What are you reading the week of January 14th to January 20th?
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Zacharias Topelius (1818; d.1898), Finnish historic novelist (site is mostly in Finnish)
French writer Pierre Loti (1850; d.1923)
Dr. Dolittle-creator Hugh Lofting (1886; d.1947), born Berkshire, England
Thornton Waldo Burgess (1874; d.1965), children's writer
Chicago-born novelist John dos Passos (1896; d.1970), whose first novel was One Man's Initiation -- 1917 but who is best known for his U.S.A. trilogy (1930-1936)
St. Louis native, author and New Yorker essayist Emily Hahn (1905;d.1997)
Nebraska-born novelist and non-fiction writer Tillie Olsen (1913;d.2007)
African American publisher, editor, and poet, and the first Poet Laureate of Detroit, Dudley Felker Randall (1914;d.2000), whose Broadside Press provided a forum for unknown black writers
Georgia native, novelist, essayist, playwright, and co-founder of the Harlem Writers Guild John Oliver Killens (1916;d.1987)
Japanese novelist Yukio Mishima, pseudonym of Hiraoka Kimitake (1925;d.1970)
American sci-fi/horror novelist and actor Thomas Tryon (1926;d.1991)
Washington, D.C.-born novelist and short story writer Mary Robison (1949)
Jean Baptiste Poquelin Moliere (baptised on this date, 1622; d.1673), French satirical dramatist
gloomy Austrian dramatist Franz Grillparzer (1791; d.1872), who perpetuated the German classic and romantic traditions and influenced later playwrights Hauptmann and Maeterlinck
Russian novelist and satirist Mikhail Evgrafovich Yevgrafovich Saltykov-Shchedrin (1826; birthdate is 27 Jan. in new calendar; d.1889)
Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu (1850; d.1889)
Warsaw-born poet Osip Mandelstam (1891; d. 1938; poem 'Ill Day')
Ukranian writer Ilya Ehrenburg (1891; birthdate is 27 Jan. in new calendar; d.1967)
Scottish poet, playwright, song- and story-writer, cartoonist, and story-teller Ivor Cutler (1923;d.2006)
Louisiana-born novelist Ernest J. Gaines (1933), who wrote The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, among other novels
NYC native, writer Frank Conroy (1936; d.2005)
Canadian poet Robert W. Service (1874; d.1958)
Ukranian novelist and playwright Valentin Katayev, also spelled Kataev (1897; birthdate is 28 Jan. in new calendar; d.1986)
Anthony Ivan Hecht, NYC-born poet (1923; d.2004)
author and editor Norman Podhoretz (1930)
NYC author and film director Susan Sontag (1933; d.2004)
experimental Danish poet Inger Christensen (1935; d.2009)
Spanish poet and dramatist Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600; d.1681;), known for plays including the fantasy, La Vida es sueño (Life is a dream) and El Mágico prodigioso (The Wonderful Magician), based on the life of St. Cyrian
Boston-born Benjamin Franklin (1706; d.1790), American statesman, philosopher, scientist, printer, writer, whose (Autobiography, published 1867) reveals him to be imbued with genius and with the American spirit of idealism, practicality, and optimism
American novelist and editor (born and died in Philadelphia), Charles Brockden Brown (1771; d.1810), 'Father of the American novel' (Gothic novel Wieland; or the Transformation, 1798)
English novelist Anne Bronte (1820; d.1849), aka Acton Bell
Anton Chekhov (1860; birthdate is 29 Jan. in new calendar; d.1904), Russian playwright and short-story writer, one of the great exponents of Russian realism
London novelist Ronald Firbank (1886; d.1926)
British-born Australian novelist Nevil Shute Norway (1899; d.1960)
Kansas-born poet and conscientious objector William Stafford (1914; d.1993)
British thesaurus developer and physician Peter Mark Roget (1779; d.1869)
English poet, critic, and biographer Henry Austin Dobson (1840; d.1921; poem 'In After Days')
Rubén Darío (1867; d.1916), born Félix Rubén Garcia-Sarmiento, Nicaraguan poet and short-story writer (another link en Español)
Winnie-the-Pooh creator and mathematician Alan Alexander Milne (1882; d.1956)
Spanish poet and critic Jorge Guillén (1893; d.1984)
William Sansom (1912; d.1976), British writer of novels, short stories, and travel books
French writer Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre (1737; d. 1814; Studies of Nature)
Boston-born horror story writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe (1809; 'The Raven')
Alexander Woolcott (1887; d.1943), NJ short-story writer and critic, and member of the famed Algonquin Round Table
