What You Are Reading the Week of 14 March 2009
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I'm making good progress on A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - hope to finish this weekend. Wonderful novel.
I just finished reading The Winners by Julio Cortázar for the Reading Globally monthly theme read (Argentina), which was very good (4 stars). Later today I'll start Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor, then I'll revisit Argentina with The Tango Singer by Tomás Eloy Martínez and Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges.
Just started two:
Walter Mosley's The Long Fall, which introduces a new series character, NYC PI Leonid McGill.
And Olivia Judson's Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation, which hooked me at the line that damselflies "have evolved some of the fanciest penises around." ?!! A very funny and fascinating advice-column-style Q&A between creatures and a biologist.
Finished The Call of the Wild yesterday. I'd read it thirty years ago and remembered it as being cold and harsh and it is. Violence and death are frank and matter of fact. So is strength and beauty. All of it generated from the same landscape. Is this book still on junior high shelves and reading lists? I can't quite see it as being correct anymore. It was never meant for kids anyway, but it's short and uncomplicated, and is seen a shaggy dog story. It isn't.
Just finished Winter's Light: Reflections of a Yankee Queer by John Preston. I'd read his porn, fiction and AIDS activist writing before he died in 1994. This is a collection of essays, speeches, an interview, much of it focused on gay life in Portland and rural Maine in the 80's and 90's. Looks like only seven folks have it in their libraries, but it worth writing a review.
Just started Case Histories by Kate Atkinson.
Just a few chapters into Cross Creek by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. My dad wants to borrow it when I am done so I have to read fast.
I Finished Be Near Me by Andrew O'Hagan.
I found it a strange book, about a rather banal subject: loss of self, and priestly sexual abuse.
The sex abuse was done very low key and rather haphazardly. The strange writing was that is seemed both wordy and spare, the dialog didn't match the circumstances or the setting (quirky bantering). It seemed to be whimsical with a small "W" - no fantasy, just modern day stuff that jars. It was pretty boring until about the last 100 pages. I kept reading because it was for a RL book group.
Next book is also for RL book group, Booked to Die by John Dunning.
This week I'm reading The River Wife by Jonis Agee, which is a distressing read, but I can't put it down. I'm also reading the Marcus Borg book The Heart of Christianity for a little Lenten reading.
Later in the week I should be starting Dostoevsky's Netochka Nezvanova and Dragonfly in Amber, the next Outlander book. I'm looking forward to the further adventures of Jamie (swoon) and Claire.
#3 kidzdoc- Wise Blood is a remarkable book. I need to re-read it. Or A Good Man Is Hard To Find.
I'm just finishing Entre Nous and enjoyed it's information about the French way of life. I didn't like that the author, an American, feels the need to elevate French culture by comparing it to the American culture, which never comes out well.
I finally finished Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner, which I loved. Started Twilight -- it is addictive... stayed up way too late reading.
Still starting to read The Only Son by Stephane Audeguy... work was crazy busy this week interrupting my reading time, so I hope to relax with a book or two this weekend (housework can wait).
#4--I really liked Derailed. There were twists I didn't see coming. I'll be interested to hear what you think when you have finished. I read one of his other books and thought it was just okay.
Still working on my reread of A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (I can't seem to get the touchstone to work for his name...). It's definitely better than I remember.
#11 detailmuse ~ Mosley's got a new series character? That's great news! Let me know your thoughts when you've finished. I've read & loved the entire Easy Rawlins series and just started my first Fearless Jones (Fear of the Dark on audio) which I'm enjoying it a lot.
#23 shootingstarr7 ~ The Sunne in Splendour will definitely do that! It's one of my three favorite historical novels of all time (and I read a LOT of historical fiction). :) Enjoy!
I was going to post on the March 7 thread but figured this one would be out, so here I am!
I am 2/3 of the way through Salmon of Doubt. It's neat and shows that Douglas Adams was as zany in his real life as he was in his books.
I also started Biblical Literacy which will take me through the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament depending on your religious bent.
The second will take awhile as it is around 600 pages. I'll finish a section (the first being about the Torah or the first five books) and then finish Salmon. Then I plan to read Cannery Row along with Biblical Literacy
Reading has come to a virtual halt - i hate it when that happens. But this flu is making it so hard for me to concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time. So still reading Hotel Du Lac by Anita Brookner.
Wow, what a whirlwind of activity on this thread! Head spinning!
>9 jbleil:: jbleil- I also just acquired a Civil War: A Narrative, volume one. You are reading the first, correct? Please let me know what you think. I've heard nothing but great things about these books.
Karenmarie- I've been sitting on Storm Front for awhile. Glad you are enjoying it. I need to get to it!
I just finished The Bestiary
This is a fantastic book, literally and figuratively.
A must read, keeper, buy one for your best reading buddy kind if book.
I loved it .
I'm still slowly working my way through Charlie Chaplin's My Autobiography, which is beautifully written and so evocative of the theatrical world of his childhood - but it's a long read... I'm giggling my way through Juliana Foster's 'Moan About Men', a little humour hardback, at the same time for a bit of light relief.
I'm about halfway through Henry James' "Portrait of a Lady"...just arrived in Florence Italy with Isabel and Mrs. Touchett. I'm reading this a few chapters at a time for an 8-week discussion class.
I also have read 3 (and will read 3 more) stories for my short fiction discussion class. At the same time, I've read short bios of Hayden, Mozart, & Beethoven in "A Guide to Orchestral Music" by Ethan Mordden for a six-week music appreciation class.
