kidzdoc is cutting down the mountain of unread books in 2012: part 12
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Lee Miller, Street Scene in Cairo, Egypt, 1937
The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman
The Empty Family by Colm Tóibín
Mihyar of Damascus: His Songs by Adonis
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
58. Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick
59. The Undertaker's Daughter by Toi Derricotte
60. Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
61. The Patient Survival Guide: 8 Simple Solutions to Prevent Hospital- and Healthcare-Associated Infections by Dr. Maryanne McGuckin
62. Three Strong Women by Marie NDiaye
63. Scenes from Early Life by Philip Hensher (review)
64. The Loss of El Dorado: A Colonial History by V.S. Naipaul (not completed)
65. God's Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine by Victoria Sweet (review)
66. Being Sam Frears: A Life Less Ordinary by Mary Mount (review)
67. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (review)
68. The Making of Modern Medicine: Turning Points in the Treatment of Disease by Michael Bliss (review)
69. The Earth in the Attic by Fady Joudah
70. Pure by Timothy Mo (review)
71. Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast by Natasha Trethewey (review)
72. My Michael by Amos Oz
73. Popular Hits of the Showa Era by Ryu Murakami (review)
74. Subduction by Todd Shimoda
75. Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me, and Other Poems by Ghassan Zaqtan
76. Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz (review)
77. The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God and Other Stories by Etgar Keret (review)
78. Memoirs of a Porcupine by Alain Mabanckou
79. I Was an Elephant Salesman by Pap Khouma
80. Palace of Desire by Naguib Mahfouz (review)
81. Head Off & Split by Nikky Finney
82. Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil
83. The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle (review)
84. Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley
85. Swimming Home by Deborah Levy
86. Sugar Street by Naguib Mahfouz
87. The Yips by Nicola Barker
88. Silence by Shusaku Endo (review)
89. Lucretia and the Kroons by Victor LaValle (review)
90. The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng (review)
91. Friendly Fire by A.B. Yehoshua
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) √
67. The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro (21 May; History Book Club)
68. The Complete 2012 User's Guide to the Amazing Amazon Kindle by Stephen Windwalker and Bruce Grubbs (29 May; free Kindle e-book)
69. Our Lady of Alice Bhatti by Mohammed Hanif (30 May; Kindle e-book)
70. Last Orders by Graham Swift (30 May; gift book (J.N.))
71. The Patient Survival Guide: 8 Simple Solutions to Prevent Hospital- and Healthcare-Associated Infections by Dr. Maryanne McGuckin (31 May; LT Early Reviewer book)
72. Subduction by Todd Shimoda (31 May; LT Early Reviewer book)
73. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (31 May; Amazon UK)
74. Ride a Cockhorse by Raymond Kennedy (4 June; NYRB Book Club)
75. London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets by Peter Ackroyd (26 June; City Lights Books)
76. Divorce Islamic Style by Amara Lakhous (26 June; City Lights Books)
77. Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast by Natasha Trethewey (26 June; City Lights Books)
78. Memoirs of a Porcupine by Alain Mabanckou (26 June; City Lights Books)
79. Is Just a Movie by Earl Lovelace (26 June; City Lights Books)
80. Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me, and Other Poems by Ghassan Zaqtan (26 June; City Lights Books)
81. The Making of Modern Medicine: Turning Points in the Treatment of Disease by Michael Bliss (26 June; City Lights Books)
82. The Dream of the Celt by Mario Vargas Llosa (26 June; City Lights Books)
83. God's Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine by Victoria Sweet (26 June; City Lights Books)
84. The Earth in the Attic by Fady Joudah (26 June; City Lights Books)
85. Massacre River by René Philoctète (28 June; City Lights Books)
86. Manual of Painting and Calligraphy by José Saramago (28 June; City Lights Books)
87. I Was an Elephant Salesman by Pap Khouma (28 June; City Lights Books)
88. I Am a Japanese Writer by Dany Laferrière (28 June; City Lights Books)
89. Jim and Jap Crow: A Cultural History of 1940s Interracial America by Matthew M. Briones (28 June; City Lights Books)
90. McTeague by Frank Norris (30 June; free Kindle e-book)
91. Being Sam Frears: A Life Less Ordinary by Mary Mount (30 June; Penguin eSpecial)
92. Head Off & Split by Nikky Finney (2 July; Books Inc.)
93. Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith (2 July; Books Inc.)
94. The Moon, Come to Earth: Dispatches from Lisbon by Philip Graham (2 July; University of Chicago Press free e-book)
95. Confessions of a Young Novelist by Umberto Eco (4 July; City Lights Books)
96. Missing Soluch by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi (4 July; City Lights Books)
97. Why Niebuhr Matters by Charles Lemert (4 July; City Lights Books)
98. Globalectics by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (4 July; City Lights Books)
99. Black in Latin America by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (4 July; City Lights Books)
100. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (6 July; Kindle download)
101. Always in Trouble: An Oral History of ESP-Disk', the Most Outrageous Record Label in America by Jason Weiss (6 July; City Lights Books)
102. Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love by David Talbot (6 July; City Lights Books)
103. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo (6 July; City Lights Books)
104. Inside by Alix Ohlin (6 July; City Lights Books)
105. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova (8 July; Kindle download)
106. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol (9 July; NYRB Book Club)
107. Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil (25 July; Kindle download)
108. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (25 July; Kindle download)
109. Skios by Michael Frayn (25 July; Kindle download)
110. Religio Medici and Urne-Buriall by Sir Thomas Browne (31 July; NYRB Book Club)
111. The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle (7 August; LTER book)
112. Wheel with a Single Spoke and Other Poems by Nichita Stănescu (8 August; Archipelago Books subscription)
113. Prehistoric Times by Eric Chevillard (8 August; Archipelago Books subscription)
114. A Word Child by Iris Murdoch (10 August; Kindle download)
115. Swimming Home by Deborah Levy (10 August; The Book Depository)
116. The Teleportation Accident by Ned Bauman (11 August; AbeBooks)
117. The Yips by Nicola Barker (11 August; AbeBooks)
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
21. Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning
22. The Loss of El Dorado: A Colonial History by V.S. Naipaul
23. My Michael by Amos Oz
24. Popular Hits of the Showa Era by Ryu Murakami
25. Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz
26. Palace of Desire by Naguib Mahfouz
27. Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley
28. Sugar Street by Naguib Mahfouz
29. Silence by Shusaku Endo
30. Friendly Fire by A.B. Yehoshua
Books purchased in 2012:
1. The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq √
2. Fragile Beginnings: Discoveries and Triumphs in the Newborn ICU by Adam Wolfberg, MD √
3. The Irish Americans: A History by Jay P. Dolan
4. The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God and Other Stories by Etgar Keret √
5. The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright √
6. Suffer the Children: Flaws, Foibles, Fallacies and the Grave Shortcomings of Pediatric Care by Peter Palmieri √
7. The King of Kahel by Tierno Monénembo
8. The Secret Piano: From Mao's Labor Camps to Bach's Goldberg Variations by Zhu Xiao-Mei
9. The Greenhouse by Audur Ava Olafsdottir
10. Thirst by Andrei Gelasimov √
11. Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick √
12. Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding √
13. Three Strong Women by Marie NDiaye √
14. Foreign Studies by Shusaku Endo
15. The Enormity of the Tragedy by Quim Monzó
16. Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens
17. The Coward's Tale by Vanessa Gebbie
18. Trapeze by Simon Mawer
19. HHhH by Laurent Binet
20. The Undertaker's Daughter by Toi Derricotte √
21. What Is Amazing by Heather Christle √
22. Scenes from Early Life by Philip Hensler √
23. Pure by Timothy Mo √
24. Capital by John Lanchester
25. The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro
26. Our Lady of Alice Bhatti by Mohammed Hanif
27. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel √
28. London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets by Peter Ackroyd
29. Divorce Islamic Style by Amara Lakhous
30. Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast by Natasha Trethewey √
31. Memoirs of a Porcupine by Alain Mabanckou √
32. Is Just a Movie by Earl Lovelace
33. Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me, and Other Poems by Ghassan Zaqtan √
34. The Making of Modern Medicine: Turning Points in the Treatment of Disease by Michael Bliss √
35. The Dream of the Celt by Mario Vargas Llosa
36.. God's Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine by Victoria Sweet √
37. The Earth in the Attic by Fady Joudah √
38. Massacre River by René Philoctète
39. Manual of Painting and Calligraphy by José Saramago
40. I Was an Elephant Salesman by Pap Khouma √
41. I Am a Japanese Writer by Dany Laferrière
42. Jim and Jap Crow: A Cultural History of 1940s Interracial America by Matthew M. Briones
43. Being Sam Frears: A Life Less Ordinary by Mary Mount √
44. Head Off & Split by Nikky Finney
45. Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith
46. Confessions of a Young Novelist by Umberto Eco
47. Missing Soluch by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi
48. Why Niebuhr Matters by Charles Lemert
49. Globalectics by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
50. Black in Latin America by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
51. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
52. Always in Trouble: An Oral History of ESP-Disk', the Most Outrageous Record Label in America by Jason Weiss
53. Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love by David Talbot
54. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo
55. Inside by Alix Ohlin
56. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova
57. Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil √
58. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
59. Skios by Michael Frayn
60. The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
61. The Yips by Nicola Barker
62. The Teleportation Accident by Ned Bauman
63. Swimming Home by Deborah Levy
64. A Word Child by Iris Murdoch
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
6. Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz
7. Palace of Desire by Naguib Mahfouz
8. Sugar Street by Naguib Mahfouz
9. Silence by Shusaku Endo
Planned reads for August (updated 8/19/12):
Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis - completed
Victor LaValle, The Devil in Silver - completed
Victor LaValle, Lucretia and the Kroons - completed
Nikky Finney, Head Off & Split - completed
Christopher Morley, Parnassus on Wheels - completed
Nicola Barker, The Yips - completed
Ned Beauman, The Teleportation Accident
Tan Twan Eng, The Garden of Evening Mists - completed
Deborah Levy, Swimming Home - completed
Naguib Mahfouz, Palace of Desire - completed
Naguib Mahfouz, Sugar Street - completed
Edward W. Said, Out of Place - reading
Adonis, Mihyar of Damascus: His Songs - reading
Mahmoud Darwish, In the Presence of Absence
Shusaku Endo, Silence - completed
Ryu Murakami, Coin Locker Babies
Alix Ohlin, Inside
Colm Tóibín, The Empty Family: Stories - reading
A.B. Yehoshua, Friendly Fire - reading
Psalm by Adonis (Ali Ahmad Sa'id)
He arrives unarmed, a forest, a cloud not to be warded off. Yesterday he lifted up a continent and moved the sea from its place.
He draws the back side of day. He fashions a day from his feet. He borrows night's shoes and waits for what will not come. He is the physics of things—he knows them and he calls them by names he will not disclose. He is reality and its contrary, life and its other.
Where stone becomes lake, where shadow becomes city, he lives: he lives on and frustrates despair, erasing the empty spaces of hope, dancing for the soil until it yawns, dancing the trees to sleep.
Here he is, showing how extremities converge, chiseling on the brow of our time the magic spell.
No one sees him, though his presence fills life. He churns it into foam and dives in. He transforms tomorrow into his prey and runs behind it in despair. Engraved, his echoing words: they fade out into loss loss loss.
Indecision is his homeland—for all his store of eyes.
He terrifies. He gladdens.
Disaster oozes through him. He overflows with scorn.
He peels man like an onion.
He is wind. The wind does not retrace his steps. He is water. Water never flows back to its source. He creates his own kind. Starting with himself. He has no ancestors. His roots are in his footsteps.
He stalks the abyss, his stature like the wind.
—From Mihyar of Damascus: His Songs
The opening photo represents my continuing tribute to The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz. Next week I'll read the last book in the trilogy, Sugar Street, which starts in 1935 and extends through World War II. The poem is by Syrian author Ali Ahmad Sa'id (1930-), who has taken the pen name Adonis. For the past several years he has been reported been a finalist for the Nobel Prize for Literature, but has fallen short each time. I'll read Mihyar of Damascus: His Songs this month, and The Pages of Day and Night in September.
Another nice picture - I really like these old black and white photos that you've been using to start your threads.
I had another good look at the NT website after seeing that you managed to get some tickets for The Curious History of the Dog in the Night-Time and have managed to get some for the end of September after all. My problem was the only days we can do outside school holidays are Saturday nights, and of course I'm trying to get three tickets together which is more difficult. I'd like to go to the theatre much more than we do. Before this week I think the last time we went was last September, when we saw Kevin Spacey as Richard III.
I love the photograph, too! I'm going to try to lurk about here for a while but no promises of comments....
Great photo, Darryl. It took me a while to figure it out, with the ribbons hanging down.
I love the blend of traditional and modern, secular and religious, young and old in the photo. It fits the dichotomies of action and thought in the Cairo Trilogy perfectly. I wouldn't want to be the citrus peddler on the bicycle though. It looks like that was a close call.
I was hoping you were going to have another end-of-thread quiz on your old thread, so I could redeem myself!
Another great Cairo photo Darryl. When I read the trilogy, I thought the first book was absolutely brilliant and my appreciation decreased as I continued, but still thought the ensemble was a brilliant observation of a city and nation seen through the story of one family.
Surprised to see you're reading Parnassus on Wheels. I loved it, but such a light read!
>7 Thanks, Rhian. I'm glad that you were able to get tickets for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, too. The last three or four times I had looked at the NT web site there were no tickets available for any performances, so I'm glad that I kept checking.
>8 Welcome, Karen! Lurking on this thread is permitted and encouraged; I do the same for several other threads, and I'll only comment when I have something to say.
>9 Thanks, Joe. It did take me a minute to be sure that this was one photo, and not separate images spliced by the cables.
>10 I love the blend of traditional and modern, secular and religious, young and old in the photo. It fits the dichotomies of action and thought in the Cairo Trilogy perfectly.
That's the main reason I chose this photo, Lisa. I wanted one which portrayed a Cairene street scene in the 1930s, which combined all of the changing elements of an ordinary neighborhood and its inhabitants. I would have preferred one which showed people in detail, but this photo was the best one I could find.
I wouldn't want to be the citrus peddler on the bicycle though. It looks like that was a close call.
Hmm...I don't see a citrus seller on a bicycle. Where is he?
>11 I hate the poem, so you chose well. Everyone else will love it.
No one has commented on the poem yet, so they may be secretly in agreement with you.
>12 I forgot about the end-of-thread quiz! I'll be sure to make one for this thread.
>13 Interesting comment about The Cairo Trilogy, Ilana. I liked Palace of Desire a bit less than Palace Walk, but I'm encouraged by Richard's opinion that Sugar Street was the best book of the three.
I decided to read Parnassus on Wheels because of Stasia's comments about it this past weekend, and because I wanted something light and short to read during my transition from a day person to a night owl. I'm working 8 pm to 8 am tonight and Monday night, and I do better with lighter reads and short stories in the early morning hours. I'm halfway through the book, so I should finish it no later than tomorrow.
Good luck with the evening hours. I'll await your thoughts on Parnassus on Wheels.
Thanks for positing such an interesting photo to begin your thread.
