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Last Book You Read and Rate It (Part II)

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Old
05-30-2012, 11:33 PM
  #226
Old Man Barking
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Just finished "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy. Excellent book. The purposeful bad punctuation and things annoyed me at the start, but it was a great book. Short, fast, enjoyable read. Pretty depressing though.

9/10

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06-04-2012, 02:02 AM
  #227
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Touch the Top of the World by Erik Weihenmayer:



I remember seeing this guy on some TV show once and thought he had a pretty cool story, being blind yet still climbing mountains. When I read he had a book I thought I'd like to read it. I'm lazy and cheap so I never picked it up at Amazon instead hoping I'd find it at Borders before it closed out or the local 1/2 Price store, which is always tough when you don't recall the name of the book or author. Finally a few weeks ago I found a copy at the used book store (even signed).

Anyway, I guess I was naive thinking it would be mostly about his climb up to Mt Everest, but that was actually just the last 20 or so pages. It is more so a bio that starts out with his family and him going blind in his teens and coping. For awhile I wondered why he was giving such detail, but eventually it makes sense. He talks about his life growing up and going blind, college, and his climbs of Mt McKinley, Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, and El Capitan.

It is pretty sad how many things he has to deal with because he is blind. For example before he climbed Everest he had some people including Jon Krakauer who wrote to him telling him not to do it because of how dangerous it is. While I understand where Krakauer is coming from, especially after the 1996 disaster that he was involved in, the same could be said to many people (you may be able to read the cover of the book but Krakauer calls it an inspiration). A lot of people who had never met him basically thought other people were helping him not only in life, but basically carrying him up the mountains, when in reality he's probably more independent than some people I know. He obviously needs help in climbing getting directions and has a great support group to aide him, but he definitely doesn't need someone to hold his hand.

All in all, it is a good read. I laughed, I cried (if you know his story or have read the book you may know why), and was glad I finally found it.


Last edited by KaylaJ: 06-04-2012 at 02:07 AM.
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06-05-2012, 10:31 PM
  #228
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Last Watch-- Sergei Lukyanenko

The final (?) book in the popular Watch series by Sergei Lukyanenko, Last Watch follows the protagonist Anton Gorodetsky, Light Other of the Moscow Night Watch as he attempts to find the culprit of a grisly murder in a vampire exhibit.

The book (like most others in the series) combines fantasy-horror elements of magicians battling for their lives against witches, vampires and werewolves with "who-dun-it" mystery solving.

One thing that I really enjoyed over the course of the series was Anton's evolution, from low level magician in the technical department pushed into field service by his boss, to stalwart hater of all things evil, and finally a person who, while desperate to hate the darkness, can not fail to see many of the same 'failings' of the Dark among himself and his colleagues. Coincidentally, his viewpoints changes as his power increases, from 5th rank (Abdelkater) to 2nd rank (Joe Thornton) to beyond classification (Crosby).

Very good series, and I see the 5th installment came out a month ago in Russia. I wait anxiously for the English translation.

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06-12-2012, 06:17 PM
  #229
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The End of the Road, by John Barth: Barth's second novel, written in the late '50s, and it hasn't worn well at all. It is another menage a trois, this time a really unattractive one. Jake sleeps with Rennie, his friend Joe's wife. Joe doesn't really care, but he wants to put them through hell anyway because it suits his philosphy. Rennie is an extremely weak and tedious woman, Joe is insufferably manipulative, intellectually pretentious and emotionally obtuse, and Jake, our ostensible rooting interest, seems particularly clueless about Joe and indecisive about everything else in his life. There is endless talk about what people really feel, and everybody has a confused, unsympathetic way of dealing with things. The ending seems desperate, like Barth wanted to just find some way out of this mess. All this silly patriarchal angst makes the '50s look like hell for women and not much better for men.

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06-12-2012, 07:35 PM
  #230
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I'm on a Jimmy Hoffa kick right now.

I've read two the three books that have intrested me most about James R.

Crossing Hoffa. It's P.O.V is from the straigh shooter truck driver & his attempt to root out minor coruption from his local, thinking Hoffa is an honorable as himself only to find out how wrong he was. The first 15 chapters were a little slow, but from 16 on it was excellent. Could not put it down 8/10

I hear you paint houses. Best book about the Mafia I have read since Underboss, Sammy the bulls book.