#20: mstrust, you are right, Wise Blood is a remarkable book! I just posted my review of it. I recently received The Library of America's Flannery O'Connor: Collected Works, which includes her two novels and all(?) of her short stories and essays, and selected personal letters, and I'm looking forward to getting to these other works later this year. I saw a dance performance of her short story The Artificial N*gger performed by my favorite modern dance group, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, in San Francisco a few years ago. Mr. Jones and another woman with a classic Georgia accent took turns reading the story while the dancers performed. It was probably the best modern dance piece I've ever seen, as the multiracial cast interchanged race and gender throughout the performance, which added another layer of tension and drama to O'Connor's story.
I just finished reading the Extra Man by Jonathan Ames. I'm going to start, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace.
I finished Hans Falada's 1947 novel Every Man Dies Alone last night, and it was just completely stunning, one of the most fiercely compelling stories I've ever read in my life, and it'll easily make my list of Favorites for 2009. The miasma of Nazi evil that Falada conjures up in this landmark novel becomes an almost suffocating presence as the book progresses, making it probably the scariest thing I've read in a long while. In her review of it last week in the NYTBookReview, Liesl Schillinger wrote: "To read Every Man Dies Alone, Fallada's testament to the darkest years of the 20th century, is to be accompanied by a wise, somber ghost who grips your shoulder and whispers into your ear: "This is how it was. This is what happened."
(At the end of the novel's 509 pages, there's a 16-page "Afterword", giving a detailed biography of Hans Falada (born Rudolf Ditzen) and the Ditzen/Falada story is so sensationally jaw-dropping that it threatens to overshadow the novel itself, almost unbelieveable. And after the Afterword comes 24 pages titled "The True Story Behind Every Man Dies Alone, which contains the original Gestapo files of both Elise and Otto Hampel on whose tragic story the novel is based, with photos too.)
I am reading The Levee by Malcolm Shuman and The Women by T.C. Boyle
cameling - hope you feel better - it always seems that when you have time to read, you can't
Yes, I am reading volume one of The Civil War: A Narrative after dropping a couple of other reads last week. I'm going through a bit of a stale period right now where I'm having trouble figuring out what I want to read, so I'm only on page 32 of the prologue, wherein Foote introduces Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln. But so far so good. Foote's writing style is fluid enough to keep me going and he is fleshing out these two opponents very nicely.
I'm a bit of a piker compared to others on this thread. I can't believe how quickly people race through books and even have multiple books going at once. I always thought I was a speedy reader until discovering LT. But I do enjoy this "what are you reading now" thread.
I'm a slow reader, too, Jbleil. But I knew that before coming to LT. I think it's because I have to concentrate so much. My husband does a lot of skimming when things get a bit boring - I have to "bore" through (pun intended).
I'm on an Early Reviewer kick. I just finished Outcasts United, about three soccer teams comprised of refugee boys from war-torn countries. It was a book which I throughly enjoyed. I've now started Loon by Jack McLean who writes about his enlistment with the United States Marine Corps during the Viet Nam War era.
I finished Booked to Die by John Dunning
The first in the Cliff Janeway mystery series. It is set in Denver in the early 1990s. It is about a Denver homicide cop, Janeway, who is also a book collector. It was well written and interesting, but rather odd to me. The man didn't just love books, and reading, he was into collecting 'perfect' books.
I don't understand the desire to have an perfect first edition, sometimes of books still in print, pay a huge amount of money for it and then put it on the shelf and not read it. He did read, using cheaper copies, but still it made no sense. Why pay hundreds of dollars for one book, when the same amount can buy you many books ?
The main character is a bit of a side of beef, and the author ruins his relationship with a woman the POV loves and kills off another. Didn't make me happy. So while the book was fine, I probably won't read anymore in the series.
I am now reading Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon.
It is my last required book group read for the month. This book is historical fiction, set in 1862 Siam (Thailand). It is the basis for the play and the movie. So far it seems good.
#36 ~ cameling......I know what you mean. I'm still sick too (2 weeks) and have been having a difficult time reading.
I picked up one book, read 71 pages, put it down. Picked up another book, read 100 pages, put it down. Now I went back to the first book.... I guess I'm still going to try to get through both of them but neither one is holding my interest very well.
I am still miserable and the cold/flu/plague shows no signs of letting up. I am tired and crabby and want to throw breakable things and kick my feet. GRRRRRR
#16> Talbin, I am the biggest Philip Roth fan around, but sadly I must agree with you about The Plot Against America. I thought the first two thirds of the book were very good, but the last third was a disappointment in my view, to put it mildly. Also, I recently read Rant by Palahniuk, which I enjoyed a lot.
I loved Wise Blood. A great book. Gotta read that again sometime. Very good movie, too.
Last night I finished St. Ronan's Well by Sir Walter Scott. It was a bit hard to get into at first; as I've written previously, more of a comedy than the historical adventure story Scott normally wrote. In fact, it is nearly told in contemporary times (to Scott's time not to ours, of course). The ending was not what I was expecting. All and all, fun to read, but not the most enjoyable of the Waverly novels. (Those would be Rob Roy and Ivanhoe, at least of the ones I've read so far.)
After spending some time with a few of my "between books," I will start on The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst, which I picked up more or less at random during my last jaunt into San Francisco.
>41 mckait:: mckait, goody - another book for my list. I still have that gift card for barnies that i haven't as yet used. My problem now is that my wishlist of books is much much much larger than the value of the gift card. *grumbles*
I went to one of my favorite used bookstores and one of the women that runs it LENT me a book (yes, lent me! From a bookstore! Coolest thing ever!) she had just read and thought I would enjoy. It's Solstice Wood by Patricia A. McKillip, I have never heard of the author before but so far it's a truly wonderful book that I highly recommend- I'm passing it to my mom next.
