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Sunday Salon: the Cardigan Post

September 19, 2010

The Sunday Salon.comIt might still be getting up into the 80s every day here, but at least it cools off at night! I’ve been breaking out my cardigans lately, and I’m wearing one of my favourites as I type. This makes me deeply happy, and thus I’m in a good mood as I write about the books I’ve been reading this week. :) I’ve still got a bit of a backlog, but I decided to just take my normal approach to TSS. I haven’t been doing a ton of reading this week, but I do have seven titles to talk about!

I think I requested Blood Harvest by S.J. Bolton after seeing Nancy Pearl praise her for good, gothic thrillers. I opened it up as soon as I got it home from the library, since I’ve been in a R.I.P. mood. I was hoping that Bolton would remind me of Sarah Rayne (whose has an extensive backlist that my library remains unacquainted with *sigh*), and the first chapter’s opening made me squeal with anticipation:

The Fletch family built their big, shiny-new house on the crest of the moor, in a town that time seemed to have left to mind its own business. They build on a modest-sized plot that the diocese, desperate for cash, needed to get rid of. …And on three sides of their garden they had the quietest neighbours they could hope for, which was ten-year-old Tom Fletcher’s favourite joke these days; because the Fletchers built their new house in the midst of a graveyard. They should have known better, really.

There were definitely good bits to the book: I loved that a modern vicar was one of the main characters, and that he even had a love interest! And the creepy village traditions, and the surrounding moor…it all should have been perfect. But unfortunately, about halfway through the story, I had not only figured out everything, but also knew that rather than a supernatural story, this one was just plain human-grown ickiness. And when the ending turned out to be just what I thought, I felt short-changed by the author. And the topic the author decided to center the book around left me feeling in need a long shower; this is a topic that I regularly avoid reading about, and I wasn’t really amused to have it sprung on me, so to speak. Also, while the writing and characters and everything started off strong, it all seemed to weaken as the book went on, and by the last third, I felt just disconnected. It’s a shame, although the book had enough good points to make me want to try out Bolton’s debut, Sacrifice, as long as I can be assured there’s nothing of ‘that topic’ going on. I can’t say this one lived up to its promise, but if you’re a thriller kind of person, do give Bolton a go! I did love the first half, and I read this pretty straight through. :)

Fortunately, I can recommend the next novel wholeheartedly: Small Island by Andrea Levy. I was inspired to get this from the library after seeing that the BBC had an adaptation out (I’ve finally learned my lesson and decided that from now on, I’ll be reading the book before watching the adaptation), and I had a bit of wait until I could get it! I didn’t know what to expect, but what I got was an incredibly written historical novel that explores race, gender, class, and other questions of identity while keeping up a good story and creating characters I was truly interested in. Also, Levy actually pulled off multiple limited third person narrative voices! One of my pet peeves is when an author uses this style, but all of the characters have the same ‘sound’; with Levy’s writing, each of them had such a pitch perfect rhythm and monologue, it was one of my favourite bits of the book! The funny thing is, I can’t say that I particularly liked any of the characters. But I did identify with them, in bits and a pieces, and I love how despite feeling very ‘real’ and not sugar-coating anything, the book left me with a sense of hope. This was a rich read, the kind that promises to make an excellent reread in a couple of years, and the kind that deserves a post to itself so that I can gush on and on. But just imagine all of that gushing, and go read this one if you haven’t yet! I know it’s not obscure, but if you’ve been waiting for an extra push this is me giving it to you. :)

