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Last Book You Read and Rate It (Part II)

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Old
03-21-2013, 12:00 AM
  #551
xX Hot Fuss
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Only a few chapters in but not sure how i feel about Fante's writing style. I'll absolutely finish the book but his writing, even just from a formatting perspective, seems so disorganized and sporadic.

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03-21-2013, 11:44 AM
  #552
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Mother Night - Kurt Vonnegut



Second Vonnegut book in a row for me, while not up to his classics it is still a great novel of a Nazi propagandist who is writing his memoirs as he awaits trial for his crimes. Claims he was an American spy all along, to which he has no proof and nobody believes.

In Vonnegut fashion it is often hilarious with satire and deconstructive writing. Well worth reading.

7.5/10

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03-28-2013, 10:19 AM
  #553
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Palo Alto Stories - James Franco


Saw this in the bargain section of the bookstore and always liked James Franco as an actor, but after picking up this gem I appreciate him more as an author, which I always thought he was brilliant as an actor.

Collection of short stories he wrote about various teenagers who grew up as children in the 80s and teens of the late 90s. Finally someone captured the voice of that generation I grew up in and he does it flawlessly. From parties to high school, friend dynamics, alienation and the cultural references of the time are done with the skill of a seasoned author, let alone this being his first book.

If he were to flesh out his ideas more into a full novel I think he would have the literary voice of that generation, like Jack Kerouac or Douglas Coupland did with Generation X. This is no small praise, the guy is pure talent.

Highly recommend, especially if anyone grew up in that era.

8.5/10

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03-29-2013, 01:04 PM
  #554
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Palo Alto Stories - James Franco


Saw this in the bargain section of the bookstore and always liked James Franco as an actor, but after picking up this gem I appreciate him more as an author, which I always thought he was brilliant as an actor.

Collection of short stories he wrote about various teenagers who grew up as children in the 80s and teens of the late 90s. Finally someone captured the voice of that generation I grew up in and he does it flawlessly. From parties to high school, friend dynamics, alienation and the cultural references of the time are done with the skill of a seasoned author, let alone this being his first book.

If he were to flesh out his ideas more into a full novel I think he would have the literary voice of that generation, like Jack Kerouac or Douglas Coupland did with Generation X. This is no small praise, the guy is pure talent.

Highly recommend, especially if anyone grew up in that era.

8.5/10
Haven't read the book, but this guy is extremely intelligent. He's a professor at a couple Cali Unis and going for a PhD at Yale I think.

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03-29-2013, 10:33 PM
  #555
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Haven't read the book, but this guy is extremely intelligent. He's a professor at a couple Cali Unis and going for a PhD at Yale I think.
Yeah man, he is one of the handful of celebrities I respect these days. Truly believe he does the things he does for the art and not the fame.

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04-02-2013, 05:49 PM
  #556
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Smiley's People, by John le Carre: Despite being a big fan of the author, I somehow never managed to read this novel. Now that I have, I have mixed feelings. Smiley's People is generally regarded as one of his best books; indeed more than a few people consider it his best. It is very well written. George Smiley comes out of retirement to try to figure out what is going on when one of the Circus' long time but now abandoned agents dies trying to convince his superiors that he has stumbled onto something big. Indeed, he has, but it seems to take forever for Smiley to unravel the thread. Le Carre doesn't write "filler," but he sometimes gets so involved in finding the right turn of phrase, the precise psychological description, the defining refinements of character, that I wished he would speed it up a little sometimes. The novel seems a little self-consciously superior to its genre. Still it is a good read by a very gifted writer. I guess I am just surprised that I didn't like it more than I did.

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04-09-2013, 09:17 AM
  #557
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Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
2/5
Chabon writes beautifully of course - even if he is longwinded - but I ultimately just didn't care about the characters OR the plot. The author seemed more interested in a lovely passage than an engaging story.

