Books you've read in 2009

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by DaveF, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. Don Solosan

    Don Solosan Supporting Actor

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    Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines (DAW Books, 2005). There are countless fantasy novels about humans on quests facing peril from vicious creatures like goblins, which they slaughter in countless numbers (goblins are not very smart) without a second thought. This is not one of them.

    Goblin Quest is told from the perspective of one of those goblins, a runt, who gets captured by a group of clueless adventurers, and has to dig deep within himself to survive. Hines knows the genre and has a great sense of humor.
     
  2. RyanAn

    RyanAn Screenwriter

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    So far, I've read/finished up towards the end of 2008 to present:


    Chris Farely's biography
    John Belushi's biography (the new one)
    I stopped reading Film Club because it was borderline obsessive.
    I'm almost done with Brian "Head" Welch's "Save Me From Myself."

    I've got Artie Lange's "To Fat to Fish" and Eric Clapton's auto up next.
     
  3. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer
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    While I'm still reading An Army at Dawn, I did finish a few books recently. I listened to Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood by Mark Harris. It is an exhaustively researched book discussing the production of the five Best Picture nominees at the 1968 Academy Awards (The Graduate; Bonnie and Clyde; In the Heat of the Night; Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?) and the film industry at the time. It took me a while to get into this one. It had more detail than I probably cared to know and it is about a period that is not one of my favorites. Still, I'm glad I listened to it and I have no doubt that if you are interested in this period or these movies, you will enjoy the book.

    As an offshoot of Pictures, I also read Kate Remembered by A. Scott Berg. I wanted more info about the filming of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? and i wanted to check on details from Mark Harris' book. I hadn't planned on going through the whole book, but I powered through so much during my quick read for more info that I decided to finish it. I found it strangely engrossing. I'm not sure I'd recommend it to everyone.

    Finally, as an experiment, I decided to see if I could read a book on my iPhone. It was not the best reading experience, but it is doable. I prefer the tactile feel of a book and paper. Although I'm intrigued by the Kindle after my experience, as I understand it is worlds better, I still think I would miss having the books on my shelves.

    The book I read was Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie. It was a very enjoyable thriller and a nice break from all the Poirot I read last year. My wife has started reading the Miss Marple novels, but I wanted something different and I still have a bunch of Poirot to read at some point. While the mystery bad guy was too obvious to me, it didn't detract from my enjoyment.
     
  4. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    Finishing "Transfer of Power" by Vince Flynn, 1999 novel similar in subject matter to 24 or Tom Clancy's early novels. Terrorists take the White House, take hostages, and wackiness begins.

    It's a good read, if you like that sort of stuff. The latest 2 episodes of 24 reminded me a lot of the book.
     
  5. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Finally finished A Random Walk Down Wall Street (2007 ed.). This is seminal book arguing that you're better off investing in the "whole market" via index funds than taking guidance from investment experts. I think this is a must read for anyone interested in personal finance and long term planning.

    I started All About Asset Allocation, but I've found that (for my taste) Random Walk covered the fundamentals sufficiently. I'll just skim this for info on suggested allocations.

    Now I need a good counterpoint view to Random Walk.
     
  6. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer
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    I really liked that one and I think I'd enjoy the others, but I started the one that comes after and got bored with it. I probably need to give it another go at some point in the future.
     
  7. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    I've been bogged down in a three-book compilation volume of William Kennedy's work for months now. Once TV season is over, I'll start reading more again.
     
  8. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer
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    I just reread this thread and was thinking to my self, "I wonder if Dave finished any of those finance books?" I had a finance professor in grad school who firmly believed in index funds. Historically it seems to be pretty hard to argue with that conclusion. Experts can get on a run for a few years, but it seems to level out. Let us know what book you find as a counterpoint.

    Looking back through the thread I'm fairly satisfied that I've made it through 8 and a half books. I'd like it to be more, but that total doesn't include all the reading I do for work and school so it's not to bad.
     
  9. sestamuch

    sestamuch Stunt Coordinator

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    Those are some of the book that I'll probably be reading in the upcoming weeks out of curiosity at least.


     
  10. Stephen Orr

    Stephen Orr Screenwriter

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    I read James Patterson's Final Warning (Max Ride - what can I say?) a few weeks ago, and will start Clive Cussler's "Arctic Drift" perhaps tonight (library hold)
     
  11. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Which one is Arctic Drift? I'm a Cussler fan, but haven't read any of his co-authored books. Does he have sole-authored book?
     
  12. Stephen Orr

    Stephen Orr Screenwriter

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  13. Stephen Orr

    Stephen Orr Screenwriter

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    Saw this morning in Hollywood Reporter that Catherine Hardwicke may be developing the Maximum Ride books into films. Don't know what kind of director/producer she is, but the books read just like movies already.
     
  14. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    I just finished Homer Hickam's Coalwood trilogy: Rocket Boys; The Coalwood Way; and Sky of Stone. The first was the basis for the excellent film, October Sky (FUN FACT: "October Sky" is an anagram of "Rocket Boys"). These books are memoirs, but they are written as entertainingly as any novel. They are, in my opinion, national treasures. I am sorry to be leaving Coalwood behind, but I fully expect I will return to these books from time to time over the years. Truly prodigious!

    I have since purchased one of Hickam's fictional works, but I'm not sure if I'll go to that next or to King's Lisey's Story.
     
