December 17th, 2007, 02:45 AM
Current Non-Genre Reading II
Well, with the OLD THREAD being rather long, it's about time for a new thread.
What non-genre have you been reading: and what would you recommend to others?
December 17th, 2007, 06:33 AM
What's taters, Precious?
Bernard Cornwell's Warlord or Arthur series....excellent!
December 17th, 2007, 10:29 PM
I have just read Masters of Rome 7 - Antony (!) and Cleopatra by C. McCullough.
I did not expect this book since at the end of October Horse, Ms. McCullough emphatically stated she is not going to write it, but somehow it got written .
Hence I was very, very surprised when I saw it at B&N last week and I immediately got it and finished it in a day or so.
Like the last 2 preceding volumes it's more ponderous and lacks the brilliance of the first 3 volumes which are among my all time favorite books, but it is still a pretty good read and a must for anyone who likes historical fiction about Rome.
Though if you have not read the previous volumes, at least volumes 5-6 (Caesar and October Horse) have to be read, with volume 4 which is sort of a transition one (Caesar's Women) useful.
Of course it's better to start with the brilliant and best volume of the series First Man in Rome and read its immediate sequels (Grass Crown and Fortune's Favorites - this last one effectively ends the first part of the series in its middle and starts the second part of the series which ends in the middle of October Horse, so now we are in the third part of the series so to speak)
Of course there is room for more novels, though now we enter I Claudius territory; it would be interesting to see Ms. McCullough interpretation of that too
December 19th, 2007, 02:03 AM
Yesterday I finished Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. No other novel has left such a strong impression on me. I wonder if a story saturated with such sadness is for everyone, though. Overall it can leave you feeling pretty low.
Originally Posted by The Beatles, Norwegian Wood
December 19th, 2007, 11:27 AM
A Drink Before the War by Dennis Lehane. Great start to a series. I'll definitely be checking out the rest of the books. Also have Mystic River in the pile.
Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem. A very strange and original mystery. I really liked it and would put it in my top books read for the year.
December 27th, 2007, 09:17 AM
Currently reading The Death of Dalziel by Reginald Hill. The books are even better than the TV show.
December 27th, 2007, 11:32 AM
Cranky old broad
Truth Be Told by Rafael Alvarez -- a behind the scenes look at the first two seasons of The Wire, the best drama series on TV, ever.
Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill. The Canadian title is The Book of Negroes. It's the story of Aminata, a 12-year-old girl captured in Africa and sold into slavery in the mid-1700's. When the book begins, Aminata is old, and she's free. She's been brought to England by abolitionists to tell the story of her life.
Currently reading The Secret River by Kate Grenville, the story of William Thornhill, a felon transported to Australia in the early 1800's.
I'd recommend all of these. If you've never seen The Wire, check it out. It's not just another crime drama -- it's Dickensian, laid out like a novel where the story proceeds at its own pace, and you have to pay attention. Other TV shows make sure that something exciting happens before every commercial break, or at the end of every episode, so you'll tune in next week. The Wire doesn't do that. Little stuff happens in one episode that might not mean anything until much later. It's the best TV I've ever seen, and that includes Deadwood and Rome and every other thing that critics have raved about.
December 29th, 2007, 10:52 AM
Currently reading Markus Zusak's The Book Thief, which I hope to finish today, but it has been a bit of a slog. I can't read more than 40 or 50 pages without putting it down in sheer frustration. IMO, this is yet another overrated book (the fact that it seems to be picked by every other mainstream book club out there should have tipped me off). I thought I'd like Death as a narrator, but the author, IMO, has done a terrible job of using Death. The sentences are short, choppy, and/or incomplete (not even the knowledge that this was marketed as YA can excuse it in my mind). Death often interrupts the narrative to post headlines and bulletins that break or destroy the flow of the story, and since Death also feels compelled to tell you what happens to many characters far in advance, it leaves little dramatic tension. Bottom line: the narrative device seems gimmicky to me, and just doesn't work for me.
December 29th, 2007, 11:52 AM
Cranky old broad
I loved The Book Thief, but I can understand your frustration with the style. Sometimes gimmicky stuff will make me dump a book, sometimes not. Depends on how I feel about the characters, and I liked those characters.
Speaking of gimmicks, I just finished two books where the authors didn't use quotation marks for dialogue. In The Secret River, all the dialogue was in italics, embedded within paragraphs. In The Shotgun Rule, the dialogue was paragraphed and set out with a dash mark. Ordinarily that would annoy me, but it worked fine. In fact, I might prefer it to the traditional style.
December 31st, 2007, 12:42 PM
Finished Napoleon's Pyramids by W. Dietrich.
In 1798 Ethan Gage an early thirties American, adventurer, gambler, mason and former employee and protegee of Ben Franklin is living by his wits and luck at the card table in the decadent Paris of the Directorate age, just after the end of the Terror and before the age of Napoleon when uncertainty and corruption ruled the day.
