• LibraryThing
  • Book discussions
  • Your LibraryThing
  • Join to start using.

kidzdoc is cutting down the mountain of unread books in 2012: part 7

75 Books Challenge for 2012

Join LibraryThing to post.

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

Edited: May 20, 2012, 5:27pm Top

It's May Day!

Currently reading:

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
The Undertaker's Daughter by Toi Derricotte
Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable

Completed books:

1. Volcano by Shusaku Endo (review)
2. False Friends: Book Two by Ellie Malet Spradbery (review)
3. A Disease Apart: Leprosy in the Modern World by Tony Gould (review)
4. Best Mets: Fifty Years of Highs and Lows from New York's Most Agonizingly Amazin' Team by Matthew Silverman (review)
5. Walkabout by James Vance Marshall (review)
6. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (review)
7. Letter from the Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr.
8. Mister Blue by Jacques Poulin (review)
9. Stained Glass Elegies by Shusaku Endo (review)
10. Botchan (Master Darling) by Natsume Soseki (review)
11. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
12. Guadalajara by Quim Monzó (review)

13. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
14. Erasure by Percival Everett
15. Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?: What It Means to Be Black Now by Touré
16. Memed, My Hawk by Yashar Kemal
17. India Becoming: A Portrait of Life in Modern India by Akash Kapur (review)
18. The Three-Cornered World by Natsume Soseki
19. Angel by Elizabeth Taylor
20. Kokoro by Natsume Soseki
21. The Golden Country by Shusaku Endo
22. The Patience Stone by Atiq Rahimi

23. Professor Andersen's Night by Dag Solstad
24. Amsterdam Stories by Nescio
25. Your New Baby: A Guide to Newborn Care by Roy Benaroch, MD (review)
26. Fragile Beginnings: Discoveries and Triumphs in the Newborn ICU by Adam Wolfberg, MD (review)
27. There but for the by Ali Smith
28. The Deportees and Other Stories by Roddy Doyle
29. When the Garden Was Eden: Clyde, the Captain, Dollar Bill, and the Glory Days of the New York Knicks by Harvey Araton (review)
30. Walk on Water: Inside an Elite Pediatric Surgical Unit by Michael Rudman (review)
31. Suffer the Children: Flaws, Foibles, Fallacies and the Grave Shortcomings of Pediatric Care by Peter Palmieri (review)
32. Tonight No Poetry Will Serve by Adrienne Rich

33. Little Misunderstandings of No Importance by Antonio Tabucchi
34. One with Others by C.D. Wright (review)
35. The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro by Antonio Tabucchi (review)
36. Boundaries by Elizabeth Nunez (review)
37. Panther Baby by Jamal Joseph (review)
38. The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq
39. Waifs and Strays by Micah Ballard (review)
40. Gillespie and I by Jane Harris (review)
41. Natural Birth by Toi Derricotte (review)
42. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (review)
43. Thirst by Andrei Gelasimov (review)
44. When I Was a Poet by David Meltzer (review)
45. Book of My Mother by Albert Cohen (review)
46. The Lepers of Molokai by Charles Warren Stoddard

47. Colonoscopy for Dummies ~ Special Edition by Kathleen A. Doble
48. Map of the Invisible World by Tash Aw
49. A Planet of Viruses by Carl Zimmer
50. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
51. The Leopard by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa (review)
52. The Line by Olga Grushin
53. What Is Amazing by Heather Christle
54. Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding
55. The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright
56. The Treasures of Destiny by Laurie Harman Wilson
57. Confusion by Stefan Zweig

Edited: May 2, 2012, 12:04am Top

May Day
by Sarah Teasdale

A delicate fabric of bird song
Floats in the air,
The smell of wet wild earth
Is everywhere.

Red small leaves of the maple
Are clenched like a hand,
Like girls at their first communion
The pear trees stand.

Oh I must pass nothing by
Without loving it much,
The raindrop try with my lips,
The grass with my touch;

For how can I be sure
I shall see again
The world on the first of May
Shining after the rain?

Edited: May 19, 2012, 10:20pm Top

TBR books read in 2012 (books on my shelf for ≥6 months):

1. A Disease Apart: Leprosy in the Modern World by Tony Gould
2. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
3. Botchan (Master Darling) by Natsume Soseki
4. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
5. Guadalajara by Quim Monzó
6. Memed, My Hawk by Yashar Kemal
7. The Three-Cornered World by Natsume Soseki
8. Kokoro by Natsume Soseki
9. The Patience Stone by Atiq Rahimi
10. The Deportees and Other Stories by Roddy Doyle
11. Little Misunderstandings of No Importance by Antonio Tabucchi
12. One with Others by C.D. Wright
13. The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro by Antonio Tabucchi
14. Waifs and Strays by Micah Ballard
15. Gillespie and I by Jane Harris
16. When I Was a Poet by David Meltzer
17. Map of the Invisible World by Tash Aw
18. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
19. The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa
20. The Line by Olga Grushin

Books purchased in 2012:

1. The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq ($13.99) √
2. Fragile Beginnings: Discoveries and Triumphs in the Newborn ICU by Adam Wolfberg, MD ($9.99) √
3. The Irish Americans: A History by Jay P. Dolan ($0.99)
4. The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God and Other Stories by Etgar Keret ($8.70 (partial purchase))
5. The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright ($12.99) √
6. Suffer the Children: Flaws, Foibles, Fallacies and the Grave Shortcomings of Pediatric Care by Peter Palmieri ($3.99) √
7. The King of Kahel by Tierno Monénembo ($0.99)
8. The Secret Piano: From Mao's Labor Camps to Bach's Goldberg Variations by Zhu Xiao-Mei ($0.99)
9. The Greenhouse by Audur Ava Olafsdottir ($0.99)
10. Thirst by Andrei Gelasimov ($0.99) √
11. Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick ($9.99)
12. Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding ($9.99) √
13. Three Strong Women by Marie NDiaye (£19.27)
14. Foreign Studies by Shusaku Endo ($6.95)
15. The Enormity of the Tragedy by Quim Monzó ($5.95)
16. Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens ($13.49)
17. The Coward's Tale by Vanessa Gebbie ($8.00)
18. Trapeze by Simon Mawer ($14.35)
19. HHhH by Laurent Binet ($23.40)
20. The Undertaker's Daughter by Toi Derricotte ($7.95)
21. What Is Amazing by Heather Christle ($11.45) √
22. Scenes from Early Life by Philip Hensler (£15.62)
23. Pure by Timothy Mo ($20.61)
24. Capital by John Lanchester (£13.31)

Completed books from JanetinLondon's library and list of planned reads for 2012:

1. Volcano by Shusaku Endo
2. Botchan by Natsume Soseki

3. The Three-Cornered World by Natsume Soseki
4. Kokoro by Natsume Soseki



5. The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa

Edited: May 20, 2012, 5:30pm Top

Books acquired in 2012: (books in bold are ones that I purchased this year)

1. Best Mets: Fifty Years of Highs and Lows from New York's Most Agonizingly Amazin' Team by Matthew Silverman (2 Jan; LT Early Reviewer book) √
2. The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq (3 Jan; Kindle purchase)
3. The Lepers of Molokai by Charles Warren Stoddard (7 Jan; free Kindle download) √
4. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt (8 Jan; gift book)
5. Walkabout by James Vance Marshall (8 Jan; NYRB Book Club) √
6. There but for the by Ali Smith (9 Jan; ordered from Alibris 30 Jan) √
7. I Am a Cat by Natsume Soseki (9 Jan; ordered from Alibris 30 Jan)
8. The Samurai by Shusaku Endo (9 Jan; ordered from Alibris 30 Jan)
9. Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima ((9 Jan; ordered from Alibris 30 Jan)
10. Coin Locker Babies by Ryu Murakami (9 Jan; ordered from Alibris 30 Jan)
11. Black Talk, Blue Thoughts, and Walking the Color Line: Dispatches from a Black Journalista by Erin Aubry Kaplan (10 Jan; LT Early Reviewer book)
12. Up in the Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell (11 Jan; ordered from Strand Book Store on 27 Dec)
13. Runaway Horses by Yukio Mishima (11 Jan; ordered from Strand Book Store on 27 Dec)
14. The Temple of Dawn by Yukio Mishima (11 Jan; ordered from Strand Book Store on 27 Dec)
15. The Golden Country by Shusaku Endo (11 Jan; ordered from Strand Book Store on 27 Dec) √
16. Deep River by Shusaku Endo (11 Jan; ordered from Strand Book Store on 27 Dec)
17. Letter from the Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr. (15 Jan; free download) √

18. Panther Baby by Jamal Joseph (2 Feb; free ARC) √
19. Angel by Elizabeth Taylor (4 Feb; NYRB Book Club) √
20. Class War?: What Americans Really Think about Economic Inequality by Benjamin I. Page (10 Feb; free e-book from U of Chicago Press)
21. India Becoming: A Portrait of Life in Modern India by Akash Kapur (15 Feb; LT Early Reviewer book) √
22. Amsterdam Stories by Nescio (29 Feb; NYRB Book Club) √

23. Your new baby: A guide to newborn care by Roy Benaroch (6 Mar; free Kindle download) √
24. Fragile Beginnings: Discoveries and Triumphs in the Newborn ICU by Adam Wolfberg, MD (11 Mar; Kindle purchase)
25. The Irish Americans: A History by Jay P. Dolan (17 Mar; Kindle purchase)
26. The Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be God & Other Stories by Etgar Keret (17 Mar; partial book purchase from Barnes & Noble gift order)
27. The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen (17 Mar; Barnes & Noble gift order)
28. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (17 Mar; Barnes & Noble gift order) √
29. Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now--As Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It, and Long for It by Craig Taylor (17 Mar; Barnes & Noble gift order)
30. The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright (17 Mar; iBooks order)
31. When the Garden Was Eden: Clyde, the Captain, Dollar Bill, and the Glory Days of the New York Knicks by Harvey Araton (20 Mar; Kindle gift book) √
32. Assumption by Percival Everett (20 Mar; Kindle gift book)
33. The Barbarian Nurseries by Héctor Tobar (20 Mar; Kindle gift book)
34. A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes (22 Mar; Kindle gift book)
35. The Man Within My Head by Pico Iyer (25 Mar; Kindle gift book)
36. Walk on Water: Inside an Elite Pediatric Surgical Unit by Michael Rudman (25 Mar; borrowed book) √
37. Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete by Washington Irving (26 Mar; free Kindle download)
38. Suffer the Children: Flaws, Foibles, Fallacies and the Grave Shortcomings of Pediatric Care by Peter Palmieri (26 Mar; Kindle purchase) √

39. Store of the Worlds: The Stories of Robert Sheckley (3 Apr; NYRB Book Club)
40. The King of Kahel by Tierno Monénembo (15 Apr; Kindle e-book)
41. The Secret Piano: From Mao's Labor Camps to Bach's Goldberg Variations by Zhu Xiao-Mei (15 Apr; Kindle e-book)
42. The Greenhouse by Audur Ava Olafsdottir (15 Apr; Kindle e-book)
43. Thirst by Andrei Gelasimov (15 Apr; Kindle e-book) √
44. Book of My Mother by Albert Cohen (16 Apr; Archipelago Books 2011 subscription) √
45. My Struggle: Book One by Karl Ove Knausgaard (16 Apr; Archipelago Books 2011 subscription)
46. As Though She Were Sleeping by Elias Khoury (16 Apr; Archipelago Books 2011 subscription)
47. Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick (17 Apr; Kindle e-book)
48. Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding (17 Apr; Kindle e-book)
49. Bleak House by Charles Dickens (22 Apr; free Kindle e-book)
50. Three Strong Women by Marie NDiaye (28 Apr; Amazon UK order)

51. A Planet of Viruses by Carl Zimmer (3 May; free e-book from the University of Chicago Press) √
52. Colonoscopy for Dummies ~ Special Edition by Kathleen A. Doble (3 May; free e-book) √
53. Foreign Studies by Shusaku Endo (6 May; Strand Book Store)
54. The Enormity of the Tragedy by Quim Monzó (6 May; Strand Book Store)
55. Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens (6 May; Strand Book Store)
56. The Coward's Tale by Vanessa Gebbie (6 May; Strand Book Store)
57. Trapeze by Simon Mawer (6 May; Strand Book Store)
58. HHhH by Laurent Binet (6 May; Strand Book Store)
59. The Undertaker's Daughter by Toi Derricotte (6 May; Strand Book Store)
60. What Is Amazing by Heather Christle (6 May; Strand Book Store)
61. Confusion by Stefan Zweig (8 May; NYRB Book Club) √
62. Scenes from Early Life by Philip Hensler (8 May; The Book Depository)
63. Pure by Timothy Mo (8 May; The Book Depository)
64. Capital by John Lanchester (19 May; The Book Depository)
65. A Mind of Winter by Shira Nayman (19 May; LibraryThing Early Reviewer book)
66. The Treasures of Destiny by Laurie Harman Wilson (20 May; ARC e-book) √

Edited: May 17, 2012, 6:05am Top

My planned reads for May (you know the drill by now):

Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (TIOLI challenge #1) {TBR} - reading
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (to be read in June)
Painter of Silence by Georgia Harding (#4) {2012 Orange Prize shortlist} - completed
The City in Which I Love You by Li-Young Lee (#11) {TBR}
The Line by Olga Grushin (#11) {TBR} - completed
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (#11) {TBR}
Source by Mark Doty (#11) {TBR}
The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright (#12) {2012 Orange Prize shortlist} - completed
Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable (#12) {TBR} - reading
The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa (#14) {TBR} - completed
Lighthead by Terrance Hayes (#14) {TBR}
Splay Anthem by Nathaniel Mackey (#14) {TBR}
State of Wonder by Anne Patchett (#14) {2012 Orange Prize shortlist} - completed
Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick (#16) {2012 Orange Prize shortlist}
Map of the Invisible World by Tash Aw (#21) - completed

Edited: May 2, 2012, 12:31am Top

In today's (Wednesday's) NYT, Janet Maslin reviews Bring Up the Bodies, the sequel to Wolf Hall, which she describes as "equally sublime" and "beautifully constructed". She also includes this helpful comment:

In answer to what will surely be everyone’s first question about Ms. Mantel’s “Bring Up the Bodies”: Yes, you can read it cold. Knowledge of “Wolf Hall” is not a prerequisite to appreciating what “Bring Up the Bodies” describes, because Ms. Mantel sets up her new book so gracefully.

A Canny Henchman, Targeting the Queen

May 2, 2012, 1:00am Top

That's good news--I learned today that I won an LTER copy of Bring Up the Bodies.

Edited: May 2, 2012, 1:05am Top

Congratulations, Deborah! I should receive my copy in two weeks, and I plan to start reading it by the end of the month.

May 2, 2012, 1:05am Top

Thanks for that Darryl. I'm even more excited now to read Bring Up the Bodies, if that's possible:)

Love, love the May Day picture and the poem.

May 2, 2012, 1:08am Top

You're welcome, Bonnie. It seems as though I've read another glowing review of it, other than Suz's of course.

I'm glad you liked the May Day mini-celebration.

May 2, 2012, 2:40am Top

Lovely colourful new thread, Darryl. But does this mean the end of daily poems? :(

May 2, 2012, 7:36am Top

Thanks, Megan. I won't post daily poems until next April, when National Poetry Month in the US rolls around again. However, I do receive the free Poem-A-Day e-mail from the Academy of American Poets (available via the hyperlink), and I'll post daily poems that I particularly like, along with other poems that I come across. Here's the April 30th offering from Poem-A-Day:

by Vona Groarke

The wind orchestrates
its theme of loneliness
and the rain
has too much glitter in it, yes.

They are like words, the wrong ones,
insisting I listen to sense.
But I too am obstinate.

I have white walls,
white curtained windows.
What need have I
of the night's jet-black,
outlandish ornament?

What I am after
is silence
in proportion
to desire,

the way music plumbs
its surfaces
as straight words do
the air between them.

I begin to learn
the simple thing

burning through
to an impulse at once lovely
and given to love

that will not be refused.


May 2, 2012, 8:27pm Top

>12 kidzdoc: Love that first stanza.

May 2, 2012, 8:28pm Top

Darryl - congrats on your latest thread - your last one whizzed by. I will miss the daily poetry and I particularly liked your opening May day poem which goes adroitly with your lead photo.

May 2, 2012, 8:33pm Top

Checking in on the new thread!

May 2, 2012, 8:39pm Top

Hi Darryl

I haven't visited threads in awhile and I'm woefully behind. What a breathe of sunshine to see your lovely opening photo and to read the wonderful poems.

I hope all is well with you.

May 3, 2012, 6:33am Top

>13 tangledthread: Same here.

>14 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. I won't post daily poems, but I will read a lot more poetry in the coming months than I have previously. I suspect that I'll post a poem here two or three times per week.

