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philnotfil
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It's that time again, I've run out of books to read and need some new ones. One of the problems with reading fast is that you run out of books sooner.

I dearly miss Hypatia from ALexLit, if anyone knows of a similar service let me know.

Here is what I have liked:
Authors I like:
Orson Scott Card (except for the Women of Genesis and Homecoming series)
Elizabeth Moon (except for the Sharing Knife series)
Lois McMaster Bujold
Dick Francis
Tom Clancy (only the Jack Ryan books)
Robert Heinlein (mostly the juveniles)
Steven Brust
Tamora Pierce
Philip Pullman
Robert Lynn Asprin (Myth Alliances and Phule's company)
Terry Pratchett (especially the Bromeliad trilogy)
Douglas Adams
Jack London
Naomi Novik
Jack Campbell (I need to check out John G. Hemry's books, hey this has already paid off)


A couple of individual books I like:
Dune by Frank Herbert
The Sheep Look Up and The Stone That Never Came Down by John Brunner
King David's Spaceship by Jerry Pournelle
Rats, Lice and History by Hans Zinsser
Watership Down by Richard Adams
The Guns of Navaronne and When 8 Bells Toll by Alistair Maclean
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
Collapse by Jared Diamond
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich
Order Without Law by Robert C. Ellickson
The Practice Effect by David Brin
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exusery
Animal Farm and 1984 by George Orwell


I'm mostly looking for fiction, but you can see that a couple of nonfiction titles made it onto my list of books I like, so feel free to recommend anything that you think fits.

I suppose you can recommend books that don't fit with what I listed too, but warn me before you do that [Smile]

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JoshuaD
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George R. R. Martin's A song of Ice and Fire series is very, very good. It's fantasy, but it's much more real and gritty than Tolkien.

[ May 09, 2009, 12:29 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

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philnotfil
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I was disappointed by the John G. Hemry, which is odd, since I like the Jack Campbell, but I did find John Scalzi which was pretty enjoyable.
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hobsen
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If you liked Watership Down and Le Petit Prince, you might like the bestselling autobiographical novel Marley & Me by John Grogan, describing the first 13 years of his marriage and the dog who shared them. I chanced to read it when my wife bought a copy for my 8-year-old grandson Alan, which is a bit of a stretch as I should consider the book suitable for university students at a minimum, but most appropriate for anyone who can look back fondly on the first ten years or so of his own marriage. So I have to wonder how much Alan knows about miscarriages and pregnancy tests, for example, but the book should do him no harm even if he needs a couple of decades to appreciate it fully. (I think my wife had heard glowing reports of the children's version.) Anyway Grogan is a splendid writer who has a lot to say on marriage and mortality, and incidentally on somewhat demented Labradors. For anyone thinking of getting a dog, this book should be required reading.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marley_&_Me

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Athelstan
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I’ve just finished reading A Brief History of the Human Race by Michael Cook. It answered questions that I’d never thought to ask and left me with questions I can’t answer. If that is the definition of a good book then this is one.

I have just started The Age of Athelstan – Britain’s Forgotten History by Paul Hill. It’s something to read while I’m on Jury Service soon. Past experience tells me I’ve got a face that gets rejected.

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Chael
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quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
Elizabeth Moon (except for the Sharing Knife series)

That was Bujold, not Moon. But yes, it is terrible. [Smile]

I'm currently enjoying the Thraxas series by Martin Scott. It's decently-written fantasy detective fiction set in a somewhat unusual world (flavor only--there are no new and fantastic species, etc). Your inclusion of Tamora Pierce makes me think you might like it.

The books have been self-contained so far, but the series doesn't have an ending yet--apparently he couldn't find a publisher for the last one. I haven't gotten there, so I don't know if it'll leave you hanging.

Keith Laumer wrote some great close-contact diplomat fiction, of the swashbuckling variety, primarily short-stories (Retief). Your inclusion of the Heinlein juveniles made me think of this one. You may also like his Bolo stories. They're more military sci-fi.

Finally, if you like short-stories, "The Best Science Fiction And Fantasy Of The Year" is a decent anthology. Volume two is more consistant in quality than volume one, and there are some great ones in it. I'm quite fond of 'A fairy tale in economics', or something along those lines. And if you run into new authors you like in there, you have completely new avenues to explore. There's no hard sci-fi in there, and no real military sci-fi that I can recall, though.

