What we are Reading - The 2019 Edition

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  • jedijudyjedijudy Heaven Host
    Ooh! Eigon! Thank you! I've always loved Barbara Hambly's books (Star Trek especially!) I will have to be on the lookout for this series.
  • venbedevenbede Shipmate
    Reading The Three Musketeers. What a load of sexist tripe but outrageous at the same time. I keep on thinking of Kenneth Horne and Kenneth Williams on Round the Horne.

    KH Our motto is All for One and One for All.

    KW Oo and I'm one 'n' all.
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    I just finished The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. It was recommended highly by my favorite living writer, Lois McMaster Bujold, and I have to agree with her assessment. It is delightful.

  • Haruki Murakami is a genius. He was tipped for the Nobel prize a few years ago, and he should have won, dammit.

    I picked up After Dark from the public library (in French – from flipping through 1Q84 in English I get the impression his French translator is better than his English one). It’s atmospheric and intriguing. The pages just turn themselves over.
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    I just finnished By Demons Possessed, the latest in P C Hodgell's Kencyrath Chronicles. Thoroughly enjoyable to those of us who have been following the series, totally unintelligible if you haven't.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited May 8
    Anyone read?:
    * Team Human
    * Babel
    * Rosseau's Dog
    * LikeWar
    ?

    The library puts out new books that are not quite ready for borrowing and all of these caught my eye... Perhaps I should be greedy and take all 4! :smile:
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    I haven't read, or even heard of, any of those, Climacus.

    I recently read "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine" which I quite enjoyed - it's the subject of my book group next week. I'm currently rereading "Integral Christianity" by Paul Smith and am very much looking forward to the next book group book, Robert Harris's "Pompeii", one of my favourite books and a regular reread.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    After China Miéville's awesome 'The Scar', a worthy successor to 'Perdido Street Station', thought I'd better read Jean Auel's canonical 'Clan of the Cave Bear' 30 years on. It does get gripping from half way! Looking forward to 'Send Me Safely Back Again' by Adrian Goldsworthy, 3rd in his series. Ye cannee beat the Napoleonic!
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Eigon wrote: »
    I'm reading The Long War by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett.
    There was a moment when I had to flick to the front of the book to check when it was written - one of the main characters and his family are going through a pointless and threatening immigration procedure on Datum Earth (this being the original of all the parallel worlds that people can reach by "stepping"). The American president is against all the colonists who have moved to the parallel worlds, and is demonstrating how strict his immigration policy is. It was extremely reminiscent of a certain Trump and his Wall - but it was published in 2013.

    Wonderful series. My kind of Heaven!
  • SirPalomidesSirPalomides Shipmate
    Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

    Arabian Nights trans. by Sir Richard Burton
  • TwilightTwilight Shipmate
    I seem to be all about drugs lately.

    I recently read Dreamland, about the opioid epidemic in America, how it started in well intentioned hospitals and ended in thousands of "pain clinics" set up all through Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia for the sole purpose of dealing drugs to the people they had made addicted, paid for by Medicare and making billionaires of the doctors willing to play the game.

    Dreamland gets it's name from the football field sized community pool that once was the center for fun in thriving Portsmouth, Ohio. It's now a ghost town with most businesses closed except for the remains of dozens of those pain clinics. The book is fascinating, including how and where black tar heroin is made and how it makes it way across the southern border into tiny towns where it is sold by the "pizza method." Middle class white kids, who would be afraid to go into the inner city to score drugs, simply call the number and the drug is delivered to their front door -- maybe with an actual pizza included in case Mom asks questions.

    Today I read, Tell Your Children by Alex Berenson, subtitled, "The truth about marijuana, mental illness and violence." It cites the studies indicating that young people who use marijuana are at much higher risk of developing schizophrenia. Important reading with the country well on its way to total legalization.
  • Graven ImageGraven Image Shipmate
    I recently discovered the poetry of Billy Collins, Right now I am enjoying his book, " The Trouble with Poetry." I find his work easy to relate to and funny at times. Good way to start the day.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    I shall look those books up, Twilight: thank you very much. For some reason I find those topics intriguing.

