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What are you currently reading?
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Rachel



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 296
Location: Santa Barbara, CA

PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Griffin, you are a man after my own heart in your shopping tastes and in being a book addict! I've got an overflowing bookcase myself, full of novels (in French and English), art books, poetry, and of course cookbooks.

As to what I'm currently reading - well, I am in the throes of finishing a PhD so any pleasure reading generally takes place (or, rather, starts) in situations where I can justify it to my guilty conscience, mostly on planes and trains. When I was on tour with my choir in France last week I started Marie Nimier's wonderful Anatomie d'un choeur, a comic novel about a Parisian choir and its petty jealousies, gossip, intrigues, vile administrators and an eccentric director trying to revive the reputation of his great-grandfather, a forgotten composer whose masterpiece was a Funeral March for a Dead Waterlily. Made me realise that choirs are the same the world over, or at least across the Channel... Wink (Unfortunately I don't think Nimier has been translated into English, which is criminal, but same could be said for a lot of non-anglophone writers. *sigh*)

All the mentions of The Master and Margarita have so intrigued me that I've decided to make it my holiday reading. A book that has a cat as a major character must be worth a try...
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woodstocker



Joined: 08 Dec 2005
Posts: 224
Location: kingston, ny

PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like Rachel, I'm stuck in the school grind and pleasure reading gets pushed aside too much. But I did find this quote while researching one my anthropology prof used.

Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them.
--Arnold Lobel
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susanruth



Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 5
Location: New York, NY

PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recently enjoyed The Tender Bar, a memoir by J. R. Moehringer. Then I read The Rise of David Levinsky, a novel written in 1917 about a Jewish immigrant to NYC from Russia at the turn of the 20th century.
I also bought Brooklyn Follies and can't wait to read it! I loooove Paul Auster. But I picked up a sappy looking book - The Memory Keeper's Daughter - thought it would be too insipid for my taste - but i'm enjoying it Wink
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madameshawshank



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Penrith (where jacarandas remind me of change), New South Wales, Australia

PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ah Griffin Darlin'....one's library and its categories...I turn to the left and see the shelf of books on watercolour....another shelf? ancient books on Christmas ....another ...calligraphy....adore libraries I do..

hugs
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deste--I was overwhelmed by how honestly Toibin seemed to be really "in the head" of James---and Jamesian scholars tell me he got him down pat!
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 932
Location: England

PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rachel,

What's your PhD in? I am impressed at anyone English reading French novels... I wish I was that good! I have French poetry tho'. I love my French trinity of Rimbaud, Baudelaire and Mallarme. Rimbaud's poems 'Ophelie' and 'Nuit en Enfer' really thrill me. And I love Baudelaire for 'Correspondances', Mallarme for 'Apres-midi d'un Faune'.

When I was doing my MA in Museum Studies, I made sure I read other things to keep my mental balance. I returned to my love of short stories and comedy. The 'Molesworth' stories by Geoffrey Willans always give me a giggle.

They are very British and funny. The first one is Down with Skool, the second Back in Jug Agane and the third one, Whizz for Atoms!
Willans was a teacher at a school in the 1950s and the books are written from the point of view of Molesworth. The spelling is all wrong and the books were illustrated by Ronald Searle too. Wonderful stuff.

I also returned to the short stories of Saki (H.H. Munro), which are wonderful... and I'm already offering a reading list which I swore I wasn't going to do!!! Ahem, sorry folks! Embarassed

Woodstocker,
I love that poem!

Madame,

I also have a small collection of antiquarian books, including a lovely 18th century cookery book by Hannah Glasse. I got it for the recipe for blancmange handwritten and stuck in the front cover with sealing wax. I keep meaning to try one of those... just not brave enough yet!
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Rachel



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 296
Location: Santa Barbara, CA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Woodstocker, love the poem - it reminds me all too much of my own book-collecting habits! Embarassed

Griffin, my PhD is in history of art, more specifically on Symbolist art in France and Britain (hence the spending lots of time in France). The ability to read French novels was hard-earned though... I only started learning French at university and then in the year before I started the PhD I went to France as an assistante d'anglais. It was baptism by fire, and I quickly realised that the only way I'd improve my French would be to surround myself with it every waking minute, including reading... lots. At the end of the year I went back to London with a load of French novels and poetry and the ability to swear in French like a sailor. Wink Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Mallarme are my holy trinity as well, but I have to sneak Verlaine in there as well - his Fetes Galantes are wonderful.

