What are you reading the week of November 19th, 2011?
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I am no good at the photo thing, but wanted to get this week's thread up and running. Please feel free to improve upon this!
November 20 - Nadine Gordimer (1923 - )
November 20 - Don DeLillo (1936 - )
November 20 - Selma Lagerlof (1858 - 1940)
November 21 - Isaac Singer (1902 - 1991)
November 22 - Andre Gide (1869 - 1951)
November 24 - Arundhati Roy (1961 - )
Thanks for starting us off, Hemlokgang! I've never figured out how to do the picture thing either.
This week, I'm re-reading Mansfield Park (Fanny Price isn't any better the second time around, although I'm more able to overlook her and enjoy the rest of the story), and then I'll need to figure out something to bring on the plane ride home.
Today I'll probably make more headway in Musicophilia, by Oliver Sacks, which is quite fascinating and is also a library book. But I should also read some more of A Good Man, by Guy Vanderhaeghe, which I've had on the go since Oct 29 and really does deserve more sustained attention than I've been giving it.
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I am just past half way through A Splendid Exchange, a history of world trade.
Thanks for the start. I was unable to post pictures before I got my computers fixed, now I'm too trepidatious to try. Sheesh.
I finished the absolutely wonderful Let's Take the Long Way Home, had to order a copy to give as a gift and am recommending this tale of love, death, friendship, dogs, alcoholism, and hard work to everyone. Now I've started on my first Wallace Stegner in 10 years, Crossing to Safety.
After lots of put asides I have started into The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox , great praise on the back cover!! We shall see.
I SO hear you ursula/#8 - That was my EXACT reaction when I tried that dud. Or more along the lines of "I cannot do this to myself." I often think - okay, so is the male member (not sure if I can use the actual word here or it breaks some rule) REALLY that interesting, so that certain owners (and authors - or whatever - the line is pretty thin there) thereof have to talk about it so incredibly much? Add in a repugnant character with one, who likes to talk about it a lot, and ... barf. That is really all that I recall about Absurdistan. Weiners. Of gross guys.
I am still reading Factory Girls and enjoying it, although I don't have too much time to read. It is more relevant than ever given the recent Australian troop/union thing ~ very interesting and eye opening. Also, if anyone has any interest in globalization, import(s), etc. with China - you will enjoy this glimpse into the daily lives of the women who work in that arena. It's also written with compassion and without judgment, so it allows the reader(s) to make his/her own decisions about things.
Citizennjoyce ~ I loved Let's Take The Long Way Home too. It is one of those rare books too that was given to me, I loved it, then I've lent it out to (3 now) other women. They keep returning it to make sure I pass it along to other women (not that it is an exclusively female book - but that is the direction this book has taken). Usually I lend my books out and the four winds scatter them wherever they land.
Stormy is in a box collection of Kjelgaard books I got a few years ago. I don't remember ever reading it. I read the others long ago (Big Red, Irish Red and Outlaw Red). Someday, when I re-read the others. :)
I'm reading Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper, a true story about a blind cat. Animal lovers will dig this one.
I'm reading Surface Detail. I am having trouble getting going, but tomorrow I should have a lot of time to read and get started...
I'm still working on catching up with one of my blog reading challenges. I had to pick 12 books from my TBR pile before the year began and the goal is to finish them all before 31 Dec - only I hardly read a thing for a few months over the summer and it dented my progress a bit.
I finished Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic for it last week, and now I'm working on the rather repetitive The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz, and the long-awaited Atonement by Ian McEwan. Only three more left after that, I could make it to the end yet!
I just finished South Riding - what a wonderful book! Bad things happen to good people, good things happen to bad ones and nothing is neatly resolved at the end - and yet, this is somehow hugely encouraging and life-affirming in the way that this group of people (or, at least, those who are left) continue to struggle against life, surviving their griefs and sorrows and struggling to make the world a better and more bearable place to life in. There are no platitudes in this book - things don't necessarily all 'work out for the best' and what goes around doesn't necessarily come around - and that makes it all the more believable, but the characters still discover that life is worth living, even with all its heartache. It reminds me very much of Middlemarch and anyone who loves that book should certainly try this one. The first time I read it I was about 15 and found it depressing but since I've experienced enough of life to understand what the author was trying to say I think it's up there with my all-time favourites now.
I'm now on another reread, having found a good excuse to include Les Liaisons Dangereuses in my work on this year's final assignment - possibly one of the few books that could actually follow South Riding and not feel like a let-down.
thanks. Now I have another book to put on the wish list South Riding. Wasn't that on TV? A PBS production?