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Doug64
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For top-notch space opera, check out the Honor Harrington series, that'll keep you going for awhile. The first two, On Basilisk Station and Honor of the Queen, are available in ebook formats in the Baen Free Library, along with a number of his other books. In fact, just about any book by David Weber is worth at least a glance.
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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by Chael:
quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
Elizabeth Moon (except for the Sharing Knife series)

That was Bujold, not Moon. But yes, it is terrible. [Smile]

I'm currently enjoying the Thraxas series by Martin Scott. It's decently-written fantasy detective fiction set in a somewhat unusual world (flavor only--there are no new and fantastic species, etc). Your inclusion of Tamora Pierce makes me think you might like it.

The books have been self-contained so far, but the series doesn't have an ending yet--apparently he couldn't find a publisher for the last one. I haven't gotten there, so I don't know if it'll leave you hanging.

Keith Laumer wrote some great close-contact diplomat fiction, of the swashbuckling variety, primarily short-stories (Retief). Your inclusion of the Heinlein juveniles made me think of this one. You may also like his Bolo stories. They're more military sci-fi.

Finally, if you like short-stories, "The Best Science Fiction And Fantasy Of The Year" is a decent anthology. Volume two is more consistant in quality than volume one, and there are some great ones in it. I'm quite fond of 'A fairy tale in economics', or something along those lines. And if you run into new authors you like in there, you have completely new avenues to explore. There's no hard sci-fi in there, and no real military sci-fi that I can recall, though.

Thanks for the correction, yes, Bujold. I can never keep them straight except Vorkosigan is Bujold and Paks is Moon. Anything else by the two of them is all in one big jumble.

No Thraxas books in my library system, but I'll try some of his other books (or maybe Martin Millar).

I enjoyed Laumer more in the past, but they were fun books.

I love the short story collections of the year- all of them [Smile] My favorite format. (and a good way to find new authors)

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Borachio
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Iain M. Banks (the Culture novels)

anything written by Tim Powers (that you can find in print, that is)

Tad Williams, "Memory, Sorrow & Thorn" trilogy

Connie Willis, particularly "To Say Nothing of The Dog"

"Space Vulture" by Gary Wolf and John J. Myers (a throwback to old school pulp SF; do not be put off by a Catholic archbishop as co-author. It is not preachy at all, but rather a cracking good space adventure.)

"The Yiddish Policeman's Union" by Michael Chabon

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Chael
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quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
No Thraxas books in my library system, but I'll try some of his other books (or maybe Martin Millar).

Cool. Let me know if they're any good?

I got to the current end of the Thraxas series. It ends in a horrible place. Most disconcerting.

quote:

I enjoyed Laumer more in the past, but they were fun books.

Quite so. There's been a recent(?) publishing of his collected works, so if there are any that you didn't get to because they were out of print, they might be more findable now.

quote:

I love the short story collections of the year- all of them [Smile] My favorite format. (and a good way to find new authors)

One of my favorite formats too.

I'm trying to think of something else you might not have gotten to yet, and failing. I read enough books (like you, I suspect) that I tend to forget what I've read if I haven't read it in the last couple of months.

There's a whole bunch of urban fantasy out these days, but I didn't get the impression that that was something you were into.

Borachio: Was there anything else of Willis's that you liked particularly? The first half of To Say Nothing of the Dog made me laugh aloud, but I found the second half rather dull. The pacing felt kind of first-book-by-an-author to me. But as aforementioned, the first half /did/ make me laugh, so.. [Smile]

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philnotfil
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I enjoyed On Basilisk Station, it looks like I'm taken care of for a while, there are a bunch of these. A little too detailed in depictions of battle wounds, but not too many battles.

When I was about 11 I ran across my uncle's collection of Joseph Rosenberger's The Death Merchant series (about 50 of these) and Don Pendleton's The Executioner series (about 80 of these), it was an educational summer. If you aren't familiar with those books, they spend about a paragraph on every round fired by the protagonist, including the damage done to their target in extreme slow motion. I've got all of the details I need rattling around inside my head, nowadays authors can just tell me that someone got hit and I'm satisfied.

