- 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!
- My textbook...
- 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
- 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?
- I'm reading:
"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.
- That's on my list, too, R115.
- 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!
- I found "Diabetes with Owls" another step downward on Sedaris' slide.
"Cousin Bette" was interesting, although the Margaret Tyzack - Helen Mirren video is more approachable.
- Just finished "Rules of Civility."
It was, at times, very good. But it was also a bit annoying. The main character came across more as the know-it-all author showing off than a first generation American woman in the 1930s.
Also the narrative's habit of using words appropriate to the 30s (e.g., Negroes), making it seem as if it had been written then, but then referencing things 40 years hence was distracting.
And little things were wrong: Such as the narrator paying for a bottle of champagne at her friend's private club. The charge would have had to be signed for.
- You have good taste, r112.
- 'This Side of Paradise' by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It's not an easy read like 'The Great Gatsby.'
- R122, I had very mixed feelings about "Rules of Civility." It seemed at times a little smug.
Everything always just went her way for the main character, and yet one never felt that she had earned any of it. What exactly did she do so very right that her life turned out so swell.
R124, Read "Tender is the Night." FSF considered it a masterpiece.
- Not "The Knife of Never Letting Go"? R120?
- The Andy Warhol Diaries -- gossip in its purest form. Revealing, sometimes shocking, mostly entertaining, and at times, laugh out load funny.
- Taslima Nasreen.
A tad depressing, but good nonetheless. Women in Bengladesh
- I'm reading my way through the Nero Wolfe canon. His dislike of women makes the average Datalounger seem a lesbian separatist! Archie is reputed to be such a "ladies' man" but that seems more talk than anything. He's incredibly fussy about clothes, and notices handsome men often. He and Lily Rowan seem more like pals to go out dancing, etc. than lovers.
- Just finished The Corrections and started A Passage to India.
- Given the good reviews here, I picked up The Interestings. I will finish it but it is only so-so.
- Let us know what you think of Atkinson's book Life After Life r119.
I bought it several weeks ago but I'm waiting until I have some time off from work son as I expect it's a book that could suffer if I can't give it its due attention.
I love all of her other books, the Jackson Brodies and the non-Jackson Brodies.
- I've been reading Thomas Hardy's books this year. The Mayor of Casterbridge was exceptional...surprisingly plot driven for a Victorian novel. Lots of twists and turns!
Far From the Madding Crowd and The Return of the Native were relatively disappointing but maybe it's cause they were written prior to Mayor when Hardy was younger. So I'll certainly give the later Tess of the D'Ubervilles and Jude the Obscure a try.
- Rising Tide, about the great 1927 flood of the Mississippi River and how it changed America. A big part of American history that is little known by most Americans.
- I wanted something lighter, so I'm about halfway through Brian Stelter's Top of the Morning. It's mostly about the internal politics at Today that led to Ann Curry's ousting and the eventual collapse in ratings. It got lots of press back in April.
He's terrible with metaphor, but I confess to loving all the gossipy parts (ex: he adds fuel to the rumor that Lauer and Natalie Morales had an affair).
- The Patriarch - a bio of Joseph P. Kennedy. I'm into the war years. I've long wondered how the Kennedys came into prominence on the heels of their discredited father who was seen as on the wrong side of history.
- Have any of you read The Wall by Austrian author Marlen Haushofer? The adverts for 'Under the Dome' keep reminding me about that novel. It is about a woman who wakes up one morning in the Austrian Alps and finds that she is behind a 'wall' - an invisible barrier to the rest of the world. She is isolated from everyone, and it appears that the rest of the world might just be dead. It is both haunting and moving.
- Just finished Reconstructing Amelia, a decent beach read. Very Gone Girl-esque.
- Naked Airport: A Cultural History of the World's Most Revolutionary Structure by Alastair Gordon.
The author comes across as a little snobbish but it's a fascinating story. America was actually behind Europe in aviation until a mad boom in 1927-1929.
- "There May Be Side Effects" by Augustin Burrows, author of "Running With Scissors," which I haven't yet read. Hilarious. Better than David Sedaris at his best, not that I don't love David Sedaris.
- Culture and Cuisine, by Jean Revel, and Arthur Machen's The Great God Pan (not that this will take very long).
- Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai. It's the story of a gay boy's bittersweet passage to maturity against growing political tensions in Sri Lanka.
- High-Rise by J.G. Ballard
Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
- Ninety Days by Bill Clegg
- Japan Inc by Shotaro Ishinomori (graphic book which is an Introduction to Japanese Economics).
- Finished The Leftovers, an odd story of a post-rapturesque event from a suburban perspective. Soon to be an HBO show. Left me a little cold.
- Rat Girl (Kristin Hersh's memoirs)... really interesting stuff especially if you were into Throwing Muses.
- "The Séance" by John Harwood -- gothic thriller set in Victorian England.
- r28, I loved that book...stay with it. I think the message is a good one. Well-written and ironic.
- I just finished New York by Edward Rutherford, and read Paris before that. Now I am reading 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, and also Jefferson's Secrets Death and Desire at Monticello. I don't watch television.
- I just finished "The Dinner," (recommended by some DLers) - it was a lot better than "Gone Girl," which I gave up on pretty quickly. At one point I thought The Dinner was going to turn into something really good, but it didn't and **hinting at SPOILER** I found the explanation a bit of a cop-out. I kind of felt like I wasted time after I finished it.
The next book I am going to read is "Austerity: the history of a dangerous idea," by Mark Blyth.
- r72, I loved NEVER LET YOU GO, but didn't enjoy REMAINS OF THE DAY much at all. Ishiguro's weird like that.
- Marion Winik's FIRST COMES LOVE, for the fourth time since 1995.
- [quote]'This Side of Paradise' by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It's not an easy read like 'The Great Gatsby.'
In this case that's because TSoP is a terrible book.
- [quote]Rat Girl (Kristin Hersh's memoirs)
I would have expected they were Ann Coulter's!
- Is anybody interested in reading "Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace. I bought myself a copy in late December and made a New Year's resolution to read it. I was wondering if anyone wanted to read and discuss it along with me-we could do it through FB, Twitter or email or I'd buy a membership here and start a thread-just an idea. If anyone's interested let me know.
- That's a great idea, R156! I had bought it a few years ago and stopped reading after maybe 50 pages, but could start again IF there is a discussion about it. I remember very much enjoying the pages about the guy who is trying to stop drugs and who is forever doing "one last score".
I would need to buy this book again, though.
If you're in the mood for reading something else by DFW, I've got The Pale King which I bought maybe two or three years ago. I read half.
- Oh and I'd like to recommend the latest by Delphine de Vigan, Nothing holds back the night: depressing stuff, but a very good read.
- [italic]Snow White Must Die[/italic] - a murder mystery set in a German village. A young man is just out of prison after being convicted as a juvenile for killing his girlfriend and ex-girlfriend. But maybe he didn't really do, and maybe the little village had a big conspiracy.
- tell me more about Delphine de Vigan, R158
Are her books good?
I see the one you mentioned has to do with a mother (I can't read that right now as I am dealing with a difficult mother), but did you like any of her other books?
I am looking for something with intellectual and emotional depth.
- "Empire as a Way of Life," by William Appleman Williams. An excellent short history of the American empire.
- I only read the one about the mother. It was truly exceptional for that subject matter. Not an easy read, and not for the faint-hearted. It's also very modest, and there's a lot it doesn't say.
Underground was read by two friends of mine and is equally good apparently.
No and Me was turned into a film that did relatively well.
Her writing is honest and unpretentious while depicting a family of the French bourgeoisie, and I felt she touched on her subject very, very well. As much as there is pain, it is a love letter to her mother. Now I was devastated when I finished the book, so know what you are getting into if you start reading it.
- I am beginning to re-read books that I've read years ago. As I am an elder (50 year old), it is very easy to do as I have forgotten what the books were about.
Currently, I am reading Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner. I am reading Brookner's novels again because I can now truly relate to her protagonists' sense of isolation and loneliness as I am single and older. When I was younger, I read these books and thought, "this will never happen to me!"
How time changes everything...
Elder Cube Frau
- So glad to see this thread bumped!
Just finished Kate Atkinson's latest Life After Life. A magnificent book, though perhaps a little difficult getting into it at the beginning.
If you've enjoyed her other books (esp. Human Croquet and Behind the Scenes at the Museum), please stay with it until about 150 pages when it really gets going. I truly didn't want it to end.
It's about an Englishwoman born in 1910 who keeps dying and being reborn and shows how tenuous life is and how seemingly insignificant events and personal choices can drastically change the course of a person's life and even history.
I'm now reading The Chaperone by Kathleen Moriarty, which is about a middle-aged Kansan woman who escorts a teenage (pre-Hollywood) Louise Brooks to NYC in 1922 to study modern dance with Ruth St. Denis.
The book can seem a little prosaic and sentimental but then keeps surprising me with its twists and turns of plot. The author wonderfully evokes the period and America at a time of enormous social upheaval as seen through the eyes of her characters.
- Looking forward to Meg Wolitzer's The Interestings. Awful title!
- Loved The Son by Philipp Meyer. Multi-generational saga of Texans, Mexicans, and Comanches. Beautifully written and hard to put down.
Now starting to reread Shirley Jackson, who seems to be having a bit of a renaissance.
- Another vote for "Life after Life" - certainly an oddity, but I can't stop thinking about it.
I really loved the new Kate Morton book, "The Secret Keeper" - lots of twists. She tells a good story.
- Don't Get Too Comfortable
By David Rakoff
Lots of laughs, a bit smug and pretentious, yet quite right in most observations.
- Sorry, got the author's name wrong on The Chaperone.
It's Laura Moriarty.
- I have "Life After Life" and "The Chaperone" on my TBR pile. Reviewers of the former complain it's hard to follow, glad for the warning to be patient with it!
- Like many fine British books of the last 50 years, Life After Life has, what I believe, is called a non-linear style. The plot is not chronological and thus jumps back and forth in time and the reader is introduced to some characters before they understand how the character fits into the story.
But once one gets into the rhythm of the story-telling, it's immensely satisfying. It does require some concentration so I would suggest reading the book when you know you can devote several consecutive days to it. It would otherwise be very easy to lose the thread of the plot.
- I thought The Chaperone became pretty unbelievable towards the end. The audiobook is good, though, with Lady Cora reading as "Cora."
- Among the Porcupines - Carol Matthau.
- R172 - I have the audiobook of "The Chaperone" so thanks for the confirmation of its narration quality.
- Books I recommend HIGHLY:
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. I really didn't want this to end.
Life After Life was excellent. I agree you need to stick with it. You won't be disappointed (hopefully)
And the Mountains Echoed by Kahled Hosseini
Big Brother by Lionel Shriver who wrote We Need to Talk about Kevin.
The Interestings was not great. I found it to be over-rated.
The Silver Star (Jeannette Walls) very same tone as The Glass Castle
The Chaperone piece of candy and much like The Paris Wife and The Aviator's Wife.
The ending of Stephen King's latest felt like a Scooby Doo episode.
