The good book and author thread

A forum to discuss other music, artists, television and film.

Re: The good book and author thread

Postby icy » Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:13 pm

icy wrote:Earlier tonight I started reading A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. The longest book I've picked out in ages.

Just finished it. Ouch what an ending, parts of the book moved me to tears but it sure was a page turner, and it will stay with me for awhile.
Next up Departures by Lorna J. Cook.
ETA~And I end up winning another book :D .
~Godspeed little one~
~Don't talk about angels
Or how I'll be saved
I'm no coward
But I'm not that brave
Rags are blowing
Rain's getting near
I'm done with running
And it's getting dark in here~

~Sleep in peace old friend for me you'll never die~
 
icy
We Are The Champions
 
User avatar

 

And the wounded skies above say it's much too late

      
 
Posts: 16274
Images: 0
Joined: Sun May 01, 2011 4:44 am
Location: The one where you be the first to forget and the last to remember...
Gender: Female
Has thanked: 249 times
Been thanked: 548 times

Re: The good book and author thread

Postby Simon » Sat Mar 28, 2015 6:27 pm

After the rather light-hearted read of a Grisham novel and the 50 Shades of Grey annoyance I think it was time to have some highbrow read. I looked at the unread books in my apartment and decided to give Siri Hustvedt's latest novel, The Blazing World, a try. Quite fitting, because after Fifty Shades of Grey, which advertises women being submissive, Hustvedt's novel is a feminist novel par exellence.
It is about the fictional artist Harriet Burden who accuses the art world being mysogynistic. After her art is never really praised and articles about her exhibitions are more focussing on her famous husband, a succesful and influential art dealer, she tries an experiment: She creates three exhibitions but lets the art world think that men are the artists. After all exhibitions prove to be succesful, Burden reveals her plot and the art world has something to explain.
The novel has a nice way of presenting the life of Harriet Burden. Rather than a simple novel structure, Hustvedt offers her novel as a scholarly monograph being edited by an art researcher (whose gender is never disclosed). Starting with a preface that introduces the reader to the background, each chapter offers different pieces of information about Burden (who has died a couple of years before the book) by offering interviews with people close to Burden, written statements by family members, newspaper articles and so forth. Even though it feels quite chaotic at first, Hustvedt always offers one important piece of information that somehow explains something from the previous chapters. Since each chapter is written from a different perspective, the novel always changes rythmn, language, style and keeps you reading. The scholarly chapters are a bit annoying if you aren't well versed in psychology, philosophy and art history. I certainly know almost nobody Hustvedt (or the art reseacher as it was) mentions there. And if I do, I don't know enough about there work to instantly see the connection. Hence, it feels a little bit too constructed and pseudo-intellectual. As if she wants to show off how much she knows. But those chapters are important as well. And any other chapter is all the more easily accessible.
So, if you are interested in feminism, the art world, novels with clever structures and authors with about 500% increased vocabularly in comparison to E L James, this one is for you.
Not my favourite Hustvedt-novel, I still prefer What I Loved, which is also about the art world, has a more conventional structure but it grabbed me more.
"Or you have it, or you don't!"
 
Simon
Don't Stop Me Now
 
User avatar

 
 
Posts: 2481
Images: 3
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:12 am
Gender: None specified
Has thanked: 63 times
Been thanked: 56 times

