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 25 replies - 126 through 150 (of 270 total)
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  • #147413 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    This is weird. It will let me post that bit, above, but not the second par, which is simply a short Hello to POPS. Must be something in my typing upsetting it

     

    #147414 Reply
    wmcforum
    Which Mobility Car

    @Tharg. ‘Wordfence’ is a component in our anti spam / security blanket, it can be a little ruthless sometimes, sadly it seems the only way to keep the bulk spam posters at bay. It could be a single word or phrase that is blocking you posting. I have just made a few changes so it may work now, or if not, email me and I will add it to your last post.

     

     

    #147418 Reply
    Georgie

    Hi, Tharg!  Sorry I didn’t make it clear earlier – I just meant the title, the concept, of The War for the Oaks put me in mind of The Trees, a song by the Canadian rock group Rush.  To spare the uninitiated from the ‘singular’ vocals of Geddy Lee:

    The Trees

    There is unrest in the forest
    There is Trouble with the Trees
    For the Maples want more sunlight
    And the Oaks ignore their pleas . . .

    The trouble with the Maples
    (And they’re quite convinced they’re right)
    They say the Oaks are just too lofty
    And they grab up all the light

    But the Oaks can’t help their feelings
    If they like the way they’re made
    And they wonder why the Maples
    Can’t be happy in their shade . . .

    There is trouble in the forest
    And the creatures all have fled
    As the Maples scream, “Oppression”
    And the Oaks just shake their heads

    So the Maples formed a union
    And demanded equal rights
    They say, “The Oaks are just too greedy
    We will make them give us light”
    Now there’s no more Oak oppression
    For they passed a noble law
    And the trees are all kept equal
    By hatchet, axe, and saw.

     

     

    #147425 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    @wmcforum Thanks for your reply, Mr Forum. Please do not waste any more time on this. I had guessed it was some wonky positioning of characters which upset its filters. Could have gone through line-by-line to find it but, well, life’s too short. Might even be a mis-type of an invisible control character? It matters not; I’ve said a greet to POPS so, please, do no more. 👌

    #147427 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    @Georgie Right, back again after upsetting our mutated algorithm. Where was I? Yup, thanks for explanation. What I wanted to say to you and POPS is that my serious interest in rock kinda faded out after the Beatles. No-one wrote proper tunes after that (puts on tin-hat ready for replies). Except Knopfler, of course. Was driving when first heard Sultans on the wireless; had to pull over and stop in case I crashed it. One of the wonders of his stuff is that, for a Geordie, he knows London inside-out. Lions paints such a wonderful picture of Trafalgar Square/Charing Cross.

    #147553 Reply
    Georgie

    Ahhh . . .  The Beatles.  I watched Help! and Yellow Submarine on the telly when I was 10 and became an instant fan.  By the time I was 14 I had all their albums from A Hard Day’s Night to Let it Be (for some reason I didn’t get Please Please Me or With the Beatles until much later).  When John Lennon died I was the ‘Go to girl’ for the other pupils, most of whom were Duran Duran fans and had never really heard of The Beatles so didn’t know what all the fuss was about.  Popularity-wise, that was my 15 minutes of Fame, I suppose.

    Not to say I wasn’t into to other stuff as well.  I also bought all the Police and Kate Bush albums as they came out, and had my very own copies of Wish You Were Here and Relics, which were the only Pink Floyd albums my brother didn’t have.  Plus some Jethro Tull.  I can’t think what other groups I actively collected – I didn’t need to collect ELO because my brother had all those.  Most other stuff was single albums of whatever took my fancy.

    And yes, I know the Book Club is evolving into The Music Club, so I will get us back on track – I have almost finished The Bookman (Orphan is in a cell, literally talking to himself), but I need to read Comedy of Terrors by Lindsey Davis before embarking on Camera Obscura.

    #147590 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    Am reading a thing called Fated now. Author is Benedict Jacka and he really should have had a better editor. It is/was blurbed as similar to Rivers of London, i.e., magical stuff in modern London environs. All too heavily into the whizz-bang-woof blowing-things-up stuff. Spends far too much time explaining various bits of magic like an esoteric text book. Couple of good characters but also a smattering of cliched, soap-style villains. Doubt I’ll read any more in series.

    So glad you like the Beatles. Quite aside from Macca’s really good tunes, I love the way they threw out the musical rule-book in so many numbers. In Help!, the chorus actually sings the lead. In Rigby, there’s just a sting quartet as backing, and Leaving Home has an orchestra playing a totally unexpected perfect three-four time (no guitars, drums etc).  Some of the tunes are directly styled from 30s or 40s band music – Your Mother Should Know. Honey Pie is straight Music Hall.

