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rtpoe

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Re: Read any good books lately?
« Reply #570 on: June 01, 2015, 11:36:30 PM »
Operation Nemesis: The Assassination Plot That Avenged the Armenian Genocide
by Eric Bogosian

Not just a recounting of the genocide, or the story of Soghomon Tehlirian, who with the support of the radical Armenian Revolutionary Federation assassinated Talat Pasha, the Ottoman Minister of the Interior who was most directly responsible for the genocide, but a decent general history of Armenia and its people up to the end of the 20th century.

Not being a historian with an agenda, Bogosian uses his talents as a writer to simply tell the tale. Tehlirian and the other Nemesis conspirators are not made out to be heroes. The governments of Turkey, Russia, and even Germany are not vilified. It's about as dispassionate a recounting as one could want.
rtpoe

My August days behind me with my May,
Nor strive to drag them into Autumn's place,
Nor swear I hope when I do but remember.
Now violet and rose have had their day,
I'll pluck the soberer asters with good grace
And call September nothing but September.
 - Ella Wheeler Wilcox, September

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rtpoe

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Re: Read any good books lately?
« Reply #571 on: January 12, 2016, 03:18:06 AM »
Ultima by Stephen Baxter

I didn't know that this was a sequel to Proxima when I got it off the library shelf (there was NOTHING on the jacket copy to suggest that); I thought it was just a novel set in the same milieu. I pretty much don't care for novel series - I get my books from the library, and they don't always have the complete set. Given that I like Baxter's style, and the thing was over 400 pages long (easily a full Sunday afternoon), I figured I'd give it a shot.

It's a cool action-adventure novel set across multiple alternate universes, leading up to a rather huge infodump at the end that sort of explains what the "kernels" and "hatches" are - kind of. It can get confusing keeping track of the characters (they get separated, and their story lines are told concurrently), but it's loaded with awesome ideas.

The asteroid Ceres being deliberately crashed into Mars! The Roman Empire surviving, and gaining spaceflight!! The Incan Empire - IN SPACE!!! Amazing ideas!

And I didn't really need to have read Proxima.....
rtpoe

My August days behind me with my May,
Nor strive to drag them into Autumn's place,
Nor swear I hope when I do but remember.
Now violet and rose have had their day,
I'll pluck the soberer asters with good grace
And call September nothing but September.
 - Ella Wheeler Wilcox, September

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rtpoe

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  • 9971
Re: Read any good books lately?
« Reply #572 on: April 18, 2016, 11:23:20 PM »
A couple of recent reads:

Famous Works of Art, And How They Got That Way by John B. Nici

Nici looks at twenty great works of art and discusses the events that launched them to popular fame. A blockbuster auction price, an artist with an interesting life, hitting the right nationalist buttons, and even the right placement in a museum can all catapult a piece to superstardom.

Time Salvager by Wesley Chu

The Future plunders the past for lost technologies. Similar to Kage Baker's "Company" stories, but a LOT more action-packed. First in a series, but it's still self-contained.

The Strange Case of Doctor Doyle: A Journey into Madness and Mayhem by Daniel Friedman, MD and
Eugene Friedman, MD

A biography of Conan Doyle's early years, wrapped around a reconstruction of a "Jack the Ripper Tour" he once took. The fascinating bit is that the authors note that from what we know of the young Doyle, he fits the profile of Jack the Ripper.....
rtpoe

My August days behind me with my May,
Nor strive to drag them into Autumn's place,
Nor swear I hope when I do but remember.
Now violet and rose have had their day,
I'll pluck the soberer asters with good grace
And call September nothing but September.
 - Ella Wheeler Wilcox, September

*

rtpoe

  • Old Fart
  • 9971
Re: Read any good books lately?
« Reply #573 on: June 01, 2016, 02:00:27 AM »
BALLOT BATTLES: The History of Disputed Elections in the United States
Edward B. Foley

While everyone's paying attention to the shenanigans over access to voting, Prof. Foley argues that what happens after the ballots have been cast is just as important.

When the first count was done in Virginia's attorney general election in 2013, the margin of victory was 32 votes. When the dust finally cleared after several months of legal challenges and counts and recounts in Washington's gubenatorial election in 2004, the margin of victory was 137 votes. It took over seven months for Al Franken to be confirmed as the winner of Minnesota's 2008 senatorial election (and that was one that Foley cited as a good example of resolving an electoral dispute)

This isn't unusual; Foley recounts close and disputed elections going back to the 1790s. Given that history, he argues quite convincingly that we need a method of resolving close elections in place BEFORE it happens again.
rtpoe

My August days behind me with my May,
Nor strive to drag them into Autumn's place,
Nor swear I hope when I do but remember.
Now violet and rose have had their day,
I'll pluck the soberer asters with good grace
And call September nothing but September.
 - Ella Wheeler Wilcox, September

*

rtpoe

  • Old Fart
  • 9971
Re: Read any good books lately?
« Reply #574 on: September 07, 2016, 02:47:13 AM »
Come on, someone else here has to be reading books....

