The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust
A Good American by Alex George
Please let us know a bit about the book. Is it fiction or non-fiction? Why did you love or hate it? Why do you recommend it?
Breakfast at Tiffany's.
I've never read anything by Capote and I didn't want to read In Cold Blood. It seems quite different from the movie version. I was shocked to see a Blacks referred to by the N word, and an Asian man referred to as a Jap.
On the other extreme, Holly Golightly makes light of lesbian relationships and suggests that people should be allowed to marry whomever they wish, regardless of gender.
Check out "The Wicked Education of Henry Holliday"...
It's a fun read - perfect for the "holidays" - and available on Amazon.com.
I have that Murakami book on my To-Read pile, R1.
These days, besides "Gillespie and I" (which I mentioned in the previous thread), I'm tackling Christopher Hitchens' essay collection "Love, Poverty, and War" - highly recommended!
"Wolf Hall"...about Thomas Cromwell and his service to King Henry. A rough read, tons of detail but I am finding it hard to get into it. Let's just say it's not a "can't-wait-to-get-back-to-it" book.
r9 if it's any consolation, I couldn't get past about 100 pages of Wolf Hall. I really don't get the fuss on that one.
In response to R600 on the other thread, David Foster Wallace was well-regarded long before his suicide. It definitely wasn't a case of unwarranted lionization based on a tragic event. One example: in 2005, three years before his suicide, Time included INFINITE JEST in its list of the 100 best English language novels since 1923.
The Wonder Boys. Sadly, I saw the movie (which I loved). But I am still enjoying the book, even though I can't read it without constantly being reminded of the corresponding scenes in the movie.
"Check out "The Wicked Education of Henry Holliday"..."
Spare yourself. After repeated postings praising it, I broke down & bought it. I can only assume the author is the person recommending it--it gives fiction a bad name.
"Former People - The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy" by Douglas Smith. Very interesting account of the Russian Revolution. This would probably be a good book for the 1% to read.
A Perfect Time for Pandas
Like half the nation, I recently finished Gone Girl. It's the best non literary fiction book I've read in a long time. Tight, tight writing, great premise. You could tell the Gillian Flynn enjoyed the hell out of writing it.
Now I'm reading Handmaid's Tale by M. Atwood. It's one of those books I've been meaning to read forever and am finally getting around to it.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
When did referring directly to the reader go out of style? In a lot of older novels the author usually says something like "If It pleases the reader, let us now imagine...".
Lorrie Moore's recent A Gate at the Stairs has a brilliant update of 'Reader, I married him.'
That Lorrie Moore book has been on my TBR pile for a while, so may work it in soon - thanks for the info!
"Terry: My Daughter's Life and Death Struggle with Alcoholism" by George McGovern. I had meant to read it for a while and I picked it up after his recent death. It recounts how he and his family coped with their daughter's drinking problem. She was talented, loved and attractive, yet ended up freezing to death one winter night.
I recently finished the first book in a mystery series set in Southampton, NY - "The Last Refuge" by Chris Knopf. While the protagonist himself is straight, he's a loner whose (essentially) only friend is a very wealthy, gay attorney. Some nasty violence, and I didn't really "get" the attraction for the woman who becomes Sam's gf in the series, but I'm interested in reading the next book; Sam himself is NOT wealthy at all, living in a modest house his dad built after World War II.
Dr. Mary's Monkey by Hasslam. It's time I caught up and got in front of the latest conspiracy theories!
Christmas reading bump
Manhattan White Pages. I'm up to page 585.
The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
Just finished the new John Irving novel IN ONE PERSON. The main character is bisexual and also like trannies. Wasn't my favorite Irving novel but still worth a read.
I just received Jaron Lanier's "You Are Not A Gadget" via Amazon.
It was published in 2010, but warns against social media's hive-mind mentality and the internet's destruction of the middle class.
I'm working on Traci Foust's memoir "Nowhere Near Normal" about her life with OCD. I feel sorry for her family having had to deal with some of her crazy shit; they finally can't take it, so she's sent off to live at the nursing home her grandmother manages.
Also finishing up the second Sam Acquillo murder mystery "Take Two", set in the Hamptons, where he's a longtime resident of modest means among the snoots. Better than the first one, although the occasional violence I find a bit graphic. Sam's a loner, with a gay "best friend" who's a very wealthy genius attorney, as well as a straight female (non-romantic) sidekick, who's a hoot, and later gets her own spinoff books. There's a romantic angle introduced that I found awkward, but luckily the author doesn't write sex scenes, so that's implied offstage.
I loved Wolf Hall & Bring up the Bodies...once you get the language, they flow beautifully, I thought.
I wondered what made them so page-turning, and it occurred to me they're like Harry Potter for adults...but about Voldemort.
Just bought Ian McEwan's latest novel Sweet Tooth.
Can't wait to begin it but I'm currently in the middle of Thomas Hardy's Return of the Native. Last year's favorite book was his Mayor of Casterbridge.
Kitty Kelley's Unauthorized Biography of Nancy Reagan. Wow. A very entertaining eye opener.
R23, I'm always on the lookout for mysteries. But when I checked it out on Amazon, it only had 15 reviews, mostly high-star. That is a dead giveaway to the self-published novel, with reviews written by friends. I fell for one of those and it was really crap. So I put a 2 star review on and the friends all attacked me.