The Between by Tananarive Due was my second go with this author. I don’t think I ever got around to writing my mixed feelings on the first one of hers I tried, The Good House. To put it briefly, I found that that one to have a bit of an uneven writing style and a bit of a cop-out ending, but there were enough good aspects to make me want to read a bit more. So I decided to start at the beginning this time, and go for her debut novel, perfect for R.I.P. with its ghost premise! And my verdict? Positive, but with a couple of reservations. I love the vividness of Due’s writing; I feel like I’m right there with her characters, and with this one it seemed like I was walking the streets of Miami. Speaking of which, the characters are always believable, with a living, breathing attitude. And the storyline is satisfyling creepy without crossing the gore line! But once again, I found the ending flawed (though for the opposite reason: while my complaint about Good House was its too tidy ending, my complaint here is that nothing really gets explained). I did like the writing more (it was much tighter, which makes sense considering it’s half the length of The Good House) though! While this isn’t perfect, it was darn close up until the last chapter or so, and I’m perfectly happy recommending Due for those who want a creepy story with character depth and a strong sense of place. :) As for me, I definitely intend to keep reading her! She’s got quite the backlist, but I’m eyeing My Soul to Keep for my next Due adventure.

I also finally finished Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, after being forced to return it unread to the library awhile ago! It was such fun. :D When I decided to focus on the 1700s for the Decade Challenge, I did so with a bit of trepidation…I hadn’t had much experience with this period in the past, and I was afraid I’d be bored. But so far, every book I’ve picked up has felt modern, with a fun, unpretentious storytelling style that makes the Victorians look stodgy (and y’all know I love the Victorians). I was also nervous about Gulliver’s Travels, because I knew it was a satire and I don’t usually respond well to satire. But this was satire-as-adventure, and his skewering of politicians was so general that I completely identified with it (despite my cursory knowledge of British history in that period). I think one could make an argument that Gulliver is a kind of urban fantasy or magical realism too, since the islands he visits are all a bit ‘off’ (people too big or too small or islands that float or an island run by horses). For the most part, I couldn’t wait to pick this one back up, and I was often laughing out loud while reading it, which got me some weird looks at the cafe. The final bit, about the island run by horses, got a bit too negative though, as Gulliver becomes completely disenchanted with the human race. But still, a lovely read and one I wish I’d gotten to years ago!

I mainly requested Buddha’s Orphans by Samrat Upadhyay, because I read that Updahyay is Nepali. But then, about halfway through the book, I read his author bio, and it turns out that now he’s a creative writing professor in the Midwest. This didn’t surprise me: the novel had a kind of paint-by-numbers feel to it, and despite its ‘exotic’ setting, it felt like a story that had been told before. I honestly couldn’t see the point of the book…I didn’t connect with any of the characters, and the time jumps between parts were disorienting, and I found the woman narrator’s voice unconvincing, and it was about 200 pages too long, and it just felt like a chore more than anything. I realised this around the 250 page mark (I enjoyed the first hundred or so pages and then started feeling progressively more bored) and was going to abandon it, but then I decided to just speed read the last couple hundred of pages. I don’t speedread very often, because I don’t find it as satisfying, but when I need to, I can (I never took a formal course, it’s just something I can do). I always used to flip into that mode during the read-a-thons, which is why I got so many books read while still cheerleading! ;) Anyway, as I suspected, the book never really picked up, and I was left rolling my eyes. Also, it didn’t have a very strong sense of place…I mean, it was obviously set in Kathmandu, but I never got to know the city through the character’s eyes or anything. So, I can’t say I’d recommend this.

Finally some nonfiction! As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve read several books on Islam this year trying to find one that I can recommend to a woman I know who thinks all Muslims are like al-Qaeda (*sigh* she also thinks Fox News is the only station telling the truth). And I finally found one! No God but God by Reza Aslan is a dynamic, thorough introduction to the religion. Aslan manages to combine a chronological story of Muhammad’s life and early Islam’s foundations with thematic chapters…I know, it sounds like it’s be confusing or a mess or something, but I promise it works. He’s obviously writing for a Western, Judeo-Christian audience, but he doesn’t talk down to that audience or feel the need to rip apart Christianity (I’m looking at you, Omid Safi). He is Iranian, and this bias does show through occasionally (a couple of his discussions of the Iranian revolution had my eyebrows touching my hairline), but for the most part he maintains a good, scholarly voice. I can’t wait to recommend this to the woman in question, and from now on when anyone asks me for a general introduction to Islam, I’ll finally have an answer! (Since I took a couple classes on Middle Eastern studies in college, I kind of skipped over the basic books aimed at a popular audience.) If you’re already pretty well acquainted with Islam, though, you’ll probably find the information pretty repetitive…I can’t say I learned anything new from the book. It was still fun to read though. ;)

