Books - c'mon, let's get on to really private stuff!  

CB_2 52F
8302 posts
9/10/2006 1:55 pm

Last Read:
9/26/2006 11:10 am

Books - c'mon, let's get on to really private stuff!

Way back in prehistory (before children), I used to be an avid reader. Between us, my husband and I easily spent £50 a month on books - not all of them read immediately, but all of them loved, admired and coveted.

We were members of a book club called The Softback Preview. TSP still exists, but was bought out some years ago by one of the other book clubs. Every now and then, they send us "what do we have to do to bring you back?" mailings.

Well, for a start, they could go back to being a book club with a difference, selling books I want to read.

Nowadays, they sell all the bonkbuster novels and regular crap (which I still like to read, but I would never actually go out and buy - I rely on the library and on borrowing from friends).

But 10 years and more ago, they used to sell Litero-Porn...

No, not real porn (though occasionally they would sell something classic from that genre). What I mean is books to drool over when you're an avid and eclectic reader, in the same way that the current M&S ads on British TV are a form of Gastro-Porn. As I say: stuff to drool over.

Our house is filled with bookcases, and every last one of them is stacked to the gunnells with books on every conceivable subject. Art, Theology, Philosophy, Physics, Astronomy, Linguistics, History etc etc. Most of these books came from TSP.

When the monthly catalogue came through, I would end up underlining loads of books without which I felt my life would be incomplete. Then, I'd hand the catalogue to my husband, and he would do the same. Whenever our tastes crossed (which was most of the time!), we would buy the book.

In fact, in our pre-children days, we used to play a (no doubt really pretentious) game with friends when they came over for dinner: name a subject on which we don't have a book.

We were only once ever caught out. I seem to recall it was some very specific sub-category of quantum physics - and we looked at each other in wonder and said "wow, that sounds like a hell of a subject....".

So, here I am with a house that is better stocked than the non-fiction section of the local library. Sadly, I have never yet got around to studying many of the books, and in recent years I have ended up acquiring more and more lightweight fiction rather than "serious" books. They are easier on the brain when you have kids to handle as well.

But I want to get back to my Litero-Porn, read more of the stuff that gets the old brain chugging. And I will.

But in the meantime, I thought I'd throw open a question to you: name five books picked at random from your bookshelves and - if you want to - tell me more. I may want to read them.

My five books that I've just picked up are:

The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered by R.Eisenman & M.Wise - an interest I picked up in my university days.

The Reckoning (The Murder of Christopher Marlowe) by Charles Nicholl - a highly readable and well-researched book I thoroughly recommend.

Street French Slang Dictionary and Thesaurus by David Burke - which I had hoped might prove useful if I were ever to manage to shag my French farmer...

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult - a book with a tricky moral issue, as most of her fiction does. I liked it but found myself exasperated by it.

The Principle of Duty by David Selbourn - a book about the theory of civic society, which I have never yet read but intend to start on shortly. One of the quoted reviews says "Politicians of every hue should be made to read this dense and careful book, then be shut away for a week to ponder its peculiar relevance...". I feel it is the kind of book to blow away the post-childbirth cobwebs.

Before you get all anxious about the heavyweight nature of some of these books, I stress that I might just have easily picked up a Douglas Adams science fiction novel, a Gerald Durrell comic personal history or a million and one "trivial" books. Maybe I'll post a later comment in this blog with 5 books along those lines.

But for the time being, I thought I'd like to open the conversation with something a little more out of the ordinary.....

.... or is it out of the ordinary, for you lot? Don't be shy: tell me what you're reading. I would love to know.


Blogito ergo sum.

Scoobysnax1970 47M

9/10/2006 2:06 pm

Four Quarters of Light - Brian Keenan.

A spirtual journey through Alaska, as with his previous book An evil cradling it is beautifully written and the prose can be quite haunting in places.

CB_2 replies on 9/10/2006 2:34 pm:
Thanks Scooby, I'll add it to my list. I never got to An Evil Cradling, but I always meant to, so I guess I'd better add that one as well.

