What Are You Reading the Week of 11 June 2011?
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Well I had an eventful week last week so didn't finish my selection. I'm currently reading The Mercy Seat and Les Miserables so will wrap those up. Also had a LOT of books added to my Too Read bookshelf, some of them young adult books I am reading before I let my friends kids read them. So in order to clear some of those out this week I will read the two I'm currently reading and:
My Side of the Mountain
The Smuggler's Treasure
The Slave Dancer
The Winter of Red Snow
And the first three in the "A Series of Unfortunate Events" series.
Thanks for the shiny new thread, Richard!
I'm still reading The Ape Who Guards the Balance by Elizbeth Peters, which is a great kick-off for my Second Summer of Amelia Peabody! I absolutely adore the Amelia Peabody series!
Thanks, Richard. Just received A Line Blurred, So now, counting Bismark, A LIFE and VeryBad Men I am juggling three. And, I have to work this weekend. Oh well...
Enjoying Kill Your Friends, forerunner to The Second Coming (also by Niven, no touchstones). I need something really light at the moment because most of my day is taken up with writng an unbelievably tedious assignment on the literatures of African Bushmen (and sobbing and banging my head on the wall),
Almost at the half way point of The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard. Was in training at work for a portion of the week, so didn't get very much reading done this week. Not because I read at work but because my schedule was off it's norm. I'll try and get a few more chapters in this weekend.
Finished Cricket on the hearth, which is one of Dickens' Christmas stories, which is odd because it hasn't a thing to do with Christmas. Love his droll observations. In the book, a sour, rich old man is going to marry a lovely young girl and on his wedding day he takes out his rig with his horse be-ribboned and decorated and Dickens says that the horse looks more like a bridegroom than he did. Fortunately, of course, the lovely young girl married her true love instead and all ended well. Am still working on Cross Creek and starting Numa Roumestan, though not in French. (Am terribly impressed by the member reading Bulgakov in Russian.
Much farther into Just Kids now, and am enjoying it, although I woke with a dream that had the young Patti Smith in it crying, and then singing some song that never has been. Kind of disturbing when books invade your dreams.
I finished my Early Reviewer's book Partitions: A Novel by Amit Majmudar and it just made me incredibly sad about humanity, but it was very good ... too short for what he tried to tackle maybe though. Although it was about Partition, it really felt a mirror of many of the current happenings in India/Pakistan - and the neverending battles amidst religions and castes.
I am now back to my friends in Essential Dykes to Watch Out For and will follow that up with Bottomless Belly Button by Dash Shaw.
And I would like to learn how to do encaustic painting, so am reading The Art of Encaustic Painting by Joanne Mattera as well.
Thanks for kick starting the weekly thread Richard! Right now I am one chapter into Hotel Angeline, a novel written by 36 authors, with each writer writing a chapter of the story. I am curious to see what each writer brings to the story.
I'm reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon for our book group. A couple of our group members really liked it, and it's been on my shelf for a while.
The Belmont Stakes are today so I'm reading Secretariat by William Nack. I hope it's as good as Seabiscuit!
Touchstones for Secretariat work with the title it had when it was originally published in 1975: Big Red of Meadow Stable: Secretariat, the Making of a Champion
I finished The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver and loved it! What excellent writing! Can't wait to get into the next in the series, The Coffin Dancer. I'm also reading Scarlet Nights by Jude Deveraux and am about a third of the way through. I like this series so far. For some self-improvement, I've started The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. This is going to be a great week for reading! :)
Just finished Triangle the Fire That Changed America by David Von Drehle. Great book - got better as it went. Billed as a social history, it addresses the factory fire that killed 140 workers in NYC in 1911. I have a big hole in my knowledge about history when it comes to that era, so glad I read it. Addressed unions, suffragettes, Tammany Hall, told through the lives of these people and their involvement in these issues specifically around the fire, including a lookback at their home countries and reason for immigrating. In a different time, I might have perceived it as a success story about unions and worker safety, but here we are in 2011 still sending people to die in unsafe mines, and destroying unions again. Too sad.
SO - on to something REALLY light! - another coffee house mystery - French Pressed by Cleo Coyle and then maybe some more substantial mystery.
Carolyn - I'm just sayin -slow down on Essential Dykes!
Out There: The Government's Secret Quest for Extraterrestrials by Howard Blum (A little dry so far, but very intriguing, especially if you're interested in that sort of thing.)
The Collector by John Fowles (Very, very creepy with a very sympathetic villain. This book has given me the shudders.)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling (I'm re-reading the series before Part 2 of the Deathly Hallows is released.)
I'm just about halfway through James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small. Sure is fun and enjoyable.
Dean Koontz-The Dead Town and Stephen King-The Stand. Should prove to be quite interesting.
Mr. Durick does this help?
#BLBera - I hope you like Outlander I started reading the series over 10 years ago - in saying that be prepared, there are now about 7 books in the series (which isn't finished yet) and they are all massive 500+ page books.
I am reading Bellefleur for a group read with the JCO group. It's an American gothic family saga. Doesn't that sound perfect? I expect to take a few weeks to read this one.
Thanks for another good start to the week, Richard. Appropriate that I'm still listening to one of the birthday girls supposed best, Gaudy Night. Not my favorite. And to quote you, Booksloth, unbelievably tedious assignment ... (and sobbing and banging my head on the wall) but will finish The Hour I First Believed this weekend, I hope before I pull all my hair out over the many digressions. Did this man not have an editor, or was the book originally 4000 pages and this was the best she could do?
>28 Citizenjoyce: was the book originally 4000 pages and this was the best she could do? LOLOL
I wonder the same thing about five times a day.
#28 It's me then, I must be weird, but I love Lamb's books. He's one of those authors I can't get enough of and whose digressions I relish (John Irving is another) . The only time either of them has disappointed me was in Lamb's Wishin' and Hopin' which came in at a mere 273 pages and, IMO, hadn't really got going by then.
