Author Topic: What have you read lately?  (Read 22472 times)

Parasaurolophus

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #360 on: November 12, 2020, 03:42:25 PM »


Oh, you tease!


I'm pretty late to the party--you've probably already read this stuff already. :)



I've been reading a lot of Frances Hardinge recently. During the Great Vote Count last week I finished A Skinful of Shadows and Deeplight. They are marketed as YA books, but they are not at all teen novels in the sense that you describe.

I'll give them a spin soonish! I'm not even opposed to teen/YA stuff like what I described. In that case, I was just disappointed because it was a big departure from the first novel.

Also, I read Laxness' Independent People a few years ago, after getting back from a trip to Iceland.  It took me a while to get into it, but when I did it was one of those rich, lush novels you just sink into and don't want to leave.  I may have to check out Wayward Heroes.

Yeah, it's my partner's favourite book. I really need to try again, in a dedicated fashion. It would be easier if I still had a commute via public transit.
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fleabite

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #361 on: November 12, 2020, 04:28:30 PM »
I haven't jumped into this thread in a long time. Some recent favorites:

Byron's Don Juan. I really enjoyed this. I'm sure at traditional college age I would have skimmed the whole thing in a hurry and been inpatient at all the digressions. But Byron's verse is inexhaustively creative and much of it is very funny. I didn't realize how much of a liberal he was. He is scathing about the Duke of Wellington and the restoration of monarchies that resulted from the Allied victory in the Napoleonic wars.

Mary Ball's new biography of Nancy Pelosi. Excellent. I didn't know that Pelosi spent years fundraising for the Democratic Party while being a stay-at-home mom before moving into paid roles in politics. Through her years in office, she has consistently stressed the need to get out there and knock on doors and connect with voters. She would have recognized from beginning what a detrimental impact virtual-only campaigning was going to have on candidates.

Continuing in a political vein, Curtis Sittenfeld's Rodham. This is a very plausible and well-imagined take on what Hillary Clinton's life might have been like had she not married Bill Clinton. The ending is particularly good.

Margaret Atwood's The Testaments. I enjoyed this sequel to The Handmaid's Tale. There are some piquant lines. For example, speaking of one of the commanders (the man in charge in Gilead): "This Wife has lasted longer than usual. His Wives have a habit of dying: Commander Judd is a great believer in restorative powers of young women, as were King David and assorted Central American drug lords."

Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis. This is an interesting read in the me-too era, since Venus is stalking Adonis. Or rather, she is already in his presence and trying desperately to convince him that he should sleep with her. For people in literature, it would make an interesting pairing to teach in conjunction with The Rape of Lucretia, which I also read this year (two very different views of women—one who owns her sexuality openly and the other whose role demands chastity above all).

Daniel Immerwahr's How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States. This is the story of the US as an empire in the nineteenth and twentieth century—a perspective from which the country's history is rarely told. I learned about many incidents that were entirely new to me.

Going back a little further to primary season: Kristin Gillibrand with Elizabeth Weil's Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World. This is both biographical and aimed at getting women involved in politics. I was impressed by how much Gillibrand, like Elizabeth Warren (I've also enjoyed a couple of books by the latter) cares about the people she serves.

hmaria1609

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #362 on: November 13, 2020, 01:04:42 PM »
I think it's been awhile for me posting here too.

From the library: Sidney Chambers and the Problem of Evil (#3) and Persistence of Love (#6 and series finale) by James Runcie.
I've read the other novels in the series including the prequel The Road to Grantchester.  Although "Grantchester" on PBS's "Masterpiece" differs from the novels (especially after 4th season), it's been enjoyable reading!

For any fans here of "The Crown" on Netflix, the voice of the late Robert Runcie, Archbishop of Canterbury and the author's dad, is used in the season 4 teaser trailer: https://www.radiotimes.com/news/on-demand/2020-10-13/the-crown-teaser-trailer-princess-diana-season-4/

apl68

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #363 on: November 13, 2020, 01:35:07 PM »
Happily, I found some fab new scifi the other day. But before I can report on that, here's October:

Erin Bowman - Contagion: Quite a fun teen novel about a zombie outbreak on a distant mining outpost. Very hard to put down once we get to the destination; excellent execution.

