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What book are you reading right now?

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Would it be better to break up Gulliver's Travels and Hitchhiker's Guide to not stack the dry wit too thick?

“Force has no place where there is need of skill." Herodotus

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I read 150 pages on my business trip. Unfortunately, Alexander Hamilton is 750 pages long. It's going to take four more business trips to finish this one...

Done. My niece had read Alexander Hamilton and gave me this tip: use the audiobook to get through the slow parts. Hamilton himself was a fascinating character and the author does a good job of separating fact from fiction. He also tries to get inside peoples' heads and convey their motivations. I wouldn't recommend this book to everyone because it's so dense with details. It's not as dry as His Excellency: George Washington and yet doesn't move along like 1776 by David McCullough.

For next week's business trip I'm going with Journey Into Darkness by John Douglas. He was an FBI profiler like the guys on Criminal Minds. This is one of stabgal's favorite true crime books.

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In 2017 I ended up finishing 29 books. That's a lot for me. They are listed below by category.

My favorite was Ready Player One which we've already discussed here. Now is a good time to read it before the movie comes out on March 30, 2018.

In second place was Al Franken, Giant of the Senate. It's a humorous book with insights into the dysfunction of the Senate. I read it during the repeal/replace healthcare debate which was appropriate because he wrote, "By the time you read this, Republicans may well have succeeded in repealing some or all of the Affordable Care Act. But I'm willing to bet they won't have succeeded in replacing it."

Let me know if you're interested in a review of any other books below. A few were disappointing.

Action/Adventure:
Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton

Crime/Thriller:
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

General Fiction:
We Are What We Pretend to Be by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (abridged) by Hunter S. Thompson

Literary Classics:
Lady Chatterley's Lover (abridged) by D. H. Lawrence

Science Fiction:
The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (BBC Radio series 1 - 3) by Douglas Adams
The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

Biographical:
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Al Franken
Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough
My Life (abridged) by Bill Clinton

Self-Help:
Getting Things Done by David Allen

Technology:
Optimized C++ by Kurt Guntheroth
React.js Essentials by Artemij Fedosejev
JavaScript for PHP Developers by Stoyan Stefanov
Teach Yourself PHP and MySQL by Julie Meloni
Java in a Nutshell by David Flanagan
CSS Web Site Design by Eric A. Meyer

Politics:
What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Business:
Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur by Derek Sivers
Unscripted: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Entrepreneurship by MJ DeMarco
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Humor:
Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan
MAD About the Sixties: The Best of the Decade by The Usual Gang of Idiots

True Crime:
Journey Into Darkness by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker

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Below is my reading list for 2018. Only 26 titles. I'm slipping.

The best of the bunch is Player Piano but I already knew that. It's my favorite book by my favorite author, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. In 2017 I had finished reading all of his books so in 2018 I started over from the beginning. Another really good book is Web Scraping with Python 2nd edition but that will only be of interest to those planning to scrape the web.

Therefore, my second recommendation is Artemis by Andy Weir. It's not like his more famous book The Martian but it stands well on its own as a fun, sci-fi romp set on the moon.

Biography:
Genius by James Gleick

Business:
Start Small, Stay Small by Rob Walling

Crime/Thriller:
The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

General Fiction:
Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

History:
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

Humor:
Braindroppings by George Carlin

Politics:
Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward
The Audacity of Hope (abridged) by Barack Obama

Science Fiction:
The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu
Death's End by Cixin Liu
Artemis by Andy Weir
Redshirts by John Scalzi
Contact by Carl Sagan

Self-Help:
Upgrade Your Life by Gina Trepani
Game by Roosh Valizadeh

Technology:
The Pleasure of Finding Things Out by Richard Feynman
Java 8 Lambdas by Richard Warburton
Web Scraping with Python 2nd edition by Ryan Mitchell

True Crime:
The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer
I'll be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

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I quite enjoyed The Martian ... maybe I'll check out Artemis if I ever have time to clear my backlog...

I'm about 60% of the way through Robinson Crusoe... I'm about 15% of the way through Fire and Blood (the A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones prequel)... and I have Gulliver's Travels on my to read.

