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Once again suffering from listlessness. It's after midnight over here, I'm feeling overworked and sniffling pathetically with a cold. So I figured I'd spread the misery around a bit by inflicting a few of my very favourite books on you. I think they're catching.

1. Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman / Dave McKean. Because one thing is certain. This one came earlier than his Sandman series  (also excellent and among my favourites). It moves from a location of extreme violence to something else entirely: among other things it's about a refusal to seek vengeance.

  1. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I'm re-reading this one at the moment. I'm not sure that political fiction comes any better than this. Misplaced missionary zeal, Congolese independence and the attempts of Orleanna and her four daughters to make peace with their histories.

  2. Monsignor Quixote by Graham Greene. I think this was his last novel. In post-Franco Spain, a Catholic Monsignor and a Communist Mayor set out together in the monsignor's trusty Rocinante, evading both La Guardia and the Church. Both their travels and their friendship takes them into dangerous terrain.

  3. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien is sometimes maligned, I think, for 'shallow, cardboard characters.' I think he often expects readers to infer interior states of mind, from his character's speech (which is not always candid) and his descriptions of their actions. Also, the love story between Frodo and Sam -- and I think it is a love story -- is powerful stuff.

  4. His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman. If you've not read these, just go read them already. Silver-tongued Lyra lived peaceably enough (though not unadventurously) in Jordan College until her life is caught up in her father's attempt to cast down the Authority and create a Republic of Heaven.

 

Originally posted to dove on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 05:21 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What are some of your favourites? n/t (4.00)

    I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

    by dove on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 05:20:46 PM PST

    •  Gaiman/McKean.... (4.00)
      I have read the entire Sandman run, more than once, but I have never read Black Orchid.

      Also, these two have made some excellent children's books. I believe the titles are The wolves in the Walls and Can I trade my Dad for a Goldfish (or something similar, I don't have the energy to search right now)...

      "There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad." - Dali

      by the holy handgrenade on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 05:34:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah (4.00)
        and Neil Gaiman's also done one called Coraline as well which I find quite creepy indeed.

        Black Orchid is great. Starts out with our superheroine getting captured by the bad guys and killed. And from there it goes in unexpected directions -- to the point where I think some readers had a hard time accepting that the end of the story was the actually the real end of the story.

        I'm in a similar state of energylessness -- OT, Gaiman keeps a quite interesting blog which is worth a look.

        I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

        by dove on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 05:42:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Gaiman is great (4.00)
          if you haven't read it, read American Gods.  Great book.

          "Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats." Mencken "This is one of those times." Me

          by jsmdlawyer on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 05:47:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I was close... (none)
          on Gaiman's children's books. They are The Day I swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish and The Wolves in the Walls.

          Coraline looks interesting as well. My daughter (4 1/2) is obsessed with wolves and wanted the Wolves in the Walls, which we found at toys r us of all places, but, I held off after reading a bit. A bit too much for a kid her age. Not that I didn't expect that from Gaiman.

          "There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad." - Dali

          by the holy handgrenade on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 06:54:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I Bring My Daughter (none)
            a book every time I visit.

            I also love Gaiman and have looked at both of those for her.  The Wolves one is too scary and the other one makes an adoption joke that wouldn't be appropriate for a child who was adopted.

            Oh well.

            Coraline is a good one so I guess when she gets older...

            •  how about... (none)
              Shel Silverstein or Dr. Suess?

              Where the Sidewalk Ends is excellent and Suess fills his stories with all sorts of socio-political themes...

              "There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad." - Dali

              by the holy handgrenade on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:08:45 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The Second Book (none)
                I gave her was Shel Silverstein.  (The first was The Velveteen Rabbit which is a favorite of birthmothers.)

                Her (adoptive) dad gets her Dr. Suess books a lot.  I usually get her my favorites or ones with some kind of special significance- I love picking them out.  Some of my childhood faves:

                Caps for Sale

                There Is A Monster At the End of This Book (or whatever that Grover story is called)

                The Very Hungry Caterpillar

                Blueberries for Sal

              •  Re. Dr. Seuss and socio-political themes (none)
                Some of his WWII cartoons are really scary -- not him at his best by a long shot.

                But his children's books are another matter.

                I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

                by dove on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:19:55 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I Have A Book (none)
                  about his early stuff.  Forget the whole title but it's a joke about cough, plough, though, and other non-rhyming words with the same spellings.
                •  even his children's books... (none)
                  are loaded with socio-political themes. Yertle the turtle reads as a tale of a ruler who puts their pursuit of power above the needs of their subjects. Sound like anyone we know?

                  Or maybe, I'm just reading too much into his stories....

                  "There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad." - Dali

                  by the holy handgrenade on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:29:12 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You're Not (none)
                    His work is definitely intelligent reading.

                    I think they did some documentary after he died which addressed this part of his writing.

                    I do know that MAD magazine (yes, I subscribe) did a feature where they used Suess quotes and compared it to Bush quotes.

                    It was fascinating.  In fact that whole issue was.  The cover was a Dr. Suess cover.

            •  Has your daughter read (none)
                Click, Clack, Moo by Deborah Cronin?
              It's a great wee book about cows who go on strike for electric blankets.

