What have you just READ?

Talk about films, television programs or a good read you'd like to share.

Re: What have you just READ?

Postby Silkie on Sun Jan 11, 2015 3:35 am

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden. A mixed bag but very good in parts.
"I prefer the company of animals more than the company of humans.
Certainly, a wild animal is cruel.
But to be merciless is the privilege of civilised humans."
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Re: What have you just READ?

Postby SaintStrongbow on Sun Jan 11, 2015 12:10 pm

I finally finished the Wheel of Time! :cheers: My God, it's an epic series. Think I will definitely wait a few years before going through all that again.

Now for something a lot lighter, Terry Pratchett's 'Raising Steam'. Gotta love Terry, he got me into reading for fun in the first place! Even if I now do feel a bit silly reading his books at my age.
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Re: What have you just READ?

Postby Silkie on Sun Jan 11, 2015 4:16 pm

His The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents is supposed to be a children's book but it's as dark as most adult fiction out there and one of my all time favourites.
"I prefer the company of animals more than the company of humans.
Certainly, a wild animal is cruel.
But to be merciless is the privilege of civilised humans."
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Re: What have you just READ?

Postby Bobbobthebob on Wed Jan 14, 2015 2:28 pm

A Wilder Vein by various authors
A nature writing collection almost exclusively from Ireland and Britain's Celtic fringes. Given I've recently moved to Scotland it was nice to read evocations of place and belonging in a landscape that's still very new to me (I'm a massive natural history nerd and spend my spare time recording all kinds of wildlife including small and obscure things like beetles and bryophytes). I've gone from the warm weather, dry ground, broad estuaries, coppices, ancient woodlands and chalk downlands of south-east England to Scotland's cold winds, bogs, fast-flowing burns, big open moors, uplands and dune systems. The general lack of at least semi-natural woodland is getting me down a bit but some of what's in this book is helping me re-appreciate the wild land here.

Roads to Ruin by E.S. Turner
I'd been looking out for this for a while and I'm still a chapter away from the end but it's an amazing book. At first it sounds terrible: a 65-year old history of social reform from 1800 to 1950. But it's about reforms that either obviously needed to be done to stop a real problem or were totally harmless and it's specifically about the opposition to these reforms. These are people who were screaming that the UK would descend into a pit of immorality and wife-murdering should we allow men to marry their deceased wife's sister; or that being banned from overloading a ship and endangering the crew was an affront to British liberty. It's simultaneously horrifying and hilarious. Take the chapter on spring guns for example:

Back in the 1800s after the gentry went and enclosed the common land, they blocked off a vital source of sustenance for the local poor people and filled those woods with pheasants to shoot for sport. The obvious happened and the locals would sneak in at night and poach the pheasants for their own pots. The aristocrats responded by leaving guns with wire triggers hidden throughout the woods to shoot trespassers. More often than not, these hit completely innocent people or their own employees. There are tales of people taking two steps into a wood to collect a wind-blown hat and getting blown away, gameskeepers getting shot in the leg and having it amputated and so on. And then you have some MPs or Lords, gentry themselves, complaining that all the country's aristos would just up and leave if they couldn't shoot trespassers. Or that it was better to shoot a poacher than to send him to jail as jail would expose him to "immoral types" and send him on a journey of crime resulting in him swinging from the gallows. Merely peppering his leg with pellets was therefore a mercy!
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Re: What have you just READ?

Postby Silkie on Sat Mar 07, 2015 5:16 pm

The Tumithak Trilogy. I read the first story in my early teens as well as the second but couldn't find the third until recently. So was it worth 30 years plus of waiting? No. Short, lacking all the things that made the first two so interesting and ahead of it's time it disappointed in every way. The story is an account set very far in the future of a young man who inspired by a rare account of the history of the human race and how the invading Shelk drove them from the surface sets out on a quest to kill a Shelk. The subterranean humans consider the almost never seen invaders as almost god like beings and by proving their mortality he hopes to inspire them to return to the surface of the Earth and reclaim their world. The books started in 1931 and for the time had some excellent ideas especially how Tumithak is all too human in his fear of the unknown and the things that have faded from human memory including the sky itself. The third book is not only short and shoddy but contains some unpleasant racism much at odds with the first two books.

