So, what are you reading now? (Part the second)

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

Boy, that's for sure.

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

I finally finished Speech-less which I highly recommend for an honest, insider's assessment of the Republican party. Now I started a book called Nine Lives by Dan Baum. It's subtitle is Death and Life in New Orleans and covers the lives of 9 real New Orleaneans from hurricane Betsy (1965) to hurricane Katrina.
I was raised in New Orleans and visit there a lot. This book was recommended to me at a local bookstore where the owners actually read books and can make good recommendations.
I asked for a book about Katrina and there was another one, but they said this one was much heavier and in depth than the more popular one. The author was sent to New Orleans to cover Katrina for The New Yorker. He seems to have taken the time to really understand what makes New Orleans the very special place it is.
Will let you know my final evaluation when I finish.
I read it quite a while ago, but I highly recommend the Rising Tide by John Barry. It is about the Mississippi Flood of 1927 and how it changed America. It is about a lot more than the South and is a masterpiece of historical writing. It also has a lot about New Orleans and Mississippi, as it would have to.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Rising Tide was great! He also wrote about the flu epidemic of 1916-1918 which got into the state of the medical profession at the time, and about flu as a disease. Must be a smart guy. Thanks for info on Nine Lives

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

catching up on periodicals while I was reading South of Broad. I read a fascinating article on the day of our Secretary of State. Mrs. Clinton has an incredible schedule that I don't see how anyone keeps and that includes working meals. How she can remember and assimilate all this stuff, I don't know.
I have too many periodicals. I have weaned out 3 so far. I have unfortunately not renewed National Geographic but find I miss it too much and so does my spousal unit.

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

Was the HC article the one in Time or Newsweek or was it a different one? My spousal unit brought it home to me because he knows I follow HC carefully. Yes, she is very, very hard working and disciplined and has been always. I think she is also brilliant and motivated.
We, too, have more periodicals than we can deal with. I get Vanity Fair and the New Yorker. I don't read enough of either but my spousal unit is very good about reading the New Yorker. I barely have time for the jokes any more! And DH gets Islands, Conde Nast Traveler, Sky and Telescope and American Theater. We let National Geographic go a long time ago for the same reason -- also because it was burying us alive and we couldn't even give it to classroom teachers to use because their inculcated values did not allow them to cut it up for bulletin boards and they didn't have room to store it either.
Sigh. Our house keeps filling up. I switched Consumer Reports to an one line searchable version a couple of years back.

sallyg,
Thanks for the info on Barry's book on the Influenza. I will definitely have to look that one up.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

We still get National Geographic but stopped Smithsonian. The New Yorker piles up but it's great for doctors' offices; I read through them there, strip off the address tag, and leave them for someone else to enjoy. We subscribe to Hobby Farms, Backyard Poultry, Mother Earth News, Birdwatcher's Digest, and Consumer Reports. I also get American Artist, The Artist's Magazine, France-Amérique, and Marianne, although I didn't renew that because I'm trying to get L'Express instead. I used to get Atlantic Monthly but d/ced it because I just didn't have time to read that along with everything else, and months would go by when there was nothing that really grabbed me. Sometimes I buy Saveur at Borders, just to drool. AND we get the Sunday NYTimes, along with two local papers daily. Looking at that list, no wonder our house is filling up! I can donate old periodicals to GD's Catholic school art teacher, though. Just not art magazines because there are (pause for a gasp...) NUDES sometimes!

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

LOL, I am not sure right now if that article on HC was in the New Yorker or Newsweek because I get both. We get Wildlife in North Carolina because my husband is a wood-carver, the new science magazine Knowledge, published in Great Britain, Astronomy, Discovery ( not related to the T.V. show) and ...uh, I can't remember the 2 or 3.
I read very little on days I do research for the museum or write essays. I had to write 2 essays yesterday for a Preserve America Community designation. Would you believe that the foundation wanted me to give a history of the county in less than 200 words?
This is a picture of the front of our museum. Note the still in the window.

