April Reading Thread

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Parson

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Still going through Firestarter by Stephen King. It has hit a slump right now and the villains really act like villains, professing his true nature to be psychotic. 55% in and it is still compelling
That's the only Stephen King book I've ever had any interest in. I read it and liked it a lot. You have an interesting ending coming.
 

Garfunkel

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Firestarter is the one everybody wants a sequel to.

Not The Shining with Dr Sleep
I actually really liked Doctor Sleep, but different strokes. :) Gotta get a copy of Firestarter...

I'm enjoying Duma Key. The main characters are compelling and I'm curious to see where things go. The pacing is a little languid, but I think it suits the story. Torn between reading another King after (Green Mile or Different Seasons, I think) or something else (Hannah Kent's The Good People or Kiran Millwood Hargrave's The Mercies, maybe).
 

Parson

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@Extollager Interesting! I would like to see it less expensive. Maybe the library when it opens again.
 

Extollager

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Finished a rereading of W. G. Sebald's The Rings of Saturn, which I'd first read only 14 months or so ago. I liked it very much and have ordered copies of his other three "novels."

Finished also Michael Hughes's biography of Stephen Graham (1884-1975), Beyond Holy Russia, which leaves me thinking I've read much of thebest of Graham already -- A Vagabond in the Caucasus, Undiscovered Russia, and With the Russian Pilgrims to Jerusalem. I have on hand A Tramp's Sketches, which perhaps I'll read with a bit of skipping. His The Moving Tent: Adventures with a Tent and Fishing Rod in Southern Jugoslavia sounds good, but I'm not sure I'll pick up any of his many others books with the expectation of reading them.
 

Extollager

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A few days ago, I started again (for the, uh, third time, maybe?) Little, Big. I've already gotten further than I had previously, but then, earlier today, I recommended to @nixie , on the "Light Reading" thread, a novel by Rumer Godden, which reminded me how much I love her writing. Soon after, my eyes alit on a book of Godden's I bought last summer, but didn't get around to reading, Greengage Summer. I picked it up, and 30 pages into it, I'm loving it. I'm hooked. So Mr. Crowley may have to wait a bit longer, again.
Hers is a name that keeps popping up and sounding interesting.

Kevin Crossley-Holland was a writer-in-residence in the US and gave a talk at a public library in Roseau, Minnesota, with an anecdote that, I think, kind of fell flat. When he was a boy, he set up a "museum" (perhaps in a shed) that passersby could visit, and they could leave a donation if they liked and sign the guest book. And one day he found that his book had been signed "Rumer Godden." But I'm afraid her name didn't mean anything to most or all of the people present. I'm not sure I would have recognized it then (I have a recording).

But what a lovely experience for the boy, or perhaps for the young man if it wasn't till then that he knew who had been to his "museum."
 

dask

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Wrote a lot of books it seems, including Black Narcissus, a great movie. Yeah, should keep an eye open for her stuff too when the world starts turning again.
 

tegeus-Cromis

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Hers is a name that keeps popping up and sounding interesting.

Kevin Crossley-Holland was a writer-in-residence in the US and gave a talk at a public library in Roseau, Minnesota, with an anecdote that, I think, kind of fell flat. When he was a boy, he set up a "museum" (perhaps in a shed) that passersby could visit, and they could leave a donation if they liked and sign the guest book. And one day he found that his book had been signed "Rumer Godden." But I'm afraid her name didn't mean anything to most or all of the people present. I'm not sure I would have recognized it then (I have a recording).

But what a lovely experience for the boy, or perhaps for the young man if it wasn't till then that he knew who had been to his "museum."
I wonder what she would have been doing in Minnesota, of all places? Her contemporary, and another one of my favorite writers, J.L. Carr, worked as an exchange teacher in South Dakota in 1937-1938. He wrote about how later in life he never even met any Americans who'd been to South Dakota, other than those who had been born there. (And admittedly, myself I've been to about 34 of the states -- but not SD.)

I know she lived for a while in Hollywood, staying with Jean Renoir while they were writing the script for The River. She had hated Powell and Pressburger's movie of Black Narcissus, largely because it was all shot in the studio in England (not P&P's fault, really: they had wanted to film it on location in India, but been told the budget didn't allow it), and was happy when Renoir wanted her to be a full collaborator on The River, which was shot exclusively on location, and is simply gorgeous.

(I think she also had some problems with the over-the-top, near-Gothic atmosphere of repressed hysteria in the BN film: that's definitely hinted at in the book, but it's only one element of a much subtler narrative. And I'm writing this as a P&P superfan.)

I'd say Kingfishers Catch Fire is definitely my favorite book of what I've read of hers. Black Narcissus and The River are quite extraordinary too. These are all set in India. I wanted to read more of her Indian novels, but Breakfast with the Nikolides was a bit of a letdown (same themes, not as interestingly written). Greengage Summer, which I'm reading currently, promises to be pretty high on the list too. (It's set in France, not in India, but provincial France -- the Marne, to be specific -- is treated as almost as exotic, to the English children who experience it for the first time.)
 

Extollager

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Sorry for arousing needless consternation! Kevin Crossley-Holland is a British author and editor, and was remembering something from his childhood. (I forget where, but it was on the coast somewhere, I think.) He was a writer-in-residence at the University of St. Thomas at the time, in St. Paul, Minnesota.
 

tegeus-Cromis

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Sorry for arousing needless consternation! Kevin Crossley-Holland is a British author and editor, and was remembering something from his childhood. (I forget where, but it was on the coast somewhere, I think.) He was a writer-in-residence at the University of St. Thomas at the time, in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Ah!
 

tobl

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so... i've been reading you guys are continuing to prepare to TWD... his thereany book i should read to prepare? i do like the ringo series
 

Hugh

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Jack Williamson "The Legion of Space"
A curiosity from the vaults. It may have been a good read for the SF target audience of 1934.......
 

tegeus-Cromis

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Finished Rumer Godden's Greengage Summer. Beautifully written, as expected. But about 75% of the way in, it took a strange turn from being primarily a lovely coming of age story into something like a mystery. Now, admittedly, looking back, you could find foreshadowings of this, and it looked like *something* was going to happen, but I hadn't expected it to involve a thorough change of genre. To my mind, the mystery plot brought an element of artifice that hadn't been there before, and the plot gears, so to speak, started making too much noise in what had previously been largely a quiet, hanging-out sort of novel. Even more problematically for me, the end is mainly geared toward concluding the mystery, but doesn't provide quite a suitable end for everything that had come before it. Pity, as I was enjoying it so much for most of its length, and the characters are so finely delineated. Actually, that's another problem I had with it: one of the characters, in the genre shift, goes from an intriguing albeit enigmatic personage to basically a cliche.
 
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