Moving this over from a very old thread that has new posts.
I don't like the Brontë sisters' books; they're just too dark for me and they feel archaic. Re Jane Austen, my favorites are Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Mansfield Park. I haven't read Dickens for a while but had to read A Tale of Two Cities in high school and found it my least favorite of the works of his that I had read to date. I have it on my iPad though, and I want to try it again.
So What Are You Reading Now? (2014)
Moving this over from a very old thread that has new posts.
Did any of you like Daphne du Maurier. I read her a lot years ago.
I don't read her but I got hooked on Georgette Heyer recently. Her mysteries are a lot of fun.
I "Googled" Daphne du Marnier after I posted. I was surprised to find that she was a contemporary writer although a lot of her themes were historic. "The Glassblowers" was based on her family fleeing France during the French revolution. They made glass for the royalty and if you were associated with royalty at that time, your head could roll (guillotined). The fleur de lis insignia of France is part of that history. I think it's actually a stylized iris.
I didn't know that she wrote about themes like that. Interesting.
I'm limping along with John Irving's, Last Night In Twisted River. It's a great book but with gardening season underway and all that's going on here I read a few pages and pass out at night. It's hard to keep the story cohesive while I keep having to back track
I just read "The Divorce Papers" by Susan Rieger and really enjoyed it although I don't know whether it would be many other people's cup of tea. It's a very funny and clever description of a young criminal lawyer's unwilling venture into representing the wife in a high-profile divorce case.
I've spent a lot of time dealing with legal documents and precedents and am also familiar with family court and custody issues, so I found the book fun and fascinating. I also enjoyed all the literary allusions and word play.
Thanks for the thread, greenhousegal!
I just finished Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson, Norwegian. It was an award winner of some kind and I think an Oprah book too. A Norwegian man in his sixties moves out to a country cabin in Norway and recalls one significant period in his youth. I liked it, in a slow thoughtful way. It said some interesting things about aging, and about how teenage boys feel about parents at times,
The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart. I loved it! Very quirky book, yet could suddenly bring you to tears, with nice ending.
And the Mountains Echoed- Khalid Hosseini- loved it as much as Kite Runner, and liked Thousand Splendid Suns as well.
I've only read one DIckens, forgot which and liked it a lot , but cannot seem to get motivated for another. Ditto Jane Austen or Brontes. I really liked Wuthering Heights when I read it in my thirties and hated it in my teens.
John Irving- Liked Garp and Owen Meany, some others I've liked, but Hotel New Hampshire got tired of the incest. Overall I do like his style and that he can make an ending come together from seemingly wildly disconnected parts of the story. (Or he did that in two of his books at least)
Sally, I tried Out Stealing Horses and just couldn't get into it. Same with the Julia Stuart book; maybe I'll try it again. I loved her book The Matchmaker of Perigord and I was surprised that I didn't like The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise.
That's interesting, in that I also picked those two books up once or twice before actually commencing to 'read' them. Out Stealing Horses had extra appeal because I now have a 17yr old boy who does not communicate with me.
I've never read Walden which is funny considering how much I like nature and being outside.
I'm not a big mystery reader but I have recently read and liked Michael Connelly, and Robert Crais.
I use audiiobooks for a part time job. The reader can make or break an audiobook.
I read Anchee Min's The Cooked Seed on audio. Excellent.
Sally, your book descriptions are lovely to read. As for John Irving...he always engages me. I've just been a little slow lately. I managed to make headway last night and, if our current weather keeps me out of the garden, I might get some serious reading done tomorrow. Unfortunately, sitting down to read during the day is something I rarely have time for.
greenehousegal- thanks for mentioning that julia Stuart has another book.
Jodi Picoult has some interesting books. she brings in real life things and there is a lot to learn in her books. The Storyteller is recent. A young Jewish woman befriends an elderly man through a grief support group. He confesses to her that he was an officer in a concentration camp. same camp her grandmother was in.
Also House Rules. An autistic 18yr old is a suspect in the murder of a college student who was helping him practice social skills. A lot of interesting information about autism.
I work in the library and one of my duties is screening donations for adding to our collection. Among the mounds of paperbacks and garbage, there are some good books turned in- that's where I found Tower Zoo Tortoise, and Stealing Horses, and some others.