Hear are the books I read most often in 2018 though:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Welcome Little One
Baby Touch and Feel Animals
Quantum Physics for Babies
Newtonian Physics for Babies
Rocket Science for Babies
General Relativity for Babies
Organic Chemistry for Babies
Statistical Physics for Babies
ABCs of Biology
Goodnight Moon
Goodnight Lab
Goodnight Sophie
Goodnight Biscuit
First 100 Words
Hop on Pop
Oh, The Things You Can Think
Ten Apples Up On Top
The Shape of Me
Hooray, Fish
Edward the Emu
The Little Blue Tuk-Tuk
My Alphabet Book: ABC
My Opposites Book: Big and Small
My Colors Book: Purple Hippo
My Counting Book: 123
5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
Moo, Baa, La La La
The Wonky Donkey
Possum magic
something with Peter Rabbit
something with Snugglepot and Cuddlepie
and
P Is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever

I'm sure I'm missing about 37 others.

“Force has no place where there is need of skill." Herodotus

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Currently reading Hemingway's For whom the bell tolls. I can't help but crack up every time they curse: it's very censored. The phrase "I obscenity in the milk!" is one of my favourites.

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Double McStab with Cheese wrote:
I quite enjoyed The Martian ... maybe I'll check out Artemis if I ever have time to clear my backlog...

Artemis is less realistic and gritty than The Martian. The narrator is a young woman who lives in a colony on the moon and supplements her income by smuggling contraband. It has some science-y parts that you'd probably enjoy.

P Is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever

Cool. There's a girl in my family who jokes with me about "J as in jojoba", so last year I designed a non-phonetic alphabet chart for her as a gift. This is the first time I've heard about this book. Another book I recommend for your infant is Go, Dog Go!

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You guys sure like to read a lot. Lately I've tried getting back into books by finishing ones I had started but never got through.

First off is The Fellowship of the Ring. I had started reading this over a decade ago, but found it to be slow paced compared to The Hobbit. Last year I borrowed it from a friend but still had trouble trying to get through it. So I made it a goal to try a page a day. Luckily the story picks up after they leave Rivendell (probably spelled that wrong, bite me).

Next off is the last Artemis Fowl book, The Last Guardian. I found the previous book a disappointment and so didn't read much of this, but after picking it back up found it redeems itself from whatever made The Atlantis Complex suck. I love the way it ends.

Now I'm getting through Inheritance, the last book of the Eragon series, actually called the Inheritance series, but you'd probably recognize Eragon more. Some really cool stuff near the end, hope I can finish before having to return to the library. Without giving anything away, the surname of the story is The Vault of Souls. Patrick's sex face

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aurllcooljay wrote:
The Fellowship of the Ring.
Artemis Fowl book, The Last Guardian.
Inheritance, the last book of the Eragon series

You must really like fantasy. Do you ever read non-fiction?

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Nah, reality is too boring.

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stabguy wrote:
Double McStab with Cheese wrote:
P Is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever

Cool. There's a girl in my family who jokes with me about "J as in jojoba", so last year I designed a non-phonetic alphabet chart for her as a gift.

Here's the chart I designed. Keep it by the phone to confuse telemarketers!

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I just finished The Burning World, and it is one of the best written books I have read. Sequel to Warm Bodies, which when you read the plot sounds really stupid, zombie falls in love with a living girl and it brings him back to life. But the writing in it is miles beyond anything else, especially in the YA ballpark. It is so full of beautiful prose and symbolism. It takes the original symbolism of zombies as a commentary on the living death of modern society and doubles-down with exploring the question that basically boils down to "are those that 'survive' in a zombie apocalypse really still alive?" What actually separates the "Living" and the "Dead". Burning World followed that theme as well, while pulling in analysis around the various ways your past can impact your present. Really good books.

And I can't believe I missed a conversation around Artemis. Really enjoyed that book. Can't wait for news about the sequel.

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Jfighter777 wrote:
And I can't believe I missed a conversation around Artemis. Really enjoyed that book. Can't wait for news about the sequel.

There's going to be a sequel to Artemis?! I just learned that the Artemis movie got the green light.

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stabguy wrote:
Jfighter777 wrote:
And I can't believe I missed a conversation around Artemis. Really enjoyed that book. Can't wait for news about the sequel.

