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What Are You Reading Now?

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Cleviebaby
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I'm re-reading Steinbeck's 'Travels with Charley'. I haven't read if for the best part of 40 years but came across the very edition I had all those years ago in a charity shop for 20p.

It is a book written when in his late 50s about travelling around the US in a converted truck with his dog - the Charley of the title. When I first read it I was in my 20s and entranced by travelling but lacking any real understanding of the world and the way it worked.

Reading it now, on the verge of retirement, it is so much more resonant and meaningful. It gives me itchy feet again. And how beautifully and economically Steinbeck writes. If you are of a certain age and haven't read it or at least, not recently I urge you to. Well worth it - it is, as the blurb on the rather battered covers says, a "...pure delight"

Cleve
elephant
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And cheapest on iBooks is $9.99

I think I should rummage like you !

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vikinger
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vikinger replied on Tue, Dec 2 2014 10:57 PM

Jeff:
Just finished Clive Barker's story The Hellbound Heart which the movie Hellraiser is based on. Really enjoyed it. Also reading The Egyptian by Watari Mika as I always was fascinated by the movie version as a kid. One scene in the movie where a Hittite iron sword was compared with an Egyptian bronze one was an early introduction to the kinds of power shifts technology can cause.

Read Barker's Weaveworld some time ago. I think he wrote this story when he was still in Liverpool and some of the locations and descriptions seem to echo some of the then run-down areas.

In his Wikepedia entry it says that seeing the French skydiver Leo Valentin fall to his death at a Liverpool airshow influenced his writings. I remember being at the same airshow. I guess like Stapledon's work I like reading into a writer's background and seeing the things that influenced their writings.

Graham

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Jeff replied on Wed, Dec 3 2014 8:58 AM

I'll have to look up Weaveworld...and I expect watching someone bounce would have quite an effect on you. Years ago I worked with a guy who's ex girlfriend bounced. They had both been avid skydivers and after their breakup she picked a time when they were both diving at the same jump area to dive and not deploy her chute. It got written up as an equipment failure but she decided to not pull and bounce right in front of him at at the LZ. I can't imagine the mindset that would do that, or how he must have felt about it. 

I will also have to look up Steinbeck Cleve...I keep telling myself that retirement is when I will catch up with all the classics Ive wanted to read, bout time I started!

Jeff

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elephant
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elephant replied on Wed, Dec 3 2014 10:12 AM

Jeff:
Years ago I worked with a guy who's ex girlfriend bounced. They had both been avid skydivers and after their breakup she picked a time when they were both diving at the same jump area to dive and not deploy her chute. It got written up as an equipment failure but she decided to not pull and bounce right in front of him at at the LZ. I can't imagine the mindset that would do that, or how he must have felt about it.

That's grim.

If you are a follower of "Humans Of New York" (HONY) on FaceBook then you may seem a similar story recently.  Girl kept guy under control by saying she would commit suicide - sending him pictures of her quaffing pills so he would rush round.  One time she did it when he was in an important business meeting - and that was the time she died.

Grim.

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Jeff replied on Wed, Dec 3 2014 10:38 AM

Horrible, just horrible. I cannot grok the mindset that would do that.

Jeff

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vikinger
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vikinger replied on Wed, Dec 3 2014 10:49 AM

Jeff:

Horrible, just horrible. I cannot grok the mindset that would do that.

What time is it where you are Jeff? Don't you ever sleep?

Graham

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Jeff replied on Wed, Dec 3 2014 11:08 AM

vikinger:

Jeff:

Horrible, just horrible. I cannot grok the mindset that would do that.

What time is it where you are Jeff? Don't you ever sleep?

Graham

6 am now. I have odd sleep cycles, often I'm up in the middle of the night and such. I tend to sleep in increments rather than straight thru. Seems sleep gets more intermittent the older I get too. So, I catch a lot of strange movies on late at night! 

Jeff

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elephant
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Jeff:

6 am now. I have odd sleep cycles, often I'm up in the middle of the night and such. I tend to sleep in increments rather than straight thru. Seems sleep gets more intermittent the older I get too. So, I catch a lot of strange movies on late at night!

Jeff

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Ditto

However I have "always" been this way - certainly since 23 which is when it became a regular habit - one or two chapters of a good book were the cure before all night movies and now the Internet

Years of being a travelling consult in strange hotel rooms with jet lag did not help either

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Jeff replied on Thu, Dec 4 2014 10:01 PM

I had to try and normalize it when I worked, but I guess I was always prone to strange sleep cycles, and was always a night owl. Since retirement I have no reason most days to have a set schedule so I seem to have adopted two sleep cycles a day, up, nap, up late, sleep. 

