Author Topic: What have you read lately?  (Read 1908 times)

downer

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #60 on: July 27, 2019, 04:59:54 PM »
Putney by Sofka Zinovieff. It's a book addressing a loving sexual relationship between a man and a girl in the 1970s, and how she comes to rethink what happened when her daughter is the same age as she was when it happened. It isn't easy to address these issues, but Zinovieff does it well.
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Golazo

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #61 on: July 29, 2019, 07:12:46 PM »
I've mostly been disappointed with what I've read recently. I bought Ann Leckie's new fantasy book The Raven Tower, but found this much less compelling than her sci-fi trilogy, from characters to world building. The Imperial Radch trilogy is very much worth reading.  I also read CJ Cherryh's latest book, and again found it one of the weakest of her catalog. In the non-fiction section, I read Gemma Clark's book on women in soccer, but found she had so many chapters that she wrote only very basic details about each woman in the book. A lot of the material was from internet sources and she didn't make good use of the interviews she did. I was expecting to learn a lot, but was underwhelmed.

I'm looking forward to reading Jeffery Lewis' The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States for a class I'm teaching in the fall. I'll get back to everyone on how it is.

Several of the sci-fi/fantesy choices sound really interesting, but I'll have to have a think if there is enough time before the semester starts for a new distraction.

ergative

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #62 on: July 30, 2019, 01:03:14 AM »
I just finished This is how you lose the time war, by Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar. It was exquisite: poetic, imaginative, and allusive to all sorts of other things (Ozymandias, the Death of Chatterton, Calvin and Hobbes, and I'm sure many others that I didn't catch). It's also a novella, so, Golazo, you might find it the right length, although I was surprised at how slowly I read it because of the richness of the language.

Speaking of science fiction, I was also a little disappointed by The Raven Tower. There was some good stuff in it: I loved the idea of gods being careful about what they say, because their use of language makes reality, and if they say something that's not true, they'll spend their strength changing reality so it becomes true (and if they say something that's impossible, they'll die). That was really imaginative. I thought the narrator's backstory, as a stone on a hill, was beautifully written. But I thought the political thriller portion was not as rich as it could have been. Basically, it's Hamlet meets Pratchett's Small Gods, but although it starts there, it doesn't really go anywhere new with it. It's a neat mash-up of two things, but nothing more than that.

Scout

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #63 on: July 30, 2019, 11:07:46 AM »
Just finished The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. A gripping true tale of the creation of the Chicago World's Fair and the acts and hunt for a serial killer preying on your women in Chicago (and elsewhere) during the same time. Strangely, the World's fair development was just as gripping as the serial killer story line!
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hmaria1609

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #64 on: August 01, 2019, 07:33:42 AM »
Patrick Leigh Fermor's classic travelogue trilogy: A Time of Gifts, Between the Woods and the Water, and The Broken Road
Written in his later years, Leigh Fermor chronicled his 1933 walk across Europe.

nebo113

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #65 on: August 02, 2019, 05:32:21 AM »
Re-reading "My Antonia" by Willa Cather.  Lyrical and timely.

larryc

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #66 on: August 06, 2019, 05:59:30 PM »
Just finished Kate Brown's Plutopia, a history of the Soviet and American nuclear bomb production towns and their oddly parallel development. It is way outside my usual focus and one of my favorite academic books of recent years. It is deeply researched, beautifully written, and students love it.

downer

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #67 on: August 13, 2019, 02:42:54 PM »
Just finished "One Day" by David Nicholls. Reader, I have to confess I really enjoyed it. It was a little tragic, and had a lot of the misery of unhappy marriages in it.

I know it was made into a movie with Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, and Patricia Clarkson. Not just a movie, a "rom com". It's the sort of movie I hate. But something about Nicholls' writing gets me. I will just avoid the movie.

I admit there are problems with the book's plot. But it does bittersweet so well.

His new book, Sweet Sorrow, is already out in the UK, but not in the US until next May. Ugh! I guess I can wait.

"Change takes courage." Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

spork

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #68 on: August 13, 2019, 03:02:39 PM »
Tried reading two of Yiyun Li's short story collections -- Gold Boy, Emerald Girl and A Thousand Years of Good Prayers. Read a few stories in each but couldn't finish either volume. Too depressing, as one might expect from an author who tried to commit suicide twice but failed, and whose son succeeded.

Did finish Lisa Halliday's Asymmetry. The writing was very good but I couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about. I didn't get why this novel was supposedly such a phenomenon.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 03:07:15 PM by spork »

downer

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #69 on: August 13, 2019, 03:26:39 PM »
Tried reading two of Yiyun Li's short story collections -- Gold Boy, Emerald Girl and A Thousand Years of Good Prayers. Read a few stories in each but couldn't finish either volume. Too depressing, as one might expect from an author who tried to commit suicide twice but failed, and whose son succeeded.

