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KingBrianI

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I'm rereading this excellent series. IMHO this is much more gritty and realistic than Tolkien, Jordan or Goodkind, or the vast majority of fantasy writers, with the exception of Glen Cook. Ignore the cover-art and get stuck into the Amazon.com: The Black Company (Chronicles of The Black Company #1): Glen Cook: Books . Super, gritty, realistic fantasy from the perspective of a trooper in a mercenary unit. I cannot get enough of it!

In SciFi try Iain M. Banks... a good place to start ... Amazon.com: Consider Phlebas: Iain M. Banks: Books


Next for my attention the Soviet Gulag (should be depressing): Amazon.com: Gulag: A History: Anne Applebaum: Books

I've also just finished the released books of a Song of Fire and Ice and have thoroughlt enjoyed it. It's gritty realness is a nice touch in a genre frequently given to high fantasy. I also enjoyed his use of words that were very similar to real words, but not. I find myself wondering which of the words he uses are real and which are his creation, so believable they are. I've now moved on to Pillars of the Earth, as suggested in theis thread, and while the author's writing style seems a bit less polished that GRRM's, it is stil enjoyable.
 
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Parker36

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I'm bringing this thread back. Right now I have this book going at home. It is about John Wilkes booth, the assasination, and hunting him down. It almost reads like a novel with all the information that has been uncovered over the years.
 
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Dr_Deathweed

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"Pillars of the Earth" and "Song of Ice and Fire" Are freaking awesome! Some of my favorite reads.

Right now I am working on "Small Animal Clinical Diagnosis by Laboratory Methods" by Willard & Tvedten, Ettinger's "Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine" and re-reading DeLahunta's "Veterinary Neuroanatomy and Clinical Neurology" I am hoping more sticks the second time around :D
 
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I'm bringing this thread back. Right now I have this book going at home. It is about John Wilkes booth, the assasination, and hunting him down. It almost reads like a novel with all the information that has been uncovered over the years.
That's a great book. If you like that, check out Amazon.com: American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies: Michael W. Kauffman: Books. I bought it at Ford's Theater a few years ago. An excellent look at the assassination plot and subsequent Wilkes' escape.


Right now, I'm reading Amazon.com: Revelation: C.J. Sansom: Books. Historical fiction series, set in Tudor England. I'm thinking the atheists among us might get a kick out of this series and the total focus on religion during that period.:D
 

Revvy

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I've had this amazing novel to keep me company the last couple weeks, it was a great companion when I was laid up most of last week. I'm glad it's pretty dense....not boring but just has a lot going for it to capturer attention.



Ireland by Frank Delaney is the story of a young boy, Ronan O'Mara, who in 1951 at the age of 9 encounters an itinerant storyteller, who regales Ronan and others with magical tales, blending myth and fiction, of Ireland's past. Ronan is so taken with the storyteller and his stories that he starts a quest to find him, a difficult undertaking as the storyteller has no address - the storyteller wanders the countryside, staying with people who will feed him and give shelter in exchange for telling stories. Thus starts a life long passion for Ronan - collecting the folklore of Ireland, and uncovering Ireland's history.

The book's plot structure of Ronan's search for the storyteller is a convenient container for the true gems of this novel - wonderful, colorful stories covering the breadth of Irish history, from the making of the 5000 year old tomb at New Grange, the legend and fact of St. Patrick, Strongbow and the invasion of the Anglo-Normans, Daniel O'Connell and the repeal of the penal laws, to the 20th century troubles. In every breath of this novel, the Irish gift of gab is celebrated.
 

Chad

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Half way through the last Harry Potter book.

I'm hoping to read the next Ice and Fire book soon, but may just lose interest in that series. I'm pretty sure GRRM will croak before he finishes the series. He seems more interested in other things nobody* cares about from the looks of his blog. Ya, I'm pretty frustrated with him.

*nobody = me.
 

avaserfi

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I am thinking about picking up Ruhlman's Ratio fairly soon. Any thoughts on the book? It looks like a must own from what I have seen so far.

Edit: Just looked at your blog. Seems like a good choice to pick up. Any other thoughts?
 

flyangler18

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I've not been reading anything new as of late, besides ye olde brewing books that have recently been added to my library.

I guess the Brewer's Association style books don't count, eh? Just added 'Mild', 'Altbier' and 'Scotch Ale'. :D
 

dontman

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I am reading a Biography of Ben Franklin. Best recent read was "Pillars of the Earth". That was an incredible book that I highly recommend.