    I think the band’s influence on popular music is completely under-rated and not understood. If you’re interested, Howard Goodall did a marvellous documentary about their place in the music world. It’s on You Tube and plays quite nicely.

    #147705 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    Finally finished Fated. Do not recommend. As above, needed a better edit. Dull and too interested in whizz-bang-whoosh blowing up magical things.

     

    #147724 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    Oh dear… gets worse: started to read a thing called Skyscraper Throne by Tom Pollock. Utterly dreadful. It is what those-in-know call a YA work, i.e. a book for Young Adults or children as they used to be called. Knew this but thought, well, give it a try. WRONG! One set of characters are straight out of Tammy or Misty. Although at least those girls’ picture strip papers had some decent stories.

    This is just drowned in cliches. And he uses a lot of YoofSpeak which I do not, and do not want, to understand. Avoid at all costs.

    #147766 Reply
    Georgie

    I finished The Bookman this morning.  Love his take on the ‘secret vaults’ under Bodleian. 🙂  I used to haunt the Bod. in my youth, but it’s a bit of a non-starter now.  Wheelchair access is limited and you now have to spend an hour taking a one-to-one ‘Individual Site Induction’ course before they let you in due to Fire Risk.  Even then wheelchair users can only access half the Library – Duke Humphrey’s library (the oldest and most interesting room) is only accessible via stairs, as is the ‘Lower Gladstone Link’ tunnel that connects the Bod. to the Radcliffe Camera, where wheelchair users are limited to the ground floor AND have to arrange a ‘Personal Evacuation Plan’ first.  Quite honestly, I cannot be arsed!

     

    #147773 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    Bloody annoying that wheelchair access is so crap at the Bodleian. I only occasionally use one but the time is coming closer when I will have to take to the thing a lot more or not go out! Putting it off as long as I can. Wonder if one will fit in the Mini?

    Now reading The Creatures That Time Forgot by Ray Bradbury. Curious book; concerns a race a humes who only live for eight days and one person’s attempts to escape this fate. Hardly any mention of the title anywhere. It is very short and rather low-key in style. Wonder if Bradbury wanted to hide trace of it.

    #147776 Reply
    Georgie

    Stargate: SG1 did an episode like that – Brief Candle – about a race of genetically engineered humans who live their entire lives in 100 days.  Good episode!

     

    #147788 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    Don’t remember that . Thought I’d seen the lot but probably wrong. There again, if it had Claudia Black in it, I likely was not watching the plot too closely. Damn good series. Always pulling new angles and avoiding cliches, mostly.

    Creatures... must have been a very early work. It reads like a first try at SciFi by a sixth former. A jolly literate one, but still a sixth former.

    #147802 Reply
    Georgie

    Considering my brother used to sling his wheelie in the boot of his Mini Cooper 30+ years ago, I imagine there would be plenty of space for a regular sized ‘chair in the boot of modern maxi-Minis.  The RiDC website might be helpful:

    https://www.ridc.org.uk/features-reviews/out-and-about/choosing-car/make/mini

    Re. the delightful Ms. Claudia Black – Brief Candle was a season 1 episode, well before it became a refuge for former Farscape actors Ben Browder and Claudia Black.  Though I have to confess that while I love the madness that is Farscape (I’m watching it again on Amazon, on and off), I didn’t really like B.B. or C.B.’s characters in Stargate.  To be fair, Browder had been first choice for Major John Sheppard in Stargate Atlantis, but the Farscape ‘resurrection’ meant he couldn’t take the job, so perhaps his SG1 ‘character’ was a bit underdeveloped when he finally was able to make the move.  As for Beau Bridges . . . least said and all that.

    #147808 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    Agree that Black and Browder’s characters left a bit to be , desired in SG1 but, well, shallow as it is, she was perfectly charming to look at. Also showed a talent for light comedy in places. Would have bet the house on you being a Farscape fan. Thought it was probably the best SF TV series ever made and some of the best TV in general. Good stories, great characters, and never afraid to break the rules. As and SF fan/writer, I got into it straight away and it is no mean compliment to the series that Mrs T was also locked (not an SF fan). All of our kids were deeply into it as well.

    Black was cast to be the female lead in Life, the good cop story made in USA featuring Damian Lewis, But a pregnancy got in the way (still appeared in the titles though).