    Plenty of other great recommendations here too...thank you all. I note the uni library has some new fiction books that look interesting: once I finish my assignments I shall get them. I am keeping a list on my desk.
  • ChoristerChorister Shipmate
    Just finished reading 'Him' by Clare Empson - a gripping read as the opening chapter reveals a young mother who has developed elective mutism due to a great trauma. The reason for this trauma is gradually revealed as the book progresses, by flipping between 'now', 'four months ago' and 'sixteen years ago', with themes of privilege, selfishness and the nature of loyalty and friendship running through the story.

    Although some of the scenarios sound a little improbable (think Shakespearean tragedies and the soaps - how many bad luck stories can you fit into one small group of people's lives?), many of them do ring true, and lead up to a crashing finale which left me feeling quite exhausted.

    At times you have to remind yourself it is 'just a novel' as it is very easy to get quite involved with some of the characters - I'm not sure whether someone who has had to cope with a similar amount of trauma in their lives would find it helpful, or not helpful, to read it - so a slight caution to those who fear they might be adversely affected. Otherwise, a cracking read.
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    I am reading The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. Fascinating look at immigrants and New York City in the late 1800s.
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host
    I just finished two fantasy novels -- A Brightness Long Ago, by Guy Gavriel Kay, one of my favourite authors, and Empire of Sand, by Tasha Suri. The GGK novel was much what I expect from him -- a richly detailed alternative-world (in this case, pretty much Renaissance Italy with different names) with the actual "fantasy" elements fairly minimal. I enjoyed it as I enjoy all his books, but because of some choices he made in characters' fates I suspect it's not going to become of my all-time favourites. The other book, Empire of Sand, is set in a world based on the Mughal Empire in India, and is part of my ongoing quest to find good fantasy set in non-European-inspired lands. It was a bit light, but enjoyable.

    I also read a new-to-me historical novel, Bernard Cornwell's Fools and Mortals about Shakespeare's younger brother who wants to be an actor in Shakespeare's company. I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to; found it really engaging and was really rooting for young Richard Shakespeare to succeed against all odds!
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    Trudy, I LOVE Guy Gavriel Kay!
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host
    It's so nice to find someone else who does -- he seems to be under-rated! Tigana and The Lions of Al-Rassan are my favourites of his books, but I have enjoyed them all. I love the very detailed and interconnected world he has been creating since Al-Rassan, through the Sarantine Mosaic books and including these last two.
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    A Song for Arbonne was my favorite I think.
  • venbedevenbede Shipmate
    I'm re reading Bede's History in the Oxford World Classics rather than Penguin. Penguin provides more apparatus it seems to me.

    Also Edmund Crispin's masterpiece, the totally batty The Moving Toyshop, a title from my favourite poet, Alexander Pope, like Crispin's later Frequent Hearses.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    NicoleMR wrote: »
    I am reading The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. Fascinating look at immigrants and New York City in the late 1800s.
    I liked that.
  • ChoristerChorister Shipmate
    Thoroughly enjoying the short stories of Daphne du Maurier at the moment. 'The Doll: short stories' is a collection mostly of her early writings - a startling maturity of thought in someone so young. Many of the stories are dark (but with a warm human touch) others are funny, with sharp observations of human nature which make you laugh out loud. It is hard to believe they were written in the 1920s and 30s as they read with a clarity and immediacy of being penned much more recently.
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    I’m reading Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. Can’t decide yet whether I like it or not!
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    edited June 3
    This evening I will be finishing up Tom Brown's Schooldays.
  • Tree BeeTree Bee Shipmate
    Doone wrote: »
    I’m reading Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. Can’t decide yet whether I like it or not!

    I read that a few years ago. I’ll be interested to hear your final opinion.
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    Okay, will be a couple of days or so.
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    Doone wrote: »
    I’m reading Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. Can’t decide yet whether I like it or not!

    I had similar feelings about it, but it stayed with me if you get what I mean.

