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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:34 pm 
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I was a weird kid: I used to go to the library of Congress to read old Minerva Press gothics in French (most only survived in the original french and not the english translations).

There is some really interesting feminist theory about the rise/fall cycles of gothic novel popularity and it fits in with how women at a given time tend/tended to perceive their power and progress in society. I guess the last big gothic revival was in the 70s/early 80s with Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart. And then Elizabeth Peters (of Amelia Peabody fame) wrote some great gothic/female in jeopardy novels that were simultaneously ruthlessly skewering the genre and writing within it. I love EP and her rapier wit.

I have this morbid fascination with the genre and how awful it is. One of my favorites (that I never actually managed to get through) was one that I found at a used book store for .50. It was set in a Mayan jungle somewhere and had the dippiest cover art. Maybe I can google it.

I found it:
Image

Isn't that just what you would wear while fleeing through the jungle for your life? flip flops and mini skirt?

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 6:00 pm 
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Love that old cover, LW!

ijustdiedinside wrote:
that's awesome kitteh! I hadn't read YA since I was a teen before I met Maureen. Then I read Devilish and I've been pretty hooked on YA since then.

I have The Diviner's by Libba Bray sitting around, but it's SO big that I hate bringing it in my bag to work, so I haven't started it yet.

Thanks for the rec! I think it was when her new one was about to be released, The Name of the Star, I read the excerpt online, then went and got all her books and read them in order from her oldest to newest. The only one I haven't read is the sequel to Suite Scarlett - must get on that.

The Diviners is so good! I had it on my shelf for months but kept putting it off because of the length, then I finally read it over a long weekend and it was excellent.

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:49 am 
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The Recollection by Gareth L Powell. Great fix for lovers of Space Opera.


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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:30 am 
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lavawitch, that cover instantly reminded me of one of my favourite blogs!

Currently from my list of books I never got round to reading: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. I almost did an accidental book-mani too, since I wore China Glaze Emerald Fitzgerald (the green on my copy is brighter than the picture shows) with black tips. If I'd had any orange nail polish I so would have attempted some barbed wire!
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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:11 pm 
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Re-reading Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.


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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:00 pm 
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I'm reading the second Discworld book by Terry Pratchett - The Light Fantastic.

I was disappointed in The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest - I've really enjoyed the other Clockwork Century books. Of course that didn't stop me preordering the next one, Fiddleheads.

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:11 am 
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I finished Joyland (it was very excellent)
Currently on Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:27 am 
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Is Joyland more traditional hard boiled detective or typical guts and gore King? (I don't like guts and gore, love Chandler et al)

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:40 am 
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lavawitch wrote:
Is Joyland more traditional hard boiled detective or typical guts and gore King? (I don't like guts and gore, love Chandler et al)

There was very little blood and gore, some detective, a ghost and a few people with phychic abilities. I couldn't really fit it into one particular genre, it was just a really good page turner.

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:44 am 
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Yes! I've been considering picking up Joyland and I think you may have jut given me the push I needed.

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:53 am 
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Mr. Shankly wrote:
Yes! I've been considering picking up Joyland and I think you may have jut given me the push I needed.


Same. I always think SK sounds good, but then the blood and gore starts. Just not my thing, I guess, but Joyland has been tempting me. I like good noir, and Joyland sounded like a bit of fresh spin on noir/hard boiled, especially since it was published by Hard Case.

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:54 am 
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Just started Graceling

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:27 am 
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ijustdiedinside wrote:
Fee wrote:
Just finished listening to Devilish by Maureen Johnson. I was interested after her coverflip thing. It was really good, especially as an audiobook because the voices are done in different accents and that's adorbs. It was a little predictable, though, and very much a teen book. Not that I dislike that.


That was my first book by her, too.

Super name drop warning: check out the dedication in the book. It's dedicated to my husband.


That's so cool! Do you have a recommendation for the next book by her that I should read? It was definitely one of the best modern YA I've read.

