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Feeling Nostalgic? The archives > What are you reading? (we all agree on The Historian)

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message 1: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17320 comments Mod
I asked this earlier on a different thread and got some interesting replies, so I want to ask everyone again. If you don't mind.

What are you currently reading? What do you think of it? Where did you hear about it and who have you told to read it, if you have? How is it affecting your daily thoughts and perceptions of the world around you?

I'm so curious ...

message 2: by Danielle (new)

Danielle (dreamelis) | 53 comments Here's the thing about any "currently reading" list I profess to have at any given time... I have this terrible habit of picking up a book, slowly giving up on it, picking it up later...

If the interval is really long, I WILL start the book over, and I always finish the books I start eventually.

I don't do this with all books. I think the main problem is that I'm always trying to read too many things at once. I'll have a book I'm reading in between classes, for example, usually something non-fiction. But as the semester progresses and I make friends in my classes, get to know professors, etc., I'm busier in between classes. At the same time I'll have a book I read in bed (something at least marginally in the fantasy genre). But sometimes I'll try to stick a more "worthwhile" book in that role and it just doesn't work out. You get the idea.

Right now, however, I am barrelling (by my standards) through The Ghost in Love (Jonothan Carroll) and then finishing up Galapagos... then getting back to the others on my current "currently reading list". One of those is Culture Clash, by Jean Donaldson, who's well-known and -respected dog trainer (behaviorist) who runs the Harvard of dog trainer academies. I hope to attend in my time between undergrad and grad school, and there are prerequisite reading materials, Culture Clash being one of them. While animal behavior is one of my favorite topics (it better be, seeing as it's my chosen 'path'), training books can get a little repetitive and consequently tiring to read. So they're my designated between classes books. Small increments, you know?

The Carroll... I heard him on NPR. Sounded intesting. His books are loudly endorsed by Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Lethem... so this is the second one I'm reading. To be honest, I've been kind of disappointed. They're not terrible, but they're definitely lacking something. This one is turning out better than the first, though, which is understandable, since the first one I read was the first one he had published. The mystery aspect of it is done better; less obvious. There is actually one line in it that gave me an idea for a painting. A series, actually. And I don't paint.

Galapagos. Well, I always find it amusing that everyone seems to have a distinct favorite Vonnegut. Galapagos is a friend of mine's and I've never read it. So there you are.

That was awfully ramble-y. Hm.

message 3: by Dave (new)

Dave Russell I'm currently reading Pnin by Nabokov. It's included in The Library of America edition Nabokov Novels 1955-1962 Lolita / Pnin / Pale Fire (Library of America) by Vladimir Nabokov which also includes Lolita, Pale Fire and the screenplay he wrote for Lolita. Like all his books I've read so far Pnin is brilliant. I love the way he ties small details together. When he describes this boarding school in Massachusetts, he casually mentions there are two English shepherd dogs who hang out at the entrance. Later Pnin stays at a house owned by two brothers named Sheppard, creating a parallel between the events that will take place at the boarding school in Mass. and the house in upstate NY. There's also this motif of imperfect reflections (convex mirrors, puddles, windows) running throughout stressing the idea that this book is an imperfect reflection of reality (or is it the other way around?)

message 4: by Matthieu (new)

Matthieu | 1009 comments I'm currently reading some various texts by Eric Basso & Robert Walser.

Specifically, "The Beak Doctor" (Basso) & "The Robber" (Walser).

This is the second time through "The Robber".

I'm not counting the 12+ textbooks that I'm reading for school...

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm reading "The Sun Also Rises." I'm fresh from Roth, though, who makes Hemingway's plain language seems even plainer. I'm keeping a good attitude.

It's probably time for a non-fiction switchover after this one. Today I was reading from "McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes," which has pockets of funny.

message 6: by Matthieu (new)

Matthieu | 1009 comments You should read some Walser, 'Tambo. He has a wonderful calming effect.

message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

What do you suggest?

message 8: by Matthieu (new)

Matthieu | 1009 comments "Jakob von Gunten" or his "Selected Stories".

message 9: by Melanie (new)

Melanie Hi all (I'm a "newbie" who has been lurking waiting for the right time to jump in and say hello),

Right now I am reading a book of short stories, "Unaccustomed Earth" by Jhumpa Lahiri. I usually have a hard time liking short stories but decided to give this one a try because it came highly recommended by friends.

