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Can't remember where I left off, so here's my readings over the past few months. Sorry about the bold, I cut and pasted from Goodreads(its easier than writing it from scratch) Spoiler tagged for length.

 

Spoiler

 

Carlisle Vs. Army: Jim Thorpe, Dwight Eisenhower, Pop Warner, and the Forgotten Story of Football's Greatest Battle by Lars Anderson.

Good reading, more for background on Jim Thorpe, Indian schools and Eisenhower and West point more for the actual game. Recommended.

Killshot by Elmore Leonard. Another great one by him. Get Shorty is the next in the rotation, but it might be a while, as I'm on a history kick again. Recommended,, duh.

Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern.  Pretty funny, but very slight. Got it for cheap on ebay(part of a package deal) still, get it at the library, if at all.

Dad is fat! by Jim gaffigan. Don't like his stand up, but sometimes authors are better in print(Chelsea Handler I'm looking at you!) didn't do it for me at all. Just whining about living in new York with a bunch of kids. YMMV

The Revenge Of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate by Robert D. Kaplan. Weird book. He spends a lot on central europe, and whether it ever actually existed. Then goes around the world, showing off where he's been and the like. There's better books out there on similar subjects. Pass

Visit Sunny Chernobyl: And Other Adventures in the World's Most Polluted Places by Andrew Blackwell. 

What a depressing book. Goes to Cheryobyl(probably the best piece), the Canadian Oil sands, Gulf coast of Texas, the Great Pacific garbage patch, the Amazon, China and India. Not funny at all(I often wonder if my sense of humor is different) but gives a great sense of the environmental disaster that the planet is. In between whining about his fiance dumping his ass, its not badly written. Mildly recommended.

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by  A.J. Jacobs

Not bad, not good. He spends a year being a dick while trying to live out obscure rule from the old testament, and a few from the new testament. Again mild recommendation.

 

What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures by Malcolm Gladwell

A collection of his columns from the Atlantic. Read good, easy read. I've heard him on podcasts, and he seems to be a guy that thinks too much about obscure facets of things(like Chuck Klostermann), but no evidence of it in these pieces. Recommended.

 

What Cops Know by Connie Fletcher

This is an interesting time capsule. Written in the late 1980's, its an oral history of the Chicago police. Sort of, anyway. She interviewed a bunch of cops from various levels and responsibilities, then presents them in anonymous snippets by topic; violent crime, sex crime, robbery, etc. If you like true crime, it might be worth a look. Be warned, some of the stories are REALLY fucking dark.

 

The Cocaine Wars by Paul Eddy, Sara WaldenHugo Sabogal. 

Interesting insights into the early war against drugs in Miami in the early 80's. A bit dated, as it was written at the time so it lacks context that I imagine can be found in other works. Not bad for a cheap yard sale or book sale pick up, but I wouldn't go out of my way to get it.

 

Shooting the Moon: The True Story of an American Manhunt Unlike Any Other, Ever by  David Harris.

One of the most annoying books I've ever read(and that's saying something). The story of the arrest of Manuel Noriega, but its very weirdly organized. Constant foreshadowing that doesn't immediately pay off, putting the end(sloppily written) before the facts. The most annoying thing is that he refers (CONSTANTLY) to people who's names are available, by the job title or description. Like Barry Seal, as the "fat pilot" or John Kerry as the "Jr. Senator from MA). Its that way for a lot of government officials. Again, YMMV, but not recommended at all.

Finally, 

A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance: Portrait of an Age by  William Manchester.

Interesting book, as it started as a preface to a book about Magellan for another author, and developed into an essay about the Dark Ages(because we by an large don't know anything about them) and the foundations of the Renaissance. Really good survey of the period, if not a serious academic study. In the intro he says he wrote the book because he fell too ill to work on Churchill. Manchester was a fabulous writer, and this is an fun read. BTW, if you ever want to tell the difference between a GREAT historian and a good one, read the Churchill series, and see the difference between the ones he wrote, and the last one that he died before completing, and was finished by someone else.  Like night and day.


 

 

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1 hour ago, Kuetsar said:

Can't remember where I left off, so here's my readings over the past few months. Sorry about the bold, I cut and pasted from Goodreads(its easier than writing it from scratch) Spoiler tagged for length.

 

  Hide contents

 

Carlisle Vs. Army: Jim Thorpe, Dwight Eisenhower, Pop Warner, and the Forgotten Story of Football's Greatest Battle by Lars Anderson.

Good reading, more for background on Jim Thorpe, Indian schools and Eisenhower and West point more for the actual game. Recommended.

