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What are reading the week of December 17, 2011?

What Are You Reading Now?

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Dec 17, 2011, 2:53pm Top

December 17:

John Greenleaf Whittier
Jules de Goncourt
Ford Maddox Ford
Ezekiel Mphahlele
Jack Chalker

December 18:

Hector Hugh Munro aka Saki
Christopher Fry
Alfred Bester
Ossie Davis
Sterling Lanier
Michael Moorcock

December 19:

Su Tung Po
Italo Svevo
Oliver Lafarge
Jean Genet
Eve Bunting

December 20:

T F Powys
Hortense Calisher

December 21:

Benjamin Disraeli
Gustave Kahn
Albert P Terhune
Rebecca West
Anthony Powell
Heinrich Boll

December 22:

Edwin Arlington Robinson
Charles Stuart Calverley
Kenneth Rexroth

December 23

Martin Opitz
Charles-Augustin de Sainte-Beuve
Samuel Smiles
Harriet Monroe
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
Robert Bly


Dec 17, 2011, 2:59pm Top

I found that I couldn't actually read it, but I can focus on it -- The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World. The book has long paragraphs with word lists incorporated into sentences bearing lots of parentheses and lots of brackets. I get something out of it, but not a reading.


Dec 17, 2011, 3:07pm Top

Finished Galahad at Blandings, am now working on Who made God? by Ravi Zacarias.

Dec 17, 2011, 3:10pm Top

Robert, thank you for the great start!

I've just started South Riding by Winifred Holtby. Good stuff, so far!

Edited: Dec 17, 2011, 3:12pm Top

Sometime last week I finished Lebensbilder. It is a collection of shortstories out of the 50s and it is all about christian values and lifestyle, beliefing and god and the bible. it is really good, also for non-christians (I am not christian, I know what I talk about ;) ) because it deals with a lot of things of daily life that seem to be forgotten but are actually worth remembering.

Otherwise still reading Sofie's World.

Dec 17, 2011, 3:18pm Top

I'm reading The Professor by Charlotte Bronte. It is pretty short, so after that I'm going to re-read Vilette.

Dec 17, 2011, 4:41pm Top

Thanks for starting the thread, Robert.

I finished my ER book, The Meerkat Wars, and am now contemplating what book to start...shall I pick up Killashandra again, so that I can read the sequel, Crystal Line with a refreshed memory of the story line?

Or should I pick up something I've not read before, like The Spy Who Came In From the Cold?

Decisions, decisions...

Dec 17, 2011, 5:38pm Top

My current book - when I find time to read - is Charles Finch's A Burial at Sea, book five in his Victorian Charles Lennox detective series.

Dec 17, 2011, 5:41pm Top

>4 bookwoman247: Bookwoman247---you're in for a treat. I read South Riding earlier this year and loved it. You can follow it up with the Masterpiece Theater production which was pretty true to the book, although Sarah Burton was an older woman in the book than the movie actress.

Dec 17, 2011, 6:03pm Top

I was surprised and delighted that a spanking new copy of P.D. James' Death Comes to Pemberley awaited me at the library.
Pouring myself some eggnog and settling down for what I expect to be a thumping good read.

Dec 17, 2011, 7:16pm Top

I'm reading a LTER Improbable Patriot which is a really enjoyable account of Beaumarchais and France in the latter half of the 1700's. My husband is reading Catherine the Great. They make a good pair, comparing accounts of royal excess and intrigue.

