Author Topic: Book Thread  (Read 24308 times)

Offline delalluvia

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #30 on: August 06, 2006, 05:33:44 pm »
Just finished reading "The Oracle" by William Broad, which is the non-fiction story of the rediscovery of the oracle of Delphi and how a modern geologist and archaeologist proved that the old stories of the strange 'pneuma' and subterranean crack in the ground that was the source of the 'voice of the gods'.

Offline Andrew

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #31 on: August 13, 2006, 12:08:01 pm »
I am getting along in The Little White Bird by J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan.  It is a touching and humorous fictional account of a fussy bachelor leisured gentleman's obsession with and growing involvement with a working class family and their baby boy, whom he adores.  There are autobiographical elements of Barrie and how he became part of the Llewelyn Davies family, but it is no autobiography.  Peter Pan makes his first appearance in this book, which was later revised and shortened as Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, my next read.  The way Barrie weaves in his own fairy lore as told to little David into what is also a realistic and comic picture of life in London is quite captivating, although it can be a little disorienting at first when the fantasy appears unannounced.  This book was from 1902, the play Peter Pan was produced in 1904 and the narrative Peter and Wendy is from 1911.

Offline tamarack

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #32 on: August 13, 2006, 04:28:28 pm »
I just noticed this thread for the first time and skimming through it I noticed that several of you mentioned liking The Perfect Storm . When I read it several years ago I became really interested in what it was like day-to-day on a sword boat, not realizing at the time that Linda Greenlaw had written such a book. If you remember, Linda is the captain of the Hannah Boden, the sister ship to the Andrea Gail.

I have since read The Lobster Chronicles, which tells of life at home on Isle au Haut, Maine, where she returned to learn lobstering after she tired of the sword boats, and All Fishermen Are Liars, which was fun to read but wasn't a book that I kept when I was finished with it. She has a wonderful way with words and a great, dry sense of humor.

I seem to have a somewhat different taste in books than most of you, but if you liked the Perfect Storm I think that you would also enjoy The Hungry Ocean, at least.

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #33 on: September 02, 2006, 10:30:25 am »
I need help. As the Labor Day weekend starts in the U.S., I find myself with four books to read, and I don't know in which order I should read them, or if I should pass any of them up altogether. They are: The Book of Ruth, by Jane Hamilton, The Time Traveller's Wife, The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood, and Daughter of Fortune, by Isabel Allende.

What's unusual for me in all of these books is that they are by and about women. I usually read books about men, and am almost finished with John Steinbeck's To A God Unknown. I selected these books to bring a little balance into my life, and also because Annie Proulx has convinced me to read more fiction by women. (She doesn't include many strong female characters in her books, though, at least not lately.)

Your thoughts welcome!!
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Offline Andrew

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #34 on: September 02, 2006, 10:57:21 am »
I can't help with any of those titles since I haven't read them, but if your interest in works by and about women continues, see my recommendation on p.2 about Wives and Daughters by Elisabeth Gaskell.  The Victorian period was an interesting transitional time.  Although women still ostensibly had traditional roles, de facto there were big changes going on.  Gaskell herself was the big breadwinner in her family and this very book, published serially, was allowing her to buy the house their family needed.  If you have an idea about what 'Victorian' means in literature from other authors, like Dickens or Trollope or Thackeray or Eliot, well, they're all different from one another and she is at least as different from any of them.

Offline delalluvia

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #35 on: September 02, 2006, 01:38:06 pm »
I just noticed this thread for the first time and skimming through it I noticed that several of you mentioned liking The Perfect Storm . When I read it several years ago I became really interested in what it was like day-to-day on a sword boat, not realizing at the time that Linda Greenlaw had written such a book. If you remember, Linda is the captain of the Hannah Boden, the sister ship to the Andrea Gail.

I have since read The Lobster Chronicles, which tells of life at home on Isle au Haut, Maine, where she returned to learn lobstering after she tired of the sword boats, and All Fishermen Are Liars, which was fun to read but wasn't a book that I kept when I was finished with it. She has a wonderful way with words and a great, dry sense of humor.

I seem to have a somewhat different taste in books than most of you, but if you liked the Perfect Storm I think that you would also enjoy The Hungry Ocean, at least.

