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What Are You Reading the Week of December 5, 2009?

What Are You Reading Now?

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Dec 4, 2009, 11:48pm Top

I'm having to condense the author birthday portion of this thread as I'm pretty swamped with various events this month, so have arbitrarily picked an author a day for the week.

Dec 5:
Joan Didion U.S. writer (1934)

Dec 6:
Poet (Alfred) Joyce Kilmer, author of 'Trees' (1886; d.1918)

Dec 7:
Willa Cather,1923 Pulitzer Prize winning author of O Pioneers! (1913) and My Antonia (1918), among many others (1873; d.1947)

Dec 8:
Bjornstjerne Bjornson, 1903 Nobel Prize winner, Norwegian dramatist, poet, novelist, and politician (1832; d.1910)

Dec 9:
Sarah E. Wright, African American poet, novelist, non-fiction writer, and co-founder of the Philadelphia Writers' Workshop (1928)

Dec 10:
Poet Emily Dickinson 'the Belle of Amherst' (1830; d.1886)

Cover of the first edition of Poems, published in 1890

Dec. 11:
Naguib Mahfouz, Egyptian novelist, playwright, and short-story writer who won the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature (1911, d.2006)

Edited: Dec 5, 2009, 12:50am Top

I'm reading How to Be Bad by E Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski and Lauren Myracle. Quite good so far, bit of brain candy for the silly season.

I'm also listening to the Spy High series by AJ Butcher, I'm not enjoying them much at the moment, which is more to do with the reader and less to do with the writing.

I've also started And the Hippos were Boiled in Their Tanks by William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Looking forward to this as it sounds good.

Dec 5, 2009, 1:03am Top

teelgee - Thank you for all the work you have put into starting the weekly threads with interesting author birthdays. I start my weekends with this thread!

Currently I am reading something slightly outside of my usual reading tastes - the Unit by Ninni Holmqvist. The easiest way to describe this book is a cross between Logan's Run and The Handmaid's Tale... please keep in mind I am only 29 pages in so far so this rather 'off the cuff' assessment may change as I delve further into the book.

Dec 5, 2009, 2:49am Top

I've had a terrible week with little time to read, but now that the weekend is here, I am going to enjoy myself with lazy days in bed and my books. I've just finished reading The Last Kashmiri Rose by Barbara Cleverly and am now starting on Miracle at St Anna by James McBride. So far, it's pretty captivating.

Edited: Dec 5, 2009, 6:05pm Top

Hi, all ~ I'm baaaack after a month's hiatus trying (but not succeeding) in winning the NaNoWriMo challenge. Oh, well, there's always next year. I really missed reading books (as opposed to trying to write one) and missed you guys and finding out what you're reading too.

Anyway, first book I'm reading in weeks (!) is Grave Secret, the fourth Harper Connelly paranormal mystery by Charlaine Harris. So far, good enough to keep me up late reading.

Thanks for this week's authors list, teelgee. Willa Cather is a favorite of mine, and Emily Dickenson and Joyce Kilmer too. And one of these days, I swear I'm going to finish something by Naguib Mahfouz.

Dec 5, 2009, 3:29am Top

I just started Xenocide, the third book in Orson Scott Card's Ender saga. So far I'm very much liking it--I can see why I found these sequels boring when I was 10, but I'm old enough to appreciate the storytelling and characterization now.

Dec 5, 2009, 3:39am Top

Under the Dome by Stephen King

This is the first new SK book I've read in years ( I read The Long Walk and The Running Man but they were reprints from his very early years). I'm pleasently surprized that I'm enjoying it.
454 pages down and 618 to go.

Dec 5, 2009, 7:49am Top

I'm well into Half Broke Horses and it's been very good. I'm also just started White Sky, Black Ice by Stan Jones, a crime novel, the 1st in a Alaskan mystery series featuring a State Trooper who is an Inupiaq. It looks very promising. I'm about halfway into the audiobook ( my 2nd in a week, what?) of A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. This has got me hooked and it's my 1st Bryson!

Dec 5, 2009, 8:33am Top

I'm reading And Another Thing... by Eoin Colfer, Factory Girls by Leslie T. Chang and Sivistyksen käsikirja/Alles man wissen muss by Dietrich Schwanitz. The last one I'm reading for school.

Dec 5, 2009, 9:03am Top

Love that cover to Emily Dickinson's Poems.

I'm about 80 percent through James Michener's Hawaii. Michener is one of those authors I've always meant to read, but never got around to until now.

Edited: Dec 5, 2009, 3:01pm Top

I'm reading Jazz and Twelve O'Clock Tales, a collection of short stories by Wanda Coleman, the "unofficial poet laureate of Los Angeles", which is about the daily lives, loves, and struggles of African-Americans living in postwar L.A. After that I'll read An Elegy for Easterly, a collection of short stories by the Zimbabwean author Petina Gappah, which won this year's Guardian First Book Award. I'll also start To Siberia by Per Petterson this weekend or early next week.

Dec 5, 2009, 9:58am Top

This week I'm reading The Gambler by Dostoevsky and The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce. It's hilarious.

Dec 5, 2009, 10:19am Top

Yesterday I abandoned Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters in favor of When She Flew by Jennie Shortridge, which I am really enjoying so far.

Dec 5, 2009, 10:21am Top

After having finished The Jane Austen Book Club sometime last week, I startet Die Memoiren des Sherlock Holmes, which contains 10 or so short stories with Sherlock Holmes. I love him, so I will enjoy this book.
Otherwise I'm still going with The Canterbury Tales just because it's so old english and it's exhausting to read more than 20 pages in one sitting

Dec 5, 2009, 10:32am Top

Mark - your first Bill Bryson?! Deary me, his writing is so wonderfully amusing, I hope it's not your last!

I'm reading four books this week, depending on my mood and the time of day and how busy the shop is and any number of other silly things. I'm still reading and smirking through Three Men in a Boat, which occasionally gets a little slapstick but also has some fantastic humour and beautiful prose by turn.

Then there's Quirkology by Richard Wiseman, about little everyday psychological matters like superstition and humour. I know some of the studies already from my Psychology A-level, but it's interesting stuff and Wiseman manages to be amusing and accessible to boot.

'Too Much Anger, Too Many Tears' (no ts) by Janet and Paul Gotkin is a gripping account of Janet's descent into madness and how the couple overcame it despite the inept and flawed psychiatric 'professionals' they encountered along the way. This was back in the sixties or so, but some of it still sounds all too relevant and it's no less shocking for its age.

Then to round it all off, I'm reading a poem or three a day from The Anthology of Popular Verse edited by Christopher Hurford, which is reminding me of old favourites as well as leading me gently into poetic pastures new...

Dec 5, 2009, 10:52am Top

I'm back after 2 1/2 weeks in Montana on vacation. While I was there I read Midnights Children which I loved and Animal Vegetable Miracle which was OK.
I am now finishing up The Tender Bar and just started Malone Dies. And I'm glad to be back.

Dec 5, 2009, 11:16am Top

I finished On the Roads of War, which was interesting but not particularly great. It was a loose collection of episodes from the life of a Soviet Cavalryman during WWII. They were simple stories, simply told, without much introspection.

I'm now reading Red Partisan which is a grim portrait of life in a POW camp on the Russian Front. I haven't reached the point where the author escapes to join the resistance. This is a much better book than On the Roads of War.

As soon as I finish Red Partisan, I'll be starting my ER book Meltdown Iceland.

Dec 5, 2009, 11:26am Top

Les Miserables - I'm about 100 pages in now (thats 6.8%).

