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Old 10-07-2007, 13:50:43   #851
King_Ghidra
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i see them as both being stylistic choices.

as i said, we can agree to disagree.
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i check my hair at the elevator mirror and the highlight of my day when I say hi to a girl who's opposite of the elevator door at my floor. the one i went out with.
after that, it's the same old fucking thing all over again.
-paiktis
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Old 10-07-2007, 13:56:01   #852
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yes. well played'
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Old 10-07-2007, 17:58:55   #853
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Originally posted by Fergus & The Brazen Car
Why ashamed ?
I'd generally be opposed to white people trying to desribe the black experience. People without a voice aren't really helped by someone with a voice claiming to understand them.

Then again he seems to treat Botswana fairly (it's similar to how I remembered it, having been there only two day aged 16) and he portrays his subject very sympathetically. And it's light reading, not some heavy political work.
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Old 28-07-2007, 13:14:03   #854
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Long distance train travel seems to be a good way to get through books.

Some science fiction of varying quality. Zelazny's "Damnation Alley" (good), Dick's "Eye in the Sky" (nuts), Clement's "Cycle of Fire" (ok), Anderson's "Brainwave" (excellent), Van Vogt's "The Universe Maker" (odd), Aldiss's "Hothouse" (lol) and Blish's "Cities in Flight" (!!!).

Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis. Not as good as reviews make it out to be; the Serious Points don't really work, and the other storyline is better done in Zoolander, where the surrealism is allowed to become day-glo absurdity rather than black Kafkaism.

Wordsworth classics Father Brown collection, which is as good as I remembered it to be.

An Alan Coren omnibus which was very witty and occasionally funny.

Also a book called "Left Behind" - a fictional account of the Rapture, complete with the disappearing Faithful, an Antichrist, and a group of new True Believers who have to form the Tribulation Force to save the world, etc etc. It was very silly.
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Old 28-07-2007, 13:14:25   #855
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Got home to find HP7 waiting. Didn't sleep much last night.
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Old 28-07-2007, 13:29:12   #856
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Just finished "What a carve up" by Jonathon Coe.

Coe is a funny one. I find a lot of his characters totally unconvincing- they're stereotypes and grotesques- and his plots can be overly-reliant on absurd coincidences. However I still find his books utterly compelling. I've also read "The Rotters Club" and "The Closed Circle", and really enjoyed them all.
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Old 30-07-2007, 09:41:31   #857
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Quote:
Originally posted by Immortal Wombat
Blish's "Cities in Flight" (!!!).
I hated that.
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i check my hair at the elevator mirror and the highlight of my day when I say hi to a girl who's opposite of the elevator door at my floor. the one i went out with.
after that, it's the same old fucking thing all over again.
-paiktis
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Old 30-07-2007, 13:15:04   #858
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It's a bit all over the place, because it was written out of order, mostly as short stories, and then patched into a novel. It does run the full gamut of science fiction, from modern science propaganda, to space-opera, to hard(ish) sf (albeit based on the dodgiest of mathematics), to a colosally silly ending.
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Old 16-08-2007, 02:07:24   #859
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Beautiful Losers - Leonard Cohen

Last Exit To Brooklyn was a fine sick read about undesirables.
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Old 16-08-2007, 13:26:44   #860
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Just finished a book on the "Seven Years War."
I was shocked, truly shocked, that some little battles took place outside of North America.
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Old 16-08-2007, 14:02:43   #861
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Also some miracles!
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Old 09-10-2007, 08:28:08   #862
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Just finished 'Portnoy's Complaint' by Philip Roth. Wonderful and obscene.

Now reading a collection of Russian short stories, from Pushkin through to modern times.
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i check my hair at the elevator mirror and the highlight of my day when I say hi to a girl who's opposite of the elevator door at my floor. the one i went out with.
after that, it's the same old fucking thing all over again.
-paiktis
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Old 10-10-2007, 06:51:33   #863
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Beautiful Losers was quite a read. Strange and shocking.

