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Decrepit
post Jan 17 2020, 11:53 PM
Post #1061


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Just found out Christopher Tolkien has passed away. sad.gif


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SubRosa
post Jan 19 2020, 04:26 AM
Post #1062


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I finished Das Reich, by Max Hastings. It is about the march of the 2nd SS Panzer "Das Reich", from where it was stationed in Toulouse on D-Day to Normandy. Allied planners expected it would reach Normandy in about 3 days. It took them 17 because of the Resistance.

A lot of the book is about the French Resistance in general. I had not realized it, but they were not nearly as unified or organized as I had imagined. Movies gives us the idea that there were all these Resistance cells lurking around France, each taking orders from London via radio sets. It was not nearly that nice. The Resistance were divided up into numerous factions. There were the Gaullists who actually did take their orders from DeGaulle in London. Then there were the Communists, who were supposedly under Free French command, but in reality did whatever they wanted to, hated DeGaulle, and planned on fighting their own civil war once they ejected the Germans.

Then there were roving bands of Maquisards. In the middle of the war the Germans decided to round up a bunch of French men and send them to Germany to work slave labor. A lot of men did not like the sound of that, so they ran off to the woods instead. They called themselves resistance fighters. But many were little more than outlaws, and often they had no desire to fight the Germans. They were just trying to survive the war.

The SOE and eventually the OSS sent people in to work with the various resistance groups. But they had little control over what the resistance did. The Resistance basically looked at them as a means to get guns and money, and little else. Some SOE people were able to motivate their groups into effective action. Many were not able to get them to really do anything. Some of said groups were extremely effective. Many of them got themselves killed in droves because they had no idea what they were doing.

Which brings us to the 2nd SS Panzer. They were pulled out of the line in the East and sent to France in the spring of 1944 to rebuild, and await the inevitable allied invasion. They had 15,000 men and 200 tanks when D-Day took place. It took them a day just to get going, because of all the confusion in the German general staff back in Berlin. Then once they did get going they started running into Resistance groups trying to slow them down.

The first team was very successful. They felled trees across the roads, and hid mines in said trees. So the Germans wold try to move the trees and blow themselves up. Then a Resistance machine gun hidden in the woods would open up on them. The SS men wold deploy to attack the Resistants in the trees, and the Resistants would run away. They did this over and over again for the entire time the panzer division was in their territory.

Probably the most effective thing was the French railworkers, who sabotaged the axles of the flatcars in the area that would be needed to carry the tanks north. They smeared an abrasive paste on their axles, that chewed them up whenever they moved. That wrecked all the flatcars, with no loss of life at all.

Other resistance teams did not do so well. Some just felled trees, which the Germans easily cleared and drove past. Some put up roadblocks and slugged it out. Which was suicide against a panzer division. In the town of Tulle the Communists decided to take over the entire town, and they managed to do it after a day's fighting. Then the Das Reich rolled in the next day, and took it back. They then hanged 99 of the townspeople as a reprisal. A few days later at the town of Orandur they murdered nearly 700 civilians, herding them into churches and setting them on fire, and the like.

In the end the resistance stopped attacking the Das Reich because it just cost too much in innocent lives. The last stab was from the SAS, who blew up a German petrol supply dump that the panzer division needed to continue moving north. But only a handful of them escaped being killed in return.

The book is ok. It provides a lot of information. But there are so many people involved that I could not keep all of the resistants and SS officers straight. It also had a habit of jumping around and going on side tracks. Still, it was very useful for my Stormcrow fic, as I will be using this event in the history of Blood Raven.


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Decrepit
post Jan 22 2020, 12:35 AM
Post #1063


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From: Mid-South USA



At 1421 this afternoon, 21 Jan 2020, I concluded my third read of Jonathan Wylie's Dreams of Stone. It pales in comparison to The Firebrand. An OK read to pass time with, little more. Still, I enjoyed it (just) enough to continue on with the series' second volume, The Center of the Circle. Only, I can't find it! I retain distinct memories of events contained within it and the concluding novel's pages, so know I own 'em. What's more, I chose to read Dreams primarily because it was within easy reach. The other two books 'should' be in the same location, thus easily found. Where are they?

