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Subject: What did you read in June? rss

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It's not bad. A little slow, but it does have some interesting ideas.

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I finished The Fuzzy Papers by H. Beam Piper, in anticipation of reading John Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation. It turns out that Fuzzy Nation is a complete re-write, and not just another book set in the world of, The Fuzzy Papers, so I decided to put off reading Scalzi's retelling. The story of the original was too fresh in my mind. I tried reading A Scanner Darkly shortly after seeing the movie, and it was too much overlap to really get the nuances of the story itself.

I also started and finished Ghost Story by Peter Straub, and enjoyed it probably more than the last two times I read it (once when I was in high school, another time when I was in my mid-twenties). A lot of the subtleties of the story I missed when I was a full-on reader of horror (and little else) became more apparent, and I raised my rating on Goodreads from four to five stars.

I've also embarked on re-reading It by Stephen King, but I'm only just barely halfway through it at this time. After that, I plan on going back and re-reading some other favorite horror novels by Straub, Simmons, and Tryon. I expect to have a lot of fun with that.

As always, check out my blog for more information on the books I've finished.
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I picked this up at Origins, spent most of the month reading it:



A while back I read a compilation of stories from the Cthulhu mythos, and was pretty sorely disappointed. This one, entirely Lovecraft himself, I liked much better, perhaps because it included some very important stories (e.g., "The Dunwich Horror" and "At the Mountains of Madness") that were missing from the other.
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Probably about 85% done with this one, so I'll go ahead and add it.

The Man Who Knew Infinity by Robert Kanigel



The story of the life and tragically early death of the Indian mathematical genius S. Ramanujan. Born and raised in the time of the late 19th / early 20th century British India, he was brought to Cambridge University to work with the leading mathematicians of the day. Kanigel not only provides a compelling story of the man, but also a thoroughly fascinating and understandable story of his mathematical breakthroughs. Sadly, this is also the story of a clash of cultures - particularly of the dominance of one over the other, rather than a healthy, vibrant blend of both. Thoroughly researched and well-written. I'll try to seek other books about this critical period in British and Indian history.
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I read it way back in high school & ended up reading it again now for my book club.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


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The Mongoliad, book 1 by lots of folks. Not bad, a bit slow to start, but I'll read the next one.
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The Moon Maze Game by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes

This is another installment in the Dream Park series. It's about the first LARP on the Moon, and how it intersects with a kidnapping plot. It's starts out slow, especially since I didn't read the intervening book(s), but the ending is pretty good. I really like how Gamers end up being the heros.


Empire by Orson Scott Card

OK, I will get this out of the way - I loved Ender's Game. But after that, OSC's writings have, at least IMNSHO, gone downhill, and more than a little afield. This particular book is no exception. It's supposedly about how one man uses the people around him - from politicos and academics, to financiers and Army officers - to instigate a second Civil War in the US, and uses it to put himself in power as the President. I was expecting more of a political thriller, but it got really wacky, with personal armies of giant Robot Combat Mechs and hovercycles. I had the sequel, Hidden Empire, but I found that I just couldn't make myself read it. Very disappointing.


I Live for This: Baseball's Last True Believer by Bill Plaschke & Tommy Lasorda

A biography of Baseball Hall of Fame Manager Tommy Lasorda. I grew up in LA, so of course, I was a died-in-the-wool Dodger fan. Lasorda was a fixture of baseball for so many of those years, so it was fascinating to get a behind-the scenes look at what made the man who he was. After reading this book, it made me respect him all the more. In an age of free agents, signing bonus, and astronomical salaries for playing a kids game, it was refreshing to read of a man for whom loyalty was more important than money. A great read.
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Redshirts by John Scalzi

Awesome. It is what it sounds like, but very clever and moving. And a quick read.
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Morgan Dontanville
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I didn't post anything in the last thread because I got busy, so I'll just post now about the last couple months. I mostly read comics.


Mistborn: The Final Empire
by Brandon Sanderson

This book plays far more like a caper plot than anything like a fantasy story. The magic is intriguing and works really well. The action is dynamic and plays out like a Hong Kong kung fu movie run on wires. The monsters are great, and the characters are endearing. There is quite a bit of world building, but it is never at the expense of story. One of the more enjoyable elements to the story is that as the story would reveal elements you begin to realize that in many ways the story is driven by a sequence of mysteries, and the whole thing becomes a truly compelling read as you can't wait to discover all the answers and whether your guesses were correct.

