The SMB Book thread

Bit Rot by Douglas Coupland

A mix of short stories, essays and articles from Coupland. Loosely speaking it's about the way that the future, as viewed from the 20th century, has failed ot materialise. Some of it is new but most of the short stories and articles have been published before. The nature of it means there are hits and misses and I broadly prefer the short stories to the non-fictional parts. 7/10
 

The Ram

Goalkeeper
Blood and Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

June, 1781. An unidentified body hangs upon a hook at Deptford Dock – horribly tortured and branded with a slaver’s mark.

Some days later, Captain Harry Corsham – a war hero embarking upon a promising parliamentary career – is visited by the sister of an old friend. Her brother, passionate abolitionist Tad Archer, had been about to expose a secret that he believed could cause irreparable damage to the British slaving industry. He’d said people were trying to kill him, and now he is missing . . .

If you are a fan of historical crime fiction this is a must read. Wonderfully written and thrilling throughout, go out and buy it. 9/10
 
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Blood and Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

June, 1781. An unidentified body hangs upon a hook at Deptford Dock – horribly tortured and branded with a slaver’s mark.

Some days later, Captain Harry Corsham – a war hero embarking upon a promising parliamentary career – is visited by the sister of an old friend. Her brother, passionate abolitionist Tad Archer, had been about to expose a secret that he believed could cause irreparable damage to the British slaving industry. He’d said people were trying to kill him, and now he is missing . . .

If you are a fan of historical crime fiction this is a must read. Wonderfully written and thrilling throughout, go out and buy it. 9/10
This is supposed to be a very good read and you've reminded me to buy it. The author is Tony Robinson's (Baldrick) daughter.
 

jacko100

Striker
The Art of Dying by Ambrose Parry

Second in the series in which Christopher Brookmyre and his wife, Marisa Haetzman collaborate under a pseudonym. Victorian Edinburgh, medically based crime etc. It's an enjoyable and easy read which mixes historically accurate characters with fictional characters. 8/10
Just read the two of these back to back, very enjoyable reads. The plot and "twists" you could see a mile off, so much so in fact that I expected a double twist but it didnt happen. Would still read more of them though. Just wish he'd write more parlabane
 

Monty Pigeon

Striker
Independence Square by AD Miller 6/10
I quite liked his book Snowdrops, set in Moscow. This one takes place in Ukraine during the Orange Revolution. Evokes the atmosphere pretty well, but ultimately there's not enough at stake for the story to grip you.

 

taipeisafc

Winger
The Travelling Cat Chronicles - 8 / 10

Not my usual fare at all but read a couple of other Japanese novels and enjoyed them and like cats so thought I'd give it a go. The translation ends up a little childish in tone but to be honest it suits the material, very good story about life, friendship, love and loss and I am not ashamed to say I had a bit of dirt in my eye at the end. The author clearly understands cats. Rather excellent I thought.

John Milton 4-6 - Mark Dawson - 7/10

Very derivative stuff about an ex-SAS ex-Assassing trying to right wrongs, should be awful but I really enjoy them and decent escapist stuff albeit a little far fetched.
 
The Volunteer

A pole willingly goes to Auschwitz to work in the underground

still reading it, horrific, not just the brutality of human upon human, but the inability of people to believe, or want to believe what was going on and act to help
9/10
 

Monty Pigeon

Striker
Spillover by David Quammen 10/10
The exact opposite of an escapist read. This will tell you everything you need to know about how a virus such as COVID-19 emerged, and what can be done about it. Non-fiction, but it reads like a thriller.

 

MoJoBo

Goalkeeper
I finished Wonderland Avenue by Danny Sugarman yesterday. It was a great read. It’s about him growing up and being part of The Doors management team when he was 13 and his subsequent addictions etc.

Highly recommended.

Starting Broken Greek by Peter Paphides next. It’s been getting great reviews.
 

Teed

Striker
Just wading my way through Mark Twain's work. Life on the Mississippi, Tom Sawyer and the Prince and the pauper, up to now, they can be heavy going at times though.
 

Farralad

Midfield
Just finished the 4th day by day Armageddon book by J.L. Bourne. It’s about an ex army blokes ordeal following a zombie outbreak.
 
The Gruffalo's child. 5/10.

A subversive look at heroinism in literature, however as the book progresses I find myself liking the hidden protagonist less and less in favour if the titular villan. It's my 82nd time reading it and I'm at the point where I wish the mouse would just get eaten.
 
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Thackeray

Striker
Recently...

The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by Jose Saramago. An alternative fictionalised account of the life of Christ. He still meets God, does miracles and that, only this time he has loads of brothers and sisters, bucks Mary Magdalena and so on. It's hard to work out why he wrote it, but it's still a fantastically rich and alive novel.

Christ Stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi. Nothing actually to do with Jesus this one. An account of Levi's exile to the South of Italy as a political dissident in Mussolini's ascending fascist state. Like an Italian Road to Wigan Pier with added fascist militia and endemic malaria. Superb.

Rings of Saturn by WG Sebald. More psychogeography from the Norfolk flaneur, this time down the bleak Suffolk coast, taking in...well, all manner of things. Recommended.
 

Jasper

Striker
Recently...

The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by Jose Saramago. An alternative fictionalised account of the life of Christ. He still meets God, does miracles and that, only this time he has loads of brothers and sisters, bucks Mary Magdalena and so on. It's hard to work out why he wrote it, but it's still a fantastically rich and alive novel.

Christ Stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi. Nothing actually to do with Jesus this one. An account of Levi's exile to the South of Italy as a political dissident in Mussolini's ascending fascist state. Like an Italian Road to Wigan Pier with added fascist militia and endemic malaria. Superb.

Rings of Saturn by WG Sebald. More psychogeography from the Norfolk flaneur, this time down the bleak Suffolk coast, taking in...well, all manner of things. Recommended.
Rings of Saturn has been on my to read list for ages, right up my street that sort of thing.
 
D: Day Through German Eyes (Volume 1 and 2) by Holger Eckhertz

Dieter Eckhertz was working for two German Prapaganda magazines "Signal" and "Die Wehrmacht" at the time of June 6, 1944. Years later in the 1950's he interviews a wide range of different now veteran German soldiers who fought on the day that changed the tide of the war. His Grandson Holger recently discovered the transcripts of the interviews and compiled it in this book.

This book has come under great fire for being a hoax. Giles Milton, author of a similar book but which has interviews from people on all sides "D Day: The Soldiers Story" claims that the soldiers can be found on the internet when lots of other soldiers allegedly can, the author or his Grandfather is not in any address listings in Germany or Britain and the publishing company DTZ History Publications cannot be found in any companies house in Britain or Germany. However to balance the debate, the detail given by the soldiers of surroundings and the hardware the Third Reich are way too precise to be a hoax. You decide.

I give it 5/10.
 

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