Thumbnail by woodspirit1
Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

gg--Phew, what a lot of reading material!
I wish I could find a mag for my mom--I did come across one called Reminisce that we may try.

ws==that'll be some kinda condensed history!

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Yeah, Sally, and that doesn't include the books, which are piled up every which way. We have bookshelves in every room but the kitchen, and they're all full. Problem is that I reread, so I keep them all - or most of them.

What about Birds and Blooms for your mom - do you think? That's attractive and I don't think it assumes too much energy for gardening.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

sigh--wouldn't you think everybody would enjoy that? and Country? don't get me started on why mom is hard to get reading material for. But I probably should just get that so she will see something nice in the mail once in a while.
I think Reminisce might be the same publisher.

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

Wow, ws -- you can imitate Julius Caesar for that history -- We came, we saw, we conquered. And then maybe: The whole county is divided into three parts. And that's about all you would have room for. What were they thinking?
Love your little museum with still. I once found a still in the woods of Mississippi on the property of the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Hodding Carter. When I told him about it he was incensed. He said that the previous time when he had visited that property -- near the gulf coast-- the moonshiners had their still next to his pool and they were getting their water from the pool! Yetch! Fond memory though of finding that still and telling Hodding C. about it.
Greenhouse_gal,
We are in the same boat as you for books and reading materials everywhere -- and I do give some away, but apparently not as fast as they are coming in because we are falling behind. And yes, there are some I just can't bear to get rid of. I have probably a thousand or more cookbooks and nowadays I get most of my recipes off the internet. But I can't bear to get rid of a single cookbook. I need my head examined! Oh, and I, too, purchase one of the fine cooking magazines every now and then. And then I can't bear to through them away -- every one of them has at least one recipe I find interesting. Sigh.
My only virtue in the keeping-down-the-periodical-volume department is that I read the New Yorker and Washington Post on line. But we do subscribe to two local papers and we are starting to move them regularly to recycling if we don't get behind in reading them.
But I love having all these good books and periodicals around even if they do get out of control every now and then.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

I don't have as many cookbooks as you do! And there are some, like Chinese and Indian ones, that I doubt that I'll ever use again and could probably find new homes for. I have a bunch of new French ones that need room on my cookbook shelves. Do you keep your books in any type of order? I try to alphabetize the fiction by author but I'm not always good at keeping up.

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

Sigh. At one time I tried to keep our books roughly in order and out on the edge of the shelf the way libraries do -- I once worked in a library -- natch. It was hard to keep the order, but except for oversized books it pretty much worked. Then I hired an artistic friend to help decorate the house. She decided that looked more artistic all mixed up and proceeded to shelve them according to appearance. Yipes! It did look nice, but wasn't what I had in mind. She even made a bedside table out of a pile of books -- very artistic -- and fashionable she tells me. Of course, before very long I needed one of the books halfway down the stack of books and everything had to be moved off the table to get to it. And now to find a certain book we have to wander around the house searching every shelf. Bad news.
Now they are slowly moving pack into a vague sort of unartistic order -- but I have a long way to go.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

I am only persnickety about my gardening (and related) books which are in order by subject. Hoot has no fury like a dahlianut's if my DH puts a gardening book back in the wrong place!

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Pajarito, that would drive me nuts, having books arranged by appearance rather than some logical system. Since I do reread I would never be able to find the one I was looking for! Your artistic friend must not be a reader - or a rereader, at any rate! How does she store HER books?

I do tend to place books I have just read in a pile, so I can refer to them if I need to. Later if I'm going to keep them around I shelve them - if I have room!

Gardening books just get shelved by general subject, not specific. I guess I do put them in some sort of logical order, though - books on pests together, books on organic gardening together. Eliot Coleman has a place of honor by my easy chair, though, as do a couple of books on potager/French gardening.

