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  1. #1
    Modus omnibus in rebus Roquefort Raider's Avatar
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    Default Your books in 2012

    Year's end is at our door, and as every year now's the chance to reminisce about what we're read in the past twelve months...

    My own list is pretty short, as work has interfered with a lot of my other activities. Plus I appear to be reading more and more slowly as years go by (a bad eyesight will do that, on top of general geriatric decay!!!)

    Cuba libre, by Yoani Sanchez
    It's a journal of sorts, based on Ms. Sanchez's blog. Now holding a blog in Cuba is no simple feat in itself, and the author displayed a lot of courage in braving her government and describing life in Cuba as it is lived by ordinary Cubans. I was quite saddened to see how tough it is on that lovely island, because all Cubans I met (in Cuba) were wonderfully warm and interesting people. (Well, the cops and other officials weren't all that warm. Not at all, in fact. But they weren't any worse than Canadian ones). I can't say I enjoyed the book because the reality it describes is pretty bleak, but it is one that needed to be written.

    Lords of the instrumentality, book 1, by Cordwainer Smith
    The first two novelettes in this cool space opera cycle. Smith and Heinlein have a lot in common.

    The march of the barbarians, by Harold Lamb
    The history of the people of the steppes, Mongols, Turks and other horseback riding conquerors, as they built empires out of the wind-blown wastes. Lamb is one amazing storyteller, and as apt at describing history as when he's telling tall tales.

    Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson
    The biography of a larger than life individual, warts and all. Really interesting stuff.

    Secrets de guerre, by Jean-Michel Lienhardt.
    A teenage fiction book my younger son had to read for school, about Nazi-occupied Alsace and how young bullies betrayed a young Jew who was living hidden. Not bad, although unequal.

    Sword woman by Robert E. Howard, the final Del Rey book in their REH series. Lots of Crusader stories, with the original Red Sonya tale (Shadow of the vulture) and
    all the Dark Agnes stories. Agnes is a strong female lead, and one that may have been inspired by Howard's ladyfriend Novalyne Price. I read these stories time and time again, but some of them still felt brand new.

    A rising thunder, by David Weber. More Honor Harrington adventures, far less padded than the previous few books in the series. This is a set-up episode as Manticore and Earth are moving toward what may or may not be open war, but it didn't feel restrained. My favorite since, oh... probably the ones from the late 90s.

    A clash of kings, by George R. R. Martin. What can I say? I love A Song Of Ice And Fire.

    La malle ą malices, by Henri Vernes. A Bob Morane novel I owned a long time ago, that my parents lent to some friends' kids, and that got lost. I really, really wanted to get a copy back (in precisely that edition), and managed to find one on Ebay.fr for something like 20 bucks, shipping included. Worth it for the memories and the cool Henri Lievens cover.

    Julian Comstock, by Robert Charles Wilson. Hey, I had forgotten about that one! A great little book about a possible near-future, post-catastrophe. The neo-colonial America was an interesting place to visit.

    Iron men and saints, by Harold Lamb. The first book on the crusades by that very enjoyable writer. I believe this book was not only a popular hit, but an important early book on the subject. It thankfully avoided presenting the conflict as a good guys vs bad guys affair, and used many primary sources in Arabic. This book describes how the first crusade led to the conquest of Jerusalem.

    Replay, by Ken Grimaud. A man dies and finds himself back in his body as a child... but with his memory intact. He proceeds to re-live his life, taking advantage of this knowledge. Then it happens again, only with his "reincarnation" occuring a little later in life". Then again. Then again. Then he meets another person in the same predicament... A great little mystery, highly recommended!

    The saga of Sigurd the Jerusalem-farer, by Snorri Strurlusson. Viking sagas!!! Need I say more? Skulls will be split! Walls be be stormed! Deeds will be exaggerated!

    The arabian nights, translated by Richard Francis Burton. Surprisingly modern tales of the wonderful and the magical!

    La charničre du temps, by Jimmy Guieu. French space opera by a competent writer, but I've already forgotten what it was about. Meh, it was meant to briefly amuse anyway.

    Debout les morts (the three evangelists), by Fred Vargas. A strange, strange whodunit with three fascinating protagonists who are as odd as they are interesting. Homeless fellows with prestigious academic backgrounds who decide to live together in an old house to make ends meet and who solve a disappearance/murder case involving the lady next door, an ex-opera singer. Amusing and habit-forming!!!

    Operation chaos, by Poul Anderson (not by Rush Limbaugh!!!). A witch and a werewolf as special agents in a parallel world where the Earth's countries use spells as well as cannons when they go to war. Fun!

