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mlott ( and others) --

Not a book, but I'm really enthusiastic about a Russian WWII film on youtube.com -- THE DAWNS HERE ARE QUIET, (2015).    A sergeant in charge of a remote AA battery gets replacements for his drunken, useless brawlers -- and gets something totally unexpected.

Shortly after settling in, one of the new troops spots two Germans in the woods.  The sergeant guesses they are saboteurs sent to blow up a railway bridge and sets out with three of his unit to ambush them.   What WE know (and he doesn't) is that there aren't two Germans -- there are sixteen.

Here is the first installment.  I think you'll really like it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9v8v1GUjwLc

 

It is late spring of 1942, and the Great Patriotic War is in full swing. A long way off from the front-line, at some God-forgotten junction, the Germans make...
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Finished the latest Stephen King book "The Institute" a couple of days ago.  Checked it out one afternoon, read into the night, and finished it the next day.  Another ripping good SK book.  If you like King, you should really enjoy this one. 

His last full-length novel, "The Outsider" was also very good, and it was neat how he inserted some of the characters from a previous storyline. 

Oh, and I thought "Revival" from 2014 was one of his best works, I enjoyed that one every bit as much as his early classics like "Salem's Lot" and "The Shining".  He dedicated the book to some of the earlier horror/supernatural writers that have influenced him, and the way he channeled his inner H. P. Lovecraft was enough to raise the hair on the back of your neck.

I could keep going, but you get the idea.

@richardsok  I just might have to check out your recommendation.  Someone mentioned it a while back, and it does sound interesting.  

OK, one more in passing.  "Kochland", about Koch Industries and the brothers Koch, well worth reading, and I thought much better done than "Sons of Wichita".  A better balance between the business and their personal and political lives.  

 

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Thanks richardsok for the link to the 45-minute Episode 1 of THE DAWNS HERE ARE QUIET. (All the other episodes are linked from the first). Beautiful film and great story belying Cold War propaganda depicting Russian women as grossly unattractive. Au contraire. Not so if the five women here, shown in some scenes in the altogether, are any indication. 

AKA recoveringdprof and rubirosa.
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A sergeant in charge of a remote AA battery gets replacements

There' s the Soviet  Union for you. Putting a sergeant in charge of a remote AA battery? Ha! An Allied sergeant could have taken care of a whole warehouse of remote AA batteries.  And how about a remote needing AA batteries anyway? Capitalism produces remotes that can run on AAA batteries.

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AAA batteries are SO last century. These hotties are Lithuanians. 

AKA recoveringdprof and rubirosa.
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@rubirosa  Hah!  Good one!

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ON THE AWESOMENESS OF JACK REACHER

It's interesting to think that if Lee Child had not been fired from Grenada Television at age 40, there might never have been a character named Jack Reacher.  But he was, and he switched to a writing career and has now churned out eighteen JR books. His nineteenth,  BLUE MOON, comes out in just a few days. 

Jack is a brawny, brainy anti-hero, an all-around bad-ass with cold blue eyes and a 50-inch chest. He's a  6'5", 220 lb loner and fighter for justice (especially the extra-judicial kind). He’s a West Point graduate, smart, fast, funny, and violent. He stomps bad guys' faces and shoots them in the back. No pity. No remorse. 

So, yes, we’re talking escapism here!

In the first novel, Reacher gets off a bus in rural Georgia and is thrown in jail for a murder he didn’t commit. In the second, he wipes out a home militia bent on secession. In the third, he’s a manual laborer digging swimming pools in Key West and gets caught up in murder. In the eighth, a major general is found naked and dead in a cheap motel wearing an object forbidden by the Catholic Church. In twelve, Reacher destroys a dirty bomb factory. In eighteen, Reacher tracks down a sniper-assassin . Etc.,  

It’s all in fun. Quite addictive.

AKA recoveringdprof and rubirosa.
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"ON THE AWESOMENESS OF JACK REACHER"

I agree; good reads.  Should I ask how you felt about tiny Tom Cruise playing Reacher in the 2016 movie?  It appeared that most Child enthusiasts were not thrilled with the casting!  I guess if no one had any idea about the nature of the character in advance it would not be a big deal, but really; Tom Cruise as Reacher!?  Who thought THAT was great casting??

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racqueteer, I did not see the movie, for the same reason you mention. 

AKA recoveringdprof and rubirosa.
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Just finished "Bagehot: The Life and Times of the Greatest Victorian" by James Grant.  Excellent read, much better than I anticipated.  One thing that surprised me was how much of what went on in Victorian-era (and earlier) finance was similar to current-day goings-on.  