Venus Plus X. Theodore Sturgeon. A truly fascinating book that can be a bit long winded at times. Charlie Johns awakes in the future amongst the Ledom a race very similar to humans who wish him to examine their young society as an outsider. It touches on many ideas about gender and sexual identity still relevant today but considered shocking at the time.
"I prefer the company of animals more than the company of humans.
Certainly, a wild animal is cruel.
But to be merciless is the privilege of civilised humans."
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Re: What have you just READ?

Postby Urinator on Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:56 am

Almost through the Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson. But the one I last read completely through was Henry Rollins' Black Coffee Blues, that book was the shit.


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Re: What have you just READ?

Postby Bobbobthebob on Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:00 am

The Martian by Anthony Weir
An astronaut on one of the first few missions to Mars is left for dead after an accident during an evacuation in a sandstorm. He wakes up, injured, abandoned and running out of air with no realistic expectation of rescue. It kinda turns into Robinson Crusoe meets MacGuyver on Mars. The author's a NASA engineer and his expertise on this stuff really shines through. The problems and issues are believable, the solutions make sense and are explained sometimes in excruciating detail (which as an engineering grad I enjoyed). The characterisation and writing is about as bad as most airport novels but it was such a page-turner I didn't care too much. I'm looking forward to this being on the big screen.

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
Jon Ronson (journalist & author of The Men Who Stare at Goats amongst others) writes about the increasing phenomenon of public shaming via social media. It's really interesting as he delves into how shame was used in smaller pre-modern societies and why it was abandoned in favor of less public punishments for wrongdoers - contrary to popular opinion it wasn't because shame didn't work in larger city-sized communities but that it was considered unusually cruel and inhibited reform by stripping all dignity from the punished. These days we don't even have judges to decide who gets shamed and harangued. It's a digital form of mob justice that really does wreck lives and careers while those everyday individuals within the mob fairly promptly forget about it and move on to the next "complete bastard" of the moment. It's framed around several cases, many of which you'll dully recall as you read it. The aftermath for many of the victims is pretty bad.

Exterminate All the Brutes by Sven Lindqvist
A Swedish author's dreamlike travelogue of visiting Mali in the early '90s while simultaneously cogitating on the history of the region, the exterminationist policies of the European empires and linking a direct connection from them to the later ideologies of Nazism (if you have a view of progress that sees "lesser peoples" inevitably falling by the wayside in the name of science, it's actually supposedly a mercy if you actively get rid of them as quickly as possible. Just expand the "lesser peoples" group to non-Germans and you have the Holocaust).

Currently reading Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie - a sci fi novel which won a whole pile of awards last year. Still in the disorientated early stages of it but it's p. good so far.
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Re: What have you just READ?

Postby Silkie on Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:12 pm

The Last Hero. Illustrated Hardback. I spotted this bargain at a little local book fair in mint condition and although it's shorter than most Terry Pratchett books it comes with some fantastic illustrations by Paul Kidby. Very enjoyable and quite a smart looking book.
"I prefer the company of animals more than the company of humans.
Certainly, a wild animal is cruel.
But to be merciless is the privilege of civilised humans."
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Re: What have you just READ?

Postby ListerofSMEG-2 on Thu Jul 30, 2015 7:07 pm

Tortillas to Totems by Sam Manicom

A bloke who went on a motorbike tour round Europe and ended up travelling the globe for 8 years. This is the last part of 4 books detailing central America to the USA.

Also have read Jupiter's Travels & Dreaming of Jupiter by Ted Simon (Motorbike adventurer)

The Long Ride Home by Nathan Milward - bloke riding a 110cc Aussie post bike from Sydney to London in order to get over being dumped!

Love my adventuring books me :)
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Re: What have you just READ?

Postby jacobcak545 on Sun Feb 07, 2021 8:34 pm

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Re: What have you just READ?

Postby jacobcak545 on Mon Mar 22, 2021 8:49 pm

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