What Are You Reading in 2011?

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What Are You Reading in 2011?

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Editado: Jan 5, 2011, 7:51 pm

I'll start the New Year off.
First I hope everyone had a happy and healthy holiday season.

My first book of the new year is Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear
I'm a sucker for this type of book, ever since I read Orphans of the Sky by RAH. A long interstellar trip gone bad. But this one was long and drawn out. I got tired of reading chase scenes and "who am I?" passages. As one reviewer I read somewhere said it would make a good short story. Not that the premise wasn't good, just the story didn't seem to be going anywhere while I was reading it. Couldn't find any sympathetic characters.

Book number two is The Mule by Juan Eslava Galan

Jan 5, 2011, 7:24 pm

I'm doing the Off the Shelf Book Challenge and the 11-11 Challenge this year. So I have started to read The Wyvern Mystery vol. 1, and plan to read The Invisible Man which will fit into both challenges.

Jan 5, 2011, 8:08 pm

I read Best Ghost Stories of J. S. LeFanu many years ago and enjoyed him.
As I was reading the stories I kept saying to myself these are very familiar. Then it dawned on me that most of them had been made into all those cheesey "B" movies in the late 50's and early 60's. I still enjoyed them though.

Jan 6, 2011, 12:16 am

I am reading Animals in Translation and find it interesting and was trying to buy & send copies as gifts to friends when my rant linked below happened. So far the author seems to make some good points though I am trying to keep a wary attitude.


Editado: Jan 6, 2011, 7:50 pm

Hi All!

This is how my "currently reading" list stands:

Emanuel Swedenborg : visionary savant in the age of reason by Ernst Benz

Western Esotericism and the Science of Religion : selected papers presented at the 17th Congress of the International Association for the History of
Religions, Mexico City, 1995 by Mexico City International Association for the History of Religions., Mexico

Modern esoteric spirituality by Antoine Faivre
Rudolf Steiner : an introduction to his life and work by Gary Lachman

Theosophy : an introduction to the spiritual processes in human life and in the cosmos by Rudolf Steiner

Intuitive thinking as a spiritual path : philosophy of freedom by Rudolf Steiner

A dark muse : a history of the occult by Gary Lachman

A secret history of consciousness by Gary Lachman

Occult science & occult development ; Christ at the time of the mystery of Golgotha & Christ in the twentieth century : two lectures given by Rudolf Steiner in London, 1 and 2 May 1913 by Rudolf Steiner

Access to Western esotericism by Antoine Faivre

Atlantis and the cycles of time : prophecies, traditions, and occult revelations by Joscelyn Godwin

The great year : astrology, millenarianism and history in the western tradition by Nicholas Campion

The essential Steiner : basic writings of Rudolf Steiner by Rudolf Steiner

Paul Brunton by Joscelyn Godwin

The shining paths : an experiential journey through the tree of life by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki

Edgar Cayce in context : the Readings, truth and fiction by K. Paul Johnson

Magical images and the magical imagination : a practical handbook for self transformation using creative visualization and meditation by Gareth Knight

So far...

Jan 6, 2011, 8:11 pm

5 > Good grief, I've only got one book going right now--you make me look like a slacker ;-)

However, we are in the same thematic neighborhood with my Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, a holiday gift from my son.

4 > I read Animals in Translation last month and enjoyed it very much. I borrowed it from my roommate who is an animal trainer. She said the information on dog behavior is so-so, but the livestock stuff is spot on.

Jan 6, 2011, 11:00 pm


Maybe so...but I bet you aren't as confused!!!! :-)


Not having read Animals, I would assume that livestock 'knows' that the end is the slaughterhouse.

Jan 6, 2011, 11:10 pm

7 > Part of Grandin's thesis is that they don't, and as we have bred them strictly for our convenience (and dinner) we owe them the most painless transition possible. Her specialty is creating low-stress animal environments. Let them be led to the slaughter without being freaked out.

Editado: Jan 8, 2011, 3:57 am

I'm kicking off 2011 by rereading Meditations (nearly done) and The Early History of Rome by Livy. And to avoid insanity while commuting I'm listening to an audio book, Washington's Crossing.

Jan 8, 2011, 1:17 am

Just fiinished True Grit by Charles Portis
(I wanted to read this before I go see the new movie version)

I enjoyed this book 4 1/2 stars worth. If you have seen the John Wayne movie of the same title there will be no major changes in the story (the end is a little different and better if sadder).