- I'm about half way through "The Interestings," R175 and I am enjoying it immensely. I hope it stays as good for the second half. I think it is a great beach read - in fact, I read most of it while at the beach!
- Just beginning "The Silver Star."
Just finished "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" by Gamen. Not my usual fare, but I really enjoyed it.
I also really enjoyed "The Secret Keeper." Very entertaining from start to finish.
- r175, I love Lionel Shriver's work, especially "The Post-Birthday World" and "So Much For That"----I've wondered about her new one, but the description doesn't sound great. Of course, neither did the others. Was it dark and humorous together like the two I mentioned? ("We Need To Talk About Kevin" was never funny and was just plain dark, but the summary appealed to me.)
- Howard Hughes: Hells Angel by Darwin Porter.
Salacious, slimy, silly and really not that believable. Like the Scotty Bowers book.
- How to get SSI so you can not work and continue to fuck.
How to cheat the government into giving you free antiretrovirals.
- Various true crime books.
- Just about done with Sidney Guillaroff's "Crowning Glory". Let's just say it's a nice bit of fiction, especially his repeated "I'm *not* gay" statements as he includes a photo of himself with his "adopted grandson" Jose, the son of his housekeeper.
The Garbo affair chapter alone made the $4 purchase worth it.
- Half through "The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells", and like "Life after Life" it involves a woman who keeps waking up in a different life - although the machination is quite different. In this one, her twin brother has died from AIDS and her lover has deserted her, so she's doing electroshock therapy, which induces the different lives. Eventually you aren't sure which one is the true "reality".
- "canticle for Leibowitz" - old-fashioned post-apocalyptic sic-fi. well done but nothing really that amazing.
- "The Friedkin Connection" by William the director. Not that great but some behind the scenes info.
- Almost halfway into The Interestings.
Very good writing but something is keeping me from really loving it. I'm a little bit older than the characters...maybe that's it?
- I really enjoyed the first half of The Interestings, but I think it slowed down during the second half. I'm also a bit older than the characters.
I enjoy these "slice of life" novels, but sometimes I prefer something a bit more "plot driven." I think that following a story line that needs to come to some sort of a conclusion can facilitate the "can't put it down" feeling.
- So I gave up on The Interestings. I got tired of being told by the author how fabulous the characters were. I prefer finding that out through their actions.
- The Twelfth Enchantment by David Liss - In 19th century England, an orphaned young woman is about to be married off to a dull businessman when a bedraggled but handsome man in a fever arrives at the house, protesting that she shouldn't marry the man, but should follow the leaves. ??? The handsome, bedraggled man turns out to be Lord Byron, and the young woman has perhaps been the victim of a scheme to defraud her and her sister. And some playing about with spirits and enchantments is involved. I'm only about 50 pages in, but I've enjoyed Liss' novels before, so I'm going on faith.
- 'The curious incident of the dog in the night-time' by Mark Haddon.
Sort of both a kids and adult book and maybe 'gimmicky' too, but it's entertaining and a good look into how a guy with Asperger's mind works and of what effect he has on people around him.
- Sounds like David Liss has been reading The Woman in White.
- "The Secret Piano: From Mao's Labor Camps to Bach's Goldberg Variations" by Zhu Xiao-Mei
True story about a Chinese pianist in the era of Mao. To quote from Goodreads: "Zhu Xiao-Mei was three years old when she saw her first piano, a cherished instrument introduced into her family's Beijing home by her mother. Soon after, the child began to play, developing quickly into a prodigy who immersed herself in the work of such classical masters as Bach and Brahms. Her astonishing proficiency earned her a spot at the Beijing Conservatory at the tender age of eleven, where she began laying the foundation for a promising career as a concert pianist. But in 1966, with the onset of the Cultural Revolution, life as she knew it ended abruptly. The Communist Party's campaign against culture forced the closure of art schools and resulted in the deportation of countless Chinese, including Xiao-Mei and her entire family. She spent five years in a work camp in Inner Mongolia, suffering under abysmal living conditions and a brutal brainwashing campaign. Yet through it all, Xiao-Mei kept her dream alive, drawing on the power of music to sustain her courage."
It's very good!
- Rita Moreno's memoir.
- If you want something light try "Austenland" by Shannon Hale. Some genuinely laugh out loud moments. I plan to see the upcoming movie.
- I just finished Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars by Scotty Bowers. SO glad that was not born in the 1930's as gay sex was so despotic and gross. I read the book, but washed my hands whenever I set it down. Very gross, made me feel sorry for men back then.
- I'm reading the new fiction paperback The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman, about a light house keeper and his wife, who live on a remote island off the coast of Australia in the 1920s.
Loving it so far. Not heavy literature but much better than a beach read.
- The "9/11 Toronto Report"
Answers a lot of questions, including why there is such a concerted effort on places like DL to deny the obvious, namely, the government has a program to troll the internet attacking theories.
- "namely, the government has a program to troll the internet attacking theories."
I love self perpetuating mythologies.
- Who is their right mind would waste their time reading a book nowdays? With TV, internet etc books are a total waste of time, not to mention boring.
- It's not a mythology. The report names who came up with the program and why.
- I'm reading A Very Corporate Affair book 1 at the moment. Great for Anglophiles. Set in London, and features the rise of a young corporate lawyer, and loads of hot men. Written by D A Latham. A nice, easy read.
- R199, you sound like an idiot.
- I'm listening to "This Town" -- story of how DC is in love with itself. I didn't know much about Mike Allen of POLITICO, who is profiled, but from their write-up and seeing a photo, I was left gasping, MARY!"
- Lookaway Lookaway, to be published in August. About North Carolina society--colege hazing literary snobbery, illicit sex, old money, etc. Pretty darn entertaining.
- Lucinda Bassett: The Solution: Conquer Your Fear, Control Your Future
Self help book, based on cognitive behavioural therapy. Have read only couple of chapters yet, but already it has made go through some shit from my childhood, and made me to start seeing current things from that point of view. I have been depressed practically my whole adult life (I'm now 41) and after stopping eating anti-depressants few months ago I decided it's finally time to try to face all stuff that make me depressed.
Yeah, probably a good psychiatrist would be better, but I've no money so this is the other option. So far so good. I've listened to Bassett's audiobooks earlier and I like her. Sure she's in it for the money, at least partly, but she seems legit.
- Defending Jacob.
- Just bought The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg, a comic about a family with food addictions that rupture it apart.
Anyone know it?
- "More Havoc." Holy SHIT, and I thought
"Early Havoc" aka "Marathon '33" had some hair-raising stories about June and Louise and their batshit mother. Full of did-I-just-read-that moments like the one about her being kidnapped off the floor of a dance marathon, drugged and raped by a rich pervert who liked "tender meat." I'll never look at "Gypsy" the same way again, that's for sure.
-  I enjoyed it, and the times gave it a great review.
- "Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia: The Regulation of Sexual and Gender Dissent" by Dan Healey.
I had bought it last year, but with Russia and the anti-gay laws in the news lately, I picked it. An academic work, but I like those, and it's quite fascinating.
- I'm re-reading Anthony Trollope's "The Small House at Allington" -- Lily Dale needs to get over herself, IMHO.
Story has two senior citizens bachelors for characters (related by marriage, not brothers), where it's explained that they "lost (couldn't snag) the great love of their lives (and that was that)." There was a similar explanation for Roger Carbury's being eternally single in "The way We Live Now", with the women in my discussion group finding the "all or nothing" (one specific woman, or nothing at all, ever) approach very unrealistic.
- Drunk Mom by Jowita Bydlowska
- Sugar Salt Fat by Michael Moss.
I see everything at the grocery store a little differently now.
Earlier this year I read Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrmann and it changed my life by making it much easier to stick to good eating habits.
- Just finished [italic]Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead[/italic] by Sara Gran. I recommend this for mystery lovers who want something a little different. This is about the best detective alive who receives clues through dreams, drug-induced states, and scraps of paper. Or maybe she's a functional schizophrenic like her client seems to be wondering. I've already ordered the second book.
In other news, I started [italic]Six Years[/italic] by Harlan Coben and he's gone past beating a dead horse, he's kicking it down the street. His editor should forbid any further "the past is just a lie that the protagonist must now decipher" mysteries from Coben. And I should be smart enough not to start any more of these things.
- r211 I adore Anthony Trollope!
Just finished He Knew He Was Right which was almost as great as The Way We Live Now. Framley Parsonage is on my bedside table waiting....
What are your favorite Trollopes...or other Victorians? I'm also a Hardy fan (esp. The Mayor of Casterbridge).
- Whatever Happened to Modernism? by Gabriel Josipovici
- The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters by Charlotte Mosley
Unity Mitford just shot herself in the head over her [italic]darling[/italic] Wolf (Adolf Hitler) going to war with England.
- Long(ish) reply to R215 - sorry if I'm hijacking the thread!
If you like Victorian lit, try "Miss Marjoribanks" (Marchbanks) by Margaret Olyphant; I found a free ebook copy Googling around. An online reading group whose discussions I sometimes join will be doing Hardy's "Far From the Madding Crowd" this autumn (I haven't yet read it).
As for Trollope, his most approachable non-Barset/Palliser book would be "Dr. Wortle's School"; although I loved "The Way We Live Now" it's a LONG book! If you can locate a DVD of "Barchester Chronicles" you're in for a treat! Signora Neroni (Susan Hampshire of "Forsythe Saga") and Mrs Proudie (Geraldine MacEwan of "Mapp and Lucia") were the true forerunners of Crystal and Alexis Carrington, and the dishy Alan Rickman plays Slope to a tee. The storyline is a conflation of "The Warden" and "Barchester Towers".
- My book group is making me read Zadie Smith, NW. Hate it, hate it, hate it. You all seem to belong to much more interesting groups.
- Someone told me The Unwinding was good enough that they couldn't put down, but I haven't even looked it up on Amazon so I don't even know if it is fiction or non-fiction. I much prefer non-fiction but sometimes if there is really good fiction, I'll read it.
- R203, [italic]This Town[/italic] was given coverage on MSNBC recently. The author appeared with Alex Wagner to discuss D.C. I'm looking forward to reading this one.
- I have "The Middlesteins" on my TBR pile, but have been a bit leery after reading a comment that the book is depressing.
- I just finished "The Middlesteins." Loved it--it's not terribly depressing.
- A really stupid romance novel that was given to me.
- The Memoirs of a Prague Executioner by Josef Svátek.
After that I will start on the so-called Transylvanian Trilogy by Miklós Bánffy.
- I just finished Old Filth by Jane Gardam. Contrary to the title, it is not about vintage porn, but about a British lawyer who 'Failed in London, Try Hong Kong' (FILTH). Fabulous book about the life of a 'Raj Orphan'.
- I may read Never Let Me Go soon. If anybody here has read it, impressions are welcome.
- Just finished "You Are One of Them" by Elliott Holt. Great, fast read that made a deep impression on me.
