**Favourite reads of Quarter 3 in 2011 (July - Sept)

KeskusteluClub Read 2011

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**Favourite reads of Quarter 3 in 2011 (July - Sept)

Tämä viestiketju on "uinuva" —viimeisin viesti on vanhempi kuin 90 päivää. Ryhmä "virkoaa", kun lähetät vastauksen.

syyskuu 25, 2011, 11:35 am

Well ladies and gentlemen, another three months have nearly passed by. Tell us all what your top reads have been over the summer/winter (delete as applicable depending on your hemisphere).

These are mine:

Jean Rhys by Carole Angier - a sometimes frustrating biography of one of my favourite authors

I Am Not Sidney Poitier by Percival Everett - fabulous, ridiculous, intelligent novel in which Not Sidney Poitier learns about life and love

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 6, 2011, 1:45 pm

Although I felt like I was in reading slump over the summer because I didn't read most of the books I planned/hoped to read, in fact I had a great reading quarter, with my favorites listed here working backwards from the most recently read. I am now reading such a long book that unless I mix it up with something shorter, this will be it for the quarter.


The Towers of Trebizond by Rose Macaulay
Ice Trilogy by Vladimir Sorokin
They Were Counted/They Were Found Wanting/They Were Divided by Miklós Bánffy
A Change of Climate by Hilary Mantel
The Moldavian Pimp by Edgardo Cozarinsky
The Skin Chairs and The Juniper Tree by Barbara Comyns
Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
The Prospector by J.M.G. LeClezio

The Factory of Facts by Luc Sante
Classic Crimes by William Roughead
Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York by Luc Sante

syyskuu 25, 2011, 2:29 pm

I didn't manage to read as much this quarter as I wished, as I had to work on my Honours essays. That said, here are my favourites for the quarter.

The Glass Room by Simon Mawer - interesting depiction of the early 20th century focusing on the story of one Modernist house

Bleak House by Charles Dickens - Jarndyce and Jarndyce, and all that jazz.

Babel-17/Empire Star by Samuel R. Delany - smart, engaging SF novel of ideas

The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition by M.H. Abrams - wonderfully erudite examination of Romantic critical theory

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage by Lord Byron - first two cantos aren't that great, but it really takes off in the last two

syyskuu 25, 2011, 8:33 pm

Well, I read a lot less listable books this quarter. I read 12 short stories from 12 anthologies, and dipped into various poetry volumes. I also read a fair amount of crime novels which is symptomatic of a distracted, stressed me, but...

Fiction, literary.

Bellefleur by Joyce Carol Oates. I haven't actually finished it yet, but the 2/3rds thus far beats out anything else I have read this past quarter. It really is a masterwork, but as someone elsewhere mentioned, it has an obsessive quality to it. I freely admit being afraid that I will be lost in it so, for some, it is perhaps best taken a little bit at a time.


Fear Not by Anne Holt. I actually read 3 Holt novels this quarter, and enjoyed all three. The crimes can be a bit bizarre but that's the set-up for the criminal profiling. Adding the psychological speculation to the usual deductive reasoning is stimulating. And, the working couple in the book are relatively happy. That's a nice change from the morose loners of crime fiction.


The Influencing Machine by Brooke Gladstone. Pleasantly surprised by this thought-provoking, graphic nonfiction work that explores both the history and current issues around the media.

Also notable would be Living with Complexity by Donald Norman. Plenty to think about in this book that teaches us about how design can tame our complex world - from our gadgets and tools, to our services and systems.

