Outside of a Dog, a Book is Man's Best Friend (The Book Thread)

Status
Not open for further replies.

Prancer

Needs More Sleep
Staff member
Messages
48,479
If you don't recognize the quote:

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.--Groucho Marx

:D.

I tried to read We, I really did, but...I have surrendered. Sorry, @clairecloutier :slinkaway
 

genevieve

drinky typo pbp, closet hugger
Staff member
Messages
36,092
I finished Franny and Zooey, and wonder how on earth it was so beloved and is considered a classic. I mean, it's amusing at parts, and reads like a play, but for such a slim tome, it took forever to get through.

I bought a book by Jose Saramago that looked promising, but am not currently in the mood for more highly stylized prose.
 

PrincessLeppard

Holding Alex Johnson's Pineapple
Messages
26,294
I am reading several books right now. :shuffle: The first is Why? Explaining the Holocaust by Peter Hayes. I'm about a third of the way in and the thing that has struck me so far is that when the first laws were passed against the Jews, the Germans were mostly indifferent, and so then the Nazis passed more laws, since they got away with the first so easily and then, of course, they moved on to mass murder. So not to get too much into PI territory, but I think it's important that people rose up quickly against Trump's travel ban. We can't be complacent.

The second is Visit Sunny Chernobyl by Andrew Blackwell and it's like a travel guide of polluted places. Really well written and super interesting.

I left the other two at school and can't recall the titles. I should probably just sit down and finish something.
 

Erin

Well-Known Member
Messages
9,167
Work's been too busy to do a much reading lately but I did manage to get one book in, History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund, which @oleada mentioned in the previous thread here

I'd echo her comments about it as being hard to describe but beautifully written and bonus for the accurate skating reference. I also give it a bonus for all of the Minnesota references, which I had fun spotting throughout the book. There were a ton of rural/small town ones that I didn't recognize, but the Twin Cities ones were bang on (right down to people from outside the Twin Cities just referring to the area as "the Cities" :)) and I also enjoyed the part about the trip to Duluth and the lift bridge. So for anyone who's spent significant time in Minnesota, I think they'd enjoy the book from that aspect at least. I thought the plot was really weak and I didn't really understand the point of it
aside from the fact that Paul's parents were Christian Scientists and that doomed him to death and that was bad, but that seems too obvious
and I had some difficulty understanding how the plot with the teacher related to the plot with the family she's babysitting for...maybe they don't, but that seems odd too. I'd agree that none of the characters are really likeable, but Linda, the main character, is at relatable and feels like a real person. So I'm not sure whether to recommend it overall or not for non-Minnesotans. I guess I read it quickly, so if nothing else, if you don't like it, you won't waste a lot of time with it.
 

Cachoo

Well-Known Member
Messages
7,087
I thought the pleasure of reading P.D. James was over for me since she died. But then "The Mistletoe Murders" made an appearance. I am happy.
 

emason

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,136
Has anyone here read Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff? My co-op book club picked it for our next read. I am 100 pages into the approximately 400 pages and I cannot stand it. The writing style, the sloppy writing that should have been fixed in editing, the characters. Oh god, the characters! Someone here, please tell me you hate it as much as I do.
 

Artistic Skaters

Drawing Figures
Messages
7,096
I read both The Monsters of Templeton & Arcadia by Lauren Groff. I was surprised by my total disinterest in Fates and Furies. Didn't Obama mention it as one of his favorite books of the year? All I can say emason is that you read more of it than I did. I wouldn't call it hate, but when I quit reading a book once I've started it's an extremely rare occurrence. I never want to give up on a book after I've selected it. :lol:
 
Last edited:

aftershocks

Well-Known Member
Messages
15,604
Someone told me about this book the other day, and mentioned what a great read it is. I'm surprised that I'd never heard of it or the author, Candice Millard. She's a former editor/ writer for National Geograhic. And she's written three historical nonfiction bestsellers. The one recommended to me is Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine & the Murder of a President (about President James A. Garfield), but all three of her books sound fascinating. The others are: Hero of the Empire (about Winston Churchill), and The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey.

