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Reading Recommendations

1077 Views 42 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Dasha
I've noticed that there are quite a few folks on here who read, either a lot or even occasionally. I thought it would be nice to hear what people like, what the're reading now, something they read in the past and would recommend, etc.

For me, I like a variety of book/novel genre; detective stories, mysteries, spy stories, westerns, military technothrillers, things like that. I also like a biography if it is someone I find interesting (I've read biographies on Chuck Yeager, Gen. Norman Swartzkopf, Gen Colin Powell, recently read Doris Kearns Goodwin's excellent 'Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln' ). However, I am most partial historical novels; those books about real times and/or places with a fictional character to help tell the story. Those are the James Michener or Leon Uris type books.

I'll post this now to explain the topic in general, then I'll post another with my current readings. Feel free to post anything you want, whether to comment on a posting, or to talk about your own readings. Maybe you read to learn, maybe you read just for pleasure.

I hope folks enjoy the sharing. I love books (I have a hard time purging my own collections, much to my wifes chagrin), and have always been an avid reader, since I was little.
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To "prime the pump", here it what I'm currently reading.

I am currently reading books by a husband/wife team of archaeologists (Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear) that deal with prehistoric North America. The first ones I read 4 years ago, dealt with the ancient tribes of the southwest, the so-called "Anasazi". They are the people that built and lived in the cliff dwelling, like Mesa Verde. These people lived from approximately 1200 B.C. to A.D. 1300. The stories try to help us understand how they lived and possibly, how they felt about each other, others around them, and the world in general. There are 3 books in the Anasazi series (The Visitant, the Summoning God, and Bone Walker). I have now "rediscovered" the Gears, and am now reading my third book dealing with eastern North America. Each book deals not only with a different region, but usually also a different period in time. THe first one for me (and the most current from the Gears), was "People of the Weeping Eye", about the mississippean tribes of the Mississippi Valley and Tennessee, in about 900AD. I then found in a library yard sale, the book "People of the Nightland", dealing with Ontario, New York, and upper Pennsylvania, around 13,000BC, when most of what is now Canada and Newfoundland was still covered by glaciers. It describes how the people lived near (and sometimes in) the huge ice floes, and what events may have driven then out into the woodlands. Currently, I am reading "People of the Lakes", of the East-Central woodlands & the Great Lakes, around 100AD. It show a lot about early tribes trading goods from their different regions, and about developing earth-based religious beliefs, and how they evolved and sometimes clashed.

The stories are excellently written; very vibrant and alive characters, and the descriptions of cultures and the infrastructure of civilizations are done in a way that is relevent to the story line, without sounding like archeological textbooks.

There are 15 books in the new series, and they run about 500-600 pages, so I'll have to take breaks to read my other likes (I generally have a couple of books going at onece, but try to keep them of different types so as not to confuse my brain), but I'm looking forward to reading them all.

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I'm glad people are responding positively to this thread!! If your not reading anything at the moment, let us know about your favorite books, even if there are more than one (like me; to many to chose from).

futameca said:
Good Thread! :clap:

Three Cups of Tea was good.

Of course the wifey read the Twilight books so I had too. :bag:

I read alot of Clive Cussler and his Dirk Piit hero books. Adventure on the high seas... save the world sort of thing.

Read alot of other books, but nothing note worthy.
futameca, the "nothing note worthy" books are the best! I also have read most of Cusslers Dirk Pitt books. Loved them all and the history events he weaves into them. I have heard good things about "Three Cups of Tea"; I'll have to look into it.

Dasha said:
I'm a book whore ....always have been since I learned how to read. :D

Love all kinds of books......recently read The Shack by William P. Young......I highly recommend this book! Very thought-provoking.
Dasha, it was your recommendation of this book and Colleen's response that suggested the idea for this thread. Thanks for the inspiration.

Speaking of inspiration, my wife just finished, and highly recommends a book called "Still Alice", by Lisa Genova. It is a novel concerning early onset Alzheimer's disease, and tries to give an insight into this frightening disease. The book is a novel, not a biography, but the author does an excellent job portraying the confusion, then fear, of how it robs you of your identity. While the book is about early onset, my wife got it to help her try to understand the changes her mother has gone through (she is 85). It is not always an uplifting book, but that is the reality of how it works.

For myself, I finished my latest Prehistoric North American novel that I described earlier, so now I'm going to read something a little different. I went to the library and got 2 books, Andrew Greeley's "Irish Gold", a suspense novel with 2 heroes, a student from Trinity College in Dublin, and a young man from Chicago, who goes to Ireland to learn more about his Irish immigrant grandparents. I haven't read Andrew Greeley for quite a while, and it appears he has made a series around this couple (kind of a Thin Man relationship, I think) and there are 12 books currently, so if it is any good, I guess I'll have to read them all!

Colleen, you mentioned James Patterson; i have recently become a fan. I read "Beach House" and "Beach Road" back in the spring, and last week picked up two more from the library book sale, "Judge and Jury", and "Honeymoon". They are on my futures list.

Happy reading everyone!
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Colleen, I started reading Patterson because his books that I've read are based around the Long Island ritzy communities (at least the one's I've read so far). I'm also a fan of Nelson Demille, and two of his books ("Gold Coast" and it's sequel "The Gatehouse") are also about that region. I enjoyed them so much that I am always on the lookout for similar stories. I've never been there (well, did an overnight business trip once, but not to that area), but years ago I read Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities" and it hooked me on that lifestyle. By the way, Nelson Demille is also a favorite author; wide ranging subjects that are deeply researched. His book "Up Country" is a fascinating spy story based in post-war VietNam. I also recommend "Charm School" about a Soviet spy school, "Plum Island" about the world of bio-research and terrorism, and "The General's Daughter" about the abuse of power in the career-military (also a good movie with John Travolta).