I'm also reading my LT ARC, Darling Jim by Christian Moerk, which I can say is fantastic and hard to put down.
I'm reading The Shakespeare Secret but for some reason I am not liking the way it's written. I cant seem to want to finish the book. I read 2 pages a day and close the thing.
Still working on Team of Rivals. Ive liked it so far. That said, it's a long book (the notes alone run to 120 pages in almost microscopic print), so it's taking a long time.
I didn't have much time to read last week - :( I am still working on The Blind Assassin for the LT group read. I'm also planning to finish Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way we Feed our Children by Ann Cooper since she is giving a talk at our school district meeting this week. After that I'll go back to A Prayer for Owen Meany, which I put down to join the group read.
A Prayer for Owen Meany is an all-time favorite of mine. I love the complexity of Irving's writing and the way he neatly ties up all the loose ends. I reread it every five years or so and it never disappoints.
This is my first post here but I am always looking to see what is going on with other people's bookshelves.
I am reading 2 books right now. Currently into The Late Bloomer's Revolution by Amy Cohen which is kind of cute. I can't wait to finally finish this Twilight albatross I started. I have Breaking Dawn which I am looking forward to. I can't wait to end this series. Started off pretty good but didn't hold the same attention for me as Harry Potter. :)
I finished The Agency today, and made a start on another early reviewer book - Far North by Marcel Theroux. I've only read the first chapter so far, but I think it's one I'm going to enjoy - I like his writing style to begin with, which always helps!
#40, 53 -
I, too, just bought Foote's The Civil War: A Narrative set. I almost was regretting it as it looks so daunting up there on my TBR shelf and I rarely have the patience for non-fiction. Glad to see I won't be alone. . .
Speaking of non-fiction I am still plugging away with The Duchess by Amanda Foreman in preparation for watching the 2008 movie. It is fairly good for a biography, a genre I typically find dull.
I just finished listening to The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss and now I am working my way through House of Wits: An Intimate Portrait of the James Family by Paul Fisher and listening to Manhunt by James Swanson.
Has anyone read the new biography of Flannery O'Connor by Brad Gooch? How is it?
>63 AnnaClaire:: AnnaClaire - I'm reading Team of Rivals too and because I came down with a particularly vicious flu, I'm finding it not only hard reading because it's so filled with detail, but that because I kept getting tired so easily, I lost the thread often, having to go back and reread pages again. So I think I'm going to put it aside when my brain starts assembling itself again to the sort of working order necessary to do justice to this fine book.
Finished Hotel Du Lac at last and I think I'll start on Snobs by Julian Fellowes because it looks like it'll be a fun read along the veins of P.G. Wodehouse
I am reading The Blind Assassin with the Highly Rated Book Group on LT.
#60 cameling.. Richardear loved it too... :)
must read :)
I found a beautiful used hardback used on Ammy....
I just finished Your Heart Belongs to Me by Koontz.
Very good! He loves dogs, does mr k
Just finished The Far Side of the World, book #10 in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series. Great, as always, but the book wandered and didn't have much of a plot, to be honest. Still, O'Brian can write about someone sitting and watching paint dry and make it compelling...
No idea what's up next. I'm six months behind in several magazines - Vanity Fair and The Atlantic, so maybe I'll take a magazine detour...
Right now I'm reading American Rust and listening to Case Histories and am fairly 'meh' about both of them. Actually, I think American Rust might have been a better experience as an audiobook and Case Histories a better experience actually reading. Neither are bad enough to give up (plus I'm at least 1/2 way through them both already), but I am ready to be through them both.
#48 Louis, that's an incredibly compelling endorsement of Every Man Dies Alone. Thank you. I'll have to look for it.
I finished The Only Son by Stephane Audeguy tonight. It is a fictional autobiography of Francois Rousseau, older brother of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Some parts of the book were more compelling for me, in particular Francois time spend as a prisoner in the Bastille and the French Revolution.
Next up is another translated work A Manuscript of Ashes by Antonio Munoz Molina.
#70 I read it from the library (posted about it here last week actually) It's really terrific, his tone really makes you feel like you're just strolling throughout her life. The info and journalism is great, and I'm excited to re-read her now. I highly recommend it if you're a fan! There's also a lot of info about her illness that I didn't know about.
Almost done with Salmon of Doubt and have read through Leviticus in Biblical Literacy. Hope to finish the first today. Most of Salmon is articles, interviews and the like of Douglas Adams found in his computer after he died. His editor thought that there had to be one more book in the computer and he managed to find one by combining all this stuff.
I find it amazing that non-fiction takes longer to read even when you are enjoying it and especially when it it is from someone as zany as Adams was and his non-fiction stuff is as zany as his fiction
The Line of Beauty is one of my favourite books. I hope you'll enjoy it.
About 30 pages of Emily Giffin's Something Borrowed left to go, and I'm really, really enjoying it. It's funny because I pretty much hated Love The One You're With and was hesitant to start Something Borrowed . . . but I shouldn't have been! Poignant, light and fun all at once, it's a great read. Almost don't want it to end! But then I have Something Blue to look forward to!
I'm always reading several books at once - one (or more) book of short stories (I read at least one story a day), plus at least one novel (mostly mysteries) and often a non fiction book as well.
Currently I'm reading The Shanghai Moon by S.J. Rozan, a collection of Joe R. Lansdale stories called Bumper Crop, and a collection in the Crippen & Landru Lost Classics series by Victor Canning, called The Minerva Club.
The Rozan is the latest in her Lydia Chin/Bill Smith series and the first one in 7 years! She wrote two standalone mysteries in the intervening years. So far it's excellent.
