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It's the post-holiday reading thread!
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Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 22 2013, 2:51pm

Post #1 of 37 (325 views)
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It's the post-holiday reading thread! Can't Post

That is, yesterday was a holiday here in the US (Martin Luther King Day) and I'm just back from a week's cruise and am still recovering. (Where am I? What's going on? Why isn't the floor moving?) SmileCrazyCool

Now that the Gaffer and I finally have a tablet (a Surface) I took several ebooks along, and finished one: The Blacklin County Files, a collection of five short stories by Bill Crider, featuring his small-town Texas sheriff, Dan Rhodes. I've read quite a few novels in the series---they're fast, enjoyable stories, and I love Rhodes' laconic voice---and I found the short stories to be great vacation reads. (Full disclosure here. Bill is a friend of mine and a delightful person.)

I also took along several magazines and was just about caught up until we got back home and picked up the mail. Ah well.

What have y'all been reading?




Annael
Half-elven


Jan 22 2013, 4:23pm

Post #2 of 37 (181 views)
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The Last Chronicle of Barset [In reply to] Can't Post

I've had it on my shelf for years and thought I'd read it already, but I hadn't, so am having fun with Trollope. Can't say I like the main character, Mr. Crawley, but loved his smackdown on Mrs. Proudie.

The way we imagine our lives is the way we are going to go on living our lives.

- James Hillman, Healing Fiction

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


NottaSackville
Tol Eressea

Jan 22 2013, 4:57pm

Post #3 of 37 (180 views)
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Unbroken/Frankenstein - How did you like reading on the tablet versus book? [In reply to] Can't Post

I have to confess - I'm sold on e-readers, and never thought I'd be.

I finished Unbroken by Laura Hillebrand - that's a really, really great book, and kept me captive most of a Sunday during which I just had to finish it. The book deserves all the good press it has gotten. I think one of the things that makes it so rich is all the detail that Hillebrand injects into the story, whether it be information on planes to events that were happening away from the main character. It's obvious from the story (and also the copious bibliography in the back) that she thoroughly and meticulously researched this book from many, many different sources. I give it a "Must Read" rating.

Next up is Frankenstein (yes, that Frankenstein - thanks Gutenberg project!). This is another book prompted by the NPR Sci Fi/Fantasy top 100. I thought I'd read this book as a high school student, but obviously not (or my memory is far worse than even I think). I'm thinking that the bit I remember reading must have been one of those snippets you read in high school literature class lit surveys. Notta gotta say, like many books written in the "olden days", the flowery language in this book is hard to slog through at times, but I'm enjoying becoming more classically literate by the thumb swipe.

Notta

Happiness: money matters, but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important and so are friends, while envy is toxic -- and so is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude. - The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner as summarized by Lily Fairbairn. And a bit of the Hobbit reading thrown in never hurts. - NottaSackville


One Ringer
Tol Eressea


Jan 22 2013, 5:29pm

Post #4 of 37 (182 views)
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Kidnapped [In reply to] Can't Post

Picking up yet another Stevenson book. It's a nice fast-paced read so far, the only issue I'm finding though is figuring out how much of it is being written in a more casual verse, or if the copy just holds many errors. There's several shifts in tense and the structure to some sentences seems a bit off, but I almost get the impression that it's meant to be this way (or I'm in denial). If anyone else has read this book, I'd like to know if they came across this issue at all. I'm currently reading from the Premier Classics edition, if that helps at all. The story itself is fantastic, it's just this wonder of whether there's something wrong or not that throws me off, because so far with the Premier Classics publications I've found no issue.

FOTR 10th Anniversary Music Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33xJU3AIwsg

"You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain."


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 22 2013, 5:42pm

Post #5 of 37 (173 views)
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Wasn't there a dramatization of this some years ago? [In reply to] Can't Post

At least, I seem to remember Mrs. Proudie from one of those BBC costume dramas---a vivid character, to say the least!

