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It's the Mardi Gras/Valentine's Day reading thread!
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Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Feb 12 2013, 3:33pm

Post #1 of 43 (346 views)
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It's the Mardi Gras/Valentine's Day reading thread! Can't Post

Wow, it's party week. We can even observe Lunar New Year while we're at it. (And Ash Wednesday, but that's not an excuse to party.)

I finished Georgette Heyer's Cousin Kate. Since so many people I trust (including more than one TORnsib) have told me how much they love Heyer, I'll assume this particular novel isn't typical of her work.

It's set around 1820 and billed as a romantic suspense/Gothic, but is only mildly so---there are no supernatural elements, for one thing. It's written very smoothly. if rather slowly. But almost every line of dialog contains a slang term from the period. Most terms are intelligible from the context, but still, after a while it became a relentless slog.

Kate, the heroine, is an intelligent and charming protagonist, but she's hardly a heroine, since she's much more acted upon than acting, with the other characters' decisions deciding her course. The romance is pleasant enough but pretty much without conflict, and the ending was, to put it mildly, very convenient. The last page of the book left me with quite an unpleasant taste in my mouth, as one character dismisses the dire things that have happened....

Well. I definitely need to try one of Heyer's much more highly regarded books is all!

So what have you been reading?




Alcarcalime
Tol Eressea


Feb 12 2013, 4:36pm

Post #2 of 43 (183 views)
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Slight jog in my usual smooth reading routine! [In reply to] Can't Post

Having seen on the news about Richard III's skeleton being found, I got interested in what surrounded his death. I got out Alison Weir's The War of the Roses. So this week, I have been slowly going through the *Cousins War* I am up to Edward IV's second taking of the throne. Richard III is still to come.

I do love history!




Annael
Half-elven


Feb 12 2013, 4:37pm

Post #3 of 43 (191 views)
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The Annotated Hobbit [In reply to] Can't Post

Some of the annotations - especially the ones listing all the editorial changes between editions - are unnecessary. But I enjoy the many illustrations from different editions/translations.

I read The Lord of the Rings first, as a teenager, and have always found the tone of The Hobbit to be a bit precious & off-putting. I suppose if I'd read it when I was a child, and before reading LOTR, I might have liked it better. Seems Tolkien's own children didn't care for the passages where the author intrudes either.

I haven't read Cousin Kate, but it's true Heyer is overly fond of providing 18th-century slang (mostly gleaned from letters apparently). If you want a take-charge heroine, read The Grand Sophy next.

The way we imagine our lives is the way we are going to go on living our lives.

- James Hillman, Healing Fiction

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967

(This post was edited by Annael on Feb 12 2013, 4:39pm)


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Feb 12 2013, 5:03pm

Post #4 of 43 (175 views)
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I love history too! [In reply to] Can't Post

And have been following the Richard III discoveries and renewed debate about his character with great interest. I need to pull my twenty-year-old copy of Weir's The Princes in the Tower off the shelf and give it a re-read---right after I re-read two mystery novels based on the story, Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time and Elizabeth Peters' The Murders of Richard III.




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Feb 12 2013, 5:07pm

Post #5 of 43 (173 views)
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I've never tackled the annotated Hobbit [In reply to] Can't Post

Although I do have the Hammond and Scull annotated LotR. I too, read LotR as a teenager, before I read TH, and I, too, wonder whether I'd have more affection for the tone of certain passages if I'd first encountered it as a child. Not that I don't enjoy the book as a whole!

Eveyone cites Heyer's The Grand Sophy, so I'll definitely look for that next. I applaud her for researching the sound of the language from that time period, but, well---if I were more interested in the story I would probably tolerate the dialect a bit better.




One Ringer
Tol Eressea


Feb 12 2013, 5:45pm

Post #6 of 43 (167 views)
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Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D'Urbervilles, by Kim Newman [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm taking a break from classic literature to shed some attention on the contemporary. I got this book from my brother for Christmas - he's read Kim Newman's Anno Dracula books (so I have a basic idea of what sort of writer Newman is), and knowing how much I loved Sherlock Holmes, this was a must-have. It's an interesting read, as it's essentially a mirror to the Holmes stories, where instead of Sherlock we're looking at Moriarty, and instead of being told through Watson, it's through Sebastian Moran. It plays off well, making casual references and asides to the concurrent history of Holmes, but it definitely makes it its own. It's also divided into several stories (The Hound of the D'Urbervilles is actually just the title of a single story amidst it all), and it remains fresh that way.

