What books are you reading for pleasure these days?

theoldsmithy

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Cheshire, England
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Martin Connolly
Good thread here. It is both inspiring me (because of all the books I now want to read) and depressing me as well (when the hell am I going to find even a fraction of the time necessary to ready even some of them?).

I just finished re-reading the fourth and final volume of the late (he died, sadly, in 2020) and brilliant Spanish novelist, Carlos Ruiz Zafón's quartet of remarkable novels, The Labyrinth of Spirits (El laberinto de los espíritus). All four books are known, collectively, as The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, series. This time, for the first time, I read it in the original Spanish (my español has been improving significantly these last few years) - and Zafón is not only a master story-teller... but an artist with language. His original Spanish is elegant, beautiful and complex; the voices of his characters (especially the hyper-loquacious Fermín Romero de Torres) are unique and wonderful. The good news is that the English translations of all his works are equally masterful and inspired. Reading his novels... is like listening to a great recording of a complex symphony on the best speakers in the world, where you can hear each note, and each individual instrument both apart from and also as part of the whole.

I think I'm going to have to go back to the first novel of the series, The Shadow of the Wind (La sombra del viento) and reread it one more time. But that might be dangerous, because once you start down that garden path... it's hard to stop.
I also very much enjoyed that series of books. In fact The Angel’s Game was an audiobook, read superbly by Dan Stevens (who some may remember as Matthew in Downton Abbey). I liked Labyrinth of the Spirits up until to the last section which seemed like an unnecessary coda to the main story.
 
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theoldsmithy

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Cheshire, England
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Martin Connolly
So, what have I read recently... the final part of Louis de Bernieres’ Daniel Pitt trilogy, “The Autumn of the Ace”, which was funny, moving and melancholy in equal measure. Another Jo Nesbo book - not one of the Harry Hole canon, which I think has really run its course - “The Kingdom” was ok if a bit flabby. I’ve rattled through 80% of Robert Harris’s “The Second Sleep” in about a day, a thoroughly entertaining and tightly written yarn, as ever from Mr Harris.
 

MiguelATF

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Talent, Oregon (far from the madding crowd)
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Miguel Tejada-Flores
I also very much enjoyed that series of books. In fact The Angel’s Game was an audiobook, read superbly by Dan Stephens (who some may remember as Matthew in Downton Abbey). I liked Labyrinth of the Spirits up until to the last section which seemed like an unnecessary coda to the main story.

I hadn't realized Dan Stevens was the narrator of that audiobook. He also was the lead actor in a remarkable sci-fi series, 'Legion', a few years ago; he has extraordinary range.

I have to partially agree with you about the ending of Labyrinth of the Spirits; at a certain point, after the main storyline was wrapped up, there was a rather lengthy additional section, or coda - which was also surprisingly (to me, at least) sentimental. Reading between the lines, I suspect that when this section was written, the author had already been diagnosed with the cancer which was to kill him a few short years later - and that he allowed himself to indulge in what can be seen as an extended farewell to most of the principal characters of this series.
 

theoldsmithy

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Cheshire, England
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Martin Connolly
I hadn't realized Dan Stevens was the narrator of that audiobook. He also was the lead actor in a remarkable sci-fi series, 'Legion', a few years ago; he has extraordinary range.

I have to partially agree with you about the ending of Labyrinth of the Spirits; at a certain point, after the main storyline was wrapped up, there was a rather lengthy additional section, or coda - which was also surprisingly (to me, at least) sentimental. Reading between the lines, I suspect that when this section was written, the author had already been diagnosed with the cancer which was to kill him a few short years later - and that he allowed himself to indulge in what can be seen as an extended farewell to most of the principal characters of this series.
I hadn’t heard that Carlos Ruiz Zafon had died, to be honest. He’s a great loss. Your theory sounds quite plausible, Miguel.
 

olli

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Sofia, Bulgaria
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olli
I'm currently reading The Life and Times of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne. A few years ago it occured to me that though I was familiar with lots of 'classics' I hadn't actually read many of them, or if I had they were often in abridged versions. So I decided to alternate between my usual diet of police procedurals and spy thrillers, and tackle some of the classics. Some were fantastic, others were very hard going. Tristram Shandy is definitely on the fantastic side. Totally indescribable in the best way.
 

Richard

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Location
Marlow, UK
There's probably another thread to be started on books we haven't read (and movies we haven't watched, for that matter).

In my case, the two most glaring omissions are that I've never read anything by Charles Dickens or by Agatha Christie, despite being very familiar with the TV and movie versions of many of their novels. I really should do something about that.

-R
 

theoldsmithy

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Cheshire, England
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Martin Connolly
There's probably another thread to be started on books we haven't read (and movies we haven't watched, for that matter).

In my case, the two most glaring omissions are that I've never read anything by Charles Dickens or by Agatha Christie, despite being very familiar with the TV and movie versions of many of their novels. I really should do something about that.

-R
A long long time ago ( I can still remember - oops, wrong thread ) I was studying David Copperfield at school. The whole class had got half way through the book, then the BBC adaptation started on TV and that was that for the rest of the year. So much easier than reading.
 

olli

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Sofia, Bulgaria
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olli
I was inspired to start reading after again after leaving school, having found English Literature classes tedious, by the BBC version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I remember reading a review of the first episode in the Belfast Telegraph which basically said, "If you think that was complicated, wait till you see the rest." So I bought the book at my local bookstore (in the days when there were such things) and haven't stopped reading since.
 

emerson

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Maritime Canada
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David
I was inspired to start reading after again after leaving school, having found English Literature classes tedious, by the BBC version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I remember reading a review of the first episode in the Belfast Telegraph which basically said, "If you think that was complicated, wait till you see the rest." So I bought the book at my local bookstore (in the days when there were such things) and haven't stopped reading since.

As it happens, this year I am reading through each of John le Carré's books. At Little Drummer Girl at the moment.

The 2011 film version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is outstanding, highly recommended.
 

pictogramax

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Location
Zemun, Serbia
@JensM Have you read Rory Stewart's "The places in between"? Might be right up your alley.
PICTOGRAMAX - 2021 - RORY.jpg

P. S. Yeah, you guessed right, it's more walking through Afghanistan :) There is a two-part documentary on YT "Afghanistan The Great Game - A Personal View by Rory Stewart" that inspired me to get the book.

 

olli

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Sofia, Bulgaria
Real Name
olli
As it happens, this year I am reading through each of John le Carré's books. At Little Drummer Girl at the moment.

The 2011 film version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is outstanding, highly recommended.
Thanks. I have it downloaded somewhere but have never got around to watching it. Maybe this weekend.
 

tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Real Name
Tony
I finally finished reading Brooks's Sword of Shannara. After reading the first 9 books in the chronology (based on fictional timeline) in November and December, it took me over 2 months to finish this one. Just couldn't get my head into it. Hopefully I will do better with Elfstones of Shannara. It's raining today, and is supposed to do so off and on the next week.
 

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