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    • downshifter
    • By downshifter 19th Mar 17, 10:44 AM
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    downshifter
    What are you reading?
    • #1
    • 19th Mar 17, 10:44 AM
    What are you reading? 19th Mar 17 at 10:44 AM
    I've decided to have a blitz of my physical books, some of which go back to my teenage years (Dostoevsky's blackest works anyone?) and re-reading them to help make my decisions I realise that many no longer speak to me any more as a 66 yr old separated woman.

    Those that I am so far keeping are the Austens, Brontes (all the sisters' works), George Eliot and Eliz Gaskell. After reading these I feel as though I have had a satisfying, healthy and energising meal - and stuff to think about!! Other classics, however, which are on the way out are Dickens (ridiculous characters!) and Hardy is teetering on the edge at the moment. Fay Weldon, who I adored in my 30s, will also go apart from her autobiog. I used to love the academic lives of David Lodge and Malcolm Bradbury but not any more, they seem pretentious now. Others are awaiting their fate.

    Of the more modern ones, I read a Kate Atkinson but felt I was wasting my time, didn't empathise with the characters at all; Girl on a Train washed over me as did The Miniaturist etc, and I get annoyed with sloppy writing and especially editing. Most of the more modern books leave me with a 'so what?...' feeling. I think at my age I feel I have seen it all, or read it all, before which obviously isn't true and a very jaded view of things! I was watching a vlog by a reader enthusing about a recent book, but although the ideas were new to her, they were old hat to me at 66.

    So what are you reading? What would you recommend for me to start filling up my bookcase again? I can read passing fancies from the library or kindle cheapies but would love to build up a selection of 'keepers' again. I'm thinking of turning my attention to autobiogs or other non-fiction a bit more. I would also like to get into more modern novelists but haven't so far found any I want to read more than one book by.

    Any thoughts? Thanks

    DS
Page 1
    • Katiehound
    • By Katiehound 19th Mar 17, 2:02 PM
    • 3,564 Posts
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    Katiehound
    • #2
    • 19th Mar 17, 2:02 PM
    • #2
    • 19th Mar 17, 2:02 PM
    Have you tried Victoria Hislop? Her novels are really atmospheric, thought provoking and capture the history of the place- and a good story.
    The ones I can think of are:
    The Island- leper colony on Spinalonga,
    The Sunrise - about the division of Cyprus & invasion of Famagusta
    The Return- Spanish civil war.

    Before you fill your shelves I'd be borrowing from the library or stocking up from a charity shop! We have one that sells 3 books for 1 so easy to pass on if you are not keen at that price.

    For a story teller I would recommend Robert Goddard but I think his early novels are the best. They are quite involved with several threads interwoven , real page turners and always many twists to the tale....... sometimes you have to read a few chapters before being gripped!
    Being polite and pleasant doesn't cost anything!

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    Thank You
    • Farway
    • By Farway 19th Mar 17, 2:30 PM
    • 5,266 Posts
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    Farway
    • #3
    • 19th Mar 17, 2:30 PM
    • #3
    • 19th Mar 17, 2:30 PM
    . I'm thinking of turning my attention to autobiogs or other non-fiction a bit more.
    Any thoughts? Thanks

    DS
    Originally posted by downshifter
    I mainly read auto or biogs these days, plus compilations that can browsed for a few minutes / hour or so

    Shoul add I am male, so my choice my not be for you, not so much touchy feely in the lies of Clarkson's compilations for instance, but it makes me chuckle

    For a biog, try Parky's one, or Alan Johnson's, both are honest IMO and not glossy puff "look at how good I am" books that has writer in the good bits but ignore their history about the bad bits

    PS tried any science fiction? Not fantasy, but the older stuff by say Isaac Asimov or Clarke?
    • Arthurian
    • By Arthurian 19th Mar 17, 2:31 PM
    • 612 Posts
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    Arthurian
    • #4
    • 19th Mar 17, 2:31 PM
    • #4
    • 19th Mar 17, 2:31 PM
    I just finished Victoria Hislop's "The Thread" about the history of Thessaloniki through the tale of a young immigrant girl. Very good.

    I also laughed out loud many times reading a book probably written for younger women, a chick lit by Sophie Kinsella called "Can You Keep A Secret?" You might learn nothing from it, but you'll raise a smile!

    I also read Julian Fellowes' latest "Belgravia" - OK if you're a Downton Abbey addict, but I found his "Past Imperfect" (debs in the sixties) and "Snobs" (middle class woman marries into the aristocracy) much better.
    • pollypenny
    • By pollypenny 19th Mar 17, 3:30 PM
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    pollypenny
    • #5
    • 19th Mar 17, 3:30 PM
    • #5
    • 19th Mar 17, 3:30 PM
    I've replaced my classic books with kindle versions as I couldn't really see the print.