I'm sure I must have been taught something about President James A. Garfield growing up in Cleveland, since Garfield was born in northeastern Ohio, and his memorial tomb is located at Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland. As well, descendants of Garfield still reside in the area (in Mentor, Ohio). Garfield was born in destitute poverty, but his family scraped money together for him to attend school. He was brilliant, and he went on to become a university president at the age of 26 (now known as Hiram College, in Hiram, OH).

Garfield was a reluctant politician, but people admired him so much, that they called on him to serve, first for 4 terms in the House of Representatives. Later, after he gave a mesmerizing speech at the Republican convention for another candidate, the audience enthusiastically voted for Garfield to run as the Republican candidate instead. The tragedy is that Garfield served as U.S. president for only four months before being shot at a train station by a deranged man who fostered dangerous delusions. The most tragic thing of all is that Garfield's wounds were survivable. He lingered in terrible agony for several months before dying from a rampant infection caused by his multiple doctors ignoring the warnings made to them about the necessity to practice antiscepsis (a discovery made during the Civil War). The lead doctors ignored the warnings and repeatedly probed into Garfield's wound with their unwashed fingers and unsterilized instruments, trying to locate the bullet. Medical x-rays had not yet been invented. Still, since the bullet had missed Garfield's spinal cord and was not lodged in any organ, there was no necessity to try and remove it.

It's fascinating that because Garfield served as U.S. president for so short a time, most historians have relegated him to the scrap bin of history. Garfield from all accounts appears to have been as brilliant, engaging and perhaps nearly as wise as President Abraham Lincoln.

The author's website: http://www.candicemillard.com/
NPR interview with Millard: http://www.npr.org/2011/10/15/141385086/james-garfield-and-the-destiny-of-the-republic
Article about Garfield's descendants: http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2012/08/president_garfield_was_a_profo.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_A._Garfield
Millard at the Gerald Ford Library: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLzkyorZrxk
PBS documentary based on the book: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/garfield/player/
 

clairecloutier

Well-Known Member
Messages
9,569
I was in the mood for some fiction recently so I read Leo Tolstoy's Resurrection. I really enjoyed this book! For me, it was really interesting, easy to read, involving, excellent. It has all of Tolstoy's characteristic attention to realistic detail and, especially, his amazing psychological insight and observation into his characters. (There's no other writer I've read who exceeds or even matches Tolstoy in this area IMO.) However this novel does have a strong political/philosophical aspect that some may find off-putting. The book is about a Russian nobleman, Prince Nekhlyudov, who comes to reject his conventional aristocratic way of life to search for deeper meaning. The spark that sets off his transformation is a trial. In his youth, the nobleman seduces and impregnates an orphaned relative of his aunts. She is sent away, becomes a prostitute. 10 years later, she is accused of poisoning a client--and the nobleman, who had forgotten about her, winds up on the jury at her trial. (This is based on a real-life incident.) Great characters, beautifully drawn. Nekhlyudov's growing awareness of his society's problems and injustices feels very real and surprisingly a propos, thinking about our issues today. There are a few straightforwardly polemical passages in the book but, for me, they didn't detract much.

I also found this book extremely interesting from a historical point of view. Tolstoy wrote Resurrection in 1899, a pivotal moment, just a few years before the start of the revolutionary era in Russia. It's interesting that Nekhlyudov's way of life, so seemingly firmly fixed at that time, would within 25 years be utterly destroyed and part of the past. The social conditions and the corruption of the ruling class that led to the revolution are all very clearly depicted in the novel.
 
Last edited:

Nomad

Celebrity cheese-monger
Messages
11,729
I liked most of War & Peace. The detailed battle scenes got tedious, and I gave up 15 pp. into the 100 pp. of philosophizing at the end, but I do look forward to reading Anna Karenina.
 

