Rate the last book you read Page 71

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  • craigy Staff 28 Jan 2017 17:55:16 9,172 posts
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    @JiveHound sounds pretty cool -- think I'm gonna make that my next read!
  • craigy Staff 28 Jan 2017 17:59:05 9,172 posts
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    devil_badger wrote:
    Currently reading through Devil in the White City. Finding it fascinating, the architectural stuff just as much as the H H Holmes chapters.
    Yeah I love a good grisly tale of death and murder (although it's kinda grim knowing that it's all real), but I definitely was more compelled by the details about the architecture and building of the world's fair more than the HH Holmes bits. Isn't the film adaptation coming out soon?
  • simpleexplodingmaybe 28 Jan 2017 18:08:00 4,664 posts
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    Mola_Ram wrote:
    I have not.
    It's a bit of a chore, especially early on but it's final chapters are best.

    Not started Jerusalem yet but I'm looking forward to it. Need the paperback box set though, no way could I cart the hardback about on the bus every day.

    If you can download the audio for Unearthing somewhere I recommend it a lot. My favourite thing Alan has done in any medium.
  • devil_badger 28 Jan 2017 18:44:16 793 posts
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    craigy wrote:
    devil_badger wrote:
    Currently reading through Devil in the White City. Finding it fascinating, the architectural stuff just as much as the H H Holmes chapters.
    Yeah I love a good grisly tale of death and murder (although it's kinda grim knowing that it's all real), but I definitely was more compelled by the details about the architecture and building of the world's fair more than the HH Holmes bits. Isn't the film adaptation coming out soon?
    A film? I didn't know that! Fingers crossed it doesn't focus too much on the murdering.
  • craigy Staff 28 Jan 2017 19:13:55 9,172 posts
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    Yeah I read a while back that DiCaprio had bought the film rights. No idea if he's started making it yet. Not sure if he's the right fit for playing Holmes.
  • papalazarou 28 Jan 2017 21:41:01 117 posts
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    Just finished "South", by Ernest Shackleton, recounting the Endurance expedition. Read it in a couple of days, it's fair to say the entire party were as hard as nails, the pictures of the expeditition party confirm this. You can pick the book up for free from the kindle store.
  • El_MUERkO 28 Jan 2017 21:58:04 18,259 posts
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    I'm a huge fan of The Expanse novels, one of the writers (it's actually two guys who write under a pseudonym) recommended the 'Dread Empire's Fall' trilogy by Walter Jon Williams, I've just finished 'Conventions of War' the third book which was most excellent, I'd heartily recommend it for its original take on space stuff full of flawed people and death.
  • JiveHound 28 Jan 2017 22:57:39 8,943 posts
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    @wuntyphyve

    @craigy

    Yeah, despite the odd sexual abuse I enjoyed it a lot, I read it in two days as I really wanted to see how it panned out. I specifically enjoyed how pragmatic the towns folk were at the start about a witch in their midst. They'd just cover her up with a tablecloth when she appears in their houses. The author notes at the end this down to the Dutch characteristic of being really down to earth.

    Definitely worth a punt.
  • rice_sandwich 31 Jan 2017 10:58:57 3,210 posts
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    Food Rules - An Eater's Manual

    Basically a very short version of Michael Pollan's In Defence of Food that contains 64 guidelines to help you think about what and how much you should eat. He pretty much recommends eating real food as opposed to the all too common 'foodlike substances' that are heavily processed and manufactured.

    As an 'eater' you really shouldn't over complicate things by worrying about what's the very best diet and it's ridiculous that an average person even knows what an anti-oxidant is. Eating should be super simple.

    Pricey at £7 for such a short book but putting the advice into practice could transform your diet. I don't agree with everything he says but most of it makes a lot of sense.

