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Constant Reader > What Are You Reading - January

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message 296: by Sherry, Doyenne (new)

Sherry | 7522 comments I'm going to be stopping this thread because it's now February! Who would have thought it would come so soon.


message 295: by Sue (new)

Sue | 3404 comments I have been reading everyone's comments about Jane Gardam's books. Is there one that is the best starting point for a reader with too many books on their plate all ready. If I'm to read one, which should it be?


message 294: by Ruth (last edited Feb 01, 2011 11:32AM) (new)

Ruth | 9339 comments Quite frankly, Wendy, I read it some years ago and don't remember much of the plot. I just remember that the writing was beautiful, and I loved it because of that.


message 293: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Brown-Baez | 96 comments Ruth, did you have any trouble with the fact that Davey had no remorse for what he did and cleanly got away with it and had no revelation or sense of pity, even for his family? Wasn't it his falut his dad got shot? Why wouldn't Jape come back again for the girl? The ending just seemed contrived...after the rest, whci I loved so much I couldn't put it down.


message 292: by John (new)

John | 1376 comments Gabrielle 286:

I did read The Custom of the Country, which I found a bit depressing.

Ruth 290:

I like James, though not The Golden Bowl.


message 291: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 9339 comments John wrote: "Have you read The Queen of the Tambourine yet? That was my first Gardam, which got me hooked on her books!"

I'm definitely going to read more Gardam. Filth was wonderful. I agree with you about the writing. Beautiful.


message 290: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 9339 comments John wrote: "Ruth, are you not exactly enjoying "The Good Soldier"? I can see why people who don't enjoy writers like Henry James and Edith Wharton might not like it, and neither one would make my top ten ... ..."

I'm neutral on James, but I adore Edith Wharton. The Good Soldier is driving me nutz. Will he ever stop dithering and get to the point?


message 289: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 9339 comments Wendy wrote: "Has sanyone else readPeace Like a River by Leif Enger? This book is beautifully written and I could not put it down. The story is told by an 11 year old boy and his character is drawn vividly,..."

I loved it, Wendy.


message 288: by Carol (new)

Carol | 7022 comments On John D's recommendation I am reading The Vertigo Years: Europe 1900-1914. It ties in nicely with historical background for our The Good Soldier discussion. I am also readingPavilion of Women . I finished The Brothers Karamazov so now I will concentrate on these two books.


message 287: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Brown-Baez | 96 comments Has sanyone else read Peace Like a River by Leif Enger? This book is beautifully written and I could not put it down. The story is told by an 11 year old boy and his character is drawn vividly, a combintion of naivite and wisdom. (Sometimes all the switching back and forth of different povs drives me nuts) But I do have some questions about the ending....There is healing but I don't know if there is redemption.


TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez (Madly77) | 3817 comments John wrote: "I see that you can tell that I'm chomping at the bit, Gabrielle. I'm only about two-thirds done now, but plan on staying up late tonight to finish.

The Barnes&Noble edition has some interesting d..."


I have that edition, too, John (284). Feel free to post what you want to discuss or ask questions of the other posters.

John (285), I disliked Ethan Frome in school, too. I sometimes wonder if I'd feel differently about it now, though I doubt I'll read it again. I didn't read The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth until my 30s and loved both of them.


message 285: by John (new)

John | 1376 comments I have a few Wharton's on my audio TBR pile: The Age of Innocence (read by one of my favorite narrators, Alyssa Bresnahan), The Touchstone A Story and The Glimpses of the Moon. We had to read Ethan Frome in high school, which I really disliked at the time.


message 284: by John (new)

John David (NicholasOfAutrecourt) I see that you can tell that I'm chomping at the bit, Gabrielle. I'm only about two-thirds done now, but plan on staying up late tonight to finish.

The Barnes&Noble edition has some interesting discussion questions in the back, and I was wondering if you'd like me to post a couple to see what people have to say in response to them.


TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez (Madly77) | 3817 comments John wrote: "Have you read The Queen of the Tambourine yet? That was my first Gardam, which got me hooked on her books!"

No, John, I'm sorry to say I haven't read that one, but glad I have it to look forward to. Old Filth was recommended so highly to me by a writing instructor/editor and I loved it. I decided to read everything Gardam wrote, but my TBR stack of books is so huge.

