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The Warrior's Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa, by Stephen Prince - I'm about halfway through it, reading the pertinent section after I watch the films (next up: The Lower Depths). What a fun, enlightening experience, furthering my understanding of the culture behind the films, while insightfully analyzing the relevant themes and structure.

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I've just started Philip Roth's The Plot Against America, which is really fun in a hokum sort of way. Glad I read Berg's Lindbergh bio first.

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Currently reading all of these, little by little:

Through a Screen Darkly - making one more sweep for edits while the publisher does the same

The Gormenghast novels - Mervyn Peake

I like to immerse myself in Peake's phantasmagorical prose when I'm writing fiction. It's bizarrely funny and fantastically macabre.

Compass of Affection - Scott Cairns

New poetry by my favorite manly living poet.

Secrets in the Dark - Frederick Buechner

For nourishment.

Dragon - Steven D. Greydanus

Just started reading some of SDG's fiction. And my comments are for him only.

a screenplay by Jason Bortz

And my comments are for him only.

a new, as-yet-unpublished book by a friend of mine about the Virgin Mary

The Orthodox Way - Kallistos Ware

Strongly recommended to me by Scott Cairns.

What the Light Was Like - Luci Shaw

Her latest collection of poems, dedicated to my dear friend Margaret Smith

Barn Swallow - Margaret Smith

Her latest collection of poems, and they're wonderful.

Flags of Our Fathers - James Bradley

To help me prepare for reviewing the film adaptation.

The Children of Men - P.D. James

To help me prepare for reviewing the film adaptation.

Little Children - Tom Perrota

To help me prepare for reviewing the film adaptation.

Sailing to Sarantium - Guy Gavriel Kay

One of my favorite novels, by one of my favorite fantasy writers. Just for inspiration.

Edited by Jeffrey Overstreet

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I know i know that this is my first *ever* post, etc., but, because I cannot post my own topic, I must ask my question here:

I am a 21 year old Creative Writing undergrad from Southern Louisiana (it's really two states). I need a good book reccomendation. Here are my relative parameters: Preferably something written by a Christian other than Flannery O'Connor or Walker Percy, something set in the South, something intelligent, something that will help me as a writer.

Thanks in advance for any help that you guys can give me and I look forward to being an actual part of this excellent board.

Marty

Wendell Berry's books are set in Kentucky and are beautifully written and have wonderful characters. "A Place on Earth" or "jayber Crow" would be good choices.

Reynolds Price is a southern author. The only book of his I've read is "Tongues of Angels", but I would recommend it.

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Between working more than full-time, raising a new-born and going to school I don't get the time that I want to do leisure reading, but I am currently in a one-week window between quarters and I'm pushing through Swann's Way by Proust. I love the language, but the story has yet to grip me. Of course I'm only about 60 pages through and I imagine it will pick up.

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I'm doing The History of the World in Six Glasses. Very good read. It looks at 6 beverages and the impact they have had on civilization. So far I'm through beer (the harbinger of all civilization) and starting wine. Others are distilled spirits, coffee, tea, and Coca-Cola.

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I just started Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth. I've read Ethan Frome and The Age of Innocence and immensely enjoyed both, and I have little doubt that The House of Mirth will prove equally worthwhile.

I just finished Alice Munro's Selected Stories. I think Flannery O'Connor may have a new rival in my quest for the perfect short story writer. There were several stories in this collection where I simply put down the book and thought, "It doesn't get any better than this." Munro is a master stylist, and she beautifully captures the small epiphanies that change lives and ripple on into eternity.

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I'm doing The History of the World in Six Glasses. Very good read. It looks at 6 beverages and the impact they have had on civilization. So far I'm through beer (the harbinger of all civilization) and starting wine. Others are distilled spirits, coffee, tea, and Coca-Cola.

Ooo. We just got this into my bookstore; it thought it looked excellent. I'll have to pick it up!

I recently re-read James Ellroy's the Black Dahlia; I like Ellroy, but I always hestitate recommending him to others because of the graphic content in his novels.

Now I'm reading Graham Greene's Our Man in Havana-- I didn't know what to expect, because I have very little exposure to him outside of his screenplays. This novel is wonderful! He was such a gifted writer, and his sense of humor is perfect for me.

