What book did you just finish reading?
Kenny VenOsdel
United States
Saint Paul
Minnesota
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Yeah, yeah. Another list that's not about boardgames....deal with it.

I find it interesting to see what people are reading sometimes and I thought a neat way to do it would be a subscription list that you post on after you finish a book. So here it is!

Post here after you finish reading something and let us know what you thought! Each time you finish a book just add a new item. I'm curious to see who the most frequent posters are.

All domains of BGG are welcome to participate.
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226. Board Game: S.S. Van Dine's Philo Vance Detective Game [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Roy Hasson
Israel
Kfar Saba
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"Tales of the Dying Earth" by Jack Vance.

I finally got around to reading this book that has been sitting on my shelf for years since I bought it together with Vance's "Planet of Adventure".

Well, I really really enjoyed it. Being an ex-d&d player I loved seeing where the influence for some of the magic in d&d came from. But regardless the stories are good and some are written with a lot of humor. I think the best part of the book are the Cugel the Clever stories - Eye of the Overworld and Cugel's saga. I was sad to finish them.

Highly recommended.
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227. Board Game: UFO: Game of Close Encounters [Average Rating:4.86 Overall Rank:10730]
Brian Mc Cabe
United States
Arizona
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Journal of a UFO Investigator by David Halperin

This book was hard to wrap my head around. It's written in a style that makes you believe the boy writing it is really experiencing these things.
At times, he brings you back to Earth by making you realize it's a story he's writing in his free time.

There's also some allegory, tying what he's writing in with what's going on in his life. Very well done, solid writing and a good story.

Brian
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228. Board Game: Pirates' Plunder [Average Rating:6.17 Unranked]
Gudjon Torfi Sigurdsson
Iceland
Isafjordur
Isafjardarbaer
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Finished Pirate Latitudes by the late Michael Crichton, a fast pirate action movie book, that will probably be made into a movie by Spielberg. It tells the story of an English privateer that goes after a Spanish treasure galley that's anchored at an impregnable fortress. Good story, although it felt a bit... not quite fleshed out. Perhaps because it was published post-humously and he didn't quite finish it. Fun read though.

Also read Stephen King's new novella collection; Full dark, no stars, an apt name for these dark stories that are mostly about things that could happen in real life, albeit unlikely. I enjoyed them all, and would recommend this book to all.
 
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229. Board Game: Galaxy's Edge [Average Rating:6.25 Overall Rank:4341]
Kenny VenOsdel
United States
Saint Paul
Minnesota
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Just finished "Foundation's Edge" this morning. I enjoyed this one a bit more than I remember enjoying the others. Perhaps because it is feeling less like a collection of short stories, or perhaps I am over-remembering how much the other books seemed so. In any case I rather enjoyed the ending, though it did leave me with some questions and a few minor quibbles (though those are more about Asimov's style I think rather than the series itself).

SPOILER ALERT:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I almost laughed out loud near the end when they began talking about the 3 laws of robots again, even more so when one of the characters turned out to be a robot herself (or did she?).

I told my fiancee that I think Asimov was obsessed with them, and overall I'm okay with that. I rather like it when an author has common themes that are shared throughout different series.


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230. Board Game: Battle Hymn [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:1626]
Mark Christopher
United States
Salem
Massachusetts
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In the wonderful game, Bonaparte at Marengo, this is how to get nasty Frenchies out of a village.
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Just finished John Ringo's A Hymn Before Battle, a trashy mil-SF story. Readable, though he's no David Weber, It's good enough that I'm going on to the second book in the series.
 
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231. Board Game: Give and Take [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Kenny VenOsdel
United States
Saint Paul
Minnesota
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Just finished "The Giver" which my fiancee wanted me to read. It was okay. It tells the story of a future soceity (no real timeline) that has sacrificed a lot of different things that make us human in order to achieve "sameness" and stability.

It was a well told story and definitely enjoyable to read, but really it was just a short story, and honestly I found it rather predictable. It was kind of presented to me as a novel but it moves a bit too quick for that. If you really like a well drawn out history and to not be left with any questions then this book is not for you. It could be a good introduction to this type of theme though for someone who hasn't experienced it before.
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232. Board Game: Risk: Godstorm [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:1736]
Mark Stadel
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Recently finished The Crippled God, the final book in the Malazan series, one of the best Fantasy series I have ever read ... and now its all over cry

But wait: there's still the Esslemont books ... I just finished Stonewielder which was also very good.
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233. Board Game: Spooner's Game of English History [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Brian Mc Cabe
United States
Arizona
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Spooner by Peter Dexter

The life story of Wendel Spooner. He's born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, but survives. His older, twin brother isn't so lucky, and, of course, becomes his mother's favorite.

This latter isn't really harped on throughout, but it does motivate a lot of her behavior as a long-suffering martyr (read manipulator).

Spooner becomes a house-breaker at the age of four-and-a-half. The childhood portion of the story is quite good, especially after his mother marries a disgraced naval commander (which is a good story in itself, which is also never mentioned again).

