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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT => Books, Periodicals & Literature => Topic started by: Dave Cullen on January 12, 2006, 09:48:12 AM

Title: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on January 12, 2006, 09:48:12 AM
I've had a great year. Highlights:


Hmmmmmm. Forgetting several. Will come back and add more. (And say what I liked about them so much.)


I'm 2/3 through The Year of Magical Thinking. Got it for myself for xmas.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: leopoldo on January 12, 2006, 11:40:57 AM
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell (okay so I read it a year ago but it's bloody brilliant)

On a gay note The Line of Beauty - Allan Hollinghurst (didn't like it as much though)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 12, 2006, 12:46:01 PM
In no particular order:

The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason - Sam Harris  [simply astounding - questions religious belief east and west in an intelligent, readable way]

My Name is Red - Orhan Pamuk [currently on trial in Turkey for 'insulting Turkishness' by acknowledging the Armenian Genocide.  'Red' is a murder mystery set amongst book illuminators in the 16th century Ottoman Empire]

OUR FINAL HOUR: A Scientist's warning : How Terror, Error, and Environmental Disaster Threaten Humankind's Future in This Century--On Earth and Beyond - Martin J. Rees [referred to this book from 'The End of Faith' it is a fascinating tour of scientific possibility of the end of our world - from asteroid impact to nuclear destruction to rips in the fabric of space/time]

Mondo Desperado - Patrick McCabe [short stories from the 'Breakfast on Pluto' and 'Butcher Boy' author - of particular note is "The Valley of the Flying Jennets" which reads like a hybrid of Poe and H.G. Wells]

The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova [a great detective/vampire story that travels across Europe]

A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East - David Fromkin [ever wonder why Iraq and Jordan have those weird straight borders?  This will tell you this as well as how the Kurds lost their homeland and why occupying Iraq didn't work for the British after WWI]

And I'd add 'Time Travellers Wife' and 'Lovely Bones' as well, although they are not really my style  - I read them because I was nagged into it by a friend who is a fiction reader - both are quite nice.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Meira on January 17, 2006, 07:28:30 PM
I LOVED Time Travelers Wife!!  Two other friends read it and couldn't deal with the lac kof sequence in the time changes, but it is one of my favorites.  Also,  Kite Runner, The Reader, Resistance, Where or When, and The Bean Trees.

Can anyone recommend another book similar to Time Traveler's Wife?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on January 17, 2006, 11:52:59 PM
Can anyone recommend another book similar to Time Traveler's Wife?
Not exactly similar but somehow it reminded me of 'A Trip to the Stars' by Nicolas Christopher - he's a poet who has writen a few novels - all of which I have enjoyed.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on January 18, 2006, 09:12:58 PM
Oh, I also got turned onto Jose Saramago this year.

Portugese author, won the Nobel a few years back.

Kind of like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but giddier, less stodgy.

I read The Stone Raft. (Which refers to the Iberian peninsula, which cracks off and starts to float away from Europe. Very cool.)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 18, 2006, 09:29:51 PM
Can anyone recommend another book similar to Time Traveler's Wife?
Not exactly similar but somehow it reminded me of 'A Trip to the Stars' by Nicolas Christopher - he's a poet who has writen a few novels - all of which I have enjoyed.

Here are some good sites to check for book recommendations ('reader's advisory' in librarian lingo)

This is the general reader's advisory page for hennepin county:

http://www.hclib.org/pub/books/iyl/

And here's a specific one for 'Time Traveler's Wife':

http://www.hclib.org/pub/books/BookListAction.cfm?list_num=280&iPacSession=1&ISBN=1931561648

And here's another general one from Iowa Library Service:

http://www.ilsa.lib.ia.us/readadvice.htm

I'll get back to  you on 'Time Traveler's Wife' - one of the guys I work with reads a lot more SciFi than I do, and he actually did mention one to me.

One other very interesting historical fiction book that I read (which was, oddly enough, divided into half novel and half non-fiction essays related to the novel) is 'Sun dancing : a vision of medieval Ireland' by Geoffrey Moorhouse - it takes place on Skellig Michael, a monastic community on a rock in the Atlantic Ocean that was inhabited from the 6th century to the 12th.

And you thought cowboys could be repressed....!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Meira on January 19, 2006, 05:52:39 PM
Can anyone recommend another book similar to Time Traveler's Wife?
Not exactly similar but somehow it reminded me of 'A Trip to the Stars' by Nicolas Christopher - he's a poet who has writen a few novels - all of which I have enjoyed.

Here are some good sites to check for book recommendations ('reader's advisory' in librarian lingo)


And here's a specific one for 'Time Traveler's Wife':

http://www.hclib.org/pub/books/BookListAction.cfm?list_num=280&iPacSession=1&ISBN=1931561648


I'll get back to  you on 'Time Traveler's Wife' - one of the guys I work with reads a lot more SciFi than I do, and he actually did mention one to me.

One other very interesting historical fiction book that I read (which was, oddly enough, divided into half novel and half non-fiction essays related to the novel) is 'Sun dancing : a vision of medieval Ireland' by Geoffrey Moorhouse - it takes place on Skellig Michael, a monastic community on a rock in the Atlantic Ocean that was inhabited from the 6th century to the 12th.

And you thought cowboys could be repressed....!


Thankyou so much!  The link specific to The Time Traveler's Wife had a few books I've already read and enjoyed and a few others that look very promising! 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on January 19, 2006, 06:10:53 PM
Can anyone recommend another book similar to Time Traveler's Wife?

I am in a bookclub we read Time Traveler's Wife and Confessions of Max Tivoli. We all agreed they were similar!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 19, 2006, 09:13:04 PM
Can anyone recommend another book similar to Time Traveler's Wife?

I am in a bookclub we read Time Traveler's Wife and Confessions of Max Tivoli. We all agreed they were similar!

That's the book I was trying to think of!  Yes, they are similar, I think so as well.  Here's a description from Amazon:

Out of the womb in 1871, Max Tivoli looked to all the world like a tiny 70-year-old man. But inside the aged body was an infant. Victim of a rare disease, Max grows physically younger as his mind matures. In Andrew Sean Greer's finely crafted novel, The Confessions of Max Tivoli, Max narrates his life story from the vantage point of his late fifties, though his body is that of a 12-year-old boy. He has known since a young age that he is destined to die at 70, and he wears a golden "1941" as a constant reminder of the year he will finally perish in an infant form. His mother, a Carolina belle concerned over her son's troubling appearance, curses Max with "The Rule": "Be what they think you are." Max fails to keep this Rule only a handful of times in his life, but it is the burden of living by it that wounds him and slowly alienates him from the people he loves.

Over Max's narration of the preceding decades of his life, he offers outsider's snapshots of San Francisco and all of America across the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Throughout, Greer uses the literary device of reverse aging to interrogate the evolution of social conventions, the finitude of a human life, and the decay of memory. Max wants love. But his curse destines him to deception. He loses his wife, Alice, changes his name, and remains hidden from his own son to keep his true identity secret. Only his lifelong friend, Hughie, stands by Max and can see the person inside the anachronistic body. Like the best science fiction and myth, the novel uses its central conceit to reveal human prejudice and explode all assumptions of normalcy to profound effect.

Love is a destructive force in The Confessions of Max Tivoli. But Greer recognizes that in the failure of love is also hope. He artfully captures Max's fragile world with a delicacy that never crosses into sentimentality but also avoids the monumental scale of tragedy. As Max says near the end of the novel, "It is a brave and stupid thing, a beautiful thing to waste ones life for love." A journey with Max, while brave and beautiful, is hardly a waste. --Patrick O'Kelley

 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on January 20, 2006, 01:08:52 PM
Yep! That is the book!  I had forgotton about it----I think that reading Time Travelers Wife and Confessions of Max Tivoli back to back wasn't a good idea.  It seems like our book club compared them too much.  Let me know what you think!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on January 20, 2006, 11:53:40 PM
Million Little Pieces is also a great book--not about time-traveling though!  It has gotton a lot of press lately for not being as true as the author led on but it is still really good! 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 21, 2006, 10:45:44 AM
Million Little Pieces is also a great book--not about time-traveling though!  It has gotton a lot of press lately for not being as true as the author led on but it is still really good! 

Haven't read 'Pieces' yet, though I'm really glad it's getting a lot of press (good/bad - doesn't matter as long as it gets people reading, IMHO).  However, I did read both 'Running with Scissors' and 'Dry' by Augusten Burroughs and can recommend both of them [as slices of a really screwed up urban life - no commonality there with BBM].

And I just have to mention here how happy I am about the Oprah program - she has done a world of good to get people reading.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Meira on January 21, 2006, 07:05:09 PM
Million Little Pieces is also a great book--not about time-traveling though!  It has gotton a lot of press lately for not being as true as the author led on but it is still really good! 

Haven't read 'Pieces' yet, though I'm really glad it's getting a lot of press (good/bad - doesn't matter as long as it gets people reading, IMHO).  However, I did read both 'Running with Scissors' and 'Dry' by Augusten Burroughs and can recommend both of them [as slices of a really screwed up urban life - no commonality there with BBM].

And I just have to mention here how happy I am about the Oprah program - she has done a world of good to get people reading.
[/quote

Thank you all for so many great recommendations.  Speaking of "A Million Little Pieces" - I read recently that Jake G. was wanted for that lead role.  I don't know if that's a done deal or not.  Anyone else see this?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on January 21, 2006, 07:09:38 PM
Jake would be great as the lead role in Million Little Pieces!  How exciting!  I would vote for him!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on January 22, 2006, 12:36:59 PM
I thought of another book that is about time traveling---The Traveler's Gift by Andy Andrews.   About a man that was on top of the world and his life suddenly begins to fall apart.  He travels in time meeting leaders and heroes at crucial moments in their lives.  They teach him some of life's lessons. 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Mr. Wrong on January 24, 2006, 02:10:47 PM
A book I recommend is Never Let Me Go by Kazu Ishiguro. He is also the author of The Remains Of The Day.

I have also started to read The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and so far so good! :)

Jason
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 25, 2006, 01:17:00 AM
I really enjoyed both 'Take the Cannoli' and 'Partly Cloudy Patriot' by Sarah Vowell.  'Take the Cannoli' has a wonderful/heartbreaking essay on the trail of tears entitled "What I See When I Look at the Face on the $20 Bill".  And if you listen to the book on tape of 'Partly Cloudy Patriot' you will get to hear passages read by Seth Green and Conan O'Brien.  I also enjoyed 'Fraud' by Vowell's  (and David Sedaris') 'This American Life' cohort David Rakoff.  And of course David Sedaris is quite a bit of fun too  (particularly his earlier works - 'Naked' and 'Barrel Fever').

Will Ferguson is a great essayist as well.  I read 'Beauty Tips from Moosejaw: Travels in search of Canada' (and also read his 'Canadian History for Dummies' which was quite enjoyable as well - I've never read a 'dummies' book, but thought that since I am thinking of moving there I should learn more about Canadian history).  'Moosejaw' has a great essay on Churchill, Manitoba (on Hudson Bay) entitled 'Polar Bear Season'.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on January 26, 2006, 12:15:46 AM
I really enjoyed both 'Take the Cannoli' and 'Partly Cloudy Patriot' by Sarah Vowell.  'Take the Cannoli' has a wonderful/heartbreaking essay on the trail of tears entitled "What I See When I Look at the Face on the $20 Bill".  And if you listen to the book on tape of 'Partly Cloudy Patriot' you will get to hear passages read by Seth Green and Conan O'Brien.  I also enjoyed 'Fraud' by Vowell's  (and David Sedaris') 'This American Life' cohort David Rakoff.  And of course David Sedaris is quite a bit of fun too  (particularly his earlier works - 'Naked' and 'Barrel Fever').

michaelflanagansf
Oh yes I highly recommend Sarah Vowell as well.  I first encountered her on This American Life on NPR.  I haven't gotten to her most recent book but hope to soon: Assassination Vacation - but I've heard her talk about it an it sound great.  (It was a surprise and delight when I took my son to see The Incredibles to discover that Sarah Vowell had done the voice for one of the characters)

Another author I've enjoyed over the past couple of years and your library search recommended as similar to The Time Travels Wife:
Jasper Fford:
The Eyre Affair
Lost in a Good Book

They are hard to describe; kind of Monty Pythonish but I loved them both
Well of Lost plots and The Big Over Easy I liked but not as well

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Melisande on January 26, 2006, 12:25:05 AM
Oh, I love Fforde's Tuesday Next books! Like you, I preferred the first two. They're something special. They're - hm, how do you describe them - literary detective novels set in a world in which characters from books really exist in a sort of other dimension, and people can visit books. Very funny in a dry, British (Welsh, I guess) way.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 26, 2006, 12:14:48 PM
Oh, I love Fforde's Tuesday Next books! Like you, I preferred the first two. They're something special. They're - hm, how do you describe them - literary detective novels set in a world in which characters from books really exist in a sort of other dimension, and people can visit books. Very funny in a dry, British (Welsh, I guess) way.

Mary & Melisande - thanks for the Fforde suggestion!  I'll check them out.  Your posts bring up two other suggestions - one a bit wild and one an old favorite.  Patrick McCabe is a very interesting Irish author (mostly, to me, because he is a very modern writer - the troubles and catholicism are in his works but are generally not the focus).  I read 'Breakfast on Pluto' before going to see the movie and would recommend it.  Also, the old favorite is Caleb Carr's book 'The Alienist' - set in turn of the (19th/20th) century New York City with Theodore Roosevelt as a character in the work - and it's about an 'alienist' (pre-psychiatrist) with a very Sherlock Holmes aspect to his character trying to find a serial killer.  Carr's next book after this "Angel of Darkness" is pretty good too - not as great as 'Alienist', however.

Oh, and for brain candy I like to read Sue Grafton (C is for Corpse, etc.)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on January 26, 2006, 01:22:50 PM
One of my favorite "brain candy" mystery authors is Patricia Cornwell---her first book was Postmortem.  If you like "csi" you would like her books.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 26, 2006, 02:33:07 PM
One of my favorite "brain candy" mystery authors is Patricia Cornwell---her first book was Postmortem.  If you like "csi" you would like her books.

Passion - I tried Patricia Cornwell and the one thing I didn't like about the book I read was that there was too much 'relationship' stuff happening with Kay Scarpetta - I kept thinking 'who cares, get back to the case....'  So do you have any suggestions for books in her series that don't do that?

With Sue Grafton the thing I really like about Kinsey Millhone is that she is very hard boiled.  She has flings with men, but for the most part they're not too serious and don't get in the way of the plot.

Oh!  And another braincandy favorite is Tony Hillerman.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee [hmmm...maybe they could investigate Jack's death....]
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on January 26, 2006, 09:42:40 PM
I was wondering if anyone has read We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lional Shriver?  Here is a description---heard it was a really good book but have not read it.  I thought Dave might have heard about it!
From Publishers Weekly
A number of fictional attempts have been made to portray what might lead a teenager to kill a number of schoolmates or teachers, Columbine style, but Shriver's is the most triumphantly accomplished by far. A gifted journalist as well as the author of seven novels, she brings to her story a keen understanding of the intricacies of marital and parental relationships as well as a narrative pace that is both compelling and thoughtful. Eva Khatchadourian is a smart, skeptical New Yorker whose impulsive marriage to Franklin, a much more conventional person, bears fruit, to her surprise and confessed disquiet, in baby Kevin. From the start Eva is ambivalent about him, never sure if she really wanted a child, and he is balefully hostile toward her; only good-old-boy Franklin, hoping for the best, manages to overlook his son's faults as he grows older, a largely silent, cynical, often malevolent child. The later birth of a sister who is his opposite in every way, deeply affectionate and fragile, does nothing to help, and Eva always suspects his role in an accident that befalls little Celia. The narrative, which leads with quickening and horrifying inevitability to the moment when Kevin massacres seven of his schoolmates and a teacher at his upstate New York high school, is told as a series of letters from Eva to an apparently estranged Franklin, after Kevin has been put in a prison for juvenile offenders. This seems a gimmicky way to tell the story, but is in fact surprisingly effective in its picture of an affectionate couple who are poles apart, and enables Shriver to pull off a huge and crushing shock far into her tale. It's a harrowing, psychologically astute, sometimes even darkly humorous novel, with a clear-eyed, hard-won ending and a tough-minded sense of the difficult, often painful human enterprise.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 29, 2006, 02:02:34 PM
Here's one I didn't read 'lately' but it surely fits into the whole economic picture of what was going on in BBM:   'Nickel and Dimed: on (not) getting by in America'.  Very interesting picture of what people on the bleeding edge of the economy go through to survive.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on January 29, 2006, 05:35:33 PM
Here's one I didn't read 'lately' but it surely fits into the whole economic picture of what was going on in BBM:   'Nickel and Dimed: on (not) getting by in America'.  Very interesting picture of what people on the bleeding edge of the economy go through to survive.

That is a great book!  I think that author may have done another one like it recently---can't remember the topic though.  Very thought provoking!

You asked about Patricia Cornwell----I think I liked Postmortem the best---It is funny because I read her books quickly and then don't remember the exact details about them.  You are right about Sue Grafton----did you read S is for Silence yet??  In it, Kinsey's relationship with her neighbor is briefly mention! This book really stuck to the case.  Have you tried Jan Burke or Sara Paretsky?  I have always stuck to female mystery authors but I have read a few of Tony H.'s books---I live in the Southwest so have to read him! 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 29, 2006, 05:57:45 PM
Quote
That is a great book!  I think that author may have done another one like it recently---can't remember the topic though.  Very thought provoking!
Quote

I _think_ the book you're talking about is "Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream" - also by Barbara Ehrenreich.  Here's the Amazon page with a good interview with her:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0805076069/ref=pd_kar_gw_2/002-9578486-3188864?%5Fencoding=UTF8%2CUTF8&v=glance&n=283155

You know, I've been reading Barbara Ehrenreich for decades now!  She had a book (more of a pamphlet) entitled 'Complaints and Disorders' that we read in one of my women's studies classes in the 70s!  And she was (is?) closely involved with Ms. magazine too.

Quote
You asked about Patricia Cornwell----I think I liked Postmortem the best---It is funny because I read her books quickly and then don't remember the exact details about them.  You are right about Sue Grafton----did you read S is for Silence yet??  In it, Kinsey's relationship with her neighbor is briefly mention! This book really stuck to the case.  Have you tried Jan Burke or Sara Paretsky?  I have always stuck to female mystery authors but I have read a few of Tony H.'s books---I live in the Southwest so have to read him! 
Quote

Thanks for the Patricia Cornwell recommendation - I'll check it out.  I have _not_ read 'S is for Silence' yet, but am eagerly awaiting it (I get on the hold list at the library).  I have not tried Jan Burke or Sara Paretsky (although I've picked up Ms. Paretsky's books and looked at them often) but I'll give them a shot.  As someone who has had a lot of women friends over the years (and doesn't worry about 'masculine', but is no pushover) I've always identified with characters like Kinsey a lot.  ;)

My absolute favorite Tony Hillerman is 'Coyote Waits' because of the mythological implications of coyote as the trickster (you can probably tell from my other posts I'm into mythology big time) and I'm very fond of 'Sacred Clowns' too (because I really like the idea of the clowns acting as the policing mechanism of Hopi culture).

I haven't made it down to your area of the country yet, but plan to go to Chaco Canyon and Canyon de Chelly (hopefully soon)!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on January 29, 2006, 09:00:58 PM
Michaelflanagansf--
I LOVE Kinsey!  I want to be her!  I think Sue Grafton is doing such a great job keeping the character in the time period---no cell phones, internet etc!  I went to college in San Luis Obispo so I love that Kinsey travels all over central CA.  With only 7 letters left--I wonder what she'll do next.  Jan Burke's books take place in and around Long Beach, CA---another place I went to college!  I guess I am picking up on my theme here---I like reading books that take place in areas I am familiar with! So, since I grew up in the Bay Area---I like Marcia Muller---another great mystery writer---very similar to Sue Grafton.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Melisande on January 29, 2006, 09:11:05 PM
Not read lately, but one of my all-time favorites, is The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett. A beautiful book. Magical, really. I've read all of her books, and they're good, but this one is the standout.

And for sci fi-y time travel, which I love, my favorite is "To Say Nothing of the Dog" by Connie Willis. It hits a lot of my reading kinks - time travel, Victorian England, literary references, and bulldogs.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on January 29, 2006, 09:12:24 PM
For those of you who like mysteries I highly recommend almost anything by Minette Walters.  I love her style, each book is completely different. In some the mystery is 'what is the mystery'
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on January 29, 2006, 09:33:41 PM
How about Jodi Picoult?  She is great and tackles some controversial topics.  My favorite is My Sister's Keeper---made me cry---and I am one of the ones that didn't cry during BBM (I did cry everytime I thought about it--just not during the movie!:) )  Here is a review of My Sister's Keeper
Thirteen-year-old Anna Fitzgerald walks into the office of lawyer Campbell Alexander and announces she wants to sue her parents for the rights to her own body. Anna was conceived after her older sister, Kate, developed a rare form of leukemia at the age of two, and has donated bone marrow and blood to her sister. Now she has been asked to donate a kidney, and she intends to refuse. Campbell is a jaded young man who nevertheless decides to take her case pro bono. Anna's parents are shocked when they learn of her lawsuit, and her mother, a former civil defense attorney, decides to represent them. Anna refuses to budge on her position despite the fact that she clearly loves her sister and longs for her family's happiness. As the gripping court case builds, the story takes a shocking turn. Told in alternating perspectives by the engaging, fascinating cast of characters, Picoult's novel grabs the reader from the first page and never lets go. This is a beautiful, heartbreaking, controversial, and honest book. Kristine Huntley

Also, for the mystery lovers---her book Plain Truth is about a murder of an infant on an Amish farm---she does a great job explaining their culture.

Mary---I will have to check out Minette Walters--love the idea "what is the mystery"  interesting...
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on January 29, 2006, 09:40:45 PM
Mary---I will have to check out Minette Walters--love the idea "what is the mystery"  interesting...
In particular look at The Echo or The Dark Room
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: aceygirl on January 30, 2006, 08:57:22 AM
Has anybody read Norah Vincent's book about posing as a male? I just saw her being interviewed on the Colbert Report, and she was fabulous. What a cute dyke! The NYT Book Review was pretty glowing, too. I want to read this book, but I tend to wait until things get to paperback.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 30, 2006, 10:14:04 AM
Has anybody read Norah Vincent's book about posing as a male? I just saw her being interviewed on the Colbert Report, and she was fabulous. What a cute dyke! The NYT Book Review was pretty glowing, too. I want to read this book, but I tend to wait until things get to paperback.

Haven't read it yet, though I'm looking forward to it!  We've ordered it for the library (keep your libraries in mind for recently released books - you don't have to wait for paperback).  And yes, a cute dyke (and if I may say, a rather handsome man too!)

Glad to have seen this thread take off in the last day or so - I _knew_ there were readers out there!

Has anyone here read the Michael Nava mysteries with the Henry Rios character?  I haven't yet and was wondering if anyone here liked, for example 'Rag and Bone'?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: aceygirl on January 30, 2006, 01:04:22 PM
Has anybody read Norah Vincent's book about posing as a male? I just saw her being interviewed on the Colbert Report, and she was fabulous. What a cute dyke! The NYT Book Review was pretty glowing, too. I want to read this book, but I tend to wait until things get to paperback.

Haven't read it yet, though I'm looking forward to it!  We've ordered it for the library (keep your libraries in mind for recently released books - you don't have to wait for paperback).  And yes, a cute dyke (and if I may say, a rather handsome man too!)



Library? What's that  ;D

I'm a hoarder--I want to buy the book and dog-ear it to death! But, I do love to *browse* in libraries...peace and quiet...

The last great book I read was "Marabou Stork" by Irving Welsh. First book besides BBM novella that brought me to tears in a long time--and even a few laugh-out-louds. It is painfully visceral and very dark, but with a weird humanity amidst all the amoralism.

I can't help but mention a gothic-horror genre novel, Poppy Brite's "Drawing Blood." I certainly wouldn't call it great art, but it's alot of fun. It's got two cute boys as the protagonist love pair, one reforming from his bisexual slut ways into true love with the other, previously an asexual virgin. Lots of subculture descriptions of sex, drugs and rock and roll with a gothic twist. Lots of descriptions of hot sex between two boys in love. 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on January 30, 2006, 01:14:38 PM
I just saw Norah Vincent--on one of the news magazine shows.  She is cute as both!  I can't believe she pulled it off! 

Has anyone read Middlesex: A Novel.  It is my book clubs next selection Here is a review at
Amazon.com
"I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974." And so begins Middlesex, the mesmerizing saga of a near-mythic Greek American family and the "roller-coaster ride of a single gene through time." The odd but utterly believable story of Cal Stephanides, and how this 41-year-old hermaphrodite was raised as Calliope, is at the tender heart of this long-awaited second novel from Jeffrey Eugenides
  This should make for some interesting conversations about Nature vs. Nurture, I would think! 

Another book that had my book club talking was The Bride Stripped Bare----about a women who is discovering her sexuality.  I liked this readers comments about it--on Amazon.com :-Reviewer: Taffy Waffy "Kath" (Melb, AUST) - I was expecting a titillating, naughty read but got so much more. Most immediately brings to mind 'Looking for Mr. Goodbar' in its devastating depiction of a woman seeking fulfillment through sexual exploration. By the end I was sad, angry and totally enraptured by this haunting story. Look beyond the surface of the 'smut' and you will find so much more. 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on January 30, 2006, 06:48:20 PM
Has anyone read Middlesex: A Novel.  It is my book clubs next selection Here is a review at

Read Middlesex - enjoyed it a lot.  Then went on the read Virgin suicides - liked it but enjoyed it less than Middlesex.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on January 30, 2006, 08:27:41 PM

Read Middlesex - enjoyed it a lot.  Then went on the read Virgin suicides - liked it but enjoyed it less than Middlesex.

Thanks Mary!  My bookclub is putting it out to vote on so I will vote Yes---because my BBM friend said it was good! :) My friends recently tried to have an intervention to get me away from this board but as you can see it hasn't worked! 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on January 30, 2006, 11:05:07 PM
Thanks Mary!  My bookclub is putting it out to vote on so I will vote Yes---because my BBM friend said it was good! :) My friends recently tried to have an intervention to get me away from this board but as you can see it hasn't worked! 

Yes my husband tried an interventin back in December ( :D) As you can see it has not worked either
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 31, 2006, 12:20:19 AM
So, I was just watching CSI Miami (Medium was a re-run) and I realized I hadn't mentioned Carl Hiaasen here - any other fans?  Loved 'Tourist Season', 'Stormy Weather' and 'Lucky You' - was not as wild about 'Basket Case' and 'Sick Puppy'.

As an aside, I saw him speak at a local bookstore and he is very funny live!  If he comes around to a local bookstore go see him! 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on January 31, 2006, 09:28:34 AM
So, I was just watching CSI Miami (Medium was a re-run) and I realized I hadn't mentioned Carl Hiaasen here - any other fans?  Loved 'Tourist Season', 'Stormy Weather' and 'Lucky You' - was not as wild about 'Basket Case' and 'Sick Puppy'.

As an aside, I saw him speak at a local bookstore and he is very funny live!  If he comes around to a local bookstore go see him! 

Yep!  I read Skinny Dip!  The lines from that book and the mix of characters.....made me an immediate fan but haven't read anything else by him.  I have seen some interviews and I really like him.

On my side note--I worked at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver and met some really great authors.  That is when I became a fan of Patricia Cornwell--very intelligent and articulate woman.  That was the best job I ever had---well besides being a mom now!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 31, 2006, 09:51:07 AM
I haven't read Hiaasen's 'Skinny Dip' yet, but will put it on the list.  Actually, I really like to listen to both his books and Sue Grafton's as books on tape/cd when I do road trips.

Quote
On my side note--I worked at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver and met some really great authors.  That is when I became a fan of Patricia Cornwell--very intelligent and articulate woman.  That was the best job I ever had---well besides being a mom now!
Quote

I worked at bookstores for about 10 years - both independent and chain, and one of my all time favorite chance meetings of an author who was stopping by to see if her book was in was: LAUREN BACALL!!!  And she was as charming as you might imagine.  Among the most interesting author signings was Ann Rule - she was signing right around the time of 'The Stranger Beside Me' (about Ted Bundy - she worked next to him at a crisis hotline [!]).
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Vicky0uk on February 06, 2006, 10:35:45 AM
These aren't books I've read lately, but ones I read and enjoyed and feel may have flown under peoples' radar

They are by Joe R Lansdale, an author from Texas. My faves involve Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, two friends who live in Texas and find themselves investigating crimes, some unpleasant.

To quote Wikpedia

'Hap is a white working class laborer in his mid forties, and Leonard is a gay black man. Both of them are accomplished fighters, and the stories (told from Hap's narrative point of view) feature a great deal of violence, profanity and sex. Lansdale paints a picture of East Texas which is essentially "good" but blighted by racism, ignorance, urban and rural deprivation and corruption in public officials. Some of the subject matter is extremely dark, and has included paedophilia and anti gay violence. However, the novels are also characterised by sharp humour and "wisecracking" dialogue.'

What is refreshing is that Leonard totally goes against any gay stereotype. He votes Republican, he is an ex-vet and handy with his fists. He also actually has sexual relationships with other men!!!

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on February 07, 2006, 11:18:08 PM
peteinportland inspired me to start reading All The Pretty Horse by Cormac McCarthy
I am loving it - I'm not sure I would have appreciated it before I saw BBM, but now reading it is an amazing pleasure. Some of the dialog seems like it came from or inspired BBM
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 08, 2006, 01:14:48 AM
Okay, this one's a bit odd (so no surprise, eh?) but has anyone else here read 'The Master and Margarita' by Bulgakov?  Fascinating book - the devil comes to Moscow in the early part of the 20th century and (ahem) all hell breaks loose.  Alternate with a plot concerning a certain pontius pilate and add a liberal dose of magical realism.  Add a witches sabbat and a dab of Milton and you're good to go.

I'd heard about it for years and finally read it last year.  A wonderful, wonderful book - challenging, yes - but amazing as well!

Fascinating story as to the way it was written as well - it took the author 20 years of rewrites and he finally dictated it to his wife as he was dying and blind.  She hid the manuscript till Stalin died and it was published in the 60s in the Soviet Union.  A new translation was published in the mid 90s that is great.

As much fun as re-reading Candide was years after I had to.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: sherryfair on February 08, 2006, 10:42:25 AM
I finally saw Mary's post on the "What is your favorite scene?" thread, so I'm checking in here for the first time.

My entry into the Cullen community came through being a writer & admirer of E. Annie Proulx, who thought this was about the most emotionally truthful & respectful film adaptation I've seen.

I'm a poet & writer, & always have an enormous, teetering pile of books to be read, and I've always got one going on the bedside table, sometimes even two. Just finished Patrick Suskind's "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer." Before that, it was Eugenides' "Middlesex."

On deck is Mary Gaitskill's short story collection, "Bad Behavior." (Met her a few years ago but hadn't read her, am now remediating that.) Also another story story collection by Andrea Barrett, "Servants of the Map." And a book of poems by Beth Ann Fennelly, "Tender Hooks." (I liked her first book & am curious about this one.)

I have eclectic tastes. I read poetry in journals & books & a lot of literary fiction. But also have a strong hankering for romance novels. Sort of like a vegetarian who knows how to cook well but still gorges on Cheetos or Raspberry Zingers on occasion.

Right now, I am leading my online Romance book club through ... guess what? ... "Brokeback Mountain" ... since I am the hostess this month. The female members were extremely receptive to reading a love story that was outside of the conventional Romance genre boundaries. Many made a point of seeing the movie as well. So it's actually become a difficult discussion to lead, because we keep jumping from movie to book & back. (Incidentally, some members swear they are still going to see the movie, so I wonder if that means the audience dropoff is going to be long & slow.)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: aceygirl on February 08, 2006, 03:20:37 PM
Okay, this one's a bit odd (so no surprise, eh?) but has anyone else here read 'The Master and Margarita' by Bulgakov?  Fascinating book - the devil comes to Moscow in the early part of the 20th century and (ahem) all hell breaks loose.  Alternate with a plot concerning a certain pontius pilate and add a liberal dose of magical realism.  Add a witches sabbat and a dab of Milton and you're good to go.

I'd heard about it for years and finally read it last year.  A wonderful, wonderful book - challenging, yes - but amazing as well!



Yes, yes, yes!! I definitely had some tough moments getting through it because it's SO surreal, but it was awesome!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on February 08, 2006, 09:45:21 PM
I finally saw Mary's post on the "What is your favorite scene?" thread, so I'm checking in here for the first time.

Welcome sherryfair to one of my favorite threads here.  I'm always looking for suggestions for new authors and there are a few others who check in regularly too and we've shared a few good suggestions here.

Currently reading All the Pretty horses by Cormac McCarthy


Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: downloaded1 on February 16, 2006, 07:36:14 PM
"We Were The Mulvaneys" book

very good
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Mr. Wrong on February 16, 2006, 07:39:41 PM
Angela's Ashes is a great book about a poor Irish boy amd how he makes it to America.


Jason
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on February 16, 2006, 08:12:57 PM
Angela's Ashes is a great book about a poor Irish boy amd how he makes it to America.


Jason

Did you read Teacher Man by the same author?  I saw him on the Daily Show or the Colbert Report and thought he was really interesting---a classy man.  Just wondering if Teacher Man was good.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Mr. Wrong on February 16, 2006, 08:23:00 PM
Angela's Ashes is a great book about a poor Irish boy amd how he makes it to America.


Jason

Did you read Teacher Man by the same author?  I saw him on the Daily Show or the Colbert Report and thought he was really interesting---a classy man.  Just wondering if Teacher Man was good.


No I never read Teacher Man. I wonder if it is as good as Angels's Ashes?

Jason
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jpq716 on February 17, 2006, 06:42:52 PM
I do not really read that much post-World War II literature. American culture largely became visual --- and ceased to be verbal --- during my youth, and most literature now strikes me as being little more than a rough draft for the more significant screenplay treatment sometime in the future. Larry McMurtry is one of the very few authors whom I read regularly, and the reason why I do read him is because, despite all of his forays into movies and television, he is essentially a writer, committed to arousing the reader’s imagination by intricately textured verbal means. (I also believe that one of the reasons why Brokeback Mountain possesses such massive spiritual power is because its screenplay was done by a person who is fundamentally an epic novelist and not a screenplay writer at all.) Some other authors who fill the bill for me in that respect include the late Richard Adams, the late Gary Jennings, the late Mary Renault, Steve Pressfield and of course, the incredible John Le Carre.

I have just finished reading Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, the first time that I have read it since I was a senior in high school, forty years ago. I did not like Dostoyevsky very much when I was young, and I know now that much of the reason was because he told me things about reality that I really did not want to hear at that time of my life. I also realize now that Crime and Punishment is a very great novel, and some of the scenes in it (e.g. the scene where the student-murderer Roskolnikov confesses his crime to the prostitute Sonia) are deeply soul-stirring. Why, oh why, was I forced to read it when I was a high school senior? How could I possibly have begun to understand the psycho-spiritual issues that it raises at that time in my life? But education, even in a upper-class school like the one I attended, never really cares about the individual and his development, only his molding to whatever Procustian Bed society chooses to adopt at a particular time.

I have Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet and Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past somewhere in my garage. Are any of you familiar with either one of these works? They may be next on my reading agenda.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 22, 2006, 01:24:18 AM
I still haven't finished The Year of Magical Thinking.

Not sure if . . .

a. it was started to get a bit repetitious, or

2. just too damn depressing.

not that too depressing is usually a problem, but i plunged into it directly after a month of brokeback blues, when my shrink ordered me to quit ruminating on it, and i plunged back into writing the murder scenes in my columbine book. empathy overdose, i think.

but the writing was magnificent.

just don't want to go back there, though. maybe i've read enough.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 22, 2006, 01:26:55 AM
Right now, I am leading my online Romance book club through ... guess what? ... "Brokeback Mountain" ... since I am the hostess this month. The female members were extremely receptive to reading a love story that was outside of the conventional Romance genre boundaries.

What a great idea.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 22, 2006, 01:30:58 AM

Currently reading All the Pretty horses by Cormac McCarthy

i was supposed to read his Blood Merridian in grad school, but it seemed . . . (hmmmm, i can't remember what i hated about it now -- but i despised it) so i never got too far.

but most of my peers adored it, so maybe i should give it another chance.

but i have tried Mrs. Dalloway twice since, and it's a tiny little thing and i just can't get through it. or won't. clarissa dalloway is the world's biggest ninny, and i just could not stand another moment with her.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 22, 2006, 01:44:35 AM
I have Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet and Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past somewhere in my garage. Are any of you familiar with either one of these works? They may be next on my reading agenda.


One of my favorite posters on the old Salon Table Talk board had the signature line, "Life isn't getting any longer and Proust isn't getting any shorter."

Isn't the whole work 10,000 pages, or something obscenely daunting like that?

They say it's worth it. Better be. Quite the commitment.

(I've also read that the more accurate translation of the title is "In Search of Lost Time"--which I think I like better.)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: peteinportland on February 22, 2006, 03:01:30 AM
Mary, I love McCarthy (as a quote from ATPH is in my sigge line). He is not an easy writer to read as one has to appreciate his very unique prose and dialog; however, he is a true master of the Western genre. I think ATPH is a nice companion to BBM. There are many of the same themes and imagery.

My favorite book in the last couple of years was Three Junes by Julia Glass. It was a National Book Award winner. It has a gay protagonist, and it was a compelling read.

My favorite book in queer lit is still Paul Monette's On Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story. It is also a NBA winner. I adore this book. Sadly, it is the only book of his I adore.

Sherry, I know this sounds crazy, but my favorite romance is A Cry to Heaven by Anne Rice. I really want to see this book as a movie. It is not great literature, but it combines both gay and straight romance with music and history and is told in such lush detail that it is my favorite guilty pleasure book.

My favorite book in life is actually a trilogy by Gay Gavariel Kay called The Finovar Tapestry. It is a fantasy, but not a simple one. He is a smart and brilliant writer who IMO turns prose into poetry and combines myth and history in such a way as to be the only fantasy writer on par with Tolkien. He has also written some great single novels including Tigiana and The Lions of Al Rassan, among others. He has a beautiful fansite at www.brightweavings.com (http://www.brightweavings.com).

In 2005, I reread all of Dorthy Dunnet's House of Nicoli series (eight books in all). I think she is probably the best writer of historical fiction ever.The first book in that series is still my favorite. I also read At Swim, Two Boys (finally). A great read. American Gods by Neil Gaman probably had the biggest impact on me of the books I read in 2005. A sprawling read that I am still not sure how much I appreciate as great fiction versus guilty pleasure.

Last (I knew better than to actually post on this thread), my favorite writer of all time is still probably Robert Penn Warren. Like Proulx, he has a fondness for place, and he makes a physical location as much a character as the actual ones.

Okay, last for real, I think every BBM fan (especially females) should rush out and get An Unspoken Hunger by Terry Temptest Williams. It is a book of nature essays by a very progressive Mormon feminist (I know!) that explores many of the themes of BBM on so many different levels (although no queer themes per se). The book is BEAUTIFUL, and if you have not read it, it is my gift to you (as are all the books I mention).
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on February 22, 2006, 08:12:58 AM
Mary, I love McCarthy (as a quote from ATPH is in my sigge line). He is not an easy writer to read as one has to appreciate his very unique prose and dialog; however, he is a true master of the Western genre. I think ATPH is a nice companion to BBM. There are many of the same themes and imagery.
I agree Pete - you know I'm not sure if I'd have been able to appreciate ATPH as much before - but because I've been so immersed in the BBM themes, ATPH has really resonated with me.  It is taking me longer than usual to read though; must be all this time on the forum - it's taken up my usual reading time 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: rickpouch on February 22, 2006, 12:57:59 PM
QUEER COWBOYS by Chris Packard.

Hard to find. I bought the hard cover via Amazon which was expensive.

 It's similar (but slightly different) than what GLBT writer Jonathan Ned Katz has also written in the past w/ several of his books
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 22, 2006, 01:11:28 PM
QUEER COWBOYS by Chris Packard.

Hard to find. I bought the hard cover via Amazon which was expensive.

 It's similar (but slightly different) than what GLBT writer Jonathan Ned Katz has also written in the past w/ several of his books

This sounds great!  Katz was a real touchstone for me - I loved 'Gay American History'!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 22, 2006, 01:15:45 PM
I still haven't finished The Year of Magical Thinking.

Not sure if . . .

a. it was started to get a bit repetitious, or

2. just too damn depressing.


For me it was that it was repetitious.  Oddly enough I did the same thing - read about half of it and put it down (which is rare for me).  Admittedly I read 'Running with Scissors' and 'Dry' shortly before this - so I may have just been overdosing on Mr. Burroughs (heh), but I also found something similar to what I've found in later David Sedaris works - sometimes his voice grates on me a bit.  Sort of like a friend that always complains when you see them - it makes visiting with them a chore.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on February 22, 2006, 01:34:47 PM
Here is a list of books from my Bookclub this last year. My top three on the list are Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons---don't let the title frighten you, it is about a group of women and their friendship over a 30 year span---I loved the characters and the lesson is that you really need to trust your friends.  My Sister's Keeper---about a girl that was conceived to help save her sister's life.  Very thought provoking and a roller coaster ride of emotions.  Kiterunner--because it made me feel I was in the middle of Kabul--I usually don't like a lot of descriptions in the books I read but this one really grabbed ahold of me--also very impressed that this was this authors first novel.  All the books were well received by my club. I don't think there is any book on the list that people hated! 

DiVinci Code, Dan Brown   
The 5 People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom   
Angry Housewives Eating BonBons, Lorna Landvik   
Bridget Jones Diary, Helen Fielding   
Lovely Bones, Alice Siebold   
Time Traveller's Wife,Audrey Niffenegger   
Red Tent,Anita Diamant   
Skinny Dip, Carl Haissen 
         
 
Lance Armstrong; It's not about the Bike Lance Armstrong/Sally Jenkins 
Confessions of Max Tivoli, Andrew Sean Greer 
#1 Ladies Detective Agency,Alexander McCall Smith 
My Sister's Keeper,Jodi Picoult   
Kiterunner/The 4 Agreements  Khaled Hosseini/Miguel Ruiz
Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd   
The Bride Stripped Bare,Nikki Gemmell 
Middlesex , Jeffrey Eugenides     
         
         
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 22, 2006, 06:42:24 PM
And I just have to mention here how happy I am about the Oprah program - she has done a world of good to get people reading.

Thank you all for so many great recommendations.  Speaking of "A Million Little Pieces" - I read recently that Jake G. was wanted for that lead role.  I don't know if that's a done deal or not.  Anyone else see this?

She sure has.

I have a feeling that movie project is going to be on hold--for awhile or forever, after the taint of that scandal.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 22, 2006, 06:45:38 PM
I really enjoyed both 'Take the Cannoli' and 'Partly Cloudy Patriot' by Sarah Vowell.  'Take the Cannoli' has a wonderful/heartbreaking essay on the trail of tears entitled "What I See When I Look at the Face on the $20 Bill".  And if you listen to the book on tape of 'Partly Cloudy Patriot' you will get to hear passages read by Seth Green and Conan O'Brien.  I also enjoyed 'Fraud' by Vowell's  (and David Sedaris') 'This American Life' cohort David Rakoff.  And of course David Sedaris is quite a bit of fun too  (particularly his earlier works - 'Naked' and 'Barrel Fever').

I love Sarah on This American Life, but wondered how much it would hold up in print. Haven't given her a real shot, but read 30 pages of Assasins at the bookstore, and it wasn't really working for me.

I recognize the Rakoff name: Is he the guy who did the piece on Mary Poppins' friends setting her up with The Penguin, because they were the only two people they knew engaged in umbrella travel. Fucking brilliant.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 22, 2006, 06:47:16 PM
I was wondering if anyone has read We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lional Shriver?  Here is a description---heard it was a really good book but have not read it.  I thought Dave might have heard about it!
From Publishers Weekly
A number of fictional attempts have been made to portray what might lead a teenager to kill a number of schoolmates or teachers, Columbine style, but Shriver's is the most triumphantly accomplished by far. A gifted journalist as well as the author of seven novels, she brings to her story a keen understanding of the intricacies of marital and parental relationships as well as a narrative pace that is both compelling and thoughtful. Eva Khatchadourian is a smart, skeptical New Yorker whose impulsive marriage to Franklin, a much more conventional person, bears fruit, to her surprise and confessed disquiet, in baby Kevin. From the start Eva is ambivalent about him, never sure if she really wanted a child, and he is balefully hostile toward her; only good-old-boy Franklin, hoping for the best, manages to overlook his son's faults as he grows older, a largely silent, cynical, often malevolent child. The later birth of a sister who is his opposite in every way, deeply affectionate and fragile, does nothing to help, and Eva always suspects his role in an accident that befalls little Celia. The narrative, which leads with quickening and horrifying inevitability to the moment when Kevin massacres seven of his schoolmates and a teacher at his upstate New York high school, is told as a series of letters from Eva to an apparently estranged Franklin, after Kevin has been put in a prison for juvenile offenders. This seems a gimmicky way to tell the story, but is in fact surprisingly effective in its picture of an affectionate couple who are poles apart, and enables Shriver to pull off a huge and crushing shock far into her tale. It's a harrowing, psychologically astute, sometimes even darkly humorous novel, with a clear-eyed, hard-won ending and a tough-minded sense of the difficult, often painful human enterprise.

No, but I quoted that review in my book proposal. hahaha. (seriously.)

Been thinking I should have a look.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 22, 2006, 06:48:17 PM
Here's one I didn't read 'lately' but it surely fits into the whole economic picture of what was going on in BBM:   'Nickel and Dimed: on (not) getting by in America'.  Very interesting picture of what people on the bleeding edge of the economy go through to survive.

I didn't read the book, but did read her piece in Harpers. (Excerpt? Or maybe it was the predessor to the book project.) Either way, I liked it a lot.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 22, 2006, 06:50:56 PM
Not read lately, but one of my all-time favorites, is The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett. A beautiful book. Magical, really. I've read all of her books, and they're good, but this one is the standout.

I've heard good things about this.

For magical realism fans, any of you tried Jose Saramago? Porteguese guy, not well known here, but won the nobel. I started with The Stone Raft. Liked it a lot.

And not sure this really fits that genre, but Barry Yourgrau's Wearing Dad's Head is one of my all-time favorites.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 22, 2006, 06:51:44 PM
Has anybody read Norah Vincent's book about posing as a male? I just saw her being interviewed on the Colbert Report, and she was fabulous. What a cute dyke! The NYT Book Review was pretty glowing, too. I want to read this book, but I tend to wait until things get to paperback.

No, but she was very amusing on Colbert. And Salon also did a cover story on it.

(Just catching way up on this thread. Can you tell?)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Sharyn on February 22, 2006, 07:28:18 PM

[/quote

Thank you all for so many great recommendations.  Speaking of "A Million Little Pieces" - I read recently that Jake G. was wanted for that lead role.  I don't know if that's a done deal or not.  Anyone else see this?
Quote

I read this too-- but on the iheartjake.com boards and am not sure how reliable that sourse is...  I'd love to see him in that role...

I am currently reading Million Little Pieces and highly recommend it-- regardless of whether or not he stretched the truth

Other recommendations:  (great featured thread Father Dave!)  

The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman-- I couldn't put it down this summer

All the President's Men--by Bob Woodward-- I'm 29 years old, and now live in DC. I ate the story of the revealed Deep Throat and enjoyed this oldie. Even liked it better than the movie even though the movie has Rober Redford

Brokeback Mountain of course-- which surprised me ONLY because I am not much of a fan of Annie's style-- I couldn't finish The Shipping News...

Into Quick Mindless Reads?

STEPHANIE PLUM SERIES by Janet Evanovich-- Zany, Hilarious... Not great literature but definitely a beach read!

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: LL is inspired on February 22, 2006, 07:45:27 PM
Forgive me if this was already addressed--it's a response to a few pages back about Million Little Pieces--the movie. 

"Before the Smoking Gun revealed his fabrications, Frey announced that the film version of his book was being coproduced by Brad Pitt and directed by Mark Romanek.

He listed Ryan Gosling, Tobey Maguire, Orlando Bloom, Josh Hartnett and Jake Gyllenhaal as just a few of the actors in contention to portray him."


The link:
http://www.eonline.com/News/Items/0,1,18261,00.html

Warner Brothers have put the plans on hold, however, for now, given the revelations of fabications.

LL
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: hybrid on February 22, 2006, 07:46:32 PM
I am just finishing up Lionel Trilling's biography of Matthew Arnold. A demanding book, but extremely thought provoking and broad ranging, it functions as a sort of intellectual history of the formulation of Modernism. So many of the issues Arnold and the other members of the Victorian intelligentsia were dealing with such as the place of religion in society, the relationship between science and religion, the question of what constitutes a just society in a culture dominated by a middle-class business ethic, are all the same issues that we are still struggling with. I have to say that the level of the public discourse in the anglo saxon world hasn't really improved - those Victorians, even the journalists, could sure write circles around the commentator class of today's media.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: sskater on February 22, 2006, 08:16:01 PM
Hello Dave :-* and of course all you folks. I have started "As I lay dying" by W. Faulkner. Whn I read the first few pages I knew it was a book I would enjoy...
Another book I started, "Hidden messages in Water" by Japanese author, Masaru Emoto. He talks about water as being "the life of nature" and "substance is vibration"(quantum Mechanics).
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Timothy on February 22, 2006, 08:24:48 PM
I just picked up The Man Who Knew Too Much by David Leavitt.  It a biography of Alan Turing.  I'm only in the first chapter but so far it's interesting.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: sskater on February 22, 2006, 08:26:11 PM
small typo: The life FORCE of nature". Hint to all: drink water ::) :-*
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 22, 2006, 08:36:05 PM
Hello Dave :-* and of course all you folks. I have started "As I lay dying" by W. Faulkner. Whn I read the first few pages I knew it was a book I would enjoy...

Nice!

Can't wait to hear more.

Did Oprah make you do it?

It was the first time I ever bought one of her selections. It was just there in the bookstore in that beautiful slipcase, great price for three, and I had been meaning to start him . . .

Took me about ten pages to get into it. But man . . .

Now in my top 5 ever.

And really got some ideas for my own book from it. Love the fractured narrative and multiple points of view. I'm not doing it quite like that, but a flavor of that, definitely.

I got a ways into The Sound & The Fury and struggled more. It was also a struggling time (late last summer). Plus, I have not had so much reading time. Set it down, finally. But still hoping to get back into it.

Because Dying wasn't the easiest book to read--until I figured out how to take it, around p. 56, if I recall--but man, it sure was worth it.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jpq716 on February 22, 2006, 08:53:29 PM
Hi, sskater! Faulkner is superb. First-rate. Top-of-the-line. Both The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying are great novels. But my favorite Faulkner novel always has been Absalom, Absalom. The novel is about 400 pages long, and for the first 300 pages you don't know what the hell is going on because Faulkner insists on randomly narrating episodes in the century-long history of a family as he picks them up, like individual pieces out of a jigsaw puzzle box. And then, with just a 100 pages to go, all the carefully constructed little patches of pieces start to link together until --- suddenly --- you realize the almost Greek tragedy of this doomed family. Wow! what a reading experience!

And there are some of his short stories that you certainly do not want to miss: "The Bear," "That Evening Sun Go Down" and the unforgettable "A Rose for Emily."

Happy reading, sskater!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 22, 2006, 09:26:15 PM
Hey, some of you seem to be in reading clubs -- any interest in starting one of our own?

If people are interested, we could start with one book, and read/discuss it together and see how that goes, see how often we want to do more.

(Eventually, if we did a lot of these, some of you reading-book people might manage to synch us up with your own selections. Would be cool if we were all reading a book here simultaneously with a few of you who had your physical club doing the same one.)

If we did the book club, I think we would start a separate thread for it (prolly a thread for each book we did), but let's discuss it here first, see if there is interest.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: BigEd on February 22, 2006, 09:44:15 PM
As BBM forced me to go back and review my life, I remembered a book I'd read long ago entitled Narziss and Goldmund, written by Herman Hesse. The book is about life's choices. The two protagonists are good friends who lead very different lives. One withdraws almost entirely from the world and lives as an ascetic, the other purposefully immerses himself in everything life has to offer and moves from one excess to another. While their lives are extreme, the protagonists live choices made every day by so many of us; engage with life or withdraw, come out of the closet or not, have a little cow and calf operation or live all alone in a trailer...
I've just started re-reading it.

Cheers,
Ed
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 22, 2006, 09:48:40 PM
As BBM forced me to go back and review my life, I remembered a book I'd read long ago entitled Narziss and Goldmund, written by Herman Hesse. The book is about life's choices. The two protagonists are good friends who lead very different lives. One withdraws almost entirely from the world and lives as an ascetic, the other purposefully immerses himself in everything life has to offer and moves from one excess to another. While their lives are extreme, the protagonists live choices made every day by so many of us; engage with life or withdraw, come out of the closet or not, have a little cow and calf operation or live all alone in a trailer...
I've just started re-reading it.

Cheers,
Ed

Oh God Ed...this takes me back to college - I was trying to talk my friend Brian into starting a little cow and calf operation, as I recall.

And since we're talking classics, one of my all time favorites is 'Candide' by Voltaire.  Somehow I don't think Ennis read it, but he might have found himself wondering if this was, indeed, the best of all possible worlds....
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: ChrisFewa on February 22, 2006, 10:14:58 PM
books oh ya!!!

American gods, neverwhere, stardust...
Good omens

A really great series is the Assisians series, by robin hobb... it is fantasy but it is very good.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 22, 2006, 10:31:23 PM
Quote
I love Sarah on This American Life, but wondered how much it would hold up in print. Haven't given her a real shot, but read 30 pages of Assasins at the bookstore, and it wasn't really working for me.

I recognize the Rakoff name: Is he the guy who did the piece on Mary Poppins' friends setting her up with The Penguin, because they were the only two people they knew engaged in umbrella travel. Fucking brilliant.
Quote

The 'Penguin' piece was by Jonathan Goldstein.  I don't think I've seen it in a book, however.

Rakoff is another of the 'This American Life' crew.  He and Sarah Vowell went to a 'planned' disney community in Florida ('Celebration') and she retells the absolutely hilarious story in 'Take the Cannoli'.  And he has two books 'Fraud' and 'Don't Get Too Comfortable'.

Give her another try Dave - and try either 'Cannoli' or 'Patriot' - or, as I said, listen to the audiobook (you can check it out from the library).
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on February 22, 2006, 10:57:09 PM
Dave I would love it if you started a book club!  I love the book club I am but honestly every woman in the club is just like me so having a diverse group would be so much more fun and interesting.  I know that we can all learn from each other.  So, I vote YES and agree that a separate thread for each book would work well. 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on February 22, 2006, 11:02:46 PM
Dave I would love it if you started a book club!  I love the book club I am but honestly every woman in the club is just like me so having a diverse group would be so much more fun and interesting.  I know that we can all learn from each other.  So, I vote YES and agree that a separate thread for each book would work well. 

I'd echo those sentiments.  Plus my book group seems to have drifted apart after 12 years or so though we did get together to see BBM (after I gave the book to everyone)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Melisande on February 22, 2006, 11:30:10 PM
Not read recently, but now that I think of it, I want to reread.

Lamb: the Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore.

One of my favorite books ever.

I can't begin to summarize it, so I'll give you the blurb from Carl Hiassen -

"a very sick man, in the very best sense of the word" - tells the greatest story never told!

I've lent this book to friends and had to beg to get it back. I gave it to my brother-in-law to read while he and my sister were visiting, and he took it home and mailed it back later. It's a first person narrative by Biff, beginning in childhood. While reading it, I was truly hoping that that the end would be different, and cried when it wasn't. Not a spoiler, I hope - I'm assuming everyone knows the basic story. And I was literally in tears another time, tears of laughter and rolling around on my sofa, when Biff and Jesus were writing the Sermon on the Mount.

I highly recommend this, and most anything else by Moore. 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 23, 2006, 12:19:38 AM
The 'Penguin' piece was by Jonathan Goldstein.  I don't think I've seen it in a book, however.

Yes! I remember that now. Very impressive memory.  I never would have gotten it. Thanks.

I listened to that so many times. I first heard it in chicago last summer, driving to the beach on an otherwise beautiful day interspersed with summer storms. and my friend, who's a high-strung medical resident was driving like a maniac, the wiper blades weren't working, he had the wheel clenched hard enough to practically rip it out, and then that started, and we started snickerin at first, and then it got more and more ridiculous, yet so utterly perfect--we could SEE mary poppins and the penguin on that blind date--and his hands came unglued and we were laughing our asses off. not just at how funny it was, but what an amazing little recreation of the world we almost live in.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 23, 2006, 12:23:57 AM
And since we're talking classics, one of my all time favorites is 'Candide' by Voltaire.  Somehow I don't think Ennis read it, but he might have found himself wondering if this was, indeed, the best of all possible worlds....

such an amusing little read. and you can gobble the whole thing up in under an hour. even shorter than bbm?

something someone here said just made me think of Sherman Alexie, who i haven't read in awhile. i loved the short stories, especially The Lone Ranger And Tonto Fistfight In Heaven.

Native American, writes about life on and off the res, with a huge bitter streaked mixed with just enough humor and self-deprecation to make it click. In print, anyway. In person, he's horrifying. Does this almost standup routine, which the Boulder audiences I saw him with eat up, but it's like a cheesier Jay Leno act. And the bitterness is all very straight. I was shocked. Many writers are better off just read.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: hybrid on February 23, 2006, 12:30:36 AM
If you liked "The Stone Raft", you should read "The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis". It's about Ricardo Reis, one of Pessoa's heteronyms returning from Brazil to Lisbon upon hearing of the death of Pessoa. It's quite beautiful and strange, a portrait of mid-century Lisbon. If you don't know Pessoa, you should check him out- the greatest modernist literary figure in Portuguese was also gay. He is considered to be the 4 or 5 greatest modern Portugese poets because he took on different identities and wrote in completely different styles (his heteronyms).

http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/pessoa.htm

The current Harpers has a good article about Gombrowicz, another important queer writer not much known in this country. I am still thinking about "Cosmos" three years after reading it. It is truely shocking.

http://alangullette.com/lit/gombrowicz/

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 23, 2006, 01:24:09 AM
Not read recently, but now that I think of it, I want to reread.

Lamb: the Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore.

One of my favorite books ever.

I can't begin to summarize it, so I'll give you the blurb from Carl Hiassen -

"a very sick man, in the very best sense of the word" - tells the greatest story never told!

This sounds great!  And the perfect antidote to Anne Rice going insane.  :(

And Carl Hiassen thinks it's sick!!!  Now that's saying something.

Speaking of sick but enjoyable books are there any Chuck Palahniuk fans out there?  I really liked 'Choke' - I remember reading it in the DMV - it seemed entirely appropriate.  And a question - has anyone out there read any of Palahniuk's other books?  Any recommendations?

Oh!  And another truly sick book that makes for interesting reading (especially if you're a commuter like myself) is J.G. Ballard's book 'Crash' - when I read this I was commuting in a bus to work every day.  Truly an odd experience.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: imennisshesjack on February 23, 2006, 08:16:58 AM
I am reading The Commitment by Dan Savage (about real life gay issues and gay marriage) and Jarhead, at the same time. Normally  I don't read two books at once but they both have me riveted.

Also:
The Bride Stripped Bare by Nikki Gemmell

The Italian Affair by Laura Fraser

I read so much, I forget what I've read. Really into non-fiction lately, esp. gay issues.



Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: BigEd on February 23, 2006, 08:40:53 AM
Oh God Ed...this takes me back to college - I was trying to talk my friend Brian into starting a little cow and calf operation, as I recall.

And since we're talking classics, one of my all time favorites is 'Candide' by Voltaire.  Somehow I don't think Ennis read it, but he might have found himself wondering if this was, indeed, the best of all possible worlds....

Yes Michael! I read Candide along with Narziss and Goldmund, and The Agony and the Ecstasy just after undergrad while travelling in Europe with a hostel card, eurail pass and a backpack trying to figure out who the hell I was supposed to be. What a cliche - but it was the 70's :D
I agree with you, I dont think our beloved Ennis would have read it. But then I dont think he would have even found it since its unlikely the books were in the ketchup aisle  ;D

I like the idea of forming a book club with the people on this forum - lets do it!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Zudos on February 23, 2006, 09:29:02 AM
Anyone read On Beauty by Zadie Smith...?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: leopoldo on February 23, 2006, 09:33:47 AM
Yep, but I wasn't a fan.

Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro though - fantastically sad stuff.

Currently reading 'How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered the World' by Francis Wheen - a hilarious (and sometimes disagreeable) analysis of the rise of the Right, New Age therapy, fundamentalisms and postmodernist theory, and how all these interlink. It's fun, it makes me cross once in a while, but generally a well formulated polemic.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Zudos on February 23, 2006, 09:35:22 AM
Yep, but I wasn't a fan.

Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro though - fantastically sad stuff.

Currently reading 'How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered the World' by Francis Wheen - a hilarious (and sometimes disagreeable) analysis of the rise of the Right, New Age therapy, fundamentalisms and postmodernist theory, and how all these interlink. It's fun, it makes me cross once in a while, but generally a well formulated polemic.

I thought it was excellent, and defined the failure of the main character (sorry, can not remember his name), amazingly... whilst retaining her conversational style of writing...

What didn't you like about it...? 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: ChrisFewa on February 23, 2006, 09:58:34 AM
What about “the reluctant messiah”  A very interesting way of looking at life.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: andy/Claude on February 23, 2006, 10:03:28 AM
My latest read was Capt Corelli's Mandolin. After the first 20 pages I got right into it. Was advised not to go see the movie after having read the book. So I didn't!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 23, 2006, 10:11:58 AM
If you liked "The Stone Raft", you should read "The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis". It's about Ricardo Reis, one of Pessoa's heteronyms returning from Brazil to Lisbon upon hearing of the death of Pessoa. It's quite beautiful and strange, a portrait of mid-century Lisbon. If you don't know Pessoa, you should check him out- the greatest modernist literary figure in Portuguese was also gay. He is considered to be the 4 or 5 greatest modern Portugese poets because he took on different identities and wrote in completely different styles (his heteronyms).

http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/pessoa.htm

Thanks. I currently have two friends making their way through his saramago's work, one far ahead of the other, and the further one recommended that as his favorite. i couldn't remember the name of the person who died. so maybe i'll try that.

no, i've never heard of pessoa, or a heteronym, to be honest. what is that? a pseudonym for a hetero alter ego of a homo?

my friend also told me nothing about this book. are you saying that the guy uses several pseudonyms, and when he dies, one of them manages to live on, hears of the death of his others and comes back to lisbon in grief? pretty interesting.

the newer reader also liked All The Names.
Title: My, My, NARCISSUS AND GOLDMUND...
Post by: jpq716 on February 23, 2006, 10:20:17 AM
Hi, BigEd! Back in the spring of 1969, when I was pretending to be a college student while making sure that my country never again would invade, unprovoked, another small country (<SIGH>) and while I was sampling various altered states of consciousness that were available to me, I went through Hermann Hesse like a Mac truck. It was de rigeur training for the Revolution, you know (like reading D. L. Lawrence, whom I had devoured the previous fall), and I went to it with a will. I shall never forget reading Demian, which had appeared exactly fifty years earlier in Weimar Germany and which had created just as much a sensation there among young people in 1919 as it was to create here in America in 1965 when a decent translation finally appeared in paperback. (Of course, now I realize that there was an excellent reason why 1919 and 1965 were so similar in emotional tone to young people, but that line of thought does not belong here in this thread…) Then I joyously plowed through the rest: Siddharta, Steppenwolf, Journey to the East and The Glass-Bead Game.

But the novel that characterizes that deeply sad, totally lost, but utterly magical, time for me and which formally introduced me to German Romanticism (one of the biggest intellectual and emotional influences on my life) was Narcissus and Goldmund. I went over the moon with that novel, and to this day, I cannot think of myself as a 20-year-old kid in the Summer of Protest without thinking of that book. It is one of the great masterpieces of late German Romanticism; I made all of my friends read it (they were in training for the Revolution, too, you know, and Hesse was universally revered as one of the prophets); and I longed --- even then --- for it to become a great film. (This was right at the time when Franco Zefferelli was making Romeo and Juliet and when Ken Russell was making Women in Love, so anything seemed possible for the classics.) I always presumed that David Lean, then of Doctor Zhivago fame, would be just the guy to do justice to this work, but he, alas, never got around to doing it. But just three weeks ago I suddenly found another director, who is famous for his intensive preparation, who has already filmed a masterpiece of literature (by Jane Austen, no less), who has a hypnotic love-affair with the beauty of nature, and who would be perfect, just perfect, for the job. Guess who, folks? And no question about it --- there’s another Oscar out there waiting for him if he decides to take the job!

For Narcissus and Goldmund, which is a truly wild novel (and not just sexually either), is every bit as much a celebration of the power of passion as Brokeback Mountain is. But if the latter demonstrates that love is a force of nature, then the former demonstrates that art is too. Art reflects nature, arises out of the agonies and ecstasies of nature, and completes an otherwise uncompletable nature. As Goldmund passes from city to city and from bed to bed amid medieval sieges, savage witch-hunts, the ritual burning of heretics, and the total social breakdown caused by the plague, his inevitable sorrows and disappointments involuntarily and inevitably pile up memories and emotions in his heart, demons that can be exorcized only by his art. There are no wrist watches in this world, just the silent passage of time as measured by the majestic change of the seasons (which Hesse was a genius of the first order at depicting). And there is no peace, not a drop of it, to be found, except by sailing beyond the crumbling beauties of this world through the power to art to “the artifice of eternity.” And even then, no safety for the artist from the horrors of this world…”Unless soul clap its hands and sing, / And louder sing for every tatter in its mortal dress.”

What images come back to me from that novel! The leaves of the chestnut tree, symbol of Goldmund’s soul (in both senses of that term), fluttering in the spring wind in the courtyard of the Mariabronn cloister. The panting and the grunting of lovers in the wildflower meadows and the barn hay lofts. The antlike busyness of a medieval witch-hunt roaming the countryside among the piles of unburied plague victims left rotting in their houses. The resolute sound of Goldmund’s chisel as he attempts to create the perfect Madonna, the one that embodies the best of every woman he has ever enjoyed, while the creative image within his mind eternally mocks his efforts to do so with her Mona Lisa smile. The rattle of autumn leaves through the deserted streets of a medieval city. The smell of incense wafting through the arcades of a medieval cloister at dusk. The sound of Gregorian chant bouncing off the great pillars of a Gothic cathedral at midnight. And above all else, the quiet conversation by flickering candlelight of two small figures, the one a shiftless and dirty vagabond and the other a elegantly dressed priest, both lost within an terminally insane and terribly violent world, and certain only of their unconditional love for another. Oh God, Ang, you gotta do this film! Only you could do this film right! A film that nobody else has ever thought of making!

But all of this was almost four decades ago in my life, BigEd, and as Goldmund comes to realize in the end, all things must pass. The happier time in which I first read Narcissus and Goldmund has long since passed away in its turn, and I myself am close to becoming an old man now, just like Narcissus was at the end of the novel. Oh my, it must be at least twenty-five years since I last read this book! I am almost scared to open it again. Too many heart-memories there, you know… A couple of years ago, I did re-read The Glass Bead-Game, which, frankly, confused me a little in 1969, and now it is one of my favorite novels. I can see now what I could not see then --- why Hesse won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946 for that novel and not for any of his others --- but still it’s a damn shame that I had to purchase my insight into this work with the naiveté and passion of my youth! But that’s just the way it is, BigEd. Hesse stressed this point all the time in all of his works. Which is why, in the end, he is not a novelist for kids. Oh no, not at all…

Thanks for the memories that awakened within me today when I read your post. It’s so nice to see that truly great works of art are never really forgotten, although they sometimes appear to be. And it really made me smile to know that somebody else out there is rediscovering one of the most powerful novels that I have ever read, all those years ago. Happy reading, BigEd… :D :D :D
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 23, 2006, 10:29:37 AM
Not read recently, but now that I think of it, I want to reread.

Lamb: the Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore.

One of my favorite books ever.

I can't begin to summarize it, so I'll give you the blurb from Carl Hiassen -

"a very sick man, in the very best sense of the word" - tells the greatest story never told!

This sounds great!  And the perfect antidote to Anne Rice going insane.  :(

And Carl Hiassen thinks it's sick!!!  Now that's saying something.

Speaking of sick but enjoyable books are there any Chuck Palahniuk fans out there?  I really liked 'Choke' - I remember reading it in the DMV - it seemed entirely appropriate.  And a question - has anyone out there read any of Palahniuk's other books?  Any recommendations?

Oh!  And another truly sick book that makes for interesting reading (especially if you're a commuter like myself) is J.G. Ballard's book 'Crash' - when I read this I was commuting in a bus to work every day.  Truly an odd experience.

i have not read Palahniuk. been meaning to. have a feeling i might hate him, but need to find out. had extremely mixed feelings about the film fight club, but loved the idea.

is crash the book that the david cronenberg film was based on? his worst i've ever seen, but i was wondering about the book. seems like it would work much better as a book. god, what a boring film.

but speaking of crashes, i was just thinking about "Car Crash While Hitchhking," my second-favorite story from one of my all-time fave books, Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son. (It's not about Jesus. Title from a Lou Reed song. Most of the book is about a mostly-former heroin addict. But it's not bleak. Or redemptive. Just incredibly observant.)

Hennyway, I could have sworn I typed my favorite passage into my blog once, but can't find it.

Found my second-fave, from my favorite story in the book, "Beverley Home." Here's the passage--at this point he's working at a halfway house, as part of his own recovery, this time from alocholism:

Quote
There was a guy with something like multiple sclerosis. A perpetual spasm forced him to perch sideways on his wheelchair and peer down along his nose at his knotted fingers. This condition had descended on him suddenly. He got no visitors. His wife was divorcing him. He was only thirty-three, I believe he said, but it was hard to guess what he told about himself, because he really couldn't talk anymore, beyond clamping his lips repeatedly around his protruding tongue while groaning.

No more pretending for him! He was completely and totally a mess. Meanwhile the rest of us go on trying to fool each other.

A bit more on it here:

http://blogs.salon.com/0001137/categories/books/2003/07/25.html
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 23, 2006, 10:37:51 AM
While searching my blog archives for "Car Crash . . ." I did stumble upon the opening of "The Things They Carried," which I meant to bring up.

