What are you reading now?


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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:39 pm

I already know whta my Xmas present book will be:

<<Inferno
The World at War, 1939-1945
By Max Hastings
(Alfred A. Knopf; 729 pages; $35)

If there is a contemporary British historian who is the chronicler of World War II, it would be Max Hastings. In book after book, he has zoomed in on individual theaters and arenas in the global conflict, which continues to fascinate historians and readers more than 65 years after it finally came to an end.

If you want to know all about the Battle of Britain or the United Kingdom's Bomber Command or Winston Churchill's pivotal role in the war, Hastings' studies are the ones to go for. If you want a detailed account of the Normandy Invasion, there's his definitive "Overlord." How did the Allies finally conquer Germany and Japan? "Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945" and "Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45" will each give you a detailed account of how these monumental feats were accomplished.

The great virtue of this culminating volume "Inferno" is that it provides the whole six years as only someone as knowledgeable as Hastings can do....>>

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c ... z1fFqnLB5K
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby 26mi235 » Thu Dec 01, 2011 9:14 am

I am reading the fourth/last volume of biography on George C. Marshall; so far quite good:

"George C. Marshall: Statesman 1945-1959", Forrest Pogue, written in 1987.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Helen S » Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:36 am

It seems that many people justify purchasing a reading machine because it can hold numerous books at one time. I always read one book at a time- does everyone else read numeous ones depending on what they feel like reading just them when the opporunity strikes?
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Daisy » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:21 pm

Helen S wrote:I always read one book at a time- does everyone else read numeous ones depending on what they feel like reading

I've had three books on the go at one time before. Usually reading along with my kids, like Harry Potter. On top of that possibly a fiction and a non-fiction book. Finally, many science papers for work, and those can add up to a big pile.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Conor Dary » Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:18 pm

gh wrote:I already know whta my Xmas present book will be:

<<Inferno
The World at War, 1939-1945
By Max Hastings
(Alfred A. Knopf; 729 pages; $35)

If there is a contemporary British historian who is the chronicler of World War II, it would be Max Hastings. In book after book, he has zoomed in on individual theaters and arenas in the global conflict, which continues to fascinate historians and readers more than 65 years after it finally came to an end.

If you want to know all about the Battle of Britain or the United Kingdom's Bomber Command or Winston Churchill's pivotal role in the war, Hastings' studies are the ones to go for. If you want a detailed account of the Normandy Invasion, there's his definitive "Overlord." How did the Allies finally conquer Germany and Japan? "Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945" and "Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45" will each give you a detailed account of how these monumental feats were accomplished.

The great virtue of this culminating volume "Inferno" is that it provides the whole six years as only someone as knowledgeable as Hastings can do....>>

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c ... z1fFqnLB5K


Speaking of Hastings, via Tom Ricks,

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... TopOpinion

http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/20 ... _the_big_s
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby lonewolf » Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:56 pm

I do not intentionally read more than one book at a time..
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:01 pm

I regularly juggle two books, but it's always a hardback and a paperback (reflecting the general content of each: one for edification the other for mindless entertainment).
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby 26mi235 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:44 am

I typically am reading several books at once. Often something scientific or two (usually different areas), sometimes history (e.g., Marshall, mentioned above and am reading the beginning of 'Chaos', but it might be too dated).

I find gh's suggestion/introduction to Hastings quite tempting and put it as item on on my Christmas list.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Pego » Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:24 am

lonewolf wrote:I do not intentionally read more than one book at a time..


So do I.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Daisy » Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:05 am

Pego wrote:
lonewolf wrote:I do not intentionally read more than one book at a time..

So do I.

Certainly it slows you down. But I'll sometimes just jump right to the end to find out 'who did it'.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby 26mi235 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:34 am

Daisy wrote:
Pego wrote:
lonewolf wrote:I do not intentionally read more than one book at a time..

So do I.

