Author Topic: JD Book Club: What Are You Reading Now?  (Read 57672 times)

Offline Chris M

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Re: JD Book Club: What Are You Reading Now?
« Reply #795 on: November 27, 2009, 12:20 AM »


I just started reading after seeing it get great reviews from WWII magazine. 

From Amazon:

Roberts offers an outstanding example of a joint biography in this study of the actions and interactions of Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, George Marshall and Alan Brooke. The president, the prime minister and their respective army chiefs of staff were the vital nexus of the Anglo-American alliance in WWII. The path was anything but smooth. London-based historian Roberts (A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900) demonstrates his usual mastery of archival and printed sources to show how the tensions and differences among these four strong-willed men shaped policy within a general context of consensus. The politicians had to master strategy; the soldiers had to become political. The result was a complicated minuet. The increasing shift of power in America's direction coincided with the achievement of the central war aims agreed on for the Mediterranean and with the viability of a cross-channel attack. Last-minute compromises continued to shape grand strategy, a good example being the choice of Dwight Eisenhower over Brooke to command Operation Overlord. Flexibility and honesty, Roberts concludes, enabled focus on a common purpose and established the matrix of the postwar Atlantic world
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Offline Master_Phruby

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Re: JD Book Club: What Are You Reading Now?
« Reply #796 on: December 3, 2009, 12:20 AM »
Now starting "Ender in Exile" by Orson Scott Card.



Here is Card's answer to all those readers who asked, "What happened to Ender?" between Ender's Game (1985) and Speaker for the Dead (1986, both Tor), a gap that covers nearly 3000 years. Twelve-year-old Ender Wiggin should be coming home to a hero's welcome after wiping out the dreaded buggers—aliens who have twice defeated humanity in the past—in a fierce space battle. He is instead proclaimed a dangerous weapon and appointed titular governor of a colony world to keep him as far away from Earth as possible. His beloved sister Valentine joins him on the colony ship but is unable to penetrate the barriers he has erected around himself. Wracked with remorse at his genocide of the buggers, Ender searches for the reason the aliens allowed him to defeat them, knowing the answer will give him direction. As in most great speculative fiction, Card mines the depths of humanity's philosophical and political ideas through Ender's trials and discoveries. Exile brings together many drifting story lines from a number of other books in the series, so it's not for the uninitiated. For those who are familiar with Ender and his world, this is a wonderful treat to be devoured whole in a gulp and then returned to later to digest at leisure.
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Offline Mikey D

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Re: JD Book Club: What Are You Reading Now?
« Reply #797 on: December 3, 2009, 08:11 AM »




Well, I had a problem with delivery of Under the Dome and haven't received it yet.  So while I try to sort that mess out, I've been reading some books the wife had lying around the house:







I also bought the following.  Always wanted to try it and I figured with the new movie and a recommendation from a co-worker, now was as good as ever.

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Offline BrentS

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Re: JD Book Club: What Are You Reading Now?
« Reply #798 on: December 3, 2009, 02:02 PM »
I really enjoyed Bringing Down the House.  It was a very quick read.

Offline Nathan

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Re: JD Book Club: What Are You Reading Now?
« Reply #799 on: December 4, 2009, 09:51 PM »
I've been reading Angels & Demons on my lunch breaks. The beginning sucked spectacularly, but it's picking up.
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Offline Master_Phruby

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Re: JD Book Club: What Are You Reading Now?
« Reply #800 on: December 7, 2009, 09:46 PM »
Speaking of books about killing the Pope, I'm reading "The Devil's Labyrinth" by John Saul.



Bestseller Saul (Suffer the Children) links an exorcism of the devil with a plot to kill the pope in this over-the-top religious thriller. When thugs at a Boston public high school savagely beat 16-year-old Ryan McIntyre, who's struggling with the death of his father in Iraq, Ryan's mother transfers him to a Catholic school. At St. Isaac's Preparatory Academy, where a student's disappearance and other bizarre events have caused worry, a popular priest, Father Sebastian, takes a special interest in the newcomer. When word reaches the Vatican that Sebastian may have revived a long-lost rite to invoke the primitive evil latent even in the most innocent, the supreme pontiff himself plans a visit to St. Isaac's. Those looking for a more subtle treatment of a similar theme might prefer Whitley Strieber's The Night Church, but Saul fans should be satisfied.
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Offline Packbar

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Re: JD Book Club: What Are You Reading Now?
« Reply #801 on: December 10, 2009, 06:58 PM »
I've just finished World War Z and am now reading the Zombie Survival guideby Max Brooks (who is Mel Brooks' son).  I love zombie stuff and if you do these are a must.  I heard that they are making World War Z into a movie although I think it would lend better to being like an HBO miniseries. 

