So, what are you reading 2015, June 21

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

White Teeth by Zadie Smith is cross-generational. In fact an important element of the novel is the impact on future generations when older ones become stuck in the past. It was also cross-cultural based on a friendship between an English WW II veteran and a Bangladeshi/English veteran. The two served together at the close of the war. How circumstances brought them and their future families together make an interesting read. Very thoughtful. Another recommend.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I'll try it! Sounds good.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Half as long as Goldfinch; it took as long to read. Nothing in my Kindle que is grabbing me. We have a pretty extensive library at hand but holding a book for long periods is hard on my still recovering shoulders. The tablet rests on my tummy. Going to do some research.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I guess Kindle offerings are generally based on popularity and date? As in, they won't have older books or less popular authors. I should know this...but I don't know if what you have to choose from would be the same as what we offer through the library, for ebooks.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I guess Kindle offerings are generally based on popularity and date? As in, they won't have older books or less popular authors. I should know this...but I don't know if what you have to choose from would be the same as what we offer through the library, for ebooks.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

I'm going with T.C. Boyle's, San Miguel. Can't go wrong with T.C. Boyle.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I'm not familiar with TC Boyle.
I got Goldfinch tonight. We only own one copy of White Teeth, and currently checked out, so I'll wait.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Fasten your seat belt.

I launched right in to San Miguel. Will report when I'm further along.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

looks like a good author to know!
I'm really not terribly sophisticated. I wasn't 'familiar' with Margaret Atwood five years ago either.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

I tend to be more familiar with the older authors than the newer, trendier ones.

San Miguel is proving captivating 20% in. It begins in 1888. So far the narrative is being told by a woman who has come to live there with her daughter and second husband. She was a widow, originally ftom Boston. The new spouse is speculating on sheep ranching with the remaining monies from her estate. The location is one of the Channel islands off the coast of California, across from Santa Barbara. Very remote and rugged; they are pioneering. The hardship is multiplied by her consumption. The husband proceded her in establishing a base and hiring two hands. She has brought along her young Irish maid. It's a story of group dynamics so far. Boyle based the novel on diaries and a biography of former settlers.

He also wrote Riven Rock, the story of the McCormick family's insanity. Pretty captivating read.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

The Goldfinch is quite a book! I'm into chapter 4.
I'm wondering about the time frame. The story as he is 13 is very 'now' so as it starts in Holland he must not be very old.
And as he talks about days going by, chapter 2 and 3, then suddenly it can only have been a couple days- has a dream like quality. Maybe it's in keeping with the mental state of the character at the time.
Coincidentally, I had recently looked at a map of the museum and immediate several blocks, for a library user - funny thing that gave me a tiny bit of feeling familiar with the setting.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

The beginning is a pressage of what is to come. Much of the book surrounds the initial traumatic event in the museum and so he is at that early age. Then you are launched, or perhaps more accurately lurched, into fast forward. That's why I used the term "roller coaster" and said fasten your seat belt. The speed of the story is related to his ability to digest or deal with his life experiences.

I've almost finished San Miguel. Have a feeling there will be pieces to put together at the end. The story is on its third protagonist, all women, and each is more interesting than the last. We started in 1888 and are now past the incident of the Japanese submarine that managed to slip into the Santa Barbara channel which led to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, etc.. The inhabitants of the Channel islands were left unprotected while the Pacific fleets were called to war in Europe.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Finished San Miguel. I anticipated a heavy ending and it was. Interesting and probably little known slice of American history.

Next on my list is Fingersmith, a novel by Sarah Waters. Fingersmith is a Victorian term for pickpocket.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

I'm a third of the way through Fingersmith. Good golly what a spellbinding tale! Historical fiction in the Dickens style and era. The archaic language is poetic, sometimes whimsical and not difficult to understand. The fingersmith character is an orphaned child raised and groomed in the tradition. Now a teen, she is recruited to partake in a much darker and more devious scheme.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Stop, you're killing me with new additions to my to-read list, haha

Northern, NJ(Zone 6b)

I only made it 2/3rds through Goldfinch.
I rarely give up on a book but this one became increasingly depressing and I just couldn't go on.
I did enjoy the beginning though.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I read The Little Stanger by S. Waters. I love her discriptive style.I will have to read Fingersmith and T C Doyle. I'm familiar with that area so I'm looking forward to it.

