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Last Book You Read and Rate It (Part II)

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Old
01-04-2013, 11:37 PM
  #451
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Is this brand new? I haven't seen it in stores.
As far as I know, Until the Night just came out during the Christmas season.

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01-06-2013, 07:45 AM
  #452
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Lawrence Wright - The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda And The Road To 9/11




One of the best books yet on the history of terrorism. Wright begins with the observation that, despite an impressive record of terror and assassination, post–WWarII, Islamic militants failed to establish theocracies in any Arab country. Many helped Afghanistan resist the Russian invasion of 1979 before their unemployed warriors stepped up efforts at home. Al-Qaeda, formed in Afghanistan in 1988 and led by Osama bin Laden, pursued a different agenda, blaming America for Islam's problems. Less wealthy than believed, bin Laden's talents lay in organization and PR, Wright asserts. Ten years later, bin Laden blew up U.S. embassies in Africa and the destroyer Cole, opening the floodgates of money and recruits. Wright's step-by-step description of these attacks reveals that planning terror is a sloppy business, leaving a trail of clues that, in the case of 9/11, raised many suspicions among individuals in the FBI, CIA and NSA. Wright shows that 9/11 could have been prevented if those agencies had worked together. As a fugitive, bin Ladin's days as a terror mastermind may be past, but his success has spawned swarms of imitators.

For those interested, but wondering if it's too heavy of a read, it reads like a Ludlam spy novel. It's action packed, and keeps your interest the whole way through. You're not going to plow through it the way you would a Ludlam novel, but it's a fine(and true) book from start to end. I can see why it won the Pulitzer Prize.

8.8/10

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01-10-2013, 10:25 AM
  #453
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Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood



Always a bit of a sucker for post-apocalypse stuff, and I suppose with that I shouldn't be expecting great literature but my bar was set high with Cormac McCarthy's The Road. This world isn't nearly as depressing and bleak despite Atwood's attempts at conveying Snowman's angst in living in the situation he is in.

Also there's the old adage of drawing from one's own experience when writing, Atwood having chapters of the friendship between Jimmy and Crake as teenage boys is just cringe-worthy. Like hearing your grandmother start using words like "Phat". Total lack in understanding what guys are actually like, it's just a horrible teenage boy cliche.

Seemed very lazy to me to have this all-powerful team of geneticists that caused the apocalyptic situation they are in, supposed geniuses but her words for the animals they greated like Pigoon (Pig and Pigeon) or Rakunk (Racoon and Skunk), is unimaginative. The kind of words you'd expect from a 7th grade writing project.

Despite all that, it is an entertaining novel. I do have issue with the ending as a cliffhanger and "here's an exerpt from the next book"... Works for TV, not for literature, it's an ultimate piss-off after investing your time working through the book and not having a resolution of any sorts.

5.5/10

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01-11-2013, 11:01 PM
  #454
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Cloud Atlas
4/5
I read this in staccato bursts over 6 weeks and I think that didn't help. If I read it again I'll try to give it more time. I can understand why it received accolades, as the structure was unlike anything I've ever read and the change of voice is impressive. I struggled through portions of it but once I came to understand the theme (or at least my thought as to what the theme is-Stingo wrote a nice review a couple months ago but I came to a different conclusion about the overall theme) I really enjoyed it. Looking forward to checking out the movie now.

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01-11-2013, 11:02 PM
  #455
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slaughterhouse Five: 6/10

very confusing... anyone else read it?

I'm currently reading "Clockwork Angels" and so far... it's very well written.

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01-13-2013, 11:15 PM
  #456
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Brain On Fire: My Month Of Madness - Susannah Cahalan



Susanah Cahalan was a journalist for New York Post. One day her arm goes numb, and she doesn't feel like herself. She goes to doctor's and they diagnose her with "too much partying" to bi-polar disorder. But what's really going on is that her brain is inflamed with an autoimmune disease that has the same signs and symptoms of schizophrenia.

Very interesting book. Luckily, we know the story turns out alright.

I'm too tired to write anything half-decent. Just finished the book in a three hour reading session.

Memoir.

7.6/10


Last edited by stingo: 01-15-2013 at 07:51 PM.
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Old
01-14-2013, 12:48 AM
  #457
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Distrust That Particular Flavor by William Gibson 6/10

It's not earth shattering, but if you enjoy William Gibson, this won't disappoint. It feels like the majority of the articles are either reviews or prefaces for other people's work, and while nearly all of them are entertaining, the majority don't have the same the pull of his fiction. His writing only really takes off when he's talking about Japan or watches. The most consistently entertaining parts are the little blurbs he puts after each article where he is commenting on what he wrote.

