Just bringing this discussion over to ning...

What books are you reading right now that don't have a narrative driven by images as well as words?

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Starting to read Empire by Gore Vidal, the fourth volume in his American Chronicles historical novel series (following Burr, Lincoln and 1876). He did a nice job of blending real historical characters with POV fictional characters. Anything the historical characters say comes from their quoted words or writings.

Brian Clemens (and Ted Hart) More Stories from Thriller
-Thriller was a 70s British anthology series. I sometimes saw the show way back when and remember it as good. This is a collection of episode adaptations, "adapted by Ted Hart from Brian Clemens’s original stories”. Apparently Clemens plotted the Thriller stories even when he didn't write them. The stories here aren't all that special but I'd still like to see it again.

Edgar Wallace Kate Plus Ten
-A young woman is a criminal mastermind, and plans jobs for a gang of ten who live on a suburban street the police call Crime Street. She plans the disappearance of a train carrying gold bullion. Meanwhile she and her detective nemesis fall in love. I found this a charming light thriller, better put-together than Wallace's novels often are.

Edgar Wallace The Ringer
-A murderer who is a master of disguise returns to Britain to kill the crooked lawyer responsible for the death of his sister. He is assisted by his devoted wife. (Their relationship is the really interesting element in the story.) Meanwhile the lawyer schemes to seduce the sister of a young man he has corrupted. She is loved by a police detective.

This is a novelisation of Wallace’s play - the joins show at times - which was in turn adapted from his novel The Gaunt Stranger. The story is an often-filmed work, with multiple English and German versions. (The German ones are called Der Hexer, "The Sorcerer".) I very much enjoyed The Gaunt Stranger (1938) when I saw it awhile back, because Alexander Knox plays the Scots police doctor Dr Lomond charmingly and I thought it well-made for a 30s British film.

Whether in the novel the Ringer is to be understood as a vigilante or a criminal isn’t completely clear. The only crimes attributed to him are vigilante-style murders, but his former association with the lawyer - he left his sister in his care - implies he’s an underworld figure.

Jack Higgins The Iron Tiger

-Decent thriller from the mid 60s. (Higgins wrote The Eagle has Landed.) A pilot has been flying arms shipments into Tibet from a border state between India and China. The Chinese invade, and the ruler is killed. The hero and his friends have to get out, and to get the heir out with them. The journey is gruelling and they are pursued all the way. There's a longer review here.

Currently finishing up Reflections on the Revolution in France, by Edmund Burke.  Next up will be The Civil War, by Julius Caesar.

Pines by Blake Crouch (the first of the trilogy the Wayward Pines tv show is based on).

Now reading The Early History of Rome: Books I-V of the Ab Urbe Condita, by Livy.

Failure Is Not an Option by Gene Krantz detailing his role at Mission Control from the very beginning of the US space program through the Apollo missions.



The Baron said:

Now reading The Early History of Rome: Books I-V of the Ab Urbe Condita, by Livy.

Finished Livy, next up is Hear the Wind Sing, by Haruki Murakami.

Would you mind my asking what you thought of Livy? I've not read him (or any of the great Greeks or Romans, actually), except a few pages.

I found the book interesting and readable. It's funny how little politics has changed in over two thousand years.

Thanks. It's easy to forget the Roman Republic, as the emperors and Christianity started after it ended, but I believe Roman democracy was an inspiration for early modern democrats. Joseph Addison's play Cato, about an opponent of Caesar's, was reportedly famous in the 18th century.

I'm reading the Patrick Rothfuss fantasy novels, The Name of the Wind and now The Wise Man's Fear. They're big, honkin' things-- 700 pages and 1,110 pages, respectively -- but once I got started, I just can't stop. Basically, they're the autobiography of a hero, told over three nights, with each book representing a different night. (Part 3 hasn't been published yet, but I'll be first in line when it is.)



Luke Blanchard said:

Thanks. It's easy to forget the Roman Republic, as the emperors and Christianity started after it ended, but I believe Roman democracy was an inspiration for early modern democrats. Joseph Addison's play Cato, about an opponent of Caesar's, was reportedly famous in the 18th century.

I don't think it's a coincidence that we have a "Senate" and a "Capitol". It's not as though those are the only names we could have chosen.

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