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Man, I've been really lucky and had a great run of the last 4 absolutely excellent books I've read and thought I'd share a recommendation.

"The Soul of America" by Jon Meacham. If you're a supporter of President Trump you'll need to get through some critical introductory comments (if you're a thoughtful supporter, a different view won't stop you from reading the body of the book) but the body of the book is excellent. It describes multiple times in our national history where we experienced significant polarized political views and how we found our way forward anyway. I found the discussion of the McCarthy era and its parallels to today shockingly pertinent and thoughtful.....and I thought I was a pretty informed student of US history.

"21 lessons for the 21st Century" by Yuval Noah Harari. I became aware of this author having first read his book "Sapiens" (which is also an excellent book). This book ties together big brother use of data and personal information currently and projects its impact into the near and far future. His conclusions are well supported logically although I found fault in several based on some leaps of logic.....itt is nonetheless an excellent examination of the impact of the digital and information age on our lives and humanity in general. Also it is a very secular view as the author is an unabashed atheist.

"The Wild Trees" by Richard Preston. I cannot say enough good things about this book. Fascinating true story of Steve Sillett and his contemporaries as they conducted their journey of discovery of the Pacific Northwests giant redwoods. Which by the way has only been over the last 3 or so decades. Absolutely remarkable story of the trees, their ecosystem and the people who studied them. (By the way, this is the same author who wrote - among others - "The Demon in the Freezer" some time ago about the biological agents being studied by various governments and the danger associated with them. That book scared the shit out of me.)

Lastly - "The Dog Stars" by Peter Heller. Written in 2012 it is the most beautifully written, agonizingly depressing book I have ever read. An apocalyptic dystonian fictional work about human loss and emotions. I really don't know how to fully describe this book except that it was beautifully written in agonizing detail examining a single human's journey and experiences in an imaginary post apocalyptic country. All I can say is I would not let the fact it is a depressing story line dissuade you from reading a really beautiful thoughtful and emotional provoking piece of fiction. A final note on this one, I didn't read it, I listened to it as an audible book. I think the reading added greatly to the impact and drama of the book, but I cannot compare because I did not read it first.

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I read and recommended The Dog Stars on another thread. Really good.

EDIT: Doh! It was you I recommended it to! glad you liked it.

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Just now, IStream said:

I read and recommended The Dog Stars on another thread. Really good.

Maybe that's where I picked it up from originally. Its not the genre I usually read. I found it up next in my "to read next" list without any attribution as to how I became aware of the book (I usually make myself a note about how I became interested.....yeah, I'm that OCD.....). Reading the summary I thought "How the heck did I put this on my list? Well, I must have had some reason so I'll give it a try." Damn glad I did.

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I tried to read Tolkein's Fall of Gondolin recently. I don't know if it is because his son edited the book, but i could not get through it. Quit after about 50 pages because it was just too tedious. Very disappointed as I really enjoyed all his other books. So not recommended.

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Here's one in the numbers more than people branch of history, that's far more interesting than the title and review might suggst

The Transport revolution from 1770 by Philip Bagwell. All kinds of interesting economic history surrounding the development of canals, roads, rail, coastal sail in the UK. If you wondered how sail persisted? You could build 6 coal transporting 300 ton barks for the price of 1 600 ton steamer. Why did customers prefer the slower coastal sail route vs. a stagecoach? The coach route ended up costing you all kinds of extra money in inflated goods, services and bribes. Tea was 2x the price of Wine which was 2x the price of Porter.

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Don't try "The Art Of The Deal."  It's really confusing.  It has six chapter elevens.

Yes, yes, I know, take it to PA.  But I thought it was funny anyway.

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1 hour ago, P_Wop said:

Don't try "The Art Of The Deal."  It's really confusing.  It has six chapter elevens.

Yes, yes, I know, take it to PA.  But I thought it was funny anyway.

It was funny............but yes.........:rolleyes:

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I just finished Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan.

She has a great way with words.

I highly recommend it.

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On 12/4/2018 at 6:19 PM, P_Wop said:

Don't try "The Art Of The Deal."  It's really confusing.  It has six chapter elevens.

Yes, yes, I know, take it to PA.  But I thought it was funny anyway.

