I was at Borders a few nights ago and I picked up 'Warhammer 40,000: The Killing Ground', 'The Art of Clint Langley: Dark Visions from the grim Worlds of Warhammer', 'The Army of Flanders and the Spanish Road: 1567-1659' by Geoffrey Parker, 'Forgotten Wars: The End of Britain's Asian Empire' by Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper and 'The grand Strategy of Philip II' by Geoffrey Parker.

I finished 'The Lover' by Marguerite Duras a few days back. I have just started on 'Battles of the Thirty Years War: From White Mountain to Nordlingen 1618-1635'. I am also in the midst of a few other books including 'God is not great: How religion poisons the world' by Christopher Hitchens.

What you are guys reading?

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Just finished "It Can't Happen Here" by Sinclair Lewis.  It was written over 80 years ago in 1935, but one of the fascinating aspects of it is the contemporaneous depiction of life in America.  In many ways, we haven't changed.  We're still arguing over the same things.

Read: "Storm and Conquest: The Clash in the Eastern Seas, 1809" by Stephen Taylor. This is history, not fiction, but the story is pure Patrick O'Brien, with special effects out of the Perfect Storm". This was a side show of the Napoleonic Wars but important for England, because of the shipments of saltpetre needed for the making of gunpowder that came from India to England through the Indian Ocean. The French had a shortage of this which is thought to have effected the quality of their weapons. The French would win a great victory over the English in a frigate battle. Their only great defeat of the English in the naval wars of Napoleon. Then there was the hurricanes that would cost the English, ships in the Indian Ocean. The author puts you in these storms where you are "There". I can relate since as a kid I traveled across the Pacific Ocean into a Typhoon. Excellent reading and Very Highly Recommended. A good scenario for GMT's "Flying Colors". 

"Galleons and Galleys" by John F. Guilmartin, Jr..Between the mid 14th century and the mid 17th century, the use of gunpowder weapons afloat, fundamentally changed the balance of power throughout the world. The principal agents of change were the war galley and galleon. This book address this development at sea where Europe would with superior ships come to dominate the world. Covers not only these changes in Europe but Asia, the Middle East and Japan's first attempt at a overseas empire. Eventually, the "Ship-of-the-Line would replace these ship types. Very Good and Recommended.

"Death Ship" by Jim Kelly. A mystery novel that takes place in Norfolk, England. An explosion on a beach, a woman killer with a macabre MO, a Dutch engineer goes missing, and a protest movement against a new tourist pier being constructed, these are the "problems" that DI Shaw and DS Valentine are trying to figure out and solve. A Shaw and Valentine mystery. Very Good and Recommended.

Read: "Rather Be The Devil" by Ian Rankin. A Inspector Rebus mystery novel. Rebus is looking for something to do in retirement. He decides to look into a very old unsolved case: the murder of a glamorous woman at a fancy hotel while a famous rock star was staying there. He gets more than he bargains for: more bodies appear right after he starts asking questions. Very Good and Recommended.

"The Empire of the Qara Khitai in Eurasian history: Between China and the Islamic World" by Michal Biran. The Khitai(Liao) were a group of nomad tribes that conquered North-East China in the early 10th Century. They were in turn conquered by a new group of nomads, the Jin.  A branch, called the Qara Khitai under their excellent leader Yelu Dashi fled to Central Asia and carved a new empire out for themselves by defeating the Seljuk Turks in 1141 and others. This is their story. Very Good and Recommended.


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