Plano, TX

i've been without computer for several days--dog chewed threw the cord! anyhow-nice to be back and fun reading about your book/magazine habits--i love magazines but don't order many anymore--vanity fair is a favorite(and i am missing dominic dunne) and i do still get it--i like esquire (even tho it is a men's magazine) and i liked oprah but no longer get it since i wasn't reading it all and thought i should save a tree! i have a workmate who passes on her people magazines which i love to flip thru but seldom find anything i really care much about! i don't know most of the people in people magazine!! i don't get into photos of stars babies! still i love seeing it on my desk monday mornings!
i also like/admire and am impressed with hillary clinton as someone expressed --
and as for how i sort my books--i don't--if i like it i give it away to someone that i think will also like it --if i don't like it i give it away since i don't like it! i do not reread anything so don't have attachments to books-only to their story which i wish i could hold in my head better--

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

Welcome back, planolinda. Hope the dog survived chewing the computer cord. My dogs stuck with the furniture rather than the cords, but I don't think that was an improvement. And I gave them lots of chew toys, kongs, and even real bones. They hid ( buried?) all of them except they do keep one bone out for everyday use. Only one dog gets to chew on the bone. The other dog plots to get it away from the first dog. Many wild chases ensue.
I once tried getting lots of bones for them, big ones that they could not possibly chew up in a day. They all disappeared. So I finally figured out that they had a bone bank somewhere and every now and then they get one out. Especially if I give them a new bone each. The new ones quickly disappear and an old black dirty one comes out for chewing purposes.
They are endlessly funny now that they are past the chewing on everything stage. One of these days I will replace the sofa. It is still good for sitting but looks very tacky.
Linda, I like to read People magazine as well but rarely buy it because it has so little real content -- except stuff about stars I haven't heard of either and their babies. So I read it at the hairdresser's or in desperate cases of curiosity, I buy it.
As for the friend who rearranged my books, she is an avid reader, but has a relationship with books that I don't really get. Once I lent her about 5 books, two of which I wanted back. A year later I asked her for them and she didn't even remember borrowing them. She let me some and I tried to return them and she refused. In all other ways she did a nice job on the house though. She did elegant things with the paint and she actually painted a mural for me in the breakfast room. I love her dearly, though we don't always understand each other.
I am now well into Nine Lives. It is an excellent book. I grew up in New Orleans, but it covers parts of New Orleans that I knew little about as well as parts I knew well. The author really understands what it is that makes New Orleans special and different and how the two huge hurricanes affected it. It describes the ways integration and voters rights came to the blacks in the city and the number of kids who had white fathers. I never knew about any of this personally, but have always heard that it existed. Interesting to see how it all worked and how the black communities lived and flourished even in the Lower Ninth Ward -- except for the sporadic total flooding from hurricanes due to inadequate levees -- even back in 1965.
If you know and love New Orleans or just want to know it in depth this book is a must read.

Northern, NJ(Zone 6b)

Has anyone read any of Margaret Atwoods books?
I borrowed the "Robber Bride" from the library and was so taken with, and disturbed by it, I followed it up with "The Handmaid's Tale" which is even more disturbing.
They are both well written and have completely surprised me and kept me off balance and wondering what was going on and where was it taking me.

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

I started David Copperfield. My first exposure to that story was when it was published, in part, in a school textbook. I'm not sure if I ever read the whole thing. So that will occupy me for awhile.
I finished the 2 essays I had to write for the museum and also scheduled my docents for the rest of November and am starting on December. The museum will only be opened until December 19, then we close, pack up and move to our new quarters.
I helped pack up some things today, because we are having a new exhibit that will take up the whole space. It is an aluminum Christmas Tree exhibit. All sizes and colors and also lots of ornaments. It will be fun a good fund-raiser.

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

Sempevirens, I read Handmaiden's Tale many, many years ago - probably about 20. That book (at least parts of it) have stayed with me all these years - you're right, disturbing and provoking. I didn't read Robber Bride, but I did read "Cat's Eye" and don't remember a thing about it.

I've successfully avoided Jodi Picoult's books up until now - but my mom got "My Sister's Keeper" for my birthday, so I'm stuck. I'm expecting it to be right up there with the People magazine!