Edited: Dec 17, 2011, 8:37pm Top

I finished Michael Holroyd's A Book of Secrets -- an interesting book which introduced me to a collection of characters I'd certainly not have known of otherwise: novelist Violet Trefusis (one-time lover of Vita Sackville-West) and illegitimate daughter of Ernest Beckett; Ernest Beckett, British politician, banker, lord, lover of the ladies, and wealthy owner of a famous estate in Italy; Eve Fairfax, one-time fiancee of Becket, muse of Rodin, the model for several sculptures produced by the master; Alice Keppel, mother of Violet, lover of Ernest, lover of Edward VII, great-grandmother of another famous lover of a future king . . . really, it was hard to keep all these relationships straight. But it was fascinating to read about them and so many other people who are connected to them in various ways, including of course some members of the Bloomsbury set. The book's sub-title is Illegitimate Daughters, Absent Fathers and one of the most touching parts of the book involves a woman, Catherine Till, who has been searching for much of her life for confirmation of the identity of her birth father, who may or may not have been another of Ernest Beckett's children by one of his lovers. In any case, the book has me interested in Trefusis and her novels, some of which have never been translated into English (the English not thinking very kindly of a woman who tried to wreck Sackville-West's marriage). Many of these people were quite wealthy and extremely selfish and careless in their personal relationships -- I sometimes grew weary of their inability to see life except as it affected them. But the maze of connections and the trail Holroyd -- and Catherine Till and others -- follow to try to recover information, some of which may no longer exist, made this quite an interesting journey.

Next up: The Girl in the Blue Beret by Bobbie Ann Mason

Dec 17, 2011, 9:25pm Top

At my RL book club Friday I was the only member who didn't like The Art of Racing in the Rain. That amazes me. My daughter and I traded in our old
Clunky Nooks today and got brand new Nook tablets. I do believe I'm in love. My initial flight will be with The Crystal Singer in remembrance of Anne McCaffrey.

Dec 17, 2011, 10:57pm Top

Oh, enjoy your new Nook tablet, Citizenjoyce.

I am reading Mr Darcy's Daughters by Elizabeth Aston, which I am enjoying more that I thought I would. I have both An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor and an ER book, The Whisperer by Donato Carrisi waiting in the wings.

Edited: Dec 18, 2011, 12:02am Top

I finally finished A Dance with Dragons (it only took me almost four months and probably gave me permanent neck damage; that sucker weighs about five pounds)!
Today I brought home from the library The Devil of Nanking (touchstone not working), Money Shot by Christa Faust, and Fatal Flaw by William Lashner, whose previous two books I really enjoyed. Also The Black Tower by Louis Bayard. Think I'm going to start with Money Shot; a little noir would make for a nice change from A Song of Ice and Fire.

Dec 18, 2011, 12:59am Top

It's taken me 25 years to get around to it, but I've just started Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty and I'm already hooked.

Dec 18, 2011, 3:49am Top

I've finished City of Bones by Martha Wells and am on to the second in this trilogy, City of Ashes. I'm hoping to finish them up before next weekend.

Dec 18, 2011, 6:04am Top

#4/9 So pleasing to hear of more fans of South Riding. I first read it about 40 years ago but was probably too young to appreciate it. This year I picked it up again and fell in love with it. It's kicked off a major interest in the much-neglected female writers of the 1930s for me and I'm currently wallowing in Summer Will Show by Sylvis Townsend Warner.

Dec 18, 2011, 6:26am Top

I'm reading my first Lovecraft, a collection of short stories. Pretty good stuff.

Dec 18, 2011, 7:09am Top

I have just finished reading the novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by author Stephen King .

Dec 18, 2011, 7:45am Top

Dec 18, 2011, 8:08am Top

Thanks for kicking us off, Robert! Good job!

Finished the wonderful Sea of Poppies and since I've been gushing over it for over 10 days, it should be no big surprise. I cannot wait to read River of Smoke, the next book in the trilogy!
I listened to and finished the audio of A Christmas Carol, which was also fantastic. My version was read by Frank Muller, who did a stellar job.
Next up, is Zone One by Colson Whitehead. Back to zombie land!

Dec 18, 2011, 12:17pm Top

Dec 18, 2011, 12:42pm Top

#7 fuzzi - In my opinion, if you are faced with a choice between The Spy Who Came in From the Cold and anything else (unless "anything else" = one of the Smiley books), I'd say read The Spy Who Came In From the Cold. It's so good.

