BOOKS: General

Anything non-Phish related.

Re: BOOKS: General

Postby El Bastarde » Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:31 pm

I've always been a big fan of the LOTR movies (blueray extended or bust) but was surprised that even with 11 hours of film they still couldn't even come close to fitting everything in. It was great getting into all the extra plot lines omitted from the films, especially the final chapters dealing with the scouring of the shire.

Yeah, I felt that three films was perfect for LOTR...we all would have preferred some Bombadil content but I get why it was cut. And I really don't mind them leaving the scouring of the Shire out...the entire plot is geared towards destroying the ring...having another hour of content after that would have just not worked on film. Plus it's a kinda depressing way to end things.

The hobbit was prob my least favorite of the books, if I had to choose, due to its limited characters compared to the rest. Still not sure how/why they have 3 films for this book. It's the shortest one in the group and could have easily been done in 2 movies.

I like the Hobbit because it's more light-hearted and a lot more based on Bilbo's wits to get him out of trouble...while the LOTR is more about the greatest warriors fighting for their lives, this is a hapless group of people out of their element after some treasure. I have NO clue how they're making it into three books and after reading about it, it's because they're including a lot of Sauron backstory and such, none of which is even mentioned in the Hobbit. Even the One Ring is just some trinket and never known to be some instrument of evil. I think it could have been done in one movie. I'm so glad I avoided the Hobbit movies.

Though, I'll probably play the Lego game based on the Hobbit movies...so there's that.
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby Brother » Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:23 pm

I am in the second of three books by Patrick Rothfus. The series is called The King-killer Chronicle, and it's about a traveling musician/wizard kid named Kvothe. It's well written, although it meanders like crazy. There is a main plot which takes Kvothe all around the world and he's kind of brilliant and good at everything, which is kind of annoying. However, I'm really liking it. It's aimed at adults too, so there's plenty of crude sex jokes and crass humor to make you giggle. It doesn't take itself more seriously than it needs to, but it isn't necessarily a light-hearted book.

Book 1: Name of the Wind
Book 2: A Wise Man's Fear

I do recommend them!!
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby Buster » Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:50 pm

Haven't seen this thread in a while, it's been a cold winter, we should all be reading more!

One book left in the Dark Tower series, but I'm taking a little break from it. Slightly burnt out. Reading Stephen King's IT right now and LOVING IT. Seriously can't put it down.
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby Katiemay » Sat Feb 28, 2015 4:46 pm

While The Hobbit movies are excessive and much less magical than LOTR, I don't think they are in the "avoid" category. Actually, I sadly haven't seen the third yet, but I enjoyed the first and especially the second.

I signed up for a free trial of Audible awhile back and then didn't cancel my membership for awhile, so I had a bunch of credits to use up. I like listening to an audiobook to lull myself to sleep. Audible is cool though because with the app, I can listen on the iPad at home then, in the car, it will pick right up on the phone where I left off. I try to choose books that are maybe less cerebral because I prefer to read books like that and I fall asleep pretty quickly after beginning listening. I'm currently listening to Gone Girl and find it highly enjoyable. Can't wait to see how it turns out and then watch the movie.
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby ghost » Sat Feb 28, 2015 8:06 pm

Brother wrote:I am in the second of three books by Patrick Rothfus. The series is called The King-killer Chronicle, and it's about a traveling musician/wizard kid named Kvothe. It's well written, although it meanders like crazy. There is a main plot which takes Kvothe all around the world and he's kind of brilliant and good at everything, which is kind of annoying. However, I'm really liking it. It's aimed at adults too, so there's plenty of crude sex jokes and crass humor to make you giggle. It doesn't take itself more seriously than it needs to, but it isn't necessarily a light-hearted book.

Book 1: Name of the Wind
Book 2: A Wise Man's Fear

I do recommend them!!


My aunt taught 6th grade english in Deforest, Wisconsin (outside Madison) for a long time. She taught Patrick Rothfuss. When these books came out she told us all about them and highly recommended them. My wife, who is a big fantasy book fan, said Name of the Wind is the best book she's ever read. I guess everyone is anxiously awaiting the third book. I have not read them.