I stopped reading The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. It got great reviews here on LT, but it just wasn't for me. I think the novel is well written and would be good for others. I just couldn't get into the character and all of the stories within the novel. I was getting impatient and not interested in reading so I just went ahead to the last chapter. I liked the ending, but I'm glad I didn't read 350 pages to get there.
I'm almost finished listening to The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, and I'm going to start Anne Frank Remembered by Miep Gies
No, it's not just you, Booksloth. Some people really love The Hour I First Believed. I would love it if he'd show a little restraint. Everything he says is interesting, but he seems to try to throw everything he ever thought of into one book. I feel like I'm drowning.
I just started Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. It's a book about youthful awakening to summer's delights, so the timing seemed right. And I hadn't read Bradbury since I read The Illustrated Man when I was twelve.
#26 Lisa: I hope each book is a story complete in itself -- although I have to say it seems to be a fast read. So far, about 300 pages in, I am enjoying it -- just not sure yet I want to read 7 more ...
#38 NarratorLady - I had a hard time getting into Bossypants. I'm sure the audiobook will be more enjoyable.
I finished and reviewed The Hour I First Believed. I absolutely can understand how a reader would love it, but I'm not that reader. Now to a book I think I will like, Swamplandia!.
The Meaning Of Life by Terry Eagleton. A bit of light reading for the week ahead...
#39 jshepherd929: I'm not even through one disc and I'm enjoying Tina Fey's reading of Bossypants very much. Her chapter about her father left me laughing and teary at the same time.
I think that audio is the best way to read books by deft comic performers. It's why I always choose to listen to Nora Ephron's books. Both these ladies are naturally funny and it comes through.
I finished Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, which I loved.
I started Love and Garbage by Ivan Klima which was milling about my TBR shelves. So far (just started) I find it incredibly compelling, different and just ... great writing/translation. It's a "bit" stream of consciousness, which I don't always go for, but it seems to be working here for me so far.
i just read the wasp factory by ian banks and i'm going to read someof his others too
bit of a weird writer but each to his own
Just finished an e-book, A Line Blurred, a deep and heavy novel about a marriage in trouble. Now, on to fun. A novel abiout a man hunting down men on a list to kill, and the people who try to stop him. Very Bad Men, an ER book.
#47 I am in the middle of Bismark what do you think about it? Be glad to hear your opinion.
#38 > jshepherd929 - I'm seeing A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness everywhere lately. I'm curious to hear your opinion when your finished. Perhaps I should consider putting this one on my "to read" list.
#53 I have already finished A Discovery of Witches. I posted a review if you'd like to read it. I really enjoyed the book. I think it was a little bit longer than it needed to be but other than that, it was a good read. The title is a little deceiving. It doesn't involve witches as much as I thought it would.
I just finished Stan Musial. My sense is that the book did the best it could with a difficult subject. The problem was that Stan Musial was a public man with very little private man available, even to himself; so it seemed anyway. Vecsey tried very hard to find more depth to him but could only get tiny glimpses. That said, his grace, congeniality, and humor came through clearly. A man of another era.
>59 snash: The problem was that Stan Musial was a public man with very little private man available, even to himself. Very well said , snash.
About 100 pages into Ron Strickland's Whistlepunks & Geoducks: Oral Histories From the Pacific Northwest. Interesting individual stories, but not much from the dry side of the state, so far.
$59,SNash, very good review of the Musial book. I read Yaz, by Carl Yastremski a few months ago and had a similiar feeling. The book was flat. Yastremski was a man of character but not particularly entertaining. I do like books on baseball.
Once again I am deep into East Africa with Cafe on the Nile and love it. Bartle Bull can really write adventure stories. I still love the characters and as their world slides towards war I keep wanting to snatch them from harm's way. I had to get this book from Inter-Library Loan and so only have a short time to get it read, but I find myself stretching my lunch hour out as far as I can just to get more read. I am also reading Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and this book started slow but it picking up. Now I have two really interesting books going at the same time so I have to put Thousand Autumns on the back burner for awhile. Ain't life a bitch?
I do have to say that the last two months have been a book bonanza for me with all the good stuff I have been reading. It started with the Jo Nesbo books and now with the great Bartle Bull book.
Going through some graduation gifts (how thoughtful of people to get me the lovely Barnes and Noble Leather Bound classics!)... Just finished up Jurassic Park/The Lost World, which were surprisingly compelling (not usually my genre) and am now tackling The Iliad and The Odyssey. I read them in school at some point, but either I have a terrible memory or we read very condensed versions, as most of it seems new to me.
I thought the same thing about Fahrenheit 451 when I read it for our book discussion group last month. I thought I had read it years ago, but somehow the book seemed different to me with whole parts that I didn't remember from the first time around. Like the kids joy riding in cars and trying to run people down. Somehow didn't even register the first time I read it. Maybe some books need to be read more than once.
I just finished Suite Francaise, which was fantastic. It is heartbreaking that she didn't get to finish it. The appendices in the back were interesting but difficult to read - I like that they included her notes for the third part of the book, but her husband's frantic attempts to find her and get her back after she'd been shipped off to a concentration camp were also heartbreaking.
Now I'm reading The War of the End of the World by Mario Vargas Llosa, and Cleopatra: a life by Stacy Schiff. After all this, I'll need something light and easy.
#60 - Hope you enjoy The Help - it's one of my favorites.
I just finished Pillars of the Earth for my book club. It was good, but rather long. The back and forth of the fortunes of the characters was a little much, and the dialogue was a little too 21st century, but overall I enjoyed reading it. Not jumping out to get the sequel though. Now I'm onto to Sookie and All Together Dead for a nice refreshing palette cleanser before finding a juicy non-fiction to read.
