I don't know anyone who read all of Da Vinci and cannot imagine how it went so far, except it cost so much that some hesitated to knock it because they didn't want anyone to know they fell for it, paid so much, and found it so BORING then never finished it. Shoot, I dunno.
I don't think I've ever read a book I've hated, but I certainly didn't appreciate The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency book I read (don't know which one though). I was surprised it was a popular book club book. It felt more like a children's book to me, like Harry Potter. I guess it was somewhat entertaining, but there wasn't anything to discuss. I would have enjoyed it more if I read it as a "fun" read rather than a book club selection.
I enjoyed DaVinci Code (also as a "fun" read) and I really appreciate Steinbeck, having read a few of his books. I know a lot of people who didn't like Life of Pi, which has got to be among my all-time very favorites.
I love books, don't get me wrong, I enjoy novels but sometimes I'll read one that is supposed to be great and I feel like I missed the boat.
I couldn't get into Harry Potter. I loved the movies but I just couldn't get interested in the book. I think I like books that have great characters. Ones you love or hate and most of the books I get bored by are not driven by characters. I have started Anna Karenina but, goodness, I don't know if I can keep going. Perhaps I just have the concentration of a gnat and am part of the 30 second commercial generation.
And I thought I was the only one that didn't like the Da Vinci Code.
What was it about Steinbeck that held your interest? I've read Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row (which is one I liked),
tried to read Grapes of Wrath, and read about half of East of Eden before I couldn't do it anymore.
I am going to try Life of Pi - I never know which books I am going to love or hate.
Other authors I just have a hard time reading
Charles Dickens - please shoot me now
Jane Austin ( I love the stories when they are shown as plays or movies but the books are ...)
Anita Shreve - I've read, The Pilot's wife, The Weight of Water, and Fortunes Rocks - sorry if you loved these, I just didn't see the interest.
There are more but I just wanted to know that I am not the only one out there that find some of these books mediocre
Personally, I liked the Da Vinci Code but I liked his other book, Angels and Demons even better.
Some books I just don't 'get':
To Kill a Mockingbird - am I the only living person who didn't think this was the greatest book ever?
The Little Friend (Donna Tart is think is the author)
No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books
a lot of the Oprah books - I find they are short stories made into novels - the author just keeps saying the same thing over and over. The Pilot's Wife is a great example of a story that would have been a good short story but made a boring novel.
I also do not care for the new craze of 'chick lit.' I find it to be a lot of male bashing. If I read one more story of the 40-50yo wife (mostly they seem to be menopausla women) who leaves her husband (they always paint these husbands out to be terrible people) to find themselves, I may throw up. And I fear they are encouraging a lot of women to do just that - leave their husbands, and even children, to go off and seek something better instead of staying and trying to work out their problems.
OMG!! You listen to audios, I thought I was the only person in the world. If you are ever interested in a trade, do tell. I'm not to that point yet but I hope I soon will be.
Yes, the Bent is a recumbent and I love it. I broke my ankle a year ago and the specialist said I should not jog or walk on asphalt, cement, hard ground, but I should ride a recumbent and I thought he meant inside the house. Finally I realized he was talking about a bike and I immediately bought one and I was totally rehabilitated in one ride, 2 hours, and I've been riding it ever since and love it even more with the audios. I highly recommend recumbents, as well as reading via ear...
I did enjoy To Kill a Mockingbird, though truthfully, I can see parts of it where one might not like it.
I agree with you on Cold Mountain. I tried reading it twice and by the fifth chapter I couldn't make myself go on. I figure if I don't like a book by chapter five then I have better books to read.
'chick lit' - LOL - I have to be in the mood for it. I like reading about women who make a new life for themselves but I keep wondering why they married the terrible husband in the first place. I also get tired of the same story over and over. Unless there is real substance to the plot and characters, I don't like them that much either. I need a story where I care about the people in the book, and most of these don't give me that.
I have heard Angels and Demons was better. I might try that one.
I get my tapes or discs from the library as I hate paying those prices for audio books. I also find there isn't much of a waiting list for audiotapes for the newest books. I just finished, on audiotape, Never Let Me Go and Birth of Venus. I am currently listening to Pretty Birds but am not sure I like it all that much. I love just letting the words wash over me. I've thought of getting a recumbant, as I've heard they are much better than other bikes. I need to find some excersize that I like, and I would like to lose weight, are they easy to learn to ride?
Mobi, my library is very small and there is no interest in audio tapes, but I may try again, the librarian was ill the day I stopped by. Four of my audios were gifts, and I bought one from eBay, $7 including postage, Six Wives, The Queens of Henry III, David Starkey, which promises new info, recently discovered, so I took a chance, have not listened to it yet, waiting for better weather, longer rides. I check eBay frequently, and currently have a request in for Stormy Weather, but no luck yet. I love using paypal and have them delivered to my barn, I've always loved packages...do you use an iPod?? I have a Nano and I don't know how I got along without it. Now all I need is a basket for the Bent and a clip for the Nano...I'm going to check eBay for Angels & Demons, you are the third to mention it...
Sherry, does your library do the interlibrary loan thing? I go to our library's website and have all the stuff I want transferred to my branch, which is very tiny and has never in the four years I've lived here ever carried a book I wanted to rea.
The regional library is here but I did check their www and located no audiobooks but they are bound to have them some place, like one of you said and I could order what I'd like. I'm going by there tomorrow and see what I can do. Thanks all for the info!! As long as the books I want are inexpensive, I don't mind buying them, maybe I will sell them back on eBay if I cannot find someone to trade...
I can't understand why The Red Tent got 1000 plus rave reviews on Amazon. Someone recommended it to me and based on the A. reviews I read it and was appalled (sic). Did anyone else read it and feel as I did?
I love ''To Kill a Mockingbird''! I also love the movie. I hope no-one ever gets the idea to remake it with modern day actors. You can't replace the originals!
I'm odd man out. Give me Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Johnathon Kellerman and John Saul. Yes, I've always been interested in these kinds of book. I think it all started with Bewitched.( I loved Samantha.)
Lots of people have liked The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, but I was disappointed in it. Very good writing in places, but some of the characters were either too sketchy or too broadly written, and some of the plot turns were unbelievable. Too bad -- this was almost a good book. Sometimes the near misses are more disappointing than the books that are pure trash.
I didn't expect much out of The DaVinci Code, but my niece loaned me a copy so I read it. It was incredibly easy to predict "the bad guy" and is a not-particularly-good example of the historical/religious/secret-fraternity type books that are so popular these days. It's an okay "airport book," but that's about all. (The first book of this type I ever read -- The Eight, by Katherine Neville -- was much more fun and engrossing.)
A previous poster mentioned Dickens -- I find most of his books difficult to read...my mind tends to wander. The only exception to this is A Tale of Two Cities, which I love. So romantic and tragic! I just watched Bleak House on Masterpiece Theater and loved it, so I think I'll give the book a try.
Instead of disliking books that others like, I generally find myself loving books that I can't get any of my friends to read.
I don't tend to read best sellers, and that is because of The World according to Garp. I hated that book. I think about every person I knew at the time it came out recommended it to me. The funny thing is, I like his other books!
I personally love Dickens and Austen. The thing with Dickens is, his books were the mini-series of their time. That means he had to drag it all out into like 36 installments. That is why about 2/3 of the way through you just get so sick of it all.
I also hated The Last of the Mohicans. I know I am coming from a modern sensibility, but if the women in that story got into trouble one more time and had to be rescued... I threw it across the room.
Okay, gotta throw this in...I just retired from San Diego County Library 2 years ago, dream job for me, I read a lot!
Two favorite books of all time...A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving, Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley...I once ran into someone who said those were her two favorite books also. She was moving out of the area which was too bad because we MUST have had some other things in common! Also re-read Tolkien about every five years. I also find that so many books that others rave about are not interesting to me. My aunt used to tell my uncle..."if we all liked the same thing, everyone would want you, Leon"
Sherry (as in gypsy, not SherryLike)
Sherry, how funny, when it came time to do the birth certificate thing, my Mom was out of it and the only way my Dad thought of spelling Sherry was like the wine, so when people ask me for the spelling, I also say,"like the wine"! I've never been all that happy with my name, I may be older, I'm 59, but to me my name always evoked images of someone who'd most likely be wearing white go-go boots. And there was the "Sherry" character on TV's "Frasier" for awhile and her name was Sherry, and I thought, "uh huh, there you go"!
I did not love The Lovely Bones and had to make myself finish The Kite Runner.My sister passed it along and raved about it.I have read To Kill A Mockingbird several times and loved the movie.Even did a paper on it in college English course.Hard to believe some of you don't share my enthusiasm for it.That's what makes life interesting!
Hey there! Just found this thread. I hated The Horse Whisperer and wouldn't go see the movie. It seemed like a happily ever after because one horse got better and the mother got a new baby = forget the affair, the divorce, the daughter whose friend was killed and leg amputated, it just was ridiculous in my opinion. The characters had the emotional range of Disneyworld Automatons.
Agreed The Pilots Wife was an interesting story that was stretched way too long.
Refused to read the Red Tent. I dislike taking history and trivializing it into a novel for "modern tastes".
Parts of The Kite Runner were good, and I thought it was interesting to write about a part of the world that we know so little about, and try to capture the culture before and after the war. I wouldn't discourage people from reading it, I'm interested in others' opinions. I thought it tied everything up way too neatly, again, trying to make a sort-of-happy ending, at least for the American.
Along similar lines I read The Darling by Russell Banks, an American who ends up caught up in the war in Liberia. I thought it was much more forceful and realistic, while still being a fascinating glimpse into another little known part of the world.
Also the recent novel by Amy Tan, Saving Fish From Drowning, about an American tour group in Burma that disappears. Again, it attempts to explore the way of life of people trapped in a nasty political regime by sending Americans into the area. I was fascinated by her storytelling and loved how she wrapped the story up.
Is this a new genre? I'm glad there are glimpses into the awful chaos of life in other countries, and I suppose we wouldn't read them if the Americans didn't come out fine in the end - like the old cowboys and Indians.
Of the three, I thought Amy Tan managed to end her book on a perfect note, with a touch of irony. The Darling was my second favorite, and the Kite Runner somewhat disappointing.
I'm VERY interested in any other opinions on these books (or type of books).
I too often find the Oprah books more like stretched out short stories.
Books I liked:
'Secret Life of Bees - one of my favorites
'The Wonder Years' by Jonathan Kellerman (recommended by danak)
'My Sisters Keeper’ by Jodi Picoult - LOVED it!
'The Red Tent'
'Memoirs of a Geisha'
'Cane River' by Lalita Tademy
'Follow the River' by James Alexander Thom
Books I didn't like:
'Life of Pi' - HATED IT! It is the kind of book I would only be interested in if it were based on a true story. I tried to like it, but ...
'The Virgin Suicides' - I found the book to be very bizarre and pointless.
Gwen, I'm still smiling at your answer about your name... being 5'9'' and willowy must surely make up for a lot of things in life! LOL Mind you, I'm not fat myself, let's say I'm a renaissance type.. LOL - too bad my name is not Isabella or something romantic and breezy like that. It's Fernanda - heavy name.
