May 29, 2011 at 7:08 am #436374
I’ve got quite a few books on the go right now.
The Wars of the Roses: England’s First Civil War; Trevor Royle
Well, it wasnt England’s “first” civil war, but I’m interested in his perspective.
This one appears to side with the Red Roses.
Children of England: The Heirs of Henry 8 1547-1558; Alison Weir
Weir is going into quite a bit of detail, some of which I havent read anywhere else.
The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn
Another one by Alison Weir. She skips around in this one, but with amazing detail. There’s even a portrait of Anne which I’ve never seen before. Her archival research is top notch.
Crown and Country: The Kings and Queens of England; A History
This is the best I’ve read from David Starkey, who I had earlier dismissed as an armchair historian. His grasp of the times, economic, religious, and political, is terrific.
Still havent finished Stephen King’s The Dome and havent started Jean Auel’s new release, The Land of Painted Caves.May 30, 2011 at 2:57 am #436376
TRUE STORY, by Michael Finkel
Non-fiction. Based on a tumultuous time in Finkel’s life. After being fired by The New York Times Magazine for falsifying details in a cover story, Finkel discovers that a man (who is wanted for the murder of his wife and three children) attempted to evade the FBI by travelling to Mexico and using posing as none other than NY Times writer Mike Finkel. Finkel makes contact with the captured quadruple-homicide suspect, and his life is changed. It is one of those truth-stranger-than-fiction stories that has to be read to be believed. When Finkel isn’t being self-deprecating and self-effacing, he is telling a story that is at times funny, at times thrilling, and never less than bizarre. I recommend it, particularly to fans of the true crime genre.
DRAGON WEATHER, by Lawrence Watt-Evans
After surviving a brutal dragon attack that wiped out his entire village, young Arlian is rescued by looters, only to be sold into slavery by his so-called saviors. I can’t go into much more detail than that, because this book twists and turns with every chapter. Driven by fate and a quest for justice, Arlian finds himself tested time and again. The other novels in this trilogy — DRAGON SOCIETY and DRAGON VENOM — are not nearly as good as this first installment. But they push Arlian’s pursuit of punishing the wicked to such an extent that, by the end, we’ve watched our hero transform into a vengeance-crazed warlord. A terrific character study disguised as an expansive and enthralling fantasy.May 30, 2011 at 3:02 am #436377
Still havent finished Stephen King’s The Dome and havent started Jean Auel’s new release, The Land of Painted Caves.
UNDER THE DOME is pretty darn terrific. I appreciated King for putting the character list at the front of the hefty volume. At times, I forgot who people were, the cast was so large. Had he not included that list, I would have been lost. My only complaint is that, by the last few chapters, the death of characters no longer has any impact. Without spoiling anything, an entirely innocent character dies a horribly slow and agonizing death, and yet we the readers aren’t made to feel nearly the amount of sadness as we should have. By the end, King seemed ready to just finish the darn thing, and deaths came across as arbitrary. Other than that, a great book. I can’t wait to see what the HBO series looks like. It certainly is a novel that lends itself to being produced for television. I can’t wait for that.May 30, 2011 at 6:24 am #436378
I didnt realize HBO is making a series! I can say without hesitation, that I loved The Stand. I dont think it was HBO, but I really enjoyed it.
I’m about half-way through Under the Dome. I put it down to read something else, and a friend decided to read it and is almost finished.
People make fun of Stephen King, but I like him. My favorite novels by him are The Stand, The Shining, Salem’s Lot, and The Dead Zone.
Personally, I think the film adaptations have been overall successful.May 30, 2011 at 11:47 pm #436379
I am currently reading A Clash of Kings (so far it’s not as good as A Game of Thrones but that book didn’t really start to click until the final half so I have hope this one will get better too) and will probably begin reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows again in preparation for the final film.June 4, 2011 at 10:06 pm #436380
I am currently reading A Clash of Kings (so far it’s not as good as A Game of Thrones but that book didn’t really start to click until the final half so I have hope this one will get better too) and will probably begin reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows again in preparation for the final film.
I loved reading The Clash of Kings. Hope you enjoy it.June 5, 2011 at 7:44 am #436381
I have waited many years for Jean Auel’s final book in her epic “Earth’s Children” series.