There's going to be a sequel to Artemis?! I just learned that the Artemis movie got the green light.

I heard about the movie briefly!

Andy Weir had a post on social media a few months ago looking for Canadian Mounties to improve the style of speech and back-story of the security guy for a sequel.

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In 2019 I finished 31 books, a personal record. Much like the previous year, the best were the four by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. I'm rereading all of his novels in order and these represent the peak of his career. If you've never read Vonnegut, I recommend starting with Cat's Cradle before diving into Slaughterhouse-Five.

My surprise recommendation is The Right Stuff. The book has even more action and comedy than the 1983 movie adaptation. The Assassin's Creed book was courtesy of our own Double McStab with Cheese. Thanks again, Cheese. Big smile

Action/Adventure:
Assassin's Creed Origins: Desert Oath by Oliver Bowden

Biography:
Dirty Jokes and Beer (abridged) by Drew Carey
The Diary of a Young Girl (The Definitive Edition) by Anne Frank
Waging Heavy Peace by Neil Young

Crime/Thriller:
Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

General Fiction:
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
House of Holes by Nicholson Baker
Flowers for Algernon (the novel) by Daniel Keyes
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Historical Fiction:
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

History:
The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

Humor:
Earth by Jon Stewart

Politics:
The Truth With Jokes by Al Franken

Science Fiction:
Armada by Ernest Cline
The Complete Robot by Isaac Asimov
The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov
The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov
The Robots of Dawn by Isaac Asimov
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Self-Help:
The Barbell Prescription by Jonathon Sullivan and Andy Baker
I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

Technology:
Effective Modern C++ by Scott Meyers
Learning Scrapy by Dimitris Kouzis-Loukas

True Crime:
The Cases That Haunt Us by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker
Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi

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I don't think I could read that much if my life depended on it. Tongue

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Every year I read a book with an embarrassing title. In 2019 it was I Will Teach You to Be Rich. It's a New York Times Bestseller about personal finance, which is good information but I contend it will not make you rich. You won't become a multi-millionaire by working a day job and investing in index funds. If you want to learn how to be rich I suggest The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco, another good book with an embarrassing title. Shy

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I need to track what books I read. What I can remember:

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
The New Hunger by Isaac Marion
The Burning World by Isaac Marion
The Living by Isaac Marion
First one has some great exploration of zombies as the metaphor of living without purpose, and a stark comparison of how even the "living" aren't more than shells. That's at least the theme I enjoyed digging through the most. The 2nd book has some interesting stuff, but is mostly a bridge into the 3rd and 4th. Those double down on the initial themes while also exploring different ways to move beyond ones past or succumb to it (which the first book toyed with a bit as well). Great books, The Living is only published indie, so have to order direct from the author or ebook.

The entire Awaken Online series by Travis Bagwell (its like 8 indie books). It is a LitRPG where a true AI is in charge of the online game world and is trying to understand humans to fulfill his primary purpose of getting people to play longer. It goes into a lot of interesting philosophy as the magic system reflects what it has identified as major aspects of personality. For instance dark magic is desire, light is confidence, earth is peace, fire is passion, water is "acceptance", and I can't remember air, its a weirder one that the series is probably going to dive into more. But it gets especially philosophical in the second one, where the AI is molding the main character into the "villain" of the online game and showing the contradictory aspects of humanity. Its really good because most of the dark characters (villains) are good people, while a fair number of the light characters (good guys) are the true villains.

Storm Front by Jim Butcher. First book in Dresden Files series. I am quite late to this series, quite a bit of fun. I bought the rest of the series, and I need to loop back to them.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman. Interesting dilemma about a future without death except by a special group called the Scythes.

Thrawn: Treason by Timothy Zahn. It's Star Wars, and its Thrawn. What more is there to say?

There were a few others that I can't recall. I want to say a second Star Wars book was in there.

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I just started reading a sci-fi book call The Currents of Space by Isaac Asimov. In chapter 1 the main character is introduced as Rik and I'm going, "All right! The hero's name is Rick." A few sentences later:

They called him Rik because it meant something like "moron" in the slang of the kyrt mills.

