tuna55 MegaDork
2/20/24 10:38 a.m.
NermalSnert (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to tuna55 :

Take a look at "The Splendid and the Vile" Pretty good Churchill stuff.

Thanks! Is it reliable? The struggle seems to be that Churchill himself and his allies were so revisionist that they lionize him, whereas any opponents think he was the devil incarnate and speak as if he was Hitlers equal in terms of guilt. 

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
2/20/24 12:44 p.m.

The year is 1982, just two years before that made famous by Orwell. An exiled Soviet writer discovers that a German travel agency is booking flights through a time warp to a variety of tempting sites and dates in the future. Moscow? The year 2042? How can he resist? Afterword by the Author. Translated by Richard Lourie.


I picked this book up almost 10 years ago at a local used book shop because I thought it would be a good light read.  It's written by an exiled soviet writer, and the main character is also an exiled soviet writer...  From what I remember, Moscow walled itself in and shut the rest of the world out.  The vehicles were all coal/steam powered, pollution was everywhere (naturally), and you had to turn in your poop to get food from the community kitchens (the only place where you could get food).

I stumbled across it on the book shelf and thought I'd give it another read (given the current GeoPol situation and all).

Duke MegaDork
2/20/24 12:56 p.m.

In reply to Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) :

Sounds... allegorical.


Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
2/20/24 3:55 p.m.
Duke said:

In reply to Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) :

Sounds... allegorical.


It was written before the fall of the Soviet Union and I think I remember reading that the author was struck with how accurately he predicted how it would all play out.

I wonder if he's alive right now, and what he would think about current events.

But yeah, for sure!

NermalSnert (Forum Supporter)
NermalSnert (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
2/20/24 7:10 p.m.

In reply to tuna55 :

They used diaries to write the book. I'm no Churchill expert so I can't tell. It focused on he and his family and close friends. It was a really good read.

tuna55 MegaDork
2/21/24 8:08 a.m.

Florida Firelight by Randy Wayne White on audiobook


This was bad. Everything was contrived and overdone. Character development was poor. Overuse of technical terms, sounded like trying to be Jack Carr, but not done well enough. Do not recommend.

RevRico MegaDork
2/21/24 1:29 p.m.

15 since Jan 1


Finished the side quest book, and the next full installment. Good reads, story is really picking up steam.

Or was, just starting another "side quest" book in the series, that starts umm months ago in book time. 

tuna55 MegaDork
2/23/24 1:12 p.m.

Darker than Amber by John D MacDonald. I needed a good purge after the Randy Wayne White fiasco.


McGee turns down two pros and gets mixed up in something very ugly. His principles show through, and it hurts even when it maybe shouldn't. It's very clever, and the first book where Meyer plays a big part. Meyer adds a lot to the storyline, and the interplay between the two is fantastic. Character development, of course, is the best. Action is there and reasonable, and he makes bad choices which are interesting to see play out.

NermalSnert (Forum Supporter)
NermalSnert (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
2/26/24 5:47 p.m.

Penrod and Sam by Booth Tarkington. C1916

The man could absolutely craft a sentence and paint a picture.

RevRico MegaDork
2/28/24 6:06 p.m.


Another side story and main story down, time for another side story. This series is longer than I anticipated. Really well filled out though. This is book 7 of 11. I'll spare anymore updates until I've completed the series.


Side quest book leads to optional sub series? Ok dude, really fleshing this universe out. Hollywood could learn a thing or three. 


Awaken Online: tarot, book one.


tarot, book 2


Tarot book 3

Back to mainline books


Epic mainline battle book finished.  Now another side story then I might be waiting a while. 


Happy, the story of the air avatar. Wow, just wow. 

Onto another main storyline book. This series is deep, but for my first taste of gamelit/litrpg I'm really impressed. 


Holy. E36 M3. 

Starting the next main book, then I think I'm going to have to wait for more. Which is.. Frustrating. I'm really really liking this world and everything going on in it.