Texas-born mystery writer Patricia Highsmith nee Mary Patricia Plangman (1921; d.1995)
Scottish/British poet George Mann MacBeth (1932; d.1992)
English writer Julian Barnes (1946)
Maine native Nathaniel P. Willis (1806; d.1867), writer and editor of American Monthly Magazine
English writer Richard Le Gallienne (1866; d.1947)
Johannes V. Jensen (1873; d.1950), Danish novelist, poet, essayist, and 1944 Nobel Prize winner
Abram Hill (1910; d.1986), American playwright, born Abraham Barrington Hill, wrote 'On Striver's Row' (1940)
Joy Adamson (1910; d.1980, murder), naturalist, friend of lions, and writer of the 'Born Free' books
Japanese writer Sawako Ariyoshi (1931; d. 1984; wrote The Doctor's Wife)
Finished reading A Short History of Tractors in the Ukraine, which I found at once riotous and disturbing. Wonderful, witty writing! I am gong to start Stay Awake by Dan Chaon as an Early Reviewer selection, and continue listening to the story of those naughty Greek gods and their meddling in humans' lives, The Infinities.
Thanks Hemlok for starting the thread. I am still reading The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. I am enjoying it.
Finished Property by Valerie Martin yesterday..for the Orange January/July group..
Posted a review, today, of Ashes to Dust by Yrsa Sigurdardottir......ScandiCrime with smarts....:
Thanks for starting the thread, hemlokgang!
Still reading Hammerfall: it's not slow going because it's not good, it's because I've been so busy during the day that I've been falling asleep before I can pick it up!
Three day weekend: hope to get it finished. :)
I'm about 25% into Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. Parts of it I can't tear myself away from, and other parts are kind of dry. Hopefully it just keeps getting better from here!
Thank you, hemlockgang, for starting this week's thread and giving us so much information on the authors. I love it. Pictures are nice, but information is more lasting for me.
Finished Train Go Sorry last night, which I thought was an excellent introduction to the world of the deaf. Definitely recommended.
Still reading 1Q84 which I've been having trouble getting into. Part of it is the construction of the book changing character every chapter. I'd much prefer several chapters on one character and then several on another. It's too choppy for me the way it is. I'm finally, I think, beginning to get interested in them, though, so hopefully it will be better from here on out.
I'm also going to return to reading Great Expectations, which I started in late November. I quickly read a third of the book, totally immersed, and then realized that I'd finish it a month before the book club and probably remember little of it for discussion. So I stopped. I'll pick it up again this weekend in order to have it finished by Monday the 23rd.
Picked up from the library today Lost in Shangri-La, which will become my travel book on the train and I'll probably begin it on Tuesday unless I'm driven to start it sooner. I've been on a real non-fiction-reading jag for the last 18 months, so that's certainly possible.
Yes, thanks Hemlock! Been meaning to read Tractors in the Ukraine. Glad to know you enjoyed it so much!
I've got a number of books going: 11-22-63 (exceptionally good); The Hangman's Daughter; All Roads Lead to Murder; The Last Werewolf (audiobook). I'm also toying with the idea of rereading Jonathan Strange in conjunction with the tutored read thread over at the 75-Book Challenge Group. Ya think that'll be enough books to keep me busy this week?
I'm still reading The Zombie Survival Guide. I'd probably have it finished but the NFL playoffs are on so, ummmmm, maybe tomorrow. Maybe.
I'm now reading The Picture of Dorian Gray (which so far seems wonderful) after finishing the very enjoyable Mengele Zoo.
I'm reading The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendahl which I'm enjoying immensely.
#4 Mom248: I loved The Forgotten Garden and I'm a big fan of Kate Morton's. The House at Riverton was my first and probably my favorite of the two. I am looking forward to The Distant Hours, which I haven't gotten yet.
I finished Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption today which was really well done and a great read.
I'm listening to A Red Herring Without Mustard, which is a Flavia de Luce mystery. I'm going to start Joy for Beginners as it's due to the library soon.