(More about how the hell that happened, as well as my take on the passage I'm about to quote here: http://blogs.salon.com/0001137/categories/bestPosts/2004/04/22.html )

I am still in awe of the title story of the collection, and yet to this day (about ten years later), I have been unable to plunge into the rest of it, or even try. Even seriously consider it, really. Not sure why. Can't bear to plunge all the way into Vietnam?

Or perhaps one of my most horrible traits: Once I adore something--I mean find a work of pure perfection--I'm terrified to read anything else by the author, for fear it won't live up. I'll sully them or something. (A related trick is fearing reading anything by a friend, or anyone I like, for fear I won't like it--or won't love it as much as I love them--and will find it hard to respect them as much.)

Hennyway, here's the opening passage (the paragraphs are a bit daunting in length, but SO worth it):

Quote
First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried letters from a girl named Martha, a junior at Mount Sebastian College in New Jersey. They were not love letters, but Lieutenant Cross was hoping, so he kept them folded in plastic at the bottom of his rucksack. In the late afternoon, after a day's march, he would dig his foxhole, wash his hands under a canteen, unwrap the letters, hold them with the tips of his fingers, and spend the last hour of light pretending. He would imagine romantic camping trips into the White Mountains in New Hampshire. He would sometimes taste the envelope flaps, knowing her tongue had been there. More than anything he wanted Martha to love him as he loved her, but the letters were mostly chatty, elusive on the matter of love. She was a virgin, he was almost sure. She was an English major at Mount Sebastian, and she wrote beautifully about her professors and roommates and midterm exams, about her respect for Chaucer and her great affection for Virginia Woolf. She often quoted lines of poetry; she never mentioned the war, except to say, Jimmy, take care of yourself. The letters weight 10 ounces. They were signed Love, Martha, but Lieutenant Crosss understood that Love was only a way of signing and did not mean what he sometimes pretended it meant. At dusk, he would carefully return the letters to his rucksack. Slowly, a bit distracted, he would get up and move among his men, checking the perimeter, then at full dark he would return to his hole and watch the night and wonder if Martha was a virgin.

The things they carried were largely determined by necessity. Among the necessities or near-necessities were P-38 can openers, pokcet knives, heat tabs, wristwatches, dog tags, mosquito repellent, chewing gum, candy, cigarettes, salt tablets, packets of Kool-Aid, lighters, matches, sweing kits, canteens of water. Together, these items weighted between 15 and 20 pounds, depending upon a man's habits or rate of metabolism. Henry Dobbins, who was a big man, carried extra rations; he was especially fond of canned peaches in heavy syrup over pound cake. Dave Jensen, who practiced filed hygiene, carried a toothbrush, dental floss, and several hotel-sized bars of soap he'd stoen on R&R in Sydney, Australia. Ted Lavender, who was scared, carried tranquilizers until he was shot in the head outside the village of Than Khe in mid-April. By necessity, and because it was SOP, they all carried steel helmets that weighed 5 pounds including the liner and camouflage cover. They carried the standard fatigue jackets and trousers. Very few carried underwear. On their feet they carried jungle boots -- 2.3 pounds -- and Dave Jensen carried three pairs of socks and a can of Dr. Scholl's foot powder as a precaution against trench foot. Until he was shot, Ted Lavender carried six or seven ounces of premium dope, which for him was a necessity. Mitchell Sanders, the RTO, carried condoms. Norman Bowker carried a diary. Rat Kiley carried comic books. Kiowa, a devout Baptist, carried an illustrated New Testament that had been presented to him by his father, who taught Sunday school in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. As a hedge against bad times, however, Kiowa also carried his grandmother's distrust of the white man, his grandfather's old hunting hatchet. Necessity dictated. Because the land was mined and booby-trapped, it was SOP for each man to carry a steel-centered, nylon-covered flak jacket, which weighed 6.7 pounds, but which on hot days seemed much heavier. Because you could die so quickly, each man carried at least one large compress bandage, usually in the helmet band for easy access. Because the nights were cold, and because the monsoons were wet, each carried a green plastic poncho that could be used as a raincoat or groundsheet or makeshift tent. With its quilted liner, the poncho wieghed almost two pounds, but it was worth every ounce. In April, for instance, when Ted Lavender was shot, they used his poncho to wrap him up, then to carry him across the paddy, then to lift him into the chopper that took him away.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: hybrid on February 23, 2006, 10:51:24 AM
Pessoa felt that he had to write in different voices in different personalities. He didn't hide that he was doing this, so they are not pseudonyms. To him these voices were  real people and he made up biographies of them, and had them comment on each other's work. They have very different poetic senisbilities. Ricardo Reis is one of them, one that lives in Brazil. So the premise of the Saramago novel is that Reis hears of the death of Pessoa and returns to Lisbon to go to Pessoa's grave.

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 23, 2006, 12:03:50 PM
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Speaking of sick but enjoyable books are there any Chuck Palahniuk fans out there?  I really liked 'Choke'  and another truly sick book that makes for interesting reading is J.G. Ballard's book 'Crash'.
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i have not read Palahniuk. been meaning to. have a feeling i might hate him, but need to find out. had extremely mixed feelings about the film fight club, but loved the idea.

is crash the book that the david cronenberg film was based on? his worst i've ever seen, but i was wondering about the book. seems like it would work much better as a book. god, what a boring film.
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Yes, it is the book that the Cronenberg film was based on - and yes, it is a truly awful movie.  However, the book is quite good - in a sort of W.S. Burroughs way - a sort of wry, depressing analysis on modern culture and detachment.  For those who don't know it the major plot surrounds people who are only able to reach sexual satisfaction in automobile accidents.

I think 'Choke' is better than 'Fight Club', but again, a very cynical book - the title refers to the main character, who supports himself (and keeps his mother in an an adult care facility) by faking choking incidents in restaurants.  The main character also gets a number of his sexual partners from sexual addiction 12 step meetings - so a big warning to those who would find that disturbing or offensive.

Since I'm off in this vein, I should mention a few of my favorite W.S. Burroughs books here - if you've never read him, I'd start with 'Interzone' or 'Exterminator' (collections of short stories).  In his longer works, I particularly like the fever dreamlike 'Cities of the Red Night'.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: trinket on February 23, 2006, 01:33:54 PM
Since becoming a foster parent over 12 years ago I have not been able to READ anything from cover to cover...until lately.
Last month I read NIGHT by Elie Wiesel ~ 'a terrifying acoount of the Nazi death camp horror that turns a young Jewish boy into an agonized witness to the death of hir family, the death of his innocence...and the death of his God'

This month I have started Life On The Color Line by Gregory Howard Williams ~ 'As a child in 1950's segregated Virginia, the author grew up believing he was white.  When the family business fails and his parents' divorce he discovers that his dark-skinned father, who had been passing as Italian-American, was half black.  After the family splits up Greg, his younger brother, and their father move to Indiana, where the young boys learn the truth about their heritage.  Overnight, they became black.

I can't remember the last time anybody cared WHAT I was reading, THANKS FOR ASKING, that was nice!

Di
aka/Trinket
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 23, 2006, 06:02:21 PM
Since I'm off in this vein, I should mention a few of my favorite W.S. Burroughs books here - if you've never read him, I'd start with 'Interzone' or 'Exterminator' (collections of short stories).  In his longer works, I particularly like the fever dreamlike 'Cities of the Red Night'.

I loved Naked Lunch a whole lot.

Took me a couple tries though. First time, I was just appalled. Years later, someone mentioned in passing how funny it was. I almost choked. Funny? Are you kidding me?

But I tried it again--taking it all a lot less seriously--and lo and behold . . .

Definitely not for everyone, though.

Not even for Bart Simpson.

In the episode where they got the fake IDs, one of the first things they did was go to an R rated movie. They cut straight to the boys coming out, looking a bit lobotomized, and Naked Lunch on the marquee. And (I think the nerdy kid with the glasses) goes, "I can think of at least two things wrong with that title."
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 23, 2006, 06:10:01 PM
Pessoa felt that he had to write in different voices in different personalities. He didn't hide that he was doing this, so they are not pseudonyms. To him these voices were  real people and he made up biographies of them, and had them comment on each other's work. They have very different poetic senisbilities. Ricardo Reis is one of them, one that lives in Brazil. So the premise of the Saramago novel is that Reis hears of the death of Pessoa and returns to Lisbon to go to Pessoa's grave.

pseudonyms necessarily implied hidden ID? i had not heard that. (what does someone like ann rice call the pseudonyms she openly writes under for her porn and such? doesn't she go by three or four different names, depending on the style/voice? not that she or Pessoa were the first.)

i'm still not quite clear on one point: in the book, is Ricardo Reis an alter ego of Pessoa--who presumably knows he should have died along with Pessoa, and/or the reader does, yet who magically lives on after Pessoa dies? or is he treated as if he had been a separate human being, who should have lived on?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: hybrid on February 23, 2006, 06:34:58 PM
pseudonym: is a fictitious name assumed, esp. by a writer, as for anonymity, for effect, etc. (Webster's New World)

Of course there are degrees to the degree of anonymity anyone might want or care about. I guess Rice doesn't care, or she doesn't care now, anyway. Some people have wanted various degrees of anonymity for various reasons. For Pessoa, it was a different situation entirely, he was already obscure, he didn't need anonymity. He thought these "heteronyms" were other people with separate lives. They were sort of his imaginary literary friends (although they tended to dislike each other, and give negative reviews of each other's works). And they write very different poetry. He also wrote poetry in his own voice as well.  It's as if he's the Portuguese T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens (and more) all wrapped into one person. He's really become the most important figure in Portuguese literature (Camoes, please forgive me!).

And yes, you got it about the premise of the novel, Reis is a separate human being who lives on. Of course he is grief stricken, he has lost his dear friend and correspondent. It's really sad.

Pessoa being queer and all, I sort of get the feeling that he was sort of inventing imaginary boyfriends for himself, or at least inventing his own little gay literary community. I don't know if anyone has analyzed the relationship between the heteronyms from this point of view. 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: hybrid on February 23, 2006, 06:39:03 PM
and by the way "pessoa" means both "person" and "persona" in Portuguese.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: hybrid on February 23, 2006, 06:45:59 PM
a good discussion of the whole thing:

http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2003/9/11/15138/9002
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 23, 2006, 11:09:55 PM
pseudonym: is a fictitious name assumed, esp. by a writer, as for anonymity, for effect, etc. (Webster's New World)

i may go to nitpicker purgatory for this but . . .

i read that definition to say pseudonym does not suggest anonymity. it suggests too possible reasons and then says etc., suggesting others. anonymity is one possible reason a writer may use it -- and surely the most common -- but the term applies with or without it. at least that's my read.

my dictionary didn't even list it:

pseudonym (s¡d´n-îm´) noun
Abbr. pseud.
A fictitious name assumed by an author; a pen name.
[French pseudonyme, from Greek pseudonumon, neuter of pseudonumos, falsely named : pseudês, false. See PSEUDO- + onuma, name.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Electronic version licensed from InfoSoft International, Inc. All rights reserved.

---

i'm not sure about ann rice, but the understanding i had gotten was that she was never trying to stay anonymous, but writes very different styles for very different audiences, and wants to keep them distinct. e.g., she doesn't want someone seeing one of her porn books, thinking it's the new ann rice novel and getting shocked. but i think it goes beyond that, to identities, somewhere along the lines of Pessoa.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 23, 2006, 11:14:02 PM
a good discussion of the whole thing:

http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2003/9/11/15138/9002


wow. thanks for that link. very interesting. i can't believe it went on 50 years after his death. kind of hysterical that he fooled the world that well.

hey, i wonder if I should try that!

i have never heard the term heteronym used for this, though. is this in common usage in the U.S.?

here's the definition in my dictionary--not even close:

heteronym (hèt´er-e-nîm´) noun
One of two or more words that have identical spellings but different meanings and pronunciations, such as row (a series of objects arranged in a line), pronounced (ro), and row (a fight), pronounced (rou).
[Back-formation from HETERONYMOUS.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Electronic version licensed from InfoSoft International, Inc. All rights reserved.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 23, 2006, 11:28:46 PM
maybe we should all send him/her a welcoming, PM, too.

i'm not sure how to do that. if i post the profile for a member, say, meli, can you all see her profile, and send a PM from there?

http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=4

(i know i can, but it's the old problem of having special rights (you homos are ALWAYS wanting Special Rights!--hehehe) to go anywhere in the system. sometimes i don't know if you guys can see all the same things i can see.)
Title: Re: My, My, NARCISSUS AND GOLDMUND...
Post by: BigEd on February 24, 2006, 12:07:33 AM
Hi, BigEd!

Hi jpq716!

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Lots of wonderful prose deleted to save space

But all of this was almost four decades ago in my life, BigEd, and as Goldmund comes to realize in the end, all things must pass. The happier time in which I first read Narcissus and Goldmund has long since passed away in its turn, and I myself am close to becoming an old man now, just like Narcissus was at the end of the novel. Oh my, it must be at least twenty-five years since I last read this book! I am almost scared to open it again. Too many heart-memories there, you know… A couple of years ago, I did re-read The Glass Bead-Game, which, frankly, confused me a little in 1969, and now it is one of my favorite novels. I can see now what I could not see then --- why Hesse won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946 for that novel and not for any of his others --- but still it’s a damn shame that I had to purchase my insight into this work with the naiveté and passion of my youth! But that’s just the way it is, BigEd. Hesse stressed this point all the time in all of his works. Which is why, in the end, he is not a novelist for kids. Oh no, not at all…

Old, shmold!! The price of insight is age, its the only currency thats accepted. Many great writers have said it before and said it so many ways; naivete and innonence are appealing, but don't look too deep because they're an impotent pair. Their appeal is mere appearance.

I'm also surprised that this was never made into a movie. And you're right, Ang would be great for it, but he will need a screenplay. Hmmm....there was a lot of passionate writing in the paragraphs I deleted...feel like writing a screenplay jpq716  ;)
 
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Thanks for the memories that awakened within me today when I read your post. It’s so nice to see that truly great works of art are never really forgotten, although they sometimes appear to be. And it really made me smile to know that somebody else out there is rediscovering one of the most powerful novels that I have ever read, all those years ago. Happy reading, BigEd… :D :D :D

My pleasure jpq716, and thank-you for reminding me that I need to also re-read The Glass Bead Game. I didn't enjoy it when I first read it. But I just turned 50 (two weeks after seeing a pre-release screening of BBM - I initially felt like I'd been kicked in the crotch and then punched in the head - but I know better now!) and I'm hoping that I have enough 'insight' to really appreciate it this time :D
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: BigEd on February 24, 2006, 12:28:20 AM

i'm not sure how to do that. if i post the profile for a member, say, meli, can you all see her profile, and send a PM from there?

http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=4

(i know i can, but it's the old problem of having special rights (you homos are ALWAYS wanting Special Rights!--hehehe) to go anywhere in the system. sometimes i don't know if you guys can see all the same things i can see.)

Dave: I accessed Meli's profile from your post and could have sent her a PM from there.
And thanks for this site - I love it!

Cheers,
Ed
Title: Re: My, My, NARCISSUS AND GOLDMUND...
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 24, 2006, 12:39:58 AM
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My pleasure jpq716, and thank-you for reminding me that I need to also re-read The Glass Bead Game. I didn't enjoy it when I first read it. But I just turned 50 (two weeks after seeing a pre-release screening of BBM - I initially felt like I'd been kicked in the crotch and then punched in the head - but I know better now!) and I'm hoping that I have enough 'insight' to really appreciate it this time :D
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Hey there Big Ed and jpq716 - if you get started with Hesse you can just go on and on (as I recall)  - right around the time I read Narcissus And Goldmund I also read Demian (which I liked a lot) and of course Siddhartha and Steppenwolf.  These were (um) unusual times in my life, however, so I don't remember as much of them as I'd like - time to go back and read them again, I guess  :-[

Right around the time I was reading Hesse I read Camus' 'Plague', and that's another one I've wanted to go back and re-read.  It haunted me at the time and I'm sure after living in the SF Bay Area during the 80s-90s it will resonate with me again.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 24, 2006, 01:25:04 AM
Any Douglas Coupland fans out there?  If so, recommend something for me - I read 'City of Glass - Douglas Coupland's Vancouver' a few years ago when I was on my first exploration trip there (as they say - 'Canada: looking better every day') and enjoyed it, but I'm wondering where I should start on his fiction....
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 24, 2006, 01:52:31 AM
Since I'm off in this vein, I should mention a few of my favorite W.S. Burroughs books here - if you've never read him, I'd start with 'Interzone' or 'Exterminator' (collections of short stories).  In his longer works, I particularly like the fever dreamlike 'Cities of the Red Night'.

I loved Naked Lunch a whole lot.

Took me a couple tries though. First time, I was just appalled. Years later, someone mentioned in passing how funny it was. I almost choked. Funny? Are you kidding me?

But I tried it again--taking it all a lot less seriously--and lo and behold . . .
Definitely not for everyone, though.

I had the great good fortune of hearing him read his works - about 3 times - once he was on tour with John Giorno and Laurie Anderson.  Once you saw him read you couldn't miss the humor in his works.  And, btw, there is a great little chapbook "Roosevelt After Inauguration" that is absolutely hilarious (in a very sick way) that he did:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0872861155/sr=8-3/qid=1140770873/ref=sr_1_3/102-0883010-6354512?%5Fencoding=UTF8

Another time I saw him was when the movie 'Burroughs' came out in the early 80s - I went to a party he was at after the film and Mark Pauline (from Survival Research Labratories) let him play with his flamethrower in the parking lot: "Nice little toy ya' got here son...heh heh."
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Alberta on February 24, 2006, 02:12:59 AM
A book that is simply amazing-up there with Brokeback Mountain-is the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: peteinportland on February 24, 2006, 04:04:49 AM
Burroughs and Hesse are both painful for me. Chabon, I like.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Island_boy on February 24, 2006, 07:48:30 AM
The Life of Pi by Yann Martel. About a boy, a tiger, and some other animals stuck on a lifeboat in the Pacific.

Read it and laugh. Then get awed. Then horrified. Then weep.

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: hybrid on February 24, 2006, 08:34:17 AM
Dave,

You're right about psuedonym, the word doesn't really imply anything about why it's used, it's just a false name.

Heteronym was Pessoa's own word for what he was doing. He was a poet, after all.

Countless lives inhabit us.
I don't know, when I think or feel,
Who it is that thinks or feels.
I am merely the place
Where things are thought or felt"

Ricardo Reis
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jpq716 on February 24, 2006, 08:36:40 AM
Hey, guess what, folks? I picked up a dog-eared copy of The Shipping News, the 1993 novel for which Annie Proulx won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, at a book sale at my local library last night. Guess I know what I am going to be reading next.... :D
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 24, 2006, 09:40:41 AM
maybe we should all send him/her a welcoming, PM, too.

whoops. i posted this in the wrong thread. was supposed to be in the discussion about our impending 2000th member.

but thanks for checking it out for me. now i guess i don't have to ask there. (ax there?)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on February 24, 2006, 09:44:55 AM
Heteronym was Pessoa's own word for what he was doing. He was a poet, after all.

Countless lives inhabit us.
I don't know, when I think or feel,
Who it is that thinks or feels.
I am merely the place
Where things are thought or felt"

Ricardo Reis


ahhhhh. now i get it, thanks.

i kinda like those lines. fascinating guy. you've got me reading about him. very interesting idea about him just being the place/stage. weird concept of himself. i don't think i have ever felt anything like that. or known anyone who did--and told me. have any of you?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on February 24, 2006, 10:28:48 AM
Has anyone read The Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren? 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on February 24, 2006, 10:31:22 AM
Has anyone read The Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren? 

I read it recently  - I enjoyed the story - was not that impressed with the writing. (Which means I read it really quickly - writing I enjoy I take slowly so I can savor it)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on February 24, 2006, 10:33:27 AM
Has anyone read The Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren? 

I read it recently  - I enjoyed the story - was not that impressed with the writing. (Which means I read it really quickly - writing I enjoy I take slowly so I can savor it)

Probably a good airplane read for me!!  Thanks!  I did order The Dark Room by Walters (I think you recommended it.) I really enjoy this thread! 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Brokeback_1 on February 24, 2006, 12:01:50 PM
What have I read this year//

Right now I'm reading ' That Old Ace In the Hole ' by Annie Proulx, got an untouched reviewers cop for $7.00 at the Strand Bookstore. Im only into the beginning, it seems a damned good book

Brokeback Mountain '--What is it about this book?? I've read it 5x's in the week I've had it. Every time I open it I wince. Every time I put it down I get stomach cramps. It's awful. Yet if somebody tried to take my copy away i'd pull out a tire iron, they'd deserve it, it's one of the most beautiful short stories ever written.

' Aztec ' by Gary Jennings...this is a re-read actually. I first read this years ago and happily spent part of January  reentering the preinvasion world of Native Mexico. It's a good book with some pretty outstanding characterisations, tells the life and Conquest of the Empire from the native point of view.  By the time you finish you want to nuke Spain.

' Fortune's Favorites' by Colleen Mc Collough--part of her Masters of Rome series. It's very good, the series in toto is the finest most accurate recreation of Rome under the last days of the Republic which you could possibly want. Her characterisations are superb. The scholarship is formidable.
There are a few others, right now I went blank!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Radha on February 24, 2006, 12:12:06 PM
Has anyone read The Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren? 

I finished reading it recently, and liked it immensely. It was a very poignant story and I'm looking forward to reading the sequels Billy's Boy and Harlan's Race. She is a gifted writer and does a great job of characterization....
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jpq716 on February 24, 2006, 12:33:05 PM
Hi, brokeback_1!

Yep, the late Gary Jennings was a fantastic historical novelist. I loved Aztec, but my favorite book by him is an "unexpurgated" version of the travels of Marco Polo, The Journeyer. And Raptor, which is set at the time of the final collapse of the Roman Empire, has the most unusual protagonist that I have ever encountered in a lifetime of reading...

I personally found Colleen McCullough's Rome novels to be heavy-handed and tough to read. But, hey, different strokes for different folks!

Stephen Pressfield is probably the finest historical novelist of ancient Greece at work today: he was made an honorary citizen of Sparta for Gates of Fire, his magnificent novel about the Battle of Thermopylae, where 300 Spartan soldiers held off two million Persian warriors for three crucial days in 480 BC.

But the late Mary Renault tops 'em all. The King Must Die and The Bull from the Sea, which contain her retelling of the myth of Theseus, are mesmerizing. With the right cast, script, direction and production values, a movie of these two novels could easily be the most exciting film of its type since Gladiator. In my opinion, the bull dance scenes in the Labyrinth at the bottom of the House of the Ax could easily rival that chariot race in Ben Hur for nail-biting suspense. And oh, don't forget The Last of the Wine, her novel on Socrates, Plato, Alcibiades and the fall of the Athenian Empire at the end of the fourth century BC. When it appeared in the fall of 1956, when I was just seven years old, nobody, absolutely nobody, could believe that a woman --- a woman, for God's sake! --- could write like that about ancient men! :D :D :D

And, oh, then there is the great Robert Graves: I, Claudius and Claudius the God. And yes, the 1977 PBS serialization is almost as fine as the novels themselves...
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 24, 2006, 01:16:03 PM
Yep, the late Gary Jennings was a fantastic historical novelist.  {snip}

Stephen Pressfield is probably the finest historical novelist of ancient Greece at work today: he was made an honorary citizen of Sparta {snip}

But the late Mary Renault tops 'em all. The King Must Die and The Bull from the Sea, which contain her retelling of the myth of Theseus, are mesmerizing. With the right cast, script, direction and production values, a movie of these two novels could easily be the most exciting film of its type since Gladiator. In my opinion, the bull dance scenes in the Labyrinth at the bottom of the House of the Ax could easily rival that chariot race in Ben Hur for nail-biting suspense.

Hi jpq716!

These sound really, really wonderful!!!  Mary Renault is a writer that I've always meant to read and never got around to - it sounds like it would be right up my alley!  I went to Knossos in 1991 and have always been fascinated with the 'Minoans'.

There is another historical novel that I mentioned earlier that I want to mention to you in particular again - "Sun Dancing" by Geoffrey Moorehouse:

http://catalog.plsinfo.org/search/Ysun+dancing+geoffrey&searchscope=1&SORT=D/Ysun+dancing+geoffrey&searchscope=1&SORT=D&extended=0/1%2C3%2C3%2CB/frameset&FF=Ysun+dancing+geoffrey&searchscope=1&SORT=D&3%2C3%2C

It is a fascinating portrait of medieval Ireland.  During this period the monks partook in hermitage in remote places - they called it the 'white martyrdom' - and they apparently learned of this from Arabic Christians (in both their trips to the middle east and the Arabic monks trips to Ireland).  The action in the novel takes place on Skellig Michael - a rocky island about 16 kilometers   off County Kerry that was inhabited by monks from 588 to arond the 12th century.

The book is divided into 'fiction' and 'non-fiction' halves - the second half is where Moorehouse discusses the history of the events in the novel - including wars between the monasteries over religious articles and the invasion of Ireland by the Vikings.

Of particular interest in the BBM context is the 'kiss of St. Patrick' - a kiss between men on the nipples that became a forbidden practice as the Celtic Church became more Romanized.

Another book which has an interesting historical context (but for obvious reasons fits in the 'fiction' category is 'The Historian' by Elizabeth Kostova.  For historical fiction readers that would be put off by the Dracula storyline here, I would point out that a good part of the story deals with the historical Vlad III Dracula, voivode of Wallachia and his fights with both the Kingdom of Hungary and the Ottoman Empire.  So if you're a historical fiction reader who can excuse the flight into fantasy that reading about revenants brings, check this one out.

Again, thanks for your recommendations jpq716 (which sounds vaguely Borg to me) and a question for you - have you read any of the Roman mystery stories by Steven Saylor?  I know that "The Venus Throw" won a Lambda Literary Award, so his works clearly have LGBT content.

Michael
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jpq716 on February 24, 2006, 02:39:18 PM
What a pleasure to meet you at last, Michael! I have heard so much about you, one of the most scholarly inhabitants on Brokeback Mountain! And no, I don’t know the slightest thing about any of the authors that you mention. But I have saved your post in my to-read file, and I will not be ignorant about them for long. I am especially interested in the novel of medieval Ireland. Like yourself, I am a Kelt (actually half Kelt and half Teuton). On my father’s side I am descended from Conn of the Hundred Battles in pagan, gloriously pagan, Ireland, and some members of my clan were part of the bodyguard that fell with Brian Boru at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 against the wicked and ferocious Northmen. Saint Patrick’s Day is one of my sacred days of the year, which, in my college years, I used to observe in the most strictly religious manner, with oceans of Guinness at McSorley’s Tavern down by Greenwich Village. Yeats, of course, has been my favorite modern poet for almost forty years, and Ulysses, it hardly needs to be said, is the greatest novel of the twentieth century! :D :D :D

So you have been to Knossos! Do not walk --- run screaming! --- to your local library or bookstore to get The King Must Die (volume 1 of the Theseus epic, published in 1958) and The Bull from the Sea (volume 2, published in 1962). You, of all people, will love them best! You have seen for yourself the Toreador Frescos, and you have been in the throne room of King Minos, so you already have a very good idea of what they are all about. I read both books in the mid-1960s; they are the first novels that I ever read about the ancient world; and I have been a lover of ancient Greece ever since. Later on, you can digest Renault’s Alexander-lovin’ trilogy (Fire from Heaven, The Persian Boy and Funeral Games), but for now you really must read those two Theseus novels. Of course, their in-your-face bisexuality was quite a shock to America in the age of Eisenhower and JFK, “the American Trajan,” but since it was presented with such exquisite artistry --- as it is being presented today in Brokeback Mountain --- what could the homophobes do but shut their mouths in stunned silence (alas, only for a time)? Ah, Michael, what a treat awaits you! You will be a Renault-lover for life!

Once again, what a pleasure to finally meet you, Michael! I am sure that we will bump into each other frequently in the future on Brokeback Mountain…
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: rick53 on February 24, 2006, 05:08:56 PM
Has anyone read The Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren? 

I read it several years ago, and was fortunate to meet Patricia and have her sign my copy as well.  She was here as the featured speaker for our Omaha Frontrunners 10th anniversary celebration (for those who aren't familiar with Frontrunners, it's an international glbt running/walking organization).  I enjoyed talking to her, and she had lots of stories to share with us.  Patricla Nell Warren is a wonderful writer, and a very nice person.

The Frontrunner is one of those great stories waiting to be filmed.  She has a company working on a production of it, and with the success of BBM, I think it's much more likely she'll be able to put the financing together and assemble her dream cast.  I think it could be a very good film.



Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on February 24, 2006, 05:12:54 PM
Thanks for all your reviews on The Front Runner!  Now I am excited to get it for an upcoming trip that I need some good reads for! Have I said lately that I just LOVE this forum??!!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Brokeback_1 on February 24, 2006, 11:37:22 PM
Hey all--I was wondering if anyone saw Oliver Stone's 'Alexander'.  Like most of earth I saw it on cable, and was very surprised at 2 things: first, that most of it was lifted directly from Mary Renault's  ' The Persian Boy ', with additional borrowings from ' Fire From Heaven ' and 'Funeral Games'. Anybody who loved or even read her Alexander trilogy couldn't mistake it. A good deal of the film's dialogue was lifted directly from the books. Considering that Mary Renault did a superb job in bringing Alexander to life, the second surprise was astonishing: namely that Stone made one of the dullest movies I've ever seen. It puts you to sleep. Hell, it put ME to sleep. I actually watched it twice to see if it really WAS as dull as it seemed to be and sadly, it was!

The books however are far from dull. 'The Persian Boy' is beautiful. 'Fire from Heaven' is psychologically wonderful..while her 'Funeral Games' can be brilliant. One passage of that last book--NOT the title of her story about Alexander's youth-- is the reason I describe meteors to my young nephew as fire from heaven; he calls them that himself. I melted when this 5 year old mentioned looking in the sky for the fire from heaven, let him have some wonder, courtesy of Olympios!

The 2 Theseus books I must have read 10 times, you can't get any better. Since one guy may read them I won't spoil it. You will love them.

Hey I never read Jennings  'Raptor' Is that the one with Theuderik the Goth as protagonist?? I knew some book had him in it..is it this one? I have to get myself a copy, it sounds like a good story. If he did anywhere near as good a job with 'Raptor' as he did with Aztec, I will love it..

This thread can be FINE! I hope it stays that way...what a website, thanks for making it. Never thought a small Columbine site would get like this when you made it, did ya<G>
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 25, 2006, 12:21:04 AM
What a pleasure to meet you at last, Michael! I have heard so much about you, one of the most scholarly inhabitants on Brokeback Mountain! {snip} I am especially interested in the novel of medieval Ireland. Like yourself, I am a Kelt (actually half Kelt and half Teuton). Yeats, of course, has been my favorite modern poet for almost forty years, and Ulysses, it hardly needs to be said, is the greatest novel of the twentieth century! :D :D :D

So you have been to Knossos! Do not walk --- run screaming! --- to your local library or bookstore to get The King Must Die (volume 1 of the Theseus epic, published in 1958) and The Bull from the Sea (volume 2, published in 1962). You, of all people, will love them best! You have seen for yourself the Toreador Frescos, and you have been in the throne room of King Minos, so you already have a very good idea of what they are all about.

Thanks so much for your kind kind words jpq716!!!  You brightened my day!

Yes, I've been to Knossos and to Teotihuacán and the Great Serpent Mound too (so I should probably put Gary Jennings on my list too, eh?).  And I've even been to McSorley once or twice too  ;) ;)  [And on one of my favorite trips I went to Tara and Newgrange - I'm going to get pictures from this digitized and post them on the members photos section soon].

I am also half Kelt and half Teutonic.  My father's people come from Enniskillen in Fermanagh, and I am a descendent of the Maguires that held the castle there.  Sadly I can't trace my family beyond 1801, though I've tried - but it's an honor to talk with your pedigree [your family fought with Brian Boru!!!!]

Since you mention Yeats and poetry I have to tell you of a discovery I made when I was in Ireland: have you heard of the Gay Gaelic poet Cathal O Searcaigh?  He's from the Gaeltacht and publishes many of his poems in both Gaelic and English.  Here's one I have:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1902420217/sr=8-6/qid=1140851078/ref=sr_1_6/102-0883010-6354512?%5Fencoding=UTF8

And here's an Irish page on his work:

http://askaboutireland.ie/show_narrative_page.do?page_id=505

Thanks again for your lovely post - go n'eiri An bothar leat [may the road rise up to greet you!]

Michael
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Brokeback_1 on February 25, 2006, 12:37:50 AM
Michael, Teotihuacan is wonderful...my aunt brought me there when I was 18, climbed the pyramid of the moon. Then and to this very day, it made me wonder even more what Tenochtitlan and Texcoco would have looked like before Cortes obliterated the one and smothered the other.

Moctezuma's summer palace is still standing, yet most people don't know it even exists. If you ever go to Guadalajuara, go visit it, it's one of Mexico's premier national treasures
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 25, 2006, 12:49:33 AM
Michael, Teotihuacan is wonderful...my aunt brought me there when I was 18, climbed the pyramid of the moon. Then and to this very day, it made me wonder even more what Tenochtitlan and Texcoco would have looked like before Cortes obliterated the one and smothered the other.

Moctezuma's summer palace is still standing, yet most people don't know it even exists. If you ever go to Guadalajuara, go visit it, it's one of Mexico's premier national treasures

Thanks for the tips!  Did you visit remains of theTemplo Mayor (a remnant of Tenochtitlan) in Mexico City?  That was pretty amazing too (and I loved looking at the obsidian knives and skull altar too!).

I climbed both the pyramid of the sun and the moon at Teotihuacan and was there on the day of the dead!

I haven't been to Chichen Itza, but would love to go there too.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Brokeback_1 on February 25, 2006, 12:59:00 AM
I have a few things to say about Colleen Mc Collough's Masters of Rome series...a lot of people describe them as weighty or hard to read, which is why I actually liked them so much. There are 6 big novels in the series, #1 being ' The First Man In Rome '. When I read it, as usual I was hunting for the sort of historical and cultural inaccuricies which often make me abandon a book half-read. I found a few---Rome is a civilisation I know a lot about-- but they were so minor they didn't faze me in the least. Gaius Marius was a fascinating and tragic character, a brilliant soldier and half hearted politician who was betrayed by his body: a series of strokes led him into madness, yet Rome never learned to stop loving him, no matter what he did in his last murderous consulate. Colleen herself later said--and WROTE--that she had learned more after finishing the book and wished she could go back and rewrite certain passages. To me that said tons about her scholarship, as I pretty much knew which passages she was talking about.

 Number 2, 'The Grass Crown' , was just as good. It's about the rise of the icy Sulla. All the novels were and are helped by a glossary provided at the end of the books, this being necessary for most people today. If one has the interest to start with book 1 and read them consequitively, reading the glossary and pronunciation guide foirst, you cabn fly through them and never look back.

'Caeser's Women', albeit a lousy title, is perhaps the most accurate and realistic depiction of Julius Caeser ever written in the English language. This is a character which breathes, a character whom you care about. She manages to impart to a modern audience not just the how but the emotional WHY of the source of his power in Rome: he was loved , actually loved by the entire city. His enemies are beautifully portrayed in all their grand and mean shades. Cicero , whom we think so highly of, is rendered as the vaccillating irritation which he actually was. If you would like to try just one of these novels, try this one . You can't go wrong with 'Caeser's Women'!

Tell me, do any of you care for ancient authors? THAT would be a great conversation!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Brokeback_1 on February 25, 2006, 01:02:51 AM
Yes, I did see  the Templo Mayor. I also understand that there are a number of other Aztec relics now located in the Zocalo which weren't there when I went, 'think they came to light during the reconstruction and renovation after the great earthquake.

You are making me want to visit Mexico City again!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: peteinportland on February 25, 2006, 01:12:38 AM
A few things:

1. I have never been a Warren fan. Three years ago, she keynoted at an event I Chaired, and I had dinner with her. Nice lady. Good conversation. But it did not make me like her books any more. Who wrote "The Page Turner?" (Made into a movie with a different title--I have not seen it.) That is a good writer of queer fiction (IMO).

2. I love Renault. I think Dorthy Dunnett her equal, and I prefer Dunnett because I like the protagonists in her two major series so much.

3. I agree about Alexander. What a mess of a movie. IMO, the only good thing about it was the cinematography. The DP was a chap named Rodrigo Prieto. I wish I knew what else he has done, as I might enjoy one of his other movies as well.  :D He deserves an Oscar for something.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Brokeback_1 on February 25, 2006, 06:59:53 AM
This is getting quite interesting...never before have I awakened out of a sound sleep, gone to the bathroom and instead of going back to bed like a normal human jumped into a thread to find out if anything new had been posted !!

The thread title says "NEW OR OLD" ...lets deal with the old!

Have any of you gentlemen ever really loved the classical authors? I do. A lot.

Who  has read my boyhood's  favorite book, Homer's  ' Iliad '? Anybody? It wouldn't surprise me at all  if no one has, most English translations sucked until recently. I only got through it myself  because of a "by the book" teacher who mercilessly busted my balls for reading it during math class .... mockery from on high, designed to put me in my place, make the other 7th graders laugh, call me [more] names, and insure that never again would I DARE to read anything before I had been  given permission to do so. She even called my PARENTS to complain! They just shook their heads. I was always in trouble for idiotic things and they had learned to use their common sense in regard to my problems at school. Slowly, they had learned to do exactly what they did upon reciept of that call: listen carefully and then say that I was THERE to use my mind and if Homer got the job done,  hooray for the fall of Troy! And they managed to have good relations with my teacher as well lol! Good parents are worth their weight in gold,and  mine were great.

 Of course, once that happened I couldn't put 'Iliad' down, I'd have lost face. My teacher ultimately did me a favor. I memorised entire passages  to show I could do it and to annoy the Catholic School system! {I really was a nightmare for them}

At first, my favorite passages concerned the Olympians. I was and am in awe of the Gods. Later, as a young teenager I loved old Priam, and found his plea to Achilles for the right to bury his son Hector incredibly moving.  To this day those lines are beautiful to me, gracefull with a power that belies their brevity. But then they WOULD have power and grace, wouldn't they? They've lasted 3,000 years.

What caught my notice early on and both disturbed and overwhelmed me was the relationship existing between Achilles and Patroclos. I knew EXACTLY what they were doing in that tent--in my heart anyway--and couldn't figure out why so many people went to such ridiculous lengths to disguise the bald fact that Patroclos was Achilles boyfriend. It seemed odd but was undeniable.  If they had ever lived--and I liked to think they had--they had been DEAD 3,000 years. Dust. Not even bones remaining. It hit me at around age 14 that they didn't need bones or a tomb, they were immortal and would live as long as men remembered their love, loyalty and deeds. They were part of a story which was the bedrock of western civilisation, ambassadors of a brilliant and legendary culture. Like many boys I needed a  hero, and took them for my own. It was the first great work which spoke to my heart. They had  worshiped Gods, not a God, yet few paid any attention at all to who and what those Gods were really about; central to the tale though they were,for modern audiences they existed as pretty decorations.....  Yet when I actually read  'Iliad' during that one HS class which studied it,  most of the students and our teacher himself either  flatout denied the obvious or else glossed it over, completely ignoring  it.

 More was going on in that tent then they could handle!  I damned well knew for a fact that the  2  most vociferously loud 'anti-homo' jocks in class --both were big  handsome and attitudinal -- were dribbling on more then basketballs. I'd walked in on them while they were kissing each other in a dark storeroom and scared them witless--one so badly he peed himself, begging me to please say nothing while the other threatened to kill me. I told them not to worry, wouldn't say a word to anyone. Nor did I. When they saw that I'd really meant  it, common decency  earned me the only apology I ever got in 4 years of having my nuts busted. Also 2 good friends who changed course and watched my back.

Yet those 2 always verbally busted the chops of long dead Achilles for being a fag...so much for easy targets, the dead don't complain! I sometimes wonder whether this is one reason it's not taught much any more, or else taught badly. America can't handle the notion of a gay hero slashing his enemies to death, winning battles others lost lol!

But we digress....Iliad has so many magnificent phrases, so many 'original' literary allusions, so many magnificently poetic passages that I don't know which trite phrase I love best!  Homer's 'wine dark sea ' overused all the time, ridiculed , etc...yet in it's PLACE it's perfection itself. The book has line after line which has simply become part of our culture, line after line which can't help but stand out in ones' mind....just take 'he came down like the fall of night' !  In 3,000 years nobody has ever phrased it better.

The battle scenes --one forgets this--are the ORIGINAL battle scenes of the western world, yet  I'm hard pressed to find any better descriptions of what a soldier feels on the eve of battle: his senses sharpened, everything acutely noticed from the  stars to the trees, every glorious detail magnified and seen in its' entirety as if for the first time, the clarity of the air savored by men who may not breathe it again after the sun rises,  life itself  loved like it has never been loved simply because one may be about to lose it.

Yet almost nobody reads it. And if they do, most dismiss it as a child's fable. Somehow I have a feeling that some of you guys may actually feel what I feel about  Iliad, and if you do, share it with the rest of us!
 
WHAT A BOOK!!!



legendary
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jpq716 on February 25, 2006, 12:36:51 PM
Yes, Homer is superb. I haven’t read either The Iliad or The Odyssey since I was a kid in high school, but I remember that I was stunned by them both at the time. As an openly admitted historical-epic addict, of course, I went to see Troy right away, and it cut me in two. On the one hand, I was happy that people were still thinking about Troy --- during the past forty years or so, the educational system of America has undergone a nervous breakdown and the whole Western tradition (especially the ancient and medieval portions) does not seem to be taught properly any more! --- but on the other hand I was not happy about a number of the plot changes. Imagine, letting Paris and Helen slip away to happy-ever-after land at the end of the story! Uh, uh, uh, you Hollywood dopes! And while Eric Bana was superb as Hector (much better than the aging Brad Pitt as Achilles), I was unhappy that they did not recreate all of that marvelous farewell scene with his wife Andromache and his infant son Astyanax (the most touching thing in Homer outside of that poor old dog who recognizes Odysseus at the door after twenty years)! Yes, I must reread Homer again… Soon…

I saw Alexander, too, Brokeback_1. Oh my God, what a sad mess! The director’s cut on DVD is even worse! But as I have mentioned elsewhere, a lot of the blame lies squarely with the audience. I suspect that you may not believe it, but things have gone so far in modern America that movie audiences no longer realize that 350 BCE is thirty years before 320 BCE. The film, which is filled with flashbacks, confused the viewers so much that they did not understand most of what was going on up on the screen. I also think that Oliver Stone punked out on Alexander’s wild bisexuality. I’m sorry, but Hephaistion was not Alexander’s best bud, in charge of the beer keg, on a frat boy road trip. He was the love of Alexander’s life, and whatever he said was taken as Alexander’s word of law. There is absolutely no doubt that Hephaistion would have become Regent of Alexander’s Empire and the protector of his son by Roxanna if Alexander had died first. (One can only wonder what would have happened in world history if Alexander’s Empire had survived intact, under such a seasoned warrior, who --- like Alexander --- understood the big picture!) And when Hephaistion died, just a couple of months before Alexander himself did, Alexander went right out of his mind for weeks, put the entire empire into mourning, and commanded that several cities bearing Hephaistion’s name be built in his memory. Renault has it right, but Oliver Stone --- uncharacteristically for him --- punked out on it!

Michael, if you have been to Teotihuacan, then you gotta read Aztec. It’ll sound like old home week to you. One of my favorite scenes in that novel, Brokeback_1, was when they sacrificed all those thousands of captives at the Pyramid of the Sun through “the flowery death” on one afternoon! And Michael, Brokeback_1 has read the two Theseus books ten times! I rest my case. Aren’t those bull dance scenes some of the wildest stuff you have ever read, Brokeback_1? Way cool on the ultra-violence meter, no?  :o  ;D

Raptor is a ripping good yarn but --- let me repeat --- its protagonist is the most unusual hero that I have ever found in a novel. It is a testimony to Jennings’s superb gifts as a storyteller that such an unusual protagonist becomes believable, highly believable. God, I am so sorry that Jennings is dead! What a loss to fiction!

Hey, Michael, what’s all this “kiss of Saint Patrick” stuff? Don’t you know that that’s all English propaganda, invented by the Stranger to corrupt the outstanding moral fiber of the God-fearing Irish people? Next you’ll be telling me about warrior marriages within the ancient Fianna, wildly promiscuous orgies at Samhain and Beltaine, widespread sexual deviance among “the Gentry” from the Land under the Waves, and other unbecoming tales that reflect badly on the character of the Good Ole Emerald Isle! Propaganda, I tell you, English propaganda, all of it! The facts are plain. There never have been any gay people in Ireland; Saint Patrick chased them all out with the snakes; and we never talk about it anyway!  ::)  >:(  ;D  ;D  ;D

And lastly, on a serious note… Let us thank the Internet for making it possible for kindred spirits to come together like this. And let us thank Brokeback Mountain for making it possible for us kindred spirits to come together like this, here and now.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Tell you what... on February 25, 2006, 03:41:38 PM


I'm a poet & writer, & always have an enormous, teetering pile of books to be read, and I've always got one going on the bedside table, sometimes even two. Just finished Patrick Suskind's "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer." Before that, it was Eugenides' "Middlesex."


Perfume is one of my favorite books.  Read it about 7-8 years ago.  I'm going to reread because it's being filmed by Tom Tykwer, coming out in Fall 06. He also did Run Lola Run.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: wjp58 on February 25, 2006, 03:55:00 PM
Fiction: 1. "War and Peace" (well, mostly fiction) by  ummm..don't tell me. I'll think of it.  2. "I am Charlotte Simmons".

Non-fiction:  "The Jewish Century" by Yuri Slezkine.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: slapshot on February 25, 2006, 07:20:28 PM
Have read the BBM story and screenplay too many times to count lately.  Also Bret Easton Ellis' "Lunar Park", "Until I Find You" by John Irving, "Kung Fu High School" by Ryan Gattis, "Cell" by Stephen King, and currently re-reading "Pandora's Star" by Peter F. Hamilton, in advance of the sequel "Judas Unchained", due out in a few weeks.

Yeah, I read a *lot*...

C.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: rick53 on February 25, 2006, 10:03:33 PM
I've read both The Iliad and The Odyssey, although it's been quite a while ago.   I was a theatre major in college, and my area of interest was classical drama (Shakespeare, the Greek tragedies and comedies, Roman comedy, Renaissance theatre, etc.) so I read tons of plays.  But I also had a major in literature, and read some great novels as well.  I still read quite a bit, and have enjoyed classic and contemporary works.  Right now I'm reading James Hilton's Lost Horizon, finished BBM a couple of times, and have a stack of books on Buddhism that I'm slowly making my way through.

Rick
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 25, 2006, 11:29:38 PM
What caught my notice early on and both disturbed and overwhelmed me was the relationship existing between Achilles and Patroclos. I knew EXACTLY what they were doing in that tent--in my heart anyway--and couldn't figure out why so many people went to such ridiculous lengths to disguise the bald fact that Patroclos was Achilles boyfriend. It seemed odd but was undeniable.

Yet almost nobody reads it. And if they do, most dismiss it as a child's fable. Somehow I have a feeling that some of you guys may actually feel what I feel about  Iliad, and if you do, share it with the rest of us!

Hey BB1,

Yes, I'm a big Homer fan (I did a little post over on the main discussion list about this too).  So do you prefer the Robert Fagles translation or another?  And are you a fan of the Epic of Gilgamesh too?  Much like it's hard to deny the Achilles/Patroclus action, it's pretty hard to deny that Gilgamesh and Enkidu had something going on too. 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Brokeback_1 on February 26, 2006, 01:07:51 AM
Michael, i like the Fagles translation a LOT, it manages to give a sense of the originals' poetry while making  the meaning crystal clear to a modern audience.

And embaressing<sp> though it may be I have never actually read Gilgamesh--although I know the story. I just put it on my 'read soon' list, simply because you brought it up!

I'm pretty proficient in surviving works written within the classical tradition, i.e., the Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines. Say from 1000 B.C. to 1500 A.D. You can spend a life reading and studying the remains of their literature; it was a shocking day when I understood that it really WAS true,  thatthe  surviving Classical works are like a mountain range in which only some of the highest peaks remain, with foothills and meadows dotted here and there...all the rest has crumbled away. I would be able to read even more if I had any talent for Latin...I know I was good with it in previous incarnations, but in THIS one I'm hopeless! Let's not even MENTION Greek.....I'm a true American, languages --even if learned--vanish unless I hear them every day.

While concentrating on what I love best, I've neglected works which should be read...Canterbury Tales, Beowolf, The Nibelungenlied are just a few of the books I've never read. Oh, I know their stories, but only second hand.

 As for Nineteenth Century American Literature well THAT just puts me to sleep; I'm the only guy alive who never gave a damned about what happened to either Ayhab or his lousy albino whale.

In other words there are huge gaps , unusual gaps in what yours truly knows and reads. I had never heard of Annie Proulx , for example, until the buzz about BBM began. After seeing it, it was a story that I NEEDED to read---no ifs ands or buts about it, it wasn't a choice. It was a necessity.


Oh--'gotta put this in before I forget!-- I use the traditional dating system, this newfangled B.C.E and A.C.E. business grates on me like nails on a blackboard, it's one of my all time great pet peeves. There IS no Common Era, it's Before Christ and Anno Domini! In Europe they scratch their heads at it, considering it nothing but another Yankee conceit, and in this Europe is right! I loathe the whole business. <g>

Later, lads!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Brokeback_1 on February 26, 2006, 01:09:48 AM
hey, rick53, very cool! What do you think of the OTHER Elizabethan playwrites??
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 26, 2006, 01:18:02 AM

And embaressing<sp> though it may be I have never actually read Gilgamesh--although I know the story. I just put it on my 'read soon' list, simply because you brought it up!


If I can ask you to consider another - please consider reading the 'Tain' - the Thomas Kinsella translation.   It's a great Irish myth cycle and contains the battle of Ferdia and Cuchulainn who 'made one bed and slept one sleep' (nudge, nudge...wink, wink).  And central to the story (it actually starts all the action) are a husband and wife arguing over who has the most property - which has to be one of the most humorous ways a long and bloody battle starts in myth that I can think of....
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 26, 2006, 01:45:41 AM

Michael, if you have been to Teotihuacan, then you gotta read Aztec. It’ll sound like old home week to you. One of my favorite scenes in that novel, Brokeback_1, was when they sacrificed all those thousands of captives at the Pyramid of the Sun through “the flowery death” on one afternoon! And Michael, Brokeback_1 has read the two Theseus books ten times! I rest my case. Aren’t those bull dance scenes some of the wildest stuff you have ever read, Brokeback_1? Way cool on the ultra-violence meter, no?  :o  ;D

Hey, Michael, what’s all this “kiss of Saint Patrick” stuff? Don’t you know that that’s all English propaganda, invented by the Stranger to corrupt the outstanding moral fiber of the God-fearing Irish people? Next you’ll be telling me about warrior marriages within the ancient Fianna, wildly promiscuous orgies at Samhain and Beltaine, widespread sexual deviance among “the Gentry” from the Land under the Waves, and other unbecoming tales that reflect badly on the character of the Good Ole Emerald Isle! Propaganda, I tell you, English propaganda, all of it! The facts are plain. There never have been any gay people in Ireland; Saint Patrick chased them all out with the snakes; and we never talk about it anyway!  ::)  >:(  ;D  ;D  ;D

Thanks again for the wonderful recommendations - first I'm off to read books on the Western tradition (to see if I can come up with a 'western themes' in BBM like I did the mythological themes I posted over on the Main Discussion Board.

jpq716 I have a somewhat humorous story related to the no gay people in Ireland notion.  In 1992 I was in the Bulldog Cafe in Amsterdam (purely a research project, I assure you) and this charming young Irish hippie was chatting me up - we were having a lovely time till he asked me if I had visited the ladies in the red light district and I explained that since I was gay that wouldn't be of much interest to me.  He proceeded to tell me how though he was cool with gay people there weren't any in Ireland.  I asked him if they'd all left with Oscar and how David Norris had managed to sneak back in...he wasn't amused.

Speaking of which - have you read this wonderful ghost story of Roger Casement returning to Ireland:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0552996289/sr=8-1/qid=1140942822/ref=sr_1_1/102-0883010-6354512?%5Fencoding=UTF8

Very sweet and lots of fun.

And speaking of my personal hero Sir Roger - have you seen the documentary 'The Ghost of Roger Casement'?  I had the great good luck to talk Frameline (the SF LGBT Film Festival) into bringing a copy over here to show - I don't know how you'd manage to see it now (as there is no video) but it was produced by RTE and here is the IMDB record:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0343716/

Oh!  And one more interesting book about the land of Saints and Scholars - 'The Burning of Bridget Cleary':

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0141002026/qid=1140943270/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-0883010-6354512?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

And this one's pretty fascinating too - Do Penance or Perish: Magdalene Asylums in Ireland:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0195174607/qid=1140943430/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/102-0883010-6354512?s=books&v=glance&n=283155
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Brokeback_1 on February 26, 2006, 03:48:33 AM
JPQ, I don't think I will ever forget the sacrificial dedication of the Great Pyramid in Tenochtitlan, covered inthe  blood of thousands of sacrifices looking like a mola salsa," a meal for the Gods of great appetite."
 'Aztec' has so many memorable scenes I don't even know wherer to start! Mixtli is one of the most memorable characters around. The entire book is written in the first person, as it happens, yet after the fact and with the writing on the wall. The encounter with the stinking, reeking, smelly, foul, mossy-toothed,  bug-ridden Spaniards saved from shipwreck in Yucatan, their penii disgusting with a lifes' accumulation of unwashed smegma---well, the chiefs refusal to bathe them in his bath house because he would have had to demolish and rebuild the facilities had me rolling on the floor . The entire book is packed with scene after scene, vignette after vignette, written with a sly and wry humor. Yet tragedy stalks everyone, and from the first to the last page you stay involved.

So I guess i will have to read Jenning's  'Raptor' ASAP!

And yeah, the Bull Dance scenes from the Theseus novels are among the most memorable Mary Renault ever wrote.

Re your last comment.....I completely agree: there are NO gay Irishmen, nor have there ever been gay Irishman, battlebuddies notwithstanding <g>
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: sv0 on February 26, 2006, 10:10:19 AM
The Crimson Petal and the White.  Hands down, one of the most remarkable, engrossing novels I've ever read.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 26, 2006, 11:41:01 AM
Here's one I forgot to mention earlier: "The Culture of Fear" by Barry Glassner.  It's a great book that addresses the way that media slant news to make things seem their absolute worst.  Mr. Glassner talks about things from serious issues to drugs & crime to the media's obsession with the hot new disease (like 'flesh-eating bacteria').  One point of the book is that we need to put news stories into their proper context and realize how often the events portrayed as 'problems' in the news actually occur.  Michael Moore talked with the author in 'Bowling for Columbine' too, just as an fyi.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: hybrid on February 26, 2006, 05:08:47 PM
I guess I've read the Iliad in different translations 4 or 5 times- it is one of my favorite books-

If you like the Iliad you should read Walter Otto's "The Homeric Gods", and his book on Dionysus. In "The Homeric Gods" he explains the sense in which the Iliad is a sacred text. He examines passages rather carefully to show how the Iliad demonstrates the relationship between the divine and human. It's quite fascinating, and a real attempt to jettison Christian prejudices about what a religion is and what a religion does. The Homeric religion was simply not up to the same things that Christianity is, it was more concerned with the nature of real mundane life, and less concerned with emotional comfort and a life beyond. It was not a personal otherworldly religion, in a certain sense it was a social and natural.

One of the stirking things that he points out is that there are no miracles (except one) in the Iliad that aren't plausibly explained by a natural occurrence. Typical "miracles" are that a fighter gets a second wind, or a stranger (who turns out to be a god) give someone good advice. The one unnatural miracle, when Poseidon lets a horse talk, is stopped by Athena, who states such things are against the laws of nature.

There is much that is extraordinary about the Iliad, it is too bad most people are only familiar with it through idiocies like the movie "Troy". To tell the Iliad without the Gods is to make it pretty pointless, to make it some other story. It was amusing that they struggled with the fact that the Iliad doesn't really have good guys or bad guys, but instead tells the story of the destruction that flows from Achilles (that otherwise prefect hero) anger.

I think Otto also says something about how religious texts like the Iliad which were in a sense illustrative and were about looking at the world as it is led naturally to philosophy and science, and contrasts this to the Hebrew text based religions which are all about rules and statements of how life should be, and only demonize how life really is.

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: timmer12 on February 26, 2006, 07:18:36 PM
You all have put together a heck of a reading list for me.  These sound great! 

If you are looking for something a little lighter, "To Say Nothing Of The Dog" by Connie Willis is very funny. 

I've been working my way through the novels of Douglas Coupland, "Generation X," Shampoo Planet," " Microserfs" and more.  Maybe not for everyone, I've really enjoyed these stories of trying to find yourself amidst the distractions of the banal.

I also recommend Sherman Alexie  "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fisfight in Heaven," "Indian Killer," "The Toughest Indian in the World," and others.  He has a way of looking at life's tragedies in a heartbreaking, but hilarious way.  He is fundamentally a poet, so the prose is phenomenal.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: rick53 on February 26, 2006, 08:27:37 PM
hey, rick53, very cool! What do you think of the OTHER Elizabethan playwrites??

It's been a lot of years ago :), but I remember enjoying Ben Jonson (Volpone) and Christopher Marlowe (Dr. Faustus) as well as Middleton and Rowley (The Changeling).  I've directed a couple of Shakespearean productions, my favorite being The Merry Wives of Windsor, and I've also acted in quite a few.  After working in local theatre here in Omaha for over twenty years I decided to give it a rest.  Now, especially after seeing BBM, I have the itch to get reinvolved in the arts community.  I have lots of friends who are still active in the theatre, and Omaha has many very good community/semi-professional theatres.  So, I may give it a shot.

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jpq716 on February 26, 2006, 10:27:08 PM
Hey, Rick! Have you ever done O'Neill, either as a director or as an actor? Three of my favorite plays are THE ICEMAN COMETH, LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, and A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN. I also have a soft spot in my heart for Shaw: MAN AND SUPERMAN, SAINT JOAN, BACK TO METHUSELAH! etc. And, of course, then there is Yeats. My Irish ancestors come from Cuchulain country, so, of course, I would love ON BAILE'S STRAND!

What have you done among the moderns, Rick? :D :D :D
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: ImEnnisShesJack on February 27, 2006, 07:12:43 AM
I'm reading half a dozen books right now, but the ones that are actually getting read are:

Ledbelly by Tyehimba Jess
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I've just started
Anna Karennina by Tolstoy
and I'm almost done with
The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky

I'm also taking a literature class so I'm reading a ton of poetry, short plays and short fiction.
I feel so academic, yet, I feel like I know nothing!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: goobles on February 27, 2006, 08:28:51 AM
Since BBM, I've been on an Americana kick, (books and music).  Just finished with Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath", and am now reading "Travels with Charley", and "The Winter of Our Discontent".  Also just finished Annie's "That Old Ace in A Hole", which I loved.  (also loved her "Accordian Crimes") Next will be some of Hemingway's novels, I think, since I'm going down to Key West in May.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: brokebacktom on February 27, 2006, 08:35:39 AM
Not in any order.

1. The Battle for God, History of Fundamenalism by Karen Armstrong

2. The Harlot by the Side of the Road, Forbidden Tales o the Bible. By JOnathan Kirsch.

3. The persian Puzzle, The Conflict Between Iran and America, by Kenneth M. Pollack.

4. Coldheart Canyon, by Clive Barker.  Its very erotic and good.

Tom
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 27, 2006, 10:41:50 AM
Not in any order.

1. The Battle for God, History of Fundamenalism by Karen Armstrong

2. The Harlot by the Side of the Road, Forbidden Tales o the Bible. By JOnathan Kirsch.

Tom

Hi Tom!

I read 'Harlot' and loved it!  I had no idea there was a female story similar to the Abraham and Isaac story, for example.  Great book!  Kirsch has another I would recommend as well: "God Against the Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism".  A fascinating book that put Polytheism in an interesting context (after more than a millenium of bad press).

And Karen Armstrong is amazing!  I read "Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths" by her - another astounding book that told me much that I had either forgotten or didn't know - like that there was a town where Jerusalem is now that was captured by the Hebrews, and that when the crusaders entered the city they slaughtered everyone - Muslim and Jew alike.

Well...I know you have two great authors on your list...it makes me want to read everything you've suggested!  Thanks!

Michael
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jpq716 on February 27, 2006, 10:56:03 AM
Goobles, it'll be May before you know it, and all of your best-made reading plans will have come to nought. Make it easy on yourself --- take just one Hemingway novel on your trip to Key West. Just one. The Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway at the very peak!

For the previous decade Hemingway had made a ridiculous fool of himself. Hosting wild fishing parties on the Caribbean Sea with the rich and the famous. Drinking himself every day into a stupor. Failing even to be a half-way decent adulterer. Writing sentimental, self-pitying trash. By 1950, when Faulkner beat him once and for all in the Great American Novelist sweepstakes, Hemingway was in the garbage heap. Finished. Done. A joke.

And then Hemingway repented his sins against genius, put away the bottle (for a while), and sat down to the desk just one last time! The result, The Old Man and the Sea won him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954 and saved his soul. OK, he shot himself in the head seven years later --- oh, how I remember that day! --- but he died in the state of grace. Writer's grace. And he is one of the immortals now...

And if you haven't already done so, don't forget to visit his home in Key West. Under the terms of his will, special preference there is given to polydactyl cats (i.e. cats with more than five toes or whatever cats have for toes). Be sure to check them out then you visit the home.

And, oh, I have a story about the Hemingway home that you don't have to believe, although I believe it devoutly. I had a lady friend once who was a magnet for various types of psychic occurrences. She was not psychic, as far as I could tell, but her aura --- or whatever --- would draw various "things." For example, it was hard to take a picture of her because so many "orbs" would appear near her and ruin the picture, phenemona that never appeared when she was out of the shot. Anyway, she went to Key West for a vacation and she went to visit the Hemingway home. She really did not know who Hemingway was and was not a big reader in any case. She just went along because the people she was vacationing with just happened to be in the area and wanted to see the home. Well, while they were waiting to go inside, my friend took various pictures of the home (a rather nondescrept 1950s-style home) from the sidewalk. When she got home, my friend, who knew I loved Hemingway, showed me the pictures. And, Goobles, I swear to God, in one --- just one --- of the pictures, I saw the image of "Papa Hemingway," hair combed forward on his head and with a white bushy beard, looking out one of the windows at the camera with an expression of curiosity on his face. If it were anybody else, I would have suspected trickery. But not with this lady. I was the only one she knew who would be interested in her photos of the Hemingway house, and she knew that I already believed in her paranormal photos from my own personal experience. In fact, she was surprised when she say the ghost image on the photo and when I showed her a picture of Hemingway as he looked in the last years of his life. I believe that she caught a paranormal photo of Hemingway's' ghost (or a psychic impression) at the house.

As I say, you don't have to believe the story. But keep your eyes peeled, Goobles, when you visit the house. For the cats --- and for the ghost.... :D



Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: goobles on February 27, 2006, 04:45:04 PM
Make it easy on yourself --- take just one Hemingway novel on your trip to Key West. Just one. The Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway at the very peak!
And if you haven't already done so, don't forget to visit his home in Key West. Under the terms of his will, special preference there is given to polydactyl cats
I believe that she caught a paranormal photo of Hemingway's' ghost (or a psychic impression) at the house.

jpq, thanks a million for the Hemingway advice!!  I was unsure what to read of his, so I had a long list of his stuff that looked interesting.  This advice helps out a lot.
Hemingway's ghost? OMG - I got goosebumps on my back just reading your post!   
Can't wait to visit his house to look for his ghost and enjoy the company of the 60+ cats there.....
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: smaloney-gracie on February 27, 2006, 08:54:54 PM
I read Star of the Sea,  by Joseph O'Connor.  It is set on a ship from Ireland to America in 1847.  I almost put it down because it became a bit heavy talking about the Irish famine, but there is so much more to it, and I am glad I kept with it.  It is beautifully written and I just loved it.

Also, an old book I read over and over again is The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley. It is a female perspective on the Arthurian legend and is fantastic.

When I need a quick laugh I pick up anyone of my David Sedaris books.  His short essays let me laugh outloud and forget my troubles for a while.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: rick53 on February 27, 2006, 09:31:28 PM
Hey, Rick! Have you ever done O'Neill, either as a director or as an actor? Three of my favorite plays are THE ICEMAN COMETH, LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, and A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN. I also have a soft spot in my heart for Shaw: MAN AND SUPERMAN, SAINT JOAN, BACK TO METHUSELAH! etc. And, of course, then there is Yeats. My Irish ancestors come from Cuchulain country, so, of course, I would love ON BAILE'S STRAND!

What have you done among the moderns, Rick? :D :D :D

I co-directed a production of Ibsen's THE MASTERBUILDER when I was just out of college, but I've not done any O'Neill.  I directed a couple of Agatha Christie mysteries-TEN LITTLE INDIANS and DEATH ON THE NILE, which were really fun.  One of my life goals is to visit Ireland and attend performances in Dublin. 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dal on February 28, 2006, 12:08:29 AM
[...]  Also just finished Annie's "That Old Ace in A Hole", which I loved. 

Boy, I did too!  So funny.  Full of dire foreshadowings, and hints of disaster, and loaded guns left around all over the place, and storm clouds, and torrnado warnings -- our hero must be headed for a heap o' trouble, and we know Annie Proulx never pulls punches at the last minute, right?  I guess, this being the book after Brokeback, she needed to do comedy for a change.  An exorcism maybe.

I've spent a lot of time in Upton County, a bit south of Woolybucket, and those voices in the book sounded very familiar.  Save one thing:  no one in Upton County ever says "barb-wire."  It's bobwar.  That "barb-wire" got kinda annoying after a while, prominent as it was. 

Dal
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: peteinportland on February 28, 2006, 02:05:24 AM
Goobles, it'll be May before you know it, and all of your best-made reading plans will have come to nought. Make it easy on yourself --- take just one Hemingway novel on your trip to Key West. Just one. The Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway at the very peak!

I would agree with this. During my undergrad work, I did a short course on Hemingway, and this is his seminal work.

And JPQ, thanks for that very wonderful story. I think I might dream tonight of five-toed cats and the ghost of Papa Hemingway. Maybe Ennis and Jack will make an appearance as well. That should be a rollicking good dream.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Wayne on February 28, 2006, 05:32:57 AM
Oh, I also got turned onto Jose Saramago this year.

Portugese author, won the Nobel a few years back.

Kind of like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but giddier, less stodgy.

I read The Stone Raft. (Which refers to the Iberian peninsula, which cracks off and starts to float away from Europe. Very cool.)

If you like Saramago try his book Blindness, which is what won him the Nobel prize. 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: goobles on February 28, 2006, 05:56:02 AM

If you like Saramago try his book Blindness, which is what won him the Nobel prize. 

Yes, "Blindness" is very powerful.  I had a hard time reading it, though - very bleak - but I love his insight into human nature.

I read "The Cave", and loved it.  It isn't quite as bleak as Blindness, so I enjoyed it more.  I really identified with the main character in this book.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: goobles on February 28, 2006, 06:04:15 AM
[...]  Also just finished Annie's "That Old Ace in A Hole", which I loved. 

Boy, I did too!  So funny.  Full of dire foreshadowings, and hints of disaster, and loaded guns left around all over the place, and storm clouds, and torrnado warnings -- our hero must be headed for a heap o' trouble, and we know Annie Proulx never pulls punches at the last minute, right? 

Save one thing:  no one in Upton County ever says "barb-wire."  It's bobwar.  That "barb-wire" got kinda annoying after a while, prominent as it was. 

I loved some of the scenes in this, like when Bob Dollar choked on the chili and it went flying onto the tie of the guy he was trying to sell to, and when he's on the ranch boiling in the sun and gets caught with his pants off.  So funny!! My husband came into the room and looked at me with a strange expression, as I was laughing so hard I had tears streaming down my face.

I loved how they pronounce "oil" as "awl".  And yeah, her descriptions of the weather and countryside were amazing.   Great observations about the guns and dire weather as hints of disaster - will have to reread it!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dal on February 28, 2006, 03:46:07 PM
I loved some of the scenes in this, like when Bob Dollar choked on the chili and it went flying onto the tie of the guy he was trying to sell to, and when he's on the ranch boiling in the sun and gets caught with his pants off.  So funny!!

And the biggest building in the town of Cowboy Rose, with the giant sign painted on the front:  TORNADO AND BALL POINT PEN MUSEUM - !  And the old lawyer who sits to the side, eats the same Spartan lunch each day, and always drinks two lime Dr. Peppers -- I knew this guy!  He was drinking Dr. Pepper when it came in a bottle with a clock face on it, and you couldn't get it outside Texas.  And the woman bellowing hymns alone in her kitchen, just like my great-aunts.... 

Quote
I loved how they pronounce "oil" as "awl".  And yeah, her descriptions of the weather and countryside were amazing.   Great observations about the guns and dire weather as hints of disaster - will have to reread it!

Like you, I burst out laughing many times.  People on the subway with me must've thought I forgot to take my nice medicine. 

I'm going to have to read it again too.  For one thing, I wasn't able to piece together what terrible violence accounted for the scars on Our Hero's landlady's grandfather's back.  Now, the scars are one more example of dire foreshadowing and perhaps have no other cause; but maybe there are clues in the story, and it is left to the reader as an exercise, or whatever.

I also want to reread it and pay more attention to the whole Bob-Tam-Bromo story.  Somehow that part of Bob's life was much more difficult to get a grip on, than the Panhandle.  Years and years he spent in their house, taking a lot more than he was giving seemingly;  and it seems as if Tam and Bromo thought so too to some extent.  Bob keeps himself quite distant.  OTOH, even Bromo, who "never liked him," continues to send him very thoughtful small gifts.  And when he sees his chance, Bob picks up an inveterate Antiques Road Show fan's dream for Tam.  I suspect that present was worth more than the whole junk shop.  Well, I guess that's only what we see w/ a lot of child/parent relationships, right?  Bob is finally becoming clueful. 

"Awl" -- well, how on earth else can you pronounce it?   ;)  (Ah'm from Texas)

Dal
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: troyman on February 28, 2006, 05:04:43 PM
Wow, what a great resource this thread is turning into for me!

I'm almost done with "Close Range" which I am enjoying, and I read "Postcards" earlier this year, which I liked, but I had a hard time finishing because most of my favorite characters were no longer around toward the end.  Two things about Proulx that I enjoy a lot are her use of lists and also her amazing ability to assign names to her characters that are unique and enlightening.

