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Old 05-22-2017, 04:40 AM   #2601
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I finished Hillbilly Elegy this weekend. I found it somewhat disappointing. It is a good story along the "rags to riches" American lines of Ben Franklin--poor disadvantaged boy by luck and pluck overcomes obstacles and rises up--but I didn't find it nearly as insightful as some reviews have made it out to be. I'd like to find a book that is more in-depth and analytical about the plight of poor whites, especially in Appalachia. I lived briefly in southern Ohio, close to the area Vance writes about, and found the culture fascinating.


In that case, read Charles Murray, Coming Apart: The State of White America.
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Old 06-12-2017, 08:24 AM   #2602
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John Scalzi's "The Collapsing Empire," is a good beach read. It your standard space opera that reads like a who done it. Sets things up nicely for volume 2 which will probably be titled "The End of Empire."
Just read this in one sitting yesterday.

I have enjoyed Scalzis earlier work (Old Mans War, Red Shirts) and I enjoyed this one a lot. He writes dialogue well (including adult situations and profanity) and does great world building without being to expository and is decent at character development (not to many unrealistic characters).

That being said, the ending was disappointing and rushed. Probably as he was setting it up for a sequel, as suggested. You can't help feeling that he did a great job for 90% of the novel though and then was told to just wrap it up neatly in a bow inside two chapters. Most unsatisfying.

Off to read Hillbilly Elegy next. I gather opinions are divided on it. I grew up on a farm in a poor rural area though (not in the US) so I expect I will recognize a lot of what is written. Plus, I had to wait three months for a copy of it from the library so I might as well..
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Old 06-12-2017, 08:39 AM   #2603
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Just finished A Man Called Ove. A nice "lite" read, full of gentle humor.
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Old 06-12-2017, 08:47 AM   #2604
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Just back from a week at the beach where I read two books. The Girl from Venice, by Martin Cruz Smith was enjoyable. This isn't Smith's normal crime fiction. It is a suspenseful love story and family drama set in the "Vichy" Italian Republic in the waning days of World War 2. It was short, more novella length than novel.

The Operators, by Michael Hastings, is basically a very readable book long extension of Hastings' Rolling Stone article, The Runaway General, that brought down Stanley McChrystal. It is an interesting, if depressing, look at ambition, waste and hubris at work in the middle east. If you enjoy varying perspectives on Iraq and Afghanistan, this is one worth reading. If you just want a reminder of how McChrystal stuck his foot in his mouth, read the Rolling Stone article.
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Old 06-12-2017, 09:16 AM   #2605
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This is the latest in Cumming "Kell" series: A Divided Spy
I'd rate it a 5 star for this genre.

Also read this Olen Steinhauer novel: Liberation Movement
This I had a bit of trouble getting through but I remember it better then the Cumming novel above. Maybe 4 star.
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Olen Steinhauer's acclaimed crime series set in Eastern Europe has taken readers from the first shots of the revolution and through the chaos of the 1960s. Now, it is 1975, and one of the People's Militia investigators is bound for Istanbul when his plane is hijacked by Armenian terrorists and explodes in midair.

Gavra Noukas, a secret policeman, and Katja Drdova, a homicide detective, are assigned to the case. Both believe that Brano Sev, their enigmatic superior and career secret policeman, is hiding the true motives of their investigation, but they can't figure out why until they learn that everything is connected to a seven-year-old murder with far-reaching consequences.

The compelling politics and history for which Olen Steinhauer's novels have been praised turn intimate in this ambitious novel.
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Old 06-12-2017, 10:16 AM   #2606
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I am reading 3 books now. One, which I just finished, is "A Fine Mess," by T. J. Reid about the U.S. tax code, its problems, and how to fix it. I have seen Reid several times on C-Span, a frequent source for book ideas.


Another book is "The Campus Rape Frenzy" by K.C. Johnson and Stuart Taylor Jr.. I have seen Taylor on C-Span talking about the book which is about the attack on due process at America's colleges in the pursuit of investigating rape complaints.


The third book is a novel, "New York 2140" by Kim Stanley Robinson. This 613-page brick is about life in New York City following a huge rise in sea level (which floods lower Manhattan) from the melting of the polar ice caps in the late 21st century due to global warming. Venice-like canals replace streets and skybridges replace sidewalks as city dwellers struggle to get by. I saw Robinson on C-Span talking about his book.
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Old 06-17-2017, 12:26 AM   #2607
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Sporadically reading, (when time permits), Freakonomics, which I acquired aboard ship.......interesting perspectives.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freakonomics
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Old 06-18-2017, 09:13 PM   #2608
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Can't find anything at the library that looks interesting. I had been reading some Saul Bellow, as a replacement for Philip Roth, but I can't read Bellow any more. Just not as enjoyable as Roth for me. I've read all the Roth stuff I want to read, so am looking for yet another Roth replacement. If you like Roth, you will also like.......who? I like Updike too, but haver read all the Updike stuff. Any recommendations?
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Old 06-18-2017, 09:16 PM   #2609
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Just finished Olen Steinhauer's The Cairo Affair

Interesting historical discussion of events in Eastern Europe and more recently in Libya and Egypt. Quite a few characters with no real central standout. Good but could have used more character focus.
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Old 06-18-2017, 09:39 PM   #2610
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Working on Ben Sasse the vanishing American adult ..... good read!


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Old 06-19-2017, 04:06 AM   #2611
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Can't find anything at the library that looks interesting. I had been reading some Saul Bellow, as a replacement for Philip Roth, but I can't read Bellow any more. Just not as enjoyable as Roth for me. I've read all the Roth stuff I want to read, so am looking for yet another Roth replacement. If you like Roth, you will also like.......who? I like Updike too, but haver read all the Updike stuff. Any recommendations?
Here is the Goodreads take on Roth similars. Bellow and Updike are on the list so maybe you will like the others. I suggest that you start reading the Sunday book reviews in the NYT or Washington Post and order up some books that sound interesting from the library. Why stick to one author and clones?
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Old 06-19-2017, 07:20 AM   #2612
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Shop manual for our Northern Lights 6kW generator......
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Old 06-19-2017, 05:50 PM   #2613
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DW and I are reading (she's reading, I'm listening) to "The Frontiers Saga", which is a space opera set in the distant future where humanity on earth is emerging from a "dark age", going out and finding the humans that colonized distant places.

We are in book 5 of 15, and although it's not my favorite, it has enough pluses to keep us going; character development is good, not too many characters so you always know who they're talking about. Like STNG, you get to know the people, but unlike STNG, it has a much larger focus on battle and fighting action scenes. I get a pretty good visual of what's going on. In fact, it almost seems like he's trying to make it easy for the screen writers! But the fraction and duration of action scenes is more than I like....but then again I'm the one that takes the bathroom break when the movie's chase scene starts...all I care about is who crashed and died, and who got away.

Anyway, for the SciFi person, a good read. And I think the whole set is included on the Kindle if you're in that $10/mo thing.
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Old 06-19-2017, 05:55 PM   #2614
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Sporadically reading, (when time permits), Freakonomics, which I acquired aboard ship.......interesting perspectives.
I've read all of Dubner and Levitt's stuff. Interesting and sometimes surprising stuff they dig up. And Dubner does a podcast that I regularly listen to Freakonomics Radio Archive - Freakonomics Freakonomics
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