Finally, The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum was such a perfect book. I adored her earlier book, Ghost Hunters, when I read it last year. So when I saw she had a new one out, I put myself in the queue right away. Once I get it home, though, I found myself staring at it, too nervous to actually open it. This happens sometimes, when I love the first book I’ve read by an author so much I’m terrified the next one won’t live up to my expectations and will also somehow taint my memory of the first one. (Did you follow that? Yeah, I know how irrational it is.) But once I opened it, I immediately realised I was in good hands, and found myself torn between devouring it all in one sitting and trying to space it out so my enjoyment would be prolonged. That’s the sign of a great book, isn’t it? This is a book about 1920s New York, about the futility of Prohibition, about the dedicated men who brought forensic science to the US, about various puzzling NYC deaths (some homicides, some accidents), and about chemistry. Blum brings that world to life, and she makes chemistry sound fascinating (not as easy feat for me, since it was my least favourite subject in high school), and her love of the subject really comes through in every page. I suppose I’d classify it as popular scientific history, but really this is just incredible nonfiction! Even if you’re not a big nonfiction fan, I think her narrative style will appeal to you. As for me, I can’t wait to explore more of her backlist, now that I’ve gotten over that silly fear! ;) I have a feeling Blum will be appearing in my Favourite Authors sidebar quite soon…

And there you have it! I had a great reading week, and I hope this one is just as good! Speaking of which, I better get back to those books. ;)

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83 Comments leave one →
  1. September 19, 2010 6:13 am

    Too bad about Blood Harvest- I love the cover. I need some more gothic recommendations. Got any?

  2. September 19, 2010 6:16 am

    I have a backlog of blog posts on which to catch up. Even though, I love the warm weather, I also enjoy winter attire and cooking in the cooler weather. Glad that your cardigan is making you happy.

    • September 22, 2010 12:19 pm

      Cooking is much more fun in cool weather, except for salads!

  3. September 19, 2010 6:23 am

    Ooh! I like the sounds of the Poisioner’s Handbook!

    • September 22, 2010 12:22 pm

      It’s so good! And the cover’s lovely. :)

  4. September 19, 2010 6:50 am

    I’m sorry about Buddha’s Orphans” as that one looks interesting and I agree with Lenore, I’m checking my library for Th Poisoner’s Handbook. Thanks for your reviews, Eva. I’m glad you are back!

    • September 22, 2010 12:22 pm

      Thanks Gavin! I was sorry about Buddha’s Orphans too.

  5. September 19, 2010 7:04 am

    Gulliver’s Travels is on my TBR list and it’s sitting on my shelf at home. Small Island and The Poisoner’s Handbook look really good!

  6. September 19, 2010 7:07 am

    You’ve had a variety of choices this week. Except for the first one, it sounds enjoyable, too.

    Have a great weekend, and if you’re inclined, here’s my salon:

    http://accidentalmoments.wordpress.com/2010/09/19/the-sunday-salon-sept-19/

    • September 22, 2010 12:23 pm

      I suppose there is a bit of variety! :)

  7. September 19, 2010 7:13 am

    I like your honest post on all the books. I am making a note of Blum and Andrea Levy (have heard so much about the latter and all positive). Blum is new to me so for this I am grateful. About the Nepali author I heard positive comments around so this is another aspect to the book. Thank you.

    • September 22, 2010 12:24 pm

      Thanks Mystica! I can see why others would enjoy Buddha’s Orphans; it just felt a bit too formulaic for me.