>15 alcottacre: Welcome, Stasia!

>16 Whisper1: Thanks for visiting, Linda. I'm visiting my parents in Bucks County from now until Tuesday, and a cousin of mine is also staying here until tonight. So, I didn't do much reading yesterday, and probably won't today, either.

I'm getting my first colonoscopy tomorrow, so I'm restricted to a clear liquid diet today. Bleh.

May 3, 2012, 7:09am Top

In Nathalie's new thread, she listed the books she has read from JanetinLondon's library and her planned reads for 2012, which I thought was a great idea. I'll do the same thing from now on, starting today. I'll tally a list here, and put it in one of the first messages of every new thread for the foreseeable future.

1. Volcano by Shusaku Endo
2. Botchan by Natsume Soseki

3. The Three-Cornered World by Natsume Soseki
4. Kokoro by Natsume Soseki



This month's JfL book will be The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa, which I should finish by next week, at the latest.

May 3, 2012, 8:27am Top

>17 kidzdoc: As a colonoscopy veteran (~3x)....I think you will be surprised how well you feel the day after. I always keep my schedule clear for the day after, then wish I had gone ahead with fun plans.

Am really enjoying Gillespie and I.....thanks for the review/recommendation. I do think her writing is a bit like Sarah Waters

Learned about another British book yesterday titled The White Lie by Andrea Gillies which was released by a small publisher, Short Books, in the UK earlier this year. Am trying to lay hands on a copy. The author has written very good nonfiction (Orwell Prize) in Keeper: One House, Three Generations, and a Journey into Alzheimers

May 3, 2012, 8:36am Top

Darryl, what a lovely, cheerful opening picture!

Congrats on the new thread. Sorry haven't visited for a while, will have to go back on the last one to catch up on all the goodies I missed.

Adored the Sarah Teasdale May Day poem, and love Groarke's too:

What I am after
is silence
in proportion
to desire

Must quote that somewhere. It's... sublime.

I'll be receiving a new edition of World of Wonder from BD very soon. Would like to read it this month, but we'll see if I can fit it in.

Have a lovely day!


May 3, 2012, 8:44am Top

>19 tangledthread: Thanks for that info about the colonoscopy. I'd like to go to NYC on Saturday for the PEN World Voices Festival, but I'll see how I feel that morning before I decide to go.

I'm glad that you're enjoying Gillespie and I. I haven't read anything by Sarah Waters yet, although I own The Little Stranger. Hopefully I can get to it later this year.

I didn't realize that Keeper won the Orwell Prize. I knew that it won the inaugural Wellcome Trust Book Prize, a UK award for the best book about "medicine in literature", which includes both fiction and nonfiction books. Rachael (FlossieT) highly praised it, so I have it already. The White Lie sounds interesting; if you get a copy I'll be eager to get your take on it.

May 3, 2012, 8:51am Top

Happy new May thread, Darryl!

I like to have my tbrs always in view, that's why I did all those extra stats this year. I enjoyed most of my Janet memorial reads and in most cases agreed with her judgement, the only exception so far having been God's Philosophers. But when I watched parts of the Name of the Rose movie last weekend I found my new knowledge very useful.

Good luck with the colonoscopy! Thank goodness that procedure has improved over the years with anesthetics and better preparation liquids, so no longer painful and scary, though still not exactly something to look forward to. The preparation day is the worst part now I guess.

May 3, 2012, 8:51am Top

>20 Smiler69: Hi, Ilana! I'm glad that you liked the photo and the poems. Which book are you referring to ("World of Wonder")? I don't think I've heard of it, and your link goes to a book entitled Remember Creation: God's World of Wonder and Delight by Scott Hoezee.

May 3, 2012, 9:03am Top

#22 What Deern said. The prep is the worst part.

May 3, 2012, 9:11am Top

>18 kidzdoc:: I'm also continuing to read books inspired by Janet. Infinite Jest is the one she was looking forward to reading during her final stage of illness. I had just PMed her information about the "group" when I heard the sad news of her passing.

I'm glad you're going to continue to post the poems that resonate with you, Darryl. I am slowly warming up to poetry. It seems to be an acquired taste in my case!

May 3, 2012, 9:23am Top

Sarah Teasdale! I was lightly into the lady poets in my teens - especially Eleanor Wylie - and I did love ST. Another place to revisit!
AND I see that Deborah is also holding a ticket for Bring Up the Bodies. What a good time we're going to have!
I'm another echo about the colonoscopy. I haven't ever asked them to do it again, but when the time comes, I won't be dread-filled. The prep is definitely the worst, and it's just a bit unpleasant.

May 3, 2012, 9:34am Top

Chiming in on "the prep is the worst part"--that and the anticipation of the unknown. Whatever drugs they gave me, I don't remember a thing after they told me they were going to begin. I was a little groggy for a few hours after I got home but had no pain and certainly was ready to get back to my usual life the next day.

26> Yes, and the good news is that, with exams over, my grading has to be finished by May 10, and then I will actually have time to read during the daylight hours. Lately I can only get in about 15-20 minutes at bedtime before falling asleep. So I'm looking forward to digging into Bring Up the Bodies.

May 3, 2012, 9:49am Top

>21 kidzdoc:. I've read Fingersmith and The Little Stranger. Of the two, I much preferred Fingersmith. Sometime I'll get around to reading Tipping the Velvet

Best of luck tomorrow.

May 3, 2012, 10:31am Top

Oh yes, once you're finished with the procedure, the only question is how much IV valium or whatever they have given you and how long it takes that to get out of your system. If you're doing it tomorrow, count on feeling fine by Saturday morning. I've had to do several since my late 20s and while I loathe 'em, it's not about the after effects. It's about the nasty stuff I've had to swill down in advance that always makes me nauseous.

May 3, 2012, 10:50am Top

Well, didn't I walk into a great conversation! And I agree, the prep is the worst part. I think I managed to get through it because I kept myself very busy and distracted (I painted my bedroom while listening to The Story of Lucy Gault on audiobook.)

May 3, 2012, 11:15am Top

>22 Deern: I still haven't made any progress in God's Philosophers; hopefully I'll read it this summer or fall.

Right. I understand from my parents and others that the new preparation liquids are far more tolerable. I have to take something called MoviPrep, which is billed as a low volume colonoscopy prep. I'll take the first dose at 5 pm (mix two pouches of powder into 1 liter of clear liquid, drink one 8 oz glass every 15 minutes for an hour), then (assuming I survive the first colonic assault) I'm supposed to repeat the process at 5 am. My colonoscopy is at 11:30 am tomorrow.

Between now and 5 pm I'll fill out my Last Will and Testament. Who wants my existential philosophy books?

>24 rebeccanyc: Yep. The instructions I received told me that I wasn't supposed to have anything but clear liquids for the entire day prior to the procedure. If I had followed that to the letter I would have been either NPO (nil per os, or nothing by mouth) or on clears for over 36 hours, which seemed too long to me (know it all MD). I read other sources, which recommended a 24 hour period of being NPO or on clears. So, I decided to go with that, and ate a lovely breakfast made by my father, of scrambled eggs, bacon and biscuits made from scratch, with Peet's coffee of course (Ethiopian Fancy blend). It's almost 11 am, so it's clears from now on (sob).

>25 Donna828: I would like to read at least 12 books from Janet's library or list of planned reads for 2012 by the end of the year. It should be an easy goal to meet, as she had also planned to participate in this year's Author Theme Reads focus on Japanese authors; all four books I've read so far have come from that challenge.

I liked poems when I was in grade school, and it's only been recently that I've started to read and enjoy them again. I had fun with the daily poem posts last month, so I'll do that again next April, and read a lot more poetry than I have in years past. I brought Splay Anthem by Nathaniel Mackey with me, which won the National Book Award in 2010, so I'll also read it while I'm in Philadelphia.

>26 LizzieD: I didn't win an LT ER copy of Bring Up the Bodies. I had already pre-ordered it from Amazon UK at the time the April list of books was posted, so I didn't request it. (I did win Subduction by Todd Shimoda, BTW.) I hope that the publisher sends it to you, Bonnie, Deborah, et al. promptly, so that we can all read it at roughly the same time; I should have my copy the week after next.

>27 Cariola: I just downloaded a free copy of Colonoscopy for Dummies from the MoviPrep web site, which I'll read today, to help with the anticipation of the unknown. It is a legitimate book (available for purchase on Amazon), so I'll read it today.

May 3, 2012, 11:18am Top

>28 tangledthread: I've heard many positive comments about Fingersmith, so I'll have to read it at some point. I'll read The Little Stranger first, though.

>29 Chatterbox: Yes, I'm hoping to be back to full strength by Saturday, so that I can at least consider going to NYC. This will be my first time taking a colonic prep, so that's the thing I'm dreading the most. I'll go to CVS shortly to pick up the prescription for it.

>30 Nickelini: Welcome to the Colonoscopy Support Group, Joyce!

Edited: May 3, 2012, 2:08pm Top

The Little Stranger was just OK. Don't expect another Gillespie & I or you will be disappointed.

Darryl, the prep is no fun, but actually the ordeal is pretty much over within a few hours.

May 3, 2012, 2:34pm Top

Darryl, I hope the colonoscopy is over soon and you have a good lunch lined up for tomorrow when it's over! And when I need one, I know which thread to come back to...

May 3, 2012, 4:30pm Top

Another agreement on the prep being the worst part of the whole colonoscopy thing. You'll come out of it fine Darryl.

May 3, 2012, 5:22pm Top

"the ordeal" - meant as a euphemism for what occurs after you drink the stuff. It's not like it's an all night long marathon!

May 3, 2012, 6:55pm Top

More advice on the colonoscopy- if you have to drink the stuff- it is better cold- so I put the mix in the fridge.

May 4, 2012, 5:21am Top

Thanks for the support and good ideas, everyone! I've just started part two of the split prep (drink one liter of solution, in four 8 oz aliquots spaced 15 minutes apart). The liquid is quite palatable, and save for frequent trips to the restroom, this hasn't been bad so far. My colonoscopy is in a little more than six hours, so this will be over soon.

I read Colonoscopy for Dummies ~ Special Edition yesterday, and it was very informative and, save for a mention of the manufacturer of the prep and a 3-4 page insert at the end, it was free of commercial bias. It is part of the Dummies series of guides and is available for sale, but it can also be downloaded for free at www.colonoscopyfordummies.com (you first have to register with the prep's manufacturer, and then you'll be able to download the book as a PDF). I'll review it later today; after that there will be no more discussion of colonoscopies!

I'm also nearly done reading Map of the Invisible World by Tash Aw, which continues to be very good.

May 4, 2012, 2:22pm Top

Woo hoo! Colonoscopy's done, which was essentially normal. I won't need another one for 10 years, and I just need to increase the fiber in my diet. Other than feeling a bit woozy from the propofol I feel great, and the prep was easier and less onerous than I expected.

I'll eat lunch, take a nap, and then finish Map of the Invisible World, as I have less than 40 pages to go.

May 4, 2012, 2:27pm Top

Glad to hear you're OK, kidzdoc!

May 4, 2012, 2:33pm Top

Good news re colonoscopy! The first time I had a colonoscopy I broke my foot running to the bathroom. :) Didn't realize it (although I couldn't walk) until the next day when the gastroenterologist took one look at my foot, and arranged for me to go to an orthopedist right after my procedure.

May 4, 2012, 2:59pm Top

Glad to hear colonoscopy is over and with good results.

I'm looking forward to Bring Up the Bodies but not this month.

I miss the poems, but the new thread is a quicker read. You also inspired me to gather together the miscellaneous volumes of poetry that are scattered throughout my shelves and..open a few of them.

May 4, 2012, 3:04pm Top

>40 avidmom: Thanks, avidmom!

>41 arubabookwoman: Wow! Sorry to hear that, Deborah. I can believe it, though; the paperwork I received from my parents' (and now my) gastroenterologist included the following Important Notice:

Please be advised that there is a risk of loss of consciousness, dizziness, lightheadedness, electrolyte imbalance, and dehydration associated with any bowel preparation, which can lead to falls and injuries associated with such.

May 4, 2012, 3:22pm Top

Good for you for getting the colonoscopy done, Darryl. I've been through that joyous experience a couple of times now. It's well worth it, that's for sure. One of my sister's wouldn't be with us but for it, and she's in fine fiddle now.

May 4, 2012, 4:03pm Top

>42 AnneDC: Thanks, Anne. I'm glad that it was a good result, but my parents are far more relieved than I am. Colorectal cancer is considerably more common and lethal in African Americans than in other ethnic groups in the US, and I know several people who have died at very young ages due to metastatic disease. This includes the mother of my cousin who visited us this week, who died after a long and arduous battle with colorectal cancer two weeks ago.

Bonnie encouraged me to create a thread for a group read of Bring Up the Bodies. I'll create it in the next few days, but I probably won't start it until early June.

I'm thrilled that I've inspired you to look at the poetry collections that you own. It seems to be that more people are posting poetry on their threads, although Suz is the first person that I recall making it a prominent feature. I hope that you also decide to share your favorite poems with us.

>44 jnwelch: I'm glad to hear that your sister's CA was caught in time, Joe. The procedure itself was a piece of cake, and the prep was nowhere near as bad as I had thought it would be. Propofol, when used properly, is a great drug. The anesthesiologist gave it to me after the gastroenterologist and I had a nice chat; I was about to ask him if I would be getting the drug, and the next thing I knew the recovery nurse awakened me, to let me know that I was done.

May 4, 2012, 4:04pm Top

kidzdoc, It's nice to see a doctor doing what doctors tell us to do :)

My ex was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2000; it was pretty grim going there at first (we were divorced already, but my kid were very young then, in kindergarten and third grade). He didn't go to the doctor until it was way too late and the cancer was pretty advanced by the time they caught it. We were sure to lose him, but happily, he is still kicking about the planet. A colonoscopy is nothing compared to dealing with what he has to now, though!

May 4, 2012, 5:54pm Top

They found cancerous polyps on my colonoscopy, done to try & identify what was going on with my stomach to cause acute appendicitis-like pains. Oddly, the polyps weren't what caused the pain (that was probably some kind of IBS, and the last attack of that I had was at 34/35 years old.) But the IBS probably saved my life, as the polyps were caught v. early on, long before they had a chance to spread. Since I was 28, odds are good that they might not have been caught until they had spread quite widely. And happily, this has never recurred. So I admit I'm pro-colonscopies, although the prep stuff I had to drink was thick and utterly vile. That and the IV sedation were the worst, as I have crappy veins.

Glad you are bouncing back.

May 4, 2012, 7:08pm Top

>46 avidmom: Wow, your ex is a lucky man. I found out yesterday that 25,000 deaths could be prevented in the US every year if everyone received a screening colonoscopy according to the current recommendations. African Americans are supposed to get their first study at the age of 45, not 50 as it is for other ethnic groups; so, I'm actually six years late.

>47 Chatterbox: Double wow, Suz! Yours is a good news story, to say the least. The prep I drank was quite palatable, and I only had to drink a total of two liters, spaced 12 hours apart; I understand that the standard preps required you to drink one gallon of fluid (~3.8 liters), and tasted horrible. I didn't have any side effects (i.e., nausea, vomiting, bloating sensation or abdominal pain) and, thanks to the sizable breakfast I ate yesterday morning, I was only minimally hungry throughout the entire process.

I just finished Map of the Invisible World; like you, I gave it 4-1/2 stars.

May 4, 2012, 8:54pm Top

I know you said no more colonoscopy talk, but....its something done as a preventative measure? I've never known of anyone I know to have one. I take it it isn't just a North American thing...
Glad you are all go again though Darryl, and living proof that the drugs do work....when used appropriately :)

Edited: May 4, 2012, 10:39pm Top

>49 Ireadthereforeiam: I looked at the official colorectal cancer screening guidelines for the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Here's a summary, for people who have no symptoms, risk factors, or worrisome family history:

US: First screening colonoscopy at age 45 for African Americans, age 50 for everyone else

Canada: First screen at age 50 (but an article I read mentioned that it wasn't unusual for there to be a waiting period of up to one year before Canadians could get a screening colonoscopy)

UK: Screening is offered every two years to all men and women aged 60 to 69

Australia: Since July 2011 one million Australians each year who turn 50, 55 and 65 years of age between 1 January 2011 and 31 December 2014 are invited to participate in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program; the program is "being phased in gradually to help ensure that health services, such as colonoscopy and treatment services, are able to meet any increased demand."

New Zealand: Screening is recommended only for those at high risk of developing colorectal cancer, namely (a) personal history of adenomatous polyps; (b) family history of colorectal cancer; (c) personal history of colorectal cancer; or (d) personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis) {reference: Surveillance for people at increased risk of colorectal cancer}. An article in 2007 from the Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, entitled Colorectal cancer in New Zealand, makes the following points:

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most common cause of cancer death. It is a major health problem in New Zealand.

