Yet Another Cycling Forum

Off Topic => The Pub => Arts and Entertainment => Topic started by: MSeries on March 31, 2008, 07:59:40 pm

Title: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: MSeries on March 31, 2008, 07:59:40 pm
While I am not able to ride to work I have been taking the bus and for the last week been reading

Auschwitz, The Nazis and The Final Solution by Laurence Rees


ready and waiting is


Hitlers Holocaust &
IBM and The Holocaust



Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mrs Pingu on March 31, 2008, 08:05:48 pm
I'm reading Darkmans by Nicola Barker.
I really wish I wasn't but I object to paying for books and not reading them so I'm persevering.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Dave on March 31, 2008, 08:14:38 pm
Spook Country by William Gibson, which is looking good so far.
About halfway through Stories Of Your Life And Others by Ted Chiang (sci-fi-ish short stories). Pretty good.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: rogerzilla on March 31, 2008, 08:15:39 pm
"Two On A Tower" by Thomas Hardy  ;)

One of his lesser-known novels, but quite absorbing and with one hell of a twist at the end.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Si on March 31, 2008, 08:19:07 pm
The Social Life of Trees.  by S. Rival(ed)

Dull but improving slowly.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on March 31, 2008, 08:27:44 pm
Spook Country was pretty good.  I finished "The Mission Song" by John Le Carre last night.  Good, if a little predictable.  Got a selection of guide / travel books to start but can't seem to get into the mood for them.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on March 31, 2008, 08:35:33 pm
Baudolino by Umberto Eco - more of an adventure than The Name of The Rose, but it has a similar setting (i.e. medieval Europe) - I'm always awed by the breadth and depth of his knowledge. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Ian H on March 31, 2008, 08:47:37 pm
The Merchant of Prato. Another micro-history, dredged this time from the late 14th and early 15th century account records and letters of a Tuscan merchant. An insight into the lives of the not so great of that period.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: nic on March 31, 2008, 08:51:22 pm
I am currently reading Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto (ISBN: 0571171044). Short paperback bought on a business trip. A rather enjoyable and easy read so far.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Really Ancien on March 31, 2008, 08:56:09 pm
I am re-reading Holidays In Hell by PJ O Rourke, as in the following quotes.

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
P. J. O'Rourke

Making fun of born-again Christians is like hunting dairy cows with a high powered rifle and scope.
P. J. O'Rourke



Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: MSeries on March 31, 2008, 08:59:11 pm
I am re-reading Holidays In Hell by PJ O Rourke, as in the following quotes.

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
P. J. O'Rourke

Making fun of born-again Christians is like hunting dairy cows with a high powered rifle and scope.
P. J. O'Rourke





Good choice, I read that in Melbourne in 1990, must dig it out. It's gotta be showing it's age though, Belfast is very different now.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Really Ancien on March 31, 2008, 09:44:15 pm
I am re-reading Holidays In Hell by PJ O Rourke, as in the following quotes.

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
P. J. O'Rourke

Making fun of born-again Christians is like hunting dairy cows with a high powered rifle and scope.
P. J. O'Rourke





Good choice, I read that in Melbourne in 1990, must dig it out. It's gotta be showing it's age though, Belfast is very different now.

I can't say that I ever read much for the content, Naples '44 by Norman Lewis gets a periodic re-read just to re-calibrate my style aspirations.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Cyclops on March 31, 2008, 09:54:42 pm
A Soldier's War in Chechnya - Arkady Babchenko

An account of the brutality and suffering on both sides of the conflict.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on March 31, 2008, 09:59:54 pm
My brother-in-law always buys me a couple of books for xmas - currently reading one of those: Legend by David Gemmell -  thought, "Ho-Hum fantasy nonsense", but I'm actually finding it very enjoyable in a "switch your brain-off and enjoy the axe-battle" kind of way.

His other book was "Peace and War" by Joe Haldeman: a compilation of "The Forever War", "Forever Free" and "Forever Peace".  "The Forever War", written in the 70's (sort of a sci-fi version of the author's experiences in Vietnam) is an absolute classic, and I can't believe that I hadn't heard of it before.  What annoys me though, is why to they get cover-art illustrators who haven't read the book.  The cover is very nice, but it shows a gun and a space-helmet.  The soldiers in the book use neither guns nor space-helmets  ???

These books aren't particularly high-brow compared to what most of you seem to be reading at the moment, but I do read more heavy-weight stuff too, honest!

RJMcB
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on March 31, 2008, 10:04:12 pm
"The Forever War" is a classic. I've not read the sequels.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on March 31, 2008, 10:44:16 pm
"The Forever War" is a classic. I've not read the sequels.

I wouldn't worry about "Forever Free" which is indeed a sequel (same characters set 20 years in their future).

Forever Peace is a lot better, but not a sequel. It's set in our near future and is supposed to use ideas which Haldeman would have included in the "Forever War" if they had been around in the 70's.  A bit too "Hollywood" though.  One of the things I liked about "The Forever War" is that it is a worthy story and I can't imagine it ever getting "Hollywood" treatment.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on April 01, 2008, 12:31:52 am
I am reading 'Who Are You? Identification, Deception and Surveillance in Early Modern Europe' by the Swiss historian, Valentin Groebner - it might be work related, but it is actually a damn fine read - the best kind of historical writing.

Oh, and also rereading 'The Einstein Intersection' by Samuel Delaney. (I am another Forever War fan too BTW...)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Frenchie on April 01, 2008, 02:04:45 am
GENIUS -- Richard Feynman and Modern Physics by James Gleick.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on April 01, 2008, 09:51:50 am
Am I the only one reading a cycling book?  I just finished 'Riding to Jerusalem' by Bettina Selby, and started 'Long Cloud Ride' by Josie Dew.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on April 01, 2008, 09:56:32 am
My current reading list:

God is not great: The case against relegion - Christopher Hitchens

Pretty self explanatory.

War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

In the recent translation by Anthony Briggs

Paris after the Liberation 1944-1949 - Antony Beevor & Artemis Cooper

A study of immediate post war Paris by the famous husband and wife team. Not too flattering to de Gaulle this one.

Pushing Ice - Alastair Reynolds

A nice bit of space opera for relaxing reading.


Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mike on April 01, 2008, 09:59:31 am
blimey - was about to post and Pat's reading the same as me!

war and peace.  It's taken me 3 years to start it, but I'm about half way through and quite enjoying it.  I do have to keep referring to the cheat-sheet at the back to remember who's who though.

also "the steep approach to garbadale" - Iain Banks for when I'm on the train.  Great.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on April 01, 2008, 10:05:11 am
I read an older translation when i was about 18 but this one is much better.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: tiermat on April 01, 2008, 10:07:35 am
I am currently reading my way through Bernard Cornwell's Arthur books, having finished the Uthred books.

Also re-reading "The art of deception" by Kevin Mitnick, a great book which will change the way you view seemingly innocent cold calls and "informatin gathering".  Paranoid, moi? shurely not!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on April 01, 2008, 10:33:20 am
The General's Last Love - Andrey Kurkov.  Both Death And The Penguin and Penguin Lost were brillsticks, but this keeps jumping from 1985 to 2015 to 2003 to 2013 and is generally confusing.  I took it away with me at Easter but instead read three crap thrillers with explosions on the cover, and re-read two of Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks novels instead.  But I shall have to persevere with it, as it was a brithday present from my grate frend Ling Ling, who will be cross if I don't.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Greenbank on April 01, 2008, 02:08:34 pm
Latest book club book is Frankenstein.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on April 01, 2008, 02:38:33 pm
Quote
I wouldn't worry about "Forever Free" which is indeed a sequel (same characters set 20 years in their future).

+1, unless you've a taste for the contrived and the surreal

To answer the Q:
The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth (2/3 of way thru and already looking forward to re-reading  :) )
Six Degrees by Mark Lynas
Tales from Ovid by Ted Hughes
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: agagisgroovy on April 02, 2008, 08:42:32 pm
The Pure Dead Magic / Deep Trouble series by Debi Gliori. They're a bit childish but really funny.  ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Gus on April 02, 2008, 09:06:15 pm

"Angels of death" by William Marsden & julian sher ~ About Hells Angels.

"Tatooed torso" by Helene Tursten
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Hot Flatus on April 02, 2008, 09:24:03 pm
Putins Russia by Anna Politkovskaya.

She was shot dead in october 2006. After her death, Alexander Litvinenko suggested that Putin was responsible.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: CathH on April 02, 2008, 09:28:53 pm
Joanna Trollope "The Choir".  Just finished Susan Hill's "The Woman In Black".  What a fantastically eerie read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Charlotte on April 02, 2008, 09:42:57 pm
Infidel: Ayaan Hirsi Ali (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Infidel-Ayaan-Hirsi-Ali/dp/1416526242):

Quote
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one of today's most admired and controversial political figures. She burst into international headlines following the murder of Theo van Gogh by an Islamist who threatened she would be next. An international bestseller, her life story INFIDEL shows the coming of age of this elegant, distinguished -- and sometimes reviled -- political superstar and champion of free speech. Ultimately a celebration of triumph over adversity, Hirsi Ali's story tells how a bright, curious, dutiful little girl evolves into a pioneering freedom fighter. As Western governments struggle to balance democratic ideals with religious pressures, no other book could be more timely, or more significant.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: rogerzilla on April 02, 2008, 09:45:50 pm
Infidel: Ayaan Hirsi Ali (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Infidel-Ayaan-Hirsi-Ali/dp/1416526242):

Quote
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one of today's most admired and controversial political figures. She burst into international headlines following the murder of Theo van Gogh by an Islamist who threatened she would be next. An international bestseller, her life story INFIDEL shows the coming of age of this elegant, distinguished -- and sometimes reviled -- political superstar and champion of free speech. Ultimately a celebration of triumph over adversity, Hirsi Ali's story tells how a bright, curious, dutiful little girl evolves into a pioneering freedom fighter. As Western governments struggle to balance democratic ideals with religious pressures, no other book could be more timely, or more significant.

You see, I'd have expected something from the Black Lace canon  ;)

http://www.blacklace-books.co.uk/
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andygates on April 02, 2008, 09:52:28 pm
I;ll bring down the tone with World War Z, Glass Books of the Dream Eaters and The Revenge of Gaia.  ;)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: bikenerd on April 03, 2008, 02:34:55 pm
I'm rereading bits of "Delta of Venus" by Anais Nin.
It's a very strange book.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: FatBloke on April 03, 2008, 07:24:11 pm
Oliver Twist
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Dave on April 03, 2008, 07:34:17 pm
I;ll bring down the tone with World War Z

That's in my (depressingly large) pile of unread books. Should I move it up the pile?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on April 03, 2008, 09:52:43 pm
I;ll bring down the tone with World War Z

That's in my (depressingly large) pile of unread books. Should I move it up the pile?

Probably the most enertaining book I read last year.  I love good sci-fi and this is good sci-fi - it has also made me a big fan of zombies.  I urge you to read it.

Mr Gates, Ms Barnes:  please recommend me more zombie-based literature (if there is such a thing).  I'm already working my way through every zombie movie I can find.

RJMcB
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mrs Pingu on April 03, 2008, 09:57:09 pm
The General's Last Love - Andrey Kurkov.  Both Death And The Penguin and Penguin Lost were brillsticks, but this keeps jumping from 1985 to 2015 to 2003 to 2013 and is generally confusing
We like the Kurkov books too.
I thought the President got less confusing the further through the book I got, if it's any help.

I was disappointed with The Steep Approach to Garbadale though.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Noodley on April 03, 2008, 09:57:54 pm
...please recommend me more zombie-based literature (if there is such a thing).  I'm already working my way through every zombie movie I can find.

Oh dear God!!!  ;D

Shall I just nod and go "mmmm, yes very interesting" next time we ride together then  :evil: :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Pingu on April 03, 2008, 11:47:09 pm
...and The Revenge of Gaia.  ;)

A colleague of mine is reading that at the moment. She reckons Lovelock has gone bonkers because a windfarm is being built near his house & he's turned into a NIMBY. Hence his sudden pro-nuclear pronouncements recently.

(I just googled 'Revege of Gaia' - top of the list is amazon.com under Spirituality books  :o ::-) )
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Sergeant Pluck on April 03, 2008, 11:48:43 pm
Redmond O'Hanlon: Congo Journey.

I like the way that man travels.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Pingu on April 03, 2008, 11:53:46 pm
Pushing Ice - Alastair Reynolds

A nice bit of space opera for relaxing reading.

Alastair Reynolds - the best SF I've read for years.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Pingu on April 03, 2008, 11:55:48 pm
I've just started The President's Last Love by Kurkov.

I've just finished re-reading Louis de Bernieres' South American trilogy which I think I enjoyed even more second time around.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on April 04, 2008, 02:27:12 pm
I'm rereading bits of "Delta of Venus" by Anais Nin.
It's a very strange book.

I have a well-thumbed copy along with Little Birds, her other collection in this area. They are wierd largely because she wrote them to order, so they are a mixture of the expectations of the collector and her own sexual subversiveness. For the real deal, read her diaries - they are fascinating.

I just reread A Moveable Feast by Hemingway - great little vignettes of expat artistic life in Paris in the Twenties. I am contemplating the huge slab of 'How the Mind Works' by Steven Pinker, but my mind is not enoying the prospect...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andygates on April 04, 2008, 02:50:28 pm
I;ll bring down the tone with World War Z

That's in my (depressingly large) pile of unread books. Should I move it up the pile?

I'd say so: it's in the form of interviews, so very vignetty and suited to reading on the throne.

I'll follow it up with Cormac McCarthy's The Road for maximum post-apocalyptic woe.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on April 04, 2008, 08:59:53 pm
I'll follow it up with Cormac McCarthy's The Road for maximum post-apocalyptic woe.

The Road is unremittingly bleak. Strangely old fashioned too. Reminded me of Dhalgren in parts.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on April 04, 2008, 10:15:00 pm
I;ll bring down the tone with World War Z

That's in my (depressingly large) pile of unread books. Should I move it up the pile?

I'd say so: it's in the form of interviews, so very vignetty and suited to reading on the throne.

I'll follow it up with Cormac McCarthy's The Road for maximum post-apocalyptic woe.

Coincidentally, I read "The Road" immediately after "World War Z".  It truly is bleak, but a fantastic, emotional read.  I really enjoy post-apocalyptic fiction.  "The Day of the Triffids" is one of my favourite books of any genre.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on April 05, 2008, 03:20:28 pm
I'm rereading bits of "Delta of Venus" by Anais Nin.
It's a very strange book.

I have a well-thumbed copy along with Little Birds, her other collection in this area. They are wierd largely because she wrote them to order, so they are a mixture of the expectations of the collector and her own sexual subversiveness. For the real deal, read her diaries - they are fascinating.

Just to follow this up - in a nice piece of synchronicity, I found a biography of Anais Nin on a stall at our local market today. Model, author, sexual adventuress, compulsive liar... I find myself liking her more and more all the time!  :evil: :P

(added) but having read 250 pages last night, I am finding her really rather egotistical and the parade of shabby and desperate sexual encounters, just rather pathetic and dull. Even the affair with her own father didn't really shock.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: alchemy on April 07, 2008, 07:01:57 am
I'm most of the way through Moab Is My Washpot by Stephen Fry. Very entertaining and enlightening, and the bit where he discusses his homosexuality should be required reading for all homophobes (but I expect their position is set in stone so it's unlikely to make any difference  :()

I like the way he writes, although there a few times where he uses 20 words when 2 would do, but overall it's been a good read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: PeterM on April 09, 2008, 09:32:54 pm
Rereading 'The Last Englishman' by Byron Rogers.  JL Carr was a very odd man indeed....
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on April 09, 2008, 09:35:44 pm
I'm most of the way through Moab Is My Washpot by Stephen Fry. Very entertaining and enlightening, and the bit where he discusses his homosexuality should be required reading for all homophobes (but I expect their position is set in stone so it's unlikely to make any difference  :()

I like the way he writes, although there a few times where he uses 20 words when 2 would do, but overall it's been a good read.

That seems to be one of the harder Frys to find in the old charity shops...

I'm still reading Josie Dew's Long Cloud Ride - well, a lot of magazines come out round about now...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: nicknack on April 09, 2008, 09:47:37 pm
Blowing the Blues by Dick Heckstall-Smith and Pete Grant.

Well worth a read if you're into the 60s and 70s blues rock scene in Britain.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: harrumph on April 10, 2008, 03:47:01 pm
...I really enjoy post-apocalyptic fiction.  "The Day of the Triffids" is one of my favourite books of any genre.

Me too. Among British authors, can I recommend The Death of Grass and the Prince in Waiting trilogy by John Christopher, and The Road to Corlay by Richard Cowper? All probably out of print, but Abebooks is your friend! Then there's Fugue for a Darkening Island by Christopher Priest, and... well, I could go on, but that's enough for now.

Except that if alternative history floats your boat, Keith Robert's Pavane and Kiteworld are both magnificent.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: rudolph on April 19, 2008, 12:59:27 am
I've just finished Bertrand Russell's "Why I am not a Christian". You may agree or not with him (I couldn't agree more) but in any case his intelligent writing is delightful. The most profound ideas exposed with utmost simplicity.

Now, I am re-reading that little gem "Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: rogerzilla on April 19, 2008, 06:54:37 pm
The Hobbit.  Bloody dwarfs.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: miloat on April 19, 2008, 08:14:37 pm
I just finished reading Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas.
Good book miles better than the film.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Thing2 on April 19, 2008, 10:20:28 pm
Very unusually, I there are only 2 books I'm currently reading.

I've nearly finished Moby Dick (Herman Melville). To be honest, it's probably a couple of months since I last read any of it, but it is at the point where I will probably finish it one weekend morning, when/if I feel like it. I am bored with it, but too close to the end not to finish it.  :-\

I've just started re-reading The Name of the Rose (Umberto Eco). Inspired by catching the first part of the film on TV the other night, and having just finished Shalimar the clown (Salman Rushdie).

I'll pick up a fairly light book to re-read next week for when I'm having my breakfast. I seem to be going through a Diskworld phase with those at the moment, although I'm getting to the point where I could be tempted to re-read the Harry Potter series. I'm also tempted to re-read The Code Book (Simon Singh), but that is likely to be a third book to be read in parallel with others. Confessions of an English Opium Eater (Thomas De Quincey) is also on the near future reading list.

Emma
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on April 20, 2008, 11:54:32 am
...I really enjoy post-apocalyptic fiction.  "The Day of the Triffids" is one of my favourite books of any genre.

Me too. Among British authors, can I recommend The Death of Grass and the Prince in Waiting trilogy by John Christopher, and The Road to Corlay by Richard Cowper? All probably out of print, but Abebooks is your friend! Then there's Fugue for a Darkening Island by Christopher Priest, and... well, I could go on, but that's enough for now.

Except that if alternative history floats your boat, Keith Robert's Pavane and Kiteworld are both magnificent.

All most excellent. Christopher Priest continues to excel too - The Changes is a great slipstream / alt-history mash-up.

I've just been to the local book fair, so my new reading list for the coming week(s) is:

James Baldwin - The Fire Next Time
JG Ballard - The Atrocity Exhibtion
Jack Kerouac - Big Sur
Henning Mankell - Faceless Killers
Flann O'Brien - The Third Policemen

I was very tempted by a lovely first edition of William Carlos Wiliams's later poems, but it was a bit too expensive. I know I will regret not getting it later... just like I did when I missed out on a first edition of Paterson...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on April 20, 2008, 12:23:26 pm
Oh that's a grand reading list!  Love Baldwin...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: domesticated ape on April 20, 2008, 01:36:48 pm
I'm reading Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard, the founder and owner of the outdoor clothes company Patagonia. The book's all about the history of the company, and how he runs the business in a way that tries to be as environmentally sustainable as possible, as well as treating all their employees well. It's a bit 'businessy' but it's definitely an interesting read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: MSeries on April 20, 2008, 09:54:45 pm
Since I am cycling to work more than I am using the bus, I don't have a book at work to read at lunchtimes or whilst on the can. So I have started reading Nick & Dick Cranes Journey To The Centre Of The Earth. I first read this in the 80s when I was preparing for my transcontinental ride. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Quisling on April 20, 2008, 10:09:18 pm
I'm currently reading a page or four of Rogers Profanisaurous (The Magna Farta) before bed to ensure I go to sleep smiling.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on April 21, 2008, 11:12:15 am
Attempts to dig "The General's Last Love" out of the bag in which it has lain since Easter have proved fruitless, as I got side-tracked by Griffith Borgeson's The Golden Age Of The American Racing Car, which led inexorably to Mark Dees' The Miller Dynasty.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mrcharly-YHT on April 21, 2008, 02:41:19 pm
"The Forever War" is a classic. I've not read the sequels.

It's brilliant, particularly in it's treatment of time-dilation effects and the resulting effects on people and society.

I think it would be a better novel if Haldeman wasn't obsessed with group sex (he seems to put this in all his books  ::-)).

Mindbridge is possibly even better.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: velocitizen on April 25, 2008, 08:40:41 pm
I have just finished reading 'Margrave of the marshes' the John Peel biography this evening.
To be honest I was finding it all a bit boring, and then towards the finish I didn't want it to end, and now it's over I wish there was a bit more...I think I was always a bit like that when I listened to his radio shows, and it has reminded me what I loved about him. RIP.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on April 25, 2008, 09:00:53 pm
"think it would be a better novel if Haldeman wasn't obsessed with group sex (he seems to put this in all his books  Roll Eyes)."

What's wrong with group sex?  Good fun......... O:-)  You want pervy, try late Heinlein..

I've recently finished "Judge" by Karen Traviss, this is the last of her 6 book Wess'har series.  The Eqbas fleet has reached Earth, to judge & punish those responsible for a nuclear incident on the planet Bezer'ej, which nearly resulted in the extinction of the intelligent, aquatic natives.  Once this minor matter is attended to, they will restore Earth's ecology to a balanced state, and repopulate it with many of the extinct species sent into space in a gene bank over a century ago. This will involve a forced reduction in the human population  from 7 billion to 1 billion.....  Intelligent, enjoyable SF, with a greenish tinge.

Also just re-read Alistair Reynolds "Century Rain",  half  Chandleresque detective story set in Paris, half wormholes, nanotech & a devastated Earth.  Not as bleak as his "Revelation Space" series, and a decent ending (something I don't think he's good at)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jezza on April 25, 2008, 10:22:44 pm
The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera. One of the best books I've read about what it means to love.

The Alchemist, by Paolo Coelho. A simple story yet one which contains much essential truth about life, and the importance of following your dreams.

The Ravens, by Christopher Robbins. The story of America's pilots during the secret war in Laos.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Nuncio on April 26, 2008, 07:30:13 pm
The Grapes of Wrath - Steinbeck.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andygates on April 26, 2008, 08:16:48 pm
Light stuff after The Road: Iain Banks's The Algebraist.  Second reading so I'm muttering "you clever bastard" a lot...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: domesticated ape on April 27, 2008, 09:52:43 pm
I've just started The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on April 28, 2008, 10:21:58 am
Constantinople: The Last Great Siege, 1453 - Roger Crowley

The title says it all really, a gripping account of the fall of Constantinople to Sultan Mehmed II. The final act in the long slow fall of the Roman Empire.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: MSeries on April 28, 2008, 10:24:00 am
I'm onto "IBM and the Holocaust" now
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on April 28, 2008, 01:22:56 pm
Light stuff after The Road: Iain Banks's The Algebraist.  Second reading so I'm muttering "you clever bastard" a lot...

A real return to his best sf form IMHO... I read The Steep Approach to Garbadale last week and in contrast that felt like he was treading water, or just retelling the same quirky family stories again. He's much better when he lets himself go...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: tiermat on April 28, 2008, 01:46:59 pm
Just finished Simon Scarrow's Centurion and have Bernard Cornwall's Heretic to read tonight.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Dave on April 28, 2008, 01:53:14 pm
Light stuff after The Road: Iain Banks's The Algebraist.  Second reading so I'm muttering "you clever bastard" a lot...

A real return to his best sf form IMHO...

Only temporary, sadly. Matter (the latest Culture book) is terrible :(. Easily 250-300 pages too long (seriously). The Algebraist was a bit too long too, but was at least enjoyable.

I've just finished Spook Country (William Gibson), which is really good.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: RainOrShine on April 28, 2008, 02:00:27 pm
Matter (the latest Culture book) is terrible :(. Easily 250-300 pages too long (seriously).
Noooo!That's next on my list...  :'(

Currently making slow progress through Vodka by Boris Starling.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on April 28, 2008, 05:40:51 pm
I'm onto "IBM and the Holocaust" now

A classic of the field I work in...

Spook Country is great... Gibson is actually underrated as a stylist, I think...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on April 28, 2008, 05:51:42 pm
Spook Country was good.  Both Matter & Steep Approach to Garbadale were disappointing.  The same stuff from previous books recycled I'm afraid.

Look at Charles Stross if you want good SF.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on April 28, 2008, 08:16:05 pm
Look at Charles Stross if you want good SF.

Hmm... he's okay, but too many in-jokes and his plots tend to have large holes and run out of steam. I'd still recommend him. But it you really want the best of the best recently, I'd go for Ian McDonald's Brasyl, Geoff Ryman's Air or M John Harrison's Light and Nova Swing. IMHO of course... it is often a matter of taste, and mine tends to the slightly surreal and arty, with some crunchy politics.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on April 28, 2008, 09:06:15 pm
I've read Light & Air, both excellent, as was Harrison's Centauri Device.  I didn't get to the end of the Viriconium collection though.

One I've got to go back, to is Hal Duncan's Vellum.  I got about half way through then decided it was too clever for it's own good. Worth another go though.

Stross's shorter works are very  good, The Atrocity Archive & A Colder Place, but I had to go and read some Lovecraft to get the references.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on April 29, 2008, 10:34:21 am
Stross's shorter works are very  good, The Atrocity Archive & A Colder Place, but I had to go and read some Lovecraft to get the references.

I think so too - I used to read his stuff in Interzone and elsewhere before he had published any novels... I had already read Lovecraft (and CAS and Derleth...) as a midguided teenager so I had a handle on those aspects!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wascally Weasel on April 29, 2008, 11:53:25 am
"Set phasers to very smug indeed"

I'm reading an advance proof copy of the next Christopher Brookmyre book "A Snowball in Hell".  When it comes out in hardback/paperback later in the year do not read the inside jacket cover/back of the book as it gives far too much away in my view.

You may wish to avoid the blurb on Amazon for similar reasons, it's defintiely worth reading the book itself though!

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: PaulF on April 29, 2008, 12:14:34 pm
Rereading Iain Banks' 'Look to Windward' and Stephen Hawking's 'A Brief History of Time' plus trying to read Black Swans by Nassim Nicholas Taleb - not a good choice for a 'plane' book :(

...and yes having 3 books on the go is not great
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: spen666 on April 29, 2008, 12:16:16 pm
I'm reading the 2008 Beano annual
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: blackpuddinonnabike on April 29, 2008, 12:19:53 pm
Just finished 'You Only Live Twice'. Love most of the Bond novels (working through them in order), but this really was oriental stereotypes taken to extremes. Quite hard to read at times!

Probably read 'Palestinian Walks' next.

Had an eclectic mix recently (read Walter Moers' 'Rumo' before the last Bond novel - ostensibly a kids book, but desperately good fun, and rather dark and bloody).
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: CathH on April 29, 2008, 01:09:38 pm
I'm back onto comfort-reading - Stephen King's Needful Things is entertaining me at the moment.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Zoidburg on April 29, 2008, 05:59:42 pm
A Taschen Frank Lloyd Wright photo art book
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: peliroja on April 29, 2008, 06:01:08 pm
Some history book. I am terrible with titles of books.

It's by some funny-journo-writer-type. The cover is beige.

That aside, it's very entertaining indeed!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on April 29, 2008, 09:23:08 pm

I'm reading an advance proof copy of the next Christopher Brookmyre book "A Snowball in Hell". 


You lucky so-and-so.  I'm a big fan.  I'm going to see/hear him talk about his books in Falkirk in May.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mrs Pingu on April 29, 2008, 09:48:34 pm
I am nearly finished my umpteenth reading of The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman.  8)

After that I have a copy of Salmon Fishing In The Yemen - no idea if it will be any good, it was a purchase of desperation in a dry spell, and I also have the 2 new Alistair Reynolds books to read which I'm really looking forward to, even if one of them is a collection of short stories (which normally I can't stand).
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Hummers on July 31, 2008, 06:55:58 pm
I have had a quick look but cannot find a thread on this forum.

So.... I am reading 'The Reivers' by Alistair Moffat.

It is a 'factual' book relating to the raiding activities of the mafioso style families that lived in the Borders (England/Scotland) between about the 13th and 17th centuries. It also paints a vivid picture of the Borders as a sorry pawn in the macinations of various regents and these raping, pludering, murderous outlaws (outlaws and monarchs) over 500 years. As we will have spent about 4 days split between Northumberlnd and Edinburgh, this has been a useful companion. Moffat intersperses (sometimes) dry historical information with 'did you know' facts, lightning what can become depressing reading.

Mrs H has just finished reading 'Wife in the North' by Judith O' Reiley. A diary of one woman's experience of moving to glorious Northumberland from London. The book has prompted many "laugh out loud moments" from Mrs H. You know, when you have to put down your book and ask 'what's so funny' or choose to ignore your sniggering spouse. I am picking this up after I have finished reading The Reivers as no doubt I will need cheering up.

H
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mrs Pingu on July 31, 2008, 07:12:20 pm
What books are we reading at the moment ? (http://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=342.0)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Frenchie on July 31, 2008, 07:45:59 pm
For whom the bell tolls by Ernest Hemingway at the moment.

Next is the The classic world by Colin Lane Fox.

... prompted by Mrs Pingu and Mr H.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tim Hall on July 31, 2008, 07:53:11 pm
The Music of the Primes, by Marcus du Sautoy.

Hard sums explained.  I fear my brain may explode before I finish it.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on July 31, 2008, 08:00:47 pm
I tried to read Tristram Shandy last week.  To my shame I gave up.  :'( The story and format are great, but the language was too archane for me to enjoy it personally.  So reading Josie Dew instead.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: scott on July 31, 2008, 08:05:34 pm
Recently finished _The Conquest of Nature: Water, Landscape, and the Making of Modern Germany_, by David Blackbourn. I enjoyed it, but then I would.  :)  Made me wish I had figured out this interest--combining history and landscape ecology--early enough in life to go for a PhD.

Not long before that was _The Discovery of France_ by Graham Robb, which I may have mentioned on here--very enjoyable, and the author is a cyclist (and did much of his research by bike....).

Was simultaneously reading (!) _Once Upon A Time in the North_ by Philip Pullman--a shorter book about the character Lee Scoresby. OK for entertainment value, but a little clunky on the message, and really just an "action" story. Of course, I got it just when I had gotten irritated with my re-read of _The Subtle Knife_--something about the sheer amount of violence and torment in the books, which doesn't always seem necessary.

Right now, I'm reading _The Hidden West: Journeys in the American Outback_ by Rob Schulteis. I'm trying to fairly separate my jealously at his footloose wanderings from my irritation at the little eruptions of excessive statements that sound very poetic but really don't mean very much.

Not sure what's next. The stash of books on the pile at home--mostly finds from this spring's used-book sale--aren't really calling to me. Still waiting for my pre-order copy of Tim Robinson's _Connemara_ to come in at the bookstore.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: toekneep on July 31, 2008, 08:08:48 pm
A Spot of Bother - Mark Haddon. I can't decide about it. It is entertaining but it reminds of Tom Sharpe's Wilt books but set in a more modern era. I enjoyed Tom Sharpe twenty five years ago but maybe I have changed. The constant theme of everything that can go wrong does go wrong is a bit predicatble.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Greenbank on July 31, 2008, 08:17:21 pm
The Music of the Primes, by Marcus du Sautoy.

Hard sums explained.  I fear my brain may explode before I finish it.

Any good? I'm a maths geek and a sucker for Pop. Sci. books like this (i.e. The Code Book by Simon Singh, Dr Reimanns Zeroes, etc).

(Plus I've played football against Marcus du Sautoy, he plays for Recreativo Hackney. We won 4-2.)

Next is Cocksure by Mordecai Richler.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on July 31, 2008, 08:22:07 pm
Marcus is great on the radio.  I imagine his written style is easy to read.  Didn't he write 'The Nothing That Is'?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Frenchie on July 31, 2008, 08:22:52 pm
The Music of the Primes, by Marcus du Sautoy.

I saw that Finding Moonshine: A Mathematician's Journey Through Symmetry had a great review and was very tempted. Is The Music of the Primes any good?

GB, we have a similar intestest it seems; at least some books in common. I loved Fermat's Last Theorem too.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: redshift on July 31, 2008, 08:25:41 pm
The Music of the Primes, by Marcus du Sautoy.

Hard sums explained.  I fear my brain may explode before I finish it.

If your brain doesn't explode, follow it up with The Road to Reality by Roger Penrose.  That will make it leak out of your ears in a very satisfactory manner...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tim Hall on July 31, 2008, 08:44:24 pm
As Terry Gilliam said "Marcus du Sautoy isn't big, but he certainly is very clever"

Recreativo Hackney have prime numbers on their shirts.

Anyway, yes Music of the Primes is good. When I get stuck, or have to re-read a passage, I imagine it in his voice.

I got Finding Moonshine from the library. Excellent stuff. Although dealing with all those dimensions was another brain stretching exercise.  I nearly went on holiday to Granada to see The Alhambra just because he goes on about the 17 different symmetries the Moors used in its decoration.

Music of the Primes has just got to Reimann is doing stuff with zeta functions in 4 dimensions.  It's hard, but satisfying, work.

Du Sautoy did the Royal Institution Christmas lectures in 2007. Or was it 2006?  Anyway, I have them as avi files somewhere.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Andrij on July 31, 2008, 08:45:20 pm
"Watching the English — The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour" by Kate Fox.

A definite 'must read' for anyone who has moved to the UK.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Greenbank on July 31, 2008, 08:46:20 pm
Marcus is great on the radio.  I imagine his written style is easy to read.  Didn't he write 'The Nothing That Is'?

Google suggests that was Kaplan. But thanks as I hadn't seen that book...

du Sautoy did the Royal Institute Christmas Lectures in, umm, 2006. Somewhere round here I have part of it on DVD thanks to my dad (another maths geek). Ah, yes, it was obviously a maths night on TV:

9.05 Go Forth And Multiply (Ethiopian Multiplication)
9.10. The Music Of The Primes (du Sautoy)
10.10 The Life Of Phi (da Vinci/Fibonacci)
10.15 Breaking The Code (about Enigma)
11.45 Dreaming The Impossible (about Escher)
11.50 Horizon (Fermat's Last Theorem)

[EDIT] Random fact: In the same evening in Cambridge (Carols at King's no less) I saw both Andrew Wiles and I was almost run over by Hawking.

Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid by Hofstadter is lying around somewhere although it takes a while to digest it...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Greenbank on July 31, 2008, 08:48:02 pm
Du Sautoy did the Royal Institution Christmas lectures in 2007. Or was it 2006?  Anyway, I have them as avi files somewhere.

I'd be interested in getting those from you (as I only have one of them). I could post you a suitably sized USB stick if that'd work?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mrs Pingu on July 31, 2008, 08:56:48 pm
A Spot of Bother - Mark Haddon. I can't decide about it.
It did get on my wick a bit as well, but then I find thatsort of Frank Spencer-ish type reading hard work.

I'm reading Alastair Reynolds 'The Prefect' having just finished 'Galactic North' by the same author. Good stuff. :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tim Hall on July 31, 2008, 08:59:23 pm

I'd be interested in getting those from you (as I only have one of them). I could post you a suitably sized USB stick if that'd work?
I'll burn them to DVD, but as avi (converting to DVD format on this machione takes approximately forever).

PM me your address.  On second thoughts, I've got an online storage thing. I can upload them to there.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Frenchie on July 31, 2008, 09:27:52 pm
On second thoughts, I've got an online storage thing. I can upload them to there.

I'd be interested as well.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Regulator on July 31, 2008, 11:42:00 pm
The Marmaduke Pickthall bilingual translation of The Qur'an - a fantastic illustrated version.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Hummers on August 01, 2008, 08:14:34 am
I am reading 'The Reivers' by Alistair Moffat.

It is a 'factual' book relating to the raiding activities of the mafioso style families that lived in the Borders (England/Scotland) between about the 13th and 17th centuries. It also paints a vivid picture of the Borders as a sorry pawn in the macinations of various regents and these raping, pludering, murderous outlaws (outlaws and monarchs) over 500 years. As we will have spent about 4 days split between Northumberlnd and Edinburgh, this has been a useful companion. Moffat intersperses (sometimes) dry historical information with 'did you know' facts, lightning what can become depressing reading.

Mrs H has just finished reading 'Wife in the North' by Judith O' Reiley. A diary of one woman's experience of moving to glorious Northumberland from London. The book has prompted many "laugh out loud moments" from Mrs H. You know, when you have to put down your book and ask 'what's so funny' or choose to ignore your sniggering spouse. I am picking this up after I have finished reading The Reivers as no doubt I will need cheering up.

H
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on August 01, 2008, 08:54:17 am
I am just about to read After Dark by my namesake, Murakami Haruki...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: JT on August 01, 2008, 09:10:24 am
Pies and Prejudice by Stuart Maconie.

It's very funny and quite informative too - my knowledge of so-called Northern places in Lancashire and Yorkshire is sketchy as, to me, they're in the midlands.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: spindrift on August 01, 2008, 09:12:01 am
Trashy beach read is "No Time To Say Goodbye"- a mystery thriller that you could finish in a day. Very gripping.

I bought a load of review copies from work- "Hellraisers, about O'Toole, Burton, Reed and Harris, Cityboy, 17 by the KLF's BIll Drummond and Sex Lives Of The Rich And Famous.

My summer reading's invariably lowbrow.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: tiermat on August 01, 2008, 09:33:09 am
Pies and Prejudice by Stuart Maconie.

It's very funny and quite informative too - my knowledge of so-called Northern places in Lancashire and Yorkshire is sketchy as, to me, they're in the midlands.


If you like that then try finding "The Diary of a Rock and Roll Nobody" By Marc Radcliffe, an excellent read.

Currently reading "The Kite Runner", having just finished "The Blood Of The Rose" and "A Thousand Splendid Suns" (spot a pattern here?)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on August 01, 2008, 09:34:39 am
A book by Mark Radcliffe?  Is the opening line:

'Err ummm wurrwurrwurr ummm err' ? ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tim Hall on August 01, 2008, 11:38:25 am


I'll burn them to DVD, but as avi (converting to DVD format on this machione takes approximately forever).

PM me your address.  On second thoughts, I've got an online storage thing. I can upload them to there.

Well uploading seems to be slower than a slow thing, wrapped up in slow string. Been going all night and only 14% complete.

Anyone who wants these PM me your postal address in I'll burn them to DVD as .avi and bung them in the post.

Meantime, the upload trickles on.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: harrumph on August 01, 2008, 11:47:38 am
Fredy Perlman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fredy_Perlman): "Against His-story, Against Leviathan!"
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Andrij on August 01, 2008, 11:48:40 am
I doubt anyone here is remotely interested to know that I am reading  A Concise Grammar of Slovak (http://www.baylanguagebooks.co.uk/product_details.php?id=1971) by George Carcas, ISBN 1897999100.

What is unusual and perhaps interesting is that this 36 page book has been printed on demand, ie. when he has an order for one of his books he prints it on his home printer. £5.95 sounded steep for a 36 page book but I now appreciate that labour is a major part. It is a clever way of keeping books available that have too low a demand for a publisher to commit to a large print run.

Oh yes, and by the way, I am finding it fascinating and very helpful. It is well written.

This is where a site like Lulu.com - Self Publishing - Free (http://www.lulu.com) is usueful.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: padbeat on August 01, 2008, 12:22:37 pm
Working my way through Stalin: the Court of the Red Tsar (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stalin-Court-Simon-Sebag-Montefiore/dp/0753817667/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217588820&sr=8-1) by Simon Sebag Montefiore, which is truly excellent, but I keep having to refer to the Dramatis Presonae at the front to check who people are. There's a horrible confusion of nicknames, patronymics, endearments and so on. I think a worthwhile Annex would be a short description of how Russian names are put together!

And when that all gets a bit heavy and I need to take a break, I've just bought Sex, Lies and Handlebar Tape: The Remarkable Life of Jacques Anquetil (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sex-Lies-Handlebar-Tape-Remarkable/dp/1845963016/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217589660&sr=1-1) which is altogether lighter, though not so well written.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on August 01, 2008, 09:48:05 pm
Working my way through Stalin: the Court of the Red Tsar (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stalin-Court-Simon-Sebag-Montefiore/dp/0753817667/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217588820&sr=8-1) by Simon Sebag Montefiore, which is truly excellent, but I keep having to refer to the Dramatis Presonae at the front to check who people are. There's a horrible confusion of nicknames, patronymics, endearments and so on. I think a worthwhile Annex would be a short description of how Russian names are put together!

Ah-ha! I have this ready to read in the teetering pile at my bedside.  My brother-in-law gave me this for my birthday last year, but I'd just finished Stalin by Robert Service, so was Stalin-ed out for a while.  I have quite a few books about Soviet history  ::-)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andygates on August 02, 2008, 04:04:10 pm
I'm STILL chewing through Against the Day.  We've left the trackless Taklamakan to witness the Tunguska event, but was Tesla involved?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: rogerzilla on August 02, 2008, 09:23:13 pm
Christopher Brookmyre's "Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks", because I know him and I proof-read one of his previous novels (I even got a credit on the title page  :D).
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: CathH on August 03, 2008, 04:16:47 pm
Just finished Tess Of The D'Urbervilles (again).  It doesn't get any better, does it?   :'(
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: rogerzilla on August 03, 2008, 04:43:17 pm
Moral: treat your wife like sh!t, and if it all goes pear-shaped, you can always have her younger sister  :D

On repeated re-readings, Alec d'Urberville actually comes out as the goody.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: padbeat on August 03, 2008, 05:39:10 pm
Christopher Brookmyre's "Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks", because I know him and I proof-read one of his previous novels (I even got a credit on the title page  :D).
Just finished that one, and thoroughly enjoyed it!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Palinurus on August 03, 2008, 09:58:08 pm
Recently finished Vasily Grossman's "Life and Fate". Just started "What is the What" by Dave Eggers, a lucky find at the local library.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Valiant on August 04, 2008, 12:18:11 am
Confessions of a bad girl :o

In my defense it was my friend Savannah's and she left it in the office. It's quite addictive actually.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: CathH on August 04, 2008, 12:44:05 pm
On repeated re-readings, Alec d'Urberville actually comes out as the goody.
You think?  Sometimes Hardy leaves too much to my imagination, and I rather thought that Alec, having ditched his remorse-based fanaticism, had decided that neither he nor she could be degraded any further and therefore had convinced her to engage in sinful activity against her (still) lawful husband, abandonment not being a reason for divorce in those days (I think).

This is only my second re-reading so I may have got it wrong...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on August 04, 2008, 12:49:31 pm
Walt Unsworth's "Everest: A Mountaineering History"
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: toekneep on August 04, 2008, 02:58:06 pm
Irvine Welsh - Glue. The dialect precludes reading it after more than two glasses of wine. I can't tell if I'm drunk or not.  ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Elleigh on August 04, 2008, 03:00:35 pm
'Weapons of Mass Destruction'  Sue Townsend

It's another Adrian Mole Diary
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on August 04, 2008, 06:29:20 pm
Just finished "High Noon in the Cold War" by Max Frankel, and "One Minute to Midnight" by Michael Dobbs. Both are about the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. It's truly frightening to learn just how close we came to getting obliterated back then.

I've been re-reading "Lord of the Rings", by J.R.R. Tolkien. I've got the 50th anniversary single volume edition which is excellent. I've read "The Hobbit" and LOTR quite a few times since early adolescence, I seem to keep coming back to both of them.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: rogerzilla on August 04, 2008, 09:28:06 pm
On repeated re-readings, Alec d'Urberville actually comes out as the goody.
You think?  Sometimes Hardy leaves too much to my imagination, and I rather thought that Alec, having ditched his remorse-based fanaticism, had decided that neither he nor she could be degraded any further and therefore had convinced her to engage in sinful activity against her (still) lawful husband, abandonment not being a reason for divorce in those days (I think).

This is only my second re-reading so I may have got it wrong...
Well, Alec is reasonably constant in his lust for her and goes to some lengths to get her back.  Angel really isn't a very sympathetic character.  Hardy is quite good at subverting the hero/villain dichotomy - Farfrae comes across as being a bit of a tosser in The Mayor Of Casterbridge, and although Henchard behaves the worst by far, he's the one you're rooting for.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: harrumph on August 05, 2008, 10:48:29 am
Fredy Perlman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fredy_Perlman): "Against His-story, Against Leviathan!"

I've now put this aside for the time being in favour of Redemption Songs by Judith Binney (http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=73eFPqD75O4C&dq=Judith+Binney&pg=PP1&ots=zqppl4V26e&sig=p9asU8ydq1HzkCXJ6m0T26G-ewo&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=2&ct=result#PPA640,M1), a biography of the 19th century Maori leader Te Kooti which arrived yesterday. 600-odd pages - poor postman! - and at my speed it will probably last until Xmas. According to previous reading Te Kooti has appeared to be rather a bad man, and not a terribly competent guerilla leader either; perhaps the context provided by this book will change my mind.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: redshift on August 05, 2008, 11:30:46 am
Well I've ground to a halt about 75% of the way through Moby Dick.  Again.  It's not that I don't like it, just that I find it loses its way a bit.  I'll come back to it in about a week or so and finish it.  In the meantime, I bought a translation of Yagyu Munenori's 'Life-giving sword,' which I've never read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: CathH on August 05, 2008, 01:04:34 pm
Well, Alec is reasonably constant in his lust for her and goes to some lengths to get her back. 
Good point.  I also must remember that divorce Angel and marry Alec just was not an option.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Eccentrica Gallumbits on August 05, 2008, 11:48:01 pm
Pies and Prejudice by Stuart Maconie.

It's very funny and quite informative too - my knowledge of so-called Northern places in Lancashire and Yorkshire is sketchy as, to me, they're in the midlands.

I've just started this, and I'm loving it so far. To paraphrase Olivia Newton-John, it's filled with affection. I've just got as far as Manchester.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Hummers on August 06, 2008, 08:09:56 pm
Just finished Hanibal by Thomas Harris.

Quite different from the film and with a very different ending.

The book goes a lot more into the characters which I found very interesting as is Harris's style of writing.

It also highlights that although undoubtedly a monster, Hanibal is the lesser of those depicted in the book and you almost end up liking him.

Almost.

H
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Rapples on August 06, 2008, 08:18:03 pm
Herge's adventures of Tintin ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jasper the surreal cyclist on August 08, 2008, 02:46:11 pm
Julian Rathbone, Sand Blind......very Grahame Greene
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wascally Weasel on August 08, 2008, 02:54:25 pm
If I can find it this weekend 'Last and First Men' by Olaf Stapleton.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: CathH on August 11, 2008, 06:33:11 pm
Tully by Paullina Simons.  Recommended by my Mum.  She has a strange taste in stories.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on August 11, 2008, 08:20:30 pm
I'm just starting The Great War for Civilization by Robert Fisk about the recent history of the Middle East, and also enjoying Tanikawa Shuntaro's rather beautiful 1952 collection of poems Two Billion Light Years of Solitude, which my wife bought back for me from Japan.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Sergeant Pluck on August 11, 2008, 08:23:22 pm
I'm forcing my way through "Easy Way to Stop Smoking" by Allen Carr. I am somewhat underwhelmed. I keep leaving it and going over to my second book, "Shah of Shahs", by Ryszard Kapuscinski. Wonderful writer that just draws me in. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on August 11, 2008, 08:27:51 pm
Just finished "The Steel Remains" by Richard Morgan,  first part in a fantasy trilogy .  I don't normally do fantasy but spent most of Saturday reading this.  It's well written, amusing and very violent.  

Currently half way through Ken Mcleod's "Night Sessions". So far, so good.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Eccentrica Gallumbits on August 11, 2008, 08:35:59 pm
Singled Out by Virginia Nicholson - how two million women survived without men after the first world war.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: alan on August 11, 2008, 08:49:36 pm
An Imperial Possesssion:Britain in the Roman Empire 54 BC-AD 409 by David Mattingly.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jezza on August 12, 2008, 08:48:29 am
Bitter Lemons by Lawrence Durrell.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Frenchie on August 12, 2008, 08:54:08 am
Heroes, Villains and Velodromes: Chris Hoy and Britain's Track Cycling Revolution  (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Heroes-Villains-Velodromes-Britains-Revolution/dp/000726531X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1218527523&sr=8-1) by Richard Moore

Very easy read; quite interesting. I was expecting better through: the story is great and inspiring, but the style and book construction let them down a bit.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on August 12, 2008, 10:20:58 am
I've just read Brave New World for the first time since I was at skool.

It's crap :(
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on August 12, 2008, 10:42:50 am
I've just read Brave New World for the first time since I was at skool.

It's crap :(

Are you kidding?  ??? It is just about the most brilliantly written and perceptive dystopia ever. Far better than Nineteen Eighty-Four
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on August 12, 2008, 10:46:04 am
Currently half way through Ken Mcleod's "Night Sessions". So far, so good.

I've just read The Execution Channel, which I found slightly disappointing... I was hoping he'd done a Spook Country, but the politics never really seemed more than a tokenistic and exploitative backdrop. He's just never quite managed to write a book that is brilliant throughout IMHO - it has the air of too many good ideas which don't really work together forced into a book.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Elleigh on August 12, 2008, 02:26:38 pm
I'm now reading 'From University to Uni' A very interesting read about the political agenda and policy shifts in higher education.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: MSeries on August 12, 2008, 02:29:42 pm
IBM & The Holocaust

Enigma
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: alchemy on August 12, 2008, 02:33:12 pm
Far better than Nineteen Eighty-Four


Well if Nineteen Eighty Four is anything like Animal Farm and The Road to Wigan Pier than I'd rather read the back of a cereal packet.

After reading them I couldn't (and still can't) understand why Orwells' books are held in such high regard
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on August 12, 2008, 02:51:37 pm
Small Wars Permitting by Christina Lamb (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Small-Wars-Permitting-Dispatches-Foreign/dp/0007256892/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1218548726&sr=8-1) recounts the foreign correspondents trips across the world during the last 20 years.  It starts out in Pakistan talking about the coming to power of Benazir Bhutto in 1988, before the authors heads off to Latin America, South Africa, the Middle East and currently she's living in Portugal.  The book is partly made up of Lamb's articles publishes in a variety of newspapers and then her own thoughts and feelings about her experiences.  It's interesting reading about events with the knowledge of hindsight and seeing how events have unfolded in, for example, Pakistan. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on August 12, 2008, 05:49:33 pm
Currently half way through Ken Mcleod's "Night Sessions". So far, so good.

I've just read The Execution Channel, which I found slightly disappointing... I was hoping he'd done a Spook Country, but the politics never really seemed more than a tokenistic and exploitative backdrop. He's just never quite managed to write a book that is brilliant throughout IMHO - it has the air of too many good ideas which don't really work together forced into a book.

He paints a depressingly plausible vision of near future Britain though.  I really disliked the ending as well. 

Night Sessions has quite a bit in common with Charles Stross's "Halting State", a police procedural in near future Scotland, I suspect they've been bouncing ideas of each other in the pub!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jasper the surreal cyclist on August 12, 2008, 08:38:30 pm
My Name is Legion by A.N. Wilson....
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: redshift on August 12, 2008, 09:22:59 pm
Far better than Nineteen Eighty-Four


Well if Nineteen Eighty Four is anything like Animal Farm and The Road to Wigan Pier than I'd rather read the back of a cereal packet.

After reading them I couldn't (and still can't) understand why Orwells' books are held in such high regard

You and me both.  I read the deconstruction of Hardy a few pages back with a disbelieving stare too.  Most 'classics' leave me cold.  Then again, I read Woolf's Orlando a few years ago and found the prose poetry fantastic.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: arabella on August 19, 2008, 11:23:20 pm
I always wonder if a certain amount of literary merit isn't in fact context dependent ie depends on what else's about (a bit like a ballad winning at Eurovision when it was mostly pop and vice versa, not that I've watched eurovision since 1982)

___________________________(you did say bookS)
I have finished in the last month:
Nella Last's war (one of the mass observation diaries)
Sepulchre (Kate Mosse, not as good as Labyrinth as plot too similar so novelty wasn't there)
the Hinge factor (what if Marshall Ney had spiked the guns at Waterloo etc)
Chernobyl Strawberries
the Fixer (I think quite well known when it first came out)
and countless light reads that I almost as soon forget, some of which my offspring were supposed to have read and didn't

Have had on the go for ages:
L'Aventure des Langues en L'Occident
Narziss und Goldmund (err, in translation, I am too lazy)
Sisam, 14th centure verse'n'prose
After Babel (on language and translation)

Am now also reading:
Solitaire Mystery
Life and Death of Smallpox
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on August 19, 2008, 11:51:42 pm
I've just read Brave New World for the first time since I was at skool.

It's crap :(

I made the same mistake last summer. I used to think it was great. This time round I thought it was pretty turgid. It might have been a brilliant dystopian fantasy once upon a time but now it seems incredibly dated, and doesn't even offer the consolation of being well written (unlike, say, HG Wells and Jules Verne).

I read the deconstruction of Hardy a few pages back with a disbelieving stare too.  Most 'classics' leave me cold.  Then again, I read Woolf's Orlando a few years ago and found the prose poetry fantastic.

I can't read Hardy. I find him unbearable. And not because I don't like books with a high misery quotient - I love George Eliot, for example, and Middlemarch is one of my favourite books ever. In a similar vein, I've also got Les Miserables on my to-read pile (in French, of course, pseud that I am).

I'm currently reading A History Of The World In Six Glasses by Tom Standage (http://www.amazon.co.uk/History-World-6-Glasses/dp/1843545950/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1219185495&sr=8-1), which is a clever idea well executed. The history aspect of it is a bit superficial (perhaps not surprising given the scope of the book in relation to its size), but it works as a good, broad overview and is written in a flowing, easy-to-read style.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on August 20, 2008, 09:16:28 pm
I'm now reading Jonathan Glover's Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century, and some of Tobias Wolfe's short stories.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: scott on August 20, 2008, 09:18:15 pm
I have just finished reading 'Margrave of the marshes' the John Peel biography this evening.

Just got this through interlibrary loan...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andygates on August 20, 2008, 10:04:29 pm
The Monkey Wrench Gang, Edward Abbey's seminal ecotage novel.  In which I became convinced that Hayduke was the inspiration for Marvel's Wolverine...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: scott on August 20, 2008, 10:05:18 pm
I took Desert Solitaire to (re)read on vacation, but didn't get to it. Still, it's on the "soon" stack.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on August 21, 2008, 09:26:56 am
The Monkey Wrench Gang, Edward Abbey's seminal ecotage novel.  In which I became convinced that Hayduke was the inspiration for Marvel's Wolverine...

