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What book did you just finish reading?
Kenny VenOsdel
United States
Saint Paul
Minnesota
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Yeah, yeah. Another list that's not about boardgames....deal with it.

I find it interesting to see what people are reading sometimes and I thought a neat way to do it would be a subscription list that you post on after you finish a book. So here it is!

Post here after you finish reading something and let us know what you thought! Each time you finish a book just add a new item. I'm curious to see who the most frequent posters are.

All domains of BGG are welcome to participate.
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[1]  Prev «  18 , 19 , 20 , 21 , 22  Next »  [41] | 
476. Board Game: Mythos [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1658]
Mark Christopher
United States
Salem
Massachusetts
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In the wonderful game, Bonaparte at Marengo, this is how to get nasty Frenchies out of a village.
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I just finished the second book in Charles Stross' Laundry Files, The Jennifer Morgue. I found it an improvement on the first tale in the series, The Atrocity Archives, though both are good reads. The way he delved a bit into the relationship with a couple of the Lovecraftian entities humans sometimes deal with, and how he very overtly takes the spy trope over the top were nicely done. I can imagine that it wouldn't sit well with some folks, but others will appreciate it.

Not sure what I'm going to read next; I could jump right into his next Laundry Files book, The Fuller Memorandum, but if it's delivered in time, I'll crack open The Killing Star by Charles Pellegrino and George Zebrowski, instead.
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477. Board Game: Tyrant: Battles of Carthage versus Syracuse [Average Rating:8.08 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.08 Unranked]
Andreas Johansson
Sweden
Linköping
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The Tyrants of Syracuse: War in Ancient Sicily: Volume II: 367-211 BC, by Jeff Champion

You might recall me posting about volume I. This is very much in the same vein, carrying the story down to the Roman conquest in 211 (or 212, the dating is a bit uncertain). There's a dreary repetitiousness to the endless campaigns and to the recurrent coups and conflicts inside Syracuse itself, but the author makes a brave attempt at keeping it straight and going beyond a mere repition of facts (or conjectures: the ancient narrative sources sometimes conflict and often leave things unexplained). Still, I found it a bit heavy going and ended up finishing a number of other books in the meantime (specifically, those I've mentioned here since mid-July).
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478. RPG Item: Playing Reality [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
T'Leynti
Netherlands
Oud-Beijerland
Zuid-Holland
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You proceed from a false assumption. I am a Vulcan. I have no ego to bruise.
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- The reality dysfunction (first part of a trilogy) big science fiction / horror novel (Hamilton)
- The fist of God (Forsyth)
- The rule of four (Caldwell/Thomasson) lots of puzzles in this one
- Digital fortress (Dan Brown) again lots of puzzles in the NSA
- A prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
- The Ring (Danielle Steel) set during world war 2.
- Revolt in 2100 (Robert Heinlein)
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479. Board Game: Axis & Allies: Battle of the Bulge [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:1544]
A. Power
United States
Silver Spring
Maryland
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I'm kind of slacking here, as I actually finished this one a month ago. No Less Than Victory by Jeff Shaara, 2009, the third (although not final) book in his WWII saga. This one goes over familiar ground covered in such mainstream media as Band of Brothers and Patton. It focuses on the the events leading up to the fall of the Third Reich, from the Battle of the Bulge to the fall of Berlin to the Soviets, and a good deal about the horrific discoveries of the numerous concentration camps. While these events are all familiar in my mind from various books and programs, the seeming first hand accounts provided by Shaara's writing style really bring home the reality of the Holocaust. There is a lot of perspective given from the German point of view, especially detailing the hopelessness of following Hitler's plans. In all, a very satisfying conclusion to this series about the ETO. Of course, there's a 4th book about the Pacific, but I'll save that for a later date.
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480. Board Game: Vampire Hunter [Average Rating:5.20 Overall Rank:10783]
A. Power
United States
Silver Spring
Maryland
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Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith, 2010. Now here is a book that is just brilliant in concept if not execution. The book reads like a decent history/biography of "Honest Abe" with some interesting first hand accounts via journal entries-- except it's fictional with lots of beheadings and axe wielding action! Now, if you're not a fan of U.S. history, you should probably steer clear. The book has the feeling of a history textbook, although I found it an enjoyable and easy to read book. It does get a little dull at times, but the author appears to have followed the events in Lincoln's life fairly accurately, (vampire slaying aside) so some of this exposition is needed to support the quasi-factual basis of the story. Grahame-Smith brilliance comes in his plausible explanations for historic events- yes, somehow he makes you believe that certain aspects of American history
Spoiler (click to reveal)
(slavery, the Civil War, his assassination)
are related to vampires. A quick disclaimer: I have yet to see the movie, and have no idea how they could actually pull off a movie from this source. I found that the textbook vibe, complete with footnotes and sources, made the story plausible- as a movie, with the inability to provide sources, references, or explanations, I doubt that you could really make the story work. I guess I'll see in 2 months when it comes to DVD. So, if you like vampires, alternative history, conspiracy theories or Abraham Lincoln, read the book. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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481. Board Game: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Game [Average Rating:5.24 Unranked]
L H
United States
Lehi
Utah
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I listen to audiobooks while I commute to and from work. I just finished a few classics:

