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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:08 am 
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Tzippy wrote:
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls


This is one of my favorite books ever! I hope you enjoy it.

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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:29 am 
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ndpittman wrote:
Tzippy wrote:
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls


This is one of my favorite books ever! I hope you enjoy it.


I am enjoying it! Apparently I missed an opportunity to hear Jeanette Walls speak recently.


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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:30 am 
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Phoenix wrote:
Hey Gulliver and Desdemona - I live in the very district where LeFanu's Carmilla is set!
I love it when I stumble across familiar landscapes in horror fiction - Algernon Blackwood's "The Willows" is set in the marshes around the Danube, and I've been there, and he captures the landscape and the water very well. (There are also folk tales about female water spirits that live in the whirlpools and will drag swimmers down to the bottom of the river.)
Super cool; I love stuff like that, too!

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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:07 pm 
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seitanicverses wrote:
I picked up my former writing professor's latest book Life Is About Losing Everything. I read about half of it on the plane. I'm enjoying it, she's so funny, I've LOL'd several times. It's also sad and touching at parts. Very honest. Always a nice mixture. <3


Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things. (Rilke)
   

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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:56 pm 
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Desdemona wrote:
All wonderful stuff here; I've always had a soft spot for the gothic. (I actually think The Turn of the Screw improves on repeated readings, because you can pay attention to what James is doing; it's a masterpiece, and it drives undergraduates crazy because they want to know what "really" happened!) Have you read The Mysteries of Udolpho (Ann Radcliffe)? It's basically the ur-gothic novel, circa 1794. And then there's the first English vampire story, John Polidori's The Vampyre. It's absolutely terrible, but has the virtue of being short in addition to its historical interest (Polidori was Byron's personal physician, and was in switzerland with Byron and the Shelleys that fateful rainy summer when the idea for Frankenstein was conceived). And of course Jane Austen's brilliant take on the whole genre, Northanger Abbey. Nothing but fun!
I shall check out The Mysteries of Udolpho post-haste. I've always been a bit shy of Jane Austen. The only work of hers I've really read past the first half of is Emma and it got me annoyed because Emma is just such a cork all the time, which I know is her whole schtick but I didn't get on with the book. I'll read Northanger Abbey, though, to round off my gothfest.

Phoenix wrote:
Hey Gulliver and Desdemona - I live in the very district where LeFanu's Carmilla is set!
I love it when I stumble across familiar landscapes in horror fiction - Algernon Blackwood's "The Willows" is set in the marshes around the Danube, and I've been there, and he captures the landscape and the water very well. (There are also folk tales about female water spirits that live in the whirlpools and will drag swimmers down to the bottom of the river.)
Did you know that women-in-ponds are sort of a folkloric archetype that appear all over Europe? Children were warned not to go near ponds in case wretched she-devils pull them in, because there's nothing like the constant threat of monsters to discipline a child with. "Don't fall in, you'll drown" doesn't have the same impact as "if you go near the pond a demon troll will grab your ankles and pull you under".

Stuff like that really fascinates me.

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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:59 pm 
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Heh, yes. In the area where I was born, you can't turn over a stone without all sorts of mythincal creatures crawling out... metaphorically (if that helps soothe your mind). ;) But seriously, every landmark has its own legends and ghosts and whatnot.


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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 3:28 am 
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Just finished The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest which I really enjoyed. I really want to read Bring Up the Bodies next but it isn't out in paperback here yet.

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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:06 am 
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Phoenix wrote:
Finished In Viriconium and Viriconium Nights; starting the complete John Silence stories by Algernon Blackwood.


Thank you for posting about the John Silence series ! I downloaded the whole collection from the Project Guntenberg site and had the best night of my week reading them while sipping Chai Rooibos.

Fav story so far - Case I: A Psychical Invasion. "A young author who takes a mind-expanding drug accidentally puts himself in touch with an ancient evil. John Silence and his cat and his collie spend a night in the author's haunted house on Putney Heath and are attacked by dreadful, occult forces."


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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:31 pm 
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I finished Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. It was OK - it started out good and ended alright, but I found some of the interludes to be a bit too intrusive. They just took me right out of the story and seemed (to me) to serve no purpose but for the author (or narrator) to make himself look clever.

I'm now reading The Monster of Florence, a true crime novel about an Italian serial killer.

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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 3:04 pm 
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Desdemona wrote:
And of course Jane Austen's brilliant take on the whole genre, Northanger Abbey. Nothing but fun!


'Northanger Abbey' was the first (and maybe the last) book by Austen I've read; but it enticed me to read Radcliffe's Udolpho.

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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:26 pm 
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I just finished The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi, a true crime novel about an Italian serial killer. It was good - really interesting and a bit shocking - though there were a few times when I wished he would shut up with the scene-setting and get on with the damn story.

Up next - Wolf Totem. I can't remember what it's about.

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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:56 am 
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Just finished Mastiff (Beka Cooper #3) by Tamora Pierce now reading The Tiger's Wife


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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:01 am 
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Finished Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere and Stardust last week. Really liked the first, the second was just okay.

About 2/3 of the way through Cormac McCarthy's The Road right now, liking it much more than expected.

The new Sookie Stackhouse book is next in line. I'm prepared to be disappointed, but I'm too invested in the series to stop now.


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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:55 pm 
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Country Driving: A Chinese Road Trip by Peter Hessler. I loved the last two books of his I read & this one's no different.

