Books moral and immoral

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Artemis@BC, Sep 6, 2012.

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  1. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    I'm a huge Rebus/Ian Rankin fan. I'm currently #9 in the library queue for the new one, but I think they have multiple copies so it shouldn't be too long now.

    I have to say, though, that I'm having a hard time loving Fox. I don't dislike the new ones, they're just not as good as the Rebus ones. Rankin no doubt knew that going in, that he'd have a hard time pleasing his fans ... so I give him credit for at least trying.

    And I think Rebus will be involved in the detecting in the new book -- although in a civilian capacity. Sort of a "New Tricks" idea if you're familiar with that series. It should be very interesting to see how Rebus & Fox interact!
  2. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    I love mystery/thrillers that use words like palimpsest and they are perfectly in character.
  3. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Finished The Wings of the Dove. Whew. The story is awesome as are the characters but the language... :yikes: Did he really need all these 'as it were' and 'at any rate' and the generally infernal sentence structure? The former annoyed me the most because IMHO, these contribute absolutely nothing to the quality of the prose, rather the opposite. However, I think this was the way he actually spoke and the way his brain worked, judging from his real life quotes.

    I need to read something trashy next although I currently am reading various lectures and essays on The Wings of the Dove. It's hard to get it out of your head.
  4. Artistic Skaters

    Artistic Skaters Drawing Figures

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    I just finished a book I enjoyed - Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch. A story about a Southern girl who is a "less-than-perfect debutante". I bought it at the library sale because I liked the cover photo & the caption said "Charming. A fresh effervescent story. A memorable tale of good girls & bad choices". I started pulling out my dollar when I saw that "good girls/bad choices" part & I'm just glad I didn't have to yank the book out of somebody else's hands.

    I have been having pretty good luck lately buying books I know nothing about with covers I like. I'm going to stick with that approach. :lol:
  5. Evilynn

    Evilynn ((Swedish skating dudes))

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    I finally finished The World Without Us, which was part excellent and scary, and part nothing new under the sun. It was a little bit more slow going than popular science books usually are IMO. Now I'm reading The Curse of Chalion, which is the first Lois McMaster Bujold book I've tried my hand at. :)
  6. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    I read The Curse of Chalion earlier this year and really enjoyed it. Haven't gotten around to the sequel yet.

    Tonight is my last Moby-Dick class. 4 more pages and I am finished with the book. Final verdict? One of the most exciting, interesting and unexpected reads I have had in a long time.

    Re-read The Nine Tailors recently, as it has always been my Sayers favorite. It ended rather abruptly, I thought, more so than I had remembered. Next up is Gaudy Night, so I can debate with a friend which is the true masterpiece. At the moment we don't agree.

    Am also giving the recommended fairly recent new translation of Anna Karenina a try. So far I am not tempted to pitch it aside in disgust the way I have been with every attempt previously. I think I have enough reading for the next few weeks.
  7. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    I have gone over to the Dark Side. I ordered a Kindle Fire HD. It arrives today.

    But I swear I am only going to use it for travelling! Honest!!!

    Meanwhile, I'm reading Mercedes Lackey's "Changes: Vol 3 of the Collegium Chronicles." It's pretty good, even if I can't figure out how old the main characters are supposed to be.
  8. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Which new translation? The free one on amazon is pretty atrocious.
  9. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    Word of advice: don't be suckered in by all those free or cheap books. There's a reason they were free or cheap. :lol: And, you will. You'll get caught up in the moment. :lol:
  10. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    The free one on amazon is by Constance Garnett. Growing up, hers were the only available translations for many of the Russian classics.

    I suspect emason is talking about the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation that's widely available because it was part of the Oprah Book Club. I loved it.
  11. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    In that case, Constance Garnett's knowledge of Russian is rather inadequate for a translator, let alone, for a translation of Anna Karenina where archaic language is used.

    The new one sounds encouraging because it appears a native Russian and a native English speaker are involved.
  12. Prancer

    Prancer Ray Chill Staff Member

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    Nonsense. Don't listen to her zaph, Shopping for bargain e-books is like shopping for any other bargain. You have to shop often, buy little, paw through a lot of stuff you don't want, and recognize that you are getting last year's models to find those occasional treasures.
  13. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    Correct this is the one I meant; perhaps I should have said newish instead of new, because I think it came out in 2004. Anything has to be better than the Constance Garnett, which I have tried to read at least three times and never could get into.
  14. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    Reviving this thread, since apparently everyone was too busy over the holidays to read, except me. :) But I've been on vacation with the new Kindle so that's my excuse. I had the time plus a new toy.