1) 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas by Jules Verne
2) The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne
3) The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien (I read this one for the 14th time)
4) The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux

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482. Board Game: The Time Machine [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Andreas Johansson
Sweden
Linköping
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H. G. Wells, The Time Machine

I guess a plot summary is superfluous. One notable thing is that it's quite short - 120pp in the paperback edition I read. Undoubtedly an editor of our doorstopper-loving age would've asked Wells to pad it a bit! But brevity is undoubtedly a virtue here - a story like this lives (or dies: but this one has clearly stood the test of, appropriately enough, time) by the strength of its ideas, and nothing would be gained in expounding on them at greater length.

So are they good ideas? Well, yes they are, tho the impact is necessarily dulled by popcultural osmosis. If more modern SF were like this, rather than rambling bricks with a shelf of sequels apiece I might read more of it.
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483. Board Game: Discworld: Ankh-Morpork [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:328]
Peter Neely
United States
Columbia
Missouri
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I've read a few things since my last update so here goes:

Mysteries of the Worm. Robert Bloch. Collection of Mythos related works by Bloch, pretty good for the most part. Some sections were stronger than others. Entertaining to read.

Altar of the Dead. Henry James. It's technically a short story and I couldn't get into it. Luckily it was short so I didn't feel like I invested too much into it. I like some of Henry James' other stuff, but this was just bad in my opinion.

The Cheapskate Next Door. Jeff Yeager. Discusses the philosophy of living below your means and being happy about it. An ok read, lots of "no duh" type of advice and it doesn't really address how to help or be that someone who, for example, already has student debt and large medical bills to transition into a lifestyle that benefits from not spending more than you make when you are unable to prevent certain types of spending (bills and repayment on items that generally have little flexibility, like student loans). Of course, the methods for doing that are generally pretty simple, but the book didn't really have the information I was seeking.

Mobs, Mayhem and Murder. Tim O'Neil. A coffee-table style book about mobsters and crime in the St. Louis (that's in Missouri) area. None of the stories are very lengthy so it's kind of fun to flip through. More pictures would have been nice, but it's all information gathered from the St. Louis Post Dispatch so there may have been certain limitations. Fun read.

The Color of Magic. Terry Pratchett. Having never read anything by Pratchett before, I thought I would give his Discworld series a try. Can't say that I was terribly impressed with his first book, but I hear that it really isn't the one to start with anyway, so I'm going to keep plugging on since they aren't exactly dense or too hard to read through in an evening. This one was funny at times, but mostly the humor and certain scenes were pretty cliche and groan-worthy. Still, I wouldn't say I hated it.
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484. Board Game: 20th Century [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:781]
Gudjon Torfi Sigurdsson
Iceland
Isafjordur
Isafjardarbaer
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Recently finished Joe Hill's 20th Century Ghost short story collection, after Tony gave his novels recommendations. Great stories for the most part, most of them horror/ghost stories, but not all. I think I really enjoyed almost all of them which is not always the case for a collection of short stories. I think I'll definetly get the novels now on my kindle!

