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What Are You Reading 2023

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What Are You Reading 2023

Old 11-15-23, 02:50 PM
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Re: What Are You Reading 2023

Cloak of Darkness by Helen MacInnes. An excellent book. I think that MacInnes was tired of writing novels to the template and was trying something different. This book has a lot of sparkle that was missing before. Instead of yet another novel about a civilian who gets involved in espionage and who is helped by a professional, this book is about the professional.

It has stuff that I haven't seen in potboilers:
  • The beautiful young wife is menaced by a villain. Instead of being captured and needing rescue, security instantly picks up the baddie.
  • A character gets his arm slashed by a knife in the first act. He is all macho and keeps going. A week later, he almost dies because he didn't take care of it.
  • The competent local police inspector who helps the good guys angrily tells the main character that this disaster would have been prevented if you guys had shared more information.



Last edited by Nick Danger; 11-19-23 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 11-15-23, 04:08 PM
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Re: What Are You Reading 2023

Recently finished The Devil Takes You Home by Gabino Iglesias, brutal new wave horror/noir), and Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story fun look at the making of the movie starting with the creation of the National Lampoon magazine.

Still reading Murder, INC. which reads like the dialog from a bad gangster movie, but is fun nonetheless.

Last edited by Kurt D; 11-16-23 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 11-16-23, 10:16 PM
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Re: What Are You Reading 2023

Finished:

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Old 11-22-23, 03:18 PM
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Re: What Are You Reading 2023

Finally getting around to this. Been in my to-read pile for years


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Old 11-22-23, 03:34 PM
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Re: What Are You Reading 2023

Just started:

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Old 11-23-23, 05:38 PM
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Re: What Are You Reading 2023

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Old 11-27-23, 09:53 AM
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Old 12-03-23, 10:28 PM
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Old 12-03-23, 10:59 PM
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Re: What Are You Reading 2023

STILL READING MURDER INC. But in the meantime finished Rant by Chuck Pahlaniuk and started Haunted by Chuck Pahlaniuk
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Old 12-06-23, 12:37 PM
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Re: What Are You Reading 2023

Originally Posted by brainee
Finished:

With Halloween over, I'm taking a break from horror books for a while. I rarely reread books, but just started a reread of Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy.

Tad Williams was one of my favorite authors starting in the late 80's. Though I lost track of him around 2010 when he starting writing in genres I don't generally read (young adult and detective thrillers). But he's gotten back into fantasy with several books that follow-up Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn. But it's been 30 years since I've read them, and pretty much can't remember a thing about them. Other that the main character was a castle kitchen boy who gets swept up in a gigantic world-spanning adventure, the "big bad" was some kind of ancient elf demon, and a twist where:
Spoiler:
a young boy who joins up with the main character ended up being the princess in disguise (and the two fall in love).



I remember really getting swept up in the books though. It'll be interesting to see how it aged, since the series was highly influential on later fantasy ... so maybe in retrospect it'll seem more derivative then it felt when they were new.
I finished this and the second book in the series, Stone of Farewell.

Still very good. Williams is especially good at world building and creating characters that feel like real people (and getting you to care about them). To be sure, there are a number of well-worn fantasy tropes: a "nobody" young person who is secretly a "chosen one", a world spanning hunt for magical MacGuffins (in this case, three swords) to defeat the Big Bad. And Stone of Farewell has a strong case of "middle book syndrome" (the whole thing is setting up pieces for the last book). But the characters and settings still make them easy books to get swept up in, especially for fantasy fans. You can really see how this series was a bridge between Tolkein and D&D fantasy to more mature modern fantasy like Game of Thrones (and GRRM has stated this series was a big direct influence).

I'm taking some time off before the last book in the series, To Green Angel Tower, which is monstrously long (over 1500 pages in paperback). I really appreciate how Williams includes brief synopses of earlier books at the start of each later book in the series. I know there's the internet now (which wasn't around when these were first published), but I wish more writers would do this.
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Old 12-08-23, 08:47 AM
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Re: What Are You Reading 2023

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Old 12-08-23, 08:58 AM
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Re: What Are You Reading 2023

After doing a re-read of Chizmar's "Chasing The Boogeyman" - one of my favorites books in recent years - I have started the sequel:

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Old 12-11-23, 05:09 PM
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Re: What Are You Reading 2023

Free Fall in Crimson by John D. MacDonald. I took a break from the other book to read a fast-paced detective story with lots of sex and violence. In his investigation of a stolen million dollar inheritance, Travis McGee revisits a now over-the-hill movie star who used to be the sexiest woman in the world but who's now appearing on Hollywood Squares, and tracks down an auteur who is the worst person imaginable.




