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What Are You Reading Now?
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BillJ



Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 907
Location: Northern Virginia

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 8:33 am    Post subject: What Are You Reading Now? Reply with quote

We haven't discussed books in a while, so I'd like to ask the readers amongst us what they are currently reading, or would like to read, or about authors they enjoy.

Feel free to discuss your picks and review them for us.

I just finished "Victory At Yorktown: The Campaign That Won The Revolution" by Richard Ketchum

Ketchum is a well respected historian and author who specializes in the American Revolution, he is the author of "Decisive Day: The Battle For Bunker Hill" and "Saratoga: The Turning Point in America's Revolutionary War".

Ketchum's newest work centers first on the circumstances that led to the entrapment of Cornwallis' Army at Yorktown, then on the ensuing siege, and finally the victory that effectively ended the war by destroying the British will to continue.

Ketchum did his homework well, and gives great detail on the siege itself. I think he could have done a better job on his descriptions and listing of troop units (this is very important in military history), but an exceptionally creditable job.

If history is your thing, I recommend this book. If history isn't your thing, but you'd like a little more information about the origins of our country, beyond the cookie cutter crap you learned in highschool, I recommend this book.

If dates and historical personages bore you... perhaps you should read something else.


Bill
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Last edited by BillJ on Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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BillJ



Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 907
Location: Northern Virginia

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am currently reading: "General and Madame de Lafayette: Partners in Liberty's Cause in the American and French Revolutions" by Jason Lane.

The Marquis de Lafayette is a well known figure in the early history of the United States, but most people don't realise the importance that he he played in France for the rest of his long life. Remember, Lafayette was only 19 years of age when he came to America to serve under George Washington, and lived until 1837.

Lafayette loved the ideals of liberty and the republican form of government, and was supported by his wife, who was his equal in the struggle for equality and government reform.

This was rather heady stuff coming from a young member of the French aristocracy. The views of the Lafayettes made them suspicious to not only the French royal family, but also to Napoleon Bonaparte and others in the Frnch revolutionary movement.

Lane points out to us the details of the lives of the Marquis and his wife, Adrienne, and makes them living characters by giving us a good look at their personal relationship through their letters.

This is a great book, and I recommend reading it.
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JulieRI



Joined: 07 Nov 2003
Posts: 525
Location: Ashaway RI

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just finished Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. I loved the book and all the attention to detail and history.

Next on my list is The Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif. I have never read this author but several people at work have recommended it. Hopefully now that the election is over and most of my Christmas shopping is done, I'll be able to enjoy a few books before the end of the year.

Julie
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BillJ



Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 907
Location: Northern Virginia

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Julie,

I think I have seen this book on the shelves, but I never had the inclination to pick it up.

Isn't it great when an author is so good that he or she can actually place you in a time period, as opposed to just making you an outside observer?

Detail is everything!

What was the book about?

Bill
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JulieRI



Joined: 07 Nov 2003
Posts: 525
Location: Ashaway RI

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The author, Arthur Golden, is an historian. The characters in the book are invented (but based on interviews with a certain geisha), the historical facts of a geisha's day-to-day life in the 30's and 40's are not. It's all so interesting that I was totally lost in the book.

As for The Map of Love, it's two stories in one. Egypt now and Egypt 100 years ago. I can't wait to read it.

Julie

Actually the one your reading now sounds rather interesting too.
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SusanP



Joined: 09 Feb 2004
Posts: 628
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, this will be an ecclectic post...

A Mother's Rule: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul-basically a get your act together book written by a homeschooler who happens to be a devout Catholic (I am not so it has been an interesting read on two levels).

On deck is the new Francine Rivers book The Priest

And to keep up with my kids' reading...almost done Surviving the Applewhites, am about to start Jane Eyre (dd doing a study on this novel), and have recently read Seven Daughters and Seven Sons (an insight into Mid-East culture-one brother "blessed" with seven sons, one "cursed" with seven daughters), Genghis Kahn and the Mongol Horde (powerful, terrifying warrior), House of Sixty Fathers (lost boy during the war in China-couldn't put it down).
BillJ is right, if you want to learn about history or a location, look for a novel that puts you right in there. I find the children's literature I've read lately has been much more enjoyable, informative and well written than any "adult" stuff!
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kathi



Joined: 13 Aug 2002
Posts: 4449
Location: New Jersey, Southern

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read "Memoirs of a Geisha", I also enjoyed it very much. The attention to detail was wonderful and the plot was engaging. I'm sure that most geisha's didn't have such a happy ending, but it was a good read.