Great read. It was an inspiration for quite a few things I did when I was younger. Allegedly.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: JT on August 21, 2008, 09:38:50 am
Under The Paw: Confessions of a Cat Man by Tom Cox.


Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on August 26, 2008, 02:13:24 pm
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. 

I read bits of it when I was a kid, but completely forgot about it until I watched Comics Britannia the other week. 

It's also the first graphic novel I've read.  Well, unless you count Beano and Dandy annuals.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: scott on August 26, 2008, 03:18:22 pm
I just finished _The Rings of Saturn_ by W.G. Sebald (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._G._Sebald), who I only heard of recently. It's a novel, but reads like notes from a long walk interrupted by long asides on history and odd people. I think I need to find his other two novels now. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jezza on August 26, 2008, 03:24:50 pm
I just finished _The Rings of Saturn_ by W.G. Sebald (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._G._Sebald), who I only heard of recently. It's a novel, but reads like notes from a long walk interrupted by long asides on history and odd people. I think I need to find his other two novels now. 

I love this book. It's like a stream of consciousness for me, to range far and wide around the world but keep returning to the same place - the Suffolk coast, where I live.   
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on August 26, 2008, 03:25:42 pm
'The Inheritance of Loss' by Kiran Desai

really very readable  :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: scott on August 26, 2008, 04:43:20 pm
I love this book. It's like a stream of consciousness for me

Same here--even though it's a strange form for a novel, it seemed completely natural for me. I guess some would find the lack of characters and plot boring, and the long asides irritating, but I liked it more than a lot of conventional novels I've read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: microphonie on August 26, 2008, 07:12:09 pm
Just started Will Self's  'The Book of Dave'  (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2006/may/27/fiction.hayfestival2006)

I abandoned his 'How the Dead Live' so hopefully I'll get a bit more into this one (& be inspired to restart HTDL)

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: agagisgroovy on August 26, 2008, 08:46:57 pm
MacLennan's Gaelic Dictionary, old pre-GOC edition.  ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Chris S on August 26, 2008, 08:49:35 pm
The Bible.

Just to remind me what a Totally Barking lot us humans are.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on August 27, 2008, 10:09:52 am
Just started Will Self's  'The Book of Dave'  (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2006/may/27/fiction.hayfestival2006)

That's been sitting in my unread pile for about two years now.  Let me know how you get on.

Currently re-reading Mark Billingham's "Inspector Thorne" series, and being perverse, I'm doing it in reverse chronological order :P
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: MSeries on August 27, 2008, 10:12:23 am
Still reading

IBM & The Holocaust

and

Enigma

Since I am not travelling by bus anymore I don't read on my commute and I'm usually too tired to read at bedtime
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: geraldc on August 27, 2008, 10:26:42 am
The Ultimate French Review and Practice: Mastering French Grammar for Confident Communication 

Somehow after getting through GCSE French, and AO Level, I've now reached the point where I've forgotten so much, it's back to pidgin level. Need to get back up to speed again.

After I've gone through this book, I was thinking about reading a chemistry revision book. I used to understand things like covalent bonds and atomic weights. Now it's all Greek to me.

It is slightly worrying that amount of stuff I've forgotten since the age of 16.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: fiendish on August 27, 2008, 07:09:51 pm
In Defence of Food by Michael Pollans.  Looking at relationships with food over time, and the confusion introduced with science and nutrition,  mass production and over processing. 

I love his opening line: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on August 28, 2008, 11:31:43 am
The End Of Mr Y - Scarlett Thomas

Note to the author: even if your parents were hippies, don't give the leading character a name like "Ariel Manto" unless you want to get jiggy wif Mr Shovel.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: tiermat on August 28, 2008, 11:35:04 am
Just finished "PS I Love You" and about to start "The Welsh Girl", at some point I'll finish reading this year's Galaxy book awards books and start reading something different, probably after reading "Making Money"

And yes I did cry whilst reading "PS I Love You"
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on August 29, 2008, 11:13:16 am
Half Asleep In Frog Pyjamas ~ Tom Robbins

Surprisingly un-odd given the title and previous experience of Mr Robbins, but then I've only got as far as chapter two, in which the leading character and her psychic friend are looking for an escaped monkey.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: scott on August 29, 2008, 02:32:13 pm
Just finished _Land of Tempest_ by Eric Shipton, about expeditions in Patagonia in the 50s. Pretty straightforward "men on adventures" stuff, but fairly entertaining.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mrs Pingu on August 29, 2008, 09:48:58 pm
I am currently having another attempt to read Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. See if I can get to half way this time!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mrs Pingu on August 29, 2008, 09:51:30 pm
Just started Will Self's  'The Book of Dave'  (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2006/may/27/fiction.hayfestival2006)
I quite enjoyed that, tho I've never read any other Will Self books, and I was really desperate at the time. I've read worse.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tim Hall on August 31, 2008, 04:11:54 pm
Finally finished "The Music of the Primes" whilst on holiday. Now got to re read the bit about zeta functions.

After that I read "The Fourth Bear" by Jasper fforde.  Ded gud itwas too.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on August 31, 2008, 05:42:55 pm
I am currently having another attempt to read Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. See if I can get to half way this time!

I thought it was disappointing and overrated - and one of those books that isn't half as impressive if you've ever read any decent science fiction (which of course most mainstream critics and people who give out awards haven't). He's generally got away with quite a bit has David Mitchell - his earlier books, written whilst he was still in Japan, are so 'influenced' by Haruki Murakami that Murakami should sue him. He got away with it, I think because Murakami wasn't so well known then outside Japan as he is now. Since he's stopped trying to be Murakami he's been very windy and pretentious but lacking in genuine spark IMHO.

I've just finished reading a collection of wonderful short stories by Tobias Wolfe (the best US short writer since Raymond Carver) and some rather nastier and less subtle tales by TC Boyle (who isn't) and Divine Invasions - a life of Philip K. Dick. I am now reading Q by 'Luther Blissett'*, which I found in the market today for a quid.

*Not the ex-footballer, but his name is used, for historical reasons, as a nomme de plume by various Italian anarchists and situationalists...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on August 31, 2008, 06:58:25 pm
Still reading

IBM & The Holocaust

and

Enigma

Since I am not travelling by bus anymore I don't read on my commute and I'm usually too tired to read at bedtime

Is "IBM and the Holocaust" still in print?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: ChrisO on August 31, 2008, 07:46:56 pm
I am currently having another attempt to read Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. See if I can get to half way this time!

I thought it was disappointing and overrated

God yes. My wife quite liked him and made me read Ghostwritten, which I hated. Unfortunately I'd forgotten who he was when she suggested Cloud Atlas as a response to me being about to fly off somewhere and needing a book to read.

My personal hell will be a library stocked only with books by David Mitchell, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Yann Martell and certain David Carey. But I won't be allowed to read them - they will be performed to me as modern dance or performance art on alternate days for all eternity.

Anyway...

I have recently "discovered" G.K. Chesterton . He's one of those people I've always been aware of but never got around to reading. I really enjoyed "The Man Who Was Thursday". Very clever premise and very funny, even if the ending is a little weak.

On the strength of that I started reading the Father Brown Stories. They're good in parts but his Roman Catholicism is very heavy at times. Fortunately it's leavened considerably by his wit. This made me sniggger:

"It was one of those journeys on which a man perpetually feels that now at last he must have come to the end of the universe, and then finds he has only come to the beginning of Tufnell Park."

The introduction to the book made me laugh as well. Apparently he was notably absent-minded and once sent his wife a telegram saying "Am at Market Harborough. Where ought I to be ?"



Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on August 31, 2008, 08:25:37 pm
Yann Martell

Oh, totally! The Life of Pi is so crap. I can't believe how many people apparently think it is sooo clever or how it won any awards. Then I read some other stuff by him and it was far worse...

Then again, I seem to be in a minority on things literary - most people seem to think that The Bone People is the worst book ever to win the Booker Prize, whereas to me it's one of the most beautiful, painful books ever written and one of the few books I have read that I thought that unequivocally deserved to win everything it could.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Ariadne on August 31, 2008, 08:39:51 pm
Ah - yes, I agree, Flying Monkey, I adored the Bone People. I did, sort of, like the Life of Pi, though - but only in the sense of it's being an entertaining, lightweight wee tale.

I'm currently entirely hooked on Victorian literature and so I'm on the last of Trollope's Barsetshire series. I ought to have been born a lady, you know, with an income. Something went wrong.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on August 31, 2008, 08:53:07 pm
Collected the latest Christopher Brookmyre from the library yesterday, "A Snowball in Hell".  I'm 150 pages in - he has brought together Simon Darcourt (Black Spirit assassin from "A Big Boy Did it and Ran Away") and Zal Innez (illusionist / bank robber from "The Sacred Art of Stealing).

Wonderful, laugh-out-loud stuff.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: scott on September 01, 2008, 03:55:42 am
Just started Tim Robinson's _Connemara_, which has been a long time coming since the 2nd _Stones of Aran_ book, which I finally read recently and was completely caught up in, despite its length.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on September 01, 2008, 10:58:32 am
Half Asleep In Frog Pyjamas ~ Tom Robbins

Surprisingly un-odd given the title and previous experience of Mr Robbins, but then I've only got as far as chapter two, in which the leading character and her psychic friend are looking for an escaped monkey.

Right, Robbins, pay attention.  Narrating your novel in the third person is fine.  Narrating it in the first person is fine too, as long as you get it right.  Narrating it in the second person is the act of a pretentious ponce who's been on one too many1 "creative writing" courses.

Swapping the narrative between second and third person, however, means that should our paths ever cross I expect to be eating ice cream very shortly afterwards.

Is now a good time to mention that I rather liked both "Ghostwritten" and "Cloud Atlas", as indeed did most of the SW2 massive?

1 - i.e. one
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on September 01, 2008, 11:20:20 am
Ah - yes, I agree, Flying Monkey, I adored the Bone People. I did, sort of, like the Life of Pi, though - but only in the sense of it's being an entertaining, lightweight wee tale.

Booker winners are such a mixed bag, though, aren't they - you can't judge them as a class. I did consider undertaking a project to read through every Booker winner ever, but then some of them really are such dross that I don't think I could stomach it - The English Patient, The Famished Road, Hotel du Lac... Blech! I've not read The Bone People - it doesn't look like my kind of thing - but I enjoyed Life Of Pi as a bit of whimsy, and I was well and truly sucked into Vernon God Little, which seems to divide critics even more than The Bone People. I really liked The Ghost Road a lot, and Last Orders, but Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha was just one Roddy Doyle book too many for me. Arthur & George should have won but it doesn't really matter that it didn't - it's still a great book by a great writer - but then The Sea, which I've not read, also sounds pretty good so maybe it deserved to win.

The only Booker winner I've read that I would recommend unequivocally is The Remains Of The Day - I don't dig sentimentality but that book damn near broke my heart.

Quote
I'm currently entirely hooked on Victorian literature and so I'm on the last of Trollope's Barsetshire series.

Enjoying it? Trollope is on my must-read list but I've never quite got around to him. I've been recently, belatedly getting into Dickens, though - Our Mutual Friend is a new favourite of mine. Viciously caustic and bitter but also very, very funny.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wascally Weasel on September 01, 2008, 11:31:31 am
Re-reading “The Bus Conductor Hines” by James Kelman
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on September 01, 2008, 06:17:48 pm
Re-reading “The Bus Conductor Hines” by James Kelman

Now that is an awesome book. Indeed Kelman should get the Nobel some day IMHO. He's a Scottish national treasure.

Back to the Bookers - yeah, I agree most of them are overrated - that's what you get when committees chose prizes by consensus. The Remains of the Day is wonderfully atmospheric however. The Ghost Road - yep. And I enjoyed Vernon God Little for much the same reason - it has a remarkable voice and tone - I am not sure it is anything more than a good book though.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on September 01, 2008, 06:37:23 pm
Re-reading “The Bus Conductor Hines” by James Kelman

Now that is an awesome book. Indeed Kelman should get the Nobel some day IMHO. He's a Scottish national treasure.

Back to the Bookers - yeah, I agree most of them are overrated - that's what you get when committees chose prizes by consensus. The Remains of the Day is wonderfully atmospheric however. The Ghost Road - yep. And I enjoyed Vernon God Little for much the same reason - it has a remarkable voice and tone - I am not sure it is anything more than a good book though.

How Late It was, How Late by James Kelman won the Booker.  And it is fabulous.

Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things was another - great book, won the Booker.  They sometimes get it right :)

Oh, and I've just read Those Feet - A sensual history of English Football by David Winner.  Best sport book I've ever read, since it's only lightly concerned with the typical highlights of English football.  It covers the culture of football, rather than the tedious statistics of the game itself.  It's almost enough to make me go and watch football again.  Well, Darlo winning 6-0 away from home on Saturday probably helped ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: bikenerd on September 02, 2008, 02:38:28 pm
Having another go at Moby Dick by Herman Melville.  Finding it easier this time around, probably as I'm not reading so much for work at the moment.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: ghostrider on September 02, 2008, 07:36:31 pm
Michael Crightons  "The Andromeda Strain"
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: redshift on September 02, 2008, 08:17:42 pm
Hols coming soon, so although current reading is 'Exercise Physiology: Human Bioenergetics and its applications,' I nipped into Waterstone's today and picked up some holiday reading:  Stephen Ambrose's 'D-Day,' Knut Haukelid's 'Skis against the Atom,' and George Macdonald Fraser's 'Quartered safe out here.' 

For some reason, I appear to be entering WWII territory again.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on September 02, 2008, 09:14:10 pm
I just acquired a copy of "In Sickness and in Power- Illnesses in heads of government during the last 100 years".
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: JT on September 02, 2008, 10:01:15 pm
Just finished One Train Later - Andy Summers' "memoir".

I'm a fan of The Police in any case but this was a real surprise as it's really well written. Hugely enjoyable.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on September 04, 2008, 11:35:06 am
Small Wars Permitting by Christina Lamb (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Small-Wars-Permitting-Dispatches-Foreign/dp/0007256892/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1218548726&sr=8-1) recounts the foreign correspondents trips across the world during the last 20 years.  It starts out in Pakistan talking about the coming to power of Benazir Bhutto in 1988, before the authors heads off to Latin America, South Africa, the Middle East and currently she's living in Portugal.  The book is partly made up of Lamb's articles publishes in a variety of newspapers and then her own thoughts and feelings about her experiences.  It's interesting reading about events with the knowledge of hindsight and seeing how events have unfolded in, for example, Pakistan. 

I have finally finished Small Wars Permitting.  Like I said above, the first half of the book is extremely interesting insights to the countries that Lamb visits on her trips.  However, the second half turns into a series of articles that she's published with no attempt to link them in any way and the personally thoughts that appear in the first half vanish.  I felt cheated because I was now reading a string of newspaper articles rather than a book and I struggled to finish the book.

I've now started reading A Thousand Splendid Suns (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Thousand-Splendid-Suns-Khaled-Hosseini/dp/0747582971/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1220524336&sr=8-1) by Khaled Hossein.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Really Ancien on September 04, 2008, 01:21:20 pm
A 725 page biography of Norman Lewis, Semi Invisible Man, by Julian Evans. Ironically I most admire Lewis for his economical style, so I wonder if I'll make it to the end.

Damon.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: toekneep on September 04, 2008, 06:52:02 pm
Just finished The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time by Mark Haddon. I found it very entertaining, intriguing and amusing.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wascally Weasel on September 10, 2008, 12:08:38 pm
Having finished re-reading Consider Phlebas (better than I remembered but still no patch on my favourite of his the Player of Games).

Later today will start the Last Starship from Earth by John Boyd (been sitting on a to-read shelf for about three years now)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tim Hall on September 10, 2008, 01:42:24 pm
Just finished The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

For 2 points, what is the connection between that book and Recreativo Hackney FC, Marcus du Sautoy's football  team?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on September 10, 2008, 01:57:39 pm
Prime Numbers?  Chapter numbers & shirt numbers?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tim Hall on September 10, 2008, 01:59:56 pm
Ding!

2 points to that nice Clarion.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: PaulR on September 10, 2008, 02:06:47 pm
Killing Mister Watson, by Peter Matthieson

I'd read Lost Man's River many years ago and have wanted to find the others in this trilogy for some time.  My wife eventually did the sensible thing and bought them on the interweb for me.

This one is a most extraordinarily fragmented collection of other people's recollections of Edgar Watson and the stories they had heard about him.  Full of intriguing glimpses of life (and death) in South West Florida about a hundred years ago, but quite hard going because you need to keep reminding yourselve whose account you are reading and how it relates to other people's versions of events.

Muchly recommended if you have the time for it and can find a copy.

Edit: spelling his name correctly may make the search easier!  oops :-[
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: scott on September 11, 2008, 10:06:27 pm
Muchly recommended if you have the time for it and can find a copy.

Very much recommended--these are among my favorite books ever, especially Lost Mans River. I grew up in South Florida and so have a bit more of a connection to these books, but they would be great even without that.

I'm very lucky to have signed copies of all three--for some reason, there was a time when I could count on seeing Mr Matthiessen at readings every few years. Haven't in the last 7 or 8 years, though. He's getting older, and I travel less.

FWIW, Anders's middle name is Matthiessen.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on September 12, 2008, 09:54:06 am
Yay!  Just finished the brilliant 'What's Going On?' by Mark Steel.  Funny, impassioned, informed and touching.

Just in time I received a parcel from Amazon.  In it I have a copy of Dancing Uphill, the biography of Charles Holland, the first English rider in the TdF.  Loads of photos - brilliant!

As an aside, Butterfly reminded me last night, a propos of something else, that I had a box of books in the wardrobe, including my essential cycling books.  I spent a happy hour leafing through 'Fellowship Is Life' by Dennis Pye, the history of the Clarion CC, and The Road Book of Great Britain, a map of routes for bicyclists and the emerging motorists, with profiles.  Brilliant :D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on September 13, 2008, 11:52:37 pm
"Desert Queen", a biography of Gertrude Bell. Ms Bell was a 19th/early 20th century adventurer (adventuress?) who did first ascents in the Alps, explored the Arabian desert including modern-day Iraq, and worked with T.E. Lawrence when he organized and incited the Arab tribes to rebel against the Turks during World War I.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: RJ on September 18, 2008, 11:49:31 pm
I just finished _The Rings of Saturn_ by W.G. Sebald (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._G._Sebald), who I only heard of recently. It's a novel, but reads like notes from a long walk interrupted by long asides on history and odd people. I think I need to find his other two novels now. 

I love this book. It's like a stream of consciousness for me, to range far and wide around the world but keep returning to the same place - the Suffolk coast, where I live.   

Ich auch/moi aussi.  (The Rings of Saturn, that is, not the Suffolk coast). 

A lot of Sebald's writing defies categorisation - I'm not sure that I'd use the word "novel"; like Austerlitz and Vertigo there is a lot of autobiography and travelogue - but they are all mesmeric narratives and all have been beautifully translated into very precise and poetic English from Sebald's native German.  Philosophical prose-poems, maybe? The Emigrants is maybe his most novel-like book.  The Rings of Saturn has the most "English" subject matter - the others treat rather more European themes, but are none the worse for that.

The only caveat is that because the prose is so rich/dense they're best read in a few long sittings - but I think they repay the effort and I will re-read them all.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: scott on September 18, 2008, 11:55:39 pm
Killing Mister Watson, by Peter Matthieson

I'd read Lost Man's River many years ago and have wanted to find the others in this trilogy for some time.  My wife eventually did the sensible thing and bought them on the interweb for me.

And now, it turns out, he's rewritten the entire trilogy and condensed it down into one volume called _Shadow Country_ (http://lccn.loc.gov/2007025117).
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: scott on September 19, 2008, 12:03:08 am
I think they repay the effort and I will re-read them all.

After all these positive reviews, I'm looking forward to reading the rest. I just picked up copies of _Austerlitz_ and _Vertigo_.

But I've just had a bit (ahem) of a book-buying spree, and now have so many good books waiting that I don't know what to do. Well, first I have to finish _Connemara: Listening to the Wind_ before _Connemara: The Last Pool of Darkness_ arrives by transatlantic dirigible.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on September 19, 2008, 11:36:03 am
"Desert Queen", a biography of Gertrude Bell.

I'd like to learn more about Gertrude Bell, so could you provide us with a review of the book when you are finished, please?  I'll then know whether it is worth reading or not!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: PaulR on September 19, 2008, 12:25:08 pm
I think they repay the effort and I will re-read them all.

After all these positive reviews, I'm looking forward to reading the rest. I just picked up copies of _Austerlitz_ and _Vertigo_.
My (rather learned) brother gave me a copy of Austerlitz when it came out and I was immediately entranced by it.  As soon as I'd finished it, I tracked down some of his other books, all of which I have enjoyed but none of them as much as Austerlitz.  It has an extraordinarily powerful resonance - a sort of feel and atmosphere that transports you and gets your emotions, memories and thoughts whirring away.

Sebald's early death was certainly a great loss.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Ariadne on September 19, 2008, 12:34:24 pm


Quote
I'm currently entirely hooked on Victorian literature and so I'm on the last of Trollope's Barsetshire series.

Enjoying it? Trollope is on my must-read list but I've never quite got around to him. I've been recently, belatedly getting into Dickens, though - Our Mutual Friend is a new favourite of mine. Viciously caustic and bitter but also very, very funny.

d.


Sorry, just seen this - yes, I am, very much. Though I'm still reading it - it's long!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on September 20, 2008, 04:14:05 am
I'd like to learn more about Gertrude Bell, so could you provide us with a review of the book when you are finished, please?  I'll then know whether it is worth reading or not!

Not great literature, but a good look at a unique personality. Lots about her early years and the realities of being an intelligent, strong-willed woman in the late 19th/early 20th centuries (it wasn't easy, but being filthy rich helped a lot). Worth reading as a source of information about Gertrude Bell, but less so as entertainment.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: padbeat on September 20, 2008, 07:42:18 am
I've got Antony Beever's updated Battle For Spain at the moment - excellent and even handed. Actually it's my second attempt at it. The first time I tried it a few years ago I found myself getting lost and had to go and read a few more basic books about the Spanish Civil War first to get the big picture before I came back to this one.

As an aside, this would have been my specialist subject in the final round of Mastermind if I'd got that far, picked before I worked out what a horribly complicated subject it was. Luckily I fell down on Hunter S Thompson in the first round.

Also Exit Music by Ian Rankin for when the going gets a bit too tough!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Torslanda on September 20, 2008, 02:29:05 pm
Just read Andy McNab's 'Seven Troop' which took me a little by surprise.

It kicks off in his usual style which seems to be the same whether he's Nick Stone or himself. It rapidly becomes apparent about halfway through that this book is not telling his story. He is entirely incidental to the plot. It is about the friends he lost along the way and after his career in the SAS.

Some died on active service. Some went mad. Some found God. Some had never lost him.

It is a book that gives the ignorant layman an insight into Post Traumatic Stress, its effects, its symptoms, how people deal with it - or not as the case may be. It proves that even the SAS are human and subject to the same stresses and emotions that we all are. It boils down to whether you can deal with them effectively or not.

Thought provoking.

luv'n'stuff

J
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: RJ on September 21, 2008, 01:11:55 am
I'm about to start Günter Grass's Peeling the Onion (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2007/jun/24/biography.guntergrass) - (presumably unintentionally) ironically shelved by Borders under "fiction" ...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: padbeat on September 21, 2008, 02:27:22 am
Günter Grass's what?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on September 21, 2008, 11:35:05 am
Killing Mister Watson, by Peter Matthieson

I'd read Lost Man's River many years ago and have wanted to find the others in this trilogy for some time.  My wife eventually did the sensible thing and bought them on the interweb for me.

And now, it turns out, he's rewritten the entire trilogy and condensed it down into one volume called _Shadow Country_ (http://lccn.loc.gov/2007025117).

I haven't read the new version yet, but the trilogy remains one of my favourite things, so I am not sure I would want to!

I have just finished George Mackay Brown's Beside the Ocean of Time, which is one of the most beautiful novels I have ever read. It is so good I am now reading it again.


Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: peliroja on September 21, 2008, 12:49:16 pm
Still reading An Utterly Impartial History of Britain or 2000 Years of Upper-class Idiots in Charge by John O'Farrell. Very hilarious and a good grounding in all the history we really ought to know by now.  ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: alan on September 21, 2008, 05:11:01 pm
This Sceptered Isle:The Dynasties
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: RJ on September 21, 2008, 06:24:13 pm
Günter Grass's what?

Fixed.  Missing " ] "  :-[

I'm about to start Günter Grass's Peeling the Onion (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2007/jun/24/biography.guntergrass) - (presumably unintentionally) ironically shelved by Borders under "fiction" ...

It's an autobiography (well, memoir) ...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Palinurus on September 21, 2008, 06:47:58 pm
Not sure if it was this thread but someone on here mentioned John Healy's The Grass Arena. Just read that.

Working (People talk about what they do all day and how they feel about what they do)- interviews by Studs Terkel.

David Peace -1980.

Cyclocoss- training and technique by Simon Burney.

Just been scanning the recent posts: The Rings of Saturn is one of the best things I've come across in the last few years- I've lost my copy, I'd like to track that down for a re-read.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mrs Pingu on September 21, 2008, 10:10:40 pm
I am currently having another attempt to read Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. See if I can get to half way this time!

I thought it was disappointing and overrated - and one of those books that isn't half as impressive if you've ever read any decent science fiction (which of course most mainstream critics and people who give out awards haven't). He's generally got away with quite a bit has David Mitchell - his earlier books, written whilst he was still in Japan, are so 'influenced' by Haruki Murakami that Murakami should sue him. He got away with it, I think because Murakami wasn't so well known then outside Japan as he is now. Since he's stopped trying to be Murakami he's been very windy and pretentious but lacking in genuine spark IMHO.

Oh dear! Well, I'm still reading it, but I didn't get much reading done on holiday <geek> primarily because the only reading I did was about the LHC in New Scientist</geek>
I don't see where the science fiction comes in though... ??? maybe I haven't got to that bit yet.

I do love Murakami, but I'm waiting for his latest novel to appear in prole-back. And the same goes for Iain M Banks. I'm hoping it's better than his last non SF effort which I thought was a a bit pants really.
As for Yann Martel - Pi was ok for a bit of light hollyday reading.
I agree about GG Marquez though - I enjoyed 100 yrs of solitude up until about halfway through and then I just got really pissed off with all the characters and wanted to give them all a big slap round the chops. Oh well, that's what you get based on buying books based on Wikipedia calling them 'magic realism'..... :-[

About the only authors I'm enjoying on a consistent basis at the moment are Murakami and Alistair Reynolds....so that'll be the kiss of death now then.  :-\

As for Christopher Brookmyre, I did read a few of his earlier novels and they're ok for a bit of light hearted nonsense but I object paying money for a book I can finish in a couple of hours these days.....
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: ibrahim on September 21, 2008, 10:18:42 pm
Rahel Levin Varnhagen's letters with Pauline Wiesel, 750 pages of German letters between two nineteenth century women.

A cracking read! ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on September 22, 2008, 12:33:08 pm
I've now finished A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Thousand-Splendid-Suns-Khaled-Hosseini/dp/0747582971/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1222083080&sr=1-1).  The book is set in Afghanistan, initally during the Soviet invasion and then follows the lives of the characters after the Soviets leave, civil wall takes place and then The Talibian take control.  The book certainly made an impact on me as Hosseini creates a world of pain as the story unfolds.  He reminds me of Thomas Hardy in the doom and depression that he can create in his writing.  While it is certainly a very powerful story, his writing style leaves something to be desired.  The two main characters are Mariam and Laila.  The first 1/4 of the book is about Mariam, and then suddenly he moves onto talk about Lila for the second 1/4 and you've left wondering why we've just forgotten about Marian.  It all becomes clear, but I feel that would have been a better way to introduce the main characters rather than having two almost separate stories.  I also wonder how accurately the novel is of the situation in Afghanistan.  It sounds plausible, although it's difficult to know for sure especially as Hosseini left Afghanistan in 1976.   

Next up is  A Very Short Introduction to Hinduism (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hinduism-Very-Short-Introduction-Introductions/dp/0192853872/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1222082999&sr=8-1).
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on September 22, 2008, 08:26:08 pm
My copy of "IBM and the Holocaust" arrived today, looks like it should be an interesting read. Having spent most of my youth being told that WWII was a "just" war and that the the Allies represented the forces of good against the evil Axis Powers, I'm starting to realize just how much was done to aid and encourage the Axis Powers by powerful persons and companies in the various Allied nations.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: rogerzilla on September 22, 2008, 08:34:05 pm
Vulcan 607.

An amazing logistical effort and an emormous amount of jet fuel to get...er...one bomb on Port Stanley's runway.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: scott on September 24, 2008, 12:02:53 am
I haven't read the new version yet, but the trilogy remains one of my favourite things, so I am not sure I would want to!

Yeah; I'm trying to ignore all my real problems and make this  a major life dilemma.  :-\
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: nicknack on September 24, 2008, 12:31:10 pm
Harry Potter. Read 4 and 5 in last 2 days. I really ought to be doing something more useful.

Off to start no. 6 now.  ;D

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on September 29, 2008, 08:35:14 pm
Q by 'Luther Blissett' was superb. Really. For anyone who likes Umberto Eco's historical novels but thinks they could have been more entertaining. Or anyone who likes Neil Stephenson's Baroque Trilogy but wishes he knew a bit more about the actual history of the period and didn't make his characters sound as if they were Americans... or for anyone who loves a densely-plotted, literate, politically savvy, wonderfully-characterised historical novel that is just as much about now.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Eccentrica Gallumbits on September 29, 2008, 08:43:32 pm
Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner and I'm enjoying it very much. I especially liked a bit where she baked scones in the shape of the villagers and then someone turned up for tea unexpectedly and she had to give him villager-shaped scones.

"But Mr Saunter ate the strange shapes without comment, quietly splitting open the villagers and buttering them. He told her that he would soon lose the services of young Billy Thomas, who was going to Lazzard Court as a footman.

'I shouldn't think young Billy Thomas would make much of a footman,' said Laura.

'I don't know,' he answered consideringly. 'He's very good at standing still.'"
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: padbeat on October 01, 2008, 08:15:16 am
Q by 'Luther Blissett' was superb. Really. For anyone who likes Umberto Eco's historical novels but thinks they could have been more entertaining. Or anyone who likes Neil Stephenson's Baroque Trilogy but wishes he knew a bit more about the actual history of the period and didn't make his characters sound as if they were Americans... or for anyone who loves a densely-plotted, literate, politically savvy, wonderfully-characterised historical novel that is just as much about now.
OK, I'm intrigued - bit of an interesting concept (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Q-Luther-Blissett/dp/0099439832/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1222845070&sr=8-1)! I think it's worth a punt ...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on October 01, 2008, 04:14:01 pm
"IBM & the Holocaust" was excellent, very disturbing. Right about the time I finished it my copy of "Internal Combustion" showed up in the mail, which promises to be just as disturbing. It's how the automakers and energy companies maneuvered the industrial world into being dependent on oil and the automobile. Once again I've heard parts of the story over the years, but it will be interesting to have the whole story laid out in front of me.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on October 01, 2008, 05:42:29 pm
"IBM & the Holocaust" was excellent, very disturbing.

Quite agree.

I am finally reading Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This is mainly hey are selling it for 2.99 in Blackwells in Newcastle. We have this thing at the University called 'The Common Book', which is like a mega-reading group where lots of people read the same book and then the author turns up and gives a talk and answers questions.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Charlotte on October 02, 2008, 03:41:19 pm
I've just finished this:

Thompson, Hunter S. Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell%27s_Angels:_The_Strange_and_Terrible_Saga_of_the_Outlaw_Motorcycle_Gangs)

A strange choice perhaps, but I wanted to read Thompson's first published book whilst I was actually out in San Francisco where most of the action took place.

It's an amazing record of a phenomenon which few people at the time understood and goes to show that Thompson himself took Gonzo journalism very seriously.  Silly bugger ended up getting beaten up quite badly by several of his subjects, but still managed to remain very even handed in his description of the rest of them.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on October 02, 2008, 03:43:42 pm
Thompson, Hunter S. Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell%27s_Angels:_The_Strange_and_Terrible_Saga_of_the_Outlaw_Motorcycle_Gangs)

Read that a few years ago - curiously it was borrowed from a chap who lived about three doors down from the Angels' gaff in Southampton.  An interesting read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wascally Weasel on October 03, 2008, 12:37:11 am
Just re-read both volumes of Maus by Art Speigelman and was reminded to question why it is that the people that deny the holocaust often seem to be those that would have most liked for it to have been even more complete than in reality?

After that I'm back onto light reading and the fabulously entertaining alternate history world of 'Agent of Byzantium' by Harry Turtledove*


*I wish he was still this good rather than churning out multi-volume crap like he has been mostly doing for the last ten years.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Ariadne on October 03, 2008, 08:25:57 am
Still hooked on Trollope - though this one, The way we live now, isn't grabbing me in quite the same way. We'll see.

It does give Corvine the opportunity to mutter 'trollop' every time he walks into the room and finds me reading... 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on October 03, 2008, 02:29:43 pm
Last weekend: 'All Families are Psychotic' by Douglas Coupland. Light, enjoyable and sympathetic. I can see why some reviewers thought it was crap, tho.

Just finished: 'Waiting for the Barbarians' by J.M. Coetzee. Beautifully written, originally an allegory of apartheid South Africa but the mindsets it depicts have resurfaced (if they ever went away) in the post-9/11 world.

Now reading: 'The Alteration' by Kingsley Amis. Even more engaging than most alternate histories
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on October 13, 2008, 01:37:22 pm
I am now reading Desert by J.M.G. Le Clezio, which I picked up in Paris last week, as I am ashamed to admit that I had not heard of him when it was announced that he had won the Nobel prize.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Hot Flatus on October 13, 2008, 03:18:20 pm
I am now reading Desert by J.M.G. Le Clezio, which I picked up in Paris last week, as I am ashamed to admit that I had not heard of him when it was announced that he had won the Nobel prize.

What's the Nobel prize?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: groucho on October 13, 2008, 03:33:30 pm
I am now reading Desert by J.M.G. Le Clezio, which I picked up in Paris last week, as I am ashamed to admit that I had not heard of him when it was announced that he had won the Nobel prize.

What's the Nobel prize?

"American academic Paul Krugman has won this year's Nobel economics prize, it has been announced." I would have thought there would be no award this year!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: tiermat on October 13, 2008, 03:41:25 pm
"Making Money" by T. Pratchett, makes sense in this climate :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on October 13, 2008, 05:39:34 pm
"K2: The Savage Mountain", by Charles Houston. An account of the 1953 American expedition to K2, in which the party is pinned at 26,000 ft for quite a few days by a severe storm. One team member, Art Gilkey, develops thrombophlebitis in both legs and later an embolism in his lung as a result of many days spent immobile in a tent during the storm, combined with the usual thickening of the blood due to increased hemoglobin produced by the body to compensate for lack of oxygen at altitude. While his teammates are starting the process of lowering him over thousands of feet of technical terrain, Gilkey disappears over a cliff. The official explanation is that an avalanche swept him away while his teammates were preparing to lower him further and tending to other injured party members. It's now widely accepted that Gilkey figured out his odds of survival, factored in the odds for anyone who stuck around and tried to help him, and launched himself over the cliff.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: onb on October 13, 2008, 05:42:13 pm
The reluctant fundamentalist.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on October 14, 2008, 10:59:38 am
Open Up And Bleed ~ Paul Trynka.  'tis a biography of Iggy Pop.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andygates on October 14, 2008, 12:11:48 pm
Neal Stephenson's latest, Anathem.  Buckets of indulgent and whimsical word- and history-play. 

Previously: Edison's Conquest of Mars, an unofficial sequel to War of the Worlds.  The great man is a dab hand with a disintegrator.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Analog Kid on October 15, 2008, 07:06:49 am
Almost finished Chistopher Brookmyres "Attack of the unsinkable rubber ducks".
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on October 15, 2008, 10:29:17 am
'Disgrace' by J.M Coetzee: disturbing but not a difficult read. Recommended - I'm already looking forward to re-reading

Started 'Eugene Onegin' by Alexander Pushkin. It inspired Vikram Seth's 'The Golden Gate', which I loved. They're both written in tetrameter, which gives a light, tripping (but not trippy), full-of-fun feel
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Eccentrica Gallumbits on October 18, 2008, 08:22:00 pm
Runemarks by Joanne Harris. It's quite different to her other stuff. It's a bit like Chocolat and The Lollipop Shoes in that it's about magic, but she's created a whole new world and (so far) the whole book is about magic, gods, belief etc. I'm enjoying it very much.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on October 18, 2008, 08:41:53 pm
"Dreaming of Jupiter" by Ted Simon.   Repeating his earlier round the world motorcycle trip (Jupiters Travels) at the age of 70.

So far, excellent.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: IanDG on October 19, 2008, 08:46:50 pm
Heinlein - Stranger in a Strange Land (again)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mike on October 19, 2008, 08:50:42 pm
I just started 'midnights children' by Salman Rushdie and it seems much better than another of his which was far too clever for its own good.

And Mrs Mike bought me the Man Booker winner White Tiger, which I started last night and is fantastic.

So that's two books about India, one which (so far) is about the build-up to Independence and the other about the current state of the nation.  Great stuff.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Ariadne on October 19, 2008, 08:54:39 pm
The blessings of a good thick skirt, by Mary Russell - about women travellers through the ages - and L'invitée by Simone de Beauvoir, because I'm doing evening classes and need to practise reading.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on October 22, 2008, 03:42:35 pm
"Around the world by bicycle" by Heinz Stucke (http://www.bikechina.com/heinzstucke1z.html).

According to the Guinness Book of Records, he is the most travelled man in history - he left home in Germany in 1960 on his three-speed bike and has been travellijng nearly non-stop since.  A friend picked up the pamphlet from him when he was in the UK a couple of years ago.  You might remember that he had his bike nicked when he was in Portsmouth (it was later found).  The text is in the above link, but the photos appear to have been scanned, so they are quite poor by comparison.

Some hilarious quotes, showing a real mastery of understatement:

Quote
When you are visiting a country where there is political turmoil, or if you are unlucky enough to be caught in the middle of a local revolution, you can have plenty of difficulty and it can even be extremely dangerous.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on October 22, 2008, 03:56:41 pm
In the Name of Rome: The Men Who Won the Roman Empire by Adrian Goldsworthy

The story of twelve of Rome's most successful generals including Scipio Africanus and Trajan. I am studying this carefully with a view to launching a puscht  to bring down the republic that is YACF and install myself as sole emperor. I guess I might find myself stabbed in the back by WoW and Clarion next spring of I do though.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on October 22, 2008, 05:17:20 pm
Quote
he is the most travelled man in history - he left home in Germany in 1960 on his three-speed bike and has been travellijng nearly non-stop since.  A friend picked up the pamphlet from him when he was in the UK a couple of years ago.

Shared a room with him when I was travelling in Chinese Turkestan in '91. A very decent man indeed. Sadly, this was before I took up cycle touring, otherwise I'd have kept him up even longer asking him questions  :D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Charlotte on October 22, 2008, 06:22:05 pm
Quote
he is the most travelled man in history - he left home in Germany in 1960 on his three-speed bike and has been travellijng nearly non-stop since.  A friend picked up the pamphlet from him when he was in the UK a couple of years ago.

Shared a room with him when I was travelling in Chinese Turkestan in '91. A very decent man indeed. Sadly, this was before I took up cycle touring, otherwise I'd have kept him up even longer asking him questions  :D

He gave a slide show to my school when I was nine or ten.  I remember the nutty German bloke and his bike with the board in the frame.

Fruityloop!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on October 22, 2008, 06:28:19 pm
I've just finished "Little Brother" by Cory Doctorow.   It's marketed as a "Young Adult" book.  At 44 I enjoyed it anyway.

Set in a very near future San Francisco which has been locked down by the Department of Homeland Security  after a terrorist attack.

It reads very like a Heinlein juvenile for the Facebook era, so similar I think it must be deliberate homage.

Lots of information about the use & misuse of security technology and some brief history of the US civil rights movement.   

Bad points, the hero's are too good, the baddies too bad.

Recommended for anyone geekie, into IT, with libertarian or subversive tendencies.

If you don't want the dead tree version it's available for free download at the authors website

http://craphound.com/littlebrother/download/ (http://craphound.com/littlebrother/download/)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on October 22, 2008, 08:26:41 pm
Quote
Fruityloop!

So maybe our encounters with him sowed seeds that bore fruit in both of us, Charlotte?  ;)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: David Martin on October 22, 2008, 08:36:46 pm
Skullduggery pleasant.

My daughters latest reading book.

nuff said.

..d
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on October 22, 2008, 09:45:39 pm
He gave a slide show to my school when I was nine or ten.  I remember the nutty German bloke and his bike with the board in the frame.

Fruityloop!

That must've been quite a school you went to, Charlotte - about the most interesting speaker we had was the local fire chief telling us about the dangers of fireworks.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: David Martin on October 23, 2008, 09:26:51 am
He gave a slide show to my school when I was nine or ten.  I remember the nutty German bloke and his bike with the board in the frame.

Fruityloop!

That must've been quite a school you went to, Charlotte - about the most interesting speaker we had was the local fire chief telling us about the dangers of fireworks.

If Charlotte went where ISTR she went then it would have been quite an unusual event. (Same school as my wife, just a few years later).

..d
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on November 02, 2008, 01:12:45 am
He gave a slide show to my school when I was nine or ten.  I remember the nutty German bloke and his bike with the board in the frame.

Fruityloop!

That must've been quite a school you went to, Charlotte - about the most interesting speaker we had was the local fire chief telling us about the dangers of fireworks.

We got Benny from Crossroads.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: zzpza on November 02, 2008, 02:42:49 am
Neal Stephenson's latest, AnathemBuckets of indulgent and whimsical word- and history-play. 

have you not read Cryptonomicon then? ;)

I've just finished "Little Brother" by Cory Doctorow.   It's marketed as a "Young Adult" book.  At 44 I enjoyed it anyway.

...snip...

If you don't want the dead tree version it's available for free download at the authors website

http://craphound.com/littlebrother/download/ (http://craphound.com/littlebrother/download/)

awesome! thanks :)

i tend to have a few books on the go at the same time. usually one or two 'core' books and several other that i pick up and but down every now and then. currently the list is...

A Hero of Our Time - Mikhail Lermontov
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
Consider Phlebas - Iain M Banks (reread, last time i read it on a plane to tokyo)
Rainbows End - Vernor Vinge
Games People Play - Eric Berne, M.D. (psychology book on transactional analysis)
The Art of the Renaissance - Peter and Linda Murray

also if i'm taking a train anywhere, i have the complete works on my ipod in text format. currently rereading hamlet. also, an audio book on there too... Matter - Iain M Banks. all 17 hours of it(!)

i see that quite a few people are reading Spook Country by William Gibson. any good? the sprawl trilogy was his best work, followed by the bridge trilogy. it's all been downhill since then imho. :( but i still hope...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on November 03, 2008, 12:58:38 pm
i see that quite a few people are reading Spook Country by William Gibson. any good? the sprawl trilogy was his best work, followed by the bridge trilogy. it's all been downhill since then imho. :( but i still hope...

In my view, it's miles better than a lot of other post-9/11 novels, but still not Gibson at his visionary best.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jacomus on November 03, 2008, 03:55:17 pm
Dawkins - The God Delusion



Thanks go to Charlotte for her, rather blunt but impassioned, recommendation of the book.

Extremely interesting, if a little slow going due to Dawkins very academic style combined with a typeface that kicks my dyslexia into hyperdrive.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: spesh on November 03, 2008, 04:15:52 pm
George Orwell's '1984'

I read it quite a few years ago, and didn't really enjoy it, but in light of recent history, particularly the last 5-7 years, I thought I'd give it another go.

Reading it now, it's an interesting exercise to see what Orwell got right, even if his timing is some 24-30 years* out

* Allowing for trends in mass-survellance technology.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Snakehips on November 03, 2008, 05:26:29 pm
Stasiland

Snake

my bikes .... http://beta.yudu.com/library/item_details/17432/Snakehips--Bikes (http://beta.yudu.com/library/item_details/17432/Snakehips--Bikes)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Frenchie on November 03, 2008, 08:37:00 pm
Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: zzpza on November 04, 2008, 01:02:07 am
i see that quite a few people are reading Spook Country by William Gibson. any good? ...
In my view, it's miles better than a lot of other post-9/11 novels, but still not Gibson at his visionary best.

thanks, i'll add it to my wish list. :D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on November 04, 2008, 09:04:22 am
Reading it now, it's an interesting exercise to see what Orwell got right, even if his timing is some 24-30 years* out

Great book, but it wasn't a prediction. He was writing a satire of Stalinism (and (CPGB support for Stalin) of the time. He just reversed the last two numbers of the year 1948.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: tonyh on November 04, 2008, 09:15:54 am
it wasn't a prediction

And it's timeless.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Analog Kid on November 04, 2008, 09:33:25 am
The Damned United - David Peace

Fictional account of the late Brian Clough's short tenure as manager at Leeds Utd. It brings to life a vanished time when football managers were a lot less PC than they are now and alcohol and tobaco counted as "sports nutrition". Clough is portrayed as an outwardly confident man driven by self doubt and some personal demons.

An interesting read which in all honesty I found slightly depressing!

I'll try it again in a few months time..
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jezza on November 04, 2008, 10:00:12 pm
Reading it now, it's an interesting exercise to see what Orwell got right, even if his timing is some 24-30 years* out

Great book, but it wasn't a prediction. He was writing a satire of Stalinism (and (CPGB support for Stalin) of the time. He just reversed the last two numbers of the year 1948.

It certainly seems to have predicted events that occurred long after Stalin's demise. I'd say Animal Farm was more akin to a satire of Stalinism. 

What I'm reading: Tender is the Night, by F Scott Fitzgerald.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Really Ancien on November 04, 2008, 10:23:10 pm
We've explored 1984 a few times and the conclusion I've come to is that this is one of the pivotal documents in understanding it.
We, Orwell Review (http://www.orwelltoday.com/weorwellreview.shtml)

Damon.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on November 05, 2008, 11:52:55 am
We've explored 1984 a few times and the conclusion I've come to is that this is one of the pivotal documents in understanding it.
We, Orwell Review (http://www.orwelltoday.com/weorwellreview.shtml)

Yes, Zamyatin in many ways was a far superior writer and a major influence on Orwell. He also worked in the Tyne shipyards for a while, you know...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on November 05, 2008, 11:59:01 am
I have a couple of books by Zamyatin.  Can't remember the title of the other, which is awkward, because a lot of bios say he only wrote one :-\

A very good writer.  Perhaps a bit pedestrian at times in his efforts to make all the details of the dystopia hang together at the expense of a dynamic plot, but We is definitely worth a read.

And I didn't know he worked in the shipyards of the Tyne.

Didn't Wittgenstein work there, too?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on November 05, 2008, 01:11:07 pm
And I didn't know he worked in the shipyards of the Tyne.

Didn't Wittgenstein work there, too?

I am imagining a very odd novel I could write now...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mattc on November 05, 2008, 01:31:31 pm
To prove just how cutting edge my literary consumption is:
just finished the 2nd* Flashman book
Royal Flash - George McDonald Fraser
very entertaining.
(I think he's been discussed before on YACF)

Also nearly finished the latest Garrison Keillor - Pontoon. Enjoyable comfort read, and often very funny.

(*I think)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Frenchie on November 05, 2008, 05:23:31 pm
Wall-Layer Models for LES, Piomelli and Balaras, Annual Review Fluid Mech, 2002.
Overview of Drag Reduction Tech for Civil Transport Aircraft, Reneaux, ECCOMAS 2004.

Does that count?  :-[
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: microphonie on November 05, 2008, 06:10:58 pm
Just started Will Self's  'The Book of Dave'  (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2006/may/27/fiction.hayfestival2006)

That's been sitting in my unread pile for about two years now.  Let me know how you get on.


Well, finally got around to finishing this. I really enjoyed it so far as one can enjoy a book about someone slowly imploding. Particularly liked the way elements of the 'future religion' chapters are slowly explained in the 'Dave's decline' story.

Still doesn't make me want to restart 'How the Dead Live' yet: I want frivolity...so it's Pratchett's Going Postal next!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Analog Kid on November 05, 2008, 08:21:56 pm
Wall-Layer Models for LES, Piomelli and Balaras, Annual Review Fluid Mech, 2002.
Overview of Drag Reduction Tech for Civil Transport Aircraft, Reneaux, ECCOMAS 2004.

Does that count?  :-[

If it mentions Reynolds or Mach numbers?

No, that should be in the "Homework" thread.....

 ;)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: ChrisO on December 09, 2008, 07:35:38 am
I've been on a bit of a Graham Greene kick lately. I'm very impressed at how varied the novels are.

Our Man In Havana is as funny as any Evelyn Waugh.
The Confidential Agent is more of its time, but reminded me of Orwell. Interesting for being so clearly under the influence of drugs.
The Quiet American could be an Ian McEwan or Le Carre as could Brighton Rock.

I've just finished Brighton Rock - my favourite so far - a really chilling depiction of amorality. I must get the film.

I can see why he's often referred to as a Catholic novelist, but it seems to be more that he was a novelist who was Catholic. It is often present but none the heroes are Catholic, in fact many of them act very badly in contrast to the non-religious characters. It's not like G K Chesterton's Father Brown where religion/Catholicism triumphs over all things.


My next book is not Graham Greene (I think there may be some others in my Christmas stocking).  I'm going to try The Third Policeman at last.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on December 09, 2008, 10:47:09 am
Having a second stab at Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle.  I did get to the end the last time, but it was a struggle in comparison with Cryptonomicon.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on December 09, 2008, 10:55:56 am
Curiously, one of the books I am in the midst of reading is Oliver Postgate's autobiography.  It's Butterfly's copy, so I haven't been making much progress, as books seem to have a very hard time if I'm carrying them about (the train seems to be the only place I get to read books), and I don't want to put someone else's books through that.

It's an interesting memoir, and offers a few insights into his development as a writer.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wascally Weasel on December 09, 2008, 11:54:18 am
Having a second stab at Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle.  I did get to the end the last time, but it was a struggle in comparison with Cryptonomicon.

I gave up part way through the first one, I wanted to like it but eventually decided it wasn't worth it (It might be but I'll probably never know).
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Regulator on December 09, 2008, 11:58:18 am
'Highways and Byways of Britain' by David Milner (http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=6087858).  A fascinating look back in time... a bit like a Wainwright of roads.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: annie on December 09, 2008, 12:12:58 pm
Alice Walker - The Colour Purple

Great Expectations


Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: CathH on December 09, 2008, 12:57:49 pm
Stephen King, On Writing.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: rafletcher on December 09, 2008, 12:59:10 pm
Being a regular male I'm a consecutive reader, not a concurrent one.

Right now it's James Lee Burkes "Swan Peak". And lined up I've got a Michael Connolly (The Brass Verdict) and a Peter Robinson (All the colours of darkness).

My reading is generally limited to crime fiction of various sorts.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on December 09, 2008, 01:39:38 pm
a Peter Robinson (All the colours of darkness).

Oooh, a new (ish) one!

(Cranks up Amazon-fu)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: spindrift on December 09, 2008, 01:43:04 pm
The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, so good I insisted a waiter in Amsterdam read it and gave it to him, you know when you want someone to share the pleasure of a good book?

The Outsider is brilliant too, a troubled young man brilliantly portayed.


And Then We Came To The End is very funny for anyone who works in an office.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on December 09, 2008, 01:44:15 pm
And Then We Came To The End is very funny for anyone who works in an office.

They said the same thing about The Office too ???
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: spindrift on December 09, 2008, 01:48:06 pm
One chap in the office carefully removes all the celing tiles above his desk. If anyone asks why , he says:

"Tell you what, why don't you stick it up your axx?"

It's acutely funny on office politics and procrastination.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: scott on December 09, 2008, 04:58:43 pm
Stephen King, On Writing.

<stifles a long series of snide comments>   ;)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on December 09, 2008, 05:01:00 pm
Stephen King, On Making Vast Amounts of Money by Producing Formulaic Cr@p with Limited Literacy.

<stifles a long series of snide comments>   ;)

Is that better?  I think it's the alternate title.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Zoidburg on December 09, 2008, 05:43:22 pm
The Kingdom Beyond The Waves

Which is rather nicely steampunky
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: CathH on December 09, 2008, 07:26:42 pm
Stephen King, On Making Vast Amounts of Money by Producing Formulaic Cr@p with Limited Literacy.

<stifles a long series of snide comments>   ;)

Is that better?  I think it's the alternate title.

OoooOOOOOOoooooo!  Well, I like it and I don't agree with what you say there.  I like his focus on honesty.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: ChrisO on December 09, 2008, 07:30:41 pm
Stephen King, On Making Vast Amounts of Money by Producing Formulaic Cr@p with Limited Literacy.

<stifles a long series of snide comments>   ;)

Is that better?  I think it's the alternate title.

Meeow...

If it's that easy why don't you do it ?

Even producing formulaic crap (and I say this as one who has had to read the Magic Unicorn series to his daughter) takes a particular skill.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jezza on December 09, 2008, 11:09:24 pm
Reading three books at the moment, picking up whichever suits my mood at any given time:

Jon Swain - River of Time
Graham Greene - Ways of Escape
Ryszard Kapuscinski - Travels with Herodotus
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tim Hall on December 10, 2008, 12:34:57 am
Ben Elton, Past Mortem.

Very reminiscent of Christopher Brookmyre's "A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil", and "One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night" but nothing like as well written.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on December 10, 2008, 01:43:31 am
Solving Stonehenge, by Anthony Johnson.

Having seen the Avebury and Callanais stone rings, I'm hoping to get to Stonehenge this spring. Hopefully this book will give me enough background knowledge to appreciate the place when I get there.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: bobajobrob on December 10, 2008, 01:49:53 am
Advanced programming in the unix environment. It's not very advanced but it is quite unixy.

Also, angels and demons by dan brown, but I'm bored of that.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on December 10, 2008, 10:25:02 am
1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare - James Shapiro

Just started this. Currently I seem to be getting very interested in the politics and culture of the 17th Century and this sort of represents the lower bounds of that timeframe. The move from a medieval to a modern mindset through this period is very interesting.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Hot Flatus on December 10, 2008, 04:18:23 pm
Cheryl Cole, the unauthorised biography.

