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BestDogDad

BestDogDad

Joined December 2016

I work with numbers all day, still trying to figure out how words work. Thanks for your patience. www.goodreads.com/Jeff_Koeppen
review
BestDogDad
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Pickpick

This is a really well done behind-the-scenes look at the early space race from both the USA and USSR sides. While the focus seemed to gradually hone in on our hero, Yuri Gagarin, as the book went on, there was a lot of interesting information regarding the USA‘s Mercury program and the launches and obstacles that led up to it; and a lot of comparing and contrasting NASA operations with that of the Soviets‘ Vostok space program. Fantastic!

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BestDogDad
Seeker | Jack McDevitt
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Pickpick

This is McDevitt's third Alex Benedict sci-fi mystery novel, featuring Benedict the antiquities dealer and Agnes "Chase" Kolpath, his only employee who is an interstellar pilot and the science brain of the duo.

Like McDevitt's other Alex Benedict novels, this one had an intriguing mystery and was a page turner. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the Benedict novels and finishing up his last two Priscilla Hutchins “Academy” novels.

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BestDogDad
Anthem | Ayn Rand
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#Maywrapup from most favorite 🙂 to least favorite 😞

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BestDogDad
Wine Dark Deep: Book One | R. Peter Keith
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Pickpick

This is the first of a trilogy and gets its name from a quote in The Odyssey. This was a short, fun, hard science fiction adventure written in the style of Andy Weir - the science which drives the plot is believable and well thought out, and much of it explained to the reader.

I really liked this and I'm looking forward to continuing on with the second book in the series.

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BestDogDad
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Panpan

I found this book while organizing our home library. No idea how I ended up with it or where it came from.

This feels like someone's woo-ey interpretation of an ethical system which isn't that different from any other. Follow your conscience, be a good person, do the right thing. Nothing new, just new terminology. Most of the book was very skim-worthy with just quick hits on a number of different subjects.

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BestDogDad
The Sheep Look Up | John Brunner
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Mehso-so


This is a highly regarded novel and it won the Nebula Award in 1972 but it was the wrong book at the wrong time for me. I love dystopias and a melancholy story but this was just over-the-top dark and depressing, and it burned me out. The world was really well visualized and believable; this might‘ve been where humanity ended up if not for the powers that be coming to their senses and putting environmental protection laws in place.

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BestDogDad
Wanderers of Time | John Wyndham
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Pickpick

This is the fourth collection of John Wyndham short stories I‘ve read, and my least favorite of the bunch. The five stories in this book are amongst Wyndham's earliest, all written in the 1930s. All are science fiction. My favorite of the bunch was "The Puff-Ball Menace" because it felt Wyndham-like, a bit like his masterpiece The Day of the Triffids.

I've read all the Wyndham short stories I own, now time to finish reading his novels.

Ruthiella Often when I see tall weeds I am reminded of 1y
11 likes1 comment
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BestDogDad
Project Hail Mary | Andy Weir
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Pickpick

I absolutely LOVED this book and heard Andy Weir say on a podcast that MGM has already purchased the movie rights and Ryan Gosling is slated to play the main character Ryland Grace. Wow. Can‘t wait to see it. The audio book which was narrated by actor Ray Porter. He did a phenomenal job portraying the many emotions of Ryland Grace and, in flashbacks, the many different accents of the secondary characters, they of multiple nationalities.

vivastory Sold. I haven't read The Martian, but I seem to be the minority in that I actually liked (didn't love) 1y
BestDogDad @vivastory Interesting. Did you see The Martian movie? I actually liked it more than the book, which is usually not the case. I just think really upped his game with Project Hail Mary. The excellent audio performance really added to the experience, too. I hope you like! 1y
Rachel.Rencher I'm half way through it right now! I had no idea the movie rights were purchased. I'm so excited. 🤩🤩 1y
vivastory I did see the movie. It's been a few years, but I did enjoy it 1y
15 likes4 comments
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BestDogDad
Anthem | Ayn Rand
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Pickpick

This novella tells the story of Equality 7-2521, a young man living in a collectivist society in a dystopian future. One day he finds a artifact from the past which changes his life.

My copy of this book also contained the marked-up 1938 first copy of the book, which was interesting to read bits of and compare to the 1946 version. Rand re-wrote Anthem for its 1946 American release.

