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TheBlueCat

What Are You Reading Now

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A more highbrow version of the drinking thread, or possibly not if there are any budding Hemingways on here.

Right now I'm working my way through Churchill's six books on the second world war. I've had the set sitting on my shelf for several years but only started reading them a month back. As a first hand account of the most brutal war in human history and the run-up to it, I think it's unbeatable and I wish I'd read it decades ago, although I may not have appreciated it so much back then.

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I inherited that set from my grandfather. I've been looking forward to it for ages. I'm putting it back until I've got time to give it justice (I've been sitting on it for about a decade now). 

Currently reading Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology. 

 

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Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything.  Which is a popular history of science.

It is terrible, wooden prose and he so clearly doesn't understand what he's writing about.  It's padded to the rafters with anecdotes about scientists to make up for the fact that he can hardly explain what he doesn't understand in the first place.

I've enjoyed his travel books but this is a pure grind in order to get it finished and out of my house.

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45 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything.  Which is a popular history of science.

It is terrible, wooden prose and he so clearly doesn't understand what he's writing about.  It's padded to the rafters with anecdotes about scientists to make up for the fact that he can hardly explain what he doesn't understand in the first place.

I've enjoyed his travel books but this is a pure grind in order to get it finished and out of my house.

I read that, and came away from it with the view that he was an over opinionated buffoon. I haven't read any of his other stuff so was sort of puzzled why other people rated him so much. Sounds like he just over reached himself on that book.

I found HG Wells Short History of the World better.

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7 minutes ago, Sgt Hartman said:

Dosbods.

Am I doing this right?

I read books a lot less than I used to, mostly because I'm dicking about on the internet.

Sad really. I should get my arse into gear and read proper books more. I've got a couple of hundred lined up in the house to get through. xD

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10 minutes ago, SpectrumFX said:

I read books a lot less than I used to, mostly because I'm dicking about on the internet.

Sad really. I should get my arse into gear and read proper books more. I've got a couple of hundred lined up in the house to get through. xD

Same, I used to read loads.

Tend to be too tired to make it through half a chapter these days.

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2 minutes ago, Sgt Hartman said:

Same, I used to read loads.

Tend to be too tired to make it through half a chapter these days.

That's the killer. Hopefully I'll get beck into it when the kids grow up and I can have the odd lie in.....

(As I write this my 3 year old has come over and started pinching my arm and going "baa, baa, baa!" In my face. I think he wants to play hungry hippo xD)

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I'm reading The first law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. Currently half way through the 2nd book, and really enjoying it.

I only really read fantasy and sci-fi.

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16 minutes ago, SpectrumFX said:

That's the killer. Hopefully I'll get beck into it when the kids grow up and I can have the odd lie in.....

(As I write this my 3 year old has come over and started pinching my arm and going "baa, baa, baa!" In my face. I think he wants to play hungry hippo xD)

My three month old has completed my morning by going absolutely bugfuck before soiling herself spectacularly.

She's fine now, my carpet on the other hand, isn't looking too wonderful.

Which reminds me, I need to start a thread...

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5 minutes ago, Reebo said:

I'm reading The first law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. Currently half way through the 2nd book, and really enjoying it.

I only really read fantasy and sci-fi.

I did for a few years but Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series put an end to that.

The first book was great, the second similarly so. Then he just went mad. Every single minor character and subplot suddenly got their own stories running separately in separate chapters within the book.

It splintered and fragmented like the universe expanding until what you really wanted to know, the development of the main story, might get four chapters out of fifty in the book.

I've not seen anything like this before; surely every author has an editor reviewing their work to keep their publisher happy.

To take a recent analogy it would be like a Harry Potter series where about ten minutes of each film related to Harry Potter and the other eighty minutes followed up the detailed events in the life of Neville Longbottom, Luna whatever, the caretaker, the caretaker's cat etc.

It was bizarre; it probably would have taken a hundred lengthy books to finally resolve the story from the opening book.

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Have to read and write so much to keep on top of my work that I drifted away from reading for pleasure about 30 years ago. I read loads as a kid but I now only read books on long haul flights and I choose a book that I can finish in that time. The last was The Jungle Book.

I'd agree with the unfavourable comments about Bill Bryson's A Brief History of Time. It won science literature prizes at the time, but it was just a case of Emperor's new clothes AFAIC. Scientists seemed awed that Bill Bryson had granted their profession attention, Many of the upper echelons were like moths around a bright light.

Edited by Hopeful

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1 hour ago, SpectrumFX said:

I read that, and came away from it with the view that he was an over opinionated buffoon. I haven't read any of his other stuff so was sort of puzzled why other people rated him so much. Sounds like he just over reached himself on that book.

I found HG Wells Short History of the World better.

Another great book on similar lines is Little History of the World

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-History-World-Ernst-Gombrich/dp/030014332X

Was eye opening having only ever really learnt a UK centric view of history. 

Also in the club with regards to not having that high an opinion of Brysons A Short History of Nearly Everything. 

---- 

I hardly ever read these days, too many other distractions. Currently slowly getting through a book about the Great Exhibition of 1851

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1 hour ago, Frank Hovis said:

I did for a few years but Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series put an end to that.

The first book was great, the second similarly so. Then he just went mad. Every single minor character and subplot suddenly got their own stories running separately in separate chapters within the book.

It splintered and fragmented like the universe expanding until what you really wanted to know, the development of the main story, might get four chapters out of fifty in the book.

I've not seen anything like this before; surely every author has an editor reviewing their work to keep their publisher happy.

To take a recent analogy it would be like a Harry Potter series where about ten minutes of each film related to Harry Potter and the other eighty minutes followed up the detailed events in the life of Neville Longbottom, Luna whatever, the caretaker, the caretaker's cat etc.

