Reporting For Duty

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Sign In with Facebook Sign In with Twitter

In this Discussion

What are you reading?

edited October 2011 in General Discussion Posts: 1,894
Strangely enough, I don't think I've seen this thread come up since the new forums were introduced. It was one of my favourites on the old format, because I enjoyed seeing forum members' recommendations for books to read.

So, what are you reading?
«13456731

Comments

  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    Posts: 23,411
    I'm a big fan of classic novels and am now trying to squeeze in reading 'Around The World In 80 Days' in between schoolwork and whatever time I manage. Haven't gotten that far, but I have to finish it soon.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.
    Posts: 23,487
    I've been attempting to read 'The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass' for a class, but I just hate being forced to read a book, for none other than an assignment. If I can't sit down and enjoy my time with the book, then I don't want to even bother. Been so busy lately, been trying to finish 'Carte Blanche'.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    Posts: 23,411
    said:

    I've been attempting to read 'The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass' for a class, but I just hate being forced to read a book, for none other than an assignment. If I can't sit down and enjoy my time with the book, then I don't want to even bother. Been so busy lately, been trying to finish 'Carte Blanche'.

    I hate it as well. I only want to read what interests me.

  • Posts: 4,375
    Jo Nesbo, Michael Connelly - both fantastic.
    John Locke who publishes his books via ereaders only. He is very good.
    Robert Goddard, Lee Child.

    Yup, I like a book with a nice high body count.
  • edited October 2011 Posts: 1,894
    said:

    Yup, I like a book with a nice high body count.

    In that case, I recommend pretty much anything by Matthew Reilly (except Hover Car Racer). Get your hands on Temple if you can - it's two stories in one; a modern-day high-tech thrill ride on one hand and on the other, a swashbuckling adventure set in 15th Century Peru, with the events of two stories influencing one another.
  • SandySandy Somewhere in Europe
    Posts: 3,966
    Wicked by Gregory Maguire
  • Okay, this is a review I've been meaning to write for a little while (indeed, I created this thread so that I could do this:

    Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves by Matthew Reilly

    I have a love-hate relationship with Reilly at the moment. He was the first writer I really got into, the first writer whose books I would read because of the author's name. But his last few books - most notably The Six Sacred Stones and The Five Greatest Warriors - have been disappointing at best, and I found myself at something of an impasse in the lead-up to Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves. If it was a poor book, I might be put off Reilly for a while.

    Fortunately, Reilly went back to the elements that made his original books so good: 1) a rag-tag bunch of heroes, 2) a critical, do-or-die mission, 3) overwhelming odds, 4) a tight time limit, 5) an enemy like a force of nature, and 6) a claustrophobic setting. Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves turns all of it up to eleven.

    The plot centres around Dragon Island, the crown jewel of Soviet weapons research, a place where Soviet scientists could develop next-generation weaponry thanks to a blank cheque and no limits. While experimenting with sulfur and chlorine samples from Venus (in an attempt to create an atmospheric weapon that would unleash acid rain over America), they accidentally created a weapon of terrifying proportions: when mixed with rocket fuel and ignited, the sulfur/chorline compounds can literally set the atmosphere on fire. Because the Russians never fully understood what they had created, they decided it was too dangerous to try and destroy, and so they were forced to keep Dragon Island online. And now, someone has found that weapon and activated it. The heroes are a band of Marines and civilian contractors testing equpiment nearby, the only military unit that can get to Dragon Island before the weapon is fired and a firestorm consumes the northern hemisphere. Along the way, they have to brave the horrors of the Soviet weapons program (which itself would make for a decent Bond film) and a French assassination team (which is tied into the over-arching plot of the books). It makes THE ROCK look like EAT PRAY LOVE.

    To be honest, I was a little disappointed. I was expecting the initial story arc to involve going though all manner of horrifying weapons programs, and while it does (there's a particualrly gory scene with a rabid polar bear), it only feels like we scratch the surface of Dragon Island before veering off into Reilly's trademark action. I also found the villains were not that intimidating until we actually learned who they were, which comes about 250-ish pages in. So, overall, it's not a good book, but nor is it a bad one. Importantly, it's a step away from the DIE ANOTHER DAY antics of The Six Sacred Stones and The Five Greatest Warriors and a step towards the elements that made Ice Station and Temple so strong.
  • edited October 2011 Posts: 4,375
    said:

    said:

    Yup, I like a book with a nice high body count.

