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Request: I will be away Aug 15 (we're going to London). If you'd like to guest host, let me know in comments

For those who are new ... we discuss books.  I list what I'm reading, and people comment with what they're reading.  Sometimes, on Sundays, I post a special edition on a particular genre or topic.

If you like to trade books, try bookmooch

I've written some book reviews on Yahoo Voices:
Book reviews on Yahoo

Book Readers schedule

Readers & Book Lovers Series Schedule

DAY TIME (EST/EDT) Series Name Editor(s)
SUN 6:00 PM Young Reader's Pavilion The Book Bear
Sun (hiatus) 9:30 PM SciFi/Fantasy Book Club quarkstomper
Bi-Monthly Sun Midnight Reading Ramblings don mikulecky
MON 8:00 PM Monday Murder Mystery Susan from 29
Mon 11:00 PM My Favorite Books/Authors edrie, MichiganChet
TUE 8:00 AM LGBT Literature Texdude50, Dave in Northridge
Tue 10:00 PM Contemporary Fiction Views bookgirl
WED 7:30 AM WAYR? plf515
Wed 8:00 PM Bookflurries Bookchat cfk
THU 8:00 PM Write On! SensibleShoes
alternate Thu 11:00 PM Audiobooks Club SoCaliana
FRI 8:00 AM Books That Changed My Life Diana in NoVa
SAT (fourth each month) 11:00 AM Windy City Bookworm Chitown Kev
Sat 9:00 PM Books So Bad They're Good Ellid

Just finished
Nothing this week

Now reading

A Behavioral Theory of Elections by Jonathan Bendor et al. Traditional "rational choice" models of voter behavior don't mesh all that well with how voters actually behave, in particular, they don't do well with predicting turnout. This is an attempt at a different formulation. This will interest election geeks.

Existence by David Brin. A very complicated SF book; the main plot is about a guy who collects the garbage that's in outer space. Then he finds an alien artifact. Fairly dystopian.

Cooler Smarter: Practical tips for low carbon living by the scientists at Union of Concerned Scientists, a great group. Just started, but I have high hopes.

Thinking, fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman.  Kahneman, most famous for his work with the late Amos Tversky, is one of the leading psychologists of the times. Here, he posits that our brains have two systems: A fast one and a slow one. Neither is better, but they are good at different things. This is a brilliant book: Full of insight and very well written, as well.

Just started
To promote the general welfare: The case for big government. This is a collection of essays by historians on the idea that the federal government has always played a key role in Americans' lives, from the founding of the Republic to the present day. I've only started, but it looks quite good.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Brain fogged week... (13+ / 0-)

    but managed to get some thing read anyway.

    Current: Honor Bound by C.J. Archer  More of a mystery than anything else, though it has some paranormal/witchy overtones, also has some sex scenes; though they're brief and plot relevant, they are descriptive. It's set in what appears to be 17th century London or thereabout.

    Just Finished: A Touch of Magic by Gregory Mahan. Mages and intrigue in a fantasy setting. Very light reading, fast moving, I managed to follow it and finish it in two days in the middle of a fibro flare. It was an enjoyable distraction that didn't take a lot of thought. It does say something for the writing that I could follow it in that state, usually I have to revert to something I've previously read, so while it wasn't overly complex, it was well put together. Safe for pre-teen and up, nothing more raunchy than a tavern girl getting swatted/pinched on the behind, and some references to her inevitable.. liaisons.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 04:48:04 AM PDT

  •  I've done some (13+ / 0-)

    marathon reading lately.  I just finished In One Person by John Irving.  I liked it in spite of myself, I guess.  When I started it I was resisting getting into it, but I got hooked again by Irving's characters and kept at it.  I also finished Bangkok Haunts by John Burdett, The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell, Final Jeopardy by Linda Fairstein, Cop to Corpse by Peter Lovesey (the book is better than the title would indicate), The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith, Don't Look Back
    by Karin Fossum, and Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich.  

    I've just started A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers.  It's due back at the library tomorrow.  If I can renew it, I'll stick with it.  At this point, I can't really tell where the book is going, but so far it seems pretty good.

  •  About 160 pages into (11+ / 0-)

    A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.  Getting a better sense of what this is going to be about.  Basically there's 4 groups of people - humans, witches, vampires and daemons.  Obviously humans know nothing of the existence of the other 3 and the latter don't like each other in general.  The author's setting up a relationship between a witch (the main character) and a 1500 year old vampire.  It hasn't really grabbed me, but it's interesting enough to keep going.  I do like that author has not stuck with the usual vampire tropes.  It's not all fangs and having to avoid the sun and stuff.