By the way, is it true you'll do anything for a Scooby Snack??

dimplesfouryou 47F
24690 posts
9/10/2006 2:26 pm

1. The Outlander by Dianna Gimbaldon--takes place in Scotland and has a cool time-travel premise which amazes me because I hate si-fi. But I love the whole series!

2. A Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffet-- I thought it would light and silly and it was, but it was also surprising thought provoking.

3.--Skinny Dip by Carl Hiasaen-- It got on me on page one. Laughed my ass off throught he whole book and went out the next day and bought everything he wrote.

4. Harry Potter by JK Rowling-- A modern day classic!

5. Flyboys by James Bradley--I learned a lot about WWII. Interesting read.

I LOVE reading! So if you ever have a recommendation, please come share it with me on my blog!


CB_2 replies on 9/10/2006 2:42 pm:
Interesting suggestions, and I am a huge Harry Potter fan as well. I have the entire series of books not only in English but also in French. Not because I'm pretentious, but because I wanted to practise my French, and it is so much easier to read stuff you already know almost by heart in English. No need to scurry back to the dictionary every 5 minutes (though of course so many of the words would not even be in the dictionary...).

I have a bee in my bonnet about the HP books, actually, because a lot of the church schools here ban children from reading them because they are "about witchcraft" - but of course, they are not really. They are an ethical primer for a generation which has grown up without the moral certainties provided by a religious infrastructure. Want to discuss racism, bullying, loss of friends and family? Hey - read a Harry Potter book! On this subject, I heartily recommend A Charmed Life by Francis Bridger.

I really enjoyed The Time Traveller's Wife because - like you - I hate sci fi (unless it is really funny stuff like Douglas Adams), but this approached the subject from a very unusual angle. A book I'd highly recommend. And once you've read it once, and got to grips with the plot, you'll want to read it again straight after to enjoy the delicacies of the prose.

TonyPlays 65M

9/10/2006 2:28 pm

These are some books on my shelf right now:

How to Be a Working Comic: An Insider's Guide to a Career in Stand-Up Comedy by Dave Schwensen - This truly funny book about being funny is also a serious guide to the business of laughter and how to make it pay off. Thought it might help me write some good blogs.

The Rant Zone: An All-Out Blitz Against Soul-Sucking Jobs, Twisted Child Stars, Holistic Loons, & People Who Eat Their Dogs! by Dennis Miller - Dennis Miller makes hamburger out of society's most sacred cows as only he can. I love this guy.

The Jesus Papers "Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in History by Michael Baigent - The supposed cover-up exposed by "The Jesus Papers" is that Jesus survived the crucifixion, and was alive as late as A.D. 45. I'm a Scientologist but I find this Jesus stuff fascinating.

Private Parts by Howard Stern - offers an uncensored, honest look at the life of Howard Stern -- from his troubled childhood to his triumph as the "King of All Media. It made me laugh.

An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore - Al Gore’s groundbreaking book, brings together leading-edge research from top scientists around the world, as well as photographs, charts, and other illustrations to document the reality of global warming. I plan to read this next.

CB_2 replies on 9/10/2006 2:51 pm:
Wow, the Al Gore book sounds great. I'll have to get this. On an environmental topic, I can strongly recommend Ben Elton's novel Stark, which feels so true that it scares the crap out of me. The world is lucky that so few people really appreciate the scale of the environmental disaster sitting on the horizon, or we'd all go and shoot ourselves. Ben Elton is a surprisingly (surprising to me) good novelist. I also highly rate his novel Dead Famous - anyone who has ever believed the lie that reality TV bears any resemblance to reality ought to be made to read this.

In fact, I'd say the big difference between Ben Elton and Jodi Picoult is the fact that both write highly readable novels with major moral issues in them, but only Ben Elton tricks you into believing they are fluffy light reading. Until you get to the end, and start to think "hmmmmm...".

And I'm unfamiliar with Dennis Miller, so I'll enjoy trying that one out as well.

Thanks for all the suggestions. At this rate, I'm going to have a booklist that will last me well into next century arising from this post...

