Books on the Nightstand discussion

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What are you currently reading? July 2011

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message 1: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Me: just about to start Simon Van Booy's Everything Beautiful Began After. Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy


message 2: by Pam (last edited Jul 02, 2011 12:31PM) (new)

Pam | 19 comments I am rereading the George R.R. Martin A Song of Ice and Fire series. I'm on book 3, A Storm of Swords. I decided to reread these because he has a new book out and also because I watched the HBO series based on the first book. They are long books and sometimes I think I'm wasting my precious reading time by rereading them, but I don't remember half of the story lines in the books, so it probably is a good idea for me to do this if I want to make any sense out of his new book.


message 3: by Kathy (new)

Kathy After hearing Booker Prize-winner John Banville interviewed on the BBC, I thought I'd try one of the mysteries he writes under the pen name Benjamin Black. While it was beautifully written, Christine Falls was sordid and depressing, so prize-winner or no prize-winner, I don't plan to read any more Banville.

To cheer myself up, I'm now switching back and forth between a couple of light-hearted early 20th century works, both available at Google Books: Oliver Herford's This Giddy Globe and Margaret Bruening's You Know Charles. Next up: Simon Schama's new essay collection, Scribble, Scribble, Scribble, and a memoir by 1930s-'50s Cleveland newspaperwoman Doris O'Donnell, Front-Page Girl.


message 4: by Marly (new)

Marly | 152 comments I just finished the book Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington by Laura Harrington and it was brilliant. It was such a wonderfully written story, a peak into the life of a fifteen year old girl as she tries to come to terms with her father's departure to the Iraq war. I don't know anything about the author, yet, but I will surely read whatever else I can from her. The father/daughter connection was so beautiful, it brought many tears to my eyes. A must read!


message 5: by Esther (new)

Esther (eshchory) Kathy wrote: "....While it was beautifully written, Christine Falls was sordid and depressing, so prize-winner or no prize-winner, I don't plan to read any more.."

This is my big problem with literary fiction. Most of the time I love the writing but the stories are so depressing I regret ever reading them.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Ann wrote: "Me: just about to start Simon Van Booy's Everything Beautiful Began After. Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy"

I just finished a short story collection by Van Booy,The Secret Lives of People in Love, and am hooked on his writing. I must check out his novel.


message 7: by Vanessa (last edited Jul 02, 2011 07:56PM) (new)

Vanessa | 330 comments I just finished I Kill Giants which is the quintessential graphic novel for people who think they don't like graphic novels. So, so lovely. I bawled my eyes out for the entire last chapter so I'm glad I was at home when I made it to the end instead of at the hairdresser's where I was reading this morning.

I have a huge stack of immediate TBR's. I think I'm going to tackle my re-read of The Bell Jar which I read and liked in college but barely remember. Then Faithful Place and then The Paris Wife which my hairdresser loaned me. She's a big reader so it's a match made in salon heaven.


message 8: by Sharman (new)

Sharman (dsei) | 45 comments I am currently reading Back Roads by Tawni O'Dell. Very enjoyable so far. It's the tale of a family after the mother shoots and kills the father. This leaves Harley, the oldest, "in charge" of the family. Not an easy task. HIs own personal issues add to the difficulty. Back Roads by Tawni O'Dell


message 9: by John (new)

John (taborcarn) | 45 comments I just finished In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin In the Garden of Beasts Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson
It was good overall, but seemed unfocused to me. Although the narrative was about Ambassador Dodd and his family, there were long stretches where they were not even mentioned.

I'm also reading Stories All-New Tales by Neil Gaiman Stories: All-New Tales . It's somewhat darker and more adult than I was expecting.


message 10: by Lize (new)

Lize (madameurushiol) | 1 comments I have four going right now:

Richard Preston's Panic in Level 4--a collection of essays first published in the New Yorker. I'm in the part about the Russian immigrant brothers who built a supercomputer in their apartment to study patterns in the digits of pi.

Chris Hannan's Missy: prostitutes, laudanum, mayhem and gorgeous, eccentric writing set in 1862 silver-mining Nevada.