Certainly it slows you down. But I'll sometimes just jump right to the end to find out 'who did it'.


Yes, sometimes I just want to find out if those neutrinos beat their PR again in the short 700km dash. :lol:
Last edited by 26mi235 on Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Conor Dary » Sat Dec 03, 2011 4:44 pm

I just started a new book written by one of our regulars here.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Daisy » Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:07 pm

Conor Dary wrote:I just started a new book written by one of our regulars here.

It better have lots of pictures otherwise I'm not interested. ;)
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:50 pm

I have to cop to committing a cardinal sin as I've always understood the rules of bibliophiling. It's worse than walking out of a movie: I put a book down without finishing it!

Very (very-very) well written: The Black Swan ("The Impact Of The Highly Improbable") by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

At this point in my life my brain just can't stay wrapped around deep philosophical concepts. I wanna be a sponge and swim around in hard facts, not have to actually analyze every sentence.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby bambam » Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:22 pm

gh wrote:I have to cop to committing a cardinal sin as I've always understood the rules of bibliophiling. It's worse than walking out of a movie: I put a book down without finishing it!

Very (very-very) well written: The Black Swan ("The Impact Of The Highly Improbable") by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

At this point in my life my brain just can't stay wrapped around deep philosophical concepts. I wanna be a sponge and swim around in hard facts, not have to actually analyze every sentence.


I agree - I finished it but did not like it very much either.

I hope you're right about World at War 1939-45 because I got it for my iPad 2 days ago
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Pego » Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:29 pm

Daisy wrote:
Conor Dary wrote:I just started a new book written by one of our regulars here.

It better have lots of pictures otherwise I'm not interested. ;)


My psychic powers say that it does. Photos, even.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby kuha » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:12 pm

bambam wrote:
gh wrote:I have to cop to committing a cardinal sin as I've always understood the rules of bibliophiling. It's worse than walking out of a movie: I put a book down without finishing it!

Very (very-very) well written: The Black Swan ("The Impact Of The Highly Improbable") by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

At this point in my life my brain just can't stay wrapped around deep philosophical concepts. I wanna be a sponge and swim around in hard facts, not have to actually analyze every sentence.


I agree - I finished it but did not like it very much either.


Interesting. I also read it; thought it was worthwhile, but that the author made the same (valid) point repeatedly...
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Conor Dary » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:13 pm

Pego wrote:
Daisy wrote:
Conor Dary wrote:I just started a new book written by one of our regulars here.

It better have lots of pictures otherwise I'm not interested. ;)


My psychic powers say that it does. Photos, even.


There are some pictures :wink: but I think they should have been in color. :lol:
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby 26mi235 » Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:19 pm

bambam wrote:
gh wrote:I have to cop to committing a cardinal sin as I've always understood the rules of bibliophiling. It's worse than walking out of a movie: I put a book down without finishing it!

Very (very-very) well written: The Black Swan ("The Impact Of The Highly Improbable") by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

At this point in my life my brain just can't stay wrapped around deep philosophical concepts. I wanna be a sponge and swim around in hard facts, not have to actually analyze every sentence.


I agree - I finished it but did not like it very much either.

I hope you're right about World at War 1939-45 because I got it for my iPad 2 days ago


I also got the book based on the rather substantial recommendation. I have to finish FDR first, though, only 500 more pages to go (some in small type).
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:00 pm

bambam wrote:
gh wrote:I have to cop to committing a cardinal sin as I've always understood the rules of bibliophiling. It's worse than walking out of a movie: I put a book down without finishing it!

Very (very-very) well written: The Black Swan ("The Impact Of The Highly Improbable") by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

At this point in my life my brain just can't stay wrapped around deep philosophical concepts. I wanna be a sponge and swim around in hard facts, not have to actually analyze every sentence.


I agree - I finished it but did not like it very much either.

I hope you're right about World at War 1939-45 because I got it for my iPad 2 days ago


Just to be clear, gh has no position on Hastings! I said that based on the review, it sounded eminently readable.

