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What are you reading this winter?On my vacation reading list


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#31 dirac

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 11:45 AM

I was very disappointed by the Hamilton book on Clinton, especially since his book on Kennedy ("JFK: Reckless Youth") was/is excellent, with much new and interesting information. This time he seemed to rely too much on secondary sources and seemed to have little insight into his subject, despite all the groping around in Clinton's psychosexual innards. I missed the reference to Paul, so thank you for pointing it out!

#32 Funny Face

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 07:02 PM

Okay, here's the deal. I have to read so much 'heavy' material for school that the only way I often can wind down at night is to indulge in the lighter weight fare. So, one of my favorite 'light weights' is Phyllis Whitney, who is still writing into her 90s -- mysteries that have more to do with the human psyche, often delving into the paranormal. Right now, I'm balancing Ms. Whitney with my readings on medieval Russian art and architecture. Does anyone else have that experience of having to read such light fare to balance out the requisite stuff?

#33 LMCtech

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Posted 04 February 2004 - 09:38 PM

I'm reading "Kitchen Confidential" right now. Frightening and funny at the same time. It may have cured me of ever wanting to open a restaurant.

#34 carbro

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Posted 04 February 2004 - 11:16 PM

Just finished E. L. Doctorow's small, new book, "Reporting the Universe," an extremely stimulating and provocative collection of related essays.

#35 BW

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 05:17 PM

Like vagansmom, if I find an author I really enjoy I due tend to try to read other boosk by them, ASAP. After finishing Bel Canto - which I loved - I picked up The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett and liked it quite a bit, as well. I'll spare you my views on the similar themes in two very different stories. :o Just finished The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold, two nights ago. Read the first chapter in the chiropractor's waiting room, thinking it was rather appropriate - don't let that first chapter stop you in your tracks...keep going, it's worth it. I'm looking forward to her heaven - for those of you who've read the book.

I love this thread, though I often forget to keep an eye on it. It's a great book list in the making!

Thank you all. :yes:

Edited by BW, 05 February 2004 - 05:27 PM.


#36 Ed Waffle

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Posted 10 February 2004 - 12:33 AM

Funny Face wrote:

Tiffany, and others interested in reading stories indigenous to the South, try Ellen Gilchrist's work. A highly acclaimed writer, she pens full length novels and short stories


Couldn't agree more. I first read Gilchrist when I stumbled across "Victory over Japan" many years ago. It is a collection linked short stories and I was completely taken by it. I gave it as a gift to a number of people--my wife's mother was very impressed and has probably read most of what Ellen Gilchrist writes. Well worth pursuing.

Rounding up a few of the usual suspects:

William Faulkner--he created an entire universe in his fictional but oh so real Yoknapatawpha County.

Flannery O'Connor--you can read everything she published in a few weeks. She is known as a "Catholic" writer as well as a "Southern" writer. Pigeonholing creative artists with epithets can be useful in some contexts, but it is also like calling Homer a Greek poet. It is certainly accurate as far as it goes but is woefully incomplete. O'Connors short stories, a total of 32, are terrific.

Carson McCullers--her work is often described as Southern Gothic and is full of the same types of grotesque characters as another "regional" writer, Sherwood Anderson. Three of her novels have been made into movies: "Member of the Wedding", "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" and "Reflections in a Golden Eye".

Eudora Welty--like Faulker, firmly rooted in Mississippi. She had a real talent for comedy--"Why I Live at the P.O." is an American humor classic. Her four collections of short stories contain some of the best writing in the 20th century in that genre. She also published two books of photographs. "One Writer's Beginnings", a short autobiography, is excellent.

Tennessee Williams--"The Glass Menagerie" "A Streetcar Named Desire" "Summer and Smoke" "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". Along with Faulkner, he changed the world.

The fugitive poets, especially John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate and Robert Penn Warren. In their early work the denounced Modernism (and modernity) and looked back nostalgically at the agrarian South.

There is a lot more.

#37 BW

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Posted 10 February 2004 - 05:40 AM

Another Southern writer, that I happen to love, is Lee Smith. Here's a link to some information about her on Amazon: Lee Smith.