And lest I forget the wet-your-pants funny memoir Bossypants by Tina Fey ON AUDIO. I can't imagine reading this. I also listen to memoirs of notable people on audio when they are read by the author (i.e. Madeline Albright, Hillary Clinton, Anita Hill), and comedians especially! Too, too funny! (just a note: to hear Anita Hill tell her own story is very powerful!)

syyskuu 25, 2011, 8:48 pm

Besides some travel books, all I've read since July is fiction. And the winners are:

Hanna's Daughters by Marianne Fredriksson
The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
Travelling Light by Tove Jansson
Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather

syyskuu 25, 2011, 8:50 pm

>2 rebeccanyc: You are a reading machine, Ms. NYC!

syyskuu 25, 2011, 8:52 pm

I love to read My daughter had me reading Harry Potter Then My sister bought me the book the Help

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 25, 2011, 9:12 pm

Hearts and Minds by Amanda Craig
The Stranger's Child by Alan Hollinghurst
The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh

Seeing Patients: Unconscious Bias in Health Care by Augustus A. White III, M.D.
Colour Me English by Caryl Phillips

The Broken Word by Adam Foulds

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 25, 2011, 9:13 pm

I never seem to have that many to choose from but mine for the third quarter are:

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson - Science Fiction with big ideas and Martian geology
Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing by Richard Dawkins - A collection of essays, speeches, and excerpts from some of the best minds and scientific writers of the 20th century. Added countless new non-fiction must haves.
I Shall Not Hate by Izzeldin Abuelaish - a courageous and heart warming perspective on the Israel-palestinian conflict from a man that has lost so much.

syyskuu 25, 2011, 9:28 pm

The highlight for me this quarter was finishing three works that are mammoth in stature as well as size:

The Recognitions by William Gaddis
The Rabbit Angstrom Tetralogy by John Updike
The Story of the Stone (aka A Dream of Red Mansions) by Cao Xueqin

Among the shorter books I read, all fiction, my favorites were:

Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas
The Scar by China Mieville
Stick Out Your Tongue by Ma Jian
Jamilia by Chingiz Aitmatov*
The Home and the World by Rabdindranath Tagore
Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney

* and I can now spell Kyrgyzstan without looking it up!

syyskuu 26, 2011, 3:51 pm


Emma by Jane Austen
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

and will include:

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (the first 20 pages have proved it so)

Light Fiction:

Cooking With Fernet Branca by James Hamilton-Paterson
The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel


The Oxford Handbook of Fascism edited by R.J.B. Bosworth
Island of Shame by David Vine

I got a lot out of much of the other non-fiction I read in the quarter. It is just that none is brilliant enough to get me to stand up and cheer.


syyskuu 26, 2011, 7:12 pm

#6 Ha ha ha, not quite.

syyskuu 28, 2011, 1:17 am

(just a note: to hear Anita Hill tell her own story is very powerful!)

I'd like to experience that. I also found hearing Infidel read by the author, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, also very powerful.

syyskuu 28, 2011, 1:25 am

I've enjoyed my reading these last few months, yet when I go to make this list, I'm not that enthused. Not sure what that's about. Anyway:


Cannery Row, John Steinbeck
Daisy Miller, Henry James

(one would think I only read classics. Yet, no.)


Packaging Girlhood, Sharon Lamb

and not sure if it's fiction or not, but I loved: Some Country Houses and Their Owners, by James Lees-Milne in the Penguin English Journeys series. Loved it.

I'm currently half-way through Possession by AS Byatt. I'll probably finish it by the end of this month and it might or might not make this list. I just watched a documentary on massacres of civilians by the Sri Lankan government that makes this novel seem trite, but it might just be my state of mind.

syyskuu 28, 2011, 8:48 am

>10 StevenTX: Stephen03tx, I picked up the other Aitmatov that's available in English after reading Jamilia, but have not gotten to it yet. It's an older book, so picked up a used copy. I've also read the Jian and Miéville (and some Tagore and Heaney, but not those particular books). You might also like a book called Madame Verona Comes Down the Hill by Dimitri Verhulst (Dutch, I think). The book had that folk-story feel which reminded me of Jamilia.

>13 Nickelini: If I could figure out how to convert it from cassette to DVD, I'd send it off. It's some years old now (obviously, as the ancient word 'cassette' indicates).

syyskuu 28, 2011, 9:24 am

Unusually for me, this quarter had several memorable non-fiction books: The Devil's Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea, Hemingway: The Paris Years by Michael S. Reynolds and Dating Jesus by Susan Campbell.