    Given my reluctance to spend "real" money on "virtual" books, my first two downloads were freebies: the audio version of Gabaldon's "An Echo in the Bone" and the e-print of James Patterson's "Cross Country." I liked the audio - the quality was good and, combined with my Bose Noise-cancelling headphones, it kept me well-entertained duirng my 7-hour flight to Europe. Reading the Patterson wasn't bad: I could adjust the text size and the clarity of the Fire's HD screen was easy on my eyes. That said, I disliked the book itself - taking Alex out of the country and getting him beaten up, kidnapped, and escaping-near-death multiple times while everyone around him is a double-or triple agent actually got boring. I was glad when I finished it.

    My next choice, however, was a 99-center that proved the "you get what you pay for" agage, "Breaking the Ice" by Maggie Bagget. I bought it at random because the blurb said one of the characters was a professional ice skater. Copyright date was 2008 so I was prepared for some anachronisms but nothing could have prepaered me for just how truly bad this book was. Beyond the obvious fact that the author plainly knew nothing more about ice skating than what she saw watching galas on Eurosport, there were issues with unlikeable characters, improbable settings, a totally unrealistic timeline and just plain poor writing. Did you know, for example that the past tense of "spin" is "span"? Or that pair skaters do lifts and throws with both partners blindfolded? Also apparently it only takes five people to run a Civic Center? Or that ice shows book into said Civic Center for open-ended runs that sell out every night for months on end? Oh, and over-coming panic attacks only takes some deep breathing and a glass of water? The only thing memorable about this book is that, if it was an actual paper book, it would belong at the top of "The Worst Skating Books Ever Written" list. Not only should I get my 99 cents back, I should have been paid a premium for actually reading the dreadful thing to the end.

    Back home, I finished Tasha Alexander's newest Lady Emily mystery "Death in the Floating City/" I was pretty good, althought the switching between the past and present stroies took something away from the characterization of Emily and Colin's relationship. The whole book is also littered with babies: who's pregnant and shouldn't be, who wants to be pregnant and isn't, who fathered whose baby, etc...

    I also have Alexamder McCall Smith's "44 Scotland Street" going on audio in the car.
  15. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Well-Known Member

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    zaphyre, that ice skating book sounds horrid. E-books can be such a crap-shoot. Some cheap e-books have good writing but a lot could use a professional editor asap! Glad you like your new toy though!

    I'm currently reading The Chocolate Kiss by Laura Florand. I like it. It's a contemporary romance set in Paris. It's a foodie romance and reading it makes me want chocolate, macaroons and tea. I'm half way through. I'm at the point where I really want the characters to just get together already. I read the first book in the series, The Chocolate Thief and enjoyed it. This second book is proving to be as enjoyable as the first.
  16. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    I recently finished A Death in the Small Hours by Charles Finch and would dearly love the PBS Mystery or BBC to adapt the Charles Lennox series for television. I do love Victorian era mysteries and Finch always brings an interesting cast of characters to each mystery.

    almost finished with The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers and I do believe this novel might be a classic one day. I envy the author for his prose and skill at telling a story. But I don't envy what might have been a horrible experience for him in Iraq.

    I just started The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides and am having a hard time putting the book down.

    Finally I am a Tina Brown fan (I know many who dislike her.) I am reading The Diana Chronicles more for the way Tina writes than for Diana though I do feel for her. I like Brown's way of bringing in political and cultural history into this biography. I didn't want a cheesefest and I think Brown has mostly avoided that.
  17. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    I recently picked up Slow Dissolve from this series at the library. Nothing earth-shattering, but I'd be willing to check out the beginning of the series, if I could find the books.

    Currently reading The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy.
  18. flyingsit

    flyingsit Well-Known Member

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    I read a lot over the holidays but didn't post about any of them; let me try to remember.

    I decided to try John Grisham again after a number of years and read The Racketeers. I was not impressed, his writing has gotten a bit better but the ending was very predictable.

    I read The Castaways by Elin Hildebrand and LOVED it. Great characters, interesting situations, and I liked her method of storytelling.

    Also read The World Without You and liked it OK, but the tone was inconsistent.
  19. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Well-Known Member

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    I read three books over the break. All, uh, post-apocalyptic and two with zombies. Shocking, I know. :p

    The first was Flesh & Bone by Jonathan Mayberry, and it's the third book in a quartet (?). Pretty good (hey, rfisher, they find the plane! :D), but the characters still do some really, really stupid things around the zombies that they really should know better to not do by now.

