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Last Book You Read and Rate It (Part II)

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Old
09-02-2013, 06:39 AM
  #701
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I was enjoying this until Part 2. And then... well... that certainly was... some kind of ending...

?
LOL!! Yeah, one of the more difficult reads I've ever done. Makes Pynchon look like Dr. Seuss. It's rewarding, though.

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09-02-2013, 07:12 AM
  #702
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I was enjoying this until Part 2. And then... well... that certainly was... some kind of ending...

?
Did you write the Wikipedia entry for this?

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Ratner's Star is a 1976 novel by Don DeLillo. It relates the story of a child prodigy mathematician who arrives at a secret installation to work on the problem of deciphering a mysterious message that appears to come from outer space. The novel is told in two parts; the first is a conventional narrative, the second is less so.

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09-02-2013, 03:57 PM
  #703
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I wouldn't call the first part conventional, either.

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09-02-2013, 04:30 PM
  #704
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LOL!! Yeah, one of the more difficult reads I've ever done. Makes Pynchon look like Dr. Seuss. It's rewarding, though.
Well, that scares me off--Pynchon is my idea of a root canal without anesthetic....and I'm a little leery of DeLillo in the first place despite the intriguing sounding structure.

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09-09-2013, 09:22 AM
  #705
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Live by Night, by Dennis Lehane: A noir-ish crime novel about a Boston freelancer who gets involved with the mob, Live by Night starts out like a house afire but can't keep it up. Once our hero gets to Florida, things slow down a lot and become more mundane. Lehane is incapable of writing poorly, so it is still a good read. But it is not as special as many of his earlier works, such as Mystic River, A Drink Before the War and Gone, Baby, Gone. Fun trying to cast the movie, though, because there will surely be a movie. Channing Tatum and Emma Stone, perhaps?

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09-11-2013, 07:23 PM
  #706
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Somebody to Love, by Grace Slick: This is the autobiography of the former Jefferson Airplane singer. The first half is pretty lame as she has difficulty remembering much thanks to a booze and drug-induced haze throughout most of those years. She talks about her sex life, which was very active (and includes, among many others, all members of the Airplane except for Marty Balin, who demurred for some reason) way more than she discusses her music. She recounts a very interesting one-afternoon stand with Jim Morrison that involved strawberries. However, how the band pushed the envelope with After Bathing at Baxter's gets maybe two sentences. Things get better as the book progresses and she begins to remember more. She has a lot of interesting things to say about aging, and she sort of grows into a more appealing character. Didn't start out that way, but I ended up liking the book and her.

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09-13-2013, 08:04 AM
  #707
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Wonder if everybody coming to this thread has heard of library thing--a site which you can use as a database for whatever books you own or have read. They even have a ice hockey group there.

Anyway currently rereading David Peace's GB84--a fictionalized account of the 1984 British miners strike--maybe the longest and most violent labor union strike in history pitting the miners against thousands of British police, the black ops of MI5, MI6 + Scotland Yard and ultimately every facet of Margaret Thatcher's government. Thatcher herself would reference the miners as 'the enemy within'--what I find an ironic position to take keeping in mind that many of those same miners families had sons at around the same time fighting her war against Argentina in the Falklands.

Also reading Leonardo Sciascia's The Moro affair--about the 1978 kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro--a former Italian Prime Minister by the Red Brigades and the subsequent politically motivated and half hearted efforts to find him alive or track down his abductors.

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09-13-2013, 05:15 PM
  #708
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Live by Night, by Dennis Lehane: A noir-ish crime novel about a Boston freelancer who gets involved with the mob, Live by Night starts out like a house afire but can't keep it up. Once our hero gets to Florida, things slow down a lot and become more mundane. Lehane is incapable of writing poorly, so it is still a good read. But it is not as special as many of his earlier works, such as Mystic River, A Drink Before the War and Gone, Baby, Gone. Fun trying to cast the movie, though, because there will surely be a movie. Channing Tatum and Emma Stone, perhaps?
Lehane is always a fun read. I've never read anything he's made movies of because I saw the movies first but I read A Drink Before the War and Prayers for Rain.

