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abandonedonearth

abandonedonearth

Joined March 2019

New Zealand | I read for pleasure, not pretentiousness | I prefer non-fiction and older fiction (20th century and earlier) | Audiobooks are not books
review
abandonedonearth
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Pickpick

Incorporating issues 61-93, annuals 5-7, and Not Brand Ecch 5-7, this volume also includes reprints of several original pencillings and other artworks.

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abandonedonearth
Wyatts Hurricane | Desmond Bagley
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Mehso-so

A great, suspenseful and intriguing story that is well written. However, given Bagley‘s skill as a writer, it‘s disappointing that almost every exclamation the characters utter is a blasphemous one. English is a rich language with a huge variety of expletives. Bagley appears to have known only one.

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abandonedonearth
High Citadel | Desmond Bagley
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Mehso-so

I last read this novel many years ago. Having reread it now, I realised I had forgotten that it‘s littered with blasphemous expletives that mar a thrilling story. Were it not for that, it would have been a thoroughly enjoyable read.

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abandonedonearth
The Golden Keel | Desmond Bagley
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Pickpick

Bagley‘s first novel is a great adventure. It‘s a book of two halves, with the first a fascinating and gripping scene-setter, and the second replete with thrilling action, climaxing in a surprising and gut-wrenching ending.

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abandonedonearth
The Fantastic Four Omnibus Vol. 2 | Stan Lee, MARVEL COMICS.
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Pickpick

This second volume in the omnibus series includes issues 31-60, as well as the second to fourth annuals. Among other historic developments, this set marks several first appearances, including Black Panther, Wyatt Wingfoot, and the Inhumans. It‘s wonderful to go back in time and enjoy the stories and art from “the Marvel Age of Comics”.

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abandonedonearth
Santorini | Alistair MacLean
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Pickpick

Although short on action, this is a very suspenseful read that gripped me throughout. What is the connection between a sunken ship, a downed aircraft carrying atomic and hydrogen bombs (one of which has been armed and could detonate at the slightest sound or vibration), and a wealthy, but shady, Greek businessman? An enjoyable read with a satisfying ending.

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abandonedonearth
Seawitch | Alistair MacLean
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Pickpick

A somewhat unusual MacLean novel in that there are no sub-plots or twists in the tale, nor is there any mystery to keep the reader guessing, it‘s a good action thriller that maintains a fast pace from beginning to end. MacLean‘s impeccable research brings, as always, a sense of realism to a good story.

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abandonedonearth
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Pickpick

“Up and At ‘Em” is the correct title for this book, one of the three collections in the War Picture Library set. In my childhood, I looked forward to each 64-page story my dad brought home each week, along with the latest Air Ace Picture Library and Action Picture Library editions I would refer to collectively as “war comics”. This volume brings together 10 of the original classic tales, and is a wonderful trip down Memory Lane.

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abandonedonearth
The Golden Gate | Alistair MacLean
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Pickpick

Kidnapping an American president and two Arab royals, and holding them hostage in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco seems like an implausible plot element, but MacLean makes it completely believable in this page-turner. It‘s an intriguing adventure from start to end.

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abandonedonearth
Way to Dusty Death (Revised) | Alistair MacLean
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Mehso-so

For much of this thriller, the main mystery is the reason for the protagonist‘s odd behaviour. The secondary mystery is why people seem to want him dead. Thankfully, both are satisfactorily resolved. Unfortunately, the sleuthing skills and James Bond-like attributes evident in this Grand Prix driver are a little unbelievable. Sadly, as with several of MacLean‘s post-1970 novels, there are far too many blasphemous exclamations for my taste.

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abandonedonearth
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Pickpick

He pukapuka kāmehameha tēnei. I hoko au i te pukapuka nā te mea i te ako au i ngā kupu whakarite ki te whare wānaga, ā, ahakoa i ako au i ngā tikanga, kāore au i mārama i ngā take. E whakamāra pai ana te pukapuka. E rua ngā reo: ki te taha mauī, ko te reo Māori; ki te taha matau, ko te reo Pākehā. Rawe tēnei pukapuka, he tino taonga.

blurb
abandonedonearth
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I never read any of the English-language Harry Potter books, but I‘m slowly making my way through Leon Blake‘s translation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher‘s Stone. Hats off to Blake for his work, which includes coming up with great new words to translate “muggles”, “quidditch”, etc. This must have been quite a challenge to translate!

