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For those who are new ... we discuss books.  I list what I'm reading, and people comment with what they're reading.  Sometimes, on Sundays, I post a special edition on a particular genre or topic.

If you like to trade books, try bookmooch

I've written some book reviews on Yahoo Voices:
Book reviews on Yahoo

Readers and Book lovers schedule

Readers & Book Lovers Series Schedule






DAY TIME (EST/EDT) Series Name Editor(s)
SUN 6:00 PM Young Reader's Pavilion The Book Bear
Sun 2:00 PM What's on Your E-Reader? Caedy
Sun 9:30 PM SciFi/Fantasy Book Club quarkstomper
Bi-Monthly Sun Midnight Reading Ramblings don mikulecky
MON
alternate Mondays
2:00 PM Political Books Susan from 29
Mon 8:00 PM Monday Murder Mystery michelewln, Susan from 29
Mon 11:00 PM My Favorite Books/Authors edrie, MichiganChet
TUES 5:00 PM Indigo Kalliope: Poems from the Left bigjacbigjacbigjac
alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM LGBT Literature Texdude50, Dave in Northridge
alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM All Things Bookstore Dave in Northridge
Tue 8:00 PM Contemporary Fiction Views bookgirl
WED 7:30 AM WAYR? plf515
Wed 2:00 PM e-books Susan from 29
Wed 8:00 PM Bookflurries Bookchat cfk
THU 8:00 PM Write On! SensibleShoes
Thu (first each month) 11:00 AM Monthly Bookpost AdmiralNaismith
alternate Thursdays 11:00 PM Audiobooks Club SoCaliana
FRI 8:00 AM Books That Changed My Life Diana in NoVa
Fri 8:00 PM Books Go Boom! Brecht; first one each month by ArkDem14
Fri 10:00 PM Slightly Foxed -- but Still Desirable shortfinals
SAT (fourth each month) 11:00 AM Windy City Bookworm Chitown Kev
Sat 12:00 PM You Can't Read That! Paul's Book Reviews pwoodford
Sat 9:00 PM Books So Bad They're Good Ellid

Just finished
a re-read of The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. This book introduces us to Tiffany Aching, a nine year old girl who wants to be a witch and the Wee Free Men (aka the Nac Mac Feegle). Tiffany is one of my favorites of all Pratchett's characters.

Now reading

Thinking, fast and slow  by Daniel Kahneman.  Kahneman, most famous for his work with the late Amos Tversky, is one of the leading psychologists of the times. Here, he posits that our brains have two systems: A fast one and a slow one. Neither is better, but they are good at different things. This is a brilliant book: Full of insight and very well written, as well.

On politics: A history of political thought from Herodotus to the present by Alan Ryan. What the subtitle says - a history of political thought.  But he should add the adjective "Western" or something as he doesn't discuss other traditions or writings.

Robert Oppenheimer: A life in the center by Ray Monk  Oppenheimer was one of the most interesting people of the 20th century. In this biography Monk (a wonderful writer) attempts to cover both his physics and his many other interests.

The Year's Best Science Fiction edited by Gardner Dozois. My favorite of the annual collections of SF.

The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt.  How the discovery of an ancient book helped create the modern world. Fascinating.  

Just started

Turbulence by Samit Basu.  Science fiction. All the passengers on a flight from England to India have been given super powers. But each super power is tied to what the person dreams of. Interesting.

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Comment Preferences

  •  rereading Metamorphosis and Death of Ivan Ilych (18+ / 0-)

    Dudehisattva...

    "Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Effort, Concentration, and Wisdom"

    by Dood Abides on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 04:38:02 AM PDT

  •  Anne Carson (15+ / 0-)

    "Autobiography of Red." What a tour de force. An odd novel/poem that reworks an ancient Green myth and is a coming of age story set in the present. It's short. But fully engrossing. And did I say that Carson is really brilliant?

    After this, I'm off to Red Doc, the "sequel."

