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What are you reading now?

Discussion in 'What are you reading now?' started by Maine Colonial, Mar 24, 2014.

  1. quilter Kathy

    quilter Kathy Active Member

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    I just finished reading a new book from Lenny Kleinfeld, author of SHOOTERS AND CHASERS. His new book, SOME DEAD GENIUS, will be out on May 30th. I got to read an ARC and absolutely loved it. A sequel to SHOOTERS AND CHASERS, which I loved, I could not put SOME DEAD GENIUS down. I just noticed there is a contest on Goodreads.com for 5 free copies. Evereyone must go enter - you may win! And getting to read the book IS a win! The link is https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21806120-some-dead-genius?ac=1

    The story is set in Chicago and really feels like Chicago! There is a little Chicago politics, Chicago mob, Chicago location. The gun battles are very exciting, the end includes a bit of a twist, and the whole thing leaves me ready for another in the series.
    Kathy
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
  2. Reads to Sleep

    Reads to Sleep Moderator Staff Member

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    Kathy, I plan to read an ARC of Some Dead Genius tonight. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it.

    Kleinfeld's Shooters & Chasers, in which a couple of Chicago cops investigate the death of an architect vying to build a Los Angeles museum, is a very entertaining read. It made me laugh out loud.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. libbyfh

    libbyfh Member

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    Currently Reading:
    AH TREACHERY
    Just finished LIFE AFTER LIFE. Oh, my. How did Kate Atkinson EVER come up with a plot so complicated and yet so satisfying? I couldnt put it down, and I'm sorry it's over. I could have read another 50 pages. How did she do it? The structure seemed so random and yet it had to be carefully arranged. And her prose. Sheesh! I am in awe.
     
  4. Maine Colonial

    Maine Colonial Moderator Staff Member

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    It's really something, isn't it? It's an impressive accomplishment for somebody to write something so elaborately plotted, yet also have such strong characters and beautiful writing. So rare to see them all come together in one book. That was definitely my #1 read of 2013.

    Atkinson made a wonderful point about writing history-based novels:

    To research the background of this book I read as much as possible before beginning and then tried to forget as much as possible and simply write. As a reader I dislike historical novels where I am continually stumbling over an excess of facts although I readily understand the compulsion to include all the fascinating stuff that you’ve spent so much time reading about, but there are few things more uncomfortable for the reader than to be constantly stumbling over the pathologically recondite research of an author. (My family did question my––rather lengthy––obsession with Eva Braun.)

    I've read so many books that were nearly ruined by the author feeling compelled to show off every single bit of research s/he did for the book. Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian, for example, was like that for me. Rebecca Cantrell's books tend to go in that direction too.

    It's fun to look at this Pinterest board about the book:http://www.pinterest.com/whatshalliread/life-after-life-kate-atkinson/
     
  5. libbyfh

    libbyfh Member

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    Ooo... you're so right, RTS. The Pinterest board is fabulous. I think I'm going to get lost on it. As far as weaving history into a story, I'm super aware of authors who do it "seamlessly" (it sounds so trite these days), and Ms. Atkinson is one who does.
     
  6. Maine Colonial

    Maine Colonial Moderator Staff Member

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    The Pinterest board makes me think it would be a good idea for any book project. Of course, you could get so caught up in the Pinterest board that you, um, forget to write the book.

    I remember reading also about a mystery series about a woman working in an office in DC during WW2 (the author's and protagonist's names are eluding me just at the moment), and the author said that it was invaluable for her historical research that she went onto the eBay site, of all places, and ran a search for 1942, I think it was, and Washington DC. She said she got rafts of interesting results. I thought that was a fascinating approach. You could come up with all kinds of ephemera that add just the right touch of realism to the book.
     
  7. Reads to Sleep

    Reads to Sleep Moderator Staff Member

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    I was interested to see that the final round of the Morning News Tournament of Books pitted Atkinson's Life After Life against James McBride's The Good Lord Bird, about abolitionist John Brown. By 11-6, judges picked The Good Lord Bird. McBride's book was rambunctious and very entertaining, but Atkinson's book made me think. Hard to choose between them.
     
  8. libbyfh

    libbyfh Member

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    Currently Reading:
    AH TREACHERY
    In the middle of THE TRINITY SIX and as it progresses, I'm becoming more involved. Great story so far!

    Also reading HYPNOSIS by Lars Kepler. Not quite as arresting, but pretty good. Will report in later on both.
     
  9. Maine Colonial

    Maine Colonial Moderator Staff Member

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    I love reading about the Cambridge Spy Ring, so I don't know why The Trinity Six just didn't spark for me. I'm excited that Ben MacIntyre is coming out with another book this summer and it's about Kim Philby. It's called A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal.
     
  10. libbyfh

    libbyfh Member

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    Maybe it was because the "secret" at the heart of the story just wasn't pernicious enough? I'm not finished yet, but I'm wondering whether it's still possible to dredge up a Cold War premise that chills us in the same way they did 30 years ago.
     
  11. Maine Colonial

    Maine Colonial Moderator Staff Member

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    Maybe that's it. It makes sense. I know I can't get as excited about modern espionage as I can about WW2/Cold War stuff.
     
