I'm thinking about les miserables. It's a big book that I've been meaning to read for some time.
I just finished a book about the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire.
I'm teasing Moshe Kasher's memoir. It's okay.
Before that I read The Magician series by Lev Grossman.
I just got a new translation of Kafka's The Trial. I may read that next, though I'm tempted to re-read John Dies At The End.
I'm reading DOCTOR ZHIVAGO. It's much better and less sappy than I expected--it's very sophisticated. i thought it would be more like the David Lean movie, and it's much better.
The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm. I will hopefully finish it quicker than the twenty-five years it was written over.
The Voice of the Night
VOTN, fuck you.
"Shakespeare After All" by Marjorie Garber is a book I've been reading for the last 5 years or so.
I'm too lazy to read the plays. I lack skill at reading and comprehending English as it was written and spoken during the time Shakespeare wrote his plays.
But you're like me and are curious about what all the fuss is about, read this book.
The Shallows: what the internet is doing to our brains - by Nicholas Carr
and to wander off on a tangent (thus proving a point from the book, if you read it you'll understand what I mean) -every man named Nic/Nick who I got with was hung
I'm in the middle of the Cyndi Lauper autobiography, and may not finish it. A sloppy mess.
So far she's talked major shit about Bruce Springsteen, Jeff Goldblum and Steven Spielberg, and painted herself as a misunderstood, humble person, which she clearly is not.
I am reading "A Train In Winter" by Caroline Moorehead. Excellent!! Summary below:
They were teachers, students, chemists, writers, and housewives; a singer at the Paris Opera; a midwife; a dental surgeon. They distributed anti-Nazi leaflets, printed subversive newspapers, hid resisters, secreted Jews to safety, transported weapons, and conveyed clandestine messages. The youngest was a schoolgirl of sixteen, who scrawled "V" (for victory) on the walls of her lycée; the eldest, a farmer's wife in her sixties who harbored escaped Allied airmen. Strangers to one another, hailing from villages and cities across France—230 brave women united in defiance of their Nazi occupiers—they were eventually hunted down by the Gestapo. Separated from home and loved ones, imprisoned in a fort outside Paris, they found solace and strength in their deep affection and camaraderie.
In January 1943, they were sent to their final destination: Auschwitz. Only forty-nine would return to France.
Drawing on interviews with these women and their families, and on documents in German, French, and Polish archives, A Train in Winter is a remarkable account of the extraordinary courage of ordinary people—a story of bravery, survival, and the enduring power of female friendship.
Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
The play. I've seen the move a dozen times, and am going to the play in a couple weeks. Hopefully, I won't blurt out the lines during th e show!
r10 "I don't bray!"
The juxtaposition of this:
[quote]I'm too lazy to read the plays. I lack skill at reading and comprehending English as it was written and spoken during the time Shakespeare wrote his plays. But you're like me and are curious about what all the fuss is about, read this book.
[quote]The Shallows: what the internet is doing to our brains - by Nicholas Carr
No apology necessary, r12. That is amusing.
Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain.
Enjoying it very much. Love the view of Europe long before tourism was invented. Wish they had included maps and illustrations
The Round House by Louise Eldrich About a Native American boy in North Dakota whose mother is a victim of a racially motivated attack. It's a part mystery, coming of age story that gives you a taste of life on a reservation.
Just starting it but heard a lot of good things about this one.
The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer. It was required reading in college but so was about every other classic back then and i had to skim through it more than read it. Now I can enjoy it at a more leasurely pace.
I finished the two volume biography on French composer Hector Berlioz last month. Just before I went to see Les Troyens at the Met.
On deck is 50 Shades of Grey, loaned to me by a friend. Otherwise I would never read it.
Les Miserables is worth it, OP.
And I laughed when I saw Canterbury Tales. Had to read in Middle English in college seminar. Not sure I would want to do again but glad I did.
I currently had Lincoln: Team of Rivals and while I am nibbling at it slowly, it's a good one.
How is it?
I'm afraid to touch it: I just finished the far more merciful Unruly Giant, which is one volume.
Right now I'm reading the Dixon-Graham biography of Caravaggio.
The Art of the Impossible: Dave Barrett and the NDP in Power l972-l975,"
written by Geoff Meggs and Rod Mickleburgh. In my mid-teens I made my Dad drive me to a lecture he was giving. He was talking about the things I believed in.
'Unapologetic' by Francis Spufford. It's a refreshing response to the 'smug' New Atheism.
His voice leaps off the page: it's conversational, clever, funny, foul-mouthed and sane. Not once has any piety made me want to stop reading.
