What are you reading right now?

Any connection to Mukhabarat?

Probably in the root.

مخ
Mukh is brain

مخب
Makhab is Hidden

مخبارات
Mukhabarat is "intelligence", but please be careful with that. It has overwhelmingly negative connotations.

استخبارات
Istkhabarat is also "intelligence", but I have not heard it have such a "dread factor" as the Mukhabrat.

Its sort of like knowing what Geheime Staatspolizei translates as, and knowing what it means.

مخبر is probably culturally different to مصدر الاستخبارات البشرية

(Masdar al-Istkhabarat al-bashret) source of human intelligence

to جاسوس (Jasus - Spy).

No one wants to be around when the word khain خائن

gets used

Never ends well (edited to add, "Traitor")
 
Does this happen to anyone else by they way?

I am reasonably well behaved at the day job now, have adjusted a bit to life and can fake normal reasonably well. Atfer a few zoom calls though, despite however much I try and keep a nice boring background, my reading material built up everywhere* has led to chuckles. Someone was openly referring to "Boumer the Terrorist" on a chat the other day.

If they worry about the bookshelves, they should see the hard-drives and history list.

Well, they cannot because I know what TAILS** is..... ;)
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*Think V's hideout from V for Vendetta

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** Surf safely kids.

 
I finished Gerald Seymour's Archangel last night. It is an excellent yarn, with an ending I did not foresee. I prefer reading a good novel to watching a film, but I reckon this book would make a very good film - if it stuck to the story.
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
I finished Gerald Seymour's Archangel last night. It is an excellent yarn, with an ending I did not foresee. I prefer reading a good novel to watching a film, but I reckon this book would make a very good film - if it stuck to the story.
Sadly, film studios - or rather the accountants who run them - would rip the storyline apart and remake it in the image they seem to think people want. Which, in some cases, could be true, if those cases involved multiple car chases/smash ups/shoot outs/busty wenches and feeble plot.
 
Busty wenches appeals to the groinals, but a clever plot line and well executed screenplay appeal to the brain. My brain will still be functional even when the groin fails.
 

TamH70

MIA
Just finished off a first reading of "Hospital Babylon" by Imogen Edwards-Jones. It's a pretty eye-opening study into how the NHS worked in the first year of the last decade, given that though it's putatively "fiction", all the incidents in the book, and by Satan's pointy beard there are many of them, were told to the author by various people who worked in the institution.

Some of the stuff therein is strong. Death in most of its forms is an ever-present guest and there are few moments of levity, let alone hope.

I'd recommend it. Four and a half sneaky cocaine shots out of five.
 

Poppy

LE
I finished Gerald Seymour's Archangel last night. It is an excellent yarn, with an ending I did not foresee. I prefer reading a good novel to watching a film, but I reckon this book would make a very good film - if it stuck to the story.
imdb.com/title/tt0426911/

I seem to remember quite enjoying the film - may have been Daniel Craig which swayed me though. I like all Gerald Seymour's novels -currently reading The Crocodile Hunter

oops - sorry wrong "Archangel"
 
I've been giving the fiction a bit of a rest in order to knock over the Op HERRICK book by 'Sallust'. As that is nearly done I opened another novel last night:

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Synopsis:

Simeon Grist is about to face off against his most terrifying adversary—a madman who’s setting fire to the homeless. As Simeon is drawn into the case, very much against his will, he realizes that the “Incinerator” has a huge advantage. Somewhere, years ago, the two of them met, and the Incinerator has been nursing hatred and resentment for years. Now, as helpless people burst into flame on Skid Row, Simeon has to scour the wastelands of Los Angeles, and his own past, looking for the face of a killer.

Hard to put down.
 
Currently reading The Changing Of The Guard, subtitled The British Army Since 9/11, written by Simon Akam, a journalist but one who held a gap year commission with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. This is a massive book (over 600 pages), dense with footnotes (many referencing the author's interviews) and is devastatingly critical of the politicians, bureaucracy and senior military leaders who allowed it all to happen with such dire consequences.

The genesis of the book was a reception for the launch of "British Generals in Blair's War" which senior officers who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan contributed essays describing their experiences. Of course they all knew each other and the event was one of much back-slapping and general bonhomie (excuse the pun). To the author and other journalists there (mostly defence correspondents) it was incongruous. To quote, "What on earth are you doing? You've lost two wars in a row, and here you are slapping each other's backs."

The central theme of the book is that armies have fundamental difficulties in adapting to change due the rigid structures they create. The structures work when in action but make it incredibly difficult to adapt. Again a quote, "By the summer of 2013, I more or less understood already that a gaggle of British generals could really only complete a serious act of self-reckoning if Russian Armata tanks were scraping the Strand outside, the Royal Family had fled to Canada, and men in soft felt boots were knifing the Holbeins in the National Gallery and raping hipsters in Dalston."

