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What are you reading at the moment?

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On 25/05/2018 at 00:26, lolly said:

Just finished White Teeth by Zadie Smith. Basically a story of  few generations of immigrants  from Bengal and Jamacia and their families in London and their various trail and tribulations.

Not really my cup of tea normally  but it was pretty fantastic, lots of heart, funny as fuck and  hard to put down at times.I know it gets a fair bit of praise but it's probably deserving of it.

 

Yes, it’s a very decent read.

 

I found it curious though, highly enjoyable as a reading experience while I was unconvinced of the verisimilitude of the story. It’s like the author created some beautiful chess pieces, and as the reader I enjoyed seeing them being moved around the board more than I felt invested in the game.

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Over the weekend I read The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor. A nice, creepy thriller set on the South Coast of England split over two time periods - the mid 80's and today. The story follows Ed (as a child in the 80's parts and an alcoholic school teacher in the later ones) in these two eras with alternating chapters.

 

The plot slowly reveals itself with a couple of murders in the past coming to the surface in the contemporary chapters. Clues planted in the 80's set chapters are worked out and resolved in the modern ones. And the actions of Ed and other children in the past have repercussions today. 

 

This was a really enjoyable thriller. For a debut book it was very assured and well written. But maybe featured a little too much misdirection. Stephen King spoke highly of it ("If you like my stuff, you'll like this") and it lifts heavily from some of his catalog - Stand By Me and It are the headline influences. I read it in a day and it possibly has a twist too many but I really enjoyed it and I'll keep an eye out for more books from this writer.

 

Recommended for thriller/horror fans.

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Just finished The Dry by Jane Harper, it's about a policeman that returns to his childhoods small town for a funeral of an old friend but end up investigating the incident, which digs up secrets the drought-ridden outback farming town wanted kept hidden.
Really impressive debut crime/drama story.

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Dan Deadman book 2.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Inside-Universe-Deadman-Detective-ebook/dp/B0784QML5V/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1529334451&sr=8-3&keywords=dan+deadman

 

After saving the grim and gritty alien city of Down Here from something big, mean and mind-bendingly horrible, Dan is looking forward to unwinding in the closest available bar. Annoyingly, the universe has other ideas.

Instead, Dan finds himself investigating a cheating husband, two horrible murders, and the potential enslavement of everyone in the galaxy. With his caseload stretching his woefully limited detective skills, his car in pieces, and the whole 'being dead' thing not doing him any favors, Dan has no choice but to ask his friends for help.

And that's when his problems really start.

Featuring motivational gangsters, predatory worms and a whole classroom full of defecating infants, "Dead Inside" is the second book in the Dan Deadman Space Detective Series, and the follow-up to the best-selling "Dial D for Deadman".

 

51N8xu8H94L.jpg

 

Barry Hutchison writes dumb, but funny sci-fi.

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2 hours ago, grounded_dreams said:

Just finished The Dry by Jane Harper, it's about a policeman that returns to his childhoods small town for a funeral of an old friend but end up investigating the incident, which digs up secrets the drought-ridden outback farming town wanted kept hidden.
Really impressive debut crime/drama story.

 

I posted about this in here a few months back. I thought it was average at best. But I note most reviews seem to side with you rather than me on this one. 

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Just finished Dark Pines by Will Dean, a Brit who has lived in rural Sweden which provides the setting for this atmospheric thriller.  Unfortunately I guessed the protagonist before the end, but it was still a very enjoyable read, introducing Tuva Moodyson as a deaf reporter in a 2-bit town in autumn (elk hunting season) investigating a serial killer and ruffling  a few too many feathers along the way.  Some superficial similarities with Twin Peaks perhaps, the forests, lumber mill, road house - but I think I'll be along for the ride for the next book.

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Recently finished How Games Move Us by Katherine Isbister.

 

It's about how videogames can create different emotional responses in us, not only in terms of game design but the kind of hardware used and the interactivity between players.

 

There's definitely some interesting stuff in there, especially some of the experiments in interactive gaming the author and her academic team have set up, and got me thinking here and there. But it also felt a bit inconsequential overall, like it didn't really build to a significant point. That could be just me though.

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It's been a while (World Cup :ph34r:) but I've been on a Cold War kick of late so I decided to finally tick off some Tom Clancy and went for his most famous book, The Hunt for Red October. 

