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Old 08-21-2013, 05:11 AM   #17446
caleb72
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Now, on to the sci-fi classic, The War of the Worlds by H G Wells. It was on my reading list for this year and it's time to get started.
I've finally read this book. That makes three Wells books so far. This one was good but like the other books of his I've read, they lose atmosphere because of the "memoir" approach to the narrative.

That said, there were some interesting observations about humanity in there and it certainly wasn't written poorly. I'll give it a 3-3.5 stars.

I'm still trying to work out what my next indie read is going to be, but in the meantime I've already slotted in Cain by José Saramago. I have many works by this author but haven't read any yet. This one is of palatable size and retells some of the Old Testament. I like Bible rehashes, so it was an obvious first pick.
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Old 08-21-2013, 06:23 AM   #17447
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I've just started the second in the Harry Dresden series as an audio book on my walks. I'm amazed that I continue to enjoy a genre that never interested me before!

But when I stop walking and turn off the audio book, I sit down with Faye Kellerman's "Forgotten." I feel as if I've read it before, but if so, I too have forgotten...


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Old 08-21-2013, 07:17 AM   #17448
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Next up: Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp. This is the Phoenix Pick edition, with stories by other writers included. Bought last month.
Excellent so far. Kept me up to 2am last night finishing the main story. Now I'm onto the extras by other writers. I'm glad I bought this one.
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:37 AM   #17449
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Just finishing up David Rosenfelt's standalone, Down To The Wire.
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:48 AM   #17450
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I embarked this year on a reading project: to read all of Henry James' works in chronological order of publication. My goal is to gradually acclimate my brain to his increasingly complex syntax so that I can finally read 'The Golden Bowl' without experiencing a brain hemorrhage.

[N.B. The Merchant & Ivory & Jhabvala film adaptation of The Golden Bowl is one of my favorite movies - and IMHO one of the best Merchant/Ivory/Jhabvala productions every made. Who would have thought that you could cast Nick Nolte and Uma Thurman in a Henry James adaption?]

Reading the early short stories and his first novel Watch and Ward was almost painful. James was so obviously trying to emulate popular 'pot boiler' fictional styles, and IMHO failed miserably. But then his short stories begin to evolve slowly into more 'literary' productions, as James finds his subjects (struggling artists, psychological conflict, and yes, ghost stories) and his own writing style.

I just finished 'Roderick Hudson' - his second published novel - which contains the seeds of his mature style. It's the first full length treatment of what would become a recurring theme for James -- the relationship between a 'real' artist and earthly passions, and the need for celibacy or at least only a 'pure' admiration from a distance so as to not hinder or destroy the artistic talents.

I find more humor in James' writings as I grow older - his descriptions/observations of poor Mrs. Hudson (Roderick's mum) are quite stinging and darkly humorous, and his characterization of Roderick's 'sufferings' border on the absurd.

Onwards now to some more short stories, and then 'The American.'
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Old 08-21-2013, 12:02 PM   #17451
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I've just finished "The Murder at the Vicarage", Agatha Christie's 12th book, and the first to feature "Miss Marple". It was originally published in 1930.

When a bullying and self-opinionated man is murdered in the vicarage in the small English village of St Mary Mead, suspicion immediately falls on a young artist who's been having an affair with the man's wife, but is it really that simple? A local resident, Miss Marple, isn't so sure that the solution to the murder is as simple as it at first appears.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's well-written, with a good story, and an interesting cast of characters. The narrator of the book is the vicar (in whose home the murder occurs) and he's extremely scathing about the gossiping, vindictive old ladies who make up the majority of his "flock", and of whom he considers Miss Marple to be the worst of the lot, always (often rightly, he has to concede) spreading gossip and taking the worst possible interpretation of events.

I don't think I'd read this before. Thoroughly recommended. An excellent book.

It's interesting to note in passing that the village of St Mary Mead, where Miss Marple lives, first appeared in the Hercule Poirot novel "The Mystery of the Blue Train", which was published two years earlier (it was the home of the main character of the novel, Katherine Grey).

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Old 08-21-2013, 04:24 PM   #17452
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I've just finished "The Murder at the Vicarage", Agatha Christie's 12th book, and the first to feature "Miss Marple"....
I'd like to read the first one; don't remember if I ever have. Did you read it as an ebook? Where did you get it?
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Old 08-21-2013, 05:33 PM   #17453
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Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp. This is the Phoenix Pick edition, with stories by other writers included. Bought last month.
The other stories were also excellent. Unfortunately, the formatting of the ebook is terrible - fixed font size and forced margins. But I'm still glad I bought it.

Next: the last unread one from the August Baen Bundle that I bought in July: Ice and Shadow by Andre Norton. Two novels, Ice Crown and Brother To Shadows packaged in one volume.
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Old 08-21-2013, 07:04 PM   #17454
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Now onto Dust by Hugh Howey. I almost interrupted American Gods to read this when it came out on Saturday, but decided I should just read one at a time since I was close on AG.
Excellent conclusion to this series. I am definitely going to have to read some other books by Mr. Howey.

Now on to The Last Threshold by R.A. Salvatore, book 1,234 (approximately) in the Drizzt series. I have been reading these since 1990, so no point in stopping now. Especially when free from the library.
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Old 08-21-2013, 08:36 PM   #17455
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Much better than the previous Gaiman I had read.
Which was? If you don't mind me asking
I loved American Gods as well.
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Old 08-21-2013, 08:56 PM   #17456
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I've just finished "The Murder at the Vicarage", Agatha Christie's 12th book, and the first to feature "Miss Marple". It was originally published in 1930........SNIP.............

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's well-written, with a good story, and an interesting cast of characters. ..................SNIP.............. Thoroughly recommended. An excellent book.
This was the first of Agatha Christie's work that I read, and a wonderful introduction to both her and Miss Marple! Perfect companions for long plane rides!


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Old 08-21-2013, 10:13 PM   #17457
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I'd like to read the first one; don't remember if I ever have. Did you read it as an ebook? Where did you get it?
When I read The Murder at the Vicarage last year I checked it out in Kindle format through my local library.
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Old 08-22-2013, 01:23 AM   #17458
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In the last few days, I finished Earth Star by Janet Edwards, which I liked a lot, then moved on to The Game - the seventh in the Mary Russell series by Laurie R. King - which I also enjoyed a great deal.

And now I've finally picked up Death Bringer by Derek Landy, the sixth in the Skulduggery Pleasant series, in order to re-read this and Kingdom of the Wicked (seventh book) before the release of Last Stand of Dead Men next Thursday. It's been a year since I last read Death Bringer and I've only read Kingdom of the Wicked once, the day that was released, so I've been looking forward to these re-reads for a while, but putting them off until now.
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Old 08-22-2013, 04:50 AM   #17459
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I'm currently in one of my thriller moods. Over the past week, I went through Steve Berry's The Third Secret, Preston/Child's Riptide and Tom Gabbay's The Berlin Conspiracy. Riptide is probably the strongest of the three, but I enjoyed them all.

Next one will be either Thr3e or The Lisbon Crossing. Probably the latter since I enjoy Gabbay's easy style.
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Old 08-22-2013, 06:25 AM   #17460
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I am half way through The Plantagenets: Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England by Dan Jones.
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I really enjoyed this one.
Now I have started Wellington: The Iron Duke by Richard Holmes.
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