Some good books I did read lately:
The Devil's Teeth - Susan Casey (great white sharks around the Farallon Islands)
The Book of Exodus: The Making and Meaning of Bob Marley and the Wailers' Album of the Century - Vivean Goldman (recording of Exodus after attempt on Bob Marley's life)
The Last Pirate: A Father, His Son, and the Golden Age of Marijuana - Tony Dokoupil (biggest pot smuggler in the 70s and 80s)
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby Harpua » Fri Dec 11, 2015 5:26 pm

Hello OKP, since Phish tour / baseball season ended, I have been on a major reading kick. I have read some truly amazing books, and some outright average books. I have listed them in ascending order, with a brief explanation of why I rated each one as I did. PM me if you want to look me up on Goodreads.com

Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut (2/5 Stars) A fictional autobiography of a pioneer of modern art and World War 2 veteran. I always enjoy when Vonnegut discusses The War, because he does not glorify it. He reminds the reader, and not subtly, that war is Hell, and soldiers are children who regularly come home dead or disfigured. This hit home for me, because my brother is a Marine, and last May a good friend of mine, also a Marine, died in combat. Unfortunately, the criticism of the glorification of the military is only a minor part of the book, and the rest is mediocre.

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (2.5 / 5 Stars) It was nice returning to Maycomb County. Unfortunately, the rich characters you loved from Mockingbird have devolved into mouthpieces, they are no longer humans, and they are now points-of-view in human form.

The Martian by Andy Weir (2.5 / 5 Stars) A fun Sci-fi survival novel with the worst dialogue I have ever read.

Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut (3/5 Stars) Like any collection of short stories, this one has its highs and lows.

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (3.5/5 Stars) I love robots. There, I said it. Robbie, Reason, Little Lost Robot, Liar, Escape, and Evidence are all 4 to 5 star stories. Runaround, The Evitable Conflict, and Catch that Rabbit, not so much.

Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates by Tom Robbins (4/5 Stars) I enjoy most of Tom Robbins works, and I would put this one near the top. I identified with Switters, the story’s protagonist, which is unusual for a Robbins novel. The story, although lacking, was told in the preposterous prose of a lyrical mad scientist.

Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey (5/5 Stars) Sometimes a Great Notion was the first novel I put on my "to read" list when I joined Goodreads. Several years later I got around to reading it. It is EASILY the best American novel I have ever read. The characters, the symbolism, the plot, and the prose are all simply amazing. It is not an easy read. It is long, and the point of view changes frequently and without warning (especially during the climax, which is a skillfully crafted symphony of alternating narration,) but I believe that most people who are able to finish this book will find it very rewarding.
Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.
~4~
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby El Bastarde » Mon Dec 14, 2015 3:22 pm

Takes me forever to read anything...finally finishing up on the Wheel of Time series, book 15. Been reading this series for like fifteen years. Quite an action-packed final book.
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby GratefulPhish » Tue Dec 15, 2015 4:53 pm

I read Catcher In the Rye recently very quickly. Obviously a classic that I should've read long ago, but I can't really imagine it leaving the impression at any other time as it did now.

Started reading Choke around Thanksgiving, and that one has been more of a challenging read. It jumps around a lot, uses almost nothing but symbolism to convey anything. I wish that I could be reading it with a class or something, there are definitely times where I feel like I've missed the point in it- would be nice to have another perspective....

Anyone here read it? Drew?
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby Brother » Thu Dec 17, 2015 2:27 pm

I have not read Choke. Only one I've read by him is fight club, but I own Pygmy. I have read Catcher in the Rye 3 times. Once at 15, 17, and 21. I got a different reaction from it each time.

Right now I'm reading HP Lovecraft short stories, the most recent Artemis Fowl book of the popular Irish children's series, and the final book in a fantasy quintlogy (pentolgy?) called the Belgaraid.
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby El Bastarde » Mon Dec 21, 2015 7:10 pm

I have read Catcher in the Rye 3 times. Once at 15, 17, and 21. I got a different reaction from it each time.

I'm planning on reading Alice in Wonderland after these next two books for this very reason. I wonder what my older-self thinks of it.
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby Harpua » Mon Dec 21, 2015 7:14 pm

Last night I finished A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. I wish I would have read it sooner. If you are not familiar with this novel, it is a semi-autobiographical coming of age story by James Joyce. It is mostly told in an occasionally confusing free indirect speech style, which took a bit of getting used to, but once I had figured out the narration style, I thought it was great. There are a few bits and pieces of the novel that tend to drag on, a 10 page graphic description of Hell comes to mind, as well as a diatribe about aesthetics that seemed tangential until I put a little bit of thought into it. Needless to say it is not a light read.

