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Thread: December - How Many Books?

  1. #1
    Member Part-timer JasonUK's Avatar
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    December - How Many Books?

    The usual 4 books for me.

    George RR Martin - Fire & Blood (8/10) Fascinating addition to the world of Game of Thrones. Written as non-fiction but including all the sex, violence and intrigue that we've come to expect, and after 700 pages it ends with a cliffhanger ending. Superb.

    Gord Rollo - Strange Magic (6/10) Fast-paced revenge novel with a supernatural element. Similar to Richard Laymon but could have done with some humour.

    Joe Lansdale - Rumble Tumble (7/10) All the quirky characters and ribald humour we've come to expect in a Hap & Leonard novel but the plot was very simple.

    Bryan Smith - Christmas Eve at Haunted Hill (7/10) Vicious haunted house novella, perfect for the holiday season.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Receiving Daily Medication TacomaDiver's Avatar
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    December was a bigger month for me, but that's only because I read a ton of comics (LOVING the Marvel Unlimited App!)

    Been listening to a few new podcasts (I walk three miles every lunch hour, so podcasts fit that time period well) and I think my favorite one so far is SKTCHD - so by hearing about certain titles and creators (and even listening to the excellent interviews that David does,) I'm getting excited about comics again. Yeah, I might be a few years off, but I'm getting there! Plus (even though I've complained about how comics are written to be collected and it can ruin the story) the collections are amazing. As I recently said on Twitter, I still remember the years I spent trying to track down a book because I missed it on the newsstand (stuff back then simply wasn't collected.)

    Anyways . . .

    Book-Books
    1. Arm of the Sphinx (Josiah Bancroft) - 4/5

    Comics
    1. Iron Man Omnibus (Kurt Busiek) - 4/5
    2. Spider-Man: Big Time (Dan Slott) - 5/5
    3. Spider-Man: Matters of Life and Death (Dan Slott) - 4/5
    4. Spider-Man: The Fantastic Spider-Man (Dan Slott) - 3/5
    5. Spider-Man: The Return of Anti-Venum (Dan Slott) - 3/5
    6. Spider-Girl: Family Values (Paul Tobin) - 4/5
    7. X-Factor: The Complete Collection Volume 1 (Peter David) - 5/5
    8. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Volume 1: Squirrel Power (Ryan North) - 3/5
    9. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Volume 2: Squirrel You Know It's True (Ryan North) - 3/5
    10. Captain America: Winter Soldier Volume 1 (Ed Brubaker) - 5/5
    11. Captain America: Winter Soldier Volume 2 (Ed Brubaker) - 4/5
    12. Hawkeye Volume 1: My Life as a Weapon (Matt Fraction) - 5/5
    13. Hawkeye Volume 2: Little Hits (Matt Fraction) - 5/5

  3. #3
    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    Slow reading month for me with only 7 completed stories. It is also the first time I have relied solely on Audible and previously owned audio books. Months like this Audible is allowing me to keep reading and I really appreciate that.

    No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
    This is the first Cormac McCarthy book I have read. I have actually avoided reading him but a recent Audible sale on this title prompted me to jump in. I absolutely love the Coen brother’s movie of this title but had assumed that they took great liberties on the story since most of their work is based on original stories by them. I was wrong, the movie is very true to the book with story lines that required to tell the main story removed. As much as I knew I loved the story I was genuinely surprised in how much I enjoyed McCarthy’s story telling. This was my first McCarthy read but I will be back for more.
    4 Stars

    The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni
    I actually do not recall how I heard about this book. I believe it was a comment from Stephen King but am not sure it was him. The original blurb contained enough detail to intrigue me so I set it as to be read on Goodreads. Then it popped up on an Audible sale and I was in. This may be the best book I have read this year. Sam Hill, as a middle-aged man, tells of his extraordinary life starting with his birth with Ocular Albinism, his torment as the boy with the devil eyes in school through adult hood when he has to face down his past. This book is at times heart breaking and at time absolutely uplifting. The audio is narrated by the author and is done to perfection and also includes an interview at the end when he talks about the genesis of the story. I cannot recommend this one enough.
    5 Stars