#67 - Sourire - I'm glad to hear you liked Jurassic Park & the Lost World! Crichton is (was?) one of my favorite authors, and Jurassic Park is one of the COOLEST books I've ever read. If you want to try any of his other stuff, I recommend State of Fear, Congo, and Sphere.
I'm about a third of the way through all of my three books, and I'm finding them all extremely compelling, especially The Collector. There aren't any chapter breaks in there, which at first I found annoying, but it's actually very indicative of the narrator's personality and frame of mind. A very, very creepy read. And I'm delighting once again in the storytelling prowess of JK Rowling. Harry Potter never gets old for me!
Currently looking for a new book to start, I think it will be Wizards First Rule which was recommended to me by a friend!
#42 Hey Hazel, I am listening to Water For Elephants on audiobook. The old men are hilarious!
76# tabitha6, on audio that would be good.
After I finished reading the book I googled the cast for the movie, would you believe there is no Uncle Al and Jacob does not have red hair!!!
#77 - There's no Uncle Al??? If they're taking that many liberties with the story, then I don't think I'll be seeing the movie. A romance between Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon just isn't enough of a premise for a movie.
Sometimes it's helpful to look at a movie as just that, purely a movie. It's all but impossible to adapt anything but the shortest of short stories faithfully into a movie, so changes must be expected. Taken on its own merits, 2002's Count of Monte Cristo, is in my opinion, a good movie. There is action, romance, a compelling plot, sympathetic characters, etc. Taken as an adaptation of the book: blasphemous. Sometimes taking a LOT of liberties is what saves a movie version. Not doing so usually just ends up with a watered-down and underdeveloped version of the story that neither makes for a good telling of the story nor a good movie on its own merits.
That said, I have not seen the movie version of Water for Elephants, but I can only hope it's better than Reese's other adaptation attempt (Vanity Fair- where James Purefoy was the only redeeming quality).
I saw the movie version of Water For Elephants, it's a good movie but doesn't compare to the book. The disaster is well portrayed, but there are no scenes inside the nursing home. In a way it's like the movie adaptation of A Prayer for Owen Meany, well maybe not that far off the book. If you're just looking for an enjoyable movie you'll like it, if you're looking for the book you won't. However, knowing that doesn't stop me from looking forward to both "Snowflower and the Secret Fan" and "The Help" later this summer.
By the way, for those who didn't watch The Tony's, for the next 24 hours you can download the mp3 of the Broadway musical The Book of Mormon for 1.99 at Amazon.com.
# 81 citizenjoyce,
Thanks for the info on the movie Water For Elephants I looked up the website for the casting of the movie, there was no Uncle Al and Jacob did not have red hair!! It would be impossible to capture the magic of the book on screen.
I found the nursing home sections especially readable, and so close to the bone at times!!! The author must have had dealings with the elderly.
In Water for Elephants which I disliked reading because I it felt like it was written to be a movie rather than a novel (well before the movie was announced) I really liked the nursing home scenes and I liked the end when it quickly recapped their quirky life afterwards. (trying not to create a spoiler)
I was going to put my two cents into the discussion about movie adaptations of books by giving an example of a good adaptation and lo and behold I couldn't think of one. Then I thought of Gone With the Wind and Ben Hur. Both remain faithful to the spirit of the book, but they are lengthy movies. Almost like mini-miniseries. I have not read Atonement or English Patient but heard that they were good adaptations. Trying to get all the nuances found in a book to fit inside of a two hour movie might be darn near impossible. the most recent screenplay that I heard was done well was (I did not see the movie version) Winter's Bone. There must be a reason why there is a separate Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
It should be noted that, as far as I know, there have been nio Oscars given for screenplays to famous novelists. No Oscar for Hemingway, Faulkner, or Fitzgerald that I know of.
And those Bourne movies are such a disappointment to me after reading the books by Robert Ludlum. I refuse to read the new books on the grounds that creating a franchised book isn't the same as writing something original.
Just started Clive Cussler's The Kingdom- touchstones do not appear to work for this one. His books are all the "great escape" for me. Looking forward to this one!
#71 NovaLee: The Kite Runner is still on my reading list...you're not the only one!
I started my ER book The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh and am liking it so far
#85 -- John Irving won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for Cider House Rules and Mario Puzo shared the Oscar for The Godfather with Francis Ford Coppola.
I have not read much of John Irving and only saw the movie of Widow for One Year, so didn't even think of books of his that were made into movies. I never read Godfather and haven't seen the movie of it either. I think that it must be a special kind of talent that can adapt something in written form to work well in a movie and that talent is not synonymous with writing a novel. You would think that writing a screenplay when the story is already done would be easier, but that doesn't seem to be true.
As I thought about movie adaptations I did remember that Neil Gaiman did the adaptation for Coraline and it was faithful to the book. I did not read Stardust and my friends who have said that it was a good adaptation. I also know that Louis Sacher did the screenplay for Holes. Of course these are YA novels, except for Stardust, and perhaps that makes adapting it easier.
$91 As you might imagine, there are quite few playwrights who won for the movie adaptations of their plays.
I have always been fond of Irving -- The World According to Garp came along at just that perfect moment in my life and I love the movie adaptation of that book. I tend to stay away from the movie versions of books I love, so I was pleasantly surprised by that one. I'm not much of a Puzo fan, but The Godfather seemed (to me anyway) written with the idea of a movie version in mind, so perhaps that helped.
Having used it in my classes and seen its transformative effect on so many young people -- and knowing the history of how it came to be written -- I had hoped that the screenplay of The Outsiders might win an Academy Award, but I don't think it was even nominated.
Here's the list of nominees and winners: (winners are in gold)
I'm just starting The Falcon at the Portal by Eluizabeth Peters, the 11th in the Amelia Peabody series. The series is so much fun! Amelia Peabody and her family are such a hoot, and the archeology/Egyptology motif is a very fun motif for a mystrery series.