You Don't Love Me Yet by Jonathan Lethem 5/10

It's a quick, effortless read, which is really the best thing to say about it. If you like Lethem, it hits familiar chords, but it's not one of his finer compositions. It feels like a tweener work, something he put together between larger works (which I think it is, coming between Fortress of Solitude and Chronic City) that feels like a writer waiting on his second wind before venturing off on bigger journeys.

__________________
blah, blah, blah
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Old
01-15-2013, 07:51 PM
  #458
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Louise Erdrich - The Round House



Law is meant to put out society’s brush fires, but in Native American history it has often acted more like the wind. Louise Erdrich turns this dire reality into a powerful human story in her new novel, in which a Native American woman is ***** somewhere in the vicinity of a sacred round house, and seeking justice becomes almost as devastating as the crime. The round house itself stands on reservation land, where tribal courts are in charge, but the suspect is white, and tribal courts can’t prosecute non-*Native people. Federal law would also seem to apply, but the **** may have taken place on a strip of land that is part of a state park, where North Dakota’s authority is in force, or on another that was sold by the tribe and is thus considered “fee land,” administered under a separate tangle of statutes.

When he hears that the judge handling the case is uncertain whether the accused man can be charged at all, the 13-year-old boy whose mother was ***** pursues his own quest for justice. Narrating this gripping story years later, having himself become a public prosecutor, Joe shows how a seemingly isolated crime has many roots. In the process, this young boy will experience a heady jolt of adolescent freedom and a brutal introduction to both the sorrows of grown-up life and the weight of his people’s past — “the gut kick of our history, which I was bracing to absorb.”


The above was taken from the New York Time's Book Review. It gives you the basic idea of the book, but I won't go into more, due to not wanting to give the story away.

The Round House recently won the prestigious National Book Award. I was really rooting for Kevin Power's - The Yellow Birds to win, but at the time I hadn't yet read The Round House.

After finishing The Round House, not twenty minutes ago, I'm glad it won. It deserved to win, and it deserves to be read by many.

9.8/10

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01-16-2013, 10:35 AM
  #459
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The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronsen
7.5/10
A quick and easy read about the history of the Bob Hare Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-R) and the 'madness industry'. This book will give you just enough of the PCL-R to start guessing if your friends and neighbors are actual psychos or not.

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
9/10
This is the first of Pynchon's novels that I have read and I just loved it. The tale of a woman who is tasked with being the executrix of an ex-lovers vast estate, she gets tied up with a cast of bizzarre characters and searches for information on an underground postage service. It took me about 40 or so pages to get into it, but the wait was worth it.

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01-16-2013, 11:58 AM
  #460
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A Leader's Legacy - James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner



Boss at work gave it to me to work on my leadership skills as I am being prepped to take over a new role and will have to manage a division by myself.

The whole thing reads like some touchy feely inspirational poster. Just in book form.



1/10

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Old
01-17-2013, 01:37 AM
  #461
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American Assassin by Vince Flynn. Really enjoyable, picked up Pursuit of Honor for five bucks. Rapp is a badass.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Complete fan service, Cline crams in every single 80's pop culture reference he could find in the book and I loved every minute of it. Couldn't put the book down at all.

About 100 pages or so left in Joe Abercrombie's Before They are Hanged. The Bloody Nine

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Old
01-18-2013, 08:43 AM
  #462
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Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger
3.5/5
As a longtime fan of his movies I was looking forward to this. It didn't quite reach into the depths the voyeur in me wanted to see but it was entertaining. The first two parts - bodybuilding and movies - were great. The third part - his political career - was a little too dry for me. At all times he comes off as extremely intelligent, if naive early on, and VERY adept at business, particularly real estate, something I had no idea about. It was a nice light read giving some insight to Arnold the person and I enjoyed it for the most part. Even though he's kind of a ****** for what he did to his wife and family I'm still a fan of his movies and I think anyone else who is will get something out of it.

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Old
01-19-2013, 12:44 AM
  #463
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Lawrence Wright - The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda And The Road To 9/11




One of the best books yet on the history of terrorism. Wright begins with the observation that, despite an impressive record of terror and assassination, post–WWarII, Islamic militants failed to establish theocracies in any Arab country. Many helped Afghanistan resist the Russian invasion of 1979 before their unemployed warriors stepped up efforts at home. Al-Qaeda, formed in Afghanistan in 1988 and led by Osama bin Laden, pursued a different agenda, blaming America for Islam's problems. Less wealthy than believed, bin Laden's talents lay in organization and PR, Wright asserts. Ten years later, bin Laden blew up U.S. embassies in Africa and the destroyer Cole, opening the floodgates of money and recruits. Wright's step-by-step description of these attacks reveals that planning terror is a sloppy business, leaving a trail of clues that, in the case of 9/11, raised many suspicions among individuals in the FBI, CIA and NSA. Wright shows that 9/11 could have been prevented if those agencies had worked together. As a fugitive, bin Ladin's days as a terror mastermind may be past, but his success has spawned swarms of imitators.

