I Haven’t WHIRLed in Ages!

As you know, WHIRL stands for What Have I Read Lately.  Recently I asked my Jane Austen Literary Salon what books (besides Jane’s six novels that we are reading and discussing in the salon) they have enjoyed lately or what books are on their all-time faves list.  Here’s what they said:

Moby Dick by Herman Melville, “because the entire universe is contained in it, and it’s still so compelling today.”

Wow, makes me want to re-read that wonderful novel!  The last time I read it was with the fabulous Professor Zimmerman in my 19th Century American Lit class.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, “an amazing piece of literature.”

Yep, one of my favorites, too.  I am a big fan of Kingsolver; as you know, one of my Literary Masters book selections this season was The Lacuna, another winner.


Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, a “creepy page-turner with amazing insight into people’s psyches as well as very well written social interactions.”

Hmm…makes me want to pick this up again.  I started it awhile ago, and found it too…yes, creepy!…to continue.  Perhaps I’ll give it another try.

Austenland by Shannon Hale–“I listened to the book on tape on a car trip and have not laughed so much in a long, long time.”

Well, I hope you weren’t the one driving!  I tend to close my eyes when I’m laughing that hard.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender.  “I have not read this, but am fascinated by the concept of tasting the emotions of the cooks who prepared the foods eaten.”

Hmm…I’m not sure it counts if you haven’t read the book you’re recommending!  The same concept was explored in Chocolat, no?

 The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell and The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz “are wonderful books.  Both are historical fiction, although Oscar Wao is much more recent.”

Two fantastic books, I do agree!  Literary Masters book groups read The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao last season, and everyone loved it, and we are reading The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet right now!

“The Bone People by Keri Hulme for fiction.  Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Taylor Kidd for non-fiction.”

I haven’t read either of these books, but I like the title of the non-fiction book.

“The best recent piece of fiction is The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.  I like her as well as Jane which is saying a lot.  She’s also written Gourmet Rhapsody which is not as good but still very good indeed.

Very interesting…I have heard mixed reviews of The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

“There are three non-fiction books by Michael Lewis that I have read this year and that I am wild about.  My favorite I guess is The Big Short, which is the most intelligible and readable account of what caused the current financial crisis.  The other two are Moneyball and The Blind Side, which are about sports but there’s a whole lot about people and prejudice and analytical thinking.” 

I just took The Big Short out of the library; I can’t wait to read it!

Hey, there’s more to WHIRL about, but that’s all for now.  Stay tuned for my next WHIRL post.  And don’t forget to tell me what you’ve been reading lately!

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