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  1. #681
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    I would like to very cautiously recommend Emotionally Weird by Kate Atkinson. As in, rfisher, don't you go near this book or say I didn't warn you. Nothing much happens other than graduate level classes in English in some god-forsaken college in Dundee. But if you ever were a grad student in English or are familiar with the lay of that land, you may enjoy it. Basically, Atkinson rips them all a new one in an enjoyably snarky way.

    As an aside, the spell check no longer underlines 'snarky.' Has it been added as an official word to the Big Dictionary?
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

  2. #682
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    I thought Atkinson wrote murder mysteries. Does she kill some English Don? I've wanted to do that.
    Those who never succeed themselves are always the first to tell you how.

  3. #683

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    I finished the two Cora Harrison medieval Ireland mysteries over the weekend and am on the waiting list for the rest of the series at the swap site. I like the way the main character uses nothing but interrogation and observation to piece together the mystery and the writing reminds me a little of Ellis Peters' Cadfael series. I've now gone back to Coloonial America for the third Stephen Lewis mystery "The Sea Hath Spoken." This one exemplifies the extreme religious intolerance practised by the colonists who fled the same back in the Old World.
    I'd rather be thought of as absolutely ridiculous than as absolutely boring.

  4. #684

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    Had a massive reading binge this weekend and finished two new books. The first, The Flight of Gemma Hardy was a very obvious modernization of Jane Eyre. It was OK, but I didn't love it. It moved pretty slowly at times. I've never actually read Jane Eyre (seen some of the recent adaptations but never actually read the book), so I'm curious as to whether I would like the original more or less than the copy, or if one enhances my appreciation of the other. I have a copy of Jane Eyre sitting at home, so I will try to read it, but first have to get through some library books before they have to be returned.

    The second was one such library book, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, soon to be a movie starring Reese Witherspoon, who is way to play 26 year-old Strayed, unless they are planning to age her a bit. I liked it more than I expected. I had only read it because one of my book clubs was reading it and even though I couldn't make it to book club because I was on vacation, I still decided to read the book. I was thinking it would be a story about being lost in the wilderness and attacked by some animals, but nothing like that ever really happens to her, aside from some minor scares. It was a lot more about the things that happened in her life prior to hiking the Pacific Coast Trail that led to her decision to do it, some of the challenges she faced on the way (i.e. boots not fitting right, a monstrously heavy pack, not really being properly trained for it), and the interactions she had with other fellow hikers along the way. She's an entertaining writer. It will be interesting to see how the movie works out - as usual, things are going to have to be massively condensed, but I don't have a good sense of what will or won't make the cut.

    Up next is Dreadnought by Robert Massie, about the personalities and events that shaped the arms race in Europe and ultimately resulted in WWI. After IceAlisa mentioned Nicholas and Alexandra, I started looking at Massie's other books and this one seemed particularly interesting after my recent trip to Europe.

  5. #685

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    Massie is a wonderful writer who makes history approachable and interesting for contemporary readers.

  6. #686
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
    I thought Atkinson wrote murder mysteries. Does she kill some English Don? I've wanted to do that.
    She does write murder mysteries and also other genres that she invents as she goes. I don't even know how to classify Life After Life. Emotionally Weird does contain a murder mystery as it is the protagonist's term paper in her creative writing class. But it's so much more. There's the English grad students' narrative and the protagonist's other narrative about her family story. All in different fonts to help you keep them straight.

    The characters are reminiscent of the Lewis Carroll smart-ass, obnoxious talking animals in Alice in Wonderland. I have to add that I fell out of love with Alice once I came across evidence that he was a pedophile and Alice was likely subjected to his advances as a child.

    Anyway, Emotionally Weird is not for a strictly murder mystery reader. It's mostly a spoof on English departments so far.

    Quote Originally Posted by skatesindreams View Post
    Massie is a wonderful writer who makes history approachable and interesting for contemporary readers.
    Massie is awesome. I've read most of his books on Russian history.
    Quote Originally Posted by Erin View Post

    Up next is Dreadnought by Robert Massie, about the personalities and events that shaped the arms race in Europe and ultimately resulted in WWI. After IceAlisa mentioned Nicholas and Alexandra, I started looking at Massie's other books and this one seemed particularly interesting after my recent trip to Europe.
    Would it help if I said I once saw Frank Carroll reading his book on Catherine II? Nicholas and Alexandra was masterfully written.
    Last edited by IceAlisa; 07-07-2014 at 06:01 PM.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

  7. #687
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    As an aside, the spell check no longer underlines 'snarky.' Has it been added as an official word to the Big Dictionary?
    Snarky has been around a long time (late 1800s) and has been included in Merriam-Webster and the OED, among others, for years.

    I often wonder what dictionary my spellcheck uses; it tags a lot of words I think it shouldn't.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  8. #688
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    It has been underlined in red here for a while. This is the first time I noticed that it was not. What kind of spellcheck does FSU use or is it my browser?
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

  9. #689

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    Quote Originally Posted by skatesindreams View Post
    Massie is a wonderful writer who makes history approachable and interesting for contemporary readers.
    Agreed. I've just read the prologue to Dreadnought and I'm already hooked. Good thing he's a wonderful writer, too, as this one is over 1000 pages

    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    Would it help if I said I once saw Frank Carroll reading his book on Catherine II? Nicholas and Alexandra was masterfully written.
    I'll probably end up reading all of his books eventually, but Catherine II is probably the next up anyway, as I was intrigued by the little tidbits I learned about her in my Rick Steves' St. Petersburg guidebook. It also helps that my library carries many (perhaps even all) of his books via e-book.

