What Books Are You Reading In 2021? Part 1
Surprisingly (or not), in spite of the pandemic and associated lockdown of 2020, our reading log of last year did not fill 2 threads. Chalk it up to a US election year, lack of access to in-person libraries and bookstores and people preferring to stream rather than to read. Speaking for myself, in the opening post of 2020 I announced my plan to read Moby Dick - it remains unread as I stuck mostly to comfort reading mysteries and thrillers.
To kick things off - here is a photo of the young Joseph Heller.
So, DLers, what will be your first read of 2021?
|by Anonymous||reply 411||Last Monday at 7:38 AM|
I’m almost finished with Normal People, so that will be my first book for 2021. Next in the queue are The Mirror and the Light, The Corrections, and The Portrait of a Lady.
Also, as with every year since 2016, I’m hoping The Winds of Winter is released.
|by Anonymous||reply 1||01/01/2021|
And did you like it?
People seem to love Normal people but i really disliked it
|by Anonymous||reply 2||01/01/2021|
I thought I would hate Normal People, as with Moby Dick it remains unfinished, but I liked the 40 pages I did finish. I'm not touching the TV show, though.
|by Anonymous||reply 3||01/01/2021|
Because I'm that far behind the times, I'm starting The Line Of Beauty Alan Hollinghurst. I remember watching the TV adaptation 16 years ago and getting my first glimpses of Dan Stevens and Hayley Atwell and loathing them on sight.
|by Anonymous||reply 4||01/01/2021|
Finishing Hamnet and Buried Fianr before starting something new. May well be The Prophets.
|by Anonymous||reply 5||01/01/2021|
Ooh, I received an ARC of The Prophets. Didn't read it, though.
|by Anonymous||reply 6||01/01/2021|
Murakami's What I Think About When I Think About Running
|by Anonymous||reply 7||01/01/2021|
I just finished reading Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann. I quite liked it, especially the long chapter about Hanno, which was clearly autobiographical.
|by Anonymous||reply 9||01/01/2021|
I just started Weather hoping i will enjoy it more than Dept of specualations
|by Anonymous||reply 10||01/01/2021|
Hogarth's Shakespeare series is continuing with Gillian Flynn's Hamlet this year. Amazing Ophelia, perhaps?
|by Anonymous||reply 11||01/01/2021|
I've had difficulty being able to concentrate on reading this past year, which is strange because if you had told me pre-Covid that soon there would be an excuse to stay home all day, not see anyone, or go to work, I would have said 'Great! I'll just stay home and read.'
|by Anonymous||reply 12||01/01/2021|
I hear you, r12. I (secretly) enjoyed lockdown due to the family time and the slower pace of life but the majority of my reading was Agatha Christie and David Baldacci.
|by Anonymous||reply 13||01/01/2021|
Stacey Abrams has apparently written a legal thriller!
|by Anonymous||reply 14||01/01/2021|
I think she's written a series of books, mostly romances.
|by Anonymous||reply 15||01/01/2021|
Normal People (hating it so far and keep putting it down), French Exit (LOVED!), Where the Crawdad Sings (loved), The Midnight Libray (enjoyed), and reread Beautiful Ruins because it makes me happy.
|by Anonymous||reply 16||01/01/2021|
Hilary Mantel's "Mantel Pieces"
|by Anonymous||reply 17||01/01/2021|
I'm starting 2021 with SHUGGIE BAIN because of recommendations on DL.
That's not even a great photo of Joseph Heller who in his youth could be quite hot.
|by Anonymous||reply 18||01/01/2021|
Are we now abandoning the last thread?
|by Anonymous||reply 19||01/01/2021|
[quote]Are we now abandoning the last thread?
Well, it is 2021.
|by Anonymous||reply 20||01/01/2021|
James McBride's "Deacon King Kong." It came out in March 2020 and won the National Book Award. So far, I'm on page 50. Interesting. I've read McBride's "The Color of Water," a memoir about McBride's white mother (McBride is black). That was excellent!
|by Anonymous||reply 21||01/01/2021|
R21, Deacon King Kong may have been longlisted for the National Book Award but it didn’t win. That was Interior Chinatown.
|by Anonymous||reply 22||01/01/2021|
Normal People was good - though I’m also familiar with the area so it had special resonance. Line of Beauty is much better book than the movie - unfortunately now you are stuck with the faces of those actors for the character which ruins it a little. French Exit is a decent, humorous book - not a stunner but worthwhile distraction.
|by Anonymous||reply 24||01/01/2021|
My last read of 2020 was "Alright, Alright, Alright" by Melissa Maerz, an oral history of the movie "Dazed and Confused." Definitely read it if you're a fan of the film, and who isn't? Nearly everyone participated, including McConaughey and Affleck. Lots of tea spilled.
Yesterday started "Station Eleven," which I know has a lot of fans in these Reading threads. Why not a pandemic novel?
|by Anonymous||reply 25||01/02/2021|
I loved Station Eleven, read it about a year before the pandemic went into full swing. Not sure I could handle it now as it was all too believable and tragic.
|by Anonymous||reply 26||01/02/2021|
I'm enjoying Normal People more than I thought I would. I'm a little bit biased though--I've always enjoyed books that show characters' evolution over a long period of time. I also appreciate that it shifts perspectives, so the reader gets to view events through the eyes of both the main characters.
Does anyone have a recommendation for a John le Cerré book to read? Or perhaps Patricia Highsmith? Agatha Christie is the standard suggestion whenever I express interest in mysteries. But while I enjoy her books, the most exciting parts are the last few chapters.
|by Anonymous||reply 27||01/02/2021|
R27, if you're looking for good mysteries have you tried any of Ruth Rendell's? Or if you prefer something more contemporary, have you read any of Kate Atkinson's Jason Brodie mysteries? Both writers don't really write classic whodunnits, but I think they're more interesting for it.
|by Anonymous||reply 28||01/02/2021|
Thank you for the recommendations, R28!
|by Anonymous||reply 29||01/02/2021|
Why do people only read - or at least talk about - fiction?
I seldom if ever see non-fiction titles in these threads. Just two, in fact, in the prior posts on this thread.
|by Anonymous||reply 30||01/02/2021|
R30, nonfiction is for dreary heterosexuals.
|by Anonymous||reply 31||01/02/2021|
[quote]Does anyone have a recommendation for a John le Cerré book to read?
Start with The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy or Little Drummer Girl.
[quote]Or perhaps Patricia Highsmith?
I found the Ripley books so sadistic (and HATED the Anthony Minghella movie) but I love all her non-Ripley work. Dark Water (an upcoming Adrian Lyne movie with Ben Affleck and Ana De Armas) is excellent and so funny. The stuffy older husband is more tired of his slutty young wife's lovers hanging rather obviously about their home so he casually says that he killed one of his wife's dead exes. Havoc ensues.
[quote]Agatha Christie is the standard suggestion whenever I express interest in mysteries.
Do you like more hardboiled stuff than domestic/cosy? I like the Eddie Flynn books by Steve Cavanagh, an Irish lawyer writing (actually pretty well) about a New York lawyer. His book Thirteen was blurbed: "The serial killer isn't on trial. He's on the jury." It's so fun.
|by Anonymous||reply 32||01/02/2021|
R30 I read about three or four nonfiction books to every one fiction book, mostly history. Up next on my list is "Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present."
|by Anonymous||reply 33||01/02/2021|
[quote]Do you like more hardboiled stuff than domestic/cosy? I like the Eddie Flynn books by Steve Cavanagh, an Irish lawyer writing (actually pretty well) about a New York lawyer.
You might enjoy Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder series. Alcoholic ex-cop who works as a private detective in Manhattan. Lives in the West 50s, and you get a lot of the sense of the area. He struggles to get sober over the course of the series, and eventually makes it.
I figure most people who read detective novels already know Jonathan Kellerman and Michael Connolly. Some other writers I've enjoyed are J.A. Jance, Philip Margolin, and a new series by Jonathan Kellerman and his son Jesse, the Clay Edison books.
|by Anonymous||reply 34||01/02/2021|
Love Rendell's books, both as herself and as Barbara Vine. A Judgement in Stone is a masterpiece.
|by Anonymous||reply 35||01/02/2021|
Some of Rendell's best books were written under her pseudonym Barbara Vine, especially A Dark-Adapted Eye and A Fatal Inversion.
Her books became a bit formulaic in her elder years but I did enjoy one of her final books The Girl Next Door (it actually may have been her last). Other titles I enjoyed were A Sleeping Life, A Guilty Thing Surprised, Some Lie and Some Die, Shake Hands Forever, Murder Being Once Done....I could go on and on...
|by Anonymous||reply 36||01/02/2021|
I get PD James and Ruth Rendell mixed up.
|by Anonymous||reply 37||01/03/2021|
Though James and Rendell were British contemporaries, they're writing couldn't have been different. James' books seemed to be more popular when they were both at the height of their careers in the 1980s, but you can count me in the Rendell camp.
|by Anonymous||reply 38||01/03/2021|
So I'm reading SHUGGIE BAIN now, partially because of the good reviews on DL and, while it's gorgeous descriptive writing, OMG could the story be any more depressing? If there are any fans here, can you please give me some encouragement to keep going? I'm about 70 pages in.
|by Anonymous||reply 39||01/03/2021|
R39, suck it up, Mary. It’s a great book.
|by Anonymous||reply 40||01/03/2021|
I'm halfway finished "Ross Poldark" by Winston Graham. It takes place in the Cornwall of my ancestors, and I'm enjoying it immensely.
|by Anonymous||reply 41||01/03/2021|
r39, would it help if I were to call the ending "redemptive"? If not, I agree with r40. Suck it up.
|by Anonymous||reply 42||01/03/2021|
finished Dirty South. another great story. but Lewis and Angel don't get a mention until 300 pages in. that's a great disappointment. i need Lewis and Angel in any Charlie Parker story
|by Anonymous||reply 43||01/03/2021|
16 more days.....what more can we possibly expect?
|by Anonymous||reply 44||01/03/2021|
A lot can happen in 16 days. And it will.
|by Anonymous||reply 45||01/04/2021|
Prophets is sitting in my Kindle!
|by Anonymous||reply 46||01/06/2021|
I ended Weather and i definetively don't get Jenny Offill, it's not that i didn't like it (the novel is fine) but i don't get the hype and i can't connect with her sense of humour. I like the original structure of her novels and i liked Weather more than Dept of speculations but with all the praise i expected something better.
Now i have a book club with Half of a yellow sun
|by Anonymous||reply 48||01/08/2021|
I'm reading Ducks, Newburyport. It's great when I get time to settle into the rhythm of how it all flows. I'm considering reading another book alongside it though, given there isn't a plot to lose track of.
|by Anonymous||reply 51||01/09/2021|
Many thanks to the posters here who encouraged or shamed me into finishing SHUGGIE BAIN. As harrowing and heartbreaking as the story is, the novel was an incredibly rewarding read. I really loved it.
|by Anonymous||reply 52||01/09/2021|
You're welcome! Glad you enjoyed it.
|by Anonymous||reply 53||01/10/2021|
Reading Andrew Siedels book "The Founding Myth" He's the attorney for the Freedom from Religion Foundation.
|by Anonymous||reply 54||01/10/2021|
Has anyone read any of Louis Auchincloss' novels? He doesn't seem to be on anyone's radar any more, though critics once called him the successor to Henry James and Edith Wharton in his portrayals of the American rich.