Also finished a short novel or a novella by an Icelandic author, Þorsteinn Mar, who's been writing a few horror stories and translating Poe's work as well. The story is called Þoka (Fog) and is a horror/ghost/black magic story. Interesting book and I guess I'll look around for more of his stories now.
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485. Board Game: Israeli Independence [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:4194]
Roy Hasson
Israel
Kfar Saba
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"Independence and Catastrophe" By Yoav Gelber

(Rough translation of the Hebrew book name)
This book (originally called "קוממיות ונכבה") is a history of the Israeli War of Independence and the collapse of the Palestinian society during that war. I bought the book because the author's background intrigued me - he was on one hand a high ranking officer in Israel's security organizations, and on the other hand very active on the political left, but still supportive of many right policies. I figured his writing would be more objective, if one could ever be objective about so volatile a subject.

Well, the book kept its promise - it covers the unfolding of the civil war in Palestine and then the war between the nascent Israel and the invading Arab countries. It is very academic, quoting sources prolifically and very blunt at times. But all in all the description it gives is about as fair as one can expect and very very interesting.

I am not sure if this book has been translated into English, but I highly recommend for anyone looking for a balanced and fair overview of those fateful days.
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486. Board Game: PQ-17: Arctic Naval Operations 1941-43 [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:2759]
Mark Christopher
United States
Salem
Massachusetts
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In the wonderful game, Bonaparte at Marengo, this is how to get nasty Frenchies out of a village.
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Interrupted my reading of The Fuller Memorandum to read the rulebook for PQ-17: Arctic Naval Operations 1941-43. Overly long and complex for what turned out to be a relatively smooth-flowing game. It did get the job done, however. Now back to Bob Howard's adventure with some cultists...
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487. Board Game: The Great Game [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Mark Christopher
United States
Salem
Massachusetts
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In the wonderful game, Bonaparte at Marengo, this is how to get nasty Frenchies out of a village.
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Okay, now I've finished Charles Stross' The Fuller Memorandum, the third book in his Laundry Files series. A fun read; while I can't say this is better than the previous story (The Jennifer Morgue), it's certainly as good. He deals with another facet of the Lovecraft Mythos
Spoiler (click to reveal)
- in this case, the Brotherhood of the Black Pharoah, where the previous one touched on the Deep Ones and the Cthonians -

giving his particular take on it.

I'm looking forward to the next one, though I'll skip on over into Niven's Known Space again beforehand, to find out what happens now that the Ringworld
Spoiler (click to reveal)
disappeared.
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488. Board Game: Burn Rate [Average Rating:6.06 Overall Rank:3395]
Philip Thomas
United Kingdom
London
London
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Fahrenheit 451. Classic work I'd somehow not read before. Iconic as it is, I can't help feeling the world portrayed doesn't really add up. I gues that is hardly the point, however!
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489. Board Game: 1984: Animal Farm [Average Rating:5.92 Overall Rank:7483]
 
Brian Mc Cabe
United States
Arizona
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1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

I'm going to break the rules here, to give anyone who's interested a headstart.

There are two stories in this novel, switching back and forth from one chapter to the next.

In the first, two men, who are responsible for culling manuscripts for a new-writers' prize come across one that is written in a rather immature style (the author is a 17-year-old girl) but is so compelling that they conspire to have one of them give the story life, flushing it out to its full potential, while at the same time keeping the story's tone.

The girl (a most unusual personality) and her guardian must give their approval, of course, which adds two additional characters in this portion of the two stories.

