Welcome to the ICM Forum. If you have an account but have trouble logging in, or have other questions, see THIS THREAD.
NOTE: Board emails should be working again. Information on forum upgrade and style issues.
Podcast: Talking Images (Episode 22 released November 17th * EXCLUSIVE * We Are Mentioned in a Book!!! Interview with Mary Guillermin on Rapture, JG & More)
Polls: 1978 (Results), Red Planet: Essential Cinema (Results), Western (Jul 30th)
Challenges: Run the Actor, Travel the World, Iran and Central Asia

Read The Books You Should Have Already Read

Post Reply
User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1722
Joined: February 4th, 2012, 7:00 am
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#361

Post by Leopardi »

I finished Working and, once again, Studs Terkel hits one out of the park with a fascinating dive into how people across a broad spectrum of the working world feel about their jobs. It was compiled at a very interesting time, the early 70s: Women were moving into the workforce in greater numbers, racial integration was (often slowly and grudgingly) taking effect, and jobs were just beginning to disappear in noticeable numbers (in some industries) during the infancy of robotics. The interviews are candid and insightful, and it's astounding how easy it is to become invested in a person over just a couple of pages; a few times I went so far as to google the names of the interviewees to see if I could find out more about them. There are often multiple perspectives from different people in the same industry, same company, same assembly line. We're treated to a wide variety of American jobs: We hear about the grueling life of miners and sharecroppers. We hear from a retired president of a conglomerate, a yacht salesman. We hear from a few names known in cinematic circles (Rip Torn and Pauline Kael), three paperboys, two telephone operators, a piano tuner and a bathroom attendant. And I found them all fascinating, every one of them.

Terkel is a master of the oral history, and this book will (or should) give a deeper respect for the countless jobs you'll never have firsthand experience with, and may never have given a second thought about. It will probably be the best book I'll have read this year, and comes with my highest recommendation. Looking forward to picking up more from him when I have an opportunity.

I'll choose Voices of Victorian London: In Sickness and in Health for myself next, keeping to the theme of working class life in 19th/20th century Britain and America.
Spoiler
1. Connections (James Burke). "In this highly acclaimed and bestselling book, James Burke brilliantly examines the ideas, inventions and coincidences that have culminated in the major technological advances of today. With dazzling insight, he untangles the pattern of interconnecting events: the accidents of time, circumstance, and place that gave rise to the major inventions of the world." (from the back of the book). I loved the television miniseries way back when, so I'm not sure why it took me so long to pick this book up.

2. The Last of the Wild Rivers (Wallace A. Schaber) A book devoted entirely to the Du Moine watershed, the last of the ten major Quebec tributaries of the Ottawa River to resist hydro and mining development as well as colonization, according to the back of the book. Some local history for a waterway that's about a five minute walk from where I live (the Ottawa River, that is, not the Du Moine).

3. Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife (Mary Roach) A lighthearted look at what we know about death and the afterlife from a scientific (and pseudo-scientific) perspective. From the author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers.

4. Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip (Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns) In 1903 there were only 150 miles of paved roads in the entire nation and most people had never seen a “horseless buggy”—but that did not stop Horatio Nelson Jackson, a thirty-one-year-old Vermont doctor, who impulsively bet fifty dollars that he could drive his 20-horsepower automobile from San Francisco to New York City. Here—in Jackson’s own words and photographs—is a glorious account of that months-long, problem-beset, thrilling-to-the-rattled-bones trip with his mechanic, Sewall Crocker, and a bulldog named Bud. (from book jacket). I loved the documentary and this has been sitting on my shelf for almost 15 years, I bet, so it's due to be read.

5. The Printer's Devil (Bill Fairbairn) "Bill Fairbairn started as a printer's devil in Scotland setting up newspaper headlines by hand 60 years ago. His vagabond reporter years in three continents followed in quick pursuit. This tale outlines some of the people and events he encountered in Canada working for newspapers, radio and magazine." I met this fellow at a book fair a few years ago and picked up his book since he (and it) sounded interesting. Time to give it a try!

6. George & Rue (George Elliott Clarke) "A masterful blend of fiction and reality from one of Canada's most daring and original writers", Clarke takes us to the ghettos of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and paints a miserable and suffocating portrait of mid-century Africadian life. Mr. Clarke was Canada's former Poet Laureate, a winner of the Governor General's Award for poetry, and has been at the Ottawa Antiquarian Book Fair the last two years. He seems to have a friendly and dynamic personality and I'd like to read this, his first novel, before I speak to him at next year's fair (if he's there, and if I can build up the courage to).

7. Nonlinear Fiber Optics (Govind P. Agrawal) This title belongs on the list perhaps more than any other. It's considered the Bible of modern fiber optics (one of them, anyway), which is the field in which I work, so I'm embarrassed to say I haven't read it yet, even though it's been sitting on my shelf for years now.

8. Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe (Norman Davies) "Europe's history is littered with kingdoms, duchies, empires and republics which have now disappeared but which were once fixtures on the map of their age. What happened to the once-great Mediterranean 'Empire of Aragon'? Where did the half-forgotten kingdoms of Burgundy go?...This original and enthralling book peers through the cracks of history to discover the stories of lost realms across the centuries." (from the back of the Penguin edition)

9. Restoration London: Everyday Life in the 1660s (Liza Picard) "Making use of every possible contemporary source diaries, memoirs, advice books, government papers, almanacs, even the Register of Patents Liza Picard presents a picture of how life in London was really lived in the 1600s: the houses and streets, gardens and parks, cooking, clothes and jewellery, cosmetics, hairdressing, housework, laundry and shopping, medicine and dentistry, sex, education, hobbies, etiquette, law and crime, religion and popular beliefs." (from Goodreads)

10. Dr. Johnson's Lichfield (Mary Alden Hopkins) "A portrait of Dr. Samuel Johnson, focusing on his life before the publication of Boswell's Life of Johnson, in his home town of Lichfield. Several historic figures, including James Watt, Erasmus Darwin, as well as Richard and his daughter Maria Edgeworth, are also featured." (from Goodreads)
User avatar
sebby
Posts: 6806
Joined: July 4th, 2011, 6:00 am
Contact:

#362

Post by sebby »

Spook for Leopardi, if only bc I've heard Mary Roach on so many podcasts and interviews over the years. Her PR team is fantastic. Maybe her writing is as well.

I gave Why We Sleep the ol college try but couldn't finish it. I found it too tedious fact-checking and seeing what kind of cherry-picking was going on and at some point I realized I didn't find the underlying premise interesting enough to continue on. I've given up on more books this year than in any other. By quite a margin. Not a banner year so far.

01 the sportswriter / r ford
02 the largesse of the sea maiden / d johnson
03 otis redding: an unfinished life / j gould
04 goodbye stranger / r stead
05 liar and spy / r stead
06 american pastoral / roth
07 deep water / p highsmith
08 empire of deception / d jobb
User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1722
Joined: February 4th, 2012, 7:00 am
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#363

Post by Leopardi »

I've finished Voices of Victorian London: In Sickness and in Health, a work similar to Terkel's Working in that it focuses in large part on the working life of poor, but colder and somehow smacking of exploitation a bit (I don't think this was Mayhew's intent, mind you, more the editing job of this digest version). It sells books but I, personally, didn't come away feeling a connection to the interviewees, just a relief that I wasn't born in Victorian London under their circumstances. An interesting read, definitely, and it made me want to get my hands on Mayhew's original, much larger work, London Labour and the London Poor, which I think and hope will cleave to Terkel's spirit in a way this book didn't quite.

Sebby, I'll choose American Pastoral for you. I haven't read anything by Roth but the book does look interesting enough. Here's my list:

Spoiler
1. What's Bred in the Bone (Robertson Davies, 1985). The second novel in Davies' celebrated Cornish Trilogy, this series, and Davies' writing in general, so affected my sister that she actually got a tattoo of the title quote some years ago. Shortlisted for the 1986 Booker Prize.

2. Mysteries (Knut Hamsun, 1892). "Mysteries is the story of Johan Nilsen Nagel, a mysteries stranger who suddenly turns up in a small Norwegian town one summer - and just as suddenly disappears. Nagel is a complete outsider, a sort of modern Christ treated as a spirit of near tragedy...But there is a sinister side of him: in his vest he carries a vial of prussic acid..." (Penguin Classics description). A much-lauded work by one of the creators of the modern novel.

3. Count Roderic's Castle (Anonymous, 1794). "With a fast-paced plot that features many of the elements for which the Gothic novel is known--brave heroes and detestable villains, ancient castles, dark dungeons, and a vengeful spectre--Count Roderic's Castle (1794) was one of the most popular of the early Gothic novels issued by the famous Minerva Press." (From the book jacket of the Valancourt edition)

4. The Landslide (Stephen Gilbert, 1943). "Will my poor book ever be read by anyone? It is about a dragon and a sea serpent, and a kind of prehistoric dog and an old man and a boy and a priest. I sent it to a publisher last July and it has been lost ever since. I know it is good...It is unlike any story that has ever been written before." (from the back of the Valancourt edition). An early work by the author of Ratman's Notebooks (the book on which the film Willard was based)

5. A Traveler at Forty (Theodore Dreiser, 1913). "[A Traveler at Forty contains] the pregnant observations of an old hand at looking, the sharp remarks and annotations of the creator of Hurstwood, Cowperwood and Pete Gerhardt. The book rises completely out of the commonplace, and becomes something new, illuminating and heretical." (H. L. Mencken) One of my favourite writers offers one of my favourite literary sub-genres, the travel book. This will be more than 900 pages of pure gold, I have no doubt.

6. The Mysteries of London (George W. M. Reynolds, 1844-1848). "The government feared him. Rival authors like Charles Dickens, whom he outsold, despised him. The literary establishment did its best to write him out of literary history. But when George W.M. Reynolds, journalist, political reformer, Socialist, and novelist, died in 1879, even his critics were forced to acknowledge the truth of his obituary, which declared that he was the most popular writer of his time....The Mysteries of London is a sprawling tableau, seeking to depict life as Reynolds saw it in mid-Victorian London and expose what he viewed as gross injustice toward the poor." (from the back of the Valancourt edition). A massive tome (volumes I and II together are more than 2300 pages), and an astounding literary tour de force from publisher Valancourt Books.

7. The Discourses (Niccolò Machiavelli, 1513). "In this book Machiavelli enshrines his most complete political treatment: his fundamental attachment to republics...For a political republic, he says, is liberty's best bastion, if only its people maintain their civic virtue." (From the back of the Penguin edition).

8. On the Eve (Ivan Turgenev, 1859). "A love story with a tragic ending, On the Eve (1859) portrays the everyday life and scenery of a Russian country estate with the consummate descriptive gift for which its author had already become famous. Much of the novel's pleasure lies in its humorous sketches of the gentry; and its sadness, in Turgenev's fluid and exquisite sense of love's emotional weather." (from the back of the Penguin edition).

9. The Letters of George Gissing to Eduard Bertz 1887-1903 (George Gissing, 1887-1903). "Collection of 189 letters and post card to his German friend Eduard Bertz which provide a record of a part of Gissing's strange life about which there has been speculation and doubt, because they reflect his personality and give a clear picture of how he developed the ideas for his books, how he wrote them and how he was treated by the publishers of the day." (from YesterYear Books). I'm a big fan of The Nether World, one of Gissing's early works that Bertz no doubt influenced, so I'm eager for an inside look into their friendship.

10. A Child's History of England (Charles Dickens, 1851-1853). "The historian as optimist – but not so much for his subject as for its recipients. Fed up with the way British history was presented to children in the mid-nineteenth century, and well-acquainted with the theories of Mr Gradgrind (still with us), Dickens determined upon doing the job ‘for his own dear children’ all by himself." (from Books For Keeps) "Dickens confessed that he was composing the book so that he could prevent his children from embracing 'any conservative or High Church notions.'" (from Wikipedia)
User avatar
mightysparks
Site Admin
Posts: 31552
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 6:00 am
Location: Perth, WA, Australia
Contact:

#364

Post by mightysparks »

Leopardi, I choose Mysteries since it sounds the most interesting to me.

I've been interested in reading again, but wanna try and read some stuff outside the NPR list. I've been trying to find a way of exporting my entire Calibre library to Excel without luck, so instead I'm using the random book option to pick stuff (which likes to choose stuff on the NPR list of course..)
Spoiler
1. Gardens of the Moon (Steven Erikson, 1999. First book in the Malazan Empire series, NPR) / High fantasy
The novel details the various struggles for power on an intercontinental region dominated by the Malazan Empire. It is notable for the use of high magic, and unusual plot structure. Gardens of the Moon centres around the Imperial campaign to conquer the city of Darujhistan on the continent of Genabackis.

