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NOVELS - What are you reading this year?

Pauline

Forums Admin
#1
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. I loved it! Very intense and somewhat odd, but gripping and a very good story. It was on one of the lists of best books for 2016.
The Guardian - Why Fates and Furies was this year’s most talked-about novel, Dec 2015
President Obama and Amazon named Lauren Groff’s word-of-mouth sensation Fates and Furies as their book of the year. As with Gone Girl, it seems readers can’t resist a dark take on modern matrimony

Earlier I read and loved (wrote about it in another post) Dragon Springs Road by Janie Chang (a ST friend!).

I am starting The Nix by Nathan Hill. If the novel is as good as the prologue (amazing!) I will love it.
The Guardian - The Nix by Nathan Hill review – a novel of extravagant appetite, Jan 2017
A literary professor investigates the life of his estranged mother in an entertaining if self-indulgent debut novel
 
#2
I usually read novels, but have started the year off with two non-fiction works. I just finished Eric Kandel's Reductionism in Art and Brain Science. He looks at how our brains process art when we are the beholder (the viewer) and he compares the differences between looking at figurative art and abstract art. I found it very helpful in preparing for some of the art we are seeing in Barcelona and Bilbao. I am currently reading Ghosts of Spain by Giles Tremlett, which is subtitled Travels Through a Country's Hidden Past. This one is particularly interesting to me because we are in Barcelona for a six-week stay and I am learning about how Spain has dealt (or not dealt) with the Spanish Civil War and the post-war years.
 
#3
I had never heard of Fates and Furies but after reading Pauline's post I read some reviews then downloaded it. I'm halfway through and don't get what all the buzz is about. I don't like nor can I relate to any of the characters. It all seems quite unrealistic and hardly the portrait of a marriage. Help! What am i missing?
 

Chris

100+ Posts
#4
I got about one third of the way through Fates and Furies before quitting. I've started Pauline's other recommendation, The Nix, and I'm finding it funny and well-written. However, it's another one with unlikeable characters, at least in the beginning.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
#5
I thought Fates and Furies was an interesting read because you get the male view of the marriage in the first half and the female in the second. I agree it is not a normal marriage but I was enthralled by the characters and their motivations. I am mostly looking for escapist novels now - to get my mind of the political situation - so maybe that influenced me.

I am reading The Nix and it is not what I expected, but I am enjoying it.

The best thing I have read recently is Janie's Dragon Springs Road.
 

Chris

100+ Posts
#6
Ahh. I didn't get to the second half of Fates and Furies. I may go back and try it again. I agree about Dragon Springs Road. I really loved it!
 
#7
Mmm I decided to quit after reading part of the second half. This is a good novel for a discussion. I didn't really see it as a male/female perspective of a marriage although that is how it was reviewed and that is what drew me to the novel in the first place. There were certainly aspects of those different points of views but on the whole I found it silly and unrealistic. I think if I had been expecting a surreal or quirky story than I may have been more prepared to go with the flow. But Lotto and Mathilde's backstory, their meeting, their families, his fame (spoiler) his death, her life....too much.

I decided to return to a detective series I have rediscovered. The series is by a Swedish couple and occur between 1962 and 1972 when the male 1/2 died. I had read several long ago and didn't appreciate them. I do now. These are police procedurals and Swedish noir. The precursors to all the Scandinavian ones that followed from Hening Mankell to Steg Larson and beyond. Maj Sjwall and Per Wahloo.
 

Kathy

100+ Posts
#10
I have been reading the Louise Penny "Inspector Gamache" series and absolutely loving them. I've tried not to read too fast, but sometimes I just have to keep on reading... the plot is so engrossing. Now, sadly, I'm on the most recent book so I'll have a wait for the next one. Highly recommend if you haven't discovered these... I was a bit late to the party on this.
 

Chris

100+ Posts
#11
I started reading the Inspector Gamache series before the second book in the series was published, so I've been on the read/wait schedule for a long time now! I'm not normally someone who reads books more than once, but I've started again from the beginning, partly because I wanted to consciously trace the plot threads that worked themselves out over multiple books, something I think she has done brilliantly. I recently re-read Still Life, the first book in the series, and was a bit surprised to see how the stage had been set in that first book in a way that didn't seem important at the time for the plot of the most recent book. She's really an amazing author.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
#12
I really loved the Louise Penny books for many of them but one of her recent ones was, IMO, horrible! The one where they go on the river. I am have to just suck it up and get back to reading her. Still Life is next on my to-read list. (Maybe she had someone else write that book because her husband was ill at that time I think.)

I'm still reading The Nix. I spend too much time reading newspapers and Facebook - must put them aside.
 

Chris

100+ Posts
#15
Hi Ann! I definitely think it's best to start at the beginning. Each book can stand alone, but the plot lines that run all the way through the series wouldn't make as much sense out of order.
 

Ann

100+ Posts
#16
Thanks, Chris. I usually like to read a series in order -- for example, with the Donna Leon series, to see the relationships change and the kids grow up. I look forward to starting this one. BTW, for those who love mystery/crime books, this is a great web site: http://www.stopyourekillingme.com/.
 
#19
These are new to me! I just bought the first one.
They have been reissued as classics. I picked up the first one Roseanne at a book sale. Saw the authors' names and was taken back many years. I really didn't appreciate the series in my youth.
Boy does Sweden sound like a miserable place. Full of corruption, drugs,poverty etc. And they were writing in the 60s. Their books become increasingly more political. I just finished one and it felt a little preachy. But the mysteries are good. I can't imagine Sweden is as bad as they and Stef Larson have made it sound.
 

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