I'm also reading a book called Growing People Through Small Groups, by David Stark and Betty Veldman Wieland, for one of my church's sunday school classes. We're thinking of getting more small groups going, but we don't want to go about it blindly.

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I've read virtually nothing but books about film for the last several months thanks to a major writing project. Some of the ones I've found particularly useful are listed in a recommended books thread in the film crit forum. Currently reading Tim Cawkwell's The Filmgoer's Guide to God which is more enjoyable and stimulating than I expected from the title.

The most recent books I've read simply for pleasure are probably:

Nicole Krauss, The History of Love - beautiful, haunting stuff.

Straight from there into Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveller's Wife which I'm surprised no one has mentioned in this thread - amazing, devastating, delightful, puzzling, stimulating, traumatic. I wept more than over any book for a long time.

Salley Vickers' Mr Golightly's Holiday - maybe unfamiliar to American readers but highly recommended - charming, whimsical, British and audacious.

Karen Joy Fowler's The Jane Austen Book Club which failed to hit the spot for me at all.

Geraldine McCaughrean's Not the End of the World - a retelling of the flood story from the perspective of a hitherto unknown daughter of NOah, aimed at children - disturbing and enlightening and questioning and fun.

I have lined up for my delight (once I deliver the manuscript in a couple of weeks):

Garth Nix's Keys to the Kingdom series (as many as there are so far anyway - 5 now?) having been blown away by his Old Kingdom trilogy (Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen).

Sebastien Faulks' Human Traces - huge and could be traumatic, but not to be missed

Doug Coupland's JPod - the first time I've not read a Coupland the day of publication (or before) since Life After God. It's been hard.

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I just picked up First Love by Joyce Carol Oates. I read her books fervently years ago and now I'm trying to catch up on what I've missed.

And since I'm on a mission to read all Pulitzer Prize winning novels, I also picked up Empire Falls by Richard Russo.

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Just finished Graham Greene's Our Man in Havana. That's my first complete exposure to Greene, and I think "wow!" might be an understatement. That man could write.

I'm now working through Matthew Pearl's the Poe Shadow, his sophomore novel. It's good; I don't like it as much as the Dante Club, but it's enjoyable. I'm not sure if this is intentional, though, but it's a very disjointed read--the narrative is fairly choppy, and it seems like it could've used another read-through to fix some continuality errors. Regardless, it's a fun historical mystery.

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As For Me and My House - Walter Wangerin Jr.

I'm no expert on marriage or marriage-books, but this one is amazing.

Foucault's Pendulum - Umberto Eco

I think, having finally made it over halfway through, that I really will finish it. Great story; the ethos is a little trying at times.

Amazing Grace - Kathleen Norris

Amazing.

As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner

My first Faulkner. It's like nothing I've ever read before. I don't really have the words to say anything more.

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Finished the Poe Shadow the other day. It was pretty good. Some parts were iffy, but the ending was tight and (nearly) redeemed the book. One complaint, though-- Matthew Pearl uses too many words. Using eight when one would suffice isn't always a good thing.

Now I'm on Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide. Quite funny, especially if you appreciate the deadpan humor and parady aspects of it (and if you're a zombie movie fan, as I am). I'm looking forward to reading his new novel World War Z.

On deck:

Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson,

Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

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Finished book 1 of Naomi Novik's "Temeraire" trilogy, and have started book 2. Realizing that I am not such a devotee of dragons, which must be why I gave up on Anne McCaffrey books long before they got really bad, and some elements of Novik's approach make me think she's read too much fanfiction, but she does know her early 19th century, and the writing's not bad.

Edited by BethR

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I have now finished

Russell's "A Thread of Grace"--good, but not as well developed as Roth's "The Plot Against America", neither of which is as good in really getting to the heart of their characters as is Forster's "A Passage to India".

Hated the randomness of Russell's deaths (frustrating! frustrating! frustrating!), but her web of plot and characters and their moral dilemmas and the little known aspects of the Italian resistance definitely carried me along.

Roth's imaginary history of a fascist America told through the sixty year old memories of a New Jersey Jew was nervy, fascinating stuff--the sense of hidden dread permeated every page. Even if the whole plot was hokum!