The Australian {health} guidelines on management of colorectal cancer...support population CRC screening. This report states that there is Level 1 evidence {the best level of evidence} in favour of screening and strongly recommended organised screening with FOBT {fecal occult blood test} (performed at least once every 2 years) for the Australian population over 50 years of age.

Yet New Zealand, unlike Australia and the United Kingdom, has not started screening for CRC.

In Australia, where CRC screening has started, access to publicly funded colonoscopy...has become a significant problem. Patients identified with abnormal screening tests are largely left to be referred either publicly or privately (depending on resources) and this has caused a major problem with public colonoscopy waiting-times.

Despite considerable increase in numbers of colonoscopy in the last few years, at present not all public hospitals {in New Zealand} are able to offer colonoscopy for these indications—particularly for individuals assessed to have a moderate increase in their lifetime risk of developing CRC on the basis of a their family history of CRC.

Currently the most significant reduction in colorectal mortality is likely to come from CRC screening. Progress on CRC screening in New Zealand has been incredibly slow.

With the findings of so many international groups in support of CRC screening, it is difficult to believe that New Zealand is that different. Suggestions that CRC screening should wait for better screening test may be futile as this will be a constantly developing field and improvements are invariable in screening as such they can be incorporated as their place becomes established.

As such, it is difficult to see any significant issue, other the under-resourcing of colonoscopy, as a reason not to progress CRC screening.

I can't find the other article I looked at, but it compared the incidence (number of people with the disease, adjusted for population) and the mortality of New Zealanders with colorectal cancer to people in the US, Canada, UK and Australia, and the outcomes in both categories are far worse in New Zealand. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the US has the best outcomes of these five countries, although there is plenty of room for improvement.

So, back to your question, Megan. If you don't know of anyone with those four risk factors, you probably wouldn't have encountered anyone who had a screening colonoscopy.

Not to be morbid, but if avidmom's ex-husband or Suz had lived outside of the US, there's a fairly good chance that each of them would not be here at the present time.

Edited: May 4, 2012, 11:00pm Top

Canada: First screen at age 50 (but an article I read mentioned that it wasn't unusual for there to be a waiting period of up to one year before Canadians could get a screening colonoscopy)


Not to be morbid, but if avidmom's ex-husband or Suz had lived outside of the US, there's a fairly good chance that each of them would not be here at the present time.

Based on the first paragraph, I wouldn't conclude the second. He had a problem, and would have been seen quickly. I was 45 when I had mine, and the surgeon that did it didn't suspect a problem but suggested the colonoscopy just to make sure. I could have had one within a few days, but it didn't work for my schedule, so the next appointment was two weeks later. From others I've talked to, that's fairly typical. The wait lines in the Canadian system have been misrepresented in the US media--it's a triage system, not one big line that holds everyone, both healthy and ill. If they suspect the possibility of cancer, they get you in pretty quick. From what I've read, our cancer mortality rates are about the same as the US.

May 5, 2012, 1:19am Top

Darryl - following your thread and its recent turn with morbid fascination - do you think that regular douching is likely to increase of decrease risk factors or make no difference at all? Have a great weekend by the way.

May 5, 2012, 7:32am Top

>51 Nickelini: Thanks for that clarification, Joyce; that makes much more sense. I'm sure that you're right in saying that the US media misrepresents the Canadian health care system; however, that comment came from a leading Canadian physician:

Quebecers hoping to be screened for colon cancer are facing up to a year-long wait for diagnostic tests that could save their lives.

That’s unacceptable, Barry Stein, head of the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada, said yesterday.

“You can’t just walk in the door and get a colonoscopy. Why? Not enough (specialists), not enough equipment,” Stein said.

Quebecers aren’t alone. Canadians attempting to follow their family doctor’s advice to get a colonoscopy at age 50 are having trouble booking a specialist.

But the situation is dire for those at risk. For example, people with a family history of cancer aren’t getting tested in a timely manner, experts warned.

Some aren’t taking chances and are opting for testing in a private clinic.

Reference: Screening colonoscopies in Canada: What’s the point?

It seems as though that article was written in 2006, though, so it's a bit of an old (and probably not reliable) reference.

>52 PaulCranswick: Paul, that question is definitely outside of my scope of practice or knowledge. However, I did find a discussion of this topic from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health:

Douching Fact Sheet

May 5, 2012, 9:12am Top

Today's Guardian Review features a delightful review of Bring Up the Bodies, written by Margaret Atwood:

Bring Up the Bodies - review

May 5, 2012, 11:03am Top

Thanks for that review, Darryl. As soon as my grades are finished, I will get back to Wolf Hall. I started it last summer but put it aside when fall semester started, because I felt it was a book that deserved my undivided attention. Hopefully I will finish it before my copy of Bring Up the Bodies arrives.

May 5, 2012, 12:08pm Top

Thanks for the tip and pointing me to the Guardian Review, Darryl... that was a good review ...and Bring Up Bodies firmly in my obese wish list.

May 5, 2012, 3:38pm Top

Ahem....I will come back later when you are all done talking about colorectal cancer and bringing up bodies. Kind of an unfortunate title to pop up at this point on the thread.....

Has anyone read The Paris Wife?

Edited: May 5, 2012, 3:43pm Top

I'm with Joyce on this, I'm afraid. My brother had a colonscopy (not in Quebec, admittedly), and he waited less than four weeks. (the thinking was that his symptoms and my history made it urgent.) I don't remember now how long I waited, but it wasn't very long at all, and it wasn't because they were afraid they were going to find what they did find -- it was a routine diagnostic test. Remember, these are average waits, too, and include rural and isolated communities that have fewer resources. (For instance, my de-facto cousin, Eric, and his wife live in a remote part of Ontario -- he works for the forestry service -- where there are no hospitals.) And everyone who needs to be tested -- and who is willing to be tested -- gets the test. They don't have to have insurance that covers it, for instance. I wonder how much of the higher mortality rate for this among African Americans comes down to the fact that African Americans are more likely to have lower earnings and less likely to have medical insurance? I don't think anyone in a high risk group in Canada -- eg with a family history -- is going to wait very long for that initial screen. To be frank, I've never seen the kinds of things that are "reported" here about Canadian hospitals, which I've used myself. (My de-facto uncle, who has been my father's closest friend since they were 5, is a gastroenterologist; my sister-in-law is a physician and now a psychiatrist, and the list of things friends and family have gone through run from ALS to different cancers, so I'd consider myself reasonably plugged in, and this comes up often in debate with them -- the state of the Canadian system.) I consider myself lucky to have been in Canada when this came up, so that a decision about whether I could have afforded this treatment (I couldn't have...) was never an issue. The only question was who was going to pick me up and drive me home afterwards.

Tangledthread -- yup -- read a galley last year. Didn't do much for me although a lot of other folks liked it, I know.

May 5, 2012, 7:08pm Top

Congratulations on the good result!

Edited: May 5, 2012, 10:38pm Top

>55 Cariola: You're right about Wolf Hall, Deborah. I tried reading it during a busy work stretch, and was thoroughly lost in the details. I ignored the Pearl Rule and gave it a second try several weeks later during a long break from work, and was enthralled by it.

>56 cameling: You're welcome, Caroline. All the reviews I've read about Bring Up the Bodies have been laudatory, so I'll start reading it shortly after I receive it, or early next month at the latest.

>57 tangledthread: I haven't read, and don't own, The Paris Wife.

>58 Chatterbox: The increased incidence and mortality of colorectal cancer in African Americans as compared to other groups, as you would expect, is multifactorial. Decreased access to healthcare is an important factor, as AfrAms receive colorectal screening (CRC) less often and later in life. Other risk factors include poor dietary habits, including low fiber diets, obesity and smoking. Genetics also seems to play a role; African Americans are nearly twice as likely to develop colorectal cancer before age 50 than Caucasians (10.6% vs. 5.5%), and they are more likely to develop cancer in the proximal colon, the portion closest to the small intestine and furthest away from the rectum. The proximal colon is more difficult to visualize using colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy, so cancers in this area are more likely to be missed on CRC, particularly if the colonic prep isn't adequate.

>59 rebeccanyc: Thanks, Rebecca!

May 6, 2012, 1:02am Top

Admit that a high-fiber diet remains one of the bugbears of my life. I simply don't like high-fiber foods, for some reason!!

Edited: May 6, 2012, 6:33am Top

>61 Chatterbox: My father (who had a colonoscopy on Monday) and I both have diverticulosis (outpouching of the wall of the colon, very common in people who consume Western diets); mine was mild and his was moderate. The gastroenterologist recommended that both of us should be on a high fiber diet indefinitely, so that we don't develop diverticulitis (inflammation and/or infection of the diverticula), which is a much more serious condition):

My parents and I were looking at foods that were high in fiber, and ones we would enjoying eating. Corn is very good, as are cooked split peas, various beans (lentil, kidney, lima, navy, black, soy, pinto), bran cereal, raspberries, and dry oats. Here are a couple of references:

Foods High in Fiber & Fiber Rich Foods

How Much Fiber Is in That Vegetable?

I'm halfway through State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, one of the finalists for this year's Orange Prize, and I'm enjoying it so far. I should finish it today.

I'll spend most of today outside, and probably tomorrow as well. I haven't firmly decided where to go today, but I'm leaning toward spending the day in Philadelphia, as it's less crowded and has more quiet parks and places to sit than NYC does. Fortunately my parents live near Trenton, NJ, so I can take a commuter train from there to either city; the trip is just over an hour in either direction. Assuming I go to Philadelphia I'll pay a visit to the Joseph Fox Bookshop near Rittenhouse Square.

May 6, 2012, 6:54am Top

Hi Darryl, I've been out for a while (out of LT I mean) mainly due to work and other stuff.
I am waiting to read your opinion on The Leopard, which I found interesting, and also Master and Margarita that I've been wanting to read for a while.
I wasn't too thrilled to see all the discussion on the colo.....copy thing, since I'm due for one this year. Ouch!

May 6, 2012, 7:10am Top

>63 xieouyang: Hi, Manuel! It's good to see you here. I'll resume reading The Leopard later today or tomorrow, after I finish State of Wonder. The Master and Margarita is low on my list of planned reads for the month, so I may not get to it until later in the year.

The colonoscopy prep and the procedure itself wasn't bad at all, IMO. Have you had a colonoscopy before?

Rats. The Joseph Fox Bookshop is closed on Sundays, as is the Penn Book Center. That changes everything. I think I'll go to NYC, after all.

May 6, 2012, 7:15am Top

No, I think I did a while ago. But, as my doctor said, "Manuel, if you had it you'd remember" I should go one of these days.
I seem to remember that you come to Madison from time to time- perhaps next time you want to think about swinging by Kohler (where I live), it's only a 2-hour drive or so from Madison. It'd be interesting to meet you personally.

May 6, 2012, 7:27am Top

>65 xieouyang: I agree with your doctor! It wasn't a bad experience, but it isn't one I'll easily forget.

I'd love to meet you in person, although it won't be easy. I am the personal property of my friend's son and daughter whenever I go to Madison, followed by the dog, cat, and my friend's wife; he, unfortunately, comes in last, until the kids, pets and wife have retired for the night. Due to my friends' busy schedules, meeting in Kohler would be impossible unless I rented a car, and even meeting in Madison would be difficult. I'll have to think about the best way to meet up with you.

May 6, 2012, 7:46am Top

The Little Stranger ... nowhere near her est work, imo.. nowhere near it! Fact is, I didn't like it.. I love ALL of her other books. Fingersmith is stellar!

May 6, 2012, 10:24am Top

67> Predictable, wasn't it?

May 6, 2012, 11:04am Top

>67 mckait: Agree entirely on your assessment.

So, State of Wonder bumped out Gillespie and I on the Orange List. Well...I hope it's good read, since we're doing it in book group next month.

Edited: May 7, 2012, 7:31am Top

>67 mckait:-69 So, three nay votes for The Stranger's Child The Little Stranger then. I'll still read it, although it may be a while before I do. I'll keep Fingersmith in mind, though.

>69 tangledthread: I wouldn't say that State of Wonder bumped out Gillespie and I from the longlist. I have a little less than 90 pages to go in Patchett's novel, so I'll probably finish it tonight. I'll only have read three of the shortlisted novels once I'm done with it, but I have enjoyed it, and I think it's a worthy title for the shortlist, although Gillespie and I should have also made it. Half-Blood Blues is the other shortlisted novel I've read, which I didn't like at all (although most others did).

Edited: May 6, 2012, 9:21pm Top

I did make a quick trip by train to NYC this morning, and left by mid-afternoon. I made the necessarily pilgrimages to Russ and Daughters, where I picked up pastrami salmon, whitefish salad, lox & cream cheese spread and bialys (I forgot to get pickled herring and raspberry rugelach, though), and to Strand Bookstore, the first time I've stepped in a bricks and mortar bookstore since Caroline and I went there on Boxing Day. I came away with a measly eight books, most of which were high on my wish list:

Foreign Studies by Shusaku Endo
The Enormity of the Tragedy by Quim Monzó
Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens
The Coward's Tale by Vanessa Gebbie
Trapeze by Simon Mawer
HHhH by Laurent Binet
The Undertaker's Daughter by Toi Derricotte
What Is Amazing by Heather Christle

May 6, 2012, 9:33pm Top

Adding to the happy chorus re: clean colonoscopy. Like Suz, I had polyp problems for a few years (25-33) but, apart from disliking sigmoidoscopy a lot, I've come away clean from my every-other-year check since then. Almost 20 years!

You picked a beautiful day for a visit!

May 6, 2012, 10:04pm Top

I'll be interested in your take on State of Wonder Darryl. I gave it 4 stars but thought it was a flawed book on many levels. Dee and I have been talking about it here in the Orange Group.

May 6, 2012, 10:19pm Top

70> Do you mean The Little Stranger? I haven't read The Stranger's Child but have heard good reports.

May 7, 2012, 7:38am Top

>72 richardderus: Thanks, Richard. I'm glad to hear that you've had a long stretch of normal colonoscopies.

It was a beautiful day in NYC and PA yesterday. I'll spend today in Philadelphia, as the weather looks to be as nice as it was on Sunday.

>73 brenzi: I just finished State of Wonder, Bonnie; I think my opinion of it is essentially the same as yours. I'll also give it four stars; it was a great story that was marred by events which strained credulity. I'll participate in the discussion about the book on the Orange January/July thread later today.

>74 Cariola: You're right, Deborah; I meant The Little Stranger, not The Stranger's Child, which was very good. I think I ranked it second out of the 12 books I read from last year's Booker Prize longlist.

Edited: May 7, 2012, 10:12am Top

Definitely give Fingersmith ( or any of her others, except possibly Tipping the Velvet) a try. I
think TTV is too much of a romance for your taste. She is a wonderful writer ... usually. Maybe always.. just didn't like Stranger..

cya later..

May 7, 2012, 9:58am Top

I really liked Fingersmith and I also enjoyed The Little Stranger because it just kept me thinking about what was going on, and of course Sarah Waters writes beautifully. Haven't read anything else by her.

May 7, 2012, 10:47am Top

I agree that Waters writes exceptionally well, and I plan to read some of her earlier novels.

Darryl, I'm in PA, though not exactly next door to Philly (south central). Let me know if there's ever a meetup when you're visiting (although parents take priority, of course!).

May 7, 2012, 11:06am Top

>78 Cariola: Will do, Deborah. Several of us had talked about a Philadelphia meet up this spring, but this month ended up being a bad time for me to do it (cousin visiting from out of state, colonoscopy). I may come back in June, but I need to check with my friends in Madison and California first. If not, I'll certainly come during the summer. I usually visit my parents every two or three months, so I'll post the dates of my upcoming visits to Philadelphia.

My parents live in Bucks County, a few miles north of Northeast Philadelphia, so it's very easy for me to travel to Center City on SEPTA Regional Rail.

May 7, 2012, 12:29pm Top

I've just created a thread for the proposed group read of Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, which hits the shelves this week (tomorrow in the US, Thursday in the UK, and Friday in Canada):

Group Read: Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

May 8, 2012, 6:35am Top

I was looking at old e-mails from last month and came across this poem, which was the Borzoi Reader poem of the day for April 18.