Erin Bowman - Immunity: The sequel to Contagion, this one is very much a teen novel. It's astonishing how much teen novels can resemble one another, actually; I'm put in mind of Mira Grant's zombie and parasite series (especially the latter), although it's a lot like The Hunger Games and its clones, too. It's not plot-level similarities, although those are clearly there--evil greedy soulless corporations devoid of a moral compass, and all that--but even the characters and their arcs are super-similar. Consequently, it was much less exciting than its predecessor, which is a great standalone zombie scifi mashup. I kept waiting for the real action to happen, and when it finally did, it was much too brief and contained.

Halldór Laxness - Wayward Heroes: I don't often read properly 'literary' literature, but this one caught my eye. I once started reading Independent People, but stopped after a while because it was kinda of dull (if beautiful) and I was excited to read other things, and I haven't picked it up again. This one is a retelling of the Saga of the Sworn Brothers and Saint Olaf's Saga, but as a biting indictment of human cruelty, stupidity, and vainglory. It's superbly done, but also incredibly frustrating/hard to read as someone who loves saga literature precisely for the same qualities which are so effectively satirized here. I'm really glad I took the plunge, and doubtless I'll try Independent People again soon(ish).

Jorge Luis Borges - Labyrinths: I've read a lot about Borges and his stories, but the only story I'd read before was Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote. I'm really glad I picked this up, because man, the guy was brilliant. The stories are just so rich, especially for a philosopher like me. There's a whole huge range of issues to sink your teeth into. I'll have to hunt down more.

Spouse was just telling me yesterday that I need to read Borges.   Also, I read Laxness' Independent People a few years ago, after getting back from a trip to Iceland.  It took me a while to get into it, but when I did it was one of those rich, lush novels you just sink into and don't want to leave.  I may have to check out Wayward Heroes.

I've been working my way through Laxness.  It's a vivid picture of a land and people, but I'm finding it as much of a slog as I'd expect from a Nobel laureate in literature.

A collection of Borges stories is waiting in the wings.  Maybe on some dark winter day when everything seems just a bit unreal...
Don't lay up treasures for yourselves on Earth, where they can decay or be stolen.  Lay up treasures for yourselves in Heaven, where there is no decay or theft.  Where your treasure is, you heart will be also.


You can't take it with you.  You can only send it on ahead.

apl68

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #364 on: November 13, 2020, 02:02:10 PM »
The Running of the Tide, by Esther Forbes:  Esther Forbes is perhaps best remembered today for her Newberry-award-winning Johnny Tremain.  Years ago a school librarian worried that I was too deep into science fiction (It was just a phase) gently browbeat me into reading it.  I quite liked it, but then I was already reading a good bit of nonfiction history. 

Esther Forbes wrote both fiction and nonfiction for adults as well.  The Running of the Tide recreates the history of Salem during its great days of overseas commerce between the 1790s and the 1810s.  It's told from the perspective of a fictional family of Salem shipowners.  It offers the sort of vivid recreation of another time that any good historical novel should have.  Only problem is, there are so many melodramatic plots and subplots surrounding this one family and their associates  that it gets kind of preposterous.  It reminded me at times of a 1980s TV miniseries.  I would have expected different from the author of Johnny Tremain.  I still hope to locate the nonfiction work on Paul Revere sometimes.


The Ancient Engineers, by L. Sprague DeCamp:  DeCamp is best known for his science fiction and fantasy, of which I have read a few examples.  He also wrote some nonfiction.  Here he tells the story of engineering from early times through the Middle Ages.  It's one of the better books about building and the history of building that I've seen. 


Speaking of building Chicago's Great Fire, by Carl S. Smith, has a pretty good account of the fire, but is largely about the relief and rebuilding efforts in the aftermath.  Good popular history, and well illustrated.  I think that perhaps he's a little harsh in his criticism of some of the main relief committee's actions after the fire.  That said, they really did let their legitimate concerns to avoid letting their charitable activities be taken advantage of them get the better of them, leading to some unnecessarily harsh and intrusive rules.
Don't lay up treasures for yourselves on Earth, where they can decay or be stolen.  Lay up treasures for yourselves in Heaven, where there is no decay or theft.  Where your treasure is, you heart will be also.


You can't take it with you.  You can only send it on ahead.

FishProf

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #365 on: November 13, 2020, 06:49:24 PM »
I am reading A Wrinkle in Time to Smolt (and MrsFishProf when she's awake).  It is really interesting to read this now, as it was very influential to the young me.  I can see the downstream effects as I reread.
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ab_grp

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #366 on: November 13, 2020, 07:02:05 PM »
I am reading A Wrinkle in Time to Smolt (and MrsFishProf when she's awake).  It is really interesting to read this now, as it was very influential to the young me.  I can see the downstream effects as I reread.

