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JediTricks
01-28-2013, 08:02 PM
Finished The Spy Who Loved Me, the second half of this book could have been Raymond Chandler the way it went down, no spycraft at all, but very much felt like something Philip Marlowe might have done having found himself in that situation. I think the point about Bond being part of a dark, dangerous, unheroic world is lost here, it's more words than deeds, had Fleming gone back and reworked this book I think it would have been received as a success - the main protagonist is a pretty rounded Bond girl and she shoots back, she thinks about what's going on - it's just that there's no balance to this story, and no espionage (not that Bond is a particularly espionage-heavy series anyway, but it's never played less of a role so far than it failed to here). The worst part is that Fleming had he not put Bond in the story basically would have crafted a serviceable romance novel, obviously that wasn't the intention.

From Russia With Love is a pretty good book, but I actually like the movie more, there's more spycraft and Tania is a more rounded character, Bond is colder, and the ending is drawn out more.

Bel-Cam Jos
02-12-2013, 09:49 PM
Dave Barry's newest, Insane City was slow going for me. By the end, there were a couple eye-openers, but sadly, not enough LOL moments (many smiles and silent chuckles). Another novel set in Miami (surprise) where strange characters come together against the clock. Pretty good.

JimJamBonds
02-12-2013, 10:16 PM
Running Water by Abraham Louis Clark. Abe is from NE Wisconsin (like me) and a graduate of UW-Green Bay (also like me). Abe was the 15th person to run across the United States solo and unsupported. Abe ran across the country to raise money to help dig wells in underdeveloped countries. It was a pretty good read, albeit it was a quick one and I would have liked to have read more about his equipment and how he did it.

OC47150
02-14-2013, 02:04 PM
Against All Enemies, Tom Clancy. Took a break from the Janet Evanovich books at the gym and read this relatively new Clancy book in about 2 1/2 weeks. Fast-paced, not as plodding as some of his other stuff. A good stand-alone novel.

JediTricks
02-14-2013, 03:39 PM
Finished "For Your Eyes Only", a pretty decent James Bond short story collection. The idea that Ian Fleming wanted 4 of the 5 stories to be an unproduced Bond TV show's episodes is astounding, they're bold ideas for '50s TV and really for today's TV. Had CBS made that show, this would be a somewhat different world we live in, I think.

Some of the stories were straightforward endeavors, some showed how little espionage is found in James Bond tales, and the one where an old diplomat told Bond a story was the most compelling one of all - hard to believe they wrote such a bland movie around that title (Quantum of Solace).

JimJamBonds
02-16-2013, 11:10 PM
Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide To Running Ultramarathons by Byron Powell. Its a(nother) about ultramarathon training. I'm not completly sure what events I'll be doing in 2013 but I am considering doing my first ultra.

El Chuxter
02-19-2013, 04:06 PM
Finished "For Your Eyes Only", a pretty decent James Bond short story collection.
Does this book contain the classic "For British Eyes Only," where Bond has to deal with the Poppins in his quest to find the mysterious Mr. F?

JediTricks
02-19-2013, 04:53 PM
Does this book contain the classic "For British Eyes Only," where Bond has to deal with the Poppins in his quest to find the mysterious Mr. F?That whole Arrested Development arc was the show's weakest moment.

Bel-Cam Jos
02-19-2013, 09:22 PM
BTW here are the stats for this thread right now:

Replies: 1,007
Views: 113,873
:D

El Chuxter
02-20-2013, 12:35 AM
That whole Arrested Development arc was the show's weakest moment.
You say that as if it still wasn't better than any other sitcom in history, with the possible exception of I Love Lucy or Seinfeld.

JediTricks
02-21-2013, 05:16 PM
BTW here are the stats for this thread right now:

Replies: 1,007
Views: 113,873
http://www.sirstevesguide.com/images/smilies/biggrin.gif
NOBODY ELSE LOOK AT THIS THREAD!!!


You say that as if it still wasn't better than any other sitcom in history, with the possible exception of I Love Lucy or Seinfeld.Would it be too rude to suggest that statement makes me think I should check you for a "MR M" bracelet? ;)

El Chuxter
02-21-2013, 06:59 PM
C'mon, Michael almost getting in a head-on collision every time he went to Wee Britain wasn't funny?

JimJamBonds
02-22-2013, 09:41 AM
BTW here are the stats for this thread right now:

Replies: 1,007
Views: 113,873
:D

Is that you're own personal replies and views?

JediTricks
02-23-2013, 05:40 PM
C'mon, Michael almost getting in a head-on collision every time he went to Wee Britain wasn't funny?I'd say the same thing minus the question mark.

Bel-Cam Jos
03-02-2013, 02:14 PM
At school, we received some free books related to education, inspiration, motivation, techniques, and more. The one I picked was Simon Sinek's Start With Why. This 228-page book could have been much, much shorter, as his message was simple: why you do something is always more important than what or how you do it. His examples are repetitive, they were repetitive, and were based on faulty assumptions and generalizations. I want to know how much money Apple and Southwest Airlines paid him for this. Ugh. Well, it was free...

OC47150
03-06-2013, 12:24 PM
Lions of Kandahar. About a battle by an outnumbered Special Forces unit against numerically larger Taliban force in southern Afghanistan in 2005 or 2006. Written by one of the SF officers in charge.

No Easy Day by Mark Snow. Written by one of the SEALs who went on the Bin Laden raid. I recommend it to anyone who's interested in military history and/or special operations forces. The Bin Laden raid took up about half the book; the first part was about Snow's selection/training/missions with DEVGRU. It's a fast read; I got through it in a week.

Bel-Cam Jos
03-20-2013, 12:20 AM
Spring break means time to read. :pleased: :D Two books, and not Star Wars ones either...

Change Up: An Oral History of 8 Key Events that Shaped Modern Baseball by Larry Burke, Peter Thomas Fornatale, & Jim Burke (what, couldn't find five more guys to match a name with each event? :rolleyes: ). They interviewed individuals associated with these significant happenings with the sport (Japanese players, Latin players, the DH, Frank Robinson as manager, players' union, Ripken's Streak, book Ball Four, and the '62 Mets and expansion). Interesting to read, and a good lead-in to the newest baseball season.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I saw the film first and really liked it. The book is good, but the film is better; although, I now understand more of the film after having read it. Funniest part? When his father tells of those who wanted the animals to look better, he says something like, "What? Next it'll be nose jobs for the rhinoceros." (get it?) But it's told very well, and is just as moving and detailed as the film was.

OC47150
03-21-2013, 02:10 PM
Extreme Measures by Vince Flynn. I hadn't read any of Flynn's other works. It was decent. Expected more action than political intrigue.

JediTricks
03-21-2013, 03:31 PM
Thunderball, which so far has been a cleaner, leaner version of the movie's events, and includes focus on a "much more interesting than the cinematic version" Blofeld. But at the same time, the opening material isn't as driving as the movie's twist on the health sanitarium, Count Lippe is a much simpler fellow in the book and it's not nearly as compelling.

OC47150
03-22-2013, 09:39 AM
I was 50 pages into Fate of the Jedi: Backlash before I realized I'd read this one before. Silly me. On to FOTJ: Allies.

JediTricks
03-22-2013, 04:35 PM
Ha! I hate when that happens!

Read the first issue of Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye (a friend loaned his collection) and that has to be the most tonally mis-matched comic book I've ever read. Then I jumped back into Thunderball.

Bel-Cam Jos
03-26-2013, 07:34 PM
An appropriate book for this month: March by Geraldine Brooks. It is kind of a prequel-type to LM Alcott's Little Women, from the p.o.v. of the father (Mr. March) during his time away during the Civil War. Now I guess I need to read the other book. I liked the descriptions, dialogue, and characterization; I may check out Brooks' other books.

El Chuxter
03-26-2013, 09:16 PM
Read the first issue of Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye (a friend loaned his collection) and that has to be the most tonally mis-matched comic book I've ever read.
Are you talking about the Dreamwave "Transformers Universe" handbook, or the current IDW ongoing about Rodimus and the crew of the Lost Light? If the first, you wasted your time. If the second, I believe that may be the first negative comment I've ever seen said about it.

Bel-Cam Jos
03-27-2013, 09:08 PM
A short one, and one I thought I'd like and be informed about: George Orwell's Why I Write. It's a short collection of essays and stories, which basically became his views on socialism. It wore on after a while.

JediTricks
04-03-2013, 04:01 PM
Are you talking about the Dreamwave "Transformers Universe" handbook, or the current IDW ongoing about Rodimus and the crew of the Lost Light? If the first, you wasted your time. If the second, I believe that may be the first negative comment I've ever seen said about it.God no! Dreamwave doesn't exist in my house. IDW's current series.

Perhaps you haven't seen a lot of comments said, I've seen plenty even from the most ardent fanboy. I ended up catching up on the rest of the series, it is inept at moving forward its framework - the Lost Light only looks for the Knights in the Annual, that's a huge story failure - and every character is important except the "stars" because every character is played like a wiki entry come to life. There are massive tonal problems, the art is hard to get into for the characters, and there are too many tangents - a whole quarter of the first year's run is dedicated to a flashback that had NOTHING to do with the main story. Then there's the cheap, stupid way

What ends up working in MTMTE is the characters, you like them and you get into why they have the interpersonal interactions, the religious beliefs and so forth that really make them compelling. But it also has them very stalled and a lot of them and their moments call back to Last Stand of the Wreckers.


Having caught up on MTMTE, I read TF issues of Infestation 2 - what a pile of crap. And am now working on IDW's current RID, which is nearly the polar opposite of MTMTE, tonally it's sound and it moves characters and stories forward together, the characters are very visually Transformers and distinctive (although the backgrounds are the losers in this equation), and there's direction and action and a sense of weight. I'm only up to issue 6, waiting for Vol 3 to arrive before picking up issues 12-15.

Bel-Cam Jos
04-12-2013, 09:35 PM
With the recent passing of great African author Chinua Achebe, I read Anthills of the Savannah, a fictional version of the strong man dictatorships and quick take-overs on that continent. Dull at times, but surprising or funny at others, I only liked it once the story started to wrap up. Have to check out some others of his works.

JediTricks
04-13-2013, 03:16 PM
Been reading more of the IDW Robots in Disguise comic, still pretty good although the first volume really hit hard, while issues 6 and 7 in vol 2 don't quite pack as much punch.

Also reading On Her Majesty's Secret Service, fans talk about how the movie is so close to the book, but man, the book packs so much character into those first chapters that are just a passing second in the film.

Bel-Cam Jos
04-22-2013, 07:12 PM
Some simple, very short and therefore very fast SW kids books:
- Lego The Empire Strikes Out
- Lego The Padawan Menace
- Darth Vader and Son

All were quite funny.

El Chuxter
04-22-2013, 10:08 PM
Just finished Maya's Notebook by Isabel Allende. Like everything else she's ever written, it's an amazing book. She's not only one of the best, but one of the most consistent as well. (And she wrote a novel about Zorro that beats the snot out of the Antonio Banderas movies--how awesome is that?)

Bel-Cam Jos
05-11-2013, 09:18 AM
How weird does it feel to see an author in person, one whom you've read her book, but the book in question was poorly-written and contained errors throughout? AND, she's there to promote said book? Happened to me last night at our Local History Night event.

Bel-Cam Jos
05-27-2013, 04:57 PM
Here's the first of my summer reads (which may not be as many as in previous summers, I think)... Jonathan Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude. He spoke at a library author's panel a few weeks back, so I bought and had him sign this one. It was billed as the following: coming-of-age, gritty and realistic, comic book, superheroes, sci-fi, urban slice-of-life, first-love, magical realism. Well, it was 509 pages long. There were some interesting parts (I almost would've recommended it to El Chuxter, with its frequent comics and early classic American music references), but too graphic and "mopey;" left me with no emotional connections to the characters, aside from scorn or apathy. I had no idea how it would end, and when I got to the final chapter, I still wasn't even sure. Weird shifts in point-of-view (that confirms when/if I write my own book, I cannot do that and expect to hold readers' attention).

Bel-Cam Jos
05-30-2013, 02:59 PM
Two more:

Peter Benchley's Jaws, even though I still haven't seen the whole movie straight through. I can see how this became a movie so quickly, and why so many kept coming back to see it (plus sequels). Brief descriptions, scenes that come to a close quickly, and an ending that's both abrupt and appropriate. A little more profane than I'd have expected, but when it's literally life-or-death, you say what needs to be said. A good one.

