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Old 05-11-2012, 11:08 PM   #13186
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[...]Perhaps some other fans of Irving can also share opinions about which title(s) to recommend for a first-time read. [...]
I agree with A Prayer for Owen Meany, and also with Synamon and The Cider House Rules as being perhaps his best works ... though I must admit to having a couple of his latest books on the shelf still unread! (The shame! ) Most of Irving's earlier books (say, The Hotel New Hampshire and before), are very much books of their time, and I've found them less enjoyable to reread in recent years.

Regarding the possibility of being offended by the themes of The Cider House Rules, I suspect this warning applies of most of Irving's books - there's usually something in them to offend someone.
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Old 05-12-2012, 05:57 AM   #13187
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Have Glove, Will Travel : Adventures of a Baseball Vagabond by Bill " Spaceman " Lee

A baseball book written by a counter-culturist ... yes please!
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Old 05-12-2012, 06:12 AM   #13188
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"A Thousand Miles Up the Nile" by Amelia B. Edwards

I've just finished proof-reading my eBook version of Amelia Edwards's "A Thousand Miles Up the Nile". Amelia Edwards was a successful Victorian novelist when, to quote Wikipedia:

Quote:
In the winter of 1873–1874, accompanied by several friends, Edwards toured Egypt, discovering a fascination with the land and its cultures, both ancient and modern. Journeying southwards from Cairo in a hired dahabiyeh (manned houseboat), the companions visited Philae and ultimately reached Abu Simbel where they remained for six weeks.

Having once returned to the UK, Edwards proceeded to write a vivid description of her Nile voyage, publishing the resulting book in 1876 under the title of "A Thousand Miles up the Nile". Enhanced with her own hand-drawn illustrations, the travelogue became an immediate bestseller.

Edwards' travels in Egypt had made her aware of the increasing threat directed towards the ancient monuments by tourism and modern development. Determined to stem these threats by the force of public awareness and scientific endeavour, Edwards became a tireless public advocate for the research and preservation of the ancient monuments and, in 1882, co-founded the Egypt Exploration Fund (now the Egypt Exploration Society) with Reginald Stuart Poole, curator of the Department of Coins and Medals at the British Museum. Edwards was to serve as joint Honorary Secretary of the Fund until her death some 14 years later.

With the aims of advancing the Fund's work, Edwards largely abandoned her other literary work to concentrate solely on Egyptology. In this field she contributed to the ninth edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, to the American supplement of that work, and to the Standard Dictionary.
"A Thousand Miles Up the Nile" is a wonderful book, both in terms of its descriptions of Egypt and also as a vivid record of what travel was like in Victorian times.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do and that, if you've not yet visited Egypt, this book will inspire you to do so.

Posted in the usual BBeB, Mobi, and ePub formats.

Amelia Edwards was the inspiration for the "Amelia Peabody" books written by Elizabeth Peters, set in Victorian Egypt.

Last edited by pdurrant; 05-12-2012 at 06:43 AM. Reason: added links to MR library
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Old 05-12-2012, 11:06 AM   #13189
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Flandry's Legacy by Poul Anderson.
An excellent book, concluding the Flandry stories, and with tales from the Long Night and the recovery. I have a feeling I might have missed one of the books in the series, but I can go back and check, as the stories are essentially stand-alone.

Next: Out of the Dark by David Weber

A Kobo discount code tempted me to this stand-alone by David Weber. Invading aliens. Sounds fun.

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Old 05-12-2012, 11:28 AM   #13190
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I started some time ago to read all the books from the Middle-Earth Universe by Tolkien. Now I'm re-reading The Two Towers and after that The Return of The King in order to start Silmarillion.
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Old 05-12-2012, 11:33 AM   #13191
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I have a feeling I might have missed one of the books in the series, but I can go back and check, as the stories are essentially stand-alone.
Bother. I'd missed Sir Dominic Flandry. Oh well. So I've bought the March 2012 Baen Monthly bundle to get it along with five other books. (The seventh I already own.) $3/book is a pretty good price.

But it does take my TBR back above 330 again.
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Old 05-12-2012, 04:06 PM   #13192
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I just finished a delightful English Country House mystery written by a Bulgarian author in English! The Hunt For Sonya Dufrette by R.T. Raichev contains more red herrings than the North Sea! It introduces a sixtyish librarian amateur sleuth who teams up with a retired member of the military club she works at. The plot kept twisting, changing, and re-forming as I read - just as you (and the librarian) had an "aha!" moment, something totally unexpected dropped in! "We" solved the mystery several times .... and then started again!

