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What are you Reading? v2

Tatiana Dokuchic
@tatiana-dokuchic
6 years ago
1,884 posts

I'm always looking for reading suggestions so I thought it would be fun to make a list of books currently being read.

What are you reading now?

Please note that this is a continuation of the original  What are you Reading?




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Proprietress of Tatiana's Tea Room ~ Owner of the Provence Coeur Estate ~ Webmistress of this site
Tatiana Dokuchic
@tatiana-dokuchic
6 years ago
1,884 posts

I just finished Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.jpg

Knowing it was a script I wasn't sure if I would enjoy it but after seeing it at the top of the Bestseller Lists for a bit I decided to give it a whirl.

I found it kind of "meh".  I can see how it works better as a play than a novel since you would get to revisit the whole HP experience on stage.  I found Albus a tad annoying as he tends to be a bit of a whiner.  On the bright side, it did have some interesting twists and it was nice to see what various "old friends" had done with their lives.  Somehow I guess I just expected more :)

Have you read it?  What did you think?




--
Proprietress of Tatiana's Tea Room ~ Owner of the Provence Coeur Estate ~ Webmistress of this site
Leopoldina
@leopoldina
6 years ago
280 posts

I've been reading Peter the Great: His life and Work by Robert K. Massie. I loved his book about Catherine the Great, it has to be one of my favorite biographies, with the perfect blend of her personal life and politics. I'm finding myself less engaged in Peter's biography, but it is a great book and I look forward to finishing it. [I'd put a picture, but I can't figure it out how to use images from the web without having to save them first]

Another book that I'm taking a while to finish, not for the fault of the book but rather by being so busy both irl and in SL is Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, by Jared Diamond. The book's theme is about why some societies have progresses quicker than others, and in turn conquered them. That's a question/theme I have been interested lately, but I haven't been able to fully dedicate myself to reading it yet.



updated by @leopoldina: 25 Oct 2016 06:24:10PM
Tatiana Dokuchic
@tatiana-dokuchic
6 years ago
1,884 posts

Massie's book about Catherine the Great is one of my favourites as well, @leopoldina.  Perhaps it's because I find her so fascinating. 

Peter, though interesting, was just so ruthless.  Perhaps he had to be so to survive & thrive in his environment?  I always wonder the same about Henry VIII.  Would kinder men have made it as far as they did?

Both The Romanov's - The Final Chapter and Nicholas and Alexandra are good reads though knowing how the story ends makes me dread finishing the books.  I'm always trying to find a way for them to escape their fates.

BTW: I've searched JR and I don't think you can post images straight from the web.  They have to be local to your machine first.  I'm guessing that this is mainly a security feature.




--
Proprietress of Tatiana's Tea Room ~ Owner of the Provence Coeur Estate ~ Webmistress of this site
Zed Tremont
@zed-tremont
6 years ago
14 posts

I knew this section existed and happy to find it again. Love to read. So since I've never been active here a resume of the last books. Though not my native language those where the French versions.

1. Les Plantagenets, Dan Jones, (The Plantagenets)

Even though this is more a historical work it does read as a novel. Covers the period of the Plantagenets, a for European history, extremely important family whom stands on the base of what we can call "modern" England. Their reign over vast territories which belong now to France, the 100 years wars.

For people interested in this period of the middle ages I dare to recommend it. Gives a real good extended intro of the period and makes quite some still "hanging irons" in Europe visible.

2.Les pilliers de la terre 1 and 2; Ken Follett (The Pillars of The Earth)

Loved this novel and you're in for a couple of pages. Medieval era, XIII century, the time of the building of the great cathedrals and the evolution of them. Nice build up characters and the phychology of them. Good plot with a acceptable view of the time. 

A recommendation.

3. Un monde sans fin, Kenn Follett; (World without end)

If you want a continuation of Les pilliers de la terre.

France 14th century.

Right... enjoyed the story but

Contrary to his former two books, in my eyes, it doesn't reach the same level. The characters are not so well "drawn" as before. As if he wanted to start quite some plots with perhaps too many important characters and in the end couldn't follow them all anymore leading to too many "loose ends". Regularly rather large time lapses so that Kenn Follett leaves you wondering what happened with specific persons or they get a bit a very convenient end. Got the impression that for the first 200 pages he took a relatively slow pace and spun it a bit too much out. Then discovered on the end that he had to do the exact oposite and compress the story too much.

I don't say it's a bad book though for sure not on the same level.

Thx for your comment on harry Potter and the cursed child Tatiana was a bit hesitating to purchase it but decided for a no go. Have the feeling I'm don't have to regret that decision :)

Tatiana Dokuchic
@tatiana-dokuchic
6 years ago
1,884 posts

Glad you found your way here, Zed!

The Plantagenets sound like an excellent read.  Thanks for the recommendation; I'll have to check it out.

I agree with your assessment of The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End.  TPOTE was by far my favourite as well.  Loved learning about the architecture of the cathedrals, the mathematics behind it and the use of symmetry which not only was beautiful but was a cost saving measure.




--
Proprietress of Tatiana's Tea Room ~ Owner of the Provence Coeur Estate ~ Webmistress of this site
Zed Tremont
@zed-tremont
6 years ago
14 posts

:) My pleasure.

If you loved TPOTE then they recommended me another book a novel that is even more specific about the building of cathedrals; Le printemp des cathedrales by Jean Diwo. Got it but first have to finish two other books before I can start with that one. I tried to see if a translation in English exists but failed. Perhaps you find one if interested.

