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Books you've read in 2009


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#41 of 94 OFFLINE   Greg_S_H

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Posted May 22 2009 - 09:43 AM

Stephen King's Duma Key. Not really remarkable. Another book that could have been pared down, and I'm tired of King's strict adherence to "write what you know." Most of his characters have been writers, and now they're all recovering from an illness or an accident. He's never been great with dialog, and that weakness caused me to not care about the fate of certain characters. It was pretty predictable besides.

#42 of 94 OFFLINE   Max Leung

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Posted May 29 2009 - 12:11 PM

Peter F. Hamilton's The Temporal Void. Pretty good continuation of the Commonwealth series. Charlaine Harris' Dead Before Dark (Sookie Stackhouse). Not very exciting, but I do hope to catch the True Blood TV series soon.
Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him...a super-callused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

Gamesh....

#43 of 94 OFFLINE   JonZ

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Posted May 30 2009 - 04:02 AM

I just read The Stand. Id read it 20 years ago and decided to reread it. Boring and overlong is about all I can say about it. Randalls description of LOTR in Clerks2 pretty much describes this novel as well. Right now I have a stack of books in the corner waiting to be read. Frankenstein,1984 and Lord Of The Flies I read back around high school, and have decided to reread those as well. Lord Of The Flies Omerta Dune The Shining The Strange Case of Doc Jekyll & Mr Hyde The Virtue Of Selfishness Salems Lot Crime & Punishment Frankenstein 1984 Gates Of Eden Blood Meridian The Foundation

#44 of 94 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted May 30 2009 - 05:15 AM


It's all about WALKING! Posted Image Great sequence in that movie. And I love LOTR, but that moment still kills.

I just finished "The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror" by Christopher Moore. This isn't as good as my favorite works of his (A Dirty Job is to me a classic, along with You Suck) but it's a good page turner.
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#45 of 94 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted June 06 2009 - 02:46 AM

Monstrous Regiment, by Terry Pratchett. After reading it, I thought it would have been more topical and incisive when it was written in the late '80s. Then I checked the copyright and found it's from 2003.

So it's a fantasy story about women in the military in some strange, incoherent world. It feels like a modest attempt at wicked satire from the late 80s, only it's 15 years late to the party. Frankly, I would have quit reading by page 60, but I borrowed it from a friend and wanted to finish it so I could chat with him about it, afterwards.

Despite being a Fantasy reader in high school, I never read Pratchett. If this is typical Pratchett, I won't bother with him in the future.

Not bad stuff, just not good stuff.

#46 of 94 OFFLINE   Stephen Orr

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Posted June 11 2009 - 07:24 AM

Just beginning "The Leader in Me", a book by Stephen Covey, getting ready for our school's student leadership push next year. All of our staff have been asked to read it.

#47 of 94 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted June 26 2009 - 05:04 PM

I'm stuck in the middle of the Kennedy anthology, but in the meantime I've breezed through:

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 by John Godey. Republished in anticipation of the 2009 film adaptation, this 1973 best seller wears its age extremely well. While the style of the narration, the speech patterns of the dialog, and the chosen character archetypes mark the time period, the language is both crisper and less pretentious than we would expect from a thriller today. All but one of the main characters are male, and they address each other with the vibrant, vulgar and politically incorrect vernacular that imbalance implies. Morton Freedgood (writing as John Godey)'s cast of characters is multi-racial and evenly handled in a New York City when the racial divide still played out on the surface and in the open. From the opening setup to the final punchline, Godey's thriller operates with clockwork precision. The ingenuity and research that went into the subway hijacking itself is sufficient enough to makes its initial success feel inevitable rather than contrived. As events play out, Godey shakes the proceedings up with both predictable speed bumps arising from evident character flaws and the sort of random, unpredictable incidents that naturally arise from such a complex, high-stress situation. The Rashômon-esque device of telling the story through rotating perspectives is tremendously effective at painting a vibrant tapestry of New York City life. The omniscient narrator's wry gallows humor pleasantly adds to the dated quality of the novel. But the IRT Pelham Line still runs from Pelham Bay Park to South Ferry via the No. 6 train, preserving the relevance and potency of the core scenario.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. That rare book that you can't tear through fast enough even as you dread it being finished, Suzanne Collins's distopian future is easily the best young adult storytelling to come along since Harry Potter finished. What the two worlds share is an unusual ability to celebrate the best of humanity without neglecting its worst. Set in a future North America transformed by global warming and ravaged by nuclear war, the descendents of the survivors are concentrated atop the Rockies in the West and the Appalachian range in the East. Collins introduces us to the world through the eyes of Katniss Everdeen, an undersized and undernourished sixteen-year-old protagonist and narrator that embodies Jean Craighead George's practical and self-sufficient ideal. The early chapters feel ripped from 'My Side of the Mountain', if the Catskills had been occupied by a brutal foreign power. Before her father died, he taught her the basics of hunting. Her mother, a skilled apothecary before she sank into a debilitating depression, educated Katniss on the plants all around them. These skills, combined with ample ingenuity, allow her to keep her mother and little sister fed.

