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Read any good books this winter?

Posted by big_mike z6 SEKS (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 26, 06 at 23:04

It's been unseasonably warm here, so I've been able to get outside quite a bit, but there are still the long nights to deal with. I got hooked on the Left Behind series in the Summer doldrums and ended up reading all 12 plus 2 of the 3 prequels (prequel 3 comes out in June), finishing them up just before Christmas. Then I got started back on John Grisham novels. I read A Painted House, King of Torts, and just finished The Broker. I checked out The Bear and the Dragon by Tom Clancy while I am waiting on The Last Juror to come back. As you can see, I like mystery, intrigue, and action. I decided last summer that there's no need for me to buy all these books when we have a perfectly good and well-stocked public library less than 3 blocks away. Any more book lovers out there?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Read any good books this winter?

Book Lover here as well and the card table next to my spot in the back room where I hang out has about 50 books waiting to be read and the bookcases out in the LV have perhaps 200 books still to be read along with many hundreds more that have been read, some of which need a reread.

My tastes in books is wide, but I prefer history as in American History non-fiction and British history , and fiction about same for both ( always room for some well written bodice rippers, LOL) , some biographies, plausible science fiction with a biological bent, fiction of all kinds, but not modern fiction, for the most part, and on and on including religion and also some more esoteric authors such as Rudolph Steiner and related authors.

Some of the better ones I'ver read so far this winter are:

The Amber Room, about what happened to it when it was removed from the Catherine Palace in St Petersburg at the start of WWII.

A Shadow in the Wind, which is a terrific mystery set in Madrid,30 and 40's era about books, and concentrates on one character trying to find a long lost author. I couldn't put it down. Newly available in the US in paperback.

Victoria's Daughters, about how Queen Victoria carefully planned the marriages of her several daughters to ruling or about to be rulers of many European countries.

Gorey, about Edward Gorey, the eccentric illustrator of many books and known for his cat illustrations as well as his many other characters.

Lark Rise to Candleford, which is a thinly disguised autobiography about life in the 1880's in a rural part of England and one of the most interesting books I've read in a long time.

Founding brothers, about Washington, Adams and friends illustrating that they weren't all good guys. LOL Great read. And great insight into the beginnings of this country.

Well that's enough for now. I'd have to take a look at the books on that card table to remember some of the others I've read recently. And will come back and list them as well.

I buy most of my books thru A Common Reader, Daedalus, where there are wonderful bargains on remaindered books, Bas Bleu, Edward Hamilton, another place to get remaindered books, as well as a local bookstore. Yes, I have access to our nearby Library, but I've always preferred buying my books so I can read at my own rate and with the darn walker now it's much more convenient for me to have my books here at home especially since I can't get out in the winter. And of course I order some from a local bookstore as well.

Carolyn, who reads a lot since she can't get out and about in the winter but it's a year round love at any time. And waiting for her first shipment of books from the History Book Club which I recently joined. Why shouldn't I if I can get McCullough's recent 1776 for one dollar. LOL But there's also a biography of Beethoven in there as well b'c I'm also a music lover, especially classical.

RE: Read any good books this winter?

A great fiction novel I discovered last winter (and I don't read much fiction) was "A Prayer for Owen Meany" by John Irving. A twisted mystery with a "wow" conclusion. I've read other John Irving novels since and have enjoyed them.

Carolyn, if you like American history, have you read any of the Lyndon Johnson biography series by Robert A. Caro? My BF, the political history junky, made me read them, and they turned out to be extremely interesting!

Another quick question for Carolyn...the Edward Gorey book you "Gorey" the title? I found a website that mentioned him a while back, by chance, and I was fascinated by some of his illustrations and macabre poetry. I've never seen another mention of him....I would like to find that book.

Let's see...I discovered Rumer Godden novels last summer and really enjoyed some of them. Also, "Empress Orchid" (can't remember the author's name) was great, all about the life of the last empress dowager of totally immerses you in the customs of life in the "forbidden city"...but then, I love all books about China and Chinese history. I blame that on Pearl S. Buck books from my teenage years!

Mostly I read nonfiction stuff related to my various interests and hobbies.

Can't wait to see what the rest of the forum recommends!


RE: Read any good books this winter?

