601

Re: Last Book Read...

I took Solo with me to Paphos (I wish I hadn't ) it sort of started out ok but it went down hill for me , I thought the writing was lazy and not consistent , example , it says they (Bond and Blessing made love) that was it

By the way, did I tell you,  I was       "Mad"?

602

Re: Last Book Read...

Well to be honest, I'm usually  as quick as that.  ajb007/wink

“I remember the last thing my Nan said to me before she died.
‘What are you doing here with that hammer?’”..... Lee Mack.

603

Re: Last Book Read...

Currently listening to the audio book of The Man With the Golden Typewriter, the collection of Ian Fleming's letters. Fascinating stuff - Fleming's correspondence (and the amounts of money involved) are amusingly different to my own experience as an author! Very well narrated by Julian Rhind-Tutt.

604

Re: Last Book Read...

"Two sisters" by Åsne Seierstad

This is a documentary about two teenage girls of Somali decent who ran away from Norway in 2013 to join IS in Syria. They didn't live in a ghetto, they weren't poor, they were doing really well at school and their parents are moderate muslims. The method used by the writer is called "litterally journalism".  She interviews sources and gathers facts, then she writes in a style close to a novel. This makes the book engaging and easy to read. Åsne Seierstad is a leading writer internationally in this genere and has recieved very good reviews. Her brakethrough book, "The bookseller of Kabul" was translated into 40 languages and remained on New York Times bestselger list a whole year. Her next book ("One of us", about the Utøya terrorist) was ranked as one of the ten most important books in 2015 by NYT. The core question in "Two sisters" is how they became radicalized. The book also gives a quick overview of how ISIS grew and life inside IS. Highly reccomend!

Last edited by Number24 (30th Jun 2018 21:10)

605

Re: Last Book Read...

This time it's more a case of "book I will read as soon as it gets published", really.
Jo Nesbø is already writing the next Harry Hole novel. It's a direct sequel to "Thirst" and the title is "Kniv" (meaning "knife").

606

Re: Last Book Read...

millennium II & millennium III (the Girl who Played with Fire/the Girl who Kicked the Hornets' Nest) - Stieg Larsson.

Finally finished the trilogy after reading the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Fantastic books (all three of them).  Very long but well worth it and a whole range of characters who you like/dislike.  The tension does build nicely and are fast page turners - that's how I saw them anyway.  Watched the mini-series from Sweden as soon as I finished the books - also excellent but in my opinion the books are better than the films.  Then again with me that is 95% the case with every book/film comparison.

Yes - definitely a high recommendation for both. ajb007/martini

"Everyone knows rock n' roll attained perfection in 1974; It's a scientific fact". -  Homer J Simpson

(previously aka OGG007)

607

Re: Last Book Read...

I started reading "Underground railway" by Colson Whitehead. As the title suggest, the novel is set in the south of the US before the civil war. A young female slave runs away to find freedom in the north using the smugling network called the underground railroad. Idealist called Station Masters used cellars etc as Station for runaway slaves to hide and rest. Then they sent the refugees walking to the next Station.The book seemed promising until she reaches the network - that turns out to be an ACTUAL underground railroad!  ajb007/amazed    ajb007/lol
You know, a full-size train on tracks running underground. The tunnels were dug out by escaped slaves, running under several states, even with side track branching out to neighbouring states. "The steam was problematic for a while, but we found a solution!"
In one chapter the story goes from horrowing historical drama to a steampunk adventure in the style of Jules Verne. Sigh.....

Last edited by Number24 (3rd Sep 2018 10:35)

608

Re: Last Book Read...

Currently reading "Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why" by Laurence Gonzales
"After her plane crashes, a seventeen-year-old girl spends eleven days walking through the Peruvian jungle. Against all odds, with no food, shelter, or equipment, she gets out. A better-equipped group of adult survivors of the same crash sits down and dies. What makes the difference?"

A very compelling read, I recommend it highly!

"I mean, she almost kills bond...with her ass."
-Mr Arlington Beech

609

Re: Last Book Read...

Sounds very interesting  ajb007/martini

“I remember the last thing my Nan said to me before she died.
‘What are you doing here with that hammer?’”..... Lee Mack.

610

Re: Last Book Read...

"Prisoners of geography: Ten maps that tell you everything you need to know about global politics" by Tim Marshall

This is a book that takes the long view on world history and conflict and how geography influences different regions and nations. Geography can (up to point) explain things like why China and India hardly ever goes to war against each other and why Africa remains economically underdeveloped. If you want to get a better understanding of the world in under 300 pages you should read this book.

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Re: Last Book Read...

Number24 wrote:

"Prisoners of geography: Ten maps that tell you everything you need to know about global politics" by Tim Marshall

This is a book that takes the long view on world history and conflict and how geography influences different regions and nations. Geography can (up to point) explain things like why China and India hardly ever goes to war against each other and why Africa remains economically underdeveloped. If you want to get a better understanding of the world in under 300 pages you should read this book.

this sounds like the sort of non-fiction I like, I shall look out for it.
Have you read Jared Diamond, who explains the rise and fall of civilizations as a function of the limiting factors off geography? Guns Germs and Steel, and Collapse are the two I've read, and I think he's written a couple since. He's a biogeographer, so there's a lot about epidemiology, genetics, biodiversity and climate change in his books.

