Author Topic: What are you reading?  (Read 5467 times)

TooSoon

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What are you reading?
« on: April 07, 2016, 11:29:25 PM »
I'm always interested in what people are reading.  I'm about to finish Dave Eggers," A Hologram for the King" and Jenny Erpenbeck's, "The End of Days."   I've also been working my way through "Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie which is fanstastic, too.    Next on the docket is Middlemarch by George Eliot.

What's everyone reading? 
« Last Edit: April 07, 2016, 11:33:32 PM by TooSoon »

twistedmensa

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2016, 11:38:57 PM »
I have always been an avid reader, tearing through anything I could get my hands on, but the past few years I have found it difficult to concentrate long enough to actually get through a book. I recently downloaded Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray; I've wanted to read it for many years and am hoping I can become immersed in the story like I used to be able to do. So far, I haven't been able to get past the first few pages.

Mizpah

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2016, 11:36:04 AM »
A Norwegian, Karl Ove Knaussgaard, wrote a six-volume memoir/autobiography - I've been hearing that the best writers are all reading it.  I picked up the first volume out of curiosity and am hooked.  It's not exciting or suspenseful, mostly about minutiae of life and relationships and self, but it's strangely addictive. 

A few months ago, read a great four-part piece by an Italian, Elena Ferrante (not her real name - her identity is a secret) that was fantastic, about a friendship between two women, starting as children and into older middle age.  The first is called My Brilliant Friend. 
widowed 2011 (DH 28)

Mizpah

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2016, 11:36:49 AM »
I love Middlemarch!  (Or at least I did when I was in college.)
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TooSoon

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2016, 11:46:21 AM »
OMG, Andy and one of my colleagues are obsessed with the Knaussgaard series!   It keeps coming up lately.  I'm trying to read a Norwegian novel called Shyness and Dignity but it literally has no paragraph breaks and I'm about 40 pages in and he's still musing on one episode/character in an Ibsen play......may not make it to the end. 

Middlemarch has been on my list forever but somehow I've never gotten around to it.

A highlight for me so far this year has been, Alejandro Zambra's, My Documents.  Absolutely loved the stories.

Anyone else reading some good stuff these days? 

TooSoon

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2016, 11:48:58 AM »
I have always been an avid reader, tearing through anything I could get my hands on, but the past few years I have found it difficult to concentrate long enough to actually get through a book.

I had some trouble, too, initially.  I worked up from the New Yorker, to short stories, to memoirs and can now focus on novels again, sometimes escaping into them to avoid everything else....but isn't that in part their purpose? 

TooSoon

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2016, 12:01:16 PM »
Mizpah - I think we've had this conversation but have you read Nora Webster by Colm Toibin?  It is beautiful.  Melancholy but beautiful.  He also wrote Brooklyn, which Andy bought for me.  I haven't read it yet but I've seen the film.  Looking forward to that one as well. 

And I just got Laila Lalami's The Moors Account which I am excited about; it sounds fascinating! 

Anyway, I ramble.  What I should be reading is undergraduate essays by the truck load.....

SoVerySad

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2016, 01:28:45 AM »
I've struggled with concentration for reading as well, much to my lament as a former avid reader. I'm re-reading Jane Eyre as part of my son's school assignment. I also have started reading Damien Echols' Life After Death. He was sentenced to death and spent 18 years on death row for horrible child murders he didn't commit. I've seen him interviewed and been intrigued by his strength to endure what he went through. I'm hoping to get some personal inspiration.
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adp

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2016, 05:55:52 AM »
As TooSoon says, I'm deeply enthralled by Knausgaard. The fifth book just came out in English but I haven't bought yet as it is only in hardback - but I'm starting to think I might just out and buy it this afternoon anyway. I don't know what I'm going to do when I've read all six! But I've heard great things about Ferrante too, so maybe I should get that.

calimom

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2016, 05:56:28 PM »
Love hearing about what others are reading. Another vote for Nora Webster! Absolutely fantastic. TooSoon, I just saw a trailer at the theater for the adaptation of the Dave Eggers book, with Tom Hanks in the starring role, made me curious about the book. Mr. Eggers's wife, Vida Vendela, wrote a good novel a few years ago that would likely fit into the "Wid Lit" category: The Lovers.

