Discuss and rate the last thing you read

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Wages of Destruction: The making and breaking of the Nazi economy by Adam Tooze. 4/5

Technically a re-read, since I've read the book before. Wages of Destruction is without a doubt the most thorough exploration of the NSDAPs economic policies prior to and during WW2 and Tooze does one hell of a job connecting these often disparate and seemingly contradictory solutions to an ever looming fiscal crisis to the political happenings at the same time. It also crushes a lot of myths about the "Nazi Economic Miracle" and Speer's supposed wizardry in pushing the Nazi economy to the limit. It is a highly informative book and if you're interested in WW 2 or Nazi Germany it is a must read. However, it is also thick as a brick and the subject matter doesn't lend itself to much other then dry, factual prose which makes the entire thing rather hard to read. Tooze does an admirable effort to make even layman readers like me understand the nuance of economics and the manipulation of economics that the Nazis engaged in, but this is not a book you'll be reading cover to cover in one sitting.

Auron225:
Off topic, but the above spam post has got me thinking. Who are these people? Someone somewhere typed that nonsense, right? Maybe not for that post (likely copied and pasted) but at one point it was typed out. Someone who probably isn't a native English speaker given the high number of spelling & grammar errors. Did they start learning English, for the sole purpose of trying to scam people? That's sad, but not as sad as actually believing that anyone would ever read that and think it's legit.

Many of those posts originate from African countries (Nigeria being the most famous), where that kind of English isn't particularly noteworthy, if more casual then formal. They are, in a way, a cool example of how different a language can be in different parts of the world. In the former English colonies in Africa that's fairly normal casual writing, but to people who've been raised on UK English or American English it seems almost like the writer was drunk or just typing gibberish.

dscross:

Zydrate:
The Disaster Artist - 4/5

Very, very readable. It flows very well and blew through it in a couple of nights. My only complaint is that I stopped kind of caring about Tommy Wiseau as a man and the last few chapters regarding the background of him and Greg meeting up... I skipped. Once I read what exact flavor of lunatic he is (his opinions on women, throwing slurs people's way during a temper tantrum when things go his way, denying water and air conditioning at the same time...) I just focused on the chapters regarding the production of The Room itself.

All the odd chapters are dedicated to Greg's first few months knowing Tommy and all the even chapters are based on the production of the Room. After getting through most of it, the last couple of odd chapters I just skipped because I couldn't be assed.
Good book, though.

Have you seen the film yet? I thought they did a pretty good job.

I found it a bit uneven. Their plot kind of hauled ass and I found it jarring. Also they omit a lot of the more gross shit he did and tried to paint Tommy in a more sympathetic light and pretty much erased most of Greg's real-life reasons for doing the movie (he needed money). I just hope people who see the movie first go and read the book or at the very least, go to the TVtropes page which does a good job giving some of the highlights.

hattiegilbert445:
i g̲e̲t̲ ̲p̲a̲i̲d̲ ̲o̲v̲e̲r̲ ̲$90 ̲p̲e̲r̲ ̲h̲o̲u̲r̲ ̲w̲o̲r̲k̲i̲n̲g̲ ̲f̲r̲o̲m̲ ̲h̲o̲m̲e̲ ̲w̲i̲t̲h̲ ̲2 ̲k̲i̲d̲s̲ ̲a̲t̲ ̲h̲o̲m̲e̲. ̲i̲ ̲n̲e̲v̲e̲r̲ ̲t̲h̲o̲u̲g̲h̲t̲ ̲i̲'d̲ ̲b̲e̲ ̲a̲b̲l̲e̲ ̲t̲o̲ ̲d̲o̲ ̲i̲t̲ ̲b̲u̲t̲ ̲m̲y̲ ̲b̲e̲s̲t̲ ̲f̲r̲i̲e̲n̲d̲ ̲e̲a̲r̲n̲s̲ ̲o̲v̲e̲r̲ ̲10k̲ ̲a̲ ̲m̲o̲n̲t̲h̲ ̲d̲o̲i̲n̲g̲ ̲t̲h̲i̲s̲ ̲a̲n̲d̲ ̲s̲h̲e̲ ̲c̲o̲n̲v̲i̲n̲c̲e̲d̲ ̲m̲e̲ ̲t̲o̲ ̲t̲r̲y̲. ̲t̲h̲e̲ ̲p̲o̲t̲e̲n̲t̲i̲a̲l̲ ̲w̲i̲t̲h̲ ̲t̲h̲i̲s̲ ̲i̲s̲ ̲e̲n̲d̲l̲e̲s̲s̲. ̲h̲e̲r̲e̲s̲ ̲w̲h̲a̲t̲ ̲i̲'v̲e̲ ̲b̲e̲e̲n̲ ̲d̲o̲i̲n̲g̲,,
------------------- http://www.Help80.Com