  •  Reading Glenn Greenwald's (16+ / 0-)

    With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful. About the first book (outside some short stories and magazines) I've read only on my tablet, and I have to admit a pretty enjoyable process. And as a guy with like 1,000 books in my household, I never thought I'd openly admit to that :). Next up is Chris Hayes Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy and Rachal Maddow's Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power.

    I used to read a ton of books on politics and current events, but about a decade ago, with as much longform articles I can find online, I stopped reading those kind of books.

    The other day I did my liberal and/or MSNBC book buying binge on Google Play :).

    •  Oh One Other e-Book Note (15+ / 0-)

      I really ought to be able to pay, say $2.99 more or so, when I buy a new release hardcover and get a digital download so I have the book in both format. I bought the books above and got a great deal on the Song of Ice and Fire series. But each time I hit "buy" I then kind, shit I should have bought the actually physical books.

      I mean they do this with a lot of new blu-ray discs, you get the Blu-ray, the "old school" DVD, and a link for a digital download.

      Why can't they do this with books?

      •  Publishers (9+ / 0-)

        They still haven't caught up to the digital environment and want to treat every version of a book as a different product as they always have. It's basically a way they hope to keep sales up in an increasingly competitive system. Add to that the new threat to them from small publisher and self-published ebooks (which can often be less expensive) and it becomes easy to see why they don't do this.

        By the way, that's also related to why all my links go to Barnes and Noble rather than Amazon. I use a Nook for my e-reader (as does my wife, who's a librarian) since BN doesn't claim the right to delete an ebook from your device once you've purchased it. They treat it like a physical book sale, which Amazon does not. Amazon still has buried in the user agreements for the Kindle a provision that allows them to alter or delete an ebook even if you legitimately purchased it from them. With BN, I don't feel like I need the hard copy just to make sure I don't lose it later because someone else decided I shouldn't have it.

        Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu The Art of War

        by Stwriley on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 05:47:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Let Me Give You A "Neat" e-Book Example (9+ / 0-)

      as a kid until almost my teens I had some fairly major speech issues. They are totally corrected (long, long story) now in how I speak, but when most folks learned to phonetically sound out words I didn't. Maybe strange but true. If I don't already know how to pronounce (or spell for that matter) a word, I got no chance really to figure it out on my own.

      I really liked the movie The Girl With The Dragon Tatto. I went to buy the series, opened the first book and noticed on the first page I would not have been able to pronounce any of the  Swedish names or towns.

      Thinking of getting it on my tablet and asking it to read those names to me. Not sure if it will be able to figure out but thought I'd give it a try :).

      Also, I have a pretty good vocabulary, but about my favorite feature of reading on a tablet I didn't know exact what this or that word meant (and had to use this some for Rachel's first chapter). That I could look the world up within the book itself in seconds, well I thought that was pretty freaking cool.

    •  I have an autographed copy of greenwald's (6+ / 0-)

      Justice for some book.  I thought it was good, but it reads like his old blog posts and felt it didn't shed much additional light if you read him daily, which I do.

      Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

      by No Exit on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 07:47:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just finished (13+ / 0-)

    Yet another Icelandic crime novel. Season of the Witch by Arni Thorarinsson. It's main attraction is that it's set in the north of the country. Different setting.

    I think it might be time to move on from the Iceland topic, which I've been reading about for 6 months or so now. Could be anything next!!

    Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

    by Land of Enchantment on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 04:57:13 AM PDT

  •  Started (11+ / 0-)

    Summer of the Gods by Edward Larson, about the Scopes trial. Pretty good so far.
    Just finished The Center Holds by Jonathan Alter.
    Still working my way through Light of the World by James Lee Burke. Man, can he write....

    Just another day in Oceania.

    by drshatterhand on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 05:09:03 AM PDT

  •  I do not get a lot of (12+ / 0-)

    'reading' done these days, but I do listen to a ton of audiobooks at work.

