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Kevin Klemme
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Mycelia Board Game Review

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River Wild Board Game Review

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Outback Crossing Review

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What BOOK(s) are you reading? ARCHIVE

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03 Sep 2009 14:48 #40293 by jur
Holidays are good!

Outliers. The story of success by Malcolm Caldwell. Interesting counterpoint to the rags to riches myth.

Indian Fishing. Early methods on the northwest coast by Hilary Stewart. Impressive for a stone age economy. I liked the herring rakes and the lures for salmon.

A traveller's guide to historic British Columbia by Rosemary Neering. Good companion.

Disrobing the aboriginal industry. The Deception Behind Indigenous Cultural Preservation by Frances Widdowson and Albert Howard. Sure to piss off any aboriginal, but exposes some worrying tendencies in the machine. Also applies to other (non-indiginous) minorities in the rest of the western world.

Troop Leader. A tank commander's story by Bill Bellamy. From Villers-Bocage to Berlin in a Cromwell tank. Two thirds up and he hasn't seen a proper German tank yet (no, sturmgeschuetze don't count)

still waiting:
Terror Of The Coast: Land Alienation and Colonial War on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, 1849-1863 by Chris Arnett. Okay, so the First Nations were bamboozled out of their land... but how?

now guess where I spent my holiday...
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03 Sep 2009 15:19 #40300 by mikoyan
I'm reading Day of Battle by Rick Atkinson right now (he's a senior editor for the Washington Post). it's about the Italian Campaign.
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03 Sep 2009 19:52 #40352 by metalface13
Jur wrote:

Troop Leader. A tank commander's story by Bill Bellamy. From Villers-Bocage to Berlin in a Cromwell tank. Two thirds up and he hasn't seen a proper German tank yet (no, sturmgeschuetze don't count)




I had no idea he was a WWII scholar!
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04 Sep 2009 14:25 #40489 by OldHippy
Just finished The Thin Man by: Dashell Hamett, hadn't read that since I was 16 or so and it was better then I remembered... and funnier. Some books you just shouldn't read when your a teenager. Also finished the proto-fantasy novel that many fantasy authors talk about but no one reads called A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsey, published in 1920 and very influential (on people like Tolkein and Lewis). It was bizzare and brilliant and there is one scene in particular that will stay with me forever. A captain is trying to inspire his troops and he wants to convince them that willpower can indeed be strong to do the task at hand and to demonstrate his point he holds his breath until he dies. Oh, I know that's impossible but it was a great scene.
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04 Sep 2009 14:59 #40495 by southernman
Jur wrote:

Troop Leader. A tank commander's story by Bill Bellamy. From Villers-Bocage to Berlin in a Cromwell tank. Two thirds up and he hasn't seen a proper German tank yet (no, sturmgeschuetze don't count)

Hmmm - I don't buy that many books so that's a pretty good coincidence that it is sitting (unread) in my bookcase after I picked it up last year sometime.
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04 Sep 2009 19:29 #40513 by jur
Southernman wrote:

Jur wrote:

Troop Leader. A tank commander's story by Bill Bellamy. From Villers-Bocage to Berlin in a Cromwell tank. Two thirds up and he hasn't seen a proper German tank yet (no, sturmgeschuetze don't count)

Hmmm - I don't buy that many books so that's a pretty good coincidence that it is sitting (unread) in my bookcase after I picked it up last year sometime.


I don't read too many biographies and especially not the tactical stuff. So to me it is fresh and interesting, although this guy is suspiciously out of the loop until he gets to the Netherlands (his commander probably prefered to keep him in a more defensive/scouting role). But to me that is of great value, because it gives a good insight into how isolated a tank (or a troop of tanks) is on the battlefield, how cooperation with infantry works, and how slow most combat is compared to tactical board games. And how uneventful many missions are.

If you already have seen dozens of that, it probably is not that exciting. Otherwise, highly recommended.
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04 Sep 2009 20:34 #40516 by beuks33
Decided to try reading Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day again. Last time I started it, I loved it, but just couldn't keep my momentum enough to finish it. I was able to devour V and Gravity's Rainbow in pretty short order. Maybe I found the time periods in question more interesting, I haven't even tried to touch Mason Dixon.
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05 Sep 2009 03:34 #40535 by Not Sure
beuks33 wrote:

Decided to try reading Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day again. Last time I started it, I loved it, but just couldn't keep my momentum enough to finish it. I was able to devour V and Gravity's Rainbow in pretty short order. Maybe I found the time periods in question more interesting, I haven't even tried to touch Mason Dixon.


I'm stalled on Against the Day as well. I enjoy it when I'm reading it, but it's dense enough that I just don't always feel like picking it up. Then a few days go by, and it turns into a week.

I started Mason & Dixon when it came out, and just didn't click. I remember having to take a running start at Gravity's Rainbow as well. You have to have enough momentum to really get through those books, or you just sort of falter and it's all over.

I finished all the Christopher Moore novels I hadn't already read this summer, but those are like eating popcorn. Funny, funny popcorn.
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05 Sep 2009 14:41 #40551 by J.T.
I'm currently reading ANATHEM by Neal Stephenson. Funny thing about Neal Stephenson...after you get done reading one of his mammoth novels, you NEVER want to read the book again, but you immediately want to go and read another Stephenson novel. They're all incredibly bloated with stuff that has absolutely nothing to do with the plot, but that same stuff is extremely entertaining, so you don't mind. I've read Cryptonomicon and all of the Baroque Cycle, so I've already digested around 3500 pages of Stephenson. His books are completely BNFN - by a nerd, for nerds. Fun!

