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Old 07-28-2014, 11:27 AM   #20311
LovesMacs
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Barbara Tuchman turned me on to history when I read "The Proud Tower". I've read most of her books two or three times for the literary quality of her work (plus the excellent research and level of detail); she can make the past come alive. When I read "The Guns of August", I did find it a very difficult read, but for me it was primarily because she could make the actors alive enough that it was horrible to see the train wreck coming; to me it is like watching the film of JFK's murder - you want to stop it before it happens.

Apparently, the book had a significant impact on JFK; supposedly, during the Cuban missile crisis, he was mindful of how the Balkan crisis had escalated into WW1 and strove to resolve the situation peacefully. Just from that perspective, I believe it is worth reading.

It's a bit old now (about 55 years old), and there has been some more information available to historians that wasn't available then, but I think that it's still one of the best books about how WW1 came about.

Thanks for the recommendation of the Foer book. It sounds very interesting, and I'm putting it on my TBR. BTW, have you ever read "The Old Patagonian Express"? There's a bit in there about a soccer game in San Salvador.
I found the political parts of The Guns of August interesting and sometimes even gripping enough to make you wonder what will happen next even though we all know that war ended up breaking out.

It's the military parts that tax my patience. I didn't have this problem with the Shelby Foote trilogy on the American Civil War. Part of this may be due to unfamiliarity with many of the personalities and places involved, much more so on the Russian front.

It feels like reading "Stranger No. 1 ordered Stranger No. 2 to advance towards Unfamiliar Place No. 1 by way of Unfamiliar Road No. 1, but this action was hindered due to the unforeseen appearance of Stranger No. 3 who came from Unfamiliar Place No. 2." Tuchman's writing quality is better than that, but you get the idea.


I enjoy the Foer book much more. I'm not sure if Foer has it backwards: does soccer (football) really explain the world, or does the world explain soccer? Here are the chapter headings, to give you some idea of the content:

1. How Soccer Explains the Gangster's Paradise
2. How Soccer Explains the Pornography of Sects
3. How Soccer Explains the Jewish Question
4. How Soccer Explains the Sentimental Hooligan
5. How Soccer Explains the Survival of the Top Hats
6. How Soccer Explains the Black Carpathians
7. How Soccer Explains the New Oligarchs
8. How Soccer Explains the Discreet Charm of Bourgeois Nationalism
9. How Soccer Explains Islam's Hope
10. How Soccer Explains the American Culture Wars

I've heard of but never read "The Old Patagonian Express".
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Old 07-28-2014, 11:50 AM   #20312
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It was Paul Theroux's second travel book, about travelling through Central America and South America by train. He describes a match between El Salvador and Mexico in San Salvador that's a lot more about class than football.
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Old 07-28-2014, 01:36 PM   #20313
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I'm currently reading the Harmony trilogy by Nancy Mehl. I'm on the first book and can't wait to see what happens to Gracie!
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Old 07-28-2014, 03:33 PM   #20314
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Just wanted to share the book trailer for Lauren Beukes' Broken Monsters as part of my earlier recommendation. It really captures the creepy sense from the novel with loads of visual references to events in the book.



I think it releases in the UK by the end of the month, and in the US in September.

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Old Yesterday, 02:24 AM   #20315
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And now onto another of my recent Baen backlist purchases: Extremis by Steve White and Charles E Gannon. Star-spanning MilSF in he Starfire universe.
And very good space opera it was too, if not quite good enough to keep me up all last night. Finished this morning instead.

Next up: Selected Stories, Vol. 1 by Ursula K. LeGuin. I hadn't realised that these were Ms. LeGuin's own selection and introductions. I bought these in a Kobo sale back in November 2012.
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Old Yesterday, 04:31 AM   #20316
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Just finished "Rats, Bats and Vats" by Dave Freer and Eric Flint, a Baen book I bought in September 2000.

Baen description:

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Chip Connolly was a conscripted grunt in trouble. Here he was, stuck behind enemy lines with a bunch of cyber-uplifted rats and bats. Rats with human speech, but with rat values. Rats that knew what was worth fighting for: sex, food and strong drink. True, they were holed up on a ruined wine-farm with enough brandy to swim in. Trouble was, there wasn't much food. And with shrew-metabolism the rats had to eat. He was next on the menu. The bats were no help: they were crazy revolutionaries planning to throw off the yoke of human enslavement—with high explosive. As if that wasn't bad enough, there was the girl they'd rescued. Rich. Beautiful. With a passionate crush on her 'heroic' rescuer. She came with added extras: a screwball Alien tutor, and a cyber-uplifted pet galago—a tiny little lemurlike-critter with a big mouth and delusions about being the world's greatest lover.

