Author Topic: What books are we reading at the moment ?  (Read 388367 times)

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5600 on: April 01, 2019, 09:50:12 pm »
The Templars by Dan Jones.

A history of the Knights Templar, which I've always found fascinating in a shadowy conspiracy theory type of way, but this is the first time I've actually read any serious book about them.

Still fascinating. It also gives what seems to be a very good history of the Crusades and how they weren't the 'Boy's Own' romp that they've always been sold as, where a load of frightfully brave Lords of the realm went overseas to give Johnny (non-Christian) Foreigner a bit of a pasting and teach them their mistakes.

spesh

  • Trump-Russia posting ninja
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5601 on: April 01, 2019, 11:05:10 pm »
The Templars by Dan Jones.

A history of the Knights Templar, which I've always found fascinating in a shadowy conspiracy theory type of way, but this is the first time I've actually read any serious book about them.

Still fascinating. It also gives what seems to be a very good history of the Crusades and how they weren't the 'Boy's Own' romp that they've always been sold as, where a load of frightfully brave Lords of the realm went overseas to give Johnny (non-Christian) Foreigner a bit of a pasting and teach them their mistakes.

I had that myth dispelled by reading Ronald Welch's "Knight Crusader" several decades ago.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knight_Crusader
If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention.

It's not the despair... I can take the despair. It's the hope I can't stand.

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5602 on: April 01, 2019, 11:59:24 pm »
The Templars by Dan Jones.

A history of the Knights Templar, which I've always found fascinating in a shadowy conspiracy theory type of way, but this is the first time I've actually read any serious book about them.

Still fascinating. It also gives what seems to be a very good history of the Crusades and how they weren't the 'Boy's Own' romp that they've always been sold as, where a load of frightfully brave Lords of the realm went overseas to give Johnny (non-Christian) Foreigner a bit of a pasting and teach them their mistakes.

I had that myth dispelled by reading Ronald Welch's "Knight Crusader" several decades ago.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knight_Crusader


I think I read most of Welch's books as a young person.  Good stories with some educational content,which was probably why they were all in Huyton library.  Certainly more thoughtful than G.A Henty.....     


I remember the cover of "Knight Crusader" & a few of the plot points, but it was a long time ago.


Hugh Walters ?
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5603 on: April 02, 2019, 09:09:49 am »
Now just getting started on A Strangeness In My Mind (a.k.a. the yoghurt-selling book) by Orhan Pamuk.  Probably going to be on this one for a while...
OMG, I finished it yesterday (wow, was I really going for 12 weeks?)

spesh

  • Trump-Russia posting ninja
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5604 on: April 02, 2019, 12:04:42 pm »
Hugh Walters ?

Oddly enough, I was looking up his Chris Godfrey of UNEXA books the other month. I think my local library when I was a kid only had a couple - 'Nearly Neptune' and 'Passage To Pluto' ring bells...
If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention.

It's not the despair... I can take the despair. It's the hope I can't stand.

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5605 on: April 02, 2019, 12:43:27 pm »
The Templars by Dan Jones.

A history of the Knights Templar, which I've always found fascinating in a shadowy conspiracy theory type of way, but this is the first time I've actually read any serious book about them.

Still fascinating. It also gives what seems to be a very good history of the Crusades and how they weren't the 'Boy's Own' romp that they've always been sold as, where a load of frightfully brave Lords of the realm went overseas to give Johnny (non-Christian) Foreigner a bit of a pasting and teach them their mistakes.

I had that myth dispelled by reading Ronald Welch's "Knight Crusader" several decades ago.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knight_Crusader
Good grief, that brings some memories back.
Those were good books. Considerably more accurate than some contemporary films and mini-series!
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5606 on: April 02, 2019, 01:52:16 pm »
Off the back of the recent spacesuit twitterstorm, I discovered Mary Robinette Kowal's Lady Astronaut series.  I've just finished The Calculating Stars, and once you look past some distinctly 21st century attitudes by the main character, it's a pleasingly well-researched and optimistic 'punchcardpunk' alternate history[1] of space exploration.

If you liked Hidden Figures (which was published after this was written), you'll probably enjoy this.


[1] The plot device is that NACA give Von Braun's team resources to develop space flight immediately after the war, and then a natural disaster in 1952 (just after they've achieved artificial satellites) kills off much of our original timeline and makes colonisation of space within decades imperative for the survival of humanity.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5607 on: April 03, 2019, 09:33:58 am »
Another one I really should have read years ago but have finally got round to...

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists - Robert Tressell

What's most alarming is how applicable it still is today... but I won't say any more than that because I don't want to drag politics into this thread.

Anyway, it's a good read and an effective polemic but judged as a piece of writing, I think I prefer George Gissing's The Nether World, which deals with much the same themes (though written 25 years earlier). Philanthropists seems much more optimistic though - The Nether World is entirely without a shred of hope.

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5608 on: April 04, 2019, 08:23:16 am »
I'm on The Princess Bride.  I can't believe I've reached the age of 37 without either reading this or seeing the fillum.  It's utterly, utterly brilliant.  S. Morgenstern was a genius ;).

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5609 on: April 04, 2019, 09:08:51 am »
Now just getting started on A Strangeness In My Mind (a.k.a. the yoghurt-selling book) by Orhan Pamuk.  Probably going to be on this one for a while...
OMG, I finished it yesterday (wow, was I really going for 12 weeks?)

And? What did you think?

I've just gone through an eclectic holiday splurge of
The Mayor of Casterbridge*
The first Lee Child Jack Reacher
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
Dune*

Some stylistic and thematic lurches there, from one to another.

