February 5th, 2013, 09:20 PM
Cranky old broad
Didn't know this was a book. Thought the movie was excellent.
Originally Posted by algernoninc
Just finished The Misremembered Man by Christine McKenna. I was looking for something light. This was described as a "beautifully rendered portrait of life in rural Ireland which charms and delights with its authentic characters and gentle humor" and "a vivid portrayal of the universal search for love." Sounds smarmy and hokey but it turned out to be realistic and funny and quite dark, with flashbacks to a horrific childhood in a Catholic orphanage. I liked it.
Now reading Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis.
February 12th, 2013, 12:08 PM
Cranky old broad
Finished Babbitt. The only hurdle was a small one -- getting used to the dated slang in conversations. Gosh, gee, golly, gee whillikers, rats!
"Babbitt" is sometimes code for a glad-handing booster/social climber/status conscious type of conservative businessman, someone who belongs to all the right organizations, drives the right car, lives in the right neighborhood, attends the right church -- someone who doesn't stir the pot or think for himself. George Babbitt is all these things but he's aware enough to be discontented. He knows something is missing in his life. This awareness saves him from being totally despicable and shows him as quite human, and sympathetic.
I think Lewis had fun writing this, especially in showing Babbitt's hypocrisy. At one point, he rails against labor unions as an attack on personal freedom, and in the next breath says that every businessman should be forced to join the Chamber of Commerce.
March 11th, 2013, 04:50 PM
Finished The Secret Keeper! Man that woman can tell a helluva story! One of the best books I've read in awhile!
Awesome surprises and story telling, 1-10 its an 11!, but man she really has some good twists all the way to the end!
April 16th, 2013, 08:30 AM
Hi, Auntie Pam.
Originally Posted by AuntiePam
Somehow I missed this back in February.
I suspect that was part of the satire: Innocent expostulations that are definitely rural in a literature that was becoming increasingly urban, and the writers of the time, even Lewis, seemed to be distancing themselves from the rural, looking for a more sophisticated perspective, even as they showed some nostalgia for the land. I think this shows up in Hemingway to a degree, too; and even in somewhat later writers in s.f. like Heinlein and Simak. It's a little surprising to realize how many of the major writers of the time were born in the west, mid-west or south and then moved to urban centers like New York and Chicago. Hemingway, Dashiell Hammett, Sherwood Anderson and James Thurber all come to mind.
April 16th, 2013, 01:28 PM
Cranky old broad
Randy, that's an interesting take on the language, and it makes sense.
April 18th, 2013, 12:32 AM
It never entered my mind
finished the first book of Jack Aubrey / Stephen Maturin maritime adventures during the Napoleonic Wars : Master and Commander by Patrick O'Bryan. Really loved it or the character study and the naval battles - in this book Aubrey received his first command, of a smallish sloop, and is harrasing the commercial shipping off the Catalunia coast. The jargon was often difficult to follow, and some passages are extremely detailed about the minutiae of life aboard ship, but it makes for an immersive experience.
April 18th, 2013, 11:45 AM
Cranky old broad
Algernoninc, I've read all the Aubrey/Maturin novels and loved them. I look at them as one huge book. Some books focused on naval engagements, some focused on Aubrey and Maturin's personal lives, but they were all interesting.
I never did get a handle on the jargon and the nautical maneuvering, but that didn't matter.
If you get a chance, watch the movie Master and Commander with Russell Crowe. I've seen it several times -- it's wonderful and Crowe was perfect in the role.
May 16th, 2013, 04:25 PM
Several right now
I usually alternate books out of several series that I read at once to keep from getting bored by the same tone and structure that goes throughout a series.
So, right now I am reading (as someone else mentioned) the Aubrey/Maturin Series "The Mauritius Command" and the Jack Reacher Series "61 Hours." I am also reading a few other series, but they are genre.
O'Brian's novels are great studies of the time as Historical Fiction and I love the detail that he goes into with the art and science of sailing.
I love the Jack Reacher Series because the author makes no attempt to have a squeaky clean hero. He is more along the line of an anti-hero or Byronic Hero. These books get a bit of flak from people and even readers claim the series is in their 'guilty pleasure' list.
