*** What are you reading now? - Part 4
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Anyone reading anything extraordinary?
I am enjoying a vacation back in Bulgaria, trying to stay away from computers for a bit so I will report when I am back what I had been reading (not as much as I expected).
I've finished Robertson Davies's Salterton Trilogy over the weekend and found the third book even better than the previous two.
For my real life book group I'm reading Why We Came to the City by Kristopher Jansma, which is, halfway through, very much a young-person-dies-tragically book, except with the occasional literary flourish. It has a high rating on LT, so maybe it will improve dramatically from here.
I was distracted from the young person's hospital death bed by The Flight of Gemma Hardy, Margot Livesey's reimagining of Jane Eyre set in 1960s Scotland. I'm enjoying it tremendously.
I am reading the Novels of Matteo Bandello, Bishop of Agen They are really short stories and were published in the early 16th century. There are six volumes of them and so it will take me some time to get through them.
>8 RidgewayGirl: HA! I'm not very far into it yet - we moved a few weeks ago & there's always so much to do around the house. I know some of his more recent works haven't been terribly well received. I'll let you know my thoughts. :)
Hesiod was short and maybe underwhelming. I plan to start The Homeric Hymns next.
I finished The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts: Murder and Memory in an American City and The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma.
Now I've started the short, vampire classic Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu and The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma.
I'm flying through The Prime Minister, the 5th book in Trollope's Palliser series. Love it.
I had barely started The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald when Avidmom distracted me with her intriguing review of The Master and Margarita, so that's what I'm reading. I've been very interested in ancient world mythology lately, and this book is already hitting the right notes. Right book, right time, perhaps?
Finished Carmilla and started 438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea. I'm a sucker for sea survival stories.
>16 Nickelini: Uh oh.... LOL! I do think you have to be in the right mood for that book. I loved it because it was such a whole different (and wildly weird!) world!
I have two books going on right now. Lincoln's Battle With God by Stephen Mansfield which so far is turning out to be pretty compelling and for fun (my literary equivalent of a hot fudge sundae after reading Catcher in the Rye) a re-re-re- (re?)- read of Cannery Row.
I finished A Tolice da Inteligência Brasileira: Ou como o País se Deixa Manipular pela Elite, by Jessé Souza. Review in my thread. Next: Os Sentidos do Lulismo, by Andre Singer. Another book about brazilian contemporary history.
>8 RidgewayGirl: You weren't kidding... slow going for me with this one. :/
I've recently finished Trollope's The Prime Minister, The Vet's Daughter by Barbara Comyns, and a quick reread of Lady Susan, one of Jane Austen's juvenile works that has just been made into a movie.
Now I'm reading a rather gruesome ER win, Engineering Eden that has lots of bear attacks in it (it's nonfiction about the conflict in our national parks about how much human intervention in nature is appropriate, if any). I'm also back to Roberston Davies, finishing up the Deptford Trilogy with World of Wonders.
>27 MsNick: At least you're persevering. I just couldn't go on with that one.
I'm reading This Census-Taker by China Miéville and
Before We Visit the Goddess by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
I'm also dipping into both American Gothic: An Anthology 1787-1916 edited by Charles L. Crow and Popular Culture and High Culture: An Analysis and Evaluation Of Taste by Herbert Gans.
Wishing you well Robert. Be sure to give Boethius a hard time where, and if, he deserves it.
>29 RidgewayGirl: WTF did I just read?!?!? I need to gather my thoughts on this one.
>39 avidmom: - "(sorry, Dan, God won) " : ) Hope he put up good fight. I'll look forward to your review.
>38 AlisonY: "one of our CR Marmite authors." What a terrific phrase.
Flipping audio books. I finished The Sixth Extinction. Starting Far From the Tree...a 40 hour audiobook! I should be listening for a while.
Finished listening Freedom for the Thought that We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment, by Anthony Lewis. Review in my thread. Next in the listening list: Eichmann in Jerusalem, by Hannah Arendt.