    Started a new audiobook.  Enemies: A History of the FBI by Time Weiner.  The title says it all.  I know nothing about the origins of the FBI and of course the stories surrounding J. Edgar Hoover are legendary.  According to the author a lot of the stories (i.e cross-dressing) are myth.  Clearly, Hoover was a real anti-commie zealot who didn't let laws and the constitution get in his way.  Interesting so far.

  •  Just flipped through an anachronistic (13+ / 0-)

    historical set in the time of The Terror (1794).  What fascinated me was that the female protagonist was in the habit of imbibing a glass of brandy every night before retiring.  This was not proper behavior for a gentlewoman, even one forced into the role of housekeeper for her family.

    Americans should not attempt to write British historical novels.  For one thing, in that period of English history, particularly in London society, there was no such thing as a "bar cart."  One's female parent was called "Mama," with the accent on the second syllable, not "Momma."  Pudding was never referred to as "dessert."

    Finally, unable to bear any more, I just randomly flipped through it until the end.  I need some brain bleach!

    Have a wonderful time in London!  I take it you're not going for the Olympics, right?  You're going for a regular holiday?

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 05:06:55 AM PDT

    •  That would turn me off too.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      myrealname, plf515, Diana in NoVa

      I once got some grief from a group who were really upset when I told them that I didn't like a book....an historical YA novel set in colonial America and French Canada, because it was simply inaccurate and the proposed "arranged marriage" simply would NOT happen in those days because the girl and the young man she was selected to marry were of opposing religions. Simply never would have been arranged...duh! So I would not recommend it to students.

      Another book had the Medieval 14 year old girl traipsing around playing "April Fool" jokes on everyone in the castle and writing about it in her diary...another duh moment...ruined the book for me!

      Character is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lizardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

      by Temmoku on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 06:39:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, after the Olympics n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Diana in NoVa
  •  I've been doing an (12+ / 0-)

    unusually large amount of reading, since I'm recovering from surgery. At the beginning, I couldn't handle anything that required even minimal focus, so I spent the first few weeks on A Game of Thrones. 6000 (yes, that's thousand, not hundred) pages later I found out that, not only is the series not yet complete, but it won't be for many years. Hmmpphhh.

    More recently, The Age of Miracles, by Karen Thompson Walker, a beautifully observed and written story of early adolescence, set in a near future in which the earth has inexplicably started to rotate more slowly. Very compelling both as human story and as speculative fiction.

    And now that I feel like I can focus again, I'll be starting The Information, by James Glieck.

    "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

    by sidnora on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 05:08:37 AM PDT

    •  Finding that balance.. (7+ / 0-)

      between something that can hold your attention and something that is too complex to be able to understand when your brain is fogged by meds/pain/whatever... is always the challenge. I hate that period when you're alert enough to be bored but not alert enough to do any serious thinking. It's frustrating.
      I haven't started Game of Thrones yet, though I think we have it in some format around here, somewhere. It's on my list.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 05:20:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Take your time! (6+ / 0-)

        As I said, he is projecting 2-3 years to publication for the next volume, and there's going to be another after that, about 1500 pages each!

        Also, fair warning/spoiler alert: if you have been watching the TV series, which has thus far covered up to the end of Book Two, there are already points where the plot diverges from the books. Not just streamlining, but events that should lead in significantly different directions than the books.

        "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

        by sidnora on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 05:55:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Haven't seen the TV series.. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cfk, myrealname, madmsf, sidnora

          I've been putting it off until after I read the books. I almost always prefer to read the book first, the only time not is when I don't realize what the book is before I see the series. Does the plot line diverge as much as True Blood and the Sookie Stackhouse books?

          "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

          by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 06:05:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It hasn't diverged as bad as True Blood. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FloridaSNMOM, sidnora

            But there's been some fairly major changes with specific characters that could result in significant changes from the books in later episodes.  I've not read any of the Sookie Stackhouse books, but my wife's read all of them and the HBO version of True Blood no longer bears any resemblance to the books in terms of plot according to her.  It doesn't bother me any, but it kind of annoys my wife.

            •  Yeah.. I look at True Blood (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              madmsf, Monsieur Georges

              as a sort of Sookie Stackhouse alternate universe, it's gotten that bad. I understand some of why they made the changes they did, and there are some changes I really like (Lafayette doesn't live through book 1 for example), but it's SO different than the books at this point. And they left out Bubba! Why leave out Bubba??

              "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

              by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 09:19:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Don't know, (0+ / 0-)

            I don't watch/haven't read True Blood. I got all that vampire stuff out of my system back in the 70's, with Ann Rice.

            "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

            by sidnora on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 10:14:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Glad you are recovering n/t (6+ / 0-)
    •  Game of Thrones (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      myrealname, sidnora

      I just downloaded that too, not very far into it yet. I hope my poor memory will be able to keep up with the characters and plots.