I liked the suggested Bond-plot based on this book you suggested elsewhere.

612

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The book reminded me too of Jarod Diamond, who I have read. Thank you for your kind words about my plot idea, I think it would offer something origional and very Bondian at the same time.

613

Re: Last Book Read...

I am back on Flashman, this time it's Flashman in the Great Game.

This one is based around the 1856 Indian Mutiny.

I went off Flashman because I chose to read the books not in the order of publication, but chronological order - the author George Macdonald Fraser later jumped back in time to fill us in on some other Flashy exploits, sort of a bit like Bond author Anthony Horovitz. This was a mistake because a) Flashman and the Redskins - while excellent for a while - has our 'hero' carry out a really quite nasty misdeed that alienates any kind of sneaking sympathy for him, it's sociopathic really, so I totally went off him and b) The narrative then flashes forwards a few decades to a point one supposes where he gets his later comeuppance from earlier incident, but I felt I was bypassing all the other adventures. So the book was chronological at the start, but not later on if you see what I mean.

Great Game reads very well and is a great romp, though it helps to read it but a few months after the previous one.

"This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

Roger Moore 1927-2017

614

Re: Last Book Read...

The Silent Corner. Dean Koontz. Masterful writer of conspiracy suspense. Top marks. Excellent world jeopardy plot/cabal threat with FBI agent burrowing her way into the hidden lair. Koontz would write an excellent Bond novel.

615

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I've read a few D koontz books, one of his early works
Phantoms is a favourite  ajb007/martini  ( the Film is rubbish )

“I remember the last thing my Nan said to me before she died.
‘What are you doing here with that hammer?’”..... Lee Mack.

616

Re: Last Book Read...

Napoleon Plural wrote:

I am back on Flashman, this time it's Flashman in the Great Game.

by coincidence I'm in the middle of a Flashman adventure too, Flashman and the Mountain of Light.
I finally found the last two, Flashman and the Tiger and Flashman on the March. I'm disappointed because they are both larger trade paperbacks, inconsistent with the fat pocketbook format of all the earlier ones. Were these two not published in the earlier, once standard paperback dimensions? I know they are relatively recent, so maybe the old format hasn't been used by any publisher in years?


Napoleon Plural wrote:

I went off Flashman because I chose to read the books not in the order of publication, but chronological order - the author George Macdonald Fraser later jumped back in time to fill us in on some other Flashy exploits, sort of a bit like Bond author Anthony Horovitz. This was a mistake because a) Flashman and the Redskins - while excellent for a while - has our 'hero' carry out a really quite nasty misdeed that alienates any kind of sneaking sympathy for him, it's sociopathic really, so I totally went off him

I'm always disappointed when hundreds of pages go by and he doesn't do anything nasty. He's supposed to be the school bully grown up, a coward and a liar and a scoundrel and a rogue and a bounder and a cad, yet in the later books Fraser seems to forget Flashman's true character in favour of telling an exciting adventure. So for me, the deal Flashy makes to escape his American marriage and hopefully begin his return to England elicited a cheer: "hooray, Flashman is once again despicable!"
otherwise, I start thinking he is not really any more cowardly than any other sensible soldier … part of his schtick is that he hides his fear and his peers mistake that for bravery and reward him, but doesn't everybody do that, except maybe the truly psychopathic? so we need those truly despicable deeds at least once every book to prove his cowardice is something beyond common sense reaction to circumstances.

Ever read Catch-22? that's the catch: you can only be excused from duty if you're insane, but if you're too scared to fly any more missions that proves you are in fact perfectly sane and therefor must keep flying.

Napoleon Plural wrote:

...and b) The narrative then flashes forwards a few decades to a point one supposes where he gets his later comeuppance from earlier incident, but I felt I was bypassing all the other adventures. So the book was chronological at the start, but not later on if you see what I mean.

Great Game reads very well and is a great romp, though it helps to read it but a few months after the previous one.

In the case of that book you should have put it down at the halfway mark and returned to where you've left off once you'd finished all the others that happen in between.
If I read this table in Wikipedia correctly, the 2nd half of Flashman and the Redskins takes place in between the final two books.
As the table gives the page counts, I notice ...Redskins is almost twice as long as any of the others, so maybe its best to think of it as two separate adventures published as one volume (or "packet" as the "editor" keeps referring to them).

For me, I quite enjoyed the surprise return of a certain character from the first half. I literally did not recognise said character until the big reveal, yup, so it was an effective whallop from the storyteller, and Flashy did get what was coming to him as consequence of his earlier misdeed.
A lot of the best plot twists come from some character recognising Flashy for some insult years earlier, and humiliating him in front of all his high-ranking admirers. So he has to have committed some truly unforgivable misdeeds in his past for that trick to work.