I've just started The Rector of Justin (1964) about a young teacher's relationship with the Headmaster of a private boys school in Massachusetts during WWII. I like it so far, 50 pages in.
|by Anonymous||reply 55||01/10/2021|
Read several back in the day. He was quite prolific and I remember his prose as being elegant, refined, polished. Related by marriage to Gore Vidal and Jackie O. His style and themes way out of style today. Like John P. Marquand and James Gould Cozzens and John O'Hara. Probably will be known in the future as an expert chronicler of his age and class. Let us know how you feel after you've read RECTOR.
|by Anonymous||reply 56||01/10/2021|
I just finished Peter Cameron's new novel "What Happens at Night." I thought it was pretty amazing -- dark and weird and beautiful and thrilling. Kind of a perfect book to read this weird winter.
|by Anonymous||reply 57||01/10/2021|
R57, I’ve been telling everybody about that one. Best new book I’ve read all year.
|by Anonymous||reply 58||01/10/2021|
Has anyone read THE VANISHING HALF by Brit Bennett? Hearing great things about it.
|by Anonymous||reply 60||01/19/2021|
At the moment, I'm re-reading "Started Early, Took My Dog," by Kate Atkinson. I'm especially fond of Atkinson's books, and this is one of my favorites.
|by Anonymous||reply 61||01/19/2021|
I love the Kate Atkinson Jackson Brodie series but the last one BIG SKY was not up to her standards. Sadly her last non-Brodie book TRANSCRIPTION was even worse.
What's happened to her? She's written some of my favorite books of the last 20 years.
|by Anonymous||reply 62||01/19/2021|
To each his own, r62. It all seemed unbelievable to me.
Have you read her early books like Human Croquet and Behind the Scenes at the Museum? They're truly sublime.
|by Anonymous||reply 64||01/19/2021|
I read excerpts some months ago but I'm now well into Barack Obama's Promised Land. He is a brilliant writer.
|by Anonymous||reply 65||01/19/2021|
I'm still slogging my way through Mary Renault's "Fire From Heaven." I've finished two and a half other books in the meantime because I'm down to only reading a few pages of FRH right before bed. It picked up a bit when Aristotle came onto the scene, but now I'm very near the end and am back to being bored and LOATHING Alexander. What an insufferable, psycho little prig.
I do want to hate-watch Oliver Stone's 'Alexander' now, though.
|by Anonymous||reply 66||01/19/2021|
Tried reading a few of Renault's books but could never get into them. I know she's had lots of fans but her writing hasn't aged well.
|by Anonymous||reply 67||01/19/2021|
OT: saw John Grisham in person years ago in DC. Very handsome.
|by Anonymous||reply 68||01/19/2021|
I'm reading Ripley under ground right now (it's been more than twenty years since i read The talented mr Ripley).
I ended Half of a yellow sun, not the best read for my current mood
|by Anonymous||reply 69||01/20/2021|
To celebrate Patricia Highsmith's 100th birthday, reading "Carol" and "Ripley's Game" (and watching the movie versions).
|by Anonymous||reply 70||01/20/2021|
I'm loving Brit Bennett's THE VANISHING HALF. I'm about 1/2 through and I don't want it to end.
|by Anonymous||reply 71||01/25/2021|
THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS by Micah Nemerever. Romance-ish novel involving two gay college students. They're really more addicted to/codependent with each other than anything approaching true romance. I'm not sure what their psychiatric diagnosis is, but it can't be a good one. Each is a pretty awful person. I'm 55-60% through, and they're only getting more whatever-pathic. Not sure I'll finish.
It takes place in Pittsburgh, in 1973, but I'm not sure the author has spent more than a weekend here. He keeps referring to "the interstate," which is something no Pittsburgher ever says. We have "the parkway," which is the interstate that goes through the city, or the turnpike, which crosses the state from east to west, but we don't call anything "the interstate."
And did anyone ever say "it is what it is" in 1973? That's just one of the anachronisms the book is peppered with.
|by Anonymous||reply 72||01/25/2021|
R72 What a pity. I read lot of good things about that novel and it was in several "most anticipated" lists.
I want The redshirt will be published in my country, the intersection between gayness and sports world always catch my attention.
This year the gay authors are gettin a lot of recognition on literary awards.
Bryan Washington was nominated to the National Book Critics Circle Award for Memorial, and Douglas Stuart (Shuggie Bain) and Brandon Taylor (Real life) are nominated to the John Leonard Prize
|by Anonymous||reply 73||01/25/2021|
Amazon just delivered a definitive biography of James Baldwin. It's gotten rave reviews. Critics love it. I am looking forward to starting it this week.
|by Anonymous||reply 74||01/25/2021|
I'm reading a book called Wild Robot, about a robot who has to fend for herself on an island uninhabited by humans.
|by Anonymous||reply 75||01/25/2021|
R72. I though that was a dreadful book. The author is an FTM, which may be part of the explanation of why the relationship between the two young gay men never feels real. (Don’t get me wrong—there are great writers who can imagine the inner lives of characters not in their own identity categories—Henry James, Flaubert created believable women; Jane Hamilton and Rebekah Makkah have written deeply and well in the experiences of gay men—this author just did not demonstrate the ability to do that). I also don’t think the book added to the story of Leopoldo and Loeb, which the author acknowledges as the inspiration: Compulsion, while filled with the homophobia of its time feels like it gets deeper (Meyer Levin was a cub reporter during the case) and John Logan’s early play Never the Sinner, which he wrote in an undergraduate playwriting class at Northwestern, was quite good ;and Denis O’Hare, also an undergrad at the time, made an excellent “Babe” Lieb).
I also agree the language has jarring anachronisms—the “It is what it is” leapt our at me too.
I grew up in the suburbs and had a teacher whose best childhood friend’s mother was an ex-con who had been a cellmate if either Leopoldo or Lieb, so the story has always fascinated me. This novel was thin beer.
|by Anonymous||reply 76||01/25/2021|
Speaking of COMPULSION, is Levin's book still worth a look? I've always meant to read it and don't really know the Leopold/Loeb story that well.
|by Anonymous||reply 77||01/25/2021|
Sorry, Leopold not Leopoldo.
Btw, thanks to whoever recommended “A Judgement in Stone.” I got it from the library and finished it last night. Excellent thriller with more moral/psychological weight than standard genre might have predicted. I’d read a “Barbara Vine” I really liked, but nothing under the Rendell name. Apparently there was a poorly received film with Rita Tushinghsm as Eunice and then a better French adaptation some years later.
|by Anonymous||reply 78||01/25/2021|
I love Ruth Rendell. My favorite of hers is A Dark Adapted Eye.
|by Anonymous||reply 79||01/25/2021|
A Dark Adapted Eye and A Fatal Inversion were the first 2 Rendells written as her alias Barbara Vine and IMHO the 2 best. There's a wonderful British TV film of the latter with a young sexy Jeremy Northam.
|by Anonymous||reply 80||01/25/2021|
R78, you're welcome. Glad you enjoyed it. The Rita Tushingham adaptation is The Housekeeper. The French version is La Ceremonie. Both worth checking out.
The opening sentence of the novel is among my favorite of all time. Hard not to move forward with the book after you've read it.
|by Anonymous||reply 81||01/26/2021|
R43 Curiously my Charlie Parker book of this year will be The Reappers which is focused on Louis and Angel
|by Anonymous||reply 83||01/26/2021|
I love A Dark Adapted Eye. The TV series, anyway, with a career best performance from Celia Imrie.
|by Anonymous||reply 84||01/27/2021|
I just finished Red, White & Royal Blue, the romance between the President’s half-Mexican son (a top) and the Prince of England (a bottom). It was fun, even if the young male characters felt like they were written for a female audience,
|by Anonymous||reply 85||01/28/2021|
Was the bottom Prince of England inspired by Prince Edward?
|by Anonymous||reply 86||01/28/2021|
Well, r85, it was written by a woman, so . . .
|by Anonymous||reply 87||01/29/2021|
whoever recommended Memorial up stream..... thank you. such a fun book.
|by Anonymous||reply 88||01/31/2021|
Just finished up Susanna Clarke's "Piranesi." I wasn't sure what to expect, but I found it deeply engrossing and oddly moving.
I'm struggling with "Dawn" by Octavia Butler, but I hate it.
|by Anonymous||reply 89||01/31/2021|
I ended Little women, cheese as hell. I think i had more sugar on blood than never before.
I started Vernon Subutext 1 (next in the line are Steven Hall's Raw shark texts and John Connolly's The Reapers)
|by Anonymous||reply 90||01/31/2021|
Sugar on blood? Please explain.
|by Anonymous||reply 91||01/31/2021|
That novel causes diabetes. The story is ok (and translates well to film) but it's too sugary
|by Anonymous||reply 92||01/31/2021|
People (OP) who alphabetize by first names are idiots.
|by Anonymous||reply 93||01/31/2021|
I recall a DLer mentioning Homeland by Fernando Aramburu some years ago, I can't remember if they were Spanish (or Basque). Has anyone read it?
|by Anonymous||reply 94||02/03/2021|
"So Dark the Waves on Biscayne Bay" by Barbara Thorndyke
|by Anonymous||reply 95||02/03/2021|
I'm now almost done with the 4th book (of 5) in the Cazalet Chronicles series by Elizabeth Jane Howard. Thanks again to the posters here who mentioned and recommended these books, they are getting me through the pandemic. Have to say they get better with each one, especially liking that the younger children are far more interesting as grownups.
|by Anonymous||reply 96||02/07/2021|
Just finished The Prophets. Wonderful.
|by Anonymous||reply 97||02/07/2021|
I finished Vernon Subutex 1 (i will read the other two all over the year or next year) and i'm going to start The reapers, my usual John Connolly winter read
|by Anonymous||reply 98||02/07/2021|
I want to read Uncle Tom's Cabin but I am afraid I'll be judged for buying it. I'm barely literate compared to the rest of you.
|by Anonymous||reply 99||02/07/2021|
I'm about 1/3 through Mark Harris' brilliant bio MIKE NICHOLS; A LIFE.
Un-put-downable. Crammed with details and great analysis. Is there anyone in 1950s-60s-70s and onward show biz Nichols didn't know?
|by Anonymous||reply 100||02/13/2021|
Thanks to the poster who recommended Mrs. Bridge. I loved it.
|by Anonymous||reply 101||02/13/2021|
R101, Mr. Bridge is a good follow-up. I read them both last year and really liked them.
|by Anonymous||reply 102||02/13/2021|
r100, a bit further along in the book, and it is totally absorbing. Harris has a great knack for chronicling the behind-the-scenes of Nichols's projects and it's astonishing how many there were, both stage and screen. I do think there's a great gap in that the Widow Sawyer gave her approval, but declined to be interviewed, as did his three children. Also, wonder why Whoopi Goldberg wouldn't participate. Finally, there's the issue of his bisexuality, given the assertion in a recent Richard Avedon bio that he and Nichols were lovers for a decade. Harris deals with this in a footnote, declaring that he discounts that book's claims. That he doesn't explore this more fully is a flaw for me. Still, I am gobbling the book with great enjoyment.
|by Anonymous||reply 103||02/13/2021|
But r103, I interpreted what Harris said in that footnote re: Mike's bisexuality as he DID explore it. Meaning, I assume, he asked several of Nichols' friends/colleagues to comment and none did. Now, of course, that's not to say it didn't exist but Harris couldn't write about it if there's no reference for it. What is their to say without corroboration? And then what would a reader like to know about his bisexuality? A list of partners? A list of positions?
While I suppose it might be fascinating to hear someone like Elaine May or Meryl Streep talk about Mike's sexuality in regard to his directing but perhaps there was no correlation. Most interviewed (and there seem to be hundreds) certainly did talk about him in intimate terms.
|by Anonymous||reply 104||02/13/2021|
Currently reading THE RIVER OF DOUBT about Teddy Roosevelt's 1913 misguided trip down an uncharted tributary of the Amazon River accompanied by his son Kermit and an inept team of explorers. Fascinating stuff.
|by Anonymous||reply 105||02/21/2021|
Vincent Chu, "Like a Champion" collection of stories. These are good!
|by Anonymous||reply 106||02/21/2021|
I just finished Ian Toll’s final book on the Pacific War, “Twilight of the Gods.”
An amazing trilogy. If you’ve ever wanted to make sense of how the Empire of Japan was confronted and defeated in WWII, this is the trilogy, and so superbly written as well.
|by Anonymous||reply 107||02/21/2021|
I really enjoyed The Cold Millions, much more so than Beautiful Ruins. It will make a good movie, if they can cast Rye well.
|by Anonymous||reply 108||02/21/2021|
I'm finally reading Andrew Sean Greer's[italic] Less[/italic]. Late to the party, I know.
