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  1. #1541
    giz
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    Quote Originally Posted by Britannia
    I'm on a bit of an AJ Cronin kick at the moment. Started off with "The Keys to the Kingdom" - excellent! Just read "Song of Sixpence" and "Pocket Full of Rye" and now reading "The Citadel".

    Many of his books seem to have a theme of some kind of redemption in the lives of the very flawed but interesting main characters.
    I used to sell Cronin, but never read him. The covers are very nostalgic,is the writing. I'm in the mood for some old-fashioned British writing. I've just finished West of Kabul, East of New York by Tamim Ansary. It is brilliant. I wish it had been longer. It's Ansary's autobiography of his life as an Afghan-American. He was born in Afghanistan in 1948 to an Afghani father and an American mother, and moved to the States when he was 16. His memories of traditional Afghan life, and his explanations of how that life has been completely undermined by American oil money, westernization, Communism and the Taliban is fascinating. (he also writes about travelling in North Africa as an American, his brother's conversion to radical Islam and other topics) I am ashamed that I haven't been paying more attention to the situation there, all these years. A great read.

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    FORT Fan Shaybo's Avatar
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    Right now I'm reading Clive Cussler's Shock Wave published in 1996, and so far its pretty good. Mister Cussler deals mostly with under water adventure, and just about every book hes written so far has a guy named Dirk Pitt. He has a new guy taking over for Dirk named Kurt Austin.
    Shaybo

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    FORT Fogey Harvest's Avatar
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    I just started The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It is about a girl's search for the historical Dracula as she becomes a historian like her father. So far it is filling in my geographical knowledge of a bunch of obscure places in Europe, mostly what was formerly behind the Iron Curtain so we never learned about them in school.

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    FORT Fan Shaybo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harvest
    I just started The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It is about a girl's search for the historical Dracula as she becomes a historian like her father. So far it is filling in my geographical knowledge of a bunch of obscure places in Europe, mostly what was formerly behind the Iron Curtain so we never learned about them in school.
    Hi Harvest that sounds kind of neat Is it kind of like Anne Rice's Queen of The Damned?
    Shaybo

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    Bitten Critical's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harvest
    I just started The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It is about a girl's search for the historical Dracula as she becomes a historian like her father. So far it is filling in my geographical knowledge of a bunch of obscure places in Europe, mostly what was formerly behind the Iron Curtain so we never learned about them in school.
    Oh good - someone is reading this one! I few FoRTers (including me!) have been wanting to pick this one up, but weren't sure if it was worth the money. Please give a review when you're done, Harvest!

    I'm buried in text books now, so am not doing much reading for pleasure. This explains why I've had my nose in Mill's On Liberty. I do get to read Forster's A Passage to India for a class, so that's a definite plus - I bought it not too long ago and then ran out of time to read it before the semester started.

    The only pleasure reading I'm doing now is when I ride my stationary bike. I have to be reading something involving and not too demanding so that it keeps my mind off the fact that my butt is asleep! Right now I'm reading one by Nelson DeMille - can't remember the title.
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

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    FORT Fogey Harvest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaybo
    Hi Harvest that sounds kind of neat Is it kind of like Anne Rice's Queen of The Damned?
    Hi, Shaybo,
    Everything is reminding me of New Orleans now
    We did a walking tour of the Garden District a couple of years ago and had her house plus her former house pointed out to us.

    This story is from the perspective of people trying to track down the "historical Dracula" instead of from the perspective of the supernatural beings, so in that sense it is not like Anne Rice's books. The characters are serious scholars, and I get a real sense of what that would be like, including traveling around Europe. I always found Anne Rice to be more sensationalistic, not to mention impressionistic.

    Kostova put a great deal of thought and research into her novel, taking the legend to places that haven't previously been explored. It's an entirely fresh take on an old classic. Brava!

    Quote Originally Posted by Critical
    Oh good - someone is reading this one! I few FoRTers (including me!) have been wanting to pick this one up, but weren't sure if it was worth the money. Please give a review when you're done, Harvest!
    Hi, Critical,
    I'm not done, but I like it so far!

    I'm on page 205 of 642 (I can usually fit in 100-200 pages a day). That's in Part 2 of the novel. I'm guessing it will be in three parts like a classic Victorian triple-decker.

    Trivia: the big Victorian novels were usually published as three volumes. They would be available at the lending libraries, and people would read them in whatever order they were available!

    Speaking of libraries, I just place holds at the library and read things when they come in. But if you do want to buy it, please visit my blog and click on the Amazon link. I would get a commission off any purchase made coming off my direct link -- it is for Geisha by Liza Dalby, but you can surf to and buy anything on Amazon from there and they are supposed to be able to track it. I'd like to see how if works!

