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What are you reading - Part II

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On ‎9‎/‎21‎/‎2019 at 1:53 PM, Whofan said:

Today's Guardian on line has a "100 best books of the 21st Century",

 

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/sep/21/best-books-of-the-21st-century

 

which is a complete misnomer as of course we have only had 20 years of the 21st Century, not 100.

 

The only real relevance of this is that I have read 1 of the books - The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo;  I have one to read, Adults in the Room,  one I'd like to read - The Plot Against America and I tried to read 2 others Gone Girl and Cloud Atlas - , but gave up because they were - for me - awful.

 

it may be easy to dismiss the list as "Guardian taste", but I am very surprised at how many of the list I''ve never heard of.

I've read 'The Plot Against America', some years ago, now, but remember I found it an absorbing and enjoyable read.  I did think Roth rushed the ending a little, but I find that in most of his later fiction.  I still think 'Portnoy's Complaint' is one of the funniest books I have read.  A great writer.

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5 minutes ago, 593jones said:

I've read 'The Plot Against America', some years ago, now, but remember I found it an absorbing and enjoyable read.  I did think Roth rushed the ending a little, but I find that in most of his later fiction.  I still think 'Portnoy's Complaint' is one of the funniest books I have read.  A great writer.

Agreed on Portnoy’s complaint. I must make an effort to get hold of the Plot against America.

 

I feel a trip to Waterstones coming on.

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reading and thoroughly enjoying The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal. An alternate history of the Space Race to get off Earth after an early 50s meteorite strike means the Earth will become unable to support life. 99p on kindle is a bargain for a Hugo best novel winner

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At the moment I'm reading To the Last Round. The epic British stand on the Imjin River, Korea 1951. 

 

Oxford tracked armoured personnel carriers are mentioned a few times and feeling inspired to perhaps do a Korean War project it doesn't look like a model version has ever been produced. Unless someone knows different. 

Roger. 

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5 hours ago, Roger Newsome said:

At the moment I'm reading To the Last Round. The epic British stand on the Imjin River, Korea 1951. 

Read that last year. Excellent book.

 

Regards,

 

Steve

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Just finished The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, I don't think Ive ever seen a film or tv series which depicts Milady's demise the same was as the book, don't suppose we will.

 

Now moved onto The Man in the Iron Mask which features our heroes once more.  I've got the Count of Monte Christie dowloaded to read on the Kindle app before studies recommence!

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Picked up "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" from the local library today. One of the protagonists in "The Labyrinth of the Spirits", the final book in the "Cemetery of Forgotten Books" series by Carlos Ruiz Zafon that I've been reading & enjoying made me think she was maybe a similar character to the heroine of the "Girl" books. Only one way to find out.

Steve.

 

 

Edited by stevehnz

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7 hours ago, stevehnz said:

Picked up "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"

Steve, get the whole Millenium series. IMO, they are the best books that I've ever read. There are three in total by Stig Larson, but there are a further three, written by another author after Larson's death.

 

John.

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Baby steps first John. but if GWTDT gets me like the Ruiz Zafon books did, I'll have no trouble following your advice. :) 

Steve.

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Ardennes by Antony Beevor.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ardennes-1944-Hitlers-Last-Gamble/dp/0241975158/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3GI3LXZ50NOE&keywords=ardennes+1944+anthony+beevor&qid=1569467094&s=books&sprefix=ardenne%2Caps%2C201&sr=1-1

 

Huge amounts of information written in an unputdownable fashion.

Hitlers last (pointless) push which puts a bad light on American leadership in their headquarters, but highlights heroism at the footsoldier level.

A huge waste of material and men, not to mention the civilian misery it caused.

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On 25/09/2019 at 23:09, Pete in Lincs said:

Ardennes by Antony Beevor.

 

I read Stalingrad by this guy not too long ago.

Well written I thought.

What a bloody mess that was.

 

51WQEmgKkDL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

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I'm close to finishing Ardennes now. It doesn't show the allied leadership in the best light. It was a close run thing.

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I am reading "The Essential Goethe" compiled by Matthew Bell (https://www.amazon.com/Essential-Goethe-Johann-Wolfgang-von/dp/0691181047/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Goethe&qid=1570301977&sr=8-1).  I took a German literature course in college some 27 years ago and really enjoyed the weeks we spent reading and discussing Goethe. I just wanted to rekindle that feeling.

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As someone with a scientific education and a deep interest in history I enjoy books where a fair degree of analytical thought is needed to appreciate them. The Battle of Britain in the Modern Age, 1965–2020 is one of them. I have included (in italics) a few excerpts from the book for the purposes of illustration and review.

