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Old 10-12-2013, 12:36 PM   #17896
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So I just completed Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Scott Anderson. It was a long, but informative and carefully researched book about the title subject, but so much more. It would interest anyone who has ever seen the film Lawrence of Arabia. And if you haven't you really should. I would highly recommend the book to anyone interested in a comprehensive history of how the political and religious boundaries that exist in the Middle East came to be, as well as the seemingly never ending conflicts that are the result.
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Old 10-12-2013, 02:08 PM   #17897
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So I just completed Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Scott Anderson. It was a long, but informative and carefully researched book about the title subject, but so much more. It would interest anyone who has ever seen the film Lawrence of Arabia. And if you haven't you really should. I would highly recommend the book to anyone interested in a comprehensive history of how the political and religious boundaries that exist in the Middle East came to be, as well as the seemingly never ending conflicts that are the result.
I read it a month or two ago and could not agree more.
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Old 10-12-2013, 03:06 PM   #17898
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Just started 'Swept Away by a Kiss' - Katherine Ashe - well tell me who doesn't need a good dose of escapism with all the grim news around at the moment?
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Old 10-12-2013, 10:13 PM   #17899
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I am currently reading The Hunt for Red October on my Kindle in memory of Tom Clancy.
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Old 10-12-2013, 10:25 PM   #17900
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I've almost finished with Stephen King's "Joyland." It's an 'entertaining' read, as are most of his books, but... I can't help thinking it's almost a dark Garrison Keillor slice of life sort of tale. I had this same feeling with his "1963" book. Rambling on and on like a shaggy dog story, and at the end, just sort of stopping, rather than finishing with a bang. I've another 50 pages to read in "Joyland" and I'm hoping that he doesn't do this same thing here. I'd rather see an actual resolve of the murders, rather than another 'oh well, I guess I won't do that' ending. I'm enjoying the read, but I'd love to see it actually go somewhere.


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Keep going .

I did. I finished it yesterday and I'm sorry to say that all he did was 'end' the story. Sure, he threw in a little psychic play with the kid at the fun house 'freeing' the ghost, and telling mom to save Dev's life because a ghost told him to, but there was no 'power' to the ending. It just ended. There was no oomph! It came as no surprise when he reveled the killer. It felt as if King were simply tired of writing that particular book and took the easiest way out to stop. This was the same feeling I got when finishing '1963.' But.....

Please don't misunderstand... I enjoyed reading the book, and didn't 'mind' the ending. It just wasn't the rock 'em, sock 'em sort of ending I'd expect from a top-rated novelist. It felt more like interesting journal entries rather than a novel.


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Old 10-12-2013, 10:50 PM   #17901
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Please don't misunderstand... I enjoyed reading the book, and didn't 'mind' the ending. It just wasn't the rock 'em, sock 'em sort of ending I'd expect from a top-rated novelist. It felt more like interesting journal entries rather than a novel.


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I find that it's become harder and harder for authors to accomplish this.
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Old 10-13-2013, 12:07 AM   #17902
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Has anyone read any ribald classics? I haven't, but I've just started reading a book called Mandragora by an indie author, H. D. Greaves. It's based on a notorious play, The Mandrake by Niccolò Machiavelli - of which I know absolutely nothing.

However, my complete lack of exposure to this kind of perverse, 'naughty' comedy drew me to this work. I'm about 25% in and enjoying it. I wonder if crass comedies like "Are You Being Served?" were derived from this type of literature?
I finished this book and thought it was a lot of fun. It reminded me of a book version of Blackadder, a TV series I really enjoyed. Naughty, witty and, overall, delicious. I give it a strong 3.5 -> 4 stars.

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I'm going to start on Black Swan Green now by David Mitchell. I bought this book on sale a while ago and was encouraged by the responses from the literary book club when it was selected back in September 2012. So I'm only a year late.
Also finished this one. I loved this, but I've always liked tortured youth coming-of-age novels. I was around the same age as the protagonist at the time the story was set, so there was just the right uncomfortable edge to it. I spent my adolescence in a boarding school, where the social pressures of youth were pretty obvious and inescapable. I always find it interesting to see that a boy feels as trapped in a township as I felt in a school. I'm giving it 5 stars because I thought the nostalgic element was enhanced by some pretty impressive poetic devices. I particularly enjoyed the repetition or evolution of certain thoughts and phrases in different situations to give the words or expressions different meanings.

And the small tie-in with Cloud Atlas was a bit of fun as well because the whole notion of that particular novel becomes stronger by an echo of it being injected into a completely different story.

So now, I'm freed up to start The Secret River for the literary book club. I bought this a while ago and had planned to read it, so I was delighted when it was chosen as this month's book club read. It gives me all the excuse I need to move it up the TBR list. I'm looking forward to reading it.
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Old 10-13-2013, 11:10 AM   #17903
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I've just finished "Murder on the Orient Express" by Agatha Christie. Her 20th book, originally published in 1934. What more needs to be said about this one, other than that it's one of the all-time classics of crime fiction? A wonderful read.

A side-note: at the very start of the book, Poirot is returning to England by train after clearing up an affair in Syria; that affair is revealed in the book "Murder in Mesopotamia", published a couple of years after this one.
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Old 10-13-2013, 02:08 PM   #17904
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Recently discovered John Banville. Reading 'The Sea' for which he won the Man Booker Prize. Simply stunning writing.
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:15 PM   #17905
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Recently discovered John Banville. Reading 'The Sea' for which he won the Man Booker Prize. Simply stunning writing.
Thanks for that. I bought that book a while ago but haven't got to it yet. Looks like I'm going to enjoy it.
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Old 10-13-2013, 09:16 PM   #17906
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Before starting any new work of fiction, I need to know the artist and what makes him/her tick. This is a great introduction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJAw4Pdq9CE ~Enjoy!
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Old 10-14-2013, 06:31 AM   #17907
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Before starting any new work of fiction, I need to know the artist and what makes him/her tick. This is a great introduction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJAw4Pdq9CE ~Enjoy!
Thanks for that. I found it really inspirational.
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:15 AM   #17908
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Proof that the weather has turned colder, I've been on a reading frenzy this weekend.

Eternal Beauty by Linda Prather
Bed of Bones - Cheryl Bradshaw
Out from Under - Selene Chardou
and I'm halfway through Hat Dance by Carmen Amato, excellent thriller.
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Old 10-14-2013, 01:16 PM   #17909
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I'm reading Dust, the final installment of the Wool series (or Silo series, I think they are called) by Hugh Howey. Excellent, I am dying to see how this turns out.

And to show how totally eclectic my reading tastes are, after months of having this as a library hold, I finally made the top of the long list and downloaded "Safe Haven" by Nicholas Sparks. But I have to finish Dust first. Sometimes I can read multiple books at the same time, but not this time.

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Old 10-14-2013, 09:36 PM   #17910
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I decided to start The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle which is the and the fourth Sherlock Holmes novel, seventh overall. I watched the Sherlock series produced by BBC a couple weeks ago and now I am picturing Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman throughout the story. I can't even remember who I pictured before this.
I really should have read these long ago. Oh well, no timelike the present.

Next is on to Doctor Izard which is the the October Book Club selection. Then I will read The Bone Collector which came in over the weekend.
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