For Christmas I get a fantasy series by George R.R. Martin called the Song of Ice and Fire Saga. The first four books of the series are between 850 and 1100 pages each. Lots of swords but not very much sorcery. I am ready to start the third book.

Inbetween each of those, I am reading political thrillers by Vince Flynn, whose main characters are a counter-terrorist operative and a whole bunch of inept, greedy, idiotic politicians and their evil, moneygrubbing, power hungry, sexist, egotistic chiefs-of-staff. The good guy has to fight the evil terrorists and the evil politicians and the equally evil media to save the world. Really good stories if you can get past the political rhetoric. Flynn is an equal opportunity politician hater....he hates all politicians.

Besides that, I read the National Geographic, Scientific American and Issac Asimov Science Fiction Magazine when they arrive.

My library is now down to about 500 books after moving to our new home. In July I donated about 300 books to a group that has book sales as a money maker. For some reason, I keep buying books and books and more books.

RE: Read any good books this winter?//


The title of the Edward Gorey book is Ascending Peculiarity. LOL Fits, doesn't it? It's a series of interviews done with him over a many year persiod of time and I just loved it, but then I love Gorey. LOL And many of his illustrations are there, as well.

As for Rumer Godden, I read about three of them, but they just didn't work for me. And re Pearl Buck, just last year I went back and read the Good Earth again and several others of hers.

And I don't like modern American History and that rules out Johnson, Bush, Truman, Nixon, Clinton and all. LOL Take me back to pre-1900 and I'm much happier, and take me back to pre-1800 and I'm the happiest.

Paul, this past summer I also gave away several hundred books to a local library for their book sale. A great way to clear the shelves for yet more books.

Speaking of which, I mentioned Daedalus in my post above, and wouldn't you know, the latest updated catalog came this AM, and wouldn't you know, they have some on rock bottom clearance and well, you know, I'll be calling in yet another order. LOL

Sometimes I read to learn, sometimes to be entertained, and sometimes to force myself to think. And as soon as I finish my current book I'm going back to some of my many unread Sci Fi, not fanatasy books, b'c there are certain authors that I really do like to read and I'm in the mood to be entertained. LOL

If I call in that order to Daedalus it's one way to ensure that I see Tom, my wonderful UPS man, since I always request UPS shipment for almost everything b'c TOm will bring in stuff for me and not leave it outside and he's funny to boot, while Fed Ex Ground drops and runs, but Brian my mailman also brings stuff in, but that's b'c right now I have a Federal USPS Disability approval for him to do that and I suppose that will remain in the future as well, the way things have been going here re my lack of mobility.


RE: Read any good books this winter?

(no not from Oprah lol) Tuesdays With Morrie - was a really good book ... and The Five People You Meet in Heaven ~ Tom

RE: Read any good books this winter?

The Longest Winter

My nephew gave it to me for Xmas. Set during The Battle Of The Bulge about an I@R platoon of the 99th Infantry Division. They bore the brunt of the German attack through the Losheim Gap. Most were captured and sent off to POW camps. I'm at the part now where Patton sends a Task Force out to save his son-in-law from the same POW camp where most of the I@R platoon is being held.


RE: Read any good books this winter?

I enjoyed very much the last two books I read: MARLEY AND ME by John Grogan, and NEVER HAVE YOUR DOG STUFFED by Alan Alda. I usually read light mysteries but these were memoirs that were so good.

MARLEY AND ME was about a dog who did everything wrong and got into all kinds of trouble all his life.

NEVER HAVE YOUR DOG STUFFED surprised me because I always just figured Alan Alda was a big wiseguy. He is a very nice person.

I get all my books from our local county library, with a few exceptions........only if the books are so very thick that I can't finish them within a reasonable time to be returned to the library....for instance, HARRY POTTER books and OUTLANDER books. However, I do have quite a large sized library of my own. LOL.

Good reading, everyone...............Doris

RE: Read any good books this winter?

and OUTLANDER books.

As in Diana Gabaldon?

I love that series but must confess that the latest one, titled something like Ashes and Snow, is still sitting unread on that card table I referred to above.

I agree that the length of those books can be daunting, but what's held me back on the latest is another person who also loves that series who said she didn't think the Ashes one was as good as the rest.

