Read any good books lately?



  • oooooooooo! A book thread! image

    I shall curl up with it and read from the beginning. At the moment I'm reading Penny Vincenzi's latest (coz it was half price in WHS), about the Lloyd's scandal, and I'm listening to The Book Thief, which is fab.

  • I'm ploughing my way through something like "English Folk Traditions through the year". iT'S MORE INTERESTING THAN IT SOUNDS

  • Scoot, sorry for shouting. It's a good read. 1 of 3 books I got for mothers day. Last one I read was "Pies and Prejudice" about life in the North of England. I may have laughed out loud a couple of times...mainly at Yorkshire people

    Still got a book on the history of slave trading to go...just as well I'm a history geek, with a side interest in folk customs image

  • Seems like there's a few closet history geeks on here!

    I'm enjoying 'A quiet Belief in Angels', although I'm only halfway through. Well-written, if trying a little too hard to be Steinbeck (namechecking him so often only serves to highlight this).

    Jj - audiobooks sound like a good idea for when I stat increasing the distances again. Do you find you enjoy listening less than reading though?

  • chuck it in the bin SVT - it's rubbish - not worth finishing - it is a cheap copy of steinbeck (who gets mentioned a couple of times in the book)

    the author is not fit to lick the boots of steinbeck who kept my attention and made me think on every page of "the grapes of wrath" whereas "a quiet belief in angels is boring" lots of words and description does not make a good book if the metaphores are just piled on top of each other for the sake of it


    this really annoyed me - do you reckon some people in the middle of hicksville USA would have known about the nazi gas chambers before the US entered the war - when the allied forces didn't even know about them - sloppy writing in my opinion!!

    did i mention i didn't like it?

  • Maybe it's old age but I find I am reading more history books than fiction these days. 

    Two that I read recently which are excellent are:

    Great Game - Hopkirk : About the contest between the Russian and British empires for supremacy in Afghanistan and India. For readers who like Flashman. 

    In Command of History: Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War - David Reynold

    Both of these were in my local library, which was nice. 

  • I've finished my folk traditions book, so will start on the slave trade one tonight. The reviews look good (bought it after reading the review in the Saturday papers in Febraury) so hope it lives up to what they've all said.

    The last book I threw away half read was "Half of a Yellow Sun". Couldn't get into it at all, struggled from the first chapter and then decided life is too short and crappy to bother reading books you don't like just because you feel you "should" do

     Do any of the history geeks on here know any books which might give some background to the WWI Mesopotamia campaign? Just found out my grandfather served there and I'd like to dig a bit more into it.

  • I read Matt Rendell's "The Death of Marco Pantani" recently: it serves a cautionary purpose re the perils of EPO use (and cocaine abuse) I guess, although the stats got a bit too much after a while. I'm also trying to plough through Bryan Magee's "Confessions of a Philosopher" but it's hard work.
  • lurker - so you weren't a fan then?

    I won't debate it too much yet (as I'm still only halfway through) but the Steinbeck thing does get annoying at times. Particularly when I first started it - having just finished a book that was heavy on dialogue and activity, it was heavy going to be bombarded with so much description and metaphors. And I agree about the amazing knowledge of events in Europe, when even in Europe people were closing their eyes and ears to a lot of what was happening.

    I'll carry on to the end, as I almost always do, to see if the story itself makes it worthwhile.

  • I enjoyed the first half of A Quiet Belief in Angels...the second half bored me to death.
  • Things are about to take a nosedive then...
  • Sadly yes! (in my opinion anyway! might enjoy it!)image
  • Do any of the history geeks on here know any books which might give some background to the WWI Mesopotamia campaign? Just found out my grandfather served there and I'd like to dig a bit more into it.

    Cavalry man at a guess then. I have no books that point directly to the mesopotamia campiagn to be truthful it was a sideshow and not much happened. More money to be made in the Lions lead by donkeys V the revisionist history of the western front. IE Haig was a bastard V Haig done well with what he had.

    Is a good start as level headed historian. Gives details on all battles not just the western front.

  • Do any of the history geeks on here know any books which might give some background to the WWI Mesopotamia campaign? Just found out my grandfather served there and I'd like to dig a bit more into it.

