- Mentioned in the previous thread that I was reading "The German" by Lee Thomas; finished it last night -- wow, what a great, great book -- gripping, tense, richly detailed characters, a double-whammy climax. Could make for a fantastic film.
- Just started THE GOLDFINCH by Donna Tartt. Fifty pages in, and I am already deeply immersed in it. Just wow. I haven't read her other two books, so didn't know what to expect.
- "The Murder Room" by Michael Capuzzo.
Non-fiction about the Vidocq Society, group assembled by three men (ex-FBI agent, forensic artist & a profiler) to solve cold cases. It's somewhat slow but, interesting.
- "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil"
Years ago I saw the movie, which wasn't all that great.
Last month I visited Savannah, and I read the book when I returned home. It's pretty good.
- Dorothy L. Sayers "Strong Poison." "The World Without Us"(it fell behind the sofa, just found it) and Hedrick Smith's "Who Stole the American Dream."
- Based on the last thread I have bought The Goldfinch and The German. Can't wait to read both. Thanks everyone!
- "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" is a great book, and a fascinating story. The movie had nothing in common with the book, except the title. Huge disappointment.
- I'm two-thirds of the way through "The Interestings" by Meg Wolitzer. The character development is pretty good and the storyline is interesting. There's even a secondary character who's gay and not one dimensional but his storyline is a bit of a cliché.
- Is The Goldfinch a children's book?
- "Breakfast With Lucian", by Geordie Grieg.
A short biographical essay about the artist Lucian Freud and his extraordinary life.
High life (Dukes), low life (gangsters, Leigh Bowery), millions earned and lost (gambling), countless woman and children (plus some men), and phenomenal talent.
His estate was worth £98m, and the Archbishop of Canterbury took his funeral. No novelist would dare to invent such a character.
- Some poetry this week....
Complete Poems of Cavafy (reading this for the 4th or 5th time; on of my favorites)
The White Train by John Spaulding
and a Philip Levine book
- "Carrying the Fire", by Michael Collins
He is, 'easily bored', and, 'writes for people that are easily bored' - it shows, the man is delightful; witty as hell, and not just a little snarky.
On Buzz Aldrin: "Fame has not worn well on Buzz. I think he resents not being first on the moon more than he appreciates being second."
On Walt Cunningham: "Outspoken, blunt, small chip on shoulder; strange mixture of Marine fighter pilot and Rand Corporation research scientist; a complex man alternating between genuine warmth and outright hostility."
- Just started reading From Scratch Inside The food Network. Really interesting so far.
- 10 You may like Dangerous Muse: The Life Of Lady Caroline Blackwood. Fascinating character! A member of the Guinness family, married Lucian Freud and went on to marry Robert Lowell. Her daughter Ivana Lowell wrote "Why Not Say What Happened" that is a pretty interesting read.
- The whole series of 'Mind and Life' books, where, over some 20-odd years starting in the late 80s, the 14th Dalai Lama has been engaged in talking to leading Western scientists in neuroscience, cognitive psychology,quantum physics et al.
It's amazing how much the millennial old Buddhism has in common with these latest cutting-edge researches. And most important of all, the dialogues are mostly non-doctrinaire, so anyone can learn something from these East-West encounters.
Personally I find the parts on Mindfulness particularly helpful, as I am a born worrier and am perpetually wrecked with anxiety. Learning about mindfulness really has changed my life. It feels so good and energising to be able to live in the Present, and not be constantly bogged down by either the past or the future.
- I just finished Graham Nash's autobiography "Wild Tales." Great book and reveals a lot about his relationships with Crosby, Still and Young. It also reveals a lot about other singers of the 60's and 70's. I did not know he helped build an early prototype of the laser jet printer which is now on exhibit at the Smithsonian. He's quite a photographer as well. However, no sequel to this book.
- Just finished "Last Night at the Viper Room", a sad story of River Phoenix's life and death. While reading, I realized that I still think of him as a movie star but 18 year olds today have probably not seen any of his movies and have no idea who he was.
I'm now 50 pages into "The Goldfinch".
- Night Film by Marisha Pessl. So far, very interesting.
- Since they're making a new film of it, I finally decided to read Scott Spencer's Endless Love.
It's interesting but so sexually explicit I can't imagine the new film will be any better.
- I thought about "Night Film", but didn't read a single positive review.
- I'm just about done with "Paul on Mazursky," the interview/bio by Sam Wasson, which I enjoyed. I'm halfway through with "The Double," George Pelecanos' latest. I like the clarity of his writing, and his mastery of his characters and plot.
But I mostly read him because his books take place in DC, unofficial, non-governmental DC. No one else is chronicling the changes DC has gone through in the last decade or more as it goes from "Chocolate City" to "Not-So-Chocolate City." (That's not my name for DC, so relax, please, Racist Troll[s].)
- About two thirds of the way through "Fairyland" by Alysia Abbott, about being raised by a gay father in Haight-Ashbury. Really interesting and her prose style is clean and compelling.
- "The Carrie Diaries: Summer in the City", by Candace Bushnell.
- The Returned by Jason Mott
- R20, Night Film is a very cleverly written novel. But it just isn't as much fun to read as Special Topics in Calamity Physics. I think it suffers from the comparison. Maybe that is why the reviews weren't as good as they might have been.
- I just finished two Nicholson Baker books, The Anthologist and Traveling Sprinkler. I loved both.
Just started Best American Essays, edited by Cheryl Strayed. So far, so great.
And thanks to the other thread, I read the jaw-droppingly good Mayor of Casterbridge, which I somehow missed as an undergrad. Holy shit, I want more like that. I bought a few more Hardy novels and can't wait to start them, too.
- I'm reading "Maple Leaf Rag" by Stephen Brook, but I can't recommend it. He's a stupid British born American journalist by trade, and he jets off to Canada without apparently doing an hour's research. He has a gift of gab, but he makes bad choices of places to visit and people to interview, his descriptions are conventional and unobservant, and he is utterly lacking in critical or analytical thinking skills. What's worse, he manages to make much of the book about himself, not Canada. Oh well. I guess Canadians were flattered when it came out because they get so little attention from south of the border.
- The final post of the last thread asked about Penelope Lively, so wanted to say that I read her novel "How It All Began" as well as a Young Adult work "A Stitch in Time" also. I wouldn't say she's my favorite writer, but the books were worth listening to as library borrowings.
Currently, I'm about halfway through Jodi Kantor's "The Obamas" - a portrait of them as First Couple, focusing more on Michelle's adaption to the role of First Lady. I'm getting into it more easily than I'd thought I might.
I recently finished "The Sleeping and the Dead" - a noir/thriller set in Memphis by Jeff Crook, a fantasy writer (whom I'd never heard f) branching out into mystery. The main character is a straight woman, but many (most?) of the others are gay male; I was surprised it's written by a straight guy.
I read "Maple Leaf Rag" many years ago, and the description above matches my recollection.
- From Splendor To Revolution: The Romanov Women
It's ok. Includes bejewelled diva Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna who would have been a DL icon in 1900.
But given I have about 5,000 magazines shelved (30 years of Vanity Fair, UK Tatler, Architectural Digest, World Of Interiors, After Dark, etc etc), I'm taking time out to read some of those given I may not ever have time to read them again. It's a weird experience reading Tatler and Vanity Fair from the 80s: more than half the celebrities are dead, and the period seems as remote from today as the 1880s.
- I think Last Night At The Viper Room is just the same old bullshit that has been written 50 times. Most of it is probably nothing near the truth.
- To the poster who suggested, The German, a huge thank you. What a story teller!! Absolutely loved the book.
- Necessary Errors by Caleb Crain, about a group of American and British expatriates in Prague in 1990. The main character is gay and a budding writer. Not much really happens -- I'm about halfway through -- and the other characters are thinly drawn, but the writing is sharp and I find the depiction of this small world oddly compelling.
- Five Days in London: May 1940
Story of the how Churchill declined to make peace with Hitler after the fall of France and convinced Parliament that Britain should fight on, alone. He had a great line --
"If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground."
Churchill didn't think he was going to win -- he felt that resistance itself would be a moral victory and buy time. He later referred to the Battle of Britain in his memoirs "as a good time to live or die."
Of course, Churchill was essentially drunk during this entire time, something that bothered the non-drinker Hitler to no end. Another great line -
'I could not live without Champagne - in victory I deserve it, in defeat I need it'
- I was reading Alan Lyss, Humberto Fagundes and Patricia Corrigan's book, Chemotherapy and Radiation For Dummies, but it turned out that it's for people RECEIVING treatment, not for people administering it.
So I switched to Marina Lewycka's book, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, which was ultimately disappointing. Next up is Bob Smith's book, Selfish and Perverse.
- I'm struggling my through the audio production of "The End of the Affair" by Graham Greene -- awful story, which seems motivated by a desire to justify his conversion to Catholicism (see also: "Brideshead Revisited"). Colin Firth's narration is very good.
- Green Eggs and Ham.
- Still reading Proust's masterpiece.
- Stopped reading "Beautiful Ruins" after 80 pages. Can't believe this is what is considered good writing today.
Now about 100 pages into "Crime and Punishment". Editing was not highly prized back then I take it.
- R38 I wouldn't edit one sentence from Dostojevsky nor Tolstoy.
- R39, perhaps R38 just wanted to shorten the names. Would it have spoiled things if Raskolnikov had been named Biff?
- "His estate was worth £98m, and the Archbishop of Canterbury took his funeral. No novelist would dare to invent such a character."
On top of all that, r10, he was the grandson of Sigmund Freud!
- I don't get Graham Greene. Also struggled through The End of the Affair because I worked on a new opera of the novel. As dreary as the novel.
One must have to be British. And Catholic.
- The Mayor of Casterbridge is truly a mid-Victorian novel for readers who don't like mid-Victorian novels. I read a couple of Hardy's others after it, The Return of the Native and Far From the Madding Crowd, but neither came up to the first.
But I'm still looking forward to Tess and Jude the Obscure.
- Blindness by Saramago. I read it a while ago. I was thinking about it recently, so I got the audio book and am listening to it. It is simply beautifully written. The story, generally, is the the rapid decline of civilization when the disease of a white blindness strikes the population. I highly recommend it.
- Don't listen to r38. Beautiful Ruins is a great fun read.
Not great literature, true, but witty plotting, quirky characters and smart writing. Especially fun if you're old enough to remember the Liz/Eddie/Dick affair.
- Thanks r28 for responding to my previous question about Penelope Lively. I'm now reading an earlier novel of hers According to Mark about a biographer writing about a famous novelist.
This one reminds me of David Lodge more than Barbara Pym.
Has anyone read Lodge? He's one of my favorite (relatively) modern British writers though he has seemingly never enjoyed the popularity here that he has in the UK. I've read them all but his biggest hits, Small World and Changing Places, are brilliant fun and a good place to begin if you like smart British comedies of manners.
And speaking of that genre, is anyone else a fan of John Mortimer? I could never get into his Rumpole of the Bailey series but adore his other novels, especially Paradise Postponed.
And then there's Patrick Gale, of a younger generation.
- I am reading The Girl Who Played With Fire.
- R46: I recently re-read the entire Rumpole canon, and have the final book on my TBR pile; I loved the TV series. Mortimer wrote a lighter novel called "Summer's Lease" a sort of mystery about Brits in Tuscany (a/k/a "Chianti-shire"), which I liked; it was made into a movie starring, I believe, John Guilguid, though I haven't watched it (yet).
I haven't tried Lodge, but will consider the titles you mentioned of his.
A funny British novel with gay content that I can suggest for readers of this thread: "A Surrey State of Affairs" (alt title "The Tumultuous Year of Constance Harding") by Ceri Radford.
- Oh r28 you must read Mortimer's Paradise Postponed.
- r43, I totally agree. The Mayor of Casterbridge was my first Thomas Hardy and I was absolutely enthralled -- then I tried Tess of the D'Urbervilles and I just couldn't get into it. I'll probably try again in a few years.
- The Mongoliad, book 3 - multiple authors, including Neal Stephenson and Eric Bear
- Oldy but goody.
50th Anniversary Edition.
City of Night by John Rechy.
- R42, I tried reading Brighton Rock a little while ago and found it impossible. It was boring and often incomprehensible.
I've found Patricia Highsmith similarly boring and just incredibly outdated.
Seems to me that sometimes novelists who are extremely famous in their day, writing books that are deeply expressive of their era and with "social" themes, can become outdated extremely quickly and their legacy doesn't really last beyond a generation or two.
This can be seen in the fact that over the past 200 years there have been many huge bestsellers that are today never read and the names of their authors barely known.
- I'm a big "Rumpole" fan, books and videos. Leo McKern was born to play Rumpole. Might you by any chance be a "Mapp and Lucia" fan? They are deliciously evocative of their time and place.
- Finished "The Goldfinch". It was much better than Tartt's last book, "The Little Friend".
- Tried to read Goldfinch. Thought I was going to like it after the first few pages. But when it went back to the guy's childhood I became increasingly aware that a woman was writing a male character and I just didn't buy it. Fortunately, I'm still in the Kindle free sample. So I haven't bought it yet.
- r47 has baby taste and r53 is a moron.
- Finally reading "Miss MacIntosh, My Darling" I say finally because I purchased the paperback about 10 years ago (close to 900 pages+).
- I just googled that book, R58 - sounds interesting
- r42, I never read the relationship books, but I loved his short stories and The Power and the Glory.
I just finished reading Lost Girls, about the LI serial killings. It was a lot of PC background about the victims, and less about the evidence. There is something weird about it, though.
- Bleeding Edge, Thomas Pynchon's new novel. Takes place in New York in 2001, between the dot com bust and 9/11. I've had to remind myself a couple of times that that hasn't happened, and the characters have no idea it's going to happen. Some good Upper West Side social/economic/real estate history, too.
- Hey r57, I think you're a complete fucking moron too! Oh, and Brighton Rock is shit and Graham Greene is a boring fart.
R47, I really enjoyed the Millennium series by Stieg Larsson.
- Not everyone reads for edification, r57. Some people read for fun and there's nothing wrong with that.
It (theoretically) subsidizes the poets, intellectual authors, and foreign language translations.
- R55, do you have anything else to say about The Goldfinch?
I'm currently reading Good Living Street by Tim Bonyhady. It's a relatively interesting account of his wealthy Jewish family (with some conversions to Catholicism), who lived in Vienna in the period before the Second World War broke out.
His maternal family, the Gallias, were among the glitterati of what's sometimes referred to as "Vienna 1900", having their portraits painted by Klimt and being patrons and consumers of the Wiener Werkstätte design studio. Bonyhady sometimes pushes that too much, and the names Klimt, Mahler, Alma Schindler get repeated ad nauseum in the early parts of the book when Bonyhady discusses his great grandparents.
The narrative gets more penetrative and consistent once Bonyhady's grandmother Gretl starts writing her own diary and when his mother Anne is a child/teen.
I'm just at the bit where they have to flee to Australia because the Nazis have taken over Austria.
Klimt's portrait of Hermine Gallia is now in the National Gallery in London (see link).
- Hot news, R63, the poets and intellectual authors read for fun. Then again, not everyone has the same idea of fun.
- r64, that sounds interesting.
Have you read The Hare with the Amber Eyes?
It has a similar plot line about the death of the UMC in Vienna.
- I haven't read that book yet, r66, but it's author Edmund de Waal, wrote a beautiful piece in a newspaper in response to an exhibition called The Portrait in Vienna 1900, which is currently on at the National Gallery in London, so it's definitely on my list.
