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Author Topic: Anybody read a good book lately?  (Read 88898 times)

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Diomedes

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Re: Anybody read a good book lately?
« Reply #1350 on: July 24, 2015, 09:26:16 PM »

Christ, that's as cool as Zanshin's rock star son.  Good on you.
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ice grillin you

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Re: Anybody read a good book lately?
« Reply #1351 on: July 25, 2015, 09:02:39 AM »

some chick just came out with a novel called gonzo girl that acts as a loosely based real life experience of her time as hunter s thompsons assistant in the early 90's thats supposed to be very good
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rjs246

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Re: Anybody read a good book lately?
« Reply #1352 on: July 25, 2015, 03:57:43 PM »

some chick just came out with a novel called gonzo girl that acts as a loosely based real life experience of her time as hunter s thompsons assistant in the early 90's thats supposed to be very good

IN
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ice grillin you

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Re: Anybody read a good book lately?
« Reply #1353 on: July 26, 2015, 03:10:44 AM »

some chick just came out with a novel called gonzo girl that acts as a loosely based real life experience of her time as hunter s thompsons assistant in the early 90's thats supposed to be very good

IN

yeah i figured you and dio would be IN
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Seabiscuit36

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Re: Anybody read a good book lately?
« Reply #1354 on: August 06, 2015, 04:02:02 PM »

I was mildly disappointed that the title wasn't about her time in the Adult Film industry
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smeags

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Re: Anybody read a good book lately?
« Reply #1355 on: September 08, 2015, 03:38:10 PM »

thought this would be the best place to post this - not sure how many of you may have read the comic strip "bloom county" back in the day but Berkeley breathed started it back up in july.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2015, 03:58:49 PM by smeags »
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Re: Anybody read a good book lately?
« Reply #1356 on: September 08, 2015, 03:48:56 PM »

X
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phattymatty

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Re: Anybody read a good book lately?
« Reply #1357 on: September 08, 2015, 04:12:47 PM »

some chick just came out with a novel called gonzo girl that acts as a loosely based real life experience of her time as hunter s thompsons assistant in the early 90's thats supposed to be very good

i read this a week or two ago. meh. i mean i guess it was entertaining enough but knowing what it was based on, i expected more.
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Diomedes

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Re: Anybody read a good book lately?
« Reply #1358 on: August 14, 2016, 03:28:02 PM »

Went up to Deep Creek this weekend for three nights.  Read a book.

John Renehan's The Valley

Thriller/detective style novel set in modern day (war-consumed) Afghanistan.  It was a page turner.  I have some confusion about who did what and how it all went down in the end.  Perhaps that's the point, I don't know.  Seems more like the end wasn't flushed out as well as it could have been.  With another edit and review, the author might have retained all the excitement and suspense, but cleared up some of the confusion.

It was well received and may have said it gives a good primer to what life is like in our current war in Afganistan. 

Fell into my lap and I read it; have no particular interest in the genre, if you will.

Now that I'm back to normal life, probably won't actually finish a book for a long time.   Well, other than the ones I read to my children.  Recently wrapped up Treasure Island, moving on to Call of the Wild next.  Reading these aloud at night turns out to be more fun than getting drunk and watching football.  that is incredibly accurate.
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Re: Anybody read a good book lately?
« Reply #1359 on: September 08, 2016, 10:29:26 PM »

Read the whole Fire and Ice series from Martin.  Good story, too much time spent on food and banner descriptions.  Now i'm waiting for the next book like the rest of the world
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Diomedes

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Re: Anybody read a good book lately?
« Reply #1360 on: October 20, 2018, 10:16:29 AM »

The older I get the less I can tolerate television and movies.  I watch basically nothing but Eagles football.  I can go years without seeing a movie.  The only way I can entertain myself is by being active, not passive.  Games and puzzles work.  That is, I'm able to forget myself for a while as I'm busy figuring shtein out in the game.  And of course, there's reading.  Without books, I'd probably just rather die. 

Recently:

Frederick Douglass --  Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave - Holy shtein this man was a giant.  Fascinating to read this man's first account of his life as a slave in parts of the world that I know pretty well.  Among other things I liked Douglass' observations of people's character.  He put flesh and blood into the figures of different slavers who traded him, as well as some of his fellow slaves.  I could see in my imagination the fields he was made to work under Covey, and also the ships at Fell's Point in Baltimore.  Fascinating read. 


Nicholas Monsarrat --  The Cruel Sea - An account of wartime life aboard the British corvette class convoy escort ships of WWII.  I knew little of this part of the war prior...America sitting over there doing farg all as the Germans enjoyed years of target practice taking out merchant ships from their U boats.  I was surprised by how modern the language was--a few anachronistic phrases and the like but generally it was the same English we use today.  It's characters are good at Sea but on land, and in matters of domestic life, they flag and their stories smack of cliche.  From what I gather, this book was an amalgamation of several shorter pieces Monsarrat had written previously, and is considered his best work.


Erik Larson --  Devil in the White City - Two subjects addressed in tandem, set in the same time and place (roughly):  the effort by Chicago's (and eventually, America's) leading architects to produce the World's Fair of 1893, and the career of on of America's first famous serial killers.  I found the former story fascinating, and ate it up, but the latter uninteresting and a chore.  I couldn't care less about serial killers and their methods.  The cop who eventually figured it all out was interesting.  As for the Fair, I couldn't get enough of that.  As a carpenter, I was fascinated by the scale of the building, and the characters who lead the Fair are a laundry list of Important people from the time.  Well worth the read just for the education about Chicago and the Fair at the end of the 19th century. 