Quite fascinating.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: bobajobrob on December 10, 2008, 05:45:51 pm
Book just landed on my desk this morning - "French revolutions, cycling the tour de france" by Tim Moore. "One of the funniest books about sport ever written", apparently.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: ChrisO on December 10, 2008, 05:52:59 pm
French Revolutions is very funny. Tears of laughter at some parts. Worth reading.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: microphonie on December 10, 2008, 06:35:23 pm
French Revolutions is very funny. Tears of laughter at some parts. Worth reading.

Absolutely!

Just finished Pratchett's 'Going Postal' & re-read Daren King's 'Jim Giraffe' whilst on the beach in Taba, Egypt.

Also just about finished Neil Gaiman's 'American Gods' too - really like it even if it's a bit reminiscent of Stephen King's 'The Stand'
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Gus on December 10, 2008, 07:33:35 pm
>> Geeky<<

Art of Wheelbuilding by Gerd Schraner
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: alan on December 10, 2008, 07:54:40 pm
Grand-daughter's Reading & Spelling Diary.She is very,very absolutely brilliant :thumbsup:

Marj says I am biased ::-)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wascally Weasel on December 11, 2008, 03:36:24 pm
'Winter Holiday' (again) by Arthur Ransome.  It's a great read at cold times of the year. 

I'll be re-reading 'The Dark is Rising' by Susan Cooper yet again this Christmas.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: David Martin on December 11, 2008, 04:04:43 pm
'Winter Holiday' (again) by Arthur Ransome.  It's a great read at cold times of the year. 

I'll be re-reading 'The Dark is Rising' by Susan Cooper yet again this Christmas.

Over Sea, Under Stone series?

I'm reading 'The Dundee and Newtyle Railway' and 'In pursuit of glory', the autobiography of Bradley Wiggins.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wascally Weasel on December 11, 2008, 04:15:40 pm
'Winter Holiday' (again) by Arthur Ransome.  It's a great read at cold times of the year. 

I'll be re-reading 'The Dark is Rising' by Susan Cooper yet again this Christmas.

Over Sea, Under Stone series?


That's the first one, the whole series takes it's name from 'The Dark is Rising' the second book.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: harrumph on December 12, 2008, 10:11:30 am
Currently I seem to be getting very interested in the politics and culture of the 17th Century and this sort of represents the lower bounds of that timeframe. The move from a medieval to a modern mindset through this period is very interesting.

Absolutely. Only 60 years to go to the Ranters, Diggers and Levellers!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on December 12, 2008, 10:14:02 am
The dichotomy of our view of Cromwell as hero / bloody tyrant is also interesting.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on December 12, 2008, 10:15:23 am
50 years, surely!  The Diggers are amazing, and the Levellers were such a radical force that they changed everything, despite the repression of Cromwell as a landowner, and the restoration.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Phil on December 12, 2008, 10:58:23 am
I'm reading A Song Of Stone by Iain Banks, which is good if rather overwritten. 

I've also recently read Dowsing: A Journey Beyond Our Five Senses by Hamish Miller, of which the first few chapters are interesting and informative, and the last few chapters are the ramblings of a lunatic (ley lines, auras, OOBEs, faith healing, cosmic energy and the Knights Templar all figure). 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: PaulF on December 12, 2008, 11:42:35 am
The BBC article about how people exaggerate what they're reading to impress others :demon:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wowbagger on December 12, 2008, 11:47:43 am
This week I read a quite amusing children's book, The Boy in the Dress, by David Walliams, of whom I had never previously heard. My daughter recommended the book.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on December 12, 2008, 11:56:32 am
This week I read a quite amusing children's book, The Boy in the Dress, by David Walliams, of whom I had never previously heard. My daughter recommended the book.
You are a High Court Judge and ICMFP.

You really had never heard of David Walliams ?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wowbagger on December 12, 2008, 12:01:14 pm
Not until my daughter handed me the book, no.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on December 12, 2008, 12:02:54 pm
Never seen Little Britain or seen them interviewed or read a newspaper article about it ?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wowbagger on December 12, 2008, 12:06:04 pm
No. I watch hardly any television and the only newspapers I read are the online ones, so I only open the pages I want to read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: harrumph on December 12, 2008, 12:40:00 pm
No. I watch hardly any television and the only newspapers I read are the online ones, so I only open the pages I want to read.

Strewth, you're even more disconnected from popular "culture" than me  :o

Congratulations!  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: redshift on December 13, 2008, 11:24:32 am
A few questions (space and time, size and shape of the universe, how do we know, etc?) in conversation with a young chap at work* the other day has prompted me to go back and dig out my copy of Carl Sagan's Cosmos.  I know it's been superseded in areas, but I'd forgotten just how readable it is.



*This was prompted by the news about the Milky Way's black hole (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7774287.stm), although we never actually got as far as discussing stellar evolution.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wowbagger on December 13, 2008, 06:07:21 pm
No. I watch hardly any television and the only newspapers I read are the online ones, so I only open the pages I want to read.

Strewth, you're even more disconnected from popular "culture" than me  :o

Congratulations!  :thumbsup:

I've just watched a recording of last night's HIGNFY and David Walliams got a mention. That's the first time I've heard him mentioned on telly.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: ghostrider on December 13, 2008, 11:24:51 pm
A Snowball in Hell - Christopher Brookmyre

And so far yet another witty amusing read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: simonp on December 13, 2008, 11:27:23 pm
Nonzero - The Logic of Human Destiny
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on December 14, 2008, 09:47:51 pm
Two books which have made me laugh out loud:

Great Expectations (the first time I've read it, to my shame)

Roger's Profanisarus ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on December 18, 2008, 12:56:55 pm
Just finished 'Slow Man' by J.M. Coetzee. Prose is spare, pithy, elegiac with a quite unexpected swerve into metafiction just as I was getting settled into the story. 

Also, there's a cycling aspect: story begins with him getting knocked off his bike and losing a leg...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: tiermat on December 18, 2008, 01:16:17 pm
Under The Eagle by Simon Scarrow

The first of his series about the Roman army, and in particular a Centurion and an Optio called Macro and Cato.

Very good, and very well researched.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: scott on December 18, 2008, 03:11:00 pm
'Winter Holiday' (again) by Arthur Ransome.  It's a great read at cold times of the year. 

That's good to hear--I'll be reading that one to Anders at bedtime starting in a day or two, as soon as we finish 'Swalllowdale.'  :)  I had no idea when I was a kid that there were more books after Swallows and Amazons  ::-), which I picked up at a school book sale when I was about nine. But now I have an excuse to read all of them, except for the one or two that apparently have a bit much shooting and mayhem for a six-year-old.

I just finished Robert Macfarlane's 'The Wild Places,'  (http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780143113935,00.html)which is now heavily dog-eared, and have to decide between 'Bicycling Beyond the Divide: Two Journeys into the West' by Daryl Farmer (which I just got for my birthday) or 'Connemara: Last Pool of Darkness' by Tim Robinson, (http://foldinglandscapes.com/book.htm) which I've been eagerly awaiting.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Torslanda on December 18, 2008, 03:22:01 pm
Eric Clapton's autobiography.

For the second time this year I have been surprised to have my preconceptions blasted out of the water by an honest account of someone's life who, when he looks back on it, doesn't like what he sees for most of it. . .

Quite a tortured soul for most of his adult life and 99% of it self inflicted. This could have been a warm, fuzzy kind of book, a 'Look at me now!' kind of book,  a saccharine 'I've been a bad boy and I'm sorry' kind of book. Instead it's a 'warts and all' account of someone who, despite his fame (Clapton is God - remember?) had a very low self esteem from a very early age. Big respect.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: scott on December 18, 2008, 03:28:26 pm
getting knocked off his bike and losing a leg...

That's a fine pancake, and no mistake
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on January 04, 2009, 09:17:29 pm
Just finished 'The People's Act of Love' by James Meek
An unusually powerful (and readable) novel
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: peliroja on January 04, 2009, 09:20:28 pm
Just finished Life Class and Another World, both by Pat Barker. Great, evocative reads. She has such a moreish style.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: David Martin on January 04, 2009, 09:20:55 pm
Well, Over christmas I have read:

Bradleys auto - in pursuit of glory
Chris' auto heroes, villains and velodromes
The Inkheart Trilogy
And am currently working my way through 'emergence' by stephen Johnson and can then approach the Ann Mustoe book..

But back to work tomorrow..

..d
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on January 04, 2009, 09:22:58 pm
The Yiddish Policemen's Union, by Michael Chabon.

I'm about halfway through and enjoying it.

It was a Christmas present from my sister, who apparently went into Waterstone's and picked three books which looked interesting.  A system which meets my approval :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on January 04, 2009, 09:31:24 pm
The Civil War: The War of the Three Kingdoms 1638-1660
Trevor Royle

A history of the Civil War. Very good so far.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: woollypigs on January 04, 2009, 09:32:35 pm
Just finished H. G. Wells - Wheels of Change, top read I enjoyed it. I tried to trace the route he cycled in around 5 days. Gmaps Pedometer (http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=2469671) around 250 miles. Yes some of the roads are not there any more and have changed a lot since then. I have a bit of problem with the route between Winchester and Ringwood, and I'm guessing the roads between towns.

Now off to find the next book to read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Eccentrica Gallumbits on January 04, 2009, 09:35:49 pm
Nelson Mandela's autobiography - Long Walk to Freedom.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: ibrahim on January 04, 2009, 09:40:36 pm
'Les Jardins de lumiere' (the Gardens of Light) by Amin Maalouf, an unusual book about Mani, a third century prophet who was demonised to the extreme by Christian Orthodoxy...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: nicknack on January 04, 2009, 10:07:57 pm
Neil Gaiman - American Gods

I'm liking it.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on January 04, 2009, 10:33:18 pm
'Neil Gaiman - American Gods'

I enjoyed this - he is a great writer.

Currently reading 'The families who made Rome', its very good.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on January 05, 2009, 11:27:38 am
I've just finished both Obama's books (Dreams from My Father is particularly recommended - he is both a good writer and a complex and intelligent man), and Walter Mosley's Fortunate Son. I'm now reading a biography of Francis Galton.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Charlotte on January 05, 2009, 11:41:52 am
Jeremy Scahill - Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blackwater-Rise-Worlds-Powerful-Mercenary/dp/1560259795)

I don't know what scares me more; Blackwater themselves or the way that the American government uses them.  It's bad juju, whatever.

Only a couple of chapters left and I can't put it down.  Highly recommended.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on January 05, 2009, 01:29:55 pm
Jeremy Scahill - Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blackwater-Rise-Worlds-Powerful-Mercenary/dp/1560259795)

I don't know what scares me more; Blackwater themselves or the way that the American government uses them.  It's bad juju, whatever.

Only a couple of chapters left and I can't put it down.  Highly recommended.

+1 - excellent book.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on January 05, 2009, 02:10:33 pm
I'm still reading Oliver Postgate's autobiography, Seeing Things (did I mention this upthread?).  I picked it off Butterfly's shelves about a year ago, found it difficult to get into, and put down for months.  I gave it another go a while back, but didn't get an awful lot further.  I'm ashamed to say that it was Oliver's sad death recently that spurred me to get into it.

He has an interesting writing style that reflects the diversity of his interests over the years.  There are major turning points, but he doesn't seem to recognise them as such (possibly wilfully).

He goes from describing the hilarious events of his conscientious objection, to how he 'discovered' the worlds of the Pogles, Noggin, the Clangers and Bagpuss, to covering the shocking death of his parents, and the severe illnesses of both himself and his wife.  It's like wandering through a pleasant summer meadow and stepping suddenly into quicksand.  Really affecting, but some of it is very difficult reading.  Difficult in a good way, but difficult nonetheless.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on January 05, 2009, 02:14:12 pm
Still grinding through Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle and am finding it a good deal more amusing second time around.  Have also recently polished off:

o The Coast Road - Paul Gogarty
o The Water Road - Paul Gogarty
o Narrowboat Dreams - Steve Hayward
o Narrow Dog To Indian Springs - Terry Darlington
o When Giants Walked The Earth - Mick Wall
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: harvey on January 05, 2009, 02:22:31 pm
Just finished The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby - a very insightful look at the 'dumbing-down' of American politics over the past 40 odd years.  How intellectualism is disdained as elitism and folksy ignorance is just being one of the 'good ol' boys' and how newspapers, TV and the web have been manipulated as infotainment by neo cons and religious fundamentalist types.  A must read for all your American friends (and especially non-friends)!

Also read a few of Christopher Reich's thrillers over the holidays - First Billion, The Runner, and Rules of Deception.  Fast paced with clever scenarios and interesting characters.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on January 05, 2009, 04:47:00 pm
Don Manley's Chamber's Crossword Manual - a Christmas present. An exercise in priggish pedantry if ever there was one. Rather irritating.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: ChrisO on January 05, 2009, 05:24:20 pm
Just finished my first Terry Pratchett books, the first two Discworld novels, The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic.

Can't really see the attraction to be honest. It has some amusing parts but I found it rather too knowing and trying to be clever - it's barely above the level of parody as far as I can see.

However I know millions disagree so it must just be me.

Oh, I also read Casino Royale and the Asimov book Foundations.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on January 05, 2009, 05:39:35 pm
However I know millions disagree so it must just be me.

No, it's not just you. I find Pratchett highly irritating - not least because he is his own biggest fan and not half the writer he thinks he is.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: microphonie on January 05, 2009, 06:22:41 pm
Just finished  'Brasyl'  (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Brasyl-Gollancz-S-F-Ian-Mcdonald/dp/0575080507) by Ian McDonald.

It's a SF novel that interweaves three stories, based in 18th C, present day & future Brazil using quantum theory as a theme. Some of the Brazilian-heavy prose was a struggle at times but overall I'd recommend it & will search out River of Gods by him.

Just started Pratchett's 'Wintersmith'.

Nice to see that at least 3 of us have all been attracted to Neil Gaiman's American Gods in the last month!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wascally Weasel on January 05, 2009, 07:46:32 pm
Just finished my first Terry Pratchett books, the first two Discworld novels, The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic.

Can't really see the attraction to be honest. It has some amusing parts but I found it rather too knowing and trying to be clever - it's barely above the level of parody as far as I can see.

However I know millions disagree so it must just be me.

Oh, I also read Casino Royale and the Asimov book Foundations.

The first two aren't really much more than parody I would agree - I didn't mind that when they first came out as I was a lot younger - they do get better (this still depends a bit on personal opinion) and if you did want to try any more I would recommend either 'Guards, Guards' or 'Wyrd Sisters'.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: rogerzilla on January 05, 2009, 08:00:07 pm
"The Rider" by Tim Krabbe.  It's rather good, even if Rapha like it  ::-)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: simonp on January 06, 2009, 12:10:27 am
"The Rider" by Tim Krabbe.  It's rather good, even if Rapha like it  ::-)

Gay!  Burn him!!!

(Must get round to reading the copy I was given)

I'm still working through the Chris Hoy book.  Tis a good read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: woollypigs on January 06, 2009, 07:43:12 am
"The Rider" by Tim Krabbe.  It's rather good, even if Rapha like it  ::-)
Read that in two days in the summer, just couldn't put it down, top read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: IanDG on January 06, 2009, 08:36:23 pm
"The Rider" by Tim Krabbe.  It's rather good, even if Rapha like it  ::-)

Currently reading that too, at 118-120km

excellent read
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Pneumant on January 07, 2009, 09:05:25 am
Am reading 'The Discovery of France' by Graham Robb. Very readable and interesting so far , I am already looking forward to reading another chapter and a half tonight :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on January 07, 2009, 09:16:51 am
"The Rider" by Tim Krabbe.  It's rather good, even if Rapha like it  ::-)

Currently reading that too, at 118-120km

excellent read

It's certainly top in a field of one - being the only good novel about bike racing!  ;)

On Brasyl - I didn't find the prose hard going at all, indeed I thought it was one of the best written sf novels of recent years, and one of the best British novels of 2007 in any genre. There again Ian McDonald is one of my favourite writers... River of Gods is also great.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: IanDG on January 07, 2009, 11:01:06 am
Finished 'The Rider' last night, have started 'From the Mull to the Cape (a gentle bike ride on the edge of wilderness)' by Richard Guise
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: blackpuddinonnabike on January 07, 2009, 11:09:40 am
The Plot Against America - Philip Roth
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mrcharly-YHT on January 07, 2009, 11:11:48 am
"The Scar" by China Mieville. Baroque. Very very very baroque sci-fi. Full of dirty, very real characters.

Just finished reading the Twilight series, which I had to as my girls and wife were constantly discussing it. Laughed all my way through, particularly when reading the copy with passages heavily underlined by 13-yr-old girl.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: onb on January 07, 2009, 11:21:36 am
Bad Blood by Jeremy Whittle a book which confirms a lot of what I had assumed ,quite depressing but interesting.

Palestinian Walks :Notes on a vanishing landscape ,I have only read the introduction to this but can see where its going.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Ariadne on January 07, 2009, 11:24:24 am
The Plot Against America - Philip Roth

ooh, that's great! I didn't expect to like it - I like Roth but didn't fancy that one, and then loved it.

I'm still reading Trollope - I'm trapped in a world of lords and duchesses and can't tear myself away. Currently on Phineas Redux. Maybe once I finish the Palliser series I'll try something less Victorian.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on January 07, 2009, 11:36:15 am
It's certainly top in a field of one - being the only good novel about bike racing!  ;)

Have you read James Waddington's Bad To The Bone?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: spindrift on January 07, 2009, 06:57:35 pm
The Outcast by Sadie Jones mentioned upthread has been nominated for some prize or other. It is a lovely, beautiful book.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tourist Tony on January 08, 2009, 12:59:08 am
Just finished Pratchett's "Nation" and now back to a set of Dawkins gene books. Preparing for next OU course.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: blackburnrod on January 08, 2009, 01:23:17 am
Austerity Britain (1945-51) by David Kynaston.Brings back memories and makes one realise that present times are not really very bad.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on January 09, 2009, 06:49:41 am
"Solving Stonehenge-The New Key to an Ancient Enigma", by Anthony Johnson. Studying in preparation for a visit this April/May.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: toekneep on January 09, 2009, 10:26:39 am
I had 'Moods of Future Joys' and 'Thunder and Sunshine' by Alastair Humphreys for Christmas. I'm half way through the first one and it is really good. A nice mixture of self appraisal, observation and general philosophising about the world and the experience of cycling around it. Highly recommended.

(I'm surprised nobody else has mentioned these books in this thread, at least the search facility says they haven't)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on January 09, 2009, 05:16:35 pm
Quote
I'm surprised nobody else has mentioned these books in this thread, at least the search facility says they haven't

I tried to move a spare copy of MoFJ in the other place but there were no takers  ???
I don't think he's quite made it into the (cycling-) public consciousness in the way Anne Mustoe and Josie Dew have (MoFJ was self-published). Shame, cos he is a good writer
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: toekneep on January 09, 2009, 05:40:11 pm
Is that right? The copy I have was published by Eye Books Ltd. or is that his own publishing company. I agree that he is a good writer, I would easily put him on a par with Josie Dew if not higher.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Ariadne on January 09, 2009, 05:44:39 pm
I've never heard of him - will add those two to my wish list, thanks!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Dinamo on January 09, 2009, 05:49:14 pm
Engelby ~ Stephan Faulks
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: toekneep on January 09, 2009, 05:56:46 pm
I've never heard of him - will add those two to my wish list, thanks!

He came to my attention in a radio four interview when he told the story of setting out on his epic round the world trip and his mum/dad had to call him back because he was going the wrong way out of the village.  ;D ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Ariadne on January 09, 2009, 06:52:33 pm
haha - excellent! Look forward to reading them - I thought I'd run out of cycle tour books to read, so this is very cheering. Mind you, I can't afford another six months off so I shouldn't be reading tour-porn  :D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: D0m1n1c Burford on January 10, 2009, 03:56:56 pm
My wife bought me Stephen Fry's autobiography for Christmas.  It's called 'Moab is my washpot'.  Started reading it this week, and am pleased to report that it is so far a very honest, revealing portrait of the man.  He is open about his homosexuality, his stealing and other demons. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Melrose on January 10, 2009, 06:46:21 pm
Just finished Country of the Blind by Christopher Brookmyre and just started Sea Dog Bamse World War II Canine Hero
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on January 10, 2009, 09:56:13 pm
Re Alastair Humphries, my copy is a print-on-demand by an establishment then known as pabd.com. In an appendix he explains that he paid £300, found someone to design the cover and had to do his own marketing and editing. Assume that it sold well enough to attract a mainstream publisher  :)

Having followed much of the trip on his blog (he posts on Lonely Planet Thorn Tree), I was looking out for it as soon as I knew he'd got back safely.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: valkyrie on January 11, 2009, 12:38:11 pm
I'm reading Darkmans by Nicola Barker.
I really wish I wasn't but I object to paying for books and not reading them so I'm persevering.

I'm reading Darkmans at the moment and really liking it. One of the strangest books I've read in a while.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on January 12, 2009, 10:26:20 am
Finally finished The Baroque Cycle and have turned for a little light relief to Malcolm Pryce's Don't Cry For Me Aberystwyth.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Regulator on January 12, 2009, 01:52:06 pm
I've just reread Patrick Dennis' 'Auntie Mame'.  It had me in fits of laughter and I read it through in one go (I was up until 4 a.m. this morning, unable to put it down).
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jezza on January 13, 2009, 11:30:49 pm
'Alias Grace' by Margaret Atwood. The story of a 19th century murderess. I've never read anything by her before, and it's beautifully crafted, although it drags a bit.

'The Gate' by Francois Bizot. The true story of a French ethnologist captured by the Khmer Rouge. Very powerful.     
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on January 14, 2009, 10:18:02 am
Darkly Dreaming Dexter ~ Jeff Lindsay.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: vorsprung on January 14, 2009, 11:45:15 am
Bradley Wiggins Bio
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Really Ancien on January 14, 2009, 11:53:59 am
Bradley Wiggins Bio
It's a nice day here, I think I'll go for a ride later, I'll be passing the pub where he had his epic binges, I'll see if his bike's outside.

Damon.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mike on January 14, 2009, 11:57:11 am
Round the world in 80 days.  I'd forgotten how funny it is.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jacomus on January 14, 2009, 12:00:01 pm
Frederick Forsythe - The Fist Of God


AWESOME!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Really Ancien on January 14, 2009, 12:17:24 pm
Hope . . . from the Heart of Horses: How Horses Teach Us about Presence, Strength, and Awareness

Not really, but I'm sure it will be a terrific read when it comes out.

Damon.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Frenchie on January 15, 2009, 10:41:47 pm
Lao She -- Four Generations under One Roof (the French translation)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: asterix on January 16, 2009, 08:47:37 am
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists - Robert Tressell. 

Years ago I heard a bit read out on the radio and thought one day I'd read it.  Then it went right out of fashion during the 80's and 90's, but last week I just happened to notice a copy in Waterstones.

Only on page 12 but so far so good..

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on January 16, 2009, 09:08:00 am
RTP out of fashion in the 80s?! :o

Metro theatre company had a production that just kept touring for years.  In the first half, the actors painted one side of the doors that made up the set, then in the second half, they turned them around and painted the other side.  One of the worst jobs for the technical staff was stripping all the paint off regularly so the doors didn't get too heavy to shift.

RTP was one of those books that all of us on the left read in the 80s - vitally important uplifting work.

My favourite parts are the section where a Clarion van arrives, complete with cycling 'Scouts', and leaflets are distributed and a fiery speech made, and the section where he is explaining surplus value to his colleagues.

It's a bit stodgy in places, and it took me a few goes to get through, but it is worth it.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on January 16, 2009, 09:30:17 am
The Rabbit Factory ~ Marshall Karp
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on January 16, 2009, 09:45:33 am
The last book I read was "Life Class" by Pat Barker (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-Class-Pat-Barker/dp/0141019476/ref=sr_1_1/275-2952550-5664366?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1232098515&sr=8-1), which I got for Crimbo.  Having found The Regeneration Trilogy brilliant, I was looking forward to this book by Barker, but I was very disappointed.  The first half of the book gives an insight into life at The Slade prior to World War I  and introduces the characters, which is actually very interesting.  Unfortuantly for Barker, Sus Gee has already written about The Slade in "Earth and Heaven" and she did a much better job.  Barker then dispenses with one of the main characters she's just introduced and then wizzes through the section about the war in Ypres before the book ends unsatisfactorily.  It felt like Barker just stopped writing rather than finished the book.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Bledlow on January 17, 2009, 05:19:13 pm
About to begin "The Bookseller of Kabul", courtesy of Oxfam.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: valkyrie on January 17, 2009, 07:00:55 pm
I'm reading Darkmans by Nicola Barker.
I really wish I wasn't but I object to paying for books and not reading them so I'm persevering.

I'm reading Darkmans at the moment and really liking it. One of the strangest books I've read in a while.

Mrs Pingu was right. Interesting book but now that I've finished it I've got to say it was a very unsatisfying read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Eccentrica Gallumbits on January 17, 2009, 10:15:56 pm
Stephen King's newish short story collection, Just After Sunset. So far I haven't thought much to it, apart from one story N which is really creepy.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mrs Pingu on January 18, 2009, 10:46:11 am
I'm reading Darkmans by Nicola Barker.
I really wish I wasn't but I object to paying for books and not reading them so I'm persevering.

I'm reading Darkmans at the moment and really liking it. One of the strangest books I've read in a while.

Mrs Pingu was right. Interesting book but now that I've finished it I've got to say it was a very unsatisfying read.
It just annoyed me in the end. I wouldn't recommend it anyway.

I am still reading Cloud Atlas  ::-) (no, I'm not a very slow reader, I just don't have time to read New Scientist every week and a book). I got through a goodly amount of it on holiday this week so I hope to bash through the rest of it in the next couple of days.
Or I will have an avalanche of NS piling up instead.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on January 19, 2009, 11:24:38 am
Just finished Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo which was jolly excellent.  However, since he died in 2004, I am a bit miffed that the second volume of the Millennium Trilogy isn't being published in the BRITONS' English until later this year chiz.

Now on Ghost by Robert Harris
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: alan on January 19, 2009, 02:30:15 pm
Not books but various UK maps & a road atlas
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jezza on January 19, 2009, 11:48:48 pm
Just finished Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo which was jolly excellent.  However, since he died in 2004, I am a bit miffed that the second volume of the Millennium Trilogy isn't being published in the BRITONS' English until later this year chiz.

Now on Ghost by Robert Harris

Looking forward to reading TGWTDT. Not read any Stig Larsen before.

With Ghost I found certain characters developed the voices of their real-life counterparts. Adam kept squirming and shrugging self-deprecatingly, saying things that began with, "Look, y'know.." in faux-estuarine.   
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: alan on January 20, 2009, 10:26:27 am
Not books but various UK maps & a road atlas

same again.
But work is getting in the way :demon:
I may have to relegate route planning to an evening exercise.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on January 20, 2009, 10:32:57 am
The Chameleon's Shadow ~ Minette Walters
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on January 20, 2009, 10:37:00 am
Not books but various UK maps & a road atlas

Butterfly's favourite read. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: microphonie on January 20, 2009, 06:22:32 pm
 'Permutation City' - Greg Egan  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permutation_City) -the wiki link describes it better than I could
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: gordon taylor on January 20, 2009, 09:04:53 pm
Pullman's Subtle Kinife. I think I've read this trilogy ten times (honestly.)

His imagination still takes my breath away.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Eccentrica Gallumbits on January 20, 2009, 09:25:32 pm
Stig of the Dump.  :D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Sergeant Pluck on January 20, 2009, 09:43:27 pm
Trying to get back into the habit of a bedtime read, rather than a bedtime browse...

Just finished Tim Butcher's Blood River (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-River-Journey-Africas-Broken/dp/0099494280/ref=sr_1_1/278-6832929-2153454?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1232487551&sr=1-1). Good read.

Just starting a book I rescued from the recycling bin, Johnathan Self's Self Abuse (http://www.amazon.com/Self-Abuse-Love-Loss-Fatherhood/dp/0743476190). Promising so far.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Charlotte on January 21, 2009, 09:20:29 am
The Somnambulist (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Somnambulist-Gollancz-S-F-Jonathan-Barnes/dp/0575079428) by Jonathan Barnes.

A rather good penny dreadful  :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Ariadne on January 21, 2009, 09:24:39 am
Norman Mailer, An American Dream. It's a bit of a shock after months of Trollope.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on January 21, 2009, 10:07:39 am
With No-One As Witness ~ Elizabeth George.

75% of the books I've read recently feature a taser ???
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Bledlow on January 27, 2009, 07:53:32 pm
The Captain and the Enemy - Graham Greene. Revisiting after 20 years. I may re-read some more after this one. I was caught almost immediately.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on January 27, 2009, 10:03:18 pm
I am currently reading "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" by Dave Eggers.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Sergeant Pluck on January 27, 2009, 10:10:11 pm
"A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" by Dave Eggers

I enjoyed that a lot  :)

Back to my current read, Johnathan Self's Self Abuse (http://www.amazon.com/Self-Abuse-Love-Loss-Fatherhood/dp/0743476190), hmmm. It's certainly fascinating in a morbid sort of way, and an insight into just how truly horrible some humans can be within families. But I'm not sure if it is a likeable book, It's definitely not going to be one of those books I re-read... I am not sure why, there is a cruelty or something in it that makes me unsympathetic to the writer.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on January 27, 2009, 10:22:38 pm
"A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" by Dave Eggers

I enjoyed that a lot 

I didn't I'm afraid.  I just didn't get it.  It's just a bunch of stuff that happened, much of which wasn't very interesting.

Just started "Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafón.  It was recommended and loaned to me by someone who's taste in books is usually very good.  I'll have to trust him and not my instincts - it has blurb reviews by Trinny & Susannah inside the cover.  :o :sick:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on January 27, 2009, 10:31:24 pm
I am currently reading "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" by Dave Eggers.

I loved that book.  It was pretentious and overblown and shallow in parts, but he made a virtue of those weaknesses and conjured something marvellous from the mundanities of his family situation.  I was surprised that it wasn't included on the Guardian's list of 1 000 books you MUST read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on January 28, 2009, 09:47:23 am
Jitterbug Perfume ~ Tom Robbins
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Ariadne on January 28, 2009, 10:31:35 am
Summit Fever, by Andrew Greig. It's great!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: RJ on January 28, 2009, 05:34:42 pm
Summit Fever, by Andrew Greig. It's great!

He's a great writer ...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: CAMRAMan on January 28, 2009, 06:47:48 pm
Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Though I'd forgotten how short it is and it didn't last my trip away to Hungary over the weekend. Must get the rest of the series now.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Bledlow on January 28, 2009, 11:06:44 pm
The Heart of the Matter - Graham Greene.

A few more on the shelves I haven't read for many years.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jezza on January 28, 2009, 11:07:20 pm
Colin Thubron - In Siberia

Alexander Solzhenitsyn - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jacomus on January 29, 2009, 03:03:18 pm
"The Saint" - Dan Abnett

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: alan on January 29, 2009, 03:28:12 pm
The White Book published by British Gypsum.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on January 29, 2009, 03:45:48 pm
The White Book published by British Gypsum.

Frequently Bought Together: Customers buy this book with

The Everyday Uses Of Portland Cement ~ Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers (1913)

My grate frend Uncle Marvo assures me that the latter is absolutely riveting and says he is currently negotiating for the film rights.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: alan on January 29, 2009, 04:03:38 pm
 ;D

Getting hold of a copy of these things is now more difficult than ever.Gypsum take the view that it is available on the internet & therefore don't need to print again.
When I asked their rep.
"how do those folk with no PC or internet access get the info?"
he was lost for an answer. :)
Most unusual for a sales rep. ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jasper the surreal cyclist on January 30, 2009, 12:51:26 pm
What I talk about when I talk about running.......Haruki Murakami (he does not like cycling at all).....
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: IanDG on January 30, 2009, 07:29:41 pm
On the Road - Jack Kerouac
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: IanDG on January 30, 2009, 07:38:29 pm
Just finished Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo which was jolly excellent.  However, since he died in 2004, I am a bit miffed that the second volume of the Millennium Trilogy isn't being published in the BRITONS' English until later this year chiz.

Now on Ghost by Robert Harris

Bought this as I passed thro' Edinburgh airport this evening. Thought I noticed the second book was on display too, I assume from your comments it's not a 'proper' English translation
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: geoff on January 30, 2009, 11:03:16 pm
"Legends" by Robert Littell. Read lots of his things a few years ago and thought them excellent...up there with Le Carre and Deighton in the spy genre. Not sure about this one though - maybe I'm getting picky or maybe I've lost my taste for his prose.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: perpetual dan on February 01, 2009, 10:23:09 am
From the Mull to the Cape, a gentle bike ride on the edge of wilderness by Richard Guise
A refreshingly un-epic touring tale, some of it set in places I've been to. I've not finished yet, but there's no sign of drug taking (bar a few pints of heavy) or parallel voyages of self-discovery so far. I'm enjoying this much more than Josie Dew round New Zealand.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: IanDG on February 01, 2009, 10:46:23 am
From the Mull to the Cape, a gentle bike ride on the edge of wilderness by Richard Guise
A refreshingly un-epic touring tale, some of it set in places I've been to. I've not finished yet, but there's no sign of drug taking (bar a few pints of heavy) or parallel voyages of self-discovery so far. I'm enjoying this much more than Josie Dew round New Zealand.

recently finished this, an enjoyable book
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Bledlow on February 01, 2009, 01:52:25 pm
Galileo Galilei - Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences.

R. Harré - The Philosophies of Science

Re-reading after many years.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jasper the surreal cyclist on February 01, 2009, 03:28:08 pm
The Way I Found Her by Rose Tremain
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on February 01, 2009, 06:01:39 pm
'The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay' by Michael Chabon
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on February 02, 2009, 12:23:28 pm
Just finished Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo which was jolly excellent.  However, since he died in 2004, I am a bit miffed that the second volume of the Millennium Trilogy isn't being published in the BRITONS' English until later this year chiz.

Now on Ghost by Robert Harris

Bought this up as I passed thro' Edinburgh airport this evening. Thought I noticed the second book was on display too, I assume from your comments it's not a 'proper' English translation

"The Girl Who Played With Fire" is now out in pukka English translation form - translation is by the same bloke who did volume 1 - and is currently available at a fiver off RRP in Sainsbury's.  Guess what I'm reading ATM?

I thought I'd read that it wasn't due out until ~May, but may have confused it with the equally-anticipated "From Aberystwyth With Love"
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jezza on February 02, 2009, 01:56:11 pm
<Dons Russian hat and sets off into the blizzard towards the bookshop.>
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: tiermat on February 02, 2009, 02:04:23 pm
Oracle OCP exam prep guide.

Thrilling!!!! :(
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: alan on February 02, 2009, 04:54:10 pm
I am re-reading some parts of Simon Doughty's "The Long Distance Cyclist's Handbook"
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: LEL on February 02, 2009, 05:08:56 pm
The Highway Code (got driving theory test on wednesday....)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: LEL on February 02, 2009, 05:10:03 pm
The Highway Code (got driving theory test on wednesday....)

Hang on, does that count as a book though? - and if so is it fiction or non fiction?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jasper the surreal cyclist on February 02, 2009, 05:25:56 pm
Netherland by Joseph O'Neil.....
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on February 03, 2009, 11:38:02 am
The Highway Code (got driving theory test on wednesday....)

Good luck with that :)

I reckon cyclists have a flying start on the theory over their sedentary colleagues, ahveing experienced road conditions, other drivers and a multitude of road signage.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Nuncio on February 03, 2009, 04:31:26 pm
Netherland by Joseph O'Neil.....

How's it going?  I was thinking of giving it a go once I've finished Martin Chuzzlewit (which at this rate may not be for some time).
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jasper the surreal cyclist on February 03, 2009, 06:21:47 pm
Hard to put down. Very well written, should finish it soon.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Rig of Jarkness on February 03, 2009, 07:23:24 pm
John Macnab by John Buchan.  I'm enjoying it very much.   Was put onto it by Andrew Grieg's equally enjoyable The Return of John Macnab.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: LE on February 04, 2009, 08:14:13 am
Just finished 'the Reader'
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wascally Weasel on February 04, 2009, 11:56:36 am
John Macnab by John Buchan.  I'm enjoying it very much.   Was put onto it by Andrew Grieg's equally enjoyable The Return of John Macnab.

John Macnab and the Return of John Macnab make a great double-bill.

You might be interested in Romanno Bridge, also  by Andrew Grieg.  It's another story involving all of the characters from Return of John Macnab.

Ms Weasel and I have both just read it.  I would warn you that we have very different opinions on it.  She loved it and would recommend it,  I only liked it and thought it devalued the book it followed on from a little (it's a good story, an enjoyable read but it doesn't need to be set around the characters from Return of John Macnab to work).
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Rig of Jarkness on February 04, 2009, 08:23:23 pm
[quote author=Wascally Weasel link=topic=342.msg266558#msg266558 date=1233748596
You might be interested in Romanno Bridge, also  by Andrew Grieg.  It's another story involving all of the characters from Return of John Macnab.
[/quote]
 :) Yes, I have it already - not read it yet though.  I also enjoyed his When They Lay Bare.  In fact, come to think of it, is this the one that ends up with a scene in Romanno Bridge ?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Pneumant on February 07, 2009, 03:41:20 pm
Wilt by Tom Sharpe

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on February 09, 2009, 08:44:50 pm
"The Nuclear Express: A Political History of the Bomb and its Proliferation".
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: annie on February 09, 2009, 09:31:16 pm
The Bicycle Wheel by Jobst Brandt :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on February 10, 2009, 11:28:52 am
Vulcan 607 ~ Rowland White

Plucky BRITONS travel a long way to drop bombs on Swarthy FOREIGN types.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: alan on February 10, 2009, 01:53:19 pm
P & L account,balance sheets,Directors reports.
Oh joy.
A necessary evil all this.
I just want to know how much profit there is & how many (banker's bail out) £ the Exchequer wish to rob me of >:(
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Frenchie on February 10, 2009, 06:18:33 pm
Wingless Flight by R. Dale Reed.

Great book on the story of the lifting body programme at NASA.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on February 11, 2009, 10:44:47 am
The Battle For The Falklands ~ Simon Jenkins & Max "Hitler" Hastings
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wascally Weasel on February 11, 2009, 11:51:51 am
Vulcan 607 ~ Rowland White

Plucky BRITONS travel a long way to drop bombs on Swarthy FOREIGN types.

Any good?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on February 11, 2009, 02:17:28 pm
Vulcan 607 ~ Rowland White

Plucky BRITONS travel a long way to drop bombs on Swarthy FOREIGN types.

Any good?

Well, I liked it.  The operation merited about half a page in the Jenkins/Hitler book; I had no idea how complicated it was...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wascally Weasel on February 19, 2009, 01:43:56 pm
[quote author=Wascally Weasel link=topic=342.msg266558#msg266558 date=1233748596
You might be interested in Romanno Bridge, also  by Andrew Grieg.  It's another story involving all of the characters from Return of John Macnab.
:) Yes, I have it already - not read it yet though.  I also enjoyed his When They Lay Bare.  In fact, come to think of it, is this the one that ends up with a scene in Romanno Bridge ?

[/quote]

Oops, missed this.  The answer is, I don't know as I haven't read When They Lay Bare.  Is it any good?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on February 20, 2009, 09:53:36 am
I'm currently reading Speak for England by James Hawes, author of White Merc With Fins.

It's an odd little book I noticed on the shelves in the kitchen at work - brand new, unread. 

The story is of a middle aged male teacher feeling a failure and entering an extreme game show.  Stranded in the jungle, he tries to escape, and finds himself among some Brits who set up their own Colony after their Comet IV crashed in the late 50s, preserving (certain aspects of) Englishness.

It's lightweight, but it's funny, poignant and tragic, too.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: ChrisO on February 20, 2009, 10:14:10 am
I've finally got around to reading The Third Policeman.

Didn't like it at first but really enjoyed it by the end. Mrs ChrisO on the other hand is not enjoying it much, but we don't generally like the same books, at least anything written after 1900.

Now reading The Honorary Consul.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Quisling on February 20, 2009, 05:24:00 pm
A bunch of books my daughter got out of the school library for half term:

Holes by Louis Sachar (very good indeed)
The boy in the striped pyjamas by John Boyne (didn't have a happy ending)
The London Eye mystery by Siobhan Dowd (okay so far)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on February 23, 2009, 01:53:48 pm
Careless In Red ~ Elizabeth George.

It is this: about twice as long as it needs to be :-\
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on February 23, 2009, 02:51:01 pm
'The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, or The Murder at Road Hill House' by Kate Summerscale. Very good so far...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on February 24, 2009, 10:52:49 am
'The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, or The Murder at Road Hill House' by Kate Summerscale. Very good so far...

Came highly recommended by Dr Larrington, which is why both B-i-L & TWFKAML now haz a copy...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: harrumph on February 24, 2009, 11:54:19 am
I thought your dad was a bishop?

I am currently on page 38 of The Life of Pi. It has yet to catch fire. Metaphorically speaking.

Waiting in the wings: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Girl-Dragon-Tattoo-Stieg-Larsson/dp/1847245455/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1235476345&sr=1-1) and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Amazing-Adventures-Kavalier-Clay/dp/1841154938/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1235476381&sr=1-1). Both are well fick, innit? At my reading speed, they should keep me going until the autumn...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on February 24, 2009, 01:26:04 pm
I thought your dad was a bishop?

Wot, mine?  He's a retired Army officer-turned civil servant.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: tonyh on February 25, 2009, 08:30:51 am
I am currently on page 38 of The Life of Pi. It has yet to catch fire.

I found the first 60?-ish pages dull. Kept going because I wanted to discuss it with someone. Glad I did, but not ecstatic!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: asterix on February 25, 2009, 09:00:28 am
The Penguin History of the USA, Hugh Brogan. 

Having reached page 177 the powerful message so far seems to be how extraordinarily badly the colonists were governed (by Britain, of course) before the revolution.  If only the foresight of those such as Tom Paine had been recognised..  ..but too many people were more concerned with India and had stakes in the East India Company.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jezza on February 25, 2009, 10:49:35 am
Waterland - Graham Swift.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mike on February 25, 2009, 11:08:15 am
The Picture of Dorian Grey - Oscar Wilde.  Wow.

"When we are happy we are always good, but when we are good we are not always happy."


Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: D0m1n1c Burford on February 25, 2009, 11:23:26 am
I am currently on page 38 of The Life of Pi. It has yet to catch fire.

I found the first 60?-ish pages dull. Kept going because I wanted to discuss it with someone. Glad I did, but not ecstatic!

I loved that book. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: David Martin on February 25, 2009, 04:54:36 pm
I am currently on page 38 of The Life of Pi. It has yet to catch fire.

I found the first 60?-ish pages dull. Kept going because I wanted to discuss it with someone. Glad I did, but not ecstatic!

I loved that book. 

It is not a book that gives itself to you. It is a book you give yourself to, and then sit back, relax and enjoy. I liked it.

Gabriella Garcia Marquez though, boy is that tedious and dull.

Currently reading Economics for Dummies.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jasper the surreal cyclist on February 26, 2009, 02:06:24 pm
The Asbestos register for Bognor Fire Station....... ???
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: spesh on March 01, 2009, 09:12:31 pm
"Skinny Dip" by Carl Hiaasen. (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/h/carl-hiaasen/skinny-dip.htm)

Yet another scabrously funny crime caper/ecological fable from the Floridian wierdmeister. ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mrs Pingu on March 01, 2009, 09:42:25 pm
I have given up reading the New Scientist in bed 'cos I think it wasn't really conducive to restful sleep.

I have just finished After Dark by Haruki Murakami, which was good, but not very long.

I am now reading The Big Necessity : Adventures In The World Of Human Waste (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Big-Necessity-Adventures-World-Human/dp/1846270693), an Xmas pressie from Pingu.
He thinks I have a poo obsession.

It's really good!  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: tonyh on March 02, 2009, 08:35:47 am

"Consequences" , Penelope Lively. How chance-y our lives are. Lots of nice observation, though that and the story are not the main points.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: alan on March 02, 2009, 09:21:26 am
"Ecophon" installation guide ::-)
Preferred reading would be
Watching Wood Warp by Edwood Wouldwood
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: harrumph on March 02, 2009, 09:52:36 am
I am currently on page 38 of The Life of Pi. It has yet to catch fire.

I found the first 60?-ish pages dull. Kept going because I wanted to discuss it with someone. Glad I did, but not ecstatic!

I loved that book. 

It got quite exciting around page 150  :thumbsup:

It's gone back to being dull now  ::-)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on March 02, 2009, 01:59:52 pm
Chocolate And Cuckoo Clocks ~ Alan Coren
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: tiermat on March 02, 2009, 02:01:41 pm
Just finished "We Might As Well Win" by Johan Brueneel (SP?) and Bill Strickland, now on to "In Search Of Robert Millar"
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on March 02, 2009, 03:19:23 pm
Bruyneel
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on March 04, 2009, 01:49:09 pm
Just finished Q&A by Vikas Swarup, which was converted into the film Slumdog Millionaire. The idea in the book is good, the writing awful and the amount of coincidences truly amazing. I was very tempted to skip to the end to find out what happened and then give up, but I pushed on through and finished it.

Next up is Hey Nostradamus! by Douglas Coupland.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on March 04, 2009, 02:12:07 pm
I'm reading South, Ernest Shackleton's account of the Endurance expedition where he and his team tried (and failed) to become the first people to cross the Antarctic.  The steadfastness and stoicism with which they meet the challenges and hardships is awe-inspiring.  Saddest of all, when they finally return to their homes, they nearly all go off to fight in the First World War, and as many are killed in war as died during the expedition.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on March 04, 2009, 02:35:09 pm
I'm reading South, Ernest Shackleton's account of the Endurance expedition

A excellent thing.  Required reading for Chaps, I reckon, making a trip across 800 miles of the Southern Ocean seem little more hazardous than an hour or two on the Serpentine.

Just finished Simon Schama's The American Future.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: harrumph on March 04, 2009, 03:47:45 pm
I am currently on page 38 of The Life of Pi. It has yet to catch fire.

I found the first 60?-ish pages dull. Kept going because I wanted to discuss it with someone. Glad I did, but not ecstatic!

I loved that book. 

It got quite exciting around page 150  :thumbsup:

It's gone back to being dull now  ::-)

Forty pages left now. I still don't get it.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on March 07, 2009, 06:19:03 pm
'Suite Francaise' by Irene Nemirovsky
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: harrumph on March 07, 2009, 08:53:31 pm
Forty pages left now. I still don't get it.
Well, the ending was really good... oddly, because I've read far more books that started well and fizzled out than the other way round. I'm just about glad I stuck with it, but religious metaphor still doesn't float my [life]boat...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Greenbank on March 08, 2009, 11:05:06 am
A course in number theory and cryptography by Neal Koblitz.
Prime Numbers - A computational perspective by Crandall and Pomerance.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jasper the surreal cyclist on March 10, 2009, 09:37:52 am
Shadow Family by Miyuki Miyabe...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on March 10, 2009, 11:42:57 am
The Damned Utd ~ David Peace.  Contains more instances of the "f" word than any book I have ever read.  Was Brian Clough really that sweary?

A word to the book's editor: you need to be dismissed from your job.  And then be given a map of the north-east of England as a leaving present.  Then you might realise that the place where they hanged one monkey, elected another as mayor and spawned Mr M Series of the parish is emphatically not called "Hartlepools".

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on March 10, 2009, 11:49:06 am
Was Brian Clough really that sweary?

Yes.

Quote
A word to the book's editor: you need to be dismissed from your job.  And then be given a map of the north-east of England as a leaving present.  Then you might realise that the place where they hanged one monkey, elected another as mayor and spawned Mr M Series of the parish is emphatically not called "Hartlepools".

Seems fair.  Though you may find it hard to discover an editor who's been north of Hertfordshire except to shoot something, so the ignorance is not unexpected.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Sir Tifiable on March 10, 2009, 11:57:21 am
Heroes, Villains & Velodromes - Richard Moore.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on March 10, 2009, 11:59:49 am
Read that recently.  Interesting, but I felt a bit dissatisfied with it afterwards.  It's workmanlike, but it doesn't quite do the job.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Sir Tifiable on March 10, 2009, 12:22:46 pm
Read that recently.  Interesting, but I felt a bit dissatisfied with it afterwards.  It's workmanlike, but it doesn't quite do the job.

As far as I've read to date (about 75%), it hardly does the job at all. But then I'm aware of plenty of people who don't quite do the job!  ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on March 10, 2009, 12:39:59 pm
A word to the book's editor: you need to be dismissed from your job.  And then be given a map of the north-east of England as a leaving present.  Then you might realise that the place where they hanged one monkey, elected another as mayor and spawned Mr M Series of the parish is emphatically not called "Hartlepools".

Seems fair.  Though you may find it hard to discover an editor who's been north of Hertfordshire except to shoot something, so the ignorance is not unexpected.

They managed to spell other difficult words properly.  Stuff like "Leeds1", and "Nottingham2".

1 - don't Leeds United play just outside Maidstone?
2 - surprised he didn't confuse it with Notting Hill
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on March 10, 2009, 07:05:49 pm
The Damned Utd ~ David Peace.  Contains more instances of the "f" word than any book I have ever read.  Was Brian Clough really that sweary?

A word to the book's editor: you need to be dismissed from your job.  And then be given a map of the north-east of England as a leaving present.  Then you might realise that the place where they hanged one monkey, elected another as mayor and spawned Mr M Series of the parish is emphatically not called "Hartlepools".



Not such a daft mistake - the club was known as "Hartlepools United" for a while, since it was an amalgam of West Hartlepool and the other Hartlepool.  Pools is still their nickname.  When it isn't Monkeyhangers, anyway ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: bikenerd on March 11, 2009, 10:28:00 am
Global Catastrophic Risks, edited by Nick Bostrom and Milan M. Cirkovic.
Link on Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Global-Catastrophic-Risks-Martin-Rees/dp/0198570503/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236767112&sr=8-1)

A book about what could cause the end of the human race.  Covers the usual nuclear and biological threats along with the Skynet threat (artificial intelligence).

No mention of the Zombie-apocalypse yet, though.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on March 11, 2009, 11:00:59 am
Just finished reading Watchmen. Brilliant, apart from the last 30 odd page where it appears that Mr Moore is having a wank fest (sorry).

Just started 'A Curious Street' by Desmond Hogan. Book no. 11 out of my 100 books to read in a year challenge.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wascally Weasel on March 12, 2009, 04:03:26 pm
‘Future Noir’, the making of Blade Runner by Paul M. Sammon.

This is a classic book on the film, this particular edition is an expanded version to take into account the recent ‘Final Cut’ and 5DVD box set.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: TheLurker on March 12, 2009, 04:07:46 pm
Mauritius Command. PO'B
Lake Wobegon Summer 1956, Keillor
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: rafletcher on March 12, 2009, 04:29:26 pm
I generally read detective fiction - there's a lot of it about!  But I do like books with a sense of place, and recently I've been reading a lot of Scandinavian fiction. I've read the Henning Mankell Wallender novels for years, and also Arnulaer Idridasons Icelandic detective Erlendur, but more recently I've been reading Stieg Larssen, Jo Nesbo, Karin Fossum, Mari Jungstedt and Camilla Lackberg, novels set in Norway and Sweden.  Not found any Danish or Finnish ones yet though, but then haven't looked hard.

As a real break from that, try Nick Harkaways "The Gone-Away World".

And I'm looking forward to the new Tom Rob Smith, having thoroughly enjoyed "Child 44" a story set in Soviet Russia, where there is no crime (by order) so murders can't be committed.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wascally Weasel on March 12, 2009, 04:34:38 pm
Mauritius Command. PO'B
Lake Wobegon Summer 1956, Keillor

I’ve tried and tried and I can’t get in to Patrick O’ Brian – I wanted to like his books, I’m very interested in the period and his subject but I just find his style so grating.  Is it heresy to say that I loved the film of Master and Commander though?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: ChrisO on March 12, 2009, 10:32:51 pm
Mauritius Command. PO'B
Lake Wobegon Summer 1956, Keillor

I’ve tried and tried and I can’t get in to Patrick O’ Brian – I wanted to like his books, I’m very interested in the period and his subject but I just find his style so grating.  Is it heresy to say that I loved the film of Master and Commander though?

Yes but if you're lucky we'll hang you from the yardarm rather than flog you around the fleet.

Appalling film - I can't see how it was possible to have any interest in the subject or period and enjoy that film.

It would be like professing an interest in the Tour de France and enjoying a film about Fausto Coppi in which he rode a carbon fibre bike.

I was once at a conference where someone who worked on that film was bigging up how they paid so much attention to the height of the hammocks and so forth. I had to be restrained from rushing the stage and strangling him.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: asterix on March 13, 2009, 10:25:13 am
Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe. A tale of New York in the 1980's and much better than the film version, I am told.   (never watched it)

I like Patrick O'Brian's books.  It's possible to enjoy 'Master and Commander' if you enjoy sailing although I fear it paints a far rosier picture of naval life than would have been the case.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: MSeries on March 13, 2009, 10:36:00 am
Deano is right. It was known as Hartlepools at one point in time. I have seen old roadsigns point to it bearing that name. Not sure if it was Hartlepools when Clough was there though.

History of Hartlepool - This is Hartlepool (http://www.thisishartlepool.co.uk/history/)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on March 16, 2009, 12:36:22 pm
Deano is right. It was known as Hartlepools at one point in time. I have seen old roadsigns point to it bearing that name. Not sure if it was Hartlepools when Clough was there though.

History of Hartlepool - This is Hartlepool (http://www.thisishartlepool.co.uk/history/)

Gosh.  Y'learn sumfink new every day.  My memory-branes only stretch back as far as 1972, when my mate Tim supported Hartlepool.  Seems they changed the name at the  start of the 1968-69 season; Clough took over as manager in October 1965.

Note to self: write grovelling letter of apology to Faber & Faber.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on March 16, 2009, 12:39:51 pm
Lord Edgware Dies, by Agatha Christie.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Frenchie on March 17, 2009, 04:12:45 pm
Woohoo!

I have just received Hallion's "Test Pilots -- The Frontiersmen of Flight" 1988 extended edition for the good ol' US of A.  :thumbsup:

I'm happy. Just in time for my forthcoming holiday.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jezza on March 17, 2009, 04:32:19 pm
Frenchie - just out of interest, have you ever read Wind, Sand & Stars (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind,_Sand_and_Stars) by St Exupery? Known in French as Terre des Hommes.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Frenchie on March 17, 2009, 04:59:35 pm
Not this one, no, though I have read others such as Vol de Nuit and Courrier Sud.

(I happen to have Volume 2 of St Exupery's integral though; but Terre des Hommes is in the first volume)

Hallion is well known in the telling of modern aviation history. As I am interested in the post-WWII era, in particular the development of supersonic flight and jet aircrafts, I was keen to get some of Hallion's work. For someone like me the NASA websites are a trove of treasures, although getting some of the work may require permission or, when it has been published, tracking obscure editors and editions!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on March 17, 2009, 05:08:15 pm
I'm reading another book I happened upon in the dusty shelves in the kitchen at work.