I have just finished the Dedication and Acknowledgements, and it has already brought me to tears. “The Clan of the Cave Bear” came out in 1980. 31 years later the sixth and final book is here. YaY! I love these books.
I agree with Spenser Davis re: Under The Dome (I enjoyed it despite it’s failings).June 9, 2011 at 6:09 am #436382
I picked up two books today on Katherine Swynford. One is a new one by Alison Weir. The other is by Anya Seton and is quite a bit older.
I’ve finished up a few I was reading above and it looks as if I’m going to continue reading several books at the same time.September 29, 2011 at 9:52 pm #436383
I’m reading an anthology of short fiction called “The Story and its Writers.”
There is something powerful about short stories. Full-length novels with all its details tend to give a lot of stuff away. With short fiction, they empower the reader to fill in a lot of the blanks, which I like–I think it makes one think a little more.
Anyway, some of the stories are classics that I’ve read before (i.e. samplings from Joseph Conrad, Margaret Atwood and Alice Munroe), but there also some interesting reads from ethnic writers (who I tend to love) including Jamaica Kincaid, Jhumpa Lahiri and Bharati Mukherjee.September 29, 2011 at 11:14 pm #436384
Rereading Slaughterhouse-Five. Vonnegut thinks that having thick language and an awesome concept will make for an awesome novel. On the third go-around, it does. It’s actually the kind of book I want to see a modern adaptation of. With all of the advances in film that have been made, this could be an incredible project.September 30, 2011 at 4:36 pm #436385
I just started “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” by Muriel Barbery on the recommendation of a couple of friends.October 4, 2011 at 12:11 pm #436386
I finished two really enjoyable books yesterday:
The Leftovers, by Tom Perrotta: I have read all of Perrotta’s books, and this is by far the most accomplished and mature. It tells of the reactions of one family (and those around them) to an event than may or may not have been the rapture a few years before. In an incredibly creative set-up, he manages to not go over-the-top and shows great restraint. The world is our world, with only small differences since the “Sudden Departure,” but as it goes on we see how significant those differences are. It reminds me of a much less dystoic Children of Men, if Children of Men had taken place in an upper-middle class suburb. The biggest weakness I have found in Perrotta’s more recent books – especially Little Children and The Abstinence Teacher – are his endings. They have not just a lack or resolution, but almost a lack of ending at all. I turn the page expecting more. This ending has much lack of closure still, but it is a lovely ending that works so well with the rest of the book. The great thing about The Leftovers, though, is not what is says about what might happen after the rapture. It is what it says about what happens in a world where people aren’t there will be a future or if they want to be part of that future. It says a lot about how we deal with tragedy, and about how faith or lack thereof can be bastardized and twisted. It says a lot about the world in which we live now.
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, by Tom Franklin: This one is is ostensibly about the investigation of a missing girl, a crime that bears similarity to another girl who went missing two decades earlier. But the mystery, as it is, is secondary to the story of the two main characters – abduction and murder suspect Larry and now-constable Sylas. The men – one white and one black – were secret friends as children in small-town Mississippi, and the book slowly unpeels layers of their relationship and how they have affected one another ever since. The revolations build into quite the story, but the real appeal is Franklin’s beautiful language and surprising, insightful descrpition. A lovely book.October 6, 2011 at 10:54 am #436387
I’ve been reading Ross Macdonald’s Lew Archer series. Really some of the great midcentury crime fiction, right up there with John D. Macdonald and Jim Thompson. They’re mysteries, but they also operate on a much deeper level as social and character commentary. The Chill and The Instant Enemy are particularly satisfying.October 6, 2011 at 1:15 pm #436388
I have been on a bit of a reading spree lately (trying to avoid my dissertation work?), and I finished Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains this afternoon. It’s the true story of doctor Paul Farmer and his quest to heal the world’s poor one person at a time. Greatly influenced by Catholic liberation theology, he grows from the head of a small medical center and hospital in rural Haiti to fighting for effective health programs all over the world. The book focuses on his career, but also on his philosophy that every person is entitled to the best health care that can be provided to him or her, no matter what, and that to provide that you have to understand the person in his or her context, not your own. Its inspiring, and never more so than when Kidder focuses on individual cases Farmer attends to. Another highly recommended book.
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