What's everybody reading?

For discussions of subjects relating to literature and theater.
Okri
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Postby Okri » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:01 am

Finished Franzen's latest. I really wish he wasn't as talented as he obviously is, because it would be easier to hate him then. Pretty remarkable work.

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flipp525
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Postby flipp525 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:05 am

Some recent reads:

Nights in Aruba (1983) by Andrew Holleran
The Help (2009) by Kathryn Stockett
Babycakes (1984) by Armistead Maupin
Jack and Lem: John F. Kennedy and Lem Billings: The Untold Story of an Extraordinary Friendship (2007) by David Pitts
Stray Dog Winter (2008) by David Francis
Beowulf (2001) translated by Seamus Heaney
The Passion of Alice (1995) by Stephanie Grant




Edited By flipp525 on 1280246565
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Postby Franz Ferdinand » Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:53 pm

Okri wrote:
Franz Ferdinand wrote:Anybody out there still reading? I confess I have slowed down this year; I am still hoping to start on War and Peace sometime, but who can say when? I am currently reading Hilary Mantel's Booker-winning Wolf Hall, and Ian Kershaw's one-volume abridged Hitler bio. Interesting summer titles for sure.

I recently finished David Mitchell's latest, and I adored it

I have it waiting on my shelf for when I finish Wolf Hall. I am agonizing over the wait to start it.

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Postby Okri » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:41 am

Franz Ferdinand wrote:Anybody out there still reading? I confess I have slowed down this year; I am still hoping to start on War and Peace sometime, but who can say when? I am currently reading Hilary Mantel's Booker-winning Wolf Hall, and Ian Kershaw's one-volume abridged Hitler bio. Interesting summer titles for sure.

I recently finished David Mitchell's latest, and I adored it

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Postby Sonic Youth » Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:55 pm

I'm reading my new Kindle and I LOVE it. It's a gorgeous machine, it's extremely user friendly, it's very pleasant on the eyes. It does have a few curious technical quirks, but I'm reading more now than I have in a while.
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Postby Franz Ferdinand » Sun Jul 25, 2010 7:44 pm

Anybody out there still reading? I confess I have slowed down this year; I am still hoping to start on War and Peace sometime, but who can say when? I am currently reading Hilary Mantel's Booker-winning Wolf Hall, and Ian Kershaw's one-volume abridged Hitler bio. Interesting summer titles for sure.

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Postby Franz Ferdinand » Sun Jan 31, 2010 7:35 pm

I've been preparing myself to attack Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series sometime by reading the author commissioned to finish it - Brandon Sanderson. I haven't read much fantasy or sci-fi before, but I thoroughly enjoyed his debut novel Elantris, and am almost through with his Mistborn trilogy, which I (close to) love. The magic system is great, the characterization is given time to develop and transcends caricature, and any mystical backstories is fully explained over time. I am really enjoying it, and I look forward to Jordan's series.

Currently I am also reading Connie Willis' 1992 Hugo and Nebula-winning Doomsday Book - sci-fi, so a bit of a leap, but hugely likable. A young female historian from 2050's UK is sent back to the fourteenth century to study the era, just as a viral outbreak causes quarantine in the present time. There is speculation that she may have been sent back to 1348 (the year the Plague showed up in England) rather than 1320 - it is closer to historical fiction than straight up sci-fi, but it is quite exciting, I'd recommend it.

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Postby abcinyvr » Sun Jan 31, 2010 12:52 pm

Last book, Una Vita by Italo Svevo. Awful translation by Archibald Colquhoum. Svevo has a wonderful style but it took me months to get through this - many times putting it away.

Current book, Two For The Dough by Janet Evanovich. Second in her amusing Stephanie Plum series. VERY disappointed to see that stick insect, Jennifer Anniston, playing the lead in the film version of the first book, One For The Money (film title Bounty Hunter).

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Postby Movielover » Sat Jan 30, 2010 6:30 pm

It always takes me so much longer to read a book than it should. I often wonder if I have ADD because I am constantly putting my books down and picking them up again, and yet I LOVE reading.

So far in 2010, I finished Hopscotch (I began it in late 2009), and am now working concurrently on The Moslem Wife and Other Stories by Mavis Gallant and Arabian Nights and Days by Naguib Mahfouz.

I recently picked up Mahfouz's The Cairo Trilogy, which is a 1300+ page book. If anyone has read it, I'd love to hear thoughts. I am preparing myself for it by reading some of Mahfouz's smaller works. After Arabian Nights and Days, I'll read Akhenaten: Dweller in Truth and then I'll probably go into The Cairo Trilogy.

And if anyone here knows Hopscotch, and knew what the hell it is about, I'd love to hear. I'm stumped.

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Postby kaytodd » Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:59 am

The Descendants Author: Kaui Hart Hemmings

Hardly the most original idea for a novel, but the clear presentation of events, the very realistic dialog, and unique imagery give life to this well trodden material. At the beginning of the novel, Matt King's wife, Joanie, is in a coma and the doctors tell Matt she will not recover. The workaholic is frightened by the prospect of having to be a real parent to his eighteen and ten year old daughters. While dealing with Joanie's illness, Matt and his daughters discover family secrets that lead them on a road trip. Of course, this leads to events that forever changes the relationship among Matt and his daughters.

The novel is often both hilarious and heartbreaking. And the novel makes great use of its physical setting to make the story more interesting and the important decisions Matt needs to make right away much more complex. And these important and imperative decisions do not just involve his wife and daughters.