OK, now that I've clarified that, I have started it (and the eagerness to do so may well be part of the reason I bailed on The Swan). And I'm loving it. He notes that on purpose his is not one of those doctoral-thesis-level pieces that is so chock-full of foot notes that it makes reading almost impossible (Schirer comes close at times).

Some early numbers (which although he doesn't cite sources, I'm compelled to believe): from 9/39 through 8/45 the average loss of life per day due to WWII was... wait for it... 27,000! That's 9 World Trade Centers a day every day for 6 years. And Americans who escaped the two big global conflicts being on their soil wonder why other nations may have a different view of carnage.

Here's another: during the war, 17,000 American soldiers went through battlefield-related amputations: during the same period, 100,000 workers back at home suffered industrially-related choppings.

Wait a minute, I read this uplifting stuff why?
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby DrJay » Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:36 am

17,000 seems unbelievably low.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby DrJay » Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:40 am

I'm partway through Blind Man's Bluff, by Sontag and Drew, the story of American submarine espionage during the Cold War. Well-written and interesting.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby bambam » Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:29 am

kuha wrote:
bambam wrote:
gh wrote:I have to cop to committing a cardinal sin as I've always understood the rules of bibliophiling. It's worse than walking out of a movie: I put a book down without finishing it!

Very (very-very) well written: The Black Swan ("The Impact Of The Highly Improbable") by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

At this point in my life my brain just can't stay wrapped around deep philosophical concepts. I wanna be a sponge and swim around in hard facts, not have to actually analyze every sentence.


I agree - I finished it but did not like it very much either.


Interesting. I also read it; thought it was worthwhile, but that the author made the same (valid) point repeatedly...


I think I was expecting it to be as good as some of Malcolm Gladwell's stuff and it wasn't. Still waiting now for another Gladwell book - been a few years.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Conor Dary » Fri Dec 23, 2011 6:23 pm

Interesting review of Job's bio:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archive ... teve-jobs/


While it may be convenient to suppose that Apple is no different than any other company doing business in China—which is as fine a textbook example of a logical fallacy as there is—in reality, it is worse. According to a study reported by Bloomberg News last January, Apple ranked at the very bottom of twenty-nine global tech firms “in terms of responsiveness and transparency to health and environmental concerns in China.” Yet walking into the Foxconn factory, where people routinely work six days a week, from early in the morning till late at night standing in enforced silence, Steve Jobs might have entered his biggest reality distortion field of all. “You go into this place and it’s a factory but, my gosh, they’ve got restaurants and movie theaters and hospitals and swimming pools,” he said after being queried by reporters about working conditions there shortly after a spate of suicides. “For a factory, it’s pretty nice.”

Steve Jobs cried a lot. This is one of the salient facts about his subject that Isaacson reveals, and it is salient not because it shows Jobs’s emotional depth, but because it is an example of his stunted character. Steve Jobs cried when he didn’t get his own way. He was a bully, a dissembler, a cheapskate, a deadbeat dad, a manipulator, and sometimes he was very nice. Isaacson does not shy away from any of this, and the trouble is that Jobs comes across as such a repellent man, cruel even to his best friend Steve Wozniak, derisive of almost everyone, ruthless to people who thought they were his friends, indifferent to his daughters, that the book is often hard to read. Friends and former friends speculate that his bad behavior was a consequence of being put up for adoption at birth. A former girlfriend, who went on to work in the mental health field, thought he had Narcissistic Personality Disorder. John Sculley, who orchestrated Jobs’s expulsion from Apple, wondered if he was bipolar. Jobs himself dismissed his excesses with a single word: artist. Artists, he seemed to believe, got a pass on bad behavior. Isaacson seems to think so, too, proving that it is possible to write a hagiography even while exposing the worst in a person.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:53 am

bambam wrote:....
I hope you're right about World at War 1939-45 because I got it for my iPad 2 days ago


You into it? I'm about 40% done and absolutely blown away. Surprisingly, it's my first exposure to Hastings and if his other stuff is half as good as this I'll devour it. The most compelling historical read I can recall.