Finished Neverwhere - just when I thought I had the plot figured out it twisted away from me in an unexpected direction. Now I've started 365 Thank Yous by John Kralik - it's okay and a quick non-fiction break while I wait for my Book Club book to arrive (The Bronze Horseman).
I'm also listening to 1493 - I love the subject, but I wish to god the author would be more concise. Does he really need to say "four score and ten years ago" rather than just the number?? Sheesh.
So far this week, I'm only reading one book, The Walking People by Mary Beth Keane. I'm enjoying it.
I started Swamplandia last night. I did not get very far but as the temps are not suppose to get out of the single numbers here today a day reading is a possible thing! =:)
Early this morning I finished reading The Knox Brothers - Penelope Fitzgerald's remarkable book about the lives of her father and uncles. I lingered over this book, re-reading, copying out favorite passages, doing a bit of research. I finally realized I was avoiding the end -- the deaths of these extraordinary men. I didn't want them to go. Reading the last pages was very difficult -- I will miss them for awhile, especially Wilfred Knox -- riding his bicycle or working in his garden, his priestly garments as plain as could be, his steadfastness a source of strength for so many. I will also miss the stories of Dilly's work as a cryptologist. I enjoyed reading of Edmund's puns, and about his work as editor of Punch, and of Ronnie's determination to translate the Bible. I will miss all those other people who were part of their lives. And then there's the author herself -- her tender and evocative prose.
This morning I found this review from 2000:
Thanks for starting us out hemlokgang!! I've been behind over here but I'm nearly finished with the Invisible Bridge. It's been very good, sweeping historical fiction. I finished Lost in shangri-La, which was a terrific true-adventure tale. I just started The Warmth of Other Suns and it begins wonderfully. Narrative nonfiction at it's best.
Just back from the BWI (Anguilla mostly) and am suffering from severe cultural, temperature and visercal culture shock upon return to Chicago. Alas, had a spectacular, life-changing time, and of course, it included reading! The house we stayed at had some interesting finds in the library. But I had the Nook loaded and a paperback too. I read:
1. Finished up Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson - this one started so incredibly well, then sort of lost its swagger near the end, plumetting into the goofy, and just like she did not know how to end it, or something. Had a lot of high points, some interesting (not oft written about) subject matter and some of the most idiotic parents to grace the pages of modern literature.
2. Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh - okay, little disappointed in this one. It felt a bit dry and plodding, despite its subject matter. I was patently aware that this novel was a "setting things up" kinda thing for the novels that will follow. The language was somewhat interesting, but maybe a little too much. Could have used a lot of editing - many, many repeats of certain words, phrases and thoughts. Overall, meh, but I was intested enough to probably pick up the recently released book two (cannot recall the name).
3. The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante - loved this one! Found it on the shelves and read it in a day. It is a very uneasy story about a woman trying to keep herself together after her husband announces he is leaving her after 15 or so years of marriage, two kids, dog, etc. I know this subject has been done to death, but this was crazy good. She really faced the insanity head on. Not easy emotional reading. NOT chick lit, despite how it probably sounds. Another gem from Europa Editions (translated from the Italian).
Now reading The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach and loving it. It too could benefit from a bit of editing, but I got sucked in and it made a couple of long-ish flights fly by. Just love it (about 3/4 done).
Finished the first story in Alan Bennett's Smut which means I'm exactly halfway. Not his best ... we'll see how the next one is.
BBleil, I have House at Riverton in the wings waiting to be read. I am enjoying Kate Morton's writing.
Reviewed Pure by Juliana Baggott here:
Yippee! I finished Hammerfall and can now continue with my 75 book challenge for 2012!
I just finished Stardust by Neil Gaiman and read it in about 2 days. My first book of his and definitely will not be my last! :)
I am now about 1/4 into The Night Circus and am having a hard time putting this book down. Based on this I would say that it is the best/most interesting book that I will read in January.
I am still with Doc by Mary Doria Russell, and loving it, I love the way that this author paints her characters and situations. I am trying to obtain Doc on CD audio for my husband, I know that he would also be captured by it.
I am also dipping into The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold, it is a little disturbing, as was her Lovely Bones.
I acquired a copy only yesterday of Looking for Mr. Goodbar by Judith Rossner, my research shows wonderful reviews, plus it is a slimish novel.!!! This will be next.