Do you find reading them according to internal chronology that Fraser keeps all the details straight? Flashman in his trains of thought keeps reminiscing about lists of names and events in his life, some of which we have already seen, some of which presumably are to come, and Fraser must make it more complicated for himself by skipping back and forth in time to insert previously untold tales.

617

Re: Last Book Read...

Arnhem by Antony Beevor

For me he's the best writer of military history and this is a fine work which expands on a subject about which I've already read a huge amount.

618

Re: Last Book Read...

I've read pretty much everything Beevor has written and I'll read this one too. Arne reminds me of a story my platoon commander told us:

When he was at the officer school ("Krigsskolen") they went to the Netherlands to do the Nimjegen march. One time Krigsskolen marched past a delegation from the US Marines. My platoon commander shouted to them: "Do you wanna hear the American national anthem?!"
They did.
He started signing the theme tune from the Coka Cola commercials.
"Do you wanna hear the NEW American national anthem?!"
They didn't.
He started signing the song from the Diet Coke commercials.
Then he ran  ajb007/lol

619

Re: Last Book Read...

Number24 wrote:

I've read pretty much everything Beevor has written and I'll read this one too. Arne reminds me of a story my platoon commander told us:

When he was at the officer school ("Krigsskolen") they went to the Netherlands to do the Nimjegen march. One time Krigsskolen marched past a delegation from the US Marines. My platoon commander shouted to them: "Do you wanna hear the American national anthem?!"
They did.
He started signing the theme tune from the Coka Cola commercials.
"Do you wanna hear the NEW American national anthem?!"
They didn't.
He started signing the song from the Diet Coke commercials.
Then he ran  ajb007/lol

ajb007/lol

The only work of Beevor's I struggled with, and didn't finish, was his book about the Spanish Civil War although I believe it's been updated and might be worth another go.

620

Re: Last Book Read...

Hi Mr Potts, your post is very much what I was going to say in my update upon finishing Flashman and the Great Game.

It's a great read, Fraser went on to help pen Octopussy and one set piece action scene and the dynamic of the villainy put one in mind of the film too. Jordan of course would have been a great Count Ignieoff or whatever his name is, okay, not really but it seems his character was modelled on him. There's the Russian involvement in the background with both Great Game and OP.

But yes, Flashman is close to a conventional hero in this. It may be that Fraser wanted to do the horror of the Indian mutiny justice and not have Flashy unaffected by it, but yes, despite the author's best efforts to emphasise how cowardly and reluctant his anti-hero is when pressed into battle, the fact that he does it anyway crafts him into a hero nonetheless, he certainly has capability, luck and derring do, all heroic attributes. As you say Potts, much of it is what any soldier in the field would feel, it is argued that to feel cowardice and go ahead and do it anyway is the definition of bravery. Of course to be fair all this was at odds with the myth of imperialistic gung-ho antics of the time.
You almost wonder if Flashy isn't playing up to his myth as he writes it, emphasising his reluctance. It could be that his conventional heroics build us up to the last-page reveal where it all comes crashing down, but I'm not sure that's deliberate.

Flashy even seems to fall for the lady in this, but for much of this book I was expecting something to pan out that never did, a final confrontation. He does a very decent thing at the end.

Generally I enjoy Flashy's wickedness, it is only in that particular book Redskins that I took exception to what he did to somebody, because it seemed a) calculated and b) a massive betrayal and c) liable to completely wreck their life rather than be brushed off.

"This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

Roger Moore 1927-2017

621

Re: Last Book Read...

Flashman should be the next HBO miniseries IMO. Dominic West is willing and able to play Flashy, but who should play Elsbeth?  ajb007/biggrin

622

Re: Last Book Read...

West is too old surely. An Errol Flynn type would be good.

But budget would be a problem with such a series.

And a lot of the enjoyment comes from Fraser's footnotes, making it clear (sometimes with a tad too much self regard perhaps) just how closely the events described matches the historical record. That is lost when you film the books as one romp after another.

"This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

Roger Moore 1927-2017

623

Re: Last Book Read...

He's the right age for some of the Flashman. I agree that the footnotes is an important part of the novels and the level of historical accuracy is impressive. This can't be included in a mini-series, but the boks a re so colourful, funny and action-packed they will be good TV without them. The budget will be high, but series like Vikings, GoT and The Crown cost 5-15 millions for each episode. That's enough to make a Flashman series, especially because of CGI.


https://www.thetimes.co.uk/imageserver/image/methode%2Ftimes%2Fprod%2Fweb%2Fbin%2Fea6e50b0-dc27-11e6-a7b1-3a60b507a068.jpg?crop=1456%2C819%2C29%2C8

624

Re: Last Book Read...

Dunno, it's not bad but is he really good looking enough to be such a ladykiller?

"This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

Roger Moore 1927-2017

625

Re: Last Book Read...

Not at all  ajb007/shifty

https://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/20/590x/The-Affair-576959.jpg