Unfortunately, I don't get a chance to read a lot of novels -- I'm usually either memorizing a play ("Tales of the Lost Formicans" by Constance Congdon right now) or reading them to help select a season for two different community theatres.  "Morning's at Seven" by John Osborn and "Kimberly Akimbo" by David Lindsay-Abaire were from these past two weeks, and I have about five more to read in the next two weeks.

But I'm making notes from the thread to add to my "try this author" list for the theatre-break I'm taking in May/June/July.

Thanks, all.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Brokeback_1 on February 28, 2006, 11:35:05 PM
YIKES!!!!!
Don't tell any more of the plot for "That Old Ace In The Hole"!!!!!!

I haven't finished it yet!!!!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dal on February 28, 2006, 11:40:31 PM
[...] I read "Postcards" earlier this year, which I liked, but I had a hard time finishing because most of my favorite characters were no longer around toward the end.  Two things about Proulx that I enjoy a lot are her use of lists and also her amazing ability to assign names to her characters that are unique and enlightening.

Odd how Ma Blood's end is so similar to Mero Corn's in The Half-skinned Steer, isn't it?  Postcards is really cruel to the reader, I thought.  Like Ennis and Jack: those people just oughtn't to have to suffer that way.  Sometimes, Proulx can barely sketch a character, yet you care a lot about him/her e.g. Ray.   Some great scenes, like the sudden Grand Inquistor scene that sneaks up out of nowhere, and Loyal muffs it.  I finished the book yesterday;  still don't get the fulgurite.  Loyal could have found it anywhere;  why did he find it in such a grisly place?       

Dal
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dal on February 28, 2006, 11:48:25 PM
YIKES!!!!!
Don't tell any more of the plot for "That Old Ace In The Hole"!!!!!!

I haven't finished it yet!!!!

Oops.  Quite right.  If tempted in future, will preface with SPOILER.

Dal
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Brokeback_1 on February 28, 2006, 11:58:12 PM
thanks Dal--- I really like that book! I'm up to the chili-on-the-tie
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dal on March 01, 2006, 12:35:30 AM
Ace in the Hole chili-pepper-on-tie SPOILER

thanks Dal--- I really like that book! I'm up to the chili-on-the-tie

I'll bite my tongue.  BTW Houston really is so hellishly muggy, and the commercial thermostats set so low, that the description of Bob's little trip across the parking lot into the Texola building is spot on. 

Dal
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Brokeback_1 on March 01, 2006, 02:12:52 AM
Dal tell me about it...I lived in Houston for something like 10 months, right outta school. Had Buffalo Bayou's headwaters in my back yard. Humid does not begin to describe it but this WILL:  everybody here has taken out trash from wherever they live at one time or another.
Simple task. Go out. Go to curb with trash. Go back inside. Houston is the only place I have ever been where in the short time it takes to bring  the trash to the curb, you go outside cool and dry in a fresh t-shirt and come back in with your t-shirt literally plastered to your body. It's unfit for human habitation.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: goobles on March 01, 2006, 02:26:04 PM
YIKES!!!!!
Don't tell any more of the plot for "That Old Ace In The Hole"!!!!!!

I haven't finished it yet!!!!

Sorry brokeback_1!!  ;-)  We got a little carried away there.  I'll remember to PM Dal with any further detailed plot-revealing discussions about the book.  Let us know what you think of it when you're done reading it!

Dal, didn't quite know what "awl" was when I first came across that word in the book.  I was thinking "what the heck is "awl"?  Is it some kind of awl-like thing they put in the ground for irrigation purposes?  When it finally dawned on me,  just laughed out loud!  "Oh, they mean *OIL*!  AWL=OIL."  LOL 

Did you read "The Grapes of Wrath", by any chance, Dal?  Just finished reading that, and loved how Steinbeck captured the panhandle Oklahoma accent in his dialog. Recognized some of the same phrases and pronouncations that were in "That Old Ace in the Hole'. 

Jen
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: goobles on March 01, 2006, 02:30:54 PM
If tempted in future, will preface with SPOILER.


Even better.  I'll do that, too. 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Bubble Wrap on March 01, 2006, 02:43:45 PM
I have Close Range on order...the stories in it sound well good.  Working in a bookshop has its advantages!  ;D
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: peteinportland on March 02, 2006, 05:40:05 AM
Dal tell me about it...I lived in Houston for something like 10 months, right outta school. Had Buffalo Bayou's headwaters in my back yard. Humid does not begin to describe it but this WILL:  everybody here has taken out trash from wherever they live at one time or another.
Simple task. Go out. Go to curb with trash. Go back inside. Houston is the only place I have ever been where in the short time it takes to bring  the trash to the curb, you go outside cool and dry in a fresh t-shirt and come back in with your t-shirt literally plastered to your body. It's unfit for human habitation.

Hey, I lived the first 28 years of my live around Houston. I even graduated from Cougar High (University of Houston). I never thought it was unfir for human habitation! Er..well..I guess I wouldn't live there again for any reason, so maybe you have a point! Proulx does nail Texas IMO. However, she has a uncanny knack for locales.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Brokeback_1 on March 02, 2006, 05:56:26 AM
Pete, it's the HUMIDITY that makes Houston so miserable. I liked the people.
A lot of them anyway. But that climate is downright unbearable. It's the opposite end of the spectrum from the other unbearable, British clammy mist.

edited by mod to get rid of extra white space
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Poohbunn on March 05, 2006, 03:45:25 PM
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.  I highly recommend it.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: TexRob on March 06, 2006, 10:36:58 PM
I have just finished reading Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, the first time that I have read it since I was a senior in high school, forty years ago. ... I also realize now that Crime and Punishment is a very great novel, and some of the scenes in it (e.g. the scene where the student-murderer Roskolnikov confesses his crime to the prostitute Sonia) are deeply soul-stirring. Why, oh why, was I forced to read it when I was a high school senior? How could I possibly have begun to understand the psycho-spiritual issues that it raises at that time in my life?

Hi jpq716 --

Crime and Punishment is way too advanced for high school students.  It's funny you should mention it because when Brokeback hit me, I was in the middle of my second reading of the book.   Brokeback Mountain hit me so hard I put the book down for two weeks, only recently picking it up again.  I'm at the part about Svidrigailov's suicide, another very dramatic part of the story. 

Dostoevsky is so good I don't know how other authors can hold a candle to him.  If you liked Crime & Punishment, do read The Possessed if you haven't already.  You'd love it.

If Brokeback Mountain is the best movie I've ever seen, then Notes From Underground is the best book I've ever read.  That book is what a bottle of vodka would say if it could sit down and talk to you.  Again, it's just pure Dostoevsky. Indescribable.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Brokeback_1 on March 06, 2006, 11:35:28 PM
TEX, Dostoyevsky was sooo depressing. You are correct, he is truly indescribable. I took a college course in the Russians and remember sharing with the entire class that he 'was prose to slit your wrists by. Sort of like Jackson Browne's music.'  Which definately dates me but is the inexorable truth.
Now Chekov, he's the MAN!<g>
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: TexRob on March 07, 2006, 03:00:18 PM
TEX, Dostoyevsky was sooo depressing. You are correct, he is truly indescribable. I took a college course in the Russians and remember sharing with the entire class that he 'was prose to slit your wrists by.

Hi brokeback1 --

Many readers have described Dostoevsky's prose similarly to you.  But I think he deserves a second look.  Why, once you read past the alcoholism, the beatings, the mayhem, the insanity, the rapes, the suicides, and the murders, then  ...  well ...  uhhhhh  ...  hmmmmmmm  ...

Dostoevsky's novels are good examples of literary existentialism, just as Brokeback Mountain is a near perfect expression of existentialism in cinema. Therein lies the appeal to me.  You know how everyone feels at the end of Brokeback Mountain -- that inexpressible sadness tinged with a certain something that redeems the film and makes you feel as if you've come back to life; that life is somehow worth living after all?  I have a similar feeling turning the final page of a Dostoevsky novel.

I think that certain something I feel is what JPQ716 alluded to when he wrote about Sonia and Rodion: it's redemption.  It's the sense that despite it all, human beings can somehow manage to redeem themselves in the end.  That Rodion -- and Ennis -- have known love.  Maybe that's why I tumbled so easily from the book into the movie.

Dostoevsky's novels are also novels of ideas.  That I like, too.  Also, his characterizations are so vivid they help counteract the sadness. For example:

Aliona, her dress rustling, stands behind the locked door, listening;

Praskovia's suspicious eyes survey the darkened stairway landing;

Porfiry Prokovitch inadvertently winks while sitting on the sofa, talking;

Dmitri spoon-feeds hot tea to a fevered Rodion, while talking to him
(homoerotic, too).

In short, Brokeback Mountain is a movie very much like the book -- Dostoevsky's, that is, as much as Proulx's.





 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: stemper on March 10, 2006, 01:50:17 PM
Since you're talking the Russians... I recently re-read Anna Karenina in a fine new translation. When I last read it I didn't really understand its construction (too young!). However, after reading it as a grown-up, it seems to me to be one of the great artistic achievements of the 19th cent and a heartbreaking, thrilling read. If you don't know the book it will astonish you with one of the richest and most complex discusions of marriage in fiction. Also one of the first sightings of a gay couple - not too sympathetic but it's there - two officers in the mess of Vronsky's regiment.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dal on March 10, 2006, 02:34:38 PM
Since you're talking the Russians... I recently re-read Anna Karenina in a fine new translation. When I last read it I didn't really understand its construction (too young!). However, after reading it as a grown-up, it seems to me to be one of the great artistic achievements of the 19th cent and a heartbreaking, thrilling read. If you don't know the book it will astonish you with one of the richest and most complex discusions of marriage in fiction. Also one of the first sightings of a gay couple - not too sympathetic but it's there - two officers in the mess of Vronsky's regiment.

Have to agree stemper.  Even the first sentence wraps a lot of observation into a few words, and is so accurate.  The Russians are astonishing. 

(You too, Boris!)

Dal
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jpq716 on March 10, 2006, 06:19:45 PM
Stemper, I reread Anna Karenina about two years ago, and I was mesmerized by it (in spite of the fact that I did not like Tolstoy's attitude toward the romance --- Anna and Vronsky should have lived happily ever after just as much as Jack and Ennis should have done.... :D). Tolstoy is an incredible writer: he's like a director who cries "lights, camera, action" and then lets the camera roll uninterrupted for hours while all hell breaks lose on the set, all of which is lovingly and carefully captured on film. I have recently picked up a copy of Tolstoy's Resurrection, about which I know nothing, and I am sure that I will be reading it as soon as possible.

My big project at the present time is reading all of Eugene O'Neill as part of the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the Broadway premiere of  Long Day's Journey Into Night, perhaps the greatest American tragedy ever written. When my asshole library broke up its exquisite Library of America collection to make way for a teen video rack, I bought up as much of the collection as I could, and fortunately, I got all three volumes of O'Neill. I have just finished the very first five one-act plays that he wrote in 1913, when he realized that he was not going to die of tuberculosis. Of course, these five plays are not the perfect masterpieces of his maturity: hey, he was just a 25-year-old kid when he wrote them. But despite all the melodrama and awkwardness in these fledgling plays, you can see quite clearly a playwright with a passionate love of the theater and an almost unnaturally developed sense of the tragic in human affairs. What a fantastic dramatist! Crazy man, of course, but what a fantastic dramatist!

By the way, Ric Burns --- who most recently did a documentary on the work of Ansel Adams in 2002 --- is going to show his documentary on the last sixteen years of O'Neill's life (1937-1953) as part of The American Experience on PBS on Monday, 27 March 2006, between 9 PM and 11 PM. Preliminary reviews of the documentary, which features extensive footage from Monte Cristo Cottage in New London, CT (where Long Day's Journey Into Night is set) and Tao House in Danville, CA (where O'Neill wrote The Iceman Cometh, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Hughie, A Touch of the Poet and A Moon for the Misbegotten), have been rapturous, so you might want to mark the 27th on your television viewing calendar! :D :D :D
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 10, 2006, 07:43:36 PM
Speaking of the O'Neills, are there any fans here of Jamie O'Neill's book "At Swim, Two Boys"?  What about Alan Hollinghurst's "Line of Beauty"?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Bubble Wrap on March 12, 2006, 10:04:18 AM
I have been looking into ordering "At Swim, Two Boys", looks pretty good.

I have recently finished "A History of Tractors in Ukranian" and it was brilliant...sad, sweet and funny all at the same time.  So well written, real page turner.  I would recommend it to anyone.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 12, 2006, 01:42:35 PM
Here's one that's a wee bit odd, but was a very interesting read:

Rebels on the air : an alternative history of radio in America / Jesse Walker

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0814793827/sr=8-1/qid=1142195820/ref=sr_1_1/104-1949735-0171930?%5Fencoding=UTF8

Fascinating book - I had no idea how anarchic early radio was - and it's a cautionary tale too, as the government got into the media and mucked it up.  There are lots of interesting and unusual characters in here (the book, I mean) and it's not entirely american, as the inspiration for pirate radio came from many of the great U.K. and European stations like Radio Caroline.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: wyoming girl on March 13, 2006, 02:13:41 AM
1491
a truly mind-changing book.. everything you thought about what the Americas looked like before Columbus is wrong..
it's wonderful
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Island in the Sea on March 13, 2006, 12:27:09 PM
1491, huh?
I have it on my shelf.  Must crack it open one of these days.

Anyone read Joseph Conrad's story, The Secret Sharer?

Just finished it. Spooky. One guy, a ship captain, hides a run-away murderer: his secret other self.
The captain has to talk loudly to his men so that the guy who is hiding will hear him and learn what is going on. When the captain and his other self talk to each other, they must whisper.
No love or sex is implied, just a deep sharing of perspective and mutual appreciation.
For each to grow, they must part ways.


Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jpq716 on March 13, 2006, 09:14:34 PM
I read The Secret Sharer a couple of years ago for the first time since I read it in high school. I had a number of Conrad’s works to read in short order in high school; I hated the volume of the work that I had to do at the time; I did not understand what Conrad was talking about; and so I ended up refusing to read Conrad thereafter --- until recently! In this story, the narrator, a straight-laced conservative guy, discovers his walk-on-the-wild-side personality as a result of hiding “the secret sharer” in his cabin, and he is changed as a person as a result of the brief encounter. Now what the hell could I have known about such schizoid personality dynamics when I was seventeen years old? I was having a hard enough time trying to develop a mainstream persona that would keep me from getting into trouble with repressive authority figures. How could I possibly have imagined at the time that such a mainstream persona, once I would create it over the next couple of years or so, would turn out to be a lethal danger to my soul if I took it too seriously? And yet I had to read “The Secret Sharer” when I was in high school! I wish that I were back there now, just for a moment. I would grill that smart-ass English teacher that I had at the time over the story --- a guy who thought that he was so cool and so sophisticated but who actually did not know squat about anything in life! As Paul Simon once wrote in a song, “When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it’s a wonder I can think at all!” Ah, so true!

Island-in-the-Sea, if you have not already done so, I would highly recommend that you read “Heart of Darkness,” just as great a story as “The Secret Sharer.” Just make sure that you do so when you have rented a copy of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now from your local video store to watch just as soon as you have finished the story. Coppola has brilliantly updated the story from the Belgian Congo region around 1900 to the Mekong Delta right in the heart of the Vietnam War! A great job, and probably a film that could not be made today --- because, unfortunately, most people don’t read any more!

I love talking about literature, Island-in-the-Sea, and I would like to do so here. But I am not entirely sure just how much freedom I might have to do so here within this particular forum. I am not entirely unfamiliar with the genre of gay literature, but to be honest with you, I am not sure just how seriously I can take most of it. Yes, one of my very favorite novelists is the gay novelist E. M. Forster, but while I like Maurice very much, it is far from being my favorite novel by him. I must admit that Annie Proulx’s “Brokeback Mountain” absolutely stunned me, precisely because it bulldozes every single gay stereotype that you could possibly imagine. (Ditto for the brilliant, memorable, epochal film that was made from it and that brought me to this wonderful forum!) But so much “gay literature” strikes me as being either pornographic and/or polemical --- to the detriment of being truly artistic! Please don’t get me wrong, Island-in-the-Sea, I can be just as raunchy as the next guy when I consciously choose to be so, and I myself am intensely political in my consciousness almost at all times. But when I am in the mood for art, I am not really into either one of those two things, and I don’t like to see them slipped under the radar scope without my conscious knowledge. So I do have problems with “gay literature” as a genre at the present time, and I am not sure just how far I can stray from that genre in this particular forum without upsetting the overall tone here.

But to get back to my original recommendation. Read “Heart of Darkness,” if you have not already done so, and then follow it up immediately with Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. I guarantee that it will be a strong aesthetic experience for you, Island-in-the-Sea! :D :D :D
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Brokeback_1 on March 14, 2006, 02:41:02 AM
I really am the dunce in this thread...i just reread The Cat In The Hat and LOVED it<g>

anybody else?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Bubble Wrap on March 14, 2006, 01:04:58 PM
I really am the dunce in this thread...i just reread The Cat In The Hat and LOVED it<g>

anybody else?

My boss oredered that in before Christmas and I read it then...had a right laugh!  It's a well funny book.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Lola on March 14, 2006, 02:31:49 PM
Okay if you read Cat in the Hat  :D.....then I don't feel bad saying I am reading Angels and Demons and then trying to get on to the Da Vinci Code, before the movie hits theatres!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: DaveL on March 14, 2006, 03:28:15 PM
Well there's the one about the sheep herder back in England in about 1657.

Son of illiterate farmer.

Father died before he was born.

Sent off to live with relatives in childhood.

Forced by family to cut schooling short and come back and run the family farm, got fined for letting sheep stray (like August hailstorm in BBM)

Rather like Ennis and Jack.

Then somehow someone arranged for him to continue schooling.

When he was 24, living back at home while school was shut down for a year, he:  laid foundation for modern science, laid foundation for calculus, discovered gravitation as a universal force, discovered laws of optics, later inventing the reflecting telescope (which he referred to still later as merely a "tool")

plus a few other things.

Of course E and J don't have his experience after they leave off sheep herding.

But there is one  other little thing he had in common with them....


(Glieck,  Isaac Newton (2004))
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Sebastian on March 14, 2006, 03:45:59 PM
My three favorite reads of the past year were:

Brokeback Mountain, The Kite Runner, and The Year of Magical Thinking.

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Island in the Sea on March 14, 2006, 03:54:01 PM

Island-in-the-Sea, if you have not already done so, I would highly recommend that you read “Heart of Darkness,” just as great a story as “The Secret Sharer.” Just make sure that you do so when you have rented a copy of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now from your local video store to watch just as soon as you have finished the story.

jpq716, Thanks for your thoughts.

I have read "Heart of Darkness" which is why I was surprised by the upbeat conclusion in "The Secret Sharer".
I interpreted the ending to mean that the young man had learned to present a confident public self to the world.

I don't sample 'gay literature' much any more. Many years ago, I read and loved Edmund White's "A Boy's Own Story", and I thought Ethan Mordden's stuff was entertaining (probably not qualified as 'literature' however).  There is a local gay mens' reading group in my city that I have never attended.

I joined a "Great Books" discussion group. Each month we read a short segment of a classic and discuss it. Tonight we take on The Secret Sharer as well as a bit of Freud.  If anything comes of the discussion, I'll tell ya.

PS. You can call me 'Island'  :D
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Poohbunn on March 14, 2006, 04:05:39 PM
I have a Masters Degree in Theology.  Because this is my field, I am extremely interested in hearing a theological perspective on homosexuality and bisexuality.

I ordered and finally received a copy of the Archbishop's book "The Gay Face of God."  That's the good book I'll be reading.  Perhaps I will learn something I can use with people who feel being gay is somehow sinful.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Lola on March 14, 2006, 04:15:53 PM
I have a Masters Degree in Theology. 

WOW that is impressive!

Let us know how you like the book.  :)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Poohbunn on March 14, 2006, 06:55:24 PM
I have a Masters Degree in Theology. 

WOW that is impressive!

Let us know how you like the book.  :)

Tee hee. It's not THAT impressive.  It was work getting it a my age (48), and working full time at the same time, but at least I learned how to write a good paper.  Funny thing is, I can explain why there is evil on earth, but I can't tell you what I ate for breakfast. Go figure.

Of course, now that I can only think of BBM.... I can't remember anything.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: artijensen on March 14, 2006, 09:26:47 PM
My three favorite reads of the past year were:

Brokeback Mountain, The Kite Runner, and The Year of Magical Thinking.



What did you (Sebastian), or anyone else who's read it, think about The Year of Magical Thinking?"  I've considered reading it, and definitely considered giving it to my mom, who's experienced a lot of tragedy in her life, but have not picked it up yet because, I suppose, I am afraid that it would be too painful, being that it is supposed to be about death, loss, etc.  Not that those topics are "bad" topics, or topics which I would not like to discuss.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: BigEd on March 14, 2006, 09:42:42 PM
I finished re-reading Hesse's Narziss and Goldmund - God how I love that book!

In high school I hated, and I mean totally despised, English literature. It was a required subject all the way through and I dragged that ball and chain until my senior year. That year I had one of the best, and most passionate, teachers at the school, and the subject became interesting (a little maturity didn't hurt on my part either). This is a long-winded way of getting to a couple of poems we looked at that year, both of which stayed with me, and both of which deal with growing up and the loss of innonence. I see bits of Ennis and Jack in them - Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas, and There was a Boy by Wordsworth.

PS - even when I thought literature was a bore I loved Cat in the Hat  ;D

Ed
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jebaril on March 14, 2006, 09:50:12 PM
I just read "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Philippa Gregory.  I'm a sucker for the old queens.  Has anyone read her Wideacre series?
I just started Breath of Snow and Ashes, the latest (maybe last?) installment in the Outlander series, by Diana Gabaldon.  (I think I might be a 12 year old girl because I also have Kelly Clarkson going in the car...hmmm.)

In the past few months, I've enjoyed Specimen Days by Michael Cunningham, You Can Say You Knew Me When, the latest by Soehnlein (not as good as his The World of Normal Boys) and Misfortune, by Wesley Stace.  I was disappointed with Susanna Clark's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell (I think that's the name).  Went on and on too much.  I also stopped reading two books, both of which won Pulitzers: The Known World (I just couldn't deal!) and Gilead (Marilynne Robinson).  I rarely quit books but there it is.

I also read Brokeback and the Brokeback screenplay a dozen times.  God, I cannot get it out of mind.

JOHN
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: downloaded1 on March 14, 2006, 10:31:41 PM
"The Heart Of Darkness"-
Conrad
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: thebriguy on March 14, 2006, 11:40:39 PM
Among my favorites were "The Samurai" and "Silence" by the Japanese Catholic novelist Shusaku Endo.  Martin Scorsese has mentioned wanting to take Endo's work to the screen.  I hope he can do it.  The books are fascinating, melancholy, and profound. They are set during the brutal persecution of Christians around the beginning of the 17th century, when Japan was shutting its doors to the outside world.  The books pose complex spiritual questions.  The various characters are equally complex and challenging.  Great stuff. (The late) Shusaku Endo is often called the Japanese Graham Greene and is widely considered the greatest Japanese novelist period..

At the moment I am reading a book by the anthropologist Victor Turner: "From Ritual to Theatre: the Human Seriousness of Play"
I'm hoping it might shed some light on Brokeback as a wider cultural phenomenon.


Brian
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: tyguy0268 on March 15, 2006, 02:04:20 AM
Here is a link to some online stories from a very talented young author who's work should be published. Some of you might have heard of him before, but if you haven't, go check it out. You'll most likely become an addict just like everyone who has read his work. It's that good. Oh and check out his forum while you're there.

Here it is. http://domluka.gayauthors.org/
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: peteinportland on March 15, 2006, 02:11:57 AM
I did read At Swim, Two Boys. One of the best reads of my life. I read it right after Julia Glass Three Junes which also blew me away. My best weeks ever with gay themed lit. Oddly, both of those sat on my shelf for far too long before I picked them up.

The Year of Magical Thinking was a tremendous book.

For those of you who have not seen my recommendation on one of the first pages, a great companion book to BBM is An Unspoken Hunger by Terry Temptest Williams (a progressive, feminist Mormon). It is a slim book of essays on themes of the American West, nature, and loss.

I looked at a bit of Tennyson's poetry today. It made me think of Jack and Ennis.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Bubble Wrap on March 15, 2006, 01:41:37 PM
I'm beginning to feel more compelled to order in "At Swim, Two Boys" specially after seeing good things about it here...what say?  Should I?

My copy of "Close Range" arrived today and I've had the time to sit down and read the first story, Brokeback, and onto the second one.  Very good so far!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: sandyday on March 15, 2006, 06:44:47 PM
michelle tea's new book is awesome
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jam52 on March 15, 2006, 07:34:27 PM
I'm beginning to feel more compelled to order in "At Swim, Two Boys" specially after seeing good things about it here...what say?  Should I?

My copy of "Close Range" arrived today and I've had the time to sit down and read the first story, Brokeback, and onto the second one.  Very good so far!
Definitely "At Swim, Two Boys." I found it very similar to BBM in theme and its epic sweep. What a screenplay this book would make! The only downside of the book is the frequent use of Irish idiom in the dialogue. Otherwise, highly recommended.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jpq716 on March 15, 2006, 08:19:05 PM
PeteInPortland, I am not surprised at all to hear that reading Tennyson made you think of Jack and Ennis. As far as I can tell, Tennyson lived a decent and respectable bourgeois mainstream life, but I always wondered about his early relationship with Arthur Hallam, to whom he dedicated “In Memoriam,” one of his earliest masterpieces. You know, once you go fishing on Brokeback Mountain, you never forget how to bait the hook --- and you never know when the skill will pop up again to help you get by. Ya know what I mean?

Lola, I was disappointed in The Da Vinci Code. I have not been following the court case about the film, but I personally would not be surprised to learn that Dan Brown had lifted much of his material from Holy Blood, Holy Grail. In any case, I liked Angels and Demons much better.

Poohbunn, I can remember what I had for breakfast this morning very clearly, but I have never been able to explain why there is evil on earth. Could you please let me know the secret? It would help me out a lot… :D :D :D
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 15, 2006, 08:34:23 PM
{snip}I have never been able to explain why there is evil on earth. Could you please let me know the secret? It would help me out a lot… :D :D :D

Isn't that because the evil demiurge is in control of this world while holy God keeps his face distant from the corrupt physical universe?  And that's why the Cathars said you shouldn't encumber souls in physical matter?

Anyway - for more heretical reading:

'The Origin of Satan' - Elaine Pagels:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0679731180/ref=pd_sim_b_4/104-1949735-0171930?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance&n=283155

And I loved her 'Gnostic Gospels' as well.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: boy from oz on March 15, 2006, 11:00:08 PM
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN STORY TO SCREENPLAY, HAS INTERVIEWS WITH THE AUTHOR OF BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN AND SCREENPLAY WRITERS, AS WELL AS THE FULL MOVIE SCRIPT
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rob. on March 15, 2006, 11:00:45 PM
Okay if you read Cat in the Hat  :D.....then I don't feel bad saying I am reading Angels and Demons and then trying to get on to the Da Vinci Code, before the movie hits theatres!

  Don't feel bad - I actually REALLY enjoyed the Da Vinci Code (Didn't enjoy Angels and Demons nearly as much - however I enjoyed them both so much I went out and bought the illustrated/picture versions as well)

  I went into them in a ....not good mindset though...having read The Blood and The Grail what - 15 years ago?  However they were worth it - and I'm looking forward to the movie (Although Tom Hanks?  I don't know)

  Digital Fortress was no where near as good though!

  Rob
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: peteinportland on March 16, 2006, 01:36:00 AM
PeteInPortland, I am not surprised at all to hear that reading Tennyson made you think of Jack and Ennis. As far as I can tell, Tennyson lived a decent and respectable bourgeois mainstream life, but I always wondered about his early relationship with Arthur Hallam, to whom he dedicated “In Memoriam,” one of his earliest masterpieces. You know, once you go fishing on Brokeback Mountain, you never forget how to bait the hook --- and you never know when the skill will pop up again to help you get by. Ya know what I mean?


Tennyson and Hallam were the Victorian version of Jack and Ennis. "In Memoriam" is that era's BBM. I remember doing a undergrad paper in my Victorian Lit class on the homoerotic themes in Tennyson's work (of course, I used the saw of exploring homoerotic themes in many courses including World Lit, American Lit 1, Literature of the American West, and even Shakespeare--needless to say I can quote Leslie Fielder by heart). 

Jpq, one really doesn't have to wonder much too about Tennyson and Hallam. Many scholars consider "In Memoriam" to be the greatest love poem ever composed. If those two weren't fishing buddies, then I'm not sure who would be!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Brokeback_1 on March 16, 2006, 02:52:59 AM
Even though I referred to myself as a dunce for mentioning  it in here, I KNEW that some of you still had to love The Cat In The Hat!

So did my 5 year old nephew. It's how I re-read it--gave him the barnstormers delight of a  dramatic and serious  reading about the tricky Cat's misadventures. Alec Baldwin was my Inspiration.

By the 3rd page, Sweety couldn't get enough.[ he will have to deal with it. if i'm alive when he's 40 i will STILL be calling him sweety]  It was one big WOW and UH-OH!! after another. By page 7 he made me stop. He had seen two buddies from the window and  ran outside   { dont worry--i watched him like a hawk from the door }  yelling that they  HAD to hear about this crazy cat. The 3 of them LOVED it.

And so did I.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: 909dot on March 16, 2006, 09:44:22 AM
What a great thread!!! I'm reading "I Hate To See That Evening Sun Go Down" by William Gay...collected story's that relate in the most unique way...worth your time
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Bubble Wrap on March 16, 2006, 11:14:19 AM
I'm beginning to feel more compelled to order in "At Swim, Two Boys" specially after seeing good things about it here...what say?  Should I?

My copy of "Close Range" arrived today and I've had the time to sit down and read the first story, Brokeback, and onto the second one.  Very good so far!
Definitely "At Swim, Two Boys." I found it very similar to BBM in theme and its epic sweep. What a screenplay this book would make! The only downside of the book is the frequent use of Irish idiom in the dialogue. Otherwise, highly recommended.

Right, I think I've become convinced!  Pay day soon so if I order it now it should take about a week to get to the store...it's becoming very popular throughout the company so shouldn't be too hard to get hold of a copy for me.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: PHD2007 on March 16, 2006, 09:46:49 PM
I did read At Swim, Two Boys. One of the best reads of my life. I read it right after Julia Glass Three Junes which also blew me away. My best weeks ever with gay themed lit. Oddly, both of those sat on my shelf for far too long before I picked them up.

The Year of Magical Thinking was a tremendous book.

For those of you who have not seen my recommendation on one of the first pages, a great companion book to BBM is An Unspoken Hunger by Terry Temptest Williams (a progressive, feminist Mormon). It is a slim book of essays on themes of the American West, nature, and loss.

I looked at a bit of Tennyson's poetry today. It made me think of Jack and Ennis.

You should read David Leavitt's collection of three novellas, "Arkansas," the very best of which is "The Term Paper Artist."  In fact, before you actually buy the book, I'd be happy to copy that one novella and send it to you. 

And that goes for anyone else who might want it.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: peteinportland on March 17, 2006, 03:53:15 AM
PHD, I have read it, as well as several other DL works.

The Page Turner was made into a movie, wasn't it? What is the name of the movie? Anyone know?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rob. on March 17, 2006, 07:39:23 AM
PHD, I have read it, as well as several other DL works.

The Page Turner was made into a movie, wasn't it? What is the name of the movie? Anyone know?

  Food of Love.  Middling effort - not as good as the book

  Rob
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: PHD2007 on March 17, 2006, 07:55:10 AM
Damn, what a high tone crowd!  Usually if I suggest a Leavitt book, people look at me in wonderment:  "David Who?"
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: illinoisgirl on March 17, 2006, 09:46:28 AM
I am reading a book by Harold Robbins, "The Carpetbaggers." I do not remember is it has ever been made into a film or not, but I think the role of Jonas Cord would be an excellent one for Heath Ledger.
 :)
Unfortunately, any book I read, I still have the Brokeback Mountain story in the back of my mind all the time! Can you actually be in love with a story???
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rob. on March 17, 2006, 09:59:58 AM
I am reading a book by Harold Robbins, "The Carpetbaggers." I do not remember is it has ever been made into a film or not, but I think the role of Jonas Cord would be an excellent one for Heath Ledger.
 :)
Unfortunately, any book I read, I still have the Brokeback Mountain story in the back of my mind all the time! Can you actually be in love with a story???

  Heh - The Carpetbaggers was made the year of my birth (1964)  George Peppard and Carroll Baker.  It's actually SO bad, it's good!  I'd say definately give it a rent :)!

  Rob (Stupid trivia freak)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 17, 2006, 05:57:10 PM
Damn, what a high tone crowd!  Usually if I suggest a Leavitt book, people look at me in wonderment:  "David Who?"

And you can always answer: "you know, the guy Stephen Spender sued"....
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: coal615 on March 17, 2006, 06:02:57 PM
Gold Buckle Dreams  The  Rodeo Life of Chris LeDoux  :) ;)

excess white space removed by moderator
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: peteinportland on March 17, 2006, 10:36:46 PM

Unfortunately, any book I read, I still have the Brokeback Mountain story in the back of my mind all the time! Can you actually be in love with a story???

At present, I'm reading Spandau Phoenix by Greg Illes. Nothing like trash thriller fiction to overcome BBM! No comparison. Pure junk. It doesn't even make me think of BBM!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: thebriguy on March 18, 2006, 04:01:44 AM
{snip}I have never been able to explain why there is evil on earth. Could you please let me know the secret? It would help me out a lot… :D :D :D

Isn't that because the evil demiurge is in control of this world while holy God keeps his face distant from the corrupt physical universe?  And that's why the Cathars said you shouldn't encumber souls in physical matter?

Anyway - for more heretical reading:

'The Origin of Satan' - Elaine Pagels:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0679731180/ref=pd_sim_b_4/104-1949735-0171930?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance&n=283155

And I loved her 'Gnostic Gospels' as well.

Many Christian theologians believe gnosticism is the primal heresy, and why not?  The entire physical, material world evil?  That's a bunch of nonsense.  And people have the nerve to say the Catholic Church has a repressive attitude toward the body!  Medieval cults like the Cathars and Albigensians practiced ritual suicide to escape the "prison of the body".  Heresy is repetive, boring, and destructive.  Orthodoxy is the bosom of art, joy, and beauty.  But I believe everything I have just said is itself a heresy among many people, so I'll excuse myself.

Sorry for being a gay, Catholic bitch!

luv,

Brian
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: cyoung on March 18, 2006, 05:15:27 AM
Could you all recommend some memoirs and novels by and about gay men?

Thanks,
Cara
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jam52 on March 18, 2006, 09:13:53 AM
Could you all recommend some memoirs and novels by and about gay men?

Thanks,
Cara
"Becoming a Man" by Paul Monette comes immediatly to mind.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Poohbunn on March 18, 2006, 10:09:57 AM
Isn't that because the evil demiurge is in control of this world while holy God keeps his face distant from the corrupt physical universe?  And that's why the Cathars said you shouldn't encumber souls in physical matter?

I would not call Satan an evil demiurge. And I know G-d is not distant at all.  Much of the evil in the world is the result of the attribution of "free will" to the human race.  People choose to do evil.  I don't think your average run of the mill murderer is demonically possessed. People like Hitler maybe.  G-d remains silent because love cannot be compelled and if we were to see Him, we would be compelled to love him.  That's a short piece of it. My paper on the subject is very very long.  Pooh

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Poohbunn on March 18, 2006, 10:12:13 AM
I just wanted up update everyone on the book I started this week "The Gay Face of God" by Archbishop Bruce Simpson.  It's wonderful and gives me a deeper insight on what it was like to grow up gay in the 60's, and 70's.  He was born the same year as my husband and five years before me, so I have a frame of reference from my own life.  I highly recommend it, and you can get it on Amazon.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jpq716 on March 18, 2006, 12:17:24 PM
Poohbunn, I have the highest respect for your desperate attempt to open up a place for gay people within the Judaeo-Christian-Islamic tradition. Believe me, I know how much such an effort means to you, and not just to you. But there is absolutely no way, in my subjective personal opinion, that such a place for gay people can be found within the tradition. It all goes back to the first five books of the Bible, where you have this insane devil-god Jehovah on Mount Sinai (whom only Cecil B. DeMille has accurately portrayed in all of his demented wackiness) lusting to conquer the universe and screaming at the top of his lungs to man “to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the entire earth.” The only reason why the insane devil-god latches on to Moses in the first place is because this particular human being can help Him to get the divine plan on track, at least as far as the hapless Canaanites are concerned; and like any great general, Jehovah knows that he needs cannon fodder to accomplish His divine goals. A lot of cannon fodder…

Everything follows from that… Onan is condemned, not for spanking the monkey, but for engaging in sexual activity which does not help to produce cannon fodder, lots and lots of cannon fodder. And Sodom and Gomorrah, well, they may have been destroyed for their lack of hospitality to the three visiting angels, but Biblical exegetes settled, quite early, on the interpretation that Jehovah did them in because they were “stemming the rose” on a collective level --- and, damn it, what kind of an army could they muster on the battlefield after a couple of decades of that behavior? And Deuteronomy puts an end to all discussion on the matter when it states flatly --- remember, this is the divinely inspired word of God Himself! --- that, “if a man lie with a man as with a woman, let him be put to death.” Gay sex --- in fact, any sex other than plain vanilla procreative sex --- is the ultimate abomination because it deprives the insane devil-god Jehovah of the shock troops that He needs to conquer the entire universe for His own power and glory!

Maybe there is a way to rescue the Judaeo-Christian-Islamic tradition from such an incredibly bad start, and yes, I will admit that the radiant figure of Jesus Christ (but neither Moses nor Mohammed) stands above and beyond any failings of the tradition. But I just think that there is too much cosmetic surgery needed to make this toothless old hag look like a spring chicken, and I for one am all in favor of jettisoning the entire tradition right into the trash can --- with, of course, the crucial exception of Jesus Christ --- and starting all over again with something else. As the Kenny Rogers song says, you gotta know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em. And at the dawn of the third millennium, I think that it is high time to fold this spectacularly bad religious hand and to wait for the next deal of the cards.

Sorry to be somewhat off-topic here, but I felt that I had to write this here and now, while I still felt strongly about the subject. And Poohbunn, I hope that I have not offended your feelings by doing so. Believe me, I have no desire to do so, and I enjoy reading your posts greatly.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Poohbunn on March 18, 2006, 07:11:50 PM
Sorry to be somewhat off-topic here, but I felt that I had to write this here and now, while I still felt strongly about the subject. And Poohbunn, I hope that I have not offended your feelings by doing so. Believe me, I have no desire to do so, and I enjoy reading your posts greatly.

I'm not offended, but I do want you to know that there is room for everyone at G-d's table. 

Pooh
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Brunel on March 18, 2006, 07:47:18 PM
I'm reading The Line of Beauty by Allan Hollinghurst.  I read 3 of his novels and actually met him at the Gay Games in Vancouver in 1990.  I highly recommend The Swimming Pool Library and The Folding Star.  However, the Folding Star is very sad and it stayed with me for a long while after I read it.  Another novel that also stayed with me (will be with me always) is A Home at the End of the World by Michael Cunnigham.  I highly recommend it as well. 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Robert on March 18, 2006, 09:12:17 PM
For Cara--I'd recommend Mark Doty's memoir, "The Phoenix."  Parts of it are harrowing, but oh, is it good.  (He's a poet, mostly,
but I think his prose is better).  I'll leave some books I'm reading later--I've just discovered this site, and I read the way animals
crop grass.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 18, 2006, 09:14:31 PM
{snip}I have never been able to explain why there is evil on earth. Could you please let me know the secret? It would help me out a lot… :D :D :D

Isn't that because the evil demiurge is in control of this world while holy God keeps his face distant from the corrupt physical universe?  And that's why the Cathars said you shouldn't encumber souls in physical matter?

Anyway - for more heretical reading:

'The Origin of Satan' - Elaine Pagels:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0679731180/ref=pd_sim_b_4/104-1949735-0171930?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance&n=283155

And I loved her 'Gnostic Gospels' as well.

Many Christian theologians believe gnosticism is the primal heresy, and why not?  The entire physical, material world evil?  That's a bunch of nonsense.  And people have the nerve to say the Catholic Church has a repressive attitude toward the body!  Medieval cults like the Cathars and Albigensians practiced ritual suicide to escape the "prison of the body".  Heresy is repetive, boring, and destructive.  Orthodoxy is the bosom of art, joy, and beauty.  But I believe everything I have just said is itself a heresy among many people, so I'll excuse myself.

Sorry for being a gay, Catholic bitch!

luv,

Brian

Hi Brian,

I should have included a winky eye with my post - it was meant entirely in jest.  My apologies for any offense taken here - as an agnostic I personally don't believe we can know such things, but everyone is entitled to their opinion on these issues.  I am truly sorry to have offended anyone in this lovely place.

mf
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 18, 2006, 09:23:56 PM

Anyway - for more heretical reading:

'The Origin of Satan' - Elaine Pagels:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0679731180/ref=pd_sim_b_4/104-1949735-0171930?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance&n=283155

And I loved her 'Gnostic Gospels' as well.

{snip}

Sorry for being a gay, Catholic bitch!

luv,

Brian

One other comment, however - the Elaine Pagels book, as well as her other books, is quite worth reading - she is a Doctor of Theology at Princeton.  Also, I would mention the Nag Hammadi library - with is neither medieval nor boring.  It has some quite lovely poetry in it, including 'The Thunder, Perfect Mind' which speaks to a third century image of a female deity.  Again, this is not meant as a direction towards peoples beliefs, but to merely point out interesting texts:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060669357/sr=8-1/qid=1142742042/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-1824790-4183252?%5Fencoding=UTF8



Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Sebastian on March 18, 2006, 10:42:05 PM
Could you all recommend some memoirs and novels by and about gay men?

Thanks,
Cara

Cara, I agree with the suggestion of Paul Monette as a good choice, also you might try James Baldwin and Christopher Isherwood for some 'classics.'

Seb
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: peteinportland on March 18, 2006, 11:58:31 PM
I just wanted up update everyone on the book I started this week "The Gay Face of God" by Archbishop Bruce Simpson.  It's wonderful and gives me a deeper insight on what it was like to grow up gay in the 60's, and 70's.  He was born the same year as my husband and five years before me, so I have a frame of reference from my own life.  I highly recommend it, and you can get it on Amazon.

And he is a frequent poster here on our forum as well. So, it would be nice to support one of your fellow members by buying his book. I'm sure he would appreciate it!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: peteinportland on March 19, 2006, 12:00:03 AM
Could you all recommend some memoirs and novels by and about gay men?

Thanks,
Cara
"Becoming a Man" by Paul Monette comes immediatly to mind.

This may be my favorite book of all time. It won the National Book Award. Stunning work of literature IMO.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Brokeback_1 on March 19, 2006, 02:09:51 AM
Poohbunn, I have the highest respect for your desperate attempt to open up a place for gay people within the Judaeo-Christian-Islamic tradition. Believe me, I know how much such an effort means to you, and not just to you. But there is absolutely no way, in my subjective personal opinion, that such a place for gay people can be found within the tradition. It all goes back to the first five books of the Bible, where you have this insane devil-god Jehovah on Mount Sinai (whom only Cecil B. DeMille has accurately portrayed in all of his demented wackiness) lusting to conquer the universe and screaming at the top of his lungs to man “to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the entire earth.” The only reason why the insane devil-god latches on to Moses in the first place is because this particular human being can help Him to get the divine plan on track, at least as far as the hapless Canaanites are concerned; and like any great general, Jehovah knows that he needs cannon fodder to accomplish His divine goals. A lot of cannon fodder…
<snip>

Maybe there is a way to rescue the Judaeo-Christian-Islamic tradition from such an incredibly bad start, and yes, I will admit that the radiant figure of Jesus Christ (but neither Moses nor Mohammed) stands above and beyond any failings of the tradition. But I just think that there is too much cosmetic surgery needed to make this toothless old hag look like a spring chicken, and I for one am all in favor of jettisoning the entire tradition right into the trash can --- with, of course, the crucial exception of Jesus Christ --- and starting all over again with something else. As the Kenny Rogers song says, you gotta know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em. And at the dawn of the third millennium, I think that it is high time to fold this spectacularly bad religious hand and to wait for the next deal of the cards

Well...lmao, you said a lot. I think you are way off base with some but not all of it. Firsly there is no judeo-christoian-islamic tradition. It does not exist. If you want to claim a judeo-christian tradition, I'll buy that certainly, but adding Islam to it is simply bizarre. Throughout their entire history  Islam and the christians/Jews have been at loggerheads. The point of Islam is to gain first political and then religious control . One eventually follows the other. This has been done since the first conquests of the Roman East. Constantinople was exhausted from fighting Persia, after one battle, syria and Egypt--entirely Christian--passed into Arab  hands. They were converted over a period of centuries . Not by force, by persuasion and things like no taxes if you became a moslem.
Islam has had and contimues to have a certain tolerance for gays. but NOT in its fundy sects. And not openly, anywhere. It's peculiar to say the ;least.

 As for the Christians the entire Old Testament really has not a damned thing to do with us. It has the prophecies of the messiah etc. Otherwise what good is it> It's the Old Covenant, the one thrown into the trash can after the New Covenant that JC is supposed to have signed between mankind and his father.  The Old Testament is the history of the Jews, of their trials, sufferings faith. The god portrayed within it was tthe tribal god of the jews, differing from everybody elses god's in the region solely by his exclusivity. So far as I'm concerned the Old Testament has no value to anyone EXCEPT the Jews. I also think you went overboard describing him as a devil god.!!! Jealous, yes, demanding yes. cruel, yes. a devil...no. not at all. A typical levantine deity, nothing more or less.

Jesus preached love.  What his followers did with the mesage is something else again: I have no quarrel with the message. However the messengers should be shot.

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Anchy on March 19, 2006, 04:27:35 AM
I'm reading:

In cold blood-Truman Capote
and i'm starting on Dante's Inferno
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Zuraffo on March 19, 2006, 05:13:59 AM
Wonder if you are interested in Fantasy Novel, if you do, you can check out The last herald mage series by Mercedes Lackey.

I absolutely adores Mercedes Lackey. Her books are quite different from the typical fantasy. Worth a read.

Other books I've read this year:

memoirs of a giesha
The secret History of Lucifer (Lynn Picknett) -- very thought provoking read.


Could you all recommend some memoirs and novels by and about gay men?

Thanks,
Cara
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: peteinportland on March 19, 2006, 06:46:18 AM
Please stay on topic! We have a thread on religion in another part of the forum.

This thread is for talking about books---namely good ones we have read lately!

Thank you.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 19, 2006, 07:52:02 AM
Could you all recommend some memoirs and novels by and about gay men?

Thanks,
Cara

As I think a few others here have mentioned Christopher Isherwood is one of my favorites.  His book "Christopher and his Kind" tells the back story behind his time in Berlin that led to 'I am a Camera' (which in turn led to 'Cabaret') - here's a link to the amazon record:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0816638632/sr=8-9/qid=1142778921/ref=sr_1_9/002-1824790-4183252?%5Fencoding=UTF8

'Running with Scissors' by Augusten Burroughs is quite entertaining too - however, he had a very disfunctional relationship with his parents and was sexually abused as a teen (the book does not, I hasten to add, glamorize that in any way - it comes off as ugly as it was).  Just to let you know so that if that is a hotbutton issue you can avoid this.  Otherwise, it's an interesting read:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/031242227X/qid=1142779098/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/002-1824790-4183252?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

For me the early works of David Sedaris are personal favorites.  He has such a wry, fun sense of humor and has been through some really weird experiences.  Both 'Naked' and 'Barrel Fever' are very good:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316779423/qid=1142779321/sr=1-8/ref=sr_1_8/002-1824790-4183252?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

David Rackoff is pretty funny too.  Much like Sedaris his book is a collection of autobiographical essays, so you can pretty much pick it up and put it down at will without feeling you're losing the thread of a story.  I've read 'Fraud' and liked it, but haven't read his new one:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0767906314/qid=1142779695/sr=2-2/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_2/002-1824790-4183252?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

These are just a few that spring to mind right off as good reads, and again, I just give you the amazon record for reference - most all of these books should be available at your public library, so you don't have to spend anything to read them - and then (if you like them) you can pick them up at your leisure!



Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rob. on March 19, 2006, 08:23:23 AM
Wonder if you are interested in Fantasy Novel, if you do, you can check out The last herald mage series by Mercedes Lackey.

I absolutely adores Mercedes Lackey. Her books are quite different from the typical fantasy. Worth a read.


  Funny you Mention Mercedes Lackey.  Funny that in the late 80s and early to mid 90s I was so obsessed with these books (And don't ask me why - I still couldn't answer)  I have the entire collection except for the Owlsight series in both soft AND hardcover (And let me tell you - getting The Last Herald Mage series in hard cover was a challenge)

  Unfortunately - after almost 20 years, she's taking a break from Valdemar (Although she HAS been threatening to do that since the late 90's and never has)  I just never got into any of her other books the way I did the Valdemar books.  I think it's the ease with which she integrates gay characters throughout her books - and she has a LOT of them!

  Rob
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: CBW on March 19, 2006, 10:16:13 AM
I just read "The Trouble with Poetry" by Billy Collins which is a wonderful, contemporary book of poems.  The poems are deceptively simple, and contain beautiful thoughts and images about ordinary experiences.  Also, a relatively new biography of "George Eliot, The Last Victorian" by Kathryn Hughes.  George Eliot (aka Mary Ann Evans) is a favorite novelist of mine and this biography was admiring, but unflinchingly honest, which I liked.  Not very sexy choices, but good reads for me.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jpq716 on March 19, 2006, 10:19:51 AM
Yes, Anchy, I would like to read In Cold Blood too! Gore Vidal has said such horrible things about the book (not to mention its author) that I have to read it for myself to settle the matter in my own mind.

Enjoy Dante's Inferno! It's a hoot-n-a-half! I hope that you will note, during your reading, that while the first --- and least painful --- circle of hell is given over to those who submit to the lusts of the flesh, you have to be straight in order to be admitted. People like Jack and Ennis are a couple of circles down, in much nastier circumstances.... :D :D :D
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 19, 2006, 10:35:20 AM
Enjoy Dante's Inferno! It's a hoot-n-a-half! I hope that you will note, during your reading, that while the first --- and least painful --- circle of hell is given over to those who submit to the lusts of the flesh, you have to be straight in order to be admitted. People like Jack and Ennis are a couple of circles down, in much nastier circumstances.... :D :D :D

On a desert of burning sands constantly in search of their next encounter - my friends and I used to joke that obviously Dante had been in several gay bars.

There is a pretty wonderful graphic novel of the Inferno that is out now too (although snob that I am I must admit I like the parallel text from U.C. Berkeley):

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0811842134/sr=8-1/qid=1142789420/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-1824790-4183252?%5Fencoding=UTF8

"When I had journeyed half of our life's way, I found myself within a shadowed forest, for I had lost the path that does not stray."

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: cyoung on March 19, 2006, 01:12:55 PM
Hey all,

Thanks so much for the book suggestions! The only one I've read is Running With Scissors. Has anyone heard of the contempory writer Jane Hamilton? She's one of my favorite novelists. Her most famous books are A Map of the World and The Book of Ruth, but she also wrote a short novel about a boy growing up gay, The Short History of a Prince.

Here's an excerpt from one reader's review on amazon.com:

There is a lot to savor in "Prince." It is a coming-of-age story as Walter must cope with a death in the family while coming to grips with his own homosexuality. While Walter may be one of the most well-realized gay characters put into print, one small quibble is that he seems to fall into so many stereotypes (ballet dancer, opera/theater lover, works in a dollhouse shop, literature teacher). Also, "Prince" asks the age-old question "Can one ever go home again?" as Walter returns to his Midwest roots as an adult. The novel is not only about the struggle to let go of the past, but perhaps even more painfully so letting go of the dreams of the future.

**********************

Cara

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: thebriguy on March 19, 2006, 06:26:49 PM
{snip}I have never been able to explain why there is evil on earth. Could you please let me know the secret? It would help me out a lot… :D :D :D

Isn't that because the evil demiurge is in control of this world while holy God keeps his face distant from the corrupt physical universe?  And that's why the Cathars said you shouldn't encumber souls in physical matter?

Anyway - for more heretical reading:

'The Origin of Satan' - Elaine Pagels:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0679731180/ref=pd_sim_b_4/104-1949735-0171930?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance&n=283155

And I loved her 'Gnostic Gospels' as well.

Many Christian theologians believe gnosticism is the primal heresy, and why not?  The entire physical, material world evil?  That's a bunch of nonsense.  And people have the nerve to say the Catholic Church has a repressive attitude toward the body!  Medieval cults like the Cathars and Albigensians practiced ritual suicide to escape the "prison of the body".  Heresy is repetive, boring, and destructive.  Orthodoxy is the bosom of art, joy, and beauty.  But I believe everything I have just said is itself a heresy among many people, so I'll excuse myself.

Sorry for being a gay, Catholic bitch!

luv,

Brian

Hi Brian,

I should have included a winky eye with my post - it was meant entirely in jest.  My apologies for any offense taken here - as an agnostic I personally don't believe we can know such things, but everyone is entitled to their opinion on these issues.  I am truly sorry to have offended anyone in this lovely place.

mf


No hard feelings!

Its not like I thought you were a practioner of an ancient mystery religion, a temple prostitute, or a Medieval heretic, althuogh that would really spice up the forum.

As I see it, gnosticism was an extremely flagrant form of cosmic dualism which happened to come on very early in the history of the Church.  By referring to it as a primal heresy, theologians mean that they can see traces of it in countless subsequent  philosophies and sects which have been incompatible with Christianity.

Whether or not one holds that the Bible is inerrant, that Christ rose from the dead, and other specifically Christian beliefs, I believe that it should be apparent to a sane person that believing that the mind/soul is good, while the material world/ the human body are evil, is a repulsive worldview.

I have always loved art, and have sometimes been an artist.  As art is very much the integration of spirit and matter, the ideal with the concrete,  I am pre-disposed, one could say, to detest gnostic dualism.

Finally, (and forgive me for bringing up religion again) as a Catholic Christian, gnosticism is very abhorrent because in Catholicism we believe it is through sensible things, the sacraments such as eucharist and baptism, that the invisible, spiritual goods of Christ are conveyed. Most of all, the whole idea that God became man, the Word became flesh, implies a complementary relationship between spirit and matter, and is completely anti-gnostic.

Once again, not offended (people are pretty nice to each other on this forum aren't they?)

Bri


Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jayhill on March 19, 2006, 06:41:52 PM
"Teacher Man" by Frank McCourt (If you liked McCourt's "Angela's Ashes" and "'Tis," you should like this one as well.)
"The Origin of Satan" by Elaine Pagels. (My favorite writer in the field of religion addresses the question of where evil---specifically the notion of Satan---came from)
"Running with Scissors" (A wacky---and largely gay-themed---memoir by Augusten Burroughs, currently being made into a film starring Annette Bening and Gwyneth Paltrow)
"The Man Who Knew Too Much" (The true life story of Alan Turing and the invention of the computer)
"A Death in the Family" (This was a re-read of James Agee's timeless classic)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 19, 2006, 07:11:07 PM
"Teacher Man" by Frank McCourt (If you liked McCourt's "Angela's Ashes" and "'Tis," you should like this one as well.
"The Origin of Satan" by Elaine Pagels. (My favorite writer in the field of religion addresses the question of where evil---specifically the notion of Satan---came from)
"Running with Scissors" (A wacky---and largely gay-themed---memoir by Augusten Burroughs, currently being made into a film starring Annette Bening and Gwyneth Paltrow)
"The Man Who Knew Too Much" (The true life story of Alan Turing and the invention of the computer)
"A Death in the Family" (This was a re-read of James Agee's timeless classic)

Hi Jayhill - Thanks for this!  I've read both "'Tis" and "Angela's Ashes" and enjoyed them both a lot, so I look forward to "Teacher Man"

Glad to see Pagels on your list - she's one of my favorites too - I had a friend give me the 'Gnostic Gospels' years ago and was hooked on it both from a historical as well as a theological perspective.  The idea that scrolls could be hidden in the desert for over a millennium is fascinating to me.  Her book "Beyond Belief - The Secret Gospel of Thomas" is interesting too, particularly in light of how it comforted her after the death of her child.

Have you by any chance read "God Against the Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism" by Jonathan Kirsch?  I couldn't put this one down when I started reading it - it traces the war between the ideas from the period of Akhenaton to Constantine and afterwards.  When I read this I didn't know that Constantine didn't really convert till his deathbed.  It's chocked full of interesting historical information like this and, like I said, I loved it.

Kirsch has also written another fascinating book 'Harlot by the Side of the Road: Forbidden Tales of the Bible' where he talks about some of the lesser known biblical stories.  He's really worth checking out as an author.

Did you by any chance read 'Dry' by Augusten Burroughs?  I liked that too, although not as well as 'Running'.  And I had forgotten that the movie of this was being made, thanks for reminding me.

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 19, 2006, 07:20:13 PM
Here's one that I just remembered that I found absolutely fascinating 'Lieutenant Nun' by Catalina De Erauso.  This book tells the fascinating story of a Basque woman who escaped from the convent her family had put her in and dressed as a man.  She passed for years and eventually became a soldier and went with the Spanish army to Chile and Peru.  It's a very short book and is an amazing historical incident:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0807070734/qid=1142820838/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/002-1824790-4183252?s=books&v=glance&n=283155
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Forever_Failure on March 19, 2006, 07:30:06 PM
Call me shallow, but right now I'm reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. And loving it!  ;D . I got curious after watching the last two movies which I found rather good compared to the first ones, and also I wanted to check if the books were better.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 19, 2006, 08:08:55 PM
Call me shallow, but right now I'm reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. And loving it!  ;D . I got curious after watching the last two movies which I found rather good compared to the first ones, and also I wanted to check if the books were better.

I would never call you shallow for reading for fun!!!  And one of my favorite recent series of children's books is Lemony Snicket's 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' (although I have only read a few)!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Zuraffo on March 19, 2006, 11:24:23 PM
Yup. She had a pair of lesbians characters in her first series, arrows of the queen. (Sherri(Ylsa) and Keren, I just re-read that series).

And then there was the flamboyant Firesong and Andesha. And of course Vanyel and Stefan.

However my favorite character of all the series was actually Karal, the Karsite priest. He just so... spiritual.


  Funny you Mention Mercedes Lackey.  Funny that in the late 80s and early to mid 90s I was so obsessed with these books (And don't ask me why - I still couldn't answer)  I have the entire collection except for the Owlsight series in both soft AND hardcover (And let me tell you - getting The Last Herald Mage series in hard cover was a challenge)

  Unfortunately - after almost 20 years, she's taking a break from Valdemar (Although she HAS been threatening to do that since the late 90's and never has)  I just never got into any of her other books the way I did the Valdemar books.  I think it's the ease with which she integrates gay characters throughout her books - and she has a LOT of them!

  Rob
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Zuraffo on March 19, 2006, 11:27:33 PM
Oh, and how can I forget, the well of loneliness. Beautifully written, in old english lit. style.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0385416091/102-0269675-3579353?v=glance&n=283155
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Robert on March 20, 2006, 12:11:26 AM
There are only two books from the last few years that I would recommend without reservation.  One is "The Corrections," a wonderfully
written, funny, touching book which won the National Book Award and is being made into a film.  Unfortunately, I don't know all of
the casting.  The only thing I've read is that Judi Densch (sp?) is playing the mother.   You will look back on this moment and thank
me, if you read the book.  You'll say, "Oh, yeah, what was that guy's name?  He recommended it so strongly..."

The second book is even better.  It's called "Atonement," and it is, simply, the most astonishing book I've read in years.  It's English, and
was short-listed for the Booker Prize.  I belive the only reason it didn't win was that the author had been awarded the prize a few
years earlier, and like the Oscars, they don't usually like to award two in a short period.   It is a great book, I believe.....well, you don't have
to believe me, here's a review from the Economist, on the cover:   "It's rare for a critic to feel justified in using the word "masterpiece,"
but Ian McEwan's new book really deserves to be called one...'Atonement' is a work of astonishing depth and humanity...This novel
really is worth of the Booker."

Other than that, what...?  Two memoirs by Siefgried Sassoon, "What Maisie Knew," by Henry James (it's late James, and ferociously
difficult to read--for me, anyway--but awfully good).  Recently re-read "House of Mirth," and liked it again.  Read a series of essays about
"Remembrance of Things Past," mostly because I've read only the first volume of "Remembrance of Things Past," and simply can't whip
myself through the other five or six thousand pages (thought that the essays would act as a lubricant, easing my way into the book, but
they didn't, so far).  Read a truly excellent short Irish novel called "The Dark," by John McGahern. 

On gay stuff, I've re-read "The Phoenix," by Mark Doty, as I noted earlier, and find it the best single memoir about growing up gay in the
60's that I've ever read.  I read Edmund White's biography of Proust (again, hoping for some lubrication).  Re-read "This Boy's Life,"
which has a sympathetic gay  character in it, though it's not the lead.   

Oh, and a small Annie Proulx rant.  I love her writing.  One of her short stories, "The half-skinned Steer," I think it's called, was included in
John Updike's collection of the Best Short Stories of the 20th Century."  I love it, though I don't completely understand it.  My other favorite
of hers is a difficult-to-read novel called "Accordian Crimes."  Don't make a go at this one unless you're willing to work.  It's about an
accordian with 12 one hundred dollar bills pasted inside.  The accordian passes from hand to hand during its life that lasts, oh, about
80 or 90 years, and so each section, or chapter, deals with an entirely new group of people--the only thing they all have in common is that
for a time each group happens to have the accordian with all that money in their hands.   Really good; really difficult.  Or you could try an
odd novel of hers called "Postcards."  (The only book of hers I wouldnt' recommend is one that I think is her latest, a collection of stories
called "Ace in the Hole.")  It was fine, but I didn't like it as much as her usual.
'
Happy reading...




Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Robert on March 20, 2006, 12:17:07 AM
p.s.  Oh, yes, a favorite:  if you liked "To Kill A Mockingbird," you'll like "The Moonflower Vine," by Jetta Carleton.  It's a bit hard to locate,
though there are copies on amazon.com.  It's a real true book.  You will love this novel.  I guarantee it.  You will want to track me down
and shake my hand.  "The Moonflower Vine."   Jetta Carleton.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: peteinportland on March 20, 2006, 01:45:46 AM
I really enjoyed The Corrections. I liked Atonement a great deal, but it is not my favorite book by McEwan.

Speaking of McEwan, a writer I like a lot lately is Ian Banks, a Scottish writer.

And speaking of fantasy (my joy in fun reading), The Finovar Tapestry by Guy Gavareil Kay is the only book (a trilogy actually) that always makes me cry. It is lyrical and beautiful. Also Michelle West is a great newer writer. She wrote Hunter's Oath and Hunter's Death and followed them up with the Sun Sword series (six books). Very adult and literate reading.

American Gods by Neil Gamain. That is quite the read. I have yet to read Anasazi Boys (his newest).

Poor Robert Jordan has lost his way (a bit of a side note to you fantasy fans).
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Brokeback_1 on March 20, 2006, 02:07:01 AM
I'm reading:

In cold blood-Truman Capote
and i'm starting on Dante's Inferno


OHHHH.
The Inferno! Now THAT is one damned good book, tell us what you think on it as you are reading it, I found it awesome in the original sense of the word!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Robert on March 20, 2006, 09:50:16 AM
After I got into bed last night, I thought of "Fat Girl," a very short, very moving memoir about growing up fat in a dysfunctional
family.  I've always been lean, but I wept at the end of this book.  She's brutal with herself.  (And to peteinportland--what's your
favorite McEwan?  "Saturday"?  "A Child in Time"?  I've never even heard of the Scottish writer you mention.  I'll check him
out).
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jpq716 on March 20, 2006, 10:15:58 AM
Forever_Failure, if you are shallow for liking Harry Potter, then I am just as shallow as you are! I have a beautiful niece whom I love to distraction but who does not like to read. But one major exception to her dislike for books is the Harry Potter series, all of whose books she has read. When the first Harry Potter film came out in 2001, I went to see it, strictly and solely in order to find out what my niece found so attractive about the series, and I was disturbed to admit to myself that I liked the film a lot. Then, shortly, thereafter I had the opportunity to read the first Harry Potter book. Years passed, and I saw the second and third Harry Potter films, in each case reading the book after seeing the film. But as luck would have it, I read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire before I saw the fourth film last November, and for the first time, I realized clearly that I like the books even more than the movies, fine as they are...

No, I have to put aside my prejudices and to give J. K. Rowling her due. I thought that her Harry Potter books would be New Age sentimental slop, and I was wrong. Rowling is a fine writer with a first-rate imagination. Nobody on this earth can match J. R. R. Tolkien, of course, but she is right up there in visionary imagination. She deserves everything that she has in life because of the joy that she has brought to millions of readers. And God knows, she worked hard enough to get it! :D :D :D
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on March 20, 2006, 10:24:37 AM
No, I have to put aside my prejudices and to give J. K. Rowling her due. I thought that her Harry Potter books would be New Age sentimental slop, and I was wrong. Rowling is a fine writer with a first-rate imagination. Nobody on this earth can match J. R. R. Tolkien, of course, but she is right up there in visionary imagination. She deserves everything that she has in life because of the joy that she has brought to millions of readers. And God knows, she worked hard enough to get it! :D :D :D
JK Rowling has put children's literature back on track.  Having school age kids that are obsessed with her books makes me soooo happy because she is bringing back vocabulary to their world! (something that has been missing from the more recent modern children's series.)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: WhenPigsFly on March 20, 2006, 12:38:50 PM
I can't get enough of Proulx and Proulx-like writing.

I just finished "Postcards" (which I rank with "Accordion Crimes" as being her best long fiction) and "Power of the Dog" by Thomas Savage which comes with the highest recommendation from Proulx herself...she wrote an Afterword for the reissue.  The story has a strong connection to Place, and the characters -- especially one of them-- absolutely step off the page and into your mind. 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on March 20, 2006, 02:46:01 PM
I'm cheating, because this is a book I haven't read yet: Sarah Waters' new novel, Night Watch, set in WW II London.  She wrote a pair of Victorian lesbian novels that were turned into cable movies;  this is a departure.  Most reviews are approving; here's one:http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/books/reviews/article341190.ece

One reason this appeals to me is that my favorite gay novel, Mary Renault's The Charioteer, is also set in wartime London.  The Charioteer has always struck me as a fine candidate for a film, because its characters move in a gay subculture (not always treated respectfully!) as well as in the larger worlds of wartime military and civilian life.  Renault had an economy of style I don't expect to find in the Waters book, but I'm looking forward to it anyhow.

(Has anyone here read it already?)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: peteinportland on March 20, 2006, 10:55:09 PM
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Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: cyoung on March 20, 2006, 11:04:53 PM
Could you all recommend some memoirs and novels by and about gay men?

Thanks,
Cara
"Becoming a Man" by Paul Monette comes immediatly to mind.

This may be my favorite book of all time. It won the National Book Award. Stunning work of literature IMO.

I went to the library today and looked for it -- no luck. I'm going to check a small local bookstore as well as Bucknell University's bookstore. If all else fails, there's always amazon.com.  :D

Cara
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on March 21, 2006, 02:28:34 PM
The classical composer Ned Rorum (I think he's written a lot of settings for poems - obviously, I'm not into contemporary classical music) was a dazzlingly handsome young fellow who took full advantage of his advantages.  Don't remember the title of his memoir, but he does a lot of namedropping.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Robert on March 21, 2006, 08:46:13 PM
Oh, hell.  My apologies to anyone who might have tried to find Mark Doty's memoir "Phoenix."  That's because I screwed up the title.
It's called "Firebird," not "Phoenix."  It was a clumsy mistake on my part.  I do recommend the book, though.  I often like books by
poets who have turned their hands to prose; terrific writing often ensues.  (And to Castro:  I've just re-read one of Ned Rorem's
diaries.  They're gossipy and fun and often thoughtful.)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 21, 2006, 09:43:17 PM
The classical composer Ned Rorum (I think he's written a lot of settings for poems - obviously, I'm not into contemporary classical music) was a dazzlingly handsome young fellow who took full advantage of his advantages.  Don't remember the title of his memoir, but he does a lot of namedropping.

Actually he's written quite a lot - but I think the one you may be talking about is 'Knowing When To Stop' - he also did 'New York Diary' and 'Paris Diary'.  Last year at the SF LGBT Film Festival there was a great documentary on him too.  I haven't read him, but he's very interesting.  He was friends with Virgil Thompson (who worked with Gertrude Stein).
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on March 21, 2006, 10:48:09 PM
Rereading the opening of In Cold Blood again. For about the millionth time.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Lola on March 21, 2006, 11:06:36 PM
I bought In Cold Blood after I saw Capote, it is sitting here waiting to be read.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: cyoung on March 22, 2006, 02:07:36 PM
Rereading the opening of In Cold Blood again. For about the millionth time.

Heh.  :D I just finished re-reading it too. Great book.  :D

Cara
Title: [b]Our Missionary Project--Come Join Us[b]
Post by: CactusGal on March 22, 2006, 07:03:09 PM
Our newest campaign (the Missionary Project) is to place as many BBM DVD's in libraries and other places as we possibly can.  We especially want to target rural or smaller libraries which may not have the resources of the larger ones.  We are asking the libraries to label our donations with "Donated by Members of the Ultimate Brokeback Forum at http://davecullen.com/forum which, after viewing, will give those who need it a place for support.  Our message, as always, is a positive one of the beauty of love between two people which cannot be denied. 

There are three ways you can help:

Method One

Do it yourself! Get a warm and fuzzy feeling! Here are the steps:

1.  Select a library - One of your choosing or go to http://www.pubiclibraries.com
(We suggest a rural or smaller library which may not have the budget for a copy.)

2.  Call the library and ask it they will accept a donation of the BBM DVD.  If so, discuss the following with them:
     a.  How the DVD will be delivered (by hand, Amazon or other)
     b.  Ask them to apply a sticker on the DVD once it arrives which states "Donated by the Members of the Ultimate Brokeback Forum at http://davecullen.com/forum

3.  Send a PM to Exlibris or post to the thread (Our Missionary Campaign found under Forum Events and Campaigns on the main page).  We need to track the following info:
     a.  If donation accepted:  city/state/country of library
     b.  Donation not accepted:  same info + reason not accepted (so we can address these issues later

4.  Place your DVD order with Amazon via our site or order/buy through another means.  If you order through our site, we will get 6% of the cost and it won't cost you a penny more.  Go to our main page and near the top on the right side you will see "Buy the DVD Through Us" in red. Amazon will ship gift orders anywhere you want.