Texreader I read this in my teens after reading the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. I remember them but I don‘t remember anything about this one. I need to read it again. 1y
aa_guer2021 What an interesting edition. We read this for the high school curriculum. 1y
22 likes2 comments
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BestDogDad
Project Hail Mary | Andy Weir
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I‘m about 20% in to this and am really enjoying this! Two cool mysteries, interesting science, and a number of good laughs.

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BestDogDad
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Pickpick

This is McDevitt's second Alex Benedict science fiction mystery novel, again featuring Benedict, an antiquities dealer, and Agnes "Chase" Kolpath, his only employee who is an interstellar pilot and the science brain of the operation. In this novel Alex and Chase unravel the mystery of starship Polaris whose captain and crew disappeared without a trace 60 years prior. Cool technology and an engaging mystery made this a winner for me.

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BestDogDad
Project Hail Mary | Andy Weir
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Was not a fan of Artemis but the early reviews of this are positive. Can‘t wait to dig in!

Well-ReadNeck I agree 💯 re: Artemis. I got an ARC of Project Hail Mary and Looooooooved it. Dare I say, even better than The Martian?! 1y
BestDogDad @Well-ReadNeck Oh, that‘s great to hear! I‘m glad you liked it. Now I‘m really excited about it! 1y
16 likes2 comments
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BestDogDad
The Seeds of Time | John Wyndham
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#Aprilwrapup Really enjoyed the KSR and Wyndham double dips, and was pleasantly surprised by McConaughey‘s memoir. Back to taking on the oldest in my TBR in May.

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BestDogDad
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Pickpick

This is the story of Nellie Bly's trip around the world in 1889, using primarily steamships and railroads. She wanted to best the 80 day trip around the world portrayed in Jules Verne's famous novel. One of the neatest parts of her trip is that she went out of the way to visit Jules Verne and his wife in France, and she recounts the meeting in detail.

This trip was quite an achievement for a woman traveling alone in the late 19th century.

rwmg She sounds fascinating. I've wishlisted a collection of her works. 1y
BestDogDad @rwmg She is an interesting person. And fearless to undertake such a journey by herself! 1y
19 likes2 comments
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BestDogDad
Greenlights | Matthew McConaughey
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Pickpick

I loved this! McConaughey calls this an "approach" book, a "playbook" based on the adventures in his life, with stories taken from his journals. The audiobook is narrated by the author, so if you like his good 'ol boy voice you'll enjoy that aspect of the book. He reads with passion and humor, you just can't beat a memoir narrated by the author who is really in to telling their story. Alright, alright, alright! Greenlight! ?

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BestDogDad
The Seeds of Time | John Wyndham
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Pickpick

This is the third short story collection I've read of Wydham's and my favorite of the bunch. Published in 1956, it is comprised of entirely science fiction stories and there isn't a bad one in the bunch. As I've said over and over, Wyndham is a great story teller and I think his short stories stand up against those of any other author. It‘s clear that Wyndham influenced authors and screenwriters who filled him. Love his tone and writing style.

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BestDogDad
Pacific Edge: Three Californias | Kim Stanley Robinson
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Pickpick

This is Robinson's utopian novel in the triptych. Set in 2065, in Orange County (again, of course), our protagonist Kevin Clairborne is in a battle to save an undeveloped hilltop in the town of El Modena from development.

Not was much happens in this one compared to the first two. There are council meetings, zoning debates, and softball games. Still I really enjoyed this. Robinson built an interesting world and is an excellent writer IMO.

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BestDogDad
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Pickpick

Most of the seven stories in this collection deal with alternate realities or time travel. All were written between 1956 - 1961. In true Wyndham style, all of the stories are well written, easy to read, and fit his style - heavy on humanity and low on violence. Wyndham was ahead of his time when it came to social issues and unique science fiction plot twists. The story "Random Quest" may be one of the best short stories I've ever read.

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BestDogDad
The Seeds of Time | John Wyndham
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I‘d like to order a new body, please. Seriously, I can‘t complain. I had friends that didn‘t make it this long. Every day is a gift.

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BestDogDad
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Wyndham uses the word “potty” twice in the story Random Quest. It caused me to raise my eyebrows and go to the Google, I learned a new definition.