 

Wife gave it to me back in the mid 80's when I was beginning a nearly 3 decade Real Estate Broker career in rural SE CT, and also looking to buy a few rental condos, here and there to plan for future retirement income.  While it was written to praise and laud his alleged business acumen and dealmaking skills back then, it still had a little smell of non-reality.  And, if you had told me 33 years ago that he would be elected POTUS IN 2016, I would have had you institutionalized, for insanity!!!  Just goes to show that, Truth is indeed stranger than Fiction!

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Late to the game, I know, but Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential is a surprisingly interesting and entertaining easy read.  I meant to read it years ago but was sufficiently entertained by his TV shows and somehow never got around to it. 

I really miss that guy. Loved his snarkey yet somehow endearing take on things.

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Cixin Liu - Three Body Problem. Not your usual SciFi. Someone on here recommended it. Very different from western authored "formula" scifi.

Iron Druid series - Great audiobooks for long road trips with older kids and teenagers. If you discover a celtic goddess is in your kitchen making a smoothie, "Yo bitch! The fuck you doing with my strawberries?" is probably not the best thing to say.

The Name of the Wind - good book, good sequel and infuriating because it's a trilogy and the author forgot to write book 3. And the lead character's name is unpronounceable.

In Harms Way - the sinking of the Indianapolis. 

Children of Time - More Scifi with a twist

The Way of Kings - Brandon Sanderson. Enjoyable universe, interesting characters. Long.

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Greg Isle's Natchez Burning Trilogy:  Natchez Burning, The Bone Tree and Mississippi Blood. Mississippi Blood was the only book I ever ordered pre-publication and held my breath till it arrived. Don't read these on vacation if you had other activities planned.

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9 hours ago, Wet Spreaders said:

Cixin Liu - Three Body Problem. Not your usual SciFi. Someone on here recommended it. Very different from western authored "formula" scifi.

Iron Druid series - Great audiobooks for long road trips with older kids and teenagers. If you discover a celtic goddess is in your kitchen making a smoothie, "Yo bitch! The fuck you doing with my strawberries?" is probably not the best thing to say.

The Name of the Wind - good book, good sequel and infuriating because it's a trilogy and the author forgot to write book 3. And the lead character's name is unpronounceable.

In Harms Way - the sinking of the Indianapolis. 

Children of Time - More Scifi with a twist

The Way of Kings - Brandon Sanderson. Enjoyable universe, interesting characters. Long.

I thought the Three Body Problem was interesting and fresh, but I also had the nagging feeling that the translation was poor. Not being able to read it in the original Chinese, I have no way to tell for sure.

+1 on Children of Time. 

My favorite scifi read in a long time was the Wool trilogy by Hugh Howey. Everything he's done since has been disappointing but all three Wool books were fantastic.

I'm about halfway through N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season and so far I really like it. Creative premise, good character development, and she's a decent wordsmith.

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Just read the entire Ian Rankin REBUS series back-to-back.

Having lived and worked in Edinburgh for 15 years before moving to the Middle East, it's great to recognise so many places.

 

In the non-fiction genre, recently read Wilfred Thesiger's 'Across the Empty Quarter', and 'A Line in the Sand' by James Barr. Both regionally relevant to where i am now!

 

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On 12/5/2018 at 12:16 AM, Point Break said:

Lastly - "The Dog Stars" by Peter Heller. Written in 2012 it is the most beautifully written, agonizingly depressing book I have ever read. An apocalyptic dystonian fictional work about human loss and emotions. I really don't know how to fully describe this book except that it was beautifully written in agonizing detail examining a single human's journey and experiences in an imaginary post apocalyptic country. All I can say is I would not let the fact it is a depressing story line dissuade you from reading a really beautiful thoughtful and emotional provoking piece of fiction. A final note on this one, I didn't read it, I listened to it as an audible book. I think the reading added greatly to the impact and drama of the book, but I cannot compare because I did not read it first.

Was this as depressing as The Road by Cormac McCarthy?  I loves me some dystopian post-apocalyptic books.  But that one put me off them for a while.  I just wanted to slit my wrists......

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1 hour ago, greasy al said:

For cricket types, The Test by Nathan Leamon is fantastic. As is The Meaning of  Cricket by Jon Hotten.

The only possible thing I can think of that would be more boring than watching cricket would be reading about cricket!  :o

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I'm currently reading a fascinating non-fiction book at the moment:  The Fighters, by Pulitzer prize winner CJ Chivers.

