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Old Yesterday, 09:33 AM   #3026
aaronvan
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Just finished this interesting book:
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Old Today, 08:53 AM   #3027
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Earlier this morning, I finished 'Castle' by Marc Morris.

For those who like rollicking history, this is a terrific read; in essence, it is a history of castle building in the UK from the time just before the Norman Conquest, and is lively, engaging, and a thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining, and well written read.

While the book (which was based on a TV series I didn't see but believe was pretty good) could have done with a few maps, it is lavishly and beautifully illustrated with pictures and diagrams.

Actually, it is the sort of book one can recommend for the kind of bright kid that loves castles and the exciting tales that often accompany them.
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Old Today, 10:25 AM   #3028
jeremy h
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Originally Posted by LadyX View Post
It has been exactly one month since my last post in this thread. I have been reading books in my native language which is why it's been so long since I last posted here.

Anyway, just bought this and will start reading it tonight ...


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Talking of graphic novels have you tried the original Ghost World? Thought it was rather lovely particularly if you can remember those days just before the internet and smart phones which seem to have banished those days of seemingly endless bored ennui that was so prevalent back then.

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Old Today, 10:43 AM   #3029
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It has been exactly one month since my last post in this thread. I have been reading books in my native language which is why it's been so long since I last posted here.

Anyway, just bought this and will start reading it tonight ...


Image
That looks absolutely fascinating; how did you find it?

I seem to recall that it received excellent reviews.
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Old Today, 11:05 AM   #3030
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremy h View Post
Talking of graphic novels have you tried the original Ghost World? Thought it was rather lovely particularly if you can remember those days just before the internet and smart phones which seem to have banished those days of seemingly endless bored ennui that was so prevalent back then.



Image
I have a wishlist on Amazon titled 'Graphic Novels' and Ghost World is one of the graphic novels on it. It has been on my wishlist for some time now. Hopefully I will be getting to it very soon. I used to read a lot of comics/graphic novels but have decided to take a break and read chapter books. I'm now taking a break from novels.



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That looks absolutely fascinating; how did you find it?



I seem to recall that it received excellent reviews.

I want to finish reading the first part at least before letting you know my opinion of it. Will make sure to let you know how I find it
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Old Today, 11:33 AM   #3031
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Old Today, 03:08 PM   #3032
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Well, it is an overcast and forbidding looking Friday evening; the drinks tray is not yet ready, but a book is even more necessary.

Sometimes, though, the bleak contemporary stuff that makes up quite a proportion of my current reading can become a little…….much..

Having been very impressed with Marc Morris's thoroughly enjoyable book on 'Castles', his biography on King John 'King John - Treachery, Tyranny And The Road To Magna Carta' looks most inviting.

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Old Today, 04:25 PM   #3033
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Originally Posted by Scepticalscribe View Post
Well, it is an overcast and forbidding looking Friday evening; the drinks tray is not yet ready, but a book is even more necessary.



Sometimes, though, the bleak contemporary stuff that makes up quite a proportion of my current reading can become a little…….much..



Having been very impressed with Marc Morris's thoroughly enjoyable book on 'Castles', his biography on King John 'King John - Treachery, Tyranny And The Road To Magna Carta' looks most inviting.




You need to get yourself a TV mate! And get that freakin drinks tray sorted!

Only joking (of course). Have you ever read Alexander McCall Smith's "Von Igefeld" books? Very funny and a nice quick read that will make you smile.
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Old Today, 04:38 PM   #3034
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You need to get yourself a TV mate! And get that freakin drinks tray sorted!

Only joking (of course). Have you ever read Alexander McCall Smith's "Von Igefeld" books? Very funny and a nice quick read that will make you smile.
Here's the funny thing. I actually don't like TV and I have never seen it as a source of relaxation. When I watch it, which is rare enough, it is usually news and current affairs, followed by documentaries and science/nature stuff.

Then, there a few personal lapses which are not current affairs or documentaries: A few programmes I will admit to having liked a lot, which fall under the category of drama, or terrific story telling. (Star Trek, STNG, Life On Mars, Ashes to Ashes, Morse, Foyle's War, and a few more). I never have the TV on as 'background'; it is put on - an active act and choice - to watch something, then switched off.

Now, as for the drinks tray - don't worry, that was merely an internal debate (though an intense one) as to what should be sipped and savoured tonight. It has been 'sorted'. Port - white port - a 10 year old from Gaivosa - won the battle….

I haven't read those particular books by Alexander McCall Smith - hadn't heard of them (though I have, of course, read quite a few of his charming books - The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - featuring the wonderful Mna Ramotswe). Do you recommend them?

