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Thread: What Are You Reading?

  1. #631
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    Default Re: What Are You Reading?

    The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty by Sebastian Barry (for the second time - clearing out vast numbers of books does get you re-reading stuff)

    Barry is a wonderful writer.
    "Mozart is the heart's touchstone" (Edwin Fischer)

  2. #632
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    I find it almost impossible to read fiction these days. I might start but seldom finish, knowing it's just a story and unimportant means I lose interest quickly. So I don't buy any.

  3. #633
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    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    I find it almost impossible to read fiction these days. I might start but seldom finish, knowing it's just a story and unimportant means I lose interest quickly. So I don't buy any.
    That's too bad. I view fiction as far from unimportant. It's just a different way of viewing the world. A useful adjunct to non-fiction. An alternative way, and often a better one, to sidle up to truth. Fiction is a way of traveling to far places without leaving your home... of meeting types of people one will never meet in real life (nor, in some cases, would you want to)... of gaining perspective and understanding that one would never garner otherwise.

    I just reread 'Wayfaring Stranger' by James Lee Burke. Which is a book that shines at illustrating what I just said. When I read it the first time, I was still so muddy-headed from the cancer treatment that I didn't fully appreciate it. This time I realized his laconic style disguises a density of diamonds. I do believe there is more wisdom packed into the first 100 pages than in any book I've picked up.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  4. #634
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    Since a few years my pile of cookbooks is growing bigger then the boatbooks. And to save shelfspace I have more and more ebooks. The last is Tom Pamperins' Jagular goes anywhere' ( hope I spell the title well)

  5. #635
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    When, as a young man in the 1880s, Benjamin Lundy signed up for duty aboard a square-rigged commercial sailing vessel, he began a journey more exciting, and more terrifying, than he could have ever imagined: a treacherous, white-knuckle passage around that notorious "graveyard of ships," Cape Horn.

    A century later, Derek Lundy, author of the bestselling Godforsaken Sea and an accomplished amateur seaman himself, set out to recount his forebear's journey. The Way of a Ship is a mesmerizing account of life on board a square-rigger, a remarkable reconstruction of a harrowing voyage through the most dangerous waters. Derek Lundy's masterful account evokes the excitement, romance, and brutality of a bygone era -- "a fantastic ride through one of the greatest moments in the history of adventure" (Seattle Times).
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  6. #636
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    The Man who Loved Dogs, by Leonardo Paduro. He’s also written an amazing noir series about a Havana police detective who aspires to be a writer, and failing that,a rare book collector. Definitely worth a look.

  7. #637
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    On Tyranny Tim Snyder, a quick one day read, a frightening look at where we are headed. It's 3 bucks...get it.

    PaulF

  8. #638
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    Circe, a retelling of Greek myth from the witch's point-of-view.



    Like it so far. Circe is a popular subject, much abused.

    This is my favourite painting by Waterhouse: Circe Invidiosa.

    Last edited by Chip-skiff; 04-12-2018 at 01:01 PM.
    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  9. #639
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    Archaeology, Zimbabwe and the African east coast to the north along the old trade routes.
    Lots and lots of ancient gold mines.

  10. #640
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    The History of Underclothes, by C. Willett and Phyllis Cunnington. Exactly what it sounds like, from Middle Ages to ca. 1950.

    American Fire, by Monica Hesse. Arson and romance gone very, very wrong on Virginia's Eastern Shore.
    "George Washington as a boy
    was ignorant of the commonest
    accomplishments of youth.
    He could not even lie."

    -- Mark Twain

  11. #641
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    . Arson and romance gone very, very wrong on Virginia's Eastern Shore.
    Sounds like a hunk, a hunk of burnin’ love.

  12. #642
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    Rereading Norman Maclean's "Logging and Pimping, and 'Your Pal, Jim"'. It's one of the stories in "A River Runs Through It". I've been working on some crosscut saw related stuff recently (not pimping) and this story's humorous descriptions of the character 'Jim' and being on the end of a crosscut with him while logging early in the last century just crack me up. And it's just plain, pleasant writing. I'll probably go ahead and reread the other stories too; it's been a few decades since my first read of them.