But seriously, I'm happy as it is!
Mobi - great to meet someone else that hated the Da Vinci Code! What a stupid book! I figure the guy just thought hey, this Holy Grail business usually pays off, I could write a novel with that sort of atmosphere to it, no need for major research or anything (he never really bothered)... and he went on to write it, never reviewed it, couldn't really remember the beginning when writintg the end but, hey, who does anyway???
And off he goes to become a millionaire!
I'm an avid reader, and there are so many books I love that I'm sure I won't remember them all right now, but Foucault's Pendulum would be one of my many favourites..
Recently I've been reading Steven Saylor's Gordianus novels - I love them!
I loved Foucault's Pendulum, but it was so hard for me to read. I think I ended up taking about four times as long as it would normally take meto read that many pages. Have you tried reading Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson?
No I haven't read that book - is it anything in the line of Foucaults Pendulum?
It also took me a while to get through it - specially the first 50 pages or so. I really had to brace myself not to give it up, but it was worth it! Wonderful plot, TONS of information, what a book - I love books that get you to question things!
"the Da Vinci code" I will second that vote. Also anything by Clive Cussler (is that right?). Too many details/characters to keep track of. I've never been much on novels - have always prefered non-fiction, biographies, periodicals, etc., but have learned that I lean toward pop culture type novels. I like most of Nick Hornby's works. Was tickled to see "About a Boy" made into a movie - but the book is always better!
Starting with classics... I have to add Catch 22. I have tried to read it twice, but just can't do it. War, planes, soldiers, blah, blah, blah...
Catcher in the Rye is another. I did not quite hate it, but it was nowhere near as brilliant as people make it out to be. Maybe if I would have read it when I was a teenager instead of in my 20's? One of my favorite books is by Salinger (Franny & Zooey), but I just did not see what was so great about Holden.
Next book would be American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. I have read a couple of his other books and somewhat enjoyed them. They are all about very self absorbed people, but American Psycho (aka Sick-O) just took the cake.
Next is 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I tried to read it twice. First time, I zoomed through about 100 pages loving it, then started getting bored, putting it down before page 200. A couple years later, I started over, but still only got to about page 250 or 300. I just had no desire to finish it.
One more... Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. Tried and tried to read it, but just was not happening.
I absolutely loved East of Eden and enjoyed Virgin Suicides, DaVinci Code, Red Tent & The Kite Runner, but have yet to finish either of the Amy Tan books I started.
John Irving is my favorite author and I loved The World According to Garp as much as everything else, but there is one book of his I can't read - A Son of the Circus. I have tried twice.
Does anyone listen to audio books on your ipod? I was thinking of doing this until I checked the itunes offerings - The Secret Life of Bees is $45.00! Forget that. I think most are under $10, but if I purchase a book I would prefer to be able to put it on a shelf and read it again later.
Saving the fish from Drowning at Target yesterday. I read the back cover and it sounds interesting, but so did the other two of hers I started. Next time I go on a cruise or other extended vacation I am going to try again.
If you like listening to books, Audible.com is worth looking into. We belong and love it-- you download books from your computer into an Ipod or MP3 player and are free to listen anytime. I "listen 'while I'm walking or working outside. What a convenience!! We had to travel about 6 hours over the holiday and listened to The Curious Incident of the Dead Dog in the Night-time. It really is a wonderful convenience and your books are always in your computer library.
The book we listened to was very good, well written and the reader was wonderful. Check it out.
Books I can't stand:
Moby Dick. I made two false starts and couldn't make it past the catalog of whales. And I really wanted to have read it. Does reading the first half twice make for a whole? Guess not.
And there aren't that many books that I have completed that I hated. I have learned to put books down before I waste too much time on them.
I am with those of you who hated the Da Vinci Code. The movie does a better job than the book and the movie wasn't all that great.
I agree with those of you who are Amy Tan lovers. I loved the Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God's wife. They are so different from our cliched image of Chinese immigrants. I also read her memoir, The Opposite of Fate. It was fascinating -- especially the part about being in the Rock and Roll band with Dave Berry and Steven King. I really need to get to her other books.
I don't know how I feel about books on tape or ipods. I do a lot of driving over long distances because I live in a small town in Northern New Mexico and many items are simply unavailable in my town. But once I tried to listen to The Hundred Secret Senses on Tape and ended up not being able to stand it. I don't know if it was the book or the listening to it in someone else's voice but I only got part way through. I bought a copy of the book and will try it soon, but I almost can't face it after the tape. I think it was the meanness of the narrator that did it. Hearing about this meanness was more painful than reading, maybe. I'll have to see.
I am not fond of science fiction. It is all so gloomy. Why should I spend time and money to be depressed?
I loved A Suitable Boy about India but I never finished it because it is so long! I would read a few hundred pages and then life would intervene. I would have to go take care of some emergency and when I got back I couldn't figure out where I left off. It is a whole lot of stories about the same people in different situations. A lot of people. It really portray's India in the 50's to a T I am told, and the stories are fascinating. I do have to get back to it. It is rare for me not to finish a book I really like.
I have loved all of the Amy Tan books - all of them! Do read A Hundred Secret Senses! Also Loved Memoirs of a Geisha, the James Clavell books - especially Shogun. I loved John Irving's earlier novels - The World According to Garp, A Prayer for Owen Meaney, Cider House Rules, and The Water Method Man, but hated Hotel New Hampshire, Son of the Circus and A Widow for One Year. So I don't buy his books anymore. Hated, hated, The DaVinci Code. I had already purchased his previously written book - Angels and Demons - to read afterwards, but can't bring myself to try.
I thought Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone and I Know This Much is True were very good reading.
And I like a lot of the fun books about the South. Cold Sassy Tree, books by Bailey White, the Ya-Ya books by Rebecca Wells.
I just can't listen to books on tape. I guess it is because I am too visual. My mind wanders and I have to rewind too often. It just doesn't pull me in like reading does, and I lose the feeling of "being there". Sometimes I will read a passage and have to reread it because it is just so good!
I have really enjoyed this thread, and I will definitely try some of the loved books...
I am glad to hear I am not the only one who doesn't like books on tape. I too have enjoyed all the Ya,Ya books and will retry the Thousand Secret Senses, in book form. I have heard many good things about She's Come Undone and will have read that one as well.
I liked Memoirs of a Geisha, but thought the end was a bit unlikely. Still reading the book and understanding what the life of a geisha was like was really interesting. I haven't read Clavell's books, but I hear they are great. Maybe I will give them a try.
It is great to get all these recommendations. Sometimes I can't remember what it was I meant to read next.
The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller - UGH! I tried, because all of my women friends were telling me how wonderful it was, but I just couldn't take it. And I didn't see the movie, either. Another friend recommended Louis L'Amour for quick reads while on vacation. I actually threw that book out of the car window in Colorado, I was so frustrated with his repetitiveness. Did he think that his reader needed to be reminded constantly, or did he forget he had already written that piece of information - several times?
When I heard what the story of Bridges of Madison County was about, I decided to skip it. And Louis L'Amour, I just sort of knew I wouldn't like him. If you want to read a really good but light mystery writer, read Tony Hillerman. He is a good writer, a good person, and is thoroughly knowledgeable about the history and culture of the Southwest and the Navajo Indians. The indians respect his books and him and they don't feel that way about a whole lot of writers. You will learn about the Navajo in Tony Hillerman.
I loved To Kill a Mockingbird. I used to teach it to my students who also loved it. And Huckleberry Finn is my candidate for the great American Novel. I haven't read most Dickens in years, but I read A Tale of Two Cities as an adult and enjoyed it a whole lot more than the Dickens I could barely wade through as a teenager. I suspect I would like Dickens now, but haven't tried.
The Mists of Avalon was one of the best book I have ever read, as well as its sequel which I can't remember the name of. Another was The Once and Future King.
I generally don't like murder mysteries and thrillers but there are some I like pretty well. I do like John Le Carre. I recently read one of his called Our Game which was quite outstanding, very psychological. Of course, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold was an all time great spy novel.
And another psychological murder mystery was Kate Atkinson's book Case Histories. I couldn't put it down. It was far more psychological than murderous but had some of the best suspense I can remember for a while.
There is yet another recent and rather strange but fascinating novel by Stephanie Kallos called Broken for You that is both hilarious and serious about a lot of broken people who come together to live in a quite hysterically pleasant way.
And then there is Jane Smiley. I have enjoyed numerous of her books, especially Horse Heaven. It is kind of like a novelized version of Sea Biscuit, but because it is fiction it goes into the psyche of animals in a way no non-fiction book can get away with. As far as I am concerned though, Smiley's all time greatest book was A Thousand Acres, which I realized about 1/3 way into it is a modern adaptation of Shakespeare's King Lear. You may have seen the movie, which was good, but I thought the book, as always, was terrific.
And now you all are getting me all fired up. Did you ever read Little Big Man? It is another of my all time favorites. It was made into a pretty good movie with Dustin Hoffman but it was very entertaining and yet told the tragic history of the American Plains Indians. A non-fiction on that same subject, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, was an extremely good book but one that I never finished because the pain it exposes is so horrible. Yet somehow Little Big Man covers the same material with so much comic relief, it is possible to take in these events.
Enough for now. More later.
I don't like mystery/spy novels - I tend to like historical novels or just stories about people. I loved "Little Big Man". And I loved "Lonesome Dove", too, although it had some parts that I felt were too violent for my tender eyes... Two I read long ago, and wonder if I would still like (tastes change, you know) - I guess I was on an American Indian kick - was "Ride the Wind" (about the Comanche) and "Walk in my Soul" (Cherokee) by Lucia St Clair Robson. I do know that at the time I loved them!
There was also a book, written entirely by correspondence - letters being sent back and forth. Can't quite pull in the name. Ah - looked it up: "A Woman of Independent Means" by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey. I remember that book fondly. (Not "A Woman of Substance" by Barbara Taylor Bradford - I didn't particularly care for that one.)
Historical novels - "The Source", "Hawaii", "Tales of the South Pacific" by James Michener. Didn't much care for most of his later books. He seemed to want to get every little piece of research in them, without regard to the flow of the story. Leon Uris - "Exodus". "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver was awesome. But hated her latest "Prodigal Summer" - couldn't make it past the first few pages. I really tried. Threw it out. (I was on vacation and didn't want to lug it all over the place.) I couldn't believe it was written by the same person.
"Broken by You" sounds like my kind of "people" story. I'll look for it.
I read Prodigal Summer and enjoyed it but it was not the book that The Poisonwood Bible was by a long shot.
The other book was Broken for You, not by you. It is a book that is like no other I can name.
I rarely read spy novels, but I have, on two occasions, made exceptions for John Le Carre. He is a very skilled writer. Our Game, starts out with two spies but they become something else by the end of the book.
It's funny you mention Prodigal Summer. The Poisonwood Bible is on my favorites list, but I could not read Prodigal Summer. It really had nothing to do with the plot, just the name of the main character - Deanna. The same name as my husband's ex-wife, and when I tried to read it, she was causing major strife in our lives. I do recommend The Bean Trees and Pig's in Heaven by Kingsolver. They are part of a series that she wrote before Poisonwood Bible. They are very enjoyable books. Animal Dream's is another and is good too, but I enjoyed The Bean Trees and Pigs and Heaven more and they are what led me to pick up The Poisonwood Bible when it was published.