    9/10

    Edited by rice_sandwich at 11:07:38 31-01-2017
  • Tonka 31 Jan 2017 11:19:45 26,461 posts
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    Tried to read The Handmaid's Tale but found it so crushingly depressing that I gave up. Given the current situation in the US it felt like more of a road map than an interesting "what if" read.
  • Mola_Ram 20 Feb 2017 03:08:27 16,327 posts
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    Six Four

    This was presented to me as a Japanese murder mystery, but it's really about the bureaucracy and politics of the Japanese police force, and their symbiotic relationship with the Japanese media.

    Really, the murder is the least interesting thing about the book. Without going into spoilers, it's actually kind of dumb how that aspect of it plays out.

    Still recommended though, because the bureaucratic stuff is really interesting. If I had to pick a Western analogue, I'd say it's like The Wire in that the actual investigation stuff often takes a backseat to office politics.
  • JoelStinty 20 Feb 2017 06:41:50 5,826 posts
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    @papalazarou I haven't read that, but i have read Captain Scott Diaries and Cherry Garrard's the longest journey in the world, and you're right. By god they are hard bastards. Also wonderful people. Amazing people. The best people. (Christ on a bike using Trumpism's in a rate the book thread haha)

    The Scott expedition is really interesting, it was just as much a scientific expedition as much as a race to the pole (which they denied it was, but come on). They used to have weekly lectures by random crew members, and it goes into detail on how and why they were recording data, trips to other ice shelfs (Cherry's account of a trip to find an Emperor penguin egg is amazing). I think what surprised me about both books, it wasn't just an account of the expedition, both had this underlying philosophy on life written in them, that coming from two separate account must have meant that this expedition was almost a once in lifetime thing for these people. A special time for them despite their tradegies.

    Each member of the crew is wonderfully detailed by Scott, and from his impressions of them you get a wonderful idea of who these people are and by the end of the book you feel as though you know them as fully formed characters. He really is generous with his accounts of them. I was hooked on both books, really got under my skin and i became infatuated the story. There are so many stories within the expedition as well that pretty memorable. Infectious!

    Everest 1953 Is pretty good as well.

    You should check them out!

    Edited by JoelStinty at 06:48:41 20-02-2017
  • rice_sandwich 22 Feb 2017 10:01:39 3,210 posts
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    Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig

    A young army officer makes a faux pas when invited to dinner at an aristocrat's house. A long series of torturous and seemingly unavoidable events unfold as he becomes inexorably drawn deeper and deeper into inner turmoil.

    This is a really gripping page turner with great characterisation that explores a young man's emotional awakening and explores love from the point of view of the lover and the beloved. It's not always an equal, happy thing and perhaps not always to be desired given the pain it can cause. It also asks if a person can be too good, too selfless and end up hurting others despite their best intentions. Tricky stuff.

    8/10
  • UncleLou Moderator 28 Feb 2017 09:40:50 38,772 posts
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    I accidentally stumbled upon an English translation of a story I must have read a dozen times or so. Thought some of you here might appreciate it:






    Flypaper
    by Robert Musil

    Tangle-foot flypaper is approximately fourteen inches long and eight inches wide; it is coated with a yellow poison paste and comes from Canada. When a fly lands on it—not so eagerly, more out of convention, because so many others are already there—it gets stuck at first by only the outermost joints of all its legs. A very quiet, disconcerting sensation, as though while walking in the dark we were to step on something with our naked soles, nothing more than a soft, warm, unavoidable obstruction, and yet something into which little by little the awesome human essence flows, recognized as a hand that just happens to be lying there, and with five ever more decipherable fingers, holds us tight.

