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Tags favorite books , recommended books

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Old 30th March 2020, 01:28 AM   #521
MoeFaux
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
Just finished The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. Contemporary fantasy/horror or something. It's bizarre. It's weird. It's strange. It's great.

MUCH better than I expected. Enjoyed it immensely. Would love to know what others think.
Recommended!


12 young children were kidnapped by Father and raised in His library, as librarians. Each with their own area of expertise. Father's lessons were often cruel and violent. Carolyn, the main character, has mastered languages. All of them. They all believe Father to be God.
Then Father goes missing.
This sounds interesting just based on your descriptive words alone. Weird! Strange! Bizarre! I will take note of the title and thank you for the recommendation.

If you would humor me, I would like to suggest a title for you that I read when it was released last year, one which also could be described as Weird, etc. "Nothing to See Here," by Kevin Wilson. I read the review in the NYTimes Review of Books and went out and purchased it that same day, something I had never done before. The review began: "Good lord, I can't believe how good this book is."

GoodReads describes it as: "a moving and uproarious novel about a woman who finds meaning in her life when she begins caring for two children with remarkable and disturbing abilities."

It's not a meaty book. It's fun. I finished in cover to cover in one day, because I couldn't put it down. Weird. Bizarre. I liked it a lot, and thought about it for weeks afterwards. I will enjoy reading it again, too. Not sure if it's your cup of tea - but your suggestion made me think of it.

Cheers!
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Old 31st March 2020, 09:41 PM   #522
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Been on a huge crash-course on Russian history, lore and culture since last year for a project of my own. Just finished Laura Englestei's Russia In Flames:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...SuTgNox&rank=1

It was okay. Currently working on Ethan Pollock's Without the Banya We Would Perish:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...e-would-perish

What I've been finding is that there's precious little in English about a lot of the subjects I've found interesting, mainly regarding folklore and legends.
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Old 2nd April 2020, 10:25 AM   #523
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It is interesting, both library's closed (just as I was needing new books in my life) and I must rely on the books (100's of them) I have collected, all of which I have read.

What I'm finding is that there are several books that I read years ago, that are enjoyable re-reads. I'm enjoying John Sandford's "Prey" series again. I have all of Robert Parker's novels (that I love), and too many others to name.

I don't read much non-fiction, and don't read for education, I read to entertain myself, and it hasn't failed me yet.

And, I love humor. (Parker's Spencer novels are great for that, as are Carl Hiaasen's - another favorite) I would love to hear suggestions for other authors that can tell a good story and sometimes inject humor!

Thanks.
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Old 2nd April 2020, 11:09 PM   #524
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My daughter's 6th grade class is reading "Fever" about the 19th century yellow fever epidemic. (1870's I think)
This was on the list in January before the coronavirus was a thing. It is eerie.

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Old 3rd April 2020, 12:09 AM   #525
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The Utopia of Rules by Graeber
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Old 5th April 2020, 12:26 AM   #526
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Originally Posted by MoeFaux View Post
This sounds interesting just based on your descriptive words alone. Weird! Strange! Bizarre! I will take note of the title and thank you for the recommendation.

If you would humor me, I would like to suggest a title for you that I read when it was released last year, one which also could be described as Weird, etc. "Nothing to See Here," by Kevin Wilson. I read the review in the NYTimes Review of Books and went out and purchased it that same day, something I had never done before. The review began: "Good lord, I can't believe how good this book is."

Thanks!
I haven't read any Kevin Wilson books as far as I remember.
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Old 6th April 2020, 02:49 PM   #527
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I'm reading free library books with my Kindle, and I'm super happy with it so far.

The app recommended, so I downloaded, a thriller by an author that was new to me - Robert Galbraith. I know now that this is the nom de plume of JK Rowling. The Libby app that I used to browse the library tells you when fiction books are in a series, so I downloaded and started the first one - Cuckoo's Calling. It sounded like a beach-type read, which is what I'm looking for right now. Escapist fiction.