#71 NovaLee - Don't worry - it took me a while before I read the Kite Runner, but better late than never! It's a phenomenal book and his 2nd book, A Thousand Splendid Suns, is even better, I think.
To my great pleasure I just discovered a writer that I really liked. I read Now You See Me by S.J. Bolton. I'm sure I must have read something here on LT that made me try it. So, a big thank you to that person. It sort of made me think of Minette Walters or Ruth Rendell. It was the kind of book where I don't want to keep reading because its almost too much but I can't help myself because I must know what happens next. Anyway, it was marvelous way to spend a day and a half in the extreme heat of the weekend and our 'air handler' biting the dust.
Now, I'm reading George Eliot's Middlemarch and it is marvelous. I'm a mere 5% of the way through it(God bless kindle and how it doesn't always have page numbers but always has percentage of completion - makes me laugh.). I'm surprised by how much I like George Eliot's style of writing. Her prose is crystal clear. I read Mill on the Floss in high school and hated it. I'm beginning to think I wasn't a terribly good judge of literature at seventeen.
enaid: I remember reading two pages (!) of Pride and Prejudice when I was in eighth grade and not being able to get any further since it made no sense to me at all. Imagine my surprise when two decades later I picked it up and found myself laughing before I finished the second page.
Often it's not only youth that's wasted on the young.
#95 - I thought the same thing about Coraline...have you seen the movie though? The movie is much, much creepier than the book.
I finished True Prep by Lisa Birnbach and Chip Kidd last night. This morning, I started A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother by Janny Scott.
#71 - I was the next to the last person. I just read The Kite Runner last Sunday. I couldn't put it down. I love those weekends without obligations - I can immerse myself in a book for uniterrupted hours.
#95 - I have always wanted to read Coraline. I have seen the movie and loved it.
# 60> Hope you enjoy The Help. It was one of my favorite books last year.
Now I'm wondering why in the world I waited so long to read The Kite Runner. I'm only about 85 pages in and loving it! This one is going to be hard to put down. Wasn't sure how I was going to watch the hockey game tonight AND read but it appears Vancouver has answered that for me - 4-zip .... and it's only the first period (good grief, that's embarrassing) ....I shall turn off the TV and resume reading.
#100 > sisaruus - Weekends without obligations are my favorite!! I had 1/2 the weekend free this past weekend and was able to curl up Sunday for a few pleasurable hours and read. I loved it! We need more of those ....
#71 NovaLee - you're not the last one to read it. I started reading it and decided that it was beautifully written, but the author was dragging me through the muck and there wouldn't be enough pay off in the end. I think I'm one of the dozen people on the planet that hate that book.
... so now I'm reading Blindness. One chapter in, and I've been warned that I'll be dragged through the muck. Carolyn #52, I feel I've been warned! Love your review. So far though, I'm enjoying the book but also wondering why when nobel prize winners write science fiction, it is called something else.
Interesting the The Kite Runner and the movie/book question are both prominent on this thread, now. I say that because I, too, have not yet read that book. However, I have seen the movie, which I thought was excellent. So while the movie might not be as good as the book, I would have to say that the movie adaptation is quite successful.
Someone I know who's an incredibly avid reader said that the Kite Runner was one of THE best movie adaptations she's ever seen. I haven't seen the movie, but I've heard that it's excellent.
I see lots of movies. The Kite Runner was a good movie, but a long way away from the book. The World According to Garp was very true to the book. Book and movie were both excellent.
The best movie adapation that I have seen is The Reader by Bernard Schlink.
Happy 200th, Harriet Beecher Stowe, born on this day in 1811.
"I did not write it. God wrote it. I merely did his dictation." - Harriet Beecher Stowe, in the introduction to the 1879 edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin
#109 - mollygrace: This morning, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center (Hartford, CT) will begin a 24 hour reading of Uncle Tom's Cabin.
Just getting started on Lost Girls. The last book I read (Kill Your friends) had the most unpleasant priotagonist I've ever 'met' (which, believe it or not,was what made it such delicious reading - review eventually) and, coincidentally, this one seems to have another anti-hero who is jolly hard to like. It's actually rather refreshing in an odd way. Sadly a couple of new shinies also arrived this morning so I hope I'm not distracted by wanting to get at them.
#110 sisaruus - Thank you for the link. Growing up in the South, I was never encouraged to read Uncle Tom's Cabin -- after all, what could that Yankee woman know about slavery or slaveowners or how things had really been in the Old South? Then, during my first year of teaching American history, it occurred to me that I could not teach the unit on the events leading to Civil War unless I had read the book. So one Saturday morning I opened to the first page and began reading, thinking I'd at least get started on it. I finished it that night. I laughed, I cried, and, yes, I realized it was too sentimental and melodramatic -- but I also understood why it had the impact that it did -- and something about the significance of a woman influencing history through literature.
71 and 103 - add me to the list of Kite Runner haters! I didn't feel there was any adult resolution to the main character's behavior.
Almost through my first sci-fi ever - The Dispossessed Ursula K. LeGuin and am LOVING it! I can't believe I am enjoying a sci-fi. So glad I decided to try something I thought I would hate!
the first time I heard of that book was from a fifth grade teacher. She said that she read it aloud to her class every year, and that the kids loved it. She said it always lead to interesting discussions. I put it on my list of things to read, but didn't get it read until right before the movie came out. I think it was a good adaptation, but also think that visuals add, and sometimes detract, from a story. I have often wondered what those classroom discussions were like and if parents had any concerns about that book in the classroom.