914Driver MegaDork
2/29/24 8:00 a.m.

Re:   "My travels with Mrs. Kennedy".

The last line all alone on the last page of the book "People ask all the time "What ws she like".

Now you know ......

tuna55 MegaDork
2/29/24 4:26 p.m.

Just finished generations by Jean m Twenge. This book was very good, she made excellent generational points, mostly based on the fact that generational change was based on technology which was widely adopted by each generation in the 20th century, and then she goes on and proves it with data. It was really interesting to read hard proof about how generations differ and why. Highly recommended.

tuna55 MegaDork
3/1/24 9:04 a.m.

Just finished the audiobook (I had a lot of time in the plane and driving around on a business trip) "One fearful yellow eye": by John D MacDonald. I am going through the Travis McGee series on audiobook again. This one is just as good as I remembered. It has so many twists and turns that it feels raw and real and it hurts. So highly recommended that it's near the top of the heap for the series.

tuna55 MegaDork
3/4/24 12:26 p.m.

Finished "The Good Stuff" BY John D MacDonald. It's a series of short stories, lightly edited by the author in 1982, all originally published between 1947-1952 for pulp magazines before he wote any novels.


They are all fantastic. Some of them indeed have proto-McGees in them, though some are a little Batman, or a little IronMan, though way before either of those two were conceived. It was really a good set of reads. Highly recommended.



Duke MegaDork
3/4/24 12:54 p.m.
Duke said:

Currently reading Robopocalypse by Daniel H Wilson.  Also picked up at random in the library.

Written in 2011 so it may or may not be out of date.  Not far enough into it to know, yet.  So far it has been readable.  My only criticism is that it is the written equivalent of "found video" storytelling.  Each chapter is supposed to be a transcript of a post-incident debriefing interview, each describing a different event in the human-robot war.  These are connected by a narrator who compiled the reports and who adds a few notes at the beginning and end of each chapter.

It could work, and it does work, except that Wilson can't help writing in a more typical expository style, rather than staying in the voice of whoever is being interviewed.  That's a minor complaint, but it weakens the narrative slightly.

Finished this up over the weekend.  It was suitably entertaining but did not make me ask any big questions.  He did manage to stay in character voice(s) a bit better later in the book.  Some of the really important stuff was yadda yaddad over, but OK, sometimes you just need to roll with a story and don't analyze too deeply.

The author apparently has a Masters in Artifical Intelligence and a PhD in Robotics from Carnegie-Mellon.  He has written some nonfiction books as well as novels.  Just read that he is Native American, which explains why Native American culture is a huge subtext through the narrative.  It seemed kind of... odd, in context, but was not really a problem.  It also explains why the US government (most, but not all, of the action is in the US) is almost completely absent throughout the story, and what appearances there are are not complimentary.

There is a sequel called Robogenesis, which was pretty clearly set up at the end of the first book.  I'll probably read it at some point.


Duke MegaDork
3/4/24 1:05 p.m.

Currently reading:  The Tusks of Extinction by Ray Nayler.  It has an odd, but interesting premise, and a strong environmentalist / conservationalist slant.  It's very short - hardly more than a novella - but, frankly, if he gets the story done in 100 pages, why write 300?  I admire the brevity.

Released in January of '24, it's the author's second book.  His debut was The Mountain In The Sea, which I have not read.


Antihero PowerDork
3/4/24 5:32 p.m.

My dad wrote a book and I'm reading the first draft now. 


It's quite a book really, even though I don't read fantasy often 

tuna55 MegaDork
3/5/24 6:47 p.m.

Pale Gray for Guilt, by John D MacDonald. 


This was a confusing one. I did enjoy it very much, McGee and Meyer avenged someone through a con that was mostly financial, and to be fair it was pretty hard to follow. If I suspended my lack of understanding, the story was pretty enjoyable. The end was a surprise, and a little atypical. Still a superb book.


