What Are You Reading the Week of 11 February 2012?
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This week, the honorees include:
The 11th: Jane Yolen
The 12th: Judy Blume
The 13th: Elaine Pagels
St. Valentine's Day: Odds Bodkin
The 15th: Susan Brownmiller
The 16th: Iain M. Banks
The 17th: Mo Yan
Andre Norton--her centennial!
Hitler: 1889-1936: Hubris is fascinating.
I am sort of struggling through A Confederacy of Dunces - I haven't laughed at the first 1/2 of the book and find it kind of ramblingly eccentric.
I put Everything is Illuminated on hold - I'm a little irritated by the quirkiness and the weird novel-within-a-novel - but I'll finish that.
I'm on the final car-crash memoir part of On Writing, and I've really enjoyed it despite having tired a little of Stephen King's fiction.
Great start to the week, richard! Just as soon as I get off my knees and finish genuflecting in honour of Darwin's birthday, I should be finishing The Book of Human Skin (40 or so pages to go). I put off reading this one for a while because I had a feeling it might be just too gruesome but that hasn't been the case at all. Yes, there are some very unpleasant parts but the main thread of the book follows a group of wonderful, warm, loving companions and there are even passages that are genuinely funny. As I found with Jane Harris, sometimes it is well worth giving an author a second try - I found The Remedy dragged a bit but this one has kept me up at night for 'just another 5 minutes' several times. No idea yet what is coming next but it will need to work hard to keep me this entertained.
Reading YA book The Tin Princess by Philip Pullman, the last of the four of the Sally Lockhart stories, even though Sally is essentially missing from this one. More fairy tale-ish than the others, but I'm sticking with it.
On audio, listening to The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson (Booker Prize winner, I think) and am getting a kick out of it so far.
Thanks for another great start to another week, Richard! Funny, I'd always thought that Andre Norton was a male. These threads can be educational, at times!
I'm just starting The House at Riverton by Kate Morton. The Forgotten Garden was a pleasure to read, so I think I'll enjoy this as well.
Meanwhile, I zipped through The End of the Alphabet by C.S. Richardson, which was very short at 119 pages, and very sweet ... bittersweet.
Thank you for sharing that painting of Darwin, Richard! Very cool.
I'm rereading A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle although so far it seems all new to me. Guess it's been awhile. I'm reading it with my book club.
Thanks for another great start, Richard! I'm still working on way too many books: Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, 11/22/63, Catherine the Great, Portrait of a Woman and sundry others laying open on tables all around the house that I have begun and will get back to but not until I finish these three. At least that's the plan, though I am easily seduced.
Oh dear: The "Will you like it?" predictor is confident that I won't like The Book of Awesome. What kind of person does it think I am?
I'm reading Small Things with Great Love in the mornings, one chapter at a time. I don't always agree with the author's perspective, but it's good nonetheless.
The rest of the day, I'm bouncing between Jeanette Winterson's forthcoming memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? and a novel, The White Woman on the Green Bicycle. Both are enjoyable, although both have difficult subjects/plots.
Just scratching the surface of The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien, as compiled and edited by his son Christopher. I am a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and it's nice to finally read about the mythology and history of the earlier ages of Middle Earth that the LOTR characters refer to so frequently.
I am starting out the week with a bunch of books in reading progress. There really is no hope that I will finish any of them this week, but will try, as there are several deadlines coming up in the next few weeks, for which I have to have these books read. They are all good ones at least so far. I am really liking the Wayne Flynt memoir and I don't really like memoirs. I am not liking the Sean Wilsey memoir as much. Clash of Kings is really good and Left Hand of Darkness is so far. Both of these are for fantasy February group read.
I'm a couple hundred pages into Max Hastings new WWII book Inferno: The World at War 1939-1945. It's based on letters and diaries written on both sides of the war. Fascinating. Riveting. Very good.
Oh my, Charles Darwin, Andre Norton, Elaine Pagels and Susan Brownmiller all in one week? I feel like I'm not reading the right things at the right time. Richard, you need to post a couple of months of these at a time so I can plan my reading accordingly.
I'm about 1/2 way through listening to and reading In the Garden of Beasts and Chasing Goldman Sachs. Both are infuriating views of the worst side of humanity. I must plan something uplifting soon.
Starting The Fighting Temeraire: The Battle of Trafalgar and the Ship that Inspired J. M. W. Turner's Most Beloved Painting the first book in "The Hearts of Oak Trilogy" by Sam Willis.
Still reading Great Expectations.
I love the use of language, the characters and the little jokes but I'm reading it at a slow pace so I can fully understand and appreciate all the details.
I finished Finnish Lessons: what can the world learn from educational change in Finland? by Pasi Sahlberg last night and started Solstice by Joyce Carol Oates this morning.
Still reading The Rape of Europa. It's very interesting, but loaded with a lot detail and slows the reading pace considerably.
A horrible cold has shut down my brain, but I'm going to try to read All Different Kinds of Free this weekend. Happy Birthday Jane Yolen!!! She's a woman I admire!