The one thing she cannot control is the Hunger Games. After the disasters, the Western population restored its high standard of livng by dividing the far more ravaged Eastern range into thirteen districts which were forced to pay tribute. A littl over seven decades prior to the start of the novel, the Eastern districts mounted a failed rebellion that was brutally crushed by the Western Capitol. The thirteenth district was completely obliterated to make a statement and an annual gladiatorial fight to the death broadcast live as reality TV called the the Hunger Games was imposed on the surviving twelve districts as punishment. Every year, a boy and girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are drafted through a lottery to compete. When Katniss's little sister is drafted, Katniss volunteers to take her place.

What transpires from there is full of human feeling and astute observation of the human condition. Collins restricts herself to a middle school vocabulary for her target audience, but the result feels authentic given Katniss's age and background. Her portrayal of death is matter-of-fact, unflinching, and heartbreakingly personal. Her portrayal of life in the face of death is achingly beautiful. In spite of severely limited options that have left them literally and figuratively boxed in, the children competitors demonstrate the full spectrum of human expression. The Hunger Games are designed to break the spirit of the oppressed by force the most vulnerable among them to carry out inhuman acts in order to survive. Katniss's most rebellious act, then, is to express love and fellowship and gratitude in spite of what she must do. Collins presents a vision of the future on the opposite pole from Huxley's A Brave New World in a book that grapples with the unanswerable questions of our uncompromising world in a manner accessible to all ages. I felt that little pang of grief upon finishing this book that only the best stories can stir. The good news for me is that the follow-up arrives this September.

#48 of 94 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted June 27 2009 - 12:22 AM

I just re-read Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer (2006) by James L. Swanson, a surprisingly suspenseful account of that assassination itself (along with the horrific attempted murder of Secretary of State William Seward and the aborted plan to kill Vice President Andrew Johnson) and the subsequent hunt of the conspirators. Hadn't read it since it first came out, and was surprised at how many details and interesting twists I had forgotten. You would think Lincoln generally, and the events surrounding the assassination in particular, would have been exhausted as topics a long time ago, but new source material keeps surfacing and new authors continue to bring fresh perspectives to the subject. Very good stuff.

I've just started re-reading another book I haven't picked up since it was first published, Seamus Heaney's wonderful translation of Beowulf (2001.) Highly recommended.

Regards,

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#49 of 94 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted June 27 2009 - 12:42 AM

Added to my Amazon "gift list" Posted Image

#50 of 94 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted June 27 2009 - 03:51 AM

You won't regret it!

#51 of 94 OFFLINE   Andy Sheets

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Posted June 27 2009 - 04:55 AM

I'm reading HP Lovecraft's sole novel, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. The most recent books I finished were: Sound of the Beast, by Ian Christe. It's a history of heavy metal music, certainly the best one I've read because it's written by a fan who understands that if you're dealing with an almost exclusively underground form of music, you don't recap its history by wasting a lot of pages on Motley Crue and Winger. There are plenty of mentions of big-name bands, especially Metallica, but lots of relatively obscure names are also tossed out (Hirax, Anvil, Cirith Ungol, etc.). As with any book like this there are some major oversights but nothing that can't be forgiven. Hunt at the Well of Eternity, by James Reasoner. The actual author name on the cover is Gabriel Hunt but that's a slightly irritatingly unnecessary house name. This is the first in a series developed by Hard Case Crime publisher Charles Ardai to resurrect old-style adventure fiction, at least in mainstream publishing, and it's essentially Indiana Jones in a modern setting. Gabriel Hunt's an independently wealthy adventurer who tracks down valuable artifacts for his brother's charitable foundation; in this book he's after the Fountain of Youth and of course there are bad guys after it, too, so there's nonstop action. Lots of cliches but in the best possible way. If Hollywood was interested in doing a film series to compete with Indiana Jones they could do a lot worse than this (it beats the hell out of video game-based stories...). Reasoner's a perfect writer to launch a series like this because he's an old-fashioned writer that tells stories with high efficiency and he doesn't worry about showing off to readers with obnoxiously flashy prose; the way you know a guy like this is a good writer is that he starts telling the story and you eventually realize you can't stop reading it because it moves so smoothly.

