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    Originally posted by thedrake View Post
    [MENTION=2622]I was surprised to find out that Gaiman is not universally popular because I really like his books. American Gods is very good, The Graveyard Book was great, but my favorite and my recommendation is Good Omens which was written along with the late great Terry Pratchett. It's hysterically funny.
    Gaiman is basically universally popular. His books are really approachable and have that chewy, I-love-world-building texture that lots of people really like. All their crunchy, flavorful bits are on display, and you don't need to work very hard to get at them. I think Gaiman's books have a lot in common with network procedural dramas; they're easy to relax into. Which isn't necessarily a criticism -- I love Elementary, for e.g. -- but it's not what I want from a novel and especially not a short story.

    On my end, I don't think he's ever really Given Life to anything he's ever written besides Sandman (and I think that got a huge assist from being a graphic novel; it would've been unbearable as a traditional novel because Gaiman is terrible at prose).

    Good Omens was particularly heart-breaking because I love Terry Pratchett. I know lots of folks think Good Omens was hysterical, and more power to them. I thought it was dull. There wasn't a single joke in there that someone in my college sci-fi-and-fantasy group wouldn't have made after two beers and an episode of Colbert.

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      (In a lot of ways, I think Neil Gaiman is a blend of the worsts parts of China Mieville and Neal Stephenson: too much time on world-building and the ending is always an incoherent let-down.)

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        Originally posted by thedrake View Post
        The Graveyard Book was great, but my favorite and my recommendation is Good Omens which was written along with the late great Terry Pratchett. It's hysterically funny.
        The Graveyard Book and Good Omens are where I'd recommend starting with Gaiman as well, both are great. If you're more interested in his short stories, it's probably a toss-up among his various collections but I'd give a slight edge to Trigger Warning as it includes "The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains," which is a standout for me.

        Recent reads for me: Stephen King's IT, inspired by watching Stranger Things (liked it) and Benjamin Black's Wolf on a String. I checked this one out based on a couple of glowing reviews about it being this heavily-researched, genre-blending historical fiction/detective story, but it was pretty disappointing - annoying "aren't I clever and jaded?" narrator, plot twists and reveals that the author wants you to be impressed by that just kind of thud, etc.
        “There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself, 'Do trousers matter?'"
        "The mood will pass, sir.”

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          Three mistakes of my life

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            I kind of agree with you about Gaiman's adult fiction, although I've only read American Gods. I almost gave up on it during the long interlude on the frozen lake in Wisconsin when nothing happens and the ending was pretty much an anticlimactic mess, IMO. I read the Graveyard Book though (which is for children) and that was excellent. Not sure what goes wrong when he writes for adults.

            I just finished an excellent biography of Edward Curtis, who was a pioneer in photography around the turn of the last century and started a project to photo-document the remaining American Indian tribes that still had vestiges of their original culture. At the time assimilation was highly encouraged so there was a fear the Native American "old ways" would completely die out and his goal was to capture them in pictures before that happened. It is a pretty rollicking tale with a melancholy ending but introduced me to a relatively obscure American artist who did absolutely fantastic photographic and ethnographic work. Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Timothy Egan.
            Last edited by mark4; September 6, 2017, 11:40 AM.
            “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain

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              The Way of the Strangers by Graeme Wood.

              If you've ever been curious about the personal, religious, moral, etc reasons for why ISIS supporters and clerics espouse the beliefs they do, I highly recommend this book. Big plus is that it is written very fluidly (from a journalist's viewpoint rather than that of an academic or security expert) and thus makes it highly readable for those who don't deal with terrorism/security as part of their job.

              Edit: Looking over other submissions, I may in the non-fiction minority, but still, this book is worth looking into for a clear explanation of the group as it is and why supporters join it.

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                The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

                Written by Alex Haley. Looks like a very good read.

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                  Originally posted by JamWithSam View Post
                  The Way of the Strangers by Graeme Wood.

                  If you've ever been curious about the personal, religious, moral, etc reasons for why ISIS supporters and clerics espouse the beliefs they do, I highly recommend this book. Big plus is that it is written very fluidly (from a journalist's viewpoint rather than that of an academic or security expert) and thus makes it highly readable for those who don't deal with terrorism/security as part of their job.

                  Edit: Looking over other submissions, I may in the non-fiction minority, but still, this book is worth looking into for a clear explanation of the group as it is and why supporters join it.
                  Have this in my Amazon wishlist. Just ready Joby Warrick's book on ISIS and I have Jessica Stern's in the queue. This will have to be next.

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                    Originally posted by burban View Post
                    Have this in my Amazon wishlist. Just ready Joby Warrick's book on ISIS and I have Jessica Stern's in the queue. This will have to be next.
                    Are you referring to the Stern/Berger book? Arguably one of my favorite on the subject, definitely most comprehensive thus far. Haven't read Warrick, heard it was relatively similar to Stern/Berger.

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                      Originally posted by JamWithSam View Post
                      Are you referring to the Stern/Berger book? Arguably one of my favorite on the subject, definitely most comprehensive thus far. Haven't read Warrick, heard it was relatively similar to Stern/Berger.
                      Yup. Found it at a Half Price Books shortly after finishing Warrick's book. https://www.amazon.com/Black-Flags-R...s=joby+warrick

                      I've also heard good things about William's McCants's book and Graeme Wood's. Edit: I see Wood's book was already mentioned yesterday. C'mon coffee, kick in.

                      https://www.amazon.com/ISIS-Apocalyp...&keywords=isis

                      https://www.amazon.com/Way-Strangers...ds=graeme+wood
                      Last edited by burban; September 8, 2017, 12:44 PM. Reason: Not fully caffeinated.

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                        Currently reading Wired to Eat by Robb Wolf. Pretty eye opening stuff on how/what we eat.
                        We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.” ― Charles Bukowski

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                          How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler.

                          I'm starting an online "reading guild". We're going to tackle the classics, starting with the Iliad and working forward. How to Read a Book is the prerequisite so that I can get the most out of subsequent readings.

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                            Not anything literarily noteworthy but I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo last week and spent all weekend "tidying" (aka throwing shit away). Very happy with my newly clean house. I got rid of a lot of redundant casual clothes but did end up keeping the majority of my work wardrobe.
                            Ben

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                              Thick face, black heart

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                                I just purchased Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris. I haven't had a chance to start it yet.

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