  8. September 19, 2010 7:21 am

    I have heard very good things about Reza Aslan. I’m going to see if I can get some of his books when I am at the library. And that Deborah Blum book sounds completely insane. I read an article she wrote that briefly summed up the government poisoning the liquor supply during Prohibition, and it definitely made me want to read the book. What a crazy thing!

    • September 22, 2010 12:24 pm

      Yeah: the government definitely went a bit crazy! lol Now I want to read more of Aslan. Plus, doesn’t he have the coolest name ever?!

  9. justbookreading permalink
    September 19, 2010 7:21 am

    The Poisoner’s Handbook is going on my list and Ghost Hunters. Both sound fascinating.

  10. September 19, 2010 8:10 am

    The Poisoner’s Handbook sounds just like something I need to read right now! Fascinating — I just read another chemistry based microhistory and it was amazing, so I would love to continue on with my unexpectedly enjoyable chemistry streak ;)

    • September 22, 2010 12:25 pm

      I saw your review of Mauve: I need to give that a go! Definitely continue your chem streak. :)

  11. September 19, 2010 8:23 am

    Here it is getting to a point where it is cool day and night! There is still a little sun sometimes, like yesterday, but then other days are a bit chilly. The leaves are all changing, so it will be fall soon enough.

    Deborah Blum’s books sound good. I will have to see if I can get either from the library.

    • September 22, 2010 12:26 pm

      Jealous of your cool days! I hope your library has Blum. :)

  12. September 19, 2010 8:26 am

    The Poisoner’s Handbook sounds amazing, I’ll have to give it a try! It’s getting quite cold around here, I love cardigans, but if I’m out late I need to wear a thick coat.

    • September 22, 2010 12:26 pm

      I don’t think I’m going to need any thick coats for some time, which is too bad because I have a couple fave winter coats. I’ll have to start vacationing in cold places!

  13. September 19, 2010 8:39 am

    It’s still pretty warm here, but the days are getting shorter. I think I’m in the minority here, but I’m not ready for summer to end. I’ve just added The Poisoner’s Handbook to my wish list.

    • September 22, 2010 12:27 pm

      Usually, I don’t want summer to end. But since I’m moving to a warm place soon, I was hoping for some fall first! :)

  14. September 19, 2010 8:57 am

    I have yet to read Small Island, but it is on my TBR pile and I can’t wait to start reading it when I’m back in the Netherlands. I don’t think Gulliver’s Travels was for me. I loved the first two parts, but the last just made me dislike the book in general. I don’t think I will be rereading it anytime soon. No god but God sounds fascinating and I hope I get to read it sometime, even if I took a few classes on Islam myself. And I’m always glad to find a book that can contradict people who think that all muslims think like members of al-Qaeda *sigh*

    • September 22, 2010 12:28 pm

      I can understand why the last bit would alienate you on the rest on Gulliver’s Travels. No god but God was fun!

  15. September 19, 2010 9:26 am

    I’ve a feeling that your Fox News loving acquaintance won’t read Not god but God, which is too bad. In general, I belive books are far more trustworthy than television news is.

    • September 22, 2010 12:29 pm

      She said she would! She’s definitely a conservative (of the small-government variety, not of the fundamentalist Christian variety), but she’s not close minded, which is why I was so surprised to hear her say that! And yeah: I don’t watch any TV news.

  16. September 19, 2010 10:37 am

    I totally understand about being excited but scared to read another book by an author you love:) I saw the TV adaptation of Small Island and wished I’d read the book first. It was amazing and also starred Ruth Wilson (whose Jane Eyre was wonderful too!) Deborah Blum’s books look interesting and I’ll definitely check them out.

    • September 22, 2010 12:30 pm

      I’m glad the adaptation was good: now I’m on the hunt for it! I haven’t seen that Jane Eyre adaptation either; I’m not a big fan of the book, but I’ll give the adaptation a go!

