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» Ship of Fools   » Community discussion   » Heaven   » Lost in a Good Book: What are you reading in 2017? (Page 5)

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Source: (consider it) Thread: Lost in a Good Book: What are you reading in 2017?
Twilight

Puddleglum's sister
# 2832

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A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towels.

I'm about half way into this and, like the thread title says, I am lost in it. Our protagonist is a Russian Count who begins the novel in 1922, in a court room where he is on trial for having written some poetry that just might be slightly pro aristocrat. No one is quite sure.

So the powers that be don't send him to prison, but sentence him to stay inside his hotel for the rest of his life. It's an elegant, lavish, pre-revolutionary hotel so it's not bad at all and it gives Count Rostov a uniquely observational place in the world, where he watches the society around him through his lens of youth and wit.

Last year, I read his Rules of Civility and loved it. This is lighter in tone, but similar in that the author is still very interested in just what refinements of behavior make us better people.

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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.

Anything I could say that would even come close to doing it justice would be hackneyed and cliché. Tour de force. Breaks new ground. Like nothing I've ever read.

It definitely has relevance to the SOF since it's about a missionary family, and their experience in the country they go to evangelize (Congo). And then some. There's plenty of Scripture and personal relationships with God and baptisms (or lack thereof) to make it a book of religious interest. But it's far more than that.

Her ability to weave five voices, and age them appropriately as the story goes on, is amazing. And the story arcs themselves are compelling in their own right.

Two thumbs up.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Twilight

Puddleglum's sister
# 2832

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It's hard to believe, The Poisonwood Bible is almost 20 years old. I'm surprised how well I remember it -- a sign of a very good book, I think.

I read it with a book club I belonged to in Georgia. We were all just blown away by it. I remember that lots of people just hated the shallow, teen age girl of the family, but I thought she was a great character, showing just how heartless and disinterested a missionary's child might be. Ultimately, she did less harm than her dedicated father.

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Palimpsest
Shipmate
# 16772

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The end of Eddy.
A memoir of a French Gay man growing up in poverty in Northern France in a dysfunctional family in a dysfunctional town.

It's well written and interesting with a large sense of grievance.

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leo
Shipmate
# 1458

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quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
The end of Eddy.
A memoir of a French Gay man growing up in poverty in Northern France in a dysfunctional family in a dysfunctional town.

It's well written and interesting with a large sense of grievance.

Just read this and my book group is due to discuss it tonight.

Very well-written but full of misery - was famine and homophobia really so widespread in 1990s France? - it reads moere like the 1950s.

--------------------
My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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Welease Woderwick

Sister Incubus Nightmare
# 10424

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Courtesy of my kindle I have just reread, for the first time in a while, C S Forester's The African Queen - I had more memories of the Bogart/Hepburn film than of the book but the book was definitely worth the revisit and it is so much more poignant than the film. Having said that the film, which I shall probably see again next week, is pretty darned good.

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I give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Fancy a break in South India?
Accessible Homestay Guesthouse in Central Kerala, contact me for details

What part of Matt. 7:1 don't you understand?

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Brenda Clough
Shipmate
# 18061

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Forester is a grand writer, and his influence upon genre fiction is not as well-known as it ought to be. (Star Trek was originally conceived as Horacio Hornblower in space.)

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
Forester is a grand writer, and his influence upon genre fiction is not as well-known as it ought to be. (Star Trek was originally conceived as Horacio Hornblower in space.)

The other inspirations were Gulliver's Travels (Jonathon Swift) - Gene Roddenberry wanted a morality tale as another layer - and he publicly said it was a western based on Wagon Trails. Wagon Trails probably because of the 1960s interest in westerns.

Back in the days of Newsnet, here in Canada on Netnorth a precursor of the internet (Bitnet elsewhere), rec.arts.startrek had debates about things like this extensively.

