We don't belong to any book clubs, but we do a considerable amount of reading or listening to audio books. Since we live on a 44 foot sailboat, we don't have a lot of room, so we have just recently purchased a Kindle, and love it! I think though we need two of them as we are wrangling over who gets to use it next. We read a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, classics, mysteries, historical novels, thrillers, adventure, etc. Nothing is out of range.
So let's talk books. Have we read some of the same? What would you recommend to read or stay away from?
Roz's Legend (HR - have read, IP -in progress, R -resource/reference, NY - Not Yet)
Rating (*****Loved it!, ****Liked it, ***Ok, **Not so much, * Ugh)
Here are some books currently on our bookshelf:
Good without God by Greg Epstein, HR****
Godless by Dan Barker, HR*****
Don't Believe Everything you Think by Thomas Kida, IP-***
The Atheist's Bible - Joan Konner - HR, R****
Asimov's Guide to the Bible, Isaac Asimove, IP, R ***
God Made Man (Kindle) - Barbara G. Walker, IP ****
On the fiction side:
Anna Karenina (Kindle) by Tolstoy, HR** (Just finished. Know it's a classic, but geez it was slow for me to read. All of the people are so tortured, particularly the non-believers. I could have saves a lot of time by reading the summary on Wikapedia. What did you think?)
Devine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood (Kindle), HR, ****
The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo (Kindle), Stieg Larsson, IP. (Russ has read the whole series ***** and really enjoyed them)
One for the Money, etc.....by Janet Evanovich, HR, IP ***** I love these sassy, bounty hunter stories featuring Stephanie Plum. I started with number one and am on number 8. I just started reading them on Kindle. The characters are quirky. I love Grandma Mazur. She reminds me of Sophia on the Golden Girls. I love a book that makes me laugh aloud.
Other authors we really enjoy....Robin Cook, Michael Crichton, John LesCroart, John Grisham, Ken Follett (Pillars of the Earth HR***** and World without End HR *****), Jean Auel. I just got the last of the Jean Auel Earths Children books and am looking forward to reading it. I enjoyed "reading" - listening" to the others on audio. It will be a different experience reading this next one on the Kindle. Has anyone read this yet? We have several of these authors on audio books and listen together. It's a great way to spend the evening while on night watch. Stephen King and Dean Koontz give us nightmares!
The school I went to gave a really good general overview of many types of cuisine. I think I enjoy eating Thai and most asian cuisines a lot, but I enjoy cooking things that I grew up with, what I like to call trailer park cuisine....mac and cheese, fried hot dogs....ok, I kid.... I do enjoy making soups, stews, barbecue, anything with a lot of flavor to it. Grilled vegie pitas with hummus is great too...
What a great subject, I love talking books!!
I'll endorse praise of Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. Sooo disappointed they didn't do all the films but the books are always better. I've never been a big fantasy fan but these were different. The world(s) he creates were like nothing I've ever read before. His most recent book 'The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ' is on my wish list. A story told as if Mary gave birth to identical twins, one bad, one good, complete with the biblical events we all know. With a twist.
But I am a fan of sci-fi. So long as it's not pulp. Arthur C. Clarke would have to be a favourite. I only 'got' 2001 A Space Odyssey' after I'd read the book. Altho' the film was almost a genre on it's own. Having neither any fleshed out characters EXCEPT for the computer, Hal, and, uniquely, being accessible and enjoyable even with an abstract narrative. But my favourite books of his are the Rama series. 'Rendezvous with Rama', 'Rama 2' and 'The Garden of Rama'. Not read the 4th yet, 'Rama Revealed'. I found it outrageously imaginative. Written with an ex-Nasa expert Gentry Lee. But with a dark ending which highlights the fatal tribalism of our species. But looking at reviews on Amazon, it seems it's either loved or hated. Criticisms seemed to centre on parts of it being written from a female point of view (shock horror!! Not in the the male geek world of sci-fi surely?!!) and there being too much polyandrist sex and masturbation and not enough 'techie' stuff! What IS wrong with people?! Please someone make a film(s) of these books. I LONG to see what was described..... Actually, just done a search and it seems Morgan Freeman has been trying to do exactly that for 15 long years, and feels it's time is near.
One highly recommended book from me (and with almost exclusively 5 star reviews on Amazon) is 'Dirty Weekend' by Helen Zahavi. I read it years ago after many years of suffering sexual harrassment, threats and assaults from men. It's a book about 'Bella', who "woke up one morning and realised she'd had enough". She goes on a killing spree of every man who threatens her. It so hit on my deepest darkest revenge fantasies that I actually shed tears of relief reading it. It's a brilliant black, black comedy. I know a man who read it in one evening and loved it and a friend who wrote her first ever fan letter to the author. One short paragraph. Bella visits a mysogynistic dentist who drives her home but takes a detour to an empty car park to assault her. "Alone in a car park on a Sunday afternoon. A quiet moment of contemplation. Reginald and Bella. Dentist and patient. Driller and killer".
The funniest book I've ever read was 'The Timewaster Letters' by Robin Cooper. I actually burst into snorts of laughter on public transport (not reading it) just remembering part of it. I think everyone thought I was the looney on the train. Oh and anything by Bill Bryson. But I really must shut up now!!
Thanks for your suggestions, more to add to my wishlist. I read Bill Bryson's In Sunburn Country. It was amusing, but very long. We will be in Australia next year and almost everything sounds deadly!
That's ok. Just beware that it is along the lines of a 'classic' pirates' story in the 17th century.
Has anyone read Sam Harris' latest book, The Moral Landscape? I can't imagine it being anywhere near as great as The End of Faith or Letter to a Christian Nation, but I hope I'm wrong. Any input or opinions from those who have read it would be appreciated! Thanks!
I am reading the Moral Landscape now. I went to a talk/discussion he gave in London recently, promoting it and got my copy signed by him!
It's more entertaining and readable than you might think. Well, that's how I'm finding it. But I'm only part way through. It is interesting but like many people here I have read most of the recent atheist books and The End of Faith and God is Not Great have been my favourites. We must admit that there's nothing so encouraging and cathartic as having your opinions vindicated and brilliantly expounded with some extra debating material thrown in!
Can I say to Ros/Russ, I actually haven't heard of In Sunburn Country by Bill Bryson...I'm thrown by that! I thought I had all his books except his latest which is about the evolution of the home. Are we talking about the same person? I'll look it up! I may have missed it! He is American but has spent the majority of his adult life in England, and I'm not sure he's quite as well known in the US. But maybe now. For a book of his that would inspire laughter and affection in most people I would recommend 'A Walk in The Woods', about his somewhat disastrous attempt to walk the Appalachian Trail with an old overweight friend who was in recovery from drugs and achohol-with some predictably hilarious problems, and 'Notes from a Small Island', when he left England several years back to live in the States for a while. This is both a love letter and an extremely funny portrait of Britain in all it's idiosycraticness. It had to be written by an outsider to capture that and maybe you have to live here to know how funny it is. I say outsider but he is now back here in the UK and President of the Association for the preservation of rural England. Or something.
Two of Mark's suggestions sound intriguing. Will look up.
Also massively recommend anything by Ian McEwan. He is a close friend of Christopher Hitchen's, in fact God is Not Great is dedicated to him and on Sam Harris' recent book tour had a public conversation with him. So I reckon they're friends too. No-one writes about moral dilemmas and the internal life of people quite like him. 'Enduring Love' is particularly addictive.