Kenny Rogers' autobiography Luck or Something Like It. He was one of my favorite musical artists when I was younger. He just tells you what happened in his life; from growing up in Houston's projects to jazz bands, the First Edition, and his solo career. He seems happy now, despite multiple failed marriages, and the simple writing style reflects that. No expose' material; just what occurred, with a few of his feelings here and there.

Bel-Cam Jos
06-01-2013, 03:44 PM
In the biography/autobiography category:

And Nothing But the Truthiness by Lisa Rogak. A nice chronological bio of Stephen T(yrone; really) Colbert, from his family's moves around the country to his own show. I learned quite a bit about him, and I have more respect for his dedication to his craft and those he sees in need. Not as funny as I expected, but it was very informative and detailed.

Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox. I didn't realize this was his second book; now I guess I'll need to find that one. It traces his views of his own life from 2000 when he left Spin City and regular TV roles for good (just some cameos and guest appearances since then) based on the four chapters in the book: Work, Politics, Faith, and Family. Obviously, he focuses on Parkinson's frequently, but he uses more profanity than I'd expect (and from a Canadian, eh?). A very nice, uplifting book of optimism.

JediTricks
06-02-2013, 05:37 PM
Been getting through You Only Live Twice, it's good but I've not given it a lot of time so it's been slow going. It's not been a ton of action, instead it's more intrigue-based and even diplomacy-based at the foundation, but the big twist on the bad guy was telegraphed even without having seen the film (which doesn't really convey much of this story anyway). It's frustrating to see this series really getting to a stronger place, knowing there's not much left to the series.

Bel-Cam Jos
06-04-2013, 09:39 PM
Two classic authors:

In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck. A sort of "prequel" to The Grapes of Wrath, this deals with fruit pickers in a fictional CA valley, and how the threat of a strike affects them. Not as poetic in style as many of his other works, but the message is still clear.

The October Country by Ray Bradbury. Hard to believe it'll be a year since his passing. This was a darker tone than his other works, to me, as some of his stuff is fairly dark. I thought it would be a series of short stories, like a compilation of stories, but towards the end, I realized there was a connection (made even clearer by the last couple chapter stories). Nice twists, as he's known for, but also some straightforward plots that still shock.

OC47151
06-06-2013, 02:49 PM
Been getting through You Only Live Twice, it's good but I've not given it a lot of time so it's been slow going. It's not been a ton of action, instead it's more intrigue-based and even diplomacy-based at the foundation, but the big twist on the bad guy was telegraphed even without having seen the film (which doesn't really convey much of this story anyway). It's frustrating to see this series really getting to a stronger place, knowing there's not much left to the series.

It took me one or two attempts to get through YOLT and Live and Let Die. Definitely different than the movies.

Scavenger, David Morrell. A mystery where people are acting out a real-life video game, and the hero is trying to track them down. It's a fast read.

Another Man's Moccasins, Craig Johnson. One of Walt Longmire mysteries involving a dead Vietnamese girl in Wyoming. I read another one of Johnson's Longmire mysteries last year, and this latest one was a quicker read for me. The first one had been turned into one of the episodes, but AMM hasn't...yet so it was new and fresh. I recommend it.

JediTricks
06-07-2013, 02:45 AM
Live and Let Die was a bit challenging because in some ways it's quite connected to its movie as well as a couple others, and in others it's very different from both and from the rest of the Fleming series.

I've really enjoyed YOLT so far, the scenes on Karo island did bring things to a slow place but there is something interesting there too. Still haven't finished it yet.

I prefer the Bond books to the movies, except for the endings, a lot of Fleming's endings are a bit "and then it ends" abrupt and anti-climactic, except for OHMSS.

Bel-Cam Jos
06-07-2013, 08:51 AM
You just know that someone is doing a parody and calling it You Only Live Once, with a supervillain named YOLO...

JediTricks
06-07-2013, 02:58 PM
You just know that someone is doing a parody and calling it You Only Live Once, with a supervillain named YOLO...You need to get away from those awful school kids. :p

Bel-Cam Jos
06-26-2013, 06:38 PM
Maya Angelou's Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas, a continuation of her autobiography. I was not aware she was a performer beyond her writing and occasional acting in TV shows. Apparently, she was a dancer/singer in the 1940s and '50s, as a nightclub singer and dancer, even touring Europe with the Porgy and Bess opera cast. It's an interesting view of race relations abroad, family needs and dynamics, and how a person can express his/her own creativity. I brought it with me on vacation, but only read a few pages at a time, finishing it after returning home.

Bel-Cam Jos
07-02-2013, 11:39 AM
It's odd how some books I read end up connecting so well with others I've recently finished.

Mary Coin by Marisa Silver. I bought this hardcover book to help the school's book faire at B&N, and its connection to The Grapes of Wrath. Based on Dorothea Lange's famous photo "Migrant Mother," it creates a fictionalized history of the woman (Mary) with her family, Lange (Vera dare) who photographed her, and a college history professor (Walker Dodge) who finds out some background about the iconic picture. It follows all three in their separate time periods, with some unexpected plot details that emerge. It began the way I thought it would, but the last 1/4 of the book surprised me; I liked it.

The Jim Plunkett Story by Jim Plunkett and Dave Newhouse. The football star wrote this autobiography the year after he won the MVP of Super Bowl XV. Very simple in style, but with interesting references and minute details of specific key games in his college and pro career. He mentioned G of W and the Central Valley region of CA where he grew up.

For the summer, I don't expect to read as many books as I have in past summers, but I've passed the 3000-page mark, with 11 books so far.

OC47151
07-04-2013, 02:31 PM
Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina. Had to travel out of town last month, so I picked up a used copy. Read 3/4s or more of it while I was gone but just finished with the last story. Enjoyed it. Liked how the stories were tied together by the cantina scene.

Hitler's Raid to Save Mussolini. Interesting take on the events that led to Il Duce's removal from power and the German raid to rescue him. Good background on the political arena in 1943 Italy. Lot of maneuvering behind the scenes by all parties involved.

Bel-Cam Jos
07-05-2013, 06:03 PM
It's odd how some books I read end up connecting so well with others I've recently finished.In Elmer Kelton's The Day the Cowboys Quit, he writes a fictionalized story of an actual strike by cowboys in Texas in the 1880s. I'll admit I picked if off the library shelf for other reasons (title sounded kind of funny, I hadn't read a 'K' author in a while nor a western), but since I had read another strike book (Steinbeck), I wondered how they'd differ. Most strikes are emotionally begun, rather than logically, and this was no different. Strikes often lead to meaningless deaths; same here. There are rarely clear heroes and villains over the time period; ditto. I liked his characterization, and the protagonist seemed to be caught in the middle all the time, with tough choices to make.

With all the hubbub about Paula Deen, I thought I'd read her memoir (co-written with Sherry Suib Cohen), It Ain't All About the Cookin'. As sad as it is to say, I can see how someone would feel the way the media has portrayed the star. She is of the "speak yo' mind" group of people (she writes in the book as if she's speaking, and uses yo' as a possessive pronoun), but maybe should rethink what she says. The first 50 or so years of her life were pretty rough at times. I admire her dedication to her dreams, family, cooking style, and region; but she doesn't seem aware of how her actions or words could be taken negatively by other people. I have even seen news reports quoting this memoir, and not out of context, either. I don't think she deserves to have so many pile on the dump-Paula-Deen bandwagon, especially since she has apologized. :( Oh, the book has recipes at the ends of most chapters.

JimJamBonds
07-06-2013, 04:26 PM
With all the hubbub about Paula Deen, I thought I'd read her memoir (co-written with Sherry Suib Cohen), It Ain't All About the Cookin'. As sad as it is to say, I can see how someone would feel the way the media has portrayed the star. She is of the "speak yo' mind" group of people (she writes in the book as if she's speaking, and uses yo' as a possessive pronoun), but maybe should rethink what she says. The first 50 or so years of her life were pretty rough at times. I admire her dedication to her dreams, family, cooking style, and region; but she doesn't seem aware of how her actions or words could be taken negatively by other people. I have even seen news reports quoting this memoir, and not out of context, either. I don't think she deserves to have so many pile on the dump-Paula-Deen bandwagon, especially since she has apologized. :( Oh, the book has recipes at the ends of most chapters.
I saw once on the Food Network special on "where their chef's came from" and it showed video of Dean before she was on the network and while she had a southern accent it was nowhere near as strong as it is now. Kinda funny how that was turned on when she rose to fame?!?! :barbershop_quartet_

Bel-Cam Jos
07-14-2013, 05:19 PM
Passed the 5000-pages read mark for the summer, with this 18th book, The Casual Vacancy. Now, why did I choose a book set in the English country, about the inner workings of a small town's city council? After reading the first 1/3 or so, and the characters are often two-faced hypocrites involved in theft, drugs, lying, domestic abuse, suicide, adultery, hacking, and more? Well, that lady who wrote the Harry Potter series wrote this one, too. It went from one of the most awful books I'd read, to a decent one by the end, where most, if not all, of the plotlines were tied together nicely, even if the subject matter itself was ugly.

JimJamBonds
07-15-2013, 10:05 PM
Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race The World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougal. This is a re read from a few years ago and its still great. Want to learn about why we were meant to run and how it helped develop humans? Check. While there is a nice chunk of phisiology (not to the point you can't follow) the main point is the story of the author learning to run in a way he won't hurt himself and in the process a 50 mile race in the Copper Canyon of Mexico with the worlds best tribe of runners.

Bel-Cam Jos
07-18-2013, 03:56 PM
The library's summer reading theme is "food," so I've read a few food-related books to fit it. And the other book was a gift; the giver knows the author.

Weston Ochse's Blood Ocean is a post-apocalyptic novel set on a floating city, like Waterworld. The main character is Hawai'ian and a part of a crew called the Pali Boys, who are looked down on by the other nationality crews. The beginning was bad, really bad, but around the middle, when wondering if this protagonist would even LIVE, it got very interesting, before dying down some by the end. Overall it was above-decent, quite graphic, but still strong in characterization and description.

Melinda Wells' Killer Mousse is a mystery, centered around a new cooking show hostess, whose previous time-slot host dies while tasting the new host's "Killer Mousse" recipe. I found the characters to be flat, with dull dialogue, and the whodunit aspect easy to discover. She describes specific intersections in the LA area when talking about locations (JediTricks, you probably would know which billboards or stores are right there ;) ). It was just a quick, so-so read.

This makes 20 books read in the summer (more than I thought I'd read), and almost 6000 pages.

Bel-Cam Jos
07-20-2013, 11:29 PM
Two crummy ones, sadly. :(

Anne Rice's Merrick. I hadn't ever read any of Rice's work before, and after this, I may not read any more. Overly wordy, repetitive, and dull flashbacks (I'd guess more than half the book is memory), with characters I couldn't care less about. Lestat, that vampire from her Interview book, gets mentioned a lot, but will he actually appear in the story? The ending just sounds like a buy-my-next-book "cliffhanger." Ugh.

Josh Lieb's I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President. The title interested me, the cover's blurb from Jon Stewart piqued my interest, and the fact that it is listed as a YA novel told me it wouldn't be too bad. Wrong on all fronts. I was reminded of A Confederacy of Dunces (which was a SSG recommendation to me, plus the Final Jeopardy! question yesterday), but not in a good way. The narrator is arrogant and selfish, and the book made me sick to think that even with this farce and over-the-top style, people might do some of those things. I think it is quite inappropriate as a young adult book. Sad.

El Chuxter
07-22-2013, 06:39 AM
Just finished an historical novel about the samurai Miyamoto Musashi called Child of Vengeance. One of the best books I've read in a long time. The author (I think his name's David Kirk or something fairly mundane like that, but am not looking at the book at the moment) does an amazing job of writing a novel that jives with what I know of the historical figure (there may be a couple of details changed somewhere) and provides motivation for various things he did and choices he made in his life, while simultaneously would be great reading for someone unfamiliar with him while filling it with "Easter eggs" for people who do know who he was and have read The Book of Five Rings.