Next up, The Vanishing Half
Adding my vote for Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie series
|by Anonymous||reply 109||02/21/2021|
Enjoyed Leave the World Behind. Could be a dynamite movie.
|by Anonymous||reply 110||02/21/2021|
[quote]Just finished up Susanna Clarke's "Piranesi." I wasn't sure what to expect, but I found it deeply engrossing and oddly moving.
Ah, I've been wanting to read this book! I loved Jonathan Strange & Dr. Norrell & have been looking for another book like that to become fully engrossed in.
|by Anonymous||reply 111||02/21/2021|
I've been working my way through "Washington: A Life" by Ron Chernow. The peak periods of Washington's life are interesting: the Revolutionary War, the Presidency, - but the periods in between are bit of a slog. Who knew George was such a striver and how much of his legend was so self-crafted?
In the current context, however, it gives some insight into our modern day conflicts: how inept & corrupt Congress is, the conflicting priorities and attitudes of the states, Abolitionists as the original Black Lives Matter and of course the ever-present conflict between what Great Men say, particularly in regards to slavery, versus what they actually do. It also makes you realize how far as a society we've fallen. Corrupt creeps like Trump & Cruz have always existed, by Washington would be horrified by men with no integrity or honor holding lofty positions.
|by Anonymous||reply 112||02/21/2021|
Just finished Between The World And Me by Ta'Nehisi Coates. Mostly absorbing, especially his description of being at Howard University. But it does get a little repetitive after a while.
About to start Memorial.
|by Anonymous||reply 113||02/21/2021|
Loved The Cold Millions and agree it will make a fabulous film, or better yet, a mini-series.
Loved The Vanishing Half. Supposedly already in development for a film or mini-series (not sure which) but I don't see how they'll ever cast the twins convincingly (even with one actress and CGI).
And loved all of the Jackson Brodie mysteries (except for the most recent). I wish they'd continued filming them with Jason Isaacs....I think they've only done the first two.
|by Anonymous||reply 114||02/21/2021|
Any opinions on HOMELAND ELEGIES by Ayad Akhtar? Hearing good things but no specifics.
|by Anonymous||reply 115||02/21/2021|
Mark Merlis's last novel J.D. (2015). The Grim Reaper came for him in 2017, sadly. He was a fantastic writer.
|by Anonymous||reply 116||02/21/2021|
'A Little Life' by Hanya Yanagihara. Was recommended to me by a friend. It's a big, fat, juicy, well-written and erudite novel with a plot. I'm 200 pp in and impressed by the range and quality of the allusions. Enjoying it so far; a good winter read.
|by Anonymous||reply 117||02/21/2021|
First unalloyed enthusiastic response I’ve read about “A Little Life”. Curious what you think when it’s over.
|by Anonymous||reply 118||02/21/2021|
I'll be happy to tell you my thoughts R118. I have one criticism only, now -- but I'm only 200 pp in.
|by Anonymous||reply 119||02/21/2021|
A Little Life was borderline offensive to me as a gay man...I’ll leave it at that.
So far this year, I finished Normal People by Sally Rooney, but I made the mistake of digging deep in the vault to read unread books I own. I’m now in the middle of The Corrections, and it isn’t doing a good job of maintaining my interest. Meanwhile, I have The Mirror and the Light, Conversation with Friends, and A Single Man sitting on the nightstand....begging to be read.
|by Anonymous||reply 120||02/21/2021|
Curious, R120 -- why, because of the Jude shit with the brothers? It's gross, tbh. I'm not sure why so many modern writers seem to want to dwell on the freaky and ugly. But as I say I'm early in it.
|by Anonymous||reply 121||02/21/2021|
Sorry, it’s been years since I’ve read it at this point, but I seem to recall the only outright gay character was a bitchy...no, cruel...drug addict. Then Jude was essentially asexual, but somehow gay because he was sexually abused as a child? And then he ends up in a relationship with a man who identified as straight for most of the book (and is treated as the only unquestionably decent and pure character).
|by Anonymous||reply 122||02/21/2021|
I appreciate your comments. I hope to come back and respond if/when I get all the way through it.
|by Anonymous||reply 123||02/21/2021|
Please do read it and form your own opinions (also seek out the DL thread...which contradicted and affirmed some of my own thoughts at the time).
|by Anonymous||reply 124||02/21/2021|
Damm, R120. The DL amazes me sometimes!
|by Anonymous||reply 125||02/21/2021|
Just remembered I bought a used copy of the Mark Merlis book American Studies based on a rec here but put it away because I had so many other books lined up to read. I've got to look for it and read it.
FWIW I read about half of A Little Life and gave up in disgust. It was far too melodramatic for my tastes....too intent on shocking the reader.
|by Anonymous||reply 126||02/21/2021|
R115, a friend of mine read Homeland Elegies and liked it a lot. He kept having to remind himself it was fiction, though thinly disguised at times. I plan to read it as well.
|by Anonymous||reply 127||02/21/2021|
I loved American Studies. I didn’t realize Merlis had died. He was a terrific writer.
I also loved A Little Life.
|by Anonymous||reply 128||02/21/2021|
I’m halfway through “Mediocre” by Ijeoma Oluo and “Inventing The Enemy” by my Umberto Eco, but both send me woolgathering after a page of reading.
I’m also rehashing “Everville” by Clive Barker as he normalizes life during plague and cataclysm.
|by Anonymous||reply 129||02/21/2021|
R126, I stopped reading "On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous" by Ocean Vuong for that reason after the macaque digression. Reveling in sadism and grotesquery. Life is too short for that.
|by Anonymous||reply 130||02/22/2021|
Just finished "Homeland" Fernando Aramburu. Excellent non-linear narrative of two families torn apart by ETA violence in the Basque Country. Very enjoyable read. And you get to learn a few words in Basque.
|by Anonymous||reply 131||02/22/2021|
I’m up on The Magic Mountain. I suppose it’s too much to ask that the cousins do it.
|by Anonymous||reply 132||02/22/2021|
I just finished Purity by Jonathan Franzen. It sat on my shelf for almost five years, with the jacket remaining in place just after the first section. It was entertaining, smart, and relevant but also uncomfortably long and borderline misogynistic.
Franzen is tough, especially in this one. He writes thoughtfully with great attention to detail, but the book took almost 200 pages before the seemingly unconnected stories began to merge and 400 before it was really clear. And now he’s coming out with a trilogy of 600 page books.
|by Anonymous||reply 133||02/22/2021|
There seem to be very few on-the-fence responses to A LITTLE LIFE. I'm on the side of those who think it's a great novel.
|by Anonymous||reply 134||02/22/2021|
I loved both The Corrections and Purity. Some brilliantly insightful commentary scattered throughout. Maybe not poetry from beginning to end but an engaging story with something meaningful to say about life. Very different than a David Foster Wallace or Cormac McCarthy - I find it much more accessible but intelligent, engaging and entertaining.
|by Anonymous||reply 135||02/22/2021|
A little life is one of those books some love and some hate. Generally generates strong reactions.
I still didn't read Purity. I bought it when it was published here because i liked Freedom and The corrections but i need to be on the right mood to read Franzen
|by Anonymous||reply 136||02/22/2021|
I loved Freedom, and still think about it over ten years later. The Corrections seemed to be held in higher regard by most critics and readers, so I’m not sure why I’m having such a hard time getting through it.
Regarding A Little Life: I prefer stories that explore the range of human emotions. I don’t need a happy ending or thoroughly lovable characters; however, I cannot stand grief porn. The trials and tribulations of a sexually abused child who grows up to be a physically abused cutter was just too much to handle.
|by Anonymous||reply 137||02/22/2021|
I am a huge Jonathan Franzen fan and Purity is my favorite of his three big novels. It perfectly captured the zeitgeist of the moment that it was written.
I also loved The Corrections.
I’m not sure why none of his novels have been turned into a miniseries yet but any of them could be amazing in the right hands.
I keep wondering when his next novel is going to come out. Imagine what he could write about the last year.
|by Anonymous||reply 138||02/22/2021|
Purity is the weakest of the Franzen triad IMO. Too focused on a very of-the-moment issue and less on the universal lessons of life.
I also saw Little Life as pain/sex porn. At points, I laughed out loud at how over the top it became - which ruins the generally serious tone it intends. And right or wrong, the fact that it was written by a a trendy female Vogue writer chafes me a little. The sexual ambiguity/flexibility of a male character is exactly something one expects in chick-lit. It’s not realistic to me as a gay man.
|by Anonymous||reply 139||02/22/2021|
Supposedly, Franzen novels make it out the gate, but never across the finish line.
There’s actually a pilot of The Corrections that never saw the light of day (starring Ewan MacGregor, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dianne Wiest, and Chris Cooper). A few years ago, an adaptation of Purity was in the works, with Daniel Craig attached, but the project died when he had to back out. Mega-producer Scott Rubin bought the film rights to Freedom around the time it was released...which clearly means nothing 11 years later.
|by Anonymous||reply 140||02/22/2021|
There were a bunch of very popular (and critically praised novels) whose adaptations ended on the pilot (or even before).
There are some cases difficult to explain because The art of fielding seemed written to be adapted
|by Anonymous||reply 141||02/22/2021|
enjoyed Red White and Royal Blue, so i tried Boyfriend Material. not gonna lie: did not expect to love this as much as i did. very funny, but with a lot of heart too.
|by Anonymous||reply 142||02/24/2021|
Halfway through "A Little Life" and I'm losing patience. Jude lacks verisimilitude to me; never has an unkind word and everybody loves him despite the fact that he reveals nothing of his private life and is an emotional train wreck. He's a fabulous, high-performing corporate litigator who had the most abysmal childhood imaginable and goes home to cut himself at night. Adopted by a professor and his wife who are completely oblivious to his background, emotional problems and cutting. Andy has been his doctor for years and takes calls at all hours for no payment. Jude supposedly has a body polluted with scars, never wears short sleeve shirts, yet swims for exercise in a public pool.
Doesn't hang together for me. It's like Yanagihara is trying to conjure Prince Myshkin out of a self-abusing corporate lawyer.
|by Anonymous||reply 143||02/25/2021|
he Underground Airlines by Ben H Winters. alt US history. what if the Civil War never happened. and slavery was still a part of our daily life. lots of mirror images of today. grand story tell, is Mr. Ben.
|by Anonymous||reply 144||02/25/2021|
Finishing Gitta Sereny's Into That Darkness, interviews with the man who was in charge of the Treblinka death camp.
|by Anonymous||reply 145||02/25/2021|
I'm going to start Walter Tevis' Queen's gambit
|by Anonymous||reply 146||02/26/2021|
I made it half-way through "A Little Life" until I gave up in frustration. I'm a very patient reader but my patience ran out.
I enjoyed "Detransition, Baby" though I probably wouldn't recommend it as a Must Read. "Caste" was good as was "Transcendent Kingdom." This thread inspired me to read some Patricia Highsmith.
Does anyone have any recommendations for a well-written, believable, compelling thriller? I'm looking for something like Raiders of the Lost Arc or Silence of the Lambs, a real page-turner. But not a dumb one like DaVinci Code. Horror is fine but not interested in Fantasy or Sci-Fi. Any recommendations are appreciated.
Will look into "Memorial" based on this thread.
|by Anonymous||reply 147||02/26/2021|
Rumaan Alam must be a curious case. He is openly gay but all his novels main characters are women
|by Anonymous||reply 149||02/27/2021|
Interested to hear what you think of his earlier books.
|by Anonymous||reply 150||02/27/2021|
Chromophobia by David Batchelor
The central argument of Chromophobia is that a chromophobic impulse - a fear of corruption or contamination through color - lurks within much Western cultural and intellectual thought. This is apparent in the many and varied attempts to purge color, either by making it the property of some foreign body - the oriental, the feminine, the infantile, the vulgar, or the pathological - or by relegating it to the realm of the superficial, the supplementary, the inessential, or the cosmetic.
|by Anonymous||reply 151||02/27/2021|
The President and the Assassin about Czolgosz and McKinley. It's kind of odd because he cuts between the 1880s and 1890s as though they were contemporary, but it is interesting. I'm afraid he doesn't really understand either of them.
|by Anonymous||reply 152||02/27/2021|
'A Really Big Lunch' by Jim Harrison, short essays. Novelist, poet, gourmand, oenophile and bon vivant. He's fun to read.
|by Anonymous||reply 154||02/27/2021|
R149, when I read Rich and Pretty by Alam, I absolutely thought a woman wrote it. It wasn't until his next novel came out that I realized the author was a man. The only other time I was shocked a man wrote so convincingly from a woman's perspective was reading She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb, some twenty years ago.
|by Anonymous||reply 155||02/27/2021|
I really loved She’s Come Undone!
|by Anonymous||reply 156||02/27/2021|
Why would anyone want to waste their time reading when you have tv and the internet to watch.
|by Anonymous||reply 157||02/27/2021|
R157, I enjoyed Game of Thrones, but was thoroughly convinced the books were beneath me. I also knew the basic plot, so what would be the point?
