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Book Chat > Fiction- What are you reading? Part 2

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 16, 2017 10:46AM) (new)

The original 'What are you reading' thread can be found here?

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Please keep updating us with your thoughts and reads and carry on any conversations from the previous thread

Just in case anyone was wondering, GR sometimes has trouble when a thread gets too big. So we are "starting over", though continuing discussions from the prior thread are welcome


message 2: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments I am reading The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence and I have to say that I am not really enjoying it. I disliked Lawrence during my school days but thought that I might appreciate his writing more now that I am older (plus this novel is one of the Guardian's 100 best novels written in English). Ah well...


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

I think that sometimes an author is just not the right one for you, Leslie. Always worth another try though

I am planning on starting Northern Lights tonight. I have read them before but would like to reread as there is a new book coming out in 3 days. I won't rush to it straight away as I would prefer to get it in paperback when it comes out


message 4: by Pink (last edited Oct 16, 2017 11:43AM) (new)

Pink Leslie wrote: "I am reading The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence and I have to say that I am not really enjoying it. I disliked Lawrence during my school days but thought that I might appreciate his writi..."

I considered joining in with The Rainbow, but I've decided to wait until next year. I'm a big Lawrence fan so far and have a biography to try next that I'm itching to start.

I'm currently reading History of Wolves, shortlisted for the Man Booker, which I think is awarded tomorrow. So far it's exceeding my expectations, but it's a very slow read and I'm only halfway through.

Heather, my daughter read and enjoyed Northern Lights, but I never tried it. I'm really not a fan of children's fiction or fantasy type books, so I don't know if it's right for me, but I always wonder as I hear such good things about it.


message 5: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7356 comments Mod
Heather wrote: "I think that sometimes an author is just not the right one for you, Leslie. Always worth another try though

I am planning on starting Northern Lights tonight. I have read them before ..."


Oh Heather, I hadn't noticed that release date creeping up - thanks for the reminder!! I will start re-reading them soon!


message 6: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Leslie wrote: "I am reading The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence and I have to say that I am not really enjoying it. I disliked Lawrence during my school days but thought that I might appreciate his writi..."

I have been considering that one for ages. Please tell me why it is giving you trouble.


message 7: by Leslie (last edited Oct 17, 2017 05:52AM) (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Chrissie wrote: "Leslie wrote: "I am reading The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence and I have to say that I am not really enjoying it. I disliked Lawrence during my school days but thought that I might appre..."

You might like it Chrissie as it is very character-driven. I find that the characters are unlikable & to me, unreal -- I don't understand them & the more Lawrence explains them, the less I understand them. For example, this passage about Will & Anna Brangwen:

"He saw the glistening, flower-like love in her face, and his heart was black because he did not want it. Not this -- not this. He did not want flowery innocence. He was unsatisfied. The rage and storm of unsatisfaction tormented him ceaselessly. Why had she not satisfied him? He had satisfied her. She was satisfied, at peace, innocent round the doors of her own paradise.
  And he was unsatisfied, unfulfilled, he raged in torment, wanting, wanting. It was for her to satisfy him: then let her do it. Let her not come with flowery handfuls of innocent love. He would throw these aside and trample the flowers to nothing. He would destroy her flowery, innocent bliss."


or this:

"Though he lay there in his darkness and did not move, yet she knew he lay waiting for her. She felt his will fastening on her and pulling her down, even whilst he was silent and obscure. ...
  Gradually she realized that her life, her freedom, was sinking under the silent grip of his physical will. He wanted her in his power. He wanted to devour her at leisure, to have her. At length she realized that her sleep was a long ache and a weariness and exhaustion, because of his will fastened upon her, as he lay there beside her, during the night."


From these descriptions, you would think that Will was in charge but actually Anna is the one who rules the roost. And earlier she was unhappy because Will was separate from her & found comfort and solace in religion. They are always at odds.


message 8: by Joan (new)

Joan Leslie, isn’t it great how differently we all react to writers. I really enjoyed D.H. Lawrence 30yrs ago, though I did not read him at school.