>41 dchaikin: The Far From the Tree by Solomon? I'm interested in it and eager to hear of your progress. Have been daunted by the length -- will need numerous 2-week loan periods to get through a library download, or load/manage all those CD files... :( Solomon wrote an introduction to A Mother's Reckoning, Sue Klebold's memoir of her son's crimes at Columbine (eta: which I'm currently listening to).
I am currently reading a little book of short stories by Mark Twain: The Stolen White Elephant.
>43 detailmuse: Yes, that one. The length intimidates me too. All I can say far is that the 30 minute introduction is terrific. But it will take me some two months to finish. Perhaps I'll post something while I'm in progress. (Side note - if anyone has audible, it's a good deal. $35 book for one credit)
Finished reading Os Sentidos do Lulismo: Reforma Gradual e Pacto Conservador, by André Singer. The book is about contemporary brazilian politic. Review in my thread. Next: Crítica a Razão Dualista, O Ornitorrinco, by Francisco de Oliveira.
I am trying to read Eleanor vs. Ike, an alternative historical fiction where Eleanor Roosevelt runs for president in the 50s. Not sure if it's the book or me, but I'm having a hard time focusing.
>40 MsNick: That made me laugh.
I've finished the anthology of short stories based on Jane Eyre's last line, Reader I Married Him. It's unusual to find a collection where the stories are excellent. I've also finished Why We Came to the City by Kristopher Jansma, which was simply not very good, unless you are desperate to read about bright young things in New York City dealing with death.
I'm now looking at The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton and wondering if I want to carry that around. I've also started Honor by Elif Shafak.
I'm reading The Known World by Edward P. Jones which is an excellent novel about slavery right before the Civil War. It's expectedly hard to read in content at times, so I've also pick up A Friend from England by Anita Brookner, who is quickly becoming a favorite author.
For nonfiction I'm slogging through Engineering Eden, an ER win and my audiobook of the moment is Eleanor and Park which is very cute and bringing back all sorts of '80s flashbacks.
I've finished The Invention of Nature which was fascinating but not a good bookclub book (we didn't find much to discuss). I've also recently finished Roots of Heaven which dovetailed nicely into the former and the sad and short Requiem by Shizuko Go. I've started The Warden on audio and Virgin Soil in paper.
>52 RidgewayGirl: I hate to say it, but you didn't miss much. Where on Earth was the novel's editor? While I enjoyed certain parts of the book and some of its characters, it still fell flat for me.
I am almost halfway through H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. It is not great as some people claim, but it is very pleasant reading so long as you (I) don't take on her sorrows as your (my) own.
Just finished The Women in Black by Madeleine St John. This is my favourite book so far this year. It's the story of a group of women who work at a department store in Sydney Australia in the 1950s. Not a lot of plot, but wonderful characters, subtle lovely writing, and some humour. Highly recommended; unfortunately, it's out of print and difficult to find.
I've read the first two novels in American Science Fiction: Four Classic Novels 1953-56 (Library of America) edited by Gary K. Wolfe and will probably continue on although I have a New York Review of Books to finish first. The novels I've read are The Space Merchants and More Than Human; they are good reading but not great literature despite what their entries in Wikipedia may say. I am looking forward to The Long Tomorrow and The Shrinking Man.
There is a second volume of five novels. I hope to get to it but know my attention could be diverted. I have Farnsworth's Classical English Rhetoric and The Bridge of San Luis Rey coming in the mail that may take me from the science fiction.