Hm, no relation to the Crawleys of Downton Abbey, I would assume....




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 22 2013, 5:50pm

Post #6 of 37 (170 views)
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I like having a e-reader at last [In reply to] Can't Post

It's so much easier to take half a dozen books along on a trip! And you can increase the font size easily. Plus our tablet has games, internet, a word processing program... The works. That said, it's a bit heavier to hold than a smaller, e-reader-only. If turn it sideways/horizontally, I can use the handy-dandy stand in the back and prop it up. It just seems odd to read in that configuration.

I'd say about a third of the other people on the ship had e-readers of some sort---which makes it impossible for me to see what they're reading, sigh. Wink I did take a good look at the titles of all the paper books, and most were bestseller "beach reads", no surprise there.

I saw a copy of Unbroken in the ship's library and almost recommended it to the the Gaffer, who'd brought along a Jim Butcher book it turned out he'd already read! But he picked up the one paper book I'd brought, a Tony Hillerman, and read that, and then we shared the tablet.

I'm not sure I've ever read more than exceprts of Frankenstein, myself. There's an odd disconnect, isn't there, reading two-hundred-year-old prose in pixels?




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 22 2013, 5:58pm

Post #7 of 37 (170 views)
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Ah, one of my favorite stories [In reply to] Can't Post

I love the way Stevenson works his tale into the real history of the time period. Besides, I've always gotten a kick out of Alan Breck Stewart announcing he bears a king's name, since, well, I do too Smile --- even as I freely admit that a more feckless lot than Bonnie Prince Charlie and his ancestors is hard to find.

As for the shifts in tense, etc., it's been way too long since I've read the book for me to comment. It's written in first-person, isn't it? As David Balfour's memoir? Maybe Stevenson meant to contrast his memories of the events to his thoughts on them as he writes them down.




NottaSackville
Tol Eressea

Jan 22 2013, 5:59pm

Post #8 of 37 (165 views)
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Odd indeed! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's as if we've performed a bit of Dr. Frankenstein magic ourselves - just add a bit of electricity, and "wham!" the words start to move around. :)

And BTW - I meant to mention, at least at 36% through the book, I like the Gene Wilder version better. Angelic

Notta

Happiness: money matters, but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important and so are friends, while envy is toxic -- and so is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude. - The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner as summarized by Lily Fairbairn. And a bit of the Hobbit reading thrown in never hurts. - NottaSackville


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 22 2013, 8:36pm

Post #9 of 37 (172 views)
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Three Cups of Tea. [In reply to] Can't Post

This book tells the story of Greg Mortensen who has built 55 schools in remote villages of Pakistan and Afghanistan. A mountaineer, he had failed in his attempt to summit K2 in an effort to memorialise his recently deceased sister, got lost on the way down and was helped by the village of Kopho. He returned the favour by building them a school, and then found his life's work.

The book is co-written between Mortensen and journalist David Oliver Relin. David is covering Mortensen's journey in great detail, which makes it a slower read than it should be but you certainly get the full picture of the enormous task that Mortensen faced.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Elberbeth
Tol Eressea


Jan 22 2013, 8:43pm

Post #10 of 37 (174 views)
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I read this some time ago [In reply to] Can't Post

and was really impressed with his dedication. I have since heard that not all in the book was exactly true, or exaggerated. Whether this is true or not, I have great respect for what he accomplished. There is a second book, although the title escapes me at the moment. Easy to look up, I'm sure.

"There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark."


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 22 2013, 9:13pm

Post #11 of 37 (188 views)
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I've read this, too. [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that it's a slower read than is really necessary, but is inspirational. The sequel is Stones into Schools. I bought a copy right before the report came out that much of Three Cups was fictionalized and never had the heart to read it.

Still, there's a lot of worthwhile material and good principles in Three Cups. I haven't heard anything recently about the "scandal" surrounding Mortensen's work and I hope it's either proved unfounded or at least blown over.




Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 22 2013, 10:15pm

Post #12 of 37 (185 views)
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Well that's disheartening. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
much of Three Cups was fictionalized



I'll still read it but not with the same enthusiasm.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 22 2013, 10:34pm

Post #13 of 37 (159 views)
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Well . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

. . . I just searched on "Three Cups of Tea controversy". It all happened almost two years ago and seems to have died down. Mortensen was accused of fabricating some of the story (and admits compressing events) but he really has built schools for the girls. It's a shame to have such a worthy cause tainted.




Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


Jan 23 2013, 3:04am

Post #14 of 37 (154 views)
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Soulless by Gail Carriger (and also, I will confess, Twilight) [In reply to] Can't Post

When my daughter heard that I was planning to spend the weekend coddling my cold by lying around reading trashy novels, she insisted on lending me "Soulless". And it's not actually trashy at all, though it is pretty light.

It's set in a steampunk alternative-history London sometime in the Victorian era. Vampires and werewolves are respected members of society. The main character is a young woman who is "soulless". Turns out that in order to become a vampire or werewolf you have to have a lot of soul to survive the transformation process. Since she has no soul, she's immune from magical creatures, and when they touch her they lose their powers. The novel opens at a ball, when a vampire attacks her, which is a shocking breach of protocol. She fights back and accidentally kills him, and a werewolf is sent to investigate.

The writing style reminds me so much of Terry Pratchett. It's kind of a mystery, kind of a comedy of manners, and very, very funny. It also has one of the best kissing scenes I've ever read. I'm about halfway through and enjoying it very much.



I will confess that before that I finally got around to reading "Twilight", hence the trashy novel remark. I found a copy for a dollar at a thrift store, and since I'd never read it, thought I'd see what the fuss was about. I actually enjoyed it for what it is, which is a trashy novel. The writing style isn't any worse than the average romance novel. And neither is the very dysfunctional relationship. You just have to take it for what it is. I liked the first half a lot better than the second. When there was some mystery about what was going on, it was kind of intriguing. When the real dysfunctional relationship began, it started getting a bit boring. But I read it for the sake of my inner 13-year-old. I would have totally loved it when I was 13 and into Dark Shadows.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


Jan 23 2013, 3:11am

Post #15 of 37 (147 views)
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One of the first books I read on my kindle [In reply to] Can't Post

was "The Count of Monte Cristo". We were traveling at the time, and it was so convenient not to be lugging that big tome around.

I've read a lot of classics on my kindle, since you can get them for free. I'm still plugging away on "Anna Karenina" on it. :-)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



sevilodorf
Gondor


Jan 23 2013, 3:25am

Post #16 of 37 (145 views)
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Go for the others in Carringer's series. [In reply to] Can't Post

It holds up across the five volumes fairly well. (I won't say excellently because there were places in the last two that I was rolling my eyes and saying get on with the plot)

Fourth Age Adventures at the Inn of the Burping Troll http://burpingtroll.com





sevilodorf
Gondor


Jan 23 2013, 3:27am

Post #17 of 37 (146 views)
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Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who trio [In reply to] Can't Post

Finally got all three in the library.... so I grabbed them. I'd read Dragon Tattoo and Played with Fire previously but never got ahold of Hornet's Nest.

Devouring it.

Fourth Age Adventures at the Inn of the Burping Troll http://burpingtroll.com





zarabia
Tol Eressea


Jan 23 2013, 3:41am

Post #18 of 37 (180 views)
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The Secret Adversary [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm re-reading this on my phone; it was free and appealed to my nostalgic sideSmile. I read this a looong time ago when I was first transitioning from Nancy Drew mysteries to Agatha Christie Laugh It's one of the few with Tuppence and Tommy, and probably why I got started reading Christie; Tuppence and Tommy are in their early twenties in this one, and the story reads a bit like a Nancy Drew novel. It's not a classic who-done-it like the Poirot or Miss Marple stories, but the characters are very likable and the nineteen-twenties dialogue is a hoot. There are far too many coincidences and things that just fall into their laps, but it's lively, fast paced fun.