Aww.... Crying

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Wait until you find out Mont doesn't mean mountainous or imposing but instead means incompetent. Wink Tongue

“Force has no place where there is need of skill." Herodotus

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stabguy wrote:
I just started reading a sci-fi book call The Currents of Space by Isaac Asimov. In chapter 1 the main character is introduced as Rik and I'm going, "All right! The hero's name is Rick." A few sentences later:

They called him Rik because it meant something like "moron" in the slang of the kyrt mills.

Aww.... Crying

Goddammit that's my actual name

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I have a 3-month audible subscription to activate. 1 book/month + 2 audible originals/month. Any recommendations for what books to get with it?

It's been in my inbox since February, but since pandemic hit, i'm not in my car ever to really take advantage of it. May as well look into it now.

Thanks in advance (Stabguy)!

“Force has no place where there is need of skill." Herodotus

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Assassin's Creed Gold. Get and listen to Assassin's Creed Gold. It's so incredibly good, you will not regret it. I literally created an Audible account just to experience it, and it was well worth it. Ideal conditions for listening to it are lying down with your eyes closed, but it's great in any context.

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I hadn't even considered AC books. How many does audible have? I've only read 2 - Forsaken, and the Egypt one before Origins came out (Oath something?)

Anyone know if Audible has the Witcher books, actually?

“Force has no place where there is need of skill." Herodotus

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The best audio book I've ever read is The Martian narrated by R. C. Bray (not Wil Wheaton).

If you like non-fiction about astronauts, try The Right Stuff narrated by Dennis Quaid or Endurance narrated by the author, Scott Kelly.

In fairness to Wil Wheaton, his narration of Ready Player One is quite good.

Mixing politics and comedy, Al Franken: Giant of the Senate read by the author was another favorite.

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Assassin's Creed Gold is technically an Audio-Drama, which means it has a suite of voice-actors, music, sound-effects, immersive 3D audio, it's more like an evolved form of an audiobook, which is part of why I recommend it. I think it's also the current latest blip on the AC timeline as far as Present Day is concerned.

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I read The Martian, and loved it. Ready Player One is a fantastic idea, since it's been on my reading list for a while. Thanks!

“Force has no place where there is need of skill." Herodotus

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I finally cashed in on my audible subscription for the next 3 months.

Send me your Audible Originals or other free recommendations.

For my one free book this first month, I was going to go with the AC Gold.... but it's already included for free.... so I went with the first installment from the Witcher series. If it's good, I'll keep it going. Otherwise, I'll just look to other books that are still on my list to read.... Gullivers Travels, Ready Player One, etc.

“Force has no place where there is need of skill." Herodotus

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Finished AC Gold. Thanks for the recommendation, DAZ!

“Force has no place where there is need of skill." Herodotus

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Cheers! I hope you enjoyed it some. I found many of its ideas really clever, especially how it builds immersion / your Sync with the Ancestor.

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For those of you who enjoyed Ready Player One, the sequel Ready Player Two recently dropped. Wil Wheaton returns to narrate the audiobook.

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stabguy wrote:
For those of you who enjoyed Ready Player One, the sequel Ready Player Two recently dropped. Wil Wheaton returns to narrate the audiobook.

I've heard some not so flattering things about the sequel.

I'm almost done listening to the first book in The Witcher series. Trying to decide if I'm going to spend my two remaining Audible credits to get more, or to move on to other things.

“Force has no place where there is need of skill." Herodotus

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I've heard some not so flattering things about the sequel.

It couldn't possibly be as bad as Armada. Even the characters in that book agree that it is derivative. They say things like, "It was just like The Last Starfighter... except this was real!"

Trying to decide if I'm going to spend my two remaining Audible credits to get more, or to move on to other things.

I prefer to take breaks rather than reading a series straight through. One book every three months is a good pace for series.

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I finished the first Witcher book last night. I think I'm going to try to finish one of the physical books i'm in the middle of next.... Robinson Crusoe, Hitchhiker's Guide, Fire and Blood... before getting a new audiobook.

“Force has no place where there is need of skill." Herodotus

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In 2020 I read 41 books, shattering my previous record of 31. Now I should probably slow down (or at least choose longer books Tongue).

