THE JAMES MASON COMMUNITY BOOK CLUB discussion

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WHAT ARE YOU READING AND WHY!!

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message 101: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 463 comments I'm re-reading "My Father and Myself" by J. R. Ackerley - quite a wonderful read (my third time actually). Recent reads I recommend: "A Life Like Other People's" by Alan Bennett, "Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead" by Paula Byrne, and "Portrait of a Marriage" by Harold Nicolson. All British. Also read two novels that feature Virginia Woolf - "Mitz: The Marmoset of Bloomsbury" and "The White Garden."


Came home from work today (a rainy, gloomy day - very cold) and watched "Prick Up Your Ears" with Gary Oldman as Joe Orton - great film (good book too by John Lahr) with an Alan Bennett screenplay. At the end of the film Orton's sister is mixing the ashes of Joe and his lover/murderer Ken Halliwell - she says: "I think I've got more Joe than Ken" - Peggy Ramsey replies: "It's a gesture, not a recipe."


message 102: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12747 comments Mod
Ivan wrote: "I'm re-reading "My Father and Myself" by J. R. Ackerley - quite a wonderful read (my third time actually). Recent reads I recommend: "A Life Like Other People's" by Alan Bennett, "Mad World: Evely..."

great post! did you know John Lahr is the son of Bert Lahr of Wizard of OZ -Cowardly Lion fame?

The Waugh book really interests me- how did you enjoy it?


message 103: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 463 comments It was terrific. It was very focused - not one of those 1,000 page volumes of recycled facts. The author was witty and clever - her book is a gem. Best bio I've read since "The Empress of Ireland" by Christopher Robbins - all about Irish film director Brian Desmond Hurst.

Yes, I knew about Lahr's father - and almost mentioned it. I saw a profile on John on CBS Sunday Morning a few years back. Very interesting guy.


message 104: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12747 comments Mod
Thanks for the info Ivan- I for sure have to check that book out-
my favorite bio is George S Kaufmann and his Friends by Scott Meredith - which was not simply a bio on Kaufmann but a depiction of his life and friends- Benchley, Parker, Woolcott, moss hart ect
Favorite autobio - Harpo Speaks




Catamorandi (wwwgoodreadscomprofilerandi) | 51 comments I am reading P.S. Longer Letter Later by Paula Danziger and Ann M. Martin.. I am reading it for a book challenge, but it is pretty good so far.


message 106: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 463 comments Catamorandi wrote: "I am reading P.S. Longer Letter Later by Paula Danziger and Ann M. Martin.. I am reading it for a book challenge, but it is pretty good so far."

Sounds like a something a friend of mine writes - every letter to me - only, the longer letter never comes. Oh, well.


message 107: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 463 comments I'm just starting "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" - I've never read anything by Muriel Spark before - some of her other titles sound good - and she embraced the novella form. My kind of woman :-)


message 108: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12747 comments Mod
Ivan wrote: "I'm just starting "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" - I've never read anything by Muriel Spark before - some of her other titles sound good - and she embraced the novella form. My kind of woman :-)"

Ivan- did you see the film with Maggie Smith and her then husband Robert Stephens? I wonder how faithful the film is to the book



message 109: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12747 comments Mod
Catamorandi wrote: "I am reading P.S. Longer Letter Later by Paula Danziger and Ann M. Martin.. I am reading it for a book challenge, but it is pretty good so far."

when I think of Paula Danzinger- I think "The Cat Ate My Gym Suit"!!!
some info on her - sad she passed soyoung
Paula Danziger (August 18, 1944 – July 8, 2004) was a U.S. children's author. She lived in New York City.

Danziger, who said she knew in the second grade that she wanted to be a writer, wrote more than 30 books, including her 1974 debut The Cat Ate My Gymsuit, Remember Me to Harold Square, The Divorce Express and Can You Sue Your Parents for Malpractice? She was also the author of the Amber Brown and Matthew Martin series.

She was a graduate of Montclair State University, earning a bachelor's and master's there before becoming a teacher at John Adams Middle School in Edison, New Jersey. After being injured in an automobile accident, she began writing. Most of her books are considered Young Adult (YA) books, although some of the Amber Brown books were aimed at younger readers.

She has collaborated with Ann M. Martin twice, with P.S. Longer Letter Later and Snail Mail No More.

She frequently gave lectures and speeches, wearing elaborate costumes and calling herself a children's Dame Edna Everage. She is quoted as saying that her alternative career choice would have been as a stand-up comedian.

