Rate the last book you read Page 81

  • Mola_Ram 8 Feb 2019 13:45:40 20,411 posts
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    Dark Tower 7: THE DARK TOWER

    Bloated and even more meta than the last one. I guess the advantage of putting yourself in the story is that you can make whatever contrivances you like and handwave the explanation away with "well, the writer put them there to help us AND DON'T QUESTION IT ANY MORE THAN THAT". Ugh.

    It's a mess, basically. But... I love, love, love the ending. Even though it probably feels more appropriate for the Roland of the first book, rather than the one that ends the story.

    7.2/10
  • RichDC 8 Feb 2019 13:54:09 8,355 posts
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    My biggest problem with The Dark Tower is Mordred. I just don't understand why King thought it would be a good idea to create a new bad guy that would go on to effortlessly kill Flag (who I remember being great) and then have him die of food poisoning! Was Roland even aware of his existence? I don't remember.

    But yes, I did like the ending.

    Edited by RichDC at 13:54:42 08-02-2019
  • Mola_Ram 8 Feb 2019 14:00:29 20,411 posts
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    Yeah, Roland knew. But yes, the book has a bit of a villain problem. You can't build something up and up as the big threat of the story, only to just erase it out of existence with no trouble at all.

    I love the ending, but the climax is... anti-climactic.

    Edited by Mola_Ram at 14:08:10 08-02-2019
  • Murbs 8 Feb 2019 16:21:43 24,285 posts
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    I've become a real fan of Adrian Tchaikovsky of late. Anyone else? Currently reading Children of Time, but also loved Dogs of War. Great sci-fi. His fantasy is good too - recently finished Spiderlight which was excellent.
  • RyanDS 8 Feb 2019 16:24:25 12,772 posts
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    Only read Children of Time, but that was fucking amazing.

    Not the most enjoyable sci fi of the past few years*, but I think it may be the best.

    *I've enjoyed some rip roaring "yarns" more, but objectively they don't stand up.
  • CosmicFuzz 8 Feb 2019 16:34:02 32,585 posts
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    Yeah, Children of Time was amazing. I've already pre-ordered the sequel, which I don't think I've ever done for a book before.

    Got Dogs of War on the list to read too.
  • Drakesmoke 8 Feb 2019 17:00:27 563 posts
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    Pratchett's Equal Rites. A re-read from childhood and possibly more appreciated as an adult.

    I like the first two Discworld novels a great deal but I really feel Pratchett found his craft here, his prose is a lot more descriptive and takes its time nicely.

    9/10, Mort, which I am now half way through is a 10 IMO.

    With regards the Dark Tower, I agree that it's possibly my favourite ending in fiction.
  • Tonka 11 Feb 2019 06:28:44 29,588 posts
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    Semiosis by Sue Burke

    A classic sci-fi that managed to feel surprisingly fresh. A group of humans arrive at a distant world to build utopia. Soon they discover that plants are intelligent and the dominant species. Not all plants seem happy about the humans, and not all plants seem happy about each other.

    Great book. At times tense, scary, exciting, thought provoking and more. Manages to say things about our world today without being on the nose.

    Looking forward to more books from the same author.
  • JoelStinty 11 Feb 2019 09:01:26 7,926 posts
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    Drakesmoke wrote:
    Pratchett's Equal Rites. A re-read from childhood and possibly more appreciated as an adult.

    I like the first two Discworld novels a great deal but I really feel Pratchett found his craft here, his prose is a lot more descriptive and takes its time nicely.

    9/10, Mort, which I am now half way through is a 10 IMO.

    With regards the Dark Tower, I agree that it's possibly my favourite ending in fiction.
    Yeah i started to doing a re-read from the start of disc world and it is a joy seeing how much better he gets at it with each book. I think i only read up up to Monstrous regiment and then uni life amongst other things got in the way ( i don't why because i carried on reading) so looking forward to reading the later books. Jingo is my next book. Looking forward to reading Time and Fifth elephant again as they were my favourites way back then.

    Anyway,

    The Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula Le Guin

    Really good. Short, sweet and surprisingly dense. Expected to rattle through it because of its short length, but Ursula gets a lot in with little and took me a little longer than i expected to finish. She got a good knack of pointing you in the right direction with what you should be thinking about when reading too, you don't miss too many important details.

    4.5/5

    Edited by JoelStinty at 09:02:23 11-02-2019

    Edited by JoelStinty at 09:03:37 11-02-2019
  • TheJackKetch 25 Feb 2019 14:29:02 170 posts
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    Just finished reading The Secret Barrister book as recommended by user RichDC, fascinating book and one everyone should read.
  • JoelStinty 1 Mar 2019 08:51:57 7,926 posts
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    The looking glass War - John Le Carre

    Quietly devastating book about washed up agents hanging onto pride and nostalgia as they jump onto an opportunity to send a man in.

