/ What are you reading?

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taine - on 23 Nov 2012
I haven't seen one of these for a while and I am coming to the end of my library book pile. What can you offer to inspire?

I'm just finishing "Blood River" by Tim Butcher - I've read a bit about the Congo before but his mixing of the history with his own adventure really has me hooked

(in the right forum this time)
Tall Clare - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to taine:

Just started 'In the Country of Men' by Hisham Matar, which is set in Libya in the seventies. I read his 'Anatomy of a Disappearance' earlier this year and can honestly say it's one of the best books I've read in years. Again, it's broadly Libyan. That man really knows how to craft his words.
Enty - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to taine:

Karen Darke's Boundless - very good it is too.

E
Enty - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

I finished Shantaram. It proper took off after the first couple of hundred pages - excellent!

E
mkean - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to taine:
I'm working my way through the Emperor series by Conn Iggulden at the moment and quite enjoying it. I prefered his books on Genghis Khan though.
Tall Clare - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to Enty:

I don't have the patience to stick with things for 200 pages if I'm not sure - I've just sent a Julian Barnes novel back to the library after 70 pages of tedium!
owlart - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to taine: Having managed to leave my reading glasses at a friends 60miles away while they went on holiday I've not been reading much recently :-(

Hoping to pick them up this weekend, then look on my book pile and see what takes my fancy...
Douglas Griffin - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

2 books on the go at the moment. This:

http://www.anneapplebaum.com/iron-curtain-the-crushing-of-eastern-europe-1944-1956/
(Which might interest you as I seem to recall that you liked 'Stasiland'; there's also a fair but about Czechoslovakia. You can download the introduction from the website.)
So far it's not as good as Gulag, by the same author, but it's interesting enough.

and this:

http://www.birlinn.co.uk/book/details/Butcher-s-Broom-9781904598916/
Read it many years ago and reading it again. Really enjoying it - I love Neil M. Gunn.
Tall Clare - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to Douglas Griffin:

Oo - will look up that first one. Sounds right up my street.
Kimono - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to Enty:
> (In reply to Tall Clare)
>
> I finished Shantaram. It proper took off after the first couple of hundred pages - excellent!
>
> E

But was about 200 pages too long imo!

I am on New York by Edward Rutherford...also a little long but very good especially as i have just been there

Gordon Stainforth - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to taine:

I'm reading the absolutely astounding 'The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared' by Jonas Jonasson. It's by far the best fiction book I've read for years, indeed I can't remember EVER having enjoyed a novel so much. I'm only halfway through it, so hope it doesn't flag, but I very much doubt it. A wonderful imagination combined with a wickedly dry humour.
Minneconjou Sioux - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to taine:

Jack Kerouac's "on the road".
Steve John B - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to taine:
>
> I'm just finishing "Blood River" by Tim Butcher - I've read a bit about the Congo before but his mixing of the history with his own adventure really has me hooked

Excellent book that. Just had a clearout so there's probably a copy at Harrogate Oxfam!

Reading "Somebody's Husband, Somebody's Son", about Peter Sutcliffe. I was googling a street in Leeds (behind Headingley Arndale) and his name came up. I remember the arrest on the news when I was a kid but not much else. A lot of my colleagues now in Bradford were young women in the 70s and early 80s, I can't really imagine how it would have felt for them back then.
tony on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to taine:

I've just finished Neil Gaiman's 'Neverwhere', which was wonderful, and I'm now alternating between John Hunt's 'Ascent of Everest' and Trollope's 'The way we live now'. I may get bored with them and find something else by Neil Gaiman.
abh - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to kieran b:
> (In reply to Enty)
> [...]
>
> But was about 200 pages too long imo!
>
>
Yeah, I thought that too. A good book, but I can't believe it is all true....

Anyway, I'm reading Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robson. Anybody read it? I've only read about 10 pages and I'm not gripped...does it get better? I thought it sounded interesting ( I don't really read too much Sci-fi...)