The vacation morphed into a bit of madness at work so I never got around to post here. I just caught up with all my reviews so here is what I had been reading the last month or so:
From the Science Fiction side: I am making my way through McDevitt's works - A Talent for War was good and so was The Engines of God - I am not suprised that he decided to continue both as series - they are the kind of stories that can have sequels if needed. Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan is one of the most imaginative books I had read lately (although full of gore and sex). Finally got around to reading Anathem and it is a huge task - very satisfying but not an easy book especially at the start. I am not sorry that I read Cherryh's Brothers of Earth but it is a lot weaker than most of the SF I've read lately - but as I am making my way through her list, it was a good enough start. And Hamilton's half novel The Abyss Beyond Dreams was exactly what the doctor ordered - it had a few sections that could have been a lot shorter but oh well. Don't even think of trying that without reading the first 5 though.
On the mystery, thriller and crime side: Death of Riley was not as charming as the previous installment but still not bad, Temple's The Broken Shore was bleak and dark and very Australian and pretty good, the other Hamilton (Steve)'s A Cold Day in Paradise and Winter of the Wolf Moon are a great start of a series and his newest The Second Life of Nick Mason was satisfying (even when predictable). Continuing with my Perry Mason: The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece and The Case of the Stuttering Bishop were as entertaining as the previous ones, Baldacci's sixth King and Maxwell novel (King and Maxwell) was as expected - not great but readable and my first Maigret novel in 2 decades Inspector Cadaver was more entertaining than I expected.
I even managed to squeeze a non-genre novel - The Translation of Love which was heartbreaking and reminded me again when I keep risking to get mainstream novels from unknown authors from the library now and then. It is not perfect but it is a good one.
And Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City needs to be read by everyone.
Reviews both in the pages of the works and in my thread.
Gore Vidal's Thieves Fall Out (written under a pseudonym and almost never reprinted - it is more a curiosity than anything but it is pretty readable), Piketty's Why Save the Bankers?: And Other Essays on Our Economic and Political Crisis which is good but because of how it is built, repetitive between the essays so cannot from cover to cover in an evening and the first Bosch novel The Black Echo on the kindle - I know I had read some of these through the years but no idea which ones and when - so just starting from the start.
Finished Thieves Fall Out last night and it was a better story than I expected - cheezy and pulpy but good.
And just finished Why Save the Bankers?: And Other Essays on Our Economic and Political Crisis which was repetitive in places (being a collection of unedited articles) but very good otherwise. Review posted.
Next is The Line of Polity - the 3rd Neal Asher novel, part of the Polity universe again. Should be quite busy with it for a few days.
>68 japaul22: I will be keeping an eye for your thoughts on Evicted :)
I recently finished The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (very good, but weakened by a too-perfect ending), The Book of Sand by Jorge Luis Borges (meh, not my cup of tea), and The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale (very enjoyable).
I've just started The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson, still slowly plugging away at The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir, and I'm almost done with Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng (very addictive reading).
>72 AlisonY: I enjoyed your comments on Freedom. One day I'll get to that book.
I am starting Death of the Heart, which has been in my TBR forever. I've struggled with Elizabeth Bowen in the past but feel confident that one day I'll actually enjoy her. I'm also picking through the essays in Salman Rushdie's Imaginary Homelands (some of which I read already at university).
Since I last checked in here I read yet another of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels, Ten Big Ones, and continued my partial Discworld re-read with Soul Music. I'm now reading What Makes This Book So Great: Re-Reading the Classics of Science Fiction and Fantasy by Jo Walton.
I finished the first Library of America volume of 1950's science fiction novels and have started the second, American Science Fiction: Five Classic Novels 1956-58 (Library of America), with Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein. There are also The Stars My Destination, A Case of Conscience, Who?, and The Big Time.
>73 Nickelini: thanks. I don't think it's everyone's cup of tea, but I loved it.
I'm reading Jane Eyre because I've never read it before and thought I should. Love the story (and Jane) but I admit it feels like a bit of a slog.
I just finished Cousin Bette, not my favorite Balzac, but definitely a page turner.
Cousin Bette is a nice antidote to all those English 19th century novels where the poor relative ends up sacrificing herself or maybe marrying the younger son. I'm sure there must have been legions of unmarried aunts, nieces and sisters-in-law who read it with great glee and fantasized about getting their own back on the rich relatives who treated them as unpaid servants.
