The Book Club
User Topic: Ideas for very long, very involving books?!
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Default  Posted: 8:22 AM, July 8th (Monday)

I especially like historical fiction. Just finished up "Gone With the Wind" and am working my way through "A Prayer for Owen Meany" right now :)

(I've read the "Outlander" and "Game of Thrones" series already, as well. Though they're probably always worth a re-read!)

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Default  Posted: 8:35 AM, July 8th (Monday)

Pillars of the earth, world without end, fall of giants and winter of the world...all by ken follet. Loved them all.

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Default  Posted: 12:48 PM, July 9th (Tuesday)

I usually just re-read Outlander when I'm in this sort of a mood.

Speaking of, I just read that they're finally doing an adaptation for TV! It's going to be on Starz. Diana Gabaldon has been posting updates about it on her FB page.

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Default  Posted: 2:05 PM, July 9th (Tuesday)

Pillars of the Earth is a great recommendation, I second that. If you like a historical/fantasy blend, try the Mists Of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. It's the King Arthur legend but from the perspective of the women. Very escapist, and LONG!

If you like Egyptian history, I cannot recommend enough "River God" by Wilbur Smith, and it's sequel "The Seventh Scroll". There are several more books that come after, but these two are the best, IMO. River God is my favorite book of all time, hands down.

I've read Outlander several times. Awesome book...I liked it more than the books that came after it. I'm currently reading the Game of Thrones series and LOVING IT.

[This message edited by gypsybird87 at 2:10 PM, July 9th (Tuesday)]

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Default  Posted: 2:31 PM, July 9th (Tuesday)

I completely agree with every single recommendation listed above.

Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
River God series by Wilbur Smith
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet
Mists of Avalon by MZ Bradley

I HIGHLY recommend Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer (one of my all time favorites). This book is EPIC and starts off with a "bang"!!! The sequel to this book is "The Prodigal Daughter" which was also pretty good.

The Clan of the Cave Bear series by Jean Auel is also good. The first book was my favorite, though.

I read voraciously (3-4 books per week). There are only 10-15 books/series that I reread on a regular basis and they include each of the books listed above.

[This message edited by GabyBaby at 4:13 PM, July 9th (Tuesday)]

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Default  Posted: 11:21 PM, July 9th (Tuesday)

The first two sentences in the book "Kane and Abel" always give me a little shiver every time I read the book. It starts the story off with a bang and the story does not let up from there.

The first two sentences:
She only stopped screaming when she died. It was then that he started to scream.

Read this book!!!

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Default  Posted: 11:31 PM, July 9th (Tuesday)


The Wheel of Time: 14 books @ 800 pgs. each. Very involved, 30 good guys, 30 bad guys.... complex! But unlike the Game of Thrones it is finished!!

The Belgarion Series was good too.

[This message edited by Take2 at 11:32 PM, July 9th (Tuesday)]

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Default  Posted: 1:04 AM, July 10th (Wednesday)

how bout this one...

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Default  Posted: 8:51 AM, July 10th (Wednesday)

Harlot's Ghost: A Novel by Norman Mailer is a very long, very involved, very good book about the CIA. While it is a fictional story, it includes a mix of real and fictional characters and settings.

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Default  Posted: 11:44 AM, July 10th (Wednesday)

Like Gaby's example, the first lines can be such a hook!! The first line of Pillars of the Earth:

"The small boys came early to the hanging."

Creepy yet intriguing! I couldn't put it down.

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Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. ~ Anais Nin

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Default  Posted: 6:02 PM, July 10th (Wednesday)

Kane and Abel was awesome! Read it ages ago.

Gone With The Wind is one of the greats.

I like John Steinbeck when I'm in the mood for a good journey read.

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Default  Posted: 6:11 PM, July 10th (Wednesday)

Pillars is awesome, as are most of Follett's books. Lots of historical fiction by him that will draw you in and teach you something at the same time.

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Default  Posted: 3:37 AM, July 11th (Thursday)

So something like Doctor Zhivago or War & Peace is out of the question? They're amazing. And long. War & P I couldn't finish, I kept getting lost. I should try it again.

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Default  Posted: 7:57 AM, July 11th (Thursday)

This is all I can think of off the top of my head- I need to consult my Goodreads shelves! Outlander would be my first recommendation (my favorite) but you've already read these. The ones below are from various genres. Have you read any of the following?