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee. A great writer, and amusing too. And perfect book for me since I've loved Spain since as long as I can remember.
#14: scarpettajunkie - I'd be interested in your thoughts on Cross Creek. I have a copy that's been sitting around awhile asking to be read.
I also have a neglected copy of Wise Blood sitting around, I even picked it up this weekend before reading this thread...maybe it's sign.
Last week I finished Possessed by Shadows by Dongian Merritt, which I really liked, my favorite book of the year so far. You can check the comments on my log here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/54129#1136824 , or see my review.
Last night I finished Peace by Richard Bausch - than spent the rest of the night awake, thinking about it. That's not wholly a compliment. It's a brief sketch of some US soldiers in Italy during WWII. It's not gruesome or unusually disturbing, however Bausch somehow seemed to do a lot with a few details.
This morning I started Travelling with Djinns by Mahjoub Jamal, a book I've been looking forward to so much, that I actually held off starting it to try to let my expectations cool down a bit...which sounds kind of silly when I type it up.
I am 246 pgs into Cross Creek. It is as if Marjorie Rawlings is sitting across the table having a conversation about what it was like for her to live in the Everglades.
The beginning is a description of the geography of her area and is tough reading if you are not into that sort of thing. However, once she talks of the people who worked for her, her friends, and her adventures, the book picks up speed and gets more readable. Chapter 17 is devoted to the kinds of food and wildlife you can prepare that is specific to the Everglades and how to prepare it. It does not get bogged down in recipies because there are plenty of anecdotes about what went wrong the first time she cooked certain dishes.
I'm liking it so far and I'm nearly half done. It is a refreshing break from my usual historical reading. My dad read the books years ago, enjoyed it, and wants to reread my copy as they were just down in Florida and visited Marjorie's home and gardens. I guess she really helped the area prosper. I don't think you'll be sorry for trying this book.
I started Musn't Grumble: In Search of England and the English by Joe Bennett yesterday (don't know why the touchstone won't work). It's a travel essay from an Englishman who returns to his native country after spending most of his adult life in New Zealand. He's trying to retrace the steps of author H.V. Morton, who wrote about English travel in the 1920's.
Also still working on The Blind Assassin.
Someone tell me more about The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I passed it up at Border's the other day and now I'm regretting it.
I'm still reading Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters (800 pages and hardcover so I can't take it with me on the bus). It's fascinating, although I'd strongly recommend reading Jessica's letters first (Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford) because this volume of correspondance doesn't contain that many letters written by her or to her. Both books are hugely interesting.
I'm starting to read Anansi Boys by Neil Gaimen. Hoping it will be as good as American Gods.
Lots of books going right now..
from a friend I have borrowed Team of Rivals but like others I'm picking at it, and library books I have Testimony going (there's a wait of people after me). I like hearing the story from multiple characters point of view in very short chapters. The story deals with a sex tape that is circulating at a boarding school involving 3 male students and a female student. We hear from the students, teachers, and family of those involved in the school community.
I just finished Chocolate Chip Murder Mystery. It was recommended to me by a patron, and I've since recommended it out to some of my mystery lovers at the library. It is a light fluffy mystery with cookie recipes included in the book.
And audio in the car.. Sissy Spacek reading To Kill a Mockingbird. Through high school and college I read To Kill a Mockingbird on a yearly basis, but it's probably been a good 5 years since I last read it. Sissy Spacek's voice is just great for this story.
#83> Thanks, Sibylle! Now I'm looking forward to The Line of Beauty even more!
I read most of Uncle Setnakt's Essential Guide to the Left Hand Path last night. I am on the right hand path, and wanted to know something about the left hand path (cf. Foucault's Pendulum). Now I do; I will look a little more at the left hand path, but I'll stay over here on the right hand path. I am not a captain of my fate.
I finished Just After Sunset, Stephen King's latest set of short stories. It was pretty good, but not up to the standard he has set on his last couple books. Maybe, I prefer the novels.
I started a nifty crime thriller called Severance Package by Duane Swierczynski, that a couple fellow LTers highly recommended. It's a lot of fun, so far!
I'm powering through Sunne in Splendour and am loving it. I wish I'd kept up with the stick-it note of characters I started- as usual there's a lot of dukes and Lords- but I'm really looking forward to seeing how the Sharon Kay Penman treats the usually vilified Richard III.
(ETA that all important 3rd I)
Now reading This Charming Man by Marian Keyes.
I think she's a great writer, though i rarely read chick lit. I discovered her while travelling alone in South East Asia, feeling a bit lonely and sorry for myself, and she has been cheering me up since.
continuing with fluff.. The Bird Woman..so far, underwhelmed but waiting to see...
Cindy- I also loved Confederates. Very thought provoking and amusing! I'd like to read his other works.
I'd really liked John Wray's 2 earlier novels The Right Hand of Sleep and especially Canaan's Tongue, but his new book Lowboy doesn't measure up to either of those fine novels, and I found it tedious, unsurprising, and was glad to be done with it finally.
I'm well past halfway in Anne Michaels' new novel The Winter Vault and in spite of her scattershot approach to narrative, Michaels' prose is so lovely it often verges on the breathtaking, and I'm finding her book a pecular kind of wonderful.
I am reading two books at once! I didn't mean to, I just couldn't resist Whispers Along The Rails and I am still reading Cross Creek. I only have about 130 pages left of Cross Creek so I hope I'm forgiven. The chapter about food kind of got bogged down because I'm not big into cooking. It was just easier to race along the rails and find out more of the love story between Fred and Olivia in The Rails. That books goes much quicker than Cross Creek.
