Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Anonymous, Dec 4, 2003.
I'm reading Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and like it so far. Very interesting, old-timey read.
Ah, got you! No, not Lanark by Alasdair Gray; I've never read them, although I'd probably quite like them. I meant non-fiction.
I once started with the first book but I think I was too young to understand, it all seemed hard to comprehend. Then again, I really want to read Stephen King so what do you think about the series thus far?
The first book is slow in places, it took me awhile to get through it. I'm glad I did though because the 2nd book is fantastic and was hard to put down.
I read that almost a decade ago and have mixed memories about it. I seem to recall finding it mostly confusing and dissatisfying but that there were elements I enjoyed. Perhaps it was because I had high expectations for it.
Anyway, I've been hearing that Parable Of the Sower by Octavia Butler is the dystopian novel that best resonates with the times. Anyone read it?
I loved that book. Must read it again sometime.
Cool. I picked up a boatload of Ray last year. I finally finished the Dandelion Wine trilogy. The third book was a bittersweet stunner.
Love that cover. The 70s artwork was so surreal.
For the Stephen King aficionados.
16 New Books Recommended by Stephen King
It’s no secret that Stephen King, the master of horror, is a voracious reader. He’s also a man who loves to share his favorite books, often taking to Twitter to share the books he has enjoyed. We’ve scoured King’s recent recommendations and compiled a list of must-reads from his picks. Publishers’ descriptions included below.
The Widow by Fiona Barton
When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on, when more bad things began to happen…
But that woman’s husband died last week. And Jean doesn’t have to be her anymore.
There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment.
Now there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage.
The truth — that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything…
King’s recommendation: “If you liked Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, you might want to pick up The Widow… Engrossing. Suspenseful.”
Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch
Once a celebrated writer, M had his greatest success with a suspense novel based on a real-life disappearance. It told the story of a history teacher who went missing one winter after having a brief affair with a beautiful student of his. The teacher was never found. Upon publication, M’s novel was a runaway bestseller, one that marked his international breakthrough.
That was years ago, and now M’s career is fading. But not when it comes to his bizarre, seemingly timid neighbor who keeps a close eye on him and his wife. Why?
From alternating points of view, where no one is to be trusted, Herman Koch weaves together an intricate tale of a writer in decline, a teenage couple in love, a missing teacher, and a single book that entwines all of their fates. Thanks to M’s novel, supposedly a work of fiction, everyone seems to be linked forever, until something unexpected spins the “story” off its rails.
With ever increasing tension, his signature sardonic wit and world-renowned sharp eye for human failings, Herman Koch once again spares nothing and no one in his gripping new novel, a barbed performance that suspends readers in the mysterious space between fact and fiction.
King’s recommendation: “Herman Koch is rapidly becoming one of my favorite writers. His 3 novels, taken together, are like a killer EP where every track kicks ass.”
Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay
Late one summer night, Elizabeth Sanderson receives the devastating news that every mother fears: Her 13-year-old son, Tommy, has vanished without a trace in the woods of a local park.
The search isn’t yielding any answers, and Elizabeth and her young daughter, Kate, struggle to comprehend Tommy’s disappearance. Feeling helpless and alone, their sorrow is compounded by anger and frustration: The local and state police have uncovered no leads. Josh and Luis, the friends who were the last to see Tommy before he vanished, may not be telling the whole truth about that night in Borderland State Park, when they were supposedly hanging out a landmark the local teens have renamed Devil’s Rock.
Living in an all-too-real nightmare, riddled with worry, pain, and guilt, Elizabeth is wholly unprepared for the strange series of events that follow. She believes a ghostly shadow of Tommy materializes in her bedroom, while Kate and other local residents claim to see a shadow peering through their windows in the dead of night. Then, random pages torn from Tommy’s journal begin to mysteriously appear — entries that reveal an introverted teenager obsessed with the phantasmagoric; the loss of his father, killed in a drunk-driving accident a decade earlier; a folktale involving the devil and the woods of Borderland; and a horrific incident that Tommy believed connects them.
As the search grows more desperate, and the implications of what happened become more haunting and sinister, no one is prepared for the shocking truth about that night and Tommy’s disappearance at Devil’s Rock.
King’s recommendation: “Paul Tremblay’s uber-creepy follow-up to A Head Full of Ghosts... Don’t miss this one.”