  12. Reads to Sleep

    Reads to Sleep Moderator Staff Member

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    WWII and Cold War espionage pit good guys versus bad guys so well. You can appreciate the dedication of German (WWII) or Russian (Cold War) agents even if they are on the wrong side, and the stakes are so high. A large part of modern espionage seems to consist of spy agencies making do with little money, fighting among various domestic and foreign agencies, betrayal by an agent's own higher ups, missions handled incompetently, agents or agencies covering their asses, politicians getting involved and screwing things up, CIA renditions and torture, and amorphous "terrorist" enemies. There's often an emphasis on modern tech or computer stuff. The good modern spy story is often more thought-provoking or disturbing than exciting or gratifying.

    If you have to name some great espionage books set in WWII, the Cold War, and modern days, what would they be?
     
  13. libbyfh

    libbyfh Member

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    Just finished The Trinity Six. Here's another reason you may not have liked it so much, Maine: there were a lot of moments that could have turned dangerous for Sam, but they ended up being benign. A lot of build-up for nothing. Still, I liked the story. The ending was funny.
     
  14. Maine Colonial

    Maine Colonial Moderator Staff Member

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    It's terrible how little I can remember of the book. I do remember that I didn't much care for Sam.

    Oh, RtS, I'm just taking a break from working on my in-laws' taxes and drinking a martini, so I don't know how useful I'll be, but I do have some favorites of WW2/Cold War espionage fiction I can think of offhand. The tops would be The Spy Who Came In From the Cold; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; Eye of the Needle; The Day of the Jackal; Olen Steinhauer's Cold War series.
     
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  15. Reads to Sleep

    Reads to Sleep Moderator Staff Member

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    Now I know why my own taxes are going so poorly: I haven't been sipping a martini to grease the wheels in my head. My tax prep today consisted of frantically ransacking the house, looking for the stuff I had set aside for our CPA several days ago. When I originally located it, I felt proud because I'd be ready for her call. Then, when she did call today, I couldn't remember where I had put it so I wouldn't forget where it was. It took hours to find it. Sheesh!

    Those books you mentioned are great.
     
  16. janebbooks

    janebbooks Member

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    Currently Reading:
    Irish crime...art and mystery
    Well, I have to start reading Stuart Neville's RATLINES. Maine did a nice review of it for READ ME DEADLY some months ago...and my hardback copy is sitting on top of my TBR file. Stuart is a Facebook "friend" of mine and gave this link http://t.co/uucLgI5WVP for this press release:

    The eighteen months since the publication of Stuart’s previous crime novel, Ratlines, have been eventful. Ratlines, which is about Nazis harboured by the Irish state following WWII, has been short- and long-listed for various awards, including the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year, and the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger. Stuart’s international presence has continued to expand as his books have been published in more countries around the world, including Poland and China, and he continues to grow his sales in the US, France and other territories...

    Most recently, a television adaptation of Ratlines is now in development, with Stuart as screenwriter and executive producer. The series is being jointly developed by Belfast-based KGB Screen and Dublin-based Ripple World Pictures, with development funding from RTE Drama and Northern Ireland Screen.

    As well as working on Ratlines, KGB Screen will also produce a short film written by Stuart titled The Good Word, with Conleth Hill (Game of Thrones) and Una Kavanagh (Fair City) attached to star. Actor and KGB Screen co-founder Stuart Graham (The Fall, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) is set to direct, with filming scheduled for early July.

    Stuart Graham said: "I am a huge fan of Stuart Neville. His consistently thrilling, visually vibrant, narratively absorbing, emotionally engaging work has now firmly established him as one of this country's very finest writers. His work is also perfectly suited to make the transition from page to screen. I am relishing the opportunity to work with him in doing just that."
     
  17. pontalba

    pontalba Well-Known Member

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    Excellent choices! I've read The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, Eye of the Needle, The Day of the Jackal and some of the Steinhauer books. I really, really want to get to the other LeCarre. /sigh/

    Jane, that's great news re Ratlines, and with the author writing the screenplay, it should be as close as possible.
    I read it last year, and rated it 4/5. Thought it was a great cat and mouse game. :D
     
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  18. pontalba

    pontalba Well-Known Member

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    Currently Reading:
    dithering...
    Oh, should have posted what I'm reading..... :oops:

    Just read the first two in the Masters of Rome series, First Man in Rome and The Grass Crown by Colleen McCullough. Started the third, Fortune's Favorites, but kind of was maxed out on "Roman", only got 150 or pages in....will go back next month and finish. It's a great series, she chronicles the battles and the infighting beautifully. Plus many of the interchanges are simply hilarious. McCullough totally humanizes the characters. A plus IMO.
    Also, just finished the new Diana Gabaldon, Written in My Own Heart's Blood. /sigh/ Well, maybe I'm just getting tired of the series, or maybe she is stringing it out too far. Maybe I've just aged the 25 years since the beginning of the series. :rolleyes: Rated it 3/5.
    I suppose I'll write a full review later and put it on my thread. I'm just not moved to at the moment.

    I'm starting Jo Nesbo's latest, The Good Son now. It's a stand alone, not part of the Harry Hole series.
     
  19. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes I think of simply adding to the shelves in chronological purchase order. :EEEEE-EEEK: Save all the shuffling. :D It's only the few nicely completed genres that keep me going with the program.

    But, yessss! Three cheers for all of (earlier) Le Carré!

    On topic: Still walking slowly forward through Pillar of Iron by Taylor Caldwell. Cicero growing up, at the moment.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2014
  20. pontalba

    pontalba Well-Known Member

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    Hey, that'll work! :D

    Just finished The Son by Jo Nesbo...review over on my thread along with a couple of other new ones.
    It isn't quite as dark as his Harry Hole series, at least the later ones, more classic I think.
     

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