Anyway, I'm going to go finish Anatomie d'un choeur. I'm firmly with Oscar Wilde in thinking that the only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it!
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Griffin,
Does reading 'Harry Potter Et La Coupe De Feu' count?

Kidding.
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VeggiesPlease



Joined: 02 Nov 2006
Posts: 15
Location: Basel, Switzerland

PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My boyfriend Jon and I, both major book lovers, were in Amsterdam for a couple of days in August. It was the beginning of a ten-day southward trip that ended in Rome (yeah - we went to way too many places, because I planned the whole thing and I am a terrible planner). We came across an outdoor book fair, where I found a three-volume 1919 edition of Shakespeare's collected plays - bound in red leather, with gold-edged pages and a glossary at the end of each volume (Tragedies, Comedies, Histories). Of course I had to buy them, for 30 euro - and with a copy of "Mrs. Dalloway" and a weird Vonnegut book thrown in! And then I lugged the bastards around in my backpack for a week and a half. So the point is: I've been reading an awful lot of Shakespeare lately, because that shnizz was heavy. (Also, as it turns out, I really love reading Shakespeare. Thank goodness!)

In between, until recently I was reading D.H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers (another book fair find, incidentally). It was incredible - I'd never read a Lawrence novel before, and the way he gives the reader an intimate sense of each character, often with very few words, can be stunning. For a pretty major change of pace, I'm reading The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson; it's about a road trip he took, solo, across the United States. Sometimes Bryson is very funny, and I really love travel writing; but he does complain an awful lot, and I'm not always in the mood for it. I am planning reread Saul Bellow's Herzog next, maybe start it tonight. One of the best books I've ever read, and that's kind of saying a lot - I recommend it very highly. I can't wait until someone I know has read it, so I can talk about it with someone. Usually Jon is great for that, but the copy I have is one I hijacked from him before he had a chance to read it - a dastardly thing to do, and a bad habit of mine since childhood Embarassed

Happy reading all, and thanks for all the suggestions! I will definitely be checking those out Very Happy
~ melissa
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 932
Location: England

PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
my PhD is in history of art, more specifically on Symbolist art in France and Britain (hence the spending lots of time in France).

Oh Rachel! Lucky you! It was the Pre-Raph's, Symbolists and Art Nouveau that got me into art history in the first place. What a lovely subject to get a doctorate in.

I love the work of Burne-Jones and Rossetti. It isn't fashionable to say that among art historians here - or at least it wasn't when I was doing my BA, but I didn't care!

I do like Verlaine's Fetes Galantes too. I have an edition in French tho', not translated, but it gives me the pleasurable work of translating it. ...and French is such a fabulous language too.

Quote:
and the ability to swear in French like a sailor.

Now that I do envy you! Very Happy

Erin,
Mais, naturellement! Also, Mon Petit Poney and Harry Potier et L'Ordre du Phenix!! Wink

Veggies,
I'd have had to buy the Complete Shakespeare too! Tho' fortunately I have one from the thirties that was my mums. It has illustrations from paintings too. I consider it my 'Bible' in the way Gabriel Betteredge (The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins) has his edition of Robinson Crusoe. If I need to know anything, I go to Uncle Bill Shakespeare and I know it will be there... Rasputin's middle name, the capital of Peru... ok maybe not those, but everything else!!! Very Happy

What was the Vonnegut? I love his stuff! He is weird because he's just so original. The last one of his I read was Timequake and it was fascinating. I'm trying to get hold of Russell Hoban's book, Riddley Walker. That's supposed to be very strange too. It does interesting things to the language apparently!