There were so many good books last year. Let's start with the Kurt Vonnegut Jr. series. These four represent a period when his career was in decline but Galápagos stands out as a real gem. It's similar to Cat's Cradle and makes many references to Darwinian evolution. I spotted a connection between Galápagos and Ready Player Two. Both describe a fictional electronic voice translator called "Mandarax". Ready Player Two makes other references to Vonnegut but this one was subtle.

One of the technical books, Pro TBB was very good if you're interested in multithreaded programming in C++. It's my new favorite reference on Threading Building Blocks. I know James Reinders, who is one of the co-authors. We first met at the awards banquet after I won the Intel Threading Challenge in 2011.

For those who enjoyed The Right Stuff I would also recommend Endurance by Scott Kelly (twin brother of astronaut/senator Mark Kelly). It mostly chronicles Scott Kelly's record one year on the International Space Station but also gives some background on how he and his brother became astronauts.

As for science fiction, I recommend the classic Ringworld by Larry Niven. Leo encouraged me to read Snow Crash which was action-packed but more in a cyberpunk vein.

Finally, I was really impressed with Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. Hands down it's the best murder mystery I've ever read, although I do have a few more mysteries in my queue for 2021 so we'll have to wait and see how they stack up.

Biography:
Endurance by Scott Kelly
So, Anyway by John Cleese

Business:
Play Bigger by Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson, Christopher Lochhead, Kevin Maney
The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need (2016 edition) by Andrew Tobias
Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Crime/Thriller:
Strip Tease by Carl Hiaasen
Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

General Fiction:
Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Galápagos by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
The Fermata (abridged) by Nicholson Baker
Couples by John Updike

General Non-Fiction:
The Last Lecture (the book) by Randy Pausch
50 Years, 50 Moments by Jerry Rice

History:
George Washington's Secret Six by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger

Humor:
Why Not Me? by Al Franken
COVIDIOTS by Steven Richard Harris and Natalia Gomez Alvarez

Literary Classics:
The Stranger by Albert Camus
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemmingway

Mystery:
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Politics:
The Hardest Job in the World by John Dickerson
Too Much and Never Enough by Mary L. Trump

Science Fiction:
Robots and Empire by Isaac Asimov
The Currents of Space by Isaac Asimov
The Stars, Like Dust by Isaac Asimov
Pebble in the Sky by Isaac Asimov
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Minority Report and Other Stories by Philip K. Dick
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Ringworld by Larry Niven
Ubik by Philip K. Dick
Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline

Self-Help:
Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Technology:
Exceptional C++ by Herb Sutter
The Cuckoo's Egg (abridged) by Cliff Stoll
Pro TBB by Michael Voss, Rafael Asenjo, and James Reinders

True Crime:
Mindhunter by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker

You won't even feel the blade.

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Impressive list as always, Stabguy. I started dating an Agatha Christie fan in 2020 so now I know most of her works. Some of the Miss Marple and Poirot books are really fun (though I think And Then There Were None is considered her masterpiece). There's also TV shows of them: it's quite fun to watch and guess whodunnit!

I have to sink my teeth into Vonnegut sometime, though I'm currently reading The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Murakami, which is a slightly different brand of weird. Smile

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"Betraying the Assassins is never good for one's health."
"Well, neither is drinking liquor, but I'm drawn to its dangers all the same."

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Double McStab with Cheese wrote:
So now I am back to reading.

Next three on the docket:
- Rest of Hitchhiker's Guide (have only read the first one so far)
- The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
- Gulliver's Travels

Not sure which order these will be in. I have a physical copy of Hitchhiker's and the other two are on my tablet. Thoughts?

So, uh, way back in 2017 I posted this.

I finished Robinson Crusoe this week after starting it soon after the post. I am still in the 2nd book of Hitchhiker's Guide, so I guess I'll finish that up next.

I guess I've been distracted in the last 4 years. Tongue

“Force has no place where there is need of skill." Herodotus

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I'm currently rereading Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and came across a name that had been unfamiliar the first time around. This part of book is auto-biographical:

On September 6th, 1996, Joe and I opened a show of twenty-six of our prints in the 1/1 Gallery in Denver, Colorado. A local microbrewery, Wynkoop, bottled a special beer for the occasion. The label was one of my self-portraits. The name of the beer was Kurt's Mile-High Malt.

...