 

I was about ten when the film was released and I'm almost certain I saw it on VHS with my parents in the early 90s but other than it being about Soviets, Americans and Submarines I couldn't remember a thing that happens. 

 

Turns out it was really good. I do like some of the nerdier aspects of things like this so long explanations about the pros and cons of active and passive sonar are perfectly forgivable and I love the sense of tension and claustrophobia Clancy paints here. Would recommend to a friend.

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Over the weekend I read The Anomaly by Michael Rutger. This is the third name used by the writer Michael Marshall Smith. He started out as MMS and wrote some amazing sci-fi books then published a few decent thrillers as Michael Marshall and now is writing as Michael Rutger.

 

It's the story of a YouTube guy, Nolan Moore, who investigates mysterious phenomenon - I picture the guy from the Ancient Aliens meme not Indiana Jones. And tries to uncover whatever 'secrets' he can in these sites. It goes without saying that he's a spoofer and that he's only in it for the money. But while investigating a cave in the Grand Canyon he finds something properly weird. And soon Nolan and his team are trapped and some real weird stuff is happening.

 

This is aimed at the Clive Cussler/Dan Brown market. Chapters are short and every chapter ends on a cliff hanger. But Rutger is an excellent writer and his characters, plotting and location work are superb. The central mystery is really good and he times the reveals perfectly. Some of the twists are telegraphed but there's enough genuinely weird stuff happening to elevate this above the rest of the genre.

 

Not as good as his sci-fi work but definitely worth a read if you're into this kind of thing. I'd read more from this series if they come appear. 

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Just finished Leviathan wakes, the first of The Expanse series and it was brilliant. The best sci-fi ive read in years. For a total chamge ive started Miss Subway by David Duchovny 

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I just started Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate, by all accounts one of the masterpieces of twentieth century Russian literature - which wasn't published or widely read until much later thanks to the KGB - it had to be smuggled out on microfilm! Looking forward to it. 

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I read Stephen King's The Outsider over the weekend, having seen it on someone or other's recommended list. It's an odd one - I went into it with no info beyond the vague details in the recommendation, so I wasn't sure if it was a supernatural book or a straightforward mystery or what. And the first half is very compulsive reading - short chapters that briskly set up a really intriguing situation. But after a few of those I started thinking well, this is going to go one of two ways. Either it's a mystery book and King is going to have to come up with a really clever resolution, or it's a supernatural book and he'll be able to just sweep it all aside. And these two options are in fact discussed by the characters, and I don't think it's really a spoiler to say it's a supernatural book, and he just sweeps it all aside. So from about halfway, and certainly in the final third of the book, it's firmly spooks and ghouls territory. Which means that all the careful setup is arguably a waste of time - when you know the answer is going to be supernatural, you can safely be as baroque and byzantine in your construction as you like, safe in the knowledge that you won't have to write your way out. It was a disappointment, and felt a bit cheap on King's part, even though it was typically well-written - although he does flirt with self-parody with the small-town ramblin' dialect in the police transcripts that feature heavily early on. This is excused by a brief detour into luchadore b-movies.

 

An easy, enjoyable read, as you might expect, but the second half can't cash the cheques written by the first. It does make me wonder if I'd enjoy the Mr. Mercedes trilogy, which this is partially spun off from. I'm not really up to date on recent King books.

 

 

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20 minutes ago, Rowan Morrison said:

It does make me wonder if I'd enjoy the Mr. Mercedes trilogy, which this is partially spun off from. I'm not really up to date on recent King books.

 

Almost certainly not.

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Cheers. Looking back, the first half of The Outsider was a genuine couldn't-put-it-down experience, but it's like being drawn in by a well-told joke that doesn't have a punchline. It also has one of those faintly annoying real-life cameos when Harlen Coben pops up, and one of the characters imagines how he would resolve the case if it was a book. As it turns out, he might just as well be wondering how Shaun Hutson would resolve it (throw his typewriter at it, most likely).