In the United Kingdom, she was best known for presenting a regular item about children's literature on the BBC's Saturday morning show Going Live.

Danziger died on July 8, 2004, following complications of a heart attack at the age of 59. At the time of her death, many of her books had been published in 53 countries and in 14 languages. Paula is buried in the Woodstock Artist's Cemetery in Woodstock, NY.





message 110: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 463 comments Have I seen the film, he asks. Maggie Smith is one of my Gods. I've heard that the film is "less" than the book - imagine that - and is more faithful to the stage adaptation. I haven't seen the film in a number of years; I plan to rent it when I finish the book and compare.

Trivia: Did you know the role of Miss Jean Brodie was played on the London stage by Vanessa Redgrave? Zoe Caldwell won a Tony for the Broadway production. I wonder why the play is never revived? How about Cate Blanchett as Miss Broadie?


message 111: by Tod (new)

Tod Langley (TodLangley) | 81 comments I'm slowly getting through 2666 by Roberto Bolano. It's touted as a modern literature great.

He certainly can give readers characters with as much depth as real people. He can also write prose like anyone...

It's kind of slow, and no matter how deep your characters are ... if they don't have some type of conflict or excitement to pull you in, it's difficult to stay invested.

I have a feeling where the book is going so I am going to continue reading. I know that I will learn a great deal about my own writing by reading Bolano.


Sadie | 120 comments I just started The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. This is my first book of his. So far, so good. But I'm only on about chapter 3. I do enjoy his writing style.


message 113: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 3 comments I'm reading the novel "Bel Canto" by Ann Patchett. It was recommended to me and has been an excellent read so far.


message 114: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12747 comments Mod
Sadie wrote: "I just started The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. This is my first book of his. So far, so good. But I'm only on about chapter 3. I do enjoy his writing style."

Henry James is very much a matter of taste- some love him others hate him- I happen to love his novels!
If you enjoy Portrait- I recommend "The American" by him- he also has some volumes of travelwritings which I found a great read



message 115: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 463 comments Rick wrote: "Sadie wrote: "I just started The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. This is my first book of his. So far, so good. But I'm only on about chapter 3. I do enjoy his writing style."

Henry James ..."


I a fan of his shorter works such as "Spoils of Poynton," "Washington Square," "Turn of the Screw," "Daisy Miller," "The Aspern Papers" and "The Europeans." I've been meaning to read "What Maisie Knew" for years (so why don't I?).


message 116: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12747 comments Mod
Ivan wrote: "Rick wrote: "Sadie wrote: "I just started The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. This is my first book of his. So far, so good. But I'm only on about chapter 3. I do enjoy his writing style."

..."


I have What Maisie Knew - just need to read it already!!!




Sharon (fiona64) | 441 comments I am reading three at the moment, with about five in the pipeline, LOL. None of the three are by British authors, although one takes place in WWII London. That's

The Postmistress.


message 118: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12747 comments Mod
Sharon wrote: "I am reading three at the moment, with about five in the pipeline, LOL. None of the three are by British authors, although one takes place in WWII London. That's

The Postmistress."

haha Sharon- just like me! always reading at least two books at one- a current thriller and a classic!




message 119: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12747 comments Mod
Ivan wrote: "I'm re-reading "My Father and Myself" by J. R. Ackerley - quite a wonderful read (my third time actually). Recent reads I recommend: "A Life Like Other People's" by Alan Bennett, "Mad World: Evely..."

Ivan- I never heardof "My Father and Myself" by J. R. Ackerley - what is it about?



Jennifer (Jennafraugh) Sadie wrote: "I just started The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. This is my first book of his. So far, so good. But I'm only on about chapter 3. I do enjoy his writing style."

I've always wanted to try that one out. Never read Henry James either, but that one intrigued me. I'll have to go get it now!


Sharon (fiona64) | 441 comments Rick wrote: "haha Sharon- just like me! always reading at least two books at one- a current thriller and a classic!
"


In addition to The Postmistress, I'm reading a poetry anthology by a friend/fellow author and a new Celtic fantasy novel by a friend/fellow author. In the pipeline are some more classics; I just finished Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan of the Apes. Like you, I like to mix it up; my taste is kindly described as eclectic (but may well run toward the eccentric, LOL).




Karen (karenvwrites) | 31 comments I am reading a christmas book by debbie Macomber--tis the season ya know.


message 123: by Joy (new)

Joy (Crowgirl) Currently reading A Darkness Forged in Fire Book One of the Iron Elves, well actually re-reading it. I often forget a series I've started, especially if the author is slow at bring out the next installment.