 

Jeff

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Jeff replied on Mon, Jan 5 2015 6:10 PM

Currently reading a large collection of Philip K. D ick short stories (I hate it that I have to split his name so the nanny filter doesn't barf on it). I hadn't realized that the movie The Adjustment Bureau was based on one of his stories until I came across the story in this collection. I looked it up and there are 13 movies based on PKD stories. Every time I get back into PKD I am consistently impressed with his writing.

Jeff

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chartz
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chartz replied on Mon, Jan 5 2015 6:40 PM

I like Philip K. D ick.

Right now I'm reading Patrick Modiano's latest novel. A real pleasure as usual. I've read all his books in the last 30 years, and perhaps you know he got the Nobel Prize, largely deserved in my humble opinion.

Jacques

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chartz replied on Mon, Jan 5 2015 6:40 PM

Mmm. Did it again.Angry

Jacques

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Jeff replied on Sat, Mar 21 2015 4:11 AM

Just finished the book that the movie Edge Of Tomorrow is based on, All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. As you might expect much better than the movie, though I quite enjoyed the movie. Darker ending. In the book the Mimics aren't alien life, they look like giant bloated frogs, hard shells filled with conductive "sand" that is actually nano machines. They are an alien xenoforming probe meant to turn earth into an alien environment prior to colonization. Very well written, fast paced, much better character development. Well worth reading, and has me primed to move onto the manga next. 

Jeff

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Rich
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Rich replied on Mon, Mar 23 2015 5:18 PM

Heard a good review of Kazuo Ishiguro's The Buried Giant so I bought it last week and finished it yesterday.  I liked the film of Never Let Me Go and meant to read it but never did.

I'm still trying to decide if I loved it or hated it.

Blah blah blah, blah blah ba ran

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Jeff replied on Wed, Apr 1 2015 4:07 PM

Rich:

Heard a good review of Kazuo Ishiguro's The Buried Giant so I bought it last week and finished it yesterday.  I liked the film of Never Let Me Go and meant to read it but never did.

I'm still trying to decide if I loved it or hated it.

The Buried Giant sounds intriguing. Interesting comment though, trying to decide if you loved or hated it. I liked the film Never Let Me Go as well, it was haunting and sad and thought provoking.

As for Japanese authors, Kobe Abe is one I've enjoyed, I've read The Ark Sakura and The Woman In The Dunes. Both are very odd but captivating.

Jeff

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Rich
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Rich replied on Wed, Apr 1 2015 8:20 PM

Jeff:

Rich:

Heard a good review of Kazuo Ishiguro's The Buried Giant so I bought it last week and finished it yesterday.  I liked the film of Never Let Me Go and meant to read it but never did.

I'm still trying to decide if I loved it or hated it.

The Buried Giant sounds intriguing. Interesting comment though, trying to decide if you loved or hated it. I liked the film Never Let Me Go as well, it was haunting and sad and thought provoking.

As for Japanese authors, Kobe Abe is one I've enjoyed, I've read The Ark Sakura and The Woman In The Dunes. Both are very odd but captivating.

I'm pretty sure now I hated it.

But I'm glad I read it.

If that makes any sense whatsoever.

On a similar note....My wife and I were browsing Netflix Saturday night looking for something to watch (we ended up watching the Roger Ebert documentary), and came across the film Syriana.  I saw it in the theater when it was a new release.  I thought it was a great movie, but I couldn't think of a single person I knew that I thought would enjoy it.

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elephant replied on Thu, Apr 2 2015 12:22 AM
"The Martian" by Andy Weir

Test read a chapter in a bookshop - got hooked, and I am working (not a good verb, enjoying is better) my way through it.

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Jeff replied on Thu, Apr 2 2015 3:16 AM

Rich, understand, that makes sense. As for Syriana, I saw it and really liked it. 

Elephant, right with you on The Martian, excellent read. 

Jeff

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Jeff replied on Tue, Apr 21 2015 5:13 AM

Just finished "The Forever War" by Joe Haldeman. He wrote it after serving in the army in Vietnam, so it's colored by that perspective, no matter your feelings about that little skirmish it's a great book. Humans find an alien race and get into a war. The protagonist spends a lot of time at near light speed so there are a lot of issues with that. He starts as a grunt and ends an officer, about a thousand years later. First time back to earth about forty years have passed and he's two years older. Second time it's several hundred years, finally he returns after over a thousand years to find the war ended hundreds of years before. Interesting g are the changes on earth each time he returns. A classic. 

