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Books enjoyed

Enter here to talk about books, art, literature, film, TV and anything else to do with popular culture.
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Dave B
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Books enjoyed

#1 Postby Dave B » July 4th, 2012, 9:06 pm

I am just reading the third of Ben Aaronovitch's books about the Metropolitan Police's "magic squad."

If you enjoy the ridiculous and weird, a la Terry Pratchett and a few others but in today's London and with "appropriate language" for a London copper, you may enjoy this series.

The hero is a police constable of mixed colour who turns out to have magical powers and ends up getting recruited to the magic squad at The Folly, with a boss who is somewhat older than he looks.

It's far too complex to explain in a post of sensible length but book one, "Rivers of London" involves the "genius loci", local gods, of London's rivers (who are a black family) and some really nasty characters from the occult world. "Moon over Soho" involves, unsurprisingly, happenings in that famous part of the capital and mostly at night. The latest book, "Whispers Underground" is equally explanatory.

The humour is as weird as the happenings - but my friend Carole*, a self-professed disliker of fantasy and "weird stuff" was given a copy of the first book (the purchaser had not read the description and genuinely thought it was a non-fiction book on the subject of the title!) and was sufficiently enthralled (appropriate word that) to ask me to order the others from Amazon. She read each of them in slightly under two days.

* Getting her trained - she said the Pratchett was rubbish so I asked her to read "Weird Sisters" as a challenge - she had to admit that she enjoyed it. Just cannot get her near Harry Potter or "Dark Materials" etc. though.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Beki
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Re: Books enjoyed

#2 Postby Beki » July 16th, 2012, 10:59 pm

Ooh. Sounds good. Just downloaded the first one. Will let you know how I get on!
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. - M Ghandi

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RedCelt
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Re: Books enjoyed

#3 Postby RedCelt » July 16th, 2012, 11:07 pm

Beki, does "NE Fife" mean St Andrews?
Tho' Nature, red in tooth and celt
With ravine, shriek'd against his creed

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Beki
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Re: Books enjoyed

#4 Postby Beki » July 16th, 2012, 11:09 pm

Near enough Red. U from around these parts?
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. - M Ghandi

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RedCelt
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Re: Books enjoyed

#5 Postby RedCelt » July 17th, 2012, 12:59 am

Beki wrote:Near enough Red. U from around these parts?


Well, now... somebody didn't read my introductory post :smile:

Yes, I'm a mature student at the uni, commuting from Methil (because uni accommodation is strictly no-pets, and my dog is technically a pet).
Tho' Nature, red in tooth and celt
With ravine, shriek'd against his creed

Red Celt's Blog

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Ken H
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Re: Books enjoyed

#6 Postby Ken H » July 17th, 2012, 1:27 am

Lately, I've been alternating between spy stories and sci-fi. Le Carre's Small Town in Germany and Daniel Silva's The Unlikely Spy have been good ones. I've read almost half of Philip K. Dick's novels on the sci-fi side. My favorite is Ubik.

I've been trying to read Titus Groan for about two years now. I read a few chapters every so often, then seem to get distracted. It's a bit eccentric even for me. :smile:
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...' - Isaac Asimov

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Dave B
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Re: Books enjoyed

#7 Postby Dave B » July 17th, 2012, 9:28 am

TG is definitely hard going . . .

If you like spy stuff mixed with sci-fi that is not too remote from reality try Greg Bear's "Quantico" and the sequel "Mariposa". They involve the FBI + other (more shady) bureaus of security, terrorism and gadgetry of various kinds.

On a different slant is Daniel Suarez's duo of "Daemon" and "Freedom". No spies as such but involves a mad computer super-geek, who dies early in the story, and the super-duper-intellegent computer system he developed that invades just about every other system on the planet and acts, a bit, like a god - judging and punishing the baddies (as it sees them.) Lots of "deus ex-machina" in these stories but I enjoyed them so much I bought them twice (gave the first copies to a charity shop and regretted it!) and read them three times.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Tetenterre
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Re: Books enjoyed

#8 Postby Tetenterre » July 17th, 2012, 11:44 am

Dave B wrote:TG is definitely hard going . . .
It is now but, curiously, it wasn't 40 years ago, when I devoured the trilogy in a week! Same for Herman Hesse, J-P Sartre, and loads of other stuff that seemed excellent when I was young and idealistic and probablu more open-minded.
Steve

Quantum Theory: The branch of science with which people who know absolutely sod all about quantum theory can explain anything.

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Dave B
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Re: Books enjoyed

#9 Postby Dave B » July 17th, 2012, 1:16 pm

Tetenterre wrote:
Dave B wrote:TG is definitely hard going . . .
It is now but, curiously, it wasn't 40 years ago, when I devoured the trilogy in a week! Same for Herman Hesse, J-P Sartre, and loads of other stuff that seemed excellent when I was young and idealistic and probablu more open-minded.
I am definitely coming to the conclusion that old age is for reading those things you enjoy, not those things you feel you should. Life is to close to its end to waste it stuffing one's head with things that one will never use. Look for the philosophy in those books - it is there, along with an -ology or two usually!

