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Jamie John

What books did you read in 2019?

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Spoiler

 

1. Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

2. Sea of Thieves: Athena's Fortune by Chris Allcock

3. How To Be Right in a World Gone Wrong by James O'Brien

4. Old Too Soon, Smart Too Late by Kieron Dyer with Oliver Holt

5. Our Story by Ron and Reg Kray with Fred Dineage

6. Step By Step - The Life in My Journeys by Simon Reeve

7. How Not To Be A Boy by Robert Webb

8. Cheer Up Peter Reid by Peter Reid

9. The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

10. Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View by various authors

11. Survivor – Auschwitz, The Death March and My Fight for Freedom by Sam Pivnik

 

 

12. Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews

 

Recommended by @Darren and like so many of his Star Wars recommendations, I'm very pleased he posts on this forum because this book is absolutely brilliant.  Harrowing, heart wrenching, dramatic, exciting, well paced and full of interesting characters, I found it very hard to put down.

 

As Darren has already spoken about the themes of the book I won't dwell on those but I found it very difficult to read some of the early chapters when the protagonist describes her ordeals at the comfort station - it's unbelievable what those poor women went through and although this is a work of fiction, it's based on historical facts.

 

I don't know enough about the modern history of Korea, the split between North and South and the attitudes towards the women who were forced into slavery so this was a real eye opener for me - the way these events are told through the eyes of Jae-hee is superbly well done and manages to be both informative and dramatic.

 

I couldn't recommend this book highly enough and it's without a doubt the best book I've read so far this year.

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It really is excellent! The sequel is decent but nowhere near as good, unfortunately.

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12. Roadwork - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

 

My King readathon continues with another non-supernatural story from his pseudonym Bachman. With this book it's easy to see how people were able to work out Bachman's true identity, because although it has no overt horror or metaphysical content, in every other respect it's as King as they come. Well-drawn, flawed but sympathetic characters, brilliant dialogue, an eye for everyday details, and a totally compelling story. Although it's not set there (it's set in an unspecified American city in the winter of 1973-4) it even has a character from Portland, Maine, which really gets the Stevey-sense tingling.

 

But regardless of who wrote it, this is a great book in its own right. It's the story of a man who's home and place of work are both in the path of an under-construction freeway (the titular Roadwork) and how he deals with this threat to the settled rhythms of his life. It's obvious right from the start that something's not quite right with him, but exactly what this is, and why and how it affects his response to the impending upheaval is masterfully revealed piece by piece. I found this hard to put down which is why I've rattled through it in just four days. He knows how to write, that Stephen King Richard Bachman.

 

Spoiler

1. The Long Walk - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
2. The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury 
3. Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice  
4. Neurotribes - Steve Silberman
5. Star Wars: Thrawn Alliances - Timothy Zahn
6. The Dead Zone - Stephen King
7. The Dragon Queen - William Andrews
8. Firestarter - Stephen King
9. The Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
10. God Emperor of Dune - Frank Herbert
11. The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

12. Roadwork - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

 

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9. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

index.jpg.586ad5f508b715a1baf1798df2de6f86.jpg

Not being a massive Apple fan I was still keen to read this biography especially after being assured it wasn't a total puff piece and was as critical as it was full of praise. And largely that's true although it did fall on the fawning side at times especially towards the end, roughly around the release of the iPod where it felt like he could do no wrong. Yes, Jobs had a significant impact on an area of computers especially if you bought into the whole Apple hub strategy, but reading this didn't make me warm to the guy,.


 

Spoiler

 

1. The Panama Papers by Frederik Obermaier and Bastian Obermayer
2. Broken Skin by Stuart McBride
3. Can't Stand Up For Falling Down by Allan Jones

4. Masters Of War by Chris Ryan

5. The Speed Of Sound by Thomas Dolby

6. Divine Justice by David Baldacci

7. Them by Jon Ronson

8. Rip It Up And Start Again: Post-punk 1978-1984 by Simon Reynolds

9. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

 

 

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17. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Ademyemi. YA novel set in the African state of Orissa. Magic has been banished  by a brutal ruler, those capable of reawakening it have been subjugated and the kingdom is divided. Won a number of awards last year and was refreshing to read a fantasy novel with a strong female African protagonist. It was a bit predictable in parts but was engaging throughout. It set up sequels up well rather than as an afterthought. 