    I just finished the Bernard Cornwell 'Starbuck' series and am listening to his Excalibur trilogy again (one of the most epic book series ever. Right up there with Game of Thrones if youre into that kind of thing).

    Would love some more recommendations on book series that are available in audio-format. Thanks in advance!

  •  Animal Farm by George Orwell (9+ / 0-)

    I was searching for a quick and easy read to satisfy my reading addiction and all of a sudden Animal Farm popped up into my mind.  I read it many years ago, but decided it might be a good time to read it again.  It is short, only 137 pages, so will probably only take a day or so to reread it.  

    Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket. Eric Hoffer

    by LynChi on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 05:17:25 AM PDT

  •  Getting in my personal reading... (10+ / 0-)

    before the school year starts and I spend all my book-time prereading material for my students (well, not all my book-time, but most of it anyway.)

    Just finished
    I just wrapped up a novel and a philosophy book. The novel was Kat Richardson's newest volume of the "Greywalker" series, Possession. Like all the Greywalker novels, it focuses on her supernatural private eye, Harper Blaine. It's a nice romp, since Richardson is a good hand at blending history, myth and her own creativeness into a very entertaining story. If you like urban fantasy (like the "Dresden Files" novels) then you'll love Richardson.

    The philosophy book (for lack of a better term for it) was one I'd waited for; PZ Myers's The Happy Atheist. If you care at all about the conflict between science and religion, this is a great read. Even if you don't care and just want to understand atheism a bit better, I'd highly recommend the book. Myers is a fine writer (far more so than many scientists) and has a wickedly funny style that never fails to both amuse and provoke.

    Currently reading
    I've gone back to reread something I haven't touched for years; Harlan Ellison's short story collection The Beast the Shouted Love at the Heart of the World. It has some of his most brilliant writing, including the original version of "A Boy and his Dog" and the hilarious satire "Santa Claus vs. S.P.I.D.E.R.". I'm on "Run for the Stars" right now, a tale I always found both chilling and a great insight into human psychology.

    Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu The Art of War

    by Stwriley on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 05:36:57 AM PDT

    •  Always like Harlan, even if he is a SOB (9+ / 0-)

      the story of him mailing a dead gopher to a critic is classic.

    •  M kid is supposed to be reading summer books (10+ / 0-)

      he has Asperger's and inattentive ADD so we focus on one book only. We just watched the movie, and he had a hard time sitting thru it. A smart kid, if he could read better he could get straight A's. I finally learned after all these years that he does ok in class but bombs finals because he really can't study, but can remember enough for HW and short term tests to do well during the school year. He can remember stuff he hears the teacher saying, but can't read for shit, though he is adequate by state standards, and pulled two perfect scores on math. My daughter OTOH has finished her summer reading ahead of time.

      •  I'm ADHD myself... (8+ / 0-)

        and an English teacher. I never had reading problems (I'm more the distractable but easily monofocused type) and books are one of the things I tended to obsess over (often to the disregard of other school work, by the way.)

        I'd suggest that you're trying to go in the right direction with your son; he probably does need to absorb things in shorter chunks than most book-length works will allow him to. You might try to work with him on breaking up things into small pieces, especially into thematic parts of chapters or individual scenes of a story that form a single concept. This is often easier to "keep in your head" (so to speak) if you're distractable and have difficulty with synthesis (which seems to be what you're describing.)

        You might also want to try and find organizing techniques beyond what they're teaching him at school to come up with a method that helps him keep information organized in a form that lets him study it later in ways the suit him. That's likely going to take some experimentation (especially on your part, but also on his), since such things are often highly personal and don't translate well between individuals even though they technically have the same condition (but we all know that, on the spectrum, there is an awful lot of variability between individuals.) It was one of my main problems as a child as well; I had no ability to organize and had to rely entirely on my memory to retain and synthesize information. When it came in a form I had an orientation toward (the written and spoken word, in my case) I could do this very well. When it came in a form that didn't (like mathematics) I had a terrible time keeping it straight and couldn't manage to do as well as I should have according to my grades and overall mental ability.