This book is the P.O.V from Frank "the Irish man" Sheeran, This book covers alot, because the Irish man has a lot to say.

After reading this book I have no doubt in my mind that He killed Jimmy Hoffa, Crazy Joe Gallo & Momo Giancana.

Sheeran also goes into detail & about The Kennedy assaination. Hoffa wanted Bobby dead, Chicago & Detriot decided to wack out JFK because Joe Kennedy reneged on a deal he had with them after the mob fixed the Chicago election in JFK's favor.

The book is chilling. A movie is set to be made about it.

9.5/10

The 3rd book will be on the Goverment's P.O.V. I havent decided which one it will be yet. That will complete my Hoffa trilogly.

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06-21-2012, 12:25 AM
  #231
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Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami: An early work of Murakami and decidedly more straightforward than his later more fantastic/surreal works. It's a very nicely drawn story of young love, a intriguing tale of a nice guy still in his teens who is in love with one girl and perhaps falling for another, while trying to do the right thing by both. The object of everyone's affection is Toru, a nice, slightly aimless guy, who is devoted to Naoko, a girl with whom he shares a personal tragedy. Then there is Midori, who is wheedling her way into his heart despite Toru's attempts to keep things platonic. If this was not enough to have on one's plate, he is also close friends with Reiko, an older woman and trusted friend of Midori, who is a bit smitten herself. Almost the entire novel consists of very long stretches of dialogue. Page after page of it. There is no reason this approach should work, but it does. The novel gains power as it progresses and we get to know these likable characters better. It's easily the best romance that I have read since The Time Traveller's Wife.

There is a rather loose, but lovely film adaptation that has recently been released, but it cuts away a lot, including much of the sexuality of the novel which it replaces with sensuality. Though I really liked the movie, fans of the novel will probably be more pissed off than pleased by the liberties that it takes.

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06-22-2012, 06:43 PM
  #232
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Just finished Donnie Brasco

Great read. The movie doesn't do the book justice. A must read for anyone intrested in the Mafia.

9/10

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06-22-2012, 07:10 PM
  #233
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kihei View Post


Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami: An early work of Murakami and decidedly more straightforward than his later more fantastic/surreal works. It's a very nicely drawn story of young love, a intriguing tale of a nice guy still in his teens who is in love with one girl and perhaps falling for another, while trying to do the right thing by both. The object of everyone's affection is Toru, a nice, slightly aimless guy, who is devoted to Naoko, a girl with whom he shares a personal tragedy. Then there is Midori, who is wheedling her way into his heart despite Toru's attempts to keep things platonic. If this was not enough to have on one's plate, he is also close friends with Reiko, an older woman and trusted friend of Midori, who is a bit smitten herself. Almost the entire novel consists of very long stretches of dialogue. Page after page of it. There is no reason this approach should work, but it does. The novel gains power as it progresses and we get to know these likable characters better. It's easily the best romance that I have read since The Time Traveller's Wife.

There is a rather loose, but lovely film adaptation that has recently been released, but it cuts away a lot, including much of the sexuality of the novel which it replaces with sensuality. Though I really liked the movie, fans of the novel will probably be more pissed off than pleased by the liberties that it takes.
Murakami is one of the best contemporary writers around. The Wind Up Bird Chronicle has been one of my top five favorite books of all time for years now.

Currently reading Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein. So far, living up to the gype.

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Old
06-23-2012, 03:03 PM
  #234
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Native Speaker by Chang-Rae Lee: Follows the protagonist, Henry Lee, as he tries to sort out his relationship with his white wife while also working for a Korean-American city councilman. It's a book examining the immigrant experience, particularly the Korean-American or Asian-American one, as well as immigrant-"native" relations. There's a lot packed into this book--one thread grafts onto another over the course of several chapters. It's an interesting read, but I found the author's message was sometimes weakened by a number of unrealistic aspects.

Brick Lane by Monica Ali: Another immigrant story, this time of a young Bangladeshi woman (Nazneen) immigrating to Britain in order to marry a much older man, named Chanu. This book could have stood some severe editing--the second half is very good, but the first half drags. Despite that, the author is very good with language, particularly in her description, and the conclusion of the story was satisfying and lifted the novel as a whole for me.

