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Looking For Recommendations > Please keep me from the loony bin!

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message 1: by Laura (last edited Aug 12, 2009 07:36AM) (new)

Laura (apenandzen) Hi everyone!

I know I haven't been around here much lately, but things are kind of crazy at the moment. My only daughter is moving to college in one week.

I've been reading the BEST book EVER, but unfortunately it's coming to a close - (The Blind Assassin, if anyone's interested).] This book has been the perfect book therapy. It's kept me so absorbed in the story, that all the worries and what-if's, etc. have been kept to a minimum. The only thing is - I need a replacement for it, yesterday!

So here are the elements I'm looking for:

1. Puzzles, questions for your brain to work over. The author plants clues, and you often find yourself flipping backward because "ooh, she's mentioned that hotel before, what was that about" or "she threw out the name of that book before, I know she did". You know, that kind of thing. Always keeps you guessing, and wondering.

2. Beautiful writing. Just gorgeous language that flows effortlessly and seamlessly. Feels completely natural.

3. Insights insights - in this case, the main character is a woman in her 80's, looking back to her younger days. She is so wise! A bit crotchety, but I love her. In fact, she can come live in my (new) spare room anytime she wants! I love older women main characters.

4. Mysterious deaths - always a plus, but not necessary.

So this is what I'm looking for. Mainly the first two. The others would be a bonus, but aren't absolutely necessary.

Any help with this is very very much appreciated. Please keep the little men in white coats from knocking at my door. Thanks!


message 2: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) Thanks Fiona, am considering some of his. But I really don't want the surreal stuff at this point.

Am considering this one:

Possession A Romance

Ever heard of it? It's the 1990 Booker winner.


message 3: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) Great, I'll check it out! I don't like dystopia, tho, but if this one isn't then....def. worth looking at.


message 4: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) Also, what about Crime and Punishment? Would that work for this Fiona? Or another by him? Maybe The Brothers Karamazov? I've not read any of his, so I'm not sure if either would fit the bill, but they're on my TBR.


message 5: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) Oh woah. Bleak House has a mysterious death ???


message 6: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) You know brick is a big plus with me lol.


message 7: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10087 comments Mod
Brothers Karamazov would work. There are alot of layers going on in that book, and it demands all of your attention!!




message 8: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10087 comments Mod
Btw, Laura, you changed your Avi, I had to click on your profile to make sure it was YOU... hee hee!


message 9: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) Hi Lori!! Yeah, from the garden this time, and Jon brightened the colors for me, nice koala that he is.


message 10: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) I was actually thinking about Brothers Karamazov!


message 11: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) Does that one have a mysterious death?


message 12: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) In less than a week?


message 13: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) OK so...so far, here are three I'm considering:

1. Possession A Romance
2. The Brothers Karamazov
3. Bleak House

Possession may be in the lead at this point, but I do want to read all of them at some point.

Anyone know anything about Possession?


message 14: by Tara (new)

Tara YES yes yes to The Bros K. It's so good. Well, anything by Dostoevsky is, but I would highly recommend Bros. Karamazov. The writing is beautiful, and there are a few twists and elements of mystery (although I wouldn't call it a mystery by genre). I don't know anything about Possession though, so I might be a little biased.


message 15: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) Are there any mysterious deaths?

Not really looking for a mystery per se, but I like a good random unexplained death or 2 or 3...


message 16: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) What about The Shadow of the Wind? That's getting great reviews too, and looks mysterious. Anyone read it?


message 17: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca | 14 comments I had to read Possession winter semester for one of my English classes and I loved it! If you've ever worked in academia it's especially wonderful. The author was never able to get her PhD and many people call this book her dissertation. It's absolutely brilliant writing and there are just enough twists and turns to keep you guessing what will happen up until the last page.

I also highly recommend Atonement if you haven't read that yet. It's another great book with some great plot-twists.


message 18: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) Thanks Rebecca, yes, I loved Atonement. And The Thirteenth Tale for some of the same elements too.


message 19: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca | 14 comments Also, have you read Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood yet? That book has a similar feel to The Blind Assassin in my opinion... it's not one of her dystopias although I love those too.


message 20: by Hayes (new)

Hayes (hayes13) Laura wrote: "What about The Shadow of the Wind? That's getting great reviews too, and looks mysterious. Anyone read it?"

YES YES... I'm about a third of the way thru and love love love it!! Mysterious, strange, beautifully written (altho I don't know who translated it into English...)




message 21: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) I read Cat's Eye, and wasn't thrilled by it...loved the beautiful prose, but the story just didn't move fast enough for me.

Thanks for weighing in on Shadow, Hayes, that looks like a definite future read, if not for this one, then another time soon.


message 22: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) I think it's now a tie between

The Shadow of the Wind and
Possession A Romance

I'll read both for sure, just not sure of the order yet.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 1736 comments Possession and Bleak House are both excellent, and I recommend them.

I took a look at your to-read list and from those books I would recommend Dissolution, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Alienist, or The Silver Pigs A Marcus Didius Falco Mystery, since you say you want kinda a mystery read.


Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) Wow Laura, I know how you feel. My only son moved 9 hours away to college last September and since then my reading has definitely increased a hundred fold. It is a nice way to occupy my mind. Unfortunately, I don't have any book recommendations, but if you want to talk just to commiserate, send me a message.


message 25: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) Thanks Susanna, will take another look at those and Lyn, that was so sweet! Nice to have another commiserator. How long did it take you and your son to adjust last year? I'm hoping for about a week at the outside? May be too optimistic, but I know the books will help.


message 26: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jentubbs) | 48 comments i haven't read too much in the way of mysteries, but one i did really enjoy angels and demons by dan brown...it's really mysterious and it's pretty hard to figure out "who-dun-it". one i'm reading right now is american gods by neil gaiman. it's turning out to be a thriller. i don't know so much that it's a mystery, but i've not heard one bad thing about it. whenever i tell my friends that i'm reading it, they almost always say, "i LOVE that book!!" anyway, hope this helps.


message 27: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne (bellamy22) | 610 comments Hi Laura and Lyn!
If this brings any comfort ... my son came back after 2 years!!!
He is now attending Cal Poly University here, and working full time ... and he lives with me!!!
Hey ... be careful what you wish for!!! hahaha

I am truly teasing you, I went through hell when he left (he's my youngest). But, I am looking forward to him successfully going forward when he can support himself in every way.

'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' is EXCELLENT
'The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane'
'The Shadow of the Wind' also 'The Angels Game' by the same author

I read alot of contemporary mysteries as well ... not sure how far you want to go ...
Anyway good luck, drop me a note!


Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) Suzanne wrote: "Hi Laura and Lyn!
If this brings any comfort ... my son came back after 2 years!!!
He is now attending Cal Poly University here, and working full time ... and he lives with me!!!
Hey ... be care..."


My son wanted to go to Cal Poly, but didn't get in. He is in Corvallis at Oregon State. A nine hour road trip, whew! As for books, I have been dying to read the Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, Just bought The Shadow of the Wind, and The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo.


Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) Laura wrote: "Thanks Susanna, will take another look at those and Lyn, that was so sweet! Nice to have another commiserator. How long did it take you and your son to adjust last year? I'm hoping for about a ..."

So - The first day was really bad. When we left him at the dorm, I couldn't even talk (sorry), but by the third week or so I was getting into a groove helped along by my books and crafts. Unfortunately, the first time he came home was even worse, but things got more normal as the year went on. So - keep those books handy, and message me if you ever get really loony!


message 30: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) Thanks Suzanne and Lyn. I'm hoping that all my tears in the shower for the last couple of months will stave off some at the dorm. I tend to cry at the drop of a hat anyway, but I'm hoping I got most of it out of my system.

I'm hoping that after a week, I'll be used to it. She's never home anyway at this point, so how much can I miss her?

Tell that to the knot in my stomach. Right?

Thanks again ladies, much appreciated!


message 31: by Petra (new)

Petra Hi Laura! I highly add my recommendation to The Shadow Of The Wind. It's a great read.
Another book that sounds like it may fit a lot of your criteria is The Quincunx. I haven't read it myself but have recently bought a copy. It comes highly recommended and the reviews seem to rave about it.


message 32: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) You know Petra, I have The Quincunx. I bought it because it said if you like Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, then you'd like that one too.

Good thought !


message 33: by Petra (new)

Petra That's interesting, Laura. I have Jonathan Strange on my bookshelf as well. I should read it soon.
Thanks!


message 34: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) Oh yeah, that was great. If you love Dickens and Austen, you'll love Jonathan Strange.


message 35: by Kristin (new)

Kristin | 53 comments Well Laura, after reading through all these great "loony bin-less" suggestions yesterday (and finishing Pride and Prejudice this morning) - I ended up bringing The Brothers Karamazov home from the library with me this morning. Even though it was never before even on my To Read list, the rave reviews on this thread intrigued me to no end! (And I would have grabbed Bleak House too, but it was checked out.) So thank you for beginning this thread.

