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  1. #2011
    Idaho Spuds Slam_Bradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Expletive Deleted View Post
    Chronicles of Amber is great, although it's really two series lashed together. The first five are straightforward, well-executed adventure sf/fantasy. The last five are a bit more experimental and ambitious, and a lot less straightforward. They're connected, but it's not as simple as one story spread out over ten books.

    Also, all ten books are pretty short. Maybe two hundred pages each, at most? It's not as daunting as it sounds.

    In terms of other Zelazny, after Lord of Light, I'll second Slam's recommendations for This Immortal and Doorways in the Sand and add A Night in Lonesome October (which, incidentally, I think Slam recommended that one to me in the first place). I wouldn't say it's essential Zelazny, but it's a lot of fun.
    Yeah, that was probably me. I read A Night in the Lonesome October every October. It's a hoot.

  2. #2012

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    Thanks for the feedback Supreme, Slam and Expletive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Supreme View Post
    Don't worry about the number of books, that's really a quick read.
    Quote Originally Posted by Expletive Deleted View Post
    all ten books are pretty short. Maybe two hundred pages each, at most? It's not as daunting as it sounds.
    That's good to hear. I think one of the reasons I haven't picked up The Wheel of Time series is because there are so many damned books. My brother owns all of them (14 in all I think?) and I've been cautious about picking up the series because of how long it is and how time consuming it will be to read 11,000+ pages.


    As for the next book I'll be reading the anthology Charles Dickens' Best Stories edited by Morton D. Zabel which I'll be reviewing in the short stories thread. (I mostly picked it up for the ghost stories.)
    "It is wrong to assume that art needs the spectator in order to be. The film runs on without any eyes. The spectator cannot exist without it. It ensures his existence." -- James Douglas Morrison

  3. #2013
    Member Omega Supreme's Avatar
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    Still on those Percy Jackson books, 4th finished and about half way through the last one.

    It's not bad, entertaining and quick little read. The 4th book (the labyrinth something) featured Daedalus and that was a nice little story even if there is still problems with the dialogs (i'm not cheese intolerant but when there is that much it's hard to digest) and the witting is a bit lazy sometimes.

    Especially with all those dreams and especially in the 5th book. It makes the main character look all kind of dumb cause without that he wouldn't even have the slightest idea of what's going on.

    Edit: ah well, finally finished the last book.

    Final verdict : if you over 25 i would advice to pass. Those books are heavily aimed at a under 18 audience.

    Which is fine if you are in the right demographic target. But if you're older the cringe worthy humor and lines are most probably going to be one serious test for your patience.

    Plus this Percy dude is just plain unlikable.
    Last edited by Omega Supreme; 12-17-2013 at 02:01 AM.

  4. #2014
    whatever Jodoc's Avatar
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    Murder on the Orient Express and The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie

    It took me years to try Christie; anybody with that big a reputation couldn't possibly live up to the hype, right? But I've been pleasantly surprised; when she's at her best, like say The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, she really is that good, playing with the tropes of the genre and messing w/our expectations. And even on the other end, she's interesting in a train-wreck kind of way. Like when she tries James Bond-style thrillers. I'm looking at you, Passenger to Frankfort.

    Moving Finger says 'A Miss Marple Mystery' on the cover, but she's barely in it, showing up on page 144 of a 200 page book. Doesn't matter; the other characters are interesting enough, and the resolution is clever and fair. Of course, neither of my 2 suspects turned out to be the killer.

    Orient Express is one of her best-known books; I hesitated to read it because I already knew the solution. Maybe that's part of why I wasn't that impressed. But there's no real sense of setting (I know they're stuck on a train, but still. . .), none of the characters are that interesting or likable, and the book is so clearly just the puzzle. One section devoted to the set-up, one for the evidence, one for the interviews, and finally the revelation. Poirot is my favorite of Christie's detectives, but he's just going through the motions here.
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  5. #2015
    *choke* Dan B. in the Underworld's Avatar
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    Can't recall who spoke highly of it a few months back -- maybe Slam? -- but a couple of days ago I finished Timothy Egan's Dust Bowl history, The Worst Hard Time. Quite good.
    I tend to split superhero comics fans into "People who like Krypto" and "People who don't like Krypto."
    Basically, if you miss the wonder of a dog flying around in a little Superman cape, you're in the wrong hobby.

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  6. #2016
    Idaho Spuds Slam_Bradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan B. in the Underworld View Post
    Can't recall who spoke highly of it a few months back -- maybe Slam? -- but a couple of days ago I finished Timothy Egan's Dust Bowl history, The Worst Hard Time. Quite good.
    That was indeed me. I liked the focus on a few communities and families.

  7. #2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jodoc View Post
    Murder on the Orient Express and The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie

    It took me years to try Christie; anybody with that big a reputation couldn't possibly live up to the hype, right? But I've been pleasantly surprised; when she's at her best, like say The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, she really is that good, playing with the tropes of the genre and messing w/our expectations. And even on the other end, she's interesting in a train-wreck kind of way. Like when she tries James Bond-style thrillers. I'm looking at you, Passenger to Frankfort.

    Moving Finger says 'A Miss Marple Mystery' on the cover, but she's barely in it, showing up on page 144 of a 200 page book. Doesn't matter; the other characters are interesting enough, and the resolution is clever and fair. Of course, neither of my 2 suspects turned out to be the killer.

