Book Thread 2015.1

Pals, by snapscot
What are the best books you read last year?
What books are you looking forward to reading this year?
What have you already read or started reading this year?

My first books of the year are the zombie apocalypse series by John Ringo that starts with Under a Graveyard Sky (Black Tide Rising, #1). It’s typical Ringo – lots of military action, thin on character building. Still, a fun read – I’ve read the first 3 books so far.

I’m also working my way through some non-fiction: Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics by by Frederic Spotts. I borrowed this based on a recommendation online after I made an offhand joke about the Monuments Men movie – I said I get why the Nazis burned modern art. It’s an interesting book that argues that Hitler was first of all a frustrated artist, and his whole “take over the world” thing was his means to an end of establishing a cultural and artistic Hitlertopia. I guess it could be alternately titled “Portrait of Hitler as a Psycho Art Critic.” There are interesting parallels to you-know-who.

By happy accident, I have also been drawn into skimming through the first three books of Winston Churchill’s The Second World War series. To help my younger kid decipher Winnie’s writings, as she does her research paper, I’ve been reading aloud selected passages. Then we talk about it and go to some Churchill biographies to figure out the context. It’s an educational exercise for me, and I hope for her too. I know it’s vocabulary-expanding – she’s already picked up the word “perturbed”, which I told her to use in lieu of “concerned.”

Best book I read last year – huh, looking at my list, I was enthusiastic about the latest Jim Butcher, Diana Gabaldon, some young adult books. But off the top of my head, the ones I remember most are The Silkworm by John Galbraith (J.K. Rowling) and Child 44 by Tom Robb Smith.

On the to-read list: The Hobbit (movie-inspired re-read), The Farm, The Carpet-Makers.

Okay. Your turn!

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116 Responses to Book Thread 2015.1

  1. driguana says:

    Finally finishing up Before the Pharaohs by Edward Malkowski as my deep interest in the early origins of civilization kicks into high gear. Also reading Selected Poems by William Carlos Williams, my favorite poet, and finally beginning The Land of My Father’s Birth/Memoir of the Liberian Civil War by my Liberian friend Nvasekie N. Konneh. Don’t read real fast any more so these will last me a while but I do think I will try and reread Animal Farm.

  2. HELENK3 says:

    I ordered the marrakesh one-two and will read it when it arrives.
    for those with e-readers have you gone to the bookbub site. pick what types of books you read and there are bargains everyday. some are free and the highest price I have paid is $3.99. they work for kindle and nook e-readers

  3. WMCB says:

    I’m on a sci fi kick again right now, so recently finished the March Upcountry series by David Weber and John Ringo. It was quite good. Basically, the feckless and spoiled third son of the Empress of a galactic Empire gets stranded on a remote barbarian planet with his contingent of Royal Marine bodyguards. They have to fight their way across the entire planet to get to a spaceport site. Because no technology, they end up utilizing lots of old Roman and 18th/19th century methods and building those tools/weapons, along with the friendly tribes who help them.

    The prince goes from selfish jetsetting brat to “might actually make an honest, compassionate, strong and just Emperor one day” along the journey. He grows up and figures out that having men willing to die for him is not just a nice perk, it’s a grave and heavy responsibility. I tend to like sci-fi that does good world-building and culture clashes, with the attendant politics, diplomacy, adjustments, and “working it out.”

    Before that I read Rutherford’s “Sarum”, which is a novelized early history of England – specifically the Salisbury plain. I read it once many years ago, but decided to reread it.

  4. Myiq2xu says:

  5. Myiq2xu says:

    I’m looking forward to reading Gone Girl.

  6. Myiq2xu says:

    This is one of those stories where you know there are some big pieces of the puzzle missing.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2015/01/10/cia-and-doj-want-david-petraeus-to-stand-trial/

    • Myiq2xu says:

      Normally this kind of thing gets swept under the rug. Instead of trying to cover it up, the Obama administration seems determined to air this dirty laundry in public.

      I’m not saying he’s innocent, just that he has made someone with juice very angry.

