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The Constant Readers Thread!

chicken coup

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#11 Riddikulus

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 12:40 PM

Another exceptional author is Gary Jennings.  All of the novels he wrote himself are extensive in their historical research. Well written and very entertaining.  

His most popular book, 'Aztec' has become quite a little sensation after his death.  It seems he left a prodigious amount of notes on his research.  Ghost writers have taken these bits and gave it an injection of pop culture, putting out a few novels too adventurous in style to be the 'author'.  I wouldn't recommend reading any of that garbage. Nothing but history on steroids. Leaving very little 'real' history!

'Aztec' is a story about the last days of their Empire.  Told in the first person by the 'hero' of the story.  A native who rose to a certain kind of power and was there for all the important events.  He tells his life story within it all. Before the Spanish and after.

Personally, I like the stories where an author spends a lot of time on his research and gets to know the subject he's writing about.  Creating characters rich in personality and scenes of incredible imagination. Gary Jennings was one of these...

ca4e5aad85ef5e87ac7883e869e6357b.jpg


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Posted 23 October 2015 - 05:13 PM

Another exceptional author is Gary Jennings.  All of the novels he wrote himself are extensive in their historical research. Well written and very entertaining.  

His most popular book, 'Aztec' has become quite a little sensation after his death.  It seems he left a prodigious amount of notes on his research.  Ghost writers have taken these bits and gave it an injection of pop culture, putting out a few novels too adventurous in style to be the 'author'.  I wouldn't recommend reading any of that garbage. Nothing but history on steroids. Leaving very little 'real' history!

'Aztec' is a story about the last days of their Empire.  Told in the first person by the 'hero' of the story.  A native who rose to a certain kind of power and was there for all the important events.  He tells his life story within it all. Before the Spanish and after.

Personally, I like the stories where an author spends a lot of time on his research and gets to know the subject he's writing about.  Creating characters rich in personality and scenes of incredible imagination. Gary Jennings was one of these...

ca4e5aad85ef5e87ac7883e869e6357b.jpg

 

:D

 

Spangle_Cover.jpg
 
This book is especially good in the character aspect, within a close knit group of circus people. Starting just after Appomatax, it follows the travels of a phantastical group of circus birds. Showmanship, majick, and the flim-flam man.  The tricks of the trade are revealed in detail with humour and delight to the reader.
 
The historical aspect is revealed as they travel through America in the re-construction period. Then crossing the ocean to Europe.  All the trials, tribulations and the intrigues they find themselves in are present within the Franco-Prussian War period.  
 
From the Czar to Napolean III, running a 'circus' is never easy!
 
:hangingfromastar:

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Posted 02 November 2015 - 08:13 PM

Anyone like historical fiction?  This great series by Colleen McCullough is a great collection describing the last days of the Roman Republic.  Starting with Gaius Marius and ending with Antony and Cleopatra.  Her research into the history of the period is extensive.  All the details are there.  All your favorite Roman characters of the past are represented.  What's really great about it is the life she gives to real historical figures:  Caesar and his generals, Cicero, Sulla, Marius, and many others.  All the minor players have their own human foibles and talents showcased.  Set within the historical action of the period she gives real personality to all these important figures in history.

Masters of Rome series by Colleen McCullough

  • The first book of the series details Gaius Marius and his rise to consul...7 times!
  • The second book details a very colorful Lucius Cornelius Sulla.  Low class patrician making good and becoming dictator.
  • The third and fourth details Caesar in his younger days and his rise to power.
  • The fifth an sixth volume's describe Caesar at his full height of power and his eventual murder.
  • The last and seventh book is the tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra and the rise of Augustus.

Reading this series may help to improve an interest in Roman History.  It goes well with the texts, documentaries, and movies available on the subject.  Especially, on the religious and political psychology of the day.  In there time, one can suppose that it would be called philosophy.  The Greek and Persian worlds and their ideas are all represented in these volumes.  Kudos to Colleen McCullough and her massive effort to describe the past and it's lessons.

 

:wub:

 

:rainbowsmall:

 

I, Claudius!
 
By Robert Graves
 
Reads like an old 1930s novel should.  Lots and lots of character development.  
 
 
There is also an old tv mini series done in the 1970s with the same title. Well worth the watch!
 
 
:popcorn:

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Posted 04 November 2015 - 01:09 PM

:bumpsmall:  this!

 

How Books Inspire Imagination
 
The Best Teachers
 
Books are the greatest teachers. They will always be there for us to reflect upon. Richard De Bury describes books as “masters who instruct us without rods of ferules, without words or anger, without bread or money; if you approach them, they are not asleep; if you seek them, they do not hid; if you blunder, they do not scold; if you are ignorant, they do not laugh.”Through books we can learn anything. They won’t mock us for trying either. Through books, we can take our sweet time learning things that interest us. Through books, we learn many things. We can learn from others people’s experiences, we learn the past, and we learn things for our futures. In books we can learn that not everyone is perfect. We view other peoples’ mistakes and learn from them. We can observe how people behave as well.
 
 
:Egg-icon:
 

 

 


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Posted 05 November 2015 - 01:10 PM

“Crude thoughts and fierce forces are my state”
 
Norman Mailer
Ancient Evenings
 
AncientEvenings.jpg
 
This one has gotten some pretty lousy reviews.  I liked it.  It starts off real strange - Surreal and visionary:  The main character travels around through the ancient tombs as a 'ba' or ka' type of spirit.  I forget which.  Not knowing exactly who or what 'he' is...traveling about figuring out how to tell his story...
 
His spirit has been around a few times.  This story is filled with all the allure of ancient decadence and spiritual fancies. Loaded with allegory and poetry with historical settings and references of the day - Egypt in the nineteenth and twentieth dynasties (1290-1100 B.C.).
 