I just finished Lark and Termite and will start The Outlander sometime today. I have to sit in a doctor's waiting room with my daughter, so that will make it a little more bearable.
>96 jbleil:: Re: The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Do not pass this one up if you like quirky, philosophical books with lots of references to art, music, and literature. I read it last week, and my full review is here.
I am currently reading The Brothers Karamazov for my "Big Book" of the month, with some Lenten reading and The River Wife for the Missouri Readers sandwiched in between. I'm also eyeing The Cape Ann by Faith Sullivan. I'm also eager to get to the new ARC that arrived yesterday: All Other Nights by Dara Horn. (Wrong touchstone on this one).
Honestly I've been quite ADHD when it comes to my reading choices. I have quite a few books being read at a time. I get funny looks when someone asks me what I'm currently reading and I list off several books. Anyone else get these looks? lol
Anyway, I'm reading Graceling by Kristin Cashore, a young adult fantasy novel, quite good yet a bit slow for me. The Virgin Queen's Daughter by Ella M Chase I have a fondness for Tudor fiction. I'm listening to The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau that I put on my iPod. As for nonfiction, I'm reading Hitler's Youth by Susan Campell Bartoletti in an attempt to read more nonfiction, expessially in areas I don't know much about. Hitler's Youth is well written but disturbing
I've "gotten" them here when I've mentioned I have more than one book going - which I do currently. One of them Biblical Literacy is one that lends itself to being read sections at a time and then put down.
# 96 and #111- I absolutely, positively loved The Elegance of the Hedgehog- it was so very well written with an amazing bunch of characters that made you want to laugh, cry and feel everything in between- I am so in love with this book that I am passing it along to my new husband who is a nonfiction kind of guy just so that I can share it...pick it up as soon as you can
I'm still reading two books as well.......The Glass Castle and The Senator's Wife. Now that I am just starting to feel a bit better, I am able to focus better on what I am reading. The Senator's Wife started out boring but it is getting better, in fact, it's good. The Glass Castle has me laughing, and then sighing....what a life this little girl had! Crazy!
Will be Porch Sittin' today! YIPPEE!
@ #19: I'm addicted to the Gabaldon books -- every time a new one comes out, I reread the whole series in anticipation. :D I'll be doing it again in a month or so, as she's a new one out later this year, IIRC!
Well, this week I'm reading two books. The 1st one is The King's Shadow by Elizabeth Alder. When I read the 1st chapter, it scared me because the boy's tongue got cut out so it took me 2 days to get back into it. It's good now.
And I'm reading The Power of Prayer in a Believer's Life by Charles Spurgeon. It's fantastic, especially when he talks about intercessory prayer.
Louise Erdrich (Sp) collections of short stories- The Red Convertible --IS WONDERFUL--just finished The Piano Teacher-- this was great as well.
Also am reading Bob Dylan Chronicles Volume I-- SOOOOO Great.
Continuing my rare non-fiction foray with David McCullough's 1776. Pretty good so far, reading quite a bit like a novel.
Thanks to LouisBranning's enthusiastic recommendation in #48, because he has rarely, if ever, led me astray, I've bought and started Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada.
rebeccanyc, Fallada's Every Man Dies Alone is totally unputdownable, a noir-fiction reality unlike anything I've read this year. Blew me away.
Message edited by author for hyperbole
I'm reading Blake Bailey's stunningly detailed biography of John Cheever, Cheever: A Life, and it's turning out to be on the same level as Richard Ellmann's Joyce biography. Bailey's book is a serious piece of research, reconstruction, and criticism, and a pleasure to read, albeit grim at times.
And oh yeah, the book itself is probably why I won't be buying a Kindle in the near future. It has an elegant beauty to it, mainly due to the gorgeous picture of Cheever on the cover (sorry, don't know why the touchstone is not working), and I love the rough edges of the pages. It just feel good to hold in my hands, and I've broken my rule about lugging books to work that weigh over 2.5 pounds and 700 pages.
I'm reading The Gospel You've Never Heard that I got through the Member Giveaway program and Wicked for one of my book clubs.
I finished Cannery Row in less than two days. I always thought "classic" books were supposed to be long and tedious, but I have found Steinbeck to be really readable and I'll read more in the future.
IN addition to Biblical Literacy, I have picked out The Princess Bride and a Star Wars book whose name I can't recall right now and it is downstairs, but I'll report on it after I read it.
Since Saturday I've read four books: The Winners, Wise Blood, Broken Glass by Alain Mabanckou, and The Tango Singer. This evening I've started Autonauts of the Cosmoroute by Julio Cortázar and his wife Carol Dunlop, which is a so far hilarious account of their slow highway journey from Paris to Marseilles. I'll also start The Twin by the Dutch author Gerbrand Bakker, which was published this month by Archipelago Books, which also published the translated version of Autonauts of the Cosmoroute.
I have no idea what I want to read! This is so frustrating. Aaarrgggghhh!
Ok, rant over. Sorry.
*goes back to staring at her tbr shelf.*
I just finished Loon: A Marine Story by Jack McLean. It was probably the best of the Early reviewer books that I have received to date. This is the author's story of his two years with the United States Marine Corps during the Viet Nam war.
What made Mclean's enlistment unusual was that he took two years off between his years attending private high school and his admission to Harvard University in order to serve his country at a time when his military service was not much appreciated by other young, educated Americans. This book became a page-turner for me --the best kind of book -- and one that I most highly recommend. I have the ARC, but it will be published in May, 2009.
I feel your pain, sanja, I have books and lists of books all over and I just want to red everything - sometimes I feel I just must read this book because I acquired it before that book, but I'd rather read that book right now and then I feel guilty for not picking up this book!!!!
ophlia, stick with The King's Shadow!! It's a wonderful book and I absolutly loved it in high school. But yeah, the boy's tongue getting cut out was difficult to read.
