So, what are you currently reading?

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So, what are you currently reading?

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1-Mr-Dustin- First Message
Edited: Mar 23, 2007, 4:28 pm

How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in It
By: Arthur Herman

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Edited: Apr 17, 2007, 7:27 pm

Started reading Hamlet by William Shakespeare for school as well.

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Edited: Apr 2, 2007, 2:28 am

The Occult Reich by J.H. Brennan, given to me by Cheesevillage to read.

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4anniebobannie05 First Message
Edited: Mar 27, 2007, 12:58 am

the fountain head

Mar 27, 2007, 12:40 am

also hamlet

Mar 27, 2007, 2:18 pm

There Eyes Were Watching God by Zore Neale Hurston. Namegame (anniebobannie05) let me know what you think of The Fountainhead when you finish it.

Edited: Apr 17, 2007, 7:28 pm

Now that I've finished Cheesevillage's book, I shall start on Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps by Allan Pease & Barbara Pease, given to me by billyfan to read. Hopefully after I am done reading that, and Hamlet, I can get back to reading my own books for a change and try to conquer my ever-growing pile of "To Read" books.

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Apr 2, 2007, 7:42 am

Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps sounds very interesting.

Am currently reading Ecology of a Cracker Childhood by Janisse Ray, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind By Mark Noll and will begin The State and Revolution by V. I. Lenin for various book clubs for April. Fortunately none of them are very long.

Apr 2, 2007, 9:43 pm

Edited: Apr 29, 2007, 9:09 pm

Well, seeing as I am off to Europe early Friday morning for Easter Break and will spend 26+ hours in airports/on airplanes, I shall hopefully finish Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps & Hamlet, as well as start/finish Virgil's The Aeneid.

I did finish Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps on the flight over to Frankfurt and finished almost all of Hamlet on the flight back, with the remainder being read as of about five minutes ago, so now I will hopefully blaze through The Aeneid and then dig into my pile of tantalizingly delicious unread books.

Edited: Apr 29, 2007, 8:36 pm

I decided to save The Aeneid untill I have read The Iliad and will instead read Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine by Anna Reid.

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Apr 22, 2007, 8:06 am

I've just started listening to the audio book of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood and am about to start reading A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka.

Apr 22, 2007, 11:31 am

Mr. Dustin, what did you think of Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps? It has an intriguing title.

Apr 22, 2007, 7:49 pm

Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps was an enjoyable, easy, read. The whole book is written in short one or two paragraph-long sections, each dealing with it's own thought or topic, therefore making the book rather concise and to the point. At the start of the book the author(s) include a caveat stating that they had written the book to be easy to read rather than delving into the detailed science of what they're saying, but if you know some of science they're referencing in their arguments/explanations it proves the dumbed down explanations legitimate, albeit sometimes requiring a grain of salt. As for the material itself, I did not find it to be too revolutionary as it was mostly things I have heard before (men's brains having better spatial abilities, but only being able to focus on one thing at a time where as female brains can focus on many things, but not with as much intensity, etc.,), but what they did a good job of was providing some explanation as to why male and female brains work differently rather than just how they were different. There's a lot of illustrations, quotes in big bold font, and even a 30-question quiz to see how male- or female-brained you are, so it is rather light and fluffy, but an enjoyable read nonetheless.

Apr 22, 2007, 11:04 pm

Thanks for the recap, Mr-Dustin-.

Apr 24, 2007, 1:17 pm

Well, I didn't much enjoy A Short history of Tractors in Ukrainian - perhaps it was just too over-hyped for me.

Am now moving onto The Separation by Christopher Priest. I read The Prestige earlier in the year and really enjoyed his style, so I'm hoping this one will be just as good!

Edited: May 17, 2007, 7:35 pm

Finished Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine, now am onto my nifty Edgar Allan Poe coffee table book.

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May 1, 2007, 1:12 pm

I started Daughters of the Doge by Edward Charles this morning,and also started listening to an audio book of The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas which sounds like it's been narrated by Michael York (I shall have to find out for sure!).

May 8, 2007, 2:39 pm

I'm almost finished listening to The Three Musketeers, so I'm moving onto a modern classic next - Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, which I shall start listening to on my way home from work tomorrow.

I'm also currently reading The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell, as it's the reading circle choice for May on The Book Club Forum. It's not at all bad so far...

May 8, 2007, 6:13 pm

Well, with this group called Literati I suppose what I'm reading now is appropriate. Some one in another group chose from my library Language and Symbolic Power by Pierre Bourdieu for me to read. It is a very deep work discussing the relationship of language to power within different groups and how these relationships inform our culture and our lives. It is very interesting (if you like this sort of stuff) but very slow going.

May 10, 2007, 2:04 am

I'll be starting The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath today, as it's the Posh Club reading circle choice for May. It's not one I would have chosen for myself, but I'm hopeful that I'll enjoy it...

May 10, 2007, 4:59 pm

In English class I am reading a mythology textbook from the 60s, leaving my Poe book at home due to it being quarto sized. And today we started an audio tape of Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, which should be finished in three or four days.

Edited: May 19, 2007, 5:58 am

Just finished reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, which I hated and got absolutely nothing out of it. Will be moving onto Wideacre by Philippa Gregory next...

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May 17, 2007, 3:44 pm

Next time I leave the flat I'll be starting a new audio book - I'll be going with Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure by John Cleland which (according to Wikipeida) was the first modern "erotic novel" - ooh-er!

Edited: Jun 3, 2007, 9:43 pm

Well, yesterday we finished up Death of A Salesman in class, and today I finished my Poe book, so now I will be starting Lolita.

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May 17, 2007, 10:24 pm

God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens, which is preaching to the choir; and The Road by Cormac McCarthy (for the second time).

May 19, 2007, 6:00 am

Read No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong practically overnight - excellent stuff!

I'll be starting on Broken Skin by Stuart MacBride next - i've been DYING to get into this one and it was just published at the start of this month. I got my copy signed by the author last weekend - he was so nice and friendly! Not at all the type you'd expect to be writing about gruesome murders!

May 21, 2007, 6:57 am

Broken Skin was excellent - I'm SO looking forward to Stuart MacBride's next book! (As if I wasn't already - LOL!).

Moving on to Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte next, specifically so I can read The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde soon - I want to be able to get all the in jokes when I read it - perhaps a bit of an odd excuse to be reading a classic, but that's mine. :)

May 23, 2007, 9:13 pm

Decided to try out listening to an audio book on my walk to school, à la the Smurthwaitesian school of thought. Chose George Orwell's 1984, because apparently it's a big deal, and will most likely start on it tomorrow, so we'll see how it goes!