Killshot by Elmore Leonard. Another great one by him. Get Shorty is the next in the rotation, but it might be a while, as I'm on a history kick again. Recommended,, duh.

Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern.  Pretty funny, but very slight. Got it for cheap on ebay(part of a package deal) still, get it at the library, if at all.

Dad is fat! by Jim gaffigan. Don't like his stand up, but sometimes authors are better in print(Chelsea Handler I'm looking at you!) didn't do it for me at all. Just whining about living in new York with a bunch of kids. YMMV

The Revenge Of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate by Robert D. Kaplan. Weird book. He spends a lot on central europe, and whether it ever actually existed. Then goes around the world, showing off where he's been and the like. There's better books out there on similar subjects. Pass

Visit Sunny Chernobyl: And Other Adventures in the World's Most Polluted Places by Andrew Blackwell. 

What a depressing book. Goes to Cheryobyl(probably the best piece), the Canadian Oil sands, Gulf coast of Texas, the Great Pacific garbage patch, the Amazon, China and India. Not funny at all(I often wonder if my sense of humor is different) but gives a great sense of the environmental disaster that the planet is. In between whining about his fiance dumping his ass, its not badly written. Mildly recommended.

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by  A.J. Jacobs

Not bad, not good. He spends a year being a dick while trying to live out obscure rule from the old testament, and a few from the new testament. Again mild recommendation.

 

What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures by Malcolm Gladwell

A collection of his columns from the Atlantic. Read good, easy read. I've heard him on podcasts, and he seems to be a guy that thinks too much about obscure facets of things(like Chuck Klostermann), but no evidence of it in these pieces. Recommended.

 

What Cops Know by Connie Fletcher

This is an interesting time capsule. Written in the late 1980's, its an oral history of the Chicago police. Sort of, anyway. She interviewed a bunch of cops from various levels and responsibilities, then presents them in anonymous snippets by topic; violent crime, sex crime, robbery, etc. If you like true crime, it might be worth a look. Be warned, some of the stories are REALLY fucking dark.

 

The Cocaine Wars by Paul Eddy, Sara WaldenHugo Sabogal. 

Interesting insights into the early war against drugs in Miami in the early 80's. A bit dated, as it was written at the time so it lacks context that I imagine can be found in other works. Not bad for a cheap yard sale or book sale pick up, but I wouldn't go out of my way to get it.

 

Shooting the Moon: The True Story of an American Manhunt Unlike Any Other, Ever by  David Harris.

One of the most annoying books I've ever read(and that's saying something). The story of the arrest of Manuel Noriega, but its very weirdly organized. Constant foreshadowing that doesn't immediately pay off, putting the end(sloppily written) before the facts. The most annoying thing is that he refers (CONSTANTLY) to people who's names are available, by the job title or description. Like Barry Seal, as the "fat pilot" or John Kerry as the "Jr. Senator from MA). Its that way for a lot of government officials. Again, YMMV, but not recommended at all.

Finally, 

A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance: Portrait of an Age by  William Manchester.

Interesting book, as it started as a preface to a book about Magellan for another author, and developed into an essay about the Dark Ages(because we by an large don't know anything about them) and the foundations of the Renaissance. Really good survey of the period, if not a serious academic study. In the intro he says he wrote the book because he fell too ill to work on Churchill. Manchester was a fabulous writer, and this is an fun read. BTW, if you ever want to tell the difference between a GREAT historian and a good one, read the Churchill series, and see the difference between the ones he wrote, and the last one that he died before completing, and was finished by someone else.  Like night and day.

 

 

 

 

 

This last sounds like something I would enjoy immensely if only as a brief respite from my immersion in John Scalzi  As I have remarked elsewhere, Scalzi is without a doubt the best SF writer going today, and when you can unseat Charles Stross, that's saying something. And in the interest of full disclosure, Scalzi is not one of my buds, he wouldn't know me if I crashed into him. My love for his writing is based only on the work itself. Granted, I've read enough of his non-fiction and advice to the newbies to come to the conclusion that he's a pretty good dude, but I do not know the man.

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The announcement came from Jim Butcher this morning!
July 14th 2020, we finally get Peace Talks, the new Dresden book.

Now I just ant to hear something from Scott Lynch about the status of The Thorn of Emberlain (which he completed and submitted in the spring) and 2020 might be a grand year for reading

James

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25 minutes ago, J.H. said:

The announcement came from Jim Butcher this morning!
July 14th 2020, we finally get Peace Talks, the new Dresden book.

Now I just ant to hear something from Scott Lynch about the status of The Thorn of Emberlain (which he completed and submitted in the spring) and 2020 might be a grand year for reading

James

I remember nothing.

