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What Are You Reading the Week of 11 February 2012?

What Are You Reading Now?

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Edited: Feb 11, 2012, 2:55am Top

Edited: Feb 11, 2012, 8:34am Top

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.

Feb 11, 2012, 5:50am Top

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.

Feb 11, 2012, 7:56am Top

Finished Last waltz in Vienna--both schmaltzy and scary. Still working on Our mutual friend

Feb 11, 2012, 8:53am Top

Excellent job, starting the week, Richard! Love the author photos.

I finished The Wayward Bus, for the Steinbeckathon. It really is an over-looked classic. For, Fantasy February, I'm still reading Bitter Seeds, which has been a lot of fun.

Feb 11, 2012, 11:18am Top

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.

Feb 11, 2012, 11:30am Top

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.

Feb 11, 2012, 12:22pm Top

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.

Feb 11, 2012, 12:27pm Top

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.

Feb 11, 2012, 12:42pm Top

Thank you for the intro Richard.

I'm reading The Invisible Ones, Stef Penney's follow up to The Tenderness of Wolves. It is set in the gypsy community in England.

Edited: Feb 11, 2012, 12:47pm Top

Thanks for starting the thread, Richard.

Currently reading Middlemarch, and The Goblin Mirror. I just finished Beautiful Joe and The Homecoming and have reviewed them both.

As I am nursing a virus/cold, I might just finish up some of my current reads!

Feb 11, 2012, 12:50pm Top

I just picked up two books at the library: The Help and The Book of Awesome. I'm definitely a little behind in the bestseller reading department.

Feb 11, 2012, 12:51pm Top

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?

Feb 11, 2012, 1:20pm Top

My son loved The Book of Awesome, Nancy. This may be your chance to prove the predictor wrong!

I'm finishing Bill Simmons' The Book of Basketball on the NBA while starting Old Filth (thank you Ellie and Anne) and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.

Feb 11, 2012, 1:21pm Top

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.

Feb 11, 2012, 1:52pm Top

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.

Feb 11, 2012, 3:49pm Top

Finished The Windup Girl and loved it, reading The Peace War next.

Feb 11, 2012, 4:41pm Top

I finished Willa Cather's novella, My Mortal Enemy, and Stewart O'Nan's new book, The Odds: A Love Story. I enjoyed both and recommend them.

Now I'm reading Fred Kaplan's Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer.

Feb 11, 2012, 5:49pm Top

I have almost finished Small Ceremonies by Carol Shields, she has a magical way of describing her characters (warts and all), I am eager to get back to it and looking forward to the companion novel The Box Garden.

Feb 11, 2012, 5:59pm Top

Currently reading Gathered Dust by W.H. Pugmire and also just received Wicked Beyond Belief and Somebody's Husband, Somebody's Son for research purposes but it's also reading I'm looking forward to.

Feb 11, 2012, 6:26pm Top

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.

Edited: Feb 11, 2012, 6:45pm Top

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.

Edited: Feb 11, 2012, 7:11pm Top

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.

Feb 11, 2012, 8:12pm Top

Feb 12, 2012, 4:09am Top

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.

Feb 12, 2012, 5:45am Top

Feb 12, 2012, 9:12am Top

Feb 12, 2012, 10:25am Top

Last night I finished Rommel? Gunner Who?, the second volume in Spike Milligan's war memoirs. Next up will likely be some non-fiction: an essay collection by George Orwell entitled All Art is Propaganda.

Feb 12, 2012, 1:40pm Top

Still reading The Rape of Europa. It's very interesting, but loaded with a lot detail and slows the reading pace considerably.

Feb 12, 2012, 2:32pm Top

Finished the poignant The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. I will start listening to Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwell and continue reading Deep River.

Feb 12, 2012, 4:13pm Top

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!

Feb 12, 2012, 4:33pm Top

I'm starting A Free Man of Color today. :)

Feb 12, 2012, 4:55pm Top

I'm reading Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde when I want something funny, and Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally when I don't.

Feb 12, 2012, 7:23pm Top

Going to start Atonement by Ian McEwan tonight.

Feb 12, 2012, 8:39pm Top

I'm now reading Due or Die by Jenn McKinlay, which is the second in the Library Lover's Mystery (cozy) series.

Feb 12, 2012, 8:53pm Top

Almost 100 pages into Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green. Very entertaining.

Feb 12, 2012, 9:02pm Top

I'm about half way through Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh. It is a fascinating look at the life of Vincent Van Gogh. It also presents an interesting epilog section arguing the evidence he did not commit suicide.

Feb 12, 2012, 9:07pm Top

I've written my review of God's Little Acre, my F2F book circle's latest read, posted in my thread...#79.

Feb 13, 2012, 2:32am Top

Read another old time mystery, At the Villa Rose by A.E.W. Mason. It was exciting but only in parts. My review is here,


Feb 13, 2012, 6:04am Top

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

Feb 13, 2012, 8:29am Top

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.

Feb 13, 2012, 10:18am Top

Hey #42, I have a nightstand spot of demotion too. It currently has Three Men in A Boat reclining on it.

