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What Books Are You Reading In 2024? Part 1

As midnight ticks around and the fireworks burst in the skies of my hometown, it’s time for the first reading thread of the New Year, where DataLounge friends share what they are reading, good or bad. Short stories etc are welcome.

As per the previous thread, I am still listening to Moby Dick, but not during chemotherapy, there are too many interruptions and I am enjoying the story far too much for stopping and starting. So it’s on my commute.

I wanted a big, easy to read saga to read over the holidays so I am rereading Gone With The Wind for the first time since childhood. Scarlett has less of Vivien Leigh’s devious intelligence, and Melanie isn’t a beatific and sickly sweet as per Olivia de Havilland but guileless, plucky and almost immature. Reading now, they are very much sheltered teenagers.

I read the CWA Gold Dagger winner every year so The Kingdoms of Savannah by George Dawes Green is on my list.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 465April 19, 2024 4:37 AM

Happy 2024 fellow readers.

Like others in the past thread, I read Lincoln In The Bardo a few months ago - loved it.

For Christmas I received I Am Homeless if This Is Not My Home by Lorrie Moore and the sequel to The Firm by John Grisham (I thought he was dead??!).

by Anonymousreply 1December 31, 2023 5:26 PM

I started NORTH WOODS a couple of days ago. A few smart friends had loved this new novel and I asked on the earlier thread if anyone here had liked it but there were no responses. After a bumpy start with some high falutin' poetic language it's rather enjoyable.

Happy New Year dear DL readers!

by Anonymousreply 2December 31, 2023 6:11 PM

How did people interpret the end of the guest? I just finished it.

Happy new year everyone!

by Anonymousreply 3December 31, 2023 11:22 PM

I just ordered David Mamet's new book, against my better judgement.

by Anonymousreply 4January 1, 2024 1:42 AM

There are at least a dozen interpretations of the ending of The Guest. As much as I enjoyed reading the book, I was disappointed in the ending, It didn't feel like a bold choice but like the author didn't know how to end it.

by Anonymousreply 5January 1, 2024 4:35 AM

Currently reading The Wager by David Gann.

by Anonymousreply 6January 1, 2024 4:39 AM

R6, I bought that but haven't read it yet. Is it good?

by Anonymousreply 7January 1, 2024 4:41 AM

I'm not r6 but I read The Wager earlier this year and really enjoyed it. And I'm generally not much into non-fiction.

by Anonymousreply 8January 1, 2024 4:51 AM

Just started Madonna: A Rebel Life by Mary Gabriel. Will report back. In 3 months. It’s almost 900 pages after all.

by Anonymousreply 9January 1, 2024 4:53 AM

Streisand must be furious that Prince Harry and Britney Spears' memoirs outsold hers.

by Anonymousreply 10January 1, 2024 5:01 AM

R5 - totally agree. I really enjoyed it up until the very end.

I tried her first book - the girls - but couldn’t get into it.

by Anonymousreply 11January 1, 2024 2:21 PM

Same on The Girls!

by Anonymousreply 12January 1, 2024 2:22 PM

I'm re-reading Murakami's fantastic Wind-Up Bird Chronicles.

Someone translated 60 missing pages from the original Japanese that weren't included with the English translation and has posted them online, so this is the first time I'm reading it more or less unabridged.

by Anonymousreply 13January 1, 2024 3:47 PM

I keep forgetting to finish the Streisand. It’s fun enough but doesn’t have momentum.

by Anonymousreply 14January 1, 2024 3:53 PM

Once I stopped fighting the structure of "Lincoln in the Bardo" and went along with the program, I loved it! Absolutely beautiful and moving, and funny too. I'm glad that I stuck with it; it's going to stay with me for a while.

by Anonymousreply 15January 1, 2024 4:44 PM

These are next up for me: Arrowsmith, This Other Eden, Boneland, The House of Dust, and Magnificent Rebels: The First Romantics and the Invention of the Self.

End of year for me was all about Elizabeth Bowen's work: The Death of the Heart, The Heat of the Day, The Last September, Pictures and Conversations

by Anonymousreply 16January 1, 2024 5:10 PM

Zadie Smith is one of my favorite novelists. I am reading here newest The Fraud. About 50 pages in I am thinking "why is a novelist whose great skill is capturing 21st century reality writing about these old farts in the 19th century. Anyone read it? Is it worth the time?

The DL Books threads (and the Jeopardy threads) are my favorite. I think that means I am old. Happy New Year DLers.

by Anonymousreply 17January 1, 2024 5:17 PM

Happy New Year r17!

I read (I think) about 300 pages of Zadie's new book and gave up at the point she began the back history of the Black character, who IIRC didn't really have much bearing on the main story. I just didn't care about the outcome of any of the characters. She didn't either, I think. Sad, because I think that main plot could have been far more interesting.

by Anonymousreply 18January 1, 2024 6:01 PM

R16, I really liked The Death of the Heart. I haven't read anything else by Bowen, though

by Anonymousreply 19January 1, 2024 6:11 PM

Death of the Heart is also the only Bowen I've read. And I also liked it. Would you have a recommendation for another one, r16?

by Anonymousreply 20January 1, 2024 7:33 PM

Is there an Elizabeth Bowen resurgence going on? I too just read “The Death of the Heart” after enjoying the short story “Joining Charles”. She has a very clear and wicked eye for class issues.

I’ve decided I will try yet again this year with Ivy Compton-Burnett and have got “Pastors and Masters” on order.

by Anonymousreply 21January 1, 2024 9:25 PM

By an odd coincidence, last week I just finished Bowen's "A World of Love," which was terrific. It's one of her most underrated novels.

by Anonymousreply 22January 1, 2024 9:28 PM

I’m curious as to what you thought of the last few chapters of Night Clit?

by Anonymousreply 23January 1, 2024 9:38 PM

I finished Douglas Stuart's Young Mungo this weekend. I had really liked his Shuggie Bain, and while I am glad I read Mungo, it definitely seemed a book that just wanted to repeat the first book's success and the last third of the book seemed sloppy and hurried and trying to fabricate a happy ending from an world that doesn't offer happy endings.

by Anonymousreply 24January 1, 2024 10:12 PM

R24 try Mando

by Anonymousreply 25January 1, 2024 10:22 PM

R16 Go perhaps for The Heat of the Day.

Also, Bowen's Collected Stories are magnificent overall. Many are set in London during the Blitz and the volume contains classic ghost stories, among them "The Happy Autumn Fields" and "The Demon Lover."

by Anonymousreply 26January 2, 2024 1:03 AM

^^^^ oops, the above was intended for R20, my bad

by Anonymousreply 27January 2, 2024 1:19 AM

R13 I read Norwegian Wood a couple of decades ago and was disinclined to read more Murakami due to the gloom.

by Anonymousreply 28January 2, 2024 11:06 AM

Enjoying this even though it’s dark

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 29January 2, 2024 1:12 PM

The Bible. Anything you list on here will be banned next week - I’lll see to it!

by Anonymousreply 30January 2, 2024 1:36 PM

Based on recommendations here, on the last day of the year I ordered MY SEARCH FOR WARREN HARDING and DESPERATE CHARACTERS, two novels I've had on my Amazon Wish List for a long time.

And I also ordered REAL EASY a new murder mystery involving a strip club by Marie Rutkoski, which the NY Times recently featured in an article about books that had their covers redesigned for paperback publication.

I'll report back once I've read them.

by Anonymousreply 31January 2, 2024 1:45 PM

Norwegian Wood and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle could not be any more dissimilar, R28. If that’s at all helpful.

by Anonymousreply 32January 2, 2024 2:06 PM

Thanks r32, NW put me off Murakami and I need to give him another go.

I’m starting Everyone on This Train is a Suspect by Benjamin Stevenson - described as Murder On The Orient Express in the Australian desert on a train populated by crime writers.

by Anonymousreply 33January 6, 2024 10:44 AM

I'm reading Shirley Jackson's collection of short stories, The Lottery and Other Stories. Loving it. She died at 48 but produced very fine writing while alive. Very underrated fiction writer. She packs a lot of substance into a simple, declarative sentence. Stories are weird and dark.

by Anonymousreply 34January 6, 2024 11:04 AM

By chance, I picked up "Lenin On The Train" by Catherine Merridale. It's a documentation of Lenin's return from exile in Switzerland back to Russia, an event which set flame to the Russian Revolution. Surprisingly engaging.

by Anonymousreply 35January 6, 2024 11:14 AM

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver. It's excellent..

by Anonymousreply 36January 6, 2024 12:37 PM

Men Without Work about the epidemic of prime-aged American men choosing not to work.

by Anonymousreply 37January 6, 2024 2:04 PM

I'm currently reading [bold]Farrell Covington and the Limits of Style[/bold] by Paul Rudnick and am really enjoying it.

by Anonymousreply 38January 6, 2024 3:13 PM

Ugh R38, Farrell Covington is the single worst novel I’ve read in years. Maybe it’s moderately amusing very occasionally but it’s so poorly written. The characters are all one dimensional and nothing about the plot is remotely believable. I hated it.

by Anonymousreply 39January 6, 2024 4:47 PM

Good for you, R31 - I recommended WARREN HARDING. Get back to us after you've finished it!! Happy New Year!!

by Anonymousreply 40January 6, 2024 4:56 PM

Based on these posts I'm giving 'Lincoln in the Bardo' a shot. I've loved Saunders ever since he said the YA book 'Johnny Tremain' made him a writer. That book didn't make me a writer, I can't write my way out of a paper bag, but it made me a reader for life.

Unfortunately I can't find much contemporary fiction that appeals. The last novel I loved was the booker prize winner 'Milkman' by Anna Burns. I second or third 'The Wager' for nonfiction.

Last night I started 'Emma' again. I reread Austen whenever I can't find anything else. Austen steadies me.

by Anonymousreply 41January 6, 2024 5:13 PM

Night Clit is an exciting read.

by Anonymousreply 42January 6, 2024 5:18 PM

Paul Rudnick excelled at one-liners (occasionally) but not much else.

by Anonymousreply 43January 6, 2024 7:07 PM

All of my friends are raving about James McBride's THE HEAVEN AND EARTH GROCERY STORE. My copy arrives tomorrow, can't wait to read it.

by Anonymousreply 44January 9, 2024 2:32 AM

R44 I tried and couldn’t get thru it. Found his writing about Jews very off-putting.

by Anonymousreply 45January 9, 2024 2:59 AM

Chiming in to recommend [italic]The House on Vesper Sands[/italic], which I finished on New Year's Eve. Victorian detective story with gothic and paranormal elements, featuring Inspector Cutter and his mis-matched (but not at all) 'sargeant' Gideon Bliss.

I listened to the audio of Bowen's [italic]The House in Paris[/italic] years ago, recalling it being a decent read. I started ICB's [italic]The Mighty and Their Fall[/italic] today, R21, which like [italic]The Present and the Past[/italic] features dialogue which I cannot imagine anyone speaking naturally!

by Anonymousreply 46January 9, 2024 10:31 PM

Congrats on your italics, r46!

by Anonymousreply 47January 10, 2024 2:17 AM

If you like WARREN HARDING, please try his LOVE JUNKIE. Hilarious.

by Anonymousreply 48January 10, 2024 2:23 AM

Finished THE BEE STING. Book of the the year for me. Now onto THE GUEST. Apprehensive about the ending after the above comments.

by Anonymousreply 49January 10, 2024 2:25 AM

I'm about half way through CAPITAL by John Lanchester, and didn't know if I would enjoy it or not. But, it has turned out to be a highly enjoyable read.

by Anonymousreply 50January 10, 2024 2:38 AM

R50 I love John Lanchester's journalism and essays and watched the BBC series based on 'Capital', it's very good.

Thanks for reminding me about his fiction. I will get Capital and his first novel looks interesting:

The Debt to Pleasure (1996) won the 1996 Whitbread Book Award in the First Novel category and the 1997 Hawthornden Prize. It was described as a skilful and wickedly funny account of the life of a loquacious Englishman named Tarquin Winot, revealed through his thoughts on cuisine as he undertakes a mysterious journey around France. The revelations become more and more shocking as the truth about the narrator becomes apparent. He is a monster, and yet an appealing and erudite villain.

by Anonymousreply 51January 10, 2024 3:15 PM

CAPITAL sounds right up my alley. Ordering it today!

by Anonymousreply 52January 10, 2024 3:49 PM

David Mamet's "Everywhere An Oink Oink" is hysterical. Very funny and very wise.

by Anonymousreply 53January 10, 2024 7:07 PM

He must have had a ghost writer, r53.

by Anonymousreply 54January 11, 2024 12:12 AM

I am reading Lanny by Max Porter which I recommend if you like magical realism.

by Anonymousreply 55January 12, 2024 10:06 AM

Silent Sky by Allan Eckert

by Anonymousreply 56January 12, 2024 12:11 PM

R55 Nothing but respect for Gogol, Kafka, Borges... and Marques in the more modern world. But now when I see a book reviewed as "magical realism" I make a note to avoid it. Now it just seems a waste of time... like fantasy novels, which I avoid.

by Anonymousreply 57January 12, 2024 3:13 PM

Reading this book. It’s well written but very sad. About a teenage girl who loses her uncle to AIDS in the 80s and befriends his surviving partner.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 58January 12, 2024 3:42 PM

"The Outlaw Ocean" by Ian Urbina

by Anonymousreply 59January 13, 2024 3:19 AM

I'd like to read something uplifting.

by Anonymousreply 60January 13, 2024 4:25 AM

R58- I loved that book. It’s the perfect winter read.

by Anonymousreply 61January 13, 2024 10:38 AM

Yes r61 it’s beautifully written.

by Anonymousreply 62January 13, 2024 1:03 PM

Started listening to Mary Beard's new nonfiction [italic]Emperor of Rome[/italic] to see if I could get into it as author self-narration can be tricky. Verdict: an hour later, yes!

by Anonymousreply 63January 14, 2024 12:58 AM

I just finished REAL EASY a very good thriller about murders centering around a strip club in the Chicago area in 1999. A literate whodunnit that's maybe a tad too long at 300 pages but I'd definitely recommend to those looking for a casual read on a cozy winter day.

The book came to my attention a few weeks ago when the NY Times did an article about new paperbacks whose cover art was redesigned because the various publishers felt the worthy books needed a better chance in finding an audience. It was also among the Times' notable books/mysteries of 2022.

by Anonymousreply 64January 14, 2024 3:38 AM

Who is the author r64?

by Anonymousreply 65January 14, 2024 5:12 AM

REAL EASY is by Marie Rutkoski, r65.

by Anonymousreply 66January 14, 2024 12:47 PM

Thanks r66.

