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Old 09-02-2014, 12:36 PM   #1881
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A big two thumbs up for The Martian, by Andy Weir. This self published novel is like Apollo 13 on steroids (albeit Apollo 13 actually happened). An astronaut is left on Mars, assumed dead, after an emergency evacuation. He has enough food for half a year and needs to survive several years, and traverse thousands of kilometers to the planned base for the next Mars mission. Luckily the astronaut is Matt Damon (in Ridley Scott's 2015 movie release) who is both a botanist and a McGiver-like engineer. Great page turner and must read for people who enjoy this sort of thing.
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Old 09-02-2014, 01:07 PM   #1882
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My book club is finishing up Count of Monte Cristo. It's our 2014 fat book selection, meaning 1000 or more pages, which we normally read over the course of three months. To my surprise, I have loved almost every one of our classic book reads, this one most definitely included. Terrific well told tale, and always reassuring to read about people being just as messed up back in the day as they are now.

On a more current day note, my husband and I were recently told about a murder mystery series that takes place in various national parks, a bucket list item for us (we've been to 36 of our national parks to date, leaving 33 still to go). The protagonist is a park enforcement ranger named Anna Pigeon, the author Nevada Barr. There are about 17 in the series to date, and we're already on number nine, all for free via library e-books, nicely. Well written, fun to read, and we've learned a ton about the inner workings of that big bureaucracy we call our National Park Service!
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Old 09-02-2014, 01:31 PM   #1883
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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Interesting read, based on both anecdotes and research. I found myself and many of my life experiences being described very accurately...
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Old 09-02-2014, 02:22 PM   #1884
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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Interesting read, based on both anecdotes and research. I found myself and many of my life experiences being described very accurately...
+1 on this one.
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Old 09-02-2014, 03:49 PM   #1885
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Returning Vertigo 42 by Martha Grimes, a new Richard Jury book, to the library today. I just coudn't get it open to read before it was due, but I used to love her books. Will check it out again later.
Would love to know what you think when you get to it. Martha is a family friend (grew up with my mother in western MD where many of the non-Jury books are set). I really enjoyed her early books (our dog is in The Man with the Load of Mischief) but haven't kept up with the newer ones, although I think the Jury books are definitely her best reads.

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On a more current day note, my husband and I were recently told about a murder mystery series that takes place in various national parks, a bucket list item for us (we've been to 36 of our national parks to date, leaving 33 still to go). The protagonist is named Anna Pigeon, the author Nevada Barr. There are about 17 in the series to date, and we're already on number nine, all for free via library e-books, nicely. Well written, fun to read, and we've learned a ton about the inner workings of that big bureaucracy we call our National Park Service!
Thanks for the tip, sounds worth checking out!
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Old 09-03-2014, 12:46 AM   #1886
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I posted this on another thread, but since it turned into a mini-review, I figure I'll post it here too. I really wanted to enjoy this book, but I'm finding that it takes more than a good idea to make a compelling read.

From the other thread:

I'm about half way through the Martin's book right now (Home Sweet Anywhere) and it's getting to be a bit repetitive. I like the idea of what they are doing and have respect for them packing up in their late 60's, but the book doesn't really offer much perspective of what's involved. Most of it is stories about their travels to their various destinations. She tells you how they hit the local grocery store, made friends with whoever they are renting from, and what a pain it can be to drive in a foreign country. For people that were well travelled before selling everything and hitting the road, you'd think they'd already know this. I guess they are writing to a different audience. The last kicker for me was how she wrote they can't wait to be back on the cruise ship to go home. But wait. I thought "anywhere" was home.

I'm debating if I should call it quits or just skim the rest of the book, but I should probably move on.
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Old 09-03-2014, 09:54 AM   #1887
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This is a good spy thriller: Night Heron - by Adam Brookes

It takes place in China. The author is a BBC journalist with lots of foreign experience. Feels authentic.
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Old 09-03-2014, 10:06 AM   #1888
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A big two thumbs up for The Martian, by Andy Weir...
Picked it up after it was recommended earlier in this thread. Loved it.
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Old 09-07-2014, 03:07 PM   #1889
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Have not read it yet, but requested it from the library (even though I'm already retired):

You can retire sooner than you think : the 5 money secrets of the happiest retirees

The first review on Amazon is a 5 star from Ernie Zelinski.
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Old 09-07-2014, 04:03 PM   #1890
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Currently reading "The Magic of Thinking Big", about to start "The Fault in Our Stars," John Green.

Just finished "Affluenza" by Jonh Degraff, et al " The Five Years Before you Retire", Your Money or Your Life" and one of the Money Ratios Books.
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Old 09-08-2014, 08:13 AM   #1891
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The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse. This is supposed to be one of his best books. I liked Siddhartha and Demian but this is not like those books. This is so slow I can't believe it. And dry. Half way through. Might just return it to the library and try a John Irving novel instead.
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Old 09-08-2014, 05:04 PM   #1892
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I just read The Animal Mind published by Time. It was admittedly an impulse purchase at the grocery store, not the most frugal way to buy a book.

