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ian

Ian's reading 2019

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I'm looking forward to another years reading. I read 42 books in 2018, which is great, but more importantly,  about 74% of those I rated either 4 or 5 out of 5. I got 2 books for Christmas, plus a book token, which I converted into 3 more books over the break.  I'm currently reading the second of 2 books that my brother lent me (the first being the Michael Caine book), so all in all, things are looking good, book-wise,

 

I hope you all have a great new year, with lots of good books!

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Thanks Ian, you too!

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Hope you have another great reading year Ian! 

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Book 1: First Man In - Ant Middleton.

 

I borrowed this book off my brother, who reads much more non-fiction than I do.  For those who don't know Ant Middleton is a former British special forces soldier who came to public attention when he was in a TV programme that put ordinary members of the public through the sort of training that these soldiers endure.  To say this guy has led an interesting life is a massive understatement.  In the book he takes you through the sections of his life, starting with his first day of basis training, and highlighting the lessons in leadership that he learnt from his successes and failures.  As you would expect, he doesn't pull his punches and is brutally honest, especially about his own failures and weaknesses (he ends up in prison at one point).  A pretty good read. 4/5

 

Book 2: The Wrong Side of Goodbye - Michael Connolly

 

This is one of the recent "Harry Bosch" series. I've read a lot of these, and never in the correct order, but to be honest, that doesn't seem to matter as much as it does in other series.  I think this is one of the best of his I've read in a while. The story, which centres around Bosch being asked to look for possible heirs to an extremely wealthy, elderly industrialist  in his role as a P.I, whilst also working as a reserve officer in the San Fernando police, is well described, believable and nicely paced.  There are a few references to Vietnam, which I think are really well handled. So much that I thought that the author must have served there during the war. Turns out in the acknowledgments that he got all this from research. In which case I am very impressed: as he says, he wanted that to be the emotional heart of the book. It certainly does that, and makes you care about the characters. I really enjoyed this book. 5/5

  

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Thanks for the review of the Ant Middleton book, it's been on my wishlist for a while but I'm waiting for the paperback release.

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3 hours ago, Brian. said:

Thanks for the review of the Ant Middleton book, it's been on my wishlist for a while but I'm waiting for the paperback release.

 

It's well worth a read

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Book 3: The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman

 

I brought this book with the book token I had for Christmas, and picked it solely on the fact it was by Gaiman.

 

This book is actually a children's book, albeit a very dark one, about a boy who is raised by the dead inhabitants of a graveyard when the rest of his family are murdered. He his given the freedom of the graveyard, meaning he can walk through solid objects in the graveyard and fade from view. He also has a guardian - Silas, a mysterious character, that you find more about as the book progresses. I won't give any more away, but this has all the imagination and wit that anyone can expect from Neil Gaiman. My only criticism, if it can be legitimately called a criticism, is that these ideas are so good - I wanted to know  more.  In reality, this book could have been twice as long for me. So characters that only get a few pages; I wanted to know much more about them, so they perversely feel (to me anyway) a bit wasted.  I realise all this is bit unfair of me. It's just that his throwaway characters are better than some authors main characters. The upshot is really enjoyed this book, so I'll still give it 5/5.

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I agree with you completely about The Graveyard Book. Gaiman has such a brilliantly vivid imagination, I would have loved to know more about a lot of the characters, but what was there was perfect.

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This talk makes me want to re-read The Graveyard Book. I liked it when I first read it, but I feel I didn't get the most out of it the first time. 
 

Happy reading in 2019, Ian! :smile2:

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Book 4: Villain by Michael Grant

 

I borrowed this book off my son. We've both enjoyed this series of books The Gone series form a six-series of books about a group of teenagers with special powers. This is the second book of a follow up trilogy. Some of the characters are in both series.  A number of people have either been forcibly injected with or willingly taken a mutagenic virus that gives them special powers but also changes their physical appearance. They are able to turn these off or on at will.

 

I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as others in the series. It took me a while to get to the bottom of this. In the first series, most of the special power that people had were quite easy to picture - super speed, the ability to control gravity, etc. In this series, the powers are accompanied with extreme physical changes  - and these, I felt the author struggles to describe. Which means it's hard for me to imagine. 

 

Apart form that, this is just a straight adventure: there are plenty of fights and huge amounts of violence. But, unlike some books aimed at adults, most of the characters are not morally black or white. They make mistakes and question their motives. It's this that, for me, lifts these books above other similar series. 4/5  

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Book 5:Past Tense by Lee Child

 

This book was a Christmas present.

 

Ina way, if you've read one Reacher book, you're read them all. But there is something I find very, very readable; almost comforting about these. Reacher drifts from place to place. He doesn't look for trouble, but it always seems to find him, and he doesn't back away. He stands up to the bullies of this world, however they present themselves, which, for me, is always a good thing to read.  This is probably one of the best of these I've read in a while. The plot has plenty of interest in it - 2 or 3 different plots threads going on. (no spoilers for me!)Not all of them are resolved, but as that is deliberate, that's not really an issue. I really enjoyed this one  5/5

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On 1/27/2019 at 10:36 PM, ian said:

Book 4: Villain by Michael Grant

 

I borrowed this book off my son. We've both enjoyed this series of books The Gone series form a six-series of books about a group of teenagers with special powers. This is the second book of a follow up trilogy. Some of the characters are in both series.  A number of people have either been forcibly injected with or willingly taken a mutagenic virus that gives them special powers but also changes their physical appearance. They are able to turn these off or on at will.

 

I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as others in the series. It took me a while to get to the bottom of this. In the first series, most of the special power that people had were quite easy to picture - super speed, the ability to control gravity, etc. In this series, the powers are accompanied with extreme physical changes  - and these, I felt the author struggles to describe. Which means it's hard for me to imagine. 

 

Apart form that, this is just a straight adventure: there are plenty of fights and huge amounts of violence. But, unlike some books aimed at adults, most of the characters are not morally black or white. They make mistakes and question their motives. It's this that, for me, lifts these books above other similar series. 4/5  

 

I've read the orignal 6 Gone series books, but I haven't started Monster yet (book 1 in the new spin-off series, for anyone who doesn't know). I didn't know book 2, Villain was out yet. I've been a bit hesistant to start Monster because I've heard the new series is not as good as the original. Nice to know you liked Villain, though it's good to know you feel it is not as good as the other books. It's a shame the author didn't describe more of these physical changes due to the powers. I enjoyed reading your review :).

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