    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    She does write murder mysteries and also other genres that she invents as she goes. I don't even know how to classify Life After Life.
    Yeah, that is a strange one to classify. I read it for book club and didn't know what to make of it. It did create a funny moment at work, when I was telling my employee that I only 80% through the book we were discussing that evening at book club, but it probably didn't matter because it had a number of different endings, so I should still be able to follow the discussion. He thought that sounded kind of like a book he was reading and sure enough, it was the same book. That said, I turned out to be wrong, because it turned out that there were some rather substantive alternate endings in the last 20% of the book and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out if I had just missed major plot points

    Spoiler

    in one of the previous versions of the plot or if there were really that many variations in the last 20% of the book.
    Last edited by Erin; 07-07-2014 at 07:23 PM.

  10. #690
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    I love it when I recommend a book and the person really enjoys it.

    I told one of co-workers about Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith just before the July 4th weekend and as I was coming into my office this morning he followed me in telling me he had "sped red" through it. He said he couldn't put it down until he finished it.
    If this is to end in fire
    Then we will all burn together

  11. #691

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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    Massie is awesome. I've read most of his books on Russian history.
    Would it help if I said I once saw Frank Carroll reading his book on Catherine II? Nicholas and Alexandra was masterfully written.
    Nicholas and Alexandra, read when I was 14, began my lifelong interest in Russan History.

  12. #692
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    Quote Originally Posted by skatesindreams View Post
    Nicholas and Alexandra, read when I was 14, began my lifelong interest in Russan History.
    Me too- and I was about the same age!
    I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
    (Edna St Vincent Millay)

  13. #693
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    A friend sent me this. Kind of interesting to see what some political sorts are reading this summer and to see their comments.
    http://www.politico.com/magazine/sto...l#.U7s8ZeRJOAh

    The same friend mentioned that she was reading The Girls of Atomic City and I wondered if anyone here has read it.

  14. #694
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    Aside from being an engaging writer, how cool is the fact that Massie had inspired you guys.

    Erin, I got the impression that in Life After Life, the cycle kept repeating itself until Ursula gets it right--your spoiler point.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

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    Steven Lewis' third Colonial Times Mystery is a disapointment - too choppy, too many characters with similar names, too many threads of unfleshed plots and not enough actual Plot for my taste. Plus I was startled to discover a third of the way into the book that apparently several years have passed since the last book although no mention of that fact was made in the beginning. And given the vagues of location of Newbury (the impression I get is somewhere along the Maine seacoast but it could be along the Massachusetts coast or even south into Connecticut or even New York), it's diffcult to get a real sense of the history of the place and times. I don't recommend this one.

    Next up is Lauren Owen's "The Quick." I picked this one up on impluse on my last swing through B&N nothing nothing more than the cover blurb. Since then, I've seen it listed on a couple of Summer Reading lists and on Sunday morning's "Meet The Press" author segment one of the mystery writers there said she'd just finished it and enjoyed it a lot as a "Victorian Gothic Vampire Thriller Mystery" which sounds interesting to me.

    At a yard sale last Saturday, I found a funky wooden bookcase for $10 that I brought home and dusted and polished and have now filled with all the most recent books I have that I haven't read yet. It's full. I think that means I need to read faster.
    I'd rather be thought of as absolutely ridiculous than as absolutely boring.

  16. #696
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    I got "popular music from vittula" because it sounded like it was about snow and ice thangs and that sounds wonderful to take my mind off the heat outside and because inside I'm frickin freezing thanks to roommate who feels it must be around 50 to take *her* mind off the heat.
    Have a nice day!

  17. #697
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    has anyone read "the zhivago affair"

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/docto...paign=newshour
    I feel like I'm in a dream. But it can't be a dream because there are no boy dancers!

  18. #698
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    Quote Originally Posted by my little pony View Post
    has anyone read "the zhivago affair"

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/docto...paign=newshour
    No, but I've read Doctor Zhivago. Yawn. I think the Nobel was more political than anything. May be this book is better? The guy being interviewed has a slight accent, wonder what it is.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

  19. #699
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    I have a sack load of paperbacks that were given to me. Among them are bunch of C. J. Box novels. Can anyone give me a review/recommendation on Box? I don't like a lot of sex or bad language. Should I take a chance or give them away.

  20. #700
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    Quote Originally Posted by A.H.Black View Post
    I have a sack load of paperbacks that were given to me. Among them are bunch of C. J. Box novels. Can anyone give me a review/recommendation on Box? I don't like a lot of sex or bad language. Should I take a chance or give them away.
    C. J. Box writes mysteries, many of them featuring Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett. I haven't read one in a while, but I don't remember any sex (if there is any, it's not explicit) or a lot of bad language (people do occasionally swear, but I don't remember a lot of it). There is violence, but it's not particularly explicit, either.

    I would say that Box is not the most graceful or intellectual writer ever, but I like his books because they focus so much on nature and mostly ordinary people. If you are interested in Yellowstone (I am), he talks about the park and the area quite a bit in all his books. Sometimes the books seem kind of slow, but the last Box I read was a standalone that moved along at a pretty quick clip.

    Just depends on what you like .
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

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