Centred on a fully active love triangle, the three characters share an obsession for a 17th century Mohawk saint, each for their own reasons. Chapters which focus entirely on flashbacks to life within these tribes are pretty hard going with countless obscure references, yet as I had expected from Cohen, it is incredibly well written, sublime use of language and often philosophical. The sexual exploits are sordid and graphic as you like. All is set against the backdrop of uprising against the English in Montreal.

Now reading: Who Killed Martin Hannett? which will tie in nicely with the release of Control.
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Old 01-05-2008, 13:30:13   #864
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Dune
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Old 01-05-2008, 15:18:30   #865
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Extraterrestrial Sex Fetish
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Old 22-05-2008, 14:46:18   #866
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Starbucked

From the library. Though after reading that review, I question the need of actually finishing the book!
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Old 22-05-2008, 14:47:19   #867
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Disappointingly that's not a Battlestar Galactica spin-off.
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Old 08-06-2008, 19:15:10   #868
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KOP...Bladerunner wannabee I could have written in 6th grade but couldn't put down out of morbid fascination over how such hacks get published.

Reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance which is a bit of a slog, but I'm enjoying his struggle with romantic vs. realistic thought/views.
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Old 07-07-2008, 03:24:37   #869
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Quote:
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- Lolita is difficult but brilliant.
Same. Wonderfully written but not as compelling as I had expected.
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:25:42   #870
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since last post:

The Devil's Dictionary - Ambrose Bierce
Clockwork Orange - Burgess
Gargantua and Pantagruel - Rabelais
Dubliners - Joyce
Ragtime - E L Doctorow
The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood
Rashomon + others - Akutagawa
The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand
Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
The Prince - Machiavelli
The World According to Garp - John Irving
Trilogy - Samuel Beckett

Also some Hemingway, Chekhov and Rimbaud
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i check my hair at the elevator mirror and the highlight of my day when I say hi to a girl who's opposite of the elevator door at my floor. the one i went out with.
after that, it's the same old fucking thing all over again.
-paiktis
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Old 07-07-2008, 17:30:45   #871
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Peter F. Hamilton got a second chance while I was on vacation this year (I put down Reality Dysfunction and swore to never pick the turd up again).

I slogged through maybe four hundred pages of background story and character building in Pandora's Star before anything started to happen, but it got better from there.

It was luck that I was reading at the beach, otherwise I'd never have bothered past page two hundred. Lots of interesting ideas about how an essentially immortal spacefaring society would work (he spent way too much time describing/revealing it). The alien "enemy" is very much like the insectoid/hive-type one from the Ender's Game series of book, which I kinda saw coming. There's more than that going on and exactly what is a bit of a mystery, so I guess the hook is set. That said 400+ pages is entirely too long to set the hook.

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Old 09-07-2008, 00:41:30   #872
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"Don't Stop the Carnival" by Herman Wouk.
You have to be someone with experince in the Carribbrean to appreciate thlis book.

Right, RC?

Oh, yeah. I did like Hamiton's bookends too.
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Old 09-07-2008, 13:59:02   #873
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Rubicon by Tom Holland.

Traces the end of the Roman Republic from the Social war through to Augustus. Good read so far.
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Old 09-07-2008, 22:56:22   #874
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I just read "Vespers" by Ed McBain, now onto another (crap) Morse novel. I'm still not off the crime thrillers it seems.
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Old 30-12-2008, 12:43:35   #875
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Just reading "The Weather Makers" by Tim Flannery. It is about how we're rushing headlong into climate change and how we're all doomed!

He wrote it back in 2005, so I guess we're even more doomed now...
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Old 02-01-2009, 11:12:53   #876
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Modern Englishes: Pidgins & Creoles by Loreto Todd

The Third Reich by D G Williamson


& Henning Mankell's Dogs Of Riga
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Old 06-01-2009, 16:08:46   #877
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Shamefully i am reading the first 3 Dragonlance novels again for nostalgia kicks. They're not even well-written. But I don't care.