Those passages you quoted conjured up so many mismatched lovers to my mind - like he was writing the unspoken thoughts of Dorthea & Sir John Chetham in Middlemarch, or Anna Karenina & Count Alexie, or Glencora & Planty in The Pallisers.
Or I confess myself in college when I felt oppressed by a kind, generous but pacific boyfriend, reader I did not marry him!

I just love the torment and emotion in his writing.


message 9: by Pink (new)

Pink Leslie, it sounds very similar to Sons and Lovers and makes me want to read it sooner! Lawrence really was a strange fish when it came to women/sex/love. I agree with Joan, it's more about the emotional torment!


message 10: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Pink wrote: "Leslie, it sounds very similar to Sons and Lovers and makes me want to read it sooner! Lawrence really was a strange fish when it came to women/sex/love. I agree with Joan, it's more about the emot..."

I think that if you live Lawrence, this one would be excellent. I agree that he's "a strange fish" about women/sex/love and in a way that I dislike. Plus I don't really care for the style of his prose. But as Joan remarked, it's great how differently we all react.


message 11: by Pink (new)

Pink I know! He's everything I should hate, but somehow don't. Sorry to hear it's not working for you, but at least you've given him another try and know for sure.


message 12: by Alice (new)

Alice Poon (alice_poon) I've had The Rainbow on my to-read list for a long time. After reading Leslie's comments, I still want to read it some time. Yes, we all react differently to the same book - it's the chemistry between reader and writer that's at work :)


message 13: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7356 comments Mod
Joan wrote: "Leslie, isn’t it great how differently we all react to writers. I really enjoyed D.H. Lawrence 30yrs ago, though I did not read him at school.

Those passages you quoted conjured up so many mismatc..."


There's the same sort of thing in The Fox as well. I like what you say Joan about them being mismatched. From these passages, it seems he has an inner darkness that he desperately needs his lover to "understand." She can't understand this darkness in him though, much less perceive it, and it leads to a perverse need to dominate, almost to destroy.

I do think part of this oddity is rooted in some ways Victorians thought about gender too. In The Fox, Lawrence seems to be dragging very common Victorian ways of thinking about women out into the light and carrying these ways of thinking to their inevitable and shocking conclusions. Many Victorians spoke of the "Woman Question" in such ways (activity destroying a woman's femininity, etc), but I get the sense that in actual private life, they didn't fully believe it .. or maybe more accurately in a tremendous act of pre-Orwell doublethink, they tried to believe all sorts of incompatible and contradictory things at the same time!

Lawrence though shows them what people would be like if they actually believed consistently in all the crazy things they were saying. It's hard to say how much of it is a conscious choice or how much was just a tortured internalized reaction to all these ideas floating around in his time.

Lawrence certainly had some inner torment and darkness. His relationship with his mother was difficult, and he's a strange fish. Some of his prose feels almost fetishistic.

But I also sometimes wonder if he's doing some of it on purpose .. trying to shock his contemporaries by showing them what their ideas would actually mean if they really believed them. I can see him in his study rubbing his hands together imagining the shocked reactions as he scrawls down quickly his next scene of startling sexuality with his pen.


message 14: by B the BookAddict (new)

B the BookAddict (bthebookaddict) | 8315 comments Love Lawrence.


message 15: by Joan (new)

Joan Quite an image Greg, now I see D.H. Rubbing his hands and chuckling,too.

Your point about the “women question”, reminded me that
in Dracula, Bram Stoker portrays the main female character as strong, independent, intelligent and an equal of the men. It really surprised me - it didn’t seem Victorian at all.


message 16: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7356 comments Mod
Joan wrote: "Quite an image Greg, now I see D.H. Rubbing his hands and chuckling,too.

Your point about the “women question”, reminded me that
in Dracula, Bram Stoker portrays the main female character as stron..."


Definitely Joan!

It was a lively debate in Victorian times with quite famous writers and political figures on both sides ... some others inbetween. But there was a huge amount of debate on it for sure!

I think the conventional wisdom of the time was very much that women were by nature less logical, less capable of intellect, and possessing a unique "goodness" which was destroyed by activity and engagement with the world. Of course that was mostly an upper class conventional wisdom.

