What are you reading?

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morningstar
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What are you reading?

Good morning.
I've been meaning to post this topic for a while. I'm afraid it's one of my favourite subjects and I love hearing what other people are reading - plus I get loads of great recommendations for the book pile.

I've just finished reading a couple of fairly dark books: I think I'm the last person in the world to read the fantastic, Stoner by John Williams (I used to be a bit sniffy about books that everyone else was reading - but then I read things like One Day and Cloud Atlas and now I bow to the wisdom of crowds). And the other is Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel - a strange and wonderful post apocalyptic thriller.
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/sep/25/station-eleven-review-emily...

So I felt in the need for some light reading relief...

I'm reading Nina Stibbe's Man at the Helm - a bittersweet (and very funny) story of the attempts by two sisters (and their little brother) to find a man for their divorced mother.

I found an article by Nina Stibbe about her own childhood and there's a great section of dialogue... (.if you don't like this, then you probably won't like the book)

================

One afternoon in the spring of 1976 I was in the toilets at school when Sally Jackson’s older sister, Chrissie, peeped over into my cubicle and asked for a drag on my fag. She told me that her parents were getting divorced.

“They nearly split up on Valentine’s Day a few years ago,” she said, “but decided to stay together for our sake.”

I remembered the deep freeze accident. I passed my fag up. Chrissie took two drags. A double drag that only a real smoker can do. Exhaling through the nostrils while taking a puff.

“Bad luck,” I said

“No, it’s good,” she said. “We’ve been living under a cloud for years and now we’re getting a bassett hound puppy.”

“I didn’t know you were living under a cloud,” I said. “Sally never said anything.”

“We put up a united front,” she said. “We were so jealous of you, you know, being divorced and always having chips.”

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/aug/30/growing-up-under-the...

==============

So, over to you. What are you reading at the moment?

morningstar
morningstar's picture
Just arrived - Hilary Mantel,

Just arrived - Hilary Mantel, The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher. So I guess it's back to the heavy stuff now...

morningstar
morningstar's picture
What book are you reading?

What book are you reading?

LogartyMaya
Well I've had a rather

Well I've had a rather stressful few weeks and have dived into Harlan Coben's The Woods as an easy read that was free on the Kindle!

I'm loving the sound of The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher and I like the Nina Stibbe dialogue, too. I tend to mix up my reading depending on what else is going on in my life but I've put those on my list!

I'm about to start Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. Has anyone read it? It was a present and going by the blurb it sounds brilliant, and a very clever premise.

LogartyMaya
Great idea for a thread by

Great idea for a thread by the way!

As Logarty members seem to love reading, we've wondered about creating a book section in Logarty talk so all the reading threads are easy to find. What do you all think?

Sybil
LOVE the idea of a book

LOVE the idea of a book section.

Lots of my friends recommended The Time Traveler's Wife to me, but I found it a bit stodgy. However, I've just finished another of Audrey Niffenegger's novels - Her Fearful Symmetry - and I'm begging everyone I know to read it. What's it about? Death, love, loss and grief. In no particular order. Mesmerising until the last page.

goldenfool
That's funny because I

That's funny because I enjoyed The Time Traveller's Wife far more than Her Fearful Symmetry!

Has anyone read Robin Hobb's latest Fitz and the Fool novel? It's called Fool's Assassin. If you haven't read any of her books and have even a slight inclination to read fantasy novels, hers are brilliant. The first one is Assassin's Apprentice and Fool's Assassin is the first book of the third trilogy featuring the same characters. I couldn't put Fool's Assassin down but would recommend starting with Assassin's Apprentice if you haven't read them. I don't know how I'll wait another year for the next one to come out!

Sybil
@goldenfool I haven't read

@goldenfool I haven't read Fool's Assassin – fantasy isn't really my thing, but you've made me wonder whether I should give it a go.

Inspired by a previous thread I splashed out on The Children Act and it was wonderful. I felt it had a slightly different feel to some of Ian McEwan's other novels, but that's why he's such a brilliant writer. @morningstar, have you read it yet? Would love to know what other people think.

morningstar
morningstar's picture
Morning. Yes, I enjoyed The

Morning. Yes, I enjoyed The Children Act. At first, it's a bit reflective of his research (Dinner party tales of judgements and old case law from friends in the legal profession sparked McEwan's initial interest) but then once the main story gets going - ethical dilemmas, a marriage in crisis, religious beliefs and passion vs dispassion - then the book is pretty engrossing.

I've yet to line up my next read...

morningstar
morningstar's picture
Hooray! A Logarty book corner

Hooray! A Logarty book corner. Great idea :-)

Sybil
Good idea to flag it up on

Good idea to flag it up on the newsletter - hopefully more people will come on to suggest their favourite reads. You can never have too many books :D

morningstar
morningstar's picture
I've just read We Are All

I've just read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler and I really enjoyed it.
It's a bit hard to talk about, as there is a surprise reveal (at around 70 pages in) but I loved the voice of the main character; smart, ironic and only provisionally self-aware - and the fact that the book makes you think through some issues of philosophy was very good too. Anyone else read it?

Sybil
Nope, but I've just ordered

Nope, but I've just ordered it so I'll let you know what I think once I've read it. You had me at the 'surprise reveal'!

