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!
As I put above, in my longer post, I recommend 'A Walk in the Woods', about his attempt to walk the Appalachian Trail with his overweight, ex-alchohol/drug addicted school friend (it was the only person he could get to accompany him!) has been my favourite. I've read it several times. His descriptions of the many hazards on the trail from diseases to serial killers, are as nothing compared to...horror of horrors.. people who want to talk about the 'relative merits of the external framed backpack'!
But as I said, 'Notes from a Small Island' was the book that got me addicted. Written as a hilarious farewell/love letter to Britain before going back to the USA for 7 years. In spite of our faults, one of the best qualities of the British may be our ability to laugh at ourselves. We call it 'taking the piss', - out of each other. (I learnt from Bill Bryson's book about the evolution of English in America, that there isn't an equivalent phrase in the US). It's so much a part of our conversation here that I notice with Americans I have to be careful about 'taking the piss' out of them!!
But if you enjoy laughing at yourself, as an American, 'Notes from a Big Country' will work for you. It 'piss takes' much of the American way of life in a grumpy old man sort of way! The American version is called 'I'm a Stranger Here Myself'.
He is much loved in Britain.
I did a little Tolstoy research after reading Anna Karenina because I too thought the ending was not in keeping with the rest of his book. It was like he didn't have the end in mind before he started the book and was influenced by his own spiritual crisis. Levin I think in some ways was a reflection of himself.
I've added Infidel to my list. While reading the review for this, I also saw Princess, Life Behind the Veil...by Jean Sasson. Have you read this one?
I've read the whole series of Jean Sasson's books, ghost written for a feminist, rebellious Saudi princess. Or the 3 books I know of. Again in Britain there may be differences. The first was called 'Princess' here. The second 'Daughters of Arabia' and the third 'Desert Royal'.
I initially resisted reading the first, years ago, as I knew it would affect me. Then I gave in. I was right. I ended up getting the others as I wanted to know the fate of her friends and siblings.
If those books don't politicise a person with regard to women under Islam I don't know what will. I don't want to put anyone off reading them but for me they have lingered in my mind ever since and at the time upset me inordinately. But the thing that struck me was how little is done for an entire half of the population of people under such regimes boasting the label of a fulfillment of religious ethics. We had a worldwide embargo on South Africa on behalf of the 10-20% of opressed black people. But with Saudi...well..they have the oil don't they? Who cares about the women? I tried to get charities to take more action. Not all of them can afford a multi country agenda. I got stumped.
Do read it/them. You won't forget Princess Sultana.
Hi Vitomama, I too have recently finished 'Infidel'. It was, in it's truest sense, an inspiration to me. I fell in love with Ayaan! What a journey.
I've not got further with Russian classics than halfway through 'The Brothers Karamazov'.
We could mention our least favourite? I was with friends one evening talking about our favourite and least favourite books. I had my 'least' ready-'The Seven Pillars of Wisdom' by T.E Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), when a male friend listed that as his favourite! I was baffled. I asked him to tell me what I'd missed. I'd been fascinated by Lawrence until I read this posturing pretentious tome, where the real person, to me, remained hidden. I considered my effort to read it to the end almost heroic! Then a waste of time. But, maybe I did miss something.
I would suggest any books containing the writing/speeches of Robert Green Ingersoll. As many of you probably already know he was an outspoken opponent of organized religion, misogyny, and racism. He was a very vocal atheist and renown orator who garnered the respect of many of his contemporaries (i.e. Mark Twain). Start with "The Best of Robert Ingersoll: Selections from his writings and speeches", Prometheus Books, 1983.