But the fascinating thing is that many writers were very bold in arguing against these ideas. It was a lively intellectual time in many ways--not stodgy at all--but the more that became true, the more violently the old guard protested the changes!


message 17: by Joan (new)

Joan On of the plot lines in A Tangled Mercy ,the book I’m reading now,is that many young women in slave-holding families in 1820 America recognized the barbarity but were powerless to bring change and so accepted the system.

My mind refuses to face the horror of America’s slavery and fixates any other plot thread available.


message 18: by B the BookAddict (last edited Oct 18, 2017 11:31AM) (new)

B the BookAddict (bthebookaddict) | 8315 comments Joan, I can understand that; I hate reading about slavery. I think the only one I've ever read was The Invention of Wings which featured the abolitionists Sarah and Angelina Grimke.


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

Interesting, B. I can read about slavery, but watching it in a film is too much for me. At least that was so in Twelve Years a Slave. I simply couldn't stand the movie--it was just too horrible, the inhumanity stunning. I read the book and that was much easier for me. (I feel a need to read about it because of American history.)

Reading a couple of books of fiction: The Enchanted and The Salt Line.


message 20: by Joan (new)

Joan The Grimke sisters figure into the plot of A Tangled Mercy - I’d not heard of them before this.


message 21: by Greg (last edited Oct 18, 2017 02:52PM) (new)

Greg | 7356 comments Mod
Joan wrote: "The Grimke sisters figure into the plot of A Tangled Mercy - I’d not heard of them before this."

And Angelina's black grand niece Angelina Weld Grimké later became an important poet of the Harlem Reniassance. So now there is both an Angelina Grimké Weld and an Angelina Weld Grimké to remember! :) For a long time, I was getting them confused.

There was a fantastic book I read years ago about the history of the struggle for women's rights and women's suffrage in America. The stories were so lively and memorable! That's where I first saw Grimké mentioned. But later, I couldn't remember what the title of that book was, and I haven't been able to locate it. I'd love to read it again!


message 22: by Joan (new)

Joan Greg wrote: "Joan wrote: "The Grimke sisters figure into the plot of A Tangled Mercy - I’d not heard of them before this."

And Angelina's black grand niece Angelina Weld Grimké later became an important poet o..."


And her niece-in-law The Journal of Charlotte L. Forten: A Free Negro in the Slave Era was a poet, activist and published a memoir about life in antebellum Philadelphia.


message 23: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7356 comments Mod
Joan wrote: "Greg wrote: "Joan wrote: "The Grimke sisters figure into the plot of A Tangled Mercy - I’d not heard of them before this."

And Angelina's black grand niece Angelina Weld Grimké later became an imp..."


A talented and passionate family Joan! I hadn't heard of Forten - I'll check that out!


message 24: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie I have picked up Decline and Fall. My son thought I might like i,t and it is supposed to be amusing.


message 25: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7356 comments Mod
Close to finishing volume 1 of Books of Blood: Volumes One to Three by Clive Barker. I'm for the most part pleasantly surprised. There was one story toward the beginning that was too gory for me (had to grit my teeth and read a few parts really really fast). But the rest of the stories in volume one have been great Halloween fare .. very imaginative, well written, creepy.

I've also just begun War Horse. I have it out on Overdrive for 1 more week. I didn't know it was going to be written at least partly from the perspective of the horse. Telling a story from an animal's perspective is tough I think; it can easily come across as too anthropomorphized, too cutesy and not genuinely animal-like. I'm giving it a chance anyway though - curious to see where it goes.


message 26: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Chrissie wrote: "I have picked up Decline and Fall. My son thought I might like i,t and it is supposed to be amusing."

I like Evelyn Waugh & I like academic settings but his satire in that one is very broad. I hope you like it but I am not sure... the main character is a bit of a nincompoop!


message 27: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Leslie, I am struggling. I am trying to make sense of what is going on because the narrator of the audioboook does the worst narration I have ever come across. I cringe every time another characters talks. Trying to separate the words from what is coming into my ears is a huge job. I think it is terribly unfair to judge the book by the lousy narration, so I am working my butt off to separate the two. It is a struggle and it is putting me in a terrible moo, but. I am determined.

