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i have to say, i LOVED "sarah". i haven't read anything else, but i think all the mystery and controversy is stupid. "sarah" was a great story, though.
Since sumbitting my dissertation I haven't had much concentration for reading and I'm plodding my way through A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (an easy and okay read). I do, however, plan on making a start on all of the pleasure reading I've been craving for so long so first up are BUSTie faves (and longterm "to reads") Middlesex and The Eyre Affair. Question is: which should I read first? I'm hoping to have one read before midweek but, if not, 7 hours of train journey reading this weekend and will take both.

As an aside, I have a mental block when it comes to Middlesex being written by same writer as The Virgin Suicides, I love the latter so hoping there are similar traits.
i can't even tell you how much that book moved me. i still think about it regularly and i read it over two months ago. although that doesn't mean much because i still think about books like the BFG and rebecca and i read those ages ago. some books you never shake off. ever. be warned about GOD OF SMALL THINGS it WILL stick with you.
maybe I need to rethink my next reads unsure.gif .

mamachi, I felt the same way about A Fine Balance, it's still with me and I think I read it about a year and a half ago. I felt an emptiness when I finished reading it, I felt the same way with Fall on your Knees.
ok, I'm trying again: please help me with what I should read first, Middlesex or The Eyre Affair?
The Eyre Affair!

Though it really depends what you want – Middlesex is long and deep, many here seem to find it inspiring though for me it was just good; The Eyre Affair is quick, fluffy and delightfully full of literary hilarity, with several equally funny and even more allusion-heavy sequels to follow if you enjoy it.
ooh bunny, you get to read again now!

i haven't read the eyre affair, but i did enjoy middlesex. i haven't read the virgin suicides so i don't know the similarities, but middlesex is a very involved story spanning several generations of the same family much the way (gah, sorry) fall on your knees--or, so i won't continue referencing the same books, one hundred years of solitude--does. but completely different subject matter. i liked it quite a lot; i didn't LOVE it, though it had some really excellent moments.
I think The Eyre Affair is first (good review maryjo!) I had hoped to have it started by now but my concentration sucks so Friday on the train is probably when I'm going to start it; looking forward to it. Middlesex is definitely one for the near future, as is The Way the Crow Flies.
Coming in here to say I wish I could read Middlesex again for the first time. Bunny, I insist that you bump it to the top of your list.
anna k
Middlesex was a great book. Very long and involving but a great epic.

I'm reading Karinne Steffans' Confessions of a Video Vixen. It's been taken out of the library a lot, so I was lucky to find a free copy there.
Wow, after reading your comments, I really must grab a copy of Middlesex - been meaning to for ages. Also, I agree about the lingering effect of God of Small Things - the oeuvre of the book has stayed with me but even my memories of the time and place when I read it seem completely infused by the novel's setting, themes and characters.

I am currently into The Secret River by Kate Grenville. It was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Very good so far. I recommend it.

Just finished A Clockwork Orange which was very interesting and worth a go.
I read The Eyre Affair and it was lots of fun; not as erudite as I expected but a very engrossing and enjoyable read. I've started to read Lost in a Good Book but, as yet, not lost in it.

I finally finished A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian and it was an okay read, it passed the time.

In the last week I've read Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother", Dai Sijie's Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress and Alessandro Baricco's Without Blood and Silk. It astounds me how poetic, beautiful and concise translated texts can be, as if they were written in that language to begin with. GGM was wonderful as always and I have a few more of his work on my pile to read, Sijie was a wonderful read about the power of literature and the Cultural Revolution (and re-education), Baricco has an unconventional style and his work possesses a haunting resonance. They were both very atmospheric and poetical.

