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Up Topic General / Letters and Opinions / April Book Club
- - By The Beard (is wearing Arm Panties) [us] Date 2018-04-02 7:16 AM
I'm about 270 pages into the sixth Dark Tower book, Song of Susannah. I still find the whole Susannah/Odetta/Mia portions to be annoying but I forgot how good the rest is. I'm enjoying the portions with Roland, Eddy and John Cullum quite a bit.
Parent - By mkh (Mr. Fashionista) Date 2018-04-02 8:28 AM
Finishing Pre: The Story of America's Greatest Running Legend. It's a quick read and really just gives quick recaps of most of his races.
Parent - - By jennyO Date 2018-04-03 3:51 PM
I also found lots to like in that book upon returning to it. :happy:
Parent - - By The Beard (is wearing Arm Panties) [us] Date 2018-04-05 2:02 PM
I finished it last night. I liked it overall this time but I think that a lot of that had to do with how much I remember disliking it in the past. The whole "chap" story line is weak. Really weak.

I'm taking a little bit of a break but will be back for the final book soon.
Parent - - By The Beard (is wearing Arm Panties) [us] Date 2018-04-09 1:15 PM
So much for taking a break. I'm about 100 pages into The Dark Tower.

The Mordred nonsense lies ahead but at least the Mia/Susannah/chap story line is out of the way.
Parent - By The Beard (is wearing Arm Panties) [us] Date 2018-04-17 2:12 PM
Roland, Susannah and Oy have just met Joe Collins on Odd Lane. Only about 200 pages left.
Parent - - By oitsubob [us] Date 2018-04-05 11:15 AM
Just finished reading "Dresden: Tuesday, February 13, 1945" by Frederick Taylor. He goes through the attack on Dresden during World War II and debunks many of the myths associated with the bombing that came out in the aftermath and through the 1980s. Quite enlightening.
Parent - - By gadget girl Date 2018-04-05 11:42 AM
I just visited Dresden last summer.  It is such an extraordinarily beautiful city now.  Perhaps I should read the book.
Parent - By oitsubob [us] Date 2018-04-05 11:51 AM
It is interesting. Another one that is really good and goes into detail as to what historic architecture, artwork etc. was lost in Germany as a result of bombing during WW2 is "The Fire" by Jorg Friedrich.
Parent - By mkh (Mr. Fashionista) Date 2018-04-10 11:45 AM
Pure Land about a murder in the grand canyon in the 2000s. So far it's interesting.
- - By h3ather (Nice Tips) [us] Date 2018-04-02 10:23 PM
Finished I'll be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara.  It was really good, albeit unsatisfying because the killer has still not been found (which is not a spoiler).

About 1/5ish of the way through The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O by Neal Stephenson, Nicole Galland, which is completely different, but I'm really liking it.
Parent - - By jennyO Date 2018-04-03 3:53 PM
I've got that Golden State Killer book in my list.  Looking forward to it.

If you like the true crime genre, there's this podcast called Criminology you might enjoy.  Season 1 is all about the Zodiac Killer.  Season 2 is the East Bay Area Rapist.  I haven't listened yet but have been meaning to.
Parent - By h3ather (Nice Tips) [us] Date 2018-04-05 10:00 AM
we were in orlando last year and heading to visit a friend who lived about an hour away and found a radio station that was playing true crime episodes of various murders. one was about a woman who had killed several husbands with rat poisoning (very Flowers in the Attic) and another about a son who killed his whole family, but made it look like they were robbed.  we were riveted. we didn't want to get out of the car when we arrived. :laugh:
Parent - By blazer85 [us] Date 2018-04-05 11:57 AM
I just added that podcast to my queue.....thanks!!
Parent - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-04-05 2:54 PM
Added Criminology to my podcast rotation! Already 3 episodes into season 1. Thanks!
Parent - - By blazer85 [us] Date 2018-04-10 10:47 AM
I listened to first episode of Season One of Criminology and love it!  They are VERY good to give a ton of detail and information in a manner which does not lose the listener.  My husband and I have a long road trip this weekend, so I told him to listen to the first episode before we leave.  That way, we have something to keep us entertained while driving and we don't have to talk to each other!:laugh:
Parent - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-04-10 11:15 AM
I'm on episode 5 or 6 now, it's really easy to listen to!
Parent - By jennyO Date 2018-04-10 11:20 AM
I'm glad you like it!  I started listening too and am enjoying it.  Have you seen the David Fincher film Zodiak?  It's a terrific movie.  I keep thinking of it, since that's the case they are following in the first season of the podcast.
Parent - - By insistor (needs a bigger dick) Date 2018-04-25 12:38 PM
They caught the Golden State Killer, the subject of Season 2. And now you can put a face to the micropenis :laugh::laugh:
Parent - By jennyO Date 2018-04-25 3:19 PM
Parent - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-04-26 10:40 AM
:laugh::laugh::laugh: I literally had the same thought since I'm in the middle of season 2! :laugh::laugh:
- By cowboyjunkie Date 2018-04-03 6:32 AM
Still reading A Personal History by Kathrine Graham. Up to where Johnson is president, maybe 3/4 of the way through. She's kind of coming into her own now running the Post and Newsweek and some broadcast stations. Some really interesting stories about Johnson and the Kennedy assassination.

