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(Fark)   The Saturday Morning Book Club is back with a simple question: what's the best book you've read during the pandemic shutdown?   (fark.com) divider line
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71 clicks; posted to Discussion » and Main » on 23 May 2020 at 10:00 AM (7 days ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2020-05-23 7:13:38 AM  
Just started Michael Lewis's "The Fifth Risk".  A page turner so far.
 
2020-05-23 7:22:06 AM  
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I have been reading this since my early years but it has gotten so worn as to be nearly shedding pages since the 2016 election. It's like my version of a bible these days...I can't help but wonder what de Tocqueville would make of all this mishigas.
 
2020-05-23 7:31:33 AM  
This:

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Epstein's The Sports Gene is also fantastic.
 
2020-05-23 7:35:30 AM  
I just read Kilo by Tony Muse.  He "follows" cocaine from the bush to the streets and interviews everyone involved in the chain; farmers, jungle chemists, traffickers, assassins, prostitutes, etc.
 
2020-05-23 7:38:55 AM  
[SPOILERS]

The Book of Negroes. Took me a good while to get into it and then a long time to read. I learned a lot. It was deeply unpleasant in spots, the horrifying arc of her daughter almost stopped me from reading.

It was a difficult read and it's one of the few books I was glad to be finished. I'm glad I read it, it was important to me.

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2020-05-23 7:59:54 AM  
I read a lot, so since March 1.

Best British Mystery:  The Flavia de Luce novels by Alan Bradley.  You have to put on your suspend disbelief hat as to the varied knowledge the kid has, but nicely done mysteries and setting.  Recommended.

Best Young Adult Fantasy: Frontier Magic by Patricia Wrede.  Little House on the Prairie, alternative history, westward expansion with magic and feminism.

Best Sci-Fi:  The Wormwood Trilogy by Tade Thompson.  Quite clever Sci-fi.  Bonus, you get to learn a bit about a different culture here on earth as well.  Great action, well written, interesting characters.

Best Fantasy Re-read. I re-read The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox by Barry Hughart.  A classic story of a China that never was.

Best newer Fantasy:  The Godstalker Chronicles by Hodgell.  Book one was pretty good, yeah, that's the best I can say, I've pretty much run out of fantasy books.  Book two you can safely skip, it was a slog of predictability.

Average to low, range from don't really recommend to actively avoid:
Shade of Devil series, Kingdom of Runes series, DCI Ryan Mysteries, Dragonlands trilogy, Keeper of the Realms, The Hythrun Chronicles, Magic by the Numbers series.
 
2020-05-23 8:37:25 AM  
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Groff is so great at concisely establishing mood and setting. It's a collection of short stories, but each one immediately feels fully lived in.


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This is like a Coen Brothers movie as a novel (he also wrote True Grit). The dialogue is so great and the characters weirdly perfect.

 
2020-05-23 8:47:10 AM  
Arthur C Clarke. Read 3 of 4 of the 2001 series. I start 3001 tomorrow.

Eat the Rich - PJ O'Rourke

Art of the Deal - WHAT A HORRIBLE BOOK! I can't believe people bought into this shiat. LOL.
 
2020-05-23 8:56:44 AM  
So far:

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Been on a short story kick.
 
2020-05-23 9:51:41 AM  
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Victoria The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire
by Julia Baird 2016''this page-turning biography reveals the real woman behind the myth:.. Drawing on previously unpublished papers, this stunning new portrait is a story of love and heartbreak, of devotion and grief, of strength and resilience.''
 
2020-05-23 10:02:59 AM  
I finished up Neal Stephenson's REAMDE.
 
2020-05-23 10:15:09 AM  
I got ambitious. I still haven't finished it, but I'm digging it.

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2020-05-23 10:25:46 AM  
I've owned this for years and had never gotten past the first 100 pages. It's a slog because it's not light reading. You end up thinking, rereading, scribbling on paper and so forth. If you want an intellectual challenge full of logic, music, and math, it's a great book.