I was a bit disappointed at the lack of depth and short length of the book. Cannot recommend it.
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Old 09-09-2014, 02:42 PM   #1893
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I've just started the Rational Optimist, will let y'all know how it turns out. I suspect it will be a lot like Abundance, the one with the nifty foil cover and good stories about innovation overcoming what seems like disastrous problems.
I'm about halfway through it myself now. There's quite a bit of "history" ( names, dates, actions) that drag a bit for me, but there is also a bunch of cool macro thinking with surprising (an of course optimistic) interpretations.
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Old 09-09-2014, 05:05 PM   #1894
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Liberty's Torch: The Great Adventure to Build the Statue of Liberty: Elizabeth Mitchell: 9780802122575: Amazon.com: Books

I had very little idea about all the background of this iconic statue, so this book was really interesting to me.

Very recently published, but my library had it so check there first.
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The Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognizable monuments in the world, a powerful symbol of freedom and the American dream. For decades, the myth has persisted that the statue was a grand gift from France, but now Liberty's Torch reveals how she was in fact the pet project of one quixotic and visionary French sculptor, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. Bartholdi not only forged this 151-foot-tall colossus in a workshop in Paris and transported her across the ocean, but battled to raise money for the statue and make her a reality.
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Old 09-10-2014, 12:05 AM   #1895
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I'm slogging through "The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and the Golden Age of Journalism" by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I find I can skip about every third paragraph and miss nothing. Goodwin is a solid historical writer, but looong-winded. Her books would be a lot more readable if they were edited with a tighter hand.

I actually started reading this in February but got tired of it and set it aside. Picked up another Goodwin work, "Team of Rivals," about the Lincoln administration. Then I noticed how she'd make a point and then include some quotes to hammer that point home a couple more times. Once I started skipping over the redundancies the reading went a lot faster.
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Old 09-10-2014, 07:01 AM   #1896
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The Narrow Road to the Deep North, by Richard Flanagan, explores the life and love of an Australian surgeon jumping in time from the horrors of a Japanese POW slave labor gang on the River Kwai to his life and death as a pillar of the community later. Short listed for the Man Booker Prize, this is a very good book. The exploration of the inner thoughts of the POWs after they return will stay with you.
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Old 09-10-2014, 08:17 AM   #1897
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The Narrow Road to the Deep North, by Richard Flanagan, explores the life and love of an Australian surgeon jumping in time from the horrors of a Japanese POW slave labor gang on the River Kwai to his life and death as a pillar of the community later. Short listed for the Man Booker Prize, this is a very good book. The exploration of the inner thoughts of the POWs after they return will stay with you.
Thank for recommending this--DH is going to love this novel. Great reviews on Amazon.
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Old 09-10-2014, 06:30 PM   #1898
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I read this book over some weeks: Faithful Place by Tana French

This murder mystery is set in Dublin Ireland. Most of the characters are poor Irish Catholics except for the main character who escaped the poverty and became a "Guard" as they call police in that part of the world. Tana French writes a lot about what people are really like and the characters slowly reveal themselves over 400 pages. It's a good book and I'm not alone according to the Amazon reviews.
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Old 09-15-2014, 09:38 AM   #1899
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A big two thumbs up for The Martian, by Andy Weir. This self published novel is like Apollo 13 on steroids (albeit Apollo 13 actually happened). An astronaut is left on Mars, assumed dead, after an emergency evacuation. He has enough food for half a year and needs to survive several years, and traverse thousands of kilometers to the planned base for the next Mars mission. Luckily the astronaut is Matt Damon (in Ridley Scott's 2015 movie release) who is both a botanist and a McGiver-like engineer. Great page turner and must read for people who enjoy this sort of thing.
+2 Got it out of the library based on your description and read it in two sittings. One of the best books I've read in years. I am not at all an enginenerd () but appreciated the fact it was quite technical and everything seemed plausible and well thought out as far as I could tell. Not perfect by any means (the secondary characters were sometimes poorly done and some of the dialogue was a bit clunky) but well done and the last chapter was one of the best bits of thriller writing ever. Good hard sci-fi.
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Old 09-15-2014, 09:55 AM   #1900
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Finished "The Rational Optimist" (Ridley), and to continue the theme, starting "The Better Angels of Our Nature" (Pinker).

What surprised me the most in Ridley's book was that many of the "green movement" activities are actually worse for the planet and humanity. But the big idea of the book is that the more people share ideas and things (trade) the better off everyone is. He makes a great case for it.
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