  15. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

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    I recently finished Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword, which is easily one of the best fantasy novels ever written. Heavily based in Norse mythology but with lots of original ideas that would go on to influence writers like Michael Moorcock and Neil Gaiman, among others. It came out in 1954, same year as Lord of the Rings, which I guess sums up Anderson's career - write a great book, get overshadowed by an even bigger book [​IMG]

    Right now I'm reading Sunglasses After Dark by Nancy Collins, sort of a post-cyberpunk vampire novel (not set in the future, but it has lots of mirrored sunglasses and leather pants) about a female vampire that hunts other vampires. It beats the hell out of Anne Rice's stuff, that's for sure [​IMG]
     
  16. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Yes I've read this too and think it's a great book. Vic Hanson graduated from UCSC the same year I did although we never met in college. He's a professor of classics at a Cal. State Univ. AND a farmer. [​IMG]

    I read a lot and can only post highlights.

    Reflections on a Ravaged Century by Robert Conquest. Conquest is the premier historian of the insanity that was the Soviet Union. This is his swan-song in many ways, a wrap up of his views of tyrany in the 20th Century. His views of the future of the Anglosphere closely mirror my own. A difficult read.

    The Castle of Lies: Why Britain Must Get Out of Europe by Christopher Booker and Richard North. This is one of a series of Euroskeptic books by Booker et al. and details how the UK was swindled into an ill-advised membership in the EU. US readers may be put off by the wealth of detail of the folly of many individual government actions which are not generally reported by the US media.

    Slavery and the Annexation of Texas by Frederick Merk. It took me a long time to uncover this 1972 book but it's just what I needed to unwind the odd threads of the process whereby Texas stopped being an independent republic and became a US state. A good source on the Constitutional issues at stake. By far the best book on the subject I found.

    The Abdication of King Edward VIII by Lord Beaverbrook (Max Aitken). An eyewitness account. Has a good chapter IV on the constitutional issues at stake in the abdication.

    Union Now with Britain by Clarence Streit. This 1941 book, along with companion volumes from 1940, was an early voice of the wisdom of unity in the Anglosphere.
     
  17. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer
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    Last weekend I finished Spade & Archer: The Prequel to Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon by Joe Gores. While I'm not a big fan of prequels or sequels by writers that are not the original creator of the characters, I throughly enjoyed this novel. Gores knows Hammett’s life, work and P.I. novels well and wrote a good story that fits in with Hammett’s work. If your a fan of The Maltese Falcon, I’d recommend that you give it a try. There are some nice moments and surprises for fans.
     
  18. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Lisey's Story by Stephen King. It started out pretty slow. It became a page turner as it went on, but it doesn't sit very well in my memory. It probably could have been cut in half or maybe even pared down into a short story.

    The Keeper's Son by Homer Hickam. As soon as the prologue is over, you know this is going to be a book of coincidence. I was a little leery of that, but I gave into it after a while and just enjoyed it. I loved the writing style, how it cut between different parties from chapter to chapter. When the two parties intersected, it changed to cutting within chapters. A neat device, reminiscent of the old Tarzan books (or so I understand). It looks like I'm going to have to order the sequel, as it isn't in any local stores.
     
  19. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    My second round of books for 2009; I haven't been a very ambitious reader this year:

    Legs by William Kennedy. Explicitly styled after The Great Gatsby, the first of Kennedy's Albany novels explores the legend of Jack "Legs" Diamond from the less-than-ideal vantage point of Marcus, an Albany lawyer on Jack's payroll. Large gaps separate Marcus's encounters with Jack, so his telling weaves deftly between his own experiences with the gangster and anecdotes he has collected from others over time. The further Marcus seeps into Jack's world, the less enigmatic and charismatic the gangster seems. By the midpoint, all pretense of mirroring Legs and Gatsby is abandoned as Jack's world slowly unravels. He could be sadistic, as his fateful altercation with upstate truck driver Grover Parks (and role in a few graphic and twisted murders) showcased. He could be loyal, as his extended commitments to both wife Alice and mistress Kiki demonstrated. His cult of personality was undeniable, as the headlines captured. Most of all, he was unkillable (until he wasn't). Like most Kennedy stories, the manner of the retelling is at least as important as the story being told. Kennedy is a master at capturing conversation, a skill set that makes Legs[/i] simultaneously tedious and engrossing.

    Star Wars: Coruscant Nights III - Patterns of Force by Michael Reaves. The Coruscant Nights cycle of books promised an intense literary noir set in one of the least explored time periods of the Star Wars universe. Instead, readers have been stuck with uninteresting plots crippled by a lackluster cast of characters. Reaves improves on his formula a wee bit with Street of Shadows, which refocuses the plot on Darth Vader's pursuit of Jedi-in-hiding Jax Pavan. Initially as dull and directionless as its predecessor, the story slowly picks up steam as it marches toward a genuinely engaging finale. A couple problematic characters are fleshed out with surprising depth and a few of the most irritating exit stage left, forever. As the showdown between Jax and Vader draws nearer, the novel finally begins to explore what it means to be a Jedi no longer tied to the strict orthodoxy of the Jedi institution. The overall result is a muted triumph over exceptionally low expectations that leaves the door open for a far more interesting fourth act down the road.

    Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi - Outcast by Aaron Allston. It's been a long time since a Star Wars novel felt fresh, so Allston's opening salvo in DelRey's latest experiment with multi-author storytelling arrived as a genuine shocker. Both smarter and funnier than Star Wars has been in a long time, Outcast finally untethers Luke Skywaller from the demands and responsibilities of running the Jedi Order. We get to see him as a father, an adventurer, and a religious pilgrim. Han and Leia are off having an adventure with Lando and their little granddaughter. Meanwhile the turmoil faced by the rest of the Jedi back on Coruscant raises legitimate questions about the fairness of a supernatural, paramilitary order that seeks to enforce the law while holding itself above the law. The bar has been set very high for Christie Golden's upcoming Star Wars debut.
     
  20. Buzz Foster

    Buzz Foster Second Unit

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    I'm almost finished with "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies". Funny stuff.
     

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