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Thread: What are you reading?

  1. #2111
    Bitten Critical's Avatar
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    Last night I started Ross King's The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism. King does a fabulous job of setting the scene and he really brings the story to life. One of my favorite features of the book so far is the many actual photographs of artists and historical figures - from Claude Monet to Napoleon III. I love that these people become real to me.

    I'm not sure what will be on the menu next, but I do know that my mother bought me a copy of Sarah Dunant's In the Company of the Courtesan and should be mailing it any day now. As soon as it arrives, anything else will quickly be put aside. Dunant's Birth of Venus was one of my favorites of the last few years and, from what I've heard, this one won't disappoint either.
    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?"

  2. #2112
    Wonky snarkmistress Lucy's Avatar
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    Critical, I loved "In the Company of the Courtesan." It was lyrical and fascinating. I keep meaning to back up and read "Birth of Venus" but haven't yet.
    It's such a fine line between stupid, and clever. -- David St. Hubbins

  3. #2113
    Rude and Abrasive Texicana's Avatar
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    I always feel like such a literary bonehead when I step into this forum! I'm not a very highbrow reader, I suppose

    I just recently finished off Nigella:A Biography by Gilly Smith, an admitted fluff piece on a woman who I think deserves a much better biography, but well, beggars can't be choosers.

    Soon after, I picked up a used paperback of The Store by Bentley Little, a horror novelist who has Stephen King as a fan. If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me! I loved it, and here's a brief synopsis, from Amazon.com:

    In a small Arizona town, a man counts his blessings: a loving wife, two teenage daughters, and a job that allows him to work at home. Then "The Store" announces plansto open a local outlet, which will surely finish off the small downtown shops. His concerns grow when "The Store's"builders ignore all the town's zoning laws during itsconstruction. Then dead animals are found on "The Store's" grounds. Inside, customers are hounded by obnoxious sales people, and strange products appear on the shelves. Before long the town's remaining small shop owners disappear, and "The Store" spreads its influence to the city council and the police force, taking over the town! It's up to one man to confront "The Store's" mysterious owner and to save his community, his family, and his life!

    In my opinion, it's a tongue firmly in cheek raking over the coals of Walmart, written in a style that's amusing and suspenseful. Loved it.

    I'm now going to re-read What The Dog Did by Emily Yoffe, a reformed cat lover who was won over by a rescued Beagle. She delves into how no matter what our dogs do to us and our homes, it's all forgivable! Funny, sometimes a bit sad, but very rewarding read.
    " I look like Nigella Lawson with a $#*!ing hangover."

  4. #2114
    Culture slut geek the girl's Avatar
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    I just started On Beauty by Zadie Smith. The timing is perfect, because she was awarded the prestigious Orange Prize the other day. I didn't plan it, though - I just happened to be next in line for the library reserve. I didn't get the supposed greatness of White Teeth nor The Autograph Man - apart from being a terrific alternative to sleeping pills, that is. This one holds my interest, though; it would seem that she has evolved as a writer. That, or I've changed tastes since I last tried to read something of hers a few years back. Either way, I recommend it. I'm only a couple of chapters in, but it is a strikingly well-written account of academic life on both sides of the Atlantic. It strikes me as very traditional, theme-wise as well as in terms of the language and structure, but it's a good match for Smith. It suits her to be a bit more traditional.

    Texicana: I'll definitely look into Bentley Little. I'd like to acquaint myself a bit better with the horror genre, move beyond King and Koontz. The Store sounds like a lot of fun!
    "There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more" (Morrissey)

  5. #2115
    FORT Newbie mitzi15's Avatar
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    Currently Reading

    The End of Alice by A.M. Homes -- A bit dark but good fiction

  6. #2116
    Anarchist AJane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geek the girl View Post
    Speaking of Gaiman:

    According to imdb, there's a movie adaption of Stardust in the making, to be released in 2007. The cast is pretty impressive - Robert de Niro, my personal favourite Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, the lovely Rubert Everett, and current it girl Sienna Miller. Here's the link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0486655/

    Any thoughts?
    I just saw this post. I think it's actually a pretty weird cast. Who the heck is Charlie Cox?