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood — where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned — Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.
In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor — engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.
Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey — hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.
King’s recommendation: “Terrific novel of escape, sacrifice, and redemption.”
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.
When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar… who says the kiss was a terrible mistake, but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.
And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend. But she also just happens to be married to David. And if you think you know where this story is going, think again, because Behind Her Eyes is like no other book you’ve read before.
David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife. But then why is David so controlling? And why is Adele so scared of him?
As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can’t guess how wrong — and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.
In Behind Her Eyes, Sarah Pinborough has written a novel that takes the modern day love triangle and not only turns it on its head, but completely reinvents it in a way that will leave readers reeling.
King’s recommendation: “Spent most of the day reading the second half of Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough. What the Brits call ‘a thumping good read.’ Bravo!”
Darktown by Thomas Mullen
In the tradition of our most acclaimed suspense writers, the author of The Last Town on Earth delivers a riveting and elegant police procedural set in Atlanta, a ripped-from-the-headlines depiction of a world on the cusp of great change involving race relations, city politics, and police corruption.
Responding from pressure on high, the Atlanta police department is forced to hire its first black officers in 1948. The newly minted policemen are met with deep hostility by their white peers and their authority is limited: They can’t arrest white suspects; they can’t drive a squad car; they can’t even use the police headquarters and must instead operate out of the basement of a gym.
When a black woman who was last seen in a car driven by a white man turns up fatally beaten, no one seems to care except for Boggs and Smith, two black cops from vastly different backgrounds. Pressured from all sides, they will risk their jobs, the trust the community has put in them, and even their own safety to investigate her death. Their efforts bring them up against an old-school cop, Dunlow, who has long run the neighborhood like his own, and Dunlow’s young partner, Rakestraw, a young progressive who may or may not be willing to make allies across color lines.
Set in the post-war, pre-civil rights South, and evoking the socially resonant and morally complex crime novels of Dennis Lehane, and Walter Mosley, Darktown is a vivid, smart, intricately plotted crime saga that explores the timely issues of race, law enforcement, and the uneven scales of justice.
King’s recommendation: “A brilliant blending of crime, mystery, and American history (Atlanta, just after WWII). Terrific entertainment.”
You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
How far will you go to achieve a dream? That’s the question a celebrated coach poses to Katie and Eric Knox after he sees their daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful, compete. For the Knoxes there are no limits — until a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community and everything they have worked so hard for is suddenly at risk.
As rumors swirl among the other parents, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself irresistibly drawn to the crime itself. What she uncovers — about her daughter’s fears, her own marriage, and herself — forces Katie to consider whether there’s any price she isn’t willing to pay to achieve Devon’s dream.
King’s recommendation: “Gave me the creeps in the best possible way.”
Final Girls by Riley Sager
Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie — scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to — a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.
Now, Quincy is doing well — maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.
That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.
King’s recommendation: “The first great thriller of 2017 is almost here: Final Girls by Riley Sager. If you liked Gone Girl, you’ll like this.”
The Twenty-Three by Linwood Barclay
Everything has been leading to this.
It’s the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, May 23rd, and the small town of Promise Falls, New York, has found itself in the midst of a full-blown catastrophe. Hundreds of people are going to the hospital with similar flu-like symptoms — and dozens have died. Investigators quickly zero in on the water supply. But the question for many, including private investigator Cal Weaver, remains: Who would benefit from a mass poisoning of this town?
Meanwhile, Detective Barry Duckworth is faced with another problem. A college student has been murdered, and he’s seen the killer’s handiwork before — in the unsolved homicides of two other women in town. Suddenly, all the strange things that have happened in the last month start to add up…
Bloody mannequins found in car “23” of an abandoned Ferris wheel…a fiery, out-of-control bus with “23” on the back, that same number on the hoodie of a man accused of assault…
The motive for harming the people of Promise Falls points to the number 23 — and working out why will bring Duckworth closer to death than he’s ever been before…
King’s recommendation: “Loving The Twenty-Three by Linwood Barclay. You should treat yourself to the whole Promise Falls trilogy.”
The Nix by Nathan Hill
From the suburban Midwest to New York City to the 1968 riots that rocked Chicago and beyond, The Nix explores — with sharp humor and a fierce tenderness — the resilience of love and home, even in times of radical change.