Thanks for all your research, Hemlok. I'm almost through Factory Girls on CD, it does not make me in any way want to live in China, but it does seem that the option of factory work has made life better, more egalitarian, for Chinese women. I'm about half way through Dreams of Joy. It's interesting, though simplistic, the way Lisa See uses Chinese horoscope characters to define her characters - the typical Dragon, Sheep, Tiger and Rabbit. However, with these simplified characters she's able to introduce the reader into bits of Chinese history that we might not otherwise have discovered. Then, in between little league baseball games today, on my Nook I started The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente. What a fantastic and entertaining mind Catherynne Valente is able to share with us.
hemlokgang- I also landed an ER of Stay Awake. I'm glad you liked it. It looks like a fast read, maybe I can squeeze it in soon.
Newbie here. I just found this site this week when I did some web research on how to organize and catalog my huge collection of (mostly unread) books. Looks like this site is just what the doctor ordered. I'm hope I'm doing this right. I'll see. I'm trying to keep my active reading list down to 4 books at a time (with some exceptions).
Just finished: One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer for the second time.
Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate by George Lakoff. Great read so far.
The Essentials of Hinduism: A Comprehensive Review of the World's Oldest Religion by Swami Bhaskarananda.
Ageless Memory: The Memory Expert's Prescription for a Razor-Sharp Mind by Harry Lorayne. I wanted an ebook reference of Harry Lorayne's techniques after spending a couple hours looking for my paper copy of The Memory Book. Mr Lorayne has made a lot of money off of me over the decades. (And, yes, I DO forget some of his techniques sometimes.)
Time Warrior: How to Defeat Procrastination, People-Pleasing, Self-Doubt, Over-Commitment, Broken Promises and Chaos by Steve Chandler
I have some other titles started, but they have been on hold for a while. I will list them when I pick them up again.
I started The Beet Queen by Lousie Erdrich and am enjoying it so far
(44) BruiserTom, welcome.
The danger of this place is that you will be tempted to add to your TBR ("to be read") collection by all the recommendations you will receive.
Too many books, too little time....
Oh, I was going to start Forge of Heaven or Middlemarch, but I recently purchased a copy of Finity's End, and decided to reread it before either of those others.
Finished and really enjoyed The Abbey by Chris Culver. It's a great little murder mystery; the main detective is Muslim.I particularly enjoyed that aspect, Altho it wasn't mentioned much. Maybe that's why I enjoyed it - it was just part of his experience in the cop world. I like mysteries from different cultures and geographical locations, just a way to spend a little enjoyable time somewhere else and maybe learn something.
Almost through my ER copy of Beyond Religion ethics for a whole world also a great read.
Also read Havana Twist, another mystery by Lia Matera.I've read all her books but somehow missed this one. Fun being in Cuba for awhile, Altho I had a difficult time following the plot.
Reading Brunelleschi's Dome, but I'll probably finish it tonight.
Elsewhere, I'm slogging through an Early Review (The Rise of the American Circus) and a GRTB! book (Between Silk and Cyanide). Both have their foibles, Circus is dense and Silk is written as though you're supposed to know what's going on right off the bat. The cryptography bits are fun, though.
Still working on Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy but getting close to the end. I really like this book and feel like reading the other two in the Karla series will be on my list for this year. Of course, I also have to finish the Len Deighton trilogy, which are also great spy novels. Not as nail biting as TTSS, but very good descriptions of the way spy work is really done.
Also close to the end of Tenth Muse by Judith Jones. This one is a memoir of the Knopf editor who edited many of the great cookbooks published in the last forty years. It has been a quick and interesting read - if you like reading about food and cooking. I am listening to Oh the Glory of It All in my car. This too is a memoir of a San Francisco society person. I am not sure yet how his family fits into San Francisco society, but as I get into it farther it should make more sense. I am really not into reading these "tell all" memoirs as I generally find them self-pitying in tone, but my book discussion group is doing memoirs for our next discussion so thought I would branch out and try some that I would not ordinarily read. Trust me - this last memoir is far afield of what I usually read.
@53: Glad you're enjoying TTSS and that the other two Karla books may be in the stars for you soon! I just borrowed Smiley's People from the library and expect to start it sometime this week.
@52: That's good to know about Between Silk and Cyanide!
Today I started Destination Unknown, by Agatha Christie. Pretty interesting so far; it's one of her stand-alones. At home I am also working on Networking for People Who Hate Networking, which is all right but I preferred the tone of The Introvert Advantage.
