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Old 12-28-2014, 08:44 PM   #1981
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419, by Will Ferguson. 3.5 out of five stars. 419 refers to the Nigerian anti-fraud statute, and this is a contemporary thriller about a Nigerian fraud scam. There are four main characters, three Nigerians and one Canadian, whose father has committed suicide after losing his and his wife's retirement savings to the scam. Ferguson is a travel writer, and the Nigerian characters and settings are fascinating. I came away quite pessimistic about the state of Nigeria, assuming that the descriptions of crime, corruption and waste are accurate. Based on stories told by Nigerian friends, I suspect they are not far off.

Edited to add that a Nigerian reviewer on Goodreads complains about inaccuracies.
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Old 12-28-2014, 09:44 PM   #1982
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Just read 'On Immunity' by Eula Biss. Didn't really like it. Now reading Atul Gawande's 'Being Mortal'. Kind of depressing but very good.
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Old 12-29-2014, 08:48 AM   #1983
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I just finished Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I'm not much of an avid reader but it kept me interested throughout its 1160 some pages. Took me 3 months and 2 international trips to finish it.


In a fictional novel, it depicts both the extreme right and the extreme left in politics with very little in between.
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Old 12-29-2014, 10:13 AM   #1984
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Just finished 'The Winner' by David Baldacci. Not one of his recent novels but still a good read although it was somewhat predictable.
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What have you read recently?
Old 12-30-2014, 08:21 AM   #1985
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What have you read recently?

I finished Narcissus and Goldmund, by Hermann Hesse. It's a story of a man's changes, set around the time of the Black Plague in Europe, and follows him from a young boy in a cloister through to an old man.

People are surprised when I say I'd never read any Hesse. They just never assigned any in high school or college. But over the past couple of years I've read (and enjoyed very much) Siddhartha, Steppenwolf and Demian, in that order, prior to this.

Hesse writes well with an eye to the East. The translations are very good.

When I was reading Steppenwolf, I was in a used bookstore and found an old "Cliffs Notes" that covered it and Siddhartha and gave nice background to the author and the books.
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Old 01-04-2015, 10:06 PM   #1986
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I just read the well-known series by Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1979), The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (1980), Life, the Universe and Everything (1982), So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (1984), and Mostly Harmless (1992).

Perhaps I am the last one in the world, of my age group at least, to read the Hitchhiker's Guide. I was never a fan of science fiction, and finally got around to read this so I know what people mean by the number "42". Actually, I meant to do this long ago, but kept forgetting (ah, another admission to not really having that superior memory).

I should be able to finish all these little novels in one sitting, but it took me several days. And I found it difficult. This kind of writing is not for me, and I had a tough time maintaining interest although the storyline has some original ideas.
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Old 01-04-2015, 10:12 PM   #1987
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I finished up the rest of the Wool series, completing Shift and Dust this weekend.

Really good reads and very compelling-so much so that I scarcely got anything else accomplished! Definitely worth reading if you liked Wool's post-apocalyptic storyline.


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Old 01-04-2015, 10:39 PM   #1988
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Just finishing 'How We Got to Now' by Steven Johnson. Enjoyable and a great reminder of just how much we take the 'everyday' things around us for granted.
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Old 01-05-2015, 05:48 AM   #1989
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I should be able to finish all these little novels in one sitting, but it took me several days. And I found it difficult. This kind of writing is not for me, and I had a tough time maintaining interest although the storyline has some original ideas.
I like science fiction but to the extent that I recall it at all, which isn't much, I didn't really like Hitchhiker's Guide. I never bothered with the rest.
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Old 01-05-2015, 06:08 AM   #1990
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I think the Hitchhiker's series is best read when in college. It has a certain silliness with a kernel of poking fun at human foibles.

I'm reading Rick Riordan's Heroes of Olympus series. It's a fun way to approach Greek and Roman mythology, and he clearly researched his geography as well.