Ceejay, I love the southern books too. I went through a phase where I was devouring all southern books I could find, but I burnt out on them and haven't read any in a while. There are a few still sitting unread on the shelf. Michael Lee West, Rebecca Wells, Fannie Flagg and Billie Letts were some of my favorites. And, I wish Wally Lamb would come out with a new fiction book! I Know This Much is True is another of my favorite books (mostly because I relate to so much of it with my own brother and family).
The best book I ever read on southern families nowadays was A Southern Family, by Gail Godwin. It is one of those books that is accurate and right on about family life. It does not romanticize it. Godwin also wrote a Mother and Two Daughters. Both are fine books about family life.
Except for Rebecca Wells, I don't generally read books about the South. I grew up there and have to say I mostly had enough of it. I have the other Kinsolver books and will eventually read them. I have so many books stacked up to read that accumulated before I retired. If you want to read a naughty but excellent little book about women nowadays, I recommend Spending by Mary Gordon.
This thread is great!! I have some very good recommendations for books from people whose taste I trust, because I know what you like, and dislike. I have often wandered around book stores, and chatted with women looking in the same section I'm in. Have they read such and such? What did they think of it? And then - when I trusted their taste - what would they recommend? What did they enjoy? I was badly burned only once. I had just read Memoirs of a Geisha and enjoyed it, and there was this woman, nicely dressed, with husband, a teenager and college-age daughter, looking at books in the bookstore of an airport. We chatted; she seemed trustworthy, and then she suggested Diary of a Callgirl. Said her daughter had recommended it and she had enjoyed it. So, with geisha in mind, I bought it. It was no geisha! It was a diary of a callgirl! It would have gone out the airplane window it I could have opened it. She didn't look the type at all... But I have to laugh - what else could I expect? There was certainly no false advertising! LOL!!
That's funny. I like this thread, too, but I am exceedingly cautious whose advice I take before I read a book. That is because my backlog is huge and my time is scarce -- even though I am retired. But I have picked up some good suggestions here in the last few days.
I would suggest you read I Know This Much Is True before you read She's Come Undone. The latter is a harder read, just because of the subject matter, and the main character. I think you'll understand what I mean...
paja, I have so many books stacked up too. :) Before taking on gardening and other, I read 25 to 30 books a year, and we have this wonderful used bookstore here - Half Price Books. They are based here and their flagship store is the size of a regular grocery store. I would go there at lunch and stock up every few months - mostly on overstocked books that were marked down to 2 or 3 bucks. I kept a list on my computer, and a copy in my purse, of all the books I was interested in at the time and most purchases would come from the list.
I stopped reading so much about 4 years ago and so have all these books are still sitting in my "to be read" bookcase. I am trying to make myself read one out of the old stack for every new one I buy and read. It does not always work, but I just started Ironweed by William J. Kennedy on Monday which has been in the bookcase for a few years.
Thanks for your advice about the order of books in the case of This Much Is True. Stuff like that helps.
I have put myself on a book diet. No more books unless they are for some field I have nothing on. No new novels unless they are on my list. I have also started giving away books I have read but don't plan to get back to, if I know someone who wants them. Otherwise they go to our library resale store. Unfortunately, I have to be very careful not to come out with more than I left with.
I am currently reading The Typhoon Lover which is by Sujata Massey and part of her series of murder mysteries involving Japan. It is good, but I would not rate it with my favorite novels. It's just that it is full of stories about how Japanese culture works. It is a page turner, though.
Jasmerr, I hated "Life of Pi" too! It started off good and then started to bore me to death with details of how to kill a turtle. Yes, if it had been true I might have finished it. I finally started skimming and trying to get to the end but went ahead and returned it to the library without finishing it. I thought I'd check it out again but I'll probably forget about it.
I liked Angela's Ashes but it depressed other people I knew. I loved The Glass Castle!
Hate anything by Doctorow! I don't read that much sci-fi, but have always loved the Dune series and Herbert's 'Stranger in a Strange Land'. Now that I think of it, it's about time to read them again. I thought 'Life of Pi' a waste of time, I'd skip 10 pages and the same action was going on, didn't seem to have missed anything. 'Kite Runner' predictable. I also loved 'Cold Sassy Tree', may need to read that again. I do love reading anything set in another country or different areas of our own. The South is so totally different from anything I've ever lived that I find it interesting. And yes, Gail Godwin is good. Always love Maeve Binchy, but her latest is formulaic and not worth reading. Generally,anything Oprah likes doesn't seem to interest me. I read a lot of mysteries,espionage especially because they're mostly set in other countries. Like Ian Rankin, his books are set in Scotland. The early Le Carre books were magnificent. Ditto the Ludlum books before he died. I truly don't know what I'd do if I couldn't read.
It's actually amazing how much true trash gets published. Perhaps we should start our own version of the bestsellers list. However a lot of the books on the bestsellers list are true trash so I suppose nobody would listen or agree. It's like the 'reality' shows...someone must be watching or they wouldn't be on, right?
People obviously do buy these books. Read? I don't know. But like that "What not to wear" show on TV we should start a "What not to read" list. And I would put Tom Friedman's and quite a few other books on it.
I can't say I've ever read anything that's on the 'best seller' lists, apart from something like The Road which Oprah featured. There are so many talented writers out there who could benefit from one hundreth of the publicity some of these talent-less hacks receive.
One of my most enjoyable recent reads is The Conjurer's Bird by Martin Davies. How many readers have heard of that?
This is a great thread -- you all have suggested some books I'm really looking forward to reading this summer!! I've been on a fiction hiatus for a few years (working long hours), but have rcently started reading again. Thanks for the recommendations.
I liked the Secret Life of Bees, too. A lot. Enjoyed Waterworks, too. Just heard about the Poisonwood Bible today, from a friend at the library. Probably will try it soon.
Enjoyed 2 by John Steinbeck but hated "the Pearl"
I like Amy Tan's books, too, but they start a little slow. I am glad I forced myself to stick to them.
My favorite so far is the Wapshot Chronicles. I literally felt myself in that little seaside town.
Angel's Ashes WAS depressing. Penrod was trite. If I want to read mystery, I prefer John Grisham. Not my favorite genre, however.
Hmmm, having trouble remembering titles..
Oh! Cold Mountain was close to home. I can see the back of Cold Mountain from my deck. I was involved with a historical house that was out of the battle areas, but deserters, bushwackers and outliers roamed the area assaulting families and stealing from them. These were the same sorts that killed Enman. So yes, I liked it.
Yes, Mobi, I am also a fan of the Poisonwood bible and the Secret Life of Bees, but didn't much care for the Mermaid Chair.
And, woodspirit, I also like Amy Tan's books. The only one I found a slow start was Saving Fish from Drowning. I still and trudging through it.
I really like Louise Erdich. My favorite of hers was The Master Butcher's Singing Club, but I also liked the Painted Drum, Love Medicine, Tracks. The least good one, but still very funny was the Beet Queen.
Unfortunately I don't read much in the summer, I am too busy gardening!
Yes, I am still reading SFFD just to see how it will turn out. It certainly has a lot of plot twists! I take it whenever I go on an airplane. In the summer that's about all the reading I get -- that and Drs' offices.
I'm currently reading and love "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" by Lisa See. Beautifully written and gives tremendous insight into 19th century Chinese culture including footbinding, dowries and pre-arranged marriages.
My book club read, but I didn't like the "Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger. I found it very disjointed & difficult to follow the story.
Gee, if y'all like to read this much, how come we can't sustain a book club here on DG?.Any ideas? We have read and critiqued 4 books but it's hard to get a group large enough to make it much fun.
Should we wait until fall when most of the gardening is finished?
I have been tempted by Water for Elephants in the store. I may have to succomb after your comment.
I used to be in a book club, but my problem is that I just can't make myself read books that I don't like and I quit because I just wasn't holding up my end of the bargain. Some people are such avid readers that they can get through books they don't find especially amusing. I don't happen to be one of them.
I agree pajaritomt. I just like to read what I want to read. I don't want to take my time reading anything that I am not thorougly enjoying. My reading time is very precious because it is so limited. I love this thread because it gives an exhange of ideas on recommended books and books not particularly liked. That helps me in selecting my next book. If someone likes books that I like, then I am more prone to think I might like something else she has read and recommended.
Speaking of which - Those of you who are struggling with SFFD by Amy Tan: I have read all of her other books and loved them. Even her autobiographical notes (can't remember the title). Have you read any of her other books and liked them? Or are they just not your cup of tea? I have not yet purchased SFFD, and now I'm concerned that it may be a bust. I used to be a big John Irving fan (with a couple of exceptions), but haven't been able to get into any of his latest. He just plain got too weird and sick. So maybe Amy Tan is in a slump too?
"Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" by Lisa See is in such high demand by book clubs in my area that there is a very long waiting list. We were told to purchase the book from Amazon.com. Just thought I'd give you a 'heads up'.
Jasmerr: I agree that "Time Traveler's Wife" dragged in parts, but I can't wrap myself around the whole concept of time traveling regardless. So, I had a negative view of the book from the beginning, which I'm sure played a factor.
woodspirit1: We could try for Fall to get a book club going. However, I know that I'll be out in the garden a lot because it is way to hot & humid to do anything in my garden during the Summer. I have to wait to do Fall planting & garden maintenance once it cools down in late September, but I'd be more than willing to try and squeeze in a book, if I'm looking forward to reading it.
Could we perhaps get the 'top 5' list of possible books that we would like to read, discuss and then chose one to launch our on-line book club? Also, a brief description of the book would help in the decision making process.
I love Amy Tan. I have not read all of her books, but I think I have only failed to read the Bone Setter's Daughter which I gather from almost everyone is fantastic. I also loved her autobiographical stuff and all of her novels. I am 3/4 way through SFFD. It isn't terrible, but I find it tries to make funny things that aren't funny, like what happens to the people who go on this trip to Burma. There are some very hilarious scenes but , as far as I am concerned humor isn't what put her on the map as a writer. What has made her a success is her intimate portrayal of the culture of Chinese women. There are lots of funny scenes, but the overall tone of her books is serious.
This new novel -- at least as far as I have read is making fun of remote China, Burma, and the USA and the idiocy of American tourists. This is a rather different Amy Tan than the one we are used to.
One way or the other, she does an excellent job of showing the absolute chasm between the Burmese and tribal people of Burma and the Americans and the hypocrisy of the Burmese government toward the crisis these people are undergoing.
On the other hand, it is not as intense as her other books. I like the previous, non-comic books so far. Still I will undoubtedly finish Saving Fish From Dying.
Edited to make second to last paragraph make sense!
Thanks paja. It appears that Tan's SFFD is just a totally new genre for her. Maybe if someone else had written it, we wouldn't have the predetermined expectations? I think I'll have to give it a try, just to satisfy my curiosity.
