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Old 5th November 2020, 12:05 PM   #601
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Originally Posted by Wudang View Post
My favourite Hemingway for some reason is A Moveable Feast, snippets of his life in Paris and his thoughts.
My strongest connection with that title is a line from Jurassic Park II, as in "Let's get this moveable feast on the road!"
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Old 5th November 2020, 12:12 PM   #602
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The Cartel, by Don Winslow.

If Stephen King wrote Southern California Crime instead of New England Horror, he'd be Don Winslow. In the sense that events in one series will be referenced in another series, and characters from different series occasionally cross paths (sometimes plausibly, sometimes not so much).

This book is the second in the Cartel series. It picks up more or less where the first book, The Power of the Dog, leaves off. So far there's been enough "previously on..." exposition that I think you could pick up this book without being too lost.

Unlike The Dawn Patrol and Savages serieses, this one is much more cynical and bleak. The underlying themes are the futility (or outright mendacity) of the war on drugs; and how people choose to sell out their principles for reasons good and bad.

The characters are well-drawn, in both their merits and their flaws. Almost everyone you meet is at least a little bit villain, and at least a little bit saint. And they act out their parts against a backdrop of Southern California (with Mexico appearing in cameo from time to time). If you're a SoCal resident or native, you'll recognize the scenery, the landmarks, and the topology right away. If you've never been to California, Don Winslow gives a good sense of what the place is like. I don't know if it's accurate, but I think it's close enough for you to be able to appreciate it. Kind of like Stephen King and New England.

Like any mainstream crime novel, the book has its interludes of sex and violence. And lots and lots of drugs. Also some social commentary "monologues" about the war on drugs and related issues (NAFTA, apparently, forced Mexico into the cocaine business).

The Cartel is my least favorite of Winslow's Southern California series, but he's a good writer and it's still worth a read. Plus, because they all take place in the same setting, over the same time period, using many of the same characters and situations, all three series can be read as a single sprawling saga. And also, after the too-cute language games of his preceding novel (The Kings of Cool), the return to heavier, denser, but much more straightforward prose is a pleasant change of pace.

If you're looking for neo-noir crime thrillers with a suntan and a surfboard, instead of a trench coat and a fedora, give Don Winslow a try.
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Old 8th November 2020, 02:10 PM   #603
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A Journal of the Plague Year, Daniel Defoe

A fictionalized memoir published in 1720, the book purports to be the journal of a great uncle of Defoe's giving us an eyewitness account of the 1665 bubonic plague outbreak in London. Defoe was a reporter who did his research (the Bills of Mortality showing the process and morbidity of the epidemic are from historical records). The narrator's observations of the breakdown of the medical establishment's ability to treat so many desperately ill people, the extremes to which fear drive the sick and the healthy alike, and even the conspiracy theories of the plague's origin all come in for vivid description. The narrator, out of curiosity, visits a churchyard where a mass grave has been excavated. He thinks the descriptions have been exaggerated, but is appalled to view a crater twenty feet deep, fifteen wide, and sixth long. In the 1970s that grave was locared, and Defoe's estimate of the dimensions were correct. The work seems familiar, down to the narrator's complaint that the government downplayed the seriousness of the disease and failed to impose precautions that would have saved lives.
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Old 10th November 2020, 05:19 AM   #604
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The First 49 Stories by Ernest Hemingway

The recent mention of Hemingway in the thread has led to taking this off the shelf for a reread of a few stories. In particular I like 'A Clean, Well-Lighted Place'. Full text - https://genius.com/Ernest-hemingway-...lace-annotated
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Old 10th November 2020, 09:00 AM   #605
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Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed, by Ben Rich.

This book was written in the mid-90s after Ben Rich had retired from the Skunk Works. He chronicles the trials and tribulations at Skunk Works during the initial productions of the U-2, SR-71 Blackbird, and the Stealth Fighter. It's not written chronologically, which I liked. He dives right into the development of the Stealth Fighter, which was the author's first big project after taking over for the infamous Kelly Johnson. Then he backtracks to the years when he was Kelly's 2nd in command, during the development of the U-2 and SR-71. If you're into aviation and engineering, it's an awesome read. It also includes many "Other voices" sections in which other engineers, test pilots, and even political figures give reminisce on the events portrayed in the book.
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Old 10th November 2020, 09:43 AM   #606
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Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. It popped up in a search on Audible. A few chapter in and it is very interesting so far.
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Old 13th November 2020, 01:36 PM   #607
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Just finished Dan Rather's What Unites Us. Nostalgic, yes. Inspiring, yes. But not really a cure for anything except politics fatigue.
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Old 14th November 2020, 05:46 AM   #608
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I've tried to read and, listen to, Sophie Hannah's "new" Poirot novels. They're terrible.
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Old 16th November 2020, 02:36 PM   #609
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Silas Marner by George Eliot
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Old 19th November 2020, 06:03 AM   #610
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I am currently reading The Lost World by Conan Doyle. Quite an interesting piece. I've read (even twice) about Sherlock Holmes before, I really like it. But I did not read other works of Conan Doyle, to my shame. Now I am correcting the omission.
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Old 19th November 2020, 10:35 AM   #611
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For some reason that I cannot fathom, I picked up Froude's History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Defeat of the Spanish Armada (volume I of XI) off of my book shelf. Now I have to finish it.
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Old 19th November 2020, 11:44 AM   #612
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Originally Posted by KayBur View Post
I am currently reading The Lost World by Conan Doyle. Quite an interesting piece. I've read (even twice) about Sherlock Holmes before, I really like it. But I did not read other works of Conan Doyle, to my shame. Now I am correcting the omission.
Following that you may want to try The Poison Belt, which has many of the same characters. Not as sweeping or famous a story as The Lost World, but entertaining in it's own right.