I've been spending this year gnawing my way through Joseph Lash's biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, Eleanor and Franklin, and am still at it. It's been slow going, but fascinating, as Eleanor has turned out to be far more complex, flawed and human than I ever imagined.

And just getting started on Incarceron, Catherine Fisher's dark, YA dystopian novel about a society contained in an enormous prison.


message 11: by Esther (new)

Esther (eshchory) Lize wrote: "I have four going right now:

And just getting started on Incarceron, Catherine Fisher's dark, YA dystopian novel about a society contained in an enormous prison...."


I loved Incarceron. It was different from most of the YA out there despite the dystopian future.


message 12: by Katharine (new)

Katharine | 4 comments I am reading The Invisible Bridge, which is stunning, and listening to When the Killing's Done, which is a tough subject for me (animal rights) but poses some really important questions about which animals and who's right.


message 13: by Hermione (new)

Hermione (booksandtea20) | 11 comments Reading The Sweetness at the bottom of the Pie, which I love so far, and The Passage, great book. I'm listening to World War Z as well in my car.


message 14: by Amy (last edited Jul 05, 2011 06:23AM) (new)

Amy | 463 comments This month I will be reading The Bee-Loud Glade for the Authors Retreat Challenge, Sarah's Key for a book group, Sing the Home, Gardens of Water, and hopefully (finally!) Beginner's Greek. Plus, two more TBD for another book group that reads half a book per week for the summer.

The Bee-Loud Glade by Steve Himmer Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos Gardens of Water A Novel by Alan Drew Beginner's Greek by James Collins


message 15: by Julie (new)

Julie M (woolyjooly) | 279 comments I picked up The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society while I was having my oil changed, and because it was a book I found on clearance and tossed in the back seat. A day and a half later, between Independence Day Weekend activities, I finished this totally engaging book! Highly recommend - enlightening while entertaining.


message 16: by Sharman (new)

Sharman (dsei) | 45 comments I also enjoyed it. You feel as if the characters are your friends as well. How sad that we lost this author before she had time to write more.


message 17: by Claire (new)

Claire (clairebear8) | 38 comments I'm reading Mockingjay, third of the Hunger Games.


message 18: by Flora (new)

Flora Smith (bookwormflo) I'm currenlty about 2/3 of the way thru Tiger's Curse and about 1/3 of the way into Darke.


message 19: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (librariandiva2) I am reading Angels and Demons by Dan Brown and despite all the negatives for this author, I'm finding it hard to put this book down! I've also started A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. I have a few others on my "currently reading" list that I've started but had to put down because I just couldn't get into them yet.


message 20: by Peter (new)

Peter Medley | 2 comments The Perfect Deceit

An intriguing and fascinating book on how countries vie against each other to be top dog on the world stage. Spies, double agents, love triangles -- it’s all in a day’s work! In today’s interconnected world, this book gives one an interesting perspective on how much competition goes on behind the scenes with ambitions and stakes running high. Hearts are broken and for some power is gained.

Illuminating book on the espionage sphere. Lots of mind games involved! Great book with high drama and something for everyone to enjoy!


message 21: by Alexia (new)

Alexia (crittersmom) | 29 comments This month I'm reading:

1) In paper - Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay Russian Winter. I had started this in November then got my eReader for Christmas so put it down.

2) In audio - Burn (Anna Pigeon Mysteries, #16) by Nevada Barr Burn by Nevada Barr

3) Later this month I'll be starting Hunky The Immigrant Experience by Nicholas Stevensson Karas Hunky: The Immigrant Experience for our Church book club. The book is about immigrants from Carpatho Russia, where a good many of our families are from. The meeting is not until October, and seeing as the book is 500+ pages I'll need the time.


message 22: by Callie (new)

Callie (calliekl) | 646 comments Still reading An Echo in the Bone and listening to Galore, both of which I'm enjoying. Galore especially is a beautiful book, makes me want to hop the next boat to Newfoundland, just to see if it's as wonderfully strange as it's portrayed.