For those interested, but wondering if it's too heavy of a read, it reads like a Ludlam spy novel. It's action packed, and keeps your interest the whole way through. You're not going to plow through it the way you would a Ludlam novel, but it's a fine(and true) book from start to end. I can see why it won the Pulitzer Prize.

8.8/10
Not a "Last Book You Read" - but Wright's latest (just released yesterday):



Quote:
A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than two hundred personal interviews with current and former Scientologists—both famous and less well known—and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.

At the book’s center, two men whom Wright brings vividly to life, showing how they have made Scientology what it is today: The darkly brilliant science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, whose restless, expansive mind invented a new religion. And his successor, David Miscavige—tough and driven, with the unenviable task of preserving the church after the death of Hubbard.

We learn about Scientology’s complicated cosmology and special language. We see the ways in which the church pursues celebrities, such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and how such stars are used to advance the church’s goals. And we meet the young idealists who have joined the Sea Org, the church’s clergy, signing up with a billion-year contract.

In Going Clear, Wright examines what fundamentally makes a religion a religion, and whether Scientology is, in fact, deserving of this constitutional protection. Employing all his exceptional journalistic skills of observation, understanding, and shaping a story into a compelling narrative, Lawrence Wright has given us an evenhanded yet keenly incisive book that reveals the very essence of what makes Scientology the institution it is.
I just picked up the Kindle and Audible versions.

Review in todays NYTimes:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/20/bo...tology.html?hp

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Old
01-19-2013, 01:52 AM
  #464
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Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood



Always a bit of a sucker for post-apocalypse stuff, and I suppose with that I shouldn't be expecting great literature but my bar was set high with Cormac McCarthy's The Road. This world isn't nearly as depressing and bleak despite Atwood's attempts at conveying Snowman's angst in living in the situation he is in.

Also there's the old adage of drawing from one's own experience when writing, Atwood having chapters of the friendship between Jimmy and Crake as teenage boys is just cringe-worthy. Like hearing your grandmother start using words like "Phat". Total lack in understanding what guys are actually like, it's just a horrible teenage boy cliche.

Seemed very lazy to me to have this all-powerful team of geneticists that caused the apocalyptic situation they are in, supposed geniuses but her words for the animals they greated like Pigoon (Pig and Pigeon) or Rakunk (Racoon and Skunk), is unimaginative. The kind of words you'd expect from a 7th grade writing project.

Despite all that, it is an entertaining novel. I do have issue with the ending as a cliffhanger and "here's an exerpt from the next book"... Works for TV, not for literature, it's an ultimate piss-off after investing your time working through the book and not having a resolution of any sorts.

5.5/10
Rebuttal:

The interactions between Jimmy (Snowman) and his mother had me hyperventilating on more than one occasion. I found Jimmy's childhood stuff very compelling; I suppose it depends a lot on how your family worked. Me? Lots of immediately familiar stuff from my childhood and teenage years. If yours bore no resemblance, I am officially jealous. But that particular brand of dysfunction is quite real, and very accurately portrayed in the book.

Note: Pigoon is not a pig and pigeon. I do agree the words for those hybrid animals were kind of silly. Atwood...go figure. She is an odd little duck.

The Year of the Flood is the sequel; the next book of the trilogy Maddadam (sp?) is due out this year. I highly recommend The Year of the Flood. You'll see all the stories intersecting with the bit characters from Oryx and Crake. Very, very worthwhile read imho.

--------------------------------------

Also just finished The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M Banks. Still one of my favourite authors for recreational reading.

http://www.iain-banks.net/uk/the-hydrogen-sonata/

Very good, and a worthy addition to the Culture novels, but not up there with his best work. This book adds the Gzilt civilization to the Culture universe; a civ just as old as the Culture who were almost one of its founding partners but decided not to at the last minute. All these thousands of years later, they stand on the threshold of sublimation, but there's trouble. Conspiracies, assassinations, covert action, ship Minds being snippy to each other, it's all in there.

7.5/10.

Not as good as some of his other work (I did think the book before this one, Surface Detail, was better) but still good for sci-fi fans.

