Read any good books lately

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Imported, Sep 1, 2003.

  1. Imported

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2000
    Messages:
    56,713
    Likes Received:
    55
    awellhungboi: Did anybody read anything particularly noteworthy over the summer? Or, alternately, what book is on your nighttable (since many of us read before going to sleep)?

    Currently I'm reading Iain McCalman's recent biography The Last Alchemist about the notorious 18th century charlatan, seer, scoundrel, and philanthropist Count Cagliostro. Ably researched, and compellingly told, it's really a fascinating book. Cagliostro travelled all over Europe and halfway through the book he's already crossed paths with (and usually pissed off) Casanova, Catherine the Great, Marie Antoinette, and a whole gallery of nubile lasses, corrupt priests, gullible nobility and earnest seekers. Cagliostro and his wife, Seraphina, cheat and con their way across the continent while simultaneously setting up free clinics and treating the poor and needy. Great stuff.

    So what about y'all? Any must reads? Big bestsellers, old favorites, or obscure gems, let us hear about it!
     
  2. Imported

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2000
    Messages:
    56,713
    Likes Received:
    55
    7x6andchg: I had been reading Tony Hillerman books over the summer - I tend to like mystery novels.

    I have been wanting to read "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson, whose travel narratives I dearly love, but it isn't in stock at our library yet.

    7x6&C
     
  3. Imported

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2000
    Messages:
    56,713
    Likes Received:
    55
    awellhungboi: Yeah, I like mysteries too! Tony Hillerman, aren't those all set in the southwest? I always heard he was good.

    Yeah, Bill Bryson is a really good writer. I read his book about language, "The Mother Tongue." It was a hoot. Evidently he wasn't too popular as editor of the New Yorker, though.
     
  4. Imported

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2000
    Messages:
    56,713
    Likes Received:
    55
    7x6andchg: Yes, they are - primarily in New Mexico. I like reading mysteries that take place in places I know. John Sandford's Prey series, which all take place in Minneapolis and St. Paul, is another of my favorite series.

    The Mother Tongue, The Lost Continent, Notes from a Small Island, A Walk in the Woods, I'm a Stranger Here Myself, all of them had moments that literally had me falling down laughing....if I hadn't usually already been seated. I don't tend to read standing up.
     
  5. Max

    Max New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2002
    Messages:
    938
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    UK
    Bill Bryson is a favourite on this side of the pond too .. at least in this household.

    For myself, I have begun, if it doesn't sound too pretentious:

    A la recherche du Temps Perdu (in English, I have to admit)
     
  6. Imported

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2000
    Messages:
    56,713
    Likes Received:
    55
    awellhungboi: Oh, cool, Max! Are you reading the new Penguin translation? I'm dying to see that. (Not available on this side of the Atlantic yet, though.) The Walk by Swann's Place (Swann's Way) is one of my favorite books!

    (And I definitely need to check out some of Bryson's other works. I hear A Walk in the Woods is fabulous!)
     
  7. Imported

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2000
    Messages:
    56,713
    Likes Received:
    55
    wvalady1968: I've read Tony Hillerman, too. If you want a step up, I just finished Bone Walker, third book in the Anasazi Mystery series by Kathleen O'Neal Gear and her husband, W. Michael Gear. The first book in the series, The Visitant, grabbed me so that I had to go find more by the same authors. These are also set in the Southwest.

    They've also written The First North American Series, about the first peoples to settle this continent.

    http://www.gear-gear.com/
     
  8. Ralexx

    Ralexx Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2002
    Messages:
    647
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Central Europe
    [quote author=Max link=board=99;num=1062441477;start=0#4 date=09/01/03 at 12:12:31]For myself, I have begun, if it doesn't sound too pretentious:
    A la recherche du Temps Perdu  (in English, I have to admit) [/quote]


    Monstro,
    You were 1 step ahead me :) ! I was about to open a thread on the same subject. Cool ! 8)
    MAX, we're reading the same book !!! A la recherche du temps perdu - I am at the III-rd part « Guérmantes ». I read it in French, because - as translated - in Roumanian is hardly comprehensible. In French sounds better.