    History of the kings of Britain, by Geoffrey of Monmouth. Okay, I read that mostly to get the conncetion between Aeneas and King Arthur, but the rest was interesting too 9if a bit repetitive).

    Lord of the instrumentality, book 2, by Cordwainer Smith. See above.


    The violonist's thumb
    , by Sam Kean. One of the best popular science books I ever had the joy to read, on the subject of genetics. Plenty of humorous anecdotes that I had to include in my classes!

    Lest darkness falls, by L. Sprague de Camp. A modern man is whisked back in time to the late Roman empire, and who after managing not to get killed, burned as a witch of imprisoned, proceeds to prevent the collapse of civilization.

    The flame of Islam, by Harold Lamb. The second part of Lamb's book about the crusades, this time focusing on how the Arabs kicked the second and third-generation European invaders out of the near east.

    The name of the rose, by Umberto Eco. I waited a long time to read this, because the movie was still present in my mind... but apart from knowing the story's punch, I needn't have bothered. The fun was more about the description of a medieval monastery and about old books than about a mystery.

    La jungle d'Aramon, by Peter Randa. French space opera again, quickly read and quickly forgotten as the one above! (Same collection, too).

    The disappearing spoon, by Sam Kean; a book on the chemical elements and all the quirky stories than can be told about them! This is Kean's first book, and it has a few faults (factual, first, and many sophomoric opinions on this or that character) but is nevertheless very enjoyable.

    Rogue starship, By A. E. Van Vogt. Space opera from the golden age, back when we'd get to the stars using rockets! A bit dated, but not all in a bad way. It remains charming.

    Perdido Street station, by China Miļæ½ville. Wow! Was that a surprise! Miļæ½ville is one heck of a world-builder! Definitely not the last work from him that I'll read!
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Addams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roquefort Raider View Post
    The arabian nights, translated by Richard Francis Burton. Surprisingly modern tales of the wonderful and the magical!

    Perdido Street station, by China Miļæ½ville. Wow! Was that a surprise! Miļæ½ville is one heck of a world-builder! Definitely not the last work from him that I'll read!
    Two i have read this year too. Loved both.

    The Anubis Gate, by Tim Powers. Superb book, absolutely loved it. Mix between Steampunk, time travel and action.

    Soulless, by Gail Carriger. Steampunk again, werevolves and vampires are on the menu too, extremely pleasant little book.

    Shiver, Maggie Stiefvater. A book my wife almost forced me to read but as usual she was damn right. Really good book.

    Some books about history (antiquity mostly), some scientific stuff (biology, physic), some classics (Rimbaud, Verne, Verlaine and others) and some other novels, good in some case, pretty much forgettable in others. But honestly the list would be kinda tedious to write.

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    Administrator Expletive Deleted's Avatar
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    Not counting stuff I read for work or professional development, short fiction, or stuff I re-read:

    Cold Days by Jim Butcher
    Some fun ideas, but ultimately only okay. A little unpleasant in places, too.

    Prince of Thorns and King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
    For fans of gritty fantasy, but Lawrence may be pushing the darkness a bit too far.

    Red Country by Joe Abercrombie
    For an ostensible fantasy novel, it's a pretty good western.

    The Emperor's Soul and Legion by Brandon Sanderson
    Sanderson creates great systems, and at novella length his flaws as a storyteller aren't as noticeable.

    Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe
    Not exactly untold and focusing a little too much on the stuff Howe liked growing up, but still a fun read.

    Dodger by Terry Pratchett
    Maybe it's that I don't know Oliver Twist all that well, but this didn't do much for me.

    The Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi
    Not as relevatory as The Quantum Thief, but still excellent.

    Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson
    Erikson's been coasting since Reaper's Gale, and this isn't the return to form I was hoping for.

    The Corpse-Rat King by Lee Battersby
    A bit too long and a bit too predictable, but still a fun little picaresque.

    Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch
    I am loving this series, and I think it'd really appeal to the Dresden Files fans around here.

    The Coldest War by Ian Tregillis
    It doesn't quite capture the Cold War era as well as Bitter Seeds captured WWII, but still an entertaining alternate history. I'm not sure how well Necessary Evil will work, though, given the ending.

    Sharps by K.J. Parker
    More bone-deep, wearying cynicism from Parker, although suprisingly funny in a few places.

    The Apocalypse Codex by Charlie Stross
    I really wish Stross was spending more time on this series, as it's by far my favorite of his. This time, he mixes Modesty Blaise into his spies-and-Lovecraft setting.

    The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
    The idea's more interesting than the story, but it's a great idea.