The good news about your mystery, though, is that it has a review from Publishers Weekly and Book List, so that makes it legitimate to me. You might want to write a review on Amazon, R23, if you liked it. Even if I don't get the book from there, I always check the reviews. I'll be reading this book and thanks.
Thanks, r11. You took the words right out of my mouth. Wallace's death was such a shock partly because he was so highly regarded.
Reading Anthony Burgess' Earthly Powers, based on Somerset Maugham and Lee Child's thriller The Enemy, because I need the contrast.
Just read and Loved Toibin's Last Testament of Mary.
R34 -- if you don't really care for the first Sam Acquillo mystery, I found the second one easier to get into, but you need the first one for the backstory. I listen to them as audiobooks; Amazon tell you the name of the publisher!
I read part of that, R33 and, after awhile it was too depressing to finish. I have found that Kitty Kelley's books have the evidence to back them up, but are slanted on the hate side. And I mean all of her books. Any of you have enemies. Think about a book written about you that included some standard stuff, but had a lot of input from your enemies. Yes, they'd be talking about things that really happened, but their view of them is skewed. Now take a famous person and there are more enemies and jealous people around them. Those are the sources for her books.
r35 please tell us a little more about Toibin's latest book about Mary.
I loved his Brooklyn and The Master. Have you read them? How did this latest one compare?
Love it that R1 was Wind-up Bird Chronicle...Murakami isn't to everyone's taste but if you like him, I can't recommend 1Q84 highly enough. Don't be daunted by the length...you will wish it was longer. Unless you aren't a Murakami fan, in which case you will hate it.
r38, I loved those Toibin books, too. This is a novella, a mere 81+ pages, narrated by Mary, who is a skeptical, observant woman not at all convinced Jesus was the son of God. She hates the zealotry of his followers, is afraid of his enemies, and tells her side of what happened at the Crucifixion. Her rendering of the death and resurrection of Lazarus is beautiful and haunting and scary. It was done as a one-woman theater piece in the UK and is supposedly coming to B'way next year starring Fiona Shaw, who would be perfect. A must-read for Toibin fans, who I think is one of our greatest living writers.
Dick Cavett's latest. He's the only guy from Nebraska I've heard of who uses the word "shan't" in conversation. He's good though.
When you post the novel you recommend, could you also say why you recommend it? Yes, I can google it, but I feel a lot more inclined to look up the title if you can tell why the book is fascinating. Thanks guys.
The Hive by Charles Burns (graphic novel)
and London Particular by Christianna Brand because I am interested in the English "Golden Age" detective story.
I just finished Sweet Tooth, which is now my favorite Ian McEwan novel.
Are Murakami's books all about people who are dead inside?
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is pretty fabulous. It was a sensation this year, and rightly so. It is ambitious and a lot of different things but above all a very sharp thriller and a terrific character study.
Shadow Tag, by Louise Erdrich. A woman discovers her husband is reading her journal, so she fabricates entries in the fake one while writing in another kept in a bank lockbox. I've only started, but it's totally heartbreaking and merciless.
Agree with R40, the Gospel of Mary was a very good book and gave an interesting perspective - Jesus as this religious zealot that his mother doesn't understand and his followers (who she considers losers) don't have his back, but try to re-write history after he dies a martyr's death.
Just got done reading "Code Name Verity" - it's actually young adult fiction (yes, a kid's book) but it's a very good book and a pretty quick read. I never read anything that smart or sophisticated when I was in high school!
r41, I agree that some of the best fiction today is for younger readers, among them the Phillip Pullmann books and John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. So much better than when I was a kid.
The Woods by Tana French
White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
A driver in Delhi kills his employer and uses his money to start a great new life in Bangalore.
"Winston Link: Life Along the Line." I am a fan of his photography.
Is White Tiger fiction r51?
1. THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED by Wally Lamb (the best book I read last year and now one of my all-time favorites).
2. IN ONE PERSON by John Irving
3. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS by Sara Gruen
4. BERTRAM COPE'S YEAR by Henry Blake Fuller
5. DROPPED NAMES by Frank Langella
6. HOT SEAT by Frank Rich
7. MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransome Riggs (another one that zoomed up to one of my all-time favorites).
8. A SEA OF WHITE IMPATIENS by Loren McLeod
9. WISHIN' AND HOPIN' by Wally Lamb (I cannot remember a book that has caused me to laugh out loud as much)
"The High Window"--Raymond Chandler. Love those mean streets of LA
Sir Thomas More. Utopia.
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
Heads in Beds, Bruce (Springsteen), and Brain on Fire.
I am proud to say that I am right now reading WAR & Peace.
Currently on Book Four...
Touching My Father's Soul: A Sherpa's Journey to the Top of Everest. Jamling T. Norgay
Thanks to the Dead Bodies on Mt. Everest, I went to my local library and looked up any book. I have a few on hold but this one was on the shelf. I only read about 50 pages of the first chapter. Norgay climbed the '96 expedition and is the son of a sherpa. First thing that got my attention was before the expedition, Norgay sought the blessing of a priest or monk (don't remember book in the car and it's cold out) about the impending expedition. These monks or priests are often asked to bless or fortell any bad luck regarding an expedition. The monk/priest told Norgay the expedition was doomed.