Reading, say, Pratchett, with a mind for what is behind and between the words, is quite enough of a lesson in psychology and philosophy to keep me happy and on my mental toes (?).
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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getreal
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Re: Books enjoyed

#10 Postby getreal » July 22nd, 2012, 6:09 pm

Looking for some recommendations to take on holiday on my kindle. I like Ian Rankin, but I've read all his stuff so far. Something based in the UK. Politics/spy/crime (but not too graphic). Anyone any suggestions?
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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Alan H
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Re: Books enjoyed

#11 Postby Alan H » July 22nd, 2012, 6:34 pm

Not read it yet, but I got this yesterday from a friend, Josh Kutchinsky, for his wife's book - free on Kindle for a few days. Ginette has had a fascinating life and I'm sure her book (which is about her life) will be a great read.

I am the husband of the writer and artist Ginette Ashkenazy and I thought you might appreciate knowing that her book 'Thracian Princess' has now been published as an e-book under the title Portrait of a Young Woman in Extraordinary Times. From later today and for the next few days it will be available free of charge to download from Amazon/Kindle.

Here is the link to the book on Amazon.co.uk (Offer starts approximately 8pm UK time on 21 July and ends approximately 8am UK time on 26th July ).

I know that Ginette would be very happy to hear from you and to receive any questions or comments.

Her email address is ginette.ashkenazy@gmail.com

Regards,
Sincerely,

Josh Kutchinsky

p.s. If you have already read Thracian Princess it would be wonderful if you could add a comment/review or just 'like' the book on the Amazon page.

n.b. e-book available worldwide from all Amazon sites


As the war in Europe rages the decision is taken. They are to be sent to the extermination camps.

This part of the Nazi final solution is derailed, with the arrival of the Red Army. The Russians liberate Bulgaria in 1944.
The relief does not last long - a new terror begins.

Daily Life under the communists is described with an expressive and riveting detachment. Small details reveal the chilling nature of the regime. These are years of ever diminishing hope.

Suddenly there is an opportunity to emigrate, to seek asylum.
The new State of Israel mirrors the possibilities of a new life. However, caught between an old and a new world, seizing the opportunities is not easy. There are new experiences of love and of life but it is not certain that even survival is possible.

Experience, through a young woman's eyes and from an unusual perspective, a rare insight into a tumultuous history that has shaped our world .
A roller coaster of emotions - and survival is the key.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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getreal
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Re: Books enjoyed

#12 Postby getreal » July 22nd, 2012, 7:26 pm

Thanks, Alan. Made it with 30 mins to spare!
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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Tetenterre
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Re: Books enjoyed

#13 Postby Tetenterre » July 22nd, 2012, 7:47 pm

I have recently discovered, and like, the "Very Short Introduction" series. If you like the physical sciences, search the phrase on Amazon...
Steve

Quantum Theory: The branch of science with which people who know absolutely sod all about quantum theory can explain anything.

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Beki
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Re: Books enjoyed

#14 Postby Beki » August 1st, 2012, 3:47 pm

Dave B wrote:I am just reading the third of Ben Aaronovitch's books about the Metropolitan Police's "magic squad."



Just finished the first one "Rivers of London". Loved it Dave - thanks!
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. - M Ghandi

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Dave B
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Re: Books enjoyed

#15 Postby Dave B » August 1st, 2012, 3:51 pm

Beki wrote:
Dave B wrote:I am just reading the third of Ben Aaronovitch's books about the Metropolitan Police's "magic squad."



Just finished the first one "Rivers of London". Loved it Dave - thanks!


Good, ennit!

The other two are as good and I think there will be at least a fourth.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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getreal
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Re: Books enjoyed

#16 Postby getreal » August 1st, 2012, 9:55 pm

Just downloaded the first Rivers of London book to take away with me. Looking forward to it as it's achange for me to read fantacy/sci fi (not sure even what you call it!). I've read "going Postal" by Terry pratchett and loved it, but I didn't like any of the other books I read of his (Wee Free Men and something I didn't finnish).
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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Fia
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Re: Books enjoyed

#17 Postby Fia » August 1st, 2012, 10:18 pm

If you liked 'Going Postal' try Terry's 'Mort' for starters, getreal. And 'Hogfather' is a great December read :)

When I discovered his books I was amazed to discover I was reading fiction mostly read at the time by teenage boys...

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Dave B
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Re: Books enjoyed

#18 Postby Dave B » August 2nd, 2012, 9:55 am

Fia wrote:If you liked 'Going Postal' try Terry's 'Mort' for starters, getreal. And 'Hogfather' is a great December read :)

When I discovered his books I was amazed to discover I was reading fiction mostly read at the time by teenage boys...
I wonder how many of those teenage boys spotted all the psychology, philosophy and literary puns Pratchett packs into his books?

I hooked my friend Carole to the TP Appreciation Society with, "Weird Sisters".
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan H
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Re: Books enjoyed

#19 Postby Alan H » August 3rd, 2012, 10:15 am

Apparently, the first chapter of Alom Shaha's book The Young Atheist's Handbook: Lessons for Living a Good Life Without God is available for free download to your Kindle.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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animist
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Re: Books enjoyed

#20 Postby animist » November 10th, 2012, 12:10 pm

just read Alexander McCall Smith's "The Sunday Philosophy Club". Basically it is thriller mystery, but the hero is a female amateur sleuth and moral philosopher (reminded me of someone here). Also, if you know and like Edinburgh, Sandy (as he likes to be known) provides a lot of local feel. And he introduces one of his own hobbies, the Really Terrible Orchestra, into the story.

Also, a couple by Robert Harris - "Fatherland" (an alternative universe where Germany won the war and the Holocaust was kept secret) and "The Fear Index" (again kind of SF, with a financial market background)


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