#7 - I had the same experience when I read Cutting for Stone. Loved certain parts and wasn't crazy about others. But I must say that by the time it was done, I was very happy to have read it. I really liked the ending and finished it with a good satisfied feeling.
Finished Billy Boyle. Benn never found a cliche he didn't use. Not sure what to start next. Nonfiction though.
I finished The Art of Fielding last night and while I liked it for the most part, authors should take "endings" class. This one was just goofy and not plausible. Ah well. Kind of an odd book, hard to resonate with the characters and some of how they looked at life and talked, but overall, I felt it was a really good first novel! I'd read his next one, for sure.
Now picking back up Annabel which I had started a couple months ago, then had to put down for class reading. So far, it's great.
I've started a meme. It's called "Congratulations! You've won the Lottery! Now..."
...which book, of all the books you've read, are you going to make, or re-make, into a movie, a TV movie, a miniseries, or a TV series? Why? Who's your dream cast, in as much detail as you care to give?
We've all seen crummy adaptations of books into movies or TV shows. Some of us have even seen good ones. But who hasn't thought "Wow! THIS book would be a great film!" only then never to see it come on screen (large or small). Who hasn't thought "Oh dear GAWD that book was waaay better than this bilge, someone should do it right!"
Okay. You're up. Tell us how you'd like to see it done! I put a thread for it up over here.
Last night I finished The Sense of an Ending. Loved it. Kind of a cross between The Graduate and Catcher in the Rye, though I cannot really explain why. I just started Ender's Game for my book club. I've been putting it off because I'm not real crazy about sci-fi and I wasn't in on the decision to read it, but it's looking pretty good in the first few chapters.
(71) I had a hard time putting down Ender's Game...it's the type of book that requires a few late nights in order to find out what's going to happen next!!!!
Very good book, imo.
#60 Porua - Great Expectations is a re-read for me, but I haven't read it in more than 40 years and had forgotten so much of it, including how funny it can be. I know that if I were forced to read it serialized, as Dickens originally offered it, I'd be standing on the street corner every installment screaming like a banshee at the poor paperboy for not putting it in my hands fast enough.
I'm reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I am about a quarter way in, and so far am finding it very interesting. It's one of my SantaThing books.
# 73 "...I'd be standing on the street corner every installment screaming like a banshee at the poor paperboy for not putting it in my hands fast enough."
(74) framboise: Adding The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to my TBR list. I also keep forgetting.
Finished The Triggering Town--if you're a writer and haven't read it, I strongly suggest doing so. It is invaluable.
Next up is Cod by Mark Kurlansky. It's already reading very fast -- I may finish it in a day or two.
Between Silk and Cyanide is getting better, if you muscle through the first 80 or so pages, it gets much easier to parse Leo Marks's oblique British style. There's probably a reason he only wrote one book.
The Rise of the American Circus is still giving me trouble -- it may take a month to push through that one. Reading this one is like hacking your way through the Amazon with a rusty pocket knife.
#76 I loved your review because it was exactly the way I felt about it when I finished (though I had to buy my own copy--which I went out to do at 8:30 p.m. to B&N immediately after finishing the library copy I'd inhaled).
I am now reading Cheyenne Autumn by Mari Sandoz, a very moving story about the wrongs that were done to this proud nation and how they trekked over fifteen hundred miles to return to their homeland.
Complete works of H.P Lovecraft courtesy of a lovely lady who formatted the whole lot for Kindle. I'm a happy little byakhee.
Started Ferrol Sams' Run with the horsemen this afternoon. So far I like it.
I'm reading The Devil Amongst the Lawyers by Sharyn Mccrumb. So far so good.
>85 whymaggiemay: Why thank you, whymaggiemay! I know how often a hyped book has let me down, and I've felt the need to vent my ire. This book merited every scrap of hype given it, IMHO, so I itched and worried over the fact that I wanted/didn't want to tell people to trust the hype machine THIS time.
I'm really happy you felt the magic, too. It's always good to get the word out.
#91 What a review!!!!!! Very well done. If I hadn't read the book I would be hotfooting it to my nearest library to get on the list to get it.
I finished reading Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy tonight and was very impressed by this book. I found it very cerebral in the beginning, the middle, and the end. In some ways this could be one of the first forensic accounting books out there. The only drawbacks to reading this book is that now I have two more books to add to my TBR pile (the sequels) and that I will have to go see the movie just to try to figure out how it could be reduced to two hours and still make sense.
