What Are You Reading Today?

    • 2627 posts
    November 25, 2007 11:08 AM GMT
    At this moment I don't have a book here I haven't read. So I'm looking to find something.
    I've just finished Cross by James Patterson. Thats 2 of his I've read, good, not great but good.
    What I need to do is compile a list of authors so as not to buy books I've already read.(Hate that!!)
    Any suggestions?
    • 2068 posts
    November 25, 2007 9:52 PM GMT
    What am i reading at the moment?..........well i'm half-way through a book by Jeremy Clarkson enititled "Born to be Riled". Its his outlook on life in general & he comes out with the odd anecdote that really does make you laugh!!. For any of our US sisters who don't know who JC is, there's a programme on TV in the UK called " Top Gear" & he's a presenter on it. Not everybody's thing i know but he sure as hell makes me laugh!

    Lol xxxxxxxxxx
  • November 25, 2007 10:09 PM GMT
    I've just finished "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins, and I suppose to be fair I ought to read the response to it, "The Dawkins Delusion" by Richard Holloway. Although my sympathies are now with Dawkins.

    Before that, "The Trial" by Kafka and "Darkness at Noon" by Koestler – both depressing for libertarians, and "Heart of Darkness" by Conrad, which inspired one of my favourite poems, "The Hollow Men" by TS Eliot.

    One area that I haven't touched but would like to discover is American poetry and prose by Whitman, Frost, Thoreau etc.

    I guess that's enough name-dropping for now...
  • November 25, 2007 10:26 PM GMT
    I read the God Delusion earlier this year - really enjoyed it and thought it made a lot of sense... the only thing about it is that Dawkins has so obviously got a chip on his shoulder it's difficult at times to get past the 'I've been picked on, and I'm getting my own back' attitude that sometimes comes across in his writings.

    Not that I disagree with his points at all though.

    • 871 posts
    November 26, 2007 3:24 PM GMT
    i read this book called 'tall poppies'. it is about 2 girls leading different lives. 1 girl uses her skills to become a business magnate the other girl becomes a world class skier on the mountains. The best bit for me was when she had a liaison with a certain gentleman on the mountainside! swoon! lol
    • 15 posts
    November 26, 2007 7:03 PM GMT
    I just finished a marvelous brief biography, Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson. He is a US native who lives in the UK, and his writing style is engaging and easy going. Now I'm reading a mystery called The Bad Quarto, which coincidentally involves a production of Hamlet at one of the Cambridge colleges. The heroine, Imogen Quy, is the college nurse and an amateur sleuth. By Jill Paton Walsh, it is a fun read. Nice evocations of the beauty of the area, which I have never seen.

  • November 26, 2007 7:55 PM GMT
    Hi Abigail,
    I've recently finished the Bryson Shakespeare book as well - I enjoyed it. beyond visiting Stratford and seeing quite a few of the plays I've never really known too much about the man himself and the background of England at that time. It proved an interesting read, down to earth especially when set against some of the more elaborate Shakespeare theories around.
    • 2627 posts
    November 29, 2007 3:20 PM GMT
    Sounds like I'll have to give that one a try. If there wrote well I find them awsome. A lot of my old friends wouldn't evan think about reading things like that. I love it if told right.

    Sorry to take so long to get back to this but have been working long hrs.
    • 2573 posts
    November 30, 2007 5:55 PM GMT
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
    • 448 posts
    November 30, 2007 6:37 PM GMT
    I read mostly history, which I know is not every ones cup of tea. I tend to have 3 or 4 books going at any one time. I have just finished The Bold Fenian Men by Robert Key, part two of a trilogy about the struggle for Irish independence; and I am still reading Shelby Foote's epic history of the American Civil War. This combines quite nicely with C.V Wedgwood's, The King's War. However, I wouldn't recommend any of these unless you're interested already. I sort of consider this to be work really. Just for pleasure I like to read the Romantic Poets, Shakespeare, Dickens and The King James Bible. You can dip in and out and just appreciate the beauty of the writing. It's inspiring really. I write myself and it is always a timely reminder to me that I can't. However, it inspires me to do so. A strange paradox that. If I was to recommend any one book it would be A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov, it means something to me anyway.
    • 2627 posts
    November 30, 2007 6:39 PM GMT
    Re-reading or did you wait untill all the books were out.
    I've started books a number of times only to have to wait upto a year to find out how the story ends.
    I started a D. Koontz story, read the first 2. There's not evan a release date for the last one. Had I knowen I never would have read them yet.