I finished another detective story this morning: next on my pile is La Bâtarde, unless I find it too depressing. I started reading Simone de Beauvoir's introduction, but she's not doing a great job of selling the book to me so far...
The Line of Polity was a bit longer than needed in places but overall very good. And the 4th in the 39 clues books Beyond the Grave was better than the previous and overall a pretty good one as well.
Started The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches from Syria and that will take awhile - not the kind of books you read in a day. As much as I am fine with bleak and dark in my fiction, when it is real stories, it becomes too much. So alternating that with McDevitt's Ancient Shores (part of my reading in order project) which is goofier than the first 3 so far but readable.
Reading Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth : Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer, a translation effort by Diane Wolkstein & Samuel Noah Kramer. It's Wolkstein's creation from the known Inanna/Ishtar/Astart stories, and it is actually pretty special. Jane A Jones nudged me here.
I finished the eighth (Who?) of the nine novels in the Library American collection of 1950's science fiction and set the volume down to read a Scientific American. Then I picked up Farnsworth's Classical English Rhetoric. From the first several pages I think that it will not be an exclusive reading. Whether I pick up the last science fiction novel or The Bridge of San Luis Rey remains to be seen.
Still working on The Life of Elizabeth I, nearly done with The Bell Jar, a third of the way through The Enormous Room (by E.E. Cummings), just started The Drone Eats With Me (an ER memoir), and Sir Thursday, the fourth in a children's fantasy series.
Desperately trying to keep myself from picking up Bananeras, about women's work in the banana unions of Latin America, until I finish my ER book.
I finished the first book in Anthony Trollope's Palliser series. Can You Forgive Her? was quite wonderful.
Now, I am trying to put together books for my trip to Maine. The whole month of July will be relaxing and will provide lots of reading time. Very limited internet access though.
I posted the Q2 favorite reads thread this morning. Please visit and let us all know what you enjoyed.
I read The Bridge of San Luis Rey yesterday and am quite happy that I did. Today I have started the last novel in American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s, The Big Time by Fritz Leiber.
i finished The Big Time last night well before lights out. After lights out I never did fall asleep, so in the middle of the night I got up to look at a few stacks of books. I was both surprised and happy to find my boxed set of Patricia Highsmith's Ripley novels and reasonably accessible at that. I got a good start on The Talented Mr. Ripley. I have read at least one of the Ripley novels in the deep past, but it was not this one.
>91 MsNick: hope you enjoy it as much as I did - I thought it was fabulously written. A favourite from last year.
>92 Mr.Durick: I think the Ripley novels are Highsmith at her best - enjoy!
Whilst looking for something quite different on Scribd I came across How architecture works: a humanist's toolkit by Witold Rybczynski. Looks interesting so far, if a little bit lightweight: I'm not in the mood for anything really challenging at the moment, anyway.
I'm on vacation and finished Marking Time, the second book in Elizabeth Jane HOward's Cazalet series. I'm almost done with The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat which is excellent. I've sort of stalled out on Evicted - not really light vacation reading! I'll get back to it when we return home.
After I finish The Farming of Bones, I think The Talented Mr. Ripley is up next. Glad to hear some positive statements about it!
So since my last update:
The Black Echo - the first Bosch novel - was gritty and pretty good.
In my McDevitt read through, the next novel Ancient Shores had a great idea and a very flawed end.
The second Jack Irish novel by Temple Black Tide was gritty, dark and very Australian (if you liked the first, you should like this one as well)
The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches from Syria by Janine Di Giovanni was heartbreaking - and despite some stylistic issues, worth reading
The last book in the Shattered Sea trilogy Half a War was weaker than the previous 2 but the 3 together make a marvelous story.
And in my other read through (the Cherryh one), Gate of Ivrel opens the Morgaine cycle quite nicely - closer to fantasy than to SF, a bit too slow and meandering but still readable.