I also just posted an attempt of a review of Gilead. Mainly, it covers the 1st half.

Dec 5, 2009, 11:35am Top

I finished The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan and I loved it, though there seemed to be a distinct lack of driving narrative, more character studies of 3 unusual people. Thought Egar's character and purpose a bit weak. Seems to be some satire in there too. Can't wait for the next one.

I am now reading The Last of the Angels by Fadhil al-Azzawi for a RL book group. Set in 1950s Iraq, I am not sure of the city and whether its real or made up. It mostly talks about a neighborhood where everything takes place: Chuqor. It is middle eastern magical realism. The translation is very good because the story just flows from one thing to another.

Dec 5, 2009, 11:50am Top

I've been away for a while... lots of work and little reading... I'm finally into The House of Gaian the final installment of the Tir Allain Trilogy. Loving it so far, Anne Bishop is a rockstar.

Dec 5, 2009, 12:03pm Top

Finished The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane...and started The Midnight Band of Mercy....which is a weird likkle tale indeed....

Dec 5, 2009, 12:39pm Top

I'm about halfway through Dewey and am glad I went to the library to get a copy, since I couldn't find mine.. lost on Mt. TBR somewhere. I'm also about 1/4 the way through Three to Get Deadly.

Dec 5, 2009, 12:50pm Top

I just finished Dante's Inferno. (It was my first time reading that classic and I used Mandelbaum's translation and Raffa's Danteworlds as a guide.) I'm now on to Eating the Dinosaur, a collection of essays by Chuck Klosterman.

Dec 5, 2009, 1:20pm Top

Just started The Ten Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer. Advance reviews were very positive and the subject matter really interested me (stay-at-home mothers questioning their choices) but then the reader reviews were quite bad. It turned up in a remainder pile at B&N for about $4 so I decided to try it anyway.

Dec 5, 2009, 1:26pm Top

Tonight, I'll be starting As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee. It was loaned to me by a neighbor to be read in preparation for my wife's and my imminent (one week from today!) departure for a two-week vacation in southern Spain.

Dec 5, 2009, 1:29pm Top

I just finished God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything byChristopher Hitchens (Audio) and Mountain Windsong: A Novel of the Trail of Tears by Robert J. Conley

Just started Voices Behind The Veil:The World of Islam Through the Eyes of a Woman by Ergun Mehmet Caner.

Dec 5, 2009, 1:31pm Top

I finished The Lacuna a few days ago. I loved it. It made me understand what it was like to be alive during the McCarthyism era and see how in some ways we have not put it behind us.
Now I'm reading Far From Home by Anne DeGrace, which is my Early Reviewer. I'm not too far into it, but so far it seems the author is really able to write from different points of view well.

Thank you teelgee for sharing birthdays with us. I didn't realize you were compiling them all on your own.

Dec 5, 2009, 1:31pm Top

#26 justmejo, I put the Windsong book on my Amazon wishlist.

Dec 5, 2009, 2:28pm Top

I finished THe Shadow of the Wind early this morning and I made a start on The fellowship of the ring as I am determined to get through before the year ends.

Dec 5, 2009, 2:39pm Top

I'm reading All-American girl by Meg Cabot

Dec 5, 2009, 2:49pm Top

Am still reading War and Peace for the group read. Tolstoy is an excellent writer for war stories. I love his writing of the war itself!~!
And I am reading all of my Christmas books that I have around the house. I incorporate them into my decorating............pathetic, huh?

Dec 5, 2009, 2:49pm Top

I'm about midway through Persepolis: A Story of Childhood and really enjoying it. It's a short comic book and I'll probably have it finished by tonight. I'll be watching football tomorrow (and tonight) and will wait until Monday to start my next book. Probably going to be The Little Book of the Big Bang by Craig J. Hogan.

Dec 5, 2009, 2:50pm Top

I'm making progress reading The Day Wall Street Exploded. As of when I last checked, 200 pages of progress.

Dec 5, 2009, 4:32pm Top

I've decided to start Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. It's going to be a very busy week for me I'm just hoping the stress of that doesn't colour how I feel about the book. But I am excited to read it... at last.

Dec 5, 2009, 5:18pm Top

#8 msf59

I loved Walk in the Woods. It is so funny that I was laughing out loud in places. Although I read the book when it first came out rather than listened to it, I listened to others by Bill Bryson. He is a wonderful narrator. I enjoy reading books about hiking and trekking and this one is one of the best in that genre. Makes me want to go out and get my backpack. Another author who does that to me is Nevada Barr. High Country was frightening but the descriptions of hiking in the winter were wonderful.

Dec 5, 2009, 5:24pm Top

#15 elliepotten

I haven't read Three Men in a Boat but did read To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis. When you finish the men in the boat you have to read To Say Nothing of the Dog! It is simply hilarious. I have 3 men in a boat, on my TBR list simply because the Willis book was so much fun. It has always struck me as strange how reading one author leads to another, and another, and another, ...

Dec 5, 2009, 5:26pm Top

#17 fredbacon

My boss is from Iceland and she has already read this book. She says it is good, but she thinks it is biased in favor of Britain and the British banks. It will be interesting to hear what you have to say about the book. Let us know.

Dec 5, 2009, 5:38pm Top

I'm still struggling through Wicked. I know others really liked it (my sister and my niece for starters) but I am having problems with it. I just find it dull. I read all the Oz books I could get my hands on when I was young, and loved those stories. But this one is just dull. Several members of my book discussion group have already read it and they are so gung ho on discussing it that I hate to have to tell them I just couldn't finish it. Does that mean that they have guilted me into reading a book I don't like?

I am listening to Resolution by Robert B. Parker in the car and am really enjoying that one. Still have work to finish for my university class and the semester is over this Friday, then I can read what I want. First up, I am going to finish one of those books I have started. Not sure which one, but one of them. Probably Sepulchre since I have been wanting to finish that one for a long time.

Dec 5, 2009, 6:06pm Top

I find myself unusually absorbed by The Importance of Living by Lin Yutang. I reckon him as a thoughtful and intelligent romantic. The last half of the book will prove the matter.


Dec 5, 2009, 7:10pm Top

Watched a movie call "Merlin's Apprentice" today with my son which seemed appropriate since I am reading The Acts of King Arthur which he gave last weekend for my birthday. I should have this book done this weekend. Couldn't get out today (or didn't want to) as we are getting a bit of snow here in NEPA. It'll be over soon but the cold will go on.

Dec 5, 2009, 7:30pm Top

# 5: Storeetllr - congratulations on the attempt. I wish I could, but it is very clear to me that writing is not one of my talents.

#25: rocketjk - I'm looking forward to your review of As I Walked Out and how exciting to be in Spain for Christmas. Which part of Spain will you be spending your vacation in?

I'm still in the middle of Miracle at St Anna and should finish it tonight

Dec 5, 2009, 7:37pm Top

Okay, When She Flew was faaaabulous. I now love Jennie Shortridge and will be reading more of her work. Next up, I think is Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton. I picked it up from the library today and I want to read it in time for my husband to read it too before it needs to be returned.

Dec 5, 2009, 9:43pm Top

Still reading A Step in the Dark by Judith Lennox and, today, I also started and have fallen in love with Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson.

Dec 5, 2009, 9:56pm Top

I finished A Great and Terrible Beauty, which I pretty much hated. Here is my review. I'm about to start The White Queen by Philippa Gregory.

Dec 5, 2009, 10:31pm Top

I am coming up for air while immersed in Wolf Hall. Slow going, but oh so interesting.