    Here they stand all stiffly erect, like cripples pretending to be normal, or like decrepit old soldiers (and a little bowlegged, the way you stand on a sharp edge). They hold themselves upright, gathering strength and pondering their position. After a few seconds they’ve come to a tactical decision and they begin to do what they can, to buzz and try to lift themselves. They continue this frantic effort until exhaustion makes them stop. Then they take a breather and try again. But the intervals grow even longer. They stand there and I feel how helpless they are. Bewildering vapors rise from below. Their tongue gropes about like a tiny hammer. Their head is brown and hairy, as though made of a coconut, as manlike as an African idol. They twist forward and backward on their firmly fastened little legs, bend at the knees and lean forward like men trying to move a too-heavy load: more tragic than the working man, truer as an athletic expression of the greatest exertion than Lacoön. And then comes the extraordinary moment when the imminent need of a second’s relief wins out over the almighty instincts of self-preservation. It is the moment when the mountain climber because of the pain in his fingers willfully loosens his grip, when the man lost in the snow lays himself down like a child, when the hunted man stops dead with aching lungs. They no longer hold themselves up with all their might, but sink a little, and at that moment appear totally human. Immediately they get stuck somewhere else, higher up on the leg, or behind, or at the tip of a wing.

    When after a little while they’ve overcome the spiritual exhaustion and resume the fight for survival, they’re trapped in an unfavorable position and their movements become unnatural. Then they lie down with outstretched hindlegs, propped up on their elbows, and try to lift themselves. Or else seated on the ground they rear up with outstretched arms like women who attempt in vain to wrest their hands free of a man’s fists. Or they lie on their belly, with head and arms in front of them as though fallen while running, and they only still hold up their face. But the enemy is always passive and wins at just such desperate, muddled moments. A nothing, an it draws them in: so slowly that one can hardly follow, and usually with an abrupt acceleration at the very end, when the last inner breakdown overcomes them. Then, all of a sudden, they let themselves fall, forward on their face, head over heels; or sideways with all legs collapsed; frequently also rolled on their side with their legs rowing to the rear. This is how they lie there. Like crashed planes with one wing reaching out into the air. Or like dead horses. Or with endless gesticulations of despair. Or like sleepers. Sometimes event the next day, one of them wakes up, gropes a while with one leg or flutters a wing. Sometimes such a movement sweeps over the lot, then all of them sink a little deeper into death. And only on the side, near their legsockets, is there some tiny wriggling organ that still lives a long time. It opens and closes, you can’t describe it without a magnifying glass, it looks like a miniscule human eye that ceaselessly opens and shuts.

    Edited by UncleLou at 09:43:35 28-02-2017
  • TheBlackDog 3 Mar 2017 16:08:16 1,048 posts
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    @herrmannm I was going to post about this to say I've abandoned it but I'm going to push on, as it's a classic. I actually want to read the Brothers Karamazov but thought I'd read his 5 great novels in order.

    All I can say is that it's barking mad so far, and I'm about a third the way in. There's something I like about it but I haven't really found it as brilliant as I'd hoped, and as I read before going to sleep, it's not the best book to bring about calming dreams.
  • TheBlackDog 3 Mar 2017 16:12:04 1,048 posts
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    @UncleLou And that's a coincidence because before I started Crime & Punishment recently, I abandoned The Man Without Qualities by Musil. I have tried before but I definitely didn't find that quite what I wanted to read before going to sleep as it's a bit dense and before I get very far, I'm nodding off. I'll probably try again when I start commuting to work later in the year.

    Did anyone read The Man Without Qualities, the whole trilogy ?
  • rice_sandwich 8 Mar 2017 19:18:18 3,210 posts
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    Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War (Mary Roach)

    Another great niche science book loaded with Mary Roach's irreverent humour and rigorous research. Rather than looking at weapons and machines of war she explores the technology and science of what it takes to keep soldiers healthy and alive on the battle field. There are loads of interesting topics: the strangely interesting world of combat clothing/fashion, research into stink bombs, penis reconstruction for bomb victims, hearing loss and its combat risks, fighting battlefield infection etc. All her other books are great too:

    Gulp: Travel Around The Gut
    Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers
    Bonk
    Life in Space: The Curious Science of Life in Space

    Edited by rice_sandwich at 19:19:11 08-03-2017
  • Brainflowers 8 Mar 2017 23:57:05 8 posts
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    Hello everyone, this is my first ever EG forum post. POP! Sorry that was the sound of a cherry popping.