EDIT for Detail: The bio is interesting but a standard bio... if you like them you would like this one, he was an interesting dude in a turbulent time.

Pillars is an incredible epic that spans 3 generations in Feudal England. It follows multiple story lines and characters that are all involved in each other's lives and the main glue that holds the story together is the building of the Cathedral at Kingsbridge. This book brought out true emotion and the character development is second to none IMHO. Epic in scale and detail it is a great read, and fast considering its impressive length.
I also loved Pillars but the sequel World Without End I found to be terrible. It was very contrived and formulaic. The characters were all uni-dimensional archetypes - good or evil, heroic or sniveling, etc. It started okay but quickly (in Ken Follett terms, meaning about 200 pages in) devolved into a never-ending series of frustrations and artificial drama insertions.
 

dontman

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Oh, for Hard Science Fiction fans, I love the Foundation series by Asimov.
 

Parker36

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Started "Nine Hills to Nambonkaha: Two Years in the Heart of an African Village" Pretty good so far. About a girl who lives in the Ivory COast for two years in the Peace Corps.

I've also been working my way through the Harry Potter Audio books when my eyes/hands are otherwise occupied by busy work
 

Chad

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I am thinking about picking up Ruhlman's Ratio fairly soon. Any thoughts on the book? It looks like a must own from what I have seen so far.

Edit: Just looked at your blog. Seems like a good choice to pick up. Any other thoughts?
Ratio is definitely a keeper, though I have some quibbles with the methodology in some spots. Using a weight ratio for roux, for example, is unnecessarily complicated. And biscuits should take 20 minutes, tops, not a couple of hours. With that said, Ratio is one of those books you read to understand cooking better (like McGee's "On Food & Cooking" or Shirley Coriher's "Cookwise") rather than actually cooking from. As a major step toward freeing yourself from recipes and really understanding what is going on in your sauté pan, it is a winner.

Chad

edited to add: In the interests of full disclosure, I helped test the recipes in the sausage chapter, another passion of mine, and am thanked quite graciously in the acknowledgments in the back of the book. I don't think that colors my endorsement of the book, but I like to be as up front as possible.
 

avaserfi

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Ratio is definitely a keeper, though I have some quibbles with the methodology in some spots. Using a weight ratio for roux, for example, is unnecessarily complicated. And biscuits should take 20 minutes, tops, not a couple of hours. With that said, Ratio is one of those books you read to understand cooking better (like McGee's "On Food & Cooking" or Shirley Coriher's "Cookwise") rather than actually cooking from. As a major step toward freeing yourself from recipes and really understanding what is going on in your sauté pan, it is a winner.

Chad
Great too hear. I rarely use recipes, unless I am testing some for someone and love both McGee's and Corriher's books. So Ratio is next on my list! Thanks for the recommendation.
 

david_42

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I'm on the last book of Joan D. Vinge's Snow Queen series. Extremely good writer, somewhat weak on science but her "smartmatter" concept is interesting. The series is Snow Queen, World's End, Summer Queen.
 

KingBrianI

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I also loved Pillars but the sequel World Without End I found to be terrible. It was very contrived and formulaic. The characters were all uni-dimensional archetypes - good or evil, heroic or sniveling, etc. It started okay but quickly (in Ken Follett terms, meaning about 200 pages in) devolved into a never-ending series of frustrations and artificial drama insertions.
I've just finished World Without End and while not as entertaining as Pillars, I didn't find it terrible. It was contrived, as you said, and my biggest problem with it was that it followed almost exactly the same formula as Pillars. Each character could relate back to a character in the first book to fulfill a particular role. Alfred was William. Merthin was Jack. etc. I was able to finish it, though it wasn't a page-turner.
 

dontman

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I've just finished World Without End and while not as entertaining as Pillars, I didn't find it terrible. It was contrived, as you said, and my biggest problem with it was that it followed almost exactly the same formula as Pillars. Each character could relate back to a character in the first book to fulfill a particular role. Alfred was William. Merthin was Jack. etc. I was able to finish it, though it wasn't a page-turner.
Exactly.