2. Shards of Honor (Lois McMaster Bujold, 1986. First book in the Vorkosigan Saga series, NPR) / Science fiction
When Cordelia Naismith and her survey crew are attacked by a renegade group from Barrayar, she is taken prisoner by Aral Vorkosigan, commander of the Barrayan ship that has been taken over by an ambitious and ruthless crew member. Aral and Cordelia survive countless mishaps while their mutual admiration and even stronger feelings emerge.

3. Dolores Claiborne (Stephen King, 1992) / Psychological thriller
Suspected of killing Vera Donovan, her wealthy employer, Dolores Claiborne tells police the story of her life, harkening back to her disintegrating marriage and the suspicious death of her violent husband, Joe St. George, thirty years earlier. Dolores also tells of Vera's physical and mental decline and of her loyalty to an employer who has become emotionally demanding in recent years.

4. Killing Floor (Lee Child, 1997. First book in the Jack Reacher series) / Thriller
Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a drifter. He's just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he's arrested for murder. Not much of a welcome. All Jack knows is that he didn't kill anybody. At least not here. Not lately. But he doesn't stand a chance of convincing anyone. not in Margrave, Georgia. Not a chance in hell.

My dad is a huge fan of this series.

5. Out of the Silent Planet (C. S. Lewis, 1938. First book in the Space Trilogy, NPR) / Science fiction
In the first novel of C.S. Lewis's classic science fiction trilogy, Dr Ransom, a Cambridge academic, is abducted and taken on a spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra, which he knows as Mars. His captors are plotting to plunder the planet's treasures and plan to offer Ransom as a sacrifice to the creatures who live there. Ransom discovers he has come from the 'silent planet' – Earth – whose tragic story is known throughout the universe...

6. Red Dragon (Thomas Harris, 1981. First book in the Hannibal Lecter series) / Crime, Psychological Horror, Thriller
A second family has been massacred by the terrifying serial killer the press has christened "The Tooth Fairy." Special Agent Jack Crawford turns to the one man who can help restart a failed investigation: Will Graham. Graham is the greatest profiler the FBI ever had, but the physical and mental scars of capturing Hannibal Lecter have caused Graham to go into early retirement. Now, Graham must turn to Lecter for help.

7. To Your Scattered Bodies Go (Philip Jose Farmer, 1971. First book in the Riverworld series) / Science fiction
When famous adventurer Sir Richard Francis Burton dies, the last thing he expects to do is awaken naked on a foreign planet along the shores of a seemingly endless river. But that's where Burton and billions of other humans (plus a few nonhumans) find themselves as the epic Riverworld saga begins. It seems that all of Earthly humanity has been resurrected on the planet, each with an indestructible container that provides three meals a day, cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, a lighter, and the odd tube of lipstick. But why? And by whom?

8. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte, 1847) / Tragedy Gothic
The story revolves around the tempestuous romance between Heathcliff, an orphan who is taken home to Wuthering Heights on impulse, and Catherine Earnshaw, a strong-willed girl whose mother died delivering her and who becomes Heathcliff's close companion.

Hard to find a good plot summary of this :/ I know everyone here's probably read it or seen it, but annoying.

9. The Enemy (Charlie Higson, 2009. First book in the The Enemy series) / Horror
Charlie Higson's The Enemy is the first in a jaw-dropping zombie horror series for teens. Everyone over the age of fourteen has succumbed to a deadly zombie virus and now the kids must keep themselves alive.

I remember being really excited for this when I first watched The Fast Show.. I forgot it was a teen novel..

10. The Girl Next Door (Jack Ketchum, 1989) / Crime, Thriller, Horror
Suburbia. Shady, tree-lined streets, well-tended lawns and cozy homes. A nice, quiet place to grow up. Unless you are teenage Meg or her crippled sister, Susan. On a dead-end street, in the dark, damp basement of the Chandler house, Meg and Susan are left captive to the savage whims and rages of a distant aunt who is rapidly descending into madness. It is a madness that infects all three of her sons and finally the entire neighborhood. Only one troubled boy stands hesitantly between Meg and Susan and their cruel, torturous deaths. A boy with a very adult decision to make.

LOVED the film, not sure how similar the book is.
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

iCM | IMDb | Letterboxd | LastFM | TSZDT

Image
User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1722
Joined: February 4th, 2012, 7:00 am
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#365

Post by Leopardi »

I've read Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife. Very much in the 'fluff' column, I also found it quite interesting, with a number of interesting anecdotes I hadn't heard of before and a colourful cast of characters to keep the reader engaged along the way. Roach's sense of humour may not be for everyone, but it grew on me after a while.

Mighty, I'll choose Out of the Silent Planet for you, since I don't think I've read anyone's opinions of Lewis' works outside of the Narnia series. I'm regretting now not writing my review earlier - I finished Spook on Monday but was too busy to write, so I've started A Traveler at Forty already. Between that and The Mysteries of London I'll have about 3300 pages to read before I get to choose another book, so I may not update here until the spring!
Spoiler
1. Connections (James Burke). "In this highly acclaimed and bestselling book, James Burke brilliantly examines the ideas, inventions and coincidences that have culminated in the major technological advances of today. With dazzling insight, he untangles the pattern of interconnecting events: the accidents of time, circumstance, and place that gave rise to the major inventions of the world." (from the back of the book). I loved the television miniseries way back when, so I'm not sure why it took me so long to pick this book up.

2. Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip (Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns) In 1903 there were only 150 miles of paved roads in the entire nation and most people had never seen a “horseless buggy”—but that did not stop Horatio Nelson Jackson, a thirty-one-year-old Vermont doctor, who impulsively bet fifty dollars that he could drive his 20-horsepower automobile from San Francisco to New York City. Here—in Jackson’s own words and photographs—is a glorious account of that months-long, problem-beset, thrilling-to-the-rattled-bones trip with his mechanic, Sewall Crocker, and a bulldog named Bud. (from book jacket). I loved the documentary and this has been sitting on my shelf for almost 15 years, I bet, so it's due to be read.

3. The Printer's Devil (Bill Fairbairn) "Bill Fairbairn started as a printer's devil in Scotland setting up newspaper headlines by hand 60 years ago. His vagabond reporter years in three continents followed in quick pursuit. This tale outlines some of the people and events he encountered in Canada working for newspapers, radio and magazine." I met this fellow at a book fair a few years ago and picked up his book since he (and it) sounded interesting. Time to give it a try!

4. George & Rue (George Elliott Clarke) "A masterful blend of fiction and reality from one of Canada's most daring and original writers", Clarke takes us to the ghettos of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and paints a miserable and suffocating portrait of mid-century Africadian life. Mr. Clarke was Canada's former Poet Laureate, a winner of the Governor General's Award for poetry, and has been at the Ottawa Antiquarian Book Fair the last two years. He seems to have a friendly and dynamic personality and I'd like to read this, his first novel, before I speak to him at next year's fair (if he's there, and if I can build up the courage to).

5. Nonlinear Fiber Optics (Govind P. Agrawal) This title belongs on the list perhaps more than any other. It's considered the Bible of modern fiber optics (one of them, anyway), which is the field in which I work, so I'm embarrassed to say I haven't read it yet, even though it's been sitting on my shelf for years now.

6. Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe (Norman Davies) "Europe's history is littered with kingdoms, duchies, empires and republics which have now disappeared but which were once fixtures on the map of their age. What happened to the once-great Mediterranean 'Empire of Aragon'? Where did the half-forgotten kingdoms of Burgundy go?...This original and enthralling book peers through the cracks of history to discover the stories of lost realms across the centuries." (from the back of the Penguin edition)

7. Restoration London: Everyday Life in the 1660s (Liza Picard) "Making use of every possible contemporary source diaries, memoirs, advice books, government papers, almanacs, even the Register of Patents Liza Picard presents a picture of how life in London was really lived in the 1600s: the houses and streets, gardens and parks, cooking, clothes and jewellery, cosmetics, hairdressing, housework, laundry and shopping, medicine and dentistry, sex, education, hobbies, etiquette, law and crime, religion and popular beliefs." (from Goodreads)

8. Dr. Johnson's Lichfield (Mary Alden Hopkins) "A portrait of Dr. Samuel Johnson, focusing on his life before the publication of Boswell's Life of Johnson, in his home town of Lichfield. Several historic figures, including James Watt, Erasmus Darwin, as well as Richard and his daughter Maria Edgeworth, are also featured." (from Goodreads)

9. Singing Tales Of Africa (Adjai Robinson). "In this book, Adjai Robinson has retold seven of his favorite singing tales - tales that are meant to be shared...Included is the story of greedy Bra Spider who becomes the finest dancer that ever was seen; the lazy dog who caused death to come to the world; Ijomah, the mistreated stepchild who discovers she has a magical power over her fruit trees." (From the dust jacket) I really enjoyed The Palm Wine Drinkard and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts and thought I'd delve a little deeper into Yoruban folk tales. This collection from 1974 looks like a great place to start.

10. Vera Vorontzoff (Sofia Kovalevskaya) "A young Russian noblewoman wishes to dedicate herself to a cause but finds herself descending into nihilism." (from Goodreads) A semi-autobiographical novel by the extraordinary mathematician and feminist Sofia Kovalevskaya.
User avatar
mightysparks
Site Admin
Posts: 31552
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 6:00 am
Location: Perth, WA, Australia
Contact:

#366

Post by mightysparks »

Not sure if I should pick again for you or give you some time to catch up :P If you want one, I'll choose Connections, sounds like an interesting read.

I read C. S. Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet (1938). I haven't actually read any of the Narnia books, but I'm sure they'll come up for selection at some point... I've seen the film though and have a general idea of what they're supposed to be and I guess this is probably similar. I got a kind of Wizard of Oz vibe from it as well. It's kind of this somewhat dreamy and hazy trip through wonderland with a world full of strange beings and cultures and colours, but I'd forgotten what year it was written while reading it and it was obvious that it was before they'd been into space, and it's a little Melies' A Trip to the Moon in some regards. While it's an easy read with a colourful world, the characters don't do that much and it's lacking in any real plot or a point. 6/10
Spoiler
1. Gardens of the Moon (Steven Erikson, 1999. First book in the Malazan Empire series, NPR) / High fantasy
The novel details the various struggles for power on an intercontinental region dominated by the Malazan Empire. It is notable for the use of high magic, and unusual plot structure. Gardens of the Moon centres around the Imperial campaign to conquer the city of Darujhistan on the continent of Genabackis.

2. Shards of Honor (Lois McMaster Bujold, 1986. First book in the Vorkosigan Saga series, NPR) / Science fiction
When Cordelia Naismith and her survey crew are attacked by a renegade group from Barrayar, she is taken prisoner by Aral Vorkosigan, commander of the Barrayan ship that has been taken over by an ambitious and ruthless crew member. Aral and Cordelia survive countless mishaps while their mutual admiration and even stronger feelings emerge.

3. Dolores Claiborne (Stephen King, 1992) / Psychological thriller
Suspected of killing Vera Donovan, her wealthy employer, Dolores Claiborne tells police the story of her life, harkening back to her disintegrating marriage and the suspicious death of her violent husband, Joe St. George, thirty years earlier. Dolores also tells of Vera's physical and mental decline and of her loyalty to an employer who has become emotionally demanding in recent years.

4. Killing Floor (Lee Child, 1997. First book in the Jack Reacher series) / Thriller
Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a drifter. He's just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he's arrested for murder. Not much of a welcome. All Jack knows is that he didn't kill anybody. At least not here. Not lately. But he doesn't stand a chance of convincing anyone. not in Margrave, Georgia. Not a chance in hell.

My dad is a huge fan of this series.

5. Red Dragon (Thomas Harris, 1981. First book in the Hannibal Lecter series) / Crime, Psychological Horror, Thriller
A second family has been massacred by the terrifying serial killer the press has christened "The Tooth Fairy." Special Agent Jack Crawford turns to the one man who can help restart a failed investigation: Will Graham. Graham is the greatest profiler the FBI ever had, but the physical and mental scars of capturing Hannibal Lecter have caused Graham to go into early retirement. Now, Graham must turn to Lecter for help.

