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Random Book Chat > What are you reading at the moment?

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

At the moment, I'm listening to an audio book of Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, and reading The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney (a Scottish author!).

The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Synopsis:
Set in a time of oppressive colonisation, when large areas of the world were still unknown to Europe, and Africa was literally on maps and minds as a mysterious shadow, Heart of Darkness famously explores the rituals of civilisation and barbarism, and the frighteningly fine line between them.

We get the tale through a classic unreliable narrator, relating as Marlow, a ship’s captain, tells how he was sent by the Company to retrieve the wayward Kurtz, and was shaken to discover the true depths of darkness in that creature’s, and in his own, soul. Conrad based the work closely on his own terrible experience in the Congo.

This work has been reinterpreted and adapted into many modern forms, the most well known being the film Apocalypse Now.

The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney
Synopsis:
It is 1867, Canada: as winter tightens its grip on the isolated settlement of Dove River, a man is brutally murdered and a 17-year old boy disappears. Tracks leaving the dead man's cabin head north towards the forest and the tundra beyond. In the wake of such violence, people are drawn to the township - journalists, Hudson's Bay Company men, trappers, traders - but do they want to solve the crime or exploit it? One-by-one the assembled searchers set out from Dove River, pursuing the tracks across a desolate landscape home only to wild animals, madmen and fugitives, variously seeking a murderer, a son, two sisters missing for 17 years, a Native American culture, and a fortune in stolen furs before the snows settle and cover the tracks of the past for good.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Fnished The Tenderness of Wolves (which was excellent) and I'm almost finished Heart of Darkness (which is not). Now reading:

500 Ways to Change the World by Global Ideas Bank
Synopsis:
500 inspired ideas from around the world that cost nothing to implement but could enhance all our lives. 500 inspired ideas from around the world that cost nothing to implement but could enhance all our lives. They range from ideas that could benefit charitable organizations (donate airmiles to disaster relief fundraising schemes) to ideas that make people's working lives better (write the minutes of a meeting before it takes place) to ideas that help social relations as a whole (Boomerang Days when you return all the things you've borrowed over the course of the previous year. The book is bursting with brilliantly original initiatives. For anyone interested in doing something more than just grumbling and feeling generally fed up, this is probably worth about a whole year of press and TV.

Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders by Gyles Brandreth
Synopsis:
This work is set in London, 1889. Oscar Wilde, celebrated poet, wit, playwright and raconteur is the literary sensation of his age. All Europe lies at his feet. Yet when he chances across the naked corpse of sixteen-year-old Billy Wood, posed by candlelight in a dark stifling attic room, he cannot ignore the brutal murder. With the help of fellow author Arthur Conan Doyle he sets out to solve the crime - but it is Wilde's unparalleled access to all degrees of late Victorian life, from society drawing rooms and the bohemian demi-monde to the underclass, that will prove the decisive factor in their investigation of what turns out to be a series of brutal killings. The Oscar Wilde Murders is a gripping detective story of corruption and intrigue, of Wilde's growing success, of the breakdown of his marriage, and of his fatal friendship with Aidan Fraser, Inspector at Scotland Yard! Set against the exotic background of fin-de-siecle London, Paris, Oxford and Edinburgh, Gyles Brandreth recreates Oscar Wilde's trademark sardonic wit with huge flair, intertwining all the intrigue of the classic English murder mystery with a compelling portrait of one of the greatest characters of the Victorian age.

Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne
Synopsis:
When Axel deciphers an old parchment that describes a secret passage through a volcano to the centre of the earth, nothing will stop his eccentric Uncle Lidenbrock from setting out at once. So, with silent Hans the guide, the two men embark on a perilous, astonishing, terrifying journey through the subterranean world.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

I have three books on the go at the moment.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen which I am enjoying so far, I am desperate to know what happens next.

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco which I am reading slowly, its not that I do not like it, I am just not in the correct frame of mind for it.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, I am really enjoying this one, especially since I read Jane Eyre last year.



message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm now reading another one (reviews for the others will follow shortly!)

Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
Synopsis:
The complex moral ambiguities of seduction and revenge make Les Liaisons dangereuses (1782) one of the most scandalous and controversial novels in European literature. The subject of major film and stage adaptations, the novel's prime movers, the Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil, form an unholy alliance and turn seduction into a game - a game which they must win. This new translation gives Laclos a modern voice, and readers will be able a judge whether the novel is as 'diabolical' and 'infamous' as its critics have claimed, or whether it has much to tell us about the kind of world we ourselves live in. David Coward's introduction explodes myths about Laclos's own life and puts the book in its literary and cultural context.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm now reading another one (reviews for the others will follow shortly!)

Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
Synopsis:
The complex moral ambiguities of seduction and revenge make Les Liaisons dangereuses (1782) one of the most scandalous and controversial novels in European literature. The subject of major film and stage adaptations, the novel's prime movers, the Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil, form an unholy alliance and turn seduction into a game - a game which they must win. This new translation gives Laclos a modern voice, and readers will be able a judge whether the novel is as 'diabolical' and 'infamous' as its critics have claimed, or whether it has much to tell us about the kind of world we ourselves live in. David Coward's introduction explodes myths about Laclos's own life and puts the book in its literary and cultural context.


message 6: by Allan (new)

Allan (macindog) | 15 comments I'm afraid I only read one book at a time these days and I was never a fast reader. I'm currently reading The Seagull Drovers by Steve Cockayne.
It's the last in a trilogy called Legends of the Land and it's not a bad read.


message 7: by Alan (last edited Feb 08, 2008 04:17AM) (new)

Alan (AlanClark) | 8 comments I'm working my way through volume II of James Hogg's Ettrick Shepherd's Tales. The books got a really old fashioned typeface which I find I can only concentrate on in small doses and - I'm ashamed to say - some of the Scots dialect escapes me, even though the characters are mostly from around my area. There a some chilling tales in the collection, dealing with assorted spirits, brownies and devils, and all in all, its worth the effort, and I'll get to the end of it eventually.

I've also started reading Ben Okri's 'The Famished Road'. It took me a few pages to get to grips with some of the imagery - I kept trying to imaging the 'people' that were surrounding the narrator and it took me a while to accept the reality of the narrative. It is good so far though, and I really like the way it slips seemlessly between the real and spirit world and jumbles it all up. I'm working my way through volume II of James Hogg's Ettrick Shepherd's Tales. The books got a really old fashioned typeface which I find I can only concentrate on in small doses and - I'm ashamed to say - some of the Scots dialect escapes me, even though the characters are mostly from around my area. There a some chilling tales in the collection, dealing with assorted spirits, brownies and devils, and all in all, its worth the effort, and I'll get to the end of it eventually.

ps I'm posting this from work - my ancient PC won't let me submit anything for some reason.



message 8: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 10, 2008 02:03PM) (new)

Hi there, Akarenina, and welcome to the group. Yes, I often have more than one book on the go. I listen to audio books on my iPod when I'm out and about, and I always carry a book in my bag too, so there's two straight off. :)

I've just started listening to Villette by Charlotte Bronte and I'm about to start reading Out of Africa by Karen Blixen (just as soon as I've finished Les Liaisons Dangereuses!).


message 9: by Stewart (last edited Feb 07, 2008 01:39PM) (new)

Stewart | 2 comments Reading:

Have just finished Agamemnon's Daughter by Ismail Kadare, although there's another two short stories in it I don't know whether to read.


Other than that, I'm reading:
Gentlemen by Klas Östergren and The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany


And swithering over whether to pick up either The Book Of Words by Jenny Erpenbeck or Submarine by Joe Dunthorne next.


message 10: by Steve (new)

Steve | 6 comments I am currently reading Three Things About Me by Aliya Whitely. It's an entertaining black comedy about customer service trainees. Er.. that may not sound particularly exciting but there is a hint of darkness to the novel and a whiff of the absurd about it.