"We took in stock as security, we purchased exchequer bills, we made advances on exchequer bills, we not only discounted outright, but we made advances on deposit of bills of exchange to an immense amount; in short by every possible means consistent with the safety of the Bank; and we were not of some occasions over nice; seeing the dreadful state in which the public were, we rendered every assistance in out power".  The substance of the quote sounds a lot like what the Federal Reserve did in 2008.  It was the response of the Bank of England to the financial panic of 1825.  

Things like this are sprinkled throughout the book, and many times I found myself thinking about how similar they were to these more modern times.  

Having read and enjoyed a couple of James Grant's previous books, I had high hopes for this effort, and my expectations were exceeded.  I highly recommend it.

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Thank you mlott1!

AKA recoveringdprof and rubirosa.
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You may be interested to know that Larry McMurtry's Archer City, TX bookstore, BOOKED UP, now in its 50th year, is slowly winding down. Originally, there were five unattended buildings and you bought your books on the honor system. Now, BOOKED UP is down to one building and only 150,000 books, all of the fine, rare and scholarly variety. Open now just 3 afternoons a week   and it's harder and harder to find LM there. Here is a Question and Answer sign prominently posted in the store:

Q. Where are Mr. McMurtry's books?
A. We no longer sell any of his work.

Q. Are these books for sale?
A. Of Course.

Q. How are the books arranged?
A. Erratically/Impressionistically/Whimsically/Open to Interpretation.

Q. Do you have a list of these books?
A. No.

Q. When will Mr. McMurtry be here?
A. At his whim

AKA recoveringdprof and rubirosa.
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Reading the post about Lee Child and his Jack Reacher series put me in mind of John Sandford's "Prey" series (they all have "Prey" in the title).  I had seen Sandford's books for years, but just never could seem to be able to get to them.  Then, when "Golden Prey" came out in 2017, I read it and was hooked.  I was amazed to find out that it was the 27th book in the series.  I immediately started reading them in order, I was ordering them from the library four and five at a time.  I am now officially a big fan of John Sandford.  The Prey series main character is Lucas Davenport.  While you can read the books as stand-alone, it would be optimum if you started from the beginning, as his character and personal life changes as the years go by.  

He also has a second series, with not as many titles, that I enjoy just as much as his flagship series, and the main character is Virgil Flowers.  Again, the books can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, but reading them in order will give you the benefit of watching Flowers progress in his work and personal life.  

If someone wanted to try one of the books, I would recommend "Golden Prey", and "Heat Lightning" for the Virgil Flowers series.  If you like them, then I would go back to the start of the series and read the rest of them in order.  

For whatever reason, over the last few years I have found myself reading a lot more in the mystery/thriller genre, and for anyone who likes that type of fiction and has not read John Sandford, I urge you to give him a try.  Good stuff!

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@rubirosa 

If you like reading about Lucian Freud (quite a free spirit!), you might like Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud, by Martin Gayford, a London art critic and curator. Some fine descriptions of how L.F. worked.

Currently am reading A History of Canada in 10 Maps (and have ordered Roadside Geology of Southern British Columbia - great stuff there! hot springs and icefields) and Pico Iyer's Autumn Light: Season of Fire and Farewells.

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lol, Well I just finished an older book that I just picked up.  Turned out it was a really good book....The art of the deal, by Donald Trump.......

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@mlott1 wrote:

For whatever reason, over the last few years I have found myself reading a lot more in the mystery/thriller genre, and for anyone who likes that type of fiction and has not read John Sandford, I urge you to give him a try.  Good stuff!


I agree; Sandford is one of my favorites in that genre.  Others found there:  David Baldacci, Nevada Barr, Mark Billingham, Lawrence Block, Sandra Brown, James Lee Burke, Stephen Cannell, Tom Clancy, Harlan Coben, John or Michael Connelly, Patricia Cornwell, Catherine Coulter, Robert Crais,Clive Cussler, Jeffrey Deaver, Vince Flynn, Tess Gerritsen, Sue Grafton, Steve Hamilton, Carl Hiaasen, Tami Hoag, Kay Hooper, JA Jance, Iris and/or Roy Johansen, Stuart Kaminski, Jon and/or Jesse Kellerman, William Lashner, John Lescroart, Dan Mahoney, Phillip Margolin, Archer Mayor, Robert Parker, James Patterson, Ian Rankin, Kathy Reichs, Lisa Scottoline, Robert Tannenbaum, Stephen White, Stuart Woods.  This list leaves out most of the pure action, military, espionage, lawyer, cop, doctor stuff.

