liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
[personal profile] liv
Here's the thing: I need more books. Books are expensive here, especially English language books, and the selection isn't that great either. I can get by with libraries and the few charity shops that exist (it's not as common a custom as in England). But unlike in the UK, I can't really find affordable books that I want as fast as I can read them. If I'm going to buy full-price books, I might as well buy them online.

My thinking is that if I buy lots of books at once, I'll be efficient with the postage costs. That means probably Amazon, since something like Abebooks which is a market place, not a retailer, loses the advantage of combining postage. Or does anyone have any better ideas? I'm not terribly enamoured of Amazon, but I think it's probably the most useful service for the purpose I want.

So, now's the time to recommend me stuff and I might actually get round to buying it, rather than putting it on a list and hoping that the appropriate title turns up some time. I have found that just asking for recs doesn't really work, so I'm going to play a game. If you comment to recommend something that I should buy, I'll recommend you something in the same format. I most especially want recs for books, but I might buy computer games, or DVDs, or classical music CDs too while I'm at it.

If you recommend a book, please recommend a specific title, not just an author. For classical music, I want recs of recordings really, I generally know what I like in terms of composers. (I don't buy classical music as mp3s, because a movement of a classical work doesn't map sensibly onto a "track" in the mp3 sense.) That said, I am subscribing to emusic again at the moment, so if you want to recommend me pop music, please go ahead. Again, I'd prefer specific songs, or at least albums, rather than just names of artists.

Do you need to know my tastes? My last four years of reading material; my music listening habits thanks to Web 2.0. LastFM is basically useless for classical though, so I should add that I like almost all Baroque and most early 20th century Impressionism, but I'm pickier about Classical and the earlier Romantic stuff. As a very broad generalization, I prefer orchestral or instrumental chamber music to opera and choral music, and secular to sacred, but there are definitely exceptions. Favourite composers: Couperin, Rameau, Scarlatti, Bach (duh!), Telemann, Händel, Mozart, Schubert, Dvorak, Ravel, Débussy, Fauré, Scriabin, Stravinsky. I've probably forgotten some cos I'm bad at making lists.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-14 03:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] syllopsium.livejournal.com
Clive Barker's Imajica Duet (there might be a package of both books)
Robin Hobb : Assassin's Apprentice

are both worth a bash.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-14 03:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rysmiel.livejournal.com
Now you're making me feel old, because Imajica being in two volumes kind of postdates my being-into-Barker phase. I would be hesitant to recommend Imajica to [livejournal.com profile] livredor myself, both because I think there are several places in it that might go over her ickiness threshold, and because it's a nice tight 600-page novel flailing around helplessly trapped inside a thousand-page-plus pile of verbiage. The Barker I still like most is The Great and Secret Show, and I'm not sure about the ickiness issues there either.

Assassin's Apprentice is indeed good, as is Royal Assassin, but I was very disappointed in Assassin's Quest, which both drastically changes mode, and does the mode it changes to drastically badly, so I've not reread them in ages.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-14 04:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] timeplease.livejournal.com
Those are both authors that I like a lot. I preferred Glasshouse to Accelerando. Only Forward is still my favourite MMS book, although One of Us is a close second...

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-14 03:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lethargic-man.livejournal.com
I keep looking at my bookshelf and thinking "Ooh, you haven't read such-and-such yet!" But my bookshelf's at home, and I'm out this evening, so I shall comment again on Sunday and find [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel has recommended you already most of what I was going to recommend you; and then recommend you the rest.

And then be stumped from now on as to what to get you for your birthday. ;^b

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-16 10:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lethargic-man.livejournal.com
Based purely on my bookshelf here (rather than my reading list, which, being soft copy only, I couldn't consult on Shabbos)...

In alphabetical order, and skipping books I have blogged about myself:

Ian Banks' Walking On Glass might be your sort of thing.

There's a book called Clara, by Janice Galloway, about Clara Schumann (wife of Robert Schumann, friend of Johannes Brahmes, and one of the most acclaimed pianists of the nineteenth century). The review on Amazon warns it's not as historically accurate as might be wished for, but as a character novel I think it's down your line.

There's a book called The Ice People by Maggie McGee I read after I heard the author interviewed on Radio 4. As a portrayal of how the world could be plunged into a new Ice Age (global warming notwithstanding) it wasn't too whelming; as a study of the relations between men and women I found it much better. Of course, since evaluating this kind of thing is not my forte, you might find it annoying, but there's only one way to tell.