May 24, 2007, 12:44 am

#29 Mr-Dustin - LOL! I like the idea of a Smurthwaitesian school of Audio Book listeners! ;)

Which version are you listening to? The one I got was read by Frank Muller, who was a very good choice - very expressive voice. I found the whole concept of EngSoc and NewSpeak fascinating and really rather enjoyed the experience as a whole. I hope you get as much out of it as I did. :)

May 24, 2007, 7:46 am


Identifying NewSpeak in news stories and government pronouncements has become something of a small industry in this country. It's generally called political correctness, but what it is is using euphemism to blunt the harsh meaning of words. We have books from both left and right of the political spectrum bashing each other's political correctness.

When civilians are killed by misplaced bombs they are no longer civilian casualties, but collateral damage. The handicapped are no longer handicapped, but differently abled. Wars of aggression are now preemptive engagements. Changes of this sort have exactly the insidious effect on people that Orwell was pointing out.

I prefer people call a spade a spade, this means to say what you mean in plain words, don't sugar coat it or dress it up in softer language.

May 24, 2007, 8:50 pm

Kell, I also have the Frank Muller version. I was canoing today so I did not get a chance to start it, so hopefully tomorrow!

May 29, 2007, 12:46 am

Well, I finished Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte last night and have to say I adored it! I'll now be moving, very fittingly, I think, on to The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde...

May 30, 2007, 11:38 pm

Well, the audio book experiment failed miserably, there is just too much traffic on my route to be able to listen to anything. But I did enjoy the bits and pieces I managed to partially hear.

As for actual reading, read Orwell's Animal Farm yesterday for an essay in English I have to write. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will hopefully finish up Lolita soon:P

May 31, 2007, 2:44 pm

Next up for me is The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger...

Jun 1, 2007, 11:32 am

Well, I'm off sick at the moment, so what do I do but devour books at a rate of knots? I finished The Catcher in the Rye this morning, then swiftly moved onto the book my lovely hubby brought home to cheer me up - Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klaus. It didn't last long - I read it all in a single sitting - a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.

Next I'll be reading a modern classic of the horror genre - Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levine. I adore the film starring Mia Farrow, and it will be interesting to see how faithful it was to the book...

Jun 2, 2007, 10:56 am

Rosemary's Baby was excellent. Now I'm hoping that my next choice, Disgrace by J M Coetzee will be as good!

Edited: Jun 18, 2007, 2:18 am

With a weekend excursion to The Pas, Manitoba, I finished Lolita (and as soon as I finish this post I shall watch the Stanly Kubrick version of the screenplay), and started Life After Death: the Burden of Proof by Deepak Chopra on the way back.

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Jun 6, 2007, 12:45 am

Starting two new ones today - The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Audio Book) and The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood, which is rather chunky, so I'll probably be reading it for some time!

Jun 6, 2007, 3:49 am

I am reading Salt by Mark Kurlansky, an exceptionally good look at the history of one of the world's major currencies...

and The Pornographer of Vienna by Lewis Crofts, a spell-binding novel on Viennese decadent art and the lives of tearaway artists...

and Fragments by Binjamin Wilkomirski, a controversial memoir of a young boy's time in Nazi camps which has subsequently been unveiled as - perhaps - fraudulent....

and On chesil Beach by Ian McEwan, a look at the tension of sexual love...

Jun 7, 2007, 2:07 pm

I'll also be starting The Thief of Always by Clive Barker tonight as it arrived today. It's the Book Club Forum reading circle choice for June and I've been waiting for it for two whole weeks, so I'm dying to get into it!

Jun 8, 2007, 6:25 am

That's interesting. I read the Bell Jar recently and loved it. I thought it was really oppressive and captured how I presume mental illness to be. It cis very indulgent, however. I also thought Sylvia Plath really opened up the field for women's writing with that book.

What was it that you didn't like, Kell?

Jun 8, 2007, 2:26 pm

#42 cmcdonald - It just felt so cold and clinical and constantly contradictory - I didn't feel I could relate to the narrator at all, despite having suffered from depression myself (albeit mildly by comparison). I didn't like her writing style - it was too poetic for me (I'm not a poetry fan at all). I think, above all, it was over-hyped for me - I've heard so many people raving about how wonderful The Bell Jar is that I perhaps expected too much of it. I can appreciate that for its time it was ground-breaking and incredibly brave, but if it were to be published today, i really do believe it would have lost most of its impact. Similarly, if Plath hadn't committed suicide so dramatically, I don't think it would have had quite the same amount of sticking power.

Jun 10, 2007, 4:49 am

Finished The Hound of the Baskervilles yesterday whilst wandering around town, so I'll be listening to Vanity Fair by W M Thackeray next. I'll probably start it tomorrow on my way to work.

Jun 14, 2007, 1:03 am

Changed my mind and listened to The Legend of Sleepy hollow by Washington Irving instead (which was excellent. Have now moved onto Carmilla by J. Sheridan LeFanu (which is said to have inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula!)

Jun 15, 2007, 4:22 pm

Finally finished The Robber Bride, so next up is The Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell. It's the first in the Kurt Wallander mysteries series by this Swedish author and he's completely new to me...

Edited: Jul 27, 2007, 4:09 am

Life After Death: the Burden of Proof:done.
Sacred Games:A Novel by Vikram Chandra:started.

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Jun 18, 2007, 4:40 pm

Started a new classic audio books this morning - The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Also, continuing with a Swedish theme this week, I'm re-visiting a childhood favourite of mine, Ronia, The Robber's Daughter by Astrid Lindgren.

Jun 20, 2007, 2:00 pm

Ronia was every bit as good as I remembered. :) Am now starting a book by an author who is new to me - Follow Me Down by Julie Hearn...

Edited: Jun 24, 2007, 6:14 am

Been doing a fair bit of reading lately! I started reading The English Patient by Michael Ondatje, but I just couldn't get into it and have abandoned it for the time being.

Last night I read The Plucker: A Graphic Novel by Brom which was superb - sublime illustrations and a cracking story - highly recommended!

Today I'll be reading a lovely little book I borrowed froma buddy - The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry.

Jun 26, 2007, 12:12 pm

Have since finished reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum and am about to start The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy. June has been a very good month, reading-wise, for me!

Jun 28, 2007, 12:45 am

I'm starting another audio book today - Candide by Voltaire.

Jul 2, 2007, 1:18 pm

I couldn't finish Candide - it was so much twaddle that I got heartily fed up with it and quit after 13 chapters - I hated it that much!