So: he'd volunteered for a suicide mission. Of course things only got worse. The whole crew decided to come along. Seven rats, five bats, a galago, two humans, a sea-urchin-like alien and an elderly vineyard tractor without brakes . . . against several million inimical aliens. He was going to die.

Mind you, not dying could be even more terrible. That girl might get him.
Very amusing, and good military SF, too. Highly recommended.
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Old Yesterday, 06:19 PM   #20317
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just finished "600 hours of edward" and just started "edward adrift" both by craig lancaster.
fantastic characters, especially the main guy "edward" who has diagnosed OCD and asperger's. i work in the field and so well done here. a real person with depth, who like all of us fights real issues, but with some comedic concerns and results. highly recommend.
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Old Yesterday, 10:02 PM   #20318
Melon Soda
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I just got started on Lee Child's Never Go Back (paperback version) yesterday night and I'm almost halfway through. To say it's highly engaging would be a gross understatement. That book just gripped me from the first word and wouldn't let go. Feels like taking time off from work just to finish reading it rofl!
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Old Today, 10:38 AM   #20319
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Shade On The Run by indy author Edd Voss
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Old Today, 11:30 AM   #20320
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Just finished Based on a True Story by Elizabeth Renzetti. This was a great summer read. This is her first novel and it's written with the same wit as her column in the Globe and Mail. It reminded me of a Douglas Coupland novel without the same volume of pop culture references.
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Old Today, 01:14 PM   #20321
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Just finished Based on a True Story by Elizabeth Renzetti. This was a great summer read. This is her first novel and it's written with the same wit as her column in the Globe and Mail. It reminded me of a Douglas Coupland novel without the same volume of pop culture references.
Oooh. Thanks for the recommendation. I'm going to add it to my "investigate" list.

For me, I'm still reading Torch of Freedom by David Weber and Eric Flint. It's one of the books in the Honorverse, 2nd in the Wages of Sin sequence. I'm also reading Death of a Perfect Wife by M C Beaton. This is a mystery set in a small village in Scotland. I'll call it a "cozy" even though the protagonist is the local policeman. He's the only police present for a large rural area and I get the impression that he's only minimally trained. So, he approaches solving a murder using techniques more commonly seen in the amateur.
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Old Today, 01:41 PM   #20322
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Needed some short books to catch up on my GR annual goal. Finished Sourcery by Terry Pratchett yesterday and am currently listening to the first of the Cat Who books. I should be done today. Then I'll have to see if I can download the 2nd book from my library or I'll move on to a mystery cozy I already have. I THOUGHT I had Wyrd Sisters on my HD+, but now I can't find it, darn it. Good that I have alternatives.

I'm currently housesitting in rural MN, so every time I drive somewhere (easily 20 and more miles one way), I listen to Warriors Apprentice by Lois Bujold. I'm nearly 1/3 of the way through just driving. I've been using one of those handsfree around-the-ear speakers for smart phones to listen and WOW, way nicer than dealing with wires. The bluetooth speaker suction cup only works for music as the road noise drowns out speech (old vehicle). Yes, I know, those of you who commute daily, this is same old-same old, but I stopped commuting over a decade ago, so new to me!

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Old Today, 03:34 PM   #20323
CRussel
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Delightful, and I am following it up with The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, #4 in the Lord Peter Wimsey series.
And just finished Strong Poison, the next full novel in the series. But now I think I'll circle back and read some of the short stories, including Lord Peter Views the Body. I must say, I'm having a delightful time reading these - even though there are a few jarring ethnic references, they are a product of the era more than anything else, and the stories are still delightful, primarily because of the characters in them. I recommend these books highly, and they are all available in the Public Domain in Life+50 countries, or for free loan from Kindle Unlimited.
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Old Today, 06:46 PM   #20324
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I'm currently housesitting in rural MN, so every time I drive somewhere (easily 20 and more miles one way), I listen to Warriors Apprentice by Lois Bujold. I'm nearly 1/3 of the way through just driving. I've been using one of those handsfree around-the-ear speakers for smart phones to listen and WOW, way nicer than dealing with wires. The bluetooth speaker suction cup only works for music as the road noise drowns out speech (old vehicle). Yes, I know, those of you who commute daily, this is same old-same old, but I stopped commuting over a decade ago, so new to me!
I listen the same way. I only listen to books when I'm the only one in the car, so it could take a long time to complete a book. (I'm rarely alone in the car!) I'm fortunate that my car has a mini-jack for auxiliary input, so the audio book plays through the car's speakers and the on-the-steering volume control works very well. I just wish I had an easy "pause" button.
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