Currently on my nightstand are City on Fire, and because that one's going to take me forever to savor, I'm interspersing it with The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson, a memoir on sexuality, motherhood, gender and I am loving it.
"I'm breaking through, I'm bending spoons, I'm keeping flowers in full bloom" - REM

TooSoon

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2016, 10:00:59 AM »
I just saw a trailer at the theater for the adaptation of the Dave Eggers book, with Tom Hanks in the starring role, made me curious about the book.

His first book, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, annoyed the hell out of me at the time (I might feel differently about it now) but then he wrote this fabulous account of one Arab family's experience with Hurricane Katrina (joining two of my interests the Arab American experience (I was married to one; lived in an Arab country for a long time) and New Orleans (where I went to school) so I picked up A Hologram for the King when I read a review of the film in the New Yorker. 

Anyway, I've really enjoyed it.  Basically, a failing salesman in tremendous debt whose life is a mess goes to pitch holographic software to the Saudi king, hoping a contract will be the panacea for all of his problems.  That's the story line but a bit like Lost in Translation, it is about this weird experience of being taken out of your normal life/comfort zone and dropped into a surreal, incomprehensible environment where you're completely disconnected and required just to roll with whatever happens around you.   I'm almost finished and have loved it.  Two thumbs up! 

I'll have to check out his wife's book.  Despite my first encounter with him long ago, he has written and done some important things over the years, especially with his not for profit work and McSweeney's.  I am a fan.   

TooSoon

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2016, 11:44:19 AM »
I also have started reading Damien Echols' Life After Death. He was sentenced to death and spent 18 years on death row for horrible child murders he didn't commit. I've seen him interviewed and been intrigued by his strength to endure what he went through. I'm hoping to get some personal inspiration.

SVS, I looked up Damien Echols and read a fascinating article about him, I think, from the Boston Globe.  Might need to add this one to the list. 

Oh and in my book (pun intended), one can never read Jane Eyre enough times.  I'm sure your son does not agree!  Good luck! 

canadiangirl

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2016, 09:35:33 PM »
These are great suggestions, thanks for starting this thread. My focus and attention have also been seriously affected - I don't read a lot of fiction because the truth was stranger (and sadder than) for a while.  On my night table is Mary Beard's SPQR and a lovely little book from Helen Humphreys called "The Frozen Thames" that is forty little vignettes (about my speed) rather poetically describing times that the Thames River was frozen in London between 1142 and 1895.  It's a weird concept but brilliantly executed so far.


TooSoon

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2016, 09:54:41 PM »
On my night table is Mary Beard's SPQR and a lovely little book from Helen Humphreys called "The Frozen Thames" that is forty little vignettes (about my speed) rather poetically describing times that the Thames River was frozen in London between 1142 and 1895.  It's a weird concept but brilliantly executed so far.

SPQR - senatus populus que romanus says READ IT! 

I'm intrigued by the Thames book.   I heard a job candidate once give such a vivid talk about the times on the frozen Thames and how life sort of got suspended because of it.  So interesting! 

Love this thread!  What else is everyone reading?
« Last Edit: April 11, 2016, 08:17:40 AM by TooSoon »

adp

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2016, 01:14:55 AM »
Virginia Woolf's novel Orlando has some beautiful, enchanting scenes set on the the frozen Thames - in fact I found the whole book enchanting.

So, I went book shopping on Saturday and got Richard Ford's The Sportswriter, the first of his Frank Bascombe books. Its drawn me straight in; the quiet telling of a pretty ordinary life - exactly the sort of thing I like.