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Old 03-31-2009, 08:44 AM   #21
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Christopher Buckley writes a good series of dark humour political satire. "Thank you for smoking" is much edgier than the movie. Florence of Arabia and No Way to Treat a First lady are equally entertaining.
I read an early one of Chris Buckley's - The White House Mess. Wherein Ronald Reagan refused to give up the Presidency on Inauguration Day. I recall it being quite entertaining, and expected to see it at some time as a Made-for-Television movie. Haven't done yet though.
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Old 03-31-2009, 03:31 PM   #22
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James Ellroy is sometimes hard going, but The Big Nowhere and LA Confidential just blaze off the page.

PS 'book's' perhaps suggests we should be reading more style guides?
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:26 PM   #23
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I finished the Patrick O'Brian series dealing with the British navy around the time of the Napoleanic Wars. Great read with lots of background and character development. I do recommend you try to read the series in order.

If you like more action, the Alexander Kent/Douglas Reeman books are much lighter on character development but give you 3x the battles. Reeman's WWII novels have a standard stock of characters...physically and emotionally scarred hero, unsure how he'll do in the next battle. His boss is a coward and a bully and often stupid to boot. His crew always has an unsure royal or son of an admiral and an Aussie, Kiwi or South African, who will always bed the wife of the unsure royal, or some other dissatisfied officer on board. 60% of the characters will be killed within 2-3 sentences four pages from the end...usually same stock format in determining who dies.
I haven't read the Alexander Kent books but I have read all of the O'Brian books covering Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr Stephen Maturin. These are really fine books, gripping and full of human insight. I have also read a lot of the earlier Reeman books: reiver58's merciless summary of his formula made me grin from ear to era because it is so very true. Reeman's characters are two dimensional except the hero's love-interest, who is usually one-dimensional, but still they are good entertaining reading matter.

I re-read Rendezvous South Atlantic recently and was struck by the excellence of the two cat-and mouse shootouts with the disguised German raider, in which Commander Lindsay out-thinks and out-manoevres the unscrupulous enemy (like we British never pretended to be non-combatants to get an unfair advantage - Q Ships anybody?) but is undermined by the basic lack of skill of his own officers and men and so cannot strike the decisive blow. The bleakness, cruelty and terrible danger of this type of warfare is vividly portrayed. The rest of the book is mediocre: Lindsay is the only really interesting character, and this interest is more about seeing how he leads and drives his unskillfull and reluctant crew until they become more dangerous to the enemy than they are to themselves, and insists that they serve and fight with pride in their ship. Lindsay's inner life is as formulaic as reiver58 describes. Reeman is much more focused on action than on character. Nevertheless Rendezvous South Atlantic is a lot better than most of the airport novels one see around the place at the moment and it shows Reeman's strengths as a storyteller.

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Old 04-01-2009, 02:50 AM   #24
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James Ellroy is sometimes hard going
Oh, no kidding! I enjoyed The Big Nowhere; but then, The Black Dahlia just plain wore me out. I'm told Cormac McCarthy is even darker; so, in spite of a friend's urging, I'm giving the author a pass.
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Old 04-01-2009, 03:36 AM   #25
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Greetings! I am working my way through HAUNTINGS by Chuck Palahniuk and a more fucked up read I've not encountered. Also re reading The Holy Books of Thelema by Dear Uncle Al.
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Old 04-01-2009, 11:29 AM   #26
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Just another 2,50 Ebay capture (include shipping).
Surprisingly much better and more in-depth than the title suggests.
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:35 PM   #27
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Have a couple of books on the go presently,both of a sporting nature.The first is The Villain-The Live of Don Whillans by Jim Perrin and My Manchester Utd Years by Sir Bobby Charlton,two very different character,Whillans could be a bellicose,driven individual however during the 1950's created Rock Climbing routes which even today with modern technology are serious undertakings.Sir Bobby needs no introduction,although as a Scot he broke our hearts a few times,compare his standards to the likes of Barry Ferguson this week,no contest
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Old 04-04-2009, 06:53 PM   #28
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Default The Allotment Seasonal Planner & Voyage to Desolation Island

This is a user-friendly and very readable handbook to assist me in my ongoing struggle to clear a piece of land 5 metres by 25 metres from weeds taller than myself and grow some vegetables fit to eat. There is a big rush on for the next two months to get all of my crops in.


I am drawn to remote and lonely places. I have spent three holidays so far in the Outer Hebrides and will definitely go there for more. But Kauffman takes this quirk in my nature to a totally different level.

This is a very strange but fascinating book about one of the remotest places on earth and what it was like to go there. Written originally in French, it has been translated without losing the French character of Kauffman's authorial voice. I once read a book by Captain Bernhard Rogge of the German navy (WW2) who played havoc with Allied shipping as skipper of the German raider Atlantis, which the Royal Navy knew as 'Raider C': his account of spending two weeks in Gazelle Bay in the deserted Kerguelen islands made me curious to learn more. The excellent Patrick O'Brian book Desolation Island also made me want to find out more.

Once you read Kauffman's book, anything you still don't know about the Kerguelen Islands can only be learned by going there for yourself.

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Old 04-09-2009, 03:30 PM   #29
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Read one of this guy's a few years ago, and thought, sh*t, that was formulaic.

Anyway, I picked up two paperbacks for 5, and so I'm going to have a go at this over the Easter weekend.





EDIT: There's posssibly a half-decent novel in here trying to get out. But, if after 700 pages you don't give a sh*t what happens to the characters, then something's gone awry. I mean, we are asked to believe that a 30-something Lawyer who lives in Los Angleles (Huh, where else!) helps save the world by, among other things, falling down a crevasse in Antarctica and sustaining frostbite, surviving a lightening-strike in Arizona, being deliberately invenomated with deadly Octopus poison and living (This stuff kills everyone else who comes into contact with it), surviving a flash-flood in which our hero is stranded in a SUV in the middle of a river, flying across the Pacific to help stop a man-made Tsunami...Oh f*ck-off!!! And on the down-side, there's NO sex! 700-pages without a decent hard-on - nah, forget it.
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Old 04-15-2009, 08:02 PM   #30
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Read a couple of M'laddo's previously, and I've heard good reports about this

(or was this the one that divided opinion?), anyway here's what I'm picking up now.



EDIT: Mmm. Bit of a mind-stretcher - neurosurgery anyone? Maybe a bit middle-class and claustrophobic for some, but worth persevering with. Asks some decent questions - some of which are now answered with the passage of time.
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