Also finally finished slogging through The Black Dahlia, which singularly failed to impress me. Everyone I spoke to about it seemed to say the same thing - "Once you get passed the boxing stuff, it's really good, but graphic." I felt the complete opposite - I LOVED the boxing stuff and everything after it was complete rubbish. Not only that, but I didn't find it nearly so graphic as everyone said (I must just read really gruesome crime fiction!). It was nowhere near as graphic as any of Stuart MacBride's stuff, or such fare as The Rosary Girls by Richard Montanari. I also found Ellroy's style highly annoying - very slap-dash and all over the place. I'll not be reading any more of his stuff, that's for sure!

I'm now moving onto something completely different - this month's reading circle choice at The Book Club Forum is Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence. I'm rather looking forward to it!

Jul 2, 2007, 3:38 pm

I bought and started reading Shantaram two days ago and started rereading the Hobbit

Jul 10, 2007, 12:48 pm

I really enjoyed Lady Chatterley's Lover and will definitely read more of D H Lawrence's work in the future!

At the end of last year, I re-read The Snow Spider by Jenny Nimmo, so I'm now following that up by reading the sequels that complete the trilogy - Emlyn's Moon and The Chestnut Soldier. So far, so good!

I'm also listening to another librivox audio book - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain, which is, so far, pretty funny!

Jul 12, 2007, 5:58 pm

Am now moving onto Dracula by Bram Stoker for the comparative reading circle at The Book Club Forum - we're comparing it to Carmilla by J Sheridan LeFanu which I recently read via audio book download from Librivox. I read Dracula years and years ago, so I thought I'd refresh my memory!

Jul 20, 2007, 1:59 pm

I loved every second of Dracula - it's every bit as wonderful as I remembered.

Am now moving onto The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark. The reason for my choice at this time is that it's short and I'm picking up the new Harry Potter book tomorrow and want to get onto it as soon as possible!

Jul 23, 2007, 1:07 pm

I've abandoned Miss Jean Brodie in favour of the new Harry Potter book - i simply couldn't wait to start. However, we had visitors all weekend, so I'm barely even half-way through it at this point, as I had to go to work today too!

Jul 24, 2007, 5:28 pm

Just don't fancy returning to Miss Jean Brodie at the moment, so I've decided to try The Woman and the Ape by Peter Høeg instead.

Jul 24, 2007, 9:34 pm

Ever feel like this is your own private thread? Im currently reading Passage through Armageddon a history of the Russians at war from 1914 through 1918. You will probably read 10 books before I finish this one.

If England is getting a lot of rain are you, too?

Jul 24, 2007, 10:09 pm

Jul 25, 2007, 5:07 pm

LOL - yes, I've been wondering where everyone else is! Scotland has been getting dismal weather - while the rest of Europe is getting July, we're getting November!

I started listening to another audio book on my way to work today - The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar by Maurice LeBlanc. So far I'm very much enjoying it!

Edited: Aug 18, 2007, 5:51 pm

After languorously putting along through Sacred Games for the past few weeks, I powered through to the end and have thus decided to whittle away my growing pile of books via reading them in order of least number of pages.
But first, I will be reading my Robert Louis Stevenson compendium The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Stories. Although it has more pages than some of the other books, it is about 4" X 6" and has a distinct fewer words per page than most books and should go by fairly quickly.

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Jul 27, 2007, 5:11 pm

Enjoy the Robert Louis Stevenson - I recently listened to an audio book of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and found it very entertaining.

I've finished The Woman and the Ape, which was rather unusual - touching and interesting too. If you're looking for something light but a bit different, it might be worth giving this one a try. Hoeg's style is very readable.

I think I'll try returning to The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie now that I've had a brief break into pure fantasy!

Aug 1, 2007, 1:48 am

Well, I loved Arsene Lupin, thought The Woman and the Ape was OK, but nothing special, and was severely disappointed by Miss Jean Brodie.

I'm now moving onto a book I've borrowed from a buddy - The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.

Aug 1, 2007, 10:17 am

I just finished Hard Times by Charles Dickens and have also added two books from book reading groups, Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens for the What the Dickens Group and God's Politics by Jim Wallis for the Go Review that Book group. I've read Wallis's book before and am just planning to skim it to refresh my thoughts concerning it, then write the review.

I'm still reading Passage through Armageddon.

Aug 1, 2007, 12:30 pm

I've started listening to another Librivox recording - this time of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. Their Austen recordings tend to be pretty good. :)

Aug 16, 2007, 5:43 am

While on holiday I read:

Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

Am now reading The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards.

Edited: Aug 22, 2007, 7:48 pm


...Yeah, I'm reading Frankenstein

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Aug 22, 2007, 3:42 pm

The memory Keeper's Daughter was one of the most touching books I've read in a very long time - well worth giving it a go, even if it's not what would usually attract you.

Next I'll be reading Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, as it's the Posh Club choice for this month and the meeting is next Tuesday, so I'd better get a move on!

Edited: Sep 10, 2007, 7:42 pm

I enjoyed Frankenstein a fair bit once I found the right "reading voice", and now I am on to Dracula BLAH!

Currently on page: One, a-ha-ha-ha-ha, two, a-ha-ha-ha-ha, three, a-ha-ha-ha-ha....What no room for Sesame Street references on LibraryThing?
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Aug 22, 2007, 11:28 pm

What do you mean by "reading voice"?

Aug 23, 2007, 12:22 am

I mean the general pace and rhythm of one's self-narration based on the author's writing style. Earlier on I found I wasn't reading the book how it was meant to be read but clumsily glossing over much of what I'm sure was meant to have emphasis placed on it, but once I became accustomed to the style of writing I was able to see all of what the author contrived for me to see.

Doesn't it ever happen to you with some books that in the beginning you stumble around the page but by the end of it every word seems to drip imagery and emotion?

Aug 23, 2007, 1:26 pm

Yes, I often find that - I never used to be able to get a handle on classics, but now I'm finding that I have a bit of a thing for Jane Austen - I "get" her "reading voice" and seem to be able to tune into her humour, whereas I never could before - and incidentally, i really didn't think much of Emma, which is often listed as a favourite Austen by her fans - I believe it's largely down to the fact that she was completely new to me and I hadn't attuned to her style. However, when I listened to an audio book of Northanger Abbey, I was very lucky in that those reading it (from Librivox) really "got" where Austen was coming from and made it a wonderful experience. Consequently, it's so far my favourite of her books!

Aug 23, 2007, 1:45 pm

Yes, I suppose so. There are some books that I start with & I know I'm just not in the space for them at the time. For example, when I first tried to read Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro maybe a year ago, there was something that turned me off, but I tried again last week and found it to be a page-turner. I tried to read Money by Martin Amis and The Eyre Affair about six months ago & they just weren't going, but I'll try them again at some point. It took me awhile to get into Pride and Prejudice, but then I really liked it. I guess I'm a little finicky. I've never thought about this stuff in terms of a reading voice, though.