I thought that same thing about the adaptations of The Lord of the Rings trilogy - the visuals were one idea of the books, and perhaps not the authors. They were good movies, but the books were so much richer. And I hated Vigo Mortenson. (In fact, I haven't seen a movie with him in it that I liked.) But that is personal opinion.
Uncle Tom's Cabin is one of my favorite books! Thanks for posting about Harriet Beecher Stowe's birthday! A great reminder of a great book.
I know it oozes and drips with sentimantality, that the hero, Tom, is too good to be true and the villian, Simon Legree is absolutely monstrous, Topsy is too comic, etc., etc., but it wouldn't have had such an impact if Stowe had held back.
When I read it for the first time, I began with the modern perspective of seeing Tom as weak, giving in to slavery, slave owners, and too accepting of his situation. While that is true, I found that it also turned out that his moral strength was incredible. How he never wavered...always relied on his faith and love and never let hate change him. He turned out, in the end, to be one of the strongest, most courageous characters I've ever encountered.
#98 - Coloradogirl14
#101 - jshepherd929
#115 - Benitastrnad
- I haven't seen the movie Coraline. I will likely give it a chance one day. Although I enjoyed the book, the movie isn't high on my priority list. I'm often disappointed in the movie version. That being said, I want to see The Bone Collector BECAUSE I really enjoyed that book. I know....I don't make any sense at all!
Wow. So very NOT my experience of Uncle Tom's Cabin. It affected me the way a gas bubble does a baby, causing screaming, shrill screeching, copious tears, and at the end a big ol' burp and all was forgotten. Until now, of course.
>119 Neverwithoutabook: You might be disappointed. It's not a great movie to begin with (noted this when I saw it before reading the book) and certainly doesn't get any better once one has read the source material and has a comparison. Just my opinion though.
#115> Lord of the Rings is an interesting example regarding the books to movies question, I think. As a huge fan of the books, I thought Jackson did a very good job with an essentially impossible task. I did not go into the theater for the first movie expecting the books and basically got what I was hoping for: a respectful and entertaining adaptation. I had one or two quibbles, foremost among them was the decision to turn Gimli into a vehicle for comic relief. That's really my only serious beef. I also didn't care much for the actor who played Elrond. Otherwise, though, I was happy overall. I thought Mortenson was quite good, in fact, fitting very well with my mental image of the character. But, certainly, that's a "to each his/her own" question.
Embassytown, China Mieville's latest, is fascinating and one of his best. If you have any tolerance of, or inclination toward, reading science fiction, this one will get your brain cells humming. It's particularly well-oriented for book- and language-loving LTers, as it centers on the Language of an alien species that allows them only to speak truth, and their fascination with, and attraction to, the human ability to lie.
Talking about it raises spoiler concerns, but there's lots to think about, including: colonialism, diplomacy and duplicity, addiction, creativity and truth, and how language shapes our thinking. It's an impressive outing from one of our top inventive writers.
I'm now a ways into Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather.
Finished The Collector - It became much, much more than a psychological kidnapping thriller, which I was very pleased about. And it was almost impossible NOT to sympathize somewhat with the kidnapper, which I thought was very intriguing.
Disappointed though I was in Stephen Prothero's Religious Literacy I am tempted by the promise of his God is Not One and have got a hundred pages into it. In it he picks eight religions that have power in the modern world and describes them with an eye to showing how they are not the same. I don't know yet how successful he is.
>123 bookwoman247: I'm on record all over this place as thinking Chuckles the Dick should be dug up, kicked around some, and then the flinders submerged in a vat of sulfuric acid, the vapors trapped in a vessel, and the vessel rocketed into the sun for disposal.
So no, not overly sentimental, on balanced consideration.
I've read and reviewed the excellent academic book Cahokia: Ancient America's Great City on the Mississippi. 3.75 stars!
You're such an unexpected curmudgeon about some things, Richard. Thank goodness you like Jane Austen.
Am about a quarter of the way through and trying to make sense of Slaughterhouse Five. And so it goes.
My two cents about Coraline...I highly recommend listening to the audio version, because Neil Gaiman reads it himself and he does a great job reading his own books (I have also listened to Neverwhere and The Graveyard Book).
I'm listening to Fool by Christopher Moore and reading my first Jack Reacher novel, Tripwire.
I've just read through the first part of The Rabbi's Cat. I'm thinking there are going to be quite a few converts to the graphic novel genre now that they're getting so meaningful. This is a beautiful book about, what else, a rabbi's cat who, annoyed by a continually squawking parrot eats it and so becomes enabled to talk. His first words are a lie. His mistress is the rabbi's daughter who loves him very much and whom he loves in return, but the rabbi refuses to allow him to associate with the daughter any more since the cat turns out to be such a liar. The cat decides that if he becomes a good Jew he can go back to his previous relationship with the daughter, so begins a quest to get Bar Mitzvahd. It's a commentary on Judaism, hypocrisy, and love in many forms.
#133...You know, the graphic novel phenomenon interests me, because I have tried to get into them and just can't seem to do it. Among others, I read Britten and Brulightly, which got great reviews and seemed very original. I liked the artwork, very moody and all, but I think there is some sort of chemistry that happens with graphic novels, for the people who enjoy them, that I don't get. Like the artwork and the story become more than the sum of their parts when you read them together. But for me, all I can ever think is, "Why aren't there more words?" and *sheepishly* "I paid X dollars for a book I finished in an hour?" I don't know, maybe I just need to keep trying.
Good point, AlaMich. I think the great pictures allow for fewer words making the ones chosen more important, almost poetically so. Maybe it's just not your time to enjoy them, or, try getting them from the library where you won't have the feeling you wasted money. However, I could never think of The Rabbi's Cat or Essential Dykes to Watch Out For as a waste of money.
It's funny you mention Britten and Brulightly because I'm becoming a fan of graphic novels but I couldn't get into that one at all. It just didn't grab me even though it seemed like one I would enjoy. As you said, the artwork was dark and eerie and the reviews were very good. Yet I put it down almost immediately.