The Apache Wars by Paul Andrew Hutton

Subtitled "The Hunt for Geronimo, The Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy who Started the Longest War in American History".

For over 25 years, battles and skirmishes were fought in southern Arizona and New Mexico between the US Army and the Apaches. Hutton gives a wonderfully detailed account of the conflict, being fair to both sides. If there is a villain, it's the US government in Washington - the rivalries between the Army and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the constant shuffling of people appointed to oversee the whole thing kept anyone from managing to find a way to end the strife. But that's all background stuff; you can practically feel the ground under your feet with Hutton's vivid writing.

In addition to Geronimo and the Apache Kid, you'll meet legends like Cochise, Kit Carson, and Tom Horn.

If you're a Western buff, or history aficionado, you'll love this work.
rtpoe

My August days behind me with my May,
Nor strive to drag them into Autumn's place,
Nor swear I hope when I do but remember.
Now violet and rose have had their day,
I'll pluck the soberer asters with good grace
And call September nothing but September.
 - Ella Wheeler Wilcox, September

*

MaxBigfoot

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Re: Read any good books lately?
« Reply #575 on: September 07, 2016, 11:13:31 PM »
"Out Of The Dark" by David Weber.  What for most of the book is a hard military sci-fi alien invasion novel, turns into something entirely different when a huge twist which is only hinted at in the first 3/4 of the book, comes to fruition.  I'm still not sure if I like it or not, even though it's surely gripping, as the human race is definitely on the losing end of the war for most of the book.   :-\

MaxBigfoot

It is a bad thing if you don't suffer fools gladly, but work mostly with fools...

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Zealot

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Re: Read any good books lately?
« Reply #576 on: September 08, 2016, 12:54:08 AM »
"The Trial" by Franz Kafka.
It's happening for real now.

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rtpoe

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Re: Read any good books lately?
« Reply #577 on: September 21, 2016, 11:57:08 PM »
Mary Roach is at it again....

Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War

It's about the science behind helping our men and women in uniform be more ready to fight. Testing fabric for uniforms.... how to protect soldier's hearing from loud noises while still letting them be able to hear faint sounds.... wondering if diarrhea has ever compromised a Special Ops mission.... why there aren't any effective shark repellents....

It lags in the last few chapters (getting enough **82** in submarines), but like all her other books, it's a fun and insightful read.
rtpoe

My August days behind me with my May,
Nor strive to drag them into Autumn's place,
Nor swear I hope when I do but remember.
Now violet and rose have had their day,
I'll pluck the soberer asters with good grace
And call September nothing but September.
 - Ella Wheeler Wilcox, September

*

KBTs

  • B Cup
  • 150
Re: Read any good books lately?
« Reply #578 on: September 23, 2016, 02:29:30 PM »
"Lawrence of Arabia's War: The Arabs, the British, and the remaking of the Middle East in WWI"

One detailed version of how the recent Middle East got the way it was before it got the way it is.

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rtpoe

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Re: Read any good books lately?
« Reply #579 on: November 29, 2016, 01:54:35 AM »
The Only Rule is it Has to Work
by Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

The dream of every fantasy sports player - what if you could run a team FOR REAL?

Lindbergh and Miller, two baseball writers and sabermetricians (stat nerds), got the chance to play "general manager" with the Sonora Stompers, an independent team in California. They were given free rein to apply all their number-crunching expertise, from drafting players to setting up lineups to making defensive shifts.

The Stompers, by the way, are at the bottom of the heap - really - in professional baseball. "If the [Moneyball] A’s were a 'collection of misfit toys,' as Micheal Lewis wrote, then we’ll be building a team out of toys that got recalled because they were choke hazards."

The question Lindbergh and Miller kept asking was "Why wasn't this player signed by anyone else?" They did manage to assemble a decent team - on paper. But then reality started setting in, and they learned the most important thing about managing a team......

http://www.theonlyruleisithastowork.com/
rtpoe

My August days behind me with my May,
Nor strive to drag them into Autumn's place,
Nor swear I hope when I do but remember.
Now violet and rose have had their day,
I'll pluck the soberer asters with good grace
And call September nothing but September.
 - Ella Wheeler Wilcox, September

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rtpoe

  • Old Fart
  • 9971
Re: Read any good books lately?
« Reply #580 on: January 17, 2017, 12:48:56 AM »
The Perfect Horse by Elizabeth Letts

The tale of how the Lippizaner horses of Vienna's Spanish Riding School were grabbed by the Nazis for a breeding program, and then rescued in the last days of the war.