    If it came to a choice between Jane Austen and Dickens, he'd win every time, as would Elizabeth Gaskell.

    Of modern authors, David Lodge is one I treasure. Both his catholic strand and academic strand are so witty. Kate Atkinson and Helen Dunmore are great, too.

    I hate Victoria Hislop, and all her ilk, with the formulaic woman of a certain age finding a family artefact and tracing its origin, the story of an ancestor and finding herself at the same time.
    Member #14 of SKI-ers club

    Words, words, they're all we have to go by!.

    (Pity they are mangled by this autocorrect!)
    • Sterlingtimes
    • By Sterlingtimes 19th Mar 17, 5:59 PM
    • 1,328 Posts
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    Sterlingtimes
    • #6
    • 19th Mar 17, 5:59 PM
    • #6
    • 19th Mar 17, 5:59 PM
    Having spent a life reading non-fiction. Now I am slowly working through classic novels with reference to The Telegraph top 100 list:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/books/what-to-read/100-novels-everyone-should-read/

    I have managed most of the top thirty. I gave up on two: Tristram Shandy and In Search of Lost Time. It will take a few years for me to complete the list.
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    • venison
    • By venison 19th Mar 17, 8:20 PM
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    venison
    • #7
    • 19th Mar 17, 8:20 PM
    • #7
    • 19th Mar 17, 8:20 PM
    I'm reading "war with Russia" by general Sherriff a recently retired NATO general, fascinating.
    #WeStandTogether
    • EdSwippet
    • By EdSwippet 19th Mar 17, 11:17 PM
    • 485 Posts
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    EdSwippet
    • #8
    • 19th Mar 17, 11:17 PM
    • #8
    • 19th Mar 17, 11:17 PM
    Having spent a life reading non-fiction. Now I am slowly working through classic novels with reference to The Telegraph top 100 list ...
    Originally posted by Sterlingtimes
    You probably already know this, but just in case... a lot of the books on this list are now out of copyright. This means you can pick them up in ebook format from sites such as Project Gutenberg, Manybooks, and Feedbooks, and all completely free of charge.

    The FBreader ebook reader in particular integrates well with the latter two sources, and works smoothly on phones and tablets. Some of these books are also available in the Kindle app, but Kindle is somewhat locked into the Amazon ecosystem, so the range of free classic books there tends to be limited.
    • EdSwippet
    • By EdSwippet 19th Mar 17, 11:30 PM
    • 485 Posts
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    EdSwippet
    • #9
    • 19th Mar 17, 11:30 PM
    • #9
    • 19th Mar 17, 11:30 PM
    Most of the more modern books leave me with a 'so what?...' feeling. I think at my age I feel I have seen it all, or read it all, before ...
    Originally posted by downshifter
    David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas stands out in my mind as a book that is constructed in a way I'd never seen before. It took me three goes before I could fully embark on it, but once started the effort was more than rewarded.

    I also have a soft spot for Iain Banks' Walking on Glass (though Banks purists apparently consider that he later did a better job with the same dynamic in The Bridge).
    Last edited by EdSwippet; 20-03-2017 at 9:46 AM. Reason: Pedantry!
    • missile
    • By missile 20th Mar 17, 5:39 AM
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    missile
    Keepers .... why? will you read them again?
    "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
    Ride hard or stay home
    • bugslet
    • By bugslet 20th Mar 17, 8:39 AM
    • 5,174 Posts
    • 25,991 Thanks
    bugslet
    Just finishing Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari - read most of it last year then put it down and only recently picked it up again. Most of it fascinating.

    Next on the list is the Complacent Class Tyler Cowan.

    Prior to Sapiens was Happy by Derren Brown, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

    Rarely read biographies, but Clarissa Dickson Wrights was brilliant.

    One I have recommended many times before and ( so far) not had anyone say they hadn't enjoyed it is Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms by Gerard Russell. It's about the Middle Easts vanishing ancient religions and it's a book I'll keep and re-read.

    Sorry I'm not much of a fiction reader!
    • downshifter
    • By downshifter 20th Mar 17, 8:51 AM
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    downshifter
    Wow - thank you all for these suggestions, will certainly follow up. I have a really good independent 'remaindered' bookshop near me where the prices are similar to many charity shops and as the books I buy have to have a long life after them, I like to both support the shop and pass the books to my mother, her chums, the library at her supported housing complex and so on.