      Anyone have a recommendation for a compilation of short stories? I'm looking for something that overnight guests can read.

      If you have more than you need but don't have empathy you must be a republican.

      by Cecile on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 07:11:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Any specific genre? (0+ / 0-)

        Some of the Hugo award compilations are good, and other "best of" compilations, like SF&F of Asimov's. Then there's always a book of Poe stories... or some of the more modern ones like "Down These Strange Streets" or "Wolfsbane and Mistletoe" (for a more Christmasy feel)..

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 10:13:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This might be a bit (0+ / 0-)

        quirky, but T.C. Boyle has a big fat collection of short stories. I think many of them originally appeared in the New Yorker.

        It's perfect for people who aren't going to read the whole book, like overnight guests - taken one or two at a time, they are often hilarious and outrageous, but if you read too many at once you get wise to his gimmicks.

        "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

        by sidnora on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 10:19:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Bones of the Hills by Conn Iggulden (9+ / 0-)

    Third in a series of five books based on the life of Genghis Khan.  In this volume, Khan invades the Muslim world.

    Read most of Iggulden's Empire series centered around Julius Caesar, and have read the first two volumes of this series.  Not great books, but a good solid read.

    Also working on Robertson Davies's Leaven of Malice.  So far, not a whole lot going on.  But Davies is a master of character study.

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 05:09:13 AM PDT

  •  "The Makioka Sisters," by Junichiro Tanizaki (11+ / 0-)

    This is from what I understand, one of Japans most beloved 20th century novels.

    It's long by Japanese standards and a bit difficult to explain.  As its title suggests, it's about the four sisters of the Makioka family.  They are an upper middle class Osaka merchant family whose fortunes are declining on the eve of World War II.  They have inherited a business from their deceased parents.  The older two sisters are married and the plot -- to the extent there is a plot -- is about the family's attempts to marry off the third sister who is very shy and traditional because the fourth sister who is rebellious, independent and westernized wants to get married but cannot, given protocol, until the third sister is married, and the youngest sister engages in scandalous behavior because she cannot get married.

    It's sometimes described as a novel about day to day life for people who are locked into stultifying traditions and protocols, although that really over simplifies it.  Told mostly from the perspective of the sympathetic second oldest sister and her husband, their life style really doesn't seem that constricting, but there is an underlying sense that it is confining and irrational.  

    Of course the war is looming and there are hints that the entire world of these people is about to come crashing down -- mostly mentions that the Japanese Army is advancing in China.  

    But it's really about day to day life, among people who have an extremely acute aesthetic appreciation of the little gestures and moments and interactions of life.  

    I can only read a few pages per day because it's sort of like being an exchange student in a foreign family and slowly understanding the day to day rituals of your host family and the very deep love and respect they have for each other.

    •  don't forget to check out the movie! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Temmoku, plf515, HamdenRice

      It's beautiful, and one of my favorites.

      Life is a shipwreck. But we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. — Voltaire

      by agrenadier on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 06:17:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I loved the film eventually, but... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        plf515, Monsieur Georges

        I bought the book maybe a year ago and didn't read it.  Then a few weeks ago I saw the DVD on sale and bought it without fully realizing I had to book (I was on a Japanese film binge).

        My first reaction to the film was, this is terrible, too boring to sit through.  There were weird stretches in which the film maker just gazes at these attractive middle aged and young women in kimonos, and I kept thinking, this is just kimono porn.  Also that it was overblown soap opera.

        Only after watching it a second time did I begin to "get" it.  It is a very Japanese film.  First of all, it is very much a comedy, or maybe comedy of manners, right from the first scene, and that had gone over my head completely.  It is actually laugh out loud funny in spots, something that completely didn't register at first.  I also realized that the long takes of kimonos, cherry blossoms and snow were symbolic of the passage of time and customs.  By the time I saw the film the third time, I found it almost compulsively watchable and interesting.

        So that made me find and read the book, which is adding a lot of understanding.  They are not really the same story.  It's difficult to condense a novel so dense with day to day details into a movie.  It's almost like the film is a treatment or precis of the book with the same characters, but not actually the same story.

        Btw, the film and book are both about the passage of time and how bittersweet that is, or about nostalgia.  There is an added real life element.  The actor, Jūzō Itami, who played Tatsuo, Tsuruko's husband, went on to great success as a director of the food comedy Tampopo; then he made a comedy about Japanese mafia gangsters (Yakuza); they didn't like it, so they assaulted him very badly (slicing him up with knives) and then a few years the Yakuza murdered him by throwing him off the roof of an office building.  So while I'm watching it, I'm thinking what a terrible fate this wonderful actor had.

