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pontalba's 2016 reading list

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Just wanted to say its good to see you around :)

:006:

 

 

Good to see you, Kate :). The James T. Kirk book sounds nice, but I don't know if I'm enough of a fan to get all of it (seeing as I haven't seen everything yet).

 

Thanks, guys. :) 

 Much appreciated.

 

I'm still plugging away at SPQR by Mary Beard.  But I'm chomping at the bit to read Robert Harris' Dictator.   So many stacks, so little time!  :D

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:D  Thanks!  I'm glad you liked it!

 

I've read a couple more, The Autobiography of James T. Kirk by David A. Goodman....only a 3/5 and one must be a fan of Star Trek.  Really! :D

 

Also read Lay Down My Sword and Shield by James Lee Burke, only a 3/5 also.  Surprisingly.

 

First in what is so far a three book series. This one was written back in the 1970's, and the era and Burke's young writing shows. I've also read about one-third of the second in the series, published in 2009. I doubt I'll continue. While Burke's writing is really gorgeous.....lyrical and so very evocative of place and exceedingly descriptive of personalities.....the real brutality of the stories is so truly hurtful that it's difficult to read.

 

I've read 7 or 8 of his Dave Robicheaux series, The Neon Rain and Heaven's Prisoner being the first and second of them. In the second one, his opening description of the Gulf of Mexico is so absolutely wonderful and true that it almost brings tears to your eyes.

But they are brutal too, increasingly so as the series continues.

 

Most all of Burke's books are pretty brutal. Some more so than I believe is necessary. However, his writing is so good that I continue to read his books. I believe that I have read all or at least most all of his books including his latest which I wasn't keen on. :)

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Most all of Burke's books are pretty brutal. Some more so than I believe is necessary. However, his writing is so good that I continue to read his books. I believe that I have read all or at least most all of his books including his latest which I wasn't keen on. :)

 

Hey Muggle.  Well, it's thanks to you that I started reading Burke, and I do appreciate the tip! :D  I've certainly enjoyed what  I've read of him.   I think that part of my problem  is the place he is writing of in these books, the Texas ones.  The land he describes is bare, forlorn, and downright inhospitably mean that it becomes a character in it's own right, and I can't stand it.  heh

I could probably enjoy the Robicheaux books more because, firstly the Louisiana landscape   is more beautiful and lush...........plus I'm very familiar with it as it's my home.  Not exactly where he writes of, but very close. 

Edited by pontalba

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Dictator by Robert Harris  4/5

Finally! After 10 years, the Cicero Trilogy is complete. Happy Days!

Harris picks up this last of the trilogy with Cicero's exile, and no spoiler here, ends shortly after his death, or rather execution. Cicero's story is told by his slave and secretary Tiro, and in real life Tiro was in that position and was entrusted with Cicero's voluminous papers. Nothing in the book contradicted the real history I've read. Embellished, yes. Created, no.

I was very pleasantly surprised....no surprised is too strong. Let me say only that I was happy to read the tone of this book. Granted it's been several years since I read the first two installments of the trilogy, Imperium and Lustrum, but I remembered the tone of those as being a bit flippant for my taste, although well done. This was a much more serious work. I believe the book profited from the long simmering.

It's a wonderfully told story of love and loss, the fall of the Republic, and all the characters we've read about in History. Highly Recommended.
  

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10 years! Did it take you 10 years to read it, or did it take 10 years for the author to publish the trilogy?

 

I'm glad you enjoyed it :).

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10 years! Did it take you 10 years to read it, or did it take 10 years for the author to publish the trilogy?

 

I'm glad you enjoyed it :).

 

:giggle2:   Nah.  It took him that many years to complete the trilogy.  He wrote a number of other books, unrelated, in-between the 2nd and 3rd of the trilogy.  I was ready to scream!  :D

Even though I know the story well, I could hardly wait to see how Harris handled the thing. 

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Yesterday we went across the lake to New Orleans, and visited a few Estate Sales, and then went Uptown to a local landmark small bookseller that I'd never visited.  I found out that they sell second hand copies of books as well as new books.  The Maple Street Book Shop, http://www.maplestreetbookshop.com/  It's a great little place, full of cozy ambiance and some great books!  Their second hand book prices are pretty fair and we managed to pick up a stack. :)  What is interesting, is that they mix the new and second hand books on the shelves.  The shopper doesn't have to check out another part of the store to see if there is a cheaper copy of a book they want. 

 

I read one of them, The Innocent, by Harlan Coben yesterday, staying up till 1:30 this morning to do so.  I'd almost forgotten how much I like his stories. 

 

Besides The Innocent, we bought:

 

Occupied City by David Peace

Slade House by David Mitchell

Faulkner and War with essays by various

Out of the Sun by Robert Goddard

Pushcart Prize XXXVI, Best of the Small Presses edited by Bill Henderson

City On Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg

This Census-Taker  by China Mieville

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:giggle2:   Nah.  It took him that many years to complete the trilogy.  He wrote a number of other books, unrelated, in-between the 2nd and 3rd of the trilogy.  I was ready to scream!  :D

Even though I know the story well, I could hardly wait to see how Harris handled the thing.