Bel-Cam Jos
07-23-2013, 01:41 PM
I'm not one given to hyperbole, but I think that this book (quite a long one, but easily read in short chapters with photographs throughout) should be read by everyone, and I mean every person, as long as it's in their language, of course. Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum compiled A History of the World in 100 Objects from BBC radio episodes. It isn't what you might expect from a list-of-important-whatevers book (where they take popular or well-known things), but in chronological/thematic order it gives the history of 100 objects that the British Museum has in its displays and archives, many of which aren't "fun," "pretty," or "exciting." What makes it so key for me, is it gives the significance of this particular object to its creator, its culture, its geography, its connections to other cultures (often in the same time period), and its use or purpose. You learn history, literature, religion, anthropology, sociology, music, art, geography, geology, and probably other -ologies I can't recall now. The writer's tone and style isn't overly academic, judgmental, or preachy, even making some pop culture references where helpful. One of the best books I have read in some time. I hope to use this not only in my own classes, but I hope to be able to present it in one of our school's all-staff collaborations; it fits just about every subject area taught. There is also a softcover version due out in September, so I would likely buy that one.

El Chuxter
07-25-2013, 12:41 PM
Read the first volume of the He-Man update from DC, because I like a good reboot and because Keith Giffen had never failed me. Ladies and gentlemen, he has failed me now. I can't say it's in Youngblood territory, but this comic is not good at all. Over-the-top violence mixed with the same lousy dialogue as the 80s cartoon is ridiculous, and the twist at the end is stupid, cliche, and a slap in the face to fans of any previous incarnation of MOTU. I'm in no hurry to get Volume 2.

Bel-Cam Jos
07-26-2013, 08:57 PM
Significance, with these two books.

Based on its Sharknado-esque title, and the fact that I hadn't read any Harry Turtledove for a while, Supervolcano: Eruption seemd like it'd be a little cheesy. Actually, it was a weird feeling to read it and think what was going on during the book was really occurring outside. It deals with the build-up of pressure under Yellowstone Nat'l Park, which eventually blows up as a volcano that covers much of the north-midwest region of the country in either lava or mostly ash. The family of characters are spread out from Los Angeles, Denver, the northeast, Nebraska, and the SF Bay area. Lots of profanity, but great characterization and plausibility of some of the science.

Under the name(s) Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain, there is a Murder, She Wrote series. I choose one, Rum & Razors, set on the island of St. Thomas. JB Fletcher (the character) is on vacation, but [surprise!] there is a murder that occurs there. Also surprise, she solves it. It was pretty decent, with a couple surprises (a key word?) near the end; it was very similar to the TV show episodes. And like the Ellery Queen series, where he writes about the crime, she narrates her clues and suspects.

What was the significance of these mostly non-famous books? I crossed the 7000-pages-read mark for this summer, but it is also the 1000th book I have read, all-time, since I went back to check over a decade ago. :thumbsup:

JediTricks
07-27-2013, 01:23 PM
Brought so many books to my sister's and Comic-Con thinking I'd have tons of downtime to read, nope. Didn't even open the Kindle, only got through Transformers: RID #19 - another pass at the Syndromica storyline finally starts bringing it into the fold... a year and a half into the series. Waspinator terrorizes the language as Orion Pax walks into a trap to expose Jhiaxus and Bludgeon's plan. The issue is too slow but does get somewhere.

And then in the nearly 5 hour wait in line to get skunked on the Doctor Who panel, I read 3/4s of IDW's Doctor Who/Star Trek TNG crossover TPBs. The art is a touch offputting, but the story is interesting and playful with ideas. The second TPB so far has lost the magic though, going with obvious choices and betrayals.

AND THAT'S IT! No books on the Kindle, no comics on the Comixology app on my tablet or phone, didn't even finish the second DW/TNG tpb. Damn you linear time!

JimJamBonds
07-27-2013, 06:09 PM
Based on its Sharknado-esque title, and the fact that I hadn't read any Harry Turtledove for a while, Supervolcano: Eruption seemd like it'd be a little cheesy. Actually, it was a weird feeling to read it and think what was going on during the book was really occurring outside. It deals with the build-up of pressure under Yellowstone Nat'l Park, which eventually blows up as a volcano that covers much of the north-midwest region of the country in either lava or mostly ash. The family of characters are spread out from Los Angeles, Denver, the northeast, Nebraska, and the SF Bay area. Lots of profanity, but great characterization and plausibility of some of the science.
I'm a big Turtledove fan BCJ, I liked Supervalcano but its far from his best work. The follow up is decent and there will be a third book in this story line coming out later in the year as well.

The science seems possible so it was interesting to read.

Bel-Cam Jos
07-31-2013, 07:34 PM
I may end at these 27 books and 8000 pages for this summer (I have until Sunday for my "summer" to end), but we'll see. Numbers 26 and 27 are:

The Pawn Stars pawnbroker Rick Harrison wrote (with co-writer Tim Keown) his autobiography, License to Pawn. He was quite the hellraiser as a kid, and suffered from seizures. I liked how the book barely mentions how the History Channel brought their shop to the airwaves, and focuses more on his family and the whole process of pawning and buying in a city like Las Vegas.

Newberry-winning Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos was much funnier than I expected (Dave Barry, your cover endorsement was correct), especially for a YA book (which don't always fit what adults find humorous). Set in a real town, with some real people the author knew (the protagonist has the same name as him), about some weird stuff like building a backyard runway for the $20-at-auction small plane, a possible Hell's Angels curse, the town medical examiner with her dip-in-hot-wax arthritic hands, an old man riding a tricycle to issue citations for code infractions, a main character whose nose bleeds when he gets nervous. The end was fairly anti-climatic and quick, but I still liked the style and pace.

JediTricks
08-02-2013, 02:19 PM
I picked up the Batman '66 first issue yesterday at the comic shop, didn't realize that was out yet. The art is stylized to the point of distraction, and some of it seems like it's done on the cheap for the kiddie set, but it gets some things right. The book has Adam West's "Batman" voice down pat, Burt Ward's "Robin" voice is good but not as consistent, Julie Newmar's "Catwoman" voice is pretty generic, Frank Gorshin's "the Riddler" voice is there if you stretch. Likenesses are come and go for those characters due to the style but mainly land when needed, especially Catwoman and the batmobile which both get the most consistent art attention. DC obviously didn't get likeness rights on Alan Napier's "Alfred" which is a damned shame because not only does the character look entirely wrong but he's written wrong as well; they also didn't get Aunt Harriett (or they did and blew it big time). Then there's Chief O'Hara and Commissioner Gordon, the former is so cartoonish that it could be accurate or not, and the latter almost looks like the show character except they drew square glasses on him that neither fit the likeness nor the original character.

As for the writing, the story is pretty basic but takes its time having fun in that universe, adding stuff they couldn't have afforded on the show, and going the places we want to go. The adventure has a little modern feel to it, but not too bad, and it avoids breaking its era most of the time. There are even some William Dozier narration moments, and I'm glad I got it as a floppy instead of digital because there's no same bat time, same bat channel waiting around concerns. It's not too quick a read, they didn't skimp on pages. I may add this to my pull list just for a fun read.

Bel-Cam Jos
08-05-2013, 06:21 PM
I was able to get another book in; finished it about 10pm last night. :pleased: here were the last two.

The Screwtape Letters with Screwtape Proposes a Toast by C.S. Lewis. My church bulletin had a notice that there would be a discussion of this book (but I seem to recall they called it a play), and I'd never even heard of it before. The premise is that a devil is responding to his nephew devil's letters asking for help and advice in his tempting. It becomes an analysis of religion and morality. The "Proposes a Toast" part is a later short tale where the same devil is at a type of commencement ceremony for other devils, about how to do their jobs properly. Interesting read, but slow and plodding at times, despite the short 4-6 page letters.

Desert Heritage by Zane Grey. I thought I'd read some ZG before, but I realized I had not. The dust jacket said this was among his best work, so I don't know if starting with the best was wise; but I intend to read more of his books later. It begins in the middle of the "story," without much clarification of how the main character got there, but that he is in poor health. A Mormon rancher cares for him, allows him to get his strength back, then has to deal with other ranchers/thieves who want his better land and animals. There's a female love interest between the main character and the rancher's eldest (but black sheep-est) son that leads to conflict. The ending is fairly safe (this was written around 1910), but the build-up to it certainly wasn't. Very strong description and imagery.

For the summer, here's my breakdown:

2013 summer: 29 books = 8500 pgs.; 293 pgs. per

Genres: auto/biography (5), Star Wars (3), sci fi (2), general fiction (6), western (2), young adult (2), movies (1), history (1), mystery (3), humor (2), philosophy (1), sports (1).

Authors read (by last name): A (1), B (2), D (3), F (3), G (3), H (1), K (1), L (3), M (1), O (1), P (1), R (5), S (2), T (1), W(1).

10 year summer totals: 294 books = 79,400 pgs., 270 pgs. per

JediTricks
08-06-2013, 01:41 PM
Transformers: More than Meets the Eye issue 19 - a good middle-of-the-story read, lots of character moments and some exciting things without being all action. The end gets the villains ramping up to silly levels of villainy, but otherwise quite good.

JimJamBonds
08-09-2013, 02:19 PM
Run: The Mind - Body Method of Running by Feel by Matt Fitzgerald. Runner's World The Runner's Body: How The Latest Exercise Science Can Help You Run Stronger, Longer and Faster by a whole bunch of people. I picked up both of these off of Amazon and I wasn't really impressed with either. Had I had a better oppertunity to take a peak at them I probably would've passed, I'd heard good things but for me they both get a rating of "meh."

JediTricks
08-10-2013, 09:41 PM
Finished Star Trek TNG/Doctor Who crossover comic vol 2, what a letdown, it was as uninspired as possible, just connecting dots and punching timecards, what a disappointment.

Transformers Spotlight Trailcutter Hasbro pack-in Edition - not a bad story, I've seen variations of this idea before but still good. Turns out it's edited from the original though, taking out references to killing and drinking, and a few other things.

JimJamBonds
08-12-2013, 09:55 PM
Take The Lead: A Revolutionary Approach To Coaching Cross Country by Will Freeman and Scott Simmons. A reread from last year, I did this as a sort of refresher as cross country practice starts next week. I'm glad I read it since it reminded me of a few things I'd forgotten and given me a few ideas for the upcoming season.

OC47151
08-24-2013, 03:44 PM
24 Declassified: Veto Power. Picked this novel up at the Dollar Tree. Set in the time before season 1 of '24'. A quick, easy read for the gym. The stories are stand-alone, and there are about five or six in the series. I've read one other, and might have to track the others down.

One More River: the Rhine Crossings of 1945 by Peter Allen. A in-depth account at the final natural barrier facing the Allies before entering Germany. Starts off in the aftermath of the Battle of the Bulge and goes to late March, early April 1945, and includes all parties involved: German, American, British, Canadian, etc...

Bel-Cam Jos
08-25-2013, 07:51 PM
One of my favorite authors, William Least Heat-Moon, apparently released a book of some of his essays earlier this year (it never made it to my local library, so I went about half a year without knowing it existed), titled Here, There, Elsewhere. He is wordy but not rambling, elevated in language but still accessible, knowledgeable but not arrogant. In relatively short pieces, it took me about a week to finish it. They are from his travels across the world, and his interactions with the locals. Mainly I enjoy his observations and allusions to history, language, philosophy, and geography. He has another book due out in a month or so on Native Americans, so I won't be so late in getting to that one this time.

JimJamBonds
08-25-2013, 10:59 PM
Two Fronts: The War That Came Early: Book 5 by Harry Turtledove. Another solid bit of writing by Mr.Turtledove, sadly I'll have to wait a year until book 6 comes out.

OC47151
08-28-2013, 11:16 AM
William Shakespeare's Star Wars. The Baird's approach to A New Hope. I picked it up on a whim over the weekend. It's a pretty interesting and funny read. Reading some of the classic SW lines in Old English prose outloud is a hoot.

JimJamBonds
10-07-2013, 09:38 PM
King Rat by James Clavell. I first read this in my 20th Century Wars class in high school, this was the second time since then that I've read KR. The book is set during the end of WW2 on a Pacific Island where 10,000 pow's are kept by the Japanese. The main character is a trader who's been able to scrape out a living amid the starvation of the camp.