I'll be picking up The Glass Castle in the next couple of days for book group. I'm a bit nervous about it because I've heard it's intense... should make for good conversation!


message 23: by Flora (new)

Flora Smith (bookwormflo) I'm almost finished with Tiger's Curse and Kelsey is really getting on my nerves.


message 24: by Trish (new)

Trish (bowedbookshelf) I'm just starting Milliken Thompson's book, The Reservoir.


message 25: by Keetha (new)

Keetha | 44 comments Ann wrote: "Me: just about to start Simon Van Booy's Everything Beautiful Began After. Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy"

I hope you'll mention it on a BOTNS podcast - I'd love to hear what you think about it. I thought it was beautiful.


message 26: by Keetha (new)

Keetha | 44 comments Julie wrote: "I picked up The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

That book blew me away! What a happy accident that you found it.


message 27: by Flora (new)

Flora Smith (bookwormflo) Keetha wrote: "Julie wrote: "I picked up The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

That book blew me away! What a happy accident that you found it."


I loved it too!! That was such a fun read.

I'm currently about 1/2 way into Darke and I like it much more than Tiger's Curse which I just finished.


message 28: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Roberts | 59 comments I started listening to 22 Britannia Road 22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson and so far I love it. The narrator, Robin Sachs, is the same narrator as Jo Nesbo's Snowman, which I very recently listened to, and I can't get over the thought that the Snowman is going to show up in the next chapter. I've got to get that out of my mind.


message 29: by Meredith (new)

Meredith | 11 comments I've just added Everything Beautiful Began After to my list! I'm reading (and enjoying) French Lessons by Ellen Sussman. Just finished J. Coutney Sullivan's Maine and Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad. Both wonderful reads. Looking forward to Melanie Benjamin's latest, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb.


message 30: by Trish (new)

Trish (bowedbookshelf) I started listening to 22 Britannia Road: A Novel and so far I love it...

This got a good review from a friend of mine on Goodreads, and that means it is very good.


message 31: by Heather (new)

Heather (hmcgivney) | 35 comments Lize wrote: "I've been spending this year gnawing my way through Joseph Lash's biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, Eleanor and Franklin, and am still at it. It's been slow going, but fascinating, as Eleanor has turned out to be far more complex, flawed and human than I ever imagined. "

I got totally hooked on Eleanor Roosevelt (and FDR too) when I read No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II which was an excellent dual biography of the Roosevelts through the war years. I've been collecting biographies of both ever since. I picked up Lash's book at a Friends of the Library sale, but haven't read it yet. I'm a little leery of his version of Eleanor since they were such good friends. At the same time, they were really good friends, so he might be one of the more insightful authors.... There's also a multi-volume biography of Eleanor by Blanche Weisen Cook that I want to investigate.


message 32: by Heather (new)

Heather (hmcgivney) | 35 comments Sharman wrote: "I also enjoyed it. You feel as if the characters are your friends as well. How sad that we lost this author before she had time to write more."

While Mary Ann Schaffer is gone, her niece Annie Barrows, who helped finish the book (she's mostly been a children's author) now has a contract to write adult fiction. I'm eagerly awaiting whatever she writes.

Guernsey is perhaps my favorite book of the last 5 years. I love it, and when I'm feeling down, I go and read the "good parts version" i.e. avoiding some of the sad Nazi stuff. I just love the different voices of the characters.


message 33: by Janet (new)

Janet (desertnewf) | 5 comments Hi Alexia,

I would love to hear what you think of Russian Winter when you finish. It is a wonderful story, however,I had some issues with time transitions.

Alexia wrote: "This month I'm reading:

1) In paper - Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay Russian Winter. I had started this in November then got my eReader for Christmas so put it down.

2) In audio - [bookcover..."



message 34: by Sharman (new)

Sharman (dsei) | 45 comments It will be interesting to see what she does. Have any of you read The Soldier's Wife? It seems to take place in the same time period and location.


message 35: by Marly (new)

Marly | 152 comments I've just started The Invisible Bridge for a group read in another goodreads group, I hope I'm up for it.
I'm listening to Maine and so far the narrator is annoying me. I'm a born and raised New Englander and when someone tries to duplicate a Boston accent it's usually not good. The story seems good though so I'm going to stick to it. Has anyone else read/listened to it?


message 36: by Janet (new)

Janet (desertnewf) | 5 comments HI Sharman,

No I haven't read The Soldier's Wife yet...I do, however, have it on my "To Read" list. If anybody has a comment to share on this title, I would love to hear about it.

