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READERS Thread (Part 2)

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  • babypook
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    #453454

    Picked up Orson Scott Card’s newest novel Earth Afire, a prequel to Ender’s Game. Also, The Long Earth by Pratchett and Baxter.Need a break from my history obsessions.

     

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    GhostOrchid
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    #453455

    [quote=”GhostOrchid”]ATM I’m reading Mary Stuart by Friedrich Schiller and The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

    I’ve read that play. Hope you enjoy it and would love to hear what you think.

    [/quote]

    I’ve finished reading and think it’s a magnificent play.
    I’d love to see it somewhere on stage soon.

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    babypook
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    #453456

    Glad you liked it! I’d go to see the play as well.

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    Atypical
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    #453457


    Another sad loss in the literary world.


    Poet
    Maya Angelou dies at age 86


    Bob Minzesheimer, USA TODAY 9:48 a.m. EDT May 28, 2014
     


    Poet and essayist Maya Angelou died Wednesday at the age
    of 86, according to reports in her hometown of Winston-Salem.


    Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines told WFMY News 2 that
    Angelou’s caregiver found her dead in her home Wednesday morning.


    Angelou is best known for her award-winning-writing,
    including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.


    Angelou was a high school dropout who went to become a
    professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.


    She was an American Study herself. “I have created
    myself,” she told USA TODAY in 2007, “I have taught myself so
    much.”


    Aneglou defied simple labels. She was a walking list of
    careers and passions: in addition to her books, she was an actress, director,
    playwright, composer, singer, and dancer. And if that wasn’t enough, she once
    worked as a madam in a brothel and as the first female and first black street
    car conductor in San Francisco.


    She was best known for the first of her six memoirs, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970),
    still widely read in schools. She described being raped at 7 and becoming an
    unwed mother at 17. (Her son, Guy Johnson, a poet and novelist, is her only
    immediate survivor.)


    Her formal education ended in high school. But she was
    awarded more than 30 honorary degrees from colleges. She insisted on being
    called “Dr. Angelou.”


    In November 2013, at the age of 85, Angelou stole the
    show at the National Book Awards in New York when she was presented an award
    for “Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community.” She was
    introduced that night by her friend, author Toni Morrison, who said of Angelou,
    “Suffering energized and strengthened her, and her creative impulse struck
    like bolts of lightning.”


    From her wheelchair, Angelou dazzled the crowd by singing
    a verse of a spiritual: “When it looked like it wouldn’t stop raining, God
    put a rainbow in the clouds.”


    She then told the ballroom full of writers, editors, and
    publishers: “You are the rainbow in my clouds.” To laughter and
    applause, she added, that “easy reading is damn hard writing.” In
    reviewing her career, she said, “For over 40 years, I have tried to tell
    the truth as I understand it . . . I haven’t tried to tell everything I know,
    but I’ve tried to tell the truth.”


    In January 2014, after the death of South African leader
    Nelson Mandela—who had read aloud Angelou’s poem, Still I Rise, at his 1994 presidential inauguration—she published His Day Is Done, a poetic tribute to
    Mandela commissioned by the U.S. State Department.


    It reads in part: “The news came on the wings of a
    wind/Reluctant to carry its burden./Nelson Mandela’s day is done.”


    In her 2002 memoir, A
    Song Flung Up to Heaven
    , Angelou wrote of her friendship with writer James
    Baldwin: “Once after we had spent an afternoon talking and drinking with a
    group of white writers in a downtown bar, he said he liked that I could hold my
    liquor and my positions. He was pleased that I could defend Edgar Allan Poe and
    ask serious questions about Willa Cather.”


    It was Baldwin who prodded Bob Loomis, an editor at
    Random House, to prod Angelou to write an autobiography, which she was
    reluctant to do.


    As Angelou told the story, Loomis called several times
    before challenging: “You may be right not to attempt an autobiography
    because it is nearly impossible to write autobiography as literature. Almost
    impossible.”


    Angelou added, “Jimmy (Baldwin) must have told him to say
    that, Jimmy would know how I would react to being told, ‘You can’t . . . ’.”


    Later, Loomis said of her, “Maya is her books.”


    She put it in broader terms: “I am a writer. Every
    writer is his or her books. Just as every singer is the song, while you’re
    doing it. The dancer is the dance.”


    She wrote and delivered a poem at President Clinton’s
    1993 inaugural. Her recording of that poem, On
    the Pulse of Morning
    , won a Grammy.


    She also had a deal with Hallmark to write short poems
    and thoughts for greeting cards, pillows, and other gift items. For that, she
    was lampooned on Saturday Night Live.


    But she shrugged off her critics, as if she was used to
    being a target. “By the time I was 14, I was 6 feet tall,” she told
    USA TODAY. “I’ve never been able to hide.”


    And what’s wrong, she asked, “with wanting to put
    poetry in people’s hands, even if they’re not going to buy a book?”


    Many critics and scholars say her prose was better than
    her poetry, despite its popularity and the large crowds she drew to public
    readings, which she gave in a strong, mellifluous Southern accent.


    The poem she wrote for the lighting of the White House
    Christmas Tree in 2005, Amazing Peace,
    reached No. 12 on USA TODAY’s Best-selling Books list. That’s foreign territory
    for most poetry.


    Even if her poems didn’t receive much serious critical
    attention, they were “sassy,” William Sylvester wrote in the 2001
    edition of Contemporary Poets. When
    “we hear her poetry, we listen to ourselves.”


    Most of all, she was a survivor. The best of her writing
    reminded Yale scholar Harold Bloom of how “the early black Baptists in
    America spoke of ‘the little me within the big me,’ almost the last vestige of
    the spirituality they carried with them on the Middle Passage from
    Africa.”