Re Daphne du Maurier, her books "Rebecca" and "My Cousin Rachel" became films. I saw one of them years ago but can't remember which one. I was appalled at the end when the huge mansion was burned. I think it was called Mandalay.
My current favorite author is Barbara Kingsolver who wrote "The Poisonwood Bible." She has since written 2 more books.
I like Barbara Kingsolver as well but I don't plan to read her latest two books because the topics don't interest me. I loved her earlier stuff.
I've heard some 'love-hate ' kind of feelings about Kingsolvers. I have only started her Animal Vegetable ..book, which I should really like but found it a bit self serving.
Rebecca is a classic and on our high school's summer reading list.
I will read a writer, regardless of topic, because I was taught that good writing should make you think in a new way rather than affirm the way you currently think. I've read a number of Barbara Kingsolver novels and think they are all worthwhile.
Sally, I'm going looking for The Storyteller. Thanks so much.
Great topic as this is my other obsession. Lol ATM I'm reading Cemetery Dance by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. They have written many books and while most of them have something in common they don't have to be read in order. Their books have some strange characters and twists but I love them, I haven't read their work in a while but I'm glad to be getting back to them.
Sally, I did NOT like Animal, Vegetable... We have been gardening organically for 45 years and her preachiness and smug attitude because she just discovered sustainability was hard to stomach. I have another friend who lives on a sheep farm in Oregon and she had the same reaction.
yup gg, preachiness and smug, that was it
I had to read 'a graphic novel' for a class, so I read Mirrormask by Neil Gaiman. Interesting. Sort of semi graphic, much more text to picture ratio than the Japanese manga, which I would have a very hard time adjusting to. And I am re reading a young adult book, Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt, I read it when my kid did in fifth grade and really liked it.
we librarians mostly scoff at serial romance, but we had a local author at our meeting last month. She was very interesting and she researches a lot and incorporates unusual things into her books ( fire jumpers, great wall of china...) so I have to stop prejudging them.
I learned a lot of organic gardening methods from Ruth Stout and I got the organic gardening magazine for a lot time. Now I just keep the Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening and watch some of the gardening shows on tv.
An intriguing one I saw in review in the New Yorker is "Wondrous Beauty" by Carol Berkin who I am not familiar with. It's the story of an American woman who marries Napoleon Bonaparte's younger brother, Jerome. Jerome deserts her while heavily pregnant, after only 15 months of marriage and Napoleon has the marriage annulled. This is the story of how the woman, Elizabeth Patterson survives in both Baltimore and Paris.
If the library doesn't have it, I can get them to order it.
I loved Cynthia Voigt's Homecoming, and there are sequels which I also have. I got them for my daughter and fell in love with them myself. The next book is Dicey's Song, and then A Solitary Blue. There are a couple more - Sons from Afar which I didn't care for as much, Come a Stranger, about Mina Smith, a character in Dicey's Song, and Seventeen Against the Dealer, which gives you some closure but seems overly dramatic and untrue to the character of Dicey - and Jeff.
Wondrous Beauty sounds good. I recently reread Désirée, a fictionalized retelling of the story of Bonaparte's first fiancée. It's just very difficult to keep French history straight because of all the revolutions!
ALL the revolutions? I know of one unless you go back to the day when they were called Gauls. But there are lots of stories about the revolution.
sallyg, I saw your mention of reading Mirrormask as graphic novel.
I haven't read this as a novel, actually I didn't even realize it was a novel, but did see the movie which is quite beautiful.
The images are quirky and have a European feel, especially in the circus characters.
As an artist myself the room of ink drawings were just pure visual pleasure.
I took a look at bits of the book online and was disappointed with those images.
I did read "Anansi Boys" by Neil Gaiman with pleasure. It was not a graphic novel but a traditional novel that at some point made it to the NYTimes bestseller list. It is a creative mix of contemporary novel and folktale.
Woodspirit, I suppose I meant "republics" rather than "revolutions." France has a very complex political history.
I've read a few Neil Gaiman books and do like him, too.
I chose Neil Gaiman because I knew his 'name'. Thanks for the comments. I will be discussing young adult lit in class this week. Gosh, gg Homecoming is so good. Pretty sure I read Dicey's Song. What are the odds, I chose two books that someone here is familiar with.
I live near Baltimore which has had some rough times, - I'm impressed to hear its earlier history like that woman, and our other Baltimore woman who married Prince Philip..?