    As long as you injoy them thats all that matters.
    Would you recommend to someone that does have an intrest in that subject?
    • 448 posts
    November 30, 2007 7:02 PM GMT
    I would recommend that everyone read history. If you read them and you want to find out more then it has worked for you. History cannot be read and understood in isolation, it is a living, breathing thing. To really understand it you have to know what came before and what has transpired since. If you want a rollicking good read then I wouldn't recommend them. If you want to know how people who share so much in common can tear themselves apart almost to the point of mutual destruction. If you want to know why it happens, how to prevent it in the future, be able to recognise the same mistakes being repeated again and again, and understand how these events still impact upon us now - then I would.
    • 2017 posts
    November 30, 2007 9:21 PM GMT
    Interesting point Porscha, I have a thing for WWII history and have been buying up books on the subject in German in order to get a different perspective. It's nice to see both sides of the coin.

    • 2627 posts
    November 30, 2007 9:36 PM GMT
    I do like history but I want to know about the people. How they lived & felt more of the everyday stuff.
    We all learn about the wars. But what did the average person do at night, what was everyday life like for them.
    • 448 posts
    November 30, 2007 10:08 PM GMT
    Every society is founded upon a consensus of opinion as to its own existence. It's history will reflect the prevailing consensus of opinion. Which is why even now many States cannot accept well documented events that undermine there understanding of themselves. So you are quite right Nikki, to seek an alternative view. I hope you don't mind if I recommend some books: William L Shirer's, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich; AJP Taylor's, Origins of the Second World War ( still the best and most controversial book on the subject) Alan Bullock's, Hitler and Stalin; and the Dark Valley by Piers Brendon. Obviously if you were to study the subject in depth you would have to look at Mein Kampf. Dennis Mack Smith is very good on Mussolini. Martin Gilbert's, History of WW2 stresses the murderous aspect of the war; Max Hastings has just published a very good book on the Pacific War. There is also a very good book on the complicity of the German people in the Holocaust, unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the author. Of course, you may already have read these. I hope you don't mind me suggesting books for you. I don't mean to presume. Every historian brings his own perspective to his work so scepticism is always healthy.
    • 2068 posts
    November 30, 2007 10:29 PM GMT
    Funny you should say that porscha, because at the moment i've started a really fascinating book all about the Napoleonic wars & leading up to the battle of Waterloo on June 18th, 1815. Its a period of history thats always fascinated me & its all down to reading the " Sharpe" books by Bernard Cornwell. I have always wanted to read about what ACTUALLY happened during that period and how the war affected the men in the ranks.

    Lol xxxxxxxxx
    • 2017 posts
    November 30, 2007 10:45 PM GMT
    Thankyou for the recommendations Porscha, I have read a couple of those already, and they are among the best of their subject. Unfortunately I couldn't read Mein Kampf, it just got too much, it's a big book! Not to mention quite ficticious but interesting because of that.

    I have also just picked up a couple of books on the age of Antartic exploration, (another of my interests), one of Shackletons Endurance journey and another about Douglas Mawson. Very interesting.

    • 448 posts
    November 30, 2007 10:57 PM GMT
    Waterloo is fascinating Anna-Marie, because it is one of those rare occassions when world history was changed in a single day. Though it is considered a British victory it should be remembered that 2/3 of Wellington's troops were ( largely unreliable ) Dutch and Belgian. Also without the timely intervention of Marshall Blucher's Prussians the likelihood is Wellington would have lost. At least, that is the common view. However, the Imperial Guard were broken on British bayonets. Wellington was present, as he was at pivotal times throughout the battle. He ordered his troops to advance with the famous words, "Now Maitland, now is your time!" And the French were routed. As Wellington himself remarked, however, "It was a damned close run thing." There is a great deal of written correspondence from the time. It tends to be from the officer class and there is much less from the rank and file. This is unfortunately the case throughout history.
    • 2017 posts
    November 30, 2007 11:44 PM GMT
    My old regiment was at Waterloo, (not with me in it I must add), and on seeing them Wellington was said to remark, "I don't know about the enemy, but by God they scare me!"

    • 2463 posts
    December 1, 2007 12:07 AM GMT
    Just to chime in about what you said regarding history books, Karen, there are plenty of social history works out there that talk about the "ordinary people." No, they do not get written up much by the New York Times Best Seller list, but they are there. Also check journals and periodicals.

    I've talked about this book before. Read "The Sidewalk Artist." You will not regret it. It was an incredible story that actually made me cry at the end.

    • 2573 posts
    December 1, 2007 4:56 PM GMT
    First time read, Karen. I'm poor and I read them as Sundance finds them second hand, reads them and passes them on to me. Some movies are so good I like to read the book to see what was left out. RETURN OF THE JEDI is far better if you have read the book because much of the plot is in Darth Vader's head and never spoken or shared with anyone. His actions make far more sense after the book.