Now have just picked up "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves" by Karen Joy Fowler. Has gotten great reviews but haven't gotten into it too deeply yet (we just got a Roku and I've been playing with my new toy)
- I read it, R227 and, although I liked it, I didn't buy the premise so it sort of ruined it for me. I don't want to go into too much detail as I don't want to spoil it for you but basically, I think that, by the time this book took place, things would have been different...
- [quote]I may read Never Let Me Go soon. If anybody here has read it, impressions are welcome.
A hard book to discuss without going into detail. It's best that you read it and have your feelings dawn on you as the writer intended.
- I've read a lot this summer, but not very much of it is brand new.
I read the Roger Ebert autobiography "Life Itself" (very good, if you take the intensity and depth of the first several chapters with his early memories in context - that he really intensely experienced those once he was ill).
I have an advance copy of the new David Leavitt in my knapsack but it's coming off awfully tedious at the beginning. Not sure if I want to finish it.
- Zealot. About the "real" Jesus. I'm finding it an interesting read.
- None. I can't.
- Because of your tentacles?
- Just an FYI, R226, that "Old Filth" is the first part of a trilogy.
- I recently tried reading Never Let Me Go but couldn't get into it and didn't like the premise, so gave up.
- Orson Welles talks with Henry Jaglom.
- I also enjoyed Old Filth and The Man in the Wooden Hat, its companion piece, though felt as an American I wasn't always getting all of the various Brit references.
Nevertheless, Jane Gardam led me to read some of Peneolpe Lively's novels, which are somewhat similar in tone though, perhaps a bit more accessible.
I'm just finishing up Moon Tiger, which won the Booker Prize in 1987. It's about a female journalist/historian in her mid-70s dying in an English hospital and reviewing episodes in her life esp. in Egypt in WWII. Gorgeous writing but depressing...though maybe that's just my mood now.
- Did you see the film, R236?
- No, r239, but I think I might enjoy the film more so I wouldn't mind seeing it.
- The book of Never Let Me Go is far superior to the film--though the three actors playing the young people are very good, as is Charlotte Rampling. It is a disturbing, but very well-written book.
I'm reading Zealot and The Last Temptation of Christ--interesting pairing.
- Thanks very much, R241. I didn't like One-Hour Photo and found it very simplistic, which is why I was worried about Never Let Me Go - I enjoyed Remains of the Day immensely, so I might go with the book instead of the film.
- If you're illiterate, R233, how can you be typing here?
- I found the movie Never Let Me Go very disturbing. The scenes in the "orphanage" are poignant in light of what's in store for those kids. Also the drawings.
It seemed very English in the fact everyone is so damned passive.
- Just finished Ron Hansen's A Wild Surge of Guilty Passion, a novel based on the murder that inspired the film Double Indemnity. Great book. He's a terrific author, if you haven't read any of his work. Stll have Toibin's The Testament of Mary and Larsen's In the Garden of Beasts. to finish before they're due back at the library (yes, I'm an old fart and check out books from the library...)
- You're not the only library patron, r245. My librarian and I share mystery recommendations.
- Has anyone read Pynchon's "Inherent Vice"?
Paul Thomas Anderson is directing a film version.
I'm interested to read it soon.
- I'd be interested in reading it R247, one of my all-time favorites is "The Crying of Lot 49." I've considered starting a book thread on here for DL to read the same book and post about it. Would you be interested in doing that?
- I get out actual library books, too! Although my library has SO many ebooks that I have a huge TBR pile of those as well.
- R248. I taught Lot 49 to my honors students (college) last semester. They didn't like it very much (and they did like Pale Fire, Cloud Atlas, and If on a Winter's Night, so it's not that it was too challenging)--I wonder if it's one of those books whose time has passed?
- Encouraging to see some intelligent discussion here for a change.
Has anyone here read NEXT by James Hynes? It came out a few years ago and got some great reviews but very little buzz. It's one of the best novels I've read in the last 10 years. Very hard to describe the plot without revealing spoilers.
- I always read fiction (usually a detective story) and non-fiction simultaneously. Just finished The thirteenth Tale and Caro's Passage of Power. Both superb. Now reading This Town and the new Harlan Coben. This Town starts off very well, the Harlan Coben seems like he plagiarized himself - Tell No One was better.
- Speaking of mystery books, anyone else a fan of those featuring Flavia De Luce, girl genius? I'd think gay guys would greatly identify with her being such a misfit; some female readers of my acquaintance hate her as being a "sociopath" for the way she treats her sister.
- I read Lot 49 in 2003 when I was 25 and found it to be a hoot. I haven't re-read it since but I had bought it at the time, I still have it. I could re-read it for DL, in fact there are many books I would enjoy reading for DL, part of this site could obviously be a shameless book club. It already is a film club.
- I've already tried to get DLers to read/watch Nightmare Alley (Tyrone Power movie, based on a gripping novel from the mystery-pulp genre, very well-written), without success.
- I've read two of the Flavia de Luce books; they're charming.
- I'm reading my first Georgette Heyer Regency novel. (Mary!) She has a host of zealous fans, but the jury for me is still out.
- Just finished "The Quiet Girl" by Hoeg--the Dane who wrote "Smila's Sense of Snow." Utterly fascinating: about reality perceived through/as music and tone. The protagonist is a philosphical tax-cheating clown. . .
Could someone explain the ending to me?
- This thread is really rocking now!
Has anyone read "The Last Summer of the Camperdowns" by Elizabeth Kelly? It's on my TBR pile, and I'm thinking of starting it soon, but some of the online comments cause me to fear it may prove disappointing. Thanks!
- Speaking of Smila's Sense of Snow, I just read it last spring. Interesting characters and liked the first half, but it seemed to devolve into a plot stolen from a 1980's action movie. She had Ripley (Alien) like ability to get around and survive. I was ready for the book to be over.
- That said - I liked Sigourney Weaver-Ripley --and the first couple Alien movies, just did not think it fit the tone of the first part of the book.
- R255, you convinced me. I just ordered Nightmare Alley.
- Thank you R262! Truly hope you will not be disappointed, by the book or the film.
- 'Katherine' - Anya Seton
'Harebrained Tortoise Mind'
- Everything by MARQUIS DE SADE, my master and teacher.
- I am reading a non-fiction book called "Ghost" by Katherine Ramsland.
It's an investigation of the paranormal. Interesting and exasperating all at once.
- I read that a while ago, R266. While I don't recall the details of the book, my impression matches what you've said. I love haunted house stuff.
- vampire diaries series by lj smith
pretty little liars series by sara shepard
yeah i'm proud of it
- "The Neighbors" by Ania Ahlborn, this summers "Gone Girl" but so much better
- [quote]The book of Never Let Me Go is far superior to the film--though the three actors playing the young people are very good, as is Charlotte Rampling. It is a disturbing, but very well-written book.
I could go on and on about this book. It doesn't fit into any genre.
After I read it and saw the movie I went online and read all these interviews with Kazuo Ishiguro where he talks about what inspired the book and how he felt about the film. Really interesting.
The movie didn't really work, but there were some scenes that did and I agree with whoever said the actors did a great job.
- Now I'll have to read it, R270. Somehow I didn't like the first page.
Then I'll watch the film. And we will be back here do discuss it.
- Is it bad of me to have tried to read Never Let Me Go but not been inspired enough by the first few pages to continue, so I just let it go?
- Thanks, R235. I didn't know that. I'm glad I started with the first one. I'm going over to the Brooklyn Library site now and request the next one.
And yes, I, too, am an old fart that still uses the library. When I buy books I never know what to do with them when I'm done. I try to pass them on but I don't have a lot of friends that share my passion for books.
With all the on-line services offered by the library (having books delivered to the nearest branch, placing a popular book on hold, renewing, etc.) it is silly to waste so much money on books that I will only read once.
- What is a TBR pile?
- I believe it means "to be read," milady.
- I very rarely re-read books either, R273. Right now, I possess roughly 30 unread books, mostly destined for trips during "all electronics OFF during takeoff/landing" etc. I'm a big user of my library's downloadable audio and ebook holdings.
- [quote]Now I'll have to read it, [R270]. Somehow I didn't like the first page.
It's an oddly tedious book at times. But there is a reason for that.
- "Dandy in the Underworld" by Sebastian Horsley. In this auto-biography he discusses all his vices. I used to enjoy his very creative way of dressing (he died a while ago).
- I highly recommend The Middlesteins which I read in just a few days....rare for me.
Perfect for a book club, I think, as most of the characters are rather controversial and could be viewed very differently by different readers.
- Cage of Bones by Tania Carver
- Another fan of Never Let Me Go. The film was just OK, but didn't convey the devastating power of the novel. After reading it I felt bereft - which sounds terrible - but the novel leaves scars that are hard to ignore. Still, the novel has a terrible beauty.
- You Never Let Me Go book fans really have me intrigued... Can't say I'm surprised about your finding the film consistently inferior. I only saw One Our Photo out of his previous films, can't say I saw the mark of a great director.
- I liked the film Never Let Me Go. I thought it was really well done. Now I will have to read the book if people are so passionate about it.
- When Bad Things Happen to Good People. Rabbi Kushner. Seriously, should be read once a year, whether you 'need' it or not. Lots of weird, unexpected tragedy hitting a lot of people around me this summer and it has helped stave off lots of catastrophic thinking on my part. Very down-to-earth. This book has been around a long time.
- I just finished THE HISTORIAN by Elizabeth Kostova. I got the recommendation for it from another site I frequent and, well, I'll never take another suggestion from there again.
It's a book about Dracula that manages to be pretentious and incredibly dull...I am annoyed with myself for finishing it. I think one of the worst parts of it was that I got the impression that the author thought that she was writing something really important. She wasn't. It was self-indulgent tripe.
- R282, I get the impression that the Never Let Me Go fans are fans of the book not the film.
- Anyone here read And Sons?
I bought it for my bf and he read it but didn't much care for it. So now I may skip it unless someone here perks my interest.
- OMG. Please STOP talking about "Never Let You Go"! This is a thread about books not about one overrated overwritten pedestrian novel that four people have read. Thank you for your cooperation.
- I've just finished "This Town" - the inside scoop on how fucked up DC really is. Beltway bubbleheads spend most of their time shuffling between lavish parties, collecting huge amounts of loot for doing basically nothing, except (successfully it appears) pretending to be important. I knew this already, but the reality is still depressing.
- I'm reading "A Pearl in the Storm" by Tori Murden McClure. She set out to be the first woman to row across the North Atlantic. It's riveting.
- Has anyone read "Never Let Me Go"? I hear it's great.
- Careful, r291. Stay away from the thin ice you are beginning to ice skate upon.
- I'd love to hear people's opinions on "Never Let Me Go." If only to piss off the horrible Strand salesbottom at r288.
- There's a book by a Japanese-sounding novelist I saw on the subway a lot a couple of years ago...Natalie Portman or an actress who looks like her was on the cover so I guess they made a film of it? And I think the title was an interrogative? Anyone know what I'm thinking of?
- Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens.