I guess I'll just have to breathe deeply and read it myself to find out. LOL


RE: Read any good books this winter?

100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden by Carolyn J. Male. DW gave it to me for Christmas.

RE: Read any good books this winter?

100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden by Carolyn J. Male. DW gave it to me for Christmas

Well OK Ed, but I've read that book too and it has no plot development, no development of interesting human characters, no surprise ending, and text is minimal compared to pictures. LOL


RE: Read any good books this winter?

Carolyn, You may be right, however, It taught me alot. Maybe the "development" is'nt there, but without a doubt, there is no lack of "interesting human characters. Thank you. ED

RE: Read any good books this winter?

" has no plot development..."

Maybe not, but tomato development is covered very well.

" development of interesting human characters..."

Andrew Rahart, Aunt Ginny, Aunt Ruby, Dr. Lyle, Dr. Neal, Dr. Wyche, The Earl (7th), Eva, Hugh, Lillian, Mary Ann, Reif, Omar, the Opalka family, AND MORE...and of course, Dr. Carolyn!

" surprise ending..."

How about BER? LOL

RE: Read any good books this winter?

Carolyn, if you like American History, try Doris Kearns Goodwin's latest, "Team of Rivals : The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln".

Tomstrees, Did not read the book, but I enjoy Mitch Albom. "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" was made into a movie for TV that I did see however and it was a great story.


RE: Read any good books this winter?

Carolyn, if you like American History, try Doris Kearns Goodwin's latest, "Team of Rivals : The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln".

It's already on order John. LOL

I think I mentioned above that I recently joined the History Book Club, although maybe not, And it's one of the four books I'm getting for one dollar each, and yes I know about the excellence of the author.

I've resisted joining any kind of club, and the shipping charges are ridiculously high, but still, down the road I'll be saving money b/c they can deep discount so many books they offer.

And I'm looking forward to reading it, plus the 1776 that's also on order.


RE: Read any good books this winter?

I'm in grad school, so I pretty much read what's assigned by my professors ...... (it's a lot!). That said, although I'm not picking out the books myself, I'm enjoying a lot of what they pick out for me. I'm studying stuff I'm interested in -- indigenous peoples' issues in international development. Right now we're reading something called "Peru's Indian Peoples and the Challenge of Spanish Conquest." WOW. Fascinating! It's history, which I'm into (specifically pre-Enlightenment, and pre-Reformation Christian history), and not getting enough of while I'm in school -- plus, it's really delving into it from the native people's perspectives.

How about favorite books you've EVER read?? some of mine, off the top of my head, in no particular order:
-> anything and everything by Tolkien
-> just about anything by Umberto Eco, especially The Name of the Rose, The Island of the Day Before, and Baudolino
-> The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, by Amin Maalouf
-> The Other God by Yuri Stoyanov (but you have to REALLY be into medieval dualist heresies to appreciate it!)
-> The Practice of the Presence of God, by one Br.Lawrence of the Resurrection
-> Dakota, by Kathleen Norris
-> The Prophet, Khalil Gibran
-> Anne Rice's and Tony Hillerman's series
-> The Bible, or more accurately parts of it -- I love the book of Hosea, for instance
-> old Pogo comics

and then there are the favorite poets.....

RE: Read any good books this winter?

re :
Tomstrees, Did not read the book, but I enjoy Mitch Albom. "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" was made into a movie for TV that I did see however and it was a great story.


Re : John - never saw the movie but people tell me it was good - the book was great ~ Tom

ps. looking forward to this movie after reading the book : Da Vinci Code ~

RE: Read any good books this winter?

". . . Tony Hillerman's series ."

Love his books!

Also like Len Deighton's books, some of Tom Clancy's, and Janet Evanovich because her writing is so funny.

Also looking forward to "The da Vinci Code" movie and have read all of his books (Dan Brown).


RE: Read any good books this winter?

since Bleak House (Dickens) is on television I decided to read it. The book is a bit hard to get into (a full page describing fog?), but once I got into it, I found it great. Joe

RE: Read any good books this winter?

I'm halfway thru "The Great Influenza" by John M. Barry........they say another pandemic is coming and 1918 was majorly scary....

RE: Read any good books this winter?

