What Are You Reading the week of 7 April 2012?
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The 7th: Donald Barthelme
The 8th: Barbara Kingsolver
The 9th: Barrington J. Bayley
The 10th: Joseph Pulitzer
The 11th: Eileen Charbonneau
The 12th: Beverly Cleary
The 13th: Eudora Welty
J. M. G. Le Clézio
Once again, Thanks, Richard!
Am reading and very much enjoying Mike and Psmith by P. G. Wodehouse, even though it is partially about cricket and I have to just read over all the leg before wicket stuff.
Great start Richard, thank you!
I finished up my re-reading, after about 10 years, of Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen ... loved it. I am about halfway through my Early Reviewer novel The Warmest December and not really loving it, just not only deeply, deeply depressing (but I expected that), but there was a scene of animal cruelty in there that I'll never shake from my head. If I didn't have to review it, I would have stopped. I realize I'm sensitive to animal torture/cruelty in books, but wow, that was a bad one.
I also picked up a few books at a local library sale this a.m., am and reading The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People here and there. Great, simple, beautiful advice from research of happy folks.
Good morning - Thanks Richard -
Still reading Aftershock by Robert B. Reich. Don't know why I can't get correct touchstone but here is the link:
I'm enjoying this way more than I thought I would. I have NO background in economics and this is definitely written for the layperson. After the first chapter, which dragged, it gets interesting. It's actually a pretty quick read also.
Yesterday my library requested copy of Unshelved arrived so I read that and had many laugh out loud moments. That was another one recommended here on LT. Thanks!
SERIOUSLY behind on review writing. Need to file them for A Real Basket Case, Anarchy and Old Dogs, Flanders, The Voice at the Back Door, Mythago Wood...*eep*
I only did NOT like one of these books. It's like keeping up with threads, though. Once a thread has over 15 unread messages, I simply can't go look into it, too much guilt. More than three reviews behind, well, errrmmm...
Just finished up Air Farce: 40 Years of Flying by the Seat of Our Pants, an excellent look at the Canadian sketch comedy troupe. Reading this brought back many fond memories of the show.
Thanks for putting the thread up, Richard!
>Bookwoman, re: armchair adventure - yeah, stories like that make me appreciate my cold Northern almost-desert all that much more!
Have started Song of Achilles, and enjoying so far - thanks for rec., Richard! Also reading Women, Work & the Art of Savoir Faire, and almost done. About to start Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother for book club: we're not actually reading it 'til August, but I'm eager to get started (looks like a good debate).
Oh boy, another The Song of Achilles reader! I'm looking forward to your review.
The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People is going right onto the Wish List!
Still reading The Year's Best Science Fiction, Nineteenth Annual Collection. Haven't gotten much farther in it, but the story I'm reading now is better than what I've read so far. It's by Nancy Kress and it's called "Computer Virus". Curious where it's going.
#5 CarolynSchroeder: Thank you for the heads up on the animal cruelty. It is something that is my line in the sand in a book. I can't bear it. I hate it when I unexpectedly stumble upon it.
I've got a lot of books going right now! I used to be a one book at a time lady but I seem to be converting into a multiple book readin' lady. I'm reading, in no particular order, Graham Greene Collected Stories which are wonderful, It Had to be You by David Nobbs- it's a pleasurable read, and Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace which I picked up on a whim and can't put down. Also, I'm reading Intuitive Self-Healing which is full of cool meditation tips and is strangely compelling!
Thanks, Richard. Way behind on books and reviews because of illness in the family and increased demands at work. But, I will keep poking along! Thanks to everyone for the informative posts.
I started Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess) last night and finished it first thing this morning, a really fun and funny memoir. Now I'm starting the apocalyptic White Horse by Alex Adams, which is really intriguing so far. Finally approaching the end of Winter King: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England in audio.
Thanks for starting us out, Richard! You always do a stellar job, now please avert your gaze for a moment. I finally started David Copperfield for the Group Read and have been making progress. Yes, Dickens is a wordy fellow but he sure is a one heck of a good story-teller.
Okay RD...eyes front.