Dec 5, 2009, 10:37pm Top

I am finishing up Sourcery. Really enjoying it, just wish I had more time to read.

Dec 5, 2009, 10:53pm Top

Just finished Half the Sky. Highly recommended.

Now what? Too many to choose from.

Dec 5, 2009, 11:16pm Top

#41> cameling, We are going to spend a week in Seville, then rent a car and spend a week exploring around that part of Southern Spain. That's the method of vacationing my wife and I settled on a while back, and it suits both our tastes: one week in a city, then one week driving around the countryside, stumbling over whatever we stumble over. While we are interested to be in Spain during Christmas to see what that's like, we're actually more excited that we're going to be in Spain during Hanukkah. We're anxious to see some of the ancient synagogues that still exist.

Dec 6, 2009, 12:06am Top

Enjoyed and finished Fatal Flaw by William Lashner. Now starting A Perfect Divorce by Avery Corman. Still reading Marge Piercy's memoir, Sleeping With Cats which is very interesting indeed.

Dec 6, 2009, 12:06am Top

I'm about halfway through Too Much Happiness and it is wonderful! And I'm not really a short story person. Alice Munro can say so much and tell such great stories with so few words - just amazing.

I'll be finishing up In a Dry Season soon, maybe tonight. And I recently read A Child's Christmas in Wales. It's such a charming little book.

And in the car I'm listening to A Rule Against Murder. I love this mystery series.

These last couple of weeks have been incredibly busy but things will be calming down now (relatively speaking) and I'll have more time to read.

Dec 6, 2009, 12:11am Top

#50....coppers.......I agree, it's so nice to find an author that is efficient with words. :o) I haven't yet read Alice Munro but will look for her work. Thanks for the recommendation!

Dec 6, 2009, 1:41am Top

#25 I've recently returned from 3 weeks in Spain, 5 days of which were spent in Sevilla. Such a beautiful place to just wander around, (we used it as a mini holiday from our holiday), as it made a nice change from the party atmosphere of Barcelona. We stayed in a tiny hotel, which opened onto a shopping and retaurant area, fantastic! Enjoy yourselves, I'm very envious.

Dec 6, 2009, 3:22am Top

I'm reading Ten big ones by Janet Evanovich as a light read between some heavy books. It's funny again.

Dec 6, 2009, 4:30am Top

I just abandoned 2666 -- not because it wasn't good but because I discovered an online book club that's doing it in January, so decided to read it then so that I can feel less like it's all going *whoosh* over my head (particularly because I'm reading it in Spanish which is not my first language.) So I quit that one in favor of the book I was going to read in January, which is Infinite Jest. And now I need a 1000-page book for February...

Dec 6, 2009, 4:32am Top

#41 Thanks, cameling ~ I love doing NaNo so much that I might do the challenge even if I didn't enjoy writing. This year was rough for me and I didn't "win," though I got the first part of a what could possibly become a good novel written.

Dec 6, 2009, 8:11am Top

>benitastrnad- Thanks for the comments on Bill Bryson. What were your other favorites by him, since I'll probably look them up? I read the 1st couple books by Nevada Barr but never moved on from there.

Edited: Dec 6, 2009, 8:52am Top

Good week.

Finished In Cold Blood. Great book.

Started Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, lots of fun, but I hadn't read the original, so I've put it down for a while and picked up Pride and Prejudice. Really like it and make Zombies even funnier.

Also jumping around in The Fireside Book of Christmas Stories. Last night opened to to "The Little Hunchback Zia" by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Gee, they don't write 'em like that anymore.

Edited: Dec 6, 2009, 9:08am Top

Oh, and... 8, 15, 35, 56...

I know folks love Bryson, but... he's one who just makes me cringe. Take a look at my comments in my profile. I'm a 2006 AT thru-hiker. You'll find that everyone out on the trail had read him, and 95% of us hate him. My blood's starting to boil even now. Also, I hate to ruin it for you, but there was no Katz.

Wish I had a nickel for evey one who asked me if I'd read Walk in the Woods. I could finance another hike. (Another nickel for every time some one hummed Dueling Banjos.)

Dec 6, 2009, 9:42am Top

Yesterday I finished Jazz and Twelve O'Clock Tales by Wanda Coleman (3-1/2 stars) and The Two Kinds of Decay: A Memoir by Sarah Manguso, which describes the experiences of a young woman with a chronic and debilitating illness (4-1/2 stars). I've submitted reviews for both books.

I'm currently reading the online version of Bayou, a comic novel by Jeremy Love that was recommended by Stasia (AlcottAcre). After that I think I'll read "The She-Devil in the Mirror" by Horacio Castellanos Moya (the touchstone for this novel is not working).

Dec 6, 2009, 9:42am Top

Still reading She by H. Rider Haggard.

With regards to Bryson, I love him and most of his books (not the linguistics). I know he isn't 100% correct most of the time, but the writing itself is just so humorous.

Dec 6, 2009, 9:55am Top

>boulder_a_t- I wish you would have waited with your comments until I finished it! I would still like to know why fellow hikers detested him!

Dec 6, 2009, 11:01am Top

msf59 - I loved A Walk in the Woods both times I read it. It briefly took me back to my childhood/teen years riding horseback on the small portion that runs through NJ. Casual enjoyment only, I certainly know, but I remember clearly the rocky trail and tree markings.

I have The Lost Continent and I'm a Stranger Here Myself on my bookshelves but haven't read them yet.

Dec 6, 2009, 11:27am Top

I've read and loved most of Bryson's travel writing - A Walk in the Woods, Neither Here Nor There, Notes from a Big Country, Notes from a Small Island, Down Under, The Lost Continent... have I missed any? I also liked his biography of Shakespeare, considering how little material there is to work with in that endeavour. Ironically, the only one I didn't like at much was his autobiography! He's a very amusing fellow with a great eye for observation both of the natural world and, with wry tenderness, of our own human foibles.

Dec 6, 2009, 11:38am Top

I polished off The Condition by Jennifer Haigh the other night, loving it, and started The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff on recommendation of my daughter. I had never heard of the Groff book but it's easy and entertaining reading so far.

Edited: Dec 6, 2009, 11:49am Top

I am currently reading Santa, Baby by Jennifer Cruise then A Quick bite by Lynday Sands and last but not least Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin....Then the new books i ordered should come and I will have even more reading!!!!

Edited: Dec 6, 2009, 12:04pm Top

OK, Bryson...

His central theme seems to be, "Let's go to a small town, sit in a greasy spoon, be rude and disrespectful about the people who live there, and call the waitresses names like Betty Sluts".

Why do hikers hate him? Basically the same reason. He is fine at portraying the physical effort, and his description of a blizzard in the Smokeys is spot on, but he has absolutely no respect for other hikers, people in the trail towns who helped out all of us along the way. He never says word one about the support and comradeship that develops out there that got us all through.

PLUS, he quit the trail in Gatling after only 300 miles and has the audacity the say "I have hiked the Appalachian Trail."

And don't worry about ruining the ending of Walk in the Woods. He's only admitted in later interviews that he made up Katz. This after people from the towns and hostels in the south report having clear memories of Bryson hiking through, but no big fat partner. I met some of these people myself.

Dec 6, 2009, 12:17pm Top

kidzdoc - I read your review of The Two Kinds of Decay: A Memoir. It sounds fascinating. I have added it to my TBR pile.

Still reading The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist. Will probably be finished it in the next day or two.

Dec 6, 2009, 12:22pm Top

Finished reading The Circular Staircase yesterday. A very so-so experience for me.