Over Christmas we watched the Oliver Stone movie Alexander, and it pissed me off so much, that I wanted to go back & re-read the Mary Renault trilogy.
I've finished Fire From Heaven, The Persian Boy, and I am now in the midst of Funeral Games, and I have to say that his is the saddest story I'be ever read in History.
Historical novels are a passion of mine, and Alexander is a particular favorite. I hadn't read these in 20 yrs. They still have such power, and evoke such emotions, that it lingers, it stays with you, and you feel the loss and the pain.
I'm listening to Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl" -- everyone has an opinion on it, so I wanted to see what it's all about. Great narration, but man does she ever write creepy characters!
I am about to begin Ian McEwan's latest Sweet Tooth.
Has anyone read it? Am I in for a good read?
I read the 1980 Fodor's guide to Israel. Wow. Best Fodor's I ever saw. They just don't "write" travel books anymore, they "produce" them.
Currenty reading the third in a five book series by Patricia Highsmith. I saw the film The Talented Mr.Ripley years ago, which was based on the first title.
The series follows a sociopath, Tom Ripley, through a few murders and crimes while he lives comfortably in society. Highsmith renders him somewhat sympathetically while never avoiding his amoral nature. In fact he seems to have morals at odd times. Very engrossing.
The Talented Mr. Ripley
Ripley Under Ground
The Boy Who followed Ripley
Ripley Under Water
I feel Datalounge misled me in getting me to pick up "Canada" by Richard Ford.
I'm on a Barbara Pym kick. "Excellent Women" and "Quartet in Autumn" are my favorites so far.
I'm the poster who's going to Mexico City in a few months, so I'm reading "La Capital: The Biography of Mexico City" (1990) by Jonathan Kandell. I'm just past the Spanish conquest and the death of Hernan Cortes and it's fascinating.
Barbara Pym is the best! I read all of her books as they were republished in the 1980s and just recently picked up Excellent Women for a reread. I was not disappointed.
I wonder why none of her books have ever been filmed for British TV?
R70, Quartet in Autumn and Excellent Women would be good for British TV especially Quartet because it has four roles for older actors and they're on every street corner in Britain.
Listening to audio of Pym's books, I'm sent into paroxysms of giggles over her character Everhard Bone!
Finished Sliver by Ira Levin yesterday. Definitely not his best work, but a pageturner nonetheless - read it in one sitting. Good bit of easy reading after having read Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Now onto Les Miserables. Then back to some more Ira Levin. Any fans here?
Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence. Dude did not know how to write good gay porn.
Much of the humor in Pym is in the internal voices of the characters and narrators. Hard to capture in a screenplay. I agree that her novels are wonderful.
Loved Levin's A Kiss Before Dying, Boys From Brazil and, of course, Rosemary's Baby but haven't read any of his others.
Are there others besides Sliver?
It's mentioned in another thread, but thought I'd ask here among the bookworms whether you folks download library audio and ebooks like I do?
I just finished Thomas Mallon's WATERGATE and thought it was great. I highly recommend it.
Love Thomas Mallon! Henry and Clara especially, and Dewey Defeats Truman. He's gay, too.
Thomas Mallon's Bandbox is also a fun read, much lighter than his other books.
I enjoyed his Fellow Traveler (about McCarthyism) and Dewey Defeats Truman but with my sadly lacking knowledge of political history, I was sometimes a bit confused by the storylines wrapped around those eras.
R1, that is one of my favorite books of all time. Incredibly original and just an incredibly rich reading experience. Enjoy!
I'm struggling to get through 'Freedom' by Jonathan Franzen, which surprised me because I really loved 'The Corrections,' and his collections of essays. But I hate the main character in this one soooooooooo much, it's like flames on the side of my face.
Does it get any better? Like, do we switch pov's to someone else at any point? I might drop it if it doesn't perk up in the next 20 pages.
I just finished 'Gone Girl' by Gillian Flynn and absolutely loved most of it, but found the ending not as clever as the rest of it.
Has anyone read the Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St. Aubyn? I keep reading about the series since the latest one came out. Is it worth starting from the beginning and reading all of them?
Carole King's autobiography. It's pretty good so far! She could have really trashed on Gerry Goffin, but she took the high road.
R82, you and I may simply not agree on books. I liked FREEDOM so much more than I did THE CORRECTIONS (I could not stand Enid, mostly). So, of course, I think it gets better.
AFAIC, Gillian Flynn owes me whatever I paid for that POS called GONE GIRL, plus the hours it took me to read it. The only thing that saved it for me was picturing David Walton as the male lead (whose name, thankfully, I no longer remember). It may be the worst book I've ever read.
Now, are you going to finish FREEDOM?
I liked THE CORRECTIONS overall (though I had many criticisms of it), but FREEDOM was so terrible I couldn't finish it.
For me, both of Franzen's books had intermittently brilliant and then dull chapters/passages, very much based on characters I liked or didn't. But I ultimately felt both books were worth finishing and were very satisfying reads.
