Read any good books lately?

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08/04/2008 at 14:23
The only novel of his that I've read was 'Hello America' - not particularly mindblowing.
08/04/2008 at 14:27
Thanks for the warning, DM. I did actually look at plot summaries of his novels, but at the moment my attention span is more suitable for short stories.
08/04/2008 at 14:29
I think he's the sort of writer that has good ideas, but then tries to make too much of them. Short stories probably suit him better.
08/04/2008 at 14:30

I'd not put yourself down, Mooms.

 SVT, I've been reading 'Razzle' recently... It's actually quite good.

08/04/2008 at 17:02

My slavery book is great. Just finished the section about John Newton (the bloke that wrote Amazing Grace) and about to start on the bit about someone with an odd name (not a slave in case anyone thinks I'm being roood).

My only criticism is that the author doesn't include as many dates to put his work in a historical context as he could do, and sometimes it gets a bit rambling. This could also be because I read in bed before falling alseep.

TT, to continue the long distance/time discussion about gramps, he was 28 when he joined the RAMC. We haven't found anything about his Lancs Fusiliers "service" yet, but his dad died in 1905, so I wondered if he ran away to the Army then and mum dragged him back to his exciting life in the cotton mills

17/05/2008 at 17:21
(boing to self, to remind me to review the book I've just finished when I've got a spare minute)
17/05/2008 at 21:07

Good timing SVT, I treated myself to some new books today. Nineteen Minutes, Notes from an Exhibition and An Utterly Impartial History of Britain. Still a history geek!

Loads of good sounding books, so I might well be back next weekend

18/05/2008 at 17:17

Right, let's try again and hope the PC doesn't decide to reboot halfway through...

I'm still reading The Battle for Spain, but had a business trip and needed something a bit lighter (both in tone and in weight - my hand luggage was heavy enough)...

'Then We Came to the End' by Joshua Ferris

Anyone who has ever worked in an office will 'get' this book. And anyone who hasn't will enjoy it anyway. It's about those people we spend a large amount of our waking hours working alongside and talking with, yet never really knowing them. This book really captures office life in genreal - the fact it's set in an advertising company in turn-of-the century Chicago makes it no less resonant for me. It could be anywhere.

I've realised with hindsight that most of the story is told in the form of gossip - only later, as a couple of storylines actually develop, do we have something approaching straight narrative (part of this is explained in the last chapter). And by this time, the anecdotes and observations have fully established the main characters so that the narrative can proceed uninterrupted. This is why we never know anything about our narrator - they'd never be party to gossip about themselves. I don't think we ever know whetehr they're male or female.

There's a certain amount of suspense built into the title. Being set at a time of redundancies, does it refer to the company going under? Or each person in turn being made redundant? Perhaps an unhinged former colleague returning with a semi-automatic? The boss's breast cancer being real? Or maybe just the end of the story.  It kept me interested to the end.

A very entertaining read, and contains the great idea of taping sushi behind your boss's bookcase.

19/05/2008 at 13:54

The Time Traveller's Wife

A romantic fiction detailing the life of Henry and his wife Clare.  Henry can travel through time (though not at will) and meets his future wife when she is 6 and he is 36.  They then meet again when she is 20 and he is 28.  Each chapter is written from either his or her perspective.  An easy read, compared in the reviews to The Lovely Bones.  The story is interesting, fun and develops well. I had a little cry at the end (always the measure of a good read).

20/05/2008 at 10:03

I really enjoyed Lionel Shrivers "We need to talk about Kevin" (someone else mentioned this a few pages back) - although trying to stifle sobs at the end was a bit embarassing - yes, I get a bit emotionally involved...

Trying another of hers at the moment "The post birthday world".  Enjoying it so far, though not as much as "Kevin" - will report back when I'm done...

Another book I really enjoyed recently is Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.  Wow!  It is based on the authors life (prison break in Australia; living in a slum in India using his first aid skills to set up a clinic for his fellow slum dwellers; becoming entangled in the local mafia and the war in Afghanistan - phew!).  There are some truly poignant passages in it and gives a great description of how Mumbai really ticks.  It's a real page turner!

20/05/2008 at 10:06

Sarah Waters-The Night Watch. Brilliant read. Couldnt be bothered with Fingersmith, but this one is excellent. It works it's way backwards from post war, to the war and then pre war. Highly recommended.