A Schoolroom in Haiti by Kenneth Koch

In Haiti, Port-au-Prince, a man walked up and down the school hallways
carrying a bull whip.
Oh, he never uses it, the school administrator said. Its purpose is only to
instill good discipline in the students.
They were from fourteen to seventeen years old,
Boys in white shirts and white short pants. They stood up
And wouldn't sit down till the Minister of Education
Beckoned to them to do so.
They concentrated very hard on the ideas they were being given for
writing poems.
After the officials left, they started writing their poems in Creole.
After four or five days they were asking to come forward and sing to the
rest of the class these Creole poems. They did so.
This experiment was never repeated. The government became even more
One poem begins "B is for black, Bettina, a negress whom I dote on."
The assignment was a poem about the colors of the vowels or the
consonants in the manner of Rimbaud.
What has happened to those poems? What has become of those students?
I have the poems in New York. In Haiti I had asked to teach ten-year-olds
but I had been told
They won't be able to write well enough. The reason was they didn't
know French,
Not well enough to be able to write poetry. Their native language was
The language they spoke at home, but at the Lycée Toussaint L'Ouverture
And every other school, the instruction was in French.
They were stuck behind the French language. It loomed over them a wall
Blocking out everything:
Blocked mathematics, blocked science, blocked history, blocked literature
While Creole stayed back with them, cooking up poetry
But that was all. For the most part, except for a few rich boys
Who could afford to study French in the afternoons
They were left fatally behind.

Kenneth Koch (1925-2002) was a legendary teacher of poetry, whose presence is still felt among the many young poets who passed through his classroom. He liked to teach elementary-school children as well as the usual graduate students; today’s poem, which appeared in his final collection, A Possible World, came out of a trip he took to Haiti in 1975, invited by the American ambassador to teach poetry in a Port-au-Prince lycée. As Koch later wrote about his poetry experiments in other countries, with their distinct literary traditions and contexts for poetry, "I did the foreign teaching, I think, mostly out of curiosity: to see if the teaching would work, and to see what kinds of poems the children would write. I didn’t think that the ease, excitement, and spontaneity, the quick and poetic responsiveness of my students at P.S. 61 in New York were exclusively American phenomena." As it turned out, despite the pupils' lack of familiarity with his teaching method and the atmosphere described below, Koch did break through to the Haitian children, using Blake's "Tyger" and Rimbaud’s "Vowels" as examples for them to follow.


May 8, 2012, 8:28am Top

Good poem and write-up on him, Darryl. Another pretty amazing Koch book is Wishes, Lies and Dreams, which is about teaching children. It had a lot of impact on me. He must have been really something.

May 8, 2012, 8:46am Top

>82 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe. I'll be on the lookout for that collection.

May 8, 2012, 8:47am Top

Sad news: The New York Times has announced the death of famed children's book author Maurice Sendak at the age of 83:

Maurice Sendak, Children’s Author Who Upended Tradition, Dies at 83

May 8, 2012, 9:48am Top

Oh, I love Sendak. He did a hilarious piece with Stephen Colbert maybe a month ago. I'll see if I can find a link.

Edited: May 8, 2012, 10:28am Top

Here it is, in two parts:

Part 1

Part 2

May 8, 2012, 10:02am Top

Thanks, Deborah. I'll look at those clips later today, after I get back home. My flight from Philadelphia to Atlanta leaves early this afternoon.

May 8, 2012, 10:18am Top

I just listened to it again and enjoyed it as much the second time around. BTW, the silly book Colbert discusses with Sendak, I Am a Pole and So Can You, is now available on audio--read by Tom Hanks!

May 8, 2012, 10:26am Top

Very sad news about Sendak's passing. I so well recall reading his works to kids for whom I sat, or nieces and nephews. He was brilliant.

May 8, 2012, 12:44pm Top

Loved Sendak ... I was really sad to see the news of his passing.

May 8, 2012, 6:03pm Top

>50 kidzdoc: wow, thanks so much for sourcing all that info Darryl. Very interesting, in NZ we have huge campaigns for prostate cancer but hear very little about colon cancer.

>70 kidzdoc: I have The Little Stranger still to read, but like you, it may be a while yet!

May 8, 2012, 7:04pm Top

Speaking of poets & poetry, I just noticed that there's a bio of Denise Levertov coming out soon, being offered up for reviews on NetGalley. Not sure I'm well informed enough to review it, so I'll wait until it's out, but I'll try and grab that. I remember reading some of her stuff back in the 90s.

May 8, 2012, 7:22pm Top

After listening to all the reruns of Maurice Sendak interviews today, I'm starting to think that perhaps he was really an early graphic novelist.

May 8, 2012, 9:41pm Top

I'm back in hot, muggy and boring Atlanta after a pleasant and uneventful flight. One of these days I'll figure out why I live here.

>88 Cariola: Deborah, those Colbert/Sendak pieces were priceless! Sendak was absolutely hilarious. Thanks for sharing that with us.

>89 EBT1002:, 90 I haven't read anything by Sendak other than Where the Wild Things Are. I'll be on the lookout for his books.

>91 Ireadthereforeiam: Interesting that NZ focuses on prostate cancer; here the use of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) has recently fallen into disfavor, as it often leads to unnecessary studies and surgeries, particularly in older men.

>92 Chatterbox: I'm not familiar with Denise Levertov. I'll look for some of her poetry later this week.

>93 tangledthread: Interesting comment. I'll have to look for articles about Sendak in the coming days.

May 9, 2012, 1:08am Top

Colbert had another short excerpt, previously untelevised, of the Sendak interview as a tribute. "Mo" was such a good sport about all the silliness--a great straight man, and so funny!

Colbert's book was released on May 8 and does indeed include the "endorsement" from Sendak on the cover: "The sad thing is, I like it."

May 9, 2012, 3:06am Top

#94 -- You live there because that's where you have an interesting job doing what you want with colleagues you like... :-)

May 9, 2012, 7:38am Top

>94 kidzdoc: If you have a chance, listen to yesterday's broadcast of Fresh Air w/ Terri Gross. She did a retrospective of all of her interviews w/ Sendak. It's worth a listen.

Edited: May 9, 2012, 12:30pm Top

>95 Cariola: Thanks, Deborah. I'll look for Colbert's tribute to Sendak.

That's great! That back-handed endorsement from Sendak is a gem.

>96 Chatterbox: Sorry for that whiny comment. I almost always hate coming back to Atlanta from a trip, and I'm quite crabby for a day or so after I arrive.

I finished The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa earlier this morning, which was a disappointing and tedious novel, IMO. I guess I'd describe it as a well written soap opera about a powerful Sicilian family during the last days of the Risorgimento, when the unification of the states and kingdoms of present day Italy took place. None of the characters, including the main one, Don Fabrizio, held my interest for long, and the book was filled with petty squabbles, men who lusted after everyone except their own spouses, and innumerable class and power struggles. I may not have been in the proper frame of mind to fully appreciate it, but it goes into the discard pile for now. (2½ stars)

May 9, 2012, 7:44am Top

>97 tangledthread: Thanks; I'm off today, so I'll listen to it shortly.

Edited: May 9, 2012, 1:15pm Top

I am constantly wishing that Adam will find work closer to home..
I have always hated Atlanta. He LOVES it.. lol so?
The thing is, at this point, I do think that he would be happy to be closer to family.
He has some VERY good friends there.. and I am grateful for that, but he is family guy.
I think he would leave to be closer..

Sorry about the tedious book..
Any thoughts of trying out a Merry Month of May read?
Maybe one by a serious sounding author?
How by Glenn Kleier?
Okay, his books are not merry, nor are they fun, but they are
off of your usual track :)

Edited: May 9, 2012, 8:06am Top

>100 mckait: Suz is right. My job is a sweet gig, and I seriously doubt I could find anything as rewarding or that has such a great schedule anywhere else. At some point I'll move back to the Northeast, and I would strongly consider taking a non-clinical or teaching position.

I do have several good books lined up this month (see message #5), and I have more books at home that I'm eager to read at home than in all but the best bookstores. I'm enjoying my current book, The Line by Olga Grushin, and I'll finally start the new Malcolm X biography later today.

May 9, 2012, 8:12am Top

but.but.. which of them are merry? LOL

May 9, 2012, 8:14am Top

Um. Ummmm....lemme get back to you on that.

May 9, 2012, 8:16am Top

uh huh... lol

May 9, 2012, 9:21am Top

#101 - I'm hoping to read The Line this year. The Dream Life of Sukhanov was one of my favorites last year! Amazing.

May 9, 2012, 11:52am Top

Oh, this is an odd thing to say but I'm glad you didn't like The Leopard Darryl. Now I know it wasn't just me. I actually rated it higher than you but my review indicated that I didn't like it much, although the writing was beautiful.

May 9, 2012, 12:25pm Top


*trudges off to wile away a lonely existence as The Leopard's sole 75er fan*

May 9, 2012, 1:12pm Top

Darryl doesn't do merry. Period, full stop.

That said, you're not whiny. You're suffering from vacationitis. Maybe you should write it all down on a memo card and tape it to your wall before you leave: "i have returned to work at a great job with fab colleagues and a schedule that lets me gallivant all over the place and spend money on books." Might not make you tap dance for joy, but it will deal with that immediate ugly jolt of reality!

May 9, 2012, 2:09pm Top

#107 You're not The Leopard's only fan. I love it too.

May 9, 2012, 2:22pm Top

#107: Here's another fan. And I just bought the Visconti movie.

Sorry you didn't like it, Darryl.

May 9, 2012, 5:47pm Top

Well Kleier doesn't either, but all things are relative..
It might be recreational :) I am all for recreational weed reading.

May 9, 2012, 8:16pm Top

Hi Darryl, it's been fun catching up with your thread. Last time I was here, I mentioned World of Wonder which was a funny slip-up. I'm surprised you didn't suggest I might mean State of Wonder, which I did. :-)

I'm very tempted by Bring Up the Bodies, especially now that I've read Margaret Atwood's excellent review. However, I haven't read Wolf Hall yet. I'll be reading it in June with Suzanne's tutorship, because when I tried to go it alone a couple of years ago, 100 pages in I still had no idea what the heck was going on. So I guess I won't be joining the group read of BUtB, unless maybe you put it off till July? I'm just saying that, because I know you guys are all set for June, having visited the thread already. Oh well, can't be everywhere at the same time! I'm tempted to get the American edition right away just because I love the cover design so much.

I listened to I Am a Pole (And So Can You!) last night, knowing nothing about it as it was featured on Audible.com without much preamble. Greatly enjoyed Tom Hanks and the endorsement by Sendak (RIP), but wasn't impressed with the gist of it. Maybe you need to be American to fully appreciate it (for reasons I will obviously not disclose here).

I've read Fingersmith and thought it was pretty good, so got Tipping the Velvet and The Little Stranger, both on my shelves and guilting me every day.

Am a bit discouraged that you disliked The Leopard so much. It's also staring at me from the shelves, but I think it might be a while till I crack it open, no thanks to you. ;-)

May 9, 2012, 8:25pm Top

>105 DorsVenabili: I'm halfway through The Line, and it's very good so far. I'll finish it tonight.

>106 brenzi: I agree with you, Bonnie. The Leopard was well written and evocative, but it was a character-driven novel with characters that I neither liked (or hated) nor cared about.

>107 richardderus:, 109, 110 I knew from reading the LT reviews that I was in the minority of those that didn't enjoy The Leopard.

>108 Chatterbox: I'm more crabby when I can only spend a week on vacation or on visits to see close friends or my family. After two weeks or more I'm usually ready to return to Atlanta.

>111 mckait: Recreational what???

So, I will participate in an M&M group read, although it won't be the one that Mark is reading. At least four of us in Club Read will read The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, starting next week.

May 9, 2012, 8:38pm Top

I don't understand your confusion

May 9, 2012, 8:48pm Top

>112 Smiler69: Hi, Ilana! I missed your typo of State of Wonder, so you get a pass on that. I'm supposed to receive my copy of Bring Up the Bodies a week from today, and I won't be able to hold out until July. I would guess that there will be plenty of 75ers that will read it that month, so I suspect you'll be in good company.

I'm in no rush to get the Colbert book, as my literary plate will be quite full from now through at least September. Lois (avaland) and I will co-host the Reading Globally third quarter theme on Middle Eastern literature, and I have 10-15 novels that I plan to read for it. I've already begun to acquire books that seem to be good candidates for this year's Booker Prize longlist, including Bring Up the Bodies, and I'll host the group again this year. And, there will be books to read for the Author Theme Reads group (by Shusaku Endo, Kobo Abe, and Ryu Murakami), the Patrick White 100th anniversary challenge, and the Nabokov! Group, along with LT Early Reviewer books (I'm waiting to receive three of them) and books to read for Belletrista. It should be a busy but fun summer!

May 9, 2012, 8:52pm Top

Ooh...speaking of Belletrista, the new issue (May/June) has just been posted:


In it is my review of Boundaries by Elizabeth Nunez, which you can read here.

May 9, 2012, 8:54pm Top

May 9, 2012, 8:57pm Top

oh... pot. Maryjane. An herbal version of a good wine.. you know :)
Granted, it is not legal at this time ( sad face) so I have not indulged in quite some time.
Still, a fan.

Edited: May 9, 2012, 9:09pm Top

I hope that the FDA soon cracks down on synthetic marijuana (K2 or Spice), which is sold online as a form of herbal incense and is labeled 'not for human consumption'. It apparently produces the same high as MJ, but it's much more dangerous. We've taken care of several teens who took this and suffered serious side effects, including seizures, status epilepticus (seizure lasting more than 30 minutes) and respiratory failure. One boy had to be coded in our ER and was on a ventilator in our PICU for several days. Scary stuff.

May 9, 2012, 9:50pm Top

Agreed. Legalize the natural stuff. Regulate it like alcohol,
Tax it. Let it make money for the government, not cost. And for pit sake quit jailing those with a hanful of it in their pocket. Imo.

Edited: May 10, 2012, 1:11am Top

A new "Herbal Arts" storefront has opened in our neighborhood. Part of me thinks "well. Seattle." The other part thinks "wait a minute!"
I was born in 1960. I get the attraction. I also get the downside.

May 10, 2012, 3:07am Top

>120 mckait: I think we'll have to agree to disagree about the legalization of marijuana; I'm opposed to the idea.

>121 EBT1002: Never tried it, never will.

I'm staying awake for as long as I can this morning, so that I can sleep later this morning and during the afternoon. I just finished The Line by Olga Grushin, which was very good, and I'll start Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding shortly.

May 10, 2012, 7:09am Top

Being opposed to marijuana and not to alcohol makes no sense. I have tried both.
I have friends who use both. I have seen people jailed for owning three plants...
or having a few joints ... and then we pay the legal system to deal with a crime no worse than
that of having a pint or two. Not to mention it's proven medical benefits.
ok.. no more from my end.

May 10, 2012, 7:45am Top

May 10, 2012, 7:52am Top

Some people from Brooklyn, Long Island and near Pittsburgh (no names) have claimed that I never read anything merry. Ha! One of the books that I ordered from The Book Depository last month, Capital by John Lanchester, was selected for this year's Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction shortlist, which was announced earlier today:

Capital by John Lanchester (Faber & Faber)

Described as having 'a touch of Dickens' by Clare Tomalin, this chronicle of London life post-financial meltdown follows a small cross-section of the inhabitants of one south London street. The Guardian calls the book 'a brainy state-of-the-nation novel'

Jude in London by Julian Gough (Old Street Publishing)

The sequel to his previously shortlisted Jude: Level 1, Jude in London follows penniless Irish orphan Jude as he walks the length of England on a quest to find his True Love, winning the Turner Prize and killing the Poet Laureate on the way. The book was shortlisted for The Guardian's 2011 'Not the Booker shortlist'

Snuff by Terry Pratchett (Doubleday, Transworld Publishers)

'As funny as Wodehouse and as witty as Waugh' (Independent), Snuff is Terry Pratchett's 50th book and the 39th in the Discworld novels. The book, which sees Commander Sam Vimes investigating a country house murder whilst on holiday, has become one of the fastest-selling novels since records began

The Woman who went to bed for a year by Sue Townsend (Michael Joseph)

'An exquisite social comedy' (Daily Telegraph), this is the story of Eva who, on the day her gifted twins leave home for university, climbs into bed and stays there

The Man Who Forgot His Wife by John O'Farrell (Doubleday, Transworld Publishers)

'A heart-warming comedy of marriage – and divorce' (Guardian), this is the story of Jack Vaughan who, after an amnesiac episode on the tube, can remember nothing about his life, including his wife. But when he next sees his wife – to whom he's getting divorced – it's love at first sight and sets Vaughan on a mission to rescue his marriage.

As is customary, this year's winner will be announced just ahead of the Hay festival in late May, followed by an audience with the winner during the festival. The winner will receive a jeroboam of Bollinger Special Cuvée, a case of Bollinger La Grande Année and a set of the Everyman Wodehouse collection which now totals over 80 books. The winner will also be honoured with the presentation of a locally-bred Gloucestershire Old Spot pig, who will be named after their winning title.

May 10, 2012, 7:59am Top

I always struggle with comic novels. I've lost count of the number that have been described as hilarious in the blurb on the back but that I find not funny at all or even really sad.