I have a feeling it's a person in a workshop begging for help. Maybe there's some code in the format for his/her location?

So, concluding my reading of old Mr. Howard Phillips' life work, we have

The Shadow out of Time, H. P. Lovecraft - 6/10

Again, not one of his best. My basic problem with it was the same I had with At The Mountains of Madness; same as he does with the Old Ones in that story, Lovecraft here goes into far too much detail regarding the Great Race, which (ironically enough) humanizes them too much for them to be in any way frightening or awe-inspiring. It doesn't help that the physical description he gives of them looks like something out of the silliest tinfoil-wrapped sci-fi of bad early TV shows, which also robs the protagonist's bouts of body dismorphia, that could have otherwise been an incredibly powerful narrative device, of any real punch.

The Haunter of the Dark, H. P. Lovecraft - 7/10

A return to form, in my opinion. Lovecraft was ever at his best, I feel, when working with suggestion and implication and letting the reader's imagination do the heavy lifting, and that's what he returns to here. While it does not reach the level of some of his best works, in my opinion, it's enough to conclude the man's writing career in a high note.

I've also read, in the meantime,

La memoria de Shakespeare, Jorge Luis Borges - 7.5/10

...I'll own up, I'm not a big fan of Borges. I don't consider that to be his fault, mind - if anything, I think the man was an incredibly talented writer; it's just that, for some reason I can't really seem to pin down, his stories almost never seem to really click with me, with rare exceptions (El espejo y la mascara comes to mind)... which is why it caught me somewhat by surprise that there wasn't a single story in this short last anthology of his that I didn't really enjoy.

It's got me seriously considering going back and re-reading his older works.

Jute88:
The Shelters of Stone by Jean M. Auel. It's the fifth part of her Earth's Children series. I'd rate it 9/10, I just couldn't put the book down, I had to finish it!

The main character is Ayla, a cro-magnon girl who was raised by neanderthals (or Clan people), living during the Stone age. The series feels more like a slice of life kind of story, having no great villains (mostly) or major story arcs (except Ayla trying to find her place in the world).

The books heavily focus on cultures Ayla discovers, how they treat sex and pregnancy as separate things, the relationship between cro-magnons and neanderthals, the role (or lack) of fatherhood in societies, the religions they meet, the languages, the way the Clan people can't learn new things but rather they share the memories of their ancestors etc.

Some problems in the book are that Auel really likes to describe in great detail the tools people use in the series. I know that mastering tools was a matter of life and death during the Stone age, but sometimes she talks about one tool for two pages, which I usually try to skip.

One other big problem is just how perfect Ayla is.
She has incredible memory,
most people find her irresistible,
she's one the best healers in the series, if not the best,
she is always in the mood for sex whenever her partner wants it,
she can usually sense when people lie because of her upbringing,
she's first to discover that you can tame animals,
she can throw two stones with her slingshot and
she learns languages very quickly.