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Rallan
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Pretty much anything by China Mieville, especially his three "Bas-Lag" novels (Perdido Street Station, Scar, and Iron Council). He's part of the "new weird" movement in sf/f/h that blends elements of all three instead of sticking to traditional genre conventions, and he's done an excellent high fantasy steampunk dystopia.

Stephen Donaldson is another good pick for any sci-fi and fantasy fan, although some readers find his stuff a bit too depressing. His "Thomas Covanent" novels are some of the most famous fantasy since Tolkein, his "Gap" novels are a bleakly dystopian space opera, and his two "Mordant's Need" novels are another fantasy setting that takes a more traditional (ie less soulcrushingly miserable) approach to fantasy than the Covanent ones did.

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Borachio
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quote:
Originally posted by Chael:

Borachio: Was there anything else of Willis's that you liked particularly? The first half of To Say Nothing of the Dog made me laugh aloud, but I found the second half rather dull. The pacing felt kind of first-book-by-an-author to me. But as aforementioned, the first half /did/ make me laugh, so.. [Smile] [/QB]

I enjoy most of Willis' stuff. "Doomsday Book" is excellent. Her strength actually seems to be in her short fiction, which has a fairly wide range. I have a soft spot for "To Say Nothing of the Dog" thanks to my exposure in college to "Three Men In A Boat" by Jerome K. Jerome (I have a treasured first edition of that one in my library). I'm a sucker for fiction that intelligently/creatively references earlier literature. Tim Powers' "The Stress of Her Regard" is a case in point. Not necessarily his strongest work, but fascinating for its exhaustively-researched treatment of the Romantic poets. Ditto for Powers' "The Anubis Gates" (if somewhat less tied to the conceit of marrying a fantasy story to literary history).

Not to go all off-topic here, but, for the same reason I am one of the few people alive that believes "Shakespeare In Love" deserved the Oscar over "Saving Private Ryan." It's an English Lit major's weakness for the Bard combined with a gnawing suspicion that Spielberg's film is just a tad overrated...both "The Thin Red Line" and "Life Is Beautiful" were better WWII movies (in the same year) than "Ryan." Of course, I could be wrong...

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Athelstan
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Finished reading The Age of Athelstan. A large part of this excellent book is devoted to the events surrounding the Battle of Brunanburh. The Battle of Brunanburh has been called the most important and the least known battle in British History. The invaders were Irish, Scots, Norse, Strathclyde Britons and Welsh. Funny how these groups always paint the English as aggressors. After the battle was won in 937, by the armies from Wessex and Mercia, the disparate groups living in England began to think of themselves as English. Even that Norman butcher Bastard Bill could not remove that sense of Nationhood. No one knows where the battle was fought but the book goes for Brinsworth in Yorkshire. The battle was the start of a forty-year golden age, albeit with a few hiccups, for the English and remembered fondly by future generations until subverted by the Tudors.

I have just started to read Pierre Berton’s The Invasion of Canada 1812 – 1813.

quote:
To America’s leaders in 1812, an invasion of Canada seemed to be “a mere matter of marching,” as Thomas Jefferson confidently predicted. How could a nation of 8 million fail to subdue a struggling colony of 300,000? Yet, when the campaign of 1812 ended, the only Americans left on Canadian soil were prisoners of war. Three American armies had been forced to surrender, and the British were in control of all Michigan Territory and much of Indiana and Ohio.
Sounds like a great read.
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philnotfil
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Someone on a sports related board recommended The Blind Side by Michael Lewis (the Moneyball author). It is nominally about why Left Tackles get paid so much, but wrapped up in the story of Michael Oher. Great book. I've been reading snippets of it aloud to my wife all day. The only other book I've done that with was Cry, The Beloved Country. Even if you aren't a sports fan it is still worth reading.
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Athelstan
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There are probably some people that think that America’s declaration of war and invasion of Canada in 1812 was justified. They probably think America had a perfect right kill people and confiscate property in Upper Canada in July 1812 because the British were searching American ships for deserters. They might believe that the British were forcing the Indians to defend their land and people from attacks by American interlopers. They might even think the war started in 1814 with the attack on Washington and that a citizen militia won the war. They might think that one-day the USA will annexe Canada. Those people probably haven’t read Pierre Berton’s informative book, The Invasion of Canada 1812. Some people might think that the 1812 war was about trying to steal Canada while Britain was fighting Napoleon and also a chance for Republican War Hawks to defeat anti-war New England Federalists. (New England Federalists referred to the war a Mr Madison’s War and New England merchants continued to supply the British Army throughout the war). Those people could have read this book.