              Anything by Lynley Dodd is great too.

              I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

              by dove on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:17:23 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oddly enough... (none)
                Giggle Giggel Quack by Cronin sits on the floor next to my desk as we speak. Oh and it's for my daughter....that's the story I'm sticking with...

                "There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad." - Dali

                by the holy handgrenade on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:19:42 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks (none)
                for the tips.

                I saw this book about a worm who goes to school and stuff (It's like a worm diary) that I've been dying to get her but am trying to be patient til she gets just a wee bit older.

                This Christmas I got her a book called What Snowmen Do At Night.  It was really funny.  They're having snowball fights and drinking ice-cold chocolate and sledding and playing on the swings.  The illustrations are great.

    •  I really like (none)
      Revolt of the Cockroach People and

      Autobiography of a (the?) Brown Buffalo

      by Oscar Zeta Acosta, Hunter Thompson's foil in the Fear and Loathing/Shark Hunt Sequence. Good period radical politics, freak scene insiders and clunky, passionate prose.

      Monsters of the Deep by Richard Ellis--a nice blend of natural history, marine biology, sociocultural myth-history, and sciency drawings.

      Mondo Desperado by Patrick McCabe, a great contemporary Irish short story writer
       

  •  here's what on the reading stack right now (none)
    1. Chain of Command (Hersh)
    2. The Illustrated History of Canada (Brown)
    3. America's Military Today (Ensign)
    4. Two Treatises of Government (Locke)
    5. The Mind's Past (Gazzaniga)
    6. War Crimes: A report on the US war crimes against Iraq (in 1991-92) (Clark)
    7. Manufacturing Consent (Herman & Chomsky)
    •  Illustrated History of Canada (none)
      a/k/a The White Album.

      In politics, sometimes the jackasses are on your side.

      by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 05:35:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fairly serious list (none)
      I've been looking at Manufacturing Consent and thinking I should read it. how are you finding it? I've liked what else I've read of Chomsky. I keep waiting for Arundhati Roy to put out another collection -- she should really have been on my favourites list too for Power Politics

      How are plans progressing for the move to Vancouver?

      I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

      by dove on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 05:46:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Favorites...hmmm... (none)
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.

    The Alienist by Caleb Carr

    The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan

    Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

    The Stand by Stephen King

    A Stillness at Appomattox by Bruce Catton

    A Light in August by William Faulkner

    and though I'll probably get pilloried for it... The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

    "O beautiful for spacious skies/but now those skies are threatening/They're beating plowshares into swords/for this tired old man that we elected king"

    by Raybin on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 05:28:48 PM PST

    •  Hmm (none)
      Could you tell me about The Wheels of Time ? I've been tempted by them, but it looks like such a huge, long series. I have fears of not being able to keep all the characters straight and that sort of thing (I only learned to love The Simarillion last year)

      I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

      by dove on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 05:36:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is a huge, long series (none)
        and keeping all the character name straight can be tough, but Jordan has a glossary of names and terms at the back of each book.  And if you can keep "The Silmarilion" straight, you'll be fine.

        The first two books are great, the third one is good, the fourth, fifth and sixth ones are some of the greatest fantasy writing ever, IMHO.  Seven and eight and nine are decent enough, I guess.  Ten is...well, not so great...but I read it because I've committed to much time and energy not to soldier on.

        "O beautiful for spacious skies/but now those skies are threatening/They're beating plowshares into swords/for this tired old man that we elected king"

        by Raybin on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 05:38:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Er... WoT (none)
        Such a love/hate thing. The first, I would say 5 books, are great. After that they start to devolve a bit (6 is still ok). I gave up on the series eventually. He's still writing them too.

        I would strongly recommend George R R Martin. His Song of Ice and Fire series is excellent. It starts with "A Game of Thrones." It's got a very realistic, historical feel to it and the fantastic elements compliment, but don't overwhelm the story. Also GRRM was a Kerry/Edwards fan, he had a link for them on his site during the campaign and wrote a heart breaking piece on 11/3.

        Also, since I'm at it I would recommend: Watchmen by Alan Moore, which if you like Niel Gaiman you would probably enjoy this (if you haven't read it already). Good Omens by Gaiman with Terry Prachet, very funny.

        "Take back the new millenium!" - Dan Bern

        by iambaytor on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 09:28:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  My reading stack.... (none)
    1. an insane amount of comic books that I've bought and not yet read...

    2. The best of American Splendor

    3. Bush's Brain

    4. Reread 1984

    5. Last Night of the Earth Poems - Charles Bukowski

    "There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad." - Dali

    by the holy handgrenade on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 05:31:05 PM PST

    •  Which comic books? (none)
      I've mostly only read Gaiman, Jane Irwin's Vogelein series, and a few other assorted bits and bobs -- who should I be looking out for?

      I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

      by dove on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 05:37:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  honestly... (none)
        a lot of superhero stuff (spider-man, x-men, etc).

        Although, I have the run of Ex Machina books to read, which has been fantastic so far...

        "There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad." - Dali

        by the holy handgrenade on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 06:48:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  1984 (none)
      Me too--in the stack.

      I recently read A Brave New World.  I wasn't that impressed actually.  Prescient on a cultural level, but most of the sci fi aspects were too antiquated (in a non-interesting way) for my tastes.