I read lots of 'fluff' fantasy just because most TV, especially daytime TV, sucks so much. When I say 'better than TV' it often means the book isn't the greatest but a far cry from soaps and talk shows (not to mention NO COMMERCIALS.) These days I hardly can stand to read anything based on reality. I get enough of that from the news and life.


Catamorandi (wwwgoodreadscomprofilerandi) | 51 comments I am starting Fallen by David Maine.


Sadie | 120 comments Karen wrote: "I am reading a christmas book by debbie Macomber--tis the season ya know."

Which book are you reading? I haven't read any of her stuff before and just finished There's Something About Christmas, but I didn't care for it much. I decided to try another one and so far I'm liking it. The title is Mrs. Miracle.


Valora (goodreadscomvalora_ixchel) | 1 comments I have a bunch of books that I am currently reading. There are two that currently have my attention. The first is "Stone of Tears" by Terry Goodkind (the Sword of Truth series) Stone of Tears (Sword of Truth, #2) by Terry Goodkind and "A Touch of Dead" by Charlaine Harris A Touch of Dead (Southern Vampire Mystery Short Stories) by Charlaine Harris (I LOVE all books that involve the supernatural).


message 127: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12747 comments Mod
Valora wrote: "I have a bunch of books that I am currently reading. There are two that currently have my attention. The first is "Stone of Tears" by Terry Goodkind (the Sword of Truth series) [bookcover:Stone of ..."

I love Terry Goodkind! along with Terry Brooks and David Eddings- love their series!



Kaylie Jones (kaylie_jones) | 2 comments Hold Me: I’m a Fermata wrote: "I love the giver, such a great book, did you enjoy it?"

I read THE GIVER last year with my daughter. She was reading it for school and was so devastated I thought we should experience it together. What a book! Really beautiful.


message 129: by Liz (new)

Liz (busy91) | 10 comments Currently reading The Next Queen of Heaven by Gregory McGuire. It is taking me forever, because I'm not enjoying it. I'm reading it because I won it on librarything so I have to review it.


message 130: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12747 comments Mod
Liz wrote: "Currently reading The Next Queen of Heaven by Gregory McGuire. It is taking me forever, because I'm not enjoying it. I'm reading it because I won it on librarything so I have to re..."

I just had a might urge to buy the Bronte Collection for my Kindle for Jane Eyre- what a coincidence! Liz



message 131: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12747 comments Mod
Liz wrote: "Currently reading The Next Queen of Heaven by Gregory McGuire. It is taking me forever, because I'm not enjoying it. I'm reading it because I won it on librarything so I have to re..."

you must let us know what you think of it Liz



Werner I'm currently reading All the Tea in China by Jane Orcutt (Revell, 2007). The author isn't British, but the heroine is; she's a young lady from 1814 England who, during the Napoleonic Wars, decides she has a call to be a missionary, and travels to China on an East India Company sailing ship. (So it's something of Jane Austen meets Hornblower --with a bit of Pearl S. Buck thrown in.) Our heroine is more outspoken and well-educated than most Regency girls --and since the uncle who raised her humored her desire to be taught fencing from a very young age, she also has pretty decent sword skills. :-)

I'm reading it because my wife, who read it first (I'd bought it for her last summer as an anniversary present), liked it a lot, and highly recommended it. (Besides, I've always had a soft spot for heroines who are strong, brave, competent, self-directed, and not afraid to kick some butt if they have to. :-) In both fiction and real life, I've always deeply admired all ladies who fit this description --and married the one that I love.)


message 133: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12747 comments Mod
Werner wrote: "I'm currently reading All the Tea in China by Jane Orcutt (Revell, 2007). The author isn't British, but the heroine is; she's a young lady from 1814 England who, during the Napoleonic Wars, decide..."

wonderful post Werner!!!


Gary F | 244 comments I am reading "To Big to Fail" about the recent financial crisis. It is written almost like a novel and really interesting.


message 135: by Rick (last edited Dec 22, 2009 02:06PM) (new)

Rick F. | 12747 comments Mod
Gary wrote: "I am reading "To Big to Fail" about the recent financial crisis. It is written almost like a novel and really interesting. "

Thanks Gary=perhaps you will review it upon your completion


message 136: by Tod (new)

Tod Langley (TodLangley) | 81 comments Thermopylae, The Battle for the West, by Ernle Bradford.