  17. September 19, 2010 11:33 am

    What did you think of the end of Small Island? I thought it was rather rushed. I agree with your assessment of Levy’s ability to pull of multiple voices, and I eagerly await your further thoughts on the novel! Have you read any of her other works (I know she just had another novel come out)?

    • September 22, 2010 12:31 pm

      I can see it feeling a bit rushed…it didn’t bother me too much though, since I was more concerned with the characters than the plot. :) I haven’t read any of her other stuff (for some reason, I thought Small Island was her debut), but now I want to give her backlist a go!

  18. September 19, 2010 11:39 am

    The Poisoner’s Handbook…oh, dear book, I want you. Now.

  19. September 19, 2010 12:01 pm

    Small Island was fabulous, wasn’t it? Levy did a brilliant job with the characters’ voices. I didn’t even need the character names at the start of the chapters–although it was probably good that they were there. Hortense in particular just cracked me up.

    I do agree with Jo that the ending was lacking a bit, but the rest of the book was so good that it hardly mattered!

    • September 22, 2010 12:32 pm

      Hortense was my fave too (for hilarity factor)! Wasn’t her name just perfect?

  20. September 19, 2010 1:38 pm

    Gulliver’s Travels is on my list as well–I’m glad to see you enjoyed it!

  21. JoV permalink
    September 19, 2010 1:49 pm

    Thanks for recommending No God but God. I think we really need more people like you who can help englighten people who think muslims are Al-Qaeda. It’s like saying Irish are the IRAs.

    I read Quran: The Biography by Bruce Lawrence and thought it was brilliant at the beginning but didn’t quite carry it well towards the end. This book by Resa Aslan sounds like a better one for me. Thanks for recommending it!

    • September 22, 2010 12:35 pm

      I totally used the Klu Klax Klan to Christianity comparison w/ her, but the IRA is a good one too! I tend to hesitate to read books by white Angl0-American authors about Islam…a lot of them feel sooo ‘orientalist.’ So I’ve never tried out Bruce Lawrence, but Aslan had good things to say about Karen Armstrong.

      • JoV permalink
        September 23, 2010 4:04 am

        ahhh… I was trying to find a parable for Christianity and thought of the crusaders, but that was a long time ago. But the Klu Klax Klan is a good example (Psst.. are they still active?) But I know the IRAs are.

  22. mtqt permalink
    September 19, 2010 3:42 pm

    I randomly picked up Blood Harvest at my library today and now I am reading your post on it. I am not as excited about it now but I think I will give it go all the same. :)

    • September 22, 2010 12:35 pm

      I would’ve enjoyed it more if I didn’t loathe a certain crime, so I hope you still like it!

  23. Ashley permalink
    September 19, 2010 3:45 pm

    Oh I’ve been meaning to read No God But God, I’m glad to hear your positive review of it.

  24. September 19, 2010 3:54 pm

    Gulliver! I’ve read that one two or three times from various school assignments, and it’s one I’d like to re-read these days as a real live grownup. I’m sure I’d appreciate Swift’s satire a lot more now.

    No cardigans in TX yet, but I went on a big almost-30th-birthday shopping spree this weekend and got some kickass sweaters that are just TOO CUTE. I wear them at work where it’s really cold inside. It makes me feel wintery even though it isn’t. lol

    • September 22, 2010 12:36 pm

      I figure I’ll wear all my cardigans to deal with TX a/c too! hehe That sounds like an awesome shopping spree: I’d love pics. :D

  25. September 19, 2010 4:21 pm

    Small Island is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while, so I’m really glad to hear that you can wholeheartedly recommend it. Sad to hear that Blood Harvest wasn’t that great, though, since I agree that the beginning has a great hook and so much about it sounds intriguing… but I’m tiring of reading spooky books I can easily predict, so I’ll probably steer clear of it.