I must confess that this book is a a bit lighter than the usual stuff I read but I needed a break from Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for None and All!


message 11: by Shona (new)

Shona (beamfrost) Peter JamesDreamer

only on page 50 but so far seems to be good.


message 12: by Lindy-Lane (new)

Lindy-Lane (moonbacklit) I am currently reading "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" by Steig Larsson.


message 13: by Shona (new)


message 14: by Rosie (new)

Rosie | 1 comments Hiya, I'm new! Can't say I'm a big fan of Scottish authors, but I do live in Scotland so I hope that's okay. =) I'm currently reading The Princess Bride for another Goodreads group.


message 15: by Lynsay (last edited May 25, 2009 01:55AM) (new)

Lynsay Lambert (LynsayL) | 1 comments Lindy-Lane wrote: "I am currently reading "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" by Steig Larsson."

I read this about a year ago, and I found it amazing! How are you finding it? I've just bought the sequel, and i'm really looking forward to getting started on it!

I'm reading Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino just now, its fascinating!

new to this group, and the website! Hi All!!




message 16: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa Reading Le Morte D'Arthur The Winchester Manuscript. Not technically a Scottish book, but King Lot is from Lothian and rules Orkney too...and his sons, Gawain and his brothers, are Orkadian. Must read something modern soon though.


message 17: by Mrs. C. (last edited Jul 20, 2009 07:23PM) (new)

Mrs. C. | 6 comments This summer I've been teaching a class where we've focused on the "Killing Time" of the 17th century. The class has looked at Scott's *The Tale of Old Mortality*, Ballantyne's *Hunted and Harried* and Stevenson's *Kidnapped*. Today I re-read *Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde*. I enjoy it anew each time I read it. Anyone here a lover of Scott and Stevenson?


message 18: by Steve (last edited Jul 21, 2009 01:48AM) (new)

Steve | 6 comments Currently reading Orhan Pamuk's The Black Book. A man's wife disappears so he starts searching for her in the streets of Istanbul and scouring the newspaper columns written by his cousin (her half-brother who has also disappeared) for clues.

It's not a conventional detective novel (the kind that the protagonist's missing wife used to constantly read) but more an exploration of identity and a compendium of stories about the history of the Turkish city. The protagonist becomes so consumed by his columnist cousin's articles that he gradually assumes his identity, moves into his apartment and writes his columns in his absence.

Some people find Pamuk's books a bit academic and hard going but anybody who like Umberto Eco, Italo Calvino and Borges would probably enjoy him. I've also read My Name Is Red which was great, similar to Eco's The Name Of The Rose.


message 19: by Rachel (new)

Rachel (RachelS89) | 1 comments Currently reading The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle and Dubliners by James Joyce. Both are really good so far.


message 20: by Stuart (new)

Stuart (Asfus) | 15 comments Reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman.


message 21: by Steve (new)

Steve | 6 comments I'm currently reading Doctor Faustus: The Life of the German Composer Adrian Leverkuhn as Told by a Friend by Thomas Mann because I listen to a lot of 20th classical music (for the purposes of the novel, Mann attributes Arnold Shoenberg's 12-tone technique to his protagonist).

It's slow-going at the moment but fascinating meaty stuff.


message 22: by Anne (new)

Anne (Spartandax) | 23 comments I am currently reading "The Fields of Bannockburn" by Donna Fletcher Crow, a novel of the rise of Christianity in Scotland. Beginning with St. Columba it travels through a couple of eras and is rich with Scottish history, and also a sidline story with a girl travelling in Scotland. She meets a storyteller who is telling the stories. I am really enjoying it a lot.


message 23: by Stuart (new)

Stuart (Asfus) | 15 comments I am just about to read Snow Crash byNeal Stephenson


message 24: by Annie (new)

Annie (AnnieArgyll) | 7 comments Just joined the group even though it looks inactive. I'm reading The Scots Quair, or trying to anyway. It's work to read but still good.


message 25: by Anne (new)

Anne (Spartandax) | 23 comments Another great author who writes Scottish novels. Donna Fletcher Crow, Also Liz Curtis Higgs. Both of these women are Christian writers and their books are terrific. Highly recommended,


message 26: by Stuart (new)