Dec 18, 2011, 12:56pm Top

Thanks, Robert.

I enjoyed The Violets of March by Sarah Jio, although it was a bit romantic for a curmudgeon like me. Next I think will be the new Stephanie Plum.

Dec 18, 2011, 1:19pm Top

Finishing up The Testament, then on to ER book A Good American. :) Hope all had a good weekend!

Dec 18, 2011, 1:38pm Top

I finished my poring over the vocabulary and implications of it of proto-indo-european and started How to Live by Sarah Bakewell. I know that plenty of people have found Montaigne to be most eminently readable, but not I. So this is a little Montaigne-lite.


Dec 18, 2011, 5:09pm Top

Well I'm not a fan of Stephen King, but after being prodded to read his new book, 11/22/63, by a friend, I dove into it. Just finished it and it was quite a ride. I literally loved it, and was heartbroken when it ended. Someone said " if you only read one western in your life, read Lonesome Dove" so that's where I'm headed next.

Dec 18, 2011, 5:18pm Top

I'm about 200 pages away from finishing The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I love this book because each time I pick it up I'm immediately engrossed in the story.

Dec 18, 2011, 7:27pm Top

I've never talked to anyone who regrets reading Lonsome Dove. It's a great book.

Dec 18, 2011, 9:52pm Top

Take it from this usually-don't-care-for-Westerns person, I LOVED Lonesome Dove! I came to it late in the game, never saw the television movies or anything either. Just loved it.

I finished A Small Furry Prayer by Steven Kotler and put up my review. I am thinking of writing to the man about that goof-ball title. I have tried to recommend it to a few people and already, they go, nah, I'm not into the religious thing. I wonder if that was an editor's requirement because while there is some talk of afterlife and beliefs and such, it's a very small part of the book and it's not at all religious in nature (very scientific, in fact). Ah well.

I am now about 40 pages into A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin and wow, what a discovery. I am loving it. I just picked it up at a library used book sale a couple weeks ago for a dollar.

Dec 18, 2011, 9:54pm Top

Carolyn, I have heard great things about A Soldier of the Great War. Guess I will have to bump it up the TBR list.

Dec 19, 2011, 1:50am Top

I finished and really liked a Lovecraft story collection, introducing me to Cthulhu and his buddies.
My next read is Great Expectations. I have never read anything by Dickens, and I want to read this before the new mini-series comes on BBC this Christmas.

Dec 19, 2011, 2:43am Top

31 CarolynSchroeder

I agree with what you said about the title of A Small Furry Prayer. I mentioned in my review as well how contradictory it seemed to the story.

Dec 19, 2011, 8:55am Top

Finished Night Circus and thoroughly enjoyed it. Just about to start listening to The Portrait by Iain Pears, and I continue reading the marvelous Sea of Poppies.

Dec 19, 2011, 10:00am Top

#33, divinenanny, I really enjoyed Great Expectations this summer. It's a great story.

Dec 19, 2011, 10:58am Top

Started Divergent by Veronica Roth last night and finished it this morning.

Edited: Dec 20, 2011, 7:44am Top

Well, just finished the wonderful Sea of Poppies which has left me very much looking forward to the next installment of the trilogy, River of Smoke. I will start reading Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa next.

Dec 19, 2011, 8:02pm Top

(16) browner56, that's a good one. Have you seen the miniseries with Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones?

Dec 19, 2011, 8:03pm Top

(24) jfetting, I will start it probably later this week. Thanks for the recommendation. :)

Dec 19, 2011, 8:09pm Top

Edited: Dec 19, 2011, 9:34pm Top

I am enjoying River, Cross My Heart by Breena Clarke.

Dec 19, 2011, 9:34pm Top

Thanks, Mr Durick. Still Reading Night Circus, what a great read. Will be posting review on My ER book this week.