Aug 23, 2007, 2:41 pm

I think you'll appreciate The Eyre Affair more if you've read Jane Eyre (which is well worth reading even if you DON'T follow it with the Jasper Fforde!). I purposely help off reading The Eyre Affair till I had and I think it really made that book for me. I recently read the sequal and have the next two in the series waiting to be read too...

Aug 30, 2007, 5:57 pm

Nest up is Lovely Green Eyes by Arnost Lustig:

Fifteen-year-old Hanka Kaudersova has ginger hair and clear, green eyes. When her family is deported to Auschwitz, her mother, father and younger brother are sent to the gas chamber. By a twist of fate, Hanka is faced with a simple alternative: follow her family, or work in as SS brothel behind the eastern front. She chooses to live, her Aryan looks allowing her to disguise the fact that she is Jewish. As the German army retreats from the Russian front, Hanka battles cold, hunger, fear and shame, sustained by her hatred for the men she entertains, her friendship with the mysterious Estelle, and her fierce, burning desire for life. Lovely Green Eyes explores the compromises and sacrifices that an individual may make in order to survive, the way a woman can retain her identity in the face of appalling trauma, and the value of human life itself. This is a remarkable novel, which soars beyond nightmare, leaving the reader with a transcendent sense of hope.

Edited: Aug 30, 2007, 6:44 pm

Sounds pretty intense, like a combination of The Diary of Anne Frank and Sophie's Choice and The Crimson Petal and the White.

Re #76: I have read JE and am very much enjoying The Eyre Affair so far. I don't know why I didn't get into the first time I tried to read it. Different space, I guess. I think I might do a reread of JE, though. Sometimes a classic can give you a totally different experience years (and years) later. It's probably been at least 15 years. Or maybe I'll read Wuthering Heights, which I never have.

Sep 7, 2007, 1:58 am

Another Time and Place by Samantha Grosser
England 1944. A chance meeting changes two people's lives forever. Drinking coffee in a tea room on a 72-hour pass, young American pilot Tom Blake watches a woman who is waiting for a friend. He isn't looking for love, but seeing Anna Pilgrim on this cold winter afternoon changes everything. So begins a passionate affair. Their happiness does not last. Shot down over Europe, wounded, in hiding, Tom has no way of telling Anna he is alive. And Anna, left waiting in England, has no way of finding out. Separated by the war, they have only the strength of their love and their memories to connect them. When Anna discovers she is pregnant, she must face the gossip of others and the wrath of her bitter and manipulative mother. Weeks, then months pass without news, and she begins to lose hope. How can she know that Tom is struggling to return to her? Or that the thought of being with her again is all that keeps him going on the long and arduous journey home? Interwoven with the brutality and danger of Tom's fight to survive is the story of Anna's own struggle to face the uncertainty of waiting. Set vividly against the hardship and horror of the Second World War, Another Time And Place is at once a compelling love story, an enthralling adventure and a moving depiction of the resilience of the human spirit.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (audio book)
'Shoot all the Bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a Mockingbird.' A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel - a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man's struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much...

Sep 7, 2007, 2:54 pm

Hello, fellow Literati! I find myself in the midst of a few books:

Jane Eyre - inspired by a recent reading of The Eyre Affair. It's been so long since I read JE it's like new.

Write Away - Elizabeth George. One of my very favorite mystery authors describes her writing process with lots of useful suggestions for the novice novelist (that would be me).

Bonjour Tristesse - Francoise Sagan. A teenage girl spends the summer in the Mediterranean with her playboy father who seems to have fallen for one woman. She doesn't like this because it interrupts her carefree existence with Papa, and, according to the back cover, a cruel game ensues. Oh, and she meets a boy.

I also have a few books of poetry that I have been reading slowly: T.S. Eliot, Anne Sexton and Ted Hughes. I'll probably finish the Eliot in the next few weeks and put the Hughes away because the emotions it evokes are not pleasant. The Anne Sexton is pretty thick, so I'll probably be reading it for awhile. I'm always kind of reading Les Fleurs du Mal and I don't expect that I'll finish it anytime this decade, so I don't think that one counts.

Edited: Sep 7, 2007, 5:23 pm

Another Time and Place was excellent - I highly recommend it! (can anyone tell me why, when I try to touchstone Another time and Place, it tries to link me to Treasure Island? LOL!).

Next up is The Graduate by Charles Webb:
Synopsis (from book cover):
"For twenty-one years I have been shuffling back and forth between classrooms and libraries. Now you tell me what the hell it's got me."

That's how Benjamin Braddock talked when he came down from university. Somehow it didn't seem to be what his father expected from a college education. And everyone was really appalled when Ben raped Mrs. Robinson (that was her story anyway) and ran off with her daughter in the middle of her wedding to someone else...

A brilliantly sordid tale of a man's search for identity and a portrayal of the worst-behaved yet most sympathetic anti-hero of the day.

Sep 8, 2007, 8:26 pm

It's been a busy reading time for me - I have about an hour on public transportation each day, so if I am not too tired, I get a lot done.

Recently I've finished:

Angelica by Arthur Phillips, which I really enjoyed - unreliable narrators and shifting perspectives are my weaknesses.

The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells, which I basically picked up because it was short and I didn't know where to go after the wonders of Angelica.

The Intellectual Devotional: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education, and Roam Confidently with the Cultured Class - which was really fun. I've been reading it here and there since receiving it as a gift last Xmas. It contains page-long entries (which are meant to be consumed once a day over the course of a year, but I couldn't hold myself to that schedule) on topics relating to science, religion, literature, art, and history. I learned a lot of little tidbits that whet my appetite to learn more about many areas of knowledge, so I guess it worked! I just bought this book for my dad for his birthday - I know he will love it.

Blindness by Jose Saramago as part of my reading around the world challenge. An entire city is suddenly struck down with an epidemic of blindness and society kind of collapses and reconstitutes itself. I 'enjoyed' it, in the sense that I thought it was well-written, intriguing premise, played out in an interesting way. It was rather harrowing - not for the faint of heart - and made me reflect a lot on the fragility of social norms & morals. I'll not say more for fear of spoilers.

I also found the text of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" online and read that again, since it came up a number of times in a non-fiction book about women, medicine, and social norms that I finished in August.

