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Thread: What are you reading?

  1. #2381
    elk
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    Quote Originally Posted by cricketeen;2184568;
    Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan - very unusual premise.
    I really enjoyed this book.

    Trying to get into "The Life of Pi" without much luck. Hope to be reading the new "Hannibal" book soon!
    "I'll meet you at the place near the thing that we went to that time." - Albert Brooks to Holly Hunter in Broadcast News

  2. #2382
    FORT Fogey cricketeen's Avatar
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    Let us know about Hannibal. I've heard mixed reviews on that one.
    "If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough." - Mario Andretti

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    The Botany of Desire by Michael Pallon, I LOVE it!

  4. #2384
    FORT Fogey Leftcoaster's Avatar
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    Right now I'm reading a current copy of MAD magazine, something a friend figured I required. Its been a few decades since I've read this magazine, I think I'd prefer to dredge up some issues from the past than read its current fare, but much of that derives from the disappointing absence of all but one of the illustrators of yesteryear, and the one that remains may have sold his name for all I know the images appear so different.

    For as much of a written word pack rat that I am, I also wish I'd kept my copies of National Lampoon from back then as well.

    Two of the last books I've read are thrillers (or close enough)

    Robert Ludlum's The Janson Directive

    Here our 'There I was, just minding my own business...' hero, a present day security consultant is dragged back into the game, a deadly game where he's branded as a rogue agent and targeted for death at every turn after a humanitarian rescue gone as wrong as can be. Like the Bourne thrillers of the sort, theres plenty of far flung travel and calling in chits from human asset networks developed over decades in attempting to both identify identity and rationale to counter the hit squads appearing wherever he goes almost immediately. Little love action, LOTS of death action. Anti-Americanism is an underlying theme getting continually renewed in interesting ways in occasionally surprising locales.

    Robert Harris's Archangel

    This here is another thriller, the style a teensy bit more high brow, but not that much. Harris also wrote Fatherland, which I believe is superior in comparison to Archangel, but Archangel isn't bad; its just a good thiller. Our hero, a rather stupid (in my opinion) professor of Russian History. Not altogether stupid, mind you, but if put in his shoes and someone on the par with a ranking KGB agent told you to get out of the country NOW, what would you do? HE finds himself sticking around, searching for something historical he desires whether from intellectual lusting or thinking of how it could jump start his career.

    Some interesting portraitures of some true believers in Russia as well as a couple of intriging 'What if' questions. Reading this novel to some degree re-enforced the notion I have that main thing holding current day Russia from regaining superpower status is them collectively deciding thats what they desire.

    A little non-fictional blast from the past

    John Kelly's The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time

    Whats to say? The title gives it all away.

    Informative in its anecdotal non-technical delivery, focusing exclusively on Europe for the most part other than speaking as to the probable area of origin of the plague. It uses what was written at the time to provide local flavor, interesting the different ways cities approached dealing with what they faced (at least initially).

    A constant theme throughout the book was the price Jews paid for the plagues arrival. Some of the depictions, such as Jews marked for death or conversion or conversion and death dancing into the flames while singing are hard to imagine even when said to have taken place in several different locations. I've seen a fair share of Jewish conspiracy to rule the world writings, I'd thought they were of relatively recent origin. This book indicates theres nothing new about them, the same charges were used back in the 1300's of the plague and before. The book provides some of the economic rationale behind the cycle.

    Surprisingly, the book states that there are those that believe that the plague was something other than what its thought to have been, some folk believing it to have been something like Ebola virus. The way the book reads, it may have been a combination, but at least part of it seems like it would have had to have been bubonic plague based on the contemporary descriptions of the bubos.

    The book appears to make a case for the plague being on one level about the best thing that could've happened to Europe at that point in time, even though I don't think it was as crass as I was in stating it so directly.

  5. #2385
    waiting for summer owlie's Avatar
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    I've just finished The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd for my book club. What a fantastic read!

    BYW, what happened to the FORT book club? Is there any hope of resuscitating it?

  6. #2386
    FORT Biscuit VeronicaBelle27's Avatar
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    I'm reading "Vince & Joy" by Lisa Jewell (Ralph's Party and Thirtynothing), and I'm really enjoying it. I can't put it down, partly because it is reflecting something going on in my life right now, and partly because it really is a great story. I don't want to finish it!