When the show ended, I reluctantly started reading the books and they were so much better. They included more details, more intricate plots, more characters, more insight into the characters' motivations...
|by Anonymous||reply 158||02/27/2021|
R157 You know sometimes the book and the tv/film adaptation barely have things in common.
And there are tons of mediocre tv shows and films from great novels.
And of course, there are people (maybe that's a surprise to you) that really like to read
|by Anonymous||reply 159||02/28/2021|
Franzen's next novel "Crossroads" comes out in October. As a previous poster mentioned, it's the first in a planned trilogy about a Midwestern family that reaches from the early 20th to early 21st Century. The title of the trilogy, "The Key to All Mythologies," is amusingly pretentious in a very Franzen way. I have to admit I'm pretty excited for this, though.
|by Anonymous||reply 160||02/28/2021|
October seems a million years away.
|by Anonymous||reply 161||02/28/2021|
R160 -- Middlemarch allusion, yes?
|by Anonymous||reply 162||02/28/2021|
I finished The Prophets, which lives up to its reviews.
|by Anonymous||reply 163||02/28/2021|
Has anyone read The Hunting Party or The Guest List? The author Lucy Foley seems annoyingly breezy and Oxbridge in interviews but they seem a bit Agatha Christie-ish, from the descriptions.
|by Anonymous||reply 164||03/01/2021|
Just finished The Little Friend. It was on a friend's bookshelf, and I asked to borrow it. Now I'm reading Hopscotch by Julio Cortazar. Found that in A Little Library that I drive past everyday.
At some point, I'll get back to reading books that I intended to read. But I'm enjoying reading randomly for the time being.
|by Anonymous||reply 165||03/01/2021|
I'm reading books off of Amazonby Suzanne Valenti & Ruby Vincent, you?
|by Anonymous||reply 166||03/01/2021|
Loved “Ducks, Newburyport” but it’s quite a commitment. Also enjoyed “The Lying Life of Adults”
|by Anonymous||reply 167||03/01/2021|
Halfway through Trust Exercise and barely tolerating it. I'm past the teen section and in the adult stage of the story and honestly, I don't know what the fuck is going on. The writer repeatedly having one of the characters refer to her "author friend" drove me nuts.
|by Anonymous||reply 168||03/02/2021|
R168 I loved Trust exercise but it's the kind of novel some love and some hate, just like Eleanor Catton's The rehearsal
|by Anonymous||reply 169||03/02/2021|
[quote]Franzen's next novel "Crossroads" comes out in October.
[quote]The title of the trilogy, "The Key to All Mythologies," is amusingly pretentious in a very Franzen way.
Amusing juxtaposition there for Brits: "Crossroads" was the title of the worst TV daytime soap ever, set in a Midlands motel. Terrible low camp it was, so naturally it ran for years.
By contrast "The Key To All Mythologies" must indeed be a reference to the most famous and revered highbrow novel in English, "Middlemarch." A wry reference though, given the fate of TKTAM's putative author Casaubon.
|by Anonymous||reply 170||03/02/2021|
Don't think Casaubon's work was a novel, but a dreary pedantic theological tome.
|by Anonymous||reply 171||03/02/2021|
Mr Casaubon was a withered, humorless, cold-handed cunt in a pilly old cardigan.
|by Anonymous||reply 172||03/03/2021|
I've been trying to finish reading My Pet Goat since the morning of 9/11/2011 but I found it difficult.
|by Anonymous||reply 173||03/03/2021|
[R164] I’ve read The Guest List by Lucy Foley. Very predictable. I figured out who the killer was after two chapters. It was fine for a quick read. I’ve heard The Hunting Party is the same story in a different locale.
|by Anonymous||reply 174||03/03/2021|
I'm about to start Djinn patrol on the purple line
|by Anonymous||reply 175||03/05/2021|
Rebecca Hardiman's book...Good Eggs...hysterical
|by Anonymous||reply 177||03/06/2021|
I am reading Ducks, Newburyport because of this thread. A little way in. Interesting. Random and yet somehow keeps your attention. It's like there's a plot that's revealed scattershot through the novel, non-chronologically. Weird but cool. I'm fascinated to see if if works.
|by Anonymous||reply 178||03/06/2021|
R177, I looked up the title in my library Overdrive and there was a blurb that the book was great for those who loved "Where did you go, Bernadette" and I closed the browser tab pronto.
|by Anonymous||reply 179||03/06/2021|
Well, this months Such a fun age and The vanishing half are going to be published here and i'm quite curious about them.
Anyway, when i'll end the one i'm reading i think i'm going to read The calculating stars
|by Anonymous||reply 180||03/07/2021|
A friend loaned me a recent British novel he enjoyed called WARLOW, about a wealthy 18th century aristocrat/scientist who hires a poor man, and as an experiment, puts him in isolation in basement rooms in his castle with no human contact but otherwise very well taken care of for 7 years to test a man's endurance in solitude. Interesting premise. I'm just about 20 pages in.
Any DL Brits heard of it? Or anyone? Author is Alix Nathan.
|by Anonymous||reply 181||03/09/2021|
I just bought American Kompromat
|by Anonymous||reply 182||03/09/2021|
I just finished Catriona Ward's Little Eve about a pagan snake cult on a Scottish isle in the 1920's. A highly entertaining, Gothic suspense novel.
Halfway through The Only Good Indians which is pretty creepy and very violent.
Next up is Blindsight by Peter Watts. Sci-fi, which isn't my regular choice but it was highly recommended.
|by Anonymous||reply 183||03/09/2021|
R181 I read that one last year because Hilary Mantel liked it. It was good, but I was frustrated with it/the characters by the end. Possibly because I felt no sympathy for Mr. Warlow at all.
|by Anonymous||reply 184||03/10/2021|
Found a book called THE SCOTTISH BOY set in the 14th c. Seems to be YA, but a lot of explicit fucking and sucking. Would have appreciated such a book when I was 16.
|by Anonymous||reply 185||03/10/2021|
The prophets will be published in my country next month.
Generally debuts (even hyped debuts) get more time to get published here. I don't remember one that was published that fast since The gilrs
|by Anonymous||reply 186||03/12/2021|
r186: What is The Prophets? What is The Girls (gilrs??)?
Author, plot, link? What is your country?
|by Anonymous||reply 187||03/12/2021|
R187 It's obvious that google is not your friend and that you don't usually read this thread, because i discover The prophets here.
The prophets is a novel written by Rober Jones Jr, one of the most hyped debut novels this year. The gilrs is a novel written by Emma Cline and was one of the most hyped novels of 2016
|by Anonymous||reply 188||03/13/2021|
The Secret History. Donna Tartt. Loved it Author has only written 5 books or so like William Styron. 80's murder at a private college. Historical Greek influences. Complex and disturbing. Also had a few words in it that I had never seen or heard before and had to look them up. You need some time on your hands.
|by Anonymous||reply 189||03/14/2021|
R189 Five? There are three, The secret history, The little friend and The goldfinch.
She said she wanted to write faster after he published The goldfinch but i think her natural rhythm is one for decade
|by Anonymous||reply 190||03/14/2021|
There’s a sequel to At Danceteria and Other Stories coming out this summer called Better Davis. A friend of mine is blurbing it.
|by Anonymous||reply 191||03/14/2021|
R189 I said "or so" and I was including her short story's and an essay also. So sue me.
|by Anonymous||reply 192||03/16/2021|
R169, what is your take on the ending of Trust Exercise? I finished it last night and SPOILER ALERT...IF YOU WANT TO READ THE BOOK, DO NOT READ FURTHER...
and I think the only "real" characters are the predator teacher and girl/woman. Sarah and Karen are the same person who was groomed and abused by the teacher. The teacher is Mr Kingsley, Liam and Martin. The first two parts are just different ways the victim remembered and processed her high school experience. It makes sense that it wasn't entirely real because I thought it was so out of the blue that two teens could have traveled to England to meet up and live with the English characters. How did they afford it? How did they travel internationally as minors? And that's when I started to think this was teens wish they could do but not an actual experience.
My middle school friend was in a relationship with the English teacher. We would tease her about her obviously close relationship with him, though I was so naive, I thought they had a strong teacher's pet relationship but not fucking. We went off to different high schools but still kept in touch. She told me they were fucking though she wouldn't answer directly when I asked her if it started when she was in middle school. She didn't think it was abuse. She ended the relationship after HS but said they really did love each other. Then she told me she was a lesbian. Said she loved him beyond gender and sex. Like Trust Exercise, this was in the 1980's. I checked a couple of years ago and he was still teaching in public school.
|by Anonymous||reply 193||03/16/2021|
Just got and started Anne Lamott’s latest book, “Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage.” I needed this.
|by Anonymous||reply 194||03/16/2021|
I'm reading Such a fun age and it's been a big dissapointment
|by Anonymous||reply 195||03/17/2021|
Someone upthread mentioned "Little Evie" by Catriona Ward. Sounded intriguing but isn't available in the USA, so while I wait for my order from ABE Books to arrive, I'm reading her first novel "Rawblood." Another Gothic potboiler, and quite good so far.
|by Anonymous||reply 196||03/17/2021|
For no special reason, I'm going with oldies: Play It As It Lays and The Subterraneans.
|by Anonymous||reply 197||03/18/2021|
I'm finishing Such a fun age and i think it's pretty bad.
Critics are becoming less and less reliable for me, specially when they review young female writers, because i thought Sally Roony was bad but Kiley Reid is way worse.
All the reviews talk about a funny satire of white tokenism but what i found is a poorly written (i'm reading Ali Smith's Winter at the same time and the difference in the quality of writting is inmense) ridiculous story with two stupid and one dimensional white characters and a not very interesting black one.
Now i understand why some people thought this novel didn't deserve the Booker nomination (and the booker has some dubious nominees over the years) this is like a chic lit novel with the focus on race instead on relationships.
|by Anonymous||reply 198||03/19/2021|
Is it race themes so prominent right now that even a crappy novel like Such a fun age received great reviews? because it's difficult to believe that such pedestrian writting and one dimensional characters get that stellar treatment by critics.
The lambda literary awards are quite interesting on the fact that there are a good bunch of novels that received mainstream attention on the awards season, specially in the gay cathegory (Cleaness, Shuggie Bain, Real Life) and on the bisexual (How much of these hills is gold)
|by Anonymous||reply 199||03/20/2021|
R199 doesn't understand that people have different tastes, so he has to lash out at non-white people. Just because you don't like a book, doesn't mean everyone else hates it.
|by Anonymous||reply 200||03/20/2021|
R200 I was not talking about people different tastes, i was talking about being critically acclaimed when the novel is poorly written, the characters are one dimensional and the dialogues are pretty bad, basically what defines a bad novel. In fact some reviews point exactly that, the pedestrian writting and the bad dialogues, but hey, it's a good novel because it has an important theme. But no, an important theme it's not what makes a novel good
I know there are people who liked the novel, is a bestseller after all, but that was not the point.
And the writer being black doesn't make her inmune to criticism.
A lot of people had a bad reaction to Such fun age being nominated to the booker and she was very far from being the only black nominee
|by Anonymous||reply 201||03/21/2021|
R201, what's "poorly written" to you might not be to other people. There are plenty of books written by white people that I felt were overrated....but I wouldn't say those books only scored acclaim because the author was white. People always try to take accomplishments away from black people that way.
|by Anonymous||reply 202||03/21/2021|
[quote] People always try to take accomplishments away from black people that way.