Offline Master_Phruby

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Re: JD Book Club: What Are You Reading Now?
« Reply #802 on: December 13, 2009, 06:55 PM »
Just finished "Shadow of the Giant" by Orson Scott Card. This is the final book based on Ender's second in command Bean.



Card's latest installment in his Shadow subseries (Ender's Shadow, etc.), which parallels the overarching series that began with Ender's Game (1985), does a superlative job of dramatically portraying the maturing process of child into adult. The imminent death of Bean, a superhuman 20-something Battle School graduate who suffers from uncontrolled growth due to a genetic disorder, leaves little time for Peter the Hegemon, Ender's older brother, to set up a single world government and for Bean and his wife and former classmate, Petra, to reclaim all their stolen children. When Card's focus strays from his characters into pure politics, the story loses power, but it's recharged as soon as he returns to the well-drawn interactions among Bean's Battle School classmates whose decisions will determine Earth's fate. They were trained to fight a (literally) single-minded alien enemy, but that war is over. Now, as young adults in command of human armies pitted against each other in messy conflicts with no clear solutions, Bean's old cohorts must help create a peaceful future for Earth after they're gone. Card makes the important point that there's always more than one side to every issue. Fans will marvel at how subtly he has prepared for the clever resolution.
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Offline Master_Phruby

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Re: JD Book Club: What Are You Reading Now?
« Reply #803 on: December 20, 2009, 07:52 PM »
"The High King (The Chronicles of Prydain)" by Lloyd Alexander. Fifth an final book in the series.




When we last saw our heroes, Taran and Gurgi were finally returning to Caer Dallben after more than a year of Taran "finding himself" in the classic sense of the term. At last they are coming home, and to their delight everyone has turned out for their arrival. Unfortunately the joy is not for long. Prince Gwydion has been grievously hurt on his way to the party and his sword of Dyrnwyn has been stolen. Needless to say, this is very bad news. Soon the armies of Arawn-Death-Lord are marching and the time for an end to his reign is at hand. With Taran now a wiser steadier fellow, our band of ragamuffin heroes sets off once more towards adventures, traps, and triumphs. Old friends are met, new friends are found, and many good stout-hearted people die. Still, through it all our heroes never give up and the book is a stirring testament to the will of the average joe. By the end of the book Taran must face his greatest decision yet. And, as author Lloyd Alexander points out, "whether the ending is happy, heartbreaking, or both, readers must decide for themselves".

Out of all the Prydain books, this is the one that bears the most similarity to the aforementioned "Lord of the Rings". This is based on a variety of different factors. The types of battles waged. The evil lord's landscaping. The idea that the bad guy has gotten an object of particular power and can now wield it for evil. Even the ending is similar (though Taran makes a surprise decision that is the direct opposite of Frodo's own surprise decision). Don't feel that this book is a weak knock off of Tolkien's (admittedly) better written baby though. Alexander's at the top of his game here, posing as many philosophical queries as he does political jabs. The presentation of a former good guy who believes peace can only come by joining up with bad guys... heck we're talking WWII political theory here. On top of that Taran is at his wisest in this book. He's poised and confident without being cocky. There's the odd inclusion of a terribly annoying fellow named Glew in this book who serves only to create important plot points and a form of weak comic relief, but fortunately he is the sole flaw of the book. I was greatly relieved too. After the meanderings of Alexander's far weaker, "Taran Wanderer", I was worried that, "The High King" might bog down into dreary who-am-I? type speechifying. Fortunately Eilonwy is present and accounted for in this novel. She fights and gets captured, but at least she's a gutsy ball of gung-ho goodness. As the sole female of the novel she's a welcome relief to everyone's serious even toned conversations. Once again, Eilonwy saves the novel.