Speaking of which, I mentioned Daedalus in my post above, and wouldn't you know, the latest updated catalog came this AM, and wouldn't you know, they have some on rock bottom clearance and well, you know, I'll be calling in yet another order. LOL

I wrote above.

So I called in my order on Monday and yesterday received the 15 books I ordered, for only about $75. Not only is that quick shipment but the shipping cost far all 15 books was only $5, for it's $5 no matter how many books you order.

I've got books about Sir Walter Raleigh, written by a descendent of his, about Bacon, as in Francis, about Boswell, about where to take Tea in the UK, about the Romanov murders ( I'm a Russophile), about a man who was cutting valuable maps out of books in libraries and how they finally caught him, about Mmde Pompadour, about Hadrian, Frommer's Italy 2006, Bed and Breakfast places in the UK and Ireland, Carnations and Pinks,
and well, I've just got lots and lots of choices. LOL

And this morining my five new books from the History Book Club came, all BIG and HEAVY, and I am excited about those as well.

I got Tom my friendly USP man to carry the box with the 15 into the back room where I spend all my time and I opened the box there and sorted them and put them on the card table that holds my winter reading, but lets now extend that to SpringSummerWinterFall, as in the Princess ala Howdy Doody if anyone rememnbers her. LOL

But the ones this AM were left by the inside of the door by the USPS man Brian, whom I wouldn't DARE ask to carry them to the back room. So I pushed the box in front of the walker into my bedroom and unpacked it there. And now I'll have to transport them one by one in the walker basket to the back room.

Why don't I just confess that while it's true that I have an heirloom tomato addiction I also have a book addiction and I'd better just face up to it. LOL

If you could see the piles of books on that card table, sorted into general subject matter and within that sorted into my priority reading, I know many of you would laugh.

And I'm not even talking about all the books out in the LV/DR area that are on the book shelves there, nor the three huge bags with paperbacks that I had Jake move to a closet when he came Wed night to hook up a new phone line to the outlet that was behind a couch I couldn't move and Jake had to take those bags of paperbacks off the one end of the couch and I had him put them in a closet.

Carolyn, who still has to send out a few hard to get seeds to some folks, still is waiting for her 2006 SSE Yearbook and that means still more seed packing, and then, and then, it's reading, reading, reading, with music of my choice as an accompaniment.

RE: Read any good books this winter?

Other than gardening my other addiction is books :)
I unfortunately have one click shopping with amazon and I click away all through the winter. Nice to find other book-a-holics in the garden world.

I'm an eclectic reader so my list of this winter's books runs the gamut, and I also have a shelf of favorite re-reads. The other's (one-timers) go to the used book store as trade-ins, since I have run out of shelf space.

History - "Israel on the Appomattox" by Melvin Ely The story of a community of freed slaves in 1796 in VA.
"Major Butler's Legacy: Five generations of a slaveholding family", Malcolm Bell Jr.

I am an avid genealogist, and am currently studying the history of one Virginia county, where I had ancestors who were both slaves and slaveholders, so ante-bellum histories are my meat and potatoes.

Science fiction - "The Native Tongue Trilogy", by Suzette Haden Elgin. The author is a feminist linguistic anthropologist.

Mystery/Detective Fiction - just finished reading a Lawrence Block, Matt Scudder book I had missed, "Hope to Die". Lived in Hell's Kitchen as a young person and love the way LB writes about NYC.

Things in my field:

"The Innocent Anthropologist: Notes from a Mud Hut". A very funny look at the field work experience in Africa.

I won't bore you all with the long, long list of anthropological ethnographies I had to read to stay one step ahead of my students. Anyone who wants to read anthropology feel free to email me and Ill send you a list of my favorites.


The Alexandria Quartet - Lawrence Durrell
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austin
Lord Peter Wimsey (all of them) - Dorothy Sayers
Darkover Series - Marion Zimmer Bradley. She died in 1999, though her fans are still writing new books based in the world she created, I love her work.
The Left Hand of Darkness Ursula LeGuin

materlvr - I think I'm going to order "The Great Influenza". How is it so far?


RE: Read any good books this winter?

Dee, the beginning is slow going, because they are trying to set the stage for what comes. They go into the history of medicine in this county (amazing!), World War I and how the military bases were just crammed full (they believe influenza originated in Kansas, and spread by soldiers going off to war)....