Dawkins and Hitchens speak at you from a podium, Spufford writes like a good friend. It's an enjoyable read.
The Middle Sea by John Julius Norwich
What is a book?
Likely to finish "Running Dog" by Don DeLillo this weekend. Really awesome - would very much appeal to a certain kind of DL reader, it's very smart and sexy and cool. Full of amoral journalists and sleazy politicians and shady military types and mysterious operatives maneuvering for position.
DeLillo can be a difficult read - I always wanted to like him, but struggled with his abstractions. So I started reading his books in order - in the last 18 months I've read Americana, End Zone, Great Jones Street, Ratner's Star, Players and now Running Dog. Of all them, I'd say Running Dog is the least difficult and also the most fun. I'd recommend all the others, too, except Ratner's Star which is about mathematics and astrophysics and is an extremely difficult read.
Now I'm getting to his classic run - The Names, White Noise, Libra, Mao II and Underworld - and I could not be more excited. I've never tackled the entire oeuvre of a novelist before, and it's extremely rewarding.
CivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George Saunders. Loving it. Very funny, very sad.
Robert Graves, The White Goddess
"Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson" by Randall Sullivan. Really puts the whole thing in perspective. A good, gossipy read.
Old Joe used to discipline the kids by first rubbing baby oil on their naked skin. Then he'd whip them with a favorite, frayed lamp cord.
He basically used meeting the Jackson 5 as bait to get him a bevy of groupie sluts to fuck after the shows.
Anyone else read "The Good House" by Ann Leary? It's probably going to be my top read of 2013.
Right now, I'm re-reading "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" for an upcoming book discussion, and will be doping the same "Brideshead Revisted" soon as well.
I'm awful about recalling book details, as though the details are deleted and sent to the Recycle Bin as soon as I finish a book, although I can retain a decent sense of how I felt about the book itself.
I've begun "The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" which is frankly a bit of a downer.
"The Bluegrass Conspiracy" by Sally Denton
Horrifying true crime in Lexington, KY
Has anyone read Jackie Collins latest trash novel, "Power Trip?" Sound like a good "stay in bed and recover from sore muscles distraction."
White Noise is crap
"The Last of the Duchess" by Caroline Blackwood. It's subtitled "The Strange and Sinister Story of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor."
I'm reading Wuthering Heights. I've never read a Bronte novel and was curious because some people say they read Jane Eyre or WH every year, etc. I really enjoyed the first two-thirds of the book but I'm now kind of bored with the last 70 pages and can't wait for it to be over. The writing is really good but I could never read this book multiple times since it's simply a book about terrible people.
Lost Among Giants
Margaret Thatcher's Statecraft
(R15) How did you like The Roundhouse? I think it's one of Erdrich's best!
Has anyone else read Too Bright to Hear Too Loud To See by Juliann Garey? I think it's wonderful despite it ripping my heart out.
"The Other Side Of Silence" by John Loughery
I just finished The Magicians, by Lev Grossman, which was pretty much shit. Even the fact that one of the points of the book was that the main character was cold and dislikable did not make it any fun to read about him--and the book treated his trashy nasty friends like they were adorable (especially at the end). And Grossman could not structure a good plot--it was a failure all around.
I'm not reading The Prisoner of Heaven, the latest installment in his cemetery of Forgotten Books sequence. The first one, The Shadow of the Wind, was an excellent potboiler, but the second one, The Angel's Game, was weak and overplotted. He seems to recognize as much by having the main character for the second book now appear in the third book as a schizophrenic, and he suggests that most of what happened in the second book was a delusion.
Going Clear. I just got it yesterday but so far its pretty interesting.
R33 Loved Jane Eyre. Hated Wuthering Heights.
Storm of Swords, in preparation for tonight.
R7 I swear to God I can't remember if I read The Shallows. I know I meant to take it out of the library, but did I follow through?
I thought they had spread out "A Clash of Kings" to 2 seasons, r41? (At least I remember hearing that.)
No, they did Clash of Kings in one season, Season 2. Storm of Swords will be spread out over 2 seasons: The season that begins tonight, and Season 4 next year.
In The Garden of Beasts. A bit repetitive, but interesting. Almost finished with it.
Afterwards, I may attempt Gravity's Rainbow for the second time. The first time I only got through about 50 pages.