Now reading A Passage to India by E. M. Forster for my Monthly Author Reads Group

Dec 6, 2009, 12:57pm Top

Just finished The White Tiger. The book is written as a letter to a Chinese diplomat, a device that allows the writer to not only tell his story but also explain Indian society and how it works. It's a fascinating look at the have-nots in India or anywhere and what keeps them there. Another winner I discovered through LT.

Dec 6, 2009, 1:39pm Top

#57 boulder_a_t, I read In cold blood half a year ago, and also would call it great. Very intriguing and shocking.

Dec 6, 2009, 1:47pm Top

I'm a fan of Bill Bryson. In high school my class was given a short story from his Notes from a Big Country to read... I think it was the one about breakfast cereals as we were doing a unit on the language of advertising (ugh). Anyway I laughed, I was amazed they actually gave us something interesting to read and then got the book out from the library so I could read the rest.

Dec 6, 2009, 2:08pm Top

#52> Thanks, Cataluna! As the time for our departure gets closer, we get more and more excited!

Edited: Dec 6, 2009, 2:16pm Top

Finished The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin. Now reading Preternatural by Margaret Wander Bonanno.

Dec 6, 2009, 3:56pm Top

I am currently reading Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger and The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins.

Dec 6, 2009, 4:52pm Top

I finished The Likeness by Tana French this morning. I loved it and would go so far as to say I preferred it to In the Woods. I picked up and began The Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale and it is pulling me right in.

Dec 6, 2009, 5:22pm Top

Reading a fun, light book-Killer Insight-it's part of a great mystery series I love, but haven't read any of in a while. So far it's a good read.

Dec 6, 2009, 8:59pm Top

Finished Steinbeck's The Acts of King Arthur - at least all that he wrote - too bad he didn't finish it.

Now to The Most They Ever Had and the last 250 pages of The singular Mark Twain.

Dec 6, 2009, 10:54pm Top

#51 porchsitter55 - I hope you do pick it up and enjoy it! It's my first Alice Munro book but it won't be my last.

Dec 6, 2009, 11:49pm Top

#58 boulder_a_t - I think Katz is real. There is a journalist, Vick Mickunas of the Dayton Daily News, who claims to know the real Katz. The post I saw was from a user identified as Vick Mickunas, so maybe it's a false identity. Link is here, see post #11: http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=18644

Edited: Dec 7, 2009, 1:29am Top

I finished She and am now moving on to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Let's see why everybody is so enthusiastic about this book.

Edited to fix touchstones

Edited: Dec 7, 2009, 3:40am Top

I'm glad I read A Walk In the Woods way before this discussion came up on LT. I enjoyed it, especially the history of the various trails.

#61 : Mark, I don't think this is his strongest book written though. If you like what you're reading so far, you should check out I'm A Stranger Here Myself, Notes From A Small Island, In A Sunburned Country and Neither Here Nor There. They're pretty funny. If you finish A Walk and come away disliking his treatment of the people he came into contact with in the small towns during his hike, then I think you should avoid reading The Lost Continent because I thought he went a little overboard with his scathing wit in that one. I've also read A Short History of Nearly Everything and all I can say to that one is ... meh

#80 : divinenanny. I thought The Guernsey Literary Potato was a really fun book. I know a few people who didn't quite enjoy it, but I think there is a greater number who are fans of it. I hope you enjoy it too.

I've finished reading Miracle at St Anna by James McBride and have posted a review. It's an amazing book.

I'm now starting Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie

Dec 7, 2009, 6:48am Top

Caroline- Thanks for the Bryson suggestions! I've taken note!

Dec 7, 2009, 7:32am Top

Had a big work day yesterday and just finished Half the Sky. So while it is snowing outside, I am going for something lighter and and sunny - Nantucket Nights.

Dec 7, 2009, 8:20am Top

I am still reading The Night Watch. The slow going has nothing to do with my enjoyment of the book. Rather, it has to do with my non-enjoyment of life right now and my need to sit and veg in front of stupid TV for great stretches at a time to decompress. I have a busy week ahead full of Christmas shopping, helping at school, etc. but I am hoping to finish this in a few days.

Dec 7, 2009, 9:07am Top

Off topic: Books on the Nightstand is taking a reader's poll for the best books of 2009. You can vote here: http://tinyurl.com/ycrkxt9

Dec 7, 2009, 9:43am Top

Interesting to hear the back and forth on Bill Bryson. I also enjoyed A Walk in the Woods, and was disappointed by A Short History of Everything. "Meh" sums it up well.

I just finished Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche, about the 1995 subway attack by religious cultists, and am glad I read it. He gives you both the perspective of the victims, mostly commuters and train line workers, and of the cult perpetrators. The victims could be any of us. As to the perpetrators, how could intelligent people do something so horrible? Murakami gives you a balanced view.

I passed this one on to my waiting daughter, and in return got When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, which she really liked.

Dec 7, 2009, 11:05am Top

I finished Holiday On Ice and really liked it, especially "SantaLand Diaries" and "Front Row Center with Thaddeus Bristol". I also finished Crampton Hodnet by Barbara Pym, which I liked for its character studies. I liked her Excellent Women a little more though.
On another note, I had a fight with some stairs this weekend and lost. It's just a bad sprain but getting around a tri-level house on crutches is so exhausting that I find myself camping in a room for hours just because I don't want to go through the process of getting from one level to the next. It gave me time to make a good dent in Somebody Owes Me Money and to watch a lot of Christmas shows.

Edited: Dec 7, 2009, 11:33am Top

I finished Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls. You can read my review


Now I'm reading Love and Summer by William Trevor.

Dec 7, 2009, 11:51am Top

#87 Hope your ankle gets better and that you are in a room with a lot of books 8-)

Dec 7, 2009, 11:55am Top

Finished quickly The Most they Ever Had. Met Rick Bragg back in 2003 or 4 when I lived in Anniston - my husband taught at Jacksonville State University. He was talking about this book back then. Glad to see he finally finished it.

Now to The Truth About Santa and to finish the last 6 chapters of the Twain bio.

Edited: Dec 7, 2009, 12:05pm Top

I am ready to dive into the dreaded Melville's Clarel and am feeling very positive about this one. My head is ready, I am warmed up and going to begin today.
Still deep in War and Peace. The French have just taken/been given Moscow. Tolstoy does warfare and philosophy very well. No wonder he is so touted. This is a very good book. I am also reading Passing by Nella Larsen which is very good also. What a shame she didn't write more than she did.
I am also reading lighter fare here and there. Mainly Christmas stories now at this time of year just to break up the heaviness of the others.

Dec 7, 2009, 12:25pm Top

#89- thanks, cindy. Before leaving for work my husband brought in a stack of books for me to read in bed. Forgot to leave me food, but I had plenty to read! LOL

Dec 7, 2009, 1:44pm Top

I finished Dewey last night and was a bit too verklempt to write the review then, so I waited until this morning to do it. I really enjoyed the book, and the whole "lost in the Mt. TBR range" and getting it from the library to read is so very Dewey! lol

I'm still working on Three to Get Deadly when reading out, and am about 1/3 the way through now. Plums are so much fun.

I'll start The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas later today. My middle daughter read it last year and has been bugging me to read it since she saw it on my shelf. I always know it's a good book if she's excited about it :-)

Edited: Dec 7, 2009, 1:45pm Top

D'Oh! double clicked the submit... drat!

as the penguin said... "You didn't see anything...." *poof!*

Dec 7, 2009, 2:17pm Top

I'm currently juggling a number of books, most of them for school, but for pleasure reading I am starting on Olivia Judson's Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation and Nancy Farmer's The Islands of the Blessed. I'm excited to read Farmer; this is the third book in a trilogy that I've enjoyed.

