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Any Alan Furst spy novel is great imo (primarily set in Central Europe during WW 2). Books about finance - Lords of Finance by Ahamed, More Money than God by Mallaby and The Big Short (or any book by Michael Lewis - Berkeley resident).
History Books - Ataturk by Mango, Gandhi and Churchill by Herman, Munich 1938 by Faber, Americans in Paris by Glass and Crossing Mandelbaum Gate by Kai Bird.
If you didn't like the second, you're not likely to enjoy the third. Longer with more detail and more tangents. If you liked the first two you'll likely enjoy the third.
I read the Millenium series earlier this summer while in Europe and I loved all three books. It may be a bit more interesting for me given my Swedish heritage and my travel experience in that country.
A real trajedy what happened to Larsson and, for that matter, what happened with his estate after his death. Christopher Hitchens did an interesting review in Vanity Fair after his death. There are also some great obit type articles on him if you do a google search.
Blind Descent: The Quest To Discover The Deepest Place On Earth by James Tabor. About the race to find the bottom of the world. Tabor makes it fascinating.
Manchester United In Europe: Tragedy, History and Destiny by Ken Ferris and Teddy Sheringham.
Savages by Don Winslow. SoCal hydro-growers vs the Baja Cartel. Already in development by Oliver Stone. Winslow is the best of his kind. See also The Dawn Patrol and California Fire and Life.
Curse of The Werewolf Girl: Martin Millar's follow-up to Lonely Werewolf Girl. This guy is brilliantly funny.
I'm reading "Legacy of Honor" by Alvin Townley--a collection of stories about America's Eagle Scouts. Some later became famous astronauts and politicians and business leaders. Others did not become famous at all. But regardless of their fame, they are without a doubt a remarkable group of men. A good read.
I picked up the book, because one of my sons is now close to earning the Eagle Scout rank. One can only hope that he lives up to the tradition.
Absurdistan by Gary Shtengyart who is a contemporary Marx brother. Looking forward to his newest
Let the Great World Spin a novel about New York in the 1970's which focuses on Petit's tightrope walk on the World Trade Center and events surrounding. Brilliant.
Columbine, by David Cullen. A great disassembling of the media myths surrounding this tragedy. These guys had been planning this for some time had warned about it and were not bullied nerds attacking the "popular set". They were cunning psychotics who also managed to dupe their psychologists and law enforcement.
John Adams by David McCullough. It is reassuring to learn that this country was once guided by capable men of fierce intelllect who acted in the best interest of the country as opposed to the motley crew currently on display now and that the myth of the unified founding fathers was just that: the arguments they had then are the same ones plaguing us now.
Last edited by GB54; 08-12-2010 at 08:19 PM.
Originally Posted by 93gobears
I didn't see one posted this year, but I am about to take some time off from work and am trying to get some good reads for my annual decompression time.
Personally I have been enraptured with the novel by Stieg Larsson entitled "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (or as its Swedish version is entitled "Men Who Hate Women"). An awesome read, plus it is a trilogy with two other books already published and transfered into English. I have the set and am about to devour them.
Forgive me if I am late on the band-wagon for this series, but I don't believe these books were translated into English until just recently.
Anyway, they appear to be excellent reads.
Maybe you have read a good book this summer? If so please share.
Was reading Blowback by Chalmers Johnson, but within half a chapter I was convinced the dude is a complete moron and couldn't keep going. Sad because the guy's a Cal grad too
Tim Rutten (LA Times Wednesday) had a review of Johnson's latest book - End of Empire (or similar title). He really panned it - a dreamy leftist screed.
of To Kill a Mockingbird, so I read it for the first time since junior high--I really enjoyed it.
My wife recently gave me this on CD (11 disks), narrated by Sissy Spacek. It was a very enjoyable listen while traveling to/from the Northwest the past week. A powerful story, and with the Gregory Peck Cal connection.
Originally Posted by calman91
Freedom at Midnight for insight into historical events most people (at least Americans) ignore. Beirut Fragments for pathos. Blood Meridian and Child of God for dark fiction.....And anything by Clive Cussler for the plane.
Blood Meridian is great. I'm completely in awe of McCarthy's prose, and what blue-blooded American man doesn't love tales of the old west?
I recently read the Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and Everything is Illuminated. Two excellent works of 21st century fiction. Should be mandatory reading IMO.
Also finally read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius...another 21st century classic. A third of the story takes place in Berkeley and another third in San Francisco. And you have to love that the author's younger brother Toph is constantly wearing a Cal hat.
I've been on a historical mysteries binge for quite a while -- it's a golden age for this genre -- and am a huge fan of the various series written recently by these authors:
I.J. Parker -- Sugawara Akitada series, set in 11th century Japan. Superb in every way, much better than Laura Joh Rowland. Characters that get under your skin and become your friends. Six or seven novels so far.
Susanne Alleyn -- three novels in the Aristide Ravel series, set in Paris after the Terror (although the third novel is a prequel set before the Revolution.) Brilliant and original.
J. Sydney Jones -- two great mysteries so far with the team of Werthen and Gross, set in Vienna around 1900. Lots of fun with historical persons like Klimt, Mahler and Krafft-Ebing.
And, of course, the unsurpassed C.J. Ransom, whose four novels (so far) set in Tudor England are the best historical mysteries I've ever read. In fact, they are considerably more substantial than most recent fiction in any genre. I badger this author regularly by email for MORE, but he writes as he pleases.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many good historical mysteries being written these days that I never run out of new ones, especially since my public library uses Link+ and I can order books from all over California for free.
Oh, and one notable historical NON-mystery I recently finished, Hilary Mantel's "A Place of Greater Safety," a huge, sprawling piece about the French Revolution focusing around the relationship of Danton, Robespierre and Camille Desmoulins. Kaleidoscopic...
I'm planning to retire abroad in three years, so I'm making a list of unread classics (and that's most classics) to catch up on at last when I have nothing else to do but read, eat and tour. For new literature, where I'm going I'll need Kindle, 'cause there ain't no English-language bookstores.
Last edited by chitownbear; 08-12-2010 at 09:18 AM.
I've been working through the videos based on Ian Rankin's character John Rebus. The first season, featuring John Hannah, is a paragon of miscasting but the later ones featuring Ken Stott as Rebus and Claire Price as Clark are spot on and wonderfully written and shot. It's been long enough since I read the books that I can't say if the story lines are closely followed (somehow i think not) but the vids are very good.
Access is better than ownership!
Originally Posted by GB54
Absurdistan by Gary Shetengyart who is a contemporary Marx brother. Looking forward to his newest
i wasn't aware he had a new book out. absurdistan was great.
Last edited by carebear; 08-12-2010 at 09:35 AM.
After the first 50 pages I could almost feel the jungle rot.
Finished rereading Cold Mountain last week. Hadn't read it in a dozen years, and it holds up well. Couldn't quite shut out the visions of the movie as I read, but it was still just as engaging as it was when I first read it.
Lattimore's translation of The Iliad is the current bathroom reading. I graduated 20 years ago now, and I've got this nagging notion to go through and reread everything on the reading list of my first big class at Cal, Special Programs 44A: Western Civ. Hoping that an extra 24 years of life experience allows me better perspective of the material, and perhaps this time around I'll get what the profs wanted me to get.