I picked up Ann Patchett's The Magicians Assistant for the plane. Didn't want to drag a big book with me.
- - By jennyO Date 2018-04-03 3:50 PM
Finished David Mitchell's Ghostwritten, which was very well done.  Hard to believe it was his first novel! 

Quick read of Alex Marston's The Wicked Girls, which I picked up half-price at an airport bookstore on our way to visit SNF's mom.  Turned out to be a great read!  Nice modern-day English mystery, a bit more literary than you typically find in the genre.  I'm now listening to her The Killer Next Door, which is also quite good so far.  I'm psyched to have found a new fun/easy author.  Bonus: she actually responded to a Facebook comment I left on one of her posts, and she liked a tweet of mine that mentioned her! :shocker!::grin:

Also finished listening to The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine.  It was good fun although I think I've now hit my quota of stories about the rich and beautiful couple have a terrible dark secret, which is that he's controlling and abusive, and really you should be happy with your boring paycheck-to-paycheck life because things could be a lot worse, even if you lived in a Park Avenue penthouse. :blush:
Parent - - By gadget girl Date 2018-04-05 11:40 AM
re the Last Mrs. Parrish :laugh::laugh::laugh: 

can you really be too thin or read too many books about abusive and controlling rich husbands? : pbbt:
Parent - By jennyO Date 2018-04-05 12:25 PM
:laugh::laugh:  I blew through several of them in the last month, so maybe not!
- - By jennyO Date 2018-04-09 1:42 PM
Finished Stop Drifting and Start Rowing, a book by the first (only?) woman to row solo across the Pacific Ocean.  It was a little disappointing because she didn't really get into the spiritual/mental side of the adventure.  There wasn't even a whole lot about the logistics.  It's quite an amazing accomplishment, but I still have no idea what the day-to-day of it would have been like.

Now into a book called Thru Hiking Will Break Your Heart.  I guess I really wanted to scratch that itch to hear about someone's arduous, all-encompassing adventure (this is about a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail).  This book is giving me those kind of nitty gritty details, although maybe it errs too much in that direction.  It's self-published, and reads pretty much like this girl's daily trail diary.  Still, it's feeding my desire to do a long thru-hike someday.  (Because I have a job and bills and responsibilities, though, it'll have to be the JMT and not the PCT.)

Listening to another Alex Marston book, called The Killer Next Door.  It's good stuff!
Parent - - By LDR (100 Mile Stud) [us] Date 2018-04-12 10:01 AM
I never had a desire to thru hike the PCT or AT until reading Wild.  I always thought I'd take up backpacking after running had run its course, but it doesn't appear I'm "there" yet.
Parent - - By jennyO Date 2018-04-12 10:55 AM
I had kind of thought the same, but am starting to think I should go before my body becomes incapable of it.  Hiking through mountains with a 30-pound pack is no joke!
Parent - By LDR (100 Mile Stud) [us] Date 2018-04-12 12:00 PM
True, and the trails are only getting more populated each year, with all the good and bad that brings.
Parent - - By blazer85 [us] Date 2018-04-12 2:21 PM
Blazerboy had to carry a 30 pound pack when did a 12 day, 11 night, 80 mile-ish hiking trek at Philmont....a Boy Scout Ranch in the NM mountains when he was 14 yo.  They picked up additional food and water every three days at an outpost. The boys trained HARD for 18 months.  He left a boy and came home a man.
Parent - By jennyO Date 2018-04-13 11:10 AM
Parent - - By jennyO Date 2018-04-12 10:56 AM
Taking a break from the Thru-Hiking book to read some literature.  George Saunders's stories in In Persuasion Nation. :cool:
Parent - By jennyO Date 2018-04-24 3:24 PM
Those were some kickass stories.  Saunders is my new favorite author, right up there next to David Foster Wallace (and they have a lot in common).