Dec 7, 2009, 2:48pm Top

the discussion about Bryson is really great. I think his writing is very funny and I have to say that I didn't find him to be putting people down. I do think that it takes a certain kind of observer to write about what you see along life's way and that observation is always open to interpretation. Bryson's writing reminds me of William Least Heat Moon's in his book Blue Highways. His observations about people and places were always acute in, what I think, is very much analogous to that of Bryson. Heat Moon's book on Chase County, Kansas Prairyerth riled up the people of that county in much the same way that has been written here. The residents of Cottonwood Falls, Kansas thought that Heat Moon had made them look like rubes. I read the book and never got that opinion from the book or the writing. Recently I heard Heat Moon talk about Blue Highways and he said that many of the people in the places he had written about in that book were unwilling to talk with him today because they did not like his portrayal of them or their town.

Dec 7, 2009, 9:24pm Top

thekoolaidmom - post #94 LOL!

.... LOVE the penguins! ;-)

Edited: Dec 8, 2009, 12:32am Top

#59 kidzdoc.....I am really liking memoirs right now. I put The Two Kinds of Decay: A Memoir on my list, thanks for the good recommendation!

#64 jbleil......I also loved The Condition by Jennifer Haigh. If you haven't yet, check out Mrs. Kimble....it was good. I also have Baker Towers in my TBR pile. Jennifer H. is getting to be one of my faves.

#75 nancyewhite......I'm so glad to hear that The Likeness is good!! I read In The Woods and enjoyed it very much. Thanks for the recommendation!

Dec 8, 2009, 2:05am Top

Finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society this morning and just loved it so much. It was great!

On the way home this afternoon I will start Firmin :D

Dec 8, 2009, 2:58am Top

#97 lkernagh LOL! I was beginning to think I was the only penguins fan on here, or that I was the only one to notice them in Madagascar. Around here, Penguin lines are bantered back and forth like small talk!


"Yes, Rico... Kaa-boom."

hehehehe :-D

Dec 8, 2009, 8:07am Top

Finished my ER The Truth About Santa in a couple of hours. Cute book. I'll review it on the book page - as usual.

Now I'll try and finish The Singular Mark Twain. I only have six chapters to go and I want to finish it before my daughter gets her a week Friday so she can have it if she would like it for research purposes for her dissertation.

Since I can't seem to read this book without another book between chapters, I'll add Star Trek The Soul Key for that purpose.

Edited: Dec 8, 2009, 8:26am Top

I'm reading my November ER book, The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen. I think I've been spoiled by Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer - it's starting out rather pseudo-Regency rather than the "Jane Austen-Era Romance" that it's billed as. I'm very picky about my Regencies.

I just finished The White Rhino Hotel by Bartle Bull, and it's one of my contenders for best book of 2009.

Dec 8, 2009, 8:26am Top

I finished The Time Traveler's Wife and was blown away...and I am not a big fan of time travel! This book should definitely be on a list for best of something. What do you think?

Dec 8, 2009, 8:43am Top

I started Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine hARRIS

Edited: Dec 14, 2009, 9:47pm Top

Haven't been around to post very much. Still reading, though. Most recently finished Jacqueline Sheehan's novel Lost & Found. A very well written novel with some mystery interwoven into the story. Ms. Sheehan is stellar in her ability to give her characters nuance and depth in addition to believability. A black lab is one of the characters and a real hero and sweetheart. Four Stars.

The other book that I finished was Zeitoun by Dave Eggars. A standout of a book. One of the post Katrina disaster stories that continue to round out the picture of the chaos during and after Katrina devastated New Orleans. Four Stars, also.

I will review them soon on my thread. If you are interested .....


Dec 8, 2009, 8:58am Top

3104 cdyankeefan - I love the Sookie Stackhouse books! Hope you enjoy Dallas.

Dec 8, 2009, 9:09am Top

I'm in quite the reading mess this week! I've started several books for review but still want to grab some for pleasure, so I'm making my way through Catherine Austen's Walking Backward, Eva Rice's The Lost Art Of Keeping Secrets, K.B. Dixon's A Painter's Life and Mary Simonsen's Searching For Pemberley. And I feel exhausted just having written that!

I'll be done with Walking Backward first, probably followed by Searching For Pemberley. The former is interesting but a very sad exploration of one young man's grief after losing his mother; the latter is Jane Austen fiction that, so far, is functioning better as a work of historical fiction than a "romance," which it purports to be. Hmm. I'll reserve my judgment until I'm totally finished, though!

Dec 8, 2009, 9:16am Top

Edited: Dec 14, 2009, 9:48pm Top

> 105 - addendum -

I did not get to read and finish Wolf Hall: A Novel during the proscribed loan period from my Library ... so I bought myself a copy! It should arrive in a few days time.

The other book that I love and did not get to finish before having to return it to the Library is the late, Sen. Edward Kennedy's memoir, True Compass. I can't wait to get back to it, but, may have to wait a bit as things in my life are rather stacked up right now.

Dec 8, 2009, 9:50am Top

Started Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know yesterday in my continuing quest to figure Miles out. So far this book is much better than any previous I've tried. It's not a training book at all. Also works to define dogs as dogs, not wolves or humans.

Edited: Dec 8, 2009, 9:59am Top

102: karenmarie

I recently read The White Rhino Hotel myself. Enjoyed it so much I got the Next two books in the trilogy.
A Cafe on the Nile and
The Devil's Oasis:A Novel

Dec 8, 2009, 10:25am Top

>#103 scarpettajunkie: I definitely agree on your take on The Time Traveler's Wife. I've read it twice and still love it. I'm afraid to see the movie.

Dec 8, 2009, 10:31am Top

I just finished Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada. It is a very powerful book. I ahv e just started How to Paint a Dead Man by Sarah Hall.

Dec 8, 2009, 10:38am Top

I am having some trouble with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, don't really know why. Maybe because I have a cold and it is freezing here as well as in the book.

May resume The Children's Book or Neverland,

Dec 8, 2009, 10:39am Top

just started reading First Lord's Fury the last of the codex alera series.. and SO EXCITED!

Dec 8, 2009, 10:49am Top

I am listening to Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte, and I am reading Secrets by Nuruddin Farah.

Dec 8, 2009, 10:49am Top

I am listening to Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte, and I am reading Secrets by Nuruddin Farah.

Dec 8, 2009, 10:58am Top

My at home book is Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett (hardback from the library not really easy to tote around). So, as I had to go out, I am also re-reading Red Dog by Louis de Bernieres. I'd forgotten how good it is and as I ended up in the hospital waiting room for nearly an hour I nearly finished it!

Dec 8, 2009, 12:50pm Top

Just got cracking on Leviathan by Philip Hoare. What a great book!

Dec 8, 2009, 1:07pm Top

I finished Valerie Martin's The Confessions of Edward Day -- another good one from Martin -- and William Dean Howell's novella A Sleep and a Forgetting and now I'm reading Karen Joy Fowler's Sarah Canary.

I'm reading one essay each morning from Agnes Jekyll's Kitchen Essays -- first published in 1922. Lovely to begin my day with her wit and good sense; lovely to be transported back to that time and place.

Dec 8, 2009, 1:11pm Top

#111 usnmm2 - I read A Cafe on the Nile first, not knowing it was part of a series, then read Rhino, and have ordered Devil's Oasis for $.99 plus $3.99 shipping from Amazon. Can't wait for it to arrive. I haven't bought very many books that cost more than $2 this year - I've gotten most of my books from the Thrift Store for $1 or $2 - so this was a special treat. I just love the way Bartle Bull writes.