I'm just getting into the first cases and it's riveting!

I highly recommend it! It's a "must read", IMO!

RE: Read any good books this winter?

I grew up in Malaysia where books were very expensive to own and libraries were practically non-existent. When I got to the US ten years ago I was so happy to find a library and also second hand book stores that sold books so cheap here. I read almost everyday (even if it's just a few pages).

These days, it is much harder to get through a book quickly with two young kids around (they take so much of my time). But when I have time, I read mainly popular fiction--mysteries, thrillers, whodunits, romances, satire. Lately, I've been reading cookbooks and knitting how-to books (my latest hobby). Just borrowed Chez Panisse cookbook from the library and reading it makes me want to visit the restaurant quite badly. Last few books I've finished were written by Ruth Reichl--mainly about her life growing up and surrounded by food (Tender at the Bone, and Comfort me with Apples) and about her life as food critic for NY Times newspaper (Garlic and Sapphires). She really knows how to make food sound so sensuous and delicious.

I also like reading Sci-fi occasionally and have just borrowed Orson Scott Card's latest Ender series (Shadow of the Giant). Hope it's good--the last one wasn't as great as his previous ones.


RE: Read any good books this winter?

Speaking of books, since we're in a tomato forum, I have a question for everyone: Do you know of a really comprehensive book on tomatoes? By that, I mean one that covers everything about tomatoes that a tomatohead might want to know. I have looked at the following, none of which (it seems to me) is quite what I have in mind:

1. Tantalizing Tomatoes , ed. by Karen Davis Cutler (New York 1997)
2. The Tomato in America, by Andrew Smith (Columbia, S.C. 1994)
3. The Great Tomato Book, by Gary Ibsen (Berkeley 1999)
4. The Great Tomato Book, by Sheila Bluff (Short Hills, N.J. 1999)
(the last two books have the same title and were published in the same year; rather remarkable)

5. In Praise of Tomatoes, by Steven Shepherd (New York 1996)
6. Exploring the Tomato, by Mark Harvey, Steve Quilley and Huw Beynon (Cheltenham, U.K. 2002)
7. All About Tomatoes, by Walter L. Doty (? 1981)
8. Terrific Tomatoes, by Mimi Luebbermann and Faith Echtermeyer (? 1994)
9. 100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden, by Carolyn J. Male (New York 1999) (by far the best of the lot - :))

What I do have in mind is something broader, that would cover at least the following subjects:

1. Biology and cultivation (including different species and cultivars),

2. Genetics and genetic modification (e.g., sad story of the Flavr Savr gene),

3. Origin and evolution (your cousin the tomato),

4. World-wide diffusion and subsequent history (how did the tomato get to India and China, anyway? The English? The Portuguese? The Spanish? One author suggests early sea contact with Peru)

5. Adoption and use in different food traditions (e.g., how do tomatoes fit in with the powerful religious aspects of Indian food tradition?),

6. Health aspects (e.g., effect on prostate and lung cancer, macular degeneration, sun damage to skin),

7. Commercial and economic issues (do they really eat 200 pounds per person per year in Egypt?),

8. Connections with famous people (e.g., Ronald Reagan),

9. Film and literature (nobody should miss Attack of the Killer Tomatoes or its sequels),

10. Myths (e.g., the Robert Gibbon Johnson story) and misconceptions,

11. Tomatoes and sex (no misconceptions there, and no conceptions, either, I suppose [smile]),

12. Enthusiast organizations and festivals (the most spectacular is in Spain),

13. Etymology of popular and scientific names (where did the name lycopersicum -- Wolf Peach -- come from?), and

14. Home growing and cooking (somewhat).

I know of course that there are many books on how to grow tomatoes, and many recipe books, but what I am thinking of is something broader, one that would not only contain quite a lot of information about tomatoes, but also use tomatoes as a lense to look into some of the things mentioned (history, biology, even cosmology: for example, without supernovas, tomatoes could not exist).

Do you think there is a significant market for such a book? Would you buy it? At Amazon prices?

As is probably obvious by now, I am considering writing such a book, and in fact already have prepared an outline and introduction. But before I put a year's work into it, I would very much appreciate any opinions anyone may have on the subject.

Thanks very much,


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