If any Franzen fans care, you may be interested to know that HBO shot a pilot for a miniseries of The Corrections but then decided not to pursue it and even the pilot will not air.
I tried reading the Patrick Melrose novels and read the first four but found the characters simply just too morally corrupt for my my refined tastes. I don't get why people love those books at all.
r87: Completely agree with you about the Franzen books. The Corrections had several brilliantly funny chapters in the beginning of the book. Thought Freedom became a bit tedious as it went along, but certainly both were worth finishing.
Thanks for the Patrick Melrose tip. That's what I was wondering about. Why the hype, do you think? They sound quite gruesome.
Thanks, R85, I'll take your advice and keep with it.
I enjoy Franzen's writing style, but yeah, he can create some pretty obnoxious characters. Patty is an embodiment of everything I despise in a lot of women. I just want to get out of her thoughts. She flat out makes me angry. I'm hoping we get more of Joey's story from his p-o-v.
For me, Flynn's book was more about her commentary on our perceptions in marriage and media, and how the literary world is shrinking every day. The plot was almost beside the point.
Those having problems with Wolf Hall, i had the same thing initially but after a while you lock into the strange punctuation and (mis)use of pronouns, and i absolutely loved it by the end.
Also recently read the Wind Up Bird Chronicles - an interesting read. I found it worthwhile but not a book i would rush to recommend.
Just finished The Hare With Amber Eyes - real-life account of renowned potter Edmund de Waal's family history. First chapter was underwhelming but then it just becomes this fascinating and beautifully written family story spanning around 150 years.
I've read 3 of the five St. Aubyn novels. They're well-regarded because they're astringent, funny, and beautifully written. If you're looking for warm and fuzzy and "characters I can relate to," then they're not for you. But they're destined, I think, to be modern classics, and I suspect many DL posters would relish the chilly bitchiness that suffuses the pages. One scene about Princess Margaret attending a dinner party is great and treats hr like the over-privileged dumb bunny she was.
Re: St Aubyn. I've read the Melrose quintet with admiration, and would read them again. (For one thing I read them out of sequence, number three proving elusive.)
St Aubyn observes sharply, and evokes an unlovely slice of upper-middle class English life. Idealised it isn't: the author is an insider, and as the books imply, a survivor of his harsh 'privileged' milieu.
His range is narrower than Waugh, but the social barbarism of say 'A Handful of Dust' is still very evident. As you'd expect, the sex and snobbery are more overt. Book two explores New York, high and low.
The reader (like the author) doesn't want anything to do with the characters, but observing them has a dark fascination, and some laughs.
R90, my problem with Wolf Hall is mainly due to the format I'm reading. I bought the paperback for 25 cents at the local thrift store. I enjoy the writing, Mantel is clearly talented. But the paperback print really affects my enjoyment of the story. But I'm too cheap to buy the e-book and unfortunately, Overdrive doesn't carry any of Mantel's books in e-book format. And the audiobooks are in WMA format only which doesn't work on either my phone or mp3 player. I'm about 1/2 through the book but set it aside for Cloud Atlas which was available from Overdrive in epub.
Thanks to all who recommended Cloud Atlas. What a fantastic read. David Mitchell really has a great knack for bringing the narrators to life. I loved all of the main characters, even those who annoyed me initially. But as the story went on, I really began to identify with and care about them. There are some really funny moments and there are some very exciting and tense passages. I haven't seen the movie but I hope those moments were captured well on screen. For those who have seen the movie--is it worth watching? It seems to have garnered very mixed reviews.
And are other David Mitchell books just as good as CA? Or close enough to warrant reading?
Mitchell's Black Swan Green is miles apart from CA, but as wonderful. The coming-of-age of a young English boy. Ghostwritten s great, too. Haven't read his others yet. But I will. He's the real deal.
Rachel Maddow - Drift
Thanks R94, both those books are available on Overdrive and I have them on my Wish list. I'll get to them once I finish Wolf Hall...
I had Ghostwritten on my Overdrive wishlist already, so perhaps I'll move it up on the TBR list.
Just fiished War and Peace, Before that read Anna Karenina and Crime and Punishment.
Now onto The Dead Souls.. then Lolita...
I have a long list of books I hope to read this year.
I'm starting with a novel, The Forgiven, by Lawrence Osborne. English couple are driving to an international jet set party hosted by a gay couple in the Moroccan desert. Husband and wife argue, he's had too much to drink, the car accidentally hits and kills a young Moroccan man. Complications ensue. Almost done, and very good.
Just read HOME, Toni Morrison's new book. Amazing! Just under 150 pages, but has everything you expect from TM at her best.
Just finished Jo Nesbo's latest Harry Hole thriller, Phantom. Loved it, but so dark!
Just finished GONE GIRL -- hated the ending, had a hard time suspending disbelief enough that the villain was that clever in foolproofing all those plans, and have NO INTEREST in any sequel. Still, for those who are curious as to what it's all about, I'd recommend reading to get it out of your system.
Hope that idiot Nancy Grace is royally pissed off at Flynn's skewering of her!