This one's Cley by Carey Harrison (son of Rex, if that matters).  I was lured in by the mention of a bike ride.  Indeed there is one - a ride from west London to Cley in Norfolk.  But, once he gets there, that seems to be it.  I'm hoping thare'll be another ride to Liskeard later in the book (it's part of a sequence of novels which are parallel stories about how & why the characters reach Liskeard.  Yeah - I dunno either).

It's a slim volume, and seems a bit chaotic in the middle, but I'm hoping it all becomes more connected by the end.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Frenchie on March 20, 2009, 08:36:52 am
Woohoo!

I have just received Hallion's "Test Pilots -- The Frontiersmen of Flight" 1988 extended edition for the good ol' US of A.  :thumbsup:

Well it is well written and rather interesting so far...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: perpetual dan on March 20, 2009, 09:12:25 am
Read Tim Moore's "french revolutions" at the weekend.
Last night I started Alex Ross' "the rest is noise" ... which is intimidatingly thick, so I may be some time.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on March 20, 2009, 09:54:09 am
Am well into 'V for Vendetta' by Alan Moore. I think he is amazing.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Eccentrica Gallumbits on March 23, 2009, 07:38:41 pm
The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams. It must be 20 years since I last read it and I have no idea how it ends.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wascally Weasel on March 23, 2009, 07:49:47 pm
The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams. It must be 20 years since I last read it and I have no idea how it ends.
*Tries to resist spoiling ending*
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on March 23, 2009, 08:57:28 pm
Keep up the recommendations folks.  :thumbsup:  I really enjoyed "The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher" and am currently reading "The Return of John Macnab", both mentioned on this thread.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on March 24, 2009, 08:54:32 am
Ash: A Secret History - Mary Gentle

Picked this up in a second hand bookshop when I needed something for the train. It's a mad feminist historical / fantasy novel set in 15th Century Europe about a women (the ash of the title) who is captain of a mercenary troop. It's surprised me as its a lot better than I though it would be and the author manages to weave in real facts about the period along whilst going off on a tangent with a very alternate view of history. The main character Ash makes Buffy look like a woose.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mike on March 24, 2009, 09:00:13 am
robinson crusoe.  It's great!

'I spent twelvty eleven days making a canoe, then it was too heavy to get to the water.  D'oh'


Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: tiermat on March 24, 2009, 09:03:03 am
"Heroes, Villains and Velodromes, the story of Chris Hoy and British Track Cycling", on a bit of a cycling reading tip at the moment.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on March 24, 2009, 12:35:56 pm
My Idea Of Fun ~ Will Self.  Harder going than "The Book Of Dave" or "The Butt".
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: harrumph on March 25, 2009, 01:56:00 pm
"Who cut the Cheese - a cultural history of the fart" by Jim Dawson. Amusing, but not as substantially anthropological as I had hoped, so far.

Published, oddly enough, by 10-Speed Press. Maybe it's true: cycling does make you fart...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on March 25, 2009, 02:14:45 pm
d'Oh!  I've lost me book. :(

This always happens when I'm getting somewhere with it.

Never mind - in sorting through some papers, i've found the Irving novel I was reading.  It's been sat on my desk for two weeks :-[
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Butterfly on March 25, 2009, 02:17:14 pm
d'Oh!  I've lost me book. :(

This always happens when I'm getting somewhere with it.

Never mind - in sorting through some papers, i've found the Irving novel I was reading.  It's been sat on my desk for two weeks :-[
Is it on the dining table?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on March 25, 2009, 02:24:44 pm
Almost certainly somewhere as obvious as that.  I took it away at the weekend, and so it perhaps got into the camping equipment.  hey ho. :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: delthebike on March 25, 2009, 02:26:47 pm
Is it on the dining table?
It'll be at the last place he'll look.

If audiobooks count I'm currently on an unabridged Lord of the Rings.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on April 07, 2009, 12:14:42 am
I am reading "To Kill a Mockingbird".

I bought it - and I remember distinctly - for 50p at Nottingham Oxfam as something to read on the train to Newcastle, but I got speaking to a girl on the train, and never got around to reading it.  The book is wonderful, Atticus Finch is the father we all dream of having as children, and I have about 20 books bought in similar circumstances.  One at a time.

Oh, I am also reading Moods of Future Joys by Alastair Humphreys, the first half of which I read in a chippy in Inverness.  I enjoyed it so much, I'm saving the rest for an equally outré location.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Regulator on April 07, 2009, 10:48:04 am
Robin Shelton's 'Allotted Time'... subtitled 'Two Blokes, One Shed, No Idea'.

An absolutely hilarious and engaging true story of the novice allotment holder.  I can thoroughly recommend it as a good read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: microphonie on April 07, 2009, 06:05:11 pm
Finally started 'How The Dead Live' by Will Self for a second time. Seem to have got into it a bit easier this time - I'm pretty sure I'm past the stage at which I abandoned the last attempt.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on April 07, 2009, 08:18:00 pm
Finally started 'How The Dead Live' by Will Self for a second time. Seem to have got into it a bit easier this time - I'm pretty sure I'm past the stage at which I abandoned the last attempt.

I read that for "Book Club" on Radio 4 a couple of years ago.  I quite enjoyed it, but Self enjoys using little used or obscure words too much - I still haven't found a dictionary with "lithopedion" in it (I worked it out as "calcified being who walks" yes?).  I got annoyed by his overuse of the word "valedictory" in "Great Apes". 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: nightrider on April 07, 2009, 08:35:56 pm
The book thief.By Marcus Zusak.Wartime Germany seen through eyes of a young girl.Easy to read and touching.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on April 08, 2009, 04:36:59 pm
I'm reading another book I happened upon in the dusty shelves in the kitchen at work.

This one's Cley by Carey Harrison (son of Rex, if that matters).  I was lured in by the mention of a bike ride.  Indeed there is one - a ride from west London to Cley in Norfolk.  But, once he gets there, that seems to be it.  I'm hoping thare'll be another ride to Liskeard later in the book (it's part of a sequence of novels which are parallel stories about how & why the characters reach Liskeard.  Yeah - I dunno either).

It's a slim volume, and seems a bit chaotic in the middle, but I'm hoping it all becomes more connected by the end.

Finally finished it today.

Really really poor.  The bike wasn't even a useful plot device, though the fact that he damaged it in a crash on the way back from Cromer did mean there was a ploddingly 'significant' conversation in a car at the end.  Maybe it's damaged state at the end was a metaphor.  Nothing really of the riding.

Of the book beyond the cycling, it was really poor.  Characterisation thin and unbelievable; chronology awful; dialogue wooden and stilted; motivations unlikely.  Plot was unnecessarily convoluted without having any complexity - it was just as if the author forgot to mention something and had doubled back, so you didn't know where you were.

Oh - and it's supposed to be set in the late 60s, but the incongruous anachronisms were clunking and all too frequent.

Er... Don't Bother. ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: microphonie on April 08, 2009, 06:26:25 pm
Finally started 'How The Dead Live' by Will Self for a second time. Seem to have got into it a bit easier this time - I'm pretty sure I'm past the stage at which I abandoned the last attempt.

I read that for "Book Club" on Radio 4 a couple of years ago.  I quite enjoyed it, but Self enjoys using little used or obscure words too much - I still haven't found a dictionary with "lithopedion" in it (I worked it out as "calcified being who walks" yes?).  I got annoyed by his overuse of the word "valedictory" in "Great Apes". 

Yeah, it's the obscure language that can annoy me too - it's as if he's trying to impress upon the reader just how wide his vocabulary is (and therefore how clever he is).

I'd decided on 'stone footed' or similar for lithopedion and then I googled it:  'Stone baby'  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithopedion) which fits the storyline perfectly.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: GruB on April 08, 2009, 06:51:10 pm
Rough Ride - Paul Kimmage.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on April 09, 2009, 05:48:38 am
"Love, Janis" by (her sister) Laura Joplin. Worthwhile reading for fans of Janis Joplin, but truthfully not a very good work of literature.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: ChrisO on April 12, 2009, 01:27:50 pm
For those who like cycling books I've just read A Dog In A Hat, by Joe Parkin.

He was an American who came to Belgium in the late 80s early 90s and rode for some of the middle-ranking Belgian teams.

He starts off with dreams of doing the grand tours but falls into the journeyman route of kermis and minor stage races with occasional chances to do some classics but never as more than a domestique. His team winning the Tour of Switzerland is the high point.

He's quite open about the whole scene including the drug taking and doesn't have the same chip on his shoulder about it as Kimmage. There are some amusing stories from the peloton and insights into the way teams, riders and racing work, especially the "auctioning" of results in the kermis races.

What I found most interesting about it was how quickly he falls into the monotony and treats it as you might treat an office job. He says he's looking forward to races but then for a variety of reasons it just becomes another grind. Maybe that's the difference between the journeyman and the elite.

But it is written very much from an insider point of view which is good. Not the outsider looking in. He speaks Flemish and becomes assimilated into their cycling. Having said that the title comes from a Flemish expression which basically means something is out of place.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: GruB on April 12, 2009, 02:05:49 pm
Now that I have finished with Paul Kimmage, I am unsure how I feel about his book.  He certainly portrays an axe to grind and I found his thoroughbreed and donkey talk a new way of viewing those of us that ride a bike for please and those that use it as their job.  I think I like his honesty, especially to himself but I do think he is a tortured soul in a Catholic body - hence the crusade that is all consuming.

I'm now into Breaking the Chain by Willy Voet.  I find his writing style more easy to read than Kimmage's - and he certainly doesn't beat around the bush.  He is certainly opening my eyes to the peleton of the 1990's.

This all brings me back to a throw away comment to Gonzo about Lance being clean - Mr Naive here is now facing facts.   ::-)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: nobby on April 12, 2009, 07:09:26 pm
The Making of the English Landscape by W G Hoskins, it's the main reason why I cycle and camp.
I've read it several times but this time I'm reading the 1988 edition with the updates by Christopher Taylor. Found the hardback in a shop for four quid  :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Eccentrica Gallumbits on April 28, 2009, 12:53:51 pm
More Trees to Climb by the excellent and very nice man Ben Moor (http://www.spesh.com/ben/Books.html) and I can't recommend it highly enough, or his plays.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: bikenerd on April 28, 2009, 01:08:22 pm
Fiction : The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick.
Non fiction : Bicycle Design by Mike Burrows (revised 2008 edition).

I recommend the latter to anyone interested in how a bicycle works and what works for a bicycle design.  There's no maths in it and Mike's somewhat rambling style is easy to read.  Mike is highly opinionated and a lot of his opinions have been reached by experience and not scientific rigour.  So, you may disagree with some things! :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: peliroja on April 28, 2009, 01:23:41 pm
The Dumas Club by Arturo Perez Reverte. Brilliant stuff. I also like his The Fencing Master (El maestro de esgrima) and The Nautical Chart (La carta esferica).

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: PaulF on April 28, 2009, 03:27:46 pm
Just finished "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy. The best book that I've read in ages. Also probably the bleakest ???

(click to show/hide)


but beautifully written.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on April 29, 2009, 09:12:18 am
I am currently reading From the Holy Mountain: A Journey in the Shadow of Byzantium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/From_the_Holy_Mountain) by William Dalrymple in which he traces the demise of Christianity in the Near East since its peak during the 6th century until the problems in the 20th with things such as the Armenian, erm, genocide and the issues brought about due to the creation of Israel. It's very well written and extremely interesting, but it's also pretty dense and takes some effort to read it. It's not the best book to read in small goes, which is what I'm attempting to do at the moment.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Rhys W on April 29, 2009, 10:00:32 am
Just finished "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy. The best book that I've read in ages. Also probably the bleakest ???

(click to show/hide)


but beautifully written.

 Hey I just finished this a couple of weeks ago. Actually I finished it in three sittings - the reviews are right, it's pretty gripping. The Thinking Man's DaVinci Code. I'm a sucker for post-apocalyptic scenarios anyway.

 Now I'm on to a 2nd hand copy of Charles Shaar Murray's Crosstown Traffic.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: ChrisO on April 29, 2009, 02:55:30 pm
Thanks to the several recommendations for The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, which I've just finished - enjoyed it very much.

Currently reading   John Macnab  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Macnab[/url) by John Buchan.

I didn't realise Buchan became Governor General of Canada.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on April 30, 2009, 11:52:58 am
The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich ~ William Shirer

Should keep me occupied for a day or two.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on April 30, 2009, 11:57:25 am
He dies in the end. </spoiler> ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wascally Weasel on April 30, 2009, 12:05:42 pm
Rereading 'Forge of God' by Greg Bear
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on April 30, 2009, 09:22:04 pm
Just wanted to say:

I read another recommended book on this thread, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".  Absolutely fantastic stuff.  Thanks.  I can't wait to read the second in the trilogy, "The Girl who Played with Fire" which the reviews say is even better.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on May 01, 2009, 01:20:27 pm
Just wanted to say:

I read another recommended book on this thread, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".  Absolutely fantastic stuff.  Thanks.  I can't wait to read the second in the trilogy, "The Girl who Played with Fire" which the reviews say is even better.

Is good and available from a Several of supermarkets for about a tenner in hardback.

Last time I spoke to Dr Larrington she was reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (in German) and she reckoned it was a bit slow at the start.  I hope it dun't stay that way :-\
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on May 01, 2009, 03:56:20 pm
I am reading Postsingularity by Rudy Rucker, a Californian mathematician, sf author and breeder of jellfish. If you know anything about Rudy Rucker you will know what to expect. If you don't you might wonder what the hell this odd combination of quantum physics and happy hippy stuff is and whether he is serious...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Gruff on May 05, 2009, 10:51:14 am
I am reading Postsingularity by Rudy Rucker, a Californian mathematician, sf author and breeder of jellfish. If you know anything about Rudy Rucker you will know what to expect. If you don't you might wonder what the hell this odd combination of quantum physics and happy hippy stuff is and whether he is serious...

Incidently, that's available for free (under creative commons license) here:

Postsingular by Rudy Rucker - Free eBook (http://manybooks.net/titles/ruckerrother07postsingular.html)

Free books rock.

I'm mainly reading three titles at the moment:

Engineering Mathmatics - KA Stroud. This is wonderful and exciting, and then confusing and depressing, in equal measure. I'm pretty sure that's my fault though, not the author's.

Hogfather (Discworld) - Terry Pratchett. Silly fun, but not as amusing as some of the others in the series.

Blink - Malclom Gladwell. Just started this after it was referenced in a podcast I recently listened to, on the subject of choice, free will and unconscious decision making. It's all about the almost instantaneous decisions our brains seem to constantly make for us, and the mechanisms and influences that might be at work there.

The original "radio" show/podcast is here, if anyone is interested (I enjoyed it):

WNYC - Radiolab: Choice (November 14, 2008) (http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/episodes/2008/11/14)

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on May 07, 2009, 10:41:06 am
I am reading Postsingularity by Rudy Rucker, a Californian mathematician, sf author and breeder of jellfish. If you know anything about Rudy Rucker you will know what to expect. If you don't you might wonder what the hell this odd combination of quantum physics and happy hippy stuff is and whether he is serious...

Incidently, that's available for free (under creative commons license) here:

Postsingular by Rudy Rucker - Free eBook (http://manybooks.net/titles/ruckerrother07postsingular.html)

Free books rock.

They do, but I like paper - perhaps it being available free is why it was 1.99 in the bargain bin at Forbidden Planet!

I just finished Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts. It didn't really do much for me, but it was nicely written.

Anyway, in complete contrast, I am now dipping into the absolutely wonderful George Mackay Brown's collected poems, which I picked up last week in Scotland.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on May 07, 2009, 12:11:20 pm
Shadow of the Silk Road (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shadow-Silk-Road-Colin-Thubron/dp/0099437228/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1241694610&sr=8-1) by Colin Thubron.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Gruff on May 17, 2009, 05:17:51 am

Incidently, that's available for free (under creative commons license) here:

Postsingular by Rudy Rucker - Free eBook (http://manybooks.net/titles/ruckerrother07postsingular.html)

Free books rock.

They do, but I like paper


Ah, have you tried one of the e-ink hardware readers (Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader etc)? I love mine to bits. As many books as you can imagine, all in one dinky convenient bundle, ready to take aywhere, or even just read in bed.

One of the things I most love is the almost instant availability of books that I see recomended or reviewed. If something sounds interesting then a couple of minutes later I can usually have it downloaded and on the reader ready to go.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: nobby on May 17, 2009, 09:27:28 am

Incidently, that's available for free (under creative commons license) here:

Postsingular by Rudy Rucker - Free eBook (http://manybooks.net/titles/ruckerrother07postsingular.html)

Free books rock.

They do, but I like paper


Ah, have you tried one of the e-ink hardware readers (Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader etc)? I love mine to bits. As many books as you can imagine, all in one dinky convenient bundle, ready to take aywhere, or even just read in bed.

One of the things I most love is the almost instant availability of books that I see recomended or reviewed. If something sounds interesting then a couple of minutes later I can usually have it downloaded and on the reader ready to go.
This sounds interesting Gruff
Can you do me a link and tell me more about yours, please?

Cheers
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: David Martin on May 17, 2009, 09:33:51 am
Eventually made my way through a couple of topical books.

Who runs britain - Robert Peston
The Storm - Vince Cable

Now picking interesting bits from 'The Railways of Dundee' by Peter Marshall for a ride I am leading in a few weeks.

..d   
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Gruff on May 17, 2009, 06:19:02 pm
Can you do me a link and tell me more about yours, please?


Gladly...

I have Sony Reader (2nd gen 505 model), which you can see here:

Sony Reader Digital Book PRS-505 (silver) E-Book reader reviews - CNET Reviews (http://reviews.cnet.com/e-book-readers/sony-reader-digital-book/4505-3508_7-32672723.html)

Sony have a web page for it, of course, but it's infested with irritating flash so up to you if you want to take a look:

Reader eBook : Sony (http://www.sony.co.uk/hub/reader-ebook)

There are others, like the Amazon Kindle, Bookeen Cybook and Irex Iliad but I've never seen those in the flesh so can't comment on them.

I wanted a dedicated ebook reader since I first read about the e-ink screens in development a few years ago, but it seemed to take an age for devices to appear that were practical and sensibly priced (some of them are still very expensive in my view).

The main component of these devices is the e-ink screen, which is unlike the displays you have on your laptop, mobile phone, ipod etc. The e-ink technology is designed to mimic paper, so it is matt, "flat", and very easy on the eyes.

I normally avoid Sony products like the plague, having found them over priced and over hyped in the past, and almost always disappointing. However, at the time I made my choice the 505 seemed the pick of the bunch for my needs - I'm impressed with it and very happy to recommend it. A caveat would be that the price seems to have increased since I bought mine, and now looks a little expensive again. No doubt the weakness of Sterling has contributed to that.

It's similar in size to a paperback, but thinner, and so is very transportable. With a decent cover on you can confidently throw it in a bag, pocket or pannier in the same way you could a conventional book. The difference is that with the Reader you are effectively carrying ALL your books. The built in memory is good for perhaps 150 titles, and with a cheap 1 or 2gb SD card you could store, well... thousands.

I've heard that the menu system does slow down and become clumsy if you load that many titles, but I've not tried it so can't comment, it may or may not be true. I have a few hundred books in mine and it works great.

If you travel a lot, or work away from home, or just don't want to lug an armful of books on a holiday (bike tour!), then it's just the ticket. Of course, you don't have to be leaving the house to use one, mine is now my default choice for reading in bed, on the sofa etc. It's genuinely a pleasure to read from and use. It's quite a surprise really, a modern tech device that does, simply, what it's supposed to do, with no drama or complication.

Battery life is very practical, and I comfortably get a couple of weeks or more between charges. Sony claim 7500 page turns, or until the battery discharges itself over time.

I mentioned this in my previous post, but, in addition to being a really convenient package for an entire library of books, one of the things I most love about the Reader it is just how easy and fast sourcing books becomes. For example, when I browsed my way into this thread, the latest few posters were raving about The Road and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. About three minutes later I had both titles downloaded and on my Reader (The Road btw, wow, great book!).

Books need to be converted to a particular .lrf format for use on the Sony Reader, but excellent, free, open source software exists for this purpose (Calibre), which automates the task and uploads to the device. Calibre will competently handle just about any text or ebook format you'll encounter. I strongly suggest avoiding the Sony provided software. I've never tried it myself but the crap they forced me to use with one of their minidisc players several years ago was so hideous it chafes my nuts to this day even to think about it.

There is a vast and growing collection of legitimately free titles online, such as out of copyright classics and also ones that the author has simply released to free distribution. Of course you can also purchase ebook format copies of loads of contemporary titles from stores such as Amazon, and take immediate delivery by download or email.

One thing that does irritate me is the current pricing of ebooks, which frequently are no cheaper, and even sometimes more expensive, that their traditional printed counterparts. This seems crackers to me. There must be a significant saving in not having to physically print, distribute, store and then manually post a book to consumers, but that often doesn't seem to be reflected in the price. Still, that's their choice, isn't it.

Some may disapprove of my mentioning this but I think it's relevant to discussion of ebook innovation, so I will... ebooks are available online in essentially the same way that mp3 music is. If you can find a music CD for sale at Amazon or similar, you can generally find it quickly and simply for free download too, via google, bit torrent or usenet. The same is true for ebooks, whether an individual wishes to use that method is a choice for them, and I'll leave that there.

Understand that these devices aren't like handheld computers or smart phones. They don't do flashy menus with instant response, colourful graphics, mini applications and the like. They display a printed paper book-like image, and have a simple menu to navigate through your collection, make bookmarks etc.

I'll also point out that these devices aren't really suitable for reference titles, such as technical documents or manuals. Anything that has lots of diagrams or charts, or content that you need to search back and forth through for data or information will not work well on a hardware ebook reader (with the possible exception of the very new Kindle DX).

However, for plain old reading of novels or non fiction works this thing is the bee's knees. You can instantly grab almost anything that interests you, take your whole library anywhere you wish, and read very enjoyably on a device that's effortless to use.

There are lots of options now other than the brand and model I have, and this new one looks interesting:

Interead's COOL-ER claims to be the 'iPod moment' for e-readers  (http://www.engadget.com/2009/05/14/intereads-cool-er-claims-to-be-the-ipod-moment-for-e-readers/)

HTH (sorry for the length).

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Zoidburg on May 17, 2009, 06:36:20 pm
No Country For Old Men.

Which I suddenly realised I had read before about ten years ago.

Still good though.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: peliroja on May 17, 2009, 06:42:40 pm
First Among Sequels, Jasper Fforde.
The Appeal, John Grisham.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: nobby on May 17, 2009, 06:46:44 pm

HTH (sorry for the length).


Thank you, an excellent post.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mike J on May 17, 2009, 07:21:58 pm
Currently reading The Lords of the North by Bernard Cornwell
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on May 17, 2009, 07:59:09 pm
I am currently reading From the Holy Mountain: A Journey in the Shadow of Byzantium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/From_the_Holy_Mountain) by William Dalrymple in which he traces the demise of Christianity in the Near East since its peak during the 6th century until the problems in the 20th with things such as the Armenian, erm, genocide and the issues brought about due to the creation of Israel. It's very well written and extremely interesting, but it's also pretty dense and takes some effort to read it. It's not the best book to read in small goes, which is what I'm attempting to do at the moment.

That is a brilliant book - there are some books which stay with you for the rest of your life and this is one  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on May 17, 2009, 08:33:08 pm
The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History - Philip Bobbit

A book that looks at why wars are fought and more importantly why peace is made and why it sometimes fails. It has the best description of the way the USA and Russia used nuclear weapons as a deterrent in the Cold War and why the policy worked that I have ever read (and it's probably not the reason you think). Worth reading just for that bit alone. His central thesis is that epoch making wars occur when an new type of economic / social organisation occurs and cannot be resolved until society comes up with a new legal framework that encompasses the new reality. For example he counts the 20th century as one long war blowing hot and cold from 1914 until around 1990 where the rise of nation states that began to replace the old empires at the end of the 19th century lead to a fight over what would be the form of government that triumphed, parliamentary democracy, communism or fascism.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Kathy on May 17, 2009, 09:31:50 pm
Just wanted to say:

I read another recommended book on this thread, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".  Absolutely fantastic stuff.  Thanks.  I can't wait to read the second in the trilogy, "The Girl who Played with Fire" which the reviews say is even better.

Just wanted to say +1 in every way (finished reading Dragon Tattoo yesterday, and just after the library shut, so I'll have to wait a whole week to go and get the next in the series. :'(
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on May 18, 2009, 01:01:20 pm
Bought both …Dragon Tattoo and …Played With Fire for my sister-in-law for her birthday, based on "they looked good". I've been meaning to ask her how she got on with them, so thanks RJMcB for the positive endorsement - will have to get myself a copy.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Eccentrica Gallumbits on May 18, 2009, 01:02:32 pm
I've just re-read The Time Traveller's Wife and it made me cry again.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on May 18, 2009, 01:54:15 pm
First volume of Ian Kershaw's biography of Hitler.  And yes, Clarion, I know what happens at the end of part II ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Kathy on May 18, 2009, 02:02:03 pm
Just wanted to say:

I read another recommended book on this thread, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".  Absolutely fantastic stuff.  Thanks.  I can't wait to read the second in the trilogy, "The Girl who Played with Fire" which the reviews say is even better.

Just wanted to say +1 in every way (finished reading Dragon Tattoo yesterday, and just after the library shut, so I'll have to wait a whole week to go and get the next in the series. :'(

Dammit! All the copies have about seventeen reservations on them with Surrey Libraries! >:(

(Coincidentally, there was an interesting story on this in the Times yesterday: http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/47647,news,stieg-larsson-and-the-girl-who-inherited-nothing (http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/47647,news,stieg-larsson-and-the-girl-who-inherited-nothing))
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: ChrisO on May 18, 2009, 06:17:50 pm
I'm reading Christopher Brookmyre for the first time, having had him recommended by several people.

A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil.

I'm only a few chapters in and if anyone has read it can you tell me if Robbie turns out to be behind the murders - if he does then please let me know so I can stop reading now. Even if he isn't I'm not sure I want to go on because if he isn't then the set up will be nearly as obvious.

Can you tell I'm not convinced.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on May 18, 2009, 08:29:16 pm
I'm reading Christopher Brookmyre for the first time, having had him recommended by several people.

A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil.

I'm only a few chapters in and if anyone has read it can you tell me if Robbie turns out to be behind the murders - if he does then please let me know so I can stop reading now. Even if he isn't I'm not sure I want to go on because if he isn't then the set up will be nearly as obvious.

Can you tell I'm not convinced.



Stick with it.  Not Brookmyre's best IMHO, but still very funny.  The description of the headteacher Momo was great, we had a maths teacher just like him.  ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on May 18, 2009, 08:32:46 pm
Dammit! All the copies have about seventeen reservations on them with Surrey Libraries! >:(

Same with Falkirk libraries,  I had to hand it back within two weeks (library policy when there's a big waiting list - and I'm a very slow reader), so I bought by own copy from Amazon - it was only £3.89 with free postage - very cheap high quality entertainment I think.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: simonp on May 18, 2009, 09:13:14 pm
Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear, by Dan Gardner

Interesting reading so far.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: rogerzilla on May 18, 2009, 09:30:12 pm
I'm reading Christopher Brookmyre for the first time, having had him recommended by several people.

A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil.

I'm only a few chapters in and if anyone has read it can you tell me if Robbie turns out to be behind the murders - if he does then please let me know so I can stop reading now. Even if he isn't I'm not sure I want to go on because if he isn't then the set up will be nearly as obvious.

Can you tell I'm not convinced.



Brookmyre's books tend to be quite hard to get into, then they pick up suddenly around halfway in.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Quisling on May 18, 2009, 10:27:25 pm
The seeds of time - a collection of short stories by John Wyndham (of the Triffids fame).

Some of them are basic troubles with the Martians fayre, but most are jolly good - taking about as long to read as a good soak in the bath  ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mike on May 18, 2009, 10:34:21 pm
death of grass, by John Christopher (real name Samuel Youd, apparently). 

A brutal story of global apocolypse, murder, rape, civil breakdown, nukes and potatoes, written in 1956 and probably more striking because of it.

It'd been on the shelf for ages then the swine flu scare reminded me it was there and I couldnt put it down.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: toekneep on May 18, 2009, 10:37:31 pm
Ooh I really want to read that since hearing it serialised on radio 4. Let us know what you think.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on May 18, 2009, 10:44:57 pm
Yes, the Radio 4 version was good (but very violent & brutal, for Radio 4), but I thought that it felt very abridged.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on May 18, 2009, 11:23:01 pm
Thanks guys last time I tried to buy a copy it was out of print buy now it is a Penguin Classic. Yay !
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on May 19, 2009, 04:41:52 pm
The Death of Grass was one of my favourites as a kid... I need to read it again too.

I'm reading What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn at the moment - in terms of both theme (basically, the UK's surveillance society) and atmosphere, it has a lot in common with Andrea Arnold's film, Red Road.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on May 19, 2009, 06:50:05 pm
I'm currently reading The Cellist of Sarajevo (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cellist-Sarajevo-Steven-Galloway/dp/1843547414/ref=sr_1_1/278-9849952-6649124?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1242754827&sr=8-1), by Steven Galloway. I got the book for my birthday and didn't have any idea what it was about until I started reading, but it's brilliant. It follows the story of three people during the siege of the city in the '90s, giving their thoughts about surviving and the affects it has had on their lives. Due to the very minimal amount of dialog used throughout the text, the style remains me of Ian McEwan.

On a different matter, I hadn't heard of Samuel Youd until reading this thread and I'll now have to hunt down a copy of The Death of Grass, so thanks for that recommendation :thumbsup:.


I am currently reading From the Holy Mountain: A Journey in the Shadow of Byzantium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/From_the_Holy_Mountain) by William Dalrymple ...
That is a brilliant book - there are some books which stay with you for the rest of your life and this is one  :thumbsup:
Yip, I imagine I'll remember that book for a long time. The only other book by Dalrymple that I've read is In Xanadu, which I also thought was fantastic but more in the travel literature sense, whereas From the Holy Mountain was far more thought provoking. I'm now looking forward to reading some of his other works.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on May 20, 2009, 11:48:48 am
Put Hitler on hold last night while I ripped through Bloodthirsty by Marshall Karp - 'tis the sequel to The Rabbit Factory and jolly good it is too.  As I didn't start reading it until shortly after midnight, I am currently having to use matchsticks to keep my eyes open.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on May 21, 2009, 09:31:57 am
Electricity by Victoria Glendinning.

It's been on my must-read pile for something like ten years, and I've finally got round to picking it up... and I'm completely and utterly hooked. Only about a third of the way through so far, but if the rest of it is only half as good as what I've read so far, that's still pretty damn brilliant. I was expecting something more along the Peter Ackroyd lines, but this is much "warmer" than his stuff, and unlike Ackroyd where the historical setting is the driving force behind the novel, here it seems to be used mainly to provide a metaphor for the emotional development of its heorine. It's also a lot funnier than I was expecting. Not to mention erotic, albeit in a very cerebral way.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: onb on May 21, 2009, 04:15:43 pm
White Tiger .
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: PaulF on May 21, 2009, 06:16:48 pm
I'm currently reading The Cellist of Sarajevo (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cellist-Sarajevo-Steven-Galloway/dp/1843547414/ref=sr_1_1/278-9849952-6649124?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1242754827&sr=8-1), by Steven Galloway. I got the book for my birthday and didn't have any idea what it was about until I started reading, but it's brilliant. It follows the story of three people during the siege of the city in the '90s, giving their thoughts about surviving and the affects it has had on their lives. Due to the very minimal amount of dialog used throughout the text, the style remains me of Ian McEwan.



I've just started that too!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on May 22, 2009, 03:09:29 am
Down and Out in Paris and London, by George Orwell. This thread inspired me to read more Orwell.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on May 22, 2009, 10:38:19 am
Down and Out in Paris and London, by George Orwell. This thread inspired me to read more Orwell.

One of my favourites... I was just up in Jura last week, at a little seminar to remember and think about Nineteen Eighty-Four. He write it up there whilst dying of TB.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on May 22, 2009, 11:01:50 am
Coincidentally, D&OIP&L is next-but-one on my must-read pile. Should I be looking forward to it?

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on May 22, 2009, 11:30:56 am
Coincidentally, D&OIP&L is next-but-one on my must-read pile. Should I be looking forward to it?

I think so, yes. I recommend that you read Hemingway's A Moveable Feast immediately afterwards too.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on May 23, 2009, 01:56:39 am
Coincidentally, D&OIP&L is next-but-one on my must-read pile. Should I be looking forward to it?

d.


Having just finished it, I would say yes.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on May 23, 2009, 11:45:42 am
Amazon have just delivered my copy of Death of Grass. It will be my reading material for my trip to Luxembourg next week.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on May 24, 2009, 05:50:47 pm
"No Picnic on Mt. Kenya", the story of a group of Italian POW's who escape from a British POW camp during WWII, make a serious attempt on Mt. Kenya using home made equipment from materials scavenged from around the POW camp, and then return to the prison camp. Apparently they made it to the lower of the two summits at 16,300 ft.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Zoidburg on May 24, 2009, 06:24:01 pm
"No Picnic on Mt. Kenya", the story of a group of Italian POW's who escape from a British POW camp during WWII, make a serious attempt on Mt. Kenya using home made equipment from materials scavenged from around the POW camp, and then return to the prison camp. Apparently they made it to the lower of the two summits at 16,300 ft.
Were they Alpini?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on May 24, 2009, 07:27:15 pm
Were they Alpini?

No, just a handful of ordinary prisoners who got fed up with prison camp life and put the whole thing together as a way to stay busy until the war ended. A former Alpini acted as an advisor during the planning stages, but he was disabled by leg injuries and unable to take part in the escape and climb.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mr endon on May 24, 2009, 07:30:41 pm
The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience
by Francisco J Varela (Author), Evan Thompson (Author)
Yes, I'm deep.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mr endon on May 24, 2009, 07:32:59 pm
Oh, and
 Lucid Dreaming: The Paradox of Consciousness During Sleep by Celia and McCreery Green (Author)
Deeper still.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mr endon on May 24, 2009, 07:34:45 pm
I forgot to mention
Lights Out for the Territory: 9 Excursions in the Secret History of London
by Iain Sinclair.
Bit of light relief.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on May 25, 2009, 10:54:52 am
That is far from Ian Sinclair's best though IMHO. I reckon he's been going steadily downhill since Downriver and perhaps even since he stopped writing poetry...

I liked Varela's earlier work with Maturana... incidentally, I've just finished an interesting first contact sf novel by Peter Watts called Blindsight which is heavily based in contemporary evolutionary neurobiology. I found Roger Penrose hard enough, but he recommends a German philosopher called Thomas Metzinger's Being No-One as the toughest (but most important) thing he's ever read... that sounds like a challenge, but luckily Metzinger has just written a version for the lay reader (i.e. me!) called The EGO Tunnel, which I now have on order.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on May 28, 2009, 02:22:49 am
Boy Racer by Mark Cavendish

I'm not normally one for autobiographies, especially not of 23-year-olds who are so clearly still in the early stages of both their life and their career, but a review copy was sent to the office so I picked it up to start reading on the train home tonight.

It has a slightly quirky structure - each chapter seems to be based loosely around a stage in last year's Tour de France, but the description of each stage is really just a starting point for a digression into anecdotes about his childhood. The hand of the ghost writer is all too visible.

Most of the personal reminiscences are pretty boring (he's not a likeable fellow and really hasn't done anything of interest outside cycling) but the racing itself is mostly well described and even pretty gripping in places - especially since it's all so recent and some of the action is still very fresh in my mind.

I'm not going to recommend you all rush out and buy it, but it's quite passable as a light read if you're interested in the tedious detail of the life of a professional cyclist.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Greenbank on May 29, 2009, 04:13:01 pm
Mark Beaumont : The Man Who Cycled The World

Mark Beaumont Book (http://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=19486.0)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: ChrisO on May 30, 2009, 08:34:06 pm
Finished A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil. Not impressed. Some funny scenes but...

Now reading Berlin Noir by Philip Kerr.

Only two short chapters in but liking it so far. Surprising because it was recommended by Mrs ChrisO and our literary tastes rarely converge from about the 1920s onwards.

Very Raymond Chandleresque but not so obvious as to be simply a copy.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Hummers on May 30, 2009, 09:24:09 pm
Just finished Darker Domain by Val McDermid. Had me gripped up to the last page even though I suspected how it might end.

Also just read Revelation by C. J. Samson and although I thought it got a bit tatty at the end, his portrayal of England in the 1500s was interesting and thought provoking.

H
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on June 07, 2009, 06:47:22 pm
"The Rape of Nanking", by Iris Chang. Very grim reading, and the depiction of Japanese society in the early 20th century is really unsettling.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Moloko on June 07, 2009, 06:52:14 pm
Oh, and
 Lucid Dreaming: The Paradox of Consciousness During Sleep by Celia and McCreery Green (Author)
Deeper still.

Lucid dreaming is great, the actual dreaming that is. I can't do it really much anymore because of the medication I'm taking.
But it's great having a certain control over your dreams, especially when it comes to flying and elevating.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Zoidburg on June 07, 2009, 06:52:51 pm
"Rant" by Chuck Palahniuk.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on June 07, 2009, 07:30:45 pm
Schismatrix Plus by Bruce Sterling. Great stuff. It is remarkable how well the future society he depicts has held up (despite the fact that they all use tape! he wasn't always such a good 'futurist' as he claims to be now). What is interesting is how un-cyberpunk it all is and how traditional. Despite him being the chronicler of the sub-genre, it seems clear now that he didn't really start writing cyberpunk stuff until some time after people like Gibson and Shirley had set the course ahead... and to me Gibson's world of people living in the margins of an info-saturated characterised by species extinction, urban terrorism, failing tech and overcrowded arcologies still seems far more imminent.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Zoidburg on June 07, 2009, 07:46:23 pm
Ballard.

He was the pioneer of near future distopia, before "cyberpunk" was even used as a name for it.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on June 07, 2009, 08:11:42 pm
Ballard.

He was the pioneer of near future distopia, before "cyberpunk" was even used as a name for it.

Ballard didn't really think of himself of a dystopian, nor was he 'cyberpunk' - inner space was his famous term for what he was interested in - the alienated psychology of modern society. He wasn't really that bothered about technological sociopolitics - the key characteristic of cyberpunk... He was, however, one of my favourite writers by some distance.

If you want some cyberpunk precursors, John Brunner is far more in a direct line. Vernor Vinge also famously came up with something like the Internet before Gibson.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on June 08, 2009, 10:14:03 am
The Discovery of France - Graham Robb

A really interesting if dense book. Did you know for instance that in the middle of the 19th century only 50% of the French population had French as a first language ? Graham Robb has spent years cycling round France and is also a scholar of French subjects. The book doesn't really talk about his cycling but is a fascination account of how the modern state of France became what it is today. It's filled with details about the way of life in France in the past and reveals how many of our and the French's pre conceptions about their past and traditions are quite wrong. Recommended.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: rogerzilla on June 13, 2009, 04:39:44 pm
The Damned United.  No, I haven't seen the film, nor am I into football, but Cloughie was an interesting character. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on June 13, 2009, 04:41:04 pm
The Damned United.  No, I haven't seen the film, nor am I into football, but Cloughie was an interesting character. 

and David Peace is a very good writer indeed. He's living in Japan now, and Tokyo Year Zero, the first book he's written there, is excellent.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Zoidburg on June 13, 2009, 05:07:41 pm
"How To Be Good" by Nick Hornby

Which may end up being in the bin if it does not improve in the next ten pages.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on June 14, 2009, 03:30:22 pm
"Being Good" by Nick Hornby

Which may end up being in the bin if it does not improve in the next ten pages.

If you've got past the words "Nick Hornby" on the cover, you've got further than I'd ever have got before it ended up in the bin.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Greenbank on June 14, 2009, 05:28:18 pm
"Being Good" by Nick Hornby

Which may end up being in the bin if it does not improve in the next ten pages.

I was left wondering if I'd missed out on buying Volume II containing the plot and story.

Finished it though, eventually. Can't remember anything about it, which isn't a good sign at all.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on June 14, 2009, 05:28:43 pm
Re-reading 'The Dispossessed' by Ursula Le Guin  :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Zoidburg on June 14, 2009, 05:35:12 pm
"Being Good" by Nick Hornby

Which may end up being in the bin if it does not improve in the next ten pages.

I was left wondering if I'd missed out on buying Volume II containing the plot and story.

Finished it though, eventually. Can't remember anything about it, which isn't a good sign at all.
Bin it is.

It was that "meh" that I couldnt even remember the tittle properly.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on June 15, 2009, 12:17:17 pm
"Being Good" by Nick Hornby

Which may end up being in the bin if it does not improve in the next ten pages.

I was left wondering if I'd missed out on buying Volume II containing the plot and story.

Finished it though, eventually. Can't remember anything about it, which isn't a good sign at all.

I finished it but I cannot believe that it was particularly brilliant. In fact I can't say that I could sign up to the Nick Hornby fan club.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on June 15, 2009, 12:19:04 pm
Current reading 'Great Tales from English History' by Robert Lacey. Not bad so far, but it is a dipping into kind of book.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Bledlow on June 15, 2009, 12:23:06 pm
Since last posting, my reading includes -
Matter - Iain Banks
The Polish Officer - Alan Furst
The Blue-eyed Salaryman - Niall Murtagh
The Uncommon Reader - Alan Bennet

And currently -
The Silk Road - Sven Hedin
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on June 15, 2009, 12:31:41 pm
Does anyone here use Librarything (http://www.librarything.com)? I signed up to it last week (my profile (http://www.librarything.com/profile/widdersbel)) - the main thing that appealed to me about it is that it can point you to people with similar reading tastes as you, so you can get inspiration for what to read next. That's the idea, anyway - its recommendation algorithms seem a little rudimentary. Maybe I just need to add more books to my list to get the best out of it.

d.
 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wowbagger on June 15, 2009, 12:35:01 pm
I'm part-way through some large tome about Eddie Merckx. It's not making me cycle any faster.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Frenchie on June 15, 2009, 03:10:29 pm
The integral of the Borg Mystery, part of the Guy Lefranc adventures (Comics).
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Zoidburg on June 16, 2009, 05:24:08 pm
I'm part-way through some large tome about Eddie Merckx. It's not making me cycle any faster.
Take it out of the pannier bag, less weight :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Sergeant Pluck on June 16, 2009, 09:40:42 pm
Stephen Fry "In America" - thoroughly entertaining  :) I consider my vocabulary to be reasonably good but he has had me stumped on several occasions now, and I'm only in Delaware...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Zoidburg on June 19, 2009, 03:36:47 pm
The Watchmen

It didnt grab me at first as I have never been a fan of the illustrator, I found his work a bit "meh" back when I was younger and read 2000AD

Stick with it though and you soon forget that its not as good as some other graphic novels in the art department and you get carried away by the narrative.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on June 19, 2009, 05:08:54 pm
The Watchmen

It didnt grab me at first as I have never been a fan of the illustrator, I found his work a bit "meh" back when I was younger and read 2000AD

Stick with it though and you soon forget that its not as good as some other graphic novels in the art department and you get carried away by the narrative.

It's not only me then... I almost can't stand Gibbons' work, but Moore's writing carries it...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on June 19, 2009, 05:10:49 pm
Re-reading 'The Dispossessed' by Ursula Le Guin  :)

What a great book, in fact what a great writer. I love almost everything she has ever written whether it be fantasy, SF or more mainstream writing...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mattc on June 19, 2009, 06:22:09 pm
"Being Good" by Nick Hornby

Which may end up being in the bin if it does not improve in the next ten pages.

I was left wondering if I'd missed out on buying Volume II containing the plot and story.

Finished it though, eventually. Can't remember anything about it, which isn't a good sign at all.

I THINK I've read Being Good, but like you, I can barely remember it! (The one about the failed suicidists is similar)

Whearas I adored Fever Pitch and High Fidelity (the latter made a good film - can't go wrong with that Cusack fella).

Can't help liking Hornby despite his patchy writing.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Bledlow on June 20, 2009, 12:33:13 am
Re-reading 'The Dispossessed' by Ursula Le Guin  :)

What a great book, in fact what a great writer. I love almost everything she has ever written whether it be fantasy, SF or more mainstream writing...
+1. One of my favourites. The Left Hand of Darkness is another one.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on June 20, 2009, 09:26:27 pm
Re-reading 'The Dispossessed' by Ursula Le Guin  :)

What a great book, in fact what a great writer. I love almost everything she has ever written whether it be fantasy, SF or more mainstream writing...
+1. One of my favourites. The Left Hand of Darkness is another one.

+2. A wonderful writer, although I don't recall enjoying the Earthsea books when I read them at school. They were much better the second time round.

I  failed to finish Samuel Delany's "Triton" at age 14/15, although some of the characters and imagery have stuck with me.  I'm now plunging into "Dhalgren", I've a feeling I may be some time....
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Bledlow on June 21, 2009, 11:39:10 pm
Just finished Wrong About Japan, by Peter Carey.
Just started Passages from Arabia Deserta by Charles Doughty.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on June 22, 2009, 07:04:49 am
I'm now plunging into "Dhalgren", I've a feeling I may be some time....

Good luck! During that period, Delaney was trying to be the James Joyce of SF... it's baffling and hard work, but worthwhile, I reckon.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Frenchie on June 22, 2009, 08:39:53 am
Tintin au Pays des Soviets, a re-edition bought in Belgium last week. Interesting on several grounds: (1) for the very simple and biased view of the revolution in Russia and (2) for the naivity of the storyline, characters and B&W drawings (What an evolution in the rest of the work, in particular past Tintin au Congo!).
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on June 22, 2009, 04:29:05 pm
I'm reading David Crystal's The Stories of English right now. It is actually a good read as well as being interesting and well-researched.

I just finsihed China Mieville's new one, The City and The City, which is much more like a combination of noir detective story and Jan Morris's Hav tales than his previous urban fantasies. It is very well written and plays with some similar ideas about consensus and reality, but I was left a little bit disappointed.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on June 22, 2009, 05:05:47 pm
Quote
I just finsihed China Mieville's new one, The City and The City

Does this mean you rate his other work? I've often thought to try but not got round to it yet  :-\
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on June 22, 2009, 05:38:26 pm
I'm reading David Crystal's The Stories of English right now. It is actually a good read as well as being interesting and well-researched.

I just finsihed China Mieville's new one, The City and The City, which is much more like a combination of noir detective story and Jan Morris's Hav tales than his previous urban fantasies. It is very well written and plays with some similar ideas about consensus and reality, but I was left a little bit disappointed.

I didn't know that had been released. Just ordered it from Amazon. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on June 22, 2009, 09:55:39 pm
Quote
I just finsihed China Mieville's new one, The City and The City

Does this mean you rate his other work? I've often thought to try but not got round to it yet  :-\

Perdido Street Station and The Scar are dark, brilliant urban fantasy and absolutely all over the place to the point and packed with invention where he just seems to give up and run out of steam rather than end them in any recognisable way. But very much worth reading, yes. Iron Council is well, a political analogy looking for a novel and it gets a bit wearying.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on June 25, 2009, 08:21:15 pm
"Endurance", by Alfred Lansing, about Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic adventure. I read it quite some time ago and decided to go through it again.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on June 26, 2009, 12:15:44 am
Whearas I adored Fever Pitch and High Fidelity (the latter made a good film - can't go wrong with that Cusack fella).

OTOH, TWFKAML says that "High Fidelity" is the only fillum in the history of all things evah, that she's left before the end (though The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover apparently came close).  Nowt to do with John Cusack, coz Grosse Point Blank is bexelant.

Still grinding through Hitler: 1936 - 1945 - Nemesis (and yes, Clarion, you don't need to give the ending away), while also toying with Dylan On Dylan and re-reading Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One for the first time in longer than I'd care to admit.  Yes, of course I robbed it from skool - that's why it's got 35 year old illegible notes pencilled in the margins.  Simon Hobday and/or Alan Coates: you are vandal, as Brandon Flowers - titanic prick though he be - might have said.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Regulator on June 30, 2009, 08:58:07 am
I've just finished CJ Sansom's 'Dissolution'.  Unfortunately, I picked up 'Sovereign' first, then 'Dark Fire' and finally found a copy o 'Dissolution' meaning that I have read the books in reverse order... :-[ - but they were still good.

I've got the fourth in the series waiting downstairs for me - but I have to do some work before settling down with it.

I can recommend this series if you like historically based murder mysteries.  These books are Tudor versions of  Cadfael's...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on July 04, 2009, 07:42:36 am
Just finished Peter Ackroyd's The House of Doctor Dee. He did seem to churn these past/present London occult figure collision novels out for a while (see also Hawksmoor, Chatterton etc.), and this one sometimes just seems like he's writing and rewriting a London historical A to Z. There are some patches are rather wonderful ecstatic writing, but it isn't a successful novel IMHO. I like mine a bit more daring than this, and my favourites in this genre, if you can call it a genre, are Tim Power's The Anubis Gates and Simon Ing's unjustifiably ignored Weight of Numbers (which is a bit like Neil Stephenson's Cryptonomicon but more disturbing and much better written).
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Eccentrica Gallumbits on July 04, 2009, 04:43:42 pm
I am almost ashamed to admit that I have just finished Flowers in the Attic and Petals on the Wind by Virginia Andrews and am just starting If There Be Thorns. I never read them when I was younger so I'm doing it now. Gosh, they're melodramatic faux-Gothic nonsense!  ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Manotea on July 04, 2009, 04:47:04 pm
Whearas I adored Fever Pitch and High Fidelity (the latter made a good film - can't go wrong with that Cusack fella).

I loved the first page of Fever Pitch. I have moments like that about cycling...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jezza on July 04, 2009, 05:20:32 pm
Snow Falling on Cedars - David Guterson.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: spesh on July 04, 2009, 09:04:49 pm
Just started getting into Philip K. Dick's works - I recently read Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, and I've just started on The Man In The High Castle.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Zoidburg on July 04, 2009, 09:08:26 pm
The first is outstanding

The second is the best book about the real nature of evil that you will ever read.

It should be required reading for all politicians.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on July 06, 2009, 01:15:16 am
Abso-damn-lutely.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on July 06, 2009, 12:20:58 pm
'The Last King of Scotland' by Giles Foden
Have barely put it down  :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on July 07, 2009, 11:01:41 pm
I recently read The Road by Cormac McCarthy, and found it to be a magnificent book.  It was like sitting in a grand cathedral or place of beauty and allowing one's senses to be filled with the feast upon display.  I didn't find the ending especially uplifting, but I adored the details of life after.

Currently reading Moby Dick.  I should have read it 20 years ago, but my uncle borrowed it and has yet to return it.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on July 11, 2009, 09:25:06 pm
Just finished "the Good Soldier Svejk" by Jaroslav Hasek.  A comedy about a simpleton soldier in the Austro-Hungarian army during the Great War.  I'm ashamed to say that I hadn't heard of this classic until the Radio 4 dramatisation last year.  A precursor in many ways to Catch 22,  Hasek died (long) before he could finish the story - Svejk doesn't even get as far as the front after 800 pages!  Some truly memorable episodes and characters.  Highly recommended to lovers of "silly" stories.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: RJ on July 11, 2009, 10:52:03 pm
Finished (a week ago) St Exupery's Flight to Arras, which was a pretty interesting read (reflections on a pointless 1940 reconnaissance flight that he and his crew were not expected to survive) and have now picked up Jonathan Weiner's The Beak of the Finch to reread after a gap of several years. It's a popular-science account of the work of Peter & Rosemary Grant on Darwin's finches - and halfway through is as interesting and well-written as I remember it.

EDIT:  It should be  - it won a Pulitzer. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: PaulF on July 12, 2009, 12:30:09 pm
I recently read The Road by Cormac McCarthy, and found it to be a magnificent book.  It was like sitting in a grand cathedral or place of beauty and allowing one's senses to be filled with the feast upon display.  I didn't find the ending especially uplifting, but I adored the details of life after.

Currently reading Moby Dick.  I should have read it 20 years ago, but my uncle borrowed it and has yet to return it.

Spooky!Just fininshing McCarthy's Blood Meridian and, inspired by watching the whales at Cape Cod,  about to move onto Melville as well.

Blood Meridian is gory and almost as bleak as The Road.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on July 12, 2009, 07:11:02 pm
I'll have to read more by McCarthy.  I think there's a copy of All the Pretty Horses somewhere in the house.

Moby Dick is engrossing, so far.  A very dense read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mrcharly-YHT on July 13, 2009, 01:51:03 pm
Just started getting into Philip K. Dick's works - I recently read Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, and I've just started on The Man In The High Castle.

Don't miss 'Now wait for last year'. Much underrated.

I'm reading Moorock's "Dancers at the End of Time".

Can't believe I've overlooked this for so many years. If you've read Moorock's 'emo elf swordsman' books, forget them. This is totally different, absolutely barking and fantastic.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tim Hall on July 15, 2009, 12:01:05 am
Just finished Christopher Brookmyre's "A Snowball in Hell".

Tick, v.g.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mike r on July 15, 2009, 12:59:22 am
I'm in the middle of 'A Passage to India' by E. M. Forster.
It is quite good.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on July 15, 2009, 02:17:42 am
I'm reading Moorock's "Dancers at the End of Time".

Can't believe I've overlooked this for so many years. If you've read Moorock's 'emo elf swordsman' books, forget them. This is totally different, absolutely barking and fantastic.

Moorcock can and has churned out vast numbers of books without much regard for whether they are any good or not. Luckily some of them are, and the Dancers books are some of them.

Read 'Mother London' if you want to see what he can do when he makes a real effort. It is a better London book than either Sinclair or Ackroyd have ever done.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Snakehips on July 15, 2009, 09:29:57 am
My copy of  Bloody Victory by William Philpott   http://www.littlebrown.co.uk/Title/9781408701089 (http://www.littlebrown.co.uk/Title/9781408701089) hit the doormat with a thud yesterday. It has good reviews , has anybody read it yet ?

(http://www.yudu.com/item_files/28169/52eadfed3/regards.jpg)(http://www.yudu.com/item_files/28170/346c719a5/from.jpg)(http://www.yudu.com/item_files/28171/5eb32df38/snakehips.jpg)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wascally Weasel on July 15, 2009, 01:42:43 pm
Preview copy of ‘Pandaemonium’ the new book by Christopher Brookmyre.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on July 15, 2009, 06:20:34 pm
I'm reading David Crystal's The Stories of English right now. It is actually a good read as well as being interesting and well-researched.

Following your recommendation, I have ordered a copy to take on holiday with me. Looking forward to it.