I presume I already lent you The Death of Grass at some point, yesno?

Paul McAuley's The Invisible Country really impressed me.

Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt may be your kind of thing, I don't know.

I've probably wibbled on about Michael Scott Rohan's Winter of the World series before...

Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion were probably the books I was thinking of in the comment of mine I'm following up to here...

Connie Willis' To Say Nothing of the Dog is highly enjoyable, if you don't mind the author's slightly stereotyped and also incorrectly British Brits...

Norstrilia would make an excellent introduction for you to Cordwainer Smith.

Finally, Gene Wolfe's There Are Doors may be down your line, being a character-oriented story about a man who falls into a world where all men die (their immune systems collapsing) after having sex for the first time.

Well, there's my suggestions; hope you find them useful.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-20 01:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lethargic-man.livejournal.com
The only Banks-without-his-M I have read is The Crow Road, and that is somewhat similar in style to Kate Atkinson: Human croquet. It's not the book most obviously likely to appeal to you, but it's rather good and maybe worth a try.

*ahem* It was my copy of that you read. :o)

Character based historical fiction: ISTR from our discussions with [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel that you haven't read Gore Vidal's novelized biography of the Emperor Julian, called Julian. If that's right, you should look out for it.

Maybe I hadn't then. I have now (and have a vague memory I might have discussed it with you, too, in the flesh; not that I expect you to remember).

I don't think I've read The death of grass; I'm confused because the Frank Herbert book The green brain is set in a world where all the grass dies.

It's what [livejournal.com profile] papersky calls a cosy catastrophe, set in Britain in a 1950s in which there is a pandemic of a virus which wipes out grasses, including cereals. When scientists announce their attempts to come up with a countermeasure have failed, the USA pulls its corn shipments to Britain, and suddenly the UK (which has only half converted to potato farming) isn't able to feed itself. The book follows the narrator's attempt to get from London to his brother's farm up north, as civilisation collapses all round.

It's not a fun topic, but it's certainly well worth reading. Not least because the fact it could happen—think of the Irish Potato Famine; or of the rise of AIDS out of nowhere, and consider what would have happened if it had affected grasses, and been aerially transmitted—makes one profoundly grateful that we do at present have successful world harvests, and enough to eat all round (in the West, at least).

As a book, it's similar in some ways to The Day of the Triffids, not least because it was written in the same era.

Have you read Wyndham's The Chyrsalids, I can't remember?

Yes, and Trouble With Lichen, and The Midwich Cuckoos, and your copy of Consider Her Ways.

The years of rice and salt does actually sound quite cool. As far as China-related SF goes, have you read Sean Stewart: The night watch?

Nope.

I don't think you actually have mentioned Michael Scott Rohan before, not that I remember anyway. Tell me more?

The series—The Anvil of Ice, The Forge in the Forest and The Hammer of the Sun—are set in what appears to be a generic fantasyland, with magic, dwarves-with-the-serial-numbers-filed-off, a map at the front, and so on. (Q: How do you file the serial number off a dwarf? A: With extreme caution.)

However, as you read on, you realise it's not actually an EFP clone of a clone of Tolkien, but merely cunningly planned to look that way: The book is actually <spoilers for the first hundred odd pages ROT13ed> frg va gur ynfg Vpr Ntr, naq gur Qhretne abg qjneirf ohg Arnaqregunyf; naq gur znc vf bs gur jrfg pbnfg bs Abegu Nzrevpn jvgu rkgen pbnfgyvar rkcbfrq ol gur ybjrerq frn yriry (gubhtu gur nhgube purngrq n ovg gurer—gur pbagvaragny furys npghnyyl qebcf bss fgrrcyl bss gur pbnfg bs Pnyvsbeavn). Even the name of the land where the story takes place, Brasayhal, turns out by the third book to be more than just the generic made-up name it looks like.

have I managed to push Karen Armstrong on you yet? You really have to read A history of God.

I read your copy, and we discussed it the day we visited St Andrews. :o)

I've been put off To say nothing of the dog because I absolutely couldn't stand Three men in a boat.

How strange. Why not?

But if I can enjoy the parody without caring for the original, then why not?