Now I am working on a number of books, fiction and non-fiction. Palestine, a graphic novel by Joe Sacco, trying to wrap up two volumes of short stories by Ghassan Kanafani that I started reading almost a year ago - Palestine's Children: Returning to Haifa & Other Stories and Men in the Sun and other Palestinian Stories, reading bits of David Crystal's How Language Works: How Babies Babble, Words Change Meaning, and Languages Live or Die each day (it is set up kind of like and encyclopedia, with each entry addressing a separate issue concerning language). I am planning to start Haruki Murakami's After Dark tomorrow, since it just came into the library for me!

Sep 9, 2007, 1:28 am

I started War and Peace figuring I would push my way through it, but after a quick 250 pages it's not intimidating at all. The character descriptions are incredible and I find myself looking at interesting characters on the street and thinking, how might Tolstoy have described them? I guess I was expecting something similar to Dostoyevsky, who I found difficult, but so far it's smooth sailing.

Today I was restless and went to a nice, overflowing used bookstore where there are few set prices on books, and the more you buy, the better the deal. The owner just looks at what you bring up and ballparks it, inevitably to your advantage as the place is stacked floor to ceiling with books and they need to make room. One of my finds was The Anatomy of the Novel, which so far is very interesting. It's sort of a short pseudo-textbook about the history of the novel and how to read critically. It's pretty short, so I'll be using it as rest stops in War and Peace.

Sep 9, 2007, 10:34 am

Moving onto a short classic next - The Time Machine by H. G. Wells:

When a Victorian scientist propels himself into the year 802,701 AD, he is initially delighted to find that suffering has been replaced by beauty, contentment and peace. Entranced at first by the Eloi, an elfin species descended from man, he soon realises that this beautiful people are simply remnants of a once-great culture now weak and childishly afraid of the dark. They have every reason to be afraid: in deep tunnels beneath their paradise lurks another race descended from humanity the sinister Morlocks. And when the scientist's time machine vanishes, it becomes clear he must search these tunnels, if he is ever to return to his own era.

Edited: Oct 25, 2007, 10:07 pm

Dracula hath been vanquished, and I am now done with literature and fiction for a while and am looking forward to my sea-faring non-fiction set of TBR books, starting with...
Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto

Currently on page:
428 / 428

Sep 10, 2007, 9:47 pm

Just finished Haruki Murakami's After Dark. I enjoyed it but I'm still digesting it at this point. It was a really fast read - about two hours, I'd say - so I may read it again in a week or so, since I'm not quite sure what to think of it. Tomorrow I'll be picking up Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale, which I'm excited for - I've been in a creepy mood lately, so I think it will fit.

Sep 12, 2007, 1:48 am

#85 Mr Dustin - What did you think of Dracula? Did you enjoy it? I'm dying to know your thoughts on it! I recently read it as part of a reading circle and it has proven very popular. :)

I'm moving onto a dark and brooding, sweeping romantic classic next - Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte:

The saga of two Yorkshire families in the remote Pennine Hills. Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before: of the intense passion between the foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, and her betrayal of him. As Heathcliff's bitterness and vengeance is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past. The book has been interpreted as an historical romance, a ghostly thriller, a psychological love-story, a religious allegory and a nature poem. This is the author's only novel.

Sep 12, 2007, 2:43 am

I really enjoyed Dracula, I agree with the sentiments about it being a better narrative than Frankenstein. I can't really put my thoughts into words right now, so I'll probably come back and edit this when I can, but all and all I thought it was very good!

Sep 13, 2007, 5:32 pm

Recently read Breakfast of Champions (funny but a bit heavy-handed), V (mind-blowing), Confessions of a Justified Sinner (very cool), Fiesta (made me want to drink heavily) and the poems of Leopardi (terrible, but I suspect I have a bad translation).

Next up is Conrad's Victory. This'll be the fifth Conrad I've read this year and he hasn't let me down yet.

Sep 13, 2007, 9:04 pm

Nothing very literary at all - Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island, a weird and not-yet-very-creepy mystery that I was told I should read by my guests. We'll see how it goes - its a fast read - I read 100 pages on my bus ride home tonight!

Edited: Sep 16, 2007, 6:43 am

I loved Wuthering Heights - it was every bit as wonderful as I had expected it to be!

Next up is a short book I picked up in town for 99p yesterday - Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman:
Shawn has cerebral palsy: highly intelligent, he has no control whatsoever over his body or its functions. His eyes wander or settle without control. His mouth, tongue, swallowing muscles all have a life of their own. No act of will by Shawn can affect anything he does or anything that happens to him. Yet Shawn's mental life is full of dreams and hopes and love and appreciation of all that is around him - music he happens to hear, things and people that happen to cross his line of vision. Then Shawn begins to fear that his father - from despair at Shawn's condition and believing that Shawn has no life, and never can have, is no more than a vegetable, and never will be - is planning the unthinkable - to put him out of his misery - to kill him...

Terry Trueman was born in Alabama and has been writing since he was seventeen. 'Stuck in Neutral', Terry's first novel, is based very loosely on experiences related to the birth of his first son, Henry Sheehan McDaniel Trueman. Terry lives in Spokane, Washington, with his second son, Jesse. In addition to writing, he teaches college English classes on live television. 'Stuck in Neutral' was a Michael L. Printz Honor book in 2001.

Sep 16, 2007, 11:46 am

Wow, Kell, you really go for those emotional punches, hmm? I used to, but the past few years I find myself avoiding anything that promises to break my heart. I don't think I have the strength. For example, I'll put off The Year of Magical Thinking for several years I expect.

Sep 16, 2007, 3:27 pm

Stuck in Neutral turned out to be one of the best reads of the year for me! Completely inspirational and not at all depressing and certainly didn't break my heart - read it, please do! It's one of the most surprisingly up-beat books I've ever read!

Next up is a book I've borrowed from a friend as part of a book ring (I'll be passing it on to another member of our book group after I'm done) - The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd:
Lily has grown up believing she accidentally killed her mother when she was four. She not only has her own memory of holding the gun, but her father's account of the event. Now fourteen, she yeams for her mother, and for forgiveness. Living on a peach farm in South Carolina with her father, she has only one friend: Rosaleen, a black servant whose sharp exterior hides a tender heart. South Carolina in the sixties is a place where segregation is still considered a cause worth fighting for. When racial tension explodes one summer afternoon, and Rosaleen is arrested and beaten, Lily is compelled to act. Fugitives from justice and from Lily's harsh and unyielding father, they follow a trail left by the woman who died ten years before. Finding sanctuary in the home of three beekeeping sisters, Lily starts a journey as much about her understanding of the world, as about the mystery surrounding her mother.

Edited: Sep 17, 2007, 7:48 pm

I have started Wuthering Heights, which I've never read. I just finished Jane Eyre, so I am interested in how the sisters' writing differs and jumping immediately into WH should give me a great perspective.