#120 - I am reading Red Convertible as well. I am really enjoying the stories.
Well, in addition to the SIX books that I currently have out from the library, and the close to 1000 books that are in various places throughout the house, I now have a list of 9 books that I want to read JUST FROM THIS THREAD ALONE! I figure if the kids ever leave the house and I live to be about 110, I may finish half of my TBR pile:)!
#124, SeanLong: "rule about lugging books to work that weigh over 2.5 pounds and are over 700 pages." Okay, I've had to institute that rule for The Civil War: A Narrative and for the first time have two books going, unlike many of you with multiples. I'm keeping Shelby Foote for at home and have started Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian for work and travel. Looks good so far.
#129 - thanks for that info - I do have John Adams om my wish list. I was more interested in events of the Revolutionary War. Lately, I have enjoyed reading Civil War, mostly historical fiction - so I thought I'd try some Revolutionary War books. Not as much written about it, though.
#137 - the events leading up to the Revolutionary War are much better detailed in the Adams book. In the grand scheme of things, 1776 was just one year, but if you want to get the whole picture John Adams was a great read. It covers the events of 1776 as well as Adams choice of GW as general and writing the Constitution, his love/hate relationship with Jefferson, I found it fascinating!
This question is for the Porchsitter reading The Glass Castle- do you find that book funny or sad- I found it sad-and a friend and I got in a heated discussion about whether or not the parents were mentally ill or just eccentric? I thoughy they were mentally ill-any thoughts?
Well- a Great book I read recently, if you like gothic fiction, is The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield-- It is a page turner you will not put down!
Last week I finished Louise Erdrichs The Plague of Doves and The Four Loves- Erdrichs writing is getting better and more richer - Plague of Doves is as beautiful as Faulkner's Light in August.
I have just started reading Bimal Jalan book Indian Politics:A view from the Backbench. Former governor of the RBI, he was nominated to the Upper House of Parliament and this book includes his views on political reforms in the age of co-alition governments.
#143: SydSni: Re The Glass Castle I read the book at least a year ago, but I vote for 'sad' and 'mentally ill.'
I have to agree with jbleil. I'm not sure how it could really pass for 'funny' (other than meaning odd or eccentric) with all of the neglect that went on. The parents definitely seemed mentally ill. I remember thinking the mom was either depressive or manic (can't remember which, it has been well over a year). I don't know what exactly was wrong with the dad, but I think it went beyond eccentricity.
Well.....I have to say that I feel "all of the above" fit, because of the way the author wrote the book. I confess there have been parts (I'm only halfway through it) where I've laughed out loud because of the way the author portrayed the absurdity of their lifestyle. I don't think the author would not have her reader's chuckle at some of the crazy stuff that happened....not all of what happened was dark and horrible. I do think the parents certainly must have been mentally ill, but eccentric as well. Of course, ultimately, it is an extremely unfortunate way that these children were raised. But even in the midst of the madness, there were moments of humor interspersed.
There were times I laughed, but it was at the absurdity (as you said), rather than because the circumstances were funny. SHE is funny at times, probably because how else can you deal?, but the situation weren't funny.
Just when you think you have totally deadened your senses over the Holocaust, from Anne Franks diary to Schindlers list, along comes, perhaps, the most terrifying and brutal novel on the subject that I have ever read.
I refer, of course, to The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell. this Prize Winning book, written in 2006 by the French author, must, and should be read, although many will find it incredibly tough to savour. Its subject matter, an eye witness account of the extermination of those of Jewish descent who resided in Europe during WW2. For those that maybe are saying, enough, already, here is a book that will see that you 'never forget' what took place in those harsh times.
The book, all 900 pages plus, touched nerves and horrified me to the extent that there were moments when I had to put the book down, so intense were my feelings. I lost relatives in 1940's Germany, and because of movies or books or documentaries, etc. I had perhaps become a little blase about the historical significance of the events, which transpired in another time and another place, and should we really care, when all around us lies a failing economy, and wars to fight. So perhaps the latest 'generation' deserves a break from the horrors of WW2, the extermination of six million Jews. Didn't we see it on TV the other night on the late, late movie...
This novel ponders the consequences of a German soldier, who actively participates, and we get to hear his justification for committing such abominable acts. He is not an apologist, he knows he participated with full knowledge of what he was doing. It sickens him, but he still obeys orders. It is his crime, and he will be judged accordingly.
There is much more to this important book, and I plan to write a more thorough review, but I was just a little surprised, that we have so few LTers who have read the novel yet, although I recognize that it has not been out long. The critics sure have jumped on the bandwagon over it, leaning both ways in their reviews of the book, it's a 'hate it/like it' feeling that emerges so far.
It is not an easy read, in fact you will find it hard to stomach.There are frank passages dealing with incest and homosexuality that are definitely not to be read by the squeamish. Some critics found it a very hard book to comprehend, with wandering chapters that were hard to understand, and many found the book just downright bad.
I am better than halfway through and have found it extremely readable, though I would hesitate to say that I am enjoying it. Again, I cannot stress too much, it is a book that must be read, probably one of the most disturbing novels of our time, and is destined to become a classic, despite its subject matter.
I look forward to hearing other views on the book.
