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It's the equinox reading thread!

Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Mar 20, 3:18pm

Post #1 of 23 (1491 views)
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It's the equinox reading thread! Can't Post

A happy spring to those of you in the northern hemisphere, and a happy fall to those of you Down Under!

Here in Texas spring is fully sprung. However, my family and I were in Virginia last week and experienced quite a snowstorm. Which was beautiful, but a bit tricksy to negotiate. Even after the sun came out it was very cold. Were we ever glad we'd checked the weather forecast and packed sweaters, coats, hats, gloves, and scarves!

And of course I've been reading.

Maigret and the Killer, Georges Simenon

The Maigret mysteries are perfectly respectable police-procedurals set in mid-20th century France. However, I've now read several and find them to lack a certain, well, je ne sais quois. The plot of this one, for example, leads in one direction and then suddenly shoots off in another, for no reason that I can tell from the rather perfunctory plot. It ends very similarly to another book in the series.

The Terminal Man, Mehrani Karimi Nasseri (Sir Alfred Mehran) with Andrew Donkin

This is the true story of Mehrani, who lived in a terminal at Charles DeGaulle airport near Paris for sixteen years and since 2004 (or so I found by searching the internet) has lived in a French homeless shelter. This poor man was born in Iran but has spent the vast part of his life without any home and without any family, making do with only the slightest human contact. Whether his mental processes were impaired to begin with, or whether they became so as his bureacratic ordeal went on, and on, and on, is hard to say. I found his story of loneliness and passivity profoundly depressing, although I suppose other readers would find it more a story of acceptance than of defeat.

Wings of Fire, Charles Todd

I'd listened to an audio book written by the same author (in reality a mother/son writing team) and enjoyed it, so picked up this installment in paper. Todd is writing today but the mysteries take place right after WWI. He does a good job of capturing the feel of a book written in the early 20s, not shying away from gender, ethnic, and class attitudes of the time.

His protagonist, Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge, suffered emotional trauma in the war and is constantly struggling with his own mind. In this story Rutledge is sent to Cornwall to investigate three deaths in the same family.

I almost put the book down in the second scene, where the author introduces a dozen or so characters, all members, half-members, and step-members of the family. Fortunately I was trapped on an airplane so I persisted and found the book to be nicely written and plotted, thoughtful and character-full. Besides, it's just the sort of traditional English mystery I enjoy, with a stately home and its nearby village, and a literary mystery underpinning the crime story.

I was struck by this statement, made by the village rector in a conversation with Rutledge: "...there are some who are not capable of goodness in any sense. The lost, the damned, the sons of Satan, whatever you choose to call them, exist among us, and cannot be saved because they don't have the capacity for recognizing the purpose of good. As if it had been left out of the clay from which they were formed."

I hear an echo of Tolkien/Gandalf in that.

I'm now listening to the audio of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. I've read this in paper more than once, but not at all recently. The rather cloying sentimentality of the time period is really leaping out at me, I'm sorry to say. I'm looking forward to the upcoming PBS dramatization and hoping the writers have found a compromise between that innocent sweetness and the much more cynical present day.

Whew! So what have you been reading?

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow....


Attalus
Lorien


Mar 20, 5:42pm

Post #2 of 23 (1394 views)
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Okay... [In reply to] Can't Post

I am reading Engaging the Enemy by Elizabeth Moon, and it is no spoiler (I think) to say it has a plot twist so unexpected that I had to get up from the couch and walk about laughing about it (at myself for expecting something else and in admiration of the author). Unhesitatingly recommended! Series starts with Trading In Danger.
Also rereading Lindsey Davis' Scandal Takes a Holiday. Good yarn but far from the best in the series. That would be Silver Pigs or maybe See Delphi and Die.

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mmak. But we got him!


Love horses
The Shire


Mar 20, 7:13pm

Post #3 of 23 (1392 views)
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Book vs Movie [In reply to] Can't Post

My question is should I read the book first before I see the movie? The one I was wondering about is Wrinkle in Time.


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 20, 8:25pm

Post #4 of 23 (1380 views)
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The book does not take long [In reply to] Can't Post

I have read it many, many times, and love it. The movie is faithful to the book, but there are some big departures. I loved the movie, but still like the book more.

I think you could see the movie first and read the book after. I think the movie does well on a large screen because it's very visual, so you might want to catch the movie before it leaves the theaters. But if you can read a book in a few days, do that, then see the movie.


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 20, 8:32pm

Post #5 of 23 (1368 views)
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I really like the Rutledge series [In reply to] Can't Post

I've read them all, and it's good to see Ian's evolution to a broken man just out of the war, and see him regain his life, even though the life he builds is substantially different from before the war.

I'm all over the place with my reading, just finishing Dead Things by Eric Carter. The main character, Eric Carter, lives in a world where some people have different magical abilities. His ability is to talk to dead people. Carter left Los Angeles many years ago and recently returned to solve the murder of his sister. Upon returning, he has to reconcile the man he's become with his past, and confront former friends and enemies. It's OK - lots of testosterone. The men are always violent, the women beautiful.