It’s 2011, and Samuel Andresen-Anderson — college professor, stalled writer — has a Nix of his own: his mother, Faye. He hasn’t seen her in decades, not since she abandoned the family when he was a boy. Now she’s re-appeared, having committed an absurd crime that electrifies the nightly news, beguiles the internet, and inflames a politically divided country. The media paints Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high-school sweetheart. Which version of his mother is true? Two facts are certain: She’s facing some serious charges, and she needs Samuel’s help.
To save her, Samuel will have to embark on his own journey, uncovering long-buried secrets about the woman he thought he knew, secrets that stretch across generations and have their origin all the way back in Norway, home of the mysterious Nix. As he does so, Samuel will confront not only Faye’s losses but also his own lost love, and will relearn everything he thought he knew about his mother, and himself.
King’s recommendation: “I’m reading The Nix by Nathan Hill. Just started, but so far it’s got me laughing hysterically. First 50 pages are worth the price.”
Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman
Luisa “Lu” Brant is the newly elected state’s attorney representing suburban Maryland — including the famous planned community of Columbia, created to be a utopia of racial and economic equality. Prosecuting a controversial case involving a disturbed drifter accused of beating a woman to death, the fiercely ambitious Lu is determined to avoid the traps that have destroyed other competitive, successful women. She’s going to play it smart to win this case — and win big — cementing her political future.
But her intensive preparation for trial unexpectedly dredges up painful recollections of another crime — the night when her brother, AJ, saved his best friend at the cost of another man’s life. Only eighteen, AJ was cleared by a grand jury. Justice was done. Or was it? Did the events of 1980 happen as she remembers them? She was only a child then. What details didn’t she know?
As she plunges deeper into the past, Lu is forced to face a troubling reality. The legal system, the bedrock of her entire life, does not have all the answers. But what happens when she realizes that, for the first time, she doesn’t want to know the whole truth?
King’s recommendation: “Laura Lippman’s latest novel, Wilde Lake, is a knockout. You should get right on that.”
Slade House by David Mitchell
Keep your eyes peeled for a small black iron door.
Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you’ll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t. Every nine years, the house’s residents — an odd brother and sister — extend a unique invitation to someone who’s different or lonely: a precocious teenager, a recently divorced policeman, a shy college student. But what really goes on inside Slade House? For those who find out, it’s already too late…
Spanning five decades, from the last days of the 1970s to the present, leaping genres, and barreling toward an astonishing conclusion, this intricately woven novel will pull you into a reality-warping new vision of the haunted house story — as only David Mitchell could imagine it.
King’s recommendation: “Hard to imagine a more finely wrought and chilling tale of the supernatural. One of the rare great ones.”
The Deep by Nick Cutter
A strange plague called the ’Gets is decimating humanity on a global scale. It causes people to forget — small things at first, like where they left their keys… then the not-so-small things like how to drive, or the letters of the alphabet. Then their bodies forget how to function involuntarily… and there is no cure. But now, far below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, deep in the Mariana Trench, an heretofore unknown substance hailed as “ambrosia”’ — a universal healer, from initial reports — has been discovered. It may just be the key to eradicating the ’Gets. In order to study this phenomenon, a special research lab, the Trieste, has been built eight miles under the sea’s surface. But when the station goes incommunicado, a brave few descend through the lightless fathoms in hopes of unraveling the mysteries lurking at those crushing depths… and perhaps to encounter an evil blacker than anything one could possibly imagine.
King’s recommendation: “If you want to cool off this summer with a fine horror novel, hunt up The Deep by Nick Cutter. Scary as hell, and well written, to boot.”
White Bone by Ridley Pearson
When ex–military contractor John Knox receives a text from partner Grace Chu warning that she fears her cover may have been blown while on assignment, he jumps into action. Knox must locate her overseas handlers, convince them of the threat, and then attempt to retrace the well-hidden steps of a woman who had been attempting to determine how one million euros’ worth of AIDS vaccine disappeared, all while eluding angry poachers on a parallel trail.