(* c35 years after first reading them - an exercise in memory and nostalgia)

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5610 on: April 04, 2019, 09:17:32 am »
I really enjoyed it, more as a picture-painting exercise than a gripping, page-turning narrative.  The story doesn't really go very far, but it gives a good impression of the urbanisation and rise in commercialism in modern-day Istanbul.  Thanks for the recommendation.

Redlight

  • Enjoying life in the slow lane
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5611 on: April 04, 2019, 09:19:08 pm »
Another one I really should have read years ago but have finally got round to...

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists - Robert Tressell

What's most alarming is how applicable it still is today... but I won't say any more than that because I don't want to drag politics into this thread.

Anyway, it's a good read and an effective polemic but judged as a piece of writing, I think I prefer George Gissing's The Nether World, which deals with much the same themes (though written 25 years earlier). Philanthropists seems much more optimistic though - The Nether World is entirely without a shred of hope.

Funny. I was thinking about that only the other day and wondering if my copy was still somewhere upstairs (it isn't). Aside from the story itself, which I'd agree is still topical, what I recall most is Tressell's random use of capital letters, which - today - is most obviously emulated by Trump's tweets.

It's probably due a revival, perhaps witheastern European decorators and a lottery winner as the eponymous benefactor.
Between the Disney abattoir and the chemical refinery

spesh

  • Trump-Russia posting ninja
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5612 on: April 04, 2019, 10:03:15 pm »
Samuel R. Delany's 'Trouble On Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia'

Probably best explained by this review: https://www.tor.com/2008/08/17/triton/
If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention.

It's not the despair... I can take the despair. It's the hope I can't stand.

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5613 on: April 04, 2019, 10:15:05 pm »
Damn ,  I recall that being a very confusing read for an inquisitive teenager.   The Spike, metal eyebrows & The Order of Dumb Beasts ?   


I've still got to make a 3rd attempt at getting through "Dhalgren",  don't think I got more than half way the last time.


It's been a while but I don't remember a gay character in "The Dispossessed" ?
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

spesh

  • Trump-Russia posting ninja
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5614 on: April 04, 2019, 10:41:43 pm »
Damn ,  I recall that being a very confusing read for an inquisitive teenager.   The Spike, metal eyebrows & The Order of Dumb Beasts ?   

That's the one. Not forgetting the Mumblers...

Quote
I've still got to make a 3rd attempt at getting through "Dhalgren",  don't think I got more than half way the last time.


It's been a while but I don't remember a gay character in "The Dispossessed" ?

Admittedly, I haven't read any of Le Guin's SF, so I can't comment on that, but it might be worth reading the transcript of an interview Delany had in 1986 with a lecturer and students at Concordia University (he talks about 'The Dispossessed' around a quarter of the way through):

https://www.depauw.edu/sfs/interviews/delany52interview.htm
If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention.

It's not the despair... I can take the despair. It's the hope I can't stand.

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5615 on: April 04, 2019, 10:46:26 pm »

The Mumblers may have been what I was thinking of.  OoDB was the Narnia stuff which I've never read!

That Tor review was by Jo Walton , the only stuff of hers I've read was the "Small Change" trilogy.  Fascism in a 1940's England that had made a swift peace with Germany.  Quite good.


Edit: http://thebooklender.katzette.com/book-review-small-change/
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

T42

  • Gaulois réfractaire
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5616 on: April 10, 2019, 08:05:14 am »
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, by Claire North. Only 3 pp in so far but I'm intrigued.
Où sont les merguez d'antan ?

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5617 on: April 10, 2019, 09:26:44 am »
I quite like her books, though in the latter ones she does occasionally veer into Creative Writing module 4b when

what's that

a voice

where, something, fractured

mindlike moonful milkshake

synopsis

which is a minor annoyance – and I'm all up for a bit of nonlinear narrative – as it doesn't seem to serve much purpose and frankly she's a good enough writer not to need it.
!nataS pihsroW

T42

  • Gaulois réfractaire
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5618 on: April 10, 2019, 01:29:38 pm »
Sort of thing that's aimed at critics rather than people.
Où sont les merguez d'antan ?

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5619 on: April 10, 2019, 01:39:31 pm »
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, by Claire North. Only 3 pp in so far but I'm intrigued.
I found it fairly meh in the end.
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

T42

  • Gaulois réfractaire
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5620 on: April 10, 2019, 02:32:51 pm »
That's heartening. We'll see how it goes.
Où sont les merguez d'antan ?

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5621 on: April 15, 2019, 08:02:38 pm »
There was mention of The Laundry Files a few pages back, I read the description and thought, "I might just like that"

Onto Amazon, Book #1 - "The Atrocity Archives" OK... Click


Quote
You purchased this item on 20 May 2017.

Well that made an impression

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5622 on: April 15, 2019, 08:48:37 pm »
A new author to me, Chris Ould’s “The Blood Strand”. A police procedural, but set on the Faroe Islands. Pretty good.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

tiermat

  • According to Jane, I'm a Unisex SpaceAdmin
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5623 on: April 16, 2019, 06:31:28 am »
A little late to the party, but I am about 50% of the way through "Cold as the Grave" by James Oswald.

Not sure why but it doesn't have the same grip as his other McLean books...
I feel like Captain Kirk, on a brand new planet every day, a little like King Kong on top of the Empire State

Steph

  • Fast. Fast and bulbous. But fluffy.
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5624 on: April 21, 2019, 06:38:51 am »
I had a look at the current book by John Boyne, as it is about a trans girl.

Shite. No connection to the reality at all.  Man writes book without (obvs) speaking to anybody trans, the character being a cardboard cut-out used for plot effect only. Of course, the usual hate press has come down on trans people for saying just that. Then I did some more reading.

He also wrote "Boy in the Striped Pyjamas". Oddly, the Jewish community seems to have said almost exactly the same thing about that book...
Mae angen arnaf i byw, a fe fydda'i