildren,' Blau says, 'in one great class...' " (Blurb on back of book...)

If you're a teacher, you'll find that this has resonances. It's also very funny...

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Old 09-06-2011, 20:25   #146
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Been reading Jo Nesbo's 'Harry Hole' series, 4 books in so far and enjoying them. Not sure why he needs to be 'The new Stieg Larsson' as his books are good enough on their own. One thing he does though is
. The Redbreast was particularly good though as all the clues were there and it came together quite ingeniously towards the end.

Reading Chris Carter's 'The Executioner', the sequel to the rather good 'The Crucifix Killer', since then he seems to be writing from the James Paterson school of writing (a page and a half per chapter) and each scene takes three or four chapters, each chapter ending in....a revelation. Its a bit irritating and I dont remember him writing his previous novel like that.
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Old 11-06-2011, 18:40   #147
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been having a bit of a lack of reading of late for some reason.

But did manage the new scarpetta - Port Mortuary, which gets tons of 1 stars on amazon and is a confusing mess (supposedly we don't know what kay Scarpetta doesn't know or isn't told but why the heck the woman can't say "I'M NOT DOING ONE MORE THING UNTIL YOU TELL ME THE WHOLE TRUTH"

what else?

fifth avenue is a free kindle book that I am enjoying occasionally. Ordered the new Sex and the city - Summer in the city, from the library (60p!!!)
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Old 15-06-2011, 09:52   #148
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Book-related Movie News:

It looks like we're finally getting a Jack Reacher movie!

"One Shot" will be the first Lee Child novel to be filmed & guess which tall, imposing actor they have to fill the large boots of the mighty Jack Reacher......

TOM CRUISE!
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Old 15-06-2011, 11:53   #149
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It'll never happen.

& in terms of miscasting, Judi Dench would make a better Reacher than Cruise.
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Old 15-06-2011, 12:34   #150
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Just finished the new Bond book, Carte Blanche.

Rather than try & emulate Fleming's style, it's pretty much just a standard Jeffery Deaver novel that just happens to feature James Bond. I'm sure Fleming purists will hate it.

Personally, I liked it a lot. Thought it was a highly entertaining read, with all the usual Deaver twists & turns.

Well worth the fiver I paid for it in Tescos.
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Old 18-06-2011, 10:17   #151
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Finished Mr Briggs Hat, which I found fascinating. Read China Mievilles latest book Embassy Town which I didn't enjoy as much as his two previous books, but it did have some fascinating ideas about language. Then I began Sherlock Holmes: THe White Chapel Horrors which pits Holmes and Watson against Jack the Ripper. Enjoyable, but not as much as the recently reprinted Anno Drcula which covers much the same territory (but without Holmes). Alongside the novels I also read a couple of Novellas and Chap Books from the small press publishers PS Publishing and Pendragon Press Jupiter Magnified, Crash Day and Gorel and the Pot Bellied God. All of which were enjoyable reads. Next is Carte Blanche.
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Old 22-06-2011, 10:02   #152
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Just back from 2 weeks holidays in Italy, managed to read 6 books.

The Dead Trilogy by Adrian Mc Kinty (Irish Thriller Writer "Dead I Well May Be", "The Dead Yard" & "The Bloomsbury Dead")

2 Books from the Joe Ledger series "The Dragon Factory" & "King of Plagues"

And "61 Hours" by Lee Child.

Enjoyed them all!
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Old 22-06-2011, 18:30   #153
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So I finished Carte Blanche. It was o.k. but I had a number of problems with it. First of all I'm not sure the attempted "reboot"/updating was really required, as a consequence I had the feeling that Deaver had a checklist of all the things he needed to include even if he had to shoe-horn them into the plot. The way in which he ratcheted up the tension only to immediately resolve it in the following chapter made the whole thing seem a bit forced. I much preferred the previous Bond book by Faulkes which appeared more effortless. Based on this I don't think I will rush to read any of Deavers other works.

Also read Nasty Snips a collection of very short short stories. Really enjoyed it.

... and then I read Stories, a collection of short stories curated by Neil Gaiman. Really enjoyed this book, particularly the story by Elizabeth Hand.

On the flight home yesterday I read "The Pschopath Test" by the same guy who wrtoe The Men Who Stare at Goats. A relatively light and fun read dealing with some aspects of the mental health industry.

Next up is the original Tarzan novel.

