Captain_Bravo

What's the last non-Trek book you've read?

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Just finished Blue at the Mizzen and The Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey, books 20 and 21 of the Aubrey/Maturin series.  A fitting end to the whole shebang.  I never pictured myself enjoying nautical fiction but it's been pretty good.  I'm planning to read Horatio Hornblower at some point in the near future.

Currently working on Wind Rider's Oath, book three in David Weber's fantasy series...

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Just finished Blue at the Mizzen and The Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey, books 20 and 21 of the Aubrey/Maturin series.  A fitting end to the whole shebang.  I never pictured myself enjoying nautical fiction but it's been pretty good.  I'm planning to read Horatio Hornblower at some point in the near future.

Currently working on Wind Rider's Oath, book three in David Weber's fantasy series...

I've only read two of them, and I really loved the A&E series...but I love Hornblower books. 

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Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi

Star Wars: Lords of the Sith

Currently working on Aftermath, so I'm just about up with the "Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens"...

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I read two books by the Egyptian-German author Hamed Abdel-Samad:

The autobiographic "My Goodbye from Heaven", in which Samad writes his very moving, brutally open story about his childhood in a hypocritical conservative-Muslim town full of lies and social control, the omnipresent violence and misogyny there, him being raped when he was 4 years old by a 15 your old teenager, and his extreme self-doubt on the path of questioning his strictly Muslim upbringing, especially after coming to Germany for university. "From belief to knowledge", he described his path, but at the same time, he is still torn apart between deeply rooted ideas and his questioning mind.

When he was still in Egypt, he flirted with both Marxists and the Muslim Brotherhood, and he also describes the culture shock and the feelings of being lost after coming to Germany. As a political scientist, he also has good first hand knowledge of political developments in Egypt in particular and the Arab world in general, and he settles old scores in a brutally honest fashion, without ever appearing extreme, demagogic or shrill. On the contrary, his very self-questioning style makes clear he doesn't claim to be someone who has all the answers.

His book, which was first published in Egypt in 2008 IIRC, has both the goal of causing debate in favor of social change in his country of origin (writing openly about a crisis of faith is still a taboo in Egypt, and his critical description of social life was considered "fowling one's own nest", and islamists indeed called for his murder), contribute to the Islam-debate in Germany and, finally, as a means of self-therapy.

Very impressive read.

Here more on Abdel-Samad, who is currently member of the official German "Islam Conference":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamed_Abdel-Samad

After this first book, he wrote several more books critical of Islam.

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I read a couple of suras of Quran, in the poetic German translation by Friedrich Rückert from the 1820s. It's said to be a philologically less correct, yet the most beautiful translation that exists.

 

Now starting to read the "Handbook Islam" by Muslim scholar Ahmad A. Reidegeld. It's a 1000 page introduction to the basic beliefs and laws a Muslim has to respect in the eyes of Muslim scholars. The book is aimed at and praised by German Muslims. The four most important law schools are contrasted, whenever their teachings differ.

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I was at a conference last week, so I read three of William Shakespeare's Star Wars:

The Empire Striketh Back, The Jedi Doth Return, and The Phantom of Menace.

If you've never read them, I recommend then - they are a great reimagining of the Star Wars saga if Shakespeare had written them.

 

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Just picked this one up today; plan to read it this weekend...

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I'm a big fan of Nye's; met him a couple of times at Planetary Society events, and his passion and enthusiasm are contagious.

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A dialogue between Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz: "Islam and the Future of Tolerance".

A most interesting read. You don't have to fully agree with either of the two to find it highly educational on the situation in the Muslim World and Muslim communities in the West regarding liberal values and human rights, different major factions among Muslims and the prospects for a modern interpretation of Islam.

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Omnitopia Dawn - a great scifi story about a MMORPG that attains such complexity that it comes alive...

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Some more religious stuff:

The Bible, Old Testament: Exodus, Leviticus and Numeri.

Baha'u'llah: The Tabernacle of Unity.

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Just finished Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Voyage of the USS Jeannette - It's about one of the early American attempts to reach the North Pole by going up through the Bering Strait.  Fascinating book!

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Just finished Stephen King's The Bazaar of Bad Dreams...

Have you read many Stephen King novels? If yes, which are your favorites?

I've never read a Stephen King novel, but I have a soft spot for their movie adaptions. Especially the cheaper tv movies. So I might want to read some of them, too, some time. But IIRC, he has written really many novels, so I guess there are quite a few not so good ones among them.

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I've read a small number of his works over the years, including The Bachman Books (writing under the pen name 'Richard Bachman').  Also read The Green Mile, Nightmares and Dreamscapes, Different Seasons, Desperation, The Regulators, and I started 11/22/63 but just never finished it (I should, though - it was good).  My all-time favorite has to be Full Dark, No Stars, a compilation of several of King's novellas that I thought were exceptionally well-written (although not for the faint of heart).

He's written a ton of novels and some of them are clunkers (he would be the first to point out 'Insomnia' and 'Rose Madder' are novels where he was trying too hard).  His work could be divided into pre- and post-accident writing, I think.  He was very nearly killed about 15 years ago when he was struck by a minivan while out on a walk and the ensuing surgeries and recovery period changed his outlook somewhat.  The pre-accident writings are really edgy and they "go for the gross-out" (his words), although some of that was also because he was doing a lot drugs and drinking while writing.  The post-accident writings have a very different tone that seems to look for the horror in the more mundane aspects of life.  Some of this works really well, while some doesn't.  I think that's fair to say of all writers, though.

 

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Finished The Gunslinger, Book #1 in Stephen King's Dark Tower series. 

Now working on Welcome to Night Vale...

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Finished two:

Denali's Howl- about the climbing disaster on Denali (Mt. McKinley) that claimed the lives of seven men in 1967;

Doctor Who: Death's Deal

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After all that X-Files watching, I felt like reading classic precursors to the dark and supernatural:

Read a couple of short stories by German author E.T.A. Hoffmann (1776-1822).

Perhaps he's not very known outside of Germany; so FYI: He was the main author of German "dark romanticism" in the early 19th century, and allegedly was a huge inspiration for Edgar Allen Poe. His topics include occultism, extreme states of the mind (some of which would later certainly be identified as mental illness) and evil/the Devil. Most of it in a -- by today's standards -- rather subtle manner, though.

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"JAWS 2: The Making of the Hollywood Sequel," by Louis Pisano and Michael A Smith.

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Basically a collection of first-hand anecdotes about a troubled Hollywood production, c. 1977; made at a time when sequels were still considered a very risky proposition (this was before "The Empire Strikes Back" pretty much guaranteed sequels to every big franchise movie from 1980 onward).  

I find reading about a troubled production far more interesting than reading about how everyone got along and everything went smoothly, etc.   JAWS 2 went through many scripts, many rewrites, a fired director (John Hancock) and almost an entire cast that was recast when the new director (Jeannot Szwarc) came aboard.   That JAWS 2 was made at all, let alone on time, is nothing short of a minor miracle (no matter what one's opinion of the final product).

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"Der goldne Topf" ("The Golden Pot") by E.T.A. Hoffmann. Not sure if it's a modern romantic fairy tale, or a LSD hallucination.

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