I did not get to page 3. It literally read like some of those bad fiction award nominees; it may as well have started with "it was a dark and stormy night." This person wrote Harry Potter? Were those books any good? People told me that they were. Absolutely brutal.

google books link

/rant

I'm most of the way through Alan Furst "Night Soldiers," which tracks a young Bulgarian's spy career path through the Russian Revolution, Spanish Civil War and WWII. I like it.
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Old 9th April 2020, 04:57 AM   #528
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Age of Reptiles (Collected, Volume 1) by Ricardo Delgado.

Holy crap how has this one flown under my radar for so long?

The collected first run of a comic run from 2009 to 2016, it's a wordless, dialogue, narrationless series of stories set in a fictionalized, stylized age of dinosaurs.

It's so wonderfully unusual, tales of blood feuds and "You killed my father, prepare to die" moments between dinosaurs told without dialogue or narration. There's not even sound effects in the panels.

The artwork is amazing, the gore is plentiful, and stories manage to actually be engaging, the dinosaurs given actual character and emotions.
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Old 9th April 2020, 06:04 AM   #529
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The Geometry of Meaning: Semantics Based on Conceptual Spaces, Peter Gärdenfors, MIT Press.

Concept formation must be described in terms that fit known facts about humans. The approach here is topological. I find it fascinating because it is amenable to treatment as a more general case in evolutionary terms; i.e., I can see its applicability to the entire animal kingdom.

To give you an idea of what this is about, an example:

Oakland is over the Golden Gate bridge from San Fran.

In this analysis, the use of "over" indicates spacial orientation from the speaker's point of view, making meaning in this case a form of perceptual topology. Clearly, Oakland is not physically floating over the bridge, but at the end of a path. It gets more complicated, but like good science, it's built out of many valid tidbits to build a solid framework.

All kinds of scientific and philosophical nuts to crack, which is what makes linguistics so fun.
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Old 24th May 2020, 11:48 AM   #530
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I just read a book that would translate to "But you don't look sick" (Men du ser ikke syk ut), by Ragnhild Holmås. It's about ME, and people's prejudice and attitudes in general towards what we call "invisible illnesses". How sufferers could probably have gone to school or work if they only had wanted it enough, or how a single vacation trip or visit to a coffee shop on a good day becomes evidence they are just lazy or pretending to be sick to game the welfare state.

I learned some interesting things from it, like that cancer was, incredibly, originally thought to be caused by weakness of character, and that cancer sufferers had to work hard to dispell this myth.

If you understand Scandinavian, it's well worth a read. Also a nice gift to prejudiced friends .
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Old 28th May 2020, 06:47 AM   #531
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With the ten or so Little Free Libraries within a few blocks of my house, the selection is pretty plentiful. Picked up John Grisham's The Rainmaker. I don't usually read those types of books but a while ago I got The Firm and enjoyed it.

This one was an easy read, but is virtually plotless. Daily grind of a law school student who scores a possibly big trial. Those two elements form the gist of the book. In great detail.

Still, it's what a "meh" book does -- effectively kill a few hours with something of mild interest.
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Old 28th May 2020, 07:01 AM   #532
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Received a nice hard-cover copy of Dune for my birthday in anticipation of the new film adaptation coming soon. Should make for a more pleasant reading than the tiny-print paperback I read previously.

Most things I read off my Kindle, but for books I really like, a good hardback is the way to go.
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Old 28th May 2020, 11:13 AM   #533
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I'm nearly finished Pete Rawlik's Reanimators, a fascinating and different take on the events of Lovecraft's Herbert West - Reanimator and The Shadow Out of Time which I intend to pillage for gaming ideas.
I notice that the book is now listed as the first in a series, excellent.

Also finished, in one sitting, t my partners annoyance is Jeff Mach's excellent There and Never, Ever Back Again. A somewhat different take on the tropes of Tolkeinein quests...