Stuart (Asfus) | 15 comments I am reading something very English at the moment - Brideshead Revisitedby Evelyn Waugh


message 27: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 4 comments I am currently reading Breaking Dawn (Twilight, #4) by Stephenie Meyerbut can't wait to next read An Echo in the Bone (Outlander, #7) by Diana Gabaldon


message 28: by Anne (new)

Anne (Spartandax) | 23 comments Elizabeth, if you enjoy fiction which takes place in Scotland, I can recommend a few authors you may like.
Carol Umberger
Donna Fletcher Crowe
Liz Curtis Higgs
Michael Phillips
Donna Fletcher(not to be confused with #2)
You can also check out my books in case I forgot some, which would not be unusual-LOL!


message 29: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 4 comments thank you, I will definitely look them up!


message 30: by Anne (new)

Anne (Spartandax) | 23 comments I just found many more by putting Scotland in the search engine above. I'll have so many to read, i'll not have time for anthing else-LOL


message 31: by Old-Barbarossa (last edited Jan 12, 2011 11:03PM) (new)

Old-Barbarossa Aye, but there's Scottish fiction and Scottish fiction...it's a broad church.
Also worth a look:
Nigel Tranter, Hx fiction
Robert Louis Stevenson, Hx fiction and weird tales...and pirates
Irvine Welsh, gritty modern urban humour
Lewis Grassic Gibbon, social commentary, Hx fiction and sci-fi
Christopher Brookmyre, "tartan noir"
Robert Burns, the bard...poetry covering social injustice, burning love, republican politics, saucey/smutty goings on, and the immortal Tam O'Shanter.


message 32: by Anne (new)

Anne (Spartandax) | 23 comments I read Nigel Tranter's book "The Lord of the Iles" I loved it but it had a very sad ending. of course it is based on actual fact.
Our library has none of his books,so I have to get them on interlibrary loan. What else would you recommend, Old B?
I am currently reading "Scotland" by Magnus Magnussen. A history of the country. This author is very interesting as he was born in iceland, but moved to Scotland and came to love the country. The Queen has given him kinghthood for his writings about Scotland. He died several years ago.


message 33: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa Anne wrote: "Our library has none of his books,so I have to get them on interlibrary loan. What else would you recommend, Old B?"

I read a bunch of his stuff ages ago. The Bruce Trilogy: Steps to the Empty Throne, Path of the Hero King & Price of the King's Peace and The Wallace are ones that stand out, mainly for the pivotal period in Scots Hx they cover. Not the best documented period, it was a wee while ago, so a bit of poetic license at times. On the whole good though.
He tends to focus each book on a big name in Scots Hx, so he covers Columba, Rob Roy, MacBeth, Somerled...all the usual suspects.
Magnus's book is very good, as is the slightly shorter The Lion in the North. Prebble also did a very good one on Culloden and a couple of others worth a look if you want to put the Hx fiction into context.


message 34: by Anne (new)

Anne (Spartandax) | 23 comments Thank you very much. I will copy these down. I love St. Columba. which one is his of Tranter's books.
Thanks,
Anne


message 35: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa Columba, don't think it's still in print.


message 36: by Anne (new)

Anne (Spartandax) | 23 comments Anne wrote: "I read Nigel Tranter's book "The Lord of the Iles" I loved it but it had a very sad ending. of course it is based on actual fact.
Our library has none of his books,so I have to get them on interli..."



message 37: by Karen L. (new)

Karen L. Anne,

What you wrote way back in comment #22 about "The Fields of Bannockburn" by Donna Fletcher Crow makes me want to read that book. Thanks for posting that title.

