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February 27, 2011


Seth Lipkin

I read Then We Came to the End. It's light fun and easily finishable! Do you like The Office and/or Office Space, or find them painful? If you like them, you'll like the book.


I like them, so that's a good sign! Thanks!


I had the same experience with the Irving book. I love losing myself in one of Irving's books, but I stopped reading this one. It was boring!

Hope the next one you read is great!


Have you read Cutting for Stone? The Whistling Season? My Book club also enjoyed The Lost City of Z, Old Filth and if you like quirky, Couch.


I finished "Wolf Hall" (and rather enjoyed it), but quit the Lydia Davis collection after two or three "stories." So: I hear ya.

Best fiction I've read lately: three crime novels by Laura Lippman, whom I've just recently discovered. She's an ex-journo who's married to David Simon, creator of "The Wire" and "Treme"; her characters are vivid, her writing's superb, and her plots are fascinating without being hopelessly convoluted (a problem with much crime fiction, IMO).

If you're up for nonfiction that reads like fiction, I highly recommend Daniel Okrent's "Last Call," a witty and riveting history of Prohibition; and Rebecca Skloot's "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," which will blow your mind and break your heart.

Tonya Watkins

I'm glad to hear (sadly) that I'm not the only one in a reading rut. The last several books I've downloaded to my Kindle sit unfinished. And I really haven't been in the mood to read anything lately. (It's very strange for me).


My book club read Then We Came To An End and I only vaguely remember the book. I know I enjoyed it, but wasn't blown away.

I agree with your assessment of Last Night In Twisted River. It very much felt like an attempt at writing like John Irving - "Oh gee, everything came full circle! Weird!"

Cliff and I both just read The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson and loved it! It sucked me in with 2 pages.


Can't believe I neglected to mention Lionel Shriver in my original comment. I know you enjoyed "The Post-Birthday World"; I thought "So Much for That" (a finalist for the National Book Award last year) was even better. And "We Have to Talk About Kevin" was brilliant and deeply disturbing--and unputdownable.


Love, love? Here are a few

Bloodroot, Amy Greene
Making Toast, Roger Rosenblatt (go read this tonight)
Girl in Tranlation, Kwok
Last Night at the Lobster, Stewart O'Nan (read this tonight too if you haven't already)
Motherless Brooklyn, Jonathan Lethem

PS I couldn't read three pages of the Post Birthday World.


Golly! Do I ever hear you on this one! I LOVED Wolf Hall, however (although then I tried one of her earlier books and got bogged down). I have the 100-Page Rule, where I get to stop at page 100 if I am not enjoying myself. It has saved me such ladlesful of guilt for not finishing things; 26 more pages and you're there with Lorrie Moore!
I am working my way through DK Goodwin's Lincoln bio, rather slowly, but it's so worthwhile. The slow pace and long hiatuses, however, do mean that I have to go back to remember who the hell a lot of people are.


I have also started and then abandoned a number of books lately. What gives? (I read Last Night at the Lobster, which was mentioned above, a while ago, and I enjoyed it.) I think the last book I actually finished was "Room," which I really liked.


You've probably already read this (it's several years old), but I recently LOVE-LOVE-LOVED the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. About halfway through I slowed down and consciously savored it, because it's way too short! This is definitely one of those books where you get to know the characters like friends, and want to hear more from them. If you haven't read it, I can mail you the paperback anytime. :-)

p.s. I also LOVED Ken Follett's new book, Fall of Giants, but since you're not a big historical fiction fan, you might find this one a bit too big to stick with. (Again, I can send it to you if you want to try!)

Tom Compton

I have to second the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And another I just thought of is Latitudes of Melt, Joan Clark. Anything by Bill Bryson, but Notes From a Small Island is my favorite. It made me laugh out loud. Likewise, anything by Frederick Forsyth or Ken Follett, and Thomas Perry's Jane Whitefield series is excellent suspense. I recently finished Mistress of the Art of Death, and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I tried The Historian, and just couldn't get past a hundred pages. First book I've abandoned in a long time.


So sad to hear about John Irving's book. I love him. Loved Garp. Loved Owen. I did a paper on him in college. I'm sad.


I recently read "Family Album" by Penelope Lively and liked it very much. It's very well-written and nuanced, without being fancypants. Easy to read and hard to shake off afterward, for all the right reasons.


Based on the above recommendations I just read Last Night at the Lobster, Stewart O'Nan and I've started on The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. Both are good.


Oh! I was going to chime in to recommend Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and see others beat me to it. It's that good!

The only other ones I've really loved recently are historical, though...Sally Gunning's three "Satucket" novels about pre-Revolutionary Boston and surrounding areas. They are The Widow's War, Bound, and The Rebellion of Jane Clarke.

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