The SMB Book thread

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Ilan Pape - 9/10
A book predominantly about 1948 and Ben Gurion's strategy of sweeping through palestinian towns and driving out the inhabitants, seeking "as much of Palestine with as few Palestinians as possible". Very good, but very depressing and infuriating read.

The World in Conflict, John Andrews - 4/10
If you want to know a tiny amount about the conflicts that are ongoing in a lot of countries in the world then this is the book for you. If you want any depth whatsoever, then it isn't.
 
Durham Book Festival start this weekend, goes on for 10 days.

I'm off to see Peter Pomerentisev talk about his new book" This is Not Propaganda. His last one on Putin's Russian was a classic - Everything is Possible and Northing is Real

Quite a bit is sold out including Jessica Andrews talking about Tideland, but there are tickets left for Northern Noir next Saturday - 3 Northern crime writers including AA Dhand - his DCI Harry Virdee novels are superb.
 
Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahniuk

Essentially, this is Palahniuk's take on US politics. The central premise is that, in the near future, an alliance of blacks, gays and blue collar whites hold a bloody revolution in the US (guided by a sinister, mystery book), killing off or enslaving the political classes, liberal academia and members of the media and divide the country into three, Blacktopia, Gaysia and Caucasia. Things unravel from this in all three newly formed countries in differing ways. There are numerous subplots and, unlike most of Palahniuk's work, it doesn't really focus on a central character. I can't say I enjoyed it. I didn't really indentify with or like any of the characters, there are some major plot holes and I'm not sure it resolves itself too well. A bit disappointing. 5/10
 
Durham Book Festival start this weekend, goes on for 10 days.

I'm off to see Peter Pomerentisev talk about his new book" This is Not Propaganda. His last one on Putin's Russian was a classic - Everything is Possible and Northing is Real

Quite a bit is sold out including Jessica Andrews talking about Tideland, but there are tickets left for Northern Noir next Saturday - 3 Northern crime writers including AA Dhand - his DCI Harry Virdee novels are superb.
Brilliant book. I read it a couple of weeks ago. I remember being terrified by his previous book, and much of what he predicted (the overload of fake news; the promotion of false conspiracy theories at the highest levels; politicians manipulating social media) has come to pass. This new one is equally terrifying. There aren't any obvious solutions. Those who control the flow of information will control the world, and there's very little we can do to stop them.
 
Brilliant book. I read it a couple of weeks ago. I remember being terrified by his previous book, and much of what he predicted (the overload of fake news; the promotion of false conspiracy theories at the highest levels; politicians manipulating social media) has come to pass. This new one is equally terrifying. There aren't any obvious solutions. Those who control the flow of information will control the world, and there's very little we can do to stop them.
He was superb at the book festival. He started by reading an extract from his book about his Dad's experiences with the KGB in the 1970s, then did a long Q&A

I'm off to the Gordon Burn prize tonight, going to try and see the AA Dhand talk on Saturday
 

errant

Striker
I remember being terrified by his previous book, and much of what he predicted (the overload of fake news; the promotion of false conspiracy theories at the highest levels; politicians manipulating social media) has come to pass.
i read that on your recommendation here, was a great read from a book point of view - but horrifying from a real world point of view. i'll add the paperback to my 'to read' list...
 
I've got into a 'bad' habit of reading books that come free via the Amazon Lending Library or the Prime First Reads promotion. The standard is generally disappointing, even with big name authors.
Rubber Necker - Belinda Bauer 7/10

A pleasant surprise. Some similarities to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time with the protagonist having Aspergers. His differences were handled well with light humour and it never felt it was forced on us.
Patrick is trying to come to terms with his Father's death and uncovers what he believes is a crime although nobody believes him. Well written, well paced and well rounded characters. Despite having an awkward personality, you can't help rooting for Patrick in his quest.
Only slight criticism was that the B stories stretched believability with too many coincidences but it doesn't really detract from an entertaining read.

Fat Chance - Nick Spalding 5/10

Written as the diary entries of an overweight couple embarking on a competition to lose weight.
Meant to be heartwarming but the characters were all a bit one dimensional and the plot fairly thin. You could see where it was going.
Felt a bit sneering in places, especially when mentioning the 'chav' couple and having a lesbian couple, a black couple and an elderly couple felt like he was using labels rather than character development.
A couple of amusing set pieces but not enough to carry a whole novel and the diary entries never felt like diary entries. Not very believable, people being off their tits on Ibuprofen, fatties doing a 8k run with just a week's notice.
Spalding possibly knows his audience better than me and it may appeal to women of a certain weight who feel it is about them but it was all a bit dull.
 
I've got into a 'bad' habit of reading books that come free via the Amazon Lending Library or the Prime First Reads promotion. The standard is generally disappointing, even with big name authors.
Rubber Necker - Belinda Bauer 7/10

A pleasant surprise. Some similarities to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time with the protagonist having Aspergers. His differences were handled well with light humour and it never felt it was forced on us.
Patrick is trying to come to terms with his Father's death and uncovers what he believes is a crime although nobody believes him. Well written, well paced and well rounded characters. Despite having an awkward personality, you can't help rooting for Patrick in his quest.
Only slight criticism was that the B stories stretched believability with too many coincidences but it doesn't really detract from an entertaining read.
I've also just finished reading this and was going to post a review when I got an opportunity. I had decided that it was a 7.5/10 as it was an entertaining read without being gripping. Pyschological thrillers aren't really my thing and I'd read 'Blacklands' by the same author which I hadn't enjoyed. I reluctantly bought this book largely as the main character was rather reminiscent of my daughter but without the Aspergers. When it turned out that the anatomy deprtment was at Cardiff University where my daughter had cut up 'Dave' it became rather spooky.
 
I've got into a 'bad' habit of reading books that come free via the Amazon Lending Library or the Prime First Reads promotion. The standard is generally disappointing, even with big name authors.
Rubber Necker - Belinda Bauer 7/10

A pleasant surprise. Some similarities to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time with the protagonist having Aspergers. His differences were handled well with light humour and it never felt it was forced on us.
Patrick is trying to come to terms with his Father's death and uncovers what he believes is a crime although nobody believes him. Well written, well paced and well rounded characters. Despite having an awkward personality, you can't help rooting for Patrick in his quest.
Only slight criticism was that the B stories stretched believability with too many coincidences but it doesn't really detract from an entertaining read.
Do you remember me talking about a book I put down after two chapters (rare for me) because of the utter unbelievability of it? A heavily pregnant, nervous, and anxious woman, whose husband is away, wakes to realise that an intruder in her house who leaves a knife next to her bed and a weird note in a card...and decides that she won't call husband or the police, she'll just go back to sleep instead?

That was Snap, by Belinda Bauer. Not sure I'd pick another one on the strength of that.
 
The Moon's a Balloon - David Niven 9.5/10
This was another of my recent holiday reads and much has already been written about this book on the SMB. It really is a fascinating read and he led an extroadinary life from being expelled from school at the age of 10 and a half. I don't want to write too much more as it could spoil the book for others but it chronicles his days at school, in the army, as an actor in Hollywood and his personal life.
 

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