If you end up reading it too, I hope you'll let me know how you like it and how you're holding up through this next month in a new stage. Looks like you have lots of friends on GoodReads to help you through! Count me as another, please. And best of luck to your daughter! She's lucky to have a mom who loves her so much.


message 36: by Mary (new)

Mary | 203 comments Hi Laura,

My daughter will be leaving next week to begin her sophomore year and, just like last year, I will miss her a great deal but I keep reminding myself that this is such a fun and exciting time in her life, that I raised her to "leave the nest" etc., etc. Reading did help fill the void and, as others have mentioned, my reading did pick up a great deal after she left.

I read Possession A Romance years ago and remember liking it a great deal. I would also recommend The House at Riverton. I am reading it now and it has completely drawn me in.

Best of luck to your daughter and to you as well. Keep reading and let us know how you are doing.


message 37: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 266 comments Hi Laura:
I would recommend The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies. The books are:Fifth Business (my favourite of the series),The Manticore and World of Wonders. Fifth Business is narrated by the main character Dunstan Ramsey and the other books are told from the point of view of some of the secondary characters. These books will fit what you're looking for: puzzles,mystery, magic, spirituality,saints, plus beautiful writing and a narrator you will fall in love with. These books helped when my daughter went off to college. I also loved the Blind Assassin too.


message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

I haven't read it (yet!) but I've been told that the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer is a great book to read. It's based back in the war and is written completely in letters. Like I said I haven't read it yet - it's on my list to read - but my boss and a co-worker have read it and they said it's brilliant!


Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) Laura - Just checking in to see how you are doing?


message 40: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) Sophie wrote: "I haven't read it (yet!) but I've been told that the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer is a great book to read. It's based back in the war and is written completely ..."


LOVED it, Sophie! Thanks!



message 41: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) Lyn wrote: "Laura - Just checking in to see how you are doing? "

Aw, Lyn, that's so sweet! You're gonna be shocked, because we are all doing great. We are very happy empty nesters, completely not what we expected, but we are really enjoying ourselves. Our daughter is also very happy, doing great, and told me she has no desire to come home at this point.

I hadn't realized how much all the drama was draining me emotionally (and physically). The drama never ever stops, at least now I have some distance from it. Which I desperately needed, but didn't realize.

Thanks for checking up Lyn, that was so nice. How are you doing?




Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) Joe is still home for now. We leave for Corvallis on the 18th of September, but Joe is definitely getting ready to go back. He has been talking to his roommate a lot on line and making plans. We are in the, lets get everything organized phase, which I think is the most trying part.


message 43: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) Kristin wrote: "Well Laura, after reading through all these great "loony bin-less" suggestions yesterday (and finishing Pride and Prejudice this morning) - I ended up bringing The Brothers Karamazov home from the ..."


So Kristin - what did you think of The Brothers K?



message 44: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) Mary wrote: "Hi Laura,

My daughter will be leaving next week to begin her sophomore year and, just like last year, I will miss her a great deal but I keep reminding myself that this is such a fun and excitin..."


Thanks so much, Mary, it was tough at the dorm. Really tough. But she was due to be at a pre-planned activity at 2:45, which really helped. Being on the campus without her was horrible, but once we got off campus I started to settle down, and it's been pretty much a breeze ever since. She's such a social kid that she wasn't home that much anyway, so it's really the drama that I notice being gone - and I don't miss that. Thanks for asking!




message 45: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) Brenda wrote: "Hi Laura:
I would recommend The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies. The books are:Fifth Business (my favourite of the series),The Manticore and World of Wonders. Fifth Business is narrated by ..."



Thanks Brenda, those look really good, and they're all new to me!



message 46: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) Brenda wrote: "Hi Laura:
I would recommend The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies. The books are:Fifth Business (my favourite of the series),The Manticore and World of Wonders. Fifth Business is narrated by ..."


Brenda - if you buy "The Deptford Trilogy" (800+ pages), I assume that includes all three books, right? I just saw it on paperbackswap.com. It looks really good!




message 47: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) Lyn wrote: "Joe is still home for now. We leave for Corvallis on the 18th of September, but Joe is definitely getting ready to go back. He has been talking to his roommate a lot on line and making plans. We..."


Wow, so you still have some time then. Enjoy it! I'm glad he's organized, that's a big plus. You must be really proud of him!



message 48: by [deleted user] (new)

Laura wrote: "Sophie wrote: "I haven't read it (yet!) but I've been told that the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer is a great book to read. It's based back in the war and is writ..."

No problem! I've still got to read it!



message 49: by Gracee (new)

Gracee  | 99 comments Hi Laura :) I recommend Mistress of the Art of Death


message 50: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) Thanks Gracee! That one looks good!


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