    KOP Killer by Warren Hammond
    I was thrilled to finally see this, and it didn't disappoint. There's no better sci-fi noir.

    Orb, Sceptre, Throne by Ian Esslemont
    Esslemont's not the writer Erikson is, but he's trying harder at this point.

    Redshirts by John Scalzi
    Too clever for its own good. Still, probably the best new novel I read this year and an absolute must-read for Star Trek fans (and Star Trek haters).

    Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
    Overpraised. Generic fantasy is generic fantasy, even if you replace a crypto-european setting with a crypto-arabian setting.

    The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
    Lightweight and predictable urban fantasy, but surprisingly charming.

    Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute by Jonathan Howard
    Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
    Heart-Shaped Box and Horns by Joe Hill
    Seven Wonders by Christopher Adams
    Isles of the Forsaken and Ison of the Isles by Carolyn Ives Gillman
    Devil Said Bang and Devil in the Dollhouse by Richard Kadrey
    Shadow Unit 11 and Shadow Unit 12 by Emma Bull, Elizabeth Bear, and company
    Geekomancy by Michael Underwood
    Caliban's War and Gods of Risk by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck
    Live and Let Drood, The Bride Wore Black Leather, and Ghost of a Dream by Simon R. Green
    Prepare to Die! by Paul Tobin
    Princeps by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
    The King's Blood by Daniel Abraham
    Little, Big by John Crowley
    The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
    The Great Game by Lavie Tidhar
    Seven Princes by John Fultz
    Mr. Shivers and Company Man by Robert Jackson Bennett
    The Emperor's Knife and Knife-Sworn by Mazarkis Williams
    Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore
    Last edited by Expletive Deleted; 12-31-2012 at 12:20 PM.
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  4. #4
    Modus omnibus in rebus Roquefort Raider's Avatar
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    The Anubis gates sounds like something I should try!
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    Idaho Spuds Slam_Bradley's Avatar
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    I read over fifty books this year. Not sure I'm going to get overly descriptive of them.

    The Art of Harvey Kurtzman by Denis Kitchen. Coffee table retrospective of Kurtzman's work.

    The Long Good-Bye by Raymond Chandler. Arguably Chandler's best novel.

    Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett. Cute Discworld novel with a stab at Disney.

    Bedrooms Have Windows by A. A. Fair. Cool & Lam at it again.

    Modern Masters: J. L. Garcia-Lopez by Eric Nolen-Weatherington. Nice long interview with the artist covering his career.

    The Suburban Book of the Dead: Armageddon III: The Remake by Robert Rankin. One of the greatest titles ever.

    Build My Gallows High by Geoffrey Homes. Unjustly forgotten noir that was the basis for the Robert Mitchum film Out of the Past.

    Modern Masters: John Byrne by Jon B. Cooke. Career spanning interview with the artist.

    Small Gods by Terry Pratchett. Probably the best Discworld novel I've read.

    Top of the Heap by A. A. Fair. More Cool & Lam.

    Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World by Dan Koeppel. A history of the banana.

    Overtime by Tom Holt. Holt takes on the Blondel myth.

    Trouble is My Business by Raymond Chandler. Chandler short stories.

    Lords & Ladies by Terry Pratchett. More Discworld.

    Some Women Can't Wait by A. A. Fair. Cool & Lam...but one of the better later novels.

    Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candace Millard. Excellent biography of President James Garfield.

    How to Archer: The Ultimate Guide to Espionage and Style and Women and Also Cocktails Ever Written by Sterling Archer. Hilarious guide by super-spy Archer.

    Here Comes The Sun by Tom Holt. Holt takes on the Celestial Bureaucracy. Weak effort.

    Waltz Into Darkness by Cornell Woolrich. Marginal effort by a noir great.

    The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candace Millard. Interesting look at Roosevelt's Amazon expedition.

    A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor. Director of the British Museum looks at history through 100 objects contained in the museum collection. Very good work.

    The Book of Ultimate Truths by Robert Rankin. Excellent Rankin. The stuff of epics.

    Beware the Curves by A. A. Fair. Good Cool & Lam.

    Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett. Very good Discworld.

    Rendezvous in Black by Cornell Woolrich. Good noir by a master of the craft.

    Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe by Laurence Bergreen. Engaging history of the landmark exploration.

    Grailblazers by Tom Holt. Holt takes on the Grail myth...sorta.

    Pass the Gravy by A. A. Fair. Above average Cool & Lam.

    Jerry Robinson: Ambassador of Comics by N. C. Christopher Couch. Nice Coffee-table bio of Robinson.