ALL the people are weird. Clearly this is not just a satire; I would classify it as a farce! I am happy it is short.


message 28: by Raul (new)

Raul Bimenyimana | 714 comments Currently reading The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter. It's strange but good, the writer writes so well about places and portrays fear so vividly.


message 29: by Greg (last edited Oct 20, 2017 09:23AM) (new)

Greg | 7356 comments Mod
Raul wrote: "Currently reading The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter. It's strange but good, the writer writes so well about places and portrays fear so vividly."

I love that one Raul, but yes, very strange. For me, it's the vividness and lushness of style that set it apart. My favorite story is "The Tiger's Bride" .. the ending of that one gives me chills!


message 30: by Raul (new)

Raul Bimenyimana | 714 comments Greg wrote: "Raul wrote: "Currently reading The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter. It's strange but good, the writer writes so well about places and portrays fear so ..."

Yes, the style stands out from the first story. I haven't read 'The Tiger's Bride' yet but now I'm looking forward to it!


message 31: by Joan (new)

Joan Raul and Greg - it looks interesting. Would you say it is creepy/scary like Hitchcock or graphic horror like Stephen King? I like one but King gives my too suggestible mind nightmares.


message 32: by Raul (new)

Raul Bimenyimana | 714 comments None of the stories I've read have been too scary Joan, not the stuff of nightmares. I'd say they're more Hitchcock than King if I were to compare her work with the two.


message 33: by Greg (last edited Oct 20, 2017 02:05PM) (new)

Greg | 7356 comments Mod
Raul wrote: "None of the stories I've read have been too scary Joan, not the stuff of nightmares. I'd say they're more Hitchcock than King if I were to compare her work with the two."

I agree!

Joan, it's a dark re-working of traditional fairy tales, sort of a much more literary and darker pre-Shrek Shrek. Many are not very action oriented, more a lush language with strong ambience. Not gory at all, and not even very scary.

There's a lot of variance in the stories. All are well written, beautiful on the level of language. In terms of content though, some are a little slow moving, but others are fairly breathtaking! Angela Carter was an oddball but a very talented oddball. She put a feminist twist on many of the stories as well but not a trite one.

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories is my favorite of her books that I've read so far.


message 34: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie I have started the modern classic Flowers for Algernon. I am liking it. I like the words.


message 35: by Pink (new)

Pink Chrissie wrote: "I have started the modern classic Flowers for Algernon. I am liking it. I like the words."

I like that one a lot. I have a question for you about the audiobook when you're finished, but won't ask now as it might somewhat spoil the plot. I hope you enjoy it.


message 36: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie It is good, Pin,k and it is a huge relief to have a narrator that is not wrecking the story. So far I am totally pleased with Adam Sims' narration, but put the question to me later. I am so relieved to be doing a book I don't have to struggle with.


message 37: by Diane S ☔ (new)

Diane S ☔ Started Here in Berlin.

Chrissie, that book in one of only a few that made me cry!


message 38: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie I have very much left, but I am already sold on the book. I already feel for Charlie. Intelligence dosen't alwys make life easier or happy.


message 39: by Joan (new)

Joan Greg & Raul, thanks, it sounds like a book I will enjoy.


message 40: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7356 comments Mod
Chrissie wrote: "I have very much left, but I am already sold on the book. I already feel for Charlie. Intelligence dosen't alwys make life easier or happy."

For sure Chrissie about intelligence!

I felt for Charlie as well. I saw a live play adaption by Deaf West Theater as well that was amazing - I liked it even better than the book actually, though I was touched by the book as well.


message 41: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Greg, fun that you saw performed in a theater, and well done!


message 42: by Chinook (new)

Chinook | 543 comments I am listening to Alan Cumming read Leviathan, which isn’t the most awesome book, IMO, but the narration is fun. And I’ve just started Horrorstör as a book club read. It’s fun so far.


message 43: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7356 comments Mod
Chrissie wrote: "Greg, fun that you saw performed in a theater, and well done!"

