The book club

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  • #138834 Reply
    Brydo

    I must admit I am not a big reader of books but it’s clear that some on the forum are.

    I could of course be tempted and no better time than now when we have very little to do.

    So I thought it would be interesting to hear from members their recommendations.

Viewing 24 replies - 301 through 324 (of 324 total)
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  • #169754 Reply
    Georgie

    Such a tragedy what has befallen Palmyra in the last few years due to the actions of certain extremist factions: the cella of the Temple of Bel destroyed, Monumental Arch destroyed, Temple of Baal Shamin destroyed, Tetrapylon destroyed, Theatre severely damaged . . .

    Breaks my heart.

    #169757 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    A terrible loss, Georgie. Just another of the awful things people do in the name of their Invisible Friend(s).

    #170057 Reply
    Georgie

    O.K.  That’s what happens when I spend 20 minutes writing a message and then skip back a page to see if there’s anything else to add . . .  All deleted!

    Sooo . . . Once more with feeling . . .

    I’ve been happily working my way through The Expanse books – just finished vol. 5:Nemesis Games which has brought me up to date with the Amazon TV series (roll on Season 6 starting December 10th!).  Volumes 6, 7 and 8 are sitting on the bookcase, taunting me, while volume 9 should arrive on December 2nd.

    I must stay strong and deny temptation . . .

    #170421 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    Just finished Time to Depart in Falco series. Most enjoyable. Best described as The Sweeney in Ancient Rome. Volantem Manipulus I believe – underneath the SPQR shield of course.

    Now into The Killings at Kingfisher Hill by Sophie Hannah. The latest in her series of “new” Poirot novels. They are endorsed by the Christie estate and rightly so. Hannah makes a jolly good job of capturing Christie’s essential character. Marvellous period details too – this one’s set in 1931.

    #170821 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    @Georgie Mornin’, Miz G. Unaccustomed silence must mean you’re feeling a bit crock again? Hope you are on the mend and we’ll hear from you soon. Until then, our very best wishes. Please don’t reply to this… wait until the health gods do their bit! {{{😷}}}

    #171146 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    Now finished …Kingfisher Hill by Sophie Hannah. Most enjoyable. Perfectly on a par with Christie featuring delightful and intriguing characters.

    Started a beautiful blast from the past with a collection of stories by Henry Kuttner. Acknowledged as one of the leaders and masters of 50s/60s science fiction, he did not hit the fame which went with the Asimovs, Bradburys etc. Remember reading his stuff late 50s and being knocked  out. But, original used paperbacks fell to bits and his stuff became unavailable or so highly priced as to be unreachable. All praise to digital publishing then for providing access to this amusing, witty and surprising writer.

    #171253 Reply
    Georgie

    I’ve had to put The Expanse on hold now that I’ve caught up with the TV series, so I polished off B&M London’s Glory and I’m about three quarters through The Lonely Hour.  Took a bit to get into this one, but it’s rolling along nicely now.  It sooo makes me want to go Up to Town and wander around those old cobble-stoned, snickety alley ways and ‘lost on the doorstep’ passages to forgotten quiet corners.  🙂

    #171262 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    Know what you mean. Having grown up in and around central London, a bit of me, like you, yearns to revisit. Lincoln’s Inn, Tower Bridge, the Thames in general all call to me intensely. Conversely, the thought of travelling up there horrifies me. Don’t think I could manage trains and things and, even though I used to commute into the centre by car every day, I don’t have the nerve anymore for such a drive. Silly, innit!

    #176173 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    Mustn’t let this thread shuffle off it coil. As I’ve said elsewhere, health issues and need to write some odd biog stuff have got in the way. Still reading though. Worked my way through all the classic 40s/50s short stories of sci-fi greats Fredric Brown and Henry Kuttner. Tried novels by the latter. Can’t believe how a bloke who can do such great short tales can be so bad on doing novels. Since then have got hooked into time-travel fiction.

    Always loved reading this subject. Understandable, I suppose, for one who saw the very first Dr Who live on black-and-white telly in 1963. As a time-travel fan (tempusitineranturphile?) I’ll try anything. Have done the four-book Time Amazon series by Doug Molitor. Hmmm. Disappointing. Overloaded with US-themed stuff, mainly early US politics and film stars. Also did The Time Travelling Tourist by Nick James and Rabbit Hole by Garrett Smith. The former is just plain bad. The latter had some promise but cannot find the next three in the series. Seems to have disappeared.