Hazel- An Unfinished Life sounds very good, I'll have to add it to the List.
Oops! An abrupt change of plan. Now I'll be reading No Place for a Lady: Tales of Adventurous Women Travelers by Barbara Hodgson.
I'm not far in at all, but what fun! It's lavish with illustrations, and the subject, intrepid women travelers from the Victorian era and prior is one of my favorites!
Thanks Richard for getting us going. :)
Still working on Border Songs by Jim Lynch and should of been done days ago ....it's not that big a book, but for some reason I'm dragging it out. Can't seem to sit still long enough lately to read much of anything....spring fever, perhaps??
Just finished Maps of Time by David Christian, after a year (at least) of reading it in 15-20 minute bites at bedtime. It's an overview of history from the beginning of the universe to the present, followed by speculation about the future. A very good book, and I definitely know more than I did when I started.
>25 SylviaC: There's nothing like a book about everything to teach you something.
I finished the wonderful, glorious The Enchanted April and think I may need to read it every April. I must read her other books, are they anywhere near as good?
Audiobook: 11/22/63. I thought there was no way I'd finish all 30 CD's in a month, but I just started and am already on disc 5. With a little King inspiration I managed to clean out a closet and do some fine cooking. I really like the details about time travel, but I'm just getting to the bit about serial killing and a possible killer dressed as a clown. Not my cup of tea. I can't imagine why a man who can write so well about anything would want to write about murder. I hope that doesn't take up much of the book.
Nook: Dog Boy about a boy who is abandoned by his family and goes to live with a small pack of wild dogs. It just seems so possible the way she describes the life.
Paper: I'll be finishing The Dovekeepers tonight or tomorrow, pretty appropriate for Passover. The history and geography really pull one in; the characters with all their misogyny, superstition and brutality don't.
# 18 DevourerOfBooks
How's the book on Henry VIII? I've watched the tv series The Tudors and The Other Boleyn Girl and got interested in Henry VIII. I've been wanting to read a biography, but haven't dared yet, being afraid it would be too dry (I'm not much of a history nut). Is it something you would recommend?
#26 It hurts to say this but I don't think any of her other books come close to The Enchanted April though they're still lovely books. It might be best to leave a bit of a gap before trying the others and not start out with expectations that are too high. Don't get me wrong, there are some lovely bits here and there but it's almost impossible to keep up the standard of TEA indefinitely.
#27 Why not try The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George? Despite its title it isn't actually a real autobiography but a fictionalised one but George is a wonderfully engaging fiction writer and her historical research is excellent (unlike Philippa Gregory's) so it's the next best thing to fact and you could always check out some non-fiction later regarding the particular times/events/people who interest you most.
Birthday wishes especially to Barbara Kingsolver. Currently reading Everyone's Just So So Special, The Risk of Darkness and Delusions of Gender
Finish and very much enjoyed Sense of an Ending. It is a well written and engaging book about time, aging, and memory, exploring how memory forms our sense of self and what an unstable foundation that is. There's even a bit of mystery in the book.
It's a book I heard about here and probably would have never found otherwise. Thanks to all.
>20 hazeljune:, >21 msf59: I really liked An Unfinished Life and have several of Mark Spragg's other books on my wish list. Having been born and raised about 75 miles due north of where the action in that book takes place, I can tell you that the physical descriptions of the area are spot on.
If you haven't tried Larry Watson yet, I'd recommend him. He writes about south eastern Montana (where I grew up) and is a very good writer. I'd start with Montana 1948 or White Crosses.
During a demonstration for patrons on downloading ebooks via the library, I downloaded Alice I Have Been because it was handy. Later I became engrossed and am still reading. It is a fictionalized account of the life of Alice Liddell, Carroll's inspiration for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which I cannot stand. I never would have picked it out but it is a happy accident!
I'm reading Gardens of the Moon. I'm only 200 pages in and so far it has required a lot of concentration to keep the characters and plots straight but I think I'm on top of it now. Books like this are not a relaxing read...you have to work at them, but they are always such great epic stories which is ultimately what I enjoy the best about reading.