Re: The good book and author thread

Postby icy » Sat Mar 28, 2015 8:33 pm

Simon wrote:After the rather light-hearted read of a Grisham novel and the 50 Shades of Grey annoyance I think it was time to have some highbrow read. I looked at the unread books in my apartment and decided to give Siri Hustvedt's latest novel, The Blazing World, a try. Quite fitting, because after Fifty Shades of Grey, which advertises women being submissive, Hustvedt's novel is a feminist novel par exellence.
It is about the fictional artist Harriet Burden who accuses the art world being mysogynistic. After her art is never really praised and articles about her exhibitions are more focussing on her famous husband, a succesful and influential art dealer, she tries an experiment: She creates three exhibitions but lets the art world think that men are the artists. After all exhibitions prove to be succesful, Burden reveals her plot and the art world has something to explain.
The novel has a nice way of presenting the life of Harriet Burden. Rather than a simple novel structure, Hustvedt offers her novel as a scholarly monograph being edited by an art researcher (whose gender is never disclosed). Starting with a preface that introduces the reader to the background, each chapter offers different pieces of information about Burden (who has died a couple of years before the book) by offering interviews with people close to Burden, written statements by family members, newspaper articles and so forth. Even though it feels quite chaotic at first, Hustvedt always offers one important piece of information that somehow explains something from the previous chapters. Since each chapter is written from a different perspective, the novel always changes rythmn, language, style and keeps you reading. The scholarly chapters are a bit annoying if you aren't well versed in psychology, philosophy and art history. I certainly know almost nobody Hustvedt (or the art reseacher as it was) mentions there. And if I do, I don't know enough about there work to instantly see the connection. Hence, it feels a little bit too constructed and pseudo-intellectual. As if she wants to show off how much she knows. But those chapters are important as well. And any other chapter is all the more easily accessible.
So, if you are interested in feminism, the art world, novels with clever structures and authors with about 500% increased vocabularly in comparison to E L James, this one is for you.
Not my favourite Hustvedt-novel, I still prefer What I Loved, which is also about the art world, has a more conventional structure but it grabbed me more.

Sounds very interesting! Thanks for the POV.
~Godspeed little one~
~Don't talk about angels
Or how I'll be saved
I'm no coward
But I'm not that brave
Rags are blowing
Rain's getting near
I'm done with running
And it's getting dark in here~

~Sleep in peace old friend for me you'll never die~
 
icy
We Are The Champions
 
User avatar

 

And the wounded skies above say it's much too late

      
 
Posts: 16274
Images: 0
Joined: Sun May 01, 2011 4:44 am
Location: The one where you be the first to forget and the last to remember...
Gender: Female
Has thanked: 249 times
Been thanked: 548 times

Re: The good book and author thread

Postby Simon » Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:50 am

Cheers, icy.
What are you reading at the moment? How do you decide what you read? Do you read more than one book at the same time?
"Or you have it, or you don't!"
 
Simon
Don't Stop Me Now
 
User avatar

 
 
Posts: 2481
Images: 3
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:12 am
Gender: None specified
Has thanked: 63 times
Been thanked: 56 times

Re: The good book and author thread

Postby icy » Sun Mar 29, 2015 4:56 pm

Simon wrote:Cheers, icy.
What are you reading at the moment? How do you decide what you read? Do you read more than one book at the same time?

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld. About life in a boarding school over a 4 year span.
Depends on my mood in deciding what to read. I would love to read a light hearted book next, but I don't have any.
Just the one book at the same time.
~Godspeed little one~
~Don't talk about angels
Or how I'll be saved
I'm no coward
But I'm not that brave
Rags are blowing
Rain's getting near
I'm done with running
And it's getting dark in here~

~Sleep in peace old friend for me you'll never die~
 
icy
We Are The Champions
 
User avatar

 

And the wounded skies above say it's much too late

      
 
Posts: 16274
Images: 0
Joined: Sun May 01, 2011 4:44 am
Location: The one where you be the first to forget and the last to remember...
Gender: Female
Has thanked: 249 times
Been thanked: 548 times

Re: The good book and author thread

Postby icy » Thu Apr 02, 2015 5:08 pm

icy wrote:
Simon wrote:Cheers, icy.
What are you reading at the moment? How do you decide what you read? Do you read more than one book at the same time?

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld. About life in a boarding school over a 4 year span.
Depends on my mood in deciding what to read. I would love to read a light hearted book next, but I don't have any.
Just the one book at the same time.