    •  adding to my list... (none)
      of my favorite books (not necessarily on the verge of being reread):

      Septugenarian Stew By Charles Bukowski (although you can put just about any Bukowski on my list).

      War of the Worlds by HG Wells

      The Watchmen By Alan Moore (an intersting look at the concept of the superhero).

      The Stranger by Camus

      Les Chants De Maldaror by Lautremont

      "There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad." - Dali

      by the holy handgrenade on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:04:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sometimes I wonder (none)
    whether I have been reading the wrong books all my life.

    I haven't read any of your five.  But your list triggered a question in my mind, which will seem somewhat out of the blue, but do you know your Myer-Briggs personality type?

    I ask because in an idle evening I googled my Myer-Briggs abbreviation, and I got a site that gave titles of books that I "should" like, or at any rate that other people with my personality have said were there favorites.

    The first book on the list was The Phantom Tollbooth, a book that I not so much read as inhabited when I was a kid.  And I thought, wow, they really have me pegged.

    But then, the list went into a direction that I have never gone as a reader.  The second book on the list was LOTR.  And it makes sense that a kid who fell in love with the Phantom Tollbooth would some years later become lost in Tolkien.  But that didn't happen with me.

    Neil Gaiman also appeared prominently in the list, as did Stephenson (I think also Neil, but not sure).  

    Oh, I'm an INFJ.

    •  Huh, no idea (none)
      I'll have to check it out. Sounds like an interesting concept.

      I've never read the Phantom Tollbooth, but love Tolkien and Neil Gaiman, albeit for very different reasons. Sort of have a love/hate thing going with Neal Stephenson -- his libertarian streak gets a bit irritating sometimes, but I think The Diamond Age is one of the finest books I've read.
       

      I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

      by dove on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 05:53:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  One vote for Rumpole (none)
    Just finished "Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders" by John Mortimer.

    After teasing Rumpoleans for years, Mortimer finally told the story of how Rumpole, "alone and without a leader," won an acquittal in a murder case. And how he met his formidable wife, Hilda ("She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed").

    In politics, sometimes the jackasses are on your side.

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 05:40:01 PM PST

  •  what I'm reading now and/or just finished (none)
    1.  Arturo Perez Reverte's "The Nautical Chart."  A couple of years ago, a friend recommended "The Club Dumas," because I'm totally into occult/secret society mysteries and it fit the bill.  So I thought I'd try this one too.  So far its great.

    2.  Just finished Daniel Quinn's "The Story of B" for the second time.  Though not much of a novel in terms of writing, its a decent philosophical book and definitely better than most in the philosophical novels genre:  "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" or "The Celestine Prophecy."

    3.  Before that "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance."  I have some many issues with this book that I don't even know where to begin.  For one, I'm not too sure how radical his basic premise is.  Maybe it was in 1974-I don't know I was only 9-but its definitely not earth shattering now?  

    4.  C.K. Williams' "Repair."  Great poet, great poems.  Love "Bamba the Poet," and "The Dictator."

    5.  Yusef Kumunyakaa's "Thieves of Paradise."  Great poet, great poems.  "The Drum" was great.  "Cenotaph" was great.  Man, I love those Princeton poets.
    •  Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (none)
      The fact that you can read something like The Story of B at all is because Zen & the Art was, in 1974 and for some time thereafter -- trust me on this -- radical.

      "If I can see farther it is because I can stand on the shoulders of giants." That's not the exact quote, but too tired now to google it.

      I tried reading The Celestine Prophecy but thought it was not worth killing trees for. Gave it up in disgust when he talked about driving up to Machu Picchu in a Jeep. Can't be done.

      There's a nice-ninny priest/at tea in everyone,/all cozy and chatty as auntie,/but a saint comes/and throws rocks through the window. -- John Ciardi

      by Mnemosyne on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 08:33:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Stainless Steel Rat for President (none)
    I'm going to write a diary on this book, because, politcally, it's couldn't be more timely.  In the last month I read:

    •  Going Postal by Terry Pratchett - as everyone has said, this is a great satirical look on bureaucracy in our society.  Pratchett can do no wrong (except for Equal Rites--blecch).
    •  Ilium by Dan Simmons (a reread actually) - Can I call this book for 'Best Book of the Century'?  I wish Simmons good health and all, but dammit man!  I need Olympos NOW.  I can't wait until summer.
    •  Broken Angels by Richard K. Morgan - a Takeshi Kovacs novel that is just awesome.  Goes great with The Stainless Steel Rat for President.  Morgan just may be the one to give Stephenson a run for his money.  
    •  and some old copies of Isaac Asmimov's Science Fiction magazine.  Ender's Game was great and all, but Card should consider NOT writing.  Definitely keep away from the short story format.  Ugh.  

    Next up is The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire by dKosser Carnacki.  I've heard wonderful things about this.  I'm printing the pages now so I can take them on the plane.  If someone can tell me how I can get them onto my Pocket PC, that would be even better.
    •  The Crook Factory (none)
      I knew I read another Simmons book at the beginning of January.  A fine companion to Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson.  Just read the Simmons book last.
    •  Yes (none)
      Harry Harrison rocks! When I lived in the U.S. there was a second-hand book store from which I ended up acquiring many tattered Stainless Steel Rat stories. They're light, but have a bite.