    Anyway I finally just finished reading All Quiet on the Western Front, and it is utterly fantastic. I remember my mum insisting I read it like fifteen years ago (and I probably responded with an eye roll..) but now I'm older and wiser, and thanks to playing BF1 a few months ago I'm currently on a WW1 history kick, I thought I'd finally read it.

    My god this Maria dude can write! Never have I seen the futility of war written about so eloquently. And it's quite short too, so I'd wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone.
  • Brainflowers 8 Mar 2017 23:57:06 8 posts
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    Hello everyone, this is my first ever EG forum post. POP! Sorry that was the sound of a cherry popping.

    Anyway I finally just finished reading All Quiet on the Western Front, and it is utterly fantastic. I remember my mum insisting I read it like fifteen years ago (and I probably responded with an eye roll..) but now I'm older and wiser, and thanks to playing BF1 a few months ago I'm currently on a WW1 history kick, I thought I'd finally read it.

    My god this Maria dude can write! Never have I seen the futility of war written about so eloquently. And it's quite short too, so I'd wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone.
  • Deleted user 9 March 2017 00:05:02
    You really want to read Johnny Got His Gun, don't read any descriptions of it too.
  • mal 9 Mar 2017 00:11:53 28,491 posts
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    Ah, is that where the Hendrix lyric comes from? I remember wondering that, but before the interweb came to be, so I couldn't google it.
  • Mola_Ram 9 Mar 2017 03:23:55 16,327 posts
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    Child of God

    An uplifting fable about a dispossessed woodsman named Lester Ballard, who differs from most Cormac McCarthy protagonists in that he's actually a well-adjusted, well-meaning young man. A bit simple, but basically a good person LOL KIDDING he's a thief, peeping tom, child molester, serial rapist, serial murderer, corpse collector, necrophiliac, etc etc.

    I wouldn't say that I "enjoyed" it. But, as horrific and dark as his novels generally are, nobody writes like Cormac McCarthy.

    Recommended, but I wouldn't call it one of his classics.

    Edited by Mola_Ram at 04:09:30 13-03-2017
  • Mola_Ram 13 Mar 2017 04:08:40 16,327 posts
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    Wheel of Time book 12: The Gathering Storm

    I gave up on the series around book 7-8 last time. But multiple people told me that it improved once Sanderson took over, so I read summaries of books 9-11 and decided to start again here.

    I'm glad I did, because the writing is a lot punchier, and it feels like things are actually happening (even though I still think the series could have ended several books ago and would have been better for it). Sanderson is true to the characters - to a fault, almost, as a lot of the annoyingly retrograde sexist stuff is also faithfully kept.

    But hey, that's WoT, warts and all. It's got me interested in reading through to the end, which is really all it needed to do.
  • cov 13 Mar 2017 07:27:12 1,707 posts
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    herrmannm wrote:
    @TheBlackDog maybe, I should read this novel) I really want to enjoy books by Dostoyevsky, but Crime and Punishment wasn't enjoyable)
    Make sure you pick up the right translations... many are very bad. Pevear and Volkhonsky are very good modern translators of Dostoevksy.
  • LittleSparra 13 Mar 2017 08:26:48 6,993 posts
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    Confederacy of Dunces.

    Reilly is a superb creation, and whilst the plot doesn't quite gel as a farce as well as it might in a Waugh or Wodehouse, it is still very good.
  • Tonka 13 Mar 2017 10:06:36 26,461 posts
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    I remember not liking it when I read it as a teenager except for his opening line in a letter he writes to someone.

    No idea what it is in english though so this whole anecdote falls flat.
  • ThisIsPlayer2 21 Mar 2017 00:02:57 20 posts
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    Agree that the translation makes a huge difference with Dostoevsky. Try Notes From Underground in the Vintage series. It's pretty short and gives you a good idea of his philosophy.

    Crime & Punishment is probably the best book I've ever read, but it took fucking dedication. It was only after 100 pages that it really started to work its magic on me, and I could never read more than c.20 pages at a time.

    Don't think I'll read Brothers Karamazov until I retire.
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