That is a long time! Though there are other series that take authors long to complete, too.

 

I hope you enjoy all your new books :)!

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Thanks, Gaia. :)  I've just finished a couple more.  One Who Is Conrad Hirst? is one that's been around here waiting for goodness knows how long, and the other, Disclaimer is a new acquisition through Amazon Marketplace.

 

Who Is Conrad Hirst? by Kevin Wignall   3/5

 

An assassin that wants to get out of the business thinks he has a logical way out, but it proves much more complicated that he thinks.  After all, he doesn't even know who he really works for, or why. 

 

The premise promised more than the story delivered, but was good enough. A little too "pat".

Just "o.k."

 

 

Disclaimer by Renee Knight 4/5 (solid)

 

A woman finds a book on her night table,  but how did it get there?  Upon reading the book, she discovers that it contains a story of  an incident in her past that only one other person knows about.  And that person is quite dead, publically and without any doubt. 

 

Wonderfully layered, casting doubt about like confetti, the reader is lead to the past and back, through the voices of several narrators.  How reliable the narrators are will be slowly revealed throughout the book. 

 

Don't think you know all that has happened until the final page.

 

Well done.  Highly recommended.

Edited by pontalba

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I'm still plugging away at SPQR by Mary Beard. 

This was a long time ago, but how was it?  I just randomly got this recommended for me from Amazon yesterday, I'd never heard of it and just made the connection that you had when I saw this post.

 

:giggle2:   Nah.  It took him that many years to complete the trilogy.  He wrote a number of other books, unrelated, in-between the 2nd and 3rd of the trilogy.  I was ready to scream!  :D

Even though I know the story well, I could hardly wait to see how Harris handled the thing. 

Isn't that just the worst?  Alison Weir has a new 6 book series coming out on the Queens of England and I hope it doesn't take 6 years!  In the meantime, she had another release this year, about Lady Margaret Douglas.  So ya,  Ahhhhh!

 

Slade House by David Mitchell

 

I hope to get to this, this year.  I've never read any David Mitchell before, have you?  The mystical realism throws me off.

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Hah, truth tell, I haven't finished SPQR yet, still about 100 pages to go.  I have to admit to being a little underwhelmed. 

 

Re David Mitchell, I've read Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks.  You may remember I'm not a big fan of magic realism, but Mitchell's books (that I've read so far) haven't had the level of MR that say, for instance, Marquez has.  Gabriel Garcia Marquez is not my cuppa. :)  But Mitchell has been, so far.

 

BTW, I believe Slade House is a book best read after The Bone Clocks.  Not sure how much it ties in though.

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Hey Muggle.  Well, it's thanks to you that I started reading Burke, and I do appreciate the tip! :D  I've certainly enjoyed what  I've read of him.   I think that part of my problem  is the place he is writing of in these books, the Texas ones.  The land he describes is bare, forlorn, and downright inhospitably mean that it becomes a character in it's own right, and I can't stand it.  heh

I could probably enjoy the Robicheaux books more because, firstly the Louisiana landscape   is more beautiful and lush...........plus I'm very familiar with it as it's my home.  Not exactly where he writes of, but very close. 

You may want to consider staying with the Robicheaux books then. Almost all of them take place somewhat South of where you live. I love his description of Louisana, both the land and the people. There is a great difference between Burke's earlier books and his later ones.....his prose has progressed by leaps and bounds.

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I loved Slade House when I read it earlier this year. I hadn't read The Bone Clocks first, but I didn't feel as though I missed anything (although of course I probably did—ignorance is bliss). I was really hoping to find The Bone Clocks at the bookfair last week, but no such luck. :( It's good knowing that you enjoyed it though.

 

I love reading about your book-buying adventures. :)

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Hurray for the new books !  :D

 

I have the first two Cicero books ; I got them after being enthused by an excerpt from Book 1 in the Sunday Times. Sadly, all that enthusiasm went into my TBR pile limbo.  :hide:

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You may want to consider staying with the Robicheaux books then. Almost all of them take place somewhat South of where you live. I love his description of Louisana, both the land and the people. There is a great difference between Burke's earlier books and his later ones.....his prose has progressed by leaps and bounds.

 

It's more than likely that I will, muggle.  :)

 

I loved Slade House when I read it earlier this year. I hadn't read The Bone Clocks first, but I didn't feel as though I missed anything (although of course I probably did—ignorance is bliss). I was really hoping to find The Bone Clocks at the bookfair last week, but no such luck. :( It's good knowing that you enjoyed it though.

 

I love reading about your book-buying adventures. :)

 

I did like it, and as I mentioned to Anna, I'm not usually a fan of Magic Realism.  But I'm coming around more lately and BC had just the right amount for me.