    Back in SG1, I always thought that Amanda Tapping did a decent job of the lead. Did you ever see the Sanctuary series she went on to make afterwards? Quite mad, but entertaining in a lightweight sort of way. SG1 had some most interesting cast members – Dom Deluise put in an appearance as did Maury Chaykin – the actor who played the lead in the Nero Wolfe Mysteries. The latter do not get broadcast often but well worth a look. Decidedly eccentric.

    #147828 Reply
    Georgie

    I have Sanctuary on DVD – If we like Stempunk Sci-Fi, how could we not love Sanctuary?  And, well, who couldn’t love Henry?

    As a fellow Claudia Black fan – have you seen Pitch Black?  One of the most underrated Sci-Fi films of all time, I reckon (that and The Quiet Earth, the end credits of which still blow me away).  It has the same quality of light that makes the outdoor scenes in Farscape special – Australian sunlight, which has an entirely different quality to the US sunlight we’re used to.  Admittedly, C.B. isn’t in it for very long (and OMG I wish somebody would give Vin Diesel some elocution lessons!), but it’s still a great film, imho.

    #147829 Reply
    Georgie

    “Stempunk”?  ‘Steampunk’!

    #147838 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    Stempunk? Growing mechanical flowers?

    Have seen Pitch Black. Badly edited copy, I think. Terrible sound quality too. Must watch again. Know what you mean about antipodean light. Mystery Road always looked different (and good). And, just across the ocean a bit, The Brokenwood Mysteries is also worth a mention. Next series due here soon and, given complete lack of any info on tx date, I reckon the Beeb must have it. Will be worth the wait – more episodes than usual in series. Probably my favourite tv show at the moment (ties with Shakespeare & Hathaway): lightweight, funny and witty with nicely drawn characters. Don’t have to think very much. Just sit back and enjoy meaningless, delightful nonsense.

    #147848 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    And what I really meant to say is that, having rejected a couple of new tomes, I have now started on Fool Moon, the second of the Dresden Files. Looks to be as entertaining as number one.

    #147890 Reply
    Georgie

    Haven’t heard of The Brokenwood Mysteries (we haven’t bothered with the BBC for years.  Amazon Prime TV, Netflix and the Internet serve us well), but I do find that shows set in slightly unusual settings often have an extra depth.  The US version of The Body was filmed ‘around the back’ of Seattle where the tourists never go, and half the fun of Grimm was that it was filmed in unromantic, non-quaint Portland, Oregon.

     

    #147903 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    Brokenwood is on Amazon Prime but as paid-for items which I reckon is a right con – I’m already paying for the service. Anyhoo, it’s a more or less standard police procedural. A bit like Midsommer but, unlike the Brit production, does not take itself seriously one little bit. Small cast, bit like a repertory company with same characters popping up in neighbouring episodes. As before, most entertaining, lightweight, fluffy fun.

    #147913 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    Just noticed that the Drama channel (on Freeview, I think) has been repeating earlier Brokenwood series. One is on that channel this coming Saturday if you want to to take a look. Reference the Amazon stuff, if you try it, bear in mind that it took two or three episodes for the series to work out what it wanted to do. Early ep’s have a slightly more weighty story strand which was, wisely, dropped from all the following series. Start with series two?

    #147914 Reply
    mitch
    Participant

    its free on uktv play. i like it doesnt take itself too seriously.

    #147967 Reply
    Tharg
    Participant

    I also like the fact that it uses real people as characters. If set in the USA then lead cop Mike Sheppard would be a glossy, smooth, handsome. tall chappie wearing thousand dollar suits, constantly fighting of the attentions of gorgeous Hollywood beauties. In Kiwi-land, Sheppard is a comfortably-shaped, ageing, not very well dressed  bloke with an odd taste in cars and music (C&W). Sure, he fights off female attentions, but from the completely bonkers Russian pathologist who is a tad too large, in shape and character, to be Hollywood “babe” material.

    #148021 Reply
    Georgie

    Casting ordinary-looking people in lead roles certainly makes things more believable.  I always feel sorry for what they call ‘Character Actors’.  Character Actor = good actor that everyone recognises and likes but who almost never get to play the lead e.g Emma Chambers, Phil Davis, Miriam Margoles, Toby Jones, Penelope Wilton, Danny Webb, Frances de la Tour, Michael Kitchen, Andrew Scott . . .

    It pays the bills, but it must surely be a bit soul-destroying.

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