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Old 01-06-2015, 08:49 AM   #1991
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Little Known Gems: Reviews and Interpretations: Friday's Forgotten Book: LAND OF THE BLIND by Jess Walter
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Old 01-06-2015, 09:04 AM   #1992
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Another thumbs up for "Earth Abides" and "Atlas Shrugged"

"Prayer for Owen Meany" ... wife and I both loved this one. It seems similar to Barbara Kingsolver's "Poisonwood Bible" in that some folks really love it and others come away relatively unimpressed.

About a year ago I read Kingsolver's "Flight Behavior" and then every other novel she's written. The only other time that's happened is with Steinbeck.

Recently finished Scott Lynch's Gentleman Bastard trilogy (#4 in the works). It was a rec. from my son and it combines mystery, adventure, humour and wonderful characters. Loved all of them.
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Old 01-06-2015, 11:40 AM   #1993
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Finished a re-read of “One Second After” by William Forstchen. Without revealing details, the plot is an EMP wipes out electronics in the US & other global locations, and one small communities efforts to deal with the aftermath.
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Old 01-06-2015, 03:10 PM   #1994
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Finished a re-read of “One Second After” by William Forstchen. Without revealing details, the plot is an EMP wipes out electronics in the US & other global locations, and one small communities efforts to deal with the aftermath.
I love this type of book, and "One Second After" is one of the better ones. Although, it made me want to go to Costco and spend $1000 on an emergency stash of food.
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Old 01-06-2015, 06:53 PM   #1995
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I am re-reading "A Confederacy of Dunces". Posthumous publication and only one of two manuscripts written by John Kennedy Toole. Won the Pultitzer Prize in 1981. If you have never read this book you a missing a classic.
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Old 01-07-2015, 01:19 AM   #1996
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Wool by Hugh Howey. This was good and I normally like post-apocalypse novels but in spite of all the rave reviews it didn't quite grab me enough to read further into the series. The real issue was the predictability of most of the plot.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This was very well written and gripping. I can see myself re-reading again in a few years time.
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Old 01-17-2015, 07:18 AM   #1997
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The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet
by Nina Teicholz

I'm already a low-carb, high fat diet fan, so much of this wasn't really new to me, but it's an incredibly well researched (she spent nine years on it) and well written argument for why the conventional wisdom about dietary fats may not be as solidly science-based as claimed.

Much along the same lines as Why We Get Fat (and what to do about it) by Gary Taubes, which was much discussed here.

The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet - Kindle edition by Nina Teicholz.
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Old 01-17-2015, 08:18 AM   #1998
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Just finished the Linda Tirado book, Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America.
I'd seen an excerpt somewhere online that intrigued me enough to request it from the library.
It is a well-written, honest account of what life is like as a low wage worker in America today. She's engaging and funny, and able to explain her life without lengthy political asides. The forward was written by Barbara Ehrenreich, who wrote the entirely different Nickeled and Dimed, about her brief foray into the minimum wage workplace. I found this book substantially better than Ehrenreich's.

If you are interested in social justice topics or just want to know a little more about life at the edges of our society, I think you'd like this.


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Old 01-17-2015, 01:25 PM   #1999
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299 Days: The Preparation, by Glen Tate. Book 1 of a series. Kind of slow-going, but I gather it is building the background for the rest of the series, where the general premise is that the economy collapses. Hope the rest of the series "picks up the pace" some.
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Old 01-17-2015, 06:04 PM   #2000
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Just finished the Linda Tirado book, Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America.
I'd seen an excerpt somewhere online that intrigued me enough to request it from the library.
It is a well-written, honest account of what life is like as a low wage worker in America today. She's engaging and funny, and able to explain her life without lengthy political asides. The forward was written by Barbara Ehrenreich, who wrote the entirely different Nickeled and Dimed, about her brief foray into the minimum wage workplace. I found this book substantially better than Ehrenreich's.

If you are interested in social justice topics or just want to know a little more about life at the edges of our society, I think you'd like this.


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Just read it. She seemed like a very bitter, angry person. However, as I read I came to understand where this attitude of hopelessness and exhaustion came from. Kind of disturbing.


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