I think I will start a thread for the book club around September or October. There we can decide on what book we might wish to start with. One that has bumped around and not yet been taken up is "In America" by Susan Sontag.
As I posted before, my book group read Saving Fish. We also read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.
I joined this book group because I tend to strictly read mysteries. I knew joining a group I would read something different at least once a month. It was a good move. I have read books I would have never chosen on my own. This month we are reading White Doves at Morning by James Lee Burke.
When I read Snow Flower I was so astounded and repulsed over the detailed explanation of foot binding I almost did not finish it.But I did read on and certainly learned a lot I never knew about the Chinese culture.
I believe the process of foot binding was described in detail in Pearl Buck's The Good Earth many years ago. It, also, is a wonderful book about Chinese culture, but the foot binding process is horrifying, I agree. I will have to try Snow Flower and Secret Fan as well. Another fantastic book on Chinese culture was The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston. I know many read it in college, but if you missed it, it is outstanding.
I also cringed when Lisa See described foot binding and what it did to one of the characters. It appears to be a very painful section for all readers.
pajaritomt: I will look for Pearl Buck's The Good Earth and The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston, as I have enjoyed reading and learning about the Chinese culture & customs, which are so different from our own.
The Joy Luck Club is fabulous for teaching about China as well. It is so different, but so important to know about. I couldn't put any of these down when I was reading them. Pearl Buck got the Nobel Prize for her book. The Woman Warrior is one of the most taught books in college English in the US. I loved all of them.
Can anyone recommend some books about Africa that are like Amy Tan's are about China? I've read and loved The Poisonwood Bible, and I would like something in the similar vein, but not depressing or heavy, heavy. Maybe with the history there, that isn't possible. But I am travelling to S Africa and Botswana this September and would like to learn more without getting into the history as such... Probably not possible, just wondering.
I haven't read them but what about all those books about the Ladies Detective Agency? They are in Africa and my friends, who usually have good taste, really like them. And they are very light. I am afraid I haven't read any thing but The Poisonwood Bible along those lines.
Regarding novels about and/or by Africans, Cry the Beloved Country was required reading in one of my high schools - not light, but hard to put down and unforgettable. I can't vouch for the books on this website, but maybe it's a start -
I have read all The Ladies Detective Agency books and absolutely loved them. They are definitely "light" but I think well worth the read. They do give a lot of insight into African life.
IF you really want to get into Africa, read just about anything by Wilbur Smith. He has been around for a very long time and I have read all his books right from the beginning. They have always been the type of books that I don't want to put down. His lastest series has been Egyptian based, and they too have been excellent.
Thanks for the recommendations on Africa. I will definitely look up Wilbur Smith. Between me and my mother-in-law we have all of the Ladies Detective Agency books and I plan to read them this winter.
Speaking of light but fun reading, I am almost finished withMarley and Me which is really a fun book. It reminds us of why we love our dogs in spite of their sometimes numerous bad habits.
I am reading The Street Lawyer by John Grisham. It started off fast, not so sure parts of it are believable, like when a lawyer in a firm of 800 other lawyers, decides to leave this huge firm he is sure to become a partner in, to go work for homeless people. But there's a good sub-plot so maybe it will work out.
Yep, it's hard to mention books we don't like without mentioning books we like.
I think October is a good time to start up the book club again. Everyone try to think of a really good one to read and to suggest to the group.
I just finished reading "Middlesex" by Jeffrey Eugenides. Awesome imagery! It was like a movie going on in my head, complete with flashbacks and fast-forwards.
Now for something on topic: my local bookseller recommended "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho. Bought it. Hated it! Gave up on it half way through, it was so boring. It reminded me of "Jonathan Livingstone Seagull". Blech! However, Coelho apparently has a strong following, worldwide. I just dont' get it.
I have started Anna Karenina. It seems a bit overwhelming now. Tolstoy is also great at imagery, but tells so much detail that I wonder if he wrote during the time when authors were paid by the word. Anyway, I'm sticking to it for awhile to see if today's pace will still allow me to enjoy it.
Anyone else read it or War and Peace and can comment on them?
I read Anna Karenina twice in my youth. Yes, it is very long and very detailed but I really loved it. I had a lot of trouble with names because every Russian has a real name and about 10 diminutives, or so it seems. I might find it easier now. I haven't read War and Peace, but always intended to. I do like Tolstoy's writing, but you have to really enjoy his detailed picture of Russian life.
Nowadays, I have so much going on that I can barely read anything unless I am on vacation. I do devour things on vacation, though. Riding on airplanes, sitting on beaches etc really give me that quiet time I need to read.
I find it helpful when ever reading Russian authors, to keep a list in the book (I use it as a bookmark), of the main characters and all the different permutations of their names. I love the stories (so much emotion !), but all the names would confuse me - hence the list. Then I leave the list in the book for next time - whether read by me, or someone else.
The list is a great idea. I have to say the names threw me for a loop when I first read Anna Karenina, but the biggest problem was figuring out that these weren't all different characters. I was pretty young at the time. Eventually I figured it out, but what kept my interest was the fascinating picture of the lives and economy of Russia at the time. It really enhanced my world view.
Well, I am not very far in the book, so I'm going to start a list of the names. I noticed already that Prince Stephen was also called Stivia.Actually, I was determined to start reading The View From Pompey's Head, because I am involved with the historic designation of a house the author lived in while he wrote 3 other books. The book was made into a movie. Hamilton Basso also wrote Courthouse Square which was opted for a movie but withdrawn because it was considered too controversial - civil rights issues.
I find that as a more mature person, I can understand some of the classics a lot better than I could as a teenager. Some of the issues in the classics make very little sense to teenagers. Actually, though, I understood, even as a young person, Anna Karenina's delima even as a young person.
For me, the biggest problem with Canterbury Tales is the language. It is very beautiful when read aloud by someone who knows how to pronounce it and the tales are pleasant and funny and even baudy, but I can't say that I get any of that from it when I read it alone. My teachers who worked with me on it would be very distressed to hear that, but it is true.
The one I can't get into is Moby Dick. I have read the first half twice. I have been told that it, too, is baudy and irreverent, but I find it good sleeping medicine.
I remember reading MD as a kid and loving it...haven't re-read it as an adult...should probably give that a try. I love the classics, but I also just love a good mystery or thriller, or really good fantasy and sci-fi. So...guess you could say I always have a book with me, and always will.
Do you like Steinbeck? He is probably my favorite American author...but even so, I have a hard time reading The Pearl...so slow! But Cannery Row and, naturally Grapes of Wrath are completely riveting to me...I love the characters in CR so much that I have named pets and plants after them!
I am a great fan of Steinbeck. The Pearl isn't his greatest, but I even liked that. I loved the Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, and Travels with Charley and Of Mice and Men. Oh, yes, also Cannery Row and Tortilla Flats.
I am also an Amy Tan fan.
Amy's books can start out slow, but don't let that stop you. She is good. I like Steinbeck too, a lot. yes the Pearl was a bit arduous and ended sadly. Steinbeck was realist; was often considered a communist because of his concerns for the poor working class. it is interesting to me how people can be tagged as communist when standing up for themselves and others.
Yes...all the noise and unfriendliness that many communes suffered with, and now we are recycling everywhere, and organics are getting more and more common. Why do so many new (not necessarily new - but different),ideas have to be met with derision and fear? Must be in the nature of man...
Probably two reasons: they are uninformed and greedy people will sink to any lowness to keep the "little people" in line such as flag-waving and even using religion to keep them fearful and ashamed.
I'm still trying to read Anna Karenina but I have a lot of periodical and read most of them all except for a couple that are more my spousal unit's interests.
National Geographic is a regular for years, but I always take the New Yorker now. Also Garden Gate, Wildlife in North Carolina, Southern Living, Consumer's Reports, Astronomy, Discover, Scientific American, ...gad, maybe one or two more.
It's late here and I'm not sleeping and I have to go to work in a couple of hours, so back to bed.
The science-fiction author, Ursula LeGuin, wrote an excellent book about a revolutionary society committed to a communal life in which everybody shared everything. I think the book was called "The Disposessed."
People have a hard time changing and as a result are commonly suspicious of change. Steinbeck was a great guy and his book, Travels with Charley is semi-autobiographical and both funny and touching. He has a great part describing a conversation in a diner there. It seems the chickens had been dying and after much jaw-boning, the farmers concluded that the communists had been killing the chickens. Very funny. Charley was a large black poodle.
Another of my favorite authors is Louise Erdich. She is from the Dakotas and is part Ojibway, I believe. Love Medicine, Tracks, The Master Butcher's Singing Club, and The Painted Drum describe life in that part of the world. I find it wonderful. The Beet Queen is surrealistically funny, but not as good as the others in my opinion -- but I still finished it.
Amy Tan writes about the Chinese-American experience and gives a picture of what it is like to live through immigration and assimilation. I find that her writing has made it much easier for me to understand my Asian friends and their hardships.
Someone gave me a Dean Koonze book, "watchers." I am not into fantasy much and there is an element of it, in that gene research has produced a couple of unusual animals, but it moves very fast and is very readable. It's also hard to know what will happen next as 3 different stories converge, which adds to the suspense.
What are you folks reading?
Well, I am currently reading a non-fiction book on the Silk Road by Colin Thubron called Shadow of the Silk Road. it is not your basic travel book, bit it actually is one. It goes into the lives of ordinary people and into the history of the area as well. He talks quite a bit about the effects of the cultural revolution on now-living Chinese people. He also talks to current Buddhist monks in Tibet. It is fascinating, but not an upper like most travel books which I normally can't ge through. I recommend it.
Before the current troubles in Burma, I read Amy Tan's book Saving Fish from Dying. I wasn't that crazy about it, but the current troubles have given me a whole new view of the book. As outrageous as her view of Burma was, it sounds as if she was hitting on a truth.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - another fascinating look into the Chinese mindset. I liked it, but not as well as Amy Tan's books. However, I haven't read Saving Fish from Drowning yet, and I'm almost afraid to - there are so many negative thoughts about it.
I just finished The Memory Keeper's Daughter. Well written (almost too much description, but an effective page filler), this would make a good selection for a book club discussion. I can see a movie in its future.
I read the Memory Keeper's daughter. yes, there was a lot of description and I almost put it down but it excelerated as I went along and was glad I read it.
When I finish "Watchers" I am going to read Susan Sontag's, "In America." I hope I can get others to join me. Then we can discuss it.
I also read the Memory Keeper's Daughter for book club. It was an easy read, but I found the part about the pregnant girl living in the father's old abandoned shack, then going to live with their family, not very realistic or convincing, especially during that time period.
I wish the author had not drifted off on so many divergent tangents. Rather, I would have focused on the little girl with Down's Syndrome, her periods of growing up & justing, the parents who raised her and eventually finding her biological family. I felt let down that the author didn't delve more into those relationships.
I finished "Watchers." It was fast-moving, scary, cloak and dagger, and sentimental all at once.It is not the type of book I would normally read, but it swept me into the intrigue before I could lay it down.
I am ready to start our fall Book Critique Club. It will need a separate thread.