I'm also going to take Lempriere's Dictionary (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lemprieres-Dictionary-Lawrence-Norfolk/dp/0749398191) - I had a stab at it a few years ago but didn't really have a chance to get stuck into it, but I'm determined to do some proper reading on this holiday now that the offspring is old enough to mostly look after himself. Will probably take something a bit lighter too as back-up - I've not read any of his stuff before, but based on the comments here, Christopher Brookmyre sounds like an interesting possibility.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Manotea on July 15, 2009, 06:53:31 pm
Just started getting into Philip K. Dick's works - I recently read Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, and I've just started on The Man In The High Castle.
See also 'The  Galactic Pothealer'.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: woollypigs on July 15, 2009, 10:02:34 pm
Joseph Heller's Catch-22 which I find hard to read because I have been told that it was a serious book about war an death and somewhat a bit like 1984.

But it is so funny.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jezza on July 15, 2009, 11:02:30 pm
Stieg Larsson's "The Girl Who Played With Fire".
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Greenbank on July 15, 2009, 11:23:26 pm
Joseph Heller's Catch-22 which I find hard to read because I have been told that it was a serious book about war an death and somewhat a bit like 1984.

But it is so funny.

I've got Closing Time by Joseph Heller that is kind of a sequel that I've never managed to finish if you want to borrow it.

The Samurai by Shusaku Endo is the next in my pile.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Spinners on July 16, 2009, 07:35:05 pm
The damned united - first few chapters have been very absorbing.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: alan on July 16, 2009, 09:13:04 pm
HMS Rodney at War.
My stepfather's father was Chief Buffer on board for 8 years including WWII
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on July 17, 2009, 12:47:16 am
I just finished reading Blackwater by Jeremy Scahill. It's an investigation into America's fastest growing mercenary company. It's all very worthy and there are a lot of eye-opening things, but it is rather badly written and very repetitive, as if he was trying to stretch out four or five long magazine articles (which i think he was...)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Really Ancien on July 17, 2009, 01:02:25 am
I just finished reading Blackwater by Jeremy Scahill. It's an investigation into America's fastest growing mercenary company. It's all very worthy and there are a lot of eye-opening things, but it is rather badly written and very repetitive, as if he was trying to stretch out four or five long magazine articles (which i think he was...)

Maybe he'e got a baby on the way, and his publisher's cutting him some slack.

Damon.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Zoidburg on July 18, 2009, 10:57:10 pm
I just finished reading Blackwater by Jeremy Scahill. It's an investigation into America's fastest growing mercenary company. It's all very worthy and there are a lot of eye-opening things, but it is rather badly written and very repetitive, as if he was trying to stretch out four or five long magazine articles (which i think he was...)
The US government used those numpties to restore order in New Orleans

That's right, they set trigger happy mercs on their own citizens.

 >:(
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on July 19, 2009, 12:33:58 am
I just finished reading Blackwater by Jeremy Scahill. It's an investigation into America's fastest growing mercenary company. It's all very worthy and there are a lot of eye-opening things, but it is rather badly written and very repetitive, as if he was trying to stretch out four or five long magazine articles (which i think he was...)

Maybe he'e got a baby on the way, and his publisher's cutting him some slack.

Seeing as this is currently my situation, I can see how that would affect the time you might need to write it, but not the product - and it is more likely to be the postnatal situation that would affect you more.

It's probably the publisher's fault as much as the author's - no-one seems to employ proper editors these days. Editors used to be crucial. There was a great article in the NYT Magazine a few years back about Raymond Carver and his editor - it turns out that without the latter, Carver would not have the reputation for sparse, economic writing that he does. A lot of this was down to the way the editor cut his stories.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on July 20, 2009, 12:23:26 pm
Skin Tight ~ Carl Hiaasen, having polished off Tourist Season yesterday.  If you like Hiaasen, try Marshall Karp.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Kathy on July 20, 2009, 02:06:07 pm
Stieg Larsson's "The Girl Who Played With Fire".

Yup, me too. :)

The one niggling thing is that the blurb on the back of the book contains some significant spoilers about stuff that doesn't happen until half-way through, which means that you read the first half of the book thinking

(click to show/hide)

...which is a shame, as it ruined a couple of bits that the writer had intended to shock the reader.  :-\
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on July 20, 2009, 03:17:35 pm
Stieg Larsson's "The Girl Who Played With Fire".

Yup, me too. :)

The other niggling thing is that the film version of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" has been released just about everywhere except the UK and Captain Cook's Mistake.  TWFKAML is righteously cross about this...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Kathy on July 20, 2009, 03:20:23 pm
Stieg Larsson's "The Girl Who Played With Fire".

Yup, me too. :)

The other niggling thing is that the film version of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" has been released just about everywhere except the UK and Captain Cook's Mistake.  TWFKAML is righteously cross about this...

Isn't that because it's a swedish film, and the lucky old ENGLISH-speaking world is going to get a Hollywood remake so we don't have to stress our poor little branes reading all those tricky subtitles?

 ::-)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on July 20, 2009, 03:31:56 pm
Stieg Larsson's "The Girl Who Played With Fire".

Yup, me too. :)

The other niggling thing is that the film version of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" has been released just about everywhere except the UK and Captain Cook's Mistake.  TWFKAML is righteously cross about this...

Isn't that because it's a swedish film, and the lucky old ENGLISH-speaking world is going to get a Hollywood remake so we don't have to stress our poor little branes reading all those tricky subtitles?

 ::-)

Indeedy.  TWFKAML is equally cross about the non-availability of DVDs of the Swedish TV production of "Wallander".  If anyone knows from whence it can be obtained in the original Swedish and with English sub-titles...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jezza on July 21, 2009, 12:21:17 am
Stieg Larsson's "The Girl Who Played With Fire".

Yup, me too. :)

The other niggling thing is that the film version of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" has been released just about everywhere except the UK and Captain Cook's Mistake.  TWFKAML is righteously cross about this...

Isn't that because it's a swedish film, and the lucky old ENGLISH-speaking world is going to get a Hollywood remake so we don't have to stress our poor little branes reading all those tricky subtitles?

 ::-)

Indeedy.  TWFKAML is equally cross about the non-availability of DVDs of the Swedish TV production of "Wallander".  If anyone knows from whence it can be obtained in the original Swedish and with English sub-titles...

Don't know about DVDs but they're showing the Swedish Wallander series at the moment on BBC4. Mondays at 9.00pm. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on July 21, 2009, 09:13:25 am
I've picked up Terry Southern's 'The Magic Christian' off a bookshelf at work.  It's a bit annoying, but a slim volume, so I'll probably stick with it.

I believe the film was quite a cult, but I'd not heard of it before I saw the book.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on July 21, 2009, 09:51:19 am
I have finally got a copy of one of my absolute favourite books in the entire world, Kyoichi Tsuzuki's Universe for Rent, which is just a huge collection of annotated photographs of a whole variety of assorted people's tiny appartments in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. Just fab.

I am also starting Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union, which I had somehow missed out on when it first came out...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Kathy on July 21, 2009, 10:16:18 am
Stieg Larsson's "The Girl Who Played With Fire".

Yup, me too. :)


Finished reading it. It was good, but

(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jezza on July 21, 2009, 10:35:01 am
HA, thought you'd catch me out again, eh? Well this time I'm not going to click your silly old spoiler. I shall be strong. :D

One thing that's annoying me just a little. In the classic cheesy old spy thrillers there was tons of product placement, but it didn't take itself too seriously: "Bond flicked the Saab 900 Turbo into third and felt the full 18psi of the Garret Airesearch type IV turbocharger kick his Gieves & Hawkes-upholstered behind." But it gets a bit much when Salander goes and buys a 'Tromsoe' duvet cover, four 'Kiruna' lampshades and a 'Namsos' tablecloth, and some 'Goteborg' cutlery to put on it. I feel like I should have been issued with a complementary Ikea catalogue for reference purposes.  

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on July 21, 2009, 10:37:51 am
Was that product placement or just overuse of signifiers?  I don't know if Fleming got supplies of Aston Martins or Louis Vuitton luggage (nor Toot-sweets, for that matter ;D)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jezza on July 21, 2009, 10:46:28 am
I suspect you're right - I doubt Larsson was getting any Ikea kickbacks either. But rather than Saussure's conventional Signifier I think they function more as Peirce's immediate Interpretants: the Representamen as an act of signification.

Either way, they're overdone.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on July 21, 2009, 10:56:27 am
... But rather than Saussure's conventional Signifier I think they function more as Peirce's immediate Interpretants: the Representamen as an act of signification. ...

Game, Set & Match to Jezza!* ;D







* noted Bond, wiping the sweat from the handle of his Slazenger racquet, and checking the time on his Oris watch, before changing into a Saville Row suit with a Jermyn Street shirt and tie, the outfit complemented perfectly by a pair of flipflops from Primark...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on July 21, 2009, 12:27:46 pm
Just finished 'Labyrinth' by Kate Mosse  - I have more time for her writing than Dan 'I am going to lecture at you throughout the entire book' Brown.

The problem I had with Mosse's writing is that there can be too much information and the french/occitan translation to words and phrases that it feels awfully burdened. Good tale though.

Next : Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on July 22, 2009, 10:41:44 am
I've picked up Terry Southern's 'The Magic Christian' off a bookshelf at work.  It's a bit annoying, but a slim volume, so I'll probably stick with it.

I believe the film was quite a cult, but I'd not heard of it before I saw the book.

OK.  I've finished it, and looked into it a bit.

POTENTIAL SPOILERS BELOW

Terry Southern was the writer of Dr Strangelove, Barbarella and various other films.  He seems to have majored on outrage.

The novel is a series of short chapters, each of which starts with a narrative of a (single) afternoon tea with the main character's maiden aunts, jumping to a tale of a situationist-style prank set up by the extraordinarily rich protagonist. 

The film seems (from the list of characters) to insert additional events, and invents a character for Ringo Starr to play.  Peter Sellers is the star, and various Pythons and British comic actors appear in minor roles.

Not sure what to make of it, really.  Is it a satire on wealth, on greed, on religion?  Or just a game of the imagination? 

Anyone who has read/seen it I'd be interested in your views.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Zoidburg on July 22, 2009, 05:46:44 pm
Just finished 'Labyrinth' by Kate Mosse  - I have more time for her writing than Dan 'I am going to lecture at you throughout the entire book' Brown.

The problem I had with Mosse's writing is that there can be too much information and the french/occitan translation to words and phrases that it feels awfully burdened. Good tale though.

Next : Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.  :thumbsup:
Dan Brown is pot boiling keyboard monkey impersonating a best selling author.

By Christ he writes airport novel trash, mostly about Christ.

Someone lent me the Da Vinci Code - 3 hours of my life I will never get back - I returned it and said "that was just a bit of trash with some art history and religion thrown in to make it seem worthy". She who lent it said "I know".

Then why tell me to read it!

Women...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on July 23, 2009, 02:06:05 pm
Just finished 'Labyrinth' by Kate Mosse  - I have more time for her writing than Dan 'I am going to lecture at you throughout the entire book' Brown.

The problem I had with Mosse's writing is that there can be too much information and the french/occitan translation to words and phrases that it feels awfully burdened. Good tale though.

Next : Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.  :thumbsup:
Dan Brown is pot boiling keyboard monkey impersonating a best selling author.

By Christ he writes airport novel trash, mostly about Christ.

Someone lent me the Da Vinci Code - 3 hours of my life I will never get back - I returned it and said "that was just a bit of trash with some art history and religion thrown in to make it seem worthy". She who lent it said "I know".

Then why tell me to read it!

Women...

Well when I read it on my honeymoon, I came back to the office to discover that one of the secretaries was reading it, I said 'its good nonsense isn't it' and she gave me this horrified look and said 'but it makes such a lot of sense, why would you say its nonsense?'. Turns out that quite a lot of people that I have spoken to thinks that his theories are extremely persuadable... ::-)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on July 24, 2009, 09:38:35 am
This morning, I read 'A Prayer for Owen Meany' (yes, I'm still trudging through it, and it's still good) on the tube, and 'Vet In A Spin' while I was brewing coffee ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jezza on July 25, 2009, 09:48:45 pm

(click to show/hide)

I completely agree. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on July 27, 2009, 07:57:03 pm
Just finished 'Mrs Dalloway' (by Virginia Woolf) in time for discussion at the Book Group tomorrow. I absolutely loved it. The way she describes people and places just jangles along on a natural pace, a lot of authors write description as filler at times and you find yourself jumping to the next paragraph. Highly recommended  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: domesticated ape on July 27, 2009, 09:19:46 pm
I just finished Michael Cunningham's 'The Hours', and now I feel I have to read Mrs Dalloway too as The Hours is based on/around it. Glad to hear you liked it, I would recommend reading The Hours to you too, if you haven't already.

Just finished 'Mrs Dalloway' (by Virginia Woolf) in time for discussion at the Book Group tomorrow. I absolutely loved it. The way she describes people and places just jangles along on a natural pace, a lot of authors write description as filler at times and you find yourself jumping to the next paragraph. Highly recommended  :thumbsup:

As for Dan Brown, I didn't mind The Da Vinci Code, but it did feel like a bog-standard Hollywood thriller, just on paper rather than on film. I can also not look at a church door in the same way again after reading what Brown has to say about them ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on July 27, 2009, 10:55:07 pm
I just finished Michael Cunningham's 'The Hours', and now I feel I have to read Mrs Dalloway too as The Hours is based on/around it. Glad to hear you liked it, I would recommend reading The Hours to you too, if you haven't already.

Just finished 'Mrs Dalloway' (by Virginia Woolf) in time for discussion at the Book Group tomorrow. I absolutely loved it. The way she describes people and places just jangles along on a natural pace, a lot of authors write description as filler at times and you find yourself jumping to the next paragraph. Highly recommended  :thumbsup:

As for Dan Brown, I didn't mind The Da Vinci Code, but it did feel like a bog-standard Hollywood thriller, just on paper rather than on film. I can also not look at a church door in the same way again after reading what Brown has to say about them ;D

Yes I was thrilled when I read those words 'the hours' in Mrs Dalloway and realised that they were related to the title of Michael Cunninghams book. I've seen 'The hours' fillum which was good and it was a bloody brilliant cast too. Thanks for the recommendation  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mrs Pingu on July 28, 2009, 09:56:13 am
I've just finished 'Matter' by Iain M Banks.
I think he's still going soft in his old age.
Iain, if you're reading this, I think you shouldn't have bothered with the epilogue. Just resist the urge next time ok?

Just started 'House of Suns' by Alastair Reynolds, it all seems a bit touchy feely too.....
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on July 28, 2009, 10:27:19 am
I've just finished 'Matter' by Iain M Banks.
I think he's still going soft in his old age.

I enjoyed Matter. It was certainly a lot better than his last non-SF work (The Steep Approach to Garbadale)

I just read Murakami Haruki's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. Frankly it was disappointing, dull and full of the most banal observations. Without the  surreal imagination of his fiction or the compelling reality of the Aum Shinrikyo attacks that made up his last non-fictional work, he is apparently not a very interesting man. He even says so himself and that's about the most perceptive sentence in the book. And just because you are the Japanese translator of Raymond Carver, it doesn't mean you can borrow and adapt a title of his for any tedious purpose. Carver's taut prose hinted at whole worlds, this book just seems to indicate that most of what is worth knowing about Murakami is in his novels and short stories.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on July 28, 2009, 10:34:48 am
Heavier Than Heaven ~ Charles R Cross.  Biography of Kurt Cobain which confirms what I'd suspected all along, viz. the guy was as mad as a whole sett of badgers.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Kathy on July 28, 2009, 10:36:26 am
Asterix and the Banquet

 :thumbsup:

(I needed a break from At the Mountains of Madness which I'm halfway through)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mrs Pingu on July 28, 2009, 12:09:30 pm
I've just finished 'Matter' by Iain M Banks.
I think he's still going soft in his old age.

I enjoyed Matter. It was certainly a lot better than his last non-SF work (The Steep Approach to Garbadale)
I enjoyed it too, he just seems to have an urge to wrap everything up in a happy ending these days though.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: PaulF on July 28, 2009, 12:30:16 pm

Just started 'House of Suns' by Alastair Reynolds, it all seems a bit touchy feely too.....

It gets (a bit) better, but not as good as the Revelation Space series.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on July 28, 2009, 09:14:49 pm
Was that product placement or just overuse of signifiers?  I don't know if Fleming got supplies of Aston Martins or Louis Vuitton luggage (nor Toot-sweets, for that matter ;D)

OK, this isn't as witty as Jezza's answer but I believe it's fairly well documented that it's just Ian Fleming being a typical nouveau riche snob showing off his acute sense of taste and refinement for the reader's benefit.

It's not just the brand names, it's also things like the particular vintages of wines he mentions and of course the whole "shaken not stirred" thing (which as any counter-snob will tell you is very much the wrong way to make a Martini).

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on July 28, 2009, 09:33:46 pm
OK, my holiday reading was as follows:

The Sea by John Banville
Well, I had to find out what book could possibly be good enough to beat Arthur & George to the Booker. And maybe I was prejudiced against it because of my love of Julian Barnes, but I didn't really like it. I have to admit that his writing is exquisite - he has a beautiful turn of phrase and his description of people is wonderfully vivid, albeit fairly cartoony. And some of the ideas in the book about memory are interesting in a sub-Proustian kind of way. But I didn't much like the "story" (such as it was) and I saw the two big twists in the end coming a mile off (well, there's a revelation, which wasn't really a revelation to me because I worked it out, and there's an event which I broadly predicted though I didn't guess the detail of it). Still, I'm glad I read it.

Stories Of English by David Crystal
Based on Flying Monkey's recommendation, and its part in discussion in another thread, I thought I'd give this a go. I started off not liking the author's tone - he comes across as an academic trying to rework his thesis for a popular audience, so his attempts to inject humour sometimes have the "dad dancing at a wedding" effect. But I warmed to the book pretty quickly because the subject matter is so damned fascinating. Unfortunately, circumstances meant I couldn't get really stuck into it, and it's pretty dense reading at times so you do need to be able to concentrate on it, so I put it on the back burner and will pick it up again as soon as I have finished...

Homicide by David Simon
Yes, I am a Wire-aholic, so it was inevitable that I'd get around to reading this sooner or later. It's like methadone to The Wire's crack cocaine - a good way to wean yourself off the hard stuff but just as addictive if you're not careful. Utterly compelling, a real page-turner. David Simon has a real gift for picking out the narrative threads and weaving them into a gripping real-life drama. His characterisation is brilliant too, which may sound like a strange thing to say about a documentary work, but it's testament to his descriptive abilities. I have been finding this book very hard to put down, which has lead to complaints from my family that I have been neglecting them over the past few days. This is journalism of the very highest quality.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Séamas M. on July 28, 2009, 11:57:25 pm
T de F just finished and I have been reading "The Crooked Path To Victory", then "Breaking The Chain" and I haven't quite finished "The Death Of Marco Pantani".

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on July 29, 2009, 01:12:48 am
Just finished "Homage to Catalonia", by George Orwell, his account of his experience in the Spanish Civil War. Very depressing to learn how the various anti-Franco factions threw away their chance at victory with all that infighting. Equally depressing was the number of people who came from all over the world to help the Republican cause, and got thrown in jail and shot by the very people they were trying to help when the various factions turned on each other.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on July 29, 2009, 02:16:34 am
The Yiddish Policeman's Union is really very, very good. Chabon does a fine line in being a Jewish Raymond Chandler, and the the combination of pathos and wisecracking is always well-judged, but the whole subtext and largely implicit alternative history makes for a much more satisfyingly chewy read than your average police procedural. I'll definitely have to look out for his earlier books now.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: microphonie on July 29, 2009, 06:21:06 pm
I've just finished 'Matter' by Iain M Banks.
I think he's still going soft in his old age.

I enjoyed Matter. It was certainly a lot better than his last non-SF work (The Steep Approach to Garbadale)
I enjoyed it too, he just seems to have an urge to wrap everything up in a happy ending these days though.

Just about to start Matter.

Haven't got around to buying The Steep Approach to Garbadale as I didn't think much too of Dead Air (although it's better than I thought it was going to be having read the blurb) - is it worth a read?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: David Martin on July 29, 2009, 06:38:52 pm
Boy Racer - a good read due in no small part to the breaking up of the story into the framework of the 2008 Tour de France. Gives you a great insight into Cav and what he can and can't do.

The Hungry Cyclist. Tours 10,000 miles through the americas and puts on weight with a series of epic adventures in search of the perfect meal.

Caveman Chemistry. Essential reading if you are suddenly transported onto the set of Rough Science or lost on an island for 10 years and need to make basic stuff like glass, dyes, smelt metal etc..

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on July 29, 2009, 10:12:30 pm
Just finished reading 'The Thirteenth Tale' by Diane Setterfield. One of those books where you keep on pondering the characters for the days to come. Recommended  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on July 29, 2009, 11:27:55 pm
Boy Racer - a good read due in no small part to the breaking up of the story into the framework of the 2008 Tour de France. Gives you a great insight into Cav and what he can and can't do.

It's certainly a cleverly structured book (the publisher found him a very good ghost writer), but most of the content is padding - as it necessarily has to be to fill a book of 352 pages when the subject is only 24 years old and not very far into his professional career (and it doesn't even cover this year's Milan-San Remo or Tour de France).

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on July 30, 2009, 06:45:43 am
Haven't got around to buying The Steep Approach to Garbadale as I didn't think much too of Dead Air (although it's better than I thought it was going to be having read the blurb) - is it worth a read?

It's just The Crow Road over again, but not as good... I think his best non-SF work is the rather underrated Espedair Street. It feels like it meant a bit more to him.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: PaulF on July 30, 2009, 07:32:25 am
Haven't got around to buying The Steep Approach to Garbadale as I didn't think much too of Dead Air (although it's better than I thought it was going to be having read the blurb) - is it worth a read?

It's just The Crow Road over again, but not as good... I think his best non-SF work is the rather underrated Espedair Street. It feels like it meant a bit more to him.

Steep Approach is probably better than Dead Air, but not as good as his earlier work. My favourite of his non-SF is The Bridge although Espedair Street is a close second. Walking on Glass is also worth a read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on July 30, 2009, 08:51:28 am
Haven't got around to buying The Steep Approach to Garbadale as I didn't think much too of Dead Air (although it's better than I thought it was going to be having read the blurb) - is it worth a read?

It's just The Crow Road over again, but not as good... I think his best non-SF work is the rather underrated Espedair Street. It feels like it meant a bit more to him.

Steep Approach is probably better than Dead Air, but not as good as his earlier work. My favourite of his non-SF is The Bridge although Espedair Street is a close second. Walking on Glass is also worth a read.

The only book I have failed to ever finish was Bank's 'Song of Stone', I really thought it was a pile of poo. Good plot, but crap writing.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: microphonie on July 30, 2009, 10:34:26 am
Thanks chaps - I think Steep is going to be a library job if I bother at all. His non-SF stuff has been declining in quality for me book-by-book. My faves are The Wasp Factory, The Bridge & Canal Dreams, all of which I should get around to reading again, assuming I ever get through the pile of books I've got but haven't yet read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mrs Pingu on July 30, 2009, 10:47:33 am
Complicity is my favourite, although I quite like Walking on Glass as well. I think I will have to dig some of the old stuff out and give it a read again.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: David Martin on July 30, 2009, 11:05:12 am
Boy Racer - a good read due in no small part to the breaking up of the story into the framework of the 2008 Tour de France. Gives you a great insight into Cav and what he can and can't do.

It's certainly a cleverly structured book (the publisher found him a very good ghost writer), but most of the content is padding - as it necessarily has to be to fill a book of 352 pages when the subject is only 24 years old and not very far into his professional career (and it doesn't even cover this year's Milan-San Remo or Tour de France).

d.


The structure made it not appear to be overtly padded. I thought it was well paced and a good read - in no small part due to the excellent structure. Unlike some which are far more turgid. If there is an update for next year (after a world champs win? - can a strong enough british team be put together to get MC in contention?) I'd certainly go for it.

I suppose it was a book that just really clicked with me and I enjoyed reading, especially as I have had some interaction with kids now on the Olympic Development Programme.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on July 30, 2009, 11:06:43 am
I considered buying Boy racer, but I reckoned that there were a few chapters yet unwritten...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: PaulF on July 30, 2009, 11:07:54 am
Half way through Alastair Reynold's Zima Blue (Moby Dick proving too heavy for airplane/jetlag reading ???) an anthology of short stories/novellas. As with many such compilations it's a bit of a curate's egg but I'm enjoying it overall.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: David Martin on July 30, 2009, 11:08:18 am
I considered buying Boy racer, but I reckoned that there were a few chapters yet unwritten...

Hopefully most of it...  ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on July 30, 2009, 12:03:52 pm
The structure made it not appear to be overtly padded.

Well, I thought there was lots of fairly trivial and not especially interesting detail that might have been left out if there had been more to write about, but I agree that it was a lot better than many other biogs and certainly a lot better than I was expecting.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: David Martin on July 30, 2009, 12:46:18 pm
The structure made it not appear to be overtly padded.

Well, I thought there was lots of fairly trivial and not especially interesting detail that might have been left out if there had been more to write about, but I agree that it was a lot better than many other biogs and certainly a lot better than I was expecting.

d.

Wheras I quite liked the detail and minutiae.. To each their own.

..d
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: bikenerd on July 30, 2009, 12:55:34 pm
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.  Arthur works in the Raleigh factory making Sturmey Archer hub shells, doesn't he? :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on August 01, 2009, 02:31:03 pm
The Hungry Cyclist. Tours 10,000 miles through the americas and puts on weight with a series of epic adventures in search of the perfect meal.

All that effort?  He should have settled for one of El Supremo's audaxes ;D

Smoke And Mirrors ~ Neil Gaiman.  Short stories and peoms.  Ded gud.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on August 01, 2009, 02:53:09 pm
Currently I'm reading the light hearted The Ascent of Rum Doodle (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ascent-Rum-Doodle-W-E-Bowman/dp/071266808X/ref=sr_1_1/275-5872414-6625517?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1249134697&sr=8-1) by W. E. Bowman.


Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.  Arthur works in the Raleigh factory making Sturmey Archer hub shells, doesn't he? :)
I cannot remember where he worked, but the book's brilliant. I should re-read it.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: ChrisO on August 03, 2009, 08:33:09 am
I've just finished 'Matter' by Iain M Banks.
I think he's still going soft in his old age.

I enjoyed Matter. It was certainly a lot better than his last non-SF work (The Steep Approach to Garbadale)
I enjoyed it too, he just seems to have an urge to wrap everything up in a happy ending these days though.

Just about to start Matter.

Haven't got around to buying The Steep Approach to Garbadale as I didn't think much too of Dead Air (although it's better than I thought it was going to be having read the blurb) - is it worth a read?

I was very excited when Matter came out but found it disappointing. Taken in isolation it's a perfectly OK book, but taken as part of the series I thought the Culture elements felt bolted on.

His non-SF writing I gave up on ages ago, though I loved the Wasp Factory and Complicity and the Crow Road.

Anyway, what have I been reading... I've just finished all Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther novels - Berlin Noir, The One From the Other and A Quiet Flame. Apparently there's a new one coming out in September - If The Dead Rise not - and I am drooling for it.

I don't know how I'd never been alerted to this series. It's as good as finding that Raymond Chandler is alive and well and writing novels about a hard-boiled German detective.

On holiday next week I will be taking The Rider, which I've also somehow never read. And In Search of Robert Millar.

And I will try to read David Simon's Homicide but I suspect my wife - currently undergoing withdrawal symptoms having finished The Wire box sets - will probably give me a choice between handing it over or losing a testicle. Luckily she's a fast reader.



Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: David Martin on August 03, 2009, 11:16:35 am
The man who cycled the world has just landed on my desk.

Page 245 - excerpt from diary:
Quote
Met funny, rather large and bearded welsh man on his bike, at garage, who had just finished tour of the west


Anyone we know?  ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on August 03, 2009, 01:36:30 pm
And I will try to read David Simon's Homicide but I suspect my wife - currently undergoing withdrawal symptoms having finished The Wire box sets - will probably give me a choice between handing it over or losing a testicle. Luckily she's a fast reader.

Despite its mighty proportions (600+ pages) it's a very easy read, so she'll be done with it very soon. Not enough of a delay to be worth risking a testicle over.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on August 03, 2009, 09:44:42 pm
I've just finished 'Matter' by Iain M Banks.
I think he's still going soft in his old age.

I enjoyed Matter. It was certainly a lot better than his last non-SF work (The Steep Approach to Garbadale)
I enjoyed it too, he just seems to have an urge to wrap everything up in a happy ending these days though.

Just about to start Matter.

Haven't got around to buying The Steep Approach to Garbadale as I didn't think much too of Dead Air (although it's better than I thought it was going to be having read the blurb) - is it worth a read?

I was very excited when Matter came out but found it disappointing. Taken in isolation it's a perfectly OK book, but taken as part of the series I thought the Culture elements felt bolted on.

His non-SF writing I gave up on ages ago, though I loved the Wasp Factory and Complicity and the Crow Road


We appear to have a few Iain Banks fans on here....

His new book "Transition" is now listed on Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transition-Iain-Banks/dp/0316731072/ref=pd_sim_b_4 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transition-Iain-Banks/dp/0316731072/ref=pd_sim_b_4)  with some discussion of it here http://www.iainbanksforum.net/showthread.php?t=59 (http://www.iainbanksforum.net/showthread.php?t=59) . I was pretty disappointed in both "Garbadale" and "Matter" so hope this will be a return to form.

They also list Alistair Reynolds new book as well http://www.amazon.co.uk/Terminal-World-Alastair-Reynolds/dp/0575077182/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Terminal-World-Alastair-Reynolds/dp/0575077182/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: David Martin on August 04, 2009, 09:12:55 am
The girl who played with fire somehow managed to fall into my shopping trolley last night.. So once I finish rereading Ivanhoe and have made my way around the world with Mark Beaumont, I will have that to look forward to.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on August 04, 2009, 10:18:50 am
Quote
Anyway, what have I been reading... I've just finished all Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther novels - Berlin Noir, The One From the Other and A Quiet Flame. Apparently there's a new one coming out in September - If The Dead Rise not - and I am drooling for it.


Oh I loved those books, thanks for the heads up about his new book ChrisO, not long to wait now  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on August 04, 2009, 10:51:05 am
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest isn't out until October 1st >:(

Bah!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: ChrisO on August 05, 2009, 05:11:45 am

And I will try to read David Simon's Homicide but I suspect my wife - currently undergoing withdrawal symptoms having finished The Wire box sets - will probably give me a choice between handing it over or losing a testicle. Luckily she's a fast reader.


HA ! I had an email from my wife saying that she had opened my box from Amazon and that if I truly loved her I would let her read Homicide.

Happily I do. Though I'm not sure if it extends to overlooking the charge of interfering with the mail.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: microphonie on August 06, 2009, 04:44:47 pm

We appear to have a few Iain Banks fans on here....

His new book "Transition" is now listed on Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transition-Iain-Banks/dp/0316731072/ref=pd_sim_b_4 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transition-Iain-Banks/dp/0316731072/ref=pd_sim_b_4)  with some discussion of it here http://www.iainbanksforum.net/showthread.php?t=59 (http://www.iainbanksforum.net/showthread.php?t=59) . I was pretty disappointed in both "Garbadale" and "Matter" so hope this will be a return to form.


And Transition is also being released as a podcast (abridged version) if that's your thing:  link  (http://www.iain-banks.net/2009/07/29/transition-itunes-podcast-serialisation-from-september-3rd/)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Kathy on August 06, 2009, 05:11:06 pm
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest isn't out until October 1st >:(

Bah!

I share your grump.

Bah.

Surely something could be hastened with judicous application of ice-cream and shovel?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: David Martin on August 06, 2009, 05:17:19 pm
Surely something could be hastened with judicous application of ice-cream and shovel?

Why? He is already dead.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on August 06, 2009, 06:19:24 pm
Just finished 'The Glass Palace' by Amitav Ghosh. Elegantly written, moving and a pacy story. Feel sad that it's over  :(
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on August 07, 2009, 11:26:41 am
Pies And Prejudice ~ Stuart Maconie.  Nowhere near as good as Cider With Roadies :-\
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Zoidburg on August 08, 2009, 08:16:53 pm
Ubik - Phillip K Dick.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: oncemore on August 08, 2009, 09:14:51 pm
Miles From Nowhere (again). By an American lady (her name escapes me at the mo and the book's upstairs - I only read in bed!) who survived a round the world redal only to be killed on her bike training for a triathlon.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on August 08, 2009, 11:39:06 pm
The Man Who Broke Napoleon's Codes  - Mark Unwin

True story about an officer in Wellington's peninsular army who amongst other things did quite a bit code breaking. Amusingly I have learnt that Wellington had to reprimand his officers and troops for getting blind drunk in Lisbon and upsetting the locals by their inebriated displays. They also it seems tended to talk LOUDLY and s l o w l e y in English at the Portuguese. It seems nothing changes.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: border-rider on August 08, 2009, 11:40:24 pm
Shoeshop Bears

One from my childhood that it's taken decades to track down again.  Still makes me cry.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Zoidburg on August 09, 2009, 02:13:46 am
The Man Who Broke Napoleon's Codes  - Mark Unwin

True story about an officer in Wellington's peninsular army who amongst other things did quite a bit code breaking. Amusingly I have learnt that Wellington had to reprimand his officers and troops for getting blind drunk in Lisbon and upsetting the locals by their inebriated displays. They also it seems tended to talk LOUDLY and s l o w l e y in English at the Portuguese. It seems nothing changes.
The French lodged an official complaint via diplomatic channels about  British troops getting shit faced before a battle because they would then hack French soldiers to pieces with the issue infantry sword - instead of killing them in a clean and soldier like manner with a bayonet.

Rum -  It wins wars. ::-)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on August 09, 2009, 09:40:33 pm
Yep double rum rations all round before going into battle.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on August 10, 2009, 01:52:28 pm
I just picked up David Guterson's The Other, because I enjoyed Snow Falling on Cedars a few years ago. Also Michael Chaborn's Gentlemen of the Road - because The Yiddish Policemen's Union was so excellent...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on August 10, 2009, 03:45:40 pm
"Slash" by, er, well, Slash.  Plus a ghost-writer bloke, obv.  Sex, drugs, rock'n'roll, Axl Rose being a knob - all the usual stuff.  Still, at least he's a BRITON.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on August 10, 2009, 05:10:33 pm
I just picked up David Guterson's The Other, because I enjoyed Snow Falling on Cedars a few years ago. Also Michael Chaborn's Gentlemen of the Road - because The Yiddish Policemen's Union was so excellent...

Snow falling on cedars is a fabulous book  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jezza on August 10, 2009, 05:19:37 pm
I just picked up David Guterson's The Other, because I enjoyed Snow Falling on Cedars a few years ago. Also Michael Chaborn's Gentlemen of the Road - because The Yiddish Policemen's Union was so excellent...

Snow falling on cedars is a fabulous book  :thumbsup:

I'm actually reading it at the moment. Really enjoying it so far.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: LEE on August 10, 2009, 06:38:59 pm
I read a few Jeremy Clarkson book son holiday ("The World According to.." and such like).

I thought they were bloody funny.

So sue me.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: David Martin on August 11, 2009, 10:24:40 am
I just picked up David Guterson's The Other, because I enjoyed Snow Falling on Cedars a few years ago. Also Michael Chaborn's Gentlemen of the Road - because The Yiddish Policemen's Union was so excellent...

Snow falling on cedars is a fabulous book  :thumbsup:

I'm actually reading it at the moment. Really enjoying it so far.

Got given it by a friend. Really enjoyed it, especially as the various threads of the story unravelled.

..d
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on August 11, 2009, 02:37:01 pm
*Spoilers below*


Well, unfortunately I was not so impressed with The Other. Guterson is a good writer, that's for sure, and his everyman narrator rings very true. But the story, and even some particular scenes are so close to Into the Wild, the true story of Chris McCandless, as written by Jon Krakauer and later made into a film by Sean Penn - particularly a scene where character tries and largely fails to butcher and preserve a whole moose - that it would be charitable to call it a partial tribute or a reworking especially as he Guterson doesn't mention either book or film and frankly I don't believe he had not either read the book or seen the film...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on August 13, 2009, 08:22:39 am
Gentlemen of the Road (AKA 'Jews With Swords' as the working title had it!) on the other hand, is superb. Great old-fashioned swashbucking stuff with exotic locales, swordfights, daring escapes and suchlike, but also beautifully written and with some loving attention to detail that puts it way beyond parody or knowing postmodern tribute. I am not surprised Chabon dedicated it to Michael Moorcock because there's more than a touch of The Eternal Champion about it, although he does keep it strictly Tenth Century.

Now re-reading David Peace's brilliant Tokyo Year Zero. It's wonderfully sensory fiction, replete with the itchiness of lice, the stink of human sweat and shit, and above all the bitter taste of defeat and degredation. The sequel, Occupied City, is just out and I will get it as soon as I can...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mike on August 13, 2009, 08:32:05 am
A confereracy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole

very, very funny.  Quite a sad story behind the book too - his mother found a carbon copy of the book in her sons belongings 10 years after he committed suicide and had it published then.  Now there's a statue of the main character (Ignatious Reilly - "slob extraordinary, a mad Oliver Hardy, a fat Don Quixote, a perverse Thomas Aquinas rolled into one.") in his home town.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Sergeant Pluck on August 13, 2009, 08:42:16 am
A confereracy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole

Complicated (I thought so anyway  :-[ ) but very very funny  :) I love the names... like Myrna Minkoff.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on August 13, 2009, 10:50:32 am
Blood Line ~ Mark Billingham.  Back to proper Inspector Thorne et al, and a good thing too.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on August 13, 2009, 12:52:58 pm
'The Sunday Philosophy Club' by Alexander McCall Smith  - the first of his I've read. It's lightweight but goes off on diverting tangents. The protagonist is an attractive 30-something in Edinburgh and it's fun to imagine  what she might look like  (http://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=20740.0)  :D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on August 13, 2009, 03:55:39 pm
Stieg Larsson's "The Girl Who Played With Fire".

Yup, me too. :)

The other niggling thing is that the film version of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" has been released just about everywhere except the UK and Captain Cook's Mistake.  TWFKAML is righteously cross about this...

Isn't that because it's a swedish film, and the lucky old ENGLISH-speaking world is going to get a Hollywood remake so we don't have to stress our poor little branes reading all those tricky subtitles?

 ::-)

Good news:  TWFKAML e-mailed a Strop-O-Gram to Yellow Bird Films and has been assured by the Big Boss his own good self that "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" will get at least a limited release in BRITAIN later this year.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on August 14, 2009, 02:59:54 am
"South" by Sir Ernest Shackleton. I read "Endurance" a while back, and now I want to see how Shackleton tells his own story. So far, Alfred Lansing is by far the better story teller, but that's partly because Shackleton gave him such good material to work with.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Eccentrica Gallumbits on August 14, 2009, 11:39:57 am
'The Sunday Philosophy Club' by Alexander McCall Smith  - the first of his I've read. It's lightweight but goes off on diverting tangents. The protagonist is an attractive 30-something in Edinburgh and it's fun to imagine  what she might look like  (http://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=20740.0)  :D

Have you tried his Scotland Street books? Similar style, different characters.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on August 14, 2009, 12:22:36 pm
Quote
Have you tried his Scotland Street books?

Ready near the top of the pile, thanks  :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on August 14, 2009, 01:31:22 pm
Now on to Don DeLillo's Falling Man which I found in a bargain bin here... I am having a burst at the moment!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on August 17, 2009, 11:38:24 am
The Family ~ Ed Sanders.

Edit: I know members of the Manson Family used a lot of false names, Ed, but did you really need to list anything up to half a dozen aka's whenever someone is named?  It's annoying, is what it is.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: TheLurker on August 17, 2009, 12:04:13 pm
I have just finished, "The Cyclist's Finger Post" by W.F. Ball. Price 1/- (1899)

A serendipitous discovery in a second-hand bookshop on Saturday.  Describes a number of routes from Birmingham to various places (Holyhead, three routes to London &tc.).  Some of the routes he describes might be difficult to follow these days although one of my older maps shows that they would still have been perfectly possible up to the late 1930s and in all probability up until the late 1950s as well;  before we started building all the motorways.

It's by turns amusing and saddening reading.   You read of, "thousands of cyclists" heading out of Brum to (for example) Meriden and you wonder what that must have been like and compare it to today when a couple of dozen would be a mass turn out.

If time allows I'll try and scan some of the adverts and post them on flickr or similar. They're wonderful; including the one that proves that people have been arguing about crank lengths for at least 110 years. :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: alan on August 17, 2009, 12:32:01 pm
Re-reading Simon Doughty's book on long distance cycling.One or two long forgotten lessons relearned.

Anyone know how he is doing of late?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on August 17, 2009, 03:35:01 pm
Am currently reading 'The Pilot's Wife' by Anita Shreve, not getting into it at all.  :-\
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Greenbank on August 17, 2009, 08:56:59 pm
Re-reading Simon Doughty's book on long distance cycling.One or two long forgotten lessons relearned.

Anyone know how he is doing of late?

You're far more likely to get a response (and others interested will also be able to see it) if you post this in the Audax forum.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tourist Tony on August 18, 2009, 12:35:19 am
Alternating between Mark Beaumont's book and Richard Matheson's collected shorts, translated into French. Need the practice.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Frenchie on August 18, 2009, 09:44:34 pm
I read the running book (http://www.amazon.co.uk/What-Talk-About-When-Running/dp/0099526158/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1250628209&sr=1-1) by Haruki Murakami on the plane. A great, easy read; one I recommend to a lot of us here who enjoy riding/running regularly and for hours on ends, as Murakami attempts to describe why he enjoys it so much. Great authors write simply and clearly.

Now finishing The Cyclist's Manifesto (http://www.amazon.com/Cyclists-Manifesto-Riding-Wheels-Instead/dp/0762751282/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1250628040&sr=1-1) which I picked up in Northern America before my return. Interesting but I can't say I agree with all of it; but an interesting read nonetheless.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: David Martin on August 18, 2009, 10:00:21 pm
Alternating between Mark Beaumont's book and Richard Matheson's collected shorts, translated into French. Need the practice.

I found the Beaumont book quite heavy going and hard to really engage with.

Quote
Tuesday. Tired. Have to do 100 miles today. Headwind. Found a hotel that ripped me off.
x195.

OK, not a strictly accurate reflection of the book... And by the time I got to the end I felt like I'd been through the mill as well.

..d
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on August 19, 2009, 11:22:12 pm
Amazon just delivered my holiday books (two weeks starting Friday hooray !).

All Quite On the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque

I realised last week that I hadn't ever read this. Not sure how it slipped me by.

Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes / The Amateur Emigrant - Robert Louis Stevenson

I like to read something relevant to where we are going and this fits the bill for the South West of France.

House of the Sun - Alastair Reynolds

A big fat space opera for some light reading.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on August 20, 2009, 12:16:30 am
Just started Days of Grace, which has been recommended to me by family. I've only read a couple of chapters so far, but it's going well so far and the Independent seemed to like it, too:
(http://www.portobellobooks.com/dyn/1234370021581.jpeg) (http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/days-of-grace-by-catherine-hall-1638160.html)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: TheLurker on August 20, 2009, 10:45:50 am
As (half) promised up thread... scanned images of adverts from, "The Cyclist's Finger-Post"

The Cyclist's Finger Post - a set on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/41392773@N02/sets/72157622091676468/)

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Really Ancien on August 21, 2009, 07:48:08 pm
Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson. I was early into Bryson, guided by a friend in 1990. I originally read him for his style, which was very influential. I just happened to pick this one up again recently and I'm really enjoying it. If you have never read ,do, and if you picked up when you were in your 20s, but didn't like it, go back and try it again.

Damon.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: tiermat on August 27, 2009, 12:00:14 pm
I managed to get through 3 whilst on holiday:
The Rider by Tim Krabbe
The Death of Marco Pantani by Matt Rendell
Instructions For Living Someone Else's Life - Mil Millington

All enjoyable.

And Finished "In search of Robert Millar" last night

Time for some new books I think :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on August 27, 2009, 03:24:50 pm
Finally getting round to reading White Tiger, the 2008 Booker winner. It's actually quite good. I don't normally expect that of books that win awards...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Sergeant Pluck on August 27, 2009, 03:38:32 pm
Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers (http://www.gladwell.com/outliers/index.html). Most interesting so far.

On the other hand, I made a start on James Palumbo's Tomas (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tomas-James-Palumbo/dp/0704371588) and I don't get it at all  ??? The book comes with glowing recommendations from all and sundry, including some authors I really enjoy, but I must be missing something. The first review in the Amazon link above says it all.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: alan on August 27, 2009, 04:35:17 pm
Not a book,but a list.
I am reading thru' the AUK calendar to do a list of audax rides near enough to get to without too much travelling.
Any marked as "no entry on the line" will be ignored 'cause I often don't know for sure if I can attend untill a Friday night.   :(
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Spinners on August 28, 2009, 06:40:37 pm
Wing Leader - Johnnie Johnson. I love WW2 biographies and, since reading this in the school library, this one has been a particular favourite of mine for about 35 years!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mrs Pingu on August 29, 2009, 09:21:32 pm
House of Suns - Alastair Reynolds

A big fat space opera for some light reading.
Yeah, I've nearly finished it and it is quite light. Not up to his usual std.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Bledlow on August 29, 2009, 11:33:04 pm
The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work - Alain de Botton. I've never read anything by him before, & perhaps that was a mistake. I'm enjoying this one.

Mrs B wants me to hurry up & finish it. She dipped in while I left it unattended, & now wants to read it.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on September 04, 2009, 02:37:44 am
The Road to Wigan Pier, by George Orwell
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mike on September 04, 2009, 08:05:14 am
The Road to Wigan Pier, by George Orwell

I read that last week.  Angry, isnt he?

now reading Moby Dick. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Jezza on September 04, 2009, 09:04:00 am
Passage to Juneau - Jonathan Raban
Stalin - Simon Sebag Montefiore
Blood River - Tim Butcher
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Nuncio on September 04, 2009, 09:12:59 am

I read that last week.  Angry, isnt he?

now reading Moby Dick. 

Woody Allen's Zelig's one regret was that he hadn't read Moby Dick - he died after starting it.  Whereas, I think I read in an interview that Woody Allen's biggest regret was the time he wasted reading Moby Dick.  Which is also odd, because he claimed he speed-read it in 20 minutes and summarized it as: 'It's about a whale'.  Sorry, that should have had a spoiler alert.

I'm reading Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami, in translation.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on September 04, 2009, 09:20:41 am
I bought some books at teh weekend, which I'm optimistically carrying about, though I get very little book reading time:

Poet in New York - F Garcia Lorca.  I sat in the sun at the weekend reading this.  Marvellous.  I know his play, 'Blood Wedding' - an upbeat, cheery feel-good musical for all the family ;) - but not his poetry.  Reminds me rather of Neruda.

I also bought Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin, which I have read years ago, but it's probably worth another look.  And Oscar Wilde's Short Stories.  I have a volume of his collected prose, but it's a big book, and a small paperback of short stories is probably ideal for a few snatched moments in a field.

At work, I'm reading a James Herriot book a page or so at a time on the loo ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on September 04, 2009, 10:35:44 am
A Dark Adapted Eye ~ Barbara Vine.  I started it a Several of weeks ago and then put it to one side, so will probably have to start again.

The Burgess Book Of Lies ~ Adrian & Alan Burgess.  Identical twin oiks from Holmfirth climb mountains, drink BEER and get into fights.  Government Health Warning: may contain traces of Don Whillans.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: redshift on September 04, 2009, 02:02:02 pm
I have hols coming up, so I have stocked up in anticipation:
The Pyjama Game: A Journey into Judo by Mark Law (I think he's attempting to do for Judo what Twigger did for Aikido).
Sea Kayaker's Deep Trouble: True stories and their lessons by Matt Broze
Fastnet Force 10 by John Rousmaniere
Failure is not an Option by Gene Kranz.

It's not a disaster fetish, honest...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mike on September 04, 2009, 02:04:29 pm
the pajama game is quite good, I read it last year.  Very funny descriptions of training sessions.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on September 07, 2009, 04:24:14 pm
I am reading Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden. It's a wonderful piece of writing and a great story of two young Cree men enlisted into the Canadian army in WW1, and the aunt of one of the boys who takes him home when he is injured. I don't think I have read a better novel about WW1 recently, and what's more, it is also a beautiful story of the fate of the aboriginal people of Canada.

He's had another novel come out recently called Through Black Spruce, which has a little bit set on the island I now live on, and is also supposed to be excellent.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mattc on September 07, 2009, 04:34:08 pm
Which is also odd, because he claimed he speed-read it in 20 minutes and summarized it as: 'It's about a whale'.  Sorry, that should have had a spoiler alert.
hangonaminute ... last time he told that joke, it was War and Peace.


Which is about Russia.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on September 09, 2009, 03:16:56 am
"Inside the Third Reich", by Albert Speer. Speer was Hitler's Minister of Armaments and War Production, and ended up conspiring to kill Hitler towards the end of WWII and confessing his guilt during the Nuremberg trials.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Aidan on September 09, 2009, 05:49:28 am
Mark Beaumonts book, finished the first leg  and enjoying it thoroughly so far
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on September 10, 2009, 09:03:25 am
A quick review of my holiday reading

All Quite On the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque

Bloody hell. If you haven't read this then do so. Best read after a few glasses of wine as it's a quite calm book and incredibly traumatic. Made me want to cry. Definitely lives up to it's reputation.

Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes / The Amateur Emigrant - Robert Louis Stevenson

OK and interesting. Mr Stevenson was well up himself and somewhat self pitying.

House of the Sun - Alastair Reynolds

Not bad. Filled a couple of days reading. My 13 year old finished it in a few days too.

I also read a book about cycling in France by Harry Enfield's dad which was very funny and a book about living in Normandy again quite funny bth curtsey of the gite book shelf.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on September 10, 2009, 09:12:11 am
For those who have read All Quiet.., I strongly recommend The Road Back, the lesser-known sequel, about the difficulties faced by the returning soldiers fitting into a defeated society where no one understands what they have been through.  Also his Three Comrades, which covers similar ground.

Another Remarque book that is worth a read (if you can find it) is Spark Of Life, about life in a concentration camp - something Remarque, as a known leftist, suffered before escaping and getting to Spain (there's another book about that, but I can't remember the title, and it's not one of his better novels, strangely).
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on September 10, 2009, 09:28:52 am
I have just finished Amsterdam by Ian McEwan. I enjoyed the book, but it's nowhere near as good as Saturday, On Chesil Beach or Atonement. I also couldn't believe the ending of the book and that was a major dissapointment for me. It surprises me somewhat that McEwan got the Booker Prize for this work.

I am now reading Cryptonomicon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptonomicon) by Neal Stephenson after being suggested it by a friend.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on September 10, 2009, 08:10:47 pm
For those who have read All Quiet.., I strongly recommend The Road Back, the lesser-known sequel, about the difficulties faced by the returning soldiers fitting into a defeated society where no one understands what they have been through.  Also his Three Comrades, which covers similar ground.

Another Remarque book that is worth a read (if you can find it) is Spark Of Life, about life in a concentration camp - something Remarque, as a known leftist, suffered before escaping and getting to Spain (there's another book about that, but I can't remember the title, and it's not one of his better novels, strangely).

You should definitely read the Boyden book I mentioned above if you like Remarque...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Sergeant Pluck on September 10, 2009, 08:21:37 pm
King Leopold's Ghost (http://www.amazon.co.uk/King-Leopolds-Ghost-Terror-Heroism/dp/0330441981) by Adam Hochschild. Absolutely horrifying and gripping. It tells of one of the largest mass killings of recent history - 8 to 10 million people - and how Edmund Morel fought, very successfully, to bring it to the attention of the world.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on September 10, 2009, 09:09:11 pm
For those who have read All Quiet.., I strongly recommend The Road Back, the lesser-known sequel, about the difficulties faced by the returning soldiers fitting into a defeated society where no one understands what they have been through.  Also his Three Comrades, which covers similar ground.

Another Remarque book that is worth a read (if you can find it) is Spark Of Life, about life in a concentration camp - something Remarque, as a known leftist, suffered before escaping and getting to Spain (there's another book about that, but I can't remember the title, and it's not one of his better novels, strangely).

Is the novel about getting to Spain Flotsam ? (http://www.amazon.com/Flotsam-Erich-Maria-Remarque/dp/1931541736/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1252612875&sr=1-15/url)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on September 10, 2009, 09:19:10 pm
No, I think it was The Night In Lisbon, though that is highly fictionalised.

Reading Wikipedia, it seems to suggest he was not, in fact, interned.  That's quite possibly correct.  My recollection came from a review in the ?fifties, which was a press cutting in one of the books I had.  I would not be at all surprised if either the critic had got the wrong end of the stick (Spark of Life is very realistic), or Remarque (born Remark) had romanticised his own story.

Another good book for anyone who enjoyed All Quiet..., this time from a French perspective, is Under Fire, by Henri Barbusse.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on September 10, 2009, 09:31:46 pm
"The Night in Lisbon" is in stock at Amazon.com (and amazon.co.uk). "Flotsam" seems to be out of print but available used, at least here in the US. The synopsis of "Flotsam" seems to fit your description of fleeing to Spain better than "The Night in Lisbon". At any rate, you've just motivated me to expand my Amazon.com shopping list.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on September 10, 2009, 09:34:03 pm
The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer is another great account of infantry war. In this case WWII. Guy Sajer was a half French half German teenager who joined the German army in 1942 and the book follows him to the Eastern Front and the horrors of the long retreat and to the end of the war. Again it's a harrowing book. There has been some argument over whether it is a true autobiography or a roman a clef; either way it's worth reading.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on September 10, 2009, 09:35:12 pm
OK, maybe I misremembered anyway.  It's years since I read them.  I gotta say, though, that he wrote some terrible trash too  - A Time To Love is one example.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on September 11, 2009, 02:30:24 am
I guess I'll leave A Time to Love off my shopping list, then. At any rate, I do appreciate the recommendations.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on September 11, 2009, 12:11:58 pm
The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer is another great account of infantry war....