The Killer Next Door was good and different from what the genre typically offers.  Also, SNF and I listened to the Comey book (A Higher Loyalty) on a long drive recently.  Self-serving in places, as you'd expect, also often dull until he gets to the Trump stuff, but it was worth a listen as a historical document, if nothing else.

Now onto some mind candy:  Lianne Moriarty's The Last anniversary and an audio book called Sometimes I Lie, by Alice Feeney.
- By insistor (needs a bigger dick) Date 2018-04-10 6:41 AM
A Death in White Bear Lake: The True Chronicle of an All-American Town by Barry Siegel

White Bear Lake is a town in Minnesota not far from me. When I originally bought this e-book I thought it was new but it turns out it was published in 1990. In 1988 a mother who gave her son up for adoption in the 1960s looks for him but finds out he died at the age of 3 under suspicious circumstances and no one was ever charged. It was a good book but I was expecting a quick crime read and this thing was a slog at like 600 pages. Went way in depth on other things (the town winning an award and a flood of St. Paul for instance) and the subject matter (beating and killing of a 3 year old) was really hard to read.
- By moonglow9 Date 2018-04-10 3:03 PM
Recently finished:

The Newcomers by Helen Thorpe. Very detailed and interesting to consider, both from a perspective of how to teach students with different language backgrounds and the process of communication.

The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone. Found it interesting, but it seemed to gloss over the details of the code dissection and the work itself and focused more on her interactions with others in that occupation.

One Kiss or Two: The Art and Science of Saying Hello by Andy Scott - interesting to me because I have less than zero social skills or inclinations. The process of greetings and what unspoken/spoken choices convey...

Something Wonderful by Todd Purdum - joint biography of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, self explanatory standard bio.

The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed - 4-5 generations of the Hemings family and the relationships between them. Well researched.

The Mayflower: The Families, the Voyage.... by Rebecca Fraser. A slightly different take, following the settlement and its neighbours over about 70 years.

The Taste of Empire: How Britain's Quest for Food Shaped the Modern World by Lizzie Collingham. Economics, trade, agriculture, climate, and politics from about 1400-1950s told through the vehicle of the food trade. Enjoyed the different approach and had good substance.
- By cowboyjunkie Date 2018-04-13 12:33 PM
I put aside A Personal History and picked up The Majician's Assistant by Ann Patchett for the trip to NC. Very good! I still think Bel Canto is my favorite of hers, but this might be second.
- - By insistor (needs a bigger dick) Date 2018-04-17 2:18 PM
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan. A young New York Post reporter suddenly starts having physical and psychological issues out of nowhere. This is her memoir about what happened to her and how it was solved. Would have been better as a long form magazine article or something. 2/5
Parent - - By LDR (100 Mile Stud) [us] Date 2018-04-18 3:19 AM Edited 2018-04-18 3:24 AM
I remember hearing a review about this, probably on NPR.  I'm tempted by stuff like this.
Parent - By jennyO Date 2018-04-23 1:49 PM
I liked it.  It's a quick read.  What a scary thing to have happen, though!
- - By sideshowbob Date 2018-04-18 1:23 PM
Cat Profiles by Haruki Murakami--must read for all his fans
Parent - By LDR (100 Mile Stud) [us] Date 2018-04-18 1:38 PM
Thank you for sharing this :cool::cool:
Parent - By The Beard (is wearing Arm Panties) [us] Date 2018-04-18 3:19 PM
That’s amazing. :laugh:
Parent - By jennyO Date 2018-04-23 1:50 PM
Brilliant! :laugh::laugh:
- By Tommeke Date 2018-04-20 9:40 AM
Hawking: A History Of Time. Really liked the book. The first part (about 100-120 pages) is probably more informative than the second part. Most of the information is really conveyed in the first part, whereas the second part is more like theoretical musing or re-hashing the theories explained the first chapters. Also really enjoyed the small alternative synopsis at the end of the book of the biggest historical physicists ( Newton, Einstein, ... ).

Murakami: Killing Commendatore. Finally managed to finish the second book (it's a two part story), which also was 530 pages, for a grand total of +1000 pages. Murakami kind of re-hashes a lot of concepts he uses in his other novels in this one. I don't mind if he does this for his more romantic (and slightly shorter) novels, but me not being a fan of +1000 pages books, would rather see these stories to be either shorter or at least a bit more original.
Read the Dutch translation, I think the English translation will come out in Sept/Nov 2018 :wtf: And it's not going to be by Rubin.