        Anyway both are brilliant, but you have to be prepared to immerse yourself in a very different culture.

        •  I, too, loved the book. As for many good books, th (0+ / 0-)

          the film was a let down.  I understand that the work first appeared as a newspaper serial.

          You might want to try Tanizaki's "Naomi".  It is different in content and style, but a similarly riveting portrait of a different aspect of 1920's Japan.

          A different portrait yet emerges in "Memories of Silk and Straw" which is a series of interviews of people describing their lives in a small town in the era where the Tanizaki novels take place.

  •  I'm about a third of the way through (7+ / 0-)

    Peter Kurth's Isadora: a Remarkable Life, a wonderful biography of Isadora Duncan, who is a much more interesting character than one might think.

    This book has been out a long time, and should be in your library.

    Ready for pick-up at the library is Lizz Winstead's Lizz Free or Die. Shoulda bought a copy at NN and had her sign it, but oh well.

    I know what Mitt Romney is hiding: Mitt Romney. equalitymaine.org

    by commonmass on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 05:15:18 AM PDT

  •  "Debt" by Graeber (10+ / 0-)

    The history of debt. Not that far into it but early on he debunks the notion of barter as a way of living. Doesn't work. It seems that all cultures used a mixture of socialism and capitalism (debt). There are many interesting stories of how different tribes handled the problem. I still have about 500 pages to go.

    We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

    by PowWowPollock on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 05:15:24 AM PDT

  •  Finally getting around to reading (7+ / 0-)

    The Pelican Brief

    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 05:23:21 AM PDT

  •  chugging through many ugly readings (8+ / 0-)

    aside from the usual background stuff for work, but The Ticklish Subject by Slavoj Zizek and Samuel Hollander's the Economics of Karl Marx are my current crazy readings

    Präsidentenelf-maßschach"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Ensanguining the skies...Falls the remorseful day".政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 05:25:20 AM PDT

  •  Um...I'll Try Being Hostess w/the Mostess (8+ / 0-)

    with a little guidance. :)

    I am immersing myself in catching up with recently - published new "Beat" stuff...a lot of it! :D I re - read Off the Road by Carolyn Cassady, read One & Only: the Untold Story of OTR (about Luanne Henderson) [read those both at the same time - certainly no love loss between those 2!], also am reading Rub Out the Word (the new collection of William S. Burroughs' letters), also am reading Spontaneous Mind (various Allen Ginsberg interviews), and a bunch of others...and loving every minute of it!

    "HERPES was more popular than Dick Cheney when he left office!" Rachel Maddow 5/23/12

    by CityLightsLover on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 05:38:31 AM PDT

  •  FILM FESTIVAL SECRETS by Christopher Holland (8+ / 0-)

    I am in the process of preparing the Housecore Horror Film Festival with my partner, heavy metal legend Philip H. Anselmo (Pantera, Down, Superjoint Ritual). It will premiere October 24-27, 2013, in Austin, Texas.

    Holland's book is geared toward filmmakers who would like to get their films into film festivals, but it has been a big help to me as a festival director and programmer.

    Best-selling true crime author Corey Mitchell. Please, buy my books!

    by liquidman on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 05:39:24 AM PDT

  •  If anyone is interested in the category of (9+ / 0-)

    horror, I'm reading a book called "Southern Gods" by John Hornor Jacobs that basically takes the Lovecraftian idea of "the old ones" (i.e., the Cthulu mythos) and sets the carnage down South in the early 1950's.  

    Fantastic book!!  Mr. Horner's writing is very tight, he makes up a story that is really wild and interesting without melodrama or romanticized silliness.  He pulls the reader in for more and when he needs to unleash the gore, he does so concisely.  I also thought the characters were pretty well fleshed out.

    Here's the deal: if you've been watching AMC's  "The Walking Dead" you will not be disappointed by this book. Can't recommend it enough.

  •  Proust (7+ / 0-)

    I got the new six volume set for my birthday last Septmber.  I finished Swann's Way and I'm about half way through Within a Budding Grove  

    In between these I read Terry Pratchet & finished Cleopatra a few months back.

  •  not reading much (7+ / 0-)

    for pleasure these days (unless you count DK as pleasure reading).  I am slowly working my way through a really excellent book, though:  The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, by Daniel Mendelsohn.

    It's so much more more than a Holocaust story, it's a multi-layered, rich tapestry, an exploration of family, and of things greater than family.  A passage I marked last night:

    ...it is hard not to feel, given the way that the Torah frets about maintaining distinctions between things, that the indiscriminate annihilation of the innocent along with the guilty in the Flood story is uncharacteristically sloppy and disturbingly--well, un-kosher.  But then, perhaps in certain instances--when executing plans on a gigantic scale, for instance, plans for the reconfiguration of the whole world--the ability to keep all the details in mind, to make certain kinds of distinctions, becomes counterproductive.

