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StevenHB's picture

What are you reading currently?  I'm going away between Christmas and New Year's and need to bring something with me.   The last two books that I read were Rashi's Daughters: Joheved and Julie and Julia.

Rashi's Daughters is a fictional account of the lives of the daughters of one of the most respected Talmudic commentators.  Anyway, this book focuses on the life of his eldest daughter, whom the author, Maggie Anton, calls Joheved.  It's an interesting mix of Talmudic debate, middle-ages historical fiction, and coming of age story.  Enjoyable and recommended.

Julie and Julia is the book form of Julie Powell's blog about cooking every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1 in a year.  Powell spends a fair amount of time covering her cooking foibles but addresses many other details of her life and her friends' lives.  One reviewer complains that she spends too many words on her friends' sex lives and her endocrine problems - I found it all interesting.  Definitely recommended to this crowd.

So, now that I've shared, I'm hoping that you'll reciprocate with some suggestions for what's next.  I tend to read more non-fiction than fiction these days.

Without coffee, chocolate, and beer, in that order, life as we know it would not be possible

Edited 12/17/2006 11:13 pm ET by StevenHB

Without coffee, chocolate, and beer, in that order, life as we know it would not be possible
AJ12754's picture

(post #46712, reply #51 of 164)

I am working my way through Barchester now -- Dr. Thorne awaits.  I am also a huge fan of Eliot which is amazing for me because generally I hate novels that do dialect but I simply loved Adam Bede.

"Truth is the engine of our judicial system." Patrick Fitzgerald

Cave obdurationem cordis

Marcia's picture

(post #46712, reply #69 of 164)

Ooooh, another Trollope junkie - how wonderful. Is The Small House at Allington the one with Lily, I think, who keeps turning down the proposals of a wonderful young man? It's been a while, as you can tell.

ouzo's picture

(post #46712, reply #92 of 164)

Lily is a character in this book.  It's been awhile since I read it and I forgot her name.  I had to google it.  Wow there are some hardcore Trollope fans out there. 

For me, what was memorable about this book was how important it was for the girls, who had 'no fortune and an income of 100 pounds' or so a year, to be married. When one of them finally got a guy to propose, he schemed his way to a fiancée with more fortune and income.  However, before he had the guts to make a clean break with her, someone who knew both girls and families confronted him.  Though since she was someone's elderly aunt, she was lead away as she made a very un-english upper crust fuss.  The fuss scene was just so out of character for any Trollope book I'd ever read. 

I haven't read any of these books, but heard of them once from a history prof - Angela Thirkel developed a series of books writing about the characters who are descended from Trollope characters.  Set in 1940's & 1950's Great Britain.

  No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted - Aesop, The Lion & the mouse

Marcia's picture

(post #46712, reply #95 of 164)

Thanks for the link.

One of the reasons I enjoy Trollope is learning about the social and political mores of his day. A real education is to be had, and one must remember he was writing for the middle class. It's easy to forget that since the books were written long ago.

ouzo's picture

(post #46712, reply #100 of 164)

And I think the most important thing that I have learned from reading Trollope is that I am grateful to have been born when and where I was.  

  No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted - Aesop, The Lion & the mouse

mishmish's picture

(post #46712, reply #88 of 164)

I also just read 'Suite Francaise'. Stayed up way too late a few nights to do so! So sad that she didn't get to finish it. I've been looking for some of her other books in English but so far no luck.

Ignorance is a voluntary misfortune

Don't let your mind wander. It's much to small to be out by itself.
peabee's picture

(post #46712, reply #14 of 164)

I love History...especially Medieval History, so my list of choices are:

"The Last Templar" by Raymond Khoury. It is fiction, about a raid on the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, of a rather unassuming geared device from the Vatican. The story starts in 1291, and then jumps to present day. I quite enjoyed his writing and was kept interested through out.

Next is "Knights of the Black and White" by Jack Whyte, again about the Knights Templar, and the crusades to the Holy City. It goes into detail about the Holy Grail, or Sang Real or San Greal. It is the first of a Trilogy.

I have also read "Fly Boys", I enjoyed it very much. It is by James Bradley, the recent movie was based on the book. It is about the six men on Imo Jima supporting the American Flag. I found it an easy read, non-fiction, and informative.

Presently I am back to the Knights Templar, with "Brethren" by Robyn Young. I just started it, but so good. Again about the Crusades, the Knights and the Church, not always a good mix.   

What ever you choose to read, Happy Reading!


Aberwacky's picture

(post #46712, reply #15 of 164)

My reading list won't help at all.  I've been rereading the chapters on labor and delivery in What to Expect When You're Expecting. LOL!


Cooking is messy.  Deal with it or stay out of the kitchen.

"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
StevenHB's picture

(post #46712, reply #17 of 164)

I've read all of What to Expect . . . as well as "The Places in Between" by Rory Stewart (from Wolvie).

This guy decides to walk (!) across Afganistan shortly after the fall of the Taliban.  He was clearly off-balance - and very fortunate to survive the adventure.