I just finished The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, which I really enjoyed. I think some of the most effective moments in the book occur when Offred tells how women were forced out of their jobs, cut off from their financial resources, and suddenly became aware that the government was turning against them. I just started The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie. While I loved The Handmaid's Tale, I needed to follow it up with something lighter and more comedic.
morfam......it sounds like something I know I need to read, but I'm afraid to. Isn't it sad when one avoids something uncomfortable if only to insulate oneself from the horrors of this world. I will put it on my TBR list but I can't promise I'll have the guts to read it. Thanks for sharing about it, though. My grandparents were German immigrants.
morfam....p.s......touchstone for the book you are referring to is not right.
Ok, I've decided. :) I started The Hours. Mostly because I know nothing about the book and it has tulips, which are my favorite flowers, on the cover. Shallow, but it works. :)
And, when I searched for the book, I got the author page, but the author touchstone shows up red. The world is ending in 2012.
I give up!
morfam...a courageos recommendation, and a book that sounds like its hype is only the beginning. I wonder how it will, in the end, be seen. Of course, as of 12/21/12 we're all so fried and dead it won't matter, but still....
>157 sanja: sanja, oh me oh my The Hours!! Such a wonderful trip to be taking for the first time! I look forward to hearing your opinions about this book. Have you seen the movie yet?
Mrs. Dalloway is one of my all-time-best book list selections, and I think I have a halo complex about books that spring from her. Even Mrs. Dalloway's Party held my interest, and believe you me it shouldn't have! Mr. Dalloway, a novella from the POV of the eponymous character, was a fairly frail reed too, and yet I bought and read and even recommended it to others. Such is the power of greatness to ensorcel.
Finished Sway last night. I'm still ruminating on it before writing my review, but I can say this: if your memory of the mid- to late-60s is crystal clear, then you might not find this fascinating. But, if, like me, you remember bits and pieces real well but the decade as a whole and even a bit beyond is sorta vague and misty around the edges, then this novel may be for you. While I was reading it, it felt kind of like I was reading about a whacking strange dream I had a long long time ago that I KNOW was only a dream but that sometimes, when I'm really tired or feeling out of it, seems as if it really happened.
Oh, well, I'm kind of tired and out-of-it right now, so take what I wrote with a grain of sand.
I am starting The Italian Lover tonight. Looking forward to it. Firenze and art and food and love! What could be more wonderful?!?
I've read several reviews of The Kindly Ones, but yours was the most useful one for me, morfam. Thank you; I will definitely pick it up.
morfam, good luck with The Kindly Ones, but having read a great deal about it already, I find I'm not the least bit interested in Littell's 900-page dose of Holocaust porn.
morfam - great review. Am in the process of buying it online. It sounds challenging, interesting and harrowing. And long!
I borrowed Cry, the Beloved Country from the library. People over at laytonwomed3rd's thread were all recommending it and I decided, for once, to just go and get a popular book instead of just putting it on another list - which I had done and will now cross out.
Richard, I thought you had been replaced by aliens to be reading about cats. When I follow the link its a kids book about cats by a different author.
I found the book I suspect you are reading about a musician (cat) by following the author link.
I agree, Robert, I wish they would fix the search/touchstone/cover issue with new or obscure books (few copies).
I am still slogging away with Anna and the King of Siam may not even be halfway through yet. Its not long, its not badly written, it just seems so lifeless.
Last evening i started The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco...for a group read on SHELFARI....knowing that Eco's books demand a certain concentration..i may be a monogamous reader for a bit...
I just this moment - well, I fed the cat right after, finished The Princess Bride. Cute story, I was hearing the actors from the movie as I read it. Now on to that library book.
I finished Severance Package. It was very entertaining. Anyone looking for a fast-paced, super-violent joyride ,this is the ticket! Another crime writer to keep an eye on.
Started another crime novel, from a special LT friend, Good People by Marcus Sakey. It's also fast paced and engrossing, with a vivid Chicago setting.
I just finished Snobs by Julian Fellowes. I remember this author as an actor in the tv series, Monarch of the Glen, and I thought it might be interesting to see what he sounds like as an author. Well ... in the tv series, he plays a very shallow titled landowner in Scotland, and the book is trite and the characters all shallow. Not impressed.
Am now reading Dog On It by Spencer Quinn. First time I'm reading a book where the dog I get to read how a dog 'thinks'. A little silly but oddly engaging at the same time.
I've just finished Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters. I'll need some time to emerge from it, it's a 800-page book and I'm so happy I've read it. Some of it was really disturbing (Deborah's and Diana's correspondance in particular) and even really bizarre. For example, Jessica mentions how wonderful Natasha Richardson is in a letter written in 1986. Felt completely strange reading that this morning - I mean, what a coincidence. At the end, Deborah gives her opinion to Diana about Diana Spencer's death and it felt so close to today it was disturbing as well. I know that Deborah is still alive but one can't help but picturing the Mitfords as firmly rooted in the craziness of the 30s. Yet the letters begin way before the Second World war and end in 2003. It's a great historical document.
As I said before, I strongly recommend reading Jessica's letters first because Charlotte Mosley, who edited this book, had to leave so many of Decca's letters out to avoid redundance so Jessica appears as fairly distant and cold when she's just the opposite when one reads her letters (Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford).
I am reading my first e-book (via Project Gutenberg). I am reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
I just finished FIVE GREAT SHORT STORIES BY JACK LONDON. I was pleased to discover 5 stories I had not read by London as I love his work.
Before that I read WHAT BECOMES YOU BY Aaron Raz Link & Hilda Raz. This was a interesting read about a transgender who began life as a girl and 29 yrs. later began life anew as a gay man. The first part of the book is written by Aaron and the second part is written by his well known feminist writer and teach Mother.
Now I am reading a fun book by Patrica Cornwell - CAUSE OF DEATH.
HAPPY READING TO ALL!!!!!!