Not sure how Prep will end, can't even guess at this point. It keeps me reading on, mark of a good book.
Writing On My Forehead by Nafisa Haji might be my next read or Benediction by Kent Haruf.
~Godspeed little one~
~Don't talk about angels
Or how I'll be saved
I'm no coward
But I'm not that brave
Rags are blowing
Rain's getting near
I'm done with running
And it's getting dark in here~

~Sleep in peace old friend for me you'll never die~
 
icy
We Are The Champions
 
User avatar

 

And the wounded skies above say it's much too late

      
 
Posts: 16274
Images: 0
Joined: Sun May 01, 2011 4:44 am
Location: The one where you be the first to forget and the last to remember...
Gender: Female
Has thanked: 249 times
Been thanked: 548 times

Re: The good book and author thread

Postby The__KingOfRhye » Fri Apr 03, 2015 1:40 pm

I just started reading Two To The Fifth by Piers Anthony....

I should have said rereading, but then I would have never stopped, it would have turned into 'rerererererereading' with a whole lot more 're's :D

The 32nd book in the Xanth series, and very possibly the naughtiest one of the bunch (well, there's a cyborg who falls in love with a 12-(or maybe 17, or maybe 22...weird magic going on here!)-year old Princess/Sorceress!)

My favorite author and my favorite series, I think it's up to 40 books in the series, about the world of Xanth, where just about everything is magical in some way, and just about everything else is a pun of some sort :D.....they really look like something that would be intended for children, but even the author said that wasnt true, I find they're really clever at times....
 
The__KingOfRhye
The Show Must Go On
 
User avatar

 

Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?

      
 
Posts: 1582
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2014 11:33 pm
Gender: Male
Has thanked: 242 times
Been thanked: 211 times

Re: The good book and author thread

Postby Simon » Mon Apr 06, 2015 9:57 pm

Image

Richard Flanagan's Norrow Road to the Deep North is about Dorrigo Evans, an Australian medical doctor in the middle of the twentieth century. He becomes a prisoner of war in Japan and is responsible for medical care for the POWs during the building of the infamous Burma Railway. Even though Evans is at the heart of the novel, the railway building and especially the war crimes are at the centre of this book. It begins almost light-hearted with Evans desparately falling in love with the wife of his uncle. She is with his thoughts even during the sheer violence during the war, even though he does not admit it.
The novel takes place before, during and after the atrocities of the railway building. Quite a disturbing novel which is Booker Prize winner of 2014. The second part is probably the strongest part of the book. The descriptions Flanagan offers are as horrible as what we have heard about the holocaust. (The images you can find of the POWs stress this comparison). The parts after this follow the fates of the main characters (both POWs as well as commanding Japanese and Korean soldiers). But executions and deaths of cancer etc are no comparison to what horrors the POWs witnessed in Siam. The fact that 'love' is probably the strongest theme of this novel makes it all the more disturbing.Pretty heavy stuff.
Next up the 2013 Booker Prize winner The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.
"Or you have it, or you don't!"
 
Simon
Don't Stop Me Now
 
User avatar

 
 
Posts: 2481
Images: 3
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:12 am
Gender: None specified
Has thanked: 63 times
Been thanked: 56 times

Re: The good book and author thread

Postby icy » Mon Apr 06, 2015 10:24 pm

Simon wrote:Image

Richard Flanagan's Norrow Road to the Deep North is about Dorrigo Evans, an Australian medical doctor in the middle of the twentieth century. He becomes a prisoner of war in Japan and is responsible for medical care for the POWs during the building of the infamous Burma Railway. Even though Evans is at the heart of the novel, the railway building and especially the war crimes are at the centre of this book. It begins almost light-hearted with Evans desparately falling in love with the wife of his uncle. She is with his thoughts even during the sheer violence during the war, even though he does not admit it.
The novel takes place before, during and after the atrocities of the railway building. Quite a disturbing novel which is Booker Prize winner of 2014. The second part is probably the strongest part of the book. The descriptions Flanagan offers are as horrible as what we have heard about the holocaust. (The images you can find of the POWs stress this comparison). The parts after this follow the fates of the main characters (both POWs as well as commanding Japanese and Korean soldiers). But executions and deaths of cancer etc are no comparison to what horrors the POWs witnessed in Siam. The fact that 'love' is probably the strongest theme of this novel makes it all the more disturbing.Pretty heavy stuff.
Next up the 2013 Booker Prize winner The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.