That still wasn't enough fun out there in Denver? OK, how about the fact that the name of the owner of the Wynkoop Brewing Company, a guy about Joe's age, was John Hickenlooper? So what? Only this: When I went to Cornell University to become a chemist fifty-six years ago, I was made a fraternity brother of a man named John Hickenlooper.

This was his son! My fraternity brother had died when this son was only seven. I knew more about him than his own son did! I was able to tell this young Denver brewer that his dad, in partnership with another Delta Upsilon brother, John Locke, sold candy and soft drinks and cigarettes out of a big closet at the top of the stairs on the second floor of the fraternity house.

They christened it Hickenlooper's Lockenbar. We called it Lockenlooper's Hickenbar, and Barkenhicker's Loopenlock, and Lockenbarker's Loopenhick, and so on.

Today I learned that John Hickenlooper was a brewer before he was the Mayor of Denver, Governor of Colorado, and United States Senator.

You won't even feel the blade.

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The Book of Ramen, by some dude calling himself ramen_lord on Reddit. It's free!

https://www.reddit.com/r/ramen/comments/hv9niv/my_brother_and_i_just_com...

_________________

"Betraying the Assassins is never good for one's health."
"Well, neither is drinking liquor, but I'm drawn to its dangers all the same."

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Just finished And Then There Were None.

"You cannot trust the words of a snake,
which even in death, produces venom."
- Jabal, Rafiq of Acre

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PureNihilist666 wrote:
Just finished And Then There Were None.

Cool. That was one of my top recommendations from last year.

Are there any other Agatha Christie novels you think are as good or better? Some say The Murder of Roger Ackroyd but I did not like how the mystery was resolved in that one.

You won't even feel the blade.

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I'm reading it right now!
My friend gave me both of them as she had had exams and I finished the first one, but I've not made much progress on Ackroyd.

"You cannot trust the words of a snake,
which even in death, produces venom."
- Jabal, Rafiq of Acre

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stabguy wrote:
PureNihilist666 wrote:
Just finished And Then There Were None.

Cool. That was one of my top recommendations from last year.

Are there any other Agatha Christie novels you think are as good or better? Some say The Murder of Roger Ackroyd but I did not like how the mystery was resolved in that one.

The Body in the Library is quite fun!

_________________

"Betraying the Assassins is never good for one's health."
"Well, neither is drinking liquor, but I'm drawn to its dangers all the same."

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Below is my reading list for 2021. Not bad: 33 books. I started off the year with two excellent books: Red Dragon and Endurance.

Of all the Hannibal Lecter books and movies, the book Red Dragon is the very best. (The best of the movies is Silence of the Lambs, obviously.) I had read the book Red Dragon years ago and then watched both movie adaptations: Manhunter (1986) and Red Dragon (2002). One thing that bothered me about both films is they make a big deal about how detective Will Graham finds a fingerprint on a victim's eyeball but then they never use the fingerprint for anything. That part was in the book but left out of the movie adaptations. Over the years I pointed this out to several people until one asked the obvious question: "How was the fingerprint used in the book?" Um, well, it had been a long time and I had forgotten.

So on this re-read I paid close attention and the fingerprint was actually used four times! Here's how (major spoilers):

Spoiler: Highlight to view

  1. Matched on a visitor's badge at Brooklyn Museum where Francis Dolarhyde ate a painting.
  2. At Gateway film processing company where Dolarhyde worked, the FBI dusted company vans for prints. This didn't pan out because he had used his own van to abduct journalist Freddy Lounds.
  3. Still at Gateway, Will Graham searches Dolarhyde's office for a clipboard hoping to find a left thumbprint because that's the way right-handed people open a clipboard.
  4. After Molly Graham kills Dolarhyde, the identity of his remains are confirmed by fingerprint.

Back in 2020 I had read Scott Kelly's Endurance. He named it after Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage, a favorite book that he had taken into space for a year. So I gave it a try and oh, man! It's a history book that reads like an action/thriller. Ernest Shackleton was an early explorer of Antarctica. This covers his third and final expedition in which everything went wrong and yet he still held it together. My favorite part was the open-boat journey to South Georgia - simply amazing.