Highly recommended delightful read - and best of all - it's the first book of a series!
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Old 05-12-2012, 04:26 PM   #13193
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
I've just finished proof-reading my eBook version of Amelia Edwards's "A Thousand Miles Up the Nile". Amelia Edwards was a successful Victorian novelist when, to quote Wikipedia:



"A Thousand Miles Up the Nile" is a wonderful book, both in terms of its descriptions of Egypt and also as a vivid record of what travel was like in Victorian times.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do and that, if you've not yet visited Egypt, this book will inspire you to do so.

Posted in the usual BBeB, Mobi, and ePub formats.

Amelia Edwards was the inspiration for the "Amelia Peabody" books written by Elizabeth Peters, set in Victorian Egypt.
Harry - I just downloaded this book onto my Fire - it is beautifully formatted! The plates & appendices also are very well displayed! Well done!
Will start reading it this evening!
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Old 05-12-2012, 04:33 PM   #13194
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I just finished the second half of A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin, as split into two for the UK paperback edition(s). It was just getting good when it ended. And now I have to wait for the next one, whenever that might be.

Next up is Roseanna by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, the first of the influential Martin Beck series. I actually started it last weekend, when I was away from home and didn't feel like lugging around the hefty GRRM paperback. I don't know how good the English translation is, but my first impression was that the style is very direct and terse.
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Old 05-12-2012, 05:07 PM   #13195
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Another bunch of stuff recently finished that I've been kind of lazy updating* the list for.

Anyway, might as well start with the stuff that's still free/on special offer:

Yorkshire, 1st in the Richard & Rose series of historical romantic mysteries by Lynne Connolly is currently still free in multiple venues from publisher Samhain, but likely not for much longer.

Unlike the standard for romantic suspenses, these follow the same couple around for several books and so the relationship drama takes 2nd place to the actual mystery plot, instead of being the primary focus because of the need to get the couple together and settled by the time the whodunnit is revealed.

I like that R&R's inevitable developing relationship is handled reasonably gradually (and other people sensibly telling them that it's a stupid idea to court gossip and social compromise and breach of contract lawsuits by being so obvious about their feelings in more-or-less public before the complications are resolved, which they kind of ignore due to their overwhelming uncontrollable passions and incipient sex addiction, naturally) and with a certain amount of uncertainty as to how it will all ultimately work out, although I think some of the complicating factors were resolved and shunted offstage a bit too readily, unless it's something that's to come back to haunt them in future books.

Anyway, this was a nicely done Georgian-era English aristocratic countryside manor murder mystery which is centred around an unfortunate carriage "accident" which substantially rearranges the living circumstances of several of the characters, who then become secret suspects to be worked around once the amateur sleuths discover evidence that shows that murder had been intended, but whose, as any number of people could have been targeted, but merely injured in the attempt.

Medium recommend. I overall liked this, with the usual no-romo reservations about relationship stuff that seemed silly and drawn out, but the narrative flowed well, the historical setting was reasonably detailed and felt realistic enough, and the motivatory pointers for various suspects and the ultimate whodunnit resolved decently, even if the sleuths only really bothered seriously considering "uncouth low-class people we don't like" for culprits during discussion.

I'll be looking at the rest of the series if I can pick them up during a good sale.

Recently-expired deals which may go on sale again:

Bought and read Nancy Kress's excellent recently-released short story collections which were offered at a discount as part of a Phoenix Pick Press tie-in promo which they'll probably repeat in a few weeks when they freebie-ize another of Kress' novellas. The Body Human: Three Stories of Future Medicine and Future Perfect: Six Stories of Genetic Engineering contain some of Kress' older short stories and novellas, many of which I already own in paper collections and have already read, though there were at least 3 new-to-me.

As usual, Kress does a very good job with exploring the personal and social consequences of biotech and cognitive-alteration/brain chemistry-adjustment procedures. Themes of sibling rivalry , long-term destructive knock-on effects of short-term gains, and alternate consciousness states seem to abound.

Best stories: The Flowers of Aulit Prison, one of my personal favourites and a truly excellent look at "shared reality" social contracts and criminal acts undertaken within and without, Dancing on Air about the implications of the transformation of ballet, a notoriously body-destroying artform, due to mitigating biotreatments to reduce or bypass the damage of human anatomic limitations and how far people will be willing to go for professional achievement. Also liked Margin of Error, a short, sharp, tale of desserts best served cold.