Quote:
I'd never read a Lawrence novel before

Wot? Not even Lady Chatterly's Lover?!! I had to read that as a teen because I was told it was a 'bawdy' book!! I prefer his poetry tho', that's quite wonderful. His house is not far from me, over the border in Nottinghamshire, tho' I have yet to get around to visiting it.
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry for my hiatus from C&Z. After spending the past year reading a lot of US Civil War, and world and American history, philosophy, and some biographies (e.g., Stravinsky, Oppenhiemer), I've gone back to my grad-school mathematics and physics books.

I've concluded that I need to get back to the basics of my knowledge. And that all means back to math -- calculus, differential equations, complex variables. A great mathematician cum scientists, an Englishman named Lord Rayleigh once said: "Until we can express something with an equation, we don't understand it."
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Deste



Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Posts: 307
Location: Far, far away

PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to tradition, the gates leading into Plato's academy read "Let No One Who Does Not Understand Geometry Enter Here" or something to that effect.

Keep in mind the fact that girls and women, whether slaves or the upper class, were neither Athenian citizens nor pupils at that venerable institution. Takes a man to make mathematics the foundation of all knowledge Wink I am grossly adherring to stereotype, but the human heart seems just as essential to understanding the world and our experience of it. Give me a good story, instead.
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madameshawshank



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Penrith (where jacarandas remind me of change), New South Wales, Australia

PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

methinks I'd be sitting at Plato's gates for eternity... Wink perhaps writing a haiku every now and then...

although the heart, come to think of it, is life..as is geometry...all is connected....I'd be a heartbeat away from Plato's academy...'n from outer space...I'd BE there anyway....

Paul Davies....come and help me in this conversation...

hugs to all...both those who do and those who don't understand....
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VeggiesPlease



Joined: 02 Nov 2006
Posts: 15
Location: Basel, Switzerland

PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Griffin - Shakespeare as Bible works for me... I like that idea! Old Bill was certainly more of a romantic than whoever was responsible for the Good Book, and may have had a better sense of humor... (okay I'd better stop there Wink )

The Vonnegut book I bought in Amsterdam is called From Time to Timbuktu. It's a script, basically, for a television movie made in the 70s (I'm pretty sure - too lazy to get up and get the book at the moment) that was written by someone else but based ideas from many of Vonnegut's novels. Vonnegut worked closely with the people who made the movie, but didn't actually write the entire "book" - although his name is on there as the author. It's... odd. There are a number of black-and-white screen shots in there, most of which are hard to make out. I am a huge fan of his writing, and I've read a lot of his books - Timequake may be my favorite, actually! This one wasn't really worth reading - but hey, I got it for free Laughing

As for Lady Chatterley's Lover, I definitely had my eye on it when I was in high school, for exactly the same reason Laughing, and if I'd ever come across a copy (not that I ever made much effort to look - I've always been the kind of reader who just picks up whatever's around, and luckily my parents have a whole lot of really good books) I'm sure I would have eagerly devoured it. Lawrence is harder to find in the U.S., I think - the copy of Sons and Lovers that I have says that that edition is not available in the States; it also has a list of his other books inside, many of which have the same note beside the title. I don't know why that is. Wikipedia, here I come!

A lovely afternoon to all Very Happy
~ melissa
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 932
Location: England

PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2006 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Lawrence is harder to find in the U.S., I think - the copy of Sons and Lovers that I have says that that edition is not available in the States; it also has a list of his other books inside, many of which have the same note beside the title. I don't know why that is.


Veggies,

if you can't get Lady C's Lover online, let me know and I'll look up a copy for you. Then I just need an address to send it to so you can pick it up. It won't be until Januray tho'! I'm not that good!

Madame,

I would be pounding on Plato's gates telling him to come out and discuss democracy... cos I may know nothing about geometry, but I know what I like!! Wink

Sarape,

I was never any good at mathematics, I can just manage very simple arithmetic, but for some reason, language sets me on fire with love. As for Lord Rayleigh, this may explain why he never understood his wife... he really should have married an equation! Wink

Deste,

Plato actually didn't like Democracy, he wrote in his 'Republic', "...not only slaves, but even women get to vote!" I sat there thinking of the Suffragettes and wondering if that had just said it all to them. Given how many battles women had in the early part of the 20th century just to get a democratic right... and now there's nobody worth voting for - at least in Britain. Sigh, wot a swizz, eh?!
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