I am now reading Neil Gaiman's American Gods.

anna k
I really love The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas. It's a brilliant book about a woman who is obsessed with an obscure novel that it rumored to be cursed. The lead character is funny and sharp and brilliant, and she comes between different worlds, like a cross between a A Wrinkle In Time and The Neverending Story. I love this book so much, it's the best I've read in a long time.
bunnyb, I loved, LOVED american gods.
emtee, the girl who served me in the book shop gushed about it, said I would love it and admitted to it being the only book where she had a crush on the protagonist.
I'm reading a hilarious book called Yes Man by Danny Wallace, who is a British comic, about a period of time when he decided he was cutting himself off from too many experiences and started saying "Yes" to everything - yes to sugar in his tea even though he didn't drink it that way, yes to panhandlers and solicitations on the street, yes to invitations to gatherings of UFO nuts, yes to Nigerian email scams... even yes to the guy who asked 1) if he was looking at his girlfriend and 2) if he wanted a punch in the face. So far it's a lot of fun. He apparently spent several months saying yes and ended up in all sorts of wild situations, traveling around the world, etc.
American Gods is brilliant, bun. Brilliant.

Danny Wallace is pretty funny on tv - I've read Are You Dave Gorman? which he helped write... hmmm. *adds to the list*

the penguin epic books seem to be pretty good. I've just devoured Beowulf.
evidently i chose the wrong novel to break my gaiman cherry ... i couldn't get into Anansi Boys at all.

i'm currently re-reading the witching hour, and not loving it this time around. i want another middlesex or kavalier & clay ... something to take hold of my heart and not let me go. le sigh.
Oh, Mandi, start the Gaiman-fest with Neverwhere. It's a quick read and lots of fun. American Gods requires a little more commitment but is also a really good time.
I'm really enjoying American Gods. Has anyone read Stardust by Gaiman? Fairy tales are kinda my field and I'm interested in anything remotely mirroring or subverting the genre.
I was just given Middlesex to read this weekend...after reading your comments, i think i'll bump it to the top of the list.

Mandolyn, two books that captured my heart in the past year were The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende and The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Have you read either?
I've been lurking in this thread b/c I love to read & I love to see what people are reading. I loved Middlesex - such a great juicy read! I was not captivated by the Eyre Affair but definitely admired its imagination.

I just finished reading The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I love Gothic literature like the Brontes and Rebecca etc & this book definitely captured that tone and atmosphere. I highly recommend.

and I have a blog about reading at if anybody is interested
mandolyn -- have you read the history of love by nicole krauss? it's little, but it grabs, for sure...
mandolyn - have you read heir to the glimmering world by cynthia ozick? if you liked middlesex & kavalier & clay you might like it. i picked it up after hearing an interview with the author on NPR and got intrigued.
bunny - yes, I loved Stardust. You might want to try his Sandman comics too, they use a lot of myth and fairytales (and shakespear; his version of a midsummer night's dream is fantastic)

mando - Neverwhere or Coraline are better to start on the gaiman. Other than that - The Magician's Guild by Trudi Canavan had me hooked, The Time-Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is brilliant, as is the historian, by Elisabeth Kostova.

Anyone read Philip K. Dick's The Man In High Castle? It was good, but brilliant as I expected. It didn't seem to go anywhere at the end. Maybe that was the point, though. Hmm.

mornington, luckily the boy is working his way through the sandman so I get to borrow his (must do that when down next!) I think I may begin a Gaiman marathon.

The Man in the High Castle is a book I've had for ages but never got around to reading; the premise is definitely something that interests me, you may want to check out The Child Garden (Geoff Ryman?) as along same lines, I think.

mando, Fall on your Knees by Ann Marie MacDonald! It was fabulous and mouse likened it to Middlesex, I even have an extra copy that I'll post to you!
loved the time traveler's wife! even though it was almost unbearably sad at times...
I love the Sandman and the illustrated Stardust; I've never read any of Gaiman's books without pictures, I always mean to, but I'm afraid they won't be as good somehow.

Time Traveler's Wife is wonderful.

Child Garden is indeed by Ryman, bunny. I haven't read it or Man in the High Castle, though both of those are rather shameful admissions; I've read multiple academic articles about both. smile.gif

Oh, and to Mando – I still recommend Jackie Kay's Trumpet. And Sarah Waters's The Night Watch. Both are heartbreakingly bittersweet and life-affirming, and both are magnificent pieces of writing that wouldn't let me put them down.
lovin' all the groovy suggestions - as always, much appreciated!

i've got my list. and hope to hit up the bookstore later. i can't even wait for amazon.

i too loved the time traveler's wife. i have high hopes for jeremy leven's screenplay, since he wrote the screenplays for creator and the notebook - two very well-done tearjerkers. i just pray they cast it right.
anna k
Just finished The End of Mr. Y. Great book, though I was disappointed by the ending. But it was 400 pages, it had to end somewhow.
I was putting off reading Middlesex even though it has been reccomended to me several times. Since I found Virgin Suicides, though a good story, a bit painful to read. But I think I'll give it a chance since you ladies have given it so much praise.
maryjo, they're just as brilliant. Have you watched (yes, I know this is the book thread) mirrormask? the animator/director was the man who did a lot of the sandman artwork, and the script was written by gaiman. it's just visually stunning.

mando mando what'dya get?

the penelopiad was fanbloodytastic and I couldn't put it down.

mornington darling, your avatar is terrifying me.....i can't take my eyes off it....
The Penelopiad is being bumped up the list.

LOVING American Gods! I can't put it down resulting in falling asleep holding it!

marjo, there are tons of books I haven't read, that I should have read. One of my tutors once asked me how I had managed to get through my entire uni career thus far without reading Ulysses and I replied that I was just lucky, I guess.
"mando mando what'dya get?"

neverwhere, the history of love and gods in alabama.
and then i reached into the bag blind & grabbed, so gods in alabama won. i only got thru the first 4 pgs - it was late and i couldn't keep my eyes open - but i fell asleep chuckling. just what the doctor ordered. smile.gif

and i've decided to stop our local newspaper, because it's the suck and i can read what i need online. and after xmas, i'm going to discontinue all my stupid catalogs. because they divert me from my true nature: A Reader.

thanks for coming to my rescue once more, reading busties!
Have you read Fall on Your Knees? 'Cause everyone should.

/impersonating mouse smile.gif.
*indignant* i only got excited because you guys had read it too!!

i can recommend other things!! harrumph!

--any carson mccullers, tennesee williams, or truman capote (i loves me some southern gothic oh my)
--robertson davies is fucking amazing
--salman rushdie (haroon and the sea of stories is beautiful, even if you're not a kid)
--morvern callar, by i forget right now and don't feel like googling it, incredibly upsetting and powerful book
--the cheese monkeys, by chip kidd (brilliant book about art school and the nature of design, while simultaneously being the most hilarious crazy story)
--banana yoshimoto's "kitchen" has been a favorite for years
--if you can find the short stories of linda sexson, you will not be disappointed
--anything by esmeralda santiago
--nabokov--everyone talks about lolita (which yes, is incredible and the first paragraph is quite possibly the most beautiful thing i've ever read aloud) but you really should read "ada or ardor"
--c.s. lewis' space trilogy
--anything by anne tyler
--tom robbins for fun reading, though sometimes he gets peculiarly misogynist...
--and the list goes on......

(bunny did you read the way the crow flies yet........?)
mouse, I'm sorry, I was just conscious of the fact that I was raving about nothing else! smile.gif I haven't read The Way the Crow Flies yet but getting there soon.