      • leslie says:

        He’s another military guy, right?
        And call me cynical, but . . . we all know how bronco and his rodeo clowns feel about military – and anyone associated with Clinton or Bush.

    • piper says:

      A threat to ensure that he doesn’t spill the beans to Congress. Suppose to testify soon, not sure of which congress critter will be in charge – could be very interesting and revealing.

      • piper says:

        Benghazi comes to mind!!!!!!! Hope that David has the conjones to share all he knows about that operation. His reputation is already tattered due to the affair which he did admit responsibility unlike a certain POS in D.C..
        Maybe now we’ll learn who gave the stand-down order.

  7. Myiq2xu says:

  8. Myiq2xu says:

    Here we go again:

  9. fif says:

    I am obsessed with Anne Lamott right now. Her non-fiction books grapple with meaning and faith, and are incredibly authentic, humane and hilarious. She is also a very talented writer so they are enjoyable simply on a language level.

    • leslie says:

      Have you ever read “Bird By Bird” that was the first book of hers that I read. I fell in love with her then… that is not to say I have read everything of hers. but I do love her writing.

  10. HELENK3 says:

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/01/09/ca-newspaper-vandalized-for-using-term-illegals/

    is this the future of this country? you can not use a word in its true meaning because someone gets offended and vandalizes your place of business?

  11. votermom says:

    Hubby is replacing the kitchen faucet. Fingers crossed.

    • HELENK3 says:

      any kids around to learn new words?

      • votermom says:

        So far no bad words yet, but he’s discovered a leak, a shut off valve that doesn’t work, and has turned off the water heater and decided he needs to run to lowes for stuff.
        It’s gonna be a looong day.

        • foxyladi14 says:

          At least Lowes will be busy today.It usually takes a dozen trips to get everything. πŸ˜€

        • leslie says:

          Bundle up…. and good luck. πŸ˜‰

        • piper says:

          For most plumbing problems my husband would roll his eyes, look at me then give me the bad news. We had the plumber’s number on speed dial.
          Best to you and may the problems be resolved quickly and inexpensively.

        • 1539days says:

          Add in a new drain pipe and you have my experience with the kitchen faucet. I heard the average plumbing job takes 3 trips to the store. I made 5.

        • DeniseVB says:

          Been there done that, didn’t have to shoot him πŸ˜‰ I swear my next home’s going to be a lovely apartment with 24/7 maintenance on call.

        • votermom says:

          Update: the faucet has been replaced, with the old shut off valve still there. Accdg to hubby, if the valve is fully open it doesn’t drip.
          He went to Lowes to check out shut off valves and the salesguy advised him to get a plumber as it is probably soldered on.:D

  12. DeniseVB says:

    Still enjoying my First Ladies memoirs. Started with Laura Bush working backwards. Just finished Barbara Bush’s. So surprised I really enjoyed Hillary’s (Living History). Of course, in their own words and personal anecdotes of their WH experiences …. what was really going behind the tabloid headlines……just fun reads about being a part of history. I highly recommend Michelle Obama read them and stop whining πŸ˜‰

    I have Amy Poehler’s Yes Please ! on deck before continuing on with Nancy Reagan’s My Turn.

    Guess I’m a non-fiction mental bubblegum genre type πŸ˜€

    • Somebody says:

      Haha I have you beaten Denise! My daughter gave me a book of Presidential campaign posters going back to Andrew Jackson for Christmas. It’s from the Library of Congress and it’s quite interesting, although not a heavy read by any stretch. There is a short narrative of the main issues in each election and a bio on the candidates. That’s followed by posters and reprints of newpaper articles. The print in the newspaper articles is very small so you need a damn magnifying glass…….or maybe they’re supposed to be just for show??? I find it all quite interesting, but I’m just a nerd I suppose.

      I got a couple of other non-fiction books for Christmas too.

