**What Are You Reading Now? -- May 2012
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Tell us what your reading, what have reviewed, etc, in May.
Baswood, you can post now. :)
My plans for May:
I'm reading these
- Deuteronomy (through Robert Alter's translation) and other related bits
- Cobb by Al Stump
I think I want to read these this month:
- A Dark Stranger by Julian Gracq
- The Love Story of Paul Collins by Donigan Merritt
- ETA to my plan The Hunger Angel by Herta Müller, which I just won as an "Early Reviewer". I believe this was published in 2009 in German and I think it has been published previously in English with the title "Everything I Possess I Carry With Me".
Right now I am (still) reading Don Quixote de La Mancha by Miguel Cervantes. I love it! It's a lengthy book but not a hard read at all.
All this heavy stuff to start off May (except for my Ty Cobb book...and, arguably, that other thing I'm reading)
#6 Ann - I read The Magic Mountain last year (with several others here), and am curious about other works on Thomas Mann. Do you have a thread around here somewhere?
#7 Rebecca - I have a dusty copy of Europe Central that I've been afraid to pick up.
I've just started Plastic: A Toxic Love Story by Susan Freinkel, which promises to tell me many interesting and important things about plastics, and am also dipping in and out of Hippo Eats Dwarf: A Field Guide to Hoaxes and Other B.S. by Alex Boese, which illustrates why you shouldn't believe everything you read on the internet.
#3 I am deep into Renaissance Italy at the moment and I am reading:
On Painting Leon Battista Alberti
Oooh, I studied that at university. Interesting. Another book that I studied along with it was Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy, which was most enlightening (and somewhat challenging).
I too am in Italy--World War II Italy, that is, with a biography, Franca's Story. I'm reading this because it's set in the same area that my husband's family lives, and it's interesting to compare their stories, and also to hear about what happened during the war to places I've visited 50 and 60 years later.
3 - I'll be interested to see your thoughts on the Alberti. I have his Ten Books of Architecture, perhaps I should pick that up next.
Right now I'm working my way through a few anthologies before going on a kick of Chicago reading.
Currently reading Death at the Jesus Hospital by David Dickinson. I started it in April and am about half-way through it. I am also reading "Of Paupers and Peers" by Sherri Cobb South (it's a Regency romance).
I have about 20 long pages of The Origins of the Slavic Nations to go. I won't be able to say much about it when I am done.
Joyce, thanks for the link to Painting and Experience in Fifteenth century Italy Sounds like something else to read.
I just completed the longer than anticipated but immensely enjoyable slog through Unfinished Nation, survey of American history from the first colonizations to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. It's mostly a social and political movements narrative, rather then the typical event to event history. I still don't know what I want to read next, but hopefully won't be something that devours an entire month and half worth of reading.
#9 The only thread I have is where I have listed the books I have read on the 1001 spreadsheet. On that one I will start listing my current reads.
#9, Dan, I've been afraid to pick it up for several years, but a discussion on Steven's thread about Vollman and Europe Central inspired me to read it now. I'm afraid I'm probably missing a lot, especially because I can't devote myself to reading some of it every day, but have to read it in spurts, but I'm amazed by Vollman's vision and talent.
Also, to your comment on #6, about Buddenbrooks. I loved it! It is very different from The Magic Mountain, not in the quality of the writing, which is wonderful, but in its accessibility; as its subtitle said, it is the story of a decline of a family and a portrait of a time and a place. The most remarkable thing about it for me was that Mann was only 26 when it was published and yet his insight into history and older people is brilliant. I've also read Doctor Faustus (know I missed tremendous amounts in this one) and Joseph and His Brothers, which is extremely long but also quite readable and very enjoyable.
I'm listening to Look at Me, by Jennifer Egan, on audiobook, and reading Cry The Beloved Country. I've picked up the Paton book countless times, but never been able to get past page 1. Last night I made it to page 60, so maybe I'll get through it this time. I know it's supposed to be the best book ever, and the subject matter interests me, ....but the writing style just leaves me cold.