    There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.

    by puzzled on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 05:54:30 AM PDT

  •  hi (8+ / 0-)

    I am early for a change.

    I have finished reading:

    The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham

    Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker

    I am reading (and will have read more by tonight):

    Existence by David Brin (pg. 195 of 556)

    Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku  (pg. 58 of 368)

    Empire of the Summer Moon by S. C. Gwynne (pg. 102 of 319)

    Best Short Novels 2004 ed. Jonathan Strahan  (pg. 108 of 572)

    Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 06:01:13 AM PDT

    •  Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Temmoku, cfk, myrealname, plf515

      Tell me more, is the Dordogne series?

      "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

      by BlueStateRedhead on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 06:34:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, it is (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        plf515, myrealname, Monsieur Georges

        It was not tremendously exciting, but I liked Bruno enough to go ahead and read the rest.  Often the second book in a series is better, too, or so I hope.  :)

        Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

        by cfk on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 07:09:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  how many are there now? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cfk

          I read (from the library and did not retain the titles):

          the one about the WWII resistance backstory told from the prehistoric art historian;s pov which is a prequel without Bruno

          the one about the shooting during the flag laying ceremony, the kids into drugs, and  the clue in the historical archives thus making the earlier one a general prequel

          a friend who never forgets a thriller title or plot will help me find the titles, here I look for your reasons for liking Bruno

          (loving the Dordogne and its foods and people does not counts, as it goes without saying if you have been there).

          "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

          by BlueStateRedhead on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 07:49:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BlueStateRedhead

            it is early days after only reading one book.  He seems human to me.  He cares about people.  He plays tennis.  

            I don't know.  He took a walk up to see his boss or something and talked to the people of the town on his way which slowed him down.  

            He fixed up an old shepherd's hut and is happy with it.

            He has a dog, Gigi, I think.

            He put his life on the line in front of the mob to save people.

            Things like that.  :)

            Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

            by cfk on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 09:37:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  oh, and he teaches kids rugby and tennis (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BlueStateRedhead

            to keep them out of trouble.  

            Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

            by cfk on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 09:39:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I like those reasons, mine are bit biased... (0+ / 0-)

              ...by connections to that part of France and by the fact that the author is a historian writing detective fiction, a hard act in my estimation.

              "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

              by BlueStateRedhead on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 05:23:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Just started (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cfk, Limelite, Temmoku, plf515

    Brian Evenson's Last Days and am really loving it. The style/tone is similar to Paul Auster's New York Trilogy.

    I also recently finished Veronica Roth's YA dystopian sci-fi novel Divergent, which I read on recommendation but was disappointed in; I found it far less enjoyable than Laini Taylor's The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the other YA book I've read recently.

  •  About 2/3 through the audio version of "Unbroken: (7+ / 0-)

    A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption" by Laura Hillenbrand (author of Seabiscuit).  Absolutely riveting true story you probably never heard about Louis Zamperini, a World War II hero.  Read (or listen to) this book!  

    Just started "Collected Stories of Wallace Stegner."  The first story, all of 8 pages, was moving and haunting.  I haven't read anything by Stegner that I didn't like a lot.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 06:13:38 AM PDT

  •  throwback reading of the highest order! (6+ / 0-)

    I'm reading Ford Madox Ford's "The Good Soldier," and can't imagine how I ever let this one slip by. The writing is so masterful, you wonder why this type of stylistic brilliance went out of style.
    For vacation reading next week, I'm reading Chad Harbach's "The Art of Fielding."

    Life is a shipwreck. But we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. — Voltaire

    by agrenadier on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 06:16:33 AM PDT

  •  Emma Michaels' "Firstling" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Temmoku, plf515

    I know this author. The copyediting has some issues but they're easy to overlook because it's a solid story. It's the third in her 'Sense of Truth' series. Began it yesterday afternoon and I'm on page 148 already. Technically it's a young adult title. I love a book that reads itself and this one does.
    http://www.amazon.com/...

  •  still working on the complete fiction of (4+ / 0-)

    HP Lovecraft. Nearly done now-- I'm about 900 pages in. In between I was reading Feynman's QED, but ended up reading his "Why do you care what other people think?" which went quickly. Read a couple stories from Karen Russell's "St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves" but just wasn't into it. Got a copy of Camus' "The First Man" but haven't started it yet. I prefer his essays to his fiction; I may be the only one.