6. To Your Scattered Bodies Go (Philip Jose Farmer, 1971. First book in the Riverworld series) / Science fiction
When famous adventurer Sir Richard Francis Burton dies, the last thing he expects to do is awaken naked on a foreign planet along the shores of a seemingly endless river. But that's where Burton and billions of other humans (plus a few nonhumans) find themselves as the epic Riverworld saga begins. It seems that all of Earthly humanity has been resurrected on the planet, each with an indestructible container that provides three meals a day, cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, a lighter, and the odd tube of lipstick. But why? And by whom?

7. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte, 1847) / Tragedy Gothic
The story revolves around the tempestuous romance between Heathcliff, an orphan who is taken home to Wuthering Heights on impulse, and Catherine Earnshaw, a strong-willed girl whose mother died delivering her and who becomes Heathcliff's close companion.

Hard to find a good plot summary of this :/ I know everyone here's probably read it or seen it, but annoying.

8. The Enemy (Charlie Higson, 2009. First book in the The Enemy series) / Horror
Charlie Higson's The Enemy is the first in a jaw-dropping zombie horror series for teens. Everyone over the age of fourteen has succumbed to a deadly zombie virus and now the kids must keep themselves alive.

I remember being really excited for this when I first watched The Fast Show.. I forgot it was a teen novel..

9. The Girl Next Door (Jack Ketchum, 1989) / Crime, Thriller, Horror
Suburbia. Shady, tree-lined streets, well-tended lawns and cozy homes. A nice, quiet place to grow up. Unless you are teenage Meg or her crippled sister, Susan. On a dead-end street, in the dark, damp basement of the Chandler house, Meg and Susan are left captive to the savage whims and rages of a distant aunt who is rapidly descending into madness. It is a madness that infects all three of her sons and finally the entire neighborhood. Only one troubled boy stands hesitantly between Meg and Susan and their cruel, torturous deaths. A boy with a very adult decision to make.

LOVED the film, not sure how similar the book is.

10. Lucifer's Hammer (Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle, 1977, NPR) / Science fiction
The gigantic comet had slammed into Earth, forging earthquakes a thousand times too powerful to measure on the Richter scale, tidal waves thousands of feet high. Cities were turned into oceans; oceans turned into steam. It was the beginning of a new Ice Age and the end of civilization. But for the terrified men and women chance had saved, it was also the dawn of a new struggle for survival--a struggle more dangerous and challenging than any they had ever known.
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

iCM | IMDb | Letterboxd | LastFM | TSZDT

Image
User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1722
Joined: February 4th, 2012, 7:00 am
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#367

Post by Leopardi »

mightysparks wrote: September 28th, 2019, 1:32 pm Not sure if I should pick again for you or give you some time to catch up :P If you want one, I'll choose Connections, sounds like an interesting read.
Yeah, I'm screwed. :lol:

Sebby, I need your help!
User avatar
mightysparks
Site Admin
Posts: 31552
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 6:00 am
Location: Perth, WA, Australia
Contact:

#368

Post by mightysparks »

Since I finished reading Red Dragon last night (great book), updating my selections. I forgot I started reading Jurassic Park and Dark Matter months ago so I'm going to try and get those done next.
Spoiler
1. Gardens of the Moon (Steven Erikson, 1999. First book in the Malazan Empire series, NPR) / High fantasy
The novel details the various struggles for power on an intercontinental region dominated by the Malazan Empire. It is notable for the use of high magic, and unusual plot structure. Gardens of the Moon centres around the Imperial campaign to conquer the city of Darujhistan on the continent of Genabackis.

2. Shards of Honor (Lois McMaster Bujold, 1986. First book in the Vorkosigan Saga series, NPR) / Science fiction
When Cordelia Naismith and her survey crew are attacked by a renegade group from Barrayar, she is taken prisoner by Aral Vorkosigan, commander of the Barrayan ship that has been taken over by an ambitious and ruthless crew member. Aral and Cordelia survive countless mishaps while their mutual admiration and even stronger feelings emerge.

3. Dolores Claiborne (Stephen King, 1992) / Psychological thriller
Suspected of killing Vera Donovan, her wealthy employer, Dolores Claiborne tells police the story of her life, harkening back to her disintegrating marriage and the suspicious death of her violent husband, Joe St. George, thirty years earlier. Dolores also tells of Vera's physical and mental decline and of her loyalty to an employer who has become emotionally demanding in recent years.

4. Killing Floor (Lee Child, 1997. First book in the Jack Reacher series) / Thriller
Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a drifter. He's just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he's arrested for murder. Not much of a welcome. All Jack knows is that he didn't kill anybody. At least not here. Not lately. But he doesn't stand a chance of convincing anyone. not in Margrave, Georgia. Not a chance in hell.

My dad is a huge fan of this series.

5. To Your Scattered Bodies Go (Philip Jose Farmer, 1971. First book in the Riverworld series) / Science fiction
When famous adventurer Sir Richard Francis Burton dies, the last thing he expects to do is awaken naked on a foreign planet along the shores of a seemingly endless river. But that's where Burton and billions of other humans (plus a few nonhumans) find themselves as the epic Riverworld saga begins. It seems that all of Earthly humanity has been resurrected on the planet, each with an indestructible container that provides three meals a day, cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, a lighter, and the odd tube of lipstick. But why? And by whom?

6. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte, 1847) / Tragedy Gothic
The story revolves around the tempestuous romance between Heathcliff, an orphan who is taken home to Wuthering Heights on impulse, and Catherine Earnshaw, a strong-willed girl whose mother died delivering her and who becomes Heathcliff's close companion.

Hard to find a good plot summary of this :/ I know everyone here's probably read it or seen it, but annoying.

7. The Enemy (Charlie Higson, 2009. First book in the The Enemy series) / Horror
Charlie Higson's The Enemy is the first in a jaw-dropping zombie horror series for teens. Everyone over the age of fourteen has succumbed to a deadly zombie virus and now the kids must keep themselves alive.

I remember being really excited for this when I first watched The Fast Show.. I forgot it was a teen novel..

8. The Girl Next Door (Jack Ketchum, 1989) / Crime, Thriller, Horror
Suburbia. Shady, tree-lined streets, well-tended lawns and cozy homes. A nice, quiet place to grow up. Unless you are teenage Meg or her crippled sister, Susan. On a dead-end street, in the dark, damp basement of the Chandler house, Meg and Susan are left captive to the savage whims and rages of a distant aunt who is rapidly descending into madness. It is a madness that infects all three of her sons and finally the entire neighborhood. Only one troubled boy stands hesitantly between Meg and Susan and their cruel, torturous deaths. A boy with a very adult decision to make.

LOVED the film, not sure how similar the book is.

9. Lucifer's Hammer (Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle, 1977, NPR) / Science fiction
The gigantic comet had slammed into Earth, forging earthquakes a thousand times too powerful to measure on the Richter scale, tidal waves thousands of feet high. Cities were turned into oceans; oceans turned into steam. It was the beginning of a new Ice Age and the end of civilization. But for the terrified men and women chance had saved, it was also the dawn of a new struggle for survival--a struggle more dangerous and challenging than any they had ever known.

10. Doomsday Book (Connie Willis, 1992. First book in the Oxford time travel series, NPR) / Science fiction
For Kivrin, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity's history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the fourteenth century and inventing an alibi for a woman traveling alone. For her instructors in the twenty-first century, it meant painstaking calculations and careful monitoring of the rendezvous location where Kivrin would be received. But a crisis strangely linking past and future strands Kivrin in a bygone age as her fellows try desperately to rescue her. In a time of superstition and fear, Kivrin--barely of age herself--finds she has become an unlikely angel of hope during one of history's darkest hours.
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

iCM | IMDb | Letterboxd | LastFM | TSZDT

Image
User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1722
Joined: February 4th, 2012, 7:00 am
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#369

Post by Leopardi »

I haven't updated here since September, a few months before I started The Mysteries of London. COVID-19 slowed my progress to a crawl from March onward when I started working from home (since I was reading it on the bus), but this doesn't mean I'm not enjoying it. I'm actually loving it for the most part, some threads more than others (there are several storylines that weave together from time to time), but all in all I can't wait to dig into at night whenever I get a chance to. To be clear, Reynolds can't really write dialogue worth a damn, most of it comes off a little wooden and overly formal (even for Victorian literature), and the plot twists are often preposterous, but somehow this potboiler of a soap opera draws you in all the same.

Believe it or not, I only finished the first volume (of two) last night. At the rate I've been reading since the pandemic I'll finish the second volume by the end of 2022 (!!), so hopefully I can pick up the pace a fair bit going forward. For now, though, I'm still not in a position to pick a book for anyone, not for a long while. I thought I'd check in all the same at the halfway point to let everyone know I'm still around, just a slow reader at the worst possible time!
User avatar
Knaldskalle
Moderator
Posts: 10516
Joined: May 9th, 2011, 6:00 am
Location: New Mexico, USA
Contact:

#370

Post by Knaldskalle »

I finally finished reading "The Citadel of the Autarch", the last of the four novels in "The Book of the New Sun" by Gene Wolfe a couple of weeks ago. That only took me 6 months. I don't know why, but it was just slow going. His writing is a bit on the dense side (Wolfe has been called the most "literate" science fiction writer and I can see why). His prose is at times extremely elegant, but it doesn't always leave you with a clear image of what's happening (on purpose, I suspect).

The four novels (Shadow of the Torturer, Claw of the Conciliator and Sword of the Lictor are the first three) follow young man Severian, an orphan raised by the guild of torturers (I mean "Seekers for Truth and Penitence") as he is sent from his home in the ancient capitol of Nessus to a remote city to carry out executions. However, there's a low-level rebellion brewing and a seemingly endless war in the far Northern lands and Severian is sympathetic towards the rebels who want to end the war. Set in the far future, Severian's world, known as Urth, is one that is decaying and has regressed to a near medieval state, yet is punctuated by strange alien creatures and weapons.

I originally read the first two books many years ago, but never got around to the remaining two. I finally picked up the last two novels a few years ago and read volume 3 right away, but didn't get around to volume 4 until earlier this year. I found volume 4 to be a little bit of an anti-climax (which probably helped protract my reading). It's still really well-written, I just didn't love where the story was going. It's definitely a must-read if you're into science fiction and I think, now that I have all 4 novels, that I'll read the series again some day.
ImageImageImageImage

Please don't hurt yourself, talk to someone.
User avatar
OldAle1
Donator
Posts: 6204
Joined: February 9th, 2017, 7:00 am
Location: Dairyland, USA
Contact:

#371

Post by OldAle1 »

Knaldskalle wrote: August 12th, 2020, 3:21 pm I finally finished reading "The Citadel of the Autarch", the last of the four novels in "The Book of the New Sun" by Gene Wolfe a couple of weeks ago. That only took me 6 months. I don't know why, but it was just slow going. His writing is a bit on the dense side (Wolfe has been called the most "literate" science fiction writer and I can see why). His prose is at times extremely elegant, but it doesn't always leave you with a clear image of what's happening (on purpose, I suspect).

The four novels (Shadow of the Torturer, Claw of the Conciliator and Sword of the Lictor are the first three) follow young man Severian, an orphan raised by the guild of torturers (I mean "Seekers for Truth and Penitence") as he is sent from his home in the ancient capitol of Nessus to a remote city to carry out executions. However, there's a low-level rebellion brewing and a seemingly endless war in the far Northern lands and Severian is sympathetic towards the rebels who want to end the war. Set in the far future, Severian's world, known as Urth, is one that is decaying and has regressed to a near medieval state, yet is punctuated by strange alien creatures and weapons.

I originally read the first two books many years ago, but never got around to the remaining two. I finally picked up the last two novels a few years ago and read volume 3 right away, but didn't get around to volume 4 until earlier this year. I found volume 4 to be a little bit of an anti-climax (which probably helped protract my reading). It's still really well-written, I just didn't love where the story was going. It's definitely a must-read if you're into science fiction and I think, now that I have all 4 novels, that I'll read the series again some day.
Nice comments. I read the books shortly after they came out - probably in my first or second year of college, so sometime around 1983-5, and then a second time in 2000-1 or so. Sometimes the prose does bog down, it's true, and at times it feels a little more static than it should - though it's hardly supposed to be action-packed. Still on the whole I'm not sure there's a greater science fiction novel that I've read apart from maybe The War of the Worlds. I keep meaning to read it again, and to read The Urth of the New Sun and the other related series but I just haven't gotten back to reading much, still, despite the isolation and lots of time. I actually have nearly all of Wolfe's books sitting on my shelves here, most first editions, from the time when I was pretty serious about book collecting. The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories and Peace interest me the most but at this point who knows if I'll ever make the time for any of them.
User avatar
outdoorcats
Posts: 1581
Joined: February 3rd, 2017, 7:00 am
Contact:

#372

Post by outdoorcats »

@mightysparks - I pick Killing Floor, not because I've read it, but it happens to look fun.