Dec 19, 2011, 10:54pm Top

>39 fuzzi: Fuzzi: I did see the mini-series years ago, but I'm putting it off watching it again until after I've finished the book (which is wonderfully satisfying so far). As it is, I picture Robert Duvall everytime Gus says something.

Dec 20, 2011, 5:41am Top

#33 I think you've picked a goodie to start with - I love (most) Dickens and Great Expectations is far and away my favourite. The secret is to let yourself get lost in the story and the wonderful characters and take your time over it - try not to rush it so that you can watch a dramatisation, you can always record that and watch it later.

#35/38 It really does look as if I need to bump Sea of Poppies up Mount TBR. I've no idea why I've let it sit there so long and now there'll soon be books from Santa to read once I've finished the amazing Summer Will Show but SOP sounds like a must for early next year.

Dec 20, 2011, 1:26pm Top

I had to give up on South Riding by Winifred Holtby for now, through no fault of the book.

I've moved on to Peregrinations of a Pariah by Flora Tristan, which seems to be going well at the moment.

Dec 20, 2011, 4:38pm Top

I have some plane travelling to-day so I have slipped into my bag The Thurber Carnival I hope that I am able to control my laughter!!

Dec 20, 2011, 4:56pm Top

I'm almost finished City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare and it's holding it's own against the first in this young adult series. Very well written! Next up will be the third...City of Glass.

Dec 21, 2011, 1:25am Top

I finished and reviewed Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog by Ted Kerasote. A very good, and very macho, account of dogs in general and this particular man and his dog. Now as a counterpoint, I'm about to begin Caroline Knapp's - Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs. I'm sure two things they'll have in common is the need for exercise and disdain for the idea of the dog owner's need to assert her/him self as alpha. I'm also about to start listening to Making Rounds With Oscar about a nursing home cat who seems to be able to ascertain which people are about to die.

Dec 21, 2011, 7:27am Top

(49) I've heard of that cat, Citizenjoyce, it's a true story.

Dec 21, 2011, 1:49pm Top

I have started The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Philosophy; some of its humor seems a little juvenile. I have The Psychology of the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo on order. This may be overkill for an entertainment, but I was so enthralled by The Millennium Trilogy that I'd like to spend more time around it.


Dec 21, 2011, 5:57pm Top

I just finished the LTER, Improbable Patriot. This is an astonishing ribald tale of a French character. His genius, cunning, and indefatigable energy and good will repeatedly bumped up against the French king and nobility. He lost everything many times but came back with perseverance. It's an excellent story well told. America owes much to him, at least as much as it owes Lafayette, but has never given him his due. Maybe this biography will help in some small way.

Dec 21, 2011, 6:05pm Top

Explosive Eighteen was entertaining and good fun. Many laugh out loud moments. Some grow weary of the schtick, but I'm not one of them. She continues to riff on her core cast and basic story elements in clever and hilarious ways.

Dec 21, 2011, 7:41pm Top

I've started Crooked House by Agatha Christie. Her books are always so satisfying!

Dec 21, 2011, 7:55pm Top

Earlier this week I finished the latest Three Pines installment, A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny. It's been fun always to have one to look forward to, so I have mixed feelings about catching up with Ms. Penny. This week I am finally making headway through Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff. About time, too, as I've now renewed it twice. It's our book club's January book. No read aloud going at the moment -- no time :(

Dec 21, 2011, 11:07pm Top

I finished and reviewed an LTER book, The Puppy Diaries: Raising a Puppy Named Scout by Jill Abramson. It's not an especially compelling story but I found that I appreciated it for what it wasn't. No drama, no trauma, no death, just the story of a couple and their pup. A quick and easy read for dog lovers.

I'm currently reading Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit and am becoming increasingly disturbed.

And for fun, I've started From Doon With Death by Ruth Rendell.

Dec 22, 2011, 10:39am Top

I just started Nancy Bilyeau's new historical thriller The Crown last night when I couldn't sleep. It doesn't have the most historical feel, but it is very engaging and I can't wait to get back to it.