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Eigon
Shipmate
# 4917

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I'm really enjoying Pete Brown's The Apple Orchard, which encompasses history, mythology and science, as he visits orchards around the UK. He started off as a beer writer (and his books like Hops and Glory and Three Sheets in the Wind are very good too). Having started researching cider and apples, though, he says he's now obsessed! I went to see him speak about the book at last year's Hay Winter Festival, so was lucky enough to get the hardback signed.

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Never cruel nor cowardly.
Never give up, never give in.
The Doctor's Promise

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Welease Woderwick

Sister Incubus Nightmare
# 10424

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I spotted Charles Allen's The Buddha and the Sahibs in my Kindle recommendations and bought it, being a fan of his writing. I started it yesterday and it is excellent!

It is about the Orientalists who worked for the East India Company, their "discovery" of Buddhism and the upsurge of interest their work created in both East and West. So far I am about 40% of the way through and may well finish it in the next couple of days.

This has led me to finding another book by the same author so I think my VISA card might take a bit of a battering this weekend.

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I give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Fancy a break in South India?
Accessible Homestay Guesthouse in Central Kerala, contact me for details

What part of Matt. 7:1 don't you understand?

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MaryLouise
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# 18697

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I read a review of Charles Allen's Buddha and the Sahibs years ago by William Dalrymple (I think) and it was so sympathetic I wanted to rush out and buy a copy. It's back on my order list.

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“As regards plots I find real life no help at all. Real life seems to have no plots.”

-- Ivy Compton-Burnett

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Nicolemr
Shipmate
# 28

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Just got my limited edition copy of Ben Aaronovitch's new Rivers of London novella, The Furthest Station. Can't wait to start reading it!

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On pilgrimage in the endless realms of Cyberia, currently traveling by ship. Now with live journal!

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Scots lass
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# 2699

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Bah! We don't get it until September. Let us know if it's good...
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Huia
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quote:
Originally posted by Nicolemr:
Just got my limited edition copy of Ben Aaronovitch's new Rivers of London novella, The Furthest Station. Can't wait to start reading it!

Thank you so much for posting this. I hot footed it to the library and asked them to order it (knowing that Ben Aaronovitch is on their buying list anyway). This means I am head of the reserves queue when it arrives at Christchurch Public Libraries [Yipee] and it will cost me all of $3 to read. It does help knowing how to use the system, but a heads up for what is coming makes it possible.

Another book I have on hold is about crafting with cat fur. From the picture on the cover it looks like felting, and as Georgie-Porgy has fur in abundance it could be a possibility. Maybe she could even earn her keep. [Biased]

Huia

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Charity gives food from the table, Justice gives a place at the table.

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lily pad
Shipmate
# 11456

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I am about to begin the first book of the Outlander series. I don't really know what I am in for but I will give it a try.

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Sloppiness is not caring. Fussiness is caring about the wrong things. With thanks to Adeodatus!

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Caissa
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# 16710

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I read this book earlier this year. It is long and could have used an edit down to about half its length. The plot twists are rather cliche.
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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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I was unable to get into it, but this often happens. There is a ginormous and absolutely rabid fandom out there, vast chat boards and newsgroups, an entire universe of Outlander which (if you like the books) you could delve into. It also has been dramatized on STARZ, quite faithfully to the books. I forget how many volumes there are -- nine? thirteen? It's three or four separate groupings of novels. So the TV series will be able to go on for yonks.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

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Welease Woderwick

Sister Incubus Nightmare
# 10424

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quote:
Originally posted by MaryLouise:
I read a review of Charles Allen's Buddha and the Sahibs years ago by William Dalrymple (I think) and it was so sympathetic I wanted to rush out and buy a copy. It's back on my order list.

Book finished and I thought it was well done, very informative. Please let me know what you think if you manage to give it a go.

I am now reading something a bit lighter [The Bertie Project by Alexander McCall Smith] before I start the next Charles Allen about Ashoka.