I'm on a bit of a Spanish Civil War kick, I've added the following to my pile (I was supposed to deliver a series of lectures on the SCW and it's connections to Ireland earlier this year but A Certain Virus disrupted this):
Laura Desfor Edles - Symbol and Ritual in the New Spain - The Transition to Democracy after Franco
Joan Maria Thomās - Roosevelt, Franco, and the End of the Second World War
Joan Maria Thomas - Roosevelt and Franco during the Second World War - From the Spanish Civil War to Pearl Harbor
David Joseph Dunthorn - Britain and the Spanish Anti-Franco Opposition, 1940-1950
Herb Southworth - Conspiracy and the Spanish Civil War - The Brainwashing of Francisco Franco
* I'm going to have to track down the rest of Southgate's work.
Sasha D. Pack - Tourism and Dictatorship - Europe's Peaceful Invasion of Franco's Spain
Michael Aaron Rockland - An American Diplomat in Franco Spain

In the non-fiction pile are:
Kacper Szulecki - Dissidents in Communist Central Europe Human Rights and the Emergence of New Transnational Actors
Guy R. Hasegawa - Villainous Compounds - Chemical Weapons and the American Civil War
* Now finished, an excellent work. Lots of althist ideas too.
James Waterson - The Ismaili Assassins. A History of Medieval Murder
Sudhir Venkatesh - Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets
Garrett Laurie - The Coming Plague Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance
* Finished. Mediocre.
Florence Tamagne - A History Of Homosexuality In Europe: Berlin, London, Paris 1919-1939
Curtis & Curtis - Jack the Ripper and the London Press

On the fiction side I'm reading Christianna Brand's Cockrill novels, currently Fog of Doubt. Finished are Sandford's Masked Prey (OK, but not his best work), Wilfred Greatorex's 1990, based on the old TV series, and John Scalzi's The Last Emperox. Upcoming are Joe Lansdale's Terror is Our Business , Maresca Ryan's A Murder of Mages and
Flint & Freer's All the Plagues of Hell.
After they the queue holds the three books in the Dark Waters Trilogy; Ghouls of the Miskatonic, Bones of the Yopasi and Dweller in the Deep and (eventually) the twenty nine Wild Cards books
I've also been dipping into my Doc Savage stash but I find them hard going. Lots of Ospreys for general research.

Earlier in lockdown I splurged on London and the Spanish Flu, perhaps 15-20 books on each. Then there is the work related reading (part of my role is assessing technology startups) and general research.
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Old 28th May 2020, 12:01 PM   #534
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Fitting times for The Plague by Albert Camus. And after that I will probably begin with The Mirror and The Light by Hilary Mantel.
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Old 29th May 2020, 01:54 PM   #535
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post

Also finished, in one sitting, t my partners annoyance is Jeff Mach's excellent There and Never, Ever Back Again. A somewhat different take on the tropes of Tolkeinein quests...
Sounded good so I bought it. Really enjoying it so far. Thanks
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Old 29th May 2020, 10:03 PM   #536
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Another thumbs up for The Library At Mt. Char mentioned above.... Very different and enjoyable. Haven’t seen anything else from the author though.

Currently reading Jeff Van DerMeer’s new one, “Borne”. Deals with a very “apocalyptic” scenario, a young scavenger/survivor, and a biological “thing” she finds which proves to be much more than she suspected....
Excellent so far.
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Old 17th June 2020, 11:54 PM   #537
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An old mate of mine Tony Birch is on the shortlist for the Miles Franklin Award (Australia’s Bookers). The book is “The White Girl” and is about aboriginal mistreatment post WWII. It’s an emotional, evocative journey through our not very distant past. A hard but rewarding read.

A review:

https://www.smh.com.au/culture/books...17-p553cq.html

Anyway, good luck Tony. He’s been runner up twice.

Tony’s story is interesting. I first met him when he was a mail clerk with the public service department I was working for. A young punk but with a lot of spark and we became drinking mates and have been friends for over 40 years. When he married at a young age he went back to school - and got one of the highest scores in the state in his year 12 exams. He went to university, a rarity even in the 70s for indigenous people, and has built a distinguished academic career with Melbourne University. His books have been a sideline, but he’s made a mark there and will soon be writing full-time.
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Old 23rd June 2020, 08:42 PM   #538
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Another selection from a Little Free Library kiosk -- Brad Thor's Code of Conduct.
I thought it would be something like an inner-workings cop story, but it starts out with a panic exodus because of a pandemic virus hitting the United States. (The rest of the world is ignored in the story.) It turns out the virus pandemic thing is just a bookend in the first and last chapters. The rest is a spy/mercenary investigation leading up to the discovery of the virus.