Bragan - Should I admit that I fell for the hippo eats dwarf story? No, I most certainly should not!
Rebecca - I recall something of your comments on Joseph and His Brothers. Good to know you feelings on the others.
Joyce - "I know it's supposed to be the best book ever" - :) It is a really good book...
#17 Ann - I found your 1001 thread (I hadn't been over to that group before).
So you know, you're are certainly welcome to start a thread of your own here in Club Read, in case you want to post about books not on the list.
>20 dchaikin:: Ah, well, I think we all fall for some of 'em at one point or another.
>19 Nickelini:: I had to read Cry, The Beloved Country in high school, and can thus testify to the fact that forcing yourself to read that book when you don't feel like it (or, worse, being forced by someone else to read it) does it no favors at all.
#21 Im trying to stay on the list since there is more then enough to choose from. But every once in a while I do catch myself wandering off on something else.
Last night I read half of The Sociopath Next Door and the first story from The Plot Thickens.
The diagnostic offered by The Sociopath Next Door along with the description of the typical sociopath or psychopath confirm that my neighbor is a psychopath, but I would still qualify that with more information. I may have to read the recently popular book on psychopaths in hardcover to build on what I'm getting from this book. Like any student of pathology I have to wonder whether I suffer the pathology under consideration.
The story I read was entertaining, but thick steaks were not central to the narrative. The book is a collection of stories by mystery writers involving a thick fog, a thick book, and a thick steak. It was published in the mid-nineties. Its profits go to a literacy agency. If the first story is representative, this will be comfortably light reading.
I had to read Cry, The Beloved Country in high school, and can thus testify to the fact that forcing yourself to read that book when you don't feel like it (or, worse, being forced by someone else to read it) does it no favors at all.
I was hoping it would pick up or I'd gel with his style, or something! I have to admit while I was reading this morning I was liking it less. I'll give it 100 pages, and if I'm not feeling more kindly, I'll follow your advice out of my house it goes . . .
#24 Hmm. I might have to read that sociopath book because I once had a work colleague who I'm convinced was a sociopath.
There is a one in twenty five chance that he or she was. If the person had no conscience, was charming (one way I disqualify myself), and sought pity, then he or she was.
He was a great liar (took me years to figure out some of the things he had said were lies) and everything bad that happened to him was always someone else's fault.
Those are common, she says, among sociopaths. One woman broke her arm, the sociopath said, by refusing to comply sexually with him; it was her fault.
I think I need that sociopath book. I wonder what happens when someone reads it and recognizes him or herself?
I have been told in classes and I have read in books that it is common for a student of, say, medicine, to believe that he or she has the disease under consideration. I am told by this book that sociopaths typically don't recognize themselves as sociopaths. I have seen that my history of faults, moral lapses, make me liable to despair; so as I read this book in particular I try to be analytic in applying it to myself. A psychopath could probably make a case, credible to me, that I am a psychopath unless I were on to him or her in the first place.
I read The Psychopath Test recently, which I imagine is the other book you're talking about, and the author of that one basically says, if you're worried you might be a psychopath, if that thought actually makes you anxious, then you aren't one.
#32 I have used this idea for years. Maybe Im just crazy and insane!!!! Then I tell myself well if you are actually sitting here wondering then chances are your fine. Maybe alittle touched but far from insane.
33 - Yeah, this is the rationalization I've been going with. Although, the older I get, the less sure I am about it. :)
So the more sure we are that we are not a sociopath, the more likely we are one? (admittedly, the thought I am never crossed my mind...hmmm...)
>35 dchaikin:: No, I think it's more that actual sociopaths don't see anything wrong with being one, and don't experience any worry at the possibility.
And if your truely insane do you really sit around wondering about it????? Just like socipath you think you are completely fine and normal with your odd behavior.
I think it's more that actual sociopaths don't see anything wrong with being one, and don't experience any worry at the possibility.