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I ended up reading quite a bit last year. I usually read a book a week, but I hit two a week a few times in 2019. I had a lot of work last year, which is great for finances, but poor for mental health, and reading helped me stay at least somewhat sane.  

As far as my favorite junk reading, there is a series of books by someone writing under the nom-de-plume Porter Hill from the 1980s that are historical fiction about a mercenary team of marines, made up mostly of criminals rescued by a noble, but haunted naval captain that pulls clandestine jobs for the British East India Company. It was clearly inspired by "The A-Team" and, if you really want to read some pure entertaining trash, I'd suggest the three books in the series (there were clearly plans for more, but I'm guessing that sales didn't live up to the publisher's hopes). 

I think that my favorite non-fiction book that I read last year was Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Robben Keefe. This was part of a mid-year flurry of reading where I tried to understand more about Irish history and Catholic-Protestant violence as well as England's role in the governing of Ireland. Basically, I had lots of Brexit-related history questions pop up about why, for example, Northern Ireland is part of the UK, but the Republic of Ireland is not (and I was pretty ashamed at my lack of knowledge about things like exactly who Bobby Sands was or the positive role that the United States played in easing tensions in Ireland via the Good Friday Agreement). I think this might be the topic that I learned the most about this year via my reading. The next goal that I have is to read about how the English fucked up the partitioning of India once they decided to leave it so that I can understand why India and Pakistan have beef, etc.

Anyway, what I'm working on right now is The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela. I went on a tear through books about civil rights leaders over the back half of the year, mostly ones that I'd read before - The Autobiography of Malcolm X followed by Manning Marable's Malcolm X, A Life of Reinvention, which I have read one after the other three times since Marable's book came out, for example. Anyway, I actually haven't finished The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela yet, but I read Long Walk to Freedom again last year for like the ninth or tenth time since high school, and I just finally bought Prison Letters about ten days before the end of the year and started it. It's fantastic, and it's a great companion for the Robben Island section of Long Walk

I'm also quickly reading Tintin and the Lake of Sharks on the side. It might actually be the only Tintin book left that I haven't read, though it's not the last one that I need to collect (at least in English) - Yves Rodier's unauthorized finished version of Tintin and Alph-Art

I think one thing that helps me read so much is that I'm usually reading like six books at once and at least one or two of those are on audio. I have a long commute. Libby and Overdrive have really helped keep my reading consumption up.

I must remember to post in this section more often. 

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Ended up at 47 of 50 at Goodreads for last year, so I'm trying again for 50 this year.

Currently reading Starless by Jacqueline Carey, and this is the gorgeous queer warrior guardian story I needed. 

Thrawn: Treason is waiting for me at the library. I'm third in line for a copy of Resistance Reborn.

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On 1/4/2020 at 8:25 AM, JLSigman said:

Currently reading Starless by Jacqueline Carey, and this is the gorgeous queer warrior guardian story I needed. 

Oh, this was good. We are on an epic quest and it is great. 

Now to see if Thrawn: Treason is better than Alliances.

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For the last year, I've read almost nothing but political-related nonfiction and I don't really want to talk a lot about that here.

 

I DID, however, read the first LEGEND OF THE GALACTIC HEROES book.  It's either a pretty dry translation or pretty drily written, but it is exactly the kind of age-of-sail-in-space military drama that got me to read 20+ Honor Harrington books, and giving equal time to Reinhard and Yang to emphasize that war is usally a clash between two bad choices rather than Good Guys and Bad Guys is great.  I tried the anime and bounced off it, but the books work better for me and I'm not sure why. 

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10 hours ago, Cliff Hanger said:

For the last year, I've read almost nothing but political-related nonfiction and I don't really want to talk a lot about that here.

 

I DID, however, read the first LEGEND OF THE GALACTIC HEROES book.  It's either a pretty dry translation or pretty drily written, but it is exactly the kind of age-of-sail-in-space military drama that got me to read 20+ Honor Harrington books, and giving equal time to Reinhard and Yang to emphasize that war is usally a clash between two bad choices rather than Good Guys and Bad Guys is great.  I tried the anime and bounced off it, but the books work better for me and I'm not sure why. 

I love the show but it's dry too, right?

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1 hour ago, Matt D said:

I love the show but it's dry too, right?

I've only seen the Die Neue These remake and it didn't feel as dry as this. Maybe it's just me.