Scoobysnax1970 47M

9/10/2006 2:39 pm

Well I draw the line at listening to politicians, Alex Ferguson and Posh & Becks - You have to have some standards.

However, if there is some nice mayonaise and cheese on it? Oh go on then I mud wrestle my own granny.

CB_2 replies on 9/10/2006 2:44 pm:
Bring Granny out .....

rm_smosmof2 68M
3240 posts
9/10/2006 2:45 pm

You may already know that my tastes run towards science fiction/fantasy... with that in mind, these would be my recommendations:

1) The "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, by George R. R. Martin--A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Feast for Crows, with A Dance with Dragons due out Real Soon Now.....

2) Bones of the Earth by Michael Swanwick, and archeological time travel story ...also Stations of the Tide by the same writer.....

3) Replay by Ken Grimwood--what if you could go back to your youth, with all of your memories intact?

4) Those Who Hunt the Night by Barbara Hambly--nicely done vampire fiction.....also Sun-Cross by the same writer--magicians in another world follow a call for help, and find themselves in Nazi Germany

5) Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card--the first of what has become an eight book series, all of which are good, but this is a fascinating read.... also the third of the series, Xenocide which does nothing to progress the series, but is a fascinating study of obsessiv-complusive behaviour.....

CB_2 replies on 9/10/2006 2:59 pm:
That Ken Grimwood sounds interesting - will have to try that one out. And maybe the Michael Swanwick one.

Do you think Xenocide could be read on its own, without having read the first two of the series first, to set the scene and explain the characters? As I've already stated, I'm not that big on sci-fi/fantasy myself, but the obsessive-compulsive topic intrigues me.

Scoobysnax1970 47M

9/10/2006 2:48 pm

Incidently I would be interested in any books that you have considered life changing.

Those that altered you view of the world or simply changed you for the better.

There are many books by Holocaust survivors that could be placed into this category and I would venture If this is a man / The Truce by Primo Levi.

CB_2 replies on 9/10/2006 2:53 pm:
Ah yes, my husband was a huge Primo Levi fan, for exactly this reason. I've always balked from reading his books, actually, for fear of how they might change me. Isn't that sad? I must dig them out (of course we have them!).

dimplesfouryou 47F
24690 posts
9/10/2006 3:06 pm

Wow! This is turning into an terrific discussion! I didn't think people read any more! So pleased to see people sharing thier thoughts on titles...

Thanks for your suggestions, Considering! I will let you what I thought!


CB_2 replies on 9/10/2006 3:18 pm:
I know, Dimples, isn't it amazing?! One of my friends complains that the blogs "lack immediacy", but that's certainly not the case here - I daren't go to the loo in case I miss a post coming in!

And hardly any of my regular readers have even seen this post yet. I'm sure they will all have an opinion.

By the way, my friends call me CB2. Please feel free to do so.

rm_smosmof2 68M
3240 posts
9/10/2006 4:40 pm

consideringbi2 replies on 9/10/2006 2:59 pm:
That Ken Grimwood sounds interesting - will have to try that one out. And maybe the Michael Swanwick one.

Do you think Xenocide could be read on its own, without having read the first two of the series first, to set the scene and explain the characters? As I've already stated, I'm not that big on sci-fi/fantasy myself, but the obsessive-compulsive topic intrigues me.

It's been so long since I've read Xenocide, I'm not sure anymore....Certainly he would have made an effort to fill in the backstory before proceeding on with the rest of the book, but Ender Wiggin himself is such a unique individual that it really would help to have at least read the first book. The other books kindof set everybody off on an entirely different sort of story line.....

However, Ender's Game is a very easy read, and the story is so gripping the book is hard to put down... I started it on the plane on the way back to a convention about fifteen years ago... missed some amount of the convention because I was up in my room finishing the book..... The sequel is called Speaker for the Dead and has a number of its own merits--it takes characters and situations from the first book and spins them off in unexpected directions. It's also kind of a murder mystery.... (more of a why than a whodunnit) and an investigation into the concept of communicating with aliens with whom we have no cultural common ground...