    I've thoroughly enjoyed my reread of "Pompeii" for my book group next week and am now contemplating my next read.
  • ChoristerChorister Shipmate
    Have read the first few chapters of 'Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine' and am amused to come face to face with my younger self (well almost!) There are certainly similarities, but I have a feeling that Eleanor either can't or doesn't want to overcome her eccentricities - I'm sure there will be more as the book progresses!
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    venbede wrote: »
    Also Edmund Crispin's masterpiece, the totally batty The Moving Toyshop, a title from my favourite poet, Alexander Pope, like Crispin's later Frequent Hearses.

    Only sorry there are so few Crispins. But maybe it’s come time to re-read Toyshop - one of the advantages of failing memory, you can re-enjoy books you read 40 years ago.
  • TwilightTwilight Shipmate
    I just read, Ethan Frome and most of my sympathy is with Zeena, but I don't think that was Edith Wharton's intention.
  • EigonEigon Shipmate
    I found a slim volume called Daughters of Copper Woman by Anne Cameron, a collection of Native American myths, legends and history told against the background of the modern community on Vancouver Island in Canada. It's all from the women's point of view, as you'd expect from a Women's Press publication, and it is absolutely fascinating. Anne Cameron wrote the book with the permission of the Nootka women who shared their stories with her.
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    Tree Bee wrote: »
    Doone wrote: »
    I’m reading Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. Can’t decide yet whether I like it or not!

    I read that a few years ago. I’ll be interested to hear your final opinion.

    Well, in a nutshell, I found it disappointing. I thought the basic idea was interesting and I like her writing, but, ultimately, too many irritations. The big reveal about Elspeth and Edie felt a let down and superficial and, in my opinion, it just got more predictable and sillier as it went on. For me, reality kept intruding, eg a sudden death would almost certainly have resulted in a post-mortem in the UK, where did the money for a house in the country in Sussex come from (not cheap!) and the whole baby thing just seemed unrealistic. A real shame!

  • venbedevenbede Shipmate
    Firenze wrote: »
    venbede wrote: »
    Also Edmund Crispin's masterpiece, the totally batty The Moving Toyshop, a title from my favourite poet, Alexander Pope, like Crispin's later Frequent Hearses.

    Only sorry there are so few Crispins. But maybe it’s come time to re-read Toyshop - one of the advantages of failing memory, you can re-enjoy books you read 40 years ago.

    I've been reading them all and I've only got The Glimpses of the Moon to go. It's the set up that amuses me and I'm a bit bored by the solution - which is why I don't care for the short stories, which are usually very brief and just a puzzle to be solved. And call me a soppy liberal but I was put off by the insistence that any convicted murderer would be hanged. I know there were, but Agatha Christie has the tact not to rub it in.

    Not sure of my favourite after Moving Toyshop. Probably Buried for Pleasure - no murders until nearly half way though and plenty of rural eccentricity up to then.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    edited June 8
    Is Holy Disorders the one with the the M R Jamesian ghost story?

    Another oeuvre worth revisiting is the Flaxborough chronicles by Colin Watson.
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    Has anyone read A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry? It's our next book club book after Pompeii - which we're discussing on Monday evening. Looking forward to that.
  • venbedevenbede Shipmate
    Firenze wrote: »
    Is Holy Disorders the one with the the M R Jamesian ghost story?

    Another oeuvre worth revisiting is the Flaxborough chronicles by Colin Watson.

    Colin Watson and the outrageous genteel con artiste, Miss Lucilla Edith Cavell Teatime. Absolutely wonderful.

    I think The Case of the Gilded Fly certainly includes a ghost story.
  • venbedevenbede Shipmate
    Just remembered there is a long ghost story in Holy Disorders which is very M R James indeed, including an old diary of the sadistic victim of the haunting,
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    That's the one. The Plague Court Murders by John Dickson Carr is another one which builds atmosphere by the same device of historical documents (which of course James used extensively).

