Book Thread

Well, unless I'm blind or something, I haven't seen a book thread on this forum, so here I am!

The name speaks for itself, a thread made for books :) Post what you want about books, your favourite ones, ones you're currently reading.

I'll start us off:

Currently, I am sort of re-reading Funeral in Berlin by Len Deighton. I have read it before but I was younger and never got into it so I restarted and now I love it. :)
I'm also re-reading the Harry Potter books because why not?
If you want a new book series to read, I suggest going for some classics like Le Carre or Fleming but if you've read them then I suggest something a little less popular, the 'Young Bond' series :) I loved reading those and I still do!
Richard Adams also has some good books. they're childrens books but so well written! Joseph Kanon's "The Good German" is also a good read :)

If you're looking for some more classic books, I suggest taking a look at Dracula! War and Peace is also a good one! I must say I enjoy Russian books :)

So tell me what you think of my choices and tell me some of your own! I'd love to hear some suggestions from you all :)

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    Just noticed the amount of Smiley faces I put o_O

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    edited October 2015

    I started and rather voraciously read the first 100 or so pages of a book I bought completely at random, After Dark by Haruki Murakami, it's not a long book at about 220 pages, but I got really drawn into it. Taking course over a single night in Tokyo, it explores themes of alienation and loneliness, as a group of people's lives interconnect in a number of ways. Settings include late night fast food restaurants, seedy "love motels" and a hallucinatory magical realist sequence featuring a television and "a man with no face". Reminds me a lot of a David Lynch film, particularly Mulholland Drive, with Los Angeles replaced by Tokyo. Especially the voyeuristic nature of the prose itself which frequently breaks the fourth wall, referring to us, the reader, as a camera lens. Definitely worth picking up.

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    Nice! I'll pick it up if I see it somewhere! Sounds good :)

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    edited October 2015

    Any good fantasy / military fiction books you guys can reccomend?

    I have just finished the Ice and Fire series so far for the 3rd time.

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    The First Law by Joe Abercrombie. One trilogy and three standalone books. The standalone books are the best fantasy I've ever read, especially The Heroes which is centered around a huge battle and seen from multiple viewpoints on both side of the conflict. Dark, human and humorous. The main characters are a vain puffed up young noble duelist, a berserker who got tired of fighting all the time and an old maimed inquisitor.

    The trilogy is great but the standalones are even better. It's worth reading the trilogy first though since some characters are reoccuring.

    If you want military fiction then Gaunt's Ghosts is fun and well written. Super gritty stuff but also very personal and I feel it captures the horror of war while still being entertaining. For non-fiction I can recommend The Naked and the Dead or With the Old Breed, both are very intense accounts of the pacific theatre.

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    edited October 2015

    @"Cpt. Patterson" said:
    Any good fantasy / military fiction books you guys can reccomend?

    I have just finished the Ice and Fire series so far for the 3rd time.

    The Wheel of Time has got a good mix of both. There is a bit more of action between small groups than any large armies, but wide scale battles do take place. It is one of the best fantasy books I've ever read and I personally love the series. It's got a huge detailed universe and plenty of interesting characters. Although be warned that it's a long read.

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    I am currently reading a collection of Danish soldier letters from World War One. It is letters written by danish soldiers fighting in the Canandian, Americane, British, russian or in the French "Légion Étrangère." I just felt over it when I was at the liberay last.

    Otherwise the best book I perhaps have read the last half year was a book called "Paris During the Commune" written by an Danish officer who had been fighting in the French-Prussian war of 1870-71. After he escapes out of Switzerland, he goes to Paris were he then ends up in the 3rd revolution. He has written several books, so I would definitely encourage everyone who falls over him to give him a try. His name is "Wilhelm Dinesen, but it probably will be hard to find any of his books. He never grew very popular, as most of his works are written with the purpose of writing it down and having something to spend the time at. His Daughter was the famous Karen Blixen.

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    Does Manga count as a book?

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    @"PFC Blake" Anything you can read that has a story counts in this thread.