Thanks, Linda; I'll probably need some luck. Friday nights are usually very busy in our ER, so I'm anticipating a hectic and busy night. Hopefully my Monday night call will be a relatively benign one.
I'm enjoying Parnassus on Wheels so far; I'll let you know what I think of it when I'm done.
I'm glad that you also enjoyed the photo!
Silence sounds like such an intriguing story, I am anxious to see your comments on it.
By the way, I liked the poem.
Continued from previous thread ... I picked up today's Kindle Daily Deal too. Most of the time those deals are nothing to get excited about, but I liked Iris Murdoch. Score!
Great new thread, Darryl. Since I'm thoroughly steeped in Palace Walk right now, I particularly like the street scene from Cairo in 1937.
I still want to know where is the bicyclist in the photograph? Under the big bunch of "fruit" or something, just to the right hand side of the horse drawn carriage? Where?
Cairo Trilogy...calling me...trying to resist....
Your evocative top images are not helping the resistance :)
I'm a big fan of black and white "documentary" photographs -- Cartier-Bresson, etc. So I'm enjoying your Cairo pics, here. Wish I had the ability to decorate my apt with these images!!
>17 I'll probably read Silence on Sunday. I was going to start it tonight, but I received my copy of Swimming Home from The Book Depository in the mail today. It's one of the novels selected for this year's Booker Prize longlist, and it's just over 150 pages, so I'll read it today.
>18 I still haven't read anything by Iris Murdoch, although I own several of her books, including her Booker winner The Sea, the Sea. The reviews for and description of A Word Child were enticing, so it was an easy choice to add it to my Kindle library.
>19 Thanks, Ellen. I look forward to your comments about Palace Walk.
>20 I'll look again, but I still don't see a bicyclist in that photo!
>21 Do read The Cairo Trilogy, Ellen! And don't get put off by its length, should you run across the Everyman's Library copy of it (>1300 pages).
>22 *waves at star pupil Stasia*
>23 I completely agree, Suz. I love old B&W photographs, particularly those which show street scenes, old buildings and people. I'm a fan of Cartier-Bresson as well.
It's been a peaceful call night so far, with only three simple hospital admissions in the first six hours. The hospital is completely full, as the last patient I admitted is going to have to spend the night in a tiny ER room, until some kids are discharged tomorrow morning. The landing pad for the Children's helicopter is not far from my office, and I haven't heard it take off or land since I've been here, which is very unusual for a Friday night. The ER is emptying out already, so I may have very little to do between now and 8 am. With any luck I'll be able to finish Swimming Home before I leave.
Darryl - I am just reacquainting myself with late Empire Cairo Darryl and your thread reminds me of the happy times I spent in that wonderful country in the 1980's. An admirable people who often smile through adversity and will probably always be my third home after Malaysia and England.
Have a great weekend.
>24 yay for a quiet night at the office, where a quiet night means good news for all those kids not being quietened by serious health issues!
And another thanks for the "heads up" on the Kindle deal on the Iris Murdoch book. I too am not often interested in their "deals: - but there was one other offer, back on July 4th - Independence: The Struggle to Set America Free by John Ferling. Kind of an odd title but appropriate for that date. I'm only about half way through it, but he provides a very good background to the events leading up to the signing of the declaration and the personalities involved. And I think Ferling is a professor at a university in Georgia.
México es el campeón olimpico de fútbol para la primera vez: Brasil 1-2 México. ¡Viva México!
I watched the second half of the match on Telemundo, one of the major Spanish language stations in the US, rather than the official (and comparatively quite bland) broadcast on NBC. México led for the entire match, but Brasil made a near miraculous comeback in stoppage time at the end of the second half, scoring one goal and coming within inches of a second one.
>25 Nice comments about Egypt and its people, Paul. That's one of many countries I hope to visit in the near future, along with Morocco.
*Note to self: purchase MegaMillions lottery ticket soon.*
>26 Ha! I spoke too soon. It was quiet until 5:00 am, when I had four new admissions in just over an hour. Croup was the flavor of the night, as three of the seven kids had that. None of the kids were seriously ill, fortunately; of the other four kids one had a complex febrile seizure (seizure with fever, which lasted for 30 minutes), one had pneumonia, one had status asthmaticus (an asthma attack that could not be adequately treated without hospital admission), and the last was a baby with bacteremia (bacterial infection in the blood). All should make a full recovery.
>27 I looked up John Ferling on LT; he apparently lives in Atlanta, and is a professor emeritus at the University of West Georgia, which is about an hour west of Atlanta.
I received two more novels from the Booker longlist in the mail today: The Yips by Nicola Barker and The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman. I'll read both books this coming week.
I finished Swimming Home by Deborah Levy early this morning, which is the third book I've read from this year's Booker Prize longlist. It's probably the shortest book of the Booker Dozen, at 157 pages, but it was a meaty and compelling read, with plenty of food for thought, in keeping with the judges' criteria for this year's longlist. I enjoyed it, as I gave it 4.5 stars, and I'll definitely read it again if it makes the shortlist. I'll submit a review of it, probably on Wednesday or Thursday, after I think about it a bit more.
Here's my longlist ranking so far:
1. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
2. Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil
3. Swimming Home by Deborah Levy
My next longlisted book will probably be The Yips by Nicola Barker, but I'll read Sugar Street, the last novel in the Cairo Trilogy, first.
From today's Telegraph:
Apple to squeeze out Orange as new backer of fiction award
This seems to be more speculative than definite, though.
I love the speculation that Apple or Blackberry might pick up where Orange dropped off. Sounds like a bad 6th grade parody.
>32 And it reminds me of the skit from the One Ronnie show on BBC One:
My Blackberry Is Not Working!
Thank you, very much. The kids eggs-box works entirely too well for my taste! Maybe I should throw it out the Windows.
Today's Telegraph also includes an excellent profile of Nicola Barker, author of The Yips:
Nicola Barker: From cult novelist to Man Booker favourite
Thanks for that link to the Barker interview. She doesn't really sound like an author I'd enjoy reading but I think she's just the type the Booker judges will like.
Hi Darryl, I've just cantered through about 8 threads to catch up - please don't set me a quiz, I won't claim to have read every word!
But I've enjoyed/been horrified by the bad parent photos, spotted an interesting discussion about relationships and dating way back, and enjoyed your brief but enthusiastic review of Bring up the Bodies, which I also loved but like you just a bit less than Wolf Hall. I haven't read any of the other Booker nominees yet - will try to keep up with your thread and see your verdict on other longlisted titles...
Good to see you here, Genny! I hope to have the Booker longlist finished by early October, if not sooner.
Well, Blackberry can't afford to do anything much these days, so it may be down to the Apple.
Jam or Pie, anyone??
Wow Darryl you are doing really well on your planned August reads--I wish I could say the same.
I'm interested to see what you think of Silence. Of all the books I've read for the Japanese authors theme, I think that's been my favorite.
I might wait for your final ranking before I tackle those Bookers, especially since so few of them are available in the US.
(I like the poem)
>41 Jam (on a hot scone), please.
>42 Thanks, Anne. I also finished Sugar Street early this morning, so I'm done with The Cairo Trilogy.
I've only read the introduction to Silence so far, so I think I'll read The Yips first, and then return to Silence later this week.
So far all three books from the longlist have been very good, and significantly better than last year's Booker Dozen.
Hi Darryl - Glad to see that you think highly of Swimming Home. I'll probably get to that one next. I also finally received Philida and The Garden of Evening Mists in the mail, so I have a lot of Booker reading ahead of me.
Also, thanks for sharing that Nicola Barker article. In a weird way, it makes me much more likely to read The Yips now.
Hi Darryl, Just finished reading God's Hotel. While reading, I kept thinking of the John J. Kane facility in Pittsburgh. I had a quick rotation through there as a student around 1974. It did not leave the most positive of impressions. When I googled it I was surprised that it is still there.
My exposure to that environment combined with my experience as a PT to patients with neurologic disabilities led me to think that Dr. S's view of Laguna Honda was romanticized.
It's a sad reality that the people being cared for in her stories are the people who have no voice in the politicization of medical care. And those who yell loudest about healthcare costs have little to no exposure to these people on the margins. On that part she does a good job, if only we could make this required reading for the public.
Your review of the book is excellent. I have some other thoughts as well, but have to give it some time to gel.
Thanks once again for another great book recommendation.
Woo...my one night work week is over. It was another exceptionally busy night (11 admissions, 1 consult, no sleep), but I did have help from 8 pm to 4 am, when it was the busiest. I've just hit a wall, so hopefully this message will be coherent.
>44 You're welcome, Kerri. I'm write my review of Swimming Home in the next day or two. I'm a little over 100 pages into The Yips; it's wacky as hell, but I love it so far.
I'm waiting for The Garden of Evening Mists to come in the mail. That will be the eighth longlisted book I'll have received, and I'll pick up the other four soon after I arrive in London early next month.
>45 I'm eagerly looking forward to your thoughts about God's Hotel. I hadn't heard of the John J. Kane regional centers; did you rotate through the one in Hazelwood, south of Squirrel Hill? There are apparently four of them in Allegheny County, and that one seems to be the closest one to Pitt's main campus.
Well, I'm bummed. I didn't jump on the Tretheway tickets quick enough, and they were all gone Sunday when I got to the store. I'll still have a good time Saturday & Sunday, but I'll miss seeing you Darryl. I'm sure there will be another gathering sometime. . .
>46 It was the one in Scott Township and it looked like this then: http://ihm.nlm.nih.gov/luna/servlet/detail/NLMNLM~1~1~101407400~150084:-The-John...
in the 80's it was split into the 4 regional centers as noted in this article: http://old.post-gazette.com/healthscience/20020924kanes0924p7.asp
which could almost be a section in Sweet's book.
It's interesting (and somewhat discouraging) that this article showed up in the NYT today: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/15/business/hca-giant-hospital-chain-creates-a-wi...
Darryl - if have never known you to be anything other than coherent. Have a good rest from what appeared to have been a hectic and stressful shift.
Hey Darryl! Just checking in to keep up with your thread.
I'm still reading The Devil in Silver and am really enjoying it!! :)
>47 I left a message on your thread about the Arts at Emory online box office, Ardene. From what I can tell there are still tickets available there. If not, I'll keep my eyes open for author readings in town this fall. It's about time that I met LTers who live in Atlanta!
>48 Thanks for the information about the original and separated Kane facilities, tangledthread. The original building is incredibly depressing. The NYT article you mentioned is on the front page of today's paper, so I'll read it later today.
>49 Thanks, Paul. I slept off and on for about 12 hours from yesterday morning until this morning, catching up on sleep and readjusting from nocturnal to diurnal life. The worst thing about night call is having to make that day-night-day switch, especially when I have a short turnaround from working nights to working days. Fortunately I'm off from clinical duties until Monday, although I'll have a meeting to attend and some administrative duties to perform on Friday.
>50 Hi, Tina! I'm glad that you're enjoying The Devil in Silver. I'll post my review of it in the next day or two.
I'm halfway through The Yips so far, and I should finish it today. It's still very good, but the wackiness is starting to become slightly tiresome.
I finished The Yips a little over an hour ago, and it did pick up steam after the midway point. It was a crazy and dizzying rollercoaster of a ride, but a very enjoyable one. I'll give it 4 stars for now, but I suspect that I'll add an extra ½ star once I think about it a bit more.
Here's my current longlist ranking:
1. Bring Up the Bodies
3. The Yips
4. Swimming Home
All four longlisted books have been very good to excellent, and so far I'm very pleased with the quality of this year's Booker Dozen. I'll read The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman this weekend, unless I receive The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng in the mail before then.
Book #83: The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle
Pepper is a fortysomething blue collar wise guy from Queens, New York, a big man whose height and girth are exceeded only by his unfiltered mouth, naïveté, and unique ability to make every bad situation much worse. His reverse Midas touch lands him in the psychiatric unit at New Hyde Hospital, after his chivalrous attempt to protect a neighbor causes him to engage in a brawl with three men, who unbeknownst to him are undercover NYC police officers. The cops drop him off at New Hyde, where he is supposed to spend the next 72 hours in observation until his court date.
New Hyde is a financially strapped and decrepit public hospital, and the psych ward, known as Northwest, is even more dilapidated and poorly managed than the separate Med/Surg units. Pepper finds himself surrounded by a colorful group of fellow inmates, who include a benign elderly woman, who serves as his greeter and guide; his African roommate, who is obsessed with contacting any government official, including Mayor Bloomberg or President Obama, that will investigate the inhumane treatment provided to patients on the ward; and a teenage girl, whose razor wit and even sharper tongue hide her deep vulnerability and sensitivity.
Unfortunately there is also one particularly malevolent being that resides there: a hairy man-beast of superhuman strength, who the other patients refer to as 'The Devil'. This creature terrorizes the patients, who believe that he is the cause for the mysterious deaths and disappearances that plague Northwest. Pepper encounters The Devil on his first night there, and barely escapes his deadly grasp.
Pepper's narcissism and bad luck continue to plague him, as his attempts to escape and to demand his rights land him in ever deeper trouble with the medical staff and the other patients. His 72 hour stay is progressively extended, even though most believe that he doesn't belong there. Despite this, he wins the trust of several patients, who enlist him in their fight to overcome The Devil.
LaValle also describes the broken mental health system in NYC, including the notorious death of Esmin Green at King's County Hospital in Brooklyn in 2008, the mistreatment of public citizens by the NYPD, and the sometimes tense race relations in the melting pot that is the Big Apple.
This was a delightful read, and a book which transcends easy classification: Is it a mystery? a horror story? a love story? literary fiction? or African American literature? I'd say yes to all of these descriptions. More importantly, it's a well written page turner of a novel, which I believe would be appreciated by a wide audience.
I just finished Lucretia and the Kroons....a novella by Victor LaValle, and am trying to "process" it......a "heavy" message written in a child-like style. It took a while to adjust..to realize that the story was told in the "perfect style'...my review will be posted once it's stopped "percolating"...but, it was a "Good" read...
I have The Devil in Silver in a Net Galley...waiting patiently....Good review!
Thanks for mentioning Lucretia and the Kroons, Jude! Lucretia, or Loochie, is the teenage girl in The Devil in Silver, and the description on Amazon indicates that the novella is a prequel to the novel. It's available as a 99 cent Kindle Single, so I just downloaded it, and I'll read it this week.
You're welcome! I was surprised to see your review...one of those TWILIGHT ZONE moments!!!
>56 I've heard good things about Victor LaValle, as he is one of the up and coming young African-American writers (although he isn't as young as his photos would suggest!). I own two of his earlier books, Big Machine and The Ecstatic, but I haven't read either one yet. I was thrilled that I won The Devil in Silver as an LTER book, and I started it a day or two after I received it earlier this month. I'll definitely read the other two books in the very near future.
>57 Thanks, Richard; it was excellent. It will be released this coming Tuesday, 8/21, in both the US and the UK.