It is quite interesting in that a lot of the things I've heard in the last six months or so actually take place in the story, and it was written in 2015 before all this started. (The 25th Amendment, people hoarding things, people ignoring safety guidelines, etc.)

I did have a couple problems with the author's style. At least three of the female characters have names that start with "L" and end with "a" (Linda, Lydia, Lara), and two characters have names that start with "Ash" (Ashby, Ashland). It's hard to remember who he's talking about sometimes.

The other thing is what I call the "Girding his loins," writing tendency as a way to begin paragraphs. Many, many of his paragraphs begin with that style of phrase. ("Taking a breath, he did the next thing." "Reaching the door, he did the next thing." "Going inside, he did the next thing." "Closing his phone, he did the next thing." "Driving away, he did the next thing." "Something the something, he did the next thing.") Once I became aware if it it became really grating.
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Old 25th June 2020, 10:43 AM   #539
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At the moment: "Lord Darcy" (not the Dickenson one) the complete edition of Randall Garrets' Lord Darcy investigates series; Fred Saberhagens' "A Century of Progress; "The Ship's Medicine Chest and Medical Aid at Sea" 1978 edition and; "The Heritage of the Flight Dynamics Laboratory" 1988.

I tend to have four or five books going at a time, switching between them as mood and circumstance indicate. The Saberhagen is the only paperback in the group, making it vital since it will fit in a cargo pocket. I follow the advice: "Always carry an emergency book with you, in case you find yourself trapped in a cave-in, or a stuck elevator, or a social gathering."

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Old 25th June 2020, 01:54 PM   #540
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Originally Posted by Pope130 View Post
At the moment: "Lord Darcy" (not the Dickenson one) ."
Bronte not Dickenson. (I blame the education system for not forcing me to read "The Classics".) (Ok, more likely brain fade.)
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Old 26th June 2020, 02:19 PM   #541
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I finished over three nights William Goldman's "The Princess Bride." Wow, what a pageturner! Considering how he wrote scripts, the book reads like a movie, which then of course, went on to become a movie, with lines direct from the book. If you are at all a fan of the film, you'll definitely want to read the book. I loved learning more about Fezzik and Inigo, and after reading their backstories, I can't believe how much I was missing out on by just having seen the movie. Sooooo recommend!

After that whirlwind finish, I had to complete the book that's been on my nightstand since March, Peterson's "12 Rules for Life." This book required more concentration than I have in the evenings when I get into bed and begin reading, so I went a while between chapters, but finished the last couple of rules to close out the book. I found it to be very interesting and useful, and while there are certainly concepts I've found through my own personal introspection and therapy, it was enjoyable to see how he employed myth and metaphor to deliver ideas to readers perhaps unfamiliar with thinking this way.

I've just begun Virginia Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway," which is my first Woolf book to have attempted, which of course I am a bit embarrassed over. I'm about a quarter of the way through and I can't say I'm enjoying it, but it's small enough that I'll work my way through it.
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Old 2nd July 2020, 09:30 PM   #542
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Jason's Gold by Will Hobbs.
From the size it would appear to be one of those "young adult" novels. This was an amazing book! A young man takes off on a journey to join the Klondike gold rush. Amazingly detailed slice of life, sometimes very graphic in its descriptions of what happens along the trail. I bet I would have thought this was really cool to read in middle or high school. I really liked it even now. A great summer reading adventure.

It turns out he meets many historical characters on his journey (detailed in the Afterword), but the only one I recognized was Jack London.

I guess after finishing that, I was prompted to pull out
The Sea Wolf by Jack London
which has been sitting in my pile for some time.
That was, uh, not very good. I've read maybe one Jack London story (To Build A Fire, of course) and I expected this to be a classic read. What I got was two conflicting personalities in endless philosophical cabin discussions about "the yeast of life". Seriously, one more talk about yeast and I was about ready to toss the book. Occasionally there would actually be some shipboard life described, all of it brutal. But in the final few chapters suddenly there is a lot of ship terminology used (quite often) that just turns into jumbles of words because there was no definition. Those things ideally would have been described earlier in the book when he was literally learning the ropes.