Kell, I will now begin to attempt to put my mind around the idea of reading Stuck in Neutral. I tell ya, I'm a scaredy cat these days when it comes to that stuff. (I think it might be a neurosis. Drat! Not another one!) But I'd hate to be missing out on great books because of it. I know! I'll go to Amazon and flip through the pages. Step one.

Edited to include this:

I flipped through the pages; I read the first several. I liked it. Turns out I do like green eggs and ham. Stuck in Neutral can join the other 27 million books in my TBR pile.

Sep 18, 2007, 1:46 am

Glad to hear you're going to give Stuck in Neutral a go, Citygirl - I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It's one of the most surprisingly good books I've read this year - I wasn't expecting much from it (especially as I got it for only 99p and I'd never heard of it or the author), but I really loved it. I'll be looking out for more books by this author.

I'm also working my way through the three Bronte sisters - I recently read Jane Eyre, just finished Wuthering Heights and will be reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall next month. I purposely suggested comparing the three on another book forum so i would be kick-started into actually reading them. ;)

Hope you enjoy Wuthering Heights!

Sep 18, 2007, 4:13 am

I'm rereading Pendennis by Thackeray. I jumped back to nineteenth century realism, as a rest from 20th century angst and various European tragedies by Leo Perutz.

Sep 18, 2007, 11:42 am

I'd never heard of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, but after reading a few LT reviews, it sounds intriguing. I read Agnes Grey when I was a teenager and found it rather anemic. I'll wait to hear how you like it.

(What's up with touchstones?)

Sep 19, 2007, 12:09 pm

After rather enjoying The Secret Life of Bees, i'm now going to try something completely different and read The Sooterkin by Tom Gilling:
On a squally afternoon in the winter of 1821, Sarah Dyer gives birth to the strangest child ever seen in Tasmania, a thing more seal than human. The pup is a joy to its parents and a welcome companion to their nine-year-old son, Ned, who discovers surprising and profitable talents in his whiskery brother. But when a well-dressed stranger arrives bearing a modest proposal for the infant's future, no one foresees the trouble that lies ahead. A fantastical story in the tradition of Peter Carey, roundly praised by the critics and already an international bestseller.

Edited: Sep 20, 2007, 12:29 am

Having just finished The Company of Strangers, I am fast becoming a fan of Ian McEwan. Now I have started Salt Rain by Sarah Armstrong, not too sure about it yet. The Sooterkin sounds fascinating. Another addition to my list!

Sep 20, 2007, 3:02 am

100 posts in this topic, woo!

Sep 20, 2007, 12:27 pm

Mr. Dustin, you should do something special for Kell. She pretty much singlehandedly kept this group alive for several months until it really caught on.

Sep 20, 2007, 12:45 pm

I've finished The Assistant by Malamud, which was decent enough with great Jewish-American dialogue and a classic antihero, but didn't exactly leave me wanting more.

Now I'm reading Singular Rebellion by Saiichi Maruya, a dark-comic 1972 tale of a salaryman whose grandmother-in-law is a murderess, and Hunger by Knut Hamsun, in which the starving narrator has pseudo-divine visions on the streets of Norway's capital. I'm 1/4 of the way through both and I already know I'm going to effing love them.

Sep 20, 2007, 3:27 pm

#101 geneg
Mr. Dustin, you should do something special for Kell. She pretty much singlehandedly kept this group alive for several months until it really caught on.

LOL - Mr. Dustin started up this group - that's more than enough for me! ;) I just like hanging out here is all...

Decided to abandon the Sooterkin as it wasn't holding my attention on account of it sucking abominably (at least, that's my own opinion).

Have decided, instead, to read The Dumas Club by Arturo Pérez-Reverte:
In the world of rare books everything has its price. But when the book is a satanic tract, the currency is not money but life. A well-know bibliophile is found hanged days after selling a rare manuscript of Alexander Dumas's classic, The Three Musketeers. Across Madrid, Spain's wealthiest book dealer has finally laid his hands on a 17th-century manual for summoning the devil. Lucas Corso, solitary and obsessive, is the detective hired to authenticate both texts. But the further he follows the trail of devil worship, the more it leads him back to Dumas. He's the unwitting protagonist in someone's evil plot, but is he sleuth or hero, Sherlock Holmes or d'Artagnan?

Edited: Sep 21, 2007, 9:10 pm

I'm rereading Pendennis which I only recently realized was a slightly camouflaged autobiography. It's a change from 20th century european angst.
charming hero, sweet heroine, kind mother, success, happy ending!!!!!!!!!It should happen to everyone.
I have just ordered a bunch of Thomas Bernhard so my next set of books are back to european angst with a vengeance. The only copy of Concrete that i could find was in the fifty dollar range. I wonder why?Does anyone have an extra copy or one they would be willing to lend?

Sep 20, 2007, 7:58 pm

I'm reading The Lives of Rocks, a short story collection by Rick Bass. Who reads short stories these days?

Sep 21, 2007, 8:58 pm

Just finished The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, which I really, really liked. I am such a fan of Ishiguro's understated, low-key style. I also love how his characters are completely "in-character." They always behave exactly as they should, even when that means that the book lacks some dramatic moment when everything changes.

I think I'm reading The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield next.

Sep 22, 2007, 12:52 pm

I've started Tales of the City - Armistead Maupin and am loving it! It's hye-larious. (As Ross Perot used to say, well probably still does. He's still alive, right?). It's fun to try to picture San Francisco in the 70s. The outfits alone!

The Dumas Club sounds interesting, Kell. I love finding out what you're reading.

Edited: Sep 22, 2007, 5:14 pm

Thanks, Citygirl - I do tend to hit quite lucky a lot of the time. I realised a few pages in that The Dumas Club was made into the film The Ninth Gate, starring Johnny Depp, which I've seen a couple of times (and actually have at home on DVD!) and really enjoyed. So far though, it's proving far more in-depth (or should that be in-Depp? LOL!) than the film, which is only to be expected, and I'm enjoying it so far.

I've also started my re-read of The Stand: The complete and uncut edition by Stephen King, as a bunch of us at The Book Club Forum are all reading it together.
This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defence Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.

And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides - or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail - and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.

Stephen King's best book is now even better. When The Stand was first published in 1978, 150,000 words were cut from the manuscript. With this new edition, those words are restored, providing new characters, a greater depth of characterization, and a new, expanded ending.