One Second After by William Forstchen. America gets hit with a couple of EMP bomb's, and things go really bad. The story is set in rural South Carolina.

Bel-Cam Jos
10-09-2013, 07:34 PM
Newest "Chet and Bernie" detective series book, The Sound and the Furry, by Spencer Quinn. Sad to say, but I'd consider this the least good of the series so far. I attribute it to being so far out of their area (in the New Orleans/bayou region). We do find out specifically where they live (spoiler alert: it's Arizona... but no surprise there, based on descriptions). Chet meets various animals (including a gator) and is on a boat for his first time. Fairly anti-climatic ending, but still enough funny parts.

JimJamBonds
11-27-2013, 10:43 PM
Eight Men Out by Eliot Asinof. This was a pretty interesting read, it showed how shady all sorts of things were in baseball nearly 100 years ago. If you're a fan of the game its worth a read.

Bel-Cam Jos
12-01-2013, 06:49 PM
While listed as a YA book (and author in general), Lemony Snicket's Who Can That Be at This Hour? was hilarious. I think this may be another series by the SoUE author, where he is the main character himself.Yes, it is apparently a series, All the Wrong Questions, and I finished the second book, When Did You See Her Last?. Not as LOL-level funny as I recall the first book was, but still quite humorous. There is a missing man, a hidden villain (who makes an appearance here, in disguise), a stolen item (like a Maltese Falcon statue), a secret invisible ink formula, and many mysterious other characters. I'd guess about 5+ books into the series, some of these questions might be closer to answered.

This is my 50th book read this year; if I can read 2 more, that's a one-per-week average for 2013. :D

JimJamBonds
12-10-2013, 10:15 PM
Over and Back: Mickey Crowe: The Strange and Troubled Life Of A Wisconsin High School Basketball Legend. Mickey Crowe in the early 70's set the all time Wisconsin boys hs basketball scoring record. He led the nation in points per game as a senior with over 41. However things went down for Mickey, drugs, alcohol and eventually mental illness. I got my copy of the book at a book signing by the author and Mickey (he played for a small rural high school in the same county I live in).

OC47151
12-17-2013, 06:40 AM
Churchill's Secret Agent: A Novel Based on a True Story. An interesting read written by Max and Linda Ciampoli about a Frenchman who goes on special missions assigned to him by Churchill himself during WWII. I'm gonna investigate this tale a little more to see how much is true and how much is fiction.

JimJamBonds
12-17-2013, 10:16 PM
Supervolcano: Things Fall Apart by Harry Turtledove. This is the third book in the super volcano series by HT. In short, the super valcano under Yellowstone goes off, US isn't doing so well. The story follows a family in SoCal.

Bel-Cam Jos
12-18-2013, 05:11 PM
Have you read the other two books, JJB? I have just read the first, and I was "meh"smerized by my lack of character empathy (interesting premise, though).

JimJamBonds
12-18-2013, 09:33 PM
Have you read the other two books, JJB? I have just read the first, and I was "meh"smerized by my lack of character empathy (interesting premise, though).
Yup, I've read a TON of Turtledove, its not his best work(s) but its still decent. The best imho is his alt series on the Civil War/WWI/WWII.

Bel-Cam Jos
12-20-2013, 12:59 PM
I've only read the first in his Supervolcano series, and IIRC, Alternative Generals II, which I believe I got from a used book store, about what-ifs with military losses/victories. Not bad, not awesome.

JimJamBonds
12-20-2013, 05:42 PM
Yeah I've read one of those that had multiple authors each taking their spin on a 'what if this had/hadn't happened', I find those to be a mixed bag.

This is the series I was talking about in my earlier post. Actually its 1 stand alone book, two series of 3 books each and one 4 book series. You don't need to read them all to follow the story, but of course its better that way.
http://turtledove.wikia.com/wiki/Southern_Victory

JimJamBonds
12-21-2013, 04:16 PM
My slow trek through the Lewis and Clark universe continues with my finishing of The Original Journals of The Lewis and Clark Expedition: Volume IV Parts 1 & 2.eedited by Reuban Gold Thwaits

Bel-Cam Jos
12-22-2013, 11:18 AM
I don't remember if I have (or anyone else has) asked you about your interest in L + C, JJB. So, what's your interest in Lewis & Clark, JJB?

JimJamBonds
12-22-2013, 01:37 PM
I don't remember if I have (or anyone else has) asked you about your interest in L + C, JJB. So, what's your interest in Lewis & Clark, JJB?
I got hooked on them about ten years ago (right before the bicentennial of the expedition), I think what they did was amazing. And while the journals can be painfully dry at times they are an amazing set of documents. Over 300 species identified, accurate maps of the west etc. granted they did plenty wrong as well, but by and large it was good.

Bel-Cam Jos
12-22-2013, 02:54 PM
I got hooked on them about ten years ago (right before the bicentennial of the expedition), I think what they did was amazing. And while the journals can be painfully dry at times they are an amazing set of documents. Over 300 species identified, accurate maps of the west etc. granted they did plenty wrong as well, but by and large it was good.Have I recommended William Least Heat Moon's River Horse, where he traces their route via waterways while interjecting information about their journals and history, to you before?

Bel-Cam Jos
12-23-2013, 11:37 PM
In honor of the holiday, and the soon-to-be-run-over-and-over-again-on-TBS movie, I read Jean Shepherd's A Christmas Story. Not an adaptation of the movie, but a collection of essays from magazines published in the 1960s that became the basis of the movie. Most of the scenes are still there (with one notable exception I can think of), but if I could, I'd recommend reading this first before seeing the movie (I believe that is absolutely impossible for any human being over the age of 2 ;) ). Still pretty humorous.

JimJamBonds
12-25-2013, 09:38 PM
Have I recommended William Least Heat Moon's River Horse, where he traces their route via waterways while interjecting information about their journals and history, to you before?
If you have I don't remember, I just made note of it and even better my local library has it. Thanks BCJ! :isobars:

Bel-Cam Jos
12-28-2013, 12:35 PM
I reached the one-book-read-per-week average :D with my 52nd in 2013, Loren D. Estleman's The Rocky Mountain Moving Picture Association. He's normally an author I like, but this one was not quite as engaging as his other books. It's a fictionalized account of a movie studio in 1913, where a shoestring budget would be an improvement. It is in Hollywood before it truly became Tinseltown (although there were flash-forwards throughout the story). An ice businessman's son (who loves writing, but hasn't been published yet) comes down to Los Angeles and ends up working with this studio as a screenwriter and more. It moved too slowly at the start and then too quickly at the end. It was decent.

JimJamBonds
12-30-2013, 09:51 PM
My Side Of The Mountain by Jean Craighead George. Yeah its a kids book I know, but I LOVED it as a kid. Its probably the book I've read the most in my life, why did I read it again? I'm not sure it popped into my head so what the heck. In short the book is about a kid from NYC who spends a year in the Catskills doing all kinds of cool stuff that a 12 year old from the city wouldn't know how to do.

Bel-Cam Jos
12-31-2013, 11:01 AM
My Side Of The Mountain by Jean Craighead George. Yeah its a kids book I know, but I LOVED it as a kid.I just saw the new Mary Poppins movie, and once our local libraries re-open after the holidays, that book's on my list (LISTS... :drool: ) to read. And some recent young adult books are often better than the adult fictions being written now. I like an eclectic reading span. :pleased: Glad you enjoyed re-reading that!

Bel-Cam Jos
01-01-2014, 07:31 PM
By the way, here are my 2013 reading stats:

52 total books, about 14,900 pgs., 287 pgs. per
Summer: 29 books = about 8500 pgs.; 293 pgs. per (10 summers, 294 books = about 79,400 pgs., 270 pgs. per)

Bel-Cam Jos
01-05-2014, 10:02 AM
Two short "kids" ones to begin the year.

Obert Skye's Potterwookiee. I stumbled across this title in a library search many months back, and I finally found it available. It's a series where a sensitive, average, picked-on kid has creatures appear in his closet as a mixture of two known characters (first book: Wonkenstein of Willy Wonka & Frankenstein's monster, and next one: supposed to be Pinocula of Pinocchio & Dracula I assume); see if you can figure out the combo in this book. It's funny, and the simple drawings by the author throughout make for more sight gags. I won't be reading the whole series, but this one was enough.

P.L. Travers' Mary Poppins. Having seen the recent bio-pic, I wanted to read the first book itself (there's also a biography that much of the movie was based on, but it's been checked out from the library lately). Certainly not the Disney version of the title character. Maybe if I read the others in the series, I'd appreciate her more; but to be honest, she's not very likable. Vain, defensive, overly-critical (even for a nanny), slightly vindictive; this is one of those times where Disney greatly improved a story in its movie, instead of just changing a non-happily ever after plot.

OC47151
01-05-2014, 08:03 PM
Clear and Present Danger. This was my work and workout book and just finished it the other night. I first read this one when it came out 20 years ago (yeah, it's been that long). I forgot how much it differed from the movie version. The book would've made for a better movie.

World War Z. The in-laws got me a copy for Christmas, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. When I started, I knew it was different from the movie, which I saw. Kinda wished the producers would've followed the book closer. Could visualize HBO or some other cable channel turning each chapter into an episode.

JimJamBonds
01-05-2014, 08:41 PM
Hello Sis...Letters From A Marine by Jake Hermann. Ok, this isn't a book that is available for purchase it was a privatley made book. The Marine in question SFC Jake Hermann is the father of a co worker who fought in the Pacific in WWII and his sister saved the letters he wrote home and all these years later they were put into book form for the rest of the family. My co worker know's I read lots of history and we've talked some about his dads service so when he asked if I wanted to read it I jumped on the chance. All in all the letters don't reveal much as to whats going on because they were censored, but they do give an excellent sense of what service members asked people back home about. As an aside he fought in Saipan, Okinawa, Tinian and was in Japan for Occupational Duty, including Nagasaki not all that long after the bomb was dropped (I"m not sure how long but not very).

JimJamBonds
01-10-2014, 03:06 PM
On The Far Side Of The Mountain by Jean Craighead George. Its the follow up to her 1959 book My Side Of The Mountain. Sam is still in the Adirondacks and now his sister is staying with him. While the first book is roughly a year in length this book takes place over a few days, although it does bridge the gap between the end of MSOTM and OTFSOTM.

Lewis & Clark by Nick Bertozzi. Its a graphic novel about the preperation to the trip across the continent by L&C along with the Corps of Discovery. Its actually quite well done, although the author takes some liberties with the historical record.

Bel-Cam Jos
01-11-2014, 11:25 AM
Lewis & Clark by Nick Bertozzi. Its a graphic novel about the preperation to the trip across the continent by L&C along with the Corps of Discovery. Its actually quite well done, although the author takes some liberties with the historical record.Yeah, the radioactive spider bit seems too hack to me. :p

I am trying to read during the school year (which is not easy for me to find time for :cry: ). Little passages of a 500+ pager at a time right now.

JimJamBonds
01-11-2014, 07:44 PM
Yeah, the radioactive spider bit seems too hack to me. :pHmm I don't remember that, I guess I must've missed that page. :tyrannosaurus:

JimJamBonds
01-18-2014, 03:13 PM
Freightful's Mountain by Jean Craighead George. Its the third in a series of books about a boy who runs away and lives in the woods of upstate New York. This time the book is centered around Freightful the peregrine falcon that the boy Sam raised and trained. Its not as good as the last book which wasn't as good as the first book, that said its still a good read.

Bel-Cam Jos
01-20-2014, 06:02 PM
I am trying to read during the school year (which is not easy for me to find time for :cry: ). Little passages of a 500+ pager at a time right now.A three-day weekend with not much grading to do let me do just that. :pleased: Brian Jay Jones' Jim Henson: The Biography was extremely well researched and endnoted; full of details I didn't even know about. Frank Oz likes to cuss, apparently. Jim wasn't faithful but did love his family. Kermit came before Rowlf. He loved technology and sadly, that sometimes affected the stories he wanted to tell (G. Lucas? learn from this?). Lived in England quite a bit. Died very quickly. :( But the book is great.