    In reading The Historian, it helps if you have read Bram Stoker's Dracula. Not only does the novel refer to it, but the author takes its very structure as inspiration. Dracula as well as The Historian tell their stories through (fictional) documentary evidence, as well as a lot of purposeful traveling around! I mentioned before that I like the travelogue aspect of The Historian.

    I don't know how the story is going to turn out, but I think it would make a good movie, not the least because it has strong, fresh characters
    Last edited by Harvest; 09-05-2005 at 02:36 AM.

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    It's been way too long since I last posted here. So glad to see that someone is reading The Historian! (Like Critical, I've been wanting to read it for some time.) It definitely sounds right up my alley, so I'll make sure to pick it up the next time I visit a bookstore... which could be today

    I'm - finally! - reading Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis. I know that a lot of my fellow FORTers have issues with him, and quite understandably so, but I kind of like him. It is certainly an intruiging read; it starts off as an autobiography of sorts (with a few wacky fictional details) and soon morphs into something very different - a postmodern haunted house story, maybe? I'm not sure myself yet. Bret is, as ever, full of himself (but charmingly so) and prone to name-dropping (being a massive X-Files fan, I loved the fact that David Duchovny makes an appearance at a Halloween party), violence and drugs. In terms of language, it's definitely Ellis' most accessible work since Less Than Zero. If you like Ellis, you'll devour this. If not, you're probably well-advised to steer clear from it.
    "There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more" (Morrissey)

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    When I'm 64 William13's Avatar
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    As usual I have 2 books going - one for travelling and one for reading at home.

    The one I travel with is A Widow for One Year by John Irving. I have not read anything by John Irving before, but I recently saw The Door in the Floor. I wasn't crazy about it since I found the characters so unsympathetic, but I was curious as to what happened in the rest of the story.

    The book I read at home is Prisoners of the North by Pierre Berton. It's the stories of 5 different people with a connection to Canada's north - an explorer, an explorer's wife, a poet, a mining tycoon and a backwoods eccentric. Since Berton has written several books about the north already I am not sure that there is anything new here, but since this is his last book I wanted to read it.

  9. #1549
    Bitten Critical's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William13
    The one I travel with is A Widow for One Year by John Irving. I have not read anything by John Irving before, but I recently saw The Door in the Floor. I wasn't crazy about it since I found the characters so unsympathetic, but I was curious as to what happened in the rest of the story.
    William, if you've not read any Irving, I wouldn't judge his writing based on that book. His best books, imho, are The World According to Garp and A Prayer for Owen Meaney. I also really loved The Cider House Rules. His more recent books haven't been as good
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

  10. #1550
    Wonky snarkmistress Lucy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Critical
    I do get to read Forster's A Passage to India for a class, so that's a definite plus - I bought it not too long ago and then ran out of time to read it before the semester started.
    Good luck on that one, Critical, it's never been my favorite Forster -- that honor is reserved for A Room With a View. I also LOVE the movie. My parents took me to see the movie of A Passage to India when I was very small, so maybe they ruined me on it.

    I just finished "Freddy and Fredericka" by Mark Halprin. It's new, and I did like it, although not enough to make it a "reread once a year" favorite. I'm adding the Amazon blurb and link because I can't describe it myself. It's part farce, but also part treatise/love poem on America and the value of the English monarchy. And it gets quite bogged down at bits, but overall I enjoyed it.
    Amazon.com
    Mark Helprin's picaresque romp, Freddy and Fredericka, begins with a secret rite on a Scottish hillside: the Prince of Wales, poised in his crisp field uniform, urges a falcon named Craig-Vyvyan to fly from his arm. The latest in a line of royal falcons with the ability to discern true kings and queens, Craig-Vyvyan sniffs the air, sizes up the bewildered heir to the throne, and refuses to budge. The falcon knows he isn't king-material, and so does the falconer, and so, in his heart of heart's, does the Prince of Wales. From this promising opening, Helprin spins a tale that ricochets in tone between the silliness of The Naked Gun movies and the gravity of a Wesleyan sermon. To prove their worth and prepare them to rule, the Prince and Princess of Wales--loose caricatures of Charles and Diana--are parachuted naked into New Jersey by night and ordered to reconquer America for Britain.

    Helprin's theme is nobility--acquired, as well as innate. He puts the spoiled but well-meaning Prince and Princess through a series of farcical trials before they reach the startling conclusion that clean living, hard work, and humility will bring out the best in them. The "funny" parts of Freddy and Fredericka would have benefited from vigorous pruning--the book itself is too long--but there are stirring passages on love and duty sprinkled among the gags and loopy names, and some spectacular landscape descriptions--covert portraits of the force that drives the green fuse through the flower and gives the House of Windsor its curious destiny.
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...03810?v=glance
    It's such a fine line between stupid, and clever. -- David St. Hubbins

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