Every once in a while I go on a historical novel kick. Michener has put out some gems in that arena. Hawaii and Chesapeake are standouts among his body of work.
 

dontman

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As far as audio books, I loved the "Series of Unfortunate Events" books. Tim Curry's readings are stellar.
 

yourdudeness

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Designing Great Beers.
For anyone interested in stepping up from kits to designing their own recipes without serendipity. Clear, concise and detailed. Highly recommended.
 

Marko73

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I just finished:

The Mayflower: A story of Courage, Community, and War, by Nathaniel Philbrick

One of the better books I have read on the subject. I think we all learned a certain story of the Pilgrims in elementary school and then learned another story of how wrong that story was. . .

Philbrick did a great job discussing the history of the Mayflower voyage, Plimoth colony and the relationship with the Native Americans in its historical context. It was interesting to read the success of the early relationships between the Pilgrims under Bradford and the Pokanokets under Massasoit. It then chronicled how that relationship fell apart with the 'next' generation of Pilgrims and Massasoit's sons. Excellent book for anyone who loves history.

Just began:

The Army of the Republic, by Stuart Archer Cohen.

I will keep you posted.

Great thread!!!
 

kornbread

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I just wanted to cast another vote for "Pillars of the Earth". It's a great book. I finally finished "Sarum". I didn't enjoy it nearly as much.

I've read a couple of Wilbur Smith's Courtney novels. (Birds of Prey and Monsoon) I absolutely loved them! They are full of adventure and they really take you away to far off places. I didn't realize there were so many of them. (Until I looked them up to link them here. :)) Now I have to read all of them.

I do love political thrillers. (Clancy, Flynn, Ludlum, etc.)

And Stephen Hunter's "Swagger" books are pretty cool too.

Paperback Vs. Hardcover? Paperback is more convenient to carry around but, hardcover is just plain nicer to hold.

As far as "re-reads". Occasionally, I pick up my copy of Frankenstein and read a few random pages.
 

flyangler18

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I'd almost completely forgotten about this thread; I have three books going right now:

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee. Saw it at my church booksale and it brought back memories. Paid $.10 for it, too!

The Simarillion, JRR Tolkien

Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
 

Revvy

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I'm reading a Novel of the last days of the Civil War;



Yes it THE Gene Hackman...Evidently he retired from acting a few years back and has written or co written several historical fiction novels. Although I would have to say it's a little stilted story wise. it has been really acclaimed by historians for it's accuracy especially for the depictions of Andersonville Prison, and life in Northern and Southern towns during the Civil War.
 

Mountainbeers

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Another one from my favorite author:

Killing Yourself to Live - 85% of a True Story
by Chuck Klosterman



From Publishers Weekly:

"Klosterman follows up on 2003's Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by expanding on an article he wrote for Spin about driving cross-country to visit several of America's most famous rock and roll death sites, from the Rhode Island club where more than 90 Great White fans died in a fire, to the Iowa field where Buddy Holly's plane crashed. Along the way, Klosterman opines on rock music, never afraid to offend—as when he interprets a Radiohead album as a 9/11 prophecy or reminds readers that before Kurt Cobain's suicide, many preferred Pearl Jam to Nirvana. The quest to uncover these deaths' social significance is quickly overwhelmed by Klosterman's personal obsessions, especially his agonizing over sexual relationships. He applies semifictional techniques to these concerns, inventing an imaginary conversation in the car with three girlfriends that becomes the book's centerpiece. This literary cleverness recalls classic gonzo journalism, but also contains a self-conscious edge, inviting comparison to Dave Eggers. Klosterman also worries his neuroses will brand him as "the male Elizabeth Wurtzel," but he needn't fret. Despite their shared subject matter of drug use and cultural musing, Klosterman has clearly established that he has a potent voice all his own."
 
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Thanks for reviving this, Jason.
I've been in a mindless reading mode, meaning not much thinking involved. Just finished John Lescroart's "A Plague of Secrets" and David Baldacci's "First Family."
Currently reading Henry Beston's "The Outermost House" and Nick Hornby's "Juliet, Naked."
 

GregR

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I've currently reading "what is the what" by Dave Eggers. that and "Sociology - a down to earth approach". the first one is a much much more entertaining read. :)
 

forcera

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Just finished "33 Questions About American History You're Not Supposed to Ask" by Thomas Woods. He is one of my favorites; I actually got to hear him speak at a conference while I was in college.

