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Quote of the Week: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)

What are you reading right now?

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Count Chocula
PostPosted: 2009-08-18 08:11am 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2008-08-19 01:34pm
Posts: 1821
Location: You've asked me for my sacrifice, and I am winter born
Flying Forts by Martin Caidin. I just finished reading Fork-Tailed Devil, about the P-38 Lightning. Yah, I'm on an aviation kick.
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Eleventh Century Remnant
PostPosted: 2009-08-18 08:56am 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2006-11-20 07:52am
Posts: 2293
Location: Scotland
Re- reading Fredric Brown's What Mad Universe between computer crashes, because it's next to the desk, but mainly J.M. Roberts' The Mythology of the Secret Societies- a very strange, completely serious history of applied craziness.
It's not primarily about Masonry, Rosicrucianism, etc, but the undergrowth that grew up around them- basically, tin foil hat wearing through the ages.
Deeply worrying, how many historically important people are cited and quoted as believing such utter nonsense, it's amazing they could function without foaming at the mouth.
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The Grim Squeaker
PostPosted: 2009-08-18 09:47am 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2005-06-01 01:44am
Posts: 10114
Location: A different time-space Continuum
Re-reading for the umpteenth time "The Malazan books of The Fallen". I started and finished "Memories of Ice" last week, i'm about 3/4 through "House of Chains" now.

Haruko wrote:
Guardsman Bass wrote:

I'm going to have to read that as well - I just finished re-reading Guns, Germs, and Steel. I might re-read Collapse as well.

I have not read Collapse, but that is also on my wish list. How did that book compare to Guns, Germs, and Steel? Was it as eye-opening? Well written? Far reaching in its implications? Any comparative analysis you may care to provide I would be very interested in reading.

It's interesting, but isn't at GG&S's "level". Lots of ecology, but not much that was new (to me at least. Long term ecological damage damages a civilizations stability? Less water and salinization can cause long term population movement? Gasp!).
It's definitely worth reading though, Jared's excellent. (Try "Why is Sex fun" and "The third Chimpanzee"), you might also like Richard Dawkins if you like the latter.
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Civil War Man
PostPosted: 2009-08-18 12:05pm 

NERRRRRDS!!!


Joined: 2005-01-28 04:54am
Posts: 3054
I'm reading The Drunkard's Walk. It's basically a history of probability and statistics, with sections about how random chance influences a lot of things that we normally don't consider to be random (including wine ratings, the World Series, and approving books for publication).
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dragon
PostPosted: 2009-08-18 04:45pm 

Sith Marauder


Joined: 2004-09-23 04:42pm
Posts: 3933
Emperor Mercy WH40k
Monster Hunters International
and Age of Ra a very weird book. Basically the Egyptian gods driv out the other gods and Earth is divided between them. England is Orsirs and Isis, American is Horus etc. But they are actually real gods that get their power from worship and in return give divine essence to be used in weapons. The main character is a British Paratrooper and ends up in a rebellion to drive off the gods. However what they don't know is that the Gods are just a wee bit more powerful then they suspect.

Edit just finished The Killing Ground by Graham McNeil
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CmdrWilkens
PostPosted: 2009-08-18 06:15pm 

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Joined: 2002-07-06 01:24am
Posts: 9088
Location: Land of the Crabcake
Stark wrote:
Holy shit that's embarrassing. I actually thought it was Wilkens, then scrolled back up to see the first military chap and decided it must have been you. :S Damn quick reply. :)


So now that we've sorted that out :D

Anyway I like the sweep he makes of the conflict. I've not yet had the chance to delve into his other WW1 works but the overall history, the one I'm re-reading, is both informative and easy to work through. It blends a fair amount of overarching strategy with stories from the men in the trenches to get perspectives from both sides. The nature of the book means it cannot deal inticately with a whole host of subjects but it does an absolutely excellent job of settiping the stage and working through 1914 in paticular. The coverage of the middle years is a bit more hectic as it covers everything from the Middle Eastern theaters to the cruiser campaigns and the fighting in Africa along with the eastern and western fronts however by time 1917 and 1918 are due up the power is back in the writing.
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Broomstick
PostPosted: 2009-08-18 06:26pm 

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Joined: 2004-01-02 08:04pm
Posts: 21632
Location: Industrial armpit of the US Midwest
Small Gods by Terry Pratchett. A re-read, actually, first time was when it was originally published in the early 1990's.

Got three more fiction books lined up to read after it, because after working long hours at manual labor and worrying about real life shit all the time I need an escape. And TV sucks most of the time these days.
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Darth Nostril
PostPosted: 2009-08-18 07:08pm 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2008-04-25 02:46pm
Posts: 768
Location: Get off my lawn
Working my way through a small pile of recent aquisitions, finished Redemption Ark, Absolution Gap and Matter, halfway through The Algebraist and have a rather nice Stainless Steel Rat Omnibus to finish things off.
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Balrog
PostPosted: 2009-08-18 08:45pm 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2002-12-29 10:29pm
Posts: 1970
Location: Fortress of Angband
Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie. I also just got done with her Murder on the Orient Express.
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Guardsman Bass
PostPosted: 2009-08-18 08:52pm 

Cowardly Codfish


Joined: 2002-07-07 12:01am
Posts: 8695
Location: Beneath the Deepest Sea
Haruko wrote:
Guardsman Bass wrote:
Quote:
Right now, I am reading William H. McNeill's Plagues and Peoples. I found out about this book because of Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. Diamond, in his "Further Readings" section of his book, refers to McNeill and his book thusly (ellipses mine): "... written by a distinguished historian rather than by a physician,...especially influential in bringing historians to recognize the impacts of disease... [p. 477]". He also ranks it one of the "Three classic accounts of disease in history [p. 476]."