Anna Karenina by Tolstoy

The Passage by Justin Cronin (has a sequel called The Twelve which I have yet to read)

The Bronze Horseman (series) by Paullina Simon

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb

Harry Potter Series by Rowling

[This message edited by abbycadabby at 7:57 AM, July 11th (Thursday)]

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Default  Posted: 8:21 AM, July 11th (Thursday)

If you like historical fiction and you like cheering while you read then flipping the page and ending up in a sobbing heap, you'll love Dorothy Dunnett.

Her "House of Niccolo" series was written second, but precedes the "Lymond Chronicles" in time. Niccolo is (IIRC) late 1400s, Lymond is late 1500s. They're wonderful, wonderful books.

You might also enjoy Neal Stephenson's "Baroque Cycle" series. It mostly takes place in London in 1714, the Age of Enlightenment. Very fun. Geeky. Adorable. I love-hated most of the characters.

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Default  Posted: 12:29 PM, July 11th (Thursday)

Um - If you like those thousand pagers, I strongly recommend Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.

I read the unabriged version about 15 years ago, and have reread an abridged version a few years ago. It is a fabulous book, and sooooo much more to it than the musical or movie.

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Default  Posted: 12:30 PM, July 11th (Thursday)

Other shorter historical fiction that I enjoyed, was the Hangman's daughter books.

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Default  Posted: 2:28 PM, July 11th (Thursday)

Pillars of the earth...

I didn't know there was this much emotional pain in the universe!
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Default  Posted: 6:48 PM, July 11th (Thursday)

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami....not really historical but fascinating.

Five Smooth Stones by Anne Fairbaim - beautifully written classic fiction re civil rights era.

Unbroken by Hillebrand - not long but a well written story about a remarkable man during WWII.

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Default  Posted: 7:06 PM, July 11th (Thursday)

The Power of One is my all time favorite

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Default  Posted: 9:26 PM, July 11th (Thursday)

Well, as for very long, The Help was excellent and not a taxing read. Plus, it's based on the civil rights era, so you get a historical angle as well.

I'd also recommend Crime and Punishment. I remember being afraid of Russian fiction... it will be about the cold... and people having deep thoughts that I won't understand... and everyone will be wearing those large, furry hats! It was excellent. I was totally absorbed and loved seeing how it unfolded. I don't recall it being super long, though.

One last piece that is also probably average in length, is historical in nature (Holocaust), is a rewarding read since the language is so beautiful, and creates interesting Biblical connections is No One Is Here Except All Of Us by Ramona Ausubel. My book club loved it, but a good friend of mine is struggling to get through it. I still have to recommend it, though. It was one of those books that I just happened upon and was so glad that I did. It's such a different view of that time period, and she finds the beauty in it, if that seems at all possible.

[This message edited by tryingagain74 at 9:26 PM, July 11th (Thursday)]

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Default  Posted: 10:24 PM, July 11th (Thursday)

East of Eden by John Steinbeck. Love that book.

Also, my brother has been telling me that I absolutely should read War and, I guess that is his recommendation for you

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Default  Posted: 11:24 PM, July 11th (Thursday)

I don't usually read fiction but you can't go wrong with Siddhartha by Herman Hesse.

If you're interested in some good non-fiction, you might enjoy reading some of Richard Halliburton's stuff, particularly "Seven League Boots" and "The Flying Carpet". They are both amazing books.

[This message edited by h0peless at 11:27 PM, July 11th (Thursday)]

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Default  Posted: 1:29 AM, July 12th (Friday)

Historical fiction by Margaret George. Her books are very long. I particularly enjoyed The Autobiography of Henry VIII.

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Default  Posted: 8:29 AM, July 12th (Friday)

"The Other Boleyn Girl" by Phillipa Gregory. She also wrote a number of historical fiction pieces that were very good.

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Default  Posted: 9:29 AM, July 12th (Friday)

Cloud Atlas! Dense, long, epic, many different time periods explored. Satisfying read.

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Default  Posted: 9:13 PM, July 18th (Thursday)

All historical novels by Edward Rutherfurd:
The Forest
New York


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Default  Posted: 10:01 PM, July 18th (Thursday)

Hilary Mantel's books on Thomas Cromwell: Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. Both Booker Prize winners.