It follows the lives of several warfighters across different services in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars post 9/11.  It runs the gamut of Special Ops soldier, to a Navy Fighter Pilot, a Cavalry Scout Kiowa pilot, an Army soldier, etc.  Its an interesting take on their individual viewpoints of the wars both at home and on the battlefield.  

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3 hours ago, Shootist Jeff said:

Was this as depressing as The Road by Cormac McCarthy?  I loves me some dystopian post-apocalyptic books.  But that one put me off them for a while.  I just wanted to slit my wrists......

I have not read "The Road" so I cannot compare...........but this one was masterful. The usual dystopian theme - although the premise of the book - takes a back seat to the human experience of the characters told in beautiful stark 1st person. The prolonged exploration of each characters feelings, experiences and motivations is absolutely the value of the book. Rarely does any post-apocalyptic take the time to work that hard at character development.

Perhaps I'll put "The Road" on my list or at least have a look.......although truthfully I can only handle so many jarring novels without a break of unicorns and rainbows in between...........:rolleyes:

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I read The Road and The Dog Stars within a few months of each other. The Dog Stars stuck with me and I plan to read it again. The Road, not so much.

BTW, I finished The Fifth Season and found it good enough that I ordered the two remaining books in the trilogy. 

I won't pass up an opportunity to make yet another plug for The Terror by Dan Simmons. If you haven't read it, do.

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4 minutes ago, Point Break said:

I have not read "The Road" so I cannot compare...........but this one was masterful. The usual dystopian theme - although the premise of the book - takes a back seat to the human experience of the characters told in beautiful stark 1st person. The prolonged exploration of each characters feelings, experiences and motivations is absolutely the value of the book. Rarely does any post-apocalyptic take the time to work that hard at character development.

Perhaps I'll put "The Road" on my list or at least have a look.......although truthfully I can only handle so many jarring novels without a break of unicorns and rainbows in between...........:rolleyes:

I highly highly recommend it. It’s similar in the character development is the whole story of how they cope with this destroyed world.  Despair coupled with determination and courage and hope.  

I had a hard time putting it down.  I just needed a litter of kittens in my lap and a Disney movie every time I took a break from reading. 

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5 minutes ago, IStream said:

I read The Road and The Dog Stars within a few months of each other. The Dog Stars stuck with me and I plan to read it again. The Road, not so much.

BTW, I finished The Fifth Season and found it good enough that I ordered the two remaining books in the trilogy. 

I won't pass up an opportunity to make yet another plug for The Terror by Dan Simmons. If you haven't read it, do.

What’s the Terror about?

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Capitalism without capital was really good as well as life 3.0. If you liked 21 lessons, then you would likely appreciate these. 

I really enjoyed "a more beautiful question", have me some ideas and insights I was able to implement with my work.

Neurotribes was the best book I have read on Autism, fascinating history and gave me a much better understanding of the why and how we got to where we are today with the mix of misinformation and poor as well as contradictory treatment approaches. 

 

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57 minutes ago, Shootist Jeff said:

What’s the Terror about?

"The men on board the HMS Terror have every expectation of finding the Northwest Passage. But what they don't expect is a monstrous predator lurking behind the Arctic ice. When the expedition's leader, Sir John Franklin, meets a horrifying end, Captain Francis Crozier takes command, leading his surviving crewmen on a last desperate attempt to flee south across the ice. But another winter is rapidly approaching, and with it, scurvy and starvation. Crozier and his men may find that there is no escaping the terror stalking them southward. And with the crushing cold and the fear of almost certain death at their backs, the most horrifying monster among them may be each other."

https://www.amazon.com/Terror-Dan-Simmons/dp/0316486094/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1545154830&sr=8-1&keywords=the+terror+dan+simmons

They've also made it into a TV series on AMC but I haven't watched it yet. Even if it's great, do yourself a favor and read the book first.

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Cool thanks. 