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Oh, man, mentioning Shaun Hutson made me go off and see if his website had been updated, which before long led me to rereading the summary of Slugs on Wikipedia, which is much quicker and just about as much fun as reading the book itself. And there I found this slice of gold:

 

Quote

At a business lunch that day in the City Hotel, David Watson tries to secure a new contract with Edward Canning and Kenneth Riggs. David is overcome by a terrible headache until finally blood gushes from one of his nostrils and a long white worm slithers out of it. David falls onto a table dying as another slug bursts out of one of his eyes. A waiter from the restaurant calls the Local Health Inspector.

 

Brilliant! I wonder if he wrote the synopsis himself.

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I'm reading Don Quixote at the moment on my Kindle. It's enjoyable, but very, very long.

 

As light relief I've started to read Penguins Stopped Play by Harry Thompson alongside it. I'm only a couple of chapters in, but it's been brilliant so far. It's about an amateur cricket team's attempt to play cricket in all 7 continents on the planet, and it's wonderfully funny and charming. Knowledge of cricket is beneficial, but it was heartily recommended to me by someone who cares not a jot for the game, so don't let that put you off. I only find time to read when I'm out walking, and I've already had several strange looks after sniggering a bit too hard in public whilst reading this. This bit about a prank played on a team-mate (Bob) who liked a bit of a drink had me chuckling for ages:

 

Quote

He forged a letter to Bob from a mythical official of his golf club, Mr C. Lyon, threatening him with disciplinary action if he did not call immediately to explain his drunken behaviour on the greens. An abject Bob rang the number on the letter, and found himself on the phone to the sea-lion enclosure at London Zoo, asking a weary keeper if he could speak to 'Mr C. Lyon'.

 

 

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Funny that Stephen King is momented, I realised the other week I've never read The Shining. Got it the other day and for some reason I thought it was a novella, it very much isn't. I wanted a quick read prior to The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn arrives.

Liking it so far, only about a hundred pages in, but the backstory not told in the film is very interesting and gripping, which adds an extra layer of detail.

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I finished Malice by Keigo Higashino last week. It's not so much a Whodunnit or even Howdunnit but more a Whydunnit about the murder of an author. You know who's committed the murder by page 100 and the rest of the book is spent trying to untangle their motive with plenty of twists and turns along the way. I absolutely flew through it. Would recommend to Silent Runner and anybody else into their crime fiction

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I am about a quarter way through Bonfire of the Vanities and I am really enjoying is so far, and it's such a beautifully written book. 

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Just finished This Is Going To Hurt, about life as a junior doctor. Funny, but also sad and worrying from the perspective of our increasingly fucked NHS.

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The_Beach_Alex_Garland.jpg

 

People have been pestering me to read The Beach by Alex Garland for ages, so I did so over the weekend. I was extremely surprised - in a good way. It's a very easy read but it's an entertaining one nonetheless. I think I've been put off it due to how incredibly bland I found the film (scenery excepted - including Virginie Ledoyen) but this is a rare example of me using a phrase I hate - the book is WAY better than the film. So much so that I have absolutely no idea why they decided to deviate so much from the novel, when there are so many really good scenes in it.

Anyway, it's a good read and I whizzed through it in a couple of days which I never do. And it's made me want to book a holiday in Thailand.

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I read The Handmaid’s Tale last week. It was the first of Margaret Atwood’s books I’ve read but I will definitely read more. Even though I’d already seen it on TV (and the series follows the book incredibly closely) so I knew what was going to happen, I still found it gripping and tense, and the first-person narrative gave a much deeper insight into the protagonist’s feelings. I also liked the epilogue with the future academics discussing the narrative as a historical document (and its inherent unreliability), and found myself wondering whether Alan Moore nicked the idea for Halo Jones, or Atwood nicked it from Moore - I’m not sure which was published first - or whether they both ripped off the same common antecedent.

 

Now I’ve started Catch 22 which is one of those classics I’ve been meaning to read for years but never got round to. I’m enjoying it so far and thinking Douglas Adams must have been influenced by it.

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9 hours ago, Delargey said:

You should read Onxy and Crane next, it's very good. 

 

Oryx and Crake? :sherlock:

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Just started reading The Meg by Steve Alten.

 

It's completely OTT, wholly lacking in scientific accuracy/belief, the characters are two dimension and predictable, it's just a non stop yarn about a big fuck off huge monster that destroys all and sundry.

 

It's BRILLIANT.  I'm flying through it.  

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