        These are just a few suggestions I can think of without having met your son, but hopefully they might help or at least give you some new possibilities to explore. I wish you both well and hope that he has a very successful and happy school year.

        Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu The Art of War

        by Stwriley on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 08:36:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I have read very little Ellison, (8+ / 0-)

      (except for Mind Fields), but I found an old yellowed tattered sci-fi story collection at the used-book store years ago. A Boy and His Dog was in it. Hubby and I both read it, amazed, and I can't speak for Hubby but I remember that story vividly. This has to be one of the defining qualities of a good story. I think of it whenever my dog gives me that look that says, "I can get along quite well without you."    

  •  502 pages into Reamde, (10+ / 0-)

    this book is heavy.  Really.
    Just started Nathaniel Philbrick's Bunker Hill. There is always something new to learn about the revolution.

    We can have democracy in this country, or we can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. Louis Brandeis

    by Ohkwai on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 05:54:29 AM PDT

  •  Still reading (11+ / 0-)

    Spinoza's Ethics.  Short little book that I seem to have been reading forever.  In fact, for a while, it seemed that no matter how many pages I'd read in a day, I'd still only be halfway done.  Like being stuck in one of Zeno's paradoxes.

    It can be a tedious read, what with its repetitions and postulates and q.e.d.'s, but it's got some great stuff in it.  If you're interested in the history of thought, you don't want to miss this one.

    •  Spinoza's book on religion is as deadly... (6+ / 0-)

      As hitchens' et al.

      I always get something out of reading Spinoza.

      I am two thirds of the way through johnathan strange and mr. Norrell.  

      Long book. Interesting.  The plot seemed to pick up around page 500 or so...

      Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

      by No Exit on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 07:54:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Turbulence sounds interesting. (9+ / 0-)

    Going to have to check that one out.

    Otherwise, reading and listening as usual.  Just finished reading The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes.  I liked this one.  A serial killer uses time travel to claim multiple victims.  One victim who survives his attack sets out to find out who this guy is.  Set in Chicago from roughly 1929 - 1993.

    Just finished the audiobook version of The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown.  Overall, I liked it. there were sections where he went off on a bit of a polemic about one thing or another, and the climax took place long before the book actually wrapped up so the ending kind of slowed down a bit at that point, but despite those criticisms, I'd recommend it.

    Just started the audiobook version of Shadow of the Titanic: The Extraordinary Stories of Those Who Survived by Andrew Wilson.  So, I've long had an interest in the Titanic.  Unlike so many books though, this one focuses on what happened to those who survived the tragedy.  I'm only up to chapter 3, but so far it's pretty good.  Just from the intro, it's clear there were many mixed reactions to the event.  Some survivors never recovered psychologically.  Others used the experience to go on to bigger and better things.

    Finally just began reading Ex-Communication by Peter Clines.  Third in Clines' Ex- series which mixes up zombie apocalypse and super-heroes.  I really liked the first two books and so I've been looking forward to this one.  If you like this kind of thing I'd definitely recommend this series!

  •  reading the Lampshade (10+ / 0-)

    by Mark Jacobsen, which deals with a human skin lampshade found after Katrina in NOLA and the writer's attempt to trace its origins to Buchenwald. A bizarre interview with David Dukes, now living in Germany and completing a PhD in some kind of anti-Semitism, is included. Since it is illegal to deny the Holocaust in Germany, Dukes can't talk about it. Just finished Tom Segev's bio of Wiesenthal ( did not know he and Elie Wiesel respected but disliked each other ) and also Useful Enemies, about all the former Nazis the Allies employed after the war even when they knew of their war crimes. Highly recommend the new book by Barbara Garson, Down the Up Staircase, about the fall of the middle class and Helaine Olen, Pound foolish, about the useless advice of Suzie Orman and Dave Ramsey among others, as well as the equally useless financial literacy movement.