Can anyone recommend some good recent-ish (a relative term - let’s say post 1975 🥴) academic novels/satires? Preferably not by British writers?

by Anonymousreply 67January 14, 2024 1:41 PM

THE LECTURER'S TALE by James Hynes is one of the funniest academic novels I've ever read.

I also love his novel NEXT though it doesn't have an academic setting.

by Anonymousreply 68January 14, 2024 1:49 PM

Just finished Stephen McCauley's latest, YOU ONLY CALL WHEN YOU'RE IN TROUBLE. One of his better novels, probably because his wistful gay viewpoint hangs more naturally on a man in his sixties. There's a subplot about a college student becoming obsessed with her teacher, and it feels like this could have happened to McCauley.

by Anonymousreply 69January 14, 2024 4:05 PM

Fancy Fingering Techniques For Beginners

by Anonymousreply 70January 14, 2024 4:10 PM

Have you read Wonder Boys, R67? Highly recommended.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 71January 14, 2024 10:21 PM

As much as I've loved most of Chabon's novels, I 've never been able to get into WONDER BOYS or THE MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH, his first 2 hits.

by Anonymousreply 72January 14, 2024 10:42 PM

[quote]Can anyone recommend some good recent-ish (a relative term - let’s say post 1975 🥴) academic novels/satires? Preferably not by British writers?

Anagrams by Lorrie Moore

by Anonymousreply 73January 14, 2024 10:59 PM

Thanks op, for continuing this.

Just finished Games and Rituals from Katherine Heiny. I think she is one of my favourite current writers.

Also finished Bad Actors from Mick Heron, from the Slow Horsers series, it is phenomenal as well.

Currently reading Demon Copperhead (yeah. Good) and Monsters, a Fans Dilemma, from Claire Dederer, a very gd book that articulates how you like writers who in real life were shits (Polanski, Woody Allen, inter alia).

by Anonymousreply 74January 14, 2024 11:27 PM

R73, that is one of my favorite books. I like her a lot but the description of her latest does not excite me. Specially since her latest ones were not tnat good. But yes, someone who wrote some of her short stories deserves finding out.

by Anonymousreply 75January 14, 2024 11:31 PM

I am a big fan of Moore’s short stories, but this novel just seemed like a mess. She continues to write some wonderful sentences, but developing plot and characters over the length of even a short novel is not, IMI, her strong suit. (I don’t read her early novel.)

by Anonymousreply 76January 14, 2024 11:34 PM

Loved WONDER BOYS.

by Anonymousreply 77January 14, 2024 11:36 PM

LOVED MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH! It started my fascination with all things Chabon!

by Anonymousreply 78January 15, 2024 2:25 AM

OK, I guess I've just gotta read beyond the first 30 or so pages on those two, r77 and r78. KAVALIER & CLAY, MOONGLOW and TELEGRAPH AVENUE are among my all-time faves.

by Anonymousreply 79January 15, 2024 2:30 AM

I'm a huge Lorrie Moore fan, but I also did not like her recent novel very much -- it felt hastily sketched, and weird in a bad way. I really liked her other novels (Anagrams, Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?, and A Gate at the Stairs) but it's true that short stories are where she shines greatest.

Speaking of short stories, just finished "Daddy" by Emma Cline after loving "The Guest." Another really great read - as a fiftyish dude, I was awestruck by how well she inhabits male characters of my generation. I kept thinking, how does a woman her age even know this stuff?

by Anonymousreply 80January 16, 2024 6:01 PM

Fancy Fingering Techniques For Advanced Practitioners

by Anonymousreply 81January 16, 2024 7:46 PM

Any read Open Throat, narrated by a queer mountain lion stalking the outskirts of Hollywood.? Ordered on audio and am eager to listen. Reviews have been very good and I'm intrigued.

by Anonymousreply 82January 16, 2024 9:52 PM

Fuck no r82

by Anonymousreply 83January 16, 2024 10:24 PM

[quote]I just finished REAL EASY a very good thriller about murders centering around a strip club in the Chicago area in 1999. A literate whodunnit that's maybe a tad too long at 300 pages but I'd definitely recommend to those looking for a casual read on a cozy winter day.

Thanks to the DLer who recommended this. I was all in from page one where a veteran stripper tells a newbie not to sit on the strip club couches naked: "You'll get germs in your cookie."

Not long after that, a discussion of how a murdered stripper was identified by the serial numbers on her tit implants. Loving it so far.

by Anonymousreply 84January 16, 2024 11:27 PM

That was me! ^^^^^^

Glad you're enjoying it! Sorry about some of the depressing aspects.

by Anonymousreply 85January 17, 2024 12:10 AM

Finally snow and cold in New York. Does anyone have any great winter reads to recommend? Think novels that evoke cold and that are engrossing enough to lose yourself over a snowy weekend. The opposite of a beach book really. Would love any recs!

by Anonymousreply 86January 18, 2024 12:18 AM

R86. Ice by Anna Kavan

by Anonymousreply 87January 18, 2024 12:22 AM

For r86 -- "The Big Rock Candy Mountain" by Wallace Stegner. Family drama that takes place from about 1900-1930, mostly in North Dakota, Montana and Utah. There's a long section set during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, about a massive blizzard that descends on Montana, that's one of the most revisiting parts of a book I've ever read.

by Anonymousreply 88January 18, 2024 12:25 AM

** riveting -- not "revisiting"

by Anonymousreply 89January 18, 2024 12:33 AM

I hear good things about a thriller, COLD PEOPLE by Tom Robb Smith, a gay Brit.

by Anonymousreply 90January 18, 2024 1:42 AM

R86: "Ethan Frome" by Edith Wharton. A novella, really, and possibly the saddest one ever. Also, although it takes place over the course of a year or more, "Anna Karenina" practically demands to be read in the winter. (You can skip the chapters with Levin gassing on about The Peasants and The Land.)

by Anonymousreply 91January 18, 2024 1:46 AM

I’ve started reading the Lew Archer detective novels by Ross MacDonald. Pure pleasure.

by Anonymousreply 92January 18, 2024 1:53 AM

I am currently juggling 3, hoping one really grabs me:

HERC by Phoenicia Rogerson

IDLEWILD by James Frankie Thomas

THE DUD AVOCADO by Elaine Dundy

by Anonymousreply 93January 18, 2024 2:01 AM

r91, I read the Wharton novella Summer last year. It was really good

by Anonymousreply 94January 18, 2024 2:36 AM

R93 I liked Idlywild a lot.

by Anonymousreply 95January 18, 2024 2:49 AM

Another Wallace Stegner fan here. Big Rock Candy Mountain is indeed a riveting book, and let me recommend Crossing to Safety, which follows two faculty couples through the 35/40 years of their friendship. While it lacks Stegner's characteristic romanticizing of the American West, it is a moving and finally, aching meditation on Friendship.

And I'm know I'm really late to the party, but just finished Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The early section of the book, setting the characters of Chona and Moshe, Addie and Nate..reminded me of Michael Chabon's writing. Then the middle section of the book was reminiscent of Wally Lamb's work and we finish with a section (Dodo's rescue) that took me back to Lincoln Highway, and Amor Towles. A really great read.

by Anonymousreply 96January 18, 2024 12:10 PM

I'm just reading THE HEAVEN AND EARTH GROCERY STORE right now. Gorgeous writing. Cannot believe the depth to the Jewish characters and their lives that James McBride brings (I'm Jewish), as well, of course to the Black characters. I'm also reminded of Michael Chabon. I'm about 130 pages in though, and wish there was a little more plot.

by Anonymousreply 97January 18, 2024 12:32 PM

You can’t go wrong with anything by Edith Warton. Ethan Frome is very different than her NYC based social satires though.

by Anonymousreply 98January 18, 2024 12:47 PM

Wharton is always a good choice.

by Anonymousreply 99January 18, 2024 12:50 PM

Dry by Michael Cunningham. Story takes place on three dates, April 5 of 2019, 2020, and 2021. I'm not going to spoil anything by saying I didn't like the ending for the same reason I didn't like the end of A Home at the End of the World. I wish his storytelling were as elegant as his sentence writing.

by Anonymousreply 100January 18, 2024 12:54 PM

Day not dry.

And agree - I enjoyed it and didn’t like the ending either.

by Anonymousreply 101January 18, 2024 1:07 PM

My current *big* read is War and Peace (using the Maude translation) I don't think I could ever grow tired of Tolstoy.

Otherwise I'm reading: George Gershwin: His Life and Work (Howard Pollack), The Red and The Black (Stendhal, trans. by Catherine Slater), and a collection of stories by H.P. Lovecraft (love the prose, love the atmosphere, my god the racism).

by Anonymousreply 102January 18, 2024 1:14 PM

I tried reading The Red and Black a few years ago. Gave up out of disinterest in the characters after about 200 pages.

by Anonymousreply 103January 18, 2024 1:30 PM

Read Stephen McCauley's "You Only Call When You're In Trouble" yesterday. His best book ever. Mature, funny, heartbreaking, and written so beautifully I almost didn't believe it was a work by McCauley. Magnificent job at articulating seriously flawed characters. I didn't think he could pull this off, but he does.

by Anonymousreply 104January 18, 2024 2:41 PM

Please tell me this isn't another Object of My Affection 'gal pal flirtation' plots!

by Anonymousreply 105January 18, 2024 2:54 PM

I'm, reading BASQUIAT: A QUICK KILLING IN ART by Phoebe Hoban. It was initially published in 1998 and currently out of print. I ordered a second hand copy on eBay and cannot recommend it highly enough.

by Anonymousreply 106January 18, 2024 3:00 PM

R105-Not at all. Engrossing family drama involving all sorts of intermingled relationships. NOTHING like "Object Of My Affection", not even a little. He's certainly matured in so many ways, mainly thematically.

by Anonymousreply 107January 18, 2024 3:09 PM

[quote] I'm about 130 pages in though, and wish there was a little more plot.

You're just at the point where more plot will kick in soon.

The novel to me was really most evocative of Dickens in the first half of his career. It begins with lots and lots of character establishment and scene setting before the plot really kicks in.

by Anonymousreply 108January 18, 2024 3:28 PM

I've been iced in here in the Pacific NW, and I've been reading lots of George Simenon's Maigret mysteries. I like them because they're mostly about character rather than about plot.

by Anonymousreply 109January 18, 2024 3:29 PM

[quote]You can skip the chapters with Levin gassing on about The Peasants and The Land

They’re the best - and funniest - bits in Anna Karenina.

by Anonymousreply 110January 18, 2024 3:44 PM

Just finished NIGHT WATCH by Jayne Anne Phillips. Very absorbing.

by Anonymousreply 111January 18, 2024 5:35 PM

R109: whilst shut in during 2020-21, I splurged on almost the entire Maigret audio series from Audible. Outstanding narration! Still have a few to go, and will likely listen to the series again later as I don't remember book plots well.

by Anonymousreply 112January 18, 2024 7:31 PM

Has anyone read Tan Twan Eng's THE HOUSE OF DOORS? A friend recommended it the other day and I just ordered it. It's a novel about Somerset Maugham in Malaysia in the 1950s with his young lover and seems to have characters in it who were the basis of some characters in Maugham's novella THE LETTER (the basis of the Bette Davis film). I think it was a recent Booker finalist Sounded right up my alley.

by Anonymousreply 113January 18, 2024 9:10 PM

The Humble Lover, Edmund White’s latest. I’ll finish it (it’s not that long), but it’s far from his best—he’s trying to be Balzac or Edith Wharton, writing drolly about the wealthy and the ballet world in NYC, but it doesn’t really amount to much. I liked Our Young Man, to which it bears some resemblance, but I think White has written himself dry—his best work ended with books around the time of The Farewell Symphony and The Married Man.

by Anonymousreply 114January 18, 2024 9:26 PM

[quote] Has anyone read Tan Twan Eng's THE HOUSE OF DOORS?

I read it this month and I loved it.

Lots of good background about Maugham's relationship with his handsome but dissolute lover Gerald Haxton, and about the case that inspired"The letter" (which Eng claims had an even more shocking truth behind it than it did in Maugham's short story). And beautiful details and atmosphere regarding the British expatriate community in Malaysia in the 1910s and 20s.

by Anonymousreply 115January 18, 2024 9:29 PM

Agree ^^^^^. Eng writes beautifully and is gay. Wasn't a Booker shortlister, but should have been.

As far as Edmund White is concerned, he's 84, and has probably lost his touch. A friend is an exec at his publishing house and says they publish his books out of respect for his status as Grand Old Man of LGBTQ letters. They know the books won't sell, but are fond of the old queen.

by Anonymousreply 116January 18, 2024 9:45 PM

R116. That would seem to make sense. From a scholarly point of view, I suppose it’s good to have these books of White’s—they just aren’t that rewarding in and of themselves. It’s not as with some other writers (and composers), whose “late style” grows richer or starker (but in deeply affecting ways), like three of the four Nemesis novels by Roth—all but The Humbling (a misstep that is more revelatory of Roth’s loss of sexual self-confidence than a satisfying narrative on its own—similar to The Humble Lover). After writing more and more expansive novels, Roth returned to his conciseness of Goodbye, Columbus with a retrospective sense of life in Nemesis, Everyman, and Indignatin. Much like Shakespeare’s late romances (not that Roth was Shakespeare) and Eliot’s Four Quartets. That ain’t what’s happening with most of the recent novels.

I’ve always heard White is a good friend and considerate mentor, so I hardly begrudge hum these novels. He and Holleran remain the two best gay male novelists to emerge from Stonewall and the Violet Wuill. Picano never did write anything above pretentious pulp novels—a Rona Jaffe for shop bottoms.

by Anonymousreply 117January 18, 2024 11:01 PM

[quote]Picano never did write anything above pretentious pulp novels—a Rona Jaffe for shop bottoms.

A perfect summary.

by Anonymousreply 118January 18, 2024 11:22 PM

LOVE this thread, it just gets better and better with recommendations and interesting opinions.

Thanks, everyone!

by Anonymousreply 119January 19, 2024 12:39 AM

I just put The House of Doors on my Amazon wishlist.