This pernicious little habit, especially in the Oscars threads, is really starting to get to me. It’s not only covertly racist, it’s blatantly retarded.
|by Anonymous||reply 203||03/21/2021|
R202 And who said otherwise?.
The novel is bad, and if you want i can name you at least ten novels written by afroamerican writers that are a thousand times better than Such a fun age.
It's a little tiresome tu put a race card on everything. There are amazing afroamerican writers and there are afroamerican writers who are far from amazing.
And i was not even talking about her as writer i was talking about the novel.
And i'm starting to get that you don't even read it or you were making points to show how great it is instead of making ridiculous asumptions about why i didn't like the novel.
|by Anonymous||reply 204||03/21/2021|
R204, you're the one who played the race card and brought race into the discussion.
I'm not making assumptions - you're the one doing that. "Every time a black person is praised or wins something, it must be affirmative action!" That's an assumption.
|by Anonymous||reply 205||03/21/2021|
R205 No dear, i never said that
|by Anonymous||reply 206||03/21/2021|
R207 No, i didn't. I worte the comments at 199, 201 and 204. I didn't say that
|by Anonymous||reply 208||03/21/2021|
I've just started WRITERS & LOVERS by Lily King. It's apparently gotten amazing reviews (blurbs all over the cover and first pages) but little buzz that I've heard. A bit chick-lit so far but I'm engaged.
|by Anonymous||reply 209||03/21/2021|
Returning to Dorothy Sayers after a long respite. GAUDY NIGHT. Great fun, and a fascinating look at pre-WW2 Britain. She writes wonderfully.
|by Anonymous||reply 210||03/22/2021|
Thank you for recommending Less, it is excellent
|by Anonymous||reply 211||03/22/2021|
I'm enjoying Elizabeth Jane Howard's FALLING, a novel of a seduction/romance between two middle aged people, told in alternate chapters from the man and woman's perspective. Witty and slightly sinister. Perfect rainy day reading.
Howard wrote the beloved CAZALET CHRONICLES which I discovered on one these great threads. I still have the final volume of that ALL CHANGE to read.
|by Anonymous||reply 212||03/28/2021|
Reading Howard's short story volume, MR. WRONG. One story, Whip Hand, is about a child actress from hell—and a stage mother even worse. Hilarious and brutal.
|by Anonymous||reply 213||03/28/2021|
I'm reading The calculating stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
|by Anonymous||reply 214||03/28/2021|
I just borrowed The Charioteer by Mary Renault form the local library.
|by Anonymous||reply 215||04/03/2021|
"A Most Remarkable Creature" a far-ranging study of a particular South American bird that also manages to encompass bits of travelogue and evolutionary theory, really quite well done. The author is one of my favorite musicians, but a scientist on the side.
|by Anonymous||reply 216||04/03/2021|
R203. So you disparage those with a developmental disorder to prove your point? Thanks Donald.
|by Anonymous||reply 217||04/04/2021|
R217 attacks someone who is calling out racism. Probably because he's one of the racists who scream about diversity every time a black person wins an award
|by Anonymous||reply 218||04/04/2021|
Reading BRIDESHEAD REVISITED for a second time after decades. So gorgeously written.
|by Anonymous||reply 219||04/04/2021|
R218 He is not calling out someone who is calling out racism he is callilng out someone who called racism on what it was only a criticism of a bad novel written by a black woman
|by Anonymous||reply 220||04/05/2021|
just finished Men Who Love Men by Mann. and then discovered that it is a 3rd in series, so 2 more books coming from Amazon....
thought provoking, and infuriating, and touching.
|by Anonymous||reply 221||04/06/2021|
I’m reading Edward St. Aubyn’s five Patrick Melrose novels. If any straight guy deserves to be an honorary Datalounger, it’s ESA.
|by Anonymous||reply 222||04/06/2021|
I'm not much of a reader but have been trying to force myself. (I come from a family of serious readers, but I'm probably slightly dyslexic or just simple.) Now reading Great Expectations but it's not an "easy read" for me. Forcing my fifteen year old son to read because he really is smart (I know everyone thinks their kid is smart). He says he doesn't want to read old stuff. Got him The Partner by John Grisham at a thrift store. Is that a good choice? He's reading it.
|by Anonymous||reply 223||04/06/2021|
R223, anything that interests teens is a good choice for them. You might want to take him to your local library and have him take a look at the teen books. There are some very appealing titles for that age group now.
|by Anonymous||reply 224||04/06/2021|
GREAT EXPECTATIONS is a rip-roaring masterpiece of plotting but if you're having trouble keeping up with it, r223, I'd recommend you investigate one of the online summary websites like Shmoop.com that give you chapter by chapter summaries. It can be helpful to consult a summary after you've read a chapter just to confirm that you've understood all that happened and was said. And , hopefully, it will only enhance your reading enjoyment.
|by Anonymous||reply 225||04/06/2021|
Has anyone read HOMELAND ELEGIES by Ayad Akhtar? Just finished chapter 1 and I'm intrigued.
|by Anonymous||reply 226||04/06/2021|
The new book on Henry Scott Tuke
|by Anonymous||reply 227||04/06/2021|
For teens, The Hunger Games are a good start. Adventure, intrigue, suspense, romance and a good message.
|by Anonymous||reply 228||04/07/2021|
John Grisham could work for a teenager. I read The Firm and loved it at that age. Most mainstream thrillers should work, though the female domestic ones like Big Little Lies won’t be of much interest. Gone Girl would, though. I really like the Steve Cavanagh legal thrillers. The best one is Thirteen.
For YA specific books try The Book Thief, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Eleanor And Park, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.
|by Anonymous||reply 229||04/07/2021|
I’ve been caught up in eras I never lived in. Non-fiction: The Man in the Red Coat and Vienna’s Golden Autumn led me back to re-reading adventure tales by pulp writer Talbot Mundy: The Nine Unknown, The Devil’s Guard, and now Jimgrim, from the 1920’s, when Tibet was a mysterious, forbidden land, filled with occult intrigue.
I love Mary Renault, but Fire From Heaven seemed her slowest read, and The Charioteer seemed to take so long to make its point. Far better is The Persian Boy, with someone else as a protagonist. But The Mask of Apollo remains my favorite of hers. I still find it astounding that a lesbian writer created one bestseller after another, many with gay characters and plots, in an era when gay people were consistently suppressed. No fool she.
Like most of you, I also have piles of books I have yet to read. And I thank you for your varied recommendations, some of which I’ve actually read.
|by Anonymous||reply 230||04/08/2021|
I just finished "Ducks, Newburyport" which I picked up cause of a rec here.
I finished it, all 988 pages or whatever it was. I've never read anything quite like it, part plot, part stream of consciousness, part really amazing word-play. And humor. And humanity. It's a fucking good novel.
|by Anonymous||reply 231||04/08/2021|
Curious if anyone here has read and enjoyed Dorothy Sayers' mysteries?
Years ago, I might have tried reading one of her Sir Peter Wimsey books but couldn't get past a few pages of what seemed like archaic and baroque language. But now that I've read a lot of Victorian, Edwardian and early 20th century Brit lit, she doesn't seem so daunting. So I've just begun GAUDY NIGHT, which I'm finding kind of fun in its quaintness. Not expecting much in the way of a true whodunnit but I'm enjoying the characterizations and descriptions of Oxford in the 1930s.
|by Anonymous||reply 232||04/08/2021|
Just finished Gaudy Night, the first Sayers I've read in years. Enjoyed it, not particularly for the mystery but for the period detail. It really immerses you into the world of Oxford in the mid-30s with all of its attendant snobbery, love of learning, pedantry, and misogyny. Hitler's threat is waiting in the wings, but not so dire that they can't joke about him. She's a wonderful writer, but a prolix one. The book does not need. to be 500 pages.
|by Anonymous||reply 233||04/08/2021|
am in love with Joel Dicker's writing. 1st one i read: The Truth About Harry Quebert Affair. and the 2nd, Baltimore Boys. almost a sequel to the Affair, but not. same protagonist, but much different story. highly recommended.
|by Anonymous||reply 234||04/09/2021|
The truth about Harry Quebert Affair is one of those books i love to rant at least a couple of time per year.
I read it back in 2013 and i'm still feel cheated. The guy gives a lot of useful advises to write a novel but he is unable to use any of them, the Navokov references are ridiculous. It's basically a swimmingpool bestseller but it was sold like some kind of masterpiece.
The fact that guy is handsome and knows how to promote himself made the rest.
And the worst part is that it was on the verge of winning the Goncourt (that would be a low point for the award)
|by Anonymous||reply 235||04/10/2021|
tell us how you REALLY feel, r235
|by Anonymous||reply 236||04/10/2021|
R236 Oh, i would, but my engllish is not good enough for a rant that makes justice to that garbage.
On a positive note, it's easy to read and probably my reaction wouldn't be that extreme if they didn't try to sold me that novel like a mix between Phillip Roth, Nabokov and Stieg Larsson.
By the way, Enter the Aardwark is going to be published in my country, it's a political satire about a closeted republican. Did anybody read it?
|by Anonymous||reply 237||04/10/2021|
"A swimming pool bestseller"? Is that the same as a beach read?
|by Anonymous||reply 238||04/10/2021|
R238 Thank you.
It was a loose translation of bestseller piscinero (not a fortunate one)
|by Anonymous||reply 239||04/10/2021|
[quote]The fact that guy is handsome and knows how to promote himself made the rest.
Show, don't tell, r235.
|by Anonymous||reply 240||04/10/2021|
The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson. It is a mix of fiction and non-fiction about the future and climate change.
I've ordered THE HOSPITAL: Life, Death, and Dollars in a Small American Town by Brian Alexander about the mess of a health care system we have. What a time to read it!
|by Anonymous||reply 241||04/10/2021|
No need to be sorry, r238. I like your term just as well!
|by Anonymous||reply 242||04/10/2021|
"Fellow Passengers" by Louis Auchincloss.
Utterly un-PC, but wonderful vignettes of people of 'privilege' in the first half of the 20th century, by a man with psychological insight and a delightful facility with words.
|by Anonymous||reply 244||04/11/2021|
I'm reading Terry Pratchett's The colour of magic
|by Anonymous||reply 245||04/12/2021|
Just passed page 400 of "Moby-Dick, about 200 pages more to go. Figured I better read it sooner or later. It's full of beautiful writing, startling imagery, some great action set-pieces and some interesting homoeroticism. Per its reputation, Melville does go on at perhaps excessive length about whale anatomy and whaling lore. Still, a grand reading experience overall.
|by Anonymous||reply 246||04/12/2021|
Has anybody been inspired by the Ken Burns' PBS documentary on Hemingway to read one of Hemingway's books? As much as I enjoyed the doc, I still don't have much interest.
|by Anonymous||reply 247||04/12/2021|
R247, The Sun Also Rises is well worth reading.
|by Anonymous||reply 248||04/12/2021|
A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls are both masterpieces, IMO.
|by Anonymous||reply 249||04/12/2021|
Jan Morris' essay collection "In My Mind's Eye" which I find interesting as I know of her through her travel writing.
|by Anonymous||reply 250||04/13/2021|
I remember liking Hemingway's The Nick Adams Stories, which I had to read in college. (I don't believe the stories -- his early, largely Michigan Upper Peninsula works -- were published under that title initially but were collected under that title in the '70s.) Other than The Old Man and the Sea, which I was forced to read in high school, I don't think I've read anything else of his.
|by Anonymous||reply 251||04/14/2021|
I am reading volume 1 of the Collected Stories of W. Somerset Maugham from Penguin. I went through a "middlebrow" modern phase about 15 years ago and devoured him, Elizabeth Taylor, Elizabeth Bowen, Barbara Pym, Patrick Hamilton. But I only read his novels and now his short stories, so this is a big treat. .
|by Anonymous||reply 252||04/17/2021|
I LOVE Maugham's short stories. I think they're better than his novels
|by Anonymous||reply 253||04/17/2021|
For those who listen to audiobooks, Kate Reading's narration of The Painted Veil rates as truly outstanding!
|by Anonymous||reply 254||04/17/2021|
I've tried to read a few of Elizabeth Taylor's novels but the only one I genuinely like was Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont. Any other recs from those that have read her?
|by Anonymous||reply 255||04/17/2021|
I've almost finished [italic]Agency[/italic] by William Gibson. It's been my company at doctor & dentist visits this year, so it's been slow going. Also, my attention span isn't what it used to be (I blame the internet). Next up: [italic]A Small Town[/italic] by Thomas Perry. He's one of my favorite crime/mystery writers.
|by Anonymous||reply 256||04/17/2021|
Why are all those old dead farts on the list? I've already read everything by Steinbeck etc. Not reading them again.