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Default  Posted: 6:52 PM, July 19th (Friday)

"The Terror" by Dan Simmons. Great summer read, because it's set in the ice!

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Default  Posted: 9:51 PM, July 19th (Friday)

Hilary Mantel's books on Thomas Cromwell: Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. Both Booker Prize winners.

*mental note to look for these!! I've seen them mentioned before but forgot about them.

“We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are.”... Anais Nin

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Default  Posted: 7:37 AM, July 20th (Saturday)

For those of you mentioning the Hilary Mantel books, just wanted to forewarn you. My entire book club disliked the first book to the point where almost nobody finished the book and the leader couldn't find anything to discuss. I'm not sure why that happened. My book club reads and likes very diverse books. I knew I had to leave the club early that day so I put down the book after 100 pages that I didn't like.

Would love to know why it was loved by so many!

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Default  Posted: 11:09 AM, July 20th (Saturday)

The Stand by Stephen King - excellent and involved read!!

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Posts: 517 | Registered: Feb 2013 | From: Pennsylvania
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Default  Posted: 4:59 PM, July 20th (Saturday)

I read a lot (about 150 books so far this year alone) and I highly recommend Terry Goodkind's books. He is, by far, my favorite author of all time. He wrote the Sword of Truth series plus a couple of other books related to the series. And he has another being released next month. They are fantasy books, like Wheel of Time and Game of Thrones, but better IMO because they focus more on the people, their choices, the consequences of those choices (good and bad), and the culture and day to day life of his created world. I'm not a big fan of reading page after page about battles, politics, and tactics.

Wizard's First Rule (gets interesting right away)
Stone of Tears (800-something pages)
Blood of the Fold
Temple of the Winds
Soul of the Fire
Faith of the Fallen (<--amazing!)
Pillars of Creation
Naked Empire
The Omen Machine
The Third Kingdom (8/20/2013)

^^Those are all one continuous story with the same characters, although the last two aren't technically part of the series.

Debt of Bones is a short novella that takes place before the main series and is about one of the main characters when he was younger.

The First Confessor is a prequel that takes place a few thousand years before the main story. Only 300 copies were printed so you'd have to get the e-book. (It has 103 wanted long )

The Law of Nines is also related to the main story, but set a few thousand years later and in our world instead of the fantasy one. You can actually read it without reading any of the others, but there are little things you'll "get" if you read the main series first.

I could go on and on about his books forever. Seriously love them!!!

"The only books I read are the Goodkind."

[This message edited by frigidfire86 at 5:13 PM, July 20th (Saturday)]

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Posts: 628 | Registered: May 2011 | From: Germany
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Default  Posted: 8:19 AM, July 21st (Sunday)

Atonement (Ian McEwan)
Les Miserables (Victor Hugo)
The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)

[This message edited by burnt_toast at 8:20 AM, July 21st (Sunday)]

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Default  Posted: 8:32 PM, July 25th (Thursday)

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

Wow, blast from high school english class! My DS also had to read Siddhartha in high school - I've never heard of anyone who's read it who didn't have to!

I absolutely adored Mists of Avalon. It's so hard for me to become immersed in a fictional novel as an adult (biographies are a different story!!) but Mists of Avalon took my adult mind and entwined it in a fantasy land for hours and days at a time.

For me, I found Pillars of the Earth very tedious and stodgy and slow. But again, I read so much non fiction these days that it's hard for a novel to intrigue me.

[This message edited by circe at 8:33 PM, July 25th (Thursday)]

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Default  Posted: 6:11 PM, July 26th (Friday)

The Deed of Paksenarrion. Fantasy. One of the original 'strong woman' protagonist stories. Love strong women.
3 book series. Elizabeth Moon is adding 3 more (waiting for the 3rd, or is it 4th?)

Elizabeth Moon coincidentally lives near here.

The Sharpe series (can't believe Thren didn't mention this!) - by Bernard Cornwell.
Historical Fiction. Napoleonic era. 24 books!

I really like JV Jones' "Cavern" series - but like some, she's slow getting the last installment out.