    Orient Express is one of her best-known books; I hesitated to read it because I already knew the solution. Maybe that's part of why I wasn't that impressed. But there's no real sense of setting (I know they're stuck on a train, but still. . .), none of the characters are that interesting or likable, and the book is so clearly just the puzzle. One section devoted to the set-up, one for the evidence, one for the interviews, and finally the revelation. Poirot is my favorite of Christie's detectives, but he's just going through the motions here.
    I read almost all the Christie novels back in the 70s and after all this time I don't remember much about the details of plot and character, but I do have vague feelings that this or that book was "a good one" - or not, as the case may be. Based on that flimsy evidence, I agree with you that Orient wasn't all that good and that The Moving Finger was. I seem to recall that a lot of the Marple books were like that, BTW - she'd come in halfy-way through the books to solve the crime but you were really more interested in the story of other characters. 4:50 from Paddington was one of my favourites, I remember.

    And I have to disagree - based again on these extermely hazy memories: her standalone thrillers and spy books were some of my favourite Christie reads, including They Came to Baghdad, Destination Unknown, and yes, Passenger to Frankfurt

  8. #2018
    Senior Member Moriarty's Avatar
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    The Rise of Rome: The Making of the World's Greatest Empire by Anthony Everitt

  9. #2019
    Idaho Spuds Slam_Bradley's Avatar
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    Recently...

    Royal Flash by George MacDonald Fraser. The second Flashman novel is a pastiche of The Prisoner of Zenda, with the conceit that Anthony Hope cribbed the tale from Flashman's adventures. A fun romp that isn't quite as fresh as the initial book. It does do a good job of portraying portions of the 1848 revolutions. Fraser is a pretty knowledgeable historian, which lends a lot of authenticity to the books.

    Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore. This is a re-telling of the life of Joshua bar Joseph, the son of God, through the eyes of his best friend Levi...also known as Biff. The book walks the tightrope between zealotry and blasphemy successfully and is generally a pretty darn funny look at religion. The primary focus is Jesus' humanity and the "missing years" in which Joshua and Biff journey East to learn from the Wise Men. Moore does a good job of showing how the actual words of Jesus (as opposed to those of the Apostles and particularly St. Paul, dovetail with a number of Eastern Philosophies. A great re-read.

  10. #2020
    Idaho Spuds Slam_Bradley's Avatar
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    Cockfighter by Charles Willeford. This was my first Willeford. And it likely won't be my last, though it wasn't nearly as noir as I wanted it to be. It is the tale of a cocksman in the deep South in the early 60s who has hit bottom and his attempt to reach the pinnacle of the cockfighting world. It was well written and interesting. I had almost no knowledge of cockfighting and it was told from the point of view of a protagonist who had chosen to be mute. So there was a lot to like there.

  11. #2021
    Modus omnibus in rebus Roquefort Raider's Avatar
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    In the second volume of A means to freedom, the letters exchanged between R.E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft, there is a short text penned by the former, titled the beast from the abyss. Unlike what one could expect, it is not a weird story at all: it is a description of cats, and of a few individual mousers in particular. Howard is not particularly fond of cats, but his observations are spot on, and even hint at some reluctant affection and respect. It is in any case a very uncommon Howard piece, one reflecting how good a writer he was.
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  12. #2022
    Modus omnibus in rebus Roquefort Raider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slam_Bradley View Post
    Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore. This is a re-telling of the life of Joshua bar Joseph, the son of God, through the eyes of his best friend Levi...also known as Biff. The book walks the tightrope between zealotry and blasphemy successfully and is generally a pretty darn funny look at religion. The primary focus is Jesus' humanity and the "missing years" in which Joshua and Biff journey East to learn from the Wise Men. Moore does a good job of showing how the actual words of Jesus (as opposed to those of the Apostles and particularly St. Paul, dovetail with a number of Eastern Philosophies. A great re-read.
    That's definitely one I intend to read. That thin line between zealotry and blasphemy always interested me.
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  13. #2023

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    For years and years, I've been remembering this book we had in our house when I was growing up. It was a red hardcover book and had hundreds of stories and rhymes in it. But I doubted that such a book had existed, because it seemed so impossible that a singular book with so many good stories could exist. But when I was over at my sister's for Christmas, I mentioned this book and she said it's right there on her book shelf. And sure enough there it was--exactly the book I remembered. I was amazed that my memory had been so accurate.

    Looking this up on line, I find that it was one of a set of 16 books that were published in 1953, under the collective title of THE CHILDREN'S HOUR. There's also a book of poems that goes with it--which apparently my other sister has. If this one book could have had so many great stories, I can only imagine how much good stuff is in the whole collection.
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  14. #2024
    Senior Member Moriarty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slam_Bradley View Post
    Cockfighter by Charles Willeford. This was my first Willeford. And it likely won't be my last, though it wasn't nearly as noir as I wanted it to be. It is the tale of a cocksman in the deep South in the early 60s who has hit bottom and his attempt to reach the pinnacle of the cockfighting world. It was well written and interesting. I had almost no knowledge of cockfighting and it was told from the point of view of a protagonist who had chosen to be mute. So there was a lot to like there.
    i have a copy of this somewhere, just haven't got around to reading it yet. i have read Pick Up by Willeford and thought it was great. not really noir, but a very bleak, nihilistic story about two alcoholics.

  15. #2025
    RIP Ronnie James Dio Deathstroke's Avatar
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    I finished reading the Ellen Hart mystery "Taken By The Wind" today.
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    "I can't complain. I got to be Jim Morrison for the first half of my life, and Ward Cleaver for the second half." - Warren Zevon.

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