That's not a bad summary of Wuthering Heights btw. If you want more details, basically Heathcliff and Mary are locked in a torturous, toxic love-hate relationship that destroys everyone around them. More details would be too spoilery I think, but it's the classic dark and brooding feel-bad romance.

Someone want to pick one of these for me?

1. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
2. Dhalgren (Samuel R. Delaney)
3. The Idiot (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
4. Snow (Orhan Pamuk)
5. Blood Work (Michael Connelly)
6. The Sun Also Rises (Ernest Hemingway)
7. Middlemarch (George Eliot)
8. The Hour I First Believed (Wally Lamb)
9. Red Harvest (Dashiel Hammett)
10. The Castle (Franz Kafka)

A lie ain't a 'side of the story.' It's just a lie.
User avatar
OldAle1
Donator
Posts: 6204
Joined: February 9th, 2017, 7:00 am
Location: Dairyland, USA
Contact:

#373

Post by OldAle1 »

outdoorcats wrote: August 12th, 2020, 7:35 pm @mightysparks - I pick Killing Floor, not because I've read it, but it happens to look fun.

That's not a bad summary of Wuthering Heights btw. If you want more details, basically Heathcliff and Mary are locked in a torturous, toxic love-hate relationship that destroys everyone around them. More details would be too spoilery I think, but it's the classic dark and brooding feel-bad romance.

Someone want to pick one of these for me?

1. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
2. Dhalgren (Samuel R. Delaney)
3. The Idiot (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
4. Snow (Orhan Pamuk)
5. Blood Work (Michael Connelly)
6. The Sun Also Rises (Ernest Hemingway)
7. Middlemarch (George Eliot)
8. The Hour I First Believed (Wally Lamb)
9. Red Harvest (Dashiel Hammett)
10. The Castle (Franz Kafka)
I've actually read 4 of these, wow! Usually I'm lucky if I've read 1 from somebody's list. So...

2. Dhalgren - I read this around 1998-9, mostly riding on the subway back and forth to work. Somehow despite it's difficulties that really worked. I just loved it, really got sucked into this semi-surreal world; I don't remember enough now to go into great detail but for me it was a staggering work, one of the greatest I've ever read. Strangely it's the only thing by Delany I've read apart from a short story or two, though I have a few of his books waiting. He was also listed as having directed a film, something short and experimental I think, back in the 70s at one point, but it's not on IMDb now. EDIT actually it is, they just have two "Samuel R. Delanys" who are the same person. d'oh. It's The Orchid and it's on YouTube.

6. The Sun Also Rises - well done, compelling in it's way, but I'm not really a Hemingway guy - his writing is a brilliant example of a type that just doesn't appeal to me that much. You can't love Faulkner and Hemingway equally - maybe you can't love both at all - and I'm a Faulkner guy.

7. Middlemarch - memories of this are very dim but I remember mostly liking it but definitely feeling it was a slog also.

10. The Castle - great; as great as Dhalgren? Probably not, for me, but I read it about 10 years earlier so hard to say. And of course the incomplete nature of it, and most Kafka, is always going to be problematic. Great writing shouldn't give you everything, should ask you to fill in some holes in your own imagination, but this is a different kind of hole-filling.

I've also read a fair bit of Dostoevsky and loved it - again, long ago - but haven't read The Idiot. And I read Pamuk's Istanbul a couple of years ago and really loved that. Interested in reading Hammett myself, and more hard-boiled fiction in general.

So --- if you're really adventurous and in for a long haul, and especially if you like people like Joyce, Faulkner, Proust, Dorothy Richardson, etc - go with Dhalgren.
User avatar
outdoorcats
Posts: 1581
Joined: February 3rd, 2017, 7:00 am
Contact:

#374

Post by outdoorcats »

Alright, Dhalgren it is. Though I have to finish Lovecraft Country, which I'm almost done with but am not super excited about (I'm excited to see the TV series though, which could potentially fix the issues I have with the book. or make them worse. Critics seem to like it, though).

A lie ain't a 'side of the story.' It's just a lie.
blocho
Donator
Posts: 4808
Joined: July 20th, 2014, 6:00 am
Contact:

#375

Post by blocho »

I've only read The Count of Monte Cristo from that list, but it's one of my all-time favorites.
mjf314
Moderator
Posts: 12047
Joined: May 8th, 2011, 6:00 am
Contact:

#376

Post by mjf314 »

I'm not sure if I'm posting in the correct thread, but I'm wondering if anyone can give me short story recommendations. I'm in the mood for something that's critically acclaimed, philosophical, and no more than 20 pages. Maybe also a little bit surreal and/or sci-fi (but it's ok if it's not).
User avatar
outdoorcats
Posts: 1581
Joined: February 3rd, 2017, 7:00 am
Contact:

#377

Post by outdoorcats »

How about Barn Burning by William Faulkner? A fairly acclaimed work of literature that's only 14 pages.

A lie ain't a 'side of the story.' It's just a lie.
User avatar
frbrown
Posts: 6683
Joined: November 1st, 2011, 6:00 am
Contact:

#378

Post by frbrown »

Several stories by Borges fit: Library of Babel, The Aleph, Garden of Forking Paths, Death and the Compass...
blocho
Donator
Posts: 4808
Joined: July 20th, 2014, 6:00 am
Contact:

#379

Post by blocho »

I love the work of Thom Jones, especially his debut short story collection The Pugilist at Rest. Certain topics recur throughout his work: the Vietnam War, boxing, mental illness. Fair warning that most of his stories are sad.

I also like Tobias Wolff a lot. He has published four collections of short stories. I suppose the one I like best is Back in the World.

I remember enjoying this Marisa Silver story a lot when it was published. The same goes for this Roberto Bolano story.

Then there are some of the classics:
- Poe: Tell Tale Heart, Cask of Amontillado, The Pit and the Pendulum
- Bierce: An Occurrence at the Owl Creek Bridge
- Melville: Bartleby
- Henry: The Gift of the Magi
- Hemingway: Indian Camp, The Killers
- Jackson: The Lottery
- Salinger: Nine Stories

Surreal and sci-fi? Well, I think Bradbury is very hit-or-miss, but I think The Veldt and The Long Rain are pretty good. Borges is also a good bet. As for surreal, some of Haruki Murakami's work qualifies.
mjf314
Moderator
Posts: 12047
Joined: May 8th, 2011, 6:00 am
Contact:

#380

Post by mjf314 »

Thanks for the recommendations.

@blocho: Is there a particular Murakami story that you would recommend?
blocho
Donator
Posts: 4808
Joined: July 20th, 2014, 6:00 am
Contact:

#381

Post by blocho »

mjf314 wrote: December 3rd, 2020, 4:46 pm Thanks for the recommendations.

@blocho: Is there a particular Murakami story that you would recommend?
Not off the top of my head. I read two of his collections, but that was years ago. I remember his novels better -- A Wild Sheep Chase has surrealistic elements, and Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World has some cyberpunk weirdness.
User avatar
outdoorcats
Posts: 1581
Joined: February 3rd, 2017, 7:00 am
Contact:

#382

Post by outdoorcats »

Well, it's weirdly connected to my previous recommendation, but Murakami's Barn Burning (13 pages) is one of his best, and the basis of the film Burning.

A lie ain't a 'side of the story.' It's just a lie.
User avatar
weirdboy
Donator
Posts: 4105
Joined: January 3rd, 2016, 7:00 am
Contact:

#383

Post by weirdboy »

I liked Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1722
Joined: February 4th, 2012, 7:00 am
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#384

Post by Leopardi »

I'm finally within striking distance of finishing The Mysteries of London (~2250 pages down, fewer than 50 pages to go). I already gave it a partial review after finishing Book I, and my opinion of it hasn't changed much, but I'll admit the luster fell away just a bit with Book II. In the first book, the main hero of the story, Richard Markham, had great potential but was struggling in life, but by the second book he's very well established and has such a goody-goody air about him that you want to punch him; his trip to Italy is a real departure from the feel of the story, which takes place in or around London, tedious and completely unnecessary in my opinion. And, to my surprise, the most interesting and entertaining character, The Resurrection Man, makes almost too many appearances, there's no crime he doesn't have a hand in, and I think Reynolds leaned on him too much, no doubt the character was popular at the time but I think the story would have been better served with a 'less is more' approach to this most evil of villains.

Still, on the whole the book was quite entertaining, I'm very glad I read it and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in early Victorian lit, especially those influenced by Dickens' social commentary, you'll get that here in spades. And if you're looking for a penny dreadful or city mystery, this one is absolutely quintessential, second to none, but you'll have to wade through a fair number of pages dealing with the Victorian upper crust to get to the juicy bits, be forewarned. Great stuff, and I'm tempted to read on to the sequels: Two more volumes were written by another author before Reynolds returned with semi-sequels of his own under the title of The Mysteries of the Court of London. I don't think Valancourt Books will publish them (they had a hell of a time with the first pair, from what i remember - I asked them to publish the rest and the response I got was something to the effect of "You have to be kidding me, right?") so I may be on my own from here on in.

It looks like I don't have anyone to pick for - Outdoorcats picked for Mighty, Oldale picked for Outdoorcats but didn't provide a list of his own to choose from (Oldale, I'd love to pick from a list of yours, please whip one up if you're so inclined!). Next up I'll start Connections (picked by Mighty back in September 2019!), but here's my list:
Spoiler
1. What's Bred in the Bone (Robertson Davies, 1985). The second novel in Davies' celebrated Cornish Trilogy, this series, and Davies' writing in general, so affected my sister that she actually got a tattoo of the title quote some years ago. Shortlisted for the 1986 Booker Prize.

2. Mysteries (Knut Hamsun, 1892). "Mysteries is the story of Johan Nilsen Nagel, a mysteries stranger who suddenly turns up in a small Norwegian town one summer - and just as suddenly disappears. Nagel is a complete outsider, a sort of modern Christ treated as a spirit of near tragedy...But there is a sinister side of him: in his vest he carries a vial of prussic acid..." (Penguin Classics description). A much-lauded work by one of the creators of the modern novel.

3. Count Roderic's Castle (Anonymous, 1794). "With a fast-paced plot that features many of the elements for which the Gothic novel is known--brave heroes and detestable villains, ancient castles, dark dungeons, and a vengeful spectre--Count Roderic's Castle (1794) was one of the most popular of the early Gothic novels issued by the famous Minerva Press." (From the book jacket of the Valancourt edition)

4. The Landslide (Stephen Gilbert, 1943). "Will my poor book ever be read by anyone? It is about a dragon and a sea serpent, and a kind of prehistoric dog and an old man and a boy and a priest. I sent it to a publisher last July and it has been lost ever since. I know it is good...It is unlike any story that has ever been written before." (from the back of the Valancourt edition). An early work by the author of Ratman's Notebooks (the book on which the film Willard was based)

5. The Discourses (Niccolò Machiavelli, 1513). "In this book Machiavelli enshrines his most complete political treatment: his fundamental attachment to republics...For a political republic, he says, is liberty's best bastion, if only its people maintain their civic virtue." (From the back of the Penguin edition).

6. On the Eve (Ivan Turgenev, 1859). "A love story with a tragic ending, On the Eve (1859) portrays the everyday life and scenery of a Russian country estate with the consummate descriptive gift for which its author had already become famous. Much of the novel's pleasure lies in its humorous sketches of the gentry; and its sadness, in Turgenev's fluid and exquisite sense of love's emotional weather." (from the back of the Penguin edition).

7. The Letters of George Gissing to Eduard Bertz 1887-1903 (George Gissing, 1887-1903). "Collection of 189 letters and post card to his German friend Eduard Bertz which provide a record of a part of Gissing's strange life about which there has been speculation and doubt, because they reflect his personality and give a clear picture of how he developed the ideas for his books, how he wrote them and how he was treated by the publishers of the day." (from YesterYear Books). I'm a big fan of The Nether World, one of Gissing's early works that Bertz no doubt influenced, so I'm eager for an inside look into their friendship.