The nominees for this year's Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards, given to writers from the African diaspora, have been announced:
Crossbones by Nuruddin Farah
Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi
You Are Free: Stories by Danzy Senna
Salvage the Bones by Jessmyn Ward (winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Fiction)
Zone One by Colson Whitehead
Kingdom Animalia (American Poets Continuum) by Aracelis Girmay
The new black (Wesleyan Poetry Series) by Evie Shockley
Life on Mars: Poems by Tracy K. Smith (winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry)
Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement by Tomiko Brown-Nagin
Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America by Melissa V. Harris-Perry
Harlem is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts (finalist for the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography, and shortlisted for the 2012 Dolman Best Travel Book Award (UK))
One Day I Will Write About This Place: A Memoir by Binyavanga Wainaina
My Long Trip Home: A Family Memoir by Mark Whitaker
I've only read Salvage the Bones and Harlem Is Nowhere so far. I own Zone One, Life on Mars and One Day I Will Write About This Place. If possible I'd like to read all of these books by the end of the year, or by early 2013 at the latest.
Right. Publishing Lucretia and the Kroons as a 99 cent Kindle Single in July was a clever way to get readers to buy The Devil in Silver in August. Yesterday I downloaded Telegraph Avenue: The Enhanced Promo Single, a free Kindle e-book which contains an excerpt from Michael Chabon's upcoming novel Telegraph Avenue, which I was going to buy in any case.
I have The Ecstatic on my Kindle, and I'll probably read it in the next month or two. I checked, but unfortunately it isn't a lendable book.
Darryl, thanks for posting the list of nominees for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards. I'm going to see which of them my library has. Of course, I've already read and very much liked Salvage the Bones.
I keep looking for The Yips on their website and they don't even have it listed as "on order" (which is the listed status of a few of the other Booker nominees that are not yet available in the U.S.). Still, after your brief comment and rating, I'll keep looking for it.
>62 You're welcome, Jude. I'm glad that I could reciprocate your favor.
>63 You're welcome, Ellen. I'll add Zone One to my list of planned reads for August. Then, if I read one book from each category each month I'll be finished by the end of the year. I often bemoan the lack of quality contemporary African American literature in the US, particularly in comparison to the superb poetry and nonfiction, so I'll make it a top priority to read the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award nominees and finalists from now on.
I ordered The Yips from AbeBooks, and my copy came via SuperBookDeals, which is based in South Bend, Indiana. You can order directly from the seller; oddly enough, though, the price seems to be cheaper if you order it from SuperBookDeals through AbeBooks. The selling price has gone up, from $22.91 (+ $3.96 shipping) when I ordered it last month; AbeBooks is selling it for $24.05 + $2.64 shipping, and the selling price on SuperBookDeals.com is $27.57 + $3.99 shipping. On the other hand, Amazon UK is selling it for £12.53 + £6.98 shipping, or £19.51, which is ~$30.70 US; the book's list price is £18.99 (~$28.89 USD). As usual, The Book Depository is not selling it directly from its web site, although you can order it via AbeBooks or Amazon US (w/o free shipping).
This is pretty typical for what I've noticed since The Book Depository stopped offering free shipping of UK books to the US (i.e., AbeBooks is the cheapest seller), although it's sometimes cheaper to buy books directly from Amazon UK if you buy one than one book or if the price of the book you're buying is discounted more than usual.
The Devil in Silver sounds intriguing. As for the Hurston/Wright list, the only one I've read is Mr. Fox, but I'll look for some of the others.
ETA What do you mean the Book Depository stopped offering free shipping to the US?? I haven't encountered this, but it's a while since I've bought anything at BD.
The Book Depository is no longer shipping books that are only available in the UK directly from its web site. Several of us on Club Read, particularly myself, avaland, Nickelini(?) and a couple of other North Americans, commented about this when the change came about last year. If you search for The Yips, for example, TBD will say that it is "Currently unavailable". However, if you look for the book on Amazon or AbeBooks, TBD is listed as one of the sellers; however, free shipping to the US is not available. And, if you try to buy a book that is available in different editions in the US and the UK, such as Bring Up the Bodies, the US edition will be on sale but the UK edition won't be. It's rather sneaky, but I suppose this change allows TBD to continue to tout that it offers "Free worldwide delivery".
Oh, I knew they were no longer shipping those books, but I didn't understand what you meant by not offering free delivery.
>67 Right. TBD still ships to the US (as my copy of Swimming Home came from TBD last week), but not always for free. I think this holds true for Canada as well. The concept of free shipping of books that were only available in the UK, and for a 10-20% discount off of the list price, was too good to be true when I first heard about it. It was true, but unfortunately it was too good to last.
#53 - Hi Darryl - Great review and thanks for bringing my attention to the Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards - I'll have to check that out.
Also, I looked at my receipts, and I ordered Swimming Home and Philida through The Book Depository on Abe books and wasn't charged for shipping. I suppose they could have over-charged for the book though. I'm not sure. It's also possible that I'm completely missing the point of the conversation, as it's early and I'm taking cold medicine. : )
Hi Darryl- Finally stumbled over here after trying to get caught up. Hope your week is going well. I'm also looking forward to Telegraph Avenue. I'll be watching for your thoughts.
Hey Darryl!! I posted my review of The Devil in Silver just the other day. It sounds like we both LOVED it equally....
So glad to read your review and know it struck home with you as well. I am also stoked to see the prequel listed here (Loved Loochie!). I will definitely read more LaValle in my future.
**To point out how naive I am, I had no idea what race LaValle was but assumed from Pepper's character that he was a white male... Goes to show you what assumptions are good for.
Stopping by to say hello, Darryl. I hope your schedule has gotten more on-kilter and you're finding enough time to read - sure looks like you are!
>69 Also, I looked at my receipts, and I ordered Swimming Home and Philida through The Book Depository on Abe books and wasn't charged for shipping. I suppose they could have over-charged for the book though. I'm not sure.
I received The Garden of Evening Mists from The Book Depository today, which I ordered from Amazon US. I was charged $18.88, plus $3.99 S&H when I ordered it on 8/2; the list price is £12.99, which is ~$20.36 USD. Today Amazon/TBD is charging either $13.49 or $17.40 for it(?), along with $3.99 S&H for either boo. On the other hand, AbeBooks/TBD is selling it for $16.03, with free shipping to the US from the UK. Interestingly, TBD is now selling it to US customers (which I'm pretty sure it wasn't last month), and is charging $16.48 for it, with free shipping to the US.
For comparison, Amazon UK is charging a total of £16.07 for it (£9.09 + £6.98 S&H).
I think I would have an easier time relearning the Krebs cycle than trying to understand these pricing and shipping differences.
>70 My work week is officially over, Mark. I've been off from clinical duties since Tuesday morning, and this morning I attended an administrative meeting at our corporate center and reviewed some records, as part of my new appointment of Section Chief of Pediatrics at the hospital I work at (the system has three children's hospitals, so there are two others who have similar positions within the organization). I described it as a Grand Poobah designation when I was first nominated, once in which I would proudly wear the water buffalo hat and lead in the singing of the group's anthem, but I learned today that it is actually a very important position with a significant amount of responsibility (but no additional pay).
So, I shall strut proudly for the time being, until the organization realizes that it has made a terrible mistake and rescinds the section chief appointment in a week or two.
>71 Yes, I saw (and thumbed) your review of The Devil in Silver, Tina, and I agreed with your assessment of it. The only reason I knew that Victor LaValle was African American was because of his two previous novels that I own, Big Machine and The Ecstatic, and because I read about him a couple of years ago.
>72 Hi, Joe. Yes, I am finding more time to read, as my work schedule is much lighter in the summer than it is during the late fall to mid spring. We need fewer doctors to round on patients, so we work far fewer days at this time of year. I'll work very few days in September (8) and October (10), as I'll take my first vacation next month, and I'll go to the American Academy of Pediatrics' annual convention in New Orleans in October (which includes a two week break from work). I'll take my remaining two weeks of vacation in November, which I'll spend in San Francisco, and hopefully Chicago and Madison.
To add to the confusion over shipping for The Garden of Evening Mists - I ordered it yesterday from Amazon US, price of $10.60 (no shipping, with Amazon Prime) but it won't ship until Sept 6. Go figure!
thanks from the bottom of my touched heart
when I was taking care of the infant girl who was my great niece she like to nap in the donut shaped doggy beds I had for my miniature schnauzers but the dogs were not so kind as to nap along side of her
>75 Nope, I won't make an attempt to understand these pricing differences. What I found especially baffling was that Amazon was selling copies of The Garden of Evening Mists from the same distributor (The Book Depository) for significantly different prices, with no obvious difference in the speed or cost of shipping.
BTW, I've decided to start The Garden of Evening Mists today, and postpone reading To the End of the Land by David Grossman until September. The latter book is over 500 pages, and it seems to be a book that will be best read slowly. I'll plan to bring it, and the somewhat similarly styled novel As Though She Were Sleeping by Elias Khoury, with me on vacation next month. In their places I'll probably read The Same Sea by Amos Oz and/or Friendly Fire by A.B. Yehoshua, and The Colonel by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, which I had planned to read in September.
>77,78 One of my friends posted a link to that photo on Facebook, and it was too cute not to share here.
>79 They would, Paul. The Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards have been in existence since 2006, and any author from the African diaspora who are Black and whose books of interest have been published in the US are eligible. So, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Caryl Phillips would qualify, whereas André Brink would not. Dancing in the Dark by Caryl Phillips was a 2006 Fiction nominee, and Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was a finalist for the 2007 Fiction award.
Re: the Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards, a qualifying criteria of African descent/Black seems like it could be somewhat imprecise. Is it possible that an author would need to submit genealogical proof?
#80 What mystifies me about BD pricing is that sometimes the BD UK price and BD US prices are different. And they both ship from the UK!
PS I am reading The Colonel now.
Morning Darryl- Your "Grand Poobah" comments reminded me of Fred Flintstone and his "Moose" Club. LOL.
Book #88: Silence by Shusaku Endo
This brilliant novel, which is widely considered to be Endo's masterpiece, describes the persecution and fate of Japanese Christians and Portuguese Catholic priests in the years during the 17th century Shimabara Rebellion and its aftermath.
First, a little bit of historical background. Christianity in Japan began in the 1540s, soon after Portugal began to trade goods with that country. The first Jesuit missionaries were met with resistance in their first efforts to convert the Japanese to Catholicism, but soon a unique form of Christianity, which combined the teachings of Roman Catholicism and Buddhism, took hold. By the late 1570s there were over 100,000 active Christians in Japan throughout all social strata, primarily in and around the coastal regions of southwestern Japan.
In the late 1580s Toyotomi Hideyoshi assumed power over a newly unified Japan. As part of his effort to control the country, and fearing that the missionaries were a first step toward colonization of Japan by the Portuguese, Hideyoshi, an avowed Buddhist, banned Catholicism and cracked down on the missionaries and the daimyos, the territorial lords who oversaw the sometimes forcible conversion of their people to the Western religion. After Hideyoshi's death Christianity in Japan experienced moderate growth, with intermittent periods of persecution by the shogunate. Following the Great Genna Martyrdom of 1632, Catholicism was officially banned in Japan. In the following year the Tokugawa shogunate began to institute sakoku ("locked country"), a national seclusion policy which forbade foreigners from entering the country or Japanese citizens from leaving it.
In 1637 peasants in Shimbara, located in modern day Nagasaki Prefecture, rebelled against the feudal lord of the region, who taxed them to the point of starvation in order to pay for a new castle that was built in his honor. These peasants, who were mainly Christian villagers, attacked the castle, but were successfully rebelled by forces of the Tokugawa shogunate in 1638. In the aftermath of the Shimabara Rebellion, sakoku was enforced more strictly, and Christians were actively pursued and forced to renounce their religion once they were captured. Most were obligated to step on a fumie, a wooden or stone likeness of Jesus or Mary. Most of those who did so willingly were released, but anyone who refused or hesitated before doing so was brutally tortured and ultimately killed, along with their families. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese Christians and Portuguese missionaries died in this manner during the 17th century.
Silence begins in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon in 1638, as Father Sebastian Rodrigues and two of his fellow priests seek to travel to Japan. Their beloved teacher, Father Christovao Ferriera, has not been heard from since 1633, after he reportedly committed apostasy by stepping on a fumie in Nagasaki once he was captured and tortured. The Roman Catholic church leadership in Portugal is initially reluctant to grant permission to the priests to travel there, as they are aware of the persecution of Christians in Japan and the refusal of the shogunate to allow any commercial relationship with the Portuguese. Eventually the three are given the blessing of the church, and months later they arrive in the port city of Macao. There they are introduced to Kichijiro, a rather dodgy Japanese resident of the city, who wishes to return to his home country and agrees to accompany two of the priests there. The junk boat lands under cover of darkness near Nagasaki, and the priests make their way to the hills above Nagasaki. There they meet a group of hidden Christians in a nearby village, who are overjoyed to meet a Catholic priest. However, the Christians are soon uncovered by the local samurai, and Father Rodrigues is forced to flee to the surrounding woods, where he is eventually betrayed and captured, in a similar manner to Jesus' betrayal by Judas.
The novel begins as a series of letters by Rodrigues to Portuguese church officials, but then switches to a third person narrative after he is forced to flee. Unlike the Japanese Christians and the missionaries who preceded him, he is not physically tortured, but he is repeatedly encouraged to apostatize in order to save the lives of the captured villagers and his colleague, who was also taken into custody. Rodrigues experiences almost unbearable turmoil and a crisis of faith, as he cannot reconcile how a merciful God can stand by silently while His believers are willing to undergo extreme physical pain and death in support of their beliefs:
I knew well, of course, that the greatest sin against God was despair; but the silence of God was something I could not fathom. 'The Lord preserved the just man when godless folk were perishing all around him. Escape he should when fire came down upon the Cities of the Plain.' Yet now, when the barren land was already emitting smoke while the fruit on the trees was still unripe, surely he should speak but a word for the Christians.
Rodrigues' psychological torment intensifies, and he is eventually forced by the head samurai Inoue to make a decision: apostatize and betray his religion, in order to spare his life and the remaining villagers who have stepped on the fumie, or refuse, and condemn the villagers and himself to a long and painful death by torture.
Silence is a most fitting title to this fantastic novel, as it can refer to the silence of God while His believers suffer oppression, physical pain and death; the silence of the community while others are being persecuted; and the internal silence experienced by the individual who is forcibly isolated for his beliefs. The novel is ripe for interpretation and serious discussion, by Christians or believers of other faiths, and by those who would stand by idly and in comfort while others are forced to suffer due to poverty, religious belief or minority status. Beyond that, Silence is a very well written and compelling drama, which would be an enjoyable read on a much more superficial level. It is easily the best book I've read by Endo to date, and certainly one of finest 20th century Japanese novels I've ever read.
Thank you for a fine review. I am tempted, but will have to decide later after I do an assessment of how many books I have started, and put down (temporarily, of course), and expect to finish. For starters, I know I have four books in the mail coming to me from Amazon. I need to exert some self discipline, now.