King John, meanwhile, has been moved from under the sofa - where a fat, enticing hardback had been resting (along with the Harry Potter oeuvre and sundry others), to a position on the sofa, where he will fight it out with ISIS and tomes on corruption and war. He is in good company. '1066 And All That' (a brilliant book) describes him as 'A Bad King' a comment which was repeated, faithfully, (with, I suspect, a smothered giggle) by Marc Morris in 'Castle'.

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Old Today, 04:51 PM   #3035
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First off, well done on the port choice.

Secondly, I didn't really care for the "Detective" books by AMS, but love the Von Igefeld books. In order they are, "Portuguese Irregular Verbs", "The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs", At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances" and "Unusual uses for Olive Oil". The first three are available in "The 2 1/2 Pillars of Wisdom". I find them very enjoyable. As I say, a nice easy and satisfying read.
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Old Today, 05:01 PM   #3036
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On another point I'm also reading "The Second World War" by Antony Beevor. I have to say that it is superb. In the whole of my 50 years on this earth have I had to put down a book because of being so disturb. The subject being the treatment of the Jews (and others). One would think that the TV images we have all seen would be more powerful but Beevor's prose is haunting. I feel compelled to read on even when I don't want to.
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Old Today, 05:12 PM   #3037
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First off, well done on the port choice.

Secondly, I didn't really care for the "Detective" books by AMS, but love the Von Igefeld books. In order they are, "Portuguese Irregular Verbs", "The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs", At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances" and "Unusual uses for Olive Oil". The first three are available in "The 2 1/2 Pillars of Wisdom". I find them very enjoyable. As I say, a nice easy and satisfying read.
An old school friend of mine, - one of the first women to qualify as both a carpenter and cabinet maker, (although she had the grades to be offered a university place) - spent the best part of a quarter of a century as an aid worker (with VSA) in parts of Africa, including Botswana.

She thought that the 'detective' books were excellent, and utterly authentic, and informed me that - as far as she knew - they were actually based on a real person, the first woman who was appointed to the Supreme Court in Botswana, who was widely respected in the country.

I'll keep an eye out for the Von Igefeld books. Are the first three available as a trilogy?


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On another point I'm also reading "The Second World War" by Antony Beevor. I have to say that it is superb. In the whole of my 50 years on this earth have I had to put down a book because of being so disturb. The subject being the treatment of the Jews (and others). One would think that the TV images we have all seen would be more powerful but Beevor's prose is haunting. I feel compelled to read on even when I don't want to.
Having read so much on WW2, Hitler and Stalin, (I used to teach some of that stuff, - mostly the Russian & Soviet stuff, but studied the other An Awful Lot, especially in my undergrad days) and my bookshelves have so many biographies of that perfectly dreadful pair, that I cried a halt some years ago.

Actually, one of the best experiences I ever had as a teacher was when I was asked to give a series of lectures to Access Students - i.e. second chance students from disadvantaged backgrounds who were being given a sort of two year 'smorgasbord' of the humanities prior to starting a proper degree in history and humanities in one of those ancient venerable universities where I taught for several years - which involved teaching them how to study, write essays, use a library, etc - on Hitler & Stalin with the brie to make it as sexy and exciting as possible.

My brief was to tantalise their intellectual tastebuds, make them want to learn more, and we were allowed (nay, encouraged) to reach in to our inner ten-year-olds in order to make the classes as exciting and fun as possible. Historical rigour and critical analysis could come later; for those few weeks, my brief was to deliver a series of lectures - roughly - on the theme of Adolf & Josef - Who was Worse? from a teaching perspective - with such gripping and ghastly raw material - it doesn't get much better than that!

Partly, it is that one does't want to come across as a complete psycho - after all, how many biographies of Adolf and Josef Vissarionovich does one actually want to have seen on one's shelves?

However, it is also that I noticed that a lot of these books were derivative - they said a lot of the same things and covered much the same ground.

So, now, unless a book - on that era - is genuinely ground breaking, and has new angles and - above all - sources, (and new ways of looking at old stuff), I refuse to be tempted.

Some of my students (male) used to rave about Beevor, and thought he was very good, and recommended him highly to me. However, there is a certain type of male writer who gets very excited by battles, weapons and warfare (especially the type of male writer who has never seen a whiff of anything of the sort in real life but longs to in his fantasy world) and is sort of lacking, or falls short, in the analysis and political insight department.

Is he really very good, and seriously worth reading?

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