Bel-Cam Jos
01-22-2014, 08:04 PM
Wow; a 3-day off period and I get delusions of grandeur that I can read whenever I want. :p Many students have talked about John Green's books, specifically The Fault in Our Stars. So I read this very quick read. About teenagers and their issues with cancer. Very interesting; included some SW and literary references. I got the edition with author Q&A in the back. Don't know if I'll become a regular reader of his, though.

JimJamBonds
01-31-2014, 10:25 PM
Kenobi ~ by John Jackson Miller. Obbers lands on a certain twin sunned planet and shenanigans ensue. Actually it was pretty good, it took a bit for me to get into it but it was good. Obi gets a new first name, learns about Krayt Dragon calls, Tuskens and embezzlement all while keeping an eye on Luke.

El Chuxter
02-01-2014, 02:33 AM
Got an ARC of Honor Among Thieves. So far (which isn't too far yet, actually), not bad, but a little typical of Han-centric stories.

Bel-Cam Jos
02-01-2014, 08:49 AM
Got an ARC of Honor Among Thieves. So far (which isn't too far yet, actually), not bad, but a little typical of Han-centric stories.Do you think that Disney will ret-con his backstory about his chin scar, now that they have the franchise? ;) And just HOW do you get these preview books, Chux? :jealous:

El Chuxter
02-01-2014, 04:04 PM
I have a wife who somehow got chosen for Amazon Vine. The good thing is there are free books. The bad thing is that she orders all sorts of crap because it's free, and now it's just crap in the house. :)

Bel-Cam Jos
02-17-2014, 11:06 PM
A four-day weekend with very little grading means I can read. I can read!

William Least Heat-Moon's An Osage Journey to Europe: 1827-1830. It's a translation of French documents about six Native Americans who travelled to Paris and other European cities. They were seen as a sideshow by many, and taken advantage of by some of the Americans who took them there. Many racist and ignorant comments from the time, but in comparing three different sources, you get to what likely was true.

William Shatner's Tek Power. I had this book in my possession for a couple years. So I started it, realizing it was a very fast read. It's about a future where people are denying that a virtual reality "fad" is addictive, where an African American president gets replaced by an android replica, and there's an earthquake that comes out of nowhere. The main character seems to get out of his scrapes far too easily, while everyone else seemingly dies with no problem. It was so-so.

JimJamBonds
02-19-2014, 09:20 PM
William Least Heat-Moon's An Osage Journey to Europe: 1827-1830. It's a translation of French documents about six Native Americans who travelled to Paris and other European cities. They were seen as a sideshow by many, and taken advantage of by some of the Americans who took them there. Many racist and ignorant comments from the time, but in comparing three different sources, you get to what likely was true.
Wow, that sounds facsanating!

JimJamBonds
02-24-2014, 09:46 PM
Ultra Superior by Phillip Gary Smith. A short book about the authors participation in the Superior 50 mile trail race. This was a dude, I got not too much out of it (I got it in hopes of some nuggets as I will be doing my first 50 mile trail race in August).

JediTricks
03-06-2014, 11:31 PM
William Shatner's Tek Power. I had this book in my possession for a couple years. So I started it, realizing it was a very fast read. It's about a future where people are denying that a virtual reality "fad" is addictive, where an African American president gets replaced by an android replica, and there's an earthquake that comes out of nowhere. The main character seems to get out of his scrapes far too easily, while everyone else seemingly dies with no problem. It was so-so.Only 20 years later, eh? I really liked TekWar, and the shows were ok too, but it was never a universe I wanted to spend much more time in.

DarthQuack
03-07-2014, 11:10 PM
Started reading the Guardians of the Galaxy comic, the '08 version. Really liking the story so far and learning about these characters since the movie will be out soon enough!

Bel-Cam Jos
03-08-2014, 09:55 AM
Dave Barry, retired humor newspaper columnist, has a new book, You Can Date Boys When You're Forty. It had several LOL-worthy parts, then it took a semi-serious turn in tone towards the end (and this was a good thing). Always love his grammar and Q&A sections. And it really has little to do with his teenage daughter's dating interests, as he mentions in the introduction (his alternate book titles were a good laugh).

JimJamBonds
03-11-2014, 09:09 PM
A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold. Aldo Leopold was originally from Iowa and became on of the first conservation warden with the US Fish and Game Service. He lived the last 30 years or so of his life in Wisconsin teaching at the University of Wisconsin and experimenting with the land on the farm he bought an hour or so NW of Madison. This book includes his reflections on land, animals, conservation etc. Its funny how a book nearly 70 years old still hits on so many points today that Leopold saw as being an issue back in the 40's.

Bel-Cam Jos
03-19-2014, 10:12 PM
Spring Break reading adds three more (the Star Wars book's in the W. Shakespeare's SW thread here).

Thomas C. Foster's How to Read Literature Like a Professor. A colleague gave me a copy, since the Honors teachers use it, and I am interested in applying to teach Honors, I felt obligated to read it. So much so, that I now have his other book about in-depth reading of novels. Very well put together, good examples.

David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas. I haven't seen the movie, but I can see why some moviegoers didn't like it. It's several mini novels all tied together, but while the idea's awesome, I felt it fell flat and left me waiting for some tie-in that never comes. And being 500+ pages in small font didn't help it much.

Bel-Cam Jos
03-22-2014, 01:46 PM
Plus two more:

Francesca Lia Block's Love in the Time of Global Warming. Somehow, I thought this was a different book (but unsure which book). It's a teen post-apocalyptic story, based on the events of Homer's The Odyssey; in fact, a character has a copy of the book and reads from it throughout. Some geographic anomalies (which for an LA-based author seem odd, and not just in wandering-like-Odysseus odd: So, you're heading from the coastal LA area to Vegas? Go to Cabazon, then the Salton Sea, first :confused: ), far too much profanity for a YA novel to me, odd references to art and history (I liked them; just seemed out of place in a YA story). Decent and concise, a quick and easy read.

Thomas C. Foster's similarly-titled How to Read Novels Like a Professor. This one wasn't quite as good as the first, but it did leave me with some more titles to read at some point in the future (i.e. when I have the time).

JimJamBonds
03-22-2014, 10:11 PM
Dead Angler (A Loon Lake Mystery #1) by Victoria Houston. A body is found by a retired dentist and the Loon Lake chief of police while fishing. The story takes place in fictional Loon Lake, Wisconsin. Although the city is made up its based on people and things in the area. A co worker gave me a bunch of books from the LL series because he has a cabin in Northern Wisconsin and he knows I like to read).

Bel-Cam Jos
03-29-2014, 07:26 PM
but it did leave me with some more titles to read at some point in the future (i.e. when I have the time).... including Tim O'Brien's Going After Cacciato. I found the premise fascinating (put the rough plot of Alice in Wonderland into the setting of the Vietnam War), and it was done quite well. Sometimes it was funny, often it was serious and frustrating to watch the characters struggle with their dilemmas, with a resolution that fit well.

And apparently I insulted a SSG Forumite with my 4-star rating of it. :cry: :NowFriendlessOnTheWeb:

bigbarada
03-30-2014, 02:49 PM
Finished reading "The Trial of Jean Grey" story arc that ran through All-New X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy recently. I loved it for the most part, but I'm still not 100% sold on the new powerset that Jean is manifesting now. I love how powerful they are making this pre-Phoenix Jean Grey, but I'm just not a huge fan of this new "energy being" form that they've come up with. Hopefully, they'll only use it sparingly. I think she should be able to cut loose with her powers without turning into a pink Human Torch.

Still, I think Bendis is doing some great work on these books. It was cool seeing young Scott Summers getting reunited with his father and it makes perfect sense to me that he would quit the X-Men to go roaming around in space with his dad. Maybe this means that Beast and Jean Grey will get to explore their relationship; but that might be tough with creepy, old Scott Summers wandering around their new school.

JimJamBonds
03-30-2014, 09:55 PM
Dead Creek (A Loon Lake Mystery #2) by Victoria Houston. Mischief abounds in this book set in a fictional town in Northern Wisconsin. Light reading that reads fast, since I don't fish there are aspects of the book I can do without/could be trimmed down some. Also, the authors portrait of UPS is not accurate, she should've talked to somebody that worked there (like me).

Bel-Cam Jos
04-02-2014, 11:04 PM
A book, by a famous novelist near the end of his life, about a fictional famous novelist near the end of his life, writing about the difficulties of writing a great last book. Joseph Heller's Portrait of an Artist, as an Old Man, from the author of Catch-22, was a few books-within-books-within-a-book. Weird and confusing at times (mainly the start), funny occasionally. Overall it was okay; I guess I need to read his more noted book now.

DarthQuack
04-12-2014, 10:46 AM
Still trying to get through the first Game of Thrones book.

Bel-Cam Jos
04-12-2014, 06:37 PM
Still trying to get through the first Game of Thrones book.I read that back in about 2005 or so, after someone recommended it to me (hearing I liked LOTR and SW). I found it interesting but not enough to get me to continue the series (I think it was at 3 or 4 books back then).

El Chuxter
04-12-2014, 11:04 PM
I've never been able to finish it. I gave up, which I try to avoid doing. It was just a huge laundry list of unsympathetic characters I couldn't be bothered to give a damn about.

DarthQuack
04-13-2014, 12:10 AM
If anyone could keep an eye out at Barnes and Noble if they frequent going there...the Star Wars Frames book should be discounted to $45 down from $150 I believe....I'd love to find a copy.

Bel-Cam Jos
04-13-2014, 09:34 AM
I remember you mentioned that before, DQ, and I keep forgetting. This week's an Educator Appreciation Week discount locally; I'll check (for myself, too) for ya.

DarthQuack
04-13-2014, 10:39 AM
Thanks! :)

JimJamBonds
04-19-2014, 06:49 PM
Birth, School, Metallica, Death, Volume 1 The Biography by Paul Brannigan and ​Ian Woodward. This first volume in a two book set follows Metallica from its creation to the recording of their best selling self titled album. Its pretty good, I've read another bio on Metallica and while there was a healthy amount of cross over there was plenty of new info to make it an interesting read. If you aren't that much of a Metallica fan then I wouldn't bother to double up on the reading.

JimJamBonds
04-21-2014, 09:52 PM
The Science of Hitting by Ted Williams and John Underwood. If you're going to read a book about hitting why not read one by one of the greatest (if not the greatest) hitters in the history of the game. It is at times rather technical but its an interesting read and look into the mind of the Splendid Splinter.

OC47151
04-26-2014, 01:53 PM
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. I almost gave up on this one early on, but it picked up speed and held my attention. I'd go as far and say I liked it better than the DaVinci Code. Liked the tight timeframe of the story.

Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter. My original plan was to just reread the short story at the end of the book, but I ended up reading the entire novel again. Think it was for the third time. Noticed little things that I hadn't in previous readings.

DarthQuack
04-26-2014, 09:38 PM
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. I almost gave up on this one early on, but it picked up speed and held my attention. I'd go as far and say I liked it better than the DaVinci Code. Liked the tight timeframe of the story.


Have you read the illustrated versions of these books? It's really a fun way to read these.

JimJamBonds
04-26-2014, 10:02 PM
Have you read the illustrated versions of these books? It's really a fun way to read these.
Do you mean the movies? :satellite:

As for myself I took down Dead Water by Victoria Houston. Its another murder mystery set in fictional Loon Lake, Wisconsin. Its alright, its not the most intense reading out there but it gets the job done.

Bel-Cam Jos
04-27-2014, 12:00 AM
I'd heard of the premise of Kate Atkinson's Life After Life, a sort of reincarnation story from a girl born after she dies, every Feb. 11th of 1910. She lives (and dies) through both World Wars, and as far as the mid-1960s, in England and Germany. Sometimes people she knows also die, but other times the same situations occur. It was tough to dig through (took almost a month to finish), and I wanted to just set it aside at times, but there was a point where I realized something could happen (there were some subtle clues), and the author actually did it. That made the dull ending more worthwhile. Overall, it was pretty good.

DarthQuack
04-27-2014, 11:37 AM
With the EU news coming out...trying to get back into the swing of playing catch up by starting the first book in the Black Fleet Crisis.

OC47151
04-27-2014, 12:18 PM
Have you read the illustrated versions of these books? It's really a fun way to read these.

I haven't. Will check them out.

El Chuxter
05-01-2014, 10:24 PM
With the EU news coming out...trying to get back into the swing of playing catch up by starting the first book in the Black Fleet Crisis.