    • September 22, 2010 12:37 pm

      Yeah: I want to give Bolton another go, since there was definitely potential there! I just can’t handle things done to children, especially since having a niece.

  26. September 19, 2010 5:36 pm

    Glad to have you back and adding to my TBR list as usual. The Between sounds sufficiently creepy and like a good read for the RIP challenge. I can’t wait to see what other books you read for this challenge :)

    • September 22, 2010 12:38 pm

      That was my third R.I.P. read, even though I STILL haven’t done a sign-up post! lol I’ll do one this week though. :)

  27. September 19, 2010 6:31 pm

    I’ve read a couple of SJ Bolton’s books and liked them very much, but I agree the ending to her most recent was very messy indeed. I think I called it a bit over the top in my post, but liked the characters enough to look beyond it. Sacrifice is definitely creepy and from what I recall it was also a strange ending, but nothing quite like this one. I have the Levy to read as well–I saw part of the BBC adaptation not long ago and it really caught my attention.

    • September 22, 2010 12:39 pm

      Oh good: I’ll give Sacrifice a go next! I did like her characters, I just couldn’t handle the particular crime that’s at the center of the book.

      If I were an author, I’d be so excited for the BBC to adapt my novel! It seems like the best kind of press. :)

  28. September 19, 2010 6:47 pm

    Oooh, I love cardigans in the fall too. They’re just so comfy!

    I like your review of Small Island– and I had no idea there was a BBC adaptation of it. I haven’t read it, but I picked up Fruit of the Lemon by Levy which I sadly put down in favor of something else. I’ll have to give it another go.

    • September 22, 2010 12:39 pm

      Cardis are my fave! I definitely reach more for them than jackets. :)

  29. September 19, 2010 6:51 pm

    I liked Small Island as well. I, too, didn’t particularly like any of the characters and in the beginning wondered where she was going with all these different threads. In the end she brought them all together in a fairly remarkable way. I haven’t seen the TV production but would like to and I am also waiting to read The Long Song.

    PB

    • September 22, 2010 12:40 pm

      I enjoyed seem all of the stories woven together! Although at first, I thought Queenie was in her 50s. LOL It made me a bit confused for awhile!

  30. September 19, 2010 7:02 pm

    Small Island is one of my favorites. So glad to hear you enjoyed it, too. It’s not often that I’m truly impressed with an author pulling off the many narrators trick in a way that’s totally convincing. Usually an author doing several narrators in one book is a recipe for disappointment, but when you find someone who can really create authentic voices for each of their multiple narrators, oh, how sweet it can be. Wish more authors could do it as successfully as Levy does!

    • September 22, 2010 12:40 pm

      I wish more authors could do it too! But I also wish those who can’t would just stay away from it. ;)

  31. September 19, 2010 9:47 pm

    A bit too negative – for what?

    • September 22, 2010 12:42 pm

      It took me awhile to figure out what you were asking about! lol I didn’t agree with Gulliver’s hero-worship of the horses, and how the Rational Approach was elevated (of course, historically I understand why it was). There’s definitely bleak aspects of humanity, but there are a lot of good aspects too. And the idea of Gulliver finding the SMELL of people repulsive, while longing for the smell of horses, had my eyes rolling in their sockets.

      • September 22, 2010 1:30 pm

        I read your actual writing, Eva!

        I was expecting something like “too negative for Swift’s purpose” – aesthetic, philosophical, whatever. You seem to mean “too negative for me [you] to agree with it”.

        Smell is important for Swift. His poems are full of horrible odors. See “A Description of a City Shower” or the hideous “The Progress of Beauty.” Or – I’m leafing through a collection now – many more poems.

        Swift was a misanthrope.

      • September 25, 2010 6:44 am

        I know: I just had to figure out which book you were asking about, since I mentioned quite a few in this post! ;)

        I definitely meant ‘it was so negative that it made me a bit sad, which lessened my enjoyment of reading it.’ I have absolutely no knowledge base to critique/discuss Swift on anything other than my personal response to him, so I’m sorry that I came off as saying more than I was!

