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dorieann_gw

It's May - What Are We Reading?

dorieann
15 years ago

ItÂs an embarrassment of riches for me at the moment. IÂm currently in the middle of The Resurrectionist by Jack O'Connell, which has been pretty good if a little odd. Next up will be the newly purchased Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith, the historical thriller set in StalinÂs Soviet Union that has been garnering much praise. I canÂt wait to dig into it. I also have many great books waiting, but I just can't seem to read fast enough.

What are you reading?

Comments (77)

  • cindydavid4
    15 years ago

    Well, seeing as all of my history teachers are probably dead by now....Actually that is pretty much how our history gets taught in this country. Kids go from Columbus to Mayflower to the Revolution with little in between. In my part of the world we learn about Cortez, but next to nothing about the natives that were here when Columbus and Cortez started the age of 'discovery' (or age of genocide depending on your point of view). I think things have changed over the last 40 years - at the school where I teach I see the kids learning much about the tribes in our area, and learning more about the aftermath of Columbus et al. Lets hope so.

    >It would be a warmer version of Quebec.

    Hee, yep. Wonder if we'd still be complaining about immigrants coming over the border.

    >Do you think that John Ames died at the end of the book, or not?

    Mmm, I didn't think there was much doubt. What gives the impression that he didn't?

  • deborah47
    15 years ago

    "warmer version of Quebec"

    I grew up in Quebec and yes, unfortunately they do have immigration issues, not exactly like we have in the US now but similar. My mother is French and my dad was Ukrainian. His mother protested their marriage.

    "History in American schools"

    The last of my 3 kids is finishing HS and I think that they have tried to broaden the history that is taught but if you think about it- there's a heck of a lot history to choose from and not as much classroom time. For example my daughter will be taking a history class next year and one half of the year will be solely on WWII. So it depends on who the teacher is, where, etc. I'm actually quite pleased with the stuff my kids have learned and it has lead to many great discussions at home and after all isn't that education is- opening their eyes and hoping they pursue things further?

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  • lemonhead101
    15 years ago

    When I was growing up in England, we studied English history up until about the WWI (but not so much the kings and queens as the actual events that occurred). Then we jumped to the history of Native Americans in the US and women's emancipation in England. We rather went all over the map that last year. Interesting though. It must be hard to choose which chapters to study and which countries since we are all so inter-related now. Does the school board choose the topics or is it chosen by the test-makers?

    Back to reading: I am reading "London in the War: 1939-1945" by Philip Zieglar. Very interesting as he uses oral history and people's journals to get the real story on life in London during WWII. Loving it - fascinating stuff.

  • woodnymph2_gw
    15 years ago

    In seventh grade public school in Atlanta, we had a teacher who had just moved to the deep South from New England. I think the different culture really concerned her. We were supposed to study the Revolutionary War against Britain, then segue into the American War Between the States, and so on.... Mrs. Nichols completely skipped over the Civil War, despite our text books, and she got away with it! I can only assume she felt sorry for the southerners were were "losers" in our Civil War. So what I have learned re the Civil War in the US, I had to study on my own. Having said this, she was a wonderful teacher and a most sensitive individual.

  • J C
    15 years ago

    I can imagine how your teacher felt. She must have wrestled with trying to teach the subject in a sensitive manner. The Civil War is a fascinating subject, though. I'm not even sure what I learned about it in school, as I have read a great deal about it on my own, and even had an enlightened teacher that assigned novels about that era as a teaching aid. Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt immediately springs to mind. And I've seen the Ken Burns Civil War documentary at least twice.

    I have so many wonderful books to read right now...I can't put any of them down, which is causing severe problems in my personal life. Here is a list -

    Loving Frank - Nancy Horan - a novel about Frank Lloyd Wright's lover, who was horribly murdered along with her children at his Wisconsin home, Taliesin.

    Silver - Edward Chupack - a recommendation from here at RP

    Diary of a Bad Year - J.M. Coetzee

    Sophie's Choice - William Styron (I'm a big Styron fan)

    Fingersmith - Sarah Waters - what a page turner!

    When Science Goes Wrong - Simon LeVay - terrific nonfiction about...when science goes wrong.

  • sheriz6
    15 years ago

    Since I missed the first episode of Cranford on PBS this past weekend, I pulled the book out and started it, instead. It's a bit slow, but I'm gradually getting into it. This morning I ordered a copy of the DVD so I can see the whole thing at a later date. I'm also reading Mrs. Fytton's Country Life by Mavis Cheek and enjoying it.