The book, FWIW, is a time-travel novel about the destruction of Coventry Cathedral during the War. Much of the book takes place in a Victorian setting, but the connection to 3MiaB is mostly only marginal.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-20 01:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lethargic-man.livejournal.com
I know nothing about Cordwainer Smith.

He was quite an interesting character.

Norstrilia ("charts call it Old North Australia") is the story of Rod McBan (after whom my cheeseplant is named), a boy who ostensibly buys the planet Earth in order to acquire a rare postage stamp, actually in order to escape an assassination attempt...

Have I told you to read Zadie Smith, (relying on the cheap trick of her having the same common surname)? White Teeth is a lot of fun, anyway.

I don't think you have.

I can't say I like the premise of There are doors! You've probably read all the depressing plague future type of books that I like.

It's not a depressing plague future book; rather, it's the story of a man who blunders into a world where all the important people are women (because men rarely live long enough to rise to the top of anything).

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-22 08:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rysmiel.livejournal.com
I'd second the recommendation for Walking on Glass for you.

Years of Rice and Salt is definitely a major book, but it has a perculiar premise which does not work for everyone, I have some bones to pick with its AH, and it goes on a good 20% longer than it has need to IMO.

Michael Scott Rohan's Winter of the World trilogy is great fun, the second part is marginally weaker than the others. The later linked books are not IMO any good.

Ilium is to my mind very weird and full of bizarre notions and while it's really quite inventive, it isn't a patch on Hyperion, which if you want to read any Simmons at all is where you should start; Simmons would appear to have turned into a demented neocon since 9/11, alas.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-14 03:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chickenfeet2003.livejournal.com
Michael Ondaatje "In the Skin of a Lion" - his best IMO
"The Mahabharara - A Modern Rendering" by Ranesh Menon. The 2 volume HB (2000pp) can be ordered from India for about $35 inc P&P.
Patrick Leigh-Fermor "A Time of Gifts" and "Between the Wind and the Water" - account written much later of PLFs attempt, aged 19, to walk from Dover to Istanbul in 1934. Fabulous writing.
Jo Walton "Tooth and Claw" - really good and I usually don't like that sort of thing.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-15 05:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chickenfeet2003.livejournal.com
I read Maugham many years ago. FWIW I loathe Trollope but loved "Tooth and Claw". AFWIW I don't really like anything else by Jo that I have attempted.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-15 07:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rysmiel.livejournal.com
As Maugham goes, I love Cakes and Ale, perhaps because Rosie Gann is one of the very few fictional characters who shares a particular significant chunk of my emotional wiring. I'm also rather fond of "Theatre", largely because of the stunning film version, Being Julia.

Music

Date: 2007-06-14 03:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chickenfeet2003.livejournal.com
I would recommend the Shostakovich string quartets to anyone. The Naxos recordings are good and very cheap. I can send samples if you like.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-15 05:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chickenfeet2003.livejournal.com
My tastes are actually much wider than that. I like may kinds of chamber, orchestral, choral and art song music from most any period from 1400 to the present. I'm not keen on much of the high romantic 19th century rep but I'm as likely to be found listening to a 17th century motet as a 20th century string quartet.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-14 03:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] coalescent.livejournal.com
Let's see ...

Geoff Ryman, Air
Anything by Maureen McHugh, but particularly China Mountain Zhang and Nekropolis
Ali Smith, The Accidental
Johanna Sinisalo, Not Before Sundown
Gwyneth Jones, Life
Matt Ruff, Set This House in Order
Anything by Kim Stanley Robinson -- you must have read some, surely? But particularly Pacific Edge and the recent series beginning with Forty Signs of Rain.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-14 03:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rysmiel.livejournal.com
I'd second the rec for Air, and indeed anything by Ryman short of The Unconquered Country which is definitely too horrible for [livejournal.com profile] livredor. I'd particularly like to see how well 253 works for her, come to think of it.

I thought Nekropolis had odd focus things wrong with it and sort of completely melted at the end, but China Mountain Zhang is brilliant.

Kim Stanley Robinson is very variable, to my mind. His early stuff tends to good-but-weird, and come to think of it I have a spare Icehenge which I should send you, but I am in the camp of those who think the Mars trilogy drags, and drags, and drags some more, and takes ten times the time and effort needed to make a point about ecology that is obvious to a toasted teacake, and then drags some more, and so on. Robinson writing about left-wing politics has the kind of vague Utopianism that comes from not having much experience of their realities, and you put his books next to Ken MacLeod and they sort of shrivel up and blow away on those grounds.