I actually finished one more last night (The Devil's Workshop - the third in Grecian's Murder Squad series) but had not gotten around to writing a review.
Now back to Cherryh with Hunter of Worlds which is a lot more SF-inal than the previous 2 so far. Slow again but it is fascinating.
>98 Mr.Durick: I saw you had read it and it made me glad I'd brought it with me on vacation. Seems like a good summer book.
June has been a dismal month in terms of reading (quantity, not quality, although that's not saying much with only three books). Since it is the last day of the month, I am desperately trying to finish my June Zola book, Pot Luck.
Between a week's vacation mid-month and time off the past two days, I've finished quite a few books: The Odd Women by George Gissing, Evicted, Buddha's Little Finger/The Clay Machine Gun by Viktor Pelevin, The House with the Blind Glass Windows, The Warden (audio), The Bell by Iris Murdoch, The History of Mary Prince, The Coquette by Hannah W. Foster, and finally Shakespeare Wrote for Money.
I hope to finish The House of Ulloa by Emilia Pardo Bazán today and maybe, just maybe, start working on my two-month backlog of reviews :/
No reading has been going on. I did finally finish American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales, which was bloated and unfocused until the end where the author made a few excellent points.
I've got The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney and the last in that Stephen King detective series, End of Watch, lined up for next week, which should include time to read.
I finished out June with The Last Testament: A Memoir, by "God" (with David Javerbaum), which was good, blasphemous fun, and an ER book, The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis, which was OK, but didn't engage me as much as I'd hoped it would.
Currently reading The Full Cupboard of Life, book #5 in Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, which may be my favorite yet. And next up is The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee, about which I have heard many good things.
When I finished the Ripley series and a Popular Mechanics I had read 14 fairly insubstantial novels in a row. Although I am currently intellectually enfeebled I thought I might be able to handle something heavier if not too complicated, and Capital Vol. 1 by Karl Marx came to mind; it was not too hard to find, so I tossed it onto my bed. A little later it seemed that it might be too heavy, and I stumbled across Hans Fallada's The Drinker and also tossed it onto my bed.
When I finally went to bed Marx happened to be on top so I read the editor's long introduction. It was convoluted enough that I didn't report it here. Last night, however, I got through all of the original introductory material and the first chapter on commodities. I didn't get it all, but I seem to be reading the book. Now I have a plan to dig out the other two volumes when I'm done with this one and to read them and The Cambridge Companion to Marx which is on top of a stack. I almost certainly won't do that.
Both Cherryh's books I read last week (Hunter of Worlds and Kesrith) were good. So was Morgan's Broken Angels - very different from the first one but in a good way.
Add another Mason The Case of the Dangerous Dowager and a few short works (SF and Fantasy) and that was all for the long weekend.
Reading Asher's Cowl now and some short stories (until I get distracted and end up reading something else)
>114 Mr.Durick: interesting, Mr D.
I read a collection of three plays by Sophocles, and now I'm working through a book with four plays by Euripides. Sophocles was fun. Euripides is disturbing.
Bananeras: Women Transforming the Banana Unions of Latin America was a great read, really fascinating. Very much a guide of the ways unions can benefit workers outside of better working conditions. I blew through a short manga series Emma by Mori Kaoru (no relation to the Austen, this follows a Victorian maid in London).
Nearly done with Love, Nina: A Nanny Writes Home by Nina Stibbe and a re-read of Sir Thursday by Garth Nix. Just started Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte, The Prince of Medicine: Galen in the Roman Empire by Susan P. Mattern, How to be a Tudor by Ruth Goodman, and The Patchwork Girl of Oz by L. Frank Baum
I may have too many irons in the fire...
I've gone back to Pratchett again with Hogfather, which so far is even more wonderful than I remembered it being.
Enjoy OSH Alison.