And now it's back to Vonnegut with Mother Night :cool:
- By mkh (Mr. Fashionista) [us] Date 2018-04-20 3:14 PM
Just finished Pure Land so now starting Marathonby Brian Freeman which is about a bombing of the Duluth Marathon in June and the aftermath. It's in a world where the Boston bombing already happened. It seems to be a fictionalized story of the Boston Marathon Bombing. I'm not sure how I feel about that yet.
- - By The Beard (is wearing Arm Panties) [us] Date 2018-04-23 8:14 AM
I started Pet Sematary over the weekend. So far, so good. It's the last old Stephen King book that I haven't read.
Parent - By Tommeke Date 2018-04-23 9:45 AM
I didn't read the book but listened to the song :roll:
- By insistor (needs a bigger dick) Date 2018-04-23 8:25 AM
The Child Thief by Dan Smith

Very good book, I enjoyed it a lot but it has some tough subject matter. Takes place in Ukraine between wars during the winter. A man and his sons have to track a child thief through the woods with the backdrop of Soviet Russia coming down hard on small villages. 4/5
- - By brneydrnnr (barney cougar) [us] Date 2018-04-23 8:52 AM
Just finished The Tortilla Curtain by T.C Boyle last week. It was written some 20 years ago, but man, everything in it still rings true today and what a depressing book. Still making my way through book 7 of the Outlander series An Echo in the Bone it's slow going just because I'm a little burnt out, but it's still a decent read.
Parent - - By jennyO Date 2018-04-23 1:48 PM
I agree.  Tortilla Curtain is depressing and also still very true today.
Parent - By brneydrnnr (barney cougar) [us] Date 2018-04-23 1:52 PM
I really just wanted one good thing to happen - but every page was like another gut punch for everybody. ugh
Parent - - By Arimathea [us] Date 2018-04-24 4:04 PM
You might want to wait a bit, then, before tackling "Written In My Own Heart's Blood". You have time -- she's still writing book 9 and it will probably be at least a year before it's done.
Parent - By brneydrnnr (barney cougar) [us] Date 2018-04-25 8:06 AM
thank you - I'll probably stop and read my book club book and then finish #7 and after that dive into some chick-lit for a breather :laugh:
- - By Tommeke Date 2018-04-23 10:09 AM
Currently reading "Mother Night" from Kurt Vonnegut. It's the story of an American-born Nazi broadcaster who was the English voice of Nazi Germany on the radio during WWII.
He sits in a Israeli jail awaiting trial and is writing his defense. So, he's writing his autobiography really.
This is the third book I read from him ( Slaughterhouse 5 and Dead-Eye Dick were the others) and he's becoming my favorite author. The satire, wit and uselessness of it all on the background of tragedy is poignant.
To give the author some context, he was an American POW in Dresden when Allies carpet bombed the city to cinder. The only reason he survived was because he was working in a slaughterhouse so when the bombing happened they took refuge in the meat-locker coolers 3 stories underground.
Parent - - By oitsubob [us] Date 2018-04-26 7:29 AM
Interesting on how you describe the bombing of Dresden when Hamburg had more damage and confirmed deaths from Operation GOMORRAH that occurred in July 1943. Sorry, as a historian with emphasis in the European Theater of Operations in WWII, I get tired of how people always bring up Dresden regarding the death and destruction from the bombing campaign.
Parent - - By Tommeke Date 2018-04-26 11:22 AM Edited 2018-04-26 11:26 AM
Well, the author was in Dresden as a POW during the bombing, so obviously that had a huge impact on his writing (in many of his books).

This book was first published in 1962 too, so I'm sure not all the war facts had been straightened out. It also became part of East Germany after the war.
The toll was maybe also exaggerated right after the war by Sovjet propaganda to show the 'evil' of the West.

I think Dresden got more attention because it was really at the end of the war (Hamburg was in '43) and had little military importance.
Maybe it was a way to show the Sovjets how much fire-power the allies had.