I am also reading "Agotime" by Judith Gleason for GR Great African Reads and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".

message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

What are you reading, Sally?

message 11: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17320 comments Mod
Hee! I knew I'd be called upon to chime in on my own thread eventually!

I started Lady Chatterley's Lover this week after waiting for months to read it. All my build-up and anticipation have left me mildly disappointed. Sad. My theory professor (the rock star) went on about it to great length, making it sound so metaphysical and symbolic and subversive, full of hidden meanings and, like other D.H. Lawrence, full of commentary on the modernist class divisions.
I'm just finding it to be a lukewarm love story about a spoiled and boring rich chick, her paraplegic husband, and her gamekeeper luvah.

So in addition to Lady Chatterley I'm also reading A Thousand Veils. I don't know if it is my voracious reading appetite, knowing I won't have time to read for pleasure in the upcoming 16 weeks or what, but I can't put this book down. It is freaking spellbinding!
Kind of like an educated person's DaVinci Code set in Iraq and post 9/11 New York, it is a page turner based on a true story.

I should also be reading Reading Images The Grammar of Visual Design, but, *sigh* next week, I swear.

message 12: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17320 comments Mod
Also, Hi Melanie! I'm glad you chimed in on this one! I'm always thrilled to hear from new people. I've heard of Lahiri. Have you read any of her other work? I've always wanted to read Interpreter of Maladies, and I think I've read The Namesake but I'm not certain.

Anyway, welcome!

message 13: by RandomAnthony (last edited Feb 25, 2009 03:49AM) (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Hi Melanie! I've only read about half of Unaccustomed Earth (dang library due dates) but I loved The Namesake and Interpreter of Maladies.

Other comments...

I've tried to read Hemingway but stalled...maybe I should go back and try again...

That Carrol person sounds interesting...

I might check out Lady Chatterly's Lover, next...I've never read anything like that before, and the switch sounds fun...plus just yesterday a friend mentioned he was teaching it, and if two people I know mention a book in one way, it's fate telling me to check it out...

I'm reading Revolutionary Road right now. Mixed feelings. Might do The Raw Shark Texts next, or the Lawrence, or get back into Herodotus for a bit...

message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

I have Interpreter of Maladies on my nightstand. I've only read the first story, and I loved it. I went on a short story binge this summer and fall, though, so I'm saving it.

message 15: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 777 comments I'm reading Angela's Ashes, it's incredibly sad, which is why I haven't read it before now. I'm sort of studying how it's written, because I am writing a memoir in a child's voice and this book is written in a child's voice. I am paying attention to whether or not an adult narrative breaks through and reflects on the events that happened to the child, or if the events are recounted solely through the eyes and voice of the child.
Also reading If You Meet the Buddha in the Road, Kill Him by Sheldon Kopp. It's a 70's psychology book, using myths and stories and comparing the journeys taken in those stories to the journey taken by the therapy patient.
Also Myths to Live By by Joseph Campbell and I dipped into a book of essays called What Do Women Want? by Erica Jong, I especially wanted to read her essay on Anais Nin. It's pretty interesting!
I just got done reading Escape and Stolen Innocence--both by women who escaped the Warren Jeff's polygamy group--those were amazing!

message 16: by Matt (new)

Matt | 819 comments I'm currently reading "The Savage Detectives" by Roberto Bolaño and i'm really enjoying it. Between Bolaño and Coetzee I have gotten totally caught up in the enthusiasms of my GR buddies as of late. May have to reassert my own reading agenda shortly, perhaps with some J.G. Ballard. I also want to get back into some Nabokov here shortly and will probably start with a reread of "Lolita" and also have a 33 1/3 series of Throbbing Gristle on deck.

