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Old 05-13-2018, 07:17 PM   #27181
latepaul
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Just finished The Radium Girls for the book club. Should probably save my impressions but let's say I found it hard going in more ways than one.

Will probably start something new tomorrow. Have still got book 3 of the Divine Cities but that's pretty long. Fancy something short.
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Old 05-13-2018, 09:39 PM   #27182
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I just finished The Radium Girls too. I'm not sure if this is common to all versions but there were some "group discussion questions" in the appendices of mine.

I think the next book I read will be Jack McDevitt's The Engines of God which was mentioned in a thread here and I recommended to my library.
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Old 05-14-2018, 01:12 AM   #27183
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The questions are in the back of my copy of The Radium Girls as well. I suppose I should at least look at them and try to incorporate some answers into my already lengthy rant post.
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Old 05-14-2018, 07:56 AM   #27184
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I just finished The Radium Girls too. I'm not sure if this is common to all versions but there were some "group discussion questions" in the appendices of mine.

I think the next book I read will be Jack McDevitt's The Engines of God which was mentioned in a thread here and I recommended to my library.
Curious, I not long finished The Engines of God (for the same reason, saw it mentioned here). I enjoyed it. For the most part it's good old fashioned science-fiction style without feeling old itself. Some excellent climaxes. Not perfect but definitely a good read.

What I should have been doing is reading The Radium Girls, because now work has gone to hell and I'm not going to get to it in time for discussion.
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Old 05-14-2018, 08:56 PM   #27185
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And it turned out to be On the Beach by Nevil Shute mostly because my hold for it at the library came through.

I enjoyed it mostly. It was a bit odd. The characters felt stuffy and formal - which is probably the period in which it was written. There's a general response to the events immediately prior to the book, which whilst fascinating to explore, isn't plausible as the near universal reaction that it is in the book.

Now I really must buckle down and read The Radium Girls
My take on Nevil Shute is that his stories make better films than books. He has some great plots, but for me his writing is very pedestrian.
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Old 05-16-2018, 05:27 PM   #27186
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Just finished The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman and it was a very interesting read. It’s the non-fiction history of the Warsaw Zoo and Getto during WWII.
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Old 05-16-2018, 11:18 PM   #27187
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Just starting into Cyberstorm by Matthew Mather. So far none of the characters are terribly memorable or likable. We'll give it a few more chapters to see if I warm to them. I've had other books that started out slow (character-likability and plot-wise) and then grew into very good reads as time went on. I'm thinking "Lucifer's Hammer" by Larry Niven was like this. So was "The Codex" by Douglas Preston. Both of these almost got set aside in the first chapters, but after getting a bit farther in, I'm sure glad I stuck with them.

But then there were a few that started out with unlikable characters and continued that way all the way to the end. I wish I had set them aside, but continued on thinking they were supposed to be classic and they just had to improve (they didn't IMHO). "Childhood's End" by Arthur C. Clarke was like that for me, but others obviously disagree and liked it and rated it highly.
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Old 05-17-2018, 01:10 AM   #27188
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As an anodyne to this month's New Leaf Book Club selection, I've been reading the Petaybee books by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Scarborough. The first, Powers That Be, was an excellent light SF read, with the second starting out a bit darker, but still positive.
Finished Radium Girls, and also finished Power Lines, the second in the Petaybee trilogy. I can't say I enjoyed the first, but I'm glad I read it. The second I quite enjoyed, though not as much as Powers that Be. Then I read Merchanter's Luck, by C.J. Cherryh, part of her Company Wars series in the Alliance-Union universe.

All very nice, but next up I start Taste for Death, by Peter O'Donnell, the fourth in the Modesty Blaise series. And I'm starting next month's New Leaf Book Club selection, The Three Musketeers. Which I'll be reading and listening to if I'm to get it finished in time.
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Old 05-17-2018, 05:28 AM   #27189
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I finally started reading Who Is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? (by Andrez Bergen), and I'm about a third of the way through it.

As one would expect from the title, it's about a city where superheroes are getting killed off. The trouble is, there's a lot about the first fifth of the book that doesn't make much sense - but then, when the reader is belatedly clued in to something all of the characters know, the puzzle finally comes into focus. I'll put it in a spoiler tag, but I regard this more as Very Useful Information - to the point that I've considered restarting the book so I can apply the missing knowledge to that first section.

Spoiler:
The setting is not a true world-with-superheroes. It's a freeform VR game that the superhero characters are playing, and the "regular people" in Heropa are high-quality bots. The supers' deaths are real, but caused by neural feedback from the in-game killings, and the setting and bots reboot every day. So, kind of "Dark City" and "The Matrix" meet "Ready Player One" in City of Heroes.


I do not intend to malign the book - I just wish the author had mentioned this info much earlier. Not doing so made the book appear much more poorly thought out than it actually is.
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Old 05-17-2018, 06:15 AM   #27190
orlok
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I too have started alternately reading and listening to The Three Musketeers, the New Leaf Book Club choice for June. Thank goodness for WhisperSync. I don't expect to resurface for a while...
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Old 05-17-2018, 08:14 AM   #27191
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You will probably need a cut lunch or two!
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Old 05-17-2018, 08:51 AM   #27192
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My take on Nevil Shute is that his stories make better films than books. He has some great plots, but for me his writing is very pedestrian.
I agree in general, although the pervasive racism is offputting. That said, I found the film of On the Beach to be pretty tedious also. As latepaul said, it strained credulity.
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:02 PM   #27193
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Since my last update (I am doing great updating my LIST but keep forgetting to put stuff here!) I have finished:
Right now I am
  • Listening to Clouds of Witnesses by Dorothy Sayers
  • Reading CJ Sansom's Sovreign on my Kobo Aura
  • Read the PCML edition of The Three Musketeers on my Kobo Mini
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:57 PM   #27194
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I finished reading The Long War by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter, and am almost through Dirty Martini by J. A. Konrath, the fourth "Jack" Daniels novel. I think next I will read Before Mars by Emma Newman.
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Old 05-18-2018, 09:42 AM   #27195
RobertLCollins
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Yesterday evening I finished Michael Kohlhaas by Heinrich von Kliest. It's an influential German novella published around 1810. Among the works inspired by it are the novel Ragtime and the film based on it. I came across the story at TV Tropes. The plot has inspired a fantasy story I'm planning on writing, so I decided to real the novella.

It's quite the read. It's very much a story of how corruption among the nobility causes rebellion among common folk. There are also instances of mistakes made that end up complicating the story further. Yet there's also this mysterious fortune teller, who may actually be able to see the future, and how that complicates the plot towards the end, which gives a fantasy twist to an otherwise realistic work. I found the ebook in a collection of German classics at Project Gutenberg.

I've read through all the books I acquired last year. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to take another run at a classic I paused in my reading, or if I'm going to buy some new ebooks. I have writing to do, so I'll take some time to think about it...
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