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2020-05-23 10:43:21 AM  
Thin Air, by Richard K Morgan. Set in the same universe as Thirteen.

Solid and gritty, and a far cry from the usual Mars colonization fare. More in lines with Allen Steele, though with a bit less working class focus.
 
2020-05-23 10:47:58 AM  
The Souls of Black Folk - W.E.B. DuBois
 
2020-05-23 10:51:00 AM  
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It's kind of a spaghetti Western in a fantasy setting. And for anyone looking to support local bookstores that might be closed or just generally, you can get books through https://bookshop.org and so so.
 
2020-05-23 11:06:08 AM  
Three body problem. By Cixin Liu
 
2020-05-23 11:20:11 AM  
Read "Pihkal", tough read and very interesting. Had to dig up my old organic chemistry text....

Reading the "Soccer War" by Kapuscinski. Very good.
 
2020-05-23 11:20:39 AM  
During shutdown, all I've managed to get through is Rick Mercer's Final Report and The Prince.

At least I got down to only a 17 book backlog on my shelves, not including audio and library books.  Next up may be The Red and the Blue by Steve Kornacki

Nogale: This:

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Epstein's The Sports Gene is also fantastic.


Looks interesting, may add it to my library bookshelf for when those reopen (and I get through some of what I own)
 
2020-05-23 11:22:50 AM  
Deathbymeteor

The Prince.

Seems apropos of the times despite when it was written....
 
2020-05-23 11:45:21 AM  
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2020-05-23 12:10:57 PM  
I finished my masters degree reading a ton of stuff about late antiquity/early medieval Rome and Europe.  My favorites include City of Saints by Maya Maskirenic, and various readings on the Plan of St Gall.

As far as books beyond what  my advisor and me give a sh*t about, I just finished Confessions of a Pagan Nun.  Fiction, but written from the perspective of a woman who lived in Ireland during its Christianization.

I'm about to start the Harvard Classics as a way of keeping me from applying to any PhD programs before my health is stable enough.  I just ordered the first three books: Ben Franklin's autobiography; the journal of John Woolton; and William Penn's Some Fruits of Solitude.


Wow I should really read something fun.  I didn't realize til writing this all out that even when I turn to fiction, it's still on the subject of my academic interests.
 
2020-05-23 12:11:28 PM  
The American history you weren't taught in school.
Highly recommended.
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Also good. Interesting to read scenes that weren't included in the film.

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2020-05-23 12:12:20 PM  

ViolentEastCoastCity: I finished my masters degree reading a ton of stuff about late antiquity/early medieval Rome and Europe.  My favorites include City of Saints by Maya Maskirenic, and various readings on the Plan of St Gall.

As far as books beyond what  my advisor and me give a sh*t about, I just finished Confessions of a Pagan Nun.  Fiction, but written from the perspective of a woman who lived in Ireland during its Christianization.

I'm about to start the Harvard Classics as a way of keeping me from applying to any PhD programs before my health is stable enough.  I just ordered the first three books: Ben Franklin's autobiography; the journal of John Woolton; and William Penn's Some Fruits of Solitude.


Wow I should really read something fun.  I didn't realize til writing this all out that even when I turn to fiction, it's still on the subject of my academic interests.


*my advisor and I

Also I know I murdered Maya's last name.  I just woke up :)
 
7 days ago  
Yes.
 
7 days ago  
"Sleeping Dogs" by Thomas Perry.

Someone here introduced me to him in the last year, and I really enjoy his stuff.
 
7 days ago  
I spent most of the Shutdown in a homeless shelter, and spent most of my time writing. I was almost finished with Hunter S Thompson's Generation of Swine when shutdown started, so that doesn't count.

Now that I have my own place, I ordered a few multi-book compilations of different series by Michael Moorcock, of different incarnations of the Eternal Champion, but will unlikely have time to read them in the near future. He sent me a friends request on Facebook after my article got published wherein I interviewed him about Jack London's sci-fi and The Iron Heel, which is absolutely the coolest thing that happened to me as a writer.