Also, a small annoying thing is how Ayla calls herself old, because she compares herself to the Clan people, who have a rather short life span. No, she isn't old. She's not even 20 by the end of the fifth book, everyone tells her that's she's still young, but she still calls herself an old woman!

Yeah, I picked up on Ayla being very awesome after the first book, and didn't bother going back to check the rest out (though to be fair there may have been other reasons for that, it was a long time ago), though I am totally with you in enjoying the fleshing out of the author's ideas regarding prehistoric cultures.

I guess that would be "I hate Fairyland Vol 3"

I bought the first volume last auturm cos one of the people from tumblr (that I follow) was reading it.

To summed it up, it's about a girl named Gertrude got sucked into a fairyland like world and she was tasked on a quest to fine the key to return home. Sound easy right? Well no, not to her. Twenty years later she is STILL on her quest and while her body has mentain her physical apperance but not mentality. Needless to say, she is quite a bitter, vuglar and psychotic girl now which is understandable, imagine being stuck in a colourful world where it is always sweet and happy???

So yeah it's quite a dark humour comedy sort of comedy and since the artstyle is fantastic (cartoony), it make the violence in it (there alot of of since she is a psychopath now) quite interesting to look at!!

I'm not going to mention anything story/ spoilers in it. All I say is that volume 3 is kinda more like volume 1 in that there is a main plot (volume 2 did had a plot but it was resolved in the first issue) and it did bring some interesting development to the main character and her sidekick. Also a character return whose I thought was going to be forgotten from the last volume. Lastly I am looking forward to the next volume due to the ending did bring a new shift to the overall plot.

I recently read two Philip Roth novels: The Dying Animal and The Humbling. Roth was a counterculture bigshot in the sixties, writing about the problematic divide between what you want out of life and what everybody else expects from you (you can see Mad Men's Don Draper reading one of his novels in a latter season). He's all for radical individualism and chasing the id. These last two novels of his, though... I admire the craft and the unabashed style, but at worst they read like fanfiction. He likes doing the Woody Allen thing where young women storm into his life and give themselves to him, always depicted as a blameless casanova. I'm more than ready to buy he has that power over the easily starstruck, I just think it makes for cringey, overly indulgent stories.

Now I'm reading Tales of Soldiers and Civilians by Ambrose Bierce. Bierce was a soldier during the Civil War turned journalist turned writer turned a lot of things; the stories are a mixture of Poe and Twain in their use of creepy (sometimes supernatural) irony and derision of American exceptionalism. Great read and a great find considering my newfound obsession for weird fiction.

Jute88:
The Shelters of Stone by Jean M. Auel. It's the fifth part of her Earth's Children series. I'd rate it 9/10, I just couldn't put the book down, I had to finish it!

I read The Clan of the Cave Bear many years ago and loved it. Went straight for the sequel, Valley of the Horses, and couldn't finish it. One of the rare books in which I got as far as the midpoint and couldn't finish it. Might as well be called Danielle Steel's Improbably Sexy Cavebabe & The Dreamstud Who Fell For Her. What a disappointment.

Ogoid:

La memoria de Shakespeare, Jorge Luis Borges - 7.5/10

I'm curious - did you read Borges in English or Spanish?

Johnny Novgorod:

I'm curious - did you read Borges in English or Spanish?

Spanish. I always prefer reading books in their original language if I can.

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (3/5)

I'll be honest, I don't read that much non-fiction. I have misgivings about that, but at the end of the day, I enjoy writing far more than reading, and fiction gives me material to work with. But I got this book via a friend of a friend so to speak, and when I say "book," I mean the PDF file.