    I folded down a half a page to notify myself in the future that here in this book resides the best-written quote I've ever read about being in a relationship with the wrong person. Here's some of it:

    "...Once again I've made a mistake at the fork in the road, and am just trundling dejectedly down the wrong path knowing that at some point, I'll have to walk all the way back again."

    LOVE IT!
    Last edited by VeronicaBelle27; 12-28-2006 at 09:46 AM. Reason: odd rambling....
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  7. #2387
    FORT Fogey Cornedbeef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geek the girl;2183447;
    That one is next in my "to read" pile. I've read and enjoyed all her other Maura Isles/Jane Rizzoli novels and unlike another successful crime novelist whose protaganist carves up dead people for a living, the quality seems to improve as the series progresses, so I'm pretty sure I'll like this one, too. Let me know how you like it!

    I'm re-reading an old fave in the whodunnit genre, Agatha Christie's The Pale Horse. It is quite different from the Poirot and Miss Marple novels: the tone is much more menacing, sinister even, and there's an elaborate plot concerning black magic and whether or not it is possible to kill someone by sheer autosuggestion. I know the general consensus among Christie fans is that she basically became crap after 1945, but I happen to disagree. I find The Pale Horse more well-written, original, and inspiring than many of her classic novels from the 1920's and 1930's. If you enjoy Christie and haven't read this one yet, by all means do.

    I'm also reading Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman and am loving it so far. The set-up is very interesting: the book can be read both as a novel and a collection of short stories since it deals with several different people living centuries apart. The stories range from the late 18th century to present day. What remains the same is the setting - all the stories take place in the same house. Intriguing idea, and it works very well. So far, all chapters - or short stories, depending on how you choose to read it - have been wonderful. Can't wait for Hoffman's latest novel, which will be released in January.

    Three days (not that I'm counting or anything...) until eleven blissful days of family time, food, reading and relaxation. Ever since I started working office hours, I find it increasingly hard to find the time to read as much as I'd like, so I can't wait to get started on that huge, lovely pile of books. It's a lovely mix, too: mainly literary fiction, with the occasional crime or horror novel thrown in for good measure.
    It was a very esy read and not a bad story. I will be buying more of her books.

  8. #2388
    FORT Fogey Harvest's Avatar
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    13 Ways of Looking at the Novel by Jane Smiley. She has a lot of very astute things to say, even though she seems to have it out for "literary critics." It makes me want to read some of the books on her list that I haven't gotten around to.

    Just finished Lisey's Story by Stephen King. I am so grateful he is still writing. This book is perfect on its own, but has even more resonance for those of us who grew up reading his work, as it revisits many of his topics, locations, etc., adding another, mature layer to his word hoard.

  9. #2389
    FORT Regular swingkat's Avatar
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    I loaned "The curious incident of the dog in the night time" by Mark Haddon from the library and read it in a day. It tells the story of Christopher, a 15 year old autistic boy who sets out to discover who killed the neighbor's dog. Funny and poignant and you can't help but root for Christopher (and his parents) all the way through. Wonderful read IMO .

    I also loaned "The best of Dorothy Parker", a collection of her poems and short stories. I remembered reading her poem "One perfect rose" way back in high school ("A single flow'r he sent me, since we met..." ) and loving the ironic twist in the end, so when I saw this book in the shelf I decided to take it out although I usually don't like this type of collections. The short stories were for the most part very entertaining and some of her poems can be brutal, but in the end I did think the whole thing felt quite repetitive (which is why I don't usually like collections in the firts place). Anyway, there were definitely some gems, like a short story called "The little hours" about a woman (I assume) who wakes up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep, for which gross injustice she blames going to bed at the unnaturally early hour of 10 o'clock and that sleep depriving French author La Rochefoucauld (you have to read it) .

    I'm now reading "On beauty" by Zadie Smith. I'm about 10 pages in, but it's already shaping out to be a great novel, but no great surprises there .

  10. #2390
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    Swingkat, I have a Dorothy Parker collection I haven't looked at for ages - I will have to pull it out again soon and give it another try. I enjoyed her style, but found a lot of the material to be dated, for lack of a better word - doesn't really stand the test of time.
    All my life, I have felt destiny tugging at my sleeve.~ Thursday Next
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