  •  I'm making my way through... (8+ / 0-)

    America's Hidden History, by Kenneth Davis
    The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, by Jefferson Davis
    Uneasy Money, by PG Wodehouse
    America in 1857, by Kenneth Stampp
    When the Sleeper Wakes, by HG Wells
    and
    Alexander Hamilton, by Broadus Mitchell

    Obviously I'm not good at completing what I've started.

    "Know that it is easier to get into something than it is to get out of it." - Donald Rumsfeld

    by teej on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 07:20:17 AM PDT

    •  I like a variety... (8+ / 0-)

      of reading materials.

      There are some pretty good nuggets of forgotten or ignored behind-the-scenes history in America's Hidden History. I've taken a lot of history courses in college. They're how I used up all my free-elective credit hours. Love the stuff. These tidbits are all new to me. This is the kind of stuff that should be taught in our history classes!

      I find Rise and Fall to be very tedious and Mr. Davis does his best to justify the dynamic on slavery in the CSA but, from my perspective, it's just semantics and minutia contorted to make his point. I do love the pre-war historical context-building though.

      America in 1857 is very revealing. My main interests in history are Russian and British naval history, so getting into pre-Civil War history has been quite enlightening.

      Uneasy Money is, well, gotta love a Wodehouse novel.

      When the Sleeper Wakes is part of my plan to work my way through all of HG Wells books.

      Alexander Hamilton is my way of getting to know the man better. I consider myself a Jeffersonian, so seeing the Hamiltonian side of post-Revolutionary War politics, and what lead the man to reach his conclusions, is a quite enlightening as well.

      "Know that it is easier to get into something than it is to get out of it." - Donald Rumsfeld

      by teej on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 07:36:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I like a variety of reading materials, too. (7+ / 0-)

        It's nice to be in the middle of three or four very different books: To have a funny one, a thoughtful one, and one which just sucks you into a roller-coaster plot. Then you can pick up whatever you're most in the mood for.

        The downside, for me, is you either need to be a speed-reader, or have a lot if time in your days to read. If I'm in short stories or something light, sporadic sessions don't affect the flow much. But if I'm reading a longer novel, the spell builds while you're in it, and the characters and environment solidify around you. So if I'm reading a 600 page Tolstoy or Dostoevsky, then walk away for a month, I come back to find it's all faded somewhat in my absence, and minor characters show up again, but I can't remember their place in the plot.

        I don't usually embark on a long, complex novel, unless I know I'll find a lot of reading time in the next couple of weeks.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 10:40:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Now reading The Amistad Rebellion (8+ / 0-)

    An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom, by Marcus Rediker. Author says "The drama of the courtroom [Amistad movie] has eclipsed the original drama that transpired on the deck of the slave schooner. The American actors—abolitionists, attorneys, judges, and politicians—have elbowed aside the African ones whose daring actions set the train of events in motion."

    And that's just in the first few pages. Fascinating and hopeful book.

    New signature coming soon!

    by NYWheeler on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 07:33:14 AM PDT

  •  "Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain" (11+ / 0-)

    by neuroscientist David Eagleman.  Eagleman demonstrates - often using the reader's brain to do so - that the idea we have "free will" is way overblown.  In fact the conscious brain is scarcely aware of what the brain is doing behind the scenery.

    A simple mind trick illustrated it to me.  On the page was a series of concentric circles with various designs on them.  When I first looked at them, they just sat there on the page the way they were drawn.  But as I stared, they began to rotate - some clockwise, others counterclockwise.  And although I knew full well this was not actually happening, I could not convince my brain to stop it.  My brain literally had a mind of its own.

    Interesting case histories, like the blind woman who didn't know she was blind and didn't believe it when told, because her brain was creating an ersatz "vision" that she took to be reality.  She only went for help when she bumped into things that "weren't there," and even then, she didn't believe it when told she was blind.

    Interesting facts I never realized, like the two halves of the brain are only connected by a fibrous band which apparently has no cognitive function.  In fact some cases of epilepsy have been cured by physically separating the two brains, with no loss of cognitive function.

