Not Yet Read


Author Rating: Not Yet Read

The Betrothed (Not Yet Read)

“Italy’s greatest novel and a masterpiece of world literature, The Betrothed chronicles the unforgettable romance of Renzo and Lucia, who endure tyranny, war, famine, and plague to be together. Published in 1827 but set two centuries earlier, against the tumultuous backdrop of seventeenth-century Lombardy during the Thirty Years’ War, The Betrothed is the story of two peasant lovers who want nothing more than to marry. Their region of northern Italy is under Spanish occupation, and when the vicious Spaniard Don Rodrigo blocks their union in an attempt to take Lucia for himself, the couple must struggle to persevere against his plots—which include false charges against Renzo and the kidnapping of Lucia by a robber baron called the Unnamed—while beset by the hazards of war, bread riots, and a terrifying outbreak of bubonic plague. First and foremost a love story, the novel also weaves issues of faith, justice, power, and truth into a sweeping epic in the tradition of Ivanhoe, Les Misérables, and War and Peace. Groundbreakingly populist in its day and hugely influential to succeeding generations, Alessandro Manzoni’s masterwork has long been considered one of Italy’s national treasures. Translated by Archibald Colquhoun.”

Project Gutenberg has The Betrothed available to read online or for download to Kindle.

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Author Rating: Not Yet Read

Charlie Pierce introduces an author new to us — Charles Portis, author of five novels:

  • 1966:  Norwood
  • 1968:  True Grit
  • 1979: The Dog of the South
  • 1985: Masters of Atlantis
  • 1991: Gringos

Additionally, a number of Portis’ essays and short fiction pieces have been published in one volume titled Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany.

You can read Portis’s The Forgotten River, one of the essays in Escape Velocity, here.

Author Rating: A

Noon Wine (read 3/26/2013) Recommended

This is a wonderful short novel about life. Mr. Thompson is a not very successful dairy farmer in south Texas, barely eking out a living for his wife and three young sons. Just about every job needing to be done on the farm is beneath him, and the farm is decaying more and more until Mr. Helton, a Scandinavian from North Dakota, turns up looking for work. Initially unsettling to the family because he hardly says a word, Mr. Helton doesn’t have Thompson’s prejudice against doing any job that needs doing and turns the farm around. After nine years of quiet steady living, Mr. Helton’s past shows up.

Ship of Fools (read 1981)

Katherine Anne Porter has a wonderful ability to bring characters to life. This, her masterpiece, brings forth a boatload.

Author Rating: A

In Cold Blood (read 1980 something) Recommended

A non-fiction book published in 1966 detailing the 1959 murders of Herbert Clutter, a successful farmer from Holcomb, Kansas, his wife, and two of their four children. It is an examination of the complex psychological relationship between two parolees who together commit a mass murder as well as an exploration ofthe lives of the victims and the effect of the crime on the community where they lived.

La Côte Basque 1965 (not yet read)

This looks like fun.

… the first installment of Truman Capote’s planned roman à clef, Answered Prayers, dropped like a bomb on New York society when it appeared in Esquire’s November 1975 issue. Iced out by the friends he’d skewered—such of his “swans” as Slim Keith, Gloria Vanderbilt, and Babe Paley—Capote began his slide into an early grave.

Other Voices, Other Rooms (not yet read)

A semi-autobiographical novel about a 13-year-old boy.

Author Rating: Not Yet Read

A trilogy of historical fiction about Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power in the court of Henry VIII of England. The first novel won both the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.  In 2012, The Observer named it as one of “The 10 best historical novels.”

Author Rating: Unknown

I’ve seen the movie Catch-22 but I’ve never read the book.  After reading this review, I’ve put it on my short list.

Author Rating: Not Yet Read

I am adding Banville/Black to my list after reading a recommendation for his crime novel Christine Falls while grazing the internets this morning.

According to Wikipedia, “Banville is known for his precise, cold, forensic prose style, Nabokovian inventiveness, and for the dark humour of his generally arch narrators.”

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