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What are you reading?Summer 2010


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#16 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 10:48 AM

I haven't actually got the book yet, but I just ordered a copy of Spilling the Beans, by Clarissa Dickson Wright, who is of course known as one of the Two Fat Ladies. A newspaper printed excerpts from the book a few months ago, and they were interesting:

http://www.dailymail...e-Fat-Lady.html

#17 dirac

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 02:07 PM

Tell us about it when you do get it, Mme. Hermine. Sounds interesting.

Which translation of 'Anna Karenina' have you got, Rosa? I bought the recent one promoted by Oprah but haven't got round to it yet. It's been highly praised, though.
Daphne du Maurier is nobody's Tolstoy but it's hard to dislike 'Rebecca.' :)

#18 Rosa

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 06:59 PM

Finished:
Hugo's "Hunchback of Notre Dame"
Georgette Heyer's "Death in the Stocks" (This is only the second mystery of hers I've read, and was struck by how similar both stories were.)

Presently I'm reading Charlotte Bronte's "The Professor."

Which translation of 'Anna Karenina' have you got, Rosa? I bought the recent one promoted by Oprah but haven't got round to it yet. It's been highly praised, though.
Daphne du Maurier is nobody's Tolstoy but it's hard to dislike 'Rebecca.' :)


My "Anna Karenina" is translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude. It took me a very long time to get through it; there were parts of it I didn't get, particularly the final part.

"Rebecca" was a quick read, and a vast improvement over "My Cousin Rachel." Hard to resist. ;)

#19 dirac

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 08:17 PM

The Maude translation I don't know. I was raised on the Constance Garnett translations, which seem quaint in some respects know. I have the new one, the Penguin Classics translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

'Rebecca' is just that, hard to resist. I agree with you about 'My Cousin Rachel.' The only other du Maurier I read apart from those two was 'The Scapegoat,' which wasn't bad but was still resistible.

#20 Bonnette

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 08:48 PM

I'm just finishing a beautiful novel set in World War I France called A Very Long Engagement by Sebastien Japrisot (translated by Linda Coverdale) - it was made into a movie of the same name in 2004. The movie led me to the book, and though the two are in many ways quite different, both are wonderful.

#21 dirac

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 08:52 PM

Hello, Bonnette, and welcome to the board and the forum. I saw the movie and liked it and have always meant to read the book. Did you find that seeing the movie first affected your reading experience?

#22 Bonnette

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 09:18 PM

Hi dirac, and thank you for your welcome. I found that seeing the movie first actually enhanced my reading of the book, and reading the book helped me to understand some of the intricacies of the movie's sequencing. The movie has been on cable a lot recently - I've watched it several times, and with each viewing my appreciation has grown for both the movie and the book.

#23 dirac

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 09:30 PM

I saw the movie a second time a year or so ago and it does get better, but there was a question or two the book could probably answer for me. Must move it up in the queue. :)

#24 canbelto

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 11:01 AM

I'm reading "Last Train to Memphis," the biography about the early life of Elvis. Highly recommended, and I can't wait to start "Careless Love," the sequel, now.

#25 bart

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 12:47 PM

Reading history often leads me to related, serious historical fiction.. This month, I found myself returning to Robert Graves's I, Claudius and Claudius the God, both of which have been referred to on other BT threads.

This in turn led to a discovery (for me): David Wishart's detective series, set in Rome during the reign of Tiberius and featuring a young Roman nobleman Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus.

I found a couple of the volumes in our public library system and read them out of order, something I usually don't do. Now -- thanks to Amazon's used book suppliers -- I've ordered the others in the series and will read those in order.

I've just started Ovid, first in the series. It begins with the unwillingness of someone very high up in the Imperial government to allow the poet's family to retrieve his ashes from his place of exile and disgrace on the Black Sea.

There's a real mystery: what did Ovid do or know ten years ago that got him expelled beyond the farthest limit of the Roman world? why are people so terrified to talk about about what happened, even now that he is dead?

There's a skeptical, inquisitive, persistent, likeable sleuth who bends the rules but is honorable deep down. There's a beautiful if unconventional female client.

I especially like Wishart's grasp of political and social background and his ability to convey a plausible period "feel," despite Corvinus's democratic tendencies (odd for a Roman patrician) and fondness for mid-twentieth century slang (think Sam Spade or Travis McGee).

Unlike many popular writers of historical fiction, Wishart knows his period well. His is the best kind of erudition: one which infuses the text without showing off or overwhelming you.

#26 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 04:04 PM

Reading history often leads me to related, serious historical fiction.. This month, I found myself returning to Robert Graves's I, Claudius and Claudius the God, both of which have been referred to on other BT threads.

This in turn led to a discovery (for me): David Wishart's detective series, set in Rome during the reign of Tiberius and featuring a young Roman nobleman Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus.

I found a couple of the volumes in our public library system and read them out of order, something I usually don't do. Now -- thanks to Amazon's used book suppliers -- I've ordered the others in the series and will read those in order.