Good Living Street is not at that level of writing, but it's value lies in its portrait of the lives of actual individuals in that era and seeing what is was actually like to live in "Vienna 1900". For example, for the wealthy elites it was socially important to have your house and everything in it designed and produced from scratch by a professional designer. Also, the weird social controls parents had on their children.
He writes mainly about the lives of his great grandmother, grandmother and mother, and they seemed to be at concerts and operas 3-4 times a week.
- Lately I've read Dave Eggers' two recent novels - "Hologram for the King" and "The Circle," which just came out. They are very different - "Hologram" is short, chiseled prose, sort of a modern update of "Death of a Salesman." Whereas "The Circle" is long, a bit sloppy, a kind of rambling indictment of social media and the way we let it dictate our lives. It was a fun read, though.
Also read "MaddAddam," an awesome conclusion to Atwood's trilogy about the decline of the human race. The whole thing is a tremendous reading experience. And just finished "Brief Encounters with Che Guevara," a short story collection by Ben Fountain that I also recommend. It recalls Graham Greene, actually - stories about well-meaning white people getting in over their head in various 3rd World locales.
Next I think I'm going to re-read "White Noise." It's been something like 15 years since I read it and I'm very excited, my admiration for DeLillo has only grown in that time.
- Thanks, R64. I'm going to order GOOD LIVING STREET. My mother's father was from Austria, and there's no such thing as "ad nauseam" mentions of Mahler, IYM.
- r64, by the end "The Goldfinch" was almost a thriller, with drug dealers, art forgers, swindlers, hustlers, and possible hookers, but still maintained Tartt's moody style. Someone else mentioned that they were too conscious while reading the beginning that it was a female author writing a teenage male, but as a male reader I didn't really get a sense of anything being amiss. Overall, the narrator is the kind that she wrote really well in "The Secret History": a damaged, sexually ambiguous young man.
- Has anyone read any of David Leavitt's recent efforts? I've heard almost nothing about his last 2 or 3 books.
- I'm about to start on Dave Cullen's Columbine. Anyone read it?
- "Cities On A Hill" by Frances Fitzgerald. The entire works of Augusten Borroughs.
- I really liked a lot of Leavitt's early stuff, R71, but the last one, The Indian Clerk, was a real chore for me to get through. I read it halfway through and put it aside for more than a year before finishing. It's well written but just didn't grab me. I did come to appreciate it more by the time I finished.
Two Hotel Francforts, which came out last week, is on my nightstand, beneath the new Donna Tartt and Wally Lamb. (Yes, I'm middlebrow.)
- I couldn't get past the first chapter of The Indian Clerk. Very disappointed as I loved so much of Leavitt's earlier books. Can't even remember what came before that one...did I read it??
So I'm cautious of his latest. I haven't seen any reviews of Two Hotel Francforts yet, though the period subject matter in his hands sounds ponderous.
- I'm about to give up on Bleeding Edge. It might be "adult taste," and it is well-written, but I could not care less about the lead character, let alone anyone else in the book. I'm about halfway through.
- First in a series of British mysteries called "Maisie Dobbs" by Jacqueline Winspear.
And "The Song of the Spiderman" about the behind the scenes of the troubled Taymor/Bono Broadway musical.
- I read most of the Maisie Dobbs books. First one is mostly a series setup, so don't expect a lot in terms of a mystery plot. The next few are quite well done, and then the series began going downhill for me as boring, formulaic, etc.
- true R78.. not much mystery in the first one (almost done) but I do plan to read the others.
- R69, I just meant Bonyhady has a tendency to name-drop Mahler, Alma and Klimt every few lines to conjure up the glittering image of "Vienna 1900". Freud gets a regular mention too.
It's a good book, a little uneven but a great tribute to his mother and grandmother, as well as the tale of one of the great art and furniture collections of Vienna.
R70, that book is almost 800 pages long and it's been out for just over a week - I admire your fortitude in reading it so quickly!
- Bringing Home the Birkin - Michael Tonello
- Anything by Max Lucado.
- The "Silo Saga" trilogy: Wool, Shift, and Dust
I'm currently in the middle of Shift.
If you like post-apocalyptic fiction, this stuff is both good AND unique.
- The Daughters of Mars, by Thomas Kennealy. Excellent novel about two sisters who served as nurses in WWI. I finished it on a plane flight and felt very self-conscious because the ending made me cry.
Also, How Much Is Enough, by Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky. One of the best books I've ever read. I can't overpraise it. It has changed the way i look at my life, history, and modern politics.
- After some heavy reading lately, I decided to jump into some light history: "Scandal: Infamous Gay Controversies of the Twentieth Century" by Marc E Vargo, which covers 6 notorious gay events: Roger Casement and his Black Diaries; the murder of Pier Paolo Pasolini; Radclyffe Hall and the censoring of The Well of Loneliness; the defection of British spies-for-the-KGB Guy Burgess and Donald MacLean; Simon Nkoli and the Delmas Treason Trial; and the Eulenberg Affair. It's a short but informative book, which mostly serves to inspire the reader to want to read more in-depth on the topics (for me, particularly Simon Nkoli, who I'd not heard of prior to this).
- I just finished David Leavitt's THE TWO HOTEL FRANCFORTS. It puts him back on my list of favorite authors.
- That's good to hear about Leavitt's newest. Thanks for responding on that r86.
I'm a big fan of Edith Wharton and have read all her major novels but picked up a lesser-known one (at least to me) The Reef today in a second hand-shop. Does anyone know it? Am I in for a treat?
- But reading the posted Amazon reviews of the Leavitt book scared me away from it, even the more positive ones.
- Indeed I am a Mapp & Lucia fan, R54, both the TV series and the novels -- Qui Hai! If you haven't seen it, track down a video called Barchester Chronicles (covers first two books in Trollope's Barchester series), featuring Gerladine MacEwan as a delicious Mrs. Proudie ("If she were MY daughter, I'd lame HER!") and a dishy Alan Rickman as Mr. Slope.
- Well, then don't read it, Puss. But I liked it, in spite of how tarnished his reputation had become with me. I don't want to tell you the only thing I didn't like, because it would be a spoiler, but look, it's a short book, no more than 200 pp., and if you don't like it, you can throw it against the wall and curse me out.
I almost couldn't put it down, but it got late the first night I was reading it, and I fell asleep. I finished it the next day.
- R15- thanks for the recommendation going to give the book a try..
- Anyone ever read Infatuations by Javier Marias. I'm a third of the way through. I don't think I have ever read a book so totally given over to reflection. So far it has retained my interest despite the fact that virtually nothing happens (except for one very brutal incident at the start of the novel).
- R87--beautifully written, ugly story.
- Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
- r93 are you referring to David Leavitt or Edith Wharton?
- Just finished Night Film by Marisha Pessl. bad dialogue and a silly, labyrinthine plot that all ends up going nowhere.
- It's a wonderful book, r92. Marias is a wonderful experience. r82 has baby taste. I am also noting a definite Anglophia wafting through these threads. You people need to develop a more expansive and global reach in your reading. There is a whole world out there you know.
- Pardon us, R98, for reading whatever the fuck we want.
- R98, consider who the poster at R82 is before drowning us in yet another wave of your babytaster attitude. (IOW, I think it was a joke.)
I just finished Richard Kramer's THESE THINGS HAPPEN, which I liked a lot. For those who don't know, Kramer wrote for thirtysomething, My So-Called Life, and Once and Again. The first "gay" episode he wrote for thirtysomething, with David Marshall Grant and Peter Frechette was considered groundbreaking at the time.
Though there is a teenager at the heart of this story, it's also the story of the 40-y.o. gay man who is the teen's father's partner. Takes place in the theater district and UES of NY.
- "Bring Up the Bodies" by Hilary Mantel - great sequel to "Wolf Hall."
- Is "Wolf Hall" a difficult read? A lot of reviewers are complaining about it.
- Both books are written like the thought process of Thomas Cromwell and there are lots of historical references, words, and phrasings, but once you get into the rhythm of it, it's not difficult at all.
The human stories are really insightful and compelling, & the very detailed atmosphere that the author creates make both books seem really genuine and true to the 1530s.
- R102, I gave up after 2 pages of Wolf Hall. I don't like novels written in the present tense and I didn't like her style. I've heard of many people who gave up halfway through and I didn't want to waste my time on it only to abandon it after 200 pages.
- People with baby taste tend to not like Mantel. Anglophiles adore her.
- Are you an Anglophile, BTT?
- I am not, r106. I read globally and widely.
- The Beautiful Cigar Girl by Daniel Stashower. It's kind of a combination of history and true crime, about a famous 19th century murder that inspired a Poe story. I'm about 1/3 of the way through it, so far it is really good.
- Wolf Hall was difficult to finish as Mantel does have a idiosyncratic style but as you're plowing through it, you are aware the writing is brilliant. I was a history major with some knowledge of the Tudors and that helped a bit. I imagine if you're not at all versed in that history, it can be bewildering. I have Bringing Up the Bodies on audio and am readying myself for a long and challenging time. Like Wolf Hall, hopefully, in the end, it will prove to be worthwhile.
I am halfway through The Secret History and it's taken almost that long for me to take to the story. I think the biggest problem is that I borrowed the audiobook and it's read by Donna Tartt herself. This is one instance where the author does a disservice to her own work. I wanted to Bunny to die just as to not have to hear Tartt's Three Stooges voicing for that character (and no this is not a spoiler). None of the characters are particularly likable nor sympathetic, but I'm at the point where I want to know what happens to them even if I think they are shits.
- The only thing difficult about Wolf Hall is Mantel's use of pronouns.
- It's ironic how the person accusing others of "baby taste" is the most infantile poster on this thread.
"I read globally and widely."
Really? I doubt you read widely. You have a very narrow acceptance of which books you deem permissible to read, reflecting your narrow mind.
- R109, I'm sure Mantel's writing is brilliant but I've read globally and widely enough in my life to bother now only with books that I want to read and enjoy. If a book really doesn't seem like it will work out for me then I see no point in carrying on with it.
R110, I didn't like Mantel's use of pronouns and I also don't like fiction written in the present tense, both rather offputting aspects of Wolf Hall for me.
None of this means I think Wolf Hall is crap, just that it's not a book for me.
- I read about half of Wolf Hall and put it down (which I hate doing). I did find Mantel's writing to be vibrant on a sentence-by-sentence level, but I just couldn't maintain the level of interest necessary to make me want to keep picking it up.
- Alan Hollinghurst's 'The Stranger's Child'. Started to read it recently after having it sitting on my bedside table for years.
Half way through, and Christ, it's a slog.
- Count me in as another reader who gave up on Wolf Hall about 1/2 way through.
I just didn't find the storytelling very engaging and I'm a great lover of British fiction from early Victorian to today.
- Death at Sea World by David Kirby
There is also a documentary on the same subject titled BLACKFISH.
Interesting and scary and true.
- I'll chime in here and say that I also gave up on Wolf Hall half-way through. Initially, was very taken with the energy of her prose and the vividness and immediacy of the setting, but it started to become very tedious. I no longer force myself to finish books...
I also gave up on The Stranger's Child. Am a big fan of Hollinghurst since I read The Swimming Pool Library in 2002ish. Read all of his subsequent books. However, the changing narrator in Stranger's Child just was very offputting. Actually, it's been over a year, so I'm not sure why I got bored, but it's the first Hollinghurst I've never finished. (By the way, I am a straight female. I think Hollinghurst is just a great writer--maybe the modern incarnation of Henry James.)
- Tartt's reveal of one of the main characters being gay was terrific. Simple and brilliantly captured in a couple of sentences.
- Which book, R118? I'm just about to start The Goldfinch.
- R119, my last post was meant to be posted earlier. Right after my post about the secret history.
- R112, my post wasn't to chasten those who gave up on WH, but rather as an example of someone who found it a slog in some parts. Ultimately, I was happy I finished it and look forward to the sequel. Is it my favorite book ever? Not by a long shot.
- Thanks, r120
- R113, that's a very good and accurate description of the Wolf Hall experience. I guess for me it was just enough to get me to the end of the book.
- I did finish the stranger's child but was very underwhelmed. Another thread rec that wasn't all that great was the dinner. Every character in that was repulsive in the end.
The most enjoyable book from the book threads was cloud atlas. Thanks to those who touted it! This is by far my favorite DL thread and keeps me checking even though I've been inexplicably banned from posting via home connection.
- I've also just started Tartt's The Secret History - I reckon I'm about a third of the way through. Fascinating, even though the characters, as someone's already pointed out, are all irksome little shits. What I like most is that the narration really feels like some of the weirder Brontë stuff: all formal, but slightly off kilter.
- I also hated The Dinner. Kept with it because it began well but 1/2 thru it never recovered. I don't know why it's so popular.
But I loved The Stranger's Child. True, some tedious sections but well-worth reading to the end. It was my first Hollinghurst. I think I avoided the earlier ones because of their AIDS-related subject matter which was too raw for me when originally published.
But now I've read most of them and he's a favorite author.
- R124 - I totally love this thread, too. Nearly finished with Clarissa Dickson Wrights autobiography "Spilling the Beans", which I hate to see end! Also reading a book that's not Young Adult, but feels like it called "Fin & Lady"; seems to have a terrific sense of place set in 1964 Greenwich Village.
- GAY NEW YORK
Loaned "Angels and Demons" to an acquaintance. He loves it, and said that I gave it to him. I did not, but if he wants to own it, okay by me.
It's by the late actor, Ray Sharkey.
- Gay New York is very good.
I've been meaning to read The Secret History for a long time but haven't gotten around to it.
- For the Wolf Hall-ers out there, stick with it, the second half of the book picks up. And Bring up the Bodies is a much quicker read.
- I've finished Clarissa Dickson Wright's memoir "Spilling the Beans" and can definitely recommend it. I hadn't realized her co-Fat Lady, Jennifer Paterson, was twenty years older, and a reactionary, pre-Vatican II Catholic - ugh!
- Just started "The Counterfeiters" by Andre Gide a few nights ago and am loving it. Anybody else read it? Any other books by Gide that are recommended?
- I'm about 1/3 of the way through The Goldfinch, and it is one of the best books I've read in a long time. I stop reading every so often so I won't finish it too quickly.
I bought the Kindle version since the book is so long/heavy. And it was only $7.64.
- [quote] I also don't like fiction written in the present tense
- "The Wrong Mother" by Sophie Hannah, and just finished "Between You and Me" by J.H. Trumble. Didn't care for it much as s/he seems to be in a rut as far as plotting, character development, etc., not to mention the characters themselves. She (or he) really needs to branch out somehow or forever be stuck writing cookie-cutter teen gay boy romances.
Hannah's work, however, is great! If you like complex mysteries, where things get so out of hand you wonder how the hell the author will tie everything together by the end, she is the shit. Her next gig will be writing a new Hercule Poirot novel - the first original work ever authorized by Agatha Christie's estate. Looking forward to that.
- "The Drive for Power" by Arnold Hutschnecker, which is supposed to help us separate deadly psychopaths from garden variety political hacks.
And fails to do so.
Brian Lapping, "End of Empire" about the countries Britain birthed after WWII, almost all of which are bloody shitholes. He understands they botched it, but he doesn't really seem to understand why.
- If you are a Philip Roth fan, I highly recommend "Roth Unbound," by Claudia Roth Pierpont (no relation), a critical survey of all of his works.
- Thanks, R137. I just ordered it.
- I just reread Laura Ingalls Wilder's "The Long Winter" for the first time in over thirty years. Christ, what that family went through. This is easily the most nail-biting of the "Little House" books and is really a beautifully told tale of what it was like to endure the horrific winter of 1880-81 on the prairie.
- "L'Immoraliste" by Gide.