That said the Three Californias [ The Wild Shore, The Gold Coast, Pacific Edge ] as a whole thing are a work of genius, very much greater than the sum of their parts. They need to go in that order, IMO.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-14 06:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] coalescent.livejournal.com
You're less well read on the mimetic side, aren't you?

Just a bit, yes. Having said that, I read Disobedience recently and thought "aha! I can recommend that!" Then I noticed that you'd already read it.

I didn't realise you were going to recommend back on a one-for-one basis! The Solzhenitsyn and the Byatt have been on my radar for a while, waiting to accrue enough recommendations to move them up to go-and-read status; on the other hand, Zadie Smith and Tim Powers I am for some reason skeptical of, despite the fact that I've read nothing by either of them. I think it's because they both quite often get referred to as funny writers, and I usually don't get on with funny writers. (Except that I love Charles Stross' Atrocity Archives stories -- out soon in a handy UK paperback if you've not read them -- and they often get compared to some of Powers' stuff, specifically Declare I believe.) Aristoi I'd never heard of (googles) which is surprising, because I thought I was quite familiar with Walter Jon Williams; but Night Shade Books are meant to be bringing most of his backlist back into print, so I'll keep an eye out. Thanks!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-14 06:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rysmiel.livejournal.com
I've read most of Powers, except for some of the early stuff, and none of it would strike me as funny; Declare is a very John Le Carre sort of chilly and bleak, the similarity to Atrocity Archive is in permise rather than tone.

I would recommend Anubis Gates as the Powers to read; it has one of the most perfectly assembled Swiss watches of a plot in existence.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-15 09:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lethargic-man.livejournal.com
The Anubis Gates is fun, rather than funny. I think I did keep laughing aloud when I read it, but it was from sheer delight rather than because it was intrinsically funny, FWIW.

Declare has the same overall theme as The Atrocity Archive, and people kept telling Charlie this as he was writing it, along with "but don't let that put you off—they come out completely different", and this is true.

I'm not entirely sure if The Atrocity Archive is down [livejournal.com profile] livredor's line (The Atrocity Archives is The Atrocity Archive packaged up with its sequel novella). I'd heartily recommend Declare, though, though it's very different in feel from The Anubis Gates.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-15 09:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] coalescent.livejournal.com
(The Atrocity Archives is The Atrocity Archive packaged up with its sequel novella).

In the Golden Gryphon edition. The UK edition appears to be The Atrocity Archive plus The Jennifer Morgue, but without any of the extras from either book, published as The Atrocity Archives. (And people still think Singularity Sky was his first published novel.)

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-15 09:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] coalescent.livejournal.com
I thought of one more! Have you read any of Jan Morris' actual travel writing? If not (a) it's all marvellous, so far as I have read, and (b) she wrote a great book about Oxford. Called Oxford.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-16 09:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lethargic-man.livejournal.com
It was indeed Icehenge that you read. Also, you might like to hunt down the Ian McDonald novella Scissors Cut Paper Wrap Stone, which hsd a concept similar to that of the mudras in Aristoi.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-14 03:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pseudomonas.livejournal.com
a movement of a classical work doesn't map sensibly onto a "track" in the mp3 sense.

Depends, if it's an oratorio/opera/symphony, you have a point, but if it's a motet/anthem/song then this doesn't really seem to be a problem.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-14 07:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hatam-soferet.livejournal.com
Yeah, stop nitpicking and say something sensible, bad badger!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-14 03:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rysmiel.livejournal.com
Hell and damnation and other such swearwords; I have just looked at the receipt in my pocket and discovered that the package I sent you with the object of ameliorating the lack of books a couple of weeks ago seems to have been sent surface mail. It was in the middle of a pile of other things - several belated birthday presents that had not been bought or sent while I was having a financial crisis - and I can see how the postal person could have got confused with the set of things to be done, but still, I grump.

As recommendations go, I think you want to get The Book of Taltos and possibly also The Book of Athyra at this point, given how much you have enjoyed the series so far. Though you may well already know that.

There aren't that many things left that I think you'd really like and have not already got you or persuaded you to get, is the thing. I think Ian McDonald's River of Gods would be to your taste, but the only US edition is a hardcover, whereas it's out in pb in Britain, so ordering it in the economically sensible way would not achieve the save-on-postage and general efficiency goal.