5. Follow-up with the library once you believe DVD has arrived; it is important to remind them to place our identifying sticker on the DVD.

6.  If you have any problems along the way, PM either Sharyn (member support) or CactusGal (team leader).

7.  You've just help spread Brokeback Mountain's message that love between two people is beautiful and shouldn't be denied.

Method Two

Donate the cost of a DVD to us and volunteers will handle the process of sending the DVD to a library.

To donate go to http://www.davecullen.com/brokebackmountain/adcampaign.html

A warm and fuzzy still awaits you but we take away the hassle!

Method Three

Choose a library in another country or an organization anywhere in the world. This is for those who live in other countries or for members who want to donate to GLBT organizations in other countires or in the USA. Simply follow the same steps in Method One above. Warm and fuzzy feelings can reach you too!

You can also use all three methods to make the most impact! We will be asking other sites and organizations to join in our campaign and announcing this campaign to the press worldwide. Help spread the message of BBM! Thanks for all of your support.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Brokeback_1 on March 25, 2006, 04:22:53 AM
hey... I posted 2 chapters of a story in the slash thread. BBM related of course, in that it's about what happened when i went out hunting for the March 10 daily Variety at noon that Friday and got home 2 days later

lemme know if you like it. had to break it into pieces, those 2 chapters, they were too long to post
messages # 1197 through 1100

http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=98.1095
This is hardly the best thing I've ever written but it does have it's moments <lol> I mean hell, it took a few hours to write, while the 911 story I'm doing will take me a year Thought you guys might enjoy it.
feedback really is welcome! Especially honest constructive literary feeback...
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Brokeback_1 on March 25, 2006, 04:31:06 AM
Rereading the opening of In Cold Blood again. For about the millionth time.

Heh. :D I just finished re-reading it too. Great book. :D

Cara

Capote is one writer I never managed to get into at all. Haven't read his stuff for many many years.
I'll do In Cold Blood again this summer...who knows, I might like it!

Right now I'm still reading Bad Dirt, Wyoming Tales 2. And absolutely LOVE it.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: cyoung on March 25, 2006, 10:22:03 AM
Rereading the opening of In Cold Blood again. For about the millionth time.

Heh. :D I just finished re-reading it too. Great book. :D

Cara

Capote is one writer I never managed to get into at all. Haven't read his stuff for many many years.
I'll do In Cold Blood again this summer...who knows, I might like it!

I just re-read Dave's sentence after reading your post and thought, "Duh. Was he saying he's read the beginning a million times because he can't get past it?"

I had read In Cold Blood when I was a teenager, but I barely remembered it. After seeing "Capote" and reading the biography on which the movie was based, I decided to re-read it and some of Capote's other work. I want to read Other Voices, Other Rooms next. It was his first novel.

Cara
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on March 25, 2006, 11:41:41 AM
Just finished Joan Didion's Year Of Magical Thinking

It's about her life during the year following the death of her husband John Gregory Dunne (to whom she'd been married nearly 40 years) Soul mates if there ever was such a thing. 
It made me think a lot about Ennis (these days all roads lead to BBM).  It's still swirling around in my head.  Maybe I'll have more to say later when I've had more time to consider.

I recommend the book - it was a pretty quick read too (but I read really fast)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: peteinportland on March 26, 2006, 01:53:50 AM
Oh Mary, I love that book. One of my favorites from last year. (BTW, did you read An Unspoken Hunger yet? I think you will love it.) I have just started Geek Love. It has been on my bookshelf for several years, and I finally picked it up. I will let you know what I think.

Pete
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 26, 2006, 01:38:40 PM
Oh Mary, I love that book. One of my favorites from last year. (BTW, did you read An Unspoken Hunger yet? I think you will love it.) I have just started Geek Love. It has been on my bookshelf for several years, and I finally picked it up. I will let you know what I think.

Pete

Pete & Mary -

'Year of Magical Thinking' is what got me to post 'Funeral Blues' (you know, 'Stop all the clocks' - the poem from 4 weddings & a funeral) to the main list.  A reader of the book was looking up many of the literary references in the book and wanted to read that poem.  Apparently there are several such references.  Haven't read it yet.

I'm reading 'West of Everything - the Inner Life of Westerns' by Jane Tompkins right now.  It's a good book - gives perspective on everything from Ennis' speech to the anticlerical trend in some of his comments.  I'll be talking about it over on the main list in a while.  There are some dated aspects to the book - westerns have changed a bit, and Brokeback is part of that trend, and some of the feminist analysis in this just misses the mark.  But overall it's a good work for thinking about BBM and its themes.

mf
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on March 26, 2006, 05:01:52 PM
Just finished Joan Didion's The Year Of Magical Thinking

It's about her life during the year following the death of her husband John Gregory Dunne (to whom she'd been married nearly 40 years) Soul mates if there ever was such a thing. 
It made me think a lot about Ennis (these days all roads lead to BBM).  It's still swirling around in my head.  Maybe I'll have more to say later when I've had more time to consider.

I recommend the book - it was a pretty quick read too (but I read really fast)
This book got me thinking quite a bit about that last passage in BBM
Quote
There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe, but nothing could be done about it, and if you can't fix it you've got to stand it.

Didion's book deals with her attempting to come to terms with the loss of her husband of many years.  They were, in contrast to Ennis and Jack, almost never apart for nearly 40 years.  They both worked at home as writers, separately and in collaboration.

She talks about the 'magical thinking' she does,which to me really parallels Ennis' experience of the space between what he knew and tried to believe.

Didion talks about how she knew her husband was dead but she took a while to fully accept it.  Her first night as a widow, she insisted on being alone because 'I needed to be alone so he could come back' (trying to believe again)
While many of her reactions are common:
She had a hard time getting rid of his belongings (since he might need them)
She couldn't bring herself to read obituaries at least in part because it meant other people thought he was dead

I'm struck by her insight into why she thought she reacted in this way and the term 'Magical Thinking' seems to fit. Knowing someone is dead vs believing it. So as different as her experience is from that of J&E, her writing was the richer for me as I considered the BBM story as I read hers
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: peteinportland on March 27, 2006, 10:51:01 PM
An Update from the Ulitmate Brokeback Forum Team at www.davecullen.com
[/u]
2,000 DVDs to Libraries Campaign--Kicking Off!
Help us put 2,000 DVDs in rural libraries around the world within the next month. To donate a DVD or money to this campaign, you can find out more information here:

http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=3084.msg111919#msg111919

Also in conjunction with this campaign we will be holding House Parties for forum members across the world! To be a party host or for more information, you can find information here:

http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=3084.msg127099#msg127099


Buy the Bumper Sticker!
We now have a set of three bumper stickers for sale for $9 plus S/H. This money will go to bolster our general fund which helps us pay for this very busy site! With a couple of easy clicks, you can get a fun memento of your BBM obsession and help us keep the site running!  For more information on what the bumpers stickers say and how to order your set today (and a set for favorite Academy member), please visit this link:

http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=3472.0


The Ad Campaign (http://The Ad Campaign)
We will unveil the banner ads this week that will run on seven websites over the next month in conjunction with the DVD release. On Thursday, we will send out our next major press release announcing our second round of ads and our 2,000 DVDs to Libraries Campaign. To keep up with the ad campaign visit here:

http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=2667.msg127590#msg127590


And More!
We have a great volunteer team working on the BBM book. Visit the Campaign and Projects thread for more information.

We have also started threads to say Thank You to fellow forum members who have done something for you and a thread to solicit your new ideas for what other projects and initiatives you want us to consider undertaking. Come visit us here:

http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?board=45.0

Thanks for being part of our wonderful community here at the Ultimate Brokeback Forum at davecullen.com!

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Bubble Wrap on March 30, 2006, 01:58:42 PM
Blink.

Read it, it is mind blowing.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 30, 2006, 03:07:34 PM
Did I already mention "The curious incident of the dog in the night-time" by Mark Haddon?  It wasn't my particular favorite, but it certainly has a lot of fans - and as far as understanding someone who thinks differently, I think it's a good book.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on March 30, 2006, 04:27:51 PM
Blink.

Read it, it is mind blowing.

Agreed. I think this book more than any in recent memory helped me to get my head around how subtle racism and prejudice of many kinds continue to pervade our society even among folks who consider themselves relatively free of prejudice.  When so much happens as Gladwell say 'in the blink of an eye', it's easy to see how folks could be unconscious of the reasons they act the way they do.

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Bubble Wrap on March 31, 2006, 11:04:18 AM
Blink.

Read it, it is mind blowing.

Agreed. I think this book more than any in recent memory helped me to get my head around how subtle racism and prejudice of many kinds continue to pervade our society even among folks who consider themselves relatively free of prejudice.  When so much happens as Gladwell say 'in the blink of an eye', it's easy to see how folks could be unconscious of the reasons they act the way they do.



It provides amazing insights into the way peoples minds work.  But one thing I did take from it was that in that sense is you genuinely can not stop the way that you think because it comes from a place in the mind that the conscious has zero control over.  It's spectacular really.  Also I became very aware of all of my facial expressions for a good few days after I read it.  Took me a while to get past that part. 

Some of it was so sad, but it did help to gain a much more three dimensional view on things.  Such as the shooting incident he discussed.  It's so easy to point the finger or say you don't know how you would react but once those involved were analysed you realised just how things that your mind gives you no control over can happen.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Robert on March 31, 2006, 03:47:02 PM
I am thinking that the answer to my question will be a resounding "No," but I just bought a book by Stephen Wright called
"The Amalgamation Polka," and wonder if anyone on this thread has read it.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on April 01, 2006, 01:03:20 PM
I just started a new book thread, titled "Favorite Book Passages (Share & Discuss short exceprts here)"

http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=4517.0

Here's the intro to the thread:

Quote
One of my great joys in life is coming upon extraordinary passages. Sometimes they seem to capture the whole essence of life in a few brief lines, sometimes they illuminate one tiny apsect of it, sometimes they hurtle such unexpected ideas at each other with enough for to shatter both and leave us gasping. Whatever. They can do all sorts of things.

One of my other great joys is shaing the ones I have already stumbled into. And discovering how they affected other people differently. Or left them stone cold.

So this thread is dedicated to those stunning passages.

Here are the thread rules:

1. Put the excerpt in a bold, so it stands out.

2. Either:

- Add a brief excerpt (with or without your own commentary)

or

- Respond to an excerpt (or several). Praise it, trash it, ponder about it, pose questions it raises, ask for clarification or ask what the hell the poster saw of value in it . . .--any response you have.


I started us off with a 1/4 page from Denis Johnson's story "Car Crash While Hitchhiking," from Jesus' Son (immediately after the crash). And jpq716 added a paragraph from Brideshead Revisited. There are a couple radically different styles.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on April 01, 2006, 01:08:10 PM
Rereading the opening of In Cold Blood again. For about the millionth time.

I just re-read Dave's sentence after reading your post and thought, "Duh. Was he saying he's read the beginning a million times because he can't get past it?"

I had read In Cold Blood when I was a teenager, but I barely remembered it. After seeing "Capote" and reading the biography on which the movie was based, I decided to re-read it and some of Capote's other work. I want to read Other Voices, Other Rooms next. It was his first novel.

No, it's one of the few books I've ever read twice all the way through. (Except the last few pages I've only read once I waited five years to read them because I didn't want it to be over, so I only read them on the last pass. I don't like things I love to go away.)

Certain parts of it I've read over and over and over.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: JoeNorthWest on April 01, 2006, 01:17:30 PM
LOVED  "The Year of Magical Thinking"....it was very helpful as I was going through a very intense grieving period and while reading it once again I was reminded I am not alone...I felt like she was giving me permission to be exactly where I was emotionally through all the classic stages....I feel like I am now just coming out of it some what....beautifully written...I am now reading a book called "Awakened Intention" by Neville....though the concepts are not new, it was when he wrote this that's pretty astounding.  It was way before "new age ancient wisdom" was popular.  I especially appreciate how he integrates the use of scripture but from a completely different perspective...what a trail blazer....

By the way, can someone explain to me how you are able to take someones post and have it highlighted in my responce?  I'm not the most computer literate but I would like to be able to do so...thanks!  Joe
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: JoeNorthWest on April 01, 2006, 01:33:48 PM

By the way, can someone explain to me how you are able to take someones post and have it highlighted in my responce? I'm not the most computer literate but I would like to be able to do so...thanks! Joe

Never mind...just figured it out!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jayiijay on April 09, 2006, 10:09:38 PM
Just finished the Malloy trilogy by Samuel Becket.  What an amazing writer, I think his novels match his plays.  The first paragraph of Malloy is a 100 page soliloquoy by the title character.  I had to read the first 20-25 pages twice, but then something clicked, got into it and couldn't put it down.  Malloy seeks his mother as he is pursued, and what follows is the exposition on the other side of the same coin, the tale of the pursuer as he alienates his son.  I'm sure I missed 95% of the text, but what I (think I) got was awfully good!  Most worthwhile.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 09, 2006, 11:22:24 PM
Blink.

Read it, it is mind blowing.

Just a quick message to let you know that I'm listening to this on books on CD based on your recommendation - it's very interesting.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Bubble Wrap on April 10, 2006, 01:58:49 PM
Blink.

Read it, it is mind blowing.

Just a quick message to let you know that I'm listening to this on books on CD based on your recommendation - it's very interesting.

Ooh what think you so far?  Have you got to the part with the facial expressions?  I was paranoid for days afterwards  :D
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 10, 2006, 02:38:35 PM

Ooh what think you so far?  Have you got to the part with the facial expressions?  I was paranoid for days afterwards  :D

Facial expressions?  I don't think so!  I'm in the 'food taste testing' part right now, where he tells you that packaging affects the way you think food tastes (maybe...but they'll never get me to like vegamite... ;D).

The race and gender information was interesting, but I didn't think earthshattering.  Let me explain - it didn't come as a surprise to me that with all of the bias (much unstated or unconscious) that we are exposed to growing up that we would have an unconscious bias - I believe that has been shown with young girls choosing dolls in the past - when asked to describe the dolls characteristics they disproportionately weighted negative characteristics toward black dolls.  I think that what this leads us to is that we have to use our concsious minds as much as possible to counteract this sort of bias (regardless of how much people think this sounds like 'political correctness').

What I do find stunning about the book is the whole questioning of free will.  As you may know free will is the basis of a belief in sin in several religions.  If what we do is inherantly influenced by the subconscious mind and we really don't have free will...well, it calls a lot of doctrine into question.

It's a very thoughtful book - just the sort of thing I like.  And, btw, a philosopher has written something of a rebuttal of it (at least in part) called 'Think!: why crucial decisions can't be made in the blink of an eye' by Michael R. LeGault.  It was published in 2005.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 10, 2006, 04:55:40 PM
Okay...I've gotten to the facial expressions part of 'Blink'.  Fascinating.  I'll write more later.

But I have a suggestion for possible readers of this book.  If you have ever been a victim of violent crime, please do yourself a favor and read the Amadou Diallo section of this book in the privacy of your own home - not in public.

It affected me very strongly.  That's all I want to say for the moment.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Bubble Wrap on April 11, 2006, 03:25:24 PM
That part got to me as well.  It was just so many things that added up to this one event that really needen't have happened.  It is normally very easy to pigeon hole people.  Like 'he shouldn't have run' or 'they should have taken more time'.  Then all of a sudden you have it brought to your attention that there was no way that this could have been avoided gievn the circumstances, and that there is more than one victim. 

It is a remarkable book, it did take me about two days to get used to my facial expressions again.  I spent that whole time very aware of what I was doing, when I was smiling, when I wasn't, what my face was giving away that I didn't know about.

I see what you're saying about free will.  If we have no control over our hidden mind are we being subjected to a life of no free will?  That said is it free will because it is our minds that are influencing us, albeit hidden and not accessibly.

One part I found amazing was the idea that if you try to give reason to these thoughts you halt the process entirely...such as the idea of being mugged and seeing the attacker very clearly and thus being able to point that person out of a lineup.  But if you were to try to describe the person in detail then you halt the minds internal computer and stop it processing things leaving you unable to pick that person out.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: goobles on April 11, 2006, 08:07:41 PM
Wow, everyone here has such thoughtful, interesting recommendations and analysis.  I just ***love*** reading this thread.  I've written down so many books that I must read from all of your wonderful suggestions.

I'm currently reading "Maurice", and "The Old Man and the Sea" (Hemingway).  Someone on this site kindly recommended "Old Man" as Hemingway's best work, and since I'm going to Key West in May, I want to familiarize myself with his work.  The book is turning out to be amazing, and I would have never known about it had I not come across this wonderful thread in this form.   :)

Maurice is stunningly beautiful.  I just love the way he describes the love between the two men - so achingly beautiful.  I can't put this book down.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jayiijay on April 11, 2006, 08:59:28 PM
Just started "Fifth Business" by Robertson Davies.  So far so good!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 12, 2006, 12:47:51 PM
{snip}
It is a remarkable book, it did take me about two days to get used to my facial expressions again. 
{snip}
I see what you're saying about free will.  If we have no control over our hidden mind are we being subjected to a life of no free will?  That said is it free will because it is our minds that are influencing us, albeit hidden and not accessibly.

Okay!  Finished!  The thing about the facial expressions part that I found most interesting was that when the psychologists were attempting to replicate facial expressions that convey a particular emotion, they began feeling the emotion (for example - when they were working on anger or embarrasment, by the end of the day they felt bad).  This supports a lot of things from Gestalt psychology that say that muscles have an effect on emotion - and that if you attempt to look happier you will begin to feel happier.  I've noticed this when I worked in retail sales - you have to have a smile on your face when you greet people and deal with the public - and by the end of the day you are generally feeling better.

What I meant about free will is not that it is like you are an automoton - that you are just blythely marching through life doing things mindlessly - but certainly that you are influenced by factors beyond your conscious control.  And if you don't control it - well, you aren't truly responsible for it.  Now, with regard to the sexism and racism that Gladwell talks about, you certainly can police your conscious mind - and the screen technique that he talks about at the end of the book for orchestras that wound up including more women in them is a way to get around the mind's internal bias - but what I am saying is that often people do things without knowing why.  And this is important in terms of the questions of sin and free will.  And for those who would be interested in debating that here, I'd suggest you read the book.

It's a great book and I think Malcolm Gladwell is really smart.  I'm thinking of reading 'The Tipping Point' now - and before I had just dismissed it as another management/business book (and I generally steer clear of them).

Thanks B.W.!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: TomS on April 12, 2006, 01:41:37 PM
Has anyone mentioned "Middlesex" by Jeffrey Eugenides?

It was the Pulitzer-winning novel about 3 years ago.

The main character is a hermaphrodite, and struggles with her identity as a woman before choosing to live as a man.  Epic,  funny, mythical, and heartbreaking.

If this ever becomes a film, and it's done well, we might have to start a new website some day.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Bubble Wrap on April 13, 2006, 01:50:32 PM
[quote author=michaelflanagansf
Okay!  Finished!  The thing about the facial expressions part that I found most interesting was that when the psychologists were attempting to replicate facial expressions that convey a particular emotion, they began feeling the emotion (for example - when they were working on anger or embarrasment, by the end of the day they felt bad). 

*snippity snip!*

What I meant about free will is not that it is like you are an automoton - that you are just blythely marching through life doing things mindlessly - but certainly that you are influenced by factors beyond your conscious control.  And if you don't control it - well, you aren't truly responsible for it. 
It's a great book and I think Malcolm Gladwell is really smart.  I'm thinking of reading 'The Tipping Point' now - and before I had just dismissed it as another management/business book (and I generally steer clear of them).

*snipness*

Thanks B.W.!
[/quote]

Yes that part was amazing.  I work in retail and I can see what you mean.  If someone comes in and you chat tp them and you are putting on the smiles it can actually perk you up even if for a short amount of time.  I am due to start doing some Gestalt reading soon...well into all that, need me some Egan and Rogers too!

I see what you mean now a lot better yeah...there are things in life that even though they come from your mind, they come from a place so deep down that you genuinely have no control over it.  I just hope that this isn't seen as a get out clause by anyone for having racist/sexist/whatever you like ideas.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 13, 2006, 02:53:06 PM

Yes that part was amazing.  I work in retail and I can see what you mean.  If someone comes in and you chat tp them and you are putting on the smiles it can actually perk you up even if for a short amount of time.  I am due to start doing some Gestalt reading soon...well into all that, need me some Egan and Rogers too!

I see what you mean now a lot better yeah...there are things in life that even though they come from your mind, they come from a place so deep down that you genuinely have no control over it.  I just hope that this isn't seen as a get out clause by anyone for having racist/sexist/whatever you like ideas.

I'm with you on the free will thing - it could also be used by people who do violent crimes: 'oh, I did't have control, I just reacted.'  Could get real messy.

One thing I forgot to mention that I also liked about the book was the part about police and violence and how the more that you are exposed the more you seem to be able to be conscious in your reactions.  He also quotes Gavin Debecker ('The Gift of Fear') - another favorite of mine.  This makes a lot of sense to me.  I've faced down bashers many times - and it actually gets easier over time - you become more conscious of your reactions to people and it helps you to get out of situations unscathed.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on April 15, 2006, 11:18:55 AM



FYI, we expanded the "TV, Music & Theatre" section:

http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?board=40.0

We added several threads you asked for.

Theatre:

http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=5493.0


And on TV, we now have threads for the all-time best and worst:

TV's Mesmerizing Moments -- All-time Fave Episodes/Events
http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=5475.0


"Worst TV: Most Over Rated Ever"
http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=5733.0

And for right now, we have:

"TV Right Now: The good, the bad and the totally sucky"
http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=5736.new#new

That last one is for what amused you, appalled you or moved you in any way on TV recently: today, this week, this season. What's going on now.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: bbmbliss on April 15, 2006, 12:24:55 PM

I'm currently reading "Maurice".. Maurice is stunningly beautiful.  I just love the way he describes the love between the two men - so achingly beautiful.  I can't put this book down.

This is one of my very favourite books.  EM Forster is my favourite author and I thought I had read everything he had written until I found this in a book shop about 11 years ago. 

When I read it, it seemed very dreamlike - hypnotic almost.  But I suppose it was the author's dream so maybe that's why.

You should watch the Merchant Ivory film of it too.  It really stays true to the feeling of the book I think.  And they are all gorgeous in it (which helps!!)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: LondonJakeFan on April 16, 2006, 08:16:11 AM
I think all the books I've read and loved recently have already appeared on this thread, but I guess worth repeating:

The Life of Pi ~ Yann Martel
Time Traveller's Wife ~ Audrey Niffenegger
We Need to Talk About Kevin ~ Lionel Shriver
The Kite Runner ~ Khaled Hosseini

One I dont think has been mentioned is Long Way Round ~ Ewan McGregor, Charley Boorman (Yes, THAT Ewan McGregor -Obi Wan Kenobi) about a motorcycle trip round the world, also made into a TV series.

For the record I though At Swim, Two Boys was good but way too long.

Guilty pleasures: Harry Potter and Lemony snicket-every single one!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: LondonJakeFan on April 16, 2006, 08:20:12 AM
Once my studying is over I plan (and I cant imagine WHY!) checking out

Nine Stories-JD Salinger
and Zodiac-Robert Graysmith (if I can find them!)

 ;D

In terms of classics, have ALWAYS loved To Kill A Mocking Bird but dont really get the whole Catcher in the Rye fascination-I mean it's good but I dont thik it's great ??? (please odnt hate me)

All time fave classic = Of Mice and Men
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: peteinportland on April 17, 2006, 12:45:36 AM
I just finished Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. It was interesting. It might be the most unusual book I've read. The characters are amazing.

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: czterrier on April 17, 2006, 03:07:03 PM
I just finished "The Thunder Keeper".  It kept me entertained during the weekend at my in-laws. 

It's a mystery set mainly in Wyoming and Colorado.  Lo and behold, both Riverton and Dubois were mentioned in it!  My first thought about Riverton was "Hey, that's where Ennis lives."
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Lola on April 17, 2006, 03:53:43 PM
I think all the books I've read and loved recently have already appeared on this thread, but I guess worth repeating:

The Life of Pi ~ Yann Martel

I loved that book, I should re-read it, it is that kind of book!   

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: bbmbliss on April 17, 2006, 05:14:58 PM
I think all the books I've read and loved recently have already appeared on this thread, but I guess worth repeating:

The Life of Pi ~ Yann Martel

Someone told me that if you read the Life of Pi, you'll understand exactly what's happening in the TV series Lost.  Is that true?

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: LondonJakeFan on April 18, 2006, 12:03:46 PM
I think all the books I've read and loved recently have already appeared on this thread, but I guess worth repeating:

The Life of Pi ~ Yann Martel

Someone told me that if you read the Life of Pi, you'll understand exactly what's happening in the TV series Lost.  Is that true?



No idea but interesting theory.....
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on April 20, 2006, 10:12:52 PM
Blackbelly by Heather Sharfeddin (this is Sharfeddin's first novel).

Some how I ended up reading about sheep again  :D  Blackbellies are special sheep though with hair instead of wool.
This is a western about an ornery sheep rancher who hires a nurse to care for his father, a once powerful (and self righteous) preacher who is now dying. When the house of the only Muslim family in town is burned down, the inhabitants of the small town in Idaho accuse the rancher of arson because of the their old grudges against his father.

I found the story engaging and believable with elements of suspense and the supernatural. There were some parts that were a little awkward but on the whole very enjoyable - I would read her next book.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on April 20, 2006, 10:50:27 PM
Has anyone mentioned "Middlesex" by Jeffrey Eugenides?

If this ever becomes a film, and it's done well, we might have to start a new website some day.
My bookclub read it last month----I was too busy reading Slash and didn't!  However, everyone that did read it really liked it after they got through the beginning.  All agreed that it would make a very good movie----and may even be easier to follow in movie form!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Anchy on April 21, 2006, 02:48:50 AM
I'm reading:

In cold blood-Truman Capote
and I'm starting on Dante's Inferno


OHHHH.
The Inferno! Now THAT is one damned good book, tell us what you think on it as you are reading it, I found it awesome in the original sense of the word!

I just read some backpost and i fell myself compelled to answer:
After i finished reading it i was like: Whoa! What just happened?

It was extremely lovely(well except the part of eternal agony). And to tell the truth, i really thought that Jack and Ennis might have a place for them down there with all the other lust-ese(don't we all? ;) :D)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Anchy on April 21, 2006, 02:51:51 AM
Forever_Failure, if you are shallow for liking Harry Potter, then I am just as shallow as you are! I have a beautiful niece whom I love to distraction but who does not like to read. But one major exception to her dislike for books is the Harry Potter series, all of whose books she has read. When the first Harry Potter film came out in 2001, I went to see it, strictly and solely in order to find out what my niece found so attractive about the series, and I was disturbed to admit to myself that I liked the film a lot. Then, shortly, thereafter I had the opportunity to read the first Harry Potter book. Years passed, and I saw the second and third Harry Potter films, in each case reading the book after seeing the film. But as luck would have it, I read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire before I saw the fourth film last November, and for the first time, I realized clearly that I like the books even more than the movies, fine as they are...

No, I have to put aside my prejudices and to give J. K. Rowling her due. I thought that her Harry Potter books would be New Age sentimental slop, and I was wrong. Rowling is a fine writer with a first-rate imagination. Nobody on this earth can match J. R. R. Tolkien, of course, but she is right up there in visionary imagination. She deserves everything that she has in life because of the joy that she has brought to millions of readers. And God knows, she worked hard enough to get it! :D :D :D

I'm a raved Harry Potter fan, so i would just like to say: welcome to the mania!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Anchy on April 21, 2006, 03:02:32 AM
Forgot to mention this in my last post(sorry): I've just finished reading Memoirs of a Geisha :-*

After i saw the movie(that just got released in Romania) I started to look for the book (which again, just got released in Romania). It's more than magnificent! And it said much much more than the movie(obviously).

(and the fact that i'm crazy about anything that's even remotely related to Japan helped me a bit, i guess  ;))
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on April 21, 2006, 07:50:37 AM
Has anyone mentioned "Middlesex" by Jeffrey Eugenides?

If this ever becomes a film, and it's done well, we might have to start a new website some day.
My bookclub read it last month----I was too busy reading Slash and didn't!  However, everyone that did read it really liked it after they got through the beginning.  All agreed that it would make a very good movie----and may even be easier to follow in movie form!

Hi, Middlesex is the book I came in here to recommend specifically, glad to see it referenced. 

Also, I am reading That Old Ace in the Hole - after analyzing every word in Close Range I didn't know if a novel of Proulx's would be possible, but in fact it is delightful, to my surprise.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jpq716 on April 21, 2006, 09:04:21 AM
Sweet Souled Ennis, I am so glad that you are reading The Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway is not very popular these days; he himself was a rather unsavory character in certain respects; and his revolutionary literary style has been parodied so long and so hard that it is difficult to read him in the way that his earliest readers read him. But he is a very, very great writer all the same, and America is so much the richer for his having written. Don't forget now to pay your respects at his house when you finally make it to Key West! Who knows? maybe you may even be lucky enough to see him peeping out at you through his front window... :D :D :D

I loved Memoirs of a Geisha --- both the book and the movie. The movie was panned roundly by critics --- and I usually agree with them when they are unanimous about a film, one way or the other --- but I thought that it was very good.

As some of you may know, I am plowing through the collected works of Eugene O'Neill. Last night I read Desire Under the Elms, and it would be very hard to explain to somebody who had not done the reading that I have done just how deeply O'Neill is seeping into the depths of my soul, in a way that few authors ever have. It's almost a shock to realize that I have only fourteen more plays to read by him. But each and every one of these plays is a mammoth statement on the human condition. What a literary giant Eugene O'Neill was --- and is!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: downloaded1 on April 27, 2006, 09:20:12 PM
Got a nice pile of Anne Proulx to delve into........

I'm halfway through "Postcards".
Barren beauty.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Lola on April 28, 2006, 06:16:20 AM
Sweet Souled Ennis, I am so glad that you are reading The Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway is not very popular these days; he himself was a rather unsavory character in certain respects; and his revolutionary literary style has been parodied so long and so hard that it is difficult to read him in the way that his earliest readers read him. But he is a very, very great writer all the same, and America is so much the richer for his having written. Don't forget now to pay your respects at his house when you finally make it to Key West! Who knows? maybe you may even be lucky enough to see him peeping out at you through his front window... :D :D :D

I loved Memoirs of a Geisha --- both the book and the movie. The movie was panned roundly by critics --- and I usually agree with them when they are unanimous about a film, one way or the other --- but I thought that it was very good. <snip>


Funny you would mention these two, my oldest son adores Hemingway, he has devoured everything he has written, he is reading Old Man and the Sea again right now. And I think you are right, I am afraid he is not that popular these days.  My youngest guy suprised me the other day by saying he really like Memories of a Giesha (the film) but his girlfriend said the book was so much better, she just lent it to me, I haven't started it yet.

Maybe I will read that and the Old Man and the Sea.  :P


I am reading The Wedding right now, by Nicholas Sparks, pure fluff!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on April 30, 2006, 01:36:08 PM
Currently reading The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood - her retelling of the of Penelope - the wife of Odysseus who waits for him while he is away fighting the Trojan war. 

I'm really enjoying it - she alternates between Penelope's perspective and the 12 hanged maids who serve as a sort of Greek chorus.

This book is part of The Myths series which brings together many fine writers to retell myths.  Other authors include AS Byatt, Karen Armstrong and Donna Tartt.

I'm going to check out a few others when I finish this one
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Zudos on May 01, 2006, 04:15:09 PM
I have just finished - A short History of Tractors in Ukranian... Its really funny in a dark way, and depicts three generations of immigrants coming to the UK from Eastern Europe, and all the promises it is supposed to hold...!!!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jayiijay on May 08, 2006, 11:41:23 PM
I just finished a wonderful book by Brent Hartinger called "Geography Club".  "Geography" is a warm and humorous first-person narrative about a closeted high schooler who has a crush on a jock classmate whom, we learn early, also is gay.  Brent explores the social pressures of being different yet true to oneself, therefore achieving universality.  Brent's writing is crisp yet probing, I couldn't put it down.  It flies.  Next up: Brent's "The Order of the Poison Oak" and "Grand & Humble".   

Brent is the author of numerous novels and plays, and helped found Oasis, a support group for gay and lesbian young people in Tacoma, Washington.  Brent and his partner writer Michael Jensen are also great friends of this website, as the latter authors "AfterElton" and provided extensive pro-Brokeback coverage of the outrageous Oscar upset.

I hope Forum members to read Brent's work and will encourage teens to do the same.  They promote tolerance and understanding in a most entertaining, unpretentious manner.  I believe everyone will relate, gay or straight.  thx

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: annabel on May 09, 2006, 05:04:34 AM
I'm not sure if I liked it or not.  It was called "Vinegar Hill" by A. Manette Ansay.  If anyone else has read it, let me know what you thought.  I just can't decide.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: All4one on May 09, 2006, 10:06:12 AM
Annabel, that book left me unmoved.
I couldn't empathize with the main character and wanted the children out of that home.

However, eleswhere this morning I recommended a book by Wally Lamb: I Know This Much Is True. ( He also wrote She's Come Undone.) Do take a look
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: hifrommike65 on May 09, 2006, 11:35:13 PM
Teri Garr's memoir, SPEEDBUMPS: FLOORING IT THROUGH HOLLYWOOD (2005), was a lot of fun to read, & moving as well.  What she's gone through with MS (undiagnosed for over 15 years, when doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with her) is unbelievable.  Only someone with her sense of humor & spirit could have survived.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1594630070/102-2492279-1991344?v=glance&n=283155
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Zuraffo on May 13, 2006, 08:46:55 AM
Okay, this might sound cliche but have EVERYBODY read "the 7 habits of highly effective people"?

BBM might have turned out differently if Ennis and Jack had read this book. LOL  ;D
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on May 13, 2006, 12:48:21 PM
hey, playitagain, here I am! so now tell me please what did EW answer on that famous Long Island day?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: playitagain on May 13, 2006, 12:58:18 PM
hey, playitagain, here I am! so now tell me please what did EW answer on that famous Long Island day?

Is this book discussion thread PG or not?  well, we'll see.

So my friend, a writer, not young, very elegant, offered lodging to Ed White, who was going to be touting Fanny in East Hampton Long Island at one of the book stores.

Well was I or was I not going to ask my friend:  did you DO it?  (knowing EW, self admittedly, would Do It, at the drop of a handkerchief.

Altho it did take nerve to ASK.

Well not exactly, said my pal:  (oh ho, define "exactly") = "but we did masturbate together".

Hah!  Can you IMAGINE me, a woman, inviting - for instance - Toni Morrison, Marilyn Robinson, Mary Gordon - to stay over while on a book tour and sitting about the living room getting it off?  We might make supper, but not make nufki fufki!

Amazing!

It's like sitting around masturbating with Henry James!  I am so admiring of you guys! 

Altho Ive had a really great dream about getting it on with Herman Melville.  But Edith Wharton?  Never?

Is this the right room, or not? 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on May 13, 2006, 01:07:54 PM
Is this book discussion thread PG or not?  well, we'll see.
So my friend, who is not young, very elegant, offered lodging to Ed White, who was going to be touting Fanny in East Hampton Long Island at one of the book stores.
Well was I or was I not going to ask my friend:  did you DO it?  (knowing EW, self admittedly, would Do It, at the drop of a handkerchief.
Altho it did take nerve to ASK.
Well not exactly, said my pal:  (oh ho, define "exactly") = but we did masturbate together.
Hah!  Can you IMAGINE me, a woman, inviting - for instance - Toni Morrison, Marilyn Robinson, Mary Gordon - to stay over while on a book tour and sitting about the living room getting it off?  We might make supper, but not nufki! 
Amazing!
It's like sitting around masturbating with Henry James!  I am so admiring of you guys! 
Altho Ive had a really great dream about getting it on with Herman Melville.  But Edith Wharton?  Never?
Is this the right room, or not? 

I think it is the right room. If not, we'll have to move once again - over to the juicy bits thread or the ISG thread

or we simply open a new thread: "Masturbating with famous authors in our living room while giving them bed and breakfast on a book promotion tour" - am quite sure we'll have more posts than on all Eyelashes threads together within a couple of days!

How come that women don't feel inclined to masturbate together in the living room (ignorant gay male writer wants and needs to know)?

Well I must admit, being a writer myself, I've never actually jacked off (lest "done more") with a colleague in my or his living room, I tend to choose my sex partners not necessarily in the literary or (book lecture touring) world.
But yes, I could imagine it.

Masturbating with Toni Morrison? Virginia Woolf? Does that seem really so completely unimaginable?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: playitagain on May 13, 2006, 01:30:31 PM

How come that women don't feel inclined to masturbate together in the living room (ignorant gay male writer wants and needs to know)?

Well I must admit, being a writer myself, I've never actually jacked off (lest "done more") with a colleague in my or his living room, I tend to choose my sex partners not necessarily in the literary or (book lecture touring) world.
But yes, I could imagine it.

Masturbating with Toni Morrison? Virginia Woolf? Does that seem really so completely unimaginable?

We probably do need a more appropriate thread however I WOULD like to discuss Ed White's latest, Three Lives, which Im now reading.  I consider him one of our finest American writers.   Roth jumped the shark after Portnoy, Updike after Poorhouse Fair, I do not know why folks keep going on about these two.

HOWEVER:  back to masturbating with famous writers, that is woman/woman.  (Ive DONE Herman Melville  Omy!) 

I dunno.  One thing I like about gay men is that they tend to look after one another's emotional and sexual NEEDS whereas st women tend children and husbands and are supposed to be "selfless"  I not only love Ed White but I love his nutty mother who says things like, "oh, for heavens sake, even CHILDREN have sexual needs."

Back to your question, Ingmar.  Josephine Baker and Frieda Kahlo got it on together.  Both of these women were hotties.  Maybe st women need to lighten up a bit.  Maybe it's happening. 





Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on May 13, 2006, 02:33:10 PM
Josephine Baker & Frida Kahlo? What a fascinating thought.
Yes I agree, st women could perhaps spice up a bit.
But st men? I don't imagine them jacking off together very much either, and certainly even less when they are writers. Go figure Sartre giving Camus a hand, Hemingway exposing his family jewels to Fitzgerald, Joyce c***ing in Beckett's presence...
I rather think there is something playful in gay men which st's (men AND women) perhaps lack. I don't know. I'm not sure.
And I wonder whether EW is still into jacking off whilst on lecture tours, together with his landlords.

But tell me more about this new EW book. This time, it seems to be a "real" autobiography. Did I get you right that the tone is a bit "depressed" or "depressing"?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: hifrommike65 on May 13, 2006, 04:46:27 PM
FYI on Ed White: http://www.edmundwhite.com/

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: heavysigh on May 13, 2006, 05:40:20 PM
The Time Traveler's Wife
The Known World
A Girl Named Zippy
Running With Scissors
You Remind Me of Me
Lonesome Dove (again)
Oryx and Crake
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: TomS on May 13, 2006, 06:44:56 PM
Heavysigh, that's an impressive list. Time Traveler's Wife has been recommended by several people.  I did read Running With Scissors and Known World.  Complete opposite ends of the spectrum!

Have you (or has anyone) ventured to read Europe Central, by Vollman? It's historical fiction of sorts, but unlike anything I've read before.  It's also the most difficult fiction I've ever read (of course, I haven't tried Ulysses or Finnegans Wake or Gravity's Rainbow yet...)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: playitagain on May 13, 2006, 06:50:05 PM
Josephine Baker & Frida Kahlo? What a fascinating thought.
Yes I agree, st women could perhaps spice up a bit.
But st men? I don't imagine them jacking off together very much either, and certainly even less when they are writers. Go figure Sartre giving Camus a hand, Hemingway exposing his family jewels to Fitzgerald, Joyce c***ing in Beckett's presence...
I rather think there is something playful in gay men which st's (men AND women) perhaps lack. I don't know. I'm not sure.
And I wonder whether EW is still into jacking off whilst on lecture tours, together with his landlords.

But tell me more about this new EW book. This time, it seems to be a "real" autobiography. Did I get you right that the tone is a bit "depressed" or "depressing"?

Yes there is an enviable playfulness among gay men.  Who can deny it?  Betcha Herman Melville said to N. Hawthorne:  You and Sophia?  That's a life?

ROTFLMA over Sartre/Camus etc., all these guys so serious. 

Well, Ingmar.  This will be by far, more than you want to know.  But I welcome the opportunity to talk about EW.

The episode with my pal and EW was not too long ago.  I'm sure EWs still at it.  He cracks me up.  I love the guy. 

Seriously, when I encountered EW first was in his Burning Library, and I was stunned by his brilliant social commentary and willingness to take risks and throw open new doors of inquiry and passion.  Also, he is from uppermiddle class midwest culture, same as me, in fact I know his voice and setting well, Chicago, Evanston, Lake Forest, etc., as well as Gr. Village.  His tone and language and desperation to survive a killing culture was similar to my own.

In fact, I was to discover that A Boys Own Story was closer to my own young life as a st. woman, than anything else I had read (aside from Bros Karazmov haha and I aint kidding) -

I read The Beautiful Room is Empty a number of times - the title alone breaks yr heart.  Thought Farewell Symphony was written on amphetimines and he admittedly could not begin to touch upon his own heartbreak - still, the people in this book are well known and portrayed without pity - an act of essential graciousness and this recounting is of cultural importance.  Thought The Married Man very beautiful, and the Skinned Alive stories also.  That he circles around and around and reprises the same material in diffrent keys is well worth THE RISK in terms of artistry and defining what it is to be human

Genet biography.  Effing brilliant!  Fanny: boring! 

The new book, My Lives.  Who else can write with the elegance of Henry James, lifting you into transcendence, and he's got you! - and so there you are, with him, when suddenly he's snuffling away in some guy's crotch - while whining about his avois de pois, etcetcetc.  Cracks me up!

I do believe his brilliance is become dimmed, whether from grief, fear of his own death, or the Princeton gig (Joyce Carole fucking Oates and her clucking over him, etcetcetc.).  Seems to me in this book he is doing a bit of name dropping, well, why not, he's been doing it all along under the guise of funny names that are easily distinguishable.  Seems to me he is also acknowledging friendship and help, for the record, that is, for posterity which he, through his own brilliance and kindness certainly deserves!  he attracted the creme of the crop!  My Lives seems dry and bitter.  But how can one not be bitter in the face of the devastation of a creative community and the death of those beloved to you. 

So.  More than you want to know, maybe.
-
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: playitagain on May 13, 2006, 07:29:15 PM
FYI on Ed White: http://www.edmundwhite.com/



thanks   helpful commentary.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: heavysigh on May 13, 2006, 08:59:40 PM
Heavysigh, that's an impressive list. Time Traveler's Wife has been recommended by several people.  I did read Running With Scissors and Known World.  Complete opposite ends of the spectrum!

Have you (or has anyone) ventured to read Europe Central, by Vollman? It's historical fiction of sorts, but unlike anything I've read before.  It's also the most difficult fiction I've ever read (of course, I haven't tried Ulysses or Finnegans Wake or Gravity's Rainbow yet...)

Naw, I just love to read! It's really just about my favorite thing to do and has been ever since I learned how to do it. You're right, those books were on opposite ends of the spectrum but I loved both of them and went on to read all of Augusten Burrough's books. (Loved Life of Pi too, along with many of you.)  I forget to list Cold Mountain too, which is one of my all time favorite books. I have such an admiration and respect for writers ecause while I absolutely love to read, I can't write fiction at all. Kudos to those of you who can! You make the world a better and more interesting place.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on May 14, 2006, 12:24:03 PM
ROTFLMA over Sartre/Camus etc., all these guys so serious. 
Well, Ingmar.  This will be by far, more than you want to know.  But I welcome the opportunity to talk about EW.
So.  More than you want to know, maybe.

Playitagain, will answer tomorrow, when I shall have a lot more time, to your detailled, fascinating post. Enjoyed it thoroughly, but prefer a "profound" answer to a hastily scribbled one, so: give me a bit more time.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: playitagain on May 14, 2006, 03:58:07 PM
ROTFLMA over Sartre/Camus etc., all these guys so serious. 
Well, Ingmar.  This will be by far, more than you want to know.  But I welcome the opportunity to talk about EW.
So.  More than you want to know, maybe.

Playitagain, will answer tomorrow, when I shall have a lot more time, to your detailled, fascinating post. Enjoyed it thoroughly, but prefer a "profound" answer to a hastily scribbled one, so: give me a bit more time.

Hope I didnt rattle on too much - truth is, the only other White aficionado is my before mentioned friend who has become a bit loathe to discuss EW's life and times because he now has a "personal" relationship - honestly!  But I was very pleased for the opportunity to tell you how much I love this writer
 
I'll be glad to hear of your own responses and relationship. 

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jayiijay on May 14, 2006, 10:44:42 PM
A couple of weeks ago I posted having read "Geography Club" by Brent Hartinger, who is known for his novels for teens.  I since read "The Order of the Poison Oak" and "Grand & Humble" and reiterate my strong impression of his work.  The latter is actually quite different than the first two, as it explores the nature of self in an M. Night Shyamalan kind of way.  I will repeat what I previously said about Brent to encourage forum members to check out his work:

"Brent is the author of numerous novels and plays, and helped found Oasis, a support group for gay and lesbian young people in Tacoma, Washington.  Brent and his partner writer Michael Jensen are also great friends of this website, as the latter authors "AfterElton" and provided extensive pro-Brokeback coverage of the outrageous Oscar upset.  I hope Forum members to read Brent's work and will encourage teens to do the same.  They promote tolerance and understanding in a most entertaining, unpretentious manner.  I believe everyone will relate, gay or straight.  thx"

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jayiijay on May 14, 2006, 11:08:09 PM
TOMS:

Gravity's Rainbow is among my all-time favorites, and so is Ulysses.  Check out the "favorite passages" thread and you'll see I posted several from Gravity.  Pynchon is tough, but funny and rewarding.  I don't pretend to get half of it, but somehow when I finish his books, I kind of feel like I've kind of gotten the point and am exhilirated.  Mason Dixon, V and Crying of Lot 49 are a;sp  remarkable.  The latter is a good place to start, it is more readily accessible than the others, then move onto Gravity.  As for Ulysses, in my opinion it is best navigated with a "reader", or even audit a course at a local college to get the most out of it.  And make sure you re-explore Illiad & Odyssey first, it helps.  As for Finnegan's Wake, I forced myself a couple of years ago, but yikes, it was too much.  Just because I didn't get it does not mean it wasn't brilliant, but I don't know, it felt too show-offy without purpose but to show-off.  Ulysses is decipherable; more than that, it invites the reader in.  Wake kind of keeps you out it is so difficult, surely Joyce must have known few could relate.  IMO, Ulysses, Portrait of the Artist & Dubliners are the crux of Joyce, Wake isn't worth the energy, there are so many other amazing reads out there.

Is Europe Central worth reading?  thx
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: TomS on May 15, 2006, 11:42:05 AM
Jayiijay, Europe Central is worth reading for it's originality of style and vision.  As another reviewer put it (paraphrasing) it's like re-learning everything we thought we knew about history.
On the other hand, it is difficult reading, the subject matter is painful and vividly described, very long (700+ pages) and so obscure that I would not recommend it unless you have the time or interest to read it slowly.  A good knowledge of Europe in WWII is helpful (I wish I knew more) as is some knowledge about the music of Shostakovitch (who is a major character in the book, and whose music I listened to only after reading it).
I doubt I would have heard of Europe Central if it had not just won the National Book Award for Fiction. 
(And darn me for using the approval of an Award to expose myself to new fiction!  I guess awards are meant to preserve what's best in culture, but it rarely seems to work that way, does it?)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jayiijay on May 15, 2006, 09:47:18 PM
TOMS:  Thanks much.  I don't know whether you intended or not, but you have made Europe Central all the more intriguing to me for every "warning" you gave.  Will read it this summer.  Currently on Cormack McCarthy's Blood Meridian - it is brilliant, on another level up from All The Pretty Horses, etc.

As for awards, yeah, they often get it wrong, but they sometimes get it right too.  Moreover, even they don't pick "the best", usually the winner is pretty good, more in literature & theater these days than film - though most film critics pick pretty good things, it's really just the film Academy that has become virtually obsolete as a barometer of anything but mediocrity (I'd say for 15 years now, maybe 20, with Crash as the topper, the first time they chose a truly bad film, compared with the numerous mediocre ones they've recently selected, e.g., Driving Miss Daisy, Gump, Braveheart, English Patient, Titanic, Shakespeare, Gladiator, Beautiful Mind, Chicago...none of these have been great, but none horrible either, imo, I see virtues in each - but not this year). 

I loved the turn-of-the-century greatest lists.  Sure they were debatable, but they gave me some great ideas on what to see & read.  For example, in the Modern Library 100 Greatest books, I had read about half, and now have read the other half.  About 40 of the 50 or so I had missed were incredibly worthwhile, some now ranking among my favorites.  Certainly the list was imperfect (no Pynchon), but it was pretty darn good, and nothing was "bad".  That lead me to the Radcliffe 100 (which had Gravity's Rainbow, etc.), so more wonderful books.  And so on.  thx
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on May 16, 2006, 07:45:47 AM
Good afternoon, playitagain, here I am - as promised. A bit late, I know. ;)

My EW experience started definitely with the Genet biography. I had been into Genet during my whole adolescence and youth and bought a copy when visiting Portland, Oregon, devouring the book in a few days.
I discovered a new, brillant writer and an important voice of gay literature. And a good researcher (I'm a musicologist and a biography writer myself...)

I then read everything he ever wrote.
Burning Library and Skinned Alive were very influential for me, and I read with a lot enthousiasm the Trilogy (which you don't want to be called 'autobiographical'). Whatever. As much as I liked the two first volumes, (and I agree, their titles are excellent!) I found the last (F.S.) a bit depressing in spite of its merits.
The Married Man is, without any doubt, his best book, the most moving too. Although I must say, as his Paris books prove, he is better describing cultural phenomenons, observing sociological shifts, topographical particularities than "inventing" an authentic, believable story. That's why TMM is so good: it's based on his own life, strong, vulnerable, and very conventional at that - straightforwardly told. That's why FANNY is so disappointing: It's somehow not his period and not something he really went through. He's at home when he talks about New York, Paris, gay trends, he is wonderfully cruel when describing gay stereotypes - and God knows there are many (too many).
The Proust book I found it difficult to read: almost too naïve, and as a Proust connaisseur I found it a bit too "light" and not serious enough.
Now I'd like to see how he has moved on in the new book you mentioned. Will it resemble "Palimpsest", the magnificent, witty, and highly ironic "memoirs" by Gore Vidal? Will it be at the same level as my favourite books by Felice Picano, Alan Hollinghurst (both authors I admire...), or at that of EW's earliest books.
Some years ago I got the impression that he's simply writing too much and too fast and found his style at time a bit 'burned out'.
Hope that has changed...
Would like to meet him personally and get the opportunity to talk to him for a long while, because I have lived in Paris for a very long time, partially simutaneously to him (1990-2002 for me), know people who met him sometimes, but I would not necessarily dream of wanking around with him or even exchange b***jobs. It'd be a discussion between writers and helpless francophiles like myself, a discussion about the qualities of French lovers, French cooks, French c***s maybe.

I was shocked when I saw how incredibly fat he became in recent years, on author's photos.
I understand he is living with a young sci-fi writer, is that true? Or no longer true?

So if you love to read EW, you should also read Ned Rorem, but you've certainly done that already. Rorem  = As good as it gets in highly sophisticated, sociological, aesthical and yes, gay, writing. The quintessence of cultivated snobbery.

Keep our exchange on, if you wish or like.
Bonne nuit, Ingmar

(BTW, I'm a German living in France.)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: ImEnnisShesJack on May 18, 2006, 05:31:26 AM
Our Endangered Values by Jimmy Carter.

Changed my opinion of the man.  And opened my eyes to what's going on in the US!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: john john on May 18, 2006, 07:39:48 AM
I have Lawrence Durrell?s Alexandria Quartet and Marcel Proust?s Remembrance of Things Past somewhere in my garage. Are any of you familiar with either one of these works? They may be next on my reading agenda.


One of my favorite posters on the old Salon Table Talk board had the signature line, "Life isn't getting any longer and Proust isn't getting any shorter."

Isn't the whole work 10,000 pages, or something obscenely daunting like that?

They say it's worth it. Better be. Quite the commitment.

(I've also read that the more accurate translation of the title is "In Search of Lost Time"--which I think I like better.)

I've read Proust 's novel twice. It was my life support IV line through my youth. Yes, it is a very demanding but magnificent novel.
It gets your brain really working. In a nutshell (impossible!) it is the story of the narrator's journey leading to the writing of the novel you are reading. 
It's ground breaking stream of consciousness style is difficult but addictive. While reading it you end up feeling you are in someone Else's mind and looking through his eyes. I wonder, even to this day, who I would be (for better or worst) had I not read it.
It opened my mind. It made me love art even more. It changed my view of life. It gave me hope. Years after reading it is still with me.
Most of us know how it feels not to be able talk about our passion for BBM with people around us.
"In Search of Lost Time" was the same for me.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: annabel on May 20, 2006, 04:38:13 AM
I can't say this was a particularly good book, but the title was great.  Someone gave it to me for mother's day one year.  It was called "I was a Better Mother Before I  had Kids"  Great title, so-so book.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: playitagain on May 20, 2006, 03:51:53 PM



Hello Ingmar, wherever you are: Paris, Cannes, etc.  When I was teenager I had a recurrent dream of entering the IND subway at Eighth St in Gr Village and ending up in the Metro in Paris. I finally made it, many years later, one ecstatic week in June!

Thanks for heads up re: Ned Rorem.  The Paris Adonis.  A beauty.  I am interested in "beauties"  (Jake?)  Joy of Gay Sex vol one and two had a chapter on Beauties that was edited out in the third edition.   Not PC?  What do you think?  I was moved by the writers, Silverstein, and White, in their concern about these men and how they were to save themselves from being consumed. 

 I have not, frankly, gotten over Apollinaire dying soon after being trepanned for a brain injury during wartime.  What does this have to do with "beauties".  I dont know.

EW says that he began writing for heterosexual women.  If I were to be in conversation with him, and I may write him, one day, I would like to know more about this.  His view, of course, changed.  By the way, I think he would be very amenable to meeting or conversation with you.  As he has said, he is "easy" and as is the Yahoo EW chatgroup (I didnt stay, very boring) seemed to agree, all you had to do was whistle.

Ive read Andrew Holleran, the wonderful Dancer from the Dance, and the very sad Beauty of Men.  Other writers you have mentioned, I have not - csnt take too much new reality, who said that, Eliot, I guess - 

My Lives I feel is not what you would like it to be, nor what I wanted it to be.  Is he "burn't out" = by grief, age, dismay, etcetc. 

Still, it is an engrossing read despite the flaws.  I forgive EW his flaws because he loves much    Like Genet, he holds up all that is human as worthy. 

Love the guy.

Thanks for conversation!  I know NO ONE (asisde from my above mentioned friend) who is interested in White. 





Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Carissa on May 20, 2006, 09:10:39 PM
I took "The Dreyfus Affair" out of my library yesterday and read the whole thing.  I thought it was very interesting and good.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on May 21, 2006, 04:11:22 PM
I took "The Dreyfus Affair" out of my library yesterday and read the whole thing.  I thought it was very interesting and good.

I agree.
This is one of my all time favorite books!
Great love story.
Damned funny too.
Doggy hitman and all.
Touching as hell also.
A married Major Leagues shortstop suddenly finds himself in love with his second baseman.
Eye popping concept.
Written with just the right amount of zest and very little sentimentality.

Very talented author Peter Lefcourt says there's finally some serious interest in filming the book due mainly to the success of BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN.
He's working on the script now.
Good news indeed.
Can't wait to see who they cast as Randy and D.J.

A book I've just finished and loved to pieces is:

Christopher Moore's insane A DIRTY JOB.
The plot: Kind of looney, as all Moore's plots are. All about death and its minions and how to heal a broken heart, run a used clothing store, raise a quirky child, deal with the hounds of hell, all the while working for the Grim Reaper storing the souls of the dear departed. Not to mention, trying to save the world from the obscenely nasty ghouls of hell who are gathering in the San Francisco sewers.
Oh and did I mention the assortment of squirrel people?
Deliriously funny.
Yet at the same time, wonderously touching.
This guy is a national treasure.
If you haven't read him before, you're in for a special treat.
The guy is certifiable.
But in a good way.

Another good read:

THE FORGER by Paul Watkins
An author I've only just discovered. And WOW, what a find.
Where has this guy been?

This book takes place just before and during WWII. When the Germans occupied Paris.
At the time the Nazis were looting European art collections for masterpieces to send back to
Germany.

A young American student and gifted painter, David Halifax, becomes, of necessity, an inspired forger as France is overrrun by the Germans. He is 'recruited' by a mysterious underground group who talk him into forging copies of certain paintings which are then passed on as authentic to the Nazis. This dangerous work is carried on in complete stealth as not only are he and his friends dead men if the forgeries are discovered by the Germans, but they're also in danger from everyday Parisians themselves who assume David and his friends are nothing but dirty collaborators. In reality they're doing their duty to save France's artistic heritage. How they go about their business makes for a splendid, if harrowing, gut wrenching book.

The main thing I loved about THE FORGER is that these guys are not heroes. Far from it. Most of the time they're scared to death. But they do what they have to do - becoming heroes inspite of themselves.

An amazing book.


Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: annabel on May 23, 2006, 04:34:57 AM
For total fluff, I really like Sarah Paretsky mysteries.

I just finished "Marley and Me".  Great book for dog lovers.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Carissa on May 23, 2006, 08:37:14 PM
I took "The Dreyfus Affair" out of my library yesterday and read the whole thing.  I thought it was very interesting and good.
I agree.
This is one of my all time favorite books!

[snip]
I'm a huge baseball fan so I loved that aspect of it.  I loved the interaction with Dr. Faud and Randy's wife Susie.  I love when heasek her "what do you really want to do to your husband?" and she answers "I told you.  I want to help him, protect him, put my arms around him and hold him . . "  I got the impression of her that she still loved and cared for her husband at that point.   

Thanks for the suggestion. :)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on May 26, 2006, 03:13:11 PM
Fans of Patricia Nell Warren: this isn't a book yet, though it reads like preliminaries for one - or, better yet, for background notes on a screenplay, which could be really sumptuous.  I mean, gay men, gorgeous costume, and horses!:
http://outsports.com/history/georgevilliers.htm
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on June 01, 2006, 06:21:07 PM
For those of you who are going to be joining us in the book club, a quick reminder:

We are now on countdown to discussion - we begin discussing the first quarter of the Postcards by Annie Proulx NEXT WEDNESDAY [6/07/06].
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Daphne and Chloe on June 01, 2006, 06:47:15 PM
"The Sweeter the Juice" by Shirlee Taylor Haizlip. Copyright 1994. I have recommended this book to quite a few people. It was written by the author for her mother who was a very light skinned black woman who had been abandoned by others in her family because she was just a little too dark and some of them could pass for white. It tells the story of this family and in the end how the author found her mothers sister and other members of the family who had no idea they had black relatives.

I'm white but as a person who has never felt like they fit into this world quite right books about others who are different always appeal to me. For example I thought this was a heartbreaking exerpt from the book: In the south the author's mother Margaret often had to ride in the back seat of the car when her husband and her traveled so it would look like he was chauffeuring his white employer or they could be harassed as the authors father was dark skinned.

I would highly recommend this book. It has been several years since I read it but it's on my to read again list.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on June 05, 2006, 07:49:52 PM
 During the last month, I decided to read some McMurtry. Remembering how i loved the tv production some years back of "Lonesome Dove," i was blown away by this book.  It is very long, but well worth the read if you like westerns. McMurtry won the Pulitizer.  BTW, some of his characters used the phrase, "I swear." throughout the book.

Also, read "Ned and Zeke" co-authored by McMurtry and Diana Ossana somewhere in the
'90s. This was the story of two Cherokee warriers post civil war whose parents, relatives had been part of relocation of the Indians to a new reservation during The Trail of Tears.

Wound up the month with a re-read of "The Power and the Glory" by Graham Greene. Intense and moving.

Oh well, had to get into practice for our book club; i also like to read!

Started "Postcards."  Looking forward to the discussons!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on June 15, 2006, 11:17:35 PM
i'm watching john updike on charlie rose.

i have seen so many interviews with this guy over the years, always so unimpressive. i don't know what it is about him, he seems to see . . . nothing.

i read Rabbit Run years ago and found it incredibly fake. and the writing bland. one day i've sworn to try some of his again. maybe i missed something.

right now he's talking out his ass about arabs and islam. i don't know where he got his ideas, but they don't match any people that i met in the middle east.

his Terrorist book seems like kind of a desperate grab for relevance.

i have always found him kind of sad. and annoying.

but maybe someday i'll discover something i missed completely and change my mind. i don't know.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on June 15, 2006, 11:23:26 PM
I've never been able to really get into John Updike books either

Philip Roth on the other hand; I love - I saw a review of his new book and look forward to reading it (someday when I have some time to read)

Has anyone read his new book Everyman?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on June 16, 2006, 12:55:19 AM
Both Updike and Roth were featured heavily on the 25 best books of the last 25 years in the N.Y. Times.

I haven't read any Philip Roth in a very long time, but liked him when I did.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: nova on June 16, 2006, 05:07:11 AM

Has anyone read any Tim Winton?  I picked up "Dirt Music" yesterday after reading that it's going to be made into a film starring Heath Ledger and Rachel Weisz.  I've seen quite a quite a bit of critical acclaim for his writing.

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on June 16, 2006, 07:02:45 AM
Playitagain, am busy reading in the moment "Arts and Letters" by Edmund White (articles collection). Wonderful essays, clever, full of gossip, smart, gay, cynical, precise. A great read.
Recommand the texts on YSL, Deneuve, Geffen, Elton John...
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: playitagain on June 16, 2006, 11:08:44 AM
Playitagain, am busy reading in the moment "Arts and Letters" by Edmund White (articles collection). Wonderful essays, clever, full of gossip, smart, gay, cynical, precise. A great read.
Recommand the texts on YSL, Deneuve, Geffen, Elton John...

I have read Arts and Letters, yes, ate it up.  I can re-read White, even though oddly bored by much modern essay and novel.  When I get around to it I'll put together an E White library for myself.  Love EW for making holy all that lives - despite how some of his friends trust him not, because he'll say anything.

Love the guy! 

Thinking of Deneuve because I just wrote a birthday poem to a friend rhyming Deneuve and ouevre.  Yeah, I'll bet.  (I WOULD love to speak in a thousand tongues but am apparently hopelessly mired in "american, the language even cats and dogs can understand" (Marianne Moore) 

pia


Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: playitagain on June 16, 2006, 11:12:11 AM
.

i have always found him kind of sad. and annoying.

but maybe someday i'll discover something i missed completely and change my mind. i don't know.

I lov'd his first book, Poorhouse Fair, but nothing after that.  Esp annoyed - yeah that's a good description of my own response - by his recent art criticism which I think is presumptious and intensely disliked his book about the wife of an abstract expressionist painter, this also presumptious. 



Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on June 16, 2006, 12:07:59 PM
Both Updike and Roth were featured heavily on the 25 best books of the last 25 years in the N.Y. Times.


yeah, that list was infuriating. and when i saw two of the voters on charlie rose, i knew why. more on that later.

i was thrilled to see three jewels on it, though: jesus' son, housekeeping and the things they carried.

(i never finished the latter, but the first essay in it is jaw-dropping. and seeing it on the list reminded me that i really should read the rest. i'm reading it now, along with "blink."
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jen_i on June 17, 2006, 10:37:47 AM
Has anyone read any Tim Winton?  I picked up "Dirt Music" yesterday after reading that it's going to be made into a film starring Heath Ledger and Rachel Weisz.  I've seen quite a quite a bit of critical acclaim for his writing.

I just got Dirt Music yesterday from the library--I'll post some comments when I'm done.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: nova on June 17, 2006, 11:43:08 AM

Thanks jen.......not sure how soon I'll get to it.

Title: The Ultimate Brokeback Store is Open!
Post by: mary on June 18, 2006, 09:50:30 AM
Just a reminder that our new site store is open. We have created a large DVD page and book page that was taken from the many member recommendations from the Arts threads.  So if you are looking for books, films or music please consider our site store - proceeds benefit this forum:
http://www.davecullen.com/brokeback/store/index.html
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on June 18, 2006, 12:19:00 PM
Excellent idea - will check it out immediately!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on June 18, 2006, 02:23:31 PM
A series of books I've been meaning to recommend are the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike stories by Robert Crais.

I was reminded of this just the other day when I picked up several of the Crais books and began
rereading them for the umpteenth time. Never tire of this guy's writing style.

Now imagine if Jack and Ennis weren't gay, but had the closest friendship two men can have without having sex. (Each would easily die for the other - that kind of friendship.)
Okay, then imagine them living in L.A.
Imagine Jack as a private detective and Ennis as his close-mouthed, taciturn, ex-Marine partner.

Honestly this idea didn't hit me until today.
But in some strange way it works.

I love these books and recommend them highly to anyone who likes the mystery/thriller genre and/or any kind of terrific writing.

Crais is an amazing writer. He can be very funny.
While at the same time, he can also break your heart.

I'd read all the books in order, but here are my very favorites:

THE MONKEY'S RAINCOAT
LULLABY LAND
FREE FALL
VOODOO RIVER
INDIGO SLAM
LA REQUIEM
THE FORGOTTEN MAN

One word of warning: Under no condition are you to read LA REQUIEM (Crais's masterpiece) without first reading at least
LULLABY LAND and INDIGO SLAM. It is the only way to truly understand the depth of Elvis and Joe's friendship. Cause, really, at heart that's what these books are all about.
This wonderful, complicated friendship.



Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on June 18, 2006, 02:43:16 PM
Thanks rosewood.  I have seen the Robert Crais books recommended many times, they are always on my list of books I must try and somehow I never get there.  Another reason to try to get to them
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: nkburlington on June 20, 2006, 09:51:39 AM
I just finished "Bad Twin".  It's a book related to the show "LOST". 

The author of the book was on the ill-fated Oceanic Airlines flight.  It was a pretty good read.  A mystery-type novel but if there were any clues in there related to the show (which there apparently were supposed to be) I didn't catch them.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Brokeback_1 on June 21, 2006, 02:22:25 AM
Just a reminder that our new site store is open. We have created a large DVD page and book page that was taken from the many member recommendations from the Arts threads.  So if you are looking for books, films or music please consider our site store - proceeds benefit this forum:
http://www.davecullen.com/brokeback/store/index.html

yep, and I just bought a Jack Nasty Loves Me pink tshirt for my intended and a black DelMar-Twist cow&calf Tshirt for me <g>
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on June 21, 2006, 08:25:48 PM
Just finished the Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett and found it really enjoyable - the characters were quite well drawn and I found some parallels with BBM (can't get away from it I guess).  A story of love and loss and lies we tell ourselves and others.

For 20 years, Sabine has loved the magician Parsifal and served as his assistant. Sabine knows that Parsifal is gay but she loved him and was willing to have a relationship on the terms he offered (friend and employee).   When Parsifal's lover Phan dies of AIDS, Parsifal marries Sabine and she moves into the house that Parsifal and Phan shared.

After Parsifal dies, Sabine discovers he has been lying to her about having no family and has managed to hide the fact that he has a mother and siblings in Nebraska, where he grew up. Sabine's journey to Nebraska is her journey to learn about this man she loved as she discovers the family and past that he kept hidden from her.


Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: graylockV on June 24, 2006, 10:11:11 PM
I read mostly non-fiction, and for you history lovers - I heartily recommend Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals - the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln."

She does a wonderful job of portraying - not just Lincoln - but all the other political luminaries of his day, e.g., Seward and Chase.  Full of interesting anecdotes, e.g., just before he left Washington, D.C. to become President of the Confederacy, Senator Jefferson Davis was quite ill.  During his illness, and despite the fact that they disagreed on most everything, Senator Seward visited the Davis home almost every day until Davis recovered.  I wonder if such decency would be shown by political opposites in today's political culture.   When I was reading this book - and considering how Lincoln conducted himself as a wartime president - I couldn't help but think that the contrast with the current war and occupant of the White House could not be greater, IMO.  Lincoln endured all kinds of criticism and was called every name in the book - yet he never engaged in false "bring it on" bravado.  And he changed course when necessary.  And - perhaps most important - he took responsibility when things were screwed up by his subordinates, even if the mistakes weren't actually his direct fault.  He was the opposite of arrogance.  Yet he never wavered in his determination.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nax on June 27, 2006, 04:53:38 AM

One reason this appeals to me is that my favorite gay novel, Mary Renault's The Charioteer, is also set in wartime London.  The Charioteer has always struck me as a fine candidate for a film, because its characters move in a gay subculture (not always treated respectfully!) as well as in the larger worlds of wartime military and civilian life.  Renault had an economy of style I don't expect to find in the Waters book, but I'm looking forward to it anyhow.

(Has anyone here read it already?)
Mary Renault has to be one of my favorite novelists, she brings history to life effortlessly (even some history teachers recommend her as reading) The series she wrote on Alexander the Great, Fire from Heaven, The Persian Boy and Funeral Games are classics.  The Bull from the Sea and the Last of the Wine are also worth a read.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jen_i on July 03, 2006, 10:11:39 AM
I just finished reading Tim Winton's Dirt Music.  Wonderful!  I can easlily see HL in the role of Lu.  The first half was most gripping for me, especially how it seemed so real from Georgie's point of view.  The second half was rough to read with a very rapid resolution in the end (I had no idea how it would finally play out (no spoilers here)).  I loved the themes of music and literature and land, the view of Australian coastal town life.  Highly recommended. I have never read Australian fiction before.  This book is full of vivid descriptions of Western Australia, Perth is The City, tremendously vivid descriptions of landscapes, ocean, animal and plant life, all with names I have never heard before.  I did know what roos were, though.  I wish it had come with an Australian/American dictionary.  Does "uti" mean SUV?  Is this still a potential HL project?  I double posted this to the HL thread.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jen_i on July 03, 2006, 10:33:17 AM

One reason this appeals to me is that my favorite gay novel, Mary Renault's The Charioteer, is also set in wartime London.  The Charioteer has always struck me as a fine candidate for a film, because its characters move in a gay subculture (not always treated respectfully!) as well as in the larger worlds of wartime military and civilian life.  Renault had an economy of style I don't expect to find in the Waters book, but I'm looking forward to it anyhow.