Phillip K. Dick --  The Man in the High Castle - Billed as "alternate history" and "science fiction" at once, this is the first of Dick's work that I've read.  I'm broadly aware of his place in the canon of American writing, and also that he was an all-time speed freak, neither of which helped me to appreciate the book any better than I might have done if I came to it completely ignorant of the man.  As it happened, I suspected from the start that I was merely being dragged along in the frantic uppers-rush of his writing by the idiotic genius you think you've become amidst the crazy flow of thoughts that cascade relentlessly though an amphetamine-besotted mind.  The actual language was interesting and if not exactly a pleasure to read, it was definitely something more accomplished than the unremarkable style of Erik Larson, which I read just before this.  At the end of Man..Castle, I was just glad to be done, and despite his reputation for putting big questions to the reader, I didn't find anything in it too very interesting.  Clever idea, Japan taking the U.S. from CA to the Rockies, and the Germans getting the rest, etc.  But the whole circular, self-referential b.s. about an important author writing a book of alternate history in which America wins the war was just too clever by half.  I could be persuaded otherwise perhaps, but I don't think this is anymore than pseudo-intellectual jerking off, that passes well in coffee shops with young edgy people...  I'll give his work another chance some day, as I'm told that Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is better.


John Le Carre --  The Spy Who Came in from the Cold -- This was my first exposure to Le Carre, and I loved it.  What an outstanding breath of fresh air the writing was after the jarring staccato of The Man in the High Castle.  Concise, sharp, excellent writing, with good characters and momentum.  I'm not a spy novel guy, or into mysteries, so this was not typical reading.  The closest I've come to the genre is some Eric Ambler.  I was glad to find that it is not a page turning spy thriller along the lines of Tom Cruise movies, but instead more of a rumination on black questions about how far one can go in opposing evil without becoming so.  I often wonder it it will always require a Stalin to defeat a Hitler, as it were, and the abdication of morality that is accepted, even embraced, by the spies who are supposedly fighting to preserve good things, is good shtein to chew on with a second deep whiskey in the evening.  I will read Le Carre again now that I find he's doing more than just spinning yarns about dashing spies.

Richard Price -- The Whites  - Very good modern American writing, page turning cops story, written in short passages that come off more like a script for the Wire than as a novel, but entertaining nevertheless.  Hardly an important work, nothing really to chew on here, but a pleasant read and Price nails modern urban American life.  I've also read Lush Life--which I think was better than The Whites--and would recommend Price as a not-quite frivolous page turner, but that's all.  If for no other reason, his language is top notch.  Some passages are so packed with fresh, accurate descriptions of people's motives, or expressions, etc. that they warrant re-reading and underlining as examples of talented writing.

Edgar Lee Masters --  Spoon River Anthology - Published 1915, this book is something else.  Masters offers a portrait of small town middle America that strips the facade of wholesome rural-values, and reveals the truth:  sex with people you'r not supposed to farg, murder, suicide, lifelong misery, graft and charity alike, all these things better and worse, thrive wherever the human heart beats...not just in the big cities.  The most interesting thing to me, other than the indictment of those small town Americans who like to see themselves (in today's lingo) as people of family values, as being no better than those denizens of iniquity in the City, is the way the story is told:  Master gives the reader an epitaph from each of dozens and dozens of townfolk.  Short passages that link one to another, the more so the better you pay attention.  But that's the rub:  he's given the reader such small chunks of narrative that it's easy to sample a bit now and a bit later, like snacking, rather than taking good long sections at a time, like a meal.  If the reader succumbs to the lure of taking the tale in bits and pieces, he will miss a great many of the connections that give the book depth.  In order to appreciate the larger tapestry, you really need to read the book through in big sections, but the format almost begs the reader to take small bites rather than a whole meal.  I'd love to ask Masters why he chose this method.  I think I will re-read this one some time sooner than later, because I'm sure I've missed subtle connections that enrich the work.

Next up, either The Sot Weed Factor, by John Barth, or Toland's Adolf Hitler.  Likely, the latter.  When reading The Man in the High Castle, I was ashamed by how little I knew of the few prominent Nazis mentioned.  I mean, I broadly get that Rommel was a tank guy in Africa, and Goebbals was the propaganda guy and all that, but I realized that I need to know the Nazis and their history better than I do.  Toland was recommended to me as an excellent start upon the European WW2 and Nazi history.  I do like big books, too...if they are good there's nothing like 1000 pages of something to suck me out of my own world.  This one might not be such a pleasant diversion as Middlemarch or Moby Dick, but it comes highly praised as being readable, etc.  We'll see.

Anyone else doing some good reading?
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Diomedes

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Re: Anybody read a good book lately?
« Reply #1361 on: October 20, 2018, 08:35:10 PM »

I forgot to mention:

William March -- Company K -- Another book, like Spoon River Anthology, composed of vignettes from fictional characters, rather than a long form narrative.  This one also has connections between some of the different accounts, but is not as reliant on the inter-relations between the characters for the reader to appreciate the work.  This is a book about serving in World War 1 -  March was a U.S. Marine - and it's brutal shtein.   Here is another book (like Cruel Sea that was published at a time - 1933-- when i would have thought social mores would prevent such frank language and treatment of terrible things, and again, it's surprisingly modern in language.  I guess not a lot has changed in the 90 years or so since it was published, but it's just not full of terms of phrase or idioms that I find archaic.  Could just be a (very old) grandpa speaking straight to you.  Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed it, if you could call it that.  The characters are dreamt up, but Studs Terkel couldn't tell you that if the author claimed otherwise, they seem so real.  Highly recommended.
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