    Mitt Romney = Draco Malfoy

    by ubertar on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 06:26:00 AM PDT

  •  just finished a reread of (8+ / 0-)

    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.  I found it even more heartbreaking this time.  When I read it the first time I had not yet become a mother and now the perspective with which I read has changed.  I kept just bursting into tears.  I have to say, I love that book but man, just a tough one for me to get through now.  
    Do you guys reread books if you like them?  I have three or four books that I go back to every once in a while (A Prayer for Owen Meany, All the Kings Men, Poisonwood Bible, Wuthering Heights).  They seem to be touchstones for me and help put things into place in my head.  
    After the emotional torment of that book I am reading pure fluff this time - someone handed me a copy of Friday Night Knitting Club (cause i knit of course) so this easy, fast, palate cleanser is just what I need right now.  Then onto something with a bit more depth.  Don't know what yet.

    We are raised to honor all the wrong explorers and discoverers - thieves planting flags, murderers carrying crosses. Let us at last praise the colonizers of dreams. - Peter S. Beagle

    by jk2003 on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 06:27:14 AM PDT

    •  I'm Trying to Care about Kingsolver's "The Lacuna" (6+ / 0-)

      but find I don't, except for the fictionalized biographical inclusions of Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and Leon Trotsky, and passing archaeological references to Azteca civilization.  Admit I am learning a bit of Spanish -- especially swear words, idiomatic expressions, and Mexican proverbs.

      The narrator-hero of the book, a coming-of-age half Mexican half Anglo-American, doesn't seem to have a particular "view of the world," and is so pale in comparison to the larger than life characters into whose environs he has been insinuated that the book seems to have nothing to do with his story, and everything to do with the drama of the above mentioned three in Mexico in the mid-20th C.

      In short, I'm finding it an awkward device exercise (laden with symbolism) rather than an engrossing novel.

      Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

      by Limelite on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 06:43:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I never got into (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Limelite

        The Lacuna either.  I was disappointed.  I love everything else Kingsolver wrote.  I was told to keep at it, that it got better, but I just couldn't muster the interest.  Maybe another time.

      •  In defense of Lacuna (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ferg, Limelite

        I realized that for me one of the problems that I had with the book is that I didn't have the necessary background, but that certainly isn't Kingsolver's fault.  I read somewhere recently, can't remember where, the idea that knowledge grows when we have a sort of minimal understanding to begin with, a kind of scaffolding.  I found that a helpful analogy.  When I read a novel set in US or Europe over the same time period I have that scaffolding, and the story flows because of it, and I retain more, sometimes there's suspense because I know of a historical event about the happen that the characters don't, etc.   I appreciate very much that Kingsolver the story she was trying to tell here, and expect I would have enjoyed the novel more if I knew more of the backstory.

        That said, a truly great novel is a great novel no matter what one knows going in.  I didn't have the "scaffolding" for "Poisonwood Bible" necessarily either, but still found it utterly compelling. "Lacuna" wasn't that good, but I don't think it was that bad either.  

        Just a thought.

      •  Listen to the author read "The Lacuna." (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Limelite
      •  i haven't even tried the lacuna (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Limelite

        of all of her books, for some reason, this one didn't sound like something i wanted to spend time reading.  

        We are raised to honor all the wrong explorers and discoverers - thieves planting flags, murderers carrying crosses. Let us at last praise the colonizers of dreams. - Peter S. Beagle

        by jk2003 on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 01:12:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Read/finished it for a book club (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Limelite

        But would not have read or finished it on my own.

        The redeeming quality was what the book had to say about the media.  Not just how the portrait of the media. It is told by showing how got they not just Harrison Shepherd's story all wrong, but also that of Trotsky and Stalin.

    •  rereads (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jk2003, inHI

      Exodus by: Leon Uris

      Anything by Douglas Kennedy-The Big Picture, The Job, Leaving the World, The Moment etc... He is not very well known in the states, but is very popular in Europe

      Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. In my old life I worked as chef, and the book reminds me of the old days. He is a pompous blowhard nowadays, but that book is a classic.

  •  Mantle, Wolf Hall; Sir Harold Evans'autobiography (7+ / 0-)

    Wolf Hall is a great novel that happens to be about a great period of history and a character in it who is typically not considered great, Thomas Cromwell.

    It is  an intelligent novel about intelligence at a time when it is in abundance and vital for self-preservation but also about material goods and senses and everyone and thing is real and ponderous and (mal) orodorous, there is sizzle and heft to pain (if a wound) and to rubies (when a gift to/from king) and both equally dangerous. I found it matters not a bit if it is 'true' [while nothing is anachronistic, little is known about Cromwell]/

    It won the Booker prize, and deserved it (the bookies had it favoured by enormous odds). The second volume of the trilogy, Bring up the bodies, was published in April/May, but I am postponing what from this review, promises to a be worthy successor to the first

    NYer review Bring up the bodies

    Good Times, Bad Times and My Paper Chase are Sir Harold Evans two accounts of life as a journalist /editor, the first devoted to the takeover of The Times and Sunday Times by Rudolph Murdoch and the second to his quite remarkable life history.