    If an ending makes a book! I found a lot of this quite dry and droll especially compared to his earlier works, the writing seems a little mechanical at times but itís pay off is worth it.

    4/5
  • Rodney 1 Mar 2019 09:27:42 3,878 posts
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    Just finished Patrick Obrien's Aubrey Maturin series, 20 books in total. Took me about 18 months as I teneded to read something else inbetween each book.

    I loved the series, brilliantly written, great characters and laugh out loud funny. Basicalluy wrriten like Jane Austin but with more guns. The main character is a Daily Mail readers wet dream, he kills lots of French people, drinks tea, eats jam, loves the king and is a bit of an unapologetic emperialist.

    Edited by Rodney at 09:37:20 01-03-2019

    Edited by Rodney at 09:37:49 01-03-2019
  • dmj 1 Mar 2019 09:52:28 992 posts
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    I'm up to The Wine-Dark Sea so haven't got long left. I keep moving it to the bottom of my TBR pile as, much as I want to read it, I also don't want the series to end (I started it five years ago, so I'm doing pretty well).

    Just started The Border by Don Winslow. I'm expecting it to be amazing (the previous two in the series were).

    Edited by dmj at 09:52:47 01-03-2019
  • Rodney 1 Mar 2019 22:55:31 3,878 posts
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    A glass with you, sir.

    Im happy to say the quality remains high throughout the series, although the last five or so books a certain sense of repitition sets in, like the characters are just going through the motions a bit. The dialogue and characterisation remains just as strong as ever however and becomes perhaps more the focus.

    The only criticism I would have, and I dont think Im giving away any spoilers in saying this, is that Obrian died before he finished writing the series, so although the last (complete) book wraps up some storylines, a lot remains unresolved.
    Some questions remain unanswered (literally) and main characters just drop out of the story and we never really find out what happens to them. Perhaps this was intentional as Obrian often lets action take place off the page. Who knows.

    Overall though a satisfying ending and that nice mix of emotions you get when you finish reading something you didnt want to end.
  • jrmat 2 Mar 2019 15:59:56 77 posts
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    The dead student by john katzenbach

    I stopped reading it after about a quarter of the way through. I think it's the psychological aspect of it that I find doesn't work and I just end up feeling confused.

    In fairness to the author, Hart's War is one of my fav books and The Analyst is very good. I recommend both strongly I just couldn't get into this own and didn't really care about the characters. I may get back to it and enjoy it another time so I'll hold back from giving a rating.

    Edited by jrmat at 19:14:30 02-03-2019
  • drhickman1983 10 Mar 2019 11:50:33 5,922 posts
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    Brandon Sanderson - Skyward: Claim The Stars

    It's the first in a new series from Brandon Sanderson. Moving away from the fantasy worlds of the Cosmere where most of his novels have been set, this is a sci-fi based in some far future of our own universe.

    Humans, stranded on a planet after their spaceships crashed there, are forced to live underground to avoid the aliens that hound them. The last line of defence is the DFF, a group of pilots.

    Admittedly, the initial set up I gave there maybe doesn't sound that original, but the characters are wonderfully written and enjoyable to be around, and new plot elements and twists are introduced at just the right pace to keep it interesting.

    It's frequently funny, occasionally moving, and quite gripping and engaging. There are some writers who have the ability to conjure extremely clear images in my mind, and Sanderson is one of them.

    8/10
  • PazJohnMitch 10 Mar 2019 13:03:21 14,526 posts
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    Didnít even realise he had written / released that. (Still on Oathbringer at the moment).
  • GuybrushFreepwood 10 Mar 2019 15:33:53 1,057 posts
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    A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson

    I've had this book on my shelf for years and never got past the first couple of chapters. Then I bought it on Audible and the long dull journeys to work became a source of amazement and not a few laughs.

    Fair to say its one of the best audio books I've ever listened to as the narrator reminded me of the guy who narrated the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy at times. The content was great and I learnt a hell of a lot. I doubt I'd have got through it in print though as it was 18 hours of listening.

    Anyway, really enjoyed it and will be listening to it again to let everything sink in. Quite sad at the end that it was over and also sad that we are destroying so much in the world. A book everyone should read.

    9/10
  • GuybrushFreepwood 10 Mar 2019 15:41:50 1,057 posts
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    First Man In - Ant MIddleton (the guy off the SAS thing on TV)

    Bought this thinking that it would be full of tales of Ant's experiences in exotic places and his life in the SBS. Ended up reading a cross between a leadership tips book and a biography of everything but Ant's life in the SBS. It seems that area of his life must be classified as the closest you got to knowing about that life was snippets of selection.

    The majority of the book though was reading about an angry thug who wants to punch everyone and who is very lucky to have any sort of career, let alone a good one. Can't say I liked the guy much after reading it. I admire his fitness and drive, but the person under all that wasn't quite the guy I'd come to "know" on TV.