I'm currently only a hundred pages into it so far, but I'd definitely recommend it, namely to those who have read Sherlock Holmes. Smile

Stigmata Script, a bastion for aspiring writers - http://stigmatascript.com/

"You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain."


imin
Valinor


Feb 12 2013, 5:47pm

Post #7 of 43 (187 views)
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The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and The Children of Hurin [In reply to] Can't Post

I always read the hobbit over the xmas break (between Christmas and New Year) - though this year i read it before the movie came out.

I normally read LOTR after that but the past couple of years i have got into combining them by which i mean reading both - one day will be The Silmarillion day, the next LOTR day. I find it helps bring them both even more to life as they bring out the best in each other and gives an even greater sense of depth to the world Tolkien created.

I now also read The Children of Hurin when i get to the appropriate chapter in The Silmarillion so i can get the tale in full as it should be, for it is a fantastic story very much underrated/unknown by most fans of the movies. It also works to ground the stories of The Silmarillion - the language is different with more dialogue and it just makes me think how incredible it would have been if all the stories in the sil could be like this - though obviously would take so long to do! CoH causes me to think more about the stories that come thick and fast in The Sil - along with the topics in the RR :)

I am reading them from my e-book copies and at the same time listening to the audio versions read by Christopher Lee for CoH and Martin Shaw for The Silmarillion - both are fantastic in their readings and perfect choices for those works.

I also went back and listened to the full Tale of Beren and Luthien chapter - i feel it lets my mind wonder if i can just drift my eyes over the words as someone else is saying them to me.

The part where Finrod is in one of the dark pits with Beren on Tol Sirion where he breaks free from his bonds to fight the wolf is very powerful.

has anyone ever seen the Matrix? Where Morpheus is helped captive and there is stirring music as he puts forth all his strength to break the handcuffs and run? this part of the book makes me think of the music playing at that time (in the movie). To me the music combines with it well and allows me to imagine much more than what is actually written - i would love to make a little fan film of Release from Bondage!

Ok sorry i didn't mean this post to get this long!


(This post was edited by imin on Feb 12 2013, 5:49pm)


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Feb 12 2013, 6:13pm

Post #8 of 43 (173 views)
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What an intriguing idea! [In reply to] Can't Post

Who was it who said that a man is always the hero of his own story?

So does "The Hound of the D'Urbervilles" actually cross over into Hardy's Tess of...? (Now there's one of literature's most depressing stories.)




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Feb 12 2013, 6:17pm

Post #9 of 43 (159 views)
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Write as long a post as you like [In reply to] Can't Post

Especially when it's this interesting. Smile

I'd never have thought of reading bits of one book and bit of another and mixing them with audio books, but yes, this would most certainly illuminate the depth and breadth of Tolkien's world. I haven't seen the Matrix, no, but I know from the LotR films how much good music will add to a gripping scene.




NottaSackville
Tol Eressea

Feb 12 2013, 7:40pm

Post #10 of 43 (155 views)
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Phule's Company, and Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend [In reply to] Can't Post

I finished Phule's Company, by Robert Asprin. Maybe not quite as funny as his Myth works, but enjoyable nonetheless. A very rich, but lovable, character finds himself in a spot of trouble while serving in the Space Legion. As punishment, he's shuffled to be the commander of the "Omega Company", which is an outfit of all the legionaries that have been rejected by other companies. If you want tension, angst and uncertain outcomes, go somewhere else. But if you want a light-hearted story about overcoming large odds, it's a good book. I've ordered the next couple in the series.

I'm now about a third of the way through an entirely different kind of book: Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, by Matthew Dicks. I've wanted to read this ever since Ciars posted about it last spring, and it's been sitting on my Goodreads virtual to-read bookshelf ever since. The story is told by the imaginary friend of a young boy with at least some symptoms of Aspergerís Syndrome, and it's quite touching the love and understanding this "imaginary" friend has for the young boy. It's already made me outright cry once. Evil And laugh completely out loud once. Cool Good book!