    Read it for background to the Murdochgate Investigations on going here at Daily Kos, please join us as we follows what we believe is the Fall of the House of Murdoch (our latest is here) 8/07/12 2 arrests and the CoE divests NC shares.

    Fascinating, especially the second book on his becoming a journalist despite and due to his working class origins. But found the writing rather flat and unchanging, so all the hundreds of pages were as if a longish articles in the Sunday Times.
    And if there any who are keeping an open mind about Murdoch, the Times book, while highly critical, is not a tirade against him or a revenge project.

    "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

    by BlueStateRedhead on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 06:27:19 AM PDT

    •  I asked about this one a few weeks ago (4+ / 0-)

      whether it was worth it or not.  i had read a review of the sequel and thought i better read the original one first.  thanks for recommending it so whole-heartedly.

      We are raised to honor all the wrong explorers and discoverers - thieves planting flags, murderers carrying crosses. Let us at last praise the colonizers of dreams. - Peter S. Beagle

      by jk2003 on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 06:31:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I couldn't get into it and I tried for 250+ pp (0+ / 0-)

        It was an interesting take on Cromwell, who is never sympathetically portrayed.

        I had trouble with the style... the quotes, the pronouns and the switching back and forth in scenes.  By the time I left it Anne and Henry were still no where near married, and Cromwell's historic work comes much later (probably in the second book.)

        If you like this era and style of book, I highly recommend "The Autobiography of Henry VIII".  It is the novel I think this one is aiming to be.

    •  Loved Mantel's Cromwell (5+ / 0-)

      Imagine her second novel is going to be about his decline and fall, well, beheading.

      HVIII was a hard boss.  

      But Mantel's sense of history, the scheming politically dangerous personalities of those times, is so vivid that the people seem modern.  Astonishingly good and strong rendering about the mysterious Mr Cromwell.  Especially enjoyed his domestic scenes.

      Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

      by Limelite on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 06:47:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Will not spoil, so about Wolf Hall only (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Limelite

        Agree strongly, off the chartsly:

        But Mantel's sense of history,
        the scheming politically dangerous personalities of those times,
         is so vivid
        Astonishingly good and strong rendering about the mysterious Mr Cromwell.  

        Not so much
        that the people who seem for me of the times and pre-industrial are:
        the working classes (river types)
        the merchants, Flemishs and City
        the children are more modern than they can be ( Cromwell's tenderness may be exceptional, I am not up to date on the history of childhood in Tudor period)

        and add: London, smells, awful, wonderful, its materials, from bricks to  fruit trees and most memorably, cloth, cloth, cloth--as cromwell's amazingness is measured by his peers in his ability to know the difference and quality of a wool goods from all countries in all qualities (and to use it to political advantage)

        obviously, I truly loved the book.

        Especially enjoyed his domestic scenes.

        "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

        by BlueStateRedhead on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 07:44:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Missing word makes nonsense of my comment!! (0+ / 0-)

          the "Not so much" refers to your "the people seem modern"--they seem of the time, but are still as you say amazingly vivid.

          "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

          by BlueStateRedhead on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 08:49:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  His fall is foreshadowed in "Bring Up (0+ / 0-)

        the Bodies," but won't be completed until the next (unwritten) book.

  •  "Victory - the Triumphant Gay Revolution" (4+ / 0-)

    by Linda Hershman.

    Absolutely superb history of the gay rights movement...and, basically how we've won. We still have some fights ahead...marriage equality, ENDA...but we've made remarkable progress for our equality.

    After the Chick-Fil-A crap, I wanted to read something positive. Damn, this is a great book.

  •  Thanks for the Sci-Fi Rec... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    plf515, ferg

    I've been hot and cold recently, a couple examples.

    Hot:  The Book Thief -  Can't say how much I was impressed by the skill of the writer and the story still has an impact on me when I think about it.  Typically not my type of story, but glad I didn't let that convince me not to give it a try.  Couldn't put it down.