      And I can't believe I left Pratchett off my list. Why don't you like Equal Rites ? (For me it's the first two I dislike and then things get steadily better and better)

      What's Illium about? It's caught my eye, but I haven't picked it up yet.

      Don't know what to make of Orson Scott Card these days. Grew up on his earlier books, but I think he has since developed a bad case of Samuel P. Huntington disease. =(

      I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

      by dove on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 06:03:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  aoeu (none)
        Illium has a few storylines, one is the greek gods are refighting the trojan war and have human observers watch.  the main character of that is a greek scholar.  Another storyline has robots going to Mars from Jupiter to investigate quantum disturbances.  I think there are two mroe.
      •  Thrift store books (none)
        That's how I was first introduced to SSR.  They bookstore down the street has hundreds of copies of each book.  I'm going to head down there tomorrow.

        I loved the first to Discworld stories.  Rincewind and Twoflower?  Come on!  That was shades of Adams for me.  I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard.  Equal Rites, just feel flat for me.  I think part of the problem is that it's totally disconnected from the rest of the series.  None of the people in that book appear in the other books.  At least to my memory.

        You must read Ilium. .  How many other authors can weave The Tempest and Iliad and sci-fi all together?  One tip.  Read the The Ninth of Av short story first.  It really helps, though isn't exactly necessary.

        •  asdf (none)
          I like the later Rincewind books, -- oooh and Douglas Adams is good too -- but I reread the first two recently and they still don't do it for me I'm afraid.

          But Equal Rites has Granny Weatherwax! And Nanny Ogg, I think. And possibly Greebo (though I'm not sure about that). Admittedly Granny Weatherwax in Equal Rites is but a mere shadow of what she will become

          It sounds like I'll have to go get Illium

          I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

          by dove on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 06:28:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh... (none)
            I thought Wyrd Sisters was the intro to Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg.  Isn't Equal Rites about the wizard-daughter?  
            •  Yeah (none)
              it is, but Granny Weatherwax takes her off to Unseen University (a pre-Ridcully university, I think). And I'm not sure whether Nanny Ogg is in that one or not now -- -hmmm.

              Wyrd Sisters is the one based on Macbeth right?

              Aghh -- too many books (and I'm already waiting for another one because Going Postal feels like it came out too long ago already)

              I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

              by dove on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 06:46:48 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Sitting by the comp.... (none)
    Voices of Power by Henry Bienen.

    The World's Great Events, Vol. VIII.

    The Black Company by Glen Cook.

    Firemask by Chris Bunch.

    Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson

    oh, and a copy of Chess Informant 44.

    It's been a time, therefore, of illusion and false hopes, and the longer it continues, the more dangerous it becomes.- John Anderson

    by Anderson Republican on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 05:52:09 PM PST

    •  Have you read (none)
      The Mirror of her Dreams and A Man Rides Through It ? They're my favourites of the Stephen Donaldson I've read. I've found I liked  Chronicles of Thomas Covenant more on re-reading -- had a couple of false starts and found them fairly dense-going the first time through.

      Have you read any of his later stuff? I haven't yet and would love to hear opinions.

      I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

      by dove on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 06:08:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, I haven't. (none)
         To be honest, it's one of those things that I'm always meaning to get to, and keep getting distracted by something else.

        It's been a time, therefore, of illusion and false hopes, and the longer it continues, the more dangerous it becomes.- John Anderson

        by Anderson Republican on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 06:13:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I spent the whole of December (none)
      re-reading the Black Company series from start to finish. I bought them as they came out, and that was a very long wait 1982 to 2000. Visits to Forbidden Planet in London became trips of anticipation.

      "It is a look I know well - if he had been a subordinate commander in battle I would have immediately relieved him of his command" General Sir Michael Rose

      by NeutralObserver on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 03:47:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Big Sci Fi fan (none)
    Just finished Hyperion by Wilson.  Great.  One of the best endings for a book I have ever read.

    Currently reading The Peace War by Vigne.  Also great.

    Anything by Phillip K Dick paranoid and brilliant.

    The Butlerian Jihad: the Dune Prequel.  

    Also reading in pieces, Volatility Pricing of Options, The Elliottt Wave Explained, and Options as a strategic investment.

    Oh yeah -- Guitar Player Magazine

    Fear is the mind killer -- From the book, Dune

    by bonddad on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 05:52:24 PM PST

    •  Hmmm (none)
      Are you taling about thisHyperion., or is there another?

      I need to get Peace War.  A Deepness in the Sky and Fire Upon the Deep were both good reads.  

    •  asdf (none)
      I read Marooned in Real Time , the not-really-a-sequel to The Peace War, first, (in my usual wrong-headed way because I'd found it in a second-hand bookshop) and then spent a good three or four years looking in second hand bookshops for The Peace War . It was worth the hunt.  

      I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

      by dove on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 06:12:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary (none)
    I am reading "The Life of Pi" and really enjoying it.  I read "Poisonwood Bible" last year.  What a great read.  Another of my faves, "I know this much is true" by Wally Lamb and "Empire Falls" by Richard Russo.  

