What is the last book you read, and your rating?

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Redlegs
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Re: What is the last book you read, and your rating?

Post by Redlegs » 20 Apr 2019, 23:12

The Ballad of Desmond Kale by Roger McDonald, winner of the 2006 Miles Franklin Award, is a woolly sheep story. Wool and sheep feature prominently in the 636 pages of this Australian colonial yarn.

Set in the early years of the New South wales penal settlement, the eponymous hero of the story, Desmond Kale, a rogue who is rescued by accomplices following a 50 lash flogging, is something of an expert in breeding sheep that grow the finest quality wool.

His nemesis is the eccentric, cruel and vindictive parson, Matthew Stanton, a married man with many flaws, who is determined to be recognised in mother England as the finest Australian wool producer.

In a writing style that does not flow easily and is sometimes difficult to interpret, McDonald nevertheless brings to life the chaotic conditions of Australian colonial life, its roguery and rough justice.

The story flags in pace at times - I didn't so much enjoy the section set in England, when Stanton sails back for self-promotional purposes - but the novel comes to life brilliantly at other times. I particularly enjoyed the adventures of the boys Titus and Warren Inchcape.

A slightly uneven but enjoyable novel that takes on an important element of Australian colonial history. Sheep were, and remain, a notable element in the wealth and culture of Australia.

4 stars out of 5
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald

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flaming_quills
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Post by flaming_quills » 21 Apr 2019, 04:48

Opaque by Calix-Leigh Reing.
I'm going to give it a 3/5 stars because it wasn't too interesting but at the same time, it didn't make me want to gouge my eyes out.
Dramatic you say? I think not.

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mmm17
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Post by mmm17 » 21 Apr 2019, 17:24

I just finished reading Esoteric Christianity - A Tragic History, by Sean Byrne. My rating of it was 4 out of 4 stars. I really liked it.

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lisalynn
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Post by lisalynn » 21 Apr 2019, 19:41

I just finished Reborn. I gave it 4 stars. It's a YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy that makes a statement about appearance and perception.

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Julie Petitbon
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Post by Julie Petitbon » 22 Apr 2019, 00:04

I just finished The Girl Who Knew da Vinci, and I rated it 3 out of 4 stars. It's a fun and interesting romance/mystery.

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Post by Gravy » 23 Apr 2019, 04:10

I recently finished A Blade So Black, the first book in a YA series, Alice reimagining, by L.L. McKinney.

I liked a lot about it (there are some memorable characters, and the story is enjoyable enough), but there were a number of issues.
For one, the Alice connection felt really weak (though, as someone who loves Alice and all things Wonderland, I may be overly critical), but there were some really annoying character quirks (I really like you, so I'm going to be/act mad at you for most of the book!).

I wanted to love this book. I gave it a low 2 out of 4.
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Mara Skywalker
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Post by Mara Skywalker » 23 Apr 2019, 12:55

I just finished The Heights Of Courage by Avigdor Kahalani.
It's a personal account of the Battalion Commander Avi Kahalani who fought a tank war on the heights of Golan in the Yom Kippur War.
I like to read about war stories, I think it's important to know about these big parts of human history and human nature. This book was recommended by our Israeli tour guide who fought in the Yom Kippur War 1973. That I stood on the same ground where the brave and courageous soldiers fought and that I know someone who was there, made reading this book very moving.
It might be difficult to read if one has no basic knowledge of military strategy and terminology. I would like to rate it 4/4 stars, but I can't do it objectively. Because it is a very personal and specific account, it's not possible for me to judge the style. You may like this kind of books or you won't be interested at all.
I got a lot out of it and enjoyed reading it!

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Redlegs
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Post by Redlegs » 23 Apr 2019, 21:56

It's taken until almost the end of April 2019 and 30 books so far this year to finally read a novel to which I was delighted to award 5 stars. That book is The Reader by Bernhard Schlink.

What I most enjoyed about reading Schlink's original novel was the sparse beauty of its text, the emotional intelligence of the writing, the avoidance of cloying sentimentality, and the deft way that moral and philosophical questions were posed but not over analysed.

