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Saturday, 01 December 2007


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which of the many books that you completed have you re-read over the years?

would love to hear about your experiences in china, that would be about...what...nine years ago?

"lurkin'" tess


The Historian is good. It's a vampire-type historical mystery published fairly recently.

I didn't like Confederacy of Dunces, either. I once dated a guy who swore that it was the funniest book ever. We broke up a week after I finished it.


what a great (albeit unfortunate) story about Les Mis! mystery, adventure, tragic irony (sort of) - it's like a mini classic, can i put in on my list??


OMG, I always knew I liked you, and felt a real kinship with you somehow, but oh honey, WE READ THE SAME BOOKS!

"The Name of the Rose" - nobody has ever read this that I know of except me, and now you.

I know you are busy and therefore cannot read right now, but can I suggest some books on tape? Long hours of breastfeeding, pumping, walking the baby back and forth, and what have you were pretty boring until I discovered books on tape, CBC radio, and late night TV. I could still watch where I was going, look at the baby, and even rock him to sleep if I used headphones.

Take care, and if you want to post something unpleasant, please do, life isn't supposed to be perfect, and you get to complain hon, any time you wish. I will still read.


I hated the Historian. The big finale, the thing the entire book is working towards? Takes up half a page at the end. I couldn't believe it, I still feel cheated. It's a great example of why authors need good editors.

The Fountainhead, gah, sent me into a spiralling depression for a week. Terrible.

I can't stand Trollope.

A People's History of the US is, ah, the unofficial History, y'know, from perspectives other than white men. I feel really guilty saying I've yet to read it. For a long time it was the #1 bestseller in the store I worked in.

Betty M

The Raj Quartet was great - Jewel in the crown was on when I was at school and I remember feeling oh so superior as I had read the books first. The list has made me feel like I ought to start reading more modern stuff and looking up ones I have never heard of like The Foountainhead and The Historian although they aren't tempting me. Perhaps I just need another dose of crime fiction instead - now a list of that would be fun...

Girl Detective

Wait. We were in that same book group, and started at the same time, and you moved away before I did, and I don't remember The Fountainhead as one of our books. I've never read it. We DID read Two Girls Fat and Thin by Mary Gaitskill, which was a fictional gloss on Ayn Rand, though, and which I liked.

I do remember Confederacy. I didn't like it either, but I could see why some would I'm reading Ellison's Invisible Man right now for a book group, and I'm strongly reminded of Confederacy.

Also, did you really read Angels and Demons by Dan Brown, the author of Da Vinci code, or were you thinking of Angels and Insects by Byatt?

I echo Aurelia's rec about books on CD for nursing, especially the marathons you're doing. I listened to Stephen Fry's Harry Potter CDs and loved them.


It's interesting that, the stories behind why we don't finish certain books...

but I also wanted to say that one day, when the time is right, Ulysses is fantastic. I studied it at uni (but never finished it) it wasn't until I went to Europe and read it in Paris and Spain that I finally finished it and now it's like Lord Of The Rings, I have to get it out and read it every couple of years. What made it accessible to me was reading it oud loud as opposed to reading it to myself..

I loved it so much I wrote some of the last page (the Molly Bloom monologue) into the first card I ever gave C and then, ten years later, when we married, it became part of our wedding ceremony.

And in fact, the last 8 words are inscribed in our wedding rings.


You haven't done too badly at all! And you've read them all around the world, too - always great memories in that.



I am pretty (okay, a lot) embarrassed about how many of those books I've started but never finished. I'm going to have to give that meme a try...

Motel Manager

We have a very similar reading history, so let me weigh in with a few suggestions/comments:

1. The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst. This won the Booker the same year Cloud Atlas was nominated. It's not as wildly creative as Cloud Atlas, but it is a gorgeous book, and one whose ending (which is not a surprise ending or, really, plot-centric in any way) still resonates with me. As one of my friends described it, it is somehow taut with tension but not conflict, and that tension just continues to build. It's really an amazing book.

2. David Mitchell is a genius and one of the only people I've ever been starstruck by. I'd argue that Cloud Atlas is better than Ghostwritten, though. Both he and Alan Hollinghurst really hit it on their 3rd/4th books, which is something that never happens in the US anymore, since there's so much hype about first books, and no one lets a writer develop the way you do in the UK.

3. A book from this year that I really liked was Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. Perhaps it would resonate more with someone from the US since it perfectly captures the end of the dot-com era, but I thought it was both wildly entertaining and nicely poignant. The author consistently made good choices.

4. One can never read Lolita enough. It's the most remarkable book of all time, IMHO.

Motel Manager

Also, one question re: Cloud Atlas - did you happen to stop during the first section? If so, soldier on - the rest of it flowed easily for me. If you stopped later, well, then, perhaps it just wasn't up your alley! :)


I used to force myself to always finish a book, no matter how little I liked it. I've gotten over that and was amused to see that we didn't finish many of the same ones.

I also disliked the Historian. I actually bought it (something I rarely do) because the wait at the library was too long. I slogged through all but the last 25 pages but just couldn't take it anymore. Maybe now I'll just read the last two pages.


Glad to see a fellow Neil Gaiman fan. Have you ever read his GOOD OMENS, with Terry Pratchett? One of my favorite books ever. Ever ever EVER. (Oh, and just so's you know, Neil Gaiman has *devastating* dark green eyes. I used to go to a lot of SF conventions and met a lot of authors. But Gaiman had the sexiest eyes of all!)


Haha! Another Fountainhead hater! (see my comment to Oro on her meme post) Just couldn't stand it.

Wow, though. You have read a huge amount of these. Very impressive. I have the Easton Press 100 Greatest Books ever written coming to me once a month - started almost three years ago - and now I have no excuse to not read so many of these I have been meaning to.


We hate the same books, aww.

Hey Vanity Fair is pretty good. So is Hunger (Hamsun), The Story of My Wife (Fust), The Unconsoled (Ishiguro), The Fifth Business (Davies), A Prayer for Owen Meany and Of Human Bondage and Brideshead Revisited. Anyways, there's my additions to anybody's reading list, but I bet you've some of these already. :)

Oh and the People's History blah? Never heard of it. No one's ever suggested I read it. And I'm mostly American.

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