Anyway back to "The Mule" by Juan Eslava Galan

Jan 8, 2011, 9:43 pm

I'm reading Delivered from Distraction by Edward M. Hallowell. I am also slowly reading The Walk: Clear Direction and Spiritual Power for Your Life by Shaun Alexander. I got it as an ER in November. I enjoy it, but I only read it in the bathroom and the crossword puzzle book that is also in there keeps distracting me!

Jan 11, 2011, 10:11 am

Ghostly Murders By P.C. Doherty. I think this is the 4th book in the series of medieval murder mysteries by this author. He uses the Canterbury Tales as an outline for the books. So there is a "Knight's Tale" a "Lawyer's Tale" etc., this one is the "Priest's Tale" Last year I read A Tournament of Murders: which was The Franklin's Tale and it wasn't too bad. Not as good as Ellis Peters "Brother Cadfyle's" books, But still an enjoyable way to spend a cold winters night.

Jan 11, 2011, 4:26 pm

usnmm2, thanks for the recommendation. I'm always looking for recommendations for fiction -- particularly if I can get audio books for the long commute. Last year I listened to the Saxon series by Bernard Cornwell, which were entertaining. The books made me want to learn more about Alfred the Great.

Jan 12, 2011, 5:34 am


I read the first two in the Saxon Series and enjoyed them (will get to the others one of the days). If you like historical fiction you might like Agincourt by Cornwell if you haven't read it yet.

Jan 12, 2011, 4:34 pm


Yes, Agincourt was a very good read. I enjoyed it much more than the Saxon series because of the main character. I had a hard time relating to Uhtred as a hard drinking, womanizing, boastful character -- very alien to me though I did enjoy reading about him. Cornwell does a good job of capturing the essence of the time period.

Nicholas Hook on the other hand... who wouldn't like him? Faithful to a beautiful woman, skilled in his craft and regularly hears voices. Hmmm.

Jan 12, 2011, 4:38 pm

I'm enjoying The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1 and Falco: The Official Companion.

Jan 14, 2011, 2:27 pm

I began the New Year off by reading my bookclub's selection, Cutting for Stone and went from dark to fluff with new Fannie Flagg novel and still keeping it light with Friday Night Knitting Club.

My end of 2010 read, Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography led me to read in depth about the shooting of Lincoln and my fourth read of the new year, Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer

Jan 25, 2011, 4:19 pm

I've been reading a bit of YA (occupational) but I also get some adult stuff read, too. Cleopatra: A Life was outstanding. I started reading Mistress of the Art of Death and decided I needed to read the whole series. I think Medieval Mysteries might be my new favorite genre.

Editado: Jan 31, 2011, 12:06 pm

Satan in St. Mary's by P.C. Doherty

The first in Doherty's Hugh Corbett's mystery series.
A London goldsmith Lawrence Duket kills Ralph Crepyn in London's cheapside in 1285 the flees to the church of St. Mary Le Bow to take sanctuary. The next morning he is found hanged and it is ruled suicide. But was it?. Hugh Corbett is given a commission by the King to investigate the death.
What makes this one different is that it is based on a real murder in 1285 the rein of Edward II. A good read for those long winter nights.
I plan on trying a few more books from this series.

Fev 3, 2011, 11:07 am

Started Rising Tides by Taylor Anderson

This is the 4th book in his "Destroyermen series" about a WW1 vintage destroyer being transported to an alternate world. The writing and stories so far have been above average for this type of story. Have been looking forward to this new volume.

Mar 1, 2011, 2:04 pm

Referring to my previous post, I read all four of the books by Arianna Franklin (who just recently passed away) and I can't rave highly enough about them. They are an absolutely delicious blend of mystery and historical fiction with a heroine who is very smart and who graciously (most of the time) keeps her medical talents and knowledge of forensics hidden so she is not accused of witchcraft. There is word that a fifth book was completed before she died. I hope it doesn't get all wrapped up in legal stuff like Steig Larsson's book.

Mar 8, 2011, 7:49 pm

So far this year I have read:

The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber
The Tropic of Night by Michael Gruber
Fired Up by Jane Krentz
A Winter's Haunting by Dan Simmons
Spirit Gate by Kate Elliot

and enjoyed all of them! I'm hoping to whittle down my TBR list a little, but I keep accumulating more TBRs than I can keep up with!

Abr 20, 2011, 10:24 am

Right now I'm finishing The Lace Reader.

Abr 20, 2011, 10:24 am

Right now I'm finishing The Lace Reader.

Abr 20, 2011, 10:28 am

Next book is an ARC, Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin.

Then I can finish The Paris Wife.

