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What are you reading?


Jan McNulty
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A lot of people in the "What do you do for fun" thread quoted reading as a favourite activity.

 

I thought it might be fun to start a thread where people could say what they are reading at the moment and whether they would recommend it. Networking with friends about books (how pretentious am I) means that I have discovered a few authors over the past few years that I would never have considered.

 

To start things off:

 

I have just finished reading the Millenium Trilogy by Steig Larsson. It has taken me just over a week to read the three books and I have had to tear myself away from them to keep up an occasional semblance of life.

 

The stories are intricate with layers and layers to peel away. They contain some graphic detail which some people may be uncomfortable with but Larsson has created characters that I cared about very much. I mentioned on the "fun" thread that I like crime and conspiracy novels and these tick all those boxes. I would highly recommend them (but do read them in the written order).

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What an interesting topic - thanks for starting it!

 

I am reading "Waddesdon Manor; The Heritage of a Rothschild Manor" by Mitchell Hall. It is a large book with gorgeous full color plates of the Manor and the magnificent art collections housed therein. The Manor was given by the Rothschilds to the UK National Trust.

 

Many of the priceless objects in the many different collections (paintings, china, carpets, furniture, porcellan, fabrics, sculpture, tapestries, etc.) survived because they had been brought to the UK from Europe before the wars.

 

The book starts off with a "Day in the Life of Waddesdon - 1891" and a Foreword by Lord David Rothschild.

 

The vast gardens are also works of art as are the other sections of the grounds: stables, dairies, aviaries, fountains.

 

As I understand it, Tring Park (which is often mentioned as a ballet school in Doing Dance Forum) was also a Rothschild property.

 

There is something to be said for the capacity of the human hand and mind to produce such beauty. Heaven knows, we hear enough about the other stuff humans do.

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Great thread!

 

I'm reading Pride and Prejudice for about the millionth time :) I was given a World Book Night copy so obviously had to read it even though my to-read list is massive. Earlier in the week I finished The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson, which was pretty good but too long, I thought. It's quite funny, but I didn't think the humour was really sustainable over a book that length and I found myself thinking it should be coming to an end when I was only about three-quarters of the way through.

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What a brilliant idea, Janet! I love true crime and am currently reading "Let this be our secret" about a man who killed his wife and his lover's husband in Northern Ireland.

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I'm still (intermittently) ploughing my way through Diane Solway's Nureyev biography. Plus reading things online which I won't bother to go into.

 

Mind you, if you'd asked a few hours previously, I would still have been finishing off Anne McCaffrey's "Dragonquest" (or was it "Dragonflight"? I always get the two mixed up) for the nth time. Probably the only sci-fi series - as opposed to fantasy - ever written about dragons, I should think. I'd been meaning to reread it ever since she died late last year.

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Just finished The Hunger GamesTrilogy by Suzanne Collins which I know is classed as for teenagers but was really good. I read the 3 books within 2 weeks as they were so gripping. Bought them after watching the film.

 

Another favourite of mine is The Northern Lights trilogy by Phillip Pullman - again classed to be for teenagers but I couldn't imagine a teenager being able to follow it as it's quite detailed but an excellent read.

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I love The Hunger Games books! If you enjoyed them, you should try Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking trilogy - the first book is called The Knife of Never Letting Go.

 

I've just started Pure by Andrew Miller and am enjoying it so far.

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I have recently discovered the historical novels of Anne O'Brien. She's an older lady and writes beautifully. The are three, Virgin Widow, about Anne Neville, Warwick's daughter and wife of Richard III, The Devil's Consort about Eleanor of Aquitaine and her latest one that's just out, The King's Concubine, about Alice Perrers.

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Thank you, because you've reminded me that I lent my niece my beloved and very battered copy of Pride and Prejudice.

 

I'm dreadful for having several books on the go at once. At the moment I'm reading a biography of Margot Fonteyn, but I also have Colin Dexter's "The riddle of the third mile" and a book on London's Disused Underground stations on the go.

 

And I'm always dipping in and out of "The Ballet Companion".

 

I agree about the beauty of Waddesdon - one of our favourite NT houses. :-)

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I'm reading 'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett. Its about African American maids working for white families in 60's in Mississippi. It is very easy to read, but thought provoking. Astonishing how things have changed within just a couple of generations. I haven't seen the film yet, but will try to when I've finished the book.

