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What one book have you so enjoyed that you'd like everyone to read, because you want them to share the pleasure?


Kareni

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21 hours ago, Violet Crown said:

Absalom, Absalom felt like when I've listened to relatives tell me stories over the years and then finally the important piece would fall into place and often wasn't what I'd expected it to be.

I regret to tell you that Middle Girl has thrown over English and American writers (except, for some reason, T. S. Eliot) and now devotes herself entirely to Greek, Latin, and French lit. She wanted me to co-read Ovid with her (me reading it in translation, my Latin not being up to Ovid) but after one page of the section she was on I demurred. Some things should not be read in the presence of one's mother.

Regret to tell me nothing. You make me feel completely inadequate. Nice going! LOL.

And Happy New Year!

Bill

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22 hours ago, Matryoshka said:

I am always a bit humbled by what Violet Crown is reading...

I finally read Moby-Dick this year (rather, I listened to the William Hootkins narration), and I loooved it.  I was worried because I hated Billy Budd when I had to read it in high school.  I'm thinking of reading Bartleby the Scrivener this year.

But this discrepancy is helping my not give up on Faulkner quite yet - I also read my first Faulkner this year - As I Lay Dying - and yes, absolutely hated it.  Not the writing, the words and phrases were fine, but the characters and the plot.  I'm sorry, stupid people doing stupid things for stupid reasons.  Too.much.stupid.  I am still willing to try another, as it seems there is more to them?  Would Absalom, Absalom or The Sound and the Fury be a better choice for an improved impression?

First, Bartleby the Scrivener is a classic. So funny. I subjected my kid to it as a read aloud and he enjoyed it.

As to Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury is, in my estimation, a far easier read. But Absalom, Absalom is the masterpiece between them. *If* one is in the mood to take on a more challenging read. Here is a sample of a small part of the first paragraph as a taste of Absalom, Absalom:

 

      From a little after two o'clock until almost sundown of the long still hot weary dead September afternoon they sat in what Miss Coldfield still called the office because her father had called it that-a dim hot airless room with the blinds all closed and fastened for forty-three summers because when she was a girl someone had believed that light and moving air carried heat and that dark was always cooler, and which (as the sun shone fuller and fuller on that side of the house) became latticed with yellow slashes full of dust motes which Quentin thought of as being flecks of the dead old dried paint itself blown inward from the scaling blinds as wind might have blown them. There was a wistaria vine blooming for the second time that summer on a wooden trellis before one window, into which sparrows came now and then in random gusts, making a dry vivid dusty sound before going away: and opposite Quentin , Miss Coldfield in the eternal black which she had worn for forty- three years now, whether for sister, father, or nothusband none knew, sitting so bolt upright in the straight hard chair that was so tall for her that her legs hung straight and rigid as if she had iron shinbones and ankles, clear of the floor with that air of impotent and static rage like children's feet, and talking in that grim haggard amazed voice until at last listening would renege and hearing-sense self-confound and the long-dead object of her impotent yet indomitable frustration would appear, as though by outraged recapitulation evoked, quiet inattentive  and harmless, out of the biding and dreamy and victorious dust. Her voice would not cease, it would just vanish. There would be the dim coffin-smelling gloom sweet and oversweet with the twice-bloomed wistaria against the outer wall by the savage quiet September sun impacted distilled and hyperdistilled, into which came now and then the loud cloudy flutter of the sparrows like a flat limber stick whipped by an idle boy, and the rank smell of female old flesh long embattled in virginity while the wan haggard face watched him above the faint triangle of lace at wrists and throat from the too tall chair in which she resembled a crucified child; and the voice not ceasing but vanishing into and then out of the long intervals like a stream, a trickle running from patch to patch of dried sand, and the ghost mused with shadowy docility as if it were the voice which he haunted where a more fortunate one would have had a house. Out of quiet thunderclap he would abrupt (man-horse-demon) upon a scene peaceful and decorous as a school prize watercolor, faint sulphur-reek still in hair clothes and beard, with grouped behind him his band of wild niggers like beasts half tamed to walk upright like men, in attitudes wild and reposed, and manacled among them the French architect with his air grim, haggard, and tatter- ran. Immobile, bearded and hand palm-lifted the horseman sat; behind him the wild blacks and the captive architect huddled quietly, carrying in bloodless paradox the shovels and picks and axes of peaceful conquest. 

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1 hour ago, Violet Crown said:

Happy New Year, Bill! Bartleby is a good read-aloud idea. So does your boy go about saying "I would prefer not to"? 

Another quote from Absalom, Absalom: "one of those things that when they work you were smart and when they dont you change your name and move to Texas"

 

He certainly tried adopting that phrase. LOL.

I shut that down, right quick.

It may be time to revisit Absalom, Absalom. What a novel. 

Bill

 

 

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1 hour ago, Spy Car said:

First, Bartleby the Scrivener is a classic. So funny. I subjected my kid to it as a read aloud and he enjoyed it.

