Author Topic: Rate the last book you just read  (Read 123513 times)

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Offline Noisy Rhysling

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #1110 on: December 27, 2019, 08:47:54 AM »
The Martian, by Andy Weir. I read my first scifi book* the year JFK was (informally) promoted to sainthood. Lots of "hard scifi" since then and I have to say that this book is the best of that niche since The Mote in God's Eye. Luckily for Andy, he had an untold number of nerds checking his math during the writing process. And that writing process has become the subject matter of certain Uni Lit. classes. I doubt the process can be reproduced because there was a large Topsy factor involved. In any case it's a fun read if you don't want dragons in your fiction.  ;) 

Oh, and if you think the movie covered much of the material in the book I STRONGLY suggest you read the book. I don't know if it's still free online.

*Bullard of the Space Patrol

I tried to read the book but found the format intolerably dull. I was also annoyed that a book promoted as "getting the science right" had so much anti-science in it.

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This was not a "scientifically accurate" story.
I think you are referring to the movie.
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In the theatrical cut when Andy reboards Hermes in the movie he says he hasn't had a bath in a year. In the extended cut he says he could teach things like making hot tub out of an RTG and some spare tubing.

One thing I found annoying was that they had huge maps of Mars at the control center but had to borrow a mounted poster from the break room to project Mark's course. Seriously, Google Earth would have been easy enough.
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Offline lonely moa

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #1111 on: January 12, 2020, 02:43:15 PM »
"The Goodness Paradox", Richard Wrangham.  10/10.  Not an easy read (like his "Catching Fire") but full of stuff I didn't know. Mind you, he does say in the introduction that most of what is in the book has only been available in the "literature".

What was the first domesticated mammal?  Humans.

Fifty years of studying chimps, bonobos and humans in Africa (as well as being a professor at Harvard) gives the man some cred.  Makes me think, once again, there should be a Nobel for biology.
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Offline Noisy Rhysling

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #1112 on: January 12, 2020, 03:31:13 PM »
Finished John Varley's Thunder and Lightning series (four books). This is kinda/sorta in the Eight Worlds universe but doesn't depend on EW books to be readable. I continue to be massively impressed with JV and continue to wish I was a Titanide, maybe then I could carry a tune.
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Online daniel1948

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #1113 on: January 12, 2020, 06:49:51 PM »
The Secret Commonwealth - 4/10

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Bottom line, this book is truly disappointing to me after loving His Dark Materials.

I loved The Golden Compass. A truly marvelous book. I thought the second in the trilogy was a big step down, and the third was enjoyable, but only just. Thanks for the warning that The Book of Dust is worse.
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Online daniel1948

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #1114 on: January 12, 2020, 07:05:44 PM »
Finally finished reading Moby Dick (for the third or fourth time). There are some dull patches, but what really made it hard to read this time was that after all the time I've spend with whales on the ocean (albeit a different species of whale) I found the whole topic of the book (killing whales) and the callous manner in which the killing of whales is spoken about, to be extremely disturbing. I kept having to put the book down for days at a time. The title character is constantly described as being evil and monstrous for fighting back when people try to kill him.

The book, however, is very well-written and constructed, and is both exciting and informative, for all the details about whaling that it contains.

My understanding is that humpback whales (the ones we see here in Maui in January and February) were never hunted during the days of sail because they are too fast. The peduncle muscle of the humpback whale is the strongest muscle in the animal kingdom. The humpback needs only two swishes of its tail to breach entirely out of the water. Interesting trivia: Herman Melville had heard rumors that there was such a thing as the blue whale, but he was skeptical and doubted that such an animal existed.
Daniel
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Online daniel1948

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #1115 on: January 12, 2020, 07:04:32 PM »
Duplicate post.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 09:35:35 AM by daniel1948 »
Daniel
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Offline Eternally Learning

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #1116 on: January 12, 2020, 08:56:24 PM »
The Secret Commonwealth - 4/10

(click to show/hide)

Bottom line, this book is truly disappointing to me after loving His Dark Materials.

I loved The Golden Compass. A truly marvelous book. I thought the second in the trilogy was a big step down, and the third was enjoyable, but only just. Thanks for the warning that The Book of Dust is worse.

To be fair, La Belle Sauvage is a perfectly fine book on its own.  The story is more or less self-contained and does provide some interesting backstory to HDM.  The Secret Commonwealth caught me completely off guard.

Offline JadeGL

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #1117 on: January 14, 2020, 09:50:31 AM »
I finished Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made by Jason Schreier.

I'm now reading The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe: How to Know What's Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake. I'm over halfway through according to my Kindle progress. ;)

I am also reading the Penguin Classics version of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Blood, Sweat and Pixels is very interesting if you are into video game news and the inner workings of publishers/developers etc. However, each chapter covers only one game, so it's mostly just a broad look at the video game industry and a few specific games and not a more intense drill down into any one specific game or news story. I already knew the basic stories concerning a few of the games covered in the book, such as Diablo III and Destiny. While those chapters had some interesting bits, I already pretty much knew what the focus of the chapter was going to be about overall, so it wasn't surprising or unexpected. The chapters about games and studios that I wasn't familiar with, such as Stardew Valley and CD Projekt Red, were much more interesting. Overall I would recommend it as I was always entertained, but I would also warn potential readers that if you follow video game news you probably already know 1/4 to 1/2 of what is written in the book.

Online Sawyer

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #1118 on: January 21, 2020, 10:40:37 PM »
Reamde by Neal Stephenson sucked up the last month of my life.  9/10

Maybe the most pure action in any of the Stephenson books I've read?  I was really worried for the first 100 pages of the book that it was just going to be computer nerd stuff the whole way through, but that luckily takes a back seat for most of the book.  The "apartment break-in" sequence is absolute gold.  The only issue I had was towards the end of the book there's just too many damn people to keep track of.  I realize this is not a unique problem to Reamde, it's just an inherent limitation of novels.  You simply cannot create a picture of a dozen different people spread out over terrain each with their own trajectories and motivations (and firearms) without the reader constantly forgetting important details.  Could have used a topographic map, I suppose.

Offline Swagomatic

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #1119 on: January 22, 2020, 11:31:23 AM »
Reamde by Neal Stephenson sucked up the last month of my life.  9/10

Maybe the most pure action in any of the Stephenson books I've read?  I was really worried for the first 100 pages of the book that it was just going to be computer nerd stuff the whole way through, but that luckily takes a back seat for most of the book.  The "apartment break-in" sequence is absolute gold.  The only issue I had was towards the end of the book there's just too many damn people to keep track of.  I realize this is not a unique problem to Reamde, it's just an inherent limitation of novels.  You simply cannot create a picture of a dozen different people spread out over terrain each with their own trajectories and motivations (and firearms) without the reader constantly forgetting important details.  Could have used a topographic map, I suppose.

Now you have to move on to Fall, or Dodge in Hell.  If you liked Reamde, you'll like this.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #1120 on: January 22, 2020, 07:03:11 PM »
I'm slowly making my way through Stephen Fry's Mythos. If you don't know it, he's retelling pretty much all of Greek mythology in his own words. If you like Fry, and you like mythology and folklore, you'll probably like this. He has a followup, Heroes, which is next in my queue.
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