A quote from the book

quote:
The President, James Madison, remarked after the fact that had he known Napoleon would be defeated his country would have stayed out of it.
A Canadian, Pierre Berton, wrote this book sometime ago and he doesn’t spare the reader any instances of British culpability, American heroism or Indian pathos. It’s his opinion that if there hadn’t been an 1812 war then there wouldn’t be a Canada here today. When the Americans invaded Upper Canada (Southern Ontario) in 1812 a good proportion of the inhabitants were American farmers. They were there, ironically, to escape the USA tax system. Although both the USA and Britain claim they won the war of 1812 the author claims that the Indians really won this war. Of course the Indians lost out when peace was declared.

I saw a programme on the History Channel titled First Invasion War of 1812. Totally ignores American incursion into Canada and Indian lands and seems to suggest the British were the only invaders and the burning and looting of York (later Toronto), by Americans, was an unfortunate accident. Perhaps it’s always been the case, as stated in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, that when the legend becomes fact, print the legend. Like the immortal words of Captain James Lawrence “Don’t give up the ship” then his crew proceeded to do the opposite and they and the ship sailed into captivity.

The next book I shall be reading, when Amazon decide to deliver it, is Thomas Jefferson: Author of America by Christopher Hitchens

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Lloyd
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If you like the Honor Harrington Series, I would highly recommend his latest series that starts with Off Armageddon Reef

[ July 09, 2009, 02:35 PM: Message edited by: Lloyd ]

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cperry
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Young adult titles worth the read:

Feed, M. T. Anderson
Everlost, Neal Shusterman
Unwind, Neal Shusterman
Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

Nonfiction worth the read:

Stiff, Mary Roach
Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell

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Kuato
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Hunger Games is beyond excellent, one of the best reads I've had in a long time.

Next, I like the "Uglies/Pretties/Specials" trilogy by Scott Westerfield.

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Greg Davidson
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I have been reading my way through Neal Stephenson, and I particularly recommend Crytonomicon and Anathem.
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cperry
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ditto, Greg. Good stuff.
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Athelstan
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I suppose I was expecting, or hoping for, a hatchet job by Christopher Hitchens on the aristocratic Virginian Lawyer when I read Thomas Jefferson – Author of America. To my mind Jefferson was a perfect example of an Eighteenth Century English Country Gent except his slaves were black instead of white. Perfect meat for the Hitchens mill I thought. Instead I got a fawning portrayal of a War Leader with a strong foreign policy. Thomas Jefferson was anti-British and didn’t trust those Americans who saw the benefit of a rapprochement with Britain. Obviously I’m reading this book from a biased position. This book is from the Eminent Lives series so is advertised as a short biography and this book lives up to that billing. Mr Hitchens seems to be trying to connect the events of America’s First Barbary War with events that are happening today. It is my humble opinion that he glorifies some parts of the Barbary War while omitting the failures and totally ignoring the ending. His main thrust seems to be that you couldn’t trust Muslims then and you can’t trust them now. Mr Hitchens condemns Monarchies but praises Thomas Jefferson when he acts like a Monarch especially when President Jefferson sent a fleet to North Africa without telling anyone. If there is any condemnation of Jefferson’s actions Mr Hitchens just quotes what other American Authors have said about him. Jefferson’s reluctance to fight in the rebellion, slavery (or as Mr Hitchens calls it involuntary servitude), Mary Hemmings and the Embargo Act are mentioned but not commented on. Fair enough, it’s his book and he can write what he likes and in fairness to Mr Hitchens when he does quote Jefferson he does have the decency to also quote the author who Jefferson had plagiarised. That said this book left me with no idea why Jefferson is considered the Author of America other than he wrote some libellous attacks on George III. Mr Hitchens spends more time on the attacks left out than the ones left in. I shall have to read other books that are longer than the one hundred and eighty eight pages contained in this one to find the answer.