The George Martin books are actually more of a pseudo historical political saga, with a few fantasy underpinnings.... he tells the story by observing a vast collection of characters... the books are filled with short chapters, each of which depicts the point of view of one of the many characters.... each of them taken alone is like eating one piece of popcorn--you can't stop yourself from taking another nibble.

CB_2 replies on 9/11/2006 1:30 pm:
Thanks. The George Martin series doesn't sound like my cup of tea, but the other stuff appeals.

rm_climberbloke 61M
6 posts
9/10/2006 4:53 pm

Picked totally at random (eyes closed, touch a book spine):

Grey is the Colour of Hope by Irina Ratushinskaya:

The story of a dissident Russian poet in a Womens' labour camp in the USSR. Well-thumbed now (published 198

The Ice Master by Jennifer Niven

A kind of "opposite" book to the various Shackleton books. The exploration vessel "Karluk" was almost contemporary with the South Polar expeditions, but was exploring near the North Pole when it became ice-bound. Here the story differs from Shackleton's in that lots of the crew died. Groups left behind while the Captain went for help ended up t each other's throats. There was murder and a suspicion of cannibalism. A lot "darker" than the almost unrelenting heroism in tales of Shackleton and Scott.

Life and Limb by Jamie Andrew

Jamie is a quadruple amputee who lost both arms and both lower legs to frostbite when storm-bound as a climber in the Alps. He's also an acquaintance and one of the very few people in the world I truly admire, so I'm glad this was the one I touched from my 2 shelves of mountaineering books in the office room here. The story of his rescue, rehab, and getting back to climbing, skiing and marathon running. He's an incredibly inspiring bloke to know. He gets around on his prosthetic legs almost as well as anyone: you don't notice them most of the time. Never uses prostheses on his arms: what he can do with just his stumps beggars belief. I've seen him pour beers, cut up and eat (neatly) a pizza, answer his mobile and change his daughter's nappy.

How to Shit in the Woods by Kathleen Meyer

Exactly what it says on the tin: how to minimise the environmental impact of human defaecation in the great outdoors!

Far Eastern Cookery by Madhur Jaffrey

Again needs little in the way of further description.

I do have fiction, honest, but not much of it in this particular bookshelf!

CB_2 replies on 9/11/2006 1:32 pm:
What a great book title, How to Shit in the Woods. Respect!

The Jennifer Niven book sounds excellent as well. Don't know that I can do Russian dissident poets, though. Too bleak

rm_climberbloke 61M
6 posts
9/10/2006 5:09 pm

I find it strange when people say "I hate sci-fi" as a blanket comment. The genre is quite vast, covering everything from "sword and sorcery" through "space cowboys" to weird psychological stuff and beyond. It's a bit like saying "I hate poetry" or "I hate historical fiction".

Doris Lessing's "Canopus in Argos" series, for example, is excellent literature in any genre. And some (not all) of the Iain M. Banks novels are extraordinary in their breadth of imagination.

I don't really like JK Rowling though: I find the writing a bit shallow and the story lines repetitive, even for kids' stories. I also see too many parallels (sometimes bordering on plagiarism) with Ursula Le Guin's "Earthsea" stories. But that's just me.

CB_2 replies on 9/11/2006 1:27 pm:
As you say, the "sci fi" genre is an extremely wide term, and I'm sure those of us who are not fans of the Star Trek stuff must miss a lot of really worthwile literature when making a blanket statement like that.

I have read and enjoyed Iain M Banks before now, and I'm fairly sure Doris Lessing is someone who will crop up on my reading list at some stage, as she is a recognised brilliant author - I would probably have ended up trying her stuff before even making the sci fi connection.

But I have to disagree with you about JK Rowling, climberbloke. I can't comment on similarities with Ursula Le Guin (another one whose name has come up twice in this post, which I guess means I have to try her out). One thing I'm impressed about with the HP books is how the writing style of the books matures along with the presumed age of the readers and of the hero. Book 1 is a very easy read, whereas book 5 is pretty hard work in many ways.