 

18. One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence. Bit of a mixture of Stranger Things, Dungeons & Dragons, Back to the Future and A Monster Calls. An easy read. Again whilst predictable in parts, it flies along. 

 

Spoiler

1.The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah

2. Borne by Jeff VanderMeer.

3. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

4.In your defence:Stories of Life and Law by Sarah Langford

5.My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen

6. Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

7. 84k by Claire North

8. Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

9. The Water Cure by Sarah MacIntosh

10. Journeyman by Ben Smith

11.Do you dream of Terra-Two by Temi Oh

12. The Wall by John Lanchester

13. Blood, Sweat and Pixels by Jason Schreier

14. Romesh autobiography

15. The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham

16. Submission by Michel Houellebecq

17. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Ademyemi.

18. One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence

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On 10/06/2019 at 18:22, Stopharage said:

 

16. Submission by Michel Houellebecq. This stirred up a fair bit of controversy when it was released, imagining a France that elects a Muslim Party to office in the 2022 elections. By chance, it was released on the day the Charlie Hebdo offices were stormed, which exacerbated the debates it was already creating. When the book was released, it received a fair deal of criticism for being anti-Islamic and at times, there were sections that felt a bit close to the bone. Yet, he paints the main muslim character as hugely impressive. The main protagonist, a French lecturer was quite unlikeable though and deeply flawed. More than a novel that is proclaiming or dismissing Islam, I found it was a book that looked at the weakness of men. It's a bit self-indulgent in places but thought it worked fairly well as a satire whilst being  a bit uncomfortable at the generalisations that were evident in places. Definitely worth a read, although that's more down to the provocation it presents the reader with. 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

1.The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah

2. Borne by Jeff VanderMeer.

3. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

4.In your defence:Stories of Life and Law by Sarah Langford

5.My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen

6. Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

7. 84k by Claire North

8. Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

9. The Water Cure by Sarah MacIntosh

10. Journeyman by Ben Smith

11.Do you dream of Terra-Two by Temi Oh

12. The Wall by John Lanchester

13. Blood, Sweat and Pixels by Jason Schreier

14. Romesh autobiography

15. The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham

16. Submission by Michel Houellebecq

 

 

 

I’m reading this at the moment coincidentally, and it’s worth knowing that Huysman’s A Rebours that the central character always bangs on about is available as a free translation in the Kindle store.

 

It’s some sort of group effort that is occasionally clunky and sometimes just plain wrong (high ricks instead of hayricks, etc) but nevertheless captures the wonderful lyricism of the writing.

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26. Daughters of the Dragon. Afraid I wasn't as keen on this as others here (or on Goodreads, it seems, so maybe it's just me). It's clearly an important topic to cover, and the story of what happened to the comfort women - which I knew nothing of until now - is equally horrific and astonishing. However, I really didn't think this was a very good book on its own merits - the writing quality bothered me throughout, and I think the topic could have been better explored in more talented hands.

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. The Body Library by Jeff Noon

2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

3. Enlightenment Now

4. The book of Humans

5. Little Fires Everywhere

6. Everything Under

7. The Stand

8. Roadside Picnic

9. The Retreat of Western Liberalism

10. Things Fall Apart

11. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

12. Hello World

13. All the Pretty Horses

14. The Tatooist of Auschwitz

15. Normal People

16. The Undoing Project

17. The Fifteenth Life of Harry August

18. The Hobbit

19. Six Days of War

20. The Expert System's Brother

21. All the President's Men

22. Station Eleven

23. In Order to Live

24. The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read

 25. Senlin Ascends

 

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27. The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy. Not quite up there with All the Pretty Horses for me, but still great. McCarthy's writing is so enjoyable, and I love the sparse dialogue between characters in his world. I'll definitely pick up the third in this series before too long. 

 

27 books down at the halfway point, so on track to beat my record of 52 in a year, though I'm intending to tackle at least one of the epics on my virtual shelf, which will slow things down. 