> Sibylle.Night - Thanks for the recommendation to read Decca first - I already have it so I can get started before I buy Mitfords. Otherwise I would probably have read them the other way round. The Duchess of Devonshire (that's Debo, of course) is such a national treasure. I live fifteen minutes from Chatsworth and was working on the estate when the Duke died a few years ago. It was a privilege to be at his funeral and the Dowager Duchess still stirs such fond feeling amongst people here. :-)
#173 - Sibylle.Night, thank you, these books look so interesting, adding them to my list!
#110 Lamplight: you’re in for a real treat with Outlander, it’s one of my favourite books.
#170 Koalamum: the Princess Bride is one of my “go to when stressed” books. It never fails to cheer me up.
I have just finished A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth (Hooray!!). It has taken me a while as it is a huge book, and I had to return it to the library mid read. It's set in India in the 1950's and is the story of an Indian woman trying to find a suitable boy for her daughter to marry. Sorry to LouisBranning & rebeccanyc (from 7/03/09 thread) it isn’t one of my favourites. It reminds me a bit of Middlemarch, a big epic book, with lots of characters. With both, I found some bits enjoyable & funny and other bits quite a drag. I didn’t like the ending either, so I feel a bit cheated that I’ve invested all this time in the book, not to like the ending.
I have the house to myself tomorrow, so plan to get some reading in. My plans are for: To Kill a Mockingbird – which is a re-read; Tim – which is for a RL bookclub (& I’m a bit hesitant about it); and my non-fiction is Acquired Tastes: celebrating Australia's culinary history. I think I will just dip in & out of them all as the mood takes me.
#176 I'm afraid her letters don't really show her at her best, some comments she makes were painfully infuriating to read.
I've decided to resume my reading of the Norton edition's selection of Katherine Mansfield's short stories Selected Stories. The problem with collection of short stories is that the quality changes from story to story and this collection is no exception - some are really excellent, though. My favourite so far is "A Dill Pickle".
Sibylle.Night, #173, I'm definitely looking forward to reading The Mitfords, which is sitting on my TBR pile, as I've long been a fan of Nancy Mitford's novels (including Love in a Cold Climate and The Pursuit of Love) and Jessica Mitford's memoir Hons and Rebels, so I feel I know a little about the family already.
Sibylle.Night, #173 and rebeccanyc # 180 I'm carrying around the Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters as I loved the Sisters: the Saga of the Mitford family their world was such a million miles from my normality and I love how sisters can all be so different. I'm so tempted now though the Decca book is staring at me from the shelves of my shop, it's one of those decisions do you go without lunch and buy a book?
Reading The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.
#121> jhowell, I really enjoyed 1776. If you're still interested in the subject when you're done with that book, I highly recommend next reading Washington's Crossing by David Hackett Fischer, which basically picks up the action right where McCullough leaves off and is also extremely well written. What was most fascinating to me about reading these two books consecutively was watching Washington's growth as a general and also learning about the role played by the irregular New Jersey militias during 1777.
#184 - Thanks! I'll put it on my TBR list. I did enjoy 1776 despite it being non-fiction which is usually out of my comfort zone. It read like a novel.
#185 - loved The French Lieutenant's Woman!
Currently reading Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South for the first time. It is slow going so far, but I feel as if I am really going to like it once I get into it.
I finished Anne Michaels' new novel The Winter Vault and despite her very poetic prose, I was never drawn to her characters or her story, what there was of it, and wound up not liking her book very much at all. It was one of those where the more I read, the less interesting it all became, and the at the end I was mostly relieved.
Another disappointment, but of a completely different variety, was Robert Goolrick's A Reliable Wife, the first hundred pages of which were just terrific, and quite impossible to put down, but after that point things quickly began to go off-track. What it seemed like was that Goolrick had written himself into a corner, and didn't know where to turn plot-wise, so the rest of the book drifted from one implausible and unconvincing scene to another, none of it compelling, and what had began so promisingly ended with only a dull thud. Bummer.
I'm already 200 pages into Blake Bailey's Cheever and it's merely superb so far. I confess I was never much of a fan of Cheever's novels, excepting the 2 Wapshot books of course, and much preferred his short stories, which are still as wonderful as they are voluminous. Cheever was truly a miserable human being, which I've known about for a long time (courtesy of his children and his journals), but Bailey's biography is just alive with the raucous reality of Cheever's life and times, and I couldn't be enjoying it more.
>180 rebeccanyc: rebecca nyc - I loved Hons and Rebels too - quite a family! I have Mary Lovell's biography of the Mitford sisters to read sometime too, and the Duchess of Devonshire's Counting My Chickens is a sparkling little collection.
>187 jhowell: jhowell - Have you seen the BBC dramatisation of North and South? Richard Armitage... be still my beating heart!
Just finished reading Delicate Edible Birds by Lauren Groff - great short stories - and listening to Manhunt by James Swanson. I was a little surprised at how invested I became in Manhunt. The outcome is obviously known already but the story really built to a climax and kept me interested.
Am now listening to Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford and trying to finish Now the Drum of War: Walt Whitman and his Brothers in the Civil War by Robert Roper.
You can't do much better than The Dresden Files for that, karenmarie!
I finished The Book Thief, which I found to be worth the hype, on Wednesday and since I am sick and needed a comfort read I moved on to my 4th annual reading of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. It is the only book I read every year. When I was home from work coughing and hacking on Thursday I watched the miniseries for the umpteenth time, too.
Has anyone started the new Wally Lamb book or the Latest Jim Harrison-- any feedback would be great- Thanks
#134 Selkie_girl I finally finished The King's Shadow. It was a lot better than I thought that it would be. Just getting past "the tongue" part was hard, though.
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