Jeff

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elephant
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elephant replied on Tue, Apr 21 2015 8:07 AM
Yes. A classic. I forget how long ago I read it ...

Have you read any of Richard Morgan's novels ?

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vikinger replied on Tue, Apr 21 2015 8:57 AM

I came across a secondhand copy of 'The Creature from Jekyll Island' by G. Edward Griffin. It's about the origins of the Federal Reserve and the secret way it was set up and then 'sold' as if it was a government department.

It is really very well written and a good tale. 650 pages and I read it fairly quickly.... I didn't want to put it down! But I noticed that there was just a bit too much political bias woven into it, and some fundamentally wrong assertions.

So I then googled the author. Oh dear, another conspiracy theory individual, supported on his website by other conspiracy people. The real problem with these conspiracy theory people is that some of the facts are probably true and can be proved, but they are woven in with so much garbage you really have difficulty separating truth from fiction (which probably suits a lot of politicians!)

The Jekyll Island story, which is based at least in the beginning on verifiable records and facts with the recollections of those who were there, does make a really good read nothwithstanding the author's bias and beliefs!

Graham

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Jeff replied on Tue, Apr 21 2015 3:17 PM

elephant:
Yes. A classic. I forget how long ago I read it ...

 

 

Have you read any of Richard Morgan's novels ?

Haven't, but just downloaded Thirteen and Altered Carbon into my iPad Kindle reader and look forward to them. The descriptions are right up my alley.

@vikinger, I know what you mean, conspiracy types can get a bit out of hand. However I wonder if the people truly running conspiracies count on that for cover? Unsure

 

 

 

Stick out tongue

Jeff

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Jeff replied on Thu, Apr 23 2015 3:34 PM
Just started Altered Carbon and so far after 4 chapters or so the verdict is, very good read! Well written and fascinating use of technology and an intriguing universe. Great recommendation elephant!

Jeff

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elephant
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elephant replied on Thu, Apr 23 2015 10:44 PM
Jeff:

Just started Altered Carbon and so far after 4 chapters or so the verdict is, very good read! Well written and fascinating use of technology and an intriguing universe. Great recommendation elephant! Jeff

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I was pretty certain that one and its sequels would be a hit with youSmile

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Jeff replied on Fri, Apr 24 2015 6:49 AM

elephant:
Jeff:

 

Just started Altered Carbon and so far after 4 chapters or so the verdict is, very good read! Well written and fascinating use of technology and an intriguing universe. Great recommendation elephant! Jeff

 

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I was pretty certain that one and its sequels would be a hit with youSmile

Seems we have similar tastes! Excellent recommendation. Further into it now and it keeps getting better. 

Jeff

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Rich
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Rich replied on Fri, Apr 24 2015 6:17 PM

Just got back from the FLUBS where I had hoped to find The Magus, The Collector, or The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles.  Alas, they only had Daniel Martin so I picked that up and will start it this weekend.

I also found not 1, not 2, but 3 cassette deck cleaner/demagnetizers, all 3 by different manufacturers.  Picked up a dozen or so prerecorded tapes as well, including Pink Floyd's The Final Cut, my all time favorite record.  Now I have it on all 3 formats, because, you know, it completes the set.

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Jeff replied on Fri, Apr 24 2015 7:45 PM

The Final Cut was one seriously depressing album, I guess it's Roger Waters at the top of his form. Personally I found The Division Bell like Pink Floyd on Prozac, without Waters there was something missing.

I fully grok wanting to own an album in all formats, well, just because! That's why! Big Smile

Jeff

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Rich
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Rich replied on Sat, Apr 25 2015 6:56 PM

While many (if not most) find The Final Cut depressing, and I won't argue, I find it profoundly moving.  It holds a special place in my heart as listening to it literally once a day for several months eased the pain I felt as my parents went through a divorce.  And it helped me to kick myself in my own butt and stop feeling sorry for myself:  at least I still have a father, I would think, even if he has left my mother for another woman.