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abandonedonearth
Bear Island | Alistair MacLean
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Mehso-so

A murder mystery in the vein of Ice Station Zebra, this is a book of two halves, with the pace of the second far slower than that of the first. While I enjoyed the story and characters, there are far more frequent blasphemous exclamations in this novel than in MacLean‘s earlier works, which I do not appreciate. If not for that, I would have rated it higher.

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abandonedonearth
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Pickpick

The subtitle, “The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song”, is not quite accurate, because the book (1994) covers only the songs released on official albums, and singles, arranged according to the original British album releases, not those of the US, which I consider mere compilation albums. Still, it‘s a fascinating look at where the songs came from, and puts paid to many urban myths around the music of what I believe to be the greatest group yet.

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abandonedonearth
The Last Frontier | Alistair MacLean
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Pickpick

The tension starts early in this classic Cold War thriller, and doesn‘t let up until the final pages. Unlike the unbelievable heroes of many espionage thrillers of the time (the novel was first published in 1959), Michael Reynolds makes several costly mistakes throughout the book, adding to the overall realism. It‘s an often violent, always enthralling, story, and one of my favourite MacLean books.

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abandonedonearth
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Pickpick

The Fantastic Four was my favourite comic book when I was a youth in the 1980s, so I was thrilled when my wife gave me this omnibus as a gift. It contains the first 30 issues and first annual (1961-1964), including the covers and letter pages. How wonderful to see where it all began! This is one I‘ll read again and again.

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abandonedonearth
Brave New World | Aldous Huxley
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Pickpick

Written in 1931, and published the following year, this is a disturbing dystopian novel set in 2540, portraying a world fashioned by social and biological engineering. It‘s a world in which the concept of individuality and personal freedom have been abolished in favour of the greater good of society. Though a relatively quick read, it contains much that is thought provoking.

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abandonedonearth
Circus | Alistair MacLean
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Pickpick

MacLean‘s 19th novel, published in 1975, is set against the backdrop of the Cold War. A circus provides the cover for entering and carrying out a daring act of espionage in Eastern Europe. As with all his novels, there is intrigue, action, and tension throughout. A very enjoyable read.

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abandonedonearth
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Pickpick

Translated from Italian, this 1964 Companion Book Club edition combines two books about the impetuous priest and his secular rival, the communist mayor Peppone. The first is a novel about Don Camillo‘s trip to the Soviet Union, the second a collection of short stories. Always amusing, sometimes downright funny, it‘s a volume I return to again and again.

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abandonedonearth
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Pickpick

The sequel to Politically Correct Bedtime Stories (see my previous post), this is another collection of well-known fairytales (plus a politically correct alphabet!) rewritten in a comical way to satirise the PC trend. It‘s not quite as good as the first volume, but a very amusing read nevertheless.

review
abandonedonearth
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Pickpick

This is a collection of 13 fairy tales, rewritten to satirise society‘s growing obsession with political correctness. The book (or “processed tree carcass”, as the author calls it), was published in 1994, but is just as funny today, if not more so. Taking to the extreme the concept of political correctness, and the trend towards editing or rewriting older works to make them conform to contemporary mores, it‘s a hilarious read all the way through.

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abandonedonearth
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Pickpick

From pre-Roman Britain to the South African War, this set offers a fascinating overview of the history of English-speaking countries. Thanks to Churchill‘s style, there were times I felt as if I were reading a novel spiced with intrigue, adventure, and even mystery. Covering millennia of the history of different countries necessitates brevity, even in four volumes, but Churchill chose the right highlights to weave together a riveting thread.

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abandonedonearth
Caravan to Vaccares | Alistair MacLean
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Pickpick

Set in the French region of Provence during a Gypsy pilgrimage, British agent Neil Bowman, sent to investigate suspicious deaths, becomes a murder target himself as he seeks to discover the Gypsies‘ dark secret, and is forced to run for his life. MacLean works in an unexpected twist at the conclusion, at the same time resolving what can be a puzzling question throughout the novel: what is so important that Bowman should be marked for murder?