May 10, 2012, 8:46am Top

>115 kidzdoc: Thanks for mentioning the Reading Globally third quarter theme on Middle Eastern literature and the Nabokov groups, Darryl. I am definitely interested in the RG group and perhaps Nabokov also if I can find time. I once attempted reading Lolita and got about three quarters of the way through before abandoning it. I found it endlessly repetitive and repelling. But I would like to try some of his other books.

May 10, 2012, 10:41am Top

>127 Linda92007: You're welcome, Linda. I'll post a list of books that I'm planning to read for the Reading Globally theme soon, but the main authors I'll focus on will be Naguib Mahfouz, Elias Khoury, Mahmoud Darwish, Amos Oz, David Grossman, A.B. Yehoshua, and, depending on how Lois and I decide to define the countries that comprise the Middle East, Assia Djebar and Nuruddin Farah. Fortunately I own at least 15 unread books by these authors, so I won't need to buy many, if any, books for this theme.

I plan to read Speak, Memory, Lolita, Pnin and Pale Fire for the Nabokov! Group, and at least The Vivisector for the Patrick White challenge.

Next month I plan to get a head start on the Booker Prize longlist, which will be announced sometime in July, and read four books which seem to be good candidates: Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, The Coward's Tale by Vanessa Gebbie, Scenes from Early Life by Philip Hensher, and Pure by Timothy Mo.

Here's the link for the group read of The Master and Margarita on Club Read, which starts one week from today, if anyone else is interested:


Lisa (labfs39) is leading the group, and so far five of us, including Linda92007 and myself, have signed up.

May 10, 2012, 11:09am Top

I stand corrected .... about your merry reading.. LOL

May 10, 2012, 11:29am Top

>129 mckait: I do have some "merry" books, but I seriously doubt that they make up more than 100 of my nearly 2500 books, so at least 95% of my library falls into Richard's "four hankies-and-a-pistol" category.

May 10, 2012, 12:54pm Top

Speaking of which...I've reviewed House of Sand and Fog at last. It's in my orphaned books thread...post #202.

It utterly verschmeckels me that you've never reviewed this paean to misery and hopelessness, this festival of bleak and sordid deeds! Can it be that you haven't read it?! Surely not....

Edited: May 10, 2012, 1:07pm Top

Richard, I really despised that book. I wanted to throttle Kathy, the main character--one of those whiny, needy, poor-me women who thinks the world owes her just because. I suppose there is something to be said about a writer who can make me that angry . . .

May 10, 2012, 1:07pm Top

I agree! House of Sand and Fog --ten thumbs down.

May 10, 2012, 1:12pm Top

>132 Cariola:, 133 I detested every character in the book. I think I was supposed to! There isn't one of those people worth the powder it'd take to blow 'em up.

They're the salt of this country's earth. That's what makes the book so fascinating.

Edited: May 10, 2012, 1:21pm Top

I sure wouldn't describe them as salt of the earth. More like sewer run-off. They didn't encounter a single problem that couldn't have been easily handled and that they didn't bring upon themselves.

Not everything I read--in fact, few of the books that I read--is a feel-good book. But I don't read to deliberately depress myself either. This one made Jude the Obscure (a depressing book that I nevertheless love) look like Pollyanna.

I did have some sympathy for the Iranian family, as least for the wife.

May 10, 2012, 1:31pm Top

I sure wouldn't describe them as salt of the earth. More like sewer run-off. HA! Great line, accurate description.

I'll assume you haven't read Knockemstiff or American Salvage, though...these are ordinary Murrikins. I share nothing with them except the right to trial by jury, but they are the majority....

May 10, 2012, 2:35pm Top

OK, I love the Wodehouse prize and the fact that includes a pig named after their book! (Shades of Blandings...)

Now, Darryl, when you actually read Wodehouse, I will take back everything I ever said about you and your penchant for doom & gloom.

I have Capital by John Lanchester; just arrived here. Working my way through Pratchett's Night Watch series to get to Snuff. Derailed by reading the first in the series, which is meh compared to some of the Watch books I have been sampling.

May 10, 2012, 4:48pm Top

That's an excellent review of Boundaries, Darryl. Seems like a promising premise was undone a bit by at least one 2D character and that abrupt ending.

May 10, 2012, 4:51pm Top

>134 richardderus: "the salt of this country's earth..."

Indeed.....what amazes me is that book was written before the real estate bubble popped. In some ways prescient to what many of us have been watching happen around us for the past few years.

May 10, 2012, 6:11pm Top

>139 tangledthread: I think Dubus was making his statement about poverty. If he foresaw the bubble, I hope he profited from the knowledge cause he deserves it!

Edited: May 10, 2012, 10:18pm Top

> 140 Poverty or the disenfranchised in general.

Have you ever read Dubus' account of them making the casket for his father? Pretty powerful stuff. I've read the exerpt somewhere online, but I guess it's included in his book Townie

Edited: May 10, 2012, 11:20pm Top

>119 kidzdoc: that fake stuff was just banned here. It was leading to lots of adverse effects, it was actually sold to look and "feel" and smoke like the real stuff!??! Apparently it came with a terrible after glow. My friend had some and reckoned it was terrible, gave her seriously bad thoughts.

>131 richardderus: 132 133 that bad huh?
*off to read RDs review and see what he thinks*
Have to say though,
paean to misery and hopelessness, this festival of bleak and sordid deeds,
It sounds great!

eta: yep, on my WL it goes :)

May 12, 2012, 11:36am Top

Well, I'm done with my two night calls, although I'm still at work (I should have left at 8 am, 3-1/2 hours ago). Thursday night wasn't bad, but last night, particularly after midnight, was a nightmare, with 12 admissions in a 6 hour period. This has been a horrible week on service, as we've been far busier than normal for this time of year. I'm drinking coffee like a fiend, trying to stay awake as long as I can today, as I'll have a relatively quick turnaround, and resume working days on Monday.

I'll reply to the above messages later today, once my brain begins to work properly.

May 12, 2012, 11:54am Top

Ah, my sympathy, Darryl. I don't know how you do it. That kind of caffeination to keep up with events throws me off for days at this stage of my life.

May 12, 2012, 3:34pm Top

Soldiering on....well done Darryl.

May 12, 2012, 8:57pm Top

Passing thru on my travels ..... I Haven't quite dropped the coin yet for Capital - John Lanchester - seems to have more of a Publisher buzz than a reader buzz ..... Thoughts is it really a good book ???

May 13, 2012, 5:51am Top

Oof. Yesterday was a near complete blur, as I slept for all but three hours between 1:30 pm Saturday and 4:30 am this morning. Today looks like a washout, with moderate rain covering most of Georgia, so I'll spend most of the day reading and sleeping.

While I was awake I read the introductory chapter in Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, Manning Marable's Pulitzer-Prize winning and controversial re-examination of the civil rights icon.

Happy Mother's Day to all of the LT mums!

May 13, 2012, 6:35am Top

>131 richardderus: I swore off reading anything by Andre Dubus or his progeny, after I read In the Bedroom, a short story collection which I despised. If someone takes away all of my books and hands me House of Sand and Fog I'll consider reading it.

I see enough sordidity and disturbing behaviors at work, particularly by the parents of abused and neglected kids. Early yesterday morning I admitted two young sisters, both pale, listless and cachectic, who were taken into protective custody late Friday night due to suspected neglect by their anorexic and mentally ill mother. The girls, who looked like Okie kids from the Great Depression who hadn't eaten in weeks, seemed scared, but were also starved for food and attention.

>132 Cariola:, 133 No no no. I'm not reading that book.

>134 richardderus: People like this are the 'salt of the earth'?

>135 Cariola: I'm with Deborah; 'sewer run-off' seems more appropriate. At work I encounter parents and families from all different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds from the U.S. and other countries, many of whom are tired, worried and stressed out. At least 90% of them are decent, honest and caring people, and I enjoy interacting with nearly all of the parents, even the ones labeled as 'difficult' by the nurses.

>136 richardderus: I did want to read American Salvage; thanks for the reminder.

Edited: May 13, 2012, 7:10am Top

>137 Chatterbox: I bought and read The Inimitable Jeeves in London two years ago. It was enjoyable, but repetitive.

>138 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe. Your assessment of my review is spot on; I tried to be as positive as I could while also being fair. I'd recommend Boundaries for the topics that Nunez discusses, but not for the characters in it.

>139 tangledthread:-141 Interesting comments. I'll still avoid the Dubuses, though.

>142 Ireadthereforeiam: The last kid I saw who smoked Spice came to our ER with auditory hallucinations, ataxia and altered mental status, after she and a "friend" of hers decided to give it a try. I told her mother that one of the common side effects of smoking synthetic marijuana was seizures. So, you can probably guess what happened later that night.

The synthetic cannabinoids were designed by a research chemist at Clemson University, for legitimate medical purposes. Unfortunately these compounds were later synthesized by profiteers, and sold for general human consumption, with serious and deadly consequences.

>144 jnwelch: Working night shifts is easily the least favorite part of my job, and it's become progressively more difficult the older I get. I'm a horrible sleeper normally, and sleeping during the day is nearly impossible without medication (e.g., NyQuil), unless I'm absolutely exhausted as I was yesterday. None of us seem able to work three nights in a row, unless they are all quiet ones where we can get some sleep. I laid down for maybe 10-15 minutes on Friday morning, before my futile attempt at sleep was broken by a call from a nurse, and I ran like a crazed rabbit on Saturday from midnight until the day team came in at 8 am.

>145 Ireadthereforeiam: Thanks, Megan. I'm glad that stretch is over with, although I'm dreading going back to work tomorrow morning. Some of the kids I admitted yesterday should still be there on Monday, which will make the day a bit easier, since I'm already familiar with them.

>146 roundballnz: Several people from the 2012 Man Booker speculation thread who have read Capital have said that is an entertaining book, but not meaty enough to deserve a spot on the Booker longlist. I'll read it, as my copy should come any day now, but I'll probably defer reading it until later in the year if it isn't one of the Booker Dozen.

May 13, 2012, 7:31am Top

#136, 148 I thought American Salvage was terrific, but I'm not sure it's your cup of tea, Darryl.

May 13, 2012, 7:38am Top

Hi Daryl - I hope you're able to rest and relax today. I worked nights a long time ago and it was dreadful, but I think working an occasional night (as medical professionals often do) would be far worse. I know it would take me a while to recover.

And I agree with the poster above that while American Salvage is a very good, solid collection, it's not screaming, "Read me, Daryl!" I'm guessing you wouldn't like it.

Edited: May 13, 2012, 8:10am Top

>150 rebeccanyc:, 151 Thanks, Rebecca and Kerri. Although I'd still like to give American Salvage a try, it wouldn't be anytime soon.

>151 DorsVenabili: Right, Kerri. The day/night/day switches are brutal. Normally we would have 72 hours or more to recuperate after a night call, but I'll only have a 48 hour turnaround this time.

May 13, 2012, 8:33am Top

Sounds like a rough one... I am done, I htink. I need to find work..
there are places nearby that need child care people.. and who knows..
I might be able to get hired. But I am truly afraid that one more rotten parent
will put me over the edge and I will end up in jail for assault.

Which leads me to my conclusion that so many people just suck.

May 13, 2012, 10:08am Top

Yes, Darryl, I think the characters in House of Sand and Fog are the salt of the earth. Just like the salt that the Romans sowed in Carthaginian soil Salt is bad for you in large doses, and so are these sorts of losers.

And yes, I know the salt-sowing is a legend, the Romans wouldn't have wasted valuable salt that way, but go with the metaphor, please, pedants.

Edited: May 13, 2012, 1:04pm Top

"The salt of the earth" generally refers to the biblical usage, meaning decent, hardworking people who are the backbone of society but remain unrewarded, unsung heroes. Not applicable to any of the characters in House of Sand and Fog. Kathy, for example, relies on an inheritance, doesn't work, won't even take the effort to needed to solve her own problems (let alone do anything for anyone else, except maybe the abovementioned blow job, for which she expects a payback), and spends her days in an alcoholic stupor. She is definitely NOT "salt of the earth."

One of my colleagues went through his MFA program with Dubus, and they remained good friends. Apparently a great guy who writes depressing books about losers.

Edited: May 13, 2012, 12:15pm Top

>155 Cariola: Deborah's definition of the 'salt of the earth' matches perfectly with mine. I've been fortunate to meet many people like this, especially in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and I greatly admire and respect them.

May 13, 2012, 1:54pm Top

Andre Dubus and Richard Russo are making a joint appearance next weekend two towns up the road. While I loved Townie -even tho it was très depressing it was well-written- and I thoroughly enjoyed Empire Falls, I have lots better things to do with the $50 entrance fee -- and then be expected to stand in line with a bunch of snooty uppities just so I could have the privilege of buying one of their books so they could sign it. I don't think so.

Edited: May 14, 2012, 12:57pm Top

I'm back in hot, muggy and boring Atlanta after a pleasant and uneventful flight. One of these days I'll figure out why I live here.

While I've made a life here, have some good friends and enjoy my job, there is something about Atlanta that can be hard to come back to. Hot & muggy it is most of the year. Boring? I sometimes feel that way, but then I remember a quote from somewhere - "boredom is lack of attention," and I can usually find something to interest me again.

May 14, 2012, 3:19pm Top

Hmm, from the sound of it, Dubus's character Kathy simply represents -- sadly enough -- a tranche of society that we all know exists. We may deplore it, but...

The day/night shifts would be tough for me. Oddly, sometimes my most productive hours are late at night. It's quiet, there are no distractions. In contrast, this morning was infuriating, phone ringing, e-mails pinging in demanding instant attention, all while I am trying to focus on editing a tough item that took me 3 hours to wrestle into shape. Normally, it shouldn't have taken more than 90 mins.

May 15, 2012, 9:38am Top

*sigh* go away for a week and Mr. Darryl is up to 159 posts. Really like the Groarke poem. Love that your father makes you breakfast (my f-in-l is 94 and still makes my sons breakfast when they visit). Broke down and bought the new Mantel - hooray! "MoviPrep" has a curiously onomatopoeiaish sound to it. Totally agree with Nickelini about the misrepresentation of Canadian wait times. I had my one and only colonoscopy within 2 weeks of my doc requesting it. If I had been suspected of being an urgent case, I would have been within a few days. The triage system has always worked very well for me.

Looking forward to reading Belletrista and especially your review. There, caught up!

May 15, 2012, 9:45am Top

"boredom is lack of attention," I like that. I agree.

Still. I hate Atlanta :P

I hate most cities, though.

Edited: May 16, 2012, 7:35pm Top

It's been a crazily busy week at work so far. Normally things calm down by mid-April, with far fewer patients, but we've been as busy as we would be in the dead of winter. Thankfully the work week is nearly over, and I should be able to get some sorely needed rest this weekend.

I finished Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding last night, which is the fourth Orange Prize shortlisted book I've read so far. It was excellent, and it would be my second choice to win this year's Orange Prize, after The Song of Achilles. I'll review it this weekend.

May 16, 2012, 7:27pm Top

I read and reviewed the Great Arabic Novel, Season of Migration to the North, over in my thread...post #160.

Beautiful. I didn't like it much. You, OTOH, would most likely *luuuuuuurrrrrrve* it.

May 16, 2012, 7:34pm Top

>163 richardderus: I read that book several years ago. I didn't get it, or like it.

May 16, 2012, 7:36pm Top

REALLY?!? I'd expect its lyricism and its fatalism to charm you like a man with a flute does a cobra! It really is a gorgeous poem, in my mind. I just found all the carnal carryins-on made me squirmy.

Huh! I'd've lost a packet of money bettin' on that sure thing.

May 16, 2012, 7:42pm Top

I can't remember much about it, even after reading (and thumbing) your review. I didn't see what was so special about it. Then again, The Leopard was another Great Novel whose allure was lost on me.

May 16, 2012, 7:45pm Top

*weeps softly into shredded tissue*

Yes. So you said.

*dabs lashes*

May 16, 2012, 7:54pm Top

May 16, 2012, 7:55pm Top

*prescribes sedative for Richard*

May 16, 2012, 7:56pm Top

You always know just what to do.....*nods*

May 16, 2012, 10:11pm Top

Darryl, enjoyed catching up on the last few days posts. Making breakfast for the kids is a joy for the father and normally a chore for the children!

Yes, Darryl, I think the characters in House of Sand and Fog are the salt of the earth. Just like the salt that the Romans sowed in Carthaginian soil Salt is bad for you in large doses, and so are these sorts of losers.
- brilliant, I don't think anyone else could have posted that one!

Edited: May 17, 2012, 6:38am Top

I fell asleep at 8 pm, woke up at midnight, and blew through The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright, the fifth book from this year's Orange Prize shortlist that I've read so far. It was a dreadful and boring book, which had no place on the shortlist, or the longlist for that matter. I'll generously give it two stars.