I'm very sorry to hear that. lol Those books were... I'm not even sure they were remarkable enough to be "bad."

I'm working on A Game of Thrones. I tried reading it once after dismissing the TV show for its awful first episode. Didn't get far. Waited almost a year, and tried watching again, forcing myself to keep going. I still think the first episode is a horrible first episode for any show (I can't see how anyone but hardcore fans got past it, to be honest), but it got better. The OnDemand stuff expired before I could get past four, so I went back to the book and am having a much better time of it. I figure I'll read all five, then go back and watch the show on OnDemand or Go (which I found out has the whole series permanently, but I'd rather not simultaneously read the books and watch the show since there are differences and it might get really confusing).

JimJamBonds
05-10-2014, 08:51 PM
Dead Jitterbug by Victoria Houston. Its another in a series of books that take place is mythical Loon Lake Wisconsin. If you've read my reviews on the other books the same pretty much goes for this one as well.

JimJamBonds
05-18-2014, 10:33 PM
Dead Boogie by Victoria Houston. Yet another murder mystery/fishing book set in fictional Loon Lake, Wisconsin. My review: if you've read the others then you know how it works.

Bel-Cam Jos
05-29-2014, 09:56 AM
Summer reading is under way! :D Our local library has had a summer theme the past few years, for kids and adults, and this year it's Paws to Read (meaning animal-related). That explains my second book choice below.

The Restoration by Bob Pacilio. I have met the author before (my copy of this book is signed and personalized :thumbsup: ) and know about his personality. He's written books about/for teens (he was a long-time teacher in the San Diego area, even winning Teacher of the Year once), but this is his first adult novel. It's about an old one-screen movie house that is being... restored, and the people who are connected to this... restoration who, due to various issues and struggles, need to be... restored. I like the descriptive style and interplay between characters (dialogue is a little stale and simple, but that helps to clarify their emotions), as well as the titled chapters with dates, so you can follow the "when" and "how" of the storyline.

Lonesome George by Henry Nicholls. Sadly, the long-lived tortoise of that name died a couple years ago, but this lighthearted account of his discovery and the history of the Galapagos Islands themselves was nice and informative. A little too much focus on husbandry for my tastes, sad commentary on the extinctions in that area of the world, and some cautionary lessons for the future generations.

JimJamBonds
05-29-2014, 10:53 PM
Dead Madonna by Victoria Houston. If you've read my other posts by that author then the same goes for this one as well.












And now we return to a BCJ dominated thread (for the summer at least).

Bel-Cam Jos
05-30-2014, 11:25 PM
Apparently I've started my summer reading with short books (I'm not even at 1000 pages in my four books read so far). Here are two more.

The Pluto Files by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. This is from about 5 years ago, and it traces the history of the "planet" Pluto, its discoverer, the moon, the Kuiper Belt and "dwarfing" it endured from a vote on its status. He was recently hired at a NYC museum and science center that dealt with the backlash of public outcry. Loved the copies of letters that school kids wrote, as well as emails and blog posts from people who appear to be adults. Funny, informative, like NDT often is.

Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. This was a book recommended by a school colleague who saw him speak at a seminar. The author is a motivational education speaker. I found a few of his ideas interesting, but some of his basic premises as faulty. He has an all-or-nothing view, and his extremes don't take into consideration the moderate and middle road teaching style, with OCCASIONAL outrageousness and creative presentations (which might describe my teaching style). Some good ideas I might use (and some I always have), but overall, it's not just me.

Bel-Cam Jos
06-02-2014, 10:14 PM
Steve & Me by Terri Irwin. The wife of the TV "Crocodile Hunter" star recounts how she met Steve Irwin, up until his shockingly abrupt death. Heavily on conservation but oddly quite a bit of destiny and fate. She learned to be strong and independent before he died, and became more so after. Very easy to read.

Cobra Alliance: Cobra War book 1 by Timothy Zahn. Yes, THAT Timothy Zahn. My library's summer reading theme involves animals, so I stretched a bit for this one. Sadly, I doubt I'll read any others in the series. The Cobra soldiers have been modified with weapons, enhanced senses, strengthened bones and muscles. They fought in a war in decades before, and one receives an odd note requesting her help on a planet involved in that war, despite restrictions on travelling there. She and her son (also a Cobra) help the natives when aliens invade. Not too much of the Zahn surprises by the end (although there are a couple), and not too much of his writing style (this was from 2009, and the first Cobra books were in the late 1980s) either. Was fairly disappointed, which is saying something for Zahn stories.

Bel-Cam Jos
06-06-2014, 10:38 AM
It took me some time to finish this, but it had more of a textbook format to it, which takes longer to get through (photos and captions, footnotes, parenthetical comments, etc.); Carl Sagan's Cosmos. Watching Neil deGrasse Tyson's TV series, I can now see how they borrowed from this book, which likely was the basis for Sagan's 1980s TV series (I haven't seen it). There's a lot of science and math (in words, charts, equations), but quite a bit of philosophy, biography, and history. What did I learn that I didn't know? Russia (a.k.a. USSR) landed a probe on Venus and got pictures sent back before its circuitry melted, one of the workers bringing the lens and other telescope materials to the Mount Wilson observatory become one of its best scientists, there are several sites across the world with solstice architecture. Glad I read it, despite its "thickness" (in wording and the hardcover book itself), and I may seek out some other Sagan works.

Bel-Cam Jos
06-08-2014, 07:57 PM
A couple more animal-related books. I guess I've chosen short books, because I just broke the 2000 pages mark for the summer.

One in the series I apparently hadn't read (in fact, it seems I hadn't read as many of them as I thought)... Paddington on Top by Michael Bond. The bear in London is as funny and na´ve as usual, but [SPOILER ALERT: he meets his Aunt Lucy, when she joins the travelling Peruvian rugby team] still an enjoyable and quick read. Even though it's a little dated (from the 1970s) and a kids' book, I will probably try to finish the rest of the Paddington books out there.

Voyage of the Turtle by Carl Safina. This is a research book following migration, feeding, and mating patterns across the oceans of various sea turtle species. He has a good use of metaphoric language, especially for a data-driven piece. Definitely in favor of conservation and protection of endangered species (of which the leatherback, the focus turtle of the book), but he fairly covers the financial and social reasons for taking eggs as food and net fishing that catches turtles, too.

JediTricks
06-09-2014, 06:35 PM
Man, you are going to make your optometrist a million bucks. ;)

I read 6 comics recently:

Transformers: Windblade, issue 2 (miniseries of 4) - art took a tumble into rushed territory, making the already-sloppy style look worse. The story builds mystery but feels like it's still taking too much time to get to the point. The titular character also doesn't feel entirely like she inhabits the world she's living it except in Metroplex interaction scenes. Grade: C-

Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, issue 29 - a bit crowded and confusing, but some good writing found within. The slow-playing of Megatron's trial is a touch annoying since the "now" story is barely moving as well. But building upon the whole series, it worked better. I would say the art was not always up to code though. Grade: C

The Star Wars, issue 8 (final issue) - unfortunately, this issue carried too much of the weight of the story, so it gets the most interesting stuff, but it crams what in the original Star Wars movie was the entire second half the film into a single issue. The art mostly is good but a few panels have craaaaazy eyes that look like cartoons. The turn with one of the characters was unfortunately left without support, so what could have been an interesting twist turned into a deus ex machina. Ultimately, this was a modest issue, not quite this disappointing series' high mark, but definitely above this low-shooter's par. Grade: C

Afterlife with Archie, issue 5 (final issue of first arc) - Surprisingly compelling. The story is told from the POV of Smithers, the loyal Lodge family butler, and it's pretty interesting. For a zombie tale, I found this a surprisingly compelling issue with a lot of the emotional beats paying off well. There is some heavy-handed stuff tho, Mr. Lodge is written like a bastard, Reggie almost commits a hate-crime against the gay kid, and Smithers makes an odd choice towards the end that I hope isn't meant to pay off with an attempt to sacrifice Betty Cooper later, that would be trashy and shallow. But overall, a real page-turner, it got the job done despite being an utterly nutty series. Grade: B (perhaps generous, but I'd still say B- at the lowest, the series controls mood and character through its specific and somewhat limited art style very well) ... I just realized, I've still not read any of the backup stories in these issues, '70s black and white horror comic reprints, so I'm grading only on the primary story.

Rocket Racoon, FCBD issue - adequate if somewhat cliche tale. Not something I'd continue reading, but not bad, just not my scene. The backup story with Spidey, Nova, and White Tiger on the moooon! at the end was kiddie junk, readable and with a touch of Spidey humor, but largely aiming for a lower age group that kept it from being anything. Overall grade: the gray area between C+ and B-

Batman '66, issue 11 - loved this story, and amazed that it tied into earlier issues in a satisfying but not showy way. I liked the art, but some of the character art, especially on Batgirl, was a little lazy and simplistic, like it was rushed. But the action was good, the read was good, it spanned all 4 chapters, and adding all the guest villains was a great touch. Grade: A-

Bel-Cam Jos
06-10-2014, 10:27 AM
I tried looking up "optometrist" but I didn't see it. :groan: :rolleyes:

My tenth summer book is also the 1138th reply/post to this thread! :D

A children's classic, Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. What didn't I know about this book that I thought I had already read? This was the author's only book (she died the next year after its publishing), it's from the point of view of the horse, being sold multiple times means Black Beauty's name changes (Black Auster, Jack, Blackie, another I forgot), and it's actually more of a commentary against animal cruelty and mistreatment than a "kiddie animal" story. I did enjoy it.

JimJamBonds
06-13-2014, 09:28 AM
Never Wipe Your A__ With A Squirrel: A Trail Running, Ultramarathon, and Wilderness Survival Guide For Weird Folks by Jason Robillard. Later this summer I'll be running a 50 mile trail ultra and since that'll be my first I'm trying to learn what I can that said, it wasn't as helpful as I thought it would be...but I do find the title funny.

OC47151
06-13-2014, 05:12 PM
Golden Buddha by Clive Cussler. Interesting yarn about modern day Robin Hoods who work off a rust-beaten freighter and perform tasks for the betterment of their wallets. Think 'Leverage' but on the high seas. This book, the crew had to steal a golden Buddha and help put the Dali Lama back in power in Tibet.

Imperial Commando by Karen Traviss. Finally got around to reading the last book in the series while on a business trip. It was okay. thought it could use a little more action. Would really like to see where the next book went.

Murder in Foggy Bottom by Margaret Truman. One of the Washington DC based murder mysteries. I've read Truman's stuff in the past but not lately. It was a fun read.

The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan. About the D-Day invasion. Read it before I toured the National WWII Museum in New Orleans last month. Great read. My favorite nonfiction book.

After reading some heavy-hitting books, I find myself diving into one of the old reliable Mack Bolan, the Executioner books. Been reading them since high school. Some are well-written, others aren't so but still fun to read.

Bel-Cam Jos
06-13-2014, 07:20 PM
Two completely different books:

Hummingbird lake by Emily March. I try to branch out to different genres from time to time, even ones I don't like (such as romance, in this case); and with this year's summer reading theme with animals, this also had that going for it. With all that said, this is one of the worst books I've read in some time. I don't care about spoilers. Premise: a former doctor who is haunted by traumatic events in her past, moves to a cozy Colorado hill region and becomes a fairly-famous and successful painter (fairies is her best subject). Enter a hot (the author's words, not mine) former-college-professor-now-accident-reviewer who pursues her. She hates him, but still goes out with him, even becoming intimate multiple times with him. Flash forward to the last chapter, where in the local art contest, one of the people who's entered an item is discovered to be a... you know what; I'll probably get banned for continuing. Awful. :mad: Just terrible ending. And it was bad before then.

Let Me Off at the Top! by Ron Burgundy. His autobiography "novel" as he calls it. If you saw the documentaries (what he calls the two movies), you know what to expect. Not as LOL funny as I thought, but the Star Wars references early on are awesome (one: he graduated from Out Lady Queen of Chewbacca High School), and it's silly in a great way.

JimJamBonds
06-15-2014, 10:33 PM
Why We Run by Bernard Heinrich, this is another book about ultra marathon running. Henirich is/was a biologist so he uses exampes in nature and compares them to humans, in theory this should be interesting but it wasn't. It was quite dry and it took me quite some time to read. I did get a few tips out of it so I guess it wasn't a complete waste of time/money.