    The books of my last month :

    François de Chateaubriand - « Mémoires d'outre-tombe » (3rd volume of his autobiography, 1760s to 1840s ; glorious prose, poetic)
    (count) Jean d'Ormesson - « Au plaisir de Dieu » (the 900 years history of a French aristocratic dynasty, special focus on the last 100 years ; magnificent, I recommand it to everyone !)
    *** - A History of Music
    (princess) Marthe Bibesco - « The Nymphe Europe » (a dazzling book, the history of a Roumanian princely house since the 1620s ; symbolic language ; hard to find, but a treasure !) [You might as well try her « Green Parrot » or - best-seller in US in the 1930s-1940s - « Catherine-Paris ».]
    John Fowles - « Daniel Martin » (I love this book !)
    Dan Zamfirescu - (Roumanian) « Orthodoxy and Catholicism - a comparative historical approach »
    Chantal Delsol - « Quatre » (the lives of 4 generations of women, powerful characters ; thrilling, brilliant dialogue and vision of life) [the author is a French philosopher]

    And amongst the books I always wanted to praise are Mika Waltari's (he's Finnish) « The Egyptian » and « The Tuscan ». And I would go on, go on... !!!
     
  9. Imported

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2000
    Messages:
    56,713
    Likes Received:
    55
    awellhungboi: Well, Raal, I guess great minds really do think alike, eh? Fascinating books on your list, I'd like to read any one of those!

    I'm intrigued by the books you mention as well, Allie, American prehistory is an exciting subject! I've always wanted to write something along those lines--so I'll definitely keep an eye out for them, and find out how it's done.
     
  10. Imported

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2000
    Messages:
    56,713
    Likes Received:
    55
    inquiringmind: Hi your magnificence, ( monstro)

    I tried getting thorugh the last alchemist but alas I abandoned it for : The Girl with the Pearl earring, Frida, The Kennedy Men, Get Happy(Judy Garlands'e bio)House of the Spirits, Daughter of Fortune and Portrait in Sepia simultaneously! I am an avid inhaler of good literature! Do you like any other books featuring Magical Realism? I am really getting into that genre these days, thanks to Ms Allende.

    Inquiring Mind
     
  11. Imported

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2000
    Messages:
    56,713
    Likes Received:
    55
    inquiringmind: Your Magnificence,

    Did you develop an interest in Count Cagliorostro after seeing "The Affair of the Necklace" ? Christopher Walken played him to perfection. Another good moviem based on literature is "Mad Love" based on the scandal of Queen "Juana the mad" of Spain and her husband King "Phillip the Handsome" . She allegedly was insanely jealous of him and they had her committed for 50 years of her life as a result of her outrageous behavior. Her parents were Isabella and Ferdinand. her grandmother queen Isabel of Portugal was allegedly "mad" also . I believe they all suffered from some type of Depressive mood disorder . If only they had Prozac and Zoloft back then .

    Inquiring mind
     
  12. Imported

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2000
    Messages:
    56,713
    Likes Received:
    55
    awellhungboi: Actually, I've always been interested in Cagliostro, and I was excited to find a reputable biography of such a shadowy figure. I haven't seen Affair of the Necklace, but I'm was thinking while I was reading today that I am definitely going to rent it! The diamond necklace affair was truly a byzantine plot, and most accounts of it I've read have bordered on the incomprehensible. I thought the account in The Last Alchemist was pretty concise, although it seemed to be trying hard to acquit Cagliostro of any blame, and pin the whole thing on Jeanne de la Motte. So I take it you didn't care for the Cagliostro book? I've really been enjoying it.

    I like 'magic realism' and fantasy a lot, although I haven't read a great deal of it beyond Marquez and some Fuentes.

    As for Jauna the Mad and Phillip the Handsome, unfortunately it seems that for many years, and maybe still, if a woman showed any strength, resolve, or independence of spirit, she would get thrown in jail or the nuthouse! Reminds me of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. He was crazier than she was, but she was the one who died in an institution. (In Asheville NC, in a fire, unfortunately. They say her ghost still walks the halls.) But you're right, a lot of those kings, queens, and earthly rulers did seem to suffer from all sorts of personality disorders. Some of them probably still do.

    This is a rambling post even by Monstro standards.
     
  13. Imported

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2000
    Messages:
    56,713
    Likes Received:
    55
    inquiringmind: Hi,
    Rambling ? not at all... you were just covering all of the bases. A really interesting site to check out is Joan's mad monarch series .The web address is : www.x s4all.nl/~kvenjb/madmon.htm . I found ot quite fascinating.
    I really do suggest reading some of Isabel Allende's work .I am reading "Daughter..." and "Portraits..." for the second time. I love her work.