    Christmas Eve, 1914 by Charles Olivier
    This was an Audible freebie and is really a radio play set on Christmas eve 1914 on the front in World War I. Good story that is worth a listen
    3 Stars

    Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds by Orson Welles
    This is the original radio play that is adapted from the H.G. Wells story. I try to listen to this each Halloween but did not get to it this year. I could not get the story out of my head and finally decided to give it a listen. I have heard this several times so no surprises here.
    5 Stars

    The Colorado Kid by Stephen King
    This is another story that I have both read the physical book and listened to the audio many times. For some reason that I will never know the story got stuck in my head so I gave it a listen again. I know that many people do not like this one because it does not provide answers but I love it.
    5 Stars

    If I Die in a Combat Zone: Box Me Up and Ship Me Home by Tim O’Brien
    Last month I listened to The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. As a middle-aged man who grew up in a time of peace it always amazes me to hear from those who had the misfortune to be subjected to war. All They Carried is one of the best books I have read for providing a view into the soldier at war. I wanted more so I looked at his older book If I Die in a Combat Zone. While I liked this book, I have to admit it pales compared to The Things They Carried. I feel like Mr. O’Brien was still learning how to write when he wrote this one and The Things They Carried was the story he wanted to tell with this one. Had I read them in the order they were released I would probably have liked this better. If you are only going to read one of the two go with The Things They Carried.
    3 Stars

    A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
    This is another story that I am very familiar with but had never actually read. I looked at the Tim Curry narrated audio many times and then Audible had it as a daily deal. First thing, the story is really good. I have actually not read Dickens before but I will return. Second thing, Tim Curry does a fantastic job narrating. Good enough so that I forgot it was Tim Curry I was listening too.
    4 Stars

  4. #4
    Senior Member Hearing Voices
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    Martin, I don’t know if I can take credit for your awareness and interest in THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF SAM HELL or not, but I did crow about it a while back, including (probably) here. I loved it as well...books with that kind of emotional power and yet a compelling narrative thrust are rare...an outstanding read. Interestingly, he’s a local (to us) WA author.

    Btw, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is, IMO, McCarthy’s most accessible work (and, I agree, a great read), so do be prepared for a more challenging — though no less rewarding — experience with his other books. I’d recommend BLOOD MERIDIAN.

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    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonClinton View Post
    Martin, I don’t know if I can take credit for your awareness and interest in THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF SAM HELL or not, but I did crow about it a while back, including (probably) here. I loved it as well...books with that kind of emotional power and yet a compelling narrative thrust are rare...an outstanding read. Interestingly, he’s a local (to us) WA author.

    Btw, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is, IMO, McCarthy’s most accessible work (and, I agree, a great read), so do be prepared for a more challenging — though no less rewarding — experience with his other books. I’d recommend BLOOD MERIDIAN.
    You may have been the reason I looked into Sam Hell and if you are I sincerely thank you! That story will stick with me for a long time and I will be re-reading it for many years. I did some research and saw that he settled in the Seattle area. Have you read anything else from him? I looked at his other stories but none jumped out at me. I will read more from him but am unsure were to go next. I also plan to keep an eye out for his next novel and hope he comes down this way to promote it.

    Thanks for the McCarthy recommendation. I want to read more but did not want to step of the cliff with the next read.

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    No, like you, his straight mystery series just don’t do anything for me. As much as I loved SAM HELL, I have to recognize that much like this was a special one-off for him, it’s a one-off for me as well, as it pertains to my interest in his work.

    Here is a pic you may like:

    FEACE064-5D22-493E-BA3B-82A55BB818DC.jpeg
    Last edited by RonClinton; 01-03-2019 at 04:43 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonClinton View Post
    No, like you, his straight mystery series just don’t do anything for me. As much as I loved SAM HELL, I have to recognize that much like this was a special one-off for him, it’s a one-off for me as well, as it pertains to my interest in his work.