But indeed there seem to be some discussions online about this, and a study done by the USAF war college gives some numbers and is quoted here as well (
Parent - - By oitsubob [us] Date 2018-04-26 2:25 PM
Seen it and there is a lot of incorrect information flowing through it. What is failed to be mentioned though is that like an athletic event, you play to win and play until the very end. The bombing of Dresden was agreed to between the USSR and UK/US at Yalta to aid in the Soviet advance. The weather conditions were a dominant factor in the destruction along with the lack of adequate fire equipment and bomb shelters. Dresden was also the last remaining rail junction that allowed transport of troop west to east and north to south with the exception of Berlin. If you want to read some enlightening work on the attack read Dresden: February 13, 1945 by Frederick Taylor. I was written after the reunification and the opening of the old Soviet archives.

The only thing that the Soviet propaganda machine did was to deny that they had any knowledge or input concerning the raid. They actually always reported that the casualties were in the 25-35,000 range. Most experts are unwilling to go below the 20,000 range since the original reports of casualties out of Dresden were ~22,000 and the originals were found in the Dresden archives (I think that was where they were found).

Not trying to start an argument just pointing out the large amount of incorrect information that is out there which still relies on the propaganda that Goebbels put out in 1945.
Parent - - By Tommeke Date 2018-04-26 5:47 PM
from the Dresden Bombing wiki:

The death toll of 135,000 given by Vonnegut was taken from The Destruction of Dresden, a 1963 book by David Irving. In a 1965 letter to The Guardian, Irving later adjusted his estimates even higher, "almost certainly between 100,000 and 250,000", but all these figures were shortly found to be inflated: Irving finally published a correction in The Times in a 1966 letter to the editor[160] lowering it to 25,000, in line with subsequent scholarship. Despite Irving’s eventual much lower numbers, and later accusations of generally poor scholarship, the figure popularized by Vonnegut remains in general circulation.
Parent - - By oitsubob [us] Date 2018-04-26 6:36 PM
And David Irving has been proven to be a fraud and has actually still put forth the 250k death toll.
Parent - - By Tommeke Date 2018-04-27 4:58 AM
Holocaust denier, clearly a class act :cry:
Parent - By oitsubob [us] Date 2018-04-27 6:44 AM
Yep among other things.
- - By insistor (needs a bigger dick) Date 2018-04-26 10:23 AM
Flyboys: A True Story of Courage by James D. Bradley

I listened to this as an audiobook over about 6 weeks. It took that long because the subject matter was tough. It's about WWII pilots who were captured on Chichijima near Iwo Jima. They were beheaded and then dissected to have their livers and other parts eaten. It was a decent book but was a little long. 3/5
Parent - - By The Beard (is wearing Arm Panties) [us] Date 2018-04-26 10:35 AM
I liked Flyboys and thought that Flags of Our Fathers was also really good. His father was one of the men that raised the flag over Iwo Jima.

I also like the local connection of him being born in Wisconsin (Appleton area, I believe) and going to UW.
Parent - - By insistor (needs a bigger dick) Date 2018-04-26 11:09 AM

>born in Wisconsin

That explains a lot. He narrated the audiobook and I had to bump the speed up to 1.25 because he talked soooooo slow.

It was good but at some parts I wondered what the point of the book was. Was it about 7 Flyboys killed? About the history of Japan and how it fought? That Americans were also cruel to Japanese? It just seemed to stray all over the place
Parent - - By The Beard (is wearing Arm Panties) [us] Date 2018-04-26 11:43 AM
I agree, it did kind of drift around.

It's got to be hard to write a history book that will appeal to a broad audience. You want to be detailed but not too detailed. I think that's part of why so many pop culture history books like Flyboys or Unbroken read more like stories than hardcore history textbooks. Sometimes it works and other times it comes off overly simplistic.
Parent - By Quagmire [us] Date 2018-04-28 8:00 PM
Should the goal be to achieve broad appeal...or to tell the truth as you see it?
- By sideshowbob Date 2018-04-26 2:40 PM
Well into The Godfather by Mario Puzo.  Yes, I saw the movies, but picked this up to read while travreling to stave off the waiting times..Really fills in the background .

Mostly finished Evrybody’s Fool  by Richard Russo , This is the sequel to Nobody’s Fool , same characters mostly but very funny. Sorta like Matk’s Brothers meet Vonnegut.
- By insistor (needs a bigger dick) Date 2018-04-27 5:51 AM
A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa

Got this for free from Amazon on World Book Day. Quick read that shine some light on N Korea but not much. It doesn't dig in too far and at the end I'm not really sure what to think about this mans escape. Not to spoil it or anything but he left a lot behind.
Up Topic General / Letters and Opinions / April Book Club

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