    Finally, given that brains are not created equal, Eagleman brings into question our criminal justice system, which is based on punishment that presumes everyone h
    as the same degree of free will and ability to conform to societal norms.  This is absolutely not the case and Eagleman hopes for the day when the science is advanced enough to actually "cure" some criminals.

    Fascinating read.  It could be a quick read, but you won't want it to be.

    Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity -- George Carlin

    by ZedMont on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 07:40:09 AM PDT

    •  Good review (7+ / 0-)

      I agree that the concept of “free will” is overblown.  For example, a person suffering from schizophrenia can’t “free will” himself into thinking the way a “normal” person would.  Many times it takes intervention in the form of medication to change the chemical imbalance of the brain and alleviate the suffering of such a person.  

      Lots of books being written on the question of free-will and it is a subject that interests me greatly.

      Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket. Eric Hoffer

      by LynChi on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 08:13:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Am also reading "Thinking Fast & Slow" (8+ / 0-)

    and am really enjoying it.

  •  Just finished C. Matthews' "Jack Kennedy." (7+ / 0-)

    Not much new, but a good, if hagiographic contextualization.

    About a quarter through Nancy Goldstone's "The Lady Queen: The Notorious Reign of Joanna I, Queen of Naples, Jerusalem and Sicily." It is slightly more interesting than most medieval histories, mostly owning to the subject and time. Most intriguing thus far, the description of the creation and fall of the three Italian "super-company" family combines, which presage modern multinational corporations, including their propensity to overextend, crash and take millions of people down with them.

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 09:10:24 AM PDT

  •  Finally finished Bleak House (6+ / 0-)

    All 1000 pages of it!
    Good read. But it takes a little time to get into, as there are so many interlocking characters/tales it's hard to keep them straight.

    Currently reading:
    Kingdom of the Golden Dragon, by Isabel Allende. Not IMO one of her best. She's always had a spirtual/mystic quality in her novels that was OK, but she takes it to extremes with telepathy, psychic healing, auras, and other New Age nonsense presented as not only factual but obviously superior to nasty material science. There is, however, an evil guy character that is at least in part modeled on Bill Gates (but a lot nastier!)

    Also reading Tales from the Secret Annexe by Anne Frank. In her diary she refers to poems, short stories, fairy tales and other writing. This is a collection of that other writing.

  •  David Weber, War Maid's Choice (5+ / 0-)

    I'm rereading the War God series by Weber, a wonderful high fantasy setting with amazing story telling and dialogue.  Weber is a long time favorite of mine, in particular his best known works of the Honorverse but even more so for his Safehold series.

    Weber has always had an interesting aproach to writing female characters that I've always loved: the characters are "post-feminist" characters, as in they are the equals of their male counterparts and generally accepted as such (if they aren't accepted, he makes a point of it and pretty well paints the sexists largely as the ignorant know-nothings they are).

    "There are no atheists in foxholes" isn't an argument against atheism, it's an argument against foxholes. - James Morrow

    by kirrix on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 11:31:33 AM PDT

  •  Well I Swiftly (for me) Read (6+ / 0-)

    an engrossing novel by Antonio Garrido, The Corpse Reader. It's historical fiction based on the real life character, Ci Song, aka the Father of Forensic Medicine, who lived during the Tsong Dynasty in 12th C. China.

    At first I thought the book was going to be a bit amateurish, but as I read on I appreciated the research involved more and more.  Garrido has a good handle on customs, culture, politics, and quotidain life of the time and place he writes about.  Admittedly, he is not a polished writer.  His dialogue skills fall short when his characters express themselves in too modern syntax to be believable.  And his pace makes the main character's woes read a bit like The Perils of Pauline, he swiftly inserts so much trouble on top of trouble.  However, I've come away feeling it was a worthwhile read.