It sounds interesting

by Anonymousreply 120January 19, 2024 1:02 AM

Holleran is slightly younger than White (he'll be 80 this year) but he's still writing very well. His The Kingdom of Sand a few years back is a lovely novel. His topics tend to be repetitive, but the style is first rate.

by Anonymousreply 121January 19, 2024 1:28 AM

The Kingdom of Sand is one of my favorite novels of the last ten years.

by Anonymousreply 122January 19, 2024 1:36 AM

Then there is Ethan Mordden, whose early Buddies novels were great fun. Then he turned to theater writing, also terrific in the early volumes. Now he pretty much self-publishes and is getting pretty sloppy.

by Anonymousreply 123January 19, 2024 1:38 AM

Poo! You can’t read!

by Anonymousreply 124January 19, 2024 10:29 AM

Mordden’s early stuff was smart and clever. His sense of theatre was good, but it was always annoying that he wrote as if we’re actually in the audience of The Black Crook at its premiere—I get he wanted to give us a sense of what it was like to be in “the room where it happened,” but it just rang false. I agree that his books of the last twenty years have become increasingly sloppy and he seems to just go over the same ground over and over, just with slightly different emphases or organization. I bought his “Gays on Broadway” book, but haven’t felt called to read it yet.

by Anonymousreply 125January 19, 2024 12:30 PM

There was a book Mordden around 1990 (I think) about the history of the various big Hollywood studios of the Golden Age and analyzing their styles and machinations. I remember finding it fascinating.

OMG Holleran's Kingdom of Sand? I found it the most unrelentingly depressing book about gay men I've ever read. Just brutal. To each his own, I guess.

by Anonymousreply 126January 19, 2024 1:00 PM

The Kingdom of Sand was awful and I’m a huge Holleran fan.

One of his best books (which I haven’t seen mentioned in these threads) is In September, the Light Changes” which is a collection of short stories (and NOT a sentence from a Kevin Sessums Facebook post).

Have you ever read any book’s by Holleran’s mentee, Philip Dean Walker? I would recommend “At Danceteria” which Holleran himself blurbed and which contains a story her referred to as, “a minor gay classic in the literature of AIDS” called “The Boy Who Lived Next to the Boor Next Door.”

On the subject of Edmund White, I really enjoy his semi-recent novel “Our Young Man.”

by Anonymousreply 127January 19, 2024 1:15 PM

"Gays On Broadway" is repetitive shite.

by Anonymousreply 128January 19, 2024 2:43 PM

Fucker Face

by Anonymousreply 129January 19, 2024 2:58 PM

I agree about White's The Humble Lover. It seems very thin soup indeed. I remain a fan of White, but find his earlier work (Boys Own Story, Beautiful Room Is Empty, etc.) much more enjoyable. And...I don't think of myself as prudish, and actually read White's My Lives, which chronicles his fascination with BDSM. But, frankly, some of the sexual stuff in Humble Lover was a little much.

I love the assessment of Picano as "Rona Jaffe for shop bottoms." He seems to have very little grist to drag to the mill of gay lit. His participation in The Violet Quill seems to have been his entree into the company of more accomplished writers.

Yeah, Mordden. Big fan of the Buddy Cycle and all of the installments that came after. My academic training is as a theatre historian (Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing) and found his writings on the American musical bitchy, insightful, and great fun to read. But I agree. He seems to have fallen out with his publisher (he was a MacMillan author for a time) and has been self-publishing. I bought one of the self-published ones (You Can't Be Too Young...) and had to give up after about 30 pages. It was full of typos, and formatting errors (widows and orphans, yikes!). I don't think it had been anywhere near an editor. I'[ll probably continue to read his writing, on the off chance that he catches lightning in a bottle again, as he did with Buddies.

by Anonymousreply 130January 19, 2024 3:08 PM

I’m reading an incest story

by Anonymousreply 131January 19, 2024 3:10 PM

His guide to cast recordings is a freakin' mess. I hear he is always in need of money, so churns out the books rather recklessly. The Gays on Broadway is from Oxford, so they hire him, but probably don't provide a competent editor.

by Anonymousreply 132January 19, 2024 5:57 PM

In anticipation of "Mary and George," I'm reading the book it's based on, "The King's Assasin" by benjamin Woolley. It's a very gossipy biography of the greatest of all royal favorites, George Villiers, who was only the second son of a commoner and whom James I kept raising and raising to become first a viscount, then an earl, then a marquess, and then a duke (which was unprecedented--before then, only members of the royal family could be dukes in England). The king was in love with him to the extent that his honoring became the preoccupation of his reign--this at a time when the king was the actual ruler of a nation and should have had much more pressing concerns. What makes this interesting for me is that I've read multiple books on the Tudors, but the Stuarts are so much less well known to me--and yet their courts were as full of intrigue and scandal and cruelty as were those of the Tudors.

The book is very funny: it's got a snappy bitchiness that makes me think a bit of Lytton Strachey's biographies (although it's much more carefully sourced and not so extravagant in its claims). George Villiers's mother Mary so far has been less of a presence than the previews for "Mary and George" would have had me believe.

by Anonymousreply 133January 19, 2024 9:07 PM

I am reading and enjoying “The Sparrow”—the 1996 novel written by Mary Doria Russell.

Has anyone else read this?

by Anonymousreply 134January 19, 2024 9:24 PM

Tan Twan Eng’s The Gift of Rain is very gay and surprisingly kinky in a sublimated way.

by Anonymousreply 135January 19, 2024 10:19 PM

R133 That sounds great; I'm adding it to my "To Read" list.

by Anonymousreply 136January 20, 2024 1:14 AM

R132. I’ve had four books published—textbooks and scholarly writing, and while I’ve never published with Oxford, I’ve noticed that in recent years, they appear to have or sloppy copy editing and proofing—perhaps the arrogance of the “brand.” Ironically, the best editing I’ve seen has come from houses like Northwestern University Press and the late, lamented Harrington Park.

by Anonymousreply 137January 20, 2024 1:35 AM

Just finished The Bee Sting. My god, fucking amazing. I've not been so mesmerised by a book in many years. I loved the ending but can see how it would have frustrated some.

by Anonymousreply 138January 20, 2024 7:05 PM

[Quote] I’m reading an incest story

This is my life!

by Anonymousreply 139January 20, 2024 7:19 PM

Agree. Wonderful book. I was prepared for an unconventional ending, but couldn't have guessed what he does. And thought it was pretty genius.

by Anonymousreply 140January 20, 2024 7:52 PM

I wonder if Bee Sting will ever be made into a Brit (or Irish) mini-series. Though so much of the brilliance in the book are inner monologues.

by Anonymousreply 141January 20, 2024 10:39 PM

I'm an absolute must to play Imelda, a ravishing town beauty in her late 30's!

by Anonymousreply 142January 20, 2024 10:45 PM

I need to return to Bee Sting, the Imelda chapter was just such a turn off.

by Anonymousreply 143January 21, 2024 4:07 AM

Honestly, if you couldn't get into the Imelda section, you won't ever enjoy what The Bee Sting has to offer.

And that's fine. Taste in fiction is extremely subjective.

by Anonymousreply 144January 21, 2024 4:14 AM

Finishing up Peter Guralnick’s Elvis biography Last Train to Memphis. I actually started with the second part, Careless Love, at the end of 2023 before starting this book. Elvis: In the Twilight of Memory by June Juanico (which Guralnick wrote the introduction for) is probably my favorite tho.

by Anonymousreply 145January 21, 2024 5:36 AM

Imelda’s Labia

by Anonymousreply 146January 21, 2024 3:53 PM

Can’t wait to see that, Catherine at r142, hope the necessary aging make up isn’t too gruesome.

by Anonymousreply 147January 21, 2024 4:11 PM

R147 did you like it?

by Anonymousreply 148January 21, 2024 4:17 PM

I want to start Suzanne Finstad’s Natalie Wood biography next.

by Anonymousreply 149January 21, 2024 7:01 PM

"Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone" by Benjamin Stevenson. A completely original and very funny Australian mystery.

by Anonymousreply 150January 21, 2024 7:53 PM

On a recommendation from several threads ago, I started reading "November Road," but I'm not connecting with it. I'm not a person who needs to like the protagonists of novels, but I at least have to find them interesting.

by Anonymousreply 151January 22, 2024 3:09 PM

Slade House by David Mitchell. Jury still out.

by Anonymousreply 152January 22, 2024 7:02 PM

I reread Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet last year (for the... fourth time?). It would make an excellent limited series, given a producer with care and deep pockets. It might be time to reread his Cloud Atlas again, some more (the fantastical plot aside, the man can write in ANY style). Or I could read (for the first time!) his Utopia Avenue. I rather disliked his The Bone Clocks (Slade House was fine because it was so short) and fear he's going down a literary path that doesn't interest me.

by Anonymousreply 153January 22, 2024 7:19 PM

r151, I may well be the poster who recommended November Road (though I think I also first heard of it in an early DL rec), but anyway, sorry you're not enjoying it. Have you reached the point where the male and female lead characters meet up?

by Anonymousreply 154January 22, 2024 7:42 PM

R154 Not yet. I think they're just about to.

by Anonymousreply 155January 22, 2024 8:06 PM

THE HEAVEN AND EARTH GROCERY STORE was well done until it wasn't.......the author's vivid descriptive powers eventually overwhelm the souffle that is this book until it falls flat......that, and the weird flex where the author stops in the midst of an important character's death in 1938, I believe.....to go on a long rant about modernity and (yes) smart phones. Boy, does that bring the momentum to a cold stop.

by Anonymousreply 156January 22, 2024 8:19 PM

Paul Mescal (who else ) as dickie AND younger dead brother Frank, CZJ as Imelda (current day and teenager, can play each age without problem) Cher in a supporting Oscar bid as psychic stroke victim cousin rose and performer of Diane Warren power ballad The Sting and The ring and as polish mechanic and bisexual blackmailer, who else TIMOTHEE!!

by Anonymousreply 157January 22, 2024 8:28 PM

From the chat upthread on gay authors.....

I loathed Felice Picano's books - tried to read two and just loathed them. I hated them so much....flames, on the side of my face.....it was all so shallow. I went to this fabulous party and fucked the hottest guy. He was perfectly beautiful and had the biggest cock that ever existed. We fucked for 365 consecutive hours nonstop and when he came, it was like a firehose and flooded my insides and my house. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I loved early Chabon. His books, and also early Chabon when he was young, cute, and not a stranger to cock.......

The Ethan Mordden Buddies books were solid.....I liked How Long Has This Been Going On the best. Which if I remember correctly is a quasi-continuance of the Buddies books with some of the same characters but also a lot of new ones. He must be nearly 90 by now, no?

by Anonymousreply 158January 22, 2024 9:04 PM

er, 77. But still.

by Anonymousreply 159January 22, 2024 9:04 PM

“The Verbally Abusive Relationship”

Makes me wonder if I’m sometimes the abuser. If so, it’s not supposed to be an instruction manual for assholes.

by Anonymousreply 160January 22, 2024 9:19 PM

I want to thank whoever it was back there who said the Olivia Manning trilogies are filled with characters whose real-life inspirations were homos. Now it’s kind of like reading ACT ONE.

by Anonymousreply 161January 22, 2024 9:24 PM

I'm on the last book of Manning's Levant Trilogy and would love to know if Aidan Pratt is based on anyone in her circle.

by Anonymousreply 162January 22, 2024 9:35 PM

r156, I had just the opposite reaction to HEAVEN & EARTH...slow start but just felt it got better and better as it went along and the ending was dazzling. Even the Acknowledgments had me crying and I'm really not an easy crier. I loved the way McBride didn't feel it necessary to come back to all the lead characters in the final chapter. He'd already given us so much. It's a book that will stick with me for a long time.

by Anonymousreply 163January 23, 2024 2:00 AM

R163 I respect the difference of opinion. He certainly has a way of painting a character. But I really struggled with it.

by Anonymousreply 164January 23, 2024 3:20 AM

As I said upthread, nothing is more subjective than the quality of fiction.

A few books from last year that so many people loved, DEMON COPPERHEAD, TOM LAKE, IN MEMORIAM (Alice Winn), I found meh to unreadable.

Right now, I'm reading THE HOUSE OF DOORS, highly recommended here, but so far a bit dry for me, 100 pages in. Hoping it gets a little juicier soon.

by Anonymousreply 165January 23, 2024 12:39 PM

To each his own. r165, interested in hearing what recent books have moved or fascinated you.

by Anonymousreply 166January 23, 2024 2:15 PM

Thanks so much, R165. I, too, really didn't like "Demon Copperhead" even though several friends and relatives have been raving about it. I usually give novels at least 50 pages before giving up but with that book I went 100 pages just to be sure I wasn't missing anything.

by Anonymousreply 167January 23, 2024 2:16 PM

Some newish books I loved reading last year:

THE RACHEL INCIDENT (Caroline Donoghue)

THE BEE STING (Paul Murray)

MOTHER'S BOY (Patrick Gale)

OLGA DIES DREAMING (Xochitl Gonzalez)

I HAVE SOME QUESTIONS FOR YOU (Rebecca Makkai)

OHIO (Stephen Markley)

THE APPEAL (Janice Hallett)

THE LAST DEVIL TO DIE - Thursday Murder Club (Richard Osman)

LONGBOURN (Jo Baker)

NOVEMBER ROAD (Lou Berney)

NORTH WOODS (Daniel Mason)

by Anonymousreply 168January 23, 2024 3:06 PM

I liked Tom Lake though the ending sagged a bit. I sought out (and enjoyed) a few older Patchett titles.

by Anonymousreply 169January 23, 2024 3:11 PM

I finished Demon Copperhead yesterday, r165, I would agree that if you didn’t like the first 100 pages you wouldn’t like the rest. I liked it quite a lot, read it quickly but ultimately found it too long and at tbe same time underdeveloped in respect of some characters. We ultimately don’t know a lot about The Peggots individually and other main characters.

I am now reading Trust and quit liking it. I wonder (for no particular reason) if Hernan Diaz is gay.

by Anonymousreply 170January 24, 2024 10:49 PM

^quite liking it

by Anonymousreply 171January 24, 2024 10:50 PM

Interesting question about Diaz. His terrific previous book, In the Distance, was episodic, and one of the episodes had a definite gay subtext. Was there something in Trust that made you ask?

by Anonymousreply 172January 24, 2024 11:21 PM

I will never understand the praise for TRUST. I gave up on it about 3/4 of the way through. Then, when it kept getting all these raves, even from friends. I thought I better try again and finished it, finding the big "reveal" to be the only outcome possible, and totally predictable.

