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Thread: Recommend A Book to a GS friend

  1. #21
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    I love Jane Austen. She was so ahead of her time considering her works has been around for more than 200 years. My favourite is "Emma" though not "Pride and Prejudice". Austen's heroines are so sassy and outspoken even for this modern era where in some parts of the world women still be banned from the rights of education.

    I would like to recommend "The Romance of the Three Kingdoms" by Luo Guanzhong. Might be a bit of a challenge for non-Asian readers since the book involving almost a thousand characters with Chinese names. I even needed to draw a diagram when I was a kid to help me keep up with the story.

  2. #22
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    In nonfiction, I really like Nathaniel Philbrick's books, especially Mayflower, and In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. I just bought Bunker Hill today.

    The wreck of the Essex is the historical basis of Moby Dick.

  3. #23
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    You could try Watership Down by Richard Adams, excellent writing!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meoima View Post
    You could try Watership Down by Richard Adams, excellent writing!
    I remember loving Adams. I couldn't really get through his second book, Shardik, but Watership Down was lovely.

  5. #25
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Amazon lists a large number of resellers who have a copy of the The Blue Hawk, in your choice of paperback or hardbound.

    I will have to get a copy.

  6. #26
    Bona Fide Member LRK's Avatar
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    Thanks, Doris - I will have to look into that.

    Someone upthread mentioned Jane Austen, I think? Love her - of course. A note to anyone who may find the notion of reading a 19th century classic "intimidating" - whether or not it ultimately turns out to be your favourite Jane Austen or not, "Pride and Prejudice" is veeery easy to get into. (My favourites are "Pride and Prejudice" and "Persuasion".)

    To the Jane Austen fan, other classics that may be worth looking into (depending on what it is that appeals to you about her writing):

    Fanny Burney: "Evelina"
    Maria Edgeworth: "Belinda"
    Susan Ferrier: "Marriage"
    Elizabeth Gaskell: "North and South"/"Cranford"
    Margaret Oliphant: "Miss Marjoribanks"

    For the more fun/ny, frothy, fluffy side - but nonetheless very well-written historical novels with, I think, great period feel - there is always... Georgette Heyer. I already know there are fellow Georgette Heyer fans on GS (Hi! - waves). I'm almost convinced that one of the reasons why the Internet had to be invented was to let Georgette Heyer fans know: "You Are Not Alone!" And turn reading her from a guilty pleasure into simply a pleasure - as it ought to be. My personal favourite is "Devil's Cub" - What's Yours?

  7. #27
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Waves back

    Sci fi conventions used to have Heyer meetups!

    I think the connection was really good sci fi and Heyer's Regency works all involve fully realized alternate worlds, so complete that you are sure you inhabited them in another life, or perhaps in dreams.

  8. #28
    Bona Fide Member LRK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    I remember loving Adams. I couldn't really get through his second book, Shardik, but Watership Down was lovely.
    I haven't read "Watership Down" - yet - but it is certainly something I want to get to. Did you know that, apparently, there is a sequel? "Tales from Watership Down".

    I've actually read "Traveller" by him, the US Civil War as seen through the eyes of General Lee's horse - that may be more your cup of tea if "Shardik" (which I haven't read) didn't work for you. I really loved a children's book by him, though, "The Bureaucats", which I thought was a great deal of fun. (Note: I'm a cat fanatic, though, so anything with cats in it, and I'm predisposed towards it. )

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by LRK View Post

    For the more fun/ny, frothy, fluffy side - but nonetheless very well-written historical novels with, I think, great period feel - there is always... Georgette Heyer. I already know there are fellow Georgette Heyer fans on GS (Hi! - waves). I'm almost convinced that one of the reasons why the Internet had to be invented was to let Georgette Heyer fans know: "You Are Not Alone!" And turn reading her from a guilty pleasure into simply a pleasure - as it ought to be. My personal favourite is "Devil's Cub" - What's Yours?
    *Waves back to you and Doris*

    Devil's Cub is wonderful indeed. If we're talking strictly Austen-inspired Regency romance, my favorite is probably The Grand Sophy. But really I have to allow for two different sets of faves, because Devil's Cub wasn't a Regency at all. Heyer wrote a bunch of delightful stories set in the eighteenth century, inspired not by Austen but possibly by a now-obscure later author named Jeffery Farnol. Devil's Cub and its prequel, These Old Shades, set a generation earlier even than that, are part of the only series (for want of a better word) that I think Heyer ever wrote. The Regency components of the series are Regency Buck (a classic Regency romance, with the most important plot line being the romance between the two main characters). An Infamous Army is set in the Regency era and features characters from Regency Buck but deals with the far weightier matter of the Battle of Waterloo. Heyer turns out to have been a splendid chronicler of battle scenes, giving a fabulously clear and dynamic picture of troop movements on the battlefield. I highly recommend each book in this varied sequence.

