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Current reading
Currently listening to Tom Sweterlitsch’s ‘The Gone World’ and goddamn, HBO, this is your third season of True Detective right here.
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Maori education continues. Why We Sleep made me terrified to have less than 8 hours a day.

The Hidden Family (Merchant Princes 2) by Charles Stross was good and expanded that whole universe in a very satisfying way. Was reading his bibliography and that is one prolific writer.

Started The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin. It's good, and I am enjoying it, but I'm finding it a little ... well, I'm not sure if it's the translation but it seems a little flat. The writing is very declarative and I'm not sure if that's him and his style, or not. It feels like watching a dubbed Chinese movie and I can't shake the feeling the translation is losing something.

Good enough to keep going and it will be interesting reading book 2, which has a different translator.
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'Paris in the Present Tense' is Mark Helprin's best novel since 'Soldier of the Great War.' I laughed. I cried. I hugged my wife.
I've seen so many good people in my life that I've almost lost my faith in the wickedness of humankind.

--Will Durant

 

http://netflixjunkie.blogspot.com/
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Working my way through the second book (Fool's Quest, I think) of the Robin Hobb Farseer/Liveship saga. She's devolving as a writer, IMHO, and this finale series has been a tedious, epic slog. If I hadn't already invested 11 (far superior) novels in this same setting I would have given up.

On the other hand, I'm tearing through the now-forgotten classic Horn of the Hunter by Ruark. The vibe is pure Hemingway. Horn of the Hunter and Death in the Long Grass are glimpses into a lost (maybe for the best) way of life that feels incredibly alien today, even though the professional hunter featured in the novel only passed away a few months ago.

There are some all-time great quotes about becoming fed up with the trappings of civilization.
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The Three Body problem had some genuinely fantastic ideas later on in the piece. So I purchased the second book.

Also got Babylon's Ashes (Expanse:6) and Firefall by Peter Watts to keep that "first contact" thing going.

Got All Systems Red (Murderbot Diaries 1) by Martha Wells out of the library and ripped through it on the plane today. Tremendous read with a very engaging protagonist.  Looking forward to the next 2.

As an aside I've been listening to the Philosophise This podcast rather than music on Spotify lately, and this overview of the historical progress of philosophy has really enhanced my enjoyment of all this speculative scifi.
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'Horn of the Hunter' sounds intriguing. On my list it goes.
I've seen so many good people in my life that I've almost lost my faith in the wickedness of humankind.

--Will Durant

 

http://netflixjunkie.blogspot.com/
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(04-24-2018, 05:44 AM)frankcobretti Wrote: 'Horn of the Hunter' sounds intriguing.  On my list it goes.


I think you'll like it!  

I find it pretty interesting that the author specifically tried to go on a safari with some of the guides who worked with Hemingway.  Adds some interesting backstory.
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Just finished Galveston's Maceo Family Empire: Bootlegging & the Balinese Room by T. Nicole Boatman, Scott H. Belshaw, and Richard B. McCaslin. It was a good, fast, read, but very repetitive. You can tell the author(s) didn't have alot of source material to draw from, but none the less it was an informative and important book that needed to be written.

Right now, I picked up the "Godfather" of Mafia revisionist history, Joseph L. Albini's, Deconstructing Organized Crime: An Historical and Theoretical Study. I also usually read a fiction/history book at the same time, so I also picked up James Ellroy's White Jazz.
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I finished Sarah Pinborough's Behind Her Eyes recently and...wow.

I purchased it partly because it was on sale but also because it had glowing reviews that claimed the ending was this huge game changer (and two of those reviews were from Stephen King and Joe Hill).

Well, I can say those reviews aren't lying but holy shit. It is a memorable ending but only because of how it absurd it is. It REALLY tests your suspension of disbelief and it's also one of those plots that require the protagonist to be an idiot for the entirety of the book.