    Then I read Epitaph Road, in which a virus killed off 95% of all men. The book is set about 30 years after that event. Really interesting, could've been better executed, but it made me ponder how much hatred and destruction men really do bring about. Not all men, of course. But a lot of them.

    And finally, Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick. I did not know there would be zombies in this book, so that was a pleasant surprise. :p An EMP kills off most people between 25-65. Most people between 12-25 turn into zombies. A really compelling story, but apparently this is a series, because the fate of three main characters is up in the air at the end. Not that I expect zombies novels to wrap up cleanly, but damn. WARNING: Some of the scenes with the zombies were overly graphic, imo, and unnecessarily so. And I am not that squeamish.
  20. made_in_canada

    made_in_canada INTJ

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    I finally read The Book Thief Wow. That is an incredible book.

    For Christmas I got two of my favorite childhood books The Hatchet and Where the Red Fern Grows. I can't wait to reread them :)
  21. Prancer

    Prancer Ray Chill Staff Member

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    I think your best bet on cheap e-books is to look for older books (like two or three or fours years old, not classics and Victorian lit :p) that are professionally published. I've gotten some very good books very cheap that way. I've read a few good self-published books that were written and formatted well, but not many. The best deal is library books :D, although everyone and their third cousin is usually hitting the e-libraries this time of year.

    I've been reading a lot, but only because I am trying to clean up all the crap cheap books I've downloaded over the years. I read the first chapter. If I a) hate it immediately, b) see a lot of typos, c) can't read it because of the wonky formatting, it gets deleted immediately. I know that it's possible to come around to liking a book once you get past the first chapter, but I have close to 900 books on my Nook and figure that it won't kill me if a few get away.

    I did plow through all of Joanna Bourne's spy romances over break. And I read three books (and several papers), god help me, about technology in education and one book about the Middle East.
  22. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    Already read it. It was stupid and I won't bother if he writes a 4th. I hate it when authors make characters do stupid stuff just to fill pages. He clearly ran out of plot points half way through the 2nd book.

    And, WTF was up with the whole Corrie Swenson nonsence in the latest Pendergast? Or the stupid psychiatrist who fancied himself in love with Constance Green? I get that Preston and Child were trying to establish this father/child theme, but talk about overkill. And we now can carry on the good brother/bad brother theme into future books. The 1st book of this subset, was back to :kickass: Pendergast, but they dropped the ball on this one. At least we don't have any pesky wives or girlfriends to be annoyed by.
  23. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    Yeah. Well, Henry James is well known for "infernal sentence structure." I forced myself to read The Portrait of a Lady several years back, but no more Henry James for me. Yuck.

    I got a bunch of fun books for Christmas, mostly graphic novels. Just finished Dotter of her Father's Eyes, which is all about the daughter of James Joyce, and then tells a parallel story of the daughter of a Joyce scholar. dh also got me a Star Trek/Dr Who crossover (Assimilation volume 1). Of *course* there's a cliffhanger so I have to get vol 2. Also can recommend Goliath by Tom Gauld. (yes, dh is addicted to graphic novels and we totally have no more shelf space for them.) dd got Darth Vader and Son, a very funny graphic novel. Anyone else needing light reading? Try some of these :)

    I read The World Without Us a while back and enjoyed it. I mean, as much as you can enjoy something on a kind of depressing topic.

    Re-read a couple of Josephine Tey mysteries over the break: Miss Pym Disposes and The Man in the Queue. Two thumbs up.
  24. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    I don't know why so many bookstores shelve it only in the YA section. It made to to my favourites list.

    Once again my darling husband bought me a whole stack of books from my wishlist. I'm halfway through 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami and I'm loving it- even his detailed cooking scenes. I also love the covers, choice of paper, font, and page numbering system. It feels very special to read.
  25. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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    For some strange reason, someone gave me a copy of Scotty Bower's Full Service, which talks about the sexual exploits of Tinseltown's most notorious male hustler of the Golden Age. Naturally, it was nice to receive a gift for Christmas, but why would anyone think I'D read a book like that? :saint:
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  26. Erin

    Erin Well-Known Member

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    I only managed to read one new book over the holidays and it was a disappointment. E.M. Delafield's Late and Soon, which I thought was going to be more about the main character and her daughters and how the war affected them, but turned out to be mostly about a cheesy romance. I found the romance unconvincing, the characterization of the daughters to be lazy, and the actions of the main character to be ridiculous (running off to marry a guy in a week? Even if it was a guy she had loved for two weeks in her youth, it was still bizarre).