I think we should consider suggestions, but we have batted around "In America" by Susan Sontag for some time so that is my vote. Are you all ready? What would you prefer to read?
White Oleander by Janet Fitch. Somehow I just did not appreciate it. It left me feeling like I wasted my time and so hopeless. I so wanted to like this book but for the life of me just couldn't do it!
Another book that I really didn't care for was the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisters by Rebecca Wells. After reading the book the movie came out so I thought this would be that rare instance where the movie would be better than the book, but again I was wrong... JMHO.
OK, are ready to start up the book club again? I would appreciate if someone would make a link. You could call it something Book Club and Critique, or just name it like the last one. Then we can pick a book.
I am currently reading The Hornet's Nest by Jimmy Carter. A nice historic novel based on problems with the British, wealthy landowners, Indians and the farmers.
I was okay with Prayer for Owen Meany, I wouldn't say I loved it. I liked Prince of Tides surprisingly well -- I didn't see the film, but it wasn't around when I read the book, as I recall. Loved East of Eden.
I am very into elephants. Maybe I need to read Water for Elephants. I would have a hard time with the cruelty toward them, though.
I couldn't get through the Da Vinci Code. The movie was better, but not all that great either. The people I know who liked the book liked it because of the puzzles.
Interesting. I liked Prayer for Owen Meany and hated Widow for One Year - had to quit reading it. I think I've given up on John Irving and he used to be my favorite author. And I very much enjoyed Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood. Currently reading Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons, and enjoying it. The time frame parallels my life, so I am going down memory lane...
Prince of Tides- thought it weird at first but started it on a trip to Myrtle Beach so stuck with it and was glad. I still like Irving through- Garp, Meany and Cider House Rules.
Certain books or authors - your appreciation does vay with your time in life. I hated Wuthering Heights in highschool but loved it a few years ago. I challenge anyone to love Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper, or Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne. Anna Karenina movie that was on public TV a year or two ago was good. I think the girl from Pirates of the Carribean was Anna.
My husband said he has read some Roth books and liked them. I trust his opinion. Usually if he tells me I should read a book, I really like it. He didn't tell me I should read Roth. He just said he liked him.
I just found this thread and will be back. It was fun reading all the likes and dislikes. I want to get back into reading at least one or more books a month. I've read several of Oprah's book club picks in the past and wondered why those certain books were picked!
I have noticed interesting trends here. Some folks prefer books more oriented towards their sex, others more toward their principles, and yet more pick a genre, such as mystery.
I guess I started reading more lately to widen my horizons. That's why I chose National Book Club awards, Pulitzer's, and the Nobel Prize for Literature. I felt I needed to expand my horizons.
In our book club here, we were trying to pick a book and someone mentioned The Kite Flyer. Someone else nixed it, though. Now it is a best seller and a movie has been made from it. It is placed in Afghanistan, and has some political overtones so it wouldn't be eveyone's cup of tea but that's what I meant when I said I wanted to expand my horizons.
I have my own prejudices too, though. I will not read a romance novel although some apparently have been good enough to made into a movie. I well, I guess I feel about chick books like a lot of men feel about chick flicks. It does gall me though, that men will not read about nor watch a movie whose principal character is a woman. I think the few that watched Erin Brockovich was becuase of Julia Roberts and her low-cut clothes. But I love Julia and can easily imagine anyone giving her movies a shot.
Back to bed. I have been sore from cleaning out an old museum.
I also am not too much a fan of romance. There, I said it! Lately I have been mostly reading non fiction.
I think you mean Kite Runner- I have it and have been meaning to read it but haven't started yet, due to holidays and projects at home. I heard from two people who loved it, but there is a disturbing piece of plot early on, so that I won't try to get my mom to read it
Running with Scissors was also made a movie, but there is some shocking stuff in the book. Mom will never hear about that book from me. I wasn't even comfortable donating it to charity. Off the shelf fiction can be pretty graphic these days. I'm 'only' 48, didn'tthink I was old-fashioned yet !
Unfortunately, I spend so much time reading the news and the gardening forums on the internet that I really don't read as many novels as I like to. On the other hand, I am more up on politics. I was dissuaded from reading Kite Runner by people who told me how sad it was. Maybe I should rethink that. But I have a lot of other books piled up to read.
As for Julia Roberts, if you like her see Charlie Wilson's War which is great. It is political, but not really partisan. I guess the book has been cleaned up from his real life, though. I didn't find it shocking, just hilarious. Hilarious war movie? Yes. But with a very sad point as well.
I now want to read Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. I just finished the same author's book "A Thousand Splendid Suns" and I highly recommend it, even though it is disturbing. Please don't let that description put you off. It takes place in Afghanistan, and starts out before the Russians came in to the picture, and ends sometime after the Taliban was overthrown. The story revolves around two women in a culture so different from ours. I don't know if it will ever be made into a film in these "politically correct" times, but it should. I'm so glad I wasn't born there.
Romance novels? Bleck.
My DH has recently been reading books that I have recommended to him. I guess he is tired of the old John Grisham type of books. He's read a couple of Amy Tan's novels, and even declared "Angry Housewives Eating Bon-bons" good. Wow! He's resisting "The Devil Wears Prada" though. LOL!!
"The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini was a fabulous book! Very well written, such insight into other people's customs and traditions, friendships, love, cruelty and redemption. I highly recommend it and hope that everyone enjoys it as much as I did.
Khaled Hosseini's newest novel, "A Thousand Splendid Suns" is a runaway best seller. "A Thousand Splendid Suns" is a must read for those who wish to understand the modern history (1964 - 2003) of Afghanistan, which is told eloquently through the eyes of Laila and Mariam." http://contemporarylit.about.com/od/fiction/fr/1000suns.htm
I can't believe I said Kite Flyer.
the museum isn't really old but some of the items in it are very old western things. The main man the museum was named after was a curator of western music and saved many old songs that would have been lost.
He also had other interests, researched the sail fish and wrote the only definitive on them. Researched the cougar (puma, mountain lion, catamount) and wrote a wonderful book on them. Several others, 10 altogether I think. But the cowboy stories and songs were the most important and after he passed, the museum lost its vitality. He was a wonderful story-teller, emcee, singer, etc.
The board realized that they were struggling and that the county wanted a local history museum so they voted to close up. His wife had many items in the museum that still belonged to her and several she either gave to us or left on loan. Trouble is, this wasn't well-defined and she keeps coming back and hauling off more stuff. Neither the items she owned, the items she donated nor the items others loaned were well documented. What a mess! And she has a key so she keeps coming in and meddling.
Anyway, I have hauled off all kinds of old posters, brochures, broken computers, dirty fabric, and horrible old stuff from the museum shop. I kept the wine, lol.
wow- Shirley-- just startde Kite Runner and can't put it down. almost halfway thru now. Boy I am hoping for the redemption part, hoping that you know who has a happy ending (not to spoil it for anybody)
My mom should post here- she seems to pooh pooh everything my sister and I try to recommend to her!!
sally: So happy to hear that you enjoyed "The Kite Runner". Add you name to the list of people waiting to read "A Thousand Splendid Suns". I can't wait to read it, as it's one of the selections from my book club this year.
Shirley- I might be able to pass it to you at the swap at Jills if you're coming. I already have a new boook to start tho- something that should be a lighthearted relief after the intensity of K R- "A Girl Called Zippy" memoirs of small town girl in the 60's
Hi y'all. I have been quite the absentee from DG while helping to clean out one old museum and make plans for another. I carried so many boxes of junk out in 40 lb. boxes that I actually made my chest sore. It's amazing how folks will keep old promotional posters for a single event, old newspapers with only a single clipping missing, old paint cans, all dried up, and then the occaisional dead mouse.
On the other hand, I found some orignal photos of John Denver and Elvis. Lots of saleable posters, other stuff apparently considered "junk" but not junky enough to throw away that are quite collectible.
In the meantime, I am trying to labor through "Wind in the Willows" when I can find 15 minutes to read. I don't think it would be easy for an American child to enjoy with all the British words and inferences unless some adult explained as they real aloud together.
I LOVED the Wind in the Willows, and all my girls loved it, and my two grandsons loved it and acted out some of the scenes (in between their Star Wars mimicry). Haven't yet read it to my Granddaughter, but you have just inspired me to do so...Thanks!
I am reading-(almost finished) the novel- " At The Scent of Water " by Linda Nichols. It is one of the best books I read in a long time. Truly enjoying- although I was crying at times. I highly recommend to all.
I finally finished the Wind in the Willows. It was very charming, descriptive, and wonderfully lyrical. I think there was an early animated film made of this and I would love to see it. Our library has older movies; maybe I can get it there.
I am still embarressed to say I can't through Anna Karenina. I'm going to be looking for a Phillip Roth book next.
We tried an actual book club 2 or 3 times, where we selected a book and everyone read it and then critiqued it. It never held up. In this case, it's supposed to be about books that we DIDN'T really like but always heard other did like it.
Anyway, it seems very free-flowing with the good and bad both commented on. Join us.
I don't hate Tolstoy as Tolstoy said he was sickened and repelled by Shakespeare but I find the Russian lifeless. Dostoyevsky, however, is my all time favorite writer and his The Brothers Karamazov my favorite novel.
The Russian diminutives have grown on me. When Alexei Karamazov is addressed as Alyosha or Alyoshenka the degree of fondness of the speaker toward Alexei is clear without Dostoyevsky laboring the point.
Yes, I was talking to a lady at our library and she explained that too. a person's name may be pronouced different ways depening on the formaility or the casualness of the occaision.
I am looking for something to read now but got behind on my New Yorker's and National Georgraphics.
I did keep up with Garden Gate, however, lol.
I was in my car, waiting for my son, listening to a show about Dostoyevsky, making a good case for me to read The Brothers Karamazov. I don't know if I would really appreciate it without help, though. I picked it up in the library and randomly opened a page...well, that's probably not a fair way to judge it.
"I did keep up with Garden Gate, however, lol." Indeed !! LOL
Did I say I don't really like the Harry Potter series? I did read the first four with my son, but I really prefer, for that age group, the Series of Unfortunate Events. Much less hype, but smarter reading in my humble opinion.
Sallyg...diving in is difficult! There are passages in The Brother's Karamazov which are little self-contained stories however.
Mitya's Dream is the shortest (Mitya is the implusive, passionate brother). Ivan Karamazov's "The Grand Inquisitor", the most famous. That's on the net all over the place. Only a few pages long. Something to check out to see if one wants to bother with the book at all.
Guess I'll continue to postpone reading Harry Potter...
In Scifi I really do not like Isaac Asimov. Too officious.
Philip K. Dick however is hiliarious (rare in Sci-fi). Right up with Mark Twain as the greatest American humorist. Can't pick out which I like best. "A Scanner Darkly", "Radio Free Albemuth", "Valis" and "The Divine Invasion "would be the top three...oops...that is four...but then there is "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch" which is really great and...and...
What I don't like about his books are the Hollywood versions. Not unusual for the movie to be totally different from a book. But in the case of PKD's work, I can't see any relation at all. Never seen one all the way through because of that.