Currently reading, or at least trying to, The Mirage Man. It's about- the Anthrax Letters that were sent right after 9-11. It's NF and a difficult read INMHO. I'm not sure if I'll finish it but I'm going to try.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Okay, Sally, but I'm halfway through and it only gets better. :>) Every year from the time I was twelve until fifteen, and before shipping me off to camp, my mom made me sign up for two one hour enrichment courses offered by the public schools during summer. Grief! I had to go to summer school even with good grades. Only twelve at the time, I was horrible at typing but the speed reading class really paid off.

Sempervirens, a very good friend won't read anything I recommend because she says I read depressing books. I don't believe stories necessarily need redemption as a theme but I understand how one might prefer stories that are inspirational or uplifting. You probably would not like Fingersmith. Like Goldfinch, it's running along the lines of the redemptionless too.

Lisa, I normally avoid the same author for two in a row but I have The Little Stranger and see moving on with that one next.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I agree with you on not reading the same author back to back. I hope you like The Little Stranger.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I was really glued to Goldfinch in the Vegas period, now I too am flagging, but not considering giving up yet.
Smiley's 1000 Acres was the first book I read as an adult that made me say Oh ack how depressing at the end. I didn't like that feeling.

Daniel Dafoe(Defoe?) Moll Flanders is a spiraling down book too, if I can trust the PBS version I watched years ago.

Brought home Bean Trees out of our donated books. (Have to read it and see if all the pages are there before passing it along, LOL)

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Haha. How's full time going, Sally? I was confusing Bean Trees, which I haven't read, with The Beans Of Egypt Maine. I read that a long time ago and liked it. It was about the same period I read 1,000 Acres.

Good to see several recommends to check out.

Northern, NJ(Zone 6b)

Maypoplaurel, I cheated with the Goldfinch and read the last few pages to see if the outcome would make a difference on my wanting to finish it but I still decided not to.
I can't read any of Joan Didion either, she is so bleak in her vision.
I do like Raymond Carver although his vision of people is also depressing but he is such a good writer I just enjoy his ability even though I usually don't choose short stories to read.


I really like Louise Penny and her new novel "The Nature of the Beast" was a well written, fast paced, detective novel.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I've thought of reading Didion's Year of Magical Thinking but it might just make me too sad.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Ohh, my SO cheats (with books) but I've never been able to do that. Somehow it seems voyeuristic. lol I usually put the book down early or force myself to finish. Sometimes it's way later than sooner.

I considered the Didion book at one point but was not up for it. It wasn't a good year.

Anyone read The Narrow Road To The Deep North, by Richard Flanagan? That's on my short list. I'm weak for Brit lit.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

If I cheated and peeked, I think I'd never have a reason to finish that book.

Speaking of SOs, mine is reading another Stephen White. Fiction, seems like a mystery but shelved in fiction. Main guy is a psychiatrist, his sidekick is an ex-detective.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Sempervirens, I do the same thing when I feel a book may be spiraling downward. If the ending looks positive I'll finish it; otherwise, no. I don't do bleak.

Example: I had been reading Jean Gill's series on twelfth century France. The first book, Song at Dawn, introduces the characters of Estela, a gifted young musician/singer who travels with a large white dog, and Dragonetz, a knight and a troubadour as well. The story takes place mostly in the court of Ermengarde, Viscomtesse of Narbonne, and deals with the complex jockeying for power that was endemic in early Provence. It's very well-written and full of details about life during that period. However, the next book, Bladesong, begins with Dragonetz captured and irrevocably addicted to opium through his captors' trickery and I just couldn't read it. Recently he author asked me if I wanted to preview the third one, Plaint for Provence, and I told her that it depended on whether she was kind to Estela and Dragonetz in it. She promised that she was, so I read it. It was excellent and I'm now looking forward to the last one. I did miss a certain amount by skipping volume 2 but I can deal with that. I do recommend those books, though, especially if that period interests you. Gill handles it beautifully.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Just finished Goldfinch, glad I stayed with it.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Finished Fingersmith. It would be a great follow up to Goldfinch since it moves swiftly, without extensive verbiage, and has qualities of a thriller. San Miguel was low key by comparison.
Then I became a little boggled reviewing Man Booker winners and short listed selections. The Long Road To The Deep North or The Finkler Question? That was the question. Couldn't make up my mind sooo...decided on Swimming Home, by Deborah Levy, a short listed short novel. lol

The holidays begin for me at sundown. I'll be offline during the period but will let you know what's on my bedside table when I return.