#52 of 94 OFFLINE   Bruce Hedtke

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Posted July 01 2009 - 06:29 PM

I just finished up reading Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk. I really didn't expect to finish it. There were times at the beginning of the book that it was almost incomprehensible but as I stuck with it, the style began to flow a little better. Not a typical Palahniuk ending, which in this case I thought was acceptable. An experimental book and not his best effort, but it was still enjoyable.

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#53 of 94 OFFLINE   James_Kiang

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Posted July 02 2009 - 06:48 AM

Adam - The Hunger Games sounds like one I will go pick up but I'm wondering something in advance.  Is it too much for say a 9 year old?  While it sounds like some messed up stuff happens I can't imagine it is graphic in its detail (given the target audience).

#54 of 94 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted July 02 2009 - 03:02 PM

Originally Posted by James_Kiang 

Adam - The Hunger Games sounds like one I will go pick up but I'm wondering something in advance.  Is it too much for say a 9 year old?  While it sounds like some messed up stuff happens I can't imagine it is graphic in its detail (given the target audience).
I think it depends on the nine year old. Scholastic markets the book as for ages 12 and older, and the narrator is pretty blunt about the harsh facts of life. She hunts in the early chapters of the book and obviously there are some killing scenes once the games themselves begin. It's also 350 pages long. That all being said, I know would have loved the book when I was nine. Strong readers that aren't too sensitive shouldn't have any problems with it.


#55 of 94 OFFLINE   James_Kiang

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Posted July 02 2009 - 07:27 PM

Thanks Adam.  I picked it up tonight and will give it a read first.  My daughter is in the puppies/Hello Kitty phase right now so it might be a bit much, but I do want to get her introduced to some fantasy soon.  I know this is completely unrelated, but my first fantasy was Piers Anthony's A Spell For Chameleon.  Maybe I am forgetting some stuff, but I would like her to give that a shot.  I'll have her work up to Martin and Erikson :).

#56 of 94 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted July 02 2009 - 11:14 PM

James, Piers Anthony is more adolescent fiction. I remember his writing became more and more sexually tinged through the years. A Spell for Chameleon, I think, was quite mild but you should re-read it before giving it to a 9 year old.


#57 of 94 OFFLINE   James_Kiang

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Posted July 16 2009 - 05:54 AM

Well, I am about to start the third part of The Hunger Games and I have to say, I am really enjoying this book.  I don't think I would have a problem with my daughter reading it, but I don't think she would have much interest in it at this point.  I will encourage all the adult readers I know to check this one out though.  It is not the most detailed writing I have ever read, but it is efficient and effective.  Unless something radically changes in the last 130 pages of the book, this is going to get a 5-star, heavily recommended review from me.  Thanks Adam - I probably would not have heard about this one except for you.

#58 of 94 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted July 16 2009 - 09:15 AM

You're welcome, James! That's the best thing about these "Books You've Read" threads. I know I've gotten a couple really great suggestions from people here.


#59 of 94 OFFLINE   RyanAn

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Posted July 17 2009 - 12:29 PM

Artie Lange's book was hilarious and sad... lol.
Never did read Eric Clapton's but am almost done with Denis Leary's, err Dr. Denis Leary's book. Thumbs up!

#60 of 94 OFFLINE   Stephen Orr

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Posted August 04 2009 - 08:58 AM

In the past two months, I have finished Clive Cussler's Arctic Drift and Corsair, Lincoln Child's Terminal Freeze, and I have just begun Cussler's Medusa.





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