The book I've most enjoyed recently was Our Lady of Darkness by Fritz Leiber, a modernish Urban Fantasy with a Lovecraftian feel to it.

I also recommend The Scarlet Plague by Jack London. Very timely.
 
6 days ago  
The Man without Qualities by Robert Musil. I regret having waited to read this book until I was this old. I need to read it a couple more times to get everything out of it, and my allotted span on this Earth may not be long enough to do this. This book is in the same category as Ulyssesand Remembrance of Things Past.
 
6 days ago  
Goshawk Squadron by Derek Robinson. Funny and bleak WW1 novel about a fighter leader in the process of being broken by the war.
 
6 days ago  
The Mirror and the Light, the third volume of Hilary Mantel's bio/epic on Thomas Cromwell. Fascinating, brilliantly written. Challenging if you don't already have some familiarity with the era (Henry VIII). I recommend reading the first two volumes first. It's not really a stand-alone. (Wolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies).
 
6 days ago  

ViolentEastCoastCity: Wow I should really read something fun


Yes.  Life is too short to not read for fun.  Dead Beat by Jim Butcher stands fairly well alone and has wizards vs. necromancers, the line "Polka will never die!", and a freakin' Tyrannosaurus rex.

I will eventually finish Empire of Grass by Tad Williams during this shutdown.  Lots of portents and foreshadowing, but not a whole lot has actually happened.  I'm only about one-third of the way through it, so this is to be expected.  At least Morgan's gone through some character development and is not being a useless whiner now.  Apparently Miri gets to kick ass at some point, which should be fun.  Foreshadowing from the previous series says that Deornoth and Derra will eventually see each other again, though they're separated by thousands of miles and a bunch of hostile bastards right now.
 
6 days ago  
Just finished this one...

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It's about cave diving. Farking terrifying in parts, especially if you are claustrophobic at all. The author is one of the world's leading cave divers and absolutely nuts. Both I and my daughter are scuba divers, so this was interesting for both of us. We agreed we shall never do this.
 
6 days ago  
Also

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More crazy human adventures.
 
6 days ago  
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6 days ago  
JerseyTim:

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This is like a Coen Brothers movie as a novel (he also wrote True Grit). The dialogue is so great and the characters weirdly perfect.


It's the single funniest novel ever written. Unbelievable. I think that the Coens re-made True Grit to pay back Portis from whom they learned how to be funny.  The orotundity of some of their dialogue sounds like a pastiche of Portis.

Norwood is almost as good.

True Grit was taught in schools for awhile after it was published, and it's a great book, but it doesn't have the lunacy of Dogs of the South and Norwood.

If you're a true devotee of all things Portis you're also supposed to love Gringos and Masters of Atlantis, but I don't.
 
6 days ago  
Buried Dreams by Tim Cahill
Kiss the Boys Goodbye by Monika Jensen and William Stevenson
Cosmic Serpent by Jeremy Narby
Where White Men Fear To Tread by Russell Means

Also, taking down some titles already mentioned.  Thanks!
 
6 days ago  
The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett. It doesn't seem to be the same book I read 30 years ago. It was his last book and he seems to have written a novel in which there's a murder or two, but ordinary life just tries to bypass it by.
 
6 days ago  

KimHoppes: Buried Dreams by Tim Cahill
Kiss the Boys Goodbye by Monika Jensen and William Stevenson
Cosmic Serpent by Jeremy Narby
Where White Men Fear To Tread by Russell Means

Also, taking down some titles already mentioned.  Thanks!


Since there is no edit and I just realized I never said what the books were about....

Buried Dreams is about John Wayne Gacy.  Serial killer.

Kiss the Boys Goodbye is about POWs left behind in Vietnam.  Started with an interview with former Marine Bobby Garwood who escaped Vietnam.

Cosmic Serpent explorers origins of knowledge, DNA, epistemic correspondence between aboriginal shamans and modern biologists, etc.

