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      Important Announcement!   07/28/2018

      Dear BCF members,   This forum has been running now for many years, and over that time we have seen many changes. Generalised forums are nowhere near as popular as they once were, and they have been very much taken over by blogs, vlogs and social media discussions. Running a forum well takes money, and a lot of care and attention, as there is so much which goes on behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly.   With all of this in mind, and after discussion within the current moderator team, the decision has been made to close this forum in its current format. I know that this will disappoint a lot of our long term members, but I want to reassure you that it's not a decision which has been taken lightly.    The remaining moderator team have agreed that we do not want to lose everything which is special about our home, and so we are starting a brand new facebook group, so that people can stay in touch, and discussions can continue. We can use it for free and should be easier for us to run (it won't need to be updated or hosted). We know not everyone has FaceBook, but we hope that those of you who are interested will join the group. We will share the link, and send invites as soon as we are ready to go. Added: We may as well get this going, find us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/195289821332924/   The forum will close to new registrations, but will remain open for some time, to allow people to collect up any information, reading lists etc they need to, and to ensure they have contact details for those they wish to stay in touch with.    The whole team feel sad to say goodbye, but we also feel that it's perhaps time and that it feels like the right choice. We hope we can stay in touch with all of you through our new FaceBook group.   I personally want to thank everyone who has helped me moderate the forum, both in the past and the present, and I also want to thank every single person who has visited, and shared their love of books.. I'm so proud of everything we've achieved, and the home we built.   Please visit the new section in the Lounge section to discuss this further, ask questions etc.
ian

Ian's reading 2017

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Happy new year everyone!

 

I thought I would be setting up this new page much sooner than I have. My excuse is the only reasonable one for a book forum - I've been too busy reading!

I did think I could wait until I had finished the first book of the year, but it turns out that what I'm reading is deceptive. It doesn't look 600 pages long, and the writing is dense. I've never found a better way to explain it than that. Some books, you can read a page a second it feels like. The words flow off the page and into the brain. And while they are with this; they do it slowly. Not to say I'm not enjoying it - quite the opposite I'm 400 odd pages in and loving every word but...

 

I guess some books are like fast food. Tasty, easily devoured. This is more like a gourmet meal; I'm savouring every mouthful.

 

So what is it? It's "The City of MIrrors " by Justin Cronin. The final book in The Passage trilogy. I've been waiting for this to come out for ages and it was one of my Xmas pressies. Sense told me to re-read the first two books again first as it's been so long, but when did sense come into it when there is an unread book staring at you!

 

Anyway, that's me for now. Happy reading everyone!

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Happy Reading in 2017 Ian  :hug: As much as it's important to set up a reading log, it's much more important to read so you're getting your priorities right .. hope you're enjoying The City of Mirrors and that it's a good closing book for the trilogy.  Very brave to start the year with a 600 pager! I've gone with Five Give Up the Booze!! Ease myself in  :lol: 

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Book 1: The City of Mirrors  - Justin Cronin

 

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A thrilling finale to a trilogy that will stand as one of the great achievements in American fantasy fiction.”—Stephen King

You followed The Passage. You faced The Twelve. Now enter The City of Mirrors for the final reckoning. As the bestselling epic races to its breathtaking finale, Justin Cronin’s band of hardened survivors await the second coming of unspeakable darkness.

The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place?

The Twelve have been destroyed and the terrifying hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew—and daring to dream of a hopeful future.

But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy—humanity’s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.

One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate.

 

My Thoughts

 

I always approach the final book in a series with a slight sense of dread. Will it live up to expectations?  In the case of this trilogy, I had an extra sense of dread. The Passage  - the first book - was an absolute 5 star epic for me, but The Twelve did disappoint a little. It was too light, reading more like a standard thriller rather than the more detailed and slower paced first book?

 

I'm glad to say it really didn't disappoint. This book is weighty, in all senses of the word. The story starts initially where The Twelve left off, but, as he did with both of the previous two, the author isn't afraid to take a mighty leap in time, this time backwards from a post-viral future approximately 100 years in our future back to the late 1980's. And then take 100 pages to fill in a backstory on Tim Fanning, the original source of the virus that almost wipes out mankind.  That kind of detour may put some people off, but I loved it. All of the loose ends are tied up nicely and the characters that you invest so much time in reach some satisfying conclusions.

 

A word of warning - don't even attempt to read this unless you've read the first two books - they won't make any sense. But I can't recommend them enough

 

5/5

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Have a great reading year, Ian.

 

I read The Passage when it first came out, but I have forgotten most of it. I think I will have to re-read it before attempting the sequels. :smile:

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Great review, Ian. I loved the trilogy, but unlike you I did go back and reread the first two...phew! But I have to say that was, for me, a wise decision. My memory was vague, and the reread actually clarified some points for me. It was a great experience to read all 3 in one-felled swoop. I wonder if that unmasks a certain amount of masochism on my part......? :D

 

Happy Reading Year!

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Book 2: The Machine stops - E.M. Forster.

 

"The Machine Stops" is a science fiction short story (12,300 words) by E. M. Forster. After initial publication in The Oxford and Cambridge Review (November 1909), the story was republished in Forster's 'The Eternal Moment and Other Stories' in 1928.

After being voted one of the best novellas up to 1965, it was included that same year in the populist anthology 'Modern Short Stories'. In 1973 it was also included in 'The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two'.

The book is particularly notable for predicting new technologies such as instant messaging and the internet. (Taken from Goodreads)

 

My thoughts.