Touchstones not working

Abr 20, 2011, 1:12 pm

I must be on a Salem kick. I read The Lace Reader earlier this year, and now I'm almost finished with The House of Seven Gables.

Abr 20, 2011, 1:31 pm

I'm nearing the end of To Serve Them All My Days by R.F. Delderfield, set at a boys school in rural England during and after WWI. Really good.

Abr 20, 2011, 3:20 pm

I've discovered 'The Everard Naval Series' by Alexander Fullerton The first three cover the adventures of Sub-Lieutenant Nick Everard in WW1.
The Blooding of the Guns, Sixty Minutes for St. George, Patrol to the Golden Horn. Even though these are what are termed 'Modern Naval Fiction', they read like and have the feel of the classic "age of sail" books.
I plan on looking into the next six books in the series which span WW2.

Abr 30, 2011, 11:10 pm

I just bought Poland by James A. Michener for $1 , hardback at a used book store and started reading it. Not sure where to categorize it - historical fiction? I bought it since he has passed and his idiotic stance about Kent State killings by the National Guard does not matter any more. {He thought the Nat. guard was justified for what they did}

I am hoping to glean some historical facts from it through reading. Does anyone have an opinion on its historical accurac?, His introduction was good with his stated resources being {paid} research papers done by some of Poland's leading intellects at the time.

Editado: Maio 1, 2011, 9:40 am

re: Michener... I wasn't aware of his position on Kent State. Do you have a reference? ... wikipedia does not mention it.

** never mind.. doh, he wrote a book about it. Huh... learn something new every day. Still doesn't change my opinion as expressed below.

Notwithstanding comments made by a ~70 year old man on a highly contentious issue... I think his philanthropy far outweighs any unpopular opinions he may have expressed. According to wiki he gave away more than $100 million dollars to libraries, universities and other charities.

** and with a little more research, it turns out, that far from merely expressing unpopular opinions; Michener did a LOT of research and investigation while writing his book. While I may not agree with some of his conclusions, I think "idiotic" may be an unfair accusation.

Maio 2, 2011, 4:08 pm

I think I will stick with idiotic, pandering to governmental administration, and an opinion couched in terms of an era {WWII} which had little relevance to the events that occurred at Kent State. I don't doubt he did a lot of research for anything he wrote but I believe this case was just a large expenditure of time & money as a defense mechanism for a wrong opinion.

As I understand it he stated the Nat. guard was justified in their actions near the time of occurrence. To me a litmus test of the validity of that opinion would be to ask National guard troops returning from Afghanistan if they thought turning and firing in unison into protesting, unarmed college students general direction and subsequently killing people walking between buildings on their way to class could be justified by any means. "We heard a loud noise that might have been a gun"?- I don't think so!

After Afghanistan I think it would be hard to convince them that the Kent State Nat. Guard "were in fear of their lives". Whoever was in charge should have been bitch slapped, court marshaled and then imprisoned. Anyone who gave those idiots live ammunition should have been kicked out of military service.

Maio 2, 2011, 4:32 pm

Ever been the center of attention of a hostile crowd? It's scary. I'm not defending the National Guard at Kent State but just because you have a weapon doesn't mean you can't be scared.

Maio 2, 2011, 4:51 pm

#32, That is exactly my point. The Nat. Guard were supposed to be a trained group of people ready to work in hostile situations. Whatever reactions you might have as an individual should have been shaped to fit the situation. The person in charge should never have been promoted above dishwasher.

Maio 2, 2011, 5:34 pm

>33 DugsBooks: "The Nat. Guard were supposed to be a trained group of people ready to work in hostile situations."

except they often aren't, and your hyperbole ("bitch slapped"??) notwithstanding... commanders have to make do with the money, time, troops, and leadership they have... not what some observer 40 years in the future thinks they should have have had.

So..don't read him. That's what you originally asked anyway. I'm sure there are lots of other authors who you can find that match your opinions...

Maio 2, 2011, 7:33 pm

You missed my original premise, I read his stuff now - I like his researched style when it doesn't support a inane position, because he is dead and does not benefit financially from it.

Ineptitude that has a result like Kent State is inexcusable. All those people were being paid and the "commanders" salaried. Like I said, if they were so ill trained they didn't know any better than to open fire for no good reason they should have never been issued live ammo.

Maio 2, 2011, 8:15 pm


I'll take another swing at it... but then I'm done

"...if they were so ill trained they didn't know any better than to open fire for no good reason...