I'll definitely finish the shortlist in advance of the award ceremony on May 30, as I only have Foreign Bodies left to read.

Edited: May 17, 2012, 7:48am Top

*Tries to imagine Dan making breakfast for the children at any age*

oh... Hi Darryl!

Edited: May 17, 2012, 8:14am Top

Good morning, Darryl! It's been way too long since I've checked in on your thread. Sorry your night shifts have been so rough.

I'll agree with many of the comments about House of Sand and Fog. I will add that it was very, very well done -- you knew instantly, as you began each chapter, who the narrator was; he captured the voices and attitudes of the Iranian immigrant and the dreary woman Kathy in a very impressive way. I understand he made careful study of the speech patterns of Iranians speaking English.

That said, it was one of the most depressing books I've ever read. But I'm not sorry I read it. In many ways, it was classic tragedy -- stupid pride leading to a serious downfall. (I don't think that's a spoiler -- you know from the first chapter that you're watching a train wreck in progress in slow motion.) It's been many years since I read it, but I remember a lot about it -- which is more than I can say about most of the stuff I read. (Of course, my reading life tends to be a bit, er, low brow compared to some folks. ;-)

May 17, 2012, 8:06am Top

>172 kidzdoc:: interesting, Jill (mrstreme) really liked it. Now I don't know what to do ... :/
Probably read Bring up the Bodies instead, LOL.

May 17, 2012, 8:17am Top

>172 kidzdoc: I am actually relieved that you didn't like The Forgotten Waltz, Darryl. Otherwise, given the positive reaction it has gotten from Suz and others, I might have had to rethink my disinterest in it, after attending a talk by Enright last month.

Edited: May 17, 2012, 8:13pm Top

>173 mckait: *waves at Kath*

>174 tymfos: Hi, Terri! I seriously doubt that I'll ever read House of Sand and Fog, or anything else by the Dubuses. I have hundreds of unread books at home that I'd rather read first.

>175 lauralkeet: The Forgotten Waltz was little more than a decently written chick lit novel, IMO. The lead character, Gina, was a smutty, immature and self-absorbed thirtysomething who had no redeeming qualities and was intensely dislikable. She cheats on her husband, and has an affair with a married man, then is shocked to learn that he has slept with other women (quelle horreur!). I sped through it in three hours, which was a complete waste of time. My 2 star rating is way too generous; I'll give it 1 star instead, as it is probably my least favorite book of the year to date, and the worst book selected for the Orange Prize longlist that I've ever read.

>176 Linda92007: I found this book incredibly distasteful, and I'm amazed that it was even selected for the shortlist. I suspect that The Gathering, her novel that was somehow awarded the Booker Prize in 2007, is equally vulgar and cynical. Needless to say I'll never read anything else by Anne Enright again.

May 17, 2012, 8:37pm Top

Well, that's one to scratch off the wish list. I read but was not crazy about The Gathering, but at least it gave some insight into dysfunctional Irish Catholic families. I read two others by Enright that were both off-the-wall and both horrible, Taking Pictures and The Wig My Father Wore. The latter was totally incomprehensioble and ridiculous and earned a 1/2 star rating from me. My review did get a lot of laughs, however! The stories in Taking Pictures, like The Forgotten Waltz, were loaded with unliekable characters, many of them drunks.

May 17, 2012, 8:49pm Top

Wow, Darryl. I wasn't itching to read the Enright but the more you say about it, the more convinced I am that I don't need to. But I have a "thing" about reading all the winners. What if it wins? *fret fret fret*

May 17, 2012, 9:15pm Top

>178 Cariola: Great review of The Wig My Father Wore! It sounds like such a bad book that I'm almost tempted to read it (but I won't).

>179 lauralkeet: The Forgotten Waltz has quite a few fans, but seemingly as many detractors. It seems as though people who've read it really like it, or strongly dislike it. I can't see it winning this year's Orange Prize, as there are several strong contenders that are far more substantial works of literature than Enright's smutfest. I'd like to read all of the Booker Prize winners, but books such as The Sea and The Gathering will likely keep me from achieving that goal.

May 17, 2012, 9:31pm Top

I haven't read anything by Enright yet and will probably keep it that way.

May 17, 2012, 11:36pm Top

The Sea did absolutely nothing for me. On the other hand, I loved On Chesil Beach, another Booker winner that people had strong responses to.

May 18, 2012, 1:28am Top

Thanks Darryl, that's one book that's just gone off my list!

May 18, 2012, 9:56am Top

Hi Darryl,

Can you tell me (us) a bit more why you didn't like The Sea or John Banville. I have made it one of my readingprojects (just for the fun of it) to read all the Man Booker winner's and so far I'm making steady progress, but The sea is still on my TBR list, so I'm curious about your opinion.

May 18, 2012, 7:12pm Top

After suffering through the dreadful The Gathering I swore I wouldn't read The Forgotten Waltz even if it won. Now that idea is a certainty Darryl.

May 18, 2012, 8:19pm Top

Just to chime in I have read The Gathering and thought it one of the weaker winners of the Booker. Not in a particular hurry to read The Forgotten Waltz but I guess I will succumb at some stage if it wins.

Edited: May 19, 2012, 3:31pm Top

Woo! Another horrid work week is over. I didn't get home until midnight (my shift should have ended at 8 pm), ate a double bacon cheeseburger and fries from Wendy's (not exactly the healthiest of meals, but it was the first thing I'd eaten since my 8 am granola bar and I was starved), went to bed just after 1 am, and woke at 7 am after a pleasant dream which featured the Issei (first generation Japanese) father of the last patient I admitted to the hospital last night; he was the manager of a Hilton hotel in Tokyo, and invited me to stay there for free as an honored guest, after I cured his son of his illness. Hey, it could happen, right?

I'm off this weekend, work as the attending physician for the dysfunctional teaching service from Monday to Friday, then end the work month with a Sunday overnight call. I'll be happy to see May come to an end.

>181 avatiakh: Right, Kerry. The only novel of hers that I would seriously consider reading is The Gathering, and that's only because my inner completist would like to read all of the Booker Prize winners.

>182 Cariola: I haven't read The Sea, although I own it, but I'm not exactly in a rush to read it, based on the numerous lukewarm and negative reviews I've read of it. I liked On Chesil Beach, far better than most people. However, it didn't win the Booker that year; it was shortlisted in 2007, and The Gathering was that year's winner. Several other books from that year's longlist were very good, particularly The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid, Animal's People by Indra Sinha, and The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng.

>183 cushlareads: You're welcome, Cushla. I liked The Slap, a novel with similarly distasteful and amoral characters, far better than The Forgotten Waltz.

>184 lilianboerboom: Hi Lilian! I have to admit that I haven't read anything by John Banville (checking...yes, that's right), so my comments about him are based on what I've read about him, rather than by him. I do own two of his books, including The Sea, but I haven't read it yet because of its unfavorable reviews.

I would also like to eventually read all of the Booker Prize winners. By my count I've finished 17 so far, and own 13 of the 29 titles I haven't gotten to yet.

These are the Booker winners I've read so far:

The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens, 1970
In a Free State by V.S. Naipaul, 1971
The Siege of Krishnapur by J.G. Farrell, 1973
Staying On by Paul Scott, 1977
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie, 1981
Life & Times of Michael K by J.M. Coetzee, 1983
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, 1989
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, 1992
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle, 1993
Amsterdam by Ian McEwan, 1998
Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee, 1999
Life of Pi by Yann Martel, 2002
The White Tiger by Aravand Adiga, 2008
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, 2009
The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson, 2010
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, 2011
Troubles by J.G. Farrell, Lost Man Booker Prize

I own these Booker winners, but haven't read them yet:

Something to Answer For by P.H. Newby, 1969
The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer, 1974
Heat & Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, 1975
The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch, 1978
The Bone People by Keri Hulme, 1985
Possession by A.S. Byatt, 1990
The Famished Road by Ben Okri, 1991
How Late It Was, How Late by James Kelman, 1994
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, 2000
The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst, 2004
The Sea by John Banville, 2005
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai, 2006

My favorites are The Siege of Krishnapur, Midnight's Children, The Remains of the Day, Disgrace, Wolf Hall, The Sense of an Ending and Troubles.

I invite you (and anyone else who is interested) to join the Booker Prize group that I started last year. We read books from last year's longlist and shortlist, and members have been reading longlisted and winning books from the past, particularly the recent discussion of The Bone People by Megan (Ireadthereforeiam) and Peggy (LizzieD).

I read 12 of the 13 Booker Dozen last year in advance of the prize announcement, and I would like to read all of the longlisted books this year as well. I'll start reading books that have been mentioned as potential candidates in June, beginning with Bring Up the Bodies, followed by Pure by Timothy Mo, Scenes from Early Life by Philip Hensher, The Coward's Tale by Vanessa Gebbie, and Capital by John Lanchester. This promises to be a good year for the Booker, with a far more literate set of judges than last year and several books by notable authors that have been or soon will be published, so I'm very excited to start my Bookerfest next month.

May 19, 2012, 9:27am Top

I'm nearly finished with my Orangefest, as I've read all but one of this year's shortlisted books. Here's my ranking so far:

1. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
2. Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding
3. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
4. Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
5. The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright

I'll plan to read the remaining shortlisted book, Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick, sometime next week, in advance of the prize announcement on May 30th.

>185 brenzi: Good choice, Bonnie. Based on what I know about your reading tastes, I would predict that you would hate The Forgotten Waltz (although LibraryThing thinks I would have liked it, with a very high prediction confidence).

>186 PaulCranswick: If you do read The Forgotten Waltz I'd advise you to hide it from the kids, Paul.

May 19, 2012, 9:32am Top

>188 kidzdoc: I'm looking forward to the U.S. release of Painter of Silence, which is not until the middle of Sept. boo hoo

May 19, 2012, 9:58am Top

You have Amsterdam in the read and unread pile--did you start it and not finish it?

I'm reading The Song of Achilles right now, have Half Blood Blues kicking around here but no way I'm going to read the Enright book.

May 19, 2012, 10:07am Top

>189 tangledthread: I don't understand what happened to Painter of Silence. It was originally released as a Kindle book by Amazon US in April, then it disappeared. I downloaded it in mid April, as soon as the shortlist was announced. Unfortunately it isn't a loanable book; otherwise I would be happy to lend it to you.

>190 tiffin: Good eye, Tui. I did read it, so I'll correct my list now.

I look forward to your comments about The Song of Achilles. I'd be happy if it or Painter of Silence won the Orange Prize.

May 19, 2012, 10:30am Top

Ack, now that you've remionded me that The Sea beat out On Chesil Beach, I like it even less! It wasn't awful, just rather dull, I thought, and I really didn't engage with the main character. I have the other three books from that year's short list in my TBR stacks.

Edited: May 19, 2012, 10:44am Top

>192 Cariola: Actually The Gathering beat out On Chesil Beach in 2007; The Sea was the 2005 Booker Prize winner. From the 2007 shortlist (the first year I visited London and, simultaneously, followed the Booker Prize) I've read The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Animal's People, Mister Pip and On Chesil Beach. I haven't read Darkmans yet, but I'm looking forward to it. The Gathering is the only shortlisted book from that year that I don't own.

May 19, 2012, 12:13pm Top

Hi Darryl,

Thanks for your elaborate reaction. I'll certainly join the Booker group. It sounds like fun to read the comments of other people. At the end of last year I came up with the plan to read the Booker winner's of the last twelve years (of course, since this is how things go, I have since then extended my plan to read all the winners) but until I read all the enthusiastic reactions on your thread I explicitly excluded Wolf Hall. I'm not really sure why actually, but I heard from a friend that it was rather difficult and you had to be interested in English history to fully enjoy it. Now I will give it a try especially if Bone up the Bodies is shortlisted this year.

I had actually started reading The gathering, but after 75 pages I discovered that there was something wrong with my edition. I'm not really sure how you call it in English (I live in Amsterdam), but the sequence of the pages was all wrong so I had to stop and return it and of course all copies were sold out in the three! bookshops I visited to look for it. But I did get the impression that although it might not be worthy of winning a Booker, it isn't actually all that bad. So I'll give it another try (my new copy finally came in last week)

Just to make the picture complete I have read thirteen of the winners so far and I own several more:

Troubles, J.G. Farrell, (loved it)
The Finkler Question, Howard Jacobson (boring, but interesting at the same time since I recognized a lot of the different things you have to deal with if you're Jewish)
The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga (very funny and entertaining)
The Inheritance of Loss, Kiran Desai (disappointing, I expected a magical book, unfortunately it was only a mere good book)
The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst (a true Hollinghurst book, a beautiful book indeed)
Vernon God Little, DBC Pierre (Are you kidding me, was the rest that bad this year? Especially the ending is awful)
Life of Pi, Yann Martel (nice book, with a great twist at the end)
The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood (this is one of those books I won't remember after a couple of years, it's ok )
Amsterdam, Ian McEwan (Blegh, Atonement is the only book written by him I like, I have read Saturday and Solar as well)
Last order, Graham Swift (great book)
The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje (nice read, nothing special)
The remains of the day, Kazuo Ishiguro (to be quite honest I can't really remember much about it, definitely not my favourite one)
Midnight's Children (Amazing, wonderful book)

While reading my own comments, I notice for the first thime that I'm quite negative about a lot of books. Fortunately I still have a few to go which I'm really looking forward to.

May 19, 2012, 12:24pm Top

Although my reaction is way to long (I apologise) I still wanted to add to it by saying that lurking around your thread for a couple of months, gave me a lot of great recommendations. So thank you for that.

May 19, 2012, 12:32pm Top

Darryl, I find my interest in the Bookers has grown too. Not sure what I attribute that to, but there you have it. Too many of the winners just don't interest me, so I'm picking my way through the nominees along with the winners. Unlike you, I'm not a completest, but I will be interested in all your comments on the ones you read. (And I'm currently reading Last Orders, which I have mixed feelings about).

May 19, 2012, 1:09pm Top

ouch. All the lists make my eyes hurt...
Hi Darryl!

May 19, 2012, 2:32pm Top

>194 lilianboerboom: You're quite welcome, Lilian. I'm glad that you'll be joining us in the Booker Prize group. We had some good discussions there last year, and I expect that we'll be more active this coming year.

I had a difficult time with Wolf Hall on my first attempt, as I initially read it during a busy stretch at work, when I was tired and unfocused. I picked it up again several weeks later, during an extended break from work, and I was enthralled by it. I wasn't particularly interested in Tudor England, and knew essentially nothing about Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, etc., except for their names, but it didn't matter.

Based on the rave reviews Bring Up the Bodies has received so far, I would be shocked if it didn't make this year's Booker Prize longlist (and next year's Orange Prize longlist). My copy still hasn't come from Amazon UK, otherwise I would probably be unable to start reading it.

Were the pages in your copy of The Gathering out of order? I'll be curious to get your take on it, once you do receive a serviceable copy of it.

I generally agree with your assessment of the Booker winners that we've both read, except for The Remains of the Day, which may be my favorite of the ones I've read so far. I know that I loved Midnight's Children when I read it, but I don't remember much about it, and I adored Troubles and The Siege of Krishnapur.

I'd like to read four previous winners this year, although I already have a lot on my literary plate. After Megan and Peggy's discussion earlier this month, I'm eager to read The Bone People, and I'd like to get to How Late It Was, How Late, The Famished Road and perhaps The Line of Beauty.

>195 lilianboerboom: I'm glad that you liked my recommendations, and, unlike some people in this group, particularly one New Englander who spends more time abroad than in her own home, don't want to pelt me with blunt objects for adding to their wish lists.

>196 Nickelini: Right, Joyce. My interest in the Booker and Orange Prizes has increased significantly in the past five years (although I couldn't have told you anything about either award before then). As you said, I've enjoyed more of the books that have been selected for the Booker Dozen or the Orange Prize longlist rather than the actual winners, such as The Glass Room and Gillespie and I. I look forward to your comments about Last Orders, as it is pretty high on the list of Booker winners that I don't own but want to read sooner rather than later.

>197 mckait: Excuse me? Did you say that you wanted more lists? And longer ones, too? With pleasure, m'dear.

May 19, 2012, 2:36pm Top

I posted a quick summary of the books I've read this month on my Club Read thread this morning:

A Planet of Viruses: This book was this month's free e-book from the University of Chicago Press, and it served as a superficial introduction to several notable human and nonhuman viral pathogens, including Ebola virus, SARS, West Nile virus and smallpox. It was mildly interesting, but that's it.

Colonoscopy for Dummies: I read this in advance of my first screening colonoscopy early this month. It's a free book (available as a PDF file here) sponsored by the drug company that made the colonoscopy prep I took. The text of the book was completely free of commercial bias, and only an insert in the last few pages discussed the actual product. I thought it was well written and informative, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is about to undergo this procedure.