I'm going to have to read that as well - I just finished re-reading Guns, Germs, and Steel. I might re-read Collapse as well.

I have not read Collapse, but that is also on my wish list. How did that book compare to Guns, Germs, and Steel? Was it as eye-opening? Well written? Far reaching in its implications? Any comparative analysis you may care to provide I would be very interested in reading.


I think it's better, but different. He paints an interesting picture of the various societies he examines (I particularly liked the Greenland Morse), and overall he compares societies that did manage to prevent societal collapse and environmental collapse with those that didn't.

He also delves more into how the environment a society lived in interacts with their culture, and how they re-inforce each other into certain habits. Like I said, the part on the Greenland Norse was probably my favorite.

It was a more narrowly focused book - he focuses more on a couple of case studies, more or less, rather than his more broad examination in Guns, Germs, and Steel.
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Straha
PostPosted: 2009-08-18 11:05pm 

Lord of the Spam


Joined: 2002-07-21 11:59pm
Posts: 7750
Location: NYC
Just finishing Dick Davis' translation of the Shahnameh, not sure what I'm going to go on to next. Probably Abrahamian's History of Modern Iran.
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Bob the Gunslinger
PostPosted: 2009-08-19 12:45am 

Has not forgotten the face of his father


Joined: 2004-01-08 07:21pm
Posts: 4604
Location: Somewhere out west
dragon wrote:
Emperor Mercy WH40k

How is that? I might get it if it sounds like a fun shoot-'em-up.

Quote:
and Age of Ra a very weird book. Basically the Egyptian gods driv out the other gods and Earth is divided between them. England is Orsirs and Isis, American is Horus etc. But they are actually real gods that get their power from worship and in return give divine essence to be used in weapons. The main character is a British Paratrooper and ends up in a rebellion to drive off the gods. However what they don't know is that the Gods are just a wee bit more powerful then they suspect.


One of the things I love in that book, besides the senseless transformation of the big gunfight into a knife fight, is that every time you meet a character, you can pretty much tell instantly whether the main character, Westweenter, will a) kill, b) screw or c) befriend that character. That, and the romantic dialogue is cheesier than you'll find in any book whose cover features an immortal highlander suggestively cradling his sword.

Also, mad props for all the modelling and tabletop gaming references. It takes a real ham to fit his Warhammer hobby into a torture scene. I still don't know whether the author was in on the joke or not. He's either the John Carpenter of military sci-fi or he's the Uwe Bol. I think I'll have to finish the book to find out.
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Bob the Gunslinger
PostPosted: 2009-08-19 12:47am 

Has not forgotten the face of his father


Joined: 2004-01-08 07:21pm
Posts: 4604
Location: Somewhere out west
Darth Nostril wrote:
Working my way through a small pile of recent aquisitions, finished Redemption Ark, Absolution Gap and Matter, halfway through The Algebraist and have a rather nice Stainless Steel Rat Omnibus to finish things off.


I suggest you spread out the Stainless Steel Rat stories so that they don't get old too quickly. Unfortunately, I tried to read the omnibus straight through and just kind of fizzled on him.

You might also like Keith Laumer's character, Retief.
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loomer
PostPosted: 2009-08-19 01:53am 

Sith Devotee


Joined: 2005-11-20 08:57am
Posts: 2784
I'm reading Hallucinogens and Shamanism right now as part of my research for my tribal setting and my Nevadan Vampire stories, and I'm also reading a few other books on the same subject. It is time to introduce entheogens to the setting!
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dragon
PostPosted: 2009-08-19 04:03am 

Sith Marauder


Joined: 2004-09-23 04:42pm
Posts: 3933
Bob the Gunslinger wrote:
dragon wrote:
Emperor Mercy WH40k

How is that? I might get it if it sounds like a fun shoot-'em-up.

It's pretty decent. The imperial guard battles for control of a couple of planets with only a force of 400k or so versus 7 plus million of Chaos and that's just the tip the invasion.
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DesertFly
PostPosted: 2009-08-19 06:07am 

has been designed to act as a flotation device


Joined: 2005-10-18 11:35pm
Posts: 1279
Location: The Palouse, armpit of Washington.
1633 by David Weber and Eric Flint. It's decent so far. The action's been missing, but it definitely seems to be building up to a nice battle. It's also nice to have some of the characters more rounded out: Simpson isn't a complete asshole who knows nothing and is only there to hold racist, small-minded viewpoints that make Mike Stearns look better, although Stearns is still amazing and somehow right on everything he has an opinion on. That's a bit frustrating.