A brilliant book that I happened upon and hadn't heard about it until I'd read the tale. The book made me really think about the situation Sajer was in - half French / half German and living in Alsace, which had spent time being either French or German. He goes off to fight for Germany and comes back to find he's now living in France. Crazy. The insight into the Eastern Front is pretty incredible, too.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on September 11, 2009, 12:52:49 pm
Following Kirst's suggestion, have just finished the third of Alexander McCall Smith's '44 Scotland Street' series.
Also picked up a book of poetry by Moniza Alvi called 'Souls'. Surreal but accessible nonetheless, it is quite entrancing
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on September 11, 2009, 10:42:53 pm
I am now starting a couple of things: firstly, The Carhullan Army by Sarah Hall, feminist SF set in a sort-of near future authoritarian Britain; and secondly, Wonders and the Order of Nature by Lorraine Dalston and Katharine Park, which is a fabulous book about what people believed about the world in pre-modern Europe.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: border-rider on September 11, 2009, 10:45:22 pm
Alan Garner's Owl Service & The Mabinogion in parallel.  Which is illuminating.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mrs Pingu on September 11, 2009, 10:53:12 pm
I'm re-reading 'The Bridge' by Iain Banks, and remembering that I found it a bit slow. I actually wanted to read 'Walking On Glass' but couldn't find it in the loft.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: border-rider on September 11, 2009, 10:59:13 pm
yes, agreed on The Bridge.  Walking on Glass is a much more engaging book...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on September 12, 2009, 12:11:03 am
Quote
The Carhullan Army by Sarah Hall, feminist SF set in a sort-of near future authoritarian Britain

Be interested to hear how you find this, FM. I found it quite moving
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on September 12, 2009, 08:21:19 pm
Alan Garner's Owl Service
Read that when I was about 12 and I remember it being fab. I should re-read it.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: border-rider on September 12, 2009, 08:45:37 pm
it's quite dated in terms of characterisation - lots of 50s-stylee upper-middle-class  English stiff upper lip stuff, and stereotypes of Welsh yokels that just seem from a different age, but the interleaving of the Mabinogion stuff works very well, as does the rendering of the speech patterns of native Welsh-speakers (I think).  I still need to get my head fully around the events at the end.  Not at all simple to unravel.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on September 12, 2009, 09:57:46 pm
Just about to start "Transition", Iain Bank's latest. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: redshift on September 12, 2009, 10:16:49 pm
it's quite dated in terms of characterisation - lots of 50s-stylee upper-middle-class  English stiff upper lip stuff, and stereotypes of Welsh yokels that just seem from a different age, but the interleaving of the Mabinogion stuff works very well, as does the rendering of the speech patterns of native Welsh-speakers (I think).  I still need to get my head fully around the events at the end.  Not at all simple to unravel.

When you've done that, try Red Shift (what else?).  Allegedly this can be read in parallel with the ballad of Tam Lin, but it's through a very dark glass.

After that, you'll be ready for Thursbitch, assuming you're not working backwards...   ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: border-rider on September 12, 2009, 10:20:40 pm
I read Redshift about 34 years ago, and I must admit it made my brain hurt...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: redshift on September 12, 2009, 10:33:40 pm
I read it about 30 years ago, and it made complete sense.  Mind you, I always did see things a bit skewed.  ::-)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on September 13, 2009, 12:55:40 am
After that, you'll be ready for Thursbitch, assuming you're not working backwards...   ;D

Or indeed Strandloper, which I think is his best book, and one of the best novels in English of the last 20 years.

On The Carrhulan Army... hmm. I am not sure what I think. At times, the naivety of the narration was moving, at times it made the novel read like an English undergraduate creative writing assignment. Although it was nice to read something set in Cumbria, it was also rather derivative and unoriginal - Brian Aldiss's Greybeard came to mind, as did V for Vendetta (the original, not  the film) and even the original version of Survivors. Personally, I consider Gwyneth Jones to have done some much better apocalyptic Britain novels too, but she is considered to be a proper SF novelist and therefore will never get the praise that Hall has done.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Gatlow on September 13, 2009, 01:02:33 pm
I'm about to finish Dombey & Son and then i'm going to re-read my favourite: Brave New World well, its an equal favorite with 1984.

Or Mr Nice by Howard Marks.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on September 23, 2009, 11:48:55 am
I am now reading Cryptonomicon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptonomicon) by Neal Stephenson after being suggested it by a friend.

I'm still working my way through Cryptonomicon, which is a bit of a beast of a book at >900 pages. That's not a criticism, tho, because it's very readable and extremely interesting. There's a few stories taking place and I'm assuming it'll all come together at the end. One storyline is looking at the maths geeks who were involved with breaking the German and Japanese codes used during WWII and a special joint US-UK diversion to help confuse German intelligence. Another part of the book is concerned with a Japanese solider during WWII, who was originally a miner, and his time in the Pacific. Finally, part of the book is set in the 1990s as a group of Americans set up a data heaven in SE Asia.

There's quite a lot of mathematical descriptions in the book that explains various things, including how various codes work, Van Eck phreaking, Pearl scripts etc. I personally enjoy (even if I cannot understand it all) those sections and it makes the book a bit more than a normal story. Saying that, I know some people would get easily annoyed by all the extra information that Stephenson offers the reader, esp. as the book is long enough as it is! The section dealing with WWII has a number of non-fiction characters, most notably Alan Turning and I'm a little bit unsure how much of this book is fiction and how much is based on some sort of facts.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: bikepacker on September 23, 2009, 06:18:09 pm
Sustainable energy - Without the hot air / David J.C. MacK

A subject I wanted to find more about.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: microphonie on September 23, 2009, 06:42:38 pm
Have recently finished Matter by Iain M Banks, which I enjoyed a lot.

Currently a hundred or so pages into the  Illuminatus Trilogy  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Illuminatus!_Trilogy).

My brain hurts already trying to maintain hold of who's who and what the feck is happening.

Judging by this quote:

"The plot meanders between the thoughts, hallucinations and inner voices (both real and imagined) of its many characters, as well as through time (past, present and future)— sometimes in mid-sentence. Much of the back story is explained via dialogue between characters, who recount unreliable, often mutually contradictory, versions of their supposed histories. There are even parts in the book in which the narrative reviews and jokingly deconstructs the work itself"

I don't think the situation is going to improve much either... ???

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: perpetual dan on September 23, 2009, 08:48:54 pm
I'm still working my way through Cryptonomicon, which is a bit of a beast of a book at >900 pages. That's not a criticism, tho, because it's very readable and extremely interesting.

Yes, takes some reading but very interesting. I recommend it as reading-round-the-subject reading to one or two students a year.
I tried Quicksilver after that but gave up.

Last night I started Alex Ross' "the rest is noise" ... which is intimidatingly thick, so I may be some time.

Also a bit of a long one and still on the go, though I've been distracted by other things along the way and seem to be getting to bed late a lot.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: rogerzilla on September 23, 2009, 08:54:29 pm
"Azincourt" by Bernard Cornwell, which is actually pretty good; a bit like Wilbur Smith in historical mode, without as much gratuitous sex and violence.  Definitely superior to the usual airport novel.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on September 24, 2009, 07:20:51 pm
Neal Stephenson is good, but:

1. He needs to allow his books to be edited (but I know hardly any publishers do proper editing these days); and,
2. He can't (or at least, doesn't) write believable female characters;
3. He's not as clever or as funny as he thinks he is, or at least it would be better if he let us know how clever and funny he is with a bit more subtlety. He info-dumps like a crazy person, which, as any fule kno, is one of the big no-no's of quality SF.

I read all of his books up to Quicksilver, but couldn't be bothered with the rest of the Baroque Trilogy. There is a great book called Q by 'Luther Blisset' (a pseudonym for a group of Italian anarchists) which does the same kind of thing so much better...

Meanwhile, I am still reading Wonders and the Order of Nature... not getting much time for non-work reading right now because we have lots of work to do on the new house.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: RJ on September 24, 2009, 09:13:10 pm
Meanwhile, I am still reading Wonders and the Order of Nature... not getting much time for non-work reading right now because we have lots of work to do on the new house.

Looks like a fascinating, but demanding read ...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on September 26, 2009, 12:16:03 am
Neal Stephenson is good, but:

1. He needs to allow his books to be edited (but I know hardly any publishers do proper editing these days);
That's very true. Cryptonomicon is the first thing I've read by Stephenson, and as I've said, the book's a monster and cutting it down wouldn't do it any harm at all.

2. He can't (or at least, doesn't) write believable female characters;
True true. There's only two female characters of any significance, so far, have even appeared in Cryptonomicon and I'm 600 pages down. Never seem very realistic.

3. He's not as clever or as funny as he thinks he is, or at least it would be better if he let us know how clever and funny he is with a bit more subtlety. He info-dumps like a crazy person, which, as any fule kno, is one of the big no-no's of quality SF.
I've read very little SF and so I'm didn't know that it's passé to info-dump in the way he does. I actually enjoyed some of the details that are presented in the book, but it certainly does come across as making Stephenson appear really clever.

I read all of his books up to Quicksilver, but couldn't be bothered with the rest of the Baroque Trilogy. There is a great book called Q by 'Luther Blisset' (a pseudonym for a group of Italian anarchists) which does the same kind of thing so much better...
I've heard that The Baroque Trilogy rambles on even more than Cryptonomicon does and it's unlikely I'll be attempting to read it any time soon. I've not heard of Blisset before, but I'll look up Q.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tourist Tony on September 27, 2009, 03:22:39 am
Dawkins' new one, "Greatest Show..."
He starts with a great analogy about teaching Latin and Roman history in a culture where parents and schools reserve the right to deny the Romans ever existed.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on September 27, 2009, 11:30:43 am
Gets a good review in the Guardian.  Because he's off the easy taking potshots at gullible morons track of The God Delusion, and, rather than disproving Creationism (shooting fish in a barrel), he's talking about evolution and it's wonder.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Eccentrica Gallumbits on September 27, 2009, 12:32:56 pm
I read Twilight on holiday and thought it was the biggest load of emo shite ever, so god knows why I'm now reading New Moon, which is the sequel. Probably the same reason I stuck all the way through Stephen King's Dark Tower series - once I've started, I like to know how it finishes, no matter how bad it gets.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on September 27, 2009, 05:41:12 pm
I got The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry in a book sale yesterday and it is utterly brilliant. Much better than the one that won the Booker in 2008.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: redshift on September 27, 2009, 07:04:51 pm
Have recently finished Matter by Iain M Banks, which I enjoyed a lot.

Currently a hundred or so pages into the  Illuminatus Trilogy  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Illuminatus!_Trilogy).

My brain hurts already trying to maintain hold of who's who and what the feck is happening.

Judging by this quote:

"The plot meanders between the thoughts, hallucinations and inner voices (both real and imagined) of its many characters, as well as through time (past, present and future)— sometimes in mid-sentence. Much of the back story is explained via dialogue between characters, who recount unreliable, often mutually contradictory, versions of their supposed histories. There are even parts in the book in which the narrative reviews and jokingly deconstructs the work itself"

I don't think the situation is going to improve much either... ???



There are two things of which you should be aware:

1. It's fiction,

and

2. It's all completely true.

fnord

Hail Eris!   ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: nicknack on September 27, 2009, 07:35:04 pm
Just about to start "Transition", Iain Bank's latest. 

Did you like it?

I did. But then I'm not that fussy when it comes to Mr Banks - anything he does is ok by me.

Thursbitch next - thanks to whoever recommended it upthread.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Bledlow on September 27, 2009, 08:13:20 pm
Hail Eris!   ;D
All hail Discordia!

I have just re-read Clerkenwell Tales, by Peter Ackroyd.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on September 28, 2009, 01:57:35 pm
"The Trial of Henry Kissinger", by Christopher Hitchens.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: groucho on September 29, 2009, 03:48:19 pm
Just finished 'Juliet Naked' by Nick Hornby. Thank god I do not spend a lot of time on 'special interest' forums and am not obsessive about music. (Mrs g is not about!)

In a similar genre just started Stuart Maconie's 'Cider with Roadies'
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on September 29, 2009, 03:53:10 pm
Just about to start "Transition", Iain Bank's latest.  

Did you like it?

I did. But then I'm not that fussy when it comes to Mr Banks - anything he does is ok by me.


Read that on me holibobs.  Not as odd as some of his stuff but I reckon there should have been an "M" on the cover.

Edit: According to one of my Sinister Agents, it does have an "M" on the cover in USAnia.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Quisling on September 29, 2009, 08:58:40 pm
Half way through Nineteen eighty-four by George Orwell.  I've managed to avoid it until I'm 40 but it's time to catch up on my revolutionary satire.

Doubleplusgood so far.

C
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mike on September 29, 2009, 09:08:43 pm
The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science, by Richard Holmes

just finished the first section on Joseph Banks exploring the southern oceans and absolutely loved it.  William Herschel next :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on September 30, 2009, 02:39:37 am
Half way through Nineteen eighty-four by George Orwell.  I've managed to avoid it until I'm 40 but it's time to catch up on my revolutionary satire.

Doubleplusgood so far.

C

It is one of those rare books that is as good as people say. Try Huxley's Brave New World afterwards (if you haven't already), and then go back and read Zamyatin's We (the Russian science fictional satire that inspired Orwell).
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on September 30, 2009, 09:24:33 am
That's an interesting route, and it can lead onto other utopia/dystopia (it's a very blurred line) novels.  After the excellent choices above, try:

Erewhon - Samuel Butler
The Well At The World's End, The Sundering Flood or The Wood Beyond Teh World by William Morris (best to give The Earthly Paradise a miss.  It's a great work of literature, but hard going)
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Attwood
An unexpurgated version of Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift is an eye-opener
The Time Machine by HG Wells
Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
And, last, and most uplifting, News from Nowhere by William Morris again.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mike on September 30, 2009, 09:29:37 am
& then a chocolate orange. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on September 30, 2009, 10:02:45 am
Quote
And, last, and most uplifting, News from Nowhere by William Morris again

Also, 'The Dispossessed' by Ursula LeGuin
         '1985' by Anthony Burgess
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Bledlow on September 30, 2009, 12:43:07 pm
That's an interesting route, and it can lead onto other utopia/dystopia (it's a very blurred line) novels.  After the excellent choices above, try:

Erewhon - Samuel Butler
The Well At The World's End, The Sundering Flood or The Wood Beyond Teh World by William Morris (best to give The Earthly Paradise a miss.  It's a great work of literature, but hard going)
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Attwood
An unexpurgated version of Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift is an eye-opener
The Time Machine by HG Wells
Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
And, last, and most uplifting, News from Nowhere by William Morris again.
Add "Rite of Passage", by Alexei Panshin
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on September 30, 2009, 12:46:30 pm
Ooh - don't know that one.  Must seek it out.  I was a bit of a utopias geek in my teens & twenties.

There's another, slightly odd one, to seek out.

Kazohinia by Sandor Szathmary.

Wikipedia link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazohinia)

It's a bit heavy handed, but it takes Lemuel Gulliver onwards to two more societies.  He contrasts the sterility of a completely ordered society with the chaos and misery of a completely 'mad' one, which the author clearly intends as a depiction of capitalism.

Interestingly, it may have been the first novel to be written in Esperanto, though it may have been in Hungarian first.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Gatlow on September 30, 2009, 12:55:26 pm
Quote
It is one of those rare books that is as good as people say. Try Huxley's Brave New World afterwards (if you haven't already), and then go back and read Zamyatin's We (the Russian science fictional satire that inspired Orwell).

I'd forgotten about We, also try Samuel Butlers Erewhon - both splendid!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on September 30, 2009, 03:33:33 pm
Some good choices there (although personally I wouldn't bother reading Day of the Triffids again).

Le Guin has done several interesting novels on this theme, including one overt utopia - Always Coming Home - which is a beautiful book. Aldous Huxley's Island is also a brave utopian vision. On an ecological utopian theme, I would also recommend B.F. Skinner's Walden Two, and Ernest Callenbach's Ecotopia, which would still be my favourite place to live.

In a feminist vein, if you want to go beyond Atwood, you could go back to Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Herland or the slightly more recent Woman on the Edge of Time, by Marge Piercy, which has dystopia, utopia and reality all in one package.

(this is one of my favourite areas of fiction, as you might be able to tell! I used to teach a course on 'the future of cities' which started with the Tao te Ching and Plato, went through Moore, Milton, Mercier, Owen, and all those plans for future cities and visions of hell - and finished with Callenbach and Greg Egan's Diaspora, which features a kind of utopia of virtual beings. I have a soft sport for Jefferies' anti-urban utopia, After London, from 1885.)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on September 30, 2009, 03:43:34 pm
Great choices!  I forgot Piercy, though I have to say that I found Perkins Gilman's Herland boring, which was a surprise after The Yellow Wallpaper.

Island is a personal favourite book, and I am amazed I left it off the list.  It's a utopia, yes, but it shows how fragile and subjective a utopia is, and how easily it falls apart under the tensions of human desire and need.  I cried first time I read it.

I am fond of Day of the Triffids, after I read it at the same time as Plato's Republic, and realised that the different forms of society he passes through match quite closely the models Socrates proposes (and knocks down).  I wrote a quite brilliant essay at school about that, which is one of the things I am very proud of.

I haven't read Disapora, but, F_M, I shall look for it on your recommendation.

After London has a seductive premise, but loses steam part way through.  I wanted it to be more dynamic, as I had encountered Jeffries' brilliantly evocative writing about pastoral themes not as a bucolic idyll, but as an intertwining of real human events.  But sadly it fizzles out.

*reverie of London flooded* :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: rogerzilla on October 01, 2009, 08:17:01 pm
The Gate House by Nelson DeMille.  I like DeMille's other stuff - "Plum Island" is probably the best, just for having more bizarre plot twists than normal.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Quisling on October 01, 2009, 08:44:03 pm
That's an interesting route, and it can lead onto other utopia/dystopia (it's a very blurred line) novels.  After the excellent choices above, try:

Erewhon - Samuel Butler
The Well At The World's End, The Sundering Flood or The Wood Beyond Teh World by William Morris (best to give The Earthly Paradise a miss.  It's a great work of literature, but hard going)
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Attwood
An unexpurgated version of Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift is an eye-opener
The Time Machine by HG Wells
Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
And, last, and most uplifting, News from Nowhere by William Morris again.

Cheers all for the suggestions.  I'm liking the idea of these.  I'm also trying to track down a copy of Fahrenheit 451.
With respect to the Triffids that's a brilliant book (I'm a big Wyndham fan).  The dude was well ahead of his time with that one - it foresees GM crops, star wars defence systems etc.  The Chrysallids is even better.  Am also reading The Seeds of Time at the moment which has some variably good short stories.

Slightly different tack but I highly recommend Whit by Iain Banks.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on October 02, 2009, 01:03:50 pm
17:00.  Score copy of "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest" from local Sainsbury's  :)
01:30.  Finish "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest" :P
09:00.  Arrive late at work, use matchsticks to prop eyelids open :(
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Kathy on October 02, 2009, 01:35:53 pm
17:00.  Score copy of "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest" from local Sainsbury's  :)
01:30.  Finish "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest" :P
09:00.  Arrive late at work, use matchsticks to prop eyelids open :(

Still waiting for my copy. :(

Am reading Unseen Academicals instead. :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on October 02, 2009, 02:37:03 pm
17:00.  Score copy of "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest" from local Sainsbury's  :)
01:30.  Finish "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest" :P
09:00.  Arrive late at work, use matchsticks to prop eyelids open :(

Still waiting for my copy. :(

TWFKAML now lives within spitting distance of an independent bookshop, thus she got her copy on Wednesday chiz.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Bledlow on October 02, 2009, 02:54:21 pm
Finished HARM, by Brian Aldiss.

Now reading Resurrection, by some bloke called Tolstoy.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on October 02, 2009, 02:55:34 pm
...Now reading Resurrection, by some bloke called Tolstoy.

A wonderful book.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Gatlow on October 02, 2009, 03:23:07 pm
Lovely, i've got Resurrection sitting on the bookshelf awaiting some attention...

I'm very close to finishing An Evil Cradling by Brian Keenan about his time in captivity.

His description of being moved from one site to another almost caused me to have a panic attack - very very claustrophobic. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: IanDG on October 02, 2009, 03:47:31 pm
Until it's over - Nicci French

It's about a bike courier in London who gets kinda linked with a couple of murders. Not brilliant but OK
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Dinamo on October 03, 2009, 11:25:19 am
The Advocate - A Sardinian Mystery

by Marcello Fois
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on October 03, 2009, 12:23:19 pm
Just finished "A Clergyman's Daughter", by George Orwell. That man has about as dark a view of humanity as anyone I can think of.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on October 03, 2009, 10:04:05 pm
Finished HARM, by Brian Aldiss.

What did you think of it?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mr endon on October 04, 2009, 06:10:48 pm
Doris Lessing needs to be in any list of writers on utopian/dystopian themes.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Kathy on October 06, 2009, 12:56:35 pm
17:00.  Score copy of "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest" from local Sainsbury's  :)
01:30.  Finish "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest" :P
09:00.  Arrive late at work, use matchsticks to prop eyelids open :(

Still waiting for my copy. :(

TWFKAML now lives within spitting distance of an independent bookshop, thus she got her copy on Wednesday chiz.

WAAAAAH!

Mr Postman tried to deliver my copy yesterday, and left it with a neighbour.  :(

Who then wasn't home all evening. >:( :'( >:( :'( >:(

<throws little sobbing tantrum of bookless despair>
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on October 06, 2009, 04:36:37 pm
I have just finished Remembering Babylon by David Malouf, who is one of my favourite writers of short stories, but this is the first novel of his I have read. Well worth it, too, particularly if you're interested in Australia or colonialism. It makes an interesting companion piece to Alan Garner's Strandloper and I wonder if Garner read Remembering Babylon before writing his rather superb novel. There are similarities of theme, but completely different approaches, forms and styles.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Kathy on October 07, 2009, 03:38:12 pm
17:00.  Score copy of "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest" from local Sainsbury's  :)
01:30.  Finish "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest" :P
09:00.  Arrive late at work, use matchsticks to prop eyelids open :(

Still waiting for my copy. :(

TWFKAML now lives within spitting distance of an independent bookshop, thus she got her copy on Wednesday chiz.

WAAAAAH!

Mr Postman tried to deliver my copy yesterday, and left it with a neighbour.  :(

Who then wasn't home all evening. >:( :'( >:( :'( >:(

<throws little sobbing tantrum of bookless despair>

I got my copy last night!  :D

And then I was forcibly taken unto a house of boozahol where I was forced to drink BEER and partake in a quiz chiz. >:(
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Paul on October 07, 2009, 04:56:10 pm
Having been away from reading for some time, I've had a few false starts recently (The Battle for Spain being the last). However, I saw a book in Waterstones last week by Chris Cleve: The Other Hand. I like his weekly column in the Guardian's family section, so I grabbed it.

Some columnists write books like their columns. I'm thinking of Mil Millington, whose column I liked and who was guaranteed at least one sale by sticking a picture of a kind of bike on the cover; and Lucy Mangan - with whom I am deeply in love - whose book was admittedly just a collection of her columns, but none the worse for that.

This is not one of those books. It is not like the contents of his usual column at all. No Sir. But it does seem to have carried me over the tricky (for me) first 100 pages. I might be about to finish a book, which hasn't happened to me in about 6 years.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on October 07, 2009, 05:00:47 pm
I'm now reading You Don't Love Me Yet by Jonathan Lethem. It is really a bit disposable by his standards, hardly of the level of Motherless Brooklyn or The Fortress of Solitude, but it's fun and gently pokes fun at US arts culture (particularly in LA) and the self-regarding indie music scene... next up will be Joseph Boyden's Through Black Spruce, the follow-up to the brilliant Three Day Road, which I mentioned a few pages back.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on October 08, 2009, 10:30:55 am
Just started re-reading Jon Courtenay Grimwood's Arabesk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabesk_trilogy) trilogy.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on October 08, 2009, 08:29:35 pm
Just started re-reading Jon Courtenay Grimwood's Arabesk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabesk_trilogy) trilogy.

Easily his best work so far IMHO, and very good fun. I thought his earlier stuff was a bit too over-interested in weapons and had sketches for plots rather than real plots
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on October 08, 2009, 09:06:01 pm
I've just read Terry Pratchett's latest, which is... OK.  It's more of a continuation of the series than a book in its own right, and the new characters don't add much.  There's some wonderful, laugh-out-loud riffage on the subject of football managers and the psychobabble which surrounds the game.

I'm just about to embark on The Big Book of Pulps, a 1000-page collection of crime stories from the twenties, thirties and forties.  Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Cornell Woolrick, James M. Cain, oh my.  All for £1.99 at one of those publisher's outlet places :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on October 08, 2009, 11:17:34 pm
Just started re-reading Jon Courtenay Grimwood's Arabesk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabesk_trilogy) trilogy.

Those were very good.  I made a false start with "Transition" and put it to one side while I re-read Tim Powers excellent "Declare". I must look up some of his other stuff. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on October 09, 2009, 01:35:59 am
Tim Powers excellent "Declare". I must look up some of his other stuff. 

The Anubis Gates
is one of my favourite ever SF novels (or perhaps it's urban fantasy...) - by turns ridiculous, literary, zany and really quite beautiful, it has time-travel, magic, gypsies and Samuel Taylor Coleridge in a dirty, dangerous London... what more could you want?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on October 09, 2009, 09:26:36 am
I'm reading a fun little book that Butterfly persuaded me to buy at Stanfords (http://www.stanfords.co.uk/info/company-history,14,GP.html) in London on saturday.

It's Byways, Boots & Blisters by Bill Laws (http://www.booktopia.com.au/byways-boots-blisters/prod9780750945929.html#).  It's a personal selection of the history of walking as a pastime, a sport, and a political force.  But it's very light-hearted, and great for dipping into.  A good 'bathroom book', though I'm reading it through.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on October 09, 2009, 10:15:45 am
Just started re-reading Jon Courtenay Grimwood's Arabesk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabesk_trilogy) trilogy.

Easily his best work so far IMHO, and very good fun. I thought his earlier stuff was a bit too over-interested in weapons and had sketches for plots rather than real plots

I en't read any of his other stuff; I got given Felaheen as a birthday present coz TWFKAML had seen it given a good review somewhere, and only after the first Several of confusing chapters did I discover that:

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: alan on October 09, 2009, 05:36:25 pm
My recently acquired AUK member's Handbook  :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on October 09, 2009, 05:41:21 pm
I finished reading Ruth Rendell's 'Shake Hands Forever' today.  I found it on the shelves at work.  I don't normally read crime ficiton, but I know a few people who do, and it's a Wexford, which are supposed to be good, so...

It was light & fluffy, and a bit dated, which is fine, cause it was written in the 70s, and I'm a retro kinda guy.  The story was quite well written, though one of the subplots was ridiculous.  The tension ramped up OK until the last 30pages, when it just got to 'oh, let's finish it anyway'.  The twist at the end was very neat, but really deeply deeply implausible, and ill-thought out, which was a shame.  I'd started expecting very little, but the early part of the book made me hope for much more. :-\
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on October 09, 2009, 07:46:36 pm
"Fat Land", by Greg Critser. An excellent description of how the US acquired it's obesity problem, and an explanation of why the UK is following right behind.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Really Ancien on October 10, 2009, 05:28:49 pm
'Chainsaws a History', almost the archetypal blokey book, except in our house, where Heather will be wanting a look at it.

Damon.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wowbagger on October 13, 2009, 08:52:18 pm
"The Upside of Down" by Thomas Homer-Dixon.

It's a treatise on the coming calamities: climate change, peak oil, food shortages, riots - all that sort of reassuring stuff. He draws a parallel between the state of the modern world with that of ancient Rome. I particularly like the calculation he does regarding the amount of energy required to build the Coliseum.

Later in the book (I'm just short of half-way through) he describes ways in which we, as a species, might survive the onslaught of these calamities.

Eminently readable - considering it was considered essential reading for my son's PhD.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on October 13, 2009, 11:39:21 pm
I've just finished Hemingway's Green Hills of Africa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Hills_of_Africa), which I rather enjoyed. I don't have any interest in hunting wild animals, but Hemingway's descriptions of the hunts, and Tanzania in general, is very evocative.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Really Ancien on October 13, 2009, 11:53:31 pm
That reminds me of 'The Weather in Africa' three novellas by Martha Gellhorn, who was married to Hemingway at one time. I shall reread it I think. She had a beautiful style.

Damon.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on October 14, 2009, 10:56:02 am
I've just reread The World Inside by Robert Silverberg, which is minor but interesting early 70s eco-disaster / overpopulation SF. It's a bit too earnest to match the intensity of Harry Harrison's Make Room, Make Room! (AKA Soylent Green, for film fans) and isn't up to the quality of John Brunner's Stand on Zanzibar, but it's interesting none the less. It seems quite influenced by Huxley's Brave New World, but I am not sure if that is deliberate or not.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on October 22, 2009, 10:00:06 am
I'm still working my way through Cryptonomicon, which is a bit of a beast of a book at >900 pages........
I've finally struggled my way to the end of Cryptonomicon. The first two-thirds of the book were good, but I got bored by the rambling nature of the book by the end and just wanted it to finish. Not a ringing endorsement for the book.

I'm now reading Daisy Miller by Henry James.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on October 22, 2009, 10:24:05 am
I realised the other day that my son is now the same age I was when I first read The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole, so I dug out my well-thumbed old copy and gave it to him to read.

I was concerned it might seem a bit dated now, but not a bit of it. And he absolutely loves it. It's the first time in a while he has had a book that he has chosen to pick up and read rather than do something else, like watch telly or talk to girls on facebook.

I also had a look at it myself - for the first time, I think, since I became a parent, and there's lots in it that you probably only get as a parent. I've never really thought about it this way before, but I now realise it is essential reading for any young person reaching that time of their life when the hormones are starting to kick in and wreak havoc. Totally and utterly brilliant.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on October 22, 2009, 02:46:14 pm
I'm still working my way through Cryptonomicon, which is a bit of a beast of a book at >900 pages........
I've finally struggled my way to the end of Cryptonomicon. The first two-thirds of the book were good, but I got bored by the rambling nature of the book by the end and just wanted it to finish. Not a ringing endorsement for the book.

Don't read his Baroque Trilogy then...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Frenchie on October 22, 2009, 03:44:33 pm
Chuck Yeager's biography. Light enough and very 'merican.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on October 23, 2009, 12:35:55 pm
The Hell Of It All ~ Charlie Brooker

I'm utterly ignorant concerning 95% of the TV programmes he writes about, and his descriptions thereof mean that this will probably continue to be the case.

He's spot-on about David Attenborough and Oliver Postgate too.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on October 23, 2009, 12:40:33 pm
He's spot-on about David Attenborough and Oliver Postgate too.

His brilliant obit of Oliver Postgate on Screen Wipe moved me to tears.

From the sound of it, I must get that book.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: cyclone on October 23, 2009, 12:56:15 pm
Finished in the past week, "In search of Robert Millar" and Wiggos book.. Now re-reading Nick Cave's "And the ass saw the Angel" - probably the most difficult book I've read (more like Southern Poetry...) then I'll attack the "Death of Bunny Munroe" (which at first glance doesnt seem as good...)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on October 23, 2009, 01:21:29 pm
He's spot-on about David Attenborough and Oliver Postgate too.

His brilliant obit of Oliver Postgate on Screen Wipe moved me to tears.

From the sound of it, I must get that book.

d.


You can probably still read 99% of it on the Grauniad's webby SCIENCE, but books are, well, Better.  £7.99 from Sainsbury's.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: TheLurker on October 23, 2009, 01:26:45 pm
Just finished my annual fix of Pratchett - Unseen Academicals.
He still seems to be on form.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Arno on October 23, 2009, 01:30:20 pm
"The Upside of Down" by Thomas Homer-Dixon.

It's a treatise on the coming calamities: climate change, peak oil, food shortages, riots - all that sort of reassuring stuff. He draws a parallel between the state of the modern world with that of ancient Rome. I particularly like the calculation he does regarding the amount of energy required to build the Coliseum.

Later in the book (I'm just short of half-way through) he describes ways in which we, as a species, might survive the onslaught of these calamities.

Eminently readable - considering it was considered essential reading for my son's PhD.

Not unlike 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond then. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collapse_%28book%29


Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: geoff on October 23, 2009, 01:46:23 pm
Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton. Another largely Oxford-set, children's novel with elements of fantasy. It's romping along at the moment...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on October 23, 2009, 02:40:04 pm
Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton. Another largely Oxford-set, children's novel with elements of fantasy. It's romping along at the moment...

IRTA "Edmonton Spring" and wondered why anyone would set a book in what Mr. Sunshine refers to as "The Death of The Soul" :D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on October 23, 2009, 02:48:37 pm
I'm reading a fun little book that Butterfly persuaded me to buy at Stanfords (http://www.stanfords.co.uk/info/company-history,14,GP.html) in London on saturday.

It's Byways, Boots & Blisters by Bill Laws (http://www.booktopia.com.au/byways-boots-blisters/prod9780750945929.html#).  It's a personal selection of the history of walking as a pastime, a sport, and a political force.  But it's very light-hearted, and great for dipping into.  A good 'bathroom book', though I'm reading it through.

Just finished.  Really interesting (boot poorly proofread - an increasing trend, IME :( ).

I could have done with less about the poets, and more about Benny Rothman, GHB Ward etc, but that may have been a different book.  I'd have liked a bit more about equipment over the years, too.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on October 24, 2009, 02:13:11 am
"Annapurna", by Maurice Herzog. As the title suggests, the book describes the first ascent of Annapurna in 1950 by a French expedition. Right now I've just finished the part where they realize that their maps are inaccurate, and Dhaulagiri is well beyond their capabilities, so they've decided to find Annapurna and climb it.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: fungus on October 24, 2009, 12:59:38 pm
Fallen angel (The passion of Fausto Coppi)

By
William Fotheringham
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: David Martin on October 24, 2009, 06:27:50 pm
a history of western philosophy - Bertrand Russell
Slow going
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Frenchie on October 24, 2009, 06:31:07 pm
"Annapurna", by Maurice Herzog. As the title suggests, the book describes the first ascent of Annapurna in 1950 by a French expedition. Right now I've just finished the part where they realize that their maps are inaccurate, and Dhaulagiri is well beyond their capabilities, so they've decided to find Annapurna and climb it.

Sounds like a possible future read for me.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on October 24, 2009, 10:00:29 pm
a history of western philosophy - Bertrand Russell
Slow going

But fantastic.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on October 26, 2009, 08:18:58 pm
I've just finished The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan, which is bizarre and nightmarish, but compelling.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: geraldc on October 27, 2009, 12:05:46 am
I'm working my way through Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels.

Awesomely violent. Makes Jack Bauer from 24 look like a little girl.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on October 27, 2009, 11:32:15 am
Being incredibly anal and scouring twenty year old motorcar wank mags for information concerning the genesis of the Lamborghini V12.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Really Ancien on October 27, 2009, 01:16:33 pm
Being incredibly anal and scouring twenty year old motorcar wank mags for information concerning the genesis of the Lamborghini V12.

I saw a Lambo cyclinder head stripped down in a motor engineers in Canterbury once, I was picking up a mate's BSA Thunderbolt head after a Helicoil job on a stripped spark plug thread. The surprising thing was that the inlet ports were between the twin cams, so as to give a lot of downdraught. This Youtube video of a rebuilt engines shows that.
YouTube - Lamborghini Espada S3 V12 Engine Reborn (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47LNMZ1CA_g)
I'm reading 'Holidays in Hell' by P.J. O'Rourke. Interesting to see the gonzo style of journalism evolve in the mid 80's and to see which of the world's trouble spots are still active. It's funny as well.

Damon.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: onb on October 28, 2009, 09:45:35 am
Saturday by Ian McEwan.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: David Martin on October 28, 2009, 09:47:57 am
a history of western philosophy - Bertrand Russell
Slow going

But fantastic.

Not really a history bokok, more of a 'Russels opinion on western philosophy'

..d
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on October 28, 2009, 10:58:50 am
a history of western philosophy - Bertrand Russell
Slow going

But fantastic.

Not really a history bokok, more of a 'Russels opinion on western philosophy'

..d

Which is what makes it all the better :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Spinners on November 01, 2009, 05:48:17 am
Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt

After finishing the book I took away on holiday I found this in our holiday cottage and blasted my way through half of it in a day before having to leave it behind. I found it riveting so it's off to the library on Monday...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on November 02, 2009, 08:59:21 am
Just finished reading 'A Quiet Flame' by Philip Kerr. Yet again, brilliant writing, great black humour and an opportunity to learn about aspects of WW2 that are not talked about very much.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Quisling on November 03, 2009, 07:39:01 pm
Non-violence.The history of a dangerous idea, by Mark Kurlansky.

Excellent stuff.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: RW on November 03, 2009, 11:07:07 pm
The Trouble with Spain - Martin Lloyd

A book about riding a bike around Spain, which I've become increasingly bored with.  I didn't buy it, Polly picked it up from Mannings Heath Village Hall, where they have a book lending scheme. 

I've nearly finished it and quite frankly I don't give a damn if he gets back over the Pyrenees or not.  (He will though - he's written the book) and I'm certainly not interested in whether he gets dinner in a Spanish hotel and  I'm hugely irritated by his smug cleverness.

Here's a quote

"But I suspect that you are all wondering about breakfast, aren't you.

I shal not say a word about breakfast.  That would be to trivialise my achievements."

and another -
"I remind them that I travel alone because nobody will cycle with me anymore....."

I wonder why
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on November 04, 2009, 03:07:17 am
I am now burying myself in permaculture and gardening books, in preparation for next year... currently going through one of my favourites: my old teacher, Patrick Whitefield's How to Make a Forest Garden (which is exactly what I plant to do). Great stuff.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andygates on November 04, 2009, 06:51:48 am
The incredibly bad Majestic, by Whitley Streiber.  I've discovered that if you read if with Johnny Depp's Fear and Loathing voice as the narrator's, it's a lot of fun.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on November 04, 2009, 01:16:53 pm
I'm really excited by a book I've found on the shelves at work.

Our Street by Jan Petersen (7Seas).  No cover, which is how I'd missed it before, and it's quite fragile, as it's published in 1960, and not awfully well bound.  But that's aside.

It's the true story of a single street in Berlin-Charlottenburg, and their resistance to the coming of the Nazis.  I'm afraid I'd never heard of the book or the author before, but it promises to be a gripping read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tim Hall on November 07, 2009, 01:27:48 pm
Part one of my Dad's autobiography.  He's been writing this gradually over the past few years and has finally got part one (birth to moving to where he lives now) done.   Printed off and bound, a copy to each member of the family.

Gulp.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on November 07, 2009, 08:49:21 pm
Just finished Nazi Nexus, by Edwin Black. It's a disturbing account of how various big American corporations (General Motors, IBM, Ford Motor Company and others) did business with Nazi Germany before and during WWII, raking in enormous profits while enabling Adolf Hitler to carry out his plans.

I'm now part way into The Cyclist's Manifesto, which is far more enjoyable reading.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Quisling on November 07, 2009, 10:41:15 pm
Just finished Nazi Nexus, by Edwin Black. It's a disturbing account of how various big American corporations (General Motors, IBM, Ford Motor Company and others) did business with Nazi Germany before and during WWII, raking in enormous profits while enabling Adolf Hitler to carry out his plans.


Interesting, this gets a mention in the book I'm reading "Non-violence.The history of a dangerous idea", by Mark Kurlansky
Clearly it was helpful to the Allies (prior to the Nazi's signing the non-agression pact with Stalin) to support the Nazi's since fascism was preferable to communism.  Suprising how quick friends become enemies - especially if you've sold them arms.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mrs Pingu on November 07, 2009, 10:57:52 pm
Canal Dreams by Iain Banks.
Much better than his newer stuff. Gory, bloody, violent and with a great balsy female protagonist. The way he used to write them back then. :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Rhys W on November 08, 2009, 12:08:44 am
I liked Iain Banks's stuff, The Bridge is my fave I think (ripped off by Irvine Welsh in The Marabou Stork Nightmares imo). I've got a big black and white section of my bookshelf!

Currently for me it's "What I Saw At Bethesda", an account of the "Streic Fawr", the quarrymen's strike at the turn of the last century.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on November 08, 2009, 02:13:45 am
Just finished Nazi Nexus, by Edwin Black. It's a disturbing account of how various big American corporations (General Motors, IBM, Ford Motor Company and others) did business with Nazi Germany before and during WWII, raking in enormous profits while enabling Adolf Hitler to carry out his plans.

Interesting, this gets a mention in the book I'm reading "Non-violence.The history of a dangerous idea", by Mark Kurlansky
Clearly it was helpful to the Allies (prior to the Nazi's signing the non-agression pact with Stalin) to support the Nazi's since fascism was preferable to communism.  Suprising how quick friends become enemies - especially if you've sold them arms.


That's not the impression I got from "Nazi Nexus". In spite of the strong isolationist and anti-Communist feelings prevalent in the US, the Roosevelt administration seems to have figured out very quickly that A. Hitler & Co. were very bad news indeed for the rest of the world. The book cites a New York Times article from 1933 calling Hitler a menace to the rest of the world, and claims that by 1934 the US War Department was expressing misgivings about selling any technology wiith military applications to the Germans. My impression from reading Edwin Black's books is that Charles Watson (IBM) and Alfred Sloan (GM) would have jumped at a chance to do business with Stalin, Hitler and the Allies simultaneously, before or after the German-Soviet non-aggression pact was signed. As it is, both men and their corporations did a pretty good job of making money off the Allies and the Nazis simultaneously, throughout WWII.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Quisling on November 08, 2009, 07:47:01 pm
Mark - thanks for the wider point of view - useful to know.

I've finshed Non-violence (rather appropriate today) and moved onto "Big Business - Poor Peoples" by John Madeley.  It's ten years old so possibly a slightly out of date view of the impact of multi-national companies, though sadly probably still highly relevant.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Rig of Jarkness on November 08, 2009, 09:16:12 pm
I'm reading A Thousand Splendid Suns from the chap who wrote The Kite Runner.  Very harrowing but utterly compelling.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on November 08, 2009, 09:29:13 pm
I've just finished Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which I hadn't before read. It's bonkers. Totally bonkers, but brilliant. It's great to read the original references to things such as The White Rabbit, The Mad Hatter etc. It's time I listened again to Jefferson Airplane singing White Rabbit.

I've now started Paul Theroux's The Kingdom by the Sea.


Saturday by Ian McEwan.
Of the McEwan books I've read (The Cement Factory, Atonement, On Chesil Beach and Amsterdam), Saturday is my favourite. I thought it was beautiful written and I was amazed how the story could captivate me so much.


I'm reading A Thousand Splendid Suns from the chap who wrote The Kite Runner.  Very harrowing but utterly compelling.
Yes, very harrowing.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: RJ on November 08, 2009, 10:19:59 pm
I'm reading A Thousand Splendid Suns from the chap who wrote The Kite Runner.  Very harrowing but utterly compelling.
Yes, very harrowing.

And Dr RJ (having read both) doesn't understand why I don't want to read either  ::-)

I've got Bacon's Essays next to the bed - unread since it was on my Eng Lit undergraduate reading list, but now quite enjoyable, an essay at a time.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on November 09, 2009, 01:04:34 pm
The Men Who Stare At Goats ~ Jon Ronson.

I've read something very similar to the first chapter - in which General Stubblebine tries and fails to walk through his office wall - somewhere else recently and I can't remember where and it's driving me maaaaaaaaaaaaaad!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: rower40 on November 09, 2009, 02:08:33 pm
Branch Line Britain, by Paul Atterbury.

(Birthday present)

For someone at the rockface of the cutting edge in the firing line of the decline of Britain's Railways, this is nostalgic in the extreme.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on November 09, 2009, 02:51:20 pm
The Men Who Stare At Goats ~ Jon Ronson.

I've read something very similar to the first chapter - in which General Stubblebine tries and fails to walk through his office wall - somewhere else recently and I can't remember where and it's driving me maaaaaaaaaaaaaad!

There was a load of excerpts etc. published on The Guardian website recently because of the film release....and also a couple of years back in the magazine. Could have been there?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mattc on November 09, 2009, 04:00:14 pm
I liked Iain Banks's stuff, The Bridge is my fave I think (ripped off by Irvine Welsh in The Marabou Stork Nightmares imo). I've got a big black and white section of my bookshelf!
I think Iain M Banks is the forum's unofficial favourite author. Doesn't get so many mentions without the M, but that's how I prefer him.

Wasp Factory, Complicity, Crow Road, Espedair St would be my top ...err... 4

(or Player of Games WITH the 'M' )

Song of Stone was deeply depressing, with no redeeming features
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on November 09, 2009, 04:24:26 pm
I think Iain M Banks is the forum's unofficial favourite author. Doesn't get so many mentions without the M, but that's how I prefer him.

I've never read any with the M. Don't know why, just never fancied any of them, even though I liked those of his non-M books that I've read.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on November 10, 2009, 12:27:51 am
The Men Who Stare At Goats ~ Jon Ronson.

I've read something very similar to the first chapter - in which General Stubblebine tries and fails to walk through his office wall - somewhere else recently and I can't remember where and it's driving me maaaaaaaaaaaaaad!

I read this ages ago, I loved it! Especially about that mass gathering of all the political heavyweights - was it Bildenberg? Cannot remember. Jon Ronson is fab.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on November 10, 2009, 10:23:50 am
The Men Who Stare At Goats ~ Jon Ronson.

I've read something very similar to the first chapter - in which General Stubblebine tries and fails to walk through his office wall - somewhere else recently and I can't remember where and it's driving me maaaaaaaaaaaaaad!

There was a load of excerpts etc. published on The Guardian website recently because of the film release....and also a couple of years back in the magazine. Could have been there?

This was definitely in a book.  It may have been in Simon Schama's "The American Future", but the General doesn't get a mention in the index...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on November 10, 2009, 12:55:32 pm
I liked Iain Banks's stuff, The Bridge is my fave I think (ripped off by Irvine Welsh in The Marabou Stork Nightmares imo). I've got a big black and white section of my bookshelf!
I think Iain M Banks is the forum's unofficial favourite author. Doesn't get so many mentions without the M, but that's how I prefer him.

Wasp Factory, Complicity, Crow Road, Espedair St would be my top ...err... 4

(or Player of Games WITH the 'M' )

Song of Stone was deeply depressing, with no redeeming features

Totally agree, Song of Stone was terrible, I think its the only book that I have failed to get through and has put me off Iain Banks for a very long time or until someone can reassure me that he has written better ones since?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Nuncio on November 10, 2009, 09:35:23 pm
I read this ages ago, I loved it! Especially about that mass gathering of all the political heavyweights - was it Bildenberg? Cannot remember. Jon Ronson is fab.

That was in his 'Them - Adventures with Extremists'.  It had chapters on KKK, The Tottenham Ayatollah, David Icke, Ian Paisley, through to Bilderburg.  Very entertaining.  Very fab.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on November 11, 2009, 12:03:42 am
I read this ages ago, I loved it! Especially about that mass gathering of all the political heavyweights - was it Bildenberg? Cannot remember. Jon Ronson is fab.

That was in his 'Them - Adventures with Extremists'.  It had chapters on KKK, The Tottenham Ayatollah, David Icke, Ian Paisley, through to Bilderburg.  Very entertaining.  Very fab.

Thank you so much! The chapter about Ian Paisley was extremely entertaining.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Eccentrica Gallumbits on November 11, 2009, 10:47:15 pm
I'm working my way through Stella Duffy's Saz Martin novels.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on November 12, 2009, 02:38:54 am
I am becoming unusually non-fictional. I am just working my way through Trees of Ontario, Wildflowers of Ontario and Edible and Medicinal Plants of Canada... along side my permaculture books.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on November 12, 2009, 09:40:31 am
Are YOU Dave Gorman? ~ Dave Gorman & Danny Wallace

Utterly bonkers in a gentle and restrained sort of way.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on November 12, 2009, 12:39:56 pm
Are YOU Dave Gorman? ~ Dave Gorman & Danny Wallace

Utterly bonkers in a gentle and restrained sort of way.

I loved  this - I heard good things about the tour as well. 'Googlewhack' by Dave Gorman is also very good.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on November 12, 2009, 02:19:30 pm
Are YOU Dave Gorman? ~ Dave Gorman & Danny Wallace

Utterly bonkers in a gentle and restrained sort of way.

I loved  this - I heard good things about the tour as well. 'Googlewhack' by Dave Gorman is also very good.

That's next on the list :)  I can also recommend his America Unchained.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wascally Weasel on November 12, 2009, 03:00:33 pm
'Red File for Callan' which I found on a second hand bookstall yesterday.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on November 12, 2009, 04:24:51 pm
Are YOU Dave Gorman? ~ Dave Gorman & Danny Wallace

Utterly bonkers in a gentle and restrained sort of way.

I loved  this - I heard good things about the tour as well. 'Googlewhack' by Dave Gorman is also very good.

That's next on the list :)  I can also recommend his America Unchained.

Ooh thanks!

Just started 'The Gargoyle' by Andrew Davidson. It's a Richard and Judy recommendation, and so far their book club has contained some stunning reads.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Riggers on November 12, 2009, 04:32:49 pm
Just taken delivery via Amazon (2nd hand) of Cycling home from Siberia by Rob Lilwall. Not sure this qualifies as I haven't actually started reading it. Flicked through the pages quickly and looked at some of the pics, so maybe that counts!?

Cycling home from Siberia (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cycling-Home-Siberia-Rob-Lilwall/dp/034097981X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1258043483&sr=1-1)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Eccentrica Gallumbits on November 13, 2009, 08:40:39 pm
Are YOU Dave Gorman? ~ Dave Gorman & Danny Wallace

Utterly bonkers in a gentle and restrained sort of way.

I loved  this - I heard good things about the tour as well. 'Googlewhack' by Dave Gorman is also very good.

That's next on the list :)  I can also recommend his America Unchained.

I laughed so hard at the Googlewhack show I had to use my inhaler. Some of Danny Wallace's books are good too - I liked Join Me and Friends Like These, but wasn't so keen on Yes Man.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on November 23, 2009, 02:30:57 pm
Right just got back from the local library (Lewisham libraries are fab btw) and next on my list are:

'Charlotte Church - Keep Smiling - The Autobiography'
'Our Betty - Scenes from my life' - Liz Smith (the front cover is fantastic)
'The Nightwatch' - Sarah Waters
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Rig of Jarkness on November 23, 2009, 06:25:40 pm
Just finished The House at Riverton by Kate Morton - thoroughly enjoyed it  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Zoidburg on November 23, 2009, 06:29:14 pm
I just finished re-reading "I Am Legend".
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on November 23, 2009, 07:38:43 pm
Have just finished:

Admirals (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Admirals-Andrew-D-Lambert/dp/0571231578/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1259004756&sr=1-1) Andrew Lambert

It details the biography and careers of the British admirals he thinks were the greatest from the time of Henry VIII onwards (basically since the beginning of the Royal Navy). Each admiral gets a chapter of their own and we learn about the changing nature of the job and the interaction between the Navy and politicians. A fascinating book and an in sight into the use of the Royal Navy as an instrument of Empire for over 200 years. Some of the men featured I had never heard of (I'm not much of a navel historian) and Nelson isn't included as he is assumed to be in a different league to all British Admirals before or since.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on November 23, 2009, 09:16:07 pm
Just finished The House at Riverton by Kate Morton - thoroughly enjoyed it  :thumbsup:

Fantastic book  :thumbsup: I would recommend Kate Atkinson's books.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on November 24, 2009, 03:36:04 am
Occupied City by David Peace. The second of his Tokyo trilogy, the dense, repetitive writing and tricky structure makes this one a bit harder to get into than the grimy, atmospheric Tokyo Year Zero, but once you are in, it doesn't let up. I have a feeling this guy may be one of the most talented English writers currently working. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on November 24, 2009, 10:46:47 am
I just finished re-reading "I Am Legend".

I just finished "I Am Ozzy",  Even scarier ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Pip on November 24, 2009, 01:37:20 pm
Just finished Julian Barnes' 'History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters'.

Didn't enjoy it  :(

However, previous book was Wilkie Collins' ' The Woman in White' which was fab  :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: nobby on November 24, 2009, 03:39:18 pm
My 1908 copy of The Campers Handbook by TH Holding has arrived today  :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on November 24, 2009, 03:41:18 pm
Great - so we can find what type of caravan he used, and whether he had a hook-up and a satellite dish ;)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: nobby on November 24, 2009, 04:56:13 pm
Great - so we can find what type of caravan he used, and whether he had a hook-up and a satellite dish ;)
A quick glimp at the pics reveals a caravan; horse drawn. I'd like to do that. There's a bloke near here goes off into the Cotswolds every year with his horse drawn van, lurcher and chickens. He's away about four months on the round trip. Trices are cheaper than a good 'oss though  ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: IanDG on November 24, 2009, 11:03:28 pm
Just finished 'The girl with the Dragon Tattoo' realise what the fuss on here's about, it's a long time since I read over 500 pages in 10 days
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on November 25, 2009, 10:03:10 am
Just finished 'The girl with the Dragon Tattoo' realise what the fuss on here's about, it's a long time since I read over 500 pages in 10 days

My mother-in-law is on the final book in the trilogy, she has thoroughly enjoyed them.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Moondog on November 25, 2009, 07:27:18 pm
Just finished reading 'A Quiet Flame' by Philip Kerr. Yet again, brilliant writing, great black humour and an opportunity to learn about aspects of WW2 that are not talked about very much.

That is the next book in line.I have just finished the earlier instalment of Bernie's post war career.

Currently reading the latest Harry Hole (alcoholic,obstreperous,stubbon bastard  of an Oslo Police detective) by Jo Nesbo......    Nemesis. I really enjoy this series.

n
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Rhys W on November 25, 2009, 08:32:09 pm
I'm really enjoying "In Search of Schrodinger's Cat" by John Gribbin at the moment. It's made me realise how much I enjoyed physics (I did a PhD in it), especially the exciting developments around the start of the 20th century. All those evocative names - Rutherford, Bohr, Boltzmann, Planck, Einstein, Dirac...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on November 25, 2009, 08:53:04 pm
(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on November 26, 2009, 10:26:12 am
Last Rituals ~ Yrsa Sigurðardóttir

Not, I hasten to add, in the original Icelandic.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on November 26, 2009, 10:38:06 am
Wuss.*





* Icelandic for wuss ;)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: TheLurker on November 26, 2009, 10:55:28 am
Ermm. This one: click (http://www.malliaris.gr/books/book.asp?id=85.1017).
Very slowly.  Despite the target age range being some 40 years younger than me. :-[


 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Zoidburg on November 26, 2009, 04:49:49 pm
The Diamond Age - Neal Stephenson
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on November 26, 2009, 05:50:50 pm
Just started reading 'The Journal of Dora Damage' by Belinda Starling.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on November 27, 2009, 03:36:15 am
"The Chaco Meridian", by Stephen Lekson. A description of Chaco, a city/power center that existed in the southwestern US before the Pueblo Indians whose influence extended as far as Central America. The title is taken from the claim that the rulers of this city migrated between 3 points in New Mexico and Mexico during their history, with all 3 points being located along the same north-south meridian. As a literary effort the book is nothing great, but I'm sufficiently intrigued by the concept to want to visit Chaco Canyon next spring.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wascally Weasel on November 27, 2009, 04:08:49 pm
The Diamond Age - Neal Stephenson

I love that one.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on November 27, 2009, 07:14:29 pm
The Diamond Age - Neal Stephenson

I love that one.

