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Thread: What's the last book you read?

  1. #2386
    Princess Sparklefists Sansa Spark's Avatar
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    Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique, a multi-generational family saga set in what becomes the US Virgin Islands, centered in St. Thomas. Yanique explores love, beauty, and colonization. There are passages that would stand next to Toni Morrison's best, and some shaky bits too. Overall, really beautiful and thought-provoking.

  2. #2387
    And in the evening it's. . . Andrea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kari View Post
    The Devil of Nanking by Mo Hayder

    A well written, gripping and SUPREMELY FUCKED UP thriller. It was very very very disturbing. Not exactly the light reading I'd been hoping for, but I could not put it down.
    Thanks for this rec. It was on sale for the kindle so I downloaded it. Flew through it. Definitely a good read. Depressing as hell but ultimately redemptive.

  3. #2388
    The Vegetarian by Han Kang

    I read this disturbing little book in a day. A woman begins having strange, violent dreams; in an effort to curtail the dreams, she stops eating meat, but the obsessiveness with which she embraces the vegetarian life creates increasingly vicious conflict in her marriage and her extended family.

    The blurbs and buzz make out like it's some kind of deeply unsettling body horror story. It's not really like that at all. It's much more quiet and elegiac, and while the central character does say and do things that are bizarre and left mostly unexplained, the book reads overall more like a descent into madness/loss of self as viewed by external parties; the central character herself is never really a viewpoint character except for a few small sections in Part I. It's beautifully written and sharply observed, but there are jumps in time and switches in POV between each of the book's three parts, and for me, this really dissipated the very interesting initial tension.

    Anyway. I liked it, but the buzz had me expecting something a little more, I don't know, Lars Von Trier-esque. It was all much milder than that, while still well-written and sad and unsettling.
    "See everything as an illusion, and enjoy it even though you are not of it."
    ~Alanis Morissette, paraphrased

  4. #2389
    Let them eat cheese flan Nancy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kari View Post
    Possession by AS Byatt

    I had tried to read this book at another point and couldn't get through it, so this time I bore down and read it. While I recognize that its a staggering literary achievement (her replication of poetry from that time period is astonishing), and while I found the love story in the past to be sad and compelling, I found it a bit pretentious and lacking in emotional heft that the story really needed. I couldn't care less about fussy academics squabbling over archives, and that part of the book just went on too long. The present day love story didn't resonate for me at all, either. I am glad I read it, some parts of it are sheer brilliance, but overall I am lukewarm on it.
    You put that so well, Kari. The characters in this book are the kind I love more than anything, but it was all too pretentious for me. I like Byatt's short stories much better, because she reins herself in when she writes those.

  5. #2390
    condemned to wires and hammers ebby's Avatar
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    Currently reading Derek Jarman's autobiography "At Your Own Risk" and it's super interesting how much of it highlights issues and concerns within the lgbt community that are very much still relevant today. As well as being permeated by a sort of quiet fury and overt anger in places, that is the voice of that community during and after the worst initial years of the AIDS pandemic. It's written in 1992, and it's a time that I'm not super aware of so this insider look into the lives of gay men from the 1950's onwards in the UK is absolutely fascinating. I guess a lot of what I'd read had been either USA focused, or from the Isherwood / Auden experience of Berlin between the two world wars. (also fascinating)

    But looking at pre-decriminalisation in the UK, and the experience of the public debate and the outcome afterwards, through to what the reality of the 70's was like and into the era of AIDS and Maggie Thatcher.. it's a definitely a super interesting read so far.

  6. #2391
    worth a million in prizes .chris's Avatar
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    I just finished Life after Life and A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson. I really really loved Life after Life. A God in Ruins was a fine read, but I didn't really get into the characters. The daughter Violet was insufferable. While I get what the author was going for with the ending, I thought it could have been done better.

    I'm currently reading Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit in an effort to not be completely stuck in despair due to the times we are living in.