Northern, NJ(Zone 6b)

I just started reading "The Golem and the Jinni" by Helene Wecker and so far I'm enthralled.
It make me think of comic book heroes joined with old myths and tales.
It also brought to mind another of my favorite authors Neil Gaimen.

Ah, it is interesting to see I have company in "cheating" and reading the end of some books and then deciding if I want to finish them.
I will also admit to, and this absolutely disturbs anyone who is a reader that I tell, reading 3/4s of the way through mystery novels, guessing at the ending, then I read the end before I turn back and pick up where I left off.
I only do this with stories I really like.
This way I can take my time and watch the plot unfold.
Otherwise I rush through the last 1/4 of the book to find out what happened missing a lot of wonderful detail.
It also gives me a certain guilty pleasure reading books in a manner I choose that others
might be a little disapproving and not caring enough to alter the way I enjoy reading.
Just a wee bit subversive.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Sempervirens, we are alike that way! I also like to see how things turn out, and once I know, I can relax and go back and read to the end. Otherwise I find myself skimming to find out what's going to happen.

Northern, NJ(Zone 6b)

Well, at least there are 2 of us now greenhouse gal.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Bean Trees by Kingsolver, Wind/Pinball by Murakami, Checklist Manifesto by Gawande (non fic)...and just enjoyed a breather after that longggg Goldfinch fiction by reading an old New Yorker.
What to start...

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Sallyg, if you just read Bean Trees you have to read Pigs in Heaven! How did you like the Murakami? I got tired of him; his plots and characters all seemed so similar.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I read Poisonwood Bible but not yet Bean Trees; I'll remember Pigs in Heaven though.

Have not read a Murakami novel yet- well, Strange Library, which was very strange. I really enjoyed his What I Talk About.. After this book, I'll possibly consider myself sufficiently informed and move to something else, I appreciate your comment.

Northern, NJ(Zone 6b)

I finished "The Golem and the Jinni" and it was a wonderful story with a unique ending.
I recommend it highly.

The novel I have next in line is "Hollow City" by Ransom Riggs, the second novel of "Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children".
Has anyone else read any of this series?
It has the very interesting addition of strange photos in the books as part of the story.

The other book I am interested in is "All the Light We Can Not See" by Anthony Doer.
It won the Pulitzer and was recommended by a friend.
Anyone read this yet?

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

sempervivens - i did All the Light... as an audiobook and LOVED it.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

I loaded "All the Light" on my iPad for my upcoming trip to France. I was assured that it wasn't dark and depressing! Normally I avoid WW II books. I'll let you know what I think after I read it.

Right now I'm reading Terry Jones' "Medieval Lives." It's surprisingly interesting. Here's Amazon's blurb -

Was medieval England full of knights on horseback rescuing fainting damsels in distress? Were the Middle Ages mired in superstition and ignorance? Why does nobody ever mention King Louis the First and Last? And, of course, those key questions: which monks were forbidden the delights of donning underpants... and did outlaws never wear trousers?

Terry Jones and Alan Ereira are your guides to this most misrepresented and misunderstood period, and they point you to things that will surprise and provoke. Did you know, for example, that medieval people didn't think the world was flat? That was a total fabrication by an American journalist in the 19th century. Did you know that they didn't burn witches in the Middle Ages? That was a refinement of the so-called Renaissance. In fact, medieval kings weren't necessarily merciless tyrants, and peasants entertained at home using French pottery and fine wine.

Terry Jones' Medieval Lives reveals Medieval Britain as you have never seen it before - a vibrant society teeming with individuality, intrigue and innovation.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

I seem to recall someone asking if we could start a new thread since this one's getting a bit long, but now I can't find the request. Oh well, I started one anyway. Check it out here:

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1406093/

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Something reminded me of a book I read some time back and wanted to mention. Could not remember much except Japanese Americans. Coincidentally popped up in our donations today.
Snow falling on Cedars. Dave Guterson. Excellent.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Old thread lol Great book!

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