Nomad

Celebrity cheese-monger
Messages
11,729
I'm 2/3rds of the way through 1984 (I'd put it aside for a while to read some fluff) and I can see why some of kids I went to high school with bitched and bitched about having to read it. I'm sure they found the sections where Orwell quotes page after page after page of the book deadly dull. Even I am a bit dismayed to see that I have to read 16 more pages of the book before I can get on with the novel proper.
 

snoopy

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,428
Just skip those 16 pages.

I just finished "small great things" and skipped half the chapters that were in the POV of the skinhead. It was kind of liberating.
 

PrincessLeppard

Holding Alex Johnson's Pineapple
Messages
26,294
I give my students an overview of "the book" with all the important information. I don't make them read that part of 1984, but some of the, do anyway, which is cool.

If you have a younger relative who isn't a fan of reading but likes adventure, I recommend Scar Island, by Dan Gemeinhart. Fast read, sort of Lord of the Flies in an old insane asylum, complete with hidden passages and strange inhabitants. Oh and the "deep dark secret" the main character is hiding is actually pretty good and revealed at an appropriate place.
 

Jot the Dot Dot

Headstrong Buzzard
Messages
3,735
"Red Herrings And White Elephants: The Origins Of The Phrases We Use Every Day" by Albert Jack. A Chinese friend didn't know what I meant when I said I was bored out of my tree! How does Break a leg go down with someone unaware you are not wishing someone harm? Oh, the glorious messiness of the English language!
 

Nomad

Celebrity cheese-monger
Messages
11,729
I give my students an overview of "the book" with all the important information. I don't make them read that part of 1984, but some of the, do anyway, which is cool...
I'll slog through it, I know it's there for a reason, I just won't enjoy doing so. I've trudged through worse (cough*Romola*cough).
 

MacMadame

Cat Lady-in-Training
Messages
29,681
I don't remember reading a bunch of pages from The Book. Are there copies of 1984 that leave that part out? Or is it just that it was over 40 years ago and/or I blotted it out of my mind.
 

Nomad

Celebrity cheese-monger
Messages
11,729
I have the Everyman's Library edition and there are approx. 32 pp. from the book in Part II.
 

aftershocks

Well-Known Member
Messages
15,604
I'm 2/3rds of the way through 1984 (I'd put it aside for a while to read some fluff) and I can see why some of kids I went to high school with bitched and bitched about having to read it. I'm sure they found the sections where Orwell quotes page after page after page of the book deadly dull. Even I am a bit dismayed to see that I have to read 16 more pages of the book before I can get on with the novel proper.
Well maybe reading 1984 should be assigned with watching the movie, which might lead to greater understanding and enjoyment of both. Not to mention the possibility of making astute comparisons between Orwell's imaginative concepts and what's going on in the world today.

If you don't recognize the quote:

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.--Groucho Marx ...
That's funny, since I happen to be reading:
Inside of a dog: what dogs see, smell, and know, by Alexandra Horowitz ;)

I'm also reading:
Thomas and Beulah: Poems, by Rita Dove
No Bliss Like This: Five Centuries of Love Poems, by Jill Hollis

Just finished graphic fiction (comics):
Mockingbird, Vol. 1, by Chelsea Cain, and Kate Niemczyk (artist)
Saga, Vol. One, by Brian K. Vaughn, and Fiona Staples (artist)

Guilty pleasures: romantic suspense fiction by Linda Howard
 
Last edited:

Prancer

Needs More Sleep
Staff member
Messages
48,479
I just read a book set in Wales and almost asked @SHARPIE to translate a few words in the first chapter. I refrained, but as I read on, I was :lol: that a big part of the book is set in Newport and Gwent.

Every time I would read "Newport," this would run through my head. :rofl:

The book was okay; philosophy major from Cambridge with a weird mental illness becomes cop who is just a wee bit too outside the box. Apparently there's a series, but I don't know if I am interested enough to read more. Still, :lol:.
 
Last edited:

Prancer

Needs More Sleep
Staff member
Messages
48,479
I've been picking my way through a list a Great Books of Western Literature, catching up on some of the ones I've missed or that I didn't actually read all the way through when I was supposed to :shuffle:. I must say, it's a very long list and there are some big gaps on it that just might remain gaps.