But Forster's work in "A Passage to India"! Wow, the man could get into the heads of his characters and express even their subconcious actions better than anyone I've read in a long time. I wondered at times how much of his characterization of the Indians was based on his misperceptions of the India he visited and how much was an accurate portrayal of the Hindus and Muslims that made up the cast. Anyway, a very well done book, if a disappointing David Lean film.

Now back to N.T. Wright and "Paul", which I paused to pick up Roth.

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I'm about a third of the way through A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge.

Blazing through Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman.

Just started Reason For Hope; A Spiritual Journey by Jane Goodall.

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Recent reads--

Zombie Survival Guide, by Max Brooks-- loved it. The overt seriousness made it funny, but the "zombie encounters" exerpts in the last section were actually chilling and well-written.

Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson-- loved it, mostly. I like Stephenson's style, and the post-cyberpunk setting and vibe worked well with the narrative AND some of the subtle (and not so subtle) cultural critiques. The mythology regarding Babel sort of made me uneasy, but I guess you can't win them all with some books.

the Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon-- I liked it. But I had a weird feeling while reading the novel. There are lots of little nitpicks I have with novels, ones that usually ruin it; Shadow... had many of these little things I frown about, but for some reason I didn't mind them in the context of the novel. It flowed well and was engrossing, but I sorta felt let down at the end. Still, it was a worthwhile read, I enjoyed the central story, and I may pick it up again sometime in the future and re-read.

Currently reading Rainbows for the Fallen World, by Cal Seerveld. I can see why this book has the reputation it does. Seerveld does wield some incredibly wonky sentences, but I love them and I love the book so far.

Edited by Jason Panella

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Just finished Oil! by Upton Sinclair. Found it compelling reading, as it provides a glimpse into progressive politics of the 1920's. Sinclair weaves an intricate web of interconnected groups and ideas, including: capitalism, socialism, communism, religious fervor, big business, American politics and politicians, celebrity, big business, rich vs. poor, environmentalism, and various race and class issues. Sinclair's use of a young and inexperienced protagonist works well, as it allows us to come upon some of these ideas with the innocence of adolescence. I look forward to seeing what P.T Anderson will do with his film adaptation.

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Now back to N.T. Wright and "Paul", which I paused to pick up Roth.

Is that What Paul Really Said? If so, you're in for a treat. Great book. I really appreciate his take on Dunn and the New Perspective and the Sanders revolution.

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At home, I've started in on A Day in the Bleachers, an account of going to game 1 of the 1954 World Series at the Polo Grounds (famed for Mays's catch and throw).

At church, I've finished Reading the Gospels in the Dark (5.0/5) abd started in on Blue Like Jazz.

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Now back to N.T. Wright and "Paul", which I paused to pick up Roth.

Is that What Paul Really Said? If so, you're in for a treat. Great book. I really appreciate his take on Dunn and the New Perspective and the Sanders revolution.

No, his other Paul book. I read WStPRS years ago, but have lost most of its content. He reframes it, more successfully IMHO, here.

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Now back to N.T. Wright and "Paul", which I paused to pick up Roth.

Is that What Paul Really Said? If so, you're in for a treat. Great book. I really appreciate his take on Dunn and the New Perspective and the Sanders revolution.

No, his other Paul book. I read WStPRS years ago, but have lost most of its content. He reframes it, more successfully IMHO, here.

Cool. Let me know how you end up liking it. Although, that can be a bit difficult with theology books - you might appreciate the conclusion but not how it got there or you might disagree with the conclusion, but enjoyed reading it.

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Just finished Graham Greene's Our Man in Havana. That's my first complete exposure to Greene, and I think "wow!" might be an understatement. That man could write.

I'm now working through Matthew Pearl's the Poe Shadow, his sophomore novel. It's good; I don't like it as much as the Dante Club, but it's enjoyable. I'm not sure if this is intentional, though, but it's a very disjointed read--the narrative is fairly choppy, and it seems like it could've used another read-through to fix some continuality errors. Regardless, it's a fun historical mystery.

Nice to hear you're a Green man too Jason. I'm just finishing The Honorary Consul and it is good stuff.

If you haven't read it yet, I'd recommend Greene's The End of the Affair. Falkner called it about as close to the perfect novel as one comes.

I'm inclined to agree.

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