I finished Night Circus this weekend and loved it. It made it to my best of the year list. It was so good that one of the clerks at my local Barnes & Noble and I talked about it at the store. This is truly a modern day fairy tale. Loved it.
Started reading Chime yesterday. Not sure about this one. It seems rather choppy right at the beginning. However, it was nominated for a National Book Award in the Young People's category so I figured I had better read something out of that category this year.
I was amazed at that National Book Awards (I just watched the rerun of the awards dinner on BookTV-CPAN2). It seems that three of the authors have some connection to Alabama. The author of the winner of the Young People's Award Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai lived in Alabama while she was growing up. The winner of the Adult Fiction Jesmyn Ward for her book Salvage the Bones teaches at the University of South Alabama, and the Poetry Winner Nikki Finney mentioned that she attended Talledage College which is in Alabama. I don't understand why this wasn't front page news in the Alabama newspapers? This seems like some kind of literary coup!
(16) PaperbackPirate wrote "I'm reading Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper, a true story about a blind cat. Animal lovers will dig this one."
Oh no, now you've given me yet another book to find and read!
::banging head on keyboard::
I'm reading Destiny's Road by Larry Niven and I'm almost done! I've read the whole thing but for a few pages yet to go and I've really enjoyed it. The story flows continuously; it isn't loudly exciting but I always want to know what Jemmy is going to find and learn next. I read about this book on LT and I thank those who wrote about it.
It wasn't until I went to check out South Riding on Barnes and Noble that I realized it was a PBS miniseries this year. Very good too. I'm sure the book will be excellent.
Reading an american dream by Norman Mailer and Empire by Niall Ferguson.
>10 CarolynSchroeder:/CarolynSchroeder You make me very happy with my choice. I didn't even get to the weiners.
Anyway, I'm about 65 pages in to The Passage and intrigued. Very intrigued. I had a vague recollection that it was supposed to be some sort of post-apocalyptic, chilling book and the first chapter threw me entirely. Then came the chapter of emails, and I turned to my husband and said, "okay, this is how you draw people in."
Thanks to all the comments on the last couple/few threads here, I'm putting a hold on The Night Circus too.
#22 Yes, it was a BBC series on British TV earlier this year (not sure if that is the same production you saw) which is what reminded me to give it a reread. Although I felt the casting wasn't great (Sarah Burton, for example is supposed to be 39 and although in real life Anna Maxwell Martin is now, I think, 34, she really doesn't look much more than 30 - and a 39 year-old back in the 30s looked a lot older than a 39-year-old today. And she's also supposed to be plain!) the acting was superb and the story kept very true to the original.
And we've done a swap in recommendations because I just added The Night Circus to my wishlist, though I'll be waiting for the p/b.
You don't think Anna Maxwell Martin is plain? Maybe it's just me... Perhaps I'll have to read South Riding soon. And all these rave reviews for The Night Circus are steering me dangerously close to yet another Amazon book order. The waiting time at the library is currently nearly 800 days! Time for them to buy more copies, methinks.
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie was a really good collection of stories based on lives on a Spokane Indian reservation. I was struck by the author's confidence in his unusual writing - style? content? He mixes heart-breaking realism with matter-of-fact fantasy, and has an overriding belief in the power - sometimes life-saving power - of imagination. The sureness of his voice carried me along through some uncomfortable and eye-opening terrain.
I've always wanted to give Sherman Alexie a try ... so that short story collection sounds like a good place to start. Since my writing class, I have really gotten to appreciate the craft of the short story (because I have to do so many!) and am always looking for good ones to learn from.
Well, I finally did it, went to BN, bought Infinite Jest and started it last night. So far, I find it hysterical one moment, then so real sad in the next. But I don't know if that will sustain for 1079 pages (including footnotes). The biggest surprise is that I find it so approachable and readable. But I love, love, love new words. I guess I bought into the "too intellectual" hype and thought I couldn't hang. I find the reader tenacity part is that it is so dense in some pages ... pages and pages of narration. So it's a matter of concentration more than anything. But I have to say, there is 10-page chapter in which this character (Erdedy) struggles with his marijuana addiction - and he aims to "score" for one last, final debauch. It is, hands down, the best portrayal of the mental pain/prison of addiction I have EVER read (and I've read mountains of addiction/recovery memoirs, semi-fiction, etc.). It actually made me squirm a bit it was so good. Whatever is sad about DFW, he was quite a talent. I cannot wait to get back reading!