The publisher has absolutely no compunctions about the planned fraud; the writer knows what he's doing is wrong, but the story itself grips him so firmly that he's going to rewrite it anyway.

It's this man's approach that makes me think that there is almost a magical quality at work on both men's psyches, considering that they realize the story is what can probably be described as monosyllabic, written in single sentences.

In the other, a thirty-year-old woman is an assassin -- killing abusive boyfriends and husbands. At least this portion of the story is set in 1984. The woman notices that the police are carrying automatics, rather than the .38s she is accustomed to seeing them carry and inquires of others when this change occurred.

When she learns that a high-profile shootout occurred three years before (in which the perps were armed with fully automatic assault rifles), she realizes she has slipped into a parellel world (thus the book's title, Q rather than 9) and, because of her profession, must now be extremely cautious in all that she does to avoid being caught.

This is as far as I've gotten and I'm not entirely sure I'll finish. Like the novella written by the young girl, it's quite compelling, but it's extemely long and I don't know if it will hold up.

There are the first dozen or so chapters in a nutshell, so if it has picqued your interest, check out a copy at the public library, and, if I finish, I'll add a better review.

Brian
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490. Board Game: Roll Through the Ages: The Late Bronze Age [Average Rating:7.38 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.38 Unranked]
Andreas Johansson
Sweden
Linköping
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Manuel Robbins, The Collapse of the Bronze Age

It's, of course, about the collapse of Late Bronze Age civilization around the eastern Mediterranean ca 1200 BC - the end of Mycenaean Greece and of the Hittite Empire, disruptions in Cyprus and Palestine, trouble and decline in Egypt. Compared to Drews' book on the subject which I reviewed early this year, it's a more popular work, and one less devoted to establishing a certain explanation of the events.

I have somewhat mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it handily surveys a spectrum of evidence and scholarly opinion, and is refreshingly willing to admit to uncertainty. On the other, the conclusions one whose side he does come down on often seem weakly supported. At times one desperately wishes he'd go into greater detail about his, or his sources', reasoning.

Speaking of sources, the book is devoid of footnotes, supposedly because they'd put off the majority of readers. Well, their absence puts me off. So do the frequent typos - the book would have deserved a better editor.
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491. Board Game: Experiment [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:4071]
Andreas Johansson
Sweden
Linköping
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Det Svenska Experimentet by Assar Lindbeck, a 1998 updated Swedish edition of a book originally published in 1997 as The Swedish Experiment (the author is Swedish but originally wrote the book in English)

It's about the Swedish welfare state 1970-95, and especially the ways in which it was more ambitious or extreme than those in other Western countries. Lindbeck doesn't outright say the "experiment" was a failure, but makes it clear enough that he thinks many of its features were negatives - a view that's more controversial than one might expect confronted with Swedish macroeconomic data from the period.

The '90s economic crisis caused some of these features to be abandoned or moderated, and Lindbeck ends the book by asking if the future will see a return to "the Swedish model" of the '70s and '80s, or a continued dismantling of the welfare state - he'd clearly prefer the later. ~15 years later, the answer this far is, by and large, "neither".
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492. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:71]
Kenny VenOsdel
United States
Saint Paul
Minnesota
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Well it's been awhile since I've gotten around to posting but not for lack of reading!

I recently finished Lord of the Rings for the 14th-ish time. As always it was a great read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. One of the big take-aways from this session was paying attention to Frodo as he carries the ring and how it slowly corrupts him.

You can really see a lot of resistance of the Ring's influence from Frodo but it's curious how quickly it corrupted him in comparison to Bilbo who was able to successfully surrender it; though it's debatable if Bilbo would have, at that point, been able to successfully destroy it.

Remember that when Bilbo had the Ring, Sauron had returned to nearly full strength. He had been hiding under the guise of the Necromancer and during the time that The Hobbit took place in he returned to Mordor and was recovered enough to actually declare himself to the Council. While he doesn't learn of the Ring's discovery until sometime after Frodo takes ownership of it, I think it is safe to say that the Ring itself was still exerting a powerful influence over it's owner and was still attempting to return to him.