    Here is a pic you may like:

    FEACE064-5D22-493E-BA3B-82A55BB818DC.jpeg
    I am jealous of the signed edition. I also checked his site to see if he direct sold books but he just links you to Amazon. I really want to try another of his stories and am leaning towards The Cyanide Canary. It is based on actual events and is not part of a series.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin View Post
    I am jealous of the signed edition. I also checked his site to see if he direct sold books but he just links you to Amazon. I really want to try another of his stories and am leaning towards The Cyanide Canary. It is based on actual events and is not part of a series.
    That one, a non-fiction work, does look interesting...you’ll have to let know how it is.

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    I am suddenly very keen to read TELO Sam Hell. Thanks guys.

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    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonClinton View Post
    That one, a non-fiction work, does look interesting...you’ll have to let know how it is.
    will do!

  11. #11
    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HumphreyBear View Post
    I am suddenly very keen to read TELO Sam Hell. Thanks guys.
    It is a great story!

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    Martin, a fantastic follow-up for you, one somewhat in the same coming-of-age vein and I’d enthusiastically recommend, is THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS by Jason Rekulak. In fact, if forced to choose, I’d say FORTRESS is the better read...perhaps it doesn’t have as much to say about Important Things but it’s notably more charming and entertaining. It was among my very favorite reads in the year I read it...just loved it.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonClinton View Post
    Martin, a fantastic follow-up for you, one somewhat in the same coming-of-age vein and I’d enthusiastically recommend, is THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS by Jason Rekulak. In fact, if forced to choose, I’d say FORTRESS is the better read...perhaps it doesn’t have as much to say about Important Things but it’s notably more charming and entertaining. It was among my very favorite reads in the year I read it...just loved it.
    Thanks, I will look into it.

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    Administrator Totally Insane Dan Hocker's Avatar
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    I'm still making progress on the Wheel of Time series. I'm on the 2nd to last book now. I suspect I should be done in the next week and a half probably. I'm actually enjoying most of these way more than I did the first go around. Also there's one specific character that I forgot how much I hated.
    CD Email: danhocker@cemeterydance.com

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    Only finished two books in December.

    After the disappointment of Sleeping Beauties earlier this year, The Outsider was a welcomed return to form by Stephen King. The first half of the book deals with the horrific murder of a young boy. Local law enforcement feels they have a slam dunk case, with DNA, forensics, and multiple eyewitnesses. They make a very public arrest of an individual who is a stalwart of the community, only to find out this person has a seemingly foolproof alibi including forensic evidence and multiple witnesses. The second half of the book deals with the consequences of the arrest and the subsequent arraignment of the suspect (which proved to be a complete cluster fuck on the part of local law enforcement) and the search for the true killer. This is were the supernatural element of the story takes center stage. For fans of the Hodges trilogy, Holly Gibney plays a prominent role in the second half of the story. I didn't think the second half quite maintained the momentum built in the first, but overall I thought The Outsider was King's strongest story in several years. IMO it was his best since Duma Key, and I say this as a Constant Reader that has, for the most part, liked his post Dark Tower offerings. 4.5 / 5

    The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories, Vol. II, is a collection of ghost stories originally published in periodicals during the 1800's during the Christmas season. An entertaining read for those that enjoy the old time, classic ghost story. My favorite was 'Wolverden Tower' by Grant Allen, though 'The Ghost of the Treasure-Chamber' by Emily Arnold and the anonymously published 'White Satin' were also standouts. 3.5 / 5

    B

  16. #16
    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonClinton View Post
    Martin, a fantastic follow-up for you, one somewhat in the same coming-of-age vein and I’d enthusiastically recommend, is THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS by Jason Rekulak. In fact, if forced to choose, I’d say FORTRESS is the better read...perhaps it doesn’t have as much to say about Important Things but it’s notably more charming and entertaining. It was among my very favorite reads in the year I read it...just loved it.
    Started The Impossible Fortress and am loving it so far!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin View Post
    Started The Impossible Fortress and am loving it so far!
    Excellent — hope you continue to do so. I sure thought it was a wonderful read.

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