I read Living and Loving in the Time of AIDS by Derek Frost, whose partner was the founder of Heaven nightclub in London. An excellent read.
|by Anonymous||reply 257||04/17/2021|
I enjoyed Taylor's ANGEL. Something of a departure from her usual style.
|by Anonymous||reply 258||04/17/2021|
I bought my mom This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger as a recent birthday gift. Probably too grim for me, but she mentioned just now how much she loves it.
We both loved The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty, which has a gay subplot.
|by Anonymous||reply 259||04/17/2021|
Rereading THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY and remembering how well the movie captured it.
|by Anonymous||reply 260||04/17/2021|
THE CHAPERONE is a great read, and not the simplistic chick-lit it might seem. The film was awful with a hopelessly miscast Louise Brooks.
|by Anonymous||reply 261||04/17/2021|
Currently re-reading Octavia Butler’s Parable books. It is spooky how prescient her writing is.
|by Anonymous||reply 262||04/18/2021|
A friend has been nagging me to try Octavia Butler. I started both "Dawn" and "Parable of the Talents", and just could not get into them. I found her prose underwhelming, her dialog flat, and the voices of her narrators all too interchangeable.
And "Parable" was too much like reality; who needs that?
|by Anonymous||reply 263||04/18/2021|
How many people confuse Olivia Butler and Olivia Spencer?
|by Anonymous||reply 264||04/18/2021|
only the reading impaired, dear.
|by Anonymous||reply 265||04/18/2021|
R263 I am on a reality kick right now and enjoying the re-read. However, I’m sure once done with Parable of the Talents, I’ll go for a frothy book.
|by Anonymous||reply 266||04/18/2021|
Haven't been around much lately, but thought I'd put out a few recommendations for folks looking for ideas. I do read a lot of nonfiction, but that's for another post.
COURTING MR. LINCOLN by Louis Bayard was kind of slow going, but worth it. The line between bromance and... more is well-balanced, although the epilogue seemed to resolve the matter as best as one can. Mary Todd came across as someone not getting any younger, and Lincoln needed a wife politically: hot for each other? Didn't seem so to me.
THE OBSERVATIONS by Jane Harris was a hoot! Jaded, not-so-self-aware Bessie made for an engaging point-of-view, with her employers observations providing balance.
A GRACIOUS PLENTY by Sheri Reynolds focuses on the theme of being an outcast, not fitting in... and learning not to care. There's a gay subplot later in the story. Probably not on most DL readers' radar, but it should be.
|by Anonymous||reply 267||04/18/2021|
I read Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. It’s not unreadably terrible or anything, but it’s supremely overrated and undeserving of its overhyped accolades.
|by Anonymous||reply 268||04/18/2021|
r267, Loved COURTING MR. LINCOLN and have flogged it on this site.often Was surprised it didn't get much attention here or anywhere else. And r268, couldn't disagree with you more.
|by Anonymous||reply 269||04/18/2021|
Another vote for COURTING MR. LINCOLN. I absolutely agree with what r267 and r269 said. I've read a few of Bayard's earlier books and never cared for them as much as this one, his latest.
His THE PALE BLUE EYE about young Edgar Alan Poe involved in a murder mystery at West Point has just been sold to the movies with Christian Bale cast in the lead role of the ex-lawman who attempts to solve the mystery. Don't think Poe's been cast yet.
Ishiguro's THE REMAINS OF THE DAY is a masterpiece.
|by Anonymous||reply 270||04/18/2021|
I'm going to start The vanishing half
R270 I remember when i read The remains of the day. I was looking for Never let me go but they didn't have a copy on the book shop at that moment.
I started to read and i thought, what the fuck is this because he was talking constantly about his obligations as butler, but then i fell for the characters, all those deeply buried feelings and i loved the ending. Amazing novel for sure
|by Anonymous||reply 271||04/18/2021|
Previously, I had tried Bayard's book featuring an adult Tiny Tim Cratchett, but gave up early on.
|by Anonymous||reply 272||04/18/2021|
THE VANISHING HALF is a great read. Not perfect but I found some of the questionable narrative made the book even more provocative and interesting. I felt that maybe it was intended as some form of "magic realism" and not to be taken completely literally. Supposedly, also being made into a film or series but I think that will be hard to pull off.
|by Anonymous||reply 273||04/18/2021|
Well, I finished IN MY MIND'S EYE by Jan Morris - - disappointing! I guess they figured she covered the trans and travel discussions thoroughly already, so it's really rants from an elderly well-educated British woman with little to differentiate her from similar others.
Working on HIGH AS THE WATERS RISE by Anja Kampmann for a "male main character written by a woman" reading challenge category. I'd say she does okay with that; however, (kind of like COURTING MR. LINCOLN) the sexuality is Rorschach-y ambiguous.
|by Anonymous||reply 274||04/24/2021|
Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead , a Two-Spirit Oji-Cree from the Peguis Reservation in Manitoba. It won the Canada Reads competition this year.
|by Anonymous||reply 275||04/24/2021|
just finished Courting Mr Lincoln. was not prepared for the emotional trip it took me on.
|by Anonymous||reply 276||04/24/2021|
The Epilogue of the Lincoln book was a payoff, indeed!
|by Anonymous||reply 277||04/24/2021|
Has anyone read any of Peter Ackroyd's fiction? I never had but I picked up THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON (19820, his first novel at a used book store today and 30 pages in, it's quite delightful and quirky.
|by Anonymous||reply 278||04/24/2021|
He's amazingly prolific (and gay). His bio of Dickens is said to be wonderful.
|by Anonymous||reply 279||04/25/2021|
Yes, r279, I'll want to read more of Ackroyd after this one, which has a great gay character in it, who is a Dickens scholar. The book is about a film director in the early 1980s wanting to make a contemporary adaptation of Little Dorrit. Only 169 pages.
|by Anonymous||reply 280||04/25/2021|
R267, if you liked The Observations, try Gillespie & I from the same writer, has another great first per-on narrator (though very different).
Elizabeth Taylor’s last novel, Blaming, is one of my favorite of hers and her short stories are very good as well.
Though I enjoyed parts of it, Leave The Wordd Behind’s first pages are almost unreadable.
|by Anonymous||reply 281||04/25/2021|
I read "Gillespie & I" first, which is why I looked forward to more of Jane Harris.
|by Anonymous||reply 282||04/25/2021|
Me too, r267, but unfortunately she doesn’t write much (there is a third book I didn’t read).
|by Anonymous||reply 283||04/25/2021|
I am curious about Watership down, it's a children's book or for adults?
|by Anonymous||reply 284||04/28/2021|
R284 Watership Down is by no means a children's book. It will traumatize children. Teens and up.
|by Anonymous||reply 285||04/28/2021|
R284, the characters are rabbits but that's about the only thing children about the book. The rabbits have adult human characteristics and behave accordingly. I think younger kids reading the book may have some things go over their heads. For example, sexual aggression amongst the male rabbits--why there is a dominant leader and why others want to leave and form their own warren (so they can have female partners). The rabbits are not cutesy smurfs.
I wasn't aware of the book when I was a kid and only read it a few years ago. I read Charlotte's Web as a kid and even though it has serious life themes, the tone is much more a children's book than Watership Down. WD is likely better for middle school kids and up. Hope that helps.
|by Anonymous||reply 286||04/28/2021|
I am about to start Mrs Arris Goes To Paris by Paul Gallico. I read and liked The Snow Goose as a teen but otherwise know nothing about him.
I hope that it’s like Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day or Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont.
|by Anonymous||reply 287||04/28/2021|
Reading the Mike Nichols bio. I’d give it 7 out of 10. Tends to drone on about “then another show, then another show”. A productive guy - but not fascinating. Unless you’re really into theater I guess. Expected more gayness - absolutely zero so far.
|by Anonymous||reply 288||04/28/2021|
[italic]Fall[/italic] by Neal Stephenson - I liked [italic]Reamde[/italic] okay, was disappointed by [italic]Seveneves[/italic], so we'll see whether I finish this one.
|by Anonymous||reply 289||04/28/2021|
Just finished a book on the Mossad; now reading one on stand-up comics (going back to before they changed their names, in the 50s).
|by Anonymous||reply 290||04/28/2021|
I'm really loving a newish book called ALL THE BIRDS, SINGING by Evie Wyld, about a young woman living alone on a secluded sheep farm on an English island. Chapters alternate with her growing fear of an unknown menace in the present and chapters about how she got there (but those chapters are in reverse order as they flash back further and further). Great writing! Highly recommended page turner.
|by Anonymous||reply 291||04/28/2021|
r288, no gayness because Harris says he couldn't find any, Total contradiction from a recent Richard Avedon bio that says they were lovers. On the topic of "another show," that's exactly why I read the book. Fascinating to me.
|by Anonymous||reply 292||04/28/2021|
As much as I loved the Nichols biography I do get the complaint that by the final 1/4 of the book it becomes a little tiresome to read about the mostly mediocre plays and films Nichols was directing by then.
Though Diane Sawyer and his grown children from earlier marriages did give Mark Harris complete support over whatever needed to be written about him, it's too bad they declined to be interviewed themselves. I would have liked their respective on Mike as a husband and father and it would have given more variety to the book.
I did become interested in re-watching some of Nichols' films which Harris said were "dismissed" by the critics and public, perhaps unfairly. So I began with HEARTBURN. Though the stories in the book about the making of the film and the firing of Mandy Patinkin and hiring of Jack Nicholson were fascinating, re-watching the film only confirmed to me how mediocre it is.
|by Anonymous||reply 293||04/29/2021|
perspective ^^^^^^^ not respective
|by Anonymous||reply 294||04/29/2021|
Agree, r293. I even re-watched WOLF, which is silly, but not a complete failure.
|by Anonymous||reply 295||04/29/2021|
I loved The vanishing half. Now i'm trying Otessa Moshfegh's Death in her hands
|by Anonymous||reply 296||05/01/2021|
The comments have been consistently negative on that one, R296 - good luck! I liked My Year of Rest and Relaxation.
|by Anonymous||reply 297||05/01/2021|
R297 I like My year of rest and relaxation too, but i didn't liked Eileen.
Anyway, for some reason i like Moshfegh more than i like her books, it's one of those cases you expect something great sooner or later
|by Anonymous||reply 298||05/01/2021|
Anyway, it's a short novel.
The next will be Herve Le Tellier's L'Anomalie or C Pam Zhang's How much of these hills is gold
|by Anonymous||reply 299||05/01/2021|
I have Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created "Sunday in the Park with George" by James Lapine in my hot little hands!
I have not seen the show. I wish I could before I read it.
|by Anonymous||reply 300||05/02/2021|
I’m absolutely loving Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro’s new novel.
|by Anonymous||reply 301||05/02/2021|
R300 Bootleg, but it’s not like you could time travel anyways.
|by Anonymous||reply 302||05/02/2021|
I bought my mom a copy of THIS TENDER LAND by William Kent Kruger as a recent birthday gift. She loves it, although it isn't for me.
|by Anonymous||reply 303||05/02/2021|
I read "Luster" by Raven Leilani over the weekend, gulped it down actually. Debut novel that came out last year. Her prose feels hot to the touch, it's hard to believe she was not yet 30 when she wrote it. Made me think of Morrison, Updike - truly that level of skill at the sentence level. It's about a 23-year Black woman who gets involved with a 46-year-old white man who has just convinced his wife to let him have an open marriage. I really loved it and hope she has a long, prolific career.
|by Anonymous||reply 304||05/03/2021|
Luster seems to be very divisive. I’ve heard terrible things about it and then reviews like the one above.
|by Anonymous||reply 305||05/03/2021|
The output of Jerkov Ivankavankov.
|by Anonymous||reply 306||05/03/2021|
WATERSHIP DOWN was first published as a children’s book in the UK and subsequently as an adult book in the US.
|by Anonymous||reply 307||05/03/2021|
[QUOTE] There’s a sequel to “At Danceteria and Other Stories” coming out this summer called “Better Davis.” A friend of mine is blurbing it.