I was interested to learn that Jefferson believed in Anglo-Saxonism (his belief, not mine) and therefore considered English Common Law a pagan institution as it developed before the arrival of Christianity. He saw the peopling of America as a continuation of the work started by Hengist and Horsa and even wanted those two gentlemen portrayed on the Great Seal of the United States of America. Maybe Jefferson’s knowledge of Anglo-Saxon Laws concerning Hundreds influenced the writers of the Second Amendment. It might also explain Manifest Destiny although I don’t think Jefferson called it that.

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DonaldD
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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon is quaint and touching.

William Gibson and Bruce Sterling haven't been mentioned yet...

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hobsen
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Interesting, Athelstan. I agree that trying to find light for the events of today by studying the First Barbary War sounds little more promising than reading tea leaves. This may bring something important to your attention, but any association is probably by chance.
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Athelstan
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I suppose hobsen that’s why I like reading History. Two people can look at the same event and draw two different theories. Hitchens maintains that Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase was a great deal. My opinion would be if Hamilton’s advice had been taken and the US had backed the British horse, and not the French one, in the European War (1783-1815) then the US would have got the area for nothing in the subsequent peace deal. You can ignore The Treaty of Amiens as it was just a breathing space while Britain and France built up their forces, which is incidentally why Napoleon needed the money. Another quirk of history is that the US actually bought Louisiana from a British Bank shortly after the Great French War had been resumed. Bankers, it would appear, have been the same throughout history.
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Athelstan
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I recently visited the largest second hand book shop in the UK. It was started by an American lady so the claim must be true. The shop is in Alnwick which is in the county of Northumberland. The county with the most castles in the UK. Alnwick is pronounced, by the locals, as Anick just to confuse the tourists.

One of the books I purchased is a small chubby book titled Private Yankee Doodle by Joseph Plumb Martin and, as the book states, is a Narrative of some of the adventures, dangers and sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier. Being an American book it is probably well known and read by everyone in the US but it is new to me.

I found it a difficult read and not just because, being a paperback, it was difficult to open the pages. The booked seems to be a long list of the soldiers constant search for food, clothing and shelter but when I finished I was left with the impression of what it might have been like to fight a war in the eighteenth century and why our hero was fighting it. There were also many interesting bits interspered with the shopping list. There was his time outside New York city where he competed with Loyalists, who he refered to as Cowboys or Refugees, for control of the unfortunate local population. He was also at Yorktown in the Sappers and Miners Corps and saw it as no crime, in fact for the slave’s own good, to return runaway slaves for a reward. Different times, different morals.

At the end of the book is the following passage.

quote:
When those who engaged to serve during the war enlisted, they were promised a hundred acres of land,each, which was to be in their own or ajoining states. When the country had drained the last drop of service it could screw out of the poor soldiers, they were turned adrift like old-worn out horses, and nothing said about the land to pasture them upon. Congress did, indeed, appropriate lands under the denomination of “Soldier’s lands,” in Ohio State, or some state, or a future state, but no care was taken that the soldiers should get them. No agents were appointed to see that the poor fellows ever got possession of their lands; no one ever took the least care about it, except a pack of speculators, who were driving about the country like so many evil spirits, endeavoring to pluck the last feather from the soldiers. The soldiers were ignorant of the ways and means to obtain their bounty lands, and there was no one appointed to inform them. The truth was; none cared for them; the country was served, and faithfully served, and that was all that was deemed necessary. It was, soldiers, look to yourselves; we want no more of you.
The Universal Soldier’s bitter pill.
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philnotfil
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I've really enjoyed the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher. I was going to read his Dresden Files books, but I'm about 40th in line on my libraries holds list, so I thought I would give these a try while I waited. Great books, my biggest complaint is that he isn't done with the series and the next book isn't scheduled to be out for another month.

One of the things that I like about the series is that his unknown boy from the far reaches of the empire with no special abilities who is more than he seems isn't fully developed by the end of the first book, so he actually develops over the next four books, instead of just having further adventures.

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Funean
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Those were terrific. He has a surprising facility for writing engaging scenes of military strategy. And I agree with your assessment of the pacing. I hadn't realized how common it is to "finish" the character in the first book, or at least seem to be unable to come up with genuinely new facets in later works. I wonder if it helps if the author plans a multi-book story from the outset.
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NobleHunter
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I've been reading Elizabeth Bear and Julie Czernida. I strongly recommend them.