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abandonedonearth
Puppet on a Chain | Alistair MacLean
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Pickpick

First published in 1969, and set in Amsterdam, the plot revolves around Interpol officer Paul Sherman‘s quest to bring down a narcotics ring and its mastermind. The tough, cynical Sherman has enough flaws, and makes enough mistakes, to make him a realistic character, and his dry humour, relayed through first-person narration, makes him likeable. True to MacLean‘s style, plenty of action and twists keep the reader‘s interest from start to end.

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abandonedonearth
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Mehso-so

I am a huge fan of the Asterix series. I was thrilled when Ferri & Conrad took over the writing and illustration in 2013, because their initial works went a long way to restoring the quality of the Goscinny & Uderzo era. However, I was a bit disappointed with album 38. I found the plot too simplistic, and the story chaotic and over-reliant on gags. Some of the translation is inconsistent with earlier works. It‘s not among the best Asterix albums.

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abandonedonearth
Force 10 from Navarone | Alistair MacLean
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Pickpick

MacLean was sometimes truly cruel to his characters. Picking up immediately where The Guns of Navarone ended, the already exhausted group of soldiers are sent, without the benefit of rest, on another demanding and dangerous mission that is even more tension-filled than the first. Despite the 11-year gap between the two books, the skilled writing makes them function effectively as a two-part novel with a tremendous climax.

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abandonedonearth
The Guns of Navarone | Alistair MacLean
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Pickpick

This is not the first time I have read MacLean‘s second novel, first published in 1957, but I wanted to refresh my memory before reading the 1968 sequel. It‘s a thoroughly enjoyable WWII adventure that takes place on a fictional island, although it is based on a historical campaign and battle. This is classic MacLean, and the fact that the hero is from New Zealand is merely the cherry on top.

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abandonedonearth
When Eight Bells Toll | Alistair MacLean
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Pickpick

MacLean‘s 11th novel (1966), starts off at a slower pace than most of his books in that period. The first half reads almost like a travelogue, replete with detailed descriptions of Scotland‘s west coast. However, about halfway through, the story changes gear suddenly and spectacularly, and keeps up an unrelenting pace to the end. MacLean was a master of unexpected turns, and that is very much in evidence here. A great detective-espionage tale.

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abandonedonearth
Night Without End | Alistair MacLean
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Pickpick

I should disclose for the sake of transparency that Alistair MacLean is my favourite 20th-century author. This novel, his fifth, tells a gripping tale of espionage, intrigue, and murder, set against the backdrop of the harsh Arctic. Set aside a few hours, because once you start reading this fast-paced story packed with unexpected twists and turns, you will want to continue uninterrupted to the climactic end.

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abandonedonearth
A Passage to India | Edward Morgan Forster
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Bailedbailed

This was one of the books I had to study for English literature at university, and it was a struggle. I thought I would reread it for pleasure, but I gave up halfway through. It was just too laborious a read. While it is interesting to examine the attitudes and culture clashes during the British Raj, I simply could not get into the book. Perhaps I will try again in a few years.

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abandonedonearth
The Comedians | Graham Greene
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Pickpick

Greene takes the reader to Haiti under the cruel rule of François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, as seen through the eyes of an English hotel owner, Brown. The three main characters —Brown, Smith, and Jones — are in different senses failures, yet heroic in another sense. It is not an uplifting story by any any means, yet a good read, offering some insight into a dark period in Haiti‘s history.

review
abandonedonearth
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Pickpick

This anthology is a gem. It contains a range of World War I poetry, from the patriotic and idealistic, to the real and disturbing. My favourite is Siegfried Sassoon‘s “Suicide in the Trenches”, which I read every Anzac Day.

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abandonedonearth
Ice Station Zebra | Alistair MacLean
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Pickpick

This is a superb thriller that maintains tension from beginning to end. Mystery, murder, espionage, and treason set against the backdrop of some of the most hostile natural conditions on the planet make this novel one that is hard to put down. MacLean was not only a master storyteller, but an able researcher who provided enough factual context to add to the richness and authenticity of his tales. A gripping read from cover to cover.