I am finding I really enjoy this group:)

Currently I am reading, George MacDonald's
"Thomas Wingfold-Curate"
on my kindle. It is a fabulous story following the life of a young curate who is challenged by a friend's intellectual arguments against faith to rethink and search out his faith. It is very good. I'm halfway through. There is a murder and much suspense in the book as well...much excitement!


message 38: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa Folks, just to highlight that Scottish fiction (and Hx) isn't all castles and epic battles against the sassenach, here's 3 very different books to try:
Laidlaw
A Scots Quair: Sunset Song / Cloud Howe / Grey Granite
The Wasp Factory


message 39: by Duntay (new)

Duntay | 13 comments I've been thinking of a re-read of Sunset Song in the near future.. I've never read the rest of the Quair.

Old Barbarossa - have you ever read The Silver Darlings ? I saw it as a play not too long ago - it seemed a bit like Sunset Song, with herring.

Have you been watching Neil Oliver's latest offering on the tele? So far it is much better than his historical musings...Battle of Dunnichen in Moray indeed.


message 40: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa Duntay wrote: "...have you ever read The Silver Darlings ? I saw it as a play not too long ago - it seemed a bit like Sunset Song, with herring..."

Like that description. Not read it though.
Haven't seen the Neil Oliver thing, don't get BBC Scotland in Connaught...and the BBC i-Player has a regional lock too. Did like his "2 Men In A Trench" though, one episode had them playing golf in full plate to prove how mobile a knight could be.


message 41: by Karen L. (new)

Karen L. Anne wrote: "I am currently reading "The Fields of Bannockburn" by Donna Fletcher Crow, a novel of the rise of Christianity in Scotland. Beginning with St. Columba it travels through a couple of eras and is ric..."

This sounds like a wonderful read and especially in my new area of interest!

Thanks,
Karen L.


message 42: by Stuart (new)

Stuart (Asfus) | 15 comments Very un Scottish I am afraidPerdido Street Station by China Miéville


message 43: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (Cheryl_S) | 2 comments Currently listening to MacBeth: A Novel by Hartley & Hewson - reworking/novelization of Shakespeare's MacBeth... pure fiction, just like Shakespeare's version but entertaining and really well written!


message 44: by Stuart (new)

Stuart (Asfus) | 15 comments Still very un - scottish The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi


message 45: by Sam (new)

Sam Oxby (samoxby) | 3 comments deleted user wrote: "I have three books on the go at the moment.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen which I am enjoying so far, I am desperate to know what happens next.

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umber..."


Have you read any of Jasper Ffordes other books? As a fan of some of the classics, I found his stuff fantastic - such a clever way of twisting a well known story whilst still respecting it. Fforde is a wizard with his books, plus out right crazy!!!

Would thouroughly recommend the rest of the Thursday Next series!


message 46: by Sam (new)

Sam Oxby (samoxby) | 3 comments Karen L. wrote: "Anne wrote: "I am currently reading "The Fields of Bannockburn" by Donna Fletcher Crow, a novel of the rise of Christianity in Scotland. Beginning with St. Columba it travels through a couple of er..."

I read a book similar in it's theme, taking you through Christianity throughout Scotland from Columba to the Scots Confession of 1560, to modern day expression of Christianity.
The book I read was 'Strength of the Hills' by Jenny (somebody)...


message 47: by Sam (new)

Sam Oxby (samoxby) | 3 comments Sam wrote: "Karen L. wrote: "Anne wrote: "I am currently reading "The Fields of Bannockburn" by Donna Fletcher Crow, a novel of the rise of Christianity in Scotland. Beginning with St. Columba it travels throu..."

Jenny Robertson!


message 48: by Stuart (new)

Stuart (Asfus) | 15 comments I am reading a few the main one I am concentrating on is Shards of Honour (Vorkosigan Saga, #1) by Lois McMaster Bujold


message 49: by Lynn (last edited Dec 29, 2012 06:24PM) (new)

Lynn (rolymac) | 5 comments Currently reading T M Devine's Clanship to Crofter's War: The Social Transformation of the Scottish Highlands and Thomas Pakenham's The Boer War. I'm about to start John Keay's The Honourable Company: A History of the English East India Company, because I'm not smart enough to read fewer than three books at a time!


message 50: by Raquel (new)

Raquel (luridandlaughing) I'm reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Its pretty good so far


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