Carolyn, I know the exact passage in IJ you're describing-- agreed, amazing. The addiction passages and the father/son discourses were my favorites. Hope you love your reading!
Last week I finished The Brandons by Angela Thirkell and absolutely adored it. Think early 20th century Jane Austen. I listened to an audio version that was superb.
Still working through The Whole World Over by Julia Glass, and recently started Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff. We're nearly done with And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie aloud. Hanging on every word!
Finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban aloud tonight. It was of course good but since we read it quiite a long time it also was kind of tiring to read.
Also am currently reading The Gift by Cecilia Ahern. I have read all of her books so far, except for this and the newest one and so far I like it very much. It is, again, a bit fantastic but it also is heart-warming and making me think.
Between work and social activities and assorted other shenanigans, my reading time's been truncated considerably this year. At any rate, I am still reading the interesting Diplomat, by Charles Wheeler Thayer. The book was written in 1959 at which time Thayer had been in the U.S. diplomatic service for decades. The book starts with a low-key description of the actions taken by the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon during the threatened revolution in that country in 1958. The U.S. ended up sending in the Marines to save (or, one might possibly say "prop up" the regime then in place). Thayer provides an interesting description of the role the embassy staff plays in such an event. Following that is a relatively quick history of the art of international diplomacy. I'm up to Thayer's description of Soviet diplomatic practices (remember, this is 1959).
I'm just starting Baudolino by Umberto Eco. This is actually the second start I've made with this one. It isn't that I didn't like it, but it is just a bit difficult. I definitely think it's worth a second try.
*This choice of book is liable to change without further notice. (Given the difficulty I've had settling on my next read.)
# 32 I have Night Circus on order at my library following all of the comments posted.
About done with Winner-Take-All Politics, a depressing account of our nation's politics right now. It's an excellent book, just isn't leaving me with much hope. For fiction, I'm about 50 pages into the Air We Breathe.Not sure where it's going, but it has been an enjoyable read. Today, the USPS delivered In Search of Lost Meaning, which is a new book about Eastern Europe (the author was a dissident leader in Poland).
Just read Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson, an interesting thriller from this first time author. It's about a woman with amnesia whose memory is erased while she sleeps and she must be reacquainted with her life each time she wakes. Intriguing premise.
I finished and reviewed Robert K. Massie's brilliant Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman. Oh my, what a ride. For a complete and total change of pace I'm now reading Out of the Deep I Cry the third book in the Julia Spencer-Fleming series.
>19 Booksloth: Booksloth, I loved South Riding when I read it earlier this year just before the BBC series was on. The I watched the series and you're absolutely right. Sarah Burton did not look like the Sarah Burton I pictured when I read the book. Other than that I thought the series was excellent.
>35 CarolynSchroeder: I picked up Infinite Jest at the Borders closing sale but haven't attempted it yet so I'll be interested to see what you think.
I keep calling Robopocalypse "Robocalypse" and then think the original title is spelled wrong :P Sounds like an interesting premise.
The library has once again thwarted my intention to read off my own shelves by informing me that my long-awaited hold on The Patrol: Seven Days in the Life of a Canadian Soldier in Afghanistan, by Ryan Flavelle (no touchstones, and apparently right now I'm the only person on LT with this book), finally came in. It was recommended by a co-worker and I'm quite looking forward to it. So much so that I'm skipping my other library reads, which are due sooner, and diving straight in.
For me, reading Infinite Jest was an amazing literary journey! Worth sticking with it, in my opinion!
I finished Gilgamesh and would recommend it to Carlos Ruiz Zafon in case he wants to learn how to write about the other half of the human race. Next up in audio is Classic Women's Short Stories (Classic Literature with Classical Music) by Katherine Mansfield and others.
I Finished O'Reilly's book Killing Lincoln. Very good book. I just now started Independence by Dana Fuller Ross.
# 53 Bjace: I read that several years ago. That's an excellent recommendation! Now you've got me thinking about re-reading it sometime in the near-ish future.
An exciting reading week for me - I picked up 11/22/63 from the library, and I absolutely LOVE it so far! Stephen King has not lost his touch, I'm pleased to say.
I also bought a Nook yesterday, and I spent much of yesterday downloading free e-books. I decided Dracula would be my first excursion into e-book reading - I read it in full several years ago, so I think it's high time I read it again.
I'm reading The Strangers on Montagu Street by Karen White and I'm fairly disappointed. I remember liking the first two Tradd Street books much better.