     

    "...only those who are passionate themselves can arouse passion in others." - Adolf Hitler

    by bittergirl on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 05:58:36 PM PST

    •  One hundred years of solitude (none)
      by Garcia Marquez... actually anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

      "...only those who are passionate themselves can arouse passion in others." - Adolf Hitler

      by bittergirl on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 06:00:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  One Hundred Years of Solitude... (none)
        I bought that book for a world lit class in college, never read it and faked my way through the exam.

        I have been meaning to read it for years now, but, never got around to it. I think I will add it to my list, if I can find my copy...

        "There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad." - Dali

        by the holy handgrenade on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 06:59:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Barbara Kingsolver (none)
      I like her earlier stuff better.  The Bean Trees is really good.

      I just finished The Dogs of Babel and liked it a lot.

      Also, Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood is one that I have read more than once because I like it so much.

      How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?

      by getmeoutofdixie on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 06:29:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's good to know (none)
        I've read Prodigal Summer but not any of her others. (Silly really not to have read more of her, given that I like Poisonwood Bible so much).

        I like the The Handmaid's Tale and The Robberbride a great deal -- am I right in thinking that these are her most 'accessible' novels? I've not read the others, although I tried to read Surfacing -- probably needed to give it another go.

        I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

        by dove on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 06:37:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  now reading.... (none)
    Alan Hollinghurst's beautifully written "The Line of  Beauty"

    and just finished Pete Hamill's "Downtown" an excellent history of hte buildings and streets of NYC..this was an excellent read up until his last chapter..and i don't know if it was me, but it seemed a tad bit racist when he was bemoaning the decline of TImes Square in the 70s and 80s with increasing welfare, drug use, etc....maybe i'm reading too much into it?  

  •  Anything by Alice Munro (none)
    The greatest writer alive, IMHO.

    She writes short stories--good for colds, since you can read a short story and then go to sleep!

    I suggest her latest collection Runaway, or one titled Open Secrets.

    •  Her daughter was my friend in high school (none)
      I got to meet her several times (as my friend lived on her own then and Alice lived up in Goderich.)

      She is a very nice woman.

      "Freedom without responsibility is license and not liberty." Emerson not tom delay

      by Bionic on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:38:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Love Books (4.00)
    Here's my list:

    First, a second to anything by Neil Gaiman (1602 just came out in graphic novel form actually) or Alice Munro.  Also a nod to Alice Hoffman.

    Sati by Christopher Pike- I read this whenever life gets overwhelming.  I read everything else by him as well even though he's a young adult author, but that's another story for another time....

    The Lovley Bones by Sebold- It deserved every bit of acclaim.  It's not for the light of heart.  Her memoir (yellow book, the name escapes me) is also amazing but very triggery if you've ever been a victim of a sexual crime.

    The Girl In the Box by Ouida Sebestyen- Another YA book but a chilling one.

    While I'm on a YA kick, The Giver and Gathering Blue the followup.  I imagine most of you read them for school.  Read them again.

    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle.- The others never did it for me, but I love this one.

    Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston.

    Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry- Another school title.

    Back to the grown-up stuff:

    Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky.  Beautiful.

    Jane Eyre-  A family favorite.  I've read it 8,000 times at least.

    I Know This Much Is True and She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb- the latter I read in a day because it was so amazing.

    Stranger Music by Leonard Cohen.  My favorite poem in the book is Every Pebble.  Try to google it at least.

    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard- theater of the absurd; the characters are from Hamlet

    The Strangest King of Romance by Tennessee Williams -man vs. the machine

    And in the non-fiction column:

    Orphans of the Living by Jennifer Toth- about kids in the system

    Drawing the Line and The Death of Common Sense by Phillip Howard

    The Kid by Dan Savage- awesome, awesome book about two gay men who adopt a baby

    Transforming Trauma by Salter- child abuse

    The Family of Adoption- by Joyce Maguire Pavao- a must-read for anyone who knows anyone connected to adoption

    The Spirit of Open Adoption by Jim Gritter- If you are not convinced about the merits of open vs. closed, read this.

    Pregnancy and Marriage:

    Navel-Gazing by Jennifer Matesa- get it for your
    pregnant liberal pal

    The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy by Vicki Iovine- best pregnancy book out there

    The Anti-Bride Guide- great wedding planning book for the enlightened female

    Politics:

    All the President's Spin by the Spinsanity guys- great book about the media and talking points

    My true geekiness reveals itself:

    Math: Facing an American Phobia by Marilyn Burns.  If you teach, read everything else by Marilyn Burns.

    Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos- I like all his stuff, too and you don't have to be a math geek to like him

    The Arithmetic of Life and Death- the guy wrote essays for his teenage son about tailgaiting, smoking, working, debt, death etc.. and made all his points with the help of some basic math and a ton of humor- makes a great graduation gift.

    Conned Again, Dr. Watson- I can't find my copy or remember the guy's name but he has two of these books- one math, one science where he writes a bunch of Sherlock Holmes stories and all the mysteries get solved using math (or science) concepts.  The stories stay true to the form of the original Sherlock Holmes Stories and you don't have to care about the math at all to enjoy the stories.