Map of the Invisible World: Excellent novel set in 1965 Indonesia about two orphaned brothers adopted by different families, during the last troubled months of President Sukarno's reign (which was portrayed in the movie "The Year of Living Dangerously").

State of Wonder: A well written and captivating but flawed novel about a research scientist for a US pharmaceutical company whose colleague is declared dead after traveling to the Amazon to look for a famed physician researcher, who has discovered an amazing drug used by a native tribe. It strained credulity at several points, but I enjoyed it overall.

The Leopard: The classic Italian novel about a regal family in Sicily at the end of the Risorgimento, which led to the unification of the states that make up present day Italy. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy this book, which I found boring and trivial.

The Line: A very good novel set in the Soviet Union and based on an actual story, in which the residents of a neighborhood in an unnamed town stand in a line for months on end to purchase a prized item, and how it affects one particular family and those close to them.

What Is Amazing: A clever, quirky and humorous collection of poems by an up and coming writer, which I picked up after I read one of her poems in this book during National Poetry Month in April that was featured on the American Academy of Poets web site.

Painter of Silence: An excellent novel set in post-World War II Romania, which features a deaf and mute young man who seeks the young woman of the wealthy family his mother worked for before they fled the country. He communicates via paintings and drawings of people and objects, and through it he tells the story of the trouble and tragedy he faced in the years of separation from her. It would be a worthy winner of this year's Orange Prize, IMO.

The Forgotten Waltz: This was little more than a decently written chick lit novel, IMO. The lead character, Gina, was a smutty, immature and self-absorbed thirtysomething in Ireland who had no redeeming qualities and was intensely dislikable. She cheats on her husband, has an affair with a married man, and then is shocked to learn that he has slept with other women. I downgraded my rating of it from 2 stars to 1 star, and that still may be an overly generous rating.

I'll write more extensive reviews soon.

May 19, 2012, 2:50pm Top

May 19, 2012, 3:11pm Top

I love skimming through all the lists and making mental note of which ones I've read or own or those of which I have never heard. And I share your sentiments about the month of May which is beautiful in terms of weather and flowers but has been brutal in terms of work.

Edited: May 19, 2012, 6:19pm Top

Crushed that you didn't love The Leopard. It was almost the perfect novel to me.

May 19, 2012, 3:59pm Top

What Tui said. Doubled.

May 19, 2012, 8:16pm Top

Nope, no I have to agree with Darryl. The Leopard fell flat for me too. I'm going to have to check my Booker reads against the lists but I've read a good number of the winners. I've often found that the winners don't live up to my expectations and I do better with the shortlists. I know that I actually liked The Sea even though not much happened. I guess I could sympathize with the main character. Loved Troubles but I haven't gotten to The Siege of Krishnapur yet. Wolf Hall is definitely my favorite and I would be shocked if Bring Up the Bodies didn't get nominated for both the Booker and the Orange. It's just absolutely divine.

Edited: May 19, 2012, 11:33pm Top

>200 mckait: *pats Kath on back*

>201 EBT1002: Same here, Ellen. I enjoy looking at these literary lists of past winners and longlisted books, to see which ones I've read and to find some hidden gems. One longlist I want to look at more closely is the Lost Man Booker Prize, for the books published in 1970 that were ineligible for consideration due to the prize's change in its rules. I've read Troubles, and I'll read The Vivisector later this year. Other books from that year look interesting, particularly Fireflies by Shiva Naipaul (V.S.'s younger brother), A Place in England by Melvyn Bragg, and Down All the Days by Christy Brown (the author afflicted with cerebral palsy, who is best known for his autobiography My Left Foot).

May is usually a benign month at work, and a good reading month for me. I've done well so far, but nowhere near as well as last year, when I read 25 books.

>202 tiffin:, 203 I may have to give The Leopard another try...

>204 brenzi: ...or not. I'm glad that I'm not alone in my opinion of it!

>205 kidzdoc: Right, Bonnie. The shortlists, and occasionally the longlists, have featured several outstanding books that have been favorites of mine, such as The Glass Room, Brooklyn, A Case of Exploding Mangoes and Sea of Poppies.

I'm looking forward to June, as it will be an easier work at month (no overnight calls!), and it should be filled with good books to be read.

As expected, I crashed after lunch, and have been in a bit of a stupor this afternoon and evening. I had hoped to start and finish Confusion by Stefan Zweig today, and read the first 2-3 chapters of The Master and Margarita for the group read taking place on Club Read, but I failed badly. Tomorrow should be a much better day.

May 20, 2012, 12:02am Top

Well, I have to say that I would have predicted that the Enright would have been a book you didn't like, but I have to say I enjoyed it, or at least thought it was a convincing and often well-written book, albeit one with unlikeable characters who make choices readers won't approve of. It was about a woman like Anna Karenina and Emma Bovary who cheats on her husband, but instead of high drama and suicide as repentance, it's an ordinary woman and an ordinary kind of story, with a very ordinary and a propos ending. I thought Enright's particular strength was capturing the woman's voice in this kind of situation, and portraying the fact that in essence, relationships really can boil down to the small details and what draws us to another person can sometimes be utterly absurd and beyond our comprehension. I'd say that anyone who has a strong moral view on the theme should avoid it, but that calling it a "smutfest" is going waaaaay too far. Other than the plot itself, there's really no more graphic sex there than in a lot of other books -- e.g.,if you look at Song of Achilles, there are some scenes that people would find themselves reluctant to read, esp if they have strong views on homosexuality. (If I think back to The Slap, I think there were a few pages in there, too.) It's not a book for all people, but it certainly isn't without merit, at least in my eyes. It really doesn't bear much resemblance to chick lit (of which I read a lot, so I'm probably able to judge that); chick lit is formula fiction, and while you'd probably find lots of characters whose men do 'em wrong, I've yet to read one from the POV of a woman who knowingly engages in an affair with a married man.

What does interest me about this Orange shortlist is what very different kinds of books they are. I've not been able to get into Painter of Silence yet, although encouraged by AnneDC, I'm going to give it a third try. I keep bogging down about 25 pages in and finding my attention drifting all over the place. The Ozick book I found oddly -- and I'm still struggling with the right word here; I'm not sure that "pretentious" is it, but it's along those lines -- and certainly unappealing. And I can't believe I still haven't read Half-Blood Blues considering that it has been occupying space in my home for days now. My fave candidate for the prize would probably be Song of Achilles, although had Gillespie and I been in the shortlist, and I'd be stumped! Still, I'll be interested to see what they pick. I doubt it will be Forgotten Waltz, simply because I think there are too many people who disapprove of it, and in many ways the Orange is a more populist prize than others. If Edugyan wins, she'll have nailed both the Giller and the Orange!

I've got A Case of Exploding Mangoes from the library and am really hoping to get to it this month, in between my own nightmare work schedule. Hope your weekend workload lightens up!

May 20, 2012, 1:10am Top

So here's where all the Darryl action is! I have you starred here now too. LOVED the Colbert interviews with Maurice Sendak. Have added loads of new titles and upped some titles that I own up the pile (A Case of Exploding Mangoes). I'm glad you liked The Line: Grushin is one of my favorite new authors. I'll have to read the discussion about The Bone People. I read it a couple of years ago and had very strong feelings about it, especially the ending. Interesting comments about Season of Migration to the North. I read a book of connected stories by Salih called The Wedding of Zein and enjoyed it quite a bit. Richard, have you read that one? No sex involved!

May 20, 2012, 1:11am Top

I've posted my review of the forthcoming story collection, winner of the Tartt First Fiction Award, THE GALAXIE AND OTHER RIDES: Stories, in my thread...post #216.

It's bleak, but quite powerful. I think you'd find a lot to like in it.

Edited: May 20, 2012, 12:14pm Top

>206 Chatterbox: I was waiting for you to comment on my evisceration of The Forgotten Waltz, Suz! I'll stick with my description of it as a "smutfest", as I can't think offhand of any other books I've read which have been so heavily focused on gratuitous sexual activity. Gina was one of the most boring and nauseating characters I've ever read about, and I could barely stand to read her vapid comments. I know that there are plenty of people like her (Atlanta is filled with them), and the characters in The Slap, who were equally amoral, but I thought that Tsiolkas did a much better job portraying them as flawed human beings than Enright did in her descriptions of Gina and the other one dimensional characters in her novel. I read the first 50 pages closely, then held my nose and sped through the remaining 250+ pages, wearing a frown of disgust.

The Song of Achilles was a beautiful story of love and friendship. It did have sexuality that some people, I suppose, would find offensive, but Achilles and Patroclus loved each other unconditionally and weren't lusting after other young men for gratuitous sex. IMO the love story made the book that much more enjoyable, and unforgettable.

Oh, I can think of at least one book I've read that was similarly offensive to The Forgotten Waltz: The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto by Mario Vargas Llosa.

I'll concede your point that The Forgotten Waltz isn't a 'chick lit' novel, since I don't read that genre.

>207 labfs39: Hi, Lisa! My 75 Books thread is far more active than my Club Read thread, as my friends here will often post messages even when I'm busy at work and not posting anything. There are quite a few people I like and respect that are only in Club Read, including yourself, avaland, Cait86, rachbxl, deebee, akeela, dchaikin, janepriceestrada, lilisin, baswood and a dozen or more others, so I would never leave that group. However, it sometimes seems as though I'm posting to an empty room on my thread, even though it's one of the more active ones, so I'm more likely to keep up with this thread rather than that one.

The Colbert interview of Sendak was hilarious! I loved A Case of Exploding Mangoes, and I'll get his new book, Our Lady of Alice Bhatti, when it hits the shelves later this month; hopefully it's good enough to be selected for this year's Booker Dozen.

>208 richardderus: Nice review, Richard. I've given it a thumb, and added the book to my wish list.

May 20, 2012, 11:56am Top

Oh good, Darryl, I really think you'll enjoy this writer's stories. Thanks for the thumb!

May 20, 2012, 12:17pm Top

>210 richardderus: You're quite welcome! I'll look for it on my next trip to a bookshop.

Edited: May 20, 2012, 4:54pm Top

I understand your objections to the Enright book, and really didn't expect you to like it. But frankly, I"m still bemused by the smutfest comment. That's something for 50 shades of black or whatever, not for a novel that because the sex is in the context of an adulterous relationship, becomes amoral in a reader's viewpoint, IMO. Enright clearly makes the point that the two couples don't see their bond as purely lust, but as love and it's obvious that both of them feel that there is a bond that transcends this. In fact, I thought what Enright did very well was to point out that Gina's reaction to Sean is one of puzzlement and bemusement -- she is drawn to him physically, yes, but can't see why. There are plenty of examples throughout the book where it's clear that there is more pulling them together than illicit lust, which is why the relationship ends up where it does. Tsiolkas had the advantage of writing about his characters largely in the third person; in fact, if I look back on that now, I'd be far more likely to label that book "amoral" and disturbing in its depiction of sexual relationships, as several of them are abusive or exploitative -- battered women, teenagers in relationships with men of their fathers' age -- which I find infinitely more troubling than what Enright did. Indeed, your reaction to the book is one of the reasons I liked Enright's novel: she essentially is saying, look this happens every day, involving people that you probably know, and if you judge them all, well... I think she did a deft job of not trying to justify or rationalize or explain the behavior of her characters, despite the use of the first person. Neither is looking for something new, both discover something, and realize that "lurve" doesn't have the power to change lives the way the fairy tales, chick lit and other fables have it. It's not a morality tale of the kind you might prefer, in which the characters (esp the women) are punished for straying with death, but I think she is pointing out that there's a different kind of punishment awaiting both Gina and Sean -- as the final pages make clear, Sean's main tie is with his daughter and that relationship has been damaged, as has Gina's with her sister, and hey, they aren't even living happily ever after. So it's not glorifying this, it's bringing it down to the mundane -- it's an anti-fairy tale, if anything. You may have a visceral aversion to this book, but that doesn't mean it isn't a complex novel with plenty of elements that give it merit in the eyes of other readers. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but I frankly found the "smutfest" label OTT. To use the word "offensive" would imply that I was the author or publisher and had a stake in the discussion, but I think it's so far off the mark, especially when contrasted with other books that have more explicit, more abusive/exploitative relationships, that I had to speak my piece. And I will now shut up about it, because after all, it's your thread. Feel free to flag this post if you wish.

ETA to fix spelling

May 20, 2012, 5:38pm Top

OK--here's a joke. Reading your comments about the Forgotten Waltz, I misread a key word. I though you were calling it a "smurf-fest" -- full of small blue creatures. I just realized my mistake.

May 20, 2012, 5:40pm Top

smurf fest LOLOL oh dear that is hilarious

May 20, 2012, 5:55pm Top

>213 banjo123: Normally I'd respond to messages in order, but Rhonda's post is way too funny to not comment on first! Not this:

But this:

>214 richardderus: That was one of the funniest posts I've ever read on LT!

Edited: May 20, 2012, 6:21pm Top

>212 Chatterbox: *Grunt, chuckle, snort* Okay (heh)...now on to Suz's far less humorous but no less valuable post (snicker).

I would never dream of flagging your post, Suz! Your argument is a good one, and it shows that you read The Forgotten Waltz miuch more closely and got far more out of it than I did. I was so repulsed by it that I'm sure that I missed what Enright intended to portray about Gina, her relationship with Sean and her husband, and marital infidelity. I was more impressed, in a negative sense, by the more sordid aspects of the book, including her obsession with her makeup and personal appearance at her mother's funeral and her comments about her female friends' physical appearances, which completely disgusted me. I'm certain that your take on the book is a far more accurate and fair one than mine; however, I'll have to stick with my impression of the book, as there's no way that I'll read it again. Thanks for your insightful comments.

Smurf fest...ROTFL!

May 20, 2012, 6:14pm Top

The smurf-fest JPEG is also hilarious! I haven't laughed this hard in DAYS!

May 20, 2012, 6:48pm Top


May 20, 2012, 6:51pm Top

Love the pictures!

May 20, 2012, 7:28pm Top

I was going to make a serious comment about Anne Enright, but just can't now. Her name will forever bring up visions of funny little blue people!

Edited: May 20, 2012, 7:50pm Top

ROTFL re smurfs...

Re obsession with makeup.... you probably know as well as I that when you go to the funeral of someone you love, there's a degree of displacement, almost an echoing in one's brain. I've been to funerals of people like that where I've worried about what I'm wearing and whether my skirt is riding up or my mascara properly applied. It's because I don't want to think about what's really going on. Again, not something men will pick up on, as you don't wear makeup... (well, for the most part...)

Anyway... I think what I was trying to say is that because one dislikes a novel does not mean it has no merit. It simply means that someone dislikes it, for a variety of reasons. If the Orange prize jurors decide that Enright's novel deserves the award, it doesn't mean that they are clueless or dumb -- it means they are seeing things in the book that you didn't, whether that was due to your repulsion with the characters or the plot line or the details such as those you mention. I didn't like The Tiger's Wife very much; it wouldn't have been the book I chose to win any literary awards for reasons that I spelled out in my review. Other readers and judges saw merit in it that I didn't. And smut is a term that is so filled with opprobrium that it bothers me when referring to a book that has far less graphic sex than many I have read, including many that you have read and enjoyed. I'd just throw out there, for you to ponder on, the fact that Enright obviously did succeed on purely literary terms: she convinced you that Gina is a character, albeit one you loathe and despise. Because you don't emerge with feelings that strong about a character that the author hasn't succeeded in bringing alive in very vivid terms...

Finally, "smut" does not necessarily mean something isn't literature. Henry Miller, Anais Nin, DH Lawrence, Nabokov, Joyce, etc. have all been deemed unfit for human consumption. I'm not putting Enright in that category -- I'm simply arguing that deeming her novel to be utterly without merit is to risk tumbling into the camp of denying a book to have any value because it bothers you on some level. I'm not suggesting that you should like it -- as I noted, I would have been very surprised had you done so, and were it not for your resolution to read prize shortlists, would have suggested you steer clear of it -- but to say a book has no redeeming value for me is not to say it has no merit. That's a big and bold leap to take, and that's why I'm being overly intense about this issue.

May 20, 2012, 7:50pm Top

because one dislikes a novel does not mean it has no merit. It simply means that someone dislikes it, for a variety of reasons.

I agree completely.

May 20, 2012, 8:34pm Top

Just joining in the group guffaw and smurf-fest.

May 20, 2012, 8:57pm Top

>221 Chatterbox:, 222 Okay, fine. The Forgotten Waltz isn't smut. I'm done talking about this book.

Moving on...

>223 lauralkeet: Hi, Laura!

May 20, 2012, 9:06pm Top

I wasn't commenting on that book.... or even your review..
Just Suz comment on your review. I say that all the time..
in different ways :) I don't care if you liked it or not. If it were a book I was interested in
reading, I would care. But I think we will probably never share books :P or care much about
how the other feels about a particular one. So be it..