      • DeniseVB says:

        LOL, then you’d love my ginormous coffee table book of NYT articles in their original font of the major events of the 20th Century (1901-2000), the earlier pages’ print is the size of ant poop. I’m surprised there weren’t more ads for eyeglasses. πŸ˜‰

      • piper says:

        Somebody,
        Enlarging print and pictures – one of the features that I like about the iPad.
        BTW – regarding the pot which would have helped with the misery factor – still illegal here. In fact 2 years ago I was on a jury involving a blunt – didn’t convict the guy as we thought it was bogus charge – there were other charges facing him.

        • Somebody says:

          I was just joking Piper, it was how you worded your comment……”starting pot now”. It made me chuckle!

          As for the ipad, I don’t have one although I do have a tablet but I rarely use it. I’m an old fashioned desktop kind of gal, touch screens tend to frustrate me.

    • leslie says:

      Denise, I read a book called “American Wife” (by Curtis Sittenfeld) a few years ago. It is a fictionalized bio of Laura Bush. I thought it had merit. At the time I was reading it, I wasn’t much of a Laura Bush fan, but Molly Ivins liked her and I figured I should give the book a shot. I was happy I did.

      • DeniseVB says:

        For some reason I wanted to track down their memoirs, in their own words, with or without a co or ghostwriter. Amazon was extremely helpful finding out of print books for me from all the bookstores in the country attached to them. On deck is Nancy Reagan’s My Turn, Rosalynn Carter’s First Lady from Plains, Betty Ford’s The Times of my Life. I recently nabbed Pat Nixon’s written by her daughter Julie. The hunt has been a lot of fun too. πŸ™‚

    • 1539days says:

      I ended up reading “Girl Walks into a Bar” by Rachel Dratch. I found it very honest and pretty funny about the way the entertainment industry typecasts.

      • DeniseVB says:

        I enjoyed Rachel, also Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey’s books. Very witty tales of perseverance and hard work, especially doing the grunt work of peons while waiting for that big break. Good reads for young women …. about not giving up.

        For some reason have no desire to read Lena Dunham’s. Maybe if it find it in the dollar bin ?

  13. Myiq2xu says:

  14. Myiq2xu says:

    • catarina says:

      Lets send her to Syria with some darts and a few teargas canisters. “Chaz” can drive the tank. Would make for a great reality show.

    • piper says:

      The owner of the gym where I work out has two tracks playing, one with 60’s music in the AM and 80’s in the PM. Many songs with Sonny and Cher which I still enjoy. Who knew then that Cher would become a nutter.

      • Somebody says:

        I don’t know Piper Cher was always a little out there. It was pretty obvious Sonny was the business minded part of the duo.

  15. HELENK3 says:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-09/all-over-america-government-officials-are-cracking-down-preppers

    government officials cracking down on preppers

    something to think about in the land of the free

    • HELENK3 says:

      my wish for the next president to start a corp of law students and unemployed laid off workers to go through the government agencies dept by dept and go over every regulation created by those departments and start getting rid of them

    • 1539days says:

      Best comment from the story.

      “They can have my wood stove when they take it from my warm, dead hands.”

  16. leslie says:

    The books I enjoyed this past year – and I didn’t get to read as much or as often as I’d have liked, were “People of the Book” and “Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague” both by Geraldine Brooks. (Her book, “Caleb’s Crossing” was wonderful as well. I read it the year before and then looked for others of her books.) “The End of Your Life Book Club” by Will Schaffer, and “The Invention of Wings: A Novel” by Sue Monk Kidd. (She is not my favorite writer, but I did enjoy “Invention of Wings”. It is a novel about a slave, her contemporary “mistress”, their relationship and the effects of slavery in the early-1800’s.) I am currently reading “Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline and will pick up “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt this afternoon at the library. (recommended by a friend whose book club read it last year.)
    I have several books by Ken Follett sitting on my reading table that were recommended here during the year…I also loved “The Lowland” by Jhumpa Lahiri last year. That book, plus supervising a new colleague who is from India, started me on a reading binge of novels written by Indian writers.