Last edited by SShaw; 29-06-2011 at 21:12.
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Old 02-07-2011, 08:32   #154
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Just finished reading 'Darkly Dreaming Dexter' and was really disappointed. I much prefer the excellent TV series.
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Old 02-07-2011, 08:40   #155
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cedge View Post
Just finished reading 'Darkly Dreaming Dexter' and was really disappointed. I much prefer the excellent TV series.
Is that the first one? I remember another member here saying how the books were quite poor. The series is, as you say, excellent, so I guess I'll stick to that.

That said, I've only watched series one so far.
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Old 02-07-2011, 13:39   #156
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Originally Posted by Ratfink View Post
Is that the first one? I remember another member here saying how the books were quite poor. The series is, as you say, excellent, so I guess I'll stick to that.

That said, I've only watched series one so far.
I've watched the first four series so far with the 1st and 2nd being my favourite so far. The characters and stories are much better than the book. I was quite looking forward to the book to expand the universe as it were but it was a disappointment and I'll just be sticking to the televised version from now on.
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Old 02-07-2011, 14:15   #157
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Tarzan was much better than I had expected. Next up are the reissued Bond novels by John Gardener. Haven't read nay of them before so will be interesting to see how they compare to Flemings originals and the recent efforts by Faulks (great) and Deaver (not so great).
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Old 02-07-2011, 17:19   #158
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I finished The Crimson Petal and the White, and was most disappointed. Having loved the last book I read by Michael Faber, Under the Skin, I found this too long and bloated, with quite unlikable characters. It's a sumptuous novel, and Faber is a terrific writer, I just found the story lacking and it didn't grip me, so certainly not a criticism of Faber as an author. For such a huge book, so little happens - and while it builds up a realistic, slightly offbeat view of Victorian London, I would have appreciated a little more pace. I was quite looking forward to it too. That said, I'm really looking forward to the series now, as the book had some lovely moments and should make for very good TV.

Now I’m onto Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, which I picked up on a whim after hearing about the forthcoming movie. It’s a quick read, pure popcorn, but it’ll never be anything more than Battle Royale-lite. I loved the Battle Royale novel, and this is just weak in comparison, but I shouldn’t have expected much more from teen fiction. The film might be fun though.
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Old 07-07-2011, 19:57   #159
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Just finished a bunch of Phillip Kerr's Berlin Noir novels. Love the genre and writing but, **** me, it can be grim.

Started the new Bond novel Carte Blanche by Jeffery Deaver as a bit of light reading until A Dance with Dragons comes out.
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Old 07-07-2011, 21:22   #160
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Read Mark Thomas' Extreme Rambling which is an account of his journey along the barrier erected by Israel between Israel and the West Bank. Excellent.

Alsp read Gary McMahons book "The Harm" which explores the emotional damage that follows through the life of a child rape victim. Very dark, but wonderfully written.

and this weekend I finished the first two of Gardner's Bond books "Licence Renewed" and "For Special Services". THe first was excellent, enjoyed the second but it was a little light on plot. My progress has been blocked by the fact that I have been shipped a second copy of For Special Services, this time in the dust jacket of "Ice Breaker"

Also read the Novella "The Situation" which I found difficult - its a little on the odd side.

Still no sign of my replacement for Icebreaker, so I read the next two books in the series, Role of Honour in which Bond is thrown out of the service in order to join SPECTRE and Nobody Lives for Ever in which Bond sets out to save May and Moneypenny and keep his head. Both were enjoyable, light fluff which don't quite live up to Flemings originals.

On the non-fiction side I read im Hartwells (undercover economist) new book "Adapt" which looks at how evolutionary principles can be applied to economic and social situations. A very interesting read.

I also read "Chavs: The demonisation of the working class" which explores the way the working class has been attacked by consecutive Conservative and Labour governments and the liberal media since the late 1970's. I am not entirely convinced by some of the arguments but on the whole the book brings into sharp focus a number of issues around how the working class is now perceived and speaks to the growing disquiet I have with the way the working class are represented by the media and the growing intolerance towards this group of people that can be found in the middle classes (see the general form for ample examples) - Recommended.

So after Chaps and Adapt I read something a little bit lighter "Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The peerless peer" which is essentially a mash-up of Sherlock Holmes and Tarzan. Of the 13 books in the series so far this was by far the worst. I really didn't like it, 120 pages of silliness that neither provides a pastiche of Doyle nor of Burroughs. My advice - avoid.

Next on the reading list is Charles Stross' sequel to Halting State - Code 34.

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