Sep 27, 2007, 9:46 am

Reading Turlupin by Leo Perutz translated from the german, about an attempt to assasinate the king of france by cardinal richelieu that was foiled by a barber named Turlupin. I am reading my way through Perutz and have only a few left to go.
Also just finished What I Saw, a collection of journalism about Berlin in the twenties, by Joseph Roth, one of my heroes.

Sep 28, 2007, 4:30 pm

Read some of Correction by Thomas Bernhard, which was very confusing. Switched to a few novellas by Arno Schmidt, which were also confusing and decided to give my brain a rest with a book about Charles Darwin's voyage on the Beagle, by Irving Stone.

Oct 1, 2007, 2:02 am

Well, it took me the full week to read The Stand, but it was well-worth re-reading it!

Am now moving onto The Messenger by Andrew E. Shipley (which I'm reviewing for the author via TCM):

Is U.S. Senator Peters a prophet, a fraud, neither, both? Senator Peters vaults to worldwide fame and political prominence after his first speech from the Senate floor. According to Senator Peters, he delivered his speech in English, but according to amazed listeners from around the world, he could be understood by all who heard it, no matter what their language. When the 'tongues' phenomenon recurs, several parties, ranging from a political power broker to a Catholic Archbishop, seek to appropriate the apparent miracles for their own purposes. As Peters exploits his newfound fame to propel his career to heights beyond those he had ever dreamed possible, two men following different trains of thought reach an identical conclusion: the Senator must die. Meanwhile, a centuries old society known as the Order of Mani keeps watch. The Order believes that it alone holds the secret to the Messenger's true purpose, and it is determined to stop it.

I'll also begin listening to an audio book of Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift (from Librivox) on my way to work:

'Thus, gentle Reader, I have given thee a faithful History of my Travels for Sixteen Years, and above Seven Months; wherein I have not been so studious of Ornament as of Truth.' In these words Gulliver represents himself as a reliable reporter of the fantastic adventures he has just set down; but how far can we rely on a narrator whose identity is elusive and whoses inventiveness is self-evident? Gulliver's Travels purports to be a travel book, and describes Gulliver's encounters with the inhabitants of four extraordinary places: Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Laputa, and the country of the Houyhnhnms. A consummately skilful blend of fantasy and realism makes Gulliver's Travels by turns hilarious, frightening, and profound. Swift plays tricks on us, and delivers one of the world's most disturbing satires of the human condition.

Oct 1, 2007, 12:28 pm

Finished Tales of the City and now am onto Lost in a Good Book - Jasper Fforde.

Oct 2, 2007, 1:35 pm

CityGirl, what did you think of Tales of the City? I liked it enough, but it was lighter than I was expecting I guess... and those three page chapters...

Anyway, I'm working my way through Conn Iggulden's Emperor series. I loved The Gates of Rome and and working my through The Death of Kings. Good stuff if you don't mind your historical fiction being so fictional.

Oct 2, 2007, 5:24 pm

Reread Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks about wwi in France. A great book imho.

Edited: Oct 2, 2007, 6:27 pm

jseger, re Tales of the City I, too, was surprised by the light tone (until the end, when things got kind of heavy) and all the switching around between character perspectives. I thought the best thing about it was that it captured a moment in history in a very distinctive place, and actually I'm interested to see if that continues in the series, how far along does it go, timewise? Do we get a picture of the 80s and the 90s? And as a newcomer to the area, it's interesting to me to note what's changed and what's stayed the same, socially and culturally and geographically(?).

The chapters are so short because Maupin originally published the novel in snippets, in I can't remember which newspaper, maybe the Chronicle.

(Irony: touchstone for this gay-friendly book by a gay man comes up as some other book by Orson Scott Card.)

Oct 2, 2007, 6:30 pm

Today I read the Epic of Gilgamesh, a few days ago I finished A Feast for Crows, and now I'm taking a book break (!!!!) by listening to Escape Pod's archive of sci-fi/fantasy short stories.

Oct 2, 2007, 6:32 pm

fleela, what's a book break? *feigns innocence* Are you telling us that you are actually not reading a book???

Oct 2, 2007, 6:34 pm

Well, I guess it's not a true break as I'm still reading On the Origin of Species and The Annotated Hobbit, but I'm not going to start anything new until I catch up on the Escape Pod podcasts.

Oct 2, 2007, 6:37 pm

Whew! That was close. I was about to organize an intervention. ;-)

Edited: Oct 2, 2007, 7:30 pm

I'm on a bit of a book binge at the moment, so I'm juggling several books.

In the mornings I'm reading The Crying of Lot 49. Well, I just started today and got through the first chapter.

I've got the audiobook of Freakonomics for my daily commute.

At lunch, I'm working on The Name of the Rose.

At night, I've been reading Solaris and Punktown. (The latter is short stories, so it's nice to read some Solaris and then read Punktown for instant gratification.)

I have considered if I wouldn't be better off just reading one book at a time, but I find myself always falling into the pattern of reading multiple books. I don't know how much of that is general ADD and how much is the convenience of not having to keep track of a book. (Just leave in my breakfast nook, cubicle, bedside table, etc.)

Oct 3, 2007, 9:39 am


I understand about why the chapters were each three pages. I got used to it after a while. You hit the nail on the head about it capturing a moment.

When I finished it, I enjoyed it, but not enough to follow it up with More Tales of the City. But now I'm noticing that just discussing this with you (and watching Zodiac) I've been thinking about picking the next book up.

(BTW: I know it's TERRIBLE of me, but knowing about Orson Scott Card has kept me from reading any of his books. I've had Ender's Game for months and Seventh Son even longer, but can't seem to take them off my TBR pile. I guess now that I've admitted it, I should rectify that.)

Oct 3, 2007, 11:35 am

having some fun rereading Muriel Spark and Mary Wesley. Finished Loitering with Intent (wonderful), Second Fidddle, and Not that sort of Girl (enjoyable).
Gave up on origin by Irving Stone. Too slow and dull. It was more fun reading The Voyage of the Beagle by Darwin himself. I am now rereading Wesley's Junping the Queue before I go back and tackle my new load of Arno Schmidt and Thomas bernhard.
dalkey archves has published translations of three volumes of Schmidt which I just found out about and bought. I will report from swimming in the sea of the german avant garde. Schmidt is called germany's James Joyce. I don't think anyone is gloomier than Bernhard. But he writes very very well.

Oct 3, 2007, 5:17 pm

Next up is Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold, which a very kind friend has loaned to me:

Charles Carter, dubbed Carter the Great by Houdini himself, was born into privilege but became a magician out of need: only when dazzling an audience can he defeat his fear of loneliness. But in 1920s America, the stakes are growing higher, as technology and the cinema challenge the allure of magic and Carter's stunts become increasingly audacious. Until the night, President Harding takes part in Carter's act only to die two hours later, and Carter finds himself pursued not only by the Secret Service but by a host of others desperate to discover the terrible secret they believe Harding confided in him. Seamlessly blending reality and fiction, Gold lays before us a glittering and romantic panorama of our modern world at a point of irrevocable change.