Frodo holds the Ring for a much shorter time than Bilbo, yet he seems to suffer from it's effects more quickly. This may in part be due to Sauron's focus on the Ring and also from the fact that Frodo is actively bringing it closer to Sauron's own lands which is demonstrated in the book to increase the Ring's power.

I believe, however, that the biggest thing that results in Frodo's ultimate corruption is his weakness of the body which underlines a subtle theme about the connection between a person's body, mind, and soul. When Frodo is wounded on Weathertop I think the Ring was able to gain progress in leaps and bounds, especially since it took so long to heal him. The first place you can begin to really see how much of a hold the Ring has on him is actually when Frodo is speaking to Galadriel. He tells her plainly that he is the only one allowed to use the Ring. Clearly, as the chosen Ringbearer, he is the one allowed to carry it; but Gandalf clearly has told him several times to never use it, period.

From that point I think you see Frodo grow in stature quickly, as Sam points out shortly after the capturing of Gollum, due to his new claim he has placed on it. The Ring is not only corrupting him, it is also granting him power and the ability to use such power, and even more so as he continues to claim the Ring as his own.

Of course at all these points Frodo himself does not understand how much the Ring has influenced him. It is not until he is again wounded and worn down through their passage through Mordor itself that the Ring finally conquers him and he claims it as his own by right.
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493. Board Game: Hitchiker [Average Rating:3.71 Unranked]
Kenny VenOsdel
United States
Saint Paul
Minnesota
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After finishing LOTR I read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy because I had heard so many positives about it. I had a difficult time with it and didn't find it so supremely great as I had been told. It was humorous, and some of the humor was hysterical and quite clever, but other times it felt more like someone saying, "The other day Douglas said this '...' and it was sooo funny. You just had to be there." I could see why some people would think it would be funny, but all it would earn from me as a reader was a weak smile.

The biggest problem I had with it was more of a mismatch of style. I discovered through reading it, and contemplating why I didn't like it much, that I am very big into character driven stories. I like to get invested in characters and really get a sense of the different persons and how they might talk or respond in certain situations. I like to be able to speculate about how a character will handle a conflict and then read on and see if I'm right. I think this tendency is what draws me so much to Orson Scott Card's writing. Hitchhiker's really lacks this and I often felt like the characters, though clearly described as different people, all talked and acted in the same manor. Oddly the only characters that differed at all were the programmed robots that had different personalities, which was maybe all part of a big joke too?

After that I did The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages, author of one of my favorite short stories, In the House of the Seven Librarians. It followed the stories of Suze and Dewey, two misfit girls in the army city of Los Alamos, whose parents were scientists working on a-bomb in the 40's. It was a pretty good read and one I would recommend to people. It was written as historical fiction and provides lots of resources and talking points for teachers to use it in a classroom setting for younger readers. Very enjoyable.
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494. RPG Item: Alien Hunger [Average Rating:5.11 Overall Rank:6746]
Andreas Johansson
Sweden
Linköping
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I spent 200 GG and all I got was this lousy overtext!
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I spent 200 GG and all I got was this lousy overtext!
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C. L. Moore, "Black Thirst"

Nominally pulp SF, it reads more like weird horror. The space adventurer protagonist ends up in a Venerian palace whose shadowy master breeds beautiful slave-girls for reasons rather different - but no nicer - than you'd think.

From a modern perspective, the story comes across as rather misogynistic. Shock horror, I know, for something written in 1934, but for some reason the fact that Moore was a woman makes it extra annoying to me. Otherwise there's much too like here - Moore's prose is lush and her imagination top-rate.
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495. Board Game: Star Fleet Battles: Module C1 – New Worlds 1 [Average Rating:7.73 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.73 Unranked]
Mark Christopher
United States
Salem
Massachusetts
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In the wonderful game, Bonaparte at Marengo, this is how to get nasty Frenchies out of a village.
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I recently finished Larry Niven's and Edward Lerner's latest (and last?) Fleet of Worlds book, Fate of Worlds: Return from the Ringworld. A fine read, and seems to tie up many loose ends from the earlier books in the Fleet of Worlds series as well as an end to the Ringworld books; while it could be said that the last real Ringworld story was Ringworld's Children, this book deals with the immediate aftermath to the end of that book.