I did like Diaz's IN THE DISTANCE though...

by Anonymousreply 173January 25, 2024 12:54 AM

I just felt like DEMON COPPERHEAD read like a grad school assignment: Take your favorite classic novel and write a contemporary version of it. A cheap trick for me. But then I think DAVID COPPERFIELD is one of the most beautiful novels ever written.

by Anonymousreply 174January 25, 2024 12:57 AM

I just finished my Winter reading ritual; Shadowland by Straub, Island of the Day Before by Eco, and The Grave Maurice by Martha Grimes

by Anonymousreply 175January 25, 2024 3:27 AM

I enjoyed Demon Copperfield initially, but I hit a major wall about halfway through. I could only handle reading a few pages at a time before I realized life was too short and cut bait. I’m frustrated I devoted so much time to it.

by Anonymousreply 176January 25, 2024 3:43 PM

Chiming in to say that I loved Demon Copperhead and have recommended it to all my friends who are big readers.

by Anonymousreply 177January 25, 2024 4:46 PM

I like Dickens, but the one time I tried to read David Copperfield it did nothing for me. I maybe read 100 pages. That said, I loved Armando Ianucci's recent lickety-split film version of it with Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton, Peter Capaldi and a host of other terrific British actors. Perhaps I should try the book again.

by Anonymousreply 178January 25, 2024 7:43 PM

Love COPPERFIELD. Some of Dickens' greatest characters: Micawber, Murdstone, Peggotty, Betsy Trotwood, Steerforth, Heep. Wow!

by Anonymousreply 179January 25, 2024 7:51 PM

I was one of the posters above who mentioned Michael Cunningham's DAY. It's only been a few weeks since I finished it and couldn't tell you the plot for a million dollars.

by Anonymousreply 180January 25, 2024 11:47 PM

I'm shocked there is a plot. r180.

by Anonymousreply 181January 26, 2024 1:14 AM

Has anyone else found The Covenant of Water a slog to get through? It’s almost killed my desire to continue and I find myself resisting reading it.

by Anonymousreply 182January 26, 2024 2:07 AM

I found the first half of David Copperfield incredibly depressing, the second much better.

by Anonymousreply 183January 26, 2024 12:43 PM

r182, agreed! Slogged through about 100 pages and then gave up.

by Anonymousreply 184January 26, 2024 2:28 PM

Just finished the McCauley book - VERY DISAPPOINTING!! Could barely slog through the last 100 pages or so. Nothing "heartbreaking" or "funny" at all. Poorly drawn characters, and a plot that just meanders along. DON'T BOTHER.

by Anonymousreply 185January 26, 2024 6:43 PM

After giving up on a few new books I recently purchased but didn't like, I went into my bookshelves last night and came up with the best-selling and highly rewarded and regarded LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN by Colum McCann, which I must have bought and never read (beyond a few pages) over 15 years ago.

I'm a much more patient reader now and so read about 25 pages last night and I'm somewhat engaged. Has anyone read it?

by Anonymousreply 186January 29, 2024 2:17 PM

“Nobody Asks About the Girls” by Lisa Robinson. I loved her book “There Goes Gravity” but her latest is just schlock. She brings none of the wit or snark that she did to her first book. Other than to Madonna who she can’t stand.

by Anonymousreply 187January 29, 2024 2:24 PM

Colum McCann's Let The Great World Spin is one of my favorite contemporary novels. He deservedly won the National Book Award for it, but hasn't written anything that close to its brilliance since.

by Anonymousreply 188January 29, 2024 2:55 PM

OPEN THROAT is terrific. Queer mountain lion prowls the Hollywood Hills. A brief slip of a book, it transcends what may seem a silly concept to be entertaining and moving.

by Anonymousreply 189January 29, 2024 3:21 PM

Peter Mann's "The Torqued Man." I'm not sure how I'd explain it, so I'll The New Yorker review do it for me: "This début spy novel juxtaposes two manuscripts supposedly found in Berlin at the end of the Second World War. One tells the story of Frank Pike, an ex-I.R.A. fighter recruited by the Nazis to fan anti-British sentiment in Ireland, through the fastidious diary of his besotted German handler, Adrian de Groot. The other—dismissed by de Groot as a “puerile espionage potboiler”—narrates the same time line from the perspective of Pike’s mythical alter ego, Finn McCool, who embarks on a murder spree targeting Nazi doctors. As the chapters alternate between the manuscripts, two irreconcilable portraits of Pike emerge, while de Groot’s love for the Irishman gradually emboldens him to political resistance." It's very enjoyable and very well-researched, and, halfway through, I cannot guess how it might end. And, yes, there are gays and gay sex in it, but both are pretty minimal (so far...).

by Anonymousreply 190January 29, 2024 7:39 PM

R186- this is truly bizarre. I did the very same thing on the very same day. I’m 40 pages into the book and am the same level engaged. Are we the same person?!?!

by Anonymousreply 191January 30, 2024 3:19 PM

^^^Oh my God! It's just like a Doppelgänger story by Poe or Dostoevsky... only extremely trivial!

by Anonymousreply 192January 30, 2024 4:50 PM

That's funny, r191. We're not the same person but I gave up on the book last night after reading 40 pages. Couldn't bear either Irish brother or those prostitutes and it didn't feel like a plot was ever going to kick in.

Also, I bought 2 new paperbacks yesterday which I'm eager to read: THE KNOCKOUT QUEEN by Rufi Thorpe and CHECKOUT 19 by Claire-Louise Bennett. Can't remember if I first heard of them here or just found them on Amazon but both have very positive and intriguing reader reviews. Onward!

by Anonymousreply 193January 30, 2024 4:59 PM

Listening to Claire-Louise Bennett's POND as an audiobook was an experience I'll never forget!

by Anonymousreply 194January 30, 2024 8:06 PM

Started reading THE APPEAL by Janice Hallett a couple days ago and am finding it hard to put down. Very clever, and the epistolary format works brilliantly. It's like eating a bag of potato chips: I find myself saying "just one more" email or text message and I'll stop, but it's hard to do. (And there hasn't even been a murder yet.)

by Anonymousreply 195January 31, 2024 6:47 PM

I had a very different experience reading McCauley's latest, R185. I did find it heartbreaking and funny. That's more than can be said for Holleran's The Kingdom of Sand, which I abandoned in despair halfway through.

by Anonymousreply 196January 31, 2024 7:08 PM

I added [italic]the Appeal[/italic] to my reading list. [italic]Where'd You Go, Bernadette?[/italic] also used an epistolary style and it was a fun read. It allows for changes of style depending on who's writing.

by Anonymousreply 197January 31, 2024 8:27 PM

Speaking of doppelgängers, I picked up Naomi Klein’s book about being mistaken for Naomi Wolf and it’s very entertaining and, I guess, edifying.

by Anonymousreply 198January 31, 2024 10:41 PM

I wasn’t blown away by the new McCauley book but I agree the relationship between Tom and his niece was lovely and touching.

I didn’t care much about the other characters, but found Tom (the gay character) compelling and well written.

by Anonymousreply 199January 31, 2024 10:45 PM

I'm having fun reading Boze Hadleigh's Hollywood Lesbians. Not too juicy but many good insights from the interview subjects on the industry and being in the closet.

by Anonymousreply 200January 31, 2024 10:54 PM

LOVED The Appeal.

Do yourself a favor and spend a wintry weekend with it with no distractions. I also enjoyed Janice Hallett's second book The Twyford Code, which was fun if not quite as great. And The Christmas Appeal which is really a novella, but revisits a lot of the same characters from The Appeal at their drama club doing a Christmas panto. The short form suited it as it didn't allow for too many complications of plotting.

I have her newest book The Alperton Angels on order. Can't wait to devour it.

by Anonymousreply 201February 1, 2024 1:49 AM

Just finished Rudnick's Farrell Covington book and it's no literary masterpiece, but aot of fun. The one-liners were like DL 15-20 years ago.

by Anonymousreply 202February 1, 2024 6:32 AM

Loved Doppelgänger, r198, it is a book everyone should read, lots of insights about social media, current issues, covid, etc. Also the time she got access because the politician thought she was Naomi Campbell.

R201, I completely agree about The Appeal but I couldn’t finish The Twyford Code, maybe i will have another try. I did finish The Alperton Angels but it was very underwhelming.

by Anonymousreply 203February 2, 2024 2:04 PM

The bookstore owner in this is 🙄

I skimmed through that fourth wing book at the airport and it seemed ridiculous.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 204February 3, 2024 10:08 AM

I’m reading The Dry, several years after everyone else

by Anonymousreply 205February 8, 2024 3:49 AM

Sons of the Profits by BIll Spiedel all about Seattle's founding thieves.

by Anonymousreply 206February 8, 2024 3:57 AM

Finishing TRUST and enjoying it more than I expected.

by Anonymousreply 207February 12, 2024 1:36 AM

A frothy novel about the French Revolution, "The Gods Are Thirsty" by Tanith Lee. It doesn't hold a candle to Hilary Mntel's "A Place of Greater Safety," but it's good purple-prosed fun.

by Anonymousreply 208February 12, 2024 12:25 PM

Based on a mention in this thread, I've started [italic]My Kitchen Wars[/italic] by Betty Fussell.

by Anonymousreply 209February 12, 2024 4:14 PM

Tanith Lee is a blast from the past. She wrote these awful retold fairy tale erotica short stories.

by Anonymousreply 210February 12, 2024 4:44 PM

I'm reading the fascinating [italic]The Making of the Atomic Bomb[/italic] by Richard Rhodes, which follows the development of quantum physics resulting in discovering fission and the physicists who pursued it. It does a great job of explaining the historical context that brought together the extraordinary group of minds at a crucial moment.

I'm also reading [italic]Infinity's Shore[/italic], the fifth in David Brin's Uplift Saga, which I consider one of the most enjoyable science fiction series.

by Anonymousreply 211February 12, 2024 5:11 PM

I’m currently reading “Farrell Covington and the Limits of Style.” I’m enjoying it enough (not too far in), but this is my first Paul Rudnick. Is everything he writes so - how do I describe this writing - kitschy and cutesy?

by Anonymousreply 212February 12, 2024 5:35 PM

Yes, r212, and this is his best incarnation of that, IMO.

by Anonymousreply 213February 12, 2024 5:44 PM

Reading the Circle by Dave Eggers, did any of you like it?

by Anonymousreply 214February 12, 2024 5:56 PM

[quote]I’m currently reading “Farrell Covington and the Limits of Style.” I’m enjoying it enough (not too far in), but this is my first Paul Rudnick. Is everything he writes so - how do I describe this writing - kitschy and cutesy?

It's gotten more so over the years. I didn't finish Farrell, but I liked his previous one about the average guy who falls in love with the Prince of England. My favorite (surely long out of print) was I'll Take It, a story about a gay boy who goes shopping with his shopaholic Jewish aunts.

by Anonymousreply 215February 12, 2024 6:54 PM

I don't know that Rudnick's writing has become more "cutesy" over the years or if we, his gay audience, has become much more sophisticated and find less charm and certainly less shock value in it. His talent hasn't matured or progressed or really kept up with the times. I know that may be an intentional style but it's unfortunate.

by Anonymousreply 216February 12, 2024 7:07 PM

I liked FARRELL, but Rudnick continues to trade on hoary cliches—gay, Jewish, New Jersey—and stereotype. But he still can be very funny.

by Anonymousreply 217February 12, 2024 10:31 PM

"The Tiger: The Rise and Fall of Tammany Hall" by Oliver Allen

by Anonymousreply 218February 13, 2024 2:30 AM

Just finished Stephen McCauley's latest YOU ONLY CALL WHEN YOU'RE IN TROUBLE which I think has gotten a rave and a pan upthread.

I guess I'm in between. I read it very quickly, maybe 2 & 1/2 days, so I was certainly very engaged but just wanted a bit more from it. I've always thought McCauley was a great writer but now, find him just a little too gentle and conservative. I wanted the satire to be sharper and funnier, there are many characters who could have been approached with a more wicked wit.

Nevertheless, there's a lot of truth here about aging and friendships and family dynamics and I did appreciate his compassion, which I suppose sounds contradictory. But I'd still recommend it, a very cozy read for a wintry weekend at home.

by Anonymousreply 219February 14, 2024 12:59 AM

Leon Uris and Jill Uris "Ireland:A Terrible Beauty" published in 1976 at the height of the troubles. It is interesting how fast Ireland turned around.

by Anonymousreply 220February 14, 2024 3:34 AM

[quote] Rudnick continues to trade on hoary cliches—gay, Jewish, New Jersey—and stereotype.

But that's all he knows. What else would he write about? Straight Lutheran Minnesota?

by Anonymousreply 221February 14, 2024 3:59 AM

Prophet song by Paul lynch and enjoying it

by Anonymousreply 222February 14, 2024 5:41 AM

I’m more than halfway through You Only Call When You’re In Trouble. I’m struggling. I’m finding myself not caring about these characters or what will happen. This feels like a book I would normally love but it’s leaving me very “meh.”

by Anonymousreply 223February 14, 2024 12:06 PM

COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN by Javier Fuentes. About a gay pastry chef forced to leave the US for his undocumented status. Returns to his native Spain, where he meets a handsome young man from a fascist family. Got good reviews, but seems a bit thin to me after 100 pages or so.

by Anonymousreply 224February 14, 2024 12:40 PM

Agree, r221, but you'd think he'd expand his vision just a bit.

by Anonymousreply 225February 14, 2024 12:41 PM

Just started Less is Lost after being above-average entertained by the first Less book. It's rehash so far, but does get the SF Columbarium details right.

by Anonymousreply 226February 14, 2024 12:42 PM

Started Janice (THE APPEAL) Hallett's THE MYSTERIOUS CASE OF THE ALPERTON ANGELS at around 9 last night and read 75 pages before going to sleep a few hours later. Riveting! I expect to spend the entire day with it today.

by Anonymousreply 227February 14, 2024 1:45 PM

Reading “The Other Black Girl.” Not great writing and a lot of expository dialogue. But I’m curious to see where it goes.

by Anonymousreply 228February 14, 2024 1:53 PM

R226 Not exactly Updike and the Rabbit novels, eh? I also liked the first novel, but thought the second was a disappointing rehash.

by Anonymousreply 229February 14, 2024 2:02 PM

Loved LESS but couldn't get through LESS IS LOST.

by Anonymousreply 230February 14, 2024 3:03 PM

GONE FOR GOOD by Harlan Coben

by Anonymousreply 231February 15, 2024 11:40 AM

In Memoriam by Alice Winn.

by Anonymousreply 232February 15, 2024 5:01 PM

[quote]In Memoriam by Alice Winn.