 

Thanks, Kylie! 

 

Hurray for the new books !  :D

 

I have the first two Cicero books ; I got them after being enthused by an excerpt from Book 1 in the Sunday Times. Sadly, all that enthusiasm went into my TBR pile limbo.  :hide:

 

Ah, yes.  Limbo Land.  Know it well.  /sigh-giggle/

 

We've been to another Estate Sale and found a few books.....and a desktop computer.  lol  Charles's went toes up. 

The list is, as follows:

 

Dominion by C.J. Sansom  (I'd debated about this for at least a year, but for a dollar...)

The Missing by Tim  Gautreaux

It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis

One Step Behind by Henning Mankell

The First Three Minutes by Steven Weinberg

Destination Morgue by James Ellroy

Falls the Shadow by Sharon Kay Penman

Influence and Intertextuality in Literary History by Jay Clayton

The Blind Man of Seville by Robert Wilson

Joseph Anton: A Memoir by Salman Rushdie (hardback, already had softback... :blush: )

Malignant Self Love, Narcissism Revisited by Sam Vaknin, PhD, Lidija Rangelovska (editor)

Edited by pontalba

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Enjoy your new books and PC !  :D

 

I`ve seen the TV series of Robert Wilson`s Falcon ( it was dreadful ! ) and have A Small Death in Lisbon in my TBR.  :smile:

 

How are your Furry Ones ? Xiao-Xiao is just at my feet, needing a cuddle.  :smile:

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Hah, truth tell, I haven't finished SPQR yet, still about 100 pages to go.  I have to admit to being a little underwhelmed. 

 

Re David Mitchell, I've read Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks.  You may remember I'm not a big fan of magic realism, but Mitchell's books (that I've read so far) haven't had the level of MR that say, for instance, Marquez has.  Gabriel Garcia Marquez is not my cuppa. :)  But Mitchell has been, so far.

 

BTW, I believe Slade House is a book best read after The Bone Clocks.  Not sure how much it ties in though.

That's too bad about SPQR although I have too admit I don't even know much about it, just that Amazon thought I'd like it :P

I've always wanted to read Marquez, but have been holding off because of your comments lol 

 

I loved Slade House when I read it earlier this year. I hadn't read The Bone Clocks first, but I didn't feel as though I missed anything (although of course I probably did—ignorance is bliss).

That's good to know, I am a bit put off by The Bone Clocks, like Kate, I am not really a fan of magical realism.  I hope to read it later in the year for a read a thon.

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Sorry to take so long to respond, been down several weeks with the Flu.  Today is the first day I'm posting.

 

Don't let me stop you from reading Marquez!  :D  At least try a sample.  One never knows!

 

I still haven't finished the Mary Beard book, haven't been doing much in the way of reading at all, just could hardly bear anything.  But, thanks to Sara, I've bought a new Javier Marias, The Man of Feeling.  I've only started, but it's vintage Marias. :)  That means Good!  He has a lovely way of round-about prose that just flows.

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Don't know if you are still on or not, but there are a huge number of Ian Fleming books on sale atm on Amazon.  If I knew which one to get, I'd buy one :banghead:

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Don't know if you are still on or not, but there are a huge number of Ian Fleming books on sale atm on Amazon. If I knew which one to get, I'd buy one :banghead:

I think my two favorites are "The Spy Who Loved Me", and a collection consisting of "Octapussy", "The Living Daylights" and one other.

Barely anything like the movies. They are very telling of the Bond character.

Edited by pontalba

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I bought From Russia with Love.  The synopsis sounded good, I will check out the two others, thanks :)

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Sorry to take so long to respond, been down several weeks with the Flu.  Today is the first day I'm posting.

Awwww :(. I'm glad you feel better now :).

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Sorry to take so long to respond, been down several weeks with the Flu.  Today is the first day I'm posting.

 

Don't let me stop you from reading Marquez!  :D  At least try a sample.  One never knows!

 

I still haven't finished the Mary Beard book, haven't been doing much in the way of reading at all, just could hardly bear anything.  But, thanks to Sara, I've bought a new Javier Marias, The Man of Feeling.  I've only started, but it's vintage Marias. :)  That means Good!  He has a lovely way of round-about prose that just flows.

 

Noooo, poor you ! Flu is so debilitating. Hope you feel much better soon.  :empathy:

 

Hurray, glad the book`s good.  :D

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I bought From Russia with Love.  The synopsis sounded good, I will check out the two others, thanks :)

 

Yeah, that one is good too. :)  Enjoy!

 

Awwww :(. I'm glad you feel better now :).

 

Thanks, Gaia. :)  I'm even getting my strength back now.

 

 

Noooo, poor you ! Flu is so debilitating. Hope you feel much better soon.  :empathy:

 

Hurray, glad the book`s good.  :D

 

I did feel like poor me!  Miserable flu!  Thanks, Sara. :)

 

It is.

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