When I was living in West Virginia one year, I went through a serious "Southern" phase - oh yes, and a Civil War phase, as well. We were in the most south eastern part of the state and "Yankees" were still discussed, over breakfast and The General Lewis Inn. :wink:

#38 chauffeur

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Posted 10 February 2004 - 09:30 AM

I just whipped through "Kate Remembered," the biography of Katharine Hepburn by Scott Berg. It's brain candy but brain candy of a better sort, kind of like the difference between bon-bons from the homemade candy shop in town and the chocolate bar you grab out on the checkout line at the supermarket.

Very genteel writing, remembrances and observations. She was a curious mix of brash and classy, and Berg seemed to capture that. I know there's supposed to be an unauthorized, dirt-digging biography of Hepburn due out soon, but, after a week of enduring Super Bowl halftime-show highlights on TV, this dose of gentility was most welcome.

#39 vagansmom

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Posted 10 February 2004 - 08:20 PM

I have always had a hard time reading Flannery O'Connor because I find her works terribly depressing. I appreciate her writing style but I still come away depressed.

#40 balletmom2

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 05:35 AM

What a terrific board! Funny Face, I can relate to your point about "lighter" books....they can provide balance to the sometimes harsh realities of our professional lives. I have certainly found this to be true...not just in my reading, but also in the movies that I choose to see. I also find that I like books about women and relationships (in the broadest sense of the word). Some authors I've read and enjoyed include Barbara Kingsolver(The Bean Trees, Animal Dreams, Pigs in Heaven (a trilogy of sorts) and The Poisonwood Bible), Rosemund Pilcher (Start with the Shell Seekers), Anita Shreve (though I really hated the end of "The Last Time We Met"), Barbara Delinsky (the later stuff...try "The Coast Road"), Kristen Hannah [/B](a mixed bag...), and of course, I read Grisham, Baldacci (I really liked "Wish You Well"...a book not like his others). I LOVED Seabiscuit for those who haven't had the pleasure. Right now I'm reading the Lovely Bones. I agree with you, BW, this is a very special book. Finally, not for all, but I was charmed by the first three books of the Mitford Series by Jan Karon. The first is titled At Home in Mitford.
As I've read your posts, I've made a list of books to read! Thank you!

#41 vagansmom

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 08:10 PM

Tonight I started "The Pull of the Moon" by Elizabeth Berg. It's yet another book written from the perspective of a 50-ish woman realizing that she's undergoing a loss. Hmm, do I detect a pattern here in my reading choices? (see the Carole Shields thread).

I like it; I really do. Anyone read anything by her?

#42 BW

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Posted 24 February 2004 - 06:50 PM

vagansmom, have you read Carol Shield's Unless speaking of "loss"?

I'm reading it now - though I'm not smitten by it, so far.

balletmom2, I've never read any of those Mitford books, but they do seem as though they'd be charming and make me want to put on my cardigan and have a nice pot of tea! :) Not a bad thing, I might add. :)

#43 Treefrog

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Posted 24 February 2004 - 09:04 PM

BW, I think vagansmom wrote about "Unless" on the Carole Shields thread.

As it happens, I'm reading it right now too. Like you, I'm not smitten -- don't have that feeling that I just have to pick it up and finish it right now -- but I don't want to give it up either. I suspect that it's the sort of book that works on you unconsciously, and I want to give it a chance to do that.

#44 TutuMaker

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 09:53 AM

My favorite book thus far this winter has been Reading Lolita in Tehran. :yes: It took me a long time to read because I needed to put it down every so often and completely digest what I had read! It is non-fiction written by an Iranian woman, educated in the United States, who now lives here again. She is a professor in literature and is very insightful, not only about literature, but also the issues of the way women are treated and viewed and how they view themselves in Iran.

As for southern writers, one of my favorites is Pat Conroy! :)

#45 BW

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 10:12 AM

I knew that book/story sounded familiar! Here is a link to NPR and a piece by Terri Gross on Fresh Air Azar Nafisi. B)


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