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06-24-2012, 11:59 PM
  #235
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Third Girl, by Agatha Christie: Written late in her career, Third Girl is an okay mystery but not one of Christie's best. Her heyday as a writer is really the '20s and '30s when almost all of her most masterful mysteries were written. By the '60s she is old and cranky, and really has no patience whatsoever with post-Beatles England. In this book, a young girl thinks she may have committed a murder but doesn't know for sure. Poirot pieces together the clues and, as always, figures it out in the end. The ending is preposterous, but getting there is reasonably fun. I wouldn't recommend this one, though, as she has so many mysteries that are way, way better.

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06-25-2012, 07:39 AM
  #236
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7/10. Very enjoyable.

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06-25-2012, 10:24 AM
  #237
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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami ... 10/10




http://books.google.com/books/about/...d=sC5mAAAAMAAJ

Quote:
"Japan's most highly regarded novelist now vaults into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II. In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife's missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan's forgotten campaign in Manchuria. Gripping, prophetic, suffused with comedy and menace,The Wind-Up Bird Chronicleis a tour de force equal in scope to the masterpieces of Mishima and Pynchon."

I read this book in 2 years ago, but recently re-read it in e-book format on my iPad... I love this book, it's probably my favourite book... and definitely my favourite book of Murakami's. It's just a super good book, you don't need to be interested in Japan to like this book... it's just flat out, great. It's thought provoking, and moving. I've never felt as close to a book as I have with the Wind Up Bird... If there was one book I'd love to see recreated as a film... it would be this book, although, I doubt any film could do it justice. If you need a good book to read, and you like surrealism... find a copy of this book online, or at your local library/ book store. Well worth a read!

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06-25-2012, 11:25 AM
  #238
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9/10

Follows Timothy Wilde, a former barkeep in NYC in 1845 who, through no choice of his, joins the copper stars (New York City's first police force). Mystery, politics, racism, violence, serial murder, and prostitution all intertwine as he finds his way at his new profession. Couldn't put the book down in the second half. Only tiny complaint is that sometimes Faye tells the reader how to feel or what something mean instead of leading them. Historically very accurate and the setting was perfect.

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06-25-2012, 12:29 PM
  #239
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David Foster Wallace - The Broom of the system

Started this on the plane going to Vietnam, finished it in the day and a half I had waiting around the Frankfurt airport.

DFW's first book he wrote as his thesis in a creative writing class. A look into his mind, and at certain points, you can see Infinite Jest waiting in the wings.

Reminds me a lot of Pynchon.

A good, zany book, but it does get a little tiresome at times.

7.1/10

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06-25-2012, 12:48 PM
  #240
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Originally Posted by stingo View Post


David Foster Wallace - The Broom of the system

Started this on the plane going to Vietnam, finished it in the day and a half I had waiting around the Frankfurt airport.

DFW's first book he wrote as his thesis in a creative writing class. A look into his mind, and at certain points, you can see Infinite Jest waiting in the wings.

Reminds me a lot of Pynchon.

A good, zany book, but it does get a little tiresome at times.

7.1/10
7.1 eh?

sounds like a interesting book... I just find your choice of a 7.1 very interesting.


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06-25-2012, 12:58 PM
  #241
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There are two recent movies out about what happened in Nanking, one of which is worth going out of your way to find. The weaker one, The Flowers of War with Christian Bale, is pure Hollywood-style malarkey and should be avoided at all costs.

However, there is an excellent Chinese film called City of Life and Death (2009), directed by Chaun Lu, that presents a very believable and harrowing account of the **** of Nanking. It is appropriately shot in black and white and was easily one of the better films of 2009 as well as being one of the most powerful.

The Flowers Of War was a great film, I saw it last year during the opening week in San Francisco. It was a bit fluffy, but overall, it was a great film. I can't get over how many people have disliked that movie. It's certainly not one of Zhang Yimou's top movies... but considering Zhang is a master film-maker, it's still a very good film.

I'd definitely watch Flowers of War If you get a chance to see it.

Nanking! Nanking! (City of Life and Death) was a great movie as well, especially from a historical perspective...

but I just find it very unfortunate that the Flower of War is often criticized for being a bad movie for being unbelievable/ historically inaccurate, when the film was never meant to be a work of non fiction.