I'm having a really hard time sticking with The Bonesetter's Daughter although I have enjoyed Tan's other books (to varying degrees). I think it's at least partly because it has a tough act to follow after The Book of Human Skin and also because the first half of the book seems to be about setting up the story and this is just far too long for my liking. I can't help thinking this one might have been better if it had plunged stright into the mother's story without all the waffle that comes before. Then again, I might be pleasantly surprised by the end
Finally finished The Rise of the American Circus, a ER book from November -- it stunk.
Layered Why Men Don't Listen onto my existing reading to help fill in gaps in the Dewey Challenge.
Moved Between Silk and Cyanide to the backburner -- it's very thick and not portable -- so it's demoted to nightstand duty.
Hey #42, I have a nightstand spot of demotion too. It currently has Three Men in A Boat reclining on it.
I finished my reread of The Goblin Mirror, but it had been so long since I'd read it, it was like a first time read.
Other than that, I've not felt like reading at all...horrors!
My fever is broken, and I'm recuperating at home today. Maybe I'll feel up to reading something of substance a little later, but for now I'm passing the time with Ramona and her Mother.
Glad you're on the mend, Fuzzi.
i'm having a hard time pulling myself away from In the Garden of Beasts. I'm usually able to move away from my audiobooks into real life,but this one. I don't know how far it's going to go into German-American relations, and the tension is very high. This is great background information. It seems they were able to convince visitors in 1934 that Dachau was really not a bad place to be. We believe what we want, as Chasing Goldman Sachs emphasizes.
Joyce, In The Garden of Beasts is in my audio TBR group...I'll have to bump it up.
Thanks, Citizenjoyce. It's no fun being sick and not feeling like reading!
Booksloth: I felt exactly the same way. That book was sitting on my shelf for years after it was published & I just could not get into it no matter how hard, or how many times I tried. I think I skipped around before ultimately giving up.
I'm very into The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton. It's really fascinating, sort of like reading about aliens, the lifestyle (the rich and aimless of the early 20th century) being so different from anything I can relate to.
I finally gave up on The Bonesetter's Daughter (so happy to know I'm not the only one framboise!) It's unusual for me to do that at over halfway through but I just couldn't take any more. I know part of the problem is that I'm in one of those hard-to-please moods and I hope it will soon pass because I hate those phases where nothing you try to read seems to fit. I've now moved on to Anno Dracula about which I've heard very mixed reports but I think I'm enjoying it so far.
#42 Such a shame you're not particularly enjoying Between Silk and Cyanide, I thought it was absolutely fascinating.
ETA - Also embarking on The Clear Stream, the biography of Winifred Holtby (author of the wonderful South Riding) - partly for pleasure and partly because I think she might be the subject of my forthcoming dissertation.
I am still reading Brooklyn and it is a slow, sweet, sometimes sad read - very good. I just haven't had much time due to work.
I have had my eye on that Octavia E. Butler book for some time. I'll have to get to it.
I finished reading Clash of Kings last night and while I really like this series I do get tired of all the gruesome killing, torture, and maiming. Does Martin go out of his way or what to think of horrid ways for people to die? I can't imagine how they can translate all of that to the small screen. I know that at some time I will finish the series, but will be content to put them away for a time and get back to them later.
Having finally finished 1Q84, I started Where I Was From for my travel book and I've returned to At Canaan's Edge, which I decided was too heavy in HB to read comfortably, even at home, so I've downloaded it to my Kindle. I'll use the HB for reading the notes, which is easier than on the Kindle. Also started When You Reach Me last night.
I finished and really liked The Forge of God and next up is a Science Fiction Omnibus with three novellas, by Heinlein, Asimov and Ehrlich.
I'm finding it hard to care much about Anno Dracula so if anyone who'd read it has anything to say that would perk up my interest I'd appreciate it. The Clear Stream, on the other hand, is enthralling and just makes me more in love than ever with its subject, the divine Winifred Holtby - what an amazing woman!
#56: I agree with you re Martin's series. There were good things about the series but he certainly did go out of his way to stress the badness of the bad guys and he tossed the good guys around like rag dolls. The first book was the best, for me.
#66, I loved Anno Dracula, as a pulpy fun read. I really liked all the references to famous characters, both historic and literary. But then again, if you don't like it, you don't like it and time is too short, get a good book.
There is a really good biography of Bonhoeffer that came out about a year ago. A friend of mine read it and thought it was one of the best biographies he had ever read. Maybe after reading the fiction you will want to take on the biography?
Just finished The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton and loved it! A fascinating portrait of a true narcissist, which might make it sound like unpleasant reading, but I highly recommend it. Not one of her more well-known works, but worth it.
"#56: I agree with you re Martin's series. There were good things about the series but he certainly did go out of his way to stress the badness of the bad guys and he tossed the good guys around like rag dolls. The first book was the best, for me."
Same here - I really liked the first book.. after that they were too dark for me. I will try them again in the future and who knows I might love the rest of the series! lol.
Reading The Girls from Ames on the kindle. It as recommended highly but I find myself skimming at times.
Darn! I bought Girls From Ames for my sister for her birthday coming up. I had heard good things about it too. Let me know what you think of it when you have finished.