I can't say I'd recommend that one.
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Old 6th July 2020, 11:41 AM   #543
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Tonight I will finaly start with Hilary Mantels third and final book about Thomas Cromwell, The Mirror And The Light".
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Old 6th July 2020, 12:25 PM   #544
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The Skylark of Space.

Just what I needed right about now. Space adventure! I liked E.E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman series a lot, and this is somewhat similar. It kicks off on the first page and takes some unexpected turns. Written in the 1920s, some of the archaic terminology is rather amusing but it didn't take me out of the story. I'm going right to the next in the series.

I was amused that, like in the Lensman series, he's fond of big explosions that are described somewhat like "It was such a big explosion, it can't even be described how big it was!" And he takes the simplest approach to naming his magic McGuffins, the new science that propels the story. The new element is called simply "X" and the catalyst is "the whatsitron". Rather refreshing after all of Star Trek's technobabble.
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Old 6th July 2020, 05:13 PM   #545
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I am currently half way through reading 'The afterlife is to die for' by John S Weiss.

John S Weiss is following me on twitter so I thought I would read his book. I have already decided it is lies and nonsense. But my reasons for thinking that would not gain much credibility on this forum. Everyone but me would assume the book is nonsense, just because it talks of an afterlife. But I condemn it for the following reasons.

It says there are no angels, and I say there are.
It says spirits only live 150 years, and I say spirits are immortal.
It says there is no reincarnation, and I say there is.

The book says you can mentally construct a spirit, and it will exist and talk to you.
This I call nonsense, as will all of you here.

It says 50,000 neutrinos pass through the human body unnoticed every second.
Does anyone know if that is true? It may be something Weiss read in a physics book, but he says a spirit told him in a dream.

I tweeted Weiss telling him my objections to his book, but even though he follows me I doubt he will reply.
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Old 6th July 2020, 11:01 PM   #546
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Here is what I said to Weiss

"I am half way through your book and conclude its fiction.
You say there are no angels, but I believe there are. You say spirits only live 150 years, but spirits are immortal. You say Betty is a thought construct that can hold conversations, this is clearly nonsense".

There is something else in his book worth mentioning. He said he visited an undiscovered Mayan temple in the Amazon jungle in a dream. He said he did not know its location, but it contains more gold than fort Knox. I wonder if it will start a treasure hunt.
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Old 7th July 2020, 10:21 AM   #547
Lennart Hyland
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
It says 50,000 neutrinos pass through the human body unnoticed every second.
Does anyone know if that is true? It may be something Weiss read in a physics book, but he says a spirit told him in a dream.
Not correct. Its about 100 trillion neutrinos that pass through our bodies every second:
https://www.space.com/38874-ghostly-...-by-earth.html
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Old 7th July 2020, 10:36 AM   #548
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E-book: Potsdam Station. The fourth book in a WWII espionage series. Published by Soho Crime. I recently finished the Slow House series, by the same publisher, and was hoping they had more in the same vein and same quality of writing. These are fairly workmanlike books. Reasonably well written, not very long, simple puzzle with a straightforward solution in the end. A cut above the usual airplane reading fare.

Audiobook: The Stand. This is the director's cut. Still the same book it was the last time I read it, two decades ago now. The reader sounds like Shawn from The Good Place. Does a good job with regional accents and different voices for the different characters. If you like the idea of Shawn reading The Stand out loud, this audiobook is for you.
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Old 7th July 2020, 10:41 AM   #549
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Originally Posted by Lennart Hyland View Post
Not correct. Its about 100 trillion neutrinos that pass through our bodies every second:
https://www.space.com/38874-ghostly-...-by-earth.html
Thanks, I checked the book and I miss quoted. He did say 50 trillion not million.
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Even in the valley of the shadow of death two and two do not make six.
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Old 7th July 2020, 01:13 PM   #550
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Read within the past five weeks:


Ian Andrew, Flight Path
Dick Francis, Nerve
Bruce Grubbs, Basic Illustrated Using GPS
Oliver Sacks, Oaxaca Journal
John Annerino, Exploring the Superstitions
Felix Francis, Pulse
M. C. Beaton, Agtha’s First Case
Martha Grimes, The Old Sucess
W. E. B. Griffin, Line of Fire
Alistair Maclean, When Eight Bells Toll
W. E. B. Griffin, Close Combat
M. C. Beaton, Dishing the Dirt
M. C. Beaton, The Daring Debutantes Bundle
C. J. Box, The Bitterroots
Neal Stephenson, Fall
Ridley Pearson, Hard Fall
Ian Andrew, Face Value
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Old 9th July 2020, 09:57 AM   #551
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Well I have finished reading ' the afterlife is to die for' by John S Weiss.
My conclusion is its utter lies, and trash, and nonsense. That based on my extensive knowledge of the spirit world from other sources.
I always start reading every book about religion or the psychic with an open mind,
but I expect most of you on this forum would not waste time or money on such books.
In my view in the case of 'the afterlife is to die for' you would be right.

Undaunted I have now started reading the book. 'when the dead speak' by Kitty Janusz
I already have doubts about it from page two of the introduction where she says Demons exist. I doubt that very much as I have never encountered any in my psychic experiences. But I am keeping an open mind, and am willing to be convinced before making a judgment about this book.
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Even in the valley of the shadow of death two and two do not make six.
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Old 9th July 2020, 05:06 PM   #552
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Originally Posted by Hlafordlaes View Post
The Geometry of Meaning: Semantics Based on Conceptual Spaces, Peter Gärdenfors, MIT Press.

Concept formation must be described in terms that fit known facts about humans. The approach here is topological. I find it fascinating because it is amenable to treatment as a more general case in evolutionary terms; i.e., I can see its applicability to the entire animal kingdom.

To give you an idea of what this is about, an example:

Oakland is over the Golden Gate bridge from San Fran.

In this analysis, the use of "over" indicates spacial orientation from the speaker's point of view, making meaning in this case a form of perceptual topology. Clearly, Oakland is not physically floating over the bridge, but at the end of a path. It gets more complicated, but like good science, it's built out of many valid tidbits to build a solid framework.
Except that Oakland has nothing to do with the Golden Gate Bridge, which connects San Francisco with Marin County. Oakland is over the Bay Bridge from San Fran.
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Old 29th July 2020, 08:01 PM   #553
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Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
The Skylark of Space.

Just what I needed right about now. Space adventure! I liked E.E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman series a lot, and this is somewhat similar. It kicks off on the first page and takes some unexpected turns. Written in the 1920s, some of the archaic terminology is rather amusing but it didn't take me out of the story. I'm going right to the next in the series.

I was amused that, like in the Lensman series, he's fond of big explosions that are described somewhat like "It was such a big explosion, it can't even be described how big it was!" And he takes the simplest approach to naming his magic McGuffins, the new science that propels the story. The new element is called simply "X" and the catalyst is "the whatsitron". Rather refreshing after all of Star Trek's technobabble.
I finished up that series of four books. Interesting in that the middle two were written about a year apart, but the others were written twenty years on either side of that.

I loved this series, up until about the fourth chapter of the last book. Then he starts introducing so many new and alien characters, and the rest of the book is all setup. Until the big explosive climax. Like so many that had gone on before.

And the actual ending of the final book sucked.
We don't even finish off with the main heroic group. They get knocked out and wake up dazed. Then it ends with the bad guy dismissing them and deciding to become emperor of his own universe (it's not as exciting as that might sound.) Oh, and he decides to get married.

It doesn't seem to be a setup for a further sequel because the story spanned about as much galactic and universal space as was possible -- where else was there to go?

But when it's 40 years from the first book to the final one, the author's style is bound to change somewhat. In this case it wasn't really for the better.
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Last edited by alfaniner; 29th July 2020 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 30th July 2020, 12:37 AM   #554
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Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
I finished up that series of four books. Interesting in that the middle two were written about a year apart, but the others were written twenty years on either side of that.