But anyway, I picked up Appointment in Samarra with no idea what it was about, read the first couple of pages, flipped to the copyright date, read a few more, and decided that I have clearly underestimated the sexual appetites--or rather, the acknowledgement of sexual appetites--of the 1930s. I have since read that this book was the first (at least the first "good" book) in American literature to acknowledge female sexuality. It's not that it's explicit (it isn't), but rather that it's all so...open. Hoover is President, Prohibition is in full swing, and people are running around in coonskin coats and driving cars with curtains, but even so, it all feels quite contemporary. Everyone wants to get drunk and get laid (which was apparently the way they said it in the 30s, too), not necessarily in that order.

I think after this book, I will need to take a break from the Tomes for a bit and read something fluffy before total gloom over the state of humanity sets in. Maybe something from this list of trashy classics, some of which have been discussed here before: https://media.bookbub.com/blog/2017/03/06/glamorous-classics/
 

Zemgirl

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,577
I think after this book, I will need to take a break from the Tomes for a bit and read something fluffy before total gloom over the state of humanity sets in. Maybe something from this list of trashy classics, some of which have been discussed here before: https://media.bookbub.com/blog/2017/03/06/glamorous-classics/
Oooh, Riders! I read it in high school and was :eek: at some of it. Also the classic blurb "Sex and horses: who can ask for more?"

I read A Woman of Substance around the same time. Not nearly as trashy, but fun reading.

Crazy Rich Asians (recommended in the previous book thread) read to me as Asian Jilly Cooper on crack, though with less sex. Jennifer Donnelly's The Tea Rose reminded me of A Woman of Substance.
 

rfisher

Let the skating begin
Messages
59,303
bookbub is killing me with their cheap and/or free downloads. They make daily deals with Amazon and/or Barnes and Noble. I can't resist the 99 cent book from an author I'd never otherwise read. Some of them aren't worth the 99 cents, but some are new authors to me which means I'll be spending $$$ on their other stuff. :drama:
 

Prancer

Needs More Sleep
Staff member
Messages
48,479
I read A Woman of Substance around the same time. Not nearly as trashy, but fun reading.
That book made me so angry that I stopped reading potboilers.

bookbub is killing me with their cheap and/or free downloads. They make daily deals with Amazon and/or Barnes and Noble. I can't resist the 99 cent book from an author I'd never otherwise read. Some of them aren't worth the 99 cents, but some are new authors to me which means I'll be spending $$$ on their other stuff. :drama:
:lol: I don't think they make deals, just list them, but yes, it's hard to resist the 99 cent books. Then there are the $1.99. How I fret over some of those--should I spend that much? :drama:
 

clairecloutier

Well-Known Member
Messages
9,569
I think after this book, I will need to take a break from the Tomes for a bit and read something fluffy before total gloom over the state of humanity sets in. Maybe something from this list of trashy classics, some of which have been discussed here before: https://media.bookbub.com/blog/2017/03/06/glamorous-classics/

I read Deceptions years ago, back in high school or college maybe? Couldn't resist the identical-twins-switching-places theme. It was a fun read.
 

Nomad

Celebrity cheese-monger
Messages
11,729
In my very first year at the bookstore, we would spend slow evenings perusing the fiction section looking for the worst opening lines. The "winner" was Malibu Beach. " "Oh, baby, sit on me" Brett moaned." :rofl:
 

rfisher

Let the skating begin
Messages
59,303
That book made me so angry that I stopped reading potboilers.



:lol: I don't think they make deals, just list them, but yes, it's hard to resist the 99 cent books. Then there are the $1.99. How I fret over some of those--should I spend that much? :drama:
What's worse are the FREE ones. I debate over should I download that book? What if it's bad? :drama: Then I kick myself because it's effing free! Who cares if it's bad. Just delete the stupid thing. I may have hundreds of books on my Nook I've never read. :shuffle: I'm a book hoarder.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top