R85 -- I had a tough time believing that the husband wasn't bisexual, and absolutely could NOT buy the prissy rich St. Louis guy as straight!
r91/92: Thanks to you both. Sounds like St. Aubyn is for me after all. Probably nothing like Alan Hollinghurst (he's not really a comic novelist) but the insider take on the upper clawsses reminds me a little of his earlier novels, especially perhaps "The Line of Beauty" and even his first "The Swimming Pool Library."
By the way, I recommend all AH's novels up through "A Stranger's Child," which I left halfway.
I read "Handful of Dust" years ago but remember it was very funny.
I read the ridiculously overhyped Gone Girl a while ago. It was totally unbelievable and a waste of time. I cant believe so many people have praised this mess.
I read recently the Denmark mystery The Keeper of Lost Causes (it's called Mercy in the UK) which was very good.
I read a lot of mystery/thrillers and I've noticed that most of the modern ones will throw in at least one walk in Gay or lesbian character.
I'm currently reading a Thai mystery called Grandad, There's a head on the beach. The main character has a (flamboyant) gay friend who's a cop and in addition has a transexual (beauty queen) sister. This may turn out to be one of those overly quirky books but I like the diversity trend going on.
R104, the audio narration of GONE GIRL is really, really well done! As another reviewer put it, "I loved the first 16 hours, the last three - NO!" It's fairly suspenseful, and who wouldn't like the trashing Nancy Grace got?
I tried the first of those Thai books, but the tranny sibling was a huge internet fraud character, and all around creepy, turned me completely off the book! If you want books with a good gay secondary character, try the Sam Acquillo mysteries by Chris Knopf, set in Southampton, NY.
R105, I didn't read the first book but she says she's giving up her life of internet crime in this one.
I'll check out the Knopf books.
r48 I know the author of Codename Verity - how cool you liked it!
I just read Gone Girl and actually enjoyed it but for the ending...
I wonder what Flynn thinks of so many readers HATING her ending? I mean c'mon ... Nick behaves like a real jerk much of the time, but still ...
My problem with Gone Girl is that it's totally ludicrous. There's no rooting interest as the characters are all unlikable so there's not much to keep you going.
The female character made tons of mistakes. There are at least 2 witnesses left alive. The timeline doesn't fit. The person accused of the crime lived in a different town and probably had an alibi as well. They also never once entered the crime scene residence so their DNA was never there and the evidence collected would never, ever match them. It would actually be a quite simple case to resolve.
A book that relies on the cops being total idiots and the criminal the most cleverest person alive usually sucks as this one does.
As for Flynn, I'm sure she's perfectly happy. There are lots of people praising her book and it's probably going to be a movie soon somewhere.
r109 it is and she's writing the screenplay!
I started and have almost finished [italic]Someday This Pain Will be Useful to You[/italic] by Peter Cameron. It's supposedly a young adult book, but seems a bit more adult than young, and it's not too bad overall. Close to [italic]The Catcher in the Rye[/italic] in form and tone. A little...much in places but short and it moves quickly, so 3.5/5.
The two Stalin biographies by Simon Sebag Montefiore. I couldn't put it away. It's so informative, full of the most hilarious and vile anecdotes and very very well written
Love Peter Cameron, too, and his latest, Coral Glynn, is very different from his others, a kind of Barbara Pym pastiche. Recommended.
I agree that Alan Hollinghurst's Stranger's Child is a bit of tough sledding, but totally worth it for me. I think he's one of the great prose stylists of our time.
Love Cameron. His best are Weekend, Someday This Pain, and City of Your Final Destination.
Currently reading Truth in Advertising. Laugh out loud funny at times and rather poignant at others.
I bought [italic]Someday this Pain will be Useful to You[/italic] and [italic]City of your Final Destination[/italic] together (one was used, one was in Amazon's bargain bin) and I'll start the other as soon as I'm done with [italic]Someday[/italic].
I'm the reader from the first BYAR thread who has been struggling with [italic]Infinite Jest[/italic] for months; I decided to shelf it for a while and read some other things.
Hollinghust. I have a copy of [italic]The Spell[/italic] with me. It's very short but every time I crack it open I find my attention drifting by the second paragraph. I haven't made it past the first page yet! I (generally) loved [italic]The Line of Beauty[/italic], so I expect I just need to plow through the slow beginning to find the good part.
I, for one, thought Hollighurst's Stranger's Child was the best of his 3 major books.
The problem for me with St. Aubyn is I found NO humor in the Melrose books.
Just finished reading "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter", by Tom Franklin and loved it.
The story takes place in the 70's in rural Mississippi and Franklin brings his characters to life. Highly recommend this one.
I thoroughly enjoyed Gone Girl (OK not the ending, but at least it was different).
I also really enjoyed "Crooked Letter."
I listened to the audiobook of Coral Glynn, which was interesting, though a bit slight.
I tried listening to a gay mystery Fingering the Family Jewels, but the story is SO bad I'm going to ask Audible for my credit back!
Currently on a fantasy kick, but still pretty new to the genre. I'm reading Patrick Rothfuss's "The Name of the Wind". A friend recommended his books to me, along with those of Steven Erikson, to tide me over until the next installment in the Game of Thrones series comes out.
r115, The Spell is for me the least of his books, so you're not alone.
Just started All This and Heaven, Too by Rachel Field.