Dec 22, 2011, 11:01am Top

Yesterday finished The Big Four, by Agatha Christie, which was probably the zaniest one I've read. I've started Dead Lagoon, by Michael Dibdin, but much to my dismay I'm not really engaging with it. Perhaps it's because it's only three days until Christmas and I've got too many other things on the brain.

Dec 22, 2011, 11:25am Top

I am halfway through The Portrait by Iain Pears and I have to say it is unusual. Imagine the scene. A painter painting a portrait, and so far the entire book is comprised of the monologue of the painter speaking to the man sitting for the portrait.

Dec 22, 2011, 1:02pm Top

I completed my mission and finished the Tales of the City series last night and started Tuesdays with Morrie Albom

Dec 22, 2011, 2:19pm Top

I'm almost finished listening to Making Rounds With Oscar. There's nothing like making popcorn balls and listening to a book about death to put one in the holiday spirit. Cdyankeefan, sounds like you're going to join me in the ambiance.

Dec 22, 2011, 4:37pm Top

I'm wrapping presents and baking cookies and singing Christmas songs and trying to keep the house clean, and once in awhile I stop to read a chapter of Bobbie Ann Mason's The Girl in the Blue Beret. There are 60 chapters so I may have it finished by Christmas . . . or not.

Dec 22, 2011, 4:48pm Top

I finished Austerity Britain, with some relief. It's a good book, but as exhausting as it is exhaustive, and I think I'll read something slimmer from my non-fiction shelf before tackling Family Britain, the follow-up.

Am about halfway through The Time Traveler's Wife which is wonderful, and am up to 1973 in The Kenneth Williams Diaries.

Dec 22, 2011, 7:21pm Top

Almost finished with Doc and don't want it to end it is so good.

Dec 22, 2011, 7:24pm Top

I finished and reviewed Helen Humphreys' heartbreaking WWII novel Coventry. Now I'm reading All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West.

Dec 22, 2011, 7:34pm Top

I finished and reviewed Making Rounds With Oscar and read some of the reviews. A few people complain that it such a "downer". I think the average reader, including myself, thought it would be more of a cat book than the medical book that it is. There's some interesting information about dementia, tests for it, care of the people who have it and their families, end of life care. It's not really a downer, but it's sure not your usual animal lovers book. Now I'll start olistening to World and Town.

Dec 22, 2011, 9:48pm Top

I'm nearly finished with Zone One. It's been a good read. I started the audio of Shelter. It's Harlan Coben's 1st foray into YA land and it's light & fun.

Mary- Glad you are enjoying Doc. What a great book! It will be high on my Best of the Year List. I heard she is writing the sequel! Yah!

Dec 23, 2011, 12:46am Top

I started The Spy Who Came In From The Cold this evening.

Dec 23, 2011, 1:47am Top

Mark ~ Doc's destined to be my last 5-star book this year, I think. I got down to the last 5 pages tonight before I stopped reading it because, as I said, I don't want it to end. (Same thing happened when I read Lonesome Dove, by the way.) So hoping she writes a sequel to it.

Amazing how a sickly little guy like that can seem so heroic, even while exposing the outsized legends as just so much hyperbole.

Dec 23, 2011, 2:37am Top

67 and 69 - msf59 and Storeetllr -- John Henry Holliday is more of a hero to me now, after reading Doc, than he ever was before -- back in his dime novel, TV and film incarnations.

Dec 23, 2011, 5:38am Top

I just started Wagons West Nebraska by Dana Fuller Ross.

Dec 23, 2011, 6:45am Top

Finished The Lincoln Lawyer on audio. Almost done wit The Trouble with Islam Today. Started The Twelve Caesars on audio.

Dec 23, 2011, 8:45am Top

#45, Booksloth, I didn't rush it, but I finished Great Expectations. When I had reached Volume III, I couldn't put it down, I had to know what was coming next. It was already 00:30, but I kept saying to myself, "just one more chapter". And then it was done. Wonderful book.
This morning I read The Stealers of Dreams in one go, to get a Doctor Who fix.