That aside, this book is...different, I'll put it that way. Trump's slammed the book as "fake news" (or words to that equivalent), and while I'd trust Trump as far as I can throw him (not far - he's a heavy guy), I will say that reading the book, I did get reminded of the libel claims. What's notable is that it's written in narrative style. Not in the sense of there being dialogue or anything, but because the book progresses entirely chronologically, with some of the personas (e.g. Trump and Banon) feeling like 'characters,' it does give me the sense of me reading a story. A story that just grinds to a halt at the end mind you. But even then, I have to ask how Wolff got some of the info he did. Trump's been president for a year - that's far too early for any kind of definitive take on his presidency. The book doesn't sell itself as a definitive take, but I am curious as to how Wolff got his info.

Also, I don't know if it's me, or if the book is primarily intended for a US audience, but while I'd like to consider myself reasonably well informed, a lot of the names that slid by were ones I didn't recognise. I mean, sure - Trump, Banon, Conway, Spicer, Murdoch, etc., I got those. But I found myself kind of tuning out towards the middle of the book, because it assumes that you know a lot of the context in which it takes place in. It was only with the mention of Charlotsville towards the end that I thought "ah, now I remember." But before that, there's a lot of middle ground stuff that had slipped my mind.

So, mixed thoughts. It's average. But to be honest, I don't get what the fuss is about. I'm sure many books will be written on Trump's presidency in the years and decades to come, but I don't see why this one should be particuarly special.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull
A sappy motivational/self-help book from the 1970s. Obvious allegory is obvious: a seagull wants so much more than being a seagull. Other seagulls settle for gorging on scraps, Jonathan wants to fly as high and as fast as possible. Gets expelled for arrogance, learns to love himself, returns as a Messiah to his people to start its own cult of woke gulls. Do not recommend.

Do audiobooks count? I read abysmally little. I'm going to count because this book deserves more recognition.

And the book is Will Save the Galaxy for Food by our very resident Yahtzee Croshaw.

It's a sci-fi comedy/satire adventure about a former space pilot war hero now turned third-rate tourist guide in a world full of former space pilot war heroes turned third-rate tourist guides. He gets in over his head after being unwittingly forced to impersonate someone whom no one in their right mind would want to impersonate. From there on the story spirals uncontrollably into a maniacal adventure full of twists, turns and memorable characters.

It was already obvious from his previous works that Yahtzee abides very strictly by Chekov's gun, and this book is one of the best executions of the idea I've ever come across. There's hardly a single sentence, scene or character you could take out of this and not have it affect the narrative in some way. The story unfolds in a perfectly natural and logical fashion, with character choices first and foremost driving the plot. It's also riotously funny, original and has great world building. And there's the possibility of a sequel (very unsubtly hinted at by mr. Croshaw himself), which is great, since there's a whole galaxy of possibilities for these characters to go.

Highly recommended.

bartholen:
Do audiobooks count? I read abysmally little.

Well, you do have Toph as your avatar, so...sure?

the December King:

Jute88:
The Shelters of Stone by Jean M. Auel. It's the fifth part of her Earth's Children series. I'd rate it 9/10, I just couldn't put the book down, I had to finish it!

Yeah, I picked up on Ayla being very awesome after the first book, and didn't bother going back to check the rest out (though to be fair there may have been other reasons for that, it was a long time ago), though I am totally with you in enjoying the fleshing out of the author's ideas regarding prehistoric cultures.

It may have been how Ayla, a 11-12-year-old girl was being treated by the asshole, adult Broud in the first book.

I just hope that Auel deals with the upcoming Clan-people-Cro-magnon-conflict, there better be payoff in the last book.

Johnny Novgorod:

Jute88:
The Shelters of Stone by Jean M. Auel. It's the fifth part of her Earth's Children series. I'd rate it 9/10, I just couldn't put the book down, I had to finish it!

I read The Clan of the Cave Bear many years ago and loved it. Went straight for the sequel, Valley of the Horses, and couldn't finish it. One of the rare books in which I got as far as the midpoint and couldn't finish it. Might as well be called Danielle Steel's Improbably Sexy Cavebabe & The Dreamstud Who Fell For Her. What a disappointment.