Cheers
hokkyokusei - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to abh:
> Anyway, I'm reading Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robson. Anybody read it? I've only read about 10 pages and I'm not gripped...does it get better? I thought it sounded interesting ( I don't really read too much Sci-fi...)
>

I seem to recall that the beginning was a bit hard to follow, because it starts with what I can only describe as a "flashforward" (as opposed to a flashback) and you don't really know what's going on. It does get better. My favourite part is when the first hundred are building their colony. It has a lot of politics in it for SF.

morbh - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to taine:
I'm reading Tattoo by Manuel Vazquez Montalban which is a quality bit of foodie detective escapism from Spain (in a very similar vein to Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano novels who I believe is so named in honour of the former author)
In reply to taine: I'm reading "A Brilliant Little Operation" by Paddy Ashdown about the cockleshell heroes. It's pretty good so far; still in the early stages.

I've got "Fiva" by R Gordon and "A Hero of Our Time" by Lermontov queuing up behind it.
In reply to Douglas Griffin:
> (In reply to Tall Clare)
>
> 2 books on the go at the moment. This:
>
> http://www.anneapplebaum.com/iron-curtain-the-crushing-of-eastern-europe-1944-1956/
> (Which might interest you as I seem to recall that you liked 'Stasiland'; there's also a fair but about Czechoslovakia. You can download the introduction from the website.)
> So far it's not as good as Gulag, by the same author, but it's interesting enough.

Which reminds me that I've got a book called "Revolution 1989" by Sebastyen to read.
Enty - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to abh:
> (In reply to kieran b)
> [...]
> Yeah, I thought that too. A good book, but I can't believe it is all true....
>
>

Me neither ^^^^

E

ads.ukclimbing.com
Only a hill - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to taine:
I'm between books at the moment. Just finished the very amusing "Diary of a Nobody in the 21st Century" by Charles Pooter V (a surprisingly subtle re-imagining of the original but set in the present day).

Not sure what to read next, but it's going to have to be contemporary. I've read enough verbose Victorian novels for one year!
Gordon Stainforth - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to Only a hill:

Try 'The 100-Year-Old Man' I mentioned above.
Only a hill - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
I noticed it in Waterstones the other day--certainly a catchy title! I'll check it out.
Pyreneenemec - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to taine:

With loads of time on my hands at the moment I have five or six books on the go at the same time. Mostly old classics that I am rereading, such as W.Somerset Maugham's "Of Human Bondage" and Paul Theroux's railway adventures "The Old Patagonian Express" and "The Kingdom By The Sea".
walking_disaster on 23 Nov 2012 - host109-152-180-149.range109-152.btcentralplus.com
In reply to taine: Ovid's Metamorphoses. Just finished The Odyssey. 2 very different epics.
walking_disaster on 23 Nov 2012 - host109-152-180-149.range109-152.btcentralplus.com
In reply to walking_disaster: Also wading through Ulysses, although I think I might take a break from it. I wish I could just give up on it, but I know that, as such a seminal work, I should read it and appreciate it!

Has anyone else managed to get through it?
Pyreneenemec - on 24 Nov 2012
In reply to walking_disaster:
> (In reply to walking_disaster) Also wading through Ulysses, although I think I might take a break from it. I wish I could just give up on it, but I know that, as such a seminal work, I should read it and appreciate it!
>
> Has anyone else managed to get through it?

Through it, yes; but I can't say that I particularly enjoyed it !

Better to hear it being read at "Sweeney's" in Dublin !

as646 on 24 Nov 2012
In reply to taine: Just about finished 'A Confederacy of Dunces'. It is fast becoming my favourite comedy novel, more so than Catch 22. I'm getting funny looks off people whilst commuting; I'm not generally particularly expressive whilst reading books, but I've been cracking up quite loudly, often even after I've closed the book.
Talius Brute - on 24 Nov 2012
In reply to as646:
> (In reply to taine) Just about finished 'A Confederacy of Dunces'. It is fast becoming my favourite comedy novel, more so than Catch 22. I'm getting funny looks off people whilst commuting; I'm not generally particularly expressive whilst reading books, but I've been cracking up quite loudly, often even after I've closed the book.