Dec 23, 2011, 11:14am Top

@68: fuzzi, enjoy! The movie version is pretty good too.

Speaking of John le Carré, if I have time in between Christmas prep chores I plan to start The Honourable Schoolboy.

Dec 23, 2011, 11:19am Top

#73 So pleased you enjoyed it! I know Dickens isn't everyone's cup of tea but if he does grab you then he grabs you hard!

Dec 23, 2011, 11:26am Top

#73,divinenanny, I had the same experience with GE last year.

Am reading Celebrated cases of Judge Dee, translations of the chinese detective stories that Robert van Gulik based his detective series on.

Dec 23, 2011, 2:12pm Top

I visited the local used bookstore this week, and came away with a pile of books. So far I've read Empire by Orson Scott Card, Big Trouble by Dave Barry, and I'm now trying to decide between Isabella Moon by Laura Benedict and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.

Dec 23, 2011, 2:38pm Top

I've started The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. It's a hoot!

Dec 23, 2011, 3:08pm Top

78 -- Oh, bookwoman247, I loved using The Westing Game with my middle school reading students. I came across a copy of that book recently and it brought back so many memories . . . time to read it again -- also Johnny Tremain, A Wrinkle in Time, A Gathering of Days, and, oh, so many more. Enjoy Raskin's book -- it's a treasure.

Dec 23, 2011, 5:06pm Top

Just finished The Trouble with Islam Today. Not sure what I will pick up now. . .

Dec 23, 2011, 7:25pm Top

I'm working on the last in "The Immortal Instruments" series, City of Glass by Cassandra Clare. This is a great series for the Young Adults out there. I've already recommended it to a customer and sold the first. They asked for a hold on the other two! ;) Love when I sell books out from under myself! LOL

Dec 23, 2011, 11:02pm Top

Finishing up Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson. Interesting, easy to read, not the best writing, but entertaining. Sort of like the movie "Memento" minus the tattoos.

#63, So envious that you are reading The Time Traveler's Wife for the first time. I've read that book about 4 or 5 times, but nothing can replace the first.

Edited: Dec 23, 2011, 11:54pm Top

Just finished Doc. Wonderful book! Started my November Bonus ER ~ the new V.I. Warshawski by Sara Paretsky ~ Breakdown. Right from the start, it grabbed me and, if I wasn't so exhausted from Christmas shopping after too little sleep last night, I would not be putting it down for another couple of hours. But I think I'm going to head to bed and listen to Clockwork Angel on the iPod for awhile, then get to sleep early. Busy day tomorrow!

Dec 24, 2011, 10:18am Top

You guys really, really have caused my Mount TBR to be teetering. Doc sounds right up my alley! I am still reading A Soldier of the Great War and loving it. It's just sort of Don Quixote-ish, or something, so it's a slow, insightful journey. I'm taking my time and enjoying the ride. Plus, that Christmas gig and gets things a little busy this time o' year.

Dec 24, 2011, 2:31pm Top

(74) rabbitprincess, I am enjoying The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. I'm a little more than 1/3 of the way through the book.

Despite the holiday festivities, I hope to have it done by the end of the weekend.

Edited: Dec 24, 2011, 2:54pm Top

The new week's thread is here.


Dec 25, 2011, 10:42am Top

#78 bookwoman... The Westing Game was one of my all-time favorite childhood books!! I was a huge reader as a kid and I don't remember all that many of the books I read, but that one stands out. I gave it to my 10 year old cousin for his birthday, though I have no idea if he read it or not.
Now that you mention it, I should reread it myself!

Dec 30, 2011, 12:31pm Top

My daughter, now in her 20s, re-reads The Westing Game on a regular basis. I liked it, too.

Dec 30, 2011, 12:48pm Top

The thread for December 31 - January 6 can be found here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/129561

Group: What Are You Reading Now?

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