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Old 03-22-2011, 07:01 PM   #8701
beppe
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I am happy of my last reading exploits.
I just finished two collections of short stories and a serious non fiction book.

the short stories are:
A.S. Byatt: Little Black Book of Stories (2003). Beautiful gems in which "realism and naturalism merge with fantasy" (Wikipedia dixit). It has been a great pleasure reading those stories. There is one in which a woman becomes of stone, of stones actually and the world of the stones is revealed to the reader in the most fascinating way. Pure joy. If one wants to encounter a Fetch, there is that also. Beautiful, dressed in red and the contemplation of her slender legs gives great pleasure but not desire ...

E.M. Forester: The celestial Omnibus and Other Stories (1911). I found there the same lightness of heart that I enjoyed so much in reading A room with a view in the Book of the month thread. We have it on MR, BTW.

The serious non fiction is by Rob Riemen: Nobility of Spirit: A forgotten Ideal (2008). I expected more, but I found something of value that will stay with me. For instance a renewed interest in reading classics like Mann and Goethe that I was not reading since the school days. The book was nominated in The Book of the Month but it got only my vote and that of a friend.

I started a serious and wonderful book by Frances Yates: The Art of Memory (1966)
Spoiler:
THE subject of this book will be unfamiliar to most readers. Few people know that the Greeks, who invented many arts, invented an art of memory which, like their other arts, was passed on to Rome whence it descended in the European tradition. This art seeks to memorise through a technique of impressing 'places' and 'images' on memory. It has usually been classed as 'mnemotechnics', which in modern times seems a rather unimportant branch of human activity. But in the ages before printing a trained memory was vitally important; and the manipulation of images in memory must always to some extent involve the psyche as a whole. Moreover an art which uses contemporary architecture for its memory places and contemporary imagery for its images will have its classical, Gothic, and Renaissance periods, like the other arts. Though the mnemotechnical side of the art is always present, both in antiquity and thereafter, and forms the factual basis for its investigation, the exploration of it must include more than the history of its techniques. Mnemosyne, said the Greeks, is the mother of the Muses; the history of the training of this most fundamental and elusive of human powers will plunge us into deep waters.

I came to this book by pure chance and I am seriously pissed at my teachers that obviously did not know about it, or they would have passed this wonderful knowledge along. Darn.

Finally I just started a novel by the Icelandic Hallgrimur Helgason: Toxic (2008). I am reading it in Italian. It does not exist yet in English. Ah!
I do not remember how or where I got the notion, but I got the impression that he might look like Bukowski??

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Old 03-22-2011, 08:55 PM   #8702
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I'm (finally) reading "The Golden Mean", which was shortlisted for the Giller prize last year. So far, so good (I'm only about 20 pages in). Also, as I was without a home internet connection for the past little while, I stopped updating my 100 books in 2011 list...
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:44 PM   #8703
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I just purchased this and was thinking about reading it next. What were your impressions?
It was a fun read with a lot of historical details about the Vikings' culture and life around the time of Harald Bluetooth.
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:12 PM   #8704
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I'm just reading The Hunger Games. My first ever purchase on my kindle. Am really enjoying it...both the kindle and the book.
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:56 PM   #8705
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I'm just reading The Hunger Games. My first ever purchase on my kindle. Am really enjoying it...both the kindle and the book.
Suzanne Collins is a wonderful author. I listened to her books as audiobooks (I have a long commute), both The Hunger Games series and her Gregor the Overlander series. My cousin's 12-yr-old daughter is a very advanced reader and loves The Hunger Games but couldn't deal with the giant roaches in Gregor. Go figure.

I am reading Pub Walks in Underhill Country by Nat Segnit. It is 271 pages and I have 71 pages left. It is set up like a travel book but it is a novel. I wonder if you can actually do the walks in the book. Probably so. Our protagonist, Graham Underhill, writes "rambling" guides and, in the book, he describes 15 rambles with a lot of asides about his personal life, particularly his second marriage. Anyway, I now want to ramble the English countryside.

It is a tribute to this book that I am finishing it in 3 days with a schedule like mine. I drive 2.5hrs a day and work 8.5. It is very enjoyable to ramble inside Mr. Underhill's head.
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Old 03-24-2011, 06:29 AM   #8706
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An interesting mystery without her usual cast. I'm glad to day I did guess what was going on, mostly. It is interesting to see the development as she writes more.

Next: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. Another Poirot mystery. Alas, this has been dramatised so often that I'm pretty sure I remember the important bits of the plot.
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Old 03-24-2011, 06:54 PM   #8707
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Winter edition of Narrative Mag:

http://www.narrativemagazine.com/
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:01 PM   #8708
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Just finished Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - kind of dense in spots but overall a well-crafted story with solid characters. Now on to Impeding Justice by Mel Comley.
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:35 PM   #8709
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I'm currently reading The Blade Itself (#1 of The First Law trilogy) by Joe Abercrombie. I'm almost halfway through and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. In general I'm not really into fantasy but this one is very good. I just love all the different characters and how the story is set up.
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Old 03-25-2011, 10:38 AM   #8710
pdurrant
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The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. Another Poirot mystery. Alas, this has been dramatised so often that I'm pretty sure I remember the important bits of the plot.
I did indeed remember most of the plot, including the vital whodunnit. But even so, it was very good indeed. It was fun to be able to spot the clues and misdirections along the way.

Next: Thicker than Water by Mercedes Lackey

This is really a short story, but given the omnibus novels that I count as one book, I reckon counting a short story as one is only reasonable.

The is my most recently bought book from Fictionwise, bought in December 2010.
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:33 AM   #8711
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Thicker than Water by Mercedes Lackey
It was OK. The changes of viewpoint were a bit confusing - I suspect that some scene break lines were missing, but it wasn't worth the effort of fixing that for a short story.

Next: Into The Out Of by Alan Dean Foster - $8.49

I'm also working my way back through Fictionwise books I've bought but not read. This is the most recent in that category - bought in September 2010 using one of the 'up to $10' credits from my Fictionwise Club memberships.
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:39 AM   #8712
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Halfway through Oath of Fealty. I like Moons storytelling and the way she writes.
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Old 03-25-2011, 03:40 PM   #8713
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I'm so easily sidetracked....

Still working on Water for Elephants (about 30 pages to go), but in the meantime I've been working on Mark Twain's Roughing It and then thanks to an online posting about the Yakuza (Japanese crime syndicates) providing relief supplies to the survivors of the earthquake/tsunami, a commenter mentioned a book on the Yakuza that sounded interesting enough to grab a copy. So I'm now reading it too.
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Old 03-25-2011, 04:54 PM   #8714
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Finally finished The Ghost in the Polka Dot Bikini. My reading has slowed way down with this semester of classes, because one of the classes is English Comp. II, and there's a lot of reading/analysis in it. So my usual mysteries have been taken over by what my professor considers literature. I did start After Hours: Tales from the Ur-Bar, though, which is an anthology of short stories set in (where else) a bar, that travels through time. It's got a story by Anton Strout (he of the Simon Canderous series) in it, which is really why I bought it.

ETA: Oh, and re-reading (for about the 20th time) Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton on the Droid. That's been my break time reading lately. Soothing.
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Old 03-25-2011, 05:46 PM   #8715
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Reading Vortex by Troy Denning. It's number six of nine in the series that should have ended long ago.

I've really become a literary snob.
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