Book #89: Lucretia and the Kroons by Victor LaValle
This novella, which serves as a prequel to LaValle's latest novel The Devil in Silver, is about Lucretia ("Loochie") Granger, a girl who lives with her mother in an apartment in Queens, NY at the turn of the millenium. Her 12th birthday party was ruined by three mean girls from her school who were unwanted guests invited by Loochie's mother. Her best friend Sunny, a girl who lives in the same building, was undergoing treatment for cancer at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis at that time. Loochie saves a portion of her ice cream birthday cake and plans a private birthday party for herself and Sunny once she returns to Queens two months later. Unfortunately on the day of the party Sunny has apparently been kidnapped by the Kroons, the "neighbors" in a sealed off apartment just above Loochie's home, who are the survivors of a family of crackheads that terrorized the children of the neighborhood in the 1980s and 1990s. Loochie climbs the fire escape to rescue her friend, but she is forced to flee for her own life from the murderous, zombie-like Kroons. She enters a bizarre version of Flushing Meadows Park, the site of the two previous World's Fairs in NYC, through a room in the apartment, while the Kroons are in hot pursuit of her.
This was an interesting horror story, but it isn't essential to a reading of The Devil in Silver, and it wasn't nearly as good as that very enjoyable novel.
I'm curious about The Garden of Evening Mists, Darryl, so I'll look forward to your take on it. Great review of Silence; sounds like quite a book. I've got Karen's tbr problem, but I'd like to get to this one at some point.
P.S. Forgot to give you kudos for the cuteness picture. Gives even curmudgeons pause.
I LOVED the terminal cuteness picture, Darryl! I kept going back to look at it. I'm going to post one of my favorites of my niece and mom's dog here too...
Great review of Silence .. definitely adding that to my obese wish list.
Hope you have a good weekend.
Both reviews read and thumbs-upped. Neither is a must-read for me...Endo? xians in Japan? ew...but you make it almost irresistible.
>81 Re: the Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards, a qualifying criteria of African descent/Black seems like it could be somewhat imprecise. Is it possible that an author would need to submit genealogical proof?
Or, in other words, how "black" do you have to be to be considered "Black"? I also thought about this when I posted the qualifying criteria. There are quite a few prominent multiracial authors, including James McBride, author of The Color of Water, whose mother is Jewish and father is African American; Sadie Jones, who was born to an Afro-Caribbean father from Jamaica and an English mother; Mat Johnson, who was raised in an African American household in Philadelphia but could easily pass for White; Bliss Broyard, who was raised as White until she learned after his death that her father, Anatole Broyard, was a light skinned Creole from New Orleans who passed for White once he moved to NYC. Do these authors count? What if a mixed race author writes an outstanding book which isn't about Black people (e.g., The Outcast by Sadie Jones)? Should it count? And, I'm sure there would be an uproar if someone like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who is probably the most hated Black person in the African American community taken as a whole, wrote a book that was nominated for this award, even though he is obviously Black in color.
>82 What mystifies me about BD pricing is that sometimes the BD UK price and BD US prices are different. And they both ship from the UK!
Right. I don't understand it at all. I wish they would go back to shipping UK only books directly to the US, and include the cost of shipping, rather than indicating that these books are "Not available".
I look forward to your comments about The Colonel. I'll probably read it in the middle of next week.
>83, 84 Your "Grand Poobah" comments reminded me of Fred Flintstone and his "Moose" Club.
No, it's the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes!
That's exactly what I thought when I was first appointed as the Section Chief, as the previous Chief (who retired from practice earlier this month) jokingly described it as a figurehead position. There are far more important administrative positions in the organization, but this isn't an insignificant one, as I was originally led to believe.
I still plan to buy a Water Buffalo hat and post it in my office, with a "Section Chief of Pediatrics" card attached to the front of it. We pediatricians are a silly lot.
>86 Thanks, Karen. Silence is a deceptively short read, at ~200 pages, and it can easily be read at one sitting.
>88 Thanks, Joe. Silence will definitely make my list as one of my favorite novels of the year. Several of us are reading Shusaku Endo's books for this year's Author Theme Reads group, as he is the featured author this year. Several other 75ers are also members of this group, and Endo has over a dozen novels that have been translated into English, so you'll continue to see to see reviews of his books by myself, Rebecca, Kerry, Fliss and others this year. We're also reading one Japanese author for each of the four quarters of the year; in order, they are Natsume Soseki, Kobo Abe, Ryu Murakami and Yukio Mishima. I have two more books by Murakami that I'll read this quarter, and at least a half dozen books by Mishima, including his Sea of Fertility tetralogy.
I'll read The Garden of Evening Mists this weekend. I enjoyed Eng's debut novel The Gift of Rain, which was also a finalist for the Booker Prize several years ago, so I'm eager to start this one.
>89 Thanks for posting that lovely photo of your niece and your mum's dog, Caroline! I'd highly recommend Silence, as it is a masterpiece IMO.
>90 Thanks, Richard. There has been somewhat of a mixed opinion about Silence, but I thought it was a brilliant and thought provoking novel that has broad applicability beyond the strict boundaries of Christianity and religious proselytization.
Excellent review of Silence! I have not read Endo but he is now officially on my WL. Big Thumb!
Like Duh! LOL. My memory is a bit fuzzy on the Flintstones, it's probably been 40 years since I watched it, but your comment definitely brought something to the surface.
I knew the title of Silence but didn't know anything about it - that does sound like a very good and thought-provoking read.
I see you appreciated Silence a lot more than I did! i agree that it is beautifully written, provides insight into a little-known (for me, anyway) period of Japanese history, and raises important and timeless issues, but the whole missionary enterprise just rubs me the wrong way.
And I can second baswood's enthusiasm about Lost in Translation; I read it back in the late 80s, when it came out, and loved it.
#91 There are quite a few prominent multiracial authors, Including, especially prominently, our President!
But seriously, on the topic of the African diaspora and Blackness, the book I've read from the Hurston/Wright list, Mr. Fox, is by a young British writer of Yoruban descent (who as far as I know was born in Britain). There are certainly aspects of African folktales in the book, but it struck me when I read it as both a very British (and European more generally) and a very modern, sort of metafictional novel. It's relatively easy to see what makes a writer a representative of the African diaspora, but does the book have to "represent" Africa or Blackness in some way? Isn't this placing a limit on these writers that wouldn't be placed on other writers? I don't have answers to these questions, but it strikes me as sort of the same issue as prizes for female authors; there's an argument to be made both ways, in that in a perfect world we shouldn't need to have separate prizes for women because women would be considered equally with men for prizes. At the same time, these prizes call attention to writers I might otherwise not have heard of, which is a good thing!
And congratulations on your Grand Poobahness!
Excellent review of Silence. It definitely goes on the wish list now. I've been thinking about reading it for a long time, your review coupled with a few others posted here on LT lately has convinced me to give it a go.
Thought this might be of interest to you - about magic mirrors in Japan, a secret way Christians could identify each other. I'd never heard of such a thing. Fascinating, though.
We pediatricians are a silly lot.
Uh-huh. Like the time my 5-year-old fell outside and I called my pediatrician's office and my pediatrician actually answered the phone!
Me: "He fell on the hard concrete outside and is bleeding out both sides of his nose. What should I do?"
Her: "Get softer concrete!"
What a pleasant suprise your review of Silence since I the book by Shusaku Endo a few days ago. I'm very curious, but also a bit apprehensive because I read Things Fall Apart from Achebe only a few weeks ago and this made me a bit touchy on the missionary topic.
I would like to explore more Japanese authors, could you maybe post the link of the group you mentioned on your thread?
I have the books of Tan Twan Eng on my wishlist already, but the last one hasn't been published here yet. Oh well it's not like I haven't any other books to read. I'll just wait patiently and as soon as I see it somewhere, I'll pick it up. In the mean time I have Silence to look forward to, but first I have to finish Shipping News and get to a few others.
>93 Thanks, Mark! I've read four books by Endo so far this year for the Author Theme Reads challenge, Volcano, Stained Glass Elegies, The Golden Country and Silence. I still have several of his novels yet to read, namely Foreign Studies, When I Whistle, The Samurai, Scandal and Deep River. I'll get to as many of them as I can before the end of the year, but I doubt I'll read all of them.
I'm a bit of an idiot savant when it comes to television programming from the 1960s, Mark. I probably haven't seen any episodes of the Flintstones or other cartoons in at least 30 years, but I seem to remember theme songs and trivia about them and other popular programs. This week, after a prompt from our group's secretary, I realized that I still knew the lyrics to The Patty Duke Show by heart. I have no idea why this would be, since I seriously doubt that I've seen any episodes of the show since the mid to late 1960s, and it wasn't exactly a show that we would gather around the TV to watch as kids (The Rat Patrol, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. were the favorite mid to late 1960s shows of my male cousins and I, along with Batman and The Green Hornet). Ah the good old days...
BTW, Martin Scorsese is directing the first English language movie version of Silence, which will star Benicio Del Toro as Father Rodrigues and Daniel Day-Lewis as Father Ferreira. It's scheduled to be released next year.
>95 I would highly recommend Silence to you, Genny. The most recent UK version includes a foreword by Martin Scorsese, BTW.
>96 Thanks, Rebecca. I'd like to read more about the Jesuit missionaries that came to Japan, as I'm not completely convinced that their motives were entirely pure.
It's relatively easy to see what makes a writer a representative of the African diaspora, but does the book have to "represent" Africa or Blackness in some way? Isn't this placing a limit on these writers that wouldn't be placed on other writers?
I completely agree with your sentiment. I don't think that the works need to present the African diaspora or limited in any other manner that eligible books for other awards would not be. I don't believe that Zone One, has anything to do with race, so I'm glad to see that it was selected as a nominee for the Fiction Award.
>97 Thanks, avidmom. I'm glad that you've decided to read Silence.
Thanks for the link to the video about the magic mirrors; that was fascinating!
I completely agree with your pediatrician's wise advice. Softer concrete = less nose bleeds.
>98 Thanks, Lilian; I look forward to your comments about Silence.
Here's a link to the Author Theme Reads group: http://www.librarything.com/groups/authorthemereads
So far I'm enjoying The Garden of Evening Mists, which is set in Malaysia during the the Malayan Emergency. The main character is a recently retired justice of the country's Supreme Court, who was the only survivor of a Japanese internment camp that claimed the life of her sister. She enlists the help of a Japanese gardener to design a garden in her sister's memory, and this story is somehow interlinked with the surrounding warfare. I should finish it by tomorrow. It will be published in the US on September 4th, according to Amazon.
>99 Thanks, Bonnie. I listened to a story on NPR's Morning Edition about the author of In the Shadow of the Banyan earlier this week; here's a link to it:
In The 'Shadow' Of Death, Stories Survive
I'll add it to my wish list.
>100 Thanks, Rhian. Shipwrecks is already on my wish list. I also enjoyed The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, which is set in Nagasaki at the end of the 18th century, but the restriction against foreigners was still in place at that time.
Lost in Space was one of my favorites growing up. Don't you know I was over the moon when I got Jonathan Harris' autograph years ago! Sadly, I have no idea where it is now :(
#100, 101 I read Shipwrecks last year even before the Author Theme Reads yearlong focus on Japan because somebody wrote about it on a thread here and it sounded intriguing. I had some misgivings about it, but overall I found it haunting and beautifully written.
#101 Despite the fact that I, to my surprise, liked World War Z, I'm not sure I'm up for another zombie novel (Zone One).
>74 a very important position with a significant amount of responsibility (but no additional pay).
No additional pay huh? Its like they want you to be grateful for the extra responsibility. And how convenient for them....at no extra cost!
I bet you will do a fantastic job though. And maybe the kudos will translate to benefits in some other form?
>76 Little Lenny likes to gather fluff to snuffle while he sucks his thumb, I have actually seen him pull gross fluffy stuff off the bottom of the vacuum cleaner to hold in his fingers! (ew ew eeeeew) But this picture reminds me of how he grabs the cat fur off the blanket in my room and balls it up to snuffle with. If only he had the whole animal, he'd be in fluffy heaven!
Good morning, Darryl. "Medicine" is the theme of the current issue of Granta (#120) - short stories, poems, personal essays, photographs. It looks very interesting and I thought if you are not already a subscriber, you might want to check it out.
Good Morning To You!
I'm listening to one of my favorite artists and thought I would share this with you. Have you heard of Don Shirley? I know you enjoy jazz. I discovered his music years ago while attending a retreat. His renditions haunt me.
here is another one of my favorites:
Morning Darryl- Scorsese directing Silence? Sounds great, I better start looking for a copy.
>102 Ah, the evil Dr. Zachary Smith, everyone's favorite villain from Lost in Space. I saw him play a role in a subsequent television show or movie, and I hard a hard time visualizing him as anyone else other than Dr. Smith.
>103 I remember your moderately favorable review of Shipwrecks, Rebecca. It's still on my wish list, but it isn't as high as, say, The Long Ships (which of course is set in a different part of the world and in a different century).
I'm not sure I'm up for a zombie novel, period, although I did make an exception and buy Zone One, but only because it was written by Colson Whitehead. The current fascination with zombies and vampires, in literature and in the movies, is completely baffling to me.
>104 And maybe the kudos will translate to benefits in some other form?
Right, Megan. All kidding aside, it is an honor to be thought of highly enough to be appointed to an administrative position within a hospital or health care organization, even a low level one, as your peers are the ones who put forth your name for nomination. All members of the hospital staff are encouraged (or, in the case of my group, required) to participate in one or more hospital committees, and anyone who heads a committee or holds an administrative position within the organization does get bonus points in our annual rating, which can translate into a larger bonus. And, once I retire from clinical practice I may wish to move into an administrative role, within Children's or elsewhere if I decide to move back to the Northeast US, and being nominated to this position will be viewed very favorably.
This, of course, assumes that I don't hit the MegaMillions lottery and live the bohemian café life that I dream of...
I have actually seen him pull gross fluffy stuff off the bottom of the vacuum cleaner to hold in his fingers!
Holding gross fluffy stuff is one thing; eating it is a different manner altogether. And, as I'm sure you've heard, toddlers like to stick small objects in their noses, ears and mouths. A common part of the practice of pediatric otorhinolaryngologists (or ENT (ear, nose and throat doctors)), pulmonologists and gastroenterologists is to fish out these objects from the lower airway, upper airway or GI tract of an adventuresome toddler.
>105 I'm on it, Linda! Avaland from Club Read told me about that issue several months ago, so I'll buy it either before I leave for London, or soon after I arrive there. I was disappointed to find out that I'll just miss the launch of the Medicine issue at Foyles Bookshop on Charing Cross Road in Soho, which will be held on September 5th.
>106, 107 Thanks, Linda! I hadn't heard of Don Shirley before. I'm listening to I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free now; I like it!
>108 Good morning, Mark! You should be able to find Silence without too much difficulty, I would think. I'll definitely see the movie version once it is released.
>109 Several months ago? I must really be on the slow end of Granta's mailing list, as I just received my copy only yesterday, although I do see it is labeled as Summer 2012. Sorry you will just miss the London Launch. That would have been great fun, I'm sure.
Beside Silence, what are your next 2 favorite titles by Endo? I wanted to WL a couple more.
>111 The Medicine issue won't be officially released until August 28th, but avaland told me about this issue several months ago. I bought Granta 119, Britain, when I was in San Francisco last month, but I haven't read it yet. Have you?