Then there's Janny Wurts, whose "Empire Series" is co-written with Raymond Feist. It has another 'strong woman' character.
It also ties in with a Feist's "Riftwar" series.

Janny just needs to finish The "Wars of Light and Shadow" series, which starts with the "Curse of the Mistwraith"

"Unbroken" - True story. Too good not to mention again. A story of survival. We could use that.

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Default  Posted: 7:40 PM, July 26th (Friday)

I'm currently enjoying The Passage by Justin Cronin.

Just finished Under The Dome by Stephen King

I also read War & Peace and Crime & Punishment in the last year or so. Both good books!

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Default  Posted: 8:34 PM, August 3rd (Saturday)

If you love Outlander I second the recommendation of The Bronze Horseman trilogy by Paullina Simons. Amazing!!!

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Posts: 316 | Registered: Nov 2011 | From: East Coast
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Default  Posted: 6:40 AM, August 5th (Monday)

I just picked up Marjorie Morningstar... so far - great!

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Default  Posted: 4:38 PM, August 12th (Monday)

These are billed as young adult or kid books, but I found them exceptionally well written and engrossing historical fiction:

The eagle of the ninth (rosemary sutcliff, written in the 1950s)

Heroes of the valley (Jonathan stroud)

The ring of Solomon (stroud. Historical fantasy -- really, stroud is a wonderful writer)

The wee free men (terry pratchett. His "kids" books are better than his adult books. This one is fantasy that feels kind of historical.)

Books for adults -- I loved The Master by Colm Toibin. Book for literary nerds -- about Henry James and very much in James' style. Also by Toibin, The Blackwater Lightship.

dickens, bleak House
dickens, Great expectations

You might also like Jodi picoult. Smart, readable, always has a well researched setting.

[This message edited by StrongerOne at 4:39 PM, August 12th (Monday)]

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Default  Posted: 3:50 AM, August 13th (Tuesday)


I'm a prolific reader and have always loved James A Michener.

From Wikipedia:

James Albert Michener was an American author of more than 40 titles, the majority of which were sweeping family sagas, covering the lives of many generations in particular geographic locales and incorporating historical facts into the stories. Michener was known for the meticulous research behind his work

I loved the fact that so many of his stories were based around real events and people.

The Source, Centennial and Hawaii are my favourites. All are around 1000 pages!!!! So they''l keep you busy!!

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Default  Posted: 5:01 PM, August 17th (Saturday)

Cast another vote for East of Eden by Steinbeck.

And I agree, too, with I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb. (I read She's Come Undone by Lamb first, and was amazed at how well he wrote female characters. That's another great read, but not very long.)

I love almost everything Larry McMurtry. The Lonesome Dove series will keep you reading for a long time, and I especially love the Moving On/Terms of Endearment/Evening Star trilogy (for which there is allegedly a new book coming). Moving On was his first book, not published until after others gained popularity. I adore it. I don't re-read many books, but there's something about it that I just love. His character development is wonderful.

Another loooong historical novel I loved was And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer.

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Default  Posted: 12:19 AM, September 2nd (Monday)

Billed as a young teen series but its very good: The Chronicles of Pyrdain by Lloyd Alexander. It's based on the mythology of the Welsh people.

The Book of Three
The Black Cauldron (not like the Bad animated movie)
The Castle of Lyrr
Taran Wanderer
The High King

I've retread this series between seven and ten times.

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Default  Posted: 7:49 AM, September 2nd (Monday)

Lots of good ideas. You might want to look at the Goodreads site. It's awesome for readers and recommendations too.

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Default  Posted: 4:04 PM, October 10th (Thursday)

Hillary mantel Cromwell series: wolf hall, bringing up the bodies

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Default  Posted: 4:22 PM, October 10th (Thursday)

winds of war followed by war and remembrance (800 page book and 1300 page book. so good I read them both in one week =) )

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Default  Posted: 10:52 AM, October 25th (Friday)

I loved the fact that so many of his stories were based around real events and people.

The Source, Centennial and Hawaii are my favourites. All are around 1000 pages!!!! So they'l keep you busy!

^^^^^^Definitely Michener!!

Just about every novel starts with the beginning of the earth, so there's lots of history going on. And the characters are incredible. LOVED Hawaii - still one of my all-time favorites! Loved Centennial! Really, anything he wrote, but those two especially.