I can't say I cared for it but props to the author for just going for it. I'm sure it'll be a movie in a few years.
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James Ellroy's White Jazz is hard-boiled, apocalyptic noir at its very best. I may have messed up starting with the last of Ellroy's "L.A. Quartet", because this seems to be the hard hitting crescendo of his noir writing (the only other book of Ellroy's I read was American Tabloid back in 2008, which, to my shame, I didn't finish). After finishing White Jazz last week, I immediately started The Big Nowhere, which I like so far, but I gather that White Jazz is the only of his books told strictly from a staccato, slang ridden, first person perspective. I've been reading that Ellroy, Nick Nolte (after ripping off a ton of Ellroy for Mulholland Falls), and Joe Carnahan have, unsuccessfully, been trying to get White Jazz adapted for the screen. Carnahan churned out a script in 2007, which will probably never see production. The script is available online, and I hope to eventually read it to see how they could have adapted it.
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If anyone has Prime, you can get A Scanner Darkly for free with Prime Reading.
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(06-01-2018, 12:34 PM)Gangland Wrote:
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James Ellroy's White Jazz is hard-boiled, apocalyptic noir at its very best. I may have messed up starting with the last of Ellroy's "L.A. Quartet", because this seems to be the hard hitting crescendo of his noir writing (the only other book of Ellroy's I read was American Tabloid back in 2008, which, to my shame, I didn't finish). After finishing White Jazz last week, I immediately started The Big Nowhere, which I like so far, but I gather that White Jazz is the only of his books told strictly from a staccato, slang ridden, first person perspective. I've been reading that Ellroy, Nick Nolte (after ripping off a ton of Ellroy for Mulholland Falls), and Joe Carnahan have, unsuccessfully, been trying to get White Jazz adapted for the screen. Carnahan churned out a script in 2007, which will probably never see production. The script is available online, and I hope to eventually read it to see how they could have adapted it.

Oh shit. I read through this like three times. It might be the darkest of Ellroy's books, which is saying something because James Ellroy's novels are pretty bleak to begin with. 

They'll never get a film adaptation because it'd virtually impossible. L.A. Confidential is a great movie, but it's a completely changed work of art, going for a more romanticized version of the 1950s L.A. setting. It still works because the film still manages to capture the essence of Ellroy's book, but so much had to be changed in order to get their.  I honestly don't think you can do that with White Jazz, largely because the protagonist might be Ellroy's most despicable character to date: a crooked cop that moonlights as a hitman whose pretty much sole concern is to keep his crimes from going public; and the only sympathetic thing about him is the quasi-incestual relationship he has with his own sister. Yeah, it's that kind of book.

Still, it's a really good book and definitely one of my favorites.
 I think all Marvel films are okay. This is my design.

Except for Thor 2: the literal worst.
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Damn I haven't kept up with this.  White Jazz is all kinds of brilliant.  The whole quartet is superb.  I do still prefer the Underworld USA trilogy though.

Babylon's Ashes was typical Expanse.  Rip roaring through it, can barely remember what it was about now.  Space battles?  I kid, it was good and felt like a capper, although I note there is another one.

Burnt through all 6 books of CHarles Stross Merchant Princes Series 1, which were great, and had quite the shock and awe ending I have to say.  Loved the sci-fi/fantasy/alternate history mix conceit as well.

Firefall was a-mazing.  Two books in one (Blindsight and Echopraxia) which quite frankly blew my mind from the style (unreliable narrator), to the contents (first contact space fare, but with vampires), to the underlying exploration (the use or not of the concept of self and self awareness).

Re-read Dune Messiah and currently half way through Children of Dune, simply because I hadn't read them since I was 12.  I'm finding them much more interesting and engaging now.

On the "to read" pile:

The Dark Forest - Liu Cixin
Empire Games - Charles Stross (Merchant Princes series 2 book 1)
God Emperor of DUne - Frank Herbert
Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare - Giles Milton (I've gone on a bit of a WW2 doco tip lately, so wanted to read something related to but not rehashing)
The Freeze Frame Revolution - Peter Watts which I am really looking forward to after Firefall AND hearty recommendations from Warren Ellis and Richard Morgan
Embers of War - Gareth L Powell
The Outsider - Stephen King
Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei
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Recently finished Christopher Buehlman's latest, The Suicide Motor Club, and loved it. Vampires and avenging nuns do battle in muscle cars on the lonely southwestern highways in the late 1960s. Buehlman is quickly becoming one of my favorite new horror authors.
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I just finished the latest (and last) book of Secret Histories by Simon Green--the Drood novels that are named after James Bond movies & books (Night Fall, The Man with the Golden Torc, Moonbreaker, etc.). He closed up a bunch of storylines from some other series of his (NightSide, Ghost Hunters) in this book. I also just completed the latest Ishmael Jones mystery book, also by Simon Green--those books are shorter than his normal works, but I don't think I particularly like them. This latest one, I knew "whodunnit" like 25% of the way into the book, just not the "why" until the very end.

I'm starting the latest Steve Alten book, "Undisclosed" now.

New Jack Reacher should be out in November--I also recently completed re-reading all of those books a few weeks ago.
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Just finished Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece by Michael Benson. I guarantee that even the most obsessive 2001 fan will learn something new.
"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth."--Steve McQueen
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