Corruption isn’t a “problem” in Kenya, it’s the way of doing business. The poaching of ivory from African elephants, driven by insatiable demand from mainland China, fuels constant blood and slaughter. Knox faces police, national rangers, journalists, and safari companies who are each in their own symbiotic relationship with elephants, both good and bad. As the threat from Al-Shaabab militants interferes with his pursuit of Grace, Knox finds himself pitted against the most savage and suicidal fighters in the world. And there’s this woman, Grace, always in his head. His gut. As Grace watches as her civilized self slips away while abandoned in the bush, Knox races against the clock to find her.
King’s recommendation: “Ridley Pearson’s new thriller, White Bone, is in stores now. Perfect for summer. You couldn’t do better.”
Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay ’til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.
Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a 17th century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children’s bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear.
The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past.
This chilling novel heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in mainstream horror and dark fantasy.
King’s recommendation: “A wicked witch holds an upstate New York town prisoner. This is totally, brilliantly original.”
Brighton by Michael Harvey
Kevin Pearce — baseball star, honor student, the pride of Brighton — was 15 when he left town in the back of his uncle’s cab. He and his buddy Bobby Scales had just committed heinous violence for what they thought were the best of reasons. Kevin didn’t want a pass, but he was getting it anyway. Bobby would stay and face the music; Kevin’s future would remain bright as ever. At least that was the way things were supposed to work, except in Brighton things never work the way they’re supposed to.
Twenty-six years later, Kevin is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist for the Boston Globe. He’s never been back to his old block, having avoided his family and, especially, Bobby Scales. Then he learns his old friend is the prime suspect in a string of local murders. Suddenly, Kevin’s headed home — to protect a friend and the secret they share. To report this story to the end and protect those he loves, he must face not only an elusive, slippery killer, but his own corrupted conscience.
A powerhouse of a thriller, Brighton is a riveting and elegiac exploration of promises broken, debts owed, and old wrongs made right… no matter what the cost.
King’s recommendation: “Helluva Boston crime novel. Helluva novel, period.”
I, Ripper by Stephen Hunter just finished. Released last year, it tells the story of Jack the Ripper. The chapters alternate from the point of view of the Ripper himself to the reporter (whose name is not revealed until 80% into the book) who is chasing him. Good read. Author did his homework. Not for the faint of heart though. The first line is "When I cut the woman's throat..."
Currently reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William. L. Shirer. I'm about 150 pages in, out of 1,300, and I don't think I've read a non-fiction book with this much detail.
For anybody with an interest in WWII, German History or just history in general, I'd definitely recommend picking this up.
I read that a long time ago ... incredibly good book. Some information has come out since (post Soviet breakup especially) has made a few details in the book inaccurate or incomplete .. but that is pretty minimal.
Read a much shorter non fiction book last night
Deep Undercover: My Secret Life and Tangled Allegiances as a KGB Spy in America by Jack Barsky
Really interesting, he was born in East Germany shortly after the war, went to school to be a chemist, was recruited by the KGB and eventually sent to the US as a deep cover spy (ala The Americans). He ended up liking it here, advanced up the corporate world as a computer programmer, got married and stayed .. until after the collapse of the USSR and was found out from smuggled KGB docs.
Really well written
I, too, have this book. Read it a few years ago. It is well written, but you have to appreciate that Shirer pushes the Sonderweg theory very heavily - a theory most Germans will not agree with. Most academics I have had the pleasure of working with or learning from over the course of my history degree find the book to be a good collection of recollections, but do not consider its bias appropriate.
What's does this Sonderweg theory say?
I a nutshell that Germany was destined to go along a path from Luther though Hitler and it was a logical succession from step though step (Prussia, Franco-Prussian War/Bismark, WWI, Nazis).
I disagree with the destiny part of the theory .. but in retrospect ... you can see how one step had a bearing on the next .. though you can say that about any country.
And why is it called 'Sonderweg' (~ special way)?
(or maybe 'separate way')
Probably need to ask our resident German about that .. but I think it goes with the destiny part of it ... this path was carved out for Germany
Edit: I think "Special Path" is the best translation
So it was all divine intention?
I do not think divine intervention as much as Germany was destined to go on this path due to circumstance (geography and neighbors), world events, and how the German states developed. The destiny part again is iffy to me .. but I will buy that due to a number of factors (I think just being in central Europe surrounded by various powers over time) made that path at least pretty likely .. but not a sure thing
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