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What are you currently reading?
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madameshawshank



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

PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well hello Deste!!!!! More than lovely to see ye back on the screen....

My latest read: Do Dogs Dream? by Geraldine Taylor and Amy Schimler ~ a truly gorgeous book for children..lift up flaps.. beautifully put together...

Highly recommended for kiddy winkles.

I've just imagined a chocolate&zucchini for children Wink
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 932
Location: England

PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm reading EH Gombrich's A little History of the World, which is interesting, but he makes the same mistakes as in his Story of Art which has since been discredited. Women's history is rarely mentioned and non-western history is only considered really important before the Renaissance.

Still, it's an interesting read. After that, I have Sally Gardner's two novels set during the French Revolution and Linda Grant's The Thoughtful Dresser about how clothes create our identity and how what we wear tells something about us. She also wrote The Clothes on Their Backs.

Other than that I am slowly plodding along with my own second of three stories, Rise of a Clouded Moon.
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Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, am about to shock and horrify you all...... might be best if you are sitting down well supported in case you faint

I only managed to read 2 books last week!!!!!! Shocked

Am in treatment as we speak and hopefully the effects of my week will fade with time.

To be honest I was so so so busy that I just did not have more than a few minutes to read each day. I was a bit like an addict going cold turkey.... felt out of sorts and not quite myself - but have proved that I can get by on so few books though, which was a huge worry when packing... Laughing

Do not fear that I have been seduced by the darkside. I shall be back next week with many books read and enjoyed.
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David



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

PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ihave a confession to make---I've never read My Life In France by Julia Child. Picked it up yesterday and that will be my reading for the trip to Calgary and back next weekend!!
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 932
Location: England

PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Debbie, I can only say... Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Is... is that even possible? Only 2?!!! I may swoon delicately on a chaise longue... the smelling salts quick!!!

Or as Moliere put it, ' It is all over with me; I can bear it no longer. I am dying; I am dead; I am buried. Is there nobody who will call me from the dead, by restoring my dear books to me?' Quick, a book to revive me, a book I beg of you! Laughing

I only ever travel with one book... and some space in my luggage to put new books in on the way back!
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Deste



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

PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aurevoir takes on a new meaning here!

It's good to see your names and even a Vegemite label again!

Debbie, you've been reading, no doubt, just different media.

Inspired by your confession, I'll add one of my own: I'm on page 77 or so of TEOH and just can't get into it at all!

Is it just a matter of expectations? Praise fills the back cover and first few pages, so the critics just love the book to pieces, but I find the writing too self-conscious; makes me squirm. Not at all compelling or for that matter, quirky. The author exerts herself in trying to be arch, using the biography of her working-class protagonist to justify intellectual name-dropping.

Different perspectives welcome.
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mlle noelle



Joined: 07 May 2009
Posts: 4
Location: Detroit

PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:47 pm    Post subject: My Life in France book club Reply with quote

David wrote:
Ihave a confession to make---I've never read My Life In France by Julia Child. Picked it up yesterday and that will be my reading for the trip to Calgary and back next weekend!!


David- I just finished "My Life in France" and it was wonderful! I was sad to put it down. Made me want to time-travel to Julia's Paris, to experience Les Halles at that time, if nothing else!

I have a virtual book club and we just did "My Life in France" as our book choice. You should stop by when you're done reading and share your thoughts and impressions! Ditto for anyone else here who has already read the book. Smile Here's the link:

http://mllenoelle.wordpress.com/book-club-my-life-in-france-by-julia-child/

cheers!
noëlle
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Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for that quote Griffin. I might need to change that to my sign off if this situation occurs again.....

Deste, no I didn't read anything else that week - unless you count reading the sedimentary layers and grain sizes of rocks and reading the landscape of where I was.

Didn't even have time to read my text books in the night!!! and we all know I am one of those sick people who reads text books for fun Embarassed

Deste, I am sad that you are not enjoying TEOTH. I loved it and have both versions of it. For me it is so real and I can imagine this happening as I have met people like the characters while living here. Guess it just comes down to the fact that we each have different taste and reading preferences. Sorry it isn't as good a read for you as it was for me.
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Deste



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

PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Debbie: If there is a universe in a grain of sand, there must be libraries within each geological stratum. Wink

Given our logocentric culture, your week without the written word sounds like an amazing adventure. Not even a sign along the road? "Mars" and a list of ingredients on a candy bar that was packaged with French or English-speaking consumers in mind?

As for Renée and Paloma, I ended up involved in their story, missing my stop when finishing the last chapter of TEOH on the train.

Comparing the book to "Bridges of Madison County" isn't quite fair since the novel is meant to provoke thought and to inspire a stronger will to live gratefully and visibly as oneself in the world: nobler goals than those of the enterprising American. "Only connect" is E.M. Forster's way of saying what MB wants us to do and I believe it is possible to craft fiction out of a desire to convey a Message. Still, the impulse presents obstacles.

It's interesting that Barbery chooses Tolstoy as her protagonist's hero. I read his two most celebrated novels ages ago, yet remember how emotionally resonant certain passages were because I could feel the joy (anguish, etc.) of the characters with great immediacy. Epiphanies seemed real because they were forged out of a long series of actions, reactions, and events and the reader had a lot of time to get to know the characters before each crisis and its resolution. Then again, Virginia Woolf shapes a tinier world to achieve similar results. It's really hard for me, too, to put a finger on what is less satisfactory in TEOH other than to point to the deliberateness of the writing (the Profound Thoughts of Paloma are the author's and they just never got me to see the beauty of flowers in moss).

