What Are You Reading the Week of 30 June 2012?
Join LibraryThing to post.
The 30th: Mary Wibberley
What has no shadow has no strength to live.
The 1st: James M. Cain
The 2nd: Hannes Bok
Oh, love isn't there to make us happy. I believe it exists to show us how much we can endure.
The 3rd: Evelyn Anthony
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
I am a cage, in search of a bird.
The 4th: Eileen Goudge
Why was it that the only choices that truly mattered were the ones you felt least prepare to make?
The 5th: Jody Lynn Nye
The 6th: Kathryn Hulme
As usual, a wonderful job, Richard. Am finishing Little minister by J. M. Barrie.
oh Lord I love the Kafka quote. Wish I had known it when I was still practicing psychotherapy!
Still working on The Death And Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. Slow going due to how busy I've been at work, but really enjoying the book.
Man in the White Sharkskin Suit by Lucette Lagnado. Just completed it, today. Wonderful.
I'm re-reading the firt Modesty Blaise novel by Peter O'Donnell, published in 1965. It holds up remarkably well!
Thank you for another fine start to the week, Richard! You're a gem!
I'm now reading The Plague by Albert Camus. It's dripping with pesitilence and existentialism, but the writing, itself, is very good and is keeping me going. It's a bit of a struggle against all that despair, though.
ETA: I've decided to drop The Plague. It was just too bleak. I'm now starting something much more cheering, The Solitary Summer by Elizabeth von Arnim. It sounds delightfful! The perfect antidote to The Plague, indeed.
Oh, I do so love reading Elizabeth von Arnim! She's got a wonderfully pragmatic appreciation for beauty.
Alas, NarratorLady, there's no point in waiting for the comedy in Are You My Mother?, it isn't there. I think the book is very good, but also quite serious and very heavy on psychoanalysis.
Thanks for the start, Richard. Looks like it's time to get out a copy of Yellow Wallpaper and give it another read.
I finished the wonderful Half-Blood Blues. What an excellent character study of both Chip and Sid. Edugyan describes music in ways I cannot hear, just as some books describe paintings in ways I cannot see, but I appreciate the fact that she appreciates it.
On Nook I've started The Whip and am liking it very much. The author is an actress, but it certainly isn't frivolous.
On audio I'm halfway through Martian Chronicles. The less dialogue in the stories the better they are. White American Male circa 1950's does not age well. His first story, "Ylla" is the best so far in spite of the fact that Bradbury assumes male-female relations are the same on Mars as they were in the "golden age" in America. Or, no, maybe "The Third Expedition" or "Mars is Heaven" was best. I can see why I began to read science fiction after reading this in high school.
On paper I've just started Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson. I got my sister a copy for her upcoming birthday, and my requested copy came from the library at the same time, so we're both lucky.
I finished the classic A Tree Grows in Brooklyn which is a book with excellent character portrayal and scene portrayal. Many of its characters will stay with me and the descriptions of life amongst the poor immigrants of Brooklyn will define my image of that time and place.
SANDYDOG1!! PUT DOWN THE BOOK. You are in grave, grave peril. The longer you expose yourself to the psychic Roentgen rays of that, that preternaturally boring book, the greater the chance you will not recover your joy of reading!
(22) That is on my TBR list, snash. I guess it's time to go back to the library...
Still doing a lot of technical reading, but I've taken time out to read a couple of short mysteries. I finished The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri last weekend. Today, I started the second novel in the Inspector Montalbano series, The Terra-Cotta Dog. The books are quite entertaining, but I have to admit that what drew me to them was the beautiful cover art by Andy Bridge on the Penguin paperbacks.
Thank you Richard and Ellen. I shall search out Enchanted April, both the book and the movie.
#16, fuzzi, I'm finding him hard to finish, but otherwise it's vintage Barrie. I have this theory that Barrie really was Peter Pan inside and most of of his male characters are kin to him, but The Little Minister is somewhat different and I'm intrigued to see how it ends. The volume that I have is a promotional from the 30's movie with Katharine Hepburn played Babbie the gypsy and I can hear Barrie's diaglogue coming out in her New England speech.
As for all you van Arnim fans, I need to read more of her. The only van Arnim I've read is Love, which is probably based on her life. It's a May-September romance, but the older member is the woman. It's fairly realistic and the relationship doesn't seem to end well. I'd like to get a better read on the author.
Ditto to all the good things being said about The Enchanted April - one of my favourite books (and films).
Ditto too to Richard's comments on Paradise Lost, one of the most turgid tomes it has ever been my misfortune to be assigned.
I just finished The Hearing Trumpet and am just beginning Tiger Hills
(32) Bjace: I read the book about 40 years ago, and do not recall anything except that I liked it. I also saw the movie, but I don't recall much of that either!
I was wondering how YOU liked the book...
Fuzzi, so far it's kept my interest, but I won't know until I figure out how it ends.
>22. Oh good, I just picked up A Tree Grows in Brooklyn T a library sale last week.
And ditto to Richard's comments about Paradise Lost; dreadful stuff when I was forced to read it in college many, many years ago. I doubt if it's improved with age.
I'm closing in on the last few pages of Finding Nouf By Zoe Ferraris.
Love the quotes this week, Richard. Thanks!
I have about 40 pages to go in the excellent Gone Girl. Wow, just wow.
I've having trouble finishing Mira Bartok's The Memory Palace -- it's beautiful but it's also too much -- for me, anyway. Her memoir of growing up the daughter of a schizophrenic woman (and granddaughter of an abusive man) is so harrowing I think it's having a depressive effect on me . I try to stay with a book for a hundred pages but I don't know if I can do that with this one -- I've been reading at it for a week and mostly avoiding it and I've only made it to page 70. I admire the author's work and have enormous sympathy for what she went through, but I think today is the last day I can give to her book. I've got George, Being George -- about the life of George Plimpton as told by friends, relatives, and others -- waiting for me and just thinking about that wonderful man makes me smile, so I believe I can trust a book about him to lift me out of this "slough of despond" and give me courage to declare my own independence from books that just aren't for me.
I've just finished the delightful The Solitary Summer by Elizabeth von Arnim, whjch I've added to my favorites shelf.
Now I'm starting A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson, a YA book which I think I'll enjoy. It's about a 19-yr-old young woman in 1912 Cambridge who breaks out of her severely restricted life by traveling with a ballet company to South America.
I put down The Fight (temporarily), and started reading an e-book I downloaded, Brown Wolf and other Stories by Jack London.
I have to say that I really do enjoy London's short stories a lot: he doesn't get into all the digression about how "the clay of him had been molded years before" sort of stuff that just bogs down the narrative, but just tells the story!
#42 Hazeljune - Flannery O'Connor's collection of short stories is amazing. These stories stay with you long after you read them. Enjoy...
My RL book club is reading Flanery O'Connor in August....looking forward to it!
>6 & >18 I concur with citizenjoyce. Are You My Mother doesn't have any of the leavening humor of Fun Home. It is very dense and serious - the art is marvelous, as usual. I especially liked the way she captured Virginia Woolf.
I'm still recovering from the marvelous Gillespie and I so I'm re-reading some old Dick Francis mysteries. Then it is onto John Boyne's Next of Kin. I started it but kept expecting Harriet Baxter from Gillespie and I to pop up so I knew I needed more time to process Harriet.
My book club read Everything That Rises Must Converge last year and it was one of the best discussions we've had. Enjoy!
Right now I'm reading Ya-Yas in Bloom: A Novel by Rebecca Wells. So far it's not as good as Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood but it's a nice way to revisit the characters.
Took three books to the cottage this weekend, and naturally did not do as much reading as I expected! However, I did start and finish Linwood Barclay's latest, The Accident. Perfect cottage reading -- fast-paced and suspenseful. This evening I will work a bit more on a couple of unfinished library books instead of contemplating the return to work tomorrow.
enaid & Citizenjoyce: I gave up halfway through Are You My Mother? A comic drama, feeling that the rest was more of the same. I do think that the subtitle was a tad misleading. "Anatomy of my life in therapy" might have been a better description.
On to John Boyne's first novel The Thief of TIme as he's been highly recommended on this site and I'm very much enjoying it. Whoever mentioned him ... thank you!
Just finished Nervous System by Nathan Larson, an ER book. This book, the second installment of a series, recounts the future in New York City after a disaster attack. The unique voice of the central character Dewey Decimal brings this story to life. Fast moving and unpredictable. Reading Agent 6 by Tom Rob Smith a book that enlightens many aspects of the Soviet Republic strategy during The Cold War and the Afghanistan conflict. Just started Vengeance by Benjamin Black, my new ER book.
fuzzi: listen to snash i read A tree Grows in brooklyn a few months back and i was nearly in tears from the beauty of it.
right now i am reading The Grapes of Wrath by john steinbeck
>52 Narratorlady - I think it was Booksloth who first mentioned the awesomeness of John Boyne and that Thief of Time it was maybe her favorite(but it was hard to pick). I read it last week and it totally made my week. It snapped a terrible run of so-so fiction that was starting to make me doubt myself as a reader! Yeah, that almost happened!
(55) jean12: I went by the library after work today, but all the copies were already borrowed. They've ordered a copy from a branch library and I should have it by the weekend. :)
#52/56 You're right - absolutely my favourite in a very close-run contest with Boyne's other books. It's always a huge relief when someone agrees with a recommendation - I always fear they will hate it and I'll be to blame, so thank you for letting us know it was a success for you too!
I have to give John Boyne a whirl! Well, I am about half way through Costa Best Novel Winner Pure by Andrew Miller. It is a little slow, but it is well written and the plot/characters are pretty interesting. The mood/time is incredible (pre-revolutionary France and all its grit and grime), so I will keep going. I tend to think it will pick up a bit of speed now because there sure has been a lot of build up!
Next up will be Playing With Matches by Carolyn Wall for Early Reviewing. I won her first book Sweeping Up Glass a couple years ago and wow, it was really good. So I am hoping this one is too.
I have both of those books Septembers of Shiraz and Finding Nouf in my collection. I have been trying to get to Nouf for a long time, but just keep putting it back. Let me know how you like Shiraz.
I had a doctor's appointment yesterday and spent over 40 minutes waiting for the Dr. That gave me the chance to read almost 35 pages in River of Smoke. This book is really good. Very enlightening about Canton, China, and the Opium Wars. In tone it reminds me of Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet but the writing is very different. Ghosh is a very talented writer. I will have to pick up something else written by him.
I am such a sucker for LT recommendations! Just received a copy of my first John Boyne novel.
I finished Martian Chronicles some of the stories such as There Will Come Soft Rains, Usher II, Ylla and The Third Expedition were so creative and innovative it made me all the sadder that his imagination couldn't extend far enough to envision sexual equality. Every one of the women, the few that there are, is passive. Well, that's a 1950's white American man for you, I guess.
I've started the first of Pat Barker's Regeneration series and hope to do all three this month. What a wonderful way to write about war.
And I'm still very much enjoying The Whip - now this is not a passive woman!
#61/63 Please don't all come after me if you hate them (I don't think you will).
I loved your review of Deathless. It made me want to read this book. Now I will have to be on the lookout for it when I visit my usual bookstore haunts.
I'm about 3/4 of the way through The Little Drummer Girl by John Le Carre. It's a book I've always wanted to read but somehow never got to. I also picked up a copy of The Finishing School by Gail Godwin. I read it years ago and lost my copy and was quite happy to find this one in a used bookstore at the beach.
Having finished off the Millenium trilogy with my completion of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest last night (a bit more, not much, about my reactions on my 50-Book Challenge thread), today, being my birthday, I have started my birthday gift from my wonderful wife: Madeleine Albright's fascinating-looking memoir, Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948.
I envy you your birthday present. I have cast covetess eyes on that particular publication for a few weeks, but will have to wait until I can get a used copy of it. I hope it is enjoyable.
>73 That's exactly what I hope for, Benita! I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.
I'm just starting When the Going Was Good by Evelyn Waugh. I'm barely on the first page, but if this is anything to judge by, I'm giong to enjoy this. Waugh is an author I've never gotten around to, but this may well prompt me to read some more of his work, especially Brideshead Revisited and his other fiction.
I just finished Pure by Andrew Miller and I just don't know. I mean, it had all the elements of a good book and I finished it (granted, because I want to get my free t-shirt from my library Summer reading program), but it just did not do much for me. The characters seemed a little flat and I just had the hardest time picking it pack up. His descriptions of pre-Revolutionary France were excellent though. That is where it shined, the history parts.
When I was having problems reading a while back. I started Little Women" 50 or 60 years have gone by since I read Louisa M. Alcott, and I am amazed at how GREAT that book is. No wonder it's been a classic for so many generations!
(Also started a re-read of "The Good Earth". but didn't get too far. ) Perhaps seeing the movie several times spoiled it for me.
Almost finished reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Though it started kind of slow, it has ended up being unputdownable.
Finished the novel, Matters of Honor by Louis Begley which is a sleeper.....very good read! I am going to start Conversation in the Cathedral by Mario Vargas Llosa. I usually have one audiobook and one RL book going, but I am adding a third. I am on vacation and a dear friend and I have chosen the audiobook Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbott to listen to as we sit on the front porch of my cottage, in comfy rocking chairs, and do needlework. Ahhh, life at the lake!
I am reading In Hovering Flight by Joyce Hinnefeld and am absolutely loving it!
I got the tip from the recent "Bookmarks" magazine. I don't know if you all are familiar with that magazine, but I have gotten many a good suggestion from there. It is a non-biased reporting of various books of ALL kinds. It often features book clubs and also, certain topics (last one was literature about Greece, now there is dystopian YA fiction, etc.). But there are pages and pages of books, many that I never would have known about but for reading the magazine.
I've got two on the go, both good: The Lifeboat, which is intriguingly layered, and Honestly Dearest, You're Dead, which isn't at all layered but is good, violent mystery fun shaken up with a dose of wry humor that I'm enjoying.
PLUS I have season 4 of True Blood on DVD from the liberry! *gruntled sigh*
I just started God's Hospital: A Doctor, A Hospital, A Doctor, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine by Victoria Sweet. It is another wonderful suggestion that I picked up from this group. Very interesting and Dr. Sweet's style is reminiscent of Oliver Sacks.
I was distracted from reading Next of Kin by John Boyne by tripping(really) over a copy of Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett at a thrift store. My daughter can't get enough of thrift stores so I spend a lot of time perusing the shelves of used books. I really, really hate it when the store writes .50 or $1.00 in black crayon on the inside cover of the book. It makes me want to cry - that marker or whatever it is - never comes off. It's like a scar.
Anyhoo, Eye of the Needle was compelling and full of tension; I actually started it right there in the store. Although, I've seen the movie version a few times because I think Donald Sutherland rocks it at any age so I sort of knew what was going to happen. Now, I'm starting Next of Kin.
#99 - enaid, try a white eraser very gently. The marker is probably waxy so that might work. I've had pretty good success with felt markers on the covers, but haven't had the problem with inside the covers.
#21 - I'm sorry to hear you're struggling a bit with The Fight, Fuzzi. When I got rid of my boxing books a few years ago, The Fight was one of only two that I hung on to, Sting Like A Bee being the other. I must admit I've never read anything else by Mailer though.
Just finished and reviewed Am I Too Loud? by Gerald Moore and am wondering which music book to read next.
All the posts about Paradise Lost have made me want to read it again. I had to read the book at college in the late 1970s but did enjoy it. The eighteenth-century classical scholar Richard Porson could recite all of the poem backwards and forwards from memory - though God knows why, as Kenneth Williams once remarked.
Just read The Night Bookmobile. A fascinating premise, but slightly disturbing. It's like Ray Bradbury meets Powell and Pressburger.
I read Blitz, probably about the same time you first read it and loved that book. I bought my copy through the Weekly Reader book program. Once a month Weekly Reader enclosed a flyer of paperback titles to purchase and my parents, bless their souls, spent hard earned money on those paperbacks for us kids. A few years ago I re-read Guadenzia Pride of the Palio by Margurite Henry and it was just as good the second time around.
#99 & 100
Strange that this topic should come up at this point in time. I work in a library and just got appointed to a committee to write new withdrawal policy for the library. Sorry to say, but we do have to discard or withdraw books from time-to-time. When we do, we take a Sharpie permanent marker and draw a line straight diagonally across the front of the book, or put a big X across the title page. (I prefer the X on the title page.) We used to use a more discreet ink stamp that simply said withdrawn and put it on the title page right below the title. Then we went to white labels with the word discarded pasted on the front cover. However, when we did the kinder gentler thing we would get the books back. No kidding. Kind well meaning people would find those books in used book stores or in private collections and they would return them to us. (We even had people mail them to us.) We don't like to do it, and had some rather passionate arguments in staff meetings about what to do. (We aren't talking about five books a year being returned. More like 25.) Since we went to the Big X method we haven't had a problem. Only 1 book has come back. The Big X may be ugly but it does get the message across.
We are now in the middle of trying to decide if this policy should be changed because our laws about disposal of publicly funded purchases have changed and because some people think the Big X is too obtrusive, so once again we are arguing amongst ourselves. I suspect that our marking policy is going to change. The library can now sell books in bulk and apparently the market for used books is very good right now. Our surplus manager has had inquiries from companies that purchase books and resell them over seas. However, they don't want defaced books.
Bottom line for all LT'ers - if you find a library copy of a book that is marked clearly, if unobstrusivly, with the words discard or withdrawn, it is slightly damaged, or is a work of fiction that has a copyright date older than ten years, please keep the book. It has probably been withdrawn for a reason. Don't return it to the library. However, if you don't find these words, and the date due slip, spine label, or other library markings are fresh, and it has a new copyright date (within the last ten years) then take the time to return it to the library.
I know that all this is hard for book lovers, but if public libraries kept every book they would have to have warehouses the size of Walmart to house them. What taxpayer is going to pay for that?
Bah humbug - just when I post my treatise on why libraries deface books! Oh well, the new post probably saved me from getting stoned to death. thanks Richard.
(105) Why not just thank the patron for returning the book, and then sell it again?
I have also reread some of Margurite Henry's books, and found them to be an enjoyable read for an adult. :)
#101 - #105 - I have a used bookstore and we often get customers "donating" withdrawn library books. We do have a policy of not accepting them anymore, but now and then a really great title comes along and we will accept that. Confusing? Yes. Our original inventory that we purchased in bulk had some ex-library books in it, so we've struggled with this question fromt he beginning. Our library system uses labels that we cannot get off. They are stuck there for eternity. They do draw a line through the barcode to indicate it is withdrawn and I don't touch that. I learned the hard way that trying to take those labels off is next to impossible and results in the destruction of the cover. On the other hand, we also get books in that have been sold in second hand stores or at garage sales and have a price scribbled on in some kind of marker. Those are the ones I've found can be erased with a white eraser...mostly. Sometimes there will be a spot that just won't come off and you just have to draw the line on how far you're willing to go. Personally, I don't like anything that defaces my books and even go so far as to remove stickers when I get home. We use an easy release sticker in the store that will come off easily without damage to the book. We place it over the barcode on the back as it has our own barcode on it. This leaves the front of the book looking good and gives the customer the option to remove the sticker if they choose to keep the book, or if they decide to return it for credit, they just leave the sticker on. That being said, I do understand the need for the library to have difficult to remove stickers or they would be losing a lot more books than they do already.
I should also add that the nicer the label the more it costs in material and in staff costs. In the last few years the cost of a package of the nice discreet labels has risen. At the same time we have had to cut costs. That means that we have to tell our business office why we need things like packages of small white labels. The black markers are cheaper and are multi-use.
Also, when the books come back they are unlikely to come straight to a person who works in the library. Most of them go back to some higher official who then starts questioning why we are withdrawing books. It is easier to just not get the books back.
I thought both your posts were very interesting! I never would have imagined people bringing discarded library books back to the library. Good intentions gone horribly awry. I also sympathize with making sure the higher officials don't ask a lot of questions. I've dealt with a lot of that in my day. Sometimes, the less they know, the better -as bad as that sounds.
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.