     The campaign was a horrible episode of British military incompetence.  At Kut-al-Amara for example  they went in unprepared, extended their lines of communications, were cut off and beseiged and then left to rot as prisoners.  Hundreds of Tommies and thousands of Indian troops died of starvation, disease and neglect... not a proud chapter in the history of the British Army at high command level

    • Barber, Major Charles H. Besieged in Kut - and After Blackwood, 1917
    • The Campaign in Mesopotamia by Brigadier-General F. J. Moberly
    • Dixon, Dr. Norman F. On the Psychology of Military Incompetence Jonathan Cape Ltd 1976 / Pimlico 1994 (pp95–109)
  • Corinth! Long time no see - welcome to the thread.
  • Hello SVT - don't get much of a chance to surf these days, not much access to PC and little or no access to movies... but I've got plenty of books! 
  • Little or no access to movies? image

    Sounds like things have changed somewhat in Corinth-land. Plenty of books is always good.

  • Thanks TT & Corinth (hi BTW!)

    TT he was RAMC, although he joined the Lancs Fusiliers but was bought out after 2 days by his mum image

  • Okay, finished 'A Quiet Belief in Angels'.

    Somewhere in there was a good book, possibly. But, as my learned friend Lurker has already pointed out, it's no Steinbeck. And boy, does the author wish he was Steinbeck. He apes his style and mentions him whenever he gets a chance. It gets particularly wearying when he starts quoting from 'Cannery Row'.

    Style aside, the story itself is quite engaging until our hero, Joseph, leaves Georgia. From that point on it seems like the author loses interest and starts rattling through the plot and the years. I finished it so quickly because I just wanted to get to the end, confirm who the killer was (it was always going to be one of three or four people, and the actual identity didn't ultimately matter very much), and move on to the next book.

    Reading this book won't make your life any worse. But it will take up time that could be spent much better elsewhere. Like reading Steinbeck.

  • I've listened to audiobooks while on my long training runs. Makes the miles seem easier but I've only done it for books I've previously read. Not sure I'd be able to concentrate enough to follow the plot of a new story.

    I'm currently reading a trashy crime novel but when I finish this I'm thinking of starting either "The Book Thief" or "Tenderness of Wolves". Has anyone on here read these yet?

  • Little Nemo - I've read The Tenderness of Wolves - I think as recommended by SVT in fact and it was great - wasn't sure it was my cup of tea but really enjoyed it.  I've got The Book Thief on the shelf but haven't read it.

    Sppoooooky.  Haven't visited this since going away last week and the book that I took with me was A Quiet Belief in Angels.   Am very relieved to read SVT's and lurker's comments, although I'm not as well-read as them and haven't read any Steinbeck but I thought it was very tedious.  I wasn't sure whether it had decided whether it was a rites of passage novel or a murder/mystery and wasn't sure it achieved either.  Agree with the comments about the two halves of the book and I was also annoyed about references to WWII that I didn't think would have been information that would have reached the US at the time.

    Right, what shall I read next?

  • Cheers, HL! Tenderness of Wolves next for me then.

    Have you read Atonement? I read it for the 3rd time recently, really love this book.

  • HL - looks like a forum consensus on AQBIA then, which is a bit dull. I feel like I should hold a contrary position...

    The US, in particularly the deep south, was extremely interested in events in Europe prior to Pearl Harbour, and were particularly outraged at Hitler's treatment of the Jews. So there. image

    (I didn't recomment The Tenderness of Wolves... but seeing as you liked it, maybe I did!)

  • Topsy and Tim Go Camping was extraordinarily good. The sub text seemed to project a somewhat Machiavelian theme, although this didn't upset the general balance of the main plot.

    All in all, a joy good read. 

  • DM - I can heartily recommend the Peter and Jane series, although the quality diminishes with some of the later works.
  • TT he was RAMC, although he joined the Lancs Fusiliers but was bought out after 2 days by his mum

    There was a problem with "boy soilders" some got to the front, most got a clip from mother for being so daft. Corthinth prob knows the title but an excellent book on boy soilders about.

  • SVT - you so made that up

  • Billy Bluehat - On first glance, it looks like an innocent story of the plight of a young boy as he grows up. When we look further into it, the names seem to hint at something more sexual - Jennifer Yellowhat becomes Jennifer Mellowtwat and Roger Redhat would - to me - is more than a nod to a swollen bellend.
  • lurker - which bit? I'll take back my nonsense argument about Americans and WW2, but I stand by my Peter and Jane comments.
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