Right now I'm reading "Kushiel's Chosen". I DO NOT recommend this book to most people. It's sorta fantasy, sorta adventure, sorta epic fiction, sorta smut...it's difficult to describe. I like it, but you have to be willing to go out on a limb with your reading. (It is the second book in a trilogy.) Book one is Kushiel's Dart and book three is Kushiel's Avatar.

kathi
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Rosebud



Joined: 15 Dec 2003
Posts: 877
Location: CT

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Looking Glass by Richard Paul Evans. I picked it up at The Dollar Tree. Decent easy quick read for a buck.

Loved Memoirs of a Geisha, but didn't realize it was not a true story until the end.

Is Map of Love a love/romance story? If not I'll have to check it out - Val loves stories/things about Egypt.
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BillJ



Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 907
Location: Northern Virginia

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SusanP wrote:
OK, this will be an ecclectic post...

...I find the children's literature I've read lately has been much more enjoyable, informative and well written than any "adult" stuff!


Ecclectic is right, Sue!

You really are working to keep up with all of that. I applaud you for it.

I find your comment about children's literature to be quite true... a writer has to be much better with words to describe less than pleasant things to children without being as graphic as he/she might be for an adult audience. The art lies in finding the balance.

An example of this might be the recent "Crosstime Traffic" series, by Harry Turtledove. He describes the adventures of time traveling teenagers put into many daunting and challenging situations without having to make the book "adult|" with gratuitous violence or sex. I read the first book in the series last month and enjoyed it. It sort of reminded me of the juvenile novels of Robert A. Heinlein.... before Heinlein became a dirty old man.

Bill
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BillJ



Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 907
Location: Northern Virginia

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Julie,

The Egyptian story/stories sounds interesting... I could read it, but only if it isn'tt a romance story. Smile (sue me, I'm a man).
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JulieRI



Joined: 07 Nov 2003
Posts: 525
Location: Ashaway RI

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's part of the back of the book of "The Map of Love"

"Spanning three continents and the course of a century, The Map of Love traces a transcendent cross-cultural love affair back to its dramatic precursor generations earlier . . . .combining the romance and intricate narrative of a nineteenth-century novel with a very modern sense of culture and politics. . ."

Sorry, it's a romance. Not my usual type of book. I usually read horror books - that's my favorite genre but I'll try just about any book if enough people I know have enjoyed it.

Julie
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Kat



Joined: 06 Mar 2003
Posts: 973
Location: San Jose, CA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just finished Investment Biker and am half-way through Adventure Capitalist both by Jim Rogers. In the first book, he and his girl-friend travel around the world on motorcycles in 1990-91 They went from Ireland all the way to the Pacific, through Siberia, China, etc, and back, and then into Africa, flying over to Australia where he went from one end to the other, and then through New Zealand, and then flying over to South America, and driving up to New York, and then flew to Seattle where they drove across to Alaska, and then back down to California. He made millions on Wall Street before retiring in his 30's, and has since made money investing around the world. He prefers to travel over land because he says that's the only way to really get a feel for the people and a country. The 2nd book is a similar trip- although even more extensive- he took in 1999-2001 with his fiancee (whom he married on 1-1-2000, in England- planning the wedding while in Siberia Shocked ) this time driving a car he had made that is a convertible top on an SUV bottom, running on Diesel since they had such a hard time getting gasoline in certain countries on his previous trips. They are fascinating books, and I'm learning many things about areas of the world that you never hear on the news. But he definitely has decided Opinions on politics and finance, so it's not the kind of book for everyone. Wink