On my wish list thanks, his other books look to be intriguing as well.
Prep was an intriguing book, I wish there was more to the ending, especially about Lee's family and her life after boarding school. I felt there was more about her school mates than her own life at the ending.
I recently purchased Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, Harper Collins paperback edition with 933 pages. Might be a summer read.
Right now reading Benediction by Kent Haruf. Already quite thought provoking. About a man who has cancer, isn't wanting treatment, and lives of his family. It makes me think of my Uncle and Aunt who were together for over 50 years, before he passed away from cancer over 5 years ago.
After this, I might just read a Nicolas Sparks book. The guy can get crap for his books, but I truly enjoy them.
~Godspeed little one~
~Don't talk about angels
Or how I'll be saved
I'm no coward
But I'm not that brave
Rags are blowing
Rain's getting near
I'm done with running
And it's getting dark in here~

~Sleep in peace old friend for me you'll never die~
 
icy
We Are The Champions
 
User avatar

 

And the wounded skies above say it's much too late

      
 
Posts: 16274
Images: 0
Joined: Sun May 01, 2011 4:44 am
Location: The one where you be the first to forget and the last to remember...
Gender: Female
Has thanked: 249 times
Been thanked: 548 times

Re: The good book and author thread

Postby Simon » Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:06 pm

Benediction looks interesting. Thanks for the info. Interesting to see what you are reading. Looks like you focus a lot on postcolonial literature?
Read the first couple of pages of The Luminaries today. It already grabbed me. Amazing style of writing. Although I feared starting it a little as it is over 800 pages long I am pretty sure this will be a quick read. Excited!
"Or you have it, or you don't!"
 
Simon
Don't Stop Me Now
 
User avatar

 
 
Posts: 2481
Images: 3
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:12 am
Gender: None specified
Has thanked: 63 times
Been thanked: 56 times

Re: The good book and author thread

Postby icy » Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:19 pm

Simon wrote:Benediction looks interesting. Thanks for the info. Interesting to see what you are reading. Looks like you focus a lot on postcolonial literature?
Read the first couple of pages of The Luminaries today. It already grabbed me. Amazing style of writing. Although I feared starting it a little as it is over 800 pages long I am pretty sure this will be a quick read. Excited!

I do. I loved and still love Molokai, another recent book I read. During Christmas I read Baltimore's Mansion, a compelling memior. There is no telling what book will take my fancy, but I like to be surprised.
Not sure what to make of Benediction just yet, it goes back to the past, and to the present time in Dad Lewis's life and the members of his family. It reminds me of some of myfamily members, cause I know illness can bring out the best and worst in people. I'm wary about what will happen next though. I hope things can be put right.
~Godspeed little one~
~Don't talk about angels
Or how I'll be saved
I'm no coward
But I'm not that brave
Rags are blowing
Rain's getting near
I'm done with running
And it's getting dark in here~

~Sleep in peace old friend for me you'll never die~
 
icy
We Are The Champions
 
User avatar

 

And the wounded skies above say it's much too late

      
 
Posts: 16274
Images: 0
Joined: Sun May 01, 2011 4:44 am
Location: The one where you be the first to forget and the last to remember...
Gender: Female
Has thanked: 249 times
Been thanked: 548 times

Re: The good book and author thread

Postby icy » Sat Apr 11, 2015 11:56 pm

Nearing the end of Benediction, and I'm bawling my eyes out.
ETA...completed. Will post my thoughts later...maybe.
~Godspeed little one~
~Don't talk about angels
Or how I'll be saved
I'm no coward
But I'm not that brave
Rags are blowing
Rain's getting near
I'm done with running
And it's getting dark in here~

~Sleep in peace old friend for me you'll never die~
 
icy
We Are The Champions
 
User avatar

 