I loved those books growing up! Spouse and I actually read that particular one last year, I think.  I read Many Waters in grad school (for fun, not for school) and love that one, too, but it may be a good book for later on.  I hope Smolt and MrsFishProf enjoy the story and that you enjoy the re-read.  Even rereading as an adult, I found it moving at times and definitely a little scary!

nebo113

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #367 on: November 14, 2020, 06:09:16 AM »
I am reading A Wrinkle in Time to Smolt (and MrsFishProf when she's awake).  It is really interesting to read this now, as it was very influential to the young me.  I can see the downstream effects as I reread.

I re read it annually.

apl68

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #368 on: November 14, 2020, 07:17:22 AM »
I am reading A Wrinkle in Time to Smolt (and MrsFishProf when she's awake).  It is really interesting to read this now, as it was very influential to the young me.  I can see the downstream effects as I reread.

I loved those books growing up! Spouse and I actually read that particular one last year, I think.  I read Many Waters in grad school (for fun, not for school) and love that one, too, but it may be a good book for later on.  I hope Smolt and MrsFishProf enjoy the story and that you enjoy the re-read.  Even rereading as an adult, I found it moving at times and definitely a little scary!

I liked A Wrinkle in Time when I read it long ago.  I still have vivid memories of it.  Never got around to reading the others, though.
Don't lay up treasures for yourselves on Earth, where they can decay or be stolen.  Lay up treasures for yourselves in Heaven, where there is no decay or theft.  Where your treasure is, you heart will be also.


You can't take it with you.  You can only send it on ahead.

Harlow2

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #369 on: November 14, 2020, 07:20:53 AM »
Martin Walker’s Shooting at chateau rock.
Part of his detective Bruno series set in the Perigord, France, where many of the ancient caves are. Though there are somewhat stronger books in the series it was lovely to be transported to a beautiful part of Somewhere Else for a few hours.  The detective cooks some delicious meals so I don’t read until I’ve already eaten.

notmycircus

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #370 on: November 14, 2020, 08:42:26 AM »
Wendy Wasserstein plays.

mamselle

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #371 on: November 14, 2020, 07:12:24 PM »
I am reading A Wrinkle in Time to Smolt (and MrsFishProf when she's awake).  It is really interesting to read this now, as it was very influential to the young me.  I can see the downstream effects as I reread.

I loved those books growing up! Spouse and I actually read that particular one last year, I think.  I read Many Waters in grad school (for fun, not for school) and love that one, too, but it may be a good book for later on.  I hope Smolt and MrsFishProf enjoy the story and that you enjoy the re-read.  Even rereading as an adult, I found it moving at times and definitely a little scary!

I liked A Wrinkle in Time when I read it long ago.  I still have vivid memories of it.  Never got around to reading the others, though.

Our fourth-grade teacher read it aloud to the class the year it won the Newbury Award.

I've since bought all the twinned Time series books ("Chronos" and "Chairos").

Might indeed be due for a re-read. Thanks for the idea!

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Reprove not a scorner, lest they hate thee: rebuke the wise, and they will love thee.

Give instruction to the wise, and they will be yet wiser: teach the just, and they will increase in learning.

spork

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #372 on: November 17, 2020, 04:26:51 AM »
The Secret Life of Groceries was very good.

It's terrible writing, used to obfuscate the fact that the authors actually have nothing to say.

hmaria1609

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #373 on: November 18, 2020, 07:15:35 PM »
From the library:
A Stroke of Malice by Anna Lee Huber
Latest and #8 installment in the "Lady Darby Mystery" series. Kiera and Sebastian Gage are celebrating 12th Night with Kiera's extended family when a body is discovered during the revelry.

Next up: The Forgotten Kingdom by Signe Pike
New novel and #2 in her "Lost Queen" trilogy set in 6th century Scotland.
https://www.signepike.com/the-lost-queen-usa
The #3 and final novel releases in 2023!

ergative

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #374 on: November 19, 2020, 12:17:36 AM »
Chuck Wendig's Wanderers. It's about a pandemic in an election year, so I think I made the right choice in not starting until after Biden won and Pfizer (and now Moderna!) announced an effective vaccine, but if you can handle it it's a very well-written, well-plotted, engrossing book.