Edited to add:
BTW, Planolinda - I took your suggestion and picked up "Columbine". Like you, I had a tough time putting it down. And I am still kind of haunted by it, especially by my belief that it could have been avoided. The mistakes that the police made were obvious, but I think in the case of the more conflicted teen, it would have been possible to steer him another way. Another case where peers exert ultimate power over a teen's life, I think. The other kid, well, he was going to be trouble of some sort, no matter what.

But good suggestion, thanks!

This message was edited Nov 21, 2009 8:26 PM

Plano, TX

jpajaritompt--funny about the dogs and hiding the bones--our little guy does the same thing--brings out the old dirty ones too--and sometimes carries a new one around and cries and gets all nervous about where to hide it --he is convinced i think that my husband and i would love to get it from him!
i am a little confused about the comment of the new orleans kids having white fathers-is it white absent fathers? i did read anderson coopers book and he covers the new orleans disaster but only as a chapter --i like him a lot and enjoyed his book

woodspirit--the aluminum tree exhibit sounds fun! i remember those being so new and modern with their colored rotating lights

pagancat--yes the one boy in the columbine story was someone who would not have done that without the influence of the other-- hard to understand how it was planned a year in advance--and how you interact with family and friends knowing you will do this to them ---

am enjoying the potato peel society book more than i thought i would--

(Zone 8a)

Semp, yes I've read most of Margaret Atwood's novels and admire her very much. I'd highly recommend Orxy & Crake.

Northern, NJ(Zone 6b)

Pagancat, thanks for your response, clearly if you read the Handmaid's Tale 20 years ago and you remember parts that still affect you it has a long lasting power.

kniphofia, I just took Oryx and Crake out of the library since the review I heard of Margaret Atwood"s new book "The Year of the Flood" mentioned reading that book first.
I'll take your recommendation as confirmation that will be the next book I choose to read.

I hardly know what to think of her books, they seem to be very current in reference to some events yet they were written awhile ago. I can't seem to get them out of my head.
What do you think of her as a writer ? Is it her subject matter or her writing ability that causes the stories to hit so hard? I just don't know what is drawing me so strongly.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Intriguing--I will sure look for an Atwood myself

Plano, TX

margaret atwood is very much a feminist i think--and yes her books are haunting and do stay with you --i also read handmaids tale long long ago--it was the book everyone talked about at the time--20+ years ago --and cat's eye was next--
now i have a book by her that i can't find right now but i am pretty sure the reason i haven't read it yet is because i know it will be disturbing --
i saw a picture of her--she is very elderly (might have died?) don't know much else

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

Knipphofia, would you say that any of her other books are as dark? Well written is kind of a given for an author with as long & illustrious of a career as she has had, I'd say... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Atwood

The first paragraph pretty much sums it up.

Edited to add - Looks like she's in her 70's, and still kicking!

This message was edited Nov 22, 2009 10:14 AM

(Zone 8a)

Pagan there are many authors out there with long careers but that doesn't make them good writers :)

Alias Grace is another admirable Atwood novel, concerning the real life Grace Marks who was accused of two murders in 1943. Atwood brilliantly uses a fictional doctor to research the case.

The Blind Assassin is another of my favourites among her novels. Hard to categorise, a novel about 2 sisters that has a story within a story, it is an immensly rewarding read.

There is a darkness and a harsh reality about her books but I enjoy her very much because of it. She is very much still alive and working, and long may she continue so!

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

I have very mixed feelings about Margaret Atwood and have to concur with all of you that she is a powerful and disturbing writer. I love the feminism of her work. But I only got through about half of The Handmaiden's Tale. It was way too scary for me. Admirably written, but sometimes I can only take so much.
I did read in their entirety Lady Oracle and Surfacing. Both were dark but not quite so disturbing as The Handmaiden's Tale. After quitting the later I never read Atwood again. For me, her writing is just too disturbing. I admire those of you who can get through it.