I couldn't get into that when I started reading it, maybe I'll try again.
butteredfrog - on 24 Nov 2012
In reply to taine:

Just finished The Meadow by Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark: Read mainly for personal reasons, one of the main figures in the book was a close friend, as such found it tough but a fascinating read.

David Reid - on 24 Nov 2012
In reply to taine:

just about to finish " no easy day" by Mark Owen , a very non hyped up account of Osama Bin Ladens death
Trangia - on 24 Nov 2012
In reply to taine:

Nearing the end of the trilogy "Hunger Games", "Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay".

Riviting reading and incredibly immaginative.
Only a hill - on 24 Nov 2012
In reply to Trangia:
I was pleasantly surprised by the film and have been considering reading the books
Dave C on 24 Nov 2012
In reply to taine: Shuffling around between five at the moment:
Demanding the Impossible, A History of Anarchism by Peter Marshall
Albion, The Origins of the English Imagination by Peter Ackroyd
Vanished Kingdoms, The History of Half-Forgotten Europe by Norman Davies
German Genius, Europe's Third Renaisance by Peter Watson
The Wars of the Roses by Michael Hicks
ben_c_s on 24 Nov 2012
In reply to taine: I've just finished Echoes by Nick Bullock, I enjoyed that but now I'm about to start The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo
yeti on 24 Nov 2012
In reply to taine:

well I'm kinda reading the "complete works of josephus" but "the hittites" has taken over.

I got properly hooked on ancient history after reading tom hollands "persian fire" but I'm realy looking forward to the

new iain m banks, if you want a book thats unpredictable i'd recommend iain m banks,

the 'm' means science fiction without the 'm' means terrestrial fiction (still unpredictable though)
as646 on 24 Nov 2012
In reply to yeti: I read Player of Games and Surface Detail recently. Good, but not particularly memorable I think. I don't read much sci-fi though.

The Passage and The Twelve were both books I finished not too long ago, I would highly reccommend them, even if they are basically The Stand.
Minneconjou Sioux - on 24 Nov 2012
In reply to as646:

I just finished (before I started "on the road") "No Man's river" by Farley Mowat which is a slightly disturbing account of life in the northern tundra of Canada amongst the inland Innuit just after the 2nd WW.

Mowat has been critisised in the past for being a little imaginative with his descriptions so I can't comment on the book's accuracy but I suspect that the racism and child abuse did exist.
Doug on 24 Nov 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux: halfway through Vanished Kingdoms, The History of Half-Forgotten Europe (Norman Davies) although this afternoon when I was feeling pretty tired I picked up Paul Nunn's "At the sharp end" which I found in an Oxfam while in London earlier this week - I didn't buy it when it was published as I'd read most of the pieces in it but it brought back many memories

Also several work related titles &...
Sebastian Fontleroy - on 24 Nov 2012
In reply to as646:
> (In reply to taine) Just about finished 'A Confederacy of Dunces'. It is fast becoming my favourite comedy novel, more so than Catch 22. I'm getting funny looks off people whilst commuting; I'm not generally particularly expressive whilst reading books, but I've been cracking up quite loudly, often even after I've closed the book.

That's one of my favourite books. Glad you're enjoying it.
drmarten on 24 Nov 2012
I'm finishing a history of Nevada just now and have ordered "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee", I'm really looking forward to the latter.
llamaglama - on 24 Nov 2012
In reply to taine:

Flowers for Algernon
Tall Clare - on 24 Nov 2012
In reply to llamaglama:

That's a great book.
msimpson73 - on 25 Nov 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: +1. Read it with a group of year 10 students about 10 years ago and had them all in tears ...
Jim C - on 25 Nov 2012
In reply to owlart:
> (In reply to taine) Having managed to leave my reading glasses at a friends 60miles away while they went on holiday I've not been reading much recently :-(
>
> Hoping to pick them up this weekend, then look on my book pile and see what takes my fancy...