  • rouan
    15 years ago

    I got tired of listening to The Egyptologist and returned it to the library. I want to know what happens now, not 6 hours of listening later (the cd is 14 discs long). I have the book waiting for me at the library so will be able to finish it in a couple of hours at most. I'm listening to Mansfield Park by Jane Austen instead. I needed a change of pace.

    I missed the first episode of Cranford so put that book on hold for myself as well. It looks interesting so can't wait to get it. My youngest sister said she really enjoyed watching it and plans to see the whole thing, so I might try to watch part 2 and see if I can follow what's happened.

  • thyrkas
    15 years ago

    cindy - It doesn't say explicitly in the book that John Ames dies at the end, and my hopeful nature wants to think that he lived long enough to write a few more letters to his son. A friend has called me 'terminally positive' - guess she is right.

  • phoebecaulfield
    15 years ago

    I'm almost finished listening to Arc of Justice by Kevin Boyle. It is an account of a well-known case in Detroit where an African-American doctor and his family moved into a house in an all-white area, a mob pelted the house with rocks, and the doctor and some of his relatives and friends fired some shots above the crowd but happened to kill a man. They were tried for murder. The case was handled by Clarence Darrow.

  • carolyn_ky
    15 years ago

    Yesterday I read Why Mermaids Sing, a Sebastian St. Cyr mystery by C. S. Lewis. Obviously, I enjoyed it since I read it in one day!

  • sheriz6
    15 years ago

    I just zipped through the newest Joanna Trollope, Friday Nights. I like her writing, though this is much the same as her other books, full of telling details of daily life, messy relationships, and half-finished conversations.

    Now back to Cranford, which I'm really enjoying.

  • veronicae
    15 years ago

    I found Things I want my Daughters to Know by Noble at the bookstore on Friday...just the kind of book I need for a break from some heavier reading, and a good match for the rainy weather.

  • veer
    15 years ago

    I tried Ruth Rendell's A Sight for Sore Eyes just for a change of pace but couldn't get through it.
    Lots of build-up of some probably very nasty characters with many psychological flaws but by half way nothing had happened and I'm not keen enough on blood, bodies, mutilations (or what ever is going to take place) so it goes back to the library.
    A totally different read was Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Today.
    In the form of e mails, Government Inspectors Reports, diary entries and Hansard (the official report of the proceedings of the UK Parliament) we meet a wealthy Arab ruler with a love of fishing and a crazy idea and a put-upon scientific Civil Servant given the job of introducing salmon to a Yemeni river.
    Despite the most unlikely story there are some wonderful pictures of the behind-the-scenes workings of a Blair-type Prime Minister with hangers-on dictating policy, senior Civil servants bullying their juniors and MP's worming their way out of tricky situations.
    A plus for me were the descriptions of the mountains of the Yemen, an area of which I know little.

  • cindydavid4
    15 years ago

    >Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Today

    This sounds like a book I need to read. Thanks for the rec

    Finished Voyage and still think this should be a required read for HS. It really is quite wonderful.

    Now rereading In The Image, because a friend is just reading it and I so want to discuss it with someone!

  • veer
    15 years ago

    Cindy, sorry that should read Paul Torday It is his first book and certainly 'different'!

  • lemonhead101
    15 years ago

    I am reading "UltraMarathon Man" again for study purposes, and then Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" which is a nice contrast so far. Enjoying both of them.

  • carolyn_ky
    15 years ago

    I have started In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker. I'm not usually fond of science fiction/fantasy, but this is great. Thanks to whoever recommended it.

  • rosefolly
    15 years ago

    Carolyn, several of us on this forum are fans and have mentioned Kage Baker's books, so I'm not sure just whose recommendation caught your eye. Here at home I have been talking about how clever these books are for so long now that my husband has just picked it up and is starting to read it. His favorite genre is mystery but he is open to anything intriguing.

    Rosefolly

  • lemonhead101
    15 years ago

    For some reason, I can't seem to get into Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" - I guess I have heard the message too many times now - Eat local - so it's not news to me. Does anyone else try to do this? If I did it in this area, I think I would end up pretty hungry as all I see in the fields is cotton and corn.

  • woodnymph2_gw
    15 years ago

    lemonhead, in my city, it is difficult to "eat local." The farmers markets are either far distant, requiring much driving in heavy traffic, or in dangerous areas. Once in a while, I see a stand with fresh strawberries for sale, in season, which is a delight. A lot of folks here do have small gardens where they grow tomatoes, peppers, and herbs, however.