And the wounded skies above say it's much too late

      
 
Posts: 16274
Images: 0
Joined: Sun May 01, 2011 4:44 am
Location: The one where you be the first to forget and the last to remember...
Gender: Female
Has thanked: 249 times
Been thanked: 548 times

Re: The good book and author thread

Postby Simon » Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:38 pm

Image

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
I fear books longer than 500 pages, the 700 pages mark makes it almost impossible for me to commit to reading it. Since I am currently working on a project about the Booker Prize, I bought and read Catton’s The Luminaries with whopping 832 pages, the longest book ever that won the award. Thank you very much. Finished it today and I can say it is truly one of the best books I have read in ages.
What is it about? In the 1850s, Walter Moody enters the smoking room of a hotel in New Zealand in the middle of the night. He has just arrived in Hokitika, the current centre of New Zealand’s goldrush. Moody is tired and hopes to find solitude and quiet in the smoking room. But it soon becomes clear that his arrival has interrupted some dubious meeting in the smoking room. After a while it becomes clear that a light-hearted talk with a guest turns into some kind of interrogation. And is it just his imagination or are the other people listening to his answers? As it turns out, several strange things happened in Hokitika in the last days. A dead hermit, a whore who allegedly attempted suicide and does not remember anything, the richest golddigger in Hokitika has vanished all of a sudden. As it turns out, all 12 visitors in the smoking room have a story to tell that are somehow intertwined. And to top it, Moody has witnessed a horrible incident aboard the ship that brought him to the town. And that story might be the missing piece of the puzzle.
As I have stated earlier: The book grabbed me pretty soon. The atmosphere is dark and mysterious, the storytelling successfully imitates authors of the Victorian Age, Hardy, Dickens and the like. Each sub-chapter starts with a succinct summary which reveals the continuation of the narration and advertises the chapter and keeps you reading because you WANT to know how the story evolves. The structure of the novel imitates a decrescent moon: 12 main chapters of which the first is the longest and the last the shortest. Overall, the story uses astrological elements that are imitated by the characters. Thankfully, this is not done in your face-style. If you like, you CAN follow these imitating movements of planets by characters, but you can ignore them and still enjoy the novel.
I like novels with many protagonists, and this novel easily succeeds in developing each of the 15 characters (or more) to distinguish, like, love or despise. And since every character is connected to all the other protagonists, it never gets boring to witness their interactions. Especially because the novel has so many elements. A little bit of Canterbury Tales, a little bit of Sherlock Holmes, some John Grisham, Western atmosphere, some Edgar Allan Poe. (But no 50 Shades of Grey, nor Lord of the Rings stuff… or is there?).
Don’t be afraid of the 800 pages! If I can read them in 10 days or so, so can everybody else.
"Or you have it, or you don't!"
 
Simon
Don't Stop Me Now
 
User avatar

 
 
Posts: 2481
Images: 3
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:12 am
Gender: None specified
Has thanked: 63 times
Been thanked: 56 times