Feb 13, 2012, 11:42am Top

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.

Feb 13, 2012, 1:55pm Top

Just finished The Might Have Been by Joe Schuster (received it from Early Reviewers). I highly recommend it, even if you're not a baseball fan (although being one probably adds to the pleasure of reading it).

Feb 13, 2012, 2:55pm Top

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.

Feb 13, 2012, 4:14pm Top

Joyce, In The Garden of Beasts is in my audio TBR group...I'll have to bump it up.

Feb 13, 2012, 7:27pm Top

Thanks, Citizenjoyce. It's no fun being sick and not feeling like reading!

Feb 13, 2012, 7:55pm Top

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.

Feb 13, 2012, 9:35pm Top

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.

Feb 13, 2012, 11:21pm Top

I finished The Peace War (meh) and The Hedge Knight (yay!). Next up is The Forge of God.

Edited: Feb 14, 2012, 9:19am Top

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.

Feb 14, 2012, 8:33am Top

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.

Feb 14, 2012, 11:53am Top

Still in the throes of catching up with classes for the two weeks I missed so not much pleasure reading going on. Still working on A Play of Heresy by Margaret Frazer and Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen.

Feb 14, 2012, 12:41pm Top

I decided to write a Valentine's Day review of a book worthy of anyone's reading time, about love and identity: Kindred by Octavia E. Butler. Such an amazing book, review in my thread...post #89.

Edited: Feb 14, 2012, 2:27pm Top

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.

Feb 14, 2012, 2:58pm Top

Finished Port Mortuary, which wasn't my favorite Patricia Cornwell, but I think I will listen to Red Mist to see if the mystery left at the end is resolved n the next one.

Feb 14, 2012, 3:00pm Top

Still reading A Free Man of Color and quite enjoying it! :)

Feb 14, 2012, 10:51pm Top

Finished The City of Ember and The People of Sparks. They were good, but didn't stand out for me. I think I am losing my taste for series.

My next YA book was Phoenix Rising by Karen Hesse. I found it engrossing and thought-provoking.

Feb 15, 2012, 12:29pm Top

Feb 15, 2012, 12:31pm Top

Thoroughly loving The Coroner's Lunch and planning my review.

Edited: Feb 16, 2012, 2:14pm Top

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.

Feb 15, 2012, 1:07pm Top

I am currently reading Where the Buffalo Roam by Michael Zimmer, and Pale Immortal by Anne Frasier. Looking forward to picking up an Alan Furst later on this week, The Spies of Warsaw looks interesting.

Feb 15, 2012, 9:40pm Top

Just finished the marvelous Deep River by Shusaku Endo, my second for the LT group read of his works. I will be starting The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach for my RL book club's February selection.

Feb 15, 2012, 11:28pm Top

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.

Feb 16, 2012, 6:41am Top

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!

Feb 16, 2012, 7:29am Top

#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.

Feb 16, 2012, 8:29am Top

I am reading Saints and Villains by Denise Giardina - a fictionalized account of the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It is really good so far.

Feb 16, 2012, 9:24am Top

#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.

Feb 16, 2012, 9:54am Top

#68 CarolynSchroeder

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?

Feb 16, 2012, 10:11am Top

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.

Feb 16, 2012, 10:55am Top

I'm reading Too Much Happiness, a collection of short stories by Alice Munro. Masterful!

Feb 16, 2012, 2:08pm Top

"#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.

Feb 16, 2012, 4:40pm Top

#73 sebago

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.

Feb 16, 2012, 8:11pm Top

# 72 > I LOVE Alice Munro. :) Enjoy...

Just finished Nemesis by Philip Roth last night. I liked it but preferred Indignation. Now....I'm on to Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. I'm familiar with the story but have never read the book. Thought it was time.

Feb 16, 2012, 11:01pm Top

I have just finished reading the novel The Descendants by author Kaui Hart Hemmings .

Feb 16, 2012, 11:49pm Top

#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.

Feb 17, 2012, 9:29am Top

#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.

Feb 17, 2012, 9:40am Top

I'm currently reading Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung, which seems to be very good. I will also be started Dr. Jekyll & Mr Hyde today.

Feb 17, 2012, 10:49am Top

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!

Edited: Feb 17, 2012, 11:44am Top

Posted a review of The Whipping Club by Deborah Henry...a book which surprised me, pleasantly:


Feb 17, 2012, 12:47pm Top

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.

Edited: Feb 17, 2012, 1:11pm Top

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)

Feb 17, 2012, 9:30pm Top

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.

Feb 17, 2012, 9:45pm Top

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.

Feb 17, 2012, 10:13pm Top

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.

Have fun,


Feb 17, 2012, 10:28pm Top

Feb 17, 2012, 10:34pm Top

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.

Feb 18, 2012, 1:54am Top

Listening to The Art of Fielding. Reading The Grand Surprise.

Feb 18, 2012, 6:02am Top

#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.

Edited: Feb 18, 2012, 8:35am Top

(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!

Feb 18, 2012, 9:34am Top

#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

Feb 18, 2012, 11:57am Top

Thank you, Singota!

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