 

This short story was mentioned in a letter to a newspaper on new years day. It piqued my interest, and I was able to find a copy to download.

 

The story involves a woman (Vashti) who lives, like everyone else on earth, underground, alone in a hexagonal room, where her every need is taken care of by The Machine. Virtually all human contact takes place through screens, physical contact has become repellent and attention span seems to have deteriorated to about 10 minutes.

 

In lots of respects, this story predicts the way technology divorces us from real life and interaction with real people. Considering when it was written, that's quite astounding. Inevitably, in other places, the story can seem quite dated, and I found myself liking it more for its message, than for the story itself.  3/5

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Happy reading in 2017, Ian. :)

 

Great review of The City of Mirrors. I have the first two books on my TBR pile, but I find them a little intimidating (just because of their size). Your review makes me optimistic. :) 

 

I'm sure I read The Machine Stops a few years, but I can't remember a single thing about it. I think I was distracted by other things at the time.

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Happy reading in 2017, Ian. :)

 

Great review of The City of Mirrors. I have the first two books on my TBR pile, but I find them a little intimidating (just because of their size). Your review makes me optimistic. :)

 

I'm sure I read The Machine Stops a few years, but I can't remember a single thing about it. I think I was distracted by other things at the time.

 

I didn't find the length of the books a problem - they are quite easy reads, in my opinion. The biggest problem I found, especially with the first one, is the fact that just when you've got a handle of the story and the characters; it jumps forward a hundred years or so. That was the point at which I nearly gave up.

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I have to share this with some book-lovers. Only you will understand how pleased this makes me.

 

I remember like it was yesterday, being sat in one of my English classes. Our teacher, Mrs Baker, was reading a section of a story that was in a text book. The story was about a man who was arrested because he was walking down the street.  I think the point was to show us an example of dystopian fiction. I can still remember the teacher be-moaning the fact that the story and author wasn't named, as she would love to read it. This was in about 1985.

 

I currently re-reading Fahrenheit 451, which always reminds me of that story as there are some definite parallels. Especially as I knew that Ray Bradbury was stopped by the police once for the suspicious behaviour of walking along the street at night. 

 

Well, thanks to the internet, I'm now 99% sure that it is in fact "The Pedestrian" by Ray Bradbury, the short story that Bradbury re-worked into Fahrenheit 451.

 

Mrs Baker, if you're out there - thanks for encouraging me to read!

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I didn't find the length of the books a problem - they are quite easy reads, in my opinion. The biggest problem I found, especially with the first one, is the fact that just when you've got a handle of the story and the characters; it jumps forward a hundred years or so. That was the point at which I nearly gave up.

 

The Passage was one of those books that I wasn't sure if I liked or not or even understood what was going on, but I kept reading on.  I was dubious about starting The Twelve because of this, but I did, and formed much the same opinion of that one. I'm quite curious to see how it all ends up though, so I might give City of MIrrors a go, especially given your glowing review. :)

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I have to share this with some book-lovers. Only you will understand how pleased this makes me.

 

I remember like it was yesterday, being sat in one of my English classes. Our teacher, Mrs Baker, was reading a section of a story that was in a text book. The story was about a man who was arrested because he was walking down the street. I think the point was to show us an example of dystopian fiction. I can still remember the teacher be-moaning the fact that the story and author wasn't named, as she would love to read it. This was in about 1985.

 

I currently re-reading Fahrenheit 451, which always reminds me of that story as there are some definite parallels. Especially as I knew that Ray Bradbury was stopped by the police once for the suspicious behaviour of walking along the street at night.

 

Well, thanks to the internet, I'm now 99% sure that it is in fact "The Pedestrian" by Ray Bradbury, the short story that Bradbury re-worked into Fahrenheit 451.

 

Mrs Baker, if you're out there - thanks for encouraging me to read!

Excellent, maybe your mission should be to tract Mrs Baker down and give her the good news!

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I think she would be surprised  - particularly considering that I failed English Literature!

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I think she would be surprised  - particularly considering that I failed English Literature!

So did I, it was so dry! I read all the time at home but had no interest in Shakespeare and Lord of the Flies! I'm sure she'd love to know that she cultivated a love of Literature in you. :)

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Book 3: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

 

The terrifyingly prophetic novel of a post-literate future.

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

The classic dystopian novel of a post-literate future, Fahrenheit 451 stands alongside Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilization’s enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity.

Bradbury’s powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which, decades on from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock.The terrifyingly prophetic novel of a post-literate future.

My Thoughts.

I'm calling this a re-read, but I admit, that I only remember the first two thirds of the book. Maybe I didn't finish it before. 

What can I say? This book is rightly a classic, and is in parts, very prophetic in the way technology can sometimes control us. Obviously, in other ways, it can seem a little dated. One of those books you should read, as much as want to. 4/5

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So did I, it was so dry! I read all the time at home but had no interest in Shakespeare and Lord of the Flies! I'm sure she'd love to know that she cultivated a love of Literature in you. :)

 

The same! Not that I didn't enjoy most of the books we read. But, looking back, was I really old enough to properly understand To Kill a Mockingbird? 

And  (draws breath), Shakespeare will always be, for me, something to watch, rather than read. (There I said it!)

Still, we did some fine books, and she was always complimentary of my book reviews.

 

When I did my mock exam, 6 months before the real thing, I got a B. When I sat down for the real thing, I'm afraid I sat there and thought "what is  the actual point of doing a character assessment on a fictional person?"  Then my mind went a bit blank. I know I wrote something, but it couldn't have been any good - I got a U.

 

Fortunately, it didn't impact on my love of reading!

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