8. A Child's History of England (Charles Dickens, 1851-1853). "The historian as optimist – but not so much for his subject as for its recipients. Fed up with the way British history was presented to children in the mid-nineteenth century, and well-acquainted with the theories of Mr Gradgrind (still with us), Dickens determined upon doing the job ‘for his own dear children’ all by himself." (from Books For Keeps) "Dickens confessed that he was composing the book so that he could prevent his children from embracing 'any conservative or High Church notions.'" (from Wikipedia)

9. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1865-1866). "Crime and Punishment tells how Raskolnikov, a former student, murders an old woman money-lender and her unfortunate sister...A tragic masterpiece, a profound drama of redemption and, according to the critic John Jones, 'the most accessible and exciting novel in the world'." "'An indictment of urban social conditions in nineteenth-century Russia, and a proto-Nietzschean analysis of the 'will to power'...Crime and Punishment is all these things - but it is more' writes David McDuff" (from the back of the book). What more can be said about this title, said by some to be the greatest novel ever written? Easily in the top 3 of books I most want to read.

10. Curios (Richard Marsh, 1898). '"Curios is a series of seven short stories narrated alternately by Mr. Pugh and Mr. Tress, rival collectors of "curios", who are sometimes best of friends and often worst of enemies. Pugh is superstitious, tending to believe every antique he comes across is haunted. Tress is cold and cynical and will stop at nothing - even theft or murder - to add to his collection.Ranging in tone from horrifying to mysterious to darkly comical, these stories follow Tress and Pugh as they come in contact with an array of strange objects, including a poisoned pipe that seems to come to life when smoked, a 14th century severed hand bent on murder, and a phonograph record on which a murdered woman speaks from beyond the grave." (from the back of the book). Another supernatural page-turner from Richard Marsh, hot off his great success the previous year with The Beetle.
Cippenham
Donator
Posts: 13460
Joined: May 9th, 2011, 6:00 am
Location: Dorset England
Contact:

#385

Post by Cippenham »

https://archive.org/details/mysteriesof ... 5/mode/2up

This is Mysteries Of the Court of London on archive
User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1722
Joined: February 4th, 2012, 7:00 am
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#386

Post by Leopardi »

Cippenham wrote: March 21st, 2021, 3:54 pm https://archive.org/details/mysteriesof ... 5/mode/2up

This is Mysteries Of the Court of London on archive
Thanks, but I'd definitely want to read this one from a good old-fashioned book, I'm already perusing abebooks and other book sites to fantasize about buying an early edition. This looked like a great candidate (albeit expensive) until I saw it was published in 1852. The serial was being published until 1856, I believe, so I think this is only Volume 3, and I'd like a combined Volumes 3 and 4, if possible. I sense a lengthy search in my future...
User avatar
OldAle1
Donator
Posts: 6204
Joined: February 9th, 2017, 7:00 am
Location: Dairyland, USA
Contact:

#387

Post by OldAle1 »

Leopardi wrote: March 21st, 2021, 3:38 pm

It looks like I don't have anyone to pick for - Outdoorcats picked for Mighty, Oldale picked for Outdoorcats but didn't provide a list of his own to choose from (Oldale, I'd love to pick from a list of yours, please whip one up if you're so inclined!). Next up I'll start Connections (picked by Mighty back in September 2019!), but here's my list:
I'm always loath to do this sort of thing, particularly for books as my reading list is SOOOO mammoth and I never seem to know when I'm going to feel like reading again. But I did just read something earlier this month (review to follow) and so, who knows? Here's what I'll do - I'll provide the list I have of the novels* that I've started and never finished; I'm pretty obsessive about finishing things - quite absolute about it with movies - so I want to get back to all of these someday. Only the first and second are things I'd feel comfortable picking up where I left off, the first because it's got a really great index & summary, and the second because it's just schlock and I know I'll be able to pick right up without missing much - plus it's the most recent thing. So here's the list, have at it -

1. In Search of Lost Time (Marcel Proust) - I started reading this twice, first in my senior year in college, in 1986-7 - didn't get very far, certainly impressed with Proust's command of VERY LONG SENTENCES AND PARAGRAPHS but... I wasn't ready for it. Then I got a whole set in 2016 and started again, getting through about the halfway point (midway through the 4th volume) by early fall - but then my interest in film was re-vitalized and I put it down, and I thought I'd get back to it soon, but... as I said, it's got a very detailed summary, and there are moments that I remember quite vividly, so I'll just pick up roughly where I left off. I have little doubt after reading half of it that it will turn out to be the greatest novel I've read.

2. The Dragonlance Chronicles (Margaret Weis/Tracy Hickman - another thing from my college days but a VERY different kettle of... halberds? Junky D&D stuff, kind of fun but pretty badly written. But it goes really fast and so I figured why not, after I had read something a little more difficult. Stopped reading this when my mom got sick in October 2019.

3. One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) - I've read quite a bit of Borges, I've read some American writers who occasionally tread close to "magical realism", but I've never read Marquez or any of the other Latin American novelists who are what most people think of when they hear the term. Read just a bit of this a few years ago, intrigued but didn't continue for whatever reason.

4. A Canticle for Leibowitz (Walter M. Miller Jr) - post-apocalypse SF, but not of the Mad Max variety. A bunch of monks try to save man from repeating his nuclear mistakes, hundreds or thousands of years in the future. Don't really remember anything about this - won the major genre awards when it came out around 1960, always been on my back burner.

5. The Eyes of the World (Robert Jordan) - amusingly bad but in a different way than #2 above - turgid and long-winded. I will never read the entire 14-volume, 10,000 page "saga" but I do want to finish the first book because I got about halfway through it oh, 10 years ago or so.

6. His Dark Materials (Phillip Pullman) - read the first book, really liked it, started the second and... stopped it. Just my kind of thing, an anti-religious epic fantasy, a critique of Tolkien and Lewis' world-view I suppose. I like both Tolkien and Lewis, but that doesn't mean they aren't full of shit as thinkers. But why do I find it easier to go back to Narnia or Middle Earth than to finish this? Don't know.

7. If On A Winter's Night a Traveler (Italo Calvino) - OK kind of a cheat as it's so short. I read a few pages once and intended to just sit down and read the whole thing - probably an hour or two's work - but got distracted or had to go somewhere and forgot about it.

8. Jazz (Toni Morrison) - I really loved Beloved, which I read shortly before the movie came out, and I proceeded to read the books that came earlier in Morrison's bibliography, liked or loved all of them, but for some reason never got past the first few pages of this - probably about 20 years ago so I remember nothing about it now. I guess it might have to do with music?

9. Little, Big (John Crowley) - various critics and friends I respect have described this as one of the greatest fantasy novels ever, and it's notable that Crowley sort of crosses back and forth from genre to "mainstream" fiction, or strides the fuzzy gray area in between most of the time. I remember I was reading this about 15 years ago, and that I used to read it in a particular coffee shop in Burlington, VT, and I got through - 1/3 of it maybe? - and stopped for some reason.

10. Lord of Light (Roger Zelazny) - I've read Zelazny's Amber series multiple times, a couple of his other novels, and several of his short stories and liked almost everything, though a fair amount of it seems a bit slapdash. Still, fun stuff, but when it comes to his magnum opus I just never got very far.

11. Slaughterhouse-Five (Kurt Vonnegut) - another relatively recent reading attempt, maybe 5-6 years ago. Vonnegut, like Crowley and Ray Bradbury and Ursula K. LeGuin and Doris Lessing also moved around the boundaries between "genre" and "literary" fiction - why some people get thrown in the genre ghetto and never get out, and others are named "artists" from the get-go is one of the great mysteries of literature, or maybe I should say publishing. Oh, and I've seen the movie based on this and liked it.


*there are a few other novels and series that aren't on this list, just didn't want to make it too big or make it too fantasy/sf-dominated. Also plenty of non-fiction I've started and not finished, like a very large history of the Arab world, a book on Dick Cheney, and a book on the 9/11 attacks, but I'm less obsessive about finishing non-fiction for some reason.
Here's to the fools who dream.
User avatar
OldAle1
Donator
Posts: 6204
Joined: February 9th, 2017, 7:00 am
Location: Dairyland, USA
Contact:

#388

Post by OldAle1 »

So the book I read earlier this month ties in sort of with Leopardi's Mysteries of London in that it's a Victorian-set thriller/mystery of sorts, though it's a modern book. And it's long (but not THAT long). This was another book I had started and never finished, and it's also a book - one of very few examples probably in my library or reading history - that I picked up SOLELY because of the title. It was published in 2006 and I probably discovered it in my then-local library in Burlington VT in 2008-9 during a period when I was spending lots of time there; I think it was still in their new releases section but can't be sure. The title grabbed me, the description inside grabbed me, but the book really didn't at first, and I struggled over the somewhat overripe prose at the time, ended up renewing it over and over, but never getting past the second (long) chapter. It's

The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist. If you look at some of the customer reviews you will see a pretty wide variety of scores and opinions; of course this is typical for most novels that gain a reasonable number of reviews but I really noticed it here. And I must say I get both the negative and positive viewpoints.

First the negative: it's 760 pages, and an argument could be made that it doesn't need to be nearly as long. It IS over-written to an extent, particularly in the beginning and especially when we're monitoring one of our three main character's thoughts - when there's no action. This is more problematic at the beginning, which might be why I had issues at first - later on the book gets going mile-a-minute and I didn't much care. It's set in a faux-London or possibly some other big European city, and the date is uncertain; so it's sort of an alternate world you might say; there are references to Paris, and one of the characters comes from a made-up duchy in Germany, but essentially this is a fictionalized sort-of-Europe, and to me at least this seemed at best unnecessary and something that drains some of the fun out of it, because the author can just make up any old name and not worry much about where this is in relation to that - and at worst it strikes me as lazy, like maybe he didn't want to do the work to develop any kind of historical realism. Of course if he did want to create his own unique world, that's fine - but he doesn't really go anywhere in terms of world-building, so it just feels a little half-assed. There's a fair bit of sloppiness when it comes to technology also - I guess you could call this "steampunk" of a sort but it mixes zeppelins and gas lighting and futuristic technology in a way that doesn't always make sense or work for me. Also the overall plot doesn't really make a lot of sense - yes there are these bad people, a cabal of rich and powerful who seem to want more power, but their objectives aren't very clear beyond "we want power" and in 760 pages you'd think there'd be more detail, and the way the glass books and the technology works, what it does and how it was created, remains vague.

But in the end I was won over by the three main characters - 25-year-old Celestial Temple, a rich spoiled girl but with a mind of her own and surprising willpower; Cardinal Chang, an assassin with a terrible personal history, and Captain-Surgeon Svenson, a doctor entrusted to look after his Prince, who needs much handling. They all get drawn into a mystery involving these - yes, glass books - the title is very correct - that seem to somehow drain people's minds or dreams, and can then be "read" by others. There are murders and chases and the three are brought together and find that each has lost someone dear - and that all of these losses may in fact be part of the cabal's deadly plans - and that their own lives are all in danger. The plotting was very enjoyable once I got used to the writing and figured out where it was going - although as I said above, I felt we could have learned a little more about just what this whole conspiracy is about, to be fair we are kept within the limited viewpoints of these three characters - all very bright and capable in their own ways, but none of them a part of the scheme and having to guess in the dark a lot about what's going on. And the structure is really fairly interesting and certainly unusual for a modern novel - it was apparently published in a limited serial form, first and it's chapters mostly end in cliffhangers - in fact it reminded me more of classic American serials, or perhaps of Feuillade's serials, than anything else. Each of the 10 chapters alternates between one of the protagonist's viewpoints, with Miss Temple having 4 chapters including the first and last, and each chapter is about the same length - 60-70 pages in the hardcover - except for the last which is more than double the length of the others. Very much the format of, say, a Flash Gordon serial. It's quite violent and bloody, and get more so as it goes along, and there's also a fair bit of sexual imagery though this is soft by contemporary standards - Dahlquist is certainly trying to tread the line between Victorian prudery and our own, different mores. And it ends on more or less a cliffhanger, and now I'll have to read the second book, aack.

On a 10-point scale I'd probably give this a 7. On goodreads I'll rate it a 4 I guess.
Here's to the fools who dream.
User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1722
Joined: February 4th, 2012, 7:00 am
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#389

Post by Leopardi »

Yeah, we got OldAle! Thanks for putting together a list, and the review. Strangely, I've never been drawn to steampunk lit in general even though I'm wild about all things Verne and I like the idea of it. I guess I haven't hit on the right book to draw me in to the more modern stuff.