Bklover Interesting! I‘ve heard “dotty” with the same definition but I‘ve never heard “potty”! 1y
BestDogDad @Bklover Same with me! The first time I saw “potty” I thought it was a misprint. And then I saw it again. 🧐 1y
17 likes2 comments
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BestDogDad
The Gold Coast: Three Californias | Kim Stanley Robinson
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Pickpick

The Gold Coast (1988) is book two in KSR's triptych. Set in 2027, Orange County CA is full of shopping malls, industrial development, massive residential buildings and the autopia - multi-level electric/magnetic roads filled with programmable self-driving cars. It is a concrete jungle.
I thought this novel came together nicely at the end, in a similar way the first novel of this triptych did. I liked it but not as much as The Wild Shore.

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BestDogDad
Jizzle | John Wyndham
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#marchwrapup. Got more audio in than normal as dog-walking weather returned and I went my first road trip in a long time. Nothing warranted five stars but there was much goodness. 😌

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BestDogDad
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Panpan

Oh boy, this was gritty, raw, and dark. The novella “Make It Right” comprises about half of this book. It felt like a YA story, which I am not keen to, and was full over over-the-top teenage angst and drama, sprinkled with drinking, sex, and violence. I did not enjoy it.

I don‘t mind reading literature which makes me feel uncomfortable, but I just found the short stories to be off-putting and sometimes over the top. This just wasn‘t for me.

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BestDogDad
Destiny's Road | Larry Niven
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Pickpick

Destiny was colonized by humans in the 25th century. The two settlements, named Spiral Town and Destiny Town, were located on each side of a continent and connected by a single road. Our protagonist, Jemmy Bloocher, a farm kid from Spiral town decides to travel the road and this novel chronicles his adventures. Niven is really good at world building and biology and chemistry play a huge part in this novel, and he really made it all believable.

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BestDogDad
The Wild Shore: Three Californias | Kim Stanley Robinson
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Pickpick

This is the impressive debut novel by Kim Stanley Robinson. It is part of the Three Californias Triptych, and all titles were free on Audible last time I checked. The Wild Shore is the dystopian novel of the three. The triptych covers three possible futures for California.

The pace of the novel is slow and steady, and the tone is melancholic, which was right up my alley and why I liked it so much. Kim Stanley Robinson can really tell a story.

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BestDogDad
In the Year 2889 | Jules Verne
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Pickpick

This was Jules Verne's look 1,000 years in to the future, although it may have been written by his son, Michael.

This short little book is full of neat future stuff. Advertisements are projected on clouds, a person can communicate via phototelegrams to the inhabitants of Mars and Venus (but nobody is quite sure of what is living on Jupiter, we can't understand their signals), and many other fun forward-looking ideas which Verne was known for.

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BestDogDad
Mother Night: A Novel | Kurt Vonnegut
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Vonnegut March Madness! Who you got?!?!

Ruthiella I predict Slaughterhouse Five for the win! 😃 2y
BestDogDad @Ruthiella I think you might be right. That has to be the top seed. 2y
See All 9 Comments
britt_brooke @Megabooks This is awesome - thanks for tagging me! 2y
britt_brooke @Ruthiella @BestDogDad I agree! And I love this. 2y
vivastory This is great! 2y
vivastory @Ruthiella @britt_brooke I predict Breakfast of Champions AKA the worst book to recommend to someone who has never read Vonnegut before. Although I'd like to see Cat's Cradle or Mother Night win as a dark horse. I do love SH5 but it'd be a bit predictable 2y
vivastory I also love Breakfast etc but it's filled with inside jokes that a reader won't understand if they have never read Vonnegut 2y
britt_brooke @vivastory You are probably right. I agree with everything you said! 😄 (edited) 2y
15 likes9 comments
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BestDogDad
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Mehso-so

This turned out to be sort of an eco-dystopian romance, not really what I expected or hoped for after reading and enjoying seven other science fiction books by the author. I probably should've expected a romance as the novel was chiefly about two main characters who were adversaries at the start; I mean, they spend the whole novel together. C'mon, man.

Howey IS a great storyteller. I thought the ending was good, and this was worth reading.

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BestDogDad
Jizzle | John Wyndham
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Pickpick

This is John Wyndham's first collection of short stories, published in 1954 and containing stories he wrote in the early 1950s. I especially liked the first and last stories, "Jizzle", about a naughty monkey and "More Spinned Against", about a spider with an interesting past.