Ah, I think that's what I was getting at back at post #30 when I wondered what a sociopath would think if he or she read this book. This has been such an interesting conversation!
I think I linked to this on my own thread back when I was discussing The Psychopath Test, but I think it's worth pointing to again in this context: Confessions of a Pro-Social Psychopath. It's a fifteen-minute lecture by a guy researching the brains of psychopathic killers, who... well, I won't spoil it. But I will say that what really strikes me about it is the way in which a revelation that I think would have had me going, "Oh, holy crap, no!" instead provokes more of a "Huh. I guess that explains some things."
That clip is fascinating. Some of it is hinted at in The Sociopath Next Door but never with the full on approval that he gives to seemingly marginal characteristics of certain people we may need in our lives. It is Jon Ronson's book that I will turn to next; it is now available in paperback and if it is still in stock at the across town Barny Noble's on Saturday it is likely that I will pick it up.
Ronson, among other things, has an interview with a businessman who very much fits the profile, and who manages to spin almost every hallmark of psychopathy into a positive leadership trait. It's a little difficult not to think that he might possibly have a point.
a businessman who very much fits the profile, and who manages to spin almost every hallmark of psychopathy into a positive leadership trait
Reminds me of the creature in the documentary Corporation, the one who wanted to sell air and the last square foot of green grass (if possible)!
Makes you think we might need to re-think the claptrap surrounding "leadership" and the whole debased immoral rhetoric of business. Actually, business, especially as practiced at the corporate level... it's like an endless safari/Club Med adventure for psychopaths.
Reading _The Seventh Unicorn_ by Kelly Jones. This book was left at my place by a visitor and it's essentially a beach mystery read.
I have finished and posted a review of To A Mountain in Tibet by Colin Thubron, a very interesting and enjoyable travel narrative. I am a bit behind on my reviews - four more to go to get caught up!
I'm now reading By Light Alone by Adam Roberts. Many thanks to avaland for this one! So far, it's quite good.
I've just finished All Men are Mortal by Simone de Beauvoir which didn't impress me as much as I expected. Today, started Deep Rivers by Jose Maria Arguedas, a Peruvian writer whose life was dedicated to preserving Andean indigenous culture and language. Also dipping into an illustrated collection of Sherlock Holmes.
I've finally reviewed Icefields and Hit Lit: Cracking the Code of the Twentieth Century's Biggest Bestsellers, and got some comments down on Port Vila Blues, all of which nearly catches me up. I hope to return to One Day the Ice Will Reveal Its Dead in a day or so, once the Belletrista issue is up online.
Dukedom is reading the forthcoming China Miéville, Railsea, and is a Mieville twist on Moby Dick (and if you know Miéville, you know it will really be twisted). I heard the Duke chuckling and laughing from time to time, so it must be good. It's being marketed as YA.
I decided to listen to the Foreword of Just Kids by Patti Smith while I loaded the audio onto my iPod and before I knew it, I'd listened to the first two CDs. Read by the author, its warmth is mesmerizing.
I'm reading The Winter Palace: a novel of Catherine the Great by Eva Stachniak for brain candy during a hard week at work, and Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf when I'm at home and it's quiet. It's my first Virginia Woolf book and I'm liking it so far. I'm also plugging away at Don Quixote but it's kind of slow-going though I'm enjoying it.
I've been reading The Hunger Games - and I'm caught up in it. I have a strange (and totally unjustified) arrogance towards it, my mind trying to tell me to be critical and to highlight all the problems, meanwhile my pulse speeds up while reading and stays that way for awhile after every time I'm forced to put it down.
MJ/Bas - I just recently bought Just Kids from amazon, awaiting delivery.
I'm reading The Line by Olga Grushin, a novel about the people of a unnamed Soviet city in the 1970s or 1980s, some of whom stand in line for hours, days and weeks in front of a kiosk that promises to sell something worthwhile. It's superb so far.