My friend made me promise to read a vampire novel by Deborah Harkness. I am, but I'm just not 'feeling' it.
I read "Wind In The Willows" recently and loved it. I think there was an animated movie feature on it years ago, but I don't remember it well, just what the characters looked like.
Children's books can be very evocative. I loved Understood Betsy and also Hector Malot's Nobody's Girl. It was unusual to find stories that featured strong, independent girls.
Spent the day in class hearing about how to help patrons find books they might like, and hearing about a lot of good books. There goes my "to read" list again!
Perhaps we will be the beneficiaries of your new list?
well, so much 'readers advisory' depends on what YOU like. there are sites like Novelist and Goodreads, that have a tool for 'readalikes'- suggests similar authors, or can enter some things like time period or sub genre, and get suggestions. My library has these, but you have to go in the library, or have a card/ account , to use those. I'll get my notes out later and see what might be helpful. THe specific titles we talked about were Young Adult fiction, which has been growing by leaps and bounds, and many adults read them too.
I had heard about the book Overdressed on NPR, discusses the fashion industry,; my supervisor read it and said it was fascinating.
But since I just listened to The Underover Economist, which explained economic principles, I can't fully beleive any book that might go to far into talking about "how bad the sweatshops are"
An audiobook I really enjoyed :
The Personal History of Rachel Dupree by Ann Weisgarber. Novel about a young black woman in late 1800s who marries and they move to the Oklahoma Territory to start a ranch. Life was very hard. i just was carried away into another time and place by her story. excellent reader.
Just finished Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. Really liked it a lot. A thriller.
Will try Jodi Picoult Tenth Circle next, or maybe one of Jeff Lindsay's Dexter books.
I finally finished Anna Karenina. Now I'm catching up on recent back issues of the New Yorker.
I will soon run out of free books on Amazon that interest me and start looking .99 cent books. I'm a big spender, lol.
I would love to see every issue of New Yorker but I know I don't have the time. I do try to grab them as they get thrown away from the library. Then I don't have to remember to return them.
Started listening to Ape House, by Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants. It is OK. Interesting stuff about apes learning ASL and English, which I presume that is pretty much true. Of course, when I pick up my teenager, the audiobook begins a chapter in which the apes are displaying sexual behaviors and it embarrasses us both no end...
Late to this thread but... Daphne Du Maurier is one of my absolute favorite authors, and her classic "Rebecca" is my favorite book of all time. It's got it all: romance, mystery, gothic mansion located on the cliffs of Cornwall, quirky and more than a few creepy characters, small snippets of humor...can't beat it. I've re-read it numerous times, such a great book.
I just finished Carol Shields' "The Republic of Love," which I really enjoyed, plus "The Divorce Papers" by Susan Rieger which was clever and funny, "Karma Gone Bad" by Jenny Feldon about a woman who moves to India with her husband when his job relocates them - it's quite an interesting view of that place, Matt Feroze's "The Cheese and I", and a bunch of Patricia Wentworth plus all of the Maisie Dobbs books for escape.
Those sound good greenhousegal!
Ape House, meh. It wasn't horrible, and I listened to the end, but I'd go 2.5 stars out of five. Too long and convoluted in a way that didn't work for me. The ape sign language stuff was the best part. You're probably better off just watching some Youtube 'bonobo sign language" and skipping that book.
Picoult The Tenth Circle, again sort of meh. I do like that she avoids the expected in her plotlines.
Jeff Lindsay- Dexter books that were before the TV series. Started one of them, funny, sarcastic, fun, so far. Dark quirkiness.
Beach Girl, I like Daphne du Maurier, too, and my daughter likes them too, after she finished the "Little House" series.
I liked My Cousin Rachel as well as Rebecca but The Glassblowers is somewhat of a biography of the du Maurier family. They were from France although all her writing was in England.
I am now reading "The Karamazov Brothers." It's a strange mix (so far, I'm not that far into it) of religion and on the other hand about lying and debauchery. We'll see what happens. Also still catching up on magazines, including Smithsonian.
I'm reading Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, by Mary Roach. She is a good and funny writer of science topics. I first read Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. I'm slightly embarrassed to say that I found her writing on stiff bodies more interesting than the other stiff option. Only because the open scientific information is more available when it comes to cadavers than when it comes to sex.