    For WWII in Europe I would recommend: B. H. Liddell Hart, History of the Second World War (Putnum, New York, 1971)

    Sundance and I have had some fascinating discussions of history, particularly British Medieval and Tudor. She is quite knowledgable about the social structure, the individuals in court and the day-to-day life. I contribute military, medical and psychological material. We find it very interesting to compare reported history with the psychological profiles of individuals and the social setting to see if it makes sense. Richard had no reason to kill the two princes in the tower and a number of excellent reasons not to...but the winners write history. Who benefits by this? is a question worth asking in history. Great changes often rest on relatively minor personal issues. Henry VIII took England from Roman Catholicism to British Catholicism because he had the hots for a woman. His medical issues made him unable to successfully father a male heir as well as leaving him crippled, in constant leg pain and frequent migraines, overweight and with gout....not to mention grumpy. The results were far reaching effects on Europe and the New World. This level of history is often neglected when it is taught in schools. If George III had not suffered from porfiria, would there have been an "American Revolution" (there actually never was a revolution) History is fascinating; full of the stuff of soap operas.
    • 448 posts
    December 1, 2007 6:08 PM GMT
    Absolutely fascinating, Wendy. History is not just about facts it is about understanding. The American Revolution should never have happened. People realised the absurdity of it at the time. William Pitt was particarly vehement in his opposition to the hard-liners. It really was the result of a collective Imperial arrogance. Something that can still be witnessed today, and is blind to wise counsel. Richard III is the only English Monarch who can be said to have a fan club. Did he kill the Prince's? No. The Tudor's were well aware of their illegitimacy and went to great lengths ( see Shakespeare, the great propagandist of his time ) to justify their rule. Henry VII was never comfortable with his usurpation of power. Trying to understand the motivations of people is endlessly fascinating. For all characters in history were people with the same feelings, emotions, fears, loves and hates that people have. If you want to know why Hitler and Stalin behaved as they did when in power know their background, their childhood and how they behaved when they were not in power. It is all there. We like to treat people such as these as monsters because it would be nice to think of them as separate from the rest of us. But Hitler was inconsolable with grief at his mother's death; Stalin did regularly visit his wife's grave etc. Yes, they were people to. People who did evil. Basil Liddell-Harts book on armoured warfare was translated into German by General Guderian and became the blueprint for blitzkreig.
    • 2627 posts
    December 2, 2007 12:08 AM GMT
    Wendy 9 times out of 10 I'd rather read the book than see the movie.
    But "Hannibal Rising" by Thomas Harris was a big dissapointment. Not a word different than the movie.
    That could have been so good if we knew what was going on in there heads.
    • 67 posts
    December 2, 2007 5:50 PM GMT

    um feeling intimidated as you all seem such an erudite lot !

    Want to read nemisis battle for japan 1944-5 by max hastings and london in the 19th century "a human awaful wonder of god" by jerry white have just finished reading gilda o'neils thegood old days - poverty crime and terror in victorian london - as i'm fascinated in 19th century history

    ok bad grammer i know 1944-5 is not 19th century!

    plus anything by michael connelley or janet evanovichs' stephanie plum novels...

    vikki x

  • December 2, 2007 7:44 PM GMT
    There's a ww2 book that's worth mentioning, by John Keegan - very well written and explains in detail all the fronts. He also wrote a similr book about the first world war. Both simply titled: first world war and second world war.

    I would also recommend a book by Peter Brendon called The Dark Valley, which deals with world politics from the end of the first world war to the beginning of the second. It sounds dull, but is an incedibly good read and very informative. How the world depression affected absolutely everyone (but more so the Germans, especially with all the debt from WW1, and the lost territory) and how the bitterness at the treaty of Versaille fueled such early popular support for the naionalist socialist party. Although the book doesn't just deal with Germany. It deals with all of the major players of the period and how events fueled the politics in Japan, America, Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Germany during these 20 years

    Also Both Antony Beevors World war 2 books Stalingrad and Berlin are definite must reads for anyone interested in this period. Although the Berlin book makes for a better read and it isn't necessary to read Stalingrad beforehand, it puts a lot of the later atrocities by the russians into context against the backdrop of the german atrocities at Stalingrad.

    • 448 posts
    December 2, 2007 8:04 PM GMT
    That's amazing Anne, because I have all of those. The Keegan books are very good. I recommended Gilbert's history of WW2 because it emphasises the fact that it was as much a war of genocide and murder as it was of conquest. I mentioned The Dark Valley also for the very reasons you state. You cannot truly understand WW2 without knowledge of the preceding years. It has been said, with some justification, that the Versailles Treaty made another World War inevitable; and that the global depression merely hastened its arrival.
    Vikki, You may have read it, but if you enjoy learning about the 19th century may I recommend The Victorians by A.N Wilson.
    • 67 posts
    December 2, 2007 9:36 PM GMT

    thanks for the recommendation porscha.....

    checked it out on amazon together with "pleasure and leisure in victorian england"

    so 2 books!! well have to qualify for free delivery !!!! well thats my excuse......

    vikki x