This is top notch fantasy for those far more interested in concept and action rather than your traditional quest/revenge story. It is funny trying to describe this book to people, because this really would be best described as urban fantasy rather than classic fantasy, sadly the term urban fantasy is already used for something entirely different.


The Sixth Gun, Vol. 3: Bound
by Cullen Bunn (Goodreads Author), Brian Hurtt, Tyler Crook

Yet another brilliant trade. This one even tugged the heartstrings a little. For my money this is one of the best action comics out there right now, and depending on where the story goes this series might just end up as one of my absolute favorites.


The End of Mr. Y
by Scarlett Thomas

So, Scarlett Thomas, someone said, "write what you know," and you did just that. Clearly the author knows about working at a school, researching stuff, fantasizing about how the world works and dreaming of lots of fucking. The whole book is one big hodgepodge meta-tribute by being a thought experiment about though experiments with some extra fucking thrown in. I can't help but feel that when she was 18 she was overwhelmed by her humanities classes and was gleefully relieved when she could bust open her Tom Robbins books over the summer. It follows his formula of claptrap pretty closely.

The story took a few unexpected leaps and turns (I wasn't expecting any kind of antagonistic threat). But ultimately I though that she painted herself into a tighter and tighter corner with kind of a lame cop-out ending.

All in all it was a nice read, but I think that her editor failed her. Someone really should have taken out half of the Derrida references. And frankly I often found myself wondering why I was reading so many details of irrelevant trappings like people's couches or the layout of a diner. I kept thinking that the continual overly detailed pieces of information were going to be significant to the story, but the author was clearly more interested in moving onto her next masturbatory concept; and with it a new setting and scenario. The same goes with her characters, whom she would start to paint in detail and then just abandon them with little care.

Still, it was a fun little ride.


Invincible Ultimate Collection Volume 7
by Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley

The comic has never been afraid of being gory, but this collection is the culmination of a huge conflict of powerful forces and needless to say there are serious scenes of blood and guts. As usual, this series is very satisfying and the whole book continues to surprise and rewards me with where it heads.


Only Skin
by Sean Ford

This is a great supernatural mystery. It is such a refreshing change for an indie comic to have a great story, miraculously avoiding a personal confessional the likes of a Regretsy labia pendant. It has a cooling disconnected voyeuristic quality to it, where the reader feels like you are watching it all unfold looking through a keyhole. Everything is nicely character driven and even in its extreme violence nothing about it feels gratuitous, rather everything is for the sake of the story around the characters and is used to build solid suspense. Best of all, the characters are allowed to just exist without having to be beat up constantly in order to demonstrate their personalities.


Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers, Vol. 4
by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Don Heck

What's funny about this era of comics (in Marvel especially) is that they really are trying to be progressive and convey a message of equality between people. Often it is heavy handed, but you have to appreciate the sentiment. Yet, for as much as they try to demonstrate that blacks can be smart and women can be superheroes, you still see a team with no blacks on it (corrected with Black Panther a few years from this) and jaw-droppingly misogynistic bits. Wasp constantly belittles herself, Pym is a sexist douche-bag, Black Widow is lovesick, and Scarlett Witch is constantly swooning out of action. Remarkable.

Things certainly get better once Roy Thomas takes over, the addition of Hercules is great, and the dialog improves tenfold (yet, still is bizarre) but the real problem with this trade is that the villains suck, so you kind of don't care what's actually going on. Still, it is a step in the right direction as Stan Lee's stuff is OTT bad.


Wilson
by Daniel Clowes

It is masterfully done. I like that the vignettes are set up like a comic strip with a little punchline at the end. The change in art for every page comes across beautifully. As a conceptual piece I'd give this 5 stars. But the problem is that Wilson sucks, and while there are a couple occasional chuckles and tender moments to be had, I found the read to be mostly unpleasant and I couldn't wait for it to be over. I feel cheated that I wasted any of my energy following this douche-bag's life. Worst of all is that the story follows him into his dotage, but you aren't even granted of the schadenfreude of his death. I would have liked this considerably more if the last act of this book was just page after page of someone beating the crap out of him.