Dec 8, 2009, 1:14pm Top

#106 karenmarie- I am enjoying Dallas- I have all he books in the series and will tackle more in the new year

Dec 8, 2009, 1:40pm Top

I am reading a Joan Grant novel about Egypt in the time of the Pharoahs. I think i read some of these books in the 1980's when everyone was talking about reincarnation and past-life regression. Someone from bookmooch gave me this copy of Winged Pharaoh that I'm reading now. And last week I read Eyes of Horus.

Dec 8, 2009, 3:51pm Top

Trying to finish up The Feathery by Bill Flynn. Getting to the good stuff and making it real hard to put down.

Dec 8, 2009, 7:25pm Top

After a chapter of The Importance of Living last night I picked up and read a chunk of The Two Trillion Dollar Meltdown. I still don't know who to blame, but Lin Yutang puts me in a mind not to worry too much about it.


Dec 8, 2009, 8:57pm Top

I finished Elephant Song by Wilbur Smith - very bad - and I've just started The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington, which I'm reading with MaryZorro's Pulitzer group.

Dec 9, 2009, 1:40am Top

I finished Firmin this morning and really liked it. Now onto Dead until Dark for a vampire fix :D

Dec 9, 2009, 4:11am Top

All the talk about the Bartle Bull books inspired me to go to the library and find his books. Dang and Drat. Our library only had one. White Rhino Hotel. However, since that is the first in the series I guess I didn't come out so bad. Now, to just get it read during the Christmas break. ... And I will let you know what I think of it.

Edited: Dec 9, 2009, 7:35am Top

Currently reading Wake by Robert J. Sawyer. After reading Flash Forward for a review on BookGeeks.co.uk I was lucky to be offered his newest title to read and review. I'm not a massive fan but already I can see his writing has improved from FF which was writin over ten years ago.

#3 I hope your liking The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist, I read it a few months ago now and should have done a review of it for beyondfiction.wordpress.com which is run by a Swedish publisher/editor but the sites not open yet. I enjoyed it. My only other Swedish SF reading has been Tau Zero by Poul Anderson which I wasn't that impressed with. I should add the author is not from Sweden but the story is based in a Swedish dominated society and from the perspective of several Swedish characters.

Dec 9, 2009, 8:00am Top

#128 benitastrnad - I really hope you like The White Rhino Hotel.

I'm reading my November ER book, The Silent Governess. I'm not thrilled.

Dec 9, 2009, 9:17am Top

Just started Mark Bittman's Food Matters. The early stuff is information I've already come across elsewhere but I'm looking forward to the recipes in the second half.

Dec 9, 2009, 9:30am Top

Made quick work of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. I didn't find it hype-worthy, personally, but it's an adequate book for introducing kids to the topics of hate, The Holocaust, friendship and loyalty.

Starting The Glass Castle next. It's sat on Mt. TBR for over a year, so I suppose it's a good time to read it.

Dec 9, 2009, 10:21am Top

#112.. the movie The Time Traveler's Wife could have been a train wreck and it wasn't. It was solidly okay but not great.

Dec 9, 2009, 10:22am Top

I just read two of the The Sisters 8 books - Jackie's Jokes and Georgia's Greatness by Lauren Baratz-Logsted and they cracked me up and made me wish I had a little girl (they are elementary chapter books, not quite middle grade, I'd say). Now I'm on to more YA with Lady Macbeth's Daughter.

Dec 9, 2009, 11:27am Top

Being the Holidays and busy. I must give up my Civil War read Fort Sumter to Perryville till later. Just could not absorb it right now. I started Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper. "A Fearless Feline Tale,or How I learned about Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat". So far I've chuckled and got tears in my eyes.

Dec 9, 2009, 11:29am Top

#132 thekoolaidmom - I hope you love The Glass Castle as much as I did - if so, you'll be very pleased you read it.

Dec 9, 2009, 11:40am Top

#135 I recently got Shelby Foote's Civil War trilogy, but there's no way it's even up for consideration until after the holidays. I'm not even going to the library. I don't need one more deadline, even if it is just for a library book.

Dec 9, 2009, 11:55am Top

I just started Under the Dome last night. SK is one of my favorite authors. My favorite he has written so far is The Stand. Hope I like this one as well.

Dec 9, 2009, 12:04pm Top

Finished Artists in crime while at work, meaning I had no book to read on the way home unless I purchased one. (Bad - not supposed to buy books until I've read more off the TBR piles). Bought The Book Thief.

Dec 9, 2009, 12:10pm Top

I'd wanted to read Jeannette Walls' new book Half Broke Horses, but wanted to read The Glass Castle first so I'd have a little more background on her story. Anyway, I just finished The Glass Castle and it was terrific from beginning to end, highly recommended.

Dec 9, 2009, 2:16pm Top

Finished A Passage to India for my Monthly Author Reads Group. Wrote a rather longish review.

I'll start a short story collection by the same author, E. M. Forster, called The Celestial Omnibus and Other Stories today.

Dec 9, 2009, 2:48pm Top

Dec 9, 2009, 3:03pm Top

Finished Eragon and really enjoyed it. Not as good as I thought it would be (it's one of my boyfriend's favorite series, so he really hyped it up and practically forced me to read it) but it was very good.

I'm currently reading City of Bones and it's SO good so far. I love it. After I finish it, I'll be reading Eldest and Brisingr because my boyfriend and one of his friends keeps bugging me about it...

Yesterday I also read Maximum Ride: Volume 1, the graphic novel based off of James Patterson's book. It was very good and I devoured it in about 45 minutes.

Dec 9, 2009, 3:12pm Top

Reading ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΑΖΟΥΣΑΙ, The Assemblywomen, by Aristophanes in Loeb Classical Library No. 180, Edited & Translated by Jeffrey Henderson.

Dec 9, 2009, 3:32pm Top

I finished The Two Trillion Dollar Meltdown last night. I'm beginning to understand who to blame. Among other things, if we're going to have a government at all, it probably should do a better job.

I read a chunk of The Importance of Living but left a chapter and the appendix for tonight. I am enamored of the book despite its lacks. I may have to write a review of it.

I restarted Life and Fate and found the reading absolutely fluid. I hope not to be distracted from it again.


Dec 9, 2009, 3:39pm Top

Reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova and I can't get enough.

Dec 9, 2009, 4:10pm Top

#138 clingreen Would love to hear what you think of Under the Dome as you go along!

Dec 9, 2009, 6:22pm Top

>Louis- Glad you got to The Glass Castle first! Now you can focus on Half Broke Horses, which I just finished. It's not as strong as it's predecessor, but still very enjoyable! BTW, I just cracked open Cutting For Stone and can say immediately, this is going to be high on my end of the year list!

Dec 9, 2009, 8:53pm Top

#135 cindysprocket - I hope you enjoy the charming Homer's Odyssey. I read it as a LTER and loved it but I have the feeling people roll their eyes behind my back whenever I recommend it!

Dec 9, 2009, 8:59pm Top

I'm about halfway (480 pages) done with Under the Dome. So far it's fairly good. Better written than The Stand tighter plot, not as much diversion or dead ends (so far from what I remember).
This is the first new SK novel I've read in years and so far I'm enjoying it. I don't think his hard core fans will be disappointed.

Dec 9, 2009, 9:10pm Top

#149 coppers- I know the feeling about recommending the book. Maybe a person has to like cats.

Dec 9, 2009, 9:12pm Top

I'm a little over halfway through Fruits Basket volume 13 and will also be starting Sick of Shadows by Marion Chesney.