Re: The good book and author thread

Postby icy » Fri Apr 17, 2015 11:41 pm

Simon wrote:Image

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
I fear books longer than 500 pages, the 700 pages mark makes it almost impossible for me to commit to reading it. Since I am currently working on a project about the Booker Prize, I bought and read Catton’s The Luminaries with whopping 832 pages, the longest book ever that won the award. Thank you very much. Finished it today and I can say it is truly one of the best books I have read in ages.
What is it about? In the 1850s, Walter Moody enters the smoking room of a hotel in New Zealand in the middle of the night. He has just arrived in Hokitika, the current centre of New Zealand’s goldrush. Moody is tired and hopes to find solitude and quiet in the smoking room. But it soon becomes clear that his arrival has interrupted some dubious meeting in the smoking room. After a while it becomes clear that a light-hearted talk with a guest turns into some kind of interrogation. And is it just his imagination or are the other people listening to his answers? As it turns out, several strange things happened in Hokitika in the last days. A dead hermit, a whore who allegedly attempted suicide and does not remember anything, the richest golddigger in Hokitika has vanished all of a sudden. As it turns out, all 12 visitors in the smoking room have a story to tell that are somehow intertwined. And to top it, Moody has witnessed a horrible incident aboard the ship that brought him to the town. And that story might be the missing piece of the puzzle.
As I have stated earlier: The book grabbed me pretty soon. The atmosphere is dark and mysterious, the storytelling successfully imitates authors of the Victorian Age, Hardy, Dickens and the like. Each sub-chapter starts with a succinct summary which reveals the continuation of the narration and advertises the chapter and keeps you reading because you WANT to know how the story evolves. The structure of the novel imitates a decrescent moon: 12 main chapters of which the first is the longest and the last the shortest. Overall, the story uses astrological elements that are imitated by the characters. Thankfully, this is not done in your face-style. If you like, you CAN follow these imitating movements of planets by characters, but you can ignore them and still enjoy the novel.
I like novels with many protagonists, and this novel easily succeeds in developing each of the 15 characters (or more) to distinguish, like, love or despise. And since every character is connected to all the other protagonists, it never gets boring to witness their interactions. Especially because the novel has so many elements. A little bit of Canterbury Tales, a little bit of Sherlock Holmes, some John Grisham, Western atmosphere, some Edgar Allan Poe. (But no 50 Shades of Grey, nor Lord of the Rings stuff… or is there?).
Don’t be afraid of the 800 pages! If I can read them in 10 days or so, so can everybody else.

10 days?! Wow! That's incredible, and so is your views on it. I have you thank once again, you have opened my eyes to historical books. It's a genre I probably never would have picked without your input/info on what you read/post here. Many thanks! :thumbsup:
I recently tried to plow through Until I Find You by John Irving. It dragged on and on IMO. I couldn't finish it, partly because grief got in the way. Not the best book to read at the best of times, let alone during losses. I can't bring myself to finish it, even now. :oops:
Right now I'm reading The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. Already an eye opener.
~Godspeed little one~
~Don't talk about angels
Or how I'll be saved
I'm no coward
But I'm not that brave
Rags are blowing
Rain's getting near
I'm done with running
And it's getting dark in here~

~Sleep in peace old friend for me you'll never die~
 
icy
We Are The Champions
 
User avatar

 

And the wounded skies above say it's much too late

      
 
Posts: 16274
Images: 0
Joined: Sun May 01, 2011 4:44 am
Location: The one where you be the first to forget and the last to remember...
Gender: Female
Has thanked: 249 times
Been thanked: 548 times

Re: The good book and author thread

Postby Simon » Sat Apr 18, 2015 12:18 am

Thanks Icy. But it's just 80 pages a day. Not that impressive. And since I leave for London in a couple of days I wanted to finish the book, as I did not want to carry with me that tome ;).
As much as I dislike the term "unputdownable", it fits this novel. It is not hard really hard to read and the suspense is incredible. And that's from a person whose native language is NOT English (German translation is out in November and will be a Christmas present for quite some people). It does get trickier in the very last parts of the novel where the summaries are more important than the main part. But my fear that the book might lose its appeal after a while was unwarranted. (I had the experience with A Fraction of the Whole which was amazing in the first half, very good in the middle and just ok in the final parts in my opinion.)
And yes, historical books can be very entertaining, biographies or novels. And after all, this is just taking place 150 years ago.
Sorry to hear that Irving's novel did not grab you. But I had a similar experience with Hotel New Hampshire. At one point I was so annoyed that I threw it against the wall and never picked it up for reading again. Even though Queen were about to record a soundtrack for the film. Even the many utterances of "Keep passing the open windows" did not help.
The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter sounds interesting from what I read on Wikipedia. Curious about your verdict.
"Or you have it, or you don't!"
 
Simon
Don't Stop Me Now
 
User avatar

 
 
Posts: 2481
Images: 3
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:12 am
Gender: None specified
Has thanked: 63 times
Been thanked: 56 times

PreviousNext

Return to Another World

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests