Good books, Bad Books - you tell me : LUSENET : TheLife : One Thread

Ok, so I read a lot. A lot..! I still carry around my childhood dream of being the last person alive on this planet, and being able to live, undisturbed, in a bookshop. It used to be Waterstones on Charing Cross Rd, and then I moved onto Books Etc (on the same street) because they had a coffee shop too. Anyway, obviously now I live in Borders, South Yarra. It's my absolute favourite shop in the whole world - even more than that bizarre one at Century City Walk, Universal Studios that has 'Things you really don't neeeeeeeed, but MUST HAVE OR YOU WILL DIE..!!' (I have no idea what it was called, and Mat dragged me out of there before I was able to convince him that we really needed the old fashioned dentists chair, upholstered in deep red velvet. Oh, it was beeeeeautiful..)

Anyway - books. Recommend away, the best, the worst. I want to hear it all...

-- Immy (, August 28, 1999


I really liked "The End of Alice" by A.M. Homes.

If the idea of reading a story narrated by a pedophile doesn't do it for you, then you probably shouldn't read it. But if are looking for a challenge, I highly recommend it. -John

-- John (, August 30, 1999.

I wouldn't mind one of those private bookshops myself. Or perhaps I'll just go with my plan to have a personal library the size of the State Library someday... That'd be in the 'library wing' of my huge mansion. I reckon I have a not bad start with my 2 huge overflowing bookshelves here in my study and about 50 thousand boxes full stuffed in my parents roof and under their house (hopefully not eaten by bugs and spiders by now).

I don't remember seeing your bookshelves Immy, you must have quite a stock yourself! How many bookshelves (or books) do you reckon you might have? You don't ever throw them out do you? (I don't know how people can do that!)

Anyway, as for my book recommendations, I have already mentioned to you 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being' (and 'Immortality') by Milan Kundera. And I really think you should get into 'Fried Green Tomatoes' someday.

But some other books I have thought of that I haver read at least a few times were: 'Love takes you home' by Julie Capaldo, 'Follow Your Heart' by Susan Tamaro, 'Like Water for Chocolate' by Laura Esquivel, 'Fabulous Nobodies' by Lee Tulloch, 'Perfume' by Charles Suskind (do I recall you reading that during the course of your keeping a journal?).

Have you ever read any Erica Jong? I really used to love her books when I first discovered them. Trashy and fun. How about Charles Bukowski or Jack Kerouac? I liked a lot of their books too.

Apart from that, my most recent favourite books have been ones you have recommended to me or that I know that you have already read. I need some recommendations myself. Yes, I will get around to reading 'A Prayer for Owen Meany' soon. Once I finish 'Microserfs' (I've been reading that for ages and I'm still only just over half way through, which isn't as bad as my slow progress on 'The Penguin History of the World' which I've been reading for *eons* now. I think civilisation will have ended and history will have finished forever before I reach the end, just as the universe collapses. I used to devour books almost as fast as Immy, but these days I am such a slowpoke).

-- jamaica (, August 31, 1999.

So if you like John Irving (though "Owen" is good, my fav's are "Cider House Rules" and "Son of the Circus".... have you read Tom Robbins.. "Jitterbug Perfum" is the best, but "Woodpecker & I" and "Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas" are very good too... Then there's Armistead Maupins "Tales of the City" (which is five books) I went to San Francisco just cause of these books.

Then on another tangent altogether is Mary Wesley, a little lighter, but very good. Full on intricate and complicated characters. "Harnessing the Peacocks" is probably the best. She was 70 when her first novel got published.. but you'd never pick it.

Anyway I will stop now before I get carried away...

-- redjelly (, October 04, 1999.

Now that you're going to a PI I must recommend the V.I. Warshawski series by Sara Paretsky and the Kinsey Millhone series (A is for Alibi, B is for Burglar, etc.) by Sue Grafton. The best of the girl PIs, doncha know!

-- Dreama (, October 04, 1999.

I haven't read any Sara Paretsky, I think I've picked them up a few times, but not got around to actually purchasing one.. I'll give them a closer look next time I'm at Borders..

I have read most of the Sue Grafton series, and I do like the stories but Kinsey is a pain - she's always whittering on about how she doesn't want to be married or have children and how she PREFERS BEING SINGLE (mainly because Kinsey is the alter-ego of Sue Grafton herself, who admits she wrote the first novel instead of killing her husband and that Kinsey is the person she would have been if she hadn't married and had kids - but must these issues be forced down my neck in every single story..??@!@! - Apparently so..!)

I guess it's actually Sue Grafton that is a pain, not Kinsey. Ok, so she wishes she never got married, she wishes she hadn't had kids - but she has written (there is a brief interlude while Immy does some complicated head math. Ummmm, we're up to N for Noose now so if A=1...) ahhhhh.. some nineteen novels now and she should GET THE FUCK OVER IT..!

Suspension of disbelief - not..!

As for Tom Robbins, I was fishing for info about his books in an old forum of mine, and it was pretty much a 'You will love him or hate him' response.. Anyway, I dutifully went off to Borders and picked up 'Another Roadside Attraction' and took myself to the coffee shop and read the first chapter..

The jury is still out on that one.

I absolutely loved the Tales of The City series. Haven't read any Milan Kundera (and I did pick up The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and perhaps skimming the first two pages doesn't do it justice, but it didn't grab me. I may have to borrow your copy Jam..)