Oh, since you've submitted a list can you select a title from mine for me to read (from my March 21st post)? I'll be finishing Connections in the next day or two and I'll need something to follow up with - I'll pick from yours then unless someone beats me to it!
User avatar
OldAle1
Donator
Posts: 6204
Joined: February 9th, 2017, 7:00 am
Location: Dairyland, USA
Contact:

#390

Post by OldAle1 »

Hmm, of your picks I've only read Crime and Punishment - back in college, so around 35-36 years ago. I probably remember more about it from film adaptations than the novel itself at this point but I read a lot of Dostoevsky and loved all of it. It is pretty long though, and having just digested the mammoth book you did, I think I will not choose that for you - I know I don't like to go from one huge tome to another myself but if you do, by all means. I have no doubt I will love it just as much whenever I get around to re-reading. I've also read Turgenev's most famous work, Fathers and Sons, which I remember even less of, so couldn't say anything about your choice of that author.

Most of your other choices look at least somewhat interesting - I have a couple of Robertson Davies books, have always wanted to read something, just never have. The Hamsun book is tempting, I feel drawn to the dark and Nordic at the moment, but I will call that a second choice (if your first choice cannot perform it's duties), because my first is going to be Count Roderic's Castle. I've never actually read a true piece of Gothic fiction myself (unless Wuthering Heights counts?) and I'm still bummed that I never got around to reading Frankenstein in 2018 for it's bicentennary. I have a bunch of the more famous Gothic works like that, The Castle of Otranto and Vathek but have never heard of your choice - and not surprising as, checking, it has no Wiki page and only one review on Goodreads. You've picked an obscurity there for sure! Is it in print - what kind of copy do you have? Anyway, that's my pick for you.

re: steampunk. I wouldn't let that designation put you off Glass Books. Most steampunk in fiction has, near as I can tell, been written by writers already identified with science fiction or fantasy, like K.W. Jeter, William Gibson or James Blaylock. Dahlquist was a playwright before turning to fiction (this was his first novel, got a HUGE advance, and was something of a flop sales-wise) and this doesn't have the "tone" of most self-consciously SF books. It's more the work of a "literary" writer trying something different. But if it still doesn't appeal I can't argue and I certainly pointed out some of the many problems I had with it. I just think it's a book with possibly more appeal to non-genre audiences than science fiction or fantasy enthusiasts in particular.
User avatar
Knaldskalle
Moderator
Posts: 10516
Joined: May 9th, 2011, 6:00 am
Location: New Mexico, USA
Contact:

#391

Post by Knaldskalle »

Leopardi wrote: March 22nd, 2021, 2:22 am
Cippenham wrote: March 21st, 2021, 3:54 pm https://archive.org/details/mysteriesof ... 5/mode/2up

This is Mysteries Of the Court of London on archive
Thanks, but I'd definitely want to read this one from a good old-fashioned book, I'm already perusing abebooks and other book sites to fantasize about buying an early edition. This looked like a great candidate (albeit expensive) until I saw it was published in 1852. The serial was being published until 1856, I believe, so I think this is only Volume 3, and I'd like a combined Volumes 3 and 4, if possible. I sense a lengthy search in my future...
I don't know if these sites ship/sell to Canada, but my go-to is always thriftbooks.com first, I've found them to be generally cheaper than abebooks. I also occasionally use worldofbooks.com for stuff I can't find on thriftbooks, but they're usually more expensive. There's also hpb.com (Half-Price Books) but it seems more like an aggregator than an actual website, but I don't think I've actually ever bought from them. These are just suggestions to widen your search area.

And then there's of course Strand Books in New York, a place I've only ever visited in person. 18 miles of books. I don't know if their site is any good.
ImageImageImageImage

Please don't hurt yourself, talk to someone.
User avatar
Knaldskalle
Moderator
Posts: 10516
Joined: May 9th, 2011, 6:00 am
Location: New Mexico, USA
Contact:

#392

Post by Knaldskalle »

I'm not going to tell you what to read, but I couldn't help make a few comments on your list...
OldAle1 wrote: April 1st, 2021, 10:24 pm 1. In Search of Lost Time (Marcel Proust) - I started reading this twice, first in my senior year in college, in 1986-7 - didn't get very far, certainly impressed with Proust's command of VERY LONG SENTENCES AND PARAGRAPHS but... I wasn't ready for it. Then I got a whole set in 2016 and started again, getting through about the halfway point (midway through the 4th volume) by early fall - but then my interest in film was re-vitalized and I put it down, and I thought I'd get back to it soon, but... as I said, it's got a very detailed summary, and there are moments that I remember quite vividly, so I'll just pick up roughly where I left off. I have little doubt after reading half of it that it will turn out to be the greatest novel I've read.
My wife has a 2-volume collected set, but the cloth-binding is so fragile that there's no way I'm reading that. The paper's fine, it's just the binding that needs work/replacing. The box housing the 2 volumes is falling apart too, even the tape that holds the box together is old, brittle and yellow. I've been wanting to read it but I haven't found a cheap used version online, so...
OldAle1 wrote: April 1st, 2021, 10:24 pm 2. The Dragonlance Chronicles (Margaret Weis/Tracy Hickman - another thing from my college days but a VERY different kettle of... halberds? Junky D&D stuff, kind of fun but pretty badly written. But it goes really fast and so I figured why not, after I had read something a little more difficult. Stopped reading this when my mom got sick in October 2019.
Eh... I read those in high school when I was obsessed with playing D&D and other RPG's. Honestly, it's empty calories, like a Dan Brown novel or puff pastry.
OldAle1 wrote: April 1st, 2021, 10:24 pm 3. One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) - I've read quite a bit of Borges, I've read some American writers who occasionally tread close to "magical realism", but I've never read Marquez or any of the other Latin American novelists who are what most people think of when they hear the term. Read just a bit of this a few years ago, intrigued but didn't continue for whatever reason.
I really liked it, but I still ended up liking Love in the Time of Cholera better. I'd recommend both highly. It does have passages that don't really work for me, but overall they're both wonderful books.
OldAle1 wrote: April 1st, 2021, 10:24 pm 4. A Canticle for Leibowitz (Walter M. Miller Jr) - post-apocalypse SF, but not of the Mad Max variety. A bunch of monks try to save man from repeating his nuclear mistakes, hundreds or thousands of years in the future. Don't really remember anything about this - won the major genre awards when it came out around 1960, always been on my back burner.
Must-read classic sf. It's really good. Neal Stephenson's "Anathem" is very similar to this in its basic premise (clearly inspired by Canticle).
OldAle1 wrote: April 1st, 2021, 10:24 pm 6. His Dark Materials (Phillip Pullman) - read the first book, really liked it, started the second and... stopped it. Just my kind of thing, an anti-religious epic fantasy, a critique of Tolkien and Lewis' world-view I suppose. I like both Tolkien and Lewis, but that doesn't mean they aren't full of shit as thinkers. But why do I find it easier to go back to Narnia or Middle Earth than to finish this? Don't know.
I loved this series. I handed the first book to my daughter last year and she keeps asking me what a daemon is. I keep telling her to read on and things will become clear, but she stopped somewhere in vol.1. I think she might still be too young for it (13).

Avoid the movie like the plague!
OldAle1 wrote: April 1st, 2021, 10:24 pm 11. Slaughterhouse-Five (Kurt Vonnegut) - another relatively recent reading attempt, maybe 5-6 years ago. Vonnegut, like Crowley and Ray Bradbury and Ursula K. LeGuin and Doris Lessing also moved around the boundaries between "genre" and "literary" fiction - why some people get thrown in the genre ghetto and never get out, and others are named "artists" from the get-go is one of the great mysteries of literature, or maybe I should say publishing. Oh, and I've seen the movie based on this and liked it.
Another must-read. For people used to reading hard sf or some of the more challenging fantasy stuff, this isn't hard to wrap your brain around. Vonnegut's character "jumps" back and forth in time and it's not always obvious from the outset just when (or where) a paragraph takes place, but once you accept that it just works really well.
ImageImageImageImage

Please don't hurt yourself, talk to someone.
User avatar
OldAle1
Donator
Posts: 6204
Joined: February 9th, 2017, 7:00 am
Location: Dairyland, USA
Contact:

#393

Post by OldAle1 »

Knaldskalle wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 5:08 pm I'm not going to tell you what to read, but I couldn't help make a few comments on your list...
OldAle1 wrote: April 1st, 2021, 10:24 pm 1. In Search of Lost Time (Marcel Proust) - I started reading this twice, first in my senior year in college, in 1986-7 - didn't get very far, certainly impressed with Proust's command of VERY LONG SENTENCES AND PARAGRAPHS but... I wasn't ready for it. Then I got a whole set in 2016 and started again, getting through about the halfway point (midway through the 4th volume) by early fall - but then my interest in film was re-vitalized and I put it down, and I thought I'd get back to it soon, but... as I said, it's got a very detailed summary, and there are moments that I remember quite vividly, so I'll just pick up roughly where I left off. I have little doubt after reading half of it that it will turn out to be the greatest novel I've read.
My wife has a 2-volume collected set, but the cloth-binding is so fragile that there's no way I'm reading that. The paper's fine, it's just the binding that needs work/replacing. The box housing the 2 volumes is falling apart too, even the tape that holds the box together is old, brittle and yellow. I've been wanting to read it but I haven't found a cheap used version online, so...
Thanks for the comments in general - as to this one, I have the Modern Library Moncrieff/Enright/Kilmartin translation, which I bought from Amazon 5 years ago new - and I think it was under $60 then, which I consider reasonable give the size of the thing. I like the 6-volume edition much better than the old 3-volume that I remember getting from the school library in the 80s - don't know that I've ever seen a 2 volume set, jeez those must be huge or the print really tiny. This set is just really nicely produced and has an excellent summary - which will be very helpful when I get back to it - and character and subject guides (which I suppose most editions have come to think of it). Anyway now it's listed at $90 but I'd imagine if you hunted around the whole thing could be had a lot cheaper used. Takes some doing of course and I for one have found a lot fewer real deals on used books over the last few years.

Of course there's also the issue of which translation to get if you're not reading it in French and I'm not sure why I settled on this apart from it being the right price and all. I know there are newer versions now but I guess I don't mind that this was originally created closer to the period when the author lived. And one of the newer editions has a different translator for each book I think which doesn't make sense to me.

Now I'm kind of excited to get back to reading it.
User avatar
prodigalgodson
Posts: 899
Joined: July 30th, 2011, 6:00 am
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

#394

Post by prodigalgodson »

Knaldskalle wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 4:40 pm There's also hpb.com (Half-Price Books) but it seems more like an aggregator than an actual website, but I don't think I've actually ever bought from them. These are just suggestions to widen your search area.

And then there's of course Strand Books in New York, a place I've only ever visited in person. 18 miles of books. I don't know if their site is any good.
I think HPB is an actual website -- it looks organized similar to their physical store with "superbuys" and whatnot.

The Strand has been apparently struggling during the pandemic, I'm sure they'd appreciate any support online or not. Same with Powell's in Portland, City Lights in SF, etc.
User avatar
Knaldskalle
Moderator
Posts: 10516
Joined: May 9th, 2011, 6:00 am
Location: New Mexico, USA
Contact:

#395

Post by Knaldskalle »

OldAle1 wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 6:22 pm Thanks for the comments in general - as to this one, I have the Modern Library Moncrieff/Enright/Kilmartin translation, which I bought from Amazon 5 years ago new - and I think it was under $60 then, which I consider reasonable give the size of the thing. I like the 6-volume edition much better than the old 3-volume that I remember getting from the school library in the 80s - don't know that I've ever seen a 2 volume set, jeez those must be huge or the print really tiny. This set is just really nicely produced and has an excellent summary - which will be very helpful when I get back to it - and character and subject guides (which I suppose most editions have come to think of it). Anyway now it's listed at $90 but I'd imagine if you hunted around the whole thing could be had a lot cheaper used. Takes some doing of course and I for one have found a lot fewer real deals on used books over the last few years.

Of course there's also the issue of which translation to get if you're not reading it in French and I'm not sure why I settled on this apart from it being the right price and all. I know there are newer versions now but I guess I don't mind that this was originally created closer to the period when the author lived. And one of the newer editions has a different translator for each book I think which doesn't make sense to me.

Now I'm kind of excited to get back to reading it.
"Our" edition is the Moncrieff translation and appears to be this one from 1934. Two volumes, more than a 1,100 pages each and tiny print (3 novels in the first 4 in the second).

I agree that $60 isn't a bad price, considering what you get, but I've gotten so used to buying used hardback books in good+ condition for $5-6 each that $60 now seems like a lot. I'm patient, I'll get around to it some day. In the meantime I have a lot of other books to explore.