I'm currently reading that, too.

by Anonymousreply 233February 15, 2024 8:30 PM

How is it, R232/R233? I have it in my TBR pile.

by Anonymousreply 234February 15, 2024 8:43 PM

I'm only 40 pages in, R234, but will report back. I remember a previous poster who'd read it said they thought all the characters sounded alike, and I can see that. But they're well-off English public school boys, so they would. Only one has gone off to the front so far, and he got all shirty about his lieutenant being a factory worker in civilian life and wanting to know everyone's first name -- "Do you public school boys even have first names?" Every time I read a WWI novel it just makes me want to re-read Pat Barker's "Regeneration" trilogy again. Fantastic books, if horrifying at times.

by Anonymousreply 235February 15, 2024 9:44 PM

Loved IN MEMORIAM. It's like the best Masterpiece Theater show never made (but may well be some day). Awfully good for a debut novelist.

by Anonymousreply 236February 15, 2024 10:19 PM

I've been caught up in Tim Winton's Dirt Music and before that Breath. He's an Aussie and a fine writer.

by Anonymousreply 237February 15, 2024 10:53 PM

I can see why people didn't enjoy In Memoriam, but I really liked it, although I thought there was a subplot that seemed incredibly silly to me. I think I read, though, that it was based on real events, so what do I know?

by Anonymousreply 238February 15, 2024 11:48 PM

For me, In Memoriam was a soppy sentimental counterfeit bore. A bad version of Waugh and so many other superior tomes on WWI and gay relationships. I tried reading it twice, only made it half-way through.

by Anonymousreply 239February 16, 2024 12:00 AM

Agree r239 - I didn’t even make it halfway.

by Anonymousreply 240February 16, 2024 2:10 AM

I found, heretofore unread in my Kindle AND I listened to on Audible, The Elegance Of The Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. Did anyone read this when it was published in English and hyped sky high? It has been unread by me for actual decades at this point.

My goal this is year is to not buy a new novel until I have finished 3 I have purchased in electronic form.

by Anonymousreply 241February 21, 2024 6:57 PM

Tiepolo Blue, from James Cahill, it is a first novel, taking place in 90s Cambridge and London, with a gay, repressed, main character. Entertaining and obviously inspired by Hollingurst. Ultimately somewhat depressing .

by Anonymousreply 242February 21, 2024 8:05 PM

Did someone here recommend the Brit novel of a few years ago CAPITAL by John Lanchester? I'm in the middle of it now, enjoying it but not loving it. It's a multi-character 500+ page saga about a well-to-do street of homes in contemporary London and all of the disparate inhabitants who I imagine will eventually interact more than they are so far. Interesting and decent prose but a bit on the cold side. Again, at least so far.

Curious if others have read it.

by Anonymousreply 243February 21, 2024 9:22 PM

Finished Alice Winn's In Memoriam a couple of days ago. I liked it well enough (faint praise, I suppose), but there was something off about it that that I couldn't place until I read an article about Winn. She's also a screenwriter. And that was it -- the novel read largely like a screenplay. Dialogue-heavy and not much interior life of the characters. You could see it on screen in your head as you read it. (She says in the acknowledgements that the film rights have been sold.) Also while I was reading it more than a few things seemed familiar. The lead character seemed an awful lot like Siegfried Sassoon at times, there was more than a whiff of the play Journey's End and Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth, and one gruesome detail was right out of Pat Barker's Regeneration trilogy. Winn does acknowledge all of her borrowing in Historical Notes at the very end, so I wasn't wrong. I largely loathed the horribly elitist public school boys (and all the I say, old chap chatter when they weren't beating and buggering each other that goes with them) and wasn't too bothered when they were slaughtered in trench warfare. Of course, the ones who survive land on their feet because: money and daddy's connections and manor houses in which to recuperate. Except for one character, there's no one from the middle or lower classes, but it's Winn's novel, not mine. It did make me want to read Barker's much more inclusive trilogy again, so there's that.

by Anonymousreply 244February 22, 2024 11:23 PM

r244, you've perfectly expressed everything I didn't like about In Memoriam and why I never bothered finishing it, even with two attempts. You're very generous to say you liked it "well enough."

I was constantly having to go back and check on a character's history and remember who was who because they all sounded alike to me. Obviously, in a screenplay that wouldn't be as much of an issue, I guess. Maybe it'll be a decent film if it ever gets made.

by Anonymousreply 245February 23, 2024 12:06 AM

R241: I loved [italic]The Elegance of the Hedgehog[/italic]. Saw the film afterwards, spoiler involved so I say no more.

by Anonymousreply 246February 23, 2024 12:24 AM

Has anyone read Commitment by Mona Simpson? It started off strong but it’s becoming a slog the farther in I get. Anyone want to encourage me to keep going?

by Anonymousreply 247February 23, 2024 1:01 AM

What about Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton? Fab reviews but I'm cautious.....

by Anonymousreply 248February 23, 2024 3:18 AM

R248-It's impenetrable.

by Anonymousreply 249February 23, 2024 4:14 AM

I hear nothing but good things, r248, except it takes a while to get into it.

by Anonymousreply 250February 23, 2024 12:21 PM

Oh good! r250, I usually have a lot of patience, look forward to reading it.

by Anonymousreply 251February 23, 2024 12:57 PM

I’m trying Nita Prose’s The Maid after several recommendations, but the use of an autistic narrator is creeping me out. And why do I feel like an editor said, “Make her white”?

by Anonymousreply 252February 23, 2024 1:18 PM

Not a fan of Catton’s writing, r248.

by Anonymousreply 253February 23, 2024 2:37 PM

Any music fans? Just finished Bob Dylan in America, by Sean Wilentz and enjoyed it. This was my first Dylan book, there are hundreds of others out there, if anyone has recommendations for those worth my time I'd be appreciative. Chronicles Vol 1 is supposed to be his autobio, or what will come closest to that. Is it worthwhile.

by Anonymousreply 254February 23, 2024 2:44 PM

I read Chronicles when it came out. Yes, it’s worthwhile to hear his voice in prose form.

by Anonymousreply 255February 23, 2024 9:55 PM

R243, i read it some years ago and i liked it. For such a big book, i read it quickly but i ultimately found it a failure for what i think he was trying to convey ((Dickens, Thakeray, Trollope). Stll, a nice if somehow underwhelming book.

by Anonymousreply 256February 24, 2024 10:52 PM

(I am now in the conundrum of the old woman with a very valuable house but no really alternative)

by Anonymousreply 257February 24, 2024 10:53 PM

Thanks for responding to my post, r256.

I actually gave up on CAPITAL at the half way mark, 265 pages in! I just tired of its lack of plot and continual introduction of new characters. It was like the author couldn't figure out what to do with any of them so just kept introducing more characters. Just felt like it was never going to go anywhere and I checked some 2 and 3 star reader recs on Amazon (which I should have done before choosing the book) and they totally confirmed my dissatisfaction with it. I hate giving up when I've so much of a book but life is just too short.

PS: The sad old lady character was by far my favorite but it became clear that she wasn't going to be sticking around for much of the second half of the book.

by Anonymousreply 258February 24, 2024 11:13 PM

R258, i think you did right (though as i said I actually mildly enjoyed it). Life is too short. As a reader i am increasingly learning the art of abandoning books.

by Anonymousreply 259February 24, 2024 11:39 PM

Prince Harry's biography, Spare. And a biography on Elizabeth l.

by Anonymousreply 260February 25, 2024 12:25 AM

Just finished Less is Lost. It's a bit neurotic in a individualized way and mostly underwhelming. Good bit about the joy of loving people despite their flaws at the end. Greer's done better elsewhere. I don't think this would have been published of the first Less book wasn't such a success.

I do wonder if he posts here, though.

by Anonymousreply 261February 26, 2024 7:15 AM

an individualized way* (Oh, dear.)

by Anonymousreply 262February 26, 2024 7:25 AM

R259: I had an English lit professor in college who said that if you get to page 100 or so of a book (depending on its length, of course) and the author hasn't hooked you, then you're allowed to put the book down. It's not your fault or the author's -- the book is simply not for you. (It may be at a later point in your life, of course, or never.) This was an enormous relief to someone who finished nearly every book I started ("Maybe it'll get better!").

by Anonymousreply 263February 26, 2024 6:43 PM

"You're ALLOWED"???? You must be joking.

by Anonymousreply 264February 26, 2024 6:51 PM

A curious and interesting little novel called "The Girls" by the British gay male author John Bowen. It's an arch and campy murder story, very tongue-in-cheek. It was originally published in 1987, fell out of print, and was recently reissued by McNally Editions, who specialize in that sort of thing. It's about a lesbian couple (one in her late thirties and the other in her late twenties) who run an "artisanal" store together in a cozy Cotswolds village. When one of the "girls" needs a break and goes off on vacation by herself for a week, the other meets a young, ambiguously gay vendor of ancient music instruments. It's a good winter read, and "cottagecore" before such a thing existed. Very funny--would like to read more by Bowen.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 265February 26, 2024 6:55 PM

Great rec, r265! THank you.

by Anonymousreply 266February 26, 2024 6:58 PM

R266: it has great, pitch-perfect cover art by Edward Gorey, making it a very "queer" (sorry) kind of book.

For our lesbian sisters who appreciate quick (200 pages or less) reads about Swiss boarding schools, I would also recommend Brigid Brophy's "The Finishing Touch" (a Swiss finishing school is suddenly graced by the presence of royalty, and chaos ensues) and Fleur Jaeggy's "Sweet Days of Discipline" (inscrutable characters and "queer" longing in a timeless setting).

by Anonymousreply 267February 26, 2024 7:35 PM

I loved Less!

I also just finished The Good Soldier by Ford, which was astonishing.

And I bought the Library Of America edition of Shirley Jackson’s works, which are subtle and wonderfully written.

by Anonymousreply 268February 26, 2024 8:30 PM

Tks, r263, i am increasingly doing that. My issue is that i have sometimes stopped books and returned to them and ending liking them a lot, though, admittedly, not usually by page 100. As a reader i was always indiscriminate but as i get older i am starting to realize the books i can read are limited and should be more discriminating.

by Anonymousreply 269February 26, 2024 8:34 PM

R263, sometimes it is the author.

Finished the memoir [italic]My Kitchen Wars[/italic], glad that Betty Fussell finally ditched Paul, who came off as a jerk.

Leaning towards Molly Keane's [italic]Loving and Giving[/italic] as the next book.

by Anonymousreply 270February 26, 2024 10:16 PM

Preordered 2054

by Anonymousreply 271February 26, 2024 10:20 PM

R270, wasn't Fussell a closet bisexual?

by Anonymousreply 272February 26, 2024 10:21 PM

I seem to remember Betty walking n on Paul with a man. He was a good scholar, but book on class is simulated arrogant and stupid—very “old boy.”

by Anonymousreply 273February 26, 2024 11:01 PM

I loved Molly Keane's GOOD BEHAVIOUR and TIME AFTER TIME but still haven't read LOVING AND GIVING, which I believe was the final book of her great comeback in the 1980s. I also tried a couple of her early books from the 1920s but found them just a little too antiquated in their prose, mores and manners....totally expected, after all.

by Anonymousreply 274February 27, 2024 12:00 AM

Yes, R273, she did, knowing what she'd likely find. He identified as a "pederast" rather than a homosexual, it was the beauty of youths that attracted him, not cock. Later "got over" that with wonderful wife #2.

by Anonymousreply 275February 27, 2024 12:35 AM

I want to give a big recommendation to “Hollywood and the Movies of the Fifties,” by Foster Hirsch.

by Anonymousreply 276February 27, 2024 1:37 AM

[quote] His guide to cast recordings is a freakin' mess. I hear he is always in need of money, so churns out the books rather recklessly. The Gays on Broadway is from Oxford, so they hire him, but probably don't provide a competent editor

The Gays On Broadway book, was pretty interesting in the beginning, but began to fizzle out half way through. I’ve noticed a decline in Ethan Mordden’s books for a while now. As someone else mentioned, his book on cast albums is a mess. And his Sondheim book was awful.

But there are books of his that I still read all the time, like his books on classical music and opera. They’re literally falling apart, because I use them so often for reference.

by Anonymousreply 277February 27, 2024 1:44 AM

I finished reading “La Tercera,” the latest novel from Filipina-American author Gina Apostle. It’s both brilliant and challenging—a multigenerational family saga that explores colonization and its aftermath. Stylistically, I can’t think of any single parallel. Try to imagine Nabakov if Nabakov translanguaged between English, Tagalog, Waray, Spanish and lord knows what other languages. And while all this may sound overly intellectual and completely inaccessible, it is surprisingly engaging, funny and heartfelt. It’s a project but with a bit of patience and perseverance, it will yield great rewards. (Just for the record, I’m not Filipino.)

by Anonymousreply 278February 27, 2024 2:50 AM

[quote]He was a good scholar, but book on class is simulated arrogant and stupid—very “old boy.”

"Class" was always a bit of a DL fave, with people still quoting from it decades later. I would have thought it's been out of print for years, but a New York Times journalist dusted it off for a potential new readership back in 2017 (it was originally published way back in 1983). It would seem hopelessly dated now with the claim that Americans look up to anything British (and that Brits living in the U.S. automatically gain in status "no matter how nondescript and third-rate they might be"), but quite witty in its time.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 279February 27, 2024 5:07 AM

*Reprinted in 2017, but no new preface, no revised edition (Fussell died in 2012).

by Anonymousreply 280February 27, 2024 5:42 AM

Sounds genuinely interesting r278.

by Anonymousreply 281February 27, 2024 6:06 AM

I'm very much enjoying Eleanor Catton's BIRNAM WOOD, Unlike THE LUMINARIES which I tried (and failed) to read when it was first published and won the Booker Prize, it's not the least bit abstract or dense. It's very readable, as if Jonathan Franzen wanted to write a Michael Crichton techno-thriller. I mean, it's not a beach read, there are lots of ideas and philosophy about eco science in it, but highly engaging and well worth the time spent.

I'm about 180 pages in. I'll come back and report more when I'm done. A slow start but really gets going at around 70 pages. Great characters and New Zealand setting and unpredictable plotting.

by Anonymousreply 282February 27, 2024 12:22 PM

I just finished The House of Doors by Tan Twan Eng which was longlisted for the Booker. It follows Somerset Maugham and his lover on a visit to an old army friend and his wife in Malaysia in the 1920’s Highly recommended!

by Anonymousreply 283February 27, 2024 12:36 PM

Just finished Acts of Service. Average at best.

by Anonymousreply 284February 27, 2024 12:52 PM

I'm inspired by the new miniseries this week to try "Shogun." It was the #1 book for months when i was nine, and I always wondered what the fuss was about.

by Anonymousreply 285February 27, 2024 8:54 PM

[quote] "Class" was always a bit of a DL fave, with people still quoting from it decades later. I would have thought it's been out of print for years, but a New York Times journalist dusted it off for a potential new readership back in 2017 (it was originally published way back in 1983). It would seem hopelessly dated now with the claim that Americans look up to anything British (and that Brits living in the U.S. automatically gain in status "no matter how nondescript and third-rate they might be"), but quite witty in its time.