Earlier today I finished The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa, the famed Italian novel about a powerful Sicilian family set during the last days of the Risorgimento. Unfortunately I found it to be a tedious and boring read.
I really liked The Leopard. I wonder how taste diverges like that.
I have started and read 152 pages of Proofiness by Charles Seife about the misuse of numbers in making arguments. It is pretty lightweight, but it is a good reminder. It has leaned heavily on polling and tackled the zero margin of error polls, elections.
I've now started Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse, an anthology that delivers exactly what it says it does.
I just finished and reviewed World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks, which thankfully was more about people and how they respond to crisis than about zombies!
Recently completed Mrs. Kennedy and Me: An Intimate Memoir by Clint Hill - good book, but could have been much more.
Halfway through Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy by Jacqueline Kennedy.
I have started True Enough by Farhad Manjoo about lies that take on the trappings of reality. The book's earliest main example is the swift boating of John Kerry. There are disprovable data that are taken as fact by people who want those data to be true. This is a follow on to the book Proofiness which I finished last night.
I have finished and posted a review of Cloudsplitter, Russell's Banks' masterful novel based upon the famous abolitionist, John Brown.
I have started The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov for the group read, as well as an Early Reviewer book, The Sadness of the Samurai by Victor Del Arbol, which so far is a relatively light diversion.
>65 japaul22: Japaul, just today a friend passed on to me her copy of Mrs. Dalloway and it will be my first Virginia Woolf also.
I've finished three books in the last few days: the embarrassing Fifty Shades of Grey, the excellent Remember Me by Trezza Azzopardi, and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, a graphic memoir.
I'm now about 1/3 of the way through Richard B. Wright's Clara Callan, which is wonderful - definitely on my favourites list for the year.
Finished a few books recently: Bitter Honeymoon, a light collection of short stories on the theme of love and relationships between men and women by Alberto Moravia; The Whispering Land, Gerald Durrell's account of his time in Argentina collecting animals for his zoo; and Deep Rivers by Jose Maria Arguidas, a book I was so sorry to finish -- certainly one of my best reads this year. Also finished Granta 83: This Overheating World which contains as well several stunning images of industrial wastelands by Edward Burtynsky.
Continuing with my literary unsettlement, I've now set down two books, and picked up a third: Some Kind of Fairy Tale, a forthcoming novel by Graham Joyce, an author whose works I have enjoyed for a long time. It's caught my attention immediately.
#74 - Oh good - I have that. Don't know when I'll have time, but it looks good.
Finished Deuteronomy, so also The Five Books of Moses: A Translation with Commentary by Robert Alter - the translation gets five stars. Also, finished the biography of Ty Cobb.
Finally finished Buddenbrooks yayyyyyyyyyyy. It was an interesting book but was ready to move on.
Started two different books yesterday. The Prince and The Pauper by Mark Twain and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night. Enjoying Mark Twain alot more then what I thought I would, but The Dog in the Night glad its going to be a quick and fast read the kid stresses me out just alittle.
#79 Ann - That's a lot of different places to be at once. I liked The Curious Incident, although I read it in a different time and place, mentally.
#77 Rebecca - but one led to the other - minds need breaks. (Although, in hindsight, I would have preferred to the spend the breaks with someone more pleasant then Ty Cobb.)
Anyway, on to The Master and Margarita. And...and what? I don't know.
#80 I break up big reads with shorter, lighter ones too -- it just was a funny juxtaposition.
So who was worse, the Lord of the Old Testament or the monster of baseball?
Well the The Prince is on audiobooks so I listen to it at work.
And I can only take a few chapters at a time of The Curious Case so I started Howard End last night to break the heavyness up.
I may be reading Paris to the Past, but her central image of traveling with her husband may be too precious for me to stick with it.
In addition to reading The Master and Margarita, The Sadness of the Samurai (an ER book), and Dubliners, I could not resist some slim volumes that caught my eye at the library:
The Naive and the Sentimental Novelist by Orhan Pamuk
The War Works Hard by Dunya Mikhail (poetry)
Eternity on Hold by Mario Susko (poetry)
blue has no south by Alex Epstein (very short stories)
I need to find more reading time!