If you want to give it another whirl you might try Fun Home or the truly amazing Maus by Art Speigelman. It was Maus that really opened my eyes to how powerful a graphic novel could be. That made me keep my eyes open for others, like Fun Home that I might have otherwise passed on.
#135 & #136...I actually enjoy Alison Bechdel a lot. I used to read her strip all the time online. I did recently try Fun Home; I read about halfway and then found myself skimming. It wasn't that I didn't find her story interesting, it was more like I got distracted...or something. I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it's just something about the way my brain works; it can't cope with pictures and text at the same time :-). Which annoys me, because I'm always reading about graphic novel versions of other media that sound interesting, but I figure I shouldn't bother.
I know! Isn't it crazy suspenseful and good? My husband stood in the doorway while I was reading it and said my name a few times and I didn't even notice. It was a very engrossing novel. I'm going to have to read her others.
AlaMich, maybe you're exactly right. We're finding out more daily about how the brain works. Maybe yours doesn't comfortably process words and pictures at the same time. Good thing we don't still use hieroglyphics.
@133 The Rabbi's Cat sounds wonderful. I'll have to look for that one.
As for the Lord of the Rings movies, I usually hate any movie adaptation, but that one... I have a friend who is a big Tolkein fan, and when she saw the movie trailer, before they even got to identifying the movie, she said "I know those people." They were exactly the characters she saw. They fit my image pretty well too, except Frodo. I imagined Frodo as a much more rugged hobbit. I also didn't like the liberties they took with Eowynn, so I didn't much care for the third movie.
I am really savouring Suite Francoise, such magical writing. I have just finished chapter 20 about Albert the cat, being a cat lover I really enjoyed it.
Graphic Novel peeps ~ Know too, that most libraries do now carry a vast selection of graphic novels. So you don't have to spend the high price if you don't get into it.
I am in a lull and cannot seem to find something to get into. But I'm about to start In the Company of a Courtesan by Sarah Dunant, one of my guiltly pleasure sorta "light historical fiction" (?) escapism authors. It is the ONLY book, I am aware of, that both of my parents read and loved. They read totally different stuff.
I finished The Congressman Who Loved Flaubert, Ward Just's collection of novellas and short stories -- several I will be thinking about for a long time. And I read Alexannder McCall Smith's The Double Comfort Safari Club which was a delight. Stephen Crane's Maggie: A Girl of the Streets is a powerful reminder of the amazing talent and courage of its author, who died so young (at 28).
Right now I'm rereading David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet for the Group Read.
Next up: The Christmas Tree by Jennifer Johnston and In the Freud Archives by Janet Malcolm
Thanks 123AlaMich! we are all enablers at heart aren't we? lol. I just loaded Coraline to my MP3 player! That will be next on my TBL list. =:>)
My two cents about Coraline...I highly recommend listening to the audio version, because Neil Gaiman reads it himself and he does a great job reading his own books (I have also listened to Neverwhere and The Graveyard Book).
#148 sebago...If you enjoy it, and especially if you enjoy listening to Neil Gaiman reading it, I really recommend Neverwhere. I loved that book! I listened at night before I went to bed and couldn't wait every day til it was time. Okay, that makes me sound more than a little pathetic, but there were definitely days where listening to Neil was the highlight.
#145 carolyn...Yes, I keep thinking I should investigate what the library has. But for some reason, I've always been under the impression their collection was mostly manga, which I have no interest in. I suppose asking an actual librarian what they have couldn't hurt ;-).
cammykitty, I felt the same way after reading Blindness. The film is pretty darn good as well, IMO.
I just finished listening to The Game of Silence by Louise Erdrich....something about it was edifying and soothing, while also good hystorical fiction. Maybe being stuck in bed with a respiratory virus affected my opinion.....so reader beware.....
I read Rabbi's Cat several years ago and thought it was good but like others here I am not a fan of the graphic novel. It just doesn't grab me the way the written word does. It has been interesting to see the way that the graphic novel has morphed in the last five years. Especially graphic novels for adults. Folks tell me that there is some terrific stuff out there in that format, but it just doesn't interest me.
Yes, welcome Oldholdings.
On the whole graphic novel thing, I haven't read many, but find it's a different way of "reading." I'm not used to gathering information from the pictures, and if you've got a complicated graphic novel, you better read the pictures. When I read The Watchmen which is great btw, I had to start it over again because I wasn't paying enough attention to the pictures and had gotten hopelessly confused.
#162 cammy...I think that's part of it, for me, that I don't really pay attention to the pictures. I guess somehow they don't interest me as much as the text. If I work myself up to give graphic novels a try again, I think I'd start with The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman. I really like his work and I know The Sandman has gotten excellent reviews.
Finally finished Cross Creek by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, which is about living on an orange grove in Central Florida in the 1930's. Parts of it were probably racist and Rawlings had a little too much of the "lady of the manor" attitude, but parts of it were wonderful. Whenever I read something like this, I want to move off to a farm somewhere and keep cows and pigs and grow native plants and have a market garden, all of which I would be awful at. It wouldn't, however, be in central Florida. Next up, I'm reading The Normal Christian life and Ragtime
#164 Bjace -- There's a 1983 movie version of Cross Creek, directed by Martin Ritt. I'm not sure how true to the book it is, but I thought enough of it to see it several times. Mary Steenburgen plays Marjorie. I believe Rawlings' husband, Norton Baskin, played by Peter Coyote in the movie, actually had a bit part in the film. Alfre Woodard, Rip Torn, Dana Hill, Joanna Miles, and Malcolm McDowell (who plays legendary literary editor Maxwell Perkins and who was married to Steenburgen at the time) all appeared in the movie. It's a beautiful film, and the story of the family that was the inspiration for the Rawlings classic The Yearling is haunting.