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abandonedonearth
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Pickpick

I reread this book recently for the first time since I studied it at university in the 1980s, and enjoyed it much more this time. Rather than the translations more commonly encountered these days, this is in the original Middle English, thus retaining all of Chaucer‘s rhymes, metre, and nuances. While the Canterbury Tales make up a large chunk, all of Chaucer‘s known works are here in all their glory.

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abandonedonearth
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Pickpick

Although Hardy labelled this a “pastoral tale”, it is far more. It is also considerably more than a romance, exploring as it does relations between the sexes, social class relations, and the human psyche, against the backdrop of Victorian Wessex. A remarkably insightful novel, and one of my firm favourites.

Eggs Welcome to Litsy 🤗 3y
abandonedonearth @Eggs Thank you! 3y
6 likes2 comments
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abandonedonearth
Great Expectations | Charles Dickens
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Pickpick

My favourite novel, which I have read many times. It has a bit of everything: coming of age, mystery, intrigue, deception, humour, tragedy, unrequited love, romance, crime... A true masterpiece of 19th-century writing.

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abandonedonearth
Satan Bug (UK) | Alistair MacLean
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Pickpick

This is a great 1960s action thriller, with a tough-guy hero typical of the fiction of the period. Germ warfare agents, the threat of mass destruction, deceit, and intrigue, combined with a larger-than-life hero, make this a real page turner.

rretzler Welcome to Litsy! 📖 🎉 3y
abandonedonearth @rretzler Thank you! Nice to be here. 3y
5 likes2 comments
review
abandonedonearth
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Pickpick

I am using this book to supplement my formal studies. It is by far the best language-teaching book I have come across. The contents are well presented, and, although learning a language is never easy, this book certainly makes learning te reo Māori much easier. It has sped up my learning immensely.

CoffeeNBooks Welcome to Litsy! 📚 3y
StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Welcome to Litsy 📖💖 3y
2 likes4 comments
review
abandonedonearth
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Pickpick

They‘re all here, the familiar stories we grew up with, and unfamiliar tales, too. Yet, even the tales we know are somewhat unfamiliar, because the versions we read as children were sanitised. These are the originals, in all their (sometimes violent or gory, sometimes bemusing) unsanitised form. Well worth a read, even just to see how different they are from their “reboots”.

Chelleo Welcome to Litsy! Hope these #Litsytips by @RaimeyGallant http://bit.ly/litsytips and #LitsyHowTo videos: goo.gl/UrCpoU are helpful. #LitsyWelcomeWagon
3y
abandonedonearth @Chelleo Thank you! I will have a look. 3y
Eggs Welcome to Litsy 🤗 3y
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abandonedonearth @Eggs Thank you! I found out about it from the LibraryThing newsletter and thought it would be interesting. It is! 3y
RaimeyGallant Welcome! 3y
5 likes6 comments
review
abandonedonearth
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Pickpick

Vlach clearly and expertly critiques covenant theology and the various forms of supersessionism (aka replacement theology/fulfilment theology). Through his historical overview, examination of covenant theology hermeneutics, and critique of common “proof texts”, he shows not only that supersessionists have a weak case, but also that the theory is dangerous because it impugns the character of God. #theology #CovenantTheology #doctrine #Christianity

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abandonedonearth
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Pickpick

This is a top-notch reference for lovers of the golden age of American radio, containing entries for hundreds of old-time radio shows. Some entries consist of basic information, such broadcast dates and networks, while others are more encyclopaedic. A must-have for any serious OTR fan or collector. #OTR #OldTimeRadio #Encyclopaedia #Encyclopedia

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abandonedonearth
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Mehso-so

While this Māori-English/English Māori dictionary is impressive in terms of the number of words, it suffers in terms of ease of use. For example, if I want to look up the Māori word for “sound” (healthy/uninjured), I am presented with a simple list of eight words without explanation or context. I then have to go to the Māori section to look up each word, most of which deal with audible sounds. It can take some minutes to find the appropriate word.