Now I will be reading Left Hand of Darkness for my book discussion group. This is another of those I-don't-know-how-I-missed-this books. I will be hard at work reading it while also reading Clash of Kings.
Finished Two Spanish Picaresque Novels by Francisco de Quevedo. An interesting bit of literary history about the origins of the rascally "picaro" character who lives by his wits...outwitting all around him. Moving on to Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World by Catalina de Erauso.
Fun quote: "Dear Reader, may God protect you from bad books, police, and nagging, moon-faced, fair-haired women."
I finished and reviewed Dreams of Joy which is a gentle introduction to the history of China during the Great Leap Forward and the excellent Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China which is a study of young factory workers in today's China. I can't wait to read more by Leslie T. Chang. Next up, I want to finish a book I began earlier in the month Zheng He about the 14th century Chinese admiral.
I'm reading A Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind for my RL book group next week. It's about a boy named Cedric Jennings who made it out of the ghetto and into the Ivy League. Apparently Suskind won a Pulitzer for the series of articles he wrote about this and then turned them into a book. The book may be inspirational, but the writing style is leaving me cold.
#76 and 85 - I completely agree! I finished the book last night and had to purchase my own copy! :)
I am so sick with flu/virus, so good excuse to sit in front of the fireplace and read. I am well into Annabel by Kathleen Winter and wow, this one is really special. She is a beautiful but spare writer ~ many passages that have taken my breath away. I kind of felt this topic (transgender child) had been "done before" but she makes this a very original story, tender, but real and thoughtful. Already, it makes me question so much of what I "thought" about gender, roles, etc., by just showing this one child's life.
I am also reading Wheat Belly on recommendation of a friend. It is good, not much I didn't already know, but how bad it is re: manufacture, etc.
Sorry you're feeling lousy, Carolyn. Hope the reading helps distract you from it.
Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman was wonderful, and a natural for booklovers (e.g. LTers). These are beautifully written essays on personal libraries, penchants for constant proof-reading (including in restaurants and stores), the joy of long words, idiosyncrasies of book collecting, and much more.
I'm just about to start reading The Mousetrap and Other Plays by Agatha Christie-I'm really excited to read it because many of her plays varied from her amazing novels, and I'm really curious to see if any of the endings changed.
I'm also about to start Number the Stars-one of the fourth graders I work with in after school heard I hadn't read it yet, and really wanted to, and brought me a copy to borrow.
Finished the interesting Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World and am looking forward to moving on to The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West. I continue listening to The Road Home by Rose Tremain.
I just started The Night Circus. I wasn't too sure about the first few pages, but I'm starting to get into it now.
I've been gone for a while during which time my life was not my own and it's just so nice to be able to read for pleasure again.
(107) framboise, what did you think of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe?
I finished Zheng He, a beautiful National Geographic book by Michael Yamashita that has a history of the 15th Century Chinese admiral (and eunuch) who sailed and traded in goods 7 times from China in gigantic wooden junks with a crew composed of 27,000 sailors, doctors, farmers, pharmacologists. He went all the way to Vietnam, Korea, Saudi Arabia and the eastern coast of Africa and died returning on his 7th voyage. After this voyage the new emperor decreed that ships could no longer be made from wood (his predecessor had planted the trees specifically for his flotilla), dry docked the boats and pulled the people back inside the Great Wall, not to re emerge for hundreds of years. Yamashita has dozens of beautiful photographs of the places visited by Zheng He with a description of the early migration of Chinese to these far flung lands and the influences shared among them. He even brought a giraffe back from Africa to present to his emperor, Zhu Di and is honored as a god of prosperity, Sam Po Kung, in Southeast Asia. Next up is The Chinese in America by Iris Chang because I don't have the guts to read The Rape of Nanking.
I've also started listening to and audiobook of Out of Mao's Shadow: The Struggle for the Soul of a New China by Philip P. Pan.
Have read the followingthe last couple of weeks;
Dorsai! by Gordon R. Dickson (3 Stars) Military. Sci Fi
Donal Graeme is a professional mercenary. From a long line of professional mercenaries. Who are a part of a race of professional mercenaries. He's not the strongest, tallest or smartest he just has a different way at looking at and solving military problems. This gift or strangeness in him wins him fast promotion and fame.