Zhang Yimou has much better films... but the Flowers of War is still a very enjoyable film to watch... definitely not a film that should be avoided at all costs.

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06-27-2012, 11:56 AM
  #242
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A Year Without "Made in China" by Sara Bongiorni

As the title somewhat suggests, Bongiorni's book is about her trying to go through an entire year without buying any products made in China. While this concept was originally what made me want to read the book, I can't say it was executed in exactly the way I was expecting. There are many reasons to boycott Chinese products, and the most important one is the slave-like labor that Chinese factory workers endure. However, the author seems to be more concerned with simply trying to see if she can go a full year without buying anything from China, completely disregarding the immoral and illegal practices found in Chinese factories. While her adventures in stores trying to find something not Chinese are entertaining, funny, and certainly informative, she offers no insight into why her family is so materialistic, or why it's okay to buy products from other countries that have similar factory conditions to China. 6.5/10

The Wal-Mart Effect by Charles Fishman

It is exactly what you think it is: a book that elaborates on how Wal-Mart effects towns, businesses, the economy, and the environment. If you're looking for a great introduction to why people hate Wal-Mart so much, this is certainly the book for you. I also give credit to Fishman for crediting Sam Walton with his work ethic and commitment to his own idea of selling products at the best price possible, and it's fascinating to see that same ideal get taken to such an extreme that in order for a supplier to do business with Wal-Mart, they're essentially forced to have a cheaper version of their products made in China, which in turn also leads to massive layoffs in American factories. Solid book, if not a bit lightweight. 8.5/10

Ball Four by Jim Bouton.

The original "tell all" sports book. Upon original release, Bouton's book caused a great deal of controversy for not portraying MLB and its players as being squeaky clean, but instead going into great detail over contract disputes, the use of amphetamines, the infidelity of players, etc. While a lot of the "dark secrets" of the book now come off as tame compared to the hundreds of "tell all" books written by athletes since Ball Four, this novel still serves as a great piece of history, and anyone interested in baseball would greatly appreciate this book.

Bouton has also since added three epilogues (Ball Five, Ball Six, and Ball Seven) to his book for its tenth, twentieth, and thirtieth anniversary. While the first two epilogues are entertaining and welcome, as the reader finds out what Bouton has been doing since he released Ball Four, it's the final epilogue that is truly marvelous. Without spoiling much for those who have not read it, Ball Seven is a moving, wonderfully-written piece about Jim learning to overcome the death of one of his daughters, who passed away in a car accident. I'd say the final epilogue is probably the best chapter in the entire book, and is worth the price of admission alone. 9.5/10

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06-30-2012, 09:13 PM
  #243
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I, Claudius



9/10

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06-30-2012, 09:28 PM
  #244
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Originally Posted by Baby Punisher View Post
I'm on a Jimmy Hoffa kick right now.

I've read two the three books that have intrested me most about James R.

Crossing Hoffa. It's P.O.V is from the straigh shooter truck driver & his attempt to root out minor coruption from his local, thinking Hoffa is an honorable as himself only to find out how wrong he was. The first 15 chapters were a little slow, but from 16 on it was excellent. Could not put it down 8/10

I hear you paint houses. Best book about the Mafia I have read since Underboss, Sammy the bulls book.

This book is the P.O.V from Frank "the Irish man" Sheeran, This book covers alot, because the Irish man has a lot to say.

After reading this book I have no doubt in my mind that He killed Jimmy Hoffa, Crazy Joe Gallo & Momo Giancana.

Sheeran also goes into detail & about The Kennedy assaination. Hoffa wanted Bobby dead, Chicago & Detriot decided to wack out JFK because Joe Kennedy reneged on a deal he had with them after the mob fixed the Chicago election in JFK's favor.

The book is chilling. A movie is set to be made about it.

9.5/10

The 3rd book will be on the Goverment's P.O.V. I havent decided which one it will be yet. That will complete my Hoffa trilogly.

Supposedly Scorsese bought the movie rights to the book and has DeNiro, Pacino, and Pesci all attached to the project.

The tentative title is "The Irishman", but don't expect it to start production for another couple of years or so as Scorsese has other projects that he's committed to in the meantime.


Can't wait!!

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07-01-2012, 09:42 PM
  #245
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This is the third book of the Camel Club series by David Baldacci. I'm not going to rate it on a scale, but I definitely recommend reading the series. The ending of this book.. Crazy. What a great writer.