[This message edited by ISPIFFD at 10:53 AM, October 25th (Friday)]

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Posts: 1887 | Registered: Nov 2009 | From: another world
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Default  Posted: 3:39 PM, April 9th (Wednesday)

Late late late to the party, but I have to recommend The Dovekeepers. Long book, challenging read with weaving story lines, historical (biblical times)... just so good.

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Default  Posted: 7:18 PM, April 9th (Wednesday)

Now would be a great time to start some Marquez since there's likely to be mention of him in the news lately.

I loved "Love in the Time of Cholera" and have "100 Years of Solitude" in my to read queue.

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Default  Posted: 9:08 AM, April 10th (Thursday)

If you're at all curious about Australia, Robert Hughes "The Fatal Shore" is excellent and riveting.

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Member # 37826
Default  Posted: 8:57 AM, April 28th (Monday)

I always go back to the Clan of the Cave Bear series by Jean Auel and the Tolkien books (Hobbit and Fellowship of the Rings. I like upbeat books about good people, which I find these both to be. Clan has a strong, loving woman as heroine. It is historical fiction about interaction between Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons. The Tolkien books are better than the movies.

Him,BH,70 - Happy Birthday!
I use capital letters for emphasis, not yelling!

Posts: 75 | Registered: Dec 2012 | From: Chicago area
Member # 32051
Default  Posted: 3:48 PM, May 18th (Sunday)

The Wheel of Time: 14 books @ 800 pgs. each. Very involved, 30 good guys, 30 bad guys.... complex! But unlike the Game of Thrones it is finished!!

This definitely fits the long and involved description at about 10,000 pages. I've read twice. Once over the 20 years it took Jordan (and Sanderson) to write it and when the last book came out I read it all again straight through.

True story, I was talking with my son who I got into this series and said "Man I hope Jordan doesn't die before he finishes". About a year later he passed. Sanderson wrote the last three installments.

Terrific "book". As you can imagine it drags from time to time but there are some great characters and and a very involved story.

[This message edited by WarpSpeed at 3:49 PM, May 18th (Sunday)]

Me: BS (51)
Her: fWW (50)
Married 27 years
Two sons in college
Empty closet and note on bed Jan 2010, She filed for D Mar 2010, D final May 2010, Actually had D-Day and found out why it all happened July 2010. Remarried on 23rd Anniv Aug 2010

Posts: 1525 | Registered: May 2011 | From: Dallas
Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 4:34 PM, May 18th (Sunday)

Paul Scott's Jewel in the Crown series,4 very good novels of Brits in India beginning during WW II and going forward to Partition.

fBH (me) - 70 (22 in my head), fWW (plainsong) - 65+, Married 45+, together since 1965
DDay - 12/2010
Recovered, not yet fully R'ed
I share my own experience because it's the only experience I know, not because I'm a good model.

Posts: 10582 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 2:43 PM, May 30th (Friday)

Hey, Violetta! Did you pick up any of the books people have suggested? What did you think?

fBH (me) - 70 (22 in my head), fWW (plainsong) - 65+, Married 45+, together since 1965
DDay - 12/2010
Recovered, not yet fully R'ed
I share my own experience because it's the only experience I know, not because I'm a good model.

Posts: 10582 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
Member # 42185
Default  Posted: 1:21 PM, June 27th (Friday)

Peter Carey's books are pretty much all great: Parrot and Olivier in America--loved that one, set in the backdrop of the French and American Revolutions. I'm re-reading Carey's Jack Maggs now.

The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert. (It's so different from her book Eat, Pray, Love.)
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

Happy reading!

BW: me (38)
WH: 43
OW: false "friend"
D-Day: 11/29/13 (4 month EA discovered); 12/19/13 (discovered was also PA); TT thru 2/14
Married: 2001; Together for nearly 20 years
2 beautiful young kids

Posts: 571 | Registered: Jan 2014
Member # 17840
Default  Posted: 4:43 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

I second Michener. Also, Leon Uris. Exodus, Mila 18, Trinity, QB VII.

This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Hamlet, Act I, Scene 3

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.

All's Well That Ends Well, Act I, Scene 1

Posts: 6656 | Registered: Jan 2008 | From: SE US
Topic Posts: 56