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Brian.

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About Brian.

  • Rank
    This too shall pass
  • Birthday 11/24/1980

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  • Reading now?
    A book
  • Location:
    SE England

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  1. The Lord of the Rings

    I’d suggest setting a reading target and a deadline (eg 3 chapters in a week) and then we can discuss the chapters read before moving on to the next set point. I’ve not done one of these before though so I’m happy for others to suggest something different.
  2. I made a start on Samurai by John Man last night.
  3. Only the one book finished this week. The Gates of Rome (Emperor #1) by Conn Iggulden (3/5) I've had a copy of this sitting on the TBR for quite a while and although I wanted to start the series I was worried that it would struggle to live up to my enjoyment of the Cicero series by Robert Harris. The series, and Iggulden for that matter gets pretty solid reviews and as I've been in a bit of a reading funk recently I thought it would make a quick easy read. I only skimmed the synopsis on the back and I have only a basic grasp of Roman history but despite this, some of the major characters were pretty familiar to me. I won't say much about the plot except to say that we follow the coming of age of two of Rome's most famous citizens. I thought the book was pretty solid if unspectacular. The ideal way to spend a lazy weekend on the couch sheltering from the cold weather outside. I think it's fair to say that Iggulden plays loose with the real history of events but I don't begrude his for that. I won't rush to read the next book in the series but I do look forward to see what happens next.
  4. It started with Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, moved through the Wallander books by Henning Mankell, and these days I'll give anything a go. If you told me 10 years ago that I would read Pride & Prejudice for fun and end up loving it I would have thought you'd lost the plot.
  5. Personal Library

    I'm a bit conflicted about the fact that the author of the article has 8000 books. On the one hand as a book lover it looks amazing, but the minimalist side of my personality would probably find it a bit too much. I know that I would never get round to reading 8000 books and I would feel guilty about having a lot of them effectively for show. MY TBR is huge but luckily for me a lot of them are ebooks so don't take up any space physically. About 10 years ago I had thousands of books in my flat but over the years I have donated loads to charity and feel much more comfortable with the 2 or 3 bookcases I have at the moment. All that said, when I have more space I could see myself expanding my collection in the future.
  6. I used to be one of those men who didn’t read fiction. It wasn’t because I thought it was a waste of time as such but more because I was reading for a specific purpose, to learn something. At the time I never really considered reading just to read as a pleasurable pursuit. Thinking about it now, that is really daft because I really enjoyed reading non-fiction and did so because I enjoyed it, not because I felt like I had to. What changed things for me was finding the right kind of fiction for me.
  7. The Lord of the Rings

    Having recently finished The Hobbit I would be up for a group read of this.
  8. Thanks for the details reply, I shall check out some of your recommendations. I'm pretty sure that the movie is suggested at the end of the book as well.
  9. I have finished two books since my last update, both non-ficition. The Longest Afternoon by Brendan Simms (4/5) This is a very short book (about 100 pages) about a specific event during the battle of Waterloo. Simms thinks that this area of battle was so vital to victory that if it had gone the other way then the whole of European history would be different. The battle in question is the defence of the farmhouse of La Haye Sainte. This whole period of history is pretty sketchy for me but Simms manages to make the battlefield come to life with his writing. There are a lot of different people involved but it never gets confusing. I really enjoyed this brief foray into Waterloo and will be keeping an eye out for a more thorough book in the future. Russians Among Us by Gordon Corera (4/5) Remember the red-headed Russian spy Anna Chapman? This book is all about Russian sleeper cells and espionage since the end of the Cold War. Most of the books I read about the world of Espionage and understandably based during the Cold War when spying was at its height. Once the Soviet Union broke up the need for spy agencies seem to lessen and so both sides scaled down their secretive organisations. However, there remained on both sides people who thought this was a mistake and the Russians decided to go deep and set up sleeper agents. These agents lived as everyday American families for decades with the intent on getting to know people in power or to identify those who could potentially be turned. This was a really fascinating book into a world away from the James Bond type of spy work that is often portrayed. It is very well researched, covering a number of stories that appeared heavily in the press at the time. The last few chapters also cover the most modern approach taken by Russia via social media. They are far more sophisticated than just churning out fake news but involve setting up and steering groups on sites like Facebook to protest and cause problems. A real eye-opener for sure.
  10. I made a start on The Godfather by Mario Puzo this morning. I've seen the movie many times so it will be interesting to see where the book and movie differ.
  11. Hidden Books Game 2021

    That’s got me completely stumped as well.
  12. The post is from 4 years ago, I imagine the deadline has passed.
  13. My reading mojo is still a bit up and down and I've left it quite a while before writing this so my thoughts will be brief. I really should try and write a mini-review as soon as I finish a book but life gets in the way too often. Black Sun by Owen Matthews (3/5) A fiction book based around a murder commited on a secret nuclear weapon development site in soviet Russia. I found the book entertaining enough but struggled to bond with any of the characters to care about them that much. Kaizen by Sarah Harvey (2/5) A non-fiction book I picked up at work about the Japanese way of transforming things one small step at a time. I knew a bit about the concept from a business point of view before reading this book so I wasn't a complete newbie going in. The book promises to take a non-business approach and look at how Kaizen can be used in our personal lives. I found it far too shallow and it provided nothing new to me. You could pick up all of the information by reading a few blog posts on the subject. The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien (4/5) The first Tolkien I have read and I was left utterly delighted by it. Strong characters, strong plot, very strong setting, you can't really ask for more. Well, perhaps fewer songs. Candide by Voltaire (2/5) I thought it was ok but I struggled to really get into it. Perhaps I would have felt better about it had I not been struggling from low reading mojo. I also suspect that some of the humour is lost due to the translation. Zonal Marking by MIchael Cox (3/5) A non-fiction book about the evolution of football tactics in Europe since the early 90's. I have listened to Cox on numerous podcasts and read some of his blog posts so a lot of what is covered in this book wasn't new to me. However, he presents everything in an easy to understand way and in a logical timeline. This really helps to see where the true inspirational tactical advances are and where others merely developed an existing theme. A few diagrams throughout the book would have helped to understand some of the tactical patterns discussed. Bomber Command by Max Hastings (4/5) Another non-fiction book. This one is about Bomber Command during the Second World War. As you would expect from Hastings, this is a superbly researched and written book. I was caught a little by surprise at how scathing it is in parts but to be fair, these parts seem perfectly warranted having finished the book. There is a section towards the end of the book where he looks at the attack on Darmstadt from the experiences of the residents of the city. It makes harrowing but essential reading when talking about the bombing campaigns of the war. I read it at the perfect time given that it is Remembrance Sunday tomorrow.
  14. Greetings.

    Welcome to the forum Chris.
  15. I've been struggling to get into the books I am reading at the moment so I decided to try something else. I picked up Zonal Marking by Michael Cox which is about how football tactics have changed in Europe since the 90's and so far it has really grabbed my interest.
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