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On 1/10/2020 at 7:19 PM, Matt D said:

Heh-heh, now there's something we could probably write an article on and make some coin if Mystery Scene or Rue Morgue would buy it. Okay, first Milton Ozaki the writer: Yes, I have read Milton Ozaki. Unfortunately, he falls into the pile of writers that I've bought primarily because their books were published in the late 1940s - early 1950s and had cool covers rather than for any particular merit on the part of the author. Call it the "Wade Miller Stack" if you wish, the books are okay, but if they didn't have cool covers you wouldn't say "Oh, wow! Here's an Ozaki title that I don't have and it's only three bucks, I am SO buying this today!" More like this Day Keene Gold Medal is $8.00 and he wants $4.00 for this Ozaki book, we'll see if he takes $10 for the pair. (I really don't care, I want the Day Keene book, but if I can score both that will be cool.So \, uh yeah... Ozaki... If he was a wrestler, you ain't changing the channel but you aren't going to tune in to see him defend the Wisconsin Junior Heavyweight Championship Title either. You see what I did there? 

Now, Milton Ozaki the person... Here's where it gets real interesting, we know that Ozaki published under the pseudonym of Robert Saber, were there other pen-names or should we believe that a thirty-three year-old man started writing polished professional mystery novels from right out of the gate in 1946. Before you say "yes", do take into account that it occurs to me that there was some sort of unpleasantness going on between the USA and Japan prior to 1946 which may have dampened publishers' enthusiasm for purchasing a book by a Japanese-American man named "Ozaki".

Here are the facts as we know them:

Ozaki had a fair to middling career as a  writer of detective fiction, we know he used the pen-name of Robert Saber, were there others?  Likely there were, considering the pay rates and that Ozaki only had one leg, sort of have to figure that he was doing some other stuff to generate revenue.

What we know for sure is this: Ozaki ran a couple of scams as mail-order universities that may have served as inspiration to a current POTUS (in other words it was a complete scam). What we don't know is whether or not Ozaki served any time for his antics or was just told to cease and desist (enforcement and penalties for mail fraud were much, much lighter in the 1950s throughout the 1970s (C'mon kids, you remember Count Dante and Sea Monkeys and don't say that you don't... You probably spent three bucks on X-Ray Specs too, you sick little monkey. Little Rhonda Rottencrotch would have shown 'em to ya anyway for fifty cents, you would have saved $2.50 and actually gotten to see something...) I digress... So what so we know about Milton Ozaki? Not a great deal when all is said and done, he obviously wasn't successful  enough as a scam artist to rate a full investigation or imprisonment. Let's face it, in any random month back then at least 25% of the ads were likely scams. 

So I'll leave it at this, if the book has a great cover it's worth picking up for that  reason. If it has a drab cover do not be deceived, you're not going to find a surprisingly great book lurking   you have  behind a surprisingly drab cover. You may well but that tenth time... WHOOO-HOOO! All-hell breaks  loose!!!  Thing is, that's not going to happen with Milton Ozaki, at the end of the day you have a Milton Ozaki book, neither very bad or very good just kind of average.

Edited by OSJ

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On 1/8/2020 at 4:00 PM, odessasteps said:

I already found the Fango issues but there's some Cinefantastique, Scream Queens, Filmfax, three issues of Monsters Attack! etc. on there too. No Deep Red or Slaughterhouse though 😕 Fair warning, if you look up The Pulp Magazine Archive you will find nudity almost as soon as you scroll down so hey. 

This is gonna be the first time I've read Monsters Attack! #1 since my mom "lost" my copy when I was six. I am very happy.

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On 1/8/2020 at 9:00 AM, JLSigman said:

Now to see if Thrawn: Treason is better than Alliances.

It was not. I was prepared to write it off as 2/5 stars, it's a me and the author problem, when Zahn made the stupidest fucking decision ever with regard to who Thrawn sends to the Chiss. Fuck that. Never reading this stuff again.

Still waiting on library books to come in, and trying to get my online Kindle reader to do offline mode so I can read some mobi's I've gotten for free, so not sure what's up next.

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On 1/15/2020 at 10:07 AM, JLSigman said:

Still waiting on library books to come in, and trying to get my online Kindle reader to do offline mode so I can read some mobi's I've gotten for free, so not sure what's up next.

Read some comic collections, now starting Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray. I'm only 30 pages into it and it's already contradicted Phantom Menace once. *sigh* 

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My girlfriend managed to find the entire James Bond novel collection and got it for me for Christmas. Almost done reading Casino Royale which has been a decent read. Debating if I'll read another Bond book or take a week to progress through my comic collection before reading the second Bond book.

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One of the babyface spies in La Belle Sauvage is named Adnan Al-Kaisey. It made me laugh. 

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