Currently reading "The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gambling & Tax Cuts" by Wayne Allen Root

Next "The Revolution: A Manifesto" by Ron Paul

However I'm always reading something about beer, right now Im working through "Tasting Beer: An Insider's Guide to the World's Greatest Drink" by Randy Mosher. It’s my bathroom book.
 

ThickHead

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A little off topic, but: Does anybody hate hardcover books as much as I do? I would pay more for a paperback copy than hardcover its that bad.
It depends on the book's purpose for me actually. If I am using a book anywhere near my kitchen I will always purchase books in hardcover. Most examples here would be cookbooks, etc. Two recent purchase examples for me are as follows:

  • The River Cottage Meat Book - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

  • Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing - Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn

These are two quality books that should be in every chef or cook's library as long as they dig meat.

As for other literary nurishment, I just finished rereading this one for about the 10th time:


  • Iron John: A Book About Men - Robert Bly

    An analysis, by Robert Bly, of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale where the author identifies lessons from the fairy tale which may be particularly meaningful to men. The analysis will certainly put you in mind of the writings and lectures of Joseph John Campbell if you have had the pleasure of perusing any of his work. If you havn't (and you havn't been living under a rock) then you have certainly been exposed to work influenced by him. At any rate, this can be an eye-opening read for some in either, or both, a pleasureable and/or painful way.

Prior to that I indulged myself in rereading Frank Herbert's Dune and Dune Messiah. Not sure this work needs much narrative description other than maybe my "two thumbs-up."

I am also about halfway through The Sword of Truth books by Terry Goodkind. I was gobbling these up rather quickly until I needed a fantasy fiction break. If you are interested in this genre please do not let the terrible TV series detract you from giving at least the first book in the series (Wizards First Rule) a go.

As I just finished my last book yesterday I am still in decision-making mode as to what I will pick up next. Time for a trip to the bookstore or a look back through my library. I often like to reread books when in the mood.
 

hal2814

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I always try to juggle an escapist novel, a history book, and a work of literature at any given time. Here are my current reads:

Escapist Novel: Fletch Won - This is the story Kevin Smith was trying to make a movie out of and I can see why. I don't like many of the Fletch series but this one is great.

History: Themopyle: Battle for the West - I was initially drawn to this book because someone actually bothered to research the Persian side of things and Bradford isn't really heavy-handed towards either side of the battle.

Literature: The Sun Also Rises - Bullfighting, drinking, anti-semitism... What's not to like? So far it's a good but not spectacular Hemmingway novel.
 

Ashz

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I am also about halfway through The Sword of Truth books by Terry Goodkind. I was gobbling these up rather quickly until I needed a fantasy fiction break. If you are interested in this genre please do not let the terrible TV series detract you from giving at least the first book in the series (Wizards First Rule) a go.

As I just finished my last book yesterday I am still in decision-making mode as to what I will pick up next. Time for a trip to the bookstore or a look back through my library. I often like to reread books when in the mood.
I really enjoy this series myself. The show is as stated TERRIBLE! Can't even watch a minute of them.

If you are interested in some fantasy, I am currently on the second book in this series and I like it very much. http://www.amazon.com/dp/055357339X/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

If anyone else is interested in a site with a lot of audio books check out

http://www.myanonamouse.net/inviteapp.php

This has boatloads of good downloads. No music, adult material, videos, movies. Only books about practically everything.

I believe I have a couple invites available pm me if you are interested.
 
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Parker36

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Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer (Into Thin Air, Into the Wild). It goes over the stories behind Mormanism, its history, and the crazy pedophile fundamentalists. Very interesting book.
 

Jim Karr

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David McCullough- 1776. A very detailed history of the last months before the Revolutionaries won the colonies from the Brits.


Randy Alcorn--Heaven. This guy has spent 20 years researching and compiling what Scripture really says about Heaven. After reading this, I'm like a kid on Christmas Eve.
 

Parker36

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Randy Alcorn--Heaven. This guy has spent 20 years researching and compiling what Scripture really says about Heaven. After reading this, I'm like a kid on Christmas Eve.
Like are going to off yourself tonight because you can't wait excited?
 

forcera

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I just picked up Super Freakonomics. It's the follow up to Freakonomics.

I got it for 70% off too. It was 20% off because it's new. Then Barns and Noble book club members got an extra 10% off. Then I had a coupon for 40% off. The coupon said that it couldn't be added to other offers, but if the lady working at a book store can't read...oh well.
 
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