    I thought the leadership tips felt tagged on and I'd have much preferred to have heard more about his later life (and less about the drinking and fighting in the paras). I also thought there was way too much on his recreation of the Mutiny on the Bounty.

    5/10
  • GuybrushFreepwood 10 Mar 2019 15:49:34 1,057 posts
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    Dreams From My Father - Barack Obama

    Read by the guy himself, this was a very enlightening background to the last President of America (I'm not counting the Duck). It runs from his grandfather to his applying for law school, so there is very little about his rise to politics and nothing about his presidency. I didn't realise how long ago it was written and that at the time he was not on the road to success.

    I also didn't realise how hard he'd had it at times and I left the book thinking more of him.

    It was confusing that his father was called Barack, so for some time at the start, I was thought his dad's tale was his and then another Barack turned up and the penny dropped.

    Covered a bit too much on the history of his family for my liking and was a bit too assuming in places (I've no idea what a gang banger is, but he uses that phrase often). A bit dull in parts, (community organising in Chicago / his annoyed aunt), but overall interesting.

    7/10
  • GuybrushFreepwood 10 Mar 2019 15:54:52 1,057 posts
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    Lost Connections - Johann Hari

    I enjoyed Part 1 (why anti depressants shouldn't be given as much as they are and don't actually appear to have benefits for most people, but do have side effects) and Part 2 (what are the causes of depression if its not a chemical imbalance and what can we do that might work better). Both parts had scientific research and experts quoted. However, Part 3 (lost connections?) was a pretty rambling, unfocused waffle which went on at great length about a German housing group's issues and other tales (like using psychedelics) which had little - if any - scientific backing for the conclusions he came to. He would tend to have someone say "this could be of benefit" and run with that as though it was the greatest cure even though it was one person's opinion on (usually) one and only one example, the efficacy of which was frequently subjective. By the end of Part 3, I was fed up of listening to Johann and could understand another review I'd read about him having a leftist agenda as it felt to me that this part was using very sketchy at best evidence to support his beliefs and world view.

    Pros:
    Part 1 provided interesting information as to how drug companies have manipulated trial information and the system to get their drugs on the market when they show little benefit but have been shown to cause harm. I found this enlightening.

    Part 2 provided a good list of possible social and environmental causes and what you can do to improve your symptoms. I think I will read this again.

    Part 2 had a lot of direct references by the people he'd interviewed and a lot of facts and figures (as did part 1)
    Parts 1 & 2 had a lot of quoted scientific evidence

    Cons:

    Swearing. There wasn't a lot, but why was it needed at all? It might be quoting someone, but it was jarring and really put me off.

    Mealtimes: I don't want to know what Johann was eating when he was interviewing someone. Might be his "chummy" writing style but I really don't care about it and it's not why I got the book. He was always saying what he was eating.

    Overly Personalised: Some elements (most of Part 3 was guilty of this) were much too personalised and his own journey with AD's coloured his perception too much and biased his opinions too clearly. I also read this book with no idea who the author was. Part way through Part 3 I was asking myself "what has any of this stuff about a gay bar have to do with depression?" and later wondered what the tale about the guy who wanted gay marriage had to do with it. I now know that he is gay and I guess that's why he felt I needed to know what the gay bar owner's other clubs were called in a book on depression.

    CBT: In part 3 in just one sentence he dismisses CBT saying "there isn't any evidence that it is of benefit to people with depression" (or words to that effect), which a very quick and cursory Google shows is utter nonsense. If that was the case, then why does the NHS advocate it? I've just spent a month studying the efficacy of CBT and I know his flippant claim to be untrue and it makes me concerned about the rest of his claims.

    Metaphors: At times the metaphors he used made me cringe.

    Bookending: The first chapter struck me as irrelevant and I wondered why it was included. I found out at the end of the book it was so he could refer back to a single line in that chapter (listen to your body and don't mask it) at the end. It felt contrived... like too much of the book.

    In summary, had I stopped reading the book at the end of part 2, then I would have rated it much higher. Part 3 seemed to be a waste of my life and a fairly desperate attempt to make the points he wanted despite the lack of compelling evidence for his views.

    5/10

    Edited by GuybrushFreepwood at 15:59:55 10-03-2019
  • GuybrushFreepwood 10 Mar 2019 15:59:40 1,057 posts
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    The Compassionate Mind - Paul Gilbert

    Loved the first half which was really insightful. It was a bit drawn out and repetitive at times though. Just over half way through it gets into the practical side of the book and thatís where the book started to drag. There were pages and pages of example exercises explained and to be honest Iíll probably never go back to them and can remember few. Many sounded so similar that they all sort of merged.