--------------------
I give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Fancy a break in South India?
Accessible Homestay Guesthouse in Central Kerala, contact me for details

What part of Matt. 7:1 don't you understand?

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Curiosity killed ...

Ship's Mug
# 11770

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I've read some of the Outlander books, some years ago. I enjoyed the first few, but reckoned they jumped the shark part way through and haven't kept up with where they went.

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

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Jack the Lass

Ship's airhead
# 3415

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I bought the first of the Outlander books as it was on special offer in the kobo store - I didn't want to pay full price in case I hated it. On another forum I frequent there are a couple of diehard Outlander fans, and their reviews have made me curious. But I'm not going to commit till I've had a go at reading the first one (it's still on the TBR pile, along with *mumbletymumblehundreds* others, so I don't know when I'll eventually get to it).

I'm currently reading Margot Lee Shetterly's "Hidden Figures" about the African-American women who were employed as mathematicians and who made a huge contribution to the computing that enabled the American participation in the space race. I'm enjoying it so far, although I remain shocked when I think about how recently segregation was still the norm (I know I shouldn't be shocked, and the UK hardly has the most stellar history of race relations either). It's been made into a film, I'd like to see that too.

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"My body is a temple - it's big and doesn't move." (Jo Brand)
wiblog blipfoto blog

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Brenda Clough
Shipmate
# 18061

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The film is widely hailed as superb.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

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Nicolemr
Shipmate
# 28

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I'm now reading a Jonathan Kellerman Alex Delaware mystery. An old one I got second hand, it's from, I think 1992. It's called Private Eyes, and as all the Alex Delaware books, I'm loving it.

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On pilgrimage in the endless realms of Cyberia, currently traveling by ship. Now with live journal!

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Welease Woderwick

Sister Incubus Nightmare
# 10424

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I have tried and failed at reading Jonathan Kellerman in the past despite several people encouraging me to give him a go - there is just something in his writing style that I don't seem to get.

Oh well, nobody is perfect and certainly not me. when I am devoid of other reading material I'll give him another go.

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I give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Fancy a break in South India?
Accessible Homestay Guesthouse in Central Kerala, contact me for details

What part of Matt. 7:1 don't you understand?

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Brenda Clough
Shipmate
# 18061

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A friend of mine has recommended the St. Cyr mysteries; they're about a Regency viscount turned detective. Anyone read them?

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

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Trudy Scrumptious

BBE Shieldmaiden
# 5647

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quote:
Originally posted by Jack the Lass:

I'm currently reading Margot Lee Shetterly's "Hidden Figures" about the African-American women who were employed as mathematicians and who made a huge contribution to the computing that enabled the American participation in the space race. I'm enjoying it so far, although I remain shocked when I think about how recently segregation was still the norm (I know I shouldn't be shocked, and the UK hardly has the most stellar history of race relations either). It's been made into a film, I'd like to see that too.

I saw the movie first; it was quite good, and then, as often happens, I picked up the book because I wanted to know more. In the usual way of feature films, the movie condenses, dramatizes, and simplifies a lot of the very complex experiences that these women had over more than two decades. I think the movie is a good way of introducing the story to people who don't know anything about these women and their contribution, but the book offers so much more background.

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Books and things.

I lied. There are no things. Just books.

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
# 15978

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I'm having another go at 'The Brothers Karamazov', and this time I'm really enjoying it.
This quote (from 1880) jumped out at me as something ship readers might find pertinent:

quote:
They maintain that the world is getting more and more united, more and more bound together in brotherly community, as it overcomes distance and sets thoughts flying through the air.

Alas, put no faith in such a bond of union.



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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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leo
Shipmate
# 1458

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Days Without End by Sebastian Barry about the American Civil War - carnage but also love of comrades.

--------------------
My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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Huia
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# 3473

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
A friend of mine has recommended the St. Cyr mysteries; they're about a Regency viscount turned detective. Anyone read them?

The name sounds familiar, so I've probably read one or two in the past, but not to the point of hunting them out as a "must read".

