Restless, restless.....

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.....and nothing suits.

I have started and stopped 10 books in the last 10 days, looking for something, ANYTHING, that will hold my attention for longer than 10 minutes. Everything is too serious, too important, too something. I don't want complete fluff (not another cat mystery novel, anyway), but I want that old kind of "settle down into the story, and the longer the better" book that charmed me so as a teenager.

I think I may have finally found a contender: Herman Wouk's Marjorie Morningstar. It's been on my shelf for a year now--ever since the last Friends of the Library sale, when I purchased it for $2. I began reading it Monday evening, and continued last night. High hopes--it's the two decade story of a young Jewish girl who wants to break free from her parents' lifestyle and become an actress.

Read some of the reviews on Amazon--lots of "I loved this book when I was 17, but was disappointed in the ending. Now that I'm grown, I appreciate it much more!" That sounds promising. And a fair subset of "A period piece--thank goodness we don't have to worry about losing our virginity the way Marjorie did." And "feminists probably won't like Marjorie". Well, if they don't, I almost surely WILL.

I need to read some really good "stories." I need a break from dark and dismal. Dramatic tension? OK. Angst and sorrow as the purpose and/or meaning of the book? Need a break.

Got any other suggestions?????


While not extremely literary, I have always loved Martin Cruz Smith for fun mystery pulp. Rose was a great book. Most people have read or probably heard of "Red Square". Neither of these would constitute as cheerful, but good dramatic tension.

Also, though this may be a mountain you are not looking for: Umberto Eco's In the Name of the Rose. Really, really good. My husband and I had a contest once who could finish it. Not first. Simply who had the sick-to-itness to finish it.I won.
It goes through many classical ideas as related to their place in Christianity and has descriptions so deep that you can get lost in the amount of information sometimes, but the bones of the story are great. The mystery is wonderful and involving. Being an active parishner at St. Mary's I think qualifies you for the level of reading (given all the talks from scholars and theologians they host there) this book presents.

A year in Provence

Under the Tuscan Sun

Accidental Tourist-
I read this book and it was just damn depressing, and then when it couldn't get any worse- it did. Finally I threw the book down heart-sick, and exasperated by this book. My husband picked it up and read the rest to me, night after night before we went to bed. It seems, where the book broke me was the last of the drearies, because from that point on it is wonderful, crazy, funny.

Confederacy of Dunces

Like Water for Chocolate

Moby Dick- all time favorite book. Read it every year. Probably because the thought of Queequeg feels me with tremendous joy.


I like to read and while I am sometimes disappointed by the moral choices of the characters in the books I read (por ejemplo: The girl with one pearl earring) I'm not actively looking for books that neccessarily reflect my attitudes and beliefs. I say this because, some might think that I rather sympathize choices with the gin-quinine sodden Jonathan Blair or the misguided Francis Mayes, et cetera . . . I just like their stories.

Rumer Godden: An Episode of Sparrows, In This House of Brede, China Court (her masterpiece)

JANET EVANOVICH!!! have you been reading these at all? If not, she is the perfect summer read. Start with One for the Money and go from there. Light and laugh-out-loud with mystery.

Connie Willis - her funny books, the best of which is "Bellwether". Others are "To Say Nothing of the Dog" and "Uncharted Territory".

To piggyback on Julie's list, add Rumer Godden's The Kitchen Madonna.

I liked Marjorie Morningstar. It calls up the feeling, the style, the thought process of that time very well.

Anything by Gillian Bradshaw, but I highly recommend "The Sand Reckoner," which is my favorite of hers so far.

I'm reading Peter Mayle's "A Year In Provence," which is definitely light and humorous.

I guess I should also recommend "The Guardian" by Jane Hamilton, which isn't too bad. :-) You'd have to hunt down a copy on ebay, though, because it's out of print.

Dear MamaT,

Try the English Country Village Romances of Angela Thirkell. They are quite extraordinary, amusing, and unlike anything else I've ever read. Look for one set between the wars--the later books tend to be a bit "duller" or more somber. But the ones in the 20s and 30s are often a riot. I think about the small town of Underwool near Full Skein and not far from Shearing. I think the first one I encountered was "Wild Strawberries" but I got to the point where I was collecting them. A true delight and very palatable for one not looking for a feast but rather a snack.



howabout job?

At the risk of being accused of blowing my own horn, I've written a Christian romance, Fabric of Faith, that you can get from Under another name I've written a fantasy novel, Attack of the Queen, also there.

I've been told they are very good, not put-down-able type books.

Huckleberry Finn!

Kristin Lavransdatter? I'm sure you've read it heaps of times, though. Gaudy Night (Sayers). Don Camillo - though the latter doesn't really fit your description. "The Dream of Scipio" by Iain Pears - I think the overall argument is just wrong, inasmuch as I could work what the philosophy behind it was; but it is very fine. I'm sure you've read A Suitable Boy, but it sounds like it might do if not. Though when I re-read it, it wasn't as gripping as first time round, for some reason.

OK, Mama, I may be way off base, but I recommend George RR Martin's "Game of Thrones".

Fantasy may not be your genre, but this is one engrossing group of stories. Every chapter is told from one pov, and it doesn't seem gimmicky. He is unafraid to take let his characters make their own way in the story (including killing off a fav here and there). He's written 3 books in the cycle, and by the third has turned you around several times, and hits you between the eyes with a "aw, man, I get it now!" moment that left me in awe (well, somewhere just below awe, anyway).

Very engaging. Very tough on a few levels. I don't read much of the dreck in the genre anymore, but I could not recommend these books more highly under the "great read" category.

The Notebook and The Wedding by Sparks and Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by Patterson. Be sure you have a box of Kleenex by your side.



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This page contains a single entry by MamaT published on June 1, 2005 7:56 AM.

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