Without coffee, chocolate, and beer, in that order, life as we know it would not be possible

Without coffee, chocolate, and beer, in that order, life as we know it would not be possible
jaq's picture

(post #46712, reply #18 of 164)

Just finished an advance reading copy of Kim Harrison's new book, "For a Few Demons More".  She writes urban fantasy with some romance thrown in- sort of like a non-sex-obsessed Laurell K. Hamilton.  I'm big into science fiction and fantasy.  Am reading "Children of the Company" by Kage Baker, another science fiction book.  Recently finished "Roman Blood" by Steven Saylor, a Roman detective story.  I'm on  a Rome kick since I finally saw the HBO series "Rome" on DVD and LOVED it!  Recently finished "Blood Memory" by Greg Iles.  He writes above-average thrillers, and I thought this one was good, although the subject matter, repressed memories and incest, was rough. 

Next I'll try an advance reader of "The Teahouse Fire".  It's getting some buzz.  It's tough to work in a book store and have to keep up on all the latest!  :)

soupereasy's picture

(post #46712, reply #16 of 164)

I too enjoy Terry Pratchett.


The Lobotomist by Jack El-Hai              

Flushed by W. Hodding Carter

Miracles on the water by Tom Negorsk

Madam Tussaud: A Life in Wax by Kate Barrage 

Fiction: I tend to like murder mysteries. Authors include Cody McFadyen, Ian Rankin, Phillip Margolin, Minette Walters and Sandra Brown.                                                                          

jaq's picture

(post #46712, reply #19 of 164)

I thought "Julie and Julia" was okay, but I thought the author could be kind of manic and annoying at times.  I guess that's what you get when you turn a blog into a book.  But I did respect her efforts, since making aspic by boiling calves hooves is something I'll probably never try!

meowow's picture

(post #46712, reply #27 of 164)

Exactly my thoughts on Julie of the Julie/Julia book. I was impressed by her taking on such a challenge, and considering not only the meat, but the offal she was forced to find, I would never have survivied. Her writing style was just a bit juvenile to me (IMO). I read Reichl right afterward and it just made her sound so, so good.

Tracy: you are right! I do appear to be out of order. i think I shall just have to order Comfort me with Apples tonight!

tagnostic's picture

(post #46712, reply #163 of 164)

Sarum, E.Rutherford, one of those fun Michneresque novels.
Hollyhocks & Radishes, Homey little cookbook,
Foucaults Pendulum, Umberto Ecco, kind of heavy historical strange
Chronicles of the Witch World, Andre' Norton, classic 60's fantasy


Believe Someone Seeking the Truth, Doubt Those That Have Found It

Edited 4/25/2009 8:32 pm by tagnostic

Believe Someone Seeking the Truth, Doubt Those That Have Found It
Quilter's picture

(post #46712, reply #22 of 164)

Currently reading Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich. Would have read it sooner, but as a library staff member, my name goes to the bottom of the wait list.    Recent reads - Lords of the North by Bernard Cornwell.  This was #3 in his series about the times of Alfred The Great of England.  #'s 1 & 2 were The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman. Great escapist reads.  Also recently read The Heartless stone by Tom Zoeliner.  Interesting read about the world's diamond trade.  Next up the new Michael Crichton - oh and the new Dick Francis, although after 6 years, I'm not too sure just what to expect.  As you can see, I tend to gravitate towards light escapist fiction.

Marcia's picture

(post #46712, reply #24 of 164)

Sometimes escape fiction is the best I can manage, so I've already the new Dick Francis, and enjoyed it. Evidently his son wrote this one, since his wife (who'd written the others) died a few years ago. If you enjoy his other books, you'll like this or so I predict.

I'm currently rereading Laurie R. King, Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series which I believe was recommend by some kind soul on CT. I love, love, love the books.

samchang's picture

(post #46712, reply #23 of 164)

One of the joys of having a 7 year old is that you can enjoy books from your past. I am currently sneaking quick reads from Berenger's copy of R. L. Stevenson's "Treasure Island." What a great book, and what a joy to read from the perspective of a young lad.

Also reading Carl Safina's "Voyage of the Turtle." Excellent as well, although it may well be entitled "Voyage of the Turtle and Sufferings of Swordfish." Lots of biological facts that are bound to amuse and stun dinner guests come this holiday season.

Also re-re-reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma" with a very critical eye. In a fit of lofty idealism, I ordered this book for my Ethical Theory class for the spring semester, and now I actually have to knuckle down and find the best way to approach the book in terms of topical importance.

wonka's picture

(post #46712, reply #33 of 164)

Some of our favourite read aloud books were: The Wizard of Oz, All 7 of the Narnia books (the 1st one The Magicians Nephew was their favourite), James and the Giant Peach (we read that one in grade 2- I had to read this aloud separate times), The Gigglers Treatment by Roddy Doyle ( this is a book about adults being punished, by being made to step in dog poo by the gigglers, for being mean to children. A mistake is made and the children must save the dad from this fate) and currently we are half way through Eragon.