You definitely want Ted Chiang's collection Stories of Your Life and Others. Trust me on that one.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-14 06:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rysmiel.livejournal.com
Hell and damnation and other such swearwords feels like the start of a poem.

Furthermore, it scans to "Raindrops on Roses." Aaaagh.

This is probably ML's fault and not an impulse I should act on.

That would be a humanitarian act.

I feel really embarrassed now, because I so much wasn't fishing for presents by complaining that I'd read most of what I managed to bring to Sweden.

I know that, but the concept of not having anything to read is just... shuddersome. I really do not liek the thought of it happening to you.

Taltos looks like it ought to be about Vlad's early life and presumably includes the bit with the Paths of the Dead that he keeps alluding to, which sounds cool.

This is the case; as I understand it, Brust's ultimate plan is one for each animal of the cycle, plus Taltos at the beginning and The Final Contract at the end.

Is there some good reason to jump over Phoenix, which appears to be next in sequence according to the notes in my trilogy?

Ah. my inclarity. The Book of Taltos contains Taltos and Phoenix and The Book of Athyra contains Athyra and Orca, and while I suppose you could get them in the original single volumes if you wanted, the newer ones are prettier, much more solid physical objects, and so much easier to get that it did not occur to me you might still be able to get the older ones even though you were talking about Amazon. That makes all the ones originally published by Ace; Dragon, Issola and Dzur came out from Tor and are only currently available singly.

You've introduced so many brilliant books into my life, and even given me a good proportion of them, which is really a great kindness.

*shrug* there are things you needed to read; I am just an instrument in the process, and glad to have been so generally successful with the introductions of new books.

Stories of Your Life was actually already on my mental list (which I should probably transform into a physical list somewhere, come to think of it), because coalescent has already enthused about it a great deal, and I've read the title story in an anthology of pnh's that lethargic_man lent to me. Anyway, I have every reason to trust your book recommendations, by now.

There are a couple of other things that I think you would enjoy that are only yet in US hardcover, like Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind, which I had kind of been hoping to find a paperback release date for to see whether it was worth marking as a present for your next birthday. Oh, and you haven't read anything of [livejournal.com profile] truepenny's, have you ?

You really really need to read The ground beneath her feet, because it's so very like The Armageddon Rag in a lot of ways, including quality. Since I need to replace my copy anyway, I will perhaps get two and send one to you.

That would be most excellent.

I can't think of collection of short stories to suggest to you, cos I almost never read short stories. I assume you've read Saki?

Everything, shorts and novels. And those are some peculiar novels.

If not that, it's going to have to be a novel, so what about William Horwood: Skallagrigg? It's deeply flawed, I would even say broken, but it's flawed in ways that few other novels are and the parts of it that work are breathtakingly brilliant, also in highly original ways.

I'd certainly give it a chance on your recommendation; I bounced hard off Horwood's first wolves book though, if that's a relevant datum.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-14 05:41 pm (UTC)
mathcathy: number ball (Default)
From: [personal profile] mathcathy
Leon Uris is a fabulous author: Exodus is where I started, and the film I recommended a couple of weeks ago.

I'd have recommended Robin Hobb, but someone already did. I'd say, though, that although Assassin's Apprentice is the first, I preferred Shaman's Crossing and Forest Mage to the previous three trilogies.

Also John Irving. I haven't read him obsessively, but have liked everything I've come across. I started with Cider House Rules, which was a terrible film but great book.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-14 06:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quizcustodet.livejournal.com
Two recommendations for 'classic' SF and Fantasy:
- Gordon R. Dickson's 'Tactics of Mistake', 'Dorsai!' and 'Soldier, Ask Not'. (Listed roughly in order of preference). Dickson writes military sci-fi that actually explores some ideas. They're not perfect, by any means, but I enjoyed reading them all.
- Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser stories. These are classic pulp magazine fodder - swords and sorcery pretty much covers it. But they've got a really intricate and fun setting in Lankhmar, and aside from the fun of reading them on their own it's quite fun spotting where later authors have been inspired from them. Since you'd like a specific title, I'll recommend The First Book of Lankhmar (http://www.amazon.co.uk/First-Lankhmar-Millennium-Fantasy-Masterworks/dp/1857983270/ref=pd_bowtega_1/203-9671659-2428705?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1181845275&sr=1-1).