    But for true Regency delight, light and frothy but with substance underneath, I'd say that The Grand Sophy is just about Heyer's best of the breed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam-Skwantch View Post
    I'm so glad this thread is getting attention. I had a feeling there would be some serious readers among us. I'm finishing up a Hemingway right now but will be looking for something new in the next few weeks. I've been on a classics kick lately.
    Sam, if you are in the mood for classical, I recommend you Embers by Sándor Márai: http://www.amazon.com/Embers-S%C3%A1.../dp/0375707425
    I love this book very much. The writing is sublime. Here is the summary, but you know, it's impossible to summarise this masterpiece:

    In a secluded woodland castle an old General prepares to receive a rare visitor, a man who was once his closest friend but who he has not seen in forty-one years. Over the ensuing hours host and guest will fight a duel of words and silences, accusations and evasions. They will exhume the memory of their friendship and that of the General’s beautiful, long-dead wife. And they will return to the time the three of them last sat together following a hunt in the nearby forest--a hunt in which no game was taken but during which something was lost forever. Embers is a classic of modern European literature, a work whose poignant evocation of the past also seems like a prophetic glimpse into the moral abyss of the present
    Another one: Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse

    First published in 1930, Narcissus and Goldmund is the story of two diametrically opposite men: one, an ascetic monk firm in his religious commitment, and the other, a romantic youth hungry for worldly experience.Hesse was a great writer in precisely the modern sense: complex, subtle, allusive: alive to the importance of play. Narcissus and Goldmund is his very best. What makes this short book so limitlessly vast is the body-and-soul-shaking debate that runs through it, which it has the honesty and courage not to resolve: between the flesh and spirit, art and scientific or religious speculation, action and contemplation.

  11. #31
    Bona Fide Member LRK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    *Waves back to you and Doris*

    Devil's Cub is wonderful indeed. If we're talking strictly Austen-inspired Regency romance, my favorite is probably The Grand Sophy. But really I have to allow for two different sets of faves, because Devil's Cub wasn't a Regency at all. Heyer wrote a bunch of delightful stories set in the eighteenth century, inspired not by Austen but possibly by a now-obscure later author named Jeffery Farnol. Devil's Cub and its prequel, These Old Shades, set a generation earlier even than that, are part of the only series (for want of a better word) that I think Heyer ever wrote. The Regency components of the series are Regency Buck (a classic Regency romance, with the most important plot line being the romance between the two main characters). An Infamous Army is set in the Regency era and features characters from Regency Buck but deals with the far weightier matter of the Battle of Waterloo. Heyer turns out to have been a splendid chronicler of battle scenes, giving a fabulously clear and dynamic picture of troop movements on the battlefield. I highly recommend each book in this varied sequence.

    But for true Regency delight, light and frothy but with substance underneath, I'd say that The Grand Sophy is just about Heyer's best of the breed.
    Actually, "The Black Moth" could almost be included as part of the "series" - although the characters have completely different names.

    I haven't read "An Infamous Army" yet - that and "The Spanish Bride" are two of her historicals that I own, but have yet to read. Otherwise the only others I don't think I've read yet, are "The Great Roxhythe" - which I don't think has been in print for ages; and "Royal Escape" - which I don't have a terribly keen interest in, as I'm not particularly fond of (the future) Charles II

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2kyNbZc7oc

    anyway, and so have little interest in whether he escapes or not - plus that I have this sneaking suspicion that he just might.

    I've read none of her whodunnits.

  12. #32
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    I know what you mean about The Black Moth: it seems that Andover in that book was her prototype for Avon. If you want to be really impressed with Heyer, look at the date at which The Black Moth was published. This mature novel was her first book, and I think she was a teenager when she completed it. I think that pretty much confirms the quality of this woman as an author. Anyone who's interested in trying Heyer out, this is the one book of hers that I'm sure is in public domain, and therefore it can be found online (I think maybe on the Gutenberg site, though I might be wrong).

    LRK, If you have to choose between The Spanish Bride and An Infamous Army to read next. I'd recommend An Infamous Army. It has such sweep, yet such humanity.