Where White Men Fear To Tread is actually Means autobiography.  And, I have a bit of hero worship when it comes to him.  He was/is a great teacher even though I had never met him personally.  I cried when he died a few years back.  (2012)
 
6 days ago  

KumquatMay: The Mirror and the Light, the third volume of Hilary Mantel's bio/epic on Thomas Cromwell. Fascinating, brilliantly written. Challenging if you don't already have some familiarity with the era (Henry VIII). I recommend reading the first two volumes first. It's not really a stand-alone. (Wolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies).


It's a loooonnnnnnngggggggggg  read. My wife who makes Evelyn Wood seem dyslexic is still about to finish it, after almost 6 weeks. She reads a hundred pages then reads a mystery. Reads another hundred pages, reads some non-fiction. She loves the book -- she's loved all of them -- but she's come to love Cromwell too much. In her mind he's much more Mark Rylance than the Holbein painting to her. She doesn't want to read about his death.
 
6 days ago  

yakmans_dad: It's the single funniest novel ever written. Unbelievable. I think that the Coens re-made True Grit to pay back Portis from whom they learned how to be funny. The orotundity of some of their dialogue sounds like a pastiche of Portis.

Norwood is almost as good.


I'm going to give Norwood a go, too. (Currently out of stock on Bookshop.org). But, yeah, the Coens definitely owe a lot here. The way Portis has the characters talk past each other, each side deadpanning some absurd topic, is wonderful.
 
6 days ago  

yakmans_dad: KumquatMay: The Mirror and the Light, the third volume of Hilary Mantel's bio/epic on Thomas Cromwell. Fascinating, brilliantly written. Challenging if you don't already have some familiarity with the era (Henry VIII). I recommend reading the first two volumes first. It's not really a stand-alone. (Wolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies).

It's a loooonnnnnnngggggggggg  read. My wife who makes Evelyn Wood seem dyslexic is still about to finish it, after almost 6 weeks. She reads a hundred pages then reads a mystery. Reads another hundred pages, reads some non-fiction. She loves the book -- she's loved all of them -- but she's come to love Cromwell too much. In her mind he's much more Mark Rylance than the Holbein painting to her. She doesn't want to read about his death.


Yes, it's a grind, especially if the reader isn't particularly interested in the English Reformation. But the writing & characterizations are magnificent.
 
6 days ago  
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6 days ago  
Not the best was an airport book from my neighbor's shelf: Loaded Dice a televisiony crime/terrorism thing about Las Vegas and some gun fu, baseball bat fu, dynamite fu, three breasts, and a thwarted suicide plunge, Joe Bob says "Meh."
Read Breakfast at Tiffany's by Capote, way better than the movie or the song.  Am now reading reading Sweet Land Stories by Doctorow, and holy crap the first one A House on the Plains, gothic crime family Americana.  My first Doctorow despite my screen name.
 
6 days ago  
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Fairly light reading and I'm a little over halfway through it. Kind of losing interest though.
 
6 days ago  

danceswithcrows: ViolentEastCoastCity: Wow I should really read something fun

Yes.  Life is too short to not read for fun.  Dead Beat by Jim Butcher stands fairly well alone and has wizards vs. necromancers, the line "Polka will never die!", and a freakin' Tyrannosaurus rex.

I will eventually finish Empire of Grass by Tad Williams during this shutdown.  Lots of portents and foreshadowing, but not a whole lot has actually happened.  I'm only about one-third of the way through it, so this is to be expected.  At least Morgan's gone through some character development and is not being a useless whiner now.  Apparently Miri gets to kick ass at some point, which should be fun.  Foreshadowing from the previous series says that Deornoth and Derra will eventually see each other again, though they're separated by thousands of miles and a bunch of hostile bastards right now.


Wizards v necromancers?  Sign me right the f*ck up.
 
6 days ago  
The epic disaster caused by stubborn men:

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Crazy killer killing killers in Belfast:

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A real hoot in 3 volumes "Leroy"

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