It was a huge bestselling novel in the 1930s and recounts the true story and scandalous trial of a mid-Victorian French governess accused of murder. I bought the very handsome new paperback edition just recently reissued.
Bette Davis played the heroine in a much admired Warners film in 1938.
The author was the actual granddaughter of the portrayed heroine. It's an intelligent page-turner with highly evocative descriptions of the period....kind of a combination of Trollope and Wharton.
The Year of Magical Thinking--so I didn't rush to read it, mostly because I'm not a Didion fan. However, it is much better than I anticipated, although I cannot imagine life with Joan--part of me keeps thinking that she gave John Gregory Dunne heart trouble.
I just finished HHh by Laurent Binet. It's a fictionalised account of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich and, once I got used to Binet's style, was an excellent read.
I'm going to move on to Quiet by Susan Cain next.
R123 - I read both that one, and "Blue Nights" about the loss of her daughter. Joan sure had one hell of an entitlement complex!
A Judy Garland bio called The Other Side of the Rainbow. It's horribly written.
I started a Joan Didion book recently. Something about a river in the title. I got about 30 pages in and found that I couldn't care less about the characters, so I ditched it.
I wanted to let you know that not only did I finish 'Freedom', but that, like you, I loved it even more than 'The Corrections'.
Perhaps it was due to me feeling somewhat wistful and depressed lately, but by the time I'd reached the end of the novel, I'd found the Berglunds' story unbelievably poignant and profoundly moving.
Thanks for telling me to keep reading. Now, I'm debating whether I should pick up Roberto Bolano's '2666' next or something a bit lighthearted.
I am reading Packing for Mars by Mary Roach. It is a nonfiction book about space travel and astronaut training. I had to stop reading it at lunch when she started writing about vomiting and hygiene (the lack thereof) in zero gravity. Gag me.
I have been feasting on Larry McMurtry's Thalia series. The series begins with "The Last Picture Show." The latest entry is "Rhino Ranch." Following the lives of Duane, Jacy, Ruth, and Karla has been a treat.
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain.
By far the best novel of 2012.
I listening to the audio of Ann Leary's "The Good House", read by Mary Beth Hurt - great story that I'm strongly considering getting as a print book as a gift for my mom.
I'm reading "Rebel Land" by Christopher de Bellaigue. It is still self-serving, particularly around his reluctance to use the "G" word about the Armenian massacres, but it is interesting. I don't find him to be particularly intelligent, observant, or analytical.
I'm finishing up The Wild Places, by Robert MacFarlane.
It's non-fiction about travelling to the last wild places in the UK.
It's not bad, but only has grainy B&W photos scattered throughout.
r129, I never thought of that--how do you vomit in zero gravity?
A Cultural History of Shoplifting by Rachel Shteir.
"Kiss the Girls: Make them Spy" by Mabel Maney
An original Jane Bond parody
I recently finished The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. This one is about a man who manages a light house on an island in Australia. He marries a woman who's had problem pregnancies. One day a baby and a dead man washes up onshore. The story concerns what happens after this happens.
It's not for everyone as it's female centric family drama but the writing is beautiful.
r135, I read that book last summer and was pretty disappointed with it. It wasn't very well organized--everything was just kind of mooshed together.
I just finished "Watergate" by Thomas Mallon, which I highly recommend. It's Watergate through the eyes of seven of those close to the scandal: Richard Nixon, Pat Nixon, Elliot Richardson, E. Howard Hunt, Rosemary Woods, Alice Roosevelt Longworth (who is hilarious), and one more of the burglars (I forget his name). The unexpectedness of the choices--and the focus particularly on women--made it really seem fresh and new.
r138, is Mallon's Watergate a good read if you know essentially nothing about the scandal and the politicians involved in it?
I like some of Mallon's novels but they do require more than a passing knowledge of the various historical eras they are set in.
I'm 1/4 of the way through Trollope's "The Way We Live Now" read by Timothy West, husband of actress Prunella Scales, and I'm hooked, lined, and sinkered! I had liked the BBC production starring David Suchet, but the book is a different experience.
r139, I love Fellow Travelers by Thomas Mallon, about a gay relationship in the McCarthy period.
Song of Achilles. Story of the demi-god through the eyes of his lover, Patroclus.
R75 and R182, you must be batty if you like anything written by Jonathan Franzen. It's not writing, it's typing. Dude has never met a woman he didn't want ultimately to belittle. His sentences are pompous and self-satisfied. His characters are simpering and entitled.
Trollope's The Way We LIve Now is one of the best books I've ever read.
Sadly, I've tried reading a few of his other books but haven't been able to get into them. Any other Trollope fans that might guide me?
R144 -- Have you tried "Barchester Towers"? It's a hilarious satire, featuring two characters any gay boy ought salivate over: Mrs Proudie and Contessa Neroni (bitch and diva, respectively).
You do NOT need to read its prequel "The Warden" at all, which I found quite dull. If you want an approchable, shorter, non-series novel, try "Dr. Thorne".
I don't think there are any Trollope fans. I battered my way through Can You Forgive Her? when I was 18 (for fun), and I promised myself never again.
All of the Barchester novels are worth reading. And as for me, I'd start with The Warden and read all the way through.