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07-03-2012, 09:50 AM
  #246
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The Midwich Cuckoos, John Wyndam: I followed Agatha Christie with another vintage genre piece from England. The inhabitants of a small English village fall unconscious for several hours--and anyone who comes near to their village suffers the same fate. A few weeks later it is discovered that all of the women of child bearing age, including virgins, are pregnant. When the progeny arrives, they’re just a little bit different, to say the least. It's very dated but that's part of the fun—this is jolly, old England of the post-war years as it probably never existed anyway. Wyndam writes the kind of science fiction that is full of speculative ideas and philosophical arguments, and this novel supplies a surprising amount of intellectual engagement. It is among his best work, though my favourite of his novels remains The Kraken Wakes.



Pattern Recognition, by William Gibson: The twist here is that Gibson applies his distinct techno-futurist approach to a novel that is set in the present. Cayce is a high paid, jet-setting, ultra-elite media consultant who has made a career out of recognizing social and cultural patterns that others fail to notice. When Blue Ant, a powerful corporation whose purpose seems to be to shape the future before it arrives, hires her to discover the creator of a series of visual fragments that has been attracting loads of attention on the internet, she is definitely interested because she is fascinated by these fragments herself. However, she is not sure if she is ethically comfortable with the people with whom she must work with to track down the artist behind the film footage. Her search takes her from London to Tokyo to Moscow, and the closer she gets to an answer the more she begins to suspect that there is no one whom she can fully trust, even among the people ostensibly helping her. Cayce is an interesting character, but a lot of the novel seems more concerned with playing around with ideas about brands, logos, gadgets, and fashion trends than coming up with a really gripping plot. There’s also a lame back story that seems like something out of the Nancy Drew series for pre-pubescent girls. In fact, when all the answers in this novel come, they are pretty underwhelming. Gibson has patented a discernible style, but he increasingly doesn’t seem to have a whole lot to say.


Last edited by kihei: 07-03-2012 at 10:28 AM.
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07-10-2012, 08:45 AM
  #247
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Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky - 8/10

Roadside Picnic is a Russian SciFi book about aliens who made contact with earth and created zones. It's the inspiration for the movie Stalker and the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. video games. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, the story was great even though there were large breaks in it that weren't really explained. For instance, one chapter was like 8 years after the last.

The feeling of the zone was incredible and had some creepy moments throughout. It's a different kind of character that can go through it all, I love those kinds of characters and the setting. Overall, it's a pretty good book and a little on the short side at just under 200 pages. If you like scifi stuff that is more towards the realistic side, I recommend this book.

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07-13-2012, 12:48 AM
  #248
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Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. 8/10

Very enjoyable read, it's almost four hundred pages but I tore through it. The world is very similair to that of Sandman and American Gods, but the story is much more light and irreverent and funny.

Reads very cinematically. I have a suspicion this is intentional - apparently Gaiman is working on the screenplay right now.

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[/IMG]Since I haven't read fiction in probably close to 3 years, it took me a while to be able to understand and comprehend the writing style and blending of reality and the world of "The Combine" in the Chief's head. As the effect of McMurphy on the ward and the nurse built up, I got more and more into the book. The final handful of pages are just awesome. Hoping this restarts my reading itch.
Good to hear. Picked it up at a used bookstore, planning to read it next. I read the first few pages and found the prose a bit difficult, and switched to Anansi boys.

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07-13-2012, 01:42 PM
  #249
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7.1 eh?

sounds like a interesting book... I just find your choice of a 7.1 very interesting.
The extra point one comes from the short story within the book where everything goes wrong. Had me laughing pretty good.


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07-13-2012, 04:52 PM
  #250
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The Cello Suites, by Eric Siblin: Siblin is an amateur enthusiast of Bach's beautiful cello suites and this book approaches those compositions from three angles: a light discussion of the suites themselves; a sort of pocket biography of Bach; and an examination of Pablo Casals, the great Spanish cellist who first brought not only the Suites to public attention but the cello itself as a concert and recording solo instrument. The book primarily bounces back and forth between Bach and Casals, but we also get a taste of the difficulty of trying to perform Bach when Siblin decides to take up the instrument himself and also participates as a choir member in a Bach festival.


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