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. The Body Library by Jeff Noon

2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

3. Enlightenment Now

4. The book of Humans

5. Little Fires Everywhere

6. Everything Under

7. The Stand

8. Roadside Picnic

9. The Retreat of Western Liberalism

10. Things Fall Apart

11. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

12. Hello World

13. All the Pretty Horses

14. The Tatooist of Auschwitz

15. Normal People

16. The Undoing Project

17. The Fifteenth Life of Harry August

18. The Hobbit

19. Six Days of War

20. The Expert System's Brother

21. All the President's Men

22. Station Eleven

23. In Order to Live

24. The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read

 25. Senlin Ascends

26. Daughters of the Dragon

 

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Long time lurker in this thread - enjoy seeing what people are reading and have picked up some good recommendations, so thought I'd start sharing too.  I'm also on track to beat my previous record of 43 books, despite reading a few that have taken me a while.

 

List so far this year, with comments against a few highlights/recommended reads.....

 

1. The Two Towers (05/01)

2. The Return of the King (10/01)

3. The Lottery (15/01)

4. Ender’s Game (19/01)

5. Speaker for the Dead (25/01)

6. I See You (28/01)

7. Watership Down (02/02)

8. The Hunting Party (09/02)

9. 2020 Commission Report on the North Korea Nuclear attacks against US (13/02) - not sure if I 'enjoyed' this, but it was a good read and pretty terrifying how you could see such a scenario play out.

10. Extracted (19/02)

11. Executed (24/02)

12. Extinct (06/03)

13. If Beale Street Could Talk (10/03)

14. Perfume (15/03) - not what I expected, and really enjoyable.

15. Tribune of Rome (22/03) - if you're into historical fiction, I'd recommend the Vespasian series (makes up 8 books of this list!).  Don't quite up there with Conn Iggulden's Rome trilogy, but I learnt a lot about a really interesting period in Rome's history

16. Rome’s Executioner (30/03)

17. Party Games (01/04) - my wife's first novel!  Hopefully coming to the kindle store soon.....

18. Alexander Hamilton (30/04) - I decided to read this after watching the musical and I'm so pleased I did.  What a guy!  Really interesting read and I learnt so much about the history of the US along the way.  Highly recommended.

19. False God of Rome (08/05)

20. Rome’s Fallen Eagle (14/05)

21. Masters of Rome (22/05)

22. Rome’s Lost Son (31/05)

23. The Furies of Rome (07/06)

24. Rome’s Sacred Flame (12/06)

25. Emperor of Rome (20/06)

26. The Passengers (23/06)

27. One Word Kill (27/06) - this and the next book are part of a Mark Lawrence trilogy with the final book coming in November.  If you like Stranger Things you might like this.... not amazing but an easy read and good fun I thought.

28. Limited Wish (01/07)

 

 

Not sure what's next.... want to read the new(ish) Conn Iggulden about Sparta but trying to avoid historical fiction for a while after the run of the Vespasian novels.  Might work through some of the many crime/thriller books I pick up in the kindle daily deals. 

 

 

 

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@Bushtopher I love Roman history - you seem to have a few on your list.  I studied the colosseum for my degree so would you recommend the Vespasian series?  Could you give me a very brief synopsis?  

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48 minutes ago, Boothjan said:

@Bushtopher I love Roman history - you seem to have a few on your list.  I studied the colosseum for my degree so would you recommend the Vespasian series?  Could you give me a very brief synopsis?  

 

Sure.... it's basically the story of Vespasian's life, from when he first goes to Rome through to becoming Emperor - 8 books in total.  It's based on writings of the time, but there are a number of gaps where the writer inserts Vespasian into other big events of the time, which include the invasion of Britain and the great fire.  It also covers a really interesting period that featured a number of unstable emperors - Caligula and Nero most notably.  They were horrendous!

 

I guess you know that it was Vespasian who commissioned the colosseum, and hoped for it to be his legacy, making his name known throughout the world (didn't work out like that in the end, obvs!)

 

The first book was ok... they definitely improve after that, although I found the final book a bit of a disappointment as it seemed to be in a hurry to wrap things up.