I've just finished Reckoning Infinity, an OK science fiction novel by John E. Stith, and am about to start my most recent ER book, Lethal Warriors: When the New Band of Brothers Came Home, about soldiers with PTSD. Or I was about to, anyway. I just got Stephen Colbert's kids' book I Am a Pole (And So Can You!) in the mail, and maybe I'll slip that in first. I'm also dipping in and out of The Discworld Companion by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Briggs.
>92 bragan: I'm a fan of both Colbert and Pratchett, so I'd like to hear what you think about both. But I guess you might not be doing a review of the Companion - those things are tough to review outside of the context of the series they relate to.
Just came home this weekend from a week away to find a round dozen books waiting for me (birthday), so I dove right into Bringing up the Bodies which I had not expected to see and finished it yesterday. Today I will start Icefields thanks to avaland.
>94 dmsteyn:: I'm also a big fan of both Colbert and Pratchett, although it's been so long since I've read some of the Discworld novels that I barely remember them. Which possibly makes the Companion extra-fun, as it's like encountering certain hilarious ideas for the first time all over again. (I am wondering whether there's a more recent edition, though, as the one I have was published in 1997. so there's lots of the series it doesn't cover.) I will most definitely be reviewing it, as it's a bit different from your usual encyclopedia-type companion-to-something, not in format or anything, but because it's often laugh-out-loud funny in its own right. It'll probably take me a while, though, as I'm only reading through it a few pages at a time. (Which is probably the best way to approach that kind of thing, anyway.)
If there is anything to learn from Hitchiker's it's that everyday is towel day.
Well, I finished Lethal Warriors: When the New Band of Brothers Came Home, which was a harrowing read, but a highly worthwhile one. Then, desperately needing some humor after that, I picked up David Sedaris' Holidays on Ice. Unfortunately, I think it was the wrong kind of humor. Oh, well. Next up is Ally Condie's YA novel Crossed, the sequel to Matched, which I read last month and enjoyed way more than I expected to. Here's hoping this one is as good.
#101 I am re-reading Lady Chatterley's Lover for my book club,,,. I will be interested in your thoughts on it jennifer. It's not Lawrence's best book and it can be a slow read.
Barry - that's fun that my read is coinciding with your book club's read of Lady Chatterly's Lover. I'm about half way through and really enjoying it.
>107 dmsteyn:: "long, long, long and probably overwritten" sounds like most of the Clive Barker I've read. :)
Me, I've been getting a lot of reading done lately. I've been stuck working long, stupid hours over what, for most Americans, was a holiday weekend, but at least for once everything I'm supposed to watch all ran smoothly and needed remarkably little attention. So I read all of This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper, which I liked, and have now started Hawaiian Folk Tales by Thomas G. Thrum, which I picked up on my vacation in Hawaii last year. Next up, I think, will be The Child Garden by Geoff Ryman, which I've had sitting on the TBR Pile so long that I'm surprised it hasn't started growing moss.
I recently finished The President by Miguel Angel Asturias, the Guatemalan Nobel Prize Winner. Had high expectations but was underwhelmed by the writing -- didn't help that it seemed poorly translated. I'm about to finish a Sherlock Holmes collection of 52 stories -- a couple of stories a day was just the right dose. Have started David Fromkin's A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East -- this will be a slow and complex read.
I found The President to be a very painful book to read, and I gave up on it after ~50-75 pages.
It's about 10 hours early yet, but the June thread is up: http://www.librarything.com/topic/137752
ETA - 10 hours local time for me...
Doesn't June start on Friday? Still one more full day left in North America.
I'm still reading La Reine Margot by Dumas. Although I have all the time in the world I've only been reading about once a week. It's slow going. Weird since I'm loving the book (as expected of
Dumas) and always carry the book with me. Just, don't read.
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