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6 hours ago, IStream said:

"The men on board the HMS Terror have every expectation of finding the Northwest Passage. But what they don't expect is a monstrous predator lurking behind the Arctic ice. When the expedition's leader, Sir John Franklin, meets a horrifying end, Captain Francis Crozier takes command, leading his surviving crewmen on a last desperate attempt to flee south across the ice. But another winter is rapidly approaching, and with it, scurvy and starvation. Crozier and his men may find that there is no escaping the terror stalking them southward. And with the crushing cold and the fear of almost certain death at their backs, the most horrifying monster among them may be each other."

https://www.amazon.com/Terror-Dan-Simmons/dp/0316486094/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1545154830&sr=8-1&keywords=the+terror+dan+simmons

They've also made it into a TV series on AMC but I haven't watched it yet. Even if it's great, do yourself a favor and read the book first.

Barrows Boys is also a really good read on that subject as well. 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Barrows-Boys-Fleming-Fergus-Paperback/dp/B00OX88DCM/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_img_0?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=YHNNZ09Z45AZCJEQBPRA

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Every thing Pat Conroy wrote.  Also Ken Follett.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  And Norman Mailer's Oswald.

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I find Archer Mayor's novels usually fine light reading. It helps if you know the area that the novels are set in. (Vermont)

 I read Annie Proulx's "Barkskins" while in the hospital this summer. Very good, if plodding in sections, as her writing tends to be.

 "The Master Butcher's Singing Club" was a great fun read also, but I can't recall the author's name...... Perhaps.... Erdrich......

 

ETA: Yes. Louise Erdrich.

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On 12/5/2018 at 5:16 AM, Point Break said:

Lastly - "The Dog Stars" by Peter Heller. Written in 2012 it is the most beautifully written, agonizingly depressing book I have ever read. An apocalyptic dystonian fictional work about human loss and emotions. I really don't know how to fully describe this book except that it was beautifully written in agonizing detail examining a single human's journey and experiences in an imaginary post apocalyptic country. All I can say is I would not let the fact it is a depressing story line dissuade you from reading a really beautiful thoughtful and emotional provoking piece of fiction. A final note on this one, I didn't read it, I listened to it as an audible book. I think the reading added greatly to the impact and drama of the book, but I cannot compare because I did not read it first.

@Point Break, based on your recommendation - downloaded the Dog Stars at the airport on the way out on my dive trip. Devoured it in 3 days. Hard to put down. Great book!

end of the world apocalypse is one of my continuing favorite genres since I was in HS when I read Lucifer’s Hammer, the Postman and The Stand.   I’ve been hooked ever since. I’m really fascinated by the “what if”.  How would society collapse, endure or both??  How would people cope and would we revert to this sort of individual savagery for survival or would we form communities again pretty quickly?

In the dog stars, I particularly enjoyed his description of the joy of flying. Hit a lot of chords for me. 

The only thing some of these books fall short is they leave the reader hanging at the end of what eventually happened. The either don’t fully explain how the end came in the first place or what eventually happens in the future. 

PS -interestingly I didn’t find it that depressing overall. Without giving anything away, while There were certainly some depressing moments - all in all I found it fairly hopeful. 

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8 minutes ago, Shootist Jeff said:

@Point Break, based on your recommendation - downloaded the Dog Stars at the airport on the way out on my dive trip. Devoured it in 3 days. Hard to put down. Great book!

end of the world apocalypse is one of my continuing favorite genres since I was in HS when I read Lucifer’s Hammer, the Postman and The Stand.   I’ve been hooked ever since. I’m really fascinated by the “what if”.  How would society collapse, endure or both??  How would people cope and would we revert to this sort of individual savagery for survival or would we form communities again pretty quickly?

I’m the dog stars, I particularly enjoyed his description of the joy of flying. Hit a lot of chords for me. 

The only thing some of these books fall short is they leave the reader hanging at the end of what eventually happened. The either don’t fully explain how the end came in the first place or what eventually happens in the future. 

PS -interestingly I didn’t find it that depressing overall. Without giving anything away, while There were certainly some depressing moments - all in all I found it fairly hopeful. 

Glad you enjoyed it!

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2 hours ago, Point Break said:

Glad you enjoyed it!

Immensely!  Thank you. 

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Oswald's Tale by Norman Mailer

Tragic piece of history, told very evenly, which includes a lot of things most people don't know.  He lets you draw your own conclusions for the most part.

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My winter just for fun fiction reading, I’ve been working my way through the Joe Pickett series of books by C.J Box.

Joe is a Wyoming game warden. 

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30 minutes ago, austin1972 said:

Homo Deus was good.

