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Thread: Watcha Reading?

  1. #1
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    Default Watcha Reading?

    An ongoing thread where people say what they are reading might be useful. Some of the books that get mentioned on this Literature area I have not heard of and it's interesting to read what people say about them - but you have to keep opening and closing threads. So a thread where people say what they are reading and a little bit about it might be more user friendly to me - and maybe a few others.


    I have been reading the autobiography of the Emperor Napoleon. Not that he ever wrote a full one, but he did write or dictate an awful lot about himself which a guy with the weird name of Somerset de Chair put together and published in 1992 as 'Napoleon on Napoleon'.

    Don't get me wrong - I'm not reading it for any other motive but interest and have no desire to conquer anywhere - but as a character he's always interested me and I saw this coffee table sized book and decided to get it.

    The man liked himself a lot which is fairly obvious from the word go. One thing you notice very quickly is that he is always right; always the centre of attention, and always the hero of the hour. I get the idea that he is the victim of his own propaganda. A few years ago I read Hitler's table talk - Goebbels had a guy take down in shorthand every word that the Fuhrer said at dinner - a virtual monologue. He knew everything about everything and the strange thing is that Napoleon struck me in exactly the same way.

    It's not a very interesting book I have to say, unless you are seriously into bigheads bigging themselves up.
    One thing though that I found very interesting is what he missed out.
    He hardly mentions Trafalgar; but Waterloo and the Duke of Wellington get no mention at all. Clearly the memory was inconvenient.

    So I do not recommend it as a read - I found it a bit of a slog and finished it only because I made myself.

    I think I'll read some fiction now for light relief.


    Watcha reading?

  2. #2
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    Book: How the Scots Invented the Modern World
    Subtitle: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in It
    Author: Arthur Herman, Ph.D in History from John Hopkins University
    Book has:-
    - Occasional footnotes
    - Sources and Guide for Further Reading (431-450)
    - Acknowledgements (451-452)
    - Index: (453-472)
    Originally Published: 2001

    It was a gift, a year or two ago, from my youngest daughter at university in Montreal.
    Prior to reading the book, I had watched a series of university-level lectures on 'Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition' and 'Great Ideas of Philosophy.' The foregoing made the references to Lord Kames, Adam Smith, David Hume and other participants in the 'Scottish Enlightment' a bit easier to understand in their context.
    Early in the book, there is reference to the Scottish attempt to build the Panama canal, starting with the Darien Company around 1695 - Scotland was probably the first trading nation to recognise the potential of a canal and its best location. This was long before the French, English or others had taken any steps in this regard. The plan went bust, thanks in part to some 'interference,' and the country of Scotland almost went bankrupt in the attempt.
    I have some friends (now in their early 40's) from Panama who had never heard of the early Scots adventures when they were taught 'history' at their Panamanian schools!

    I'm less than halfway through the book, but, for someone who has only recently "discovered" reading, I am enjoying it, and expect to complete it in maybe a couple of weeks. I'm reserving judgement on the book's title and subtitle until later.

  3. #3

    Default Heavy stuff!!!

    Hey you guys you are both into some heavy reading!!! I have just finished The Shack by Wm Paul Young it is about a man called MacKenzie who's daughter is murdered she is found in an abandoned shack and some years later MacKenzie is invited back to the shack for one weekend by God,there MacKenzie finds the answer to the qusetion WHY.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by David Banks View Post
    Book: How the Scots Invented the Modern World
    Subtitle: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in It
    Author: Arthur Herman, Ph.D in History from John Hopkins University
    Book has:-
    - Occasional footnotes
    - Sources and Guide for Further Reading (431-450)
    - Acknowledgements (451-452)
    - Index: (453-472)
    Originally Published: 2001
    WARNING WARNING
    I thought the title and subtitle might include some overstatements.
    Well, I hear there are a lot of books "How the (fill in preferred country name) did something stupendous"
    The book about the Scots seems well researched, but, again, I may have just been "sucked in."
    I hope not.

  5. #5
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    Default Sacrifice.

    Sacrifice by S J Bolton.
    Not the usual thing I read as I'm more interested in English and Scottish kings, queens and history but in the library with limited time one day I just picked it up.

    Not too far into it but it seems quite compelling thus far.
    Story of a body that a woman finds in her back garden (whilst digging a grave for her horse ) on the Shetland Islands.
    The body is female, had her heart ripped out apparently before death and showing signs of having given birth soon before her death.
    From where the story is going at the moment it's looking like some kind of ritualistic storyline mixed in with Viking Runes and some kind of adoption racket going on on the isles.
    Intriguing!
    Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.

    http://thetenaciousgardener.blogspot.co.uk/

  6. #6
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    Default

    I'm about half way through 'The Man from Beijing' by Henning Mankell.

    I've enjoyed all his Wallander novels but I'm finding this one quite hard going with several shifts in time and place.

    Maybe all the different strands will come together for a satisfying conclusion ... I'm hoping so anyway.

  7. #7
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    Default Crickey I feel dumb

    My taste is primarily Science Fiction. Currently reading a trilogy by an English author Peter F Hamilton, The Night's Dawn Trilogy, very exciting. A future where the technology is based on bioengineering and nanonics (the networking of humans directly into Technology and Bitek). A universe where the dead repossess the living, where Al Capone and Elvis can be found on the same planet (doing different things). Wow!

  8. #8
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    OK - I am going to fess up. As I said last time I was going to read a fiction book I really tried to - but failed. It appears that I'm more of a non-fiction guy. I am reading 'They called it Passchendaele' by Lyn McDonald, the story of the 3rd battle of Ypres in 1917. What a bloody slaughter.