The great thing about the series, in my opinion, is the psychological depth to it - read beyond the text, beyond the plot and there is Lebensanschauung ("approach to life") simply dripping from it.

But, as I said, I'm a fan!

chas4037 69M
4119 posts
9/10/2006 10:06 pm

Great topic, and responses, CB

I'm not home, so can't go to my shelf, but here are two I carried with me on this trip:

A Short History of Everything, by Bill Bryson. A review of what we know about the world around us, and how we came to know. I'm only 1/3 thru, so far, a good, interesting and informative read.

Big Russ and ME, by Tim Russert Have not yet started this one, but the blurb says "recalls the the example of his father, who worked two jobs without complaint ... and taught his children the values of self-discipline, of respect, of loyalty to friends " And for those of you not in the US, Tim Russert is perhaps the most respected TV journalist of the day; he conducts the weekly Meet The Press interviews with fairness and knowledge. Neither the Liberals nor the Right Wing Whackos get a break from him (is MY bias obvious?)

Here are a couple more, from memory; books I'd recommend to anyone who is an intelligent reader:

How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas P Cahill. He's written four or five now, in a series called Hinges of History, where he picks a particular point of view and explores the sugject in multiple dimensions. In "Irish" he's talking about the fall of Rome, and how the Catholic Church came to take the shape we know now, and how in the end Irish monks were the last bastion of literacy in Europe. He does the same with the Greeks, and how Christianity evolved. Worth the time easily.

Bel Canto, by Ann Padgett This is a twist on a terrorist action thriller, with a love story and an operatic subtext. And it all ends with a surprise or two too. I highly recommend it.

Anything written by Ursula Le Guin. She tells stories that make you think. At one point, she used Sci-Fi to allow her to shift reality slightly, but more recently, she's not even bothered to justify the reality shift, she just trusts that her readers will join her there.

That is five, I think. Hope that some one of you enjoys at least one of these recommendations.

Thanks for the great posting, CB


CB_2 replies on 9/11/2006 1:19 pm:
Ah yes, Bill Bryson. What a writer. I love his stuff. I especially liked Mother Tongue because I'm a linguist at heart, and Notes From a Small Island because he captures the essence of 1970s (??) England so well. I choked with laughter from the moment of the pants he wore on his head to keep himself warm.

I'm not familiar with the writings of Thomas P Cahill, so thanks for telling me about him. It sounds like just the kind of stuff I love to read. I had a quick look on Amazon, and ran away before I had a chance to click "Add to basket".

As for the others, well I'll bear them in mind.

Glimmer_Man06 48M
3308 posts
9/11/2006 1:03 am

Never Forget 911 Victims

They say a woman ages like fine wine...

...mine ages like milk!

Reverbe2 44F
3298 posts
9/11/2006 9:02 am

Strange Days - Patricia Kenneally Morrison - a memoir of a lady who was a rock journalist in the 60s and who handfasted Jim Morrison.

I'm With The Band - Pamela Des Barres - memoir of Rock groupie and performer with the GTO's

Witchcrafting and Book of Shadows - Phyllis Curott- former is a guide to Wicca and the latter is the experiences of an attorney on her spiritual journey.

Don't Eat This Book - Morgan Spurlock - more of the same from the mind behind the excellent "Supersize Me"

Undead and Unemployed - Maryjanice Davidson - This series has been described as "Sex And The City" meets vampires.Well the shoe obession is there

Please view my blog reverbe2 Sweethearts Sanctuary

CB_2 replies on 9/11/2006 3:13 pm:
I can see you're a bit of a rock chick! I've never read Morgan Spurlock's stuff yet, only seen Supersize Me on TV.

waldstille2 60M

9/11/2006 4:04 pm

A very nice idea, Consideringbi! And Wordsmith, Consideringbi asked for FIVE books....

I wanted to play the game by picking in a random fashion, but it turned out not to be all that practical because I don't really want to include non-English titles and there are a lot of those.

So the list, not entirely aleatory but still random enough to qualify.

Steven Ozment: Magdalena & Balthasar, An Intimate Portrait of Life in 16th Century Europe Revealed in the Letters of A Nuremberg Husband and Wife (1986). It is among the many on my 120 meters of shelves that I've never read (but there are few there that I don't want to read if I had the time).