  • veer
    15 years ago

    Liz, you will remember from growing up in England what pride many people take in their veggie gardens. Even young professional types are taking up gardening either at home or by renting an 'allotment' from the local Council; being Green is very fashionable now.
    Farmer's Markets are also springing up everywhere, some rather 'posh' where you must be seen in your green wellies and others more down-to-earth. Our very small local monthly market has prize-winning Double and Single Gloucester cheese and wonderful apple and pear juice plus 'home-cured' bacon, gammon, lamb and beef. And out near-by 'Estate' does a good line in venison.
    The DH tries to grow most of our our own fruit and veg and we freeze the surplus. Our hens provide eggs but we still need to visit the butcher for meat, unless a passing pheasant falls dead at our feet.
    I suppose with some careful planning it would just be possible to live without supermarkets. We are surrounded by fields of dairy cows, the DH goes trout fishing . . . bread would be a problem. Although we bake our own, gleaning for ears of corn then grinding it must be so very time-consuming and seasonal. Luckily Prince Charles does an interesting line in organic flour.
    Don't I sound slim, healthy . . . and smug. ;-)

    Mary, your road-side fruit stalls remind me of when I was a child and these stalls selling plums, apples, strawberries, lettuce etc were seen every few miles. Alas many/most of them have fallen foul of EU regulations or the latest 'Health and Safety' directives rained down from the Powers That Be.

  • woodnymph2_gw
    15 years ago

    Vee, your descriptions of your local market produce are mouth-watering. I can only say how envious I am!

  • dynomutt
    15 years ago

    Vee --

    Wow. I'm quite impressed. And very daunted -- I wouldn't even ATTEMPT to do anything like that. I have been cursed (gifted?) with a brown thumb -- anything even remotely plant-like that I touch invariably goes withers and goes brown. Of course, I haven't really tried much. Someone once gave me a plant and I managed to almost kill the thing. Fortunately, a friend saw it and rescued it from my clutches.

    I would be TOTALLY lost if I didn't live next to two massive supermarkets, one of which is a 24 hour store. (Of course, I would also be lost if I didn't live close to a Future Shop -- a big box electronics store, something like a Best Buy) for you Americans.

    Ok, on to the books.

    I've finished Augustus and, frankly, I was a tad disappointed. Sure, it was readable but it was almost TOO readable to the point of almost being dumbed down!

    Anyway, I think I'm going to re-read By the Sword: Gladiators, Musketeers, Duelists, Samurai, Swashbucklers and Points of Honour by Richard Cohen. It's a book about fencing and the history of not just fencing but also of Olympic fencing. With the Olympics looming, I plan on (somehow) watching the fencing matches either online or on CBC!

    The US fencing team has a pretty good chance at grabbing a quite few medals in women's saber. I think they've got a world champion in their lineup as well as the Olympic gold medalist from '04.

    On the Canadian side, we've got an interesting team. On women's foil, we've got a former Olympic gold medalist (she took gold in 1984 for China), a former Russian for men's epee (I think he has an Olympic medal as well but for the good ol' USSR), and a former #1 in the world in women's epee. It'll be an interesting Olympics!

  • lemonhead101
    15 years ago

    Vee - you didn't sound smug - you sounded like you were explaining to a dehydrated Texas (no rain for a while here) what your local farmer's market was like. It sounds wonderful.

    We have a farmer's market here but it is pitiful and in a dangerous part of town. I am working with a friend of mine to see if we can get another one started but we'll see.

    Does anyone do CSAs? (Community Supported Agriculture where you pay something like $150 for a year's supply of weekly deliveries of whatever is in season. I have heard mixed reviews of these....

  • rosefolly
    15 years ago

    We belong to a CSA called Full Belly Farm and could not recommend it more highly. Ours runs about eleven months of the year, a luxury of the local climate. The quality of the produce is outstanding. There are also a lot of farmers' markets in our area, though we don't use them much. We have a fig tree, a mulberry and several citrus trees that are productive and recently have planted a number of other fruit trees that are too young to bear anything yet. And we grow tomatoes, beans, peas, squashes of various kinds and some herbs for cooking (as well as roses, of course!). We try to eat seasonally and locally, but don't make it a hard-and-fast rule. I have the luxury of a large back yard, but you can grow a surprising amount of food on a quarter acre lot, and enough to be worth bothering on one even smaller.

    I could almost cross post this on the thread about hobbies inspired by books!

    Rosefolly

  • woodnymph2_gw
    15 years ago

    Are CSA's similar to or related to "co-ops"?

  • veer
    15 years ago

    I've been reading Reflections of Sunflowers by Ruth Silvestre, the third in a trilogy of books about the author's family doing-up an old farm in the Lot-en-Garonne area of SW France. I must now go back and try and find the first two books.
    Great details of the local produce markets held in every small town and the importance good quality food, its preparation and the enjoyment of eating, no microwaves, packets, cans etc . . . so unlike the way of life over here.
    Also lots of interesting information on the history of the region

  • bookmom41
    15 years ago

    It was the same for me with Animal, Vegetable, Mineral; just couldn't stick with it, and ended up scanning the recipes and a chapter here and there. I do have a summer garden and grow "easy" veggies like tomatoes, green beans, zucchini and squash, along with herbs throughout my beds. I also have access to markets carrying fresh produce, some of which I do freeze. Attempting to either grow or purchase locally all of our food, however, would require far more time than my husband or I have.

    And on that food note, I am reading a biography of Milton S. Hershey, of Hershey chocolate (as opposed to the ice cream) fame. Growing up in southcentral PA, everyone was familiar with Hershey and his candy, town, amusement park, and charitable school. I've just started the book but so far, it is promising.

  • cindydavid4
    15 years ago

    A dear friend of ours was born in Hershey, and grew up there. To this day she cannot stand chocolate. So she gives me hers when she gets some as a present. Works out just fine :)

    We have a few farmer's markets here, but they are a sad cousin to the ones I've seen in SF or NYC. Its strange too, because so much fruit and veggies are grown here. When I was a kid, there would be orange stands everyhwere, as the valley was filled with orange groves. Those were heavenly. But those groves are now housing developments.

  • sheriz6
    15 years ago

    I just finished a clever murder mystery by Beverley Nichols titled No Man's Street. He's no competition for Agatha Christie, but it was tightly plotted and IMO rather good. Only his garden books are still in print, so I had to hunt this one down as I was curious about his other writing. I've ordered another of his whodunnits, The Moonflower, too.

    Since I'm on a Nichols jag, Garden Open Today will be next.

  • socks
    15 years ago

    Two Old Women, An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival.

    Short, easy read. Good story.

  • cindydavid4
    15 years ago

    Now reading The World in a City: traveling the globe through the neighborhoods of New York by Joseph Berger. This is lots of fun, and just perfect to prepare for our trip next month. We plan on hitting areas we haven't explored and I am already finding some interesting stops

    Also reading Blood of Flowers, the story of a Persian girl in 17th century Iran who was forced to work as a carpet weaver. Just started it, so far very good.

  • woodnymph2_gw
    15 years ago

    Haven't been able to find some of the newer books I want at our libraries, so have gone back into my own library and am reading some old favorites, such as Gide's "Strait is the Gate", and others.

  • dorieann
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    I recently finished Sundays at TiffanyÂs by James Patterson & Co., and was (of course) disappointed. I had a feeling I was making a mistake when I got it. Cute premise for a romance novel, but badly written. If youÂre interested in this book, I recommend getting it from the library or waiting for the mass market paperback to come out, because it isnÂt worth the hardcover price.

    IÂm currently reading The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe. This is another one of those mystery novels where a literary author is using a pseudonym to branch out into crime fiction. I donÂt really care who the author is, as long as the book is good. WeÂll see.

  • thyrkas
    15 years ago

    Read 'On Chesil Beach'. Skillfully written, it's the story of a failed wedding night and its repercussions. The center of the story, in my thinking, is the situation which is hinted at but not consciously acknowledged by Florence (or fully written about by McEwan), the sexual abuse she experienced at the hands of her father. This is the only way the story makes any sense to me; I then can understand the agony Florence experiences as she tries to love Edward without sexual intimacy. There is a lot more to the story, even though it is a short book.

  • lemonhead101
    15 years ago

    Trying to cut down my TBR pile, so reading "Straight Man" by Richard Russo about the politics and antics of an English department in a non-descript college on the east coast. It's fun so far. Reminiscent of David Lodge in some ways.

  • pam53
    15 years ago

    I just finished two good books and quick reads from the library-Yrsa Sigurdardottir's Last Rituals, a mystery, and a charming love story by Will North-The Long Walk Home. Nothing too taxing for me in the spring/summer.