The sequence on the Eastern Front left me shivering, and now that I'm in the fall of Singapore and Burma,I wonder how some of the old Colonial Brits (and to lesser extent, Aussies) could look themselves in the mirror at the way they treated the "subjects" of their Empire.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby kuha » Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:34 pm

For a particular writing project, I'm reading Thomas Wolfe's "You Can't Go Home Again." Interesting in many respects (while not truly my thing), but not a book I've EVER heard from friends that they've actually read. Has Wolfe fallen completely out of the 20th century canon?
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Per Andersen » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:33 pm

kuha wrote:For a particular writing project, I'm reading Thomas Wolfe's "You Can't Go Home Again." Interesting in many respects (while not truly my thing), but not a book I've EVER heard from friends that they've actually read. Has Wolfe fallen completely out of the 20th century canon?

Yes, he's pretty much gone it seems. He's nor even mentioned in Harold Bloom's "The Western Canon"
I once attempted " Of Time and the River" but I was way too young and quit and never tried him again. My dad liked him.

I don't think many read Dos Passos and Sinclair Lewis anymore either. They were both favorites of mine.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby bambam » Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:22 am

gh wrote:
bambam wrote:....
I hope you're right about World at War 1939-45 because I got it for my iPad 2 days ago


You into it? I'm about 40% done and absolutely blown away. Surprisingly, it's my first exposure to Hastings and if his other stuff is half as good as this I'll devour it. The most compelling historical read I can recall.

The sequence on the Eastern Front left me shivering, and now that I'm in the fall of Singapore and Burma,I wonder how some of the old Colonial Brits (and to lesser extent, Aussies) could look themselves in the mirror at the way they treated the "subjects" of their Empire.


Yeah, almost finished with it. This book is great. I also had the same reaction about the Eastern Front. No idea how a people could suffer like that. The entire description of some of the brutality of various peoples is shocking to know that people can act like that. I knew about some of it but the book really brings it home.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby DrJay » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:09 am

kuha wrote:For a particular writing project, I'm reading Thomas Wolfe's "You Can't Go Home Again." Interesting in many respects (while not truly my thing), but not a book I've EVER heard from friends that they've actually read. Has Wolfe fallen completely out of the 20th century canon?


As a UNC alum, same as Wolfe, I felt compelled to try. I read "Look Homeward Angel" and later "Of Time and the River" but couldn't take it any more so never picked up his other two novels, "The Web and the Rock" and the one you're reading. Prose too wandering and ornate for my taste.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby DrJay » Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:42 am

Just finished "Kentucky Colonels of the American Basketball Association: The Real Story of a Team Left Behind" (Gary P. West and Lloyd "Pink" Gardner.) Lot of interesting triva and stories about the history of the Colonels (my first sports obsession as a youth) but one of the worst-written books I have ever read. Terry Pluto's "Loose Balls" is a much better read for former ABA fans.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby bambam » Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:05 am

DrJay put me onto Loose Balls this summer, book about the ABA, and I read it. Pretty good read, lots of fun.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Pego » Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:32 am

The ABA ball drove me crazy.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby mike renfro » Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:39 pm

Protect and Defend. A Richard North Paterson novel. He is a pretty good genre writer.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby bambam » Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:01 pm

Just finished Iron War - the story of the 1989 Ironman Hawaii race between Dave Scott and Mark Allen, supposedly the greatest triathlon race ever. Very well written and fun read. Also easy to get through. Recommend it for most people on this board.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby 26mi235 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:56 pm

bambam wrote:
gh wrote:
bambam wrote:....
I hope you're right about World at War 1939-45 because I got it for my iPad 2 days ago


You into it? I'm about 40% done and absolutely blown away. Surprisingly, it's my first exposure to Hastings and if his other stuff is half as good as this I'll devour it. The most compelling historical read I can recall.