I finished a volume of Euripides plays. I'm back into the contemporary world (momentarily), reading American Girls : Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers, by Nancy Jo Sales. It was recently reviewed by RidgewayGirl, and that led me to pick it up.
>123 RidgewayGirl: the introduction was fascinating. Chapter one has a lot of interviews...
Last night I read the first story in How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer, which was really good. The book is, I think, mainly on teenage years, or at least on growing up a girl - so there is some thematic consistency with American Girls.
I've finished Man in the Empty Suit by Sean Ferrell, which had an amazing premise its execution was pretty much never going to live up to and am now reading Present at the Creation: The Story of CERN and the Large Hadron Collider by Amir D. Aczel.
I'm also dipping in and out of The Official Star Trek Trivia Book by Rafe Needleman, which is mostly just reminding me how much of my obsessive Trekkie knowledge I've forgotten since my obsessive Trekkie adolescence.
>122 dchaikin: thanks Dan. I haven't got back into reading it since I came back from my holiday, but that's just down to busyness. Will hopefully get into reading mode again this week.
Glad to hear you're enjoying the new novel by Helen Simonson. I have that on my TBR list since I enjoyed Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. I just finished rereading The Piano Teacher by Janice Lee. I still like it, but fear that the ladies in my book club will not. They are partial to straight timelines, rather than hopping back and forth, and are very partial to happy endings. Sigh! I'm hoping to find time soon for The Expatriates by Lee.
>127 japaul22:, >128 PeggyDean: I really enjoyed The Summer Before the War, and was relieved. I'm a big fan of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, but had some fear she was a one book wonder. This new one puts that to rest - she's such a good writer.
I'm now starting Steinbeck's The Wayward Bus and Philip K. Dick's Ubik.
I'm having trouble finding anything that clicks, so I have several books on the go. The one I'm focusing on the most is NW by Zadie Smith.
Finished Pobreza e Cidadania, by Vera da Silva Telles, portuguese edition. Review in my thread.
Had a hanging-about-for-workmen day yesterday, so I was planning to read something challenging, but somehow ended up picking another Fred Vargas off the shelf. And why not? It's L'armée furieuse, which seems to have all the elements you need for a good Adamsberg story: something (apparently) supernatural and medieval, a conflict with authority, and an animal story.
I've finally picked up the copy of Child 44 that's been on my shelves for years.
Last week, I finished The Small House at Allington, the next-to-last Trollope in his Barsetshire series, but I just reviewed it today.
I'm 2/3 the way through Zadie Smith's NW and really enjoying it. I'll look for her other books.
On audio, I've started Evicted : Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond.
Today I will be starting I Am No One, which I received through Early Reviewers.
On holiday so not posting reviews at the moment, but I've finished L'armée furieuse and started a Nina Bawden novel.
Sped through The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions by Karen Armstrong and a variety of comics and graphic memoirs.
Have now started Sapiens by Yuval Harari and Kindred by Octavia Butler.
Because they needed to go back to the library Friday, I finished Audrey Hepburn's biography, Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn and then followed that with An Elegant Spirit: A Son Remembers, more of a coffee table picture book of Audrey Hepburn's life by her son which was very moving and sweet. And now for a bit of fluff: A Night in With Audrey Hepburn... which looks very ridiculous but fun.
This Audrey Hepburn kick wasn't planned; it just kind of happened!
Finished American Girls : Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales. Recommended to anyone interested. I'm saying that here, because I have so many thoughts on this book, I'm not sure I will be able to organize them into a coherent review. So, short version is my recommendation.
Not sure what's next. Maybe back to Euripides.
>156 Simone2: Didn't know Neuromancer was a difficult read.
I've settled on How to Breathe Underwater, a short story collection by Julie Orringer. Individually I like the stories a lot, cumulatively I'm not so sure.
Also, I'm intrigued that circa-2000 stories include film and playing tapes in cars. I mean, I guess that's normal, but my memory would like to tell me otherwise.