About fifteen years ago there was a Datalounge poster who was dubbed "the prole cap troll," because he would endlessly complain about gay men wearing baseball caps which he called "prole caps" after Fussell's example. it turned out this guy claimed to be from the wealthy East Coast establishment and just worshiped this book by Fussell. He would always want to pronounce on whether things were worthy of the upper haute bourgeoisie (which he idolized because he claimed to spring from them), until finally he was mocked so much he stopped identifying himself when posting. He certainly had his fans here, though.

by Anonymousreply 286February 27, 2024 8:57 PM

Upper Middle Class would be generally the opposite of bougie. It's [italic]backwards[/italic] baseball caps that are prole.

Delafield's [italic]Provincial Lady[/italic] series I can definitely recommend to the DL gang. On a related note, the "Mrs. Tim" books by D. E. Stevenson I think would also be of interest to some thread readers. A recurring character, Tony Morely, screams out at me "This is her gay BFF!" Naturally. back in the 40s/50s he'd be (lamely, in my opinion) identified as straight. He says at one point of possibly marrying someone "I've avoided it this far (aged 40 or so)." Mrs. Tim herself declares "He'll never marry."

by Anonymousreply 287February 27, 2024 11:12 PM

Upper Middle Class and bourgeoise is pretty much the same thing, no?

For the record, I've given up on Zadie Smith's latest.

by Anonymousreply 288February 28, 2024 2:11 AM

I read 3/4 of Zadie's latest, ironically titled THE FRAUD, and still gave up. Couldn't have cared less what happened to those characters.

by Anonymousreply 289February 28, 2024 2:59 AM

R288, I don’t think so. The burgeois were originally the people who got rich and were from outside the titled aristocracy. Unless you live in a monarchy with titles, the rich/aristocrats are all bourgeois.

by Anonymousreply 290February 28, 2024 12:09 PM

Is anyone reading the new Tommy Orange novel?

by Anonymousreply 291February 28, 2024 2:29 PM

I plan to try "Less" this year. Any advice about realistic expectations? Thanks!

by Anonymousreply 292February 28, 2024 2:31 PM

First one great; second one not-so-great, R292

by Anonymousreply 293February 28, 2024 2:37 PM

Still trying to figure out why the Imelda chapter in THE BEE STING had no periods. And the ending. ugh.

by Anonymousreply 294February 28, 2024 2:40 PM

I tried to read LESS at least 3 times before I really got into t. IIRC the first dozen pages were quite engaging then the next few not so much. If you can get past those it's quite wonderful.

It's Imelda's stream of consciousness, r294. Just go with it. She's an amazing character, my favorite in a terrific read.

by Anonymousreply 295February 28, 2024 3:26 PM

Daytime Shitting Sessions

by Anonymousreply 296February 28, 2024 3:58 PM

Anyone here read Megan Nolan's recent "Ordinary Human Failings"?

by Anonymousreply 297February 28, 2024 4:34 PM

My theory is that older you are, the more you appreciate LESS.

by Anonymousreply 298February 28, 2024 4:59 PM

R298 I am really old.. and appreciated the second Less much less.

by Anonymousreply 299February 28, 2024 5:06 PM

I'm reading James Clavell's Shogun for the first time because of the miniseries. It's different from the miniseries (almost entirely focused on the main whitec character of Blackthorn), but it's very good and very readable. i see why it was such a huge bestseller.

by Anonymousreply 300February 28, 2024 5:13 PM

Several friends raved about "Shogun" back in the day, and I tried several times to read it but just couldn't get into it. Then one of the friends said to keep going, that the plot takes off around pg. 150. And what do you know, it did! I could barely put it down. Great literature? No. Great story? Yes. (I liked Clavell's "Noble House" -- about Hong Kong -- a bit less.) Looking forward to getting started on the new Shogun limited series tonight.

by Anonymousreply 301February 28, 2024 5:58 PM

A friend is a huge fan of writer Vendela Vita, so I've started [italic]The Lovers[/italic] as her story I'd probably find easiest to get into. So far, the audiobook is working out well. Anyone else familiar with this author?

by Anonymousreply 302February 28, 2024 9:37 PM

Isn't she married to Dave Eggers?

by Anonymousreply 303February 28, 2024 9:58 PM

Shit Clit

by Anonymousreply 304February 28, 2024 10:16 PM

Anyone read the Tommy Orange books?

by Anonymousreply 305February 29, 2024 4:50 PM

I tried reading the first one that got all that praise, r305, but ultimately couldn't finish it. Found the characters too depressing and frankly uninteresting. Not the most enlightening portrait of modern Native Americans.

by Anonymousreply 306February 29, 2024 5:46 PM

And its sequel is getting raves too. I'm interested enough to start There There.

by Anonymousreply 307February 29, 2024 6:54 PM

Please come back when you've read it and let us know what you think, r307. I'm genuinely interested.

by Anonymousreply 308February 29, 2024 10:03 PM

I'm partway through Golden Age gay writer C. H. B. Kitchin's [italic]Death of His Uncle[/italic]. Our never-married protagonist (who openly flirted with the police inspector in the first book), is asked by a never-married Oxford chum to look into the whereabouts of his missing uncle, with whom he lives. The nephew very pointedly provides the uncle's hetero bona-fides by asserting "He was married briefly many years ago!" The missing uncle missed his regular dinner with an older, single friend as part of the "Where did he go?" business. There's a never-married cousin (in his 30s at least) among the "suspects" as well.

by Anonymousreply 309March 1, 2024 6:06 PM

R309, sounds like a super gay version of an Agatha Christie mystery! I've heard of CHB Kitchin but never had the opportunity to read his stuff

by Anonymousreply 310March 1, 2024 6:30 PM

R09: it all sounds very Henry de Montherlant, down to the nephew-uncle living arrangement in "Les Célibataires."

by Anonymousreply 311March 1, 2024 8:29 PM

Let us know if it's worth the read in the end, r309.

by Anonymousreply 312March 1, 2024 9:58 PM

I’m halfway thru Hidden Valley Road about a family of schizophrenics. Interesting. These big families who can’t raise their children effectively. Sounds like Ethel Kennedy’s brood and that combined family that inspired the original Yours Mine And Ours. The fathers are absent and the mothers are cold. The kids run wild and bully each other.

by Anonymousreply 313March 1, 2024 10:31 PM

I've just finished reading Skippy Dies and The Bee Sting. Loved Skippy for the most part. The Bee Sting left me numb and groggy, a sludgy slog. Dreary and depressing with the main characters all dullards in one way or another. A stodgy slice.

by Anonymousreply 314March 1, 2024 10:55 PM

R313 I was morbidly fascinated by that book. A family of 12 kids is grotesque enough, then throw a bunch of schizos into the mix, it was a trainwreck. Both parents came off very poorly.

by Anonymousreply 315March 1, 2024 11:41 PM

I think the [italic]Cheaper By the Dozen[/italic] kids pretty much turned out okay.

by Anonymousreply 316March 2, 2024 12:02 AM

Bee Sting was my favorite read of the last few years.

by Anonymousreply 317March 2, 2024 2:37 AM

Oh yeah like they’d talk about it in their backs Waaay back in the day R316

by Anonymousreply 318March 2, 2024 8:22 AM

I’m halfway through Hidden Valley Ranch

by Anonymousreply 319March 2, 2024 2:09 PM

“The Futur by Naomi Alderman. Enjoying it. Fiction about the end of the world and some tech billionaires having access to a bunker. She’s a good writer. Halfway through.

by Anonymousreply 320March 4, 2024 6:41 AM

Should read “the Future.” ^

by Anonymousreply 321March 4, 2024 6:42 AM

Finally getting to The Grapes of Wrath. It's one of the last Steinbeck books I haven't read, and somehow missed it getting assigned to read at school. Wasn't sure it would be worth it, but it is.

by Anonymousreply 322March 4, 2024 7:13 AM

What do you all think of the Fredrik Backman books, Bear Town and A Man Called Ove, and others? My friends rave about them. Just took Bear Town out of our library.

by Anonymousreply 323March 4, 2024 5:29 PM

Bear Town.. that’s so typical.

by Anonymousreply 324March 4, 2024 5:31 PM

Currently halfway through Robertson Davies’ Deptford Trilogy. Great writing.

by Anonymousreply 325March 4, 2024 6:40 PM

Don't hear much about Davies these days. Used to be very popular in the 70s. Loved the Deptford Trilogy, as well as the earlier Salterton Trilogy.

by Anonymousreply 326March 4, 2024 7:14 PM

I loved the Deptford Trilogy when I first read it (in the late 70s, maybe?). I reread it a couple of years ago. The first book is still great, but I found the third one far less so (far too centered on one character who gets into situations that strain belief).

by Anonymousreply 327March 4, 2024 7:19 PM

Grassle

by Anonymousreply 328March 4, 2024 7:38 PM

Never read The Deptford Trilogy until last year at a friend's urging I found it a chore to get through the first book after a promising start.

by Anonymousreply 329March 4, 2024 8:09 PM

Reading the Reynolds Price trilogy The Surface of Earth, The Source of Light, and The Promise of Rest. Feels like a mix of Walker Percy, Flannery O'Connor, Robert Penn Warren, William Maxwell, and Tennessee Williams.

by Anonymousreply 330March 4, 2024 8:24 PM

Price is another writer who has faded from the scene. But was highly regarded and wrote eloquently of being gay and enduring a large spinal tumor that left him a paraplegic . I enjoyed his early novels.

by Anonymousreply 331March 4, 2024 9:59 PM

I have a friend who wrote his doctoral dissertation on Reynolds Price back in the 90s or early 00s. But I don't think you find him in bookstores, other than used ones. I enjoyed his books, and he brought a spiritual component to writing about AIDS and his own illness, but I think his Southern narratives would be seen as out of date (which is a shame).

by Anonymousreply 332March 5, 2024 9:00 AM

Reynolds Price, and other writers, like Wallace Stegner, gain popularity because they reflect the zeitgeist. As that changes, they fall out of popularity.

by Anonymousreply 333March 5, 2024 12:23 PM

I’ve only read Robertson Davies’ The Fifth Business. I loved it.

by Anonymousreply 334March 5, 2024 3:21 PM

Plowing through If You Tell by Gregg Olsen. It’s unrelentingly awful. The mother and her husband were given such short sentences for a lifetime of torture, abuse, and three murders they are already out. Yes the daughters are victims but that doesn’t make them likeable. Like the Sylvia Lykens case. Everyone comes off bad and unrelatable.

by Anonymousreply 335March 6, 2024 6:13 AM

I'm halfway through The Manticore--not as great as Fifth Business, but still very good. I'm currently doing an MA in Jungian Studies, so it's fun seeing how Davies works it into his fiction.

by Anonymousreply 336March 6, 2024 11:58 AM

I posted upthread that I was enjoying Eleanor Catton's BIRNAM WOOD and I'm just back here to say that I finished it and really loved it. Fabulous read, becoming quite the page turner in the final 150 pages. It will make a fabulous movie.

by Anonymousreply 337March 6, 2024 2:13 PM

I found those books on my parents' bookshelves when I was a kid, maybe 10 or 11. I had the reading ability to finish them, but I wasn't sophisticated enough to understand any subtext or recognize themes. I suppose I might give those another try.

by Anonymousreply 338March 6, 2024 2:38 PM

[quote]The Bee Sting left me numb and groggy, a sludgy slog. Dreary and depressing with the main characters all dullards in one way or another. A stodgy slice.

Shtodgy shlishe!

by Anonymousreply 339March 6, 2024 2:41 PM

The Trunk Murderess: Winnie Ruth Judd by Jana Bommersbach

by Anonymousreply 340March 10, 2024 10:25 AM

I’m enjoying Mick Herron’s The Secret Hours. Never read the Slow Horses series but like the TV show.

by Anonymousreply 341March 10, 2024 3:49 PM

R340, is it good? I've read about the Winnie Ruth Judd case, it's crazy

by Anonymousreply 342March 10, 2024 4:26 PM

Just finished a great book by Scott Spencer - AN OCEAN WITHOUT A SHORE. It's about a gay man who suffers from an unrequited love for his married friend. He is successful, the friend not so much. Beautifully written and totally absorbing, right up to the end.

by Anonymousreply 343March 10, 2024 4:37 PM

Thanks. Spencer kind of fell of the map after Endless Love, but that was a lovely book.

by Anonymousreply 344March 10, 2024 6:50 PM

R342 Well, let me put it this way. I just got up a few minutes ago. It's a few min before noon. I was up past 4am reading from midnight. I could NOT put it down. It's on Amazon if you want to know. I got it for about 6 dollars, hardcopy, but disappointed no cover. They have used copies, one as low as 4.76. I have Prime so no shipping.

It's fascinating.

by Anonymousreply 345March 10, 2024 6:57 PM

Rereading Huckleberry Finn in anticipation of JAMES, the re imagining of the Twain book. Already had a rave in the NYT.

by Anonymousreply 346March 13, 2024 10:26 PM

Sorry for the vagueness but what was the name of the crime novel that someone recommended in this or the previous thread? It’s British, and maybe epistolary. The author published it maybe last year and has written a bunch of other books?

So sorry for recalling so little.

by Anonymousreply 347March 14, 2024 5:41 AM

British and epistolary? Are you perhaps thinking of THE APPEAL by Janice Hallett R347? It's been mentioned a number of times in these threads.

by Anonymousreply 348March 14, 2024 7:26 AM

That’s the one., thanks r347.

by Anonymousreply 349March 14, 2024 8:26 AM

Has anyone read BEARTOWN by Frederick Backman? It's a long book, a little over 400 pages, and it doesn't really get going until about 1/2 way through...but definitely worth it.