Before that, I read Tamora Pierce's Trickster's Queen (the sequel to Trickster's Choice) her latest book in series that started out as children's fantasy books (very good ones) but the latest Duology is definitely geared more towards young adults/adults. And, interestingly enough, most of her stories have been told in 4 books, but this one was told in only 2, and she thanks J.K. Rowling for proving to adults (a.k.a publishers) that children will read longer books, so she didn't have to chop it up into 4 books.
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Rosebud



Joined: 15 Dec 2003
Posts: 877
Location: CT

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It helps to read these posts to find different books to read. Love Tamora Pierce's books, but didn't know about those two - I don't think.
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AZMouseFan



Joined: 06 Nov 2003
Posts: 1196
Location: Arizona, Tempe

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 7:32 pm    Post subject: whatcha readin' Reply with quote

Just finished reading Sacred Stone by Clive Cussler. This is his second book about the Oregon Files. Similar to the Dirk Pitt adventures but without the romance. They are easy reading fast paced stories that are clean and can be picked up and put down without too much trouble.
Before that I read Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. This is the prequel to J.M.Barrie's Peter Pan it was a fun story with maybe one more adult type moment (the pirates new sails on their ship were made in the style of a brassiere). I've never read the original so I may need to read that now and compare.
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Debster



Joined: 08 Mar 2003
Posts: 2293
Location: New Jersey, On the Delaware River

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I decided to do some non serious fun don't think too much reading recently..

I've settled on the author Carl Hiaasen.. and I'm liking his works!
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BillJ



Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 907
Location: Northern Virginia

PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kat,

Investment Biker and Adventure Capitalist sound like interesting reads. I might give them a shot when I get through the other books on my list.

Judy,

I have a coworker that enjoys Clive Cussler... Ihave never read anything by him. I always thought about him in the same genre as Robert Ludlum. Would that be an accurate comparison?
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Yzma



Joined: 04 Nov 2003
Posts: 833
Location: Woodbridge, VA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill--of course, you've seen "Memoirs of a Geisha" on the shelf. You've seen it on our bookshelf!!

Julie, I enjoyed it very much too. The description of the clothes is stunning. Have you read "The Tale of Genji"? It's fascinating, but I've never been able to make it all the way through.

Kathi, I bought "Kushiel's Dart" and "Kushiel's Chosen" on Amazon because they sounded interesting. I started the first one a while back and it is definitely kind of odd; I confess that I haven't made much progress. And I haven't even gotten to anything really smutty yet!

I'm reading "Will in the World," the new biography of William Shakespeare. It's really wonderful and uses the bare bones information about Shakespeare and the little asides he puts in his writing to draw a very interesting picture of the man. I can't recommend it highly enough.

I've just finished "Terror in the Name of God, Why Religious Militants Kill," for a class Bill & I are teaching. I'm also reading "The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror." (Both are good--but not fun.)

My lunchtime reading is "The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty." Some parts are over the top, but generally it's pretty interesting.

I have "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" lined up. Has anyone read this? It got wonderful reviews and has been described as Harry Potter for adults. If you haven't seen it, it's about magicians in 1806. Kathi, I think this might be one for you! I'm also going to give Neal Stephenson's "Quicksilver" another shot. I was enjoying it, but the hardback was just too heavy to carry around. Now that the paperback is out, it should be all good.
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Susan

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
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JulieRI



Joined: 07 Nov 2003
Posts: 525
Location: Ashaway RI

PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Susan -

Is "Terror in the Name of God, Why Religious Militants Kill" available everywhere. Sounds like something I would read.

So many books, so little time.

Julie
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BillJ



Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 907
Location: Northern Virginia

PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JulieRI wrote:
So many books, so little time.

Julie


Amen, sister!
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Yzma



Joined: 04 Nov 2003
Posts: 833
Location: Woodbridge, VA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Julie, I think so. I got my copy from Amazon, but I know our pastor got his either at or through Borders. The author is Jessica Stern.

Here's a bit from the introduction:

"Religious terrorism arises from pain and loss and from impatience with a God who is slow to respond to our plights, who doesn't answer. Its converts often long for a simpler time when right and wrong were clear, when there were heroes and martyrs, when the story was simple, when the neighborhood was small, when we knew one another...."

I always get the creeps from that because it has so many meanings.
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Susan

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
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