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:20 pm 
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I finished Game of Thrones (finally) and am about 1/3 through Clash of Kings. I want to get caught up on the TV show but one of my random quirks is refusing to watch a tv/movie adaptation of books I might possibly ever want to read before reading them.

Didn't finish "the Feminist Porn Book" yet for book club, even though we've already discussed it, because I'm bad at life. Should get on that.


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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:05 pm 
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I spent most of the last 24 hours reading all of NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, Stephen King's son. It was pretty good. I think my favorite part might have been the satisfaction of reading a 700 page book in almost one sitting, though.

Then I have two library books to get through (The Flamethrowers (Rachel Kushner, novel about the 1970s NYC art scene) and Transatlantic (Colum McCann's new book)).


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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:43 pm 
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I started The Flamethrowers but I didn't get into it so I put it down for now.

The most trying to finish I'm Your Man, a Leonard Cohen biography but I'm stalled halfway through. It started out interesting but at this point it's boring me and I just want to finish for the sake of finishing.

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:11 am 
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The Private Art: A Poetry Notebook - Geoffrey Grigson (father of Sophie)

still giggling over P G Wodehouse on the Kindle for work lunches ....

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:15 am 
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The Unpierced Heart, something I picked at Heathrow the last time I was there. A gothic novel apparently, just 30 pages in. Let's see!

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:08 am 
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Fee wrote:
ijustdiedinside wrote:
Fee wrote:
Just finished listening to Devilish by Maureen Johnson. I was interested after her coverflip thing. It was really good, especially as an audiobook because the voices are done in different accents and that's adorbs. It was a little predictable, though, and very much a teen book. Not that I dislike that.


That was my first book by her, too.

Super name drop warning: check out the dedication in the book. It's dedicated to my husband.


That's so cool! Do you have a recommendation for the next book by her that I should read? It was definitely one of the best modern YA I've read.


Her newest series is great! The first book is The Name of the Star it's about boarding school, ghosts and murders! but it's a series and only 2 of 4 are out yet. so if you don't like waiting a long time for books to come out, maybe pick something else.

Suite Scarlet is great - about a girl growing up in a B&B and a cast of wacky characters. 13 Little Blue Envelopes is great, too. Both of those books have sequels. There's going to be a 3rd Scarlet book eventually, too.

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:23 am 
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I'm currently reading The Woman in White for my book group. It's somewhat sexist, but in a "relic of a former age" sort of way, and parts of it are so funny I laughed out loud on public transport. Highly recommended.

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:25 am 
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lavawitch wrote:
I was a weird kid: I used to go to the library of Congress to read old Minerva Press gothics in French (most only survived in the original french and not the english translations).

There is some really interesting feminist theory about the rise/fall cycles of gothic novel popularity and it fits in with how women at a given time tend/tended to perceive their power and progress in society. I guess the last big gothic revival was in the 70s/early 80s with Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart. And then Elizabeth Peters (of Amelia Peabody fame) wrote some great gothic/female in jeopardy novels that were simultaneously ruthlessly skewering the genre and writing within it. I love EP and her rapier wit.

I have this morbid fascination with the genre and how awful it is. One of my favorites (that I never actually managed to get through) was one that I found at a used book store for .50. It was set in a Mayan jungle somewhere and had the dippiest cover art. Maybe I can google it.

Isn't that just what you would wear while fleeing through the jungle for your life? flip flops and mini skirt?


Lavawitch, have you ever read Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood? I just finished it a few days ago, its about a woman who has written a very popular, respectable poetry book, but secretly she has been writing really awful gothic romances under a different name for years. I thought it was a great analysis of romance novels in general (at least the really cheesy kind) without being an obvious analysis, if that makes sense (little things like the writer becoming sympathetic of the rival love interest instead of the heroine). Anyway, I enjoyed it, and it was probably the most fun and lighthearted Atwood I've read. Kind of like Cat's Eye only I like the main character.