Many characters in a small contemporary Swedish town surrounded by forests, obsessed with high school hockey and hoping a championship will bring attention, commerce and money back to the impoverished town. Most of the characters are the high school kids and their parents and coaches and there's also a wonderfully wistful bit of youthful gayness there, too. Gorgeous prose and a very universal story despite the setting (it could easily be Minnesota). Highly recommended if you're a patient reader who enjoys immersing himself in a great tale.

by Anonymousreply 350March 17, 2024 3:42 AM

Earlier this year: Murdoch's An Accidental Man; E. Bowen's To the North and A World of Love; Cormac McCarthy's Outer Dark.

Next up: Philip Gefter's Cocktails with George and Martha; McCarthy's Suttree; and Bowen's Eva Trout.

Nonfiction: Marilynne Robinson's Reading Genesis which promises to be a remarkable read.

Agree with earlier assessments of In Memoriam. Not much depth, derivative, too much "borrowing" from other related texts.

by Anonymousreply 351March 17, 2024 4:03 AM

I bought Beartown on Kindle years ago, thanks for reminding me!!

by Anonymousreply 352March 17, 2024 9:11 AM

r351, how was Murdoch's An Accidental Man? I've been wanting to get more into her but after reading The Bell and starting but not finishing a couple of others, I haven't been too enthusiastic. But friends say they love her books.

by Anonymousreply 353March 17, 2024 1:28 PM

I downloaded a sample of "Birnam Wood," and found it very offputting. If an author is going the telling-not-showing route, then their prose needs to be artful.

Also, a personal quirk but I rarely enjoy fiction set in current times. It's bad enough I have to LIVE in this hellscape, I don't want to read about it for pleasure.

by Anonymousreply 354March 17, 2024 1:54 PM

R351 Accidental Man is not the best of Murdoch, but it was one of the few I had not yet read. My favorite Murdochs are A Severed Heard, Henry and Cato, The Time of the Angels, The Philosopher's Pupil, The Word Child, and The Sea, the Sea. I've always thought that she is an acquired taste but one well worth acquiring.

She taught philosophy and her books deal with crises of faith, the nature of the Good, and human muddle. That sounds dull but she is a mirthful and generous author, kind to her characters while exposing their treacheries, delusions/illusions, and missteps.

by Anonymousreply 355March 17, 2024 3:34 PM

Americans literature aficionados: where should I start with William Faulkner?

by Anonymousreply 356March 17, 2024 3:44 PM

Thanks for the Murdoch recs, r355. I'm determined to read more of her before I die.

by Anonymousreply 357March 17, 2024 4:15 PM

For the most accessible, r356, I'd start with the Reivers, his last, and more of a romp than his more weighty novels. But if you want to dive in, I think As I Lay Dying is the gateway for many. If you like it, go on to the somewhat tougher ones like Intruder in the Dust. The acknowledged masterpieces like The Sound and the Fury , Light in August, Absalom, Absalom, are tough nuts to crack, but most would agree they're worth the effort.

by Anonymousreply 358March 17, 2024 5:10 PM

This cover pulled me in when I was 14, deep into the Iris Murdoch rabbit hole. I love those mentioned by R355 along with The Good Apprentice; The The Bell, and The Nice and the Good.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 359March 17, 2024 5:38 PM

101 Ways to Get Off

by Anonymousreply 360March 17, 2024 6:33 PM

I remember enjoying A Fairly Honorable Defeat.

by Anonymousreply 361March 17, 2024 9:36 PM

How to finger your pussy without fingers

by Anonymousreply 362March 17, 2024 9:54 PM

For r356 -- you can't go wrong with "As I Lay Dying." Deeply compelling and, while challenging, not as formally difficult as "Sound and the Fury." And it ends on what I think is one of the funniest moments in American literature.

by Anonymousreply 363March 18, 2024 12:38 AM

I'm reading COCKTAILS WITH GEORGE AND MARTHA. It's very dishy -

by Anonymousreply 364March 18, 2024 3:03 AM

My first Faulkner was "Light in August." I think it's a good starter (unless you want a novella or short story, in which case "The Bear" will hook you, even if it bewilders at times). "August" has a traditional third-person point of view, which locates the reader comfortably, but Faulkner's excursions into the consciousness of various characters will then prepare the novice for "As I Lay Dying" and "The Sound and the Fury" (the latter my favorit Faulkner, but starting him with Benjy and Quntin is asking a lot). I'd save "Absalom! Absalom!" for later. It may be his greatest, but not for the faint of heart.

by Anonymousreply 365March 18, 2024 6:32 PM

I understand that this thread is skewed towards literary fiction, but wanted to mention that after a spell of disappointing reads (clearing off the old TBR pile), I'm enjoying [italic]Boozehound[/italic] by Jason Wilson, which isn't about substance abuse, but a look at the industry by a Washungton Post columnist with observations like "Does America really need yet another vodka flavor?" and "There's no such think as a '(very) dry martini', just order a glass of gin!"

by Anonymousreply 366March 23, 2024 1:45 PM

Lauren Groff's "The Vaster Wilds."

by Anonymousreply 367March 23, 2024 9:05 PM

The Kings Assassins by Benjamin Wooley.. the story of James I and his boy toy Henry Villiers. Coming to Starz Apr 5 as Mary & George

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by Anonymousreply 368March 23, 2024 10:44 PM

I’m reading Fuck Me Runnin’

by Anonymousreply 369March 23, 2024 10:50 PM

R368, is it good? I have it on my Amazon wishlist

by Anonymousreply 370March 24, 2024 12:04 AM

I wish posters would give just a little more than the title and author of what they're reading. At least let us know if you liked or are liking the book.

by Anonymousreply 371March 24, 2024 1:35 AM

Listening to audiobook of Suzanne Finstad’s Natalie Wood biography narrated by Rose McGowan. Natalie’s mother was the devil.

by Anonymousreply 372March 24, 2024 7:16 AM

I'm reading THE FREAKS CAME OUT TO WRITE, the oral history of the Village Voice. I'm about halfway in, and it's pretty boring. All about the internal politics, turnovers in ownership, etc. I'm hoping it will pick up when Musto is heard from.

When reading a big book, when you get to the stage where you're kind of flipping ahead looking for something to catch your interest, you know you're in trouble -

by Anonymousreply 373March 24, 2024 4:00 PM

I guess Arthur Bell is a big name in early Village Voice history. Wasn't he the big gay gossip columnist through the 1960s and 70s? Pretty much forgotten now, I'd guessbut he was all we had back then.

by Anonymousreply 374March 24, 2024 4:20 PM

Arthur Bell and Gary Indiana, the Voice's art critic, were the big gay names of the early years. Indiana wrote a lot of fiction too.

by Anonymousreply 375March 24, 2024 6:48 PM

Arthur Bell captured the hearts of New Yorkers when he kicked A NYC councilman in the ass after the guy voted no in a gay rights bill. Matty Troy, maybe? Try had promised to vote for it and Bell cornered him afterwards. Bell also wrote the first article on the Stonewall riots.

by Anonymousreply 376March 24, 2024 9:35 PM

That was one of the better parts thus far, R376. Evidently the VOICE's office was only a couple of doors down from the Stonewall Inn and they all watched the riot as it unfolded.

Much is made of Rupert Murdoch, who bought the VOICE from Clay Felker, bitching all the time about the VOICE being too gay!!

by Anonymousreply 377March 24, 2024 9:39 PM

[quote] Evidently the VOICE's office was only a couple of doors down from the Stonewall Inn

It’s about 3 buildings away.

The Village Voice office is now The Duplex on the corner of Christopher Street and 7th Avenue. If you walk about 50 yards towards 6th Avenue, you get to the Stonewall and about 100 yards, you get to the intersection where the police blocked the road and Marsha and/or Sylvia threw the first brick.

by Anonymousreply 378March 24, 2024 11:02 PM

Thanks for the Faulkner recs r358, r363 and r365. I am Australian despite my English Literature degree, I didn’t cover many of the American canon; I was introduced to Wharton, James, Kerouac, Brautigan, McCullers, Morrison and McCarthy but there are so many missing.

by Anonymousreply 379March 25, 2024 6:27 AM

Every time I hear Brautigan on such lists, I'm startled. He was all the rage in the 60s, but seems to have vanished from the canon. I never liked him.

by Anonymousreply 380March 25, 2024 12:38 PM

I'm reading, and loving, "The Promise" by Damon Galgut, which won the Booker in '21. Perhaps this has been discussed in previous book threads? I think it's really terrific, the prose style and narration are strange in a way that I find very compelling.

by Anonymousreply 381April 1, 2024 5:10 PM

I'm only a chapter into [bold]The Wager[/bold] by David Grann and am finding it hard to put down. Gripping stuff.

by Anonymousreply 382April 1, 2024 5:37 PM

Really enjoyed Cocktails With George and Martha, the story of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, from play to film, with the emphasis on the latter. Fascinating stuff, both gossipy and erudite. But a couple of amazing errors that you think would have been caught along the way, including that the musical Camelot was written by Rodgers and Hammerstein! Nonetheless, recommended.

by Anonymousreply 383April 1, 2024 5:48 PM

I read that too...even worse, it said that Mike Todd was the father of Elizabeth Taylor's THIRD SON!!

by Anonymousreply 384April 1, 2024 10:39 PM

I'm reading * Erasure.* the movie that Jeffery Wright did called * American Fiction*. I've been trying to get through * Killers of the Flower Moon*, but that's been kind of hard.

by Anonymousreply 385April 1, 2024 10:42 PM

"One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" by Solzhenitsyn.

As fascinating look into 'special' prisons in the USSR.

by Anonymousreply 386April 1, 2024 10:47 PM

Finally getting around to Octavia Butler's KINDRED. Great story, but thought the prose would be richer.

by Anonymousreply 387April 2, 2024 2:01 AM

And, r384, he speaks of "Jerry" Mulligan.

by Anonymousreply 388April 2, 2024 2:02 AM

Read that in high school, R386, talk about grim!

by Anonymousreply 389April 2, 2024 6:57 PM

I've become somewhat obsessed with the Bloomsbury Group and just read VANESSA AND HER SISTER, which is mostly about Vanessa Bell and her marriage to Clive Bell and her stormy relationship with her sister Virginia Woolf, but encompasses many of the other writers and artists who were part of their group, many of whom, of course, were gay and bisexual men. Duncan Grant, Lytton Strachey, EM Forster, et.al.

It's written as fiction, mostly in the first person form of Vanessa's diary from 1904 to 1912 with others' letters interspersed in-between, so doesn't even get deeps into the Teens and 20s when they were really making their mark artistically. Really enjoyed it.

If anyone has any recs about members of the group, I'd be very interested, fiction or non-fiction (but not books written by them).

by Anonymousreply 390April 2, 2024 7:12 PM

[quote] Finally getting around to Octavia Butler's KINDRED. Great story, but thought the prose would be richer.

Her prose gets much better in her later work. I highly recommend her superb novella "Bloodchild," where her prose style is much more confident and beautiful.

by Anonymousreply 391April 2, 2024 7:15 PM

Finishing "You Only Call When You're In Trouble" and can't wait to be done.

by Anonymousreply 392April 2, 2024 7:35 PM

R390, i assume you have looked for the main biographies. I recently bought Bring No Clothes, by Charlie Porter. It is a recent book about Bloomsbury fashion but I haven’t read yet. Also have Mrs Woolf an the Servants to read.

by Anonymousreply 393April 2, 2024 8:27 PM

R390: A Boy at the Hogarth Press, by Richard Kennedy

by Anonymousreply 394April 2, 2024 8:33 PM

r390, you may have already found ARCTIC SUMMER by Damon Galgut. A novel about E.M. Forster and his latter-day gay relationships. A lovely book.

by Anonymousreply 395April 2, 2024 10:40 PM

Thanks to all 3 of you for these Bloomsbury books! They all sound great.

by Anonymousreply 396April 2, 2024 10:46 PM

I have some long plane rides coming up. Usually, I borrow books from the library, but they didn't have this one:

"Heaven and Hell" by Don Felder of the Eagles. It's 300+ pages and I hope it keeps me occupied.

by Anonymousreply 397April 2, 2024 10:49 PM

^^^ is that a memoir of his Eagles days?

by Anonymousreply 398April 2, 2024 10:55 PM

General observation: As a younger person I very rarely read non-fiction (for pleasure; of course I had to for school). I read novels and short stories. Recently I've noticed that I am reading more non-fiction, and for novels my mind often wanders so much I put the book down and don't return. I am more than three score and ten, and I wonder if this is a shift that actually happens to people.

HIGH SIERRA; A LOVE STORY - Kim Stanley Robinson

I guess he's a successful science fiction writer. But this is a story of his first and subsequence experiences hiking through the Sierra. Mixes a lot of geology and history in pleasantly. And seems so easy to read...

by Anonymousreply 399April 3, 2024 2:38 AM

Interesting how much care various Russian wordsmiths take with languages like English (Nabokov, Solzhenitsyn) or French (Andre Makine).

by Anonymousreply 400April 3, 2024 4:47 AM

R399, same thing has been happening to me, except for the odd literary biography and essays i read like a non-fiction book a year, but for the last 5 years or so its half non-fiction (especially history and politics) and half fiction. I always have a novel going on but non-fiction has been increasingly present.

by Anonymousreply 401April 3, 2024 12:08 PM

^ it is

by Anonymousreply 402April 3, 2024 12:08 PM

Finally got to Yellowface. Oof.

by Anonymousreply 403April 3, 2024 6:39 PM

Did not like Yellowface. Found most of it very phony and artificial.

by Anonymousreply 404April 3, 2024 6:57 PM

R398, yes, Heaven and Hell is Don Felder's account of his Eagles days. I watched History of the Eagles and Frey & Henley came off like assholes.

by Anonymousreply 405April 4, 2024 1:45 AM

About to start "James" by Percival Everett. I re-read "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" in preparation, first time since sophomore year of college (32 years ago!) ... it holds up, although I admit the racist language felt like more of a distraction than it used to. I'm interested to see what Everett does with it -- I'm a recent fan, in 2022 I read four of his novels -- Erasure, So Much Blue, The Trees and Dr. No -- all very different, all utterly terrific.

by Anonymousreply 406April 4, 2024 2:53 PM

Night Clit: Revenge of My Clit

by Anonymousreply 407April 4, 2024 3:21 PM

Listening to the audiobook version of Ed Zwick’s [italic] Hit’s, Flops, and Other Illusions [/italic]. It’s dishy and kind. I’ve only gotten to the mid-90’s, but the pervasiveness of [italic]Thirtysomething’s[/italic] impact and the [italic]Shakespeare in Love[/italic] backstory is very dishy, among other things. And DL fave [italic]Family[/italic] features prominently in the opening chapters. Zwick is deeply human and seems to own his shit. Recommended.

by Anonymousreply 408April 4, 2024 3:27 PM

I've been in an Edwardian fiction mood lately. My favorite so far has been "The Luck of the Vails" by E.F. Benson. "Kipps" and "The History of Mr. Polly" by H.G. Wells were both good. As were "Anna of the Five Towns" and "The Old Wives's Tale" by Arnold Bennett. My least favorite was "The Inheritors" by Joseph Conrad (people just don't talk like that). Just started "Mrs. Craddock" by W. Somerset Maugham.

by Anonymousreply 409April 4, 2024 3:38 PM

r409, please join us over at the Charles Dickens thread. We've gone far beyond Dickens and into Edwardiana.