ANATHEM is Stephenson trying to finally write a straight-faced sci-fi novel, and the results are very intriguing so far (I'm about halfway in). He's picked up the pace quite a bit from his other books, but it doesn't feel like anything is missing. It gives me hope that he could actually write something that people will still be talking about in 100 years -- the other books are a lot of fun, but so bloated that I fear they won't stand the test of time. ANATHEM is a book that might stand the test of time.

Any other Stephenson readers? I have to admit I haven't been keeping up with this thread.
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05 Sep 2009 14:58 #40552 by timeLESS
I've been reading trough the Dresden Files novels at a breakneck pace. I thought the first was an interesting take on the different genres if not a little disjointed story-wise, but i think the second novel really took the series off and took it to an whole other level. Currently im reading the fourth novel "Summer Knight" and still enjoying it.


Also im reading Mouse Guard an RPG from Luke Crane based on the same series of comics about Mouse and their tiny capes and swords pitted against a harsh and cruel world. and weasels. The book is simply the most beautiful RPG book I have ever seen and it makes me want to play.
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05 Sep 2009 17:18 #40555 by lfisher
J.T. wrote:

I'm currently reading ANATHEM by Neal Stephenson. Funny thing about Neal Stephenson...after you get done reading one of his mammoth novels, you NEVER want to read the book again, but you immediately want to go and read another Stephenson novel. They're all incredibly bloated with stuff that has absolutely nothing to do with the plot, but that same stuff is extremely entertaining, so you don't mind. I've read Cryptonomicon and all of the Baroque Cycle, so I've already digested around 3500 pages of Stephenson. His books are completely BNFN - by a nerd, for nerds. Fun!

ANATHEM is Stephenson trying to finally write a straight-faced sci-fi novel, and the results are very intriguing so far (I'm about halfway in). He's picked up the pace quite a bit from his other books, but it doesn't feel like anything is missing. It gives me hope that he could actually write something that people will still be talking about in 100 years -- the other books are a lot of fun, but so bloated that I fear they won't stand the test of time. ANATHEM is a book that might stand the test of time.

Any other Stephenson readers? I have to admit I haven't been keeping up with this thread.


I loved Anathem! I have to go back and finish Cryptonomicon and try out Baroque cycle. I've read all the old stuff, but I didn't quite make it through Crypto and wasn't ready to read Baroque cycle at the time, but Anathem makes me want to go back to the others.
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05 Sep 2009 22:24 #40568 by Not Sure
The last time we did the book thread Stephenson came up. Opinions, as always, are mixed.

I have a deep respect for his writing skills. However, I have never seen anyone so in need of a trusted editor. I've been meaning to re-read the Baroque Cycle, but other things get in the way. Cryptonomicon did not age well, but the WWII stuff is still excellent.

(The Diamond Age is my favorite one. I've read everything but Zodiac and The Big U).
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05 Sep 2009 23:16 #40570 by J.T.
Not Sure wrote:

The last time we did the book thread Stephenson came up. Opinions, as always, are mixed.

I have a deep respect for his writing skills. However, I have never seen anyone so in need of a trusted editor. I've been meaning to re-read the Baroque Cycle, but other things get in the way. Cryptonomicon did not age well, but the WWII stuff is still excellent.

(The Diamond Age is my favorite one. I've read everything but Zodiac and The Big U).


True, Stephenson needs an editor, but the editor would take out everything that makes Stephenson great. He is what he is.

You've read the Baroque Cycle and want to reread it? Wow! I can't imagine ever reading it again, but I'll keep it on the bookcase nonetheless...in the same way a hunter keeps a moose head on the wall. "Look what I bagged."
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06 Sep 2009 00:15 #40571 by Hatchling
Can anyone recommend a stand-alone warhammer novel? I know nothing about that world. Thanks for any suggestions.
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06 Sep 2009 00:48 #40572 by Not Sure
J.T. wrote:

Not Sure wrote:

The last time we did the book thread Stephenson came up. Opinions, as always, are mixed.

I have a deep respect for his writing skills. However, I have never seen anyone so in need of a trusted editor. I've been meaning to re-read the Baroque Cycle, but other things get in the way. Cryptonomicon did not age well, but the WWII stuff is still excellent.

(The Diamond Age is my favorite one. I've read everything but Zodiac and The Big U).


True, Stephenson needs an editor, but the editor would take out everything that makes Stephenson great. He is what he is.


I don't think he needs the editor to trim down or to stay on task. The asides are enjoyable. I think he needs an editor because he usually ends up with at least one serious gaffe in his books, and a good editor should catch those. He also has a tendency to have his characters constantly talk down to each other. It's an eternal "smart guy, dumb guy" routine, and in a longer book it can really get old. Quicksilver was quite bad about this. In Anathem, the formal structure of the monks (vocabulary escapes me) made this pretty normal, so I didn't mind it in that book.

The length of his books aren't an issue, and I don't keep reading them expecting him to stay on task. It's the little things that bug me, and IMO keep him from being truly great.

You've read the Baroque Cycle and want to reread it? Wow! I can't imagine ever reading it again, but I'll keep it on the bookcase nonetheless...in the same way a hunter keeps a moose head on the wall. "Look what I bagged."


Yeah, I want to go back and keep some notes. I'm sure there's about a novel to a novel and a half of greatness in there, but there's a lot of wank, too. In the "smart guy, dumb guy" routine, I'm pretty sure I saw him do it with the same characters in opposite roles. If you like Stephenson, you really ought to try Pynchon. That's literary big game, and holy shit that guy can write.
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