Anyone who enjoys Wyndham's writing and story-telling ability will find something worthwhile in this collection.

vivastory What a cover! 2y
BestDogDad @vivastory That‘s what I thought, too, when it came in the mail. Funny thing is, the weird collection of images has nothing to do with any of the stories. 🤔 2y
TheNeverendingTBR I've read 'Triffids' loved it, I've not read anything else by him though. 2y
17 likes4 comments
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BestDogDad
Jizzle | John Wyndham
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The first thing that Ted Torby saw, when his reluctant eyelids had gathered enough strength to raise themselves, seemed to be a monkey, perched on top of the cupboard, watching him. #FirstLineFridays @ShyBookOwl

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BestDogDad
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Books finished in February. After a brutally cold February it feels like Spring has arrived so hopefully they‘ll some outside reading in the docket. #Februarywrapup

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BestDogDad
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I just noticed this quote tucked in the back of this book. I like how the author connected with Wyndham‘s books. 👍🏼

13 likes2 stack adds
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BestDogDad
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Pickpick

This is an excellent biography of a great, underappreciated, author who was extremely private.

It's a shame Wyndham's work isn't more well known. It really is unique within the science fiction genre and it think it holds up better than the work of his 1950s - 1960s contemporaries due to John's portrayal of women and overall progressive mindset. I absolutely loved this book and I feel like I finally know who John Wyndham was.

Come-read-with-me Thanks for the recommendation-sounds good! 2y
rwmg I've always enjoyed John Wyndham's novels. Wishlisted 2y
BestDogDad @rwmg The author writes about a number of his novels and short stories and where he got the inspiration from, and who some of the characters are probably based on. I really enjoyed that. 2y
BestDogDad @Come-read-with-me I had no idea what his life was like, and he ordered all his letters and journals destroyed upon his death so a lot of research went in to this. 2y
Come-read-with-me @BestDogDad That is amazing! Definitely on my TBR! 2y
21 likes1 stack add5 comments
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BestDogDad
Starman Jones | Robert A. Heinlein
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Mehso-so

Starman Jones contains too many science fiction tropes to count. I don't know how many years went by in protagonist Max's life during this course of this, but geez, he was wrung through every science fiction crisis there was by the end. It held my attention and the plot moved along at a nice pace, although I think it got too convoluted towards the end. I would've eaten this up if I had read this in the 1970s. Great narration by Richard Powers.

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BestDogDad
Islam: A Short History | Karen Armstrong
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Pickpick

The book does a great job outlining how Islam changed from Muhammed's original vison to the modern day, and interestingly points out how world events around the Middle East such as the Mongols in the 13th century and the Crusades in the 11th century shaped the religion and its followers.

I think it‘s a good idea to read up on something you don't understand. I learned more about Islam in these 191 pages than I had in my prior 55 years.

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BestDogDad
Islam: A Short History | Karen Armstrong
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I‘ve highlighted the heck out of sections of this book. I‘m ignorant of religions outside of Christianity and am no longer religious but have learned much and am now less ignorant.

13 likes2 stack adds
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BestDogDad
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Pickpick

Fungi are everywhere, all around us and literally everywhere we trod. Plus, they are responsible for some of our favorite foods and drinks. And to top it off the largest organism in the world is a massive fungus.

I highly recommended this to anyone who enjoys weird science. You'll be surprised how relevant and important fungi are to our everyday lives. And how weird they are!

Reggie Have you seen that Ted talk with that guy who shows that certain mushrooms can clean up oil spills. That they basically can create an ecosystem out of anything. It was pretty cool. 2y
SamAnne I've been trying to get to this one for 4 months! I'm obsessed with fungi. 2y
BestDogDad @Reggie I have not. I‘ll have to check that out. It‘s crazy what they can do. 2y
BestDogDad @SamAnne You‘ll probably like this one. It‘s fungi-riffic! 2y
19 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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BestDogDad
On Lighthouses | Jazmina Barrera
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Pickpick

What a neat little book this is. In six chapters, all centered around a particular lighthouse, the author expresses her love, or "collection", of lighthouses though personal anecdotes, lighthouse history, and quotes from other books featuring lighthouses. The bibliography is a virtual history of lighthouse in literature.

Highly recommended, even if you don't like lighthouses.