"The High King" is far longer than its predecessors, but that's fitting since it's the last in the series. Alexander keeps the action constant and upbeat. I doubt you'll find any serious objections to it. It is sad to say goodbye to the characters we've all grown to know so well in the books. I've always had a serious crush on Fflewddur Fflam so I think I'll miss him most of all. Fortunately there's always "The Foundling" and "Coll and His White Pig" to read for fun. They're not officially part of the Prydain canon but they belong squarely in that world. Consider checking them out if you fall into Lloyd Alexander withdrawal. "The High King" is rightfully considered the strongest book in its series. I recommend it with nary a reservation in sight.



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Offline Master_Phruby

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Re: JD Book Club: What Are You Reading Now?
« Reply #804 on: December 29, 2009, 11:40 PM »
Up to bat is "Slaughterhouse Five" by Kurt Vonnegut.



Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.
Don't let the ease of reading fool you--Vonnegut's isn't a conventional, or simple, novel. He writes, "There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick, and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters..." Slaughterhouse-Five (taken from the name of the building where the POWs were held) is not only Vonnegut's most powerful book, it is as important as any written since 1945. Like Catch- 22, it fashions the author's experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut's other works, but the book's basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it a unique poignancy--and humor.
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Offline Mikey D

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Re: JD Book Club: What Are You Reading Now?
« Reply #805 on: January 4, 2010, 07:59 AM »
Finished:



and



Currently Reading:



Up Next:

Common sense isn't so common

Offline Scott

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Re: JD Book Club: What Are You Reading Now?
« Reply #806 on: January 4, 2010, 09:03 AM »
I forgot to mention that I am currently reading the Foundation books ;)
So far I've read:

Prelude to Foundation
Foundation
Foundation and Empire
Second Foundation

The more I read the more I realize that Lucas ripped a whole **** ton of Star Wars from Asimov...I always thought Han was a pretty unique name for a dude, until I find out that Han is one of the main Foundation generals.  How about a city wide planet?  Done before in Foundation.  Mind control?  Foundation.  Empire?  Foundation.  Space Battles?  Foundation.

I really do hope they come out with these movies because they would be keen.  The problem would be that a lot of people will accuse Foundation of ripping off Star Wars :P

Offline BillCable

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Re: JD Book Club: What Are You Reading Now?
« Reply #807 on: January 4, 2010, 11:20 AM »
I finished "The Gathering Storm" over the weekend... started during my Christmas trip to Va. Beach...



I enjoyed it quite a bit.  There were a lot of frustrating chapters... where it was all about resolve and determination.  But there were quite a few nice pay-offs, too.  I liked the end, and think it'll make the next two books more enjoyable reads.

The new author did a good job picking up after Jordan's death.
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Offline Chris M

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Re: JD Book Club: What Are You Reading Now?
« Reply #808 on: January 4, 2010, 11:20 AM »
All courtesy of working on my Masters.





"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."  Ben franklin


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Offline Master_Phruby

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Re: JD Book Club: What Are You Reading Now?
« Reply #809 on: January 5, 2010, 06:50 PM »
Finished "High King". Now starting "Winter Moon" by Dean Koontz.



A brush with death prompts L.A. policeman Jack McGarvey to move wife Heather and son Toby up to Quartermass Ranch, a Montana estate bequeathed to them by Eduardo Fernandez, the father of Jack's former partner. The McGarveys settle in, dismissing strange noises and smells, as well as weird trances that seem to grip Toby from time to time, as the embodiment of common fears of urbanites confronted by open spaces. It seems Eduardo had had uninvited visitors: the Givers, creatures from another dimension who came for an incomprehensible, apparently evil purpose. Scared out of his wits, Ed succumbed to a heart attack, but not before scrawling his discovery on a legal pad and stashing it in the freezer. These Givers are actually takers, assuming control of bodies and corpses to use them as vehicles in which to create mayhem. And now they want control of Toby. Bestselling author Koontz ( Hideaway ) exploits and occasionally skewers many horror novel and film conventions--including telepathic mind control games and the obligatory "surprise" blizzard during the climatic battle--to great effect while building tension in this gripping parable about the real cost of "getting away from it all."
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