Bel-Cam Jos
06-17-2014, 09:30 AM
Two versions of other stories.

Star Trek: Into Darkness by Alan Dean Foster. The movie novelization was pretty much the same as the film, with more inner characterization, of course. Interesting that some character quotes the "philosopher" Arthur C. Clarke. I saw the film first, then read the book right after; some dialogue was word-for-word, some scenes were extended or cut/shortened. Typical novelization style.

The Songs of the Kings by Barry Unsworth. It's 300+ pages of "I Love LA," "We Are the Champions;" go Kings go! ;) Not really.
I thought of this as a "prequel" to the Trojan War/The Iliad, where the Greek army is stuck on their way to Troy due to strong opposite winds that prevent sailing there. The leaders think this was caused by the gods and decide what to do. The solution gets set up, but once it nears the end of the book, you start to wonder what will happen. Interesting mix of current language and mannerisms at times. Odysseus' "what's the word I'm looking for?" questions were "brilliant" (his typical response). Pretty good.

Bel-Cam Jos
06-20-2014, 11:39 AM
Not much in common with these two:

Don Coldsmith's Thunderstick. Set in what seems to be the 16th or 17th century, the title refers to Native Americans' term for the rifle or musket. The People (what the tribe calls themselves) get one of these technological wonders (later more) and it changes their outlook. It's mainly a coming-of-age story of the protagonist Singing Wolf: his competition with a new suitor for the girl he thought he'd always marry, his maturation as he sees what is expected of an adult man, his skills as a hunter and possible medicine man. I liked its simplicity and honest, straightforward style (Native Americans are not stereotyped nor made to fit the "noble savage" perception); might find some other books by this author.

John Green's & David Levithan's Will Grayson, Will Grayson. The first author is the popular YA writer (his most well-known book just became a movie), and I'd never heard of the second. There are two characters, each with the same name, living around Chicago. They meet, and their formerly-carpy lives improve when their circles of friends interact. Another main character, Tiny Cooper (6' 6" and very heavy = irony), is writing a play based on his own life, but decides to rewrite it to better tell a story about life. The first part was terrible; once the two Wills meet, it's pretty good. Since it deals with sexual orientation and includes frequent teenager profanity, it's one of those young adult stories that's not "kiddie" at all.

Bel-Cam Jos
06-21-2014, 02:01 PM
Again, two totally divergent books:

Go Ask Alice, by the first Anonymous author I've read (will likely seek out Primary Colors at some point, too). Terrible tale, but as the blurbs on the cover said, a must-read for those who believe the it-could-never-happen-to-me myth of drug use/abuse. In diary form, said to be from an actual 15-year old's writings. Sad, to the point that I needed to read a much lighter tone book (see below) right after, but pleased that I've now read it.

This Time Together by Carol Burnett. You ever feel down? Put on an episode of her variety show and you'll be fine. This autobiography covers mainly her show biz career (plays both on and off Broadway, a few movies of which she's not always pleased with her own performances, a few TV runs, etc.), with other memories of co-stars, family, friends, and others. I liked it, especially after my previous read.

Broke the 4K pages read in summer mark with these.

JimJamBonds
06-23-2014, 10:20 PM
Dead Renegade by Victoria Houston. Another Loon Lake mystery, not as good as the others, but it was still a decent read.

Bel-Cam Jos
06-26-2014, 10:13 AM
With these, I pass the 5000 pages and 20 books read marks so far this summer. :pleased:

Why Soccer Matters by Pele' and Brian Winter. If Brazil hosts the World Cup, you just have to read an autobiography of their country's (and the world's) all-time greatest footballer, right? It's a simple and straightforward telling of Edson Arantes do Nascimento and his life in soccer. He makes what he does reflect how it had a positive effect on the sport overall, divided into sections by soccer events (i.e. the three World Cups he was part of, the 1994 and 2014 Cups, etc.).

The Journals of Lewis and Clark edited by John Bakeless. You think it's tough to find a restaurant when your GPS keeps "recalculating"? Or when the store is out of what you "need"? Interesting details: Clark brought his slave and Lewis brought his dog, Sacagawea was more of a translator and "in" with certain tribes than a navigator, Lewis was shot in the buttocks by one of the group who mistook him for an elk, blue beads were in highest demand to trade with Native Americans. They shot a whole bunch of animals (to eat, mainly). It took a while to read (dense, heavily detailed), but I think important to read.

JediTricks
06-26-2014, 02:44 PM
Read a reprint of the first Marvel Transformers issue. It's pretty dated in its art and HORRIBLY dated in its scripting, the actual dialogue and narration is just clunky as heck, but the kernels of ideas are there and while pacing does have difficulty it succeeds in getting to its point.

Bel-Cam Jos
06-30-2014, 04:15 PM
I'll start with a library observation from today: apparently I must seem trustworthy (and I do think I certainly am), as a mother let her daughter sit alone (mom said she was going to find a book and be right back) a couple seats away from me as I was reading, and also left her bag (which I could hear clearly had coins in it) and papers there after the child left to find her mom. Or, the parent was negligent. Whatever.

Continuing the two-books-per-posting here...

Death By Black Hole. Tried another by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. This was a collection of essays from a journal (quick online check: it's from Universe), that he edited to form a more integrated format. Still his same style of humor, facts, skepticism about those who refute said facts. Pretty good.

Mister B. Gone by Clive Barker (yes, THAT Clive Barker). I was looking for a horror genre book (one of my least favorite genres), it was short but not too short, and the premise of it sounded interesting. Basically, a demon is speaking directly to you as the reader, requesting that you "burn this book," despite you not doing so and continuing to read it. I won't spoilerize it, because some of you might want to read it, but the historical event of Gutenberg's printing press becomes important. Somewhat graphic, but not too much; some parts can seem repetitive, but overall also a pretty good one.

Bel-Cam Jos
07-06-2014, 12:29 AM
Again, two totally divergent books:

Go Ask Alice, by the first Anonymous author I've read (will likely seek out Primary Colors at some point, too). ...

This Time Together by Carol Burnett. ...

Broke the 4K pages read in summer mark with these.In the same vein...

The above-mentioned Primary Colors by Joe Klein, a.k.a. Anonymous. It was supposed to be a "fiction" based on the Clinton presidential campaign of 1992. There were some decent parts, but most of it was not (I did not expect the love interest NOT about the candidate, but among the campaign workers). Reminded me of All the King's Men, where a less-famous member of the group tells the story of a "bigger" person. Well, at least I can say I read it; that was the best part.

Another member of that classic TV show; What's So Funny?, a recollection by Tim Conway (with Jane Scovell helping). Laughed several times; especially in his memories of growing up in Ohio and getting Harvey Korman (a.k.a. cook Gormaanda) to break character. I didn't know: Conway's name was Americanized to Tom and then changed to Tim to avoid confusion with another Tom Conway actor; he is great at cooking, sewing, building with wood, betting on horses.

Am over 6K pages read now.

Bel-Cam Jos
07-07-2014, 07:37 PM
I realized (unintentionally) I chose two classic authors who'd recently died:

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I'd heard from colleagues and friends for what seemed like 100 years that this was a got-to-read book; I can see why now. It's dense and laborious to get through (some paragraphs and even ONE SENTENCE go on for pages, character names get reused constantly but with added middle or last names, it's not really a linear plot, etc.), but well worth it. It follows families over many years, with the magical realism concept where plot events don't have to be "real" but somehow they still work in the story (in fact, the more fanciful the occurrence, the more believable it is for the characters, who also deny more obvious things happened). I won't put it in my top ten list (LISTS... :drool: ) of all-time books read, but it is strong.

We'll Always Have Paris by Ray Bradbury. This had previously-unpublished short stories, so they weren't all loosely tied together as some of his other collections have been. I have always liked his style, and this one seemed to be closer to "current" times, instead of his nostalgic looks back at the pre-1960s era world (he only goes off planet Earth once); more fictional than science-fiction. It ends with a poem rather than a story, which perfectly ties all of them together.

Bel-Cam Jos
07-12-2014, 10:42 AM
Well, broke the 30 books mark for the 5th summer in the last 11, along with over 7000 pages read so far. :pleased:

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. I've read a few of his works, but surprisingly not his more notable ones (like this one). It was okay, but it reminded me of Gatsby with its shallow characters who only cared about themselves. That is the perceived "Lost Generation" perspective, so I can see why Hemingway fit in then. Lots of smoking, drinking, cab riding (I doubt ANYONE drove themselves in the whole book) and repeated repetition over and over.

Hopscotch by Kevin J. Anderson (yes, THAT Kevin J. Anderson). I believe this is my first non-SW book I've read of his. Premise is that people can trade (or "hopscotch" ) their minds into another person. Sounds fun? Well, someone could run off with your body, die in it, take drugs to get you addicted or break down, commit a crime that you might be responsible for (all were plotlines in the story). It isn't that far-off in its concept, along with the COM online network and desires for youth, "immortality," and popularity. Overall, it was okay; I seem to recall his SW stories as much better. I might seek out some other SW authors in their other genres (Denning, Traviss, Hambly, etc.).

Bel-Cam Jos
07-17-2014, 11:24 AM
Two somewhat SW-related authors, plus I passed 8K pages this summer:

Joseph Campbell's Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine. I hadn't read a Campbell book in some time. This collects some of his lectures on females in mythology. A little dry with the names and places across the cultures over millennia (but I like that), but some of his humor comes through; it also makes you reconsider some beliefs, based on archeology evidence, whether they are true or just adapted stories.

Troy Denning's The Sentinel. I think this was my first non-SW book from this author. The beginning was quite dull and slow, but it improved as it went along. It's a Dungeons & Dragons story (apparently part of a multiple-author series) set in the typical land. I found significant aspects of the following series through the plot:
- Harry Potter
- The Lord of the Rings
- Star Wars
- The Hunger Games
- The Wizard of Oz
I think the series is not over, because it ended strangely: not quite sure if it's done, but fairly wrapped-up to be done. Overall, it was an okay book.

Bel-Cam Jos
07-17-2014, 11:25 AM
Two somewhat SW-related authors, plus I passed 8K pages this summer:

Joseph Campbell's Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine. I hadn't read a Campbell book in some time. This collects some of his lectures on females in mythology. A little dry with the names and places across the cultures over millennia (but I like that), but some of his humor comes through; it also makes you reconsider some beliefs, based on archeology evidence, whether they are true or just adapted stories.

Troy Denning's The Sentinel. I think this was my first non-SW book from this author. The beginning was quite dull and slow, but it improved as it went along. It's a Dungeons & Dragons story (apparently part of a multiple-author series) set in the typical land. I found significant aspects of the following series through the plot:
- Harry Potter
- The Lord of the Rings
- Star Wars
- The Hunger Games
- The Wizard of Oz
I think the series is not over, because it ended strangely: not quite sure if it's done, but fairly wrapped-up to be done. Overall, it was an okay book.

Bel-Cam Jos
07-20-2014, 10:37 AM
I just noticed; how does this thread only have a 3-out-of-5-stars rating? :( Does the Internet hate reading that much? :cry:

Anyway, two more, related to coldness:

Richard Parry's The Winter Wolf, about Wyatt Earp in Alaska. It takes the factual information that Earp did travel to Alaska in the late 19th century (I didn't know that) and fictionalizes that a son he didn't know about tracks him down to kill him (based on a note the son received from his now-dead mother that said your murdering father was a deadbeat dad; kill him [with proof] and you'll get $20K from a bank); spoiler alert: Wyatt doesn't die until 1929. Better than I thought; excellent location descriptions, good character development. I might seek out the other books in this series.

Ernest Hemingway's The Snows of Kilimanjaro & Other Stories. I doubt I'll read much more of this classic American author. I understand the whole "Lost Generation" thing, but such depressing, repetitive, wayward characters get tiresome quickly. Only story I really liked was "Fifty Grand," a boxing tale of a close-to-washed-up fighter. Others were either sad or uninteresting concepts. After reading For Whom the Bell Tolls and A Farewell to Arms, I think it's a farewell to Ernest for whom this Bel-Cam post is being told. [that makes no sense...]

Bel-Cam Jos
07-22-2014, 03:03 PM
Two about masters in the world of art.