As for fiction, I enjoyed most of what I read, but only two stood out: Doc by Mary Doria Russell and Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe by Jenny Hollowell, which had a few segments of absolutely pitch-perfect dialog, in which there is more communicated by what is left unsaid than most books manage in chapters-full.

syyskuu 29, 2011, 12:15 pm

My favourite reads this quarter have been:

Best of the Best
A Room with a View E M Forster: near perfect little novel
Porius John Cowper Powys: an unforgetteable experience (to be repeated very soon)
The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde: Brilliantly witty and entertaining
The Romance of the Rose Guillaume de Lorris: In a modern translation this medieval masterpiece still shines so brightly.

Damn Good
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet David Mitchell: excellent modern novel should have won a heap of literary prizes.
The Power and the Glory Graham Greene: Greene at the top of his form.

Worth a Detour
Purple America Rick Moody: Some excellent writing.

Non Fiction
Best of the Best
Allegory of Love C S Lewis: near essential read for anyone interested in medieval literature.

Damn Good
The Greatest Traitor: The Life of Roger Mortimer Ruler of England 1327-1330 Ian Mortimer: a modern history that comes alive in Mortimer's hands.
Suspended Judgements John Cowper Powys; pithy lit. crit.

Worth a Detour
Aspects of the novel E M Forster: more lit. crit. in this small but perfectly formed series of lectures.

lokakuu 3, 2011, 12:28 pm

Judging by the ratings I gave them, mine are:

Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree, Jr.
Blue Heaven by Joe Keenan
No Life for a Lady by Agnes Morley Cleaveland
The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
Locke & Key, Volume 4: Keys to the Kingdom by Joe Hill

lokakuu 4, 2011, 10:53 am

I guess it’s all nonfiction – these were particularly illuminating:

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson – the 1930s-’60s African-American Great Migration, presented through the personal histories of three migrants

Bomboozled by Susan Roy – the history of cold-war fallout shelters in private homes

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace – a mix of entertaining and erudite 1990s essays on the popular culture

The Filter Bubble by Eli Pariser – how personal data is collected on the Internet and used to filter what you see on the Internet

lokakuu 4, 2011, 11:52 am

>1 charbutton: charbutton
I Am Not Sidney Poitier is in my TBRs, you make me want to get to it soon.

>4 avaland: avaland
I enjoyed audio of Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking on the road last week and after your comments I have Bossypants ready for a similar trip next week.

lokakuu 4, 2011, 12:08 pm


Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald, translated by Anthea Bell
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me by Javier Marías, translated by Margaret Jull Costa


The Fall by Albert Camus, translated by Justin O'Brien
Chess* by Stefan Zweig, translated by Anthea Bell

short stories

Toddler-Hunting and Other Stories by Kōno Taeko, translated by Lucy North and Lucy Lower


On Translation by Paul Ricoeur, translated by Eileen Brennan

* touchstone of a different translation

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 4, 2011, 9:56 pm

Can't decide what "favorite" means to me...

The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin
Island Fire : An Anthology of Literature from Hawai'i by Cheryl A. Harstad & James R. Harstad (Editors)

Major, thought provoking, inspiring, if dreary works:
History by Elsa Morante

The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser - I got a little lost in the woods while reading this...I don't mean I couldn't figure out the story, I mean, while reading it, I was in state of being lost in the woods or something like that. That's meant as a compliment & caution in one.

Parenting gem:
The Way of Boys: Raising Healthy Boys in a Challenging and Complex World by Anthony Rao & Michell Seaton

lokakuu 4, 2011, 1:59 pm

>>22 dchaikin:. I loved The Way of Boys as well.

lokakuu 4, 2011, 5:17 pm

>19 detailmuse: You got to The Filter Bubble before I did:-) It's still out there hovering on my pile. I suspect it will be November before I can get to it.

>21 Rise: Rise, I have Toddler-Hunting and Other Stories somewhere in the house, unread as yet; a recommendation from LT member marietherese.

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 4, 2011, 10:18 pm

> 24

Great! I hope the author wins the Nobel Prize. That would make her other books accessible in English. :p