(Has anyone here read it already?)
Mary Renault has to be one of my favorite novelists, she brings history to life effortlessly (even some history teachers recommend her as reading) The series she wrote on Alexander the Great, Fire from Heaven, The Persian Boy and Funeral Games are classics.  The Bull from the Sea and the Last of the Wine are also worth a read.

I have recently read Mary Renault for the first time based on recommendations from this group.  The Charioteer is so fantastic.  This is one of the first "gay" fiction books I've read and I found it really enlightened for its time.  The language is so understated and indirect that it's not always easy to understand what's being said, but I liked that. I couldn't put it down, read it almost every spare minute of my day and late into the night, I had to re-read very often to get what was going on.  As soon as I finished it I started re-reading the whole thing and got about half way through again before I decided I can't read every book I love twice in a row (though I still want too), just not enough time.   I found some perspectives on homosexuality somewhat dated, but generally they seemed so sensitive and true (from a straight woman's newly-opened frame of reference). The Persian Boy--also great.

I paired this reading with Paul Monette's On Becoming a Man,  really an excellent set of books to get two very different time periods and writing styles both commenting on homosexuality.  I still love the way the two books contrast and complement each other for me..

Since then I read "The Best Little Boy in the World"--quite funny, though less compelling but found in my library so I tried it.

Also, I bought The Frontrunner since the library seems not to have it--absolutely loved it.
Need to find The Dreyfus Affair--the library has others by this author but haven't seen this one in yet.
Read Lonesome Dove after Brokeback rekindled my love of westerns, and was struck by the homoerotic?/long-term couple relationship between the two men, quite unmistakable by the end.

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on July 04, 2006, 06:02:32 PM
jen_i said:
.
Quote
..I have recently read Mary Renault for the first time based on recommendations from this group.  The Charioteer is so fantastic.  This is one of the first "gay" fiction books I've read and I found it really enlightened for its time.  The language is so understated and indirect that it's not always easy to understand what's being said, but I liked that...

This made me smile.  I was much older when I read it for the third time - and that's when I finally realized: "Oh, she's talking about an erection!"

You may know Renault was a lesbian, though I suspect she didn't enjoy the company of women in general  (rather like Patricia Highsmith?).  She published one or two lesbian-themed novels, using her background in nursing - not memorable. She also seems to have heartily disliked some of the gay male stereotypes she'd met - stereotypes that are just as real today as during the period of The Charioteer.  But she's pretty clear-eyed, I think (except, maybe, for over-idealizing her heroes a bit).  She certainly points out, in characters like that RAF pilot (Binky?  Something of the sort) that even the gidddiest diva may not be what he appears.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jen_i on July 05, 2006, 06:42:26 PM
This made me smile.  I was much older when I read it for the third time - and that's when I finally realized: "Oh, she's talking about an erection!"


I just read exactly one of those erection passages!  I probably wouldn't have gotten it without your comment. Thanks! :)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jdmdallas on July 07, 2006, 01:13:45 PM
Two Suggestions

Prior to Brokeback Mountain, the last gay-themed film I loved so passionately was Merchant/Ivory's Maurice based on the novel by E.M. Forster. I would recommend both the film and the novel to any lover of Brokeback, in other words, everyone who participates in this forum.  I saw this gorgeous film about homosexual love in Edwardian England, starring James Wilby, Rupert Graves and a then unknown Hugh Grant, at the Paris Theater in New York City in 1987.  I was 22 years-old. Forster, a homosexual  completed the novel in 1914 but did not wish to have it published until after his death. He died in 1970. The book was released the following year.

He insisted on giving Maurice, his young hero a happy ending. Forster said in his "Terminal Note" that "a happy ending was imperative": "I was determined that in fiction anyway two men should fall in love and remain in it for the ever and ever that fiction allows."

I believe everyone in the non-fiction world deserves a happily ever after.  Is Maurice the antidote to the tragedy that is Brokeback Mountain? Only you can answer that for yourself. Annie Proulx said that someone else would have to write the story of two gay lovers with a happy ending. Has it already been written, here by Forster or someone else?

Secondly,  a couple of weeks ago, I  rented Borstal Boy a Peter Sheridan film from 2000. It was in the gay and lesbian section of my local video store and I have to admit that for most of the film I wondered why. The film is based upon the autobiography of Brendan Behan, a well-known Irish playwright, well-known in Ireland at least, concerning his boyhood experiences in a British borstal or reform school after he, an admitted member of the I.R.A. was caught with explosives in Liverpool in 1939.

There is a kiss toward the end of this film between Behan, played by In and Out's Shawn Hatosy and his friend Charlie Millwall, played by the lusciously-lipped Danny Dyer that I had to replay about a hundred times. This led me to order the autobiography Borstal Boy first published in 1958 (Nonpareil Books, Jaffrey, New Hampshire, 2004) on-line from Amazon.com hoping for more information on this friendship/romance. Having seen the film, the book is a tremendously enjoyable tease. While I'm not done reading it, last night I came across a line on page 244  that sounded very familiar. Behan, not yet comprehending that his pal Charlie is in love with him, does not understand the anger Charlie is directing toward him for having his work detail changed, which prevents the two from spending the better part of every day together, as they had been. Behan writes:

"I thought  maybe  [Charlie'd] snap out of it, but he did not and days afterwards was as surly as ever. So I said in my own mind, what can't be cured must be endured.

Apparently this is Irish for, "If you can't fix it, you gotta stand it."

I'd love to read anyone Else's comments regarding the above works. Thank you. Joe
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on July 08, 2006, 04:54:54 PM
It's not what I've read (yet) but I sure intend on reading this once it comes out!!!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312349866/sr=8-1/qid=1152398889/ref=sr_1_1/104-2126888-7327107?ie=UTF8
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on July 08, 2006, 08:45:43 PM
It's not what I've read (yet) but I sure intend on reading this once it comes out!!!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312349866/sr=8-1/qid=1152398889/ref=sr_1_1/104-2126888-7327107?ie=UTF8


Awww.  Hey, things have gotta get better.  Stay away from the news at least for tomorrow.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: annabel on July 15, 2006, 05:40:32 AM
I'm reading a really, light, fluffy litttle book (that is I'll continue to read it after I get it from Amazon; I lost it on some beach and I think a fellow sunworshipper stole it)

Anway, it's called Pug Hill, by Alison Pace. It's about a single, art restorer and it tells the travails of her dating and family life.  When all goes crappy, she goes to (New Yorkers, I heard it's a real place) to the Upper East side of Central Park where dozens of people congregate there with their pugs.   I had only gotten about a third of the way through but can't wait to finish it.  It's just fun!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on July 18, 2006, 03:04:23 PM

One reason this appeals to me is that my favorite gay novel, Mary Renault's The Charioteer, is also set in wartime London.  The Charioteer has always struck me as a fine candidate for a film, because its characters move in a gay subculture (not always treated respectfully!) as well as in the larger worlds of wartime military and civilian life.  Renault had an economy of style I don't expect to find in the Waters book, but I'm looking forward to it anyhow.

(Has anyone here read it already?)
Mary Renault has to be one of my favorite novelists, she brings history to life effortlessly (even some history teachers recommend her as reading) The series she wrote on Alexander the Great, Fire from Heaven, The Persian Boy and Funeral Games are classics.  The Bull from the Sea and the Last of the Wine are also worth a read.

Just finished reading THE CHARIOTEER by Mary Renault, late last night.
I LOVED it!
Thanks for the recommendation.

I found the book remarkably touching.
In fact, I cried towards the end, something I rarely do when reading.
(Except for BBM short story, of course.)
CHARIOTEER is written in a surprisingly frank manner, considering the time period Mary Renault was working in. I especially love character driven fiction and this is definitely that.
Jeez.
I won't forget this book for awhile.

And wouldn't it make a terrific movie?
Or - at least - a great Masterpiece Theater production?

I could maybe see James D'Arcy as Andrew.
Orlando Bloom as Odell.
Or vice versa.
But Ralph Lanyon is much more difficult to cast......
Oh, how about Joaquin Phoenix?
If he couid do a Brit accent.

By the way, just took DIRT MUSIC by Tim Winton out of the library.
Looks intriguing.


Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on July 18, 2006, 11:46:35 PM
I'm reading a really, light, fluffy litttle book (that is I'll continue to read it after I get it from Amazon; I lost it on some beach and I think a fellow sunworshipper stole it)

Anway, it's called Pug Hill, by Alison Pace. It's about a single, art restorer and it tells the travails of her dating and family life.  When all goes crappy, she goes to (New Yorkers, I heard it's a real place) to the Upper East side of Central Park where dozens of people congregate there with their pugs.   I had only gotten about a third of the way through but can't wait to finish it.  It's just fun!
We have a member named Pug and I was dying to recommend this book to him but couldn't remember the name of it!  Thanks for posting it!  (I have not read it but the cover of the book so reminded me of him------well, not him but his dog!!)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Lola on July 19, 2006, 06:51:24 AM
(http://www.harpercollins.com/harperimages/isbn/large/4/9780060562564.jpg)

Anyone heard about or read this?  I am going to try and get a copy this weekend!

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/03/29/earlyshow/leisure/books/main1451224.shtml
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: JoeAnn on July 19, 2006, 11:10:07 PM
Are there any fantasy readers here?  Here are some recommendations with male/male pairings, by two strong authors fantasy readers may want to consider the next time you find yourself at the bookstore:

Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series begins with Luck in the ShadowsStalking Darkness and Traitor's Moon follow. I understand Flewelling plans to revisit these characters in the future.  There's a prequel of sorts to the this series that has a nifty male/female twist.

Ellen Kushner's Swordspoint is a terrific read.  The romance between the mains will stay with you long past the last page and joy of joys, there's a  new installment due any day now.


Oh, and one more recommendation. It doesn't quality as a true male/male pairing, but the relationship between the hero and his male dragon won't disappoint. Has anyone read Naomi Novik's delightful Temeraire books?  There are three out already--His Majesty's Dragon is the first. I've never been one for dragons, but Novik had managed to give them a unique spin a la Pern meets Patrick O Brian. They're set during the Napoleonic era in an alternative history where dragons existed and have been employed in wars much like airplains were used in WWI and WWII.  I believe you can find Naomi Novik in the fantasy isle as well.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: sledzik on July 22, 2006, 02:10:51 AM
Two Suggestions

Prior to Brokeback Mountain, the last gay-themed film I loved so passionately was Merchant/Ivory's Maurice based on the novel by E.M. Forster. I would recommend both the film and the novel to any lover of Brokeback, in other words, everyone who participates in this forum.  I saw this gorgeous film about homosexual love in Edwardian England, starring James Wilby, Rupert Graves and a then unknown Hugh Grant, at the Paris Theater in New York City in 1987.  I was 22 years-old. Forster, a homosexual  completed the novel in 1914 but did not wish to have it published until after his death. He died in 1970. The book was released the following year.

He insisted on giving Maurice, his young hero a happy ending. Forster said in his "Terminal Note" that "a happy ending was imperative": "I was determined that in fiction anyway two men should fall in love and remain in it for the ever and ever that fiction allows."

I believe everyone in the non-fiction world deserves a happily ever after.  Is Maurice the antidote to the tragedy that is Brokeback Mountain? Only you can answer that for yourself.

Exactly what I felt! I remember walking out of the theatre after my first viewing of Brokeback, totally crushed, and telling my friend how I felt the need to go home and watch Maurice to make me feel better. (I didn't in the end, but it might have helped for the moment.)
I love the book - love all books by Forster - and the film does it full justice. A masterpiece.
I think it's funny that Forster completed all his novels by his mid-forties. The way he treats his characters makes me think of him as the wise old man he indeed lived to be, but wasn't at the time!

Oh, and I forgot to recommend a book.  ;) It's not really new anymore, but I enjoyed it immensely: "Dancer" by Colum McCann about the famous ballet dancer Rudolph Nureyev.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Warren Piece on July 24, 2006, 03:26:33 PM
I just recently read Tower Stories, which is a compilation of experiences from September 11, 2001. It's divided into sections so you can read the tales of people who escaped from the towers, those who were walking by and witnessed the events, those who had to cover the events for the news and those who assisted in the rescue/clean-up effort. Fascinating (and, of course, heartbreaking). I was on Church Street that morning (east of the towers) dodging debris, so I had to wait a few years before I could read this collection, but I'm glad I finally did. It's written in each person's own words, so it isn't censored to make anyone look good. It's an excellent document to an historic event.

And in a completely different direction, I read Taken, by Chris Jordan. It's one of the books we published (I work for Harlequin) and it concerns a mother whose son is kidnapped after a Little League game and what she does to get him back. The editorial style is a bit choppy, but I did find it compelling.

I'm just now finishing The Road to Home, which is one of our Steeple Hill trade releases. It's about a white woman who befriends a black woman who's dying of AIDS in South Africa. Its style is much more fluid than that of Taken, and it's very descriptive of its environment, so I feel I'm learning something about another country I haven't visited (in a fictional sense) since the musical Sarafina.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Daphne and Chloe on July 26, 2006, 06:06:16 PM
I just recently read Tower Stories, which is a compilation of experiences from September 11, 2001. It's divided into sections so you can read the tales of people who escaped from the towers, those who were walking by and witnessed the events, those who had to cover the events for the news and those who assisted in the rescue/clean-up effort. Fascinating (and, of course, heartbreaking). I was on Church Street that morning (east of the towers) dodging debris, so I had to wait a few years before I could read this collection, but I'm glad I finally did. It's written in each person's own words, so it isn't censored to make anyone look good. It's an excellent document to an historic event.

And in a completely different direction, I read Taken, by Chris Jordan. It's one of the books we published (I work for Harlequin) and it concerns a mother whose son is kidnapped after a Little League game and what she does to get him back. The editorial style is a bit choppy, but I did find it compelling.

I'm just now finishing The Road to Home, which is one of our Steeple Hill trade releases. It's about a white woman who befriends a black woman who's dying of AIDS in South Africa. Its style is much more fluid than that of Taken, and it's very descriptive of its environment, so I feel I'm learning something about another country I haven't visited (in a fictional sense) since the musical Sarafina.

When I started reading your post the first thing I thought was "I don't think I'm ready to read about 9/11 yet" and you were there when it happened and I was on the other coast.

The Road to Home sounds very interesting. I have added it to my list of books to look into. It sounds quite depressing though.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on July 27, 2006, 03:27:31 PM
Just a quick OT note.  The selections to vote on for the August book are up in the "Our Book Club -- Organizational Issues" thread.  Voting ends Aug. 3. reading begins Aug 14 discussion beginns Aug. 21st.

mf
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on July 28, 2006, 03:34:22 PM
Are there any fantasy readers here?  Here are some recommendations with male/male pairings, by two strong authors fantasy readers may want to consider the next time you find yourself at the bookstore:

Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series begins with Luck in the ShadowsStalking Darkness and Traitor's Moon follow. I understand Flewelling plans to revisit these characters in the future.  There's a prequel of sorts to the this series that has a nifty male/female twist.

Ellen Kushner's Swordspoint is a terrific read.  The romance between the mains will stay with you long past the last page and joy of joys, there's a  new installment due any day now.


Oh, and one more recommendation. It doesn't quality as a true male/male pairing, but the relationship between the hero and his male dragon won't disappoint. Has anyone read Naomi Novik's delightful Temeraire books?  There are three out already--His Majesty's Dragon is the first. I've never been one for dragons, but Novik had managed to give them a unique spin a la Pern meets Patrick O Brian. They're set during the Napoleonic era in an alternative history where dragons existed and have been employed in wars much like airplains were used in WWI and WWII.  I believe you can find Naomi Novik in the fantasy isle as well.


Just wanted to thank you, JoeAnn for these fabulous recommendations.
Stayed up all night reading HIS MAJESTY'S DRAGON, then ordered all three books from B&N.
Couldn't help myself.
Absolutely LOVED the first one.
And I'm not even a big fan of fantasy reading.
Just a fan of great reading.
And this is one of the most unique books I've ever read.
You're perfectly right about the Patrick O'Brian hook-up.
The battle sequences are AMAZING!
Is it possible to fall in love with a dragon?
Yes.
Even if he does have nasty eating habits.  :D
I loved this book so much I may just have to give it to everyone I know for Christmas.
(The author's website: www.temeraire.org)

Waiting for SWORDSPOINT to come through at the library, though if it takes much
longer I just may have to buy this one since your other recommendations were so spot on.

Read Lynn Flewelling's books as well.
Got swept up in the romance of Alec and Seregil.
Two wonderful characters.
Thanks again for the splendid recommendations!!!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Bethie on August 01, 2006, 12:12:16 PM
I've just finished my first book this year since seeing BBM. I saw the movie in Jan. (I used to read 2-3 books a week)

As we know, the movie has turned us all upside down and nothing for me has
held any interest unless is was BBM related. That's why I've been living on the Slash thread since March. A forum member loaned me this book Common Sons by Ronald L. Donaghe. 1989 copyright. Fantastic read.
In fact I have not been able to put it down. Sorry if this has already been discussed. I haven't gone back throught all the pages in this thread.

It's a coming out and coming to grips with life and self book for 2 teenage boys. Lots of struggles and it covers all sorts of life obstacles. I really liked this one.

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: JoeAnn on August 02, 2006, 10:55:22 AM
Rosewood, I'm so glad you enjoyed the Temeraire book.  I want a dragon of my own now, lol.  Might be a wee bit expensive to feed him though.  You'll enjoy the next two books in the series as well.  Temeraire really comes into his own and starts to look at the world around him. 

I just read another interesting book(s) by Storm Constantine entitled Wreaththu.  This one really turns the entire idea of gender on its ear. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic(?) world where homo sapiens is on the wane and a mutation in males has given birth to a new order of beings that are hermaphrodites.  Yes, hermaphrodites.  Its a character driven story. I really enjoyed it.

Swordspoint is a lot of fun. Kushner's style is reminiscent of Georgette Heyer.  Kinda, lol. Although it's housed in the fantasy shelves, there's not a bit of magic to be found in the story, but it does have plenty of swordplay.  Richard, master swordsman and assassin for hire and his slightly psycho lover Alec, are two of my favorite literary lovers.  Just last month a new installment of this series, The Privilege of the Sword, was published.  It's a fun read, too.

Happy reading!   :)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on August 02, 2006, 02:30:41 PM
Rosewood, I'm so glad you enjoyed the Temeraire book.  I want a dragon of my own now, lol.  Might be a wee bit expensive to feed him though.  You'll enjoy the next two books in the series as well.  Temeraire really comes into his own and starts to look at the world around him. 

I just read another interesting book(s) by Storm Constantine entitled Wreaththu.  This one really turns the entire idea of gender on its ear. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic(?) world where homo sapiens is on the wane and a mutation in males has given birth to a new order of beings that are hermaphrodites.  Yes, hermaphrodites.  Its a character driven story. I really enjoyed it.

Swordspoint is a lot of fun. Kushner's style is reminiscent of Georgette Heyer.  Kinda, lol. Although it's housed in the fantasy shelves, there's not a bit of magic to be found in the story, but it does have plenty of swordplay.  Richard, master swordsman and assassin for hire and his slightly psycho lover Alec, are two of my favorite literary lovers.  Just last month a new installment of this series, The Privilege of the Sword, was published.  It's a fun read, too.

Happy reading!   :)

Well, for some reason SWORDSPOINT hasn't come in at the library yet, so I think
I'm just going to go ahead and order it from B&N. And I'll take a look at your new recommendation
as well. You haven't been wrong yet....!

As for Temeraire, well, let's just say I stayed up all night reading THRONE OF JADE as well.
What is this spell that this dragon has cast over me?  :D
Just when I thought well, how good can the second book be? The first was great, you can't top
great. Well, Naomi Novik proved me wrong.
THRONE OF JADE is superb.
Even better than the first book only because she enlarges the story. Shows us the clash of three
such vastly different worlds: the rigidity of England, life at sea on a long voyage (the stop at the slave
port was chilling), and then the fascinating world of a mystical 19th century China.
Absolutely wonderful stuff.

Why hasn't someone bought this for the movies???

Haven't read the third book yet precisely because it is the third book and once I'm done I'll
have to say goodbye to Laurence and Temeraire, at least for now.

Wanted to recommend a couple of books in return, JoeAnn.

JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR NORRELL by Susanna Clark
Quite a weighty tome, but so well worth wading through. Magicians as a matter of course,
aiding and abetting England's side during Napoleonic times.
Less thrilling than Novik and written in the kind of 19th century style that takes getting used to,
still I recommend it. Though probably NOT to be read at one sitting.  ;)

ZORRO by Isabel Allende
Not much more needs to be said, I suppose.
Old and familiar story, brilliantly recreated by a famed South American novelist.

ODD THOMAS by Dean Koontz
Though I'm not a big fan of horror, I admit I've discovered Dean Koontz late in life and fallen for
his ability to create intelligent, touching, enigmatic heroes who have the ability to tell right from wrong.
NOT an easy thing, let me tell you.
In ODD THOMAS he's created a masterpiece.
If you don't fall under his spell within the first few chapters, then stop reading.
The book isn't working for you.
This is a totally character driven piece that works precisely because Odd is so strongly conceived.
For me, it was absolutely spellbinding.

Another book that I recommend is almost impossible to find.
It is a Harlequin Historical from 1991, so you probably won't be able to get your hands on it.
(Unless you go through an old book dealer who specializes in this sort of thing.)
If you do, you're in for a real treat.
I've never read another Harlequin like it. (Well, actually, I stopped reading reading 'romances' years
ago, but, luckily discovered this one through a recommendation from a friend of mine.)
TO TOUCH THE SUN by Barbara Leigh is sword and derring do historical set during the 1300's when
England was almost continuously at war with somebody or other. The main character, Drue, is a
young woman raised to fight as a knight. She gets away with masqarading as a young man
almost until the end of the book. When she meets and defeats an enemy knight on
the battlefield, she begins to have feelings for him that she's never experienced before.
She knows that submitting to a man will bring an end her entire way of life.
He, though married, begins to feel the same towards Drue even though he thinks her a man.
Confused and angry, he imagines that he's losing his mind since he's never had this happen
to him before. What happens to both of them makes for a very unique love story, wonderfully
written and conceived. As I said, haven't read anything like this before or since, especially in the
genre category. In fact, this book, to my mind, raised genre to a new level.

Other books you might enjoy are the Thursday Next series by British writer Jasper Fforde.
Set in a kind of alternate universe where things in England and the world have developed on
different levels and realities from our own, time travel exists, and characters from novels can, not only pop
in and out of their own books, but in and out of 'reality' as well. If not curtailed, they can alter not only their own story lines (you can see where in the classics, this might cause some consternation if characters were  to change not only well established endings, but to jump into other books and remain there) but the reality of the established world as well. Overseeing all this is the menacingly giant and aptly named Goliath Corporation which controls all, including the government.

Thursday Next is a literary detective in charge of tracking down recalcitrant characters and any other mysteries having to do with books and history or whatever.
Expect lots of literary puns, outrageousness, brilliant plot machinations and not too too much
sense. Fforde naturally expects his reading audience to keep up with his inventive rapid-fire mind.
Not always easy, but definitely worth it. I LOVE this series. The titles, in order, are:
THE EYRE AFFAIR
LOST IN A GOOD BOOK
WELL OF LOST PLOTS
SOMETHING ROTTEN

The books actually get better and better as they go along. Love that Thursday hangs out
with Hamlet in SOMETHING ROTTEN. He is under suspicion of being a spy and in hiding,
when all things Danish are forbidden in the new reality of Thursday's latest adventure which brings
to mind nothing less than the Nazi repression of the Jews before and during WWII.
Amazing what Fforde can do under the guise of satire.

Well, that's enough for now, I think.  :D
Happy reading, JoeAnn.



 








Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: JoeAnn on August 03, 2006, 08:58:47 AM
I bought Jonathan Strange the week it came out. Good read, if a bit on the slow side.  And Zorro is an old fave from childhood.  Always loved that character!

I haven't tried Dean Koontz yet, although his books are everywhere. I'll definitely pick him up.  As for the Barbara Leigh book, as a longtime romance reader I'm surprised I didn't catch that one the first time around.  From what you described it sounds like the author didn't flake out on the gender switch issues.  It always aggravates me when an author sets it up and then doesn't have the courage to explore it.  I'm sure you've read Georgette Heyer's The Masqueraders?  It's an old fave.

The Jasper Fforde books sound absolutely delightful.  I can't believe I haven't read them.  Where have I been? lol  I'll be making a trip to the bookstore this weekend.  Thanks for the recs!

BTW, have you by any chance read Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles?

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on August 03, 2006, 02:38:06 PM
I bought Jonathan Strange the week it came out. Good read, if a bit on the slow side.  And Zorro is an old fave from childhood.  Always loved that character!

I haven't tried Dean Koontz yet, although his books are everywhere. I'll definitely pick him up.  As for the Barbara Leigh book, as a longtime romance reader I'm surprised I didn't catch that one the first time around.  From what you described it sounds like the author didn't flake out on the gender switch issues.  It always aggravates me when an author sets it up and then doesn't have the courage to explore it.  I'm sure you've read Georgette Heyer's The Masqueraders?  It's an old fave.

The Jasper Fforde books sound absolutely delightful.  I can't believe I haven't read them.  Where have I been? lol  I'll be making a trip to the bookstore this weekend.  Thanks for the recs!

BTW, have you by any chance read Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles?


Haven't heard of or read the Dorothy Dunnetts.....I'll check at the library.
I've read some Georgette Heyer, eons ago, but I'm not familiar with this title, I'll look for it as well.

You know, I"m racking my brain to recommend an Anne Stuart book from years ago that
deals with gender switching in a very comic way, but damned if I can remember the title.
It is a historical where the two male heroes, brothers I think, or best friends, wind up having
to masquerade as women and the two women heroines wind up having to masquerade as
men. It is a total romp and very funny. Not to be taken seriously at all. But I remember being
very impressed (in between laughs) at Anne Stuart's fearlessness in handling even this topic in the guise
of a romance. SHADOWPLAY? Maybe that's the title. It vaguely resonates.

If you look for Dean Koontz - Just try ODD THOMAS first.....I guarantee you will LOVE it.
In my opinion, it is his masterpiece.
I own the book and have given it as a present to several friends. Anyone I've recommended this
book to, invariably loves it. Even horror-phobes.

If you like Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next books, you'll also love his Nursery Crimes series.
Yes, I kid you not.
In THE BIG OVER EASY, the hero has to solve the murder of Humpty Dumpty.
Yes, believe it or don't.
This new series is a testament to Jasper Fforde's wild imagination.
I LOVED it and am impatiently waiting for the next.

PS Have you read Elizabeth's Peter's Amelia Peabody series yet?
Have to start from the very first: CROCODILE ON THE SANDBANK and you need to have a certain
sense of comic irony and appreciation of early 20th century literature.
Somehow I think you do.
Amelia is one of those strong, opinionated, turn of the century Victorian women who set out to have adventures (this time in Egypt) and change their lives, all the while convinced of their own superiority.
She is a TOTAL delight. Eventually she marries and I've always said that in ALL literature there is only ONE
man I'd marry without a momen's hesitation and that is Amelia's hubby, the totally insane, totally
irascible archeologist Radcliffe Emerson - he and Amelia are two of my all time favorite characters.


Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Daphne and Chloe on August 03, 2006, 06:35:12 PM
It's not what I've read (yet) but I sure intend on reading this once it comes out!!!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312349866/sr=8-1/qid=1152398889/ref=sr_1_1/104-2126888-7327107?ie=UTF8

Oh my, I too have thought of packing my stuff and leaving. I have even gone to those immigrate to Canada web sites. What would I do though. I wonder how I would feel leaving the U.S..
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on August 08, 2006, 12:48:18 PM
BTW, have you by any chance read Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles?

Haven't heard of or read the Dorothy Dunnetts.....I'll check at the library.

Hi rosewood and JoeAnn!  Michael the librarian here - I'm loving your discussion!  I just wanted to post a page for you from Random House on the Lymond Chronicles - it has a discussion guide as well as a general discussion of her work:

http://www.randomhouse.com/vintage/dunnett/lymond/about.html

Sorry for the interruption and please do go on!

mf
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on August 08, 2006, 12:52:21 PM
It's not what I've read (yet) but I sure intend on reading this once it comes out!!!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312349866/sr=8-1/qid=1152398889/ref=sr_1_1/104-2126888-7327107?ie=UTF8

Oh my, I too have thought of packing my stuff and leaving. I have even gone to those immigrate to Canada web sites. What would I do though. I wonder how I would feel leaving the U.S..

I just got back from Vancouver, where I had a terrific time, so this might not be exactly the best time to ask me that question.  It seemed very doable to me this time.  There's another book on working in Canada associate with that link I posted that looks good too!

Fortunately one of my co-librarians has ordered this book.  I'll let you know if it looks any good when it comes in (it is released on 8/22).
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: czterrier on August 09, 2006, 05:33:16 PM
A forum member loaned me this book Common Sons by Ronald L. Donaghe. 1989 copyright. Fantastic read.
In fact I have not been able to put it down. Sorry if this has already been discussed. I haven't gone back throught all the pages in this thread.

It's a coming out and coming to grips with life and self book for 2 teenage boys. Lots of struggles and it covers all sorts of life obstacles. I really liked this one.


I read this book earlier this year, after seeing BBM, and loved it.  I read it in a day, then re-read a week later so that I could really savor and enjoy it.  I even emailed the author telling him how much I loved it and he responded.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: JoeAnn on August 09, 2006, 09:33:43 PM
Thanks for the link, Michael.   :)  The Lymond Chronicles are 6 of the 7 books ( the seventh being a good dictionary) I would take to a deserted island with me and Francis Crawford of Lymond is the hero by which I (and pretty much anyone who's read the series) measure all heroes.  These are arguably the best historical fiction books out there.  Dunnett's prose is dense and meticulously researched and oh, so worth the effort! Every few years I reread them only to fall in love again with Lymond.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: sophieernie on August 09, 2006, 09:43:55 PM
This summer I have read As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann.  I found it with a search for gay historical fiction on Amazon and it had some good reviews, so I took a chance.

WHOA!

It is about a servant turned soldier in Cromwell/Revolutionary England.  Jacob, running away from a crime and his own demons, joins the army and begins a friendship that slowly (w/o Jacob realizing) turns into obsession, and eventually a sexual relationship.

It is a very character driven book about a protagonist with a tragic flaw.  I really enjoyed the book, and it haunted me for days.  The end was quite disturbing and powerful.  It was one of those books that I could not stop thinking about....

Highly reccomended with some very erotic scenes (FYI: most of which are homosexual, if you hadn't figured as much)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on August 10, 2006, 02:26:54 PM
BTW, have you by any chance read Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles?

Haven't heard of or read the Dorothy Dunnetts.....I'll check at the library.

Hi rosewood and JoeAnn!  Michael the librarian here - I'm loving your discussion!  I just wanted to post a page for you from Random House on the Lymond Chronicles - it has a discussion guide as well as a general discussion of her work:

http://www.randomhouse.com/vintage/dunnett/lymond/about.html

Sorry for the interruption and please do go on!

mf

Thanks Michael, for the link. I have these books listed as my next big indulge moment.
But first I'm trying to whittle down the piles of books that I have listing dangerously around my house,
in every room, in every nook and cranny. Neverending.
But since JoeAnn hasn't been wrong yet, I might just have to do another quick library
maneuver.  :D

My book budget for the month is shot.
I feel as if B&N online and I are on too intimate terms.
Just received Jasper Fforde's lates Nursery Crimes thriller, THE FOURTH BEAR......I can't
adequately describe these books, you really need to go to Jasper's website to check out
the lunacy. Literate lunacy, but lunacy nonetheless.  ;) www.jasperfforde.com

"Because the Forest will always be there...
and anybody who is Friendly with Bears can
find it."
              a.a.milne

Also ordered two Robert McCammon books on a friend's recommendation:
(I'd already read SPEAKS THE NIGHTBIRD, Vol. 1 and 2, and loved them !!!)
A BOY'S LIFE  and
THE WOLF'S HOUR

Now I'm not one for werewolves, per se. But how could I not read a book where the
hero turns into a werewolf and fights the Nazis!!!!!
Sound fun.

Want to recommend the work of Laurie King, if you haven't already discovered her.
She writes standalones and two (or three) series.
If I were going to the proverbial desert island and could only take a few books, then
three of them would be Laurie's:
THE BEEKEEPER'S APPRENTICE
O' JERUSALEM
THE MOOR
This is the series in which an aging Sherlock Holmes meets the one and only woman to
equal his brilliance AND what's more, she turns out to be the woman of his heart. She's only
fifteen when they first meet and he's retired to the Sussex Downs.
Sounds perfectly awful, I know.
But it isn't.
Laurie King is so damned brilliant, she finds a way to make the whole unexpected thing work.
I kid you not.
The books are all told in the first person, from the point of view of Mary Russell, the young prodigy who
intrigues Holmes from the getgo when he first mistakes her for a boy...
If Conan Doyle were alive, I believe he'd approve. King takes Holmes, humanizes him and makes
him believable as a flesh and blood man, while still keeping his eccentricities and quirks in place.
I LOVE these books almost above all books I've ever read.

I'm just now starting to read another series of King's featuring gay San Francisco cop Kate Martinelli.
First book: A GRAVE TALENT won the Edgar as Best Debut in its year of pub.
Hadn't read this series more through thinking that NOTHING could match her Holmes series,
but I'm taking the plunge. Bought her latest Martinelli: THE ART OF DETECTION and figured
I should at least have read the first Kate. If I love it, I'll read the rest.

So many books, so little time.......!!!







Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: pwday on August 23, 2006, 10:27:33 AM
I just finished a book that had punched me in the gut and ripped my heart out, much the same way that BBM did.    It has some of the same themes (love, loss, regret) but is in an entirely different setting.    The book is called "The Kite Runner."   I loved it, and I think other Broke-a-hoics would also.  It is beautiful and sad.

Has anyone here read it?  I know it's quite popular, so I imagine many of you have.   
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: All4one on August 25, 2006, 09:05:45 PM
Oh, yes...The Kite Runner. A punch in the heart, for sure.

It was one of those that made me want to start conversations with strangers just to recommend it.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: JoeAnn on August 25, 2006, 09:31:52 PM
Haven't had much time to read lately, but things are finally starting to slow down.  Got Jasper Fford's The Big Over Easy from the library this afternoon and am loving what I've read of it so far  :D   For the most part I'm not a big fan of myteries.  I usually don't care who did it, how or why, but if there are fun characters to follow then I'm happy to go along for the ride. If the rest of this book is as good as the first few chapters, I'll definitely put the rest on order.  I've been jonsin' for a good reading glom this week.

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: All4one on August 25, 2006, 09:42:46 PM
It would take some time to read  Wally Lamb's 900-plus page book I Know This Much Is True but I found it worth the time. There are 'mysteries' within .... :)

The Kite Runner is going to be made into a movie, due in 2007. 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on August 25, 2006, 11:27:36 PM
Haven't had much time to read lately, but things are finally starting to slow down.  Got Jasper Fford's The Big Over Easy from the library this afternoon and am loving what I've read of it so far  :D   For the most part I'm not a big fan of myteries.  I usually don't care who did it, how or why, but if there are fun characters to follow then I'm happy to go along for the ride. If the rest of this book is as good as the first few chapters, I'll definitely put the rest on order.  I've been jonsin' for a good reading glom this week.

Jasper FFord is one of my favorite authors.  His mix of silly, surreal and a little bit of serious crime solving often have me laughing out loud.  I enjoyed the Eyre Affair and Lost in a Good Book the most.  I read he has a new one out that I am meaning to get to : The Forth Bear: a Nursery Crime
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: chiaros on August 28, 2006, 06:17:20 AM
http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/2780
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on August 31, 2006, 11:50:42 AM
Any one checked out "Claire Messud's remarkable new novel The Emperor's Children" yet? The quoted part is the opening phrase from Slate's review. I also heard a gushing review on (i think) Fresh Air, and it's from Knopf and it was #3 on Amazon yesterday, it's second day of release. Apparently it's the current hot great book, and I've been itching for a good read, so I walked to Tattered Cover to check it out, naively as always, assuming I had a real treat ahead of me.
 
I actually was in a really upbeat mood and was planning to give it at least a chapter, and wasn't even going to stop to assess the first sentence, but it was a little hard to get past this one without a mild shudder. It was "Darlings!" I mention that mostly because I did complete the first chapter, and it was highly indicative of what was to come. At least she didn't spell it "Dahlings!," though that is the type of character in question. Sort of a dramatic older woman who's a patron of the arts and envions herself as Auntie Mame, or maybe Debbie Reynolds playing an artsy woman trying to impersonate Ethyl Merman in a sitcom. In the second sentence she cries out for "More wine!" and the narrator describes her as looking like a baby seal. This kind of charicature is considered literary now? (The rest of Slate's first sentence was ". . . that mythical hybrid that publishers dream of one day finding in the piles of manuscripts on their desks: a literary page-turner.") http://www.slate.com/id/2148347/
 
The first few pages dripped with these interminable gushy descriptions of every physical object and body part or piece of clothing, all delivered in a haughty voice that came from the omniscient narrator, but sounded like they could have come from the Dahlings character. 
 
Revolting. True, it was less than a ten-page chapter, but there were I think three different breaks to different scenes, with somewhat different perspectives, and they all continued that gushy/haughty voice and the approach that seems to suggest over-describing every visual equals literary. In what world?
 
I'm appalled. Do I read more to determine whether the lit world is as fucked up as I think it is, or quit wasting my time? The latter, I think, but what the fuck?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on August 31, 2006, 11:52:45 AM
http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/2780

In These Times, huh? A nostalgic footnote for me: ITT was the first periodical I published in when I restarted my writing career after a 20-year absense in 1998. They got the whole thing rolling for me.

(And one of my best friends was managing editor years before. Didn't help me get the gig--the current people didn't even know of the connection--but it was his suggestion that I try ITT that made it happen.)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on August 31, 2006, 02:06:22 PM
http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/2780

In These Times, huh? A nostalgic footnote for me: ITT was the first periodical I published in when I restarted my writing career after a 20-year absense in 1998. They got the whole thing rolling for me.

(And one of my best friends was managing editor years before. Didn't help me get the gig--the current people didn't even know of the connection--but it was his suggestion that I try ITT that made it happen.)

For me as well Dave.  Back in the late 80s/early 90s when I was running an AIDS archive in SF they did an article on me.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: WyomingBoy on August 31, 2006, 02:39:56 PM
I just finished  "Veterinary Guide to Horse Breeding".  Not a lot of action, for humans anyway, but kept my attention :)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on August 31, 2006, 03:36:20 PM
I just finished  "Veterinary Guide to Horse Breeding".  Not a lot of action, for humans anyway, but kept my attention :)

Okay...now you've wandered over into my area (mwahahahah!).

So are you a veterinarian - or is this more of a business or pastime read?  And yes, I know this is a humorous post - but were there any books that got you interested in animals early on? 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: brokebacktom on August 31, 2006, 08:45:51 PM
I'm half way through The LOST CHRISTIANITIES by Bart D. Ehrman. I find it intriguing and quite easy to read. Some books on this topic bore the crap out of me. The book is fascinating, it intoduces a range of 'lost chritian' faiths that I never knew existed. Its worth looking into.

Tom
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on August 31, 2006, 08:56:49 PM
I'm half way through The LOST CHRISTIANITIES by Bart D. Ehrman. I find it intriguing and quite easy to read. Some books on this topic bore the crap out of me. The book is fascinating, it intoduces a range of 'lost chritian' faiths that I never knew existed. Its worth looking into.

Tom

Great to hear Tom.  I've wanted to read that.  If you get a chance check out some of Elaine Pagels work - it dovetails nicely with that book - probably worth starting on 'The Gnostic Gospels'.  And another book I found quite interesting (in describing the religious climate around the area at this time) is God Against the Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism by Jonathan Kirsch.  And another fascinating (and somewhat related) book is Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths by Karen Armstrong - it's a history of the city from as far back as possible.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: brokebacktom on August 31, 2006, 09:47:21 PM
Micheal--

I read 2 books by Karen armstrong: Islam, a Short History and The Battle for God, a History of Fundamentalis.  Both were great, she makes an ideal guide to straight forward
language. She doesn't use big words and is accessible to the general public. Even I could understand it.

I also read The Harlot by the Side of the Road, by Jonathan Kirsch. Again, very easy to read. This one is about forbidden tales of the Bible. It has a twist w/ Sodom and Gomorrah that I find very compelling and fascinating. Both are my favorates in this field, both entertains as well as informs. You should read anything they write you won't be sorry.

Tom
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on August 31, 2006, 09:58:43 PM
Tom--

I have read 'Harlot by the Side of the Road' by Kirsch and loved it!!!  What I found most compelling and interesting was the twist on the sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham - how Jephthah sacrificed his daughter on God's command - and apparently god was okay with that as she was female.

I love Karen Armstrong's writing - and I'll put those books on my list (running the book club I have my dance card filled with books automatically every month).

mf

Micheal--

I read 2 books by Karen armstrong: Islam, a Short History and The Battle for God, a History of Fundamentalis.  Both were great, she makes an ideal guide to straight forward
language. She doesn't use big words and is accessible to the general public. Even I could understand it.

I also read The Harlot by the Side of the Road, by Jonathan Kirsch. Again, very easy to read. This one is about forbidden tales of the Bible. It has a twist w/ Sodom and Gomorrah that I find very compelling and fascinating. Both are my favorates in this field, both entertains as well as informs. You should read anything they write you won't be sorry.

Tom
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: WyomingBoy on September 01, 2006, 05:30:27 AM
I just finished  "Veterinary Guide to Horse Breeding".  Not a lot of action, for humans anyway, but kept my attention :)

Okay...now you've wandered over into my area (mwahahahah!).

So are you a veterinarian - or is this more of a business or pastime read?  And yes, I know this is a humorous post - but were there any books that got you interested in animals early on? 

I went to vet school but had top leave when my dad died.  I manage a horse farm.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: pwday on September 01, 2006, 12:38:48 PM
Quote
The Kite Runner is going to be made into a movie, due in 2007.

I am so glad.   It's one of those books that, as I read it, I was thinking what a wonderful and beautiful movie it might be, if done right.  It's too bad Ang Lee isn't doing it.   
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: All4one on September 01, 2006, 02:50:55 PM
pwday, my plan is to go see it without reading any reviews, interviews, etc. I want to see if I can re-eaperience it 'like a virgin' ( Oh, no, I didn't just quote Madonna... but really , the phrase was popular long before she was   :D

I also want to thank chiaros for the article.  I don't follow Oprah's book club, but I wouldn't pass on some reading experience just because she had given it her endorsement. Case in point: the Wally Lamb book.

The article opens with something about Ian McEwan. After I read his Atonement I didn't want to read anything else by him, as it caused some of the same symptoms we know from Brokeback Fever.  :)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jenjen on September 03, 2006, 01:12:40 PM
Hi Lovely Fellow Readers,

So many interesting suggestions here....

I'm in the middle of four books at the moment:

"Three Junes" , novel by Julia Glass
"The Winner-Take-All Society", Robert Frank
"The Affluent Society", John Galbraith
"not always so: practicing the true spirit of Zen", Shunryu Suzuki

On the bookshelf patiently waiting:
 "The Corporation"
 "The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West ", Niall Ferguson  (I heard this author interviewed on BBC's "The Interview" and it sounded like this author might have a very interesting perspective)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on September 03, 2006, 03:18:14 PM
Thanks Jenjen!  'Three Junes' was actually on one of our lists for the Book Club.  I'll resurrect it for the next one.

Hi Lovely Fellow Readers,

So many interesting suggestions here....

I'm in the middle of four books at the moment:

"Three Junes" , novel by Julia Glass
"The Winner-Take-All Society", Robert Frank
"The Affluent Society", John Galbraith
"not always so: practicing the true spirit of Zen", Shunryu Suzuki

On the bookshelf patiently waiting:
 "The Corporation"
 "The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West ", Niall Ferguson  (I heard this author interviewed on BBC's "The Interview" and it sounded like this author might have a very interesting perspective)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: IcySparks on September 03, 2006, 06:53:45 PM
After finishing The Expected One, I’m now digging into a fascinating debut novel by Kentucky native Kim Edwards, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. The novel explores the life of Norah Henry, who gave birth to boy/girl twins, one healthy, one with Down’s Syndrome, during a raging snowstorm in Kentucky in 1964. Unbeknownst to Norah, her surgeon husband dispatches their handicapped daughter to an orphanage and tells her that their daughter was stillborn. Needless to say, secrets and lies can never remain dormant forever, and further tragedies befall the family… okay, I won’t reveal anymore, but you can check out the book, already a major bestseller here in the United States and set to become a motion picture, over at Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/list/0143...011&s=books
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on September 03, 2006, 07:51:03 PM
After finishing The Expected One, I’m now digging into a fascinating debut novel by Kentucky native Kim Edwards, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. The novel explores the life of Norah Henry, who gave birth to boy/girl twins, one healthy, one with Down’s Syndrome, during a raging snowstorm in Kentucky in 1964. Unbeknownst to Norah, her surgeon husband dispatches their handicapped daughter to an orphanage and tells her that their daughter was stillborn. Needless to say, secrets and lies can never remain dormant forever, and further tragedies befall the family… okay, I won’t reveal anymore, but you can check out the book, already a major bestseller here in the United States and set to become a motion picture, over at Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/list/0143...011&s=books

And here's a website for 'The Expected One':

http://www.theexpectedone.com/
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jenjen on September 04, 2006, 06:31:49 AM
After finishing The Expected One, I’m now digging into a fascinating debut novel by Kentucky native Kim Edwards, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. The novel explores the life of Norah Henry, who gave birth to boy/girl twins, one healthy, one with Down’s Syndrome, during a raging snowstorm in Kentucky in 1964. Unbeknownst to Norah, her surgeon husband dispatches their handicapped daughter to an orphanage and tells her that their daughter was stillborn. Needless to say, secrets and lies can never remain dormant forever, and further tragedies befall the family… okay, I won’t reveal anymore, but you can check out the book, already a major bestseller here in the United States and set to become a motion picture, over at Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/list/0143...011&s=books

Oh, this looks really good.  Thanks for the suggestion, IcySparks!  :)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jenjen on September 04, 2006, 06:33:46 AM
Thanks Jenjen!  'Three Junes' was actually on one of our lists for the Book Club.  I'll resurrect it for the next one.

Thanks, Michael!  You'll probably see me participating in the discussion for this book.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jenjen on September 04, 2006, 06:36:15 AM
Oh, another book (on tape) I just finished was Bill Bryson's "Walk In The Woods".  Some parts are hilarious!  And it was great hearing him read it - made it even funnier.  And it has some very interesting facts and observations, too.

Now I'm listening to his "In a Sunburned Country", and love it.  Hilarious, and enlighening as well.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: KathyinBama on September 04, 2006, 08:51:48 AM
The Memory Keeper's Daughter.  I see some folks here are considering reading it, please do!  I really enjoyed most of it.  I don't want to be a spoiler, but suffice it to say that I will be eagerly anticipating her next novel.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: All4one on September 04, 2006, 09:03:33 AM
Thanks. I picked it up, put it down, picked it up....My 'waiting in the wings' stack is too large already.
But this is a debut novel and it's always exciting to find someone to watch for in the future, too.


Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on September 04, 2006, 11:37:10 AM
Thanks Jenjen!  'Three Junes' was actually on one of our lists for the Book Club.  I'll resurrect it for the next one.
Thanks, Michael!  You'll probably see me participating in the discussion for this book.

Count me in as well - I read it earlier this summer and would be interested in discussing it
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on September 04, 2006, 12:11:17 PM
I've just about finished Jonathan Ned Katz's Love Stories - Sex Between Men Before Homosexuality. It's an excellent read. He focuses on the second half of the 19th Century in the USA, though he addresses some earlier history, and does cover England's John Addington Symonds because he's linked to Walt Whitman.

The book has a lot to answer for in this forum.   I think it was used - either via the text itself, or through reviews -  to support some  "Ennis and Jack were not gay" arguments, though to do that you pretty much have to shove the boys back in time.  Some of the facts Katz relates lend support to different "sides" in many discussions of homosexuality; I need to sort out and condense some of what I've gleaned from it, and then post in the other thread. 

It seems that behaviors which raise eyebrows today were more-or-less ignored in part of that period, though for different reasons.  Katz argues, fairly enough, for the influence of concepts and labels on the actions we take.  However, what keeps coming through for me is that I know people living the same sorts of lives as those in the book.   It's not that I think he's wrong; it's more that he's a tad too academic, so pleased with his thesis that he doesn't see the forest for all the semantic trees.

Still, a good read for anybody interested in the topic.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on September 04, 2006, 01:16:56 PM
Oh, another book (on tape) I just finished was Bill Bryson's "Walk In The Woods".  Some parts are hilarious!  And it was great hearing him read it - made it even funnier.  And it has some very interesting facts and observations, too.

Now I'm listening to his "In a Sunburned Country", and love it.  Hilarious, and enlighening as well.

Books on tape (and CD) can be a whole different medium from the written word, I've found.  I particularly like to listen to David Sedaris work being read - he reads the works himself and his inflection often adds a whole lot to the work.

Another Book on CD that I really, really enjoyed was Sarah Vowell's 'Partly Cloudy Patriot'.  It had Steven Colbert, Conan O'Brien and Seth Green (among others) on it and was very, very funny to listen to.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: IcySparks on September 07, 2006, 04:43:59 PM
I am now reading The Boy Who Fell Out of the Sky by Ken Dornstein, the author's true account of his brother, who was killed on the Pan Am flight blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland, and how it has affected his life over the past two decades...
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on September 07, 2006, 10:55:08 PM
I loved Katz's "Gay American History" when it came out - it was a milestone book for me and opened my eyes to the notion that a lot of behavior just wasn't 'seen' in earlier days (as you say).  This sounds very interesting to me as well.

Have you by any chance read John D'Emilio's "Intimate matters : a history of sexuality in America"?  I wonder how these two books would compare?

I've just about finished Jonathan Ned Katz's Love Stories - Sex Between Men Before Homosexuality. It's an excellent read. He focuses on the second half of the 19th Century in the USA, though he addresses some earlier history, and does cover England's John Addington Symonds because he's linked to Walt Whitman.

The book has a lot to answer for in this forum.   I think it was used - either via the text itself, or through reviews -  to support some  "Ennis and Jack were not gay" arguments, though to do that you pretty much have to shove the boys back in time.  Some of the facts Katz relates lend support to different "sides" in many discussions of homosexuality; I need to sort out and condense some of what I've gleaned from it, and then post in the other thread. 

It seems that behaviors which raise eyebrows today were more-or-less ignored in part of that period, though for different reasons.  Katz argues, fairly enough, for the influence of concepts and labels on the actions we take.  However, what keeps coming through for me is that I know people living the same sorts of lives as those in the book.   It's not that I think he's wrong; it's more that he's a tad too academic, so pleased with his thesis that he doesn't see the forest for all the semantic trees.

Still, a good read for anybody interested in the topic.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Sandy on September 08, 2006, 05:30:55 PM
In a post yesterday on the character analysis of Ennis del Mar, I recalled a pertinent passage from a novel I have read two time, but not recently. It is W.H. Hudson's 'The Purple Land'. And it's one that may be of interest to readers on this forum, it deals with the life of cowboys, Argentinian gauchos, to be precise, in their natural landscape. For someone who wrote during the mid-19th century, Hudson's prose is remarkably fresh and modern.

Though he is better know for 'Green Mansions' (and Rima, with the flute-like voice) and lots of books on nature, 'The Purple Land' may be the better novel. It's available (or was) through the Modern Library.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on September 10, 2006, 09:54:07 AM
...
Have you by any chance read John D'Emilio's "Intimate matters : a history of sexuality in America"? 
.

Nope.  But I'm about to have.  You led me to check some reviews, and to order a copy.  (The trade paperback is in ample and inexpensive supply secondhand, if anybody else is interested.)   
I see that Justice Kennedy quoted it in his opinion on the Texas sodomy law. Yes, it should be interesting to compare with the Katz book.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately?
Post by: Rosewood on September 12, 2006, 01:48:40 PM
Book to Film News!!

Since reading Naomi Novik's historical/fantasy trilogy, set in Napoleonic
times featuring British aviator Laurence and the splendid dragon Temeraire,
I've been wondering when someone would figure out what magnificent films
these books would make and now, FINALLY, Peter Jackson's has bought the rights!!

HIS MAJESTY'S DRAGON
THRONE OF JADE
BLACK POWDER WAR...have finally been optioned. Just found out today
when a friend sent me the bulletin from galleycat.com.

Thanks to a recommendation on this thread, I discovered these truly amazing
books a few weeks ago and I've been spreading the word about them ever since.

Now these officially become the films I am most eagerly waiting for. I know it will
be years, but hopefully there will be Temeraire bulletins coming out of New
Zealand before too much longer.

Jeez, I'm so thrilled about this.
If you've read the books, you'll immediately understand.
These will be SPECTACULAR films.
I know it.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: JoeAnn on September 12, 2006, 04:03:51 PM
ROFL, Rosewood.  You beat me to it!  I just read the news over at RottenTomatoes and I'm thrilled too.  Of all the directors, I think Peter Jackson would "get" Temeraire.  These books have only been out 6 months or so.  Although movie rights are often sold early, it's so rare for a book to get snapped up like this so fast.  Now, can Jake do an English accent?  lol
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on September 12, 2006, 06:09:52 PM
JoeAnn, I actually let out screech when I read the news!
Scared my dog to hell and back.  :D
A friend in Seattle sent me an email knowing I'd be
thrilled.

I've been tirelessly, and probably tiresome-ly getting everyone
and anyone I know to read these wonderful books.
And let me tell you, everyone who reads them loves them.

I can't ever thank you enough, JoeAnn, for recommending the
Temeraire trilogy to me. AND I'm not ever a major fantasy fan.
But there's just something about these particular characters
that is just so damned special. They are unique, that's for sure.
AND so beautifully written.

Peter Jackson is the PERFECT person to do these films.
He'll honor the work AND have his people create the most
amazing special effects. Of that I'm sure.
Now I just have to have the patience to wait.
And wait.
He's working on THE LOVELY BONES now, so I guess
we're talking at least four or five more years.....Jeez.
But I can wait.
I know it will be worthwhile in the end.

I was immediately thinking of Colin Firth as Laurence,
but then I thought, he'll be too old by the time
filming begins.....Too bad.

AND the voice of Temeraire will have to be someone
pretty SPECIAL. A younger sounding Jeremy Irons,
I would hope. He has one of the loveliest sounding
voices in the world, but of course it is starting to thicken
with age now......

Sigh....I'll just have to learn to curb my impatience.
Somehow.





Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: JoeAnn on September 12, 2006, 07:19:04 PM
You know, I could see Peter Jackson tapping Heath Ledger for the role of Laurence.  We know he can act (understantement) and he's young enough looking that by the time they get around to filming he'll still have the face for it.  Jake can do Temeraire's voice. <g> How's that for a BBM reunion?  lol

Like you, it's nice to have a big film to look forward to down the line. After The Return of the King came out I felt bereft with no LOTR to get hyped about every year.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: JoeAnn on September 12, 2006, 07:25:07 PM
Woops, I hit post too quickly. You're entirely welcome for the book rec.  :)  Everyone I've steered in Temeraire's direction has loved the books.  Naomi Novik certainly hit a homerun.  I picked them up after reading an enthusiastic review from Stephen King, of all people.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on September 17, 2006, 06:24:14 PM
Well I have not read it yet because it doesn't come out till Tuesday, but I want to plug a book by Frank Rich that I'm really excited about, for two reasons:

1. He's a great writer and a great critic of the Bush administration, and it promises to be one of the best critiques yet of those bastards.

2. He's been a bit of a mentor to me and really helped me with my career. I'm really grateful to him, and I'm also really impressed that he would reach a hand down to help out a struggling writer like me whenever he could.

It's due out Tuesday and it's already #3 at Amazon, so you're going to be hearing a lot more about it.

The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina

From Publishers Weekly:

Starred Review. This blistering j'accuse has vitriol to spare for George Bush—calling him a "spoiled brat" and "blowhard"—and his policies, but its main target is the PR machinery that promoted those policies to the American people. New York Times columnist Rich revisits nearly every Bush administration publicity gambit, including Iraqi WMD claims, Bush's "Mission Accomplished" triumph, the Swift-boating of John Kerry and the writing of fake prowar letters-to-the-editor from soldiers. He uncovers nothing new, but his meticulously researched recap-cum-debunking—complete with appended 80-page time line comparing administration spin to actual events—builds a comprehensive picture of a White House propaganda campaign to bamboozle the public, smear critics, camouflage policy disasters and win the 2002 and 2004 elections through trumped-up security anxieties. Along the way, he pillories a sycophantic media (Bob Woodward gets spanked hard), spineless Democrats and an infotainment culture that happily accommodates the Bush administration's erasure of the line between reality and fiction. Sometimes Rich's critique of Republican politics as cynical image-manipulation goes overboard, as in his "wag the dog" theory of the Iraq war as a Karl Rove electoral maneuver; more often, though, it's on target. The result is a caustic, hard-hitting indictment of the Bush administration, timed to make a splash in the upcoming election campaign. (Sept. 19)


http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=davecullencom-20&creative=373669&camp=210949&link_code=st1&adid=009SADCQ408465XTVGPQ&path=ASIN/159420098X
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: CANSTANDIT on September 17, 2006, 06:43:49 PM
I'm a little late as usual, catching up on this thread. But I was wondering:

Does anyone remember Mary Renault's The Persian Boy? The fictionalized history of Bagoas, Alexander the Great's persian lover/valet? It is a fantastic story, one my older sister had hanging around as part of her historical novel collection, and I read it in early adulthood, and I think this was the book that opened my eyes to love between men. There are haunting emotional undertones about duty, sacrifice, secrets, that I sensed when saw BBM the movie.
There is even an ancient castration.  Very different stories, but similiar problems with "how will people see me/us?" only in a very different social, political and chronological era. But some similiar problems of jealousy; prejudice, not getting enough from the beloved,etc.

This character appears in "Funeral Games" and I think briefly in "The Beacon At Alexandria", both post Alexander's death.

Anyway, I may reread it; just wondering if anyone else has. I haven't heard it mentioned in this forum before.
CSI
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on September 18, 2006, 02:29:26 PM
Well I have not read it yet because it doesn't come out till Tuesday, but I want to plug a book by Frank Rich that I'm really excited about, for two reasons:

1. He's a great writer and a great critic of the Bush administration, and it promises to be one of the best critiques yet of those bastards.

2. He's been a bit of a mentor to me and really helped me with my career. I'm really grateful to him, and I'm also really impressed that he would reach a hand down to help out a struggling writer like me whenever he could.

It's due out Tuesday and it's already #3 at Amazon, so you're going to be hearing a lot more about it.

The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina

From Publishers Weekly:

Starred Review. This blistering j'accuse has vitriol to spare for George Bush—calling him a "spoiled brat" and "blowhard"—and his policies, but its main target is the PR machinery that promoted those policies to the American people. New York Times columnist Rich revisits nearly every Bush administration publicity gambit, including Iraqi WMD claims, Bush's "Mission Accomplished" triumph, the Swift-boating of John Kerry and the writing of fake prowar letters-to-the-editor from soldiers. He uncovers nothing new, but his meticulously researched recap-cum-debunking—complete with appended 80-page time line comparing administration spin to actual events—builds a comprehensive picture of a White House propaganda campaign to bamboozle the public, smear critics, camouflage policy disasters and win the 2002 and 2004 elections through trumped-up security anxieties. Along the way, he pillories a sycophantic media (Bob Woodward gets spanked hard), spineless Democrats and an infotainment culture that happily accommodates the Bush administration's erasure of the line between reality and fiction. Sometimes Rich's critique of Republican politics as cynical image-manipulation goes overboard, as in his "wag the dog" theory of the Iraq war as a Karl Rove electoral maneuver; more often, though, it's on target. The result is a caustic, hard-hitting indictment of the Bush administration, timed to make a splash in the upcoming election campaign. (Sept. 19)


http://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Story-Ever-Sold-Decline/dp/159420098X/sr=8-1/qid=1158472117/ref=pd_bbs_1/103-6208555-3536664?ie=UTF8&s=books

Oh, for sure, Dave.
Saw FR on Don Imus this morning.
Turned it off immediately after Frank finished cause that idiot that Don has on
every Monday came on. What do you suppose is the story between those
two? Jeez.

Frank's book AND Thomas Rick's FIASCO, The American Military Adventure in Iraq,
I think, are THE books to read before the election.

I like Rick's use of the word: 'adventure.' Very telling.

And I like Frank's 'Sold' for 'Told'.
It will probably drive the right wing evagelicals into a frenzy.
Always nice.  :D

Funny thing, Dave, most of the authors I've been lucky enough to
meet, think nothing of helping out a struggling beginner when they
can. This is one of the best traits, I've discovered among writers.
I'm always amazed that though being a successful author
necessitates a HUGE ego, there seems to be very little jealousy
in evidence. At least, that's been my experience.

I'm a fledgling writer myself, currently working on a mystery.
I already have three (Count 'em - THREE!) published writers in the genre
ready and willing to read and offer whatever advice they can.
How sweet is that?
Must be my charming personality.  ;D
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on September 18, 2006, 03:05:33 PM
Funny thing, Dave, most of the writers I've been lucky enough to
meet, think nothing of helping out a struggling writer when they
can. This is one of the best traits, I've discovered among writers.
I'm always amazed that though being a successful author, necessarily,
necessitates a HUGE ego, there seems to be very little jealousy
in evidence. At least, that's been my experience.

I'm a fledgling writer myself, currently working on a mystery.
I already have three (Count 'em - THREE!) published writers in the genre
ready and willing to read and offer whatever advice they can.
How sweet is that?
Must be my charming personality.  ;D


yes, it is a great trait. i've been surprised how helpful they can be, too.

the other person that really helped me was richard goldstein, exec editor of the village voice. he emailed me after one of my first salon pieces and told me how much he liked it and admired the voice. just to have that vote of confidence--you can't imagine the impact it made. and when i came to visit ny, he showed my then bf and me around manhattan. really nice guy.

but frank is the one i owe the biggest debt. he's cited my work several times in his column and he's never too busy to return a phone call or email to offer me advice. and he talks exactly how he writes. what you see is who he is. i just met him in person one time, for drinks in chelsea, and he was just great. really good guy. i'm so excited for him on this book. it's #2 on amazon now. very exciting. obviously, he's used to the fame being a times columnist, but there's nothing like a bestselling book. i think this is his first to reach heights anything like this.

good luck with your books, rosewood. that's great that they're helping you out.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on September 19, 2006, 10:55:28 AM
OK, we've got a link to the Frank Rich book, now, where Amazon donates 7% of the price you pay to us (at no cost to you):

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=davecullencom-20&creative=373669&camp=210949&link_code=st1&adid=009SADCQ408465XTVGPQ&path=ASIN/159420098X

and we've got a prominent link at the books page of our site store here:

http://www.davecullen.com/brokeback/store/books.html
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dejavu on September 19, 2006, 11:39:11 AM
I'm a little late as usual, catching up on this thread. But I was wondering:

Does anyone remember Mary Renault's The Persian Boy? The fictionalized history of Bagoas, Alexander the Great's persian lover/valet? It is a fantastic story, one my older sister had hanging around as part of her historical novel collection, and I read it in early adulthood, and I think this was the book that opened my eyes to love between men. There are haunting emotional undertones about duty, sacrifice, secrets, that I sensed when saw BBM the movie.
There is even an ancient castration.  Very different stories, but similiar problems with "how will people see me/us?" only in a very different social, political and chronological era. But some similiar problems of jealousy; prejudice, not getting enough from the beloved,etc.

This character appears in "Funeral Games" and I think briefly in "The Beacon At Alexandria", both post Alexander's death.

Anyway, I may reread it; just wondering if anyone else has. I haven't heard it mentioned in this forum before.
CSI


CSI,
I remember the book, have it, but haven't read it (yet).  I know the historical story of Alexander but don't think I've read the historical fiction.  I'm wondering:  why don't you suggest this to the book club as a future selection (or I will)?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on September 19, 2006, 12:18:02 PM
I'm a little late as usual, catching up on this thread. But I was wondering:

Does anyone remember Mary Renault's The Persian Boy? The fictionalized history of Bagoas, Alexander the Great's persian lover/valet? It is a fantastic story, one my older sister had hanging around as part of her historical novel collection, and I read it in early adulthood, and I think this was the book that opened my eyes to love between men. There are haunting emotional undertones about duty, sacrifice, secrets, that I sensed when saw BBM the movie.
There is even an ancient castration.  Very different stories, but similiar problems with "how will people see me/us?" only in a very different social, political and chronological era. But some similiar problems of jealousy; prejudice, not getting enough from the beloved,etc.

This character appears in "Funeral Games" and I think briefly in "The Beacon At Alexandria", both post Alexander's death.

Anyway, I may reread it; just wondering if anyone else has. I haven't heard it mentioned in this forum before.
CSI


CSI,
I remember the book, have it, but haven't read it (yet).  I know the historical story of Alexander but don't think I've read the historical fiction.  I'm wondering:  why don't you suggest this to the book club as a future selection (or I will)?


How about THE CHARIOTEER by Mary Renault? I read it recently after a recommendation from
someone on this very thread and LOVED it. But THE PERSIAN BOY would do just as well.
I believe I have it here in the house somewhere, but have never read it.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Desecra on September 19, 2006, 02:07:04 PM
Does anyone remember Mary Renault's The Persian Boy?

I remember it - I read a load of Mary Renault as a teenager.  I loved the books, but I do remember that there seemed to be very little humour [or very little that I found funny, anyway :)].  Did anyone else find that?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on September 19, 2006, 05:11:24 PM
OK, I started a separate thread on Frank Rich's The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina:

http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=12952.new#new
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: CANSTANDIT on September 19, 2006, 06:31:13 PM
I'm a little late as usual, catching up on this thread. But I was wondering:

Does anyone remember Mary Renault's The Persian Boy? The fictionalized history of Bagoas, Alexander the Great's persian lover/valet? It is a fantastic story, one my older sister had hanging around as part of her historical novel collection, and I read it in early adulthood, and I think this was the book that opened my eyes to love between men. There are haunting emotional undertones about duty, sacrifice, secrets, that I sensed when saw BBM the movie.
There is even an ancient castration.  Very different stories, but similiar problems with "how will people see me/us?" only in a very different social, political and chronological era. But some similiar problems of jealousy; prejudice, not getting enough from the beloved,etc.

This character appears in "Funeral Games" and I think briefly in "The Beacon At Alexandria", both post Alexander's death.

Anyway, I may reread it; just wondering if anyone else has. I haven't heard it mentioned in this forum before.
CSI


CSI,
I remember the book, have it, but haven't read it (yet).  I know the historical story of Alexander but don't think I've read the historical fiction.  I'm wondering:  why don't you suggest this to the book club as a future selection (or I will)?

That is a fine idea; I would really recommend this book; interestingly the narration is not unlike AP's; it is spare and earthy, and still manages to cross cultural boundaries via the thinking process: It is an I narration. It pulls you right in.......
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Dave Cullen on September 19, 2006, 08:35:27 PM
anyone catch oprah today? she devoted the entire hour to the gay ex-New Jersey governor, and his book, "The Confession."

oprah bothered me a little with some of her questions, but i give her major credit for sincerely trying. she's getting there.

and man, she devoted an entire hour in her coveted premiere week to this. it's an important topic. and the book is #16 on amazon now. it was probably in nowhere land yesterday.
 
i was also very heartened to hear a great deal of her audience applaud for gay marriage at the end. that gave me a big sense of relief. i don't need the whole country behind me, but it sure does feel better to know that some people are.

the book is here:

http://www.amazon.com/Confession-James-E-McGreevey/dp/0060898623/sr=1-1/qid=1158719208/ref=sr_1_1/103-6208555-3536664?ie=UTF8&s=books
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: chapeaugris on September 19, 2006, 08:38:02 PM
I read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy this year and it was unputdownable. It features two angel lovers whose gender is supposed to be ambiguous but no one here could imagine them as anything but men.  ;D It will be made into a film by the same production co. that did LoTR and it should be interesting to see who they cast as these angels (who don't wear robes, no siree...)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on September 19, 2006, 11:16:17 PM
anyone catch oprah today? she devoted the entire hour to the gay ex-New Jersey governor, and his book, "The Confession."


http://www.amazon.com/Confession-James-E-McGreevey/dp/0060898623/sr=1-1/qid=1158719208/ref=sr_1_1/103-6208555-3536664?ie=UTF8&s=books

Yep; wouldn't have missed it for anything.  I was apprehensive; some excerpts were released early, and one in particular - re First Time with Golan - was cringeworthy, unless you understood that he was describing, in effect, a terribly belated adolescent experience.  And that would be pretty hard for most people, with more ordinary sexual histories, to grasp. 

But I thought, from some of the other quotes, and then from his demeanor today, that he's working doggedly and painfully to be honest, and not self-serving.  It's hard for an agnostic like me not to carp at so much godspeak - but I've known  Irish Catholics a few years older than he, and that ingrained code can be a ferocious burden.

He's sure to be turning up on some of the other talk shows.  I read that today was the release date for the book, and the Oprah interview was his first.  She's done several shows related to homosexuality; I've about decided that she already knows the answers to some of her questions, but is asking them on behalf of her audience, so to speak.

ETA:  And oh, yes: the boyfriend comes across as charming. 
ETA yet again: here's a long excerpt: http://newyorkmetro.com/news/politics/21340/

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: annabel on September 21, 2006, 05:06:23 AM
One of the most beautifully written books I have ever read, and I swear I'm going to read it again was "My Antonia" by Willa Cather.  There was a paragraph she wrote in it about the laundry fluttering against the blue sky, I can't remember exactly what it said, but believe it or not, she took something so mundane, and made it seem lyrical.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: wkw on September 21, 2006, 02:28:10 PM
   "Fiasco" by Thomas Ricks will be a primary source for future generations trying to understand the Iraq war during the pre war period August 2002 through early 2006. After twenty years reporting on the military for the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, Ricks uses many "on the record sources" to indict the leadership which led us into the current quagmire. George W Bush, Paul Wolfowitz and Thommy Franks are heavily criticized but Donald Runsfeld is the man deemed responible for so much that has gone wrong.

   "Fiasco" can be a tough read because of the sense of loss; of lives and money and opportunities; but it is well written and should be read by anyone concerned about our country's present and future place in the world.