My latest "must read the next one" series is by Becky Masterman, and feature Brigid Quinn, a retired FBI agent. There are only 3 so far, and unusually for me,I started with the first one,
Rage Against The Dying, and I was hooked. The Boston Globe reviewer sums up the hero as powerful, and flawed, needy and tough. Her relationship with her husband is interesting too and develops over the course of the books. I have just begun the third book, A Twist of the Knife and it promises to be as well written and exciting as the others. As it was published this year I will have to wait for the next one [Waterworks]

Huia

[ 22. June 2017, 22:07: Message edited by: Huia ]

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Charity gives food from the table, Justice gives a place at the table.

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Welease Woderwick

Sister Incubus Nightmare
# 10424

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This afternoon I finished re-reading Joshua Slocum's Sailing Alone Around the World.

Still excellent after all these years.

--------------------
I give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Fancy a break in South India?
Accessible Homestay Guesthouse in Central Kerala, contact me for details

What part of Matt. 7:1 don't you understand?

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Welease Woderwick

Sister Incubus Nightmare
# 10424

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Today I re-read Little Lord Fauntleroy and then was wondering what to read next when my eye fell upon Alan Garner's The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and decided to give it a go as it is a while since I read it and I grew up just the other side of Ringway and spent a fair bit of time on Alderley Edge way back then.

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I give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Fancy a break in South India?
Accessible Homestay Guesthouse in Central Kerala, contact me for details

What part of Matt. 7:1 don't you understand?

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wild haggis
Apprentice
# 15555

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"The Essex Serpent" is a good novel. It catches the whole atmosphere of the Essex coastline and mud flats (we used to live near there).

I certainly enjoyed it Give it a go.

Just finished the latest in the series of the "Detective's Daughter" set in the Hammersmith/Kew/Chiswick area of London. Tremendously accurate in description and a wee bit creepy. Good bedtime reading.

An now reading Jamina Ramerez's "Anglo Saxon Saints." I know she's a brilliant historian but could do without the non-historical comments e.g. aligning Saint Alban's sacrifice to ISIS - suicide bombers - totally wrong and inaproprate. Still a good read though.

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wild haggis

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Brenda Clough
Shipmate
# 18061

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Oh look, we have the same picture.

Perhaps we could do one of the Edwardian classics. Frances Hodgson Burnett is readily available.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

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lily pad
Shipmate
# 11456

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quote:
Originally posted by Jack the Lass:
I bought the first of the Outlander books as it was on special offer in the kobo store - I didn't want to pay full price in case I hated it. On another forum I frequent there are a couple of diehard Outlander fans, and their reviews have made me curious. But I'm not going to commit till I've had a go at reading the first one (it's still on the TBR pile, along with *mumbletymumblehundreds* others, so I don't know when I'll eventually get to it).

I'm currently reading Margot Lee Shetterly's "Hidden Figures" about the African-American women who were employed as mathematicians and who made a huge contribution to the computing that enabled the American participation in the space race. I'm enjoying it so far, although I remain shocked when I think about how recently segregation was still the norm (I know I shouldn't be shocked, and the UK hardly has the most stellar history of race relations either). It's been made into a film, I'd like to see that too.

I wish you lived closer, I am all out of books! There is a huge following of the Outlander series here and the author was visiting a month or so ago. I found the story to be quite interesting but there was too much brutality and I was surprised by the sex scenes! [Eek!] In any case, I don't think I will read any of the others.

Huia, I am not sure if you can get them there, but my latest favourite mystery writers are Louise Penny, who writes about Inspector Gamache, and Peggy Blair, who writes about Inspector Ramirez. Both write well and the stories are compelling without being terribly graphic.

I've just tried to log on to our library site to order a few of the books people have mentioned here but it appears to be down. Oh no! What's a person to do!?!

Back to the Maeve Binchy books for me. [Smile]

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Sloppiness is not caring. Fussiness is caring about the wrong things. With thanks to Adeodatus!

Posts: 2266 | From: Truly Canadian | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
M.
Ship's Spare Part
# 3291

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I'm deep in a Robert Goddard phase at the moment. I love them but can only read a few before I need a break. I'm on my third in this phase, and I think it's enough for now.

Perhaps a few more later in the year.

M.

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lily pad
Shipmate
# 11456

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Library website is back up and a bunch from this list have been ordered in. Huia, I got all three of those books that you mentioned - they look a little intense for me but I will give them a try. Thanks, everyone, for the recommendations.

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Sloppiness is not caring. Fussiness is caring about the wrong things. With thanks to Adeodatus!

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Huia
Shipmate
# 3473

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Lily pad I agree those books are intense in places and I'm not sure I would always feel comfortable reading them.

Some authors, like Nicci French I wouldn't read when I was feeling stressed out after the quakes because I couldn't bear the uncertainty. Alexander McCall Smith, especially his
Number One Ladies Detective Agency series are great when I need something warm and life affirming.

What a relief that the library computer was fixed - I suffer withdrawal symptoms when our goes down.

Huia

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Charity gives food from the table, Justice gives a place at the table.

Posts: 9785 | From: Te Wai Pounamu | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Zappa
Ship's Wake
# 8433

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Currently, Thomas Pynchon. And I have not a friggin' clue what he's on or on about.

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and mayhap this too: http://broken-moments.blogspot.co.nz/

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ArachnidinElmet
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# 17346

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The only thing I know about Thomas Pynchon and his novels is that no one knows what he is going on about.

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'If a pleasant, straight-forward life is not possible then one must try to wriggle through by subtle manoeuvres' - Kafka

Posts: 1774 | From: the rhubarb triangle | Registered: Sep 2012  |  IP: Logged
Hedgehog

Ship's Shortstop
# 14125

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I have been slowly (VERY slowly) reading Pynchon's Mason & Dixon. I am still uncertain whether it is better to read it sober or drunk: When reading it drunk, I have no hope of understanding what is going on, but when I read it sober I only get a page or so in before thinking "Oh, G-d, I need a drink."

Still, I gather there are those who delight in his obscurity and have websites explaining the esoteric allusions he is making.

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"We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it."--Pope Francis, Laudato Si'

Posts: 2547 | From: Delaware, USA | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged
Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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Does anyone ever pick up a book and say, "Oh, I hope it's obscure and unclear. I have no desire to understand it"? For years now in writing classes I have been urging my students to pursue clarity. Unclearness of writing indicates unclearness of thought, is the theory.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

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Hedgehog

Ship's Shortstop
# 14125

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I believe some see it as a challenge or a puzzle. Like this commentator:
quote:
I also quickly discovered how much my poor cerebral synapses had missed Pynchon's patented mix of highjinks, metaphysics, and penumbras; I could feel all kinds of unused parts of my brain firing up again as paradoxes were posed and allusions and analogies multiplied on every page.
Personally, I don't like to have to work that hard in understanding a book, but I suppose it is sort of the point where fiction and poetry intermingle. We are so used to poetry, in its tight construction, to require a little more thought and pondering to uncover its meaning; to figure out what old Prufrock is really up to. If poets can get away with it, why can't writers of literary fiction do much the same? It is not my personal cup of tea (I'd prefer a challenging fair-play mystery), but I can understand how a certain literary set may enjoy it.

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"We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it."--Pope Francis, Laudato Si'

Posts: 2547 | From: Delaware, USA | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged
basso

Ship’s Crypt Keeper
# 4228

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quote:
Originally posted by wild haggis:
"The Essex Serpent" is a good novel. It catches the whole atmosphere of the Essex coastline and mud flats (we used to live near there).

I certainly enjoyed it Give it a go.

Just placed a hold. ("30 holds on the first copy returned of 6 copies." -- there are more ordered, but it may be a while.)
Thanks for the lead.