    The whodunits are interesting, though not at the level of someone like Dorothy Sayers or Margery Allingham. I'm not sure I've heard of The Great Roxhythe! I wonder whether it's been published in the U.S. under another name, or whether I have an unread Heyer in my future. I'll have to research.

  13. #33
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    I hadn't heard of The Great Roxhythe before It has been republished. You can read the first couple of pages on Amazon-I didn't recognize it.

    I just ordered it from Amazon, along with Helen and Pastel, two of the books that Heyer refused to have republished during her lifetime. They are contemporary (i.e. 1910-1920) based stories.

    There was another one, The Barren Thorn, that did not particularly sound like my cup of tea right now.

  14. #34
    Bona Fide Member LRK's Avatar
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    That's so cool - thanks Doris! I used to check now and then - but it must have been a while since last I did. It used to disgruntle me excessively that there was a Georgette Heyer that I couldn't get hold of. So, now there's another book I need to get my greedy little paws on. (rubs said paws gleefully)

  15. #35
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    Thanks, Doris! I just looked up Roxhythe, and it seems to be a more serious book set in the era of Charles II. I'm not sure how I'll feel about it, but I'll consider it.

    Doris, I looked up the other book you mentioned, and I think you have conflated two titles together. I found Instead of the Thorn and Barren Corn, two different books. Both seem to be set in the twentieth century (1920s–1930s), and I reacted to both as you did: not my cup of tea.

  16. #36
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    This is a great thread as it really speaks to my serious bookworm issue. I will read just about anything but my favorite books / authors aren't necessarily great literature but they are excellent reads and touch that special place deep down inside that was first ignited by a Ramona Quimbly book in 2nd grade that exploded in third grade when I was given my first Judy Blume (Are You there God? It's Me, Margaret).

    Books have always been my sanctuary in a world gone mad and played major parts in all my childhood memories: getting grounded from BOOKS in the sixth grade (my 16 year old finds this highly amusing) and of course the infamous Hollywood Wives incident in seventh grade when my mother was called to the school to meet with the principal about my in class reading choice (she was NOT amused and I doubt the principle ever made that mistake again)

    So, anywho, here's my list.

    Catcher in the Rye - Gotta love Holden Caulfield
    Jane Austin Anything
    White Oleander - Not a happy book but the writing is divine
    The Fountainhead - Not a Ayn Rand fan but there is something about Howard Roark that just touches my soul
    Maeve Binchy Anything
    Jennifer Weiner Anything - she moves chit lit into a whole different realm
    Philippa Gregory - I know her history is shady but if you like historical fiction as entertainment, her work is perfect for a Saturday on the couch
    Winter's Bone - Wow. Just. Wow.
    I just read A Fault in Our Stars and let's just say I was totally in awe of this story

    And of course: Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones

  17. #37
    “I solemnly swear I’m up to no good” Sam-Skwantch's Avatar
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    Has anyone read "dead souls" by Nicholai Golgol? It's been recommended to me by a couple friends recently.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meoima View Post
    You could try Watership Down by Richard Adams, excellent writing!
    Thank you Meoima for the suggestion. I picked it up today and have begun my journey into the land of rabbits and the new launguage which apparently comes with it

    I also picked up "Dead Souls" by Nikolai Gogul which I'm told is one of Russia's first successful major novels. I've read and enjoyed Tolstoy and figured another classic in my collection of Russian literature will feel just as satisfactory as anything else.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam-Skwantch View Post
    Thank you Meoima for the suggestion. I picked it up today and have begun my journey into the land of rabbits and the new launguage which apparently comes with it

    I also picked up "Dead Souls" by Nikolai Gogul which I'm told is one of Russia's first successful major novels. I've read and enjoyed Tolstoy and figured another classic in my collection of Russian literature will feel just as satisfactory as anything else.
    Yes, Dead Souls is one of the big landmarks in Russian literature. Coincidence: the other day I was listening to a bit of the sound track (very stirring) from the movie Taras Bulba, starring Yul Brynner. I did a bit of research on the film and learned that the film was loosely based on a short story by Gogol. So he's been on my mind for several days. His story "The Overcoat" is considered another of his masterpieces.

  20. #40
    Bona Fide Member LRK's Avatar
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    I admit that I haven't read very much Russian lit, but of what I've read, the author I've enjoyed most is probably Ivan Turgenev. Also "The Captain's Daughter" by Alexander Pushkin - though that was quite a while ago I read that, in my teens in the '80s.

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