Also:

Steppenwolf - Hesse
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i check my hair at the elevator mirror and the highlight of my day when I say hi to a girl who's opposite of the elevator door at my floor. the one i went out with.
after that, it's the same old fucking thing all over again.
-paiktis
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Old 07-01-2009, 10:35:18   #878
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I used to love Der Steppenwolf.
but then I was 18
It was one of the first novels (along with Siddharta, and Kafka's Verwandlung) that I managed to read both in italian and in german (which I had as main foreign language in the high-school)

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I had written a lenghty post monday, but then I hit Forum Jump instead of Submit and it got lost, for your luck


Summary:

I'm impressed by KG's reading list width and depth. Are you single again, that you have so much time on your hands?


I read Follett's Pillars of the Earth during the holidays.
very compelling, I spent a couple totally sleepless nites because of the Just One More Page syndrome.

I'm halfway J.G.Ballards "Rushing to Paradise".
I used to like Ballard's sci-fi, over two decades ago
when then I saw the Empire of the Sun movie, I found it tho rather obnoxious (mainly young Bale's fault) and for a while I got convinced that they were two different authors, just a case of omonimy.

To add to my ridicule, when I bought this one from the English section shelf in my favorite bookshop, it lured me as I thought it associated with the Riverworld series author (which is instead P.J.Farmer actually, and not J.G.Ballard...)


I find "Rushing to Paradise" prose rather offputting tho
I'm seriously consdidering dropping it halfway, and switching right away to my fetish author last novel, which awaits me on top of my to-read pile (Paul Auster's Man in the Dark)
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Old 07-01-2009, 14:35:27   #879
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No, just a catholic taste.

but i would agree with you on your experience of Ballard. i'm a huge fan of Crash, but the Empire of the Sun stuff doesn't interest me much, and i haven't read much of his sci-fi, though i'm led to believe it's very good.
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i check my hair at the elevator mirror and the highlight of my day when I say hi to a girl who's opposite of the elevator door at my floor. the one i went out with.
after that, it's the same old fucking thing all over again.
-paiktis
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Old 07-01-2009, 15:38:14   #880
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i'm a huge fan of Crash,
wow, that's indeed a comment I expunged from my abridged post

I just *LOVED* the movie, haven't caught up with the novel yet.
I didn't find it in English so far tho, you remembered me that I was planning someday to order it at the bookshop (or I might have a look in amazon)
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Old 07-01-2009, 19:42:22   #881
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I just read Regenesis by Cherryh, which I put down Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel (or whatever) which I had read 1/2 of on the plane back to the east coast.

I do intend to finish the latter book (it is good), but probably next week as I will be busy over the weekend.

Regenesis has Ari back, as well as many other of the great characters from Cyteen. It is interesting and engaging. We see further development of both Ari and Justin, and learn more about Jordon.

Currently, though, I don't think it is as good as Cyteen.

One issue I have with it is that it seems so.. small. It is a research lab, and there aren't many people there, but the few important people just hang with themselves or a couple friends and the majority of the people there (unimportant people) are completely ignored. It was probably the case with Cyteen as well, but there I thought that Denys had been enforcing that on Ari (and Justin). Now, we have a much more social Ari, on her own and with a lot of control, and still see just a very small subset of the population. Basically, the people who were already important, as well as the few friends from the last book who she has elevated to importance. The rest might as well not exist.

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Old 21-01-2009, 20:51:40   #882
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So, one of my Christmas presents was a set of three Penguin paperbacks from their "modern fiction" range. And I don't read a lot of modern literary fiction, because it's mostly pointless, uninteresting twaddle, so I read these quite fast to be done with them:
Sue Townsend's "Adrian Mole and The Weapons of Mass Destruction"
"The Accidental" by Ali Smith
and "Any Human Heart" by William Boyd.

They were mostly pointless, uninteresting twaddle. None of which were particularly exciting, or interesting even, but if a writer's aim is to affect their audience, then these were successful. All three were fantastically depressing. The small crumbs of hope and humanity that were slotted in to lighten the mood were powerless against the walls of human misery and ineptitude. Full of people exploring their own inadequacies as human beings (with a degree of self-awareness in AHH, via revelation in The Accidental, and in darkly comic ignorance in Adrian Mole), and coming away from the experience having learnt very little. I was amused in retrospect to note that almost every major character in each book was a serial adulterer.