    Last part of the book was going on about how a compassionate society would be which is not something I can influence in reality and this got boring...as did his obvious love for Buddha and dislike of any other religion. I got a bit sick of that.

    Good for the first half but went on too long and was repetitive and off message too much.

    6.5/10
  • Tonka 10 Mar 2019 16:02:38 29,588 posts
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    @GuybrushFreepwood
    Short history as an audiobook makes a lot of sense. I couldn't get on with the conversational tone of it when I tried to read it.

    The translation made it a bit cringe worthy too. Still, I learned about the guy who put lead in petroleum and freon in fridges.
  • GuybrushFreepwood 10 Mar 2019 16:07:47 1,057 posts
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    The Five Languages of Love - Gary Chapman.

    A book about the idea that there are 5 ways of showing love and if you don't show the right kind of love to a person it wont have the effect you hope for.

    It was written by a Texan and the examples are pretty sexist, which I guess either reflects his clientele at the time he wrote this or he is sexist. secondly, itís a bit overly religious in places which grated at times.
    Oh and Iím sick of the phrase ďlove tankĒ. Who seriously would ask their partner about their love tank?

    The underlying message was really useful and I am applying it. Basically there are supposedly 5 ways you can show love to people but if you are using the wrong way then they wonít appreciate your efforts.

    These are:
    1 Saying nice things
    2 Giving gifts
    3 Doing things for them
    4 Quality time with them
    5 Touch


    It didnít need hours of tales about how Betty Jo isnít getting dinner ready on time or being told to hold my spouses hand at church (like I go) to tell me this. I was also concerned about him telling one woman who sounded like she was in a pretty abusive relationship that she needed to give her husband more sex and more affirmation. It apparently worked, but equally the husband sounds like he got away with abusing her for years.

    Anyway, overall the message was very good and has shown me where Iím gong wrong, but the presentation was woeful. No way am I playing ďthe love tankĒ game.

    Honestly, youíd be better off reading a prťcis....or just this review.

    5/10 (thats a point for each "language". The book gets 0/10)
  • GuybrushFreepwood 10 Mar 2019 16:13:52 1,057 posts
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    @Tonka Yeah it worked really good as an audio-book. The freon guy really did the world no favours did he?

    I'm now reading a collection of Judge Dredd short stories which are a light relief after all the "worthy" tomes.

    Oh I also read the Little Book of Hugga.

    In a nut shell, light candles, invite friends around for coffee, stew and fresh bread. Wear black. Ride a bike everywhere. 5/10 I'll buy some candles, but that's about all I got out of this over-hyped (imo) book.

    Ref the sudden rush of reviews, I have been reading a lot of late, but rarely get any free time on a computer to write about them. My family are at yet another dance show (I watched it last nigh), so I've a couple of hours to myself.

    I'm also trying to read the Rise and Fall of The Roman Empire. So far it is seriously dull.

    Actually, drok it, I'm going to watch Dredd in 3D while they're out.

    Edited by GuybrushFreepwood at 16:19:46 10-03-2019
  • dmj 14 Mar 2019 11:02:39 992 posts
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    The Border - Don Winslow. The third and final part of his Drugs/Cartel trilogy. Not as stunning as the previous two, but the focus is slightly different. This one's more about politics than the 'on the ground' war on drugs (though there's still a lot of tense action scenes. Threat and tension are two of the things he does as well as, if not better than, anyone). 8/10

    Snap - Belinda Bauer. A crime novel about a teenager looking for his mother's murderer several years later. It's gotten some excellent reviews but never really grabbed me. 5/10

    Up next: Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James. I'm currently halfway through Ash by Mary Gentle, too. It's bloody good.

    Edited by dmj at 11:03:08 14-03-2019
  • askew 14 Mar 2019 11:29:17 19,307 posts
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    GuybrushFreepwood wrote:
    The majority of the book though was reading about an angry thug who wants to punch everyone and who is very lucky to have any sort of career, let alone a good one. Can't say I liked the guy much after reading it. I admire his fitness and drive, but the person under all that wasn't quite the guy I'd come to "know" on TV.
    I only needed to see his Twitter musings on Brexit to get an idea of what he's like, the Jason Momoa-lookalike.
  • Mola_Ram 18 Mar 2019 12:13:55 20,411 posts
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    Killing Commendatore

    The newest magical realism thing from Haruki Murakami. A lonely, divorced artist starts living in a place up in the mountains, and weird things start happening.

    If you've read a Murakami book before... it's like that. Characters who like listening to classical music and jazz, conversations that go off on weird, esoteric tangents, lots of talking about literature and history and philosophical musings.

    That's not really a criticism. Murakami has a thing that he does, he does it well, and either you get on with it or you don't. This isn't my favourite of his (that goes to either Hard-boiled Wonderland, Kafka on the Shore, or Underground if I'm going for non-fiction), but if you like his writing then chances are you'll like it.
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