It's a confounding novel.  Well researched and dancing poetically into the imprisonment of perception.  Evidently, Mr. Mailer did his research on the Egyptian religion.  
 
Here's a much better review from the New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.c...?pagewanted=all
 

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#16 status - Bzzz

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 05:24 PM

 

“Crude thoughts and fierce forces are my state”
 
Norman Mailer
Ancient Evenings
 
 
This one has gotten some pretty lousy reviews.  I liked it.  It starts off real strange - Surreal and visionary:  The main character travels around through the ancient tombs as a 'ba' or ka' type of spirit.  I forget which.  Not knowing exactly who or what 'he' is...traveling about figuring out how to tell his story...
 
His spirit has been around a few times.  This story is filled with all the allure of ancient decadence and spiritual fancies. Loaded with allegory and poetry with historical settings and references of the day - Egypt in the nineteenth and twentieth dynasties (1290-1100 B.C.).
 
It's a confounding novel.  Well researched and dancing poetically into the imprisonment of perception.  Evidently, Mr. Mailer did his research on the Egyptian religion.  
 
Here's a much better review from the New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.c...?pagewanted=all

 

 

 
:)

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#17 Riddikulus

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Posted 16 November 2015 - 01:20 AM

men-of-men.jpg

During the reign of Queen Victoria Englishmen answering the call of Empire voyaged out to take possession of half their known world. Their leaders were such men as Cecil Rhodes, Leander Starr Jameson and Zouga Ballantyne.

Some of this pioneer company journeyed north from the Cape in search of gold and land, of cattle and loot. Others went for glory and the pursuit of a dream.

 

http://www.wilbursmi...tyne/men-of-men

 

:)

This book was pretty exciting.

Vivid in its detail on the pressures put upon the natives for control of the diamonds. 

The dirt, dust, and filth of existence whilst living in the pit is told with the living grit of true hardship. 

 

Cecil Rhodes is characterized in his younger years. 

Secretive, conniving, yet with a strange kind of romance. 

You can check out more on that historical figure here:  Diamond Rhodes to Destiny

 

The fictional character of Zouga Ballantyne adds to the excitement and tremendous hardship of men caught up in wild dreams of empire.  Destroying others and themselves along the way.  All for the glory of 'god' and 'country'.

 

;)

 

 

 


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#18 Riddikulus

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Posted 19 November 2015 - 01:11 PM

Pastwatch
The Redemption of Christopher Columbus

By Orson Scott Card

 

http://www.hatrack.c...pastwatch.shtml

 

Here's a quick bubble of a blurb for your perusal:

 

A little science fiction today.  This one from Orson Scott Card is a great story on an alternate timeline type of situation.  In the future, humans being human invent a machine that can watch events in the past. Sort of like watching TV with more control on zeroing in on the the program. All true events are scene and discussed with a teleological bent towards a better world.

 

Well, later in the story an actual time machine itself is invented.  Then things begin get interesting.  The machine itself is limited, but has been used before?!

 

Brings historical questions of Columbus back to the forfront of history.  A few surprising twists and an interesting alternate timeline twist add to the adventure.

 

It's a quick read.  A stand alone book.  One of the better time travel type novels.

 

OSCpastwatch.jpg

 

 


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#19 Magdalena

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Posted 21 November 2015 - 02:16 PM

I see a trend toward historical fiction on this thread.  I was expecting a contemporary favorite of the fringe type.  ;)
 
Some of those historical fiction writers out there are fantastic time travelers.
 
zeitmaschine-0006.gif
 
:)

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#20 status - Guest

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Posted 02 December 2015 - 12:34 PM

Anyone like historical fiction?  This great series by Colleen McCullough is a great collection describing the last days of the Roman Republic.  Starting with Gaius Marius and ending with Antony and Cleopatra.  Her research into the history of the period is extensive.  All the details are there.  All your favorite Roman characters of the past are represented.  What's really great about it is the life she gives to real historical figures:  Caesar and his generals, Cicero, Sulla, Marius, and many others.  All the minor players have their own human foibles and talents showcased.  Set within the historical action of the period she gives real personality to all these important figures in history.

Masters of Rome series by Colleen McCullough

  • The first book of the series details Gaius Marius and his rise to consul...7 times!
  • The second book details a very colorful Lucius Cornelius Sulla.  Low class patrician making good and becoming dictator.
  • The third and fourth details Caesar in his younger days and his rise to power.
  • The fifth an sixth volume's describe Caesar at his full height of power and his eventual murder.
  • The last and seventh book is the tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra and the rise of Augustus.

Reading this series may help to improve an interest in Roman History.  It goes well with the texts, documentaries, and movies available on the subject.  Especially, on the religious and political psychology of the day.  In there time, one can suppose that it would be called philosophy.  The Greek and Persian worlds and their ideas are all represented in these volumes.  Kudos to Colleen McCullough and her massive effort to describe the past and it's lessons.

 

:wub:

 

 

 

:rainbowsmall:

 

I, Claudius!
 
By Robert Graves
 
Reads like an old 1930s novel should.  Lots and lots of character development.  
 
 
There is also an old tv mini series done in the 1970s with the same title. Well worth the watch!
 
 
:popcorn:

 

 

Found an interesting link to a new movie in the making:
 
 
 
 
 
I wonder if it will be based on the Master of Rome series!

 

 

I see a trend toward historical fiction on this thread.  I was expecting a contemporary favorite of the fringe type.  ;)
 
Some of those historical fiction writers out there are fantastic time travelers.
 
zeitmaschine-0006.gif
 
:)

 

 

Know any good alternate history novels?  How about some good non-fiction!?

 

:D


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