    Okay, I've listed enough books.  If it's a topic I'm even remotely interested, I've probably read at least five books on it and scanned about 100 looking for the good ones.  Believe it or not, these really are my favorites (they even get their own bookshelf- except the non-fiction which gets categorized like a bookstore- one shelf per category.)

    Thanks for the topic.

    •  Alice Hoffman (none)
      I loved her earlier stuff, but now don't you think she's getting hokey?

      Loved Second Nature and Practical Magic.  At Risk was just okay, barely made it through her latest couple.

      The Lovely Bones was creepy but also oddly uplifting.  It made me feel better about death even though it is not a lighthearted book.

      Just remembered one of my favorite authors: Ursula Hegi....Stones From the River, and Floating in My Mother's Palm.  Excellent.

      How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?

      by getmeoutofdixie on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:03:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  wow, poor statue (none)
      you have really eclectic reading tastes:) do you get books from the library, second hand store, book sharing group (we did that at my last school, everyone left their books in the lounge when they were done reading them),or are you rich:)

      Often, when I am reading a good book, I stop and thank my teacher. That is, I used to, until she got an unlisted number. --Student, Age 15

      by unemployedschoolcounselor on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:24:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My local (none)
        bookstore has a book club type thing.  People give me lots of gift certificates for bookstores (cuz they know me).  I'm a pack rat.  I do frequent some discount bookstores (One of my favorite memories of childhood was our every couple of months trip to the local used bookstore where we could get all the books we wanted- I used to get about 20 at a time.  The whole family spent hours in there and usually spent about $40 total all on books that cost about 25 cents each.)

        But I confess, books are my weakness.  I don't buy clothes.  I don't buy shoes.  I don't get my nails done or any of those odd beauty rituals other girls love.  I don't go out to eat.  I don't go to the movies (or rent them). I don't drink much.  Every couple of months I spend about four hours shopping for $100 or so of books.  Over my 27 years I've built up quite a collection of books (I don't ever get rid of them though I occassionally lend them out.) My dream is to have a house with a small library in it.

        I started reading very young and never stopped.

        My old roommate used to joke with me because every time I got a new interest, I'd read every book I could get my hands on for a good 6 months or so.

        •  Okay (none)
          that comment looks all funny because of the bookstores, bookstores, bookstores.

          While I'm here I have to give a nod to all the Torey Hayden books. These are true stories of her work with special needs kids.  Her expertise is with elective mutism, but she works with all kinds of difficult children and the books are incredibly inspiring and heartwarming.

      •  I have discovered the secret to bookbuying (none)
        over here in the U.K.

        The trick is to haunt the thrift stores. You buy all the books that look interesting (because they're ridiculously cheap (20-70p each) and you also buy the books that aren't interesting to you (in my case, mostly crime) but have been bestsellers in the last couple of years. Then you take the latter to the market and sell them to the person on the bookstall, which near enough covers the cost of the other books you bought.
        (I'm desperately addicted to reading, haven't had much spare cash over the last year or so and have learned the hard way that I am simply incapable of returning library books on time)

        I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

        by dove on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:40:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's It (none)
          I'm moving.

          I'd like to say I go to the thrift stores a lot, but I don't.  I do get most of my fiction there, but the rest of the stuff I usually buy online.  After I exhausted the one shelf section of math books in my local bookstore (not a chain), I had to look elsewhere.  Plus, I have a lot of books about adoption and apparently no one in Massachusetts adopts babies or places them cuz I couldn't find anything!

          My future MIL gets all her books from the library.  She's so thrifty and responsible.  I love my books too much.  I'd never be able to let go.

          •  Yeah (none)
            thrift stores aren't much good for specialist topics.

            Many of my books are languishing in a garage (waterproof!) in the U.S. at the moment -- they're getting shipped out little by little. So I keep having these moments of 'Oh I want to read that. But I can't find it on my bookshelf! Where can it be? Oh, yeah, many, many, miles away.

            I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

            by dove on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:57:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I understand (none)
              For the first time, I'm living with someone who appreciates my books.  Although the place is small, the hallway was built extra wide just for me so that we could line it with bookshelfs.  It's the first time in years all my books have been accessible.

              I love rediscovering them.

              Anyway, it's way past my bedtime and I have to teach tomorrow.  Thanks for giving me a chance to talk about one of my favorite things in the world.

        •  asdf (none)
          have learned the hard way that I am simply incapable of returning library books on time

          Me too. They almost crushed my left knee-cap.

          Europeans are to Americans what Greeks were to Romans. Educated slaves. - Luigi Barzini

          by Sirocco on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 01:08:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  OMG (none)
      Someone else who's read The Girl in the Box! Wow, I haven't thought about that book in years. I read it when I was around 10, in Canada. Very creepy.

      "Take back the new millenium!" - Dan Bern

      by iambaytor on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 09:36:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I need some light entertaining (none)
    reading suggestions. I struggle at this time of the year (I really dislike winter & probably suffer from seasonal affective disorder) and need just escapism fare. light, light, light.
    recommendations?

    Often, when I am reading a good book, I stop and thank my teacher. That is, I used to, until she got an unlisted number. --Student, Age 15

    by unemployedschoolcounselor on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:13:32 PM PST

    •  Judge Judy (none)
      wrote two books.  They're fun.

      The Uncle John's bathroom readers are fun though the title makes me not want to read them.