I've just started Ovid, first in the series. It begins with the unwillingness of someone very high up in the Imperial government to allow the poet's family to retrieve his ashes from his place of exile and disgrace on the Black Sea.

There's a real mystery: what did Ovid do or know ten years ago that got him expelled beyond the farthest limit of the Roman world? why are people so terrified to talk about about what happened, even now that he is dead?

There's a skeptical, inquisitive, persistent, likeable sleuth who bends the rules but is honorable deep down. There's a beautiful if unconventional female client.

I especially like Wishart's grasp of political and social background and his ability to convey a plausible period "feel," despite Corvinus's democratic tendencies (odd for a Roman patrician) and fondness for mid-twentieth century slang (think Sam Spade or Travis McGee).

Unlike many popular writers of historical fiction, Wishart knows his period well. His is the best kind of erudition: one which infuses the text without showing off or overwhelming you.


Bart,

If you haven't read them yet, you might enjoy Robert Harris' three Roman novels, Pompeii, Imperium, and Conspirata. The last two are, believe it or not, page-turners about Cicero told from the point-of-view of his slave-secretary, Tiro (who apparently really did invent a form of shorthand). They're pretty accurate, witty, lots of fun -- and a useful reminder that as far as politics goes nothing has changed over the last two millenia.

I read Ursula LeGuin's Lavinia earlier this summer, and recommend that too, although its about Rome before Rome was really Rome. (It's LeGuin's take on the life of the woman Aeneas married when he and his band of Trojans arrived in Latium. Lavinia says nary a word in the Aeneid, so LeGuin has given her a voice.)

I seem to be on a genre fiction kick at the moment: I just finished China Mieville's two latest works, The City and the City and Kraken as well as several of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books. The City and the City is a police procedural wrapped in a modern urban fantasy: two Eastern European cities occupy the same physical space, but their respective residents are trained from birth not to perceive the existence of the other city and its inhabitants. The whole premise is fascinating; one city seems to be secular-Christian, the other secular-Muslim. Kraken makes sly fun of just about every sci-fi / urban fantasy trope out there (as does Pratchett, of course), topped off with some of Mieville's signature, ingenious grotesqueries.

I'm in the middle of Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story -- a funny and bleak dystopia about the near-future -- which I'm enjoying despite the bleakness.

#27 richard53dog

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 05:37 PM

Bart,

If you haven't read them yet, you might enjoy Robert Harris' three Roman novels, Pompeii, Imperium, and Conspirata. The last two are, believe it or not, page-turners about Cicero told from the point-of-view of his slave-secretary, Tiro (who apparently really did invent a form of shorthand). They're pretty accurate, witty, lots of fun -- and a useful reminder that as far as politics goes nothing has changed over the last two millenia.



I can add my two cents here. These have been part of my reading this summer. I loved Pompei and Imperium and I started Conspirata over the weekend. They fall into the "historical novel" category but there is enough that is based on actual history to keep them honest. Agree lots of fun and great page turners!

#28 bart

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 05:44 PM

If you haven't read them yet, you might enjoy Robert Harris' three Roman novels, Pompeii, Imperium, and Conspirata. The last two are, believe it or not, page-turners about Cicero told from the point-of-view of his slave-secretary, Tiro (who apparently really did invent a form of shorthand). They're pretty accurate, witty, lots of fun -- and a useful reminder that as far as politics goes nothing has changed over the last two millenia.

Thanks, Kathleen. I have read Imperium and look forward to Conspirata (also called, I believe, Lustrum). I love the Cicero character. He's rather priggish and self-important, but significantly more likeable than his most of his contemporaries found him or than he is portrayed in Coleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series.

I will definitely check out Lavinia, as you suggest.

#29 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 02:12 AM

I would love to recommend a book I found at a garage sale years ago, which I've revisited again and again, Paris Underground, by Etta Shiber. Mrs. Shiber was a widow before the second world war, and went to France to live with a friend of hers, she was in Paris when the Nazis occupied it and she and her friend became involved with the underground in France, rescuing soldiers. She eventually ended up in prison and was exchanged by the American government for a German spy. It's beautifully written; although it's been made into a movie once and there have been whisperings of another film being made, I can't imagine anything as good as the book.

#30 leonid17

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 04:41 AM

I would love to recommend a book I found at a garage sale years ago, which I've revisited again and again, Paris Underground, by Etta Shiber. Mrs. Shiber was a widow before the second world war, and went to France to live with a friend of hers, she was in Paris when the Nazis occupied it and she and her friend became involved with the underground in France, rescuing soldiers. She eventually ended up in prison and was exchanged by the American government for a German spy. It's beautifully written; although it's been made into a movie once and there have been whisperings of another film being made, I can't imagine anything as good as the book.


I have seen the film starring Constance Bennett(also producer)and Gracie Fields who give good performances but I found it rather a creaky old film.

I am interested in films depicting the 1939-1945 war in Europe as my father fought in it. I googled the book today and found the following period review.
http://www.time.com/...,850371,00.html


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