- I'm reading a trashy pot-boiler by Milt Machlin called "Pipeline" about the Alaska pipeline. One thing about seventies pot-boilers is that they were usually well-written.
- Back then everybody had a self-written novel in their drawer (v. today, when it's a screen play).
- Just finished Charles Palliser's latest, Rustication. Not as good as his last, The Unburied, but still fantastic. He's the best at writing faux-Victorian sensation novels of all the many who try at that genre.
- The Story of Harold
By Terry Andrews
Hilarious, moving, disturbing...
- Has anyone read The Asylum by John Harwood? I liked his other books.
- 141. Who got laid by 10,000 men? Alberta Pipeline.
- It's been on my TBR pile for a while, R145. I was thinking of tackling it soon.
- I'd second the Mapp and Lucia series, but I'd skip the first book, because it wwas only after Lucia and Georgie moved that the author was able to stock the series with lovable eccentrics--including a lesbian, "quaint' Irene!
In show-business biography, I'd recommend the new Bob Fosse story. It just came out a few days ago, and it's getting terrific reviews everywhere. The author is Sam Wasson.
And in gay fiction, I just read The Passionate Attention of an Interesting Man. I only ordered it because the guy on the cover was so hot (though you can't see his face), but it turned out to be classy porn about rough guys manhandling intellectuals, sort of witty but sexual, too.
- R148 -- you sound like me urging folks to skip the first book in Trollope's Barsetshire series ("The Warden"). In the case of Mapp and Lucia though, I thought the first book actually helped establish Lucia's meddling, Alpha female character. The second one ("Lucia in London") can be skipped, although Georgie's abhorrence at a character as totally fey as he is makes the book fun.
- Lucia in London is actually my favourite Benson novel.
- Trying to remember a non-Mapp/Lucia novel of EF Benson's that I adored years ago, before he even came back into vogue with the TV series.
Anyone....about male and female neighbors who don't get along....?
- 50 pages into The Goldfinch and I'm loving it!
Please tell me it holds up.
- It holds up, R153. I'm 51% in, and I'm rationing it rather than reading it at my normal pace.
- For shame R154
- Has anyone read the following? Your opinions?:
The Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell
After Her by Joyce Maynard
My Cousin Rachel by Daphne DuMarier
- I read "My Cousin Rachel" (listened to the audio actually) years ago, finding it suspenseful.
- Sycamore Row
By John Grisham
- "Lawfully Wedded Husband: How My Gay Marriage Will Save the American Family" by Joel Derfner
- Can anyone recommend a good book about the Chelsea Hotel?
- A book I meant to read when it came out, THE COOL PART OF HIS PILLOW. I avoid the dreck that most M/M publishers churn out but this, so far, is incredibly well-written, witty and not one gratuitous sex scene. Yet. But the publisher puts out a lot of crap. I wonder what they saw in this.
- I NEVER LEARNED TO READ!
- I'm reading "Into the Blue" by the British author Robert Goddard, a mystery tale of a young woman who goes missing on a Greek island and the efforts of a friend, initially accused of her disappearance, to find out what happened to her.
Goddard writes great mystery/detective books, usually, in the ones I've read so far, about some hapless individual who finds themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, and is caught in a web of intrigue. The storylines usually focus on an unsolved mystery that took place a few generations ago - someone who went missing or the disturbing appearance of someone with a mysterous identity - and are intricately plotted, drawing you in to an ever thicker plot, with multiple twists and turns.
His books are great for when you want the kind of book you curl up with, a page-turning story you can get really lost in. They're a highly intelligent version of crime and mystery novels. Goddard is a very British writer and there's a strong historical element to his novels, which adds to the charm. Highly recommended for a good yarn.
His publishers seem to have made a mess of his website, however.
- What a coincidence, R163, as I read this book (listened to the audio version) not long ago. It's a great book, but rather long I thought. The "twisted" ending is really well done; I never would've suspected it.
- Cool! I've still got about a third to go. Yes, perhaps a bit too long and Goddard books can be a bit "exhausting", but I'm going to try and finish it tomorrow.
- r160: Netherland by Joseph O'Neill, which came out about 5 years ago, is a beautifully written, very literary novel where the main character lives at the Chelsea (O'Neill and his family actually do live there). It's been a while since I read it (liked it so much I read it twice), but there is at least one very eccentric character who walks around with angel wings, who is based on a real person who lived in the Chelsea. It's not ABOUT the Chelsea, however.
- We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler.
Pleasant, but so far I don't get the hype. Just one of many books with a sarcastic young female narrator. The only surprising thing is how convincing the narrator is, given that Fowler is 63 years old. By comparison, Armistead Maupin's attempts at characters in the twenties has been pretty bad in his last 2 books.
- "Dead Cities" by Mike Davis
- Lost Girls about the prostitutes found murdered on Long Island. I'm not usually a true crime buff but this is good, with a lot of emphasis on the women's backgrounds and what led them to be in such vulnerable positions. The murders have never been solved.
- The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, the recent Booker Prize winner.
It takes a while to get going, but it's terrifically gripping once it does. It's in the style of a Victorian sensation novel (like Willkie Collins's novels or Dickens's later books) about a gold rush town on the New Zealand coast in the 1860s, and a complex series of events involving murder, gold and opium smuggling, theft, and prostitution. (There's al;so at least one great seance thrown in for good measure.) A really great read, though it is over 850 pages! (Though for me, the length of the book is an added plus.)
- 160 - Inside The Dream Palace by Sherill Tippins is a new book about the Chelsea Hotel. There's a write up in today's Daily News.
- LOVE Sherill Tippins!
She also wrote February House which is the true story of a rooming house in Brooklyn Heights shared by Carson McCullers, WH Auden, Benjamin Britten, Paul and Jane Bowles, Oliver Smith and Gypsy Rose Lee, among others, in 1939 when they were all starting their illustrious careers.
Well, actually Gypsy's career was firmly established but she moved in to get help in writing The G-String Murders from George Davis, the former Harper's Bazaar editor who brought all the others together.
- "Bitter Blood" by Jerry Bledsoe. Extremely well-written true crime book. I don't recall ever seeing others by him.
- I just went to a public talk with Donna Tartt! She's really great, wonderfully eloquent, intelligent, fun, sweet, and comes across as a really nice person.
She also must have spent hours signing books and spending a moment or two with each member of the public, asking them how they are, listening to a couple of things they had to say, even though the queue was huge. I think I disturbed her somewhat with what I said!
- And what did you say, R175?
- It's because I feel guilty about saying it straight out so need to beat around the bush, so to speak. I told Donna that my girlfriend is in love with her but she couldn't make it so I was getting The Goldfinch signed in her name. Donna looked a little perturbed and said that it's just as well she didn't come them.
I'm female. This was in London.
- Ow. What a response.
- I'm about 1/4 if the way through "The Gildfinch" and am savoring it. It was easy for me to totally get immersed in it.
- She said it in a good-humoured way, r178, she probably didn't know what else to say. I then asked her a perhaps stupid question about the plot of The Little Friend, so she must have thought I was a bit of an idiot, but she was pleasant about it. Everyone else was saying things like "I really love your books, they are so wonderful."
R179, someone in the audience asked her if she intentionally writes the books so the reader gets completely immersed in them, and she said "yes!".
- Well, she certainly succeeded with this one r180. Interesting to know.
- 1/2 through The Goldfinch and also loving it though the Las Vegas section at times dragged.
- My library has serious holds on all editions of the book, but you guys are REALLY making me curious!
I've been reading a lot of Agatha Christie, and Poirot is GAY, GAY, GAY! What in the hell did folks back then think? He's pining away for his "lost" Hastings now as though he were a damned widower! Lots of single men over the age of 30 in these books as well!
- I don't often splurge on hardcover books but The Goldfinch is worth it.
- I felt that way about "the Good House" by Ann Leary R184.
- "Strangers When We Meet."
Yep. "Mad Men" vintage!
- I finished The Goldfinch about a week ago. It holds up throughout, though I felt that a few sections in the last fifth of the book were a bit much, plotwise. I won't say more for risk of spoiling. But I think that's because they were quite unexpected (to me), so I plan to give it another read in a few months. It is definitely one the best new novels in some time.
LOVE the characters of Mrs. Barbour and Hobie.
This is my first experience with Donna Tartt, so I am looking forward to reading her previous two books. I also saw her speak (in Brooklyn a few weeks ago). She seemed very sweet and obviously quite brilliant. I wish it had gone on longer, especially since the interviewer took up a good 10-15 minutes with a rambling introduction. I hate when the question people at author Q&A's make it as much about them as the author.
- I kept seeing a teenage Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Theo in The Goldfinch.
- "I've been reading a lot of Agatha Christie, and Poirot is GAY, GAY, GAY! What in the hell did folks back then think?"
If fictional characters could ping, Poirot certainly would (Same goes for Sherlock Holmes!)
- I kept seeing Michiel Huisman as adult Theo, and Liam Aiken as teen Theo.
- A few years ago I read The Mysterious Mr Quin stories by Agatha Christie, where Mr Quin is definitely "gay", or whatever was "gay" in the public imagination then. In fact, Christie even describes him as "mincing". I'm sure Poirot was gay in Christie's mind, as that would resolve a number of plot and character issues. Note: I don't think that means Christie saw Poirot as having partners, identifying as homosexual or even being recognised as so by others.
I don't think Sherlock Holmes was gay, though.
- R187, my Donna Tartt event was meant to be a "discussion" on The Secret History with someone who works for the Guardian newspaper and teaches in a university. He would just not shut up. Two-thirds of the discussion was taken up with his blabbing, we didn't get to hear as much from Donna as we should have. And he was guiding the discussion in tedious directions. At least when the audience was able to ask questions at the end, Donna could talk more about herself, her work, her ideas, than on the detailed plot issues that idiot was making her talk about.
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brönte. People were rather fussy back then weren't they?
- Am re-reading the patrick melrose novels. Breathtaking, precise prose.
- R191 - you mean you don't think Christie's readers necessarily thought of him as a "gay" character. I was wondering what the other characters in his world would've made of him? Probably he got by as "eccentric" but still ... and surely Captain Hastings must've suffered from guilt by association? Yes, he was married off and went on to have four kids, but then again, Watson had kids and two wives.
- A modest variation on the thread: I have batches of Agatha Christie paperbacks, not worth keeping. What to do with them?
I am currently reshelving my library, previous kept in several different locations. Should probably unload books. What to do with duplicates? (Who knew I had them?) Some of them are in new condition, including Alan Bennett, Saki, things I barely recognize....
And are my old Gore Vidal novels really worth keeping? Can't imagine going back to them. And yet I do want to hang onto two editions of some things, a nice copy and the one I fell in love with initially.
Louis Auchincloss is an embarrassment on my shelves, isn't he? What should I do with all of those? He was much too prolific, and I had much too much time on my hands before I discovered DL.
- R195, I can imagine in the 1920s or 1930s there were many older gentlemen, lifelong bachelors, who were very kindly and friendly and always charming to the ladies but who were homosexual although other less "aware" people may not have noticed it and the gentlemen may never even have admitted it to their own selves. I can imagine Christie knew a few such gentlemen and may have made modelled Poirot on them.
- "Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brönte. People were rather fussy back then weren't they?"
I was embarrassed to post this but I am re reading (last time high school) now also! I didn't know how sexy two people can be who practically never touch...its the definition of "wait, wait...or wait some more"
I would bang Rochester like a screen door!
- Used-book stores, charities that hold book sales, the dumpster---take your pick, r196.
- "I am currently reshelving my library, previous kept in several different locations. Should probably unload books. What to do with duplicates? (Who knew I had them?) Some of them are in new condition, including Alan Bennett, Saki, things I barely recognize...."
You can sell them or trade them in at amazon.com
- The new, 1,000 page biography of Barbara Stanwyck. And, it's only the first half of a two part biography.
- Robert Massey biography of Catherine the Great.
- Good luck with that, r202. I found his biography of Peter the Great turgid.
- P.S. I'm currently reading Louis Begley's biography of Franz Kafka, "The Tremendous World I Have Inside My Head: Franz Kafka: A Biographical Essay".
- luminaries by Eleanor Catton
It won the manbooker. not a bad book
- Just started reading, "Pain, parties, work: Sylvia Plath in New York, 1953". I'm fascinated by intelligent people with mental problems.
I don't think she ever really "recovered".
- R203, so far the Catherine biography is quite good. I will admit that I find her to be much more interesting than her father.
- Uh, Peter the Great was not the father of Catherine the Great. Or have you not gotten to that page r207?
- that Sylvia Plath book was great. Do not read American Isis (also about her), it is horribly written
- R208, lost my head. You are absolutely right. He was the father of Elizabeth who plays such a crucial role in Catherine's life. My apology.
- But I've always got this sense that Ms Donna Tartt might be a lesbian (albeit probably a high- brow celibate non-practising one). My hunch is based on the fact that she does the first-person male perspective rather too well and too convincingly. I don't mean it in a sexist way, but she just seems to have such a 'masculine' mind, know what I mean?
- I'm about 2/3 of the way through Isabel Allende's memoir "My Invented Country" and while I have little desire to try her fiction, this one is very well written and easy to get into.
- And that's why I think her 'Little Friend' is such a disaster, when she tried to narrate through a female POV/perspective (and in the third person too!). I was SO relieved that she reverts back to the first-person male narrator in 'The Goldfinch'. As a result the narrative energy level swings right back to that of 'The Secret History'.
- I'm about 3/4 of the way through The Goldfinch now and find it has seriously challenged my interest from time to time. Some truly brilliant writing but the plotting is often questionable.
I almost gave up on it around page 475 and then it suddenly got a lot more involved again.
- R213, I'm not sure that's why The Little Friend wasn't as consistent as The Secret History. After all, Harriet was a 12-year-old girl. Doing something from a child's perspective is what made it tricky. I know that played some part for me, because I was never really sure whether Harriet had really worked out who killed Robin or whether this was some kind of childlike (not necessarily childish) fixation on this particular individual.
I also think what made The Little Friend more complicated is that Tartt was trying to deal with "social issues", namely racism and class attitudes in the south, through the everday subtleties as to how those prejudices and barriers operate. The Secret History isn't really about social issues, and neither is The Goldfinch from what I've understood. I think if Donna had managed to get The Little Friend right, succesfully weaving together the social dimension and the complexities of family life with the storytelling and the "coming of age" stuff, then it could have been an incredibly important book.
From the talk she gave that I attended it was quite clear that plotting is an incredibly important aspect of her work. I'm not sure she managed it 100% with The Little Friend: it was either too many ideas that weren't fitted together properly or two different books she tried to squeeze into one.
I don't think she's a dyke, though. It's quite easy to make men the first-person narrative - most of society is like that, we women are used to seeing things that way. That's probably why male protagonists are equated with "energy".
- I'm reading The Goldfinch and about 200 pages in. It's relatively quick reading and interesting but I'm not quite getting all the "it's a masterpiece" hype just yet.
- More than questioning the male first person narrator's voice in The Goldfinch, I wonder about the period it's set in which often doesn't seem contemporary to my mind.
I feel like it might have been a more believable story had it been set about 30-35 years earlier.
- 12 years a slave. I wanted to read it before watching the movie, but I can't get into it.
- R217, at the talk I went to Tartt says she tries to write her novels so that they're not really datable, you can perhaps date them to within ten years either side but you can't really say which decade they're set in. She apparently doesn't like to include events or details by which you can date a novel.
Elsewhere, she apparently said that because she started writing The Goldfinch such a long time ago, by the time she finished it technology had developed so much that she had to go back and add mobile phones and things.
- Thanks r219. I'm not too surprised.