"The Accidental" was one of those heart-warming tales where a stranger is dropped into the lives of a normal family and a) reveals all their dysfunctionality, b) fucks the teenage son, c) makes everything better. Except that their dysfunctionality was the whiny middle-class sort, and was fairly obvious anyway. And not much got better. This may be a shallow reading of the text. Needless to say, the most interesting characters are sidelined in favour of the plot strand featuring the philandering academic.

The blurb of "Any Human Heart" promises the biography of a spy, soldier, art-dealer; it carefully doesn't specify the proportions. To be fair, I quite enjoyed the first few chapters (about the protagonist's boyhood), but it goes rapidly downhill, waffling around for a couple of hundred pages of meaningless social interaction, frequent bouts of extra-marital sex, the occasional attempt at a plot, and then lonely bittersweet death. A bit like most lives, I suppose, but surely books shouldn't be futile and meaningless just because existence is?

I remember the first Adrian Mole book as being quite good. Teenage lives are meant to be a bit shit and confused, but when he's thirty-five, it's truly painful to watch him ramble on, ignorant of his own ignorance. It's poignant like watching a sixteen year old girl spending her last coppers on cigarettes for her twin daughters. Townsend is probably attempting satire in these Adrian Grows Up books, but his inept fuckery is less pronounced than that of the protagonists in the books above, and despite everything, he's a more sympathetic character, which only serves to make his life story more depressing.

I still can't figure out whether it's just a general facet of this brand of writing, that literature should be relentless miserable, or if it was a deliberate choice of gift to warn me about the dangers of rampant adultery (or something). Anyway, my points are: 1. if this is realism, fuck realism. I'm already aware that I will die a forgotten death after a mediocre and disappointing life, I don't need to see a slide show of case studies. 2. if this is realism, I am seriously below my adultery quota.
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Old 21-01-2009, 21:17:30   #883
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I'm now reading "Tom Clancy's Net Force", which I suspect was not written by Tom Clancy.
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Old 22-01-2009, 13:59:44   #884
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Looking forward to the time when I can actually crack open Rick Atkinson's Day of Battle, its been gathering dust at home. An Army at Dawn covered the WWII in North Africa and was fantastic. This one covers the hop to Sicily and Italy.
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Old 23-01-2009, 05:15:56   #885
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"The Day of Battle." Rick Atkison 2007.
A disappointing middle addition to his 'liberation trilogy." I am a big fan of his "An Army At Dawn" but this book does not live up to the his first keystone of the proposed trilogy.
Yes, he does go into the foibles of the American an ed British leadership. But he does not dissect all of the issues of French, Polish, German, Italian response.
I was expecting more.
j
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Old 23-01-2009, 09:52:36   #886
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Quote:
Originally posted by Immortal Wombat
I'm now reading "Tom Clancy's Net Force", which I suspect was not written by Tom Clancy.
This is some kind of scientific treatise on adjusted impact figures, right?
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i check my hair at the elevator mirror and the highlight of my day when I say hi to a girl who's opposite of the elevator door at my floor. the one i went out with.
after that, it's the same old fucking thing all over again.
-paiktis
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Old 23-01-2009, 18:05:35   #887
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Yeah, but written in the form of the existentialist ramblings of a Russian poet.
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Old 25-01-2009, 13:18:50   #888
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I just finished Simon Reynold's "Energy Flash", now I'm onto "Pyramids at the Louvre" by Glenn Watkins.
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Old 26-01-2009, 12:07:40   #889
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Quote:
Originally posted by jsorense
"The Day of Battle." Rick Atkison 2007.
A disappointing middle addition to his 'liberation trilogy." I am a big fan of his "An Army At Dawn" but this book does not live up to the his first keystone of the proposed trilogy.
Yes, he does go into the foibles of the American an ed British leadership. But he does not dissect all of the issues of French, Polish, German, Italian response.
I was expecting more.
j
well, poop