Hey RA, found a copy of "American Gods" in the used bookstore today (mass market paperback, unfortunately)! Pretty psyched, will probably queue that one for early Feb.

message 17: by Cyril (new)

Cyril What's so sad is that there are so many books out there to read that I will never get to.

message 18: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments I hope you dig it, Tad...or else I'm gonna feel guilty, seriously...I'm afraid I talked about that book so much that I've made it sound "out of teach" good...

message 19: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 777 comments You're so right Cyril!!!!

message 20: by Meen (new)

Meen (meendee) | 1733 comments Principles of Economic Sociology by Richard Swedberg Principles of Economic Sociology


Intimate Matters A History of Sexuality in America by John D'Emilio Intimate Matters A History of Sexuality in America

and my cats knocked over a stack of books on the floor last night (well, several stacks, actually... apparently they had a party while I was out) and The Dialectical Imagination A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research, 1923-1950 (Weimar and Now ; 10) by Martin Jay The Dialectical Imagination A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research, 1923-1950 was on top of the pile that was left, and I had forgotten that I had this book, and now I wanna read it next. I MISS SCHOOL!!!!

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments I'm reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and it is excellent!

message 22: by Dave (new)

Dave Russell Hey Jackie, are you in Escondido now?

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments Yes, I'm posting from Grandpa Phil's computer in Escondido. It is so WARM here! :D

message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

It's SO! COLD! here right now! The wind is out of control--half our town has power out. We've had it off and on. The wind is OUT OF CONTROL! There are branches everywhere.

message 25: by Lori (new)

Lori Screw you Jackie! :D When's your haircut?

Melanie, I read Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, looking forward to your rating when you're done.

Sally, I went on a complete binge o DH Lawrence in college, but was very disappointed in Lady Chatterly. I think it was for it's times, OMG breaking classes AND hot sex all in one book, pant pant, OMG the govt says this book will raise the heat and rabble, CENSOR CENSOR.

But to us? Meh. Some sex, class rebellion, not even great at that, who cares?

message 26: by Melanie (new)

Melanie Lori - Just finished Girl with Dragon Tattoo and liked it. I went back and forth between three and four stars (wish we could do half stars), and ended up giving it four. It was way different than what I expected.

Jackie - I read The Hunger Games earlier this month. That book sucked me in right away - could not put it down. I am a sucker for post apocalyptic/dystopian novels.

message 27: by Lori (new)

Lori Melanie! I went back and forth between 3 and 4 also, haha, but I think I finally went with 3. Totally agree, definitely a 3.5.

message 28: by Melanie (last edited Jan 18, 2009 08:10PM) (new)

Melanie Thanks, Charly (and everyone for the nice welcome)! You will have to let me know what you think of The Book Thief when you finish. I have that on my TBR list.

message 29: by Melanie (last edited Jan 18, 2009 09:06PM) (new)

Melanie I read The Historian and wanted to abandon it about a fourth of the way through, but kept reading it thinking that it might get better. There was so much hype about it that I thought maybe I just missed something.

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments I found The Historian to be very disappointing. It felt like the author had done a lot of research, and, darn it, she was going to shoehorn it into the book if it killed her.

message 31: by Sally, la reina (last edited Jan 18, 2009 09:10PM) (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17320 comments Mod
Lori, I loved, nay adored Sons and Loversand Women in Love as an undergrad. Why is this one so much harder to enjoy?

I agree with y'all on The Historian. I was sooooooooo excited to read it when my turn finally came up on the library waiting list.
I think I even ended up just skimming the last 25 pages or so, I was so over it. It started out really entertaining, but it just got so, so, so lame towards the end.

message 32: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Hey, I didn't think much of the The Historian, either...weird.

message 33: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 777 comments Talking about piles of books falling over--whenever that happened in my old house--the one I lived in with my husband--now ex-husband--he would just roll his eyes and say, Another avalance on Mount Bookopolis.

message 34: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 777 comments I never finished The Historian. I don't even know why I thought I might like it! I ended up giving it to my mom, she liked it.

message 35: by Lori (new)

Lori Sally wrote: "Lori, I loved, nay adored Sons and Loversand [b:Women in Love|9784|W..."

I dunno? Maybe because it's just not as well-written!
Sally, did you read The Rainbow? It's all about Ursula and Gudrun's parents.

I wonder if I'd still love all those now?