The other two he wrote were just as good. If you liked that one you'd enjoy the other two....if you have not read them already.

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On 12/27/2018 at 4:59 PM, chinabald said:

My winter just for fun fiction reading, I’ve been working my way through the Joe Pickett series of books by C.J Box.

Joe is a Wyoming game warden. 

Just finished them, good series.  If you liked those, the Walt Longmire series by Craig Johnson ... well written quick reads. Longmire is a Wyoming sheriff.  

Transcription by Kate Atkinson was slow starting but ultimately a good read if you're into historical fiction, spy stuff. Also in a similar vein, The Alice Network by Kate Quinn also WWII spy fiction. 

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2 hours ago, captrcb said:

Just finished them, good series.  If you liked those, the Walt Longmire series by Craig Johnson ... well written quick reads. Longmire is a Wyoming sheriff.  

Transcription by Kate Atkinson was slow starting but ultimately a good read if you're into historical fiction, spy stuff. Also in a similar vein, The Alice Network by Kate Quinn also WWII spy fiction. 

I read a couple longmire books. Just couldn’t get into them for some reason. 

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On 12/17/2018 at 11:23 PM, Derek Grebe said:

Just read the entire Ian Rankin REBUS series back-to-back.

Having lived and worked in Edinburgh for 15 years before moving to the Middle East, it's great to recognise so many places.

 

 

 

I did a few of those and yes they are great.  I’m envious that you got to do it complete with local knowledge, though they don’t require it.  It’s one of the things I like about all the Michael Connelly books, they take place in my stomping grounds. Gonna start working on Dennis Lehane now, just did mystic river and his insights to people’s grind-ey souls are spot on.  

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In the post apocalyptic genre let me recommend Station 11 by Emily St John Mandel.  It is nowhere near as depressing as The Road or even Dog Stars, and not as trippy as The Stand, which is one of my favorite books ever.  I would have posted way upthread, but I couldn't remember the title or find my copy until yesterday.

I have heard mixed reviews of John Matherson's One Second After.  Anyone care to weigh in?

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29 minutes ago, Nettles said:

In the post apocalyptic genre let me recommend Station 11 by Emily St John Mandel.  It is nowhere near as depressing as The Road or even Dog Stars, and not as trippy as The Stand, which is one of my favorite books ever.  I would have posted way upthread, but I couldn't remember the title or find my copy until yesterday.

I have heard mixed reviews of John Matherson's One Second After.  Anyone care to weigh in?

Interesting, I'll look into it.  What is the premise behind the Station 11 story?

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I read Station 11 and thought it was pretty good.

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6 hours ago, Shootist Jeff said:

Interesting, I'll look into it.  What is the premise behind the Station 11 story?

Same gig, most of the rest of the world has bit the radish and the ones left are picking up the pieces in a decidedly low tech world.  A bit of a different perspective in terms of protagonists and a fun recurring flashback element which is important, so pay attention.

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Just finished “Adjustment Day” by Chuck Palahnuik. Following on in a similar vein to his other brilliant reads; Fight Club, Choke and Snuff. Adjustment Day is a dystopian fantasy in which following an alt-right inspired revolution the USA becomes three nations; where whites live in Caucasia, blacks live in Blacktopia and gays/ lesbian now reside in Gaysia (California). South Americans, Arabs  and Asians are all sent back to their native countries, whilst mixed race couples try to flee to Canada. 

Not his best novel but a fun read. 

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9 hours ago, dreadom said:

Just finished “Adjustment Day” by Chuck Palahnuik. Following on in a similar vein to his other brilliant reads; Fight Club, Choke and Snuff. Adjustment Day is a dystopian fantasy in which following an alt-right inspired revolution the USA becomes three nations; where whites live in Caucasia, blacks live in Blacktopia and gays/ lesbian now reside in Gaysia (California). South Americans, Arabs  and Asians are all sent back to their native countries, whilst mixed race couples try to flee to Canada. 

Not his best novel but a fun read. 

Palahnuik is a twisted genius.  

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Just finished "The Dog Stars" due to this thread.  I thought it was a great read.  Unusual style, couldn't put it down. Thanks all! 

Just wading into Norman Mailer's "Oswald's Tale"  might be a while with that one.

I also loved Patrick O'Brian's Master & Commander series.  I bought the set of 20+ books and often go back and reread them. 

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