Sharman wrote: "It will be interesting to see what she does. Have any of you read The Soldier's Wife? It seems to take place in the same time period and location."


message 37: by Tenoko1 (new)

Tenoko1 Still working on Interview With the Vampire. I got it to read on my flight to and from New York this previous weekend, but strangely the flight made me terribly sleepy. Is that a normal reaction? I'd never flown before, but almost as soon as we were in the air I was nodding off though I'd been wide awake and almost hyper while we'd been on the ground.


message 38: by Tenoko1 (new)

Tenoko1 Flora wrote: "I'm almost finished with Tiger's Curse and Kelsey is really getting on my nerves."

Why is that? The book looks pretty but sounded too much like this remake of Beauty and the Beast called Beast, which IMO, was a terrible book. Awful. Hated it. One of the few books I've ever wanted to burn.


message 39: by Deb (new)

Deb (jerseyshoredeb) | 7 comments I'm reading The Invisible Bridge, too. I'll be going on a trip to Prague and Vienna in a couple of weeks, and I thought the setting was close to where I'm going. My book group will be discussing this book in October so I'll have to do a lot of note-taking on my Kindle. Liking it a lot so far.

Katharine wrote: "I am reading The Invisible Bridge, which is stunning, and listening to When the Killing's Done, which is a tough subject for me (animal rights) but poses some really i..."


message 40: by Callie (new)

Callie (calliekl) | 646 comments Finished Galore yesterday. Do you ever get so transported into a book (or audiobook, as was the case here) that you start to experience it through all of your senses? To me, listening to this book brought the smell of rain, low tide, wool blankets, and fireplaces. In other words, I just loved it.

Started something in a totally different vein today- A Dirty Job, narrated by Fisher Stevens. It is hilarious so far, in a really dark way.


message 41: by Joanne-in-Canada (new)

Joanne-in-Canada (inkling_jo) | 255 comments I am primarily reading The Bells: A Novel by Richard Harvell, which is amazing! I tried finding a playlist for the book, but only found two links that didn't work, one from BOTNS podcast #92 to iTunes and one from Harvell's own website. Does anyone have a link that works?
The Bells A Novel by Richard Harvell


message 42: by [deleted user] (new)

Joanne wrote: "I am primarily reading The Bells: A Novel by Richard Harvell, which is amazing! I tried finding a playlist for the book, but only found two links that didn't work, one from BOTNS pod..."

Hmm, I checked the link from the podcast and it seems to work: It launches into iTunes and you can preview from there.
But no, I couldn't get the playlist from Richard Harvell's site to work either :-(


message 43: by Janet (new)

Janet (desertnewf) | 5 comments Hi Callie,

I read Galore when it was first published in Canada. My mother-in-law sent it to me for Christmas & I absolutely loved it! As an ex-pat from NL, the sights described and the folktales referenced, made me so homesick, I had to book tickets for a visit. I guess that was probably the reason I received the gift in the first place. Glad to hear that others love it as much as I do.


Callie wrote: "Finished Galore yesterday. Do you ever get so transported into a book (or audiobook, as was the case here) that you start to experience it through all of your senses? To me, listening to this book ..."



Callie wrote: "Finished Galore yesterday. Do you ever get so transported into a book (or audiobook, as was the case here) that you start to experience it through all of your senses? To me, listening to this book ..."


message 44: by Eric (new)

Eric | 1175 comments Mod
I finished Bossypants by Tina Fey

There are a lot of laughs in this book, as you would expect. Knowing that Fey made her bones as a comedy writer, you know that this isn't one of those ghost-written celebrity books. At least until the end of the book, though, she goes out of her way not to be too self-revealing. And hey, as long as she has funny anecdotes to relate, and one-liners to deliver, that's fine. I'd have enjoyed whole books on her Second City touring period and her SNL period, each of which I'm sure could have yielded a fat memoir. While there are funny anecdotes here, it seems Fey is holding back. I get the impression her loyalty to friends keeps her from telling a lot of stories that, no matter how entertaining, might show a friend in a bad light. Thus her stories are more self-deprecating than otherwise, without going out of her way to be revealing. For some reason she goes out of her way to tell us about a scar on her face (presumably covered by makeup on her TV appearances, because I've never noticed it). Then she says she's not going to tell us how she got the scar. She doesn't owe us that. Okay.