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16 minutes ago, Bushtopher said:

 

Sure.... it's basically the story of Vespasian's life, from when he first goes to Rome through to becoming Emperor - 8 books in total.  It's based on writings of the time, but there are a number of gaps where the writer inserts Vespasian into other big events of the time, which include the invasion of Britain and the great fire.  It also covers a really interesting period that featured a number of unstable emperors - Caligula and Nero most notably.  They were horrendous!

 

I guess you know that it was Vespasian who commissioned the colosseum, and hoped for it to be his legacy, making his name known throughout the world (didn't work out like that in the end, obvs!)

 

The first book was ok... they definitely improve after that, although I found the final book a bit of a disappointment as it seemed to be in a hurry to wrap things up.

 

Thanks - I noticed it's under £2 for the first one on Kindle, so I'll give it a whirl.

 

As for the bit in bold - yes indeed - it's a very interesting story as he wanted to give some land back to the public as it was situated on the grounds of the lake of the Golden House of Nero.  Some historians believe that the name 'colosseum' came about because next to that lake was a gigantic statue of Nero made of solid gold - the vain twat that he was.  That statue was called the 'colossus'.  It sounds better than The Flavian Amphitheatre, I suppose (the colosseum's actual name).  But poor Vespasian didn't live long enough to see it.  Caligula and Tiberius are my favourite despot Roman Emperors.

 

Anyway, enough of that - to Amazon!

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19. Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel. Read this a few months back but realised I'd missed it on here. 2nd in trilogy about alien artefacts around on Earth and their subsequent impact. Written in a similar style to World War Z. Easy sci-fi. Rattles along. 

 

20. Vicious by V.E.Schwab. Really enjoyed this. From the blurb - "Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities." Don't want to say much more than that but it's a really engaging read with a story ripped from comic books. Would heartily recommend. 

 

Spoiler

 

1.The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah

2. Borne by Jeff VanderMeer.

3. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

4.In your defence:Stories of Life and Law by Sarah Langford

5.My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen

6. Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

7. 84k by Claire North

8. Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

9. The Water Cure by Sarah MacIntosh

10. Journeyman by Ben Smith

11.Do you dream of Terra-Two by Temi Oh

12. The Wall by John Lanchester

13. Blood, Sweat and Pixels by Jason Schreier

14. Romesh autobiography

15. The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham

16. Submission by Michel Houellebecq

17. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Ademyemi.

18. One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence

19. Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

20. Vicious by V.E.Schwab

 

 

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Spoiler

 

1. Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

2. Sea of Thieves: Athena's Fortune by Chris Allcock

3. How To Be Right in a World Gone Wrong by James O'Brien

4. Old Too Soon, Smart Too Late by Kieron Dyer with Oliver Holt

5. Our Story by Ron and Reg Kray with Fred Dineage

6. Step By Step - The Life in My Journeys by Simon Reeve

7. How Not To Be A Boy by Robert Webb

8. Cheer Up Peter Reid by Peter Reid

9. The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

10. Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View by various authors

11. Survivor – Auschwitz, The Death March and My Fight for Freedom by Sam Pivnik

12. Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews

 

 

13. The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz by Denis Avey

14. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

 

Since visiting Krakow a few weeks ago, I've read several books about Auschwitz - I didn't find either of these as well written as Sam Pivnik's which I read just prior to my trip.  It doesn't help that both of these tend to stretch the truth somewhat about what happened in the camps.

 

Denis Avey's story is remarkable - a veteran of the North African campaign in the early 1940's, he was transported into Eastern Europe by the Italians and handed over to the Germans where he was forced to work alongside Jewish prisoners next to Monowitz (Auschwitz III).  It's definitely worth reading this as his search for those he encountered during the war are very emotional.  However, the actual process of him smuggling himself into the Jewish barracks of Auschwitz feels a bit too incredible.  I mean to look into this a bit more, although it doesn't detract from the overall story which is incredibly tough to read at times.