29 Hi, snash ~ I'm assuming Julian Barnes the author of Sense of an Ending, since you mention a mystery. I went to wishlist it after your intriguing comments about it, and it turns out there were three books with that title. Thanks!
>27 Vonini: Vonini
You might like David Starkey's book Six Wives: the Queens of Henry VIII. It is a chunkster in size but I literally could not put it down- it was a real page turner! I got interested in Henry VIII after reading the C.J. Sansom Matthew Shardlake series which is not only a compelling mystery series but brings the alive the sights, customs and odors of that time.
Thanks for the caution about von Arnim, Booksloth. I know I've damaged my reaction to a book by expecting too much from a beloved author in the past. I'll keep this in mind.
I just finished and reviewed The Dovekeepers which is certainly not a book for everyone, but I liked it very much. Now I'll be starting a book unlike it in almost every way, though I do believe there are animals involved, Sick Puppy by Carl Hiaasen. I'm expecting light reading.
>33 Storeetllr: Hi, Storeetllr Yes, the book I read and commented on was the one written by Julian Barnes. I hope you enjoy it.
30# ..Thank you for your recommendation regarding Larry Watson, I have read Montana 1948 and did like it lots. I shall follow up on the others.
Another author that I really like is Tim Gautreaux ,The Clearing is the first of his that I read, I followed that up with a collection of his short stories Same Place same Things.
#35 Please don't think she's ever written a bad word cj, her books are amazing but I sometimes wish I'd started off with the others and then worked up to April.
>27 Vonini: Vonini, Winter King is actually about his father, Henry VII. It is very good, but probably not what you're looking for. I've heard great things about Starkey's nonfiction that enaid recommended. If you want to ease in with some historical fiction, I'd recommend The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George. It is also a chunkster, but very readable and George is a fabulous author of historical fiction.
I'm on all new books now, having finished and really enjoyed both Winter King and White Horse. I'm back to one per format:
Print: I, Iago by Nicole Galland
Nook: The Prisoner's Wife by Gerard McDonald
Audio: Another Piece of My Heart by Jane Green
The audio is narrated by the author, which scares me. She's not terrible, but I'm not yet convinced that it was a good casting decision, particularly since she is British and I'm fairly sure that the story takes place in the US with non-British characters. It is distracting.
>41 DevourerOfBooks:.....I have found recently as well that having the author narrate is not always the best choice for the reader.
>42 hemlokgang: It makes me cringe every time I see the author listed as narrator, especially for fiction (with memoir I'm a bit more forgiving). There are a few authors out there who are spectacular, but some are just bad.
Wow half a page! I'm impressed! Which I could do that. Have to say one of my favorite things about amazon is when it warns me - you've already bought that silly! (with a new kindle and the pixel free offers, I'm being a glutton and cant even keep up with what I've ordered. I'm going to stop now!)
Sometimes it takes me half a book to realize I've already read it. The hunting scene in Sick Puppy, however, is quite memorable.
I went looking for fiction, but ended up finding How Georgia Became O'Keefe, Lessons on the Art of Living by Karen Karbo at the library "new non fiction" and am loving it. Not the typical Georgia O'Keefe biography, that is for sure, but a lot more fun!
What about reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel it is not about Henry VIII but about his Chancellor, Thomas Cromwell. I haven't read it yet, but most everyone who reads it really likes it.
I finished reading Warmth of Other Suns over the weekend. this was a great read. The author made you care about the people and helped the reader to understand what was happening in the cities and the culture of the places these people moved. This book is well worth the time it takes to read it.
I started on David Copperfield for the group read, but only got about half-way through the introduction.
Have just finished and reviewed The Kenneth Williams Diaries.
Am re-reading Hard Times for the Book Group. My wife is really struggling with the novel and it isn't Dickens's most accessible work, but I'm still quite enjoying it.
Alfred Einstein's biography of Franz Schubert isn't really taking me along with it, but I'm very impressed by Richelieu and the French Monarchy by C V Wedgwood. I haven't studied this period of history in decades, and this book is as good a place to start as any.