John, The Good Soldier reminds me a little of Edith Wharton's writing, too. I love Wharton and Henry James is one of my favorite authors. Though it's still not officially February 1st in the west, I opened the discussion on The Good Soldier if you want to post.


message 282: by John (new)

John David (NicholasOfAutrecourt) Ruth, are you not exactly enjoying "The Good Soldier"? I can see why people who don't enjoy writers like Henry James and Edith Wharton might not like it, and neither one would make my top ten ... but for some reason, I'm finding it astonishingly good.


message 281: by John (new)

John | 1376 comments Have you read The Queen of the Tambourine yet? That was my first Gardam, which got me hooked on her books!


TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez (Madly77) | 3817 comments Philip wrote: "Oh Katy, thanks for the warning about the PV translation of Zhivago. Based on their wonderful Anna Karenina that we read a couple of years ago I sprung for the hardback even though I have a cheap ..."

I, too, bought the hardcover version of the P&V translation of Doctor Zhivago, Philip, but I like it and don't find it clunky at all. I have the earlier translation as well, and I also like that one. My vote is for the new translation, as I think it seems "more Russian." I can only say "seems," of course, because I cannot read Russian, and so have never read the book in the original language.

John, as another lover and admirer of Old Filth, I'm also looking forward to The Man in the Wooden Hat. A writing instructor once told me that anyone wanting to write needed to read Jane Gardam because she structures her novels so perfectly. I agree.


message 279: by Sue (new)

Sue | 3404 comments John wrote: "I'm currently reading a few things:

1) The Good Soldier (in preparation for our discussion, which finally starts tomorrow!)

2) "A Brief History of Neoliberalism" by David Harvey. Harvey's a soc..."



John, The Captive Mind looked interesting to me so I'll be interested in your review.


message 278: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 9339 comments I'm about halfway thru The Good Soldier. I hope it gets better.


message 277: by John (new)

John | 1376 comments I'm halfway through The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham: A Biography, which is perhaps a bit too thorough for me, not in the sense of too many salacious personal details, but overall. Reminds me of Dorothy Parker's bio that way.


message 276: by John (last edited Jan 31, 2011 09:04PM) (new)

John David (NicholasOfAutrecourt) I'm currently reading a few things:

1) The Good Soldier (in preparation for our discussion, which finally starts tomorrow!)

2) "A Brief History of Neoliberalism" by David Harvey. Harvey's a social theorist, and this book is about the ideology of free market solutions, private enterprise, and deregulation began to dominate the world's economic scene about a generation ago. He looks at how this happened, the people that let it happen (Thatcher, Reagan, Deng Xiaoping), and how it functions sociologically.

3) "The Captive Mind" by Polish poet and Nobel Literature laureate Czeslaw Milosz, which tries to explain the intellectual attractions of communism (which he sees as ultimately deleterious) to the artist and intellectual. A fascinating piece of prose by a brilliant poet.


message 275: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (Melissaharl) | 1431 comments Oh Katy, thanks for the warning about the PV translation of Zhivago. Based on their wonderful Anna Karenina that we read a couple of years ago I sprung for the hardback even though I have a cheap paperback lying around someplace from way back when. Oh well ... cue adage about "judging a book by its cover"? Still, I'll take me own look-see.


message 274: by Mary Ellen (new)

Mary Ellen | 1282 comments Sherry wrote: "Mary Ellen, you might be interested in our discussion of it about 11 years ago (boy, it was that long ago?)

http://web.archive.org/web/2006110201......"


Thanks, Sherry! That's the next best thing to being able to participate!


message 273: by Flora (new)

Flora Smith (BookwormFlo) | 211 comments I'm about 1/3 of the way into The Nature of Monsters and its good but heartbreaking. I hope this has a happy ending.


message 272: by Dottie (new)

Dottie  (oxymoronid) | 1504 comments Sherry wrote: "Mary Ellen, you might be interested in our discussion of it about 11 years ago (boy, it was that long ago?)

http://web.archive.org/web/2006110201......"