  13. #643
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    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    I just reread 'Wayfaring Stranger' by James Lee Burke. Which is a book that shines at illustrating what I just said. When I read it the first time, I was still so muddy-headed from the cancer treatment that I didn't fully appreciate it. This time I realized his laconic style disguises a density of diamonds. I do believe there is more wisdom packed into the first 100 pages than in any book I've picked up.
    Burke is an incredible author. I first encountered him with "In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead." He's at the top of my favorites list.
    "The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed." William Gibson

  14. #644
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    "If you could travel back in time, the period from 1660 to 1700 would make one of the most exciting destinations in history. It is the age of Samuel Pepys and the Great Fire of London; bawdy comedy and the libertine court of Charles II; Christopher Wren in architecture, Henry Purcell in music and Isaac Newton in science ― the civil wars are over and a magnificent new era has begun.

    But what would it really be like to live in Restoration Britain? Where would you stay and what would you eat? What would you wear and where would you do your shopping? The third volume in the series of Ian Mortimer’s bestselling Time Traveller’s Guides answers the crucial questions that a prospective traveller to seventeenth-century Britain would ask.

    How much should you pay for one of those elaborate wigs? Should you trust a physician who advises you to drink fresh cow’s urine to cure your gout? Why are boys made to smoke in school? And why are you unlikely to get a fair trial in court?

    People’s lives are changing rapidly – from a world of superstition and religious explanation to rationalism and scientific calculation. In many respects the period sees the tipping point between the old world and the new as fear and uncertainty, hardship and eating with your fingers give way to curiosity and professionalism, fine wines and knives and forks. Travelling to Restoration Britain encourages us to reflect on the customs and practices of daily life – and this unique guide not only teaches us about the seventeenth century but makes us look with fresh eyes at the modern world."

    Nick

  15. #645
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    I just picked up Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff. Fascinating.
    One of the most enduring qualities of an old wooden boat is the smell it imparts to your clothing.

  16. #646
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    Quote Originally Posted by webishop14 View Post
    Burke is an incredible author. I first encountered him with "In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead." He's at the top of my favorites list.
    Picked up his first Robicheaux book and damn can that man write!!! Thank you guys!

    What are you doing about it?




  17. #647
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    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  18. #648
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    I'm intrigued by this one, but haven't read it yet. Please do report back.


    From NYT --

    Ms. Isenberg’s project in “White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America” is to retell United States history in a manner that not only includes the weak, the powerless and the stigmatized, but also places them front and center.

    As such, she has written an eloquent volume that is more discomforting and more necessary than a semitrailer filled with new biographies of the founding fathers and the most beloved presidents. (Look, here are six more in my mailbox.) Viewed from below, a good angle for no one, America’s history is usefully disorienting and nearly always appalling. “White Trash” will have you squirming in your chair.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  19. #649
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    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    “White Trash” will have you squirming in your chair.
    Frankly, they have for years.

  20. #650
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    Sort of obscure, this details the story of the German fleet of square rigged ships bottled up in the Gulf of California for the duration of Ww1
    Non-fiction, almost a textbook I read it 30 years ago and am reading it again. Eventually the sailors abandonded ship one by one and walked to San Francisco!( Harold was a friend of my uncle, both settled in PNW they held unlimited masters tickets.)


  21. #651
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    The Wife's Tale by Aida Edemariam. Beautifully written personal history/biography set in Ethiopia.

    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  22. #652
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    "An Utterly Impartial History of Britain " Informative and highly amusing!
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  23. #653
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  24. #654
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    I don't care to know what the tough do when the going gets tough.

    I am interested in what the enlightened do.

  25. #655
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Mahan View Post
    That's a good one. His latest is apparently very good too.

    What are you doing about it?




  26. #656
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    Someone (Rum Pirate?) recently started a thread about Dan Brown’s “Origin”. I can’t find the thread so I’ll post here. I said on that thread that I’m skeptical of grocery store novels like that, but I read it anyway. I have to admit, it was a pretty decent page turner and a fun plot, although very formulaic in the Dan Brown style, (Langdon (Tom Hanks) and a beautiful woman chase secret society bad guys through cathedrals.) But still I enjoyed this one more maybe due to the subject of the plot. Anyway, a refreshing intermission to some NF I’m laboring through.

  27. #657
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    These are the books by my bed, i read every night.

    The red badge of courage.

    Holyfield...the boxer.

