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Topic: 2012 HF Challenge Course 4 - Celebrate Your Local Library - Discussion

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Subject: 2012 HF Challenge Course 4 - Celebrate Your Local Library - Discussion
Date Posted: 1/1/2012 9:25 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
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Subject: Doc by Mary Doria Russell
Date Posted: 1/14/2012 7:46 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 929
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I just finished Doc for the "checked out" category and thought it was wonderful.  Russell creates a richly detailed, very sympathetic picture of Dr. John H. "Doc" Holliday of Wild West fame.  Be prepared to fall a little in love.

Date Posted: 1/14/2012 10:09 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
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"Be prepared to fall a little in love."

Well put, Donna! And, I certainly agree ... Kelly

Date Posted: 2/28/2012 7:22 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
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Friend of a Friend - Saturday at the OKC Friends of the Library annual sale we bought Homeland by Barbara Hambly.  In her author's notes Ms. Hambly said that her intention was not to simply write about the Civil War, but to put herself into the "hearts, corsets, and shoes of two women who were out of step with the accepted views of those around them."  Despite the over-riding views of both North and South, there were many with conflicting loyalties regarding the issues.  This novel is told through the letters between two friends, one a Northern wife of a Confederate soldier, the other a young Southern woman from Tennessee.  They both are avid readers and depend on novels by Austen, Thackeray, Dickens, and even Homer to maintain their sanity during times of cold, hunger, fear, and hopelessness.  Within 5 or 6 pages of the end, I thought this can't have any kind of a satisfactory ending, but thankfully it did.  And, I'm glad I read the book.

Linda

Date Posted: 3/11/2012 9:51 AM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2009
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I finally got my foot wet in the HF challenge.  For the FOL sale book, I read Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie. 

Date Posted: 3/12/2012 10:49 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
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I finished reading Caveat Emptor by Ruth Downie and decided to use it for the "caring is sharing" category of the challenge.  I'll be dropping this book off at my local library next time I get out that way.  This is the latest installment in the very excellent and tongue in cheek funny mystery series that features Gaius Petreius Ruso, a Roman army medicus or doctor.  In this book Ruso and Tilla are back in Britain, and Ruso is out of a job and out of prospects.  An attractive and extremely pregnant young woman appears demanding help from the local authorities to find her missing man.  Trouble is, her man is also accused of absconding with the tax payment due to the Emperor Vespasian.  Ruso and Tilla are caught up in complicated political events once more.  All of these books have been very good, but I think this one has to be one of my favorites.  I can't wait for the next installment!



Last Edited on: 3/12/12 10:50 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/9/2012 6:52 PM ET
Member Since: 8/29/2008
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I read Martha by Diana Wallace Taylor for the caring is sharing. It's Biblical fiction. I wouldn't really recommend it as it was kind of boring. I will be donating it to my church library.

Date Posted: 6/6/2012 9:47 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
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For Sharing is Caring, I read (& will be donating to my library) The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas. 

The book ended up nicely, with an intriguing plot & a satisfying ending. However, during the first third of the book, I wondered why I was reading it! So, that's my advice to people interested in this book: if it seems flat, one-dimensional and rather vapid, just hang in there ... it does get better.

In this book, Loupas tackles the mystery of the unexplained & unexpected death of Duke Alfonso d'Este's first duchess. The investigation is undertaken by his second Duchess, Barbara of Austria against the strict and express command of the Duke. The book is set in 1565 in the city-state of Ferrara, Italy. 

I'm glad I read the book - the Duke was the grandson of Lucrezia Borgia and his arch-enemy (& the father of his first duchess) was a de Medici. I don't know much about the Italian Renaissance or about any of the families or politics from this time & location; so, from that aspect, the book was interesting & after the author developed the characters and their relationship to each other a little, the book got much better.

Is it in any wonder historical fiction is such a large genre ... history has provided a veritable wealth of material from which to draw!

Book gets a lukewarm recommendation from me, with a personal rating of 3.5 / 5.

Kelly

 

Date Posted: 7/18/2012 6:49 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,915
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Course 4:  Celebrate Your Local Library

A.  Check it Out!  The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt, 7/24/2012, 4 stars.  Ah, this is a most entertaining read about two brothers whose vocation is murder.  The two set out to murder a prospectr on the orders of the Commodore.  This novel dwells upon their travels from Oregon City to California where the prospector is working his claim.  Many incidents enlighten the tale - the appearance of the weeping man, twice; the boy who is clubbed in the head again and again because it seems like those who see him must do so; the encounter with four murderers whose intent is clear to the two brothers; and the loss of their riches again and again and again.  Certainly not your typical western!  

B.  Friend of a Friend:  Exit the Actress by Priya Parmar, 7/16/2012, 4 stars.  This is my second read about Nell (Ellen) Gwyn whose romance with King Charles II is legend and I quite enjoyed it.  According to both authors, the two were deeply in love.  Nell seemed to understand the king better than any of his mistresses.  I put other books about Nell which were recommended by Parmar on my TBR.

C.  Word of Mouth:   Mudbound by Hilary Jordan, 4/2012,  5 stars.   This was an outstanding read with all the drama of a southern tale, raising cotton, racism, women's roles and more. I highly recommend this one.  Several characters tell the story. There is Laura, an educated woman who is a college graduate who marries Henry McAllan. In other chapters Pappy, Henry's father, becomes narrator. In still others we hear Florence, a sharecropper wife whose husband works for Henry, and her son, Ronsel, who becomes a friend to Jamie, Henry's brother who takes his own turn in the telling.  The story of the McAllan family's life in Georgia, it is outstanding in so many ways.  I enjoyed it so much that I searched for and read another novel by this author as soon as I could find it.  

D.  Sharing is Caring:  Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

 



Last Edited on: 7/24/12 9:55 AM ET - Total times edited: 6
Date Posted: 7/19/2012 1:27 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,400
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Nice reviews on both books, Ruth. What is the time setting for Mudbound?

Thanks, Kelly

 

Date Posted: 7/23/2012 9:55 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,400
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For Friend of a Friend, I read The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti. Mom & I found a copy of this book at the FOL sale in Oklahoma City last February. I posted on the July reading thread a couple of days ago that the book was holding my attention, but that I wasn't just loving the book.

Now I am finished with it; and, while my overall impression of the book hasn't changed, I am glad I read it. The story develops sufficiently and the writing style is such that I became invested in the book and was happy enough to stick with it to see how it all came out in the end. And, for the most part the end was satisfying; even if a bit implausible.

Two kind of stand-out issues for me - I never got a feel for the time setting of the book. It is set in America, post-revolutionary war; pre-electricity era ... and that's about as specific as I was able to determine. This was a bit annoying. And, then there were some plot issues - the reader is asked to make some great leaps of faith in some aspects (as in "how did we get from here to there") and there were a couple of plot developments that basically defied credulity.

Although I ultimately enjoyed the book, I would probably not recommend this book to a casual reader - too much violence, too much darkness, and in the light of day, looking back on the book, too many flaws and not enough real substance.

Kelly

 

Date Posted: 7/23/2012 10:39 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 929
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Kelly, Mudbound is set in the years just after WWII.