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Any other readers here?

Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:56 pm
by NGIB
Since I retired in 2015 I have went back to reading a lot. For years reading was tough as I don't have great eyesight but since I discovered tablets and increased fonts I am reading 2-3 books a week. I can't remember when I last turned on the TV as there's nothing worth watching IMHO. I like a lot of genres but I really like historical fiction, primarily Roman and Britain. Some of my favorite authours are Griff Hosker, Simon Scarrow, Jonathan Moeller (fantasy), and many others. Thought this might be an interesting topic on which to chat...

Re: Any other readers here?

Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:20 pm
by richb
Roman History has been a passion of mine since my 20's. Edward Gibbon The Decline ad Fall of the Roman Empire is a must for one interested in Roman history.
I just started Rick Atkinson;s first book in his Liberation Trilogy about WWII. An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943. He is an excellent historian and writer and you feel you are in the action. But also start to understand the military and political leaders.
Biographies of our Founding Fathers, US that is, is also an interest of mine, Actually any history from India, japan, Egypt, Russia. and Middle Ages will keep my interest.

Re: Any other readers here?

Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:29 pm
by NGIB
Most of the Roman historical fiction I read has a huge basis in fact. The wrap their fictional characters in actual events of the period. The Cato & Macro series (Under the Eagle) by Simon Scarrow is really enjoyable - 17 books so far. The books by SJA Turney are also very good and I've read all he has written. I spend a lot of times on Goodreads looking for my next series. Note that I've posted about calibre twice - it is an invaluable tool. I buy a lot of my books on Amazon (for Kindle) and I use calibre to convert them into EPUB format to use on my tablet...

Re: Any other readers here?

Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:03 pm
by manyroads
I think this is my Goodreads address: https://www.goodreads.com/manyroads

I'm on my 56th book of this year...

Re: Any other readers here?

Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:23 pm
by JayM
Fans of (19th century) historical fiction would do well to read the late George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman series of novels. Ostensibly the memoirs of General Sir Harry Flashman, retired, that were found in an old bureau drawer by his great nephew and published, they track the career of Harry Flashman, the bully of Rugby School in the Victorian novel Tom Brown's School Days, from his expulsion from Rugby and joining the army onward. Flashman's still a bully, a philanderer, and like most bullies also a coward, and his entire military career and his personal adventures between wars are a series of "out of the frying pan, into the fire" scenarios.

He's involved in the First Afghan War (and emerges as the Hero of Jalallabad), the Schleswig-Holstein Question (in which he's kidnapped by Otto Von Bismark and forced to impersonate a Danish prince), he participates in both the Thin Red Line and the charges of the Heavy and Light Brigades in Crimea then is taken prisoner by the Russians, escapes, and ends up fighting skirmishes against them later alongside of central Asian tribesmen and thwarting a Russian invasion of India, he goes west on a wagon train in 1849, is captured and adopted by Apaches, and is rescued by "Buffalo Bill" Cody, he's with John Brown the abolitionist at the raid of the Harper's Ferry armory, he serves briefly on both sides during the American Civil War, was at Custer's Last Stand (surviving because the Sioux who was about to kill and scalp him turned out to be an old acquaintance from when Flashman was traveling with Buffalo Bill after the Apache rescue), was with James Brooke, "the White Rajah of Sarawak", in the Malaysia-Borneo-Sulu region on a Skrang pirate-hunting expedition, was at the Indian Mutiny and the Sikh War and I can't even remember what all else.

He was also one of Queen Victoria's favorite officers and was invited to visit her on several occasions, earned the Thanks of Parliament, the V.C., and many other medals and honors, as most of his attempts to run away and avoid being killed ended up with him appearing to be a hero (for example, at Piper's Fort in Jalallabad, he was the lone survivor, having been knocked unconscious and having a broken leg and thought to be dead, and was found clutching the British flag to his chest as though trying to protect it. He'd actually taken it down to try to give it to the enemy and surrender to save himself, when debris from a cannonball hit him and knocked him out.)

Before Fraser wrote one of these Flashman novels he'd first read absolutely everything available on the subject(s) he was planning to write about, then he'd travel to the locations at which the events took place to see with his own eyes (stupid expression: who else's eyes would he see with?) how the land lay and exactly where particular events such as individual skirmishes during a battle took place. These enabled Fraser to write novels that (except for the Rugby School bully being involved) were historically accurate and were written such that it was easy to believe the protagonist had actually been there himself as an eyewitness/participant.

To answer NGIB's question, my older sister got tired of me always asking her to read me stories so she taught me to read when I was three and I've been reading ever since, up until the past few years when a combination of deteriorating eyesight and multiple pets (mostly rescues) caught up with me and I no longer see as clearly or have the time.

Re: Any other readers here?

Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:12 pm
by tascoast
I enjoyed the Flashman novels for their ribald and historical content. Ripping yarns, you might say. There is one set in Madagascar (I think, or Mauritius) where he ends up in the queen's rather personal service.

Lately I've read many of the early accounts of exploration in Australia, most recently Warburton's journey through South-Western Australia, using camels and 'Afghans' along with a young Aboriginal lad, slowly eating the camels and shooting any birds they can get as supplies dwindle, tracking native camps to find water, as scurvy and thirst hover.

Re: Any other readers here?

Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:15 pm
by Old Giza
Just finished Rick Atkinson's An Army at Dawn. It was excellent as you say richb. Looking forward to reading the next two.

Concerning American Revolution history, recommend 1776 by David McCullough and American Crisis by William Fowler Jr., the first very readable and the second a good analysis of the attempts to keep the Continental Army in being after Yorktown.

Like manyroads, I've also been in the habit of recording my good reads because otherwise they would fade from this aging memory.

Re: Any other readers here?

Posted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:51 am
by NGIB
Another good author for Roman historical fiction is Anthony Riches. His Empire series (10th book came out this month) is fun reading. I read strictly for pleasure and I most enjoy a series where the characters are realistic and likeable. Another author to check out for Parthian historical fiction (and the crusade in the Balkans) is Peter Darman...

Re: Any other readers here?

Posted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 12:38 pm
by KBD
I used to read quite a bit, going through 50-75 or more books a year. I had perfect vision until I hit about 40 years old and then my eyes began giving me issues. I gradually turned to audiobooks. But they are more time consuming. The last couple of years I read the occasional book via Alexa TTS which has gotten quite good, and moves through books quicker than regular audiobooks. I used to read on a wide variety of subjects. I still read my Bible, Philosophy books, and of course anything online with my eyes, but novels are almost always TTS now.
I've tried the Kindle Paperwhite, but my eyes bother me in under an hour. I have a Fire 8 HD tablet which has better contrast, but still irritates my eyes after awhile.
I'm glad I was a voracious reader when I was younger and read widely while my eyes were at their peak. Still fun to revisit an old Fantasy or Science Fiction or Western/Frontier novel via Alexa TTS.

Re: Any other readers here?

Posted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 5:25 am
by Artim
It's hard to read, especially under fluorescent lights. Lots of "neural noise," the letters won't stay still on the page. They rise from the page, throw shadows on the paper, and dance around keeping time with the noise. I do better when my lessons are printed on colored paper, pastels, and green is best. So for the most part I rely on audio books. I love non-fiction books about Christian theology and history.