    Raiders of the Lost Car Park by Robert Rankin. Quality Rankin.

    Green Ice by Raoul Whitfield. Decent, but unspectacular, early noir.

    Gotham City 14 Miles: 14 Essays on Why the 1960s Batman TV Series Matters ed. by Jim Beard. Entertaining collection of essays edited by a former CBRer.

    Soul Music by Terry Pratchett. OK Discworld.

    Bachelors Get Lonely by A. A. Fair. Marginal Cool & Lam.

    Anno Dracula by Kim Newman. Fun Wold Newtony goodness.

    Death in a Bowl by Raoul Whitfield. Middling mystery novel.

    Big Trouble by Dave Barry. Very funny novel.

    Faust Among Equals by Tom Holt. Holt aims his wit at Faust...and is pretty successful.

    Shills Can't Cash Chips by A. A. Fair. Middling Cool & Lam.

    Thank You for Smoking by Christopher Buckley. Satire of lobbyists hits the mark.

    The Hunter by Richard Stark. The first Parker novel is outstanding.

    The Greatest Show Off Earth by Robert Rankin. Marginal Rankin.

    The Simple Art of Murder by Raymond Chandler. Good collection of short stories.

    Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett. Discworld.

    The Man with the Getaway Face by Richard Stark. Parker #2

    Odds and Gods by Tom Holt. Great idea with marginal execution.

    Blue Beetle Companion by Christopher Irving.

    Nightmare Town by Dashiell Hammett. Nice collection of short stories.

    The Most Amazing Man Who Ever Lived by Robert Rankin. More quality Rankin.

    The Outfit by Richard Stark. More Parker goodness.

    Djinn Rummy by Tom Holt. Holt takes on genies.

    Playback by Raymond Chandler. Nice last novel.

    Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe. Quality history of the company.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Addams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roquefort Raider View Post
    The Anubis gates sounds like something I should try!
    You totally should. Really great book.

  7. #7
    Modus omnibus in rebus Roquefort Raider's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice, Addams, I'll look itup at the library.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slam_Bradley View Post

    Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World by Dan Koeppel. A history of the banana.
    That one's been on my "to read evenually" list for far too long!
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    Administrator Expletive Deleted's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roquefort Raider View Post
    The Anubis gates sounds like something I should try!
    Tim Powers is just great in general, if really difficult to categorize. I liked Anubis Gates quite a bit, but I'm a bigger fan of Declare and On Stranger Tides. Declare hits a spy novel/cosmic horror/alternate history sweet spot and On Stranger Tides . . . yes, the semi-adaptation with Johnny Depp was mediocre (if you're feeling generous), but the book is just a wonderful pirate adventure yarn.
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  9. #9
    Idaho Spuds Slam_Bradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roquefort Raider View Post
    That one's been on my "to read eventually" list for far too long!
    It's OK. The historical part is actually pretty good. Especially the look at how the banana companies shaped Central and South American politics. The last third or so about the search for a new banana I found less interesting.

  10. #10
    Elder Member Libaax's Avatar
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    I have had a bad reading year when its about the number of books i read. I usually read 90-100 books per year despite fulltime Uni studies or work. This year i started language studies that didnt leave much time for book reading. 65 books i had time to read this year which is effective of me but is annoying only because i had so easy,more time to read the last 5 years where i avreaged wonderfully happy 100 books per year mmm:)

    Since im an avid reader who makes alot of time for many types of books here is my top 10 novels and top 10 short story collection/short non-fiction list. All are first time reads.

    1) Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
    2) Something Wicked comes this way - Ray Bradbury
    3) The Face - Jack Vance
    4) Alice's adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
    5) A Gent from Bear Creak - Robert E. Howard
    6) He died with his Eyes Open - Derek Raymond
    7) The Man in the High Castle - Philip K Dick
    8) A Princess of Mars - Edgar Rice Burroughs
    9) Five Plays - Lord Dunsany
    10) Mio min mio - Astrid Lindgren




    I have read many quality short stories

    Top Short Story Collections & non-fiction shorts


    The Wine Dark Sea - Robert Aickman
    Scum Manifesto - Valerie Solanas
    Robot Have No Tails - Henry Kuttner
    Carmilla - Sheridan Le Fanu
    Savage Tales of Solomon Kane - REH
    Conan the coming of Conan - REH
    The Secret sin of Semptimus Brope - Saki
    Swords and Deviltry - Fritz Leiber
    The Continental Op - Dashiell Hammett
    The Merkabah Rider: Mensch with no Name - Edward M. Erdelac
    Last edited by Libaax; 12-31-2012 at 04:39 PM.
    Pull List:
    The Walking Dead,Fatale,Near Death,Storm Dogs,Happy,BPRD,XO-Manowar
    American Vampire,Animal Man,Swamp Thing
    Daredevil, Winter Soldier,Indestructible Hulk