The third books is even worse. The whole drama of the story is dependant on that two people won't sit down and talk their problems through. The fourth and fifth book are better though. No more bullshit drama. Well, not much anyway.

So, I read some stuff, and I gotz opinionz:

Edgedancer (3/5)

I'm counting this as an entry, because while it's part of the Cosmere Collection by Brandon Sanderson, it's still effectively a novella, what with being divided into chapters and coming in at around 40,000 words. So, I feel I can treat it independently from the rest of the collection. Which is funny, because having read this, I feel I would have really benefitted from reading the first Stormlight Archive book first. It's not impenetrable, and I can pick up on the gist of past events and the setting, but...well, let's just say there's a lot of proper nouns here, and it doesn't hold your hand in working out what they are. This is particuarly detrimental here, because Sanderson's trademark seems to be fleshing out magic systems (see Mistborn), but here, you're expected to already know how things work.

On the other hand, the writing itself is quite good, and what carries it is the protagonist, Lift (no, not the soft drink). She's adorable - she's basically a child, but written in such a way that she's endearing rather than excruciating. Also helps that she has a small demon-like creature called Wyndle for a companion, who's the voice of reason for a girl who's hyperactive, has powers, and loves pancakes. And while there is a plot, to be honest, I'm already forgetting it. It's a story carried by the storytelling rather than the plot, so to speak. If anything, it's made me more interested in someday tackling Stormlight, but given how large those books are, "someday" is the key word.

So, decent. Next up is Serenity: No Power in the 'Verse, but that needs another entry.

Firefly: No Power in the 'Verse (4/5)

...because in the 26th century, poor literacy is still kewl.

Anyway, I have a weird relationship with the Firefly graphic novels - I bought 'Leaves on the Wind' for the main purpose of using it to help me write 'Seven Deadly Sins'. Likewise, I got 'No Power in the 'Verse' to help me write 'All the World's a Stage.' Likewise, I ordered 'Better Days' because I can't get 'Float-Out' anymore, and Dark Horse no longer seems to have the rights to the Firefly IP, so I can no longer get the comic digitally and gah!

Anyway, if the rating wasn't indicative enough, I do like this graphic novel - actually even more than 'Leaves on the Wind', though going by Amazon I seem to be in the minority there. And the odd thing is, both of the graphic novels utilized plot threads that I dislike, the idea that after the movie, the crew would end up spearheading an anti-Alliance revolution. So, does that happen? Well, by the end of this novel, yeah, kinda, but it does it in an interesting way - far more interesting than I've seen fanfic writers do it. Part of the impetus for that comes from the Peacemakers, which are former Browncoats that have effectively become terrorists. We had the New Resistance plot point in LotW, we have the Freemakers plot arc in NPitV, so if there's a sequel graphic novel (which I'm iffy about due to the suspected rights issues), it has done the groundwork.

Also, I like what it does with the characters...though I can understand why people wouldn't. One definite improvement is Kalista, who goes from being rediculously OP in LotW to...well, still OP, but OP in a more believable manner. Plus, we can see the crew fragmenting - Simon and Mal are at odds over the idea of war/terrorism, Zoe and River's former friendship is absolutely broken by the end of the graphic novel, Mal and Inara's relationship is broken by revelations as to what Inara did concerning Fiddler's Green, etc. Especially in the Zoe River case, Zoe's so horrible to River that...I kinda like it. Makes our protagonists falliable, and it's almost a deconstructionist take on the crew. Plus we have Bea and Iris who are okay, I guess.

Like I said, I'm dubious as to the future of Firefly in comics, because like I said, I have a suspicion that the rights are up in the air, given that Dark Horse Digital has taken the comics down, whereas Titan Books is now publishing tie-in novels. I have a fear that this comic will never get a sequel. That said, it's still good. 'Those Left Behind' is still my favorite Firefly comic, but this was still a good read...and almost completely superfluous to 'All the World's a Stage', but that's my problem.

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