I'm sure, if you asked (and Michener did), those National Guard troops THOUGHT they HAD good reason. As it turns out, most would agree that they didn't, but I think a cherry-picking critique some 40 years in hindsight is a bit short sighted. Unless YOU were there, in uniform carrying a weapon, faced with that situation... or until you ARE in a similar situation... I think you are full of shit when spouting what should have or should not have been done. Nobody knows how they will react in a situation like that.

Editado: Maio 2, 2011, 10:52 pm

Yep this discussion has morphed into a topic for a different area. I was in school when the event happened and plenty of people have been in crowd control situations without making an idiot mistake like those guard people did- and that is the point they all fired their weapons. it wasn't just one nut job. People might not know exactly what they would do but trained personnel and most others certainly know what they would not do.

An argument could be made that the military on the whole is not trained for crowd control but as was thought at the time those guys were potato peelers with firearms if they could not control their emotions any better than that. Maybe the fault lies most on whoever sent the guard instead of the police.

Wiki has a great synopsis of the event. There is a section on a disputed audio tape with pistol shots that I had not heard of before. The article puts an FBI informant at the scene with a pistol.


Ago 1, 2011, 3:45 pm

Hmmm.... What was Michener's slant in IBERIA? Did he support the Revolution in the 1930's, or did he kowtow to the Franco regime, I wonder.

In other areas of his life, in CENTENNIAL and CHESAPEAKE, he seemed to be on the side of environmentalists, I believe.

Ago 1, 2011, 3:47 pm

Just finished Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard. Amazing!

Ago 2, 2011, 11:58 am

Started reading The Sweet-Shop Owner by Graham Swift. Had read his Last Orders several years ago and is one of my favorites

Ago 20, 2011, 11:54 pm

#39--Mary--I also read Stolen Life. I saw Jaycee's interview Diane Sawyer. Sadly, not much new in the book than the interview. What an incredible child/young woman!

I'm currently reading Sarah's Key, about the Jewish round-up in France during WWII. It's a historical fiction and probably wouldn't read it except I'm forming a collection of Holocaust books for students in grades 9-12 and this is a book that several students have asked to get into the library.....I just finished The Historian, a book that I would have never read had I known what it's premise was; but I'm so glad I did--the best read I've had in awhile. I also reread To Kill A Mockingbird this summer and now I remember why it's one of my favorite all time books!

Ago 22, 2011, 7:53 pm

I am a couple of hundred pages into 1491 New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann which I first saw reviewed in the nonfiction group {and cross posted this from there}. I found the age of the Norte Chico {pre 3200 bc} cultures of the South American Pacific coast intriguing along with all the information on the cultures that has been discovered in the past 30 years or so. Great read, highly recommend it.

Ago 23, 2011, 1:45 am

#38, convivia........I'm a fan of Michener's works and if my memory serves me correctly he did not support Franco, the quote is SOMETHING like: "Why should I allow Franco to deprive me of a land which is almost as much mine as his?"

Editado: Out 2, 2011, 9:15 am

Time for an update.

Although I'm not a big fan of fantasy, spent a good part of this summer reading A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin. Trying to keep up with the younger crowd at work. They weren't bad. Good summer reading. Haven't decided if I'm going to continue with the rest of the books in the series (two more so far and they say two more on the way for a total of seven).

Jannaway's Mutiny by Charles Wheeler

On the surface this is a story of two British Naval Officers and their often tragically intercepting lives and how they happen to be together on the same ship during a mutiny (Historic fact) of the British Navy in the early thirties. It is really a low key bashing of the existing British class system as it existed during the the first half on the 20th century.

Just started The Queen's Head by Edward Marston. An Elizabethan mystery novel.

Out 2, 2011, 9:48 am

Just finished The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers, which was a good read. The Affair was an excellent addition to the Jack Reacher series.

Now I'm reading Ready Player One, which is very good so far. It has a teen protagonist, but 50+ers will like the all the 80s pop culture references.

Out 2, 2011, 10:45 am

The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers looks interesting I've put it on my wish list.

Editado: Out 2, 2011, 1:31 pm

Since my last 2 reads were enjoyable, but easy, I decided to bite into some Dickens. I love A Tale of Two Cities, although most critics claim that is the most "unlike Dickensian" book he wrote. That might be why I like it!.....have read A Christmas Carol numerous times. This time I'm going to attempt Bleak House; hoping to have it read by Thanksgiving...it's very thick and very slow going.......first 3 pages Dickens takes to describe "mud!"