I'm feeling the urge to visit Middle-earth again, so I might start LOTR after this book is finished. Our Middle-earth Madness game is making me miss Faramir.


Kimi
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 21, 4:10am

Post #6 of 23 (1344 views)
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Our Mutual Friend [In reply to] Can't Post

This is the last novel Dickens completed. I actually finished it a couple of weeks ago, but have been remiss in posting to this thread.

I picked this up because I've read and enjoyed several other Dickens works, and because Annael has said it's her favourite. I can see why! I thoroughly enjoyed it. An intricate plot, and quite complex characters. Dickens' angels (young women of breathtaking perfection) can be overly cloying, but these two had real depth. I also appreciated the sympathetic portrayal of several of the more marginalised characters. A long book, but it kept me gripped all the way through.

While almost all his allusions were familiar enough, one brought me up short. Despite having lived in England, I'd never come across the significance of "taking the Chiltern Hundreds" (a legal detail we don't seem to have inherited from the mother country when setting up our own parliament). I thought his use was metaphorical, and was fascinated to learn its actual meaning.


The Passing of Mistress Rose
My historical novels

Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?

- A Room With a View


Attalus
Lorien


Mar 21, 5:33am

Post #7 of 23 (1335 views)
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Gotta say... [In reply to] Can't Post

that of all the Dickens novels I have read, I like Bleak House the best. But I wil gladly admit I have never gotten to Our Mutual Friend.

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mmak. But we got him!


squire
Half-elven


Mar 21, 12:09pm

Post #8 of 23 (1300 views)
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Amazing detail of parliamentary procedure [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the link to the Chiltern Hundreds info. I am actually surprised that this mechanism is still in force today: in order to resign from the British Parliament, one must ask for and accept appointment to a meaningless office of the Crown, which disqualifies one from holding ones seat.

Instead of sending a letter to the Speaker, "I resign my seat", like in many other countries.

England. A great country, or a royalist theme park.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Kimi
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 21, 8:39pm

Post #9 of 23 (1242 views)
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Bleak House [In reply to] Can't Post

was my favourite, too. But Our Mutual Friend definitely gives it a run for its money in my favourite stakes.


The Passing of Mistress Rose
My historical novels

Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?

- A Room With a View


Kimi
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 21, 8:45pm

Post #10 of 23 (1239 views)
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Yes, isn't it? [In reply to] Can't Post

When I found the details, I at first assumed this would no longer be in force, and was surprised (although I should know better than to be surprised at such a thing) to find that wasn't the case. I especially enjoyed the details of what happens when a bunch of MPs want to resign at the same time, and the Chiltern Hundreds are taken and resigned throughout the day.

Notifying the speaker that one is resigning is how it's done here, and I think that's been the case since the beginning of the New Zealand Parliament in 1854. Ours was based on Westminster, but they didn't feel the need to pick up all the details!


The Passing of Mistress Rose
My historical novels

Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?

- A Room With a View


Annael
Half-elven


Mar 21, 11:49pm

Post #11 of 23 (1212 views)
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finished "The Stone Sky" [In reply to] Can't Post

the last of the "Fifth Season" trilogy. Well, that was different! Not like any other scifi novel I've read. Jemisen takes a looong time to build to the climax but the climactic action itself--and this is true for all three novels--happens too quickly; afterwards I'm left wondering "wait, what happened?" But otherwise it's beautifully written and the characters are fascinating even if you don't like them.

I picked up the first "Vera" novel by Anne Cleeves, "The Crow Trap," and liked it enough to pick up another Cleeves novel at the library. This one's not a Vera but is set in Scotland so I'm looking forward to reading it.

I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the words begin to move around The words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young.

-- Gaston Bachelard

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Kelly of Water's Edge
Rohan

Mar 22, 12:23am

Post #12 of 23 (1209 views)
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Continuing the "Masters of Rome" series. [In reply to] Can't Post

In "The Grass Crown", an aging Marius is trying to cement his legacy, but Sulla, who is no longer a spring chicken either, is starting to tire of waiting his turn for glory...

In "Fortune's Favorites", Sulla finally gets the power and recognition he craves, but in an ironic twist of fate it happens just as his health begins to fail due to complications from his overfair skin and the onset of what we now recognize as diabetes. All the while, he is nipped at the heels the same way he did Marius by a young upstart named Pompey and a brilliant young man by the name of Caesar...

I'm amazed this hasn't been made into a series or set of miniseries yet. The first three books cover the late Republic period most of us are less familiar with than Caesar's dictatorship and the early Empire, with plenty of intrigue, backstabbing, murders and exciting historical events. I still love Publius Rutilius, although he's not as prominent save for one chapter, and I'll be interested to see what's done with Cicero, who's both insufferably conceited and yet (at least so far) in some ways one of the more moral and humane of the male characters so far.