#46 CitizenJoyce - I loved Garden of Beasts, found it really enlightening. It's easy to forget how much hindsight we have the benefit of, looking back on that era now. Am thinking differently about, for example, Iran, since reading it.
I just finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which I expected to find elitist, but it wasn't really (though she did overemphasize the "whole-nine-yards" approach). Am currently in the middle of Debt: the First 5,000 Years, which is really informative and interesting. Still, am on the hunt for some (quality!) fluff to leaven things up.
#69 I think Anno Dracula is a good book (and I really do enjoy alternative histories). I suspect I'm just not in the mood for it right now - lots of pain, just resigned from my voluntary job due to huge disagreements with a new line manager, preparing for a work-related tribunal etc - and I really need something I can enjoy without having to think too hard. I've put it to one side and will perhaps try again when things are calmer.
I'm loving every minute of The Clear Sream and just wishing Ms Holtby could have been born 60 years later so that we could have been friends. And for bedtime reading it's back to another Tess Gerritsen with Presumed Guilty - I don't know what I would do without her for light reading.
Just started my ER book The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye. A novel about the effect the Potato Famine and the first New York police force have on the city. So far, so good!
Posted a review of The Whipping Club by Deborah Henry...a book which surprised me, pleasantly:
Seriously, folks....I read all 512 pages of The Art of Fielding in two sittings.....good book! I also finished listening to Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell, much more satisfying than the previous Kay Scarpetta installment!
I will begin listening to Phineas Finn by Anthony Trollope and I will begin reading Vertical Motion by Can Xue.
I'm reading The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt...still. It takes me forever to read this book..there are too many "ideas" to absorb....and the writing style is "different"
Also reading The Pleasure Dial by Jeremy Edwards....a naughty little romp through the Golden Age of Radio (Touchstone doesn't work)
I'm giving up on Middlemarch: I really like what I've read so far, but it's due back at the library and I just don't feel like reading anything but simple stuff right now.
I'll try it again, I have a strong feeling I'll finish it next time.
I finished Chasing Goldman Sachs: How the Masters of the Universe Melted Wall Street Down...And Why They'll Take Us to the Brink Again by Suzanne McGee. For someone who knows nothing about finance, it was a difficult but worthwhile book with no easy answers. People who work on Wall Street are driven, competitive, intelligent risk takers, and that's what makes them both valuable and dangerous to the optimum flow of money. She says what is needed with the above characteristics is a sense of fiduciary responsibility. What she doesn't say is how an irresponsible, self serving person could develop such a thing. Now, for another economics book, I've started an audiobook of The Big Short which covers the same thing but supposedly with humor. Hmm, we'll see how that works out.
I also finished The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley. The book tells the story of a 91 year old inner city black man in the midst of Alzheimers who lives alone with little support system. The first half is excellent study of this man and what life is like from his perspective, the last half is just kind of an ordinary story, though everyone in my book club loved the whole thing. Now I've started Property which I'm assuming is going to be another one of those uncomfortable Orange Prize winners.
I finished In the Garden of Beasts, and I agree with you, Heduanna, about the benefit of hindsight. I was so infuriated with Dodd and his wild daughter Martha for their love of all things German and for his attempts to accommodate the German's "Jewish problem" by suggesting that Roosevelt should decrease the number of Jews who worked in embassies that dealt with Germans. He also assured Hitler that we too had a "Jewish problem" but we found we could deal with it using quotas. Then it seems that everyone was angry with him because he was too confrontational with the Germans and not willing enough to see their point of view or even to go to their lovely Nuremberg Hitler rallies. Our main concern seemed to be that if we were accommodating enough to the Germans they would pay back their debt to us. Business is business after all. This is a great book that shows so many sides of the war issue.
With Chasing Goldman Sachs and The Big Short behind you, you'll be ready for The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report, which of all things was a government report that was interesting to read. It sums up a lot of the things that you will have seen in the previous two but puts it all together to show what happened to the economy.
Oh joy, Mr. Durick, The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report is only .99 on Nook; however having it and reading it may be 2 different things.
#84 Fuzzi - it can be a tough one to get through for the first time (though so well worth it in the end). If you can get hold of a copy of the BBC DVD starring, among others, the unbearably gorgeous Rufus Sewell (as Ladislaw) it makes a wonderful guide through the book - and without making you feel you've succumbed to the lowest common denominator, because it is a quality production.
(90) Thanks for the suggestion, Booksloth: maybe I'll see if the local library has a copy. I'm still not feeling well enough to tackle really involved tomes.
Watching the original Poldark series (BBC of course!) was what inspired me to read the books by Winston Graham, which I love. You should read those if you haven't already!
#Fuzzi: If you look up the channel of a user named LadyLewly on Youtube, you can find the whole series of Middlemarch there. It has Spanish subtitles but they didn't bother me. When I read the book last year I first finished it and then watched the series. It gave me a really good insight in certain things which were unclear from my first reading of the novel such as the relationship of some characters towards one another and the political issues which were a bit harder for me to understand
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