But then I'm the type of reader who goes for story over style, hence I would give 11/22/63 by Stephen King a 5/5 rating for just that reason. But I've been reading King for a quarter century and so also love his style AND most of his stories, so take that with a grain of salt - he doesn't have to do much to impress me. At this point, King is my warm blanket on a cold night.

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04-09-2013, 02:52 PM
  #558
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I don't even generally like Stephen King but 11/22/63 was badass. One of my favorite books I read, it was a lot of fun.

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04-09-2013, 03:01 PM
  #559
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Who I Am by Peter Townshend 8 out of 10. I wish he would have given some backstory on the song's he's written. He barley mentions any of them.

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Old
04-11-2013, 11:46 AM
  #560
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Hopper, by Tom Fulsom: Dennis Hopper was a lot of things: an actor (Rebel without a Cause, Apocalyse Now, Blue Velvet), a director, a maniac, a child of the '60s, an artist (of sorts), an alcoholic and cokehead, a man who wanted to make American art films but lacked the discipline to do so, a self-destructive paranoid, and an irresponsible father and husband. He worshipped James Dean, somehow managed to direct one of the seminal films to come from the US in the '60s, Easy Rider, but then followed that success with years of self-indulgence, personally and artistically. I seem to remember a lot of periods where Hopper would disappear from view for months or years. This biography fills in those blanks, and for the most part, they are not a pretty sight. Fulsom, with his modified gonzo style, does an excellent job of capturing his subject's complexity. A good read.

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04-12-2013, 02:19 AM
  #561
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Has anyone read a Signal to Noise and a Signal Shattered by Eric Nylund.

I bought the latter at half priced books not realizing it was a sequel so I just purchased the former from Amazon.

Just wondering about opinions?

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Old
04-18-2013, 02:08 AM
  #562
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Paris to the Moon, by Adam Gopnik: Gopnik and his wife Martha decided to move to Paris when their first-born was an infant. They planned on a five year stay because they thought Paris would be a better place for a child than New York and because they both wanted to move there for a while anyway. So, from 1995 to 2000, that's exactly what they did. Being a regular columnist for The New Yorker, Gopnik is part of a decades long tradition of insightful and humorous writers who have been correspondents for that magazine. He writes exceedingly well about Paris and what makes it different than any other city on earth. He amusingly dissects differences between Paris and New York, between France and North America, both large and small, in relation to culture, ways of thinking, views of the world, diametrically opposed business philosophies, the French tendency toward abstraction, the wonders of the city, the importance of pleasure, the vast significance placed on food and dining as well as the complexities of raising a child of American parents in Parisian culture. He comes up with no shortage of wry insights (For instance, concerning many American tourists in Paris: They behave as if any continued misunderstanding with a Parisian is "consequent on not yet having spoken English loudly enough.") If you dislike or are simply uninterested in Paris, this book is definitely not for you. If you are curious about Paris or, as is my case, smitten by the city, this book is essential reading.


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04-21-2013, 02:03 AM
  #563
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A Terrible Splendor, written by Marshall Jon Fisher: There is no concensus about the greatest match in tennis history. While three Wimbledon finals--Borg over McEnroe in '80; Federer over Nadal in '07; and Nadal over Federer in '08--garner the most support generally, older tennis historians often opt for a Davis Cup match in 1937, also played at Wimbledon, between Germany's Baron Gottfried von Cramm and the US's Don Budge. A Terrible Splendor (awful title) recounts that match with suspenseful flair. However, it is the historical background of the players and the social and political context of the time that the book provides that makes this account a very special piece of sports journalism. Given what was going on in Germany in '37 and what Great Britain was preparing to confront, you might think that von Cramm would be the villain of the piece, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Cramm (he always dropped the "baron" and the "von" when he introduced himself to someone else) was very likely the most respected player in tennis history, universally liked by everyone except the Nazi party. Don Budge was a nice guy as well, and Bill Tilden, who many consider the greatest player in the history of the game before the Open era, makes several flamboyant appearances on the sidelines. All in all, this match is a great candidate for the best in tennis history, and it is thoroughly researched and entertainingly presented in this book which has broad appeal to anyone who is even moderately interested in sport and/or the history of this turbulent time.