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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:15 pm 
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The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian. I can't tell yet whether it's good or schlocky.

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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:11 pm 
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The Fear Index by Robert Harris. I really enjoyed his Cicero trilogy, but am finding this one a bit slow moving.

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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:16 pm 
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After my statistics exam today, I can finally read for fun again.

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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:09 pm 
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jojo wrote:
Country Driving: A Chinese Road Trip by Peter Hessler. I loved the last two books of his I read & this one's no different.


I love his books too! I really enjoyed Country Driving. His wife is also a great journalist; she wrote Factory Girls, which I thought was quite interesting.

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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:14 pm 
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Just picked up On the Road. Starting today on my train ride home!

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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:26 pm 
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Trying to read the Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Murukami in a week but it's not going to happen so I borrowed the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks because I think someone on here mentioned it.


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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:45 am 
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John Silence is okay - but he can't compare with William Hope Hodgson's Carnacki the Ghost Finder (who can also be found on Project Gutenberg, although they don't have the extended edition including the stories that were only discovered later, and whose main job it is to find out whether his ghost cases are real or hoaxes).


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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:53 pm 
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I finally finished David Copperfield (I wasn't finding time to read but since the boyfriend was across the country this week I ended up watching less TV and reading more - yay.)

I have so many things on my to-read list and I'm not sure which one to choose.

Huck Finn, Moby Dick, Robinson Crusoe, The Metamorphosis, some HP Lovecraft, some Poe, or more Dickens. I'm shying away from starting another Dickens for the moment as they're so LONG. Maybe some Lovecraft short stories are what I need.


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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:00 pm 
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Quickly "test-read" a graphic novel that I got as a birthday present for a friend - "Neonomicon" by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows.
Really, Lovecraft does NOT get better when you add more sex (and with a vengeance). Also very violent rape scenes. And then you get rid of the last couple of fans by explaining every single reference, including those in the first volume ("The Courtyard", which was actually not bad)? Meh. Disappointed.
(Also conflicted. Will my friend still like it? It was on her wishlist after all.)


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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:59 am 
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I've just read Green Tea by Le Fanu and The Upper Berth and By the Waters of Paradise by F. Marion Crawford.

I've read GT before, but over a decade ago. It is successfully creepy (a demonic, burning monkey doing nothing but grin at you all day for months on end? eesh) but has that cop-out horror ending of
Spoiler: show
the narrator saying "and then the poor man was found dead" what a mystery! THE END
which I know is part of the genre and fiction can lose a lot through explanation, but I don't find it satisfying.

TUB's main character is just awesome and I with there were more stories about him.The premise is unique and his response to the haunting is that of mild annoyance that he might have to change room, so he sets about to investigate it instead. BtWoP subverts everything I thought about gothic fiction by
Spoiler: show
the creepy elements (the psychic governess, the alluded-to lady in the water) actually being largely irrelevant to the plot, almost anything supernatural being largely coincidental, the heroine being a total badass from the second she meets the hero and the whole thing actually being a love story with a very happy ending.

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 Post subject: Re: What are we reading now?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:06 am 
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Desdemona wrote:
Gulliver wrote:
I'm currently reading Le Fanu's Carmilla, which is a pre-Dracula vampire novella and it's really, really good. It's all ambiguity and subtle allusions to lesbianism and building up horror by mentioning things in passing then moving on, letting your imagination fill in the gaps with the worst things you can come up with. It's bloody fantastic (pun not intended). Le Fanu clearly loved the word "languid", as it turns up every other sentence, which actually comes across as adorable as you're constantly reminded of how Carmilla languidly languishes with a languid languidness to her movements.

I'm going through a bit of a gothic classics phase at the moment. I've churned through Dracula again (the opening chapters are an excellent example of how to build aching horror through little actions), Frankenstein for the first time (which I think would have been better if the monster never turned up and it was left with some kind of "or is it all in his mind?" aspect like The Yellow Wallpaper, but the monster's tale was the best part of the whole book. Basically, the bigger story was overshadowed by the smaller story and suffered for it. Worth a read, though.) and flirted with The Turn of the Screw, which I've read before (it loses something in its second reading, but is a very tightly put together novella. I think the less you know about the story, the more you'll enjoy reading it as the whole story is tension-building so too much detail ahead of time would spoil it).
All wonderful stuff here; I've always had a soft spot for the gothic. (I actually think The Turn of the Screw improves on repeated readings, because you can pay attention to what James is doing; it's a masterpiece, and it drives undergraduates crazy because they want to know what "really" happened!) Have you read The Mysteries of Udolpho (Ann Radcliffe)? It's basically the ur-gothic novel, circa 1794. And then there's the first English vampire story, John Polidori's The Vampyre. It's absolutely terrible, but has the virtue of being short in addition to its historical interest (Polidori was Byron's personal physician, and was in switzerland with Byron and the Shelleys that fateful rainy summer when the idea for Frankenstein was conceived). And of course Jane Austen's brilliant take on the whole genre, Northanger Abbey. Nothing but fun!


Don't forget The Monk by Matthew Lewis, and Walpole's Castle of Otranto. I adore gothic novels. Any and all. For modern ones, I love Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters. She spoofs the genre so delightfully and her writing is generally so clever.

There is a lot of interesting stuff written on the correlation between gothic novels and feminism.

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