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09-13-2013, 05:45 PM
  #709
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Have to say, I feel petty and unfulfilled compared to some of you who are consistently reading new books. Props to y'all, lol.

Anyways I did manage to read one new book, Jeremy Scahill's "Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield". Gut wrenching book. Can't rate it, just have to say it was an excellent read and very disturbing. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has the slightest interest in politics, current events and modern warfare. Scathing report on both the Bush and Obama administrations.

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09-14-2013, 01:32 AM
  #710
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'Son of Mountains by Yasin Aref, about a man who was wrongly convicted of terrorism using incorrect translations* and warantless(and 100% legal) surveillance,

*--a notebook, which was found in a building that they bombed the **** out of,and may or may not have contained terrorists was found with his name and phone number in it, calling him "kak yassin" "kak or kaka" meaning big brother was somehow translated into "general" or some nonsense. So much craziness and ignorance, just the tip of the iceberg(secret evidence the defense is not allowed to see etc)

I really enjoyed his stories about his life in Kurdistan, because my dad told me almost all of those same stories when I was a kid, and the personal anecdotes I hadn't heard I also really enjoyed


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09-14-2013, 07:40 AM
  #711
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Finally got around to this one, at the recommendation of a good friend of mine who recently served in the officers corps, who said that it was as rich and true a description of military life as any he'd read. Read it in one bite, on the plane over from Vancouver to Edinburgh, and skipped sleep in order to finish it. Powers' prose speaks as that of a poet; he has some lines that feel like they're cribbed straight from e.e cummins or the most beautiful elegies of the seventeenth century. Powers manages to evoke sympathy and empathy for a largely one-dimensional character (he is misery, plain and simple), and his portraits of some of the other central characters, particularly Sergeant Stirling, are rich and full. The only thing that bothered me was the choppy and discordant narrative structure; he essentially gives away the book's biggest secret in the first two chapters, then spends the next ones jumping back in forth in time and space trying to tie everything together. The end scene also, unfortunately, leaves something to be desired, and is somewhat anti-climactic. Still, as a piece of literature to be read and savored, there are few war books (The Things They Carried comes to mind; also, Matterhorn) which manage to bring elegance and beauty to such horror. Powers does that. B+

NOW READING: White Teeth, Zadie Smith

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09-14-2013, 03:38 PM
  #712
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Finally got around to this one, at the recommendation of a good friend of mine who recently served in the officers corps, who said that it was as rich and true a description of military life as any he'd read. Read it in one bite, on the plane over from Vancouver to Edinburgh, and skipped sleep in order to finish it. Powers' prose speaks as that of a poet; he has some lines that feel like they're cribbed straight from e.e cummins or the most beautiful elegies of the seventeenth century. Powers manages to evoke sympathy and empathy for a largely one-dimensional character (he is misery, plain and simple), and his portraits of some of the other central characters, particularly Sergeant Stirling, are rich and full. The only thing that bothered me was the choppy and discordant narrative structure; he essentially gives away the book's biggest secret in the first two chapters, then spends the next ones jumping back in forth in time and space trying to tie everything together. The end scene also, unfortunately, leaves something to be desired, and is somewhat anti-climactic. Still, as a piece of literature to be read and savored, there are few war books (The Things They Carried comes to mind; also, Matterhorn) which manage to bring elegance and beauty to such horror. Powers does that. B+

NOW READING: White Teeth, Zadie Smith
Read Powers book as well and liked it. I think you've pretty much nailed it in your description.

Speaking of fiction about the Vietnam War--John Del Vecchio's The 13th valley is really good as is Kenn Miller's Tiger the lurp dog. Miller's book is about a small unit of LRRP (Long range reconnaissance patrol) soldiers setting up listening patrols way behind enemy lines.