I finished Gaudy Night which stayed my least favorite Dorothy Sayers so far. I also finished Swamplandia! which I loved - a good story in a very strange environment. Next up is a gentle reading of the book I'm giving my sister for her birthday, Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton. I'm thinking my appetite is once again going to be thrust into overdrive.
About halfway though The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart.
Still enjoying Lost Girls immensely but have also picked up the newly arrived Spoilt Rotten: the Toxic Cult of Sentimentality which looks like the kind of book that will have me muttering agreement all the way through.
ETA - And it said it had 'touchstoned' when I first posted this. Just in case, it's by Theodore Dalrymple (what a name to be landed with!)
I can't seem to focus on any of the books I start right now. I've started and stopped 2, but I think I finally hit on one. The Uncommon Reader is very enjoyable so far.
#165,Mollygrace, I knew about the movie but had never seen it and didn't know anyone that had. I may look it up because I actually am not sure just how you would have gotten a story line out of the book I read. It was rather nebulous about some of the personal details of her life.
One of the things I love most about LT is the way it keeps reminding me of books I've loved in the past. Middlemarch, The Collector, The Kite Runner and Ragtime are all on my 'most loved' list. I've read them all many times and will no doubt read them again but every time I see on here that someone else is reading them too I get a little rush of pleasure. Even more so when I see they've claimed yet another fan.
#172 Bjace -- I vaguely remember that one of the criticisms of the movie was that the screenwriter had to take too many liberties with the actual story -- the tale of the Yearling family for instance and the young family that inspired the short story Jacob's Ladder -- but then, like many writers, Rawlings herself took inspiration from many situations and people and the end product often had little connection with the truth, so perhaps the screenwriter did the same. In fact, Rawlings was sued by a friend who claimed she had misrepresented her in the book Cross Creek -- the lawsuit and the bad feelings that resulted caused Rawlings to move out of the area, I believe. Soon after seeing the movie I bought a copy of the book, but I've never read it -- I suppose because I fear it would spoil my good feelings about the movie. This is why I usually stay away from film versions of books I love -- but in this case, I happened to see the movie first.
I am reading a couple of so-so books. Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach is a melodramatic love story as opposed to the interesting historical fiction I thought it was going to be. Jeremy and Amy: The Extraordinary Story of One Man and His Orang-utan is an ok read but I am still waiting for the "extraordinary".
So, I finished Dom Casmurro by Machado de Assis. I will be starting to read Light in August by William Faulkner and I have also begun listening to Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton.
Side note: I stopped listening to Humboldt's gift because it is so dense and rich that I want to hold the book in my hands while I read it. Will wait for a BookMooch copy so I can savor it as it should be savored!
After my disappointment with the last Dorothy Sayers I decided to take a break from LPW audiobooks and listen to what I thought would be an interesting great depression mystery, The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree by Susan Wittig Albert. Couldn't make it through the first CD, maybe it gets better later. Anyway, I'm back to LPW with Unnatural Death.
# 176 DeltaQueen, I was lucky enough to listen to Tulip Fever the reader put magic into the novel for me, she was wonderful. I take note as you said it was more of a love story, however I did find the history of the tulip quite fascinating.
I really enjoyed The Uncommon Reader. I thought it was a solid, funny, quick read. I just hate it when I can't get settled with a book. Literally, I'm physically uncomfortable without a book going. Ugh.
I love Middlemarch but it is one of the biggest chunksters I've tackled. I read it for a while and then I switch to lighter fare Sister by Rosamund Lupton. Eliot has so many amazing thoughts and concepts that it just didn't seem right to keep pushing when some of these things need pondering.
>173 Booksloth: Booksloth
It is actually thanks to you - speaking of the wonderfulness of LT - that I picked up Middlemarch. You mentioned that it was one of the best books ever written on another thread. I know we have some books in common so how could I not give Middlemarch a try? Especially with that kind of recommendation!
And I DO love it.
I am reading The Stand by Stephen King and The Dead Town by Dean Koontz. Very interesting reading those two at the same time.
>171 Ape:, 189 - That was me the last day or two - I wandered around the house, gathering books off the shelves, piling them up around me, checking the library basket, reading a few pages here and there... Annoying.
I finally settled on Sarah Vowell's Unfamiliar Fishes. It had been one of the books I started and stopped a couple of months ago. This is a better time and I'm enjoying it now.
Blindness. Sigh. You won't hear anything enlightening about it from me today. My ER book arrived today, Miss Peregrine's home for Peculiar Children and I picked up Blindness instead. I got a bit past page 77 and said to myself, I believe in fear leading to human cruelty, but this is compromising my ability to suspend disbelief. For example, in the beginning of an epidemic a wealthy government such as this one would send in a round of antibiotics. I'm not saying horrors wouldn't happen. I'm just saying there would be a little more of an attempt to appear humane. If not, just zap them all to death right away and spare us the next 200 pages. Of course, I stopped at a little over 77, so I can't state this with as much conviction as Carolyn's "Lots of poo."
So, I'll soon be starting my ER book and hopefully my ability to suspend disbelief will be up to the challenge.
Dear Never - a holiday won't help. I retired a year ago hoping for the same thing. I finally realized, after some counting and a little math, that I can't possibly live long enough to read all of the books I have, and of course I keep buying more and going to the library! Sure is fun tho!
P.S. Love Deaver - bought another one of his today.
# 187 - mkboylan - I know. That's the sad thing. More time to read = more books to read! I'm loving Deaver as well. I just have to keep inserting another book in between so I don't burn out on his, and also fit in some of all those other ones I've been dying to read! Once I'm caught up on the Lincoln Rhyme series, I plan to get into his other books and series as well.