It is interesting, to me, in being one of the first modern apocalypse stories, particularly of the "last survivors in a dead England" genre which became popular in the 1950s and '60s.
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Old 19th November 2020, 11:46 AM   #613
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"Dead Beat" book 7 in the Dresden Files series. Reading through a second time as I work my way up to the latest that came out last month.
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Old 19th November 2020, 10:11 PM   #614
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The Aesthetic Adventure by William Gaunt





Been meaning to read this, even for the sake of it being a kind of novelty or something.
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Old 20th November 2020, 06:18 AM   #615
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Haunted Houses (1924) by Camille Flammarion
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Old 20th November 2020, 08:58 AM   #616
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Dresden Files audio books have long been our default listening choice on long car trips. We have all of them and will listen straight through and then recycle when we hit the end...
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Old 20th November 2020, 09:21 AM   #617
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Originally Posted by Metullus View Post
Dresden Files audio books have long been our default listening choice on long car trips. We have all of them and will listen straight through and then recycle when we hit the end...
I haven't listened to the audio books, but I bet they're good. Enjoy his Codex Alera series for fantasy with an interesting concept as well.
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Old 20th November 2020, 07:35 PM   #618
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The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology
by Simon Winchester.
A fascinating story of groundbreaking (heh) scientific endeavour, well told.

I was inspired to visit the Royal Geological Society and to view the actual map in question.
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Old 22nd November 2020, 08:14 PM   #619
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Originally Posted by Wudang View Post
My favourite Hemingway for some reason is A Moveable Feast, snippets of his life in Paris and his thoughts.
My favourite Hemingway too. I've re-read it several times.

Another of my favourites and in a similar vein (the Paris arts scene in the early 20th Century):

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein.
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Old 22nd November 2020, 08:43 PM   #620
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Cosmos by Stephen Fry.

Fry's rich, wide vocabulary and his quirky humour are suitable companions to the Greek Pantheon and myths.
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Old 24th November 2020, 02:46 AM   #621
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Originally Posted by Orphia Nay View Post
Cosmos by Stephen Fry.

Fry's rich, wide vocabulary and his quirky humour are suitable companions to the Greek Pantheon and myths.

Oops, I meant "Mythos".
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Old 24th November 2020, 10:18 PM   #622
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Gateway by Frederik Pohl

Due to a couple of mentions in another thread I thought I'd give this another read. Already I'm remembering how much I enjoyed it the first time.
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Old 25th November 2020, 12:09 AM   #623
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Originally Posted by Orphia Nay View Post
Cosmos by Stephen Fry.

Fry's rich, wide vocabulary and his quirky humour are suitable companions to the Greek Pantheon and myths.
How many words does he know?

Billions and billions.
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Old 25th November 2020, 05:48 AM   #624
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Originally Posted by KayBur View Post
I am currently reading The Lost World by Conan Doyle. Quite an interesting piece. I've read (even twice) about Sherlock Holmes before, I really like it. But I did not read other works of Conan Doyle, to my shame. Now I am correcting the omission.
Does this, or will it maybe, include Doyle's "round half-dozen" of historical novels? If I have things correctly, Doyle took these with great seriousness, feeling that "this was really what he was put on Earth to do" -- he regarded the Holmes material as tedious rubbish which he had to churn out to pay the bills. I find that opinions are divided, concerning the historical novels: a good many people reckon that they're terrific -- others, less so. I've read at some time or another, about half of them, and am personally not a fan: for me, they struck me as mostly, kids'-comic-ish to an embarrassingly cringe-making degree; particularly the "medieval" ones -- The White Company and Sir Nigel (which have also, many keen devotees). Just my personal response: I tend to be hard to please; and as said, there are many who think otherwise.
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