Dec 9, 2009, 10:06pm Top

#90 thanks for letting me know there's another Rick Bragg book out there. I'm a definite fan.

#148 I loved Cutting for Stone, hope you enjoy it as much.

Still reading A Suitable Boy which I'll no doubt still be reading in the New Year. Almost finished with Flag of Our Fathers and finished my quick re-read of Anne of Green Gables, a lovely way to spend a day.

Edited: Dec 9, 2009, 10:32pm Top

I am re-reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. In the past I read the first four books and then lost track of the series. I am starting over at the beginning to refresh myself with the story.

I also picked up The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas at the library today. I have been looking forward to starting this mystery series.

Edited: Dec 11, 2009, 12:45am Top

I just finished reading Blasphemy by Douglas Preston and Terminal Freeze by Lincoln Child. Both great books I previously had read Deep Storm by Lincoln Child on Audiobook. I thought it was great so tried this next novel by Lincoln Child who often works with Douglas Preston.

Dec 10, 2009, 2:41am Top

I finished Dead until dark this morning, and will start The Age of Wonder on the way home this afternoon...

Dec 10, 2009, 8:51am Top

153 - glad to hear of another rick bragg fan

I finished Star Trek The Soul Key and only have four more chapters of the Twain bio left. I will also read Playing for Pizza between chapters but if I finish the Grisham before the Twain, I'll finish the Twain before I read anything else. I want this to be the 150th of my 100 challenge.

Dec 10, 2009, 9:47am Top

Lady Macbeth's Daughter wasn't doing much for me, so I've switched over to Beautiful Creatures.

Dec 10, 2009, 10:34am Top

I started The Vorkosigan Companion, a nice collection for fans of the series.

Edited: Dec 10, 2009, 10:58am Top

coppers and cindysprocket ~ Homer's Odyssey is the book I'm pimping this season. I don't think you have to like cats to enjoy the book, per se, and if you didn't, you'd at least love Homer after reading it... lol. I usually tell people it's about how Gwen learned to love and how to see and appreciate the value in others through Homer. If I know they're an animal lover, I add to that how she was his last chance in the world. Most people have a special pet memory, and that's the part that is touched by Homer's plight.

Incidently... it's also THAT part of me that is about to stop reading Glass Castle. If those people do one more mean thing to an animal, I'll burn the damn book. D-: How absolutely callous and self-absorbed can they be? It's a shock any child could have grown up in that environment to be anything close to normal or successful. Ugh! It's parents like them that Child Services was created for. Seriously!

Dec 10, 2009, 11:04am Top

I am reading The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray and Swimsuit by James Patterson.

Dec 10, 2009, 11:44am Top

I am struggling to finish (aka avoiding) Light In August which is depressing and very hard for me (northern white chick) to relate to. On a happier note, I just got In the Valley of the Kings , by new-ish author Terrence Holt, in the mail after reading an intriguing Times book review of it, ordering it from Amazon, and then waiting almost two months for it to FINALLY arrive--it was worth the wait (and the price: it only comes in hardcover at this point)!!! He does really interesting-via-extremely-creepy-via-more-than-normally-intellectualized stuff with medical and magical realism. Right up my alley.

Edited: Dec 10, 2009, 11:48am Top

Finally close to finishing up Confessions by JJ Rousseau and up after that is The Communist Manifesto because I realized that despite my supposedly radical leftist politics, I've never read the thing (I'm not a communist.)

My at home/commute reading was Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro which I thought was boring as all hell. This was disappointing as Remains of the Day was quite excellent. After that, I took a side trip through reading Shadow Gate by Kate Elliott and am now reading Lolita which is perfect and has the quality of writing I was hoping for with the Ishiguro.

Dec 10, 2009, 11:47am Top

I am reading "The Forgotten Garden" by Kate Morton and really loving it.

#149 Coppers, I am more of a dog person but I really liked Homer's Odyssey. I have a special needs dog(diabetic) so I can easily relate to the book. Anyone who wants a good animal story will love Homer. I hope to read Dewey the Library Cat as well but I will pass on Marley and Me.

#160 I had planned on reading the Glass Castle until you mentioned mean things being done to animals. Maybe the book isn't for me. I appreciate the write up.

Dec 10, 2009, 1:33pm Top

For the folks who've been discussing Bill Bryson, I thought I'd mention that I just completed (and reviewed) As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee. Lee, a very young man at the time, walked across Spain during the year just prior to the Spanish Civil War. He writes not with the humor of Bryson, but with beautiful insight and poetic prose. A different sort of travel memoir than Bryson, but very rich and rewarding. My review is on the book's page and also at the end of my 50-Book Challenge thread: http://www.librarything.com/topic/54150

Dec 10, 2009, 2:51pm Top

#164 tanya2009 It isn't that it's a book about mean things done to animals, but it was one of the first things to happen in the book and it's really kind of scarred me... lol. As the mom and dad are driving off out of the trailer park, Jeannette's holding the family cat and he growls. Someone says something about cats not liking to car rides, and then mom or dad toss the cat out of the car (I think they slowed down first, maybe even stopped) and drove off, saying that no one who didn't like travelling was welcome on their adventure. My thought as I read that was, "Oh my god! If they would do that to their cat, what's to stop them from doing it to a kid?" Later, when Jeannette falls out of the car when the door opened as they took a corner too fast, she sat there in the dirt, watching the car disappear, thinking about the cat and wondering the same thing. The other cruel thing is when they find themselves with too many kittens, the dad takes a sackful and dumps them in a quarry... kids watching. I can't imagine growing up in that household and being sane.

I have to take it in stints or I'll explode, it just makes me mad how two self-proclaimed adults can say and do the things they do and DON'T do to and for their kids. DO get drunk on a regular basis... DON'T put food in the fridge. DO blame everyone at a jobsite for getting fired and tell kids that the FBI is after them, which is why they leave in the middle of the night with just the clothes on their backs. DON'T take responsibility for being a loser and a failure... in fact, DON'T take any responsibility.. whatsoever... if at all possible. It's a wonder the kids LIVED through childhood, honestly. What with being shot at, shooting back, waking up in the middle of the night to find a stranger molesting you in your own bed because your dumbass parents refuse to shut and lock the doors... Grrrrrrrr....

remainder of post omitted... Rant RANT RANT....

*cough* anyway.... It is shocking and well-written, and I'd recommend it, but not in one setting.

Dec 10, 2009, 3:13pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Dec 10, 2009, 3:41pm Top

I finished one of the books I was reading and started another one. Last night I started reading Highland Hearts by Virginia Brown. I am still reading Look Great, Live Green too.

Dec 10, 2009, 3:58pm Top

jennieg, I look forward to hearing what you think of The Vorkosigan Companion; it's one I've thought about reading.

Dec 10, 2009, 4:15pm Top

I'll keep you posted, jnwelch. The opening section, at least, would be interesting to writers beginning to market their work, in or out of sci fi.

Dec 10, 2009, 5:31pm Top

And hopefully some of the rest will be interesting to those (like clueless me) who can't get enough of charming hyperactive wiseacres in outer space (like our friend Miles). :-)

Dec 10, 2009, 5:34pm Top

I know just what you mean. I'm currently listening to Brothers in Arms and wishing my library offered more Miles in eaudiobook form.

Dec 10, 2009, 5:48pm Top

I decided to put Wicked aside for awhile and read something I might actually like reading. (Although I am more than halfway through the book.) I went to the library and got lucky. I started reading the new Antony Beevor book D-Day. It is so good that I read 50 pages of it last night.

