snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Diversions > Book Corner

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01 December 2011, 10:37 PM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is offline
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 24,993
Icon24 What books are you reading?

Good lord, it seems to be new thread time. Just as I went to write up my November books, too:

Flat Earth News by Nick Davies. As I said in the old thread, everybody, in the UK at least, should probably read this.

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John Le Carré. I was sure I'd read this before, but didn't remember it. It's very good, though, which is why it's a classic, I suppose. I read it because of the new film of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, which I've not seen, but the book is also on my pile.

Fremde by Russell Hoban. I'm never quite sure what I think of Russell Hoban. He's technically a very good writer, and he has some interesting ideas, but I'm often not sure what he's getting at. It's the kind of book where the ending could be "and it was all a dream", and even though that's not the ending, it's often very dreamlike. Not that this is a bad thing; it's a real skill to capture that, and there are also some proper self-identity questions in it; he's kind of a "writer's writer" in that his ideas might inspire other people to write stuff based on them. ImNotDedalus might like his stuff... ironically, his most famous book, Riddley Walker, is probably the most accessible of his that I've read, even though it's all written in a made-up dialect. He's a bit like Anthony Burgess, I suppose.

The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry

Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham. I think I mentioned in another thread that I had "women issues" surrounding this, in that I read half of it, met some women at a party and told them that I very much liked Maugham as a writer (having read Cakes and Ale and half of this) and perhaps identified with his main characters more than I should. The women were both former literature students and this conversation wasn't as much of a random drunken rant as it might sound; it followed naturally in the circumstances. I later read further and found that, when Maugham tries to imagine what "women" might be thinking (as opposed to observing what particular women did when he / his fictional proxies behaved in a particular way towards them) then yes, he probably did have lots of problems with women. But he's at least honest enough to spell them out very clearly in books, and he's a very good writer, and in most other ways his observations are great, and he's still almost shockingly frank about some things. Child death, for example. If you can read Of Human Bondage and still defend religions for opposing contraception, then you're a worse man than I am, Gunga Din.


... Anyway, I'm now reading The City And The City by China Miéville, which as Embra said in the previous thread is very good. Without saying too much, I thought it would be to do with a multidimensional or hidden city along the lines of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. It's a far better and more interesting idea than that. It's like something that Italo Calvino missed from Invisible Cities, or that Jorge Luís Borges didn't quite think of. And it's got a murder mystery on top. China Miéville is good.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 02 December 2011, 02:32 AM
musicgeek's Avatar
musicgeek musicgeek is offline
 
Join Date: 01 August 2005
Location: Fairfield, CT
Posts: 5,326
Default

A group of teachers and librarians recently started a book club at work - we just finished our first selection, The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht. It's a pretty remarkable first work from a twenty-something author. It's vaguely reminiscent of both Kite Runner (in that it reflects the impact of war on an area through the experiences of a few related individuals) and some of John Irving's work (in that it's pretty seriously weird in places, and keeps introducing a whole host of characters to keep track of). Like much of Neil Gaiman's work, the nature and evolution of myth is a strong presence. Structurally, the novel resembles nothing so much as Pulp Fiction - there's essentially a framing story at the beginning and end of the book, and the rest of the book is tracing the various threads to explain what happens to all the tangentially involved characters, jumping willy-nilly between timelines. It also has some resonance with the film Big Fish, in that the protagonist is in some ways chasing down the magical elements of her grandfather's stories, only to find more mundane and in some ways unsatisfactory explanations, but leaving the possibility of real magic open. It was definitely an enjoyable read, and I'm eager to see what Obreht produces next. Next up for us is The Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand, but we haven't started yet.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 02 December 2011, 08:37 AM
kitap's Avatar
kitap kitap is offline
 
Join Date: 20 January 2001
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 9,374
Whalephant

At Home by Bill Bryson. So far it's pretty good.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 02 December 2011, 02:48 PM
Aud 1 Aud 1 is offline
 
Join Date: 05 October 2005
Location: Missouri
Posts: 7,098
Default

With Anne McCaffrey's death two weeks ago I decided to start rereading her books. I started at the beginning, Restoree, and now I'm reading Dragonflight. I'm not sure if I'll stick with the chronological order or follow series. It's been 20 years or more since I read these and I'd forgotten how good she was with sensory description. Not much else has really floated my boat lately. I can't remember the last time I was so lost in a story that all my limbs fell asleep.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02 December 2011, 02:54 PM
Mama Duck's Avatar
Mama Duck Mama Duck is offline
 
Join Date: 22 October 2001
Location: South Texas
Posts: 12,151
Default

Just finished reading "Mockingjay", the last book in the Hunger Games series. Now I'm reading Sherman Alexie's "The Business of Fancydancing". After this, I'm either going to have to read a Twilight book or slit my wrists. See, this is why I usually stick to junk food literature. Granted, I highly recommend the Hunger Games and "The Business". Just, ya know, make sure you have some way of getting out of a deep funk afterwards, especially for the Hunger Games series.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02 December 2011, 10:14 PM
Blatherskite's Avatar
Blatherskite Blatherskite is offline
 
Join Date: 06 February 2006
Location: Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 3,879
Default

I've not long since finished reading The Tale of One Bad Rat by Bryan Talbot. I've just checked and it was originally a four-part series, but I read the collected edition.