Did finish Lisa Halliday's Asymmetry. The writing was very good but I couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about. I didn't get why this novel was supposedly such a phenomenon.

As the New Yorker said
Quote
The novel surely owes some of its event-ness to the voyeuristic thrill of reading about watching baseball in bed next to Philip Roth; ordering Walnettos from the Vermont Country Store account belonging to Philip Roth; having geriatric, Hasbro-inflected sex with Philip Roth. (“He came like a weak water bubbler.”)

Apart from that, it wasn't as interesting as people made out.
"Change takes courage." Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

drbrt

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #70 on: August 13, 2019, 03:33:11 PM »
I read a bunch of the Spellmonger series over the summer. It was interesting but unchallenging, which how my summer reading often goes. I'm currently rereading Drew Hayes' Super Powereds series.

ab_grp

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #71 on: August 13, 2019, 03:38:41 PM »
We recently finished A Column of Fire (Ken Follett).  I ended up liking it a bit more than I had expected, which is a little odd because I really enjoyed the previous two books.  His books are such tomes and don't have any carryover between the people I get invested in in each offering that I guess I always fear that each new one won't be so interesting.  This book focuses a lot on the religious/political dynamics of England, Spain, Scotland, and France (primarily) in the time just before/during/after Elizabeth I.  The story is fairly one-sided, in that it is told mostly from the view of Protestants who were targeted, had their property taken, were burned for heresy, etc. by the Catholics while they themselves allegedly strove for religious tolerance.   I say "allegedly" because politics and related issues seem to have made that mission go astray.  However, it's fairly clear that the reader is supposed to root very strongly for the Protestant characters.  In any case, we both enjoyed the book despite the usual villains and heroes approach and the somewhat less compelling characters.  Some ways along while reading, I realized that I had recently seen a Twitter post about a key plot point as it occurred in history.  Partner apparently forgot that I had told him about it, but I was excited to see how it would play out in the book.  Maybe the historical ties made up for some of the less interesting or likable people.

Now we are reading Trinity (Leon Uris), because apparently we are in a religious/political historical fiction mood.  I've read this one before but hadn't recalled how funny it is at times (and certainly not at other times).   I had also forgotten how tiny the type is in this copy (though I am glad to not have the huge heavy Follett book to lug around).  I guess I have gotten a wee bit older since having read it before.

S-4711

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #72 on: August 13, 2019, 04:22:58 PM »
"Conflict in the Caucasus: Georgia, Abkhazia and the Russian Shadow" by Svetlana Chervonnaya. A solid, objective analysis of the events leading to the Georgian-Abkhazian War of 1992-93.

archaeo42

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #73 on: August 14, 2019, 06:00:21 AM »
I recently finished Postcards from a Stranger by Imogen Clark. It's about a woman who finds out her dead mother isn't dead after all and the fallout as she learns that multiple people in her life have lied to her about what they knew. I enjoyed it but the very end of the epilogue turned me off and felt a bit trite.
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Scout

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Re: What have you read lately?
« Reply #74 on: August 14, 2019, 08:14:03 AM »
We recently finished A Column of Fire (Ken Follett).  I ended up liking it a bit more than I had expected, which is a little odd because I really enjoyed the previous two books.  His books are such tomes and don't have any carryover between the people I get invested in in each offering that I guess I always fear that each new one won't be so interesting.  This book focuses a lot on the religious/political dynamics of England, Spain, Scotland, and France (primarily) in the time just before/during/after Elizabeth I.  The story is fairly one-sided, in that it is told mostly from the view of Protestants who were targeted, had their property taken, were burned for heresy, etc. by the Catholics while they themselves allegedly strove for religious tolerance.   I say "allegedly" because politics and related issues seem to have made that mission go astray.  However, it's fairly clear that the reader is supposed to root very strongly for the Protestant characters.  In any case, we both enjoyed the book despite the usual villains and heroes approach and the somewhat less compelling characters.  Some ways along while reading, I realized that I had recently seen a Twitter post about a key plot point as it occurred in history.  Partner apparently forgot that I had told him about it, but I was excited to see how it would play out in the book.  Maybe the historical ties made up for some of the less interesting or likable people.

Now we are reading Trinity (Leon Uris), because apparently we are in a religious/political historical fiction mood.  I've read this one before but hadn't recalled how funny it is at times (and certainly not at other times).   I had also forgotten how tiny the type is in this copy (though I am glad to not have the huge heavy Follett book to lug around).  I guess I have gotten a wee bit older since having read it before.

Thank you- I hadn't realized another book in the series had been released. Getting it now-
Once upon a time I dreamt I was named yeastie.