                                                                                                           Bill
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: brokebacktom on September 21, 2006, 03:04:17 PM
Bill--

THANKS for sharing. I heard the same thing about that book. I do intrend to get it. The thing is that the two newspaper he was from are considered 'Consertative.' So, I feel should be more well rounded and maybe change a few conservative minds.

I just bought 'Passion for Islam' by Caryle Murphy. Read about half of it at the store. It talks about both the Extreemists and those in Islam who are against them. It mostly talks about Muslims in Egypt. So, far its a good read.

Tom
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Lola on September 22, 2006, 07:17:07 AM
I haven't read it, but Rupert Everett has a new book out!

Rupert Everett Says "Being Gay Is A Young Man's Game"

September 22, 2006 6:30 a.m. EST


Maira Oliveira - All Headline News Reporter
London, England (BANG) - For the most part, Rupert Everett says being gay after the age of 40 generally means you're history.

The 47-year-old actor, who is openly homosexual, says he is single because young gay men aren't interested in dating someone older than them. But that's not true, if they won't take him, we will!

http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7004946079
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Casper on September 22, 2006, 03:39:37 PM
One of the most beautifully written books I have ever read, and I swear I'm going to read it again was "My Antonia" by Willa Cather.  There was a paragraph she wrote in it about the laundry fluttering against the blue sky, I can't remember exactly what it said, but believe it or not, she took something so mundane, and made it seem lyrical.

Annabel, you brought back memories.  I had to read "My Antonia" when I was in the 10th grade. 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Sharyn on September 23, 2006, 08:33:23 AM
Hey Everyone...
Been a while since I've posted... but I visit everyday!

Anyway, just caught up with Dave's Frank Rich review in TDS and wanted to piggy back off that by telling you I just finished Frank Rich's 2000 memoir, Ghost Light and it's still with me. He tells the story of growing up in Washington DC circa 1958-1968, split between his divorced-then-remarried parents and finding solace in the boomming theatre industry. He intertwines his love-bordering-obsession with broadway shows into his troubled life at home with a depressed yet lovely and devoted mother and her energetic yet domineering abusive second husband.  Frank is also befriended by Clayton Coots, an indelible character not only in the book but in Frank's life. Clayton is a theatre manager and not only hooks Frank up with tickets to shows but listens to and supports the teenage Frank like no other adult in his life.

I live just outside of DC and I enjoyed reading about the area and city during that time period. Frank touches on the historical and political changes during that time as well. I love reading about personal accounts/experiences of history as it's unfolding... like the election, inauguration, and then assassination of JFK; Frank experienced it all.  I love broadway, but am no way obsessed like Frank, yet I really enjoyed seeing the theatre through his eyes. I also did not experience divorce, but his book is the first real account, for me anyway, of the effect divorce can have on a child.

I highly recommend this book!   :D
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: CANSTANDIT on September 23, 2006, 07:54:50 PM
anyone catch oprah today? she devoted the entire hour to the gay ex-New Jersey governor, and his book, "The Confession."

oprah bothered me a little with some of her questions, but i give her major credit for sincerely trying. she's getting there.

and man, she devoted an entire hour in her coveted premiere week to this. it's an important topic. and the book is #16 on amazon now. it was probably in nowhere land yesterday.
 
i was also very heartened to hear a great deal of her audience applaud for gay marriage at the end. that gave me a big sense of relief. i don't need the whole country behind me, but it sure does feel better to know that some people are.

the book is here:

http://www.amazon.com/Confession-James-E-McGreevey/dp/0060898623/sr=1-1/qid=1158719208/ref=sr_1_1/103-6208555-3536664?ie=UTF8&s=books
I didn't see Oprah, Dave, but the gov has been interviewed by everyone it seems; the one I saw on some generic news show was enlightening to me for the kind of candor he displayed, in describing the dark, out of the light assignations he felt forced into; I found that painful to hear. And his discussion about just knowing he felt 'disassociated'  as early as age  6, knowing something was off.....He is brave to be so frank, in a society still not quite sure enough of it's humanity.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: CANSTANDIT on September 23, 2006, 07:56:17 PM
Does anyone remember Mary Renault's The Persian Boy?

I remember it - I read a load of Mary Renault as a teenager.  I loved the books, but I do remember that there seemed to be very little humour [or very little that I found funny, anyway :)].  Did anyone else find that?
I agree...few if any chuckles.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dejavu on September 25, 2006, 05:57:47 PM
Hi,
I thought you were mostly talking about fiction/literature here, but I see a few people have mentioned nonfiction books.  So I'll give you one.  I read my mother's copy of this in July (she said "Don't buy it!  I have it!") so I don't have it on hand to refer to, but it was a good read:

'A Crack in the Edge of the World:  America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906' by Simon Winchester.  It was published in hardcover last October but is due in paperback on October 10, 2006.  It alternated chapters about geology, tectonic plates and earthquake science (you did have to keep on plugging through some of those "rocks" chapters  :D ) with chapters on American history, westward migration, the transcontinental railroad, Spanish settlement of California, early San Francisco history, the political corruption in SF at the time of the earthquake, etc.

I heard of it first through the History Book Club, which I am a member of (or was, before BBM/Cullen Forums/our book club here started consuming all of my time).

There was also a novel set in the city of San Francisco during the earthquake, which I read first.  That was called '1906,' by James Dalessandro, and was in paperback at least by last year.  It was an entertaining read.  The characters were mostly fictional, but not all, and some of the same incidents, corruption, fires, etc. that appeared in the novel are also referred to in the history book.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on September 26, 2006, 10:23:11 AM

I didn't see Oprah, Dave, but the gov has been interviewed by everyone it seems; the one I saw on some generic news show was enlightening to me for the kind of candor he displayed, in describing the dark, out of the light assignations he felt forced into; I found that painful to hear. And his discussion about just knowing he felt 'disassociated'  as early as age  6, knowing something was off.....He is brave to be so frank, in a society still not quite sure enough of it's humanity.

I was struck by how much McGreevey said in interviews (and in the book too echoes what many have said here about their own lives.  Actually, Cantstandit, you cut him more slack than he does. 

A few days ago I posted some excerpts from his interview with Larry King.  Here:
The transcript of Larry King's interview with McGreevey is up now...
King asked him about his experiences with women; McGreevey said that sure, they were pleasurable. He went on, in response to a followup question:


MCGREEVEY:  I mean like I not only didn't choose [homosexuality], I fought it every step of the way and, yes, I mean [straight sex is] pleasurable in that moment and it's pleasurable because frankly you take all these images from television, from reading about this is supposed to be pleasurable.But at some level there is like you know in your heart and your soul and your body that that's not -- that's not you. I'm not reacting to a woman the way my buddies did. I'm not reacting to girls. I mean I know that I'm gay.

Several times the issue of lying to oneself came up:

KING: Walking down the aisle first marriage. You feel "I shouldn't be doing this"?
MCGREEVEY: No. No. I wanted to do this. I wanted to get married. This is a beautiful woman, a great ceremony, a loving family. I got this thing beat.

There was also a moment oddly reminiscent of Ennis and Jack, when he spoke of his disastrous affair with Cipel
:

MCGREEVEY: Oh, yes. The crazy thing is we never discussed being gay. We never talked about it.
KING: It just happened one night?
MCGREEVEY: It happened but then even when you continue it, it's just like, you know, you're not admitting.
KING: You never said "I'm gay, you're gay" either?
MCGREEVEY: No.
KING: Never used the word?
MCGREEVEY: No, you never use the word. The word is something that's, you know...
KING: But you had relations?
MCGREEVEY: Oh, yes.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dback on September 27, 2006, 11:43:28 AM
Man, this is a tough one for me.

The guy messed up two marriages, and had two daughters, to prove his masculinity and heterosexuality.  He compromised his position by putting his male lover in a Homeland Security role for which he was probably unsuited.  Said lover claims that their relationship was about power, control, and harassment.  (Taken with a grain of salt, but still.)  Numerous people in his administration indicted for corruption.  He walks blithely away, meets an adorable Australian rich guy with a killer smile (who bears a passing resemblance to the lover who threw him over!), they move to a gorgeous house in the 'burbs, he gets a bestseller and an Advocate cover, and it's all Happily Ever After--aside from his shellshocked and betrayed wife, his administration left with a stain and in a shambles, etc.  (Not to mention all the gay teenagers and people who wanted to get married that he screwed over to preserve his reputation.)

And yet, seeing him on Larry King more than "The View" or "Oprah" (though Rosie was incredibly kind and gracious to him on "The View," helping him fend off some of Elizabeth's sharper jabs), when he was openly weeping as he recounted his life up till this point, I felt an incrediible wave of tenderness towards him.  I imagine growing up a nice Irish-Catholic boy in Jersey in the late sixties/early seventies must have been incredibly hard for him, especially as he seemed to suffer from the common gay man's syndrome of Best Little Boy In The World.  I want nothing for him but peace and happiness and true love since he's been denied all of them for so long.

However, I will be monitoring him very carefully over the next several years, and seeing if his compassionate, contrite rhetoric actually matches his deeds--working on behalf of gay teens, AIDS sufferers, marriage rights, non-discrimination, etc. will go a long way towards repairing his image for me as a narcissist who screwed up almost everything he touched for his own gain.  (After all, I bash George Bush for exhibiting the same qualities, but without the being-in-the-closet angle--although maybe you could compare McGreevy's coming out process to Bush's overcoming alcoholism and embracing religion, but that doesn't seem to have made him (Bush) any less of a lazy, smug, self-serving, incompetent jerkoff.  The same standard will hold for McGreevy.)  I don't plan on buying his book--he certainly doesn't seem to be hurting for money--but I would like to read it someday.

Ennis and Jack had their self-loathing issues and shock waves that reverberated through their families, but they were never in positions of authority and power.  Unfairly or no, such people who ask for the reins of power are held to a different standard.  (Quoth Cliff Robertson in "Spider-Man": "With great power comes great responsibility.")  I hope McGreevy uses his newfound power and responsibility wisely.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: andy/Claude on September 27, 2006, 12:36:07 PM
Hello all...first time in here ;D

I just watched the movie 'Home at the end of the world' and saw in the credits that it was based on a book. So, anyone wanna stick their head out and recommend or not??
Andy.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on September 27, 2006, 01:51:54 PM
Hello all...first time in here ;D

I just watched the movie 'Home at the end of the world' and saw in the credits that it was based on a book. So, anyone wanna stick their head out and recommend or not??
Andy.

Andy, I haven't read it, but Michael Cunningham is a very well received author.  He's the author of 'The Hours' (for which he wrote the Pulitzer Prize) as well as 'Home At The End of the World'.

I've just looked through various databases for reviews and when it came out (long before the film) Library Journal said "This well-written book has lots of good dialog and will appeal to readers who want something other than the tried and true bestseller"

If you read it let us know what you think - and welcome to this thread! 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: andy/Claude on September 27, 2006, 02:18:51 PM
Hello all...first time in here ;D

I just watched the movie 'Home at the end of the world' and saw in the credits that it was based on a book. So, anyone wanna stick their head out and recommend or not??
Andy.

Andy, I haven't read it, but Michael Cunningham is a very well received author.  He's the author of 'The Hours' (for which he wrote the Pulitzer Prize) as well as 'Home At The End of the World'.

I've just looked through various databases for reviews and when it came out (long before the film) Library Journal said "This well-written book has lots of good dialog and will appeal to readers who want something other than the tried and true bestseller"

If you read it let us know what you think - and welcome to this thread! 

Many thanx Michael...will do.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on September 27, 2006, 07:37:14 PM
Man, this is a tough one for me.

The guy messed up two marriages, and had two daughters, to prove his masculinity and heterosexuality...  (Not to mention the gay teenagers and people who wanted to get married that he screwed over to preserve his reputation.)..

However, I will be monitoring him very carefully over the next several years, and seeing if his compassionate, contrite rhetoric actually matches his deeds... I don't plan on buying his book--he certainly doesn't seem to be hurting for money--but I would like to read it someday.
Ennis and Jack had their self-loathing issues and shock waves that reverberated through their families, but they were never in positions of authority and power.  Unfairly or no, such people who ask for the reins of power are held to a different standard.  (Quoth Cliff Robertson in "Spider-Man": "With great power comes great responsibility.")  I hope McGreevy uses his newfound power and responsibility wisely.
I suppose I've become somewhat of a partisan here because, as I said, I think McGreevey's trying to be honest, and honest is a bloody hard thing to be. And, of course, his charm and the intelligence have come through in some interviews.     And then, I'm really disturbed by the spitefulness and dishonesty in a number of the articles on the book.  My impression is that people who hadn't read the thing simply parrotted criticism originating with other people who hadn't read it.   Real Fox News integrity on display  there - and the worst of it is, some of the writers were gay. (I don't think anything he says about the effect of his sexuality on his life hasn't been said by someone in the threads here.)  One astonishing canard is that there's not much about political corruption.  Huh!  The book could be subtitled How Things Work in New Jersey 101.  I don't know if politics got dirtier in McGreevey's administration, but it sure sounds like he bought into an existing system.  As a dedicated viewer of The Wire, and a reluctant viewer of our national government, I was unexpectedly interested in NJ's workaday chicanery.

I alluded to Our Boys only in context of that "Me neither" scene on the mountain; I thought it interesting that "the word" was never spoken by McGreevey and Cipel.  However, rightly or wrongly, (I lean toward the former) McGreevey was convinced that he couldn't have a successful political career if he were perceived as gay.   It was an abuse of authority- and an act of  besotted idiocy - to put Cipel in an ill-defined and overpaid job, but so far I haven't seen any other charges of lapses due to his sexuality.  Except for one abuse of power he admits to in the book, sleeping with a young campaign worker. A female.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: All4one on September 27, 2006, 08:13:21 PM
I appreciate your efforts to keep it fair, and so I have decided to  ( drumroll...) buy the book!   ;)

I was born and raised in Hudson County, New Jersey, so the 'How Things Work...' will fascinate. I grew up hearing stories about Mayor Frank " I am the law" Hague.

As for McGreevy, I still say 'self-serving'.  (But then, who isn't, after all? )  I don't admire his choices, because I agree 100% with dback's comment "  Unfairly or no, such people who ask for the reins of power are held to a different standard "
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dback on September 28, 2006, 12:05:30 PM
Well, thank you.  :)  And I should clarify: everything I've read about Cipel makes him sound like a manipulative troglodyte--I have no doubt that they had a consensual relationship.  However, I could see McGreevy trying to pull rank on Cipel at some point ("I gave you what you have, and I can take it away if you try to cross me"), which is where the trumped up "harassment" and "coercion" charges come from.  But McGreevy owns full responsibility for giving him that responsibility, and for behaving so stupidly (having state troopers guard their hotel room?).  Anyways.

"A Home At The End of the World" is in many ways my favorite Michael Cunningham novel--it's not as ambitious as "The Hours," but at the same time lacks that works somewhat overly formal, schematic structure.  And it's not the collossal downer that "Flesh and Blood" is.  However, the film version of "Home" shaved off the last couple chapters, which gives the novel an interesting spin towards its conclusion that the movie lacks--it just kind of dribbles away.  (Oh, this is the ending?)  Also, having Bobby as a narrator in the novel helps immensely, as onscreen--through no fault of Colin Farrell's sweet, committed performance--Bobby comes across as something of an enigmatic fantasy: the tough, cool, sexy loner boy who's straight with everyone EXCEPT his gay best friend.   Uh-huh.

However, props to the film for its exquisite use of music and some dead-on casting, especially Sissy Spacek and Robin Wright Penn, who marvellously embody ther characters.  However, I think Edward Norton should have played Jonathan--no offense to Dallas Roberts, but his corner of the triangle isn't as strong as the other two.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jayhill on September 28, 2006, 06:41:29 PM
I have just finished reading Jim McGreevey's "The Confession." At the most fundamental level I sympathize with (and even identify with) him. I think he had a lot to offer as a poliitical leader, and at the time there was no way he could achieve that if he were known to be gay. After completing the book though I am somewhat torn because---truth be told---he made a tad too many mistakes as governor. (I went back to the New York Times archives to research this further). Surely one of his vulnerabilites is that of questionable appointments. There were many of them, Golan Cipel being only the most notorious. I suspect the truth of their relationship lies somewhere between the two versions they present. Probably McGreevey saw it in more romantic terms, but it is hard to believe that Cipel played no voluntary role. At any rate the book is fascinating reading. (I lived in New Jersey at one time but had left by the time McGreevey became governor.)
Other recent books I have read:
"Terrorist" by John Updike: Be warned that if you are a fan of the "Rabbit" series, this one is quite different. It is a story of present day America as seen and interpreted by a young Arab American. It is compelling reading with a very suspenseful ending.
"Radical Innocent" by Anthony Arthur. This is slow reading at times but nevertheless a solid account of one of America's most fascinating authors and public figures, Upton Sinclair. Sinclair's most famous work was "The Jungle," a novel that exposed the
horrors of the meat packing industry of that day and a book that is credited with bringing about improvements in U.S. meat inspection. Sinclair was also a life-long socialist and this biography is very effective in laying out the details of his public career (as well as his unorthodox private life).
I am just starting Frank Rich's "The Greatest Story Ever Sold," but if it is anything like his Sunday columns in the NY Times I think I am sure to like it.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Sandy on September 28, 2006, 08:56:21 PM
Just finished Bill Buford's 'Heat'. It's nonfiction, a kitchen memoir by an editor at The New Yorker magazine who becomes a kitchen slave at one of Mario Batelli's restaurants then apprentices to a traditional butcher in the hills between Florence and Siena. It's not the best of its genre, but there are some amusing anecdotes and after reading it, you will be afraid of the seamy underbelly of New York restaurant kitchens. If you're not a foodie, wait by all means the for paperback (or the library).
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: CANSTANDIT on September 29, 2006, 07:28:46 PM
Man, this is a tough one for me.

The guy messed up two marriages, and had two daughters, to prove his masculinity and heterosexuality.  He compromised his position by putting his male lover in a Homeland Security role for which he was probably unsuited.  Said lover claims that their relationship was about power, control, and harassment.  (Taken with a grain of salt, but still.)  Numerous people in his administration indicted for corruption.  He walks blithely away, meets an adorable Australian rich guy with a killer smile (who bears a passing resemblance to the lover who threw him over!), they move to a gorgeous house in the 'burbs, he gets a bestseller and an Advocate cover, and it's all Happily Ever After--aside from his shellshocked and betrayed wife, his administration left with a stain and in a shambles, etc.  (Not to mention all the gay teenagers and people who wanted to get married that he screwed over to preserve his reputation.)

And yet, seeing him on Larry King more than "The View" or "Oprah" (though Rosie was incredibly kind and gracious to him on "The View," helping him fend off some of Elizabeth's sharper jabs), when he was openly weeping as he recounted his life up till this point, I felt an incrediible wave of tenderness towards him.  I imagine growing up a nice Irish-Catholic boy in Jersey in the late sixties/early seventies must have been incredibly hard for him, especially as he seemed to suffer from the common gay man's syndrome of Best Little Boy In The World.  I want nothing for him but peace and happiness and true love since he's been denied all of them for so long.

However, I will be monitoring him very carefully over the next several years, and seeing if his compassionate, contrite rhetoric actually matches his deeds--working on behalf of gay teens, AIDS sufferers, marriage rights, non-discrimination, etc. will go a long way towards repairing his image for me as a narcissist who screwed up almost everything he touched for his own gain.  (After all, I bash George Bush for exhibiting the same qualities, but without the being-in-the-closet angle--although maybe you could compare McGreevy's coming out process to Bush's overcoming alcoholism and embracing religion, but that doesn't seem to have made him (Bush) any less of a lazy, smug, self-serving, incompetent jerkoff.  The same standard will hold for McGreevy.)  I don't plan on buying his book--he certainly doesn't seem to be hurting for money--but I would like to read it someday.

Ennis and Jack had their self-loathing issues and shock waves that reverberated through their families, but they were never in positions of authority and power.  Unfairly or no, such people who ask for the reins of power are held to a different standard.  (Quoth Cliff Robertson in "Spider-Man": "With great power comes great responsibility.")  I hope McGreevy uses his newfound power and responsibility wisely.
Great post.... :)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rich on October 03, 2006, 11:13:56 PM
(This thread is a bit old, but I recently discovered and joined this discussion forum, and wanted to comment.)
Anyway, re the Messud book:  every excerpt I've read of it gives me the same reaction. It's just awful
writing, and it's depressing that so many people regard that kind of prose as great writing. One paragraph
from the first page:

Two men bearing bottles emerged from the candlelit gloom of the dining room, both
slender, both at first glance slightly fey. Danielle took the imposing one in front, in a pressed
lavender shirt and with, above hooded eyes, a high, smooth Nabokovian brow, to be her
host. She extended a hand. "I'm Danielle." His fingers were elegant, and his palm, when
it pressed hers, was cool.


The ham-fisted insinuation that the hired help are gay ("slightly fey"), the marquee-value
literary name-dropping ("Nabokovian"), and the temperature of a received handshake?
This is not Martin Amis or Zadie Smith - more like Barbara Cartland or bad Masterpiece
Theatre.  Incidentally, I think the Times book reviews are becoming really inconsistent in the last
few years in their general standards - I see a lot of guest reviewers doing reviews that
read like they were phoned-in.

My all-time favorite writer, Anton Chekhov, was brilliant in how he conveyed so much
emotional richness with a great economy of style. (Read any of the mid-period short
stories, e.g. "The Lady with the Little Dog", or read Janet Malcolm's excellent introduction
"Reading Chekhov".) Annie Proulx occasionally over-writes a bit for my taste,
but generally she does know how to convey her characters very, very well.  (Brokeback
Mountain is the most powerful story in that collection because
she gets to the interior topography of Ennis & Jack, and not so much in the other
stories' characters.)


Any one checked out "Claire Messud's remarkable new novel The Emperor's Children" yet? The quoted part is the opening phrase from Slate's review. I also heard a gushing review on (i think) Fresh Air, and it's from Knopf and it was #3 on Amazon yesterday, it's second day of release. Apparently it's the current hot great book, and I've been itching for a good read, so I walked to Tattered Cover to check it out, naively as always, assuming I had a real treat ahead of me.
 
I actually was in a really upbeat mood and was planning to give it at least a chapter, and wasn't even going to stop to assess the first sentence, but it was a little hard to get past this one without a mild shudder. It was "Darlings!" I mention that mostly because I did complete the first chapter, and it was highly indicative of what was to come. At least she didn't spell it "Dahlings!," though that is the type of character in question. Sort of a dramatic older woman who's a patron of the arts and envions herself as Auntie Mame, or maybe Debbie Reynolds playing an artsy woman trying to impersonate Ethyl Merman in a sitcom. In the second sentence she cries out for "More wine!" and the narrator describes her as looking like a baby seal. This kind of charicature is considered literary now? (The rest of Slate's first sentence was ". . . that mythical hybrid that publishers dream of one day finding in the piles of manuscripts on their desks: a literary page-turner.") http://www.slate.com/id/2148347/
 
The first few pages dripped with these interminable gushy descriptions of every physical object and body part or piece of clothing, all delivered in a haughty voice that came from the omniscient narrator, but sounded like they could have come from the Dahlings character. 
 
Revolting. True, it was less than a ten-page chapter, but there were I think three different breaks to different scenes, with somewhat different perspectives, and they all continued that gushy/haughty voice and the approach that seems to suggest over-describing every visual equals literary. In what world?
 
I'm appalled. Do I read more to determine whether the lit world is as fucked up as I think it is, or quit wasting my time? The latter, I think, but what the fuck?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on October 05, 2006, 12:20:48 PM
Rich said:
Quote
The ham-fisted insinuation that the hired help are gay ("slightly fey"), the marquee-value
literary name-dropping ("Nabokovian"), and the temperature of a received handshake?
This is not Martin Amis or Zadie Smith - more like Barbara Cartland or bad Masterpiece
Theatre.  Incidentally, I think the Times book reviews are becoming really inconsistent in the last
few years in their general standards - I see a lot of guest reviewers doing reviews that
read like they were phoned-in.

Uh, is there any possibility this could be a parody?  If it isn't, every adolescent writing execrable romantic fan fiction should immediately ferret out the name of this person's agent.

Dback, re the McGreevey book, a couple of reviewers have finally stopped looking for the sexual dirty bits (there aren't any) and paid some attention to the political dirty bits, which are plentiful and appalling.  And painfully instructive.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dback on October 06, 2006, 12:49:13 PM
I dunno, those quotes McGreevy read on the air about his first time making love with Golan Cipel were pretty steamy--not in a sexually explicit way, more in an emotionally naked way.  I felt like I was right there in the bedroom with them, even without a blow-by-blow (excuse me) description.  :)

I would definitely be interested in the behind-the-scenes Machiavellian doings that make up modern politics, but it'd probably depress me--I'm pretty guileless sometimes.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: IcySparks on October 08, 2006, 04:13:50 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am currently reading The Ruins by Scott Smith, his much-anticipated follow-up to his debut smash A Simple Plan. I purchased the book to read on my trip (as the novel is set in Mexico), but I didn't have time to read it while in Mexico!!!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dback on October 10, 2006, 06:16:46 PM
Heard that's a very disturbing book--almost as much so as the new Chuck P. book.  (Can't spell his last name--the one who wrote "Fight Club.")  "The Road" is getting great reviews but is also supposedly a real downer--not just sickeningly tense and gripping, but also heartbreaking.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Casper on October 13, 2006, 11:34:35 AM
"Double Crossed"   Author:  Kenneth Briggs    2006

I just finished this book which reiterates how nuns have been short changed by Vatican II and are now dwindling in numbers and many retirees are struggling to survive on a pittance.  It was amazing how 185,000 nuns existed during the 50's.  The author interviewed many progressive nuns in researching this book as well as some conservative ones. 

It is hypocritical that Vatican II did not allow any nuns to suggest change. It was only at the final stages when a handful of nuns were admitted but were told they had to remain silent.  When reading this book, you will witness how many Bishops and Cardinals held steadfast to the way of the male only hierarchy and would put the nuns in their place when the nuns were asking for equality in the Church.

Some of the reasons are explored why so many nuns dropped out of the Orders over the past couple of decades.  It seems the trouble began when the nuns lost the prestige they had up to Vatican II.  The nuns believed they held a special holy place as the "Brides of Christ" but their balloon burst when Vatican II said holiness speaks for everyone in the Catholic Church and everyone is equal in the path to holiness.  The Feminist movement caused a stir and there were Cardinals denouncing any nun's plea for ordination to priesthood as a "radical feminist." 

Vatican II did urge the nuns to get out into the world and they began participating for social justice.  However, there is a "Frankenstein" element that backfired on the Vatican because the structures of the religious orders began to mature with many of the nuns wanting independence from wearing habits, no longer having to answer to a Mother Superior, and having to live in a convent.

I did find "Double Crossed" to be redundant at times because it's popular opinion that nuns are second class citizens by not being allowed to become priests and that the Vatican still adheres to the medieval belief that the priesthood is reserved only to males.  The important lesson to learn from "Double Crossed" is that the reader will feel the conspiracy once again that the Vatican is out to get those "radical feminist" nuns. 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on October 13, 2006, 12:11:45 PM
"Double Crossed"   Author:  Kenneth Briggs    2006

Fascinating Casper!  I just had a woman (I believe an ex-nun) put this on hold through me at the library.  I'll have to give it a look.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on October 13, 2006, 08:57:36 PM
"Double Crossed"   Author:  Kenneth Briggs    2006

Fascinating Casper!  I just had a woman (I believe an ex-nun) put this on hold through me at the library.  I'll have to give it a look.

Whoa, who is Kenneth Briggs -- I've known a number of nuns who have left their orders, but not all for these reasons you mention.  I'd like some background on Briggs Michael if you can research!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on October 13, 2006, 09:29:55 PM
"Double Crossed"   Author:  Kenneth Briggs    2006

Fascinating Casper!  I just had a woman (I believe an ex-nun) put this on hold through me at the library.  I'll have to give it a look.

Whoa, who is Kenneth Briggs -- I've known a number of nuns who have left their orders, but not all for these reasons you mention.  I'd like some background on Briggs Michael if you can research!

Of course Nikki:

Here's something I found online:

http://www.beliefnet.com/author/author_33.html

This is from Contemporary Authors:

Family: Born April 8, 1941, in Gardner, Mass
Education: Bowdoin College, A.B., 1963; Yale University, B.D., 1967. Memberships:
Religion Newswriters Association, Alpha Delta Phi.
Supple Memorial Award from Religion Newswriters Association, 1972.
Ordained Methodist minister, 1967; assistant pastor of United Methodist church in Hempstead, N.Y., 1967-69; Newsday, Garden City, N.Y., religion writer, 1970-74; New York Times, New York, N.Y., religion writer, 1974--.


Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on October 14, 2006, 11:21:10 AM
Dirt Music by Tim Winton
I'll admit up front that I picked it up because I had heard rumors that Heath had signed on to star in a film version.  :D
That said I enjoyed it a lot.  I'd never read anything by this author before so I had no idea what to expect.  It takes place in a small town in Western Australia.  The two protagonists are Georgie Jutland, a relatively wealthy fortysomething drifter with a drinking problem who  lives with the biggest fisherman in town and acts as step mother to his kids, and Luther Fox, a poor, brooding, grieving poacher (a most reviled 'profession' in this area).

I fell in love with these two characters, both damaged in their own way as they connected and parted.  I found Winton's prose compelling and beautiful, putting me right in Western Australia even though I've never been there.

I highly recommend this book.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on October 14, 2006, 12:01:41 PM
Gonna join us in discussion in the book club if we select this one in the future Mary?

Dirt Music by Tim Winton
I'll admit up front that I picked it up because I had heard rumors that Heath had signed on to star in a film version.  :D
That said I enjoyed it a lot.  I'd never read anything by this author before so I had no idea what to expect.  It takes place in a small town in Western Australia.  The two protagonists are Georgie Jutland, a relatively wealthy fortysomething drifter with a drinking problem who  lives with the biggest fisherman in town and acts as step mother to his kids, and Luther Fox, a poor, brooding, grieving poacher (a most reviled 'profession' in this area).

I fell in love with these two characters, both damaged in their own way as they connected and parted.  I found Winton's prose compelling and beautiful, putting me right in Western Australia even though I've never been there.

I highly recommend this book.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on October 14, 2006, 05:08:42 PM
"Double Crossed"   Author:  Kenneth Briggs    2006

Fascinating Casper!  I just had a woman (I believe an ex-nun) put this on hold through me at the library.  I'll have to give it a look.

Whoa, who is Kenneth Briggs -- I've known a number of nuns who have left their orders, but not all for these reasons you mention.  I'd like some background on Briggs Michael if you can research!

Of course Nikki:

Here's something I found online:

http://www.beliefnet.com/author/author_33.html

This is from Contemporary Authors:

Family: Born April 8, 1941, in Gardner, Mass
Education: Bowdoin College, A.B., 1963; Yale University, B.D., 1967. Memberships:
Religion Newswriters Association, Alpha Delta Phi.
Supple Memorial Award from Religion Newswriters Association, 1972.
Ordained Methodist minister, 1967; assistant pastor of United Methodist church in Hempstead, N.Y., 1967-69; Newsday, Garden City, N.Y., religion writer, 1970-74; New York Times, New York, N.Y., religion writer, 1974--.




Thanks a lot Michael -- another book for my overloaded bookcases!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on October 14, 2006, 05:11:32 PM
Dirt Music by Tim Winton
I'll admit up front that I picked it up because I had heard rumors that Heath had signed on to star in a film version.  :D
That said I enjoyed it a lot.  I'd never read anything by this author before so I had no idea what to expect.  It takes place in a small town in Western Australia.  The two protagonists are Georgie Jutland, a relatively wealthy fortysomething drifter with a drinking problem who  lives with the biggest fisherman in town and acts as step mother to his kids, and Luther Fox, a poor, brooding, grieving poacher (a most reviled 'profession' in this area).

I fell in love with these two characters, both damaged in their own way as they connected and parted.  I found Winton's prose compelling and beautiful, putting me right in Western Australia even though I've never been there.

I highly recommend this book.

Mary, this sounds great -- Heath in a film version!!!  Got to read this one -- thanks for the info!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on October 14, 2006, 05:50:43 PM
Gonna join us in discussion in the book club if we select this one in the future Mary? [

Would love to.  I have to add that I wondered after reading the extensive internal dialog in the book how it would work as a film, but I certainly enjoyed reading it.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: ImEnnisShesJack on October 17, 2006, 07:41:21 AM
Just finished "Are you in the house alone" - the Andrea Yates book.  Blech. Amazing how the health system failed her and her children miserably.  That woman should have been locked up YEARS before she killed those kids.

And started to read Andrew McGreevey's book - but basically teh first page told the whole story. lol. 

Am going to read the "John Kordic Story" next.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on October 17, 2006, 01:22:32 PM
I dunno, those quotes McGreevy read on the air about his first time making love with Golan Cipel were pretty steamy--not in a sexually explicit way, more in an emotionally naked way.  I felt like I was right there in the bedroom with them, even without a blow-by-blow (excuse me) description.  :)

I would definitely be interested in the behind-the-scenes Machiavellian doings that make up modern politics, but it'd probably depress me--I'm pretty guileless sometimes.

McGreevy was just in SF talking about the Golan heights (and depths):

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/10/17/DDGB8LPA5F1.DTL
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on October 17, 2006, 02:19:11 PM
Just finished "Are you in the house alone" - the Andrea Yates book.  Blech. Amazing how the health system failed her and her children miserably.  That woman should have been locked up YEARS before she killed those kids.

And started to read Andrew McGreevey's book - but basically teh first page told the whole story. lol.
...

Re Yates
:  locked up?  Or do you mean "treated"?   And, needless to say, that strangely affectless husband should damn well have been using condoms. I don't plan to read the book, but there was plenty of factual information available - though not necessarily via such commentators as Nancy Grace! 
 
I expect you mean "Jim McGreevey's book," right?  Because if so, the first page is considerably less than the whole story.  The relationship with Cipel is the least interesting and least instructional part of the book.  Unless, that is, one isn't interested in the workings of political power and political corruption, and the parallel story of what can happen when a particular kind of upbringing and environment coupled with homosexuality collide with (legitimate) ambition. I'm agnostic myself, but a lot of people raised in a rigid faith and culture need some substitute when they lose their place in these. I've known a couple of people in similar circumstances (not public scandals, just emotional and intellectual torment), and consequently don't have trouble accepting his continuing reliance on religion.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dback on October 17, 2006, 02:31:54 PM
Once a nice Irish Catholic boy (guilt-ridden, obsessed with perfection and achievement, the carnal Fall and the spiritual Resurrection via God's grace), always a nice Irish Catholic boy.  :) 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Casper on October 17, 2006, 03:12:02 PM
The Theocons         Author:  Damon Linker    2006

I just finished this book that exposes the political philosophies of the religious right who are described as “theocons.”  The book's author, Damon Linker, worked for the theocon magazine, FIRST THINGS, but recently quit when he could no longer cope with their narrow-minded agenda.

When you read this book, you will be introduced to Richard John Neuhaus who is the founder of “First Things.”  He along with Michael Novak, George Weigel and other political activists advocate the belief that liberal secularism is an intrinsic evil espoused by a minority of intellectuals that do not represent the Catholic-Christian majority . In fact, many of these theocons want the ideas of conservative Catholicism incorporated into the government.   It is their manifest destiny that Islam must be crushed because Islam wants to take over the United States, so, it’s an either them or us situation.

Richard John Neuhaus was a leftist radical during the 60’s who later switched to become a theocon because he was dissatisfied with the Roe v. Wade decision.  He was ordained a Lutheran minister but later converted to Catholicism and is now a priest.  He met with President Bush and gave him advice before sending troops to Afghanistan.  He told Bush about the evils of Islam and helped persuade the President that it was a moral Christian duty to dethrone Saddam Hussein.

Richard John Neuhaus is a strong foe toward same-sex marriage and it is his belief that a constitutional amendment is needed to thwart activist judges from allowing them.  It was ironic how Neuhaus took up for the Supreme Court when the 5-4 decision came down that settled the 2000 election in favor of Bush.

George Weigel was adamant with Lawrence vs. Texas and feels that the Supreme Court was wrong with doing away with the anti-sodomy laws that were still on the books in some states.  George Weigel feels that the public has the right to recoil from something they are repulsed with.

The theocons are also against stem cell research, against any type of family structure that goes against the traditional type, many, but not all, are against birth control, etc.

Damon Linker warns that even if the Democrats should capture the White House in 2008, don’t be complacent.  The theocons will still be around.

 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: ImEnnisShesJack on October 17, 2006, 06:09:03 PM
Re Yates:  locked up?  Or do you mean "treated"?   And, needless to say, that strangely affectless husband should damn well have been using condoms. I don't plan to read the book, but there was plenty of factual information available - though not necessarily via such commentators as Nancy Grace! 

treated or whatever.  She shouldn't have been unmedicated and I really don't think she should have been out on the streets.  IF that meant being locked up and given IV meds while in restraints then so be it.  Her level of psychosis was absolutely amazing.  The worst of it is the book shows how badly the system failed her and subsequently her children.  Her husband was less than effective, but he did make [feeble] attempts at helping her.  Homeschooling and constantly impregnating her weren't part of the solution.
 
Quote
I expect you mean "Jim McGreevey's book," right?  Because if so, the first page is considerably less than the whole story. 

Sorry merged  Father Andrew Greeley and Jim McGreevey in my head...

I was exaggerating the point about McGreevey's book...I guess I was expecting a different approach and insight than what he offered. :-[
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on October 17, 2006, 07:58:38 PM
Once a nice Irish Catholic boy (guilt-ridden, obsessed with perfection and achievement, the carnal Fall and the spiritual Resurrection via God's grace), always a nice Irish Catholic boy.  :) 
Yes; afraid so.  I was a bit saddened, but not surprised, that he's been attending an Episcopal church. The rituals, the drama, the theater of high-church Episcopalianism might offer a comforting familiarity - but I fear that denomination has been losing its urbanity because of its own fundamentalists.    Well: I hope the Aussie boyfriend teaches him how to laugh, as well as to make love with joy! 

ImJackshesEnnis, I didn't realize that -  except for her post-partum depressions - Yates was any loonier than your average submissive wife in a somewhat extremist religious group.  It wouldn't be the first time a lot was omitted from the news stories.  I'll have to look up some reviews of the book.

Casper, there must be some uneasy relations between the Catholic neo-cons you describe and the Protestant fundamentalists.  Presumably they'd be allies on most of the social issues, except that the most far-out fundamentalists welcome middle east warfare (and are therefore passionate supporters of Israel) because they're really keen on Armageddon. The sooner the better.

ETA: I followed through and found an interesting interview with Susan O'Malley, author of the Yates book, here:http://www.bookreporter.com/authors/au-omalley-suzanne.asp.  In the course of it she pretty well summarizes what she'd written.  (And Simon & Schuster reprints the first chapter on their e-book website - O'Mally's a good writer, isn't she.)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: All4one on October 18, 2006, 04:10:43 PM
[ I didn't realize that - except for her post-partum depressions - Yates was any loonier than your average submissive wife in a somewhat extremist religious group. It wouldn't be the first time a lot was omitted from the news stories. I'll have to look up some reviews of the book.

[ETA: I followed through and found an interesting interview with Susan O'Malley, author of the Yates book, here:http://www.bookreporter.com/authors/au-omalley-suzanne.asp. In the course of it she pretty well summarizes what she'd written. (And Simon & Schuster reprints the first chapter on their e-book website - O'Mally's a good writer, isn't she.)

Wouldn't we say, once it became clear that she had killed 5 children, that she certainly was loonier than the average submissive wife in a somewhat extremist religious group?

Thanks for the link to the book. I read the interview.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on October 18, 2006, 06:12:34 PM
[ I didn't realize that - except for her post-partum depressions - Yates was any loonier than your average submissive wife in a somewhat extremist religious group. It wouldn't be the first time a lot was omitted from the news stories. I'll have to look up some reviews of the book.



Wouldn't we say, once it became clear that she had killed 5 children, that she certainly was loonier than the average submissive wife in a somewhat extremist religious group?
...

I'm curious.  What do you think I meant by the phrase "except for her post-partum depressions"?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: All4one on October 18, 2006, 10:37:02 PM
I know you choose your words with care. I did register the phrase "except for her post-partum depressions".

Maybe all I wanted to express was that's an important 'except'. Post-partum depression, post-partum psychosis, psychotic episode - whatever caused her behavior that morning, the children are dead.

But I suppose you were suggesting that they should never have left her alone with the children. I agree.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on October 19, 2006, 12:33:19 AM
I loved Katz's "Gay American History" when it came out - it was a milestone book for me and opened my eyes to the notion that a lot of behavior just wasn't 'seen' in earlier days (as you say).  This sounds very interesting to me as well.

Have you by any chance read John D'Emilio's "Intimate matters : a history of sexuality in America"?  I wonder how these two books would compare?

I've just about finished Jonathan Ned Katz's Love Stories - Sex Between Men Before Homosexuality. It's an excellent read. He focuses on the second half of the 19th Century in the USA, though he addresses some earlier history, and does cover England's John Addington Symonds because he's linked to Walt Whitman.
...

It's been a while - but I got hold of a copy and I can answer with "Yes."  (Paperback edition, 1988, Intimate Matters, A History of Sexuality in America, by D'Emilio & Freedman.)  Comparison?  Katz could have taken all his points from this book, and then done the research to document them more fully from many sources.  Not to denigrate the Katz book, but I found  Intimate Matters the better read simply because of its broader scope.  Thanks for introducing me to it; a good read.  (If anybody else is interested in reading it, there were several used copies available via Internet.)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on October 19, 2006, 11:19:29 AM
I've just about finished Jonathan Ned Katz's Love Stories - Sex Between Men Before Homosexuality. It's an excellent read. He focuses on the second half of the 19th Century in the USA, though he addresses some earlier history, and does cover England's John Addington Symonds because he's linked to Walt Whitman.
...

I loved Katz's "Gay American History" when it came out - it was a milestone book for me and opened my eyes to the notion that a lot of behavior just wasn't 'seen' in earlier days (as you say).  This sounds very interesting to me as well.

Have you by any chance read John D'Emilio's "Intimate matters : a history of sexuality in America"?  I wonder how these two books would compare?

It's been a while - but I got hold of a copy and I can answer with "Yes."  (Paperback edition, 1988, Intimate Matters, A History of Sexuality in America, by D'Emilio & Freedman.)  Comparison?  Katz could have taken all his points from this book, and then done the research to document them more fully from many sources.  Not to denigrate the Katz book, but I found  Intimate Matters the better read simply because of its broader scope.  Thanks for introducing me to it; a good read.  (If anybody else is interested in reading it, there were several used copies available via Internet.)

 :D  I have it sitting right next to me on the floor here!  When some of the discussion about Stonewall and who participated broke out (and yes, I cleaned that up a bit) I grabbed that off my library shelves as well as 'Stonewall' by Martin Duberman and 'Wide Open Town: a history of Queer San Francisco to 1965'.  All three are fascinating - 'Stonewall' actually does oral histories of the participants in the riots and shows how what they were doing in the 60s led up to it and 'Wide Open Town' talks a lot about the various cultures that existed in San Francisco WAY before this (like the lesbian history of North Beach from the 30s to the 50s!!!).
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on October 19, 2006, 05:00:42 PM
Michaelflanagansf said, of Intimate Matters:
Quote
I have it sitting right next to me on the floor here!  When some of the discussion about Stonewall and who participated broke out (and yes, I cleaned that up a bit) I grabbed that off my library shelves as well as 'Stonewall' by Martin Duberman and 'Wide Open Town: a history of Queer San Francisco to 1965'.  All three are fascinating - 'Stonewall' actually does oral histories of the participants in the riots and shows how what they were doing in the 60s led up to it and 'Wide Open Town' talks a lot about the various cultures that existed in San Francisco WAY before this (like the lesbian history of North Beach from the 30s to the 50s!!!).

You know, last night I didn't think to check the Katz book to see if he acknowledged Intimate Matters.  I did so a while ago: he lists it in his bibliography with many, many other sources.  I also forgot to ask if you've read it yourself, and what impression you had.  As I said, it struck me as an amplification (and a fascinating one) of the points made by D'Emelio and Freedman.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dback on October 19, 2006, 05:36:21 PM
Different authors have different "takes" on the Stonewall riots.  One bunch pretty much acknowledges it as the start of the modern gay rights movement and history, but others--especially left coast writers--take great pains to point out the gay communities that existed in L.A. and San Francisco, especially in the post-war years of 1945-1965.  (Ethan Mordden's "How Long Has This Been Going On?" is very ambitious in that respect, in that it hopscotches around the country over 40-some years of gay history in different cities.)

Other authors get very bent out of shape at even the suggestion that Garland's death had anything to do with the riots.  I don't think she was THE instigator, but I think the mood in the bar and among a lot of gay people was due to her death.  To completely disavow that fact smacks of internalized homophobia to me in some ways.  (Also, by emphasizing the Mattachine society and whatnot, it's easier for writers to ignore the drag queens and "lowlifes" that made Stonewall happen.)  I think the movie version is a truly outstanding shorthand guide for folks who want to bone up on gay history, and while Guillermo Diaz and Frederick Weller are very good, Duane Boutte as Bostonia is breathtaking.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: annabel on October 22, 2006, 05:20:21 AM
"For One More Day" by Mitch Albom.  Actually it sucked and I don't recommend it.  His last book "The Five People you Meet in Heaven sucked, too.  "Tuesdays with Morrie" was lovely, though, that's why I keep giving him another chance.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on October 22, 2006, 11:27:39 PM
"For One More Day" by Mitch Albom.  Actually it sucked and I don't recommend it. 
OK so I am following you around annabel!  I have to say that this really cracked me up!  Thanks for the review! I will refrain from buying it the next time I am browsing the bookstore!  ;)  I did just buy The Faith Club.  I am not religious but I am very interested in religion.  The book was written by 3 women from different faiths (Christian, Jewish and Muslim). They discuss very intimately their differences.  I haven't started it yet but it looked interesting---and it was mismarked at Borders so I got it for $7.99 instead of $24.99!!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on October 23, 2006, 07:19:55 PM
I'm really interested in reading Sam Harris new book 'Letter To A Christian Nation'.  I loved, loved, loved 'The End of Faith'.

Oh!  And go vote in the book club:

http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=14735.0
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on October 25, 2006, 12:04:56 AM
I'm really interested in reading Sam Harris new book 'Letter To A Christian Nation'.  I loved, loved, loved 'The End of Faith'.

Oh!  And go vote in the book club:

http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=14735.0
OK that does it!  I AM going to read 'The End of Faith' it's been sitting next to my bed for months.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on October 30, 2006, 07:43:43 PM
Yeah Mary, loved 'End of Faith'.  It even got me to read 'Our Final Hour' by Martin Rees (which he quotes a bit from in his book).

Okay, on my recent trip down to LowCal I listened to Kathy Reichs 'Fatal Voyage' and loved it!!!  I didn't realize till I got back that it is the same character that the 'Bones' TV show is based on (Doh!).  Great book, spooky and forensic - a perfect book on CD!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Casper on November 07, 2006, 09:14:42 AM
The Confession
Author:  James E. McGreevey with David France
Date Published:  2006

I just finished reading this book and I have a good understanding of the contrasting personalities of James McGreevey, former Governor of New Jersey who resigned on August 12, 2004.   He had a battle with mental perdition that finally begged for therapy treatment at The Meadows in Wickenburg, Arizona.  His therapy began with instructions on finding the “inner child” and talking to this inner child as an adult.  James was hesitant with this therapy because he had doubts, but he later found it rewarding.  He had to write down traumatic incidents that happened to him during his childhood.  With talking about these incidents, a major obstacle could gradually be lifted.   James McGreevey basically had two motivating personalities that clashed with each other:  his secret homosexuality and his power struggle to be the perfect politician and putting himself so high on a pedestal that he worked 24/7 to achieve these goals even if it meant putting his family on the back burner.  This therapy at The Meadows changed James.  He now is no longer obsessed with this power ego he so rigidly adhered to in the past and he now has a loving soul mate, Mark O’Donell. James McGreevey has fully accepted his gay lifestyle.

I learned from reading this book that the former Governor of New Jersey was named after his Uncle, James E. McGreevey, who was a Marine who died at Iwo Jima at only 19.

The main reason I like this biography is that a man faced his mind demons head-on.   I like the guy and I wish him happiness in whatever he pursues.

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on November 14, 2006, 05:17:31 PM
The Confession
Author:  James E. McGreevey with David France
Date Published:  2006

I just finished reading this book and I have a good understanding of the contrasting personalities of James McGreevey, former Governor of New Jersey who resigned on August 12, 2004.  ...  I like the guy and I wish him happiness in whatever he pursues.



Same here, Casper.  And there's an interesting hour-plus discussion between him and Andrew Sullivan about the book.  Sullivan is so articulate and mentally agile that it's hard for him not to take over, but McGreevey (who's seemed a bit uptight every time I've seen him in interviews) loosens up a bit during the course of their talk.  I loved it!

http://www.booktv.org/feature/index.asp?segid=7530&schedID=457
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: andy/Claude on November 21, 2006, 09:28:06 AM
Just read Tab Hunter's bio. Not earth shattering but interesting for movie buffs I suppose. Details of his own thoughts and experiences are conspicuous by their absence. Got the impression that he was more of an Ennis than a Jack...... somewhere between the two.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on November 21, 2006, 10:45:51 AM
In the midst of the book club book I've been reading bits of a fascinating book 'Wide Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965'.  Among the fascinating things I've learned is that North Beach had up to 7 lesbian bars in it at a time from 1930-1950 (San Francisco only has 2 lesbian bars now) and that North Beach was considered the lesbian neighborhood back then.  Also, the first gay bar here opened in 1907, the year after the earthquake.

Each chapter in the book starts out with an interview - and the chapter on drag has a fascinating interview with Jose Saria (the Empress Norton) who performed at the Black Cat in the 50s and was the first openly gay person to run for office (in 1961).

The drag chapter talks about how crossdressers used to perform in vaudeville acts that often had (erm) 'ladies of the night' plying their trade in the audience - and that the drag performers often modeled their costumes after them.  Apparently there was a great deal of 'cross-pollination' between these groups.  I've always wondered how 'gay' came to me homosexual (it originally meant 'loose' when referring to women - as in 'gay girls') and this seems as likely a place for the crossover to have occured as any.

Oh, btw, the reason it ends in 1965 is that there was a large New Years Ball for the Council on Religion and the Homosexual that was raided by police - and the people who were arrested were defended by religious leaders (!!!) and the ACLU.  The authors consider it the beginning of the modern era here.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dback on November 23, 2006, 12:20:49 AM
Just read Tab Hunter's bio. Not earth shattering but interesting for movie buffs I suppose. Details of his own thoughts and experiences are conspicuous by their absence. Got the impression that he was more of an Ennis than a Jack...... somewhere between the two.

There's more about Hunter's relationship with Anthony Perkins in the Perkins bio "Split Image."  They definitely seemed to have a "Brokeback" dynamic in some ways, with Hunter being more guarded/closed off and Perkins being the one who was more romantic and intense.  (When a studio head threatened Perkins at one point over the affair with Hunter, Perkins looked him square in the eye and said, with typical Aries-like forthrightness, "But I love him!")  I don't know what Hunter liked romantically/sexually, but Perkins in his youth apparently liked to be dominated/wrestled into submission and held down/embraced very tightly, achieving orgasm via frottage.  Later in life he was rumored to be kinkier; again, not sure about Hunter.  Will read the book someday.

Speaking of McGreevy, Golan Cipel gave a TV interview this week.  Did anyone see/hear about it?  He apparently walked the interviewer through the house and bedroom where he and McGreevy were intimate for the first time.  McGreevy describes this in his book as an incredibly passionate, masculine, joyful experience for physical, emotional and spiritual connection; Cipel describes it as basically McGreevy attempting to nearly rape him and blackmail him, and gets teary recalling it.  Bizarre, bizarre.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on November 23, 2006, 10:18:08 PM
...
Speaking of McGreevy, Golan Cipel gave a TV interview this week.  Did anyone see/hear about it?  He apparently walked the interviewer through the house and bedroom where he and McGreevy were intimate for the first time.  McGreevy describes this in his book as an incredibly passionate, masculine, joyful experience for physical, emotional and spiritual connection; Cipel describes it as basically McGreevy attempting to nearly rape him and blackmail him, and gets teary recalling it.  Bizarre, bizarre.

That was news to me, so I gave his name to Google news and there's quite a spate of stories!  Perhaps the most fruitful site is this one, since it includes clips from the interview:
http://wcbstv.com/seenat11/local_story_326200248.html
 He manages to sound so maidenly, evoking every dubious claim of sexual harassment I've ever encountered.  Well, maybe he's working on a deal with Regan Books...  Perhaps I'm being unfair to him - but thank you for the amusement!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dback on November 24, 2006, 11:42:49 PM
Shades of Whoopi Goldberg imitating Jessica Hahn in an 1989 interview (weepy, little-girl voice): "Jim Baker...he ravaged me.  Then he ravaged me some more.  Then he did it again.  Then he left me alone in the hotel room for three hours.  And when he came back, he ravaged me some more--"

(Here Goldberg reverts to her normal voice, but as an indignant scream):

"When he CAME BACK?!?!?!  Bitch, what the hell were you still doing in the hotel room!!!????!!" 

Yeah. Cipel couldn't have been too "traumatized" by the whole experience, as he stuck around for another year or two, and kept going on long overnight trips with McGreevy. 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: ImEnnisShesJack on November 25, 2006, 06:03:41 PM
Dave has an important announcement about the forum, which he asks all members to read:

http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=18085.msg602098#msg602098

We have set up a thread to discuss the situation. That discussion thread is linked from the post directly below the message from Dave. Follow the above link and you'll get to both.

Thanks
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on December 01, 2006, 07:52:59 PM
Hey dback and Castro - did you see this?

http://dwb.heraldonline.com/24hour/politics/story/3435262p-12601625c.html

I'm beginning to think that Cipel is bat**** crazy.  The only question I have is when is he going to come out with his own book?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dback on December 02, 2006, 09:00:37 PM
And Cipel thought that MCGREEVY was in denial?!?!?!!

McGreevy is no saint, but he's been a helluvva lot more forthcoming and gut-wrenchingly honest than Cipel has.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: IcySparks on December 13, 2006, 06:43:22 PM
Perfume by Patrick Suskind... I'm looking forward to seeing the upcoming movie version of this classic novel...
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: brokebacktom on December 13, 2006, 08:53:49 PM
I'm reading PASSION FOR ISLAM by Caryle Murphy. It depicts the rise of extreme islamists in Egypt. Its quite good. It shows how both sides of Islam are dealing with their culture, how the extremists are winning. how he west doesn't get it, and by calling all Muslims extreme doesn't help at all. One thing that struck me was that Egpt was at one time one of the most educated countries. Now it has a 50% illiterate rate and is now one of the least educated in that region. And that took only 25 years to do. I do find that ironic, keep the population dumb, so the powerful can become more powerful. Like that will never happen here, right???????

Tom
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: CANSTANDIT on December 16, 2006, 08:54:06 AM
I just started "Running with Scissors"-and find it hard going for not knowing whether to laugh or cry sometimes...but totally recommend it-just not thru it yet.
I also picked up 'heart songs'-lighter reading in some ways than At Close Range-good sample of AP's earlier POV.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on December 16, 2006, 01:08:02 PM
I just started "Running with Scissors"-and find it hard going for not knowing whether to laugh or cry sometimes...but totally recommend it-just not thru it yet.
I also picked up 'heart songs'-lighter reading in some ways than At Close Range-good sample of AP's earlier POV.


Hi CSI - 'Scissors' is worth it - I truly enjoyed it, but I understand what you mean.  Actually I find his next book 'Dry' even better (it's about how he got sober).
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on December 16, 2006, 01:08:48 PM
Have you ever wondered who that author was on a show you watched?  Here's a good source to find the information:

http://freshfiction.com/show_program.php
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on December 16, 2006, 01:44:29 PM

I'm currently reading "The Dreyfus Affair" by Peter Lefcourt. The story of two major league baseball players - one white, one black -- who fall in love. THis was one of the suggestions from a poster for our bookclub - July/Aug? Anyway, it's funny, sad and filled with baseball writing. It's not BBM, but a modern tale of one married man who falls in love with his second baseman.

Michael, if you're there, it would still be a great selection. Apparently it's out of print, but I ordered from a small bookshop in my area before my trip in October, and it was there two weeks later.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on December 16, 2006, 02:08:28 PM

I'm currently reading "The Dreyfus Affair" by Peter Lefcourt. The story of two major league baseball players - one white, one black -- who fall in love. THis was one of the suggestions from a poster for our bookclub - July/Aug? Anyway, it's funny, sad and filled with baseball writing. It's not BBM, but a modern tale of one married man who falls in love with his second baseman.

Michael, if you're there, it would still be a great selection. Apparently it's out of print, but I ordered from a small bookshop in my area before my trip in October, and it was there two weeks later.

Well...I'm not all there....

Actually I'm putting together the list for the January book, which I'll be posting this weekend.  I'll add this one - thanks for the suggestion!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dejavu on December 16, 2006, 03:00:50 PM

I'm currently reading "The Dreyfus Affair" by Peter Lefcourt. The story of two major league baseball players - one white, one black -- who fall in love. THis was one of the suggestions from a poster for our bookclub - July/Aug? Anyway, it's funny, sad and filled with baseball writing. It's not BBM, but a modern tale of one married man who falls in love with his second baseman.

Nikki, please let me know if this is the book with the scene in the department store (when you get there). 

If so, I did read this book and it was funny and a lot else (sad? -- can't remember now).  I no longer have the book but I'd hunt a copy down if it got picked for the book club.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on December 16, 2006, 04:16:16 PM

I'm currently reading "The Dreyfus Affair" by Peter Lefcourt. The story of two major league baseball players - one white, one black -- who fall in love. THis was one of the suggestions from a poster for our bookclub - July/Aug? Anyway, it's funny, sad and filled with baseball writing. It's not BBM, but a modern tale of one married man who falls in love with his second baseman.

Nikki, please let me know if this is the book with the scene in the department
store (when you get there). 

If so, I did read this book and it was funny and a lot else (sad? -- can't remember now).  I no longer have the book but I'd hunt a copy down if it got picked for the book club.

DJ -- maybe it was different -- 2 major league base balll players?  Almost half way -- will let u know.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: CANSTANDIT on December 17, 2006, 11:45:36 PM
I just started "Running with Scissors"-and find it hard going for not knowing whether to laugh or cry sometimes...but totally recommend it-just not thru it yet.
I also picked up 'heart songs'-lighter reading in some ways than At Close Range-good sample of AP's earlier POV.


Hi CSI - 'Scissors' is worth it - I truly enjoyed it, but I understand what you mean.  Actually I find his next book 'Dry' even better (it's about how he got sober).

I'll be getting back to it for sure....did you just love the OCD woman sneaking a peek at his sneakers?? Certain moments just kind of grab you suddenly, don't they??
I wonder if this would be a good book to talk about, given the sidebar topic-of course, I don't know how major a role his identity is at this point in my reading...?
Tx for the feedback, Michael...
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on December 18, 2006, 02:40:07 PM

I'm currently reading "The Dreyfus Affair" by Peter Lefcourt. The story of two major league baseball players - one white, one black -- who fall in love. THis was one of the suggestions from a poster for our bookclub - July/Aug? Anyway, it's funny, sad and filled with baseball writing. It's not BBM, but a modern tale of one married man who falls in love with his second baseman.

Michael, if you're there, it would still be a great selection. Apparently it's out of print, but I ordered from a small bookshop in my area before my trip in October, and it was there two weeks later.

Nikki, this is one of my very favorite books of all time!
I've read it at least three times and will probably read it yet again.
Love the confusion of the courtship. Love the side stories.
LOVE the ending!

Went on Lefcourt's website and am happy to note he's working on a new version of the
screenplay which may, or may not, indicate that a serious try will be made to film this
terrific story.

This would be a wonderful book club selection. Tons to talk about.

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on December 18, 2006, 04:31:39 PM

I'm currently reading "The Dreyfus Affair" by Peter Lefcourt. The story of two major league baseball players - one white, one black -- who fall in love. THis was one of the suggestions from a poster for our bookclub - July/Aug? Anyway, it's funny, sad and filled with baseball writing. It's not BBM, but a modern tale of one married man who falls in love with his second baseman.

Michael, if you're there, it would still be a great selection. Apparently it's out of print, but I ordered from a small bookshop in my area before my trip in October, and it was there two weeks later.

Nikki, this is one of my very favorite books of all time!
I've read it at least three times and will probably read it yet again.
Love the confusion of the courtship. Love the side stories.
LOVE the ending!

Went on Lefcourt's website and am happy to note he's working on a new version of the
screenplay which may, or may not, indicate that a serious try will be made to film this
terrific story.

This would be a wonderful book club selection. Tons to talk about.



Hey Rosewood, so glad you are a devotee of "TDA." Isn't it great? Funny, sad, savy about sports and politics. I told my daughter the story today while we were drivinig to the vet.I told her it would make a GREAT movie. Had no idea he was working on a screenplay. He's an Emmy award winning TV writer, so he may have a good chance. Glad to hear he has a website -- will check it out. The humor was clever and laugh-out-loud funny.  Loved when he tried to "off" his dog. lol There are a multitude of minor, meaty roles -- I see Joe Pecci and Jack Black somewhere in there!! How about Denzel as DJ, but who for Randy??
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dejavu on December 18, 2006, 04:35:56 PM
I don't recognize that much of what you say about TDA (didn't remember the ballplayers were one white, one black, and I probably would have noticed that).  Now I wonder if I really did read it?  Sigh ... it was so long ago.  But what I remember was about two major league ballplayers, and I liked that because I'm a baseball fan.  Hope we can discuss TDA sometime.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on December 18, 2006, 04:43:32 PM
I don't recognize that much of what you say about TDA (didn't remember the ballplayers were one white, one black, and I probably would have noticed that).  Now I wonder if I really did read it?  Sigh ... it was so long ago.  But what I remember was about two major league ballplayers, and I liked that because I'm a baseball fan.  Hope we can discuss TDA sometime.

Well, how many books about gay major league players can there be?  lol lol 
My paperback edition was published in 1993 -- hardcover in '92. Couldn't believe it was out of print when I ordered, but it arrived in 2 weeks -- got it from a little bookstore in Bucks County.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dejavu on December 18, 2006, 05:07:57 PM
Well, how many books about gay major league players can there be?  lol lol 

My thought exactly.

If we select it to read and I can't find it mail order from a used bookstore, I may have to PM you and ask for more details about this Bucks County bookstore.  Not yet.

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on December 18, 2006, 05:16:24 PM

DJ, a new bookstore has taken its place, but if we read it, I will be happy to order it for you and send it on. I'm sure the new people will oblige -- it's still a small outfit, I think, although I haven't been back.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on December 18, 2006, 06:03:38 PM

I'm currently reading "The Dreyfus Affair" by Peter Lefcourt. The story of two major league baseball players - one white, one black -- who fall in love. THis was one of the suggestions from a poster for our bookclub - July/Aug? Anyway, it's funny, sad and filled with baseball writing. It's not BBM, but a modern tale of one married man who falls in love with his second baseman.

Michael, if you're there, it would still be a great selection. Apparently it's out of print, but I ordered from a small bookshop in my area before my trip in October, and it was there two weeks later.

Nikki, this is one of my very favorite books of all time!
I've read it at least three times and will probably read it yet again.
Love the confusion of the courtship. Love the side stories.
LOVE the ending!

Went on Lefcourt's website and am happy to note he's working on a new version of the
screenplay which may, or may not, indicate that a serious try will be made to film this
terrific story.

This would be a wonderful book club selection. Tons to talk about.



Hey Rosewood, so glad you are a devotee of "TDA." Isn't it great? Funny, sad, savy about sports and politics. I told my daughter the story today while we were drivinig to the vet.I told her it would make a GREAT movie. Had no idea he was working on a screenplay. He's an Emmy award winning TV writer, so he may have a good chance. Glad to hear he has a website -- will check it out. The humor was clever and laugh-out-loud funny.  Loved when he tried to "off" his dog. lol There are a multitude of minor, meaty roles -- I see Joe Pecci and Jack Black somewhere in there!! How about Denzel as DJ, but who for Randy??


Hi, Nikki:
I'm lucky enough to have the hardcover, purchased years ago when the book debuted.
The idea of it intrigued me.
I thought it was daring at the time.
And by the way, a hell of a well written book.

Little did I know that years later, it would still, despite BBM, be daring.
Still unmade as a film.
I mean, if not NOW, when?
Know what I mean?

I don't see Denzell Washington as DJ.
I see a younger guy, more macho, a rangy type with muscles. Maybe that guy who used to be
on NYPD Blue....forgot his name. (Although I don't think he's the best actor around.)
Or maybe that hot hot hot guy from JUDGING AMY.
(I'm so bad with names.)
Actually, you'll laugh, when I was first reading the book I always imagined ex-Yankee
Dave Winfield as DJ. Don't ask. It was my own fantasy.  ;D

But I suppose to get it made, they'd have to have a really bankable star.

I see Matt Damon as Randy Dreyfus, if only he could be talked into it.
Remember the scene in the weight room?
Be still my heart.  :D

Remember the Egyptian psychiatrist? Didn't you love the back and forth between him
and Randy? I mean, I died laughing. And yes, the dog thing was very, very funny.

Maybe Joe Pesci (if he isn't too old by the time the film is made) could play the reporter
OR maybe, the team owner. Although for offbeat casting, I'd love Adam Sandler as the
reporter.

Yeah, this story is RICH with character parts. But the most important thing, as in BBM, is
the casting of DJ and Randy. There MUST be chemistry. You HAVE to believe what's
happening or the thing is done for.

I've been waiting for years for the film.
One of these days....

I sent Lefcourt an email telling him how much I loved the book and he
responded. Nice guy.


Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on December 18, 2006, 06:46:42 PM

Wow Rosewood, Lefcourt answered you! He must be a nice guy.

Ok not Denzel, but can't think -- Matt Damon is good maybe -- I thought of Pecci as the PI can't you see him tailing Randy and the dog!

Oh yea, Dr. Faud -- with his prayer beads -- that would be a great cameo for someone like who's the guy who played Gandi and House of Sand and Fog? His age wouldn't matter too much - he's got to be 50 ish
I personally can take Adam Sandler, too whiney -- he always seems strung out on something. (he was good in Spanglish). What about Matthew McConahey as Randy (althought I don't care for him much). Got to have a couple of "names" in the leads! Sure, got to have chemistry like Jake/Heath. Maybe Robert Downey,Jr as the reporter. The baseball commissioner would be a good part for maybe William Devane?

It's fun to cast movies -- I do it often when I read a good book!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dejavu on December 18, 2006, 07:38:04 PM

DJ, a new bookstore has taken its place, but if we read it, I will be happy to order it for you and send it on. I'm sure the new people will oblige -- it's still a small outfit, I think, although I haven't been back.

Nikki, thanks for your kind offer.  But guess what -- I found it online at barnesandnoble.com (bn.com) in the Used & Out-of-Print section.  And it IS the same book that I read before -- I can tell now.  It has two pretty good professional reviews, plus a couple of reader reviews.  The reader reviews say it's hilarious, and that's how I remember it.  What's interesting is that one of the reader reviews listed PNW's "The Front Runner" in her "Also Recommended" section -- guess that makes sense, another gay sports story.

B&N online deals with other booksellers around the country and the first one I checked has a used hardcover in "Good" condition for $1.99 plus shipping.  I think I'll just go ahead and order that.  I already have a B&N account and it will be mailed right to my house.  Even if we don't read it in the book club, for that price (plus shipping) I'd like to read it again.

Thanks for bringing this book back to my attention.   :D
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dback on December 18, 2006, 09:12:54 PM
The title of "The Dreyfuss Affair" is a historical reference/in-joke, but I can't remember what it refers to.

Damon would be wonderful in the lead, which is highly ironic, considering that Ben Affleck was thatclose to signing onto it a few years back.  Leonardo Dicaprio would be great, too, as would Mark Whalberg, Jake Gyllenhall, and others.

There are very, very few black actors who are comfortable enough to take on a gay role--the actors on "Noah's Arc" are notable exceptions.  (Pity; Shemar Moore would be heavenly.)  Maybe they'll change the character to Latino, and Jay Hernandez could take it.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on December 18, 2006, 09:41:02 PM
The title of "The Dreyfuss Affair" is a historical reference/in-joke, but I can't remember what it refers to.

Damon would be wonderful in the lead, which is highly ironic, considering that Ben Affleck was thatclose to signing onto it a few years back.  Leonardo Dicaprio would be great, too, as would Mark Whalberg, Jake Gyllenhall, and others.

There are very, very few black actors who are comfortable enough to take on a gay role--the actors on "Noah's Arc" are notable exceptions.  (Pity; Shemar Moore would be heavenly.)  Maybe they'll change the character to Latino, and Jay Hernandez could take it.

The Dreyfus Affair refers to a French Jewish army captain whose trumped-up  treason conviction came to symbolize French anti-Semitism. In 1906 a French court "rehabilitated" Dreyfus meaning his name was forever cleared, paving the way for his return to the army. HE was awarded the French Legion of Honor. (from a clipping in the Philadelphia Inquirer, July 13, 1906) Emile Zola wrote his famous "J'accuse" letter to a French newspaper in defense of Dreyfus.

Ben Affleck would have been a disaster n the role of Randy IMO. Don't think Gyllenhaal would want to do another role along this genre. Wahlberg might be a good fit. Interesting to speculate though.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on December 18, 2006, 09:50:25 PM
The title of "The Dreyfuss Affair" is a historical reference/in-joke, but I can't remember what it refers to.

Well...there is the antisemitic French incident of the same name:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreyfus_Affair

Could that be related to the historical in-joke?

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on December 18, 2006, 10:18:51 PM
The title of "The Dreyfuss Affair" is a historical reference/in-joke, but I can't remember what it refers to.

Well...there is the antisemitic French incident of the same name:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreyfus_Affair

Could that be related to the historical in-joke?