Their loss is my gain, in that upon calling off the search I decided on a re-read of Guy Gavriel Kay's The Lions of Al-Rassan, which I began during tonight's supper. A favorite work by a favorite fantasy author.

This post has been edited by Decrepit: Jan 22 2020, 12:40 AM


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Decrepit
post Jan 22 2020, 03:16 PM
Post #1064


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I frequently visit the corner of YouTube oft called BookTube by its participants. These are mostly younglings, folk in their late teens to maybe early-mid thirties. A few days ago, searching for reviews / discussions of Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant books (which until recently received next to no YT coverage) I got turned on to the channel of an older gentleman named Steve Donoghue who, as he himself states, does little these days but read. He's gained a reputation, which he denies, of having read 'everything.' Still, he's so well-read that a BookTuber recently created a "Has Steve Read It?" tag, which gained a good bit of traction within the community. Mr Donoghue decided to make video replies to each of them. Here's one such reply I particularly enjoy, fairly representative of them all.

Has Steve Read It?, The History Shelf Edition


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macole
post Jan 26 2020, 07:12 AM
Post #1065


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I read all the Thomas Covenant books. I thought that they were a refreshing change from likes of Sword of Shannara, and other Tolkien type fantasies.


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Decrepit
post Jan 28 2020, 04:51 PM
Post #1066


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Considering the day it is, I decided to treat myself to a voice recording of a section of The Hobbit, read by none other than JRR Tolkien himself. Even more fitting, the section in question concerns presents, or rather one particular 'present.'

JRR Tolkien reads from The Hobbit

QUOTE(macole @ Jan 26 2020, 12:12 AM) *

I read all the Thomas Covenant books. I thought that they were a refreshing change from likes of Sword of Shannara, and other Tolkien type fantasies.

I've read the first two 'trilogies' numerous times. They are, as I've likely mentioned before, the books that hooked me on fantasy during the mid 1980s. The much-later-published Final Chronicles is possibly my greatest literary disappointment. I've never been able to force myself to read it to completion.

This post has been edited by Decrepit: Jan 28 2020, 04:57 PM


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King Of Beasts
post Jan 30 2020, 02:53 AM
Post #1067


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Witcher books, just finished the The Last Wish, just started The Sword Of Destiny


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Decrepit
post Feb 2 2020, 02:11 PM
Post #1068


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At 1359 Friday, 31 Jan 2020, I concluded my fourth read of Guy Gavriel Kay's The Lions of Al-Rassan. It numbers amongst my favorite works by Kay, a favorite currently active author publishing within the fantasy genre. Like most of his post-Fionavar novels, events take place in a pseudo historical setting, in this case an equivalent to earth's Spanish Reconquest. (The Reconquista.) Fantastical elements are extremely lite, again the norm. As is often the case, I 'teared up' on numerous occasions, especially near the end.

I'm now taking another stab at Norma Lorre Goodrich's King Arthur, a book I've owned for decades but have never been able to get very far in. It purports to be a search for a historical Arthur, but comes across as pretentious rubbish. At least I've thought so during all previous reading attempts. This time I'm considering it as 'food for thought' not to be taken overly seriously. We'll see if this helps.

I've at least three book purchases planned. One is a compilation of three works by an ancient Greek in a particular English translation. One is the life of a certain little known historical figure (female) active during the early 20th century. The third is an upcoming book on a certain aspect modern American (US) politics. (There is second newly released modern politics book I might add to the list.) I'll buy from my nearest Barnest & Noble (the only bookstore within an hour's drive) if able. (I expect the Greek translation to will be an online order.)


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Decrepit
post Feb 4 2020, 09:33 PM
Post #1069


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Earlier today I chanced upon an interview of Guy Gavriel Kay, author of my most recently read novel, The Lions of Al-Rassan. I'd not heard Kay speak before. Turns out he's a masterful talker:

Merging History and the Fantastic with Guy Gavriel Kay (YouTube)

It was recorded soon after publication of his most recent novel, A Brightness Long Ago. Its main focus is on Brightness, but covers much else, including his contribution to Tolkien's Silmarillion, which is more significant than I suspected!