And, The Children of Hurin, by Tolkien and edited by his son, Christopher Tolien.

I'm reading about the Spartans to find potential historical lessons learned that could be useful for upcoming book ideas.

I'm reading the Hurin book to finally complete my reading of Tolkien's work. I didn't like Silmarillion that much or the other tales, but have high hopes for this one. I've heard it's pretty dark and dismal...right up my alley!


Sharon (fiona64) | 441 comments Tod wrote: "I'm reading about the Spartans to find potential historical lessons learned that could be useful for upcoming book ideas. "

I highly recommend

Gates of Fire An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae, in addition to The Persian War. :-)


message 138: by Tod (new)

Tod Langley (TodLangley) | 81 comments Thanks, Sharon...I'll look for it. This one came from our professional library at work. I doubt I'd pay for non-fiction/historical books, but I will certainly look at the libraries.


message 139: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12747 comments Mod
I am currently reading The History Of Rome in 36 Volumes by Livy


message 140: by Tod (new)

Tod Langley (TodLangley) | 81 comments Some how, images and sounds flooded my mind when you posted that Rick!

Enigma chanting and self-flagulation came to mind... :o)


message 141: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12747 comments Mod
Tod wrote: "Some how, images and sounds flooded my mind when you posted that Rick!

Enigma chanting and self-flagulation came to mind... :o)"


haha actually I purchased it for my Kindle- I'll read a bit at a time- hopefully my great great grandchild will finally complete the reading project



Sadie | 120 comments I just finished The Portrait of a Lady and am starting Dead Until Dark. I liked Henry James' writing style but didn't really care for the story. Dead Until Dark seems pretty fun so far.


message 143: by Rick (last edited Dec 22, 2009 07:45PM) (new)

Rick F. | 12747 comments Mod
interesting- James usually has those who love his every word or think him a total bore
I happen to like him- although he can get a big long in the tooth at times


message 144: by Joy (new)

Joy (Crowgirl) I'm about a third of the way through a very low-key Vampire novel; Fledgling. Its not the bodice-ripper most vampire stories have become but up to where I'm at, more of a murder mystery, although its review hints at a racial prejudiced theme. The vampire being just another species of evolution trying to survive alongside a large population different from them, without the whole occult/christian mythology.


message 145: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12747 comments Mod
Rob wrote: "I'm almost finished reading Diary by Chuck Palahniuk. Chuck P. seems to be one of those authors who really divides people. You either love him or hate him. I count myself among the former. His ..."
it seems to me Rob, you have very eclectic tastes in books- which I think is great!




message 146: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12747 comments Mod
Crowgirl wrote: "I'm about a third of the way through a very low-key Vampire novel; Fledgling. Its not the bodice-ripper most vampire stories have become but up to where I'm at, more of a murder myster..."

do you have a favorite Vampire book?



message 147: by Joy (last edited Dec 23, 2009 11:59AM) (new)

Joy (Crowgirl) Rick wrote: "Crowgirl do you have a favorite Vampire book?"

I was a big Rice fan but as the years went by she grew tiresome although Interview With the Vampire and especially The Queen of the Damned is still at the top of my favorites list.

L K Hamilton was a good Urban Fantasy Vampire writer for her first 3 books until all her plots were just an excuse for soft-porn with bad character development.

I currently favor books like Tanya Huff, Blood Ties series and
Charlaine Harris, True Blood. Although its not JUST vampires, I follow all Kim Harrison, Hollows UF. This also applies to Jim Butcher, Dresden Files who has Vamp characters.

I hate the Twilight stuff although the actor who plays Edward is a hot number. The Historian I had to force myself to finish and that goes for the original Dracula.



message 148: by Joy (last edited Dec 23, 2009 11:50AM) (new)

Joy (Crowgirl) Rick wrote: "Crowgirl do you have a favorite Vampire book?"

Completely forgot my running favorite, which dwells so little on vampire stuff it becomes a historical novel: Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Saint-Germain series.


message 149: by Rick (new)

Rick F. | 12747 comments Mod
never read Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Saint-Germain series
but heard alot of good things about that series


Sharon (fiona64) | 441 comments Tod wrote: "Thanks, Sharon...I'll look for it. This one came from our professional library at work. I doubt I'd pay for non-fiction/historical books, but I will certainly look at the libraries."

"Gates of Fire" is an exceedingly well-researched historical fiction. Herodotus is actually available on-line for free. :-)




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