    Angelou’s voice, Bloom says, “speaks to something in
    the American ‘little me within the big me,’ white and black and whatever, that
    can survive dreadful experiences because the deepest self is beyond experience
    and cannot be violated.”


    Her early childhood was grim. She was 3 years old when
    her parents divorced in Long Beach, Calif. Her father sent her and her
    4-year-old brother alone by train to live with his mother in segregated Stamps,
    Ark., “a town almost that size,” as Angelou put it.


    At 7, as she later wrote, she went to St. Louis to visit
    her mother, who was “too beautiful to have children.” Angelou
    described how she was first lovingly cuddled, then raped by her mother’s
    boyfriend, “a breaking and entering when even the senses are torn
    apart.”


    When the man was murdered by her uncles, Angelou felt
    responsible. She stopped talking to everyone but her brother for five years,
    even as she came to love stories and poems, reading everyone from Langston
    Hughes to Charles Dickens.


    Finally, at 12, a teacher got her to speak again.


    In 2008, she told USA TODAY, “I’m not a writer who
    teaches. I’m a teacher who writes. But I had to work at Wake Forest to know
    that.”


    She described the joy she found in a classroom: “I
    see all those little faces and big eyes. Black and white. They look like
    sparrows in the nest. They look up, with their mouths wide open and I try to
    drop in everything I know.”


    In 1954, she toured the world in the cast of Porgy and Bess. In 1960, she and
    comedian Godfrey Cambridge produced and starred in Cabaret Freedom, a benefit performance for Martin Luther King’s
    Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She later served as its Northern
    coordinator.


    From 1963 to 1966, she taught music and dance at the
    University of Ghana. In 1977, she was nominated for an Emmy for her role in Roots, the TV miniseries.


    She also wrote nine children’s books, 13 collections of
    poetry, four collections of essays, adapted I
    Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
    for CBS in 1979, narrated the 1996 video, Elmo Saves Christmas, and complied a
    cookbook in 2004, Hallelujah! The Welcome
    Table
    .


    She dedicated her 1993 essay collection, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now,
    to Oprah Winfrey, who hosted grand birthday parties for Angelou. In 1997,
    Oprah’s Book Club chose Angelou’s The
    Heart of a Woman
    , the fourth of her memoirs.


    In A Song Flung Up
    to Heaven
    , she circled back to the events that led her to begin her first
    book and dealt with the assassinations of Malcolm X in 1965 and King in 1968.
    (She knew them both.)


    Each of her books “took on a life of its own,”
    she said. But at the end, she wanted to avoid “writing about writing.
    Unless you’re Marcel Proust, that would be dense.”


    She split her time between a restored 12-room townhouse
    in Harlem, and a 18-room house in Wake Forest, N.C.


    Even after writing six books about her life, Angelou
    carefully guarded her privacy. After two divorces, she would say little about a
    man she never married, a South African freedom fighter she called “my
    great love.”


    In the early ’60s, they lived together in Egypt, where
    she worked as a journalist. “He was the man I felt had taken the heart out
    of my body and worn it boldly on his shoulder like an epaulette, and I had
    adored him,” she wrote, but he goes unnamed in A Song Flung Up to Heaven.


    Angelou said, “He’s dead, I’m sorry to say, but he
    has children and grandchildren” who deserve privacy. “I know I live
    in a world that wants to know everything.”


    Her response to that world: “Make sure what you say
    is the truth, but don’t tell everything you know.”

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/books/2014/05/28/maya-angelou-dies-at-age-86/9663497/


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    adamunc
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    #453458

    Read the script of John Robin Baitz’s engrossing play Other Desert Cities.

     

    Recently started working my way through Betty Webb’s Scottsdale-set Desert mystery series (Desert Noir, Desert Wives, Desert Cut, etc.). She’s a former investigative journalist and plots mysteries around topics she’s thoroughly researched like polygamist sects, child mutilation cults and so on. They have a real insider feel.

     

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    babypook
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    #453459

    Please tell me “child mutilation” sects were swallowed up by a natural disaster! I am assuming we’re not talking about ear piercings but clitoral excisions and other unspeakable mutilations????

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    adamunc
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    #453460

    ^^You are correct. But the bad guys always get theirs in the end. One particularly vicious bastard kidnapped our intrepid heroine and took her into the desert, but he was the one who ended up dying of dehydration and being ripped apart by coyotes.

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    babypook
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    #453461

    Thank you. I dont feel sorry for the guy.

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    K-Hole
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    #453462

    Therese Raquin by Emile Zola

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    Atypical
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    #453463

    Finally finished “The Plot Against America” by Philip Roth. Very engrossing and inventive historical/speculative fiction. I couldn’t get enough of this novel really. I’ll start on more Roth works as soon as I can this year, most likely with “Portnoy’s Complaint.”

    Next up for me is “The Interestings” by Meg Wolitzer, followed by “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn and “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou.

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    K-Hole
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    #453464

    The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling

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    K-Hole
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    #453465

    Concurrently also reading:

    The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

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    vinny
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    May 20th, 2011
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    #453466

    River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Candice Millard: Almost done with it but honestly I was expecting to be wowed and I’m just kinda meh about it. I LOVED the journey to South America parts but other than that it just is very “and then this happened” and “something bad happened BUT they got past it”.

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    K-Hole
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    #453467

    Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbons

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    vinny
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    #453468

    The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly. I love this series. It’s so brilliantly crafted in terms of twists and turns and the writing is just so good. The first two in the seris were great. The third…..eh. This one is great.

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