As for bookshelves - well - we don't have any. We keep meaning to buy some, but we keep meaning to buy a lot of things that never seem to appear because instead we spend our money on things we don't actually mean to buy (I think that sentence needs another comma but I'll be buggered if I can figure out where to put it, so I'm just going to ignore it and move on..)

I have no idea how many books I have, but I would never throw them away. I love them alllllllll.

Actually, I have thrown one book away, it was 'What Katya Did Next' written by some female Australian columnist whose name escapes me right now - ohh, hang on - Adele Lang..??? that might be it. Anyway, it was abysmal - I know that everyone with a pen is writing a 'Bridget Jones' type rip-off novel these days, and while most of the others just make me roll my eyes in exasperation, this one almost caused me to head to the knife drawer in search of something sharp.

Steer clear of that book - you only have one brain..

And thus ends todays Literary Critique by Immy. Punctuation Queen and bestselling author of absolutely nothing..

-- Immy (, October 06, 1999.

Postscript..!! That would be 14 novels. Ahem..!! N is the fourteenth letter of the alphabet, not the nineteenth. I knew that..

I told you it was complicated stuff.

Immy - Punctuation Queen, Bestselling Author and Rocket Scientist.

You know - when I'm a PI and someone tells me 'it doesn't add up' I won't be able to help them.

-- Immy (, October 06, 1999.

Hey, Jamaica! You HAVE to lend Immy that Penguin History of the World book! It sounds fascinating! History as viewed by penguins...what a great idea!

"In the beginning, everything was white. Apart from the wet bit with fish in it. Thousands of years passed, then some blokes on a boat turned up, threw a net over us and took us off to a zoo."

Riveting stuff.

Coming soon to a bookstore near you: The Polar Bear's Guide To The African Continent.

-- Mat (, October 06, 1999.

Yes, Mat! 'The Penguin History of the World' is certainly an enlightening read and poses a bold challenge to our anthropocentric view of history.

Why did you know that it wasn't the Egyptians that build the pyramids - it was the penguins! The invention of the wheel? Penguins, once again! In fact our whole civilisation was built on the backs and with the calloused flippers of the penguins. I've certainly gained a lot of respect for our tuxtedoed friends since reading this book.

-- jamaica (, October 06, 1999.

Anything by Jeffrey Archer I find a real page turner and thoroughly enjoy. The only problem is that because I always find it hard to put his books down, it tends to get in the way of such things as eating. sleep and of course (but not unfortunately) work!

-- celeste (, October 08, 1999.

If you like history and you don't mind REAL horror, I highly recommend "The Lucifer Princple" by Howard Bloom. It's the scariest book I have ever read, because it records just how crazy people can get in the name of greed and self interest. It just might give you a whole new outlook on how to deal with (in)humanity.

-- Rick Spilsbury (, October 19, 1999.

I used to read Jeffrey Archer, but I went off him after the one he wrote about the newspaper barons - I can't even remember what it was called now, but I do recall it being mind-numbingly dull and that I was struggling to even get through the first few chapters. I didn't finish it and haven't bought any of his books since.. I liked Kane & Abel (although it was a long time ago that I read it - I would have been all of 17..!!) and A Matter of Honor.

His short stories can be quite good too..

The Lucifer Principal sounds quite interesting, I'll keep my eye out for that one..

-- Immy (, October 23, 1999.

ergh... i haven't read a book properly for so long. i used to be able to plough through around five or six books a week, but not anymore. the last book i read was "the folk of the faraway tree" by enid blyton. last week. i kid you not. i had to hide it behind my notebook at work lest i be mocked beyond all hope of getting my dignity back. (actually, my dignity has been on a long holiday for about ten years. so i guess it didn't matter after all.)

ummm. well, i'll have to go with one of the other post-ers and agree with "half asleep in frog pajamas" by tom robbins. i got that for my 16th birthday, finally read it when i was 17, and found it brilliant.

i also recommend this really brilliant book by inga muscio... but i can't bring myself to say the title, so i'll just link it instead. anyway, it's all about womanhood, and empowerment, and moon cycles... yada yada yada, sounds a bit airy fairy in theory, but the book will have you laughing out loud. i promise. i bought it from because i was too afraid to go into borders and ask for it by title. i would have been thrown out.

and speaking of, i also ordered "american psycho" by bret easton ellis. DON'T. i repeat. DON'T. read this book. actually, if anyone wants to read it, they can have my copy. i gave up at around page 110. it's not that bad, i guess, but it gave me this awful case of the creeps. when you read something and you can't get it out of your head and it inhabits every thought with fear... well, that's not exactly healthy. i had to read enid blyton books for a while to get the nasty feeling out of my head.

on the other hand, my last purchase, "wake up! i'm fat!" by camryn manheim... brilliant, brilliant book. i love it! i've read it twice, and it's just... camryn is an amazing storyteller. her life up until being in "the practice" is one of the most interesting things i've ever read about. she kicks ass!

what else? "tirra lirra by the river" by jessica anderson was a required text for uni, but i loved it. "bag of bones" by stephen king was a recent read, and i quite liked it... 'twas intriguing and interesting, and his way of telling stories never really fails to entertain me. and... hm. i really haven't read a lot lately.

(i'm sure my book recommendations aren't the best ever. but we have to beat those poodle people!)

-- sammy (, November 19, 1999.

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