    Now reading Schroedinger’s Dog by Allan Brewer. Promising. For one thing it is set in the UK (at GCHQ) and does not seem to have been written with a film or TV series in mind! It was published fairly recently (2018?) but feels like it was written in the 50s. Has a Quatermass feel to it. Only just started it so will put up more when I get further in.

    #176269 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    And I’ve started to struggle with Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5 – again. Decades since I last looked at it and found it very difficult. Will try to get all the way through this time. If I fail, again, I’ll go on to his Sirens of Titan.

    #177217 Reply
    ajn

    @Tharg & hopefully @Georgie,

    I’m not going to pretend to be a book person, I’m simply not tbh..

    However I did report here to the walking stick preparation/making book Mrs ajn searched, found and purchased for me as it was recommended by a walking stick maker/seller, now I’ve another to add to list bought as a Chrimbo pressie from a friend of my Daughter..

    It’s a Jeremy Clarkson farming book😂, not I your league I guess but a book never the less..

    Haven’t read it yet though..

     

     

    #177218 Reply
    ajn

    in*

    #177231 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    I would never dis’ Clarkson. Despite all his bluster, he’s a damn good writer and an entertaining and amusing one too! Have read a few of his books, notably I Know You Got Soul which describes and tells stories about machines that have got that certain something, Most enjoyable.

    #181326 Reply
    Georgie

    I haven’t read them for a while but I think I found The World According to Clarkson and And Another Thing (extracts from the columns he wrote for the Sunday Times) most entertaining when read in short bites.  I remember the saga of Clarkson v. the fox was particularly funny – Clarkson at night sitting on a swivel chair in a field, armed with a torch and a shotgun.  If I remember, I might order Diddly Squat: A year on the Farm when it comes out in May.  I’m not really a fan of autobiographies (Stephen Fry being a notable exception), but I more or less loved the series, so the book could be worth a punt.

    Having finished the marvellous The Expanse series (9 books, and not short ones, either!) I took a shot at Back Story by David Mitchell (the comedian, not the author – confusing much?), but it really confirmed my general lack of engagement with autobiographies in general.  I’m afraid Bryant and May has ruined me – Mitchell’s rather limited knowledge of the London he walks around in order to help his ‘bad back’ is frustrating.  Arthur would be so disappointed.  So much opportunity, so little application . . .  I ditched it just before the halfway mark.

    Instead I’ve just launched myself on yet another saga (a known quantity this time) – the original six Dune chronicles.

    “For he IS the Clapped-out Haddock Rack!”

     

     

     

    #181345 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    Must agree with you re Clarkson. He really is a natural and most entertaining writer. One of his best to me is I Know You Got Soul in which he looks at machines which have that little something extra.

    Read a whole bunch of time travel stuff recently, nothing that good though. Just about to finish Greg Bear’s The Way trilogy. Bit curate’s egg with some intriguing characters and situations. Gets lost in places, though, and leaves some themes/strands unfinished. Still entertaining,

    Am proud to say I finally, after about 20 years trying,  finished Slaughterhouse Five. I have loved a lot of other Vonnegut, particularly Sirens of Titan. But this so called major, worthy work still defeats me. His stunning style, dark humour and ability to reach out and touch the reader is still there. However, aside from a penetrating look at the sad psyche of US people, I don’t really get it. Have heard it accused of being The Great American Novel. Hmmm. Maybe it is; maybe there just isn’t that much worthy to say about US character.

    Happiest reading moment is next week when the latest Rivers of London novel is released and will go straight into my new Amazon Fire reader thingey – old one developed a mind of its own (psychotic) and shuffled off its mortal chips!

    #181347 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    Apologies for repeating myself re Clarkson. Duh!

    #181452 Reply
    Georgie

    I suspect some (by no mean all) of the Great American Novels have merely dated.  Moby Dick,  The Catcher in the Rye and that one about the man in the boat – by Hemmingway? – never grabbed me, either.

    Or maybe they just don’t ‘travel’ well – British psyche different from US psyche?  Can we really appreciate The Three Musketeers or Don Quixote in the same way as the French/Spanish?  Or do we need a lifetime of that history behind us to really grasp the subtleties of the works?