Have started both The Time Travellers Wife and We Need to Talk About Kevin but failed to get past the first few chapters. Must make an effort. I am off on holiday in June for two weeks so I have a pile of reading I want to catch up on.

20/05/2008 at 15:17

bit late but

DM - i hated cocain nights too
copmplete rubbish idea

but i loved empire of the sun - i don't think he has bettered that

i liked time travellers wife

28/05/2008 at 19:00

Just finished 'The Battle for Spain' by Antony Beevor - a history of the Spanish Civil War. I loved 'Stalingrad' by the same author and the way he brought the era to life, balancing serious history with lots of human interest from diaries and military records.

TBFS, to abbreviate, was a little disappointing in that it was much more event driven, with less of the human element. However, it was fascinating to study this period that I knew very little about. It was amazing to see just how self-destructive the Republicans were, and how the British and French would turn a blind eye to pretty much anything if it kept Hitler quiet and communism away from their borders.

Whereas I'd recommend Stalingrad to anyone, I'd say you'll enjoy this if you like decent history books. 

28/05/2008 at 19:37

Mouse, I quite like Time Travellers Wife but didn't cry at all at the end.  I didn't like the ending.

Just finished The Adultery Club by Tess Stimson about a man and wife who have a great life, yet a harmless flirting by the man's colleague soon turns into something much much bigger which threatens to destroy everyone.  Brilliantly written, the author enables you to understand everyone's feelings and point of view.  I haven't read a book where my feelings have run so high for a long time, not since Man & Boy.

I'm going on holiday soon and am looking for another good book to read - may try 'We need to talk about Kevin' but would also like something light and fluffy like the Shopaholic series.

Ye Olde Dragon    pirate
28/05/2008 at 19:56

Hi - I'm glad to see a 'book club' thread back

Mouse I've 'read' The Time Travellers Wife' on audio books, a fascinating story and yes, moving at the end.

I've recently finished 'An Utterly Impartial History of Britain' a very funny book- I listen to audio books when I'm out for a long walk and when commuting in the car.

I've just finished reading Nineteen Minutes (a really read), an ok book, but not a patch on My Sisters Keeper IMO.

At the moment I'm listening to 'The Wolf Totem', now there's a thought provoking book, one I shall get in hard copy I think.

My next really read is going to be 'The Shakespeare Secret' JL Carrell, any one read this one?

28/05/2008 at 20:00

Sue, I loved My Sisters Keeper too.  Ever since I've been wanting to find another Jody Piccoult to hit the spot but can't put my finger on the right one to read.  Any advice?

The Alchemist - a must for everyone.  So simple, yet said so so much.

28/05/2008 at 20:31

Sezz

for your holiday try 'how to kill your husband and other handy household hints' parts of it had me in stitches but it does get a bit heavy towards the end.  even had strangers asking me what i was reading i laughed so much. great for round the pool

30/05/2008 at 08:42
Finished Chesil Beach, yesterday, a brilliant book.
03/07/2008 at 22:35

Just started The Blackest Streets, appeals to the history geek in me. It's about an area of London which in  Booth's social survey were coloured black (the colour he used to indiacte the greatest poverty).

Fascinating, but keep a hanky handy

04/07/2008 at 14:15
Reporting back on Tenderness of Wolves

I really liked it. Enjoyed the story and found the split narratives interesting. Also liked that it didn't resolve everything at the end. Although it wasn't a highbrow literary work it was well written and I enjoyed the writing style. Author had a nice way with descriptions and a few of them linger in the way that good writing should.

Recommended.

I've also finished The Book Thief as well which was good but not as enjoyable as ToW. I found the writing style too "bitty" in places and it was v. annoying when the narrator kept saying "but if only they knew so and so would be dead in 3 months" etc. Seemed to take ages to get going but when it did there were some fantastic passages in the middle, beautifully written (and drawn) and the book was worth it for these. Seemed to run out of steam a bit towards the end.

If anyone wants a bit of light reading and can cope with alternate realities I'd recommend Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next books. There's a bit of time-travelling, the boundaries between reality and fiction blur and Dodos have been bought back from extinction. I think the more books you have read the more you get out of them as there are loads of in-jokes relating to other books and I'm sure there are lots I didn't pick up on. First book is The Eyre Affair - give it a go!

My next read is going to be something by Dostoyevsky just to give myself a bit of a challenge. Inspired by the tennis player (Tipsarevic) who has one of his quotes tattooed on his arm.

Happy reading everyone!
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