I have started A Tear at the Edge of Creation by Marcelo Gleiser, a Dartmouth cosmologist. This book offers the creation story with the notion that there may not be a unifying physics behind all there is. To what extent he holds that I'll find out as I read on, but in the first several short chapters it is interesting.
I loved Daughter of Time and it would be a very appropriate read along with Richard III. I have to confess that I listened to Daughter of Time. Derek Jacobi read it and it was wonderful. If you can find that recording of it, I would highly recommend it.
I finished Night Circus and loved it. I gave it 5 stars and put it on my best books of the year list, right under White Rhino Hotel and the other two books by Bartle Bull. Then I picked up Chime and what a let down that is. I can't figure out this book. Is it fantasy/steampunk? Or a bad Victorian Romance? I am 150 pages into the book and can't figure out why it was nominated for a National Book Award in the Young People's Fiction category. I am trying to so hard to like this book because it has so much going for it - great cover, and great advance publicity, and sorry to say - it just ain't happening. Since it is Thanksgiving week and not much going on here I might finish it, but it is looking doubtful. I would much rather be devoting the time to Mexico Set which I went and got from the library, because I can't seem to read it on my Nook.
My local Barnes & Noble store says that there is something wrong with the book that it won't download to my machine. I can't even read it in the store. So I said fine and went to the library last night and got the hardcopy. Why wait around for something to happen digitally when I can be reading the words on a page? Nothing better than that old technology... yet.
All this talk about South Riding made me think this might be a book I would like to read. Looked it up and the library has it. Put it on hold so it will be waiting for me when I get off work. Shame on all you shameless book pushers. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves! You have made me add to my reading pile rather than diminish it. don't you feel bad?
I've just finished Richard III by William Shakespeare.OMG! This is really the first time I've felt the full magic and power of his work! I'm hooked on The Bard!
I have read several others of his plays, and I enjoyed them, but, I confess, I always wondered what the big deal was. Now I know! There's something that just can't be described...some sort of spellbinding magic in the power of his words.
I can't believe I came so late to this party! (But better late than never; and I've had the first thrill of discovery, which I'm lucky to get to experience later in life.)
Now I believe I'll move on to The Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia Fraser, since I still feel so immersed in British history and I want more!
For those of us who love Sarah Vowell, and I know that doesn't include us all, she had a great appearance on the Daily show last night speaking about Thanksgiving vs Evacuation Day: http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/11/22/daily-show-why-evacuation-day-should-follow-...
Just finished Outwitting Trolls a mystery by William Tapply. His last book before he died. His dailogue is so realistic. Ironically, his last line is : " I'm at a good place, too".... Half way through Misery Bay by Steve Hamilton, an intriguing and well poltted mystery set near Lake Superior. Really liking it.
Today I finished reading Moby-Dick, which I enjoyed tremendously. I also finished Nathaniel Philbrick's Why Read Moby-Dick? which proved a delightful companion to Melville's classic.
Now with a holiday coming up and myself a tad exhausted from my encounter with the whale, I believe I deserve A Month in the Country, which so many people here have praised. And the NYRB edition has an introduction by another author whose work I've enjoyed this year, Michael Holroyd.
Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends.
Trying to decide what books to take on my trip home (this took much longer than deciding what clothes to pack), calculating travel times and estimating how much time I can reasonably expect to have for reading. I ended up settling on:
- The Patrol, as mentioned in message 47 -- it's only 272 pp. but I'm hoping my constant note-taking will slow me down a bit
- The Eagle Has Landed, which is my bus book at the moment
- a Doctor Who audiobook, The Stone Rose, for the train
- a Doctor Who print book, the delightfully tautological Deadly Assassin
- Elephants Can Remember, which is one of the last Poirots to be adapted for the David Suchet series
I may also raid my parents' bookshelves to see if they have two of the other Poirots being adapted, Dead Man's Folly and The Big Four. Hoping that will be enough!
I finished Classic Women's Short Stories which contained my first Virginia Woolf read ever: The Mark on the Wall. It's magical. She manages to portray a woman sitting in a chair who notices a strange white mark on the wall. Starting off with musings on what the mark might be her thoughts digress into civilization, nature, war, whether it's possible to know right from wrong or good from bad and the benefits of action vs inaction. Wow, what a mind. I must now not be afraid to tackle her books.
70 Citizenjoyce: Don't be afraid of Virginia Woolf! (Hmmmm..., someone should write a play or screenplay with that title!) ;-)...