And the Codex Alexa is awesome.

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philnotfil
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The Mall of Cthulhu by Seamus Cooper. Not worth buying, but if friend has a copy or you can get it from your library (and you like cheesy, pulpy fantasy) you should try it. It was on the shelf of "new arrivals" and I thought the name was funny, I read the first couple of pages and laughed twice, so I brought it home with me. A little vulgar and occasionally obscene, but a lot of fun.

quote:
"Bitsy? Bitsy is the Ivy Ripper?"

"One of them. I mean, look at this and judge for yourself." Teddy picked up Bitsy's head by its long, blonde hair and pointed at the still gaping mouth. "That's a fang. With blood dripping off it. Q. E. f***ing D."

Laura took in the grisly spectacle of a wild-eyed, sweat-drenched, filthy Teddy holding a head that did indeed possess a pair of bloody fangs, and her mind completely shut down. She just stared, hoping that the acid or whatever she was obviously on would wear off quickly and she'd be able to laugh about the horror-movie bad trip she'd had. Teddy holding disembodied vampire heads. Yeah, right.


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Athelstan
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Just finished reading The Battle Road by the American writer Charles H Bradford. It concerns the events around Lexington and Concord mid-April 1775. In my slightly biased opinion from the pages of this book the soldiers of the British Army come out really well. The mission was doomed from the start but it was a mission that modern US and UK soldiers are doing right now, though they get to use helicopters. The one, so called, atrocity mentioned in the book was committed by a lone American of unknown affiliations on a wounded British soldier. Many other wounded British soldiers were looked after and nursed back to health by local people. The officers, on both sides, don’t fare very well in this book but the Rebels have the excuse that theirs were elected. For the main part the British kept their discipline although there was some looting. This came out in the official inquiry afterwards, held by the British, and the looters were dealt with.

The added poignancy of this book, for me, is that with the names of the villages in the area concerned this whole event could be happening in England.

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philnotfil
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Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

Fantastic post-apocalyptic comet strikes the earth.

I love both of these writers, I just hadn't worked my way through to this one, it was definitely worth it.

Other books by Jerry Pournelle I enjoyed:
King David's Spaceship
All of the Flakenberg's Legion books
High Justice- a collection of short stories

Larry Niven:
The Gil Hamilton stories
Ringworld was good but dragged a bit in sections
The Magic Goes Away (the other books in the series were ok, but the first one was fantastic)
The Convergent Series, and The Draco Tavern collections of short stories

I ha donly read two of their collaborations, but they were both good:
Oath of Fealty
Fallen Angels (if you are a scifi fan you have to read this one)

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kenmeer livermaile
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"Lucifer's Hammer"

When the movie The Postman came out, I thought they meant this book.

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philnotfil
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The entire book I was waiting to hear his backstory. I' still waiting, I want to know more about him.

P.S. He was a mailman, not a postman [Smile]

[ March 07, 2010, 06:11 PM: Message edited by: philnotfil ]

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kenmeer livermaile
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I didn't know there was a difference. I learn something new every day?
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kenmeer livermaile
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I see: one is spelled mailman, one postman. [Wink]
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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by kenmeer livermaile:
I see: one is spelled mailman, one postman. [Wink]

[Smile]
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philnotfil
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Peace Like a River by Leif Enger.

The only thing I can compare it to is Cry, the Beloved Country. Beautifully written scenery, a compelling story of family, but the plot is only important because it gives the author an excuse to monologue.

When I finished the book I didn't want to get up, I just sat their for a while enjoying the experience and pondering how great life was.

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philnotfil
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Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. I've been meaning to read this one for a while, but never got around to it. It was mostly really good. I didn't care for the ending very much. Too much Deus Ex Machina, on both sides, for my taste. Much of the loose end wrapping up seemed contrived and then he gives us an information overload of stuff that is only important if there are going to be sequels.

But the first 9/10's of the book were good enough to make up for that.

P.S. Do these forums really have enough traffic to require a separate sub-forum just for my book thread?

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philnotfil
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Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, by Cory Doctorow. Whoa, dude. What a bizarrely enjoyable book. It is too well written for him to have been high while he was writing, but you will wonder. Swearing, sex, and violence, but a good read if those things don't bother you.
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