    In that case, I recommend pretty much anything by Matthew Reilly (except Hover Car Racer). Get your hands on Temple if you can - it's two stories in one; a modern-day high-tech thrill ride on one hand and on the other, a swashbuckling adventure set in 15th Century Peru, with the events of two stories influencing one another.
    Interesting @shadowonthesun, I started reading The Six Sacred Stones, which you mention as being disappointing, and indeed I gave up a quarter way through. It wasn't really my thing. However, now you have highlighted his better stuff I may have another go at the book you have reviewed.
  • edited October 2011 Posts: 1,894
    Well, The Six Sacred Stones was a sequel to Seven Ancient Wonders. An unnecessary sequel. It kept trying to set up the idea that the events of Seven Ancient Wonders were a prologue to a much bigger challenge, but the whole thing felt tacked-on as an afterthought rather than integrated into the story. It wasn't too well-received by fans, and had a real DIE ANOTHER DAY approach: ie, things could be made better by adding explosions. Seven Ancient Wodners itself is actually pretty decent in an Indiana Jones kind of way.

    Temple, on the other hand, is fantastic. It follows Will Race, a professor of linguistics who is asked by DARPA to translate a 15th-Century manuscript for a weapons project. The manuscript itself is a first-person story of a Spanish monk who commits treason. I won't spoil anything, but both stories are woven together very well. And yes, some of the things that the characters do are absolutely insane, but I still fondly recall reading the final scene with a mile-wide grin on my face and a sense of boyish "Oh, no way", like when Bond chases after and catches that plane in freefall in GOLDENEYE. Even if it's completely over the top, it's also meant to be a whole lot of fun.

    I'd also recommend Ice Station, the first Shane Schofield novel which is really THE ROCK meets THE THING; a group of Marines get called to a remote Antactic station the discovery of an alien artefact in the ice underneath. It features a forty-page hovercraft chase that is superior to most action sequences in Bond films (it came out well before DIE ANOTHER DAY too). And you might be interested in the first sequel, Area 7, which features the same characters in another impossible stuation. I'd shy away from Scarecrow, the second Schofield sequel. It literally features nonstop action that just keeps getting more and more insane. Each individual sequence should be fantastic, but when they come one after another, they lose their impact about halfway through and when you get to the bananas final showdown, it's just exhausting. I'd hold off on Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves for a while; read it if you love the series, but it's a poor introduction. Scarecrow and Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves are also incredibly violent. Don't get me wrong; Temple and Ice Station and Area 7 have very high kill counts and the odd gory scene, but Scarecrow and Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves just take it to a whole new level.

    Seven Ancient Wonders is worth a look. It's a love letter to Indiana Jones and less violent that the other books, and it does feature a lot more character development (for some, anyway) than Reilly's other books. Most of the time, characters get given a name and then get turned into a bloody pulp (like the infamous Mitch Healy - he lasts all of two sentences from his introduction to his death). But I'd save 7AW until last. And you might be interested in Contest if you want to venture into hardcore sciene fiction (it's STAR WARS meets GLADIATOR), but it's of noticeably lower quality - it's his first book and Reilly famously self-published it while at university.
  • Jazz007Jazz007 (<-->)
    Posts: 210
    Right now, I'm reading Ron Paul's End The Fed - the case for ending the Federal Reserve and returning to sound money in the US is a good one and Paul lays it out well.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!
    Posts: 12,910
    Currently reading 'The Hidden Reality' by Brian Greene. It explores the possibilities of parallel universes from more than one point of view. It's an honest scientific odyssey and after a whole year of Asimov (17 books) I could use the change.
  • Posts: 5,782
    Currently reading:
    "Cold Vengeance" by Child & Preston, their thrillers always leave me wanting more. This being the middle episode of a trilogy involving agent Pendergast will just do that for me. The next and closing part will be called "two Graves"
    And a history book about the History of the Netherlands (1100-1560) called "Metropolen aan the Noordzee" by Wim Blockhuis (metropolis at the North Sea). Is about the power of cities in the early medival times and how they changed the way the folks lived in the Low Lands and how their actions changed the land and the people.
  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded Dancing at midnight under the BeBop Moon
    Posts: 9,781
    Just finished Lee Child's newest, The Affair. I did quite enjoy it. The most recent previous two from him, not so much. But I like his writing and that character (Reacher). Also reading Bradford's bio of King George VI. I did read Carte Blanche but didn't care for it. I did think that Devil May Care was more fun, more vintage Bond in feel. I really need to read more of the post-Flemings books; I haven't. Love the originals.
  • Posts: 2,341
    I am a big fan of John Grisham. Ken Follett is also entertaining.
  • edited November 2012 Posts: 10,548
    Chris Ryan writes amazing books. I'm reading his geordie sharp series, which is a series about an SAS soldier, right now I'm on tenth man down, the 4th book.
  • Agent007391Agent007391 Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start
    Posts: 6,793
    "The Morningstar Strain: Thunder and Ashes" by the late ZA Recht.
  • edited January 2013 Posts: 10,548
    I got the James Bond archives for xmas but I've just skipped round to different films. I haven't properly been reading it.