 

I found The Tattooist of Auschwitz slightly disappointing.  It's got such good reviews, but it seems a bit too easy to read - the writing really isn't the best.  And from what I learned when I visited the camps in June, there's no way that some of the important scenes in this book could have happened.  Not sure if I could recommend this TBH - I have an interest in reading the stories of amazing people who managed to survive such terrible ordeals and there are plenty of other accounts that are better written and resonated better with me (Primo Levi's If This is a Man is the best I have read on this subject).

 

I definitely feel that I've read enough on this subject for a good while now - on to some less intense topics I think.

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21. My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite. The title gives little away beyond the fact this a crime novel; this is a story of two sisters, one who has killed and the other who has had some knowledge and involvement in these crimes. Set in Lagos, the novel gives a humorous insight into Nigerian life and the role of class. It's not a page-turner or a conventional crime novel; but the characterisation is well done and the plot plods along relatively well. I wasn't blown away by it but I did devour it all in a morning so it certainly has charm and was an enjoyable read. 

 

 

Spoiler

1.The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah

2. Borne by Jeff VanderMeer.

3. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

4.In your defence:Stories of Life and Law by Sarah Langford

5.My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen

6. Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

7. 84k by Claire North

8. Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

9. The Water Cure by Sarah MacIntosh

10. Journeyman by Ben Smith

11.Do you dream of Terra-Two by Temi Oh

12. The Wall by John Lanchester

13. Blood, Sweat and Pixels by Jason Schreier

14. Romesh autobiography

15. The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham

16. Submission by Michel Houellebecq

17. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Ademyemi.

18. One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence

19. Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

20. Vicious by V.E.Schwab

21. My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

 

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On 02/07/2019 at 11:00, Bushtopher said:

 

Sure.... it's basically the story of Vespasian's life, from when he first goes to Rome through to becoming Emperor - 8 books in total.  It's based on writings of the time, but there are a number of gaps where the writer inserts Vespasian into other big events of the time, which include the invasion of Britain and the great fire.  It also covers a really interesting period that featured a number of unstable emperors - Caligula and Nero most notably.  They were horrendous!

 

I guess you know that it was Vespasian who commissioned the colosseum, and hoped for it to be his legacy, making his name known throughout the world (didn't work out like that in the end, obvs!)

 

The first book was ok... they definitely improve after that, although I found the final book a bit of a disappointment as it seemed to be in a hurry to wrap things up.

 

I've just started book 1 and I'm really enjoying it!  Easy to read, plenty of action, lots of history - cheers for the heads up.  I can see me reading the rest of the series if they continue to impress me.  

 

It fits alongside I, Claudius very well indeed chronologically. 

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13. The Three Body Problem - Cixin Liu

 

This is one I picked up in a Kindle sale after seeing lots of recommendations on here, and I'm glad I did. There's not a lot to say that hasn't already been said, but I've already got the second and third parts of this trilogy loaded and ready. I was particularly impressed with the way the book shifted through the gears, starting (relatively) small with the Cultural Revolution and its impact on one woman in particular, and eventually, and completely naturally, becoming a galaxy-spanning sci-fi story. The historical stuff was interesting as I had no real idea about it previously, and some of the sci-fi concepts it develops are mind blowing. So add me to the list of people who really like this book.

 

Spoiler

 

1. The Long Walk - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
2. The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury 
3. Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice  
4. Neurotribes - Steve Silberman
5. Star Wars: Thrawn Alliances - Timothy Zahn
6. The Dead Zone - Stephen King
7. The Dragon Queen - William Andrews
8. Firestarter - Stephen King
9. The Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
10. God Emperor of Dune - Frank Herbert
11. The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

12. Roadwork - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

13. The Three Body Problem - Cixin Liu

 

 

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28. Chernobyl - History of a Catastrophe by Serhii Plokhy

 

Got this after watching the amazing TV show. It's a brilliant book and a great companion piece to the show, covering much of the same stuff, but obviously in more depth in terms of wider context. In fact, a third of the way in I was wondering whether the show was actually directly based on this book, but after a bit they take slightly different paths, albeit often crossing over. The book makes it evident that they made some changes for the TV show - for example, the characters were less black and white than potrayed on screen, and it's also fascinating to see the full extent of how the political system drove events and the people involved. The book also goes into the impact of Chernobyl on the fall of the Soviet Union, which I confess I was completely oblivous to. Highly recommended, whether you've seen the TV show or not (which you really should have).