Also found Cathedral, forge and waterwheel; technology and Invention in the Middle ages, by Frances & Joseph Gies having interesting points of view, not a novel but looks to do the era of the "dark ages" from another angle and show that they where far less dark then what I learned as a kid lol. More a logical period in the advent of the renaissance.

Tatiana Dokuchic
@tatiana-dokuchic
6 years ago
1,884 posts

Not my regular genre, but I absolutely loved The Nix.

The Nix.jpg  

Meet Samuel Andresen-Anderson - stalled writer, bored teacher at a local college, obsessive player of online video games. He hasn't seen his mother, Faye, in decades, not since she abandoned her family when he was a boy. Now she has suddenly reappeared, having committed an absurd politically-motivated crime that electrifies the nightly news, beguiles the Internet, and inflames a 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.

As Samuel begins to excavate his mother's - and his country's - history, the story moves from the rural Midwest of the 1960s, to New York City during the Great Recession and the Occupy Wall Street movement, and back to the infamous riots at the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention. Finally, the trail leads him to wartime Norway, home of the mysterious Nix that his mother told him about as a child, a spirit that can take the shape of a white horse, luring children to their deaths. And in these places, Samuel will unexpectedly find that he has to rethink everything he ever knew about his mother - a woman with an epic story of her own, a story she has kept hidden from the world.

Well-drawn characters; I was rooting for some and really hoping others would get their just deserts.  Loved the insights, including the guys that play a fictional MMO called Elfscape.  The team leader spends five hours a day just in preparation for "having fun" later in the evening with his crew.  A cautionary tale for sure ;)

The plot kept me guessing and I ended up binge-reading to get to the conclusion.

Highly recommended!




--
Proprietress of Tatiana's Tea Room ~ Owner of the Provence Coeur Estate ~ Webmistress of this site
Tatiana Dokuchic
@tatiana-dokuchic
6 years ago
1,884 posts

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell  ~ What Fantastic Footnotes!

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At the dawn of the nineteenth century, two very different magicians emerge to change England's history. In the year 1806, with the Napoleonic Wars raging on land and sea, most people believe magic to be long dead in England-until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers, and becomes a celebrity overnight.

Soon, another practicing magician comes forth: the young, handsome, and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell's student, and they join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, straining his partnership with Norrell, and putting at risk everything else he holds dear

I guess that I'm a bit late to the world of Strange & Norrell as it was published back in 2004 but better late than never.  I was a bit lost the first few chapters until I realized that this novel is best approached as an alternative history and the footnotes are essential in drawing you into that world.  I'm usually a footnote skipper so I had to backtrack a bit to get into the groove.

Strange & Norrell barely scratches the surface of Susanna Clarke's imaginings and I was sorry when the book ended though I understand another may follow focusing on some of the minor characters.  There's also The Ladies of Grace Adieu which I intend to read for my next Faerie fix and I've just started watching the BBC Series. 

Lots of magic going on here!

Have you read it or seen the series?  What did you think?




--
Proprietress of Tatiana's Tea Room ~ Owner of the Provence Coeur Estate ~ Webmistress of this site
Leopoldina
@leopoldina
6 years ago
280 posts

I've read My Years in Paris by Pauline Von Metternich. Her husband was the ambassador of Austria from 1860 until the demise of the Second French Empire. The written style is very simple, it's as if Pauline herself was telling you about these events, with a lot of charm and wit. I can't recommend it enough, I read it in about two sittings, I couldn't stop reading once I started!

Now I've started Mrs. Delany: a memoir which is about the life of Mary Granville in 18th century England. It was mentioned in that documentary I posted here, A Very British Romance, and it is really good. 

Tatiana Dokuchic
@tatiana-dokuchic
5 years ago
1,884 posts

The Witches of New York: A Novel  by Ami McKay

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In the vein of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, comes a new novel from historical fiction maven Ami McKay that transports readers to the heart of Victorian New York, where three witches practice their craft—to the delight of some—but at their own peril.

A most enjoyable read, beautifully written with wonderful atmosphere.  I particularly enjoyed the references to Cleopatra's Needle  as I've seen its twin in London, England.  Now that I've gotten to know the characters I really wish I could learn more of their lives.  Fingers crossed that Ms McKay will provide further tales of these feisty witches.




--
Proprietress of Tatiana's Tea Room ~ Owner of the Provence Coeur Estate ~ Webmistress of this site

updated by @tatiana-dokuchic: 24 Jan 2017 08:56:24AM
Tatiana Dokuchic
@tatiana-dokuchic
5 years ago
1,884 posts

I recently discoverd Sarah Dunant's writings about the Borgias and found them to be quite engrossing. 

Blood And Beauty  is the first of the set followed by In the Name of the Family: A Novel  (which just came out last month). 

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Ms Dunant manages to unravel history for me in a way that is both entertaining and enlightening.  It was a pleasure to meet not only the Borgia family but Machiavelli as well.  Da Vinci, Michelangelo and other great names pop up repeatedly showing just how rich & complex Renaissance Italy truly was.

The plotting & politics are fascinating; murder & marriage being on equal footing when it comes to creating alliances.  I wouldn't have lasted five minutes in that environment where thinking like a psychopath seems to have been a prerequisite for survival. At least Dunant's take on Lucrezia is a bit more sympathetic then the "poisoner" of novels & film.

The orgins of syphilis are also a bit of an eye opener.  Where it came from, how it spread and the impact on families gives pause for thought.

All in all a marvelous read. I'll definitely be checking out more of Dunant's work.




--
Proprietress of Tatiana's Tea Room ~ Owner of the Provence Coeur Estate ~ Webmistress of this site