Attalus
Lorien


Mar 22, 7:52pm

Post #13 of 23 (1127 views)
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Or as Oscar said,,, [In reply to] Can't Post

"I am not unfamiliar with arrogance, since I have read Cicero and know Bulwer-Lytton." Wink

Steven Saylor's Roma Sub Rosa series is all about the late Republic, Mysteries, so called, but the history is more fascinating. His portrait of Clodius is the only satisfying one I have ever found.

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mmak. But we got him!


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Mar 27, 2:51pm

Post #14 of 23 (943 views)
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It's the last reading thread of March! [In reply to] Can't Post

We've completed a fourth of the year already. Shocked

I'm still listening to Little Women and will be for some time to come, since I'm only on disc 4 of 17. But that's all right. It's a pleasant story. I sometimes enjoy novels that were contemporary when they were written more than contemporary novels set in the past, because it's very difficult for a writer living in today's world to truly grasp the subtleties of an earlier period. But then, there are some very skilled historical novelists at work these days. I mentioned Charles Todd's Ian Rutledge mysteries a couple of weeks ago. I also like Lindsey Davis's Falco series.

On paper, I just finished a non-fiction book titled How the Body Knows its Mind, by Sian Beilock. The gist of it is that our physical environment---not just our own bodies, but, say, the QWERTY keyboard---influence how our minds work. For example, if someone is unable to walk easily, they'll perceive a hallway as being much longer than it really is. Interesting material.

So what have you been reading?

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow....


Carcharoth
Rivendell


Mar 27, 4:26pm

Post #15 of 23 (940 views)
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Currently, a re-read of LotR, then... [In reply to] Can't Post

...I'm going to delve into The Silmarillion for the first time (no shaming, please).

I have Andy Weir's Artemis on deck, as well.

Also on my list:
The Bear and the Nightingale
Annihilation
(it's been on my list since long before the film was a thing, which I haven't seen yet)
The Expanse series (I've had the first few books for a while, just haven't read them yet)

I've not read very much of anything at all for the last couple of years, so I'm a tad behind.



Attalus
Lorien


Mar 27, 4:53pm

Post #16 of 23 (933 views)
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New order to Alibris today [In reply to] Can't Post

I ordered Elizabeth Moon's Command Decision and Victory Conditions, #4 and 5 of Vatta's War. Also David Weber's War of Honor and Lindsey Davis' See Delphi and Die,, which I seem to remember as being one of the better of the Falco novels. Also Giant Days #4, a compilation fo John Allison's comics.

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mmak. But we got him!


Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


Mar 28, 6:12pm

Post #17 of 23 (903 views)
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I'm almost thinking see the movie first [In reply to] Can't Post

I've loved the book for 48 years, and I couldn't help being disappointed in the movie because it didn't match my mental images. If you see the movie first, you might be able to read the book and make mental images that are different, but it won't seem so disappointing.

The kids were close enough to my images to work, but Mrs. Whatsit & Co. were just too different.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
GNU Terry Pratchett
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Attalus
Lorien


Mar 28, 11:39pm

Post #18 of 23 (880 views)
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My gf mentioned seeing it this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

...but I shall quote this to her,since she loves the book Pirate

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mmak. But we got him!


Annael
Half-elven


Mar 29, 3:31pm

Post #19 of 23 (845 views)
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but . . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

that almost always happens with movies made from books. I can't say that many of the characters in the movie LOTR looked like I'd imagined them (Bilbo and Gandalf and Galadriel aside); but I was prepared for that. What was important to me was that I recognized them anyway. And when I read the book again, I still see them the way I always did.

Hard to answer this question. On the one hand the book is always going to give you more than the movie can, so is it best to see the movie first and then be delighted to revisit the same world in the book and get to explore more of it? Or will the movie forever skew your internal images of the characters if you see it first? I dunno.

Whichever way, I tell myself that it's the same story being told by different storytellers, so there will be differences, and I'll prefer one of them, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy another version.

I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the words begin to move around The words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young.

-- Gaston Bachelard

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967

(This post was edited by Annael on Mar 29, 3:32pm)


Attalus
Lorien


Mar 30, 5:40am

Post #20 of 23 (801 views)
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Heh [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I scared her away from it, anyway, though she is still wanting to watch it Friday night.Maybe I'll think of new reasons not to watch it! Pirate

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mmak. But we got him!


Annael
Half-elven


Mar 30, 2:30pm

Post #21 of 23 (753 views)
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She could always see it with someone else. [In reply to] Can't Post

Or alone.

I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the words begin to move around The words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young.

-- Gaston Bachelard

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Attalus
Lorien


Mar 30, 4:06pm

Post #22 of 23 (743 views)
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Ha! [In reply to] Can't Post

I wish

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mmak. But we got him!


Attalus
Lorien


Mar 30, 10:01pm

Post #23 of 23 (551 views)
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Yay! [In reply to] Can't Post

She agrees that we will go see "Ready Player One" after an Italian dinner!

*Triumph!" Laugh

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mmak. But we got him!

 
 

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