As to Brightness, neither it nor its immediate predecessor are my prime recommendation(s) for someone new to Kay. Those would be:

The Lions of Al-Rassan
A Song for Arbonne
The Sarantine Mosaic (Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors)

This post has been edited by Decrepit: Feb 4 2020, 09:37 PM


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Decrepit
post Feb 12 2020, 03:41 PM
Post #1070


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Gave up on the Goodrich King Arthur and am attempting a third read of Tolkien's Silmarillion. Not making much headway. Can't maintain focus for any length of time. Also, various aches and pains while lying down (which is how I do my 'serious' reading) find me frequently shifting position, which breaks concentration. Too, Silmarillion can be a bit daunting at times. Maybe I should settle on something lighter?


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SubRosa
post Feb 12 2020, 04:48 PM
Post #1071


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I could not maintain much focus when I read the Silmarillion decades ago either. It is the nature of the material. There is no real story or quest. No truly developed characters. It is just a collection of archetypes and a history, not a story. It works great as reference material. But it is awful as a novel. It never should have been published as one. OTOH, what it would be great as is a coffee table book with lots of artwork, and bits of the actual Silmarillion text explaining that this is the Fall of Gondolin, that is Feanor creating the Silmarils, and so on. Star Wars puts a ton of those things out, and they are all really cool to look at.


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Kane
post Feb 12 2020, 07:34 PM
Post #1072


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I love the Silm. Read it three times now, I think.
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Decrepit
post Feb 14 2020, 02:43 PM
Post #1073


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QUOTE(Kane @ Feb 12 2020, 12:34 PM) *

I love the Silm. Read it three times now, I think.

I'm rather fond of it too. I will say it's a book I definitely need to be 'in the mood for' before tackling it.

On the way home from a medical appointment yesterday I stopped at our 'local' Barnes & Noble, the only bookstore within reasonable driving distance, '15% off one item' coupon and Gift Card in-hand. Couldn't find what I wanted, but walked out with two Brandon Sanderson novels. The first is Oathbringer book three of The Stormlight Archive. I'm no great Sanderson fanboy. Wasn't overly impressed with Mistborn. Found the first two Stormlight entries a solid improvement. For whatever reason I was never tempted to buy book three, until now. Next up is Edgedancer, a novelette set between books two and three. Read five or so pages of Edgedancer. The writing was uninspired. Nothing wrong with it, and in any case it has a great disadvantage in that it's up against my current read and a work by Guy Gavriel Kay, two authors I consider absolute masters at their craft, cream of the crop. I'm sure I'll enjoy Edgedancer when the time comes.

This post has been edited by Decrepit: Feb 14 2020, 02:45 PM


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Kane
post Feb 14 2020, 02:59 PM
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QUOTE(Decrepit @ Feb 14 2020, 08:43 AM) *
QUOTE(Kane @ Feb 12 2020, 12:34 PM) *

I love the Silm. Read it three times now, I think.

I'm rather fond of it too. I will say it's a book I definitely need to be 'in the mood for' before tackling it.


Definitely. I only go back to it when I feel like diving into the deep lore again.
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Decrepit
post Feb 20 2020, 08:47 PM
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Been having so much trouble concentrating lately I was forced to give up on Silmarillion for the time being. Am now reading Brandon Sanderson's Edgedancer. It's a very easy read. I started in on it either very late Tuesday even or sometime Wednesday morning, and am already on page 160!

Having watched a number of Steve Donoghue's Penguin Classics YouTube videos I've developed a yearning for ancient literature, which I've next to no experience with, other than in 'modern' re-tellings and essays. My first thought was to begin with either ancient Rome or Greece. After watching Steve's "Sagalong 2020: Laxdaela Saga", parts 1&2, I decided to buy a Penguin collection entitled Sagas of the Icelanders. Ordered it off Amazon, along with a new pair of 'computer glasses,' a short time ago. (I consider Amazon a great modern evil, yet am as hooked on it as anyone. <sigh>)


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Decrepit
post Feb 22 2020, 12:45 AM
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At 1721 this afternoon, 21 Feb 2020, at the tail-end of supper, I concluded my initial read of Brandon Sanderson's novelette "Edgedancer." At 250 pages it's somewhat long for a novelette, as Sanderson himself points out in the book's postscript. It's also light and somewhat humorous, exactly what I needed. An easy recommendation for fans of The Stormlight Archive.

Don't yet know if I'll take up Stormlight Archive book 3 next, or settle for another easy, light read.


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