- Dear literate friends: how many books do you have going RIGHT NOW? I'm juggling four (2 audio, 1 ebook and 1 print book).
- 1 print book, 1 ebook. After getting an ipad and using the ibooks and kindle app, it's so much easier to read. Picking up a print book hurts my eyes so I've been sitting on my half-read print book for about six months now and reading solely on my ipad.
I used to read all the time when I was young but as m vision deteriorated, it became challenging for me to read so I stopped. I love the concept of e-reading and how you can adjust the font and lighting to suit you. It definitely turned me into a reader again....
- "The Three Museketeers" by Dumas. I didn't realize he was black.
- Read and loved Close to the Machine by Ellen Ullman. It's a memoir written in 1997 about technology being built to become what we experience today on a daily basis. Loved the book.
- "The Good Lord Bird" by James McBride. So far it looks like its National Book Award is well-deserved. Although I would have loved to have seen "The Son" by Philipp Meyer win (it wasn't nominated).
- I'm reading a seventies novel called Starring, by James Fritzhand. It has five principals who seem to be based on real people. Two are, clearly, versions of Barbra Streisand and Stephen Sondheim. The other three stump me. Can I appeal to the DataLounge team of experts to solve this puzzle? Surely someone will know. Maybe the author himself runs a google alert.
- I just finished Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane audiobook. I loved it so much that I think I'll purchase the hard copy.
- r225, totally agree about The Son. My favorite book of 2013.
- Still struggling through the last chapters of The Goldfinch.
Now I'm finding for every boring 30 pages or so, there will be 10 riveting pages that just keep me reading.
But I'm guessing that in retrospect, the book just falls apart somewhere in Las Vegas, never to really recover the brilliance of the opening NY sections.
How sad that a brilliant editor couldn't have forced Tartt to cut about 300 pages of the book. It would have been so much better.
- I'm rereading "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" after watching the TV miniseries from the 1970s featuring Alec Guinness and Ian Richardson. I first read the book in preparation for seeing the feature film with Gary Oldman ond Colin Firth, and I found it very hard to follow. I loved the film, but on its own terms, because it reworks the material in an entirely new way.
But after seeing the miniseries I wanted to reread the book to see if I had really missed all the gay themes and subtexts that were pretty manifest in the miniseries.
Such as the obnoxious guy who makes Smiley go out to dinner with him at the start of the novel being really [term that the webmaster has decided we don't use here], and Bill Haydon and Jim Prideaux being a couple. Of course the characters in "the Circus" run through more than one Lecarre novel and these characters had an established history before they came to the situations depicted in "Tinker Tailor." But I'm not interested in reading about them, only seeing fantastic actors play them.
- Song of the Spider-Man: The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History by Glen Berger. Julie Taymor comes off like an entitled controlling bitch. Lots of dish in this... and funny too.
- How Long Has This Been Going On? (1995) by Ethan Mordden. Entertaining if not as deep as I would like saga of several gay men and women from the late 40s to the 90s.
- I got a copy of BUDDIES, but the thing is so perfume-y smelling, I don't know when I'll be able to read it.
- I agree with most of what R229 said. The Golfinch dragged in a few places. I rather liked the Vegas storyline... it was shortly after he went back to NY after Vegas that it started dragging for me. I did finish it but I don't get why everyone is claiming it's a masterpiece. It's unnecessarily long.
I'm reading The German now which is great. Really creepy. About halfway through...
- I'm also struggling through The Goldfinch--loved the beginning, but now it just seems to drag and I find myself skimming. If I'm skimming, something's not right.
- I'm currently alternatively between reading The Age of Doubt by Andrea Camilleri - I don't read that much crime fiction but I love the Inspector Montalbano mysteries - and Happy Depths of a Homophobe by Peter Tegel.
- I'm hooked on Inspector Montalbano, too -- his books are like crack hits!
- The new Michael Connolly mystery, The Gods of Guilt. Sometimes he's good, sometimes not so good. It's a Mickey Haller book this time. I'm picturing McConaughey as I read, unfortunately the version of him with his now scrunched-up face.
The book is alright. I'm not recommending it, though, unless you're already a fan.
- "Paris, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down" by Rosecrans Baldwin. New Yorker Baldwin worked as a copywriter for a Parisian advertising agency for a few years (starting in 2007, when Sarkozy was elected President), and this is his account of that time. He's self-deprecating about his lack of French and very funny when writing about his Parisian co-workers and work environment.
- Finally finished At Swim Two Boys; definitely worth the effort.
- Just finished "A Casual Vacancy" by J.K.Rowling. It took a while for me to get into it, but it's a good 'slice of life' look at small-town England.
Also just finished "Full Dark No Stars" by Stephen King. As usual, his short stories are better than his novels.
Also finished "Thunderstruck: Twinned Tales of Murder" by Eric Larsen. Historical true crime covering invention of radio by Marconi and how it intersects with a grisly murder in Victorian England. Good audio book for driving.
Am 2/3rds the way done with Stephen Donaldson's "A Man Rides Through," which is the second half of the "Mordant's Need" saga. Excellent fantasy, highly recommended if you like that sort of thing.
- The Happy Hollisters, Mystery of the Green Goblet.
- Floating City by Sudhir Venkatesh-about the underground economy in NYC and how the global elite have changed the city.
Very well written, but the author is a bit clueless-he's a Brahmin academic.
Breakfast with Lucian--Geordie Greig? I forget the author's name--it's an overview of Lucien Freud's life. A lot of critics dismissed this a just a pile of gossip, but I think it's an excellent look at the louche life he led.
- Rosecrans Baldwin:
- Just finished "Unbroken" by Hillebrand. My father was a doctor in the Pacific theatre and used to tell us how horrible the Japanese were. I never knew much about what happened there as Hollywood is obsessed with Nazis and all you ever hear about, see on TV, in movies are Nazis, Nazis, Nazis. 1% of POWs died in German prisoner of war camps. 25% of POWs died in Japanese prisoner of war camps and the Japanese beat the Germans flat out in number of civilians murdered.
- Just starting The Reef by Edith Wharton.
Anyone read it? Anyone ever heard of it?
- R245: there was a terrific British series about Japanese camps called "Tenko" featuring one for women (and children) prisoners rounded up after the fall of Singapore -- Stephanie Cole (Diana Trent from the comedy series "Waiting for God") plays the camp doctor, who tries to do her best. Believe me, this story is NO comedy!
What I really popped in here for was to mention the new book featuring Jeeves and Wooster: "Jeeves and the Wedding Bells." I really liked the first 90% of the story quite a bit, with the audio narration being a terrific fit. However .... WARNING - SPOILER AHEAD ...
The story ends with both Bertie and Jeeves engaged to be married - yuk!
That OLD guy
- I just gave up on the new biography of Richard Pryor, "Furious Cool" - I was hoping for a more straightforward biography and couldn't get into the more anecdotal approach. Also was really repetitive.
Picked up "The Disaster Artist" about the making of that movie "The Room"...which so far is entertaining but slight. Mainly seems like "let's make fun of Tommy Wiseau's unplaceable accent and speech pattern"
- Just finished Dan Savage's new book "American Savage" which was well written, but I found large sections tough to get through: for example, his having had that foul piece of shite Brian Brown over for dinner.
- Just finished "The Lowland" by Jhumpa Lahiri. Loved it.
- Looking for some new suggestions for these 2 holiday weeks....anyone?
- I'm reading the 2013 sequel to the 2012 Manhattan White Pages. Currently at Page 940 Zeltser to Zhang.
- What kinds of books do you like R251?
- I like smart books, r253.
I'm the old fart here that reads Trollope regularly but I also love Kate Atkinson and Alan Hollinghurst. I guess I'm an Anglophile.
But I've recently enjoyed such middle-brow stuff as The Chaperone, Beautiful Ruins, The Light Between Oceans, even Gone Girl.
Slogged through The Goldfinch but wasn't entirely thrilled.
- "une histoire americaine" by Jacques Godbout
- I liked Leary's "The Good House" so much I bought a $24.95 hardcover copy for my mom rather than waiting for the paperback to be out months later.
You might like into Balzac's "Cousin Bette" as well. So much intrigue, plotting and backstabbing it'd have Alexis Carrington shouting "You Go, Girl!" A dry, dull piece of literature it is not (the film version starring a young Helen Mirren as Bette's accomplice was outstanding).
There's also "The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards" - a novel by a first time author that I found a bit uneven, but am glad I finished rather than giving up on, and would certainly read more by the guy.
Hope one of those tides you through the rest of the year!
(I have "The Chaperone" and "Beautiful Ruins" on my TBR pile, and have considered adding "Life after Life" as well.)
- Infatuations -- Javier Marias (liked it a lot)
The Gernman -- Lee Thomas (very good, with gay theme)
Counterfeiters -- Gide (dumb, very disappointing)
Concrete -- Thomas Bernhard (strange, but very good)
Speedboat -- Renata Adler (very, very strange, but good)
- Mostly the fluffiest reading I could find, mostly true crime:
"Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery" by Robert Kolker about the string of unsolved murders a long a stretch of marsh on Long Island. There were something like ten bodies found along the same stretch of beach and marsh, not all of whom were killed by the same person.
"Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson" by Jeff Guinn
Ann Rule's latest "Practice to Deceive."
And because I need some antidote to holiday glurge, "The Missionary Position: Mother Theresa in Theory and in Practice" by Christopher Hitchens.
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- Anybody have a good romance with a happy ending? i need some escape from reality. A gay relationship would be great but it doesn't matter as long as it's a good story written well for the genre.
- I am generally loathe to recommend the Kindle selection of gay erotica, given that 95% of them seem to be written by women.
However, this one is (I think) by an actual man, and was good escapist reading for me. There is also a paperback version if you don't do ebooks.
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- Try Josh Lanyon's stuff, R259.
- The Holographic Universe, by Michael Talbot.
Twenty year old book.
Fascinating layman's read, about quantum physics and the model of reality as hologram, and its attempts to explain the unexplainable/ paranormal/metaphysical.
- About to start THE FLAMETHROWERS. Anyone here red it yet? Does it live up to the hype?
- VOTN. thanks I'll look it up. Your right it's hard to find a gay romance not written as a female fantasy or just badly written.
r261, I really Josh Lanyon's work. I've read the Adrien English Mystery series and the Dark Horse. He's really a cut above the genre. Wish he wrote more full length novels.
The other M/M romance/suspense author I like is Jordan Castillo Price and the PsyCops series. I really thought she was a man, not just because of he name but her writing really does not feel like a woman writer. I highly recommend the series.
- r262, I swear I just read a big story of how someone just proved a big piece of that theory. It was in the news last week I think. Crazy stuff.
- Rereading the E.F. Benson's Lucia books. Anyone else a fan? He seems to have faded from the radar. Again.
- Yes, R266, I have reread all but the last Lucia book over the past few months.
R264 -- try Lanyon's book about the Yellow Socks, or his newer series featuring Holmes & Moriarity (not THOSE characters!).
- [R259]: You might try Ethan Mordden's How Long Has This Been Going On? It has a ton of characters, but there's one couple in particular, a big ol' southern blond boy and a cultured twink, who have an on-again, off-again romance that runs through much of the book. It's actually quite suspenseful what happens to them. Really, the whole book is suspenseful, and some of it's sad, but that just makes the happy parts seem happier.
- Malcolm Gladwell's 'David and Goliath'. It's pretty good, light reading.
- Another vote for "How Long Has This Been Going On?" How did I live all these years without reading it. Thank you to whoever suggested it here.
- I found out about E F Benson from DL and man am I grateful . There's a universe of his free books that are unparalleled.
- My public library ordered all the Dave Brandstetter books I requested on Kindle, and they're dropping them all in my lap tonight. It's like Christmas.
- "double Life" by Shayne and Sunshine is turning out to be a fascinating double biography.
- I finally finished The Secret History. I'm surprised it was a best seller--not that it's a bad book but I don't see the elements that would make it so popular in the mainstream. I'm not quite sure how I feel about the ending. Underwhelmed? But I suppose the way it ended fits in well with the direction-less theme of the narrator's life?
I had Julian sussed out from the get-go.
Now listening to Crazy Rich Asians. I'm enjoying it--not great literature but fun and funny. I am struggling with keeping track of the multitude of characters introduced in a very short span.
- I'm up to page 548 of "The Goldfinch"--only 900 more pages to go. (Actually just a little more than 200 pages.) So many critics have called it Dickensian, when what they really mean is long. I wish it had been half its length.
I do like the character of Boris--he brings some life to the joint. But I am so, so, so tired of reading about wealthy New Yorkers. There's a girl named Kitsey on Park Avenue? Seriously? My favorite novel of the year was "The Son"--I'm going to have to find more in that vein.
- I have a fairly long commute and listen to lots of audiobooks.
Lately I have really enjoyed a lot of Max Barry's books (especially "Lexicon").
His novels are set in a recognizable present day or near future with some tongue-in-cheek fantasy elements that parody excessive corporate/consumer culture. Plots unfold around rebellion and revenge fantasies, and there is a good deal of cynical humor mixed in.
I recall "Jennifer Government" getting some attention when it came out, but I think most of his other books are better.
- R275, is "The Son" by Philipp Meyer?
- Yes, R277. I need to read "American Rust" now.
- Marti on the USA. What homosexual Cuban patriot and hero Jose Marti thought about Americans.
- What did you like about The Son r275?
Please tell us something about it that will make us want to read it.
- "Fevre Dream" - George R.R. Martin
"Also Sprach Zarathustra" - F. Nietzsche
- R280, sorry--I don't want to work that hard. But you can find lots of reviews of the book and interviews of the author at the link below.
- I have been slowly making my way through all of Agatha Christie's novels. I'm a slow reader and don't have as much time to read as I would like but 2 years after I started, I am down to the 2nd to the last book. Some are better than others but I have enjoyed every single one of them.
- I love Agatha Christie as well. Haven't read any for years but they were just easy to read and good.
- Look away, Lookaway ny Wilson Barnhardt is a delicious saga of a dysfunctional family in North Carolina.
- [quote]Also just finished "Full Dark No Stars" by Stephen King. As usual, his short stories are better than his novels.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed "Doctor Sleep." It wasn't a perfect book by any stretch of the imagination, but there were some really well-written parts. The scene where the baby girl "shines" a warning about 9/11 to her parents unsettled me for days.
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- "Just Lucky I Guess"--Carol Channing's memoir--the reader just isn't as lucky. The book is proof that Channing truly lives in her own private universe. But for $3, an amusing way to pass time recovering from a nasty bout with the flu.
- "The Intelligent Investor"
"The Power of Now"
- "Marina" by Carlos Ruiz Safón. I love his books.
- Carlos Ruiz Zafón, not Safón. Sorry.
- R283, have you only been reading Agatha Christie for the past two years? I just bought Murder on the Orient Express and The ABC Murders as Kindle Daily Deals, and am currently reading The ABC Murders. It's ok.
I think penultimate might be the word you want.
- David Mitchell's "Number 9 Dream"
- I'm alternating between Michaelangelo: His Epic Life by Martin Gayford and Happy Depths of the Homophobe by Peter Tegel depending on whether I'm in the mood for fact or fiction.
- I'm in the middle of "SIX: Blossom's Bestie" by Jenna Van Oy.
- Istanbul Passage by Joseph Kanon
- Just finished Moby Dick. I really enjoyed it.
- R291, LOL, no! I've been alternating Dame Agatha with lots of others. Which might also explain why it has taken so long! And yes, penultimate is definitely the word I was looking for there. Thanks! Murder on the Orient Express is wonderful. I would also recommend And Then There Were None if you haven't read that one yet.
- The Signature of All Things - Elizabeth Gilbert.