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. The Body Library by Jeff Noon

2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

3. Enlightenment Now

4. The book of Humans

5. Little Fires Everywhere

6. Everything Under

7. The Stand

8. Roadside Picnic

9. The Retreat of Western Liberalism

10. Things Fall Apart

11. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

12. Hello World

13. All the Pretty Horses

14. The Tatooist of Auschwitz

15. Normal People

16. The Undoing Project

17. The Fifteenth Life of Harry August

18. The Hobbit

19. Six Days of War

20. The Expert System's Brother

21. All the President's Men

22. Station Eleven

23. In Order to Live

24. The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read

 25. Senlin Ascends

26. Daughters of the Dragon

27. The Crossing

 

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10. James Acaster's Classic Scrapes, by James Acaster

 

image.png.3de848723aa7a4a09c3581740e197b3f.png

 

I finished this a while ago but forgot to update. My reading progress has fallen off a cliff recently, mostly due to the fact that I'm off work at the moment which means I don't have to get up as early as I was, so I'm staying up late playing games and watching TV before crashing out, whereas previously I would have gone to bed and read.

 

Anyway, this was fantastic, the best book I've read so far. It's essentially a series of anecdotes that Acaster tells about stupid, embarrassing things that have happened to him over the years, but every single one is hilarious, especially if you hear his voice in your head while reading it. It was so funny my wife banned me from reading it in bed because I would suddenly snort with laughter while she was trying to sleep.

 

Next: the last three issues of Edge that I've yet to read! After that, I'm going to give Mortal Engines, by Phillip Reeve a whirl, which I've only heard good things about.

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. Life, the Universe and Everything, Douglas Adams.

2. The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, John Lewis Carre

3. The Fishermen, Chigozie Obioma

4. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson

5. The Black Echo, Michael Connelly

6. Ready Player One, Ernest Cline

7. American Gods, Neil Gaiman

8. The Girl With the Dragon's Tattoo, Stieg Larsson

9. The Lost World, Arthur Conan Doyle

 

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10. The Growth Delusion by David Pilling

The-Growth-Delusion-1200x1813.thumb.jpg.49b76ad455215c92b3239e8803f5962d.jpg

 

Interesting discussion about GDP and why it's a flawed measure of a country's economic status that doesn't take into account wellbeing. GDP ignores things like volunteering, off-the-books working, or even happiness. Here we get a potted history of GDP, some examples from the developing world that highlight the deficiency of GDP as a measure, and some examples of other ways of measurement. It is written in an entertaining, lively and slightly snarky style that stops it becoming too dry. I've always thought the idea of infinite growth was daft, and after reading this book I'll always take any news stories about GDP figures with a few grains of salt.


 

Spoiler

 

1. The Panama Papers by Frederik Obermaier and Bastian Obermayer
2. Broken Skin by Stuart McBride
3. Can't Stand Up For Falling Down by Allan Jones

4. Masters Of War by Chris Ryan

5. The Speed Of Sound by Thomas Dolby

6. Divine Justice by David Baldacci

7. Them by Jon Ronson

8. Rip It Up And Start Again: Post-punk 1978-1984 by Simon Reynolds

9. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

10. The Growth Delusion by David Pilling

 

 

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I don't get to read much these days, but I've just finished a book written by a friend, which I've been dreading reading because what if it's rubbish? Luckily it's fucking brilliant. This one if anyone is interested:

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Magpie-Ill-blood-bears-ill/dp/1916083307/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+magpie+alan+edward+roberts&qid=1563189643&s=gateway&sr=8-1

 

It's a character-based drama about the aftermath of a brutal crime, set in Australia. Structured in short, fragmented chapters that tie together brilliantly. Wonderful book, I can now tell him honestly :D

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29. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. I've never read any murder mystery before, and had little interest in starting, but I really liked this. Very clever, and while it's got loads of twists it's never silly or unbelievable within the context of the book's world.