Love this thread - will try several of the suggestions - first "A Train in Winter" -these stories just fascinate me - I wish I could see myself as being so brave in the face of horrible threats, but unfortunately, don't think I would have been - I guess we never really know until the situations present themselves, nicht war? Just finished "Beautiful Ruins" by Jess Walter - one of the best novels relating to contemporary pop-culture (if Taylor-Burton "Cleopatra" can be considered "recent"). As it happens I recently watched (for the first time) all four hours of a restored Cleopatra on a real movie screen so this book was even more relevant to my consciousness - BUT you will probably enjoy the well-told story of multi-generation Italians and movie stars/producers without ever having seen the film.
I am reading Nora Titon's MY THOUGHTS BE BLOODY. It's about how the sibling revelry between brothers Edwin and John Wilkes Booth lead to one of America's most devastating tragedies. It's a fantastic narrative. Especially good if you want to know more about a life in 19th century American theater. This is her first book and I hope she writes more. I can't put it down.
R40 I plan to read "Jane Eyre" too. I hope it's better than "Wuthering Heights".
"Beautiful Ruins" is on my book list also. Glad to hear it's a good book.
I couldn't get interested in "Beautiful Ruins," R48. I only made it to page 15 or so. Don't even remember why, specifically.
Finally finished reading Franzen's FREEDOM. Oh, I liked it enough--on a chapter-by-chapter basis it's engaging--but I found the whole thing WAY overhyped. Makes me think twice about reading THE CORRECTIONS--anyone have an opinion about it?
In the meantime, I'm enjoying Steinbeck's JOURNAL OF A NOVEL: The East of Eden Letters and Amy Bloom's AWAY.
I liked FREEDOM better, R50. I put THE CORRECTIONS down about two years before I actually finished it. I absolutely hated Enid and Alfred Lambert. But Franzen is such an amazing writer, I've decided I'll put up with his storytelling so I can get at his sentences, his phrasing.
The Crisis of Zionism by Peter Beinart. There is an active counter movement to the current hawks in Israel and the US. More so in the US than Israel.
My Mother Was Nuts by Penny Marshall. Not a lot of dirt other than Cindy Williams seems to be easily swayed by evil managers and ex-husbands which explains her cunty Laverne and Shirley behaviour. Drew Barrymore and Whoopi Goldberg who starred in movies directed by Penny are respectively insecure and easily bored.
Peter F. Hamilton's "Night's Dawn" trilogy (it's really one book that's just so long they split it into three huge books)... "The Reality Dysfunction", "The Neutronium Alchemist", and "The Naked God".
R40, Jane Eyre was my favorite book from childhood, as a story of survival against the odds of a totally unloved and tragic childhood. Wish the movies had done the book justice.
"Angelhead" by Greg Bottoms. It's a memoir about growing up with his paranoid schizophrenic brother, and the gradual unraveling of him and their family.
R9, I just finished A Train in Winter and while it is a bit intense, I really did enjoy it!
I am currently reading In One Person by John Irving. It is also very good and I would think many DL'ers would like it due to the gay content.
I've ordered A Train in Winter. Thanks, R9 and R56. And I'm thinking about In One Person.
Ordered IN ONE PERSON, too.
On the recommendation of a poster in one of the Brady Bunch threads, I am reading [i] Love to Love You Bradys: The Bizarre Story of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour[/i]. Whoever recommended this book.....a thousand thank yous! It arrived from Amazon this afternoon, and I've buzzed through half of it. A really interesting & entertaining book!
r48, I adored "Jane Eyre" but couldn't stand "Wuthering Heights."
"The Missing Myth: A New Vision of Same-Sex Love" by Gilles Herrada. It's an examination of the history, science and, yes, philosophy of homosexuality, and homophobia, from pre-history to the present day. Absolutely fascinating and I can't put it down, even when there are moments that I slightly disagree with his thesis.
"When America First Met China" by Eric Dolin
about the earliest trading contacts between the USA and China.
Bailout -- Mind boggling insider look at how TARP was created and implemented.
I loved Beautiful Ruins, read it last summer when it first came out and have even given it as a gift to a couple of friends. Light but literate reading...perfect for a rainy weekend.
I just finished Jonathan Coe's The Rain Before It Falls. He's a British author I've enjoyed for his political satires (The Winshaw Legacy is brilliant) but this new book is more sentimental and emotional. It's about 3 generations of women in a dysfunctional family from 1940 to the present.
I'm now reading Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence, the last of her major works I've read this past year, including The House of Mirth, The Custom of the Country and The Bucaneers. She is simply the BEST.
And next up on my night table is Kate Atkinson's latest, Life After Life.
At my age (64), reading good books is my biggest pleasure in life.
"Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal" by Mary Roach. As ever, her books are fascinating, leaving me entertained, educated, and slightly grossed out.
The Voice of the Night
War and Peace
OUT! Stories from the New Queer India
An anthology with some very well written short stories.
"Country Driving" -- Peter Hessler's third (of current four) book on China, where he lived as an expat for a long time. He mentions dating (women) in passing, and is now married (to a Chinese woman), but he's always given me major gay vibes. Anyway ... the book is a bit of a slog, but I'm determined to finish it.
I'm also nearly done listening to the audio of "An Inquiry Into Love and Death" -- female Oxford student pulled away from her studies to deal with the mysterious death of her uncle in a remote seaside town. There's a romance angle with an extremely handsome Scotland Yard agent, and lots of gothic-y paranormal events. Great 1920's period piece!
just finished all 7 books in the Chris Grabenstein series. great cop/buddy stories. start with "whirlwind"
I'm reading "The Remains of the Day". I bought it on my kindle because I loved "Never Let Me Go". I've never seen the movie because I prefer to read but this book is hard to get into. I got it years ago but always was bored right away and just downloaded another book. Now I have decided to get this thing read. Anyone here read it?
The Dinner was a shocker. So not what I was expecting.
Just finished A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. It was excellent.
Downloaded and started The Interestings (which came out today)on this morning's commute.
R64 -- I have "The Buccaneers" on my TBR pile.
I'm in the hold queue for my library's copy of the audio of "Beautiful Ruins" although I've heard mixed reactions from friends.
I'm still working on "My Pet Goat."
G.W. Bush, 12 years later
I'm about to begin "That Girl and Phil" - the dishy memoir written by Marlo Thomas' major domo which has been referenced in several threads over the years. Amazon has used copies for sale starting at a penny. I look forward to reading something trashy and dishy about a DL fave.
I just read two books: This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz and The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. The former was stunning, the latter boring.
1Q84. Enjoying it a lot, though only about 220 pages in (about a one-fifth the total page count).
ok, I have Gone Girl in my hands right now, based on DL recommendations.
I am finding it hard getting past the first couple of pages. The writing is not that great, and flipping through I get a very frau-ish vibe about the book. Why did DLers like or read this thing? Should I bother with it or not?
I usually like quality fiction and good nonfiction but will read some popular junk if it is entertaining.
This just seems like a very average clichéd book for fraus about loathsome suburban people with a rocky marriage (like all of those frau books!!) Any reason I should read it
I enjoyed Gone Girl though I thought the first 30 pages were quite labored. It's not great writing. She had several good plot twists that kept me turning the pages.
The first part is set up of the story, R80. The second part has the suspense factor. Everyone I know who read it (including me) found it "exhausting" as a one-word description.
The Night Circus - Captivating from page one . . .
Gone Girl isn't great literature, but it's fun read. Have fun with it. The author obviously did and that shows in the writing.
I read Gone Girl because of the reviews on here. Ugh. I thought it was terrible. There is no payoff. I only finished it because I thought it HAD to get better, right? It didn't.
"underworld" by don dillilo. interesting so far but... people. don't. talk. like. this.
The Mongoliad, vol. 1 - multiple authors
I'm only 44 pages in, so I'm still undecided. It involves battles in northern Europe during the Mongol conquest.
R1--What book are you reading re: Beverly Hills Supper Club fire?
"Democracy" by Henry Adams. It was fascinating; it ended exactly the way I was hoping it would but even better.
Now I'm trying to have a go at Zola but I'm finding him a bit grim and overly dramatic. Maybe it's just a French thing?
"The Complete Sherlock Holmes."
Just finished an interesting ( although not a great book ) called " The Great Silence " it's about the end of WW 1 and the aftermath. Based in England. I am a big fan of Boardwalk Empire and Richard. there is a section on the men that returned with parts of there faces missing, how it affected them and how the mask were made.
Also read a really good book " Lost Among Giants" a good mystery filled with eccentrics.
Odd Girl Out by Ann Bannon
The Dinner was a complete waste of time IMHO. I would not recommend it. Pretentious drivel!
The Sense of an Ending OTOH was a great quick satisfying read. A briliant little mystery.
Anyone read AM Homes' or Kate Atkinson's latest books? Two of my favorite authors, they are both on my night table awaiting me when I have a little less interrupted time to devote to them.