        Thanks so much for filling me on how smell plays a role in his writing. That’s really interesting! I myself have quite a strong sense of smell, and I’ve been around horses, which is why the idea of horses smelling better than humans seemed odd. But now that I’m thinking about Swift’s time, when people had fewer changes of clothes and lacked indoor plumbing, I’m beginning to realise he might have had a point. ;) From the point of the view of the book, I agree with Rebecca that that last section seemed to really hone in on Swift’s purpose for writing…suddenly, he drops his jocular manner and things become much more serious. I can admire Swift’s ability to get me as a reader to really connect with Gulliver via his earlier adventures, which made Gulliver’s final species repulsion quite affecting to me. But from a reading-for-pleasure view, I felt a bit disoriented by the change (it took me awhile to realise there wasn’t going to be a punchline) and it stopped me from loving the book. I don’t think Swift wrote the book for people to love it, though, so I’m sure he wouldn’t be phased by my reaction! On an more intellectual level, I found his veneration of The Rational far from convincing, but I have a vague knowledge of the British/European philosophy climate at the time, so at least I could understand that aspect.

        I didn’t realise Swift was a misanthrope!

  32. September 20, 2010 3:57 am

    You have gave me the push. :) Seriousley. I watched the BBC adaption of Small Island by Andrea Levy too and adored it! It was really that good. I want to read the novel too, so this week I am going to look it up at the library. Hopefully they have a copy. Thanx.

    • September 22, 2010 12:43 pm

      Yay: can’t wait to see the adaptation! I hope you enjoy the novel, coming at it post-adaptation. I think you will, since the plot isn’t that important to the book!

  33. September 20, 2010 11:00 am

    I’ve always kind of avoided Gulliver because for some reason I thought it would be stuffy! But if it made you laugh out loud in public, well, that can only be a good think. You’ve bumped it onto my TBR list, thanks!

    • September 22, 2010 12:43 pm

      It’s not at all stuffy: in fact, there’s a fair sprinkling of potty jokes! lol

  34. September 20, 2010 5:59 pm

    I also really liked Gulliver’s Travels (to my surprise). I liked the last section (the lecturing bit) because it brought the satire all into context. :)

    • September 22, 2010 12:44 pm

      It was just a wee too negative for me. But I did like the context it provided!

  35. September 20, 2010 11:51 pm

    No God by God sounds great! I’ve been looking for an intro to Islam and this sounds perfect. Thanks Eva!

    And your thoughts on the Deborah Bloom books pretty much made me drool. Fascinating. Both are at the top end of my wish list now. :-)

    • September 22, 2010 12:44 pm

      Oh yay: I hope you get your hands on both of them! :)

  36. September 21, 2010 3:30 am

    I was browsing through a book sale this weekend and I saw Buddha’s Orphans. The plot did catch my eye but somehow, something made me keep it back. Now I am glad!

    • September 22, 2010 12:45 pm

      Yeah: I didn’t think it lived up to its potential. And it was sooo long, for mediocre writing. lol

  37. September 26, 2010 8:32 pm

    Speaking of Deborah Blum … I found a hardcover of The Ghost Hunters on the remains table at Barnes & Noble the other day!! Ever since I read it, the people, organizations and events keep coming up in my other reading (you know how that can happen). Now I have my very own copy — yay! :)

Trackbacks

  1. Readers Imbibing Peril V « A Striped Armchair
  2. No god but God « Ardent Reader
  3. Favourites Reads of 2010 « A Striped Armchair
  4. The Translator by Leila Aboulela (thoughts) « A Striped Armchair
  5. White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey (thoughts) « A Striped Armchair
  6. Arabian Nights and Days by Naguib Mahfouz (thoughts) « A Striped Armchair
  7. No God But God by Resa Aslan | JoV's Book Pyramid

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