    Cold: Children of the Sky - I waited a long time for a Vernor Vinge sci-fi epic, expecting something comparable to Deepness in the Sky, but was disappointed to say the least.  Ended up forcing myself to plod through it more than I thought I would.  (hence the tip to the sci-fi novel in the diary)

  •  weird to have read so little (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    plf515, Monsieur Georges

    Mostly just magazines - Runners World, Bicycling, Women's Health. I keep meaning to get to the library & get the 2nd Pat Rothfuss book, but I'm too tired. I have a ton of audio books on my phone, but again, just too sleepy to listen. Maybe I should get something from the library on not having any energy ; )

  •  The Great Derangement by Matt Taibbi (4+ / 0-)

    (c. 2008). With his typical wit and brilliant writing, Taibbi describes the appalling routine corruption in Congress and the increasingly cynical population despising both Republicans and Democrats. To find out what people were gravitating to, he took part in a church retreat where he had to disclose a great psychological wound in his past. Taibbi invented an alcoholic father who was a circus clown and often beat him with his big feet, but even that did not alert the leaders to an investigative reporter in their midst. A very funny and sad book.

    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

    by ybruti on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 07:14:06 AM PDT

  •  Finished Store of the Worlds, (0+ / 0-)

    a new collection of stories by Robert Sheckley, edited by Jonathan Lethem.  Sheckley was one of the pioneers of post-war SF, and these stories, mostly published in the mid-50s, are interesting from an historical perspective, both in terms of the roots of modern SF and to the extent that they reflect the then-current social attitudes and mores of post-war America.  But I have to say that, as literature, this is exactly what literary snobs who look down their noses at SF are thinking of, or assuming that all SF is like, when they make fun of it.

    Midway through Triburbia, by Karl Taro Greenfeld.  Bright Lights, Big City for the aughts, which is probably why the NYT Book Review had McInerney review it, but at least for a New Yorker who lived through it, pretty entertaining.

  •  Reading about WWI these days (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Monsieur Georges

    I'd highly recommend Adam Hoschschild's "To End All Wars" which in addition to being a well-written history (primarily from Brit perspective), includes considerable coverage on opposition to the war, peace groups, labor involvement and resistance and so on.  In some ways those sections of the book were deeply depressing both because I identified with those characters the most, and because there were so many echos of today.

    I'm midway through "The Beauty and the Sorrow" by Peter Englund, which is also quite good, but a challenging read.  He tells the story of the war based on the experiences of a number of individuals -- not "important" people, but ones for whom there is written record.  The alternating viewpoints are often confusing.  The overwhelming sense of the folly of war comes through loud and clear however.

    History does grant perspective on so many levels.

  •  "Prague Winter," Madeleine Albright's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Monsieur Georges

    most recent memoir.  A good review of Chek. history, especially during WWII.

    I am listening to Mark Haddon's "The Red House,"  which is pretty much a jumble as the narrator changes from character to character.  But it is quite interesting.  

  •  The Book of Night Women (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Monsieur Georges

    by Marlon James. The story takes place in Jamaica during the late 1700's. It is written using the local dialect and the story is riveting. I have to keep reminding myself this is a man writing about women. The main characters are all slaves and the brutality is some of the worst I have ever read. So if you have a weak constitution this book might not be for you.

    I think it is really well done and can hardly put it down.

    If peace is to prevail we all have to become foes of violence.

    by spacejam on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 09:40:02 AM PDT

  •  Just started Existence, by Brin (0+ / 0-)

    and I've been reading the Barbara Cleverly murder/ mystery series about Scotland Yard policeman Joe Sandilands, transplanted to India during the days of the British Raj.  

    On the third one now (The Damascened Blade). So far all 3 have been fun (light) reading in the style of classic British mysteries set in a somewhat exotic locale.  

    I look forward to WAYR every Wednesday for new recommends!

  •  The Sword Master's Apprentice. (0+ / 0-)

    An autobiographical account of a Brit who bails out of his high-powered finance career (just in time) and embarks on a journey of self-realization which mostly takes the form of being an uchi deshi (live-in student) in the San Diego dojo of the renowned Chiba Sensei, who has sadly retired.  As an aikidoka who has drifted in and out of San Diego a few times over the years, I am deeply saddened that I never trained with him.  Had no idea he was even there, in fact.  I plan to spend at least a year doing much the same thing after I punch out of the Navy early next year, so the timing of this book's release was fortuitous.

    Also Redshirts, by John Scalzi.  A fun postmodern riff on sci-fi's deadliest trope; that poor kid in the red shirt who beams down with Kirk only to die in some horrible manner.  It felt like a mix of Galaxy Quest and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.  :-)

    Next up is probably Eat and Run, by the ultramarathoner Scott Jurek, as it's been a few years since I've put 26.2 miles behind me and am eager to test myself against the long run once more.  I doubt I'll take on an ultra, but I'm sure I'll be just as inspired either way.

    My next fiction books will be 2312, by Kim Stanley Robinson, and Existence, by David Brin.  Not sure in which order yet.

    Too much awesome!  :-D

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