Looks like it actually comes out this September. At Danceteria was a fun read so I will probably check this out.
|by Anonymous||reply 308||05/03/2021|
I started East of Eden last night. When I finish this i plan on reading 'Notes on Grief' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Has anyone read it?
|by Anonymous||reply 309||05/04/2021|
'Fall', by John Preston, about Robert Maxwell. Virtually every page has some eye-popping new story about this monster - who nonetheless (unlike Trump) can just sometimes evoke sympathy.
The book is basically good journalism, which avoids deeper insights, and allows the rattling pace of insane events to hold the reader. Recommended.
|by Anonymous||reply 310||05/04/2021|
East of Eden is fantastic - one of the few novels all 10 members of my book group loved.
|by Anonymous||reply 311||05/04/2021|
R311 East of Eden was my favorite books when I was in High School, I was inspired to read it because of the Jane Seymour miniseries.
|by Anonymous||reply 312||05/04/2021|
I’m not sure I would advertise the Jane Seymour connection, R312. :)
The James Dean movie only covers a tiny part of the book. Jo Van Fleet won an Oscar as Cathy, one of the greatest villains in literature.
|by Anonymous||reply 313||05/04/2021|
R312, we must be of the same age group. I watched the Jane Seymour TV series in the early to mid 80s as a kid. Recollections may vary. Then probably read the book in the late 80s or early 90s. I should reread it as an adult, I loved it as a teen. The Dean movie is a sliver of the novel.
|by Anonymous||reply 314||05/04/2021|
I loved east of eden and was perplexed why I couldn't finish the grapes of wrath, which was the Steinbeck book taught in school.
|by Anonymous||reply 315||05/04/2021|
R313 In her defense, Jane Seymour tended to elevate most miniseries she was in, and the Bottom boys were at the height of their beauty and being real life brothers added to the meta of the performance. But I would love to see someone take it on and do a limited series. Angelina Jolie would make a wonderful Cathy.
|by Anonymous||reply 316||05/04/2021|
R305 I was going to say the same, it seems to be one of those novels that some people love while other's hate it.
After reading The vanishing half i'm very curious about The mothers (which will be published here by the end of the year) because i remember a very divisive reaction too
|by Anonymous||reply 317||05/04/2021|
I read The Mothers not long before I read Luster and they have some story similarities. I liked both but thought that "Luster" really takes off in a way that the much more conventional The Mothers never quite does. The latter has a straightforward-to-bland prose style while Luster feels alive on the page.
Also, count me as another Steinbeck reader who much prefers East of Eden over Grapes of Wrath. Grapes seems most interested in its own sense of social consciousness while Eden is a great story with memorable characters.
|by Anonymous||reply 318||05/04/2021|
r307 great book. Great character study re: group dynamics--there's a place for everyone in a larger group. Dated re: sexism but otherwise it should be studied more today.
|by Anonymous||reply 319||05/04/2021|
I didn't like Death in her hands. I always have the feeling that Moshfegh's novels are going to be better than they finally are. She has the potential to be great but i think this one is the worst of her novels.
I don't know what to read now, so probably i will try a page turner
|by Anonymous||reply 320||05/05/2021|
Jane Seymour was fantastic in the miniseries.
|by Anonymous||reply 321||05/05/2021|
Have you tried "The Good House" by Ann Leary? One I especially liked that I think would appeal to posters here. I listened to the audio read by Mary Beth Hurt.
|by Anonymous||reply 322||05/05/2021|
I read The Good House years ago and enjoyed it very much. About the trials, tribulations and love affairs of a suburban real estate agent, as I remember. Ann Leary is actor Denis Leary's wife.
|by Anonymous||reply 323||05/05/2021|
Finally reading THE GROUP by Mary McCarthy. So readable and funny. The ponderous film is so humorless, what was Sidney Lumet thinking? Or as Pokey would say: "Who'da thunk it?"
But it does help to have the film's actresses in mind, as those 8 girls are all introduced in the first chapter and I'm finding I have no problem sorting out who's who, even if some of the characters were wildly miscast from those described by McCarthy.
|by Anonymous||reply 324||05/05/2021|
I'll jump on the East of Eden Jane Seymour bandwagon, tho it looks to be getting crowded. As a child I thought she was so beautiful yet also terrifying. East of Eden has long been one of my favorite books and Steinbeck one of my favorite authors. I should reread it sometime soon. It's been too long.
|by Anonymous||reply 325||05/07/2021|
I'm reading this and finding it jaw-dropping. What was up with this family? And with the psychiatrists who seem to have no idea how to heal anyone, or even manage them. It's like four Datelines in one story!
|by Anonymous||reply 326||05/07/2021|
John Irving had a rep as a ladies man when he taught at Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop.
|by Anonymous||reply 327||05/11/2021|
Are you saying he fucked students, r327? What does a "ladies man" mean these days?
|by Anonymous||reply 328||05/11/2021|
Irving cannot write sex scenes. he tried in one of his books, and his wife laughed so hard at how trivial the attempt was that she made him remove it.
|by Anonymous||reply 329||05/11/2021|
I'm reading Frankenstein's mother by Almudena Grandes.
It's the fifth book on a series of six (Episodes of an endless war) about the long years after the end of spanish civil war. This one is settled on a women's phyquiatric in the 50's.
It's based on a famous case of a mother who killed her daugther in the late 30's. Aurora Rodríguez Carballeira believed in eugenics so she decided to create the woman of the future. She seduced a priest (she know he won't reclaimed the kid) and ater getting pregnant she traveled from Galicia to Madrid. The daughter, Hildegart was a child prodigy, she read and wrote before three, at 18 she had several books about politics, sexuality (even if she was a virgin till her death) and had a well known friendship with H G Wells.
The problem is her mother was paranoid and the daughter was a teenager (a very inteligent one but teenager anyway) so Hildegart wanted independence (not so rare for a women in Spain at the time of the second republic, Spain wen backwards decades after the war) so her mother killed her, three shoots on the head, one in the heart.
She never regrets because her creation was imperfect and she did what every sculptor does when he finds a flaw in his work, destroy it
|by Anonymous||reply 330||05/12/2021|
"the pale blue eye" by Bayard (author of "courting mr lincoln". this one has E A Poe as a main character. am working my way thru all of Bayard's books
|by Anonymous||reply 331||05/12/2021|
Anyone tried Bayard's "The Black Tower" which sounds a bit more approachable to me?
|by Anonymous||reply 332||05/13/2021|
I’m on my third week, and second library eBook checkout of reading the 1,000+ Sylvia Plath biography Red Comet. It is dense, wonderful and comprehensive, but I’m barely halfway and she hasn’t even graduated from Smith yet. Yesterday, I took a little breather and read the entirety of Andrew McCarthy’s memoir in two sittings. What a difference a life makes, lol.
|by Anonymous||reply 333||05/13/2021|
I loved Louis Bayard's COURTING MR LINCOLN, one of my favorite books of a couple of years ago, but I found THE BLACK TOWER pretty awful. Very turgid and melodramatic. And THE PALE BLUE EYE started off really well but also devolved into overwrought melodrama.
|by Anonymous||reply 334||05/13/2021|
Bayard's early novels, FOOL'S ERRAND and ENDANGERED SPECIES are romantic comedies and rather charming. So is MR. TIMOTHY, his sequel to A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
|by Anonymous||reply 335||05/13/2021|
r334 of course it was a melodrama. it needed to reflect Poe and his world. NEVERMORE!
|by Anonymous||reply 336||05/14/2021|
Reading Tana French's "In The Woods." Meh... so far. Was the TV version better? It's not a good sign when I'm reading a book and editing out descriptors, sentences and paragraphs as I go. That said, I want to see how it ends -- the curse of detective murder mysteries.
|by Anonymous||reply 337||05/14/2021|
I think I've tried reading that Tana French book 3 times and just never could get into it. It's like a treatment for a mediocre miniseries.
|by Anonymous||reply 338||05/14/2021|
Just read A HANDFUL OF DUST (in 2 days!), my very first Evelyn Waugh. While I was initially put off by the depravity of the upper class Brit 1930s characters it really took hold of me about 1/2 way through when the plot really twists and turns.
|by Anonymous||reply 339||05/14/2021|
I’ve read all of Tana French’s books. I don’t read a lot of mysteries but I do like her. Also Louise Penny.
|by Anonymous||reply 340||05/14/2021|
R290 here. I'm going on my 3rd Rehoboth Beach, DE, trip in September, and have just discovered a series of books called "Rehoboth Beach Reads," comprising short stories by local writers, all set in the Rehoboth-Lewes-Dewey Beach area.
The stories vary in topic and tone, but all offer the fun of place recognition.
|by Anonymous||reply 341||05/15/2021|
R340, I was totally into Louise Penny through four or five books but then hit a wall. What had been charming now seemed twee; what had seemed quirky now seemed mannered. And every so often she drops a crude gay joke that is supposed to be edgy but just sounds like faghaggery.
|by Anonymous||reply 342||05/15/2021|
Finally reading Pat Barker's REGENERATION, the first book in a WWI trilogy. This books has all kinds of raves and award citations on the paperback cover but I'm finding it rather dry after the first 35 pages....does it become more engaging?
|by Anonymous||reply 343||05/15/2021|
R343, I'd stick with it. It's been years since I read it but I remember liking it a lot.
|by Anonymous||reply 344||05/15/2021|
[quote]Reading Tana French's "In The Woods." Meh... so far. Was the TV version better?
No. It's grey-filtered featuring smelly-looking pallid people. Sarah Phelps peaked with And Then There Were None.
|by Anonymous||reply 345||05/16/2021|
I'd stick with Regeneration as well, R343. I've read the entire trilogy twice and am often tempted to read it again. Whatever you do, do not watch the film version of the first book (called Regeneration and/or Behind the Lines). It's... not good, despite a good cast.
|by Anonymous||reply 346||05/17/2021|
Just popping in to tell you all I am listening to an audiobook narrated by DL Fave Rula Lenska.
That is all.
|by Anonymous||reply 347||05/17/2021|
I'm sticking with REGENERATION; I'm a little more than 1/2 way through now, but still find the writing to be so dispassionate and colorless, in spite of the historical circumstances and the ultra-fascinating character of Siegfried Sassoon (his wiki entry is even more interesting than Barker's portrayal so far). But I will finish it.
|by Anonymous||reply 348||05/17/2021|
Just finished William Boyd's latest TRIO about the diverging relationship of 3 characters all working on a film in 1968 Brighton, England. Really loved it, one of his best books in years.
|by Anonymous||reply 349||05/21/2021|
I'm reading Yaa Gyasi's Transcendent Kingdom and i'm liking it way more than Homegoing
|by Anonymous||reply 350||05/21/2021|
I'm reading The Dig, and as an armchair medievalist, I cannot believe the author managed to make the Sutton Hoo excavation boring. The Netflix film was also pretty tedious. so I assumed the book would be better.
|by Anonymous||reply 351||05/21/2021|
I didn’t like the movie either, r351.