There were some interesting cautionary tales about the potential future as a result of the overuse of antibiotics for frivolous reasons and the routine denial of health care access to the genetically impaired who thus become uninsurable due to potential "pre-existing conditions". Plus a rather good mystery involving the effect of trial pharmaceuticals on brain function and whether that led to certain deaths or if those were the results of somebody "tidying" up after failed trials.

Highly recommended, as Kress' shorter works are often her best. Too bad these don't include the explanatory introduction notes which I've seen on the ones which were reprinted in her old Beaker's Dozen paper collection.

Paulo Coelho recently persuaded his publisher for US & Canada to drop 12 of his novels to just 99 cents (price has gone back up, but to a lower level than before, I think, and he said that if it works out, he may be able to negotiate a lower regular/discount sale price for his novels from his other publishers in different regions as well, which seems to have partially happened).

I scooped the lot of them at 99 cents after reading Brida, which I'd gotten for free as part of last year's Mother's Day promo from Kobo.

It's one of those mystical journey of self-discovery things, which merges reconstructed New Age ancient pagan witchcrafty tradition with Christian scriptural teachings, with a dash of physics and astronomy tossed in, and was moderately interesting and reasonably well-written. Tropes about having to find your own answers and how spiritual authorities are really only just guides on your journey (though you will have to pay attention to them and not flout their guidelines needlessly for your own selfish purposes) and the usual sort of revelatory insights you'd expect from one of these. Though I still think that potential love triangles in any text should resolve themselves into threesomes instead of minorly angsting over who might end up with whom.

Medium recommend if you like this sort of thing. Not really my style, but okay enough that I was willing to go get Coelho's sale books on the strength of it.

* Also in the process of switching to the new Sony PRS-T1 as a supplementary reader, with the annoying discovery that it apparently ignores the opf:file-as attribute and there seems to be no way to have it sort by author last name without having to manually edit the last name to display first with intrusive commas instead of displaying properly as unpunctuated single entry.

Or possibly, mess with the database using Calibre, which is something I'd rather not have my added-to-device library be dependent upon.

Why is this simple basic functionality not there?! It's been in the damn ePub spec for ages.

Last edited by ATDrake; 05-12-2012 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 05-12-2012, 05:56 PM   #13196
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I just finished the second half of A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin, as split into two for the UK paperback edition(s). It was just getting good when it ended. And now I have to wait for the next one, whenever that might be.
If you can't wait, GRRM released a chapter from The Winds of Winter on his website. I saved the web page, converted it to ePub, and was able to read it on my nook. The chapter concerns what happens to....
Spoiler:
Theon
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Old 05-12-2012, 07:03 PM   #13197
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If you can't wait, GRRM released a chapter from The Winds of Winter on his website. I saved the web page, converted it to ePub, and was able to read it on my nook. The chapter concerns what happens to....
Spoiler:
Theon
It's in the back of the second paperback, by the look of it. I resisted, but now I'm thinking I might sneak a look.
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Old 05-13-2012, 01:03 AM   #13198
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I read the first of the Ed McBain books I bought on sale earlier this year, #5 in the series, Killer's Choice.

The introduction is a hilarious description of a conversation McBain had with his publisher about creating a hero for the series. McBain's solution was to introduce the "hero" Cotton Dawes, who has a pretty bad first day in this book.

The entertaining banter between the cops in these takes center stage for me, the crime is the backdrop. Twenty-nine more entertaining episodes should keep me going for the rest of the year.
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:23 AM   #13199
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The Hunt For Sonya Dufrette by R.T. Raichev
Now added to my wishlist, for when I get to the end of my Agatha Christies.
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Old 05-13-2012, 01:00 PM   #13200
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Cool The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

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I rustled up the TV movie of The Questor Tapes on Youtube and watched it first (after I'd read chapter 1), then finished the book (an old paperback from a used book bazaar quite a few years ago). It was a fun read and improved on the TV movie in quite a few instances and in different ways. Even though I had just watched Robert Foxworth play Questor the android I kept picturing Brent Spiner's Data instead, as I read the book. This book was the prototype of Data.

Now I' finally starting to read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (before the movie gets released on DVD).
Pretty good read and since the next book, Catching Fire, appears to be a pretty much immediate continuation of the story arc, I've decided to read the whole trilogy back-to-back.
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