  7. #2392
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    ^ I read Life after Life about two years ago and loved it, and now I'm slowly gearing up to read A God in Ruins. Have you read Jo Walton's My Real Children? It's thematically a little similar to Life after Life (I think I read them one after another, or almost.)

    My most recent book was Sy Montgomery's Journey of the Pink Dolphins: An Amazon Quest, which is an account of the author's travels in the Amazon region in order to observe elusive pink dolphins. It was very interesting at times, although a bit repetitive, and overall readable (but the style was annoying).

  8. #2393
    'If you existed, I'd divorce you.' spyk_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by .chris View Post
    I just finished Life after Life and A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson. I really really loved Life after Life. A God in Ruins was a fine read, but I didn't really get into the characters. The daughter Violet was insufferable. While I get what the author was going for with the ending, I thought it could have been done better.
    That's really funny. I read God in Ruins last year and Viola was my favourite character. She's an incredibly difficult woman but her flaws make her intriguing, especially the path of damage she leaves around her.

  9. #2394
    sing to the moon dAmION's Avatar
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    I'm working my way through the Harry Potter series for the first time and the books are more interesting and well-written than I remember them when I casually browsed through one of them many years ago. They don't necessarily make me want to watch the films more but I think they are very entertaining reading.

  10. #2395
    Join The Resistance Barbarella's Avatar
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    ^ Oh my! I read that so many years ago! I've forgotten a lot of it now, but I remember really loving it at the time. Glad you liked it too!

  11. #2396
    Senior Member grapefruit_is_winning's Avatar
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    Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    She's a brilliant observer and relater of human relations, and her commentary on race and class across Nigeria, England and America is incredibly thought provoking, sad, and humorous in turns... I can't think of another book that incorporates so much observation without ever feeling like an editorial. It never breaks the spell and the forward prpopulsion of the plot had me totally absorbed from the beginning. She really has created a work of genius and significance. But I must say I was a *little* bit annoyed by the ending - it didn't feel totally true to me, whereas the entire rest of the novel felt brutally honest and real, creating an incongruity for ne. Despite this, I strongly recommend the book. 9.5/10

  12. #2397
    Princess Sparklefists Sansa Spark's Avatar
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    White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg. Explains so much.

  13. #2398
    entertaining in its outrage Volta's Avatar
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    Anyone enjoy the SOMETHING LIKE... books? Something Like Summer, etc? Gay themed.
    Miss Vanjieeee. Miss Vanjiee. ..Miss Van..

  14. #2399
    Senior Member grapefruit_is_winning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by .chris View Post
    A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson.... The daughter Violet was insufferable. While I get what the author was going for with the ending, I thought it could have been done better.
    Violet was absolutely insufferable but interestingly drawn, I thought. I mean you wanted to tie an anchor to her foot and throw in the sea, but I thought her story and evolution were very interesting to read.

    100% agree with you about the ending. In theory I like it, but it seems to fall somewhat short of what could have been.

  15. #2400
    Last night I finished The Story of the Lost Child, the fourth and final volume of the Neapolitan Quartet by Elena Ferrante.

    I just absolutely loved these books. I know that I and others in this thread have discussed some of the things that are problematic about her style--a tendency towards the clinical, a tendency to gloss/"tell" something rather than show it in-scene--but to me, it works for her and for the story she is telling, the way she is trying to tell it. I found the books compulsively readable. She manages, by using the complicated and sometimes toxic friendship between these two women as her locus and lodestone, to write a saga that is about literally everything--family, love, sex, class, history, art, knowledge, time, memory, tragedy, and friendship, friendship above all. She takes every thread that she teased out in the first book and pulls them through the whole quartet, until the defining event of the final volume unfolds with a stomach-dropping sense of awesome, terrible inevitability. These characters and their lives will stay with me a long time, and the books will always have a place on my shelf. Highly recommended.
    "See everything as an illusion, and enjoy it even though you are not of it."
    ~Alanis Morissette, paraphrased

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