Notta

Happiness: money matters, but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important and so are friends, while envy is toxic -- and so is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude. - The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner as summarized by Lily Fairbairn. And a bit of the Hobbit reading thrown in never hurts. - NottaSackville


Angharad73
Rohan

Feb 12 2013, 7:42pm

Post #11 of 43 (157 views)
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Getting distracted... [In reply to] Can't Post

So I still haven't finished Graham Moore's 'The Sherlockian'. Somehow that book it not my friend. The idea is intriguing and all, but there just is something about it that repels me every time I open it. I will finish it, though, I am determined. Of course, every time I look at the author's name I get distracted by thinking of Sir Graham Moore of the Royal Navy, which in turn leads me to feeling guilty about that book about his brother that I've been meaning to work on... Yeah, I don't make any sense, even in my own mind...

But I am re-reading Lord of the Rings, slowly, very slowly. And I have read 'Proof of Guilt' by Charles Todd, which was good. Next I'll have to get 'Speaking from Among the Bones' by Alan Bradley, because I absolutely love the Flavia de Luce novels.


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Feb 12 2013, 9:59pm

Post #12 of 43 (150 views)
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Sounds like a good juxtaposition of "feels" [In reply to] Can't Post

Something light and undemanding next to something touching and meaningful. Although I wonder about the way the diagnosis of Asperger's is thrown around so much these days. Are we closing in on some very tiny pigeonhole of "normal", so that the rest of the expanse of human personality is going to be considered something that needs to be treated?




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Feb 12 2013, 10:02pm

Post #13 of 43 (147 views)
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Other people have had trouble with the Sherlockian [In reply to] Can't Post

It's been mentioned a time or two on a mystery readers e-list and it's not a universal favorite. There must be something in it to keep drawing you back, though. Me, I give a book a chapter or two at most, and if it's not my friend, then down (and often out) it goes---even as I realize the lack of "friendship" could well be in my own outlook, nothing inherent in the book itself.

After all, some people can't get into LotR, bizarre as that thought is Shocked




Angharad73
Rohan

Feb 12 2013, 10:12pm

Post #14 of 43 (145 views)
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I don't like giving up on books... [In reply to] Can't Post

...unless they inspire some sort of desire in me to murder the main characters (I've encountered a few of those over the years...). The Sherlockian doesn't do that, although I don't really like the main character all that much.

Regarding Lord of the Rings, actually I understand why some people can't get into that. *Confession time* - I didn't either, the first time I tried to read it. Blush Maybe I was too young to appreciate it or I couldn't handle the language - I gave up after the first two chapters. Then the book languished on my shelf for a few years before I dug it out again and decided to give it another go. And then I was absolutely fascinated and read it all the way to the end. The same thing, interestingly enough, happened with 'Master and Commander', which is now also one of my favourite books. I guess, with some books it pays to be be patient.


Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


Feb 12 2013, 10:15pm

Post #15 of 43 (152 views)
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Coming to the homestretch on Anna Karenina [In reply to] Can't Post

Just started Book 8. The big climax has happened, and now there are a hundred or so more pages to go. Ah, they don't write 'em like that anymore.

I have to admit I kind of skimmed quickly through several pages of political debate to get back to the soap opera part.

As a side note, I was reading about Tolstoy on wikipedia and was astonished to find out that two of his children (by the same mother) died more than a hundred years apart, one in 1873 and one in 1979 (!)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



(This post was edited by Aunt Dora Baggins on Feb 12 2013, 10:17pm)


Ciars
Rohan


Feb 12 2013, 10:27pm

Post #16 of 43 (152 views)
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The Snow Child [In reply to] Can't Post

The title certainly fits the season! It's by Eowyn Ivey, kind of like a modern day fairy story which is itself based on an earlier story/myth. It's about an old couple who move to Alaska to a homestead and who create a snow child. It is a nice read but does get a bit predictable at times I did quite a bit of skipping over some sections ,especially as the story itself warns throughout through a book owned by one of the characters that the ending will not be good. The characters do draw you in though even though each spring you wonder if it is the end for the snow child.


(This post was edited by Ciars on Feb 12 2013, 10:28pm)


macfalk
Valinor


Feb 12 2013, 10:30pm

Post #17 of 43 (146 views)
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Still Storm of Swords... [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm reading it more intensely than ever and I'm soon finished.

I find myself bursting with excitement over the new season of Game of Thrones in March. If it's just half as engaging, engrossing, thrilling, and eventful as the book, then this fan will be very pleased.

I can't wait... I want to see it, and I want to see it now! [childish rant over] Tongue



The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.


