What are you reading 2016?

Discussion in 'Books' started by John F, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. John F

    John F Active Member

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    I'm reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. This has been one my TBR list for awhile. I've heard good things about it on multiple forums.
     
  2. DustinDavis

    DustinDavis Well-Known Member

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    The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy

    Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. This is an account of the attitudes, people, and circumstances leading to the massive buildup of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons during the Cold War.

    Most people probably think of nuclear weapons when they think of this time. I remember vividly having nightmares of the nuclear apocalypse as a child. What many do not realize is the Soviet Union also manufactured enough VX gas (one drop will kill a person in a few minutes), and enough smallpox (wiped off the face of the planet but for samples which were meant to be kept frozen by nation-states in case of some future outbreak that required access to those strains for research), that even total elimination of the nuclear arsenal would have left multiple attack vectors, each capable of true existential threat to any country or even the world, in the hands of the Soviet Union. And the Soviet Union did all of this for many years beyond putting their signature on treaties meant to eliminate those threats.

    That is, until a journeyman politician named Mikhail Gorbachev came along and, pun intended, blew the whole thing up. The interesting thing about that time is how much the Soviets really were driven by the fear that the US had as one of its main goals the destruction of the Soviet Union and its people. And just how much investment went into the military machine that ostensibly was protecting those people, but in reality was protecting the machine itself, sucking the wind out of the rest of the economy, and stealing the hope of prosperity for anyone outside of the machine. Although glasnost and perestroika eventually led to the downfall of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev comes off as a hero in this book; fearlessly challenging the establishment, seeking compromise with former enemy Ronald Reagan, and replacing paranoia and cronyism with real perspective based on open communication and information.

    The "Dead Hand" is a reference to a command-and-control system invented by the Soviets. The purpose of the system was to, in the event of a situation where the leadership of the country had been incapacitated or killed (hypothetically by a first strike from the US), automate the decision to launch a full counter strike. In a nutshell, someone would flip a switch, and based on a few data points such as radar or whether certain silos or stations were still operational, a computer system would take the "dead hand" of the leaders, and launch. This is a system that, within the space of minutes, could make the independent decision to threaten the existence of every person on the planet, yet the radars feeding information to it were known to mistake flocks of birds for incoming MIRVs.

    There is so much more. For those who want to dig deeper, I also recommends who books I read long ago, having to do with the biological weapons component:

    Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World. Written by Ken Alibek, director of Biopreparat, who defected to the US after years of manufacturing tons of weaponized smallpox in violation of international treaties.

    The Demon In The Freezer. Told from a US perspective by Richard Preston, author of The Hot Zone (also recommended now that I think of it).
     
  3. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll HTT Refugee Donor

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    For some reason I've fallen in love with a couple of adult paranormal fantasy writers, Mark Henwick and Elizabeth Hunter. FYI, 'adult' as in there is sex, but it is story driven and doesn't go to the level I would consider 'erotic'.

    Henwick is more understandable, I found him in the science fiction section and really, that's pretty much how he writes, very similar to character driven sci-fi. He only has written 4 novels so far, all in the same universe, along with several novellas and short stories. The series name is "Bite Back", the protagonist is a female ex-special forces operative who is bitten by a 'feral' vampire during an operation in South America. Yes, it has vampires and werewolves, but none of them sparkle or burst into flame when exposed to sunlight. All of his work is very well written and if you're into this kind of thing at all, I highly recommend him. Even if you're not; I wasn't, until I read his first book, Sleight of Hand. Check the reading order, a prequel was released last year. The next book in the series is due out soon and I'm really looking forward to it.

    How I fell in love with Elizabeth Hunter's writing is harder to understand. Her work is classed as urban or paranormal fantasy, but it's really romance in an urban fantasy setting. At first I fooled myself into thinking that it was OK, fantasy and sci-fi are two side of the same coin, right? Except then I read her straight romance novel "The Genius & The Muse" and loved it, as well. I had to double check my man card by trying to read a couple other romance novels and fortunately, I didn't make it thru either.

    Hunter has several series running in multiple universes, some shared. Her "Cambio Springs" series is my favorite, but all of them are very good, IMO.
     
  4. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll HTT Refugee Donor

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    Shouldn't this be a sticky?
     