    I have just read the bit about the attack on Messines ridge in June 1917 where 19 mines were exploded at once under the Germans. The British army surged forward and then lay down as the mines went off. But one group got up after the explosions to find that the mine in front of them went off 15 seconds late and they were running forward as it exploded; loads of guys got hurt but the Germans were annihilated.

    That appears to have been what made Haig so optimistic and encouraged him to go forward with his big attack to the north of Ypres later in the year. I have not got to that yet, but that of course is the one that bogged down in the worst rain for 40 years.

    I am going to Ypres next week but will not be staying on Messines ridge. 19 mines went off. But there were 21. In 1955 some lightning hit a field on the ridge and it just went up leaving a huge hole at Spanbroekmolen - which has been filled in. But somewhere under that ridge is another...

    Lyn McDonald is an excellent writer who really catches your attention as a reader. I am enjoying this one greatly, especially the abundant first hand accounts from the men who were there. I do recommend this book.

  9. #9
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    Default Elsie & Mairi Go To War

    I am nearly finished reading Elsie & Mairi Go To War by Diane Atkinson. A story of two extraordinary women, Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm, who during WW1 set up a first aid post on the Western Front. Between them they were decorated seventeen times for bravery and self sacrifice, a truly amazing story.

  10. #10
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    Default

    I just finished 'Remember Me?' by Sophie Kinsella.

    Reading 'A Dog in a Million' now.
    ~Sarah~
    Owner of 2 greyhounds, 1 Lurcher puppy, 2 cats, 3 rabbits, 3 guinea pig's and a hamster!

  11. #11
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    Just finished reading Twilight New Moon. Im loving these books! Took me 12 hours reading time to get it done. And i dont like books lol

    Waiting until i see the New Moon movie before i start reading Eclipse.
    I SWORE ON ONE THREAD!
    GET OVER IT!!!!!

  12. #12
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    Who's turn for the stairs by Robert Douglas

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Whose-Turn-S...8916582&sr=8-1

    Finished it this morning and thoroughly enjoyed it.
    People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will
    never forget how you made them feel.

  13. #13
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    Default Magnificent Desolation

    Buzz Aldrin's Autobiography (with Ken Abrams)

    A real hero for me. A very complex man with a vision and drive that is hard to compare, but he brought many demons back from the moon and this book is as much about his battles with them, as any of his great achievements.

    Highly recommended

  14. #14

    Default

    Just finished "Map of Africa" by Eddy Nugent. Still giggling away at it, if you like to laugh .. read it.

    Its about a fictional character who is based on the exploits of two Royal Signals guys and their time in uniform in the 80's, dont be put off by that as my missus read this book and the previous one called "Picking up the Brass" and laughed herself silly at them, and she hasnt a military atom in her body.

    The description of dishevelled local women leaving the barrack blocks on a Saturday morning, still wearing Friday nights clothes, as "looking like extras from Michael Jackson's Thriller video" is pretty typical of the humour. Its written really well and keeps you grinning all the way through.

  15. #15
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    I'm reading the first volume of Churchills memoirs called The Second World War. It's called The Gathering Storm.
    Its an excellent book. Churchill writes with as much authority as he spoke.

  16. #16
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    Book: How the Scots Invented the Modern World
    Subtitle: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in It
    Author: Arthur Herman, Ph.D in History from John Hopkins University
    Originally Published: 2001

    For somebody who hated history at school, but did retain the odd name or two like Adam Smith, David Hume, Culloden, David Livingstone among many others, this was a page-turning experience! And, yes, if you see the specific threads of societal development explained, it could be fairly argued that the Scots did what the main and sub-titles claim.
    Great read for anyone who is Scottish or has a Scottish heritage.

  17. #17
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    I am actually reading a novel - which makes quite a change. It is Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. It is the story of Thomas Cromwell's rise to be Henry Vlll's chancellor and I have to say that it is holding my attention. When my wife gave it to me at first I thought it just another Tudor pot boiler, despite all the hype about it - and there has undoubtedly been that.

    But I have to say that so far it's rather good.

  18. #18
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    Yesterday I finished reading 'Wolf Hall' by Hilary Mantel. My wife bought it for me for Xmas because it was listed for the Man Booker prize but I do not read a lot of fiction so I put it off until the beginning of February, fearing it might be the usual bodice-ripping, skirt swishing Tudor romance. Finally I dipped into it and I am glad I did.

    It's written in a strange and rather compelling style which leads you to not want to put it down - yet it is not a book to scan.

    It is, in short, the story of Thomas Cromwell- Mister Secretary to Henry VIII up to 1535. I am glad it stops there because he was at the peak of his powers and the story of his fall from grace and ugly death is not one I wanted to reprise.

    It follows him from nobody, and throughout the book he builds layers of capabilities and power until there is one thought-stopping moment where he realises that the King is afraid of him.

    Not physically - but of his sheer ability.

    And it made me stop- because it was a sort of gunfighter moment. The one where the gunfighter realises that no matter how fast he is, there is always someone faster.

    I'm not saying it is an easy read, for frankly it is not. It's a deep read and one that is waded through.

    But I enjoyed it immensely and if you like to bathe in a book then you might too - but it takes a while.

    Now I have started to read the biography of Arthur Martin-Leake, one of the three double VC winners - by Ann Clayton.

    It's a much easier read.

  19. #19
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    The Forgotton Highlander.....Alastair Urquhart
    it's a sair fecht

  20. #20
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    Dark Enough to see the Stars in a Jamestown Sky by a local author, Connie Lapallo. It's based on the true story of her, not too sure how many greats, grandmother who left a fairly comfortable life in England to become one of the first settlers in Jamestown, Virginia.

    Life back then was no bowl of cherries -- I don't think folks today could endure even a small portion of what these men, women and children had to overcome. They were tough and bravely handled each challenge and there were many.

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