Dostoevsky's The Idiot, unconditionally loved Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment is one of my favorite novels of all time, but while The Idiot occasionally shows Dostoevsky's keen command of psychology and extraordinary ability to portray his characters' motivations in prose, the characters are for the most part unsatisfyingly caught up in petty bourgeois and often almost incomprehensible dramas hardly worthy of the author's perusal.
r95, I've never been able to get all the way through THE IDIOT! I've tried at least 5 times. I love Dostoyevsky! Love him. But I can't get past the first 50 pages of THE IDIOT! Am I the idiot? Please explain.
The Orphan Master's Son, by Adam Johnson, a novel about life in North Korea. Fascinating and surreal.
I'm struggling with The Dinner. Two-thirds of the way in and am losing interest. It was fun when it focused on social satire at the beginning. But the past 80 pages has been all back story; now there's a medical surprise which is supposed to explain the characters. Kind of gimmicky.
Give up on The Dinner r98, it doesn't ever recover.
The Plot against America - Philip Roth.
What if, instead of Roosevelt taking us into WWII in 1942, Charles Lindbergh was elected president in 1940 and, at least as far as I've read, the US never enters WWII?
What would it mean for American Jews if the Nazi-loving Lindbergh took his cues from Hitler on The Jewish Question?
I'm not finished yet, but it's a good book. Not my favorite Roth, but probably a lot better than most books I'll read this year.
I disagree R94. It's well worth reading to the end. What's most interesting is the way the narrator draws you into his moral view, which becomes increasingly suspect as the novel progresses.
"Why do Clocks Run Clockwise" one of the "Imponderables" series of books from the eighties by David Feldman. They are very interesting, but I'm afraid I will forget all the interesting facts about a week from now.
Indeed, for all I know I might have read in 1988 and forgotten.
I gave up on Harold Fry fairly early on, R28.
I have "Mr Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore" to read soon for a discussion -- any thoughts?
Thor Heyerdahl, "Fatu-Hiva" naive Norwegian discovers primitive people are as evil as modern people.
answering [R88] "Inside the Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire" by Ron Elliott.
Spurious - one of the funnier books I read recently.
Also, do you think At Swim Two Boys was in any way influenced by At Swim Two Birds. Strange coincidence in titles.
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. Loving it.
Me too, R108. Though I do wish there more focus on gay Jonah -- maybe later on in the book?
"Persuasion" for the umpteenth time and loving it as much as the first time.
Some murder mystery, I think it's Tami Hoag, I can't recall the title.
A 2012 election post-mortem, "The End of the Line" which is mediocre.
A book about ancient Roman poisons.
David Sedaris' Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls
Just finished "The Devil's Highway" by Luis Alberto Urrea, and he is a terrific writer. It's one of those everyone should read this books. It's a true story of a group of 26 men who cross the border into Southern Arizona.
Started reading "The Financial Lives of the Poets" by Jess Walker, and am loving it so far. Jess Walker has a great sense of humor.
[quote] David Sedaris' Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls
The title alone is a turnoff to me...it seems like he's trying waaaay too hard to be quirky.
I've enjoyed almost everything else he's ever done, but was not a fan of the anthropomorphic stories.
The Woodcutter - Reginald Hill
I tried the Fear Index, by Robert Harris, but I didn't care about any of the characters and couldn't get into it. I gave up after 50 pages.
I'm looking forward to this book.
There's an existing MTM show bio, but it was very dry - I hope this one is more well rounded.
I just finished Secrecy by Rupert Thomson, a novel about the mysterious anatomical wax modeller in late 17th-century Florence, Gaetano Zummo. Very good!
I'm now re-reading the excellent The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi.
The Interestings: so far, so excellent.
Bought the new David Sedaris as well, and Reconstructing Amelia.
I liked Gone Girl a lot. It's a beach read, but it does have one very interesting question to ask in addition to its very fun plotting.
While I on vacation last month, I flew through the following:
Why Be Happy When You Could be Normal, by Jeanette Winterson: devastating and brutally honest memoir.
The Lifeboat: excellent
The Family Fang: very funny, nice complement to The Interestings
Behind the Beautiful Forevers, by Katherine Boo: fantastic non-fiction, runner-up for the Pulitzer and the Booker, could not put it down
Just finished The Interestings, r118. Will look up The Family Fang.
Have moved on to the recently released Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.
I'm hoping one of your literate DLers can help me.
I'm trying to remember the title of a novel published within the last 7-8 years that dealt with a woman who could intuit the song in a person's heart and what it meant to them emotionally. It's similar to THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE, except that the latter pertains to tasting "emotions" through food and cooking. The novel received some positive press in the Times, if memory serves, and was published in a classy, larger-sized (not mass market) paperback format. Does this ring bells with anyone? Thanks in advnance!