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    So manga doesnt count then? ;)

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    I have been reading On War by Carl von Clausewitz off and on for the past month or so. It's really slow going; the type is pretty small, and there are almost 1000 pages, so it should take me a year or so to get through it.

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    I have been considering reading 'Artamene' but it is a very, very, very long read... think its officially 13.000 pages long? Something like that. But I dont want to be reading it for a year :P

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    I had to look it up how long that book is, and I have read some enormous works but that lenght just baffles me. Anyway if you like russian books you should give the brothers karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky also a enormous read (850 pages in my version) I find it very intersting (I am currently at a third of the book). Sometimes I think that the measurement of russian literature is how long the book can keep you warm in the siberian winter (the other work of russian literature that I have read being war and peace)

    On war: the book that keeps getting more complicated the further you get (for the fact that the further you get in the book the rougher the draft is as Clausewitz never completed it). I must say that several big chunks are still useful in the modern age and some are completely and utterly outdated.

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    edited October 2015

    I didn't see it mentioned, but "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien a great read. It isn't too long and is very well written. It's technically fiction but, it's based off of real people and events that were experienced by the author during his time at home and in the Vietnam War. It is a beautiful and terrifying book. O'Brien really knows how to write an image that will stay in your mind. It's not for the patriotic, it's for the realists.

    I also recommend the poems of Wilfred Owen. He was a Captain in the British Army in World War One. Owen and O'Brien have similar views and ways of describing warfare as a nasty, and destructive affair that ruins lives. Owen likes doing this through eloquent and simple poetry and half-rhymes. In his poem "Dulce et Decorum Est" (a latin term meaning that it is sweet to die for one's country) Owen vividly describes the death of a 17 year-old kid, strangled in a gas attack and how he had to look into his unnaturally bleached, white eyes as they carted him away for burial. Owen was killed in action on November 4, 1918. A week before the Armistice. His poetry was published posthumously by Siegfried Sassoon. They are both brutal and damn good reads. I recommend it to anyone interested in the subject of warfare.

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    I'll take a look, they both look interesting!

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    @"Cpt. Patterson", if you like medieval historical fiction Sir I would recommend the Brethren Trilogy by Robyn Young, she's a fantastic author. She also has a second Trilogy called Insurrection following the rise of Robert the Bruce to power in Scotland.

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    edited October 2015

    In the past month or two, I've read more books that I can count, but I'll give lists based on era / theme. I'll start with a World War 2 one since that would probably be most popular amongst us all. The paper I'm writing for in a class is revolving around the radicalization of warfare on the Eastern Front of Europe. The books I've read on this subject are the following.

    • Frontsoldaten by Stephen Fritz. This book takes numerous first hand accounts from German Soldiers throughout the war. The author takes a bottom up approach to describing the war in Russia rather than the Top down approach that we all know.

    • Nazi Policy on the Eastern Front, 1941 edited by Alex J. Kay, Jeff Rutherford, and David Stahel. The title of the book pretty much describes it. Still sifting through its pages.

    • Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland, by Christopher Browning. Browning is a leading figure in holocaust studies and is a pretty decent and easy read. He follows the police battalion on some of their operations in Poland and tries to enter the psyche of the men within the unit, however I find he relies too much on numbers to prove his point rather than creating an empathic bond with them as he stated he would try to do in his intro.

    • Soldat: Reflections of a German Soldier by Siegfried Knappe and Ted Brusaw. A book about one German officer during WW2. The movie Downfall is somewhat based off his accounts when he was placed in Berlin during the end of the war.

    • Soldier of Destruction: The SS Death's Head Division, 1933 - 1945 by Charles Sydnor. More or less the history of the formation of the SSTK, Totenkopf division and its military actions. Pretty good read and I understand that a certain reacting unit recommends this book for their members.