John D.Barrow & Joseph Silk: The Left Hand of Creation, The origin and evolution of the expanding universe. This book, published in 1983, is very old for a book on the physical universe (so many have since come out), but when it came out it was a notable addition. Barrow and Silk are both eminent astronomers.

William Wiser, The Crazy Years, Paris in the Twenties. By sheer coincidence, also published in 1983! Very readable and entertaining, Wiser being a novelist. With some nice black & white photos of famous people.

William Faulkner: Knight's Gambit. Six mystery stories. Not one of Faulkner's masterpieces, nor among his best known works, but very entertaining and a treasure for the Faulkner lover (of COURSE he is my favorite American writer!) because it is populated by people we know from other works (Gavin Stevens and his nephew...)

Elaine Scarry: The Body in Pain. 1985 A very rich and deep examination of a variety of important topics, from torture and war to belief and artifact. I recommended it warmly to my friends at the time.

Note that none of these are books I'm reading at the moment, or have even touched in recent years.

CB_2 replies on 9/11/2006 4:47 pm:
Wow, Waldstille, thanks. Quite aleatory that I spotted your post the other day, which drew you to comment here and teach me a new word. It doesn't happen very often, I promise you! I love a new word to play with.

CB_2 replies on 9/11/2006 4:48 pm:
Intriguing mix of books, by the way. Don't think I've read any William Faulkner yet.

Damn, this list is getting long!

warmandsexy52 65M
13164 posts
9/11/2006 4:48 pm

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks: largely set during the First World War it is superbly written and is so much more than simply a war story.

Enduring Love by Ian McEwan: powerful and contemporary. A study in obsession and projected love (de Clerambault's Syndrome). Anyone dabbling on this friendly site should read and reflect on this book. There are quite a few de Clerambault sufferers on this friendly site!

The Odyssey by Homer: you want a mid-life crisis story? This is the daddy of them all!

The Marvellous Adventure of Cabeza de Vaca translated/adapted by Haniel Long: not long but awesome and truly inspirational. Your bookshelf ought to have this. A true story of a shipwrecked conquistadore whose survival depends on his adaptation to native American culture on a long overland journey "home," and how his world view is changed.

The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart: how a psychiatrist decides to abrogate all responsibility for his decisions to the throw of a dice. Maybe just a little dated 35 or so years on but a great story nonetheless.

But in truth at the moment I'm reading a pilot's handbook for free-flyers, but unless you're into launching off steep hills, mountains and cliffs probably not a book for most!

warm xx

CB_2 replies on 9/11/2006 4:56 pm:
Hello you! Every time I plan to go to bed, someone posts something that catches my eye...

Yup, I'd agree on Birdsong and on The Odyssey. The latter reminds me, I really should read that copy of The Oresteia by Aeschylus that's sitting on my shelf - according to the blurb it is a "tapestry of myths taken from the Iliad and the Odyssey".

What I find fascinating is that as soon as I saw your reference to The Odyssey, I immediately plucked this book out from amongst various Greek authors without any awareness of its connection in subject matter. Somehow I just knew it was the companion book. How weird is that?

I've read some Ian McEwan and like his writing, but not read Enduring Love. That and the other two books you mentioned will be more grist to the mill. Thanks.

CB_2 replies on 9/11/2006 4:58 pm:
Ha ha - just looked up de Clerambault's Syndrome..... I prefer the term erotomania, thanks.

economickrisis 56M

9/12/2006 1:05 am

Hmmm Gee, a bloody smart sheiala arent ya. All them books makes a bloke suspect ya might be susceptible to an invitation to come up and see my collection of firsts

Errr no etchings I mean.

CB_2 replies on 9/12/2006 8:11 am:
You know, EK, most blokes butter a girl up by telling her she looks great or is good in bed. But I get much more of a thrill from someone telling me I'm smart. So thank you.

Though I wouldn't object if you paid me the other compliments, I hasten to add.