  11. #11
    Elder Member Libaax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Expletive Deleted View Post
    Tim Powers is just great in general, if really difficult to categorize. I liked Anubis Gates quite a bit, but I'm a bigger fan of Declare and On Stranger Tides. Declare hits a spy novel/cosmic horror/alternate history sweet spot and On Stranger Tides . . . yes, the semi-adaptation with Johnny Depp was mediocre (if you're feeling generous), but the book is just a wonderful pirate adventure yarn.
    On Stranger Tides is wonderful,weird novel by Powers and one of my favs but my absolute fav book of his is Drawing of the Dark. Last Call is great too. Powers is known for his weird,supernatural historical fantasy. He is one of few modern fantasy authors who are good enough to compete with my alltime favs. A new book of his is a big event to me, sadly he isnt so prolific.
    Pull List:
    The Walking Dead,Fatale,Near Death,Storm Dogs,Happy,BPRD,XO-Manowar
    American Vampire,Animal Man,Swamp Thing
    Daredevil, Winter Soldier,Indestructible Hulk

  12. #12
    Elder Member dupersuper's Avatar
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    Catch 22, Divine Misfortune, Nebula Awards Showcase 2007, I Caught Flies for Howard Hughes, This is a Book by Demetri Martin, That is All, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Complete Nonsense, Selected Poems of Ezra Pound, I am a Pole (and So Can You), A Feast for Crows (Game of Thrones book 4), Treasure Island, Songs of Love and Death (short stories), Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, Clarence Darrow: For the Defense, Wonder (book 3 of the WWW trilogy), The Great Gatsby, The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor, The Meaning of Relativity (Including the Relativistic Theory of the Non-Symmetric Field), Star Trek: Final Frontier, Aesops Fables, Star Trek: My Enemy My Ally, The Comedians, Star Trek Enterprise: Suraks Soul, Rip Van Winkle/The Legend of Sleepy Hollow/3 other Washington Irving short stories and Star Trek: Uhuras Song
    Pull List; seems to be too long to fit in my sig...

  13. #13

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    Sadly none of the books I've read in 2012 are from 2012, in fact none were even written in the last decade.
    Here are a few that I recommend.

    Ultimate World by Hugo Gernsback-- An alien invasion epic where an unseen race of aliens occupies the space around Earth for over a generation in their spaceships. Eventually these aliens conduct experiments on couples when they're sleeping. Removing gravity from their homes, filling the air with pheromones and making them have zero gravity sex. They then take the fertilized eggs from the women as well as other DNA samples to create a new species of genius humans with a new organ that are predisposed to abhor war and conflict. These experiments are cut short when a 2nd alien race enters Earth's solar system. Don't want to spoil the ending but I can't say enough good things about this story.

    Doc Savage: Flight Into Fear by Kenneth Robeson-- The Sequel to The Red Spider and based on a unpublished manuscript by Lester Dent. I hadn't read the original before I read this but it didn't matter. It is a super fun cold war spy adventure and I recommend it as well as The Red Spider.

    The War Against The Rull by A.E. Van Vogt-- Crazy fun alien worlds adventure where an insectoid race of shape-shifters called The Rull threaten the galactic confederation that mankind belongs too. The only hope is that man must convince a race of giant, furry, blue, 6-legged, telepathic beasts called the Ezwal to help them.

    Swordsmen And Supermen contains five short stories, my favorites How Sargoth Lay Siege To Zaemm by Lin Cater and Meet Cap'n Kidd by Robert E. Howard.

    Swordsmen In The Sky is another collection of five short stories edited by Donald A. Wollheim. My personal favs Swordsman Of Lost Terra by Poul Anderson and Andre Norton's People Of The Crater.
    "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

  14. #14
    Modus omnibus in rebus Roquefort Raider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slam_Bradley View Post
    It's OK. The historical part is actually pretty good. Especially the look at how the banana companies shaped Central and South American politics. The last third or so about the search for a new banana I found less interesting.
    Fair enough, but that's likely to be relevant to my genetics class so I could stand a little dryness.
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  15. #15
    Idaho Spuds Slam_Bradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roquefort Raider View Post
    Fair enough, but that's likely to be relevant to my genetics class so I could stand a little dryness.
    Yeah. I was thinking after I wrote that that it would probably be up your alley.

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