The Walking Dead, Vol 16: A Larger World
by Robert Kirkman

I was afraid that this book was going to stall out or just repeat itself and I didn't see how Kirkman was going to write his way out of it. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at this new direction and I can't wait to see what happens next.


Nexus Archives, Vol. 1
by Mike Baron, Steve Rude

This is a comic filled with big ideas. It turns the whole paradigm of a superhero on its ear. This is really more a comic dedicated to fleshing out Baron's universe, and how Nexus plays into it. It is a read that is filled with fun concepts, zany interactions, and bleak politics. It is a sci-fi world-builder, that stood out from the rest of the pack in the 80s and still stands firm today. Plus, Rude's work on the book is monumental.


Hellboy: The Storm and the Fury
by Mike Mignola, Duncan Fegredo

I'd been putting off finishing this for a while, just because I really didn't want the series to end. This does wrap everything up nice and pat, but the story is more about what is happening around Hellboy rather than Hellboy himself. I'm not going to lie, I was a little depressed by the ending. I'm hoping that Mignola is inspired to continue where we last left our hero.


Locke and Key, Vol. 4: Keys to the Kingdom
by Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez

I'm really loving this series, it started out as a horror story, but it is becoming increasingly more YA as it continues. Lots of fun adventure, and a villain that is indeed insidious, and seems pretty tough to beat.


Orc Stain, Volume 1
by James Stokoe

The easiest way to understand this book is to think about if Heavy Metal put out anime. The art and color are astounding. It is just page after page of jaw dropping detail. The action is perfectly paced and is continually inventive. The world is cruel, so you have to approach this with dark humor. The characters are fun and I love how their stories interweave. In many ways this plays out like a Leone or a Kurosawa story devoid of any morality with characters just looking to survive.


Hellblazer: Empathy is the Enemy & Hellblazer: The Red Right Hand
by Denise Mina, Leonardo Manco

The Mina run starts out really strong, but then in the next trade it just kind of falls apart and comes across flat. Because the two trades are a part of the same story, then ultimately while this one was great it suffers because of the resolution.


Hellblazer: Joyride & Hellblazer: The Laughing Magician & Hellblazer: Roots of Coincidence
by Andy Diggle, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Leonardo Manco, Stefano Landini

Contrary to the Mina run, the Diggle run explores some classic gritty personal stories of Hellblazer, ala Jamie Delano. You can tell that he was sick of a mopey Constantine and decided to do away with it. It introduces some neat ideas, and reveals some of the world that we'd not seen. His whole arc has an intriguing fun build.


Transmetropolitan, Vol. 1: Back on the Street & Transmetropolitan, Vol. 2: Lust for Life
by Warren Ellis, Darick Robertston

I'd read these when they first came out and then quit because the series wasn't really going anywhere. I'd just been gifted a number of the later trades so I figured that I'd start all over again. It starts with a bang but then peters out and slogs along in the second trade. I see why I quit. Lots of bloated chest banging, with some occasional substance. I figure I should probably continue at some point. Maybe later...


Tales of the Dying Earth: The Dying Earth/The Eyes of the Overworld/Cugel's Saga/Rhialto the Marvellous
by Jack Vance

This is currently my third attempt at finishing it. I'm knee deep in Cugel's Saga. All the stuff that happens in it is great, but Cugel sucks so much that I have a hard time getting through it.
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Legend by David Gemmell

This is one of my friend's favorite books, so he let me borrow it--and I felt obligated to read it quickly so I could get it back to him. I can see a lot of his values in it: it's about truth and honor and loyalty and doing the right thing even in the face of great odds. I hope he'll forgive me that I didn't really like it.

It just felt like a super generic fantasy book. I know it was an "influential" book for the genre, but that doesn't mean it's a good book. There's little character development, and what there is feels that it happens way too quickly. I didn't like that he would shift viewpoints in the middle of the chapter with no transition or warning. If it happened more often, I'd call it a unique style. But because it only happened a couple of times it was just jarring and weird. I felt that the love between Regnak and Virae moved forward way too quickly. And maybe I'm just getting old, but I had a hard time keeping many of the secondary characters straight.