>112 Mark, so far I'd say The Sea and Poison and Volcano are my next two favorite books by Endo. I've written reviews of both books on LT.
#109 I think the only two things Shipwrecks and The Long Ships have in common is that they both have the word "ship" in their title and they both are excellently written, although in wildly different styles. I loved The Long Ships, as I'm sure you remember, and I think I characterized it as a "rollicking good read," but I would never compare it to Shipwrecks, which was a poetic and somber book.
>114 Right, Rebecca. The only things that made me think of The Long Ships was the word ship in both books, and my recollection that you loved that book.
#85: I loved Silence when I read it, so I am glad to see that you did too, Darryl. I tried to get to your review from your profile page, but the link sent me elsewhere. You might want to check it out.
I hope you have a wonderful Sunday!
>116 You're welcome, Mark. I look forward to your comments about those two books.
>117 Thanks, Stasia. I fixed the hyperlinks for my review of Silence on my profile page and on my 75 Books and Club Read threads.
I hope you enjoy your Sunday, too! It will be a cool but cloudy and rainy day here. I've already made my usual early Sunday morning trip to Publix for groceries, so I may not go out again until I leave for work tomorrow morning. I'll finish The Garden of Evening Mists today; I haven't decided what I'll start after that yet.
All this talk about Zone One has gotten me interested. I admit that I enjoy a zombie book every once in a while, and I certainly enjoy literary novels. But a literary zombie novel? My curiosity is piqued. I'm not certain that can be a successful combination....I've never read a book by Colson Whitehead.
ETA: That just shows you that I'm not afraid of Darryl. I ADMIT to liking zombie novels on his thread. ;)
Today's Poem-A-Day, from the Academy of American Poets:
The Man with the Hoe
by Edwin Markham (1852-1940)
Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans
Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground,
The emptiness of ages in his face,
And on his back the burden of the world.
Who made him dead to rapture and despair,
A thing that grieves not and that never hopes.
Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox?
Who loosened and let down this brutal jaw?
Whose was the hand that slanted back this brow?
Whose breath blew out the light within this brain?
Is this the Thing the Lord God made and gave
To have dominion over sea and land;
To trace the stars and search the heavens for power;
To feel the passion of Eternity?
Is this the Dream He dreamed who shaped the suns
And marked their ways upon the ancient deep?
Down all the stretch of Hell to its last gulf
There is no shape more terrible than this —
More tongued with censure of the world's blind greed —
More filled with signs and portents for the soul —
More fraught with menace to the universe.
What gulfs between him and the seraphim!
Slave of the wheel of labor, what to him
Are Plato and the swing of Pleiades?
What the long reaches of the peaks of song,
The rift of dawn, the reddening of the rose?
Through this dread shape the suffering ages look;
Time's tragedy is in the aching stoop;
Through this dread shape humanity betrayed,
Plundered, profaned, and disinherited,
Cries protest to the Powers that made the world.
A protest that is also a prophecy.
O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
Is this the handiwork you give to God,
This monstrous thing distorted and soul-quenched?
How will you ever straighten up this shape;
Touch it again with immortality;
Give back the upward looking and the light;
Rebuild in it the music and the dream,
Make right the immemorial infamies,
Perfidious wrongs, immedicable woes?
O masters, lords and rulers in all lands
How will the Future reckon with this Man?
How answer his brute question in that hour
When whirlwinds of rebellion shake all shores?
How will it be with kingdoms and with kings —
With those who shaped him to the thing he is —
When this dumb Terror shall rise to judge the world.
After the silence of the centuries?
This poem was inspired by the painting L'homme à la houe by Jean-François Millet, and was meant to 'protest the plight of the exploited laborer'.
This poem was first read at a New Year's Eve Party in 1898, to great critical acclaim, which increased after it was published the following year, in The Man with the Hoe and Other Poems.
>119 But a literary zombie novel? My curiosity is piqued. I'm not certain that can be a successful combination...
From what I've read, the fans of zombie novels have liked Zone One far less than those who prefer literary fiction or those who have read Whitehead's other novels. There are quite a few 4 to 5 star reviews on LT, but it seems as though as many readers rated it 3 stars or less.
ETA: That just shows you that I'm not afraid of Darryl. I ADMIT to liking zombie novels on his thread. ;)
Hmph. Shouldn't you be reading The Cairo Trilogy instead of woofing on my thread? ;-)
Which Ryu Murakami books have you ear-marked to read before the end of the year, Darryl?
Hmph. Shouldn't you be reading The Cairo Trilogy instead of woofing on my thread? ;-)
Ha! You don't know how right you are! I should read instead of sitting here on the internet all day...
>120 The man with the hoe looks like a giant. Strange, as there's not much in the picture to provide scale. He look pooped too.
>124 I knew it!
>125 The barren grass and plants to the left of the portrait did provide me with a sense of scale, Megan. As Markham describes in the poem, he does look hopeless, despondent and fatigued, as if the weight of the world rests uncomfortably on his weary shoulders. The ground looks barren and unforgiving, and the track he is hoeing seems to have no beginning or end, and lacks any sense of purpose. His sense of loneliness is palpable, as well. I thought it was a powerful portrait, and Markham's poem is a perfect accompaniment to it.
Hopefully our resident art expert Ilana will provide a much more meaningful interpretation of this portrait.
>127 I take it that you aren't enamored with the poem or portrait.
*off to make a pot of tea*
*looks up with dull, glazed eyes from hacking at wrists with a plastic knife*
...what...? oh good boiled hedge trimmings yum
>129 LOL! The tea (Peet's Winter Solstice) was an excellent accompaniment to the Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut I had.
I just finished The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng, my fifth book from this year's Booker Prize longlist; I'm struggling to find words to describe how much I loved it. For the moment it becomes my favorite longlisted novel, just slightly ahead of Bring Up the Bodies:
1. The Garden of Evening Mists
2. Bring Up the Bodies
4. The Yips
5. Swimming Home
So far all five novels have been superb, and even my last place book would rank higher than all but two of last year's longlisted novels, namely The Sense of an Ending and The Stranger's Child. I'll read The Teleportation Accident by Ned Bauman this coming week, and read the remaining six longlisted books in September.
>129 LOL as well :P
>126 I think you've done a pretty good job of discussing the painting Darryl! But can I ask about the grass and plants providing scale? How do you know if the grass is itty bitty ground grubber grass, and the plants teensy weensy stick plants. Or if it is gigantic flat-blade plant-grass, and huge small-car sized stick-bushes. Now, if there were a ruler, or an iPhone or something casually draped about to provide a good scale....well...then I would know for sure if he was a giant. ;)
Darryl - as usual so much to ponder upon in your thread.
Enjoyed Rebecca's contribution and your response on the award, but I don't really agree. If the prize is open to writers of African descent that should be the only description as the representation of such a varied continent may be stretching things too much. The same as the Orange doesn't require the story to feature women's issues or an award for a first novel or age limit award shouldn't restrict the subject matter to coming of age or the writing of first novels.
Surely the idea is to give/enable a voice to a group of writer's who may have difficulty otherwise on being heard and not to restrict that voice.
Love that you are enjoying the Long List this year. I distinctly remember your pique with much of last years selection and would hazard that the make-up of the panel has produced a more literary satisfying list perhaps than may have been expected of one chaired by the nation's ex-spymistress.
Wow. Bring up the Bodies has been supplanted? I'm glad The Garden of the Evening Mists is coming out soon. :)
>133 Yes, at least for the moment The Garden of Evening Mists is one of the most exquisitely crafted and rewarding novels I've ever read. The description of it by other reviewers as multilayered is spot on, and the details in these layers come together beautifully throughout and particularly at the end of the book. It requires close attention, but it was very readable (reclaiming that word from last year's horrid lot of Booker judges) and thought provoking. I thought Eng's debut novel The Gift of Rain was superb, but this one is amazing, IMO.
Luci (elkiedee) and I were reading it essentially neck to neck late last night, and she should finish it soon if she hasn't done so already. Suz was also reading it yesterday. I'm very interested to see what they thought of it.
I'm working today and tomorrow, and Saturday through next Wednesday. I'll review The Garden of Evening Mists in the middle of the week, and I intend to write reviews for the three other longlisted books I've read this month.
Just got an update from Amazon - The Garden of Evening Mists which was not to ship until Sept 4 actually will arrive this Friday!! Now I am really looking forward to it Darryl, if you think it was better than BUTB.
So much of interest on your thread, Darryl. I read Silence earlier this year and found it to be very powerful and profound. I love your review of it; it kind of makes me want to reread the novel with a greater understanding of the historical context.
And of course the discussion about criteria for eligibility for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards is very interesting. Identity is so important and meaningful, and so many of the "categories" we've created over the centuries are arbitrary and based in a lack of understanding of identity and culture. Still, I'm glad for the effort to recognize a group of authors who might otherwise get less attention than they deserve.
And The Garden of Evening Mists is immediately going on hold..... Your description in 134 seals that deal for me.
I hoped you'd have that reaction to The Garden of Evening Mists, Darryl. I must get to it at some point soon! Right now I've allowed a physical pile of reads to build up at home to an embarrassing level, so I'll have to do something about that first.
Wow, Mantel has been supplanted, has she? I must look into this new contender...
>113 I am sadly behind in my Granta reading, but with your reminder, I picked up the Britain issue this morning and started reading Mario Vargas Llosa's The Celt, excerpted from The Dream of the Celt. It is perking my interest in reading the full novel. Lots else of interest in this issue, including Adam Foulds (but I wish he would do more poetry!), Jim Crace and others that I am not yet familiar with.
>135 Laura, I'd give a slight edge to The Garden of Evening Mists over Bring Up the Bodies at the moment. I'd love to re-read both books once the shortlist is announced next month, but I seriously doubt that I'll have time to do that before the prize announcement in mid October. BTW, I'd refer anyone interested in that book to check out the reviews of it on LT, as all five reviews were highly positive of the novel and are in accord with my opinion about it.
BTW, I intend to create a Booker Prize Shadow Jury on the Booker Prize thread once the shortlist is announced on September 11th, similar to what Jill did for the Orange Prize Shadow Jury this year. Anyone who has read all six shortlisted titles by the day before the prize announcement will be eligible to vote for their favorite book. I'll also set up a parallel thread for those who have read at least one of the shortlisted books, so that they can rank these books in order of preference. I'll post information about these threads here, and announce which book was the favorite in each thread.
>136 I'm glad that you'll receive The Garden of Evening Mists this week, catarina, and I look forward to your opinion about it.
>137 Thanks, Ellen! I've recently learned that I get much more out of historical novels if I learn about the context of them, and this definitely was the case for Silence. I'll probably look for books about the history of Christianity in Japan soon.
And, speaking of historical novels and related books of history, I'll plan to buy a book that was reviewed by wandering_star on Club Read, The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams and the Making of China by Julia Lovell. I'm particularly interested in this topic after I read the first two novels in Amitav Ghosh's Ibis Trilogy, Sea of Poppies and River of Smoke. Her review is on her thread here.
>138 Joe, I'd suggest reading The Garden of Evening Mists when you have a day or two of unhurried reading time, to get the most of it. I've probably said so already, but I also loved his debut novel The Gift of Rain, which was also a Booker Prize finalist in 2007.
>139 Definitely check out The Garden of Evening Mists, Genny. I'll be shocked and very disappointed if it doesn't make the shortlist.
>140 I'll probably read Granta 119 (Britain) in October, since I'll certainly buy a bunch of books in London and bring or mail most of them back with me to the US and because I'll pick up Granta 120 (Medicine) soon after I arrive there. I bought The Dream of the Celt but haven't read it yet. I loved Adam Foulds' narrative poetry collection The Broken Word, and can highly recommend it. I've read one book by Jim Crace, All That Follows, which was rather disappointing, and I own Being Dead but haven't read it yet.
>141 Thanks, Kerri. Unfortunately I probably won't listen to your advice and I probably will read Zone One ahead of Sag Harbor, particularly if I intend to read the nominees for the Hurston/Legacy Award for Fiction this year. My literary plate is getting very full for the last quarter of the year, and getting to those books seems increasingly unlikely.
>142 You're welcome, Bonnie. I look forward to your thoughts about The Garden of Evening Mists.
>143 Well done, Laura! Bring Up the Bodies is outstanding, and I wouldn't be disappointed if it won this year's Booker Prize.
I started reading the first few pages of Friendly Fire by Israeli author A.B. Yehoshua, one of the novels which has been on my TBR pile for several years that I had intended to read for the third quarter Reading Globally theme of Middle Eastern literature. I enjoyed it, so I'll read it today and tomorrow.
I'm truly bummed that I've inadvertently left Out by Natsuo Kirino at home. I could have sworn I had packed it in my suitcase but I called home and the hubster informed me that it's sitting on the kitchen table. Drats. I wanted to read something by a Japanese author while I'm in Tokyo.
I wonder if there is an English language bookstore close to your hotel that sells translated books by Japanese authors?
This web page mentions that Maruzen Bookshop in Nihombashi is "Japan's oldest Western bookshop (recently rebuilt) and has one of the best selections of English-language books in Tokyo."
Several of the books I bought by Shusaku Endo and Yukio Mishima at Strand Books on Boxing Day were published by Tuttle Publishing, which has offices in Tokyo and the US and has published Japanese authors in translation for many years. Kodansha recently closed its English language publishing house, but I would think that there would be plenty of books that are still available for purchase.
Do let us know if you go to any of these bookstores!
Morning Darryl- Hope your week is going well. Looks like you have some good books going. Always a grand thing.
Book #90: The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
This story begins on the last day of Teoh Yun Ling's career as a Supreme Court justice in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur in the mid 1980s. Yun Ling has had, by every measure, a remarkable and successful life despite extreme hardship and loss. She was born to privilege, as a member of a wealthy Straits Chinese family, but at the age of 17 she and her older sister Yun Hong were captured by Japanese soldiers and taken to a prison camp hidden within the jungle of the Malayan Peninsula. The prisoners were brutally tortured there, and only one survived at the end of the war: Yun Ling.
After she completes her law studies in England, she returns to Malaysia to practice, serving as a prosecutor for the Malayan government in the trials of captured Japanese Army soldiers. Her sister's death continues to haunt her, and she decides to honor her sister's memory by building a Japanese garden, as Yun Hong loved them dearly. In 1951 she returns to the home of a family friend, Magnus Pretorius, a South African tea planter in Cameron Highlands in the Malayan state of Pahang, whose friend Nakamura Aritomo is a highly regarded gardener—and the former chief gardener to Emperor Hirohito of Japan. Yun Ling struggles to overcome her deep hatred of the Japanese, and works under Aritomo as an apprentice, helping him to rebuild his own garden while learning the craft from him.
However, the tranquil mountainous setting also hosts the Malayan National Liberation Army, a group of communist guerrilla soldiers who are at war with the colonial government during the Malayan Emergency. Colonists such as Pretorius are frequent targets of the guerrillas, subject to robbery, assault and murder, but Yun Ling is also at great risk, as she also prosecuted captured guerrillas after the war trials had concluded, and the communists in the area are aware of her presence there.