    Just downloaded from my public library two juicy books:

    Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie
    and
    The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng.  I enjoyed his The Gift of Rain so much, that I've long wanted to get my hands on this novel.  Now I have!

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 11:46:31 AM PDT

  •  have discovered Mary Robinette Kowal, thanks to (5+ / 0-)

    THIS pic ... After I recovered, I HAD to take a look at her stuff.

    no. 1 - EVIL ROBOT MONKEY is available on-line at her site and a couple of others. 3 pages in book-print (I dragged in a library copy before I figured out it was avail. on-line.)

    Well after the monk', I really had to look at the Regencies! (Boy, whatever won the year Monkey was just nominated must be something, considering how amazing the monk' is!)

    no. 2 - Am enjoying the glamourists a lot! Jane Austen period + alternate history + a fantasy art-form. Shadows of Milk & Honey is EXTREMELY Austen. Glamour in Glass is more independent, involved with the Napoleonic restoration and almost-Waterloo. Have cheated a bit and looked at the plot of the 3d, Without a Summer, looks interesting, I think I have a hold on it... Kowal does just a lovely job at the period atmosphere and pace.

    AND... reading Gaiman & Reaves YA, Interworld. Reserved it by mistake while trying for Ocean at the end of the lane, but DH has found an e-copy of that for me, so don't have to wait through 200 other readers! It's definitely a YA, but moving along anyway... I'm starting to find a LOT of non-starters in the newer YA SF... writers who are obviously NOT SF people, and may or may not be decent writers for the YA market; their SF is SO simplistic I usually can't hang on long enough to tell if there's a reasonable story buried under the baby-steps! No talking-down in Gaiman, though!!

    AND... half way through the 3d vol of the Belgariad, Magician's Gambit, on the evening read-aloud. Writing is a little "1st novel" level, but invention is reasonable (I first read this when it came out in the 80's and haven't re-read it since).

    Have a huge, falling-over stack of stuff from the library and almost no time to read ANY of it! Have been evaluating & pitching them back pretty fast, keeping notes on what titles and/or new authors look plausible, for "later" (HA-ha-ha-ha!)

    Oh, and my sweetie just drug in the latest Temeraire for me!!!! Yay! What a GOOOD sweetie! (Blood of Tyrants)

    "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

    by chimene on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 02:23:28 PM PDT

  •  I'm listening to Echo by Jack McDevitt (4+ / 0-)

    part of his Alex Benedict series. A fun little far future romp in a society that really isn't much different from ours (he sort of explains in previous books that humanity got really stagnant after it left Earth.)

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility- mperiousRex.

    by terrypinder on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 02:24:35 PM PDT

  •  hi (3+ / 0-)

    I have finished reading:

    Cold Steel by Kate Elliott

     The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian

    I am reading:

    Black Count:  Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss  (pg. 131 of 330)

    One Hundred Names for Love by Diane Ackerman (pg. 10 of 310)

    Challenge books:

    In the First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The First Uncensored Edition) (pg. 309 of 741)  

    (Foreword…In 1968 an expurgated version titled The First Circle came out in many languages. The loss in English of the preposition “In”…subtly shifts the novel’s focus from people in a place to the place itself; the present version eliminates this distortion…Compared with the version previously available in English, the plot has been altered, depictions of some major characters have been substantially modified, new characters have been introduced, and many entirely excised chapters have been reinstated. For readers familiar with the previously available English version, In the First Circle will be a revelation).

    I had started the first version many years ago and laid it aside.  I am glad I waited to read this version.

    Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 03:01:41 PM PDT

  •  Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the (4+ / 0-)

    Revolutionary World  - by Maya Jasanoff (2011). I have known since high school that thousands of loyalists moved to Canada during the Revolution, but I've never before viewed the Revolution as a civil war, with horrors committed by both sides and the American losers becoming refugees not only in Canada but also Britain, Jamaica, the Bahamas, etc. The book is an outstanding work of scholarship and  very well written.

    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

    by ybruti on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 03:32:56 PM PDT

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