But the worst thing for me was the series of deus ex machina events at the end that come out of nowhere and are completely ridiculous. If that's how you have to pull out a happy ending, maybe a not-happy ending is better.

I did think it was interesting that the whole book was about one battle. And the scenes of that battle were exciting and interesting and well-thought-out. But that ending! Whoa!

I understand these are the problems of someone who was learning his craft; I'm just not that interested in finding out if he got better.



Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

This is a solid adventure story that takes place in a near-future America where much of the gulf region is under water--including New Orleans. Nailer works on beached and abandoned ships, crawling through the smallest parts in search of copper wire to meet his quota. As if that wasn't dangerous enough, he has to contend with his dad--a violent, drug-addicted monster.

Nailer's world changes when a luxury boat crashes on the beach.

It's a fast read, and the characters are interesting. I don't read much "Young Adult" fiction, but I enjoyed aspects of Bacigalupi's award-winning-but-flawed The Windup Girl, and this premise sounded interesting, so I gave it a shot. I was surprised at the amount of cursing in this Young Adult novel; maybe that's the norm now, but it was disappointing. The kinda-sorta sequel just came out, and I'll likely read it.
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Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks - the story of a ship crew during the Culture-Idiran war. I thought it was ok, not as good as the other Banks novels I've read. Sometimes Banks takes a long time to tell certain parts of the story. There were good parts in this book, I particularly liked the first few chapters. By the time I got to the end, though, I was glad to be done with it. I'm looking forward to reading The Player of Games.
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http://www.prestonchild.com/books/cabinet/

In the 19th century, New Yorkers flocked to collections of strange and grotesque oddities called "cabinets of curiosities." Now, in lower Manhattan, a modern apartment tower is slated to rise on the site of one of the old cabinets. Yet when the excavators break into a basement, they uncover a charnel pit of horror: the remains of thirty-six people murdered and gruesomely dismembered over 130 years ago by an unknown serial killer.

In the aftermath, FBI Special Agent Pendergast and museum archaeologist Nora Kelly embark on an investigation that unearths the faint whisper of a mysterious doctor who once roamed the city, carrying out medical experiments on living human beings. But just as Nora and Pendergast begin to unravel the clues to the century-old killings, a fresh spree of murder and surgical mutilation erupts around them. . . and New York City is awash in terror.
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The Republic. by Plato.

My take: most interesting part to me is where Plato describes the late stages of democracy and oligarchy. Depending on where you believe the US is, we're in one of those two, I think...

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway.

My take: I had high hopes for this one, and I liked his word choices, wordplay, and quirky methods of description. However... the plot. He couldn't figure out whether he wanted some sort of Pynchonesque deal about evil authority figures from times past setting the world on a course for death and destruction or whether he wanted to write a heart warming story about one boy's final reconciliation with his now-dead father or a nostalgic yarn about the good ole' days of London's late 1960s crime or a straight up thriller.

In other, more skilled, hands, perhaps this could have been done, but he just couldn't make it work.

Reamde by Neal Stephenson.

My take: I always like Stephenson, and this was no exception. Especially of note is his awesome meta-shout out to himself early in the book where he makes a sly reference to one of his characters ripping off Google Earth but has that character rationalize it away by claiming that Google Earth itself ripped off "some old science fiction book." (That "book" would be Stephenson's own Snow Crash.)

If you like Stephenson, you'll like this. I rate it not as good as Snow Crash (but what is?) but better than Cryptonomicon and The Diamond Age.

Look Away From Dixie by Frank Smith.

My take: The best analysis of Southern politics I've ever read, and by someone (congressman from Mississippi in the late '50s) who ought to know. His take on the racial preoccupations with Southern politicians rang true to me as someone who is both Southern and a close observer of politics. His discussion of where he saw the Republican and Democratic parties headed in the South in the late 1960s is eerily prescient.

It's a very small volume--actually a collection of essays--and is definitely worth reading if you have any interest in US politics as either current events or history.

Diis

Edited for punctuation.
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dogzard wrote:
The Moon Maze Game by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes

This is another installment in the Dream Park series.


Wait, this series has more books? I was only aware of 3...how many is it at now? Cute little series, surprised it hasn't been made into a movie.
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sisteray wrote:



Orc Stain, Volume 1
by James Stokoe

The easiest way to understand this book is to think about if Heavy Metal put out anime. The art and color are astounding. It is just page after page of jaw dropping detail. The action is perfectly paced and is continually inventive. The world is cruel, so you have to approach this with dark humor. The characters are fun and I love how their stories interweave. In many ways this plays out like a Leone or a Kurosawa story devoid of any morality with characters just looking to survive.



I read this this month as well. I do love the Heavy Metal feel of the storyline.
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The Edge of the World by Kevin J. Anderson - A very tedious fantasy novel that jumps back and forth between numerous characters without seriously developing any of them. Not recommended. (I was very tempted to stop reading it but I hate doing that, so I stuck it out and it took me the whole month to get through.)
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Forever Free Joe Haldeman, I finished it. And once again, it ends with a huge, ridiculous, completely out of context 'tada!'. This time its even stupider than the ending to Forever Peace. This is definately where me and Mr. Haldeman part ways forever.

Childhood's End Arthur C Clarke. Meh. It's not bad, but like the rest of Clarke's stuff I've read it's so...clinical, like the scene descriptions in a script (but without the rest of the script...) and because of that hasn't aged particularly well. There just isn't any reason to empathize with any of the characters.

The Diamond Age Neil Stephenson. This is the third Stephenson novel I read, and again I must ask, How the hell did I go so long having no idea this guy existed? IMO, not as good as "Anathem" but better (and shorter ) than "Cryptonomicon".
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sisteray wrote:

Mistborn: The Final Empire
by Brandon Sanderson

This is top notch fantasy for those far more interested in concept and action rather than your traditional quest/revenge story. It is funny trying to describe this book to people, because this really would be best described as urban fantasy rather than classic fantasy, sadly the term urban fantasy is already used for something entirely different.


Oh, sweet! You just talked me into it.

I finished a few books this month and started too many more.

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place Book III: The Unseen Guest by Maryrose Wood.
There are aspects of the first two books that I liked a lot and thought were very clever. This provides even more of that. It's as if the author has reached a point were she feels more comfortable throwing in funny side comments and observations on everything - comments which were less frequent previously, but add a lot to the tone of the book. My favorite of the three in the series so far. Still, so many questions go unanswered.

The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan.
The third and final book in the Kane Chronicles. A trilogy? Not five or seven or more books? How quaint these days. Actually, I really enjoyed it. More of what was in the first two books, plus cameos from a couple of characters from the Heroes of Olympus series, and what is definitely the most interesting and unique resolution to a love triangle I have ever read. After this I look forward to another series continuing with these characters, but I really look forward to Riordan coming out with a series featuring Norse mythology sometime. He just has to.

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale.
Feeling the need to unleash my inner tween girl, I read this - actually, I was helping out at camp with my daughter and a bunch of teenage girls where the theme was princess-related, so I figured what the heck and read this. It was much better than I expected. The concept is straightforward but the setting was clever enough that it works really well.

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It's hard to remember as I didn't keep a good list this time.

Gilda Joyce. The Dead Drop by Jennifer Allison - This was a reread for me of the 4th installment of the series which has the protagonist going to Washington, D.C. to intern at the International Spy Museum. There is a haunting, espionage, and more hi-jinks with Gilda, her new roommate, her co-workers, and the museum's summer camp kids. This one keeps you guessing with parallel plots that converge satisfactorily and is pretty spooky as well. Recommended


Gilda Joyce. The Bones of the Holy by Jennifer Allison. This title was brand new to me and in this book Gilda and her family travel to St. Augustine, Fl, for her mother's wedding. It is very well done: spooky, creepy, and with an intriguing mystery to solve as well. It gives you a good sense and history of St. Augustine that is very interesting. We see more of her brother's character as well as her mother in this book. I am very happy that Ms. Allison has not reverted to formula in this popular series. All the books have different settings and plots/mysteries to solve and Gilda's character grows throughout the series in age as well as maturity. As always, her quirky insights and letters to her father and best friend are very funny and original. Recommended