I loved this series, up until about the fourth chapter of the last book. Then he starts introducing so many new and alien characters, and the rest of the book is all setup. Until the big explosive climax. Like so many that had gone on before.

And the actual ending of the final book sucked.
We don't even finish off with the main heroic group. They get knocked out and wake up dazed. Then it ends with the bad guy dismissing them and deciding to become emperor of his own universe (it's not as exciting as that might sound.) Oh, and he decides to get married.

It doesn't seem to be a setup for a further sequel because the story spanned about as much galactic and universal space as was possible -- where else was there to go?

But when it's 40 years from the first book to the final one, the author's style is bound to change somewhat. In this case it wasn't really for the better.
Indeed, the first book is pure Pulp while the last has retconned Russian and American lunar missions for example.
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Old 31st July 2020, 01:15 PM   #555
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Mussolini's Italy, by R. J. B. Bosworth, Penguin Edition, 2006. A good read, a follow-on to his bio of Ole Lumpjaw.

It's reassuring to an American to get a good picture of just how fragmented Italy was at the beginning of WW One and its aftermath. Government hardly existed; law was feeble; any pack of stronzi could set themselves up in politics and have a fair chance of succeeding.

Our world isn't that world. Not yet, by god.
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Old 31st July 2020, 04:46 PM   #556
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Except that Oakland has nothing to do with the Golden Gate Bridge, which connects San Francisco with Marin County. Oakland is over the Bay Bridge from San Fran.

Prepositions are slippery little devils -- and sometimes words that look like prepositions aren't. They are particles.

Look at these sentences, where the noun at the end of the sentence has the ordinary English meaning.
He looked up the road.
He looked up the tree.
He looked up the word.
"Up" doesn't have the same meaning in all three sentences. In fact, the sentence meaning is ambiguous for two, and possibly all three, of them.

To discover which "up" is a particle and which is a preposition, you can move "up" to the end of the sentence.
He looked the road up.
He looked the tree up.
He looked the word up.
If the sentence remains grammatical , "up" is a particle.

The grammatical ambiguity is here:
He looked up the road (in a particular direction) vs. He looked the road up in a street atlas.

He looked up the tree (in a particular direction) vs He looked the tree up in a botany textbook.

*He looked up the word (in a particular direction) vs. He looked the word up in a dictionary.
Linguists use * to mark ungrammatical constructions, which is what I have done with the first sentence of the last pair.

Here is another example, but using only prepositions, not particles. The word in parentheses is optional depending on English dialect and individual speaker.
It is (a) quarter ___ five.
What word fits in the blank? For some dialects it is "to"; for some it is "until or its contraction "'til"; for others it is "of"; for yet others it is "before." None of them is correcter than the others.

I leave it to you to decide what to make of the example you posted.
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Old 1st August 2020, 10:44 AM   #557
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Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
The Skylark of Space.

Just what I needed right about now. Space adventure! I liked E.E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman series a lot, and this is somewhat similar. It kicks off on the first page and takes some unexpected turns. Written in the 1920s, some of the archaic terminology is rather amusing but it didn't take me out of the story. I'm going right to the next in the series.

I was amused that, like in the Lensman series, he's fond of big explosions that are described somewhat like "It was such a big explosion, it can't even be described how big it was!" And he takes the simplest approach to naming his magic McGuffins, the new science that propels the story. The new element is called simply "X" and the catalyst is "the whatsitron". Rather refreshing after all of Star Trek's technobabble.
May I recommend Harry Harrison's Star Smashers of the Galaxy Raiders which is a pretty accurate parody* - I think of the Lensman series - it's ages since I read those.

*The key mcguffin is "cheddite" which is a material made when "Jerry Courtney" puts some of the "Van Chider Cheddar substitute" into their hobby particle accelerator
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Old 2nd August 2020, 10:40 AM   #558
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
May I recommend Harry Harrison's Star Smashers of the Galaxy Raiders which is a pretty accurate parody* - I think of the Lensman Skylark series - it's ages since I read those.

*The key mcguffin is "cheddite" which is a material made when "Jerry Courtney" puts some of the "Van Chider Cheddar substitute" into their hobby particle accelerator
Much more Skylark than Lensman.
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