Wow, Sherry that means the book has been waiting that long here unread -- bad, bad, bad. And it won 't see the light of day for some time yet as it is in one of the packed up boxes of books. Which makes me ask myself, why am I still listing books I want to read -- short answer: a mental illness. Caveat: a rather harmless one generally speaking. Sigh. So many books and so many curious interesting topics out there.

Still reading The LAst Dickens here. I did purchase books yesterday at my favorite used book store, too, and five of them were hardbacks at only 92 cents each!


message 271: by Katy (new)

Katy | 396 comments Kitty, Thanks for the translation information. My advice to John is to go ahead and read the older translation. I found the Pevear Volkhonsky rendition of DR ZHIVAGO rough going, awkward, even clumsy at times. A few years ago, I read their translation of WAR AND PEACE and loved it, so this was a surprise. Nevertheless, the book is worth reading. It is full of the Russian soul.


message 270: by Sherry, Doyenne (new)

Sherry | 7522 comments Mary Ellen, you might be interested in our discussion of it about 11 years ago (boy, it was that long ago?)

http://web.archive.org/web/2006110201...


message 269: by Mary Ellen (new)

Mary Ellen | 1282 comments I finally finished Guns, Germs and Steel yesterday. I thought it was a great book, one that expanded my view of human history and the development of civilization. I kept putting it aside, not for lack of interest, but to try to keep up with some CR discussions! I'd highly recommend it.

Last night I read some more of The Good Soldier and am finding myself drawn into it a bit more.


message 268: by Sue (new)

Sue | 3404 comments Marjorie wrote: "I just finished a great mystery: WHY SHOOT A BUTLER? by British author Georgette Heyer, with a group that reads vintage mysteries. An English country house murder mystery with a twist -- the butler..."

I went through some Georgette Heyer books many years ago on a friend's recommendation and I recall enjoying them. Just don't remember the titles or I'd add them to my shelves.


message 267: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia Perez | 92 comments I read Richard Paul Evans "The Walk" on Sat. and really like it. His books are always good for a cry. This one is the start of a series and it did leave me wondering what happens, so I'll read on when the next one comes out in April. It is thought provoking.


message 266: by Marialyce (new)

Marialyce I just finished Up from Slavery. It was interesting to see this man through his own words.


message 265: by Marjorie (new)

Marjorie Martin | 656 comments I just finished a great mystery: WHY SHOOT A BUTLER? by British author Georgette Heyer, with a group that reads vintage mysteries. An English country house murder mystery with a twist -- the butler as the victim. Very good writing with first-rate dry British wit.

Marge


message 264: by John (new)

John | 1376 comments Just popping in to say that after having finished Old Filth, I can see why folks rave about it. Glad I waited for the audio version (which seems to be an Audible monopoly at present), but it's very well written - not a character is "superfluous", though that might not always be obvious until later.
I understand the sequel (The Man in the Wooden Hat) covers the couple's married life in Hong Kong from Betty's perspectiv(the the 40's - '00's), fitting in neatly with this one alternating from Filth as a present day widower, and episodes from the past up to his arrival in the East - a fascinating piece of symmetry!


message 263: by Carol (last edited Jan 30, 2011 07:47PM) (new)

Carol | 7022 comments Katy it was published in English in 1957 from Russian by Manya Harari and Max Hayward. Finally found my reference notes.


message 262: by Katy (last edited Jan 30, 2011 06:23PM) (new)

Katy | 396 comments John,
I am reading the Pevear Volokhonsky translation which was published in 2010. The initial publication was in Italy. After the manuscript was smuggled out of the Soviet Union it was translated into Italian and published in Milan in 1957. As Richard Pevear explains in his introduction, "The next year translations of the novel into English and a number of other languages appeared and Russian-language editions were published in Italy and the United States." My question is whether the first English edition was a translation from the Italian edition or from the original Russian. I don't know. Anyway, all this aside, it was a great read.


message 261: by Barbara (last edited Jan 30, 2011 03:48PM) (new)

Barbara | 5821 comments John wrote: "Barbara, thanks, I didn't even realize that it was only available in hardcover. I thought $18 looked a little high for a paperback. I got the Everyman Library edition when the library at a school..."