The Gate to Women's Country by Sherri S. Tepper. Have you ever read a book that when you finished it you wanted to start it all over again? That is exactly what happened to me with this book. After the several revelations near the end I really wanted to go back and read it all again, to understand and savor every bit of the story. I just bought myself a copy--which is something I only do with a book I really and truly love. This is a utopian/dystopian future tale of towns that are run by women, completely separate from men, who occupy a military set-up on the other side of the wall. The men and women get together twice a year during festivals and this is the story of a young woman who grows up in this society. The plot jumps back and forth to the past and future, which was a bit confusing to me at first as I was still learning the character names, etc. However, this story is brilliant and very interesting in every aspect. Women in charge? It's not everything you would expect it to be. Surprising and she uncovers more and more details of this society as the novel progresses. This is the 2nd novel I've read of hers (first was The Margarets which I also loved) and I am now looking to read more of her work. Highly Recommended


The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages. This teen novel set in Los Alamos during the making of the atomic bomb in the 1940's was a surprise to me. The story is told from the point of view of 2 preteen girls and is more about friendship and families. I really enjoyed this story and was a bit haunted by it. I requested some nonfiction books from the library covering that period because I really did not know anything about it nor was it ever covered in my U.S. history classes and I am very curious about it. Differences and how we see each other and learn to find common ground are also themes. I immediately requested the sequel from the library as well. Recommended


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Thanks to a post in a previous month's thread, I picked this up from the local library:



The Hunter, by Richard Stark (Donald Westlake)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Parker is a bad mothertrucker and despite how awful he is, you can't help but get caught up in his story. The writing is very sharp - concise without losing details. It's a relatively short book, but it's riveting from the first page to the last.
A great intro to Noir fiction if you're looking for one.


Followed up with the next two in the series:


The Man with the Getaway Face, by Richard Stark (Donald Westlake)




The Outfit, by Richard Stark (Donald Westlake)


Both good, albeit short, reads. I've got the next two books in the series requested at the library.


Also - reading 'The Hunter' encouraged me to finally get around to seeing 'Point Blank' - starring Lee Marvin. I have to say, it wasn't all it's cracked up to be. I suppose, taken on it's own, it's a decent enough movie, but it's supposed to be this tour-de-force, groundbreaking achievement in noir cinema - I just didn't think it was that great.
Then I watched another film based on 'The Hunter' - 'Payback' with Mel Gibson. Apparently, despite doing well in theaters, this movie is largely viewed as a disaster. I remember seeing it when it came out and thought it was pretty good. Watching it again, after reading the source material, I have to say - I was liking it more than Point Blank until I got into the third act - things kind of went off the rails at that point. I guess the 2006 Director's Cut (Payback: Straight Up) has an entirely different third act, is supposed to be more in line with the novel, and is arguably a much better film for it. I'm looking forward to checking it out.

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Rishi A.
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Not sure how I feel about it, but mostly positive. It's an odd book. At first it seemed like a Medieval morality play where all the characters represented different aspects of the main character's personality. The book was very didactic at the beginning, talking mostly about ideas. Every conversation seemed like a series of monologues on some political issue. Some of the characters became a little more fleshed out towards the end, the plot became sharper and the main character was revealed to be kind of a jack-ass. The main character being a jack-ass actually made the book easier to swallow since I no longer felt the need to sympathize with everything he went through.



I know the author, so I can't be objective. But I liked it a lot.



That thumbnail is kind of small. The full title is The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution by David Quammen. It's a biography of Charles Darwin that primarily concentrates on the period of his life leading up to the publication of The Origin of the Species. It took him decades to fully develop his theory and put it into print, and this book examines why. I liked this approach - I feel like I know Darwin on a personal level quite well by the end, and I especially like the discussion of the development of the theory of natural selection and the reaction from the scientific community. Yes, the book drags in some parts (Darwin spent eight years studying barnacles), but if you're even remotely interested in Darwin, it's worth a read. It's also fairly short (about 250 pages not including notes), so it's a quick read.
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sisteray wrote:
The Walking Dead, Vol 16: A Larger World
by Robert Kirkman

I was afraid that this book was going to stall out or just repeat itself and I didn't see how Kirkman was going to write his way out of it. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at this new direction and I can't wait to see what happens next.