      Other than straight-up comedy (which I'm very fussy about) what kind of stuff do you like?

    •  Well (none)
      I find Monsignor Quixote simultaneously optimistic and depressing as well really funny as hell in places, but not light per se. But you could give it a go.

      For pure escapism and silliness I have a soft spot for P.G. Wodehouse.

      And oddly enough, another soft spot for Bridget Jones (although not for Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination which IMO is an abomination of a book that should have been quietly 'lost by accident' by her editor. Ugh.)

      The Lemony Snicket series is pretty good too, (don't be fooled by the marketing to the 8-12's).

      Terry Pratchett cheers me up, although he's not purely escapist.

      How about Bill Bryson? Something like Notes from a Small Island

      I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

      by dove on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:33:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks, dove (none)
        I'm not familiar with any of them - well, commercials for lemony snicket movie (wouldn't have read the books based on the ads, so thanks for the recommendation).
        will give a look see at 2nd hand bookstores.

        Often, when I am reading a good book, I stop and thank my teacher. That is, I used to, until she got an unlisted number. --Student, Age 15

        by unemployedschoolcounselor on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 08:24:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Lemony snicket (none)
        I am reading them all out loud to my boyfr-, er, fiance.  They really are fun.  

        "...only those who are passionate themselves can arouse passion in others." - Adolf Hitler

        by bittergirl on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 09:52:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  3 favorites (none)
    Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andric. Think it won a  nobel prize way long ago. The Drina forms the border of Bosnia-Hezegovina, and the novel concerns the development over centuries of that area of the world. A professor in an Islamic art class I took in the late 70's suggested it, but I was very surprised that the book never saw a resurgence in the 80's during the Bosnian et al conflicts--I would read news and realize that similar scenes of massacre were being carried out in the same geographical locations.

    A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. India during the time of Indira Ghandi, especially during a particularly wretched period of "reform". The characters are so compelling it becomes almost impossible to accept their fates in the story. I'll go out on a limb and say I think this is second to War and Peace as far as novels about a variety of people caught up in social convulsions. (And as we all know War and Peace is the greatest.novel.ever.)

    St. Petersburg by Andrew Bieley. I'm starting to think I am the only person in the world who has read this book, but since it can be googled, I know I am not hallucinating. Darkly satirical, some absolutely hilarious scenes.

    Otherwise, Naguib Mafouz Cairo Trilogy is a very rich series of novels following one family in Cairo in the early 20th c., and I can pick up Toni Morrison's Beloved at will, and just read the last chapter and shiver.

  •  A few diverse favorites (none)
    Far Tortuga, by Peter Matthiessen.  Prose unlike any you've ever read, so beautiful and inspiring it'll make you cry.

    Guns, Germs and Steel, by Jared Diamond.  Want to understand 14,000 years of human history in one compulsively readable book?

    Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen.  If you've never read Austen, do yourself a favor.  If you have, read her again.  Sweet, sly, loving satire and irresistable characters.

    You can never be too rich, too thin, or too cynical.

    by Dallasdoc on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:56:33 PM PST

    •  Jared Diarmond (none)
      is on my 'have to remember that I want to read it when I'm in a bookstore list.'

      And wholeheartedly second the vote for Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion are her best, I think.

      I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

      by dove on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 07:58:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Jared's book is so good (none)
        I immediately read it again.

        Do yourself a favor and pick up the Matthiessen, though.  It's one of the great books of the 20th century.

        You can never be too rich, too thin, or too cynical.

        by Dallasdoc on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 08:03:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Another great Matthiessen book is (none)
      The Snow Leopard. Breathtaking.

      There's a nice-ninny priest/at tea in everyone,/all cozy and chatty as auntie,/but a saint comes/and throws rocks through the window. -- John Ciardi

      by Mnemosyne on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 08:37:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  books. (none)
    de motu cordis - absolutely worthless, however, if you don't know the galenic hypothesis. in the english translation of the latin translation of the english original.

    mahaabharata - the svargarohanikaparva [the last book]. in the original. such delicious narrative, though it gets muddled at certain theologically important points.

    wine - it's not a book, but it's taught me so much.

    apparat organ quartet - an icelandic rock supergroup, not a book, but they also keep me moving.

    the gzt diaries seasons 1 and 2 - i don't know why i write such good diaries, but i do. they aren't published, but most can be found on various other scoop sites. looking back, i'm always amazed by my brilliance and wit.

    the theology of culture by tillich. rockstar rockin' out about existential theology.

    Join the battle against cosmic evil!

    by gzt on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 08:22:09 PM PST

  •  from the groaning bookshelf (none)
    Billy Collins, Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (2001) and Picnic, Lightning (1998). His poetry is great for kids and non-poetry readers, because it's conversational and makes the images very accessible.

    Also, any poetry by Mary Oliver, who writes so movingly of being in nature. When I am frazzled out by the horrors of the world as it is, I find her poetry very restorative.

    For research on a project, I'm reading Captain Kidd and the War Against the Pirates, by Robert C. Ritchie (Harvard, 1986). The economics of piracy.

    In the To Be Read pile: Nothing Sacred: Women Respond to Religious Fundamentalism and Terror, Betsy Reed, ed. It's a collection of articles from The Nation examining the growing power of religious fundmentalists and what the effect is on women.