- The Lands of Charm and Cruelty by Stan Sesser about travel in SE Asia. Like most journos he completely fails to understand the region, not having studied anything about it or about ancestor worship, that crazy pervasive surveillance by the dead that renders all South and East Asia both polite and mean except as modified by Confucius, Buddhism, Brahmanism, and other religions.
- I didn't care very much for NEVER LET ME GO. It came across as half-baked, though it had moments of real beauty. Has anyone hear read REMAINS OF THE DAY? Is it better?
- Eh, at this point, just watch the movie.
- Has anyone here yet read or mentioned the new thriller The Silent Wife, which is being hyped as a literary version of Gone, Girl?
Or is it Girl, Gone? I can never remember.
- R293, my opinion is that I tried to read it and really wanted to get into it, and my gf told me I should read it so I made an extra effort, but it just didn't grab me in the first few pages and I didn't like the storyline so couldn't be bothered to continue. There are so many books on my TBR list and I'm old enough now not to feel bad about not completing a book that I started. There are just too many books and if I find the opening too hard going and the storyline doesn't grab me, then I'll move on to the next one in the metaphorical pile.
- What r301 said. I had the same experience.
- Recent books have included
"The Gilded Glitter Life of Francis Bacon"
"The Reginald Perrin Omnibus"
- I'm reading The Gentleman's Guide to the Golden Age of Woven-Silk Tampons.
- Another vote for This Town. By turns, hilarious and utterly demoralizing.
- I just started The Mayor of Casterbridge. Next is The Town. Just finished Astronaut Wives. Don't bother.
- Go for it, OP, it's a cracker.
Just finished Fifty Shades of Grey - utterly absorbing, and beautifully and elegantly written. Up there with the classics.
- Of all the Victorian novels I've read, The Mayor of Casterbridge would be in the top 5.
There's a real plot that keeps twisting and genuine suspense and wonderfully drawn characters.
You won't be sorry r306.
- R308, what are your top 5? I'd like your recs. Thanks.
- How about some good gay novels, not trashy but great stories.
- R309 -- for a Victorian novel, try Trollope's "The Way We Live Now", which is long, but soap-opera enough to keep one interested.
- My 5 faves:
The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Middlemarch by George Eliot
The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton (not British and later than 19th century, but what the hell!)
- You have good taste, r312.
- I've started listening to the memoir "Until I Say Goodbye", author is a 44 year old mother of three with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease).
- The Missing of the Somme Geoff Dyer (re-read)
The Faraway Nearby Rebecca Solnit
I particularly enjoyed the Solnit because it was good to hear someone else talk about having a horrible, narcissistic mother. Some parts were well-to-do White author navel gazing, but it was good overall.
Dyer is one author whose work I'll read regardless of subject. His book on photography, The Ongoing Moment, was also excellent.
- ayb, good to see you here--thought you'd disappeared with the other regulars.
What was the Bacon book like?
I have a love/hate relationship with his paintings, but I find him interesting.
- Now reading books about Vikings. Obsessed with Vikings these days!
Also love Thomas Hardy novels. Any of his are great. I get sucked up into their world.
Plan to read more poetry too.
- Novels on my TBR:
Outtakes from a Marriage by Ann Leary
The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
- If the news from Fukushima is correct, personally I think "My Pet Goat" should be a long-term reading plan...
- ayb - The Reggie Perrin books are WEIRD (weirder even than the TV series could ever have been)
- The Tragedy of American Diplomacy by William Appleman Williams. It sounds dry, but it's not. It's a history of U.S. economic imperialism. Everyone American should be required to read it. You'll never think about your country the same way again.
- [quote] Has anyone here yet read or mentioned the new thriller The Silent Wife, which is being hyped as a literary version of Gone, Girl?
I just finished it. I didn't care for it. It is a little bit similar to Gone Girl. It's disingenuous for everyone in the press to say it's like Gone Girl.
Gone Girl was a really good book. I didn't like the ending, but up until then it was very good. The same can't be said about The Silent Wife
- Has anyone read Lookaway, Lookaway by Wilton Barnhardt?
I hear it is kind of like an American Southern Gothic version of The Way We Live Now.
- Richard Zacks, "An Underground Education"
- Serena by Ron Rash.
- I remember reading "The Mayor of Casterbridge" one summer when I was working at Disney World; I was in the breakroom at Space Mountain when one of the big plot twists occurred and I uttered, "Holy shit!" Everybody turned and looked. Awesome, awesome book.
I just finished "Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia" by Dan Healey, which I mentioned upthread; it's a fascinating examination of how Imperial Russian and then the Soviet dealt with their gay citizens, and how those citizens responded. It's a bit more academic than I would've liked -- it emphasizes the legal and medical history with only a cursory examination of the social history -- but in light of recent events it's highly recommended.
Came across "The Penguin Book of Gay Short Stories" (1994) edited by David Leavitt and Mark Mitchell at Half Priced Books and have been reading a story each night before bed; have already completed "A Poem of Friendship" by D.H. Lawrence (an ok story), "Arthur Snatchfold" by E.M. Forster (a great story), "Me and the Girls" by Noel Coward (a fantastic story that could be expanded into a great movie or perhaps even be the basis for a musical), and a section from J.R. Ackerley's "My Father and Me," where he relates his sexual/romantic history -- fascinating to discover that the legend of Guardsmen selling themselves (some very willingly) is quite true!
- Narcissus in Chains by Laurell K. Hamilton.
- (R326) I knew Dan Healey years ago when he lived in Toronto. He dated a good friend of mine, who later died of AIDS. Dan was a super nice, very funny guy.
- Buddhist Boot Camp
- A very corporate affair is on free promo today and tomorrow, and it's got a hot gay scene in it. Loved the dialogue and the characters.
- Just finished The Silent Wife and WTF was that about??
The twist at the end was lame and I didn't get the revelation of the 2 brothers (as seen through the wife's therapy) at all.
At least it reads quickly so I only wasted a couple of days on it.
- Ava Gardner: "Love Is Nothing" by Lee Server
- I'm half way through The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout. It is excellent. It takes place in a small town in Maine that has been over run with Somali immigrants and the tension that it causes. Strout won the Pulitzer for Oliver Kitteridge, I haven't read that one yet but it is high on my TBR list.
- Ugh, I meant Olive Kitteridge
- I'm starting, "Let the Right One In" by John Ajvide Lindqvist. I'm looking forward to it.
- Let us know how it is, R335. I saw the original Swedish film but not the American remake. Nothing could have been as good as the original.
- I'm reading Gone Girl right now. Please don't tell me the ending. I am at the part where it's revealed that the wife is batshit crazy.
- Exodus by Leon Uris. Read it when I was in college and I also liked the movie.
- A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra.
Only 1/3 of the way through but so far I am loving it.
- Always wondered about Leon Uris. His books were constantly on the best seller lists when I was a kid. Do they really still hold up?
Same thing for James Michener and Herman Wouk.
Any opinions on these guys?
- I read it, r323, Enjoyed it quite a bit, but can't say I'd compare it to Trollope. Very readable, and it's clear the author hates North Carolina—and maybe the entire South—with a passion. Each chapter concerns one person in an extended wealthy family down on its financial luck, including a young gay boy with an ongoing lust for handsome African-Americans. The satire is sharp and its bitchiness is supreme. Often very funny. But ultimately the individual chapters don't add up to a satisfying whole. Nonetheless, I recommend it.
- Derby Day by D.J. Taylor, a faux-Victorian novel that is indeed very Trollope-esque. Hard to put down. He has a new novel, The Windsor Faction, about what would have happened if Edward VIII had never abdicated.
- Re: Uris--I read Exodus, Mila 18, and Trinity. They were enjoyable as pop historical fiction, but Mila 18 (about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising) is the only one I really remember.
As for Michener, I only read Hawaii, which was fun (if a little long).
Both of them write books that are like 70s miniseries: serious-to-overly serious, atmospheric, full of sudsy romance, and definitely aimed at a mass audience.
- Wrapped in the Flag - a memoir of growing up in the John Birch Society.
- "Danube" by Claudio Magris. So far more a learned digression on the meaning of Germany more than a travelogue. Entertaining.
- "The Committee Political Assassination in Northern Ireland" by Sean McPhilemy
- Gerald Clarke's "Capote" though 25 years old is fascinating .like Capote, this man can really write. Capote knew everyone. This book has made me want to read other bios of talented gays and lesbians I never knew existed
- "Out for Good the Struggle to Build a Gay Rights Movement in America" by Dudley Clendinen and Adam Nagourney.
All about the gay rights movement in the 70s which tends to get ignored (other than Harvey Milk) because of the setbacks that came after.
- R347 -- consider "Born on a Blue Day" by Daniel Temmet. You've likely not heard of him as he's a gay British savant (with Aspergers).
- Thanks to whoever recommended [italic]Old Filth[/italic] by Jane Haldam. Great read. I've requested the next book in the trilogy.
- That was me, R350. Glad you enjoyed it. I just got the second book and I'm starting it tonight.
- "History of the Goths" by Herwig Wolfram. No, not that kind of Goth.
- I'm a PhD (science) student so I don't really read much serious fiction right now, I mostly read fairly lighthearted stuff. I'm currently re-reading E. F. Benson's Lucia series for about the millionth time, and seriously considering bumping the Georgie Pillson thread from about 2010 that I found on Google.
I'm also eagerly waiting for Donna Tartt's new book 'The Goldfinch'; her first two are two of the best-written books I've ever read.
- I looooved Donna Tart's The Secret History. Read it twice but never got around reading her other book.
- R353, Donna Tartt's books are certainly well written but they don't really have any point to them, especially the second one.
What's this Jane Haldam woman like, then?
- I've enjoyed a couple of Jane Gardam's books, including Old Filth, but I'm surprised they're popular here. The British references and colloquies are quite obscure and can be frustrating in understanding her plots.
Now Barbara Pym, on the other hand...I can't wait to start rereading her books when I retire.
- The Virgin in the Garden--A.S. Byatt
- Just finished "This Town" - very funny look at insider Washington. Now reading Kate Atkinson's "Life after Life" - also very good.
- "My Education," a novel by Susan Choi, a former Pulitzer Prize finalist. It's about a 21-year-old graduate student at an East Coast university who first becomes intrigued by her male professor and then starts an affair with his wife. I'm about halfway through.
- Oh, and it's set in the early 1990s.
- Anybody reading "Inherent Vice"? I'm interested but haven't got it yet.
- maddAddam - Margaret Atwood. The final installment in her "dystopia trilogy"
- What is Inherent Vice about? Give us a hint, r361, that would prod us to look it up on Amazon.
- here, R363
Part noir, part psychedelic romp, all Thomas Pynchon- private eye Doc Sportello surfaces, occasionally, out of a marijuana haze to watch the end of an era
- It's old but it's good. "Rain or Shine" - a memoir by Cyra McFadden about growing up in Montana. Moving and Hysterical!
- The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver.
- 5th Wave. Very entertaining YA dystopian novel.
- This Town, the non fiction expose' of Washington D.C. Fascinating if you follow politics and current events.
- "The Accursed" by JCO
- "Letters & Journals of Lord Byron, with Notices of his Life" by Thomas Moore.
- Has anyone mentioned BEAUTIFUL RUINS? Compulsively readable. Eight (or so) characters you will fall in love with. A terrific, winding narrative, going back and forth in time.
A warm, big-hearted sprawling novel.
- Crazy, Rich Asians - rom/com novel with lots of details about Singapore and Hong Kong Chinese culture.
- r372, I think you will find several favorable posts about Beautiful Ruins upthread if you're interested.
I'm sure the book must be sold to the movies by now. I wonder who will be cast? It could be fabulous!
- "The Infatuations" by Javier Marias. I just finished it. It was wonderful and gripping in an unexpected way. It is a murder mystery wrapped in a sick love story.
- I'm reading "Hitch 22" - Christopher Hitchens' autobiography. He's upfront about having had same sex liaisons in his youth. Funny guy, although I'm waiting for him to start commenting more on politics and society as the literary names (Martin Amis, etc.) don't mean all that much to me.
- "Eye Contact" by Michael Craft, a Mark Manning Mystery.
- "The Clash of Fundamentalisms" by Tariq Ali for a different if rather annoying perspective.
The City in Mind" by James Howard Kunstler
"Alexandria City of the Western Mind" by Theodore Vrettos. Promises intellectual history, but bogs down in Roman politicians. Still enjoyable though, but hard to reconcile with the Alexandria of today.
Pagano's "Cityscapes and Capital The Politics of Urban Development." Interesting as far as it goes but these people really need to expand their analysis to the banking sector and how it works.
- "It is a murder mystery wrapped in a sick love story."
Sounds a lot like "Gone Girl"!
- Three books by Richard E. Grant, all about his work in movies. Grant has no business being straight but apparently he is, a tragic loss.
With Nails: The Film Diaries of Richard E. Grant
The Wah-Wah Diaries: The Making of a Film
Good reads and fun, all three of them. The roman a clef novel, By Design, is delightfully savage. It seems to be comprised of the stories that he couldn't print in the non-fiction books.
- Surely my fellow DL'ers have heard of the Two Fat Ladies cooking show? I'm currently listening to Clarissa Dickson-Wright read "Clarissa's England" where she gives the highlights of what each county means to her.
- Someone bought me a porcelain copy of Les Miserables and it turned out to be a book shaped music box that played a medley of tunes from Les Miz when opened.
Thanks for posting. I'm going to pick up the Pagano and the Kunstler.
- Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff.
- The Bad Life by Frederic Mitterrand (French writer, TV personality, filmmaker, gay rights activist, Minister of Culture and Communication)
Beautiful and intimate self portrait.
- Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser
The historical stuff and anecdotes are great. However she has some really incomprehensible passages and a real hard-on for defending dear Antoine from any possible faults.
- Yes, R381.
Whoever recommended The 5th Wave upthread, thank you! I picked it up last week. It was a quick read. I love dystopian and sci fi stories.
- I am going to read the play The Effect by Lucy Prebble next.
- That was me, r381. Finished it last week. Looks ripe for a sequel, doesn't it? And possibly a good movie version.
- GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn. I can't put it down.
- Just finished David Copperfield. Though admittedly there are some dry patches in it's 800+ pages, what a gorgeous and remarkably life-confirming work of art!
It is really all about the generosity of the human spirit and was just what the doctor ordered for me at this point in my life. I heartily recommend it if you are feeling a little down in the dumps.
- I could put it down, R390. I gave up on it.
- AMERIKA by Kafka. It's my first Kafka novel and it is fucking hilarious. So on point, and he never even set foot here!
- "Marching as to War Canada's Turbulent Years 1899-1953" by Pierre Burton
- Prague Pictures by John Banville.
R391, I think you mean life-affirming.
This is a literary thread, after all, so language correction and editorial advice are permissible.
- Yes, I did mean life-affirming r395. Was almost going to correct it, thought it squeaked by, then, this morning.....BAM!
- Such a book does not exist, r385. Do you often make up books?
- It does, R397. It was quite a scandal in France because he describes having sex with some underage boys in an Asian country (possibly Thailand?)
The book became a hit after he was appointed for office.
- For R397:
- "At Swim, Two Boys" by Jamie O'Neill. I realize I'm over a decade late on this one, but WOW! What a fucking amazing novel. It's one of those rare achievements -- a work of dazzling prose and gripping narrative. I don't want to put it down. I'm about 230 pages in and already I think it may be one of my top 5 favorite novels of all time.
- I read about 30 pages of "Nightswimmer" but it was such a downer what with a disappeared swimmer and a suicide and a threatened suicide that I just can't continue and want to shoot the author for dumping his depression on the readers.
- I loved Nightswimmer.
- R397, I found The Bad Life on amazon.com.
It didn't come in the first search, but did in a 2nd search doing the search a different way.
You probably have poor search and research skills.
- Frédéric Mitterrand's bibliography
- R403 R397 "The Bad Life" is on the first page when I search for it on amazon.com, [italic]but it's the 8th book listed[/italic]. It goes to #1 when I put quotation marks around it.
- I recommend a book by Frank Sinatra's valet I recommend a book by Frank Sinatra's valet George Jacobs it's a great read full of gossip and juice
My life with Frank Sinatra
- Any other opinions on At Swim, Two Boys?
r400's post is so intriguing but my bf said he started it and it was impenetrable.
Nevertheless, I'll have a look.
- I've ordered a copy of "At Swim, Two Boys." Hope I like it more than R407's bf.
- "I Am Not Ashamed" by Barbara Payton
- "Someone" by Alice McDermott
- Well now, I've finished Christopher Hitchens' autobiography "Hitch 22" and there was NO mention of Sully at all that I could find, though I had thought they were such fast chums?
- HATED "At Swim,Two Boys", can't repeat it enough, I HATED it!
- I'm reading "Fairyland - A Memoir of My Father by Alysia Abbott. I keep putting it down and picking it up. It's about what it's like to have a gay poet Dad and grow up pretty much on your own in the Haight of the 80s.
- "Dr. Feelgood: The Shocking Story of the Doctor Who May Have Changed History by Treating and Drugging JFK, Marilyn, Elvis, and Other Prominent Figures" Hmmmm, not as good as I thought it would be.
- r412 has baby taste.
- City of Thieves was a quick read. Engaging.
- Why do you say that, R412? "Baby taste"--who even says something that stupid?
- Why do you say that, [R415]? "Baby taste"--who even says something that stupid?
- "20th Century Ghosts," by Joe Hill. Collection of well-written horror/supernatural stories--really surprising, in that many of them are quite poignant as well. Good reading for he Halloween season.
- A great noir mystery called "I Want X to Murder My Vagina"
- I guess what he's implying is that to appreciate a book like "At Swim, Two Boys," you have to have read more than just a diet of YA fiction. It's a love story about two 16 year old boys, but if you've never read Virginia Woolf or James Joyce or James Gould Cozzens or any other author who challenges the reader to think, you're going to find it tough going. Which is precisely why I love it -- I find it absolutely dazzling, I'm getting maybe 4 hours of sleep because I'm staying up late to read it. It's that good.
- R421. James Gould Cozzens. Really. You might consider shaving your middlebrow.
- I haven't heard the name James Gould Cozzens in years!!
- The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano. The NY Times Review of it I found online filled in some critical thoughts on why Bolano is such an important Latin writer. Worth checking out. I loved 2666.
- American Gods, 10th anniversary version. Just about 1/5 completed. Weird book (not what I expected), but entertaining and fast-paced.
Before that was the Game of Thrones books (when will that idiot ever push out that next novel?). And boy they go on forever.
Ugh. Anything over 3 MB is way too long for a casual read.
- I love all those gay "Dave Brandstetter" mysteries by Joseph Hanson from the 70s.
- Oh, I read all of those, R426, and gave them away before moving back east, years ago. Well worth reading, and in my case, re-reading. Thanks.
- You have good taste, r424. Not baby taste like r412.
- R425, hated American Gods. I got to about page 150, and just put it down. Stupid, disjointed mess. Didn't want to waste one more second of my life on what seems like was a grab at just selling some books and making money off his previous accomplishments.
- Hahahaha. The "baby taste" troll is back. Well, baby taste, I just ordered Savage Detectives, At Swim, and some of the Dave Brandstetter novels. The last are probably too "baby taste" for you, but I enjoyed them way back when.
Tell me, BT, is Philip Roth's writing too BT for you? Because him I really like.
- American Pastoral is a great Roth book.
- R429, I actually like American Gods so far. It's 1010 pages on my reader, and I'm on page 207 (the big meeting at the House on the Rock is about to take place). I'll try to report back after I've finished the book, but so far, I'd say that you may have quit reading too soon.
It makes a lot more sense if you cross-reference the characters with the mythological beings on which they're based (e.g., "Wednesday" is a play on the god Odin).
- Okay, you're at almost exactly the part where I quit. If it gets better, please do report back, thanks.
- I read American Gods when it first came out. It's entertaining in a plodding sort of way, but I can never really understand what the point of books like that is.
R415 might think I have baby taste, but I think the point of reading is to satisfy your soul, not force yourself through something you find turgid just so some pretentious fool can pretend to find you interesting.
Oh, but I'm currently reading Franz Kafka. Certainly not baby taste (although turgid in parts).
- Just finished "Libra" by Don Delillo, a speculative fictional account of Lee Harvey Oswald and CIA involvement in the Kennedy Assassination. It was published in 1988, two years before the release of Oliver Stone's JFK, and the two are eerily similar in tone, highlighted characters/situations, and the conclusions they draw.
- I liked American Pastoral a lot, too, R431. Though I'm not Jewish, I grew up in the suburban area near Newark, in a neighborhood in which I didn't know Jews were a minority group until I moved out of it to go to college. I've always enjoyed the "Where" of Roth's books.
I started with "Letting Go," from the early 1950s, and it's still one of my favorites. That and "Goodbye, Columbus." And there's a newer one that takes place at a Weequahic High School reunion. I liked it, but I can't remember the name right now.
I'm with you, R434. Fuck "Baby Taste" and the rocking horse he rode in on.
- I usually love Felice Picano's books but just reatd " 20th Century Un-Limited" and was so disappointed.
I've just finished "Maybe We'll Have You Back" by perpetual TV guest star Fred Stoller, and it's pretty good!
- r422, r423 has a point -- Cozzens may be middlebrow, but he's smart middlebrow and the fact that I not only know him but have read his novels indicates a greater range of interest in fiction than just the usual bestsellers and YA books that dominate the lists these days. And I'd assert that somebody who jumped into "Guard of Honor" or "By Love Possessed" after enduring "The Hunger Games" or "Twilight" or "50 Shades of Grey" would be in for a massive intellectual shock.
- I really enjoyed that book, R100.
- I just finished The Man in the Wooden Hat, the second Old Filth book by Jane Gardam. I enjoyed it, but not as much as the first. It is pretty much just a re-telling of the story from the wife's point of view. It does have some interesting insights, and if nothing else, it is worth it just for the final sentence of the book. I guess I'll start on the third book as soon as I can get it from the library.
- For the record, anything by Neil Gaiman is for those with baby taste.
- R442, you can choke on my baby taste as I shove it down your throat.
- For the record, r442, also of r415 "baby taste" fame is also the idiot at r397 who wasn't aware of the existence of a well-known book by a prominent French politician, and even made the public declaration that "such a book does not exist".
What a cultured person!
- I've begun listening to "House of Silk" read by Derek Jacobi, a Sherlock Holmes pastiche (if that's the correct term) - not bad!
- Recommend any good gay sexy/erotic book?
- r444=proud of his baby taste. Do you like Tolkein as well, r444? Lol.
- R447. It's Tolkien. LOL, indeed, twat.
- I'm reading Little Green by Walter Mosley. I'm really enjoying it.
- Lynda Obst's, "Sleepless in Hollywood".
- R442. Have you read "The Graveyard Book"? It's a beautiful homage to Kipling's "The JungleBooks," but with Gaiman'sl lyrical style and supernatural sensibility. it won the Newbery a couple years ago.
- Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.
- r452=thread killer with baby taste
- Helen Vendler's new book on Emily Dickinson. Not enough explosions.
- R437, don't you think you've embarrassed yourself enough?
- Oops! Embarrassed myself! Sorry, r437, I was addressing the idiot are r447. See, one can admit that one's made a mistake. You should consider it, r447.
I'll rephrase my post. R447, don't you think you've embarrassed yourself enough?
- "Downtown" by Robert Liston. From the 60s but nothing has changed.
- Anything by Lars Eighner R446. He's the homeless guy who became a literary celebrity in Austin, Texas. His erotica is smokin' hot. "Bayou Boy," "BMOC," and "American Prelude" I've read. He also does non-porn "Pawn to Queen Four," "Travels with Lisbeth" etc. but the porn are better.
- The Good House. Excellent.
- Do you mean the story about realtor Hildy Good, R459? I loved it, too!
- For "The 5th Wave" fans: Rick Yancey is calling the sequel "The Infinite Sea."
Article at link.
I also enjoyed his Monstrumologist series. The books are extremely gruesome, especially for YA fiction.
- I'm halfway through "The Suitors" by Cecile David-Weil -- two sisters from one of the richest families in France invite various wealthy men to their family summer compound at Antibes, hoping for one of the pair to snare one of the guys, so that they can buy the property from their parents who are planning on selling out.
Fans of the film "Le Diner des Cons" (The Dinner Game) will love this one; many online reviewers hated the book as nothing more than Rich Peoples' Problems, missing the satire entirely.
- "In Dark Places" by Gillian Flynn. Just finished her latest "Gone Girl."
- Wow, R463. You went back for more?
- "Dark Places" was good when Libby Day was featured; I was bored by all the other stuff. Basically, I felt the story was a ripoff of "In Cold Blood" pretty much.
- I'm a quarter of the way through The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan. It is heartbreaking but beautifully written. I don't know how much sadness and despair I can take. Has anyone else read it? Will I end up wanting to kill myself from the sadness of this poor girl's life?
- Okay, I'm well into "At Swim, Two Boys" and find it amazingly well written and quite interesting. I don't understand the problem. Are people simply no longer able to comprehend literary fiction?
- Exactly, r467. Many people still have literary baby taste. They want stories that go down like pap.
- Awwww...dat's nice...da "baby taste" twoll id back.
Hi, "baby taste."
- [quote]Awwww...dat's nice...da "baby taste" twoll id back.
At least I know who r468 was referring to now.
- No, it wasn't me, R470. In fact, I've ordered two books Baby Twoll recommended, "At Swim" and another one. I just think "baby taste" is da cutest widdle phwase I've ever heard.
- R471, +1. With the amount of illiteracy in the US, it's a struggle to understand why some people who are literate dismiss those readers who have different, even simple, tastes in fiction. At the very least, you'd think they'd appreciate that someone is actually reading something for pleasure.
James Joyce sucks. There, I said it. I enjoy The Phantom Tollbooth, The Hobbit, and Pippi Longstocking. The Little Prince. And I'm wouldn't be even a LITTLE embarrassed to purchase a copy of these or read them in public.
I guess on an internet bulletin board, you meet all kinds of insufferably pretentious queens, i.e., 'baby taste'.
- [quote]With the amount of illiteracy in the US, it's a struggle to understand why some people who are literate dismiss those readers who have different, even simple, tastes in fiction. At the very least, you'd think they'd appreciate that someone is actually reading something for pleasure.
I actually agree with this, but don't see how it is you don't see something similar in your own flat statement that James Joyce "sucks." It might even be argued that your failure to recognize what you were doing there might be a side-effect of too much children's lit. As for
[quote]wouldn't be even a LITTLE embarrassed to purchase a copy of these or read them in public
I salute you. But it can also be argued that you are not alone in flaunting backward taste, particularly in America, where we've made it indicative of patriotism.
Sorry. You sound nice, and you like some stuff I like myself, but that post was pretty much walking into your own trap.
- R473, that's okay, we can agree to disagree.
The larger point I made poorly was that I see a lot of illiteracy, and when I see kids from lower class areas reading crappy stuff or books aimed at younger readers (8-12), I'm encouraged that they are improving themselves as citizens and as cultured people.
Peace! Even if you read James Joyce, lol. :-)
- R467, it's possible that people want to read things they enjoy not be forced to read things they find boring. You might really enjoy "At Swim, Two Boys", others might find it completely uninteresting. It doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with them. What's bad for books and reading is the idea that taste can be dictated. I don't think James Joyce sucks, for example, but I don't find much of his work interesting. What would make me say something like "Joyce sucks" is the diktat that I have to think he's "great", when I don't.
The biggest pap on this thread is r468, who is so ignorant of any kind of literary culture that he claims widely-known books don't exist.
- A Constellation of Vital Phenomomena by Anthony Marra. Loved It.
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. It was okay. I didn't like it as much as some earlier works.
- r473 nailed it with his description of how the dumbing down of America is seen as patriotic. If as an adult your literary diet consists of The Phantom Tollbooth and Pippi Longstocking (!!!), you most definitely have baby taste, r472. If you enjoy imaginative literature why not go to the source and read Homer or Ovid? Or the classic fairly tales by the Brothers Grimm and Perrault? But no, like a mule you stubbornly stick with your juvenile palate. And what "Joyce" do you mean? The highly readable short stories collected in "Dubliners"? The engaging "Portrait of the Artist of the Young Man"? Admit you have nave really traveled to the high plains of adult and sophisticated literature.
- R146, I just ordered The Leftovers. I can't believe there's a book by Tom Perrotta I missed. This is the downside of not having bookstores anymore.
- Wow, what a pompous ass r477 is. His attitude is exactly the kind of arrogant, dismissive idiotic nonsense that puts many people off reading. Imagine having that kind of person as your English teacher - it's enough to scare kids off reading for life, making them think they're stupid in the process. That's what really leads to "dumbing down", if there actually is such a thing.
Did you get that, kids? R477 thinks you're a mule if you insist on reading books you enjoy! (In reality, the narrow-minded one who occupies a small mental world and lacks the ability to travel beyond it is r477. His stunted emotional and intellectual development means that he's the juvenile one.)
"Admit you have nave really traveled to the high plains of adult and sophisticated literature."
I presume "nave" means never, but, really, what a load of shit.
Reading is about pleasure. If The Little Prince gives one pleasure, they should read that, not try and force their way through "the greats" just so they can appear "sophisticated".
R478, you know, on Amazon and every other online store you can easily see everything a particular author has published at the click of a button. Bookstores rarely have the complete works of any one author in stock.
- I just started Edmund White's City Boy.
I love reading about New York in the sixties and seventies. I wish it would return. Slums and all.
- Books I liked that I see listed here:
- The Middlesteins
- The Interestings
- And Sons
The Interestings reminded me of a book I liked more, also about a group of smart friends, True Belivevers, by Kurt Anderson.
- I've just ordered "You Are One of Them."
- R310 Try Jim Grimsley. He hasn’t written anything that’s less than excellent. I especially like “Comfort and Joy.”
- [quote]R479 [R478], you know, on Amazon and every other online store you can easily see everything a particular author has published at the click of a button.
Really, R479, I did not know that. [sarcasm off]
- Finally decided to take on "At Swim" and jumped into it. Difficult to begin, but if you let it wash over you like warm bathwater, you grow accustomed to its rhythms, so I'm enjoying it quite a bit, all the while knowing I'll never comprehend all the language or allusions.
- Actually, yesterday, Richard Osman wrote an op-ed for the Guardian relating very closely to this idea we are discussing here about dictating tastes to others. "The top 100 things you honestly don't need to do before you die" - I am not allowed to post links but as an example:
"OMG, you have to watch Breaking Bad! You simply have to. Stop whatever you're doing and watch it right now. Stop resuscitating that patient, and watch Breaking Bad. Stop flying that plane, crash it into that field and fire up Netflix."
As I understand it, we are now all legally obliged to watch Breaking Bad by the end of 2013. Our prisons are already full to bursting with people who failed to watch The West Wing or The Wire when they were expressly told to. I even saw a woman prosecuted last week for not having read Gone Girl. What was she thinking?
These days we are told we simply have to watch, to read or just to do, very many things: 100 Things to Do Before You Die; 100 Films You Have to See, 100 Books You Must Read If You Don't Want Everyone at Work to Realise Exactly What a Shallow, Self-Obsessed, X Factor Fan You Really Are.
Like most Guardian readers, I am very keen to do what I'm told at all times. If I'm told there are 25 Must-Dive Reefs or 30 Loganberry Recipes You Can't Live Without then I take that responsibility very seriously and immediately go out shopping for scuba equipment and soft fruit.
Reading this on the subway yesterday, I got such a hearty chuckle out of it.
- R340 Leon Uris is good if you want to read about 20th Century Jewish life. Same is true of Herman Wouk, particularly Jewish American life.
Chaim Potok is excellent as well, and writes better sentences than the other two. His characters are all Orthodox, which wasn’t as popular a sect in mid-century America as it has become.
Herman Wouk’s “Winds of War” and “War and Remembrance” give a good overview of WWII. The TV movie version of “Remembrance” is as good as, or better than, the book. As someone pointed out upthread, they’re somewhat soapy. If they were to market the two together and call it “The Winds of War, Romance, and Remembrance,” it would not be an inaccurate title. But I’ve read each at least three times. Also good is "Marjorie Morningstar."
I’d start with Potok’s “The Chosen,” “Winds of War” by Wouk, “QB VII,” “Mila 18” or “Exodus” by Uris.
- I'm reading Cold In July by Joe Lansdale. I believe they are filming it.
- [quote] Also good is "Marjorie Morningstar."
I read that book in high school and again two years ago. I was disappointed in the movie though. Looking back, I see why they couldn't really follow the book.
- "Orthodox" not popular with me.
- Why couldn't they follow the book, r489?