I should check if our local library has a copy. I somehow doubt it but you never know.
ImageImageImageImage

Please don't hurt yourself, talk to someone.
User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1722
Joined: February 4th, 2012, 7:00 am
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#396

Post by Leopardi »

OldAle1 wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 4:11 pm Hmm, of your picks I've only read Crime and Punishment - back in college, so around 35-36 years ago. I probably remember more about it from film adaptations than the novel itself at this point but I read a lot of Dostoevsky and loved all of it. It is pretty long though, and having just digested the mammoth book you did, I think I will not choose that for you - I know I don't like to go from one huge tome to another myself but if you do, by all means. I have no doubt I will love it just as much whenever I get around to re-reading. I've also read Turgenev's most famous work, Fathers and Sons, which I remember even less of, so couldn't say anything about your choice of that author.

Most of your other choices look at least somewhat interesting - I have a couple of Robertson Davies books, have always wanted to read something, just never have. The Hamsun book is tempting, I feel drawn to the dark and Nordic at the moment, but I will call that a second choice (if your first choice cannot perform it's duties), because my first is going to be Count Roderic's Castle. I've never actually read a true piece of Gothic fiction myself (unless Wuthering Heights counts?) and I'm still bummed that I never got around to reading Frankenstein in 2018 for it's bicentennary. I have a bunch of the more famous Gothic works like that, The Castle of Otranto and Vathek but have never heard of your choice - and not surprising as, checking, it has no Wiki page and only one review on Goodreads. You've picked an obscurity there for sure! Is it in print - what kind of copy do you have? Anyway, that's my pick for you.

re: steampunk. I wouldn't let that designation put you off Glass Books. Most steampunk in fiction has, near as I can tell, been written by writers already identified with science fiction or fantasy, like K.W. Jeter, William Gibson or James Blaylock. Dahlquist was a playwright before turning to fiction (this was his first novel, got a HUGE advance, and was something of a flop sales-wise) and this doesn't have the "tone" of most self-consciously SF books. It's more the work of a "literary" writer trying something different. But if it still doesn't appeal I can't argue and I certainly pointed out some of the many problems I had with it. I just think it's a book with possibly more appeal to non-genre audiences than science fiction or fantasy enthusiasts in particular.
Thanks! Count Roderic's Castle is a short one (around 135 pages) so I'll be back soon, no doubt. Yep, it's in print from the wonderful Valancourt books, who have a great selection of hard-to-find Gothic, Victorian/Edwardian and vintage LGBT lit (they put out The Mysteries of London as well). So many fantastic titles there to choose from!

I'm very close to finishing Connections, a tremendously insightful "big picture" book that must have been the product of many years of interdisciplinary research and delivered in a (fairly) breezy way with many helpful and colourful illustrations. My one quibble, and it may well be my own inadequacies I'm bringing to light here, is that sometimes the descriptions seemed too light, I found I'd have to go back to re-read some of the technical explanations because I felt I wasn't getting the gist of how some devices functioned and still couldn't figure them out, or why they were relevant in the context of the history being explained. Again, I think this was more a deficiency on my part, and I was probably reading a little too fast, maybe from overexuberance at being able to get through a book so quickly (it's been a while!).

OldAle, I have to choose The Dragonlance Chronicles for you - yeah, it's junky D&D stuff but good for a nostalgia rush and easy to pick up where you left off, as you point out. Coincidentally I may actually use the original Dragonlance modules in a campaign I'm running now (again, for nostalgia's sake); I was always paranoid about doing this as a kid, since everyone I knew seemed to have read the series except me and so would know a lot better contextually what was going on than I did, but at this point I don't really care, I'll get to put my own spin on it and I'm sure we'll have fun regardless.

Here's my list:
Spoiler
1. Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip (Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns) In 1903 there were only 150 miles of paved roads in the entire nation and most people had never seen a “horseless buggy”—but that did not stop Horatio Nelson Jackson, a thirty-one-year-old Vermont doctor, who impulsively bet fifty dollars that he could drive his 20-horsepower automobile from San Francisco to New York City. Here—in Jackson’s own words and photographs—is a glorious account of that months-long, problem-beset, thrilling-to-the-rattled-bones trip with his mechanic, Sewall Crocker, and a bulldog named Bud. (from book jacket). I loved the documentary and this has been sitting on my shelf for almost 15 years, I bet, so it's due to be read.

2. The Printer's Devil (Bill Fairbairn) "Bill Fairbairn started as a printer's devil in Scotland setting up newspaper headlines by hand 60 years ago. His vagabond reporter years in three continents followed in quick pursuit. This tale outlines some of the people and events he encountered in Canada working for newspapers, radio and magazine." I met this fellow at a book fair a few years ago and picked up his book since he (and it) sounded interesting. Time to give it a try!

3. George & Rue (George Elliott Clarke) "A masterful blend of fiction and reality from one of Canada's most daring and original writers", Clarke takes us to the ghettos of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and paints a miserable and suffocating portrait of mid-century Africadian life. Mr. Clarke was Canada's former Poet Laureate, a winner of the Governor General's Award for poetry, and has been at the Ottawa Antiquarian Book Fair the last two years. He seems to have a friendly and dynamic personality and I'd like to read this, his first novel, before I speak to him at next year's fair (if he's there, and if I can build up the courage to).

4. Nonlinear Fiber Optics (Govind P. Agrawal) This title belongs on the list perhaps more than any other. It's considered the Bible of modern fiber optics (one of them, anyway), which is the field in which I work, so I'm embarrassed to say I haven't read it yet, even though it's been sitting on my shelf for years now.

5. Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe (Norman Davies) "Europe's history is littered with kingdoms, duchies, empires and republics which have now disappeared but which were once fixtures on the map of their age. What happened to the once-great Mediterranean 'Empire of Aragon'? Where did the half-forgotten kingdoms of Burgundy go?...This original and enthralling book peers through the cracks of history to discover the stories of lost realms across the centuries." (from the back of the Penguin edition)

6. Restoration London: Everyday Life in the 1660s (Liza Picard) "Making use of every possible contemporary source diaries, memoirs, advice books, government papers, almanacs, even the Register of Patents Liza Picard presents a picture of how life in London was really lived in the 1600s: the houses and streets, gardens and parks, cooking, clothes and jewellery, cosmetics, hairdressing, housework, laundry and shopping, medicine and dentistry, sex, education, hobbies, etiquette, law and crime, religion and popular beliefs." (from Goodreads)

7. Dr. Johnson's Lichfield (Mary Alden Hopkins) "A portrait of Dr. Samuel Johnson, focusing on his life before the publication of Boswell's Life of Johnson, in his home town of Lichfield. Several historic figures, including James Watt, Erasmus Darwin, as well as Richard and his daughter Maria Edgeworth, are also featured." (from Goodreads)

8. Singing Tales Of Africa (Adjai Robinson). "In this book, Adjai Robinson has retold seven of his favorite singing tales - tales that are meant to be shared...Included is the story of greedy Bra Spider who becomes the finest dancer that ever was seen; the lazy dog who caused death to come to the world; Ijomah, the mistreated stepchild who discovers she has a magical power over her fruit trees." (From the dust jacket) I really enjoyed The Palm Wine Drinkard and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts and thought I'd delve a little deeper into Yoruban folk tales. This collection from 1974 looks like a great place to start.

9. Vera Vorontzoff (Sofia Kovalevskaya) "A young Russian noblewoman wishes to dedicate herself to a cause but finds herself descending into nihilism." (from Goodreads) A semi-autobiographical novel by the extraordinary mathematician and feminist Sofia Kovalevskaya.

10. Life in a Medieval Castle (Joseph & Frances Gies) "Castles are crumbly and romantic. They still hint at an age more colorful and gallant than our own, but are often debunked by boring people who like to run on about drafts and grumble that the latrines did not work. Joseph and Frances Gies offer a book to set the record straight...Plumbing in the larger castles was better than that of seventeenth-century Versailles: every floor had a washing area - some with running water, even baths. Latrines were often conveniently perched out over the castle moat." (from the back of the book) I read the authors' Life in a Medieval Village years ago and found it interesting, so I thought I'd give this one a try.
User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1722
Joined: February 4th, 2012, 7:00 am
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#397

Post by Leopardi »

Knaldskalle wrote: April 3rd, 2021, 4:40 pm
Leopardi wrote: March 22nd, 2021, 2:22 am
Cippenham wrote: March 21st, 2021, 3:54 pm https://archive.org/details/mysteriesof ... 5/mode/2up

This is Mysteries Of the Court of London on archive
Thanks, but I'd definitely want to read this one from a good old-fashioned book, I'm already perusing abebooks and other book sites to fantasize about buying an early edition. This looked like a great candidate (albeit expensive) until I saw it was published in 1852. The serial was being published until 1856, I believe, so I think this is only Volume 3, and I'd like a combined Volumes 3 and 4, if possible. I sense a lengthy search in my future...
I don't know if these sites ship/sell to Canada, but my go-to is always thriftbooks.com first, I've found them to be generally cheaper than abebooks. I also occasionally use worldofbooks.com for stuff I can't find on thriftbooks, but they're usually more expensive. There's also hpb.com (Half-Price Books) but it seems more like an aggregator than an actual website, but I don't think I've actually ever bought from them. These are just suggestions to widen your search area.

And then there's of course Strand Books in New York, a place I've only ever visited in person. 18 miles of books. I don't know if their site is any good.
I had a bad experience with abebooks.com a few months back so I may give these other sites a chance - thanks!

I've only been to Strand Books once (would love to return, of course), and I usually check their site when I'm looking for hard-to-find titles, but it looks like there are only print-on-demand copies of Mysteries of the Court of London there now, unfortunately (not interested in those). I think this one will require a little patience, I'm happy to wait for the right copy, I know it's out there somewhere...
User avatar
OldAle1
Donator
Posts: 6204
Joined: February 9th, 2017, 7:00 am
Location: Dairyland, USA
Contact:

#398

Post by OldAle1 »

Leopardi wrote: April 4th, 2021, 10:38 pm

Thanks! Count Roderic's Castle is a short one (around 135 pages) so I'll be back soon, no doubt. Yep, it's in print from the wonderful Valancourt books, who have a great selection of hard-to-find Gothic, Victorian/Edwardian and vintage LGBT lit (they put out The Mysteries of London as well). So many fantastic titles there to choose from!

I'm very close to finishing Connections, a tremendously insightful "big picture" book that must have been the product of many years of interdisciplinary research and delivered in a (fairly) breezy way with many helpful and colourful illustrations. My one quibble, and it may well be my own inadequacies I'm bringing to light here, is that sometimes the descriptions seemed too light, I found I'd have to go back to re-read some of the technical explanations because I felt I wasn't getting the gist of how some devices functioned and still couldn't figure them out, or why they were relevant in the context of the history being explained. Again, I think this was more a deficiency on my part, and I was probably reading a little too fast, maybe from overexuberance at being able to get through a book so quickly (it's been a while!).

OldAle, I have to choose The Dragonlance Chronicles for you - yeah, it's junky D&D stuff but good for a nostalgia rush and easy to pick up where you left off, as you point out. Coincidentally I may actually use the original Dragonlance modules in a campaign I'm running now (again, for nostalgia's sake); I was always paranoid about doing this as a kid, since everyone I knew seemed to have read the series except me and so would know a lot better contextually what was going on than I did, but at this point I don't really care, I'll get to put my own spin on it and I'm sure we'll have fun regardless.

Here's my list:
Spoiler
1. Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip (Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns) In 1903 there were only 150 miles of paved roads in the entire nation and most people had never seen a “horseless buggy”—but that did not stop Horatio Nelson Jackson, a thirty-one-year-old Vermont doctor, who impulsively bet fifty dollars that he could drive his 20-horsepower automobile from San Francisco to New York City. Here—in Jackson’s own words and photographs—is a glorious account of that months-long, problem-beset, thrilling-to-the-rattled-bones trip with his mechanic, Sewall Crocker, and a bulldog named Bud. (from book jacket). I loved the documentary and this has been sitting on my shelf for almost 15 years, I bet, so it's due to be read.

2. The Printer's Devil (Bill Fairbairn) "Bill Fairbairn started as a printer's devil in Scotland setting up newspaper headlines by hand 60 years ago. His vagabond reporter years in three continents followed in quick pursuit. This tale outlines some of the people and events he encountered in Canada working for newspapers, radio and magazine." I met this fellow at a book fair a few years ago and picked up his book since he (and it) sounded interesting. Time to give it a try!