Sorry not to link it but it's quite active so you should have no trouble finding it.

by Anonymousreply 410April 4, 2024 3:59 PM

Reading "The King's Assassin," about James I/Vi and George Villiers. Someone mentioned it upthread. Everyone in it comes across as quite unhinged.

by Anonymousreply 411April 4, 2024 4:18 PM

[quote] Someone mentioned it upthread. Everyone in it comes across as quite unhinged.

Is this your first encounter with British history? “Everyone comes across as unhinged” is what the Brits take pride in. I mean, look at the current British Royal Family. As loopy as a roller coaster.

by Anonymousreply 412April 4, 2024 6:06 PM

I'm reading the Booker finalist THIS OTHER EDEN by Paul Harding, a novel about a tiny island off the Maine coast that's been inhabited for generations by mixed multi-ethnic settlers from Africa and the British isles, including runaway slaves, in the 18th and 19th centuries, until a missionary shows up in 1912 and starts wreaking havoc. Beautiful writing.

by Anonymousreply 413April 5, 2024 8:21 PM

I want to read more John Barth, who just passed. I have only read the short story collection "The Development", which I really enjoyed. Any suggestions?

by Anonymousreply 414April 8, 2024 5:34 PM

Trying to get through The Magic Mountain. I'm on page 400. A little less than half way through. Pray for me.

by Anonymousreply 415April 8, 2024 5:39 PM

r414, I read Barth's first two novels, the End of the Road and The Floating Opera, 7 or 8 years ago. My husband is a Barth fan and he said they were a good way to sample Barth. I only liked them OK, it was that kind of pessimistic/cynical '60s style of fiction (Vonnegut, Joseph Heller, Paula Fox, Richard Yates) that I never really took too. I know he got more postmodern/challenging from there, but it didn't make me want to go further. My husband loved "The Sot-Weed Factor" but hated "Giles Goat Boy."

by Anonymousreply 416April 8, 2024 7:28 PM

I Barth as a teacher. Dry wit. He said I should be published but that my pronunciation really sucked.

Sotweed Factor, Giles Goatboy.... do younger people even know who he was now?

by Anonymousreply 417April 9, 2024 2:23 AM

Thanks for the Barth suggestions. I was fascinated to read in an article about his passing that Barth's 'Letters' is an epistolary novel made up of letters between characters in his (otherwise completely unrelated) first six books and himself. I love the idea of that. Maybe I'll try those first novels, just to get to 'Letters' and know who everyone is.

I'm not sure how widely read he is these days, but I read 'The Development' by chance, not having read anything else of his. It's a series of interconnected short stories all set in a gated community for retirees in Florida. I knew nothing of Barth when I picked it up at the library, but when I was done I wanted to read more. Just haven't got around to it yet.

by Anonymousreply 418April 9, 2024 3:29 AM

R390

I recently read Nino Strachey's "Young Bloomsbury," which looks at the writers/artists who followed in the footsteps of Woolf, Strachey, Fry, Bell, and others. Pretty good read.

by Anonymousreply 419April 9, 2024 3:49 AM

Barth seems to have joined John Gardner as a previously popular academic who is rarely read these days.

by Anonymousreply 420April 9, 2024 11:44 AM

I’m reading Let Them Eat Tweets and it’s depressing me. Not that I didn’t know most of this stuff, but it’s still depressing.

by Anonymousreply 421April 10, 2024 10:52 PM

Per recommendation here, I’m reading An Ocean Without a Shore. Thanks, DL readers! I’m enjoying it but have to roll my eyes at some of the Exquisite Writing.

by Anonymousreply 422April 11, 2024 12:15 PM

Same, r422. Read it a few weeks ago as a result of this thread. Didn't realize it is the second book of a trilogy. Anyone read the first, River Under the Road?

by Anonymousreply 423April 11, 2024 12:22 PM

After watching the sensational new series RIPLEY I'm reading RIPLEY'S GAME. I've read THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY a couple of times over the years but not any of the sequels.

by Anonymousreply 424April 11, 2024 12:55 PM

The sequels don't measure up to the first, IMO, but they're worth reading.

by Anonymousreply 425April 11, 2024 2:30 PM

Looks like Edmund White has a new book coming out called 'The Loves of My Life: A Sex Memoir'.

I have always liked his memoirs more than I've liked his fiction, honestly.

by Anonymousreply 426April 11, 2024 7:05 PM

Who knew Edmund White had *another* memoir in him? He lived in interesting times, but he's already been quite repetitious in previous memoirs.

by Anonymousreply 427April 11, 2024 7:18 PM

It's funny that this one is subtitled 'A Sex Memoir'. Aren't they all, to a large degree?

by Anonymousreply 428April 11, 2024 7:20 PM

Yes, all of them are basically, "And Then I Fucked . . ."

by Anonymousreply 429April 11, 2024 9:45 PM

Do we think Edmund is a sexual compulsive? I kinda do.

by Anonymousreply 430April 11, 2024 9:59 PM

@R415

The Magic Mountain is a book to read in college, I think, when playing with big ideas is a form of recreation. I loved it when I read it in college (over Christmas break for fuck's sake). The older I get the less patience I have for grand unifying theories and the belief that reason solves all problems. I tried to re-read it about 15 years ago (yes, I'm old) and it bored me to tears.

by Anonymousreply 431April 11, 2024 10:03 PM

In "City Boy" (I think), he wrote about being casual friends with Mama Cass just before she left for L.A. and got her big break. He would humor her by listening to her talk in coffee shops about her pop career (he apparently had no interest whatsoever in pop music). He also had some decent gossip about John Gielgud, Susan Sontag ("She was not a mother and he was not a son," he wrote about Sontag and David Rieff); and Michel Foucault.

by Anonymousreply 432April 11, 2024 10:03 PM

What did he say about Gielgud?

by Anonymousreply 433April 11, 2024 10:13 PM

I saw a list of "must-read cult favorite books you may have missed" on The Atlantic. I was intrigued by the description of Dhalgren, by Samuel R. Delaney. 70's sci fi - midwestern dystopia, bisexual protagonist. "One of the best selling science fiction books of all time." I have read a lot of sci fi, but actually had never heard of this. I am intrigued.... BUT... 800 pages?

Has anyone read it? Recommended or...?

by Anonymousreply 434April 12, 2024 2:01 PM

Don't read sci-fi, so can't help with Dhalgren, but can highly recommend Bread & Wine, his graphic memoir. About his long-term relationship with his partner, whom he met when the latter was homeless and living on the street. . Incredibly moving. Still together. Delaney is 82 and a marvel.

by Anonymousreply 435April 12, 2024 4:47 PM

For a dollar I got a dogeared paperback version of Dhalgren from a used book bin long ago. Parts of it are fascinating and there are some erotic gay interludes, but it does get ponderous. Some parts are better skimmed over to get through the whole thing.

by Anonymousreply 436April 12, 2024 10:23 PM

Let Them Eat Ass

by Anonymousreply 437April 12, 2024 11:37 PM

James and John by Chris Bryant

It's about the last two men executed for sodomy in Britain

Really fascinating. If you're interested in gay history I definitely recommend it

by Anonymousreply 438April 13, 2024 1:17 AM

This....

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by Anonymousreply 439April 13, 2024 1:30 AM

As long as Naomi Wolf wasn't involved, R438.

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by Anonymousreply 440April 13, 2024 11:41 AM

"A Star is Bored" by Byron Lane, Carrie Fisher's gay personal assistant. She called him "Cockring." He and Carrie both feared Debbie who lived on the property.

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by Anonymousreply 441April 14, 2024 2:49 PM

Just finished The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, which was a satisfying page turner. Now on book 5 of Zola's Rougon-Macquart series (His Excellency Eugène Rougon) after taking a break from my project to read all 20. Also listened to Ed Zwick's (dishy and worth it) and Britney's (delivered what was on the tin) memoirs on audiobook. In the middle of Brooke Shields's now.

by Anonymousreply 442April 14, 2024 3:33 PM

R440, no, thank God she wasn't involved. It's actually well-written and well-researched

by Anonymousreply 443April 14, 2024 4:09 PM

Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality by Helen Joyce

Troubled by Rob Henderson

The Shards by Bret Easton Ellis

I recently finished reading The Case Against the Sexual Revolution by Louise Perry.

by Anonymousreply 444April 14, 2024 5:01 PM

I'm finally reading my set of "Illustrated English Social History" by G.M. Trevelyan. I picked them up at an estate sale years ago, simply because I liked the dust jackets, but they're really quite charming reading. I'm on vol. 2, the Age of Shakespeare.

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by Anonymousreply 445April 14, 2024 9:19 PM

I just bought a first-edition copy of Marjorie Morningstar which I am looking forward to starting this week.

by Anonymousreply 446April 14, 2024 9:22 PM

Summoning the demon

by Anonymousreply 447April 14, 2024 9:23 PM

Please report back after you've finished it, r446. I've been meaning to read it for years but hear it's not much more than a mawkish soap opera.

by Anonymousreply 448April 15, 2024 1:56 AM

R444 that's good to know! I picked up the same four books cheaply from a used bookstore about 5 or 6 years ago. Mine have different dust jackets than the ones in that Image, and a few of the jackets are very tattered which is why they were priced to sell.

I haven't got around to reading them yet, but now that I know they're enjoyable reading, they will move up in my TBR list.

by Anonymousreply 449April 15, 2024 1:10 PM

Of course, r448!

Sometimes, a mawkish soap opera to escape my ho-hum life is just what I'm looking for.

by Anonymousreply 450April 15, 2024 1:22 PM

The New Yorker published a very interesting profile of Samuel Delaney last year.

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by Anonymousreply 451April 15, 2024 3:27 PM

Mine was meant for r445. Why am I so bad at this?

by Anonymousreply 452April 15, 2024 5:58 PM

I've started [italic]Less[/italic], with truly mixed feelings so far; he's on the first stop of his world tour now. Not liking the main character much, who comes across as shallow, although I get his frustration in living in the poet's shadow, not for himself. I'll finish it (as part of a group reading challenge), but can only listen to an hour at a time at most before I grow tired of the story.

by Anonymousreply 453April 17, 2024 11:39 AM

It took me a few attempts to get past the first 30 pages of LESS but once I did I truly enjoyed it. Keep going read at r453.

by Anonymousreply 454April 17, 2024 12:32 PM

I agree that Less is well worth it to keep reading. It was very moving by the end.

That being said, I think all of Less is Lost, the sequel, is pretty much what is annoying in those first 30 pages of Less. No need to read it.

by Anonymousreply 455April 17, 2024 2:00 PM

Can second r455's sentiment.

by Anonymousreply 456April 17, 2024 3:09 PM

Less Is Lost pretty much sums up the novel in the title.

by Anonymousreply 457April 17, 2024 3:28 PM

I have no intentions of reading the LESS sequel.

by Anonymousreply 458April 17, 2024 5:54 PM

I love Majorie Morningstar. Just don't try to watch the movie.

by Anonymousreply 459April 17, 2024 7:12 PM

Marjorie Morningstar is a great book, the kind you can really fall into. The movie was SHIT.

by Anonymousreply 460April 17, 2024 11:11 PM

Wondering if anyone has read CAHOKIA JAZZ a fascinating 2023 novel by Brit writer Francis Spufford? It's a noirish murder mystery set in a sort of alternate universe in a midwestern city, not unlike St. Louis in 1922, which is essentially run and dominated by Native Americans. Sounds weird - and it is. But I'm 100 pages in and loving it. I loved his previous novels, GOLDEN HILL and LIGHT PERPETUAL but I think each book could have been written by a different author.

Truly original and quite the page turner. I think it's been a big best seller in the UK. I tried to buy it in a few different book stores when I was visiting London recently but it was always sold out. But I just bought the new paperback via Amazon. Check out the reader reviews there for more details if I've intrigued you.

by Anonymousreply 461April 18, 2024 12:08 AM

I just started reading THE GREAT GATSBY for the first time. I figured it was time to plug that particular hole in my literary awareness.

by Anonymousreply 462April 18, 2024 6:36 AM

Just finished "George V : Never a Dull Moment" which I started mainly because of the cheeky subtitle as George has the reputation of being a very dull boy indeed, his passions limited to stamp collecting and shooting, lots and lots of shooting.

In fact his reign wasn't dull at all, covering as it did a tumultuous period of British history. Unfortunately the historic events of 1910-1936 infuriated the King who saw them as interruptions in his daily routine of postage appreciation and killing record numbers of birds. George V wanted to be known as the King who brought back family values since his wildly promiscuous father had buried them under mounds of petticoats, none of their owners being his wife. Again, unfortunately, perfect domesticity as practiced by George meant rarely talking to, or seeing the Queen, an inflexible, complex dress code, and screaming so constantly at his children that they shook when he entered the room.

by Anonymousreply 463April 18, 2024 3:28 PM

Oh, I recommend the book if you're a BRF buff although there are some very dull moments indeed.

by Anonymousreply 464April 18, 2024 3:30 PM

I just finished the Edgar Award-winning [italic]River of Darkness,[/italic] which is the first of the series of murder mysteries by Rennie Airth, which has been highly recommended to me. It's from 1999, and the basic idea (which is a good one) is that a British police inspector becomes involved in the murders of the household members of a stately home in the English countryside, and then we discover they're the work of a serial killer. In this way the two genres of the "british cozy" detective novel and the serial killer thriller are combined.

It was very well told and well written, but the trouble is the killer is too much like like Francis Dolarhyde from Thomas Harris's [italic]Red Dragon,[/italic] and as in that later book we alternate chapters between the killer's point of view and then the detectives'. Also, an alarming number of bodies stack up 9since the killer goes after ntire households, not just individuals), and there are some heterosexual sex scenes I could have happily lived without.

But the whole thing was so well written and was genuinely suspenseful that I will try others in the series.

by Anonymousreply 465April 19, 2024 4:37 AM
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