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01-19-2013, 05:17 AM
  #465
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Entertaining book, full of personality. As far as a biography or autobiography goes, one of the best ones I've read. I think you probably don't even have to like wrestling to appreciate it. Chris Jericho comes across as a genuinely likeable guy.

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01-19-2013, 10:18 AM
  #466
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Not a "Last Book You Read" - but Wright's latest (just released yesterday):





I just picked up the Kindle and Audible versions.

Review in todays NYTimes:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/20/bo...tology.html?hp
This isn't being released in Canada due to fear of lawsuits from Scientologists. Crazy, right? The UK is not publishing it for the same reasons. So I'm going to wait until I'm in the States in the next couple of months and pick it up then.

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01-19-2013, 10:23 AM
  #467
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Steven Erikson-House of Chains. 8/10. I liked the anticlimactic ending. This is the 3rd of the Malazan books I've read. His world and work is very intimidating but he's an amazing writer and I'm starting to feel more comfortable in the world, though there's still a lot of stuff that goes over my head. Onto Midnight Tides.

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01-25-2013, 10:06 AM
  #468
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The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski
8.5/10
A compelling story of a young boy who roams from village to village in WWII. Despite witnessing disturbing and depraved acts at every turn, many of which were directed towards him, he never gives up and tries to find meaning behind it all.

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01-25-2013, 11:11 AM
  #469
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProstheticConscience View Post
Rebuttal:

The interactions between Jimmy (Snowman) and his mother had me hyperventilating on more than one occasion. I found Jimmy's childhood stuff very compelling; I suppose it depends a lot on how your family worked. Me? Lots of immediately familiar stuff from my childhood and teenage years. If yours bore no resemblance, I am officially jealous. But that particular brand of dysfunction is quite real, and very accurately portrayed in the book.

Note: Pigoon is not a pig and pigeon. I do agree the words for those hybrid animals were kind of silly. Atwood...go figure. She is an odd little duck.

The Year of the Flood is the sequel; the next book of the trilogy Maddadam (sp?) is due out this year. I highly recommend The Year of the Flood. You'll see all the stories intersecting with the bit characters from Oryx and Crake. Very, very worthwhile read imho.

.
Yeah, not sure why I put pigeon haha. That racoon thing, either way I thought the words were like some cartoonish BS.

I'm not saying so much the interactions of Jimmy as a child with his family, just the way he and Crake formed their friendship and talked to each other. She is completely out of touch with a teenage boy, just put every stereotype into one and tried to make them sound natural with one another. It was creepy.

I am almost done Year of the Flood and find it's a much better book than Oryx and Crake.

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01-25-2013, 02:16 PM
  #470
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Game of Thrones; A storm of Swords 9/

This is the third book in the series and i loved it. i'm about halfway through book 4

I wasn't big on fantasy books but these captivated me, Love the setting


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01-27-2013, 10:28 PM
  #471
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Agent Zigzag, by Ben Macintyre: In his review, Kalliowehardlyknewye doesn't oversell this book at all. As spy stories go, it is stranger than most works of fiction, and I agree that the book would make a terrific movie. Chapman, a most unlikely double agent, is a vivid character full of contradictions and anomalies, but even though he must have been foolhardy in many ways, he was still a very brave man. The supporting characters are vividly drawn, so interesting a collection of personalities and types that even the most imaginative scriptwriter would have had trouble conjuring them into existence. Just a completely fascinating and gripping read from cover to cover.

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01-28-2013, 11:10 PM
  #472
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Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazzil. ****ing EPIC, 10 out of 10.





Rumor has it that decaprio is going to produce/star in this?! Should be a great action movie but oh God-- tiny little pretty boy Decaprio playing the role of Bearclaw?! HUGE miscast. They need a big rugged looking dude to play that role.
Just read this book in 3 days. I have to agree, just amazing! One of the best books I've ever read.

Can anyone recommend a book that is equally as great or like this one? I just loved it!!!

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01-28-2013, 11:46 PM
  #473
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I just bought Going Clear, looking forward to getting the time to read it.

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01-28-2013, 11:57 PM
  #474
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6 out of 10. Some interesting stuff but it really should be named "When I interviewed Metallica they told me this... "by Mick Wall. Too many times sentences start with "when I interviewed Kirk..." or "When Lars spoke to me in 1989..." Too much Mick Wall inserting himself into almost everything and giving his own opinions on things. Some interesting notes from Flemming Rasmussen like the bell at the beginning of "For Whom the Bell Tolls" isn't a bell at all. It was Lars hitting an anvil in while in a stairwell.

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01-29-2013, 12:13 AM
  #475
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Fantastic book. 8.5/10

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