  5. Zak

    Zak Well-Known Member

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    Finished A Dance With Dragons in early January and didn't know what to read next. Loved that series and cannot wait for the 6th & 7th books to come out. They cannot come out fast enough for me. Picked up A Knight of The Seven Kingdoms, as it's a prequel to A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin. Good read, though a bit easier than GOT.
     
  6. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    I just finished Career of Evil last night. I'd give it a solid 4/5 stars. I think I'm going to read The Martian next.
     
  7. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Well-Known Member Top Poster

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    The Martian is a easy fun read

    I just finished The Bone Labyrinth by James Rollins and intend on reading Chris Hadfields book next.
     
  8. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    I had read all of James Rollins books at one point but stopped. Is the Bone Labyrinth worth it?
     
  9. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    Just finished The Martian. It was great. I really, really liked it. I gave it 5 starts on Good Reads.
     
  10. Mike B

    Mike B Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    Rescue Road - Peter Zheutlin

    "One man, 30,000 dogs and a million miles on the last hope highway"

    I know that rescue people have big hearts, but now I know how big. Amazing story. Kelly got it for me this Christmas. Great tale about how the "rescue network" functions and it's full of hope and joy as well as sorrow and pain. Took me a long time to get through it, lot of emotion.

    Back to "easy reading pulp fiction" for a while this real world stuff is too much like work.
     
  11. Jay Brown

    Jay Brown Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

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    Allen Dean Foster book adaptations of Alien, Aliens, and Star Wars: TFA.
    Alien read more like the "behind the scenes" footage and scripts while the film was still under developement. Facehugger had an eye, similar to Giger's early designs, which made it creepy.

    Getting ready to check out The Martian.
     
  12. DYohn

    DYohn Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    Reading the latest Anne Rice novel about Lestat. Chapter 5 and so far not impressed.
     
  13. John F

    John F Active Member

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    I'm reading Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series. I've finished the first trilogy, and I am going to read the Wax and Wayne series...

    after I finish my current read: TransAtlantic by Colum McCann.
     
  14. Zak

    Zak Well-Known Member

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    I forgot to bring the book I'm reading on my flight today so I picked up "Ready Player One" I'm one chapter in and like it thus far.
     
  15. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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  16. Mike B

    Mike B Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    Forever Odd - Dean Koontz

    I thought I had the "Odd Thomas" octology covered but I was one short. This is the second in the series right before he goes on retreat in Brother Odd. Still in Pico Mundo and grieving the loss of Stormy. Just existing. A murder and the kidnapping of one of his friends gets him going again. The antagonist is a gorgeous woman insane with with the occult.

    As usual all the bad guys (and girl) get what they deserve. After this shit it's not hard to understand why he wants to hang out in a monastery.
     
  17. Mike B

    Mike B Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    Inherit The Dead - 20 different writers, one for each chapter.

    Amazing piece of work. 20 top notch crime writers each do a chapter and none of them got to read what the others had before. Yet it is completely coherent and seamless. Amazing.

    The bad guys are as bad as they come, the good guy is a disgraced ex cop now PI and that's all I'm going to say except just read it if you like this kind of stuff. Top notch - :)
     
  18. Zak

    Zak Well-Known Member

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    That sounds fascinating Mike. I'll have to pick it up sometime.

    I'm almost half way through "Ready Player One" and really enjoying it thus far. Good story and great homage to 70/80/90's culture.
     
  19. Mike B

    Mike B Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    Red Notice - Bill Browder

    "A true story of high finance, murder and one man's fight for justice"

    I'm not usually into biographies, but hey with that description it sounded like my kind of stuff. It's really good and tells the sad tale of why Putin stopped Americans from adopting Russian orphans. Not until now do I understand what a world class shit bag that guy is. An excellent look at Eastern Europe and a good rousing tale. Browder came from a family of communists and decided to do his "youthful rebellion" by becoming the biggest capitalist in Eastern Europe. Amazing tale.
     
  20. John F

    John F Active Member

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    Read Different Seasons by Stephen King. It was a collection of 4 novellas (by Stephen King). 3 of the 4 were normal fiction (no supernatural element), and 3 of the 4 were made into films:
    Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, Apt Pupil, and The Body (Stand by Me).
     

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