    • Hitler Strikes Poland: Blitzkrieg, Ideology, and Atrocity by Alexander B. Rossino. I like this book a lot for its sources. The story of the invasion of Poland with how specific "cleansing" operations were undertaken and even part of the invasion itself is horrifying. It also touches a lot on actions taken by and taken against the Volksdeutsche during the invasion which is very interesting.

    I think its needless to say that none of these books are cheery and are heavy reads within themselves. Gotta love Graduate School. . .

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    @"Sgt. Fritz" Well at least they sound more interesting then "Computational Ocean Accoustics" or "A study on channel modeling of underwater acoustic communication channels" which I had to read for my bachelor project. Although mine are less depressive the only thing good for them is that they are really good bedtime reads as you will fall asleep within 2 pages..

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    edited November 2015

    I've got three comics here for you all. Serious comics about serious wars.

    enter image description here

    First one is Harlem Hellfighters, a graphic novel that follows the first american all-black regiment into the trenches of WW1. Based on the real 369th Infantry Regiment, it's a very dark comic about racism, comradeship and the horrors of war. Very inspirational and a good homage to a forgotten piece of history.

    enter image description here

    Second one is a comic well known to people interested in the subject, but might not be known by the ones of you who aren't that into comics. Short snippets from all possible wars from the American Independence War to 'Nam. One of the few examples from the time period that didn't glorify american warfare, though it does glorify certain individuals because of their bravery. Also a very dark and pessimistic read about the futility of war and the psychological scars that goes with it.

    It's called Blazing Combat and was released back in '65 and '66. A collection was published in 2009 and should be rather easy to find online or at a well-stocked library (such as the one I work at)

    enter image description here

    Jacques Tardi is a great french artist that have done a lot of WW1 comics. Maybe the bleakest out of the bunch, but maybe that's why it is so good. A lot of them are based on stories told by his grandfather and other veterans. My favorite work is It was the war of trenches but just pick one and you won't be disappointed.

    If you guys don't usually read comics then you should definitely check them out. It's a very underrated medium for conveying the psychological impact of war on soldiers.

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    Finished Band of Brothers a while ago, started American Sniper (Loving it so far), and got The Hunt for Red October afterwards. Cant say i'm much of a book expert myself, I just recently got back into reading myself but I am enjoying it for the most part.

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    Most people may know that I pretty much love everything Frederick II of Prussia. With that said, here are two books that are really good reads. The first one, Frederick the Great by Nancy Mitford is a really good starting read. It covers most of his life but focuses more on his formative years and his relationships rather than his military career. There's also some substantial stuff on his personal life including his love of philosophy and the arts and covers a lot of the services he preformed as King for his people.

    enter image description here

    The other book by Robert B. Asprey called Frederick the Great: The Magnificent Enigma covers a lot of what Mitford does, but focus's more on his Military career, giving very descriptive samples of the battles he was in. Asprey's book cover's more details of his life and is slightly more in depth as to his character. Both are great reads and I'd highly recomend both to anyone interested in 18th Century European History, anyone interested in German History, the Enlightenment, or anything related to those.

    enter image description here

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    pow pow pow kapow kapow kapow
    "Serious" wars :)
    No but seriously they look good! Sgt. Fritz, they look good too I'll have to take a look at them :)

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    Just finished reading Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck.
    Starting re-reading Eragon by Christopher Paolini. I'd recommend all the books! Brilliant reads!

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    edited January 2016

    About halfway through Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis. Imaginative, witty and exceptionally well written. Winner of the 2015 Giller Prize

    " I wonder", said Hermes, "what it would be like if animals had human intelligence."

    " I'll wager a year's servitude, answered Apollo, that animals – any animal you like – would be even more unhappy than humans are, if they were given human intelligence."

    And so it begins: a bet between the gods Hermes and Apollo leads them to grant human consciousness and language to a group of dogs overnighting at a Toronto vet­erinary clinic. Suddenly capable of more complex thought, the pack is torn between those who resist the new ways of thinking, preferring the old 'dog' ways, and those who embrace the change. The gods watch from above as the dogs venture into their newly unfamiliar world, as they become divided among themselves, as each struggles with new thoughts and feelings. Wily Benjy moves from home to home, Prince becomes a poet, and Majnoun forges a relationship with a kind couple that stops even the Fates in their tracks.