As to Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury is, in my estimation, a far easier read. But Absalom, Absalom is the masterpiece between them. *If* one is in the mood to take on a more challenging read. Here is a sample of a small part of the first paragraph as a taste of Absalom, Absalom:

Okay, Bartleby is totally on my list for this year.  Why did no one ever tell me Melville was funny?  If there was humor in Billy Budd, I apparently totally missed it as a teen...

And yeah, that paragraph of Absalom, Absalom doesn't put me off a bit.  I have no problem with long twisty sentences or complex vocab.  What I hated about As I Lay Dying was all the Stoopid.  I mean, seriously, even all the other characters in the novel were "they are so stupid we can't stand them", and "you should not do that very obviously stupid thing", which they would then do anyway.  And if that little idiot said "My mother is a fish" one more time....  

Now, what did give me pause was when someone posted a particularly cray-cray passage from Ulysses.  I may have to wait on that...  possibly indefinitely...

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36 minutes ago, Matryoshka said:

Okay, Bartleby is totally on my list for this year.  Why did no one ever tell me Melville was funny?  If there was humor in Billy Budd, I apparently totally missed it as a teen...

And yeah, that paragraph of Absalom, Absalom doesn't put me off a bit.  I have no problem with long twisty sentences or complex vocab.  What I hated about As I Lay Dying was all the Stoopid.  I mean, seriously, even all the other characters in the novel were "they are so stupid we can't stand them", and "you should not do that very obviously stupid thing", which they would then do anyway.  And if that little idiot said "My mother is a fish" one more time....  

Now, what did give me pause was when someone posted a particularly cray-cray passage from Ulysses.  I may have to wait on that...  possibly indefinitely...

Just remember if you find yourself scratching your head while you read Absalom, Absalom, wondering if you've somehow missed a plot point or two, that's normal. All will be revealed in time. It is a challenging--but very rewarding--read IMO. One of the truly great novels.

Bill

 

 

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On 9/13/2019 at 4:00 PM, Chrysalis Academy said:

Oh man, that book was amazing, but it's not one I've ever been able to recommend - I'm still traumatized after having read it years and years ago. I'm not sure I can wish that on somebody else! I know a lot of people love it, though. Maybe I'd have more fortitude if I read it now. I think I read it soon after it was published, in my mid-20s, and I seriously feel scarred by it. I haven't been able to bring myself to re-read it as a grown-up.

 

I loved The Sparrow, but I know the feeling you mean. I feel that way about The Good Earth. I really loved it in some ways and would like to read it again because I know there is so much more there, but I've never been able to manage it, I always choose something else.  I just found parts of it too disturbing, particularly the part where they were all starving.  It likely didn't help that I had an infant at the time that I read it.

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Over the years I've enjoyed Robertson Davies novels repeatedly, and I feel like their appeal is wide enough that I would reccomend them. Which one, though - I like What's Bred In the Bone best I think, but Fifth Business is also very good, and people who like the theatre might prefer the Salterton books.

I also find I have reread the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson many times over the years.  

Recently I read and really enjoyed The Power and the Glory by Graham Green.  It's the second novel of his I've read, the first was last year, and he's been a happy discovery for me.

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28 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

 

I loved The Sparrow, but I know the feeling you mean. I feel that way about The Good Earth. I really loved it in some ways and would like to read it again because I know there is so much more there, but I've never been able to manage it, I always choose something else.  I just found parts of it too disturbing, particularly the part where they were all starving.  It likely didn't help that I had an infant at the time that I read it.

I also loved The Sparrow and its sequel (which ends the story in a much nicer place).

If you want a happier Pearl Buck, while I really liked The Good Earth, I absolutely loved Pavilion of Women.  

Edited by Matryoshka
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Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton affected me so deeply in high school that I wrote the author. He was ill, but his wife responded with a very kind note. I've read it a few times since. My kids were required to read it in high school. I highly encouraged other homeschool moms to have their kids read it (many did). 

There have been so many others but this one really impacted me and opened me up to learning more about the world, which has become a lifelong passion that really helps me to understand world dynamics.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 12/31/2019 at 3:41 PM, KungFuPanda said:

I loved Little, Big by John Crowley but I can't find anyone IRL who has read it so I can talk about it.  I have friends who READ.  It feels like I'm being gaslighted and everyone is pretending this book doesn't exist . . . which is a mood that totally GOES with the book.  Someone needs to throw me a bone.

Pick me pick me! I've read little, big! I found it... wow. 😄 

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@Kareni I already posted a while back that because of this thread I read Linesman and very much enjoyed the series.  Well, I just started SD Dunstall's series Stars Uncharted... and I might actually like it more than Linesman!  So if you haven't tried Stars Uncharted, you might enjoy it.  The first book is great, and I'm about a third into the second book.  Not sure if there's a third, haven't checked.  Once again, just good, relatable characters who feel genuine, interesting world building, romantic subplots that remain side stories and not the main point, etc.  Good, relaxing read!  