    Moby dick.

    The paradigm.

    The forgotten soldier.

    Isaiah. J vernon magee.

    Stalingrad...antony beevor.

    Frozen in time.

    The mathews men.

    A life wild and perilous..... mountain men..

    Sinitra.

    Life among the piutes.

    American gun.chrid kyle.

    Nine stories jd salinger.

    Ava gardner bio.

    True stories of great escapes.

    A letter to my son..

    Mark of the grizzly.

    A history of wine

  28. #658
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    An interesting book, I'm about half way through it. An interesting author too.

    http://rhodesproject.com/kathleen-burk-profile/

    Nick

  29. #659
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    Same as before, African archaeology and parts of another earlier volume on the subject of observed and measured ruins by David Livingstone.
    Both are now in my own library.

  30. #660
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    Tristes Tropiques by Claude Levi-Strauss

    If you're into anthropology, as studied through travel in an older time via ship and land.
    Philiosophical reflection on a formative phase in his career.

    Watching the passage of the sun through a day while at sea between France and Brazil:

    At twenty to six in the evening the sky in the west seemed
    encumbered with a complicated edifice, horizontal at its base, which
    was so exactly like the sea that one would have thought it had been
    sucked up out of it in some incomprehensible way, or that a thick and
    invisible layer of crystal had been inserted between the two. Attached
    to its summit suspended, as it were, to the very top of the sky as if
    by some heaviness in reverse were flimsy scaffoldings, bloated
    pyramids, vapours arrested in the act of boiling not clouds, one would
    have said, but sculptured imitations of clouds; and yet clouds have
    themselves that same quality, the polished and rounded look of wood
    that has been carved and gilded. The whole mass masked the sun and
    was dark, with occasional highlights, except towards the summit,
    where it was beginning to break into little flames.

    Higher still in the sky were mottled shapes that came apart in
    insubstantial and fugacious wisps and curls: pure light, they seemed, in
    texture.

    Following the horizon round towards the north one could see the
    main edifice grow thinner and vanish in a complication of clouds
    behind which, in the far distance, a lofty strip of vapour could be
    discerned; it was effervescent along its top, and on the side nearest the
    still-invisible sun the light gave its outline a heavily modelled hem.
    Farther to the north the element of modelling disappeared and nothing
    remained but the strip itself, flat and lustreless, as it merged with the sea.
    To the south this same strip re-emerged, this time with great
    massive blocks of cloud above it that stood like cosmological dolmens
    on the smoky crests of their understructure.

    When one turned one s back on the sun and gazed eastwards there
    could be seen two long thin superimposed groups of cloud that stood
    out as if in their own light against a background of ramparts: battle
    ments heavy-breasted and yet ethereal, pearly and soft with reflections
    of pink and silver and mauve.

    Meanwhile the sun was gradually coming into view behind the
    celestial reefs that blocked the view to the west; as it progressed
    downwards inch by inch its rays would disperse the mists or force their
    way through, throwing into relief as they did so whatever had stood
    in their way, and dissipating it in a mass of circular fragments, each
    with a size and a luminous intensity all its own. Sometimes the light
    would gather together, as one might clench one s fist, and through
    the sleeve-end would appear, at most, two or three stiff and glitter
    ing fingers. Or else an incandescent octopus would come forward
    momentarily from the vaporous grottoes.

    Every sunset has two distinct phases. At the beginning the sun plays
    the role of architect. Later, when its rays no longer shine directly and
    are merely reflections, it turns into a painter. As soon as it disappears
    behind the horizon the light weakens and the complexity of the planes
    becomes ever greater and greater. Broad daylight is the enemy of
    perspective, but, between day and night, there is a moment of
    transition at which the architecture of the skies is as fantastic as it is
    ephemeral. When darkness comes, everything flattens down again, like
    some marvellously coloured Japanese toy.

    At exactly a quarter to six the first phase began. The sun was already
    low, but had not yet touched the horizon. At the moment when it
    appeared beneath the cloud-structure, it seemed to break open like the
    yolk of an egg and its light spilled over the forms to which it was still
    attached. This burst of bright light was soon followed by a withdrawal;
    the sun s surroundings lost all brilliance and in the empty space that
    marked off the topmost limit of the sea from the bottom of the cloud-
    structure there could be seen a cordillera of vapours, which had but
    lately been so dazzling as to be indecipherable and was now darkened
    and sharp-pointed. At the same time it began to belly out, where
    originally it had been quite flat. These small objects, black and solid,
    moved to and fro, lazy-bodied migrants, across a large patch of
    reddening sky which marked the beginning of the colour-phase and
    was slowly mounting upwards from the horizon.