Gone Girl? It was the worst! Poor, insipid prose and characters who, if you knew them in real life, you'd avoid like the plague. And the worst part (or maybe the best) is that it doesn't end, she just stops writing. It's the kind of bestseller that just makes me scratch my head.
"Orphans is emblematic of what is wrong with Broadway"
I thought for sure you were going to cite the producers and Dan Sullivan for thinking for even a minute that Alec and Shia could share a rehearsal space.
Dan Sullivan admitted as much in his email to Shia.
Thanks for the Trollope recommendations.
I did try reading one of the Barchester series but couldn't get into it.....can't even remember now whch one. But I'll have a look and try one of them again. The other one I tried and only read about 1/2 way through was The Prime Minister.
But The Way We Live Now....yes!
Sorry, I made a mistake above! "Dr Thorne" is one of the Barchester titles (although would make a decent stand alone). For an approchable non-series Trollope title I meant "Dr Wortle's School" instead. I have no interest in the Palliser series at all, but understand that one of them "The Eustace Diamonds" can be read as a stand-alone, and comes highly recommended, so it's on my TBR pile.
Sorry! r149 was obviously intended for the Shia LaBoeuf OUT thread.
The new "Justin Bieber" novel, "The Love Song of Jonny Valentine" is excellent. So is John Lanchester's "Capital."
Trollope's Can You Forgive Her? is another good stand-alone.
Ship of Gold, non-fiction. The author goes back and forth between 1857, when the steamship Central America took 4 days to sink in one of the worst hurricanes of the era, and the 1980's, when a young engineer developed techniques to locate and recover its cargo of gold. A really fascinating true story.
Anyone read The Dinner, the French book getting a lot of buzz here?
Is that one about the dinner between parents of two nasty schoolboys? If so, no thanks!
I third Code Name Verity. The audiobook is intense. Two Brit girl spies in WWII France.
R156, I'm 2/3 through The Dinner. It will be interesting to see how he wraps it up.
"Interviews with History and Conversations with Power." Orianna Fallaci. All her old interviews with the world leaders of the 70s. Amazing interview with Khomeini!
Sordid Truths: Selling My Innocence for a Taste of Stardom - by Aiden Shaw.
Surprisingly good, but a little gross in parts as is to be expected.
i like the books with pictures of happy fish
A light and fluffy mystery by Ellen Byerrum called "Veiled Revenge."
It has gays in it. Two of them. I can't decide what I think of the characterization of the two men. Each is very flaming, but is it funny, the way they're written, or kind of mean-spirited?
"I love Fellow Travelers by Thomas Mallon, about a gay relationship in the McCarthy period."
I am rarely moved to tears while reading, but the touching ending of this book had me reaching for the Kleenex.
r156 and r159, I read The Dinner yesterday morning in one sitting and LOVED it. Chilling, brilliant.
By the way, it's Dutch, not French, r156.
R166, I kind of agree. It turned out to be something quite different from what I expected.
I'm reading The Moviegoer now.
The Making of the Prefident 1789. Hilarious.
I'm reading Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey right now to calm my nerves during a very stressful period of work.
I must say, it really helps. And it's a lot more comical than I expected.
Perfect for reading a couple of chapters before going to bed at night to relax me.
Gob's Grief by gay author Chris Adrian. About Walt Whitman and the aftermath of the Civil war. Lovely.
I've finished Anthony Trollope's "The Way We Live Now", which despite being a long book, goes really fast, like a 100-chapter soap opera. There are two characters who are after the same woman, but seem like a gay couple to me: one is a "confirmed bachelor" except for the one girl, and the other practically squeals with delight giving fashion advice to a female character. As well as a bunch of young nobles whose interest in women seems rather desultory.
Now, I'm about to go back to the second half of "Brideshead Revisited" read by Jeremy Irons. Repressed homosexuality and Roman Catholic angst = Good Times!
"History's Passion: Stories of Sex Before Stonewall," edited by Richard Labonte.
Four novellas that explore male-male erotica/romance in a historical setting: "Camp Allegheny" by Jeff Mann (author of the magnificent "Purgatory") presents a love affair between two Confederate soldiers during the Civil War; "Heaven on Earth" by Simon Sheppard explores the erotic adventures of a criminal on the lam during the Great Depression; "Tender Mercies" by Dale Chase is set in a mining camp during the California Gold Rush; and "The Valley of Salt" by David Holly re-imagines the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. All four novellas are extremely well-written (especially considering the genre), though the first two are the best -- Mann is an astonishingly exquisite writer (he's also a poet), while Sheppard vividly evokes his time-period as well as offering a neat twist ending; Chase's tale, while well-written, suffers from implausabilities and, being that the author is a woman, a fatal misunderstanding of how men have sex; Holly's tale is a fun romp (Lot is the villain here) but the dialogue is incredibly silly. Still, if this genre is your sort of thing, I highly recommend it.
I'm reading I Suck at Girls!
I agree with R109 about "Girl Gone"; I get the whole trendy Nancy Grace, trial by internet thing, but I found the story preposterous in that the cops would have assumed she'd been kidnapped which would've involved the FBI who wouldn't be so quick to take "Amazing Amy's" word for it. Plus, the family would've offered a reward which surely would've attracted the two grifters. I have no doubt that it will be made in to a movie, but I just don't get the love for this book.