  • phaedosia
    15 years ago

    This month I finished Five Skies by Ron Carlson. I loved it--it reminded me a lot of Kent Haruf's books. Big sweeping landscape and quirky characters with interesting back-stories. (In a nutshell, three guys are building a big Evel Knievel-style ramp out in the middle of the wilderness. Each has a lot of growing to do.) And Carlson's descriptions of the food they eat. . .mmmm. They ate better out camping than I ever do at home!

    I also read No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July (isn't that a great name?). I really enjoyed it, especially the story about the girl teaching her senior citizen neighbors how to swim in her apartment. The book was a little risque, though, so I probably wouldn't recommend it to my co-workers or family members. Still, a good book.

  • Kath
    15 years ago

    I read Phillipa Gregory's latest, The Other Queen, and by the end I was thinking 'cut her head off, for goodness sake!!'. It needed to be edited a lot. Mary Queen of Scots in particular said the same thing over and over and over, and after about halfway, the Earl of Shrewsbury was the same. Bess of Hardwick was by far the most interesting character, but I was happy to finish.
    Now I am reading Cold Granite, by Stuart MacBride, the first of four (at the moment) police procedurals set in Aberdeen. I am enjoying this very much, but will wait til I get to the exposition before I give my final review.

  • carolyn_ky
    15 years ago

    I have just started Black Ships, and it is interesting; but speaking of editors, right away I found, "She laid down on her pallet." Oh, dear; oh, dear.

  • sheriz6
    15 years ago

    I finished the very enjoyable Beverley Nichols Garden Open Today and now have a laundry list of flowers I'd like to try to find and plant.

    I'm currently meandering through Bill Bryson's first book, The Palace Under The Alps, which is in fact a tour guide published in 1985. There are glimmers of his trademark humor in his descriptions of places, but it's a very factual book detailing out-of-the-way places to visit in Europe right down to entry fees and which bus will take you there. I can't fathom why it was published as a hardcover when its contents were so quickly dated.

    I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of another OOP Nichols murder mystery, The Moonflower, and that will be next. Then it's back to the TBR pile.

  • kren250
    15 years ago

    Yesterday I finished The Tortilla Curtain by TC Boyle, which I thought was excellent. I rated it a 5/5.

    Last night I started Graceland by Chris Abani. The back cover says it's about a teenage boy hoping to make his way out of the ghetto in Lagos, Nigeria. It's a book club read, and the members who have already read it claim it's excellent. We shall see! So far it seems pretty good, but I'm only on page 6:-)

    Kelly

  • carolyn_ky
    15 years ago

    I finished and absolutely loved Black Ships. Now I have started Winter Study, new by Nevada Barr. I enjoy her books, but this one hasn't grabbed me yet. It is set on Isle Royale (the second one at that location) and deals with the study of the returned wolf population.

  • georgia_peach
    15 years ago

    I think it would be interesting to read Black Ships back-to-back with Le Guin's new one, Lavinia, since they are both spin-offs of The Aeneid. It will be awhile before I get my hands on either of those, though.

    I just finished Gaiman's Neverwhere which was fun. Now, I'm probably going to start the recently reissued The Underground City by H.L. Humes, which is a bit of a literary thriller in post-WWII France. This is a big, thick fat one.

  • sheriz6
    15 years ago

    The library surprised me again with a book I forgot I requested, The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen (author of Garden Spells, which I liked quite a bit). I've just started and so far, so good.

  • cindydavid4
    15 years ago

    georgia, I loved Neverwhere, and know that the next time I visit London, I will not be able to think of the tube in quite the same way

    Finished Blood of Flowers. Not a bad debut novel, it certainly has a twist midway through that captured my attention. Like many first novelists, she had trouble ending the book and I found it to be rather nebulous and long. But its worth reading.

  • sheriz6
    15 years ago

    I finished The Sugar Queen in one day and loved it. If you liked Garden Spells, you'll definitely like this one.

  • Kath
    15 years ago

    I enjoyed Cold Granite and am now reading the second of MacBride's books, Dying Light.

  • carolyn_ky
    15 years ago

    I have just started Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo and am liking it better than I did Empire Falls, the only other book of his that I have read.

  • veronicae
    15 years ago

    carolyn - Nobody's Fool is very good as well.

    We visited the northern areas of Maine last August...and I kept seeing places and buildings that seemed as though they could be settings for Empire Falls. Then I saw the movie...the location crew picked a lot of the the same kind of places as I had. Maybe I have a new career.

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