The Reader is narrated by Michael Berg, looking back at events with the perspective of several years and life experience.

At age 15, in the years not long after the end of World War II, Michael first meets tram conductor Hanna Schmitz, some 20 years his senior, and embarks on a passionate love affair. And then, Hanna suddenly disappears. Michael experiences the expected sense of loss and abandonment, but then gets on with his life and legal studies.

Michael next encounters Hanna a few years later as a defendant in a war crimes trial. Hanna, and other female SS camp guards, are on trial for a range of crimes, but mostly for a particular incident near the end of the war, in which prisoners locked in a church burnt to death during a bombing raid.

It is during the trial that Michael finally understands the deep secret Hanna has been hiding (apart from her war occupation), and remains unwilling to reveal, even to avoid a longer jail sentence. The shame she apparently feels is even greater than that of being accused of murder.

For a short short novel, Schlink covers a huge amount of ground and raises many issues, that cover both individual and collective morality.

At a personal level, the key issue is about one person's right to interfere in a another's when it is obvious that they are about to make a harmful decision.

At a broader level, because the novel references the Holocaust, it poses questions about generational issues in Germany, and the right of post war generations to judge the activities of their parents and grandparents - what they did, what they valued and what they were prepared to overlook.

This is really skilled writing. To present a fascinating story about two principal characters, essentially a love story, and to raise so many fascinating ethical considerations, in such a compact and efficient manner, is a work of masterful deftness and high intelligence.

5 stars out of 5
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald

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Eclecticmama
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Post by Eclecticmama » 24 Apr 2019, 19:29

I just finished The Mystery of Flight 2222. I gave it a 1 out of 4 stars. This book was a plane wreck from start to finish... :D

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Redlegs
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Post by Redlegs » 24 Apr 2019, 21:14

I reasonably enjoyed the first, say, three quarters of The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and thought it a pleasant improvement on the turgid The Scarlet Letter.

The characters of old Hepzibah and Clifford Pyncheon were eccentric and colorful, and the addition of young Miss Phoebe brought some light and joy into the darkness of the old, rotting mansion.

The plot contained elements of mystery, with foreboding shadows of the past hanging over the lives of the protagonists, but there seemed to be a ray of hope for a brighter future.

But Hawthorne seemed to fall into a complete muddle, with the final portion of the novel becoming a confused melodrama, lacking credibility, purpose and common sense. It really fell away to become quite unsatisfying to the point of being absurd. The author just rambled his way to a daft conclusion.

3.5 stars out of 5
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald

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Brendan Donaghy
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Post by Brendan Donaghy » 25 Apr 2019, 06:45

Why can't Johnny Just Quit? by Kyle Oh M.D. I gave it 2 out of 4 stars. Some interesting ideas in this book, but quite poorly written.

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IamShing
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Post by IamShing » 25 Apr 2019, 07:42

I just finished reading We are Voulhire and it was pretty nice.
'Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.'

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Post by sri varshini303041 » 25 Apr 2019, 08:05

I finished "The Undying Queen of Ur". I really enjoyed the book. I rated it 4 out of 4 stars.

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Post by KathrineG » 29 Apr 2019, 03:20

The last book I finished was Death Comes to Pemberly by P.D. James. It was an enjoyable read, and I was impressed by how similar to Jane Austen's own writing it was. I would recommend this to anyone who's a fan of Jane Austen and want to read more from her universe.

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Gravy
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Post by Gravy » 29 Apr 2019, 07:33

I recently read Rumple Buttercup by Matthew Gray Gubler (for those of you who recognize that name, yes, that Matthew Gray Gubler).

I usually don't read children's picture books, but I just had to support him and this book.


Rumple Buttercup is a fantastic picture book, featuring the author's own illustrations, with a beautiful message that you can be accepted for who you are, no matter what.

And that you don't have to hide under a banana peel. :D
Sometimes you need to take peoples' minds off their problems if you want those problems to resolve themselves.
...Not all problems can be fixed. Sometimes you have to wait until the situation changes.


Seanan McGuire, The Unkindest Tide

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