    I have two books hanging around to read before I let myself buy anything new...The Postmistress and Gillian Flynn's Dark Places. I suspect the latter will be much like Sharp Objects by the same author...a quick read, a little too gruesome for my tastes, and with a somewhat predictable twist or two. Probably not something I would retread, but ok to get through a plane ride, so I might save that one for my next trip in a couple of weeks.
  27. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Well-Known Member

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    I usually buy older books. I often combine them with coupons from stores like Kobo or Sony to lower the price even more. I've been able to get books from professional publishers for less than a buck using that method. :D As for the library, tell me about it! Sometimes I can get an e-book I like but sometimes I browse for 30 mins and find nothing. Still, I'm glad I have access to it. :)
  28. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    Either that, or find reviewers whose taste in fiction is close to yours and who are willing to dive into the equivalent of the slush pile for you. I would never buy anything self-pubbed if it didn't come with a rec by bloggers or people whose opinions I trust, with two exceptions: 1. if these are backlist titles whose rights have reverted to an author I like (e.g. Loretta Chase) and 2. Authors who have decided to switch from traditional to self-publishing without sacrificing the quality (e.g. Courtney Milan).

    It's certainly possible to find good self-published books. Tammara Webber self-published her books and you'd never know it; the standard of the writing, editing and overall production is extremely high.

    Which one did you like best? I'd give the nod to The Forbidden Rose, myself.

    I hate the covers she gets. Her books deserve better.
  29. Wiery

    Wiery Well-Known Member

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    Not traditional books, but a collection of blogs: Puswhisperer: A Year in the Life of an Infectious Disease Doc, and Puswhisperer Year Deux, Another Year of Pus, by Mark Crislip. The blogs are available for free at Medscape and Science-Based Medicine; also for 99 cents each on kindle.

    If you are a science nerd (we've got a few on the board), you may enjoy them.

    Funny guy, great infectious disease pearls. Loves to poke fun at alternative medicine; which kind of makes me cringe since I see a naturopath/ND for my thyroid condition, but I do think alternative medicine needs to be able to withstand the same scrutiny as allopathic medicine. Helped me better understand things like infections after joint replacement, which I thought was 100% due to sloppy medical care but actually can happen in spite of meticulous medical care.

    He's not crazy about pets either; calls dogs, cats, hamsters, "vermin" because of their tendency to pass infections to their owners. :dog: :sheep::cat: :TT1:
  30. Prancer

    Prancer Ray Chill Staff Member

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    It's usually very bad until March or so; after that, people aren't quite so excited about having an e-reader and downloading books from the library any more. I have a lot of things on request. I saw a book yesterday that had a waiting list of 50+! :eek: I was even more :eek: when I saw that it was a gay romance novel.

    I belong to six consortiums now, which sounds better than it is. There is a little more variety that way, but there's also a whole lot of duplication between libraries (which makes sense, given licensing issues). It's kind of a drag to look in one collection after another and see the same books with the same waiting lists.

    I downloaded all those backlogged Loretta Chase books (I must say that I think she got better after she wrote them, although I haven't read beyond the first chapters yet :shuffle:) and had all kinds of problems with them. All fixed now; if any of you who have a Nook download a book and the pages are blank, you may need to wait two weeks and then they will mysteriously appear. Why two weeks is the magic number, I don't know, but three of the books I had on my Nook Color are not showing up on my Nook HD and I was told to wait two weeks to see if they showed up.

    I like Courtney Milan okay; I wasn't aware she was self-published. I'm not familiar with Tammara Webber. But yes, established authors who self-publish are a good bet--but you have to know who they are.

    I liked that one best, too.

    Those sound fun, except seeing the word "pus" in the title is just :scream:.
  31. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    For Kindle owners who are members of amazon Prime, one of the benefits is the Kindle Owner's Lending Library (along with free movie downloads and 2nd day shipping).
  32. Matryeshka

    Matryeshka Well-Known Member

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    I find Loretta Chase to be really hit or miss. I read Lord of Scoundrels after not reading historical romances for several years, and I got excited and downloaded everything by her and some Amazon recommendations. Some of Chase's were good. Some of them were silly--the one with the girl who was kidnapped at 12 and was made the wife of the sick (and conveniently impotent) but favorite son of a sheik who escapes on her own back to England and within three months marries a duke who was her childhood friend. I'm willing to suspend disbelief for the sake of a good story, but it was bad on all accounts. I also did not think much of Amazon's recommendations.

    I recently discovered Courtney Milan. I like her OK, but only at the Amazon price of 2.99. I would be pissed if I paid the normal price for paperbacks, and I'd never buy her in hardback.

