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December 16, 2003


My god, I have the Lorax on my bookshelf.

Mason & Dixon, by Thomas Pynchon (Finished it, and thus am even more pretentious than Von. :) )

Ditto Von on Moor's Last Sigh

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami... too good for words

Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha, by Roddy Doyle

Dubliners, short story collection by James Joyce. "The Dead," one of the stories, and the movie made from it by John Houston are both particular favorites.

The Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Shelby Foote's Civil War books.

The Last Lion: Alone, by William Manchester--Well told biography of Winston Churchill in the years leading to WWII.

Silverlock by John Myers Myers, Lamb by Christopher Moore and anything by Louis de Bernières; if you haven't read these books, go find them.

Other than that... crikey, you want me to pick out my favorite twenty? Urk...

von, I didn't mean what random books do you like, I meant books referred to in blogly discussions. This is a fine topic but not a resource-for-understanding topic.

Silverlock by John Myers Myers

GREAT GRAVY! Someone else has read this? I had forgotten all about it. You're right... great book. Leave to a connoisseur of the fantasy realm to bring this one out.

It also reminds me of how dear Le Guin's Earthsea Triliogy (at that time) was to me.

"GREAT GRAVY! Someone else has read this?"

Read this? Dude, the book doesn't leave my house except when it's in my personal possession. Ever.

Darconville's Cat by Alexander Theroux
The Book of Ebenezer LePage by G.B. Edwards
Any short story by Rick Moody or J.D. Salinger or John Updike or John Cheever
Most anything by Phillip K. Dick or William Gibson
Everything by Henry James, nothing by William James
Everything by David Sedaris including this month's New Yorker
The two Coleridge bios by Richard Holmes
The two Teddy bios by Edmund Morris


Most of my reading of late is whatever the girls want to be read (again...and again...and again). I haven't read anything of my own since last June...or was it May...shoot...

If you need any help on Keanu, I'd just like to let you know that I'm more than willing to lend a hand.

Sad part is we will all probably be denied the delicious irony of Tommy Lee Jones playing Rydell in a hypothetical Virtual Light movie on account of the fact that he no longer much resembles a young anything.

I'm sorry, this thread was about what again? Uhhh... well, I'm liking Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy very well so far (about a third of the way into the last book in the series, still trying to figure out what's going on here exactly, but that certainly doesn't detract from the pleasure of seeing Pullman's vibrant fantasy world-creation skills at work). Non-fiction-wise, Wes Clark's Waging Modern War is coming along slow but steady.. a few of those famous vowel shipments to Bosnia would probably help things along.


I'll post a conservative list tomorrow. If you want a progressive list, let me know - it's been a while since I've read in depth on the progressive side. If you're going to buy something conservative - start with 'The Conservative Mind" (Kirk). It follows conservative thought "from Burke to Elliot" and has excellent references to other conservative writers and thinkers.

It would be helpful to know your starting point - pre-enlightenment or post. Also, whether or not you are interested in political philosophy.

Anyone else read The Good Soldier Švejk by Jaroslav Hasek?

I read the Good Soldier Schweik many years ago, when I was really a bit too young, and disliked it for not being "funny" enough.

Reread it many years later, and, oh my.

It's good. (And, where it intersects with real history, it's also crisply accurate.)

I have a copy of _Silverlock_ around somewhere. I have to say, I found it okay, but no better. Some fun glosses on those old characters, yes. Other hand, more than a whiff of "look, Mama, how many big books I've read!"; and the protagonist barely existed as a character.

Although the line about "fun and trouble" in the New Territories did stay with me, yes.

I'm given to understand that Myers (Myers Myers?) eventually did a sequel of sorts, which was regrettable and should be avoided.

Doug M.

-- _The Great Gatsby_ is "the only complete novel of American literature"? What an... odd thing to say. I don't think I can agree; but perhaps I don't understand you here.

-- No, no. Tommy Lee Jones plays the Dixie Flatline.

-- I thought _The Moor's Last Sigh_ was depressing and (more to the point) rather self-indulgent. A good look at Portuguese-Indian society, yes. But Rushdie handled a lot of these themes better in _Midnight's Children.