I finished listening to Resolution in the car this afternoon and started Rebel Angels by Libba Bray. I enjoyed Resolution and find Parker's exploration into the world of male bonding rather interesting. The fact that he uses the Western as the genre in which he does this is a bonus. So I went from macho male book to ultra fem book. Wow! the wonder of books.

Dec 10, 2009, 6:25pm Top

Finished reading the little gemLove and Summer by William Trevor.

My review here.

Now I'm reading Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden.

Dec 10, 2009, 7:18pm Top

Earlier this week, I finished "A Thousand Splendid Sons", the second novel by Khaled Hosseini ...a worthy follow-up to "The Kite Runner". I look forward to future novels from this author.

I'm currently reading "Whisper to the Blood" by Danna Stabenow...#16 in her 'Kate Shigak' series.

#103 (scarpettajunkie), #112 (jbleil), #133 (ShannonMDE)....I really liked the movie adaptation of "The Time Traveller's Wife", thought the time-shift sequences were nicely done.

Dec 10, 2009, 7:51pm Top

After a wait of two months, the library finally called to let me know that Kate DiCamillo's The Magician's Elephant arrived so I ran over and picked it up after work. I'm very much enjoying the other worldly atmosphere that the first two chapters have revealed. It shouldn't take me long to finish.

Dec 11, 2009, 4:06am Top

#158: Devourer, If you're looking for YA spin-offs of Macbeth, The Third Witch by Rebecca Reisert is one that I remember enjoying when I read it back in high school. The main character reminded me a little bit of Tamora Pierce's strong, feisty female protagonists. Overall, I thought it was an interesting take on the play without diverging too far from the source material.

Dec 11, 2009, 7:39am Top

Another sleepless night got me well into Dreams From My Father - the first time in my life I've ever been able to say to all you Americans, 'I like your president - seems like a great guy!'

Dec 11, 2009, 9:10am Top

Well, sorry to say I put aside Cutting for Stone. It's beautifully written, and I'm sure I would have enjoyed most of it, but I couldn't stomach the medical details. Oh well...I'm not giving it up forever, just putting it aside for a time and might pick it up again.

I listened to One False Note with my sister, and finished it last night. It's an OK read, I can see why it appeals to older elementary-age kids, but a little too over-the-top adventure for my taste. I'm also reading First Lord's Fury, and expect I'll finish it sometime this weekend.

Dec 11, 2009, 11:01am Top

I started Olive Kitteridge last night, encouraged by the many good things I've read about it on LT. I like that my first impression of her was not good. It'll be interesting to see how she grows.

Dec 11, 2009, 11:32am Top

I borrowed my boyfriend's copy of On Chesil Beach last night and I will probably finish that later tonight it's pretty good so far although it is one of those enigmatic "what's it really trying to say?" books.

Dec 11, 2009, 12:12pm Top

I am now reading Unhallowed Ground. I find details of plot rather hastily constructed. For example the heroine is a docent and getting paid a significant amount of money to afford a victorian mansion and its restoration yet the museum she works for is financed entirely by a man whose sole job is editing textbooks. WHAT? Also the heroine is chatting with a friend and had to be told numerous times lets go change out of our period costumes. In real life, you'd be walking and talking simultaneously and wouldn't say such cheesy dialogue. It throws me right out of the story instead of drawing me in. The dialogue just feels unnatural. Forced. Fake. Made up. I'll finish the book only because I paid for it. I'm still looking for a kernel of meat to make a meager feast out of.

Dec 11, 2009, 1:47pm Top

I finished The Day Wall Street Exploded on Wednesday. (It duly went back to the library yesterday.) Now I'm reading Dearest Friend, a biography of Abigail Adams.

Edited: Dec 11, 2009, 4:56pm Top

Thank God I finished The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen, my November ER book. I was glad to finish the last sentence of that stinker for sure. I posted my review on my 75 book challenge thread and will post it in my reviews later tonight: The Silent Governess

Tonight I will start The Devil's Oasis, the third book of Bartle Bulls African Trilogy. I'm so excited.

Dec 11, 2009, 5:08pm Top

>177 kabrahamson: kahbramson Thanks for the recommendatino, I may check that out!

Dec 11, 2009, 6:12pm Top

>179 bell7:: bell7- I hope you are just taking a break from Cutting for Stone. I'm only 80 pages into it but it's an amazing read and I have a strong feeling this will be somewhere near the top for my annual list. And yes, the writing is beautiful!
>180 jennieg:: jennieg- Speaking of the top of my list, "Olive" is making a solid run for it! What an incredible book and what a title character! Superb stuff! I hope you feel the same way!
I also started listening to Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and it's been very interesting. Anyone else read this?

Dec 11, 2009, 6:51pm Top

msf59, this is absolutely coincidence. Outliers came in the mail yesterday for a church book group discussion. Notwithstanding my dedication to Life and Fate, I read about two thirds of Outliers last night just to get it done with. I think it is pretty thin, although I will take away one or two new ideas from it. I hope to finish it tonight and get back to the novel.


Dec 11, 2009, 6:53pm Top

Finished Homer's Odyseey by Gwen Cooper. Starting The Pack of Lies by Gordon Ashe aka John Creasey

Dec 11, 2009, 9:22pm Top

I just finished Her Fearful Symmetry on audiobook, and am now beginning (on audio as well) Lost in a Good Book.

Dec 11, 2009, 10:12pm Top

Robert- So over-all are you enjoying Outliers? He's coming up with some pretty interesting theories, so far, although I'm not into it very far.

Dec 11, 2009, 10:35pm Top

Finished Playing for Pizza and will now finish the last two chapter of The Singular Mark Twain before I pick up another book.

Dec 11, 2009, 11:13pm Top

I finished Behind the Veil:The World of Islam Through the Eyes of Women by Ergun Mehmet Caner this week and was disappointed. It was primarily Christian missionaries giving the role of women in various Muslim countries and sects. That information was informative, but the emphasis after each segment was how to use this information to speak to these people about Jesus and the bible. Not what I expected.

Finished In the Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon I loved it. I had a hard time putting it down long enough to do things like, cooking, putting up Christmas decorations and sleeping. It was written in Spanish and translated into English in 2005. It takes place in Barcelona and layers upon layers of mystery, love stories, family interactions, wealth, poverty. It is just a tremendous read in my opinion.

I think I will reread Midaq Alley by Naguib Mahfouz in honor of his birthday tomorrow. I have two others of his on my TBR shelf but realized they were the last two of a trilogy. I have read this one and two others on my shelf years ago, so I thought I would revisit Cairo.

Dec 11, 2009, 11:24pm Top

190, Mark, as I said I think it is pretty thin. I suppose you could call his book a theory, albeit not formal. He hypothesizes that luck, talent, practice, and support are necessary to succeed. Okay, I think that's true. He has said a few things in support of those notions; those things are interesting enough. I'm not having a hard time with it, and I will engage in a group discussion of it one evening early in January. But I'm not going to dwell on it.


Dec 13, 2009, 8:23am Top

96 - I have William Least Heat Moon's Blue Highways in the stack next to the bed. I'm getting to it. You compared it to Bryson, so I'm a little worried, but I've heard great things about it. Fingers crossed.

Dec 16, 2009, 11:41pm Top

I have been traveling for the past 7 days so I am just getting caught up on all the various threads.

#129 MEStaton - I really enjoyed The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist.... I am not a big dystopian fan but this one did grab and hold my attention.

Dec 17, 2009, 9:19am Top

I am just starting Torch by Cheryl Strayed

Group: What Are You Reading Now?

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