It's a graphic novel that combines Beatrix Potter, gorgeous landscape art of the Lake District, homelessness and child abuse in a way that not only makes sense in the context but seamlessly combines the seemingly disjointed elements into a breath-catchingly moving read.

That sounds like I'm quoting a newspaper review, but I just felt the need to sing the book's praises properly and without resorting to imploring people not to let the fact that it's a comic book prevent them from reading it. Oh, but I just did that.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 07 December 2011, 12:29 PM
Ana Ng's Avatar
Ana Ng Ana Ng is offline
 
Join Date: 16 August 2000
Location: Babylon, NY
Posts: 14,350
Default

I'm re-reading Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning, and it's distractingly addictive even though I've already read it.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06 December 2011, 11:58 AM
Pudding Crawl's Avatar
Pudding Crawl Pudding Crawl is offline
 
Join Date: 29 July 2007
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 1,816
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
Flat Earth News by Nick Davies. As I said in the old thread, everybody, in the UK at least, should probably read this.
Seconded. I have finished it, and am now in the 'Lend to everyone/buy as present for everyone' stage.

After seeing a few recommendations on here, I got Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich. It's thoroughly disturbing.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06 December 2011, 01:12 PM
Lainie's Avatar
Lainie Lainie is offline
 
Join Date: 29 August 2005
Location: Suburban Columbus, OH
Posts: 72,920
Default

I just finished reading Charlie Shields' biography of Kurt Vonnegut (So It Goes). Not easy going: Vonnegut was a very unhappy man, in Shields' words "very damaged." I was prepared for that aspect of it, because of interviews I'd heard with Shields. More surprising was the depiction of Vonnegut's second wife, photographer Jill Krementz, and their marriage. Vonnegut told one of his daughters that Krementz and their very turbulent relationship were his "disease."

It's a well-written book, and Vonnegut was a fascinating person, but the disconnect between much of what Vonnegut wrote and the way he lived his life might be troubling to some people. His writings emphasized the importance of humans being kind to each other, for example, but he was rarely kind to anyone in his life, including his friends and family.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06 December 2011, 08:02 PM
Cinnamon's Avatar
Cinnamon Cinnamon is offline
 
Join Date: 24 January 2006
Location: Gloucestershire, UK
Posts: 4,842
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
Flat Earth News by Nick Davies. As I said in the old thread, everybody, in the UK at least, should probably read this.
I shall have to see about picking it up sometime then.

Quote:
The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John Le Carré. I was sure I'd read this before, but didn't remember it. It's very good, though, which is why it's a classic, I suppose. I read it because of the new film of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, which I've not seen, but the book is also on my pile.
Tinker, Tailor is even better, but all of the Smiley series are pretty damn good.

Quote:
... Anyway, I'm now reading The City And The City by China Miéville, which as Embra said in the previous thread is very good. Without saying too much, I thought it would be to do with a multidimensional or hidden city along the lines of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. It's a far better and more interesting idea than that. It's like something that Italo Calvino missed from Invisible Cities, or that Jorge Luís Borges didn't quite think of. And it's got a murder mystery on top. China Miéville is good.
Sounds like that might be worth a look too then. I shall have to start keeping a list.

I saw there's a new Umberto Eco out, so I shall probably pick that up in the near future.

November's reading:

* Michele Giutteri - A Death In Tuscany
* Lee Child - The Hard Way
* Lee Child - Nothing to Lose
* Lee Child - Gone Tomorrow
* Val McDermid - Killing the Shadows
* Henning Mankell - Firewall
* Alice Cooper (with Keith and Kent Zimmerman - Alice Cooper: Golf Monster
* Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner - Superfreakonomics

Nearly reached the end of Lee Child's Jack Reacher series, and I've only got another couple of books to go of Mankell's Wallander series. I picked up another of the latter today, along with George Mann's The Affinity Bridge - thought I would give steampunk a try.

Last edited by Cinnamon; 06 December 2011 at 08:09 PM. Reason: Posted too soon
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 07 December 2011, 11:13 AM
llewtrah's Avatar
llewtrah llewtrah is offline
 
Join Date: 13 December 2001
Location: Chelmsford, UK
Posts: 16,363
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinnamon View Post
George Mann's The Affinity Bridge - thought I would give steampunk a try.
It's a reasonable read as is the 2nd in the series (The Osiris Ritual), however I found the 3rd instalment (The Immorality Engine) was nowhere near as good (it seemed to me to be a potboiler in the series while he worked on other projects). His "Ghosts of Manhattan" book set slightly later was, IMO, dire beyond belief - it's mostly lifted from the Batman stories with a change of names and locations.