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

I have very mixed feelings about Margaret Atwood and have to concur with all of you that she is a powerful and disturbing writer. I love the feminism of her work. But I only got through about half of The Handmaiden's Tale. It was way too scary for me. Admirably written, but sometimes I can only take so much.
I did read in their entirety Lady Oracle and Surfacing. Both were dark but not quite so disturbing as The Handmaiden's Tale. After quitting the later I never read Atwood again. For me, her writing is just too disturbing. I admire those of you who can get through it.

linda,
In the book Nine Lives so far there are two black people with white fathers. One is an adult, in fact the father of one of the people whose narrative is told. His father was white and absent. The other one was a kid who was a neighbor of the person the narrative is about. That father showed up every now and then to visit, but yes, was mostly absent. I had heard of this sort of thing but these are the first instances where I saw it recorded with names and all.
I haven't read Anderson Cooper's book. What is it called? I know he has strong New Orleans connections and he certainly has done some of the more credible TV reporting on Katrina, but I think an awful lot of what happened wasn't really covered at all or was misrepresented. I would probably love Cooper's book for a lot more than just Katrina.

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

Good point, Kniphofia - but in her very-well-awarded case, it's true!

I also enjoy the perspective strong feminist - which has been difficult to find in a good piece of fiction, lately.

Plano, TX

dispatches from the edge was anderson coopers book--it is a memoir of his life (his mother is gloria vanderbilt/his brother jumped out their apartment window and killed himself) but not so much about his personal life as about stories he covered -and to be more specific-stories of disasters around the world--it was very good-

i also like the feminism atwood shows in her work
sorry about making her older than she is and even posting that she might be dead!

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

LOL, that's okay!

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

Yes, I knew that Anderson Cooper was Gloria Vanderbilt's son, didn't know about the brother, but wow, does he talk about his brother's death? I don't remember know what his connection with New Orleans is, but I know he spent a lot of time there as a child. He really knows the place, I am convinced of that. I will be interested to read his book.

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

Anyone else read "The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet"? Just finished it - interesting information on the Japanese Internment camps of WWII.

Now it's up between "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett and "The Enchantress of Florence" by Salman Rushdie (my first Rushdie novel).

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

I have lost track of what I have discussed, but I know I finished Oliver Twist yesterday. It's the first time I read any of his writings since high school when we read David Copperfield. It seems we must have gone into Oliver Twist because I remembered some of characters, especially Fagin and the Artful Dodger.
I was very surprised at how wonderfully Dickens described scenes, personalities, even the weather. While he was a bit long explaining London at this time and had a few other subjects he expounded on, I found his sarcasm amusing. I am going to be sure to read more of Dickens' books. I googled him and found that before he finished Pickwick Papers, he had started Oliver Twist and before he finished that, he had started another. An amazing feat.
I was surprised that my library had neither Shadow Country, nor Europe Central. However, the library has no funds for new books this year.
I jut picked up Sabbath's Theater by Philip Roth. I hope it lives up to my impression of Roth.

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

I do remember really enjoying "Tale of Two Cities", if you're looking for a good Dickens follow up Twist.

I wish I could give you a thumbs up or down on "Sabbath's Theater" - all that I can say is he hasn't let me down yet.

Plano, TX

pagan my book club chose on the corner of bitter and sweet--glad you liked it -i will be picking it up soon
i also heard the help is good

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

Excellent, I'll make "The Help" my next one! Thanks, Linda.

Plymouth, MI(Zone 6a)

Pagan, I just finished, The Help, and really liked it alot. It held my interest from beginning to end. I think you are going to like it. I also just read, Have a little Faith. Mitch Albom wrote it. It is a true story, very good. He also wrote, Tuesdays with Morrie, one of my favorites. Meem

Plano, TX

i liked tuesdays with morrie but then his 7 people you meet in heaven was not very good
but the new book is more like tuesdays with morrie again--funny since he used to be a sports writer i think--what a change

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