Oct 11, 2007, 10:10 am

Moving onto one of my Olympic Challenge books - The Mystic Masseur by V. S. Naipaul (who was born in Trinidad).

The Mystic Masseur tells the story of Ganesh, who at the beginning of the novel is a struggling masseur at a time when, as the narrator puts it, 'masseurs were ten a penny in Trinidad'. From failed primary school teacher and masseur to author, revered mystic and MBE, his is a journey memorable for its hilarious and bewildering success. Naipaul's clarity of style, humorous touch and powerful characterisation are all in evidence in this, his first book. Funny, touching and perceptive, this novel is a wonderful introduction for readers new to Naipaul's writing.

Oct 12, 2007, 3:42 am

Started "casually reading" my Problems of Philosophy textbook since I generally do a horrible job of actually reading a book:P

Oct 22, 2007, 1:42 am

Ended up abandoning The Mystic Masseur for the time being, as I just wasn't getting into it at all!

I have since read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte and Join me by Danny Wallace.

Am currently reading The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and will be moving onto A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon next.

Edited: Nov 29, 2007, 10:27 pm

FINALLY finished Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration, and since my TBR pile has recently grown immensely I decided to abandon my nautical theme of reading in favour of random selection.

And that random selection has chosen A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne, which I suppose does tie in with my previous book about exploration.

Currently on page:
280 / 280

Nov 1, 2007, 2:41 pm

Loved A Spot of Bother. Moved onto The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (which was excellent).

Currently listening to an audio book of Howards End by E. M. Forster (which is pretty good) and reading Brick Lane by Monica Ali (which is also pretty good so far).

Nov 5, 2007, 12:39 pm

Finished Howards End, which was pretty good. I think I'm going to give up on Brick Lane as I'm finding it rather boring after all, which is a shame after the promising start. The fact is, I'm only half-way through after 5 days - a sign that I'm avoiding the book which is a big pointer towards the fact that I'm just not getting into it at all.

I've started listening to an audio book of Lady Susan by Jane Austen, which so far isn't exactly sparkling with her usual wit, but isn't too terrible. It's also not very long, so I'll listen to the whole thing.

I have The Identity Factor by James Houston Turner to review for the author, so I think I'll move onto that one tomorrow.

Nov 5, 2007, 2:37 pm

Finishing The Coast of Utopia by Tom Stoppard which is a dramatic trilogy about the revolutionaries in the nineteenth century, centered primarily around Herzen. Marvelous, and just out in paperback in one volume.

Nov 13, 2007, 11:13 pm

I'm listening to Shadow of the Wind and reading All the Pretty Horses.

Nov 16, 2007, 1:54 pm

Currently listening to A Room with a View by E M Forster and reading Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. So far, so good for both of them!

Nov 21, 2007, 5:57 pm

Finished (and loved) Rebecca. Starting The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins next...

Nov 25, 2007, 6:18 pm

Finished listening to A Room with a View (loved it - it's so picturesque!). Also listening to Love and Freindship (sic) by Jane Austen and am about to start listening to Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I haven't got very far into The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins just yet, but I'm enjoying what I've read so far.

Nov 26, 2007, 12:09 am

reading the Loser by Thomas Bernhard about glenn gould and two other pianists. finished The ministry of special cases by nathan englander about the 'dirty war' in Argentina and For the relief of unbearable urges by englander also (stories)

Edited: Nov 26, 2007, 11:44 am

I've gotten myself into a bit of reading mess. There's Trust by Cynthia Ozick, which is lovely and brilliant and quite thick and I'm not quite sure how to describe it. I'm only about a third of the way through. My "challenge" book, which I imagine will take me several months to read, considering that, so far, it puts me to sleep, is Du cote de chez Swann - Proust (I don't know how to put the accents in). But I persevere. I will read Proust! *determined grimace* To help with my fiction writing I've got Write Away - Elizabeth George. There's Cinnamon Kiss - Walter Mosley. I really need to finish The Wasteland and Other Poems - T.S. Eliot. And American Theocracy - Kevin Phillips in preparation for my early review of American Theocracy Unmasked, which of course purports to debunk the first book ; Unmasked has not arrived, so I figure I've got time.

Help! I have got to learn the balance the light reading and the heavy reading.

Edited: Dec 26, 2007, 10:32 pm

Alright, well, I'm back!

Yeah I haven't been on here much at all (hence the complete lack of map updates) in the last couple months, or however long, because of my two new jobs. Two jobs leaves little time for reading and even less for LT, sorry guys, the vast majority of people in this group are of the middle-aged and female demographic (no surprise there, this site is pretty much just the world's biggest book club, no?).

As you have probably guessed already, I FINALLY finished my book (you're still all outpacing me with a good 4:1 or 6:1 reading ratio). It was A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne, if you don't recall, and overall I enjoyed it (but I enjoy nearly all books, so that's not saying much). It was a very light, and easy, read and I think that contributed to my slow pace of reading because it was not engaging enough to draw me to it. The characters were basic and simple with nil development, and the story was nothing more than a game of oneupmanship of "Hmm, how can I make this chapter's obligatory misadventure zanier than the last one's?" that Verne was playing with himself. Of course the "cutting-edge science" of 1864 is always entertaining, as well as the constant and blatant over-the-top sensationalism.

A serious literary effort it was not, more so a plaything for Verne's imagination; but an entertaining plaything nonetheless.

My next book that my random number generator (in this case my brother) chose for me to read is A Brief History of the Western World by Thomas H. Greer, which is awesome because I've been wanting to delve into all my history and hard fiction that I picked up at that prolific book sale.

(I think I may of used too many brackets in this post...)*

Currently on page:
63 / 664

* Maybe I'll just use asterisks like Tim does with the blag-o-blag updates.
** Btw, gimme a book, Tim!

Dec 7, 2007, 4:48 pm

Well, due to a total reading funk (my reading mojo went AWOL!), it took me quite a while to finish The Woman in White and Tarzan of the Apes, despite the fact that I really enjoyed both of them!

Today I started reading Boy A by Jonathan Trigell and listening to an audio book of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Dec 11, 2007, 4:49 pm

Started listening to Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy today.

Dec 12, 2007, 2:26 pm

French The Easy Way by Christopher Kendris & Theodore Kendris, although I'm not so much reading it as I'm working through it, what with it being a workbook and all.