Iguana's picture

(post #46712, reply #89 of 164)

I'm doing a bit of reading for my Topics in Biology for Non-majors course: The GMO Handbook and The Frankenfood Myth, plus Risk by John Adams. As a reward after all that, I scored Heat by Bill Buford from the library!

Edited to add: I'm looking forward to Clara reading older books. We just have gotten into Beatrix Potter. So, I'm also reading Tom Kitten and Peter Rabbit many, many times.

Edited 12/19/2006 9:05 pm ET by Iguana

samchang's picture

(post #46712, reply #90 of 164)

Buford's "Heat" is required reading for Cursing Like a Chef 101.

Iguana's picture

(post #46712, reply #94 of 164)

>Buford's "Heat" is required reading for Cursing Like a Chef 101.

Heh heh!! I'll run that course by my boss-- I bet it would get great enrollment.

Ballottine's picture

(post #46712, reply #31 of 164)

Any Thomas Pynchon readers?  Is anybody reading his latest book: "Against the day?"  Bal


So much to cook; so little time.


So much to cook; so little time.

AJ12754's picture

(post #46712, reply #32 of 164)

I can't read Pynchon...I don't know why -- I seem to have a mental block against him and Philip Roth (except very very early Roth).  And Saul Bellow.  God knows I have tried.

"Truth is the engine of our judicial system." Patrick Fitzgerald

Cave obdurationem cordis

Ballottine's picture

(post #46712, reply #36 of 164)

Surely you read V and Crying out...  I read those when they first came out  and loved them . Rainbow...  was much harder for me, and I am wondering if I can deal wth his last book, hense my question.  Bal


So much to cook; so little time.


So much to cook; so little time.

AJ12754's picture

(post #46712, reply #37 of 164)

Hanging my head -- no ... no Pynchon at all.  I wish I could give you a reason.  I take it you are telling me that this is virtually an unforgivable lacuna in my reading.

Maybe it is just because my favorite writers are all old and dead that I haven't given him much of a chance. 

"Truth is the engine of our judicial system." Patrick Fitzgerald

Cave obdurationem cordis

Ballottine's picture

(post #46712, reply #38 of 164)

I hate to tell you this, and I hope he neversees what I say, but to me he is  among the old and the dead. LOL.  I think he is a very good writer, but, at least to me, his every word requires thought and attention and his books are getting thicker and thicker.  LOL. bal


So much to cook; so little time.


So much to cook; so little time.

AJ12754's picture

(post #46712, reply #39 of 164)

Thicker is not a problem for me; two of my favorite writers are George Eliot and  Trollope -- but I love (as Somerset Maugham would say) lucidity and clarity.

"Truth is the engine of our judicial system." Patrick Fitzgerald

Cave obdurationem cordis

Marcia's picture

(post #46712, reply #67 of 164)

Did I know you like old dead writers? I love Elliot (well, some of Elliot) and lots of Trollope and Maugham's short stories. Not crazy about his novels.

Speaking of Trollope, have you read "The Claverings"? Very fine study of English life of more than one class, and terribly funny in spots. There was a biography of Trollop's mother out sometime in the last year. I meant to look into it, but forgot.

Is the biography of Maugham you've ordered a new one? I'm not sure I remember reading about it.

AJ12754's picture

(post #46712, reply #70 of 164)

Maugham's novels are not so great other than Of Human Bondage and maybe Cakes and Ale.

But I love his short stories (especially The Kite and Force of Circumstance among others) and his autobiographical stuff like The Summing Up -- he is not confessional at all in the latter, he is more like a very urbane conversationalist sitiing down with you for a drink. The Maugham bio is several years old (maybe 4-5 years) and not very good other than giving a sense of where Maugham was and what he was doing when this or that story or book was written.  It is written by someone who appears to have little appreciation for Maugham's work or his character -- but it is pretty much all that's available on the subject.  For example, he'll say things like WSM is waspish or domineering but then there will be an incident or a contemporary description of him a few pages before or after than shows just the opposite to be the case.  Maugham appears to have been quite a kind and compassionate person with excellent if somewhat formal good manners.

The author seems also to have a somewhat prurient interest in the mechanics of homesexual sex that is both unnecessary and distasteful.

I became interested in learning more about Maugham after reading Christopher Hitchens' really unconscionable hatchet job on him in the Atlantic Monthly a few years back.

Oops -- almost forgot -- have not read The Claverings but will put it on the ever growing list "to be read". :-)

"Truth is the engine of our judicial system." Patrick Fitzgerald

Edited 12/19/2006 10:32 am ET by aj12754

Cave obdurationem cordis

shywoodlandcreature's picture

(post #46712, reply #40 of 164)

I can't read Pynchon either. I also can't read Doris Lessing, though I know she is very, very good, and most of my serious-reader women friends swear I'd love her if I just gave her a chance. Ah well...there are already too many writers and too many books that I do want to read that I see no reason why I should fight a book just to say I've read it.

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."
George Orwell, 1984