But where's your book list? I ain't looking at no etchings without checking out the reading matter that sustains you... (oh, OK, if you insist, show me the damn etchings first ).

Scoobysnax1970 47M

9/12/2006 12:11 pm

I'm going to nominate a few more:-

The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz
An epic escape from a Russian Gulag

An Instance of the Finger Post - Ian Pears
Medieval Murder mystery for four different viewpoints

Under a Frog - Tibor Fischer
Hungarian Basketball antics in 1950's communist Hungary

(Apologies for any spelling mistakes)

CB_2 replies on 9/12/2006 2:19 pm:
I've got An Instance of the Finger Post! I quite liked that. I do enjoy a few of the old medieval whodunnits. But like all of these things, someone writes in a new setting and before you know it there are genre-copies all over the place.

I'm also a big fan of the Marcus Didius Falco series set in ancient Rome by Lindsey Davis, though it took me a while to get to grips with the idea that each character has three names, and it depends on the social status of the person talking to them as to which name they use. That confused my poor little sheila-head for a while!

Actually, checking the spelling of her name (by going onto Amazon rather than walking to the bookcase in my downstairs loo, lazy cow that I am!), I've realised the new one See Delphi and Die is now out in paperback. If anyone is interested in this series, it is by far the best to start from The Silver Pigs. She writes great one liners.

I also like the Steven Saylor books set in the Roman Empire, but these are much more serious whodunnits than the Lindsey Davis ones, which are more of a comic romp with a few murders thrown in.

And how on earth did you come up with Under a Frog? That's the sort of book I would buy for the idiosyncratic title, regardless of content.

CB_2 replies on 9/12/2006 2:21 pm:
Oh God, just realised I've admitted how serious my book obsession is: yes, I do have a bookcase in the downstairs loo. There was unused space on the wall, what can I say?

rm_Masato13 64M
128 posts
9/12/2006 1:58 pm

Oh Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham. Imagine my disappointment after buying it because of its title and cover and bondage.

Big Clive Cussler fan and have read most if not all of his works. Dan Brown has some provocative and entertaining work out there as does Tom Clancy.

CB_2 replies on 9/12/2006 2:29 pm:
Oh poor Masato. That's not fair, is it, getting you all excited by a totally miselading title. But was the book good, regardless, once you'd got over your disappointment?

Dan Brown. Hmmmm. Well, let me say I've read a few of his books and enjoyed them as a bit of a thriller romp. But I have a tendency - if I like an author - to read a number of their books back to back. My husband used to as well, so we have quite a few complete collections here. However, when you do that with some authors, you discover they are quite formulaic, and Dan Brown is one of those authors I think.

Also, I've got to say that whilst the plots are quite gripping, I don't especially rate the writing. It's more screenplay writing than book writing in my opinion. But if you're going to write books in almost-screenplay format, Elmore Leonard is your man. Boy does he have style.

So, yes, I've enjoyed Dan Brown in the past, but I rate Tom Clancy as a far better writer.

Scoobysnax1970 47M

9/12/2006 2:42 pm

Under a Frog is a Hungarian saying for truly the lowest point in life you can reach.

"Under a frogs arse down a coalmine"

It was booked nominated a few years back and is pretty good, he has written a few others as well which are worth checking out.

For medieval murder mysteries try Susannah Gregory always a good solid read.

If you have a spare bookcase pop it in the post for me I still have about 300 books in the attic from when we moved into our house 3 years ago, including all my Dostoyevsky & Tolstoy that I really must read!!!

CB_2 replies on 9/12/2006 2:48 pm:
Spare bookcase? Are you kidding? I have books piled 3 foot high in the spare bedroom.

I like that saying - may adopt it. Interesting that you look at Booker nominations - personally my experience has usually been that they are a pile of pretentious bollocks, so I don't find myself being especially swayed by that accolade. If someone tells me they like it, well that's a different matter...

CB_2 52F

9/13/2006 1:41 am

Now, for a complete change of literary direction.

My all-time favourite book is Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

Bet that surprised you, didn't it?