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@racqueteer  A good listing for anyone interested in mystery/thriller books.  I have not read as extensively as you in this particular area, but a couple of names jumped out at me.  Carl Hiaasen is definitely worthwhile, but it took a couple of tries for me.  I had heard of him for a long time, but had never read anything by him.  Finally decided to give him a try, checked out what I think was a collection of his newspaper column writings.  It was OK, but it didn't really grab me, either.  "Razor Girl" had just come out, so I read that one, and thought it was pretty good, and decided to look over his earlier books and give one of them a try.  "Skinny Dip", published in 2004, was my selection.  Hands down, that is one of the best fiction books I have ever read, by anyone.  I was hooked from the opening paragraph and the story was so good that I had to make myself slow down as I was reading though it.  A few weeks later I found the title, new, in the trade paperback edition, for just a couple of bucks at bookoutlet.com and ordered it.  When I got it, I idly opened it up...and ended up reading the whole thing again.  Usually, if I really like a novel, I will eventually go back and reread it, but I generally have to give it at least two or three years, or even longer.  Not this one!  

Clive Cussler, I've read pretty much all of his books since "Treasure" came out years ago, so I haven't read most of his very early books.  I have to say that a bit of Clive Cussler fatigue has set in, he is cranking them out at a pretty fast clip, with co-authors.  I am partial to the "Oregon Files" series, I like the premise of a mercenary ship and crew ("The Corporation"), and the Isaac Bell series.  One of the things that sometimes puts me off ever so slightly about Cussler's books is that the story and/or action sequences can get kind of "out there" and I have to work overtime to suspend the disbelief so that I can enjoy the read.  The Bell series is set in the early 1900's, so the cutting edge technology employed in the books are things like the telephone, telegraph, express railroads, automobiles, etc.  More believable and down to earth.  

Another series that I have enjoyed is the Cork O'Connor books by William Kent Krueger.  I stumble across one of his later books, "Windigo Island (2014) and liked it, so I went back to the start of the series and read the rest of them in order.  

One of my early favorites in the mystery area is the late Tony Hillerman.  His books were set in the desert southwest, mainly in the Four Corners area, and featured two Navajo tribal policemen, Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn.  In the first few books, it was either one or the other as the main character, but as the series progressed, they tended to both be integrated into the storyline.  He passed away a few years ago, I'm thinking about ten or twelve years ago, but his daughter Anne Hillerman has taken over the series and I think has done a fine job, and has put a bit more emphasis on the main female lead, which has added another dimension to the series.  

Just a few random book thoughts.

 

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Yes to racqueteer and mlott1 both. 

As to Tony Hillerman, it's my opinion that no one has ever painted a better picture of New Mexico. Mabel Dodge was struck with the beauty of the desert there and brought D.H. Lawrence to Taos with the idea that he could paint it in words. And he tried, but his descriptions were too much about themselves and fell short, IMO. TH, on the other hand got the bare emptiness and chasteness of it all perfectly.  Mabel Dodge's LORENZO IN TAOS tells that story.. 

It was funny to me that Ann Elmo who edited Hillerman's first Navajo book, THE BLESSING WAY, told him, ""Get rid of the Indian stuff, and maybe we can do something with it."  :^)

 

 

 

AKA recoveringdprof and rubirosa.
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I agree on Hillerman; haven't read the ones by his daughter as yet.  Krueger is also new to me.  Have to give them a look.


@mlott1 wrote:

 

Another series that I have enjoyed is the Cork O'Connor books by William Kent Krueger.  I stumble across one of his later books, "Windigo Island (2014) and liked it, so I went back to the start of the series and read the rest of them in order.  


 

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Tony Hillerman put out an autobiography in 2002, "Seldom Disappointed: A Memoir", and that is a fine read for anyone who likes Tony Hillerman.

The Cork O'Connor series by William Kent Krueger is a bit uneven, to me, I've enjoyed some of the books more than others, but this is another series that you will get a little more out of if you read the books in order, as both O'Connor and his family grow and progress.  "Cork" O'Connor is part Irish and part Native American, the setting is Northern Minnesota.  And there is a recurring character, Henry Meloux, an elderly healer/spiritual guide, who adds a lot to the storylines.  

But getting back to Hillerman, I'm glad to know there are others on the forum who like his books.  I was reading him pretty early in his career, although I didn't realize it at the time.  And back then I hardly read any mysteries at all, but I would buy the latest Hillerman as soon as it came out in paperback.

@rubirosa  That was funny about "getting rid of the Indian stuff".  Kind of like an editor telling Tolkien that he might have a good book if he got rid of the Hobbits, elves, and orcs...

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