  17. DeniseVB says:

    True story….. I hope Dr. Carson gets a Cabinet position…..if the GOP doesn’t screw up 2016 πŸ˜‰

  18. piper says:

    I’m across the board in terms of genre ranging from mysteries, science fiction, history to thrillers. I also listen to many books on CDs My list includes the entire Harry Bosch series latest one The Burning Room by Michael Connelly, The Girl Next Door by Ruth Rendell, The John Puller series, latest one, The Escape by David Baldacci, Stonewalled by Sharyl Atkison, just started Why We Lost: A General’s Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars by Daniel Bolger, half way thru River of Destiny, a time travel mystery by Barbara Erskine, and many others. Have been a reader since my teens – would stay up late using a flashlight to read when I was supposed to be asleep. I’m also listening to Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning.

  19. catarina says:

    “Unbroken” was a great read-couldn’t put it down. Felt like Zamperini himself was telling the story.
    When I got to the end I wanted to start over again and I’m not usually a “re-reader.”
    Not even going to bother with the movie.

    Also:
    “Aquariums of Pyongyang.”
    “City of Thieves” by David Benioff.
    “Empire of the Summer moon.”
    “That Summer in Sicily-a Love Story.” (sighhhh…..)

    • piper says:

      Heard the movie was good although it stops after the war. Doesn’t go into his recovery from alcoholism and religious reawakening. This was an excellent book club read (some years we have too many chick lit books) which was the first book I read on my iPad.

      • Somebody says:

        I’ve had several people recommend Unbroken to me and yes I’ve heard the same thing about the movie.

        My husband likes military history, he also like Tom Clancy type novels. I took a chance and got him Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Patton”. The book got good reviews and it seemed right up hubby’s alley except for the fact that O’Reilly’s name was on it. I’m glad I got it for him because he loved it. He was skeptical at first, gave me a look when he opened it. He decided to check it out and ended up finishing it the next day! He’s loaned it to a couple of his friends and they liked it too.

  20. catarina says:

    On deck: Calvin Coolidge bio.
    Interested in learning more about police riots that took place when he was Governor of MA.
    Lately I’ve been so ill with Lyme Disease I can barely manage to thumb through a trashy fashion mag. Always interesting to see people with “real” clothes (and shoes!) on, as my pj’s have been in heavy rotation.

    • leslie says:

      Oh goodness. I hope you get better soon…
      {{{ catarina}}} ❀

    • HELENK3 says:

      hope you get better soon.

    • piper says:

      Catarina,
      Sending healing thoughts for a speedy recovery. Would a reader like an iPad help – use mine for both downloaded books and audio books. Our library system has many free downloadable books. At first I resisted the change since I’m a bookholic but found that I enjoy digital books as I can adjust the print size and lighting.

    • Somebody says:

      (((Catarina))) I didn’t know you were having issues, I hope you’re on the road to recovery.

    • lyn says:

      {{{ catarina}}}

    • Lulu says:

      Get well very soon.

    • votermom says:

      (((Catarina)))
      Praying for your recovery.

      A couple of years ago one of my kids classmates got lyme and his mom was telling me they’d go to this lyme specialist pretty far drive because the regular dictors weren’t that up to speed on it.

      • catarina says:

        Thanks everyone for the get well wishes. I fell better already!
        I have a Kindle Paper White that I take to all my Doc appts. It’s great but I still love my “real books” too.

    • DeniseVB says:

      {{{{catarina}}}}

      • catarina says:

        Anyone in the 7th circle of Lyme Hell (big swaths of Massachusetts and surrounding states), see new treatment guidelines for 2014:
        http://www.ilads.org/lyme/treatment-guideline.php

        For years tick bites were treated with a single 200 mg dose of Doxycycline, but that turned out to be nowhere near enough to eradicate Lyme bacteria.
        Lyme can be inactive for a while and flare up later on.
        A LOT of people in the area are reporting crippling arthritis pain, low body temp, fatigue, brain fog, etc.
        I heard the CDC is now calling Lyme an epidemic. They also said there were 10x more cases than originally estimated. It’s a fucking plague.