'Look here, Cranly,' he said, 'You have asked me what I would do and what I would not do. I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe whether it call itself my home, my fatherland or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or of art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use--silence, exile, and cunning.' - Stephan Dedalus, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.
~4~
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby GratefulPhish » Tue Dec 22, 2015 4:17 pm

^^^ I'd be interested to hear what your take was at the different ages Drew. I feel like I went through many different thoughts on it throughout. At one point I'd be all, hell yeah fuck the world Holden. Then I'd realize, maybe I shouldn't have so much empathy for Holden. Then I'd want to strangle Holden for being such a wimp. Pretty friggin awesome piece of literature.

^ I've heard great things about that book. One of my buddies I met earlier this year used to love to talk about Joyce. I need to check him out soon.

I'll probably finish Choke today, and although I'm not sure yettttt- it at least seems like it might be headed for a happy ending of sorts. Which would be really surprising to me. Next on the list is In Cold Blood.
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby fone » Tue Dec 22, 2015 7:00 pm

^^A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.... I had a guru.

Dennis wasn't a guru in the classic sense of the term, or the way most Easterners think of a skinny, brown skinned relic with a turban on his head, spewing forth non-sequiturs meant to astound and amaze the great unwashed devotees sitting obediently at his feet. He was actually a hippy, squatting with his partner Faye, in an abandoned hotel in a little town in upstate NY called Gardener.

He had two sources of his belief system, that he neither fostered on people without being asked, or went out of his way to extend to most people unless they approached him with a curiosity about the poignancy of those sources. Those two sources, of course were books and music. And similarly, as most religious or spiritual leaders, he practiced in the sacraments and ceremonies, but once again, neither encouraging or discouraging their use.

I was a senior in college when I met Dennis and began to question and then drink from the wellspring that he had to offer. It was at his side and in front of a 300 watt Harmon Kardon sound system that could blow holes in the walls of that old hotel, that all the automated plans of achieving my goal of becoming a science teacher were re-routed, as it were, to a world where inclusion of the wonders of the world became immensely more important than thinking that all the answers could only be found in the text books of every required course that ever existed for anyone.

It was Dennis who opened my ears, not just to the music I was really hearing for the first time, like the Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd, or the incredible hidden classics from Ravel, Tchaikovsky and Bach, but he also taught to hear what I was reading, by guiding me through his own personal bible, Ulysses. Although he was incredibly well versed on so many literary classics, it was his holy trinity, Ulysses, A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man, and Finnegan's Wake, that he drew most of his powers from.

For more than two years, on and off, I drew from his strength as I could hardly understand the rhythms and sounds of the Joycean cadences of his writing. What was, I thought, a scholarly and disciplined mind, able to pass tests and move rung by rung along the graduate ladder, could not let go of its mental constructs and restrictive habits to begin looking at and hearing life from an alternate perspective.

I struggled with Joyce, it hurt at times to stay with a chapter or even a page of a chapter. And at times Dennis would become so frustrated with my incoherence that he threw things at me. But he had no mind to turn me away, as long as I continued to seek his knowledge. I knew there was something incredibly special and valuable in everything that I was absorbing, even though I still know that I've missed so much in the Joyce trilogy. I never did finish Finnegan's Wake. At certain times I could understand the many recorded readings that Dennis possessed of FW, but time got away from us both.

He had a baby he named Seamus Anson, and then another with developmental issues they named Devin. They moved to southern California in order to get help for him, and I never saw him again after that. I found out from his ex-wife about a year ago that they had divorced in the early 90s and about six years ago, Dennis died of a heart attack.

But early on in my time with him, as we would discuss, music, or philosophical topics as we would often do, he would often admonish my reluctance to tackle Joyce, especially Ulysses, by just turning to me and saying, 'you really need to read that damn book'. In my first encounters with Phish's TMWSIY, echoes of this phrase would always come back to me in terms of the Helping Friendly Book, like two parts of my life coming together, like a reprise of a wonderful old song in my head.

Mention anything Joyce related to me, and I revert to my spiritual rebirth in my heart and mind, but don't often share the story of my guru with most people. Most are really not receptive enough to care. If you think you might be, you know what you have to do.
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And as you rise above the fear lines in his frown
You look down
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby Harpua » Tue Dec 22, 2015 7:39 pm

^ Wow, that is a really interesting story. I plan on reading Finnegan's Wake and Ulysses eventually, but after Portrait, I need something a little bit lighter.

GratefulPhish wrote:^^^ I'd be interested to hear what your take was at the different ages Drew. I feel like I went through many different thoughts on it throughout. At one point I'd be all, hell yeah fuck the world Holden. Then I'd realize, maybe I shouldn't have so much empathy for Holden. Then I'd want to strangle Holden for being such a wimp. Pretty friggin awesome piece of literature.

^ I've heard great things about that book. One of my buddies I met earlier this year used to love to talk about Joyce. I need to check him out soon.


A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man would actually be a very good book to read around the same time you read Catcher. It would be fun to do a comparison of Stephen and Holden.
Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.
~4~
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby Harpua » Tue Jan 19, 2016 10:31 pm

Good Afternoon OKP! As I see it, as long as it is too cold to go anywhere, and as long as I still have momentum, I might as well keep reading at this feverish (possibly obsessive) pace. Since my last update I have read 5 more book, which I will list in ascending order with a brief description of the book and/or explanation of my rating.

The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg: This is a glance at a matriarch who is eating herself to death, and how her obesity is affecting the rest of her upper-middle class family, in which the women are all very strong willed and the men are all, in one way or another, wimpy. If you live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, like I do, you might like that you will know all the landmarks. “Hey, I know where Dundee meets 53.” Other than that, it is far too quick a story to develop characters, or really become emotionally involved with this family. (1.5/5)

God: A Biography by Jack Miles: God is a character analysis of the Judeo- Christian god, as depicted in the Torah and Old Testament. It shows how he (or He) evolved as a character, from creator to destroyer, from liege to wife. Unfortunately, where the bible gets boring so does this book. Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs, Esther, and a few other books are very dry, but Genesis, Exodus and Job, balance things out. (2.5/5)

The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell: Deconstructing mythologies’ archetypal “hero’s journey” stories, Campbell lays the blueprint for every adventure movie I have ever seen. I will never watch Star Wars the same way again. (3.5/5)

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury: Mandatory reading for Sci-Fi enthusiasts. This series of shorts stories, all having to do with the colonization of Mars, poetically paints a portrait of humanity’s irrepressible ability to destroy itself. (4/5)

Foundation by Isaac Asimov: This is also mandatory reading for Sci-Fi enthusiasts. Foundation details the fall of the Galactic Empire, and the efforts of a few academics using a combination of statistical analysis and psychology to minimize the effects of such an event. It can be more political thriller than Sci-Fi at times, but it is still captivating and prophetic. (4.5/5)
Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.
~4~
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby El Bastarde » Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:26 pm

I struggled with Joyce, it hurt at times to stay with a chapter or even a page of a chapter.

I wonder why these things aren't held against the author at times. Some of these "classic" writers do so in such a style that it's brutally hard to enjoy or take in any of it. Why this doesn't make them a crappier writer is beyond me. The Scarlet Letter is some revered classic and I thought the book was bloody awful with horrible pacing and unrealistic characters. And I don't know ANYONE who liked it. Not one person. Why is this dreck considered a classic?

Still plugging at my Wheel of Time book but getting near the end. Major characters dying left and right. Chaos.
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby marley » Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:33 am

Been on a David Foster Wallace kick. I started, stuck with, and finally finished Infinite Jest. It was a commitment, but well worth it. I just finished Broom of the System, which was waaaay more accessible.
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby y0n » Thu Jan 21, 2016 6:18 am

Just finished East of Eden. Started it over a year ago and put it down for several months a few times. What a book! Really a tremendous work. IT helped foster my deep appreciation of the lovely state of California.

Had me in tears at the end, though that's probably also due to my mom's stroke about a year ago. I highly suggest it!

I'm taking a turn in a different direction now. Reading The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. It has been literary candy, a real easy read. She has a way of creatively using words. Almost a type of poetry, though it sits firmly towards the prose side of the spectrum. Only about 20 pages in, but I like it so far.

Also I might suggest She's Come Undone, another book that had me in tears at the conclusion. Definitely a gut wrencher, though not in the way you might expect.
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby Brother » Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:55 pm

I read The God of Small Things in a feminist lit class. You're in for some shock, lol.
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby hosemasterflex » Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:20 pm

I'm not much of a reader, regrettably. Someday I'll wise up though, and when I do, I'll check this thread.

I've started this book, but could not pay any attention, so I have to start over.

Image

It was just lying around the house, I have no idea where we got it. I'm not sure I'll actually read it. Seemed like a funny idea at the time. Now it's just stressin me out
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby El Bastarde » Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:12 pm

Seemed like a funny idea at the time. Now it's just stressin me out

You're clearly intimidated by the absolute manliness of Lando and the fact that you'll never be that awesome. I can understand.
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby Harpua » Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:51 pm

El Bastarde wrote:I struggled with Joyce, it hurt at times to stay with a chapter or even a page of a chapter.