HMS Saracen by Douglas Reeman (3 Stars)
In 1915 Midshipman Rchard Chesnaye reports aboard the HMS Saracen, a new type of war ship called a monitor, it's shallow draft and large guns are designed to provide close support for troops during the Gallipoli Campaign. His experiences scar him for life and serve him well when he is called back to service in 1941 to be Saracen's Captain.
I only stared reading Reeman's modern naval books recently and find them enjoyable. Have read (and enjoyed) most of his Age of Sail books about the life Richard Bolitho that he wrote under the name Alexander Kent
Over The Top by Arthur Guy Empey (4 Stars WW!)
Arthur Guy Empey went to England and enlisted in the British army after the sinking of RMS Lusitania in 1915. As the U.S. was technically neutral at the time, this was against U.S. and English law (he was turned down at least once that he writes about).
He fought on the western front until he was wounded in the Battle of the Somme and medically discharged in 1916.
Upon his return to the U.S. he wrote Over the top to tell of his experiences and what life was like in the trenches. Each chapter covers different part of an infantry man’s life from enlistment to battle. How they lived, fought, entertained themselves and endured life in the trenches.
Overall the book is an easy read and full of insights of the life and plights of the WW1 soldier. A little simplistic and light hearted by todays standards, it still does a good job of telling of the horrors of trench warfare.
Send Down A Dove by Charles MacHardy (WW2 British submarine)
I've been saving The Night Circus for when my back gives out again and I know I'll have a few inactive days to really settle and enjoy it. The time has come and I can't wait to see what all the fuss is about.
#97 Erick, the 'zoo' in question is a few miles away from my home. Before the current owners took over it was the subject of a lot of controversy (I can't say any more, I don't want to be sued) but it's now building a great reputation if you like that kind of thing and it's good to see both the book and the film doing so well. More power to Ben and his family!
I almost finished Finity's End last night, but fell asleep near the end (it's not boring, I'm just that tired!!!).
I finished Silence by Shusaku Endo, which was wonderful. I'm following it up with my book group's selection for the month, Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk, which I hate. Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. Everything about this book is just horrible and ugly and total, total shit. If I didn't have to discuss it next week, I'd stop reading it, throw it across the room, and then set it on fire, and then throw it out in the snow, and then run it over with my car.
Actually, it is a library book, so no I wouldn't, but I'd do it in spirit.
#117 ~ I remember trying to read Invisible Monsters and had the same reaction. I was stunned that anyone, anywhere cared enough about those human beings (sorta) to read that entire book. I dunno, just not my cup of tea either, so I get your pain. I did not finish that book.
I just read a little picture book, biography Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story by Paula Yoo and illustrated by Lin Wang. I'd never heard of Anna May Wong before reading Shanghai Girls. She was the most famous Chinese actress of her day. I got a couple of her films from the library, Piccadilly and Portrait in Black and plan to watch them this weekend. I'm just through the introduction on Iris Chang's The Chinese in America, and it looks like it's going to be insightful and interesting.
I'm just starting Green Mansions by W. H. Hudson, and liking it very much, so far, at only about 20 pages in.
#108 Fuzzi: Hi, I thought it was good, definitely a fast read. I thought the movie was a great adaptation of it and so visually stunning, more descriptive actually than the book was. I am undecided as to whether or not to continue the series. I think I would've liked it more as a child.
I just finished So Cold the River by Michael Koryta, which a library patron recommended to me, and I thoroughly enjoyed. It wasn't the best or the scariest horror novel I've ever read, but the story was rich, engrossing, and best of all, UNUSUAL...not many horror novels are set in rural Indiana.
Currently making my way through It, which I love, as always, and I'm also in the first 100 pages of a fantastic discovery called The White Devil by Justin Evans. It's gorgeously written, and intriguing as hell...an American student named Andrew is sent to a British boarding school, where he encounters a haunted building and a murder, and the true history of Lord Byron. It's literate, spooky, and fantastically atmospheric.
And once I finish that, I have The Good House by Tananarive Due and The Omen waiting for me.
(125) I thought the BBC production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe from the 1990s was a lot better than the movie that came out a few years ago. Like The Lord of the Rings, I've read the Narnia books so many times that changes made when a movie is made are glaring and upsetting.
I hope you continue to read the Narnia books.
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