It's my favourite of his novels by far.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Pedaldog on November 30, 2009, 10:18:41 pm
Thief of time - Terry Pratchett.   For is it not written that he does good stuff?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on November 30, 2009, 10:21:33 pm
Finally finished Mark Beaumont's book.  It is terrifically dull, although something happens on about p370.

Now reading Merrie England by Nunquam (Robert Blatchford, editor of the Clarion).  Should reinforce my socialist principles ;)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on December 02, 2009, 03:28:08 pm
The Business ~ Iain Banks
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on December 02, 2009, 09:05:30 pm
The Business ~ Iain Banks

Enjoyed that one immensely  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Bledlow on December 02, 2009, 09:36:01 pm
London - A Biography
Peter Ackroyd
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: redshift on December 02, 2009, 09:44:17 pm
Too Big To Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin - the New York Times' Mergers and Acquisitions man on the subject of last year's bank crash.  I caught an hour-long interview with him on CNBC, and thought it might be worth reading, so bought it on spec.  It's a hefty tome, even in paperback, but so far it's good reading.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: scott on December 03, 2009, 02:39:09 am

The bonehunters' revenge : dinosaurs, greed, and the greatest scientific feud of the gilded age / David Rains Wallace (http://lccn.loc.gov/99031904)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on December 03, 2009, 03:18:56 pm
I am reading I Am a Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstadter. Considering he wrote the brilliant Goedel, Escher, Bach, this is a pretty pedestrian book with little in the way of new insight and his folksy style starts to grate rather than illuminate...

Instead I would recommend The Ego Tunnel by Thomas Metzinger, for anyone who wants a really good work on the new philosophy and science of self.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Moondog on December 03, 2009, 07:40:04 pm
Flashfire.    The Violent World of Parker (http://www.violentworldofparker.com)

Heroic. :)

n
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: IanDG on December 04, 2009, 12:41:59 am
The Bodies Left Behind -  Jeffrey Deaver
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Rig of Jarkness on December 04, 2009, 06:34:54 pm
Just finished Guernica by Dave Boling.  Not bad, but not as good as Captain Correlli. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Bledlow on December 04, 2009, 08:42:01 pm
Lustrum - Robert Harris
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on December 09, 2009, 05:06:37 pm
I'm really excited by a book I've found on the shelves at work.

Our Street by Jan Petersen (7Seas).  No cover, which is how I'd missed it before, and it's quite fragile, as it's published in 1960, and not awfully well bound.  But that's aside.

It's the true story of a single street in Berlin-Charlottenburg, and their resistance to the coming of the Nazis.  I'm afraid I'd never heard of the book or the author before, but it promises to be a gripping read.

That took me rather longer than expected to complete!

But I'm there now.  What a harrowing read.  I think some of it has been 'recreated', but the basis of the book is a chronicle made by the author of how the Nazis consolidated their power, closed down opposition, and put an entire population in fear of speaking out.  Almost.

The last scene, of a funeral, is still uplifting and terrifying at the same time.  

A brilliant portrayal of the human spirit.  And, since it was published before the second world war, it is another reason why we had no excuse to say we didn't know what was happening.  Concentration camps for communist prisoners are mentioned almost in passing, though the details are frighteningly real.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: RJ on December 09, 2009, 09:19:03 pm
clarion - do you know if that book's in print?  Ta, RJ.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on December 09, 2009, 09:30:48 pm
No idea.  I know it was published in German & English in about 1937, and the edition I found was Seven Seas Press (an E. German English Language imprint) from the late 70s.

I have never seen it before in my life.

EDIT:  Here's a link to Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0571254209/ref=asc_df_0571254209506366/?tag=panghotbot03-21&creative=7966&creativeASIN=0571254209&linkCode=asn)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Eccentrica Gallumbits on December 09, 2009, 09:32:50 pm
The new Stephen King - Under The Dome. Quite enjoying it. I haven't liked his more recent works, but he's getting back on form with this one.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: nightrider on December 10, 2009, 08:24:42 am
New York.The history of one of the worlds greatest cities.From the day of Dutch control to the present day.Written by Edward Rutherford.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on December 10, 2009, 09:34:43 am
Just started 'The Girls' by Tori Lansens (another on the Richard and Judy's bookclub).
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Eccentrica Gallumbits on December 10, 2009, 08:17:26 pm
Oh, I read that last summer and really enjoyed it.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on December 11, 2009, 04:21:41 pm
Re-reading Ursula Le Guin's gentle anthropological utopian novel, Always Coming Home. It's calm, beautiful, comfortable... and just a little bit boring  - the big problem with all utopias. Still, I would love to live in her world.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on December 11, 2009, 04:47:57 pm
Currently reading

The Toymaker by Jeremy de Quidt (David Fickling Books)

It's another one I found on the shelves at work, and is a Galley Proof.  But I checked, and it was actually published.

It's pitched quite interestingly somewhere between teen & adult novel, and written in a storytelling style, all intimacies & teasing, intractable situations and impending menace.

The setting is a bit arch, being a sort of central European gothic, with travelling shows, wolf-ridden forests, deep snows, inns filled with shady characters etc.

It gets a bit implausible, but it is quite a page turner, and a well-told story.  I'm a wee bit over half way through - I'll report back when I'm done.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andygates on December 11, 2009, 07:29:21 pm
Kim Stanley Robinson's Forty Signs of Rain.  If there's an epiphany in a hot tub, I'm going to get shirty.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on December 12, 2009, 03:30:48 am
Kim Stanley Robinson's Forty Signs of Rain.  If there's an epiphany in a hot tub, I'm going to get shirty.

heh heh -not that I can recall, but I can't say that it's either his strongest or most memorable book.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mike on December 12, 2009, 07:44:19 am
slightly behind the curve, but I just finished "the road" by Cormac McCarthy.  Great.  Not sure if I want to see the film though. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mr endon on December 12, 2009, 01:28:58 pm
Just finished A L Kennedy's "Paradise".
Utterly brilliant. Made me hoot and hoot again with laughter. Never read her before, took a chance for a journey read. Gotta read me some more.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on December 12, 2009, 06:00:59 pm
Just started 'The Girls' by Tori Lansens (another on the Richard and Judy's bookclub).

God that was BRILLIANT! Onto 'The Lovely Bones' by Alice Sebold.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wowbagger on December 13, 2009, 03:00:26 pm
"Last Light" by Alex Scarrow.

I'm more of a dabbler than a proper reader but I've been glued to this. I started it last night and I'm already over 150 pages in.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wowbagger on December 13, 2009, 09:22:44 pm
"Last Light" by Alex Scarrow.

I'm more of a dabbler than a proper reader but I've been glued to this. I started it last night and I'm already over 150 pages in.

Well, just finished it. Absolutely riveting book. Over the past 24 hours I've averaged 20 pages an hour.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: IanDG on December 13, 2009, 11:07:12 pm
The Road - Cormac McCarthy
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on December 14, 2009, 10:14:43 am
'Our Times: The Age of Elizabeth II' by A.N. Wilson. One I just want to keep kicking up. It is wonderfully tongue-in-cheek in places  :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Dunedin on December 14, 2009, 01:51:59 pm
The time Traveller's Guide To Medieval England- Ian Mortimer  ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wowbagger on December 15, 2009, 09:49:58 am
"Head On"  - Ian Botham's autobiography.

Not very well written (didn't expect it to be) and predictable (and understandably) boastful, but nicely nostalgic.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andygates on December 15, 2009, 10:46:57 am
Kim Stanley Robinson's Forty Signs of Rain.  If there's an epiphany in a hot tub, I'm going to get shirty.
heh heh -not that I can recall, but I can't say that it's either his strongest or most memorable book.

Frank just had his Buddhist / sporty chick epiphany.   ::-)

C'mon KSR!  A new trope please!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on December 15, 2009, 02:40:26 pm
Kim Stanley Robinson's Forty Signs of Rain.  If there's an epiphany in a hot tub, I'm going to get shirty.
heh heh -not that I can recall, but I can't say that it's either his strongest or most memorable book.

Frank just had his Buddhist / sporty chick epiphany.   ::-)

C'mon KSR!  A new trope please!

The Buddhist stuff works in The Years of Rice and Salt because it's part of the structure of the book - which is still his finest IMHO - he's been in a bit of down phase since then...

I am reading Masanobu Fukuoka's One Straw Revolution. This is a beautiful natural farming work (originally published in the 1960s, I think) from a genuine visionary.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: rogerzilla on December 15, 2009, 09:59:04 pm
I'm reading The Box Of Delights yet again.  It's far too good for children.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on December 15, 2009, 10:04:38 pm
Currently reading

The Toymaker by Jeremy de Quidt (David Fickling Books)

It's another one I found on the shelves at work, and is a Galley Proof.  But I checked, and it was actually published.

It's pitched quite interestingly somewhere between teen & adult novel, and written in a storytelling style, all intimacies & teasing, intractable situations and impending menace.

The setting is a bit arch, being a sort of central European gothic, with travelling shows, wolf-ridden forests, deep snows, inns filled with shady characters etc.

It gets a bit implausible, but it is quite a page turner, and a well-told story.  I'm a wee bit over half way through - I'll report back when I'm done.

Hmmm.

Got to the end, and it breaks a storytelling basic: Doesn't resolve the storylines.  Too much left hanging, including the identity of the main protagonist.

Not a satisfying read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on December 15, 2009, 10:57:05 pm
Because I now work in a Library it is extremely tempting for books, have now started reading 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a day'. Utterly charming.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Nuncio on December 17, 2009, 08:23:11 pm
The Great Gatsby (again).  Not the right time of year, but it makes me warm.  Comfort reading.  Lord Jim lined up next and probably finished in time for whatever Santa may bring, probably something more modern.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andygates on December 17, 2009, 10:14:16 pm
Kim Stanley Robinson's Forty Signs of Rain.  If there's an epiphany in a hot tub, I'm going to get shirty.
heh heh -not that I can recall, but I can't say that it's either his strongest or most memorable book.

Frank just had his Buddhist / sporty chick epiphany.   ::-)

C'mon KSR!  A new trope please!

The Buddhist stuff works in The Years of Rice and Salt because it's part of the structure of the book - which is still his finest IMHO - he's been in a bit of down phase since then...

Aye, Rice and Salt is a gobsmacker of an alternative history and a pure delight, beautifully threaded and with, well, at least one artistic rewrite between his research notes and his draft.  40 Signs ain't dat.  50 Degrees is shaping up as bad, but at least the apocalypse is bloody happening at last.   ::-)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on December 18, 2009, 10:56:54 am
A Few Kind Words And A Loaded Gun ~ Noel "Razor" Smith.

Autobiography of a right villain.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Moondog on December 20, 2009, 06:28:52 pm
Being Prez..Biography of Lester Young.Important Jazz Saxo player..but let me not detain you with this....
I have taken to Robert Wilson and his creation Javier Falcon  a series of Policiers based in Seville.The first: The blind man of Seville.
Those who enjoyed Phillip Kerr and Bernie Gunther should give them a go.

n
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on December 26, 2009, 10:20:12 pm
I've finally picked up The Road by Cormac McCarthy. So far, it's great.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Zoidburg on December 26, 2009, 11:51:18 pm
Re-read Use Of Weapons

Banks at his best. The anti hero, the main protaganist, they do terrible thngs, they are likable but at the same time they can be bastards.

Hugely capable people but quite patently broken by past events, doomed, always doomed.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: JohnP on December 27, 2009, 09:49:07 am
Just read 2 Mike Carden books - light hearted touring/meandering books.   A Bit Scott - ish visited most of the spots that we visited over the past 3 years. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: CrinklyLion on December 27, 2009, 11:42:59 am
Re-read Use Of Weapons

Banks at his best. The anti hero, the main protaganist, they do terrible thngs, they are likable but at the same time they can be bastards.

Hugely capable people but quite patently broken by past events, doomed, always doomed.

And they are books that you can re-read time and again, I think.  I'm looking forward to the eldest being old enough for Ian M - he's going to love 'em.  He's currently enjoing Harry Potter, Terry Pratchet and the Hitchhiker's Guide.

I got a new Banks book for Christmas!  An Ian, rather than an Ian M but I like both.  I also got 5 other books, and am still working through the mountain of books purchased to use up a £30 'thank you for doing your job really well' borders voucher that I was given just before they went pear-shaped - dearly_beloved and the eldest cub went in and spent about £70 on impulse buys when you could still pay for half of the value of the sale in vouchers in the correct expectation that the voucher would have zero value shortly afterwards.  So I still have a couple of big fat Peter F Hamiltons to go... lots of reading :)  Yesterday I finished one of the Void trilogy.  And read Billy Back to Front, about three times :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on December 27, 2009, 02:36:06 pm
I got a new Banks book for Christmas!  An Ian, rather than an Ian M but I like both. 

I got the Ian M. (Transitions)... but I am currently reading Kalooki Nights by Howard Jacobson. I'm a third of the way through and t's moderately amusing and quite well-written and engaging so far... not sure where it's going though.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Gatlow on December 27, 2009, 04:52:37 pm
Monkey - its very erm, entertaining.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: bobb on December 27, 2009, 05:57:03 pm
I'm currently working through the books I got for xmas. I'm currently reading "My shit life so far" by Frankie Boyle. Absolutely hilarious! Also incredibly crude as you might expect from him  :P
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: David Martin on December 27, 2009, 07:33:29 pm
Cycling home from siberia.
Still slowly making progress through Russell's history of western philosophy. Up to Plotinus so far.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Eccentrica Gallumbits on December 27, 2009, 08:36:21 pm
The Complete Richard Hannay collection by John Buchan.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on December 27, 2009, 09:22:21 pm
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds.

I haven't read much sci-fi recently, and it was a gift from someone who claims to know f-all about the genre.  I haven't encountered the author before, and after 150 pages or so, it is rather excellent..
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wowbagger on December 27, 2009, 11:03:17 pm
I've just finished "The Rider" by Tim Krabbé. That's where I got my sig line.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on December 28, 2009, 04:43:52 pm
I've just finished "The Rider" by Tim Krabbé. That's where I got my sig line.

The only good novel ever written about cycling. In fact it's more than good, it's superb.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on December 28, 2009, 04:55:10 pm
The Third Reich: A New History by Michael Burleigh. The author describes late WWI and the post WWI period in some detail and gives a good picture of just how chaotic Germany was in those years, in an attempt to explain just how Adolf Hitler was able to sieze power.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: cpjmathieson on December 28, 2009, 05:04:50 pm
I am Ozzy by Ozzy Osbourne...great book he's a complete nutter lol
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: fungus on December 28, 2009, 06:15:05 pm
Hero's villains & velodromes by Richard Moore.  A Christmas present from my big sister   :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: microphonie on December 29, 2009, 06:12:37 pm
Having finally abandoned The Illuminatus Trilogy half way through the Appendices I started  Light (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_%28novel%29) by M John Harrison, which is pretty good so far.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on December 29, 2009, 11:06:40 pm
'Girl with the dragon tattoo' by Larssen. We had a bumper donation of good books into the library today  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: LadyVet on December 29, 2009, 11:13:27 pm
Journey through Britain - John Hillaby. Very good - reading it 'cos of the quote, recorded at the start of an Arrivee article, of an old man's comment before the end of page 1.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on December 30, 2009, 08:47:41 am
Just started on:

Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality by Manjit Kumar

Then it will be two more from more Christmas trove:

The Making of Modern Britain: vol 1 and 2 by Andrew Marr

Death-Devoted Heart: Sex and the Sacred in Wagner's Tristan and Isolde by Roger Scruton

I might have to read some trashy Space Opera in between those as sometimes my brain needs a rest.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Palinurus on December 31, 2009, 11:39:36 am
Nothing really special recently until Alistair Horne's "Seven Ages of Paris".

Good stuff, and it'll surely lead to further reading.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on December 31, 2009, 11:51:19 am
Journey through Britain - John Hillaby. Very good - reading it 'cos of the quote, recorded at the start of an Arrivee article, of an old man's comment before the end of page 1.

If you like that follow it up with Nicolas Crane's "Two Degrees West",  a more contemporary account of a long foot journey through England  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Two-Degrees-West-English-Journey/dp/0140272364 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Two-Degrees-West-English-Journey/dp/0140272364)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on December 31, 2009, 03:07:45 pm
Finished Kalooki Nights (ho-hum... well-written but hardly the work of genius some reviewers claimed - more like a Jewish Buddha of Suburbia). Then read Le Guin's predictably lovely Tales from Earthsea. Now reading the new Ian M. Banks...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: LadyVet on December 31, 2009, 05:19:09 pm
Journey through Britain - John Hillaby. Very good - reading it 'cos of the quote, recorded at the start of an Arrivee article, of an old man's comment before the end of page 1.

If you like that follow it up with Nicolas Crane's "Two Degrees West",  a more contemporary account of a long foot journey through England  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Two-Degrees-West-English-Journey/dp/0140272364 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Two-Degrees-West-English-Journey/dp/0140272364)

Thanks for this tip - I'll certainly give it a try  :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on December 31, 2009, 05:44:26 pm
I have started my annual post-birthday Wodehouse binge.

To explain: I am collecting (albeit very slowly) the gorgeous Everyman hardback editions and it's become the done thing that everyone gets me Wodehouse books for my birthday. Which is brilliant.

Ergo, two days ago, which was my birthday, I acquired ten more for the collection, viz:
Bill The Conqueror
A Gentleman of Leisure
Heavy Weather
The Inimitable Jeeves
Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit
Nothing Serious
Right Ho, Jeeves
Sam The Sudden
Something Fishy
Uneasy Money

It's actually starting to look like A Collection now, rather than just a coincidence. There are even a few among these that I haven't read before.  ;D

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Zoidburg on December 31, 2009, 06:21:26 pm
I have clutched in my grubby mits a copy of "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on December 31, 2009, 09:15:43 pm
Journey through Britain - John Hillaby. Very good - reading it 'cos of the quote, recorded at the start of an Arrivee article, of an old man's comment before the end of page 1.

If you like that follow it up with Nicolas Crane's "Two Degrees West",  a more contemporary account of a long foot journey through England  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Two-Degrees-West-English-Journey/dp/0140272364 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Two-Degrees-West-English-Journey/dp/0140272364)

Thanks for this tip - I'll certainly give it a try  :)

You might also like Hamish Brown's "Hamish's Groats End Walk",   that would give you one from 60's, 70's and 90's.  Different authors, different routes and an evolving picture of Britain/England.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Sergeant Pluck on December 31, 2009, 09:37:51 pm
I'm about half way through Tim O'Grady's Divine Magnetic Lands (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0099469537/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=471057153&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0436205130&pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_r=173A8JQWWR5AJ3S22SCC). Excellent read :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Torslanda on January 01, 2010, 12:40:03 am
I'm about to start a right old doorstop

The Official History of MI5

I might be some time . . .  ::-)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: LadyVet on January 02, 2010, 11:27:13 am
Journey through Britain - John Hillaby. Very good - reading it 'cos of the quote, recorded at the start of an Arrivee article, of an old man's comment before the end of page 1.

If you like that follow it up with Nicolas Crane's "Two Degrees West",  a more contemporary account of a long foot journey through England  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Two-Degrees-West-English-Journey/dp/0140272364 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Two-Degrees-West-English-Journey/dp/0140272364)

Thanks for this tip - I'll certainly give it a try  :)

You might also like Hamish Brown's "Hamish's Groats End Walk",   that would give you one from 60's, 70's and 90's.  Different authors, different routes and an evolving picture of Britain/England.
Thanks - I'd best start writing a list methinks!! The John Hillaby route goes through some LEL places - but he doesn't add a lot to my memory of them  :(
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: MSeries on January 02, 2010, 11:31:41 am
The Midnight Bell - Francis Lathom
Journey to the Centre of the Earth - Richard & Nicholas Crane
WWII Behind Close Doors - Laurence Rees
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on January 02, 2010, 01:17:24 pm
Have just finished 'Girl with the dragon tattoo'. It were reet bloody good. Desperately trying to find a library copy of the second one (the girl who played with fire) but there are lots of reservations for this trilogy at the library  :(
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: redshift on January 02, 2010, 03:25:23 pm
I'm about to start a right old doorstop

The Official History of MI5

I might be some time . . .  ::-)

Sorry, that was my fault. Still, I've managed to get as far as p19 of the introduction to section A...   ;D

The Andrew Ross Sorkin "Too Big To Fail" should be required reading for anyone who's interested in last year's 2008's financial lunacy.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Manotea on January 02, 2010, 03:29:22 pm
I've just ordered Starship Troopers, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and Ringworld for Ms Manotea the Elder  to take to college.

Well, she is reading Classics...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tom B on January 02, 2010, 06:11:07 pm
Quote
Well, she is reading Classics...

Plenty of parallels between Starship Troopers and the Iliad in their approach to perpetual violence and the cult of the warrior

(Edit)  ...and quite possible that the society Heinlein describes was influenced by reading Plato's Republic
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on January 03, 2010, 07:25:01 pm
Am 200 pages into 'The Girl who played with fire', the second of the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on January 04, 2010, 01:44:49 pm
Hypothermia ~ Arnaldur Indriðason.  And a nice big pile of other Scandiwegian crime fiction still waiting.  Johna Theorin's "Echoes FRom The Dead" says "If you like Stieg Larsson you'll love this" on the cover.  If I don't there'll be trouble.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: groucho on January 04, 2010, 02:09:52 pm
Let the Great World Spin - Collum McCann & The Death of Bunny Munroe - Nick Cave. Both riveting and quite different.
 :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on January 04, 2010, 06:33:40 pm
Just finsished Transitions by Iain M. Banks. Well-written but incredibly derivative - Michael Moorcock should sue Banks several times over for ripping off not only Nomad of the Time Streams, but also the Jerry Cornelius and the Dancers at the End of Time sequences! And probably Bryan Talbot's Luther Arkwright stuff, which did acknolwedge its debt ot Moorcock, too. In addition, it doesn't really go anywhere; there is no convincing revelation that brings any sense to the whole caper. And at least one of the narrative strands doesn't really work at all. Fun but not really much more than fluff.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Oaky on January 04, 2010, 06:37:43 pm
re-re-re-...-reading one of my favourites: Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: David Martin on January 04, 2010, 11:30:59 pm
Still reading Russell. Up to the early fathers..
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: IanDG on January 04, 2010, 11:35:06 pm
Just finsished Transitions by Iain M. Banks. Well-written but incredibly derivative - Michael Moorcock should sue Banks several times over for ripping off not only Nomad of the Time Streams, but also the Jerry Cornelius and the Dancers at the End of Time sequences! And probably Bryan Talbot's Luther Arkwright stuff, which did acknolwedge its debt ot Moorcock, too. In addition, it doesn't really go anywhere; there is no convincing revelation that brings any sense to the whole caper. And at least one of the narrative strands doesn't really work at all. Fun but not really much more than fluff.

Loved the 'Dancers at the End of Time' must be 30 years since I read it
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on January 05, 2010, 11:26:56 am
Now moved onto Echoes From the Dead ~ Johan Theorin.  It's OK, and the translation from the Swedish is way better than that of the Millennium Trilogy, but Larsson it ain't  :(
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mrcharly-YHT on January 06, 2010, 01:46:02 pm
'A soldier of the great war' by Mark Helprin.

It's what 'captain corellis mandolin' was hyped up to be.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tim Hall on January 06, 2010, 01:54:29 pm
Trying to understand exactly what the Riemann Hypothesis is again in "Music of the Primes".
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on January 06, 2010, 09:51:22 pm
Now onto the final book in Larsson's trilogy, 'The girl who kicked the hornets nest'. I've got a bad feeling about Salander, the heroine of the piece.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on January 07, 2010, 12:54:10 pm
I'm reading A Case of Exploding Mangoes, by Mohammed Hanif, that I happened across in Waterstones. It's set in Pakistan in 1988 prior to the death of General Zia ul Haq and is a bit of a mystery book because you're not quite sure where things are leading to. I'm enjoying it.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Spinners on January 07, 2010, 06:31:25 pm
"'Tis" the sequel to "Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt and, so far, every bit as good.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: spindrift on January 08, 2010, 10:59:58 am
"Too Many Men" by Lily Brett.

Funny and tragic, an American woman returns to Poland with her father who escaped the nazis.

She becomes haunted by the spirit of Hoess and her father revisits his old confiscated house in Krakow.

Much funnier than it sounds.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on January 08, 2010, 11:58:26 am
Blackwater ~ Kerstin Ekman.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: TimO on January 11, 2010, 01:24:37 pm
I just rapidly went through The Osiris Ritual by George Mann, since I've travelled on the Tram for a few days.  I seem to have run out of fresh fiction, so I'm reading the Map Addict by Mike Parker which I picked up in Stanfords at the weekend.  It seems to be worth a chuckle, one of the bits which has stuck in my mind so far, was a sign which says "Road impassable to vehicles of the Queen Mary type."(1) ;D

Footnote (1): I think the Queen Mary is a Bedford Truck trailer which was used by the RAF to move aircraft.  Why it's called this is a mystery to me
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on January 11, 2010, 01:32:00 pm
Your Soul To Take ~ Yrsa Sigurðardóttir.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: geoff on January 11, 2010, 01:45:24 pm
"Effendi" by Jon Courtenay Grimwood (thanks for the tip, Flying Monkey!) middle of the trilogy...going well  though a bit bogged in structure (e.g. updating new readers) compared to "Pashazade". .Good stuff though.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Eccentrica Gallumbits on January 11, 2010, 09:49:44 pm
The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on January 11, 2010, 10:05:34 pm
'The Good Husband of Zebra Drive' by Alexander McCall Smith. These books are like prozac for the soul  :D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on January 13, 2010, 11:18:17 pm
The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver.

Any good? It's on my pile of things to read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on January 13, 2010, 11:22:35 pm
I am struggling to read The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas.

The author is called Scarlett.  The narrator is called Ariel.  That may give you a clue as to the nature of the book.

But, beneath the waves of pretension and faux-cleverness, there is an interesting story developing, so I'm going to persist.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on January 14, 2010, 01:08:37 pm
"Effendi" by Jon Courtenay Grimwood (thanks for the tip, Flying Monkey!) middle of the trilogy...going well  though a bit bogged in structure (e.g. updating new readers) compared to "Pashazade". .Good stuff though.

Cheers! I have a weakness for 'arabesque' stuff. I'd recommend The Arabian Nightmare by Robert Irwin if you want something a bit darker and more edgy in this vein (and not SF, more like fable)...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deborah on January 14, 2010, 01:17:35 pm
Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland.  I am a fan of Vermeer, so quite an interesting read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: TimO on January 14, 2010, 01:35:30 pm
I just finished Stone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone_(novel)) by Adam Roberts, which was kind of interesting.

I don't think I'd read it again, which isn't much of a recommendation, since I've got some books which I've read multiple times, but it did have some interesting snippets.

One element I found slightly irritating is that the author has obviously got some information about Quantum Physics and the collapsing of wave-functions, but doesn't really understand what observation means in this context, and takes a rather metaphysical approach to it, which isn't really what Quantum Physics says.

(Don't click the link to Wikipedia if you want to read the book, it isn't actually a very accurate synopsis, and is full of spoilers which give away the entire story).

Now I need something else to read on the Tube/Tram home!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on January 14, 2010, 08:50:00 pm
One element I found slightly irritating is that the author has obviously got some information about Quantum Physics and the collapsing of wave-functions, but doesn't really understand what observation means in this context, and takes a rather metaphysical approach to it, which isn't really what Quantum Physics says.

I wouldn't get too wound up about it. Lots of SF authors treat scientific ideas in a poetic manner. It's not 'hard SF' (c.f. someone like Greg Egan) but then, that's not the point... it's not necessarily the case that he doesn't understand it at all, but more that he's chosen to use the concept in this more literary way. Mind you, I am not a huge fan of Roberts's work - he tends to have ideas that don't ever go anywhere or which end up being something much less interesting than you thought they were going to be. Salt is still his best book, I reckon, although Yellow Blue Tibia came close.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on January 14, 2010, 08:53:45 pm
Halfway through the latest Le Carre "A Most Wanted Man", so far, so good..
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: TimO on January 15, 2010, 09:19:37 am
Fair comment Flying_Monkey, it was just particularly irritating since it was central to the story, but really so wrong.  Still it wasn't as bad as Digital Fortress, which shows that Dan Brown really doesn't have a clue about crypto or computers.

Now I need to find something to keep me going for the commute into work and back today!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on January 15, 2010, 11:50:03 am
Only When I Larf ~ Len Deighton

I am curious as to why, when They published a matching set of Deighton's paperbacks in 1987 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of "The Ipcress Files", they left this out.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on January 15, 2010, 05:26:26 pm
Fair comment Flying_Monkey, it was just particularly irritating since it was central to the story, but really so wrong.  Still it wasn't as bad as Digital Fortress, which shows that Dan Brown really doesn't have a clue about crypto or computers.

That's worse because his books do rather depend on those sorts of 'facts' and are supposed to be 'researched' (by his wife as it happens...).
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on January 15, 2010, 05:29:45 pm
The Road - Cormac McCarthy

Read this in one evening. It's quite harrowing. Not sure if I want to see the film now as I can't imagine it will be as good.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on January 17, 2010, 08:33:09 pm
I am struggling to read The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas.

The author is called Scarlett.  The narrator is called Ariel.  That may give you a clue as to the nature of the book.

But, beneath the waves of pretension and faux-cleverness, there is an interesting story developing, so I'm going to persist.

It wasn't worth the effort.  Droning, adolescent writing and dull characters.

I've now started to read The Steep Approach to Garbadale by Iain Banks.  With a deep sigh of relief. It's a similar feeling to breathing in a fine scotch after guzzling Vimto.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mrcharly-YHT on January 18, 2010, 09:51:30 am
'The Reader'

I was surprised by this, as knowing what the subject was I expected the book to be heavy going. It isn't, it's a quick read.

Very good, worth reading.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deborah on January 18, 2010, 10:57:57 am
'The Reader'

I was surprised by this, as knowing what the subject was I expected the book to be heavy going. It isn't, it's a quick read.

Very good, worth reading.

I read that recently and whole heartedly agree with you.  I have yet to see the film.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mike on January 18, 2010, 01:20:52 pm
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

it starts with "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains."  and it just gets better & better :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mrcharly-YHT on January 18, 2010, 02:09:00 pm
'The Reader'

I was surprised by this, as knowing what the subject was I expected the book to be heavy going. It isn't, it's a quick read.

Very good, worth reading.

I read that recently and whole heartedly agree with you.  I have yet to see the film.

Whilst I would not normally pass up the chance to watch Kate Winslet get nekked act, I'll pass on the film because I think it would spoil the book.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on January 18, 2010, 03:33:57 pm
I just read Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen again. I hadn't wanted to for a long time because it is a rewriting of an earlier 'trilogy' of his which I loved. But actually, this is even better. In fact I would go so far as to say this is amongst the greatest American novels ever written and certainly says more about America as a culture than many careful non-fiction accounts.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on January 19, 2010, 09:42:19 pm
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

it starts with "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains."  and it just gets better & better :)

I'm glad you reminded me - after reading this, I ordered it from the library.  The librarian clearly thought I was sending her up, and she was flabbergasted when it turned out to be in the catalogue :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: toekneep on January 19, 2010, 09:50:27 pm
The Road - Cormac McCarthy

Read this in one evening. It's quite harrowing. Not sure if I want to see the film now as I can't imagine it will be as good.

I started it this morning. I can't believe how much I have read and how much is packed into the story. The simplicity of the it is wonderful, I'm hooked and can't wait to get back to it.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tourist Tony on January 19, 2010, 10:11:41 pm
'The Reader'

I was surprised by this, as knowing what the subject was I expected the book to be heavy going. It isn't, it's a quick read.

Very good, worth reading.

I read that recently and whole heartedly agree with you.  I have yet to see the film.

Whilst I would not normally pass up the chance to watch Kate Winslet get nekked act, I'll pass on the film because I think it would spoil the book.
For those who are interested (and Tim) I have the film available to borrow, and it is a gem
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: onb on January 20, 2010, 01:51:01 pm
On the recommendations made in another thread I am reading Years of Rice and salt .
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mrcharly-YHT on January 20, 2010, 01:56:29 pm
David Lodge.

I've read:
Changing Places (funny, but so so)
Small World (much better)

Now on Nice Work, which is shaping up Nicely.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on January 20, 2010, 02:08:05 pm
David Lodge.

I've read:
Changing Places (funny, but so so)
Small World (much better)

Now on Nice Work, which is shaping up Nicely.

I love Small World - I've read it a few times. Very clever and very funny. I also enjoyed Nice Work and Changing Places.

I've also read Therapy and Paradise News, neither of which I would particularly recommend.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: microphonie on January 20, 2010, 06:19:07 pm
Just finished Danny Wallace - Join Me (very funny)

Just started Dan Simmons - the Hyperion omnibus (very large!)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tim Hall on January 20, 2010, 06:35:43 pm


I've now started to read The Steep Approach to Garbadale by Iain Banks.  With a deep sigh of relief. It's a similar feeling to breathing in a fine scotch after guzzling Vimto.

But a little reminiscent of some of his other stuff, no?  The Business and to a lesser extent Whit?

Still v enjoyable though.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on January 20, 2010, 09:25:21 pm


I've now started to read The Steep Approach to Garbadale by Iain Banks.  With a deep sigh of relief. It's a similar feeling to breathing in a fine scotch after guzzling Vimto.

But a little reminiscent of some of his other stuff, no?  The Business and to a lesser extent Whit?

Still v enjoyable though.

I was only about 3 pages in at that point - I was commenting on how much better the writing is compared to the book I was reading previously.

Now I'm a bit further in, and I do agree, though it's reminding me more of The Crow Road than either of those.  I think it's the hints at family secrets, the adolescent reminiscences, and the distance between Alban and his family all remionding me of Prentiss.  Mr Banks does families a lot, doesn't he?

(I'm pretty sure I've read The Business, but I can't remember much about it)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: toekneep on January 20, 2010, 10:24:50 pm


I've now started to read The Steep Approach to Garbadale by Iain Banks.  With a deep sigh of relief. It's a similar feeling to breathing in a fine scotch after guzzling Vimto.

But a little reminiscent of some of his other stuff, no?  The Business and to a lesser extent Whit?

Still v enjoyable though.

I was only about 3 pages in at that point - I was commenting on how much better the writing is compared to the book I was reading previously.

Now I'm a bit further in, and I do agree, though it's reminding me more of The Crow Road than either of those.  I think it's the hints at family secrets, the adolescent reminiscences, and the distance between Alban and his family all remionding me of Prentiss.  Mr Banks does families a lot, doesn't he?

(I'm pretty sure I've read The Business, but I can't remember much about it)

Its probably time I read some more Iain Banks. I love his books but they make me feel a bit ignorant. I read them, gripped by the story and loving the writing but when I get to the end of the book I find myself asking the question, "what the hell was that all about?" The Wasp Factory in particular springs to mind. Maybe I should re-read them.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on January 20, 2010, 10:55:44 pm
Now, I loved the Wasp Factory.  It was the first of his novels I read, and I was carried away by the narrator's world and obsessions and isolation.  It did seem to be a punk novel.

I've read most of Iain Banks' "normal" fiction novels, and I know what you mean by feeling a bit confused at the end.  I enjoyed the ending of Walking on Glass and how the three stories complemented one another, but it was immensely frustrating at the same time.   I'll have to re-read Canal Dreams to try to work out what was going on there.

The Crow Road is his most satisfying novel.  The TV adaptation was excellent, as well.  I've got the DVD of that somewhere at my sister's house :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on January 20, 2010, 11:37:17 pm
Just finishing: "Final Impact" the last of John Birmingham's "Axis of Time" trilogy.  International military naval fleet from the 2030's accidentally goes back in time to 1942, and everything goes tits-up from there.  Not bad.

Just finished: "Dies the Fire" the first of the "Emberverse" books by SM Stirling.  In an unexplained storm-like phenomenon, the laws of physics slightly alter, rendering all electrical machines & combustion devices (including guns etc.) useless - and everything goes tits-up from there.  Very Good.  This is a spin-off from Stirling's "Nantucket" trilogy (island of Nantucket goes back in time 4000 years due to same unexplained storm-like phenomenon).  Great stuff  :thumbsup:

Just about to start: "The Greatest Show on Earth", Dawkins.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on January 21, 2010, 11:08:04 am
The Crow Road is his most satisfying novel.  The TV adaptation was excellent, as well.  I've got the DVD of that somewhere at my sister's house :)

It is indeed excellent, and was described as "annoyingly better than the novel in so many ways" by someone named Iain Banks.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on January 21, 2010, 12:15:12 pm
Now, I loved the Wasp Factory.  It was the first of his novels I read, and I was carried away by the narrator's world and obsessions and isolation.  It did seem to be a punk novel.
...
The Crow Road is his most satisfying novel.  The TV adaptation was excellent, as well.  I've got the DVD of that somewhere at my sister's house :)

Have to agree with you on all of the above. Complicity is a close second after Crow Road for me.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on January 21, 2010, 02:27:37 pm
Now, I loved the Wasp Factory.  It was the first of his novels I read, and I was carried away by the narrator's world and obsessions and isolation.  It did seem to be a punk novel.
...
The Crow Road is his most satisfying novel.  The TV adaptation was excellent, as well.  I've got the DVD of that somewhere at my sister's house :)

Have to agree with you on all of the above. Complicity is a close second after Crow Road for me.

d.


I still think Espedair Street is his most satisfying straight novel.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on January 21, 2010, 09:54:16 pm
As it happens, I haven't read either Complicity or Espedair Street.  They're on the list, but it's a very long list.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on January 25, 2010, 12:22:05 am
Come to think of it, I don't recall that I ever got round to reading Espedair Street. I shall add it to my own very long list.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on January 25, 2010, 09:51:47 pm
I was given "Under The Dome" by Stephen King as a Christmas present and started it last week.  Just finished it now, he certainly knows how to keep you turning the pages.  All 877 of them!   His usual small Maine town and cast of characters , but very well done.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Bledlow on January 25, 2010, 10:32:01 pm
I still think Espedair Street is his most satisfying straight novel.
+1. But I don't have a copy! Read a library copy. At least twice.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Redlight on January 25, 2010, 10:51:11 pm
Blair Unbound by Anthony Seldon.

Brilliant

Depressing

Worrying
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wascally Weasel on January 25, 2010, 11:01:36 pm
The knife of never letting go by Patrick Ness.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on January 25, 2010, 11:29:10 pm
I couldn't resit a brand new hardback copy of William Dalrymple's The Last Mughal, The Fall of a Dynasty that I found for £5 in The Works. I'm only a copy of chapters in, but given his other work is fantastic, I imagine this'll be great, although I do feel like I need a dictionary beside me when reading the book because Dalyrmple manages to use lots of words I've never heard of before.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Nuncio on January 26, 2010, 07:44:22 am
Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: SandyV on January 26, 2010, 08:10:07 am
Breath - Tim Winton (and enjoying it immensely)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Sergeant Pluck on January 26, 2010, 08:29:39 am
Blue Highways (http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Highways-Journey-into-America/dp/0316353299) by William Least Heat-Moon.

Superb read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Ian H on January 26, 2010, 09:00:04 am
Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel.

I was given that for Christmas. It's next on my list.
Just finished LTC Rolt's biography of the Stephensons and now rereading Watt by Sam Beckett.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: JT on January 26, 2010, 09:00:15 am
Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby.

I think the cliche is, a return to form.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Nuncio on January 26, 2010, 09:11:41 am
I'm enjoying it (Wolf Hall).  I was frequently confused to start with before I realized that when there was any ambiguity 'he' always referred to Thomas Cromwell.  Hope that helps you Ian H.

It has made me want to read up a bit of the history.  It seems that the prevailing view (judging by the published histories and biographies, or the Wikipedia summaries of them, at least) of Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell over the last couple of decades have been reversed.  TM in Wolf Hall is not the same TM of A Man for All Seasons.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on January 26, 2010, 10:17:29 am
It has made me want to read up a bit of the history.  It seems that the prevailing view (judging by the published histories and biographies, or the Wikipedia summaries of them, at least) of Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell over the last couple of decades have been reversed.  TM in Wolf Hall is not the same TM of A Man for All Seasons.

Might I recommend you add Peter Ackroyd's Life Of Thomas More to your reading list. It's more towards the Man For All Seasons end of the spectrum in its portrayal of More, which may or may not be a good thing depending on where your sympathies lie, but it's a fantastic read.

I've not read Wolf Hall yet but it's high on my list.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: LindaG on January 26, 2010, 10:23:05 am
The Age of Wonder.  How the romantic generation discovered the beauty and terror of science.  By Richard Holmes.

So far, so (suprisingly) good.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Nuncio on January 26, 2010, 12:27:05 pm
Thanks Smudge.  I'll add it to the list (am currently ambivalent about Ackroyd, based on just on 2 of his works of fiction).
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: bikenerd on January 26, 2010, 01:59:29 pm
Philip K. Dick - The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.  Completely brilliant exploration of human conscious experience and how it might be changed by drugs, religion and external stress.  Set on a dying planet and Mars and featuring a cyborg.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on January 26, 2010, 04:38:50 pm
Thanks Smudge.  I'll add it to the list (am currently ambivalent about Ackroyd, based on just on 2 of his works of fiction).

Ah. Might I ask which two? I'm a huge fan of his, though even I would admit that his more recent stuff isn't a patch on his earlier works. He just seems to churn identikit books off a production line these days.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on January 26, 2010, 06:45:09 pm
Philip K. Dick - The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.  Completely brilliant exploration of human conscious experience and how it might be changed by drugs, religion and external stress.  Set on a dying planet and Mars and featuring a cyborg.

One of his best, certainly... as for what it's about, well, I cant be sure, but I don't think it's about 'mights' - I think it's a commentary on the nature of reality as it is (or at least as PKD, in his gnostic way, saw it).
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: jogler on January 26, 2010, 09:31:10 pm
my JoGLE diary
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Nuncio on January 26, 2010, 09:53:16 pm
Smudge - Hawksmoor and First Light. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: toekneep on January 27, 2010, 07:11:24 am
Just finished The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. As that followed The Road by Cormac McCarthy I think I am due for a happy book now.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on January 27, 2010, 10:42:01 am
Smudge - Hawksmoor and First Light. 

Hmm, well, neither is among his very best works but they are fairly representative, so I guess Ackroyd may not be for you. Still might be worth looking at the Thomas More biog if you're interested in the subject matter.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Moloko on January 27, 2010, 12:28:57 pm
Someone kindly gave me completely gratis a copy of the Haynes Bike Book that they had found in their
large book collection.

Some parts of it regarding instruction, are really bad,  especially for a complete novice if they read it.
Their method of removing cotter pins, being one of them.  :o


Luckily cotter pins have now been mostly superseded, so there now won't be so many about with
bent-over shafted threads any more.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on January 27, 2010, 12:32:47 pm
Half of my fleet of solos have cotter pins.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Moloko on January 27, 2010, 12:34:14 pm
Half of my fleet of solos have cotter pins.

I hope you can easily get the retaining nut back on on all of them.  ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on January 27, 2010, 12:35:37 pm
I try hard not to take them off, though I have to say that my previous experience of cottered chainsets is that the nuts like to ease themselves ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Moloko on January 27, 2010, 12:38:48 pm
I miss the ol' cottered chainsets.

There was something nice about having the manufacturers name (the better ones) making up part of the spoking.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on January 27, 2010, 12:41:11 pm
If I wasn't an Irish nationalist, I'd love to get an Ulster hand chainset for my Rudge...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Moloko on January 27, 2010, 12:53:12 pm
If I wasn't an Irish nationalist, I'd love to get an Ulster hand chainset for my Rudge...

Oh yeah, I remember seeing THAT (http://www.jimlangley.net/spin/rudgeringaniforever.gif) one before.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on January 27, 2010, 12:57:00 pm
Just finished The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. As that followed The Road by Cormac McCarthy I think I am due for a happy book now.

Well it is Holocaust Memorial Day to day so its very appropriate!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on January 27, 2010, 07:49:25 pm
George Orwell's "Animal Farm". I dimly remember reading it many years ago, but I was too young to really appreciate it and I've forgotten too much of it.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on January 31, 2010, 09:42:44 pm
Tim Powers excellent "Declare". I must look up some of his other stuff. 

The Anubis Gates
is one of my favourite ever SF novels (or perhaps it's urban fantasy...) - by turns ridiculous, literary, zany and really quite beautiful, it has time-travel, magic, gypsies and Samuel Taylor Coleridge in a dirty, dangerous London... what more could you want?

Just finished "The Anubis Gates",  a very good read, thanks for the recommendation.   Next one's going to be a toss up between Jon Courtenay Grimwood's "Redrobe" or Kim Stanley Robinson's  "Icehenge"
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on February 01, 2010, 03:38:25 pm
Tim Powers excellent "Declare". I must look up some of his other stuff. 

The Anubis Gates
is one of my favourite ever SF novels (or perhaps it's urban fantasy...) - by turns ridiculous, literary, zany and really quite beautiful, it has time-travel, magic, gypsies and Samuel Taylor Coleridge in a dirty, dangerous London... what more could you want?

Just finished "The Anubis Gates",  a very good read, thanks for the recommendation.   Next one's going to be a toss up between Jon Courtenay Grimwood's "Redrobe" or Kim Stanley Robinson's  "Icehenge"

Hmm. Neither are their best works. Redrobe has more guns.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on February 01, 2010, 06:18:01 pm
Tim Powers excellent "Declare". I must look up some of his other stuff. 

The Anubis Gates
is one of my favourite ever SF novels (or perhaps it's urban fantasy...) - by turns ridiculous, literary, zany and really quite beautiful, it has time-travel, magic, gypsies and Samuel Taylor Coleridge in a dirty, dangerous London... what more could you want?

Just finished "The Anubis Gates",  a very good read, thanks for the recommendation.   Next one's going to be a toss up between Jon Courtenay Grimwood's "Redrobe" or Kim Stanley Robinson's  "Icehenge"

Hmm. Neither are their best works. Redrobe has more guns.

So I believe, but I've not read anything before the Arabesque series.  Redrobe is supposed to have a talking gun, the last one of those I encountered was in Ken Mcleods "Star Fraction"  :)

I've read and enjoyed most of KSR's other stuff so Icehenge is just tidying up the bits. I think I read "The Gold Coast" when it was first published and picked up "Pacific Edge" and "The Wild Shore" on Ebay a few years ago. Good stuff.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Eccentrica Gallumbits on February 01, 2010, 09:55:24 pm
I've just finished The Damned Utd and enjoyed it so much I think I'll see if I can get secondhand copies of Cloughie's autobiographies on Amazon.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: JT on February 01, 2010, 09:58:31 pm
Me Cheeta: The Autobiography

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deborah on February 01, 2010, 10:46:32 pm
Single Man. I like to the read book before I see the film.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Nuncio on February 02, 2010, 11:20:20 am
Magnus Mills - The Maintenance of Headway.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: rogerzilla on February 02, 2010, 06:36:12 pm
An Edgar Allan Poe collection. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on February 02, 2010, 08:21:22 pm
The True Blood Omnibus by Charlaine Harris. Not high literature but very entertaining  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: toekneep on February 03, 2010, 11:03:11 am
In search of Robert Millar. Somebody in the pub was returning it to it's owner and I raised the old sex change question. "Read it and find out for yourself" was the response. Now I feel obliged to read it whether it is interesting or not.  :-\
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on February 03, 2010, 11:06:19 am
It's an interesting book by a pretty good writer.  I really like Millar, irascible or not.  As for the sex change thing, I really don't care.  It's his life, and I would like him to be able to live it in peace as far as possible.  He was a terrifically exciting rider.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Redlight on February 03, 2010, 01:42:49 pm
I think the book is inconclusive on the sex change rumour.  It's a good read, though, and I like the little email exchange at the end. He was a great rider.  I forget which climb it was (Super Bagneres, maybe?),  but I that clip of him passing his bottle to a rival rider who had run out of water sums the man up for me. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andygates on February 04, 2010, 07:35:32 pm
Cosmonaut Keep.  There's a project manager as a hero.  That's new.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: jogler on February 04, 2010, 08:17:53 pm
Cosmonaut Keep.  There's a project manager as a hero.  That's new.

I've been doing heroic work as a Project Manager for years ;D.
I may be biased of course & I realise that self-praise is no reccommendation but I don't suffer from false modesty where work is concerned 8)

Currently I am reading Arrivee :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Auntie Helen on February 04, 2010, 08:36:55 pm
The True Blood Omnibus by Charlaine Harris. Not high literature but very entertaining  :thumbsup:
I read these books as individual stories a while back - they sadly go downhill quite a lot after the fifth or sixth book and rather spoiled my enjoyment, retrospectively, of the first book. Hope you get on better with them.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on February 04, 2010, 08:47:03 pm
The True Blood Omnibus by Charlaine Harris. Not high literature but very entertaining  :thumbsup:
I read these books as individual stories a while back - they sadly go downhill quite a lot after the fifth or sixth book and rather spoiled my enjoyment, retrospectively, of the first book. Hope you get on better with them.

Yes, thats the impression that I got from other readers on the Interwebs, but we shall see  :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: geoff on February 04, 2010, 10:31:15 pm
"The Diamond Age" by Neal Stephenson. Thought it was a bit one-paced to start with but actually the author was just being strict with himself, presumably so's not to show off too much. Technically it's dazzling, with deft switches of style and idiom, double narrative lines and the story-within-a-story plus a whole world of sci-fi technical wizardry. But even better it's a rattling good yarn to boot.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on February 05, 2010, 05:44:10 pm
"The Diamond Age" by Neal Stephenson. Thought it was a bit one-paced to start with but actually the author was just being strict with himself, presumably so's not to show off too much. Technically it's dazzling, with deft switches of style and idiom, double narrative lines and the story-within-a-story plus a whole world of sci-fi technical wizardry. But even better it's a rattling good yarn to boot.

Yeah, it was the last disciplined book he wrote (or maybe the last time he had an editor). Consequently, it's by far his best IMHO. He seems only to write bloated and overblown things now.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Bledlow on February 06, 2010, 11:12:57 pm
"Castorp", by Pawel Huelle. Very good, so far.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mrs Pingu on February 07, 2010, 12:15:11 am
Now, I loved the Wasp Factory.  It was the first of his novels I read, and I was carried away by the narrator's world and obsessions and isolation.  It did seem to be a punk novel.

I've read most of Iain Banks' "normal" fiction novels, and I know what you mean by feeling a bit confused at the end.  I enjoyed the ending of Walking on Glass and how the three stories complemented one another, but it was immensely frustrating at the same time.   I'll have to re-read Canal Dreams to try to work out what was going on there.

The Crow Road is his most satisfying novel.  The TV adaptation was excellent, as well.  I've got the DVD of that somewhere at my sister's house :)

Complicity is my fave non SF Banks novel. The Crow Road is very good, but I think Complicity beats it hands down for 'can't put it down-ness'. Steep approach pales in comparison, and I thought The Business was frankly a bit wet.

Anyway, I am nearing the final few chapters of Larsson's The Girl Who Played With Fire and it's pretty gripping. I don't tend to read crime/thriller novels but I've been enjoying these, even if they're not the most amazingly well written books in the world....
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: nicknack on February 07, 2010, 12:27:14 am
Just started "Beefheart: Through the Eyes of Magic" by John "Drumbo" French. Might take a while - 860 pages of dense print.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Nuncio on February 11, 2010, 08:58:17 pm
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Stieg Larsson.  Just started.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on February 11, 2010, 09:05:16 pm
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Stieg Larsson.  Just started.
+1
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on February 11, 2010, 11:53:44 pm
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Stieg Larsson.  Just started.
+1
+ 2. God, they (the trilogy) are good.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Nuncio on February 12, 2010, 08:10:53 am
Early days yet, but I have a feeling I may be buying the other two.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on February 15, 2010, 10:59:25 am
Skin And Bones ~ Tom Bale

Surprisingly non-crap conspiracy thriller mostly set in El Supremo / West Kent CTC territory.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mattc on February 15, 2010, 06:41:48 pm
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Stieg Larsson.  Just started.
+1
+ 2. God, they (the trilogy) are good.
You know, the Search Wizard says I'm mistaken, but I thought Stieg Larsson was the 2nd most raved about author on YACF (after Iaiain M.Banks). I also thought 90% of the posts were by La Rringtone.

Anyway, 1st book pretty good, but wordy, 2nd one excellent. 3rd review TBD
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: spesh on February 15, 2010, 08:16:30 pm
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Stieg Larsson.  Just started.
+1
+ 2. God, they (the trilogy) are good.
You know, the Search Wizard says I'm mistaken, but I thought Stieg Larsson was the 2nd most raved about author on YACF (after Iaiain M.Banks). I also thought 90% of the posts were by La Rringtone.

Anyway, 1st book pretty good, but wordy, 2nd one excellent. 3rd review TBD

The following may be of interest:

 Noomi Rapace's Lisbeth was a suicide mission - Times Online  (http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article7021904.ece)

Quote
It is Salander, the unlikeliest of literary heroines, with whom Rapace has become inextricably entwined. As the character’s screen embodiment, she has starred in all three film adaptations of the books, the third of which has just opened in Scandinavia. Belatedly, the first one, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is about to launch in the UK; the other two follow later in the year. It has been worth the wait. The story of the wealthy Vanger family and the unresolved disappearance of the patriarch’s niece in 1966 is far from a trashy screen translation. A superior thriller, it has been nominated for gongs across Europe, not least for its female lead.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on February 15, 2010, 08:19:10 pm
Cider With Roadies  - Stuart Maconie.  A great read, as he ricochets through the music of his youth.  Much to recognise, and actually quite astute cultural observations.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on February 16, 2010, 01:40:46 am
Just finished a book called Quintet of the Year, which traces the history of teh participants in a 1953 Massey Hall gig that brought together Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Bud Powell and Mingus. The book wasn't in itself that great, but was a nice reminder of just what a period of musical genius the be-bop era was and how racism and prejudice in many ways still prevent us from understanding the brilliance of these black musicians, who were every bit the equal of the great white classical composers..
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on February 16, 2010, 12:42:23 pm
The White Spider ~ Heinrich Harrer.  Tells the tale of attempts on the Eiger Nordwand up to the late fifties.  Harrer was one of the party who made the first successful ascent, so has some claim to know what he's talking about.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on February 16, 2010, 01:29:23 pm
The White Spider ~ Heinrich Harrer.  Tells the tale of attempts on the Eiger Nordwand up to the late fifties.  Harrer was one of the party who made the first successful ascent, so has some claim to know what he's talking about.

