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oliverkinne
September 18, 2020
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oliverkinne
September 18, 2020
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Bots Up Board Game Review

Board Game Reviews
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ubarose
September 17, 2020
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mezike
September 17, 2020
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boardgameinquisition
September 17, 2020
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whowhatwhycast
September 16, 2020
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WadeMonnig
September 16, 2020
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Andi Lennon
September 15, 2020
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oliverkinne
September 15, 2020
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Min-Maxing

Essays
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thegiantbrain
September 15, 2020
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Letterpress Board Game Review

Board Game Reviews
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Matt Thrower
September 14, 2020
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Play Matt: Village Green Review

Board Game Reviews
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GrantLyon
September 13, 2020
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TabletopIsland
September 12, 2020
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ubarose
September 11, 2020
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ubarose
September 11, 2020
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What BOOK(s) are you reading?

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16 Nov 2011 03:46 #108010 by Not Sure
Book thread! I miss book thread.

jeb wrote: I am also looking forward to REAMDE (sic) from Stephenson.


I wouldn't be in a huge hurry, I just read it a week or so ago. It felt very flat for a Stephenson book. It's basically a straight-ahead thriller novel, and while it's pretty good at that it suffers from not really having any big ideas behind it.

Oh, the editor is sorely missed on a lot of that book as well. Not Baroque-cycle levels of extra crap, but still a lot. Many characters go basically underdeveloped, to the point where you wonder why they were ever included. I found it pretty disappointing all-in-all. If you really liked the last few hundred pages of Anathem, you might like this one. If you didn't, you may find it light like I did.

The other thing I read recently was Bitter Seeds, by Ian Tregillis. This is sort like an Incursion-style WeirdWWII, with battery-powered Nazi superheroes vs English warlocks. I liked it a lot, except the cop-out sequel setup of an ending. I suppose with the author as a GRRM protege I shouldn't expect him to tell a story in one book. Recommended for Ameritrashers.

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16 Nov 2011 04:15 #108011 by Jexik
Replied by Jexik on topic What BOOK(s) are you reading?
After at least a decade and a dozen friends' recommendations, I started reading a Game of Thrones last Tuesday.

And I finished it on Sunday. One of said friends lent me the next two...

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16 Nov 2011 07:15 #108014 by jeb
Replied by jeb on topic What BOOK(s) are you reading?

Jexik wrote: After at least a decade and a dozen friends' recommendations, I started reading a Game of Thrones last Tuesday.

And I finished it on Sunday. One of said friends lent me the next two...

The next two are the best of the series. Fucking gold plated badassery. 4 and halfway through 5 are a step down, but shit's getting set up.

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16 Nov 2011 08:11 #108017 by Saganesque
I've got 3 in the hopper. I'm reading Richard Dawkin's "The Seflish Gene", but I've put that down for a long time now. May need to skip back a bit when I pick it up again.

Also reading "The Invisible Gorilla" about gaps in our perception. If you've never done the online cognitive test by that same name, you should.

Finally, reading Sharpe's Fortress. I like me some Richard Sharpe.

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16 Nov 2011 09:29 #108019 by Matt Thrower
Currently enjoying Egil's Saga. It's a translation of a 9th century Viking epic about the warrior-poet Egil and his feud with the king of Norway. In my experience, direct translations of ancient legends and epics read very oddly to a modern audience, with uneven pacing and unexpected focus, but this is brilliantly readable, and compelling. A real window into what turns out to be an unbelievably brutal past, this has it all: history, ruminations on the struggle between state power and individual freedom, intriguing characters and buckets and buckets of blood.

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22 Nov 2011 04:07 #108298 by mikoyan
I was reading a book called "Dead Hand" about the collapse of hte Soviet Union, some of the weapons treaties around that time and some of the more sinister things the Soviets were working on. Lost the book somewhere and finally reordered it. I'll have to say it is pretty interesting. I can also say that I'm glad the Cold War never became a full on hot war.

Next up is a book called "Three and Out" about the Rich Rod years at MIchigan.

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23 Nov 2011 03:19 #108369 by Stan Leer
Rubicon- Tom Holland

Great readable history of the end of the Roman Republic. It really gets into the interpersonal rivalries and backstabbing going on between the political elite at the end of the Republic. Learned lots of interesting stuff about the Republic of the time that I hadn't come across before. Holland does a great job of making history readable and interesting without alot of referencing and comparative source BS that bogs alot of histories down. He mostly gets right into the action and narrative of events leading up Caesar's take over of the Republic.

I have Reamde and Canticle of Leibowitz waiting for me. I have had a hard time reading fiction lately.

Any good biography or history recommendations would be appreciated

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23 Nov 2011 03:49 #108372 by jeb
Replied by jeb on topic What BOOK(s) are you reading?
In the Heart of the Sea is a great book about the whale ship Essex. Harrowing. Whales win for once.