As Yun Ling becomes closer to Aritomo, she learns more about the hidden roles he assumed during the Japanese occupation, as she seeks to discover what happened to the other prisoners in the camp, and to achieve closure and inner peace with herself, her family and with him.
The novel is filled with numerous additional characters, story lines and themes, which delicately intersect and overlap each other. Certain seemingly insignificant events in the early and middle sections of the book become clearer as the book progresses, as Eng masterfully creates a story that requires close attention from the reader, similar to that which is necessary to understand and appreciate the finer aspects of a Japanese garden.
The Garden of Evening Mists is an almost indescribably beautiful, rich and rewarding novel with multiple layers that are expertly weaved into a coherent work of art. Tan Twan Eng deserves to be commended for this astonishing work, which would be a worthy winner of this year's Booker Prize.
Sounds like a major contender for the prize! Great review. And I have to admit, you've got me tempted. But new books have to wait for me, until the queue shortens at the library or til they hit the second hand market. I am patient though :)
>149 Thanks, Mark. I'm in a temporary reading funk at the moment, which often happens after I finish a particularly outstanding book. I'm mentally still engaged with The Garden of Evening Mists, and although my current book, Friendly Fire by A.B. Yehoshua, is very good so far, I'm having a hard time getting into it. I'll try again tomorrow.
>150 Hi, Prue! I'm glad to see you posting again.
>152 Thanks, Megan. At the moment I'd say that The Garden of Evening Mists is my favorite novel of the year so far, just slightly ahead of Bring Up the Bodies and Gillespie and I. If I haven't said so already, Tan Twan Eng's debut novel The Gift of Rain was also superb; it was also longlisted for the Booker Prize, in 2007.
>151 Thanks for the review, Daryl. I'm looking forward to picking up this book since I loved The Gift of Rain I am curious to see what he does with female characterizations, since there weren't many women characters in Rain, and none were fully drawn.
>154 Thanks, Brenda. I'm curious to read Suz's and Luci's reviews of The Garden of Evening Mists. I see that Luci gave it 4½ stars, so I suppose she liked it nearly as much as we did.
>155 You're welcome, tangledthread. It will be released in the US on September 4th.
Wow! What a review. I'll definitely have to look for this one, which hasn't been on my radar screen.
The Garden of Evening Mists is apparently released in the US already. My copy from Amazon US arrived yesterday. I also see, by the cover, that you must have the edition released in England. Only a few pages into it, but it is living up to the 5 stars it has gotten from most LT reviewers.
Of note, the author has a list at the back of the book of 7 other books that he used for research - three are on "comfort women", on kamikaze and on Japanese garden philosophy. I have all three and they are well worth a look if you want background on these.
Wonderful review of The Garden of Evening Mists, Darryl. It's definitely a future read for me. Thumbed.
>157 Thanks, Rebecca! I would have read The Garden of Evening Mists even if it hadn't made the longlist, after I enjoyed his debut novel The Gift of Rain. However, the only reason I heard about that book was because it was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2007, the first year that I began to follow this award closely. This year's set of judges IMO has reclaimed the ground that was lost last year, by highlighting some of the best novels produced by Commonwealth writers in the past 12 months. Fortunately last year the Guardian did a very commendable job in selecting its own longlist, and I've enjoyed essentially all the books I've read from that list so far. I am disappointed that the newspaper didn't publish a similar list this year, though.
>158 You're right, catarina; Amazon is shipping the US edition now, even though it still lists the publication date as September 4th. You're also correct in stating that my copy is the UK edition, published by Myrmidon Books; I wanted to read it ASAP, and I also wanted the Myrmidon edition, which is very similar in design to my Myrmidon edition of The Gift of Rain. Not many people have reviewed The Garden of Evening Mists yet, but I can't think of a book that has had a higher average rating (4.75 stars) after more than two or three people have read it.
Thanks for the reminder of the books that Eng referenced at the end of The Garden of Evening Mists. I'll look back at his list later tonight.
>159 Thanks, Joe. I think you'll like it.
>160 I'll go to your thread to read your thoughts about God's Hotel as soon as I finish this message.
>161 I can relate to that sentiment, Rebecca. I felt guilty last month when I decided to download the Kindle version of The New Jim Crow after I didn't see it at City Lights. I mentioned the book to my friend Scott, who works in the bookstore; he handed me a copy of it, but I had to sheepishly tell him that I had already bought it.
I'm a little over 1/4 of the way through Friendly Fire by A.B. Yehoshua, a book that I've been wanting to read since 2009, and I love it so far. It's mainly about an older Israeli couple, who are separated when the wife travels to Tanzania during Hanukkah to stay with her brother-in-law and mourn the death of her beloved sister with him. The book's chapters alternate between Tel Aviv and Tanzania, in real time, and the sections of the book are separated into the days of the holiday. It's a perfect antidote to my disappointment at leaving the characters in The Garden of Evening Mists. I'll finish this book no later than tomorrow.
Another great review of The Garden of Evening Mists}. You sure find the gems! I hope you are working out of your book funk!
Oh boy. Your review of The Garden of Evening Mists has me sorely tempted to violate my commitment to myself.... It sounds wonderful. Of course, it's probably not yet available in my local booksellers, as per Rebecca's comments.
>163 Thanks, Mark. I'll shift the credit for finding this gem to the Booker Prize judges. A book like this is exactly why I love to read books nominated for certain literary prizes, as they introduce me to new authors and outstanding books by ones that I'm familiar with.
Friendly Fire is, so far, a perfect book for a transient book funk. These funks never last for long, as I have plenty of books at home that I'm very eager to read.
>164 I think an exception can be made to your committment for this book, Ellen.
The speculation for the winner of the upcoming Nobel Prize for Literature has begun, as the UK betting firm Ladbrokes has announced its odds for the award:
Haruki Murakami leads race for Nobel prize for literature
Here are the leading candidates, according to Ladbrokes:
Haruki Murakami 10/1
Mo Yan 12/1
Cees Nooteboom 12/1
Ismail Kadare 14/1
Ko Un 14/1
Dacia Maraini 16/1
Philip Roth 16/1
Cormac McCarthy 16/1
Amos Oz 16/1
Alice Munro 20/1
Enrique Vila-Matas 20/1
Eduardo Mendoza Garriga 20/1
Les Murray 20/1
Ngugi wa Thiong'o 20/1
Chinua Achebe 20/1
Assia Djebar 20/1
Thomas Pynchon 20/1
There are several authors on this list who are unfamiliar to me, particularly Cees Nooteboom, Dacia Maraini, Enrique Vila-Matas and Eduardo Mendoza Garriga. One of my FB friends recently mentioned Cees Nooteboom to me, and I plan to buy his book Roads to Santiago next month. I'll read Mo Yan's novel Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out in the fourth quarter of the year, and I'll continue to read novels by Amos Oz this quarter. Oz would be my choice for this year's prize.
Excellent review of The Garden of Evening Mists... gave it a thumbs up!! :)
Darryl, I have indeed been to Maruzen. It moved fairly recently to the OAZU shopping mall and, covering 4 floors, carries an impressive selection of non-Japanese language books. It's the best bookstore for English books in East Tokyo. But the area that I love wandering through when I have time on weekends is Kanda-Jimbocho. This is the book district of Tokyo, and specialist bookstores vie for space with general bookstores. Sanseido is a pretty large bookstore with a decent selection of non-Japanese books. There's also a bookstore in Shibuya that sells English books, but while I know how to get to that bookstore, I can't remember the name of it.
Interesting the betting on the Nobel prize. There has not been an winner from the United States or Canada since 1993 (Toni Morrison) and a winner from there is overdue. Shortlist from that locale anybody:
By the way your review of The Garden of Evening Mists sets the scene for the novel superbly. Will attempt to track it down this weekend.
#166 Well, based on Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out, the only book by Mo Yan I've read, I am flabbergasted that he is listed at 12/1. Of course, as usual, I am rooting for Ngugi!
#170 I wouldn't put Anne Tyler in the same league as the others, although I enjoyed her books a lot when I read them 20 or more years ago, and am not familiar with Billy Collins. Haven't read Pynchon since I was a teenager.
Rebecca, I was thinking that partly as I typed her name but:
A) She has won numerous awards; and
B) If Doris Lessing can win, why not?!
Thanks for posting the list of potential Nobel contenders, Darryl. Even for those that ultimately do not win, it is a great source of authors to explore.
It is fascinating to me that while the nominees are not revealed until 50 years after the prize is awarded, providing little insight into the process for any modern year, the lists of odds are presented with the 'certainty' of a partial long-list. I wonder how Ladbrokes develops their list and odds, and how often they have come close to accurately predicting the outcome. I visited their website out of curiosity but didn't find anything relevant.
>166 People bet on who's going to win the Nobel prize for literature?! I've led a sheltered life.
How strange. I remember typing replies to messages 167-170 earlier this morning, but I don't see them here. Maybe I was dreaming...
>167 Thanks, Tina!
>168 I'm not surprised that LT's #1 world traveler has been to several English language bookstores in Tokyo. I would imagine that you've dropped thousands of yen on books during your past visits there.
I still chuckle when I think of you pushing that book filled shopping cart at Strand Books last year.
>169 Dacia Maraini is completely unknown to me. There are authors on the longer odds list that I've heard of but am unfamiliar with, such as Cees Nooteboom, but Maraini isn't one of them.
>170 All of those names are familiar to me, but I've only read Philip Roth's works. Margaret Atwood is the only writer on that list who I'm somewhat eager to see win the Nobel Prize, but I still haven't read any of her books yet (The Blind Assassin is moderately high on my TBR list, though). I'd be much more interested in seeing William Trevor or even James Kelman come out on top. The American author that I'd put my support behind would be Ha Jin, who is originally from China but has lived in the US for the past 25 years or so. However, he's still quite young and doesn't have the body of work that other authors have.
I'm stopping by to thank you for your message on my thread yesterday. This morning I posted the blessings of the experience.
Happy Day to you, and thanks again for your outreach and friendship. It means a lot.
>171 Well, based on Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out, the only book by Mo Yan I've read, I am flabbergasted that he is listed at 12/1.
These odds, particularly the first versions, are sometimes way off. They will change numerous times between now and the date of the prize announcement, but they also become more accurate a day or two ahead of time. I remember seeing Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio's name skyrocket up the oddsmakers' lists in the last few days before the 2008 prize was announced, as if the bookies had some inside knowledge that he would be that year's laureate.
Having said that, Ladbrokes has been far more accurate than other oddsmakers in selecting the ultimate winner. Last year's winner, Tomas Tranströmer, was a 9/2 favorite in the first odds list, just behind Adonis at 4/1.
Of course, as usual, I am rooting for Ngugi!
I'm less excited about him this year than I have been in previous years, mainly because he hasn't written a novel or other work of fiction since Wizard of the Crow in 2006. I'm becoming progressively more enamored of Amos Oz, although I've only read five or six of his books so far.
Anne Tyler isn't on my radar screen at all; I had to do a quick Wikipedia search to see if she was from the US or Canada. I have two poetry collections that were edited by Billy Collins, but I don't think I've read any of his poetry.
To my knowledge there have only been two laureates from the Middle East, S.Y. Agnon in 1966 and Naguib Mahfouz in 1988, so that region of the world is far more overdue than North American is.
>172 I will yawn loudly if Anne Tyler wins, unless someone here can give me a good reason to read her books.
>173 Linda, I did read an article about the person who is in charge of the odds for the literary prizes for Ladbrokes several years ago. He came across as quite knowledgeable about international literature, although I'm sure he couldn't hold a candle to the Nobel Prize judges. As I mentioned above, this list of odds will change repeatedly over the next few weeks, so in that way it's very different from a list of finalists.
The weblog The Literary Saloon does a great job in discussing the odds for the Nobel Prize, and international literature in general. It's one of the few weblogs that I look at regularly. Here's the story about the Nobel Prize odds from yesterday:
Place your bets! Ladbrokes sets Nobel odds
>174 I haven't read anything by Doris Lessing yet. Any recommendations on where I should start with her?
>175 People will bet on anything, Joe. I doubt that many people on this side of the pond bet on literary awards, though.
>177 Hi, Linda! I'm sorry to learn that your operation was cancelled, but I'm glad that you seem to be in good spirits and taking it remarkably well. I'll check your thread now.
174. With the caveat that it's more than 20 years since I've read any Doris Lessing, I believe The Golden Notebook is her most famous (for some reason LT doesn't think I own it, but I'm sure I do), but I believe I recall it being a little tedious. I really don't remember any of her books very well, so hopefully someone else will chime in.
#178 and#180 - I thought The Grass is Singing was excellent, but then read The Good Terrorist and that was truly, truly awful. Now I'm confused, but I'll probably try something else by her at some point. Darryl, she has written quite a bit of sci-fi, so you may want to stay away from that if you're not a fan of the genre.
ETA - Also, great review of The Garden of Evening Mists!
I've read her SFnal series Canopus in Argos: Archives, and liked The Marriage Between Zones 3, 4, and 5 (as Narrated by the Chroniclers of Zone 3) a good deal.
I found The Golden Notebook unutterably tedious on a recent attempt to re-read. Pearl Ruled with Prejudice.
>180-182 Yikes. I think I'll stay away from Doris Lessing, unless I decide to read at least one book by all of the Nobel laureates in literature.
>181 Thanks, Kerri!
I think Doris Lessing may be another case of an author who was not such a stellar author, but just someone who broke new ground. I can remember her being quite "important" back in the 1970s, I read The Golden Notebook and it did not impress me.
Darryl, I agree with Kerri that Lessing's The Grass Is Singing is an excellent book and I would highly recommend it, although it is quite bleak. I have recently finished it and hope to find time to write my review in the next few days. The only other thing I have read by Lessing is The Cleft: A Novel and I thought it was pretty ho-hum.
Also, thanks for the link to The Literary Salon. Some of the comments in the article were revealing, such as Ladbroke's benefiting from the inclusion of Bob Dylan in the list. Clearly their agendas are not purely literary, but it is interesting anyway. I guess some people will bet on anything.
Chiming in on Doris Lessing. I recently finished The Fifth Child and while the subject was dark, I did enjoy her writing.
I second Rebecca's recommendation of Shipwrecks. "Haunting" is a good word to describe it.
The current fascination with zombies and vampires, in literature and in the movies, is completely baffling to me.
But...have you read Bram Stoker's Dracula, Darryl? If not, that classic is a book that you surely should read. I guarantee you'll like it - vampire or no vampire. :)
Go for Jim Crace's Being Dead, Darryl. You'll like that as well. Isn't it good that I know ahead of time which books you'll like?! :)
By the way, I took your advice to read the short story by A.B. Yehoshua so now Kerry and I are reading it together as a shared read on Lucy's TIOLI rolling alphabet short story challenge. He's a good writer!
Oz would be my choice for this year's prize.
Mine, too, although I wouldn't be hurt if Haruki Murakami got it. I would be greatly disappointed if Anne Tyler won. I thnk her writing is more or less "ho-hum". She's a native of Baltimore so those of us who live in Maryland are more familiar with her. Don't bother reading her books. You'll think them too fluffy.