I am trying to finally read a Philip Roth book and brought home "Goodbye, Columbus." Right now it is about a male librarian in love with a girl from a wealthy family. Her family tolerates him and even let him spend a week's vacation at their estate.
But, to my way of thinking, they are not well suited. I am rather disappointed in my tendency to want my stories to have happy endings and be tied up in a pretty bow.
Well, I smell a bad or at least, incomplete ending. I'm still reading it and will report when I'm through.
I so wanted to read Philip Roth because I had such great things about him.
Got a new Garden Gate, so everything's on hold, lol.
woodspirit1...I stopped reading most fiction because I got tired of the alienation, negativity, anti-heroes, class-warfare etc..etc... I don't read many current non-fiction writers for the same reason. Anyone past a certain age knows how rough life can be. If we haven't experienced ugliness ourselves, we've known and felt sad for those who have suffered.
If literature doesn't inspire, I don't want to bother with it. History is my main interest today and I rarely read anything written in my lifetime. The orginal sources are so much better than any one person's take on events (there are many wonderful authors who are exceptions to this but the run of the mill history book out today doesn't impress. At least doesn't impress me).
amethystsm - I'm sure that David_Paul would concede that just because other people's taste in literature does not reflect his own, it does not make them a dope. And I would argue that many books written today do inspire. But sometimes I just like to be entertained. Surely there is nothing wrong with that.
thanks ceejay for the comment. Easy to misunderstand on the internet. ...didn't mean to imply that about amethystsm ( who is from my neck of the woods) or anyone else. It's all a journey. I'm at one point. Others at other points.
I used to read all non fiction, but I have enjoyed quite a few fictional books now.
One author I do not like and seems to be very popular is Nora Roberts (or JD Robb) I just don't get why she is so popular. She is not (in my opinion) a good writer. The library just got about 20 new books of hers in the CD section, so someone must like her stuff. I keep trying a book or two to see if she is getting better. NOPE
nonono - i didn't mean to sound like i was offended or anything!
i just was thinking, "Hmm, what history have i read recently? - i read a LOT", and the one thing that came to mind was 1776, but then i thought, well, that is so obvious that it probably sounds like when i say i work in theatre, and someone tells me, "I love theatre! I saw Phantom of the Opera five years ago!"
David Paul, do you have any good WWI books that you recommend? i have read a lot of historical fiction - like Pat Barker's Regeneration, and recently read Some Desperate Glory, a diary of a British officer, but i am always looking for more, and there are just SO many books. My familiarity comes mostly from British poetry, books and drama of, and following, the period...
ceejay, I enjoyed the interview. Roth is one of those folks who deliberately appears testy but is laughing inside at making people dance on a wire.
I really enjoyed the cheap gossip about his feuds with Gore Vidal.
Still the interview was interesting and insightful.
I feel that I neglected the expansion of literature in my life for many years, although I read as a kid.
Therefore, I keep jumping back and forth between classics and good new books in the National Book Awards list and the Pulitzer list and of course, the Nobel Prize in literature.
I agree about Nora Roberts and some of the other romance novelists. Maybe the readers are dopes? lol
Amethystsm...Edwin Campion Vaughan is a nice find. I'll have to check out his diary. My interest is mainly on the eastern front and Russia post 1917 so you probably have more of a library already that I could recommend. Do enjoy Kuehnelt-Leddihn's analysis of the reasons for the war. Recently Yale received the papers of Louise Bryant (played by Diane Keaton in "Reds"). Reading her diary and orginal dispatches before they were printed in the American media was fascinating. Among her papers was a little card. In small arabic script and almost feminine handwriting was one line: "God be with you". It was a pass from Enver Pasha who she met at the Bolshoi Ballet in, in think, 1917:
There are some hoops to jump through, but the Yale archives are open. Really fun to sit down with boxes of personal papers and read the orginal sources. In the anteroom, are the indexes. Those anyone can browse through without having to register to get into the boxes.
I used Yale archives online when researching Hamilton Basso, who wrote "The View From Pompey's Head," made into a movie in 1955. Basso lived in my county while writing 3 books and was good friends with Thomas Wolfe who visited often.
The house he lived in was subject of research as I was working with the historic preservation commission to nominate the house for local historical designation, based mainly on its charming Victorian cottage architecture. The nomination passed.
Everyone tells me they loved it, but I have tried to read it several times and just cannot get into it. Is it worth pushing on?
I began reading 'A MILLION LITTLE PIECES'
by James Frey back when it first came out, but after hearing so much of it was completely untrue (which I suspected anyway), I just never had a desire to pick it up again.
I liked 'EAST OF EDEN',
- but honestly did not think the writing was all that great.
I enjoyed 'THE MEMORY KEEPER'S DAUGHTER' and 'THE DA VINCI CODE'.
I liked 'THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES', but didn't love it.
One book that was extremely popular (from what I could tell) but for the life of me I couldn't get in to - "Belle Canto". I really tried.
Da Vinci code didn't ever interest me.
I just bought "The Glass Castle" - hoping it's good.
I can honestly say that I've really enjoyed every Philip Roth book I've read ... it's not usually the subject, but more his style of writing that hooks me. I bought a copy of his "The Plot Against America" -( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Plot_Against_America ) for my DH (who never cracked it) that I think I will read next.
Back near the beginning of the thread people were talking about Audio books. I had tried to read "Beloved" by Toni Morrison a number of times and just couldn't latch on. I had some credits with a used book store and bought the audio book... and it was suddenly opened to me; I was amazed. Best of all, it was read by Ms. Morrison herself, so you knew every inflection and accent was hers and meant to be. I found it very touching.
I am completely immersed in the Calvin and Hobbes books, lol. I was looking for something to cheer me up after my attack of depression and found my spousal unit's old collection.
I must admit when I first saw Calvin in the comic strips, I thought it was just odd, going around talking to a tiger. Then one day, when Calvin's mom walked in, there was Hobbes, reduced to just a little stuffed animal. That's when I understood that everything that happened between Calvin and Hobbes was Calvin's imagination.
Right now I'm just catching up on my New Yorker's. When I'm reading a book, I get behind on them. I enjoy the diversity of this magazine but some articles don't interest me much. I have a saying for my grandkids: If you onlyhave one magazine subscription in your life, it should be National Geographic. You can learn about the world and science there and it is always presented in such a clear, easily readable way...
But my second choice would be the New Yorker
I have subscribed to the New Yorker for over 20 years. Even if I don't have time to read their excellent articles, the cartoons are incredibly good! I really get most of my information from the internet these days -- New York Times, Washington Post, and many others.
I am embarassed to admit that I haven't read much fiction lately.
Sugarplum 1 - I have read Atlas Shrugged about 8 times, my DH has read it about a dozen times, every year or so one or the other of us picks it up and we don't come up for air for a couple of days. I adore Ayn Rand, and just about everything she's ever written...but if you are struggling with AS, you might try The Fountainhead first...the story is clearer cut without quite as much political philosophy, but it gets you into her way of thinking, so that AS becomes very easy to read.
On the other hand, some folks just don't care for her philosophy, or her writing...and I don't think the world will stop if you don't read it. I just happen to be one of those that wishes the whole world would read her.
Islandshari, it sounds like I need to give AS another try. I know my brother and sister in law both loved it. I heard some time ago that they were going to make it into a movie, but I guess they dropped the idea.
Another BIG vote for Calvin and Hobbes!! We have the big book with everything in it. That and The Far Side were the only "cartoons" I ever followed. And we have the double volume big book of The Far Side. I admire the writers for wanting to quit before they became stale, but I sure do miss them.
They did make The Fountainhead into a movie, and they probably shouldn't have. Very somber and dull. And I don't know if they could do AS right. It would be hard to get the right intentions onto film I think.
Boy! What a thread! From Ayn Rand to Calvin and Hobbs! We cover it all!!
DS got me the big collection of Far Side one year for Xmas and the Calvin and Hobbs the next. There is some great stuff in there. They were my all time favorites. The stuff never gets old.
I had one Far Side book that told of comics that never made it into the paper and the letters people wrote about certian comics. It is the best. That was not included in the big collection. Do you have that one?
I love this thread!! I keep going back to it all the time, and get new ideas of things to read.
My latest read is an old one--...And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer. It took her 50 years to write (I thought it would take me that long to read it--1176 pages) and she was 88 when it was published. It takes you from 1868 to 1932 with lots of insight into the times. I think it's great and if you have a "few years" to read it, please post what you think of it. I bought it at a Friends of the Library used book sale and kept it on the shelf for the longest time, until my niece was visiting and saw it and said it was a wonderful book, so I jumped in the deep end, and really liked it.
Thanks, everyone for the great recommendations.
The first one I read by Doctorow was Water Works. I haven't even read Billy Bathgate nor Ragtime (wasn't Ragtime made into a movie)?
I'm a little slow at starting March because I just finished Jimmy Carter's fictionalized civil war book, The Hornet's Nest which was good. But it is hard for me to read 2 books about war in a row.
I finished the 10th anniversary book of Calvin & Hobbes. In it, the author had little notes at the tops or bottoms of some pages. You could tell he was getting burn-out. I had hoped he would take a hiatus and return. Hopes are pretty dim now, though.
I am "trying" to wade through The Innocent Man by John Grisham, wow! to depressing for me! I think I'm going to put this back on the shelf! Page after page of frustration and no one to really help Mr. main character. Yikes!
I like Grisham, too. thanks for the "heads up" on this one. I am currently studying all about grant-writing to be prepared for a meeting Tuesday. I hope it fills in some gaps about my knowledge. My job will be to make sure everything is in place, that is, the kind of information required by foundations, to present a complete and professional grant application. This is NOT my idea of a fun read.
Ugh - sounds like a bit of a pain. I'm spoiled when it comes to reading - it's pleasurable or a good topic or I just don't do it - thankfully not in school anymore.
Just finished Poisonwood Bible - wow, that was sure a turn around for Kingsolver, very different from what I remember in "The Bean Trees" and "Animal Dreams". A lot more mature, not to say that it wasn't very fun read at the time.
About to start "The Glass Castle" on recommendation... did anyone hate it, lol?
I read the New Yorker magazine a lot and saw that the Poisonwood Bible was one of Hillary Clinton's latest favorites. There was also a funny article about the huge number of books Art Garfunkel had read. He began seriously about 1969 while on tour busses and waiting back stage. I think it is over 2,000. He said he didn't like "fluff."
He's reading one now recommended to him by Paul Simon. Yes, they're still crazy after all these years.
since i work at the library we do group projects all the time and I was sent and e-mail asking my 2 favorite poems. I do not read much poetry but love "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus, and "High Flight." I had always thought High Flight was anonymous but come to find out it was written by a young flyer in WWII named Magee. I found he was only 19 and joined the RAF in Canada. It is a "soaring poem" and has as beautiful use of the English language as I've ever. I had to get my boss at the library to look for his only publishedbook of early poems, perhaps starting when he was in grade school. She found it. My husband helped me remember this poem and he is really looking forward to reading it too.
thanks so much. I will try it. I'm sure my husband will be glad to hear it too. I got the book of McGee earlier poems. Some were hits and some were misses but all in all an amazing collection considering that he was only aged 13-18 when he wrote them.