    I have been reading Battle Lines

    It's a sequel to another Andy Mcnab book, War Torn. The soldiers from book 1 come home from Afghanistan but are almost immediately called back again to protect a group of US soldiers.

    Like the first book, it has great, exciting battle sequences as well as showing how war can affect those left at home. But also like the first book, I found the Afghanistan stuff much more intresting.

    It's not that I need an explosion on every page, but the soldiers are much better, more believable more characters. The women at home aren't as intresting or believable and seem a bit cliche during some of it.

    I haven't finished it yet though, so maybe the England stuff will get better. Still, for the most part so far, it's another good military story from Mcnab that does a good job of feeling authentic, and it has some cool, tense action bits.
  • Posts: 5,782
    Martin Bossenbroek - De Boerenoorlog
    about the Boerwar in 1899-1902, what happened before, during and after. An insight on the players during this dark part of history in Africa in which the 1st mediawar and prelude to the big wars to come.
    Interesting reading.
  • Posts: 1,817
    Cash: The Autobiography. By Johnny Cash, with Patrick Carr.
    As a Cash fan, this is a must read. Interesting because covers the life of other people and some of the social and cultural stage in the US.
  • Agent007391Agent007391 Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start
    edited January 2013 Posts: 6,793
    Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, by the decently average Steve Perry. After that, it's either going to be Star Wars: Republic Commando - Hard Contact by Karen Traviss or Day by Day Armageddon: Shattered Hourglass by JL Bourne (and it's likely going to be this one).
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!
    edited January 2013 Posts: 12,910
    Just finished Asimov's Mysteries by my favourite sci-fi and science author Isaac Asimov.

    image

    It's a highly enjoyable collection of stories where hard science fiction and mysteries - often murder mysteries - are merged into one. It was a hard to track down copy but the pursuit has been worth it for sure. Fans of sci-fi from the old days (50s, 60s) like myself will surely appreciate this collection of short stories.

    I'm currently reading The New Annotated Dracula by Bram Stoker - notes by Leslie Klinger.

    image

    This is a phenomenal book for sure, going at great length to dissect and contextualize one of the most powerful horror stories ever written. While the notes come plenty and sometimes tend to distract the reader from the smooth flow of the story, they aid tremendously in better understanding the times in which the story is both set and written. Besides, one can always do as I do - read an entire chapter once in full and then retrace the notes before moving on to the next.