    In the category of real books, I just finished Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore. I read the first chapter and raved about it to everyone I know who reads. I read the second and third chapters and raved some more. It's a good think all of my friends are procrastinators, because by the end it went horribly, horribly wrong. It looked like it was going to dance with magical realism for a while, and then the author pulled back and turned into something like The da Vinci Code, which I loathed. I was so pissed only the protective covering on my Kindle saved it (I throw books, talk back to them, yell at them, etc. Probably having a Kindle is not a good idea, but it's convenient). One of my oddest criticisms is even though it's a male writer who has a male protagonist--usually a good working combination--I think it would have been better had the main character been female. The author's name is Robin Sloan and I assumed that was the problem--a female writer trying to create a male voice and failing. Nope.

    I have three books on deck and can't decide where to start: On the Map by Simon Garfield, Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver, and The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver.
  33. Prancer

    Prancer Ray Chill Staff Member

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    Ack, I had forgotten that one, but yes, it was really bad.

    Library only for me :shuffle:

    Let me know how you like Nate Silver's book. I have it, but I keep thinking "Do I really want to read a whole book about stats?" And I can't work up enough enthusiasm to try.

    I just found out that Barnes and Noble has all the Classics Illustrated comic books that I read when I was a kid instead of reading the actual classics. I would love to download them, but they are $5 apiece and I can't bring myself to pay that much for a comic book. The one I remember best was Ivanhoe, which I loved, so I've gotten the book itself out of the library to read.

    On the whole, I think I liked the comic books better :shuffle:
  34. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    She was traditionally published for her first few books and switched to self-pubbing in 2011. As for Webber, she writes New Adult, or mature YA, or whatever one wants to call it. I think she's sold the rights to Easy since it was published, but when I got it it was still self-pubbed. It is really good, as are her Between the Lines books (I don't think she's sold the rights for those).
  35. TygerLily

    TygerLily Well-Known Member

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    I'm so happy this thread has been revived!

    I read almost non-stop over the holidays. I'm in love with my e-reader! I can use not only my city's library but also my last city's. It's a dream!

    Highlights:

    - Dennis Lehane's Patrick and Angela series (though the last couple were much less engaging than the earlier ones)
    - The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doige (I've been reading a chapter here and there)
    - Julie James's books - all of them - my favourite of your recommendations
    - The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson -- it was fluffier than I expected since my only other exposure to adult Swedish books has been through mysteries (Åsa Larsson, Camilla Läckberg, Liza Marklund, Stieg Larsson) -- but fun!

    Next up: Michael Connelly's mysteries, maybe A Visit from the Goon Squad (I've checked out the e-book, but I've borrowed a physical copy before and didn't get past the first chapter), maybe The Rape of Nanking (an ex owned it and I didn't read it then, so I might not be able to read it now -- so depressing)

    Prancer, were any of your technology and education books/articles especially good?
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  36. Wiery

    Wiery Well-Known Member

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    Yup, kinda cringe-worthy, but the book is quite interesting. :yikes:
  37. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    I got Tim Gunn's Fashion Bible for Christmas. A very fun and informative read.

    Other recent reads:

    A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans. The title may mislead. Evans examines how many misperceptions Christians have about what the Bible really says about women and living as women of faith. Her takedown of the Evangelical misinterpretation of Proverbs 31 and explanation of how that passage is understood in Judaism is fantastic if you've ever been hit over the head by the "Proverbs 31 Woman".

    Columbine by Dave Cullen: I saw this title referenced a lot in discussions of the shooting in Newtown. It is an enlightening, but horrifying, read. Everything that the media has told us about Columbine and the shooters is wrong. Or at least not quite right. And we have drawn the wrong conclusions and responded the wrong way.
  38. Prancer

    Prancer Ray Chill Staff Member

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    They weren't particularly useful for my purposes. I am trying to pull together something on technology, increasing IQ scores, and the changing nature of information interpretation with a particular focus on reading.

    I did learn some things that I found interesting, but most of what I was read was hypothesis and speculation and I really need something more concrete.

    Are you interested in any particular kind of reading on technology and education? I may know of something that you would find useful.

    I wish more people would read that book.
  39. oleada

    oleada Well-Known Member

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    I'm re-reading this too, precisely because of Sandy Hook. It is well written, but so horrifying. Like Prancer, I wish more people would read it.
  40. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    Also read Barbara Kingsolver's first book, The Bean Trees, over Xmas break. Well worth the read. Very entertaining, great characters.
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