Maybe Peter Lefcourt used the title to refer to the trumped up charges against Captain Dreyfus to parallel the case that's building against the two protagonists in his novel. However, they were caught kissing in a dessing room in Neiman Marcus in Dallas, so that much is fact in the story. However they are being tried in the national media and the security tape was used and published in all the media. Haven't finished it yet, so maybe there are more parallels to the historical Dreyfus Affair. It's a great story Michael, have you read it? Lefcourt also wrote another book, "The Deal, a satire about Holywood." Can you find out if The Deal is out-of-print? With his knowledge of the inner workings of the movie/TV industry, it should be a goodie!  BTW, on the back of my edition is a notation that Lefcourt "is no relation to Alfred Dreyfus."
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on December 18, 2006, 11:01:24 PM


BTW Michael, the reporter in "The Dreyfus  Affair" is named Zola, and the baseball commissioner is named Esterhazy!! Parallels galore. The reporter seems to be sympathetic towards the protagonists -- I bet he will write a "J'accuse" article for the sports page -- just my surmise thought!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on December 19, 2006, 12:48:59 AM
It's a great story Michael, have you read it?

No, but I did check today and my library system has 4 or 5 copies of it.  ;)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on December 19, 2006, 12:14:50 PM

Wow Rosewood, Lefcourt answered you! He must be a nice guy.

Ok not Denzel, but can't think -- Matt Damon is good maybe -- I thought of Pecci as the PI can't you see him tailing Randy and the dog!

Oh yea, Dr. Faud -- with his prayer beads -- that would be a great cameo for someone like who's the guy who played Gandi and House of Sand and Fog? His age wouldn't matter too much - he's got to be 50 ish
I personally can take Adam Sandler, too whiney -- he always seems strung out on something. (he was good in Spanglish). What about Matthew McConahey as Randy (althought I don't care for him much). Got to have a couple of "names" in the leads! Sure, got to have chemistry like Jake/Heath. Maybe Robert Downey,Jr as the reporter. The baseball commissioner would be a good part for maybe William Devane?

It's fun to cast movies -- I do it often when I read a good book!

Ben Kingsley you mean?
Yeah, he would work.
Little known fact: he's wonderful in comedy.

Hmmmm.
Leo DeCaprio as Randy. Maybe. Hard to picture him with a babe wife and twin daughters though.
Don't know why.

Don't like Matthew McConnaghy (or however you spell it) at all.
(In fact, he gives me the creeps.)

Don't like Mark Wahlberg, don't feel he's handsome enough for Randy.
And Shemar Moore has a smugness to him that I find off putting.
Ben Aflleck: ick.

Other than that though..... :D

Admittedly, it will be very hard to cast these parts.

I personally am not crazy about Adam Sandler either. BUT, he was marvelous in SPANGLISH.
I have to give the guy his due. He won me over in that film.
I'd love to see him in do the Zola role. I still think he'd be great.
Although Downey would be good too.

There's even a bit part in this story for the President of the USA, if I remember correctly.
Can't tell you guys how much I LOVE this book!
If you haven't read it yet, DO SO IMMEDIATELY.
You will thank us.

And yes, there is definitely a 'J'Accuse' moment coming.
I can say no more.  ;)



Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on December 19, 2006, 02:02:45 PM

Rosewood, I finished it last night!  I guessed the J'accuse moment, but won't give it away, although if people have been reading these posts they probably have an idea.

Randy has be played by a big, blond, sweet guy -- any suggestions -- ok I don't like McConahey, but physically he fits -- DJ has to have some gravitas, 'cause in the story he was more retrospective and serious than Randy. It's great isn't it?

BTW were you the one who suggested it back in June/July for the book club? If so, thanks mucho!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on December 19, 2006, 05:13:59 PM
Hi CSI, if you still there. After I saw your post about "Running w/Scissors," I decided to check it out of the library -- every copy was out -- the librarian told me when I asked that it was very popular. Funny how people discover a book all at once. Then Michael mentioned "Dry" same author, so I checked that out and will buy "Scissors" rather than wait for it.

-----------------------------------

Just back  from B&N -- bought "Running With Scissors." I'm half way thru "Dry."  Also bought "The Turning" which is a collection of short stories by Tim Winton who wrote "Dirt Music." The San Francisco Chronicle wrote: What John Steinbeck was to California's Central Valley, Tim Winton is to the coastal region of Western Australia...
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on December 20, 2006, 05:07:26 PM
An announcement from the moderators about the slowdown problem that we’ve been experiencing at various times, centering from about 9:00 am until about 12:00 noon GMT:

The administration has been working extremely hard to solve the slow down issue that has been plaguing the forum for some months now. It has been determined that to solve this we will have to change the host company of the forum. The new host server has now been contracted with by Dave as of today.

We are proceeding rapidly now and hope to have the conversion complete within a few weeks at the latest and hopefully much sooner. We will keep you (members) apprised. Please look for announcements in the Newsbox. Some changes will likely come up suddenly--that is the nature of computer conversions, so it is impossible to know before we test whether something will go flawlessly and take two hours, or uncover thorny issues that will take days. The testing process is being started. This will not affect the forum at this point.

So taking this into consideration, we don't want to give you timeframes that are unrealistic. As soon as we finish a stage, we'll proceed immediately to the next, and the exact changeover will likely come on very short notice to you (members). We will post this changeover time in the Newsbox as well as in the individual threads, and will give you as much lead time as we can manage. This will enable us to end the slowdown ASAP.

Thank you for your patience.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: IcySparks on December 26, 2006, 04:02:59 PM
I'm just starting Next by one of my favorite authors, Michael Crichton, which I received as a Christmas present. :)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on December 28, 2006, 01:34:10 PM

Rosewood, I finished it last night!  I guessed the J'accuse moment, but won't give it away, although if people have been reading these posts they probably have an idea.

Randy has be played by a big, blond, sweet guy -- any suggestions -- ok I don't like McConahey, but physically he fits -- DJ has to have some gravitas, 'cause in the story he was more retrospective and serious than Randy. It's great isn't it?

BTW were you the one who suggested it back in June/July for the book club? If so, thanks mucho!

I did suggest it way back when, but I don't think I was the first.
It is a perfect book for Book Club, though.

Hmmm. A big, sweet, blond guy....Can't think who.
Maybe Orlando Bloom with hair dye. Remember how good he looked as a blond in Lord of the Rings?
In fact, I prefer him blond. So that's a possibility. He'd have to bulk up though.

Or maybe with some urging, I could see Leo DeCaprio in the part. Maybe.
Although I tend to think that you need an actor with an inchoate sense of humor to play this
part and I just dont' see this in Leo. The guy who plays Randy needs to be able to stand apart
and look at his life and see the absurdities in it. Don't you think?

This film when and if it ever happens will have to be the casting coup of the year, I'm thinking.

Right now, I'm blank though.

Actually, I'm not. Now that I think on it, I go back to my original choice of Matt Damon.
I think he'd be perfect as Randy.

But D.J., that's another kettle of fish. Can't think who.

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: KathyinBama on December 28, 2006, 01:45:55 PM
No, I think Leo is too cutesy for Randy.  It needs to be a bigger guy with sweet, but not pretty, features (I think).  I am imagining some sort of cross between Aaron Eckhart and Cary Elwes.  I so enjoyed the book, I would almost be afraid to see it come to film - so many times the movie just makes you cringe when compared to the written word (although I feared that with Brokeback Mountain and was thankfully proved quite wrong).
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on December 28, 2006, 02:08:19 PM
No, I think Leo is too cutesy for Randy.  It needs to be a bigger guy with sweet, but not pretty, features (I think).  I am imagining some sort of cross between Aaron Eckhart and Cary Elwes.  I so enjoyed the book, I would almost be afraid to see it come to film - so many times the movie just makes you cringe when compared to the written word (although I feared that with Brokeback Mountain and was thankfully proved quite wrong).

Well, you're probably right, Kathy -
But who?  ;)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: KathyinBama on December 28, 2006, 07:46:11 PM
Oh, I think I have a good Randy - Thomas Jane.  He played Micky Mantle in *61 (a GREAT baseball movie about Roger Maris, if you haven't seen it, go rent it).  He is big and blond, sweet and definitely can play ball (at least for cameras). 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on December 28, 2006, 07:49:28 PM
Well...you'll all get a chance to see who they pick soon:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0763838/
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dejavu on December 28, 2006, 07:59:11 PM
I notice IMDB still has The Frontrunner (spelled like that, not spelled The Front Runner) listed for 2007, also.  I wonder if both gay sports stories will actually be made into movies this year?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on December 29, 2006, 02:24:10 PM
I notice IMDB still has The Frontrunner (spelled like that, not spelled The Front Runner) listed for 2007, also.  I wonder if both gay sports stories will actually be made into movies this year?

Michael, terrific news on THE DREYFUS AFFAIR!
I've known for years that this would make a great film.
Now if only the casting doesn't doom it.... :)
Hopefully the money's been finalized.

Another casting thought: Brandon Frasier as Randy.
He can certainly do comedy AND if you saw GODS AND MONSTERS, he's proven he
can do serious. Actually what we really need is a very young Robert Redford type.
Sounds easy enough.
Yeah, sure.  :D

As for THE FRONT RUNNER being made in the same year...well, I suppose they both don't
have to be released at the same time. My only wish is that one doesn't cancel out the other.

I'd heard rumors years and years ago that Paul Newman, when much younger, had wanted
to do THE FRONT RUNNER, playing the coach, but was talked out of it.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on December 29, 2006, 03:15:20 PM
 Rosewood, Brendan Frasier would be a good Randy -- who for D.J.? I thought of Denzel, but might have to be someone younger now. But who?
Not just a hunk -- has to be serious -- he was more introspective than Randy.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on December 29, 2006, 03:18:18 PM


Also -- I would like Robert Downey, Jr. for the reporter!
And William Devane for the baseball commissioner -- and Chris Cooper for the coach maybe?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dejavu on December 29, 2006, 03:19:33 PM
Michael, terrific news on THE DREYFUS AFFAIR!
I've known for years that this would make a great film.

As for THE FRONT RUNNER being made in the same year...well, I suppose they both don't
have to be released at the same time. My only wish is that one doesn't cancel out the other.

I'd heard rumors years and years ago that Paul Newman, when much younger, had wanted
to do THE FRONT RUNNER, playing the coach, but was talked out of it.

True, so true, about hoping one doesn't cancel the other out.  How much tolerance is there yet among the general movie-going audience?  I just don't know.

As for The Front Runner, I'm taking the attitude of "I'll believe it when I see it."  Although it does have a "Tag Line":
"An Olympic Love Story"

(I guess this is OT for the book thread -- sorry! -- but these books do overlap with possible movies.)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on December 30, 2006, 01:50:04 AM
(I guess this is OT for the book thread -- sorry! -- but these books do overlap with possible movies.)

Well...your moderator brought it up, so I wouldn't worry TOO terribly much!!!  :D :D :D

We often do the crossovers between movies and books in the individual threads, so no harm in a bit of speculation.  But yes, we could carry this over to the film threads!  They might be pretty happy to hear about this!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dejavu on December 30, 2006, 04:50:04 AM
(I guess this is OT for the book thread -- sorry! -- but these books do overlap with possible movies.)

Well...your moderator brought it up, so I wouldn't worry TOO terribly much!!!  :D :D :D

We often do the crossovers between movies and books in the individual threads, so no harm in a bit of speculation.  But yes, we could carry this over to the film threads!  They might be pretty happy to hear about this!

Just a note then, regarding speculation about THE FRONT RUNNER film -- there's a legitimate question about it being discussed now on the "Front Runner" book club thread, because the Harlan character is himself wondering (in "Harlan's Race") how the book which he presumably wrote, "The Front Runner," would be made into a movie. 

Take a look over on that October book club thread, if anyone wants to speculate about actors, kissing scenes, Hollywood attitudes in general, how "Brokeback Mountain" influenced the way the movie would be filmed or received, etc.  All the Front Runner sequels plus the movie are fair game over there.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on December 30, 2006, 09:25:58 AM

Don't think tolerance would have a lot to do with filming TDF and TFR -- in Hollywood money's the name of the game, and after the monetary success of a little indie like BBM, the Hollywood "money men" will surely take notice.  That being said, I fear that another same sex movie might come too close on the heels of BBM, and that would be too bad.  However, "Dreyfus Affair" might be more filmable, because baseball and humor are an unbeatable combination.  With the right actors, director, etc. it could be a winner.

IMO, "Front Runner" would be harder to film; script would need a lot of tightening up -- probably combining the two books: TFR and HR would work because of the denouement at the end of HR. Would also need "name" actors; there are some good meaty roles here though. God knows it's time for Hollywood to explore the gay literature genre -- every reproduction of straight classics has bombed -- maybe the "money men" will wake up, but don't expect AMPAS to.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 01, 2007, 09:19:06 PM

I just finished "Running with Scissors" by Augusten Burroughs and its sequel "Dirt." (Thanks to Michael for mentioning the latter.)

"Scissors" is disturbing, funny, and dark. It's already been made into a movie which didn't get great reviews, I understand. "Scissors" was on the NYT best-seller list for 2 years. However, the family in "Scissors" (the Finches) is a thinly disguised version of the real life Turcotte family who filed a lawsuit in 2005 against Burroughs and the book's publisher, St. Martin, for invasion of privacy and libel. The January Vanity Fair has a lengthy, fascinating article about the whole thing.

"Dirt" is a horrendous account of the 26 year old Burroughs as an alcoholic ad man in Manhattan and his problems with addiction, holding his job, his lover, and coming to grips with it all. It's a very sad, gut-wrenching account, and I found myself pulling for Burroughs and heart-broken over his best friend who has HIV. In spite of the horrendous childhood, Burroughs suffered through in "Scissors," "Dirt" is darker and even more gut-wrenching,to me, but both books will stay with the reader for a long time.

BTW, Michael, both of these books could be likely candidates for future book club selections.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 01, 2007, 09:39:04 PM
Not 'Dirt' Nikki - 'Dry' - although with 'Bad Dirt' and 'Dirt Music' I surely understand the confusion!

I liked 'Dry' better than 'Scissors' as I thought it had more to do with his own reaction to his past (and his attempts to get his life on track).

That and I just like the image of the apartment with pizza boxes and booze bottles all over the place.  It makes me feel like Martha Stewart by comparison.  ;) :D
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 01, 2007, 10:08:15 PM


Oh Michael, lol lol. I've been doing that all week mixing up Dry and Dirt -- found myself doing that last night discussing the two books with friends -- and this was BEFORE I toasted in the New Year.

Yeah, the pizza boxes and hundreds of bottles in the apartment!!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: sophieernie on January 02, 2007, 11:34:54 AM
I'm a little late as usual, catching up on this thread. But I was wondering:

Does anyone remember Mary Renault's The Persian Boy? The fictionalized history of Bagoas, Alexander the Great's Persian lover/valet? It is a fantastic story, one my older sister had hanging around as part of her historical novel collection, and I read it in early adulthood, and I think this was the book that opened my eyes to love between men. There are haunting emotional undertones about duty, sacrifice, secrets, that I sensed when saw BBM the movie.
There is even an ancient castration.  Very different stories, but similiar problems with "how will people see me/us?" only in a very different social, political and chronological era. But some similiar problems of jealousy; prejudice, not getting enough from the beloved,etc.

This character appears in "Funeral Games" and I think briefly in "The Beacon At Alexandria", both post Alexander's death.

Anyway, I may reread it; just wondering if anyone else has. I haven't heard it mentioned in this forum before.
CSI


CSI,
I remember the book, have it, but haven't read it (yet).  I know the historical story of Alexander but don't think I've read the historical fiction.  I'm wondering:  why don't you suggest this to the book club as a future selection (or I will)?

That is a fine idea; I would really recommend this book; interestingly the narration is not unlike AP's; it is spare and earthy, and still manages to cross cultural boundaries via the thinking process: It is an I narration. It pulls you right in.......

You should definitely start with Fire from Heaven.  Although Renault's historical accuracies have been debated, both books are very good.  The true love of Alexander the Great's life was Hephaestion, his boyhood friend who stayed with him as one of his top ranking officers and was eventually named his second in command.  Alexander died only 3 mos after Hephaestion and his grief was so great over his friends death, many thought he had lost his mind

In the Persian Boy, Renault uses Bagoas as a literary device and IMO gives him a greater role that he probably had.  Bagoas was a eunuch from the Persian King Darius court (who Alexander defeated) and later was Alexander's sexual partner.  He did stay with Alexander until his death, but his closeness to Alexander has always been debated.  Whether he was a sex slave of the King or a trusted friend, lover and confidant, we will probably never know....
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 02, 2007, 12:06:12 PM
You should definitely start with Fire from Heaven.  Although Renault's historical accuracies have been debated, both books are very good.  The true love of Alexander the Great's life was Hephaestion, his boyhood friend who stayed with him as one of his top ranking officers and was eventually named his second in command.  Alexander died only 3 mos after Hephaestion and his grief was so great over his friends death, many thought he had lost his mind

In the Persian Boy, Renault uses Bagoas as a literary device and IMO gives him a greater role that he probably had.  Bagoas was a eunuch from the Persian King Darius court (who Alexander defeated) and later was Alexander's sexual partner.  He did stay with Alexander until his death, but his closeness to Alexander has always been debated.  Whether he was a sex slave of the King or a trusted friend, lover and confidant, we will probably never know....

Thanks for the input on this!  As it is the beginning of the trilogy on Alexander I thought we should start with that if we were going to do them - and that's why I put it up as the option in the organizational thread for the book club:

http://www.davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=8585.0

It would be great to have you as part of the book club if we eventually do one of these (I've posted them before and I'll post them again).

Renault did a book based in the 20th century too, didn't she?  Something about soldiers in WWI or WWII?  Did you read that?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on January 02, 2007, 12:34:52 PM

....Renault did a book based in the 20th century too, didn't she?  Something about soldiers in WWI or WWII?  Did you read that?

THE CHARIOTEER is the book I think you mean, Michael.
I read it a few months ago because someone on here recommended it highly.
It is absolutely wonderful and would make a great Book Club selection.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 02, 2007, 12:48:20 PM

....Renault did a book based in the 20th century too, didn't she?  Something about soldiers in WWI or WWII?  Did you read that?

THE CHARIOTEER is the book I think you mean, Michael.
I read it a few months ago because someone on here recommended it highly.
It is absolutely wonderful and would make a great Book Club selection.

Yes!  That's it!  Okay - it's on the list!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: sophieernie on January 02, 2007, 01:19:41 PM

Thanks for the input on this! As it is the beginning of the trilogy on Alexander I thought we should start with that if we were going to do them - and that's why I put it up as the option in the organizational thread for the book club:

http://www.davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=8585.0

It would be great to have you as part of the book club if we eventually do one of these (I've posted them before and I'll post them again).

Renault did a book based in the 20th century too, didn't she? Something about soldiers in WWI or WWII? Did you read that?

They are both good books and, although her portrayl of ATG and the people in his life has been debated.  She sticks pretty closely to history and her writing style is good.  Someone above mentioned that her books lack humor, which is true, but from somone who loves historical fiction, they are a must read.

No, I have not read "The Charioteer" but I want to.  She also wrote a few books over Greek gods and Goddesses... 

Renault also wrote a semi-biography of ATG fpr those interested in that subject.  She does a much better job that Oliver Stone, no offense intended.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 02, 2007, 01:53:44 PM
Renault also wrote a semi-biography of ATG fpr those interested in that subject.  She does a much better job that Oliver Stone, no offense intended.

LOL!  I don't think you'll offend anyone with that observation!  ;) :D

Ol' Oliver seemed to put Alexander's life into a blender and pick out only the bits he wanted.

In the 70s I was working at a bookstore and started a Gay & Lesbian section - Mary Renault's books were heavily featured there.  She's a pioneer in LGBT literature that often gets 'put behind' because she was writing before stonewall.  It's nice to see she has so many fans here.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dback on January 02, 2007, 09:35:31 PM
I'd also like to put in a plug for "The Catch Trap," a story about aerialists (trapeze artists), and the love affair that blooms between two young men.  I think it's by Marion Zimmer Bradley ("The Mists of Avalon").
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 02, 2007, 09:38:22 PM
I'd also like to put in a plug for "The Catch Trap," a story about aerialists (trapeze artists), and the love affair that blooms between two young men.  I think it's by Marion Zimmer Bradley ("The Mists of Avalon").

Okay!  You're the second person who has mentioned this one to me.  So it will show up on a list for the book club in the future (I predict!).
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dejavu on January 03, 2007, 11:54:35 AM
I'd also like to put in a plug for "The Catch Trap," a story about aerialists (trapeze artists), and the love affair that blooms between two young men.  I think it's by Marion Zimmer Bradley ("The Mists of Avalon").

Okay!  You're the second person who has mentioned this one to me.  So it will show up on a list for the book club in the future (I predict!).

Ooooh, I loved this one also!  It's not "literary."  And it's a bit long-winded.  But it's very engrossing.  The younger of the two somehow ends up leaving his natural family and being "adopted" into the other guy's big extended Italian family.  I liked all the characters in that big family, too.     
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on January 03, 2007, 11:50:57 PM
A Gravestone Made of Wheat.  A collection of short stories by Will Weaver
I was prompted to read this based on having seen (and loved) the film Sweet Land.  Sweet Land was inspired by the title story of this collection. In many ways this book reminded me of Close Range (and other Annie Proulx short stories)

The stories all take place in Minnesota and are mostly about small towns and farm life. Though the film Sweet Land is really only drawn from one story - all of the stories paint the picture of the location and life there. 

I found the writing style to be less complex than Annie Proulx but I will say that the image I was left with at the end of A Gravestone Made of Wheat is one the will stick with me a long time.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 04, 2007, 12:38:13 AM
A Gravestone Made of Wheat.  A collection of short stories by Will Weaver
I was prompted to read this based on having seen (and loved) the film Sweet Land.  Sweet Land was inspired by the title story of this collection. In many ways this book reminded me of Close Range (and other Annie Proulx short stories)

The stories all take place in Minnesota and are mostly about small towns and farm life. Though the film Sweet Land is really only drawn from one story - all of the stories paint the picture of the location and life there. 

I found the writing style to be less complex than Annie Proulx but I will say that the image I was left with at the end of A Gravestone Made of Wheat is one the will stick with me a long time.

I LOVED 'Sweet Land' too Mary!  I haven't mentioned it anywhere because I know the cousin of the film maker and didn't want to seem nepotistic.  I too was wondering about the short stories.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 05, 2007, 08:45:11 AM


Recently at the library, I picked up a copy of "Howl" Fifty Years Later" edited by Jason Shinder. I had never read the poem, since I was too young when the Beats were thriving. This edition contains essays by different writers -- people who knew Ginsberg and others.

I have to admit it's not easy reading,  and I don't think I'd read it again soon, but since it's become iconic in  American culture, I felt I had to give it a try. I can see why it caused such a sensation. Would like to hear from someone who attended Ginsberg's readings. The first two lines did grab me: I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical, naked...
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on January 05, 2007, 02:03:51 PM
Forgive me for butting in here, Nikki, on a different topic.  ;)
We were speaking, or at least, someone else was, about gay lit over
on the October Front Runner discussion and it brought to mind some books
I've read over the past few years that have gay protagonists, are well
written, tell good stories and have NO major overwrought dramatics.

The Jack Caleb and John Thinnes series by Michael Allen Dymmoch features
a gay psychiatrist and a straight cop who fashion an unlikely friendship.
THE MAN WHO UNDERSTOOD CATS is the first, followed by:
THE DEATH OF BLUE MOUNTAIN CAT.
INCENDIARY DESIGNS.
THE FELINE FRIENDSHIP and I believe, there's a new one this
year whose title escapes me at the moment. I own these others, but haven't
bought the new one. NOTE: these books have virtually nothing to do with cats.
It's just a quirk on the author's part. Go figure.

The Kate Martinelli books by Laurie King feature a lesbian San Francisco cop
who lives in a long term relationship with her life partner and their child.
The series begins with the Edgar winning A GRAVE TALENT followed by:
TO PLAY THE FOOL.
WITH CHILD.
NIGHT WORK.
THE ART OF DETECTION which has a heartbreaking gay story within a story and an
unsettling ending I didn't like. But, King is such a damn fine writer, I forgave her.

I also highly recommend THE CUTTING ROOM by Louise Welsh.
Very modern noir.
The main character, Rilke, is hard to like but don't let that stop you.
Eventually he grows on you.
He's a gay auction appraiser working in Glasgow who comes across a stash
of disturbing erotic photographs. This is an eerie book, but worth the time.

I also recommend, again, the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike series by Robert Crais.
This series of books is technically a detective and his sidekick series.
But because of Crais's talent, it is SO much more than that.
In my estimation, the books are basically about the intense friendship that
these two men share.

They are not homosexual.
But are as close as two straight men can be without having sex.
It is the kind of friendship where one would die for the other without thinking
much about it.
I love these books and recommend them highly to anyone who values good
writing, mystery and taut story telling with a weisenheimer edge. Both Cole and
Pike are unforgettable characters and if I HAD to pick my favorite mystery/detective
series in the whole world, this would be it.

THE MONKEY'S RAINCOAT
STALKING THE ANGEL
LULLABY TOWN
FREE FALL
VOODOO RIVER
SUNSET EXPRESS
INDIGO SLAM
L.A. REQUIEM (Crais's masterpiece.)
THE LAST DETECTIVE
and just due out in February, THE WATCHMAN.

I know I've spoken about Robert Crais before, but so what.  ;D


Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 05, 2007, 02:13:47 PM


Rosewood, I've read Crais and love the interplay between the two of them, in fact, I love Joe Pike -- he's invincible!

How do you like Michael Connelly -- his protagonist, Heroynimous (Sp) Bosch is one moody dude, I've read all of Connelly since I discovered him.

Then there's James Lee Burke's cajun protagonist from Southwest Louisiana == since I'm from New Orleans, I enjoy the discussion of all things Louisiana. His detective is a doomed soul.

One more I can think of just now is Anne Perry, whose stories are set in the Victorian era. --

Didn't you say you reviewed mysteries?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on January 05, 2007, 02:53:41 PM


Rosewood, I've read Crais and love the interplay between the two of them, in fact, I love Joe Pike -- he's invincible!

How do you like Michael Connelly -- his protagonist, Heroynimous (Sp) Bosch is one moody dude, I've read all of Connelly since I discovered him.

Then there's James Lee Burke's cajun protagonist from Southwest Louisiana == since I'm from New Orleans, I enjoy the discussion of all things Louisiana. His detective is a doomed soul.

One more I can think of just now is Anne Perry, whose stories are set in the Victorian era. --

Didn't you say you reviewed mysteries?

Yeah, Pike.
Sigh....and double sigh!
Notice how he changes ever so slightly over the life of the series until you get to
LA REQUIEM and understanding dawns. That's why I say never read this one BEFORE
you've read at least a few of the earlier ones. Right?

One of my favorite lines from LULLABY TOWN is when Pike pops up from behind a car,
holding a large gun aimed at the bad guy who has corralled Cole in an alley, and simply asks,
"Do you want to die?"

The thing that I love is that he's not being ironic. He leaves that to Cole who, unsurprised,
merely asks Pike, who's just flown cross country, "What kept you?"
HA!

But you know, when Crais goes away from the friendship, the series just isn't as powerful.
We had major 'discussions' on one of the mystery forums regarding that Lucy character too.
We formed a "Let's Kill Lucy Club", figuratively speaking, of course.  ;D

Apropos of nothing, have you ever noticed Robert Crais's author pix? Hubba hubba.
I met him once at a book signing in NYC and I have to tell you, the moment he walked
into the bookstore, there was a huge collective sigh among those of us who were lined up
to get our books signed. I mean, the man is GORGEOUS! Take your breath away gorgeous.
I do NOT exagerate.

AND nice as can be. Well, I've noticed that most mystery writers seem to have that nice
gene thing going on. Lee Child is another one who is a total sweetheart as well and has
that sexy British charm thing working for him big time. Love the guy. AND his Jack Reacher
books. Have you ever read those? If not, you must. If you like thrillers, that is.
Intelligent thrillers.

I've read almost all of Michael Connelly.
My favorite books of his are:
THE POET and TRUNK MUSIC.

I've also read James Lee Burke, although he's not my favorite.
Way too much moody doom and gloom. I mean, how many 'lost' friends can one
guy have? Secrets, secrets, SO many damn secrets....! You're perfectly right,
his guy is a doomed soul.

Anne Perry writes wonderful stuff. I've read almost all her books. Yeah, told ya' I read a lot. :D
Wonderful stuff if you like vividly written historicals conceived by a very intelligent mind.

Another series I'd recommend is one by Steve Hamilton featuring retired cop Alex McKnight.
Very moody. Very evocative. Very cold, as it takes place in northern Michigan. Hamilton is
one of the finest writers out there and deserves to be much better known. He's a sweetheart
too.  ;) His talent is huge. His sense of place and time is amazing. As is his ability to place
you immediately in the story.

Jeez, don't get me started.
I could go on and on.




Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 05, 2007, 03:56:22 PM

Oh Rosewood, yeah Crais' pic is too much -- also you're right about the friendship thing -- it's the most seductive thing about the novels -- and Lucy is annoying-- love the Kill Lucy Club!

I've read some of the Jack Reacher books, but haven't kept up with the latest -- I love the Lone Eagle type of protagonist --

There's a series by an American writer -- her books have names of real English pubs -- you surely must know it -- it'll come to me at 3 in the morning -- they're all set in England -- oh wait does she have the quirky group, one of whom is Lord Plant, and Inspector Jury?

Anne Perry has made the victorian mystery her special niche, and she writes beautifully

Since I've been on these book clubs, I haven't kept up with the mysteries, and I love the mystery genre -- you've got me going now!!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on January 05, 2007, 05:09:58 PM

Oh Rosewood, yeah Crais' pic is too much -- also you're right about the friendship thing -- it's the most seductive thing about the novels -- and Lucy is annoying-- love the Kill Lucy Club!

I've read some of the Jack Reacher books, but haven't kept up with the latest -- I love the Lone Eagle type of protagonist --

There's a series by an American writer -- her books have names of real English pubs -- you surely must know it -- it'll come to me at 3 in the morning -- they're all set in England -- oh wait does she have the quirky group, one of whom is Lord Plant, and Inspector Jury?

Anne Perry has made the victorian mystery her special niche, and she writes beautifully

Since I've been on these book clubs, I haven't kept up with the mysteries, and I love the mystery genre -- you've got me going now!!

I know exactly who you mean!
Martha Grimes.
All her Richard Jury books are titled after real British pubs.
Well, except the very latest one.
Unaccountably, it's not.

I'm almost embarassed to say that I've read ALL her books.  :-\
AND it is my second most favorite series.  ;D

Isn't it amazing that an American writer 'gets' the Brits so well?
As good as Elizabeth George. Though her style is totally different.

Grimes also has a short series (three books worth) in which the protagonist
is a quirky twelve year old American girl named Emma. COLD FLAT JUNCTION is the best of the three.
Absolutely superb. Some of the best writing out there, genre or not.

At the book signing, RC (what we call Robert Crais) drew a tiny pix of Joe Pike in my book and gave
me the most wicked smile. I mean, I was silly putty for the rest of the night.

You know that Cole collects Disney figures, especially Jiminy Cricket stuff.
Ahem, I have a Jiminy Cricket magnet on my refrigerator as we speak.  :D
Anyway, I'd done a watercolor of Jiminy with top hat and wearing a t-shirt
with Elvis Cole and Joe Pike's names printed on it. Sent it to a friend
of mine who works in a mystery bookstore in Seattle as she was seeing RC first
(plus I'm SO shy...)and she gave it to him.
She told me he was SO touched and couldn't believe I'd gone
to the trouble. I mean, he loved it!
So when we met in NYC, he gave me the BEST hug!!!
He said: "You're THAT Yvette?" (My real name.)
Talk about silly putty. I was on cloud nine for a week!  ;D
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dejavu on January 05, 2007, 05:20:48 PM
The UPS man just came an hour or so ago and brought "Borrowed Time:  An AIDS Memoir" by Paul Monette.  This is a book which lost in our most recent poll, but I ordered it anyway.  I read the first eight pages just now because I couldn't get into the Dave Cullen server.
 
"Borrowed Time" is a very well-written book and by the first page it had brought tears to my eyes.  I recommend it highly for a nonfiction poll.  For me in particular it ties in so well with the things we've been discussing about AIDS over on the Front Runner thread (in connection with the AIDS cases in Harlan's Race).

An excerpt:  "The very friends who tell me how vigorous I look, how well I seem, are the first to assure me of the imminent medical breakthrough.  What they don't seem to understand is, I used up all my optimism keeping my friend alive.  Now that he's gone, the cup of my own health is neither half full nor half empty.  Just half."
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 05, 2007, 07:38:17 PM



I know exactly who you mean!
Martha Grimes.
All her Richard Jury books are titled after real British pubs.
Well, except the very latest one.
Unaccountably, it's not.

I'm almost embarassed to say that I've read ALL her books.  :-\
AND it is my second most favorite series.  ;D

Isn't it amazing that an American writer 'gets' the Brits so well?
As good as Elizabeth George. Though her style is totally different.

Grimes also has a short series (three books worth) in which the protagonist
is a quirky twelve year old American girl named Emma. COLD FLAT JUNCTION is the best of the three.
Absolutely superb. Some of the best writing out there, genre or not.

At the book signing, RC (what we call Robert Crais) drew a tiny pix of Joe Pike in my book and gave
me the most wicked smile. I mean, I was silly putty for the rest of the night.

You know that Cole collects Disney figures, especially Jiminy Cricket stuff.
Ahem, I have a Jiminy Cricket magnet on my refrigerator as we speak.  :D
Anyway, I'd done a watercolor of Jiminy with top hat and wearing a t-shirt
with Elvis Cole and Joe Pike's names printed on it. Sent it to a friend
of mine who works in a mystery bookstore in Seattle as she was seeing RC first
(plus I'm SO shy...)and she gave it to him.
She told me he was SO touched and couldn't believe I'd gone
to the trouble. I mean, he loved it!
So when we met in NYC, he gave me the BEST hug!!!
He said: "You're THAT Yvette?" (My real name.)
Talk about silly putty. I was on cloud nine for a week!  ;D

I'm so jealous of you -- how did RC know how you felt about Pike? You must have been giving off some heavy vibes!!!! lol lol Love the water color story. I'm sure he was touched; can I call you a Crais Groupie? lol You paint too?

-----------

That's it!! Martha Grimes -- love her stories -- love all those quirky characters when they meet in the village  pub, but my fav is Plant -- what about his aunt Agatha -- she's such a social climber! Read one of her Emma books.

--------------

Yes, Elizabeth George -- been trying to think of her name since I last posted to you.. I love her books -- they're nice, big, fat ones -- did you read the last one -- don't want to spoil it if you haven't. Barbara Havers is an interesting character -- such a rebel, yet she and Lynley work well together.
-------------------

Oh God, got to stay OT.  Just finished "Running with Scissors,"  "Dry,"  "Zombie" by Joyce Carol Oates -- ( For my birthday, my daughter gave me a tee shirt saying "so many books, so little time." I'd been craving one for ages, so she ordered it on the 'net.)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 05, 2007, 08:02:21 PM

 
"Borrowed Time" is a very well-written book and by the first page it had brought tears to my eyes.  I recommend it highly for a nonfiction poll.  For me in particular it ties in so well with the things we've been discussing about AIDS over on the Front Runner thread (in connection with the AIDS cases in Harlan's Race).


Yes, I noticed that in the book thread -- sounds interesting. Reminds me of "The Married Man" by Edmund White which I think would be a good non-fic. It's based on White and his lover, Hubert Sorin (called Julian in the story) who is dying of AIDS. They take one last trip together and the description of "Julian's"decline is heartbreaking, especially since it is true.

I posted a passage in my favorite passages thread or whatever it's called last July, I think.  It would also be a good selection for the book club, although I guess it would not be technically non-fic, but roman a clef.

Some of the selections are so good that they cancel each other out -- although I have picked up some interesting titles from reading the polls!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on January 06, 2007, 04:47:40 PM

I'm so jealous of you -- how did RC know how you felt about Pike? You must have been giving off some heavy vibes!!!! lol lol Love the water color story. I'm sure he was touched; can I call you a Crais Groupie? lol You paint too?

-----------

That's it!! Martha Grimes -- love her stories -- love all those quirky characters when they meet in the village  pub, but my fav is Plant -- what about his aunt Agatha -- she's such a social climber! Read one of her Emma books.

--------------

Yes, Elizabeth George -- been trying to think of her name since I last posted to you.. I love her books -- they're nice, big, fat ones -- did you read the last one -- don't want to spoil it if you haven't. Barbara Havers is an interesting character -- such a rebel, yet she and Lynley work well together.
-------------------

Oh God, got to stay OT.  Just finished "Running with Scissors,"  "Dry,"  "Zombie" by Joyce Carol Oates -- ( For my birthday, my daughter gave me a tee shirt saying "so many books, so little time." I'd been craving one for ages, so she ordered it on the 'net.)

Well, I'd posted plenty of RC's Forum when it was interactive, so he kind of knew where my loyalites
lay. Ha! This was several years ago and since then, because of some legal difficulties, his forum has gone
from being interactive as Lee Child's currently is, to being the kind of thing which just posts info about
him and his books. You, more or less, have to email him to get any kind of response about his books.
So we miss the old Forum terribly.
But there are some Craisies still active on Yahoo groups and such.
Without me, I'm afraid.  :D

At any rate, it is relatively easy to strike up a conversation with a lot of these authors.
I do it all the time online. And if sometimes you go their book signings, you can catch
up with them. As I've said, most of them are sweethearts and well worth knowing.
I'll probably be going to Lee Child's NYC signing in May this year.
He usually buys a few of us drinks afterwards. We're known as Reacher Creatures. 
Embarassing, I know.
But what the hell, we're harmless.  ;D

Nikki, I'm a freelance illustrator. So the drawing was easy enough for me to do.

Yes, Barbara Havers. I admit I like the tv interpretation of her character better than I do the
book one. Do you watch the PBS series? INSPECTOR LYNLEY Mysteries. I have a feeling that
he and Barbara are going to go in a romantic direction one of these days. (Despite the books.)
Especially since his marriage seems doomed...... ;)  and there's real chemistry between the actors
who play Lynley and Barbara. I love 'em both.  Hate the actress who played the wife.
In fact, in the books, I disliked the wife intensely. I just felt she was written in the kind of manner
that made it impossible for anyone, but Lynley, for some unaccountable reason, to like her.
But that's just me.

I got a great t-shirt for Christmas as well! :D
My friend in Hawaii sent me a Los Angeles Times Festival of Books shirt.
I LOVE it!!!

Okay, enough of that.
Back on topic.

Two memorable new books I highly recommend:

THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak
BY A SLOW RIVER by Phillippe Claudel
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 06, 2007, 06:08:46 PM


Rosewood, Reachers' Creatures, I love it -- I bet Child likes it too- Out for drinks how wonderful for you all!!

About Lynly and Havers -- maybe -- I do like TV Havers better than book Havers -- not as frumpy and grumpy!!

I tend to leave what I'm reading in different rooms so I'll always have something handy.

To stay OT, I'm starting Dreyfus for the second time, and the Proulx collection Bad Dirt for the second time.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: brokebacktom on January 06, 2007, 06:56:44 PM
I just started IN THE BEGINNING, The story of the king James Bible. So far its quite informative and fascinating. It starts before Henry the VIII and finishes w/ King James' vision. Also, its quite witty and easy to follow, not like some books with similair topics. THe Author is Alister McGrath, a professor of historical Theology at Oxford. He uses historical, political and social backgrounds to set the stages for this book. I think people might like it.

Tom 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Desecra on January 07, 2007, 07:00:09 PM
Rosewood and Nikki - thank you for the Martha Grimes recommendation!  I hadn't heard of her but sounds like her books would be just my thing.  Which would you recommend to start with?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 07, 2007, 09:45:43 PM
Rosewood and Nikki - thank you for the Martha Grimes recommendation!  I hadn't heard of her but sounds like her books would be just my thing.  Which would you recommend to start with?

Hi Des.  So glad you're interested in Grimes -- I think you'll love her books.  Although they each stand alone, her Inspector Jury is the running protagonist, and his querky group of friends turn up in most of the books, and even feature in some of the stories. I'd suggest you start with her first and work from there. Of course, I can't remember the first one right now -- they all bear the names of authentic English pubs. If you do an internet search, they'll prob turn up, or go to the library-----or search on Amazon.com. Let me know how you like them.

 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jpq716 on January 07, 2007, 10:01:35 PM
I read Judith Guest’s Ordinary People (1976), the source for one of my favorite films of all time. The novel is far more open-ended --- and even optimistic --- than the film, although both are excellent just the way that they are. I myself am quite suspicious of psychotherapy in general: I generally presume that what are called “psychological” problems actually turn out to be religious AND/OR biochemical AND/OR political ones. But this novel certainly presents a strong case for psychiatric intervention in crisis situations, playing for time while nature begins its healing work. And Guest’s empathy for both the father and the son in the situation is quite remarkable.

I am glad that I read the novel.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 07, 2007, 10:04:22 PM
Rosewood and Nikki - thank you for the Martha Grimes recommendation!  I hadn't heard of her but sounds like her books would be just my thing.  Which would you recommend to start with?

Hi Des.  So glad you're interested in Grimes -- I think you'll love her books.  Although they each stand alone, her Inspector Jury is the running protagonist, and his querky group of friends turn up in most of the books, and even feature in some of the stories. I'd suggest you start with her first and work from there. Of course, I can't remember the first one right now -- they all bear the names of authentic English pubs. If you do an internet search, they'll prob turn up, or go to the library-----or search on Amazon.com. Let me know how you like them.

 

Hi Des, back again. Just did a quick internet search for Grimes. The first two Inspector Jury mysteries are: "The Man with a  Load of Mischief" -- 1981 and "The Old Fox Deceived"-- 1982.  Most are in paperback. They usually say "an Inspector Jury mystery," 'cause she wrote other books.  Anyway, this will start you off --

Good reading,

Nikki
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 07, 2007, 10:18:22 PM
I just started IN THE BEGINNING, The story of the king James Bible. So far its quite informative and fascinating. It starts before Henry the VIII and finishes w/ King James' vision. Also, its quite witty and easy to follow, not like some books with similair topics. THe Author is Alister McGrath, a professor of historical Theology at Oxford. He uses historical, political and social backgrounds to set the stages for this book. I think people might like it.

Tom 

Hi Tom, Sounds interesting -- I'd be especially interested in the theological/political background. Not ready for something new at this point, but i noted it on my list. Thanks for the posting.

Nikki
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 07, 2007, 10:55:24 PM
How wonderful to see you here!  It's been a while!

Thanks for mentioning this.  As I recall you were a fan of the Mary Renault novels too, right?  I've put a few of those in the polls for our monthly book club.

Hope to hear from you again soon.

I read Judith Guest’s Ordinary People (1976), the source for one of my favorite films of all time.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 07, 2007, 11:00:42 PM
Rosewood and Nikki - thank you for the Martha Grimes recommendation!  I hadn't heard of her but sounds like her books would be just my thing.  Which would you recommend to start with?

Hi Des - great to see you here.  I too am fan of mysteries myself (I don't get to read nearly enough of them) and am looking forward to reading Robert Crais.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 07, 2007, 11:09:10 PM


Recently at the library, I picked up a copy of "Howl" Fifty Years Later" edited by Jason Shinder. I had never read the poem, since I was too young when the Beats were thriving. This edition contains essays by different writers -- people who knew Ginsberg and others.

I have to admit it's not easy reading,  and I don't think I'd read it again soon, but since it's become iconic in  American culture, I felt I had to give it a try. I can see why it caused such a sensation. Would like to hear from someone who attended Ginsberg's readings. The first two lines did grab me: I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical, naked...

Nikki, I have a suggestion on this.  I have found that many of the beat writers are actually better if you hear them read their works (Burroughs certainly is - the rhythm of his reading gives a whole new feeling to it).  If you get a chance you might want to see if you can pick up a spoken word version of 'Howl' - I was in a store today and saw 2 versions - you can probably find one in a library or via interlibrary loan too.  'Kaddish' and "A Supermarket in California" were a few of my other favorites by Ginsberg as well.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 08, 2007, 12:37:40 AM
I just started IN THE BEGINNING, The story of the king James Bible. So far its quite informative and fascinating. It starts before Henry the VIII and finishes w/ King James' vision. Also, its quite witty and easy to follow, not like some books with similair topics. THe Author is Alister McGrath, a professor of historical Theology at Oxford. He uses historical, political and social backgrounds to set the stages for this book. I think people might like it.

Tom 

Hi Tom!  This book sounds right up my alley!  I think we talked about Jonathan Kirsch's books 'Harlot By The Side of the Road' and 'God Against The Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism' here.  Have you read 'Hellfire Nation' by James Morone, by any chance?  It's a history of the moral politics of the U.S. all the way back to the pilgrims.  Fascinating stuff - I had no idea the pilgrims and quakers hated each other, for example.  And the bits about abolitionists and sufferagettes (and how the sufferage message impacted prohibition) are fascinating.  He points to a struggle between 'social gospel' and 'victorians'.  Very interesting.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Desecra on January 08, 2007, 01:29:29 AM
Thanks Nikki - I may as well start at the beginning, so I'll see if the library have 'The Man with a Load of Mischief'.  Michael, I love mysteries.  I've read most of Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 08, 2007, 07:52:22 AM


Recently at the library, I picked up a copy of "Howl" Fifty Years Later" edited by Jason Shinder. I had never read the poem, since I was too young when the Beats were thriving. This edition contains essays by different writers -- people who knew Ginsberg and others.

I have to admit it's not easy reading,  and I don't think I'd read it again soon, but since it's become iconic in  American culture, I felt I had to give it a try. I can see why it caused such a sensation. Would like to hear from someone who attended Ginsberg's readings. The first two lines did grab me: I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical, naked...

Nikki, I have a suggestion on this.  I have found that many of the beat writers are actually better if you hear them read their works (Burroughs certainly is - the rhythm of his reading gives a whole new feeling to it).  If you get a chance you might want to see if you can pick up a spoken word version of 'Howl' - I was in a store today and saw 2 versions - you can probably find one in a library or via interlibrary loan too.  'Kaddish' and "A Supermarket in California" were a few of my other favorites by Ginsberg as well.

Thanks Michael. I'm going to the library today -- will see what they have -- good idea --- I found Burroughs "Queer" a bit hard going -- like the idea of hearing them read their work -- particularly wanted to read "Kaddish" also.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jpq716 on January 08, 2007, 09:59:30 AM
Yes,  Michael, I have always been a big fan of Mary Renault, although I have it on good authority that she has posthumously taken possession of the body of Steven Pressfield...

I have always had a thing for the Greeks. It probably has a lot to do with my personal belief in reincarnation. I probably was some helot who was hacked to pieces by both sides during the Peloponnesian War. But then again, perhaps I was some slave-boy whom Alexander the Great used to chase around the table when he had taken a drop too many... :D

As a matter of fact, Steven Pressfield has recently published a novel (The Afghan Campaign) on Alexander's less than delightful experiences in Afghanistan. What I want to know is why anybody in 2007 would be interested in writing a novel like that. What relevance could such a novel have to our time and to our national experience? It totally beats me... :D

And oh, on March 9th, we will seeing the premiere of 300 on the silver screen. Three hundred shamelessly pansexual Spartans against two million decent and respectable Persians at the Gates of Fire in 490 BCE. Whoa, mama!

P.S. I have been meaning to read In the Beginning ever since I heard that it came out in print. But where I live, in the land that time forgot, we don't need to know about such matters, you see...

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on January 08, 2007, 10:03:19 AM
Well -- I scrolled up the page and didn't see this author mentioned -- if he has been mentioned before, then good!  Last week I finished Little Children  (currently a feature film) by Tom Perrotta.  I reserved judgment throughout the book because my daughter (in her twenties) was frustrated with the themes, the way the characters treat their marriages.  She got interested in this author because a previous book, Election was made into a very good movie (which we rented over the holidays.) 

My daughter read Election and thought it was not nearly so brilliant as the film adaptation, and again could not figure out why a guy in a perfectly fine marriage would stray for what appears to be no good reason, turn his life upside down, and end up without wife or girlfriend.  She even went to see Tom Perrotta at a book signing in the Boston area recently.  She asked him if he believes any marriage can survive, and he answered her that he enjoys HIS marriage  :D but of course, happy marriages aren't dramatic enough for a novel!

Anyway she gave me Little Children to read, and asked my opinion if I think he is a good novelist.

The answer is YES, YES, YES!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 08, 2007, 10:41:00 AM
Well -- I scrolled up the page and didn't see this author mentioned -- if he has been mentioned before, then good!  Last week I finished Little Children  (currently a feature film) by Tom Perrotta.  I reserved judgment throughout the book because my daughter (in her twenties) was frustrated with the themes, the way the characters treat their marriages.  She got interested in this author because a previous book, Election was made into a very good movie (which we rented over the holidays.) 

(snip)

Anyway she gave me Little Children to read, and asked my opinion if I think he is a good novelist.

The answer is YES, YES, YES!

Whoa!  I didn't know he was the same person who wrote 'Election'!  I'm headed to see 'Little Children' later this week (I'm quite looking forward to it) and am glad to know there is a talented writer behind this - thanks a lot, Ellen!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 08, 2007, 10:53:00 AM
Yes,  Michael, I have always been a big fan of Mary Renault, although I have it on good authority that she has posthumously taken possession of the body of Steven Pressfield...

I have always had a thing for the Greeks. It probably has a lot to do with my personal belief in reincarnation. I probably was some helot who was hacked to pieces by both sides during the Peloponnesian War. But then again, perhaps I was some slave-boy whom Alexander the Great used to chase around the table when he had taken a drop too many... :D

As a matter of fact, Steven Pressfield has recently published a novel (The Afghan Campaign) on Alexander's less than delightful experiences in Afghanistan. What I want to know is why anybody in 2007 would be interested in writing a novel like that. What relevance could such a novel have to our time and to our national experience? It totally beats me... :D

 :D

Thanks so much for the heads up on Steven Pressfield!  I'll certainly consider his works for a book club selection.  And, BTW, I put 'Ordinary People' in the latest poll.

For those unfamiliar with Pressfield (as I was) here is a wiki on him:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Pressfield

Here's his official website:

http://www.stevenpressfield.com/

Here's a question for you - are you familiar with Steven Saylor and/or do you like his writing?  The woman who runs the mystery club at the library I work in sing his praises.  Here's his wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Saylor

Here's his website:

http://www.stevensaylor.com/

And here's another website on him:

http://www.glbtq.com/literature/saylor_s.html
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on January 08, 2007, 11:58:28 AM
Thanks Nikki - I may as well start at the beginning, so I'll see if the library have 'The Man with a Load of Mischief'.  Michael, I love mysteries.  I've read most of Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine.

Des: So glad you're going to read Martha Grimes. She's a treasure, as far as I'm concerned.
I will tell you that her books are often moody, quirky and a bit unsettling. They can be
a tricky combination of dark doings, murder, eccentric humor, and, believe it or not, charm.
Another thing: she writes children better than anyone else I've ever read.

Michael: I'm so happy you're going to give Robert Crais a try. I love the Elvis Cole and Joe
Pike books. Not that you asked, but I'd strongly urge you to read them in order to get
the full flavor of the friendship. So that when you get to LA REQUIEM, it will work ALL its
magic on you.  ;)

Unfortunately, I'm not as fond of RC's standalone books. For me, it is Elvis and Joe or nothing. :D

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 08, 2007, 12:54:36 PM
Just a quick reminder, readers!  If you have a book that you really like, there is probably no better place to let people know about it (other than here) than in the 'Favorite passages' thread:

http://www.davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=4517.0

There hasn't been much posted there recently and that's sad, considering how much we love our books!  I know it takes time to type the passages out, but hey, what a wonderful way to honor the authors we love so much!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Ellen (tellyouwhat) on January 08, 2007, 01:11:43 PM
Hey michael, after reading Perrotta's book I plan to see the film Little Children this week also.

The New Yorker gave it a so-so review-- we'll see!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: brokebacktom on January 08, 2007, 05:23:36 PM
Micheal--

Thanks for the info ob HELLFIRE NATION. Its sounds great.

Question?  Do you know of any book that might get some info on Suddam Hussien, a good one that is. I have this debate w/ a friend taht Suudam killed more people than Hitiler did? I think not- kill over 11 Million? She of course is a republican and feeds off what they sell.
I was just wondering if you know of any.

THANKS- or if anyone else does.

Tom
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on January 08, 2007, 06:05:42 PM
Thanks for all the recommendations for Robert Crais - he has been on my 'I must read something by him' list for a long time but somehow I haven't  gotten around to it - does anyone have a recommendation for one to start with?


Another favorite of mine for mysteries is Minette Walters, although calling them mysteries could be over simplifying. Sometimes the mystery is just to figure out if something illlegal/violent actually happened. I enjoy her writing and character development
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 08, 2007, 06:22:52 PM
Micheal--

Thanks for the info ob HELLFIRE NATION. Its sounds great.

Question?  Do you know of any book that might get some info on Suddam Hussien, a good one that is. I have this debate w/ a friend taht Suudam killed more people than Hitiler did? I think not- kill over 11 Million? She of course is a republican and feeds off what they sell.
I was just wondering if you know of any.

THANKS- or if anyone else does.

Tom

Oh brother.  There are a few books I can think of, but I haven't read any of them.  Here are some of them:

'The Saddam Hussein Reader' edited by Turi Munthe
'Saddam: King of Terror' - Con Coughlin
'The Reckoning: Iraq and the Legacy of Saddam Hussein' by Sandra Mackey

Note that according to the World Book encyclopedia (1997) the estimated population of Iraq in 1996 was 21,882,000.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dejavu on January 09, 2007, 05:39:20 PM
For your non-fiction poll, I'm going to put another plug in for Paul Monette's "Borrowed Time:  An AIDS Memoir." 

Earlier I said that the first 8 pages were great -- well, the whole thing is, really.  It was so late at night when I was reading that I skipped some of the early chapters, but plan to read them when there's more time.  From somewhere about one-third in, I kept reading and couldn't put the book down.  It's one that makes you cry. 

It is both a caring story of what one man did to try to save his lover (or "friend" but he means so much more than than that), and a story with some facts about various treatments that were being tried at the time.  But the emphasis is all on the human dimension, not statistics.

I'm sure I'm repeating something from one of the advertisements or reviews for the book, but if so, I agree:  it's not just an AIDS story, it's not just a gay story; it's a very human story which anyone dealing with loss of a loved one from any cause (cancer, etc.) could identify with.

The one thing that is more typical of AIDS is that both men had the disease, one getting sicker while the other was functioning quite well.  So the survivor, Paul Monette (who has since died of the same illness) made it his cause, before his own death, to write a book about their life together, and how Roger died.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: sophieernie on January 10, 2007, 07:56:29 AM
Here's a question for you - are you familiar with Steven Saylor and/or do you like his writing? The woman who runs the mystery club at the library I work in sing his praises. Here's his wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Saylor

Here's his website:


http://www.stevensaylor.com/

And here's another website on him:

http://www.glbtq.com/literature/saylor_s.html

Steven Saylor is one of my all time favorites.  He writes mysteries staring Gordianus the Finder (an ancient Roman PI).  He has such a great voice and weaves history with humor and plot.  I love all his books and his stories, especially the later ones Rubicon, Last Seen in Massalia, and The Judgement of Caesar have a rumored homosexual relationship between Gordianus' adopted son (a soldier) and Julius Caesar himself!  Quite juicy and a quick, light read. 

He has also just come out with a new Colleen McCullough style epic, generational novel that will be published in March (called Roma).  I cannot wait to read this, I have already pre-ordered.

On the subject of Colleen McCullough (The Thorn Birds) wrote at least two novels about Sulla (the roman General and leader) who had a lifelong relationship with the male actore Metrobius.  I think one is called The Grass Crown.

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on January 10, 2007, 12:07:29 PM
Thanks for all the recommendations for Robert Crais - he has been on my 'I must read something by him' list for a long time but somehow I haven't  gotten around to it - does anyone have a recommendation for one to start with?


Another favorite of mine for mysteries is Minette Walters, although calling them mysteries could be over simplifying. Sometimes the mystery is just to figure out if something illlegal/violent actually happened. I enjoy her writing and character development

Oh for sure, the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike books by Robert Crais HAVE to be read in order.
No question. They are deceptively light hearted and unpretentious.
Start with THE MONKEY'S RAINCOAT which is the first.
A terrific debut but not the best in the series.
The two characters develope from there though and you'll get a handle on
where they're going. LOVE the ending in Monkey's Raincoat.

There are moments in Elvis's developement when a good suspension of
disbelief is needed, but I've always gone along with RC and been rewarded.
Needless to say, I LOVE these characters.

Joe doesn't really flesh out and come to life until the second or third books, by the way.

THE MONKEY'S RAINCOAT
STALKING THE ANGEL
LULLABY TOWN
FREE FALL
VOODOO RIVER
SUNSET EXPRESS
INDIGO SLAM
L.A. REQUIEM
THE LAST DETECTIVE

Minnette Walters is about as far from Robert Crais's style of writing as you
can get, Mary, but that doesn't mean you won't enjoy RC's stuff.  ;)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 10, 2007, 02:56:47 PM
Here's a question for you - are you familiar with Steven Saylor and/or do you like his writing? The woman who runs the mystery club at the library I work in sing his praises. Here's his wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Saylor

Here's his website:


http://www.stevensaylor.com/

And here's another website on him:

http://www.glbtq.com/literature/saylor_s.html

Steven Saylor is one of my all time favorites.  He writes mysteries staring Gordianus the Finder (an ancient Roman PI).  He has such a great voice and weaves history with humor and plot.  I love all his books and his stories, especially the later ones Rubicon, Last Seen in Massalia, and The Judgement of Caesar have a rumored homosexual relationship between Gordianus' adopted son (a soldier) and Julius Caesar himself!  Quite juicy and a quick, light read. 

He has also just come out with a new Colleen McCullough style epic, generational novel that will be published in March (called Roma).  I cannot wait to read this, I have already pre-ordered.

On the subject of Colleen McCullough (The Thorn Birds) wrote at least two novels about Sulla (the roman General and leader) who had a lifelong relationship with the male actore Metrobius.  I think one is called The Grass Crown.

JUst bought 3 of Saylors's books today.  Can't believe I missed these, since I love mysteries and ancient Rome. Look forward to reading them.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: KathyinBama on January 11, 2007, 05:42:07 AM
I just read Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.  I really got sucked into the story in a hurry and just flew through it.  It is not great literature, but it is a great read.
Title: Read Fish: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man's Prison
Post by: victopet on January 11, 2007, 11:59:57 AM
 I just finished reading "Fish, a Memoir of a Boy in a Man's Prison" by T.J. Parsell and nothing has affected me so deeply since Brokeback Mountain.

Fish is a true story of TJ, the author, who was 17 years old and sent to state prison in Michigan in the late 1970s for robbing a Fotomat with a toy gun.  From there he was repeatedly assaulted before being forced to become the "property" of other inmates in prison for protection. Through his recollections, we get to learn all about the dark side of prison culture and prison rape and the consequences of a dysfunctional childhood.  But at the same time, we see a beautiful picture of a naive boy trying to come to terms with everything that's happening around him, realizing -- and finally accepting -- his own gay identity and learning to take responsibility for who he is.

But don't let the topic of prison rape put you off:  this book is so much more.

It is one of the most powerful, raw, thought-provoking memoirs I have ever read -- and it works on so many levels. I was left simultaneously angry and heartsick at the system for letting such things happen, celebrating the fact that TJ moved through and beyond these experiences, and mourning what might have been if things had been different.

The story also includes a recounting of how the author experienced his "first love" with another man in prison.  Though the affair was short-lived and doomed, the lover basically saved TJ's life.  This love story was the most poignant aspect of the book, and it just left me aching for everybody in the world who has never even experienced such beautiful, transcending, life-changing love. This love, though, was as gut-wrenching as Brokeback Mountain because it is a true story.

This story humanizes all of its characters and provides raw, introspective insights from the author who finally was released from prison and made a successful life for himself, though he lives with the scars. 

If you want to learn more about this book, you can check it out at Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Fish-Memoir-Boy-Mans-Prison/dp/0786717939/sr=8-2/qid=1168541685/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2/002-3508022-0417634?ie=UTF8&s=books
 (http://www.amazon.com/Fish-Memoir-Boy-Mans-Prison/dp/0786717939/sr=8-2/qid=1168541685/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2/002-3508022-0417634?ie=UTF8&s=books)
This is a story about being gay, but about so much more.  I would recommend it to anyone who doesn't mind reading some raw and heavy emotional stuff.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to PM me.

Vic
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 11, 2007, 05:12:18 PM


Hey Vic, sounds like a great suggestion for the non-fic book seclection! I'd love to read it either way.

Nikki
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 11, 2007, 07:26:08 PM


Hey Vic, sounds like a great suggestion for the non-fic book seclection! I'd love to read it either way.

Nikki

Exactly what I thought Nikki!  I'm going to include it in March's poll!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: victopet on January 11, 2007, 08:01:25 PM


Hey Vic, sounds like a great suggestion for the non-fic book seclection! I'd love to read it either way.

Nikki

This book just blew me away, though I think a lot of the general public might shy away from it because of the tough themes:  prison and gay sex. But the author does a fantastic job of humanizing both topics.  Even if you were not sympathetic to these issues before, I think you will be after reading.

I'd love to see it included in the poll!  Thanks, Michael!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 15, 2007, 08:51:19 PM
Hi Everyone - just a quick note: in the January 2007 issue of Vanity Fair there is an interesting article, 'Ruthless with Scissors' by Buzz Bissinger.  The 'Finch' family (in real life the Turcotte family) dispute much of what Augusten Burroughs had to say about them in 'Running With Scissors', including how long he lived with them (it was about a year and a half as opposed to the 5 years he indicates in the book) and why his mother 'gave him' to her psychiatrist (she transferred guardianship to him so that Chris Robison - Burroughs original name - could go to school in the district he was living in).  The family is suing Burroughs and his publisher for libel  and invasion of privacy.

It's a very interesting article, particularly in light of the James Frey 'Million Little Pieces' and J. T. Leroy stories and worth a read, IMHO.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 15, 2007, 11:10:29 PM


Right Michael. I get VF regularly, and it always has something interesting. There are pictures of the "Finch" family -- will be interesting to see how the lawsuit goes.  and yet.....I wonder if they would have brought suit if the book wasn't so successful, and hadn't been made into a movie.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 16, 2007, 12:39:00 AM


Right Michael. I get VF regularly, and it always has something interesting. There are pictures of the "Finch" family -- will be interesting to see how the lawsuit goes.  and yet.....I wonder if they would have brought suit if the book wasn't so successful, and hadn't been made into a movie.

I'll be interested in your opinion once you've read it - as you know I've read a couple of his books.  The article gave me pause.  I'm sure they wouldn't have brought suit if it hadn't been so successful, but (in part) that's because their lives wouldn't have been so exposed.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 16, 2007, 05:19:47 AM


Just finished reading "The Magician's Assistant" thanks to the poll. I
had never read any of Patchett's books, and I found it engrossing. Won't give anything away here, since it may yet be a future selection, except to say that I enjoyed it, it's ending surprised me, and the protagonist is different from what I expected. I finished it in two days sandwiched between our 2 book clubs. Think it would make for an interesting discussion -- worth keeping in mind.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dejavu on January 16, 2007, 11:27:51 AM
Hi, Nikki,

I hope "Magician's Assistant" does win one of our polls, either this one or a future one.  Glad to hear somebody else say it's good.  I haven't read it (or bought it) but it has always sounded interesting.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 16, 2007, 03:01:48 PM


D.J., it's a fairly quick read, and holds your interest. I borrowed it from the library -- hardback -- may be in paperback.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 16, 2007, 03:06:55 PM


Right Michael. I get VF regularly, and it always has something interesting. There are pictures of the "Finch" family -- will be interesting to see how the lawsuit goes.  and yet.....I wonder if they would have brought suit if the book wasn't so successful, and hadn't been made into a movie.

I'll be interested in your opinion once you've read it - as you know I've read a couple of his books.  The article gave me pause.  I'm sure they wouldn't have brought suit if it hadn't been so successful, but (in part) that's because their lives wouldn't have been so exposed.

Michael, I'll read it in the next couple of days and let you know.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 17, 2007, 05:14:06 PM
Okay...I was just doing a little research online and came across this book:

Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality and Male Culture in Renaissance Florence
Michael Rocke
Oxford University Press
March 5, 1998

http://www.amazon.com/Forbidden-Friendships-Homosexuality-Renaissance-Sexuality/dp/0195122925

Has anybody here read this book?

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dback on January 17, 2007, 11:29:02 PM
I remember hearing about "Fish," and thinking it sounded fascinating.  On a purely superficial level, the author is very attractive, too.  (He was kind of cute as a young man, but he's aged very well; prison certainly didn't hurt his looks.)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 19, 2007, 05:23:23 AM
Here's another book I'm wondering about: "What Was She Thinking? Notes On A Scandal" by Zoe Heller.  I've just come from the film earlier today and was quite impressed by the narrative in the film.  Has anyone here read this?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 19, 2007, 10:34:01 AM


Right Michael. I get VF regularly, and it always has something interesting. There are pictures of the "Finch" family -- will be interesting to see how the lawsuit goes.  and yet.....I wonder if they would have brought suit if the book wasn't so successful, and hadn't been made into a movie.

I'll be interested in your opinion once you've read it - as you know I've read a couple of his books.  The article gave me pause.  I'm sure they wouldn't have brought suit if it hadn't been so successful, but (in part) that's because their lives wouldn't have been so exposed.

The VF article is quite lengthy with photos of Burroughs and the "Finch" (Turcotte) family, so won't go into too much detail except a few highlights which I quote in part.

Burrough's memoir describes his childhood in a dysfunctional family -- his mother gives him away so she can pursue her own life. He lands in the "Adams Family-like" household of a bizarre psychiatrist whose family is described with warts and all -- and boy are there warts!

In the aftermath of the controversy over "A Million Little Pieces" St. Martin's Press sent out advance copies of Burrough's book with a disclaimer -- "Some of the events described happened as related, others were expanded and changed... some individuals are composites of more than one person...many names have been changed as well..."

Nevertheless, the family filed a lawsuit in 2005 against the author and St. Martin's for invasion of privacy and libel saying they were falsely portrayed -- events are fabricated -- conversations that never occurred are manufactured... The family was shocked, sickened and felt exposed humiliated and betrayed. (one of the members said she had never vomited so much in her life.)

Burroughs confirmed in interviews that the stories he presented are true. Nevertheless, the story raises new questions about memoirs in general and the type Burroughs wrote in particular -- what one New York editor calls the "genre of appropriation" -- the writer's life is not just up for grabs, but everyone else's as well. In William Zinsser's book "Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir" he writes 'The writer's moral obligation to let subjects know what he is writing is taken very seriously."

Apparently Burroughs never informed the family about what he was writing, and according to one member Burroughs never told her he was writing the book. The family is quoted at length about Burroughs' time with them, and his relationship with the family.  Burroughs maintains the family made themselves known by filing the lawsuit. He agreed that People mag mentioned the family's real name saying "They [People] didn't respect the efforts that I made to conceal their identities. It was surprising."

The VF article was written by Buzz Bissinger (Saturday Night Lights), and is well worth reading especially with the controversy surrounding memoirs today.


-----------------------------
In a New York Times review 11/26/006, William Bastone, who helped write the Frey expose (A Million Little Pieces) on the "Smoking Gun" web site told the New York Post earlier: "We've had dozens of people writing in to suggest other authors for us to look at, and Burroughs has, far and away been at the top of everyone's list. Something about his books seems to strike an uncomfortable chord with people."




Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on January 19, 2007, 11:14:07 AM
But then we're a society of liars, aren't we?  It's not just memoirists.  In fact, their falsehoods strike me as among the most forgivable.  "Journalists" fake stories (a couple of them have gone down in flames in the past year or so);  reporters parrot facts without checking them;  athletes drug themselves into record-breaking performances;  beauty contestants win through removal of flaws and inflation of various body parts; "reality" television is as real as a carnival sidehow;  ideologues cite non-existent research studies to prove their points; and our president - well, you know about that.

Bah, humbug!

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 19, 2007, 12:08:09 PM
But then we're a society of liars, aren't we?  It's not just memoirists.  In fact, their falsehoods strike me as among the most forgivable.  "Journalists" fake stories (a couple of them have gone down in flames in the past year or so);  reporters parrot facts without checking them;  athletes drug themselves into record-breaking performances;  beauty contestants win through removal of flaws and inflation of various body parts; "reality" television is as real as a carnival sidehow;  ideologues cite non-existent research studies to prove their points; and our president - well, you know about that.

Bah, humbug!


Well, we expect all these others to hire spin masters or PR men, even cosmetic surgeons -- if you write about your life claiming the events are true -- then I feel cheated!!

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on January 19, 2007, 12:44:34 PM
It's interesting that there's a minor flap going on about a memoir by Barak Obama, despite the fact that there's a statement at the beginning saying that some names have been changed and some represent composite characters.  (Or so I've been reading - haven't seen the book myself.)  It seems that  some critics consider even the inclusion of such a disclaimer as morally insufficient.  At least when it's in a book issued from the wrong side of a political aisle.

Actually, except for the memoirs of professional writers, I tend to take it for granted that celebrity authors use crutches.  That's understood, of course, when a co-writer is listed, but I'm also - cynically, maybe - inclined to think that effusive thanks to an "editor" connote the same thing.  (Makes you wonder if Casanova had a ghostwriter... Still, when letters were the only way to communicate, more people could express themselves without help.)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 19, 2007, 12:51:54 PM
Makes you wonder if Casanova had a ghostwriter....

It wouldn't surprise me - he was usually busy in other rooms than the scriptorium.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on January 19, 2007, 02:12:36 PM
Makes you wonder if Casanova had a ghostwriter....

It wouldn't surprise me - he was usually busy in other rooms than the scriptorium.
Ah, but how old was he when he wrote it?  (Actually, I don't know - guess I should consult the Holy Google.  I've been meaning to go there anyhow, because an 80th birthday photo of Hugh Heffner surrounded by three lissome blondes has got me wondering whether it was King Saul or King David who got a nubile girl to warm his bed.)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on January 19, 2007, 03:06:15 PM
I'd like to strongly recommend two books I read over the holidays:

THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak
An unsettling story of death's bemusement with a young girl.
The narrator: Death.
Not as harrowing as one might think at first glance.
Beautifully written and soul stirring.
The place: just outside Munich.
The time: The blossoming of Nazi Germany.
The protagonist: a young girl given to filtching books meant for
burning, under the noses of the Nazis.
When the time comes that a Jewish man must be hidden in the family's basement,
events take on an even more life threatening cast.
I loved this book.
Everyone to whom I've recommended it to has also loved it.
This is a book that reminds you why you read fiction in the first place.