- Just finished "Duty to the Dead" by Charles Todd (mother / son writing team. It was okay. But, I think I prefer their other series - Inspector Rutledge books. Both take place roughly same time period. Bess Crawford (Duty to the Dead)during WWI, Rutledge immediately after WWI. Both mystery series.
- Steinbeck's East of Eden. I'm rereading the classics I didn't like in high school to see if I like them any better now.
- r300, and are you liking East of Eden better this time around?
- East of Eden was one of the first "adult" books I read as a young teen. Preceded by The Good Earth and followed by Of Human Bondage.
Then I read Gone With the Wind and finally enjoyed reading.
Does anyone remember Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank? I'm dating myself but that novel about nuclear holocaust was enormously popular when I was in junior high. I must find it and reread it.
- I just finished We are Water by Wally Lamb. I enjoyed it very much but I was bothered by the catholic references and the fact that he implies that the wife SPOILER ALERT becomes a lesbian as a result of being sexually abused by her cousin.
- I've got 100 pages to go in We Are Water, R303. I don't recall any Catholic references - fundamentalist, yes, but the fundy characters are clearly ridiculed. Also, I don't sense that the author is tying sexual abuse with lesbianism. Rather, I think, he's portraying the wife as someone who seeks a caretaker due to the abuse she has suffered. The sex of that caretaker is almost immaterial.
Then again, the last few chapters could sway me to your interpretation!
- It wasn't until the end that I started to feel a bit uneasy about where he was going, R304.
- Halfway through "Lost Girls."
While the subject matter is very heavy and depressing, the author's inability to hide his utter contempt for Nancy Grace is refreshing.
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- r306, I thought that was a bit unfair, since she is an easy target. I would've saved my contempt for the LEOs and media who didn't really give a shit when the women were missing. It was all sensational headlines without real reporting.
I also felt that the book was too heavily tilted towards making the victims PC-we get it, they were human beings and didn't deserve this-what about the case?
- Started Steven Bach's "Marlene: Life and Legend" about Marlene Dietrich -- fascinating subject, though his staccato writing style. Can be very. Distracting.
- Just saw Grand Illusion, with Jean Gabin. Enjoy your. Reading, R308.
- [quote][R306], I thought that was a bit unfair, since she is an easy target. I would've saved my contempt for the LEOs and media who didn't really give a shit when the women were missing. It was all sensational headlines without real reporting.
In all fairness, I thought he was pretty tough on the Suffolk County police commissioner (although he could have been tougher).
He also didn't shy away from taking shots at Jane Velez-Mitchell, Dateline and 48 Hours--which is odd, considering he appeared on the latter in advance of the book's release)--so Nancy Grace was really just the lowest-hanging fruit.
I found the book as a whole really unsatisfying. Also, Ann Rule's most recent was as well, but that was more because the case she was writing about didn't have a neat ending, not because of her writing.
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- R265, re: [b]Michael Talbot[/b]. He wrote The Holographic Universe in 1992. I am just about finished and am dazzled by it. It is now officially my favorite book. A wonder-filled and inspiring synthesis of the metaphysical concepts I've been contemplating myself for the last twenty years. A complex, cutting-edge subject that we hardly have terms for, and he presented it so well! ...I can't believe I hadn't read it sooner.
Anyway, I just went to look him up online, to see if he's done any further exciting exploration of the subtler realms of our reality... And I learn that he died in 1992!
Also, he was an openly gay man. He apparently died of leukemia.
- ...Ahh, I now see the correct way to [bold]bold[/bold] something.
- "On Foot to the Golden Horn" by Jason Goodwin, a trek across eastern europe in 1990.
- "In Bed With Gore Vidal" by Tim Teeman.
[quote]“I’m exactly as I appear. There is no warm, lovable person inside. Beneath my cold exterior, once you break the ice, you find cold water.” - Gore Vidal.
I finished Kaplan's boring Vidal bio and wanted something a little juicier, which this is. It is greatly aided by the input of Burr Steers (Vidals' nephew) and Nina Auchincloss (his half-sister), as well as Scotty Bowers for whom Vidal "authenticated" the stories in "Full Service." After a life of half-assed writing and pompous pronunciations about others, it's nice to see him hoisted up. After so many people gave so much time and care to Vidal, especially in his later years, he decided to shaft them all at his death and leave his entire estate to Harvard! He never went to Harvard.
I don't like Vidal any better now. Maybe you will.
- "Dr. Feelgood: The Shocking Story of the Doctor Who May Have Changed History by Treating and Drugging JFK, Marilyn, Elvis, and Other Prominent Figures" by Richard Lertzman.
A real shocker of a book about Max Jacobsen, the doctor known all over the world for his "vitamin injections" which consisted mainly of speed. I had no idea how many lives this man destroyed. But I also had no idea he was the guy who kept JFK going when he had no energy and needed to be sharp at summits, etc. He was an irreplaceable member of JFK's inner circle.
I first heard about him in an old interview with Truman Capote. His client list was astonishing for the VIPs from every walk of life.
Quite readable, if you're into that sort of thing.
- "Dry" by Augusten Burroughs.
- Good Self, Bad Self by Judy Smith, the basis for Olivia Pope
- The Good House by Ann Leary, yes, wife of Dennis. It's captivating.
- I've now read a few recommendations here on The Good House but can anyone who's read it tell me why it's so special?
- The Mind in the Cave, a history of the origins of cave art. I bought it after watching Werner Hertzog's wonderful documentary The Cave of Forgotten Dreams.
- R319, it's hard to pinpoint why but it's beautifully written in a very lucid, flowing style, nothing show-offy about it at all. The protagonist isn an interesting woman who's been to Hazelden to dry out and everyone in the small town where she lives think she's totally stopped drinking, but she hasn't. A nice amount of snark and characters who seem real that you care about. It all takes place in an upscale Mass. village (references to the Stop & Shop of the Seven Gables).
Started it last night and read until I fell asleep. Hope to finish it tonight and then move on to her other books.
- "Manson" was absolutely fascinating, although it was a little too dense to be a fast read. That's not a criticism, and it's very interesting to get a complete biography (as complete as one can get, I suppose) of Charlie.
I think the author gives a little too much credence to Leslie Van Houten (and Pat Krenwinkle, to a lesser extent), in part because she agreed to an in-person interview.
There are some fascinating little bits of trivia that Bugliosi didn't know, couldn't have known, or chose not to publicize in "Helter Skelter."
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- I also enjoyed "The Good House" from start to finish. Light, entertaining fare.
- "More Than This" by Patrick Ness. A teen book about a boy who drowns, and what happens to him when he "wakes up" after that. Quite good--I'm going to look into the author's other books.
- I enjoyed "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" by Neil Gaiman.
- I'm glad someone did.
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- Is that anything like American Gods? Because, although it was interesting enough in the beginning, I was greatly tempted (repeatedly) to put it down. I read it all the way through, but it was a serious waste of time.
- R325, I liked The Ocean at the End of the Lane too. But it is definitely not for everyone.
- I buy memoirs mostly.
Reading "Fortune's Children" by Arthur T. Vanderbilt II. It's about the Commodore (Cornelius Vanderbilt) and his times. Sounds dull but it's a real page turner.
Tried to get through "Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me" but couldn't.
- Balkan Ghosts by Robert Kaplan
- Provence, 1970. About Julia Child, MFK Fisher, James Beard, hanging out together in the South of France . . . and how they influenced American culinary taste as it became less Eurocentric. Nicely written and a tasty mix of food and gossip.
- "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"--yeah, I know I didn't rush to read it, but it's a fascinating look at medical ethics & race. Much more engrossing than I'd anticipated
- I loved it, R332.
- No one asked you, R326.
- ROADSHOW! The Fall of Film Musicals in the 60's by Matthew Kennedy. Oxford Press. Informative, dishy read for film fanatics. I miss the old roadshow hard ticket exhibition days . Watching a film in 70MM was a glorious experience
- I just finished The Pawnbroker. Set in the late 1950's, about a Jewish pawnbroker in Harlem who lost his wife and child in the camps. He deals with the people pawning their things, as well as his family and acquaintences.
What a good, moving book. Made me mad at the Nazis all over again.
- It's How To Heal Toxic Thoughts
By Sandra Ingerman
Detox for the soul, with excellent, concise advise.
- I'm now reading Mary Poppins, She Wrote; a biography of P.L. Travers, author of the Mary Poppins books.
After seeing and enjoying Saving Mr. Banks, I wanted to know more about its subject, author Pamela Travers.
While the movie does not credit this book as a source, so far it hews very closely to the movie. But I'm only up to 1927, so we shall see.
- R330, Balkan Ghosts is one of the shittiest books I've ever read.
- The Stanley Mitchell translation of Eugene Onegin.
- "The Dark Side of Camelot" by Sy Hersh
R339=Cardinal Stepinac fan
- Has anyone read the newish Johnny Carson bio? The author was on NPR today with Joan Rivers and didn't quite manage to sell the book to me.
- "The Spoils of Babylon" by Eric Jonrosh.
- I loved "Song of Achilles" by Madeline Miller. Quick read, beautifully written. Puts the gay back into the story that the movie "Troy" so stupidly overlooked.
- The Absolutist by Irish author John Boyne
Gay in 1916 - not only illegal but brings shame on families so after being thrown out of home at 17 he enlists - and in the hell that is the trenches in WW1 he thinks he's found love .... but....
Just read this in one sitting - heartbreaking story, beautifully told but not over-sentimental,
I just couldn't put it down.
- "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket" by E.A. Poe is a bloodcurdling page-turner. I'm surprised that, as yet, no one has made a movie out of it.
- Finally reading "Cities On A Hill" by Frances Fitzgerald.
- Bellman and Black
- I love this thread. Gives me lot of good ideas for future reading material. Thanks to all for contributing here.
- I'm in the middle of few audiobooks but these two are gay action/romance novels.
Abigail Roux - Armed and Dangerous (Cut & Run Series Book Five)
I just love this series about two macho cops who love each other. It's funny and touching and those guys are just so hot. Ladies really know how to write good and sexy gay stuff. The narrator has also been great in all these audiobooks, this one has Sean Crisden.
Aleksandr Voinov & Rhianon Etzweiler - Dark Edge of Honor
Military sci-fi romance. I'm actually liking this quite a lot. It's not the deepest thing but I'm liking the characters, and sci-fi is a plus. Good narrator, Jack LaFleur.
- "Farewell, My Lovely"--Raymond Chandler--just needed a walk on the noir side & it's one of the few of his novels I haven't already read.
- Finished "Marlene Dietrich: Life and Legend" over the weekend. Very satisfying, and Bach's staccato style waned as the book progress (perhaps an editor told him to knock it off midway through?).
Now reading "Lord Jim" by Joseph Conrad; I enjoyed (if that's the right word) "Heart of Darkness" years ago, but this one is a tough go so far.
- Recently finished "Lady of Ashes" - historical fiction about a female undertaker in 1860's London, which was a bit over-the-top in places, but still a good read.
- I just finished The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride. It was a pretty good book, but predictable. Before this, I read Crazy Rich, which is about the Johnson and Johnson dynasty. This was very entertaining.
- I am currently reading George Washington's secret six. I am having a hard time getting into it.
- Just finished The Apartment by Greg Baxter. Recommend it highly. One of the best things I've read in the past 12 months.
Also read Labor Day by Joyce Maynard. It kept my interest just because it is such an improbable plot. In the end, I decided it is simply a hausfrau fantasy.
Also, recently reread A Single Man. It was nothing like what I remembered from my college days (sadly, many years ago). I think I actually liked the movie better than the book, though there were a couple of very funny scenes in the book that were not in the movie.
- I'm in the middle of Sue Miller's 1999 novel While I Was Gone. I picked it up at a 2nd hand store and was intrigued by the dozens of ecstatic raves on the jacket and first pages.
So far it's just ok. But good enough to continue reading. Anyone here familiar with it or her other books?
- Lots of baby taste on display as usual on this thread.
- "Life After Death" by Damien Echols (one of the "West Memphis 3"). He has a flair for writing and it's a real horror story. His whole life has been so ugly I hope he finds some real happiness.
- I just downloaded the last of the Tales of the City books, The Days of Anna Madrigal. Haven't looked at it yet.
I finished a book that takes place in Paris during the Holocaust, The Paris Architect. The writer is not a writer, and it shows.
The first part of the book is filled with the worst kind of exposition, in which one character tells a second character things the second character already knows. It's more common to see this in a bad play than a bad book. Paris was the most interesting character.
- This Town
- "Stoner" by John Williams.
Lots of the intelligentsia have enthused about this novel, plenty naming it as their book of the year in 2013. Published in 1965 in the US, it's now amassing huge global sales - except in the US.
Dirt poor farm boy by slim chance gets to college in the big city, and experiences awakening. It's written in a downbeat but effortlessly acute style: piercing insights pop up, and the reader just thinks, Yes!
"Stoner" is worth the acclaim, and I can't wait to get back to it.
- Just started JR by William Gaddis.
Wow. When I can understand what is going on, it's pretty hilarious. It's going to a challenging 700 pages.
- After all the rave recommendations here, I'm starting Ann Leary's The Good House tonight!
It better be good.
- R361 - I am a jaded political junkie, and still found the insider lifestyles in D. C. as portrayed in "This Town" depressing.
For those of you who read Victorian classics, consider Willie Collins' "Armadale" which I suppose could be termed a "bromance" though the female love interests seemed more like pesky nuisances to them as far as I was concerned.
- "Believing the Lie" - Elizabeth George. I really like her books....mysteries with good characters and plots that are not obvious.
[R348] Curious what you thought of Bellman & Black. I thought her previous book, "The Thirteenth Tale" was excellent. Took 7 years for her next and I was not anywhere as impressed as I had been with the first book.
- R366, I really loved "The Thirteenth Tale" as well. I have not read her second book. What is your opinion? Worth a read?
- "I found out about E F Benson from DL and man am I grateful . There's a universe of his free books that are unparalleled."
I also found out about him here. I really like his ghost stories.
- Check it out!
- E.F. Benson is a gay god.
- The Mapp and Lucia television series was very well done ... and as a bonus, they had a gay actor as "Giorgino Mio"!
- Inspired by general DL chatter and the impending movie, I decided to check out Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, but chose instead to start with her first book, Sharp Objects. It's a good, intelligent crime novel, the kind you could curl up with if the crimes weren't so unpleasant (Flynn's writing style is simple but effective). I'm about a quarter of the way in and get the sense that the conclusion is going to be "explosive" and creepy, that the "thriller" factor will be cranked up. She's crafted quite a multi-layered book, despite the writing being straightforward (though not boring).
R358 is an infantile moron.
- I liked Sharp Objects best of Flynn's three books, followed by Gone Girl - second story seemed like a derivative version of In Cold Blood, although I did like the main character, Libby Day.
- Anybody here a fan of Edward St. Aubyn's Patrick Melrose novels? Based on his life (and what a life), I recently finished them and am having a hard time finding something else to read. It all pales in comparison.
- Each time we have a book thread a few elders hijack it with their Anglophilic love of E. F. Benson. Enough. If one more person posts about Mapp and Lucia s/he will be banned.
- "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" by Horace McCoy. Absolutely loved it. Now I need to see the movie, which I shamefully have never seen.
- "The Perfect War: Technowar in Vietnam" by James William Gibson. Scathing indictment of U.S. military mindset.
- R374 I read all three of Flynn's books too. By far, GONE GIRL was my favorite. Cannot wait for the movie next fall although I read where Gillian Flynn, who also wrote the screenplay changed the ending somewhat.
- R365, it's Wilkie Collins, not Willie Collins.
- R375, have you read his books?
- So much of Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White was enthralling, fun and suspenseful but ultimately the long-winded ending and wrap up of the plot was so lame, it didn't make me want to read The Moonstone or anything else of his.
- Can anyone recommend an EF Benson ghost story as a sample?
- You are banned, r382.
- I'm reading THE GOLDFINCH by Donna Tartt, and I fucking love it.
- R381, many of those sprawling 19th-century novels were first published in serial form, with a new installment monthly over a period of about two years. That's why they often ended up being long-winded, although brilliant in conception and parts.
I've read The Woman in White and agree it went on and on in places. I think I ended up skimming parts. Haven't read anything else by Collins but I'd like to.
- "This Book Will Save Your Life' by A.M Homes
It's about Richard, a wealthy but lonely man in LA who needs to do something more with his life. You don't feel particularly sorry for him, but get intricately involved in his life, as he develops a friendship with Anhil, who sells donuts and provides wisdom, and from there seems to pick up, it's quite an easy read, so off-beat and so witty!
- The only thing I remember about that novel, r386, is when Richard has sex with his gay son.
- I'm about two thirds of the way through The Goldfinch. I'm not liking it as much as I did for the first 300 pages. I think I figured out something too soon and I feel like I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
- Has anyone read the new bestseller A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki? It's next on my nightstand.
- The Goldfinch is amazing for its 1st 300 pages or so. Then falters and picks up only intermittently for the next 400.
What a shame Tartt didn't have a serious editor.
- I feel that Ms Tartt is very insightful when she writes about American characters. However, her 'Boris' character, which, surprisingly, so many critics and readers seem to have liked, strikes me as no more than a farcical pastiche of a bunch of overstated 'Slavic' quirks/stereotypes.
The book would have been so much stronger if the Boris parts were drastically reduced.
- For Canadian DL'er's, I finished "Svend Robinson: A Life in Politics" a while ago. He was the first openly gay politician elected as an MP. It's a fair review of his career, including the mistakes he's made.
- I totally agree about Boris r391.
His sections ruined The Goldfinch for me.
- Just finished Ann Leary's The Good House based on recommendations here.
I loved it! The perfect novel for many DLers, I would imagine.
- A Tale for the Time Being is really good.
- So no EF Benson ghost stories to recommend?
- R388 here and the other shoe dropped just as I had figured it would a few hundred pages ago and I just don't buy the premise. It was too obvious. I won't go into details because I don't want to spoil it for others who haven't read it yet, but I am totally disappointed. I'll probably finish it but only because I've already invested so much time in it.
- "So no EF Benson ghost stories to recommend?"
I would recommend:
The Room in the Tower
How Fear Departed From the Long Gallery
- I am re-reading The Glass House. I forgot how good it is. It is charming, warm, and sad.
- "Little Failure" by Gary Shteyngart. Great read.
- The Thief's Journal
- R400, I'm reading that now. I'm not even a huge fan of memoirs but I love it.
- R402, R400 here.
Have you read his other books? I read Absurdistan and Super Sad True Love Story - really liked the latter but found the former a total slog.
I'm about halfway through Little Failure, then have On Such a Full Sea waiting for me. When the library (finally) comes through, they come through.
- The only other book of his I've read was Super Sad True Love Story, which was fantastic. I definitely need to read more of him.
- The Devil's Candy, about the making of the flop movie The Bonfire of the Vanities. Recommended by someone on DL, I am highly enjoying it.
- To be honest, I re-read The Moonstone recently R381 and couldn't see the appeal this time as a "classic" at all. Can't really recommend it.
- Thank you, R398!
- Hitsman, "The Incredible War of 1812" from the Canadian military perspective.
- Crime Incorporated: The Inside Story of the Mafia's First 100 Years by William Balsano and George Carpozi Jr., who seem to have very good information.
- "Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS and Survival" by Sean Strub. Over the years, lots of younger guys on DL have asked what it was like when AIDS first appeared -- this book gives an interesting perspective. It's an easy read (though 400 pages), filled with celebrity encounters (the author has led a Forrest Gump-like existence), horrifyingly sad and also optimistic.
- I'm reading "W is for Wasted" - the most recent in Sue Grafton's "alphabet" series; I bailed on the previous book, but this one's not so bad (overall). My question for other readers of the Kinsey books would be: is it just me, or are her landlord , and his brother William, awfully gay-seeming characters?
- The St. Zita Society by Ruth Rendell. I'm about 100 pages into it. So far, it's pretty good.
- I just read The Woman in White myself recently and loved it. The wind-up is not as smoothly done as novels today are, but for its time, it's a knock-out.
The other Wilkie Collins novel I really love is No Name.
- No Name was terrific as an audiobook - I loved the cliffhanger style action between the Captain and the French villainess.
- R105--I loved "The Devil's Candy." I think it was because I had read "Bonfire" but not seen the movie. The book was a waste of time--Tom Wolfe can't write a decent grocery list, but "The Devil's Candy" gave it a reason to exist.
- Re-reading "Under The Volcano" for the umpteenth time. It makes me wish I was a writer, and that I could write like that.
- Bumping hoping for literary updates. I'm reading a Philip Marlowe novel by Raymond Chandler ("The Little Sister") - a later one in his Philip Marlowe series.
- Will start Bring up the Bodies today. Read Wolf Hall last Autumn in paperback and hated the format. I liked the book in the end, but the small print was annoying. I'm listening to BUTB and hoping for a better experience.
- "Medieval Cities Their Origins and the Revival of Trade" by Henri Pirenne. I think he attributes too much to the Muslim conquest and to Venice.
But it is interesting and a serious attempt to be objective for a work first published in 1925.
- R419 -- meet for a drink?
- "Mad as Hell" about the making of Network.
- R418, I'd like to read both of those but the length of them intimidates me. I'm a slow reader and am afraid it would take me years to get through one of them, let alone both!
- The Mantel books aren't that long. Wolf Hall is 600 pages and Bring Up the Bodies less than 500 pages. The latter is an easier read because Mantel drops the referencing of Cromwell by the pronoun 'he' which caused a lot of consternation for some readers of Wolf Hall.
- Stoner by John Williams
- Finished "Lord Jim" by Joseph Conrad; I admired it more than I liked it -- I certainly enjoyed "Heart of Darkness" more. "Lord Jim" is just so incredibly dense, sentences and paragraphs that go on for pages and pages, it makes one long for the simplicity of Hemingway or even Danielle Steel. And the first half, dealing with the abandoning of the ship, was far more interesting than the second half.
Now reading, as I mentioned in another thread, "Antiquity: From the Birth of Sumerian Civilization to the Fall of the Roman Empire" by Norman F. Cantor, a kind of Cliff Notes version of ancient history. I was a history major in college, but ancient history has never been my bag (I focused on Modern History, post-1500), so I'm reading this as kind of a refresher. Really only the Roman period interests me -- in fact, can anyone recommend some good novels, particularly if they have a gay angle, that are set during the Roman Republic/Empire era?
- Obivously I, Claudius by Robert Graves.
Julian by Gore Vidal
A Pillar of Iron by Taylor Caldwell (biography of Cicero)
- Thank you, r426!
- I liked "A Day at the Beach" by Geoffrey Wolff, memoir with some travel narrative hybrid crossover appeal (to me). I'd never read this guy before, and liked the book a lot, though don't think I'd read his fiction. Had no idea that the brother "Toby" referred to in places is author Tobias Wolff (whom I haven't read, but recognize the name).
- Jan Morris, "A Writer's House in Wales."
- I never read "Obviously I, Claudius," is it any good?
- The Death of Santini
- I'm reading this book of stories from a hustler who worked in NYC about ten years ago. Funny enough I was at a trick's apartment, picked it up and he lent it to me.
I'm only up to the third story but this guy fucked everybody.
Dominick Reading for Filth. He's got a pic of his cock too it's a fucking bat.
- Before that I read a bio of Gore Vidal. He was complex and conflicted though honestly I'm not much a fan of his writing. It's called In Bed with Gore Vidal by Tim Teeman. It was gossipy and full of detail about Vidal's long term lover and penchant for hustlers. Vidal like to fuck them roughly and only thought of his own pleasure, so he reasoned they deserved to be paid.
- Gore Vidal is one of the most boring writers. I've never made it through one of his books. He was so old school. I read that book too. Nasty old queen.
- I read Stoner by John Williams several years ago, 424. What a great book! I have given it as a gift to several friends since then.
- I'm listening to Frank Langella's memoir "Dropped Names" -- title is from the fact that it revolves around the famous people he's met (or in a few cases, didn't).
- Just finished "These Things Happen" by Richard Kramer. A domestic story told in numerous original and endearing voices. The story opens with Wesley, a tenth grader, and involves his two sets of parents (the mom and her second husband, a very thoughtful doctor; and the father who has become a major gay lawyer/activist and his fabulous "significant other" who owns a restaurant).
- I just finished Love in the time of cholera.
It took me good fifty pages to get into it (changing narrative perspectives and jumping in time took some getting used to), but once I did, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. There was a lot of humor in it, which I did not expect.
- I've been reading a few books on the urban development of L.A., an endlessly fascinating subject. Now I'm on William Fulton's, "The Reluctant Metropolis." I enjoy the perspectives, but over several books, I became sad because a friend of mine in college was an aide to the shitbag Riordan and I don't like to think of people I know as being involved with evil.
- r433 I was thinking of buying the ebook. Is it worth the money?
- Jose Saramago's "Blindness", which I thought would be a decent 4 hour airplane read. I am still reading in the hotel and won't sleep until I have finished.
- I wish those posting on this thread would identify themselves as male or female.
Tastes usually6 differ - a lot.
- R442 that's ridiculous. If something sounds good to me, I will read it whether or not it's recommended by a man or a woman.
- I'm a woman. I think with good books it doesn't matter whether the author/reader is male or female. But, I'm guessing r432 is male.
This is a cliche, but I just started The Goldfinch. Before that, I tried reading a book on Jesse James by TJ Stiles, which seemed really interesting at first but, for me, ended up being a bit boring so I gave up. If you want to put a gender spin on it, it might be the kind of book that appeals to middle-aged American men, which I'm not.
- R444 -- have you read "The Good House" (by Ann Leary)?
- I've just finished Madeleine's Ghost by Robert Girardi. Really, really good. A ghost story, but so much more than that. I highly recommend it. I was hooked after I read the first two pages.
- Wait, do people still actually read?
- Alan Hollinghurst is one of my favorite contemporary writers.
- Broken Harbour by Tana French, though over long, I liked it very much, very moody and sad.
I read Into the Blue because of this thread, liked it very much, also.
Just abandoned The Carrier, by Sophie Hannah, it was awful. I cannot understand the reviews.
- Yes, R447 -yesterday I saw a mother and son (about 12 or so) each reading on their Kindles on the bus. Sometimes, passengers are even reading big, scary hardcovers!
- Any fans of John Searles?
Help for the Haunted is his latest and quite good!
- No, r445. Is it any good?
- "The Good House" was one I easily gave five stars at Goodreads. I have an acquaintance who's rather a curmudgeon, and we don't agree on a lot, but she loved the book, too.
Another I forgot to recommend in this thread would be "Fin & Lady" by Catherine Schine. Four stars instead of five, but still a solid read.
- The Demon Haunted World, Carl Sagan
- [r20] Recently finished Night Film. Really liked it.
- Reading After Midnight, the Life and Death of Brad Davis. Incredibly depressing but can't put it down.
- I just finished "A Thousand splendid suns" by Khaled Hosseini. I actually wept at the ending.I cant remember the last time a book moved me so deeply.
- Am doing "whisper sync" (alternating listening to audiobook/reading on ipad) recent book by Robert Harris--"An Officer and a Spy." Very enjoyable, and the narrator is perfection, the English actor David Rintoul (who apparently was the second Mr. Darcy in a 1970 adaptation). This is a very well-researched, largely historically accurate retelling of the Dreyfus Affair from the point of view of Col. George Picquart, who was one of the few honest French officers at the time and actually found out, as chief of the spy section, who the real traitor was. I won't give anything else away here so I can't be accused of spoiling (even though the historical record is out there for anybody who wants it.)
Even knowing the outcome, the book becomes very suspenseful as it goes along and is very well-written if a bit on the slow moving side for the first 100 pages or so. I don't usually read historical fiction but this is a winner (as you'll see from all the reviews on Amazon--I'm not alone in my praise).
- R439, what's the story on Riordan? I read City of Quartz ages ago. What are your recommendations? I'm an Angeleno away on the East Coast.
- R422, it took me forever and a day to finish Wolf Hall. Again reading paperback was a hassle. I also took a break to listen to The Secret History. If you find reading takes you awhile--have you tried audiobooks? I find that I can plow through a book in about 8-12 days. I'm just about to finish Bring up the Bodies and it's been fantastic.
I usually have to read one book at a time. But pleasantly, I've discovered I can listen to one book and listen to another, provided they're fiction/nonfiction. I'm reading The Smartest Kids in the World. Interesting to me as I taught for a tiny bit and also worked in education reform. But I think it would be interesting to many.
- R460, I am also R422. Glad I am not the only one! Anything much over 500 pages takes me forever to get through since I don't have as much time to read as I would like and by the time I settle down with a book at the end of the day, I am usually too sleepy to read much.
Good idea about the audiobooks-both Bringing Up the Bodies and Wolf Hall are available at my local library and I may give them a try that way. Thanks for the suggestion!
- I'm reading "Suite Francaise" by Irene Nemirovsky and while the prose is certainly wonderful, I have to admit that it's a hard read due to so many unlikable characters (I'm in the first section, where people are fleeing Paris). Does it get better?
- Thanks, R462. I just ordered a copy.
- I just cracked the spine of Hothouse, a history of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.
I'll tell you more as I read.
- "The Farm" by Tom Rob Smith, a thriller of sorts, about a gay man in London whose parents have recently retired to Sweden. His father calls to claim that his mother is unwell and delusional, and as the son prepares to fly off to help his mother calls to say she is boarding a plane for London and wants to tell her story of her husband's involvement in a far-reaching circle of crime.
It's well written, and has an interesting tone and structure and pace, and a rather cinematic style.
- "Ada" - Nabokov. Especially intellectual: the 'racy' metaphors are mind melting. His best work. Enjoy.
- Believe it or not, I just read "Animal Farm" by George Orwell for the first time Friday night; took me 2.5 hours, couldn't put it down. Actually, I'm glad that I read it as an adult, after taking a class on the history of the Soviet Union in college, because, otherwise, I suspect I would've missed all the metaphors. A wonderful book, and I hated/loved the ending -- I wanted a happy ending, but the one Orwell provided was just so perfect and horrifying.
For another blast from the past, I'm now reading "Désirée" by Anne-Marie Selinko, the 1953 bestseller which become a 1954 movie with Jean Simmons as the title character and Marlon Brando as Napoleon; fortunately, I've not seen the film, yet, but, again, I took a class on French history, so I know all the references here. I was worried the book might be pedestrian, but I'm actually quite hooked; I'm not sure that it's a masterful novel, but it's stylish and the author knows how to keep one interested.
- I'm about a third of the way through The Winter People, by Jennifer McMahon. It's one of those books where you don't realize how creepy/scary it really is until you read it right before bedtime and then try to turn off the lights.
- Just bought The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton on Amazon.
It won this year's Man Booker prize and sounds pretty thrilling from the reviews I've read.
Anyone else read it yet?
- Just started Walter Kirn's "Blood Will Out." I picked it up a week or so ago, b/c I like Kirn's novels and I like true crime, particularly when it has a literary quality (Capote, Mailer, etc.). I heard Kirn on Fresh Air yesterday and decided to start it. It's fun so far--about the guy who impersonated a Rockefeller.
Also just finished Lorrie Moore's "Bark"--she still writes the wittiest sentences, but this collection feels darker, more wintry than her other work (well, she's also older). I still think her story about the Pediatric Oncology (Peed Onk), "People Like That Are the Only People Here" in "Birds of America" is one of the finest short stories written by an American.
- I am still chugging my way through The Goldfinch, which moves very slowly.
R465, aside from the book having an interesting structure, what's Tom Rob Smith like as a writer? I've been put off reading him ever since his first novel came out and he was being pushed on us as though he was the next coming of Christ.
I'm sure it has a cinematic style, as Tom Robb Smith seems to write books with the intention of having them turned into movies. I get the impression his books are well-written and enjoyable to consume as you're reading them but, despite the allusions to having some kind of sophisticated, deeper meaning, they don't.
- "The Golden Egg", Donna Leon
- Just started Baltasar and Blimunda by Jose Saramago. So far, so good.
- Agreed, R470, that's a fantastic and memorable story that I don't necessarily want to re-read.
- I especially didn't like the last thirty pages of The Goldfinch. So preachy in an Ayn Rand sort of way.
Currently reading "Brazil the Once and Future Country" by Eakins. Old and surprisingly negative for someone who dedicated his professional life to the country. But interesting background to the last fifteen years of changes, to be sure.
- "I picked it up a week or so ago, b/c I like Kirn's novels and I like true crime, particularly when it has a literary quality (Capote, Mailer, etc.). I heard Kirn on Fresh Air yesterday and decided to start it. It's fun so far--about the guy who impersonated a Rockefeller."
I just bought this but haven't read it yet. I'm fascinated by the Clark Rockefeller case.
- Passport To The Cosmos (rereading it) by John Mack MD
The Animal Mind, revised edition, by Donald Griffin
Seminal book about animal cognition and consciousness, by the scientist who did the landmark research on the use of echolocation in bats back in the 40s. Individual essay chapters, so a nice read in small increments. He was retired when he did the revised edition - and knew his time was limited by cancer - so he really goes out on a limb saying what he had wanted to say for over 40 years.
Ring of Fire by Lawrence Blair
- Rush Revere and the First Patriots. There are a lot of words and I also cut my finger on a page. It is good.
- Sounds dreadful. Rush is not capable of understanding an entrepreneur like Revere, still less a patriot.
I'm reading "The Alienist" by Machado de Assis. It is said to be a classic.
- R469, sorry, buddy. I gave up on the Luminaries about 75 pages in, taken aback that it was chosen for the Booker. It must have been a weak year.
- So I finished reading "Dominick Reading for Filth." It's a quick read, my favorite story was the review of different types of asses.
Now I'm on to "An Underground Life: Memoirs of a Gay Jew in Nazi Berlin" by Gad Beck.
- [quote]I just bought this but haven't read it yet. I'm fascinated by the Clark Rockefeller case.
There's a better book out there, called The Man in the Rockefeller Suit.
- Sarum by Edward Rutherford
- "The Times Guide To Style And Usage," the second on when to use "what" versus "which."
The WHAT/WHICH Troll
- R479, there's another book called The Alienist, which is fantastic. This one's by Caleb Carr, a late-19th-century New York gothic detective story.
The Alienist was published in the mid-1990s. Carr did a great follow-up, called The Angel of Darkness. There was meant to be a series of these books, but it seems Carr didn't have it in him to bring them all out and he's effectively disappeared as a writer now.
- I never new what to say when people asked me what my favourite book was - I'd just never had a favourite book as such - and then I read 'Stoner' by John Williams. Beautifully written and very moving - it really warrants all of the hype its been getting (in the UK at least). I've just started Williams's 'Butcher's Crossing' which promises to be almost as good.
- "Sex and Social Justice" by Martha Nussbaum. The misogynists on DL were getting me down and I wanted to reads some top level feminist stuff.
- "The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914" by Christopher Clark. After reading "An Officer and a Spy" by Robert Harris, his recent historical fiction on the Dreyfus Affair, which was 1894-1906, I decided for once I would read history, so read reviews of all the new stuff coming out for the centenary of World War I this year. Sleepwalkers, written by a Cambridge modern history prof, is considered the best recent book about the origins of the war. It is ridiculously long but very well-written. I'm feeling exceedingly virtuous but it's actually very interesting. Hope I don't give up on it...
- The WWI books I like are for a general pictorial survey "The Great Battles of World War I" by Jack Wren. Of course if you want just battle summaries in context including the Balkan wars of 1912-1913 The Dupuy's "Encyclopedia of Military History" has all that. If you want to get down and dirty with argumentative revisionism, "The Road to War" by Walter Millis argues that the USA was duped into the conflict by the British secret service. John Mosier's "The Myth of the Great War" argues that the Germans won and only American intervention mad it possible for the allies to claim victory. Niall Ferguson's "The Pity of War" slams the allies for their incompetence, but then makes the fatal and unforgiveable error of misunderstanding the strength of defeated Germany, left too strong rather than too weak by Versailles. Ferguson is apparently motivated apparently by a blind and idiot hatred of J.M. Keynes.
- r488, given that you just read about the Dreyfus Affair, you might enjoy a particularly fine book about WWI, "The Road to Verdun: World War I's Most Momentous Battle and the Folly of Nationalism," by Ian Ousby, which provides both a examination of the horrific Battle of Verdun (1916) as well as a (somewhat controversial) examination of French politics from 1870 to the beginning of the war, and how that played a role in France's actions during Verdun. A fascinating book.
- Hochschild has a book on the resistance to world war I which is interesting but a little bit off the main subject.
- Jacqueline Kennedy - Historic conversations on life with John F Kennedy. She was interviewed by Arthur Schlesinger in 1964 and this is as close to an autobiography as you will ever get for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. It's really fascinating reading.
- I'm listening to "The Art Forger" by B.A. Shapiro - great on the art details and Boston setting. Plot and characters ... not so much ...
I'm also reading a bio of Louise Fitzhugh by Virginia L. Wolf, where she indicates that many gay women saw Harriet (the Spy) as a Baby Dyke, making them feel better about themselves; I'm not convinced she was gay myself (Janie definitely was).
- "Where'd You Go, Bernadette." It's quite fun and original.
- I want to jump into Murukami. With which book should I start?
- R411 I always thought the landlord was gay. Any straight old man that could cook would've been snapped up by a merry widow long ago.
As for me, just finished Ghost in the Machine by Ed James, got it as a free Kindle book and enjoyed it. Set in Edinburgh, Scotland and the plot is about a serial killer who finds his victims on a Facebook-like site. If you like police procedurals, give it a try.
James Oswald is another up and comer I like, Natural Causes was his first book and I couldn't put it down. Also set in Edinburgh.
- Re: Murakami
I gave up on the popular "Kafka on the Shore" early on, but liked the novel "Dance, Dance, Dance" and the shorter book "After Dark" as well. I spent an Audible credit on "The Wind Up Chronicle" but haven't listened yet. If you feel stories might work for you, I recall having liked his collection After the Quake.
His strength for me is making Japan both exotic and familiar (so thoroughly westernized since 1945). Also, his books are quirky and dream-like without being fantastic (fantasy or sci-fi genre).
- r476 here. I finished Blood Will Out. I found it to be kind of a letdown. It wasn't badly written but I expected it to be more of a pageturner than it was. Maybe my expectations were too high.
- I loved "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle."
- Detroit by Charlie LeDuff. Marred somewhat my tough-guy posing, but a very personal and harshly felt depiction of a city's bone-deep decay. Interesting to read about the US after "The Death of Yugoslavia" by Laura Silber and Alan Little, which outlines the Balkan war and Europe's total ineffectivenes, and Frank Dikotter's "Mao's Great Famine." I am happy to say that the US, messed up as it is, never embarked on such an inept state enterprise as collectivization with such a massive death toll. Makes ya glad to be an American!
- Thanks to R497 and R499 for your Murukami thoughts. I might start with Windup Bird with a side order of the stories.
R498, just finished Blood Will Out last night and totally agree with you. The book just petered out after a good start. Think it should probably have been a mag article rather than a full-length book. What did you make of Kirn saying Clooney had invited him and his girlfriend up to his hotel room?
R495, in a gossipy mood
- "What did you make of Kirn saying Clooney had invited him and his girlfriend up to his hotel room?"
I also thought that was interesting. Were they swingers?
- Neil Gaiman: AmericanGods
- Murakami's novels are more or less the same book with slight variations written over and over. I was a big fan for a while but eventually have burned out. That said, I agree with the recommendation of "Wind Up Bird Chronicle." I think it's his best (although the last one IQ-whatever was very well-reviewed). If you like Wind Up Bird Chronicle, you could avoid Kafka on the Shore--same book, not as well done. I did love "A Wild Sheep Chase" which was the first of his books to be translated and released in the US--although it has a different feel as well because it's actually a different translator than the later ones.
- I'm really into historical novels, and I finally got to War and Peace at the end of last year. I was a little apprehensive, because sometimes these classics read like antiques. But it was wonderful and very moving at the end. Somebody told me the Russian film version is as good as the book, and I bought it, but I'm waiting till I have spare time on the Tolstoyan level to give to it--it's eight hours or something.
I also liked Ethan Mordden's The Jewcatcher, about life in Nazi Germany. It's a fantasy, so a lot of bizarre things happen. In one scene, the Nazis were planning a magic ritual involving the corpses of dead German heroes, and suddenly the skulls all broke into "The ballad of Mack the Knife." Hitler and Claus von Stauffenberg were in it, movie stars were in it, Goethe (!) was in it. Yes, he came back to life and joined a theater troupe.
But the piece de resistance was an author I only just discovered: Dorothy Dunnett. Why is she such a secret? This woman is fantastic! I'm halfway through a multi-volume series called The House of Nicolo--Flanders, Venice, the middle east, Scotland, etc. A genuine epic, told in the highest literary style, with fascinating characters and ingenious plot turns. I keep having to steal time from work to read it, because if you put it down for a while you get lost. If anyone else likes historical novels, give it a try. This is no bodice ripper. It's art.
- [quote]this is as close to an autobiography as you will ever get for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
And when we're all long gone, fifty years after Caroline's death, JKO's detailed thoughts on tape about the assassination will be released. Missing out on that is frustrating.
- "That's Mr. Faggot to You" by Michael Thomas Ford.
This one is certainly better than that Alec Baldwin fluff piece. I especially like when he fantasizes about going around killing homophobes.
- And his first sex experience using lavender hand soap for lube.
- "Catholicism and the Origins of Nazism" by Derek Hasting explodes the Nazi=occult mythology Catholics have been trying to spread.
Also, "The Undercover Economist Strikes Back" by Tim Herford.
- How is the Harford book, r509?
He's one of my least favourite writers at the Financial Times.
- Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada.
I'm half-way through it. It's so good! I think all DLers should read it.
- I've been working my way through "A Song of Ice and Fire" . . . the series that inspired Game of Thrones.
They're epic in the truest sense of the word. Very, very dense with detail but so entertaining.
I'm on A Feast for Crows, the fourth book. This one has been the hardest to get through so far, but I hear that from all my friends who have read them.
I highly recommend them, nonetheless. The show is just a fraction of the books, of course.
- I just ordered Flash Boys by Michael Lewis based on his recent appearances on the Daily Show and Charlie rose.
It's a real story that financial reporters are trying to label "fiction." It's awesome, can't wait to read it.
- Just finished "The Divorce Papers" which was awful. Total PR push to make all book reviewers say the book is hilarious and fun. It's neither. It's boring and dry. The author even name drops New Yorker film critic David Denby- who is her husband.
Now I am reading "Doctor Sleep" by Stephen King which is a continuation of sorts of "The Shining." I really like it, more than I'd thought I would, (I like King but was iffy about a sequel) but I'd say that of all his books, the characters in "The Shining" are the ones I'd wondered about, how they dealt with the fallout of the events in the Overlook. So, I'd recommend it.
- The Notorious Dr. August, by Christopher Bram. A really splendid writer who I'd read avidly as a young gay man, then sort of wandered away from for some reason. Quite good.
- r512 - can you tell me if the upcoming season of the show covers A Feast for Crows, or just the 2nd half of A Storm of Swords? (I realize that I could google it, but I'm a bit apprehensive of accidentally spoilering myself in the process...)
- [R516] It roughly covers the second half of A Storm of Swords (they play around with the simultaneous story lines and whatnot).
This season is going to have some of the scenes I've been waiting for most (after the infamous scene from last season, of course). I can't wait!!!
- Thanks, r517.
I'm on A Feast for Crows, the fourth book. This one has been the hardest to get through so far, but I hear that from all my friends who have read them.
For me Book 5, "A Dance with Dragons," was much harder. It's much, much more boring.
Martin fell so much in love with his characters and his world that I believe he does not really want to finish the series--he will do everything he can to forestall ending it. So he goes into hugely boring detail at great length about very little in books four and five--by the end of the fifth book very little has happened for many of the characters since the end of book three.
I am VERY TV glad the show's producers have decided to compress Books four and five as much as possible and leave out lots of the doings of the tiny minor characters.
- I'm currently reading Inside A Pearl: my years in Paris by Edmund White.
His memoirs are always good, gay-oriented, light reading with lots of literary gossip. Perfect for when you're in-between denser books.
- Edmund White seems permanently stuck in the past and completely enamored of his own biography.
- He is, R520, but I enjoy reading his stuff for fun anyway.
- I'm reading "Inside a Pearl" as well. I find White entertaining even in his lazier books.
- I'm in the middle of When Blanche Met Brando: The Scandalous Story of 'A Streetcar Named Desire'" by Sam Staggs. The book is oddly organized (sometimes there will be whole chapters with little tidbits listed, not narratively conjoined with the rest of the book). However, I am getting some juicy details about the backstage dealings in the creation of the stage production and the subsequent film. Such as Marlon Brando masturbating a little to get hard before he first appears on stage so that his cock would be all the audience could look at through those tight jeans. Also, it's interesting reading about Vivien Leigh's process in how she translated Blanche to the screen. Also, there's the huge saga of how Jessica Tandy was dropped from consideration for the film version. There's also a scene where Tennessee Williams reveals to Claire Bloom what happens to Blanche after the events of the play. All in all, a fun book.
Staggs has also written similar books on All About Eve and Sunset Blvd.
- As you guys seem to really like Pearl, I've placed a hold on the ebook at my library.
- Jessica Tandy's five head as Blanche may have worked on stage but c'mon...
- White though has a lot of past, and he shares it stylishly. I like the way he keeps punching: HIV+, post-stroke and well into his seventies, he's still out there, teaching, publishing and publicising. A great survivor. Looking forward to 'Inside a Pearl.'
- It's chatty and conversational, R525. You'll enjoy it if you have some interest in French society and French high and low culture.
- Michelle Obama is a transexual(I kid you not), backed by scientific evidence:
- Venus and Serena Williams are, too:
- Well, R528, I liked "The Suitors" by Cecile David-Weil, which takes a real interest in French culture to get through.
I finished "The Art Forger" recently, which was okay, but I can't recommend it with much enthusiasm.
- Orwell's Animal Farm.
- Gay British novelist Tom Rob Smith is pretty hot looking, and he arranges his books by colour. Wonder how he finds anything...
- And Mr Rob Smith lives in a fabulous apartment with a rooftop garden. I guess his books must sell really well.
- An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine. A woman in her 70s survives in war-torn Beirut through her love of literature; she translates classic books for her own pleasure. Lovely and moving, and Alameddine is a gay author.
- R534, he bought it with the huge advance for his first book.