I don't know why it would be there unless all crime or detective novels are there.
May 24th, 2013, 09:47 AM
Originally Posted by Rosy Red Sun
I don't know if you're still around -- it's been a while since you last posted -- and I don't know that I have a good answer for you, but here goes:
I only read one Reacher novel, the first, The Killing Floor. For the first 50 pages I thought I might have gotten hold of the best mystery/crime/adventure novel I'd read in years, but by the end of the book I didn't feel that at all. And that centers around Reacher and that he knows all and can do all and doesn't change. The savvy that informs the first part of the novel never stretches out to actual self-awareness, and what he faced challenged him physically but not mentally or emotionally. He doesn't really learn anything as a character from what he experiences. I extrapolated from the first novel and what other readers said about the series that it would be one adventure novel after another.
Compare it to, say, The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett or The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler or The Goodbye Look by Ross Macdonald (the last two are novels in series, the Chandler the first novel), and it felt a bit callow, even shallow. Even The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, which I thought flawed and not all that well-written, but had a similar narrative energy that just kept the pages turning, and also had a bit more meat on its bones for me as a reader.
Actually, I was reminded of The Killing Floor by David Wellington's 13 Bullets. It's a vampire novel, so may not appeal, but the challenges the main characters face have an effect on them, make them adapt to new circumstances. Even the experienced character doesn't quite know it all. I found that adventure a bit more compelling than the Reacher, though it's still not exactly my cuppa. In either case, Wellington or Child, stuck in a beach house for some time with little else to read, I'd gladly pick one up expecting a certain level of entertainment. But most of the time, there are other things that grab my attention.
May 27th, 2013, 03:17 PM
Cranky old broad
I'm almost finished with The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer -- nonfiction. Packer gives a socio-economic history of the US over the past thirty years. The book is about the failures of our institutions -- banks, government, education, manufacturing, unions. He focuses on people involved in and affected by those failures -- a factory worker from Ohio, a Silicon Valley billionaire, a Biden campaign worker who became a lobbyist, and a biodiesel entrepreneur from North Carolina.
Sounds like it could be a partisan polemic but it's not -- Joe Biden comes off just as bad as Sam Walton.
Packer writes simply and clearly and the book is entertaining but depressing. I have no hope for real progress in the US, and I'm afraid we've spread our bad habits to the rest of the world. Sometimes I'm glad to be old -- I won't live to see things totally fall apart.
On a lighter note, I'm reading The Son by Philipp Meyer, a multi-generational saga about the settlement of Texas. It's quite violent but very well-written. What's weird is that I'm seeing relationships between these two books. Oil is a big culprit in both.
June 4th, 2013, 12:43 PM
Thanks for the info.
Hey, thanks for the detailed account of how it impacted you. I am still around, but really busy so I am only able to get on here and post occasionally. I do make an attempt to check for any on-going posts before scanning for new things that strike me as interesting.
Originally Posted by Randy M.
I agree that Reacher doesn't change from activity to activity, but that is one of the reasons that I like him. That anti-hero idea is one of the flaws. I look at him the same way as a Cpt. Kirk or the like. They always do what they do and it works out, even if there are hiccups along the way, and their character never changes. Like you said, it guarantees a sort of energy to the story, but you know you are not going to see a metamorphosis. I will say that, in the later stories, they play with that (for Reacher) and it is pretty rewarding, especially since he has coasted through many adventures by that time.
June 17th, 2013, 02:34 PM
I enjoyed The American Senator by Anthony Trollope. It's rather a case of Dickens meeting Jane Austen and it works very well. The Senator is actually a minor--but enjoyable--character whom Trollope uses to focus on absurdities of English traditions. For the most part it's about two romances both of which focus on the need of women to get into good marriages. The two story-lines are sufficiently different and yet enough alike to keep the reader turning pages. The domestic scenes are marvellous.
If you like to use an e-reader, the book is free to download from Project Gutenberg, Manybooks, Amazon, Feedbooks, and Kobo.