"The White Spider" is an excellent read, but every other account I've read suggests that Harrer was a bit of a bumbly climber. Neglecting to bring crampons and getting the party lost on the way down are not exactly confidence inspiring moves.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mobbsy on February 17, 2010, 09:11:15 pm
The Medical Detective: John Snow and the Mystery of Cholera by Sandra Hempel
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: jogler on February 17, 2010, 09:27:55 pm
Specsavers Guide to Wearing Soft Contact lenses
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: geoff on February 17, 2010, 09:50:33 pm
Through Black Spruce - Joseph Boyden

(Another of FM's tips (http://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=342.msg441425#msg441425) - cheers :thumbsup:)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on February 17, 2010, 10:32:18 pm
"Fear Of the Dark" by Walter Mosley.   Not Easy Rawlins, this time it's Fearless Jones, but a similar milieu the black LA neighbourhoods in the mid 50's.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on February 18, 2010, 09:58:04 am
White Line Fever ~ Lemmy.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on February 18, 2010, 09:59:24 am
Let us know what he says about Pete Gill.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on February 18, 2010, 10:12:16 am
Let us know what he says about Pete Gill.

It said something along the lines of "I later heard that he'd come out, which man go some way towards explaining [$ODD_BEHAVIOUR]".

I'm fairly sure I read it somewhere else before Mr. O'Luftwaffe's book was published.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: tiermat on February 18, 2010, 10:23:07 am
The Generals by Simon Skarrow, an interesting historical novel about Napoleon and Arthur Wellesley (later Duke of Wellington)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on February 18, 2010, 01:29:30 pm
Through Black Spruce - Joseph Boyden

(Another of FM's tips (http://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=342.msg441425#msg441425) - cheers :thumbsup:)

Did you read Three Day Road first? If not, make sure you do afterwards, it's even better...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on February 18, 2010, 01:30:47 pm
"Fear Of the Dark" by Walter Mosley.   Not Easy Rawlins, this time it's Fearless Jones, but a similar milieu the black LA neighbourhoods in the mid 50's.

Aah, one of my favourite contemporary writers. He can do anything (literary novels, crime, sf etc.), always has something important to say, but he still manages to make it readable.

I've just finished reading Banana Yoshimoto's Hardboiled & Hard Luck - two deceptively simple stories of love and loss. She was a breath of fresh air on the Japanese scene some twenty years ago, and she's still writing the kind of beautiful novellas where not a word is wasted. Anyone interested should read her first novel Kitchen and her last one Goodbye, Tsugumi in particular...

In complete contrast, I am now reading Joe Haldeman's All My Sins Remembered, which has a great premise (ethical guy who wants to be a diplomatic is, unknown to him, trained through hypnosis to be an assassin) but doesn't really seem to make enough of this, instead being a series of rather standard and naively-written alien contact stories...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on February 18, 2010, 02:49:54 pm
Weapons of Choice: World War 2.1 - John Birmingham

This is an above average page turner of an alternative history novel. In 2021 a UN task force of ships from several nations including Japan, UK, Australia and the USA is preparing to depose a revolutionary Islamic group who have taken over the most of the Indonesian islands  declared a Caliphate and begun to slaughter Chinese and Christians. This against a backdrop of a world where London and other cities have seen terrorist attacks worse than 9/11 and the war on terror has been ratchet up several notches.
Just as they are about to start the operation an experiment on a research vessel that is being protected by this fleet goes wrong and the fleet is thrown back through time to 1942 right into the middle of the US Fleet just before the battle of Midway. Most of the 21 century personnel are unconscious and the 1940s ships open fire upon seeing the Japanese flag on one of the ships. Automatic systems on the modern ships reply and carnage ensues.
From their history begins to diverge from that we know. It's a fun if bleak and dark story and the first in a trilogy. I am going to order the other two.
One classic bit has Prince Harry as an officer in the SAS !
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: David Martin on February 18, 2010, 03:37:52 pm
Just finished Andre Marr's History of Modern Britain. A good but lengthy read, and a chance to view part of my history through a different pair of eyes.

..d
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on February 18, 2010, 09:28:22 pm
Weapons of Choice: World War 2.1 - John Birmingham

I read the trilogy last year and enjoyed them.  They may not be Dickens or Dostoyevsky, but very good fun nonetheless.


One classic bit has Prince Harry as an officer in the SAS !

Prince Harry becomes one of the major characters in the second and third books - his SAS kick a lot of Nazi ass.  :thumbsup:

There are a lot of major characters though - sometimes the story spreads a bit too thinly.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: geoff on February 18, 2010, 11:31:44 pm
Through Black Spruce - Joseph Boyden

(Another of FM's tips (http://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=342.msg441425#msg441425) - cheers :thumbsup:)

Did you read Three Day Road first? If not, make sure you do afterwards, it's even better...

Nah - Through Black Spruce was a Christmas pressie so I gratefully took it out of sequence (and have no reason 20 chapters in, for complaint)...but I'll scurry off to Amazon to remedy.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Bledlow on February 19, 2010, 12:07:22 am
Just finished Kingdom Come - J G Ballard. One of his last, & IMO worst, an obvious rehash of previous work. Perhaps he ran out of ideas.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on February 19, 2010, 10:59:49 am
Just started The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith.  Sequel of sorts to the better-than-expected Child 44.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: jogler on February 19, 2010, 12:49:30 pm
The Brooks Bugle
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Frenchie on February 19, 2010, 12:58:28 pm
Standard for Verification and Validation in CFD and Heat Transfer, ASME V&V 20-2009.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on February 19, 2010, 01:00:50 pm
Standard for Verification and Validation in CFD and Heat Transfer, ASME V&V 20-2009.

I didn't think the plot was very good, nor the characters well-developed.  There is a degree of suspense, though, and a twist in the denouement. ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on February 19, 2010, 01:21:00 pm
I'm with Clarion on this one.  The Everyday Uses Of Portland Cement (http://www.archive.org/stream/everydayusesofpo00assorich#page/n5/mode/2up), now that's a bangin' read...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: jogler on February 19, 2010, 01:28:21 pm
I suggest that you read The White Book by British Gypsum.It is available F.O.C. on the internet.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on February 19, 2010, 02:21:40 pm
Ooh, ta.  I shall pass the reference on to my grate frend Uncle Marvo, the celebrated aqua-pikey, who first tipped me off to The Everyday Uses Of Portland cement :P
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: jogler on February 19, 2010, 03:08:28 pm
The Brooks Book 2010
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Frenchie on February 19, 2010, 04:44:16 pm
Standard for Verification and Validation in CFD and Heat Transfer, ASME V&V 20-2009.

I didn't think the plot was very good, nor the characters well-developed.  There is a degree of suspense, though, and a twist in the denouement. ;D

I can provide the online link for direct order... if you want? USD 59.00. A bargain!

To be fair it seems very well written and exhaustive.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Zoidburg on February 19, 2010, 04:53:38 pm
The Day Of The Triffids.

I am just popping into the garden to stab a giant cactus with a pitch fork.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: RJ on February 19, 2010, 10:06:26 pm
Re-reading Hunter Thompson.  Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas used to be an annual  ritual around this time of year.  It's been that sort of sleep-deprived week ...

The good news is that it stands up to re-reading in a different context.  I find HST's righteous anger weirdly inspirational.

Next up: Generation of Swine (which got a laugh out of my fellow Trumpton vets in Furryboots city this morning ...).
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on February 21, 2010, 10:38:52 pm
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Stieg Larsson.  Just started.
+1

I read the majority of this over the weekend. I really enjoy it when I get into a book in such a way and am constantly wanting to find out more of the plot. It is a bit of a thriller, but the writing is good and the characters are believable. I really liked reading about Lisbeth and watching her struggle to accept friendship. I now really want to read the second book in the series.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Nuncio on February 22, 2010, 08:43:11 am
Finished it yesterday.  Not really my thing in the end, though it zipped along at quite a pace.  And I wasn't as taken with the writing/translation(?) as you αdαmsκι.  The film's coming out soon.  I can imagine it making a great thriller (if you haven't read the book!)

Netherland by Jooseph O'Neill next.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on February 22, 2010, 11:03:21 am
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Stieg Larsson.  Just started.

Film version to be released in the UK on March 22nd, apparently.

About bloody time...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on February 22, 2010, 11:07:48 am
I should be re-reading The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (no relation of Alec), but I forgot to bring it to work :(

I have two copies, because I needed to check on something at a time when my first copy was in store, so I plan to leave it on the shelves at work when I've finished.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: arallsopp on February 22, 2010, 03:27:00 pm
Currently reading 'Company of Liars' by Karen Maitland. Doing a book swap with the other half at the moment. I think I faired better than her. She got 'Cryptonomicon'.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on February 22, 2010, 10:08:41 pm
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Stieg Larsson.  Just started.

Film version to be released in the UK on March 22nd, apparently.

About bloody time...

Is the film to be subtitled or dubbed?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on February 23, 2010, 01:48:28 am
Now reading several back issues of McSweeney's (the literary mag run by Dave Eggers) - great production values and some interesting ideas for issues, but the quality is too variable and tends to favour wanky self-impressed graduates of Creative Writing MAs, and it doesn't have the serious reportage of something like Granta...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on February 23, 2010, 09:55:25 am
I've started reading one of the classics I picked up in Asda (two books for £5 was a bargin I couldn't refuse) - All Quiet on the Western Front. It's one of those books I've heard about many times over, but until now haven't gotten round to actually reading.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on February 23, 2010, 10:16:37 am
It is brilliant.  there are dull passages, where nothing much happens other than playing cards, but it's a depiction of the strange uneven pace of trench warfare, so stick with it.

Well worth digging out a copy of the sequel, The Road Back, which says more about the dislocation of war, as the surviving soldiers try hard to re-integrate into a society in turmoil, among people who have no conception of what they have just been through to defend a state that has crumbled in their absence.

Three Comrades also covers much the same ground, but gives a slightly different aspect.

If you like All Quiet..., it's also worth trying to find Under Fire by Henri Barbusse.  I think it should be compulsory reading for all those comfy Yanks who propagate the myth of the French as cowardly.  Gripping.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on February 23, 2010, 01:39:05 pm
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Stieg Larsson.  Just started.

Film version to be released in the UK on March 22nd, apparently.

About bloody time...

Is the film to be subtitled or dubbed?

The snippet I saw in the most recent issue of "Q" (yes, I've cancelled my subscription but it's taking them a while to notice) says it's "in Swedish" so I assume subtitled.  They gave it four stars too, so my Social Secretary is on special alert to find where it's going to be on in That London.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on February 23, 2010, 01:54:18 pm
If you like All Quiet..., it's also worth trying to find Under Fire by Henri Barbusse.  I think it should be compulsory reading for all those comfy Yanks who propagate the myth of the French as cowardly.  Gripping.

Cycling around France a few years ago, I was struck by the war memorials in every little village I passed through. I would look at the long list of names of dead from 1914-18, look around at the tiny little village I was in, and wonder who was left to carry on after the war.

"Under Fire" is available from Amazon on both sides of the pond, btw. I just downloaded a copy to my Kindle software.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on February 23, 2010, 03:15:31 pm
I'm reading Passenger to Frankfurt by Agatha Christie (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passenger_to_frankfurt).  My mum had a big Christie collection, but I only recall reading one of them.  I wasn't that impressed.

The plot is wooden, the writing is piss-poor, and you can tell it was dictated without being proofread.  I did wonder if it were just written under her name as a sort of franchise, as happened with Alastair Maclean, and, I think, Neville Shute.  But no, it was apparently 'penned' by the great lady herself, though she was 80 when it was published.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on February 23, 2010, 03:39:48 pm
Generals: Ten British Commanders Who Shaped the World - Mark Urban

This was an interesting read. Most of us know the bare bones of the careers of most of the generals in  this book but I learned a lot of stuff I didn't know. I was particularly impressed with Monck who could have made himself Lord Protector but didn't and paved the way for a constitutional monarchy and Fredrick Duke of York that rarest of things a useful member of the Georgian royal family. A lot of interesting stuff about the interplay between the military and parliament.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Valiant on February 24, 2010, 12:32:43 am
John Fowles - The Magus. Awesome
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deborah on February 24, 2010, 10:29:10 am
I like John Fowles. I founf his French Lieutenant's Woman very moving
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on February 24, 2010, 11:02:10 am
Handling The Undead ~ John Ajvide Lindqvist

Non-violent Swedish zombies.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: SandyV on February 24, 2010, 11:05:59 am
Just finished The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I kept waiting for it to improve. It didn't. However did it get such good reviews?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on February 24, 2010, 04:21:14 pm
Just finished The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I kept waiting for it to improve. It didn't. However did it get such good reviews?

Beats me. She knows reviewers? It's a pretty cliquey world.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Valiant on February 24, 2010, 04:22:22 pm
Cos the teens loved it. Film is out on Friday I think.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on February 24, 2010, 09:32:36 pm
John Fowles - The Magus. Awesome

My favourite book.   :thumbsup:  Although I've never recommended it to anyone as I would hate to do so then that person not to love it / be shocked by it / be excited by it as I was.

The French Lieutenant's woman is excellent too, but my second favourite Fowles is "The Collector".
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on February 24, 2010, 09:34:48 pm
Just finished Frankie Boyle's autobiography, "My Shit Life So Far".   ;D

Now halfway through Wodehouse's "The Mating Season" - classic Jeeves & Wooster.  The funniest writer ever IMO.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on February 25, 2010, 09:56:43 am
The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward ~ L P Hovercraft
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on February 25, 2010, 03:00:50 pm
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Stieg Larsson.  Just started.

Film version to be released in the UK on March 22nd, apparently.

About bloody time...

Is the film to be subtitled or dubbed?

The snippet I saw in the most recent issue of "Q" (yes, I've cancelled my subscription but it's taking them a while to notice) says it's "in Swedish" so I assume subtitled.  They gave it four stars too, so my Social Secretary is on special alert to find where it's going to be on in That London.

Stop Press: Social Secretary claims it opens in That London on March 12th, not 22nd :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Pneumant on February 26, 2010, 06:46:20 pm
The Bridge - Iain Banks

Story about a man in hospital who starts living in another very strange reality, some chapters are more difficult than others, not sure if this is Banks' style as this is the first novel of his that I have read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Nuncio on March 02, 2010, 08:38:16 am
A little break from Netherland to read 'Barring Mechanicals' by our own Andy Allsopp (http://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=1441).  A wry, spry account of one man's debut Audax (LEL, lying down through two countries): the thrills, the spills, the highs, the lows, the tears, the gears, the laughter, the drafter.  Oh, and the zip ties. How could I forget the zip ties?

Did he make it?  Well you can follow the link on his profile to order a copy to find out.  It would probably be bad form to offer it for a lend. 

Recommended to fellow participants, fellow randonneurs and fellow cyclists.  Well, anyone really. 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: SandyV on March 02, 2010, 08:49:18 am
I too am reading Barring Mechanicals by Arallsopp - am almost at Thorne - brought back many memories of LEL and with the wonders of the interweb has arrived here in Australia before VeloYellow's brevet!

http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/barring-mechanicals---from-london-to-edinburgh-and-back-on-a-recumbent-bicycle/8116858 (http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/barring-mechanicals---from-london-to-edinburgh-and-back-on-a-recumbent-bicycle/8116858)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: jogler on March 02, 2010, 09:44:44 am


I shall be passing through Cromford today where there are several bookshops & will look for this book specifically. (http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/barring-mechanicals---from-london-to-edinburgh-and-back-on-a-recumbent-bicycl
[/quote)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: SandyV on March 02, 2010, 10:10:56 am
Jogler - I think you may only be able to purchase on line?  Try this link if the other doesn't work

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/barring-mechanicals---from-london-to-edinburgh-and-back-on-a-re/6302388 (http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/barring-mechanicals---from-london-to-edinburgh-and-back-on-a-re/6302388)

Otherwise do a search at Self Publishing - Lulu.com    (http://www.lulu.com) for barring mechanicals

[but be careful - when I did that the second item on the results is "Shadowman & Other Gay Male Erotica" - TORRID STORIES OF GAY MALE LOVE!)
 
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: arallsopp on March 02, 2010, 10:56:09 am
Oh! Bless you! You're talking about me! :)

Here, have a tiny url: tinyurl.com/lelbook (http://tinyurl.com/lelbook)

Distribution to UK / Europe / Australia / US / Canada is exclusively through lulu.com at the moment, but it is (very slowly) also on its way to the Americas via amazon.com.
At the moment, a search on amazon mostly returns the work of Torsten Barring. I would order 'A novel of Gay Male Bondage' but I don't have a Kindle to read it on.

Andy.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on March 02, 2010, 10:58:04 am
...[but be careful - when I did that the second item on the results is "Shadowman & Other Gay Male Erotica" - TORRID STORIES OF GAY MALE LOVE!)
 

So is it any good?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on March 02, 2010, 09:51:41 pm
The Bridge - Iain Banks

Story about a man in hospital who starts living in another very strange reality, some chapters are more difficult than others, not sure if this is Banks' style as this is the first novel of his that I have read.

It's not typical in a lot of ways, and I don't think I especially enjoyed it when I read it (about ten years ago).  Maybe I should re-read it.

Currently, I'm reading Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, after noticing his name being mentioned on here, and spotting the book in the library.  It's certainly not what I was expecting - part of me is waiting for the aliens to make an appearance.  But the level of detail is extraordinary, and it's enthralling.  Even though most of the science goes over my head.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on March 03, 2010, 11:16:19 pm
Just finished "A Very British Coup" by Chris Mullin
Just started "Bomber" by Len Deighton
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on March 04, 2010, 06:32:41 pm
The former is one of my favourite books.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on March 04, 2010, 07:44:14 pm
'If the Dead Rise Not' by Philip Kerr, another Bernie Gunther gem  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on March 04, 2010, 09:03:13 pm
The former is one of my favourite books.

Kind of sad isn't it.  :'(
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andygates on March 04, 2010, 09:18:16 pm
Ringworld 2.  Still spanks a lot of modern fluff and sends it running home to Mum.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: RJ on March 04, 2010, 10:12:02 pm
Re-reading Hunter Thompson.  Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas used to be an annual  ritual around this time of year.  It's been that sort of sleep-deprived week ...

The good news is that it stands up to re-reading in a different context.  I find HST's righteous anger weirdly inspirational.

Next up: Generation of Swine (which got a laugh out of my fellow Trumpton vets in Furryboots city this morning ...).

Next:  Songs of the Doomed
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: valkyrie on March 04, 2010, 10:56:42 pm
Just finished "Transitions" by Iain Bank. Probably my favourite author and it's his best book in a long time. Recommended :thumbsup: Interesting that he writes normal fiction as Iain Banks and SF as Iain M Banks. I'd class this book as SF but it's Iain No-M Banks. Maybe 'cos it's actually set on planet Earth, or maybe he's decided to drop the distinction between genres.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on March 05, 2010, 08:34:13 am
Just finished "Transitions" by Iain Bank. Probably my favourite author and it's his best book in a long time. Recommended :thumbsup: Interesting that he writes normal fiction as Iain Banks and SF as Iain M Banks. I'd class this book as SF but it's Iain No-M Banks. Maybe 'cos it's actually set on planet Earth, or maybe he's decided to drop the distinction between genres.

I seem to remember that in the UK it's Ian Banks and Ian M Banks because the publishing or more correctly the reviewing industry is snooty about SF whereas in the USA they are all published as Ian M Banks because his SF sell so much more that the publishers want to trade on this to sell more of his non SF books.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on March 05, 2010, 10:53:19 am
"Transitions" is certainly an Iain M Banks in USAnia.

I've just started "The Steep Approach To Garbadale", which doesn't have an M.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on March 05, 2010, 11:09:18 am
I'm reading Passenger to Frankfurt by Agatha Christie (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passenger_to_frankfurt).  My mum had a big Christie collection, but I only recall reading one of them.  I wasn't that impressed.

The plot is wooden, the writing is piss-poor, and you can tell it was dictated without being proofread.  I did wonder if it were just written under her name as a sort of franchise, as happened with Alastair Maclean, and, I think, Neville Shute.  But no, it was apparently 'penned' by the great lady herself, though she was 80 when it was published.

What a pile of steaming turd!

Christie had clearly lost her marbles by the time she dictated this one.  She clearly has no idea about world politics, and just has miles of improbable expositionary dialogue about some fanciful neo-Nazi plot which is behind the student insurrection of the times.  Yeah, right.  And  apparently Castro & Guevara (both mentioned by name) are behind an Aryan supremacist movement.

And then, out of the blue, the main character we started with and lost about half way through, appears in an Epilogue to have a romantic happy ending. ::-)

It's supposed to be a thriller (with no action at all?), but is basically Christie's diatribe about how the world has gone to the dogs, and young people these days etc etc.  Although the Nazis are the baddies, you can sense a certain admiration for their discipline etc creeping through creepily.  Reading what she says about the Third World is just cringingly embarrassing.  She doesn't even understand the term. :-\

Not really recommended.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on March 05, 2010, 04:54:09 pm
Just finished "Transitions" by Iain Bank. Probably my favourite author and it's his best book in a long time. Recommended :thumbsup: Interesting that he writes normal fiction as Iain Banks and SF as Iain M Banks. I'd class this book as SF but it's Iain No-M Banks. Maybe 'cos it's actually set on planet Earth, or maybe he's decided to drop the distinction between genres.

I thought it was confused, very derivative amd didn't go anywhere...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on March 06, 2010, 10:43:26 am
[All Quiet on the Western Front] is brilliant.  There are dull passages, where nothing much happens other than playing cards, but it's a depiction of the strange uneven pace of trench warfare, so stick with it.

Well worth digging out a copy of the sequel, The Road Back, which says more about the dislocation of war, as the surviving soldiers try hard to re-integrate into a society in turmoil, among people who have no conception of what they have just been through to defend a state that has crumbled in their absence.

Three Comrades also covers much the same ground, but gives a slightly different aspect.

If you like All Quiet..., it's also worth trying to find Under Fire by Henri Barbusse.  I think it should be compulsory reading for all those comfy Yanks who propagate the myth of the French as cowardly.  Gripping.

From your description I thought there'd be large sections of card games etc., but I didn't find that to be the case and the story seemed to continue at a decent pace.  It's an amazing anti-war book. Extremely powerful, and the talk about the lack of food gives an excellent sense of the starvation that was taking place in Germany by 1918. I'll certainly hunt out The Road Back.

I'm now reading The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, which is the follow-up to his bestseller The Shadow of the Wind.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on March 06, 2010, 12:25:22 pm
I'll certainly hunt out The Road Back.


If you PM me your address, I can lend you my copy.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: jogler on March 09, 2010, 03:37:16 pm
I too am reading Barring Mechanicals by Arallsopp -

My copy arrived today :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Frenchie on March 09, 2010, 04:25:41 pm
Little G is enjoying Mademoiselle Gorilla: Amazon.co.uk: Simon Puttock, Nicola Slater: Books (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mademoiselle-Gorilla-Simon-Puttock/dp/1405020350/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268151840&sr=8-2-spell)

I am going through my newly acquired Asterix!! (new, 2£ each!! An unbelievable find this WE...)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on March 09, 2010, 07:50:49 pm
Quote from: Frenchie link=topic=342.msg566678#msg566678 date=1268151941

I am going through my newly acquired Asterix!! (new, 2£ each!! An unbelievable find this WE...)
[/quote

jealous !  I loved Asterix as a child!   And then later TinTin..
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Quint on March 10, 2010, 02:55:24 am
Seven Pillars of Wisdom by TE Lawrence, my schoolboy hero (ok I'm showing my age) would have saved a lot of strife if a few politicians had read it.
     Also Serge Bastarde stole my Baguette
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on March 10, 2010, 09:14:32 am
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: redshift on March 10, 2010, 09:18:22 am
Re-reading Dune.  Again.

Interspersed with Kano Jigoro's Mind Over Muscle.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on March 10, 2010, 09:19:46 am
I too am reading Barring Mechanicals by Arallsopp -

My copy arrived today :thumbsup:

So did mine.  Home at 16:35, book finished by 17:30.  And I'm in it!  One of my photos, one signature and one uncredited guest appearance as the finish controller at Cheshunt.

Still struggling through the crap Swedish zombies of "Handling The Undead".
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: arallsopp on March 10, 2010, 09:36:39 am
And I'm in it!  One of my photos, one signature and one uncredited guest appearance as the finish controller at Cheshunt.

Wow. You whipped through that! Hope you enjoyed it. Sorry I didn't recognise you at the Cheshunt. To be fair, I barely recognised me.

(scans closing pages to make sure he says nothing nasty about the end.... no, we're good. Phew!).
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: jogler on March 10, 2010, 10:42:30 am
I'm reading mine a bit at a time between the evil necessities of working.It's like savouring a good wine a bit at a time.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mattc on March 10, 2010, 11:05:19 am
I'm halfway through this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bold_As_Love_%28novel%29 (by Gwyneth Jones)

It's the first of a 5-book series, so I really wanted to like it! So far it swerves between heavy-going and gripping.

I would reckon the subject matter would hit the YACF demographic square-on - anyone else read it?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on March 10, 2010, 02:05:44 pm
I'm halfway through this:

Bold As Love (novel) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bold_As_Love_%28novel%29) (by Gwyneth Jones)

It's the first of a 5-book series, so I really wanted to like it! So far it swerves between heavy-going and gripping.

I would reckon the subject matter would hit the YACF demographic square-on - anyone else read it?

Yes. I've read most of them. They are very, very English - Spinal Tap meets pagan eco-political science fiction and in consequence they move between being rather brilliant and rather stupid. I am never sure which. Probably both at the same time (just like the rock- band dominated future politics they imagine). Jones is a very talented writer anyway - my favourite of hers is another vaguely and weirdly apocalyptic novel, Kairos.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Wascally Weasel on March 10, 2010, 03:55:48 pm
I’m re-reading some really, really bad fantasy novels.  I’m too ashamed to say which ones.  My brain is mush.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on March 11, 2010, 09:26:06 am
The Fall of the West - The Death of the Roman Superpower
Adrian Goldsworthy

Picked this up in the LSE Bookshop yesterday. Started it on the train on the way home. So far it is excellent. In it he attempts to explain how the Roman Empire in the West manage to disintegrate in what was a relatively short time when there was no other power of equal size or strength to challenge it.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on March 11, 2010, 09:39:49 am
Cityboy: Beer And Loathing In The Square Mile ~ Geraint Anderson.

If ever you want your prejudices concerning the financial markets confirmed, this is the book for you.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Quint on March 11, 2010, 02:41:32 pm
Re Roman Empire - Rubicon by Tom Holland also (nothing to do with Rome) one of the books I can recommend very highly  and have read three times and will read again (stop waffling and gerron with it)
                            Embers by Sandor Marai
    I call brilliant authors who "put you there"  word artists, this author was truly one
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: jogler on March 11, 2010, 02:53:39 pm
I too am reading Barring Mechanicals by Arallsopp -

My copy arrived today :thumbsup:

Finished it now.Really enjoyed it.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on March 11, 2010, 02:53:44 pm
Re Roman Empire - Rubicon by Tom Holland

I've read that. A good book about the end of The Republic.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: arallsopp on March 11, 2010, 02:57:44 pm
I too am reading Barring Mechanicals by Arallsopp -

My copy arrived today :thumbsup:

Finished it now.Really enjoyed it.

Glad to hear it. Thanks for your interest.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Greenbank on March 12, 2010, 10:05:42 pm
I too am reading Barring Mechanicals by Arallsopp

Mine arrived today. A picture of me in a ditch and several mentions. Excellent.

I read all of the work in progress on Cyclechat but it's much nicer reading it all in one book.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deborah on March 13, 2010, 03:08:10 pm
Sophie's choice. Haunting.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on March 17, 2010, 02:38:33 pm
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

Finished.

It's an interesting book, first published 1963.  I've got (two copies of) the first Penguin edition, reprinted 1965.

He addresses 'The Negro Question' from an interesting perspective.  Baldwin was a young preacher before becoming disaffected once he knew the tricks, and he turns first to the way in which the churches help black people cope with persistent poverty and oppression by promising future salvation.  Then he recounts in detail a visit to see Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam.  There is much that he admires in the philosophy and practice of the Nation, but he has reservations about the parallels with far right groups, and, ultimately, finds the assertions and vocal support, while superficially comforting, at heart a bit empty and unconvincing.

His conclusion is, well, inconclusive.  But he does talk about how the creation of a US identity depends upon the liberation of white men, which can only come with the liberation of the blacks.

Baldwin is, of course, gay, and I'm not sure how many of his readers would have known this, although Giovanni's Room was published in 1956.  Muhammad was not understanding of homosexuality, so his visit (and potential conversion) may not have happened if he had been aware.

Nevertheless, Baldwin is an outsider in many respects, including his schooling among white jewish boys (which he describes in the first part of the book, which is in the form of a letter to his nephew), and takes an outsider perspective on most issues, allowing him an objective approach as well as offering the experience of coming from within the community he describes.

Baldwin has an interesting voice, and his experience as a preacher shows.  He uses long and convoluted sentences, and a floweriness of language that sometimes overshadows the meaning behind it.  I don't know what Baldwin sounded like (I hope there's something on Youtube I can check out), but the portentous and authoritatively didactical tone puts Morgan Freeman's voice in my head.

For a 90 page essay, it is bursting with held-in emotions of all sorts, and a reasoned, if perhaps flawed, conclusion.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on March 17, 2010, 03:22:17 pm
Just finished Michael Crummey's Galore. What a fantastic book! A magical realism-tinted saga of hardscrabble fishing families on the Newfoundland coast up until WW1. It starts with a man being pulled alive from the body of Humpback Whale... and gets better and better.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deano on March 24, 2010, 12:26:18 am
I've just finished the Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, and currently I'm reading a random pick from the library shelves, After The Gold Rush: A Bicycle Journey through American History by John Stuart Clark.  It wasn't until after I checked out the book that I realised the author is better known as the cartoonist Brick (http://www.brickbats.co.uk/Dev.html).  Very good, so far.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on March 24, 2010, 10:10:40 am
An Utterly Exasperated History Of Modern Britain: Or Sixty Years Of Making The Same Stupid Mistakes As Always ~ John O'Farrell.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on March 24, 2010, 10:14:05 am
I'm getting into Mr Love & Justice, by Colin Macinnes.  I've tried a couple of times before, and got nowehre, but I'm really liking it this time.  I was wary of Macinnes, despite repeated recommendations, after seeing the abysmal film of Absolute Beginners, but I do like his style.  It's set in London of the late 50s/early 60s, and depicts Police corruption and the seedy 'vice' world.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: jogler on March 24, 2010, 11:14:37 am
Mary Tudor,The First Queen:Linda Porter
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: microphonie on March 24, 2010, 06:31:59 pm
Having finished the Hyperion omnibus by Dan Simmons I'm now about half way through Ring by Stephen Baxter (shame I've just found out it's the fourth part of a book 'sequence'). Rather interesting concept & I'm being helped along by Wonders of the Solar System on BBC2 in 'getting' some of the theory.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: pcolbeck on March 24, 2010, 11:18:19 pm
Germania, A personal history of Germans ancient and modern - Simon Winder

A book that's just stuffed with trivia and interesting things about Germany it's politics and culture from Roman times onwards. It's funny and informative and wanders all over the place whilst somehow sticking to a roughly chronological order. Makes me want to go and visit an out of the way town in Saxony.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on March 25, 2010, 09:42:12 am
I'm getting into Mr Love & Justice, by Colin Macinnes.  I've tried a couple of times before, and got nowehre, but I'm really liking it this time.  I was wary of Macinnes, despite repeated recommendations, after seeing the abysmal film of Absolute Beginners, but I do like his style.  It's set in London of the late 50s/early 60s, and depicts Police corruption and the seedy 'vice' world.



The two main characters first interact on p.109.  They glance at each other!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on March 25, 2010, 10:42:17 am
Spitfire ~ Leo McKinstry.

Good account of both the aircraft and the politics, though I think he's a bit harsh on the Hurricane.  "Lancaster" vy the same author is also worth a look.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deborah on March 25, 2010, 01:17:27 pm
Homage to Catalonia by Orwell.  An interesting mix of social and military history recreated from Orwell's experience of fighting in, and observations of, the Spanish Civil War
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on March 31, 2010, 01:06:43 am
Homage to Catalonia by Orwell.  An interesting mix of social and military history recreated from Orwell's experience of fighting in, and observations of, the Spanish Civil War

Excellent book, as I commented in this thread a few pages back. This forum (and this thread in particular) has encouraged me to read a fair bit of Orwell's work
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on March 31, 2010, 09:13:19 am
I'm getting into Mr Love & Justice, by Colin Macinnes.  I've tried a couple of times before, and got nowehre, but I'm really liking it this time.  I was wary of Macinnes, despite repeated recommendations, after seeing the abysmal film of Absolute Beginners, but I do like his style.  It's set in London of the late 50s/early 60s, and depicts Police corruption and the seedy 'vice' world.



The two main characters first interact on p.109.  They glance at each other!

Well, I've just finished it.  One of the curious things about the book, which isn't intrusive but becomes increasingly apparent as a stylistic device, is that only the ponce Frankie Love, and the bent copper Edward Justice, get named.  All the others remain described by their role - Detective sergeant, star sleuth, star ponce, the madam etc etc.  This even extends to the women who live with Frankie & Edward, who are generally described as their 'girls'. 

It points up an objectification of people in a world where you aren't valued for what you are, but of how much use you can be, so you need to be constantly aware that your status can change very rapidly, depending upon the company you are in.

It's a London which is only just shaking off its wartime life, and yet to emerge into the 60s, but with a struggle between morality and the practicalities of living on the edges of society.  Many of the issues within the book give Macinnes an opportunity to discuss the complexities of racial and sexual politics in a rapidly changing society.

A great read, with a wry humour strung through it.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Bledlow on March 31, 2010, 11:17:22 am
I'm getting into Mr Love & Justice, by Colin Macinnes. 
I think I read that 35 years ago. Good book.

My age is showing. :(
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: jogler on March 31, 2010, 11:22:31 am
Mary Queen of Scots:Antonia Fraser
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Deborah on March 31, 2010, 12:17:13 pm
Mary Queen of Scots:Antonia Fraser

Her books on the wife of King Henry VIII is good too.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: LindaG on March 31, 2010, 12:22:12 pm
I've just finished the Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
I read this a couple of years ago.  I just thought it was a bit self indulgent at the time.  But even now I sometimes find little bits of Cloud Atlas coming back to haunt me.  In retrospect, really rather good.

I'm taking 'Leviathan' back to the library this afternoon.  I've got the new Ian McEwen, 'Solar', on order.   ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: jogler on March 31, 2010, 12:53:44 pm
Mary Queen of Scots:Antonia Fraser

Her books on the wife of King Henry VIII is good too.

I did contemplate that but in the interests of trying different authors I bought David Starkey's book on the same subject.
Thanks for the heads-up anyway.
Next on the agenda is an Elizabeth I biography
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on March 31, 2010, 02:34:33 pm
Mary Queen of Scots:Antonia Fraser

Her books on the wife of King Henry VIII is good too.

And Elizabeth as well  :thumbsup:

TBH I did not really like Antonia Fraser's book on Mary Queen of Scots, in fact I thought it was dire. I prefer her sister's books (A S Byatt and Margaret Drabble).

Am just about to start 'Swansea Terminal', by Roger Rees.

I did contemplate that but in the interests of trying different authors I bought David Starkey's book on the same subject.
Thanks for the heads-up anyway.
Next on the agenda is an Elizabeth I biography
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: jogler on March 31, 2010, 02:38:39 pm
I am finding Fraser's style less engaging than that of Linda Porter & David Starkey.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on March 31, 2010, 02:42:45 pm
Mary Queen of Scots:Antonia Fraser

Her books on the wife of King Henry VIII is good too.

I did contemplate that but in the interests of trying different authors I bought David Starkey's book on the same subject.
Thanks for the heads-up anyway.
Next on the agenda is an Elizabeth I biography

David Starkey?  David Stab-eye, more like, cause that's what he makes me want to do.  if not his, then mine.  I've heard him on the radio far too much.  How anyone can know so much, yet understand so little, and yet be such a smug, pompous, self-satisfied prig I cannot fathom.

I can stop sitting on the fence if you like ;)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mattc on March 31, 2010, 08:18:12 pm
What are we reading at the moment?


      Unshelved by Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes
     (http://www.unshelved.com/2009-2-25)

[just what the world obviously needs - library humour]
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Nuncio on March 31, 2010, 10:11:31 pm

Am just about to start 'Swansea Terminal', by Roger Rees.


Ooh.  Never heard of it/him, but just looked it up.  Looks good, if only for the local interest.  Don't forget to post an update.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: geraldc on April 05, 2010, 10:02:16 am
I too am reading Barring Mechanicals by Arallsopp

Mine arrived today. A picture of me in a ditch and several mentions. Excellent.

I read all of the work in progress on Cyclechat but it's much nicer reading it all in one book.

Read it last night.  The stuff with the pro plus and the female audaxer rummaging through your bag had me laughing out loud.  Really enjoyed it and am going to make the GF read it  ;D
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on April 09, 2010, 10:08:36 am
Just finished Merrie England by Robert Blatchford (Nunquam)

Quite difficult to get hold of, but I was lucky enough to get a facsimile reprint from the 70s.

Because it's a facsimile, the pages are tinted brown, and it has the original double columns of small print, so has been a bit difficult to read.

Nonetheless, it is an inspiring book, and an uplifting one.  For those who don't know, Nunquam was the editor of The Clarion newspaper - a popular socialist paper from 1891 to the First World war, when it lost sales because of its support for the war, in contrast to most other, more internationalist, socialists, though it lasted to 1931.

I had thought that Merrie England was a compilation of a series of columns by Nunquam in the paper, but I now find that the dates show that it was a book first, later serialised in The Clarion.

It takes the form of a series of expositions addressed to John Smith, an Oldham weaver, representing an everyman.  Nunquam addresses the concerns and misconceptions of socialism which working people might have (so many of them still apply today), and explores the fundamental paradoxes of capitalism, and how they lead to inequality, before describing how John might join with his colleagues to achieve the socialism which would benefit them.

The style catches on to a growing movement of the time towards workers' self-education, which has its lasting effects in the public library system, and organisations such as WEA.  So, despite the format of the author explaining to the worker, it never strays into being patronising, despite using everyday language to express quite complex ideas.

Well worth a read, as an insight into the ethical socialism of Morris, Hyndman et al, as well as a documentary record of current conditions in England at the time.

I also have an original copy of the companion volume, Dismal England, which I started reading last year, but it is hard to get through, because it is unpleasant to think that humans can treat others in the way described.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Bledlow on April 10, 2010, 11:15:45 pm
Hunger, Knut Hamsun.

Hard going. I keep wanting to give the protagonist a good kicking for being such an arsehole.

NB. I'm told that the 1899 English translation is linguistically accurate but bowdlerised, & the 1967 US translation is total garbage, the translator apparently having too little knowledge of Norwegian, & too much confidence in his own creative talent.

Before that - Bliss, by Peter Carey. I liked it far less than any of his other books that I've read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: DaveJ on April 11, 2010, 11:07:19 pm
Rereading The Space Merchants by Pohl and Kornbluth.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: nutkin on April 11, 2010, 11:16:15 pm
Just finished One Day by David Nicholls.

I was looking for something lighter to follow after The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. By the end I wasn't sure that I had picked the right book...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on April 12, 2010, 09:20:32 am
Hunger, Knut Hamsun.

Hard going. I keep wanting to give the protagonist a good kicking for being such an arsehole.

NB. I'm told that the 1899 English translation is linguistically accurate but bowdlerised, & the 1967 US translation is total garbage, the translator apparently having too little knowledge of Norwegian, & too much confidence in his own creative talent.

Before that - Bliss, by Peter Carey. I liked it far less than any of his other books that I've read.

I was a big fan of Hamsun's novels, recommended to me by someone who knew I liked Dostoyevsky.  The parallels are there, but the politics are very different.

I like Hamsun's evocation of the life of rural Norway at a particular point in history, feeling change on the horizon seeping across and undermining the containment and self-sufficiency (personal and communal) that he so admires.

Shame he ended up a fascist.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on April 12, 2010, 09:49:32 am

Am just about to start 'Swansea Terminal', by Roger Rees.


Ooh.  Never heard of it/him, but just looked it up.  Looks good, if only for the local interest.  Don't forget to post an update.

Just finished it Nuncio. I really enjoyed it, and it was great reminiscing about the places I used to go to. There is no absolute structure, you just have to go along with it. I don't know whether you have checked out the new Swansea library, its fantastic!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on April 12, 2010, 11:02:41 am
The Dark Room ~ Minette Walters.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tourist Tony on April 12, 2010, 12:37:47 pm
Most of the way through "Europe at War", Norman Davies. A bit controversial as he stresses the nature of the GULag and points out that other groups apart from Jews were dealt with by the system in that awful way. Stories of German Communists who flee the Reich, get tortured and imprisoned by Uncle Joe, then end up back in the hands of the SS for more of the same......
He doesn't downplay the death camps, he simply points out that a bigger system ran a lot longer.One shocking statistic:
Mortality rate of "zeks" (GULag inmates) in their first year: 30%
In their second year it rose to 90%.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on April 12, 2010, 12:46:04 pm
The Dark Room ~ Minette Walters.

Oooh I enjoyed that one - I do like Minette Walters
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on April 12, 2010, 01:15:51 pm
The Dark Room ~ Minette Walters.

Oooh I enjoyed that one - I do like Minette Walters

Me too.  I picked up The Devil's Feather cheap the other day and having zipped through it, have started re-reading her earlier stuff.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on April 23, 2010, 01:25:45 pm
Finished 'Gridiron' by Philip Kerr a few days ago which was good, but am aching for some more Bernie Gunter books!

Just finished 'Snow Hill' by Mark Sanderson, all based around Farringdon and Clerkenwell, very nostalgic indeed. Not a bad crime story either.

Just about to start reading 'The Second Angel' by Philip Kerr.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Quint on April 23, 2010, 07:47:27 pm
The Flying Scotsman - Graham Obree, shame he wasn't mentioned in otherwise excellent coverage of the worlds by the beeb, strange that establishment figure Chris Boardman was, a very good read anyway and anyone that has gone down that deep dark hole will sympathise Grahame
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: jogler on April 24, 2010, 09:51:19 am
Mary Queen of Scots:Antonia Fraser

Finished this apart from Appendix 1 &  II which are a copy of the English & Scottish versions respectively of the Long Casket Letter.
Enjoyed it enornously & the ending has an unexpected climax ( relating to the Westminster Abbey tomb ) which would not be out of place in a fiction novel.
Interesting final comment regarding the progenetive impact on subsequent UK monarchs.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on April 24, 2010, 07:17:52 pm
I have just finished a few books I wanted to read a while back and didn't get around to: Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, which explains why the US occupation of Iraq was even more damaging than you imagined; The Inner Circle by T.C. Boyle, which is a rather good fictionalisation of the life and work of pioneering sex researcher, Kinsey, and his crew; and finally,  A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, by Xiaolu Guo, which I found quite affecting and convincing.

Next on my pile are Irene Nemirovsky's Suite Francaise, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor and Death at Intervals by Jose Saramago.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: αdαmsκι on April 26, 2010, 11:53:26 am
I've just finished The L-Shaped Room by Lynne Reid Banks. It took a bit of time for me to get engrosed by this book, although that's probably more because I've been busy than anything wrong with the book, and once I gave the book some time I wizzed through the second half. It's very much a character book, rather than a plot book, and also a reflection on British society in the 1960s. I thought it was very good.

I'm now onto The Girl Who Played with Fire.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on April 26, 2010, 06:52:11 pm
If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor

This was quite, quite beautiful. I was unsure about whether the style would work at first, but it drew me in and enchanted me, before kicking my teeth in. One of the very few recent books about which I am now prepared to endorse the hype.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: andrewc on April 26, 2010, 07:03:58 pm
I finished The Good Life by Jay McInerney a few days ago. A rather disappointing sequel to Brightness Falls.  I must have lost my taste for angsty New Yorkers because I took ages to read it.

Now working through Terminal World by Alistair Reynolds,  so far, so good (wonder if I can bring the Inhibitors into the Hawking thread in POBI ..?)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Spinners on April 27, 2010, 06:00:56 am
I'm having another retro spell at the moment...

Kitchen - Blur "Park Life" (whilst doing me dishes  O:-) )

Lounge - Blur "13"
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on May 01, 2010, 03:05:44 am
Just started "Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII", suggested by Topurist Tony in another thread. It promises to be a very interesting read.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: BrianI on May 01, 2010, 05:32:39 pm
Bought Dan Brown Davinci Code from a charity shop, good reading so far!
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on May 04, 2010, 11:14:33 am
The Greatest Show On Earth ~ Richard Dawkins.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on May 04, 2010, 11:24:59 am
Funnily enough, I just finished The God Delusion.  I've not read it before, but it was on offer for £3.99 in WH Smith in Croydon, so I couldn't resist.

I had the idea that it was going to be an embarrassing, frothing, fundamentalist rant, for that is how it has been depicted, and I've been wary of using Dawkins in discussions on religion for that reason.

However, it is a systematic and well-argued book, dealing with a great many aspects of religions, and taking it a step further, by sometimes making an assumption that the churches might be correct on some key points of their arguments, and following through the logical outcomes.

An interesting read, and, given the number of rather limp and poorly-aimed responses from a religious standpoint (yes, I've read a couple, and skimmed some more), one that seriously rattles the cages of those who substitute belief for reason and use that as some kind of 'authority'.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tim Hall on May 04, 2010, 01:43:11 pm
Why does E=mc2 by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw.

Mrs. Hall and The Boy have both read it. He found a bit simple, but then he is doing science, science, more science and Hard Sums for A level.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on May 04, 2010, 02:47:59 pm
However, it is a systematic and well-argued book, dealing with a great many aspects of religions, and taking it a step further, by sometimes making an assumption that the churches might be correct on some key points of their arguments, and following through the logical outcomes.

An interesting read, and, given the number of rather limp and poorly-aimed responses from a religious standpoint (yes, I've read a couple, and skimmed some more), one that seriously rattles the cages of those who substitute belief for reason and use that as some kind of 'authority'.

I agree. As with many things, a lot of people with very weak arguments would prefer to deal with a safely caricatured version of something that scares them... you see this at every level from forums like this to international negotiations.

Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on May 04, 2010, 03:26:00 pm
Funnily enough, I just finished The God Delusion.  I've not read it before, but it was on offer for £3.99 in WH Smith in Croydon, so I couldn't resist.

Curiously, my copy was also a special offer, in this case from Sainsbury's in a special "Summer Stuff" section.  Right up there with the charcoal, garden furniture and sun cream.

Odd, that.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on May 04, 2010, 03:46:37 pm
Need charcoal for the fiery furnaces.  If you can't get brimstone, that is...
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Captain Zep on May 04, 2010, 08:11:50 pm
Just finished "In the Shadow of the Wall" by Gordon Anthony set 1900 years ago in the town in which I grew up and ancient Rome.  A cut above what I think of as "Swords and Sandals".  Hugely enjoyable.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on May 07, 2010, 03:25:44 pm
This Body Of DETH ~ Elizabeth George

Better than her previous couple of efforts, and Lynley has a new motor-car.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on May 07, 2010, 03:39:50 pm
Just starting on a biography about Lillie Langtree.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on May 07, 2010, 03:46:20 pm
Having just finished The God Delusion, I'm now onto Elected Silence by Thomas Merton, a man I greatly admire, but don't yet know enough about.  Eclectic, I'd say.

Oh - I did read through The People's Manifesto collated by Mark Thomas.  I'd have stood on that ticket.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Oaky on May 07, 2010, 04:00:03 pm
Re-reading 54 by wu ming (a collective rather than a person, also responsible for Q by Luther Blissett).

Very imaginative book, chronicling cold-war shenanigans in and around Italy/Trieste/Yugoslavia.  Also featuring Cary Grant, and the birth of the KGB.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: jogler on May 07, 2010, 06:14:29 pm
a book of maps a.k. a. a road atlas to check a route from Lands End to Redruth & possibly beyond for tomorrow morning
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Oaky on May 09, 2010, 12:45:32 am
Why does E=mc2 by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw.

In my previous life I did have several beers with Jeff Forshaw at various conferences etc.  I can't remember if I crossed paths with Brian Cox, so probably didn't.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: peliroja on May 09, 2010, 03:23:48 pm
The Angel's Game, Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I should read it in Spanish really (as my mind actually tries to translate it back to Spanish as I read it) but I'm too lazy.  :-[
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Flying_Monkey on May 09, 2010, 11:02:38 pm
Re-reading 54 by wu ming (a collective rather than a person, also responsible for Q by Luther Blissett).

Very imaginative book, chronicling cold-war shenanigans in and around Italy/Trieste/Yugoslavia.  Also featuring Cary Grant, and the birth of the KGB.

Thanks, I must read it. I loved Q.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Tourist Tony on May 10, 2010, 12:13:03 am
"The Forgotten Highlander" by Alistair Urquhart. Captured, beaten, tortured, worked almost to death on the Burma Railway, shipped off to Japan, torpedoed, recaptured, sent to work again in Nagasaki.....
Words fail me.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Rhys W on May 13, 2010, 06:29:32 pm
Just started "Teenage" by Jon Savage. Contrary to what you'd expect, his history of the teenager ends in 1945. Very interesting so far.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: geoff on May 13, 2010, 09:13:47 pm
Re-reading His Dark Materials, because my nine-year old is reading them and I'd happily forgotten enough detail to make it interesting to go over the books again. The writing really is high quality as is most of the concept/conceit. And it's good stuff to read out loud with different voices.  

A pleasant spin-off has been the added depth given to lunchtime jaunts up the Oxford canal.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: bobb on May 13, 2010, 09:17:18 pm
I'm currently reading "Playing the Moldovans at Tennis" by Tony Hawks. I've had it for years, but for some reason I've never actually read it. It's hilarious!!!  :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: microphonie on May 14, 2010, 05:52:46 pm
Recently finished  Manual  (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/k/daren-king/manual.htm) by Daren King - not his best work.

Just started  Ilium  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilium_%28novel%29) by Dan Simmons - promising so far.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: GruB on May 15, 2010, 10:40:37 am
I've just finished the Stieg Larsson - Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy.
Enjoyed them a lot.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: her_welshness on May 15, 2010, 10:56:42 am
I've just finished the Stieg Larsson - Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy.
Enjoyed them a lot.

There is a huge reserves list for these books in our libraries. Cannot wait for the film to come out on DVD.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Bledlow on May 15, 2010, 07:58:56 pm
Memoirs of a Gnostic Dwarf.

Found in the Oxfam shop a few days ago.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: LindaG on May 25, 2010, 08:53:03 pm
Memoirs of a Gnostic Dwarf.


Ooh, what's that about?

I'm re-reading The Screwtape Letters.    So funny, and although it's dated it's still bang on target  :)
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: mark on May 25, 2010, 11:46:44 pm
The Screwtape Letters is excellent, I read it years ago. I'm currently working on The Worst Journey in the World, by Apsley Cherry-Garrard. it's the story of Sir Robert Scott's journey to the South Pole, and his attempted return. I've read South, which is Shackleton's story of his attempt to traverse the Antarctic continent, and Endurance, which is the story of Shackleton's attempt written by Alfred Lansing. I suppose I should find something about Amundsen's journey, since he succeeded where Scott and Shackleton did not.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Legs on May 26, 2010, 12:30:25 am
I've just finished the Stieg Larsson - Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy.
Enjoyed them a lot.

There is a huge reserves list for these books in our libraries. Cannot wait for the film to come out on DVD.
I'm a hundred or so pages through the second one.  Also enjoying them a lot.  But gosh, isn't there a lot of nookie!?!?  :o
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: LindaG on May 26, 2010, 09:13:52 am
I'm currently working on The Worst Journey in the World, by Apsley Cherry-Garrard. it's the story of Sir Robert Scott's journey to the South Pole, and his attempted return. I've read South, which is Shackleton's story of his attempt to traverse the Antarctic continent, and Endurance, which is the story of Shackleton's attempt written by Alfred Lansing. I suppose I should find something about Amundsen's journey, since he succeeded where Scott and Shackleton did not.

OT, but some of the rock samples they collected on the Scott expedition are still on display in the Natural History Museum.  We had a few strange moments of awe and sadness standing looking at them in their glass case. 

I shall search out 'Endurance' in the library catalogue forthwith.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: jogler on May 26, 2010, 09:32:20 am
Bank statements:P&L sheets.
Does that count?
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Oaky on May 26, 2010, 09:48:52 am
Memoirs of a Gnostic Dwarf.


Ooh, what's that about?


It's on our shelves somewhere at home.  I haven't read it myself, but if it's the book I'm thinking of, mrs_o's eyes went something like this:  :o when she read it.  I think the depictions of sexual depravity were the reason.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: clarion on May 26, 2010, 09:52:33 am
Not reading, just browsed.

On the shelves at work is a wonderful book based on a TV series.  It is Brian Magee in conversation with several people on the subject of modern western philosophy. 

Interesting enough, and I doubt that the series would even get commissioned today, but the list of guests inludes Ayer, Marcuse, Chomsky etc etc etc! :o

That must have been a magnificent piece of television.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: Mr Larrington on May 26, 2010, 11:26:28 am
I have recently finished The Regiment, by Michael Asher.  Clearly he knows a great deal about the SAS.  But as soon as he gets to writing about a battle, whoa!  There are three possibilities:


"Scranching" artillery shells and "blebbing" blood from a gunshot wound to the leg?

Edit: Now on Antony Beevor's Stalingrad, which is altogether less grating.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: LindaG on May 26, 2010, 11:33:08 am
Just finished Ian McEwan's Solar.

Very puzzled re: what all the fuss is about.  It isn't that good.  And not particularly funny, either.  Though insightful in its examination of human frailty.

YMMV
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: DrMekon on May 26, 2010, 02:01:00 pm
I am reading Family Britain by David Kynaston still, but ...Barring Mechanicals arrived yesterday evening, and I read it through immediately. Wonderful stuff. I have placed it on my colleague's desk in the hope that it will inspire him to do some training rides in prep for the 200km we're doing next month.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: citoyen on May 26, 2010, 02:32:20 pm
I'm re-reading The Screwtape Letters.    So funny, and although it's dated it's still bang on target  :)

I've never read it but I got the audiobook as a birthday present from an aunt many years ago. John Cleese was the reader. I remember it being very good and making me laugh lots.

I think Andy Hamilton owes a debt to Screwtape - its influence on Old Harry's Game is clear.

d.
Title: Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
Post by: DaveJ on May 29, 2010, 05:30:16 pm
Just finished "Transitions" by Iain Bank. Probably my favourite author and it's his best book in a long time. Recommended :thumbsup: Interesting that he writes normal fiction as Iain Banks and SF as Iain M Banks. I'd class this book as SF but it's Iain No-M Banks. Maybe 'cos it's actually set on planet Earth, or maybe he's decided to drop the distinction between genres.

I thought it was confused, very derivative and didn't go anywhere...

+1

Of all his books that I have read, this is the one I least enjoyed.

Dave
Title: Re: What books