- Don't you have to pay back the advance if your book doesn't sell?
You only receive royalties once your sales cover the advance. At least that's what I always thought.
Rob Smith must be doing well in that case.
- Wait, people still read books?
- I know R538, I'm calling bullshit on half of these.
- R537, this was a few years ago, before the "crash", when insane advances were still being given. There was also a huge push on the book, Child 44, which personally turned me off ever reading a Tom Rob Smith book but which obviously worked fine for him. I think he's a "name" now in the thriller genre, which is a pretty big one.
Authors don't have to return their advance, but, as you say, they just don't get paid any further income or royalties until after the amount of the advance has been earned. I'm sure Smith is making enough.
R538 and r539 are confused. Yes, people read books. Why do you find that so hard to accept? You obviously don't realise how dumb this makes you sound.
- Currently I'm reading Richard Price's first novel The Wanderers. I've been lax in my reading for the past several years, and I thought that reading some older pop novels interchanged with a few classics would jump start my former reading habit. I've already read Gatsby (which is a zillion times better than I remember it being in HS), Valley of the Dolls (which is more entertaining than it has the right to be), Thomas Tryon's The Other and The Grapes of Wrath.
[quote]Somebody told me the Russian film version is as good as the book, and I bought it, but I'm waiting till I have spare time on the Tolstoyan level to give to it--it's eight hours or something.
I haven't read the book (although I've enjoyed reading Tolstoy), but judging by the first two hours of the movie I saw at the Film Forum a few years ago, you're going to be supremely disappointed.
It's one of the most boring movies I've ever seen. While there are moments here and there that are affecting, and while there are scenes with crowds that are quite spectacular, in some ways the filmmaking is amazingly primitive. And boy is the movie boring!
When the Film Forum showed it, they would have separate admissions for Parts I and II. And then each part would have a 15 minute intermission at the 2-hour mark. But the first half of Part I was so turgid, I just HAD to bolt from the theater. Two old ladies in front of me had a look of horror on their faces when I explained to them at intermission this was only the first half of part 1. (Some patrons were sound asleep.)
- R540: Interesting that you should mention 'Child 44'. I've read about 30 pages and was wondering if I should go on. Perhaps you could kindly elaborate why it turned you off. TIA!
And one more pic of Mr Rob Smith:
- R538 - why are people so proud of being uneducated? Do they think that it will endear them to dopey girls and cement them as GBFs?
- Nail on the head R543
- R543 exactly, I see them all the time. Tinted eyebrows, covered in make up, following around a group of vacuous girls, and slways with the loudest fake lisp you've ever heard.
- Actually, R543 R544 R545, I thought they were referring to books v. kindle, not reading v. not reading. I think "uneducated" describes a person who doesn't read at all, not someone who reads on a digital device.
I prefer books to kindle, but I have a kindle, which I use when it makes sense to do so.
- R543, r544, r545 - you're the same person.
R542, I never read any of Child 44, I just didn't like the "push", which was trying to make him out as an amazing new author who really captured the atmosphere of Stalinist Russia. I just thought, he's not a historian and he doesn't know any Russia, so how can he know that much about Russia at the time. Also, I didn't like the pretentious way in which dialogue in the book was in italics and not in quotation marks.
There was an obviously concerted and coordinated publishing industry attempt to engineer mega sucess for him. Child 44 somehow even managed to get on the longlist for the Booker prize, and I certainly don't think it was that good.
That said, I don't know, he could be brilliant. He gets good reviews and seems to work hard. His latest book is apparently about a subject he knows well (having a mother with mental health problems).
Smith's partner is Ben Stephenson, head of drama at the BBC. I wonder if that helped give Tom's career a good launch. The BBC have recently bought a gay spy drama by Smith.
R538 and r539 (supposedly two different posters) are the same person! Not only that, but r543, r544 and r545 (again, all supposedly different posters) are the same person. In fact, these posts are meant to be criticisms of r538 and r539 - but they are also all written by the same person who wrote the previous posts!
R538, r539, r543, r544 and r545 are all written by the same idiot.
- I just finished "Raven: The Untold Story of The Rev. Jim Jones and His People" by Tim Reiterman. It's very detailed, yet interesting. I am now a chapter into "Wartime Diary" by Simone de Beauvoir.
- That person sure is having an interesting conversation!
- R547: thanks for replying.
Now call me superficial, but I was genuinely shocked when I found out how the bf Ben Stephenson looks like. I mean, Rob Smith is quite a looker, so I guess Stephenson must have a *tremendous*...personality?
- I just started The Goldfinch last night. So far I am loving it.
- "The Summer We Got Free"--an Xmas present from my partner. It...means well, much, I guess, like he did. It's been a chore to slog through the first half, but sometimes, duty calls.
- "Evening in Byzantium" by Irwin Shaw. I need a break from all the heavy, academic reading I've been doing lately.
- Great homosexual lovers...The shortest book in the history of the world.
- Just started Val McDermid's update of Northanger Abbey. Very entertaining so far.
- "The Carpet Wars" by Christopher Kremmer. West Asia in the turbulent 90s. I didn't read it when my friend gave it to me ten years ago, but recently I ran across it and it really does "fill in the picture" of what Afghanistan and Iraq were really like before the US invasions.
- r552, everyone loves The Goldfinch when they start it.
Get back to us when you're about 300 pages in.
- I'm a great lover of Anthony Trollope's mid-Victorian novels and have read about 6 of them in the last couple of years.
But I'm struggling a little with The Eustace Diamonds. Lizzie Greystock Eustace is strictly an anti-heroine but unlike more modern authors, Trollope does not seem to be interested in making her likeable to the reader on any level.
I don't know why British television hasn't exploited more of Trollope's work for mini-series. The plotting and characters are far better than anything Downton Abbey has.
- I have the Eustace Diamonds on my TBR pile; I'm not interested in the Palliser series, but a friend assured me this one works as a stand-alone read.
The video series "Barchester Chronicles" is definitely a must-see, with Geraldine MacEwan as Mrs Proudie, Susan Hampshire as her nemesis Signora Neroni, and the dishy Alan Rickman as Mr Slope. The plot is a conflation of The Warden and Barchester Towers.
On a related note, I'll plug the video of Balzac's "Cousin Bette" starring Margaret Tyzack ("I, Claudius" and "The Forsyth Saga"), and a young Helrn Mirren. I read the book a bit later, finding having watched the video helped make it more approachable.
Seeing the video of Trollope's "The Way We Live Now" (starring Poirot's David Suchet) first might work better than tackling the dauntingly long tome on its own. Remember ... Victorians read this stuff in installments!
- I am currently reading White Fire by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. It's a msytery thriller set in an exclusive ski resort in Colorado.
I had previously completed the famed Goldfinch, which is a big, big read and I also had a lot of work to finish recently so I wanted something more light and entertaining to read but still engrossing. Then White Fire came up as the Kindle Daily Deal so I grabbed it. I quite like having that kind of author in store, when I want a good cuddle up mystery book.
Good, intelligent but also entertaining mystery books are hard to find though. I've tried a couple of books by Val McDermid, mentioned by someone above, but found them rather daft. White Fire seems ok, though.
The characterisation and much of the dialogue in Preston/Child can be simplistic but the further I get into the book the plot and the story becomes much more evolved so that kind of makes up for the simplicity.
It's a good thing to read right now, though, when my brain feels fried.
- r560, I have a Trollope DVD set of Barchester Towers, He Knew He Was Right and The Way We Live Now. So far I've only watched the last one though I've read the last two...and they are my favorite Trollope novels.
I also thoroughly enjoyed reading Orley Farm (said to be Trollope's own favorite) and the seemingly little appreciated The Vicar of Bullhampton.
- The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick
- Is there an equivalent of the late and great Ms Amanda Cross nowadays?
In other words, Dear Tasteful Friends: any suggestions for some witty high-brow whodunit not clogged down by soul-destroyingly tedious forensic jargons and technical details?
- "Child 44" was OK, and there's a film version of it coming out thhis year. I've not read the sequels because the protagonist felt like a second rate John le Carre character. His new book looks more interesting, and is more autobiographical.
- Victorians read things in installments . . . and had no TV or movies!
- [quote]On a related note, I'll plug the video of Balzac's "Cousin Bette" starring Margaret Tyzack ("I, Claudius" and "The Forsyth Saga"), and a young Helrn Mirren. I read the book a bit later, finding having watched the video helped make it more approachable.
I also recommend the Jessica Lange version; it's camp heaven.
- I just finished "The Martian" OMG it was thrilling. If you are a syfy fan and a techno-geek (or if you just like nail-biting adventure stories), you will love it. It is a near-future story about a guy who gets abandoned on Mars and what he does to try to survive until he can be rescued. It's the perfect blend of snark and science, reminiscent of the best of Robert Heinlein.
- taking another stab at Ulysses by James Joyce. the stream of consciousness his characters engaged in always struck me as exceedingly immature, like this was the work of a 15 year old.
- You have baby taste, r569.
- I'm with R569. I canNOT abide Ulysses. It's without any doubt one of the Top Three Most Overrated Books of the 20th century.
- Don't keep us in suspense, R571. In your esteemed opinion, what are the other two?
- An oral history book on Ayn Rand
- Ayn Rand's life was so much more interesting than most of her work. I thought the Anne Heller biography was very good.
- Only if you believe her version of it R574
- r554 here, just finished "Evening in Byzantium" last night; loved it.
A middle-aged movie producer journeys to the 1970 Cannes film festival, seeking buyers for a comeback vehicle, and ruminating on his past relationships with friends and lovers. The kind of middle-brow novel that topped the bestseller lists in the mid-20th century, but rarely encountered anymore; Shaw was one of the best at these kinds of novels (Rich Man, Poor Man is probably his most famous work), and Evening in Byzantium is a fine example of the genre. Shaw’s prose isn’t poetic, he doesn’t dazzle the reader with technique, but the directness allows for a sweeping style that carries the reader along comfortably; Shaw’s strength is character, and since he knew Hollywood intimately (he was Oscar-nominated for writing the script for the George Stevens comedy The Talk of the Town), the characters in Evening in Byzantium are complex and realistic. The book is also fascinating for providing an exploration of an extraordinary period in Hollywood history, the transition from the studio films to the auteur-driven films of the ’70s. Highly recommended for readers seeking solidly crafted fiction that doesn’t rely on gimmicks, and very strongly recommended for those readers interested in the history of cinema.
- Thanks, R576. I just ordered a copy. In exchange, you may enjoy Irving Wallace's THE FAN CLUB.
- Night Film isn't nearly as entertaining as her first book, but I still liked it well enough to finish it. It's a very strange, complex story.
- Just finished Bill Bryson's latest book, "One Summer, America, 1927." Am a big Bill Bryson fan in general--have enjoyed ALL of his travel books. This is the first of his histories that I've finished. I mostly listened to it on audio with his narration, which took some getting used to because of his strange English quirks on top of his native Iowan (he has lived in England for a long time).
The best way to describe the book is that 1927 (and the period just before and after) was really the dawn of our modern age of celebrity culture (Lindbergh was as famous as Elvis or the Beatles--he was mobbed everywhere he went for several years. Babe Ruth was an amazing phenomenon.) Many of the things we take for granted began in the 20s--television, baseball, mass production (there's a grant chapter on that first class bigot Henry Ford). Really a terrific read or listen. Takes a little while to get into it, so stick with it.
Bill Bryson in general (e.g., A Walk in the Woods, In a Sunburnt Country, Neither Here nor There) is worth trying--he's just a wonderfully entertaining writer. Even though he's an American, in England he's considered a national treasure.
- The Wool Trilogy by Hugh Howey, aka the Silo Saga, comprised of Wool, Shift and Dust. I'm nearly done with Dust. I understand the movie rights have been acquired for this series, but I can't remember by whom.
Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eichar...reasonable theory, but I wouldn't call it the "untold true story", since nobody can really accurately claim to tell that.
Defending Jacob by William Landay...overly melodramatic, but a quick, fun read.
A Sight For Sore Eyes by Ruth Rendell for the fifth time because I love it.
- Oy, I was interested in Bryson's book but that summary just put me off it. Bryson's history sounds superficial and slanted.
- Dorothy Dunnett's eight volumes of the House of Niccolo. Fascinating historical fiction about the early Renaissance and the economies behind it. On volume #4 - Scales of Gold, in which are heroes are off to central Africa.
- I cannot stand Bryson's voice, but the print version of his "At Home" earned five stars from me.
- Bryson isn't a historian; he's barely a 'travel writer'.
- Just curious - what would you say are the "10 Must Read Gay Books"? I'm thinking "Dancer From the Dance", "Maurice", "At Swim, Two Boys" and the like -- if you were giving a list of the MUST read gay books, what would be on that list?
- [quote]Don't keep us in suspense, [R571]. In your esteemed opinion, what are the other two?
Ok, here goes:
Top 3 Most Overrated Books of the 20th Century (American College edition):
2. Catcher in the Rye
3. The Elements of Style
- Just finished Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith. Lots of fun.
- R585, here are ten books I've liked a lot. There are many more I've liked that just aren't coming to mind at the moment.
Dancer from the Dance – Andrew Holleran
Grief – Andrew Holleran
Like People in History – Felice Picano
Family Dancing (short stories) – David Leavitt
Tales of the City – Armistead Maupin
The Irreversible Decline of Eddie Socket – John Weir
Martin and John – Dale Peck
Sea of Tranquility – Paul Russell
The Coming Storm – Paul Russell
The Boys on the Rock – John Fox
Other authors include Paul Monette, Edmund White, Robert Ferro.
- The Queen's Necklace by the Hungarian writer Antál Szerb (in English translation).
I'm not entirely sure what it's about, it seems to be a series of connected vignettes and profiles, about a necklace apparently owned by Marie-Antoinette. It's apparently non-fiction.
Along the way, he dissects late-18th century French and European society and points to some of the reasons for the French revolution.
- I wonder if that's the story the Adrien Brody movie "The Affair of the Necklace" comes from.
- R588, I would add Richard McCann's "Mother of Sorrows" and Daniel Feinberg's "Eighty-Sixed" to you list.
- World War Z by Max Brooks.
The book is 100x better than the movie.
- Yes to both of those, R591, and thank you. How on earth did I forget Richard McCann?
- Two Graves.
- Don Quixote. It's taking me years. I've put it down numerous times for very extended periods and can only stand to read a page or two at a time, my attention span being what it is. But I'm almost finished it now. It gets much better an the last quarter or so.
- Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century by Graham Robb
- For the record, I really enjoy Ulysses, and have read it more than once. Don't consider it overrated at all.
- To most people, overrated = *I* didn't like it
- I agree or it means "I did not understand it and am too lazy and ignorant to try to understand anything remotely complex." Attack of the Baby Taste!
- It means "I don't think it deserves the praise it has received."
- Ha! Thanks, r590. I'd never heard of the film, although it looks interesting, but having read quickly about it, I don't think it's based on the Szerb book (although it may be a little), but it's about the same story, the story of the diamond necklace that apparently caused a scandal in the late 18th century when the two jewellers who made it were on the brink of bankruptcy and Marie Antoinette stepped in to save them by buying the necklace. Or something like that. The Szerb book takes a while to get to the point.
[quote]The Affair of the Diamond Necklace was an incident in the 1780s at the court of Louis XVI of France involving his wife, Queen Marie Antoinette. The reputation of the Queen, which was already tarnished by gossip, was ruined by the implication that she had participated in a crime to defraud the crown jewellers of the cost of a very expensive diamond necklace. The Affair was historically significant as one of the events that led to the French populace's disillusionment with the monarchy, which, among other causes, eventually culminated in the French Revolution.