- The problem with Marjorie Morningstar is that the story takes place in the 1930s yet it was so obviously written n the 1950s.
None of the period detail feels authentic.
- Has anyone read Herman Wouk's Don't Stop the Carnival?
It's his very atypical comic novel about a 1950s NY press agent who leaves the rat race of the city behind and buys a resort in the West Indies which slowly falls apart and eats him up.
Funny in parts but less than the sum of its parts.
Coincidentally I started reading Les Miserables a few weeks ago. It's very, very good. I'm about 250 pp in, and glad there is so much more.
- I think we have discussed a minor writer like Wouk quite enough. Let's move it along. I am reading William Gass' new novel, "Middle C."
- I'm not old enough to distinguish 1930s details from 1950s details, R492, so I never thought about it in those terms. But Herman Wouk was born in 1915, so I imagine he could distinguish between the decades.
What seems anachronistic to you?
- Thanks, R495. "Middle C" is now my next book.
- What is Middle C about?
- r479, I think the problem isn't that we're belittling people for reading children's literature, it's that we're frustrated that so many people aren't willing to expand beyond that.
The massive popularity of Young Adult fiction -- much of it read by adults who aren't young anymore -- is frustrating to me: yes, it's great that people are reading, but once you've finished something like "The Hunger Games," why not try getting into some more richly textured novels of similar themes such as "1984" or "Darkness at Noon" or "The Handmaid's Tale"? Perhaps some do, but so many more seem to stop and stay within a "safe" literary boundary, where the writing may be good and entertaining, but never particularly challenging or truly complex.
- R494 -- if you like French classic lit, try "Cousin Bette" as well!
- Another vote for A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. Unlike anything I've ever read. Life in some parts of the world is pretty grim.
- Pippi Longstocking here again - R499, I enjoy children's literature, but would it surprise you to hear that I enjoyed In Cold Blood, Palace Walk (one of my absolute favorite books), Cities of Salt, and The Immoralist (admittedly short, but still)?
People read what they are ready for, what they are in the mood for.
- R499, why does what other people read frustrate you? Why should you tell other people what to read?
Also revealing is how the books you claim that everyone should read are mainstream "classics" that everyone is aware of. Hardly that much of a "challenge".
- I wish I could give you specific answers r496 about why Marjorie Morningstar has anachronistic inconsistencies but I read the book long ago and don't have it in my home.
Is the film set in the 1930s? Never saw it but in typical Hollywood fashion, it doesn't look like they made any effort to get the period right there either, from what I've seen in stills.
But your question actually prompts me to have another look at the book.
- I'm about 3/4 of the way through "Ghosts of Manhattan" by Douglas Brunt and really enjoying it.
- R504, The Marjorie Morningstar movie DID take place in the 1950s (see link). But I found the book to be well-grounded in the 1930s, to the best of my ability to discern. The Great Depression informs one of the big events in the story, the Morgensterns having to move from Central Park West to -- oh, the shame -- West End Avenue, because Marjorie's father's business isn't doing so well any longer.
- I really enjoyed Ghosts of Manhattan as well.
I also liked Night Film (though not as much as her first book) and Dreyfus Affair.
- r503, what frustrates me are people who close their mind and soul to new experiences. And I'm not telling them what people should read, just making some suggestions -- if you liked this, maybe you'll like this, too.
- R508, in reality you are the one closing your “mind and soul” to new experiences: you are the one who limits what you read and try to limit what others read, you are the one who trashes people for their reading choices with your silly comments about “baby taste”, you are the narrow-minded one who believes that only the books you approve of can provide a worthy experience, you are the one who is bigoted against certain books.
- "Imperial bedrooms" by BEE, MUCH better and more popukar writer than Alice Munro.
- r510 made me LOL.
- Futility by William Gerhardie
Very funny and full of surprises.
- Feeling threatened, r509? It's not attractive.
- Anyone else looking forward Donna Tartt's "The Goldfinch"?
- I'm a fair ways ino "Can You Forgive Her?" -- first of Trollope's "Palliser" novels. So far, I'm preferring his Barchester series.
- Stick with Can You Forgive Her r515! It's Trollope's best after The Way We Live Now and I've read lots of Trollopes.
For one thing, you won't be bored with a lot of allusions to mid-Victorian British politics.
- I like almost all of Anne tyler,'s books. I also enjoy the annual collection of short stories called "New Stories from the South".
- I haven't read anything by Ann Tyler in quite a while, but I really enjoyed:
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant
The Accidental Tourist
Wasn't crazy about Breathing Lessons
- I am r514. The Times rave for it really whet my appetite, and then a friend who reviews books for the WSJ agreed that it is great.
- Not at all, r513. Trying to be clever? It's not working.
- I just started "The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man" by James Weldon Johnson, published in 1912. Interesting.
- I think it sounds good, too, R514/R519
- It is AnnE Tyler, r518, not "Ann." Please do not make that mistake again.
- I know what I *will* be reading in a week or so. Can't wait!
- Forgive me, it was late last night when I posted, r515.
I've never read Can You Forgive Her? and confused the title with He Knew He Was Right, which is, indeed, my second favorite Trollope.
- "Doctor Sleep". It's all about the President before Obama.
- Trollope Troll: my plan is to read this first Palliser novel, and the "Eustace Diamonds", which I understand is pretty much a stand-alone story. I'm going to skip the rest of the series.
I believe I tried" He Knew He Was Right" a while ago, and couldn't get into it. Balzac's "Cousin Bette" seemed a bit like a French version of Dickens/Trollope to me.
- I got about 20-30 pages into "At Swim, Two Boys." I have yet to meet anyone who is a boy, and I have to decide whether I want to read what I take to be a very Irish-inflected English for nearly 600 pages.
I have some other books I can read while I make up my mind. I think I gave up on this book once before.
- Sounds like you have a case of baby taste, r528.
- R528, keep reading. The first 30 pages or so are written in a much more stream of consciousness way than the rest of the book. It gets much easier to read after that initial section. And it is well worth it.
- R529 Ha ha. I knew I could draw you out from under Baby Taste Bridge.
- Stay Up with Me, a book of short stories by Tom Barbash. Worth it. Starts out in the 10023 zip code and moves around to different locations said zipcode's residents enjoy. My favorite was the first story, in which a middle-aged divorcee gets upset over her 19 y.o. son's dating choice while he's home from college. Oh, and another one that takes place on W. 77th the night before Thanksgiving while the Macy's parade balloons are being assembled out their windows.
TBH, when he strays from Manhattan, the stories are less interesting.
- Rita Moreno memoir. Love her.
- The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty.
- I just read Old Times by Harold Pinter. Yuck!
- R.529 has very sophisticated taste; unfortunately, he also is hung like a 4-year-old boy. So sad.
- W&W for R536. Post of the Month.
- I don't like Harold Pinter. Do I have baby taste, too?
- I am reading "Longbourn" by Jo Baker. Anyone familiar with Jane Austen's "Pride & Prejudice" will recognize the title of the estate featured in that novel. The novel deals with the servants of that estate, their never ending workload, their daily lives, washing, ironing, cleaning, lighting the candles, fireplaces, etc.
- Yes, r538. Undoubtedly you do.
- Is "The English Patient" worth reading, or is it tedious?
- R541. yes, much better than the film.
- I finished the new William Gass novel ("Middle C") and am now reading the new Pynchon. What a great fall this has been for fiction!
- When is Goldfinch hitting the bookstores? It's still just on my Wishlist on Amazon.
The reviews have been fantastic.
- I'm reading one of the worst books I think have ever been written, THE FAN CLUB, by Irving Wallace. It takes place in early 1970s Los Angeles, and concerns these four loser men who kidnap the most famous movie star in the world and rape her repeatedly.
It's hard to believe anyone could conceive of this premise, let alone dwell on it for the amount of time it took to write a book. It's just poisonous.
Then it's hard to believe they (the eponymous Fan Club) were able to pull it off.
Now I'm in the phase where the movie star plots and executes her release. I'm not at all sure I'll finish it. It would be less awful if there were only two kidnappers/rapists, but the book takes you through each sexual encounter, and I've begun skimming just so I can see how it ends. These bastards so deserve whatever punishment they get, and I want to see them get it. I hope she kills them, really. But it's so deranged, I'm afraid she'll fall in love with them.
- Henry Kamen, "Empire How Spain Became a World Power 1492-1763"
It has become politically correct now to say that Spain never conquered Mexico and Peru, never sent an army to the western hemisphere until the Cuban revolution, etc. And it is partly true: Spanish remained a tiny minority, in the early days more blacks than whites, and by independence most Latin countries had substantial unexplored territories.
HOWEVER, Kamen, like the others, overstates the case - which tends to minimize the violence done by the Spaniards to native Americans. Somebody was forcing those people to work in the mines. Somebody was keeping control of those black slaves. Although the Spanish didn't start out "conquering" the natives, their application to the task was more or less continuous over a period of centuries. Somebody built those gigantic forts at Cartagena, Acapulco, and San Juan. Somebody provided them with the tons of gold to create a professional European army even while most of the gold and silver went to creditors in Italy and Germany. Somebody extended latifundia all over Mexico already by 1600.
Far from St. Augustine being their only settlement in Florida, they had a network of over twenty missions.
In short, I find that Kamen and the others go a little too far. Demythologizing Pizarro and Cortes as military geniuses, great! But underestimating what was done to expand Spanish power even after Philip II banned further colonial expansion in 1573 is under-addressed.
- R543 Hi, Babytaster. I think I'll get Bleeding Edge. I do hope I like it more than a couple of your other recommendations. I have six other books to read first, so it'll be a while.
- Hi, r457. Glad to see you are going to read Pynchon, I am finding it highly readable and am racing right through it. Even those with babytaste may find it to their liking.
- Rereading Gore Vidal's "Myra Breckinridge." Then I'll reread John Horne Burn's "A Cry of Children" and Ronald Firbank's "The Flower Beneath the Foot."
"Breakfast at Tiffany's" is a ripoff of the Burn's novel.
- The Household Guide to Dying, by Debra Adelaide (an Australian writer). This is the first of any of her books I've ever read, and it's not half bad. Bleak themes treated with just the right touch of lightness. Is anyone here familiar with any of her other novels?
- Just finished Fellow Travelers by Thomas Mallon. Good gay storyline set in McCarthy era Washington. I'm quite old enough to have been around during that time period, but I remember people talking about a lot of the historical events from the period when I was young.
- I loved Fellow Travelers, R551. I'm not contemporaneous with the characters, but I am old enough to have been alive when the "Lavender Scare" happened. It is my favorite of Mallon's books.
- Have you read the new biography of John Horne Burns by David Margolick, r549?
- Reading Two Parties and a Funeral. Couldn't finish The Night Circus.
- Thomas Mallon fans, read BANDBOX if you haven't already. It's an out and out comic novel and quite a hoot. Very different in tone from his other books.
I find his other books somewhat challenging because they often presume an acquaintance with the historical settings, which I lack somewhat.
- I gave up on "At Swim, Two Boys" a little after 100 pages. I'm just not interested in squeezing out what story it may be hiding behind its wall of Irish English. [Cue BTT.]