One day his luck turns though unclear if for good or bad, when he wins a strange Egyptian medallion at a card game; immediately a mysterious Count Silano offers him a nice price to buy it, but Gage does not like the count so he refuses, and then he is attacked in the street, framed for murder and thrown in jail.
However he receives an offer of pardon if he would join a mysterious expedition the current darling of the French people, one corsican general Bonaparte is leading to a mysterious destination at both his and the Directorate rulers behest (for glory, plunder and to get rid France of a popular general who could be dangerous). Bonaparte is taking lots of scientists, mathematicians, journalists, artists with him, and the destination is of course Egypt.
Ethan joins the gang with his friend, the journalist Talma, and strange things start to happen again even on the way to Toulon where they would embark (he meets with the famous English spy and adventurer Sidney Smith recently escaped from a French prison).
Ethan participates at some of the most memorable events of the campaign, the capture of Malta, the 2 battles of Abukir, the battle of Cairo, he gets in, out, in, out...of Bonaparte's favor, he meets Nelson, he visits the Pyramids, finds a beautiful mysterious woman, and treacherous enemies, makes and loses friends...
In other words an usual historical thriller, but it's funny, the characters grow on you and I always love first person writing. The battles are very well described and there are lots of mysteries. The ending is very good, with of course the sequel The Rosetta Key coming in April 08 moving the action to the Holy Land, Napoleon's invasion of Syria in 1799 and who knows what.
There are also some brilliant cameos, especially by the famous "black" general Dumas, the son of a French aristocrat and a black slave who was a leading general of the revolution before being eclipsed by Napoleon and then he was the commander of the French cavalry in Egypt before parting ways with Bonaparte and dying in obscurity several years later. Of course his main claim to fame is that after he returned from Egypt he became the father of Alexandre Dumas.
In a clear homage to Dumas, the author has the main villain Count Silano playing a Cagliostro (from Dumas) scene with the general Dumas, when after challenging the general to a strange duel involving eating a pig (called Cagliostro's duel) and the general declining and storming from the room after Bonaparte forbid a more classic duel with guns or swords, the Count Silano exclaims: "he was wise to refuse, this way he will get back to France and have a son who will become very famous"
I have not have this much fun reading a historical thriller since The Eight by Katherine Neville (another brilliant book) and I am looking forward to the sequel.
Highly, highly recommended
January 1st, 2008, 04:49 AM
Dead Heat by Dick (and Felix) Francis. A must for a DF fan!
January 3rd, 2008, 06:42 AM
Currently reading the 2006 National Book Award winner for NF, The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. Very good so far. I grew up in the Midwest, my grandparents lived on the fringe of No-Man's land and my parents were small children in the 30s. I can relate to the story. The background history leading up to the disaster of the American Dust Bowl years is fascinating as well.
January 3rd, 2008, 05:05 PM
boss of several cats...
I've just finished The Summer Fletcher Greel Loved Me, by Suzanne Kingsbury, about first love and racism in the deep south. She has a unique voice that's for sure. She sometimes uses verbs or adjectives as nouns, which was disconcerting at first.
Here's an example:
'Riley's quiet is like a stamp of shut-up so I don't say anything.'
Once I got used to this, I loved it. Also, she uses no speech-marks, but works the dialogue into the paragraph, and does it damn well. It's the first book I've read without speech-marks because usually I avoid them like the plague. But, I have to say, I barely noticed.
I love reading deep south or midwest American novels (which has only increased since marrying my Nebraskan I confess). They have such a flavour, such a culture to them.
January 5th, 2008, 08:01 AM
The Guards by Ken Bruen. This is about Jack Taylor, an ex-Guard (Irish cop) who got kicked off the force. He spends his time working as a PI and drinking. The one was interesting. I was expecting a more straight forward detective thriller. Instead, the mystery was almost secondary to the main character's struggle with alcoholism.
Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. I watched the movie a few years back and remembered liking it. The book was even better.
January 7th, 2008, 10:33 PM
Finished The Meaning of Night by M. Cox
There is a site devoted to the book with excerpts here:
The first line of the book is absolutely striking though it only hints at the complexities and power of this remarkable novel:
"After killing the red-haired man, I took myself off to Quinn's for an oyster supper"
On a late October evening 1854 in London, the narrator, one Edward Glyver/Glapthorn picks a man at random from various people leaving their jobs in the City, follows him and murders him with a knife thrust to the neck.
As we find out soon, it is just a preparation for the attempt to murder of his enemy, one Phoebus Daunt, which Edward wants to make sure it will succeed.
Why? Who is Edward Glyver? What did Phoebus Daunt do to him?
Well, the story that follows while quite dark and filled with a sense of foreboding and doom is an extraordinary engrossing Victorian historical novel that was widely acclaimed. I found out about this book by chance (Amazon recommends) several days ago, and this Friday when I browsed it at a Borders store, I bought it on the spot and read about 100 pages. I wanted to finish Debatable Space so I put it off for a day, but it was so engrossing that I found myself staying quite late to finish it and it was worth.
Highly, highly recommended
Last edited by suciul; January 7th, 2008 at 10:36 PM.
Tags for this Thread