Thomas
Don't know if anyone else has

Don't know if anyone else has been through this sort of a phase, but find I'm reading very little in the way of books at present when I used to consume novels - although I still read a lot of poetry/haiku.

What I do find I'm reading more of is newspapers and generally keeping more abreast of current affairs. I think this is down to having a son at university studying economics and trying to keep pace with his vastly superior knowledge of financial matters in a desperate attempt not to be caught out in discussion with him (failing completely at present!). He has also visited Israel (which I haven't) and probably the only book I have managed to get through recently is one on the Palestine/Israel conflict - he was suitably impressed.

What I do is sometimes buy the Times rather than rely on the Metro and the Standard, and sometimes treat myself to The Economist when feeling particularly rich. It is actually quite fun improving my knowledge of what is actually going on in the world although I do look forward to the day I can complete a good novel again. I had a go at Dan Brown's Inferno but found it was simply another chase through another city - Florence this time and we have had Rome and Paris, so that went after 50 pages. Also tried "Wicked" but didn't get too far with that either.

It might be that trying a "novella" from the Waterstones "novella table" will be the answer, so building up towards that. Any other suggestions, gratefully received!

LogartyMaya
@morningstar - I also really

@morningstar - I also really enjoyed We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. It raised some interesting issues and I managed to avoid finding out about the reveal before reading it, although I did start to wonder...

@Thomas - if you're considering tackling a novel, that's a good one! Will have a think about other suggestions.

I've just started The Great Gatsby, which I somehow haven't got round to reading until now. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sybil
Lalalala no more talk of the

Lalalala no more talk of the reveal please. My copy of WAACBO has arrived and I am just about to dive in :)

goldenfool
Enjoy it. It's brilliant!

Enjoy it. It's brilliant!

Thomas, I've stopped reading the Standard and the Metro too, but haven't replaced them with a 'proper' paper and feel a bit out of touch sometimes, despite reading news online. You've inspired me to go out and buy a newspaper tomorrow!

Sybil
Just got to the reveal in We

Just got to the reveal in We Are Completely Beside Ourselves. It took me by surprise - I'd love to know what made you suspicious, @LogartyMaya, but perhaps you'd better not say as I'd hate to spoil the spoiler for anyone else who hasn't read it. Loving it so far though.

Thomas
I recently ended my absence

I recently ended my absence from novels, mainly on account of my son getting me one for Christmas "The Narrow Road to the Deep North". I had put it to one side as I didn't really fancy it but somehow almost felt obliged to read it (has anyone else had guilt pangs by not reading a book given by their offspring?). Anyway, I read it in about four days and was really pleased I did. An amazing read - the detail of what happened in the Japanese POW camps was superbly described and harrowing of course in places.- the love interest was slightly less convincing but the writing itself held it together. Be interested to know what others thought if they have read this.

Undeterred, I am now reading "To Kill a Mockingbird", a large gap in my reading, but thought I would give it a go in the light of the recent publicity around Harper Lee. It is brilliant.

LogartyMaya
I haven't read The Narrow

I haven't read The Narrow Road to the Deep North but it sounds very interesting. To Kill a Mockingbird is a wonderful book and it may be time for a re-read for me! Glad you're enjoying it.

I've just read a sci-fi book that was recommended to me: Red Rising by Pierce Brown. It's a dystopian novel that has some similarities to the Hunger Games trilogy, although I'd say it's more adult in content. I found it riveting and am looking forward to starting on the sequel.

Now I'm watching Wolf Hall on TV, I'm keen to have another go at the book - I fizzled out in the early stages when I started reading it a while back but I think I need to give it more of a chance. And yes, I have guilt pangs about nor reading books given to me by my offspring, Wolf Hall being one of them...

Thomas
I got back to reading fiction

I got back to reading fiction again in the last few months and, most recently, a thriller, followed by something more serious, which I am about half way through. Both I'd recommend.

The thriller is "Deception Point" - nothing new, it is an earlier work of Dan Brown of "Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons" fame. It is about 500 pages of non stop action regarding the discovery of a meteorite in the Arctic with fossilised remains suggesting the discovery of life elsewhere in the universe. Interwoven is a battle for the US presidency, NASA, a lot of chasing through the ice, killings, and of course a bit of love interest. Despite its length I finished it in a couple of weeks and didn't guess the real villain behind it all, although I did rather guess the way the whole thing might end - as I expect you probably have already even if you haven't read it! Worth a go if you are in need of light relief.

The other book is Richard Flanagan's "The Sound of One Hand Clapping". Again not new, it was written before "The Narrow Road to the Deep North" of Booker fame. The story moves between 1954 and 1990 and concerns a Slovenian family living in Tasmania when the wife suddenly walks out on her husband and three year old daughter. It is desperately emotional and tear jerking (but not without some humour) and the effect of the war on families and individuals is present throughout. The writing is brilliant - Flanagan's understanding of people, history, landscape and human nature is actually a joy to read and is one of those books which it is impossible not to read a bit of every day however busy you might be. Tissues a must.

LogartySal
Thank you @Thomas for those

Thank you @Thomas for those two recommendations. I'm trying to find some books for an imminent holiday (tend to get through a book a day!) and they both sound wonderful.

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