I wonder why these things aren't held against the author at times. Some of these "classic" writers do so in such a style that it's brutally hard to enjoy or take in any of it. Why this doesn't make them a crappier writer is beyond me. The Scarlet Letter is some revered classic and I thought the book was bloody awful with horrible pacing and unrealistic characters. And I don't know ANYONE who liked it. Not one person. Why is this dreck considered a classic?


This is how I feel about Dickens. I read (most of) A Tale of Two Cities a few years back, and hated nearly every second of it. I then threw in the towel and wondered why it was considered classic literature.
Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby Harpua » Mon Feb 08, 2016 4:28 pm

I have been keeping the ball rolling, and am starting to be concerned that my ravenous reading might be an unhealthy compulsion. As always, my reviews are listened in ascending order.

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury: This book was dull and the symbolism was spoon-fed, which I suppose can be forgiven, as it was written for preteens and teens. There were some fun, interesting, or otherwise entertaining moments, but overall it was downright boring. That is not to say that it wasn't beautifully written. It absolutely was. There was one story that brought me to tears, not because of the images described, rather the memories evoked. The bittersweet nostalgia pours from each page, conjuring images of the reader's own past. (2/5)


Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: This piece of 1980’s nostalgia porn is Willy Wonka meets Tron. The story was enjoyable, but stylistically I loathed it. It seems as though Cline is bitter toward everyone and everything, many of the utterly pervasive pop culture references felt tacked on and Cline’s vision of the future doesn’t make a lot of sense. (2/5)


Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick: A great piece of existential science fiction. I have seen Blade Runner no less than 10 times, so I really enjoyed comparing to book to the movie and I can honestly say that neither is better or worse than the other. (4/5)


Foundation and Empire / Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov: Warning! The following review contains what will seem to be nonsense if you have not read the books. To paraphrase The Breton Fisherman’s Prayer “O Seldon, thy Plan is so wide, and my mind is so small.”

From Trantor to Terminus; from The First Foundation to Star’s End, The Foundation Trilogy bent my mind to its will, and showed me a massively imaginative galaxy, the scope of which is greater than anything I have read.

The Foundation Trilogy starts out as an episodic series of (Seldon) crises, and evolves into a continuously flowing story following the actions of The Mule, the bloodline of Hober Mallow, and the search for The Second Foundation. All the while, the entire galaxy is gently guided to its destiny, the establishment of a Second Galactic Empire, through the science psychohistory, an amalgam of sociology and statistical analysis.

I do plan on reading the other books that make up the series eventually, but for now I am content to reflect on this trilogy, and contemplate how the “dead hand” of Asimov influences science fiction to this day. (4.5/5)


Burr by Gore Vidal: An exquisitely written, and painstakingly researched piece of historical fiction about one of America’s most controversial founding fathers: Aaron Burr. (4.5/5)
Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.
~4~
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby Harpua » Fri Feb 26, 2016 7:26 pm

Here's more... as always, my reviews (or vague/incoherent semi-descriptive ramblings) are listed in ascending order.

Bossypants by Tina Fey: - Despite the fact that I am not Tina Fey's target audience, I really enjoyed this comedic... autobiography? (Predominantly)... Travel Journal? (Occasionally)… Feminist Non-Fiction? (Decidedly) ... eclectic (eccentric) money grab by an intelligent and hilarious comedian at the height of her powers. (Undeniably) (2.5/5)

Lincoln by Gore Vidal: – While reading Burr, I fell in love with the iconoclastic genius of Gore Vidal. Lincoln is more reverent than Burr, and is more historical than fiction. This portrait Vidal painted of Lincoln is more humanizing than other depictions of America’s Greatest President, therefore, seemingly, more authentic. (3.5/5)
Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.
~4~
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby Buster » Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:02 pm

After finishing HBO's The Pacific a week ago, I realized I haven't read Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose.

So last week I got a copy for $2.97, free shipping, from www.abebooks.com (I LOVE this website BTW). Who the hell needs to spend $15 on a brand new book anyway?

Image

I've read most of Ambrose's books but, this one somehow slipped by me. Possibly because I watched the HBO series so I kept putting it off, IDK.

I really enjoy reading Ambrose's work. Citizen Soldiers kicked off my ongoing need to read up on WWII in High School and I've never looked back.
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