I have lots of audiobook time. 

tuna55 MegaDork
3/7/24 8:45 a.m.

Just finished a library book (Yes another John D book), "Judge Me Not", which is an older book I had not read. It was missing page 46, which was odd. It's a very dark book, but quite intriguing. As always, you feel for the characters like you've known them for a long time. It's an interesting plot. A lot of his book are this way. It's not typical in terms of a murder type book, in that it never just works out for the good guys. A lot of real damage is done, and some of it is fatal, some of it is incredibly tragic.


Ever watch Police Squad, or the Naked Gun movies? That scene at the end where all the cops are sitting around talking about Sally Decker, and how the bad guys are all locked up, and the good guys are all going to be fine and dandy? That's an excellent commentary on this style of book. Most of them are like that. Like a Lethal Weapon movie almost. Mel Gibson takes on the boss at the end like a video game and wins, but barely. John D doesn't write like that.

Wally (Forum Supporter)
Wally (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/8/24 5:30 p.m.

Book 3 for the year.  As a weird kid that was fascinated by trucks and adventures things like this the alaskan ice roads appealed to me.  He worked as a British based trucker going regularly into the Middle East in the 70s, as far as Saudi Arabia, then when that became troublesome into eastern bloc countries like Romania.  It was as interesting as I pictured it, and wish I could have experienced it. I'm about 3/4 of the way through it since Tuesday. 

tuna55 MegaDork
3/11/24 8:41 a.m.

Just finished "Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper", which was a really great book. It was more cerebral and less "McGee fights everyone", and had some delightful racial commentary. A pretty neat surprise ending, not related to the plot, just fun.

tuna55 MegaDork
3/11/24 1:50 p.m.

Finished the paperback: Dave Grohl, the Storyteller, just now during lunch.


It was okay.


He's telling interesting stories, but at some point it gets a bit tedious. Taking a private jet from Australia to your kids Daddy/Daughter dance is a cool story, but it's not that interesting to me. Cool he was there for his daughters. Meh.

1988RedT2 MegaDork
3/11/24 3:47 p.m.

Figured I'd read something short for a change. 

j/k  this thing is about as long as Kesey's "Sometimes a Great Notion" but moves along a lot better.

My son got it for me for Christmas.  I wasn't sure I'd get through it, but I'm like 3/4 the way there.  My biggest complaint about the movie was that it was needlessly and overbearingly LOUD.  The book does not suffer the same flaw.


Duke MegaDork
3/11/24 5:07 p.m.

In reply to 1988RedT2 :

All movies are too loud these days.  Except when they're not, and then you can't hear a damn thing.

Currently reading:

The Curator by Owen King.


Maybe 50 pages into it?

DW read this.  She started, and got maybe 10 pages in, and it wasn't working for her.  She read something else and then gave this another chance - whatever was bothering her before had vanished and she enjoyed it a lot.  She recommended it to me so I'm giving it a go.  I understand why she didn't like the very beginning, but it didn't bother me.

Owen is definitely not resting on his father's name here.  He has his own voice and so far I am enjoying it quite a bit.

It's written a bit like a fable, set in a sort of end-of-the-19th-century technological era, and in an England-like but not definable country.  We start out in the immediate aftermath following some kind of populist revolution against the old regime.  The main character is a young woman named Dora, or just D, who is somewhat dubiously  involved with a young "officer" in the revolutionary corps.  She is actually interested in something called the Institute For Psykical Research, of which her older brother was a member before he disappeared.

Not sure where he's going with it yet, but it is interestingly written and paced.


Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
3/11/24 6:47 p.m.

In reply to Duke :

Hm. The Lauren Groff recommendation actually helps me--I know publishers pretty much require authors to endorse others in their stable--but I enjoyed her Florida stories so much, it was the book I gifted for our Orange Blossom Tour people. Might have to check this out.


You'll need to log in to post.

Our Preferred Partners