-- I do love volume I of _The Last Lion_, even though (1) it suffers from Manchester's squeamishness about certain issues -- frex, he never acknowledges that Churchill's younger brother was really his half-brother -- and on several points veers dangerously close to biohageography; (2) Volume 2 was inferior; (3) Volume 3 will never happen, since Manchester had a stroke a couple of years ago that rendered him unable to write; and (4) there are about 16,000 other biographies of Churchill covering exactly the same ground.

Nevertheless, I love it, and will read it again with great good cheer.

Doug M.

This is a fine topic but not a resource-for-understanding topic.

When a request is subject to multiple interpretations, I choose to respond to the easiest one to fulfill. :)

Fiction, no particular order:

1. The "His Dark Materials" trilogy is very good indeed. I thought it was funny how a few conservative Christians got all bent out of shape on Harry Potter, when here were these truly sacreligious books.
2. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay, Michael Chabon.
3. The Brothers Karamazov--I read this in a week or so. Never would have guessed that a 900 word Russian novel would be a page turner on top of all its other benefits.
4. Aunt Julia and the Script Writer, Mario Vargas Llosa.
5. The Tin Drum, Gunther Grass. Very uneven, and the second half is much weaker than the first, but the chapter that begins "there once was a musician named Meyn" is just stunning. (and the rest is good too.)
6. Still love Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson.
7. A Star Called Henry, by Roddy Doyle.
8. Fathers and Sons, Ivan Turgenev

I like reading plays a lot, too:
1. Pentecost, David Edgar
2. Arcadia, Tom Stoppard. Plus lots of other plays by Stoppard but that's the best.
3. Copenhagen, Michael Frayn

Currently waiting to read:
1. Fortress of Solitude, Jonathan Lethem
2. The Coast of Utopia, Tom Stoppard
3. The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri

I've only recently started to like poetry (it's easiest to find time to read when you're in school.) Top 3 poems (not in order)
1. Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, Walt Whitman
2. Easter, 1916, Yeats
3. Spain, 1939, Auden


If you liked _Kavalier and Clay_, you'll probably like _Carter Beats the Devil_. Magicians in the '20s instead of comic books in the '30s, but almost as good.

Wow, Turgenev. He /is/ good.

_Snow Falling on Cedars_ seemed about 50 pages overwritten to me; too much stylistic posturing getting in the way of a (pretty good) mystery and lost-love story. But chacun a son gout.

"Arcadia'! So funny and so sad. I saw it in DC a couple of years ago, with lots of rowboats (on rails) going on and off the stage.

Um, maybe I should take these to e-mail.

Doug M.

With Doug on 'Carter Beats The Devil'. Very good read.

_The Great Gatsby_ is "the only complete novel of American literature"? What an... odd thing to say. I don't think I can agree; but perhaps I don't understand you here.

In the sense that, in The Great Gatsby you have a complete story of America's unique trait -- the possibility of reinventing oneself. No other novel that I'm aware of deals with this aspect of American individualism.

And, though I liked Midnight's Children, I'll confess to liking The Moor's Last Sigh, well, more.

I can't read Donaldson anymore. He started out borderline unreadable to begin with, but his near-obsessive overuse of the word "lugubrious" and its various forms in the Mordant's Need series just killed him for me.

I'm ashamed to say I've only read a few on the list. Of course, I'd add Neal Stephenson book or two, but that's just because I find him odd. Or to get more twisted than most: Paul Auster's New York Trilogy.

I'd add Neal Stephenson book or two, but that's just because I find him odd.

I've been meaning to read Cryptonomicon for the last year-and-a-half. (My wife raves about it.) I'll get to it eventually.

Do it now. While you're at it, read The Diamond Age and Snow Crash. Not being a book critic, all I can say is he's got the gift.

The Diamond Age gave me full-body goosebumps that only someone who's about to embark on an adventure similar to one of my recent ones can relate to. To say more would be to give it away.

Underworld-Delillo..just re read 100 Years of Solitude, clear and scary. Sometimes a Great Notion...Blood Meridian...9 Stories-Salinger..etc..etc

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