    Yes I want some keepers which I will re-read for the rest of my life - good books will bear that. (I also live in a very old house with freezing walls, full bookshelves make fantastic insulation!!!). My mother does like Victoria Hislop and I've passed her the earlier ones (The Island I particularly enjoyed) and the great thing about her books is that they encourage me to find out more about the area and the life and times she wrote about. Just like 'The Manchester Man' made me walk through familiar Manchester with new eyes.

    Will work my way through all of your suggestions, I'm so grateful for the ideas. I might have to force myself to read science fiction but will give it a go. Who knows? Am reading Chocolat at the moment, good fun and much better than the film.

    As well as Project Gutenberg for out of copyright books, there's also Librivox which is great for old audiobooks. A strange selection but some of the readers are fantastic. I've even toyed with the idea of volunteering but couldn't compete with the best of those. I discovered Elizabeth von Arnim through Librivox.

    Thanks again for all the ideas.

    DS
    • Ilona
    • By Ilona 20th Mar 17, 1:58 PM
    • 1,819 Posts
    • 6,361 Thanks
    Ilona
    I have just finished Eric Clapton, The Autobiography. That was a bit of an eye opener, he was a very naughty boy. I love the music of that era, so I've been on youtube to see some of his videos.

    Ilona
    I love skip diving
    • Sterlingtimes
    • By Sterlingtimes 20th Mar 17, 3:36 PM
    • 1,328 Posts
    • 3,751 Thanks
    Sterlingtimes
    You probably already know this, but just in case... a lot of the books on this list are now out of copyright. This means you can pick them up in ebook format from sites such as Project Gutenberg, Manybooks, and Feedbooks, and all completely free of charge.

    The FBreader ebook reader in particular integrates well with the latter two sources, and works smoothly on phones and tablets. Some of these books are also available in the Kindle app, but Kindle is somewhat locked into the Amazon ecosystem, so the range of free classic books there tends to be limited.
    Originally posted by EdSwippet
    Thank you, this is helpful. I have done well with free or cheap classics via Amazon. I have a very large Kindle (a Kindle DX) that gives me large size text for all books. Sometimes I have been careful in the selection of the translator, so although the author's text may be out of copyright, the translator has to receive his/her royalty.
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    • spirit
    • By spirit 20th Mar 17, 8:03 PM
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    spirit
    I also like Victoria Hislop. I read The Island before I went to Crete and visited the former leper colony on the nearby island. Fascinating stuff.

    I'm also a fan of Dorothy Koomson's books. The Ice Cream girls was dramatised for tv a couple of years ago. Rose Petal Beach is good. In fact I've loved all her books so far.
    Mortgage free as of 10/02/2015. Every brick and blade of grass belongs to meeeee.
    • margaretclare
    • By margaretclare 21st Mar 17, 9:27 AM
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    margaretclare
    Just finished reading the 'Hunger Games' trilogy. I'm also addicted to Jodi Taylor 'Chronicles of St Mary's' series.

    In between, I'm re-reading 'Little Women' by Louisa May Alcott.
    r ic wisdom funde, r wear ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
    • mumps
    • By mumps 21st Mar 17, 10:24 AM
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    mumps
    I read my grandson's copies of the Hunger Games. I was surprised how much I enjoyed them. I didn't like the films.
    Sell 1500

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    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 21st Mar 17, 1:50 PM
    • 17,857 Posts
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    agrinnall
    Keepers .... why? will you read them again?
    Originally posted by missile
    I keep every book I buy except for those that I discover I already own, even the ones that I've had to give up on (perhaps in the vain hope that one day something will click and it'll start to make sense - yes, Thomas Pynchon, I'm talking to you about Gravity's Rainbow!). If I've read a book once there's a very high possibility that at some point I'll read it again, and the best ones I've read many times.
    • margaretclare
    • By margaretclare 21st Mar 17, 5:31 PM
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    margaretclare
    I read my grandson's copies of the Hunger Games. I was surprised how much I enjoyed them. I didn't like the films.
    Originally posted by mumps
    I've just finished watching the first film - I recorded it but didn't watch it all at once. I don't think it would have made much sense to me if I hadn't read the books first.
    r ic wisdom funde, r wear ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
    • mumps
    • By mumps 21st Mar 17, 5:59 PM
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    mumps
    I've just finished watching the first film - I recorded it but didn't watch it all at once. I don't think it would have made much sense to me if I hadn't read the books first.
    Originally posted by margaretclare
    I thought Donald Sutherland was very good, nobody does mad quite like him.
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