The middle really drags, and I almost gave it up, but it gets very good agains once Spooner moves to Whidby Island. Half-hearted recommendation.
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234. Board Game: Worlds of Heroes & Tyrants [Average Rating:2.55 Unranked]
Andreas Johansson
Sweden
Linköping
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I spent 200 GG and all I got was this lousy overtext!
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Per Ahlmark's Vänstern and tyranniet ("The Left and Tyranny"), about various Swedish politicians and intellectuals of the left who actively supported or failed to criticize leftwing dictatorships. The focus is on what Ahlmark calls "the mad quarter century" from 1968.
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235. Board Game: Discworld: Ankh-Morpork [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:330]
Hobbit DM
Ukraine
Chernivtsi
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I did finish Mort by Terry Pratchett. As good as it is, I like Rincewind's cycle more.
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236. RPG Item: Øone's Blueprints: The Great City, Graveyard [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
Jeff G
United States
Santa Rosa
California
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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Not his best work, but still pretty good.
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237. Board Game: UR [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:1604]
Andreas Johansson
Sweden
Linköping
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I spent 200 GG and all I got was this lousy overtext!
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William J. Hamblin's Warfare in the Ancient Near East to 1600 BC.

It's a frustrating subject because of the sparseness, patchiness, and frequent ambiguity of the evidence, but Hamblin does, near as I can judge, a good job of collecting what is known, and clearly indicates the (more or less solid) grounds for various interpretations.

He finishes off the book by expressing a hope to cover the Late Bronze Age "chariot revolution" (beginning circa 1600 BC) in a future book. I look forward to reading that if and when it appears.
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238. Board Game: The Hobbit: The Defeat of Smaug [Average Rating:4.80 Overall Rank:11096]
Kenny VenOsdel
United States
Saint Paul
Minnesota
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If I'm still posting here next July you'll see this and my next item posted again. Every July I read The Hobbit and LOTR. I've done this since July of 2005. I'm not sure how many times I've read them but it's right around a dozen give or take.

I can't wait to have kids so I can read this to them.
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239. Board Game: Harry Potter Whomping Willow Game [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Jeff G
United States
Santa Rosa
California
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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Possibly one of my top two HP books. They also did a very good job on the movie.
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240. Board Game: Warhammer 40,000 Codex [Average Rating:7.02 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.02 Unranked]
Aleksander R. Nordgarden Rødner
Norway
Oslo
Oslo
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Would really like to study U.S. History at some point, just to be able to say that I'm a Coolidge student...
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The Blood Angels Omnibus, by James Swallow.

It's my first piece of 40k fiction, but I really like what I see. I've always been partial to the sons of Sanguinus, and now I've read up on'em a bit, too!
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241. Board Game: Manic Minelayers [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Andreas Johansson
Sweden
Linköping
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I spent 200 GG and all I got was this lousy overtext!
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Nicholas J. Baker-Brian's Manichaeism; An Ancient Faith Rediscovered.

A short (152p) introduction to the religion, with focus on doctrine and ritual rather than the history of the community of adherents. Written in an heavy academic style, and with lengthy discussions of the nature and (often low) reliability of the sources available, which sits oddly with the brief and somewhat cursory account of the information that can be extracted from them. Since the book grew out of a number of courses on Manichaeism the author taught, maybe the idea is that it should be read in conjunction with said sources.

I wouldn't say it's a bad book, particularly, but it's not quite what I was looking for either.
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242. Board Game: Die Siedler von Catan: Rincewind und der Tourist / Die Gilden von Ankh-Morpork [Average Rating:6.67 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.67 Unranked]
Hobbit DM
Ukraine
Chernivtsi
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Two more Rincewind's adventures: The Last Continent and The Last Hero. Especially liked the latter, with Cohen's "heroing", the Code and the song that remains.
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243. Board Game: Runebound: Midnight [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
Gudjon Torfi Sigurdsson
Iceland
Isafjordur
Isafjardarbaer
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Finished Pratchett's I Shall Wear Midnight a few days ago and then followed that one with Tolkien's The Hobbit - thanks to kvenosdel telling us about his habit of reading The Hobbit once a year. It was fun!
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244. Board Game: Advanced Tobruk [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked]
A. Power
United States
Silver Spring
Maryland
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Technically, I'm at the end of Return of the King by Tolkien, but until I'm done with the Appendices, my last book was:

The Rising Tide by Jeff Shaara.

For those not familiar with Shaara, he novelizes historic events, namely major U.S. wars. You're probably familiar with Gods and Generals and The Killer Angels (actually written by his dad) which were about the American Civil War, well this one is the first of his WWII series.

This one tells the story of the North Africa and Sicily campaigns. You get to see events through the eyes of Eisenhower, Patton, Rommel, and other characters, including a tank gunner. It pretty much starts right as the U.S. begins planning it's invasion of N. Africa (Operation Torch). The novel goes into detail about a campaign that history seems to gloss over. The uncertainty of which side the French support; the testing of American G.I.s; the problems of an Allied army; and whether Paratroops are a feasible form of assault.