 

Garry Campion is an academic historian whose books offer a different perspective on the Battle of Britain, based upon research and writing about propaganda, but also the way in which the Battle has evolved as a major event in British history since 1940. Whilst there has been a significant historical focus upon the day-to-day air battles, aircraft, losses, pilots and commanders, there has been less attention to how the narrative of the Battle. as it is understood today, evolved through both official and popular efforts to commemorate it.

 

He argues that the initial postwar narrative was conducted by the British government

 

British wartime propaganda projected national exceptionalism through its resilience (Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, ‘backs to the wall’, ‘Britain alone}’; armed forces (especially the Few); aircraft (the Spitfire and Lancaster continue to be celebrated); and technology (particularly radar, and from 1974 when it was first revealed, the Enigma codebreaking at Bletchley Park). It was also about fighting and prevailing in a ‘good fight’, where moral ambiguity was not a factor.

 

but after about 1965 the government stepped back (to emphasise the contribution of “The Many” rather than “The Few”) and private industry has taken up the cause, through many ways but notably movies – this period has witnessed the release of several films focused on aspects of Britain’s finest hour in 1940: Dunkirk (July 2017); Darkest Hour (January 2018); Spitfire (July 2018); and Hurricane (September 2018).

 

One of the most interesting aspects of the book is the contention that events of 1940 still influence today. One may agree or disagree with him but he brings a clear light to the events and consequences.

 

Whilst other nations are proud of and celebrate their war records—for instance the United States, Poland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand—few nations remain so wedded to this as part of their sense of national identity, and certainly to the extent that it arguably influences decisions about future economic and political relationships.

(I think if he looked at postwar Australian foreign policy more he may delete Australia from that list and decide it was more like Britain).

 

Without taking sides he gives a rational view of the current divide of thinking about British foreign policy.)

 

Because Britain did not suffer to the extent that many countries and peoples did, many of its citizens do not consider that close EU integration is essential to national security; evidently, continental Europeans take a different view, not least in France, Germany, and the many nations which suffered under Nazi, or later Soviet, occupation. David Cameron’s disagreements in 2010 with the EU were to a degree framed by a perception of British exceptionalism in 1940, European leaders agreeing cautiously that the British are in fact different and should be treated as such. It is arguable that Britain’s decision to leave the EU in 2016 was also framed—certainly for older generations— by a nostalgic wish to return to an earlier, more glorious past, savouring a national identity and sense of unity generated by the Second World War. One consequence has been a generational divide between those on the one hand who see their future as part of the wider EU, and for whom the Battle and Second World War are distant historical events; and on the other, those who believe that the clock can be reset to the 1940s and 1950s, and certainly to a time before Britain joined the EEC in 1973.

 

It is an interesting, thought-provoking and well argued book.

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On 9/25/2019 at 7:31 PM, Bullbasket said:

Steve, get the whole Millenium series. IMO, they are the best books that I've ever read. There are three in total by Stig Larson, but there are a further three, written by another author after Larson's death.

 

In just over a fortnight, I've got to 3/4 of the way thru the third in the series, hard to put down. :)

Steve.

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On 9/26/2019 at 12:48 AM, HansReggelsen said:

'Mythos' by Stephen Fry (in danish! :winkgrin:)

I got it as a birthday present (in English) and I thought - yuck, Stephen Fry %$#&!. However it is a brilliant read, beautifully written, researched and crafted.

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Beyond Band of Brothers, Major Dick Winters. The first part of the book covers the extensive training they had. I'm now at the point where they've not long landed and have just attacked the German artillery site. The biggest impression I get from the book is, this was a simple farm boy from a simple church going family who did absolutely everything to the best of his ability. He was often frustrated by some of the officers above him, and the way the US army did things, but he had a huge amount of pride in the men that served under him. Easy company was his pride and joy.

This one is a must read. 

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On 5/10/2019 at 18:58, Pete in Lincs said:

I'm close to finishing Ardennes now. It doesn't show the allied leadership in the best light. It was a close run thing.

I read an interesting alternate view of the Ardennes campaign, (book not too hand) that it was a 'set up' to have a weak spot in the allied lines, to tempt the Germans into an offensive which would then waste the German strategic reserve,  by this being drawn out from a defensive force,  where it could have held up the western allies advance.

It was a bit conspiracy theory, but also made the point that it would be very bad for Roosevelt  to admit the sacrifice of a load of US troop as 'bait' ... but it did have a certain logic,  given the vast supply of US material and allied air superiority,  as by drawing out Germans, it was possible to destroy this reserve.

 

Now where did I put that book....

 

 

 

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Bollinger: Tradition of a Champagne Family - Cyril Ray   ---  Bollinger Today: Serena Sutcliffe.....

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