I just finished The Dark Glory War, the prequel to The DragonCrown War series by Michael Stackpole, and am starting Fortress Draconis. I really liked Stackpole's take on the Rogues, so I'm looking forward to reading some more of his work.
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Cairber
PostPosted: 2009-08-19 08:00am 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2004-03-31 12:42am
Posts: 1768
Location: East Norriton, PA
Just finished The Shadow of the Wind by Zafron.

Starting The Thief's Gamble by Juliet E McKenna
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[R_H]
PostPosted: 2009-08-19 12:42pm 

Sith Devotee


Joined: 2007-08-24 08:51am
Posts: 2894
Location: Europe
I'm reading Ubuntu Linux - Bible and I'm also reading Force Heretic II.
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Guardsman Bass
PostPosted: 2009-08-19 12:46pm 

Cowardly Codfish


Joined: 2002-07-07 12:01am
Posts: 8695
Location: Beneath the Deepest Sea
DesertFly wrote:
1633 by David Weber and Eric Flint. It's decent so far. The action's been missing, but it definitely seems to be building up to a nice battle. It's also nice to have some of the characters more rounded out: Simpson isn't a complete asshole who knows nothing and is only there to hold racist, small-minded viewpoints that make Mike Stearns look better, although Stearns is still amazing and somehow right on everything he has an opinion on. That's a bit frustrating.

I just finished The Dark Glory War, the prequel to The DragonCrown War series by Michael Stackpole, and am starting Fortress Draconis. I really liked Stackpole's take on the Rogues, so I'm looking forward to reading some more of his work.


Personally, I found the Dark Glory War to be the best of the series, and even it tapered off a bit near the end. The rest of the books kind of declined in quality as time went on, and the final book had a massive case of "wrap-up-every-possible-loose-end"-itis.
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Alferd Packer
PostPosted: 2009-08-19 12:52pm 

Sith Devotee


Joined: 2002-07-19 09:22pm
Posts: 3344
Location: Slumgullion Pass
I just finished World Made by Hand by James Kunstler. It's basically the novel analogue to his The Long Emergency, and it's quite good.

Right now, I'm re-reading Asimov's Robots and Empire.
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Narkis
PostPosted: 2009-08-19 02:48pm 

Padawan Learner


Joined: 2009-01-03 12:05am
Posts: 391
Location: Greece
The Golem's Eye by Jonathan Stroud. Second book in an entertaining trilogy about a "modern" world where the magicians dominate the muggles, something that I wanted to see ever since I read Harry Potter.
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Vendetta
PostPosted: 2009-08-19 05:14pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2002-07-07 04:57pm
Posts: 9481
Location: Sheffield, UK
Currently reading Out, by Natsuo Kirino.
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CmdrWilkens
PostPosted: 2009-08-19 05:34pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2002-07-06 01:24am
Posts: 9088
Location: Land of the Crabcake
DesertFly wrote:
1633 by David Weber and Eric Flint. It's decent so far. The action's been missing, but it definitely seems to be building up to a nice battle. It's also nice to have some of the characters more rounded out: Simpson isn't a complete asshole who knows nothing and is only there to hold racist, small-minded viewpoints that make Mike Stearns look better, although Stearns is still amazing and somehow right on everything he has an opinion on. That's a bit frustrating.

I just finished The Dark Glory War, the prequel to The DragonCrown War series by Michael Stackpole, and am starting Fortress Draconis. I really liked Stackpole's take on the Rogues, so I'm looking forward to reading some more of his work.


The 163X series as a whole is rather interesting. You can really ell that 1632 was a whole bunch of "America Fuck Yeah" rolled into the 30 years war. The series AFTER that point really starts building into a full alternate history. The series of stories in Italy dealing with the Papal situation balanced against the Spanish dominance in Italy is rather fascinating as are the works on the crises of the Hapsburgs (both Spanish and Austrian) during this period. 1633 is honestly a prelude to the real series and thus has a LOT of exposition and doesn't even really dig into the meat of the issue (that will wait until you get to 1634: The Baltic War).
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fgalkin
PostPosted: 2009-08-19 05:34pm 

Carvin' Marvin


Joined: 2002-07-03 11:51pm
Posts: 14459
Location: Land of the Mountain Fascists
Ник Перумов. "Семь зверей Райлега: Алиедора"
Mario Vargas Llosa. "Travesuras de la niña mala"
Kaplan GMAT Premier Program, 2009
The Dark Heresy Rulebook.

Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin
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The Yosemite Bear
PostPosted: 2009-08-20 02:07am 

Mostly Harmless Nutcase


Joined: 2002-07-21 02:38am
Posts: 35211
Location: Dave's Not Here Man
Gotrek and Felix Omnibus I - King
(does Felix get laid in every book?)

The Right to Arm Bears-Dickson

Rough Justice-Hillerman

The Overlook- Connelly

so as usual the bear is mixing it up with fantasy/Sci fi and suspense/bloody murder.
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