The sequence on the Eastern Front left me shivering, and now that I'm in the fall of Singapore and Burma,I wonder how some of the old Colonial Brits (and to lesser extent, Aussies) could look themselves in the mirror at the way they treated the "subjects" of their Empire.


Yeah, almost finished with it. This book is great. I also had the same reaction about the Eastern Front. No idea how a people could suffer like that. The entire description of some of the brutality of various peoples is shocking to know that people can act like that. I knew about some of it but the book really brings it home.


I finished it yesterday and found it interesting but somewhat tedious. A more balanced view than you get most places is probably the biggest advantage of the book, but he keeps hammering and hammering at those points and that got tedious. Basically, the western countries/democracies were not able to sustain the sort of 'all-in' war that the Nazi, Soviets, and Japan practiced. On the other hand, especially the Japanese and the Nazi's had some virtually fatal flaws for prosecuting the war in light of the nature of the world. One element was the size of the Soviet Union, combined with the Nazi's nature of devastation in occupied regions and the Stalin's willingness to through in millions of 'cannon fodder'. The second being the vast resources of the US, combined with its technical sophistication (enhanced, ironically enough, with scientists fleeing the Nazi regime).

I got a newish book on D-Day (have not read one on the topic since reading (multiple) The Longest Day close to 50 years ago.

I also finished the one-volume biography FDR that I read at the same time, making a good match with The World at War.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby gh » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:44 pm

Now on my to-get list is Vanished Kingdoms (The Rise & Fall Of States & Nations) by Norman Davies. It's about 15 European cities/countries that have come and gone. Was the basis for my geography trivia quiz question.

From a new book review, a "modern" country of which I had never heard!

<<... Some of the states in "Vanished Kingdoms" were short-lived, such as Etruria, in central Italy, which lasted but 14 years in the 19th century. Others spanned centuries, such as Byzantium, an empire that survived nearly 1,400 years. Some of Davies' subjects were weak. The Republic of Carpatho-Ukraine lasted all of one day in March 1939 before being occupied by Hungary, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, respectively....

... Most histories of World War II overlook Carpatho-Ukraine, for instance, even though it was a suppressed democratic government, an illegally invaded member state of the League of Nations and was the site of military action and a considerable death toll. Davies is not exaggerating when he says it "might well qualify as a prelude to the Second World war II...">>



Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c ... z1jqbkvl3M
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby Avante » Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:08 pm

Once the football season is over, I plan on delving into...yep in order.

The Boxing Register....Official Record Book
Tishomingo Blues...Elmore Leonard (that title an old 1926 Blues tune by Pegleg Howell)
The Haunted Mesa...Louis L' Amour
The Reluctant Fundamentalist...Moshin Hamid
So You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star...Jacob Slichter
Rumble Tumble....Joe R.Lansdale
The Last Jihad...Joel C. Rosenberg
61 Hours....Lee Child
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby bambam » Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:51 pm

gh wrote:Now on my to-get list is Vanished Kingdoms (The Rise & Fall Of States & Nations) by Norman Davies. It's about 15 European cities/countries that have come and gone. Was the basis for my geography trivia quiz question.


Amazing, E Garry, I just bought that for my iPad a few days ago and started it last nite.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby dukehjsteve » Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:09 pm

I just started reading the Louie Zamperini book, " Unbroken." It's great reading. I'm past the track part, and happily, it appears the author did not make any factual errors that I could discern.
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Re: What are you reading now?

Postby KDFINE » Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:21 pm

I just finished the first of the Dortmunder novels by the late Donald Westlake, "The Hot Rock," the only one made into movie. I've read and enjoyed them all, especially when in need of a page turner with humor. There are some deviations from the film, but the main plot elements are consistent.
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