Also, since I've been exploring e-music recently (bearing in mind that the only thing I know about your musical taste is that you like the Levellers) my favorites so far have been:
- The Decembrists - my favorite tracks are "The Legionnaire's Lament" and "Odalisque"
- Chumbawumba - [livejournal.com profile] shreena and I heard them at last year's Big Session, singing most of the songs from 'A Singsong and a Scrap'. I like "Walking into Battle with the Lord", "Bankrobber" and "Bella Ciao".
- Billy Bragg - [livejournal.com profile] shreena recommended 'Don't Try This at Home', from which I particularly enjoyed "North Sea Bubble", "You Woke Up My Neighborhood" and "Everywhere"

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-16 10:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lethargic-man.livejournal.com
Chumbawamba, damn it! Both of you! ;^b

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-14 06:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dampscribbler.livejournal.com
The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood. I just read your review of The Handmaid's Tale, and many of the things I love about Atwood's work seem not to appeal to you, but TBA and, in my recollection, Alias Grace aren't as overwhelmed by the clever language useages. Because she's my favorite writer I do hope you'll try her again.

Unfortunately I've read far too few books in the past three years, so I don't have much to suggest. Unless you want to see the list of books in my "to be read" queue.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-15 05:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dampscribbler.livejournal.com
Thanks for the suggestions. More to add to the queue!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-14 07:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hatam-soferet.livejournal.com
I just read The Serpent Garden (http://www.amazon.com/Serpent-Garden-Judith-Merkle-Riley/dp/0140258809), which is quite silly and thoroughly enjoyable, The Dance of Anger which was omg amazing, Enigma by Robert Harris, and I'm lusting after reading Rats (http://www.amazon.com/Rats-Observations-History-Unwanted-Inhabitants/dp/1582343853) but I have to wait until Friend B can get it back from Friend C and give it to Friend A to give to me. Oh, and [livejournal.com profile] misia's book, of course, Virgin (http://www.amazon.com/Virgin-Untouched-History-Hanne-Blank/dp/1596910100).

You don't have to recommend anything back, I already have an Amazon wish list a mile long :)

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-14 11:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beckyzoole.livejournal.com
I just pulled a few books from the shelf that I've enjoyed recently. In no particular order, they are:
  • Self-Made Man: One Woman's Journey into Manhood and Back Again, Norah Vincent (nonfiction)

  • The Botany of Desire: a Plant's-Eye View of the World, Michael Pollan (nonfiction)

  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee (autobiography disguised as fiction, and you've probably read it already, but I find more and more in it every time I reread it. If you have not read it, move it to the top of your list, it's that good.)

  • The Great Influenza: the Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History, John M. Barry (nonfiction)

  • The Sex Lives of Cannibals, J. Maarten Troost (nonfiction and funny as all get out)

  • God Against the Gods: the History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism, Jonathan Kirsch (nonfiction)

  • The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory (fiction that gets its history wrong wrong wrong, but a good trashy read)

  • Temeraire: In the Service of the King, Naomi Novik (fiction, alternate-history fantasy, first published as the three separate books His Majesty's Dragon, Throne of Jade, and Black Powder War.)

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-15 04:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] awful-dynne.livejournal.com
Though you said in your entry that you prefer secular to sacred and instrumental to vocal, if you haven't listened to Bach's St. Matthew's Passion you should check it out.

recording of Bach's St. Matthew's Passion

Date: 2007-06-17 05:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] awful-dynne.livejournal.com
The only recording that I have extensively listened to is The English Baroque Soloists version, directed by John Gardiner. I really like that particular recording, but, as I said, it is the one I listened to while I was studying The Passion in school, so it is the only one that I know. I remember that one time in class, another recording was put on and my classmates who were presenting on that particular day specifically asked for the recording that we had all been given(the Gardiner one) to be played instead because they found that the one that was put on was too slow. Hopefully that is helpful information? Enjoy!! It really is wonderful to listen to, and to sing!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-06-17 05:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] curious-reader.livejournal.com
What about "Surviving with wolves"? I haven't read it yet but it was very recommended by Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg. The story character is real. She wrote her own story. She survived as a little girl during the holocaust in the forest with wolves. She ran away from her adoptive parents and travels from country to country to get back to her actually home in Belgium where she properly tries to find her parents. She meets wolves who feed her and care for her. I have never heard such a story before. I sounds extremely fascinating for me.

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Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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