Most of the above is drawn from the introduction. The book then progresses to describe the experiences of SDG from 9/11 until its return from Iraq and I am barely 130 pages in. However, already the elements of the author's thesis are beginning to appear; the gross level of unreadiness for actual combat; the shortcuts taken in training; the rolling tasking of British regiments training; the effects of regiment amalgamations and roles. The author does not criticise those at the sharp end, at all. His criticisms are reserved for the higher echelons who allowed it to happen or ordered it to happen, either military or politician.

This is already far longer than I proposed to write but I will close with another quote, this one from one of the blurbs on the cover but by Frank Ledwidge, the author of Losing Small Wars which essentially looks at the same ground. "Put away the self-serving autobiographies and the obsequious histories of in-house academics; this is the definitive account of the British Army in its 21st-century misadventures." As an aside, the book also covers the start-up and effect of the illustrious web-site, ARRSE.
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Started this book on Monday and about 1/3 through it already.

Plenty of reviews abound (better than I could do) but personally I think it is an excellent read and I cannot put it down. Albeit it is such a big book I sometimes struggle to pick it up!

On a serious note though I fully recommend it (FWIW).

ETA - The author also has a punt at how the word 'Ally' came into the British Army's lexicon. Not for me to spoil it if you don't know (others may disagree with his reasoning mind).
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
For something different, at work* I am reading a graphic novel ' From Hell' by the excellent Allan Moore and Eddie Campbell. It's also the book that the Johnny Depp film was ( very loosely ) based on. Very good, and very graphic in many ways. As with most of Moore's output it is extremely dark but there are tints of humour there too.

* Because it is a) end of term and b) we are still in a plague situation, it is very quiet here with few students** still remaining.

** and it helps to stop me watching the young ladies in very short skirts climbing the open plan stairs.
 
For something different, at work* I am reading a graphic novel ' From Hell' by the excellent Allan Moore and Eddie Campbell. It's also the book that the Johnny Depp film was ( very loosely ) based on. Very good, and very graphic in many ways. As with most of Moore's output it is extremely dark but there are tints of humour there too.

* Because it is a) end of term and b) we are still in a plague situation, it is very quiet here with few students** still remaining.

** and it helps to stop me watching the young ladies in very short skirts climbing the open plan stairs.

They must be some ugly young ladies!!
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
They must be some ugly young ladies!!
On the contrary, but as I work in a facility for training lawyers..........then I'm cognisant of the fact that discretion is paramount.
 
For something different, at work* I am reading a graphic novel ' From Hell' by the excellent Allan Moore and Eddie Campbell. It's also the book that the Johnny Depp film was ( very loosely ) based on. Very good, and very graphic in many ways. As with most of Moore's output it is extremely dark but there are tints of humour there too.

* Because it is a) end of term and b) we are still in a plague situation, it is very quiet here with few students** still remaining.

** and it helps to stop me watching the young ladies in very short skirts climbing the open plan stairs.

For all Jack the Ripper matters, I really really recommend this


It won't tell you who the ripper was. I think a book that claims to be able to do that is blowing out it's hoop.

It does bring to life the time and place, and perhaps does some justice to the victims who were so brutally murdered.

Last time I was in London, I was living in some rubbish digs off Cable Street. When nipping to and from work, I was down one of the streets which would have been on a "Ripper Tour" and the pub had some excellent graffiti related to the crime outside and I noted "Your Guide is Lying To You" in big letters.
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
For all Jack the Ripper matters, I really really recommend this


It won't tell you who the ripper was. I think a book that claims to be able to do that is blowing out it's hoop.

It does bring to life the time and place, and perhaps does some justice to the victims who were so brutally murdered.

Last time I was in London, I was living in some rubbish digs off Cable Street. When nipping to and from work, I was down one of the streets which would have been on a "Ripper Tour" and the pub had some excellent graffiti related to the crime outside and I noted "Your Guide is Lying To You" in big letters.
An ex-Scotland Yard officer also wrote some very good books on the subject, Donald Rumbelow.
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For all Jack the Ripper matters, I really really recommend this


It won't tell you who the ripper was. I think a book that claims to be able to do that is blowing out it's hoop.

It does bring to life the time and place, and perhaps does some justice to the victims who were so brutally murdered.

Last time I was in London, I was living in some rubbish digs off Cable Street. When nipping to and from work, I was down one of the streets which would have been on a "Ripper Tour" and the pub had some excellent graffiti related to the crime outside and I noted "Your Guide is Lying To You" in big letters.

It was Francis Tumblety what done it guv.
 
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