    Not only is this a beautiful book with many inserted pictures, some of them even in colour, but it also gets points for not limiting itself to the pages of the novel. Instead it additionally explores Dracula's film career, his connection with other notorious vampires, the 'factual' (?) origins of the character and so on. Merely one 'negative' element springs to mind: the fact that the author of the notes pretends, for the sake of amusement no doubt, that Dracula isn't fictitious and that the 'Harker notes' are as such to be taken, well, seriously. While many a reviewer seems to appreciate that extra little bit of fun thus offered, I myself would have preferred it omitted from the final approach. But, to be fair, it doesn't bother me that much - I can easily overlook the conceit.

    image
  • SuperheroSithSuperheroSith SE London
    edited January 2013 Posts: 578
    Birthday coming up soon so I'll most likely be reading my number 1 Fleming book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Um, Casino Royale So maybe OHMSS No, definitely reading Live and let Die. At the moment, reading children's books Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve, which I honestly do not know how this got awards , and Alex Rider Book #2, Point Blanc, which is like a better version of the Young Bond series. Check the whole AR series. They are brilliant. For my birthday, I am hoping to get the book, Jaws as the film is the best horror I've seen.
  • Posts: 8,541
    My brother has just given me "The James Bond Bedside Companion!" So i am sorted and very happy! :D
  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded Dancing at midnight under the BeBop Moon
    edited January 2013 Posts: 9,781
    Recently finished Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis. Okay, these are conceptually just one story, but each book is huge: paperback Blackout is 610 pages and All Clear is 793 pages. I started reading Blackout because I like to read about life during the Blitz in London and WWII in general. It is a time travel story, and I do not in general like science fiction (I hear some of you gasping) but I honestly loved these books. It takes getting used to this author's style, and you have to be able to deal with every chapter jumping to another character, and often different time in history, before going back to that character. Jump cuts in other words. One character is in a dilemma or cliffhanger moment, then the next chapter cuts away to the other character(s). But I ended up liking the details so much - life during those times, really made you feel a bit of what it was like - I cared about the characters themselves, and the ending was fully satisfying for me (thank goodness after reading all of those pages!).

    If you can handle that kind of story thread, I do heartily recommend these books. I am re-reading All Clear now and enjoying it even more the second time.
  • Finished Battle Lines. Alright but doesn't live up to some of Mcnabs other books.

    I'll read another Bond book next. Probably TMWTGG since I read YOLT last and I want to see how the whole amnesia thing works out. I also want to read FRWL though.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.
    Posts: 23,487
    @4EverBonded, I read a quick snyopsis of 'Blackout' and it sounds amazing. I like the idea of a cliffhanger on the last page, and I'm thinking of purchasing it.
  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded Dancing at midnight under the BeBop Moon
    edited January 2013 Posts: 9,781
    Creasy47 said:

    @4EverBonded, I read a quick snyopsis of 'Blackout' and it sounds amazing. I like the idea of a cliffhanger on the last page, and I'm thinking of purchasing it.

    @Creasy47 I have to say I definitely recommend them both! Do Blackout first; just know it ends abruptly because All Clear continues straight on. I also recommend do not read any plot synopsis on the internet, I don't want you to know too much ahead of time - just the blurb on the back cover is enough. And I recommend NOT reading anything else by Willis until you finish both. I am also now enjoying To Say Nothing of The Dog but because of some elements in that story (written before BO and AC), I am glad I read the two massive recent books first. The details and the atmosphere of the time - those are really well done. There are "cliffhangers" at the end of every chapter (yet some chapters are fairly short), so that can be frustrating, but it is an easy enough read - I hope you find them enjoyable. For me, I am very glad I read Blackout first, yet I enjoyed All Clear even more - but I would not have without reading Blackout first. I hope you find the time and patience for these two books. For me, they were very worthwhile.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.
    Posts: 23,487
    @4EverBonded, I read a quick synopsis on 'Blackout' and I'll leave it at that. I figure picking up a new book will allow me to get back into reading more, and this seems to be the perfect choice!
  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded Dancing at midnight under the BeBop Moon
    Posts: 9,781
    Great! :) Let me know how you like it, weeks down the road. No rush.
  • Posts: 2,942
    Jeffery Deaver, The Coffin Dancer.
    My first Deaver novel. Lots of cool plot ideas. The writing itself I find very mediocre. The same goes for the character descriptions. I enjoyed how it went straight into some action (well, the ´some´ is an understatement). However, after a while I got a feeling of not enough juice and too much water.

    I don´t feel compelled to delve deeper into Deaver´s work, especially since I already once started to read The Stone Monkey and didn´t get too far.

    No problem though, still got a meter of Elmore Leonard novels ahead of me. Up next is Escape from Five Shadows.
Sign In or Register to comment.