 

I think 'The Hunger Games' is my favourite read of the last 12 months.

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I'm not reading anything at the mo, but over the last year I've read the three books Gypsy Rose Lee wrote ("Gypsy: Memoirs of America's Most Celebrated Stripper", "The G-String Murders" and "Mother Finds A Body") and "Gypsy And Me" by Erik Lee Preminger (her son). I would very much like to read "Early Havoc" and "More Havoc" by June Havoc (Gypsy's sister), but they sell for £70+ each (if you can find them) and are way beyond my price range. I only seem to find time to read in the winter.

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JaneL - Thank you, I will give those books a go. I have several on my bookshelf that I haven't read so they will be on my 'to read' list.

 

taxi4ballet - I love Julie Walters - did you see her on the Graham Norton show a few weeks ago?

 

Just picked a book off my bookshelf - The Visitor by Lee Child, read some of his other books which are all thrillers. Very detailed books which allows you to really build up a picture, no good if you want an easy read without thinking too much, but very gripping.

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reading George RR Martin's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series. Mesmerising stuff. Takes some reading though, they must be a good foot and a half thick all told, for all 7 volumes (some parts have been split into 2, so 7 volumes make up the 5 books)

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A book about the Anthrax murderer in the US after the 2001 plane hijackings. Dr Bruce Ivins was about to be arrested by the FBI in 2010 for these heinous murders when he committed suicide :(

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I second A Song of Ice and Fire - A Game of Thrones! It's absolutely nothing like my usual kind of reading, but I just can't put it down! Luckily I'm still on the first one so I have a good six to go.

 

More usual books on my Kindle that I've loved are Room by Emma Donoghue, Witness the Night by Kishwar Desai and The Song Before it is Sung by Justin Cartwright.

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Just finished "The Hare" Edmund de Waal which i didn't enjoy except the bits about Tunbridge Wells (where I live) and Vienna (where my son danced) Also reading Bryce Courtney's" The Potato Factory" which is very good. It is believed the character of Fagin was based on Ikey Solomon, the character in this book.

 

I do read alot of historical fiction:recent reads David Falconeri's "The Beggar's Throne" very good and started a series by N. Gemini Sasson about Queen Isabella, the wife of Edward11 .

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I'm reading a book called Butterfly's Shadow by Lee Langley. It's a sort of sequel to Madam Butterfly, about what happens to the child when he's taken to America. I'm enjoying it so far - it's quite an easy read - but having to think of it as just a separate story rather than related to the opera because I find the thought of that a bit weird (especially given a plot twist that just happened in the book and seems very out of the spirit of the opera!).

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I love "A Suitable Boy" and never wanted it to end. I also enjoyed Seth's "An Equal Music". I'll look out for the other book you recommend Paul.

 

I should add Pilcrow may not be everybody's cup of tea - it is the first in a trilogy (next is Cedilla, the third yet to be published) about a boy with Still's disease. He has fused hips and the narrative is his perceptions of the world - starting in the 1950s.

 

It is deliberately slow - filled with the minutiae of existence - but beautifully written. Mars-Jones' lucid and quirky elegance reminds me of Alastair Macauley (sp?).

 

I got the books (ex-library copies) very cheaply on AbeBooks.

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I LOVE Lee Child's books. I can't put them down and have read all the Reacher series. They are incredibly well written (IMHO.

 

Absolutely agree - I have half of them on my kindle.

 

Have just started Hilary Mantel's sequel to Wolf Hall, called Bring up The Bodies. It's £9.99 in sainsbury's. You just sink into her beautiful phrasing and language. I spent ages just reading her "cast of characters" at the start as it is soooo funny.

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I've just been having a browse through Amazon's Jubilee Kindle sale and there's some good books on there for anyone with a Kindle. I noticed an Anne O'Brien (sp?) on there which I know someone said that they like.

 

Janet: since I think we may have similar tastes (I love Vikram Seth and the Larsson trilogy) I'm going to try the other books you mention. ????

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There are 2 books on my bedside table at the moment - Indian Takeaway by Hardeep Singh Kohli and the Rough guide to Andalucia. I've read them both before, but the former, though not exactly great literature, never fails to make me laugh, and the latter has been dusted off in preparation for our long awaited summer holiday. Last week when it was cold enough to be taking a hot water bottle to bed, I felt the need to read about hot countries!

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