Megascape, I read the reviews on the book link you posted, and it is definitely on my short list now. I am originally from Michigan, so I was immediately attracted to that aspect. Thanks for the lead. BTW, Amazon recommended that people who bought that book also bought Cormac McCarthy's book "The Road". I read that last summer and it was great, and very different. It is about a father and young son, who's names are never mentioned, who make a post-apocalyptic trip cross-country, trying to find a rumoured surviving community. Very creepy, but an excellent read.

C&B, I read many of the early Tom Clancy books, and my favorites are still "Hunt for the Red October" and "Red Storm Rising". I love the technology part of his books because I spent 25+ years working for a company heavily involved in military technology. Have you ever read Dale Brown? He wrote some books similar to Clancy, but with an Air Force spin. Look for "Flight of the Old Dog", about a B-52 that is used as a test bed for the latest in stealth technology. Remember that it was written before F-117, F-22, or F-35 (FYI, I've worked on parts of those last two planes).

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Colleen said:
Hi Dave :hi:

Please let us know how Andrew Greeley's series goes.
Well Colleen, I finished the Andrew Greeley book a few weeks ago; I hate to have to report it, but I didn't enjoy it. I suppose it is a good book (was Book of the Month Club Main Selection when it came out), but it just wasn't what I thought it was. More like a Nora Roberts book, more romance than thriller. And he spent too much effort trying to write the West Irish accent. The female lead was from there, and the Chicago born Irish-American guy kept trying to talk like here throughout the book. I don't think I'll be reading any of the other 12 in this series.

On the plus side, I discovered a book with a new twist. I love cheesy westerns and I love mysteries, and I discovered an author named Steve Hockensmith, who has wriiten 3 (up to now) books referred to as the "Holmes on the Range" mysteries (also the name of the first book), about two red-headed brothers in around 1894-95, how are dollar-a-day cowpunchers, but would like to become detectives,like their serialized hero, Sherlock Holmes, that they read about in the magazines. Gustov/Old Red (the oldest brother) and Otto/Big Red (the younger brother, and narrator) commence to "deducifyin' " after a murder occurs on the ranch where thay are working, The characters are great, the mysteries are provoking, and the stories are written with humor in the dialog. I've already read three books, and am trying to find the fourth (and most current). Guys (and gals), if you like westerns, I highly recomend these.
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Back from the post basement ... ... :bump:

Just finished reading Ken Follett "World Without End". Great read on it's own, and great sequel to "Pillars of the Earth", which I read 20 years ago! Can't wait to start reading "Fall of Giants", his first novel in the Century trilogy.

Many others since last posts. Hopefully I'll write them up here ... lol
American outdoorsman said:
Rise to Rebellion, Jeff Shaara
Gods and Generals, Jeff Shaara
The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara
The Last Full Measure, Jeff Shaara

Helmet for my Pillow, Robert Leckie
Islands of the Damned, RV Burgin
With the Old Breed, Eugene Sledge
China Marine, Eugene Sledge
Thanks for these recommendation, American outdoorsman. I wasn't familiar with the Shaara's, but researched them after seeing your list, and I am familiar with the television adaptions for their Civil War works; Gettysburg (from The Killer Angels), and Gods and Generals (I have the DVD's). I am adding them to my list of "To Be Read".

I am currently listening to the audio book for "Ape House" by Sara Gruen (she wrote "Water for Elephants"), and reading "Bad Blood" mystery/detective story by John Sandford (you Minnasota folks who like the genre should check him out; all stories are based there), and "Rebel" by Bernard Cornwell (Civil War novel).
megascape said:
Tristan Jones- Ice
Tristan Jones- The Incredible Voyage
Both true story sailing adventures. the guy is incredible. Ice is an incredible journey..
he has several other fiction and non fiction books they are awesome if your into adventure.
Thanks for these, Megascape. My brother is ex-Navy and loves anything about sailing (in 12 years in the Navy, he spent 8 in Hawaii). I'll see if he's familiar with these.

American outdoorsman said:
Helmet for my Pillow and With the Old Breed At Peleliu and Okinawa were the basis for the HBO miniseries The Pacific. I got HBO specifically to watch that program, just like I did to watch John Adams, then cancelled again when it was over. The Pacific was awesome but they didn't even go near some of the stuff in the books, again there, the books are much better.
I really enjoyed The Pacific. I'm a big fan of Band of Brothers and I figured this was "just"" the Pacific Theater version of it, but it was very much more. Very different cinematography, and an amazing story. A lot of people don't realize what a horror those Pacific battles were.
Mrs. Jimmyjohn loves to read so last month for our 43rd. annv. I bought Her a Kindle. Man she loves it. She has to charge the batteries every week. :shades:
J.J., My brother in Nebraska was the Kindle also, and he swears by it. I'm not sure if it is for me. I like the feel of a book in my hands, and I get a lot of my books from the library, or second hand, which I've heard you can't do with Amazon/Kindle eBooks. My library does "loan" ebooks, but they do not work in a Kindle. I do use audio books a lot, mostly when driving long distances (like driving to Detroit to visit family), but I do listen to them locally, just takes longer.
My daughter (she reads almost as much as I do, but then she's married to a librarian) got me Ken Follett's new book "Fall of Giants" for my birthday last week. It's the first of a planned trilogy to cover all of the 20th century, following families from Russia, Germany/Austria, Wales/England, and the US. This one covers the years just before, during, and just after World War I. I'm already about 350 pages in; about 1/3 of the way.
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