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BestDogDad
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Plenty of pandemic reading time this month, and a warmer than average January in Minnesota lent itself to longer walks. A Dune-o-riffic month, it was. #Januarywrapup

Ruthiella Three Dune novels in one month? Amazing! 😃 2y
BestDogDad @Ruthiella *well* finished - I had a pretty good start on Dune in December but once I got going on them they were hard to put down. 2y
17 likes2 comments
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BestDogDad
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Mehso-so

Ummmm........this book was clearly not intended for an old guy who has been married for 29 years, been with the same employer for 25 years, and lived in the same house for 28 years. I probably would've got a lot out of this book and enjoyed it had I read it 30 years ago but reading it as an older person I grew tired of the gratuitous swearing, poop jokes, and sex jokes. And I'm really not in to self help books, anyway. I didn‘t hate it. 🤷🏼‍♂️

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BestDogDad
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Overall, this book didn‘t resonate with me but I do like some of Manson‘s quotes.

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BestDogDad
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So true. 🤦🏼‍♂️ He saw 2020 and 2021 coming.

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BestDogDad
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Pickpick

Steven Hyden is a Radiohead fanatic, as you would expect a person to be to write a six-hour / 256-page book centered around a single album in a band's canon. He also spends time giving background on each of the five band members and explains why the work so good together and have been such a cohesive unit for thirty-five years. In short, this book is all things Radiohead, and as a fellow fanatic I loved this.

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BestDogDad
Dune Messiah | Frank Herbert
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Pickpick

Set 12 years after Dune, Dune Messiah chronicles the continued exploits of those never-boring Atreides kids on Arrakis. Paul is Emperor and Alia is Reverend Mother.

While not as epic in scope as (and much shorter than) Dune, this novel kept me turning pages as the Atreides are engrossing characters and always up to something, and there were some interesting folks introduced who factored heavy in the goings-on. Looking forward to continuing on.

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BestDogDad
Convenience Store Woman | Sayaka Murata
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Mehso-so

This was an interesting little novel about Keiko, a quirky (possibly autistic?) Japanese woman. I really enjoyed the insight in to Keiko's work life and attempts at a social life, and but the novel lost me was about two-thirds of the way through with the introduction of a loathsome character Shihara. He was just rotten and I just wanted this to be over and end as happily as it could. Overall, it was just an OK read for me.

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BestDogDad
Dune | Frank Herbert
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Pickpick

There isn't anything left to be said about how grand and epic Herbert's tale is. The world building is the best I've ever read. The characters are fully fleshed out and unforgettable. It's amazing that this all came out of a single person's mind. I've heard so much about Dune over the years and I‘m happy to report that it lives up to its reputation. PS. the Afterword by son Brian Herbert was very personal and insightful.

iread2much Omg, when it took me a while to see that you were holding an antler and not your dogs lips. 😂 2y
25 likes1 comment
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BestDogDad
Convenience Store Woman | Sayaka Murata
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Started Convenience Store Woman on my morning walk. It was especially beautiful with the hoarfrost and the steam coming off the Mississippi.

Ruthiella Wow, that‘s an amazing picture! 2y
batsy That's so beautiful. 2y
33 likes1 stack add2 comments
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BestDogDad
Inherit the Stars | James P. Hogan
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Mehso-so

This is hard science fiction and not much happens in the way of action - most of the book consists of scientists talking amongst themselves as they gradually unravel the mystery of a humanoid found on the moon 50,000 years after he died. I liked it up until the last chapter and epilogue which had me plumbing the depths of my brain to recall what I knew about the human evolution timeline and the history of the moon. I just couldn‘t buy the ending.

bookishbitch Cool cover though. 2y
19 likes1 comment
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BestDogDad
Dune | Frank Herbert
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1st: Machine Learning by Hugh Howey
Last: Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut

Bringing in 2021 with Frank Herbert‘s Dune. Let‘s roll!

#Goodbye2020
@ShyBookOwl

ShyBookOwl This is also on my 2021 TBR! Enjoy 2y
BestDogDad @ShyBookOwl Excellent! It‘s a chunky one. Very good so far. 2y
18 likes1 stack add2 comments
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BestDogDad
Untitled | Unknown
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This was my best reading year ever. Books kept me sane during the Covid madness and local civil unrest. Good riddance to 2020, but I‘m glad I read a lot of great books. #goodreadschallenge2020 #goodeads #2020wraup #goodreadschallenge