    Given some of the things we've been discussing around here lately, especially what the RR is doing here, I think I'll start reading it sooner rather than later.

    There's a nice-ninny priest/at tea in everyone,/all cozy and chatty as auntie,/but a saint comes/and throws rocks through the window. -- John Ciardi

    by Mnemosyne on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 08:53:30 PM PST

  •  David Sedaris n/t (none)

    "...only those who are passionate themselves can arouse passion in others." - Adolf Hitler

    by bittergirl on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 09:54:08 PM PST

  •  Why do I find these diaries a day late? (none)
    My current list is

    Samuel Pepys, The Unequalled Self, the biography by Claire Toman

    The Kindness of Strangers, the autobiography by the BBC's Kate Adie

    When we were orphans, Kazuo Ishiguro

    The Flinx series by Alan Dean Foster

    My monthly dose of Sci-Fi, Analog; and there are 25 years plus of these magazines as a refuge in emergencies.

    "It is a look I know well - if he had been a subordinate commander in battle I would have immediately relieved him of his command" General Sir Michael Rose

    by NeutralObserver on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 04:08:37 AM PST

  •  Some non-fiction favorites (none)
    J.M. Coetzee: Disgrace; Waiting for the Barbarians (currently reading)

    Thomas Mann: Doctor Faustus; The Magic Mountain (currently reading)

    Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita

    Franz Kafka: The Castle; The Trial

    Albert Camus: The Plague

    Milan Kundera: The Joke; Laughable Loves; The Unbearable Lightness of Being; The Book of Laughter and Forgetting; The Farewell Party; Immortality

    Hermann Hesse: Siddharta

    David Malouf: The Conversations at Curlow Creek

    Ian McEwan: Black Dogs

    Knut Hamsun: Hunger; Mysteries; Pan

    Paul Bowles: The Sheltering Sky; Let It Come Down; The Spider's House; Stories

    Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Strange Pilgrims

    Amin Maalouf: The Gardens of Light

    Jens Bjørneboe: Duke Hans; The Sharks; The History of Bestiality (trilogy)

    J.L. Borges: Labyrinths; The Aleph; Doctor Brodie's Report

    Europeans are to Americans what Greeks were to Romans. Educated slaves. - Luigi Barzini

    by Sirocco on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 12:48:28 PM PST

    •  Fiction, that is (though who knows, in the end...) (none)

      Europeans are to Americans what Greeks were to Romans. Educated slaves. - Luigi Barzini

      by Sirocco on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 12:53:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wow (none)
      I've not read any of these, though several are on my 'I really should read these' list. So which should I read first? (You can probably tell that despite my efforts to read broadly, I end up gravitating to children's literature and SF and Fantasy -- the latter I've always loved, and I discovered how much great stuff was going on in children's literature through working for a while as a children's bookseller.)

      Totally OT, what do you make of the Propagannon diaries? I haven't been posting much on them, but have been watching with considerable interest. In a sense I think this may actually be dKos's second attempt at developing a distributed research network, rather than the first (In some ways, I find myself wanting to think of the slew of 'Ohio Fraud' diaries that informed / served as a catalyst for Georgia10's work as the first attempt in this vein)

      I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

      by dove on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 02:32:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well (none)
        I guess my absolute faves would include Coetzee's Disgrace (deserved Booker winner and probably a main reason why he got the Nobel); Kundera's truly amazing Immortality; and Borges' Labyrinths containing many of his most scintillating stories. None of the latter two has got a Nobel, which in my view almost invalidates the institution...

        I too have a penchant for SF, though I haven't read so much. In high school or possibly middle school I plowed through the entire Dune saga by Frank Herbert. Other favorites: Neuromancer (Gibson); The Mote in God's Eye (Niven/Pernelle); A Deepness in the Sky (Vinge); The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (Heinlein); The Chung Kuo series (Wingrove). The latter is quite absorbing but a huge investment in time. Fantasy - well, I played ADD & such when younger but apart from Tolkien, never really warmed to sword & sorcery. The Narnia series was great as a young kid. It strikes me how hard it is to remember any individual stories from that one; it's all a kind of dreamlike blur, which is probably how it's meant to be.

        Speaking of children's literature I always thought Astrid Lindgren pretty hard to match. It's almost a misnomer to call it children's books as if read in childhood they resonate throughout one's life.

        I've just barely glanced at the diaries. The day has only so many hours and all that. But it's a rather intriguing project, as you say. Though it would seem that if they ever really catch onto something it will be a drawback that 'the enemy' can follow developments in real time, and perhaps take steps now and then to eat the evidence.

        Anyhow, time for bed! Talk to you later.

        Europeans are to Americans what Greeks were to Romans. Educated slaves. - Luigi Barzini

        by Sirocco on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 03:40:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  By the way (none)
          The Master and Margarita is another must. I remember a few years ago, on a train from Szeged to Budapest, the guy sitting next to me professed to speak no English. Until, that is, I produced my copy of Bulgakov - then his English instantly improved! Literature promotes communication...

          Europeans are to Americans what Greeks were to Romans. Educated slaves. - Luigi Barzini

          by Sirocco on Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 03:54:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

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