What are y'all reading now? Instructions on how to grow your favorite plant?, lol. I got white fly in my little greenhouse so spent a couple of days spraying and running the fan on high. I think the problem is solved.
I am reading a collection of 16 short novels.And more Dilbert.
I am reading a book called Giraffe - it is about a (true story) capture and massacre of an entire herd of giraffe that was brought into eastern europe --for a zoo --supposedly. A big secret (just started the book so no details) as to why they were killed. I just finished a book called the glass castle that was great (true story again) CNN correspondent's childhood (UNBELIEVABLE) with her crazy as bugs but brilliant parents - (what this gal experienced...) I also just finished (can you tell I have several going at once) Ken Folletts books:Pillars of the Earth and World Without End - good but not Whoo Hooo
and the Time Travelers Wife which I LOVED.
Another book I just finished (last month) was bringing water to elephants - it was pretty good and I was sure I wouldn't like it. It was a fiction but historically correct (about the circus life early on) but it was an OK book and it was a easy read - good entertainment. Sort of like the Whistlestop Cafe (Fried Green Tomatoes) - a tale.
I agree about the Glass Castle - I'm really appreciative of her ability to tell her story without flavoring it - IOWs, she lets you make up your own mind about what was good, what was bad and what was just plain messed up about her child hood. And there was a *lot*of all 3. BTW, if you're interested, there's some clips on Youtube of hJeanette talking a bit about it, with her mom, too.
And see, Time Travelers Wife... just left me somewhat dissatisfied. I just couldn't buy the premise and sink into it.
Quite a few people didn't like the Time Travelers Wife - but I really did.
I am trying to remember the name of a book --about two chinese girls who were 'sisters' bound together in life via various customs --the book gave a complete overview about the practice of binding feet --woven very well into the tale. It was written not too long ago - I think I read it about 2 years ago. Anybody know the title?
There was also a great book written quite a few years ago. Fiction - (I think) covers early settling of Fla..right down to the beginnings of Miami. The cattle drives, the native tribes, and the great storms.. . I really enjoyed it and would like to read it again. Anybody know the title? I don't know how I do it but I 'lose' titles all the time.
missingrosie: The book you are thinking of is "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan". It's an excellent book! I critiqued it earlier in this thread. It gives the reader incredible insight into a completely different culture than ours, foot binding which some people had trouble reading about and their lives as "sisters". It's definitely a book worth reading.
I believe that the author, Lisa See, has written a follow up novel to "Snow Flower..." called "Peony in Love", which details the life of her "sister's" child. I haven't read it yet, but I hope it is as good as her previous one. Here is a review of "Peony..." http://www.bookpage.com/0707bp/lisa_see.html
LOL - just finished 'Snow Flower'. Found the foot binding part kinda tough, the end bittersweet, but sweet, nonetheless. Very good book. I didn't like it quite as much as I like Memoirs of a Geisha, but I liked that book a *lot*.
I'm reading 'Life of Pi', but will get Peony after that. Anyone else trying these on a Kindle?
'Geisha' was a first person account of a girl growing up, chosen to be a Geisha; undergoing a very detailed education and rule driven life that operated almost outside of mainstream society, yet an intrinsic part of it. Much like courtesans in other cultures, I would say, only much more rigorously educated (to my knowledge). Geisha is Japanese instead of Snow Flower's Chinese setting, and although it's still somewhat historical it doesn't reach back as far.
Although it's steeped in intrigue, it's not as immersed in it as the series written about the women of the English court written by Phillipa Gregory- has anyone read them? I read "The Other Boleyn Girl" (going to be a movie), "The Constant Princess" and one other, can't remember which. The back stabbing, plotting and twisted ambitions finally just wore me out. I hope it's not completely historically accurate... it makes "Days of Our Lives" look like a Sunday school class.
Geisha was great and the reason I bought Snow Flower. I liked Geisha better but the detail for Snow Flower and the history behind foot binding was really interesting. You all read The Good Earth right? I was just a little girl when I read it and I don't remember a thing but --- it stuck for some reason as a great book. I should read it again. My family didn't read much and I was limited to what my oldest brother read - (long story) He kept his stuff in his room (forbidden zone) and so I had to be very careful...for me it was Atlas Shrugged, Playboy, Guy De Maupassant and The Good Earth! I was all of 8 or 10 years tops...HA! Many years later (he is 65 now) he told me he knew...he said he felt sorry for me... I wonder why he didn't leave me Nancy Drew or something..
No I haven't read the books about the english court -- but I will! I watch the Tudors faithfully! (smile)
Regarding those 'cobwebs' ---- they could make a movie about them... like a science fiction...The Cobweb that Swallowed the Gal (And Her Book!)
Have read both those Shirley- found them very interesting
To the topic of thread- I am reading one by an author someone here loved- Philip K Dick, sci fi, Flow My Tears the Policeman Said. Sorry to say I am not loving it. I picked it out of many by the author, because it had won and award. Maybe there are others I'm more likely to like?
I have read Snow Flower - which I liked very much and recommend, Geisha - which I loved, and all of the Amy Tan books, probably my favorite author. On your recommendation I just bought Peony. Thanks much for the suggestion. Now to find time to read it during gardening season! Oh! That's what those rainy days are for...
This is embarressing, but i still have not been able to drag myself through Anna Karenina. I did read "March" and I'm glad I did so I started another thread about it.
I am finally reading "In America." It's a little slow to get started but promises to be very exciting as events in Poland (at that time split into 3 parts amoung other nations, especially Russia).
I will check I proceed.
After reading that Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children won the "Booker of Bookers" recently I decided to get around to finally reading it. Absolutely hated it. I've read so many much better novels by Indian authors and I think practically any other Booker winner was better than this!
"Water for Elephants" is next on my list to read for book club.
I just finished reading "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini. "A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last thirty years—from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to the post-Taliban rebuilding—that puts the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives—the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness—are inextricable from the history playing out around them.
Propelled by the same storytelling instinct that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once a remarkable chronicle of three decades of Afghan history and a deeply moving account of family and friendship. It is a striking, heart-wrenching novel of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love—a stunning accomplishment". http://www.khaledhosseini.com/hosseini-books-splendidsuns.html
The focus on characters has shifted 3 times while I've only read a few chapters of "In America." You get a different perspective of each character by seeing what the other characters think of them.
Traveling to America from Europe was an eye-opener.1st class went in luxury and steerage went in the bottom of the ship, filthy, infested, brothels, and hideous. No wonder the folks coming through customs looked so pitiful. Apparently, the first class didn't even have to go through customs.
As you can see, this is a well-reasearched book.
The first book that I've truly hated in a long time (only kept reading it for some redeeming factor to sum it all up) was Empire Falls. I guess it was even made into a mini-series, for the life of me I can't figure out why. The main character, almost the only likable character, was pathetic.
I spent most of it wondering why most of the characters didn't smack the $&6#@ out of each other - especially the father - I'm sorry, but in reality, no matter how wittily someone might insult everyone they meet, sooner or later they're going to get hurt.
There's a horrible little scene recalled about one of the other characters by a man who didn't bother to warn anyone else about the character. Including his friend with a child.
I'm trying not to ruin the plot for you, woodspirit, I hope you can get more out of it than I did. Knipholia did - but I honestly struggled to like it and couldn't. I found it quite frustrating... like one of those TV shows where you see the characters making all the wrong moves and you know it's all just going to tube it for them... grrrr.
Susan Sontag. I think it is also an American Book Award winner, from about 2004. I have a list of 10 of them that I'm trying to read through. I first did this several years ago and the first book I read was "The Shipping News" which I really like and put me on this track. The list also includes Pulitzer Prize winners and the Nobel Prize for Literature. Some I like, and some not so much, but certainly the writing itself and the grasp of language and prose is there in all of them.
Has anyone read "Love in the time of Cholera" by Gabriel García Márquez?
I forced myself to finish it. I then put it in the give-away bin...way at the bottom of the give-away bin. I'm tempted to just throw it away so that it will never be inflicted on anyone else ever again.
I couldn't get though Shipping News and almost everyone loved it. I liked the movie Love in time of Cholera but didn't read the book. Thanks for the insight - I won't get it now. I just finished Sunshine... it was an easy read and even tho vampire-ish not really the heavy duty stuff.
Not quite finished with "In America" but I warmed to it. It's more of a character study of a Polish actresss who could no longer handle the mobs, adoration, lack of privacy. She had acted so long that she didn't know who she really was.
So they moved to the village of Anaheim, CA and took up farming along with friends and family. I hope the ending isn't disappointing or at least satisfying if not idyllic.
I absolutely hated Sula and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. I had heard that they were so popular. Ophra had Bluest Eye as her all time favorite book and I thought I just had to read them. I wanted to burn Sula many times but I kept thinking there had to be something worth while. Wrong! Then I thought Bluest Eye HAD to be better. Wrong again! I couldn't enjoy reading about such depravity, Yet I just loved Grapes of Wrath. At least the Joads had family values.
Ditto!!! I have never found one of Oprah's books I liked, not that I've read them all or anything.
I had a lot of trouble with Toni Morrison's books, just couldn't get into them at all. Strangely enough, I got 'Beloved' on CD and *loved* it - and it was one of the books I had tried. Bonus that it was read by Ms. Morrison, so you know everything was done right.
The first Ophra recommended book I read was Back Roads by Tami O'Dell and I found it compelling and haunting even though it was most unpleasant. Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts was good and I liked White Oleander by Janet Fitch so I was convinced she knew what she was talking about. Then came the Toni Morrison ones! I decided I was done with Ophra then and there. My son added to my conviction since he saw I had Black & Blue in my library and he had read it. I owned The Poisonwood Bible too and was afraid to touch it after reading the blurb; I notice a lot of you liked it. I'm going to try She's Come Undone.
sick twisted disturbing? I got something by Joyc Carol Oates at the library, just thinking- well she's famous right? it turned out to be like a fictional first-hand account by a Jeffrey Dahmer type guy. Pretty twisted.
Wally Lamb's "I Know This Much is True" is much better than "She's Come Undone", IMHO. I read the latter only because I loved the first so much. If I'd read She's Come Undone first, I probably would not have read I Know This Much is True.
I just finished reading the most incredible & uplifting book I have had the pleasure to read in months. It is called Three Cups of Tea written by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. It has been one of the top rated non-fiction books on The Washington Post's list for the past 75 weeks.
The story is about Greg Mortenson who's mission in life was "to fight terrorism and build nations...one school at a time". After attempting to climb K2 unsuccessfully, he was rescued off the mountain by a person from an impoverished village in Pakistan's Karakoram in the Himalayas. Because he was so grateful for being rescued, he promised to build them a school. The book chronicles his odyssey to build schools for these children, but especially for girls throughout the region, to combat poverty &ignorance, by providing them a balanced non-extremist education.
This book reads like a novel and is one that everyone needs to read.
We have an old Rosenwald School in town. Mr. Rosenwald was the President of Sears years ago. Many states in the south refused to build schools for black children or allow them to attend the white schools. Rosenwald came to town and offered the Commissioners, publicly with the press there, 1/2 the money it would take to build a school. Of course, it was pretty hard for the commissioners to turn him down.