A really interesting book, that even though I knew the eventual outcome of the two campaigns, had no idea the decisions behind them and how much of a gamble these events were for both sides. The book involves a lot of time and attention because it does read much like a non-fiction book, but Shaara does an excellent job interpreting the insight and thinking of the soldiers and officers involved in this campaign. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in WWII history as this makes some very dry material into a must read.
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245. Board Game: Mona Lisa Mysteries [Average Rating:5.80 Overall Rank:8244]
Brad Miller
United States
Seattle
Washington
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Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson.

The final installment of the Sprawl Trilogy, which I had misplaced for several years. Found it, reread it. Prefer it to Count Zero, but not as much as Neuromancer.
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246. Board Game: Burn in Hell [Average Rating:4.46 Overall Rank:11087]
Philip Thomas
United Kingdom
London
London
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Surface Detail by Iain M.Banks.

Hell is the main subject of the latest Culture novel: a futuristic Hell which is more virtual reality than last judgement. Burning is the least of your worries.

The effortless military superiority of the Culture starts to grate a little for me, but they're officially neutral in the main military conflict so its not too bad. We're also introduced to several more subdivisions of Contact, including Pest Control and the Department of what the ****.

The most powerful "bad guys" are a species of sentient koala bears, which is also fairly incongrous, but the portrayal of their devious and disobedient subordinates the GFCF is very good.

Finally I'll just comment on the plot which gives the book its title: I found myself pretty undewhelmed by this aspect (escaped slave out for revenge), fortunately the other subplots are interesting enough to make up for it.
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247. Board Game: Persian Wars [Average Rating:7.34 Unranked]
Andreas Johansson
Sweden
Linköping
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I spent 200 GG and all I got was this lousy overtext!
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The Achaemenid Persian Army by Duncan Head. A neat summary of what's known of the subject.
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248. Board Game: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix [Average Rating:3.67 Unranked]
Hobbit DM
Ukraine
Chernivtsi
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The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a nice addition to Harry Potter series. Dumbledore's notes are a special treat here.
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249. Board Game: Wits & Wagers [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:371]
Boyd Ludlow
Denmark
Copenhagen
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I’ve just finished reading Whit by Iain Banks. It was ok but certainly Banks’ strongest book. Maybe it was just the mood that I happened to be in but I found the revelations too slow. It is rare for me to skip ahead but in this book I did several times before returning to read the story in proper sequence. The cover talks about satire too but I didn’t see this as a particularly satirical novel, maybe I just don’t know enough about cults and true believers.

Anyway it wasn’t a bad book but not great either.
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250. Board Game: Around the World in 80 Days [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:997]
Boyd Ludlow
Denmark
Copenhagen
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Ok moving to the other side of the world did not take me 80 days but it must have taken at least that long for most of my stuff including my computer to get here so now here is a recap of what I was reading during that time.

Jarka Ruus by Terry Brooks. This is the first of yet another series set in the Shannara world. Like other Terry Brooks stories the writing is competent but not great. He doesn’t ever seem to come up with any really unique ideas that allow him to explore how people react. Even the airships of this and the previous series are just modes of transport and while he writes good descriptions of them, their flying, and their use in warfare, they don’t really allow character exploration. I’ll probably read the others in the series at some point to see what happens but I’m in no hurry.

The Lonely Sea and the Sky by Sir Francis Charles Chichester. This was Chichester’s auto biography up till 1962 so covers his trans-Atlantic sailing but not his solo circumnavigation of the world. He only agreed to write it if he could dictate it and have some else type it up and reorder it. His friend that took the dictation did no more reworking other than reordering and the lack of a ghost writer shows. There are a number of times where Chichester starts of an anecdote with which you think he is about to illustrate some point only for it to taper off into nothing. Oh and some paragraphs are more than a page long. It really doesn’t make for easy reading. Having said that he did have quite an interesting life; I previously knew of his sailing exploits but didn’t know about his flying and didn’t know that he’d spent so much time in New Zealand which is my home land. He was a very determined guy which I think he needed to be to achieve what he did but it also makes him a bit of a dick at times. An interesting read.

The Scott Pilgrim stories Bryan Lee O’Malley. Very enjoyable and obviously across 6 graphic novels there is a lot more than could be squeezed into the movie. The funny thing is that the Scott Pilgrim character is lot more sympathetic in the movie, much of the time in the books he comes across as a self absorbed dick. Fun to read and really cool graphic style.

The Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. This series was really good. The setting is an earth-like (or seemingly earth-like) world when initially there are some obvious differences such as the continual rain of ash from the sky and the fact that some people can perform a type of magic. But as the story progresses you get hints of just how different the world is and even what has caused the world to be that way. The interesting aspects are how these differences cause the characters to act as they try to achieve their goals. I also thought that it had very good character development over the course of the 3 novels. The story was exciting and I personally could not tell where is was heading, there were enough plot twists to keep you guessing without becoming ridiculous. If you like fantasy you should read this series.

The Quiet Man by Maurice Walsh. This story was apparently first published in the Saturday Evening Post but the copy that I have was published stand alone. I first read the story when I was in high school and fell in love with it and decided now having just moved to Ireland was time for yet another read of it. It is a nice gentle story of a man wining his wife, then the love of his wife, and finally the respect of his wife. A far more interesting, subtle, and gentle tale then the movie adaptation staring John Wayne.
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