Ronin Ro's Tales to Astonish. Since Comic-Con is this week, a history of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby seemed appropriate. Some reviews online said this wasn't accurate (well, basing a history on people's memories from decades past isn't always true), and I found some of the author's sentence fragments to be distracting, but overall I was saddened to hear of "King" Kirby was treated by his employers. Very interesting walk back along comics memory lane; I seemed to leave regular comic collecting about the time as many others.

Stefan Klein's Leonardo’s Legacy. It follows the life of da Vinci thematically (what he did on the Mona Lisa and other paintings, water, military inventions and other machines, anatomy [I forgot that dissections were "immoral" and "illegal" at the time... even for doctors to learn from! :confused: ], and the world in general, throughout his notebooks that the author got to see in person). I wish we were more widespread in learning than being so specialized; growing up, I always wanted to be a "Renaissance Man," and tried to learn as much as I could about a great, many things.

I am approaching 10K pages read, after these 35th and 36th summer books. :pleased: But I'm running out of free summer days to read. :cry:

OC47151
07-25-2014, 04:35 PM
KBL: Kill Bin Laden by John Wiseman. A fictionized account of the search and raid on bin Laden. Lot of interesting facets to the operation. Wiseman knows his stuff and has connections in the spec ops world. Have to wonder where fact becomes fact.

Bel-Cam Jos
07-26-2014, 07:06 PM
Another page barrier with these two story creator books: this time, it's the 10,000 mark. :eek:

The Call of Cthulhu & Other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft. I'd heard of him, heard readers swear by his works, but hadn't yet read any of his stuff. I am certain if I had been introduced to him in my younger and more vulnerable years reading sci-fi, fantasy, and horror I would have loved it and kept reading more. That said, I enjoyed the anthology of 18 (IIRC) stories, including the title one. It had 60 pages of endnotes (I found them invaluable to understand his references), so it took a little longer to read. As an older reader, I have been jaded and spoiled by those he influenced, unfortunately, so my enjoyment is more towards style and diction than shock or fear.

Kirby: King of Comics by Mark Evanier. One more Comic-Con week related piece. I heard this was a good companion book to the previous Kirby/Lee biography I just read, but with a focus on Jack, plus full-page copies of his art (but I didn't know the book was oversized, to see even more details in the reproductions). I found very few differences between the two histories. Still, sad that such an industry legend got shafted by the owners.

JimJamBonds
07-27-2014, 09:21 PM
The War That Came Early: Last Orders by Harry Turtledove. This was the 27th Turtledove book I have read and its good. Long story short WW II starts early (as compared to the real history), the tale is told over 4 books with various characters all over the world, in his style each character has a 4-8 page segment and then another character's story is told for 4-8 pages. This makes for quick reading imho, and in the case of Turtledove good reading.

El Chuxter
07-28-2014, 02:08 AM
The Call of Cthulhu & Other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft. I'd heard of him, heard readers swear by his works, but hadn't yet read any of his stuff. I am certain if I had been introduced to him in my younger and more vulnerable years reading sci-fi, fantasy, and horror I would have loved it and kept reading more. That said, I enjoyed the anthology of 18 (IIRC) stories, including the title one. It had 60 pages of endnotes (I found them invaluable to understand his references), so it took a little longer to read. As an older reader, I have been jaded and spoiled by those he influenced, unfortunately, so my enjoyment is more towards style and diction than shock or fear.

Funny, I recently (about a year ago, I guess) read Lovecraft for the first time and had a different reaction. I went in thinking that he'd influenced an awful lot of crap, but he still influenced it, so there might be something. While there was very little to actually scare or shock me as an adult in the 21st century, I was impressed by his style and world-building that I'd consider myself hooked.

I still think almost everything that claims to be influenced by him is utter garbage, though. :)

JimJamBonds
07-29-2014, 05:31 PM
Call Girl Confidential: An Escort's Secret Life As An Undercover Agent by Rebecca Kade. Well the title pretty much tells you about the book. It was a decent read, there were things in their that made me call out BS and its less about her time working with the NYC DA then about her time as an escort and what caused her to become one.

JediTricks
07-29-2014, 08:33 PM
The 3-star rating was simply 2 people, so I "fixed" that by voting 5 nerdstars.

I started reading SW: A New Dawn on a stop during my drive home from SDCC until I was driven away by a gaggle of shrill little girls having a birthday party at the next table. The read so far is interesting if a little slow getting to the point, and hearing about hair color is not the end-all be-all descriptor for characters, Mr. Jackson (this is an early reader edition so this may get addressed by final publish).

Bel-Cam Jos
07-31-2014, 11:37 PM
Some milestones with these most recent two reads:

Michael Chabon's Maps and Legends. I have somehow missed all of his fiction, but I thought I'd start with a non-fiction collection of some essays of various topics, like: authors, art, children, parents, homes, etc. Pretty good, a little funny, too.

Amy Yurk's The Kind of Love That Saves You. Why? Yes, because of Y. I had not yet read an author ending in that letter. It's actually a short, very well-done and powerful fictional account of a woman's tragedy in her marriage and struggle through her pregnancy, with all the emotional shocks and changes. While I have never lost a spouse nor been with child, the author realistically portrays what these experiences would resume.

Milestones, you said? The final book there is now my 40th summer book read (an all-time record from me, with a weekend to go, and the most pages I've read in a summer), and my 60th book this year so far (with five months to go, to try and read 10 more to set a yearly record). :thumbsup: :pleased:

JimJamBonds
08-02-2014, 10:10 PM
Bringing Metal To The Children: The Complete Berzerker's Guide To World Tour Domination by Zakk Wylde and Eric Hendrix. If reading about grown adults drinking, puking, acting like idiots aka children then this book is for you. There is plenty of silliness but it really makes you wonder about people like this and how they behave.

JediTricks
08-03-2014, 02:26 PM
Plowing deeper into SW: A New Dawn last night, it's an uneven but not dull experience. There is a lot of modern life metaphor in there which an astute reader could perhaps feel taken out of the book by, but it does hold up for the SW universe for the most part. It's 400 pages long (plus exerpts at the back from a few other new books), which in paperback format means breaking the spine - I don't like having to do that, but I hate having to baby books just to read them so I went all Bane and it went all Bruce Wayne.

Bel-Cam Jos
08-03-2014, 05:50 PM
I foresee a potential sig line in that, JT: reading paperback books is back-breaking work. ;)

Well, I picked up a YA SW book today (see the SSG "Not Happy With Expanded Universe" thread for its review, which made for the following summer reading stats:

41 books read (all-time Bel-Cam record for summer). 10,600 pgs. (all-time Bel-Cam record for summer). 259 pgs. per book.
Authors' last names by alphabet: all but letters J, O, Q, V, or X
Most common letter by author: B, (8 = Burgess, Bond, Burgundy, Burnett, Bakeless, Barker, Bradbury, Brown)
Most-read author: (tie = 2) Ernest Hemingway, Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Genres: Star Wars (3), General Fiction (6), Science/Zoology (5), Non-Fiction (2), Education (1), Mystery (1), Sci-Fi/Fantasy (4), Auto/Biography (7), Young Adult (2), Classics (3), Humor (1), Western (1), Short Story Collections (3), History/Philosophy (2).

JediTricks
08-05-2014, 01:42 PM
Heh heh, if I read more paperbacks instead of e-books, I would totally use that.

Finished A New Dawn just in time to watch the Rebels preview - this book is stupidly long and gets lost in generic SW novel storytelling, there simply isn't enough worldbuilding or plot to justify the near-400 page length. The characters basically halt development in the first part and never move forward. There's a few notable moments but overall nothing whatsoever that justifies this length. And the book intentionally leaves out character development on one of the main characters which leaves a massive hole in its wake. I'd give it a 3.5/5 though, it's still readable and informs on the new universe without talking down to the reader.

Bel-Cam Jos
08-17-2014, 10:53 AM
John Steinbeck's The Long Valley. I thought I'd already (pun always intended) had this one, but in checking my list (LISTS... :drool: ) I had not. It's a collection of short stories, most quite short (under 15 pages) with some shockers (especially "Johnny Bear" ), some funny ones (especially "Saint Katy the Virgin" ), and one I know I've read the longer novel-length one before ("The Red Pony" ). It's been some time since I Steinbeck'd a new one, and I remembered why I like his work.

Bel-Cam Jos
08-31-2014, 04:31 PM
Paw and Order the 7th in the "Chet & Bernie Mysteries" series. This one was confusing; in fact, sometimes I wasn't sure it was a mystery to be solved, more of a relationship journey. As always, Chet's dog's-eye-view is the best part, but the ending came quite late. And that end was fairly abrupt and clear only that people were dead and therefore couldn't do any more harm.

JediTricks
09-01-2014, 02:29 AM
The Batman Chronicles, volume 1 - the first 16 stories of the Dark Knight in exact order on pulp paper, a nice birthday gift. It's really interesting stuff, and good reads for the most part (too much narration tho, it feels like it's cribbing from earlier pulp works both comic and prose).

JimJamBonds
09-29-2014, 09:49 PM
The Loyal Lieutenant by George Hincapie. George is a now retired American bike rider who was with Lance Armstrong during his Tour victories and yes drugs are talked about. It was interesting he went from against them, took them and then was against them again at the end of the time on the bike. While he answers some questions he leaves plenty still unanswered and undressed.

JimJamBonds
09-30-2014, 08:12 PM
Rescue of the Bounty: Disaster and Survival in Super Storm Sandy by Michael J. Tougias and Douglas A. Campbell. The Bounty was a recreation of the English ship of the same name that was made in 1960 for the film Mutiny On The Bounty (the Brando version). The Bounty was in port in Long Island and her captain ignored warnings and took the ship out to sea. About 100 miles off the coast of North Carolina the Bounty went under, thankfully due to the efforts of the USCG 14 of the 16 sailors were saved.

On a side note, I've been on the Bounty and talked to the crew while they were in Green Bay for a tall ships event where I was there as a historical reenactor. She was a beautiful ship and is missed.

DarthQuack
10-10-2014, 12:36 AM
Pete Rose: An American Dilemma ​

El Chuxter
10-28-2014, 01:25 AM
I just finished a book called Loot. I don't normally read young adult fiction (nothing against it, I just don't normally read it). However, something about the author's name made me interested: Jude Watson.

She told better stories about the youngsters who would grow up to become Ben Kenobi and Darth Vader than George Lucas could dream of doing, and she still has the touch. Though, unfortunately, she's writing only about kids in a more realistic world.

Disney, bring Watson and Stackpole back to Star Wars books, for God's sake!!

Bel-Cam Jos
10-28-2014, 08:49 PM
Disney, bring Watson and Stackpole back to Star Wars books, for God's sake!!Sorry, but it appears that John Jackson Brown Steve Miller sold his soul for the rights to SW fiction headliner status.

OC47151
11-12-2014, 06:59 PM
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum. I've been wanting to read this one for a while, since the first movie came out. It's different from the movie, more detailed and a variation on the plot. I enjoyed it.

Bel-Cam Jos
11-12-2014, 08:18 PM
A local columnist I've met a few times compiled 26 of his columns into a single volume: David Allen's Pomona A to Z, in which he informs the public about various people, places, and events that start with each letter of the alphabet (apparently he got the idea from a PBS special called "Pittsburgh A to Z" that did the same thing). Easy to read, and makes sense if you live in the area.

Bel-Cam Jos
11-23-2014, 09:17 PM
As You Wish by Cary Elwes & Joe Layden, which is from the actor who played Westley's memories of the film. Although, it was overly positive, to the point you wonder just how true all of it was (but I do think it was the pleasant process he described). A little simplistic in its style, and a bit repetitive (I wonder just how and where the co-author helped him), yet very nice to hear that Hollywood productions aren't all money-grabbing and ego-stroking. Had to check out some scenes online after to remind me of how great it was (or seeking out outtakes and bloopers).

Bel-Cam Jos
11-26-2014, 10:58 AM
Since I've been tracking my yearly reading, I finished my 70th book (a new record) of 2014 yesterday, Chris Taylor's How Star Wars Conquered the Universe. The "Other SW Canonical" thread here in the Comics & Books section has my review, but I thought I'd mention it here, too, as a worthwhile read for SW fans.