All in all, I enjoyed this series and would recommend them to any fan of Known Space.
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496. Board Game: The Battle of the Little Big Horn [Average Rating:5.76 Overall Rank:7777]
steven slater
England
County of Essex
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A pocket guide to the life of Custer (it fits nealty into a p;ocket so I read it while waiting for buses).
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497. Board Game: Crows [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:2123]
Edwin Nealley
United States
Ardmore
Pennsylvania
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The Crow Road - Iain Banks
I just found this list, so I am posting the last couple books finished for now...

I read this book based on "Best Books" recommendations from other geeks- more than one, in fact- on a geeklist poll. I had already tried a couple of the Iain M. Banks Culture series novels and enjoyed them, but was very interested to see how a Sci-Fi author handled contemporary fiction.

Turns out that this was a more humorous, if still slightly gritty book, that dealt with crises of faith in everyday family life instead of an advanced and somewhat amoral culture. Of course, the setting was not exactly everyday, because 'The Crow Road' like 'the low road' in Loch Lomond means death, and the novel also delves into the ways in which people deal with loss in their lives.

The way in which the family kept finding new ridiculous scrapes and nutty ways to kick off made the book light-hearted, the search for personal growth, romance, and meaning in the midst of loss made it personal and deep.

If every modern novel were written this deftly, kids in High School would be much happier! This was indeed a good read, and I would also recommend it.
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498. Board Game: Rattus [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:543]
Edwin Nealley
United States
Ardmore
Pennsylvania
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Doomsday Book - Connie Willis
One of the earlier books in her series of time-travelers based at Oxford University, this book focuses on an ill-advised trip into the Middle Ages and a mirror crisis in both the past and future.

I had previously read To Say Nothing of the Dog, and expected perhaps something lighter in tone, but very much enjoyed the story once I got involved with it.

I have already picked up more the recent award winning diptych Blackout/All Clear by Willis, and am looking at reading more of this award winning author's work.

She has a very nice touch with character, doesn't limit herself to just one variety of story, and she makes for an entertaining read.
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499. Board Game: Mystery Garden [Average Rating:5.18 Overall Rank:10121]
Roy Hasson
Israel
Kfar Saba
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"Gardens of the Moon" by Steve Ericsson.

After being fed up by a Song of Fire and Ice (don't get me started on that series, please..), I looked for another deep, good fantasy series, and this seemed to fit the bill.

Well, my overall impression is that the book was good, but it did not have the "wow" factor I expected. The book is not easy reading, and there is a lot going on you have to keep track of, between gods, men and other species. The story was good and the characters excellent, however I somehow felt that the book ended on an anticlimax, and I could not really understand the motivations of some of the characters.

I will probably continue to read the series, but my quest for replacement is not over yet..
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500. Board Game: The Campaigns of Robert E. Lee [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:5366]
Edwin Nealley
United States
Ardmore
Pennsylvania
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Lincoln's Dreams - Connie Willis

Not the title I expected to pick up next, but it looked short enough... and I guess it was, because I finished it this evening after starting the book this afternoon.

This is a haunting story of modern people dreaming dreams of the past- of the Civil War, and specifically dreams following the campaigns of Robert E. Lee.

It's a much a love story and a ghost story as it is a mystery and a history. Having read a decent amount about the Civil War, and having visited some of the battlefields in question, it captured my attention and my vision pretty neatly.

A somewhat romantic storyline may not be to everyone's tastes, but I definitely found it worth reading - I don't 'snarf up' just every book I pick up quite so readily as I did this one.
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