Oh goody, now I know not the bother with The Historian!

message 36: by [deleted user] (new)

Woah, KD. You're making me jealous! Hemingway isn't hitting the spot, right now.

message 37: by Meen (new)

Meen (meendee) | 1733 comments Me, either! Ugh!

message 38: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) Melanie wrote: "I read The Historian and wanted to abandon it about a fourth of the way through, but kept reading it thinking that it might get better. There was so much hype about it that I thought maybe I just m..."

I kept thinking it would get better too and it never did. The author managed to turn Dracula into a totally boring nerd. How did she do that?

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments Sandi wrote: I kept thinking it would get better too and it never did. The author managed to turn Dracula into a totally boring nerd. How did she do that?"

Well, they do say "write what you know," Sandi. ;)

message 40: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments I started the Soul Thief last night on Sally's recommendation...excellent so far...

I'm almost done with Revolutionary Road...would have finished last night but I left it at the office...damn.

Yesterday I sneaked to the library at lunch and sat way in the back and read for thirty minutes. I need to do that more often.

message 41: by Sally, la reina (last edited Jan 23, 2009 05:31AM) (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17320 comments Mod
That sounds nice, RA. Finding time to read for pleasure during the day is such a difficult thing to do.

I checked out Charles Baxter's earlier book The Feast of Love and I hope I'll find time to read it this weekend.
I'm not doing so well on getting through Guns, Germs, and Steel. It is an excellent fall asleep book, although a wee terrifying. But it just isn't lighting my fire.
Damn, two books to abandon at once?

(it's been a week since I've picked up Lady Chatterley, might not make it back)

message 42: by Jackie "the Librarian" (last edited Jan 23, 2009 08:42AM) (new)

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments I've been reading In Defense of Food An Eater's Manifesto by Pollan, and it's about what I thought about food anyways, just with more details and scientific underpinnings.
However, since I've been on vacation, I've totally ignored all the information about eating healthily. Mickey Mouse beignets? Sure!

message 43: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments Hi --new to your group, but not to Goodreads...

I'm reading James Tiptree, Jr. The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, which is proving to be very interesting. I've known for a long time that Tiptree was a woman, but I figured it was just a useful pseudonym for getting along in the man's man's man's world of sci fi, like Andre Norton was really Alice. The author is doing a nice job of presenting Tiptree as more of an alter-ego. Fascinating stuff.

Way way earlier in this thread, Jonathan Carroll was brought up... I haven't read his new book yet (waiting for the library copy for once) but I would recommend his first five or so books over anything he's written in the last decade.

I'm looking forward to reading Unaccustomed Earth (also mentioned above), as soon as the library finds the copy that has mysteriously disappeared. I loved Interpreter of Maladies.

message 44: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Welcome, Sarah! I recognize you from TN...glad you're here.

message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

Have you read A Movable Feast? I love memoirs, so I was thinking that it may be worth a look.

I like some of his short stories and I loved Old Man and the Sea. OMatS made me feel so emotional, though. I loved that Old Man! A Sun Also Rises was only my second novel I read by him, and I was hoping for more. Oh well.

message 46: by Lori (new)

Lori Sarah, I really liked Feast of Love.

Ugh to Hemingway. I guess I read Old Man and the Sea for school, maybe not. But I read Sun Also Rises when I was 30, and never went back for more Hemingway. I found him to be a machismo moron, ha!

Sarah, I've heard good things about that Tiptree bio.

message 47: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 24, 2009 12:14AM) (new)

I liked Feast of Love, too, Sally.

message 48: by RandomAnthony (last edited Jan 24, 2009 02:51AM) (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments I've tried to read Hemingway off and on over my life. I feel like I should like his work but reading Hemingway feels like homework to me.

message 49: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments I actually like Hemingway. I've never read the Old Man and the Sea, but I enjoyed his short stories, and the Sun Also Rises. I like how much he says in so few words.

message 50: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) Did I pipe in about my Hemingway loathing yet? I tried to read "The Old Man and the Sea" and couldn't finish. In college, I had to read the short story, "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" and hated it. Later on, I had to read "The Sun Also Rises" and hated that too. In lit classes, sometimes the discussion to lead you to appreciate something you don't like, but I could never appreciate Hemingway.

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