After keeping her personal life close to the vest for most of the book, she over-shares in the last part. She's already told us that her work on 30 Rock leaves her precious little one-on-one time with her daughter, and I'm not in any position to judge that. But the last fifth of the book is her agonizing about whether or not she's doing the right thing: being simultaneously fulfilled by the work and missing the motherhood she should be enjoying. And also agonizng about whether she she should have another child. I think Yoda would tell her "do or do not" and leave her to her own devices on that one. But I find one "excuse" for not giving up the show pretty lame. She says 200 people and their families depend on her for their livelihoods. While this may be true, if they were competent enough to be hired in the first place, they're competent enough to get other work. After all, this is show business. Nobody in show biz expects to have a job for life, do they? Make your own decisions about your life, Tina! Don't throw in phony guilt as a reason for your decisions! This final portion was a little unsettling and made me a bit uncomfortable. I suppose because the initial stance of the book was "I don't owe anyone an explanation of myself" and the last part was "please don't judge me". The end result is ultimately endearing, though. The whole picture is of a middle class girl who makes it, not only through talent, but through luck and the action of a couple of people who took a chance on her. (Chiefly Lorne Michaels) She feels distanced both from the middle class life she left and from the pretentious entertainers she often deals with.

Speaking of women "having it all", she makes some excellent points about gender politics in the media, and perhaps rightly (I wouldn't know) takes credit for transforming SNL from the boys' club it had been into a more inviting platform for women comedians.


message 45: by Melissa W (last edited Jul 08, 2011 10:51AM) (new)


message 46: by Janet (new)

Janet (desertnewf) | 5 comments I loved Donnelly's The Tea Rose & her Winter Rose. I'm biting at the bit for her August release of the Wild Rose. It's a terrific trilogy.

Melissa W wrote: "I am currently reading Sing You Home, House Arrest: A Novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Frog Princess and [book:The Tea Rose|1306..."


message 47: by Shona (new)

Shona (anovelobsession) | 178 comments I'm currently reading The Bee-Loud Glade in anticipation of the book group discussion and listening to Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth. I'm not really good at the audio books..I have to keep backing up because I've missed something.


message 48: by Vanessa (last edited Jul 08, 2011 12:26PM) (new)

Vanessa | 330 comments Eric wrote:Speaking of women "having it all", she makes some excellent points about gender politics in the media, and perhaps rightly (I wouldn't know) takes credit for transforming SNL from the boys' club it had been into a more inviting platform for women comedians.

I read a book about SNL in the 70's which was fascinating and pretty much if you weren't Gilda Radner, it was rough. Tina deserves credit but so do Molly Shannon and a bunch of others (but not Victoria Jackson who is dead to me.)

I'm reading The Lost Language of Cranes by the way in honor of Gay Pride Month. I'm a little bit late. I'm still reading The Art of the Comic Book: An Aesthetic History. And on a recommend from the comics thread, I'm reading Outsiders/Checkmate: Checkout by Greg Rucka and Judd Winick.

The comics thread is swelling my to read list to the bursting point.


message 49: by Melissa (new)

Melissa | 279 comments Eric wrote: "I finished Bossypants by Tina Fey

There are a lot of laughs in this book, as you would expect. Knowing that Fey made her bones as a comedy writer, you know that this isn't one of those gho..."


I loved Bossy Pants. My improv and community theater friends also loved it.

I had a different reaction to Fey's concerns about having to lay off 200 people if she leaves 30 Rock. I thought that she was being a thoughtful human being rather than a self-involved star (think Charlie Sheen).


message 50: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 187 comments I'm about 100 pages into The Greater Journey Americans in Paris, 1830-1900 by David McCullough . Stalled out after the first 50 pages - distracted by fiction and bad weather. But am really enjoying it now.


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