Some years ago when I read Remembrance of Things Past with Dottie and some others, we frequently compared the translations of some of our favorite passages. It was definitely interesting. I always wonder how translation affects the work. I used to hesitate to read books in translation because of that.


message 260: by Carol (new)

Carol | 7022 comments I read the Max Hayward translation so I am looking forward to comparing them.


message 259: by John (new)

John David (NicholasOfAutrecourt) Barbara, thanks, I didn't even realize that it was only available in hardcover. I thought $18 looked a little high for a paperback. I got the Everyman Library edition when the library at a school I used to work at was disbanded, and I had my pick of the litter. I didn't have any other translations (I still don't), so I picked up that one. Books are always better when they're free!

I may take you up on your recommendation and read the Everyman Library just to have a more interesting conversation with everyone else.


message 258: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 5821 comments John, the P&V translation is supposed to be outstanding. That is the only reason that I nominated it. However, it was just published recently so it's only available in hardcover. Amazon's price is 17.86 in hardcover and 16.07 on Kindle. If you decide to read a different translation, the comparisons are always interesting though.


message 257: by John (new)

John David (NicholasOfAutrecourt) Like I said, I'd appreciate anything you can find out. I wanted to know if it was perhaps the P&V translation, but I suppose it might not be. I'm wondering if that's the one I should order before I begin reading, or to just stick with this one.


message 256: by Carol (new)

Carol | 7022 comments I think Max Hayward translated that publication in 1956 . I will have to search more. He was a friend of the Pasternak family and smuggled it out of Russia.


message 255: by John (new)

John David (NicholasOfAutrecourt) Katy, I'm waiting a little bit longer to start the Pasternak, since, at only 500 pages, I can read it in maybe a week, and I want it to be fresh in my mind when we start on March 1. If I read it now, I'd only remember the most major details.

Can someone help me out with something? For the Pasternak, I have the "Everyman Library" edition, but for the life of me, I can't figure out who did the translation. I don't see it in the book anywhere, I don't see it on the book's Amazon page. Does anyone know? Help would be greatly appreciated.


message 254: by Katy (last edited Jan 30, 2011 10:54AM) (new)

Katy | 396 comments I have almost finished (50 pages to go) DR ZHIVAGO, which, in my opinion, holds its own with the great Russian novels. The coming discussion should be very interesting. Although I found the Russian names somewhat daunting, the translators have provided a list of the main characters and the different renderings of their names which is very helpful. I have been so involved in it that I wake up in the morning thinking about the characters and the story. I hope I don't forget everything by February! Special thanks to the person who recommended this.


message 253: by TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez (last edited Jan 30, 2011 06:15AM) (new)

TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez (Madly77) | 3817 comments I've read every book Saramago published. I liked them all. Balthasar and Blimunda was my favorite, but I also loved Blindness, The Cave and The Double. I don't think The Double was as good as most of his books, but it was a very interesting premise and that made the book interesting for me.

The History of the Siege of Lisbon and All the Names were wonderful as well. The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis was great, but if people aren't familiar with the work of Fernando Pessoa, I think they're going to miss a lot. In fact, I know people who read the book and didn't even know "Ricardo Reis" was a pseudonym of Pessoa.


message 252: by Sherry, Doyenne (new)

Sherry | 7522 comments I'm liking The Good Soldier. I'm almost done, and I'm just waiting to see how it ends to reserve judgment on the overall experience.


message 251: by John (new)

John David (NicholasOfAutrecourt) MAP, I hope that didn't sound snippy. I'm only halfway through, and think it's absolutely brilliant. But you're right, maybe I should stop here so as to not jump overboard. I look forward to talking to you about it.


message 250: by Sara (new)

Sara (Seracat) | 1746 comments Boy, I'd love to listen to Blindness--great book. I'm going to see if my library has it.


message 249: by Mary Anne (new)

Mary Anne | 1370 comments Got it.
So far, my impression is fairly positive.
More to follow.


message 248: by John (new)

John David (NicholasOfAutrecourt) I wasn't asking for comments, MAP, so much as a general impression.


message 247: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 5821 comments Sherry wrote: "Barb, Blindness is one of my all-time favorite novels. How is in in audiobook? I read my the old-fashioned way."

The audiobook production is excellent. It's narrated by Jonathan Davis who also did
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.


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