It was Chrissie!!, and the production used a fascinating twist of having two people play Charlie simultaneously, an adult deaf actor as the main Charlie, and a hearing boy as a younger fragment of his consciousness that acted out the fragments of his pre-experiment self that still existed in his memories. The distance between them was brilliantly dramatized - it was a genius move staging wise .. I don't see how they could have properly communicated all the internal dynamics of the book otherwise. Also, that staging method helped to weave in flashbacks - those flashbacks really deepened it. I cried both times I saw it!


message 44: by Petra (new)

Petra | 3246 comments Chrissie wrote: "I have started the modern classic Flowers for Algernon. I am liking it. I like the words."

I liked this one a lot, Chrissie. Looking forward to your review.


message 45: by Chrissie (last edited Oct 21, 2017 10:38PM) (new)

Chrissie Petra wrote: "Chrissie wrote: "I have started the modern classic Flowers for Algernon. I am liking it. I like the words."

I liked this one a lot, Chrissie. Looking forward to your review."


This book is special. I am really impressed. It is well written in ALL its different parts. It is fantastic how the language changes with Charlie's transformation, getting under his skin and into his brain so we see how he sees the world at different stages. THEN we also see what all people share. And I like how Algernon foreshadows events.

*********************

Greg wrote: "Chrissie wrote: "Greg, fun that you saw performed in a theater, and well done!"

It was Chrissie!!, and the production used a fascinating twist of having two people play Charlie simultaneously, an ..."


That sounds really well done. The author perceptively captures each stage of what Charlie goes through or as you put it each "fragment" of his being. The author does not even stop there. He goes one step further and shows how all the parts fit together, and by doing so the thoughts and emotions all human's share. I am nearing the end. It is gripping.

******************

THIS kind of science fiction I could definitely read more of! I want a book written as well as this. It does not stretch believability in the least. Does anyone have suggestions?

Petra, Greg and I are discussing Flowers for Algernon Am I wrong in classifying this as a modern classic?


message 46: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7356 comments Mod
Chrissie wrote: "Petra wrote: "Chrissie wrote: "I have started the modern classic Flowers for Algernon. I am liking it. I like the words."

I liked this one a lot, Chrissie. Looking forward to your re..."


I do think it is considered a modern classic Chrissie, especially in the science fiction category.


message 47: by Chrissie (last edited Oct 21, 2017 11:04PM) (new)

Chrissie Greg, I can see this becoming a classic with time. I am putting it on my classics shelf; I do not have a shelf for MODERN classics!

So you read science fiction more than I do. Do you have a suggestion, another book as wonderful as this? It has to feel believable, something all can relate to and it should pull you in via your emotions rather than your head.


message 48: by Greg (last edited Oct 21, 2017 11:31PM) (new)

Greg | 7356 comments Mod
Chrissie wrote: "Greg, I can see this becoming a classic with time. I am putting it on my classics shelf; I do not have a shelf for MODERN classics!

So you read science fiction more than I do. Do you have a sugge..."


Hmm, I will have to think about that. We sometimes agree on books and sometimes disagree, and our way of experiencing books is so different that I often can't predict how you will react.

The Book of Strange New Things
is phenomenally good, but the main character is a pastor who goes to another planet to serve as a Christian pastor to aliens. Religion, I know, is not your thing, and yes, the premise of the book sounds bizarre ... but really it is not so much about religion as it is about human relationships and belief, about his relationship with his wife as they are so far apart. I think it is the best science fiction book I have read, and it is definitely relatable on an emotional level. Similar to Flowers for Algernon in that it is more about people than ideas. It is not an obscure book.

I feel a little nervous recommending it to you because there is religion in it, but it is not at all preachy. It also is not at all orthodox. I have a weird idea you might like it, but I can't tell for sure. It is definitely a book that people who don't like sci-fi in general can like. Jenny liked it a lot if I recall. Diane gave it 4 stars as well.


message 49: by Chinook (new)

Chinook | 543 comments Whyyyy did I just read Horrorstor late at night when everyone is asleep? This is why I so seldom read horror. I’m creeped out.


message 50: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7356 comments Mod
Chinook wrote: "Whyyyy did I just read Horrorstor late at night when everyone is asleep? This is why I so seldom read horror. I’m creeped out."

Haha Chinook, hope you feel less creeped out soon! :)


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