Rereading Mere Christianity at the request of a friend, who'd like to discuss it. :)
This week I received my first review book from the Read It Forward program. I read I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits and posted a review here: http://www.librarything.com/profile_reviews.php?view=mkboylan
I have mixed feelings about the book and look forward to hearing what other LT readers think. It is a beautifully written story about a Hasidic family, about which topic I know nothing. I like learning about some religions and found the book interesting, but I do get tired of reading about women being mistreated and horribly discriminated against.
Still reading Robert B. Reich's Aftershock and looking at an ER book I received today, Running with the Kenyans which looks great.
A vacation day today :) and it's cool out, so sat myself down and finally finished Border Songs by Jim Lynch. Interesting plot filled with quirky characters. Learned quite a lot on the marijuana growing industry, too. :) And now I'm on to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I know....I am possibly the only person who hasn't read this yet.
Still working my way through and enjoying A Short History of Nearly Everything. I can imagine this one would be fun in audio, but I'm glad to have the print edition so I can stop every so often and write down interesting facts!
I'm about 25% of the way through Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi and it has just started to really pick up.
Thank you to everyone last week who chimed in your kudos for this book.
I'm reading Anne Tyler's latest, The Beginner's Goodbye, and also Karin Fossum's He Who Fears the Wolf.
And on audio, I'm listening to The Lost Kingdom: Hawaii's Last Queen, the Sugar Kings and America's First Imperial Adventure.
I've just finished the delightful No Place for a Lady: Tales of Adventurous Women Travelers by Barbara Hodgson. The illustrations are lavish . Gorgeous maps from Victorian-era atlases, photographs, postcards, travel posters, and sketches adorn almost every page. I learned that Hodgson is a book designer as well as an author. The writing was not strong, but the fascintating (to me) subject and the sumptuousness of the book more than made up for it.
Anyone who likes vintage travel ephemera would love this book. Surely, I can't be the only one who craves accounts of and ephemera from a time when the world was so large and so full of possiblities?
Uh-oh. Sorry to hear about your reading mishap, RD. Not having started the series yet, I do not know what could have happened, but maybe now I should avoid it?
No no no, Mary! Do NOT avoid it! I'm voodoo-dolly-level angry because I've come to love the characters and have had a major rug pulled from under me, not because the author has lost his verve, or stopped writing good characters! Read read read! Buy buy buy!
But DO avoid the Claire Hanover series, which starts with A Real Basket Case, unless there is NOTHING else to read. I've set forth my reasons for irritation in my thread...post #170.
Oh, okay, good, because I've heard good things about that series, and not only from you!
#27 This is just one person's opinion but I'm not sure Wolf Hall would be a good introduction to the Tudors. Not all of us loved it and the reason most frequently given by those who disliked it (including me) was that it was utterly confusing because the author jumps continually from one character to another, either not identifying who she's talking about or just using their first name (which is almost always Thomas or Henry). While I don't claim to be an expert, I've been reading about Henry and his court for around 40 years and if I couldn't figure out who the hell she was talking about most of the time even though I'm very familiar with the historical version of the events and people. Definitely backing enaid's recommendation of Starkey's Six Wives, though or you could also try (non-fiction again) The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir.
About the speaker in Wolf Hall: If she doesn't identify the speaker, it's Thomas. After I figured that out, I found it a very powerful part of the storytelling -- luckily, I had read an article about the book and knew what the author was doing, so I caught on rather quickly. It's awkward at first, but once you catch on and get into the rhythm of it, you begin to see that it has the effect (I thought so anyway) of making Thomas the first person narrator without making him the first person narrator. It's his point of view -- he's the center -- but he is not the narrator. It's one of the unique and compelling aspects of the book. You have to work at it at first, but I thought it added to the book's strength. The reader is brought into the book, closer to it, into an intimacy with Thomas that is quite unlike anything I had ever experienced in reading a book.