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23 Nov 2011 06:25 #108379 by Count Orlok

MattDP wrote: Currently enjoying Egil's Saga. It's a translation of a 9th century Viking epic about the warrior-poet Egil and his feud with the king of Norway. In my experience, direct translations of ancient legends and epics read very oddly to a modern audience, with uneven pacing and unexpected focus, but this is brilliantly readable, and compelling. A real window into what turns out to be an unbelievably brutal past, this has it all: history, ruminations on the struggle between state power and individual freedom, intriguing characters and buckets and buckets of blood.


Yeah, yeah, I know, I shouldn't respond but I have to. By the way, I teach this material, so I'm pedantic.

So Egil's saga was written in the 13th century, derived from verses that had been floating around for some generations. The time of action in the saga is the 9th and 10th centuries, but make no mistake, the saga itself was not recorded on vellum until much later. Egil's saga is part of the Sagas of Icelanders, a large body of vernacular literature from 13th to 15th century Iceland derived from verse and oral tradition associated with mythical and historical figures. "Viking epic" sounds nice, but really doesn't belong with Egil's saga which is prosimetric (mix of verse and prose) and a good 200-300 years after the viking era of expansion had ended. That said, Egil's saga is a fantastic piece of literature with a great central character. It needs to be said that Egil is exceptional in his brutality, so don't take him as any sort of accurate representation of the viking age or paganism. Rather, Egil is a larger than life burlesque figure, going above and beyond etiquette and social norms truly earning the title of "the last pagan in Iceland".

Now, enough of my rants. If you want to read other great Norse-Icelandic family sagas (because really they belong to both Icelandic and Norwegian traditions) you need to read the following:
Laxdæla Saga
Hrafnkel's Saga
Gunnlaug's Saga (Skald saga)
Gisli's Saga (Outlaw saga)
The Saga of of Hrolf Kraki (Legendary! So full of craziness)

Now of course, there are many more that I can suggest, but these are my personal favorites.

/Pedant out.
The following user(s) said Thank You: jur

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27 Nov 2011 12:01 #108533 by tcho-tcho
Just finished China Miéville's Kraken. I can't recommend this enough.

It's fantasy-adventure, but very, very far away from the worlds of Tolkien or George R. R. Martin. This is smart, urban, refreshing fantasy. Instead of saviour Kings and characters tailored to be liked or hated, you get talking tattoos, human origami, religious sect junkies, and all kinds of weird, punky magic. On top of that, an intelligent plot and interesting writing.

Now, I'm on to Miéville's Bas-Lag trilogy.

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27 Nov 2011 12:39 #108534 by mads b.
For some time I've been wanting to read Moby Dick - prefereably in English. But it's not that easy to find in a bookstore and I've been to lazy to order online (yeah, it's easier to browse in a bookstore when you just walk by than to place an order online). So when I got an iPad a week ago I found a free copy right away. But I have to get used to reading on the pad so until now I'm no more than a chapter or two in. I like the overly long descriptions so far, but need to read some more before getting a real feel of it.

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27 Nov 2011 20:23 #108558 by Notahandle
Ending on a line like that is making it hard for me to resist posting the obvious joke...

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27 Nov 2011 20:53 #108561 by dysjunct
Just finished H. Beam Piper's LITTLE FUZZY. A lot of the corporate fucktardery in the book is pretty relevant today - company finds out something that will eat into their revenue stream, so their first response is to look for the most efficient path to disprove it, discredit the messenger, and generally introduce FUD about it. The book was written in 1962, which is before I thought that attitude about/from big companies was commonplace, but that speaks more to my naïveté about the past I guess.

Started Howard Pyle's retelling of the Arthur cycle. Man, I love Pyle. He did my favorite version of the Robin Hood stories that I read at least a dozen times as a kid. He was primarily a painter, classically trained under N.C. Wyerth, but instead of typical subjects, he painted pirates, swashbucklers, and general awesomeness, all with amazing technique. His language in the books is perfect, just enough of Merrie Olde England without getting all Chaucer. I've never read his Arthurian stuff for some dumb reason. But it's free/free on Gutenburg. (As is Piper.). There's a Dover collection of his art out there too.

Both of the above are classified as juvenile literature, which is kind of worrisome. I can't imagine most kids today reading them with any degree of comprehension.

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27 Nov 2011 21:38 #108563 by jur
Replied by jur on topic What BOOK(s) are you reading?
Reading stuff on the Euro crisis as well as stuff on Russian rearmament in the 1920s and 1930s: Musial's Kampfplatz Deutschland, or Battleground Germany. Fascinating. Plus rushed through the three Osprey campaign series on Barbarossa. All for a megagame on Barbarossa next year and a possible what if Germany hadn't won the campaign against France but wound up in a WWI like stalemate on the western front?

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27 Nov 2011 22:05 #108564 by KingPut
I don't read biographies very often but I started reading The Beatles by Bob Spitz. It's pretty interesting reading about somebody or something that is so familar but yet there is some much to learn about them. John Lennin comes across as a kind of dick in the book.

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