Jings! you must be really poor, reading glasses are sold in the pound shop these days, or dirt cheap in any Chemist.
Clint86 - on 25 Nov 2012
In reply to taine: Soil and Soul, about how the Eigg islanders got their 'Independance'. The first 40 pages particularly are an excellant read, and then Stone Eagles's contribution to the hearing about the super quarry on Lewis on about page 200.
Bruce Hooker - on 25 Nov 2012
In reply to taine:

Just finished, this morning, "A Line in the Sand" by James Barr - subtitled "Britain, France and the struggle that shaped the Middle East". A very interesting book with references that would keep even TobyA happy for months. The last sections about the way Israel was born, the level of terrorism by the Irgun and Stern gangs, a murder on every page, is sobering reading, even for someone who has red a few books on the subject. The intrigues between British and French over the period make most conspiracy theories look like child's play.

The book was suggested by a poster on ukc but I can't remember who to thank him, Tony maybe?, he also suggested "Afgantsy" by Roderick Braithwaite which I read just before, about the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan - an interesting book too. Both available at the click of a mouse from Amazon for the price of a couple of pints of beer.
dale1968 - on 25 Nov 2012
In reply to taine: bring up the bodies ; hilary mantel
Bulls Crack - on 25 Nov 2012
In reply to taine:

William Boyd The Ice Cream War - very readable as usual
Banks' The Hydrogen Sonata - good so far
And will shortly be reading The Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajenemi - hoping that it will be as good as The Quantum Thief.
Minneconjou Sioux - on 25 Nov 2012
In reply to drmarten:
> I'm finishing a history of Nevada just now and have ordered "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee", I'm really looking forward to the latter.

Excellent book but very depressing. Made me blood boiling angry and the only way I could calm down was to accept that the actions of the people were "of the time".
taine - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to taine:

these threads are great. Filled up my amazon wishlist in time for christmas!
Gordon Stainforth - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to taine:

I've just finished 'The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared' by Jonas Jonasson, that I mentioned above. In my opinion, it's a masterpiece. As I said before, I cannot remember ever having enjoyed a work of fiction so much. What's more, it never flags; in fact, the story builds and converges wonderfully towards the end. Not only is it dazzingly clever, it is relentlessly entertaining and yet not remotely shallow. I was almost crying with laughter at times towards the end, so much did I like his exceptionally dry humour. It is a wonderful, surreal satire on life, yet extremely good-natured. Warning: it needs to be read quite closely and carefully, so finely wrought are some of the plot points. If you skim-read it you will miss some of the key cross references.

Highly recommended.
Euge - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to taine: Still trying to read "Full Of Myself"... man, it's tough going!!!
jonnie3430 - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to taine:
> (In reply to taine)
>
> these threads are great. Filled up my amazon wishlist in time for christmas!

+1!

Reading world war Z atm (good.) Have Hunger Games in the pile and am interested to here that there are sequels.

Really interested in the Montalban books as I am a huge fan of Camilleri and I'll be interested to see what they do to my cooking.
Nath93 - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to taine: The Catcher in The Rye, can't seem to find the motivation to properly read and finish it though !
Minneconjou Sioux - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to Nath93:
> (In reply to taine) The Catcher in The Rye, can't seem to find the motivation to properly read and finish it though !

That's cos its bollox ;-)

Seriously, though, I found it very underwhelming. Perhaps you need to be a teenager?
walking_disaster on 27 Nov 2012 - host109-152-180-149.range109-152.btcentralplus.com
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:
> (In reply to Nath93)
> [...]
>
> That's cos its bollox ;-)
>
> Seriously, though, I found it very underwhelming. Perhaps you need to be a teenager?

I loved it!

I wasn't a teenager when I read it (just) but I guess I was in the right frame of mind to read it.
Trangia - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to Trangia:

Now finished the trilogy (see my above post) and really recommend them to anyone looking for a unique and imaginative read.

Just started the "Hundred Year Old Man"
Nath93 - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux: Well me being 19 (not 20 until next year) should help me out there. I'll get round to reading it eventually !
Siward on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to taine: just started Narcopolis, by Jeet Thayil. It looks promising. Shantaram fans might like it I think...
Bruce Hooker - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to Nath93:

> I'll get round to reading it eventually !

We had it at school for O level, I wouldn't bother if I were you :-)

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