Joan Acocella, in her amazing review in The New Yorker (see link below) says, after a long quote from the beginning of the book:
'At this juncture, we don’t even know who “he” is. We soon find out, and we never leave him again. Mantel violates grammar for his sake. Most of the “he”s and the “his”es in the book refer to Cromwell, including ones whose antecedents are not Cromwell. (The minister comforts a young man named Dick Purser, who is weeping: “Purser drops his shorn head against his shoulder.” The shoulder is not Purser’s; it is Cromwell’s.) This is strange, but after a while you get used to it, and understand that the book is, without qualification, Cromwell’s side of the story. It is a novel, not a history book. We have no reason, without external evidence, to believe that any of it is true—though Mantel makes us want to believe.'
I was not a Wolf Hall fan either, but many people do love it. I am about half-way through How Georgia Became O'Keefe, Lessons on the Art of Living (touchstone not working) by Karen Karbo. I am loving the parts on Georgia O'Keefe (why I picked it up), but the author is absurdly annoying, self-centered and infuses herself and her experiences ever 20 or so pages (and into inane footnotes - I cannot fathom who'd this funny or interesting). It is maddening. I don't know WHY this is this current rage of this ... pseudo biographies or self help in which the authors insert themselves at the center of things. I do not want to read about the writer. I want to read about the subject matter. But I noticed this growing trend. I hope it stops soon! But the reality is though it feels "art history lite" at times, there are some good tidbits about O'Keefe. I just wish she'd stick to that.
I think that fiction is oftentimes a powerful way to teach history. I also agree that it can sometimes be confusing. To keep myself straight there are times that I have copied pages out of the Encyclopedia Britannica or some other reference book just to have a way to keep myself in the clear about what was happening when. And to whom.
Thank you all so much for your suggestions on a book about Henry VIII. I think I'll give The Autobiography of Henry VIII a try. It sounds like just the book I'm looking for. I'll keep you posted.
(70) Woo! I'm glad you're enjoying it, bookwoman247!
I like that book so much that I even have THREE copies of it on my shelves...
I just finished Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin - terrific! It makes me glad she's so prolific.
#73: I'm enjoying it immensely. since I've never before read it, I'm only familiar with the Disney version, (Yuck!), so it's also full of surprises.
Ah, I also know only the Disney version of The Jungle Book. Maybe I should check out the real thing.
#76 and 79..I have a copy of The Jungle Book that was printed in 1899, the first edition was 1894. I have always prized it for its age, cover, illustrations and gold edging on the outside of the leaves.. I have not read it, however you have sparked my interest to do so.
#80: I am sighing over the description of your copy of The Jungle Books. It sounds lovely! I definitely recommend reading it, but if it were me, I would find another copy to read, and only open the 1899 edition to admire the illustrations every now and then.
I'm reading The Disappearing Spoon, a history of the periodic table, and it's fascinating! I wish, though, I remembered more from h.s. chemistry and physics...and that my textbooks in those classes had included some of the stories behind the elements as interesting sidebars!
(76) Yes, joyce, do so!
I read it because (as a child) I loved the Disney cartoon of "The Jungle Books", but once I read it, I could not watch Disney's horrible 'adaption' of the book.
The book is SO much better, trust me. Read it!
(75) Glad you're enjoying it, bookwoman247!
This is a beautifully illustrated version of The Jungle Book, but I noticed that it had been edited, words were changed, probably to make it "easier to read":
This is my favorite copy, totally unabridged, and it has the books of both The Jungle Book and The Second Jungle Book:
>82 CarolynSchroeder: Oh boy, Carolyn, that looks wonderful! I'm off to library it!
I just finished In the Garden of Beasts, about the U.S. ambassador to Germany at the beginning of the Nazi regime in 1933. Interesting to see how far people went to excuse the behavior of the Nazis and avoid doing anything to alienate the Germans. I have to say, though, that I didn't find the story about his daughter Martha all that interesting.
I'm sort of intrigued by everyone's comments about Wolf Hall, but I have avoided it before now because it does seem rather daunting. I'm interested in the Tudors and the religious upheaval of the period, though, so I may have it to suck it up and give it a try.
rabbitprincess, if you use the drop off box outside, you won't go inside and see all the nice pretty books....
>92 litasbooks: *claps hands in nerdly pleasure* Oh boy oh boy another Siri-ista in the making!