- Brian Greene's 'The Elegant Universe' about Super string theory. Hard going...
- "Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club," a collection of short stories by Benjamin Alire Saenz; the title refers to the fact that, at some point in each story, the lead character visits the Kentucky Club, a bar in Jaurez, Mexico. Other common themes throughout are doomed love, abusive (emotionally and/or physically) fathers, distant mothers, lead characters with an artistic bent (some are gay, some are straight).
Saenz is an openly gay novelist, poet and author of several YA books -- and that latter aspect shows in his writing here. Though the stories deal with very mature themes, the writing is still very YA (heavy on dialogue; staccato sentences) -- it's very good YA, but still very much YA in style, which is a turn-off for me. Additionally, every story is unbelievably bleak and depressing. Really, really depressing, but without that immense and contrasting uplift one gets from truly dazzling writing.
- Goldfinch was trashed on Saturday Review on BBC4. They said she needs an editor in the worst way .
- Has anyone read The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton?
- They may have said that, r559, but for every negative review of The Goldfinch there are at least another ten raving about it. For example, The Goldfinch is Radio 4's current Book at Bedtime and is regarded so highly that it is being read over three weeks instead of the usual one.
Btw, I think you mean Radio 4, run by the BBC. And, it wasn't trashed, just criticised for being long, although the guest reviewers tended to say it was also beautifully written. The presenter, however, thought The Goldfinch was wonderful.
I'm sure there will be plenty of reviews drooling over this book because they think that makes them seem "intellectual" and "current". But, there are also going to be others who will be critical of it not necesssarily because it's bad but because they think it makes them sound "clever" and "above" everyone else.
- I'm just finishing "From Scratch," the history of Food Network. It's interesting, but a lot of it is about behind-the-scenes executives and not as dishy as one might hope.
One detail I loved: Food Network executives begged Sandra Lee to ditch the tablescapes and just cook, but she insists that she's a "lifestyle expert" rather than a chef.
Other semi-gossipy bits: Rachael Ray can drink anyone under the table; Tyler Florence is extremely ambitious and seemed to want fame more than culinary accomplishment; executives first hated Paula Deen and had to be bulldozed into putting her on the air when there was nothing else; Ina Farten has a strong bitchy streak, and Martha Stewart herself killed Ina's first pilot, saying it was too close to what she (Martha) did. (This was on another network.)
I'm at the end, where the network throws all pretense of cooking instruction out the window and is contriving bullshit competitions that are only tangentially related to cooking.
- r553, I intend to read "Dreadful: The Short Life and Gay Times of John Horne Burns," but not without trepidation. The author, like most reviewers, prefers "The Gallery" to "Lucifer with a Book" and "A Cry of Children." Even Gore Vidal dismissed "A Cry of Children." It is my favorite Burns novel by far. Burns is still one of the most misunderstood US novelists.
The only cognizant reviewer of Burns is the Anglo-Irish author Brigid Brophy, who is now completely forgotten. See her review of Burns in "Don't Never Forget," a brilliant book in its own right.
- BTW, Brigid Brophy considered the four greatest novels of the 20th century to be:
"The Golden Bowl" by Henry James
"Concerning the Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli" by Ronald Firband
"Remembrance of Things Past" by Proust
"Myra Breckinridge" by Gore Vidal.
- That should be "Ronald Firbank."
- I read a little of From Scratch in the bookstore to find out what happened with my two favorite chefs, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, the Too Hot Tamales.
It wasn't for lack of ratings. The new regime started dumbing down Food Network as soon as she could and dumped them after 400 episodes. They were purging the network of chefs.
- A Prayer for Owen Meany.
I can never stop reading an Irving novel when I start - he's really great at crafting a story that flows effortlessly. Though I am getting annoyed with the same things cropping up (amateur dramatics, faculty brats etc).
- My absolute fave John Irving novel is Son of the Circus which nobody ever mentions.
- I tried reading some of "At Swim, Two Boys" to my friend in Dublin tonight, and he said he thought it was "shite," too.
- R568 -- I loved "A Son of the Circus" but couldn't get into any other Irving books I've tried; Irving fans generally hate it.
- Actually r570, I'll agree with you!
A Son of the Circus is the only book of Irving's I read all the way through except for The Cider House Rules, which I also enjoyed even if a lot of it was malarkey.
The rest were all trying way too hard.
- Ben Aaronovitch's "Midnight Riot". It's fun, but I'm still not quite in love with it yet. I'll push through gladly, though, as I like Discworld vibe it contains.
- I haven't read this whole thread, so pardon me if it's already been mentioned, but I just finished "The Disaster Artist" by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell. It was excellent.
Greg Sestero played Mark (as in "Oh, hai Mark!") in the movie 'The Room' and the book is about his friendship with Tommy Wiseau and the making of the world's worst movie. It might not be for everyone, but if you've seen the movie, you'll love the book.
- [quote]I tried reading some of "At Swim, Two Boys" to my friend in Dublin tonight, and he said he thought it was "shite," too.
Always the best way to judge a piece of writing--by having someone who dislikes it read it to you.
- Thanks, R573. "The Disaster Artist" looks interesting.
As for R574, my friend [italic]asked[/italic] me to read it to him over the phone. Since he lives in Ireland and my printer doesn't have a copier function, it was the only way. And it's not like I read him selected horribilities. I simply picked the book up, opened it to a random page, and started reading. He was very eager to hear about an Irish book about two boys.
Question for you (or you, BTT): at some point in the book, probably shortly before p. 100, Jim's dad refers to him as being in "college." Isn't he a little old to be called a boy (in the title)? Or is that some bit of Irishism I didn't understand correctly?
- Well, he's 16 years old--this is stated numerous times in the course of the book (the other "boy," Doyler, is also this age). This is also taking place in 1915-1916, so certain terms don't necessarily have the meaning we use for them now.
I think it's the kind of book some people just don't like, but again, I don't understand this need to label things as shit simply because you don't care for them. It's a little high school.
- r575, you must have astonishing phone bills. Or coukld he tell in a few paragraphs that the book is "shite"? In which case, you're both idiots.
- God, the assumptions people make.
R577, dear, there are new things available in the universe that make it possible to talk to people in other countries for cheap, if not free. My friend happens to have a number of them. I didn't pay one cent for the call, and he pays whatever per month. And trust me, it can't be expensive, because he is the cheapest person I've ever known.
You are the idiot IMO, still living in the 1900s with your knowledge of phone services.
- I was wondering about the phone bills, too!
- Based on recommendations in another thread I have reaidn Pictures at a Revoltion by Mark Harris, about the five Best Picture nominees of 1967 and how they got made, etc., leading up to Oscar night.
I'm only up to 1964 (movies take a long time to plan and make!!) so I'll let you know how it turns out.
- But wait! R575! What about your phone bills? They must be insanely high! Who are you, Bill Gates or something?
- I just finished The Panopticon. It was difficult - both because of the language and because of the plight of the poor girl who is the subject of the book - but it was well worth it. It was sad and depressing but beautifully written about a young girl in Scotland who has been in care for most of her short life. I can now say that I know what umnay and dinnae mean (am not and do not).
In fact, I can't even figure out why I would even want to recommend this book, but I do. Highly.
- I was reading Rita Moreno's memoirs but I got a little tired of her. She hardly says anything about West Side Story, when the world took note of her. Instead she wanted to talk about the love of her life: Marlon Brando. You never heard so many platitudes in your life. Bless her heart. She was very lucky in Hollywood. She talks a lot about being typecast as a Latina and doesn't even bring in her more recent work on "Oz."
So now I'm reading the book about Johnny Carson by his lawyer which is pretty good. I'm skipping through a lot of the financial deals the lawyer brags about and I'm just getting to the part where they're gallivanting in Las Vegas.
- can anyone recommend a basic book on wines? please and thank you!
- The novelization of Falcon Crest. You'll love it.
- The Stones of Summer, by Dow Mossman. It inspired that documentary a number of years ago, "The Stone Reader," about trying to find out what happened to the guy who wrote what so many thought was going to be considered A Great Novel. Really just started it, but it's enjoyable. Dense in style, so not for Baby Tasters (here's to you, Baby Taste Troll!).
- Started "The German" (2011) by Lee Thomas a few nights ago and am already halfway through -- don't want to put it down. A gripping thriller with a gay angle set in a small city in 1944 Texas, a community with a minority German population -- just after D-Day, the bodies of teenage boys are found, each with a note written in German. The central characters are the slow-witted but determined to solve the mystery sheriff, a 12 year old boy whose father is fighting on the beaches of Normandy, and his neighbor, an imposing German immigrant who has nightly assignations with the men in town and believes that he actually died already, years earlier back in Germany during the Night of the Long Knives. I hope it sustains the high quality of character depth, richly textured prose and gripping narrative all the way through to the end.
- "The German" looks good, R587. I just ordered it. Thanks.
- Just finished Trollope's The Vicar of Bullhampton, not considered one his major works yet a new favorite of mine.
It would make the perfect mini-series.
- R584, no, not a contemporary one, but Alexis Lichine was one of the 20th Century's most respected wine connoisseurs - he wrote at least one book, possibly more, if a kind of primer is what you are looking for.
- This fall is also rich in literary biographies: I just picked up new ones on J.D. Salinger, Norman Mailer, and Philip Roth. Those with baby tastes tend to avoid poetry but others will find Adam Fitzgerald's new book of great interest. I was also excited to see T.C. Boyle's new Collected Stories, Part Two.
- I will read the Philip Roth book. Thanks, BTT.
- R591, is Claudia Roth Pierrepont the author of the Philip Roth book (see link)? I ask because there's supposedly another bio coming out, by Blake Bailey.
- Yes, that is one, r593. I read Bailey's biography of Cheever and have his new one on Charles Jackson. Speaking of, Jackson's "The Lost Weekend" is one of the best postwar novels I have ever read. Elia Kazan removed all the homosexuality from it for his movie (as Kazan tried desperately to remove homosexuality from his own life).
- Kazan didn't film "The Lost Weekend" -- Billy Wilder did.
- I stand corrected, r595. I suppose I have been thinking about Kazan a lot lately. Btw, these are the kinds of corrections that make Datalounge so singular.
- The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny
Don't let the subject matter put you off. Fascinating book about 25 men all under one roof and the power struggle within. Thought provoking about religion and why so many need it. Not an apologist for Catholics. And really a good mystery.
It's the first Louise Penny I've read. Going to pick up some more after reading this one.
- FDR And The Jews / Richard Breitman ( quite good)
Empty Mansions / William A. Clark ( Story of heiress Hugette Clark - loving it )
One Summer / Bill Bryson (great read - takes you back to another time)
- "Empty Mansions" has been on my to-read pile for a while, so thanks for the confirmation it's good.
- Any other Penelope Lively fans out there?
I've lately been reading several of her books, including The Photograph, Passing On and the Booker Prize-winning Moon Tiger.
She's sort of like an acidic liberated latter day Barbara Pym.