That being said, I've just picked up Island in the Sky by Ernest K. Gann and since it's such a thin book, I'm going to take it on tonight. All 173 pages! LOL
# Never and mkboylan- I belong to your club, I just hope my eyes hold out in my twilight years, if not I can always progress to audio books. In the meantime I cannot help myself when it comes to buying bargain books, oh what joy!! Yesterday I scored another two!!
I have read quite few of Jeffrey Deaver the one I liked best was A Maiden's Grave, this was before he started into walking the grid etc another was The Bone Collector.
#182 Then I'm even happier that you're enjoying it! It's a wonderful thing about LT that you can really get to know other people's tastes here and use them for recommendations. There are so many people here whose opinion I know I can trust even though I've never met them.
In the middle of Very Bad Men an ER book by Harry Dolan who quickly became one of my favorite authors.
I keep telling myself I'm going to reread The Age of Innocence, but so far I'm not listening. I'm very glad I decided to pre read my sister's birthday present Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton. I may have to give it to her with a disclaimer. Hamilton lead a pretty rough life and there's some swearing involved. I hope it won't make my sister cringe. And speaking of cringing, I've started Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead by Barbara Comyns which was banned in Ireland for being unpleasant. Referring to our earlier discussion of Angela's Ashes, it seems one should have been able to handle some pretty unpleasant concepts in Ireland.
#190> hazeljune - Oh, I agree ....nothing more fun than browsing/buying bargain books. :) I cannot walk past a used book sale without taking a peek. My pile(s) of books get higher and higher and some might say it's getting out of hand ....but there is ALWAYS room for one more bargain book. I keep telling myself that once I read them, I'll give them away....but then they become like friends and it's too hard to part with them.
#195 Citizenjoyce, Ireland are quite famous at banning books it seems. I love the writings of Edna O'Brien, lots of her books have been banned, also another Irish writer is Jennifer Johnston, in one of her books she states that"you are not famous until your books are banned in Ireland"!!
I also have a copy of The Age Of Innocence just waiting TBR, the cover is just so corny (mills and booney) it has put me off a little.
"Même le silence a une fin" (but in Italian) by Ingrid Betancourt.
In this book she describe us how she spent her six years of imprisonment in the Amazonic jungle, all she suffered during that long time of detention and also her inner growth with wich she succeeded in surviving without either growing mad or becoming a petty person.
I started the audio of My Lucky Life and it's been a sheer delight. It's read by Mr. Van Dyke himself and it feels like he's walking beside me, sharing his past. Wonderful.
Also enjoying The Thousand Autumns for the Group Read. It's my 2nd Mitchell and he is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.
199 hazeljune - Irish writers -- We must mention Sebastian Barry -- Annie Dunne and A Long, Long Way, and more, but for me, those two particularly. I've never seen his plays, but I'd love to.
Quote from Colum McCann: "I decided to write the great Irish novel but couldn’t. I wasn’t messed-up enough."
In this interview he talks about his novel, Let the Great World Spin.
So Ireland's idea behind banning "unpleasant" books was the same as the that presented in Turn it Off from the musical The Book of Mormon: if there's something bad in your life, just don't think about it and life will be fine.
#203 Don't forget Ireland is still a mostly Catholic country so I think it's more a case or 'if there's something bad in your life confess it and life will be fine'.
Sorry I'm a bit late, but I've been on holiday. I finished Superstitions of the Countryside by Edwin Radford and others. Strange to think that people used to be so God-fearing and yet so credulous.
I also raced through Now by Morris Gleitzman and Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Good books both, although I found the heroine in the former a little irritating. We discuss OMAM at the reading group this Wednesday.
Am close to the end of Borrowed Time, Roy Hattersley's absorbing account of life in Britain between the wars.
I know we're on a new week, but I want to add my comments on Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.
The picture it paints of society and manners of Old New York, was lovely. But i found the characters frustrating and I'm not sure I got the point of the story. It started off stating some strong feminist views, mainly that women should be allowed to behave the same way as men without society censuring them. As a particular example, women should be allowed to leave/divorce unworthy, brutish husbands. But then the two main characters did not behave the way I thought they would, based on their speeches and thoughts. This was frustrating. Overall, i was disappointed.
Would be interested to hear differing opinions.... This was a book club read for me and we all had different views.
'the kite runner'
tell me about it. i have had this book on my to read pile since the week it was published.
#207> "But then the two main characters did not behave the way I thought they would, based on their speeches and thoughts. This was frustrating."
Welcome to real life!
For me, the best novels are those that reflect the way people really act, in all their frustrating, hypocritical, wonderful, horrible, puzzling, delightful colors. Or, as Conrad refers to it in Under Western Eyes, "Man's miserable ingenuity for error."
My two cents, only. I read Age of Innocence in grad school and loved it. Henry James, however . . . . that was another kettle of fish for me entirely.
I finished The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna and just loved it. I will put up a review shortly then go through the TBR stacks and shelves and such and see what I come up with next!
Man's miserable ingenuity for error. Alas, alas. If only I were as good as my intentions.
Just started Front Storm by Jim Butcher. I have heard a lot about the Dresden Files but I had never read it. Has anyone else read it?
I saw the Dresden Files TV show, and still can't figure out why it was cancelled, but I didn't read any of the books.
#215 So I take it that you liked it. I have never seen the shows but the book is pretty good.
Oh, yea, the TV show was great. Since books are almost always better then their visual representations, I'll bet the writing is pretty darn good.
I loved the series ~ especially Proven Guilty and White Night ~ until I got to Small Favor; not sure why, but I just couldn't get into it and put it aside half finished. Possibly a mood thing. Iplan to get back to it at some point.
#217-#218 Since I just started reading them I can't say to much but what I have read so far, of the 1st book, I am loving it!
Glad to hear it, Tabitha! And the series only gets better, at least through White Night.
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