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04-29-2013, 11:44 AM
  #564
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Then We Came to the End - Joshua Ferris

Book about the lives of a number of advertising office people in Chicago during the downfall after the dot com bust. Ferris is pretty witty and entertaining with how spot on the office dynamic is and the types of people you work with, but then drags this thing out.

First one third of the book is pretty entertaining if you work in an office and can relate but then it gets a little redundant yet keeps going for another 250 pages of basically the same cycle of fear of getting laid off until someone gets laid off and start it over again.

The strange thing is for how much it is dragged out the end is so rushed and is basically a cliff notes of what happens to everyone. There's a middle part of the book that doesn't match up with the rest of the tone about the fear of someone they work with that is sick and then at the end they're all at a bar talking and someone is just "Oh yeah Lynn died" when that's 80% of the novel's theme.

The title probably just sums up his experience of writing it, and he just scrambled to tie it all together because it was going nowhere.

3/10

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Old
04-29-2013, 11:57 AM
  #565
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last book I read has to do with my business course

Information Management in Context by Matthew Hinton

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04-29-2013, 05:06 PM
  #566
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Paris to the Moon, by Adam Gopnik: Gopnik and his wife Martha decided to move to Paris when their first-born was an infant. They planned on a five year stay because they thought Paris would be a better place for a child than New York and because they both wanted to move there for a while anyway. So, from 1995 to 2000, that's exactly what they did. Being a regular columnist for The New Yorker, Gopnik is part of a decades long tradition of insightful and humorous writers who have been correspondents for that magazine. He writes exceedingly well about Paris and what makes it different than any other city on earth. He amusingly dissects differences between Paris and New York, between France and North America, both large and small, in relation to culture, ways of thinking, views of the world, diametrically opposed business philosophies, the French tendency toward abstraction, the wonders of the city, the importance of pleasure, the vast significance placed on food and dining as well as the complexities of raising a child of American parents in Parisian culture. He comes up with no shortage of wry insights (For instance, concerning many American tourists in Paris: They behave as if any continued misunderstanding with a Parisian is "consequent on not yet having spoken English loudly enough.") If you dislike or are simply uninterested in Paris, this book is definitely not for you. If you are curious about Paris or, as is my case, smitten by the city, this book is essential reading.
Have you read anything else by Gopnik? I've been looking at the table comes first, but this book of his might interest me more cause Paris is probably my next trip.

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04-29-2013, 05:41 PM
  #567
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In the past 3 weeks I have read:

The Interestings-Meg Wolitzer
The Humanity Project- Jean Thompson

I'd give them both 5/5 ratings. Both were incredible. And it's pretty rare to come across a great novel, so after reading both those two I'm sure I'm in for some disappointment with whatever I read next.

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04-29-2013, 06:31 PM
  #568
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Has anyone read Maze Runner? I'm about halfway through book 2 and have enjoyed them so far. I'm curious how the heck the story gets stretched into 4 books

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04-30-2013, 12:16 AM
  #569
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Have you read anything else by Gopnik? I've been looking at the table comes first, but this book of his might interest me more cause Paris is probably my next trip.
I haven't read anything else by Gopnik. Paris should be your next trip . The longer you can stay there, the more insightful you will probably find Gopnik. He is a very intelligent and perceptive writer, and he obviously has an affinity for Paris.

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04-30-2013, 04:27 AM
  #570
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Fury's hour: a (sort-of) punk manifesto: Warren Kinsella - 7 / 10

Kinsella was in a Calgary punk band from the early 80s and wrote this book with enthusiasm. He seemed to dwell on things a bit too much sometimes, like about the Ramones being the greatest rock band of all-time, or how John Lyndon is a real ass-hole, but I liked the broad overview. It asked questions like 'what is punk', is 'punk dead', is the 'no future' slogan really part of punk, how did punk start. Well-written, not intellectual, and good for other book leads. Recommended. He is now a leftist political strategist.
He wrote Web of Hate in about 1993 about White Supremicist groups in Canada at the time. It was interesting... though I guess I read it like 15 years ago. Damn I am old!

