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Topic: December--what you reading and ordering?

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Subject: December--what you reading and ordering?
Date Posted: 12/20/2007 10:38 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,478
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I didn't see this one.  Is it here?  Well, the months almost over but what the heck...  (Disregard if this is a duplicate)

I started a fascinating book called the Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama.  It's set in the 1930s as Japan is battling China.  The lead character lives in Hong Kong.  He contracts TB.  When his health doesn't return his family sends him to Japan where his father works and where his family has a house.

There he meets up with the family servant who is living in the family's beach house alone.  His name is Matsu and he is very quiet and stern. It's such a charming story of the friendship that grows between them.  In the background is the tension of the Japanese clash with China (the leads mother is Chinese and his father is Japanese).

I'm half way through and it's really an engaging story!  I'm learning a bit about Japan's recent history.

 

Date Posted: 12/20/2007 10:54 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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That sounds realy good. It seems to me I've read that author before, and really enjoyed it.

I'm almost done with "Waverley" by Sir Walter Scott - it is apparently the first Historical Fiction book.

Date Posted: 12/20/2007 10:55 PM ET
Member Since: 3/18/2007
Posts: 782
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I am reading Here be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman. I am almost 200 pages in so far, and as of yet nothing really interesting has happened. But the book got such good reviews I am sure that it will be worth it to stick with it.

 

I had intended to finish all three books of the trilogy, but it seems that they are not really connected to one another. Is this true? If so, i will start something else after I finish it and come back to the others later. I think that if I do that, then I will start The Journeyer by Gary Jennings next so Valli and I will have something to talk about! LOL

Date Posted: 12/21/2007 8:58 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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Haha! Start The Journeyer! I really am enjoying it. Read another 80 pages last night.

Melody, I love Tsukiyama's books! I really loved the Women of the Silk trilogy. If you haven't read them, they are about a group of women who work in the silk making industry. They are very good!

Date Posted: 12/21/2007 9:46 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2005
Posts: 339
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I'm reading The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory. I read The Other Boleyn Girl last year and it ended up being my #1 read of the year. I've read about 150 pgs of TQF about 6 months ago and put it down. This time around I"m also having a hard time getting into it. When I do pick it up, I really enjoy it, but I'm having a hard time picking it up. I'm blaming it on the season so once Christmas is over, i'm going to make myself finish it. I have several others by her that I want to read as well. As well as a million by other authors too but that's another story. :):)

Date Posted: 12/21/2007 1:12 PM ET
Member Since: 3/6/2006
Posts: 3,070
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I'm reading The Queen's Handmaiden.  Kinda boring to be honest.  I got my box from bookcloseouts.com earlier in the week so will have a busy holiday break trying to read them before posting!

Date Posted: 12/21/2007 1:35 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2005
Posts: 809
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I FINALLY finished The Subtle Knife (the second book in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy) yesterday after struggling with it for about three weeks. I really liked the first book, The Golden Compass, but the second book was a tedious read with wooden characters and a meandering writing style. I am moving on to the third book, The Amber Spyglass, to see if Pullman can make anything out of the mismash of Book 2. I'll be writing a review of Subtle Knife for my blog later today or tomorrow, so visit there for more details (link is in my profile).

If The Amber Spyglass is just as bad as Subtle Knife, I'll be reading it a bit at a time while moving on to other books. I want to finish the trilogy so I know what's behind all the controversy about the books and movie, but at this point I can't understand why others have called it a fantasy classic and compared it to Tolkien.

Date Posted: 12/21/2007 1:37 PM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2007
Posts: 106
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Jennifer,

I really enjoyed all three Sharon Kay Penman books in this series.  Yes they do connect in that they follow chronologically as well as document the struggles between Wales and England.  Here be Dragons covers mainly Wales but shows the relationship between itself and English rule.  It also looks at the character of the reign of John in England.  Falls the Shadow concentrates on Simon de Monfort and his struggle with Henry III but also follows what is going on in Wales during this time.  The Reckoning covers the struggle between Wales (Llewelyn--Llewelyn the Great's grandson) and England (Henry III and Edward I).  I have to admit I had trouble reading The Reckoning because I had strong sympathies for Wales.  You probably don't need to read them together but I found I followed events better by doing so.

 



Last Edited on: 12/21/07 1:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/21/2007 1:42 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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Well, I was hooked by "Here Be Dragons" from the beginning, so I can't speak to it, but yes, they aren't connected extraordinarily.  The second book follows Joanna's niece and her husband (I think that's how she was related) and then the third follows a Grandson of Joanna's husband (Edited after another reply clarified that), so they are related, but not the same story if that makes sense.

It was "Women of the Silk" that I'd read by Tsukiyama, but I've not gotten the others in the trilogy.



Last Edited on: 12/21/07 1:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/21/2007 1:48 PM ET
Member Since: 3/18/2007
Posts: 782
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Thanks Linda and Mimi for clearing that up for me! I was originally under the impression that they all told a single story, as is generally the case with trilogies.

Date Posted: 12/21/2007 4:30 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,478
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Valli, Tsukiyama is a new author to me.  I picked up the book in a book bazaar deal when I was supposed to be looking for books for my nieces and nephews (2 for them, 1 for me LOL)  I'm really pleased with her writing style so I'll definitely look up the other books.  It reminds me a bit of Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.

Date Posted: 12/21/2007 8:16 PM ET
Member Since: 9/19/2006
Posts: 2,940
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I recently got Women of the Silk, and didn't realize it was part of a trilogy.  I'm off to look up the others...

Date Posted: 12/21/2007 10:30 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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I was wrong! There is no trilogy. Women of the Silk is the first book. The Language of Threads is the sequel.

Oooops! I was going to post the order of the books and then realized that I could not think of the third title. So, I looked around and realized I couldn't remember the third title because there isn't one. Duh...

Date Posted: 12/29/2007 2:27 AM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,478
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Glad you told me! :)  No doubt I'd have read the last book first since it's one of my special skills to not realize I'm reading a series.

The Samurai's Garden was excellent.  I never thought a book centering on war, leprosy, and tuberculosis could be so uplifting.