maybe it can sit on my shelf until the next long road trip
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Old 27-01-2009, 17:35:51   #890
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Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel

very good

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Old 24-02-2009, 06:40:24   #891
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Gettysburg - The First Day
Harry W. Phanz (no, I could not make up more improbable name).
Quite good if you are in to the minutiae of the American Civil War.
However, I did not like it as much as his first two volumes concerning this pivotal battle.
Yes, I am a Civil War (War of Northern Aggression) fan-boy.
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Oh but rock and roll still lives on,
Yeah, rock and roll still lives on. "

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Old 24-02-2009, 06:43:04   #892
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[only that German guy might be interested]
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"I wonder what became of all the Rockers and the Mods.
I hope they are making it and they've all got stead jobs,
Oh but rock and roll still lives on,
Yeah, rock and roll still lives on. "

Last edited by jsorense; 24-02-2009 at 06:45:43.
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Old 24-02-2009, 10:22:17   #893
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Quote:
Originally posted by JM^3
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel

very good

JM
Yeah i liked that.
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i check my hair at the elevator mirror and the highlight of my day when I say hi to a girl who's opposite of the elevator door at my floor. the one i went out with.
after that, it's the same old fucking thing all over again.
-paiktis
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Old 24-02-2009, 12:10:42   #894
Fergus & The Brazen Car
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Join Date: Apr 2005
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Just finished a book on the history of the Roman conquest of Spain, and why it took so long for the Romans to fully conquer the peninsula and make it Roman.


It's called 'Roman Spain' and it's by Leonard Curchin.

Also I'm halfway through 'The Fall Of Carthage: The Punic Wars 265-146 B.C. ' by Adrian Goldsworthy.

If you liked his 'In The Name Of Rome: The Men Who Won The Roman Empire', then you'll also enjoy this.

Even if you haven't read that, you should read this as it's a mighty fine read.

Also polished off two M. R. James short stories- 'The Haunted Doll's House' and 'The Rose Garden'. Given the time of year and the misty moisty weather, they seemed good choices....
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I'm just as confused as I was last week. Ronald Reagan.
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Old 01-04-2009, 20:05:58   #895
MOBIUS
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Goosestepping all over Greece!
Finished 'Fifty Degrees Below' by Kim Stanley Robinson

Currently reading 'Ten Technologies to Save the Planet' by Chris Goodall

Also 'Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear' by Dan Gardner
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Old 03-06-2009, 03:16:38   #896
jsorense
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: In the '60s.
The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, John M. Barry [2005]
It scared me so much I wet my pants.
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I hope they are making it and they've all got stead jobs,
Oh but rock and roll still lives on,
Yeah, rock and roll still lives on. "
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Old 03-06-2009, 11:12:35   #897
MOBIUS
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Goosestepping all over Greece!
Currently reading Six Degrees by Mark Lynas.

Basically it's getting hotter and we're all doomed by runaway climate change and how billions of us will be dead by the end of this century! Or, at least, that's my take on it - we are currently still probably able to prevent the runaway bit (probably!) - but we're not actually going to...

Oh, and buy a place in Scotland for your children - as long as it's a good 100m above sea level - 250m on the safe side...
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Old 03-06-2009, 11:54:50   #898
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Yeah, billions of poor people and we're overpopulated anyway.
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Old 13-06-2009, 20:29:15   #899
BigGameHunter
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Lost in the jungle
Reading A Good Old Fashioned Future Bruce Sterling short story collection.
The Escapist (graphic novel...oh, ok...comic book)
Model World Michael Chabon.
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Old 15-06-2009, 14:14:40   #900
King_Ghidra
pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo
 
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: MORAL HARDCORE CHAMPION
The Sirens of Titan by Vonnegut
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i check my hair at the elevator mirror and the highlight of my day when I say hi to a girl who's opposite of the elevator door at my floor. the one i went out with.
after that, it's the same old fucking thing all over again.
-paiktis
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