    Gradually the evening s constructions-in-depth began to dismantle
    themselves. The mass which had stood all day in the sky to the west
    seemed to have been beaten flat like a metal leaf, and behind it was a
    fire first golden, then vermilion, then cerise. This fire was beginning
    to work on the elaborate clouds melting, disintegrating, and finally
    volatilizing them in a whirlwind of tiny particles.

    Network after network of fine vapours rose high in the sky; they
    seemed to stretch in all directions horizontal, oblique, perpendicular,
    even spiral. As the sun s rays went down (like a bow that must be tilted
    this way or that, according to which string we seek to use) they caught
    one after another of these and sent them flying in a gamut of colour
    which one would have thought to be the exclusive and arbitrary
    property of each one in turn. When it appeared, each network seemed
    as exact, as precise, and as rigid in its fragility as fine-spun glass, but
    gradually they all dissolved, as if their substance had been over-heated
    by exposure in a sky which was everywhere in flames; their colour lost
    its brightness and their outline its individuality, until finally each
    vanished from the scene, giving place to a new network, and one
    freshly spun. In the end it was difficult to distinguish one colour from
    the next just as liquids of different colour and density will at first seem
    to keep their individuality when they are poured into the same glass,
    only to mingle later for all their apparent independence.

    After that it became difficult to follow a spectacle which seemed to
    be repeating itself in distant parts of the sky, at intervals sometimes of
    several minutes, sometimes of a second or two. When the sun s disc cut
    down into the western horizon we suddenly saw, very high up in the
    east, clouds acid-mauve in tonality which had hitherto been invisible.
    After a rapid efflorescence and enrichment these apparitions vanished
    slowly, from right to left, at their moment of greatest subtlety, just as
    if someone were wiping them away firmly and unhurriedly with a
    piece of cloth. After a few seconds nothing remained but the cleaned
    slate of the sky above the nebulous cloud-rampart. And this rampart
    was turning to white and grey while the rest of the sky went rose-
    pink.

    Over towards the sun the old strip of cloud had receded into a
    shapeless block of cement, and behind it a new long strip was flaming
    in its turn; when its rednesses turned pale the mottled patches at the
    zenith, whose turn had not yet come, began to take on weight. Below
    there was a great burst of gold; above, where the summit had glittered,
    it turned first to chestnut, then to violet. At the same time we seemed to
    be scrutinizing its texture through a microscope; and it turned out to be
    made up of a thousand little filaments, each supporting, like a skeleton,
    its plump little forms.

    The sun no longer shone directly. The colour-range of the sky
    was pink and yellow; shrimp-pink, salmon-pink, flax-yellow, straw-
    yellow; and this unemphatic richness was, in its turn, disappearing, as
    the celestial landscape re-formed in a gamut of white and blue and
    green. Yet a few corners of the horizon were still enjoying a brief
    independence. To the left, the atmosphere was suddenly veiled a
    whim, one would have thought, on tike part of a mysterious com
    bination of greens. And these greens merged progressively into a group
    of reds intense to begin with, then darker, then tinged with violet,
    then smudged with coal, and evolving at the very end into the tracery
    of a stick of charcoal on granulated paper. The sky behind was an
    Alpine yellow-green and the strip of cloud, still firmly outlined,
    remained opaque. In the westerly sky little horizontal stripes of gold
    glimmered for an instant, but to the north it was almost dark; the full-
    breasted rampart had dwindled to a series of whitish swellings beneath
    a chalky sky.
    "People should be able to access these benefits [Social Welfare] as a matter of right, with no more loss of their own standards of self-respect than would be involved in collecting from an insurance company the proceeds of an endowment policy on which they have been paying premiums for years."
    Robert Menzies - Liberal Party (Conservative) Prime Minister of Australia.