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    After re-re-reading Funeral in Berlin (Just couldn't get into it until now) I am now finally done. I have to say, it is a great book!
    I'm currently reading a book from a new author. Having studied Creative Writing, I must say that this book is wonderfully crafted! It is called "The Good Liar" by Nicholas Searle.
    I've also found myself being enthralled by Greek mythology, but have no idea how to start reading it! Does anyone know where to start? There's just so much of it and want to fully get into it! :)

    On another note, I am currently writing a play for my coursework (decided to start from Act III) that I feel is shaping along just fine. If you want to read (and give feedback if you're willing) then I the link is here and should (in theory) work: https://www.celtx.com/auth/public/resource/hiet48cu (ignore the notes on the side)
    If it doesn't work then just give me a shout.

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    edited February 2016

    I'm slowly going through "The War of the Austrian Succession" by Reed Browning. Reed himself is a retried professor.


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    For those that may not know, the War of Austrian Succession was a war brought on by the death of Habsburg King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI. Upon his death, due to Salic law, Austrian Queen Maria Theresa was seen as unfit for taking over the Kingdom. Mixed in with the complex political situation of Central Europe, other Kingdoms such as France and Prussia saw this moment to be perfect oppurtunity for chipping away at Austrian power on the continent.

    This book focuses on the military and political developments of the war. It starts with the an overview of Europe at this time and then goes right into the war itself. What's interesting about the War of Austrian Succession is that it can be easily described as a global war (World War). On almost every continent, there were powers vying for supremacy. This includes colonial gains, piracy, traditional 18th century war, etc. What's also important is how fundamental this war was for interpreting modern European History. It showed how weak the Holy Roman Empire was, it laid the foundations for the Seven Years War (AKA the French and Indian War), it fermented the Enlightenment, gave way to the Atlantic Revolutions, the rise of Romanticism and Modernist philosophy, and of course brought us, according to Post Modern philosophy (I believe that is the correct school)to the horrors of two World Wars.

    Of course this isn't the books aim as its objective is to chronicle the events of the war itself. Reed seems to be showing how Europe is shifting from its Pre-modern self to a modern one by looking at how War is orchestrated and how old political orders are hinderances on society and rule. The book is very name heavy, so if you aren't spending special attention to the details, you'll easy get lost in how things are turning out. Having some background information on this time period also helps. (I'm reading it for a non-Frederick perspective since I've read a bit on the Prussian Kings life and deeds) If it weren't for school and work, I'd say I would have finished this book already but I'm well over halfway done with it and hopefully will be able to finish it before the semester is finished.

    If you have an interest in 18th century Europe, this is an important time piece (1740 - 1748) that you're not going to want to miss. This book so far has done an excellent job at describing the military and political situation of Europe at the time.

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    I don't read books very often, but one I read a couple years back that was a good read was "The Longest Winter" its all about the 99th Infantry Division and one of their Platoons. This one platoon was put more forward than the rest, and got attacked by a battalion size German unit, only about 20 or so members in the 99th Platoon, and they took about over 100 germans, before the germans finally flanked them and captured them. Only reason they were able to capture was because they ran out of ammo. But really good read found the book somewhere for like $5.

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    If you have a teenage child, I'd recommend you to find the book "Toby Alone" for him/her
    Quite an influential book on me, shaped about 30% of who I am at 19 years old

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    Has anyone an experience with the Nafziger tactical studies collection?

    http://www.nafzigercollection.com/product-category/tactical-studies-for-all-ages/?orderby=menu_order

    Is it worht to buy?

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    @"PFC Thomas" said:
    If you have a teenage child, I'd recommend you to find the book "Toby Alone" for him/her
    Quite an influential book on me, shaped about 30% of who I am at 19 years old

    Best name ever. Toby is THE best name!

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