        • elliesmom says:

          I have my dog vaccinated for it. It can be debilitating to them, too.

        • cynic says:

          Catarina, I can sympathize with you. I got Lyme’s in May, 2013, was terribly sick for about a week before the bulls-eye appeared. I got Bell’s Palsy as a result (10% list that as a side effect), but it eventually went away.

          The mega doses of antibiotics also led to problems both internally and externally. I was so sun sensitive, and being an avid gardener, I would have to cover up well before I ventured out.

          The worse part of it was knowing that I got it while being in my yard. I refuse to put all those insect repellents on every time I want to go outside.

          Also, my neighbor’s dog got it at about the same time that I did. As the crow flies, we live close to the river and the woods. Some days, we would have 5 deer in our yard.

  21. leslie says:

    Okay, It’s still verrrrrry cold (+3 degs) but I’ve got to go to the grocery store, UPS and the library) Fingers crossed I don’t freeze before I retire in June…… see you all later (I hope)

    • leslie says:

      I hate it when I misuse parentheses. Sorry for all those errors. I’ll try harder this year.

      • Somebody says:

        When you’re retired you can take all the time you need for your posts AND study up on the use of parentheses!! OR you can just enjoy yourself and post whatever you feel like!!

        The countdown is on Leslie! You’re now LESS than six months from being retired!!!

      • piper says:

        No apologies needed. I always laugh when I reread my comments. Just continue to come here and post – your comments are always welcomed.
        Stay warm – heat wave is coming next week!

      • Lulu says:

        To the best of my knowledge there are no punctuation Nazis on this site or half of us would have been throw out. We understand you perfectly.

  22. HELENK3 says:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/nigeria/11337456/Suicide-bombing-by-10-year-old-girl-in-Nigeria-kills-at-least-10.html

    these are the sickos that we are dealing with. use a 10 year old girl as a suicide bomber. When are we going to wake up and face that fact. there is no middle ground with these sickos they do not want peace they want domination

  23. Lulu says:

    I got Cornwell’s newest novel and “Waterloo” for Christmas which I have not started yet. Last books finished were John Morris “Londinium” and “The Rise and Fall of Renaissance France” by R J Knecht. I read the Saxon Tales series by Cornwell last year and liked them but the usual mysteries I read have not been very good lately so I don’t finish them. “An Air of Treason” by P F Chisholm was good and hilarious as usual but that was many months ago. I switch back and forth between reading history and fiction interspersed with cookbooks, sewing books, and Southern Living and Texas Highways magazines. Other that reading history my reading choices have been all over the place from challenging to crap to picture books for idiots.

  24. HELENK3 says:

    right now I am reading The Sinatra Club. story of the Mafia during the 70s and 80s. pretty good.
    I read all different kinds of books, romance, mysteries, war stories, political , a lot of history. some times when I need a break from reality the romance novels help.
    authors I like
    Julie Garwood, Brad Thor, James Grippando, John Jakes,Edna Buchanan, Bob Mayer, Ann Rule
    a very good series about the Viet Nam was was wings of war series by Mark Berent. all books by W.E.B. Griffith are good.
    I just like to read. it is an opening to the world

    • HELENK3 says:

      for those who read Ann Rand, you would like Taylor Caldwell books. she gave me a lot of things to think about and taught me some things that I still use in my thinking

    • DeniseVB says:

      Ahhhhh, you would enjoy Henry Bushkin’s bio on Johnny Carson. Speak about the gutter dwelling life behind the “glamour” of Hollywood and New York……and the birth of those entourages that enable a star’s bad behavior.

  25. HELENK3 says:

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/wh-cost-free-community-college-60-billion_823412.html

    about that free community college thing that will cost $60Billion

  26. SHV says:

    “I’m on a sci fi kick again right now, so recently finished the March Upcountry series by David Weber and John Ringo.”
    ****
    If you like Weber, the “Safehold” series is good. It’s now a seven volumes.

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