May 21, 2012, 10:02am Top

191: Painter of Silence 'disappeared' from the Kindle offerings? I'm feeling fairly smug that I succumbed and bought it. All my other Kindle books are freebies or $.99 Daily Deals.

According to my tags, I've read 14 Booker Winners, and there's The Gathering at the bottom of my rankings (keeping company with The English Patient).

Lol at the smut/smurf mixup. It's good to begin the day with a good laugh.

May 21, 2012, 10:15am Top

Liking the smurf thing. Sounds like tired eye syndrome, which can make for some interesting reading, when words like burn turn into bum.

May 21, 2012, 1:39pm Top

I was going to pop in, say something brilliant and pithy about The Forgotten Waltz, but now I have the DAMNED SMURF SONG in my head. I am going to retreat to my quiet 75 book thread.

May 21, 2012, 1:51pm Top

>225 mckait: Ah, got it. Sorry about my misunderstanding, Kath.

>226 Donna828: That was weird; Painter of Silence was available for the Kindle in the US, and now it's no longer available. Very annoying.

Good job on reading 14 Booker winners. The Gathering was an odd choice as the 2007 winner, IMO. If I decide to read all of the winners, it will be one of the last books I will read.

>227 tiffin: Rhonda's comment was absolutely priceless! I agree with you about tired eye syndrome; I've done the same thing when my eyes or brain are tired.

May 21, 2012, 5:31pm Top

You all are sweet to blame my eyes, and not my brain.

May 21, 2012, 6:10pm Top

Darryl - the opinionated ones are the most interesting ones. Love your thread and the fact that if you don't like a book you say so and you say why. Most often agree with you occasionally of course I don't. Read The Gathering a few years ago and what little impression it made was not positive. The Forgotten Waltz is out here this weekend and I will probably get it (just because I do tend to buy most award nominated fiction at some stage) but I am not in a hurry to read it especially.

I would love to join in on the Booker Prize group (time permitting) and still believe that it is the most provoking of all the prizes only being a shame that US writers are not included. I have read:

Troubles Lost Booker
Wolf Hall 2009
The Gathering 2007
True History of the Kelly Gang 2001
Amsterdam 1998
The God of Small Things 1997
Last Orders 1996
Sacred Hunger 1992
Possession 1990
The Old Devils 1986
Hotel du Lac 1984
Schindler's Ark 1982
Midnight's Children 1981
Offshore 1979
Saville 1976
Heat and Dust 1975

If I'm not mistaken I have a full set of all the Booker winners and will work my way slowly through them all eventually.

My top five of those I have read would be 1981, 1996, 1976, 1992, 2009

May 21, 2012, 7:59pm Top

Whew! Took me a long while catching up with over 100 posts here, but it was well worth it. I'm amazed that I haven't been hit by more than two book bullets, but as it is, I was going to add The Line to my wishlist (it was already there because of Kerry's recommendation) and did add Painter of Silence.

I enjoyed the discussion about The Forgotten Waltz, a book I am not likely to read because the storyline doesn't appeal to me, but thought it was interesting to see your position on it Darryl, as a man with a moralistic point of view, and Suzanne's reading of it as a woman with no moral judgment. I would venture to guess my opinion would probably fall somewhere between the two. I did feel badly when you interpreted a woman's concern about her makeup as shallow Darryl, but then felt better about Suz's comment about displacement. It takes a woman to understand these things, because certainly based on your comment Darryl, I'm probably one of the most shallow people here. Or was anyway, until I decided I can't be bothered anymore when the depression set in for good.

I happen to love lists, and was very pleased to find so many of them here. Before I joined this group, I decided to make a "master list" of all the books I felt I MUST read in my lifetime, which was culled from various sources such as 1001 Books, Time's 100, BBC's Big Read and all the main prizes, including the Booker, Orange, Pulitzer, Nobel, and much more prizes and sources I can't recall right now. I haven't revisited that list in a while, but do know that last time I looked at it, I was pleased to find that I'd read quite a few of them already, and that several of them I'd likely never read after reading comments and reviews here on LT that made me decide I wasn't likely to enjoy them. Unlike you Darryl, I'm not a completist, but you did make me want to have a look and see which Booker Prize winners I've read so far, own, and have on my WL.

Have read (in no particular order):

Troubles by J. G. Farrell (brilliant)
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (hated it, horrid)
The Ghost Road by Pat Barker (like the 2 first books in the trilogy much better)
Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner (brilliant)
The Sea by John Banville (oh, the dread)
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (hilarious, loved every bit of it)
True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey (entertaining)
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (read more than half and stopped. No idea why. Will read again)
The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst (pukefest)
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (not at all what I expected, so didn't like, but will read again)
Life of Pi by Yann Martel (adored this one)
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (loved it the first time, less so the second time)

Plus 17 others from short and longlist

On my TBR (no particular order):

The Siege of Krishnapur by J. G. Farrell
The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens
Possession by A. S. Byatt
The Bone People by Keri Hulme (got it from SecretSanta)
Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (reading in June with Suz's tutoring)
Amsterdam by Ian McEwan
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

Plus nearly 20 more short and longlist. I'm hoping to read all the above this year of course, along with a couple hundred other books!

Schindler's Ark by Thomas Kenneally and Last Orders b Graham Swift are the only other winners currently on my wishlist. I tried reading Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee once and just one page in, felt like blowing my brains out, so decided he's probably not the right author for me at this time. Am open to adding others and looking forward to getting your take on the Booker Bunch this year.

Sorry about the loooong message. Look at is as many messages bunched into one. :-)

May 21, 2012, 8:06pm Top

>228 mrstreme: I couldn't remember the Smurfs theme song until I looked at it on YouTube. Other than repetitive la-la-la-ing, it was quite a forgettable song IMO.

>230 banjo123: If we blame your brain for that hilarious error, then we'd have to blame our own brains when we do the same thing.

>231 PaulCranswick: Thanks for the vote of confidence, Paul. Although I know it wasn't intended that way, I did feel like a henpecked husband last night.

I don't bemoan the lack of American writers, as there aren't many novels published in the US on an annual basis that are Booker worthy, IMO.

Nice list of Booker winners; of the list of your favorites, I've only read Midnight's Children and Wolf Hall. I'm glad to see your endorsement of Last Orders and Sacred Hunger, as they are two of the Booker winners I don't own that I'm most eager to read.

The typically dysfunctional teaching service was stellar today, as the second year pediatric resident and the intern performed at a very high level. I praised them for their good work, and although this week will likely be filled with long days (and nights), it should be a far more pleasant one than I had feared it would be. I don't mind working long hours (8 am to 7 pm today), but I get annoyed and frustrated when the residents don't pitch in and do their fair share.

May 21, 2012, 8:19pm Top

>232 Smiler69: Hey, no fair in sneaking a post ahead of mine, Ilana! Wow, I'm slipping if I only added two books to your wish list.

With all due respect, I don't want to mention or discuss The Forgotten Waltz or Anne Enright ever again!

I like your list of Booker winners as well. Let's see...we agree about Troubles, but have opposite views about The Sense of an Ending (I intend to re-read this book; hopefully I'll do that this summer). You have some great Bookers on your TBR list, namely Wolf Hall, The Remains of the Day and The Siege of Krishnapur. I'd suggest avoiding Disgrace, even though it was one of my favorite Booker winners, as it is one of the most disturbing and depressing novels I've ever read.

May 21, 2012, 8:34pm Top

With all due respect, I don't want to mention or discuss...


Am I right in assuming that Coetzee is generally bleak in all his fiction?

One reason I haven't added more books Daryl is that I'm a bit (or a lot) lazy. If I haven't heard of a book before, or if the storyline doesn't grab me immediately, then I tend to stay away, if only to limit the size of my wishlist. It's already out of control as it is!

I loved the dyslexic reading of the Smurfs! Ha! I felt horrible for a moment that I couldn't remember the original french name that I knew them as when I was a kid. Of course it was Les Schtroumpfs. I read countless of those books as a child and had a bunch of little figurines too, as did most other kids at the time. Does anyone know if they're still popular with the young crowd?

May 21, 2012, 8:57pm Top

>235 Smiler69: Everything I've read by Coetzee has been either bleak or cringe worthy, especially the books in which he describes the young Coetzee, such as Summertime.

I'll add books to my (Amazon) wishlist on a regular basis, but many of those books are removed later, once the list becomes unwieldy and many of the books become unrecognizable.

I'm not sure if the Smurfs are still popular in the US, but I would tend to doubt it. If they were popular, I would think that I would see kids in the hospital with Smurfs toys and clothing. I don't think I've seen a single Smurf object in the nearly 12 years that I've been working at my current position.

Oof. I'm quite tired, after one of my idiotic neighbors decided to run a shop vac between 1-2 am this morning (I'm not sure what was going on there), and I have a bit of a headache, probably from being overly tired from the hellish week of work that I finished on Friday. I think I'll turn in early, as I'll have a 12-14+ hour day tomorrow on call.

May 21, 2012, 10:26pm Top

I'm not sure if the Smurfs are still popular in the US, but I would tend to doubt it. If they were popular, I would think that I would see kids in the hospital with Smurfs toys and clothing. I don't think I've seen a single Smurf object in the nearly 12 years that I've been working at my current position.

They haven't been on my radar since I had my first child in 1996 (she's 15 now), so I think you're absolutely correct. My kids do know who they are, but that's about it.

May 21, 2012, 10:27pm Top

I happen to love lists, and was very pleased to find so many of them here. Before I joined this group, I decided to make a "master list" of all the books I felt I MUST read in my lifetime, which was culled from various sources such as 1001 Books, Time's 100, BBC's Big Read and all the main prizes, including the Booker, Orange, Pulitzer, Nobel, and much more prizes and sources I can't recall right now. I haven't revisited that list in a while, but do know that last time I looked at it, I was pleased to find that I'd read quite a few of them already, and that several of them I'd likely never read after reading comments and reviews here on LT that made me decide I wasn't likely to enjoy them. Unlike you Darryl, I'm not a completist, but you did make me want to have a look and see which Booker Prize winners I've read so far, own, and have on my WL.

I love this idea . . . sort of a personal "anticipated best of the bests". I'm going to do something similar myself when I get some time to play.

May 21, 2012, 11:19pm Top

Rarely do I actually laugh out loud reading LT, but the discussion about The Forgotten Waltz (and I am not reopening said discussion!) and the Smurf-fest sidebar have me, literally, laughing out loud. I have no idea which of you I agree with, but the discussion was fascinating!

May 22, 2012, 5:00am Top

Finally caught up! Must make my own list of Booker reads. Thanks to the 1001 list which initially was my guide to better reading, and the recommendaions here I've read a couple of them in the last 4 years. Before joining LT I'd never heard of that price, only of our own equivalent, the Deutscher Buchpreis which somehow doesn't attract me at all.

The smurfs/ les Schtroumpfs (love their French name!)/ die Schlümpfe: I knew the figurines and some of the comics as a kid in the 70s, but the hype only really started much later with the TV show and the CDs in the late 80s/early 90s I guess.

There was an adventure park in France which I visited once in the 90s, the 'Walibi Schtroumpf' which I just saw on wikipedia has been renamed to 'Walygator Park'. So it looks like the smurfs are not cool anymore even in their home country - how sad. :-(

May 22, 2012, 6:56am Top

Yawn...I feel much better this morning, after I slept for nine hours straight.

I was looking through my e-mail, when I read about the surprising news that the telecommunications company Orange was ending its sponsorship of the Orange Prize after this year:

Orange to withdraw sponsorship of women's prize for fiction

The prize itself will almost certainly not go away, but it will undergo a name change.

May 22, 2012, 7:13am Top

>237 Nickelini: The Smurfs didn't have much staying power here. The television cartoon was very popular in the US in the 1980s, but the little blue creatures seemed to drop off the radar after that.

>238 Nickelini: I had posted my list of read and unread Booker winners that I own last year, when I created the Booker Prize group. Later this summer I'll post a list of all the Booker nominated books I've read and own on my thread.

>239 EBT1002: I'm glad to leave that discussion behind.

>240 Deern: I was only minimally aware of the Booker Prize, or any non-US literary awards, prior to 2007. Several books I read before that year mentioned that the author had one or been nominated for the prize, but it meant nothing to me before my first trip to London.

I just read that the Smurfs originated as a comic strip, Les Schtroumpfs, in Belgium in 1958:

May 22, 2012, 7:16am Top

Love the smurf fest and the pic! I haven't laughed that hard in awhile.

Count me in with those that dislike The Sea and On Chesil Beach. Not a fan of either author. I absolutely can't believe they chose The Sea over Never Let Me Go. I bet it was only because Ishiguro had already won -- they mentioned they were debating over those two in the end.

Even though I don't like Banville or McEwan, I do admire Coetzee. I thought Disgrace, though bleak, was one of the better winners I've read. I found the movie with John Malkovich to be quite interesting as well. It was a little difficult to watch, though.

As far as The Gathering, I didn't like the graphic content in that book, but the emotion was very powerful. Pure raw emotion.

I haven't finished Half Blood Blues yet, it's the last of the Orange shortlist titles I have to read. Of the others, I think I'm leaning toward Painter of Silence as my favorite.

You have an exciting thread, Darryl!

May 22, 2012, 7:18am Top

Wow, can't believe they're ceasing sponsorship. I surely do hope the Prize continues under another entity.

May 22, 2012, 7:33am Top

>243 1morechapter: Hi, Michelle! I can't comment about Banville, as I haven't read anything by him, but I am a big fan of McEwan, and On Chesil Beach. His new novel, Sweet Tooth, will be published this summer. I'm also a fan of Ishiguro, but I haven't read Never Let Me Go yet.

I agree with your assessment of Disgrace. I didn't know that it was made into a movie; I probably won't watch it, though, for the reason you mentioned.

Painter of Silence was an exceptional novel, and I'd be pleased if it or The Song of Achilles won this year's, um, Orange Prize.

>244 1morechapter: The Guardian article I posted mentioned that Kate Mosse, the prize's co-founder and honorary director, appeared on BBC Radio 4's Today program this morning to announce the end of Orange's sponsorship of the award. She seems to be optimistic that the award will continue, and that it will be bigger and better than ever. So, except for the obvious name change that will result, this may end up being a good thing for the award. I'd like to see a return of the award for new writers, which ended in 2010.

Edited: May 22, 2012, 7:44am Top

>Yes, I'd like to see the New Writers Prize back as well.

I think you would love Never Let Me Go. That's another one that's been made into a film, and I thought both were fantastic.

May 22, 2012, 7:46am Top

Smurfs. My favorite was the cat.

I read about the Orange Prize this morning... oh dear~

Edited: May 22, 2012, 7:53am Top

>246 1morechapter: I suspect that you're right, Michelle. Never Let Me Go is among a hundred or more books that I own and am highly eager to read. This is the main reason why I want to slow down my acquisition of new books from this year onward, and only buy books that I plan to read in that calendar year.

>247 mckait: I think Papa Smurf and Gargamel (that was the name of the villain, right?) were my favorite characters, although I did like the cat, too.

Orange wants to shift its focus to the film industry, which I suppose makes sense for a telecommunications company. I'm with Kate Mosse, though; I think this is a great opportunity for the prize to reinvent itself, and re-emerge bigger and stronger. IMO the prize is far too popular and influential to be in any danger of disappearing, so I'm not worried about it.

May 22, 2012, 7:53am Top

>245 kidzdoc: I've read three by McEwan now, On Chesil Beach, Atonement, and Amsterdam and wan't thrilled with any of them. I don't really see myself reading another of his unless he wins the Booker again. (I'm a completist, too, though I've only read 15 winners so far so I could read quite a few before I got back to him :-)

May 22, 2012, 8:19am Top

>249 1morechapter: Let's see...according to LT, I own 11 books by McEwan. I've read Saturday, On Chesil Beach, Amsterdam, The Cement Garden, Black Dogs and The Comfort of Strangers; Atonement, Enduring Love, Solar, The Child in Time and The Innocent reside on my TBR pile. Of the ones I've read, Saturday, On Chesil Beach and the deliciously creepy The Cement Garden are my favorites. I really need to get to Atonement in the near future.

250 messages = new thread!

May 22, 2012, 10:45am Top

I'm glad to see your endorsement of Last Orders and Sacred Hunger, as they are two of the Booker winners I don't own that I'm most eager to read.

Darryl - Now that I'm finished Last Orders, I'm interested in what your opinion will be. I thought the writing was terrific, but it was a bit too male for me. Now I'd like to hear a guy's impression. You're welcome to my copy--PM your mailing address if you want it.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2012

987 members

229,572 messages


This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.




You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,156,929 books! | Top bar: Always visible