When I first heard this story, I thought he helped build about 500 schools, but found the figure was actually 5,000! Amazing. I don't know if there's a book about him, but I would read it if I found it.
I recommend Kate Atkinson, a British novelist, to you all. I have read Case Histories, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, and One Good Turn. All were excellent. Now I am reading Human Croquet.
In non-fiction, I recommend The China Study -- everything you ever wanted to know about presenting heart disease, cancer and other major diseases. This book caused me to make major life style changes. It is all science, no "woo-woo" stuff.
The China Study is an amazing book that everyone should read. It has also changed my lifestyle and beliefs about alot of health issues. I got it from the library but I will purchase it now that I have read it.
Yes, I agree and so does my vet. She noticed that I was reading it last time I took my dog in for shots. She said she was so impressed with that book that she had bought and given about a dozen copies to loved ones. She said, "It says it all." She said unfortunately none of the people she had given it to had changed their lifestyle. But I agree that it is a powerful book and one every American old enough to understand should read.
Anyone who lives in Florida should enjoy the books of two of my favorite authors. Carl Hiaasen writes some of the funniest books about South Florida you will ever have the pleasure of reading. He is concerned about the enviornment and his humor is aimed at the greedy people who would like to pave over our whole state. If you don't laugh out loud while reading his books your funny bone is broken.
Another great Florida writer is Randy Wayne White who writes thrillers and mysteries. His descriptions of the semi-tropical regions of Florida are so vivid the reader can almost feel the breezes and taste the salt spray. He too is concerned about the preservation of the few truly wild places left here. He has some wonderful True tales of Adventure, Travel and Fishing also. A truly wonderful writer.
Now that the days are shorter and it's too dark to be digging in the garden try delving into some good books by these two Floridians. Readers from all over the world have made them famous.
I read a book about Florida... it was wonderful and I read it twice years apart... but I can't remember the name. arrrrrgh
During the time cattle were driven across the state
and the settling of miami.. early days...and a big hurricane..and native indians... it was a really great book and it was a love story!!
Can you recommend one book from the mystery writer?
I'd like to get it for my brother who lives in Dania.
Where is Alford?
I used to live in Wilton Manners (as a young gal) and then in Oakland Park (as a young mom) and in Davie (a short while) before moving to NC.
It is a great place to live.
Rural and taxes are great (compared to what is around) I live south of downtown in the rural buffer.
Yes, historic buildings and the downtown is revitalizing nicely and in keeping with the scale of the area. The downtown is not but a few blocks and mostly on one side with city courthouse, services taking up a lot of the downtown. We did get a weaver street market co-op and that is nice.
I'm going to get Three Cups of Tea tomorrow while I'm working at the library. But then, I have a long list of books I intend to read. The Echo Maker, Euopa Centrall, The news from Paraquay, The Great Fire, Three Junes, and The Corrections are all American Book Award winners.
I need to turn off the boob tube more, though.
I liked 3 Junes. It's been a while since I read it.
Finished The Book Theif a bit ago - it started off with wonderful language at first that kinda decreased through the book, but the story got better as it went along, so that helped. All in all, a good read.
Personally, I loved it...(The Glass Castle) mainly because although the author at this point obviously knows how outrageous the conditions that she was raised in, but she never labeled them as such, never felt the need to say it. And I think she treasures some of the experiences that were extraordinary.
I can't say much more without ruining the book for you - I'll be interested in hearing your thoughts...
I loved The Glass Castle. I recommended it to a friend who is well into his 80's and he loved it. Another friend (I think she is maybe 29) also loved it... so I think it reaches out to many folks. It is well written and it moves quickly too. I imagine it was a story that needed to be given an audience and I appreciated the sharing of her tale.
I read Three Junes... not sure I liked it...but I stayed with it and I think if I read it again..i might like it better...does that make sense? It sure was a hard start too.
Thanks Pagancat & missingrosie for your input about The Glass Castle. I'm looking forward to reading this book!
Here's my 2 cents for what it's worth. If a book doesn't "grab" me the 1st time I read it, I definitely wouldn't spend my valuable time trying to re-read it. There are so many fabulous books out there to read; why spend your time with one you didn't like? Like I said, that's just my way of looking at it. Your approach & time may be totally different than mine.
Shirley - I know what you mean ---but I had to really push through A Prayer for Owen Meany the first time... and the second time... it was wonderful and became a favorite. I hated Shipping News... but so many loved it... I think it may be worth a second go. So, I do know what you mean but part of me doesn't want to miss a good book. Certainly if I have to push a second time for any meaningful period of time ...I would stop.
When I was a schoolkid, we had to read Dickens and Elliott. Most of us labored through them; I didn't mind them too much. But when, out of curiosity, I went back and read them, I found them much more interesting and honest.
Silas Marner was heart-wrenching story of the love of a man for a child. David Copperfield was the story of an orphaned kid trying to make in a very cruel London, despised as little more than street garbage.
So yes, even though I wasn't wild about earlier, they were much better the second time around. I think it was merely a matter of my outlook and tastes changing with age.
I liked Dickens as a kid, though I did find Oliver Twist pretty depressing, most of the way through the book. I was never assigned to read Silas Marner, thank goodness, because I could never get through it when I tried it on my own. A few years ago I read A Tale of Two Cities and enjoyed it far more than I remember enjoying any Dickens in my childhood. I also tried to read The Mill on the Floss and didn't get to far with that either as a kid and haven't been able to face it since.
I went on and got a degree in Spanish and ended up, as fate would have it, as an English Teacher for 13 years -- it seems all those foreign language lit courses added up to an English teaching certificate.
As an adult I have realized that I really didn't have the necessary knowledge to understand those books. I had a good vocabulary, but probably not good enough for it to really register. I also think I lacked enough knowledge of the world to really "get" it. I guess I just couldn't understand how there could have been work houses and some of the other stuff that occurred in those books. I think it was partly from having led a sheltered life -- in the 50's and 60's when I was in grade school. I also think I lacked enough knowledge of history to understand the events in those books.
Kids have been reading those books for generations, but I have often wondered how we can get them to the level where they really enjoy them. I also wonder if we aren't just teaching them too young.
Mind you, I haven't answered these questions in my own mind. I really believe in reading the classics and you have to start teaching those things at some point. Maybe just diving in in junior high school or high school is the only way.
Yes, there are lots of inappropriate choices in the High School curriculum -- at least in my view. Kids who want to go to college need to read the really tough stuff, but kids who can only just barely read shouldn't be made to read Moby Dick and Shakespeare. They need to learn to read and form a picture in their minds before they try to read such heavy stuff. I was very lucky that some of the local librarians took me under their wings from fourth grade and through junior high. From them I learned to enjoy a book. By the time I was in Junior High, I could tackle these tough books and not get completely lost. But not all kids are that way. Being a teacher is a lot harder than it is cracked up to be.
There were poor houses and work houses here too, for awhile. Before individual states developed Social Services departments, we had a home for the elderly and a home for the poor. The home for the poor was actually a farm. The poor helped to raise crops to feed themselves and to be sold for the upkeep of the poor house. Even now, welfare recipients are expected to do some work or be in school.
I agree that part of the problem with Dickens' works was the use of old English and lack of understanding a historical setting. I think when teachers assign things like David Copperfield, they need to explain when and where it takes place and the poor facilities for orphans. Thank goodness he found his (eccentric) great aunt.
Tale of Two Cities was - and primarily remains - my best history lesson for the time and place, I loved that story. Oliver Twist I enjoyed only because I related it to the musical. Great Expectations... I regret now, I slept through, mostly. I haven't read many other classics, other than Dickens. Had I not had a great teacher, I never would have gotten through Shakespeare.
If you were going to assign a classic, one that you enjoyed or would enjoy teaching, what would it be? Of anyone, really - Steinbeck, Dickens, Hemmingway, whoever- which one(s) would it (they) be?
Well, Atlas Shrugged is a classic of some sort -- of a certain philosophy, but no, it is not a literary classic. There classic I most enjoyed teaching was The Odyssey. The kids loved it because it was fantasy and they knew most of the stories already from movies and such and they could just concentrate on getting it all together in one place. I usually followed it with Huckleberry Finn which is also an Odyssey and the kids loved that as well.
I believe it would work to teach the Illiad as well -- kids often know about Achilles and Helen of Troy, etc, but I was never teaching the right grade when it was being taught.
Mythology is something kids can really get into.
Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer are also 2 great classics that are hard if you don't know the lingo, especially of Jim. But I agree, it's a great book.
Well, we never started a book club again, but I like this thread so I guess we will just continue here since it seems to give the good and the bad. I have certainly read several recommended here and avoided others.
Yes, Huckleberry Finn can be tough going, but it wasn't as hard as Dickens for my students or even worse -- Moby Dick. I did not teach Moby Dick. I have to admit that I have read the first half twice but never made it to the end. I wasn't an English major, just and English teacher. I should make another running start at it and fly through the catalog of whales which I never finished. If I had majored in English I would have had to read it. It is supposed to be the Great American Novel. I figured I couldn't teach it in good conscience since I didn't enjoy it myself. The great Spanish novel that I read in school was Don Quixote. It was wonderful. I have had some Spaniards tell me they couldn't get through it, so I guess it is the Spanish equivalent of Moby Dick.
I really had to struggle to learn Shakespeare well enough to teach him. But I did lots of study and think I did him some justice. They don't teach Shakespeare to Spanish majors but they do refer to him with awe and respect. Since then -- after I left teaching, I married a man whose greatest love in the literary world was Shakespeare. He has acted some of the great Shakespearean parts and I have learned so much more. Too bad I didn't know him when I was teaching Romeoand Juliet.
The best companion book for Shakespeare's work is one by Issac Assimov. I know that sounds weird because he's known for science fiction but he had a lot of other interests. He has been called "The Great Explainer."
I tried to get "3 cups..." today at the library and they 19 people waiting for it even thought they have more than one copy. There were only 9 people waiting on the large print edition, so I got on that list.
In the meantime, I checked out the Echo Maker, which won the American Book Award in 2006.
Yes, we have the Asimov's book on Shakespeare and it is excellent. So are all of Harold Bloom's books.
I haven't read much fiction lately but as the clouds roll in, I will probably get to some of these novels you all are suggesting.
I know what you mean, woodspirit. Sometimes, especially during the short days, it is hard just to get going on something you really want to do. Lately, I have been forcing myself to bundle up and go out and work on a garden project each day. I find, that if I can get myself out there, it cheers me up and I sleep better at night. I believe it is the exercise and the sun that do it.
I'm sure you're right. I have to deal with depression but on the days I go for a walk or work for awhile outside, I do better than just taking my anti-depressant.
Could someone please make another page for this thread? It is hard to load now.
The New York Times' critics published their favorite books for 2008. I have only listed the fiction here:
Dangerous Laughter, 13 stories by Steven Mellhouser
A Mercy, Toni Morrison
Netherland, Joseph O'Neil
2666, Roberto Bolano ( died at age 50 but suddenly his books are hits)
Unaccustomed Earth, Jhumpe Lakiri