>157 dchaikin: I don't think it is that difficult when you are native English speaking. To me there were so many words I didn't understand that I honestly didn't know what was going on. And that while I read English books all the time and without any problem.
I've finished Dead Souls which I loved, and The Wine of Solitude which I didn't.
Now I'm reading a biography of Christina, Queen of Sweden and I think I'm going to start the beautiful copy of The Sound and the Fury that I bought that has the colored text that Faulkner intended the book to have. I also just picked up How to be a Tudor from the library, so I have quite a bit on my plate at the moment.
I finished A Night In With Audrey Hepburn this morning and will probably start reading either The Princess Bride OR As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from The Making of the Princess Bride. I can't decide which to go to first!
I've recently finished Dataclysm by Christian Rudder, who knows a frightening amount about everyone who has ever created an OKCupid profile and is eager to share his interesting conclusions about their aggregate behavior. And I'm now reading The Mammoth Book of Extreme Fantasy, edited by Mike Ashley, because I've finally accepted the fact that my attention span at the moment just can't handle anything too demanding and is probably best suited to short stories.
>160 avidmom: Do you want suggestions? The Princess Bride is terrific as a book. As You Wish is fun, and does give some insight into the movie. Actually I just watched the movie for the first time since reading it, and it was fun knowing this and that, like why Wesley takes such awkward gingerly steps at one point. I guess I can't really decide which to recommend you start with either. As You Wish will still leave wanting to read Goldman's book.
>163 dchaikin: Thanks for the help Dan! I have started The Princess Bride :-)
Recently finished Silent Spring which blew me away (and depressed me imagining what Carson would think of the current situation).
I've started a re-read of All Clear by Connie Willis finally (as in, it's the second part of one long novel), and The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement by David Graeber. I loved his book about the history of debt, and this one seems good too. I really like his style and his self-admitted surreal moments being involved in small-a anarchist groups, throwing paint on corporate windows while yelling "Pay your taxes."
I've had a few false starts this week, but finallly got going again with La pista de sabbia (a Montalbano story that might be perfect beach reading, if I were at the beach...).
I just read a Doctor Who novel, Silhouette by Justin Richards, and am now about to start The Mad Scientists' Hall of Fame by Daniel H. Wilson & Anna C. Long, which features biographies of real and fictional scientists of what looks like various degrees of madness.
Just finished The Hour of Land, a book of essays on our national parks by Terry Tempest Williams. Highly recommend.
On audio, i've started The Gene : An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee. It's over 19 hours, which means I can't possibly finished in my 2-week library allotment. It starts out very nicely.
I have been going through a very bad patch for reading, quite unable to settle on anything. I am currently reading Barkskins by Annie Proulx as I used to enjoy her books, hadn't read her in a long time, and saw this in a shop window and thought it might kick start my reading again. It's very odd. I'm picking it up, turning the pages easily enough, but cannot suppress the little voice in my head which keeps asking 'Why are you reading this? Are you actually enjoying it?'. If I'm asking myself that question I suspect the answer is 'no'. I will probably plough on, despite having two promising Persephone books waiting in the wings. There is a huge pile of Antonia Fraser bought in a fever of thinking I needed to know more about the Tudors and Stuarts, and sitting reproachfully on my window ledge is my half read George Monbiot's How Did We Get Into This Mess. How indeed?
>134 thorold: I can't believe anyone would line up something challenging when waiting for workmen. I spend such time restlessly pacing, flipping through magazines, and making sure I have sufficient supplies of strong tea laid in.
At the weekend I had another go at starting Carlo Emilio Gadda's Quer pasticciaccio brutto de via Merulana, which I've been meaning to read for years, but is at (just beyond, really) the limit of my ability to read Italian. Only about 50 pages into it so far, and it's hard work. When my brain overheats, I shift to Penelope Fitzgerald's The golden child, but that's not grabbing my attention as much as her books normally do.