Posts: 4329 | From: Bay Area, Calif | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Curiosity killed ...

Ship's Mug
# 11770

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I tried reading one of the Val McDermid Tony Hill and Carol Jordan books on my commute and have given up as I really can't read torture scenes on the tube (and I read enough real life horror for work*) so have retreated back to escapism. Kindle is/has been offering Mary Stewart books at 99p, many of which I haven't read. And digging around on Kindle there look to be new editions of Elizabeth Goudge books.

So far I've enjoyed Mary Stewart's Thunder on the Right which was new to me and have added a couple more to my collection to read. I'm also working my way through Stuart Pawson's Charlie Priest books, which are set in Heckley, Yorkshire, somewhere around Halifax and Huddersfield. I'm enjoying them far more with more familiarity with the area.

* the files of the children I work with

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

Posts: 13287 | From: outiside the outer ring road | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged
Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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I'm halfway through Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane by Paul Thomas Murphy. There is a subgenrelet, of true crime accounts from history, and this is one of them -- The Wicked Boy was another. I am certain, two centuries from now, that there will be best-sellers about, say, the O.J. Simpson case.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

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Welease Woderwick

Sister Incubus Nightmare
# 10424

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I finished [i]Weirdstone] yesterday and found it quite unsatisfying, every chapter, almost there was aan introduction of a new weird group of characters, positive and negative alternating such that it seemed incomplete in its entirety.

I shall now go on to Charles Allen's book on Ashoka.

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I give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Fancy a break in South India?
Accessible Homestay Guesthouse in Central Kerala, contact me for details

What part of Matt. 7:1 don't you understand?

Posts: 48057 | From: 1st on the right, straight on 'til morning | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
Welease Woderwick

Sister Incubus Nightmare
# 10424

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Duh! Sorry for both the bad coding above and for the misinformation - I'd forgotten that I started a re-read of The Color Purple last night so Ashoka will have to wait a day or two.

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I give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Fancy a break in South India?
Accessible Homestay Guesthouse in Central Kerala, contact me for details

What part of Matt. 7:1 don't you understand?

Posts: 48057 | From: 1st on the right, straight on 'til morning | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
leo
Shipmate
# 1458

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In Love and War – Alex Preston about a young men who works for Mussolini and then the resistance. The author's ignrance of church shows uo just as it did in his previous book about the Alpha Course as cult.

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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MaryLouise
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# 18697

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Not in my hands yet, but on the strength of James Wood's review in the New Yorker, I ordered a copy of Emmanuel Carrère's The Kingdom. The 'strangeness' of a sudden adult conversion has always interested me, as does the idea of conversion after conversion, or converting back to what was believed or not-believed before. It sounds like a challenging read but intriguing. I did biblical studies in my 30s and having certain scenes and verses become unfamiliar and new to me gave my sleepy faith a lively jolt.

Link is to the New Yorker which allows for limited access.

The Kingdom of God reviewed by James Wood

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“As regards plots I find real life no help at all. Real life seems to have no plots.”

-- Ivy Compton-Burnett

Posts: 290 | From: Cape Town | Registered: Nov 2016  |  IP: Logged
Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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I forget who recommended it or where, but I am reading Nightingale Wood. The author Stella Gibbons is far better known for her Cold Comfort Farm. This book is more subtly funny, a 20th century take on Cinderella. It is interesting to compare it to the thematically similar Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day by Winifred Watson.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

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Welease Woderwick

Sister Incubus Nightmare
# 10424

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I finished the Alice Walker last night and I wondered, as I often do at that stage, if she is an organist - the sudden move into the major key and the Full Organ is a kind of a giveaway.

Still an excellent read.

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I give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Fancy a break in South India?
Accessible Homestay Guesthouse in Central Kerala, contact me for details

What part of Matt. 7:1 don't you understand?

Posts: 48057 | From: 1st on the right, straight on 'til morning | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged



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