Also read this (and a bunch of Marvel trade paperbacks). I felt like The Walking Dead was spinning its wheels for a while, but I'll admit this is a fresh new direction.
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Quixote171 wrote:

The Hunter, by Richard Stark (Donald Westlake)


I'm stoked to have turned someone on to this. Of course now I'll have to read the follow-up novels to catch up!
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I've had this on my to read list since seeing Lee Marvin tearing through the organization in Point Blank.
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EgorjLileli wrote:
It's hard to remember as I didn't keep a good list this time.

Gilda Joyce. The Dead Drop by Jennifer Allison - This was a reread for me of the 4th installment of the series which has the protagonist going to Washington, D.C. to intern at the International Spy Museum. There is a haunting, espionage, and more hi-jinks with Gilda, her new roommate, her co-workers, and the museum's summer camp kids. This one keeps you guessing with parallel plots that converge satisfactorily and is pretty spooky as well. Recommended


Gilda Joyce. The Bones of the Holy by Jennifer Allison. This title was brand new to me and in this book Gilda and her family travel to St. Augustine, Fl, for her mother's wedding. It is very well done: spooky, creepy, and with an intriguing mystery to solve as well. It gives you a good sense and history of St. Augustine that is very interesting. We see more of her brother's character as well as her mother in this book. I am very happy that Ms. Allison has not reverted to formula in this popular series. All the books have different settings and plots/mysteries to solve and Gilda's character grows throughout the series in age as well as maturity. As always, her quirky insights and letters to her father and best friend are very funny and original. Recommended


The Gate to Women's Country by Sherri S. Tepper. Have you ever read a book that when you finished it you wanted to start it all over again? That is exactly what happened to me with this book. After the several revelations near the end I really wanted to go back and read it all again, to understand and savor every bit of the story. I just bought myself a copy--which is something I only do with a book I really and truly love. This is a utopian/dystopian future tale of towns that are run by women, completely separate from men, who occupy a military set-up on the other side of the wall. The men and women get together twice a year during festivals and this is the story of a young woman who grows up in this society. The plot jumps back and forth to the past and future, which was a bit confusing to me at first as I was still learning the character names, etc. However, this story is brilliant and very interesting in every aspect. Women in charge? It's not everything you would expect it to be. Surprising and she uncovers more and more details of this society as the novel progresses. This is the 2nd novel I've read of hers (first was The Margarets which I also loved) and I am now looking to read more of her work. Highly Recommended


The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages. This teen novel set in Los Alamos during the making of the atomic bomb in the 1940's was a surprise to me. The story is told from the point of view of 2 preteen girls and is more about friendship and families. I really enjoyed this story and was a bit haunted by it. I requested some nonfiction books from the library covering that period because I really did not know anything about it nor was it ever covered in my U.S. history classes and I am very curious about it. Differences and how we see each other and learn to find common ground are also themes. I immediately requested the sequel from the library as well. Recommended



I knew I'd forget one! I also read:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I have to say that this book really impacted me and if I had read it as a teen, the impact would have been deeper. The book has a lot of wonderful things to "say" about love, friendship, family, and life. Passages of the book have stayed with me and I even looked up the music referenced throughout. Some scenes are so poignant and honest in their simplicity that I wish I had met people like that in my teen years. It is in epistolary form and as I was reading it I immediately realized that the protagonist had "issues" and as I continued, I was really hoping that his issues were nothing more than just being a normal, f-ed up teen with some social issues mixed in with teen angst. Unfortunately, it was not to be and true to its genre (a la Catcher in the Rye and A Separate Peace, it had to whomp us over the head with
Spoiler (click to reveal)
A SHOCKING REVEAL that tidily explains what is wrong with Charlie.
It didn't help that I somewhat guessed at it halfway through the book either. And that is what sets NycAvri's never-to-be-published novels above these in this genre. Nonetheless, it is superior to its predecessors of the genre--IMHO. I'm not sure now if I want to see the film--the trailer being my motivation to read the book in the first place. I probably will watch the film, but with lots of trepidation. Recommended.
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