3. George & Rue (George Elliott Clarke) "A masterful blend of fiction and reality from one of Canada's most daring and original writers", Clarke takes us to the ghettos of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and paints a miserable and suffocating portrait of mid-century Africadian life. Mr. Clarke was Canada's former Poet Laureate, a winner of the Governor General's Award for poetry, and has been at the Ottawa Antiquarian Book Fair the last two years. He seems to have a friendly and dynamic personality and I'd like to read this, his first novel, before I speak to him at next year's fair (if he's there, and if I can build up the courage to).

4. Nonlinear Fiber Optics (Govind P. Agrawal) This title belongs on the list perhaps more than any other. It's considered the Bible of modern fiber optics (one of them, anyway), which is the field in which I work, so I'm embarrassed to say I haven't read it yet, even though it's been sitting on my shelf for years now.

5. Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe (Norman Davies) "Europe's history is littered with kingdoms, duchies, empires and republics which have now disappeared but which were once fixtures on the map of their age. What happened to the once-great Mediterranean 'Empire of Aragon'? Where did the half-forgotten kingdoms of Burgundy go?...This original and enthralling book peers through the cracks of history to discover the stories of lost realms across the centuries." (from the back of the Penguin edition)

6. Restoration London: Everyday Life in the 1660s (Liza Picard) "Making use of every possible contemporary source diaries, memoirs, advice books, government papers, almanacs, even the Register of Patents Liza Picard presents a picture of how life in London was really lived in the 1600s: the houses and streets, gardens and parks, cooking, clothes and jewellery, cosmetics, hairdressing, housework, laundry and shopping, medicine and dentistry, sex, education, hobbies, etiquette, law and crime, religion and popular beliefs." (from Goodreads)

7. Dr. Johnson's Lichfield (Mary Alden Hopkins) "A portrait of Dr. Samuel Johnson, focusing on his life before the publication of Boswell's Life of Johnson, in his home town of Lichfield. Several historic figures, including James Watt, Erasmus Darwin, as well as Richard and his daughter Maria Edgeworth, are also featured." (from Goodreads)

8. Singing Tales Of Africa (Adjai Robinson). "In this book, Adjai Robinson has retold seven of his favorite singing tales - tales that are meant to be shared...Included is the story of greedy Bra Spider who becomes the finest dancer that ever was seen; the lazy dog who caused death to come to the world; Ijomah, the mistreated stepchild who discovers she has a magical power over her fruit trees." (From the dust jacket) I really enjoyed The Palm Wine Drinkard and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts and thought I'd delve a little deeper into Yoruban folk tales. This collection from 1974 looks like a great place to start.

9. Vera Vorontzoff (Sofia Kovalevskaya) "A young Russian noblewoman wishes to dedicate herself to a cause but finds herself descending into nihilism." (from Goodreads) A semi-autobiographical novel by the extraordinary mathematician and feminist Sofia Kovalevskaya.

10. Life in a Medieval Castle (Joseph & Frances Gies) "Castles are crumbly and romantic. They still hint at an age more colorful and gallant than our own, but are often debunked by boring people who like to run on about drafts and grumble that the latrines did not work. Joseph and Frances Gies offer a book to set the record straight...Plumbing in the larger castles was better than that of seventeenth-century Versailles: every floor had a washing area - some with running water, even baths. Latrines were often conveniently perched out over the castle moat." (from the back of the book) I read the authors' Life in a Medieval Village years ago and found it interesting, so I thought I'd give this one a try.
Thanks. I think I'm going to have to get those Mysteries of London tomes, right up my alley and whether I read them soon or not they will occupy a nice space next to Eugene Sue's The Wandering Jew on the shelf (and this reminds me that I don't have Sue's The Mysteries of Paris which was the inspiration for Reynolds' book. Last time I looked for it there was nothing to be found at a decent price/condition. I think I'm going to have to set aside a few hours for an online bookhunting effort soon).

I will probably get to the Dragonlance stuff within the next month or two. I think I want to read it on my porch - when I started it originally in July or so of 2019 I read it on the porch. Just as with films certain books seem to work better under certain conditions for me.

You obviously have a large interest in European, particularly British, culture and history - do you have a similar interest in Canada? That last book, Life in a Medieval Castle looks particularly interesting, I believe I read something like that back in elementary or middle school, and I've definitely always had an interest in medieval-set films and stories. There is something extraordinarily romantic and wonderful about castles - even when you know what they really were, and how ordinary people lived outside their walls - and the part of my German trip, almost 40 years ago, that remains most indelibly etched in my mind is of visiting this place

Image
User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1722
Joined: February 4th, 2012, 7:00 am
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#399

Post by Leopardi »

OldAle1 wrote: April 7th, 2021, 4:51 pm Thanks. I think I'm going to have to get those Mysteries of London tomes, right up my alley and whether I read them soon or not they will occupy a nice space next to Eugene Sue's The Wandering Jew on the shelf (and this reminds me that I don't have Sue's The Mysteries of Paris which was the inspiration for Reynolds' book. Last time I looked for it there was nothing to be found at a decent price/condition. I think I'm going to have to set aside a few hours for an online bookhunting effort soon).

I will probably get to the Dragonlance stuff within the next month or two. I think I want to read it on my porch - when I started it originally in July or so of 2019 I read it on the porch. Just as with films certain books seem to work better under certain conditions for me.

You obviously have a large interest in European, particularly British, culture and history - do you have a similar interest in Canada? That last book, Life in a Medieval Castle looks particularly interesting, I believe I read something like that back in elementary or middle school, and I've definitely always had an interest in medieval-set films and stories. There is something extraordinarily romantic and wonderful about castles - even when you know what they really were, and how ordinary people lived outside their walls - and the part of my German trip, almost 40 years ago, that remains most indelibly etched in my mind is of visiting this place

Image
I definitely recommend Mysteries of London if you like that sort of thing, some storylines are a little dry but there are a lot of juicy bits as well, especially with Volume I. Did you know The Mysteries of Paris was released by Penguin a few years back? I picked up a copy as soon as it was released but haven't had a chance to read it yet. It looks fantastic, though! One of my goals is to pick up as many of the City Mysteries as I can find; I've had no luck so far (beyond Reynolds and Sue, of course), but came very close to picking up a nice copy of The Quaker City from a Philadelphia bookdealer a few years back. I was too slow on the draw, though, and it was sold before I could get it. I'm hoping there will be other opportunities someday.

You know, for years I didn't really have that much of an interest in Canadian history or culture, I blame a not-so-good education in that area that wasn't able to bring it to life for me, but I'm starting to come around, especially at a local level, Yes, I love a good castle, and we're so far from that way of life that it's fascinating to learn about what life was like in those times (even as brutal as it was for those outside the walls!). Your picture looks suspiciously like the jigsaw puzzle I'm doing now! It's been almost twenty years since I visited Neuschwanstein but would love to return someday, both the castle itself and the land surrounding it, such a magical place.

I'm just about done Count Roderic's Castle, a super-quick read that's a good representation of the transition between early- and mid-Gothic lit, you get the occasional spooky scene but the blatant supernatural horror and gore is largely replaced by despicable (but living) villains and political/courtly intrigue. This story is a little clunky and hard to follow at times, short as it is, and doesn't raise the hackles all that much. I'm glad to have read it, but it definitely falls more into the 'cheap' category compared to the more polished output of the 1790s (Radcliffe being the gold standard). I haven't read any of Lathom's books from this decade, but I'd be curious to see how they stack up.

I'll try Life in a Medieval Castle next, since we're talking about it. Here's my list:
Spoiler
1. What's Bred in the Bone (Robertson Davies, 1985). The second novel in Davies' celebrated Cornish Trilogy, this series, and Davies' writing in general, so affected my sister that she actually got a tattoo of the title quote some years ago. Shortlisted for the 1986 Booker Prize.

2. Mysteries (Knut Hamsun, 1892). "Mysteries is the story of Johan Nilsen Nagel, a mysteries stranger who suddenly turns up in a small Norwegian town one summer - and just as suddenly disappears. Nagel is a complete outsider, a sort of modern Christ treated as a spirit of near tragedy...But there is a sinister side of him: in his vest he carries a vial of prussic acid..." (Penguin Classics description). A much-lauded work by one of the creators of the modern novel.

3. The Landslide (Stephen Gilbert, 1943). "Will my poor book ever be read by anyone? It is about a dragon and a sea serpent, and a kind of prehistoric dog and an old man and a boy and a priest. I sent it to a publisher last July and it has been lost ever since. I know it is good...It is unlike any story that has ever been written before." (from the back of the Valancourt edition). An early work by the author of Ratman's Notebooks (the book on which the film Willard was based)

4. The Discourses (Niccolò Machiavelli, 1513). "In this book Machiavelli enshrines his most complete political treatment: his fundamental attachment to republics...For a political republic, he says, is liberty's best bastion, if only its people maintain their civic virtue." (From the back of the Penguin edition).

5. On the Eve (Ivan Turgenev, 1859). "A love story with a tragic ending, On the Eve (1859) portrays the everyday life and scenery of a Russian country estate with the consummate descriptive gift for which its author had already become famous. Much of the novel's pleasure lies in its humorous sketches of the gentry; and its sadness, in Turgenev's fluid and exquisite sense of love's emotional weather." (from the back of the Penguin edition).

6. The Letters of George Gissing to Eduard Bertz 1887-1903 (George Gissing, 1887-1903). "Collection of 189 letters and post card to his German friend Eduard Bertz which provide a record of a part of Gissing's strange life about which there has been speculation and doubt, because they reflect his personality and give a clear picture of how he developed the ideas for his books, how he wrote them and how he was treated by the publishers of the day." (from YesterYear Books). I'm a big fan of The Nether World, one of Gissing's early works that Bertz no doubt influenced, so I'm eager for an inside look into their friendship.

7. A Child's History of England (Charles Dickens, 1851-1853). "The historian as optimist – but not so much for his subject as for its recipients. Fed up with the way British history was presented to children in the mid-nineteenth century, and well-acquainted with the theories of Mr Gradgrind (still with us), Dickens determined upon doing the job ‘for his own dear children’ all by himself." (from Books For Keeps) "Dickens confessed that he was composing the book so that he could prevent his children from embracing 'any conservative or High Church notions.'" (from Wikipedia)

8. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1865-1866). "Crime and Punishment tells how Raskolnikov, a former student, murders an old woman money-lender and her unfortunate sister...A tragic masterpiece, a profound drama of redemption and, according to the critic John Jones, 'the most accessible and exciting novel in the world'." "'An indictment of urban social conditions in nineteenth-century Russia, and a proto-Nietzschean analysis of the 'will to power'...Crime and Punishment is all these things - but it is more' writes David McDuff" (from the back of the book). What more can be said about this title, said by some to be the greatest novel ever written? Easily in the top 3 of books I most want to read.

9. Curios (Richard Marsh, 1898). '"Curios is a series of seven short stories narrated alternately by Mr. Pugh and Mr. Tress, rival collectors of "curios", who are sometimes best of friends and often worst of enemies. Pugh is superstitious, tending to believe every antique he comes across is haunted. Tress is cold and cynical and will stop at nothing - even theft or murder - to add to his collection.Ranging in tone from horrifying to mysterious to darkly comical, these stories follow Tress and Pugh as they come in contact with an array of strange objects, including a poisoned pipe that seems to come to life when smoked, a 14th century severed hand bent on murder, and a phonograph record on which a murdered woman speaks from beyond the grave." (from the back of the book). Another supernatural page-turner from Richard Marsh, hot off his great success the previous year with The Beetle.

10. The Nature of the Gods (Cicero, 45 BCE). "Towards the end of his life, Cicero turned away from his oratorical and political career and looked instead to matters of philosophy and religion. The dialogue The Nature of the Gods both explores his own views on these subjects, as a monotheist and member of the Academic School, and considers the opinion of other philosophical schools of the Hellenistic age through the figures of Velleius the Epicurean and Balbus the Stoic. Eloquent, clearly argued and surprisingly modern, it focuses upon a series of fundamental religious questions including: is there a God? If so, does he answer prayers, or intervene in human affairs? Does he know the future? Does morality need the support of religion? Profoundly influential on later thinkers, such as Saint Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, this is a fascinating consideration of fundamental issues of faith and philosophical thought."
User avatar
Knaldskalle
Moderator
Posts: 10516
Joined: May 9th, 2011, 6:00 am
Location: New Mexico, USA
Contact:

#400

Post by Knaldskalle »

Is this a good time to point out that Neuschwanstein (the castle depicted) isn't a medieval castle? It's fairly new, actually, only ~150 years old.

Real medieval castles tend to be squat with impressively thick walls and cold and clammy (at least these days).
ImageImageImageImage

Please don't hurt yourself, talk to someone.
Post Reply