The critiques of class seemed too facile when the targets are as stereotypical as the native residents of the concierge's building seemed to be. A little nuance in an objectionable character would have added balance that I didn't feel resulted from acknowledging the kindness of Olympe or the ultimate salvation of the Prodigal Son. As far as Renée is concerned, I liked the character, but was far more entertained by "Shrek" and look forward to seeing "Séraphine" since it sounds as if there are parallels with TEOH.

I just picked up the one novel by Richard Russo on the shelves of my local library. Fluid. Commanding literary voice and skillful in establishing a complete and compelling world in the first few pages.
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emilyschneider



Joined: 10 Aug 2009
Posts: 1
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2009 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just read Frank McCourt's first two books, Angela's Ashes and 'Tis. When he died and I realized I'd never read Angela's Ashes, I knew I had to pick it up, so I got a cheap used hardcover on Amazon and just inhaled it. Wonderful, wonderful book.

I read 'Tis because I was interested in his life already, but it was not as good as Angela's Ashes (a hard book to follow up, obviously).

Angela's Ashes is a book that made me, someone who grew up in a family that struggled financially and who is currently unemployed and burdened with a lot of debt, feel rich. And more grateful for what I have.
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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 Aug 18, 2009 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

emilyschneider, welcome on board!

For his 94th birthday, my papa was given a copy of 'EUNOIA' by Christian Bok. It didn't appeal to him one little bit!

I've read CHAPTER A. Plan to read it through as poetry. Then again with a dictionary beside me.

Mr Bok certainly has a mind and a half. A beautiful thinker methinks.
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 932
Location: England

PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Emily, welcome. I haven't read McCourt tho' the books were very popular here in the UK for quite a while. I have been reading a mixture recently. Linda Grant's The Thoughtful Dresser, which is fab and I'm still going through it with a lot of pleasure. All about clothes and their importance. Not an academic work, but Grant is an observer and commenter and a wise and witty one at that.

I read two Sally Gardner books set in the French Revolution. Light but fun. Her other book, I, Coriander was interesting too - a kind of Georgian faery tale.

I'm now reading Edward Said's book Culture and Imperialism which is as I expected, fascinating and occasionally contentious. I love it! Not a light book, but I have Dumas' The Black Tulip to follow, so I am savouring the moment when I begin that. I love Alexandre Dumas novels, especially The Count of Monte Cristo so I am looking forward to the Black Tulip... even tho' the title reminds me of Black Adder!
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Deste



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

PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gave up television and while I wait for the internet to catch up w broadcasts (somehow my spiffy, expensive iBook heats up way too much whenever I try to watch episodes of "Top Chef" or...), I am reading more and more fiction than I have for years. Fun and great on trains and busses.

Richard Russo's Nobody's Fool was thoroughly enjoyable; sardonic wit, and evocative of place, namely depressed small town in Upper New York State. Foul-mouthed protagonist wonderfully drawn, though knowing there was a movie way back when w Paul Newman playing the role, it was hard for me to get the actor out of my mind while reading.

Then, every so often when you've got mixed chromosomes, you need something written for your gender, so a slim book by Elizabeth Berg called The Year of Pleasure mostly because there was a photo of a pie safe on the cover and the first page was intelligently written.

Finally, just finished my first by Geraldine Brooks, The People of the Book. Title caught my eye when I went searching for her earlier March. Since I am familiar with the Muslim phrase used for Jews and Christians (the title) and have always enjoyed medieval manuscripts, I ended up reading this first and now intend to read all three of her novels.

So, here's a shout-out to Madame, Swan and all the other Aussies on this forum! Any other Australian novels you recommend I should read? I'm much more familiar with your great films...
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georgia



Joined: 16 May 2006
Posts: 456
Location: california

PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello All...currently have an even higher stack of books on my bedside table than usual...

Nathaniel Philbrick's Mayflower, in preparation for next month's trip to Boston and environs. Brings a far away time, experience, people vividly to life. If I get to Plimoth Plantation, I'll feel I have a good head start!

Our Life in Gardens, by Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd. Not that I'm any kind of a gardener, but their elegant prose and passion for gardens sucks me right in.

Anything knitterly by Stephanie Pearl McPhee, currently her newest collection of essays entitled Free-Range Knitter.

David Lebovitz's charming, witty, very smart The Sweet Life in Paris. His books/recipes are terrific, mainstays of my kitchen, and his observations of being an American in Paris are a delight. We met a couple of times (he'd never remember) when I worked in a culinary program years ago in Berkeley, and he's a very nice guy as well.

And, Deste, I think Geraldine Brooks' March is even better than The People of the Book. I also liked Year of Wonders very much but must confess that I left it off about a third of the way through. It was breaking my heart. I promised myself I'd get back to it...and I will...
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deste, here are a few Australian authors to get you started

Tim Winton - everything he writes is good, but my pick is Dirt Music. He captures the essence of Western Australia so well.

John Marsden's Tomorrow series - 7 books written for teenagers but I'd recommend them for everyone. About a group of teenagers and how they survive when Australia is invaded by an unnamed country. Brilliant books

Geraldine Brooks as you have already mentioned. All her books are good, Foreign Correspondence is a lovely tale of her life in suburban Sydney in the 1960s, the international penpals she corresponded with and their adult lives.

Kate Grenville's 'Secret River'

Tom Keneally's 'The People's Train'

And the list goes on and on
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