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    Continued;

    Nothing is more mysterious than the ensemble of procedures,
    always identical and never predictable, by which night succeeds day.
    The first portent of these procedures is always a matter for doubt and
    anxiety. No one can tell what forms will be adopted, on this one
    particular occasion, by the night s insurrection. Impenetrable is the
    alchemy by which each colour transforms itself into its complementary
    colour, whereas, on the palette, as we all know, we should have to open
    another tube of paint to achieve this same result. Where night is
    concerned there is no limit to the minglings and comminglings which
    may be achieved; for night comes to us as a deceiver. The sky turns
    from pink to green; but it does so because I have failed to liotice that
    certain clouds have turned bright red and, in doing so, make the sky
    look green by contrast. The sky had, in effect, been pink; but a pink so
    pale that it could no longer struggle against the very high-keyed red;
    and yet I had not seen that red come into being, since a modulation
    from gold to red is less startling to the eye than a modulation from pink
    to green. It was by a trick, therefore, that night made its entrance into
    the sky.

    And so night began to deny the sky its golds and purples; warmth
    of tone gave place to whites and greys. The set stage of night began to
    reveal a sea landscape above the sea: an immense screen of clouds filing
    by like an archipelago of long thin islands in front of an ocean-wide
    sky; or like a flat sandy shore as it might look to a traveller in an
    aeroplane flying low on its side with one wing almost in the sea. The
    illusion was all the stronger for the fact that the last glimmers of day
    fell obliquely on these cloud-forms and gave them, in high relief, the
    air of solid rocks rocks too, at other times, are as if sculpted from light
    and shadow and it was as if the sun, no longer able to exercise its
    etching-needle on granite and porphyry, was lavishing its day-time
    skills on these vaporous and insubstantial subjects.

    The cloud background, therefore, was like the edge of an unnamed
    coast. And as the sky cleared we could see beaches, lagoons, islets by
    the hundred, and sandbanks overrun by the inactive ocean of the sky.
    Fjords and inland lakes appeared where all had been flat and smooth.
    And because the sky which surrounded these arrowy shapes was like
    an ocean, and because the sea normally reflects the colours of the sky,
    the scene was like the reconstruction of some distant landscape in which
    the sun was setting all over again. We had only to look at the real sea,
    far below, to escape from the mirage; that real sea had no longer either
    the white-hot flatness of noonday or the curling prettiness of after-
    dinner. No longer did the all-but-horizontal rays of daylight illuminate
    the tops of the little waves that looked towards them, leaving the rest
    in darkness. The water, too, was now seen in relief, and its precise and
    heavy shadows were as if cast in steel. All transparency had gone.
    And so, by a process at once unvarying and imperceptible, evening
    gave place to night. All was changed. The sky on the horizon was
    opaque, and above it the last clouds that had been brought into being
    by the day s end were scattering across a ground that was livid yellow
    at its base and turned blue towards its zenith. Soon they were but lean
    and weakly shadows, like scenery-frames seen without stage-lights; the
    performance over, we see them for what they are poor, fragile,
    ephemeral and owing the illusion of reality which they had helped
    to create not so much to their own nature as to some trickery of
    lighting or perspective. Only a few moments earlier they had been
    alive and in continual transformation; now they seem set fast in a form
    as sad as it is unalterable, in the middle of a sky which will soon merge
    them within its gathering darkness.
    "People should be able to access these benefits [Social Welfare] as a matter of right, with no more loss of their own standards of self-respect than would be involved in collecting from an insurance company the proceeds of an endowment policy on which they have been paying premiums for years."
    Robert Menzies - Liberal Party (Conservative) Prime Minister of Australia.

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    Seems like a lotta words to say: the sky's pretty tonight. <G>

    Just finished a spy thriller from Daniel Silva: House of Spies. Good story. Nice plotting. Not a ton of extraneous SupermanHeroism or implausible devices. I like thick books, because I can sink into that world for a while.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Alistair McLean's Death Train

    It was written by Alastair MacNiell based on a story by Alistair McLean

    Enjoy a good rum on the rocks at sunset.

  34. #664
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    Default Re: What Are You Reading?

    Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather.



    Quietly excellent description of landscape and characters.

    Since I've made a study of western American lit, it's odd that this is the first book by Cather that I've read.
    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  35. #665
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    23,564

    Default Re: What Are You Reading?

    Just re-read the Bromeliad, by Terry Pratchett.

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