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09-15-2013, 04:05 AM
  #713
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Just re-read Cormac McCarthy's Child of God upon hearing James Franco (the most talented person alive today, but for another day) directed a film based on it and shown at the Toronto Film Festival.



A truly distubing novel, focuses on a man who had no upbringing of any sorts, in and out of foster care and prison as an adult. Goes into the woods of Tennessee, and his predatory life goes into normal society. with horrible outcomes.

The strange thing is reading the novel you feel for Lester, despite his ***** and murders.

A true American classic novel.

10/10

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09-15-2013, 08:23 AM
  #714
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Just re-read Cormac McCarthy's Child of God upon hearing James Franco (the most talented person alive today, but for another day) directed a film based on it and shown at the Toronto Film Festival.



A truly distubing novel, focuses on a man who had no upbringing of any sorts, in and out of foster care and prison as an adult. Goes into the woods of Tennessee, and his predatory life goes into normal society. with horrible outcomes.

The strange thing is reading the novel you feel for Lester, despite his ***** and murders.

A true American classic novel.

10/10
I read this about a month ago. It was good but I wouldn't call it an American Classic. Most people say it's not even McCarthy's best.

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09-17-2013, 03:26 PM
  #715
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A Delicate Truth, by John le Carre: He's done with writing great espionage novels. Now he is coming close to just churning books out because he has practically become a cottage industry in Great Britain. This, his new novel, even has its own trailer, and it almost certainly will soon be a movie with David Tennant and Anthony Hopkins or similar sorts in the title roles. A Delicate Truth is about a covert operation that goes desperately wrong, a cautionary tale about privately owned armies for hire and democratic governments that go to great lengths to supress the truth while feeling self-righteous about it. It is a pretty good read, better than the last couple, but still as generic as its title. The final 30 pages were real page turners, though.

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09-17-2013, 03:45 PM
  #716
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Antoine de St-Exupery: Terre des Hommes (Wind, Sand and Stars in English)

A man and his friend crash in the desert in the 1930's: this is an event that actually took place in St-Exupery's life, it is during this event that he came up with the idea of "Le Petit Prince" (The Little Prince).
Antoine is left to his own devices as he grapples with death and life and the book is mainly about his thoughts on these big picture tickets.
As I get older I find myself thinking of new things, chief among them being death, and going through this book for the second time was very inspiring; I read the book in French but I have no doubt that it translates into English very well.

A classic of modern French litterature, I highly recommend this to anyone who likes lyrical work: St-Exupery was a poet and airplane pilot, and his way with words is something to behold.

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09-19-2013, 08:48 PM
  #717
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BOOK OF THE YEAR.

Hands down this is the book of the year. Far surpassing everything else that's been released this year.

Review coming shortly. Just finished it. But I urge anyone who loves literature to read this.



Last edited by stingo: 09-20-2013 at 07:53 AM.
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09-19-2013, 09:09 PM
  #718
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^^^^^^
I'll definitely add Wind, Sand and Stars and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena to my list. Plowing through a history of the Borgias at the moment, so it may be awhile.

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09-20-2013, 07:08 AM
  #719
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I know I said I was to read White Teeth next, but I had to read this one for class. I've never been crazy about Morrison; Beloved was good, but not this modern masterpiece it is consistently referenced as. The Bluest Eye was the only of hers that I had considered transcendent... And Jazz hasn't altered that opinion. It maintains Morrison's sharp, evocative prose, and there is a definite depth and intrigue to the central plot line.. but I again find myself bogged down by her penchant for focusing on unlikeable characters, and trying extremely hard to jam their redemption down the readers' throats. Further, she commits a cardinal sin of confusing the reader with unlabeled dialogue, and I found myself having to skip back lines to count forward as to who was saying what in specific parts. Not the most enjoyable read. I said as much in the in-class discussion, too. Judging by the push-back I got, though, she can apparently do no wrong. C

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09-20-2013, 07:55 AM
  #720
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^^^^^^
I'll definitely add Wind, Sand and Stars and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena to my list. Plowing through a history of the Borgias at the moment, so it may be awhile.
You'll really love it. I'm still floored. The book will make you believe in miracles. I'm talking about Marra's book, A constellation of vital phenomena." I haven't read wind, sand and stars.