I'm really loving my phone e-reader; it's great for reading in bed. But unless I know exactly what I'm looking for - which is rare - I have a hard time finding something to read. I'll read a review and think that I'll remember the name or at least the author the next time I'm looking for a book, but invariably I forget Tongue "Browsing" on Amazon just isn't the same as browsing in an actual book store.

"The question isn't where, Constable, but when." - Inspector Spacetime

(This post was edited by zarabia on Jan 23 2013, 3:43am)


Annael
Half-elven


Jan 23 2013, 6:00am

Post #19 of 37 (190 views)
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Of the first two books in the series [In reply to] Can't Post

The Warden and Barchester Towers. Mrs. Proudie is the wife of the bishop of Barchester and a thoroughly unpleasant character.

The way we imagine our lives is the way we are going to go on living our lives.

- James Hillman, Healing Fiction

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 23 2013, 3:16pm

Post #20 of 37 (132 views)
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I read the second Carriger book [In reply to] Can't Post

I meant to pick up the first one, but was at a busy dealer's table at a convention and grabbed the second instead. (Changeless, I think.) I thought Carriger filled in the events from the first book sufficiently well, but there were some stylistic bits that got to be rather annoying after a while (I annoy easily---occupational hazard Unsure) and I so disliked the ending I haven't read any more in the series.

They have their charming moments, certainly, and remind me very, very much of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series.

I've never read Twilight, although a very good friend did. She said, in her opinion, it was very much a story of teenage narcissism and angst. This was enough to keep me from picking it up Tongue




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 23 2013, 3:17pm

Post #21 of 37 (126 views)
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These have been very popular, haven't they? [In reply to] Can't Post

Have you seen either of the movies?




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 23 2013, 3:20pm

Post #22 of 37 (153 views)
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I have this on my e-reader, too [In reply to] Can't Post

I bought a collection of Poirot short stories, which includes The Mysterious Affair at Styles and The Secret Adversary. I know I've read Styles before, not that I remember anything about it, but I'm not sure I've read any of the Tommy and Tuppence books. I remember very fondly the dramatizations with James Warwick and Francesca Annis of some years ago. The more recent Anthony Andrews/Greta Scacchi adapation was just sad, in more ways that one.




Elberbeth
Tol Eressea


Jan 23 2013, 5:09pm

Post #23 of 37 (130 views)
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I was impressed with this series [In reply to] Can't Post

and have seen all three of the Swedish movies, very well done (but subtitles are not a great way to see them) and the Daniel Craig movie. I thinnk that if they continue both Craig and Rooney Mara will do justice to them, but although they both committed to it, I haven't heard that they have gone ahead yet.

"There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark."


AlassŽa Eruvande
Valinor


Jan 23 2013, 5:20pm

Post #24 of 37 (142 views)
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I liked the Carriger books. [In reply to] Can't Post

The main character has a bit of Lucy/Ethel in her which makes some of the situations she finds herself in a little more believable. And I really like Lord Akeldama! Laugh

Very good choice for coddling your cold. Hope you're feeling better. Smile



I am SMAUG! I kill when I wish! I am strong, strong, STRONG!
My armor is like tenfold shields! My teeth like swords! My claws, spears!
The shock of my tail, a thunderbolt! My wings, a hurricane! And my breath, death!


NottaSackville
Tol Eressea

Jan 23 2013, 6:17pm

Post #25 of 37 (123 views)
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I use the Goodreads site [In reply to] Can't Post

There's a billion ways to keep track of books you want to read, but I love goodreads.com.

Notta

Happiness: money matters, but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important and so are friends, while envy is toxic -- and so is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude. - The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner as summarized by Lily Fairbairn. And a bit of the Hobbit reading thrown in never hurts. - NottaSackville

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