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Jeff replied on Tue, May 12 2015 1:41 AM

Rich, long time for me to reply but I can completely understand your feelings, music can truly help one deal with emotional stress. I spent most of the post breakup of a very serious relationship listening to Tchaikovsky's 6th symphony, regardless of how syrupy and melodramatic I think it is in hindsight it fitted my mood perfectly and soothed my raw emotions very well.

as for elephants recommendation, I am almost finished with the first Altered Carbon book, and a wonderful read it's been, insanely creative and original, very well written, a real page turner,,

Jeff

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Jeff replied on Sun, Jun 7 2015 8:29 PM

OK, just finished the last Takeshi Kovaks book, Woken Furies. Man, talk about the classic definition of an "anti-hero," Kovacs is that and more. Have enjoyed all three books, clever and action packed both.

Just started reading a translation of the oldest written story known to man...Gilgamesh. Interesting so far!

Jeff

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elephant
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Jeff:

Just started reading a translation of the oldest written story known to man...Gilgamesh. Interesting so far!

My son shared with me a side by side translation of Beowulf ... The original was impenetrable

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Jeff replied on Mon, Jun 8 2015 1:16 AM

Yeah, I've seen similar on Beowulf. For Gilgamesh, all the sentences are short, maybe it's hard to write long sentences in cuneiform without getting writers cramp? 

Jeff

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Rich replied on Mon, Jun 8 2015 6:19 PM

Jeff:

Yeah, I've seen similar on Beowulf. For Gilgamesh, all the sentences are short, maybe it's hard to write long sentences in cuneiform without getting writers cramp? 

That's funny, although technically speaking, one doesn't write in cuneiform, one pokes a stick into clay, yes?

I never did start the Fowles book.  Instead I read Margaret Atwood's Stone Mattress collection.  Bloody brilliant.  I've read 3 of her books now (the others Oryx and Crake and The Handmaid's Tale), and liked them all very much.  Maybe someone here could recommend another of hers?

I was in the garage cleaning yesterday and found a couple Ray Carver short story collections, including What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.  Having enjoyed Birdman, I thought I should go back and reread the title story of that collection.  About 25 years ago (!!!!) I was reading Carver a lot.  What with reading Carver and listening to The Final Cut it's no wonder I was in a lousy mood all the time!  Big Smile

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elephant replied on Thu, Jun 11 2015 4:54 AM
Speaking of the past ....

My eldest son, with whom I share a love if Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels recommended "The Lions of Lucerne" by Brad Thor. I found the open chapter very amateurish and stopped ... however my wife was pestering me to follow through ... and I was stuck on a trams-Pacific commute so I did.

Nett Nett ... The action scene chapters were good although predictable ... The cut scenes to Washington machinations were as bad as the opening chapter: I really don't care than some one is wearing Dunhill slippers ! (except if is MilleMissen ). However I may bookend his collection by buying the latest to see the improvements (reading the author's epilogue on his struggle made me soft)

I then read a Jack Reacher e-novelette that was good, and it's back "pages" pointed to a revival of the Travis Magee series which I had forgotten how much I enjoyed 30 years ago ! So I shall dig one of them up ...

And my must reads recommendations from the past are :-

-- Morse, the Oxford detective series

-- David Audley, the ever so British secret service civil servant series

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Jeff replied on Mon, Jul 13 2015 6:01 PM

I'm currently reading "Thirteen" by Richard K. Morgan, author of the Takeshi Kovacs novels, it's an interesting cyberpunk murder mystery...and in one upscale hotel where the protagonist stays he mentions very stylish Bang Olufsen data terminals and phones in the hotel suite.

Jeff

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elephant replied on Mon, Jul 13 2015 6:22 PM
Jeff

I am not sure if I have 13

When was it released ?

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Jeff replied on Mon, Jul 13 2015 9:02 PM

elephant:
Jeff

 

I am not sure if I have 13

 

When was it released ?

Copyright says 2004. It's pre-Takeshi Kovacs but post Mars colonization. Pre-expansion, there's only Earth and Mars. Marstech is hitting, and the 13 refers to a genetic variant 13, the last of the variations that were done earlier. 13s are pre-agriculture humans, violent, focused, sociopathic, that is perfect soldiers. All of who are now either exiled to Mars or kept in internment camps and forbidden to breed. One returns from Mars and they use another 13 to try and track him. Interesting, very well written. I've also just gotten "Market Forces" to read next by the same author.

Jeff

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elephant replied on Tue, Jul 14 2015 10:42 AM
Thanks !!

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Ben_S replied on Tue, Jul 14 2015 12:23 PM

Went into Waterstones this morning to pick up 'Go Set a Watchman'. Obviously can't avoid all of the annoying spoilers and reviews all over the news but I'm going to try and read it this week and form my own opinion. Either way, a pretty incredible literary event and I am rather excited!

Ben

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