I know, you have read this book and seen this movie before. Speaking of movies, what drew my attention to this novel was reading that this is going to be Alexander Payne's next directorial effort. According a story posted Friday on AtomicPopcorn.net, Payne and George Clooney are currently together going over Payne's script and looking over potential locations. I would have never read this novel had I not found out about the film. But I thoroughly enjoyed the writing, the story and the characters. I recommend the novel highly.
The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. It's faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living. Oliver Wendell Holmes

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kaytodd
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Postby kaytodd » Sun Dec 13, 2009 12:27 am

Shake The Devil Off by Ethan Brown.
Many of you remember the horrible murder that took place in October 2006 in the New Orleans French Quarter. Zack Bowen strangled his girlfriend Addie Hall and chopped her body into pieces, hiding parts in various places in their apartment, including the oven and pots and pans (the rumor that he ate part of her is completely untrue). Zack then killed himself by jumping off the roof of a hotel in the Quarter.

The book spends little time on details of the murder. The book also spends little time on the horrors of the immediate aftermath of Katrina. The part of town they lived in did not experience flooding and had little damage.

Zack and Addie achieved brief international fame as news organizations all over the world interviewed them as they explained why they were defying the orders to evacuate. They were young, attractive and outgoing. But they were both deeply disturbed emotionally, had strong dominant personalities, and were addicted to alcohol and various other drugs. When life returned to normal in New Orleans in the months after the storm their demons took over and erupted tragically.

But the real heart of this book is the shabby way the U.S. government treats its military veterans. Zack was bright but an underachiever who dropped out of high school. He worked as a bartender in high and low end bars and restaurants in the Quarter. His looks and personality made him very popular with locals and tourists.

But when he became a father and husband at nineteen, he got his GED and joined the Army in early 2001 for a steady paycheck and health benefits for his family. He was a dedicated and faithful husband and father. He also flourished in the Army. When he was assigned to Kosovo, his request to become a military policeman was granted. He saw this as a job in which he can really help the people by training locals to be policemen and maintain order for locals in their daily lives. He was quickly promoted to sergeant to make use of his leadership and teaching skills. It appeared he would go to officer training school and make the Army a career.

The invasion of Iraq changed everything. His unit was one of the first to enter Baghdad and they were assigned the most dangerous area. His unit had a very high casualty rate. Zack quickly saw the U.S. was trying to do this war on the cheap and was appalled by the lack of preparation and incompetence shown by the Pentagon and the high level command in Iraq. He then had a serious family crisis but was denied permission to return briefly to Germany to help. This happened right around the time we were forced to announce no WMDs were found in Iraq.

Zack decided he wanted out of the Army. He was able to get an early discharge. His immediate supervisor and that officer's supervisor both recommended an honorable discharge. But at the Pentagon level, the discharge was changed to general, making him and his family ineligible for some benefits, including counseling. No explanation was ever given for the change in discharge, but Zack's wife did call pretty high level officers during the family crisis and got the Red Cross to intervene on their behalf. This was likely a factor.

Everyone noted the change in Zack's personality after Iraq. His recreational drug and alcohol use turned into a serious addiction. He was unable to get desperately needed counseling and treatment. His marriage fell apart and he took up with Addie, a very high strung girl with her own demons. It was an intense passionate romance that was destined to end badly.

The author interviews many of Zacks friends and superiors from the Army. Many of them have their own stories of neglect from the military and their own tragic tales. They were shocked and saddened by what happened to Zack but, considering how they observed the military treat other Iraq veterans, they were not surprised.

Good timely story, well written. I recommend it highly.




Edited By kaytodd on 1260682438
The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. It's faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living. Oliver Wendell Holmes

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Postby abcinyvr » Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:34 am

Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee. A friend mailed this and it's follow-up, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning, to me. I had never even heard about him.
Next up, Queen Camilla by Sue Townsend.

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Damien
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Postby Damien » Wed Dec 02, 2009 6:55 pm

Big Magilla wrote:Starring John Wayne as Genghis Khan: Hollywood's All-Time Worst Casting Blunders by Damien Bona (1996).

It's out of print but you can still get it new from Amazon for under $5 or used for under $1.

I remember seeing this in book stores when it first came out, but forgot about it until DWS referenced Damien's put-down of Edward G. Robinson in Our Vines Have Tender Grapes.

Now that I've got the book (I splurged and bought it "new"), I have to say that I agree with Damien on most of his more than 160 subjects. The exceptions are Robinson and Diane Keaton in The Little Drummer Girl.

Thanks for buying it, Big, even though since it's out of print I don't receive royalties. :D
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Postby MovieWes » Wed Dec 02, 2009 6:29 pm

Coach Royal: Conversations with a Texas Football Legend by Darrell K. Royal, Pat Culpepper, Cactus Pryor, and John Wheat. I honestly wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they're a college football fan, though.
"Young men make wars and the virtues of war are the virtues of young men: courage and hope for the future. Then old men make the peace, and the vices of peace are the vices of old men: mistrust and caution." -- Alec Guinness (Lawrence of Arabia)

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Postby Big Magilla » Wed Dec 02, 2009 12:41 am

Starring John Wayne as Genghis Khan: Hollywood's All-Time Worst Casting Blunders by Damien Bona (1996).

It's out of print but you can still get it new from Amazon for under $5 or used for under $1.

I remember seeing this in book stores when it first came out, but forgot about it until DWS referenced Damien's put-down of Edward G. Robinson in Our Vines Have Tender Grapes.

Now that I've got the book (I splurged and bought it "new"), I have to say that I agree with Damien on most of his more than 160 subjects. The exceptions are Robinson and Diane Keaton in The Little Drummer Girl.
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire


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