Most of the good reviews came from conservatives (in the sense of people who love traditional British values/the spirit of the Blitz, etc) so maybe it’s not surprise that it wasn’t my cup of tea.
|by Anonymous||reply 352||05/21/2021|
The love triangle plot in The Dig felt tacked on
|by Anonymous||reply 353||05/21/2021|
R352 I'm certain I'd get more excitement from a history textbook.
|by Anonymous||reply 354||05/21/2021|
Listening to Agatha Christie's DEATH ON THE NILE, read by Kenneth Brannaugh; to use an American idiom, he's totally knocked the narration way out of the ballpark!
|by Anonymous||reply 355||05/21/2021|
I just got Steven Gaines’s book about Halston, after loving his memoir I found out about here.
|by Anonymous||reply 356||05/21/2021|
I just finished the best gay novel I've read in years, Let's Get Back to the Party, by Zak Saleh. It takes place in 2015-16, contemporaneous with the Obergefell v. Hodges decision and the Pulse nightclub shootout.
The two main characters, two gay men who live in and near Washington, DC, were affected by what happened at Pulse more than I was, perhaps because I'm so old, and haven't been to a bar in such a long time (I don't drink anymore, either). To me, it was yet another mass shooting, something I have perhaps become inured to since these events became common in 1999 in Littleton, CO.
In any case, it's a good story.
|by Anonymous||reply 357||05/21/2021|
Because of the Agatha Christie thread, I just bought the Kindle version of the Mr. Parker Pyne stories.
Mind you, I own and have read them all in paperback, but these days I prefer a Kindle to read at night!
|by Anonymous||reply 358||05/22/2021|
This one. It's quite good so far
|by Anonymous||reply 359||05/23/2021|
I was late to the party and just finished reading Andrew Sean Greer's book, "Less" , which I think was discussed on DL when it got the Pulitzer prize in 2018 . I hated it at first, because the protagonist, a gay author, was so inept and so lacking in self-confidence, but my opinion changed midway through the novel, as the fact that so many of the other characters fond Less charming, that it suddenly became apparent that the disparagement the reader feels at the beginning of the novel was coming from him alone. The unexpected ending made me cry.
|by Anonymous||reply 361||05/23/2021|
I've tried to read LESS about 4 times but never got past about 30 pages. You make me want to try again, r361.
I wonder if you or anyone here has read any of Greer's other books that might ease me into LESS?
I just finished WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD EM Forster's first novel. I saw the film years ago and remember loving it but I'd forgotten completely where the story goes and much of the tragic twists and turns. It's a short book and might have benefited by some further development of the sister character (played by Judy Davis in the film), who seems to be there for comic relief....until she's not.
|by Anonymous||reply 362||05/24/2021|
R18, I too am reading SHUGGIE BAIN as part of my congregation's LGBTQ book club discussion group.
Also, I just finished reading Taylor Jenkins Reid's THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO, and KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON. I read MEMORIAL, ugh. WHEN BROOKLYN WAS QUEER by Hugh Ryan.
|by Anonymous||reply 363||05/24/2021|
r362, I loved Greer's CONFESSIONS OF MAX TIVOLI and STORY OF A MARRIAGE, which I read when they were first published. So I was delighted when LESS won the Pulitzer and agree with r361 that it's also terrific.
|by Anonymous||reply 364||05/24/2021|
Can anyone recommend a contemporary crime book?
If it's domestic crime I would rather more Gone Girl than The Girl On The Train.
Something like the TV show Mare Of Easttown?
|by Anonymous||reply 365||05/24/2021|
R365 one I liked was A Double Life by Flynn Berry. It is loosely based on the Lord Lucan case
|by Anonymous||reply 366||05/24/2021|
Thanks r366, it's going on the list.
|by Anonymous||reply 367||05/24/2021|
After all these years I'm reading THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY. Can't remember if I ever read it years ago but I'm fond of the Minghella film and thought it would be fun to go back to the source. It's highly engaging but totally without emotion. The two murders are done with so little premeditation that I find the tension isn't what it might be, as I remember so well in the film.
The Gwyneth Paltrow character Marge is quite a lumpy fag hag, likened by Tom Ripley to a "Girl Scout" unlike the fashionable blonde princess of the film. But I'm enjoying the book and reading it quickly. It sure is a page-turner.
Has anyone read any of the other Ripley novels? Are they worth a look?
|by Anonymous||reply 368||05/25/2021|
They all have their rewards. But none bests the first one. As for the movie, Philip Seymour Hoffmann!!
|by Anonymous||reply 369||05/25/2021|
Anyone read Molly Keane? Her great 1981 novel GOOD BEHAVIOUR has just been rereleased by NYRB. Wonderful book.
|by Anonymous||reply 370||05/25/2021|
About 2/3 through THE GREAT GATSBY. What a tedious story!
|by Anonymous||reply 372||05/25/2021|
I have to confess, I keep up with the Books threads and always adding suggestions to my To Read queues for two library systems. But I hardly do any reading at all! I am lost to the internet.
|by Anonymous||reply 373||05/25/2021|
I'm reading the last Goncourt, Hervé Le Tellier's L'anomalie and it's fantastic
|by Anonymous||reply 374||05/25/2021|
r170, I first read Molly Keane back in the early 1980s and still have those paperbacks, GOOD BEHAVIOR and TIME AFTER TIME. I must re-read them. Highly recommended!
|by Anonymous||reply 375||05/25/2021|
You and Your Retarded Child: A Manual for Parents of Retarded Children by S.A. Kirk.
Foreword by Her Majesty The Queen
|by Anonymous||reply 376||05/25/2021|
Ha! a "wit" has arrived! ^
|by Anonymous||reply 377||05/25/2021|
A SON OF THE CIRCUS is the only John Irving book I've read; interestingly, his fans seem to hate it. The story does have a gay angle.
Finished Gatsby - ugh!
|by Anonymous||reply 378||06/02/2021|
circus wasn't his best. try any of his earlier works.
|by Anonymous||reply 379||06/03/2021|
SON OF THE CIRCUS is the only John Irving book I've genuinely loved except for CIDER HOUSE RULES.
|by Anonymous||reply 381||06/04/2021|
As I posted upthread (r368) I loved THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY so I wanted to explore more Highsmith but I'm now struggling to finish THE TREMOR OF FORGERY. What a ponderous bore! I keep waiting for something urgent to happen but even the "killing" at the 1/2 way mark doesn't bring any tension. How can this book be so revered and well-reviewed? No less than Graham Greene called the book her finest novel.
I'll move on to STRANGERS ON A TRAIN and another Ripley, hoping for better.
|by Anonymous||reply 382||06/04/2021|
I'm reading Ready player two, it's entertainning but everything seems forzed
|by Anonymous||reply 383||06/05/2021|
I've started THE MAN WHO LOVED CHILDREN, having heard for years that it's a neglected masterpiece. Anyone here a fan?
|by Anonymous||reply 384||06/06/2021|
I'm curious about it as well, r384.
Anyone read it?
|by Anonymous||reply 385||06/06/2021|
I think someone mentioned her upthread but I'm re-reading Molly Keane's GOOD BEHAVIOR which I first read when it appeared in the early 80s.
About an eccentric wealthy Irish family on a crumbling country estate from 1912 onwards, not unlike a black humored version of Barbara Pym. Just delightful!
|by Anonymous||reply 386||06/06/2021|
I did, r386. Just reread it for the third time (for a review) and liked it more each time. The main character is a sizable, tall woman who falls hopelessly in love with her brother's lover. It's a terrific book.
|by Anonymous||reply 387||06/06/2021|
Now reading "Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties" by Tom O'Neill with Dan Piepenbring. O'Neill is a magazine journalist who accepted an assignment for Premiere Magazine in 1999 to write a piece about the 30th anniversary of the Tate/LaBianca murders, which basically upended his life for the next 20 years. He uncovered a bunch of new information and the book is a fascinating, juicy read. I think a lot of DLers would really dig it! I started it last night and already read about 150 pages. Good stuff!
|by Anonymous||reply 388||06/06/2021|
I skimmed The Warhol Diaries for the Halston parts. Andy comes across as mildly sociopathic or highly autistic or something.
|by Anonymous||reply 389||06/07/2021|
The audio edition of GOOD BEHAVIOR is coming out soon, so added it to my Audible wishlist - looking forward to it!
I'm working on an interesting nonfiction title PERIODIC TALES by Hugh Aldersey-Williams. A library book that sat on my TBR pile for a while, glad I finally got to it as I'm finding it interesting. Every do often I'll exclaim to myself "Wow! I never knew that!"
|by Anonymous||reply 390||06/07/2021|
Masterpiece Theatre really needs to do a mini series of Good Behaviour with Miranda Hart as the older Aroon.
|by Anonymous||reply 391||06/07/2021|
I'm reading Camille by Pierre Lemaitre (well, that's the spanish title, i think the french one is different). The last of the four novels of the inspector Camille Verhoeven
|by Anonymous||reply 392||06/09/2021|
Those are actually three novels (trilogy) and a short story.
The third one is titled "Sacrifices" in English, rather than Camille.
|by Anonymous||reply 393||06/09/2021|
I said that Camille is the spanish title, i know in french it has a differnt title too.
Alex is an amazing novel, full of surprises
|by Anonymous||reply 394||06/09/2021|
Reading Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken and really liking it. It's one of those "whimsical" New England novels but I love her writing style.
|by Anonymous||reply 395||06/09/2021|
There's a listing on IMDB of a Good Behaviour mini-series from 1983, but I can't find any version of it that's available.
|by Anonymous||reply 396||06/09/2021|
I've just started reading 2018 British thriller called SNAP by Belinda Bauer about a mother who disappears and the young son who tries to find out what happened. Really great reader reviews on Amazon encouraged me to give it a try. So far, it's excellent!
|by Anonymous||reply 397||06/10/2021|
This novel about a most likely gay gilded age NYC mover and shaker who was mistakenly murdered at the age of 83 outside his home sounds fascinating. Has anyone read it yet, or is familiar with the author?
|by Anonymous||reply 398||06/11/2021|
Thanks for bringing it to my attention! His Japanese story sounds interesting as well.
|by Anonymous||reply 399||06/11/2021|
R392 have you read Trois Jours et Une Vie?
|by Anonymous||reply 400||06/11/2021|
Louis Erdrich won the Pulitzer. I read Plague of doves and The round house and i think she is a great writer.
Percival Everett was a finalist (i read one of his novels last year and i loved it) and Daniel Mason was the other one
|by Anonymous||reply 401||06/11/2021|
I read Jonathan Dee's "The Privileges" a few years back, r398. He's an incisive writer and skilled plotter, very much in the vein of his fellow Jonathan, i.e. Franzen, who I know is both loved and hated on the DL.
|by Anonymous||reply 402||06/11/2021|
That hottie Eric Cervini got a nomination to the Pulitzer too
|by Anonymous||reply 403||06/11/2021|
Except, r402, this book THE GREAT MISTAKE is by Jonathan Lee, not Jonathan Lee.
Speaking of Jonathans I also love some of Jonathan Coe's novels, particularly THE WINSHAW LEGACY.
|by Anonymous||reply 404||06/11/2021|
The Last Days of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrie -- fascinating stuff!
|by Anonymous||reply 407||06/11/2021|
I'm halfway through INTERIOR CHINATOWN by Charles Yu, but it's proving a slog for such a short book. Heavy-handed in making his point that "race" is more than just black and white.
|by Anonymous||reply 408||Last Monday at 4:33 AM|
r408, I bought that book based on a DL recommendation a while ago....still haven't gotten into it in spite of a couple of attempts.
|by Anonymous||reply 409||Last Monday at 4:38 AM|
I'm just starting Empire of Pain, the biography of the Sackler family, who brought the world Oxycontin, and are (or were) being sued by various individuals and organizations on behalf of those who became addicted. Majordomo Arthur Sackler also happens to be the person who brought Librium and Valium to market.
It's a fascinating book, its narrative reading like good fiction.
|by Anonymous||reply 410||Last Monday at 5:28 AM|
My bad! Jonathan Lee, Jonathan Dee ... I have not read the former although I have a copy of "High Dive" sitting in a bag of book-sale acquisitions somewhere.
I have to admit I also did not much like "Interior Chinatown" and don't quite get the hype. It felt only sketched out, not fully formed, better in concept than in actual execution. I wouldn't recommend it.
Very excited to pick up "The Night Watchman" and read that soon.
|by Anonymous||reply 411||Last Monday at 7:38 AM|