If you love horses, you'll love this. I'm not a horse buff, so..... A pretty good war story, at least.
rtpoe

My August days behind me with my May,
Nor strive to drag them into Autumn's place,
Nor swear I hope when I do but remember.
Now violet and rose have had their day,
I'll pluck the soberer asters with good grace
And call September nothing but September.
 - Ella Wheeler Wilcox, September

*

rtpoe

  • Old Fart
  • 9971
Re: Read any good books lately?
« Reply #581 on: February 24, 2017, 04:15:32 AM »
Dolce Vita Confidential: Fellini, Loren, Pucci, Paparazzi, and the Swinging High Life of 1950s Rome
by Shawn Levy

The rebirth of Rome after WWII.....

Fashion designers Pucci, the Fontana Sisters, Emilio Schuberth.... Frederico Fellini.... Marcello Mastroianni... Egypt's exiled King Farouk, and other slumming aristocrats.... Hollywood legends Ava Gardner, Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston... New stars like Sophia Loren, Gina Lollabrigida, and Anita Ekberg.....

And the photographers who captured it all: Tazio Secchiarioli, Pierluigi Praturlon, and Marcello Gepetti.... the first "paparazzi".....
rtpoe

My August days behind me with my May,
Nor strive to drag them into Autumn's place,
Nor swear I hope when I do but remember.
Now violet and rose have had their day,
I'll pluck the soberer asters with good grace
And call September nothing but September.
 - Ella Wheeler Wilcox, September

*

rtpoe

  • Old Fart
  • 9971
Re: Read any good books lately?
« Reply #582 on: March 18, 2017, 03:19:11 AM »
Charles Stross' "Laundry" series. Magical realism, with a foreboding sense of Lovecraftian doom tempered with a satire of government bureaucracy.

In The Atrocity Archives, IT specialist Bob Howard runs up against neo-Nazis trying to summon a "frost giant" to bring about the next Reich. The Jennifer Morgue deconstructs the "James Bond" archetype. In The Fuller Memorandum, we find out the background of "Angleton", Howard's mysterious boss and mentor. In The Apocalypse Codex, Howard deals with a religious cult actively trying to bring about Doomsday. The Rhesus Chart and The Annihilation Score introduce vampires and superheroes, respectively - each time perfectly fitting them into the rules of the milieu.

I just finished The Nightmare Stacks..... Would you believe an army of Elven mages invading England?

Alex Schwartz is a new "recruit" to the Laundry. He's one of the vampires that survived the end of The Rhesus Chart, and happens to be the "Agent On The Scene" when the advance scout for the invasion appears. If you ever wondered how a dragon would do against a modern jet fighter....

Stross continues to add more to his version of England, while staying true to local custom and geography (aside from the occasional bit of artistic license). And that's particularly important in the way the novel comes to an end. By around the 2/3 mark, I had a good idea of how the whole thing would be wrapped up. As it turned out, I was pretty close. The biggest difference was that Stross managed to bring it all to a perfectly satisfying conclusion in less than one page.

I practically jumped out of my chair, shouting "YES! YES! THAT IS FREAKIN' AWESOME!!!"

(By all that's holy, if you do get your hands on the book, don't read the last two pages unless you're going to read the rest of it first.)

Of course, there's going to be (at least) one more novel in the series. It's going to be impossible to keep magic a secret, now that a few thousand Elven mages are wandering around near Leeds, and there are about as  many human casualties and a couple of destroyed aircraft to deal with....
rtpoe

My August days behind me with my May,
Nor strive to drag them into Autumn's place,
Nor swear I hope when I do but remember.
Now violet and rose have had their day,
I'll pluck the soberer asters with good grace
And call September nothing but September.
 - Ella Wheeler Wilcox, September

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Hark

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Re: Read any good books lately?
« Reply #583 on: March 20, 2017, 04:29:19 PM »
Currently reading Robert Reich, "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few." I'm fairly light in economic & financial knowledge, but he makes it easy enough to follow along. Though I'm learning smaller details, overall it confirms what I've already knew that the GOP and many corporatist Democrats have sold us out to Big Oil, Big Pharma, the military industrial complex, and Wall Street. I can only do 1 chapter at a time, since I get angry, and this was written BEFORE our new 'Cheeto Jesus.'

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Bramlet

  • 1631
Re: Read any good books lately?
« Reply #584 on: March 20, 2017, 11:54:04 PM »
Thomas Sowell's auto-biography.

I just started V. D. Hanson's "Carnage and Culture"
“Rhetoric is no substitute for reality.” – Thomas Sowell

"Liberals like humanity but they hate humans." – Victor Davis Hanson