Seriously, she did have an amazing mind, and her writing is incredible! I did have a hard time with her at first. I started with Mrs. Dalloway, and disliked it. Then I read some of her essays...A Room of One's Own and The Common Reader. Somehow, that opened the doorway to her perspective for me, and I've loved her writing ever since. She packs so very much into one simple word, object, or act.
I just gave in. I was waiting till after Christmas to do this, but I just purchased The Night Circus on iBooks. It's now near the top of my TBR pile.
>62 benitastrnad: Shame on all you shameless book pushers. The trouble is Benita, we're all guilty and we don't stop, thereby creating groaning shelves that are impossible to clear. Oh well, the addict has to want to quit:)
I'm still 'under the weather' and wanted a re-read, so I picked Rimrunners off my bookshelf and am about 3/4 of the way through.
Typical CJ Cherryh....very good! :)
I stayed up past my bedtime last night to finish Sarah's Key which I thought was excellent... this morning on my commute to work I started Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
#80 cdyankeefan: Enjoy Eclipse! It is my favourite book of the series!
I finished The Gift today and it was excellent. The end of the story within the story was great, really great, but the whole end of the book was too... well she was too eager to point out what she wanted to say with the book and that made it lose some of its greatness. nevertheless it'll be one of my best reads for this year!
While cooking today I listened to the whole of The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka. She's done her research and tells the tale of a conglomerate of Japanese brides from their ocean passage to America to meet their new husbands through discrimination, work, childbirth, childrearing, economic progress until they are deported to internment camps in WWII. This is an excellent read. Now, for something less intense to listen to while I finish cooking, I've started 13 1/2 by Nevada Barr.
To those who celebrate it, have a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! I know I am grateful for all who participate in LT.....
Thank you, HG. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! I feel the same way!
I must get off LT and get the pumpkin soup on. Don't you love big dinners where you have to make only a bit of the feast? Happy Thanksgiving all.
Happy Thanksgiving to all our American friends. Non-Americans - today the site is ours! Let's talk about them behind their backs!
I just adored The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell, it was heartbreakingly beautiful, I needed to read the last few pages twice, a first time for me.
After a few put asides I have started into The Third Life of Grange Copeland by Alice Walker, it is her first novel, she is very well known for The Color Purple I am really enjoying it, so powerful.
I'm now reading A Daughter's Love: Thomas More and His Dearest Meg by John guy, a biography of Thomas More and his daughter, Margaret. I'm not getting a lot of reading done this weekend, but that's a good thing. Our son is visiting until Sunday!
Anyway, I'm about 70 pages in, and loving it.
#92/93 Shhhh, everyone, they're back.
Just picked up another Tess Gerritsen book for an easy read. This is the first of hers that I've read which isn't part of the Rizzoli and Isles series (though Maura Isles does make the occasionaly appearance. The Bone Garden is set mainly in the 19th centruy amongst the resurrectionists of Boston. I'm less than 100 pages in but it's going fine so far.
Okay, I gave in and ordered The Night Circus... I'm fairly certain that when I go to town on Tuesday I'd have folded like a cheap suit anyway (once I could see how shiny and pretty it is!), so I thought getting a few quid off and ordering it now was at least saving me a little Christmas cash. :)
Finished and reviewed The Passage ... I didn't end up liking it all that much, in spite of a very promising beginning.
Now it's back to The Count of Monte Cristo and I'll also be starting The Wordy Shipmates. Trying to time the library holds in such a way that I don't end up with 8 new books at once.
Finished two books today. One was Stein and Hemingway, a readable account of the friendship of Gertrude Stein and Earnest Hemingway. In the process of chronicling that friendship it provides a good portrait of them both along with a glimpse of the many others who touched their lives. For me, who had read previous biographies of both, I was particularly pleased by the picture of Gertrude which explained her writing objectives, her megalomania, her combative nature, and her appeal. An excellent book. The other was The Greenhouse, a haunting story, with insightful and unique descriptions of various emotional states. The book has the sense of allegory, sometimes almost dreamlike, which could be interpreted various ways. It is a thought provoking book. Few LT's have the book. I recommend it. It's gotten several awards in Europe.
I tried to post a new What are you reading for the week topic, but I guess I misplaced it. If anybody sees it somewhere else, please let me know what I did with it. It's what I get for operating this machine without a license. Sorry, guys.
mollygrace, it is a known problem, not a bug, that new threads often end up in Book Talk. I'm going to copy your post there to this group and set up a link from there; nobody else has posted to it yet. I'll put a link here when I'm done.
The thread is now in this group, What Are You Reading Now?
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.