Ciars
Rohan


Feb 12 2013, 10:33pm

Post #18 of 43 (145 views)
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I recommend tissues [In reply to] Can't Post

On standby for the end! I loved memoirs and the whole idea of the world of imaginary friends even those friends of children without imagination who didn't have proper forms! It does I think make us question our perceptions of people which is good, labels are there but do not define people,as labels cannot evolve like people can(and do!)


acheron
Gondor


Feb 12 2013, 11:25pm

Post #19 of 43 (157 views)
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finished A Memory of Light finally (no spoilers) [In reply to] Can't Post

Someone here last week didn't like it, but I did. The whole "Last Battle" part was done pretty well, and I liked the ending. I guess there were some hiccups: Mat's final encounter with *spoiler mumble* was kind of anti-climatic.

There was one part I kind of teared up at (Olver).

Loved the last couple paragraphs of the book. Not at all surprising really, but still fun to read.

Anyway, so I liked it. Don't think I will ever read the whole series again or anything, but it was worth reading once. Plus I might not be married if it weren't for the series, so that's good too.

For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars, and so on -- while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man, for precisely the same reasons. -- Douglas Adams


zarabia
Tol Eressea


Feb 13 2013, 7:26am

Post #20 of 43 (137 views)
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Nick Hornby's More Baths Less Talking [In reply to] Can't Post

Nick Hornby, who wrote High Fidelity and About A Boy, has a column - Stuff I've Been Reading - in the British magazine The Believer. These columns have been collected into several books, one of which is More Baths Less Talking. If the other collections are anywhere near as fun to read as this one, I'll be adding them to my reading list. He is ostensibly reviewing the books he has read during the month, but it's more about his experiences and reactions to these books than actual reviews. If you're looking for serious reviews of the books in question, you won't find them here - his "reviews" are really more of a jumping off point. He writes about reading books the way Bill Bryson writes about travel. He's funny and insightful, and makes even books you'd probably never think about reading sound fascinating. His enthusiasm is infectious.

"The question isn't where, Constable, but when." - Inspector Spacetime


Starling
Half-elven


Feb 13 2013, 7:43am

Post #21 of 43 (128 views)
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Have you seen the movie version of About a Boy? [In reply to] Can't Post

It really is excellent. Even Hugh Grant is good in it.
I loved High Fidelity, but I didn't think much of the movie.

More Baths Less Talking sounds very good - I will look out for it.


Ciars
Rohan


Feb 13 2013, 8:12am

Post #22 of 43 (137 views)
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Looks around [In reply to] Can't Post

That was me! But I think I said I liked the majority of it, it just felt rushed and thrown together in places especially the last parts. I am glad I finished the series but like you it's not going to be reread in the future, I'm with you on Mat's *mumbled spoiler* last meeting with the cough dagger owner cough!


zarabia
Tol Eressea


Feb 13 2013, 8:12am

Post #23 of 43 (147 views)
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Yes :) [In reply to] Can't Post

I loved both books and both films. Even though I enjoyed High Fidelity the film, looking back, I would have preferred it if it had been closer to the book. But I saw the film before ever having read any Nick Hornby, so I thought it was pretty good at the time. And I'm grateful that it introduced me to one of my favorite writers. Smile

"The question isn't where, Constable, but when." - Inspector Spacetime


NottaSackville
Tol Eressea

Feb 13 2013, 1:21pm

Post #24 of 43 (115 views)
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Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

With kids currently going through grade/middle school, we definitely see this "medicate it" trend in our culture.

And in the book, it is definitely something the parents are struggling with - is there son normal, or not? Does he need help, or not? The parents argue about it a lot.

But through the eyes of the imaginary friend, we see exactly how different Max is from other kids. And the wonderfully touching thing is how the friend just accepts this about Max and works with it and truly loves what makes Max be Max. Exactly what one wants in an imaginary friend, I guess! Smile

Notta

Happiness: money matters, but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important and so are friends, while envy is toxic -- and so is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude. - The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner as summarized by Lily Fairbairn. And a bit of the Hobbit reading thrown in never hurts. - NottaSackville


NottaSackville
Tol Eressea

Feb 13 2013, 1:23pm

Post #25 of 43 (121 views)
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Will do [In reply to] Can't Post

It's clear that this book is going to go to some incredibly emotional places.

Notta

Happiness: money matters, but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important and so are friends, while envy is toxic -- and so is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude. - The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner as summarized by Lily Fairbairn. And a bit of the Hobbit reading thrown in never hurts. - NottaSackville


(This post was edited by NottaSackville on Feb 13 2013, 1:23pm)

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