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. The Body Library by Jeff Noon

2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

3. Enlightenment Now

4. The book of Humans

5. Little Fires Everywhere

6. Everything Under

7. The Stand

8. Roadside Picnic

9. The Retreat of Western Liberalism

10. Things Fall Apart

11. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

12. Hello World

13. All the Pretty Horses

14. The Tatooist of Auschwitz

15. Normal People

16. The Undoing Project

17. The Fifteenth Life of Harry August

18. The Hobbit

19. Six Days of War

20. The Expert System's Brother

21. All the President's Men

22. Station Eleven

23. In Order to Live

24. The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read

 25. Senlin Ascends

26. Daughters of the Dragon

27. The Crossing

28. Chernobyl - History of a Catastrophe

 

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Sapiens

 

Wow, this blew my tiny mind. I've been on a bit of a journey the past year anyway (as you might have caught in off topic) and this expanded my world way beyond anything Iain M. Banks or George Orwell or Bill Bryson has managed. I found the sections on happiness particularly illuminating. I think I'd recommend this to anyone.

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Spoiler

 

1. Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

2. Sea of Thieves: Athena's Fortune by Chris Allcock

3. How To Be Right in a World Gone Wrong by James O'Brien

4. Old Too Soon, Smart Too Late by Kieron Dyer with Oliver Holt

5. Our Story by Ron and Reg Kray with Fred Dineage

6. Step By Step - The Life in My Journeys by Simon Reeve

7. How Not To Be A Boy by Robert Webb

8. Cheer Up Peter Reid by Peter Reid

9. The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

10. Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View by various authors

11. Survivor – Auschwitz, The Death March and My Fight for Freedom by Sam Pivnik

12. Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews

13. The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz by Denis Avey

14. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

 

 

15. Vespasian - Tribune of Rome by Robert Fabbri

 

Recommended by @Bushtopher earlier in this thread and I absolutely loved this.  Such a good, fun, interesting read.  Plenty of action, some cool political intrigue and some neat cameos from prominent Romans during the Julio-Claudian years.

 

This is basically I, Claudius mixed with Gladiator and as I love them both, this is just my sort of reading material.

 

Delighted that there are another 7 books in this series - I'll be reading the lot over the coming months (though not back to back - I need to break up some of the classical violence from time to time).

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Really pleased that you enjoyed it - and I think the books get better as the series progresses, so more good stuff to come!

 

I need to update my list - read a few more, and already have my next book lined up - the most recent from Conn Iggulden about Sparta, so back to historical fiction.  

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30. The Sellout by Paul Beatty. This is a strange one. It's a satire on race and racism in modern America, and the best written book I've encountered in ages. It's also certainly the funniest - genuinely 'laugh out loud on your own in the street' funny, and the Audible narrator is brilliant, which helps. Where I struggled with it is that it's not much of a 'novel' in the traditional sense - certainly there's not really a central narrative that I really engaged with; it's more a selection of episodes and scenes that roughly form pillars for the central satire. I dunno: it's amazing in lots of ways, but overall I didn't love it in quite the way I felt I should.

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. The Body Library by Jeff Noon

2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

3. Enlightenment Now

4. The book of Humans

5. Little Fires Everywhere

6. Everything Under

7. The Stand

8. Roadside Picnic

9. The Retreat of Western Liberalism

10. Things Fall Apart

11. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

12. Hello World

13. All the Pretty Horses

14. The Tatooist of Auschwitz

15. Normal People

16. The Undoing Project

17. The Fifteenth Life of Harry August

18. The Hobbit

19. Six Days of War

20. The Expert System's Brother

21. All the President's Men

22. Station Eleven

23. In Order to Live

24. The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read

 25. Senlin Ascends

26. Daughters of the Dragon

27. The Crossing

28. Chernobyl - History of a Catastrophe

29. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

 

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4 hours ago, Timmo said:

Sapiens

 

Wow, this blew my tiny mind. I've been on a bit of a journey the past year anyway (as you might have caught in off topic) and this expanded my world way beyond anything Iain M. Banks or George Orwell or Bill Bryson has managed. I found the sections on happiness particularly illuminating. I think I'd recommend this to anyone.

 

yes, it is excellent. Now read these:

51k7mKWp5kL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

51SFWVTNNPL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

 

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