Author Topic: Rate the last book you just read  (Read 66223 times)

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Offline Johnny Slick

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #825 on: March 30, 2017, 10:46:01 AM »


As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes - 8ish/10.
(click to show/hide)

I own this book, but have yet to read it. This made me a little more excited to move it up my list.

Likewise. I have it on audiobook.
I "read" it on audiobook myself and I think it might be the best way to "read" it. Cary Elwes does his own reading, with various other castmembers as well as William Goldman chiming in from time to time.
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Online Sawyer

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #826 on: March 31, 2017, 10:35:19 PM »
I'm a little over halfway through The Song of the Dodo:  Island Biogeography in the Age of Extinction  by David Quammen, who is becoming one of my favorite science writers.  Despite being almost 20 years old it holds up very well.  Although it should be an obvious lesson to anyone familiar with story of Galapagos finches, studying island populations is basically a huge cheat sheet for learning the mechanisms that drive evolution.  Quammen points out how people get the lesson of the Galapagos completely backwards:  its scientific value does not come from it's uniqueness, but from the fact it is a typical representation of archipelago islands.  I was also unaware how the finch story itself has slowly evolved into mythology.  Darwin's work on honeycreepers was apparently a much greater influence on this theories.  But enough about the Galapagos, as it's only one of dozens of islands discussed.  There's species of lemur on Madagascar that can tolerate cyanide in bamboo, which ends up telling us a tremendous amount about both their migration history and their evolution.  I was reminded of the fact that there were no mosquitoes on Hawaii until some jackass European dumped out a cask of old drinking water.  The question of why some species become giants and some become pygmies is looked at closely.  The titular extinction of dodos is briefly mentioned, although the more interesting aspect is how it's extinction did/did not influence other species' distributions on Mauritius.  There's some stuff about Aborigine tribes is Tasmania that was heartbreaking.

Quammen travels to virtually every location he writes about, in some cases multiple times.  He's almost mauled by a komodo dragon, gets roped into the grunt work for some field ecologists, and puts cryptozooligists to shame by making honest attempts to locate some extinct species.  I think National Geographic and Outside magazine are funding most of his trips, and I get a sinking feeling when I wonder if journalists will still be able to afford these excursions in 20 years.  I'm sure the only way to really appreciate the beauty and scientific lessons of remote islands is to go there yourself, but getting information from a competent writer that has been there is the next best thing.

9/10 for now, maybe higher if there are some profound insights later in the book.

Offline drwfishesman

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #827 on: April 01, 2017, 09:30:08 AM »
Age of Myth: Book One of The Legends of the First Empire by Michael J. Sullivan  8/10

What I thought would be a throw-away fantasy novel turned into an interesting page-turner. It hooked me. I read an article about the author, he has an interesting writing style. He writes the whole series of his stories before he releases them to the publisher, so every book is already written. It allows him to make connections between stories that give a depth to them.

I recommend, it scratches that itch.
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Offline Harry Black

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #828 on: April 22, 2017, 03:59:09 PM »
The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss 7/10
Rothfuss has a way of keeping you reading through sheer force of prose.
His writting is always enjoyable and some bits warrant immediate rereading due to their sheer beauty.
But.
Its not really a story as such. He says so himself and apologises before and after. Its a very short book (less than 150 pages), and was meant to be a short story, but nothing really happens in it.
The main character is Auri, a bit character from The Kingkiller Chronicle, and its a look into her mind and priorities as she goes about discovering and naming things in the sewer in which she lives.
If you have an afternoon and are bored of standard narrative then give it a go. I found it enjoyable but ultimately unsatisfying.

Offline Louie

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #829 on: May 01, 2017, 01:52:54 PM »
Ian McDonald

Brasyl 8/10

A novel with three narrative strands - contemporary, 18th century and mid-21st century - that stars three versions of vibrant Brazil, from Jesuits to the Rio glamour set to the favelas of the near future. It ties them all together with a serviceable but not particularly memorable yarn of quantum goings-on, but the language and the atmosphere make it a very enjoyable read. Think Gibson meets Conrad.

Luna series: New Moon and Wolf Moon 9/10

The moon has been colonised and has become an economic powerhouse controlled by five oligarchic family-run corporations. What follows is a shitload of intrigue, violence, a fair bit of f***ing and tense oxygen-related derring-do. In the recent trend, all the characters are shades of grey on the moral spectrum, but favourites do arise. Excellent read. I'd call it Game of Thrones in space, but then I'd have to beat myself over the head with a sock with half a brick in it.
"It can't end like this. Tell them I said something." - Pancho Villa's last words (1923).

Online Sawyer

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #830 on: May 04, 2017, 09:13:29 PM »
Neil Gaimain's new Norse Mythology was a lot of fun.  Not quite as humorous as his depiction of Norse gods in Sandman or American Gods, but worth checking out.

Guys, Loki got nailed by a horse and had a rape baby.  Why was this not in Avengers?

Offline lonely moa

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #831 on: May 22, 2017, 04:13:13 AM »
"Homo Deus", Yuval Harari.  10/10.  A must read.

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Offline Noisy Rhysling

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #832 on: May 22, 2017, 08:11:10 AM »
About 67% done with Jack L. Chalker's "Soul Rider" series, a five book trilogy. The first three books were originally one book, but rather chunky for mass market publication. World, as the locals call it, is highly unusual in my experience, you can do magic in Flux, but the 28 Anchor areas (large spots in the Flux) are mundane. As usual with Chalker, the characters are eccentric and the events are wild and unpredictable.

Filling in the gaps in my reading due to a twenty year lay-off in reading fiction, and Chalker's Well of Souls stories were my first choice. "Soul Rider" was new to me and reminded me that JLC was one hell of a lot smarter than I am.
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Offline superdave

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #833 on: May 22, 2017, 08:49:52 AM »
1984

It's a strange read in 2017.  I think we face many of the problems alluded to in the book, but the people watching us are not the government, it's facebook and google.

Offline starnado

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #834 on: May 22, 2017, 10:25:32 AM »
1984

It's a strange read in 2017.  I think we face many of the problems alluded to in the book, but the people watching us are not the government, it's facebook and google.

Once upon a time I struggled to understand the concept of doublethink. In this age of 'fake news' and the like, the term seems entirely apt and I feel like I understand it. I embraced skepticism to maintain my sanity in a world in which facts are less powerful than narrative. It seems so important to hold on to the real world.
'The little, stupid differences are nothing next to the big, stupid similarities'
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Offline MikeHz

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #835 on: May 22, 2017, 05:09:02 PM »
"Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind", Yuval Harari.  10/10.  A great read.

Okay, sounds good. I'm getting it.

There was a nice conversation with Sam Harris last week with Harari on Waking Up.

Turned out, the book was good. I also just finished "The Handmaid's Tale," which turned out better than expected. Atwood's a fine writer.
"It's easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled." Mark Twain

 

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