    Inquiring mind
     
  14. Imported

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2000
    Messages:
    56,713
    Likes Received:
    55
    sammygirly: I've been reading "Sadomasochism" by Dr. Bill Thompson. Fascinating read and pretty involved case studies so it's taking up some time...


    Other than lifestyle literature, I'm a big horror fan....Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Anne Rice type of girl
     
  15. Imported

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2000
    Messages:
    56,713
    Likes Received:
    55
    7x6andchg: I enjoy both Mr. King and Mr. Koontz's earlier works - both seem to have declined in their later years. Stephen King, IMHO, was much better when he was trying to scare people (The Stand, The Shining) than when he was trying to gross them out.

    That said, my favorite Stephen King is The Stand - I could read that book over and over. Also loved the short story "The Mist."

    7x6&C
     
  16. Imported

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2000
    Messages:
    56,713
    Likes Received:
    55
    inquiringmind: Hi,


    Anne Rice-wonderful choice. Great lecnd of the sensual and supernatural! I have been quite disappointed by the screen adaptations though... 1) Interview with a vampire - Tom Cruise as LeStat? I don't think so!... Too white bread and ham handed. Can we say Daniel Day Lewis? Brad Pitt as Louis? Someone has been smokin' crack! How about Johnny Depp- A little crazy , a little sexy? Armand? Definitely Antonio Bandaras! Do you see a tall, dark and handsome pattern here?? I think Anne Rice meant for the Vampires to Be Black Irish... you know" Dark hair, Pale or olive skin and startling ice blue or green eyes!They would get my vote if I were casting director. All I know is even if the screenplay bombed, there would be enough eye candy around to make to a rousing success.


    Inquiring Mind


     
  17. Imported

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2000
    Messages:
    56,713
    Likes Received:
    55
    sammygirly: I hear you - and Armand was supposed to be a child vampire....Antonio Banderas what?

    And omg Paul!!! Odd when things like this happen...

    Seriously, The Stand is my favourite as well - just read it this summer for the umpteenth time. And, the only story that has ever scared me in print - was The Mist.

    Great minds huh?
     
  18. Imported

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2000
    Messages:
    56,713
    Likes Received:
    55
    7x6andchg: Sammy-

    One word.

    "Hartford" :D

    I've also liked the following groups of books, I'm a mystery fan myself:

    Ellen Hart's "Jane Lawless" series
    William X Kienzle's "Father Koesler" series
    John Sandford's "Prey" Series.

    I like them, I think, because they're well written. They also take place in places I have lived (Minneapolis, Detroit) so I enjoy knowing where they are talking about. The Prey series comes especially recommended.

    7x6&C
     
  19. Imported

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2000
    Messages:
    56,713
    Likes Received:
    55
    inquiringmind: Sammygirl,
    Armand was a young adult. I guess I was thinking an Antonio Bandaras from about 15 years ago. Yeah... that sounds good! I still liked the look doggone it!

    Inquiring Mind

    PS my Stephen King favorites were Apt pupil and the Storm of the Century.... Does he have a Maine fetish or what?
     
  20. Imported

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2000
    Messages:
    56,713
    Likes Received:
    55
    hawl: I thought M.L. (or "Melissa") Rossi's new book What Every American Should Know About The Rest Of The World was very cool. She's a travel writer (and former unauthorized biographer of Courtney Love) who "cuts to the chase" about world politics in a way that is so funny and entertaining it risks offending those who can't countenance seeing words like "iffy" and "genocide" in the same paragraph. She really doesn't seem to be pushing any agenda except the radical one of educating everyday American people on the current and even past state of the globe outside their veal-like intellectual world of work, sports scores, family issues, and the "Evening News" abridged by ads and cooking emergencies. The book is very easy to read even if you don't think it's funny. Like the also very entertaining (though conservative) old English historian/journalist Paul Johnson (Modern Times, A History Of The American People) she has a definite taste for dispensing odd, outrageous, or little-known information along the way. I mentioned her free website The Armchair Diplomat briefly in the extensive but little-read "WMD" section in "Etcetera" (perhaps it should have been titled "14 year old here with thick WMD!"). The site rocks and gives you a free taste of her writing style, along with some links etc..
     
Draft saved Draft deleted