 

And I need to add to my list:

The Far Pavillions.  SUCH a g good read.  Just finished it a couple weeks ago and it was utterly satisfying.  

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3 hours ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

@Kareni I already posted a while back that because of this thread I read Linesman and very much enjoyed the series.  Well, I just started SD Dunstall's series Stars Uncharted... and I might actually like it more than Linesman!  So if you haven't tried Stars Uncharted, you might enjoy it.  The first book is great, and I'm about a third into the second book.  Not sure if there's a third, haven't checked.  Once again, just good, relatable characters who feel genuine, interesting world building, romantic subplots that remain side stories and not the main point, etc.  Good, relaxing read!  

 

And I need to add to my list:

The Far Pavillions.  SUCH a g good read.  Just finished it a couple weeks ago and it was utterly satisfying.  

I really enjoyed Stars Uncharted as well. Something so satisfying about a well done space opera.

 

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5 hours ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

@Kareni I already posted a while back that because of this thread I read Linesman and very much enjoyed the series.  Well, I just started SD Dunstall's series Stars Uncharted... and I might actually like it more than Linesman!  So if you haven't tried Stars Uncharted, you might enjoy it.  The first book is great, and I'm about a third into the second book.  Not sure if there's a third, haven't checked.  Once again, just good, relatable characters who feel genuine, interesting world building, romantic subplots that remain side stories and not the main point, etc.  Good, relaxing read!  

Thanks so much for the update, Monica. I have indeed read Stars Uncharted and look forward to reading book two (which was just released a few days ago...you're quite au courant!)

2 hours ago, stephanier.1765 said:

I really enjoyed Stars Uncharted as well. Something so satisfying about a well done space opera.

Isn't that the truth! Do you have other favorites to recommend in that genre?

Regards,

Kareni

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  • 2 months later...
On 9/12/2019 at 11:16 AM, Chrysalis Academy said:

..to offer something original - Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett

 

On 9/12/2019 at 11:29 AM, Matryoshka said:

I read that also and absolutely loved it.  I don't think I could even describe the plot, but I really enjoyed the book.

I thought I'd reanimate this thread because some may be looking for a good read in these challenging times and also because Rabbit Cake happens to be on sale for $2.99 for Kindle readers. See here.  Linesman is $3.99. See here.

Regards,

Kareni

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  • 1 month later...
On 9/12/2019 at 7:11 AM, Tanaqui said:

Back on topic, I've read Linesman, but my mother was really sick that week and I barely took any of it in. I'm going to have to re-read it at some point.

As for books I enjoy so much that I want everybody to read them, I stand staunchly by Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer. I love that book without reservation. I wish it had been around when I was a kid. (Heck, most of the books I spend my time rec'ing - and I've got two threads I have to reply to this weekend! - are books I wish I'd had when I was a kid.)

If we're talking books for adults, I really really liked the Lady Trent series. Not fast paced at all, but I could read them over and over again.

 

On 9/12/2019 at 3:29 PM, BarbecueMom said:

This is mine.  I was SO attached to every character and did not want this series to end.  I am a very private person when it comes to my favorite books, but I will loan this one out and prattle on and on about it to anyone who appears willing to read/listen.

 

Just waking this thread up again to say... I've just finished book 4 of the Lady Trent series and I've just LOVED them.  They are page-turners without being overly suspenseful, the story is truly unique and intriguing... just wonderful.  And for those who like audiobooks, the narration is excellent.  

Now I'm combing back through this list to see where to go after book 5...  I've found two really great series from this thread!  

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1 hour ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

 

 

Just waking this thread up again to say... I've just finished book 4 of the Lady Trent series and I've just LOVED them.  They are page-turners without being overly suspenseful, the story is truly unique and intriguing... just wonderful.  And for those who like audiobooks, the narration is excellent.  

Now I'm combing back through this list to see where to go after book 5...  I've found two really great series from this thread!  

My search for this series only comes up with 3 books.  Can you link this series? Maybe I'm looking at the wrong thing...

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5 minutes ago, alisoncooks said:

Ahhh. The dragon ones? (My previous searches were pulling up a 3-series Christian-romance-mystery, lol.) 

Yes, I think it's the dragon ones - I've seen them mentioned before, and with all this love I'm starting to think I should get to reading them, lol..

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9 minutes ago, alisoncooks said:

Ahhh. The dragon ones? (My previous searches were pulling up a 3-series Christian-romance-mystery, lol.) 

 

Yes, the dragon ones, sorry I should have named the author as well!  They feature a woman in a Victorian-like England who takes up the study of dragons and their cousins, an accepted branch of the animal kingdom.  I suppose they are fantasy, but there is no magic, it's more like just an alternate natural history for Earth.  

For those who like Lady Trent, I highly recommend another series: The Athena Club books by Theodora Goss.  They are very similar in tone and theme and setting (alternate Victorian England), and a surprisingly deep but lighthearted investigation into femininity and feminism.  The audio version is also excellent, with a narrator who is able to give a separate accent to each of the many female main characters.  

Edited by Monica_in_Switzerland
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