>178 Oandthegang: Strong tea is useless for Dutch workmen. Filter coffee that's been kept in a Thermos jug for a few hours seems to be the ideal. (But I think on that particular occasion I didn't even need to offer them refreshment - it was one of those irritating little half-hour jobs that takes three weeks to schedule...)
>182 SassyLassy: Or just run to the bathroom. The doorbell will immediately ring.
And the proper beverage to provide in the American South in the summer is water. Bottles and bottles of it. The movers delivered our stuff and managed to empty 47 half liter bottles before they left at the end of the day.
A busy period for me: trying to read the Booker longlist and combine it with my 1001 addiction.
I just finished My name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout, which is on the longlist. I absolutely loved it, a 5 star read for me.
Now on to The Tartar Steppe by Dino Buzzati, which is the Group read in the 1001 Group.
>187 Simone2: trying to read the Booker longlist and combine it with my 1001 addiction.
Just gets harder every year. They haven't updated the 1001 since (I think) 2012. Personally, I don't read a lot of new fiction, but I am reading a lot from the past few years. Which means fewer 1001 books year after year. I'm also following the Guardian 1000, which has the same problem. Sure, there are lots of those books on my TBR, but none of them are newish. Time for some new major lists for us to follow.
>188 Nickelini: I was just thinking the same. I actually went googling to see if an update is on its way, but I can't find it.
The Booker is my guide in modern literature. As is the not-Booker longlist from The Guardian. Do you know that one?
I like to follow the Booker lists and I just discovered the not-Booker this year. I also love the Bailey's prize for women in literature.
I've been disappointed in the choices for the more contemporary books put on the 1001 books list. But to be fair, I think it's hard to see which books will be "the classics" when you're still in the generation they are being written.
I'd love a shorter list to follow than 1001, though. I'm getting a little sick of that one. I love the group here on LT, though, so on I go.
>189 Simone2: I hadn't seen this year's version, but I'm sure I've seen that in other years. I know so little about the Booker nominees this year that I'm not very interested. However, as I hear more about the books I'm sure I'll find some that I want to read.
>190 japaul22: The Bailey prize can be a good source too.
I've been disappointed in the choices for the more contemporary books put on the 1001 books list. But to be fair, I think it's hard to see which books will be "the classics" when you're still in the generation they are being written.
I don't look at the newer selections as potential classics and I don't think a book's inclusion on the list means that the 1001 publisher thinks people will still be reading that book in 50 or 100 years. I think they are just pointing out that these books have something unique or special about them. That's my take on it, anyway.
I think I'm getting a little bored of the 1001 list too. I have about 100 unread waiting for me, but lately nothing from that pile is what I'm in the mood for. I need a new list! I guess a lot of lists came out around the turn of the millennium, and now we aren't in any landmark year.
>190 japaul22:, >191 Nickelini:, >192 Simone2: I am still (still!) mostly enjoying the 1001-list. But I've already decided my next project will be reading the fiction works published by nyrb and touring the world via The Complete Review Guide to Contemporary World Fiction.
>193 ELiz_M: I need to get my hands on that book as well. Sounds great.
This month I am reading way too many books again:
Sodom and Gomorrah by Marcel Proust
Paintings in Proust by Eric Karpeles
Monsieur Proust's Library by Anka Muhlstein
Marcel Proust's Search for Lost Time by Patrick Alexander
Romance of Three Kingdoms
A Dance to the Music of Time: Second Movement by Anthony Powell
The Tartar Steppe by Dino Buzzati
Henry VI, Part I
I've just started this summer's Elizabeth von Arnim book, Fraulein Schmidt and Mr Anstruther, which I'm reading for the All Viragos All August read.
>193 ELiz_M: Looks like a great pile of NYRB books you have, based on your picture of them. You could do far worse than working your way through those shelves.
>196 SassyLassy: And every monthly book sale I add one or five more to the pile ;)
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