Morven Callar is by Alan Warner (aside: my friend was taught my same English teacher and has similar writing style) and These Demented Lands the follow-up is also very good but his The Sopranos is fantastic.
Mouse, I love Robertson Davies. I went thru a period after I discovered The Deptford Trilogy where I read everything of his I could find. Yum.
me too! i actually read the deptford trilogy when i was way too young for it, i think i was maybe 11 or 12 and it was just lying around the house and i was a pretty voracious reader--mostly i just remember encountering the word "fellatio" and being like "uhhh....".

i re-read it a few times since then and i guess about four years or so ago i went through a devouring-everything-i-could-find phase. i even read his ghost stories.

something about his female characters, though.....i'd have to re-read them to put my finger on it again. he makes the really powerful ones hideously ugly, and the pretty ones are stupid--except for maria theotoky, but he won't shut up about her being gorgeous AND smart. and she's awfully "pure".....carrying water in a seive like the vestal virgins, ha!
A few of my recent faves (some already noted by other Busties):

Middlesex - Although the gender 'issue' and acceptance of self, as a primary theme, was a fascinating and intriguing story, what appealed to me most was the family epic - history, survival, love in its varius forms - I loved this book.
The History of Love - I love generational connections, anticipation of love eternal and a great 'linking' story.
The Life of Pi - this book really surprised me. I had not read anything like it before (perhaps a sheltered literary life!) - highly recommended.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time - written from the point of view of a young boy with Asperger's syndrome. An easy, but slightly uncomfortable read. My 13 yr old daughter also loved it.

Some old favourites:

To Kill a Mockingbird - my favourite book ever!
Wuthering Heights - well, I am a girl.
Junky by Burroughs
Anything by Annie Proulx
The Reader and Flights of Love by Bernhard Schlink
Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Bukowski
The Bride Stripped Bare (Anonymous)
*sticks tongue out at mouse* that's me at my best there

I loved Nabakov's Pale Fire. And Salman Rushdie is brilliant once you get into what he's written.

yay mando!

there are many books I should have read that I haven't. I have never read any Dickens, for example...
I got some cool stuff from this site:
American Gods rocked and was a better roadtrip then Kerouac.
Right now I'm reading What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt. It's...expansive, not my usual style, but I love it.
i devoured gods in alabama. felt good to devour a book, after such a long sad dry spell. it was fast-paced and humorous, if a little far-fetched in places. now i want to read between, georgia. i do loves me some southern-fried novels!

i'm a few pages into the history of love. lovely rich language, and i can already tell the story's gonna break my heart ... but it's a little depressing. not sure i need to read a depressing book right now.
Devouring books is a joy and it's lovely being able to do so. I loved American Gods for that reason; I'm now reading Joyce Carol Oates' We Were the Mulvaneys.

mando, The History of Love is beautiful but it IS depressing, very much so. I agree, maybe some heartbreak is not what you need just now. Read the Gaiman?
yes. right. gaiman it is. thanks, bunnyboo. *smooch*
Catching up...

I just finished Shena MacKay's Dunedin which was weird but compulsive.

I really liked Sarah Waters' The Night Watch too. Great stories beautifully intertwined. I think it may be up for the Booker this year.

I'm sorry, I loathed The Time-Traveller's Wife. I kept waiting for something to happen and, rarely for me, I disliked both protagonists. And it's not that I don't like the soppy, because generally I do.

Bunnyb, I am appalled to say I haven't read Ulysses either (and this despite undergrad emphasis on it...) Apparently most people in Dublin haven't either though!
syb, The Night Watch was up for the Booker but Waters was robbed yet again, this time by Kiran Desai (daughter of Anita).

Ulysses is undoubtedly one of the most over-hyped books. Saying that, it would be on my desert island list, as would Finnegan's Wake (I do want to read this). I have read parts of Ulysses but never in full and A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man was boring, dense and unentertaining. Not that all great works of literature have to be entertaining -obviously not- but it helps to make them my greatest literary reads.

Misleading chapter titles irk me; one would assume that when a chapter is entitled "Revelations" that it consists of them.

I've just managed to buy a copy of edited horror stories because it includes a copy of the story "The Love Letter" by Jack Finney; I'm hoping it arrives in time for Hallowe'en so I can curl up and read it.
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