BY A SLOW RIVER by Phillipe Claudel
In a small village in France towards the end of WWI, two deaths, one a suicide
and one a murder, take place within weeks of each other.
Years later they continue to plague the retired town policeman in charge of
the two investigations. He is a pragmatic sort who, might be forgiven for
being distracted at the time, since he was also dealing with the death of
his wife in child labor.

Years later, he looks back and tells us the story.
His and the town's, both entwined with truly terrible
secrets.

This books seems well translated from the French and yes, it has doom and
gloom, but it is SO well written, I didn't mind. It is one of those books that
springs fully into your mind in varying shades of gray, black and dark, dark,
red. The secret at the end is unspeakable.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dejavu on January 19, 2007, 04:09:14 PM
BY A SLOW RIVER sounds interesting to me.  From your mystery shelves? 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on January 19, 2007, 04:20:22 PM
BY A SLOW RIVER sounds interesting to me.  From your mystery shelves? 

Not really a mystery in the true sense of the word.
This about as far from a whodunit as you can possibly get.
Although, yes, there are mysteries involved.
More the dark mysteries of the human heart and, in this case,
the unusually gothic mysteries of the soul, I think.

As I've said, be prepared for an ending that will leave you reeling.

This is a superb book.
One of my top five of last year.
(As is THE BOOK THIEF)
As as aside, it is also one of the NY Times 100 Most Notable of 2006.
If that sort of thing matters.

If you read it, j, let me know what you think.  :)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dejavu on January 19, 2007, 05:21:41 PM
Hi, Rosewood,

BY A SLOW RIVER -- it won't be until this summer probably, but I'll have some time then.  I do want to keep it in mind.  Thanks for posting it here.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Kemmer on January 20, 2007, 11:29:20 PM
For mature gay readers--and even straight readers curious about the gay psyche-- (those not just after the steamy sex scenes, but just damn good stories and writing), I highly recommend Jay Quinn's The Good Neighbor and also his Back Where He Started.  I got both at amazon.com.

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on January 21, 2007, 12:18:36 AM
Welcome Kemmer!  Thanks for the recommendations----I will put them on my Amazon wish list!  I have been known to be a mature reader but have to admit to you that I have also been known to read some fanfiction stories about Ennis and Jack that are pretty amazing---so I guess I do have some Slashy ways! ;) 

Has anyone read Little Children by Tom Perrotta (now a movie)?  I am just wondering if it is better to read the book before seeing the movie or vise versa?  I know it is usually better to read then watch but I was wondering if anyone has an opinion in this case?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 21, 2007, 10:38:45 AM
Thanks for the suggestion Kemmer (and welcome!).

Passion, I saw 'Little Children' - I don't think you'd need to read the book beforehand - it's quite clear what is happening there.  I must admit I've gotten very interested in Perrotta since seeing the film too (he wrote 'Election' as well).
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on January 21, 2007, 05:36:34 PM
Passion, I saw 'Little Children' - I don't think you'd need to read the book beforehand - it's quite clear what is happening there.  I must admit I've gotten very interested in Perrotta since seeing the film too (he wrote 'Election' as well).
Thanks Michael!  I think I will do both but no worry about reading before going to see the film!

How about Children of Men by P.D. James?  I already saw the film---very good----but was wondering if the book may have made the film even better!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 21, 2007, 06:18:27 PM
Passion, I saw 'Little Children' - I don't think you'd need to read the book beforehand - it's quite clear what is happening there.  I must admit I've gotten very interested in Perrotta since seeing the film too (he wrote 'Election' as well).

Thanks Michael!  I think I will do both but no worry about reading before going to see the film!

How about Children of Men by P.D. James?  I already saw the film---very good----but was wondering if the book may have made the film even better!

I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who has read this as well.  I knew about the book (I seem to remember when it came out as it seemed atypical for P.D. James) and actually got chills when I saw the previews.  It really struck me as being a book that Margaret Atwood would have written instead of James.  So yes, any readers out there who have read this?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on January 21, 2007, 09:43:22 PM
I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who has read this as well.  I knew about the book (I seem to remember when it came out as it seemed atypical for P.D. James) and actually got chills when I saw the previews.  It really struck me as being a book that Margaret Atwood would have written instead of James.  So yes, any readers out there who have read this?

I read the book quite some time ago (I think it came out in the early 90's).  I found it a compelling read but that is all I really remember  - and yes the story was more like something you would expect from Margaret Atwood.

Still haven't seen the film but hope to soon. 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on January 22, 2007, 12:08:41 AM
Michaelflanagansf said
Quote
I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who has read this as well.  I knew about the book (I seem to remember when it came out as it seemed atypical for P.D. James)

After reading the reviews, I didn't pick it up either.  But you know, it didn't sound so much atypical to me, as it did a continuation of a road she'd been traveling all along.  I don't like mysteries that are cutesy, or try to evoke giggles, and it's fine if they're dark - but nevertheless, I read them for fun.  And book by book, she seemed less fun; she seemed to find all her own characters distasteful.  Maybe I was just imagining it, but a feeling of something nastily judgmental crept in, something beyond the morality-tale component of a serious mystery. 

In an odd way - because their moral positions must have been quite opposed - she was showing a kind of chill detachment that I think  turned me off in Patricia Highsmith. 

But it's been a few years since I read any of James; maybe it was just a phase I was in at the time....
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on January 22, 2007, 10:22:28 AM
I read the book quite some time ago (I think it came out in the early 90's).  I found it a compelling read but that is all I really remember  - and yes the story was more like something you would expect from Margaret Atwood.

Still haven't seen the film but hope to soon. 
That is exactly what I thought----it was like a Margaret Atwood story----reminded me of The Handmade's Tale---which was one of my favorite books way back when!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 22, 2007, 10:39:05 AM
That is exactly what I thought----it was like a Margaret Atwood story----reminded me of The Handmade's Tale---which was one of my favorite books way back when!

Yes, but that was a case where I liked the book a whole lot more than the movie - I hope the P.D. James book stands up as a film!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Passion on January 22, 2007, 10:47:56 AM
Yes, but that was a case where I liked the book a whole lot more than the movie - I hope the P.D. James book stands up as a film!
I agree I didn't like the movie at all (The Handmade's Tale) but Children of Men was an excellent movie---hard to say I enjoyed it because it was dark and depressing but it also showed hope and that good human spirit will prevail!  I would like to see it again!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 23, 2007, 10:25:22 AM
This was in 'Respond to the Daily Sheet' and since Vidal is one of my favorite authors and I'm looking for non-fiction for that March list I thought I'd copy this over here (with permission, of course):

Re: polls, I'm reading Gore Vidal's memoir Palimpsest.
In April 1993, he writes:

'I have just been studying a poll that pretends to investigate the sex lives of Americans. It is wonderfully preposterous (average woman has two sexual partners - in her life), but it will be useful when the dictatorship is in place and the aberrant woman who chooses a third partner can be punished. Apparently, only 2 percent of the male population has ever had a homosexual experience. Forty-five years ago, it was 37 percent: Are Dr Kinsey's figures really off by 35 percent? Are there now entirely different "preferences" (to use a loaded political word)? Due to the fear of AIDS or to the general unattractiveness of the American male? - now the fattest on earth. Or did the Pentagon fix the poll in order to keep that now-insignificant minority "gays" - the weirdly inappropriate word used to describe a nonexistent category - from serving in the military without harassment or concealment or disgrace?

'Interestingly, all the questioners of the men were women; as a result, over 30 percent of those approached refused to participate, while the rest were obliged to lie. After all, to tell a strange woman that you had no intention of ever fucking anyone of her sex could be construed as harassment on a titanic scale, not to mention posing a grave threat to the baby supply, punishable by death in free society.

'Last year, in a book called The Day America Told the Truth, a megapoll discovered that 91 percent of our population admits to lying regularly. Of course if 91 percent were lying to the megapollsters about their propensity for lying, one is back to the oldest of recorded jokes. "All Cretans are liars," said a Cretan. True or false?'
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on January 23, 2007, 10:13:20 PM
Thanks Michael - that post prompted me to look for this book at my library - so it might appear on a book club list?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 24, 2007, 12:59:15 AM
Thanks Michael - that post prompted me to look for this book at my library - so it might appear on a book club list?

Yes!  Of course!  Vidal is one of those people I've loved for decades now.  He first got my attention when he called William F. Buckley a crypto-nazi in 1968:

http://www.pitt.edu/~kloman/debates.html
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Sharyn on January 26, 2007, 04:36:11 PM
Hey there...   Been a while and trying to catch up!  I just finished The Corrections & The Dive from Claussen's Pier...  Anyone care to discuss either?   I was fascinated by The Corrections  and TDCP, well? I was a bit disappointed in the main character.   I recommend though, especially The Corrections!

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 26, 2007, 05:04:18 PM
Hey there...   Been a while and trying to catch up!  I just finished The Corrections & The Dive from Claussen's Pier...  Anyone care to discuss either?   I was fascinated by The Corrections  and TDCP, well? I was a bit disappointed in the main character.   I recommend though, especially The Corrections!

Sorry Sharyn!  Not me!  Although, I do recall someone else discussing 'The Dive from Claussen's Pier' here.  Anyone else?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 26, 2007, 05:32:54 PM
Hey there...   Been a while and trying to catch up!  I just finished The Corrections & The Dive from Claussen's Pier...  Anyone care to discuss either?   I was fascinated by The Corrections  and TDCP, well? I was a bit disappointed in the main character.   I recommend though, especially The Corrections!


I read 'The Corrections' when it came out -- I almost couldn't get through it. It was soooooo long. The editor should have convinced the author (forget his name begins with an F) to cut out that section when he goes to Prague or Chezkoslovakia (sp) or somewhere in Middle Europe. However, I started it with high hope, especially his description of his father having Louey Body disease whihch affected his Alzeheimer's. My late husband died of Parkinson's during which the X-rays showed evidence of Louey Body -- seems to be a little known problem. His description of his father's worsening condition was well done and touching, and the interplay among the dysfunctional family members was a treat.

I was disappointed in the author (WHAT is his name?) when he refused to appear on Oprah's show featuring his book. I felt there was a touch of eliteism in his refusal -- he said something about (paraphrasing here) the show deminishing the novel or the gravity or some such. Her show is usually a big push for any novel.

 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 26, 2007, 05:34:34 PM
Jonathan Franzen

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Franzen
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 26, 2007, 05:36:43 PM
Jonathan Franzen

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Franzen

Oh thanks, Michael that really bugged me. National Book Award.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 26, 2007, 05:44:33 PM
Oh thanks, Michael that really bugged me. National Book Award.

You bet.  I could never decide whether the not going on Oprah was a publicity stunt on his part - it certainly got him more press than a single appearance would have, don't you think?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 26, 2007, 05:46:45 PM
Oh thanks, Michael that really bugged me. National Book Award.

You bet.  I could never decide whether the not going on Oprah was a publicity stunt on his part - it certainly got him more press than a single appearance would have, don't you think?

Oh yeah -- the consensus was "How dare he!" But he did it in a very ungracious and elitetist manner IMO. His latest seems to have gotten good reviews, no?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on January 27, 2007, 08:35:04 PM
This seems like an important article to post a link to here - it's about the bankruptcy of Publisher's Group West's parent company and how it has affected over 130 small press publishers.  This is really bad news, folks.  Here's the link:

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/01/27/MNG9DNQ8TM1.DTL

And here's the first few paragraphs:

A financial thriller in the publishing world
- Ilana DeBare, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, January 27, 2007

Bay Area small publishers like McSweeney's, Berrett-Koehler and Parallax Press don't typically print melodramatic cliff-hangers.

But this month, they've been living one.

More than 130 independent publishers across the country were hurled into financial crisis on Dec. 29 with the bankruptcy of the parent company of Publishers Group West, the Berkeley firm that distributes books from much of the small press world.

Among them are more than two dozen Bay Area publishers whose works range from Dave Eggers' novels and Deepak Chopra's inspirational writings to business books, Buddhist books and the "Here Comes the Guide" wedding planning book.

The bankruptcy hit these small presses at the worst possible time -- when Publishers Group West was holding onto its sales revenues from the three months before Christmas, its most profitable time of the year.

At the time of the bankruptcy filing, the company owed nearly $1 million to Amber-Allen, a San Rafael publisher of personal growth books such as the best-selling "The Four Agreements," by Don Miguel Ruiz. It owed $600,000 to McSweeney's Books, the San Francisco press started by Eggers.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Castro on January 28, 2007, 12:33:58 AM
Here's a loving and descriptive review of Mary Renault's The Charioteer, which has held its place for years as my favorite gay novel:

http://www.rambles.net/renault_chariot59.html

The symbolism in the book is real ,  even exemplified by the title. The reviewer doesn't say the story is "romantic," but it is; fan fiction wouldn't insult it.  I think it has appeal for both GLBT's and straight women. (Unless perhaps the notions of personal honor would make it seem too quaintly outmoded, but I think not.)  I keep returning to it here, simply in hope it'll attract  and delight some new readers.


Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on January 28, 2007, 09:51:50 AM
Here's a loving and descriptive review of Mary Renault's The Charioteer, which has held its place for years as my favorite gay novel:

http://www.rambles.net/renault_chariot59.html

The symbolism in the book is real ,  even exemplified by the title. The reviewer doesn't say the story is "romantic," but it is; fan fiction wouldn't insult it.  I think it has appeal for both GLBT's and straight women. (Unless perhaps the notions of personal honor would make it seem too quaintly outmoded, but I think not.)  I keep returning to it here, simply in hope it'll attract  and delight some new readers.




Castro -- as much as a voracioius reader am I, I've always skipped over Renault even though I love fiction set against ancient history. Well, I think it was probably you who suggested one of Renault's novels as a book club selection?  Anyway, I picked up 'Fire from Heaven' last week at the library --- about the young Alexander and his friend Hephaistion. I enjoyed it tremendously, should have read Renault years ago. Will look for 'The Charioteer' tomorrow -- thanks for the reminder.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on January 28, 2007, 01:18:49 PM
Here's a loving and descriptive review of Mary Renault's The Charioteer, which has held its place for years as my favorite gay novel:

http://www.rambles.net/renault_chariot59.html

The symbolism in the book is real ,  even exemplified by the title. The reviewer doesn't say the story is "romantic," but it is; fan fiction wouldn't insult it.  I think it has appeal for both GLBT's and straight women. (Unless perhaps the notions of personal honor would make it seem too quaintly outmoded, but I think not.)  I keep returning to it here, simply in hope it'll attract  and delight some new readers.




Castro -- as much as a voracioius reader am I, I've always skipped over Renault even though I love fiction set against ancient history. Well, I think it was probably you who suggested one of Renault's novels as a book club selection?  Anyway, I picked up 'Fire from Heaven' last week at the library --- about the young Alexander and his friend Hephaistion. I enjoyed it tremendously, should have read Renault years ago. Will look for 'The Charioteer' tomorrow -- thanks for the reminder.

I, too, love this novel.
It is one of those books that deserves to be reread.
Amazingly enough, I'd never heard of THE CHARIOTEER until I discovered this forum.
I think I have a copy of FIRE FROM HEAVEN somewhere on my bookshelves.
Think I'll add it to my Must Read list.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: WhenPigsFly on February 04, 2007, 03:06:58 PM
I haven't visited this thread in some time ... has anyone mentioned reading "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy?  I read it a month ago in one sitting and can't get it out of my mind.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 04, 2007, 10:34:18 PM
I haven't visited this thread in some time ... has anyone mentioned reading "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy?  I read it a month ago in one sitting and can't get it out of my mind.

No one has mentioned McCarthy in a while, jd, but I do recall someone saying 'Blood Meridian' was one of their favorites.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: maidenofthesea on February 07, 2007, 09:20:46 PM
Has anyone here read Midddlesex? If so, I'd be really interested in discussing it. I just finished the book yesterday and my head is buzzing with all 500 something pages  :D
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dback on February 07, 2007, 10:51:37 PM
I haven't visited this thread in some time ... has anyone mentioned reading "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy?  I read it a month ago in one sitting and can't get it out of my mind.

Lots of critics, including Stephen King, picked that as the novel of the year.  It sounds fascinating, but almost unbearably grim and heartbreaking; I dread it being added to high school reading lists.  (Classes I've taught have slogged--painfully!--through "Frankenstein" "Of Mice And Men" "The Things They Carried" "To Kill A Mockingbird" "Huckleberry Finn" "The Glass Menagerie" "Our Town" and the major Shakespeare tragedies; personally, I think adding "The Importance of Being Earnest" or another comedy might be a blessing for these kids.)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on February 08, 2007, 08:32:11 AM
Has anyone here read Midddlesex? If so, I'd be really interested in discussing it. I just finished the book yesterday and my head is buzzing with all 500 something pages  :D
I read it some time ago with a RL book group and had much the same reaction - you might want to check out Your ten favourite books: http://www.davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=19645.0
Middlesex appears on more than one list
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: isa on February 08, 2007, 09:13:03 AM
i am now reading the biography of natasha kampush.
i don't know if you guy's in the usa are aware of her story, but here in europe, we are all devastated by it.
she was been kidknapping at the age of 10 years and she stayed 8 years( 8 years!!!) in a sick persons' basement. she could escape, a couple of months ago, at the age of 18. her kidknapper comitted suicide.
she put it all in bookform, and voila! that's what i am reading wright now.
just before this one i have been reading the fanfic of BBM by madlori, it was fantastic, because her writing helped me a lot, to deal with the pain that i  have in me since i saw the film.

isa xxx
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 08, 2007, 04:06:12 PM
i am now reading the biography of :-\.
i don't know if you guy's in the usa are aware of her story, but here in europe, we are all devastated by it.
she was been kidknapping at the age of 10 years and she stayed 8 years( 8 years!!!) in a sick persons' basement. she could escape, a couple of months ago, at the age of 18. her kidknapper comitted suicide.
she put it all in bookform, and voila! that's what i am reading wright now.
just before this one i have been reading the fanfic of BBM by madlori, it was fantastic, because her writing helped me a lot, to deal with the pain that i  have in me since i saw the film.

isa xxx

Hi isa!  I was aware of Natasha Kampusch's story, but I was unaware that she already had a book out.  How was she able to create a book so soon - hadn't she fallen behind on her reading and writing by being in such a horrible situation?

I tend to not read things of this nature - I'm a bit down on human nature generally, I don't need much help in that department.  ;) :D  However, years ago I read a fascinating book by Kate Millett entitled 'The Basement' about Sylvia Likens who was tortured to death by Gertrude Baniszewski, her children and children from the neighborhood.  If you find this sort of reading compelling I'd suggest picking that up.

We've recently had a similar case to Natasha's over in the U.S. - a young boy named Shawn Hornbeck was held captive by Michael Devlin in Missouri.  Unlike Natasha's captor Wolfgang Priklopil, however, Devlin is very much alive and has already been brought up on 71 counts in the abduction of both Shawn and another boy.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jpq716 on February 10, 2007, 10:38:43 AM
I have just finished rereading Peter Gay’s magnificent biography, Freud: A Life for Our Time. I first read it about sixteen years ago, soon after it appeared in 1988, but I recently picked up a used copy of it, and I read it far more carefully this time. I am not a Freudian, and Gay --- for all his profound admiration of Freud --- is merciless in detailing his inconsistencies, evasions  and flaws, but oh, what a man! And Gay’s biography is perfection incarnate: in fact, the only biography that I have ever read which can rank with it is Richard Ellmann’s incomparable biography of Oscar Wilde.

Both Ellmann and Gay are highly literate men, writing for a select few in a shamelessly post-literate age. I resonate with their style, and I deeply appreciate their brilliance and wisdom, which heartens me like a warm fire on a cold winter night. When the painter Whistler took John Ruskin to court for slandering his art, the defense attorney set up one of Whistler’s Nocturnes in court and asked Whistler, contemptuously, just how long it took him to paint that picture. To which Whistler replied: “All my life.” One can say the same thing about Gay and Ellmann’s biographies: the talent, the experience and the wisdom of a lifetime went into them. And oh, how smoothly they pour into the mind, like honey! In my darker moments, I have to ask: will we ever see biographies like these again?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: LauraGigs on February 10, 2007, 11:07:13 AM
Hey all,

This isn't exactly a book, but I think most book-lovers would probably appreciate this:

http://www.sjsu.edu/depts/english/2006.htm

An international literary parody contest, the competition honors the memory (if not the reputation) of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873). The goal of the contest is the essence of simplicity: entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels.

The page linked above has the 2006 "winners" in several writing categories ("Adventure", "Detective Fiction" etc.) and they're a hoot.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on February 10, 2007, 09:47:31 PM


Just finished Augusten Burroughs' latest -- Possible Side Effects. It's a collection of humorous essays which cover everything from his childhood to his neuroses to buying a dog with his partner.

I was very disappointed. After 'Running with Scissors' and 'Dry' I had high expectations, however my hopes were dashed -- admit I skipped a couple of essays.  Maybe he wrote this too fast in order to cash in on 'Scissors..' and 'Dry,' but I hesitate to recommend it. It's not laugh- out-loud or even chuckle-out-loud funny -- a few smiles maybe...
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: annabel on February 12, 2007, 05:12:05 AM
Right now,I'm actually re-reading a book for a local book club.  Mistic River by Dennis Lehane.  I forgot how good it was.  It was also one of those books where the movie is almost as good.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on February 12, 2007, 07:51:29 AM
Right now,I'm actually re-reading a book for a local book club.  Mistic River by Dennis Lehane.  I forgot how good it was.  It was also one of those books where the movie is almost as good.

Annabel, I read most of Lehane's books and love them for their grittiness and characters. 'Mystic River' as one of his best.  The movie was wonderful with Sean Penn giving one of his great performances.  Also not to overlook Kevin Bacon who gave a thoughtful sensitive performance as well.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 12, 2007, 03:54:21 PM
Just finished Augusten Burroughs' latest -- Possible Side Effects. It's a collection of humorous essays which cover everything from his childhood to his neuroses to buying a dog with his partner.

I was very disappointed. After 'Running with Scissors' and 'Dry' I had high expectations, however my hopes were dashed -- admit I skipped a couple of essays.  Maybe he wrote this too fast in order to cash in on 'Scissors..' and 'Dry,' but I hesitate to recommend it. It's not laugh- out-loud or even chuckle-out-loud funny -- a few smiles maybe...

It's very interesting to read this Nikki - I had exactly the same reaction to 'Magical Thinking' by Burroughs.  I skipped around and thought 'yep, he's lost it' in terms of holding my interest.  And I had read both 'Scissors' and 'Dry' - and I liked both of them.

Oddly enough I've felt the same way with the last few David Sedaris books I read too.  They just didn't strike me the way 'Naked' or 'Barrel Fever' did.  Perhaps the same sort of burn out on autobiographical narrative is at work there too.  I listened to 'Me Talk Pretty One Day' while driving through Death Valley a couple of springtimes ago and it made me smile and maybe chuckle - but it was nowhere near the laugh out loud funny of the earlier ones.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on February 12, 2007, 05:55:55 PM
Just finished Augusten Burroughs' latest -- Possible Side Effects. It's a collection of humorous essays which cover everything from his childhood to his neuroses to buying a dog with his partner.

I was very disappointed. After 'Running with Scissors' and 'Dry' I had high expectations, however my hopes were dashed -- admit I skipped a couple of essays.  Maybe he wrote this too fast in order to cash in on 'Scissors..' and 'Dry,' but I hesitate to recommend it. It's not laugh- out-loud or even chuckle-out-loud funny -- a few smiles maybe...

It's very interesting to read this Nikki - I had exactly the same reaction to 'Magical Thinking' by Burroughs.  I skipped around and thought 'yep, he's lost it' in terms of holding my interest.  And I had read both 'Scissors' and 'Dry' - and I liked both of them.

Oddly enough I've felt the same way with the last few David Sedaris books I read too.  They just didn't strike me the way 'Naked' or 'Barrel Fever' did.  Perhaps the same sort of burn out on autobiographical narrative is at work there too.  I listened to 'Me Talk Pretty One Day' while driving through Death Valley a couple of springtimes ago and it made me smile and maybe chuckle - but it was nowhere near the laugh out loud funny of the earlier ones.

Michael, I guess writing humor and being a humorist or two mighty different things.

---------

Just when I was going to look for some Sedaris u shoot my plane out of the sky!! But if I do read maybe one or two, which would you recommend?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 12, 2007, 06:57:16 PM
Michael, I guess writing humor and being a humorist or two mighty different things.

---------

Just when I was going to look for some Sedaris u shoot my plane out of the sky!! But if I do read maybe one or two, which would you recommend?

Well - 'Barrel Fever' has 'The Santaland Diaries' in it - which is one of the few things that I've read that made me laugh so hard that I cried.  And 'Naked' has 'Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out' which is about his Greek grandmother and her relationship to his mother (she always referred to her daughter in law as 'the girl').  They are both truly funny and often touching too.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on February 12, 2007, 07:22:16 PM
Michael, I guess writing humor and being a humorist or two mighty different things.

---------

Just when I was going to look for some Sedaris u shoot my plane out of the sky!! But if I do read maybe one or two, which would you recommend?



Well - 'Barrel Fever' has 'The Santaland Diaries' in it - which is one of the few things that I've read that made me laugh so hard that I cried.  And 'Naked' has 'Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out' which is about his Greek grandmother and her relationship to his mother (she always referred to her daughter in law as 'the girl').  They are both truly funny and often touching too.

Okay, thanks Michael. Will check them out next time.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: KathyinBama on February 13, 2007, 05:22:16 PM
Oh, and if you want to listen to some terrrific Sedaris (and really, he is better when heard), get his Carnegie Hall cd.  You will laugh your head off!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on February 13, 2007, 06:14:41 PM
Oh, and if you want to listen to some terrrific Sedaris (and really, he is better when heard), get his Carnegie Hall cd.  You will laugh your head off!

Tks KB, I'll check it out. Never read anything by him until Michael spoke so highly, I thought I'd check him out.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on February 14, 2007, 11:46:12 AM

Not sure, but I thinik I read the 'Sheltering Sky.' Can someone give me a quick synopsis -- it seems familiar. Tks to someone -- anyone?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on February 14, 2007, 02:46:06 PM
We were sort of talking chlldren's books down in the Start Your Own Thread section
where Lance has started a Ten Best Books thread. Had some ideas but I thought
I'd bring them up here to the general Books division lest I draw Lance's ire.
I've already posted Ten Best Books and adding to that list is strictly verboten.  :D

These are a few of the books that I am not embarassed to say I reread every now
and then even though there are no longer children living in my house.

Four Favorite Children's Picture Books for your consideration:

THE LAST RESORT by Roberto Innocenti with AMAZING pictures by J. Patrick Lewis.
This is one of the most GORGEOUS books you will ever see.

An artist who has lost his imagination goes on a holiday to a very special place.
An out of the way resort where literary characters including Moby Dick, Inspector Maigret,
The Woman in White, even Emily Dickinson, and various others make brief appearances.
A book more for adults than kids since many of the characters would be unknown
to small children. If I had serious money I'd make it my business to buy some of
the original paintings from this book from the artist. They are THAT good.

THE LIBRARY by Sarah Stewart
Wonderful pictures by the inimitable David Small.
A single-minded, red headed girl is born loving books and this one chronicles, in
verse and art, her life devoted to reading.
There's an inscription from the author at the very beginning:
To the memory of the real Mary Elizabeth Brown
Librarian, Reader, Friend
1920-1991

So I'm assuming this is a fanciful adaptation of a life devoted to books and
reading. A book guaranteed to make any book lover smile with recognition.

Interesting that in the final pages Stewart writes:

"Elizabeth Brown
Moved in with a friend
And lived to a ripe old age

They walked to the library
Day after day,
And turned page...
after page...
after page."

The other friend is a woman and the drawing of them reading together
inside their home is very loving.

DINOSAUR BOB AND HIS ADVENTURES WITH THE FAMILY LAZARDO
words and pictures by the ever quirky and totally unsentimental William Joyce.

Pictues done in a 'forties' style with all the fashions and accoutrements of
the time. Lovely stuff. The wonderful end pages are designed around some
old fashioned maps. Very little is left to chance when Joyce is doing a book.

The Lazardo family find a dinosaur while off on one of their adventures
and bring him home to live with them. What happens next is fun,
imaginative and surprising, especially since part of it involves baseball.
But I can say no more...

and last but not least...

DETECTIVE LARUE
LETTERS FROM THE INVESTIGATION.
Written and illustrated by the remarkable Mark Teague.
Terrific 'in your face' brashly done art with a heavy brush.
The dog and cats are truly some of the best renditions of these animals
I've EVER seen. The artist's point of view comes through clearly!
This book is part political satire, yes, hard to believe,
and part laugh-out-loud detective adventure.

Happy reading!!




Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 18, 2007, 01:24:00 PM
Please go vote in the new book club poll:

http://www.davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=8585.0

There are currently only 4 votes.  Your input would be most appreciated.

mf
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on February 18, 2007, 03:20:47 PM
Right now,I'm actually re-reading a book for a local book club.  Mistic River by Dennis Lehane.  I forgot how good it was.  It was also one of those books where the movie is almost as good.
 

Annabel, I read most of Lehane's books and love them for their grittiness and characters. 'Mystic River' as one of his best.  The movie was wonderful with Sean Penn giving one of his great performances.  Also not to overlook Kevin Bacon who gave a thoughtful sensitive performance as well.

I'm also a Dennis Lehane fan - I see that Ben Affleck is working on a film of Gone Baby Gone, another book by Lehane that I enjoyed: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0452623/
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 18, 2007, 03:25:00 PM
Right now,I'm actually re-reading a book for a local book club.  Mistic River by Dennis Lehane.  I forgot how good it was.  It was also one of those books where the movie is almost as good.


Annabel, I read most of Lehane's books and love them for their grittiness and characters. 'Mystic River' as one of his best.  The movie was wonderful with Sean Penn giving one of his great performances.  Also not to overlook Kevin Bacon who gave a thoughtful sensitive performance as well.

I'm also a Dennis Lehane fan - I see that Ben Affleck is working on a film of Gone Baby Gone, another book by Lehane that I enjoyed: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0452623/

Hmmm...directed by Ben Affleck!  Is this his first?

You know Mary, we had a discussion about Ben over in 'The Dreyfus Affair' thread.  He was supposed to be in that a few years ago too, but it never took off.  Maybe if he's a good director he could direct 'TDA'.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on February 18, 2007, 03:32:52 PM
Hmmm...directed by Ben Affleck!  Is this his first?

You know Mary, we had a discussion about Ben over in 'The Dreyfus Affair' thread.  He was supposed to be in that a few years ago too, but it never took off.  Maybe if he's a good director he could direct 'TDA'.

I think it is BA's first turn at directing - and I agree TDA might be a good one for him to try once he shows he can do the job.

(P.S. thanks for the 'unnesting'    :-* )
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 18, 2007, 03:37:41 PM
(P.S. thanks for the 'unnesting'    :-* )

I live in the same town as Meli.  I don't want to be attacked on the street!  :D :D :D
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on February 18, 2007, 03:49:12 PM
Right now,I'm actually re-reading a book for a local book club.  Mistic River by Dennis Lehane.  I forgot how good it was.  It was also one of those books where the movie is almost as good.
Annabel, I read most of Lehane's books and love them for their grittiness and characters. 'Mystic River' as one of his best.  The movie was wonderful with Sean Penn giving one of his great performances.  Also not to overlook Kevin Bacon who gave a thoughtful sensitive performance as well.
I'm also a Dennis Lehane fan - I see that Ben Affleck is working on a film of Gone Baby Gone, another book by Lehane that I enjoyed: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0452623/

I'm a major fan of Lehane's series featuring the two Boston detectives.
Didn't like MYSTIC RIVER, film or book.
Though Lehane was getting a bit carried away with himself.
But that's just me.

GONE, BABY, GONE is one of those books that probably should NOT be read first IF
you're not familiar with the characters in the series. That's why I thought it an odd
choice for a first film based on a series of recurring characters.

Still it is a compelling book with a grim message that packs a huge wallop.
Fact it, when I first read GBG, I threw the book across the room and swore off
Lehane for awhile. I was THAT angry.

You can tell I get very emotional about my books - huh?
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dahlia on February 19, 2007, 11:12:29 AM

Not sure, but I thinik I read the 'Sheltering Sky.' Can someone give me a quick synopsis -- it seems familiar. Tks to someone -- anyone?

I read it long ago, this is more or less what I remember.
Written in 1949 I think. A married couple and a male friend take a trip to the North African desert. Here they (especially the married man) are slowly seduced and captured by this other, dark and charming world.....and the real journey is inside themselves. The friend gives up, goes back to Europe, the couple stays....then the man gets sick ....I'm not going to tell you how it's ending. Or should I?

I loved it. Great atmosphere that slowly embraces you just like it happens for the main characters.
Great movie (as well) by Bernardo Bertolucci, with a memorable John Malkovich and Debra Winger. Enchanting music by Sakamoto.
If you haven't  read it yet, do it!!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Seom on February 20, 2007, 01:21:51 PM
I just recently read Jane Eyre and omg! Call me a hopeless romantic, but one of the BEST books I have ever read! I now have three standards if I ever have a "future husband" to now live up to: Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, Percy from The Scarlet Pimpernell, and now MR. ROCHESTER!

Oh, and I didn't know exactly where to post this, and I'm pretty sure this is totally the wrong place, but I was skimming through the whole books section and didn't know where else to post. I also just got done re-reading The Front Runner and I... want... MORE! I now know there are sequels, and I'm of course looking for those, but are there any other books I can also look up? Ones that would probably be in my small town library... *once i get the debt paid on my card... oops..* Any suggestions would be great!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on February 20, 2007, 03:32:51 PM

Not sure, but I thinik I read the 'Sheltering Sky.' Can someone give me a quick synopsis -- it seems familiar. Tks to someone -- anyone?

I read it long ago, this is more or less what I remember.
Written in 1949 I think. A married couple and a male friend take a trip to the North African desert. Here they (especially the married man) are slowly seduced and captured by this other, dark and charming world.....and the real journey is inside themselves. The friend gives up, goes back to Europe, the couple stays....then the man gets sick ....I'm not going to tell you how it's ending. Or should I?

I loved it. Great atmosphere that slowly embraces you just like it happens for the main characters.
Great movie (as well) by Bernardo Bertolucci, with a memorable John Malkovich and Debra Winger. Enchanting music by Sakamoto.
If you haven't  read it yet, do it!!

Hi Dahlia -- thanks for your reply. Was off this thread a few days -- sorry didn't get back to u.

Now I'm beginning to think I didn't read 'Sheltering Sky.' Sounds good though -- movie too -- OMG 'so many books' blah blah blah -- a movie too -- this is too much!!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on February 20, 2007, 03:39:52 PM
I just recently read Jane Eyre and omg! Call me a hopeless romantic, but one of the BEST books I have ever read! I now have three standards if I ever have a "future husband" to now live up to: Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, Percy from The Scarlet Pimpernell, and now MR. ROCHESTER!

Oh, and I didn't know exactly where to post this, and I'm pretty sure this is totally the wrong place, but I was skimming through the whole books section and didn't know where else to post. I also just got done re-reading The Front Runner and I... want... MORE! I now know there are sequels, and I'm of course looking for those, but are there any other books I can also look up? Ones that would probably be in my small town library... *once i get the debt paid on my card... oops..* Any suggestions would be great!

Seom -- 'They seek him here, they seek him there
             Those Frenchies seek him everywhere
              Is he in heaven, is he in hell
              That damned, illusive Pimpernell!!'

-----------------------

Drop into 'Billy's Boy' - third sequal to 'The Front Runner.' It stands alone if you haven't read 'Harlan's Race' the book after TFR.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dejavu on February 20, 2007, 03:46:01 PM
Oh, and I didn't know exactly where to post this, and I'm pretty sure this is totally the wrong place, but I was skimming through the whole books section and didn't know where else to post. I also just got done re-reading The Front Runner and I... want... MORE! I now know there are sequels, and I'm of course looking for those, but are there any other books I can also look up? Ones that would probably be in my small town library... *once i get the debt paid on my card... oops..* Any suggestions would be great!

Hi, Seom,

Patricia Nell Warren has some books that aren't sequels to TFR, but if you liked TFR, the next one I'd recommend would be "Harlan's Race."  I guess you probably noticed that there's a thread in the books section for the "Front Runner" series, which includes "Billy's Boy," which is what we're now discussing.  You're welcome to join in our conversations, and post comments about TFR and HR (if you ever find it) there also.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on February 20, 2007, 03:59:53 PM


Hey guys, somebody on this thread (I think) mentioned 'Bastard Out of Carolina' by Dorothy Allison which I just finished. New York TImes said Simply stunning...as close to flawless as any reader could ask for... I was floored to think I had never come across it, although it's not new.

Now I was wondering who it was who mentioned it. Also, I think the poster said there was a film? Not sure about that. The poster seemed to be struck by the darkness of the story. Whoever you are thanks for posting about it -- I was floored. It is dark, gritty, and realistic.

Also, Michael, if you're there this could be another choice for a future book club selection!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dejavu on February 20, 2007, 04:34:49 PM


Hey guys, somebody on this thread (I think) mentioned 'Bastard Out of Carolina' by Dorothy Allison which I just finished. New York TImes said Simply stunning...as close to flawless as any reader could ask for... I was floored to think I had never come across it, although it's not new.

Now I was wondering who it was who mentioned it. Also, I think the poster said there was a film? Not sure about that. The poster seemed to be struck by the darkness of the story. Whoever you are thanks for posting about it -- I was floored. It is dark, gritty, and realistic.

Also, Michael, if you're there this could be another choice for a future book club selection!

I remember that Michael asked if anyone had read it -- I said I had it, but hadn't read it, but page 1 sounded good.   ;D

I'm glad to know you liked it, Nikki.  I still haven't made it past page 1 -- it's sitting where I can find it, but it's in line behind some other books.  But if the book club reads it, I will, too.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 20, 2007, 04:49:34 PM


Hey guys, somebody on this thread (I think) mentioned 'Bastard Out of Carolina' by Dorothy Allison which I just finished. New York TImes said Simply stunning...as close to flawless as any reader could ask for... I was floored to think I had never come across it, although it's not new.

Now I was wondering who it was who mentioned it. Also, I think the poster said there was a film? Not sure about that. The poster seemed to be struck by the darkness of the story. Whoever you are thanks for posting about it -- I was floored. It is dark, gritty, and realistic.

Also, Michael, if you're there this could be another choice for a future book club selection!

I remember that Michael asked if anyone had read it -- I said I had it, but hadn't read it, but page 1 sounded good.   ;D

I'm glad to know you liked it, Nikki.  I still haven't made it past page 1 -- it's sitting where I can find it, but it's in line behind some other books.  But if the book club reads it, I will, too.

Yes, it was me.  The movie was a 'made for TV' movie, but it was extraordinarily good for that genre.  Here is the imdb link:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115633/

Here is the Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1572526807/imdb-adbox/

I'm unsure why it is so expensive there.  Here is the library link for worldcat:

http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/36844299&referer=brief_results

And yes, it would make a great book club selection.  I'll add it for the next one (which I think I do as all memoirs).
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on February 20, 2007, 05:50:30 PM


DJ -- glad you have 'Bastard Out of Carolina.'  It's well worth reading even if you have to wait until/if it makes it into a future book club. It's dark, intense, and powerful -- should have gotten the PEN/Faulkner award IMO.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on February 20, 2007, 05:56:13 PM


Michael, thanks for the tip re 'Bastard Out of Carolina.' IMO it should have won the PEN/Faulkner award -- it's that good. Dark and intense, and Allison's ear for local speech is realistic. It really would make a great book club selection.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: mary on February 20, 2007, 09:44:01 PM
I wanted to thank who ever recommended The Catch Trap here.  I don't think I would ever have discovered it on my own (had to request my library pull it our of storage more or less.)

I've really enjoyed it.  It's not going to the top of my favorites of all time but I have been enjoying the story and the 'setting' (family of trapeze artists)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 21, 2007, 03:38:46 AM
I wanted to thank who ever recommended The Catch Trap here.

That was Nax (Neil).
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dejavu on February 21, 2007, 11:36:09 AM
I wanted to thank who ever recommended The Catch Trap here.  I don't think I would ever have discovered it on my own (had to request my library pull it our of storage more or less.)

I've really enjoyed it.  It's not going to the top of my favorites of all time but I have been enjoying the story and the 'setting' (family of trapeze artists)

I'm glad you like it, Mary.  I really got into it a few years ago.  It's long, and I found myself trying to think of ways it could have been condensed.  But it's fine as is; really a great group of characters. 

And I learned something about trapeze acts, with Mario the perfectionist, working on his "triple."
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dahlia on February 22, 2007, 01:08:16 AM
Now I'm beginning to think I didn't read 'Sheltering Sky.' Sounds good though -- movie too -- OMG 'so many books' blah blah blah -- a movie too -- this is too much!!

....Nikki, I know!
Never enough time, never enough.....  ;)

  :D
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dahlia on February 22, 2007, 01:25:32 AM
I'm reading 'The Persian Boy' by Mary Renault.

I've been spellbound by its strong Oriental perfumes, and of course I've immediately fallen in love with Alexander the Great....just as it happens to the boy who tells the story.

(....how sad to think what those magical places have become today! Iran, Irak, Afganistan, Turkmenistan.....they used to be one cradle of civilization.
Babylon, that had no equals in the whole world, has become Bagdad!!  :'(
When Alexander saw tose places he was forever fascinated by the beauty, richness, culture, splendour. When compared to the Persian Empire, he felt that, in some respects,  even the Greeks and Macedons were slightly more than ignorant barbarians)

Has anybody read Ms.Renault's other books? Like 'Fire from Heaven' or 'Funeral Games'?


Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: twistedude on February 22, 2007, 07:49:17 AM
"Man in the Middle" Gotta go. amazon.com
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 22, 2007, 08:51:09 AM
"Man in the Middle" Gotta go. amazon.com

Make sure to let us all know how it is when you get a chance.  He's been on all of the talk shows, of course.  There's a big group of people who would be interested in your review, particularly since we've read both 'The Dreyfus Affair' and 'The Front Runner' in our book club here.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on February 22, 2007, 09:05:26 AM
I'm reading 'The Persian Boy' by Mary Renault.

I've been spellbound by its strong Oriental perfumes, and of course I've immediately fallen in love with Alexander the Great....just as it happens to the boy who tells the story.

(....how sad to think what those magical places have become today! Iran, Irak, Afganistan, Turkmenistan.....they used to be one cradle of civilization.
Babylon, that had no equals in the whole world, has become Bagdad!!  :'(
When Alexander saw tose places he was forever fascinated by the beauty, richness, culture, splendour. When compared to the Persian Empire, he felt that, in some respects,  even the Greeks and Macedons were slightly more than ignorant barbarians)

Has anybody read Ms.Renault's other books? Like 'Fire from Heaven' or 'Funeral Games'?




Just read 'Fire from Heaven' -- wonderful and evocative. Then I bought 'Last of the Wine' and 'The Charioteer.' God know's when I'm going to read them all!! There's a stack of books I just bought next to my desk -- on my night stand -- on the floor!! When I go to a bookstore I'm like a kid in a candy store! Plus the 3 books I'm trying to keep up with in the book clubs -- oh yes the film club too! I think I need a therapist, lol  Anybody else have this need to read every book in the world? Dear Abby, I need help!!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 22, 2007, 09:12:02 AM
There's a stack of books I just bought next to my desk -- on my night stand -- on the floor!! When I go to a bookstore I'm like a kid in a candy store! Plus the 3 books I'm trying to keep up with in the book clubs -- oh yes the film club too! I think I need a therapist, lol  Anybody else have this need to read every book in the world? Dear Abby, I need help!!

Good sturdy legs on that night stand, I hope!  LOL.  Let me know what Abby says.  Maybe we should start a 12-step program for dependence on books and film!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on February 22, 2007, 09:28:27 AM
There's a stack of books I just bought next to my desk -- on my night stand -- on the floor!! When I go to a bookstore I'm like a kid in a candy store! Plus the 3 books I'm trying to keep up with in the book clubs -- oh yes the film club too! I think I need a therapist, lol  Anybody else have this need to read every book in the world? Dear Abby, I need help!!

Good sturdy legs on that night stand, I hope!  LOL.  Let me know what Abby says.  Maybe we should start a 12-step program for dependence on books and film!

Sign me up stat!!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on February 22, 2007, 11:20:34 AM
There's a stack of books I just bought next to my desk -- on my night stand -- on the floor!! When I go to a bookstore I'm like a kid in a candy store! Plus the 3 books I'm trying to keep up with in the book clubs -- oh yes the film club too! I think I need a therapist, lol  Anybody else have this need to read every book in the world? Dear Abby, I need help!!

Good sturdy legs on that night stand, I hope!  LOL.  Let me know what Abby says.  Maybe we should start a 12-step program for dependence on books and film!

Sign me up stat!!

Me too!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dejavu on February 22, 2007, 11:27:55 AM
There's a stack of books I just bought next to my desk -- on my night stand -- on the floor!! When I go to a bookstore I'm like a kid in a candy store! Plus the 3 books I'm trying to keep up with in the book clubs -- oh yes the film club too! I think I need a therapist, lol  Anybody else have this need to read every book in the world? Dear Abby, I need help!!

Good sturdy legs on that night stand, I hope!  LOL.  Let me know what Abby says.  Maybe we should start a 12-step program for dependence on books and film!

Nikki, that sounds like me when I was working and had money -- I'd spend my lunch hours in Barnes & Noble or Borders superstores, and come home with a whole bag of books -- sometimes two bags full in one day.  Some Lit in paperback, but a lot of History, Art, etc.  They were for when I "retired."  But since I "retired," I've actually read so few of them.  One year I actually tried to do one a week, but life (and Internet) intervene.  Eventually my sister complained, on a visit, and I took her advice and weeded out books I'd already read that I didn't think I'd read again.  (Like "The Dreyfus Affair" -- grr.)  The purpose was to keep the house from being so crowded -- the garage is already converted into a library.  A 12-step program might have helped -- I definitely spent too much money on things I will never read. 

Back to topic -- I do have a lot of Mary Renault's books (and kept them) and someday plan to read them.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on February 22, 2007, 12:00:04 PM


Well DJ, maybe u could use your garage as a mini rental library. I'll lend you  some on consignment! lol lol
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on February 22, 2007, 01:06:50 PM
I was fortunate recently to be able to purchase two very large bookcases
from a store in town that was going out of business. I wanted solid wood.
None of this put-it-together-yourself crapola for me.
I thought I'd have all this extra book storage space, not counting the other
bookcases scattered throughout my home...Ha!

I should have known better. The new bookcases look fabulous.
Big deal. They're already filled to the brim.
The spillover went into a second bookcase in the kitchen.
(Second to my cookbook bookcase, that is.)
The other day I stopped at a used furniture store in town to see about a
glass front bookcase they had in the window.

I measured for space at home and well, you guessed it.
NO MORE ROOM!!!!!

I even have a bookcase in the laundry room. For paperbacks.

When will this torment end?  :D
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on February 22, 2007, 01:15:42 PM


 Rosewood, maybe when we all sign up for that 12 step book
dependance program that Michael suggested!  lol lol

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dahlia on February 22, 2007, 02:24:20 PM
There's a stack of books I just bought next to my desk -- on my night stand -- on the floor!! When I go to a bookstore I'm like a kid in a candy store! Plus the 3 books I'm trying to keep up with in the book clubs -- oh yes the film club too! I think I need a therapist, lol  Anybody else have this need to read every book in the world? Dear Abby, I need help!!

Good sturdy legs on that night stand, I hope!  LOL.  Let me know what Abby says.  Maybe we should start a 12-step program for dependence on books and film!

Sign me up stat!!

Me too!

Add my name to the list, thanks! And, OK Nikki you convinced me, I'm buying 'Fire from Heaven' as soon as I can!!
...oh no, I guess this is not the right way to start a book-detox program!  ???
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on February 22, 2007, 03:39:18 PM


 Rosewood, maybe when we all sign up for that 12 step book
dependance program that Michael suggested!  lol lol



 ;D  :D  I like to think that Barnes and Noble and I are on intimate terms.
Perhaps TOO intimate. HA!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on February 22, 2007, 05:00:39 PM

Very funny Rosewood. But the worst part for me is that every time someone on these threads mentions a book that sounds good, if I can't get it at the library I BUY it!!  If you and B&N are too intimate, I have been seduced -- made stops at B&N for the last 3 weeks between my weekly visits to the library. Am I 'Torn Between Two Lovers'? ha ha (runs off laughing hysterically waving Visa card)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on February 26, 2007, 11:59:23 AM
Okay, I'm reading the arc of the new Robert Crais book, THE WATCHMAN.
(I haven't been this excited about getting my hands on an arc in AGES!!!
I could barely contain myself as I opened the package!)

This is his first book told from the point of view of Joe Pike.
Joe is half of the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike detective partnership that is featured
in Crais's wonderful series beginning several years ago, with THE MONKEY'S RAINCOAT.

I am loving THE WATCHMAN, and recommend it highly.
Although I would advise anyone coming new to this series to read at least
a couple of the earlier books to get the full flavor of these two wonderful
characters and their AMAZING friendship.

I'd say:
THE MONKEY'S RAINCOAT
LULLABY LAND
FREE FALL
INDIGO SLAM
LA REQUIEM
...and you're all set.

Those aren't all the books in the series, but they are my favorites.  ;)

This is time well spent, by the way, with a couple of guys whom anyone,
I mean ANYONE, would want as friends or companions in danger. Plus
Robert Crais knows how to write better than anyone else out there
telling this type of story. And on top of everything else, he has a great
sense of humor.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 26, 2007, 12:45:38 PM
Hi bookies, I'm back (well..from Bay City...I'm still in Michigan).

Anyone here ever read any Arturo Perez-Reverte?  I've just given a copy of 'Purity of Blood' to one of my sisters.  She likes mysteries - it looked like an interesting title....
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on February 26, 2007, 12:54:08 PM
Hi bookies, I'm back (well..from Bay City...I'm still in Michigan).

Anyone here ever read any Arturo Perez-Reverte?  I've just given a copy of 'Purity of Blood' to one of my sisters.  She likes mysteries - it looked like an interesting title....

I've only ever read CAPTAIN ALATRISTE, Michael. Enjoyed it.
I'm of two minds about translations from the spanish since sometimes things
get a little clunky in the english. But Perez-Reverte's translator seems ok.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: dahlia on February 26, 2007, 02:59:30 PM
Hi bookies, I'm back (well..from Bay City...I'm still in Michigan).

Anyone here ever read any Arturo Perez-Reverte?  I've just given a copy of 'Purity of Blood' to one of my sisters.  She likes mysteries - it looked like an interesting title....

Hi Michael. Nice to see you back.

Oh yeah! I've read (in the Italian translation) 'El Club Dumas' : quite complicated, dark plot, Satanic...but nice. Also the movie from Polanski with Johnny Depp wasn't bad at all.

and 'La piel del tambor' (in English it was The Seville Communion). The main character is a very handsome, very high-grade Catholic priest who has to deal with a mystery and a beautiful woman....in the charming city of Seville...

One of my favourite Spanish authors. And I'm looking forward to reading 'Alatriste'.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Sandy on March 02, 2007, 04:45:27 PM
Hi All,

I just finished Andre Aciman's novel "Call me by your name," which was reviewed in the New York Times last Sunday. It might well be of interest to BBM fans. My own interest was stirred up by the review in which the reviewer observed that what separated the two (male) loves was not a tire iron, but time.

It has a 17-year old and a 24-year old. There is a shirt taken as a momento. There is a 20-year arc (although mainly because of an epilogue--the main action occurs in about six weeks).

It is very different from BBM, the two main characters are extremely articulate, self-examining. Lots of interior dialogue. And the book does ruminate on the passage of time, the destruction and reconstruction of relations and emotions through memory. Despite the differences, it conveys the anguish about an unexpected relationship between two young men that we can recognize in the characters of Jack and Ennis. Almost 250 pages.

If you read it, think about Peaches 'n Cream.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: brokebacktom on March 03, 2007, 07:46:17 AM
I just stated to read UNDERSTANDING THE KORAN, A Quick Christain Guide to the Muslim holy Book. So far its quite a simple read, face pace and informative. So far it talks about the history of the koran. The Koran was not writen on to paper until after the death of Muhammad's death. All of it was told orally. It also talk a little about Muhammad's past too. He had 11 wives and did not take advantage of his position for personal gain. It also said that it was the 'Holy Spirit' that brought it dowm from the Lord. Interesting!!  I'll write more about it after I finished. Later, Tom
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on March 03, 2007, 12:36:44 PM
Hi All,

I just finished Andre Aciman's novel "Call me by your name," which was reviewed in the New York Times last Sunday. It might well be of interest to BBM fans. My own interest was stirred up by the review in which the reviewer observed that what separated the two (male) loves was not a tire iron, but time.

It has a 17-year old and a 24-year old. There is a shirt taken as a momento. There is a 20-year arc (although mainly because of an epilogue--the main action occurs in about six weeks).

It is very different from BBM, the two main characters are extremely articulate, self-examining. Lots of interior dialogue. And the book does ruminate on the passage of time, the destruction and reconstruction of relations and emotions through memory. Despite the differences, it conveys the anguish about an unexpected relationship between two young men that we can recognize in the characters of Jack and Ennis. Almost 250 pages.

If you read it, think about Peaches 'n Cream.


Yeah, I liked that tire iron reference too, Sandy.
I read the review in the Times and alerted Michael to it. Him being a librarian and all.
Plus I thought he'd find it interesting and perhaps keep it in mind for a future Book Club pick.
Have the book on hold at the library.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Sandy on March 03, 2007, 01:45:39 PM
Rosewood,

It would be a good book club selection (moreso if it were in paperback, but I don't see that for at least a year  >:(). It definitely provides lots of opportunities for 'compare and contrast' with respect to BBM.

Sandy
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on March 09, 2007, 11:15:58 AM
Rosewood,

It would be a good book club selection (moreso if it were in paperback, but I don't see that for at least a year  >:(). It definitely provides lots of opportunities for 'compare and contrast' with respect to BBM.

Sandy

Just finished reading it and yes, it will make a great selection. Lots to discuss.
NOT nearly as involving as BBM, but still the kind of book that stays with you.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Sandy on March 09, 2007, 12:34:48 PM
Rosewood,

I agree that, for all it's length, it's rather lighter than BBM.

The protagonists are, well, too articulate, too reflective, and too protected by their surroundings. They are not rasped against society or their families to create that spark. They neither emerge from nor are bounded by their landscapes, so we never see them challenged. It's an interesting reflection on memory and its ability to reconstruct our lives. And that is to be expected from one so deeply involved with a project on Proust, but I would have liked something meatier.

Sandy
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on March 09, 2007, 02:33:53 PM
Rosewood,

I agree that, for all it's length, it's rather lighter than BBM.

The protagonists are, well, too articulate, too reflective, and too protected by their surroundings. They are not rasped against society or their families to create that spark. They neither emerge from nor are bounded by their landscapes, so we never see them challenged. It's an interesting reflection on memory and its ability to reconstruct our lives. And that is to be expected from one so deeply involved with a project on Proust, but I would have liked something meatier.

Sandy 


No, not heavyweight, that's for sure.
But moody and very reflective, in a good way, of the sort of foreign films made in the early
nineties. A very visual book, I thought.

And let's face it, the author isn't making tragedy.
He's dealing with heartbreak but, it seems to me, on a very analytical level.

Does the book strike you as being very French in outlook?
I don't exactly know why I say that.
Just a thought.

Well, duh, on further reflection, it occurs to me that the author is French
though he lives in the USA.
But above and beyond that, I guess, I mean.

Hell, I don't know what I mean... :D

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Sandy on March 09, 2007, 02:45:55 PM
With a name like Andre Aciman, a Columbia professor who works on the Proust project, I think seeing it as having French qualities is probably not too off the mark. However, it may have too much of a linear narrative for the avant-garde. Je sais pas.

I like your characterization of it as an exercise in heartbreak, in and of itself a worthy topic. But that doesn't match up to the tragedy of BBM. It is hard to see how any reader could survive an encounter with a book-length treatment of BBM, geared at the same intensity as the short story.  :)

Still, much in "Call me by your name" turns on whether we can live our lives "Later" rather than in the now. Seems Jack and, particularly, Ennis were so much stuck with "what we've got" (the here and now), they never allowed themselves the luxury of a later as a couple (Jack had his dreams, Ennis only after Jack dies).
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on March 09, 2007, 03:15:43 PM
I think what I'm getting at is that when reading CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, you are
immediately aware that this is NOT an Americanized sort of tale.
Not the characters, not their attitude, not their views on life, not even so much, the
outcome. So it's almost like stepping into another world, although we're still dealing,
with the human heart.

In much the same way, we are made aware when we enter Annie Proulx's
BBM world that we are entering 'another place' populated by different sorts
of people, though again, we are dealing with the human heart.
Know what I mean?

BBM is as much a foray into an unfamiliar world as CMBYN is.
Don't you think?
Well, at least it is, for someone like me.
An American born in the Caribbean but who grew up in New York City.

In both these stories, there is a sort of alien culture thing going on that I find
intriguing.

Though both books are as stylistically different as two stories and two writers
can be. Not to mention the fact that one is a novel and one is a short story.
And yes, I agree, Sandy, a novelization of BBM would be more than some
of us could bear. I mean, talk about walking wounded.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on March 09, 2007, 03:37:40 PM
Sandy, another European tale dealing with the vagaries of the human
heart, but in a totally different way, is THE NINTH LIFE OF LOUIS DRAX by Liz Jensen.
Are you familiar with it?
The writer lives in London, the story is set in France and is a quirky
combo of French and English attitudes which I found very intriguing.

This story couldn't be further from BBM and CMBYN except that it too deals with
the sometimes absurd mysteries of being human.

From the front flap:

"On his ninth birthday, Louis goes on a picnic with his parents and falls off
a cliff. The details are shrouded in mystery. Louis's mother is shell shocked;
his father has vanished. And after some confusion Louis himself, miraculously
alive but deep in a coma, arrives at Dr. Pascal Dannachet's celebrated coma
clinic.

THE NINTH LIFE OF LOUIS DRAX is the story of a family falling apart, told in
the vivid voices of its comatose son and Dr. Dannachet as he is drawn into
the Draxes' circle. Full of astonishing twists and turns, this is a masterful tale
of the secrets the human mind can hide."

It is also "sensationally sinister" and, in many ways, oddly funny.
For, you see, Louis has a sense of humor about the horrors that befall him.

I really liked this book and recommend it highly to anyone who doesn't mind
something a bit different. The ending is especially bittersweet and just about perfect.

This too would make for a good book club selection.

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Sandy on March 09, 2007, 04:24:55 PM
Definitely agree that CMBYN is not Americanized, but is it really related to any locality other than the human heart? I don't know whether it could be considered rooted in the Italian Riviera (but then I don't read Italian fiction, so what would I know). It seems the lack of rootedness (sorry for the neologism) gives the actors in CMBYN a freedom that Jack and Ennis never had, being very much enclosed within their world, a strong element, I think, in the tragedy. They were never going to go (together) to Denver, much less Mexico.

Have not read your other recommendation (nor heard of it). It will just have to go on the stack of books to be read.  :)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 10, 2007, 12:23:45 PM
Has anybody seen or read this book 'Mississippi Sissy' by Kevin Sessums?  It looks quite interesting:

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9780312341015&itm=1
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Sandy on March 10, 2007, 02:11:54 PM
Has anybody seen or read this book 'Mississippi Sissy' by Kevin Sessums?  It looks quite interesting:

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9780312341015&itm=1
Saw it in my local Borders a few hours ago, skimmed over the dust jacket and interior leaves (had to resist the urge, I've got a stack and a half of unread books at home). Haven't read it, but it's been getting some positive play in the blogosphere.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: maidenofthesea on March 11, 2007, 08:04:04 AM
I just finished Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld (Yes it's a woman  :D)

I enjoyed it. It's the story of a girl, it follows her through her choice to enter boarding school from ages 14-18 and many reviewers and fellow authors of books such as Little Children and She's Come Undone have hailed the main character Lee, as a female Holden Caulfield. We see a lot of her internal monologue.

It's not your typical YA novel, in fact it isn't really meant for anyone under the age of 18.

The story could be a bit shorter, at 403 pages, a lot of which you feel is a little unnecessary and especially the last chapter could have been shortened greatly in my opinion. But it is an addictive read and gave me a lot of slow head nodding moments and 'ah yes, I remember that's' as I read. 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on March 14, 2007, 09:05:01 PM

Hey Sandy and Rosewood, just ordered CMBYN because it sounded so interesting when ya'll were discussing it. Looking forward to it. See, this is how I spend money -- every time somebody talks about an interesting book on this thread!  dang!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Sandy on March 15, 2007, 01:09:17 PM
Hey Nikki,

I just passed my copy on to a nephew for him to enjoy. It's a good, worthwhile read.

Sandy
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Nikki on March 16, 2007, 09:12:21 AM




Just finished Gore Vidal's memoir 'Point to Point Navagation' -- his sequel to 'Palimpsest.' This sequel continues from 1964 to 2006. I'm still saving 'Palimpsest,' but grabbed 'PPN' when I was at the library -- think I was the first to check it out! It's written beautifully and chocked full of people Vidal knew -- many from his previous memoir. Some of the most touching passages deal with the sickness and death of his longtime partner, Howard Austen, and their life together for over 50 years.

I paged through 'Palimpsest' briefly, but I suspect that it was a more exciting read, especially since it coverd Vidal's first 39 years and his early career. 

 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Rosewood on March 17, 2007, 12:58:10 PM

Hey Sandy and Rosewood, just ordered CMBYN because it sounded so interesting when ya'll were discussing it. Looking forward to it. See, this is how I spend money -- every time somebody talks about an interesting book on this thread!  dang!

Oh jeez, Nikki, so been there and done that!  :D

A book I'm reading now and thoroughly enjoying is THE HILLS AT HOME by Nancy Clark.
This a brilliant debut, the kind of book you don't read in one tremendous gulp, but rather,
luxuriate in, a few pages at a time. The better to enjoy its multi-leveled richness.
Gosh I love an author capable of insouciance and guile.

Bascially this is the story of the Hill family and how, one by one, they all come uneasily home
to roost, one summer in the 1980's. A family reunited under the roof of a large and
dilapidated Victorian house, forced to deal with each other when mostly they'd rather not.
Sounds run of the mill.
Not in author Nancy Clark's wonderous hands.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: ImEnnisShesJack on March 18, 2007, 12:41:50 PM
I'm just settling in to Rupert Everett's autobiography...should be interesting.  Supposedly he doesn't pull too many punches w/ the Hollywood hypocrites...

further reports as news warrants.

Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 18, 2007, 03:44:31 PM
I'm just settling in to Rupert Everett's autobiography...should be interesting.  Supposedly he doesn't pull too many punches w/ the Hollywood hypocrites...

further reports as news warrants.

Happy 8000th post, Heidi.

And yes, this sounds like a very interesting book.  Keep us informed!
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: ImEnnisShesJack on March 18, 2007, 03:46:22 PM
#8k is in the effected me thread.

I'll keep you posted on the book....


(I don't read very fast and my lips move when I do....)   ;)
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 18, 2007, 08:38:13 PM
Here's an interesting article on the book 'Mississippi Sissy' that I mentioned here a while ago:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/03/18/LVGR3OKFJS1.DTL
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 20, 2007, 01:51:28 PM
Okay, this looks like a really, really interesting book - particularly considering how we all got here:

http://www.amazon.com/Motion-Picture-Prescription-Morning-Problems/dp/0944031277/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-0887842-7743359?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1174418788&sr=1-1
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: john john on March 20, 2007, 02:53:10 PM
Okay, this looks like a really, really interesting book - particularly considering how we all got here:

http://www.amazon.com/Motion-Picture-Prescription-Morning-Problems/dp/0944031277/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-0887842-7743359?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1174418788&sr=1-1

My! That sounds interesting, what a good idea.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: maidenofthesea on March 20, 2007, 09:32:43 PM
Michael I am going to be ordering Mississippi Sissy sometime this week. I read all the reviews and it seems like a must read, something that I would really enjoy.

If any of you haven't already, I would highly recommend 'Fish: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man's prison.' By T.J. Parsell. I finished this book in 2 days, it was quite enthralling.

It tells the story of 17 year old Ted Parsell, a gay teen going into prison for petty crime and the brutal rapes and treatment he received during his time there. But it's not all hum drum, dark and dank. It is an uplifting story as well with the hope and pursuit of promise and light no matter how broken or dim it may seem. It gave me a whole new appreciation for prison life and structure. I see our inmates in a completely new light now.

It moved me to tears several times through out the book.
One of the books given to T.J. in prison by the way was 'The Front Runner'

http://www.amazon.com/Fish-Memoir-Boy-Mans-Prison/dp/0786717939
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Tia on March 21, 2007, 11:46:30 AM
I put Mississippi Sissy into my Amazon shopping cart. I have to limit myself to one order a month.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: KathyinBama on March 22, 2007, 06:55:46 AM
Another good book about coming out in the Deep South is "How I Learned to Snap."  I saw the author speak about a year ago and he was charming and funny.  Amazon is no longer carrying it, but Barnes and Noble is: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9780142002995&itm=2
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 28, 2007, 06:30:49 PM
I'm getting ready to do the new book club poll - did anybody mention books here that they wanted on the next list? 
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: maidenofthesea on March 31, 2007, 06:16:15 PM
If you guys have not read Fast Food Nation yet, you are missing out.

I'd almost call reading it doing yourself a favour as an American (those of you that are).

I was surprised the places the book went. Immigration, suicide of ranchers etc. It wasn't constant facts and it actually did look at both sides of the fast food issue. (For example some toys kids get in the Happy Meals are probably the only toys they get most of their lives.)

I learned a lot of things that I almost did not want to know. I found it interesting to learn that Walt Disney employed former SS Officers from Germany to help design and engineer his Tomorrow Land theme park at Disney World. These people had directly killed Jews and were now designing rides for America's children. Shocking and disgusting.

Check it out if you can. You will not be disappointed. And you may never touch another hamburger again.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Jack too on April 01, 2007, 01:30:36 PM

Does the book strike you as being very French in outlook?
I don't exactly know why I say that.
Just a thought.

Well, duh, on further reflection, it occurs to me that the author is French
though he lives in the USA.
But above and beyond that, I guess, I mean.

André Aciman

Aciman began his life in Egypt.  His family were Turkish Jews who emigrated to Alexandria and lived there until the end of the monarchy, when sometime afterward they decided that it was wise to leave.  He was then raised in Italy and France.  His memoir of the family's life in Egypt is superb, Out of Egypt.  I would highly recommend it.

Jack
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Marc on April 03, 2007, 03:42:12 PM
A couple of months ago I read The Ruins, by Scott Smith.  It's really creepy and I loved it.  And it's pretty well written.  It would make a good, really creepy movie.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: brokebacktom on April 03, 2007, 06:08:42 PM
Wasn't Scott Smith the author of SIMPLE PLAN, which was made into a movie. Another good book to read if you like Creepy.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: Marc on April 04, 2007, 10:13:22 AM
Yes, he wrote A Simple Plan.  In fact, the cover of The Ruins notes that.
Title: Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
Post by: jimspain on April 07, 2007, 02:04:44 PM
Just finished ´Written on The Body´ by Jeanette Winterson. A contemporary English writer, her most famous work is ´Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit´. Her prose is exquistie and constantly inventive...brilliant lines just tumble out one after the other in an endless stream of dazzling metaphor !!! She can turn on a sixpence from achingly beautiful metaphysical depth to wickedly funny oneliners. I kept laughing out loud much to the irritation and fascination of a group of ladies sat next to me in a beach cafe .

So impressed was I that I´m straight onto her ´Art & Lies´: same electric prose-energy! What a writer!
Title: Thoughts on Rereading BRIDESHEAD REVISITED
Post by: jpq716 on April 09, 2007, 07:19:23 PM
I have just finished reading Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, which was first published in 1945 and which I read for the first time in the wake of the wildly popular PBS mini-series of that name that first aired in America in the winter of 1982. The television series itself was stunning in many ways, and it made a star of Jeremy Irons, who portrayed the novel’s narrator, Captain Charles Ryder. It’s been a full quarter of a century since I had the opportunity to read the novel, and I read it again to see how it stood the test of time with me and to determine, frankly, whether I was still the same person who first read it. Briefly, yes, the novel stands the test of time, but no, I am not very much like the person whom I was a quarter of a century ago: I see so much more now in the novel than I could have seen in 1982.

In 2005 Time Magazine named Brideshead Revisited one of the one hundred most significant novels of the 20th century. Yes, I believe that it is, but for reasons that a part of me, personally, finds disquieting. Much has been made --- especially by the PBS mini-series --- of the magnificent evocation of life at Oxford University in the early 1920s, and Waugh obviously went out of his way to remember his college days in the most vivid and arresting way. But these initial episodes, so memorably crafted by Waugh and so lovingly recreated in the PBS mini-series, now strike me as being far less significant in terms of the novel’s themes than I once believed. Let us not forget that these misty, water-colored memories occur in a section of the novel entitled Et in Arcadia Ego (“Even in Arcadia was I…”). This phrase is a famous momento mori, a proverbial reminder of death, and it is engraved upon a skull which Charles Ryder keeps in his room at college. But the phrase underlines the omnipresence of death (who is the actual and traditional speaker of these lines), yes, even in the loveliest of surroundings (the Arcadia of the phrase). And appreciating that fact, I now realize that Brideshead Revisited was --- on one level --- Evelyn Waugh’s English version of Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, a novel obsessed (as Proust’s novel was) with aging, memory and creative exhaustion, the novel for which Truman Capote’s Answered Prayers was supposed to be the American correlate (but, alas, simply could not be).

Waugh makes two claims in the novel, neither of which are particularly popular among most modern readers. The first is that all things, even memories, wear out in the end. Lord Sebastian Flyte, so vividly characterized by Waugh and so memorably played by Anthony Andrews in the PBS mini-series, is a remarkable fictional character. But as Charles Ryder so accurately remarks, while observing Sebastian preside at a early springtime breakfast of plovers eggs, “he was magically beautiful, with that epicene quality which in extreme youth sings aloud for love and withers at the first cold wind.” Which is exactly what happens to Sebastian before the novel is half over. Neurotically fixated on his childhood, epitomized by his teddy bear Aloysius, Sebastian fails to make the transition to adulthood, relapses into chronic alcoholism, and ends up as the porter for a religious community in North Africa. His carefree adolescent pranks betoken a blitheness of adolescent spirit that never materia