I've never read works by Doris Lessing before, but I did pick up The Fifth Child to read at the beach last week. That was a very short, but strange book. Very unsettling. You may or may not like it, but the key word here is "short". You'll get through it in a heartbeat. I'd recommend it for you, but you'll probably like it and not love it.
Linda, I'm glad to see you liked The Fifth Child. That might be an impetus for Darryl to read it as well! :)
...and, no, I'm not going back to read the first half of this thread. I'm having a hard enough time catching up with everyone. :)
As the one to poke Ms. Lessing's rather strange award of a Nobel I can say that I have read several of her books:
The Grass is Singing was if I'm not mistaken her first novel and showed promise
The Golden Notebook is IMO pretentious nonsense
The Good Terrorist is not bad but a little silly
Love, Again is bland and disprives Rebecca's comment about her being more substantial a writer than Anne Tyler. At least Tyler is readable and has a discernible plot.
The Martha Quest books were started and abandoned.
She famously sent manuscripts to publishers using another name and they wouldn't touch some of her dross with a bargepole.
Let's face it:
Strindberg, Ibsen, Zola, Leo Tolstoy, Nabokov, Checkov, Hardy, Auden, Greene, Ted Hughes, Robert Frost, Henry James, Proust, Foucault, Twain, D.H. Lawrence, Woolf, Borges, Calvino, Primo Levi, Arthur Miller, Tennesse Williams were all overlooked - how do they compare to:
Doris Lessing ?!!
>184 I think Doris Lessing may be another case of an author who was not such a stellar author, but just someone who broke new ground.
That's the impression I have about her as well. I'll probably read something by her, one of these days, but only if I find something that is of special interest to me.
>185 Thanks, Deb. I liked your review of The Lighthouse, and gave you a thumb for it. I'll buy it in London early next month, and read it while I'm there.
>186 Thanks, Linda. I'll consider reading The Grass Is Singing, but it will be quite awhile before I read it.
The inclusion of Bob Dylan in the list of Nobel candidates is baffling, to say the least.
>187 Thanks for mentioning The Fifth Child, Linda. After reading the reviews that you, Madeline and Luxx wrote of it earlier this month I'll consider reading it when I do decide to read one of Doris Lessing's books.
>188 I haven't read Dracula yet, Madeline. However, after avidmom's superb review of it in Club Read last night, I'm now very tempted to read it. Here's a link to her review:
I shall move Being Dead much higher on my TBR list, o wise one!
I finished Friendly Fire by A.B. Yehoshua late last night, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If this novel is typical of his writing then I'll certainly look for more books by him.
I just finished the short story "Flood Tide" by A.B. Yehoshua (according to your instructions, Darryl) and thoroughly enjoyed it. I, too, should be reading more of this author's books. In the meantime, I'm enjoying more short stories by Israeli authors in an anthology of short stories by Israeli authors that my son and daughter-in-law brought me from Israel last week. You guessed it. I'm now reading a short story ("Nomad and Viper") by...ta da!...Amos Oz! :)
You know, I read both of the books from which those two stories came, but I have no recollection of reading either of the short stories before. Do you think it might be because I read those books almost 40 years ago?! :)
If I say that I absolutely loved Being Dead, will you move it up even higher on your list? Regardless, I did. And I agree with Madeline that I think you would like it.
>190 The Fifth Child is a quick read too, Darryl, so you can take a chance on it. I enjoyed it a lot, the follow up, not so much.
Oh- that must make it a series then! Look at that, I do read them ;)
And for a Sunday morning dose of cynicism: Book reviews for hire in NYT http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/26/business/book-reviewers-for-hire-meet-a-demand...
Uhm...I think I will skip everyone's recommendation for The Fifth Child as I am indeed a 5th child and am not that creepy.
But I am looking forward to reading The Lighthouse and Shipwrecks.......funny how those titles seem to be connected.
>194 Wow, that's really eye-opening about the reviews. Thanks for posting it.
Yes, I found it to be pretty much a revelation. Luckily, I don't read many of those reviews in any case. My book buying decisions are pretty much entirely made based on conversations here in LT by persons who I've come to know and trust (looking at you, Richard) and conversations with my face-to-face book group. I also trust their tastes as we have now had a couple years experience with each other. Only occasionally have I referred to "reviews" - most often the ones attached to the book pages here, too; sometimes, I might read something in a magazine. Usually if I do that, I'm disappointed.
I've been steering clear of your thread as I didn't want your thoughts on Garden of Evening Mists to color my own, but am about halfway through it now and loving it. I'm intrigued by the theme of memory/loss of memory/efforts to "capture" memories and liking the way the author seems to have co-opted the story of Jim Thompson (just mentioned in passing recently) as well as introducing the man himself as a very minor character.
I agree that this should be a longlist book; I'll probably rate this infinitesimally behind Bring Up the Bodies, but only because of very tiny things, such as characters referring to Aritomo as if that were his surname (he's referred to as Nakamura Aritomo, and Nakamura is a surname in Japan, whereas I've never heard of Aritomo being anything but, and yet no Japanese would ever say something like Aritomo-sensei. They might call someone by his first name, if they were a very close friend, or family member, but adding sensei as an honorific would mean they didn't fall into those categories, so??? There are a few small hiccups like that, and yes, I know I'm being anal about it.)
So far, my ranking would be
1. Bring Up the Bodies
2. The Garden of Evening Mists
3. Skios by Michael Frayn
4. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.
I have three more from the list that I want to read: Phillida by Andre Brink just arrived from the UK; I have Narcopolis by Jeet Thayli from the library and got Umbrella by Will Self from NetGalley. One or two others are intriguing, but not must-reads for me. So I'll have to see what I can lay hands on without spending real money!!
ETA: Re book depository -- that kind of offbeat pricing was exactly what I was complaining about re BD before they stopped offering UK books and free shipping directly. Time after time, I'd place an order or pre-order for something, then get an e-mail saying it wasn't available and my order had been canceled. I'd go over to Amazon and -- gosh, golly, gee whiz -- there it was, being offered by BD, at a higher price and with the usual Amazon shipping charges. Essentially, it was bait and switch, kinda. They didn't want to honor their original pricing commitment -- and this was a pre-order, not just a "let me know when the book comes in and the price you're charging for it" thing -- and so decided to cancel it. Obviously they had the books, and directed them somewhere where they could make more money. If you're going to do that, you don't take the orders at the lower price in the first place. I'd rather pay a pound or two more and deal with an organization that behaves ethically. Aprohead Books has never pulled that stuff on me, and I've ordered stuff directly from them (not recently, though), and Abebooks is always good as a "consolidator" site. But I refuse categorically to place an order with BD, even if they are offering the lowest price on a book.
Chiming in on Being Dead. I really enjoyed it too, but it's not for everyone.
Hope you are having a good weekend, Darryl?
Whee...my busy weekend at work is over. The next few days will certainly be better, as I refuse to believe that there are any more sick kids left in metropolitan Atlanta.
Thanks for keeping my thread warm, guys! Catching up...
>189 Paul, I take it that you're not the president of the Doris Lessing fan club of Kuala Lumpur then? If I decide to read a book by her, I suppose it will be The Grass Is Singing.
I like your list of authors who should have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, and I'll add James Baldwin, my #1 favorite writer, to that list. He would make my short list of favorite novelists, but his brilliant and searing essays and other works of nonfiction elevate him to my top spot.
Elfriede Jelinek is the most bizarre and inappropriate choice as a Nobel laureate that I can think of, IMO. The Piano Teacher, the only novel I've read by her, was one of the most vulgar and disturbing books I've ever read, and you would have to pay me to read anything else by her. The unrelentlessly bleak books I've read by Herta Muller make me want to borrow the plastic knife Richard used to hack at his wrists, although her latest work to be translated into English does sound promising.
>191 I'm glad to hear that the short story by A.B. Yehoshua was enjoyable. Your comment made me remember that I recently bought a book of Israeli short fiction; let's see...it's Keys to the Garden: New Israeli Writing, which was published by City Lights in 1996 (maybe not so new, then). No one on LT has reviewed or rated it yet, but, for what it's worth, the reviews on Amazon have been very positive.
Which short story collection did Nomad and Viper originally appear in?
I'll probably read one or two books by Amos Oz in September, definitely The Same Sea and possibly Black Box.
>192 I shall move Being Dead much higher on my TBR list! I had started it several years ago, but put it aside, probably because I was busy at work or reading something else. I'll add it to the list of books I'll plan to read early next year.
>193 Thanks, Megan; I'll look to see if I can borrow The Fifth Child, although I won't get to it before next year, at the earliest.
>194 Thanks, tangledthread. I saw that article on the first page of the Business section in today's NYT, but I haven't read it yet.
>195 I'll read that article later today.
>196 I do like the book reviews in the Guardian, and I've come to trust the reviews written by Maya Jaggi there. I used to look at the NYT Sunday Book Review section as my primary source for new books, but I no longer find the vast majority of the reviews to be reliable, and the books that are reviewed are increasingly of little interest to me.
>197 I'm glad that you enjoyed The Garden of Evening Mists as much as I did, Suz! I saw your comments about it last night on your thread. I loved Bring Up the Bodies, and I'll give a slight nod to Eng's novel because of Mantel's earlier win with Wolf Hall. I reserve the right to put Bring Up the Bodies first on my final ranking, though.
I still plan to read the entire Booker longlist in advance of the prize announcement, and so far I'm on track to meet that goal. I'll read The Teleportation Accident either during my mid week break from work or sometime next week, and knock off the other six books by early October. I'll buy Philida and Umbrella soon after I arrive in London next week, and read them ASAP.
You were right about The Book Depository's bait and switch method of doing business; I hadn't experienced this before last year, though.
>198 Sheesh. Doesn't Richard get enough positive strokes on his own thread? ;-)
>199 It was a busy weekend at work, but it hasn't been as hectic or stressful as some other recent ones, Mark. I'll work Sat-Wed this week and next week, but then I'll be off for three weeks after that, for two weeks in early to mid October, and probably two more weeks in early November.
I'm glad to see that Tropical Storm Isaac has apparently decided not to visit Georgia, but I hope that it doesn't do too much damage to Louisiana and Mississippi.
Which short story collection did Nomad and Viper originally appear in?
It's in 50 stories from Israel : an anthology.
If we could match some stories, Kerry and I could do some shared reads of Israeli short stories this week (if you have the time). I've read five of the stories in my book and they *so* good! Most of these are only a few pages long, so they'd be doable before the end of the month.
I'll look to see if I can borrow The Fifth Child,
I still have The Fifth Child here at home. If you want my copy, just let me know before I Bookcross it away.
Darryl, you are absolutely right! Richard deserves to have all his kudos over in his own thread; and you, in yours. I trust your reviews also, although I confess I'm not up to reading the prize winning literature you are currently reading. Mantel's style in Wolf Hall completely put me off her.
I am currently reading The Light Between Oceans and that style is much more to my liking.
#204: Madeline, I've read 2 of the stories from 50 stories. I had to add Departure to the challenge in order to get Flood Tide on the wiki. If you list a couple I'll try to squeeze them in, though I have most of Palace Walk to get through before the end of the month.
Darryl - I also enjoyed The Fifth Child. I haven't read anything else by Lessing.
I'll keep looking for a place to squeeze in those I've read. I kind of like skipping around in that book. I'll read "Departure" tonight. I'm not sure I'll have time to fit any others in.
>204 If we could match some stories, Kerry and I could do some shared reads of Israeli short stories this week (if you have the time).
I probably won't have time this week, unfortunately. My first goal will be to finish the three books I'm currently reading, particularly the short stories in The Empty Family by Colm Tóibín, which several of us are reading for Luci's short story theme. And, if possible, I'd like to start reading Thrall: Poems by Natasha Trethewey, the upcoming US poet laureate and Emory professor, which will be released tomorrow, as I'll attend her talk at Emory on Friday. I will look at my copy of Keys to the Garden: New Israeli Writing on Thursday, to see if there are any short stories that might be included in the collection that you & Kerry are reading.
I think I'll pass on The Fifth Child for now, but thanks for your kind offer, Madeline!
>205 Karen, I'm sorry to hear that Wolf Hall wasn't a pleasurable read for you. I couldn't get into it on my first attempt, but I ignored the Pearl Rule, gave it a second try when I could give it undivided attention, and absolutely loved it. Bring Up the Bodies was also outstanding, and it may arguably be a bit more accessible than Wolf Hall, although the writing style is very similar in both books.
Although I haven't added it to my wish list yet, The Light Between Oceans is very tempting.
I'm trying to look out for Richard's best interests in requesting that he not receive kudos on this thread, as it may convert him from LT's favorite curmudgeon into a lovable, cat- and tea-worshipping man.
>206 Did you say something, sir?
>207 Thanks for the recommendation of The Fifth Child, Kerry. I'm sure that I can find it at one of the libraries at Emory, my local alma mater.
>208 I went ahead and looked at my copy of Keys to the Garden, to see if Departure is included; it isn't.
BTW, here's a description of the book:
This first anthology of twentieth-century Israeli literature to feature the work of writers who were born in-or whose families originated from-the Levant, Turkey, Iran, India, and Arab worlds represents twenty-four authors whose concerns with cultural identity, race, class, gender, and political allegiances place their work alongside today's emerging rediscovered and reinvented Arab, African, Indian, African-American, and Caribbean traditions.
I like Anne Tyler and have some of her books here which I bought for next to nothing from the used book room at our library. Even though I like her stuff, I wouldn't consider her a prize winning author.
>190 A link to my Dracula review? You flatter me, Sir! :)
Look forward to your thoughts on it when you get around to reading it.
>200: A bit late to the party but regarding some of the Nobel winners, at one time I was on a quest to read at least one book by each winner, but authors like Lessing and Jelinek really put me off that pursuit. I've always been a bit embarrassed about giving up, and it's not like I steer clear of all Nobel authors now, but they do require more of the reader and you have to be up for that. And some books, like The Piano Teacher, made me wonder how/why an author was chosen. I hated that book too, and just couldn't get through it.
>212 Thanks, avidmom! Your review of Dracula was excellent, and I'll remember to look at it when I do read the book, probably next year.
>213 at one time I was on a quest to read at least one book by each winner, but authors like Lessing and Jelinek really put me off that pursuit.
Right, Laura. My inner completist would like to proclaim that I've read a work by all of the Nobel laureates, but I'd gladly settle for reading books by the ones that I'm most interested in. I'd like to read books by two or three Nobel laureates who are new to me every year, in addition to that year's laureate. This year I'll definitely read at least one book by Patrick White and Gao Xingjian, and probably some short stories by S.Y. Agnon next month.
Today's Nobel Prize odds for the top 10 authors, from Ladbrokes:
Haruki Murakami 7/1
Mo Yan 12/1
Cees Nooteboom 12/1
Ismail Kadare 14/1
Ko Un 14/1
Dacia Maraini 16/1
Philip Roth 16/1
Cormac McCarthy 16/1
Amos Oz 16/1
That kitten looks as if it might have some mischief in mind; some potentially injury inflicting mischief.
I wish I knew from where I might get one of these "inner completist" thingies. I am a compulsive "moving on" person, myself.
Loving Caro's kitten. And kittens ALWAYS have mischief on their minds. As, for that matter, do full-grown felines...
I'd love to see Murakami get it, if only to encourage more people to try his books.
Well Murakami would be a popular if not a populist choice. At least the fellow writes stuff that people will still be reading in 25 years. Adonis may be hampered by a poet winning last year. Philip Roth, Thomas Pynchon and Cormac McCarthy are not without a chance given the lack of an american winner - I have an inkling that Margaret Atwood may also get close scrutiny as might Alice Munro. I would love to see William Trevor get the nod or Andre Brink but the UK/Ireland and South Africa have had their fair share of success recently. Amos Oz and Elias Khoury would be respectable winners for the middle east.
Ahhhhh let's faceit we all have no idea!
I'm almost done with Skios now and I'm rather impressed. I didn't expect to enjoy it quite so much. But it is probably only to CERTAIN tastes. :) It's only my second Booker Longlist book! I've got to hurry up!
*peers fearfully in* Is...is the *uccchhhickyptooptoo* cat gone?
If Cormac McNotalent or Philip "Quit knocking I'm...reading" Roth or Margaret "How DARE you *I* do not write *sneer* SF" Atwood win the Nobel Prize, I'm flyin' to Sweden to 9/11 their sorry butts.
>216 I wish I knew from where I might get one of these "inner completist" thingies.
It may be a curse more than a gift, sort of an OCD variant. A "moving on" persona seems healthier and less neurotic in comparison.
>217 I hadn't heard of Mara and Dann, but Luci's review of it makes it sound interesting. Thanks for mentioning this book, Rachel.
>218 ...and so do puppies and dogs. I was reading the Dean's Message from the latest issue of Pitt Med magazine, which included this opening paragraph:
This spring, my wife became enamored with a breed of dog with which I was unfamiliar, the Havanese. She suggested getting one, and I suggested that we dog sit for a weekend for a friend’s Havanese, to get a sense of the breed, before making any decisions. A weekend was arranged with the Havanese guest; to protect his privacy, I’ll call him Che. Che’s owners warned us that the dog was quite affable except that he was insistent about sleeping with his owners in their bed. Fine, I thought to myself. But that isn’t going to happen in my house. This dog just needs discipline. Well, I must have pushed Che out of bed 21 times before he surrendered and curled up on the dog pillow in the corner. Finally, we could rest soundly—until 2 a.m., when we found ourselves sitting bolt upright to earsplitting howling. The dog had rushed downstairs to the front door. Someone’s breaking in! I rushed downstairs, but as I reached the bottom step, Che rushed up the steps. Having found no one breaking in, I returned upstairs, only to find the dog in my place in the bed. He’d taken advantage of my interest in preserving my territory just as he was attempting to expand his own.
>219 I have mixed feelings about Murakami as a Nobel laureate. I am a big fan, and I do love his work. However, I don't think he is the most qualified candidate for the prize, which is meant to honor "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction" (work defined as the author's body of work, rather than a single book). Having said that though, I would be pleased if Murakami did win, and I'd much happier to see his name announced rather than some of the others that have been mentioned or listed.
>220 Although I haven't read enough of their work, I'd be very pleased if William Trevor or Andre Brink won the Nobel Prize. Trevor is 84 years old, so I would assume that he won't be writing for much longer, and it would be nice if he was chosen in time for him to appreciate the award. Amos Oz and Elias Khoury would be excellent laureates as well.
>221 I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying Skios, Rachel. I have that on my Kindle, and I'll read it sometime next month.
Once the Booker Prize shortlist is announced on September 11 I'll recruit people for a Shadow Jury, similar to the one that Jill hosted for this year's Orange Prize. Although I intend to read the entire longlist, my main goal will be to read the shortlist in advance of the award ceremony on October 16th. I expect to see Bring Up the Bodies and The Garden of Evening Mists on the shortlist. I don't think that Swimming Home will make the next cut, and I'm not sure about Narcopolis or The Yips.
Hi Darryl- What are your thoughts on The Empty Family? I had mixed feelings about it. There was some terrific writing but the graphic nature of some of the sex scenes was a turn off and felt, to me anyway, completely unnecessary.
>226 Mark, I've only read one of the short stories in The Empty Family so far, which didn't have any sexual scenes in it, so I can't say much about the book yet. Thanks for the heads up.
>224: It may be a curse more than a gift, sort of an OCD variant. A "moving on" persona seems healthier and less neurotic in comparison.
Hmm ... you calling me unhealthy and neurotic? Inner completists unite! :)
Well, I have one completed project to report: I finished sorting, tossing, selling, giving away, and using all the STUFF I had piled in my little one car garage since I moved into this house, 25 months ago! I have now one car in my one car garage. Woo hop
Next completion task: complete 2011 Income Taxes. (see I am very good at not completing things)
I very rarely complete projects. Those that I do complete are only done so when there is a time-limit, and they will inevitably done at the last possible moment.
Procrastination is my middle name. My parents cursed me with it ;)
I think there is a very big tribe to which we (the no completionists) belong. Sadly, it does cause me anxiety on occasion.
>230-233 But you do finish books don't you? Then all is not lost!!
My dh says that I frustrate myself by only counting what remains to be done rather than crediting myself for what I did get done.
Must go finish a book.....
I wish they'd open up literary prize voting to members of the public too. If they could just open up online voting for a few days on the short listed nominees, I'd be happier with the final list of winners.
>228 I am braced and fully warned, thanks to you, Mark. I'll read a short story or two in The Empty Family before I turn in for the night.
>229 Hmm ... you calling me unhealthy and neurotic?
Um. Umm...let me get back to you on that.
>230 Excellent, Karen! Good luck on doing your taxes...
>231 Same here.
>232 I can be a terrible procrastinator, and this tendency often competes with my inner completist. I do like being able to check off significant tasks from my "To Do" list, so the completist wins out more often than not.
>233 I think there is a very big tribe to which we (the no completionists) belong. Sadly, it does cause me anxiety on occasion.
I think the same can be said for the completists, particularly those who aren't satisfied until the entire task has been completed.
>234 My dh says that I frustrate myself by only counting what remains to be done rather than crediting myself for what I did get done.
Oh, that sounds familiar...
>235 *waves at Stasia*
>236 I wish they'd open up literary prize voting to members of the public too. If they could just open up online voting for a few days on the short listed nominees, I'd be happier with the final list of winners.
Interesting comment, Caroline. Although I like the idea of the reading public having a say in choosing winners of literary awards, I would be concerned that these prizes would be little more than popularity contests if that were to take place, and as a result little known authors or books would be overlooked. Maybe the public's vote can count as a percentage of the judges' votes, a significant amount but not enough to override the judges' choices.
I agree with you Darryl about having the people's vote count as a percentage of the overall vote. Maybe that would do well to be a completely different award like the People's Choice Awards for TV shows and movies. I'm afraid then we'd get a lot of Mary Higgins Clark and James Patterson books though. But then the snobs like me would have to be content with the juried prizes.
I am usually really disappointed (if not disgusted) with the lists of best sellers and the library's most checked out books.
Call me a snob . . .
Barcelona 1975 in The Empty Family was the one story in that collection by Toibin to which I saw no point beside the author trumpeting, "guess what, I'm gay, and gays have gay sex!" Some of the other stories, including the long one, "The Street", that concludes the collection, also had graphic sex scenes, but there was a lot more to them than that -- they served to illustrate a theme by Toibin or a plot. If I really strain myself I could come up with a theory about "Barcelona 1975", but it's far from evident. And yeah, I would have had the same response to a story that featured heterosexual graphic sex. Like, way too much of who put what where, and way too little why (beyond the obvious...)
How about having the panels nominate the longlists, have a wider group of critics select the shortlist and the public vote on the winners? That should rule out the James Pattersons of the world...
Darryl I am sorry - I missed so many of your threads during my LT absence, I'll never be able to catch up again. So I can't comment on any past posts/ events and I'll just say 'Hi' for now and wish you a happy week!
I generally am not impressed with the popular books seen on this list and that. I think if the public needs a vote on the prestigious prizes they should be forced to sign a witnessed pledge that they in fact had read every book, all the way to the end.
That is one of the reasons I enjoy LT and the various book reviews I read here. I am pretty sure the writers are honest in their having read the books they review. And seldom do we see Popularity Contests, and friends just giving strong good reviews to friends.
I am happy to leave the prize decisions, however flawed, in the hands of the experts, as I think there could be far too many complications with a public vote. How should the eligible voters be defined for those prizes that are specific to a country or group of countries (Giller, Booker etc.)? What changes to the publishing industry would be needed in order to ensure that the books in question were actually available in an appropriate time frame? As Karen (maggie1944) points out, how do you ensure that voters have actually read all of the books? And how would marketing/publicity factors potentially skew the results?
>239 I'm afraid then we'd get a lot of Mary Higgins Clark and James Patterson books though. But then the snobs like me would have to be content with the juried prizes.
Right. I think that it would be tricky to incorporate a public vote into a literary award. Should average readers be allowed to select finalists (books or authors) for an award?, or vote for the winning book or author? If they are allowed to choose from a longlist of books, should they be required to read all of the books before they are allowed to cast a vote (and how do you do that)? What if the public chooses a book like Fifty Shades of Grey, the best selling book in UK history, for the Booker Prize longlist, or J.K. Rowling as a finalist for the Nobel Prize in Literature? No...I think I'd like to keep things as they are, with no public voting for any literary award, unless someone wants to create People's Choice Awards for books.
>240 I am usually really disappointed (if not disgusted) with the lists of best sellers and the library's most checked out books. Call me a snob . . .
I agree with you about the books that appear on the best seller lists in the US, at least for fiction. I used to find at least three or four books on the weekly NYT Fiction best seller list that I had read, owned or wanted to read; nowadays I'm lucky to find one novel that I own or am remotely interested in reading. Of the 35 books listed in this week's Fiction Best Seller List, which combines print and electronic books, I own none of them, and only two novels are of interest to me, The Light Between Oceans and 11/22/63.
>241 Thanks for the info about the sexually graphic stories in The Empty Family, Suz. I didn't read any of them last night, as I fell asleep in my rocker soon after I finished yesterday's message. I'll read half of the remaining stories today, and the other half tomorrow.
How about having the panels nominate the longlists, have a wider group of critics select the shortlist and the public vote on the winners? That should rule out the James Pattersons of the world...
>241, 242 Interesting thought. I could easily imagine messy scenarios where the public didn't agree with the panel's longlist or the critics' shortlist, the critics disagreed with the public's choice of the winner, etc. I think I like it the way it is, with one set of judges providing continuity throughout the entire process.
>243 Hi, Nathalie! I haven't been following your thread that closely in the past couple of months, so no apology is necessary. I hope that you're doing well, and that this week is a good one for you.
>244 I think if the public needs a vote on the prestigious prizes they should be forced to sign a witnessed pledge that they in fact had read every book, all the way to the end.
I agree. I'd also want them to fill out a disclosure form that identified potential conflicts of interest, similar to those that authors of articles submitted to medical journals for publication have to do. Those potential voters with obvious conflicts (e.g., spouses or publishers of longlisted authors) should not be allowed to participate.
>245 I am happy to leave the prize decisions, however flawed, in the hands of the experts, as I think there could be far too many complications with a public vote.
Yep. A public vote sounds like a good idea in theory, but its application would be even more problematic than the structure of the current prizes, IMO.
I think the only successful way to do a "public opinion" vote would be a set-up similar to the Nebula awards. Everybody who's a member of their organization can vote. Anybody can join the organization (I think), but they probably have some sort of screening process that keeps track of conflicts of interest and such issues. There's a fee to get in to the organization, and (I think) you have to have been an "active" member LAST year in order to vote THIS year. That keeps the voting down to people who are actually serious about the process.
It would be nice to have a few more of those types of awards, but it would be disaster to replace the existing panel-of-judges awards with this process.
Well, there also is the argument about how we can be sure the judges themselves read all the longlisted novels?! (devil's advocate, I know...)
I know I'm beating on a very old, very tired drum here, but my 0.02: I probably look like a bit of a snob in my own reading to the vast majority of other readers out there, but that doesn't bother me in the least. What can irritate me a bit, however, is me or other people passing judgment on what other people choose to read and enjoy. I admit that I couldn't begin to get through The Da Vinci Code, and I'm not sure how people can -- but plenty of people read it and relished it as a thumping good read. So who am I to judge them for that, just because it's now what I would think of as a good book? I have worked off and on as a literacy tutor, and even people who are nominally quite literate among their friends and family struggle quite enough to deal with a longish book with fairly simple themes. If you ask them to read something where they have to think about themes and character development -- where they can't just kick back and enjoy the story -- they'll opt not to read at all. Now, I'd also argue that, faced with a short list of six authors of whom they've never heard, they probably wouldn't vote for any of 'em, because it isn't as important. They'll just keep going back to the library for the names they know and can depend on for a plain vanilla story. On the other hand, they know they aren't reading "literature" or books of great literary merit. They just don't care.
Love the idea of conflicts of interest -- the problem being that the publishing world is so tiny, it would be hard to do. For instance, Martin Amis has pissed off a large portion of the British "literary establishment" in his day. I'm think of the historical fiction world, too, a sub-genre where there are the most incredible spats that remind me of high school.
I TOTALLY agree with you Chatterbox. Why do so many people care what other people read? There's nothing wrong with having discerning tastes, but I hate it when people scoff at other people's choices. Live and let live, right?
I'm always rather put out when people accuse me of "only" reading young adult books or "only" reading fantasy and science fiction books....generally I'm more widely read than any of the people who say such things to me, but why bother telling them that? And where do they get that idea, anyway? Not from me! I think the people who scoff at other people for "only" reading (insert genre here) probably need to get a little more variety in their own lives as well. ;)
>248 I think the only successful way to do a "public opinion" vote would be a set-up similar to the Nebula awards.
I like that idea, although this group of members is only partially "public".
It would be nice to have a few more of those types of awards, but it would be disaster to replace the existing panel-of-judges awards with this process.
Right. Goodreads has an informal set of awards for the best book in several categories, and I believe that any member can contribute and vote on each book. I'll have to check to see which books won last year's awards...found it. Here's a link:
2011 Goodreads Choice Awards
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami was selected as the best Fiction book of the year, which is a reasonable populist choice, IMO.
>249 how we can be sure the judges themselves read all the longlisted novels?!
Good point. I doubt that we the public, the other judges, or the prizes' nominating committees can be sure of this, and I wouldn't be surprised if, in the past, one or more judges left one or more longlisted books behind.
I probably look like a bit of a snob in my own reading to the vast majority of other readers out there, but that doesn't bother me in the least. What can irritate me a bit, however, is me or other people passing judgment on what other people choose to read and enjoy.
I think I'm more of a book snob than you are, as your reading habits are broader than mine. I think I'm guilty of making snippy and occasionally condescending comments about certain genres here, but I do my best to not pass judgments about books to my RL family members, friends, colleagues or anyone else I encounter.
>250 There's nothing wrong with having discerning tastes, but I hate it when people scoff at other people's choices.
I agree with that.
This topic was continued by kidzdoc is cutting down the mountain of unread books in 2012: part 13.
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