The Double Image by Helen MacInnes. 1965. This book is slow-moving, describing a contest of move and countermove between spies. On one side, the Americans, British, and French are trying to figure out the Soviet operation and capture the big fish, and on the other side has a carefully planned scheme in place that is trying to avoid notice in the western countries. The last few chapters are great, when the action is narrowed to a Greek island, but it takes a while to get to the payoff.

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Old 12-12-23, 06:06 PM
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Re: What Are You Reading 2023

Just finished:



I thought it dragged quite a bit but it picked up in the second half and finished strong.
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Old 12-13-23, 04:40 PM
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Re: What Are You Reading 2023

Originally Posted by GoldenJCJ
Just finished:



I thought it dragged quite a bit but it picked up in the second half and finished strong.
Have you read Cloud Cuckoo Land? I think I liked it more ... maybe because it goes off into fantasy and sci-fi (but still with a literary style).

I finished:

The Children on the Hill by Jennifer McMahon. My second book by her (previously read The Winter People) and enjoyed them both. Her early books didn't look appealing ... seemed like Lifetime movie type potboilers (an impression not helped by all of the covers being close-ups of traumatized-looking women or girls). But starting with The Winter People the books starting looking like atmospheric classic horror influenced stories, which is much more appealing to me. This one doesn't hide the fact that it spins off Frankenstein, although maybe not in the way you'd expect.
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Old 12-13-23, 04:48 PM
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Re: What Are You Reading 2023

Just started:

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Old 12-13-23, 09:39 PM
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Re: What Are You Reading 2023

Originally Posted by brainee
Have you read Cloud Cuckoo Land? I think I liked it more ... maybe because it goes off into fantasy and sci-fi (but still with a literary style).
I havenít but it certainly sounds interesting.
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Old 12-14-23, 01:25 AM
  #243  
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Re: What Are You Reading 2023

Finished Haunted (Pahlaniuk) - that was quite a journey! Started The Wasp Factory (Iain Banks). Still planning on finishing Murder Inc. before year's end.

My New Year's read, which I'm excited for, will be War and Peace.
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Old 12-15-23, 01:22 PM
  #244  
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Re: What Are You Reading 2023

Topper by Thorne Smith. 1926. It was made into a popular movie which I haven't seen. A prim and proper bank manager is unhappy, but not sure why. He has an active internal life. He buys a used fast car that had crashed and killed the previous owners. The car is haunted. The rambunctious ghost of the previous owner introduces him to the delights of heavy drinking during Prohibition, theft, and fleeing authority. There is a lot more internal life and romanticism than I expected from a comic novel about a man loosening up. I liked it.


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Old 12-17-23, 06:31 AM
  #245  
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Re: What Are You Reading 2023

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Fantastic.

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Old 12-17-23, 12:00 PM
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Re: What Are You Reading 2023

About to read Elizabeth Hand's 'Haunting On The Hill', which is the first-ever authorized novel to return to the world of Shirley Jackson's 'The Haunting of Hill House' so it seemed like time to revisit this classic:
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Old 12-20-23, 09:05 AM
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Old 12-22-23, 12:15 AM
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Re: What Are You Reading 2023

Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling. A rich, spoiled teenager washes off an ocean liner and is picked up by a fishing boat. They don't believe that his father is one of the richest people in the world and they put him to work. Hard work and being part of a team make a man of him.

Kipling spent months talking to New England fishermen, trying to record what was left of a vanishing profession. He learned their stories, myths, and techniques; and the book is full of that information. The story might be Victorian moralism, but the world-building was great. I recommend it. (Free from Google Books)
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Old 12-25-23, 07:44 AM
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Old 12-25-23, 02:01 PM
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Re: What Are You Reading 2023

A couple of books finished:

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. A super cute and cozy book, bordering on twee (but not quite reaching there for me).

I did an audiobook on a long drive:

The Only One Left by Riley Sager. A great classic gothic atmosphere and a twisty plotted mystery made this the perfect thing for a long drive.

I'm about a hundred pages into Stephen King's Holly ... and finding it a struggle. While I agree with King's views on COVID and Trump, I'm not enjoying reading a book where they interject themselves every other page.
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