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04-30-2013, 08:06 PM
  #571
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From Wiki: Although a work of fiction, the novel is set in New Jersey where Díaz was raised and deals explicitly with his ancestral homeland's experience under dictator Rafael Trujillo. It has received numerous positive reviews from critics and went on to win numerous prestigious awards in 2008, such as the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

The book chronicles both the life of Oscar de Leon, an overweight Dominican boy growing up in Paterson, New Jersey who is obsessed with science fiction and fantasy novels and with falling in love, as well as the curse that has plagued his family for generations.


Holy hell, this is the most hilarious novel I have ever read. Diaz is a ******* genius. When critics use the cliched terms 'hip, edgy, and cool", this is actually what they're talking about. Just read it, you won't be disappointed.

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04-30-2013, 09:09 PM
  #572
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From Wiki: Although a work of fiction, the novel is set in New Jersey where Díaz was raised and deals explicitly with his ancestral homeland's experience under dictator Rafael Trujillo. It has received numerous positive reviews from critics and went on to win numerous prestigious awards in 2008, such as the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

The book chronicles both the life of Oscar de Leon, an overweight Dominican boy growing up in Paterson, New Jersey who is obsessed with science fiction and fantasy novels and with falling in love, as well as the curse that has plagued his family for generations.


Holy hell, this is the most hilarious novel I have ever read. Diaz is a ******* genius. When critics use the cliched terms 'hip, edgy, and cool", this is actually what they're talking about. Just read it, you won't be disappointed.
I leant that book to my mom before I had a chance to read it and she lost it

I'll have to find another copy sometime.

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04-30-2013, 11:35 PM
  #573
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I leant that book to my mom before I had a chance to read it and she lost it

I'll have to find another copy sometime.
For some reason, this really made me smile. If you can't trust your mom, well, who can you trust, why lend out any books at all..... On the other hand, she probably feels terrible. Take her out to lunch and tell her you didn't really want to read it anyway. Sometimes a gentle lie can work wonders.

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05-01-2013, 03:06 AM
  #574
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A nifty little book about the Arlington National Cemetery.

+ The first 100 pages are pretty detailed into the discussion of how the mansion goes from Washington/Lee family into US hands and how/why it became a cemetery. Pretty interesting considering the Lee family who had to leave, the slaves left behind, and the soldiers who occupied all on the backdrop of the war and then post. Also about the segregation of races and sides.
+ Neat little stories about various soldiers throughout the book and how they came to be at Arlington either fallen during war or receiving their honors later.
+ How after the Civil War there was a need to better identify soldiers who perished in wars and hastily buried. Crazy to think how much went into going into another country and repatriating the remains.
+Talking about the need for a The Tomb of the Unknown and how Michael J Blassie went from a probably known, to Unknown, to ID'd and returned home.

- When the Spanish American War, WWI & II, Korean, Vietnam, and a bit of 9/11 post went by quickly, you were left wanting more esp after the details of the Civil War. It's understandable this book could have gone well beyond the ~260 pages. The pageantry of the JFK funeral may have been longer than WWII
-Not really much on other memorials in Arlington such as the one for the Challenger or Lockerbie victims.


=In the end a good read, but considering the subject more like a starting point esp since it ended with an epilogue of the recent findings of mismanagement

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05-01-2013, 04:22 AM
  #575
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For some reason, this really made me smile. If you can't trust your mom, well, who can you trust, why lend out any books at all..... On the other hand, she probably feels terrible. Take her out to lunch and tell her you didn't really want to read it anyway. Sometimes a gentle lie can work wonders.
Haha this was two years ago now. I'm sure she's over it. Might have to take her out for lunch anyway and save that gentle lie for something else

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