For superior steampunk/alternate history I recommend Mark Hodder's books "The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack" and "The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man". And if you stretch to post-technological steampunk-ish fantasy then Stephen Hunt's Jackelian series is one of my favourites (the latest paperback in the series, "Jack Cloudie", also had several nods in the direction of the "Dune" series).
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 07 December 2011, 11:18 AM
Algae's Avatar
Algae Algae is offline
 
Join Date: 02 September 2002
Location: Southeast Michigan
Posts: 4,740
Reading

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinnamon View Post
Sounds like that might be worth a look too then. I shall have to start keeping a list.
Cinnamon, after saying that I don't know how many times, I've started an account on Goodreads. It's really handy and easy to use to keep track of what I've read, what I want to read and finding new books to read.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 07 December 2011, 11:53 AM
llewtrah's Avatar
llewtrah llewtrah is offline
 
Join Date: 13 December 2001
Location: Chelmsford, UK
Posts: 16,363
Default

I've ordered both "The Windup Girl" and "The City and the City" for some winter reading.

"The Manual of Detection" (Jedediah Berry) is another book well worth reading.

I recently picked up Romanitas (Sophie McDougall) in Oxfam as the idea of the Roman empire transplanted into the modern day (with slavery and alternative tech) should be right up my street.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 17 December 2011, 04:38 AM
Morgaine's Avatar
Morgaine Morgaine is offline
 
Join Date: 23 February 2002
Location: Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
Posts: 12,300
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by llewtrah View Post
I've ordered both "The Windup Girl" and "The City and the City" for some winter reading.

"The Manual of Detection" (Jedediah Berry) is another book well worth reading.

I recently picked up Romanitas (Sophie McDougall) in Oxfam as the idea of the Roman empire transplanted into the modern day (with slavery and alternative tech) should be right up my street.
I liked 'The City and The City' but did not enjoy 'The Wind-Up Girl'. I felt like the latter had a lot of lingo that wasn't explained & therefore made it difficult to understand IMO.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 23 December 2011, 02:02 PM
PatYoung's Avatar
PatYoung PatYoung is offline
 
Join Date: 23 October 2001
Location: Hempstead, NY
Posts: 6,875
Default

I just finished reading Amanda Foreman's new book A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War which has an extensive discussion of British immigrants in the Civil War, and slurs Irish Union volunteers.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 25 January 2013, 03:41 PM
Imminent Penguin's Avatar
Imminent Penguin Imminent Penguin is offline
 
Join Date: 20 September 2010
Location: Abington, PA
Posts: 430
Baseball

"The Manual of Detection" (Jedediah Berry) is another book well worth reading.


Thanks for mentioning this book. I have been perusing this thread looking for stuff to read and bought this one, based on the sample I got. Just finished it yesterday, and will read it again to get that which confused me the first time. lol
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 25 January 2013, 10:42 PM
Chloe's Avatar
Chloe Chloe is offline
 
Join Date: 13 September 2004
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 39,316
Default

I just read The Fixer. The only thing I knew about Malamud was that he had also written The Natural. There was much less baseball in this book.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 07 December 2011, 03:04 PM
Cure the Blues's Avatar
Cure the Blues Cure the Blues is offline
 
Join Date: 31 July 2000
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 2,021
Default

Finally finished Memories of Ice, so I looked through my backlog for something new that was: 1) not fantasy since I want a palate cleanser and 2) short since I’m well into the doorstopper Reamde and I don't feel like running 2 massive tomes at once. Holy carp, but did I buy a lot of Barbara Hambly and Robert McCammon during the Kindle Cyber Monday sale. Also, I have a lot of SF&F. A lot! Determined scanning through my Kindle revealed Dava Sobel’s Longitude, which I picked up on a sale and seems short based on the number of dots under the the title. I choose you, Pikachu!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Algae View Post
Cinnamon, after saying that I don't know how many times, I've started an account on Goodreads. It's really handy and easy to use to keep track of what I've read, what I want to read and finding new books to read.
Goodreads is excellent for making a queue. It’s also made concrete what I already knew. I take a terribly long time to finish books so I use it as a prod to keep up forward momentum if I stall on anything.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 08 December 2011, 12:47 AM
Cervus's Avatar
Cervus Cervus is offline
 
Join Date: 21 October 2002
Location: Florida
Posts: 20,847
Default

I have a Goodreads account as well -- I'm Cervus, same avatar.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 08 December 2011, 11:21 AM
RingKeeper's Avatar
RingKeeper RingKeeper is offline
 
Join Date: 11 January 2002
Location: Newfoundland
Posts: 4,849
Default

I'm reading A Game of Thrones right now, mostly because everyone else in my life seems to be reading the series. It has far more fantasy elements in it than I expected, and so I am enjoying it much more than I anticipated.

I have a Goodreads account, but I keep forgetting about it. I started a challenge early in the year to read 80 books. I have certainly read that, but I forgot to put them all in. I think it shows I read 10 books this year.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Reading is hard! snopes We've Got Mail 248 18 January 2016 01:23 PM
Man Driving 75 mph While Reading Novel nonnieyrissa Fauxtography 39 20 February 2011 05:45 PM
What? I'm hard of reading! snopes We've Got Mail 4 10 August 2007 04:48 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 04:35 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.