Right now I'm reading Born In Death by Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, and so far I have to say she's not bad. A friend of mine recommended it to me and told me to ignore it was by Roberts and now I kinda wonder why Nora Roberts has a reputation of being bad but James Patterson or Dean Koontz doesnt, and I think it might have to do with her being a lady writer or a romance writer.

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:32 pm 
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I just started "Mapping the Deep: The Extraordinary Story of Ocean Science" I figured it would be a good pool read.

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:04 pm 
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I finished Becoming Madame Mao, and I give it a 'meh.' I didn't like the shift in narration between an unknown and Madame Mao. I also didn't like the overall tone of the book. It seemed a little flip considering what it dealt with.

I'm not reading The Other Boleyn Girl, and it's terrible/I love it. Since Wolf Hall I've been on a Tudors kick. I started watching The Tudors on Netflix, but my home internet has stopped working, so The Other Boleyn Girl it is. I think I'm going to do Bring up the Bodies next though. I miss Thomas Cromwell.

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:08 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading now?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:17 pm 
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Shy Mox wrote:
lavawitch wrote:
I was a weird kid: I used to go to the library of Congress to read old Minerva Press gothics in French (most only survived in the original french and not the english translations).

There is some really interesting feminist theory about the rise/fall cycles of gothic novel popularity and it fits in with how women at a given time tend/tended to perceive their power and progress in society. I guess the last big gothic revival was in the 70s/early 80s with Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart. And then Elizabeth Peters (of Amelia Peabody fame) wrote some great gothic/female in jeopardy novels that were simultaneously ruthlessly skewering the genre and writing within it. I love EP and her rapier wit.

I have this morbid fascination with the genre and how awful it is. One of my favorites (that I never actually managed to get through) was one that I found at a used book store for .50. It was set in a Mayan jungle somewhere and had the dippiest cover art. Maybe I can google it.

Isn't that just what you would wear while fleeing through the jungle for your life? flip flops and mini skirt?


Lavawitch, have you ever read Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood? I just finished it a few days ago, its about a woman who has written a very popular, respectable poetry book, but secretly she has been writing really awful gothic romances under a different name for years. I thought it was a great analysis of romance novels in general (at least the really cheesy kind) without being an obvious analysis, if that makes sense (little things like the writer becoming sympathetic of the rival love interest instead of the heroine). Anyway, I enjoyed it, and it was probably the most fun and lighthearted Atwood I've read. Kind of like Cat's Eye only I like the main character.

Right now I'm reading Born In Death by Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, and so far I have to say she's not bad. A friend of mine recommended it to me and told me to ignore it was by Roberts and now I kinda wonder why Nora Roberts has a reputation of being bad but James Patterson or Dean Koontz doesnt, and I think it might have to do with her being a lady writer or a romance writer.


Ding, ding, ding! Nora Roberts will never get any respect because she writes romance novels. She is not writing literature, but neither are most people on the NYT list. James Patterson is unreadable to me because of his simplistic writing, yet he gets plenty of respect, even from people who marvel who he doesn't even write his own books any longer.

I overall like her and think she can be a good writer. I'm just not a fan of the shorter style "category" romances or trilogies, but I enjoy her hardcover releases. I love the JD Robb books; I'm listening to them all on audio now. I have no idea how she keeps the series going and still feeling fresh.

The only way romance writers start to gain any respect is when they cross over into another genre like romantic suspense because people automatically assume that the romance genre has no value and must be all badly written dreck.

As far as I know is is still true, but Nora Roberts, an author who has routinely outsold the pants off almost everybody else, has never been reviewed by major publications like the Post or NYT. All the male best sellers have been.

Jayne Ann Krentz has written a lot on this topic. The Smart bisques, Trashy Books blog has also.

The Atwood sounds up my alley--I'll look for it.

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