Anyone read "Dr. Norrell & Jonathan Strange"? Any recommendations for books like it?
I want to read on kindle this book 'Classic rock conspiracy theory: ‘Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon,’ the dark heart of the hippie dream', immediately!
However, i don't want to give money and buy it, i'm a cheap ho. I found it in PDF format for free, but PDF sucks, i cannot change the chapters with fuckin' PDF.
Could someone of you convert pdf to epub? I would really appreciate that.(Don't give me a link that explains how to convert pdf to epub, it's like Chinese to me!)
Below is the link with the book i want...please, take a look at it and you if you can find it in your heart and your mind skills allow if of course, find a way to put it somewhere in Epub format.
Martin Booth's "A Very Private Gentlemen."
G. Clooney's "The American" is based on this book. Very well written.
Thomas Fleming, "The Perils of Peace: America's Struggle for Suvival After Yorktown"
Really well written
Also, Guy Fregault, "Canada: the war of the conquest by Guy Fregault" (badly translated by Margaret Cameron)
Julian Fellowes' "Past Imperfect" is sensational. I was looking for something to read and because I like "Downton" I figured I'd give it a shot, and it's wonderful. I'm looking forward to his other book "Snobs"
Gods of Guilt right now. I like Michael Connelly and the Mickey Haller books are the best.
Both Snobs and Past Imperfect by Julian Fellows are great. I also loved Beautiful Ruins.
I just finished The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer (good) and am about to start Speedboat by Renata Adler.
Just finished [italic]The Maybelline Story.[/italic] Almost too incredible to be believable!
Just started "The Goshawk" by TH White.
It's an old book by the author of The Once and Future King Arthurian trilogy.
White chronicles his struggles taming and raising a goshawk for falconry.
The prose is over the top in that dated Oxbridge way, especially the exposition, but the nature descriptions are good.
Some reviewers suggested White's struggle to tame, yet accept the raptor's temperament paralleled his own struggle with his homosexuality.
I don't know if that's explicit in the book, I'm not that far in.
The Charioteer, by Mary Renault. I never read it before. I always thought it was one of Renault's novels about ancient Greece, like The Persian Boy and The King Must Die. Actually it's set in the months following Dunkirk and concerns a love triangle between a soldier and a naval officer, both maimed there, and a young conscientious objector who works as an orderly in a hospital where the soldier is recovering.
The story is as romantic as any I know, the more so because the language is precise and restrained and the narration, seemingly straightforward, turns out to be more elliptical than I originally supposed. There's nothing sentimental in it, and moments that seem headed toward treacle or moralizing unexpectedly take the opposite direction. I particularly enjoyed a party scene full of mean, predatory queens, which, as shrill as it is, surprisingly doesn't come off dated or homophobic, but funny, observant, and humane instead. (For a comparison look at the lurid gay bar scene in Allen Drury's nearly contemporaneous Advise and Consent.) Giving all her characters their due, Renault has a knack for letting them speak for themselves, even the least appealing of them. It's both a bildungsroman and a suspense story in which the hero's fate is up for grabs until the last page.
If anyone else here has read it, I'd love to know what you think and if there's any other novel like it that you'd recommend? I'm sad I've finished it, and I haven't felt like that in a while.
Bird, thanks for mentioning the Mary Renault book. I've always heard good things about her work and I will definitely add it to my list.
On an unrelated note, I'm currently reading Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and I absolutely love it.
Has anyone read any of the longlisted Booker Prize nominees for this year?
No, but I just bought an advance copy of the David Mitchell book.
I don't read a lot of literary fiction, but Dan Vyela's "The Crooked Maid" (set in 1948 Vienna) is turning out to be really good.
Please don't bother with the Bookers. I think they proved they're back to nominating only tedious crap again.
I'm reading California, which got tons of buzz on Colbert because of the Amazon/Hachette fight. It's from a debut novelist, Edan Lepucki, and it's pretty horrible. The author won the freakin' lottery (her book is number 3 on NYT Bestseller's List because of the Colbert push)! It suffers from "telling, not showing", unsympathetic characters, and it's simply dull.
r185, I had a used copy of "The Charioteer" for over a decade before I finally set myself to reading it -- and kicked myself for waiting so long. Such a wonderful, deeply moving story, and you're right, it's one of those rare romantic triangles where you don't know which man the hero is going to end up with.
Racking my brain, books that are somewhat similar to "The Charioteer" would be Colm Toibin's "The Story of The Night" (excellent) or John Boyne's "The Absolutist" (less excellent, but still good).
Just finished "We Are Our Brains: A Neurobiography of the Brain, From the Womb to Alzheimer's" by the Dutch neurologist D.F. Swaab, a fascinating, easy-to-read examination of how our brains work, told "chronologically," from it's development in the womb, through further development as we grow to adulthood, the perils of injury and ultimately it gradually shutting down due to dementia and Alzheimer's.
I think it's a must-read, not just because Swaab forcefully points out that sexual orientation is determined before we are born but also because he makes some strong arguments against the insidiousness of religion.
R187, I didn't realize until I read the link below that this is the first year that the Booker Prize will be open to English language novels from any country.