    I'm going to have to re-read the book and think this one over. I don't recall doing any mental casting for a movie for this particular book so I'll have to try to picture this cast in their roles. I'm having a hard time placing de Niro in what is essentially a fairy tale.

    I'm yawning my way through Angels and Demons right now. Marginally better than DaVinci Code, but thrillers are just not my cup of tea. Some of the (mercifully short) descriptive passages are truly awful...I'm not even a quarter of the way through and I'm tired of reading about what Vitorria looks like in her shorts. I only have it for a few days so I'm trying to speed-read my way to the end, and I imagine I'll promptly forget the entire plotline within a couple of weeks.
    All my life, I have felt destiny tugging at my sleeve.~ Thursday Next
    I don't want to "go with the flow". The flow just washes you down the drain. I want to fight the flow.- Henry Rollins
    All this spiritual talk is great and everything...but at the end of the day, there's nothing like a pair of skinny jeans. - Jillian Michaels

  7. #2117
    Read The Clue Bearcata's Avatar
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    Listened to Dan Brown's Angels and Devils. Very good.

    Just finished reading Karen Chance's Touch the Dark. A new paranormal novel. Starts out very much like one of Kim Harrison's novel's much ends up much better, with more depth.

    I must give lots of credit to Laurell K. Hamilton Anita Blake series (although she needs more plot between all the sex) Christine Feehan's Carpathian's and Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters, I know there is another lady but I don't read her books (Shayne ??? something) that have been writing paranormal books for a while now and they have started a trend that is really exciting and really opened the subgenre of paranormal up to a lot of new writers with really great female characters.

    Oh, mustn't forget Christine Warren's Wolf at the Door and Lora Leigh's Megan's Mark. Really like the Megan's Mark one as it depicts a world 20 yrs in the future were we see the result of genetic cloning where scientists have created the Breeds. Humans with Animal DNA that were to be the perfect supersoldier but have rebelled and escaped their creators and now must face the acceptance and blind hatred of the rest of the human race.
    "When life gives you lemons, squirt lemon juice in your enemy's eyes."

  8. #2118
    Bitten Critical's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy View Post
    Critical, I loved "In the Company of the Courtesan." It was lyrical and fascinating. I keep meaning to back up and read "Birth of Venus" but haven't yet.
    Lucy, I highly recommend The Birth of Venus! Dunant just makes you feel like you're there in Florence with Savonarola preaching and art burning. It's one of those books that I wish I hadn't read yet, just so I could read it again for the first time! I can't wait to read In the Company of the Courtesan, but I hope my expectations aren't too high. Based on the reviews I've read, I don't think they are.
    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?"

  9. #2119
    Culture slut geek the girl's Avatar
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    Just checking in to let you know that On Beauty hasn't turned me into a reformed Zadie Smith fan... yet. Everything is so impeccable and well-structured and polished, and I'm full with appreciation and admiration for her obvious talent. I especially like how she's managed to incorporate the overall structure and theme of E.M. Forster's brilliant Howard's End into a modern, multi-ethnic context. But should literature really be about detached appreciation? Where's the passion, the edge, the element of surprise? Zadie Smith is all the rage here in Europe at the moment: she's been hyped to the moon and back and won all sort of prestigious awards. Still, despite all the awards and rave reviews, I've never heard anyone say they love her work. Interestingly enough, I've never heard anyone who hates her work, either.

    Has anyone here read On Beauty or anything else by Smith and care to discuss this further with me? I really am struggling here, because I like it on several levels and will most definitely finish it, but I never feel compelled to pick it up. It's all so brilliant in theory, though: I can see why she's received such stellar reviews. Still, shouldn't literature be more than just "brilliant in theory"? Again, where's the passion?
    "There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more" (Morrissey)

  10. #2120
    Anarchist AJane's Avatar
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    geek, is On Beauty a modern re-write of Howard's End? I'm a big fan of Forster.
    All my life, I have felt destiny tugging at my sleeve.~ Thursday Next
    I don't want to "go with the flow". The flow just washes you down the drain. I want to fight the flow.- Henry Rollins
    All this spiritual talk is great and everything...but at the end of the day, there's nothing like a pair of skinny jeans. - Jillian Michaels

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