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09-20-2013, 10:32 AM
  #721
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Antoine de St-Exupery: Terre des Hommes (Wind, Sand and Stars in English)

A man and his friend crash in the desert in the 1930's: this is an event that actually took place in St-Exupery's life, it is during this event that he came up with the idea of "Le Petit Prince" (The Little Prince).
Antoine is left to his own devices as he grapples with death and life and the book is mainly about his thoughts on these big picture tickets.
As I get older I find myself thinking of new things, chief among them being death, and going through this book for the second time was very inspiring; I read the book in French but I have no doubt that it translates into English very well.

A classic of modern French litterature, I highly recommend this to anyone who likes lyrical work: St-Exupery was a poet and airplane pilot, and his way with words is something to behold.
I must read this as I am a big fan of Le Petit Prince and own a copy to this day.

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09-20-2013, 10:35 AM
  #722
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Latest read is John Sandford's Heat Lightning on of his Virgil Flower's novels. The man is a master of writing these crime type novels and the world he has great between the Prey novels and the Virgil Flower novels is fun to read. Not "haute" literature but I tend to get through the books fast because they get me engaged.



John Sandford's introduction of Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator Virgil Flowers was an immediate critical and popular success: "laser-sharp characters and a plot that's fast and surprising" (Cleveland Plain Dealer); "an idiosyncratic, thoroughly ingratiating hero" (Booklist). Flowers is only in his late thirties, but he's been around the block a few times, and he doesn't think much can surprise him anymore. He's wrong.
It's a hot, humid summer night in Minnesota, and Flowers is in bed with one of his ex-wives (the second one, if you're keeping count), when the phone rings. It's Lucas Davenport. There's a body in Stillwater — two shots to the head, found near a veteran's memorial. And the victim has a lemon in his mouth.
Exactly like the body they found last week.
The more Flowers works the murders, the more convinced he is that someone's keeping a list, and that the list could have a lot more names on it. If he could only find out what connects them all . . . and then he does, and he's almost sorry he did.
Because if it's true, then this whole thing leads down a lot more trails than he thought — and every one of them is booby-trapped.
Filled with the audacious plotting, rich characters, and brilliant suspense that have always made his books "compulsively readable" (Los Angeles Times), this is vintage Sandford.

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09-20-2013, 10:37 AM
  #723
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I read this about a month ago. It was good but I wouldn't call it an American Classic. Most people say it's not even McCarthy's best.
Because it's not his best (Outer Dark, Blood Meridian), but much like Hemingway everything Cormac McCarthy writes is a classic and guarantee will be looked back on as one of the greatest writers in American history.

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09-20-2013, 11:52 AM
  #724
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BOOK OF THE YEAR.

Hands down this is the book of the year. Far surpassing everything else that's been released this year.

Review coming shortly. Just finished it. But I urge anyone who loves literature to read this.

I've been meaning to read this ever since my workshop Professor glowed about it in a way that I have only heard him otherwise glow about Saul Bellow.

Reading up about it on Goodreads, it's almost universally praised. Can't find it anywhere in Edinburgh or outlying Leith bookstores, though. Frustrating. Kobo it is.

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09-21-2013, 08:46 PM
  #725
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Mikal Gilmore - Shot in the heart



I've been reading this book for a long while, reading it at night before going to bed, and many nights it kept me up much longer than I wanted to be up.

Mikal, brother of the infamous murderer, Gary Gilmore, delves into their family history, trying to piece together their history, and why his brother turned out the way he did.

A heartbreaking book that stays with you long after you finish reading it.

8.7/10

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