It was bizarre; it probably would have taken a hundred lengthy books to finally resolve the story from the opening book.

The Game of Thrones books went like that.

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Just now, Hail the Tripod said:

The Game of Thrones books went like that.

So I heard.  There was one of the later books (A Feast for Crows, fourth book) in the library at work so I borrowed it to read as I'd liked the early series of the show.

It was, in its way, hugely impressive.  George Martin had, like Robert Jordan, created a real world with all its minutiae.  But as you say I found it like wading through treacle as I was given every single back story.

I liked the Alan Partridge Team's approach to This (Armando Ianucci, Peter Baynhma, Steve Coogan, Henry Normal) who insisted that every charcater had a decent back story to make their comedy more believable.  This worked really well IMO; they didn't tell you the back story bar maybe the odd reference but it meant that all the characters worked as real people rather than cartoons.

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I tend to have one trash fiction book, and one more educational book going at the same time. At the moment I'm reading:

The Corruption of Capitalism by Guy Standing - bought for me by my wife after she listened to his TED talk, it's quite good. So far largely focussed on the apportionment of income to rentierism through governmental and inter-governmental design. Probably quite an eye-opening view of the world for a lot of people and quite an easy read for this type of topic.

Magician by Raymond E Feist - read it about 30 years ago, and loved it. My parents just moved house and I had to pick up a load of books that had been there from when I was a kid, and started reading it as I was sorting through. Not as good as an adult reader, but still OK as I can't really remember the plot details.

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2 hours ago, Frank Hovis said:

I did for a few years but Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series put an end to that.

I made it through all 14 (I think) books. It became a bit of a chore at times but I wanted to find out what happened at the end.

I'm still waiting for the next got book...

I read most of the forgotten realms, Dragonlance etc books when I was younger but took a break from reading in my 20s. Game of thrones got me back into it again.

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7 hours ago, SpectrumFX said:

I inherited that set from my grandfather. I've been looking forward to it for ages. I'm putting it back until I've got time to give it justice (I've been sitting on it for about a decade now). 

Currently reading Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology. 

 

Funny, mine also came via my grandfather (albeit indirect) and I've just finished reading American Gods. :)

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2 hours ago, Reebo said:

I made it through all 14 (I think) books. It became a bit of a chore at times but I wanted to find out what happened at the end.

I'm still waiting for the next got book...

I read most of the forgotten realms, Dragonlance etc books when I was younger but took a break from reading in my 20s. Game of thrones got me back into it again.

What did happen?  The underlying arc was that Rand was fated to lay waste most of the world as the Dragon before him had done.

I guessed that he wouldn't but the foresaken and whoever they served (I forget the name, long time since I read it) seemed pretty unstoppable and kept popping up and winning all over whilst the Arthurian / Atlantis type people were steadily reconquering their own country from the west and the desert people were moving in from the east.  Then there were the children of light and the Tower.

I couldn't see how he was going to resolve all of that and nor did he as far as I can tell hence the endless diversions into particular towns and cities for a couple of books.

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1 hour ago, Frank Hovis said:

What did happen?  The underlying arc was that Rand was fated to lay waste most of the world as the Dragon before him had done.

I guessed that he wouldn't but the foresaken and whoever they served (I forget the name, long time since I read it) seemed pretty unstoppable and kept popping up and winning all over whilst the Arthurian / Atlantis type people were steadily reconquering their own country from the west and the desert people were moving in from the east.  Then there were the children of light and the Tower.

I couldn't see how he was going to resolve all of that and nor did he as far as I can tell hence the endless diversions into particular towns and cities for a couple of books.

Erm, bit hazy now, but if I remember right, there's the final battle between dark and light (as usual) and Rand fights the dark one 1 on 1, and eventually locks him back in his prison. Rand then fakes his death, and goes off to live a quiet life, as the final battle made him lose the ability to channel.

And lots of other stuff happens too. :)

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12 hours ago, TheBlueCat said:

Right now I'm working my way through Churchill's six books on the second world war.

Those were the books that my father read.

Seriously, AFAIK they were the only books he ever read. He used to work very long hours and would sit down and read maybe a page or two every now and again.

Every other Christmas we would buy him the next one (as well as the Giles cartoon annual) and that would keep him going for the next couple of years.

I never saw him with any other book. Not sure he even finished them all before he died either.

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Currently chomping through Xeelee by Stephen Baxter.

I bought Neil Gaimans Norse gods at christmas, but I have just had the Fitz and the fool trilogy by Robin Hobb delivered so it might have to wait.

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A Higher Form of Killing: The secret history of chemical and biological warfare. Someone (can't remember who sorry!) from here or TOS recommended it. Quite good. Just my sort of thing!

Also got The Optimistic Child bubbling along slowly.

7 hours ago, SpectrumFX said:

I read books a lot less than I used to, mostly because I'm dicking about on the internet.

Sad really. I should get my arse into gear and read proper books more. I've got a couple of hundred lined up in the house to get through. xD

I'm terrible for this. Thinking about it, I've also got the first Harry Potter book on the go. The film was actually much better.

My favourite time for reading is when I'm camping alone. A fire, some cans of lager and a book during the day is SO relaxing! In fact, I can do this combination in my house this weekend... Don't really need a tent.

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28 minutes ago, SirGaz said:

Currently chomping through Xeelee by Stephen Baxter.

I bought Neil Gaimans Norse gods at christmas, but I have just had the Fitz and the fool trilogy by Robin Hobb delivered so it might have to wait.

I enjoyed the first robin hobb trilogy with fitz, but when I moved on to the liveship books I couldn't finish the first book. Not sure what it was about them I didn't enjoy. I might skip them and get back to fitz again.

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