After those two books things sort of went downhill. One bright spot was Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (author of The Martian). Read this before they make the movie. I recommend the audiobook because it's a sci-fi story that relies on some sound effects. Imagine Close Encounters of the Third Kind with its iconic five note sequence.

Biography:
Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges
When Giants Walked the Earth by Mick Wall

Business:
The Great Rat-Race Escape by MJ DeMarco
Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

Crime/Thriller:
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

General Fiction:
Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Hocus Pocus by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

History:
Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

Humor:
25 Years of Pickles by Brian Crane
Oh, the Things I Know! by Al Franken
Right Ho, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse

Literary Classics:
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Politics:
Arguing with Zombies by Paul Krugman

Science:
Bully for Brontosaurus by Stephen Jay Gould

Science Fiction:
Prelude to Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Forward the Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov
Neuromancer by William Gibson
Timeline (abridged) by Michael Crichton
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
The Ringworld Engineers by Larry Niven
Dune by Frank Herbert

Self-Help:
The Manual by W. Anton
Convict Conditioning by Paul Wade
Mastering the Art of Small Talk by Sean Lysaght
Conversation Casanova by Dave Perrotta

Technology:
The Pragmatic Programmer (20th Anniversary Edition) by David Thomas and Andrew Hunt

You won't even feel the blade.

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In response to this thread's subject "What book are you reading right now?" my answer is Alamut, usually cited as the main inspiration behind Assassin's Creed. Alamut is the name of the fortress, equivalent to Masyaf Castle in AC1. Early chapters of the book follow two young characters: a novice fedayin (i.e. assassin) and a teenage girl brought in to the garden to join the houris. Eventually we meet Hassan-i Sabbah (inspiration for Al Mualim) whom the novices and houris refer to as Sayyiduna ("our master").

Has anyone else here read Alamut?

You won't even feel the blade.

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stabguy wrote:
In response to this thread's subject "What book are you reading right now?" my answer is Alamut, usually cited as the main inspiration behind Assassin's Creed. Alamut is the name of the fortress, equivalent to Masyaf Castle in AC1. Early chapters of the book follow two young characters: a novice fedayin (i.e. assassin) and a teenage girl brought in to the garden to join the houris. Eventually we meet Hassan-i Sabbah (inspiration for Al Mualim) whom the novices and houris refer to as Sayyiduna ("our master").

Has anyone else here read Alamut?

Yes! One of my favourite books! Where in the book are you?

_________________

"Betraying the Assassins is never good for one's health."
"Well, neither is drinking liquor, but I'm drawn to its dangers all the same."

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161803398874989 wrote:
Yes! One of my favourite books! Where in the book are you?

Chapter 9 of 21, after the novices have had their first taste of battle and the houris are preparing for their first visitors to the garden.

You won't even feel the blade.

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stabguy wrote:
161803398874989 wrote:
Yes! One of my favourite books! Where in the book are you?

Chapter 9 of 21, after the novices have had their first taste of battle and the houris are preparing for their first visitors to the garden.

Great! The best parts of the book are still to come then Smile

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"Betraying the Assassins is never good for one's health."
"Well, neither is drinking liquor, but I'm drawn to its dangers all the same."

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Assassin's Creed tossed around the motto "Nothing is true; everything is permitted" without really defining what it means. This left fans to repeat the motto and come up with their own interpretations. When Malik chastised Altaïr for breaking the first and third tenets of the creed, Altaïr essentially told him "Everything is permitted, bro."

Alamut provides the original and best definition in the following dialogue between Hassan-i Sabbah and his mistress Miriam:

“There’s one other thing I’d like to remind you of, my dear. There’ve been many times when you’ve sworn to me that after all that life has dealt you, it was no longer possible for you to believe in anything. I replied that both life and my studies had led me to the same conclusion. I asked you, ‘What is a person permitted, once he’s realized that truth is unattainable and consequently doesn’t exist for him?’ Do you remember your answer?”

“I do, ibn Sabbah. I said something like this: ‘If a person realized that everything people call happiness, love and joy was just a miscalculation based on a false premise, he’d feel a horrible emptiness inside. The only thing that could rouse him from his paralysis would be to gamble with his own fate and the fate of others. The person capable of that would be permitted anything.’ ”

You won't even feel the blade.