Out 2, 2011, 2:44 pm

47 > Neil Gaiman has told about listening to an audio book of Bleak House while working out on a treadmill. He lost 20 lbs.

I recently finished Wuthering Heights which I picked it up at the 5-cent a book sale at the resale shop after I remembered I'd never managed to finish any of the Brontë girls. After I began it, I realized I'd never even started that one. Interesting book, but without a single redeeming character, save perhaps the narrator and his informant. I fail to see how so many tedious and unpleasant people could be seen as wildly romantic.

Still don't know if I'm willing to try to slog through Jane Eyre. She has defeated me in the past.

The volume with Brontë also included Persuasion, Typhoon and The River (it was a high-school text). I re-read Persuasion and was surprised I didn't enjoy it all that much this time. Must go back and re-read Pride and Prejudice again and think about that. I'll probably take a go at the other two novels, too. They are waiting for me on my bedside table.

Out 3, 2011, 11:12 am

Just started The Queen's Head by Edward Marston, an Elizabethan murder mystery.

>48 PhaedraB: PhaedraB,
It's funny that you mentioned audiobooks. I recently stared to listen to these and rediscovered the beauty of some of these older books. I guess it's not surprising when you think that in the 18th and 19th century people (before radio and TV) would entertain themselves by reading out load, so the authors were more a-tuned to the poetry and rhythms of language.
Melville's Moby Dick, Billy Budd and Dickens's Bleak House take on whole new dementions and are joy to listen to.

Out 3, 2011, 11:16 am

Just finished And Then by Sosecki and have started Selected Stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer

Out 5, 2011, 1:27 am

I found Bleak House to be one of Dickens' more amusing novels; some great characters there!

I first read Jane Eyre when I was about twelve, and remember being unable to put it down, which is pretty weird for a twelve-year-old with a Victorian novel!

Out 7, 2011, 11:10 am

It's easy to draw conclusions 30 years later and not in the heat of the moment. It was a sad situation for all involved. These weren't professional soldiers, they were Guard members that were in the end tried by a jury of their peers.

That aside, I love Mitchener and as a historian I did some research after I first read his Chesapeake and found that it was very well researched.

Out 7, 2011, 2:40 pm

Things Fall Apart was ok and worthwhile, but for me not great.

I'm another fan of Bleak House and Jane Eyre.

Editado: Out 11, 2011, 1:23 pm

This seems to be the year of lite reading.

The Queen's Head by Edward Marston;
Nicholas Bracewell, book holder, prompter and manager of a group of temperamental thespians in Elizabethan England, tries to solve a murder as England rejoices in it's triumph over the Spanish Armada.
A good story light reading mystery of the kind that seem that the English write better than anyone else.

Just started The Trees of Zharka by Nancy Mackenroth.

Out 13, 2011, 8:24 am

I recently read The Sleepwalkers, which I won through librarything.com Early Reviewers. It's a very good book. I'm definitely going to read Grossman's next one.

Out 13, 2011, 8:31 am

I just finished The Northwest Angle by William Kent Krueger. It's the latest book in the Cork O'Connor series. I've read only one other book in the series, The Vermilion Drift, and The Northwest Angle is much better. The problem with this series, as I see it after having read only two of the books, is Henry. I know many readers love this old Indian. But I think he's corny.

Out 20, 2011, 3:53 am

"Terrible Swift Sword" (Lost Regiment #3) by William R. Forstchen

This is the 3rd book of an 8 book series about Civil War regiment that is whisked to a far planet through a worm hole.
The 35th Maine regiment continues it's battle on a far distant planet against the dreaded Merki hordes and free the subjected people.

A fairly good yarn if you enjoy these cross world / alternate history type books (which I do)

Next up is Charles Portis's first novel Norwood. I recently read and enjoyed True Grit. The writing and subtle humor were fantastic. So I'm trying another of his books.

Out 20, 2011, 6:20 pm

I am currently in the middle of two nonfiction books. I started Atlantic: The Biography of an Ocean which has been sitting on my shelf for a while. Then I decided to try to write a YA novel for NaNoWriMo with dolphins in it and I found Dolphin Diaries to help me put some factual stuff in the story. When I have finished these I want to read the fourth book in the delightful Chet & Bernie series, the Dog Who Knew Too Much.

Out 20, 2011, 6:32 pm

I'm enjoying The Annotated Persuasion edited by David M. Shapard. Having info right away on some of the peculiarities of the time, along with illustrations, is really working for me. I do wish he'd refrained from giving so many definitions for words whose meaning is obvious in context, but that's a minor quibble overall.