#93 Oh I am a convert! I'm also more than half done. *trying to slow down*
@91: The sad part is that I *did* use the outside drop box! But because I was downtown at the main branch, and I don't usually browse there, I couldn't resist the temptation to go in "just for a few minutes" :P At least I limited myself to two. Usually I end up with five or six books at a time.
@92: I'll have to look for that one about publishing! I read and enjoyed his How to Be a Canadian and also like his writing on Canadian history.
(97) I rarely use the drop box at our library, because I want to go in and browse...
...plus they have a bookcase full of discards that they sell for $.25 each! I have picked up some great reads that way. :)
Yesterday I unexpectedly received $75 in Am Ex gift cards, so of course I went immediately to Amazon to see what books I could get. I want to load up my Kindle. This morning I found out about the new memoir, A Natural Woman: A Memoir by Carole King, so that went right to the top of my list, and I'm thinking of ordering Pearl by Mary Gordon, an author I haven't read in years. The only book I've actually ordered so far is Dreaming in French: The Paris Years by Alice Kaplan. I also have the Ruth Galloway mysteries by Elly Griffiths on my list. I recently discovered the series and really like it.
DMO - ooooh I hope you caught Carole King on Piers Morgan last night! I love her story of women in rock and roll. I DVRd it - haven't watched it yet. I still remember the first time I heard her - I'd been out of the country for a year and was back and she came on the radio and I was blown away - turned to my bro-in-law and asked "Wow! Who the hell was that?!" What a talent! Let us know how you like the book.
Just finished A Universal History of the Destruction of Books by Fernando Baez. Now I'm reading A Classic English Crime ed by Tim Heald.
Last night in honor of the beginning of baseball season (finally!) I started Joe Torre's memoir, The Yankee Years, written with sports journalist Tom Verducci.
I'm another Siri-ista. I'm on the 4th one. Does the club have any merchandise like t-shirts or morgue sheets?
Hi all! First post here and what a nice place to start!
I am currently reading Honor Thy Enemy by Doug Farren it's the third book in the Galactic Alliance series.
>112 brenzi: OOO helluva review there, Bonnie! Big thumbs up from me!
I finished and have not yet reviewed Soldier Dogs by Maria Goodavage and the powerful and devastating Dog Boy by Eva Hornung. My heart's feeling a little wrenched by both right now, so on to American Chick in Saudi Arabia on Nook and The Sealed Letter on paper. Since Emma Donoghue is once again nominated for an Orange Prize, I'm going to bet her book will not be a barrel of laughs, we'll see what the "Chick" has to say for herself.
I finished How Georgia Became O'Keefe by Karen Karbo and egads, that woman (the author) was self-absorbed and annoying. But every little tidbit about O'Keefe was wonderful and I am going to find a real biography of her now. Sit down with a big ol' book of her paintings/drawings and read about her life.
I am going to finish Imagine: How Creativity Works first though, as I am halfway and love it (been kind of picking it up in between other books).
Finished the breathtakingly beautiful The Member of The Wedding......I highly recommend the audio version with Susan Sarandon narrating! Next up for listening is Everything in This Country Must: A Novella and Two Stories by Colum McCann, and I am just starting to read Absolution by Patrick Flanery.
119 It was several years ago that I read it but I remember Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O'Keeffe by Laurie Lisle as good.
Nice afternoon's listen to Everything in This Country Must: A Novella and Two Stories while packing a suitcase of items requested by my Peace Corps son whom I will be visiting next week......good listen. Love the prose of Colum McCann! Listening to Digging To America by Anne Tyler next.
Although I'm enjoying Elizabeth I, I'm not as completely absorbed in it as I usually am with George's books so I'm padding out the reading with a few light non-fiction books - The Paradox of Choice (how the plethora of choice we have in the modern world can often be a hindrance to making decisions rather than an advantage), Law's Strangest Cases (speaks for itself) and Danny Boy (the story and meaning of the song - not only of interest to we Celtic musicians but a fascinating read for anyone with even the smallest interest in Ireland, music, Irish history and legend).
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