I did read 'The Hungry Ocean' but IMO it wasn't very compelling.

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #36 on: September 11, 2006, 09:04:19 pm »
I will look up Wives and Daughters, Andrew, as soon as I'm done with The Time Traveler's Wife. It's very entertaining (the main character is the time traveler, a guy, LOL)

Here's some info on it:
http://www.amazon.com/Time-Travelers-Wife-Audrey-Niffenegger/dp/015602943X
I guess this was the first novel of Audrey Niffenegger, who next wrote The Secret Life of Bees. The film rights were bought up by Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt. I wonder who owns them now? The film is slated to come out in 2008.
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Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #37 on: September 13, 2006, 10:07:36 am »
For any of you who want to read a 9-11 themed novel, I recommend Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathon Safren Foer. At the heart of the story is a Holden-Caulfield type boy who lost his father in the attacks on the World Trade Center. The plot is skimpy but the characters are finely drawn and you will fall in love with the main character and the "heavy boots" he wears.
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Offline Andrew

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #38 on: September 14, 2006, 07:23:08 pm »
The Charioteer by Mary Renault (published in the 1950's).

A memorable book, one of the handful about gay men from the first half of the twentieth century, and one of the ones most worth reading.

Many people who have read her later historical novels of Greece must pick this up and assume from the title that it's going to be another in the series.  In fact, it's her last novel of contemporary British life before she got impatient with having to write about people living under such heavy social restraints, and switched to a different style and a different period, when she believed gay men at least were more accepted.

Besides being extraordinarily convincing as a story and a presentation of the characters, it's unusual among earlier gay novels in not being primarily about homophobia.  The main characters do have to hide parts of their lives, but they don't feel they have to marry and they are not the victims of violence, nor do any come to a bad end.
While much in the historical novels comes from her scholarship, this novel comes from her direct knowledge of the society she lived in, with her experiences as an army nurse during the war giving verisimilitude to all the parts in the hospital.  It's as much a period piece (giving an intense sense of wartime life) as her later novels.

It's also unusual in involving a male triangle of sorts and a choice, but without a Mr Wrong and a Mr Right.

Some American readers will find parts of certain chapters difficult, like the one telling of Laurie's time at a private school, simply from our not being totally familiar with the cultural expectations which are so obliquely alluded to.  Rereading some chapters afterwards gave me more confidence that I was picking up the meaning she intended, here and there.  But you can have some doubts and questions and still be swept along.  Eventually context explained a lot of things.  And a lot of people with quick intuitions will have no trouble at all.

Offline delalluvia

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Re: Book Thread
« Reply #39 on: September 14, 2006, 10:08:59 pm »
The Charioteer by Mary Renault (published in the 1950's).

A memorable book, one of the handful about gay men from the first half of the twentieth century, and one of the ones most worth reading.

Many people who have read her later historical novels of Greece must pick this up and assume from the title that it's going to be another in the series.  In fact, it's her last novel of contemporary British life before she got impatient with having to write about people living under such heavy social restraints, and switched to a different style and a different period, when she believed gay men at least were more accepted.

Besides being extraordinarily convincing as a story and a presentation of the characters, it's unusual among earlier gay novels in not being primarily about homophobia.  The main characters do have to hide parts of their lives, but they don't feel they have to marry and they are not the victims of violence, nor do any come to a bad end.
While much in the historical novels comes from her scholarship, this novel comes from her direct knowledge of the society she lived in, with her experiences as an army nurse during the war giving verisimilitude to all the parts in the hospital.  It's as much a period piece (giving an intense sense of wartime life) as her later novels.

It's also unusual in involving a male triangle of sorts and a choice, but without a Mr Wrong and a Mr Right.

Some American readers will find parts of certain chapters difficult, like the one telling of Laurie's time at a private school, simply from our not being totally familiar with the cultural expectations which are so obliquely alluded to.  Rereading some chapters afterwards gave me more confidence that I was picking up the meaning she intended, here and there.  But you can have some doubts and questions and still be swept along.  Eventually context explained a lot of things.  And a lot of people with quick intuitions will have no trouble at all.


That's exactly what I thought about The Charioteer, having read 3 of Renault's books on Alexander the Great.  Very interesting.  Thanks for the info.