Maybe if I were choosing my favourite book now, rather than years ago, I'd have chosen something different. But I love the subtle wit, the social digs, the sheer impossibility of it all. But to really enjoy it you have to place yourself in the social conventions of the early 1800s - it's a bit incompatible with AdultFriendFinder, put it that way!

Anything by Oscar Wilde would be next on my list. The Importance of Being Earnest is a delight.

Anyway, tell me: what's your favourite book? And can you explain why?

Oh, and I can also recommend The Jane Austen Book Club. Very subtle, very entertaining and also very educative...and, smosmof, it has a sci-fi convention in it. What's not to like? And for those weird people who don't "get" Jane, JABC is quite enlightening as well.

Blogito ergo sum.

Reverbe2 44F
3298 posts
9/13/2006 2:30 am

Strange Days by Patricia Kenneally - its well written good mix of experiences by my fave author.Actually had the pleasure of speaking to this lady when she called my home number a few years ago. It's a book I can read over and over and never tire of.I have several copies.I identified with her position as secret partner of a singer on first read as i was in a similar situation and the wiccan threads intrigue me as well as the rock stuff. Great descriptions of the fashions also and a good snapshot of the 60s. Also the section on abortion in my opinion is a MUST read for anyone who dismisses it as an easy option.

Please view my blog reverbe2 Sweethearts Sanctuary

CB_2 replies on 9/13/2006 12:34 pm:
Oh God, yes. Abortion as a form of birth control - happens all too often. A friend of mine is a nurse and says the number of times they have young women (in their twenties or less, quite often) who are in for their 3rd, 4th or even 5th abortion is scary. Seems no- one tells them about the underskin implant you can have for long term contraception.

dimplesfouryou 47F
24690 posts
9/14/2006 4:19 pm

My favorite book is "Secret Life of Bees". I just thought it was so wonderfully made me sweat in the middle of Oct. with a cool breeze on the air, just because she was so descriptive!


rm_FreeLove999 47F
16127 posts
9/16/2006 11:37 am

Zakes Mda - Ways of Dying -- South African author, great story teller, based on some South African "cultural" traditions of having a paid mourner/ mourning specialist attend the funeral of your loved ones -- in order to really let the mourning out and let everyone get it out of their systems. (dunno if he is available in yr country or not, as some SA authors are, and some aren't.)

JM Coetzee -- The life and times of Michael K -- South African author, nobel prize winner, his recent books have been an utter bore, but I loved this one.

(this one's not actually on my bookshelf at the moment cos i lent it to someone, but it is my favourite book of all time -- and for an avid reader, that's saying something!) Jacqueline Harpman - The Mistress of Silence. When I've shared it with people they keep telling me it's depressing, but I can't fathom that because to me it is a message of hope about the journey of life.

Anais Nin - A spy in the house of love ... (you've probably read it! i like it because of the sexual experimentation that goes on, the doubt and emptiness the character experiences after her encounters tho ... well, i am glad that I (times?) are more liberated and i can engage in sexual adventure without so much doubt and guilt.

Virginia Woolf
- eenie meenie miney mo, which one shall i pick? -- Orlando -- it's probably the most fun of her books!

You have a great blog, btw.

[blog freelove999]

CB_2 replies on 9/16/2006 1:21 pm:
Thanks FreeLove. I'm glad you are enjoying it.

I didn't really get into Virginia Woolf when I tried her (and it was Orlando I read), but I'm prepared to have another go. I've been known to be wrong before now (and that's the only time you'll ever see me admit to that ).

rm_FreeLove999 47F
16127 posts
9/16/2006 11:39 am

(just went back over the other suggestions; was thinking of the time traveller's wife too ... i read it when i was doing a bit of "time travel" myself -- back in my old university town, 15 years on, very nostalgic, awesome version of reality.)

[blog freelove999]

CB_2 replies on 9/16/2006 1:22 pm:
Oh my God, onto my second page of comments for the first time! How exciting is this?!

Yes, I think if I were picking a new favourite book, The Time Traveler's Wife would be it (though I'd insist on the British spelling of Traveller). So much in it.

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