    (I should really have a column in The Guardian . . . )

    😉

    #181523 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    Oh, do SO agree. You should have a column in the Guardian. Trouble is, you’d end up hating it. Editors, publishers, mates-of-mates, the Golfing Mafia (not joking), they’re all out to get you. Not for nothing was one of the old Fleet Street pubs known as The Stab in the Back.

    I quite liked The Old Man and the Sea but it’s hardly a novel. Short story on steroids maybe. Similarly Of Mice and Men – marvellous, beautifully written but a short story. Tend not to read “worthy”  works. Of all the US stuff I’ve read, Catch 22 stands out above the rest. Funny, witty, intensely moving and with more mad, intriguing and engaging characters than you can shake a stick at!

    .

    #181677 Reply
    Georgie

    Oh yes, you did mention previously that you’d worked in the Trade.  I will, therefore, take your advice and turn down Ms. Viner’s no doubt generous offer of employment when she calls. 🙂

    I may have to go back to Moby Dick and ‘skip ahead’ to the good bit.  Dreadful behaviour, I know, but quite honestly it got a bit tedious.  However, my sister tells me that the actual Whale Hunt is really good.  I know Melville worked on a Whaler in his youth, so he knew first hand what a hunt was like.

    Meanwhile, I’m still traipsing (non-rhythmically) across the sands of Arrakis . . .

    #181714 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    Sad thing is, Georgie, you’d be an absolute natural to write a column for a National paper. You are a natural writer. You say stuff in engaging, entertaining manner, and can rant so beautifully when needs must! I had two columns on the national things. One on computer games, another on popular science-stuff. Both went very well, the computer one particularly so. Had both cancelled at height of popularity because certain night-editors didn’t like my face and I wouldn’t join the Golfing Mafia. Just because what you do is successful, they think you are after their jobs. Eejits.

    BTW, as I posted elsewhere just now, Farscape is being re-run on Horror channel. Monday, 6pm. Starts with first series  so another chance to meet the blue veggie Zhaan.

    #181861 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    Further to your disappointment with Mitchell’s lack of empathy with London, you’ll be pleased to hear that the new B&M tome is out on 14 July. Bryant and May’s Peculiar London would seem to be doing what Mitchell didn’t. Fowler says it is neither a novel, nor even a set of short stories. “Collected conversations” seems a closer theme – our characters bunny a bit about London and its stuff.

    There is another novel in the machine. At present it calls itself The House that Jack Built and is a “proper” B&M novel. Might be out later this year but my money’s on 2023. Fowler’s been very busy of late, driven by a cancer diagnosis and treatment. (Don’t know the outcome). A new standalone novel called Hot Water came out in March and the third volume of his sort-of autobiography, Word Monkey, is well advanced. He’s also writing a pile of short stories and what he calls his Dark Ages Epic.

    So, plenty to look forward to and hope for – not least his good health.

    #182073 Reply
    struth
    Participant

    just bought this… Dam Busters
    The Race to Smash the Dams, 1943
    By: James Holland
    Narrated by: James Holland.

     

    looks promising.

    Current Car: Hyundai Kona Premium EV...2 way 40kg hoist
    Last Car: Toyota C-HR Excel Hybrid...4 way 80kg hoist

    #182110 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    Sounds good, @struth It is a fascinating story. Not just the heroism of the boys of 617sqn, but the determination of Wallis to get the project done. Read about it myself in Paul Brickhill’s The Dambusters decades ago. A related read, if you want, would be J E Morpurgo’s Barnes Wallis biography. It examines the man’s other projects, “earthquake” bombs and his “aerodyne”  swing-wing, lifting-body ideas.

    #182597 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    Now well stuck into Amongst Our Weapons, the latest in the Rivers of London series. As good as ever, even though our heroes are taken out of London for a bit to wild northern regions.

    Reading it as a digital item – no room left for proper books. Just given a few hundred away to charity shops. Keeping a set of fave’s though: Rivers… obviously and Bryant & May plus a few others. While arranging my “keeps” I took great care of the hardbacks. And purely out of idle interest though I’d check the prices of first editions because some are. Well!!! If I had bought the first Rivers… book in hardback it would now be worth over £1,000. The later hardback ones are asking £50-ish or more per copy. Silly.

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