    JDC’s last novels, as I recall, actually went for transporting his protagonist back in time.
  • venbedevenbede Shipmate
    When I've finished reading Edmund Crispin in order (only one to go) Colin Watson is next off the stocks.

    I'm re-reading Barbara Pym's Jane and Prudence. I'm a great fan of Miss Pym, but I have to say that of the novels she herself had published J & P is my least favourite. Of the ones published after her death only Crampton Hodnet and A Few Green Leavesseem to me worthwhile.

    A Glass of Blessings is one of my all time favourite books.
  • ChoristerChorister Shipmate
    More Daphne du Maurier, this time some of her later short stories, longer and more developed: 'The Birds, and other stories' - I wanted to read the Birds, knowing that Alfred Hitchcock based his film on the book, but only loosely. I can see why he thought it was such an exciting idea with such potential.
  • caroline444caroline444 Shipmate
    edited June 13
    Marcus J Borg - The Heart of Christianity. I'm very much a newbie to Christianity, and I thought this was excellent. Didn't align myself with everything he says, but he went a long way towards answering my questions.
  • ChoristerChorister Shipmate
    People who are interested in cults and the behaviour of those in them, are likely to be interested in the second short story in the Daphne du Maurier book I referred to above. 'It is called 'Monte Verita'.
  • EigonEigon Shipmate
    I'm in the middle of Provenance by Ann Leckie now - it's a spin off from her Raadchai Ancillary series. It took a while for me to get into it, but all the stuff about fake historical artefacts (or "vestiges" here), and whether it matters whether an item in a museum is a copy, is fascinating.
  • I'm reading Rory Stewart's "The Places in Between" about his journey on foot through Afghanistan. So far, he comes across as a most engaging writer; modest, articulate and courageous man with a good story to tell. It seems pleasantly (to me) old fashioned, perhaps a little in the style of Fitzroy Mclean. He seems a little different from his competitors for Mrs May's job.
  • Tree BeeTree Bee Shipmate
    Doone wrote: »
    Tree Bee wrote: »
    Doone wrote: »
    I’m reading Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. Can’t decide yet whether I like it or not!

    I read that a few years ago. I’ll be interested to hear your final opinion.

    Well, in a nutshell, I found it disappointing. I thought the basic idea was interesting and I like her writing, but, ultimately, too many irritations. The big reveal about Elspeth and Edie felt a let down and superficial and, in my opinion, it just got more predictable and sillier as it went on. For me, reality kept intruding, eg a sudden death would almost certainly have resulted in a post-mortem in the UK, where did the money for a house in the country in Sussex come from (not cheap!) and the whole baby thing just seemed unrealistic. A real shame!

    I agree with you. Having loved The Time Traveler’s Wife I’d been so looking forward to reading Her Fearful Symmetry, but I couldn’t suspend my disbelief. Was a real disappointment.

  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    edited June 19
    Heida A Shepherd at the End of the World.
    Can't put it down - fantastic descriptions of landscape with long Scandie names with all the letters "authentic", farm life stories, the woman's achievements as a farmer and fighting a hydro-electric company development on her land, her sheep and dogs, the shearing, the lambing ... it has everything and is written (translated) in very concise English.
    I want to go there!
    I want to be her!
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    Finishing up Maugham's Christmas holiday.
  • My normal practice is to have a fiction and a non-fiction on the go simultaneously, but I'm reading Elena Kostioukovitch's Why Italians Love to Talk About Food, and just finished Under the Sun: the letters of Bruce Chatwin. EK was Umberto Eco's translator from Italian to Russian. Her book is the product of her observations on Italians and food for 20 years. It's history, anthropology, sociology. The BC letters are fascinating but won't make much sense to you if you haven't read BC's books or read the biography. If you have done, the letters are an intimate revelation.
  • Reading William Gibson's Neuromancer
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    I just finally finished The Golem and the Jinni. A fascinating picture of immigrant life in New York City in the 1890s, meshed with a fantasy about two supernatural creatures meeting and becoming friends, and their struggle against an overpowering evil, touching on questions of morality, responsibility, and the nature of good and evil.
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