28 thoughts on “Weekend Question Thread

  1. Oh come on atheanae, Trinity (great though it is) ends with the narrator’s voice continuing to narrate for a chapter or two after he dies. As for helperin, I refuse to read anything by that jingo. But then I’m not much for twentieth century lit anyways. My favorites, though I don’t re-read them much, are Proust, Moby Dick, and Vanity Fair. My current reads? much lower in standard but very enjoyable: Lois Bujold, Wen Spencer, S.M. Stirling and, thanks to commenter Hogan, Jo Walton. What’s on my bedside is a big book on the history of maps, the geography of nowhere, and a few dozen other things.

  2. hard. i REALLY like pride and predjudice. the decameron was so good i got different copies. but also love Fancies and Goodnights by john collier. jane erye needed an editor.

  3. I read Winter’s Tale years ago and I would have to say it is one of my all time favorite book. Read the Amazon reviews for a sense of what the book is about.
    Some other favorites are “The Quincunx” by Charles Palliser (almost like a Dicken’s tale) “An Instance Instance of the Fingerpost” (a novel of the British Civiil War from 3 points of view) by Ian Pears, and maybe my all time favorite “”Doomsday Book” (a time travel story featuring the 14th century Black Plague in England and a contemporary plague) by Connie Willis.
    For a long time I thought Mark Helperin was the same guy who writes for Time. Thank goodness that’s Mark Halperin.

  4. I have a hard time picking favorites. I do like A Winter’s Tale (though not the author’s politics), but I’m also fond of To Say Nothing of the Dog and Good Omens. Also Snow Crash and Diamond Age. Ooh, Killing Mr. Watson is very good.
    For non-fiction, there’s Endurance, Bicycling Science, and Waves and Beaches.
    For throwaway reading, almost anything by Carl Hiaasen.

  5. Great Plains, Ian Frazier (non-fiction)
    Ragtime, E.L. Doctorow (fiction)
    Cars and Trucks and Things That Go, Richard Scarry (kids)

  6. Vikram Seth’s “A Suitable Boy”. Almost as long as “War and Peace”, but it reads quite well and is full of memorable characters living in India in the 50’s.
    “Southern Fried Divorce” by Jane Conner. Whenever I need a good laugh, I pick this one up. I will never think of Thanksgiving in the same way again after reading of the Pissed Off Turkey recipe.
    Nonfiction stuff: Melissa Fay Greene’s “The Temple Bombing” and “Praying For Sheetrock”. Good, good reads there. She’s a great writer.

  7. ‘Blood Meridian’ Cormac McCarthy
    Powerful imagery and scary violent, some people have to take two weeks to read it, but finish it they do. As for me, I was entranced from the 1st paragraph.

  8. ‘Sea Crow Island’ – Astrid Lindgren. Wonderful children’s book. If I thought longer I’d think of others, but that’s nice one.

  9. also liked George catlins notes and letter from the west(title? close i think). i hated for that book to end. the “good” war by studs terkel.

  10. “How Tom beat Captain Najork and his Hired Sportsmen” by Russell Hoban. Best kids’ book ever.

  11. Dreadnaught by Robert K. Massie. Besides explaining WWI, it also answers the question of ow France and England went from mortal enemies over many centuries to key allies.

  12. How cool to see other Connie Willis fans here! Doomsday Book is a long-standing favorite of mine, though I think her Lincoln’s Dreams may still top it for me (I’m a big Civil War buff).
    One favorite is impossible for me. I still reread Lord of the Rings every year, so that has to be on any list of mine. I also reread the Hornblower books often. The rereading thing is generally a sign of my favor. I’m also a huge Jane Austen fan, with Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion at the top of my list.
    I tried reading Helperin’s Winter’s Tale once, and struggled to get into it. I may try it again, because it’s been recommended to me so many times by so many people whose opinions I trust.

  13. I second To Say Nothing of the Dog (Connie Willis) and Good Omens (Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett). I also enjoy “interior novels” where nothing much really happens (Barbara Pym, Angela Thirkell), just to visit with the characters. But I could read nothing but Terry Pratchett all my life, and be satisfied.

  14. I find I’m almost compelled to reread Stephen King’sFrom a Buick 8 from time to time; it takes place in a fictional town in western Pennsylvania called Statler, which is almost certainly based on the town of Butler. Up until a few years ago, I spent two and a half weeks every summer in Butler. The descriptions of the landcape are so evocative for me, I can smell the summer-night fog.
    I also really likeAn Edge In My Voice by Harlan Ellison, which is a collection of columns he wrote in the early 1980s (it’s amazing how many of the political figures he singles out are still doing their dirty deeds dirt cheap) and Edwin Black’sIBM and the Holocaust.

  15. “The Story of a Bad Boy” by Thomas Bailey Aldrich. Nothing, including the Our Gang comedies, informed the childhood of me and my friends more. When I later found out Aldrich was a bit of a religious bigot, it saddened me, but didn’t lessen the my love of that book, a well-thumbed hardbound copy of which is still in my bookcase.

  16. Too many to narrow it down…
    Music: “Temperament” by Stuart Isacoff or “The History of Jazz” by Ted Gioia
    Poetry/Drama: “Brother To Dragons” by Robert Penn Warren
    Non-fiction: “Kingdom of Matthias” by Sean Wilentz or “Nature’s Metropolis” by William Cronon
    Food: “Southern Food” by John Egerton
    Science: “The Dragons of Eden” by Carl Sagan or “Krakatoa” and “Crack at the Edge of the World” by Simon Winchester
    I guess… if I was told that I /had/ to pick one… it’d be the Warren. The older version. It’s one of the most wonderful books. There’s beautiful prose and a great story. I recommend it often.

  17. “Favorite” is so hard… I love Vonnegut, Tom Robbins, Hunter S. Thompson … so much of their stuff has been loaned from my bookshelf.
    Of the books on my shelf, I would say that in my life I have re-read “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” more than any other novel. And I have chewed Raymond Carver stories over more than most sane individuals should.
    I don’t really feel drawn to any fiction right now, haven’t for quite a while. So, obviously my favorite book isIt Doesn’t End With Us. đŸ™‚

  18. Anything by Terry Pratchett, but especially “Guards! Guards!” with its dog Latin Dirty Harry motto for the cops (“Fabricati diem, pvnc”) and of course the introduction of Sam Vimes. What a wonderful, underrated writer; I see “Good Omens” made the comments too. Also someone mentioned Lois McMaster Bujold; I second that. And I read a couple of Austins every year, always Pride and Prejudice and usually Persuasion. I’ll be trying a couple of the books mentioned here.

  19. Not to worry Rene, I left Harlan Ellison off my list as well (h/t Interrobang). I used to try and figure out which 10 books and albums I’d take if those were my limits. But as I’ve gotten older I realize that I’ll always have a house filled with bookcases and drawers and my music and literary collection can run wild. The best thing about reading is the vast collection available to satiate the mind’s appetite; the same with music. I try to bring a new genre into my music library every other year. This year has been Cajun and Zydeco in preparation for moving into the heart of Acadiana.

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